Friday, April 30, 2010

what's shaking

i have enough
money, but i'd
like a little more,
okay, maybe
alot more. enough
to stop working
completely. enough
to pay off the bills
and buy a cadillac
convertible. enough
to walk around
in a shiny
suit with a big
hat, and shiny shoes.
i'd give myself
a nickname, like,
like, ummm, i can't
think of any right
now, but something
clever, maybe i'll
let my pals think of
a nickname for me.
i'd pay them for
the name. i'd have
a wad of cash in my
pocket at all times.
spreading happiness
and twenty dollar
bills everywhere i
went. mr. happy, yeah,
that'll be my new name.
hey mr. happy, what's
shaking, and i'd show
them what's shaking.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

snow cone

this girl i met
from texas has
big hair. it's blonde,
it's shiny and sits
like a cloud of cotton
candy on her pale
white head. her eyes
are a soft blue, like
the texas sky in june.
if not for the thin
stripes of pink lipstick
she'd be invisible,
she'd be a ghost in
the wind. i feel like
putting her on a
float and parading
her about town, for
no reason other than
that that is who she
is, the homecoming queen.
i could be her king.
perhaps her prince, or
at worst the foot
soldier who lays down
his life when the vikings
storm the castle.
okay, i'm dreaming, i
drifted off for a
moment thinking about
the girl from texas. i'm
okay now. she's tapping
me on the shoulder
and says that she's
in the mood for an icy
snowball cone, cherry
flavored. i think i'll run
off and get that for her,
after all, she is the queen.

on the road

the oil needs changing,
the lights are all flashing
on the dashboard,
the engine is running
sluggish, it's getting harder
to climb the hills
or hug the curves with
any speed, and those tires
are getting thin and slick,
the tread is nearly gone.
the wipers blur the glass,
the filters are filled
with the soot of hard driving.
i'm nearly out of gas,
and the warranty on this
heap is expired, but i'm
going to try to get at least
another ten thousand miles
out this once sleek machine,
just hold on, let me take
a shower and shave, do
some push ups, let me
get ready to roll, beep
the horn and i'll be out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

mrs. barrett

the husband
long gone,
ten years perhaps,
the kids out
and older, now
on their own,
and she at home,
on the side porch,
with a cup
of tea,
some toast,
a book of well
worn poems
in her lap, an
afternoon alone,
a cloudy day,
a dream, a siamese
cat on the table
who waits
patiently for
love, for
the shallow
bowl of cream,
so i see
her as i pass
by, with a fly swatter
in her hand,
and let her be,
no need to stop
and break
the spell, so few
sweet moments
at any stage
of life, like
these.

different

my favorite fish
was the one with
three eyes. i didn't
notice it at first,
but then i did and
came to like him
or her, whatever
the case me be,
the best. it was
different, unusual,
defective in a pleasant
and strange way, which
made me adopt the dog
with three legs, and
then in turn the cat
without a tail,
the bunny who couldn't
hop, the turtle without
a shell, the parakeet
with a bent wing and
the macaw who couldn't
whistle, or mimic my voice,
or sing. and eventually
this is how i found
you. my one true love.

it comes

despite the careful
arranging of things,
the furniture well
polished, the dusting
done, the flowers
watered and bent on
their mindless own
towards the glow
of a soft yellow sun,
the skirt and blouse
warmed out of their
creases with a hot
iron, despite the clocks
still moving with
the steady click of
time, the digital red
numbers glowing onward
without care, despite
all of this, it comes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the gift basket

leave your shoes
on, this won't take
long. i'm good with
the break up now.
no dinner, no drinks,
no long winded discussions
about why, or what
could have been, if
only this, if only
that. i'll even validate
your parking and
show you to door
with a farewell mint
and a parting gift of
that partially drunk
bottle of wine. take
your cheese too. i
don't like cheese.

i needed that

a swarm of hot
bees were abuzz
at my foot as i
stepped into
the thick ivy
on a shaded hill
with nowhere to
run to without
feeling the fury
of their stings,
just one apiece,
but enough welts
to make me woozy
and stumble
away into the sun
where they lost
interest and
returned to the
grey wafered bun
they lived in.
and when i came
to with an IV
in my arm, and
a nurse hovering
over me, who reminded
me of two sweet
scoops of vanilla
cream, i felt as
rested and as
relaxed as i've
ever been in my
entire life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

blue monday

you
are my
mondays.
my blue
hard monday.
you are
the work
i don't
have the time
for,
the energy
to get to
it all done
before
the stars
arrive,
before the
moon lights
up to replace
a setting sun.
you are the
day i want to
sleep in,
the cold rainy
day that puts
a chill in
my old bones.
you are my
monday, and
ain't that
a crying shame.

