Tuesday, May 31, 2011

supermarket

you see them
lean towards
the store,
on canes, bent
with years.
exiting the white
bus with the wide
doors and
hatch that
let's out the
wheeled ones.
silvered and
whitened, along
the coasts of
their bodies.
clutching cupons
and purses, hats
and gloves,
quietly moving
towards and
into, finally,
the market where
the gloom
and cool of neon
scares them
even further.
there is no comfort
here, but just
reminders of
what is being
left behind.

ten nine...etc.

let's pretend
it's new year's
eve. here, put
on this hat. take
this horn and
blow it. let's
start the countdown,
i'll get
the champange
and the paper
and pen with which
we can write down
our resolutions
again, but let's
make them easier
this time,
nothing about
weight loss, or
being on time,
or making more
money, or being
polite to strangers.
no promises we
can't keep to
one another. make
them easy and fun.
more cake, more
sleep, more love,
less boredom.

waiting

low clouds
move over the green
fields.
no cows are moving,
no wind
is turning
the leaves
or lifting up
a flag, or
clothes hung
to dry,
life is motionless
without a breeze.
your feet
are in the pond
as you wait
for her arrival.
you could
wait all day
for her, and
you usually do.

Monday, May 30, 2011

your news

you read
about war,
but you don't
know what
it is, not
really having
ever been
in one. someone
tells you
about the burn
on their arm,
but still
you don't
know the pain.
it's theirs,
and the same
goes for
heartache,
for death
and dying. it
can't reach
you. words, or
songs, or
poems are
nearly unfelt.
it has to be
your news for
it to truly
arrive home.

glass of water

the only
lights
are those
on the street,
with a pink
bloom
coming in
like flowers
through
the blinds
upon her
white skin.
there is
no music,
no television,
just a cat
on the sill,
the light
rumble of
holiday traffic
on the street
below.
and a glass
of water
in her
hand, pushed
towards me.

let's stay home

it's too
hot to think.
to argue,
to eat or
even cook
a hot meal.
let's lie
in bed,
with the fan
overhead
and make slow
soft love
in the watery
shadows
of late
afternoon.
pull back
the cool sheets
and let's
swim for
awhile, and
then fall
asleep in each
other's arms,
there's no
need to go out.

her gloves

you know these
things about her,
before you know
who she is.
she will leave
her gloves on
your table, like
unspoken words.
she will sigh
like a wind
being cupped
in the arms
of summer trees,
she will assume
it's love, and
be disappointed
and bitter, when
once again it's
just a season,
she will
come, she will
depart, she
will leave her
gloves on your
table and forget
about them,
but you will not,
you will place
them in a box
with the others.

lost confetti

at night
while sleeping
the streets
were cleaned.
washed and swept.
the debris
of the parade is
absent when
you awaken
the next morning.
how quickly
we dispose
of each other.
the once bright
confetti of
affection has
disappeared
in the strange
silence of
another day.

blue pools

you submerge
yourself into
the blue pond
of affection.
you are in over
your head.
you let yourself
sink into
these dark depths
of wonder. there
is nothing
to hold onto,
no ladder to
escape with. you
will drown
but not die
if it fails
you tell yourself.
as you've
proven again
and again.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

smokes

you read
someplace, such
as in the new
england
journal of
medicine that
over six hundred
thousand
people die
in this country
alone each and
every year,
as a direct
result of
cigarette smoking
and you can't
help but wonder
what if milk
did that, or
bread, or
apples, would
they still be on
the market. what
if terrorism
did that? am
i missing
something here?
and you get it.
taxes and money,
jobs, free will,
and our own
basic human rights
to do as we
please, to kill
ourselves slowly
through whatever
addictions that
please us and
yet something is
wrong with
this picture, or
so it seems.

ducks or ten pin

she thinks she's
so funny, when
i suggest an
afternoon of bowling.
she'll say things
like, and then
can we go to walmart,
or, the trailer
park called, and
they want their
mullet back. but
you ignore her
as you lace up
your bowling shoes,
put on your shiny
jacket with
the green dragon
on the back. so what,
will it be, you
ask her as you
grab a six pack
of bud from the fridge,
ducks, or ten pins?

rainy day

you sink deep
into a good
solid book
on this rainy
day. the couch
holding it's
soft arms
around you
in the shadowed
light. you
could lie
here forever
in your fiction,
wrapping the warm
love of others
around your
chilled skin.
reading, watching
the water
fall from the sky
clinging
to the panes
of glass.

clean sweep

you have
decided to
clean
the cupboards
of your life.
sweep away
the friends
that aren't
truly friends,
and only want
their needs
fulfilled,
the lovers, who
don't love,
but want to leave
in the middle
of the night after
their heartbeats
have returned
to normal, and
the sweat has
dried, why
are they so
much like you.
and then
there are
the parents
who base their
affection
on guilt, who
wait to be
called. what
to do with
them. perhaps
another day,
you'll do
the cleaning,
it's too nice
out to start all
over again.

the days

the burial
of time,
the days
that slip
by, with no
fanfare,
no announce-
ment telling
you of their
demise,
is constant,
for what other
choice does
one have
but to ignore
the obvious
and smile
towards
tomorrow, with
hope that
there is one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

staying hip

you've resisted
for so long,
growing up. it's
been a daily
struggle of
holding back
the hands of time.
of bouncing the ball.
of keeping
fit, and in
fashion. knowing
what's in, what's
out. the music
has passed you
by at warp speed.
sushi and thai
food, sure, why
not. where
the hell is my
nehru jacket?
i-pad, i-pod,
i surrender.
it's so hard
being hip
when your hip
hurts.

a woman's purse

a women's purse
is a lifeboat,
a bounty of
things to keep
you going, to
save you, a lesson
in survival.
the flare,
the mirror,
the flashlight,
three sticks of gum,
a tube of neosporin.
the odd stray
packets of ancient
condoms. you
could live inside
a women's purse
for a week
and never go
hungry, so many
mints, the occasional
cracker. a
small bottle
of water. pens
and paper.
a map of nyc's
subway system.
coupons to macy's.
of course
the pepperspray
and handcuffs
i don't understand.

that summer dress

when the
sweet red
melon cut
and shiny red
in the june
sun drips
down
your chin,
on your cheek,
and i see
you in that
white dress,
i know that
summer is
officially
on.

