Names for This

You Lightning-Flasher, Shirt-Raiser,lack-of-control Power Blinker, toss the trees around like wet cotton candy, they’re drunk marionettes, Power Cutter, Bed Rumbler. The night is a black-eye disco, and you’re a violent drunk, Night Storm. Drenching dreams, nowhere to go but right on top of us, roof Slam-Dancer, Sky-Splitter Night Light, Gutter-Defier, Waterfall-Caller tumbling down window panes, Door-Groper, a puddle on the tile. The nosleepers are listening to you, Tomorrow-Maker, Midnight Rumbler. Sharp clouds and nosleep, yer no quitter, Kid, Mountain Bowler, cement puddles, and a mud romance.

The clock blinking 12:00 in fear of You.

Nombres para esto

Tú Destellarayos, Levantacamisas, Parpadeador neumático sincontrol, zarandea los árboles como algodón de azúcar húmedo, son títeres borrachos, Cortador de Poder, Retumbacamas. La noche es un disco ojinegro, Y tú eres un borracho violento, Tormenta Nocturna. Sueños empapantes, ningún lugar a dónde ir salvo encima de nosotros, Slambailador de techo, Luz Nocturna Cortacielos, Desafíalcantarilla, Llamacascadas Tumbando paneles de ventanas, Tientapuertas, un charco en la losa. Los nodurmientes te están escuchando, Hacedor de Mañanas, Retumbador de Mediasnoches. Nubes afiladas y nodormir, Tú nunca renuncias, chico, Lanzamontañas, Charcos de cemento, y un amorío de lodo.

El reloj parpadea las 12:00 temiéndote.

Trad. de Alfredo Villegas Montejo

Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests?

Aero avión, build nest.

Nido airplane nave. Vuelo, cielo cielo.

Caught the aeronave from the Juarez war zone back home to the onda arizona. (Amazing trip. Saludos a Leon. More soon.) The flight from PHX to TUS takes 20 minutes. The metal iguana doesn't climb over 5,000 feet. The up. Then the down. Bottled water for sale. Sixteen ounces. Two dollars.

(I'm on tour schedule again, sleeping from five A.M. to one P.M.) (Last night I made this video.)

Arizona is the fastest growing state in the Union. Maricopa County, home to the capital, Phoenix, receives an average of 7.76" of rain per year.

Maricopa County has the highest number per capita of golf courses in the United States of America.

The aquifers can't last forever. The metal iguana flies on.


additional music LIARS


tucson, arizona 2008

Taxco, Something in the Sky

Early in the morning,
the sun still young,
the woman blows up balloons
on the steps of the church,

blowing three big breaths
then twisting them,
twisting them, twisting
them tight so that
their silver cellophane
bodies come taut,

and she ties them
on sticks, sticks them
with the rest and
does this again,

three breaths, three times
in, three times out,
building a blossoming
cheap tree of balloons
pulled together, all
tight, all taut
together on the stick
like cellophane silver fruit,
born of mechanical blooms
and breath in a bundle,
a bundle she'll carry, all the

balloons stuck, waiting
for a child to see them,
a child to want one,
and a parent to want
to see their child happy.

She'll walk, all day, through
tight plazas and steep streets, waiting,
longing to sell her lungfuls, waiting
for a child to buy her breath wrapped
in a silver balloon, the wrapped
gift of her lungs, the push
of her diaphragm, the flexing
of her fingers cherished

until a child lets go and her
breath blows away, stray
balloon blows higher—pops,
breath escapes into the white sky,
where it hangs like a lost prayer.

Her breath, loose,
looks down and watches her.
Her breaths are the tiny souls of her moments.
Her chest rising, her fingers aching,
still waiting.

New books for sale online: one week only.

yes, your billz will buy this here hat and cane.

Ok, ok. Let's try this. I know there are at least a few people out there who want copies of the new books before they're sold out, and that can't make it to the 4/20 Spoken Word Showcase in Flagstaff next week. So how about this:

I'm putting the two new books onsale online for one week only. If you pay for them through PayPal between now and 4/20 and email me your address, I will put them in the mail to you while I am in the States for the show. Sound good? Ok.