a world gone mad

they had somehow
managed to make
a horse the size of a
small dog, genetics
and money, donations,
grants and foundations,
all involved in the
breeding, fooling
around with test tubes,
the biology of it
all, just because
they could. and the horse,
was tiny, the smallest
horse that had ever
lived. the years
that it took, the
science and intelligence
to make something
so unnatural, freakish,
was astonishing, and
as the news cameras
rolled you could see
the homeless men and women
who lived in the park
on their carboard beds
and straw, beneath
the willow trees where
they had brought the
horse to run, staring
in wide eyed wonder too.

more

the rain will fill
the earth, engorge
the streams that
lead towards rivers
and oceans that lie
awake at night and
wonder where more
will come from. no
need to worry. the
sky provides, or God,
or whatever your faith
or lack of faith,
encourages you to
believe, either rightly
or wrongly, but more
will come, it's been
this way for nearly
all of time, or at
least as long as i
can remember, and for
me, that's the only
thing that counts.

initials in a tree

i see your intitials
carved into the tree
down by the stream
which is full and rolling
with dark water, breaking
white upon the rocks
and fallen limbs,
the thick columns of trees.
of course it might not
be your initials, it
could be anyone's,
anyone at all, but i
know they are yours,
because i took the edge
of a sharp rock and
pressed into the soft
wet bark unitl they
were there. and now
six years later, the light
broken skin, is darkened,
calloused with each day
gone by, as it should be,
no one can live with that
much grief.

Friday, April 23, 2010

the waterfall

don't blame me
for the blues
you swim in.
or the world,
or the weather,
or your neighbor's
barking dog. don't
curse the day,
the night, or
the dreams you've
left behind. i
can't help you
there, but if you
want to talk
about other things,
dial me, let's
eat, let's drink,
let's find a new
path to the waterfall
and be done
with yesterdays.

shadow boxing

the shadow boxer
never gets cut
or goes down, never
takes the pummeling
of punches that
rattle the brain,
loosen teeth.
it's easy to face
the mirror in
the low lights,
behind the scenes
and dance and bob
and weave your way
through one fight
after another, never
losing, never
tasting leather,
or your own blood,
or hearing the
eight count, the jeers
and chants of the
crowd. each swing
and jab, each
uppercut touches
nothing but air, all
of them misses,
and you realize that
at some point
you have to get into
the ring to win
or lose, or else
stay in the shadows
unknown.

sometimes

you feel you have
to take the low
road, the hard but
worn path of anger
and resentment. it's
a bursting point
and you let loose
with a rain storm
of slings and sharpened
words, you pummel
your object of
derision until it's
done. and it's never
good, always ends
badly. but then you
can move on, take
the high road.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

as you may well know

i don't do well
with crazy, or
sad, or lonely
or perpetually mad
or off center
with life and
money, those that
keep the tornado
spinning. the sand
storm of their
lives stings my eyes
and makes me run
for cover. there
is not a camel fast
enough to get me
off the hot and
waterless desert
and into the cool
sweet oasis of calm.

steps

i am quietly
but surely
taking steps
in the right
direction,
disregard the
stumble, the
occasional slip
and fall.
but with
each step,
i have learned
something
about where
i have been,
where i might
be going, but
it would be
nice to have
someone to
go along
with me
to hold the
map, the light,
and lend a
sweet kiss
or hand along
the way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the artisan sandwich

in my white chef's hat
i am making myself a sandwich.
yes. an artisan sandwich, hand
crafted with artisan bread.
bread i baked with my bare
hands in my own oven,
and the ham is home grown,
i raised the pig from scratch,
hand carved him in my kitchen.
gently though so as not to
make the other pigs angry.
an angry pig makes tough meat.
that fluffy green lettuce grew
right in my back yard right
next to the tomato plant.
plucked with my own hands.
i churned the milk
to make the cheese that you see
in slender slices,
so yellow and pungent on top
of the ham. i can hardly stand
to eat this sandwich, i am
so proud of it, the art work
and creativity that it took.
so i take a picture of it, with
the light behind it, black
and white, color. i'm going to
wash it all down with the artisan
beer i have fermenting in my tub,
also hand crafted, a brew unlike
any other, but with the slight
taste of soap.

