October 29, 2008  :: 0 comments

Death sipped tea at my dinning table,
read an Adrian Rich poem obliquely,
sat there pondering it for a few moments,
didn’t get the message.
Sipped tea again from one of my ceramic cups,
refilled it from the steaming pot,
knew he was in charge of the moment.
He tore the page out of the book,
folded it precisely,
placed it in his shirt pocket.

In profile Death watched me
out of the corner of his eye,
not conscious that the devil
hides in corners.
He knew I knew it was him —
the black robes, the bony death head
are a dead give away.
Death said to no one in particular
that he wanted to talk to young philosophers,
over turkish coffee in some dark bistro.
Wanted to hear them talk about him,
how much they longed to know him,
how they adored him —
maybe dance a waltz with a pretty girl
if the juke box had Strauss.

I offered Death Jimmy Santiago Bacca,
a one page Language of Life reading.
How Death was silent reading Jimmy’s words.
Ignored me, when I shouted,
He shook his head sagely.
He got that poem.
Tore it out of the hardcover book,
folded the page precisely
placed it in his vest pocket.
Whispered over the back of his hand,
The guys on wall street
should read that poem,
before I declared them obsolete
and insignificante.

Death reached my bookshelf,
grabbed a book of my poems,
opened to a random page,
read Drop The Bomb
in his silent way.
Critical mass filled the kitchen,
broke most of my dishes,
splashed dishwater to the floor,
but turned my lead pipe-fittings to gold.
He tore the page from my book
folded it precisely,
placed it in his hip pocket.

Death looked at me
through the lens of my words,
a searchlight from my prison tower.
He tracked me, scythe gripped
in an ancient hand full of poems,
tracked me all the way to HiFi Cafe —
xxxxxthere is poetry there on Fridays,
xxxxxall sorts of young intellectuals
xxxxxand a misfeathered angel,
xxxxxwho keeps poems in many pockets.

Clothed in captured poems,
Death sat drinking that turkish stuff, in this bistro,
listened to all the young intellectuals
read poems about date rape and child abuse,
drive-by shootings and drug over doses,
loveless fucking at fifteen and teen suicides.
He learned how the young intellectuals
long to embrace Death,
especially the pretty girls.
All of them wanted that long slow dance,
but at the HiFi Cafe
there is no Strauss on the juke box.

(originally posted at Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry’s “Under the Blue Umbrella”)


October 29, 2008  :: 0 comments

Buy them a beer
and invite them over
for a barbecue
when happy hour
ends in a blaze
of fiery clouds.

Yes, they’ll spill
on the carpet,
dump a burger
into the grass,
and adjust pictures
on the walls,

and they’ll snore
on the couch
ready to disturb
your slumber.

Instead, stay up
and talk to them
about everything;
examine their crows feet,
their callousness,
their downward turning
smile. Become friendly,
intimate, so they never
worry you again.


July 30, 2008  :: 0 comments

Unmistakably mad
the blond woman sings
her exit from the psych ward,
belts out The Liberty Song,
watches a flight of pigeons rise—
mistakes them for doves.

She cuts her hair short
with a knife borrowed
from a biker,
a favor she returns,
by allowing his thrusts
to stop her bleeding,
to fill her belly
with a new song.

She does not mourn
her changes, her new
nesting instinct.
She gathers plastic bags
onto a park-oak’s branch,
weaves them into home
from the example
of the birds.

She sits in the dark
all of her songs sung,
eats what remains
of the park bench offerings
to the pigeons, to her.

One day she mistakes
her water breaking
as a change of season,
climbs down, migrates
as the weight of the world
falls from her, flies away
never to be seen again.


July 30, 2008  :: 0 comments

You don’t know
love; anymore
you walk around
what is important,
fail to recognize—
lovely, you look,
lovely I admit out loud,
but refuse to kiss you
when you wear
brown, ready
for the garden,
weeds, while I
tie my shoes,
my hat on,
prepare to leave
for the cemetery,
for the girl
who plays flute
no more—
green, they keep
the grass green,
the stones turn brown
under the wet fall
resembling rain;
I gave up asking
why—it is important
to love her
though she moved
beyond recognition—
I return
empty of tears
to the beauty
of your hands
in the brown earth;
dapples your face—
I kiss you,
because it’s important,
because you let me leave
for the place
you refuse to go.


