Say Pal, What Are You Looking At

“What You Looking At” M. Murphy 1998. B&W Photo.

Say Pal, What Are You Looking At

A collection of 40 poems. Automatic writing from lengthy observations in self imposed exile on nondescript topics.

This book deals primarily with observation; witnessing behaviors, and stating the obvious.  Observations: Of my own – how I perceive a moment and then translate that information in a way only I can understand and relate to.  And in others – how I observe discernible patterned behaviors in people when they encounter the same, or similar moments. Stuff I look at.

How people look, then judge what they see; to fit within one’s automated mental categorization.  We all do this, but do we all stop and observe how we do this. If one observes something long enough, predictability ensues. Patterns and order within chaos.

As for the cover photo

Well, this was in 1996. Across the street from where I worked, which was in a small, but infamous bay-side port town, steeped in history and contradiction; its origins date back to the 1600‘s, from the “civilized world” viewpoint of America.  A residential neighborhood tourist town, bound by consumerism first, adorned with pancake make up to improve its image, yet still so very quaint, and even charming. But underneath this veil there exists a strategic blemish, proudly displayed, on the face that is our nation.

I would take every moment I could to step outside my store front door and stand in the alcove. The building was well over a hundred years old (as most were in this small city) and the original mosaic in the foyer, still intact, stood as a constant reminder of genuine heartfelt craftsmanship, nothing sensational, merely simple;  It pulled off the great illusion of permanence.

Anyway, I would relish my moments standing in that alcove, smoking cigarettes like candy, trying to identify discernible patterns in the random order of things. It became to be a tragic ballet, and I was sitting in the front row, playing along, even. The workers of the town; the pseudo-autonomous collective, versus the tourists from out of town; the pillaging invaders. They needed one another to survive the day in order to repeat the process the next day, and so on.

I made this picture to capture an emotional state of mind within the vicious circle Aria of this tragic Ballet; a worker coming back from lunch, and with packages in tow, hurriedly on his way to resume “herd maintenance“. The suspicious glance, deliberate and accusatory, harboring contempt for the relentless onslaught of an equally allied frame of mind; as it whisks itself away, the steel chariot; like a Bumble Bee hopping from flower to flower collecting pollen.  After a while it‘s legs get so fat and laden with the precious booty, the damn thing can‘t fly.

What good are wings when you can‘t use them.


M. Murphy


Say Pal, What Are You Looking At

Come Have A Look See #1

Come, have a look see

Remind me what it’s like

Tell me more about it

Refresh my stagnant memory


Can’t think of anything appropriate to say here

Nothing suitable for a title


But not all words are used up

It will never happen

And you just can’t read my mind


Psychic network bullshit

The rip off artist society

Carnival sideshow con man

A game that I won’t play

Fucking freak

Unmade leftovers

Right under left over

Went looking for the choice

To call it my own

A place like home

Where the heart is


Come Have A Look See #2

Come, give a look see

What went on inside

Too much for so many

To see, understand


A warm meal with family and friends

Filling the bellies of those who need


Sucking gristle and marrow

From holes, fragile bone structure


Come, give a look see

Just who did this?