cat friend

retract your claws
dear cat friend, unarch
that spiney back,
and let the fur down.
you only hear what
you want to hear and
take off running with
untruth as if wasn't.
close those sleepy
brown eyes, and
tart sweet mouth. find
the sun, find a sill.
have a bowl of milk,
breathe in, exhale.

in the light

it's simple
and clean
this love
you bring to
the table,
unwrapped and
fresh. it
awakens me
to who i am,
who you are
and what we
can be
together. i
see that now,
i savor it,
and fear
the worst.

the weight

i've noticed lately
the weight carried
by those who work,
not in the limelight,
but in the produce
section lining up
tomatoes, or the man
sweeping the street,
the mailman,
the teacher next door
who teaches piano
at night to make ends
meet. it's a weight
that shows on their
face when no one is
looking. the struggle,
the pull of life
getting heavier. the
beat cop, the plumber
laying pipe. there
is no real getting
ahead, they are as
far ahead as they can
go, and deep within
their souls they
won't say it out loud,
but they truly and
sadly have surrendered,
and know.

Monday, April 19, 2010

chances

my father
who actually
won the lottery
and kept it
hidden from us
for as long
as possible,
has spent none
of it. not a
single one of
his children has
had a taste of
his new found
riches. and it's
fine. i asked
him what he was
going to do
with this money
and he said
that he would pay
off his car, fix
the washing machine
which squeaked and
rattled during
the spin cycle,
he said he might
buy one of those new
flat screen tv's.
and that's it.
he has no need
or desire to travel,
there is nothing
shiny out there
that he needs to
possess. there is
no new fashion
trend he needs
to set. he'll just
buy more tickets,
more chances, but
none of it will
cancel out or ease
the distance between
him and the world,
his children, and
at eighty-two,
his life of regret.

the new wife

the new wife
wants to make
things her way.
new carpet, paint
and wallpaper.
all of the art
has to go, even
the poster, the
self portrait
of the earless
romantic, van
gogh. and who
can blame her.
that vase from
italy, to the
attic, the mattress
of course, goes
without saying.
it's a scorched
earth policy
for the new wife.
it's best to
start of fresh
and new she says,
and doesn't for
a second feel
the slightest
crack in her
new found love,
she doesn't
have a clue.

chasing tails

the dog
can spend an
hour on
chasing his
own tail in
the laundry
basket, slippery
and white
and full of
socks. it
doesn't seem
to tire him,
or bother him
that it can't
be done. it
won't be caught.
i can think
of several
parallels
for this that
relates to
my own personal
life, but
it's too
embarassing
to speak of.

keys

so many keys
on the ring.
some without
a lock to turn,
but stay on
just in case.
the house,
the car, the truck,
the bike,
the shed, a
lock box with
papers for when
death occurs,
an old trunk
full of things
you wrote when
you were young.
full of fire,
full of
resolute hope
that somehow still
remains, gold
keys, silver,
tarnished, worn
and rounded.
keys that open
cans and turn
screws when
the screw needs
turning. keys
that scrape
off the soft
grey tissue
from the face
of lottery
tickets
that never ever
match. there
is only one key
missing. and you
know which one
i mean.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

it's here somewhere

it's an easy
thing to lose
a car. a watch,
a pen, a set of
keys, to not
remember which lot,
which letters or
numbers fit the place
where you so
carefully pulled
in and parked.
was it left,
was it right.
and you wonder if
it's the beginning
of the end,
that slow slide
that the elderly slip
so easily but not
so suddenly in,
the start of winter
and fog, the sharpness
dulled, the life
once led with pride,
and clarity
now frightfully
humbled and stalled.

any direction

it was the wool
hat pulled down
tight over curls
of silver hair,
the three full bags
of clothing,
at her side,
the tennis shoes
and long grey coat,
still buttoned up
to her chin,
that set her apart
from the dining
crowd. she held
a cup of soup,
that she blew on
with thin unpolished
lips, to cool
the broth, and her
ringless fingers
broke a snow of saltines
onto the top, a
glass of iceless water,
sat still,
to quell the heat
as she sipped
with two hands,
trembling the broth
into concentric
circles of life.
her calm blue eyes
questioned nothing,
asked for no one, and
when i asked her which
way could i walk her
home or to her car,
into which direction
she needed to go, she
said simply, i can
go in any direction.