July 30, 2008  :: 0 comments

So why am I typing this poem,
this collection of words
that possess something
resembling a rhythm, a cadence.

An invitation to a wedding
sits on my table, opened,
waits for a card purchase,
a check written, a send off
of a friend I’ll, likely,
never see again.

Next to it, a Netflix package
ready to be popped into the mailbox,
to return a movie rated one star.

A calculator remains unused, collects dust
as I do the math in my head. Simple
calculations of interest, earnings, percents,
additions, subtractions as the economy
spins downward in semi-control.

A roll of the dice, probability,
combat results, no bets,
and morale checks, American
Civil War games stored on the shelf,

…the long nights, sleep alone,
in a bed for two, the smell of her
on her pillow, a long strand
of grey-blond hair—away,
a mission of mercy, a sick relative,
a must be done thing, stand
out of her way, of her being her,

of me blanking a slate,
all yesterdays’ words gone,
sent to publishers,
who rubber stamp rejection,
form letters, dear john….

Just before its butchering

March 29, 2008  :: 0 comments

Just when you think
he seeks something normal,
he screams, “Jesus. Oh, God!”
and violently applies
a box of crayons to paper
set upon a hot plate.

Or is that the middle
and this piece seeks a beginning
and, in time, an end?

It could be the fishheads
are something she steers into,
confusing them with fishtails
as the car glides past the ice
filled cart at the open air market.

No matter how hard
my foot hits the floor,
I am the passenger
and the breaks don’t engage,
so my eyes widen
and I brace myself,
but the car comes
to a stop just short
of the curb.

It tastes like middle to me,
and no amount of typing
will bring it to the end or find
a start this far down the page.

What can you do, but stop reading,
because nothing from this point on
makes much sense—

keep between elbow wrestles
crossed block sidewalk gaps
heaviness like your empty bells
burlap stucco light bulbs
lurid animal sweet hips goodbye

just before its butchering.


March 28, 2008  :: 0 comments

This morning I found
my favorite baseball team
fell from first, spinning
like a plane with one wing.The empty icebox yawns
a cavernous stagnation.The detritus of dead flies
waits for the vacuum
at the store, displayed
on the shelf in a box
so that I might purchase
the thought of cleanliness.In grease pencil, I draw
a scoreboard and bleachers
on the killing window
in the dream of Wrigley Field
and a youth spent shagging
fly balls in Chicagoland.One of the bugs
still has some buzz left,
vibrates on the wood
where the paint flakes,
sill weathered by water
that blows through
the slanted frame.I must go to the grocery,
sometime. Today. Maybe.

Or, at least, get a piece of newsprint—
the sports page I read—
with which to lift the dream
of rising flight off its back
and return it to the outdoors.

More Real

March 28, 2008  :: 0 comments

Delphi wishes to translate
from muse to person,
from thought to flesh.What novel character
wouldn’t want to write
their own lines, make
a racket, a stink, a life real
entering the field of time.I’d like to show her
how to part the curtain
behind my eyes, but
that well worn path of light
flows in. So, somehow,
she needs to work her way
to my breath and traverse
the tumble of air
that goes both in and out.Yes, that is it. Breath.
Like God placed into the ash
and dust. Mine into
ink and page.

not titled

March 28, 2008  :: 0 comments

Thunder over the desert
punctuates the runoff,
the flash fiction
of sandy arroyos
bursting with water,
the tenuous grip
of my hand
on an inkless pen.


March 28, 2008  :: 0 comments

This is the leg-lift century
for all the bodies that wish
a figure as slim as a cloud
of blue smoke.

At the far end of the room
stand the people who lost
their left shoe.

I fail to recognize the names
delivered by the news anchor.
In this test of relevancy,
the horses in the barn I clean
defeat congress.

This is not tragedy or comedy,
just a little girl playing in the mud
and tomorrow is laundry day—
all our lost prayers collect
in the lint filter.

Hope is as sinister as the man
flapping his arms on the rooftop,
but this is the leg-lift century
and the world refuses
to spit him into the clouds.

The girl who forgets to weep
for her lost hat, fails to paint the sun
yellow in her desire for a truer shade,
a color Pantone released as a free agent
before the new season started.

Though I executed as many leg-lifts
as my body managed before exhaustion
stopped the sunset, my love, spread too thin,
proved insufficient to lift the layers of fog
from the many harbors where the living
weep for the dead waiting for the ride
of their new lives.