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Off Course - A journal for poetry, criticisim, reviews, stories and essays.


The birds are communicating their wisdom to the trees, who are breathing their wisdom to the breeze, which is trying mightily to survive in tact. The artillery shell explodes in fragments as if Bert Bacharach were on the attack, selling falitas at a taco stand on 10th, the whole while importing surplus Xanax from Mexico at a dollar a pop. Stop.

The ceaseless communications from the disembodied entities begins again. If they manifest themselves too much, odd occurrences, like gentle gusts of wind, appear like popped popcorn kernels. The nugget of truth in all this is the transcendental realm of the never dead, who feed this consciousness via electricity or fiber optic high intensity microwave coaxial data transfer, flying through our skies at the speed of light.

Poet Ken aboard the U.S.S. Lexington in
Corpus Christi Texas 1995

Ken Jones has been a published poet since 1984 in both academic and underground journals. He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin.  He currently divides his time between Houston, TX and Venice Beach, CA, teaching English. You can generally be assured of reaching him at, but Poet Ken is notorious for a free spirited approach to life, so no guarantees.



The following poems have been
written and 1997 by Ken Jones







Transformer wires circle like a spyrochite

Eroded purpose's worst leftovers

Lie cold and old in the Frigidaire.

Random Electron Spins determine

Lifetimes of whys and lost charges

Free radicals search for a covalent bond

Take stock in their lost par value.

The parvenu removes his molar

Sacrifices the silver filling at a solar altar

Mayan blood overflows on the ziggurat's stone

Into cups of human femur bone.

Three naked goddesses embrace their hate

Wipe their bloody wet lips into kisses

Touching the last fresh eyelash, their mates

Know their hidden souls are where bliss is.








Corporate towers surround the sound

Of a lone gunshot in objection.

No foundation of percipient knowledge

Sustained in the underfunded silence

Reversible error? See for yourself.










Among the youngish ruins, a woman's dreams

Learned that determined to lie beyond their control

Are face masks, eye holes, totem bracelets

Other adornments for a reviving tribal sense

Alive to their whys, the bounty heaven-sent.

Spirits come in gentle breezes

Feloniously asporting the philosopher's stone.








Discolored wood shards strewn by my wake-up spot

Match the brown pretzel junk of my junkie crash bed.

Drunk on fine wine, morning birds converse

In sharp chirps, long melodious lines. Then One

Clearly influenced by his surrounding

Sings like a car alarm on an urban assault vehicle

Loosing the uproar of pure sotto voce spirit.

The birds all live in trees like Kobe,Japan apartment dwellers

Talking back and forth, busy in the bustle

Yet eventually dusted by shuffling

Among Earth's Earthquake ruins for a motherly New One.





This ancient native stopped in the street to stare

He pushed his possessions in a shopping cart

He nobly tilted his nose toward the light

He refused to move in response to primate signals

He stood his ground as ancient truth abounded

He glared at us as if we were descendents of conquerors

He knew one of us didn't know his heritage

He blasted the labyrinth of solitude enveloping us

He walked on purposefully, message delivered.






The 3 legged beast from Saturn's fifth moon

Disturbed my concentration one spring day

Ringing my cellular all afternoon

No pleading kept his attention away.


"Hark, Earth Creature, be truthful if you can

Great Squads of my fellows await your words.

Is there hope for that form you call 'human'?

We have chosen you to make their case heard."


"Though grown in the Spirit, still I'm confused

I wish One would shine down, we need it soon.

Though too weak in the flesh, such must be used

By 3 legged beasts from Saturn's fifth moon."


"Why, this One is the Reason!" They thundered.

Then apologized for how they had blundered.





I was to give an entertainment for the benefit of a friend
In order to advertise the show, he asked me to go to lunch
At a luncheon club in a nearby town.

The thing that bothered me most was mathematical chance expectancy.
After the lunch, he gave a sales talk about my abilities
Glowing, as sales talks always are.

After the speech, one man said to me., "If you are anywhere
Nearly as good a magician as said, come with me
To get the jackpot in a quarter machine over in a corner of the lobby.

This machine was an automatic gambling device
In which a quarter was put, a handle pulled, wheels spun around.
When they stopped, the Machine gave out varying numbers of quarters.

Or, on the other hand, one might (and probably would) lose one's own coin.
I tried, without effect, to explain this wasn't my brand of magic.
He insisted. Finally, to quiet him, I decided to lose a quarter and play the Machine

But, astonsihingly, I did just what he had asked me to do--win the jackpot.
All the seats for the show were sold on the theory,
I am quite certain, that I was a true magician.

After that experience, I began to question
The likelihood of any given event being mathematically predictable
Of course, I realize the mortality tables of the insurance companies

Do not say which man is going to die in any given year
They merely say how many men out of so many will die in a given year.
Furthermore, the insurance statisticians, by study, know their presuppositions fit the situation



Male murderers stifle Mother Earth's oracles
Slaughtering priestesses and pious prophets.