Friday, May 27, 2011

fishing trip

it's so nice out
honey, it's a
beautiful sunny
day. let's go
fishing, she says.
with glee and
does a little
happy hop
in the middle of
the livingroom.
let's make a day
of it, take a drive
out to the lake.
i'd like to catch
a fish and fry
it up on a black
skillet on a
campfire we made
oursleves. i'll
make some potato
salad and we can
bring a few ears
of corn too. it
will be so much
fun. i haven't
been fishing since
i was a little
girl. let's go.
come on, get up
off the couch
and let's pack
the car and roll.
i look up over
the edge of
my newspaper,
mute the tv, as
the game is about
to start and say,
you do know that
safeway sells fish
now, don't you? oh,
yeah. flounder
and everything.

calligraphy 101

my son's handwriting
is horrible. it has
not improved since
the age of three.
it's like a chicken
stepped into a
puddle of ink
and walked across
the paper. sixteen
years of education
and he can't decide
if he's writing in
cursive or printing.
each word, each
letter is an adventure
in spelling and
style. of course i
love him beyond
everything and anyone,
but i just
wish that his
handwriting was nicer,
like mine is when
i send him a check.

june bugs

i'm done with
the month of may.
i'm ready for june.
the marrying month.
work is sluggish.
it's hot as hell
already, and i
need new windows
to keep the ac
in. i need a dog
to be barking
somewhere in the
house. i need
someone to yell
at for rearranging
the furniture and
scratching my third
copy of highway
61 cd. someone
to ask me what i
want for dinner,
or why am i still
in bed at ten a.m.
i want to find
nylons hanging from
the shower rod,
to be out of hot
water, no milk
in the fridge. i
want someone to
ask me where the hell
have i been all
night, and why
don't you answer
the phone when you're
out with your so
called friends. ahh,
but here comes june,
yes. the marrying month.

turning over a new leaf

she says, i'm turning
over a new leaf. i sigh.
i let out a small,
but audible laugh. again,
i say. yes, she says.
i'm serious about this.
this time i really am
going to change. i'm
going to resculpture
my body, i'm going
to get smarter with
books, with food.
i'm going to meditate.
i will explore and
understand the nature
of who i really am.
moderation in all things,
don't sweat the small
stuff, eat, pray love.
are you in with me,
she says and stands up
with her yoga mat
rolled up under her arm,
care to take this journey
together. no, i tell
her. i'm good, but
have fun. i think we're
out of martini olives
by the way.

adaptation

i dreamed
that the earth
hit a bump
and was thrown
off course,
just slightly
though. suddenly
there was snow
in july, and to
me, you were
that bump that
i hit, but i'm
fine now.
the weather has
changed, but
i've adapted
and now look
for bumps before
i hit them. hand
me that snow
shovel, please.

early in the game

if you only
knew what i know
and if i only
knew what
you know, we'd
have a chance
at meeting
someplace in
the middle. but
we are holding
our cards tightly,
aren't we. tell
you what. i'll
put a card
down, if you
will, and let
that be a start,
i'd hate to fold
and cash out
this early in
the game.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the fried chicken prayer

she was hungry
and we were on
a road trip from
cape may to ocean
city via the ferry
across a purple
ocean roiling
in a christmas
wake. she was sick.
but still, she
was hungry. she
was a year away
from death, from
dying in her sleep,
the best way
to go, so soft,
slipping under,
as if the world
was water. but she
was hungry, and
i said anywhere
is good for me.
chicken she said
loudly. fried
chicken and she
closed her eyes
and said a prayer
that we would find
an open stop along
way, the day after
christmas. and
we did. we found
her fried chicken.
i've never seen a
girl eat so much
and be so happy.

the color blue

you prefer blue,
radiant shades
and dull dark
hues that hold
no light. you
prefer the cool
shadows of color
underwater.
the soft kiss
of blue that
is the night.
it's a place
you can go to
and sleep, and
breathe and
forget for awhile
what shines
so harshly
in the light.

dust bowl

my stanley
morgan broker
just called
and said,
don't quit
your day
job, or that
part time
night job,
or the extra
work you do
on the side,
or stop
collecting
coins you find
in the street.
make amends
with any old
rich relatives
you might have.
patch up
that beaten
sweater, sew
the hole
in those jeans.
get another
year out of
that old coat,
throw that
hat into
the wash, times
aren't getting
hard, they
are hard and
i feel the hot
dust rising
on the plains.

less of religion

the angle
of light from
the sun upon
the water
as it rises at
early morning
speaks less
of religion
and more of
things that men
can't get
their hands
and make their
own.

the hunger

the news print
on your fingers
reminds you of
a time when you
awoke at five a.m.
in the cold
and went out
to cut the strings
on the two
bundles of
the daily post
that awaited you
on the corner
and after folding
each paper,
carried them
to porches along
your route.
the moon was still,
your breath a fresh
bloom of youth,
hungry, almost as
hungry as you
are now forty
years later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the light

there is no
future in this,
she tells me.
there is no hope
or money
in poetry. you
can write all
you want, but
the world will
not care.
write a novel,
or a screenplay,
write something
with meat
on it's bones.
something visual
that can be
bought and sold.
therein lies
your gold,
your salvation,
your way out.
move over i tell
her, you're
blocking my
light.

in the middle

you have seen
men grow old
with tears
in their eyes
still longing
for young women,
still wanting
to work, to be
a part of this
world they are
about leave.
you have seen
young men without
care, living
their lives
with ease, with
out a sense of
what tomorrow
could bring. you
find yourself
someplace in
the middle.

get in the car

she pulls up
to the corner
in a black mercedes.
the window goes
down and she whispers
come here. so you
stop eating
your hot dog, wipe
the mustard off
of your lips
and go to her.
get in, she says.
me? you respond back.
come around and
get in, she says
again. so you take
a swig of your soda
from the straw,
finish your dog.
you try to get
the mustard stain
off of your shirt,
but it's hopeless.
well, she says.
i'm waiting.
so you go around
and get in.
you put on
your seatbelt
and stare at her,
she is everyone,
she is no one.
do i know you?
where are
we going? she tips
her sunglasses down
and smiles with
her bright brown eyes.
does it matter, she
says. has it ever
mattered to you?

these hearts

how they go
away, what shall
i compare them
to. leaves falling,
no, too cliche
and boring, waves
that wash upon
the shore then subside
when the tide
goes out, no. that
doesn't work either,
how about flames
that flicker and
fade, the ember
going black when it
once burned bright,
or fruit that
dies upon the vine
before being tasted,
we're getting closer
now. it's complex.
like all of nature.
like dreams.
what you see
is never really
what you get.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

hello, are you still there?

she says don't
you remember me.
we talked sometime
before. i believe
your phone died
though in the middle
of our conversation.
you had just gotten
that new droid phone
and you weren't
used to the sensitve
touch screen, remember?
i was telling you
about my lawsuit
against the doctor
who botched my
boob job. the infection
was horrible.
i was in bed for
weeks, and there was
leakage and i got
a fever. they were both
supposed to be 36 D's
but one was bigger
than the other
and now i'm lopsided.
i can hardly walk
straight. my back hurts,
and i can't find
a bra that fits
properly. i can no
longer wear my
sweaters or anything
that shows cleavage.
you should see the scars.
i'm suing for a million
dollars. my breasts
mean alot to me, and
now, well, if you ever
want to see them, i'll
show them to you, and
you'll see what i'm
talking about.
what are you doing
this friday? my soon
to be ex husband has
the kids that night,
hello, hello, are
you still there?

