Saturday, July 31, 2010

the beach

she goes down to
the ocean with her
bags. her books, her
bills and checkbook,
her phone, her water
and snacks. sunglasses
and towels, a chair,
even her laptop makes
the trip down to
the beach where
the august heat
has warmed the water,
taken the chill right
out of the deep sea.
and she gets nothing
done, nothing read.
she lets her feet get
washed upon, feeling
the sand, the salt,
the lazy waves that want
to pull her in and
save her.

measurements

on the door frame
in the kitchen
they measured the
two girls and one
boy, each with a pencil
held upon their head
when they could stand.
their names were
beside each mark.
i could imagine
them all smiling,
being still and
funny as this was done.
every year for ten
years. they got taller
and taller, growing,
growing and then
divorce came and i
was called in to
paint the house.
everything white. even
the door frame. hiding
the marks they made
with a primer and
two coats. brushing
smoothly against
the wood, painting
over what was there,
as if no one was
ever here.

terminated

she doesn't see
it coming. the hammer,
the nail. the swing.
jobs end. love ends.
we never see it coming.
or perhaps put the
blinders on, staying
in the shade, refusing
to see the light,
the truth of what
comes and goes right
before our eyes.

dead mice

the cat brings home
a dead mouse from
the woods. the blood
still in her claws
against the soft
fur of her mouth, and
she lays the catch
down upon the top
step for you to see,
for you to have.
and you sidestep it,
you need to get to
work, you have your
own mice to catch and
and kill and worry
about keeping
the blood off of you.

empty rooms

these empty rooms
full of empty chairs
and beds. things
unused. lights never
turned on to read
a book. no need to
paint these walls
that no one ever
sees, or hang a
picture on. the
hollow walk runs
up the stairs, down
to the basement. the
silence not so
golden when
the children
have all gone
to lives and rooms
of their own.

flower child

her feet are in
the sixties.
sandals still
on to ease
the bunions. that
flower still in
her hair a dead
give away. the
peace sign on
her bumper. she
wears the music
out. the same old
songs. a bottle
of mateuse, a
joint, a van,
a dog, three cats,
and wanderlust
that keeps her
ever moving, if
not on the road
then at least
within her mind
in a time that
she can't let go.

film noir

i love you
in black and
white. a film
on reel
to reel that
chatters
in and out
of a projector
in the
back room,
from a small
window and
prism of
light. grainy
and etched
with time,
the sound not
quite right,
but fine enough
for us. and
everyone
has a cigarette,
a drink,
and nods with
a knowing
smile. they
all know
what love is
and what
happens when
it ends.

Friday, July 30, 2010

life

while falling
backwards,
in mid air,
through
the crevice
of the fault
as the earthquake
shook and split
the earth
in two, i
noticed
two bluejays
flying overhead,
as blue and
carefree as they
could be, one
with a worm
and the other
with twigs.
their wings
fluttering
gently towards
home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

dear jimmy

i left my christmas
tree up the whole year.
i even had a little
train set beneath
it that ran through
my tiny christmas
village of fake snow,
and carolers.
the smoke poured from
the tiny smokestakes.
lights, bulbs, tinsel.
the angel on top.
through the summer
months i watered
it and kept it lit.
it glowed out into
the lawn from the front
window. the neighbors
would laugh and shake
their heads at my
thread bare tree. but
i didn't care. i even
kept your presents
right where i placed
them, wrapped with
ribbons and bows.
and there they will
stay until you get
out of jail, and come
come home to open them.

meat

i've grown tired
of cheese and fruit.
vegetables raw, or
cooked. i'm tired
of nibbling on food
that the forest
animals would love
to get a hold of.
soy this, soy that.
carob begone. i'm
not a model on
the catwalk.
i can't pretend
any longer. i'm
ready to pass out
from a lack of protein.
i am as pale as white
wine and the inside
of a pear cut
in careful quarters.
i need meat. red meat.
seared and grilled
on an open fire with
the fat crackling and
burning in the flame.
give me a knife, a
fork. i need to cut
something.

stay

dream this
dream
for awhile.
me and you.
you don't
have to stay
if you don't
want to.
you can leave
at any time.
whenever
your heart
gets tired
of being
happy and
loved, just
pick up and
go. i won't
follow. i won't
wait. but i'll
remember.

salesman

the dogs
are barking.
someone is
coming up
the street,
a stranger
in a suit
about to knock
on everyone's
door with a
his business
card and
flyers. he
wants to
help, he
wants to
tell you
something you
don't already
know. he
is nothing
if not
persistent.
he is able to
block out
and resist
rejection in
a way that
i admire and
aspire towards.
but i won't
let him in
either.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

apple pie

i'm happy with
this pie you baked
me. thank you.
two slices was
quite enough.
apple was not my
first choice, but
just the same, it's
quite tasty. you
shouldn't have, and
now i feel guilty
about having to
leave, there are
so many other pies
out there, waiting,
hot on the sill,
as the dark night
cools them.

full service

i want to validate
your parking.
stamp your ticket.
pull you up around
to the special lot
and scrub you to a
nice shine and polish.
i want to put air
into your tires.
gas you up and check
your oil. i want to
wipe those windshields
slowly until i can
see all the way in,
from front to back.
i'll even put you up
on the lift and see
if that undercarriage
needs some tlc. i'm
a full service station,
relax. there's coffee
and donuts while
you wait. you'll be
back behind the wheel
in no time.

patience

the trees are unmoved,
standing still
in random rows, and
staggered spots where
fate has allowed them
to thrive and grow.
they neither lean nor
hold out their leaves
towards the sun, or
up like palms in asking
for coins of rain. they
are just so. patient
within the long summer
day, with nowhere to
be and nowhere to go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

one more

pour me one more
cup before i go.
i'm going to alaska.
i'm in love with
no one, and want
nothing but a white
endless range of
blowing snow. i want
to feel the cold
on my face as i
stand beneath the
brilliant blue sky.
i want to know
once more what it
feels to be alive.
pour me one more
cup before i go.

no news is good news

in twelve months
she has had every
disease known to man.
been mugged, been
abused, been lost
and lonely, and tried
lamely to end it all
by taking too many
saccharin pills. she's
had the hiccups for
ten straight hours
and believes she's
being followed.
she's broken bones,
and lost all her money,
and her watch in
a card game in atlantic
city. she's been caught
in the rain without
her shoes, had a flat
tire on the jersey
turnpike. she's had
six babies in one year,
and the blood bank
refused her blood on
account of bad karma.
it hasn't been a good
year for her. i really
need to change my
number.

just drive

i like the way
you drive your
car, with one hand on
the wheel, cigarette
dangling from your
ruby red lips, dark
shades on, the radio
turned up, the windows
down. i like the way
you smoothly shift
gears, as you throw
it into sixth when we
hit the open road
and you need some
serious speed. i like
the way you wink,
and click your nails
against the dashboard
and say hold on, here
we go. and i feel myself
get pinned back against
the seats. i could
go anywhere with you,
even nowhere.

