Thursday, June 30, 2011

a lot

she turns
over a napkin
and writes
the word
alot and beside
it she writes
a lot. she pushes
it in front
of me, then she
keeps eating,
she takes a slow
sip of her drink
and smiles.
she says, this
rockfish is
simply delicious.
how's your steak?
i nod and say
it's perfect,
and she says,
strunk and white,
page nine, or
there abouts,
i read it a
lot. more wine?

dust

your finger
along the shelf
lifting dust
does nothing
but make you
wonder, not so
much about
taking care of
the dust, but
taking that
book off
the shelf and
seeing if you
remember it
the way things
were. that book
she gave you,
and never gave
back. you had
to keep
something. so
much dust.

small things

small things
left behind
that you see
through a window,
her purse
on the table,
a shoe turned
to the side,
left just
the way it was
when her
foot slid out
and she went
up the stairs
with a cup
of tea, a
magazine, a book,
a paper, all
the things
she'd never
get to read,
never find
the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

waiting on a train

on the platform
while she waits
for her train, she
looks up into the stars,
her arms folded,
her lips sore.
a sweet tired smile
on her face.
the trains come
and go she thinks
to herself. let's
see where this one
takes me, how far
it will roll.

dude looks like a lady

on the fourth
of july
you buy a watermelon
and fill it up
with vodka. you
read somewhere
that that's what
ben franklin used
to do while watching
the fireworks
over the river
with his mistress,
lulabelle. a woman
he had met in france
while doing research
on static electricity.
you are feeling
very patriotic and
so make a shirt
out of a giant
american flag. well,
it's more of a
pancho because you
have no sewing skills
to speak of. but
you are ready
for the holiday
with a pack of all
beef hotdogs
and some potato
salad. you light
a sparkler to
get things started,
but let it burn
down too far, mesmerized
by it's sizzle and
bright colors. it burns
the tips of
your fingers, taking
some skin off.
fortunately you have
a tube of neosporin
nearby and a bandage
so you are
good to go. you are able
to hold your insulated
beer can in your left
hand. it feels awkward
at first, but you can
do it. you think about
what soldiers have done
to keep this country
free. so this is nothing.
there are only three
more hours until sunset
and your neck already
hurts from looking up
into the sky. you realize
that you are almost out
of potato chips
and beer and think
about making a run
to the seven eleven,
but you don't want
to lose your spot, it's
a great spot, so you
stay put and turn up
the radio as they do
the countdown of the top
one hundred songs
of the century. 'dude
looks like a lady' is
playing and you turn
it up. number 31 on
the list. you think
about ben franklin.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the golden years

so what do you
plan to do with your
golden years, she
asks me while throwing
another soy burger
onto the grill.
i lean back, sipping
my drink and say,
i don't know. maybe
go up to canada and
get a new hip,
i hear the healthcare
up there is so much
better than ours,
and then get on craig's
list to find a used
a metal detector.
i'm thinking that
i can scour the beaches,
looking for lost
rings and whatnot,
maybe go to some old
battlefields,
look for civil war
buttons and spent
shell casings. sounds
very exciting,
she says, as she
flips the burger.
and you, how do you
see yourself spending
your golden years, i
ask her. i don't know,
she says, maybe i'll
take up ballroom
dancing or oil painting.
i've always thought that
i had the talent
to paint. but i've always
been interested in ice
sculpture too. it just
fascinates me. wild,
i tell her, that's
some wild stuff. i saw
someone carve the entire
last supper out of ice
with a chain saw
up in toronto one winter.
the detail was amazing.
he even had sliced bread
on the table. oh really,
she says, what kind
of bread, whole wheat?
nah, probably wonder
bread, i tell her,
which makes her laugh.
hey, she says,
taking the burger off
the grill and putting it
on a bun, i lost a
watch once on the beach,
it's got my intials
on it. so if you come
across it with your metal
detector, be sure to
get it back to me. okay?
i will, i tell her.
i most certainly will.
but be sure to write down
your intitials before
you leave so that
i don't forget.

doors

each day
with it's key
to turn,
and lock
to open to find
what lies
behind that
door.
the ring is
getting thick
with keys.
and the mystery
is not less,
but more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

i'm done with you

i don't need
another kiss from
you. i can live
without feeling
your skin
against mine,
your hand on
my shoulder,
or hearing
your voice whisper
into my ear.
i don't need to
know when
you'll be home.
i no longer can
lose sleep
over the likes
of you.
no, i'm done
with you. and if
you believe any
of that, well,
you have alot
to learn about me.

the best thrown ball

the best throw
of any ball
is the one not
thought of
while in motion.
and the same
holds true
of each word you
write, or
gift you give,
or call you make.
it's the smooth
spiral of ease
that puts it
where it needs
to be, soft into
the hands,
or deep within
the net as if
it had no other
choice to make
but swish.