  1. This Line Drawn Across Footprints: a high-quality printing of 44 pages, 16 poems in English, 4 Spanish translations, illustrations by Pedro Día, all of my best work from 2004-2005. $8 USD including shipping to anywhere on the globe. I swear. I'll do it.
  2. Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests?: another 44 pages professionally printed by an independent printshop in Flagstaff. 23 poems, most of which have never been previously published or performed. Original photography from Ireland, England, France, Spain, Mexico, Guatemala and Cuba. All new design work. This is the best from early 2006, when I left Flagstaff, until now, sitting here in Cuernavaca. Also $8 USD, shipped to any country whose government will allow it.
  3. OR I'll send them both for $15. Because I can. I know, crazy.

So, you can pay through PayPal. You know the deal. It's fast, safe and secure. Really. Just hit the button below, as if you were going to "donate" (a ha-ha) and send along the jolly bills. Then send along your jolly address. And I'll send you some brand-new, still-smell-like-ink-and-printers'-armpits books. They may or may not be jolly. One week only, act fast, jivecat.

PS. The image on the right is what I'm gonna look like with all ya bills.


Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests? cover

Ok, this is it. After a ten day binge of editing and designing, I've finished the second new book: "Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests?" It hit the presses as of today and will be on sale in Flagstaff at the 4/20 Spoken Word Showcase.

This one is a lot different from both "Sun Said Shine" and "This Line Drawn Across Footprints"---Airplanes includes a lot of my photography. It's a little like "If My Soul Were Metal" for those who remember back that far. All new poems, 2006-2007, nothing older than 15 months. Actually, a couple of the poems are just a few weeks old. All were written on the run, in Spain, France, London, Ireland, Guatemala, all over Mexico, the Southwest US and Cuba. Most of them have never been performed or published before.

So, 44 pages, 23 all-new poems, photography, and design. I'm excited & can't wait for you to see it. Though there's a bit of Spanish, there wasn't any room for translations this time. Soon I'd like to put out a book completely in Spanish instead. 200 copies will be available, and they probably won't last long.

Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests?, my forth chapbook:

  1. Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests?
  2. Taxco, Something in the Sky
  3. Dispatch From the Horizon
  4. Moon Falling From Cuban Sky
  5. The Old Man Rides an Old Bicycle
  6. Tell Me You'll Never See Her Again
  7. The Rattle-Thumbs Battle Prayer
  8. Arizona Freeway Sunrise
  9. Jesús Lying Beneath the Subway
  10. London Gossip I – III
  11. Arnold Duncan Doesn't Live Here
  12. Fair Warning
  13. Granada Gossip I
  14. Morelos Gossip I (Zapata's Silver)
  15. Canto Mosquito
  16. Pantoum Revolution I – II
  17. Rechazasoles
  18. Diez Puestas
  19. Todos Santos, Presentes
  20. The Cuban Writers' Union
  21. Paris Gossip I – IV
  22. Names for This
  23. Candle at Two A.M.
illustration from the book Where Do Airplanes Build Their Nests? by logan phillips

Arizona Freeway Sunrise

The grasses are always dancing in the median,headbangers, seed sowers, dry spines twisting. Freeway flowers face early decapitation— guillotine tirewind, lit by skyfire:

here the sun is literally a star, made of beaten copper, sharp, imperfect. As the star pulls itself up again, the sky goes streaked, the improbable pattern of yellow-red, vivid.

The radio stations are just murmurs in the Spanglish static. The cities hide behind the horizons. The tires break grass necks. The flowers throw themselves like colorful, suicidal philanthropists into the eastbound, into the westbound.

Saguaro shadows are twirling sundials on the clock face of burning sand, they tick, they spin, they speak until they’re spoken to, torn down, paved over, left in piles, sold.

The rush, the hush, the hiss of wind and the immutable silence of light. The piston explosions, the cellphone syllables.

Two realities in the same moment. Two landscapes that never touch.

Arizona freeway sunrise. A breeze blowing through barbwire.

Amanecer en carretera de Arizona

Los pastos siempre bailan en el camellón, de atrás para adelante, esparcen la semilla, sus secas espigas se tuercen. Las flores de carretera enfrentan temprana decapitación; viento-guillotina de llantas, iluminadas por el fuego del cielo:

aquí el sol es literalmente una estrella hecha de cobre forjado, puntiaguda, imperfecta. Mientras la estrella se levanta de nuevo, bandas cruzan el cielo, el improbable patrón de amarillo-rojo, intenso.

Las estaciones de radio sólo son murmullos en la estática. Las ciudades se esconden detrás de los horizontes. Las llantas rompen cuellos del césped. Las flores se arrojan como coloridos y suicidas filántropos hacia el este, hacia el oeste.