Why did we go

This way and that


The soft bed we slept in unmade

Stained sheets, a remnant of life’s lust


Gripping tightly and holding on dying

Playing roles tripping on the hat rack


Come, give a look see

Such a random order

Now I went and did it

For why I don’t know


A shallow grave for the teeming billions

My mind can you see it’s gonna explode

And all is pure light, surrounds me

Sweeping back and forth the motion I grow


Possible Future

I see in to possible future

Paths not yet cleared

So defined


To be here

To be there

The aroma of emotions

Tickling my nose


A dream

Within a dream

Within a dream


Bitter compassion-less

Taste so stale

Of repetitious outcome


So much of the time


Choosing so freely

So deliciously

The choice of choices


See further

Further than the last time

Many more tears

And always shed tears


Speak To My Mind

I speak to my mind inside

For what guidance answers

Open my eyes and show me

To lose these blinders


I can feel the tug, the pull

I cannot yet determine

For what it is

I only know it is there


It makes me feel I’m waiting

For something or some one

It scares me in a way though briefly

As I’ve never before


Red Sky

A painful red sky

Child like tears flowing

Out open city windows

As laundry hangs between

Ancient buildings


Scream down the roads

The alley ways always greet

With startling surprise


Doesn’t grow on the sidewalk


The train

Sitting in a big chair to day

Not enough tickets

Can’t fill any car

No passenger rides


Tie less tracks

Spiked hair and leather

My chains how they are separated

Combing my cheeks

Sand paper palms


Such Is Our Way

Such is our way

Visitors on our world

Inhabitants of the planet

Miles of fences

Barriers as far as you can see


Such is our way

Private rituals

The rights of life, of one


Live so close to each other


Such is our way



The wilderness

My dreams

An adventure


Bones creaking


Wiping sweat

From browse

To buy

In to a life

Not yet defined


Like the child


Having a hand

To hold

Chapter mold



Scrutinize the lies

Blurted out the box

And we judge


But alas poor creature

We reserve that right

Of what we are takes flight


We die


Every bit as much as the next soul

Trapped in a hole

No escape for those we know


Spoon of feeding silver

Brass wood plastic

Slotted only to capture

Bigger bits to feed upon

The rest is thrown away


Past Lines

Past lines, bread lines, reflect a simple curiosity

But we see it in the faces of the new millions

Good old fashioned pain, traditional woes are hard

To replace, shelved and notated samples perfect


Specialized unity causes for disbarred humanity

We all start out as innocent the breeding lies take root

Quickly turned sour curdled breast fed substance

Abuse and tenderness, we choose our blinders early


Can we subscribe to free thought (each planet)?

So catered individually or so they say

Outstretched open arms take in the heated air

The pores in our skin soak up all the poison residue


My doctor says I’ll be just fine

My accountant says I can afford it

My lawyer says don’t get caught

My president says I’m sorry



What I like most about life

And it’s mystery the paradox

My way, the train with endless tracks

And a fueling stop of recognition

Of clues unbound the puzzle

And I run to the end

No finish in sight living on and on


Knowing not what I know

Yet learning not what I know

Surrounding my senses in a flavor

Too real all the time


It is time, its defeat

Stopping dead in its tracks

And soaring past bells ringing


It is future, I see

I feel and I know

What happens and who comes to call


The sight of the blindness

The sound of the unheard

And scent of an odorless wind

Knowing what was said

From a speechless child

And the touch

Felt from our arm-less memories


Knowing not what is known

In the dreamless realm

Thoughts from an empty mind



The pimple on my eyelid

Damned annoying

Looks like someone hit me

Such is my poetry

A pimple on your eyelid

And our planet does live

And breathe

Sure it feels the same

Damned annoyed


Thick Fog

Lo, the doubts roll in

Like a thick fog

Clouding the vision

Eventually it disappears

Without help

On its own path


Side Car

I’d no more see the trees

Than to lick an open wound

Battle scar

Mightiest of them all

In the darker ages of what time was


To live lives past


The path


Side car along side

To open roads in brief moments

Having no sense of the direction

In no way out of going in


Your side car teeth

Distracting molar

Reflecting solar


Throw Away

You would be surprised

What people throw away

Newspapers magazines

Memories of our time

Of our mind handed down

Dished out, count the ways

Do you have a tale to tell?

The papers just won’t print

The ink is just too wet

To hang you out to dry

What people throw away


Cars And People

The cars and people

People in cars

Go ‘round the circle


Not unlike clothes

In a big washer (at)

Your local Laundromat


Too many clothes

In this town

Can’t be washed


Around, so they keep going

Stopping like a sock that disappears


No cycle wash, too much spin

Permanent stains


I’m but a towel

Hung a line to dry

Blowing with the breezes


Aroma collector

Freshness enriched

Not too fluffy


A wash needs to dry

Needs to fold

Tucked neatly away in a drawer


Turned Up Collar

Why does a turned up collar

Make a distinction

To what airs

A parting glance

But lime green

Is so appealing, not

Point to the sites

And leave no stone unturned

To find love in life

And discover a new surface

From upturned stones

Not quite on the road

On to an altered state

I don’t (no longer) subscribe

It is the longing stare

That awakens me

Not a moment too soon

To start the chase

An end to the race

Breaking rungs of a fine tooth comb


Minted Coin

A minted too many sided coin


No heads or tales

Host of events of ascend-able currency

Stamped marks of a textured veneer

Calling out to touch every surface

Of a do not touch city

The merchants of pseudo Venice

Floating untouchable

What of these minted cause ways?