pick a color susan

you receive notice
that someone you have
known has passed
away. someone you
worked for, and became
friends with. and
you remember her
laugh as she picked
the wrong color time
and time again, testing
each pink, each
blue, each mango orange
with wide brush
stokes, like windows,
on all the walls.
and this was how she
lived her life, wide open.
every color, every
road a possibility
towards fun. and her
absence, as was
her presence, is and
always will be a part
of who you are.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

marriage counseling

i'm so glad that
you both came in today.
i hope that these
sessions will be beneficial
and that we can smooth
out the rough spots
and get you two back
into a healthy loving
marriage. but before
we start there is coffee
and cake over there on
the counter, so please,
help yourselves
while i go over your
applications,
so you get up and go
over and your wife
says, hey, whatever
happened to ladies first,
do you mind, and you
say, but you don't
even drink coffee, or
like cake, and she
she says well maybe
today i do, and just
maybe she has hot tea
there too. maybe she
has some cookies over
there. so you shake your
head and mumble to yourself.
what did you just say,
she says. did you call
me a bitch. no, you
tell her, sneaking a look
over at the counselor.
i said i have an itch.
get the wax out of your
ears. and as you get your
coffee, you put a slice
of crumb cake onto
a paper plate and your
wife asks, why did you take
the largest piece?
and you laugh and say
maybe i'm hungry. well,
with that gut of yours
you shouldn't be eating
cake to begin with.
you never share, she
says, you are so freaking
selfish, this is why
we are here today. and
you look at her and say.
how many times this
week are you going
to wear that same
stupid yellow dress.
good god, how about
some variety. you're
too old to be wearing
a dress like that
anyway. oh really, she says,
and maybe you should try
some mouthwash sometime.
do you ever wonder why i
never kiss you anymore.
no, you tell her, i don't
wonder why, i'm actually
happy that you don't try
to kiss me anymore. it's
like kissing a dead
fish. a dead fish in a
yellow dress. bite me,
she says. you wish i'd bite
you, you tell her then
pour some cream into your
coffee and stir,
clinking the spoon
against the cup. excuse
me, your wife says pushing
you out of the way,
while she rummages though
the shelves looking
for a tea bag. there has
got to be one lipton
tea bag in this dump,
then you hear the door slam,
and you both look over
to the couch where
the therapist was
sitting, but she's gone.
the application ripped
in half on the floor. it's
all your fault your
wife says, as she finds
a tea bag and proceeds
to make a cup of tea.
hand me that spoon, no,
the other one. the one
you didn't lick.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

fireflies

you remember
the warm summers
of july. shoeless
in the cool grass
waiting for
the sky to light
up while fire
flies rose
out of nowhere
so easy to catch
that it made you
cautious and
gentle with what
they were. like
lady bugs dressed
for the night
in their pearls
and bright lights
flashing their
modest eyes. and
if the fireworks
were the dreams you
could never have,
the fireflies
were the ones
you could.

Friday, June 24, 2011

potato salad

my son called me
the other day
and asked me, dad,
what do you know
about potato salad?
and i said. alot.
where do you want
me to start. he
had never asked
me for advice before
about anything, not
love, or work, or
school, or saving
money, but this
i felt was a good
start. so i told him
to pull up a chair,
get a pad of paper
and a pen,
and write down
this list of things
he'll need. a bag
of redskin potatoes.
red onions,
red peppers, celery,
boiled eggs and
mayonaise. salt and
pepper. and then i
proceeded to tell
him how to make
potato salad. i'm
happy that we are
getting along so well.

crazy time

i once bought
a girl
a very nice watch
just because i
liked her.
it had a pearl
white face
with little
diamonds imbedded
within. in
the sunlight it
looked much
more expensive than
it really was,
but when i told
her that i had
met someone that
i wanted to start
seeing exclusively
she took it off
her slender wrist,
got a hammer
from the kitchen
drawer and proceeded
to smash it
while we talked
on the phone,
what was that i
asked her, and she
said that was the
watch you gave me.
what do you think
about that? and i
said, i think i
made the right
decision.

put it on the curb

i asked her
what she did with
all of her belongings,
the things she
didn't want to take
with her to her new
condo in the city.
there was so much
to get rid of in that
house. and she
told me that she put
it all on the curb.
one day a mattress,
the next day a dresser.
a lamp went next.
a few blouses that
she never wore anymore,
running shoes and heels,
the old tv from
the basement. and
slowly cars would
stop and load
up their trunks
picking through
the debris of her life
now changing.
one day, she said,
she sat out there
in her dad's
old favorite chair,
with the springs
coming out of
the cushions,
reading one of his
favorite books, for
whom the bell tolls,
and someone picked
up the entire chair
with her in it and she
ended up on a farm
in iowa. she was
sitting on a butter
churn for days,
at the curb until
someone picked it
up and brought her
home, the book still
in her hand.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

monkey talk

from her bedroom
window she can
hear the monkeys
across the street
in the zoo making
a woo woo woo sound.
and she shows me
this by making
the sound herself,
forming her lips
into an oval like shape.
and jutting her chin
out. nice, i tell her.
do it again, so she
does the sound again.
i was never
wild about monkeys,
i tell her, all
that crazy chatter,
and frenetic blinking
and head bobbing,
i always liked the seals,
so slick and smooth
and somewhat quiet,
but i'm changing my
mind about that now.