tourist

i'm a tourist
in my own city.
there are lots
of pigeons
and squirrels.
everyone is in
a hurry.
i walk around
with a camera
and stare upwards.
i keep getting into
lines to look
at something.
i ask cops
for directions
and ask questions
like where's
the mall at?
i buy a hot dog
from the corner
vendor and a t-shirt
stating where
i am. i have
a map open in my
hands, with points
of interest circled.
i have on comfortable
shoes, a hat,
and am carrying
an unmbrella. i am
not used to being
out and about
during the daylight
hours. my visitations
in the past have
been primarily
nocturnal and
involved drinking,
carousing, as
they used say.

the nuns next door

a group of
nuns move
in next door
to you. there is
a catholic
church just
around the corner
so it's a convenient
place for them
to live,
but there's
four of them,
or five, it's
hard to tell
the way they
come and go
like penquins.
and you would
think that this
is a good thing,
that they aren't
a bunch of stews
from pan am,
or eastern,
with loud music
and commotion,
and pilots and
stray cat men
coming and going,
but it's not
good. the nuns
are almost too
quiet. i almost
feel like they
have their ears
with cups
to the wall.
listening to my
every unchurch
like move, i'm
trying so hard
to be on my best
behavior, but
failing badly.
i saw one wheeling
in a barrel of
holy water just
the other day.
this is not good.

the green fat pickle

please don't
eat
that green
fat pickle
afloat,
prodded
and poked
and stabbed
out with a fork
by the grisly
man with skinny
arms, from
the jar
of yellow
sea water.
i could never
kiss
you again
if it touches
your lips,
which makes
you laugh
and say
you don't know
the half of
it buddy, then
bite it in half
as the seeds
and juice cascade
down your
chin.

Monday, May 23, 2011

mirrors

i can live
without
mirrors.
i've seen
enough.
i'm tired
of looking
in. figuring
things out.
i can do
without
my own
reflection
whether
inner or
outer, makes
no difference.
i've stared
at my own
navel long
enough, it's
time to
give yours
a look.

water and words

don't read
this and think
that it means
anything of
consequence.
don't analyze
or ponder these
words. go
stare at the
stream outside
the window and
watch the water
rush towards a
place it needs
to go. this is
the same. no
different.

the blackbird

your cup is cold
in your hand
as you sit at
the table with
the open window,
there are no
children in the yard,
it's the middle
of day and everyone
is at school or
at work. the tea
is pale and weak,
without taste.
there are no lemons,
no spoons of sugar
near, the newspaper
spread out before
you is stale, as is
the new book of
poetry you bought
with some hope
and promise. your
cup is cold in
your hand and
the blackbird peering
in from the tree
says nothing with
his blackness, but
i assume if he could
that he would agree.

towards the end

we've reached
the point, at
this stage and
depth of our
relationship that
we no longer
need words
to communicate,
our thoughts
and desires are
unspoken and
silent, instead
we speak in
code. we nod,
we make a slight
gesture with
our hands, we
shake our
heads, or wink.
we push a plate
of a half eaten
piece of toast
towards one another,
and then the
jam.

the easy way

i believe
everything you
tell me even
though i know
half of it is
a pack of lies,
but i go along
with it just
the same. why
make waves,
when we both
know what the
truth really is,
and when it
ends, blows up
as it will,
we both know
that there will
be no one to
point a finger
at and blame,
so i believe
everything you
say, it's so much
easier than
arguing, this
way.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

squirrel stew

i met a woman
once, online,
where else, who
had three dead
squirrels
in her icebox.
they were in
sealed
plastic bags
with their heads
cut off,
and on the counter
was a yellowed
recipe passed
down apparently
through the years
by her family
for squirrel
stew. she was
chopping up
potatoes and
carrots, onions
and celery,
boiling water,
when i suddenly
realized
what we were
having for
dinner. and we
had been getting
along so well
before that too.

direction

my left
hand has
informed my
right hand
what it is
doing, but
they aren't
talking.
they aren't
speaking
to one another
at the moment.
they are
as divided
as my legs
and feet are
as to which
way to go.
i have worn
a circled path
out in my front
lawn.

the unknown

it's not
the sound of
your voice
that intriques
me, nor
the length
of your legs
or pucker
of your lips,
it's not
the softness
of your skin,
or touch
of your hand,
no, it's none
of that although
all of it
amazes me. it's
something else.
something
i can't
define, or
put a finger
on. maybe i
don't want to
know.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

the party

we were having
an end of
the world party.
balloons,
noise makers,
cow bells,
someone brought
a drum and a
golden trumpet.
there was
champagne and
wine, not the
boxed kind
either, but
those bottles
with corks.
yes, nothing but
the best, and
shrimp cocktail
and lobsters,
never frozen,
but flown in
fresh from maine.
someone made a
fabulous eight layer
mexican dip,
with tortilla chips.
and we were up
all night,
singing, dancing,
some of us
drifting off into
other rooms
and coming back
out again. we stared
at the stars,
waiting, waiting,
until morning came
and nothing
happened, and as
everyone grabbed
their coats
to leave, we all
agreed that we
should live
our lives like
this all the time,
as if it could
happen, the end
of the world thing.

slide rule

she writes
to me in a
hurried text.
are you good
at math, can
you help me
measure this
room. plus
i'm having
guests and need
to figure out
what pound
turkey to cook,
what size
pan of butternut
squash to whip
up, twelve
people are coming
and three have
special dietary
needs. hold on
i tell her,
i'm getting my
slide rule.

Friday, May 20, 2011

stained glass

you visit
your church, well
it's not your
church exactly.
you barely
touch base on
the holy days.
but you want it
to be more,
to be something
than what it has
become. it's
a sleepwalk, an
ambien laced
kneel down
of prayer. they've
cleaned it up
so nicely. you
miss the blood
of Christ,
the fire and
brimstone, the
hot coals,
the vague smoke
and mirrors
of fear. it's
a drive thru
now, fast food,
quick and easy.
nobody gets hurt.
and the light
coming in through
the stained glass,
rarely gets out.

road rage

you fear
the open road.
the tail
gaters, and
angered
red faces
pushing, pushing
towards
someplace they
need to be.
over the limit,
cursing,
pressing forward,
sneering as
they pass.
inches from death
with each
hit of the pedal,
swerving,
wandering through
the lanes, not
allowing to
fall back, but
only to pass
and pass and pass.
who are they,
where do they need
to be. are they
that cluesless
to what death
on the highway
could be.