Some beauties grace the presence

Jutting out soothingly to say hello

Give my eye teeth

For a dogs nose

And a translating ear

Better to snatch a dollar

From each passerby


Not making sense of it all

The look-a-like smiles and cushy bottoms

‘Tis always forever the celebration


One Thought

One thought always comes to mind

Strip, that jarred exterior, the veneer

The truth

A naked humility

(and) a swing in an unknown direction

With no need for brown metal boxes

Insinuating propaganda

Tell the news with body parts

And by word of mouth


Imagined World

In this imagined world

The people wander aimlessly

To have a purchase power

Answering a lie with a lie

No rest for the weary

Too much hope for the wicked

A record for the tainted emotion

Holding a score card

In evaluation of the misery

Dished out happiness, ordered

From the side walk, restaurant

Expulsion, your shit has a label

And the local police smoking on the beat


Tour Guide

Overhearing the talk

C’mon, you’re our tour guide

As they part away from one another

A big sign in the window

For rent

And don’t go off the red bricks

But I just didn’t hear what he said

It was like a big rainbow

Me personally, I can’t think straight

Never could, too many moments

Why I like to people watch

Still don’t know the curiosity

Maybe that is all it is

Why do I feel them inside, what’s inside them?

When I want to

The man who sat next to me

Over fed, he will remember

And keep his sense of sadness

And wandering eyes






Of a flavor seal


Sealed for optimum freshness

For protection

To guard against

The safety cap



Refrigerate before

And after opening


Use before

Discard after

It’s best this way


Who are we

To decide


If we want to save big

Buy before, now


While supplies last

After which

Who, you really know


Smoking Gun

No matter how I try

I cannot forget them

In all that, I just can’t breathe

They exist

To ride along side poking me


I stride to the edge, my path

Looping ‘round and drifting

From side to side

I stumble often

Not quite fallen


The smoking gun

Is now reloaded

Gone shootin’

‘Tis what they’ll say

Riddled the world



And as the snail, who moves

A long limb of a tree

Leaving a slippery sticky trail

Its moves deliberate


The leaves shake in the breeze


Flower buds, sprouting a long

Like speed bumps to the snail


Yet as life being fragile

The snail is plucked from

The limb


A bird flies away

No longer hungry

For the moment


(time being what it is)


Pork Chop

An over rated pork chop

Standing out in a blue cellophane package

Lost is the stuffy fullness and yummy goodness

Such is ones capacity to love

Must trim the fat


Wake Up

And I close my eyes

Life flows within and all surrounding

A day to remember so briefly

The arrogance the pity

The exposed what avails


Yet love thee no less

Merely more love


And the tales of the brave

Outspoken goose


Swizzle thy ways to taste

What you like to drink


In a bitter sweetness, gaze

Abide the rules you’ve made


Lost intentions selfish way

Wake up screaming and laugh


Wake up screaming and laugh



Commentary is momentary

Spiteful remarks last on and on

Lingering pain, no moments taken

Satire can be mistaken


Social identity crisis

A molded piece of wheat bread

Stuffed under the mattress

Make up a new face tonight


Come clean with sober goods

No dog sniffing, butt licking

Son of a bitch is being sold

At any price for ones concern


Heavy Mind

My mind weighs heavily

Like a new age transport


They put you in hibernation

To go see some star explode


The past is past

Ageless sleep

The open book

Dangerous to read


Raised On Cartoons

Raised on cartoons

I tell ya

That’s what the matter is

I’m not fooling either


Raised on cartoons

My old pals

Just came to me

Like a ton of bricks

And a grand piano

A big granite boulder

Or a shotgun blast

And a belly full of bird seed

Like a sock in the eye

Or egg in the face

A disintegrating ray

Or falling through space


Raised on cartoons

That’s what the matter is

Like a stick of dynamite

Stretched on your tongue

And the guy who’s there

No matter where you run

And the families and friends

With no need for sorrow

Can be tuned out at will

And stay tuned tomorrow


Raised on cartoons

I tell ya

That’s what the matter is


Tabloid Adolescent

Children today

I’m sick of and like

You know what I mean

It was like, dude

Such apathy, so

And like, grow up

It’s like, stupid


When the reality of your pillow

Is no longer comfortable, rest

Ye weary head; it’s not like, even

Children today, tabloid adolescent


Springer Lake Montel Oprah and Jenny

And like those others really

Can you name for me, state capitals

I fear the years ahead of me


Tabloid adolescent


Eye Browse

Have you witnessed?

Big painted on eyebrows

Forty coats of paint cake

Lifting a cheek to fart

Sounds travel further on vinyl


A dull raspy cigarette voice

Manly and surreal Jews harp

Reptile eyes staring at lunch

The blue hair special is liver

The meal dry and crumbling


And new age pain

With old age incontinence

Each corpse gets individually wrapped

Labeled and put on a shelf

Who will buy this wonderful feeling?