Monday, July 26, 2010

foreplay instructions: part one

begin to set the stage with
low lighting (may i suggest
candlelight, or if you don't
have any candles, turn
the light on in the hall
bathroom and leave the door
slightly ajar), and put out
some finger food, (preferably
cheese and crackers of
some sort. whole wheat, not
saltines, perhaps a
nice brie, some grapes
and strawberries would
not be too extravagant,
but in a separate dish),
and once all that is
done and you've opened up
a good bottle of wine (see
separate dvd on wines available
in the lobby after class)
and the music is set on low,
and the dogs, cats
and kids are all put
away, then start with
a kiss. go slow. i
can't say this too many
times. go slow. this
is not a race. a touch
of hands, fingers are
good. but no pawing, or
clawing, work slowly down
and around all of the hot
zones, (these zones will
be explained later, but
should be avoided during
phase one). perhaps allow
your leg to touch against
her leg. try to remain
upright in this phase.
some more kissing
may proceed at this
point. whisper a few words
into her ear. something
she'd like to hear, perhaps
tell her how nice she smells
or how wonderful she looks,
but don't keep repeating the
same thing over and over,
and nothing too sentimental,
like you smell like a bed
of roses. it will seem
insincere. then give the neck
some attention, nuzzle,
don't bite, or drool if
at all possible, (if you
are chewing gum, this
would be a good point
to get rid of it) go
gently at the neck, which
is that area between
her earlobe and collarbone.
kiss the neck. it's a very
sensitive and often neglected
area. don't be in a rush.
sure, it might seem like
it's taking forever,
but trust me on this, take
your time, it will be worth
it. okay, where were we.
when you hear a sigh,
or something like that,
or she says your name,
which is gold, and her heart
rate appears to speed up,
you are on track.
heavy breathing is
a very good sign too,
so don't panic. she is
probably not having an
allegic reaction to the
food and is in no physical
danger.(but if she does
black out, call 911)
the next few minutes
are crucial. things are
in a delicate delicate
balance. be careful.
imagine you are a
safecracker. it's
a small window of
opportunity. you must
use all of your senses
for the removal of
this clothing item.
determine if it's
a frontal snap or
it's in the back, then
slowly move your fingers
across to determine
if it's one, two or
three, or god forbid
a four snap item.
slowly, but with
some force unsnap, be
careful not to pinch
the skin and be aware
of any resistance, either
verbally, or physically.
if all the lights are
green, proceed. once
this is removed, she'll
help you get it out
of the way and put
in a place that
she'll remember later.
if there is a still a dog
in the room, have her put
it in a high place where
he can't chew it in half.
this particular piece
of women's clothing can
be quite expensive despite
it's lack of fabric. okay.
this concludes phase one
of elementary foreplay.
our next lesson will be
tomorrow. everyone please
bring a fresh can of whipped
cream to tomorrow's session.
the next steps are very
complex and will take serious
students only to the next level.
i suggest a cold shower
at this point and try to
think about baseball.

the great wall

so you see my predicament.
if i quit and go to china,
what then. i don't speak
chinese at all, i'm not
good with other languages,
in fact i don't do well
with this one. i'm baffled
by other cultures. unlearned
in the art of getting along
with strangers. but i like
the big wall they have.
i'm fascinated with it.
such a great idea at the
time, to keep out invaders.
having had my own wall for
so many years it would be
nice to compare and contrast
the two.

pizza

with the power
down from the winds
and rain of yesterday
i was able to catch
up on my sleep. i
was about three hours
behind. but now i'm
up one hour, so i can
stay out late if you'd
like to do something
like go get a slice
of pie, pizza pie,
that is. give me a
call. you've got
my number, you know
where i live. i won't
eat until you get
here. bring chapstick.

blame

the most difficult
thing to do, besides
living a life of
faith without doubt
is trusting me, not
you. i know my
weaknesses better
than i know my
strengths, having
used them more
in the line of duty
and current though
ever changing events.
it's not my achilles
heel, or knee, or
solar plexus, or a
strike to the temple
that does me in,
it's deeper than
that, and lies
in a place formed
a long time ago.
i conveniently blame
it all on my parents,
or lack thereof.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the intervention

when i arrive home
my house is full
of people, some i
know, some i like,
some i even love,
but there are
strangers there
too. and they are
all wearing gloves.
as if they have
some business to
do. they are gathered
in a circle with
chairs, and one
empty one in the
middle for which
they invite me to
sit in. they want
to talk, to discuss
my life, my future,
my lack of direction.
it's for my own
good, they say. we
want to help you.
we want to save you
from yourself. but
i shake my head and
laugh. you're too
late i say. way
too late, but please
help yourself to
some milk and cookies
in the kitchen. i'm
going up to take
a nap.

hurry

weakend by the day
and heat i've left
a trail of me for
you to find, my
shoes, my keys,
my hat and pants,
my soaked shirt,
all in a staggered
line of removal.
i am under the
fan, in the deep
white bed awaiting
your arrival. hurry
before i fall alseep.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

chicken tenders

i watch you in
the kitchen
pounding
that pink
chicken
breast with
a wooden mallet
and wonder
if you think
it's me that
you are
tenderizing.
seasoning
with spices,
before you bake
it and devour
it with your
ravishing
appetite.
i hope so.

letters unsent

it's a life
of letters written
and unsent, most
of the time. but
every so often
one does get in
the mail and what
is on your heart
is told in real
time. the love
unsaid is finally
said, or not.
it's difficult
sometimes to tell
the truth for
fear of losing
you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

out of ink

i dreamed that i was
out of ink. bone dry.
no more thoughts to
post or twist onto
the wind of white paper.
i dreamed that the
oceans were gone, and
that all of the ships
and vessels at sea
could be seen and walked
upon. i dreamed that
the sky was empty
of clouds, there was
only blue from one end
to the other, not a
wisp of white to be
found. i dreamed that
all the stars had fallen
and nothing twinkled,
nothing streaked
across the black night.
emptiness without hope.
this is not a dream
i want to have again.

bluto

i'm not getting
enough feedback
with this blog.
i write and write
and write, i pour
out my blood and guts
telling all, and
what do i get, zippo.
well, with the exception
of one or two people.
but basically there's
no, hey steve, great
poem. beautiful, well
crafted. you're a
freaking genius with
this stuff. but will
it stop me, hell no.
did we stop when the
germans bombed pearl
harbor...nooooo.

a reason

i had the x ray
the m r i, the sono
gram, they even made
me say ahhh, and looked
down my throat. they
put flashlights
everywhere. yes.
everywhere, but they
couldn't find a thing.
they put ink into
my veins to see where
it would go, they
tapped on my knees,
opened my eyes, they
did a spinal tap. but
no luck at all.
you have no heart, none
whatsover, they said,
standing around with
their arms folded
in their white coats,
with clipboards and
stethoscopes around
their necks. you are
incapable of love or
a real realtionship,
was their diagnosis.
we're very very sorry.
but i was relieved, at
least now i had a reason.

blind date

she did a high pitched
impersonation of the
queen of england, or
at least what her perception
of what the queen might
sound like if she had
gotten the wrong meal
sent to her table.
the accent was perfect,
as she loudly did her
comedic improvisation
scolding the young waiter,
acting indignant.
i wanted fish, not steak,
she loudly exclaimed
for all to hear within
the room, and at that
point i realized that
i could no longer go
out on another blind date
for the rest of my
unnatural life.

the note

i found this purse
in the alley on my
way home from work.
i took my usual short
cut between buildings,
getting off the bus,
off the subway.
the alley is always
dark and dangerous,
but in the summer there
is enough light to
feel safe if you hurry.
the purse was white
and shiny, almost
like a seashell on the
beach, lying by itself
on the pavement, it
had little pearls
embedded in the strap.
it looked just like
the purse you have.
the one you carry
everywhere. everywhere.
i picked it up and
opened it. there was
a piece of paper
inside, just that,
a note. no money,
no jewelry, no credit
cards, or id of any
sort. no hairbrush, or
make up. no mints.
no gum or perfume.
i opened the note
and read it. it said.
i'm sorry, but i
can't do this anymore.
the message wasn't
subtle at all, but
where you placed
it was. i thank
you for that. very
very clever sweet girl.

do not go gentle

i see you resisting
the years, fighting
age like a prize
fighter in the ring.
there is no graceful
exit. none whatsover,
i see you going down
swinging, not acting
your age, misbehaving,
and getting up off
the floor and finding
the spark for more.
more mischief, more
mayhem, more of
everything that you
did in your youth.
i don't see the
rocking chair, the
nursing home, the
over fifty five ranch
where you are penned
in to eek out a slow
death. i see you
battling the sun
and snow, carving
out a world with no
end in sight, until
it stops.