no coffee

why didn't you
make another pot
of coffee? you've
been up since six
o'clock this morning,
she says, holding
up the pot, shaking
it to demonstrate how
how empty it is.
i went out and bought
some donuts and a
paper, you tell her,
and hold the box of
a dozen chocolate glazed
donuts minus the two
you just ate up
to her. the paper says
we might be in the path
of a tsunami, can
you believe that,
you tell her,
pointing at the headline
and a photo of a
giant wave approaching
land. who cares, she says.
what the hell is wrong
with you? but why
didn't you make
more coffee? Jesus.
she says. you know i
need a cup of coffee
when i wake up. you can
be so selfish and lazy
sometimes. why do i
even put up with you?
this is just a symptom
of who you are, you
know that don't you?
if i wasn't here
there would never
ever be a fresh cup
of coffee in this house.
goddamn you. she
tightens the belt
around her pink terry
cloth cotton robe and
slams the pot down.
you hold up a donut,
do you want one?
they're really fresh!

prep and paint one week

it's a drug
house.
the windows
are blackened
out with
curtains and
blinds. the grass
is tall.
paint is peeling,
which is why
you are there.
and at various
points pale
skinny people
emerge from
the house blinking
in the sun,
bent like vampires
lost in
daylight. men
and women with
baggies in
their hands
come and go from
trucks and cars,
vans with faded
art like
washed tattoos
clinging to
the paint. you
hear music,
yelling, strange
arguments about
a dish left
out of the sink.
someone is singing
a song by
journey above
the frey. your
hand moves the brush
back and forth.
back and forth
back and forth
in the summer heat.

the white flag

i see you
waving
what appears
to be a white
flag from
your bedroom
window.
i run in
and up
the stairs
happily, so
eager to accept
your terms
and conditions
of surrender.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the straight line

your shoelace
untied
and broken
making you trip
is not necessarily
a portent
of the day
to come, but
perhaps just
a small reminder
of a weakness
within you,
that needs
to be tied
firmly into
a knotted bow
to keep you
walking in
a straight line.

wild fire

there is
something
burning
in the distance.
a plume of black
smoke has risen
like a tower
and the sky
is smudged low
and grey.
it could be trees,
a field
of brush, there
is nothing
but woods
in that direction,
dry soft fields
warmed in
the summer
heat. there are
ashes on
the wind
and with them,
i can still taste
that fallen
love on the tip
of my tongue.

roads less traveled

aren't you a little
self absorbed, she
says, while scratching
my back and rubbing
oil into my shoulders.
everyday, writing all
of this stuff down,
making up these little
stories and calling
it poetry. for your
information, you're
no robert frost buddy.
a little to the left
i tell her. it itches
badly, right there,
feels like a bug bite
or something,
ooh, ooh, there it
is, oh yeah. yes!
you got it. can
you knead those
muscles a little
deeper and harder,
don't worry about
hurting me, use your
knuckles and don't
forget the legs. i
love having my legs
rubbed. those are
the roads less
traveled. oh my god,
i'm in heaven.
okay, now what
were you saying?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

let's go dancing

i just love
to dance, she
says. don't you?
she wiggles her
hips, shimmies her
shoulders and shakes
her arms high
into the air.
i used to, i
tell her. i used
to go out dancing
five a week. i had
to buy a new
pair of wingtips
every other month.
but now i like
to tap my foot
on the floor
and keep the beat.
sometimes i'll
drum my fingers
on the table, or
clink a spoon
against a glass if
i'm really into
the music and having
a good time.
are you saying then
that you won't
dance with me
she says, with a pout
on her face. oh, no
not at all, i
tell her. i can
dance. i just
need alot of room.
alot of space
to dance the way
i like to. this
place is way
too crowded for
my style of
dancing. say, why
don't we finish our
drinks and go
back to my place,
put some records
on the old
turntable. i'll
show you some
dancing then. okay?

your apple

your apple
turned this
way, red
like a cherry
in the light
looks
good. there
is no clue
to the worm
burrowing
with all his
might
on the other
side. and
you do well
to hide him
from me
as you hand
me the apple
and tempt
me to take
a bite.

going to the vet

you take your dog
in for shots.
for teeth cleaning.
for nail clipping,
and to be weighed,
prodded and poked.
it's the jiffy lube
vet visit where at
some point someone will
come out with a chart
and say, you know,
we really should get
him a new kidney.
he's trembling in
your arms, too scared
to even bark, so
you put him down next
to his life long
nemesis, a cat.
he looks at you
with those enormous
brown eyes, saying
why would you do
this to me. i thought
we loved each other.
how could you?
and then the little girl
in pigtails comes out,
the doctor
in a pink baggy
jumpsuit, she smiles
and snaps a leash
around his neck
to lead him off
into the back rooms,
cooing his name, as if
they are developing
a friendship. i
see him making himself
weigh a hundred
pounds, turning himself
into lead, not moving
his feet, being
dragged on his paws
across the tiled floor.
and as he looks back
over his shoulder, he
shakes his head at
me and sighs, i
can see his lips
moving, saying, really,
like what the hell?