light

the rare
star, brighter
than most.
comes along
and startles
you, blinds you
for an instant,
makes you lean
back and admire
the view from
here, on this
cliff, with an
etched deep
earth below.
you want to
reach out
and grab it,
to feel
the sparkle
in your hand,
and hold it
to your heart
and see what
she sees.

hard times

honesty is
a thin coat
these days.
worn uneasily
in winters
such as these
when the cupboard
is bare.
tattered, a hole
here and there.
pockets full
of lint,
debris from
days gone by
a dull penny
at the bottom,
hard against
cold fingers.
how easy it would
be to stray
over the line,
to enter that
bank and ask
politely for
a very large
donation
while wearing
a mask.

blessed

is
the fine
slender
point
of thread
that finds
the eye
of a needle
in a sea
of needles
that weaves
the cloth
to make
the blanket
that covers
your life,
your love,
your bed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

enough

enough brooding,
analyzing the past,
the one i loved
who got away,
enough with the long
walks in the woods,
through the brush
where there is no
path. enough with
the grey skies, and
rain, and cold,
and avoiding donuts.
that's right,
donuts. i want one
right now. it'll
make me feel better.

why i listen

when she calls
and i hear her
voice, i cringe.
i find a seat,
pour a cup of
coffee, or make
a drink, depending
on the day, or
hour of the day
she calls on.
but it's trouble.
a kid gone
wrong, a dog
in the highway,
an aunt or sister
with lupus.
uncle jimmy lost
everything in
the market, and
the neighbors house
burned down
and showered her
garden with ashes
and soot. but i
listen. she doesn't
want advice, or
comfort, or for
me to pray for
her. she just wants
my ears. to hear
me on the other
line, giving her
the time of day.
and that's enough.
she won't be around
forever.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

candy

she says,
i like candy,
sticky lolipops,
gum and bars
of chocolate,
things to lick
and savor
the sweetness
or sour
sugar nature
of it all, to
turn the bag
upwards for that
last m and m,
to shake the box
free of that
final junior
mint. i want
something to make
me pucker,
or crave for more
when the last
chew is swallowed,
i see her
swoon and her
eyes roll
with just one
glance at
the long sweet line
of boxed candy
in the drugstore
rows. i'm jealous.
so very jealous.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a night out

he was married,
she wasn't. but
they bent the rules,
went home after too
many drinks, loud
music, dancing,
flirting, parking
lot kissing and
unzipping, unsnapping,
and they fell into
her bed, his ring
still on, mumbling
about, how he'd never
ever done such a thing,
and when round two
came around he stopped
with the whimpering
guilt and just had
fun before fallling
asleep and then leaving
in the morning as if
he'd never been there.

the laughing man

the man
on the bench,
dark with
a devilish
grin, angular
as if made
out of sticks,
with bright
eyes, white
bowls of mirth,
a tilted
hat on his
scruffy head,
that is no
longer blue,
a homeless bag
at his side,
is laughing.
not at me, or
anyone, not
at the squirrels,
or traffic,
or the sirens
that scream
throughout
the city.
he's just
laughing. i am
across from
him on my own
bench eating an
icecream cone
and i fear
for the world
because of his
strange and
wonderous joy.

fort knox

it would be like
breaking into fort
knox, i tell my brother
about my date, my new
love, my new soul mate.
i'd have better luck
with a water pistol
standing outside
the national treasury,
trying to get a bar
of gold, than to make
love with her. she is
that distant, that cold,
or maybe it's me. maybe
she doesn't trust me,
thinks i'm a player,
a cad, a scam artist
trying to score. o ye
of little faith. i am
a sheet of glass, as
transparent and as deep
as this morning's rain
puddled on the hard
black street.

laundry

the line sags
with clothes,
bleached white,
the dungarees, the
t's, the dresses
pink and blue,
ready to be pressed,
or folded, put away
into dressers
for monday morning,
school. three lines
of clothing for
seven children, and
her hands are
raw from being
in water. her feet
sore from standing
on dirt, inching
down the line with
clothespins in her
mouth. it's a long
ways from here
to there, but i
remember.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

under the weather

illness confounds,
it's not an easy rain
to go through, every
thing gets wet,
everything gets
heavy, and a foot
away is sunshine,
but you can't get
there, not yet. it
has to rain some
more, and more, and
there is the possibilty
that you may drown.
there is hope,
there is prayer, there
are doctors who wave
their wands, but
nothing quite quells
the fear, until it
stops, and you're
dry again, out from
under the weather,
with your feet
on the ground,
at least for now.