The prophetess' glossalalia flows freely
Men force it into hexameters.

The prophetess chews laurel leaves
As she comes all over me
Then she drinks bulls' blood
Ready for the oracular ritual
Repeatedly, repeatedly.
In the beeswax temple, she slips fern seed
Into her sacral vessel
The supplicants' honey-cakes overflow.

The priestess feed on sacred flesh
A ram prepared in sacrifice.
The songbirds on the golden roof
Dive like divining dice.
A copper coin upon the eyes
A secret well by an old oak tree.
Can you see the future, Sister?
Will you share this Earth with me?

You've got my guts open for inspection
Now upon further reflection
Remember to forget Memory
To pray to the Moon for Good Fortune
And bathe in the path of the deities.




I am the Knight of Cups.
You are a maiden jailed by swords.
We are together everywhere.
Among the disembodied spirits of the sands
Across the barnacle shackles of true coupling
Along the bleeding edge of roiling oceans
Aware of duel consciousness in the embryonic sheath
We toll the days as changes
We embrace to answer.





 for Doug Wills

As we walked about initial offerings
Corporate holdings and the Republicans
A meteor soared into our atmosphere.



The Avon Lady named Diana
Helped the children through Junior Achievement
She went door to door selling lotions, soap
And the sap of American capitalism
Then she arrived at my house.

The resposnsible corporate citizen
Who was supposed to be in
Was away on vacation.
I was home. So I slapped her, called her a whore,
Because Lady Liberty was permanently away,
Rammed a fist up her cunt
Through her delicate lace panties.
She said, "No hanky-panky,
I'm just here to sell."
"Well, I think you're Satan's party doll
Welcome to hell!"
Then I bashed that gash with a blunt iron
Yanked her by the hair through the den
"Come on in my kitchen" I chanted-
She quit her bitchin'--maybe
She'd swallowed her tongue
Like she was gonna swallow my come.
So I whacked her across the back,
Broke her almost in half
Pulled a pizza cutter from the cupboard
And sliced her diagonally into twelve easy pieces
Feasted for a while, then wrapped her in foil
Stored her in the kitchen door, got my pocketbook
Signed my name in red ink
And made the check payable to Avon, Incorporated.


   Woman's mouth holds lies to die for
Man's forked tongue sticks out
Both caught in flight to avoid
The Word unheard in their shout.

Woman's lips cast a daemon's glow
Man's teeth tear at its jaws
Dirunal yearnings interrupted flow
Erupts out both, spews on their paws

Then Woman and Man together come
Under the standing wilderness
Nakedly beautiful and unafraid
Of the best lies in this caress.
  In a Chinese rock garden in Byron Scott's backyard
I thought to write of God the Oneness
As bamboo stalks clicked rhythm in the wind
And tiny chirps, followed by winter's bellows.
The cold pumped goosebump ribbing
Through my thin clothing. Then an impulse
Led me to take a nitrous oxide hit.

The instant buzz of pshychopoetic spirits
Filled my exhale, filled the world
Which answered back by filling me
With the all-encompassing Why It Be
Which in deed and word, is All Around Me
Whatever Me might Be.
You see? You see?
No matter--it is seen.

But then that mystic state ends
And on the ground--a hard gray canister
So clinical, not in tune
With the Nature wisdom
Which bombs the ruin that is You.
Oneness, I surrender
Do me as you will.


We all believe our stigmata are unique.
On the Cyberspace Scriptorium
Monks preserve monkey knowledge.
The reality of prayer
Transmorgified into a terminal
Access to the Nexus
At once trapped in a spot
Yet everywhere and nowhere.

During the Grand Silence
I hear a clicking of keys
Unlocking hidden universes
Diverse as we please.
On their knees, Divinities
Digitize the Divine
A sign of recurring excrescences
Dense as existence.

Your bloody sweat fools no one
Into knowing nothing is something.
Prophetic communications abate
When Dog Orgies dissipate.
For two to three days, wounds in your forehead
Are signs of unused force.
They do not invade. Listen
To what they say before it's too late.




Even in your hour of darkest midnight need
On the other side of the Earth
Two lovers discover each other
Someone earns a fortune
Or finds a Spirit beyond the Material.
Pieces of our species breathe their last.
A town stagnates in it past.
A loner wanders toward the future.
Prophets seek in this realm
A unity at the helm
But impatient saviors' wounds are weeping
Flesh is seeping
Sleeping off the agonies.



Wiped blank as a skanky prankster
I stir these Spirits to a roiling cauldron.
Boiling insincere Here and Now to a prize fur
Around the shoulders of an impudent sun.

Tortured by the scorching naysayers
Affixed to an appendix of This Is It
Kicking Mules, One-Eyed Fools braying
Spirit nearing balance in each shit.