Monday, June 20, 2011

in the air

when you were
twelve you believed
that it was
possible to fly.
you read superman
comics religiously.
all you had
to do was suspend
disbelief and then
you would be up
in the air.
there couldn't be
even an ounce
of doubt within you.
you took small
practice leaps from
the picnic table
in the back yard,
you ran as fast as
you could on the lawn,
you put your arms
straight out,
locked your feet with
your keds tight
together, you
took larger jumps
off the front porch
and you waited for
the air to catch
under you and sweep
you upwards, past
the rooftops, the
trees and into
the clouds, free
from this world,
this gravity stricken
world, and so when
you did take off
it was no suprise,
none whatsover, but
what did cause
wonder was that you
have never landed
on solid ground
ever again. you
are still in the air
where you always
believed you
should be.

that was close

on my way out
of dairy queen,
licking the little
pink spoon from
my oreo blizzard
i see irma
my old girlfriend
on the street
carrying a wedding
dress. it's
under a cellophane
wrap, and is
white as white
can be. it's almost
silver it's
so shiny
and glimmering.
and we talk for
a few minutes
on the sidewalk,
how are you, i'm
fine, that sort
of thing. how
about this weather?
we don't talk about
the dress though
as she moves it
from shoulder
to shoulder. you
look good, she
says. so do you,
i say, lose weight?
yup, she says.
ten pounds. do
you want a lick,
i ask her and she
says tempting but
no way. and when
we part we kiss each
other on the cheek
and say, see ya.
her going one way
with her dress,
me going the other
way with my blizzard.

don't tell anyone i told you, but

if you call
up linda, she'll
tell you everything
about everyone.
she's the daily
news, the internet,
the backyard fence.
the hot line,
the grapevine, she's
got the inside
scoop on it all.
and of course,
she'll swear you
to secrecy on
your mother's life
that not a word
can be ever repeated,
and that you didn't
hear it from her.
sometimes i'll make
up things about
myself and tell
her just to see
how far and wide
it goes.

i'm on vacation

she says,
i'm on vacation.
she throws her
long arms up
into the air,
letting her
hair blow in
the summer wind.
i'm doing nothing.
not one thing, she
says. zippo. i
might open this
book, but that's it.
and then she
laughs and laughs,
puts her feet up,
turns her face
to the sun
and closes her
brown yes. oh, can
you move a little
to the left,
she says, you're
casting a shadow
over me and shouldn't
you be at work?
she wiggles her
toes, the nails
painted red
like strawberries.
did i tell you.
i'm on vacation.
it's true, she
says. it's true.

stay a little longer

stay a little longer,
it's raining out.
no need to travel
in the rain. just
lie there if you like,
i'll get us coffee
and toast, the paper.
the trains run all
day, all year, but
we might only have
this moment before
the rain stops,
before the day
begins and the skies
clear.

sheep herding

as the children
pour out
from the wide open
doors of the tired
schoolhouse
when the final
bell rings at
session's end,
the parents with
arms folded
wait on the walk,
at their cars and
vans, their stances
and faces showing
less of joy
and jubiliation,
and more of concern,
not unlike sheep
herders about to
to try for another
summer to corral them
and pen them in.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

is it raining

the round stone
whiteness of your
shoulders, cool
as spring ice
as you throw back
your black hair
and lean out
to see if there
is rain and you
see the blotched
road, the slight
silver trickle
against the light.
like slivers of stars
from last night
falling. yes you
say. stay put, no
need to get up,
it's raining.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

let the phone ring

she leans
not lightly
on the small
pill, her lips
and wrists
now stitched
like the bedazzled
smile of an unwed
witch. she lies
in her lithium
bed and rises
and falls like
steam from an
unshaken
lake below
moonlight.
and she rattles
the small
brown jar, white
capped with
hope and balance
her name smudged
ink from
her fisted hand.
don't run out of
air, don't go
broke, don't
leap from the bridge
just yet. she is
wired, she is wide
black eyed
and bent like
a hanger, dulled
and stiff in
the closet. there
is no way out,
no way in. let
the phone ring.

the future is not what it used to be

okay. i'm done
with traffic.
with road rage
and angry drivers
and riding bumpers
an inch away
at seventy miles
an hour. the bug
like progression
of cars moving
from lane to
lane. insanity.
i want my transportation
of the future. i
want my future now,
dammit. give me my
rocket pack, my
flying car, my
beam me anywhere
transporter. why
did they trick
us like that. it's
so so depressing.
this horse and buggy
world of four
wheels spinning,
grinding to a daily
gridlock hell.

the dancer

as she comes
on stage
all legs
and hair,
and grabs
the glimmering
pole like
a cat in heat,
and the music
starts,
and the blue
light
shadows her
enough to hide
whatever
imperfections
may be there,
she slowly
unzips, unbuttons
a blouse a skirt
and lets
it all drop
to floor,
and the lights
go round
and round, and
the music gets
louder and the
men inch up
further into their
seats, elbows on
the table
wiping away
the beer on their
lips, their mouths
open, ready to
devour her
before the next
one does
the same. it isn't
money, or adoration,
or love that
keeps her dancing,
keeps them coming
to see more. it's
more pure than that,
more true.