cheese

she's in love
with cheese,
sharp or cheddar,
brie,especially
blue, soft hard,
french or domestic,
makes no difference.
she wants to marry
a man that is
the equivalent
of cheese. tart
and tasty, unusual,
satifying with
a glass of pinot
or chardonnay.
a deck of crackers
and a dollop
of raisin jelly.
i see her eyes
glaze over as we
walk through the
store with all
the samples. i don't
stand a chance
with this way
of thinking.

new homes

it is the equivalent
of going to the fire
station to seek help
after the house has
burned down, ashes,
embers, blackened timber,
and yet we go. what
else is there to do.
the office is above
the tax preparer and
insurance company, only
one floor below.
the sun has found it's
way in over the years
and lightened only
by half the furniture,
once blue and curtains
parted just enough to
see the traffic on a
busy route. our daughter
is in tow, and has found
solace in the darker
hues of her crayon box,
and colors madly,
ignoring lines, and
figures. she is jackson
pollack in a seven
year old's dress.
the marriage counselor,
in the final throes
of a long practice, is
happily inept, confused
at why such a lovely
couple has come to this
point in their marriage.
her feather light words
and advice fall aimlessly
to the worn shag carpet.
and together the three
of us tell our skewed
tale of woe, then
separately, and in six
months, with no change
and less money we go our
separate ways, thin
and wanting, desperate
to build new homes
to live in.

lucy

let's talk about lucy
now. i ran into her
at the grocery store.
she had forgotten
her purse so i gave
her twenty dollars,
one ten and two fives, i put
them in her hand and she
was so happy that she
didn't have to run
out to her car in the
pouring rain to pay
for her milk and bread,
her cans of tuna
and lettuce and magazines,
kitty litter. she smiled
and said i'll pay you back
tomorrow. promise, cross
my heart. she lives across
the street from me, a few
doors down. i see her
nearly every day walking
her cat on a leash, we wave,
talk about the weather,
the price of gas,
trash pick up,
meteor showers, etc.
friendly banter between
neighbors. i lent her
the twenty dollars a
month ago and now she
avoids me. she takes
her cat out the back on
the way to the park.
she comes and goes
at strange hours, i never
seem to see her anymore
during the daylight hours.
i saw her the other
day wearing sunglasses
and a kerchief like
audrey hepurn sneaking
through the alleyway
with a bag of groceries
cradled in her arms.
i want to tell her to
not worry about the money
anymore, it means nothing
to me, but she won't pick
up the phone or answer
the door when i knock.
i even left a twenty on
her porch in an enevelope,
hoping she would give it
to me to end this madness.
but no. she kept it.
two days ago there was
a for sale sign in front
of her house, and then
a moving van came to take
everything away. i never
saw her during all of
this time. this morning her
cat was tied to my front door
with some moving twine,
with a note of apology
pinned to her pink studded
collar. i'm sorry about
not paying you back, it said,
but you can have my cat.
best wishes. lucy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

no time

i'm trying so hard
to make better use of
my time. i'm intimidated
though by the likes
of oprah and dr. phil, who
get so much done in
a day. i can barely
get up to go to work
to make a living to eek
out this life, such
as it is. and then
the constant need for
coffee, driving up there,
and the time wasted
on reading the news,
and television, and
sports, the phone keeps
ringing and there are
so many loose ends to
be tied up, not to
mention the laundry
and vacuuming. i almost
have no time for my nap
let alone saving the world
and adopting children,
recycling and rescuing
those runaway dogs and cats.
i barely have time for this.

arrows

i've used up
all my arrows
on you. and there
you stand, unfazed,
untouched by my
awful aim. so
i surrender, i give
in and put my
bow away. i know
when i've lost
at this game we
so deftly toyed with
and played.
i know now that
i could never find
your heart with
a thousand fresh
arrows, or even one
for each sad day
to aim and send
your way.