Heightened expectorate invigorates
Satiated caberets whose chorus bellows
Truths of youth and parables so obdurate
Here lies the norm of tomorrow.



Our Spirit walks a labyrinth in life
Sacred spaces our longing yearns to access
When burdened by this world's diurnal strife.
Stalwart within, through winding paths we press
Toward that inner silence where dwells our source.
We cup our hands to catch the Godhead stream
The spirit taste returns us to the course
Where Light defies us to rise toward its beam.
Aloft at that spot, knowledge of the Cosmos
Crosses us as wisely we surrender
To the core of Oneness whose essence grows
When you and it rest at peace together.
Often when you think you are truly lost
Your spirit walks this path and pays its cost.








To heal the Earth we first must heal ourselves
Of impurities we surely imbibed
At the shot bar of More Progress and Wealth.

We clean the bottles off the dusty shelves
And make way for the New Age we've described.
To heal the Earth we first must heal ourselves

And then never again dirty our wells:
Those storehouses needed for all the tribes
At the shot bar of More Progress and Wealth.

Unavoidable poisons, with shrewd stealth
Have stolen in with suicidal bribes,
To heal the Earth we first must heal ourselves,

And learn the subtle cycle for her health.
She's not the whore our self-hate did proscribe
At the shot bar of More Progress and Wealth.

No. She is our source, our fountain whose vibe
Gives us the life on which we now inscribe:
To heal the Earth we first must heal ourselves
At the shot bar of More Progress and Wealth.



The stargazer fell into a deep pool.
His housekeeper had to laugh.
"Oh, so you joke at your master's expense,"
He bellowed, "feed on his wheat, forget whose chaff
You separate, on whose staff
Your life depends, the simple ends and means
Of your days; while I ask of the sky: Why?"
"I can't say I''m truly sorry, sir,"
In a weary warble, the maid replied.
"It's're such a strange creature
Your weird words are not in my world.
Among the babble in malls or the voices in offices
No one ever cries, "Why? Why not nothing?!?'
The people in my husband's company......"
"Are mere vendors of necessaries!" the astral asker
Barked back rather harshly, then thought better:
"I don't mean less worthy or somehow inferior.
Yet when I wonder at the dome of the interior
At what's beyond, or even why we know what's here,
The shock rocks me back, my balance disturbed,
So, of course, I often fall backwards."
"But you know the pool will catch you" she objected
And he was struck dumb by her wisdom.



Nature crushes then she teaches
Preaches then absolves:
A purse snatched on an L.A. street
By crack crazed canyon kids
A woman worn by weary years
Fights despite her fears.
A wild-eyed child on Sid
Wields a blade at her face
"You'll be pushin' up daisies
Those drugs are makin' you crazy."
"Hey, shut the fuck up, Lady!"
One of the White Fences dances
To the jambox raps
A silhouette of a marionette
The strings hold his souls's sap,
To the Lady's lip he slips
The steel, then slashes at chaos,
Havoc, the wrecked a
and wasted life where he's trapped
And sees in the lines of her eyes
And feels the steel striking harder
The blood of the Martyrs
Firing his skin
And she didn't listen
To her husband's lesson:
Nature oppresses then sets us free.



These gaps in my wisdom, your warm words seal.
The universe: your orange; which your Light peels.
Bathing in the juice, its life sluice reduces
My doubt to the Light of what you reveal.

Vowing to destroy all addictive insanity
I, tasked with tacking, miss Grace disartrously.
Talking to the gulls whose full throat pulls
Me down to my knees, supplicatingly.

I am a mendicant who can't mend what I am
Please heed to this heaved sliver received
From you all-around empty everythingness
Need has fled me; I am blessed.



I made a house of houselessness
A career out of coming
And going as my wishes
Guided my spirit's slumming.

I made a spouse of spouselessness
A bride out of hiding
Fresh, faithless kisses
My pleasure ever abiding.

Then one morn I awoke
Alone in some home
Unknown to myself. I spoke,
But my voice's job was to roam

So an answerlessness
Returned its hollow echo
Scared, feeling now less blessed
I knew what I didn't know.



Today's journey has ended here
Where all aspects meet in your eyes
All manners collapse in the cries
Of the wild wildebeaste shivering
In desolate Kenyan plains. Or in
Channel 57's Nature documentary:
Human Social Interaction. Tonight's
Episode: Men who rape then shoot their load
On the cut tongues of their female victims.
As the dumb monkey fingers his rectum
You manipulate the remote. Sony snow
Swirls in blizzard black and white--you hold
Tight to the control, then stroke your pole
As the Playboy Channel bobs up the latest
Mammal with luscious mammaries who
Appears then disappears momentarily--
Momentously, portentiously, the PTL club
Pops up next, the preacher with gold chains
Around his neck beckons you to contribute.
But he ain't that cute, so you can't shoot
You're condemned instead to a too full head
And a stiff attention you call relaxation.