Mall Walker

Spinning wheels of an airplane past

How little things always seem to matter

Like hypo-allergenic gravy on fatty fries

And animal print tops with big baggy sleeves


Climate control world against the elements

A soft shell puncture proof veneer

Laps racked up the toothless smiles

Cutting and slicing through Geritol gasses


Mother and child go zooming by

A customized carriage, the wind and shades

Make a foundation for the new speed racer

Who may die before the age of thirty


Sleeping Dreams

Nothing like a toothless smile

A grin that shocks us all

Gummy nature calls

Form a wide cheeky glare


Come yonder ye little nymph

Let us remark an ancient time

Tales of two fold propaganda

And golden fields of fat wheat


Under a rickety ole bridge

Gossamer entrails adorn thy crevice

Weighted centerpieces just floating

Looking, watching, waiting, wanting


Descent gradual and so much the lazy lane

View of the gallery on never seen walls

And you can picture what has never before

Been imagined, like sleeping dreams



Laugh about it, cry about it

Brood over spilled milk

Like it was a natural disaster


And you sit, as a curio knickknack

On a shelf

Collecting dust, moss


Seemingly a short cut

The stretch of a mile

In the blink of an eye


Knock Us Down

Watch the market crash

Such a sorry panic

An escape so selfish

No hope faith reappearance


Relive the fatal car crash

An icon instantly immortalized

At what price tragedy

Spoon fed conspiracy


No truths come out to play

And it’s the bully on the swing set

Who steals our lunch money

Just to knock us down


Childless Dreams

Childless dreams running

Through the crowded minds

And pleas of militant bugs

Dodging ‘round the side walk

Failing to get burned

By a magnifying glass


Over and under

A house, windows boarded

No views for an old man

Who sits in a padded kitchen chair

Running hands and fingers

Through what’s left of hair


A pin drop ante

With loaded decks

Trick shuffled minds

And everybody walks

We anticipate talks

From God fed leaders


The spoils of our dreams

A windup toy soldier

Who drinks all sour cream

The cows churn their own butter

Those field of hopeful lost

To bitch about the cost


Hairy septic overload wish

To travel down a road

Gilled and grilled scaled fish

Tweezer plucks out the toad

Batting her eyes to his cry

We choose never to try


Watch Me Pee

Why do women like to watch men pee?

It’s always been a mystery to me

Yet when they hear the sound

They come running

Transfixed and so fascinated

Like it was the second coming


Maybe that’s it, maybe, maybe, maybe


A constant throbbing gushing stream

Heat and steam rising with unique sound

Filling the bowl so round some always hit’s the ground

And when you’re done

The seat comes down


That’s definitely it, yeah, yeah, yeah


I politely ask to return the favor

Greeted with a resounding no

Get out and shut the door

The standing remark

I hear the hissing trickling blast

Then twirling of the toilet paper


S’gotta be it, gotta, gotta, gotta


So baby hold it for me

When I go pee

Wrap your hand around me

Shake it when I’m done

Because it seems like so much fun

And if I squirt you better run


Two Bits

Two bits and a couple of sideways remarks

A fistful of boogers, plain to see

This new and dangerous form letter of response

Thrice beaten in to submission, poor poor

Talk about yourself to whoever shall listen


Who needs this, who needs, weeds


And she walked, rather traveled down to the open gate

Brushing her tangled messy hair

Kicked open a wound to get an infection

Purposely wanting the poison surge

It ran its course of an inside maze


You said that, you said, tread


Trim, the molding crowns dark and musty

Return the crime scene evidence it belongs

When you walk to the shoreline exposed

Waves tingling bitter sand pore invasion

Ripping tides pulling us farther where


They knew it, they knew, whew


Water drops in a bucket, torture

Filled neatly slim trim to the brim

An arrogant cesspool swimmingly fashionable

What a decapitated thought draw it quarter it

Well, we drove around in circles so intolerable


I told you, I told, sold


Listen, that music goes wha wha ditty wha

Like my daddy said banana peels cannot be smoked

The circus, the carnival freak show sin town

Two bits and a couple of sideways remarks

A fistful of boogers plain to see


Let’s leave now, let’s leave, sleeve


The Walk

You take that walk

From the chair to the door

The door to the chair

Looking to look at what not


Turning the knob changes your view

To watch or to play, the play is new


Skim the outer surface

Key grip

To hold it altogether

Should one get lost




Final resting place

Of not death then what

Will thine heart beat flirtatious?

A soul oasis


Will it calm the rushing tide?

Ease the pain from where inside

Pleasing when my eyes see

To what forms will it strike me


One to go where to go

The other just to stay

Walk about open and blind

Or look and waste away


Just to make the best of this

So what have I got now?

No suitcase full of memories

I hang my laundry in the trees


I see you all around me

I smell you in the air

The dust from my feet as I walk the street

I see you standing there


Will thine heart beat flirtatious?

A soul oasis

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