the easy chair

because it's there
is not a line, a phrase
i can ever imagine
leaving my mouth. to climb
that icy mountain,
to take that leap
from a plane, those
burning coals to be
walked upon, to wrestle
sharks or hunt bear,
or go to the deepest
depth of any ocean
to bring up a gold coin,
or button, or grecian urn,
i really don't care. i'm
peferfectly content
to let all it be, i
find no pride or glory
in risking life and limb
to say, look, i did it.
look at me. ain't i something.
nope, i'll be at home,
with a book, or with someone
i love, like a cat on
a sunny sill, curled warm
and cozy in the easy chair.

downtown

the warm hot
bun soaked with
red bean chili,
over a spicy
dog with all
the trimmings
overflowing
like summer love,
and the hydrants
open, cranked
wide to cool
the streets.
a cold brew
to wash it down,
to let it all
go, it's reckless,
it's wonderful
in sixty-nine
to be downtown.

no grass is greener

mars is no place
to be and yet you
want to go there
and see what you
can see. set foot
in your silver suit
upon the red dust
and swirl of winds
that you have no
business being in.
to leave an imprint
of your weight
within a boot as if
that makes difference
in the airless heat
so many miles away
from blue skies,
blue water and me.
it's not that i
can let you leave,
that's already been
decided by you and
what your heart so
wrongly believes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

for sale

the for sale
sign is planted
deep into the fresh
green sod, mums
bloom yellow in a pot
sitting on the stoop,
a bright metal
sign swings with
a happy squeak in
the april breeze.
and the hedges are
trimmed, the grass
is cut. the windows
have been washed
to a sparkling shine,
the rooms have
all been cleaned,
the pinch of ammonia
hangs in the air,
and the clutter
removed to places
that won't be seen.
even the refrigerator
holds just the basics.
it's amazing how
we tidy up to rid
ourselves of the old
and to get something
new and yet
when in the middle
of old love, or like,
or something inbetween
we tend to let
things go, the dust to
gather and the mold
like rust, to spread,
to seep beneath
our emotions and grow.

the rug

i need a new rug
badly. the white one
with black astract
patterns of scroll
is beyond repair, or
cleaning or another
sweep of the hoover.
from a distance, like
all of us, it looks
good, but i need
something new and
fresh. something that
will revive the room
and make others stand
back and go ooh la la.
right. i google rugs.
nine hundred rug sites
come on. maybe i can
get another six months
out of this one. maybe.

somewhere in the middle of life

she's careless
with her kisses,
gives out her number
and opens her door
for just about
anyone handsome
or bright, or with
a hint of mischief
and imagination
lurking within,
but it's not
what you think.
she's a romantic
at heart, not
easy, just someone
who wants and needs
love and doesn't
quite know how
to be patient,
to wait, and play
the game straight
up with the proper
amount of dates
before falling into
bed. but at fifty,
who can blame her.
certainly not me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

alone

i remember
the crescent
moon, the clean
cut curve
and points,
and a single
star nesting
beside it,
straight up
into the black
turkish sky.
the aegean sea
as calm and dark
as the night
itself and me
alone on the
highest deck
of the ship
while it slipped
quietly towards
open water
where anything
could happen.

shoes

i have been without
shoes before. hard to
believe as i stare at
the thirty odd pair
strewn about the closet
floors, beneath the bed
or on the stairs, or
lined up on shelves
collecting dust.
there were days though
that i couldn't attend
class because i had
no shoes to wear,
and those days don't seem
that long ago, and when
i did have shoes, eventually
they had holes in the soles.
which would lead to holes
in the socks by day's end.
i'm making sure now though,
by purchase after purchase
of shiny black and brown
shoes, that it will never
happen again.

blue line editing

you bleed words,
punctuation, spelling,
grammatical
correction is your
whip. i've felt the
hot sting many times
as you look down
from your
glasses perched on
your refined nose.
your brown eyes full
of fire. a school
boy and his teacher.
i go limp for you,
and take it, i listen,
i obey. i don't know
quite how things got
turned around
and ended up this way,
but here we are. i hope
you like this.

slow boat

i'm leaving
for china
this morning.
my bags
are packed
and sitting
by the door.
i'm waiting
for the taxi
to pull up
and beep
his horn.
i can't speak
chinese,
and know
nothing
about
the culture,
the land,
i don't care
about
the politics,
or the tanks
that might
run me over,
thinking
that i'm
protesting
something.
but i don't
have a bone
of protest
in me. the big
wall is all
i know.
i don't even
have a map,
but i'm that
desperate
to get out
of town for
reasons
that you
might be aware
of and i'd love
a steaming
hot plate
of crispy
beef,
or perhaps
a simple
bowl of white
rice
will do.