stay for awhile

come home. lay down
the trouble. rest
here. come sit for
awhile and let me
fix you something
to eat, something
cold to drink, put
your feet up, take
off your shoes. here,
let me take your
coat, your bags,
your burden. stay
the night if you'd
like. there is no
need to go back
out into the rain,
into darkness anymore.
i am here for you.

greyhound

sitting on
the bus as it shoots
the gap, and enters
a tunnel you realize
that it's a long ways
from start to finish.
there is no straight
path, and the memory
of where you've been
is often foggy with
wrong turns, bad
stops along the way.
you cringe at
bus stations where
you spent the night
and brushed your
teeth in a public
restroom, slept on
a bench waiting for
your destination to
be called. you can
hear the squeak and
exhale of airbrakes
as the doors flop
open into another
hellish hot day in
in jersey or delaware.
nowhere to be in july.
no one gets off, but
an old lady with
knitting needles
and a jar of blueberry
jam. everyone's got
that far away look,
that unshaven, unemployed
gaze. not a spark
going on in this
dark tunnel moving
down the freeway. you
stare out the window
at the scorched earth.
the endless sagging
fields of corn stalks.
the abandoned sheds
selling fireworks
a week ago. you stare
at your ticket in
your hand. you try
to remember where you
are going and why you
left wherever it was
that you came from.
all of those black birds
on the wire, as still
as stones make it
all even worse.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

camping out

i decided to camp
out the other night.
pitch a tent in
the woods right
behind my house.
i built a fire,
circled it with stones,
i was on highland
just in case
the creek flooded
in a downpour.
i broke out a can
of beans and heated
them up in my fold
away pot. i washed
it all down with
vitamin water. then
i put some marshmallow's
on a stick and listened
to the animals in
the woods making
crazy screeching
noises. i could also
hear my neighbors,
the newlyweds,
jim and betty making
similar noises from
their window. i put
on some bug spray
and sharpened
a tree branch to a
fine point, keeping
it close by. i
burned my tongue on
some marshmallows, had
some more vitamin
water then got into
the tent to go to sleep.
an hour later i
hopped the fence and
went home and crawled
into my own bed.

what's that on your neck?

jealousy comes
as a surprise
this time around.
the mere mention
of another wanting
your attention
gives me a strange
cold chill. i'm not
sure why or how,
or what to do
with such an
emotion leaking
into the bloodstream.
but it'll pass.
i'm older, wiser,
i'm more secure
and sure of myself
when it comes to
relationships. i've
been around this
block before, yes,
many times, but
just out of
curiousity, what's
that on your neck.

losing it

i have stacks
of old magazines
and newspapers sitting
on the diningroom
table, half
of them half read
for lack of time,
lack of interest. other
things have gotten
my attention lately,
maybe that's why
the electricity went
out and the cable,
and that i'm sitting
here in the dark
with you. i blame
it all on you, the
empty fridge, the
dog running free outside
without his leash
eating grub worms
in the yard,
the mail piled up
in the foyer, dropped
daily by the postman
who just shakes his
head and goes on
to the next house. i
have no Z bags
for the vaccum, no
clean dishes, the bar
of soap in the bathroom
is the size of a half
dollar. spider webs
are everywhere.
at some point you have
to get some clothes
on and go home.

dog in the middle

it's a blue room
with windows that
face the sea
and stars at night.
there is a big white
bed in the middle
and candlelight.
there is music
and wine. there
are the hours
between now and
sunlight. what else
do you want or neeed,
i ask tenderly
as i lean over
my daschund, moe,
sleeping in the
middle, to kiss you.
what else, my dear?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

it's a start

when the floods come
i'm heading to higher
ground. i may even
buy stilts just in
case i can't outrun
the deluge of water
that breaks through
and over the levees.
i'm taking my dog
with me, and some
pound cake. he loves
pound cake. i'm
not saying we'll
live happily ever
after up in the hills,
but it beats drowning
and not having cake
or a dog. it's
a start. again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

maybe this will work

it's a nervous
wedding, with a mix
of young and old,
new children, brought
into the fold of two
lives taking vows,
dropping the ring
into a patch of flowers,
and eating cake
from each other's
hand. even the dogs
have been allowed
to attend. the liquor
overflows, and the
food disappears,
while a band plays
banjo and drums,
washboard and
harmonica. a screech
of sound. like a
train about to
derail. but in fairness
it's all good. all
with effort, rowing
together towards
some distant shore,
a place called
maybe this will work.

more

i'd like to eat
more of what you
cooked, but i can't,
i'm stuffed. i'd
really enjoy having
one more drink, but
i'm full and woozy
from the last one.
i'd like to stay
awake another hour,
or just five more
minutes and hold you
in my arms and listen
to the sound of you,
but my eyelids
are heavy and almost
shut with fatigue.
i'd like to make
love to you once
more, one more time
before you go, but
i can't. i'm weak,
i'm old, i'm done
now, finished and
only after one.

celebrity

everyday that i wake
up i am a little bit
taller. when i
stand the floor is
further away than it
was the day before.
the doctors don't
know what to make of
me. they have never
seen anything quite
like this condition.
my head scrapes
the ceiling and seems
to have grown five
sizes larger than
it should be.
and there is no bed
that i can lie on
without my legs
hanging over the end.
i can't drive a
car, or go anywhere.
everyone points at me.
i am no smarter, but
they all ask me questions
about life, about love,
the war, the economy.
i feel obliged to meet
their needs, but i'm
the same old person
inside, just taller.
all i can do is be
tall, be a giant. i
am beloved by
everyone, but no one
in particular. how
could anyone truly
love me, with me way
up here, and her way
down there with all
the littles.

changes...

she got her hair
cut the other day.
short, spiked
blonde, white
blonde, straight
up in pointed
strands, gelled
as if electricty
might have some
thing to do with
the process. she
added a few tattoos
to the new look.
a dragonfly on
her arm, with
fluttering green
wings and a band
of bullets around
her thigh. lovely.
i asked her
what was up with
the new doo, the
skimmpy clinging
dress and stilettos.
nothing she said.
i'm just tired of
looking like all
the other mom's
at starbucks. i'm
still the same
girl inside.

Monday, July 19, 2010

untitled

the perfect
arc of sun
against the moon
showering shadow
upon us, or the
flowers that
can't help them
selves, but to
spread on wings
or wind and fall
with seed to bloom.
tells us something
that the faithless
might not want
to hear. too much
going on to
just ignore these
miracles. and
yet, so often we do.

stand back

you don't think i
can dance, do you.
that i can't shuffle
and tap these old shoes
into a stomp, a twirl,
and bust a move. go
ahead and laugh. but
give me room, lots
and lots of room.
let me show you what
i got. let me show
you how we used to
do it before you could
even tie your shoes.
tell the band to play
something fast,
something loud,
something that i
can groove too.
stand back, sonny boy.
stand back and
watch me move.

dog days

cold water
upon my brow.
the borrowed
fan, with ice.
i'm stretched
out on the stoop,
like a leg
of lamb.
someone needs
to bust open
a hydrant,
flush the heat
off of this
scorched black
street.
put that cold
sweat dimpled
bottle of beer
into my hand
and tilt it
south, let
that sweet
brew pour down
the hot stack
and take me
to the promised
land.

chance

i take a chance
on you. a lucky number,
a throw of the bones.
i let the wheel spin
round and round
and round. we all
want it to fall on
love, but it's too
soon to tell. so
many hands to play,
so hit me, give me
another card. i've
anted up, i've
raised the stakes. so
much to lay on
the line and throw
down onto the table.
but you have to
play to win as they
like to say. you have
to empty your pockets
and let it all ride.
you can't hold back,
or hide your heart.