the quiet meal

you smell
something
wonderful cooking
down the hall.
a roast perhaps,
potatoes,
carrots and onions.
there is garlic
in the air,
and yet still you
hear the argument
go on. things
break, doors
slam. curses
are made. it goes
on and on. night
and day. and only
when they sit
down to eat
their meal is
there silence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

hot air balloon

i see her
in the hot air
balloon, waving.
she is always
smiling,
especially when
she's leaving.
i worry about
the power lines,
and trees, and
all of the what
ifs that could
occur to send
the balloon so
happily striped
and pear shaped
tumbling to
the earth. she
keeps waving, i
keep waving. we
both want the same
things, but
have different
points of view.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the home stretch

you put all
of your money
on the wrong
horse. number
seven. she
died on the home
stretch despite
the jockey
whipping her
hindquarters
frantically.
you feel
the same way
sometimes with
the job you're
on with no
finish line
in sight.

punctuation

your feet
are cold
beside me
curled and
otherwise
warm. we
are two
commas,
on a plain
white sheet.
inked in
for the
night. there
may be more
punctuation
before
the sun
comes up,
another
paragraph
to type.

too much

you give me
too much food,
there is too
much on my plate.
i could never
eat all of this,
despite how
good it tastes.
it's overwhelming.
i can hardly
breathe.
and the same
goes for you,
there is too much
of you, and not
enough me for
me to stay, to
sit, to savor,
to share and eat,
but i'll have
a bite or two,
just the same,
and then
be on my way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

fearlessly

she liked to paddle
down strange rivers,
where snakes would
hang from trees
and hiss like hoses
sprung a leak,
while in the distance
there was always
the faint soft thunder
of drums, the rattle
of spears or sabers
in the bush,
she liked to hike each
cliff, each icy slope,
ski from the highest
peak, jump from
planes and float
fearlessly into
an unknown sea, or
pit, peer into
the edge of a
volcano. she'd run
towards lightning,
towards a twister,
the lions were her
friends, how she
would fit her head
right into their
mighty jaws and
teeth, oh my, she
was quite
the adventurer,
may all the pieces
of her, the ones
they can find, rest
in peace.

night fever

you dream one
night that you
are back in the
seventies. you are
wearing your purple
bell bottoms and
your womanly silk
button down blouse
with galleon ships
in full sail.
you have a white
belt and boots,
and hair that you
blow dry for an hour
or so in the mirror
before you go out
dancing under the
glow of a spinning
ball and drinking
rum and cokes with
a wedge of lime.
it's not a good dream,
and you can smell
the canoe cologne
aftershave on your
mustachioed face when
you awaken trembling
with a match book
in your hand and a
smudged phone number
written on the back
cover in blue ink.
ginger it says.

the boiled egg

i'm having plumbing
issues my sister
says at the table
on Easter. do you
know a plumber, she
asks as she peels
away the blue shell
of a boiled egg with
her name on it.
she hasn't spoken
to me in years.
i don't even know
what the fight
was about. but it
seems over now.
i do have a name,
i can give you,
i tell her. good,
she says. good.
then sprinkles some
salt onto the top
of the soft
gleaming egg and
takes a bite.

don't look back

don't look
back, or forward,
but live
in the moment
your guru,
the young
barista with
rings in his
nose and ears
tells you as he
hands you
your four dollar
cup of coffee
and you nod
and say, sure,
whatever and go
off towards
the station
to doctor it
up properly,
and you ponder
what he has told
you, but you do
look back, and
yell at him,
hey, you're out
of half and
half again.
what's up with
that?

keeping order

how carefully
you've arranged
your drawers
and closets.
your shoes,
brown on one
shelf, the other
black. the summer
clothes separate
from winter clothes.
and how you pay
your bills on time,
lined in order
on your desk
as to which is
due first, and
which is last.
there is no dust
anywhere that can
be seen.
it's obvious how
troubled you are.

it's funny

that once everyone
had a camera in
their cell phone
that there
were no more sightings
of alien space
ships, or big foots,
or ghosts appearing
or monsters lurking
in the woods.
no loch ness
creatures swimming
about. there's
not a flying
saucer in the sky.
not even a goat man
scurrying on hooved
feet chasing teenagers
on lover's lane.
coincidence, i
think not.

you look like someone

you look like
someone i used to
know, your mother
says to you
when you visit
her and bring
her magazines.
and you say, it's
me. your son.
and she says no,
someone else.
someone who looks
something like
you, but taller,
a little younger,
perhaps more hair.
she spoons more jello
into her mouth.
and offers me
some. i say no.
and she says, they
put fruit in it.
i've never thought
to do that. she
looks at the cover
of the magazine
in her lap
and begins to cry.
liz taylor, she
says. i always loved
her. those violet
eyes.

coins in the dryer

you hear
the change rattle
in your dryer
as it spins
and spins for
an hour, it's
money, clean
and washed
flushed from
your pockets
that you neglected
to empty,
now shiny coins
rattling
and you could
easily go down
the stairs, turn
off the dryer
and find the coins
that are making
so much noise,
but you don't.
you don't feel
like it and you
wonder if this mood
will continue
into other things
that cause noise
within your life.
perhaps.

handicap parking

you don't see
the handicap sign,
a large tree
in full bloom
has overgrown
and blocked the
blue imprint
of a wheelchair.
there is nothing
painted on
the street to
indicate no
parking unless,
so you park
and run into
the coffee shop
for a cookie
and a cup and
when you come back
there is a hundred
and seventy-eight
dollar ticket
on your windshield.
there is no
fighting this,
no moral to
the story, no
insight or revelation,
just the wonder
as to how they
came up with that
exact figure to
punish you.

it's easy

it's easy to fall
in love you tell
your dog who sits
at your feet
staring into your
eyes, wagging his
tail. just look
at you for instance
you say to her.
if i suddenly
disappeared as
i am known to do
on occasion, someone
else would fill
the void, would be
sitting here,
giving you a pat,
a treat, a bowl of
food, and walking
you happily down
the street. so
just relax and
enjoy the moment.

Monday, May 16, 2011

checking the stove

you take one
last look around
before locking
the door. the truck
is packed and
full of all of
your belongings.
the house is
empty. full of
nothing, just
the way you found
it seven years
ago. you check
the stove once
more to make sure
it's not on. as
usual, it's not.

while sipping tequila

on a balcony
overlooking
the bus depot,
she says
my cup is full.
always at least
half full.
i'm a positive
thinker, a happy
go lucky soul,
i forgive and
move on. i live
and let live.
turn the other
cheek. i am
at peace within
despite
the chaos that
the world brings
daily. i am
content and have
no fear as to
what might
come tomorrow.
i sleep well, eat
well. make love
when love is
present. pass
me the bottle,
would you, i tell
her. save
some for me.

the birth of you

the birth
of you, comes
in a dream.
it's your dream.
you are less
than who you think
you are, and
more than
what others
might believe.
the truth is
always hidden.
the birth of you
comes in
a dream. it's
your dream.

what's next

it's hard to listen
and watch the rain
in a storm, and not
think of it without
meaning, or portent.
you don't need a gyspy
to know or feel that.
spare me the crystal
ball, the horoscope.
you know within
the smallest bone
of your body, what's
to come next.