running

you see them run
in the morning,
at night with
glow stripes on
their shirts that
shine in the head
lights of cars
trying not to
hit them. they sag
and move under
the heat of summer.
these runners.
pounding their
feet into the black
streets, along
the roads, mile
after mile. they
are gaunt and tired
looking. worn
out from years
and years of this.
what are they
running from,
running towards.
the glazed look in
their eyes tell
you nothing. reveal
nothing, just a
hint of dread
about the next mile.

leftovers

when there is
nothing left
in the house
to eat and it's
two a.m., you
open the freezer
door and take
out lumps of
frozen boxes
of enchilladas,
a bag of biscuits,
and something
unmarked but wrapped
in foil. you
look at the micro
wave, you look at
the clock.
there is a full
moon in the window
when an hour
ago it was raining.
you turn on
the spigot and have
glass of water.
you toss everything
frozen away that
was frozen.
then go upstairs
to bed. you need
to make some changes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

erotic photos

you've made
some bad mistakes
before, but by
sending out those
tequila induced
photo session
snapshots of
yourself out to
your peeps and
new girlfriend, via
text and e mail
you may have
gone too far. but
you won't resign
from your job
at kfc. you refuse.
you know this job
inside and out.
you are the best
at dropping frozen
chicken legs into
a boiling vat
of oil and pulling
them out right when
they get crispy.
you tell your boss
that even abe
lincoln must have
been tracing out
a charcoal sketch
of himself and
sending it on
horseback to
crazy old mary
todd lincoln when
he was away at
the war. the history
books don't say it,
but she was crazy in
a good way, if you
catch my drift. all
the kids are doing
it, you tell
your manager, but
he says no. it's
a gots to go
situation. you're
a grown man for God's
sake, i'm sorry,
but you can't
be frying up
chicken wings and have
those photos of
you floating around
town. i'm sorry.
but you must resign.
hand me your apron
and hat, you can
have a coke on the
way out, if you'd like.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

guilt gnocchi

your mother
calls and says
it's raining. is
it raining there?
i've never seen
such rain before.
i had to close all
the windows.
and you say yes.
i'm five miles
away, it's raining
here too mom.
i'm having lunch,
she says. i heated
up some gnocchi
and sausage
from last night.
i froze the rest
in case you come by
this year, or
the next year. i
hope i'm still alive
to see you enjoy
them. what are you
doing sunday? or
are you still busy,
with whatever it is
that you do with
your life? i made
some pizzels too,
but you have to eat
them before they
go stale. sunday?
five o'clock? i'll
put a plate out.

Peapod

they'd know
within an hour,
she says, nodding,
sipping her tea,
wetting her finger
to lift the last
crumb of toasted
bread from her
china dish, her long
hands are strung with
purple veins, like
vines below the flesh.
i wouldn't die like
that, she says. i
wouldn't lie there,
like she did, unfound
for a week. i have
people. i have
friends. neighbors
who look out for
me and i look out
for them too. my mail
man would know. my cat
would cry. she looks
up from her plate
smiling but with
glassed tears
on her blue eyes. i
have a son in
california. she pauses
and sighs, but isn't
that what this all
about she says.
being loved? i don't
know i tell her.
sign here. i'm just
working for peapod.

blue shoes

you see your
blue shoes
under the bed.
they haven't been
worn in quite
awhile. they
are dusty and
laced with the thin
threads of
cob webs. the spiders
have a home.
but there was a
day, a month, a
season where
all you did was
wear those shoes.
blue shoes. in
the rain when there
wasn't rain. in
the cold of summer.
you were wet to
the bone with her.
so nice now to
toss them into
the bag, and leave
them at the curb.
no more blue shoes.

bad medicine

she shares her
darkness with a small
spoon. a dose
of doom or two a
day, if you will.
and we all have
our bottle of bad
medicine sitting
on a shelf
somewhere. it's
hard to crack
open, take a
sniff, and pour
it out for others
let alone yourself.
it's ancient
history.
you'd like to
be done with that
sickness and
relish in the scars
that show how
far you've gone,
how much you've
healed.

traffic

how slow the traffic
moves and snakes like
a white light beneath
the full summer moon.
it's midnight, too
late for so many cars
to be out driving.
but there you are.
inching forward.
neither leaving, nor
arriving, just sitting,
waiting for things
to break, for the roads
to clear and to get
home, to a place where
you have always
wanted to be.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

boy in the window

you like
the neighborhoods
that have
abandoned cars
on blocks
in the driveway.
the broken
screen doors
tilted on hinges.
the dogs
barking behind
chain link
fences. carboard
taped to
broken windows.
you ride slow
through these streets.
very slow and
easy. it's nearly
the same as
when you lived
here and you can
almost see your
young face staring
out of that
casement window
with a cowlick
and comic book
rolled in
your hand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

happiness

is there
anyone happier
than a child
licking an
icecream cone
on the first
day of summer
with no school
tomorrow, or for
months to come.
perhaps not, but
i come close
to that,
very close,
when i know
that tonight
i'll be
seeing you.