the dark side of the moon

while circling the moon
very slowly, i came to
the dark side. but it
wasn't dark at all. there
was a circus going
on down below. the ferris
wheel was lit up red
and yellow, and was spinning,
the tents were all up,
white with red stripes,
the strings of lights
were everywhere. and
everyone waved to me.
the children, the old
people, the circus hands,
the midgets, snake boy
and the clowns, all
waving with wild and
smiling faces, so happy
to on the dark side
of the moon with their
candy apples and pink
clouds of cotton candy.
even the lion roared
with pleasure.

fish and flowers

she is languid
like a river
in southeast
asia where the
sun rises yellow
and slow, already
hot before the
cock crows, before
the boats
have taken in
their first
heavy nets
across the bow.
her legs and
arms are water.
her eyes green
like it's
shallow depth,
alive with the fish
and flowers
that reign below.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the exterminator

the sunday morning knock
at the door was loud and
hard, persistent,
getting me out of
bed just enought to crack
and window and yell out,
what? excuse me sir, but
i'm from the exterminating
company and we are doing
a once in a life time
free service to the
community to get rid
of mice that might be
invading your home.
i'm looking into a hole
at this moment next
to your stoop. it's
obviously a rodent
that's doing the digging.
what? i yell again.
i have rats? no sir.
perhaps mice. i can see
him holding up a
laminated photo of
what looks like
the tiniest mouse
in the animal kingdom.
they burrow under
the dirt under
the foundation and chew
right through
the floorboards while
you're asleep. i jump
back into bed and pull
the blankets up tighter
and yell back out to
the young man. okay,
go ahead and get rid
of them. help your self.
but you have to sign
this paper, he says.
never mind then,
go away. i yell. i don't
care. but sir, you
have a hole right here,
all you have to do
is sign this paper
and we'll be your
extermiator for life.
i want to tell him
to spray himself and
go away, but don't.
i shut the window and
lie back down. i can
hear him still talking
but can't make out
what he's saying.
finally he gives up
and i hear him go to
the next door to knock.
i fall back to sleep
and dream about mice.

let's not call it that

there are a lot
of things i won't
do, but few will
i not do for you.
i'm under your spell.
but don't get me
wrong. i'm not
in love, let's call
it something else.
sex slave, okay,
that's too crazy.
what if my mother
read that, what
would she think
if she thought
that i was someone's
sex slave. she'd
imagine me in chains
and shackles,
in a dark dungeon
being fed bread
water on an
infrequent basis.
being ferried around
in a windowless van
from house to house.
she'd have no idea
of the icecream
we'd be consuming.

jumping

in small jumps,
up and down, one
after another, i'm
gaining elevation.
at some point
i'll be able to
bounce higher than
the roof, the moon
is not my ultimate
goal. not at all.
that's been done
before. boring.
i have bigger
aspirations,
undefined dreams,
confusing perhaps,
but i believe it
all starts with
these small jumps
up and down that
i do in the morning,
that i do late
at night. higher
and higher. if i
suddenly disappear
you'll know why.

direction

there is no such
thing as playing fair.
anymore. or so i've
come to think. the
deck is marked,
the deal is done
behind closed doors
in the dark, pre
ordained as the
bible claims,
or is it.
the paradox of life.
where the left turn
is always right, unless
you go another
direction and then
that's fine too.

storm rolling over

as we wrestle between
the sheets, the toppled
trees on lines
lay low the power
that flickers on and
off, teasing everything
that blinks or needs
it's currency. the wind
and rain is to blame
for us being in the
dark, for lingering
in shadows and opening
windows to catch
a breeze, to hear
the heartbeat of the
storm roll over us as
we go back to where
we were, hardly giving
the storm it's due.

don't worry

icecream at night,
especially in
summer.
is a good idea.
the best idea
when you need
something cold
and sweet and easy.
bring on the
whipped cream
and cherries, the
nuts and chocolate,
smooth and hot
on top. double
scoop. we'll find
a way to work it
all off.
don't worry.

sunday morning

it's okay to
sleep in.
to dream
one more dream
and let
the clock
move forward.
no need
to rush,
or hurry or
start the day.
there are
more hours
to follow,
more days to
come. plenty
to keep us
busy. let's
stall time.
freeze the
moment.
enjoy what
comes so rarely.

pool water

the pool water
shimmy's and shakes
with a glistening
sky blue as our
feet dangle in
the deep cool end.
our shoulders are
browned with
mid summer warmth.
our hearts catching
a second wind, or
third, why count
anymore, but
the depth is good
that we slip into,
going down to
touch bottom and
only coming up
for air when we
need to talk in
the sparkle
of sunlight
about what next.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

passengers

we know each other
but don't, not really.
we ride the same train
everyday and nod
in silence on
our way to work.
sometimes she'll
surrender a slight,
but uninviting smile.
but we never talk. she
has a book, i have
a paper. we get off
at different stops
and on occasion we'll
acknowledge goodbye
with a slight tilt
of the eyes towards
the direciton of
the sliding doors,
or a movement of legs
to let one or the
other pass by. this
goes on through
every season, each
with our umbrellas,
our boots, our hats.
and the months fold
over into years, but
still we never speak.
and it's why our
marriage has survived
for so long.

cowboy

just because
i can't
ride a horse,
doesn't mean
i can't take
a picture
of me sitting
on top of one
with a big white
hat and a rope
swirling in
the air above me
as if ready
to rustle cattle.
what's the
difference?

the roofer

she needs her roof
fixed. but she's alone.
there is no man to climb
up there and take
a look. when it rains.
it leaks. she has placed
buckets and bowls
where the water drips
down. she sets her
alarm for two o'clock
in the morning to empty
them. this goes on
for days, into a week
before the plumber comes
who says it isn't a pipe,
and then the carpenter
who says it isn't
wood. then the roofer
who can't find a leak
either, but throws
everything he has
at the point where
it might be coming
in, which works. and this
is the man she marries.

in time

i lay down
and weep. not
for me. not
for you, but
for this world
that can't be
fixed. pleasures
being less
and less
important in
time. it's
just a passing
thought at
the end of a
hard day, and
with the news
of death on
top of that,
but i know
in time, in time...
i'm sorry, i've
lost my train
of thought.

rising waters

i see you go, but
don't. i feel your
passing before i know,
before it's told to me
on the phone or was it
in a letter. the lines
are blurred at this
point. but i remember
you. as round and strong
as any man, snug in
your red beetle car,
your one arm always
burned from hanging it
out the window on a
day trip to the beach.
i see your big swing
standing at the white
plate, the sun and
everyone so much younger
than we are now.
and it's your wife,
whom i've never met
that sends the note.
i remember. i
remember. and it's
unsettling, the passing
of childhood friends.
the dark water rising
so quickly.

the ferris wheel

since we broke up.
i'm sending a package
to you in the mail.
it's got everything
you left here inside.
a half eaten box
of candy covered almonds.
a tattered copy of
catcher in the rye,
a book of poems by
robert frost with all
the lines important
to you underlined. a photo
of me and you in happier
days. on the ferris
wheel where you threw up
after eating all of that
cotton candy and three
moon pies. oh and your
underwear that you left
hanging in the shower.
i think that's it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

kneeling

i want to blame
the church
for the condition
of my knees
at this stage
of life. all
of that kneeling,
and praying,
asking for
forgiveness in
advance for what
i was about to
do that night.
it ruined me.

distance

what distance
there is between
us means nothing.
it's land, it's water,
hills and valleys,
all of it passable
by rail or boat,
or sky. there are
bridges too that
will help us get
there, but it's
not the miles that
concern me, but who
we are between
the pages of our
covers, between love
making and the quiet
that ensues.

the follow up e mail

hey, how are you?
my arm and hands are nearly
healed from the fourth of
july accident. The bandages
come off next week, and
i might not need skin
grafts after all. i never
should have lit that sparkler
after drinking five shots
of tequila and washing it
all down with beer, but i
didn't see the lawn chair
or the grill full of white
hot charcoal. i'm glad
though that you threw me
into the baby pool to put
me out. that was nice of
you. it's amazing sometimes
the strength we have when
fear is inovlved. from what
i remember you seemed like
such a small girl. i hope
this doesn't affect
our second date. it was
shirley, right?
let's get together soon.