the waiting

when we were
young, and our
memories younger
still, there
was always a
tomorrow to lean
towards. always
a bluebird
about to land.
a sun to rise,
and make things
right. and now
with the shades
drawn, the window
down, what was
tomorrow has
been taken, and
just the waiting
remains.

burnt offering

toast is your
morning burnt
offering to the new
day. it's charred
woolen bread
stiffend black
will never see
a swab of butter,
or jam, or find
your lips with
tea.

to the other side

it isn't far
to go, from here
to there. you've
known others who
have made the leap,
fell fast and deep
into an unknown
slumber, fallen
into dreamless sleep
in the middle
of something so vital,
so important, but that
suddenly in a single
less heartbeat had
become irrelevant.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

setting the bar low

your ten dollar ticket,
five dollar box
of stale pop corn
and three dollar
box of candy, your
four dollar soda, or
water, and the movie
stinks, you feel like
you've seen it before,
maybe a dozen times.
the special effects,
the cliche lines
and jokes and scenarios.
and yet everyone seems
to love it, and are
having a grand time.
you wonder, is it
you. is it the world
we live in now. are
we settling for this.
has the whole world
become a wal-mart full
of marshmallow bags
of peanuts and fried
chicken. bad art, bad
acting, bad writing.
you know the answer
to that, but refuse
to accept it.

serenity now

i get a random
call late one night
from the old girlfriend.
i'm new and improved
she says. i've finally
found my happy place.
i did some one on one
therapy with a wonderful
counsleor who knows
the dalai lama,
and bought all the self
help books i couuld
get my hands on. venus
and mars, dr. drew,
dr. wayne, dr. suess
and dr. phil. i'm
eating well, sleeping
well, drinking eight
glasses of spring water
a day and running.
i take yoga three
nights a week, i'm
in my tight spandex
one piece right now,
you should see me.
and i've learned
not to sweat the small
stuff. so what do you
say we give it another
shot, i'm ready
this time to be a
couple. i pause,
for a second or two,
then say, i'm so
sorry, but i've found
someone else. we're
in love. you freaking
bastard she screams
back, i hate your guts.
loser. then hangs up.

sock sorting saturday

your poems make me
sad, make me cry
sometimes, she says
over her walkie
talkie. she's in
the woods, hiking
rag mountain. a bee
just stung her, and
it's starting to
rain. i wished you
would have come
with me. i know,
i tell her, and if
it wasn't sock
sorting saturday
i would have. why
aren't you using
your phone, i ask
her. i like to use
my walkie talkies
when i'm hiking,
she says. well, you're
crackling, and i
can hardly hear you.
what are you eating.
granola bars, she
says, and i brought
some oreo cookies,
and some juices. so,
as i was saying, she
says. can't you write
me a happy poem,
a sweet poem without
angst and sadness,
about love ending,
and leaving and all
of that junk you
write about all the
time. can you do that
for me sweetie pie?
i'll try i say, i'll
give it a shot. what's
that noise? thunder,
she says, lightning
just hit a tree up
ahead and i think it's
on fire. maybe
the rain will put it
out. oh my, there goes
a raccoon with a
foamy mouth, i think
he's hungry, come
here little fellow,
have a cookie.

don't answer the house phone

it's a number
you don't recognize.
international it says.
it could be anyone,
or someone selling
windows, or love,
or a time share
rental in bermuda.
but you pick
it up anyway.
and it's your mother,
she's selling
steak knives over
the phone. mom,
you say, it's me
your son. why are
you doing this.
i'm bored, plus i
could use some extra
cash for jigsaw
puzzles and yarn.
she's flustered now
and has lost her place
on the prewritten card
to sell her knives.
i have to start over
now, she says. let
me read this. these
knives are fantastic
she adds quickly
you could really use
some new ones, the
last time i was at
your house i couldn't
even cut a piece of
chicken with the knives
you put out. then
she begins to read
from her card. These
fine crafted knives
will last you a life
time. Whether you
are slicing a tomato,
a steak, or a three
tiered cake, you will
be amazed at how smooth
these knives cut. so,
she says, how would
you like to pay for
your order? credit
or check?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Knick Knack Space

there was a time
when i came home
from work and saw
ten sealed boxes
of books sitting
in my livingroom.
mark twain, catcher
in the rye. tim
obrien, bellow,
hemmingway and
carver. updike
and cheever, plath
and flannery o'connor
all tucked away
to be taken somewhere.
most of them i had
read over and over
again and i asked
my former
significant other,
what gives, what
are you doing with my
books and she said
a truck is coming
to pick them up.
you've already read
them and i need
the shelf space for
my knick knacks.
give the poor and
needy people out
there a chance to
read these books. and
i shook my head and
said no. i'm one
of them, and haven't
you ever heard of
the public library.
and she laughed and
said, why are you
so selfish.

cat scratch fever

it doesn't take
long for the claws
to come out,
the teeth to bare,
the hair to rise
along the once
smooth back of a
velvety spine. no
it doesn't take
long for them to turn
on you when you
don't put the milk
out on time, or
not at all.

isn't it strange

isn't it strange
you say to no one
while staring up
into the starlit
sky, how nothing
or no one seems
to be out there.
and as you look
around the room,
and listen to
the clock tick,
and the careful
drip of a faucet
from another room,
you say or in
here either.

tomorrow is today

you can go now.
i packed you a lunch.
your books are
in your back pack,
go quickly
the bus is coming
soon. i'll be
here, at home,
waiting with ball
in hand when you
come back again.
but you can go
now, it's what you
have to do.

the yellow dress

the summer yellow
dress you left,
in the closet
like a flower
on a wire hanger
catches a breeze
from the open
window and slips
easily to the floor.
like i remember.
it's moments like
these that i almost
miss you, and who
i thought you were.

another round

and as the conversation
wanes, and what
needs to be said
has been said, and
the celing
and walls have more
interest than
the person you are
sitting with,
it's best to leave,
or at least tap
the bar, and order
and a round of
drinks.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

tuesday night 9:57

bored, lazy on
the leather couch,
stretched out.
the house is a
mess, sunday's paper
everywhere, a dish,
a cup, an empty
bottle of wine.
one shoe on, shirt
off, the remote
in hand. television
truly sucks, as
your son might say.
you can't flip
through the debris
fast enough.
and yet you manage
to go through all
nine hundred
channels. you wonder
what betty is
doing, and text her.
hey. she writes
back. hey.

to hear the splash

your words are cast
out into the world
and yet you don't
hear the splash.
there is the coded
silence of water,
the woods that
lie deep between
you and death. it
doesn't have to
be a big splash,
but to just hear
these stones that
you've carved and
thrown hit, then
sink in and cause
a ripple of wonder
well, that might
be enough.

chain letter

you get a chain
letter in the mail
giving you fair
warning that if you
don't send it back
out to ten or more
friends then you will
be doomed and cursed
for the rest of your
days. it makes you
squirm in your chair.
the idiocy and threat
of it a reflection
of the sick human
condition preying
on weakness and fear.
you ball it up and
light it on fire
then delete the so
called friend that
sent it. your new
mission is clear.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

indigo

she doesn't
have the blues,
no it's something
darker, a
richer color,
deeper, some
shade of indigo
a bordering
on purple hue.
you find it about
a mile down
in the middle
of the atlantic
ocean, that exact
tint if the sun
is right.
she won't pick
up the phone, or
text or e mail,
or send me photo
of her in her
garden when
she sinks this
deep into this
depth of violet
despair. she's
floating inbetween
the bottom, between
sunlight and air.