this old house

the floor
is tilted,
the window
frames
skewed. the door
doesn't close
all the way,
and there
are shingles
missing
from the roof.
the yard is
full of crab
grass
and the fig
tree is no
longer bearing
fruit. this
marriage
won't last
another storm,
let's both agree
that it's time
to pack,
to leave
separately,
to move.

don't say a word

go easy,
we've all been
there,
done that,
made the same
mistakes
over and over
again. just
relax. let it
go. forgive
and move on.
exhale, let
the sun find
your face,
close your eyes,
don't say a
word. be still.

going out for milk

my friend gina calls
me, she's gushing on
the phone. i'm in
love, i'm in love
i'm in love she
sings. it sounds as
if she's dancing around
the room. that's great,
i tell her. i'm so happy
for you. he just left
and we had the most
romantic time ever.
where are you gina?
i can hear airplanes.
i'm off the interstate
near the airport, motel
six. go on, i tell
her. well, she says,
we have so much in
common, we met at
the coffee shop in
the building where we
both work. now get
this, she says, he
orders a skim non fat
soy latte with no whip.
yes. so. that's my
drink, she screams.
we drink the same
drink, how cool is that.
and his kids all play
soccer. my kids did
too when they were
little. there is one
small problem though,
she says. what, i say.
he's sort of married.
i didn't know that
at first because he
doesn't wear a wedding
ring, he exercises
alot and he says it
pinches his finger.
he told me that he
hasn't had sex
with his wife in ages,
which confuses me because
of the baby seat in
the back of his car, but
they really really hate
each other and are just
staying together because
of the kids, their parents,
their dog, and for financial
reasons. right now i
can only see him every
other tuesday. what
about holidays, i ask
her, will you ever
share a holiday or
anything like that. of
course, she says, in fact
we plan to meet on
flag day and i did see
him on the chinese new
year. we had a blast
ordering in chow mein
and cripsy beef. veteran's
day is a possibility too.
he can be a little
spontaneous though,
he'll text me late at
night and say
something silly like
i'm going out for milk,
care to join me. which
is our code for, well
you know. it's all so
romantic and exciting,
my head is spinning, i
can hardly breathe. so,
so, what do you think.
isn't this wonderful?
yes, gina. it sounds
like fun. but be careful.
keep me posted when
you need that shoulder
to cry on. thanks sweetie,
you're the bestest.

Monday, June 13, 2011

the peace corps

tired of working
for a living
you go down to
the peace corps
office and tell them
that you'd like to
join, that you'd
like to offer
your services to
help the world
be a better place.
and they ask you
what you can do,
what are your life
skills, your talents
with which you'd
like to share. and
you aren't prepared
for such questioning.
but you need an
answer, something,
anything, so you tell
them about your
scrambled eggs, how
good they are, with
cheese, and onions,
little bits of
green pepper, and
you tell them that you
are a god with
a frying pan and
a pair of eggs, but
it has no effect on
them. they tell you
to fill out a form
and go home and wait.
they'll let you know
if they need you.
and you walk away
dejectedly. you feel
that it is the world's
loss to not taste
your scrambled eggs,
the happiness it
could bring to others.

wallpaper

there were layers
upon layers of thin
patterned paper,
like skin woven
upon itself, clouds
and wagons, steeples,
cows bent in pastures
over sunlit still
horizons. everything
a wet grey blue. paper
without memory, now
coming undone, under
my hand, moving
the stiff blade across
and down, tearing
at yesterdays, at
someone's long pondered
idea for bedroom
walls, where they
would lie against
a pillow with someone
they loved or didn't
love, and wonder
if their choices
had been otherwise.

small fry

you catch
the smallest fish
in the ocean.
it's the color
of a dull jefferson
nickel and has
small flat
eyes that are black
and tilt with
the soft light
of a cloudy day.
there is no
weight to this
fish, it lies
in the palm
of your hand
and vigorously
flips about,
stunned by
the recent
events of him
biting into
that silver hook
with a piece
of worm you tricked
him with. and
you stand there
for awhile, pondering
what to do,
what vegetables to
buy, to broil
or pan fry.

the dangers of smoking

she asks me
if i have any
cigarettes. just
one will do,
she says. i need
just a few drags
off of any old
cigarette and i'm
good to go. sorry, i
tell her, i don't,
but there's a gas
station across
the street, run
over there and get
a pack, i'll sit
here and wait for you.
unfortunately she gets
struck by a car on
the way back when
she doesn't look
both ways before
crossing, the
fundamental rule
in crossing any
street. but i get
to her before she
passes out, or dies,
and i light a cigarette
for her, putting it
to her lips, she
smiles and takes a
deep drag, then
blows out a few
smoke rings while
an ambulance screams
on the way. i'm
going to be okay
aren't i, she says,
between puffs,
sure i tell her,
you're gonna be just
fine, here hold
your head up
a little, there's
some more left.
thanks, can you do
me a little favor
if i pass out, what
i tell her, anything.
can you put a mint
in my mouth if i lose
consciousness?
sure, i tell her.
not a problem.