bliss

you want less,
i want more and
as newly weds
we find a place
somewhere in
between where
we can smile
and ignore
our differences.
the thermostat,
the window open,
a dog, or
cat, two boys
and a girl,
or none, where
do we go for
christmas. all
of these simple
decisions, not
discussed or
breathed upon
in the heat of
love, or romance
that has fallen
under the wheels
of the wedding
train. but
they will undo
what's been
done. trust me
on that.

we need to talk

i can't get out
of this cab. the
doors are locked
tight and the meter
is rolling red,
flickering like
christmas lights
in rockefeller
center. it smells
like three day old
pastrami back here.
the driver is behind
the glass and won't
talk to me. he just
keeps driving,
going nowhere in a
circle, uptown,
downtown, to battery
park then up
the FDR around to
harlem, then back
down the hudson.
i'm dizzy with
manhattan, trapped
in this yellow taxi
that won't stop. i
bang on the window,
but he doesn't budge.
he raises his middle
finger and presses
it against the glass.
i don't understand
why my son is so angry
with me and won't
pull over to let me
out. we really need
to have a talk.

action flix

she likes the gore,
the blood and guts,
the roar of guns
and cannons, the cars
in mid air with the
hero unscratched,
unscathed by flames
or arrows. she likes
the way the screen
lights up when things
blow, when the building
falls and the earth
opens and creatures
with fangs and wings
come flying out.
she likes the muscled
heros lathered in brave
sweat, the look in
their eyes as they save
everyone, the child,
the woman, the friends,
and even the little
house cat who leans
precariously on the
edge of a volcano.
and when the movie
ends, i like the mood
she's in.

i am

stranded. i have no
where to go. the trains
have stopped. the roads
are flooded, trees are
down. all the lights
are flashing red.
everyone is nervously
staring and clicking
into their phones for
an answer, for a way out.
a way to work, or home.
the water is rising,
it's ankle deep and cold.
soon, it will be time
to swim, or float, or
move to higher ground.

transparency

let's put a light
on it, put the light
of day on what we are
dealing with right
here. turn on the
overhead, break out
the flashlight, point
the highbeam in
this direction.
no need to keep
in the dark what
everyone already
knows. what possible
thing could go wrong
when the truth
is revealed. when
the curtain is pulled
back to see you
quivering at the
controls.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

a shout out

i haven't given up,
at least not completely
on the idea of prayer.
i admit to going there
when the chips are down,
when light has dimmed,
and the heart has sunk
to an all time low, but
sometimes you'd like to
see or feel a sign that
someone is listening.
just a whisper, a tap
on the shoulder, a dream,
a burning bush will do
too. but some kind of shout
out to get me back on
track, to get me through,
would certainly be nice.

throwing stones

in the air you
see the stone
thrown from a distance
removed from the
hand that held
it tight and
tossed with
a curse towards
the window where you
sit behind the glass
on a couch relaxing
with a can of beer,
the game on, the
dog in your lap.
is the stone aimed
at you for what
you have become, or
is it just kids
being crazy, throwing
stones, having random
and mindless fun.

lost in the mail

i lick the stamp.
i fold the paper,
i seal the envelope
with your name
on the front. i drop
it in the box. i walk
home. i wait. i wait.
and eventually in
a week or two,
sometimes less, it
comes back. so i do
it again and again.
hoping that one day.
what is over between
us won't be true.

taking a break

there is a pause
in the end of the
world as we know it.
it's a slow night
here, on earth.
nothing truly bad,
or catastrophic has
occurred for nearly
twenty four hours.
all of the religious
and non religious
fanatics have taken
a breather. thank God
they were too tired
to kill today. we
appreciate that.

up early

i get up early
and don't walk
the dog. the dog
is gone, but i
grab his leash
just the same.
i make coffee,
i toast a bagel.
i scramble up
and egg or two
just for you,
just the way
you like them.
but you aren't
here either. but
i'm up, and what
else is there
to do.

tax decuctible charity organization

give, give.
and give more.
your blood,
your money,
alms to the needy
alms to the sick
and invalid,
the poor. give,
like the ocean
producing waves
one after another
with no end
in sight. give.
give, so that
we all can breathe
freely and live
guilt free
and sleep straight
through the night.

keep sailing

let's row together.
it's easier that way.
do we really need
a destination, a place
to go and finally hit
dry land. why can't
we just stay out
and enjoy the wind,
the stars at night,
the smell and pull
of the open sea. let's
row together, we
have all the time
there is, just you
and me away from
the treacherous shore,
away from the sharp
rocks that can sink us.

the map

i found the map of you
tucked safe between two
books on the shelf.
mileage and distance,
terrain and possible
weather scenarios are
all there. x marks the
spot, and i am already
on my way, but so are
others, they are in
pursuit. they know gold
when they see it, when
they taste it and bite
gently into the soft
sweet folds of the
treasure that is you.
but i have the map
and they are flailing
in dark without a clue.

the slap

i haven't seen you
in a while, where have
you been, you don't
come around here much
anymore. was it something
i said or did, or
didn't say or do,
i can't quite remember.
how long has it been,
a month, a year.
are you still upset over
some silly little
fight we had about
absolutely nothing. you
look different is
it your hair, did you
lose weight, did you
take a vacation, you
look great, you really do,
in fact i've never seen
you look better. perhaps
we should reconsider,
patch up our differences
and give it another shot.
okay, okay, i get it.
you could have just
said no, you didn't
have to slap me.

so, which is it

do you feel that,
right there. that
soft lump beneath
my rib cage.
it rolls against
my fingers when
i press just so.
it's been there
for quite some time.
i should have a
doctor or my nurse
friend emily
check it out
at some point to see
if it's serious, if
it's a good lump
or a bad lump,
and isn't all of
life like that?

wait for me

if you fall asleep
first. wait for me.
i'm on my way. i just
need to think about
a few things first, sort
through the troubles
that came today, but
i'm coming, i swear,
just wait. wait there
in your summer dress,
with your sweet sweet
smile. wait for me,
i promise this won't
take but a little while.

Monday, July 12, 2010

dance

let's dance now.
break loose and lose
ourselves in the music.
the wine will help
with that and feel
free to kiss me
when you get the urge.
put your arms around
me, and let's move
across the floor
as one, let's find
the rhythm, the beat,
it's like making love
this dance, this swaying
to the sounds from
the red hot band that
blows a mean blue horn.
let's dance, let's dance
some more.

the doorman

i am the doorman
in the red uniform.
pressed and braided
with false gold.
my black brim hat
reflects the lights
that always shine
bright and glow.
i know everything
there is to know about
all of you. when you
come and when you
go. your tips do
two things. they keep
me happy, they keep
me quiet. all of
your secrets are safe
with me. you can trust
me. i am the first
national bank of trust
and discretion.
every leak in this
building is under my
watch. every flame,
every whiff of smoke.
i see all, i know all.
i am the king of
the front door, the
protector of your
lies and deception
from morning until night.

lovers

i bury leftovers
in the fridge never
to see the light
or heat again, never
to be warmed up and
savored as they once
were. they have gone
into the deep end,
frost bitten, snowed
under. they have
been their last meal.
i've lost the taste
for what is wrapped
and put away. the idea
at the time seemed
good, with nothing
going to waste, how
strange to think
that way.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

i'm saving up

for a rainy day.
a new car.
something fast
and sleek,
that growls when
i push the pedal.
a few days at
the beach
and nyc.
some david
yurman trinkets
for you, that
is if you behave.
my son's
college tuition,
just one more
year before
reality sets in.
a new crown
in my mouth
to replace the
one that isn't
new, an ac unit
to replace
the forty year
old one that's
still miracously
ticking and
blowing cold.
a deep new
mattress to sleep
on when it's all
said and done.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

save me one

i see that you
are fond of donuts.
there were twelve
in the box, and now
there is one and
a half left over.
i see the powdered
sugar on your lips,
the chocolate frosting,
everywhere, a dab
of jelly on your
little pert nose.
if i didn't love you
so much, i'd put you
on e bay and find
you another home.
despite all of that
tail wagging,
nuzzling beside me,
and never once talking
back, it wouldn't
break my heart to
be dogless once more.

