YACHTS IN THE HARBOR

featured in the poetry forum January 18, 2011  :: 0 comments

They slip about so gracefully
but I imagine them in heavier seas,
their hulls battered,
sails tortured,
wealthy owners scurrying about
like ants in a stomped-on hill.

They flaunt their masts at me
like they own the weather,
the stillness of this protected cove
but I’m already grooming them
for a hideous sinking,
a pitiless green water devouring.

A pretty woman in a red bikini
waves to me
and I wave back from the shore.
She smiles, a thankful smile,
like she already knows
she’ll be the only survivor.

DOWNTOWN

featured in the poetry forum July 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

Downtown, three a.m., the great grotesques are slipping
through the steam from metal grids, like myths, like bigfoot
on the stumbling run, snapped in the distance, too far
to tell if it is real or just some loser dressed up in his finest drugs.
High above, fourth floor apartment, mirror hails the crack-cloaked
dream of rising rock star, his addictions straight from his wall-poster gods,
nose cleared for takeoff by his triumphant pose, air guitar and spoon.
Back alley, manna from the syringe, junkie strait-jackets his
upper arm, presses needle deep into a hungry vein,
while wino takes his orders from a bottle in brown paper,
one gulp to quell the fire, two to start it up again,
the third to transport him back to distant fires
and a favorite splash in a deep black pool
where the fish come with three heads, two tails,
and the water’s blessed with fetal drowning.

HONEYMOON HOTEL

July 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

Look
in the squalid mirror
while, a wall away,
axmen kill the very wood
from under you.

Your eyes
well with tears,
your reflection with dust,
and “timber!” shouts
the infernal droning echo.

What’s that…
a skull with lips
sculpting your despair
with holes enough
for worms to slide through

while, in the bedroom,
forces greater than
the scratching of a fingernail
make the world safe
for your religion once again.

STATE OF THE STATE

featured in the poetry forum March 12, 2010  :: 0 comments

I’ve got more fingers
than there’s farms,
more toes than there are
wooded hills.

Long gone are
the yellow forsythia,
the cottonwood trees,
the picnic benches.

Many are the
reasons there’s
only new graveyards
not old ones:

money, bulldozers,
politicians, and what
the hell do with all
this garbage.

And, sure
there’s still a pond or two,
brown as the muck
they dump in them.

They chopped down the forest
to put up a Mental Hospital.
After all,
why stop at one lobotomy

IN ALASKA, NORTH OF FAIRBANKS

featured in the poetry forum January 27, 2010  :: 0 comments

I can’t believe how brief
the day is,
how unlike any day
I’ve ever known.

It’s not a day at all really,
just a skein of light
between two nights,

the brief shock
of sunrise stumbling
across a sunset,
like a man catching a glimpse
of his own double,
then it all going black.

And cold…
I’ve never known a heart
as cold as this.
It’s not selective.
It’s out to chill the blood
of everyone.

Hard life breeds hard men,
so the wisdom has it.
But maybe hard men
just show up some place
and this is the result.

LISTENING TO THE BLUES

January 27, 2010  :: 0 comments

Hot summer’s afternoon,
alone in the house,
windows closed,
stereo up loud,
music booming through
the speakers,
everyone is black
but me.

CAR-HORN

September 6, 2009  :: 0 comments

for the cold, and for the frozen strikers, breath
stacked on breath like yesterday’s placards; car-horn
stabs the nearest gruff and angry voice like it’s
xxxxxxxa heart;

say depth of winter but mean shallow. I want
to hear the stories told on crankier and crankier
bones of loftier and loftier aims but
the conversation sinks to sex snicker,
tits and ass like more money
xxxxxxxin the pocket;

I want to hear the stories of causes stripped to bare
knuckle like color in the dank woods. I want to see
men stopping the company truck with their extended
palm. The virtue of death is solidarity,
is redemption. Jeer the scabs falling
from the semi wheel of the jaundiced winter
xxxxxxxsun;

rise up on the sinking mercury; say depth of
feeling but mean hardness of the veins,
ideas breaking up like beads of sweat, rolling
off brows before they can ice over

NIGHT OF THE FUNERAL

featured in the poetry forum September 6, 2009  :: 0 comments

Your cocoa
has taken on
the hue of nail clippings.

Your shoe
can’t stir
the floor.

And tongues
just bluff
what they are touching.

Likewise,
lips are merely
grief kept busy.

Try to be yourself,
I dare you,
not when you mimic
sad souls taking poison

or, slumped in chair,
ape fallen idols
with the windows closed
and gas turned on.

And yet
your body’s fixed
by your survival.
First bone,
then flesh,
then the mind too.

TRAVELLING DAYS

September 6, 2009  :: 0 comments

I was travelling then
& it seemed as if
every college girl
was on the road
that summer as well
& first my Australian accent
would attract their interest
& then maybe the length
of my hair or the guitar
I always carried on board the bus
& stashed in the overhead rack
or it could have been
the fact that I didn’t do any drugs
or even drink
though they did & they’d smoke pot
in a motel room while I watched
and inhaled anyhow
& I’d kiss them a lot
more than they were used to
& I’d quote poetry
though only Swinburne
whose lines I’d made a point of remembering
& we’d eat in the motel cafe
& we’d buy the local newspaper
& laugh at how insular the articles were
as if the world began and ended
at the big shoe factory
we passed on the way in
& we’d talk politics like two ingenues
who didn’t understand a word of it
& we’d walk to the local park
& be the only ones
sitting on the benches
& holding hands like we were lovers
since school days
though we’d only just met the night before
in the bar with that big woman singing
all those Patsy Cline songs
& I tried like hell not to think
of what would happen when
itineraries finally got in the way
of relationships & we’d have to part
& many a bus station was watered
with my tears when I discovered
saying goodbye wasn’t as easy
as it looked even though I knew
there’d be the next one & the next one
& the next saying okay you’re next for me

JOHN WAYNE

featured in the poetry forum February 26, 2009  :: 0 comments

I loved John Wayne
long before I ever
felt that way
about someone female.
Before the melting heart,
there was the trigger finger.
Before the tingling
down the spine,
there was the long
held breath
at the approaching
Apache horde.
I must have willed
John Wayne
to a thousand
dead Indians
before my father
informed me,
“They’re all
just actors.”
So from there,
it was on to
real people.
And in familiar places
not up there
on the screen.
Like the pretty blonde girl
in pigtails
when I was in
the fifth grade.
I kissed her
though I still cried foul
when John Wayne
swapped spit
with the heroine.
Ugh, was my reaction.
At first,
I hated it for real.
And then later
for the acting.