Settling

first of all
you are an
admirer of yoko
ono. you think
that tofu is
really a food.
everything flys
right over
your head.
your politics
annoy me,
as does your
views or non
views on
religion,
spirituality
and parenting.
you have
virtually no
work ethic, or
common sense
when it comes
to money,
and your memory
and knowledge
of history
and world
events doesn't
exist. however
you do clean up
nicely and
have great legs.
so given time
and the right
amount of alcohol
i think
we can work
around the other
stuff.

the good knife

she says
where is
your good
knife and
i say it's
in the drawer
with the other
knives. the
drawer by
the stove,
be careful
sticking your
hand in there.
and she says,
oh, and why do
you even keep
the other
ones, the dull
ones that
don't cut. there
must be a dozen
in here. and
i shrug. i have
no answer
for her
as she slices
a wet apple
into two with
the good knife.
it's hard to
let things go,
isn't it, she
says and hands
me a slice.

King Street

with cymbals on his
fingers, and the glaze
of another world
in his eyes,
messianic musings eek
madly from the street
corner prophet holding
a cup and a sign
saying beware, the end
is coming soon. and at
some point he will be
right, he'll punch
his punchless clock
and stand there at
high noon and the sky
will open and a trumpet
will sound, and all
things hidden will
be brought to light.
but for now, you drop
a coin into his cup
and hope to have lunch
first, sit in the sun,
make a few calls.

Monday, May 9, 2011

in a perfect world

in a perfect
world,
the moment
the phrase,
'it is what it is'
is spoken a
giant red
tomato soft
from being
two weeks off
the vine and
turning rotten
would fall from
the sky, and
land squarely
on top
of the speaking
person's head,
but only
in a perfect
world.

the world is in a hurry

your arrival
and departure
is measured in
minutes. black
swings of
the long and
short hands
of clocks
on the opaque
terminal wall.
the world is
in a hurry
and the trains
are running
late, and
aren't we all.
aren't we all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

worm in the apple

not every
apple has a
worm, although
at times
it seems
that way
and your
determination
to go
through
the whole
barrel to
prove that
point,shows
more of a
gastrinomical
prowess than
it does
of brains.

identity theft

i found the person
who stole my
identity last week.
he was in a
bar, siting alone
waiting for his
date to arrive. he
was drinking an
apple martini,
texting someone
else on his phone,
well my phone,
actually, he had
a splash of grey
flannel on his
cheeks, wearing
blue jeans
and a starched
white shirt. and
he looked up
recognizing me
by the id in his
wallet and shook
his head. how
do you do this
all the time, he
asked. i'm running
out of steam
being you. your
mother keeps
calling, your
kid wants more
money, and your
customers are never
ever happy and
always want things
done on the cheap.
i looked at him
and laughed. sorry.
i don't know you, i
said and grabbed
a beer and left.

Hallmark Holidays

my dog
looked up at
me the other
day, angry,
sad, a little
bitter about
something, i could
see it in his
big brown eyes
and i said, what,
what's up?
what have i done
or haven't done?
and he pushed
the newspaper
into my lap with
his long wet nose,
the headline's read
today is Dog Day.
send him or her
flowers, give
him a card, some
special treats,
more than just your
daily pat,
celebrate his
life with warmth
and love and
gratitude. take
him on a long
walk, get his nails
done, a nice
bath, then
a ride in the car
where he can
stick his head
out the window.
so we did just
that. guilt
is a tremendous
motivator.

cowboy

you sell your
house, you buy
a pair boots,
cowboy boots,
you google horses
online, and pick
one out, a palamino.
you know nothing
about horses, but
you want to be
a cowboy and ride
the range. you
phone in to your
boss and tell
him your plans,
he laughs, of course,
he has no vision,
no clarity about
life in general.
you see yourself
riding the plains,
with your hat,
your feet in
the stirrups, your
hands holding
the reins,
finally.

the elderly

you had to beat
the elephant
to get him
back into his cage,
he's resisting,
and after
all he's done
for you, and you
in turn for him,
standing
on his two legs.
roaring on
cue, throwing
water with his
long trunk. eating
peanuts from your
hand. he's carried
this circus
on his back for
years,but you
had to strike him
hard against
the grey shell
of his prehistoric
skin, to tell him,
please, please go
to sleep, accept
your end, be
gentle, be kind,
don't be like
me, just go in.

don't tell me anything

don't tell
me anything, i
can't be
trusted. i can't
keep a secret.
it last as
long as a piece
of candy in
my pocket. it's
devoured and
gone before
the first ear
is bent towards
me to listen.
it will slip
out my hands
like a wet fish
caught and
begging to be
let go.
so keep it
to yourself, don't
breath a word,
don't even
come near
with what you
know.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

your news

your daily news
is more about
the falling leaves,
the wind and hail
the rain as it
tumbles from
soft grey
clouds out of
the north. your
urgency is
all about
the trees, and
how the river
rises and falls,
how the animals
move through
the dark woods
in every season
finding a way
to keep their
secrets. your
news is close
to home. and
closer and closer
with fading time.

the game

as the old men
gather
at the end
of a game, a
game stretched
well into
years beyond
playing well,
but with spurts
of glory still
apparent in the
arc of shots
settling into
rusted rims
and bent
backboards, they
sit and ponder,
talk of yesterday
and maybe lunch,
maybe dinner
some night with
a wife, a girlfriend
or just guys to
go out and
ponder even more.
and you fight
the end, the beginning
of something new
as they do,
as they keep
coming, dribbling,
pounding up and
down the cement
court, it's not
over you whisper
and smile, and
know quite well
the truth.

rib eye

i've had enough
carrots
for one life
time, she tells
me. i'm sort
of done with
vegetables. i'm
sick of lettuce
and cucumbers,
radishes. i
need red meat.
can you hook
me up with a rib
eye one weekend,
grill that
baby medium
rare on the
backyard grill?
i need to
get some color
back. i'm too
old not to
eat anymore.

fork and knife tattoo

while your truck
idles in the lot
and you stand
in line
at the seven
eleven
scratching at
your new tattoo
on your shoulder
depicting a fork
and knife,
with your numbers
written on a slip
of paper, you
place your
bet down
with a six pack
of beer, a
hot dog in hand,
your blistered
feet in flip
flops. and you
wonder if
you win, what
then would change
and why.