arriving

at some point
surrender comes
to mind. to lay
down the arms,
raise up the white
flag and admit
that there is a
better way. there
is a road more
smooth, less
narrow, and well
lit along
the highway and
it's not about
love, although
that is a fine
destination, but
it's more about
peace and
contenment,
arriving, and
not leaving.

your cat

i wake up with
your black cat
upon me, her
paws pushing one
after the other,
kneading me as
it were, wanting
me to wake up
and hear her purr.
but it's your
cat and i don't
know what to do,
so i put my hand
on her, then
you, to see if
any of this is
real, then fall
back into the
dream from where
i came.

july

july is a yellow
dress that blows
in the warm summer
wind showing
off her legs
so long and tanned,
and perfect as
she walks along
the shore, leaving
soft imprints
in the endless sand.

set it down

that bag you carry
over your shoulder,
worn and weathered,
torn and sewn back
together, is heavy.
the trinkets of your
life and places that
you've been have
weighed you down.
love gone bad
is in there,
doubt and denial,
fear and betrayal.
all of the postcards
of pain from every
stop along the way.
you think that
everything
in there is you,
and without it you
are nothing, you
are wind, you are
thin of spirit
and left to wander.
it's not true. you
must set it down.

satisfied

jealous are the trees
that see you walk
about with careless
grace and ease,
for they must stand
still forever, with
arched backs and limbs
that reach out as
far as they can see.
but even in this state
they gather themselves
around each other in
thick green numbers,
and dance when the
winds come and wish
for nothing more,
than rain, and rich
soil and to be a
harbor for those
that fly in need.

arise

when waking,
come up for air,
rise slowly
from the deep
water, kick your
legs gently
and spread your
arms like wings
of an angel
swimming towards
the light of God.
breathe in,
breathe out.
arise this way,
and all days
will be yours.

summer rain

it washes up along
you, the banks of you,
across the soft
mounds and curves
of you, this rain,
this storm that brings
steam to the air,
and a cool kiss
to the earth, it
brings me to my knees,
beside you, and the
summer skies will
finally darken and open,
will echo with cold
thunder, and the waves
of wind, fresh off
the sea will find us
entwined on the shore,
both agreed that
this is good.

road trip

we decide
on a whim
to go to mars,
to pack our
bags, put the
cats and dogs
in the kennel
and just go.
it may take
a few months.
so turn off the
water, the heat,
douse the lights,
pay some bills
and reset the
voice mail
and e mail
connections
to tell them all
we'll be gone
for awhile.
i don't know
what to do
with the plants.
maybe put them
out back and let
them survive
on their wits
like we are
doing. notify
the post office,
and paper to
cease delivery.
bring shorts
and sandals, i
hear it's
warm there.

the flow

the night
is a lazy
river with
you beside
me, a slow,
soft journey
downstream
to the sea.
no need
to row, or
set the sails,
we just need
to hold on
to one
another
and go with
the flow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

the cook

i like the way
you stir the pot
over the stove,
in your white
apron, leaning
in to lick
the spoon.
the steam rising
in your face.
strands of hair
curled along
your cheeks.
your lips blowing
gently on the
heat. i can't
wait for this meal.

fatique sets in

i can't do this
anymore she told
me the other day
while lying in bed.
i am the statue
of liberty of internet
dating. give me
your tired your poor,
etc., she said.
oh, i said in response.
so why don't you stop.
i'm looking for my
next cell mate, i mean
soul mate she said. i
want to be in love,
or at least find
someone fun that i can
have sex with and
leaves early in
the morning so that
i don't have to talk
to him about his ex
wife and how strapped
he is paying alimony
and child support.
we're setting the bar high,
aren't we, i told her.
she shrugged. i'm
getting old. look at
the roots in my hair,
i wear sunglasses all
the time to hide my
wrinkles. i don't
want to hear another
person's life story.
i'm up to here with
all of that dating
chit chat, being
interviewed by an
endless parade of
balding penquins with
twitches and sausage
fingers. yikes, i
said, is it really
that bad. no, she
said and smiled,
kissing me on the
cheek. i did meet you
afterall.

the headlilne news

there seems to
be very little surprise
these days
when the mighty
fall and the small
stand up and rise.
it's that kind of
world now. what isn't
is, what's to come
has gone. uncertainty
reigns free, not
faith or wisdom,
experience and truth.
the whole world
is on a sheet of
thin ice, and the ice
has cracked and some
have already slipped
into the dark cold
depths of despair.
oh well, i'm hungry
where should we eat
tonight? chinese?

turning over a new leaf

i told my life
coach, jimmy,
that i wanted
my money back.
things were not
working out the
way he told me
they would, and
i have done
everything he
insisted that i
do. i'm
even flossing
now after every
meal, no matter
where i am,
and have come
close to
recycling
my empty gin
bottles and
men's magazines,
i can't
do every thing.
he says that i
have to try harder.
to set goals,
have boundaries,
treat others
as i want to be
treated. no
more white lies,
no more chat rooms
and forays into
places that i
shouldn't be. he
even wants me
to stop with
the late night
snacking. what
the hell. pffft.
jimmy. he's living
on borrowed time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

fate

there are moments,
split seconds of
time that often
can define so much
of one's life. a
wrong turn here,
a broken shoelace
there, that stalls
you from what awaits
on the open road,
whether good or bad.
we don't know.
but we want to feel
some hand of fate,
or call it God
that is moving it
all about like
chess pieces on
a board. i don't
know for sure and
question those that
say they do.

i smell what you're cooking

do you smell that
coming from the kitchen,
that's me cooking.
right. and you didn't
know that i could also
cook in that room too.
well, here's a headline
for you, we're not
going out to dinner
tonight, no mike's
american, no pizza,
no chow mein from
hunan west. no sloppy
joes, or half smokes
off the spinning grill
from seven eleven.
hang up the phone, tell
morton's to cancel
those reservations, i've
got it going on right
here, right here in
the kitchen. pots and
pans, spatulas. and
in case your wondering,
that's a cheese grater
right there. i even have
an electric beater with
nine, count em, nine
speeds. salt and pepper?
no problem. so tell me
and don't be shy, how
exactly do you want
those eggs?

selling out

while i was sipping
a hot cup of java at
my local coffee shop
the other day a woman
approached me speaking
with a russian accent.
she had long black
hair and a pair of red
lips like ruby slippers.
a small tattoo of
a bear was on her left
hand. i want you to
work for us, she
whispered while
sipping her extra hot
decaf skinny soy vanilla
latte. the foam
gave her a not too
sinister mustache.
i'm busy, i told her,
painting houses. nyet.
go away. but hear me out,
she said, looking furtively
about the room,
a half a dozen strollers
and moms were in line
ordering donuts and
frappuccinos. she handed
a toddler his binky when
it fell out of the pink
pout of his drooling
mouth and rolled
towards us. i can
make you rich, she said.
i can give you more money
than you could ever make
painting houses. i stopped
reading the paper, took
a sip of my grande
americano, and said. how
much are we talking here?
millions, she said,
arching her black eyebrows
in rapid succession.
i stared at my paint speckled
sneakers and my legs
scratched from thorns
and swollen from bee bites.
there was a large hunk of
dried acrylic caulk on one
knee. i took another sip
of my drink, then said, okay.
what do i need to do.
i'm in. she smiled
and touched my hand.
all in good time, she said.
all in good time, comrade,
we will contact you soon.
sweet, i told her. sweet.