career move

you start a new
career selling
life insurance.
but nobody wants
to buy, or else
they already have
life insurance.
and you plead
with them, use
guilt and tragedy
as ploys, like
your mother often
did to you for
various reasons,
but still no one
wants to sign
on the dotted line.
you tell them that
if they loved
their children,
their pets, their
relatives, that
they should buy at
least a term policy,
it's so cheap, it's
silly not to buy it,
do you really want
a pine box coffin,
some shabby way to
go out, i must say.
but they slam the
door in your face,
they pull the shades
and duck down onto
the floor until you
stop ringing the
doorbell and leave.
by the end of your
first day on the job
you decide to quit.
you throw your brief
case off the bridge
and accidentally
hit someone about to
jump, making him
teeter, and then
slip into the river
a thousand feet below.
he could have been
your first customer,
but it's too late
now. you shrug and
walk away. you need
a sandwich and to
rethink your next
career move.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

flowers

i didn't plant
those flowers that
bloom in my
backyard, nor did
i water them
when they came
up so bright and
colorful, out
of nowhere, no
pruning or trimming
away the weeds
or vines.
i did nothing
to cause them to
grow, and be there,
and yet there
they are.
and here you
are too.

delayed

on your way into
town on a steamy
night, before
the sun settled
and cooled the streets
into darkness,
the traffic suddenly
thickened, and the roads
were blocked up
ahead. so you made
a turn, and another
turn, going in a
circle of sorts,
but deeper into
the mix of whatever
was holding things
up. there seemed
to be no easy way out
and finally you
reached a street
where a few cops stood
casually by, leaning
on a barricade
and you could go no
further. and then
the parade began.
it was gay pride day
in dc and you had
a front row seat in
your car as the
flat bed trucks rolled
by full of shirtless men
in wedding gowns
and high heels,
and hardhats, rodeo
cowboys with boots
and chaps, and
whips and chains,
and motorcyle leather.
it was smorgasbord
of sexuality on
wild display with
floats and balloons,
flags and horns
blaring. and on
the sidewalks were
families eating
sandwiches, children
licking icecream
cones, all who had
come to watch, both
straight and gay
couples, laughing,
kissing in the sultry
night air, while
the band played
on somewhere,
somewhere and i sat
in my car, with the engine
off eating marshmallow
circus peanuts that
i had strangely bought
at a gas station two
hours ago when i
started out.

the graduate

dad, he says.
you have no food.
how can you have
absolutely no food.
you have seven bottles
of different salad
dressings and a
bottle of vodka,
a cut lime and
yet no real food.
he's standing at
the refrigerator
door in his cap
and gown, a freshly
printed degree
rolled in his hand.
the ink still wet.
he has no job,
no money, no idea
yet as to what
tomorrow will bring,
and yet he's hungry.
you have nothing
to eat here dad.
i'm going to mom's
house. she's having
pot roast tonight
and potatoes. and
she made a boston
cream pie for
dessert. hold on
i tell him, let me
get my coat. i'm
going with you.

venus

she leans on
the sill
and points upwards
with certainty
and says, that
right there,
the tiny blink
of bluish light
is venus. and i
choose to believe
her, i know so
little about
the stars
and planets, or
love for that
matter here on
earth. i could
maybe fill a thimble
with what i know for
sure about women,
or stars, but i've
always been willing
to learn,
and to believe
everything at first
blush, even a
tiny sparkle of
light in the sky
being venus, or you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Helga and Her Friends

there used to be
a drive-in
movie theater
on central avenue
where we would
go as teenagers
to watch such movies
as Helga Goes to
Summer Camp, which
showed a middle
aged german woman,
named helga and her
pasty white
friends playing
volley ball with
their blouses off. it
did put a damper on
things when someone
would mention that helga
looked exactly like
jimmy's mom. but they
seemed to be
having the time of
their lives as they
jumped and jiggled
in the austrian
sunshine. it was not
a pretty sight, but
we were young and
desperate and had
maybe three dollars
in our pockets.
the sound was garbled,
as if we were underwater,
and the heavy metal
speaker crackled in
our ears as we dined
on shrimp rolls and
hot dogs from
the concession
stand. sometimes
there would be a dawn
to dusk night, and
at the end of the
five or six horrible
B movies, you got
free coffee and donuts.
but we never made
it to that point.
we'd had enough of
Helga and her friends
and after two or three
subtitled movies
we rolled out across
the hilly gravel lot
and headed home.
still hungry.

chain letter

the letter says
that God will
bless you and great
things will
happen in your life
and in the lives
of your loved
ones if, and only
if, you immediately
send this letter out
to twenty people
within ten minutes
of reading this.
i shrug and disobey
the order, and mumble
something like, God
i hate this kind
of e mail crap, but
immediately i grab
my rabbit's foot
that's on my key
chain and begin
to rub it's velvety
soft fur.

cat's feet

some of us
have disappeared.
not lost,
but chosen
to go under
and away. to
slip into the fog
of time never
to be heard
from again. it's
a strange thing,
this shadow
and memory of those
who chose
to leave without
a word, or
sound on small
cat's feet.

the milk carton

when i
went to pour
the last few
drops of milk
onto my cereal
and saw your
smiling face
on the carton,
even though
you had just
left ten minutes
ago. i knew
i was in
trouble. i was
not only
out of milk.
i was apparently
out of you.

one foot in

it's clear
this pool
of water that
is you. i
can't see
quite to
the bottom
just yet,
but i like
and feel
what i see
so far
with one
foot in. a
younger
man would
have plunged
head first
by now.