Las sombras de los saguaros son manecillas que giran sobre el cuadrante de la arena hirviente, hacen tictac, giran, hablan hasta que se les habla, derribados, asfaltados, apilados, vendidos.

La prisa, la calma, el silbar del viento y el silencio inalterable de la luz. Las explosiones de pistones, las sílabas de celulares.

Dos realidades en un mismo instante. Dos paisajes que jamas se tocan.

Amanecer en carretera de Arizona Una brisa silbando entre alambre de púas.

Trad. de J. Emilio Rodríguez

Old. World.

London, England Kicking and alive. Ireland was good. Words to come in the July NOISE. Spain coming. A lot more soon, check back.

London Gossip II They say if the ravens die in the fortress, the kingdom will fall. If they leave the tower, the same. So first, modern paranoia-- they clipped their black wings. Then, a postmodern twist-- birdflu spread across the world. So now, to protect a legend, the birds are kept inside.

The old man rides an old bicycle

The old man rides an old bicycle in slow rhythm along the bay, on his way home to his wife after watching the technicolor sunset on the old dock. "¿De qué año es su bicicleta?" I ask him as he peddles by me. "Tiene 50 años," he says, smiling as he stops the bike next to me.

"¿Es un tipo Schwinn?" I ask, being into this type of thing.

"No, se llama Super Rex," he tells me, and pulls out of the breast pocket of his half-open cotton shirt the ancient registration card, which is paperclipped to his carné de identidad. "El gobierno me dio este papel pero como no saben escribir bien pusieron 'suder res.'" We laugh.

He asks me where I'm from. "Oh!," his eyes flush with emotion as he folds up his thick glasses. "I lived for five years there! In New York! Nineteen Fifty Five until Nineteen Sixty. But I think, not because I'm Cuban, that here, Cienfuegos, has the most beautiful sunsets in the world."

"Looked pretty good to me," I tell him.

"How do you like Cuba?"

"Me facina," I say, smiling.

"The same for me in New York," he smiles too. "I love my country," he says the words slowly, as if describing an ache, "but this situation here... it's not good. I stay against my will because I love my country. But this system doesn't work."

"I agree with you," I tell him. I realize he only has the courage to say these things because we are speaking in broken English. By this time we've stopped walking and we're leaning close to each other. He starts laughing.

"I must go," he says, "my wife is waiting for me. It was a pleasure to talk to you and practice my broken English."

"For me too. Tell your wife I say hello and take care."

"Ok, goodbye."

The Cuban Writers' Union

I.Some writers working for the state have clandestine dreams of smuggling out a manuscript to the presses of the capitalist world.

Others just rearrange the same adjectives around the words revolución and Fidel because Customs has long forbidden the importation of new words into Cuba,

so the remaining writers are like everyone else in this country, making do, shuffling the same broken puzzle pieces, searching for new endings.

The writers here are just like the men who sit on the sidewalks behind dirty wooden stands, injecting new aerosol breath into old disposable lighters and the womens’ fine hands in the relojería, fixing old watches with skill, then searching for the hour to set the watches by, the hour that this country lost long ago.

II. On the edges of this living city there are piles upon piles of all the abandoned thoughts, dirty and wet, buzzing with flies, putrid in the tropical sun.

And there are coasts where the government allows no one to swim because there too they have dumped all the aborted ideas of the island, coasts where the waves mumble unintelligible promise and people stop on the seawalk to gaze at the hollow horizon. Sometimes the weight of their unintended sighs is enough to push the cool breeze back out to sea.

Here for every kilo of true creativity the streets are polluted with a hundred liters of tears. Maybe it’s no wonder that the bookshops read like the dictator’s personal library and all the true writers sit in buildings about to collapse, trying to inject new breath onto thin sheets of cheap paper, while others have stopped writing altogether, and spend their days folding their quota of paper into airplanes which they bring down to the shore and toss into the sea, hoping they’ll catch the warm propulsion of an entire nation sighing.

The world has gotten so small that now there’s no more room in the oceans for so many bottles containing the words of so many trapped peoples. The few boats that do manage to leave set sail to the deafening sound of shattering glass and sinking letters. No more messages, no bottles. Here in Cuba all the writers know better than to trust the sea, they study the sky, trying to guess the hour and the best flight plans for paper airplanes.