inspiration

what's wrong
with you, she
says. you need
to grow up and
stop all of this
craziness. these
poems, your
silly ways. you
are a grown man
with responsibilites
and a job, and
there is death
and trouble
throughout the
world. i want
you to be sad
and depressed
like me. look at
me. this is how
you should be,
the fun you are
having has to stop.
and there was
alot more that
she said, some
really good stuff.
but it was all i
could write down
before she slammed
the door and left.

the fly must die

with a rolled up
newspaper,
i've been chasing
this one fly for
an hour who found
his way between
the screen and window
and decided on his own
to venture in. there
was no invitation
given. he's large
and black with
green luminous flakes
of what i think
might be skin, his
wings are clear
and relentless.
he never sets for long
but when he does he
rubs his little feet
or hands together
as if devising a plan
for more annoying
flying. he is spirited
in his loops and zig
zags throughout
the room, sometimes
i can hear the buzz
right at my ear,
but can do nothing
about it. boldly
he will even land on
my arm or leg,
there is not a violent
bone in my body, but i
would not hesitate
in an instant to end
his life if given
half a chance.

time out

behind the drugstore
where i grew up
there was always
a man or two, and
on occasion a woman,
half dressed,
sleeping in the brush
with an empty bottle
of gin, or rum, not
far from their open
and still curled
hands. sometimes
there would be a
used syringe nearby,
and their pale arms
would still be strapped
tight with a belt,
or rope, and despite
it being twelve noon
with the sun high
and hot above us,
they slept as if in
the finest of beds,
soundly and without
a trace of discomfort.
but it was where
we played stickball,
with a strike zone
painted on the wall,
and so we did,
and when the ball struck
the wall, or the bat,
and with our chatter
becoming louder
they would awaken.
we'd call time out,
and stop to watch them
rise, slowly, as if
from the dead, then
stagger off to whatever
worlds they came from.

don't change a thing

i've shed this
skin before. reviewed
and remade the me after
tragic scrapes and
falls. repeat and
rinse and start again
is the battle
cry of self improvement.
at some point i'd
like to finish with
this project and be
certified as done,
patted on the head and
told enough, you are
okay, don't change
a hair on your head.
well, okay, bad analogy.

surrender

despite how delicate
and soft you are, how
tender your spirit is
on a cold day, i love
how you growl and purr
when the heat goes on.
i fall back in surrender
when i see you bare
those sharp fangs while
batting those pretty
little lashes on
your tea brown eyes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a bad sign

when slowly riding
through the old
neighborhood
the other day,
i noticed
the sign outside
her house,
formerly my house,
saying beware of
dog, meaning me
of course, and i
don't even live
there anymore,
but have been
off the chain for
quite some time.
i hit the pedal
and quickly got
out of there.

my friends

in the jungle,
quick sand
is everywhere,
and it's just
by luck that
you don't mis
step and slide
in, to be slowly
sucked under and
soon to drown
in the dry wet
muck where you
once believed it
was all safe
ground. but
fortunately you
have nine
hundred and ninety
nine friends
on facebook,
and surely one
of them is bound
to stroll by
before you're dead
and toss you
a strand of
jungle vine.

the wedding

she shows me
three pairs of
high heels, all
black, all
fetching in a
seductive sort of
way, but i try
to calm my
response and
tell her that
they are nice,
that they will
work, especially
in that dress.
and she laughs,
and sees right
through me
and my vision
of us in a coat
closet while
some wedding
goes on.

slipping

he is in
the shadow
stage of
life, when
things
get cloudly
when they
would be
ordinarily
bright.
he forgets
the day,
the appoint
ment, to
turn off
the stove,
and put on
pants.
there is
no memory
of dinner,
or where
all things
should be.
in vague
inches he
is slipping,
slipping
and fading
into a world
where he
can't be
seen.

bring flowers

in baskets and
vases, cut fresh
from the fields,
bushels of roses,
of petunias and
daffodils,
bring daisies
and lillies,
carnations
of every color,
orchids and
morning glory,
bring them all
in full bloom
and let them
see what true
beauty is
when you come
into the room.

the visit

with your
wet nose
up against
the window
as you hear
the car
approach down
the road,
up the hill,
and your tail
begins to wag
with happiness,
i want you
to know that
i feel the
same way too.

up ahead

even when
there is no
sun, no light
for us to
make our
way in the
world. when
death comes,
when sickness
overtakes,
when trouble
like a river
floods the
shores of your
normal day
and sends
you reeling
for someting
to hold to
onto, be
patient, there
is dry land
and light
up ahead.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

my number

when i
become
king no
one will
have my
cell phone
number.
let them
reach me
via
voice
mail on
my land
line. all
with the
exception
of you,
of course.
with legs
like those,
you can
have my
number
and a
sandwich
too.

wasp

it only takes
one black wasp
to give you a
fierce sting for
you be utterly
aware forever
of any that might
buzz in their
silky way around
you. swift with
an uncanny
stealth they
can move
and land and
pierce with
a sharp pin
point stinger
and yet look
beautiful in
flight.

no bugs here

you might want to
know when doing
your checks and
balances with respect
to our relationship
that i don't
have termites. the man
came with his little
flashlight, wearing
his pale grey uniform,
and red hat, and did
the walk around,
peering, poking,
getting in behind
things, going places
where termites might
find it nice to go.
sort of like old
people and florida.
he had on gloves, and
a little canister
of spray that he
would nuzzle the
nozzle into cracks
and openings along
the floorboards,
but no army of ants
or termites came
crawling out in a
stupor. he even
gave me certified
letter stating as
such that i am
termite free. i will
fax it over to
you promptly, and
hope that this will
affect your possible
overnight visit in
a positive way.

the safe

i've put all of my
money in the bank,
not the local
branch, but the
main one, downtown.
it's safe behind
the giant round
metal door with
a big handle,
that takes two
people to close.
it has locks
and combinations,
it's nearly
impossible to drill
through or blow
up with dynamite.
and i know what you
might be thinking,
that i do that with
my heart as well.
that my love
and affection
is tucked away in
a safety deposit box
deep within the
confines of that
vault with limited
withdrawals.

the heat

a strange heat
has overtaken us,
mostly me and you,
and it has nothing
to do with the
weather, or sun
spots or global
warming. and it
makes us remove
our clothes beneath
the fan, within
the arctic igloo
of this room.
why go outside
and melt when we
can build our own
fire right here.

sirens

i remember running
home from school
during an air raid
drill at the age
of nine. the sirens
wailing with the fear
that the world as
we know it could go
up in flames at
any moment. and so
i ran in my striped
polo shirt, my hair
parted on the side
with brylcreme and
a short black comb,
my jeans rolled up,
and my high top
sneakers slipping
and sliding on
the green grass,
trying to get home
before everyone
was dead.