the blue monkey

the small circus
with one lion
who yawns and blinks
is in town,
and one old grey
elephant named
pinky with sad
eyes and enormous
ears that shake
off the flies, and
a tail like wire
that helps lead
the way.
the small big top
with a clown, one
shiny clown full
of rum with
a red nose and a tiny
car to roll around
in. no cannon ball
man, no fat lady,
or lady with a beard,
no midgets or snakes,
just a few washed out
roadies with
tattoos and mustaches,
but they do have
a monkey that rattles
his cage and screams
for no reason, other
than that he's blue.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

to dance

women love to dance,
and men love to watch
women dance, whether
on a pole like a slinky
cat or just moving
about the room doing
the tango with some guy
with a tan and a mustache,
or alone, or with other women.
but to get us out there
is hard, trouble, we'd
rather walk through
fire or over burning coals
before putting ourselves
on the floor to do a two
step, or jitterbug, swing
or shag. ballroom dancing,
forget it. it's not in
our genes, but not all
of us, and i'm not talking
about if you are light
in the loafers, or if there
is a hint of mint going
on. yes. some men love
to dance too. usually to the
slow songs, nothing wrong
with that, but i've never
had a friend who said, hey
jimmy, let's go out dancing
tonight. let's trip
the light fantastic and
meet some girls. no.
but we succumb on occasion.
there are consequences
to not dancing. let's
leave it at that. so
where are my dancing shoes.
you should see me do
the swim, the mashed potatoes,
the watusi. limbo anyone?

the nap

there is nothing
quite like the afternoon
nap. the twenty minute
slumber in the cool
of a darkened room at
five o'clock when the
sun is still up and most
of the world is still
struggling at work, or
trying to get home
to feed the kiddies or
walk the dog, or empty
out the cat tray from
the bathroom. not me.
off goes the clothes, a
cold drink, the fan goes
on, pull back the covers
and into those cool sheets
like a pool of deep
blue water with no bottom,
a short sweet swim into
an abbreviated dreamland.

it's not over

i've been on the canvas
before, so this is nothing
new, to be lying here in
a heap of woozy slumber,
tasting the blood
inside my mouth,
as the knot on my head
and over my eye throb
like a barking dog.
i see you over there out
of my one good eye, leaning
in your neutral corner, that
smirk on your pretty face.
i can hear a freight train
running in my swollen ears
and it can't get out
of the station.
my kidneys ache from
the solid strikes of fists,
my shoulders are sore from
covering up those wild
swings, those uppercuts
you love to throw. but
i'm not out, not yet. this
is just a standing eight
count. the bell will ring
and save me, i'll get up,
hanging onto the ropes,
go to my corner to clean
up the blood, get some
water and spit, take a whiff
of smelling salts and i'll
be back. i've got at least
another round with you yet.
hell, i'm gonna dance the next
three rounds you'll see.
pick you up at eight.

raccoons

i see this pack, this
tiny pack of rabid
raccoons in the woods,
babies, pups, whatever
they might be called
at that early stage,
and i slow down to get
a better look at them on
the side of the bike path.
they are up to something.
all of them in a circle
hissing like witches at
whatever they might
be eating or discussing
with great fervor.
they are jet black with
rings of brilliant white.
i can see their jabbering
tongues and sharp teeth
clicking against their
sharpened stiletto nails.
i don't stop for long,
as all of them, and i do
mean all of them turn to
look at me with their
maddening black eyes
and give me the look and
it's not the look of love

Saturday, April 3, 2010

farm girl

she smelled
like roses.
and cursed
like a farmer
without rain
and a dull plow
and old horse
to pull it
through the dirt.
her nails
looked like
strawberries
in a green
thick field
of tiny thorns
and bugs.
her skin
was as smooth
as milk fresh
from a happy
cow, her hair
like corn silk,
unkempt and wild,
would brush
across my
face and make
me melt,
but she
was mean,
she was nasty,
she was
everything
my mother said
beware of,
and she should
know, but oh,
how I loved
her so.

evolution

take a pile of bricks,
grey hard cinder blocks too,
some wire, some metal,
sheets of glass, iron rods,
steel, plastic, concrete,
and pile it all into
a steep hill of debris.
wait a million years,
maybe more, two or three
million years perhaps,
let lighting strike
the hill of nothing,
add water, why not,
and then before you know
it a building will
suddenly arise, perfect,
in shape and form,
the lights go on, the
elevator is smooth, phones
are working, computers
are abuzz, the windows are
in place, desks and chairs
have appeared. cold water
springs from the fountains
within, and from this building
other buildings too have
sprouted up from just
being near, all different,
all unique, all perfect
and in this way cities will
populate the earth.