goodnight

your frozen
mug, stuck
from stroke,
the edges of
your rebel lips
tilted forever
down, no
smile to rise,
and your eyes,
so horrifically
blue, now
full of fear
where once
there was mutiny
on every deck
of every day.
when once you leaped
each hurdle, or
knocked walls
down, not
now, with
your body
stiffened in
a curl
within this
iceberg of muted
life. the words
you want to
say, now left
behind, the puddle
of you is a soft
quiet candle
that whispers
goodnight,
goodnight.

no ice

stale bread
on the counter,
growing blue, warm
milk, the melting
of everything with
the power out
has taken place.
you have been gone
too long and
the eggs have
warmed within
their white clean
shells, nothing
has survived
this outage,
butter has gone
bad as you've always
suspected anyway.
you go to make
a drink but
there is no ice,
just square soft
ponds of water
divided. and
so you'll start
over. you're used
to that.

attic

each stamp, a
foreign stop
along the way, by
train perhaps
for someone who
was in india,
or spain,
once pressed
by tips
of fingers,
firmly into place.
you had to lick
the glue.
this book found
high in
a wet attic
laced in web,
the curved
carve of wooden
trunks, full
of stiffened
dolls with hardened
skin and faces
built more
towards fear,
than comfort.
a seatless
bicycle, with spokes
bent, the chain
a line of cinammoned
rust, and bolts of
wallpaper saved
only because
they cost so much.
lamps with bad wiring.
bird cages, birdless
of course,
the gates swung
open, a scrap
of newspaper still
on the bottom. some
news that isn't
news now.
and the albums
of lives, photos,
stacked like cords
of wood
awaiting fire. it
all makes you
want to tell someone,
come look, come
see what i have
found.

Friday, May 6, 2011

giddyup

when i was out
riding my horse this
morning, his name
is bukowski, sipping
on a cup of
coffee, just strolling
along some back
roads in middleburg,
i was thinking
about you. by the
way i have a
holder on the saddle
where i can keep
my cup and my cell
phone, and sunscreen,
so it's not like i'm
texting and riding
with one hand on
the reins, so get
over yourself. anyway,
where was i.
i was thinking
about you, and how
you make that
wonderful pot roast
dinner that i like
so much. i'm willing
to let by gones
be by gones, if you
can duplicate that
meal. i can be
over by eight tonight.
i have to get
bukowski home first,
wash him down,
get him into the
stall for the night
and give him a bag
of oats, but i should
be able to make it
once you give me
the go ahead. so
let me know. text me.
giddyup.

a new planet

the new
planet that
they've just
discovered
has been
hiding behind
a cloud of
space dust
blocking the
reflective
light of
telescopic lasers
and what not.
it's looks
just like
ours, but with
less traffic,
and shorter
waits at
good restaurants.
the rush
is on as i
slip into my
space suit
and drop my
visor down.

polished apples

these apples
shine on
the morning sill,
polished hard
to catch
the light
before the
first hand
chooses one,
and takes
a hungry bite.

dark wind

this black winged
flock of birds
that cloud the horizon,
swim the air
almost as one, without
voice or visible
signs of purpose.
like a hand, a
wand of darkened
wind, they find their
way towards
a wire, a rooftop,
the edges of limbs,
from a tree
free from leaves,
still useful even
towards it's end,
holding for a moment
this pause in life
before they fly
away again.

red slice of melon

you have become a
cliche she tells me
via e mail,
a jaded man just
looking to get
laid. you have no
heart, no soul,
you've lost touch
with your humanity
writing the same
old poetry time
and time again
about love gone
wrong, life taking
a left turn when
you wanted it to
go right. what i'm
saying won't even
bother you she says,
men like you don't
care, and never
feel true pain or
sadness, or sorrow,
you are immune to
such human feelings.
it's a wonderful
e mail on many levels.
and i read it over
again, checking it
for punctuation
and mispellings, but
it's a pretty clean
piece of writing.
i want to write back
to tell her well
done, but i'm in
the middle of eating
this wonderful juicy
red slice of water
melon and my
fingers are very
very sticky. she
seemed so nice
when we met. oh well.

same thing only different

behind
someone in
traffic
who is moving
his head
to the beat
of his loud
radio playing
some sort of
gangsta rap,
or something
you don't quite
understand. he's
tapping his
hands upon
the wheel
as if a drum
kit. moving
his shoulders
to the sound
of what he
hears, his
shades on
tight, his
car gyrating
with the weight
and shake
of his large
body. your
windows are
rolled up,
but you can
still feel
the bass,
hear the music
from the turned
up volume. you
are listening
to frank sing
the summer
wind and sipping
on your coffee,
you are humming
quietly to
yourself. same
thing, only
different.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

beans

i'm not a big
fan of the bean
she tells me
as she stares
at the menu
shaking her head.
anything but beans.
no kidney beans
for me, or
lima, or baked,
or garbanzo
beans. i've had
it with green beans
too, to tell
you the truth,
she says, eating
some bread and
butter. red beans,
black, navy beans.
get out of town
with your boston
baked beans too.
keep them off of
my plate, thank
you. i look up
from my menu,
and laugh. tough
day, eh? how about
jelly beans?
and she gives me
a thumbs up. i can
do jelly she says.
but not the green
ones.

no parking

there is
no parking here.
or there.
the garages are
full. every meter
taken on
the street. for
miles around
there is nothing.
no place to
put this car
and come see you.
i call it fate,
you call it
something else
that i can't
repeat as i
see you wave
goodbye from
the ninth floor
window.

strangers in the night

when i see you
outside my house,
bent over
the rear tire of
my car letting
the air out,
with a sharp
knife lying on
the ground,
with which
to plunge it
into the side
of my new all
weather radials,
i wonder what
went wrong since
we sliced that
wedding cake
and danced to
the music of
strangers in
the night.

the wish

as you lean
over, holding
back your hair,
and close your
golden eyes, and
purse your
lips to make
a wish, with the
candles lit,
short of count,
light yellow
licks of
flame, a small
tear finds
it's way
down your
cheek, and
you aren't sure
why, or how
it got there.

the business woman

i'm not really into
whips and chains
she says, while
strapping on her
thigh high leather
boots, and cracking
her knuckles.
they're just tools
of the trade.
i'm a kind
and gentle soul
at heart when
i'm not at work.
but this is only
what i do for a
living. now bend
over, and get ready,
this will
hurt more than
a little bit. i
am no different
than most people,
but this is how
i make ends meet,
please, don't judge
me. it's all
business, just
business. it's
cash only and yes,
i can give you
a receipt.

the long way

you take
the long way
home. it's a
nice day, why
not. the clouds
have parted.
the radio
is playing
music that you
like, songs
that remind
you of another
day, another
time, another
girl. you take
the long
way home, there
is no rush,
no one waiting,
no dog,
in the bedroom
window,
barking, awaiting
your arrival,
all things
now changed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

charity

i'm out
of money, bone
dry. just
lint comes
out of my
pocket when
i reach in to
give you
a coin or bill,
or some token
of value.
sorry. but
now you have to
get a job too.
i know, i know.
it's a cruel
world, but
i can't keep
this up
much longer.