Monday, July 5, 2010

acceptance

as the boat
sank and tilted
towards the bottom
of the ocean,
everyone prayed
and moved
in a panic towards
the life boats,
but not you.
i saw you
standing in the
moonlight with
a drink in your
calm hand, brushing
sea mist from
your brow, as if
nothing in your
life had ever gone
wrong, and this
was just one more
example of how
you've learned
to survive.

the leap

the risk
is in
not
taking
the risk,
she says
while
removing
her clothes
and leaping
in her
pale
nakedness
into the
waterfall
with a
smile
upon her
angelic
face.

fireworks

i don't want
to be like those
flowers in the sky
alive with color
that sparkle but
for just a moment
in time. fleeting
beauty aglow
against a black night.
i'd rather us
find something
more celestial
and permanent to
rely on, to show us
a way to be. i'll
let you choose
which star or
moon for us to follow
and take your
hand and go.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

the move

the move
is hard.
the packing,
the boxes,
the rolls
of tape, and
the magic
marker writing
in bold black
letters where
each should go.
but you
can't take
everything. alot
must end up
in the trash
at the end
of the driveway.
you've lost
interest in
the pool table,
the old enormoous
television, that
too tight suit
you wore five
years ago to
a funeral, or
was it a wedding.
you wonder
why you kept
so much junk,
those tires,
and computers,
a handful of
old cell phones,
wall phones,
vhs tapes, and
cassettes.
layers of decades
now lay to waste
by the move.

sea voyage

she had a boat
and a cooler
full of ice
and beer, tuna
sandwiches for
the trip to
nowhere. it was
her idea of a
first date.
and she was so
proud of her
boat. a red
motor boat
with two
seats and a
little windshield
so that the
river water
wouldn't splash
you in the face.
i had seen
the small fish
that she had
reeled in
on other dates
that happened
on her boat.
she held them
up for the
camera with
her sunburned
shoulders
and arms, with
her hair pulled
back by the
wind and salt
and a rubber
band. i met
her at the dock
on a sunnny
saturday morning.
our first date.
she was chopping
up worms for
bait on a
wooden board
on top of the
cooler full
of beer, but i
just couldn't get
on board.

the parade

i saw you in
the parade last
saturday, you in
your pink poodle
skirt and white
gloves and black
shades, your hair
puffed up, brown
and shiny as you sat
in the back of a
baby blue cadillac
and waved. i was
in the recyling
float behind you,
the one made out
of tires, and shoes,
plastic bottles,
and assorted junk
made out of toxic
chemicals that you
just can't throw
away. it was love
at first sight.

not complaining

she is exothermal,
so she says.
if i touch her
she gets hot.
if i pour my
love onto her
she erupts like
mt. vesuvius.
and i'm frozen
like the slow
moving villagers
of pompeii. it's
not a good
look, embarassing
to be stuck like
that for centuries,
but i'm not
complaining.

the midnight hour

it's okay
for a kiss
to miss it's
mark once
in a while
and find it's
way upon
your cheek
with a pat
on the back
and a pleasant
smile, but
it won't
get it done
if you want
me to
love you.
to ravish
you and have
you beg for
mercy in
the midnight
hour.

the runner

one step
after another,
over the miles,
in the rain
or cold, the
runner presses
on. he needs
the buzz, the
high, the
feeling of tired
joy at having
once more
beaten back
the years that
pile up like
old shoes
in the hallway
closet, the
laces broken,
the tread
so bare.

towards peace

i see him
on the corner.
unwashed,
with hands
on his ears.
his mouth sewn
tight with lips
and a ragged
set of chops.
his shopping
cart is full of
nothing, full
of everything.
and his hair
has no reason
to be so thick
and wild, but
it is, as are
his blue eyes.
bluer than hope,
bluer than the
sea or sky.
a dollar won't
help, nor a
sandwich or
drink. it may
only prolong
his journey
towards peace.

the new field

you are the new
field that stretches
green for as far
as my eyes can see,
right up to where
the earth curves
blue and i like
from my window what
i see in you. what
could grow, what
could be found in
each new season
that we plant
and harvest.

Friday, July 2, 2010

rusty and marge

way over there
across the street
are the bad neighbors.
the ones with the
pit bull and the
chevy nova still
up on blocks since
1979. it used to be
blue, but now is a
rusted red color,
and orange when
the sun swings
around to brighten
the view. i should
clarify, they aren't
truly bad, or bad
in the good sense
of the word bad, but
bad in a way, that
those who cut their
grass see things.
the occasional party
is fine, they invite
everyone, and the
fireworks that they
shoot into the air
three days before
the 4th are fine too,
as are the following
three days setting off
firecrackers. they
are fun people. they
are our neighbors and
i would give them
the shirt off my back,
that is if they wore
shirts. rusty and marge.

washing ashore

i get the nudge
in the middle
of the night,
when i'm swimming
in the deepest
part of sleep's
ocean, and she's
treading water.
i get the gentle
push and tug with
hand or elbow, hey
honey, you're
snoring. an hour
later, i'm awake
and she's asleep
and i give it
back to her.
i touch the curve
of her shoulder
and whisper her
name. i steal
a kiss along the
warm coast of
her lips. that's
all it takes.
and this is how
it goes, from
night into day.
with gentle nudges.
and in the morning
we wash ashore
together.

familial guilt

my mother
is on injured
reserve, leg
up in a cast
having fallen
going to the
basement to
get a tupperware
container of
frozen spaghetti
sauce, and a
tray of meatballs
she made three
months ago.
they are wrapped
in foil, and in
plastic,and tucked
inside a freezer
burn bag
marked meatballs.
and this has led
her to call me
to ask me for dinner.
the call comes
on my cell phone,
which shocks me,
not knowing that
she had that number.
i give her a maybe.

together

asleep in the arctic
that is my bed, the
white sheets, a blanket
of cold snow that
rises and falls like
drifts, cover me,
cover you. we are after
the same thing beneath
the ice and winter
that is the world
outside this room. let's
stay warm together.

survival

when i was twelve
we had seven kids
in three rooms,
four boys, three
girls and a mom
on the couch.
one bathroom. no
ac, a few rattling
fans from the
barracks with a bowl
of melting ice
set in front of
them. and yet we
all had a pet,
a dog or cat,
a gerbil, a rooster
that crowed in
the back yard.
goldfish that lasted
a week and tiny
green turtles
that had even
shorter lives.
on a good day the
church would leave
a basket of
canned goods on
the front porch.
food was scarce,
quiet and peace
even more so.
it was 1968 and
the world was a
black star
collapsing
onto itself. but
somehow we survived
and landed a
million miles
away.

what love is

lower, a little
lower, that's it,
right there, scratch.
oh my, yes, please,
a little more. oh.
you've got it. hmm.
don't be afraid
to dig. go over,
down, around, yes.
your nails are so
long, perfect. a
little harder, you
found the spot.
to the left just
a little, now
right, up, up.
yeah. okay. whew.
can you make
little circles?
that's great, now
go round and round.
just like that.
oh baby, a few
more minutes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

she's come undone

words taken out
of context, or
whispers that poison
the air with un
sweetened gossip
can ruin even the
best of friendships.
as i well know, when
one that you love
slips away, bitten
by some strange
bug that has turned
her against me. i
have no cure, no
apologies to give
to a mystery. i
can only grieve
such an untimely
ending to us.

God's Bling

as long as
one star keeps
at it, our star,
then we are good.
we are warm and
safe, at least
it seems that way.
let the rest
blow out. we
don't need them,
they are frill,
they are fluff,
sparkling gems
tossed out like
an after thought.
they are what
you buy after you
have everything,
they are bling,
just God in his
playful way
showing off.

harvest

this fruit,
these apples,
and grapes,
these pears,
so sweet and
full of summer,
held in the
hollow of
the sky's blue
hand. they
fall gently
to the earth
where you
are so kind
to share them
with me.
i taste a
part of you
with each
delicate
moist bite.

friends

can't we just
be friends, she
says, putting on
lipstick, spritzing
her neck with
perfume before
heading out
for the evening.
can't we
just be pals,
buddies, have heart
to heart talks
and have dinner
once in awhile
without the
complications of
intimacy. i tell
her, okay, i
guess so, but
what will we tell
the kids.

water off a duck

it starts
with the slight
bump on the edge
of a table and
the vase, the gift
vase that you
treasured goes
toppling over
into a dozen pieces
and a plume of dust.
and then you
dribble coffee onto
your clean white
shirt, creased
and starched and
ready for a tie,
for a day at work.
the cell phone
dies, a nail finds
your tire and goes
flat, your dog
is suddenly limping
and foaming at
the mouth, your
son calls with bad news
about his girlfriend,
you get to work
and they tell you
to sit down before
they give you the
low down about
the layoffs,
on the way home
you take a different
route and see your
wife going into
a motel six with
jimmy, your electrician
who installed your
ceiling fans. it's
not a good day, but
you find the time
to stop and grab
a donut just the same.