words spoken

it's easy to tear
down the wall. a heavy
hammer will do, muscle,
sweat, a chisel and
the will to make it
fall. it's easy to end
things. let the words
shoot from your mouth,
let the emotion of the
moment take over and
let it all crumble to
the ground, let anger
crush everything
you've built. and the
new wall is never quite
the same, never as
strong or solid as
the love you just put
to rest, in ruins.
the damage has been done.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

stubs

the drawer
that squeaks
in the old
antique dresser,
the top drawer
where i keep
every torn ticket,
stained playbill, or
program from
the years
gone by,
is stuffed,
there is almost
no room
for another
ticket stub,
or pass to
an art show,
or museum guide.
and i wonder
if all of this so
called culture
has made me a
better person.
i don't think so.
i'm still basically
the same person
regardless, for
better or worse.
depends on who you
talk to. i figure
that i'm the same
whether i had gone
or not gone to see
Spam Alot, or
King Lear, or Doubt,
or Who's Afraid
of Virginia Woolf.
but i like it all
just the same.
so i take my dozens
of socks, black
socks, business
socks and more white
athletic socks then
i can count, out
of the second drawer
and throw in the new
and crisp stub from
a movie that has
already slipped my mind.

the last word

i could fall asleep
right now, right here
as i type these words.
my eyes are heavy, my
body aches from a day
of work. i need to get
these clothes off, maybe
burn them. but they
weigh so heavy on me
at the moment, they
are a part of me. the
phone is ringing
somewhere in the house,
but it can wait, they
can wait. the lights
are off, the dog has been
let out. i've got a cold
beer in hand to ease me
into slumber, soon, as soon
as i type this last word,
this last sentence that
is searching for some
meaningful thing to say
to someone who mght read
it, or me the next day.

the new white car

i thought you
wanted a fast car.
white with
leather seats
and a moon roof
so that you
can stand up and
wave to your adoring
crowds. was i wrong?
you don't seem
to appreciate what
i do for you,
the cake i baked,
the flowers i grew
and cut and placed
in a crystal vase with a
gooey love note attached.
if you don't love
me, just say it.
i've been down
this road before, so
i'm used to leaving
or being left, or
whatever it is that
takes place when it
all blows up. what?
what's that?
you're hungry? sure,
why not. i'll run
out and get you a
roasted chicken, what
else sweet pea, my
little dumpling? some
buttered beans, a
dinner roll? no,
don't worry, i won't
spill any in your
new car. dessert too?
okay. yes. okay,
i'll hurry, whatever
you want sweetie.

the kite

in the distance,
with the red kite
fluttering
against a low grey
sky, i see the boy,
his arms up, his
eyes focused on the
wagging tail,
the bent fabric
rippling
as it pulls against
the wind so high.
he runs, trying
hard to keep it
in the air, up
and away from
the trees, the web
of power lines,
amd when his hair
has turned white,
and he is old
and can no longer
run across a grassy
field and put afloat
a kite. he'll come
back to this and
remember the day
that he did.

before dark

before dark, before
the night closes in,
i need to get some
things done. a few
things i've been meaning
to do for a long time.
it's not a long list,
but it's a list just
the same, one that i've
been carrying around
in my head for decades.
alot got in the way,
a marriage, a kid, work,
all lame excuses, but
excuses still. but the
sun is going down. i can
feel the chill in my
bones and it's time,
it's time to just play
my hand and let it all
ride. to take the leap.

the examination

you have to keep moving,
keep those old bones going,
the blood flowing, the joints
loose and warm. don't let
the body get tight. that's what
the doctor says as he takes
your pulse, your heartbeat,
your blood pressure and a vial
of blood. ride your bike, he
says, take a walk, put some
fun in your life. he gives
me a wink at this point,
and tells me to get dressed.
you're in great shape for
a man your age, he says and
pats me on the shoulder gently
as if i was ninety. he's a
good doctor though, not much
on the beside manner and he
can't stay in the room for more
than five minutes, but he seems
like a reasonable fellow,
maybe even truthful. i think
he'd tell me if i was on my
last leg as they say.