the guest room

you can sleep
in the guest room.
the one down
the hall, we used
to call it the
yellow room when
the previous
tenant lived here.
let's fool
around in
the yellow room
tonight, she'd
say and light
a candle on
the dresser. i can
still see the
glimmer of her
small blue plates
hung on the wall,
delicate in
their balance
their measured
place. the plates
are down now, but
you can still sleep
in there. it's
hardly haunted.
hardly at all.

the river's edge

not far from
here, just a mile
or two across
the road over
the bridge, is a
path that leads
down to the river
where we used to
go when school
let out for good
and fish. we
never ate the
fish we caught
those days, but
some were as long
as our short
skinny arms.
the river was in
bad shape, polluted
by the blue plains
sewage treatment
plant upstream, and
by oil and spilled
gasoline, and random
garbage thrown
off of boats. no one
seemed to care.
but we'd stand
in our our tennis shoes
soaked by the
swollen debris filled
water, and cast
our lines over
and over and over
again, with our
small lead weights
and blood worms
cut in threes,
pulling fish in,
cat fish,
perch and carp,
eels, horrible
black eels. and
we'd stay until
the sun started to
fall behind the
trees on the virginia
side, and we'd
make our way home,
hungry and thirsty,
but somehow less
alone.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

after the breakup

you satisfy your
urge for candy
by eating more
candy, but this
doesn't help, so
you buy it in
bulk bags and
boxes at
the local wal-mart.
marshmallow
peanuts, jordan
almonds, mints,
and creams,
chocolate kisses.
your hands shake
with anticipation
as you drive
home with a
box of junior mints
in your lap, a
pack of twizzlers
melting on
the dashboard,
you rip open
the top and pour
some mints into
your wide open mouth
to settle you down.
you let out another
notch on your belt,
you drive madly
to dairy queen.

black and white cat

there is a
black and white
cat up in a tree.
she can get
down if she
wants to, but
for now she
is perfectly
content to sit
and lie across
a wide high branch
in the sun and
see what all
the birds can
see. that dog,
the other
cats, a mouse.
she is stepping
outside herself
and being still,
perspective
being everything.

swim out

swim out
to the open
sea. spread
your arms,
kick your legs.
propel yourself
towards
the sun that
rises as if
from the bottom
of that green
ocean. awaken
in the cold
flow of water
too deep to
comprehend.
arm over arm,
keep moving
away from
the safe shore
where you've
stood still for
too long.

Monday, May 2, 2011

when you follow

instead of
leaving, you sit,
you endure,
you break every
promise you've
ever made to your
self to never
stay when you
get bored, but
you're slipping,
you're off your
game with this
one. and you shake
your head, you
swallow, you
take another bite
another drink,
and it comes to
you slowly that
you're not
leading or living
when you follow.

you know better

seasons fool
you with their
trees and flowers,
coming back
after a hard
winter below
snow and ice.
and the sun
rising warm,
finally, on a
late april
morning, that
too is a trick.
those birds
singing, and a
wisp of a white
cloud in blue,
and you can't help
but have your
spirits lifted
by such slight
of hands. but
you know better,
don't you?

everything will be just fine

at the age
of ten when you
see your father
drunk again
twist your
mother's arm
until it breaks,
it sort of does
something to
you for the rest
of your life,
from that point
forward, especially
when you see them
now, divorced
for forty years,
and still pretending
that everything
will be just fine.

car crazy

you can tell
someone's state
of mind, or heart
or spirituality
by how they drive
their car, or
bus, or cab,
or bike.
i truly believe
that despite how
simple it may
sound. the rage
within comes
out when
those hands
grip the wheel.
frightening who's
out there,
driving about.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

a bag of chips...

i want to get
married again, she
says. staring at
the television
as the prince and
his bride kiss
beneath the raised
veil. i want a
beautiful wedding,
one with rose
petals scattered
about, and music
and pageantry,
and a horse drawn
carriage to carry
us towards our
beautiful
lives as we depart
the cathedral
where people are
weeping with joy
over our love and
committment. i want
dancing and wonderful
food, and a cake
as sweet and white
and satisfying
as our love is for
one another. hey,
sounds great, i
tell her. i'm heading
out to the 7-11,
for a paper and
some beer,
need anything?
get me a bag
of chips, she says,
standing in front
of the tv crying,
better make it
a large bag.
family size.

dream world

you awaken with
the moon still
in the window,
the curtains parted.
the white sheets
are snow, and
cold around you.
a red numbered
clock is across
the dark room.
it's three a.m.
and this makes you
warm and happy.
there is time to
go back to your
ocean of dreams.
a world of water
where everything
is both deep
and clear and safe.
you find your
pillows and set
sail.

starting point

there is dancing
and singing,
crying. laughter
finds a way
in as well.
four one
act plays
with lights
flickering on
and off to a
captive audience
of friends
and family.
and they wring
out their angst,
their perceptions
of good and bad,
of God and
childhood, what
went wrong, what
went right. and
they know and
yet they don't
know, despite
tasting a little
bit of death along
the way. a hint
of what tragedy
really is.
they struggle
to sum up their
lives as best they
can from this
starting point.

the ladder

don't fall,
she says, as you
climb up your
ladder towards
another window
on another house
in one more
month and day
of your dwindling
years. and
you say, this is
what i do.
if i fall, i fall.
and it's meant
to be, i can't
persuade myself
to look at things
any other way.

unclear windows

the clear glass
window that
you so carefully
sprayed and wiped
clean just
the other day
is blurred now.
the trees outside
are a dulled
black green,
the grass is
thicker than it
should be, those
roses are smudged
in the early
light of day.
people walking by
are unrecognizable.
you have more work
to do to set
things right
again.

the mechanic

your neighbor
who is always
working on his
car, an old wreck
that he's bought
at some auction,
some far away
place where he
had to have it
towed back, is
happiest under
that dark square
shadow with his
hands black and
his forehead
red and sweating,
with a wrench in
one hand, as he
leans over in his
sweatshirt, pulling
things out, putting
things in.
grunting at the
tight screw, the
belt that won't
budge, or filter
that he can't
remove. and i see
his wife looking
out the kitchen
window, wondering
what else will
keep him out so
late in the day,
keep him from
coming in.

she used to fly

but her wings
don't tilt any
more, or flap
or fly, or
take her north
for the summer.
she's in florida
to stay.
she found a nice
condo near
the beach, where
she can walk
alone and be safe,
and a place where
she can play
bingo on saturday
nights. no one
needs know how
wild she once was,
how she flapped
those wings,
flew everywhere
and broke a
thousand hearts,
disturbed a
dozen nests and
left smiles
in the wake of
her frequent
flights.