Friday, June 10, 2011

nabokov and texting

in a letter to his
wife vera, while
on a book tour
through the united
states, vladimir nabokov
wrote, if it weren't
for you, i would have
gone to Morocco as
a soldier, and as i
read, and pause
and stare out the window
i can't help but wonder
if the romance of
our day can stand
up to the romance
and sweetness of the past.
and so i look at my
cell phone, at my
last text message to my
new girlfriend natasha
in moscow, and it says,
yo, what up girlfriend,
what are you wearing?
and i know that things
haven't changed too much.
well, okay. maybe
just a little.

these clouds

these clouds,
these hills
laid out
across the low
sky, so blue
and full of rain
and thunder.
they look as
if they have
always been
there and will
never leave,
these monuements
of pain,
but trust me.
they will, just
let it rain
for awhile, let
it rain and rain
and rain, let
the sadness
soak you to
the bone. and
in time, not
yours, you'll
come out
the other side.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

be careful

careful not
to spill
that wine
on the white
rug. it's
the only
bottle i
have, and i'm
out of stain
remover. in
fact i'm
running low
on lots of
things these
days, patience
being one,
money being
the other.
affection is
on that list
too. so be
careful with
the wine, i'm
not in the mood
for spills.

travelling man

it started by accident.
i was taking some old
luggage out to the trash,
rolling it towards
the dumpster,
when my neighbor spotted
me, and asked me where
i was going, vacation,
a trip somewhere exotic,
where to buddy? and i
hesitated, thought for
a moment, and then told
him the fiji islands
for some needed R and R.
he smiled, and said wow.
how cool is that? take
a bunch of pictures,
don't forget sunscreen.
wow, i am so jealous.
and when he walked away,
smiling, i thought
to myself. hmmm,
and kept going pulling
the suitcase
past the trash pile
on the curb for thursday
pick up. instead i went
around the corner, to
the coffee shop, and
the same conversation
ensued, and i told
everyone bermuda, or
paris, or china. i told
them how i was traveling
the world these days,
exploring, expanding
my horizons.
everyone was so happy
for me, so thrilled to
see me going somewhere.
so now the suitcase
is covered in stickers
of the places i've never
been to, and everyday
i wheel it out the door,
no matter where i'm
going. sometimes i'll
make a lunch and put
it inside. it makes me
happy to make others
so happy.

book by it's cover

she says that
you're too good
looking to have
any depth. it's
a contradiction.
life doesn't work
like that.
i see you as
a shallow, on
the surface kind
of guy. and i
tell her, thanks
for the observation,
but no.
i'm not that good
looking, in fact
i'm quite ordinary
without the botox
and eye tucks,
but you pretty much
have the other
stuff right.

fashionista

these new shoes
i'm wearing
i bought because
of you. they
are italian.
go ahead touch
them, feel that
buttery soft
leather. it
feels like a
piece of veal.
i could eat
these shoes if
i got hungry
enough. but like
i said, i bought
them because of
you, so i won't
eat them. you
dress so nicely
all the time,
i just wanted to
step it up a
little and show
you that i care.
i figured that
you wouldn't
keep seeing me
if i kept showing
up in flip flops
and shorts. i really
hope you like them,
next week, long
pants.

there's something i need to tell you

she reaches across
the table and looks
into my eyes, takes
my hand and says,
there's something
i need to tell you
before we go
any further with
this relationship.
i sigh and take a
deep breath. i've
been down this road
before, with the
married women, the
woman with seven
kids, the woman who
who worked as a sex
phone operator,
the stripper, the
woman who wasn't a
woman, or maybe
there is a disease
lurking or money
problems, kid issues,
a prison record,
a jimmy leg, or
something, etc. etc.
and so i take a sip
of my drink, smile,
and say, so what is
it. and she says,
well, i'm a Quaker.
i thought you needed
to know, which makes me
stand up on my stool,
throw my arms into
the air, and yell out
to the bartender, drinks
for everyone, on me.
keep em coming.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the book club

okay, let's begin,
does everyone have a
drink, some cookies.
there's coffee brewing.
who wants to start.
ginny, yes? i'm sorry,
but what book
were we supposed to read?
breakfast at tiffany's,
by truman capote, oh,
right, i loved that movie.
george peppard, and ummm,
what's her name, the skinny
brunette with big eyes.
wonderful actress.
yes, linda, go ahead.
i didn't have time to read
the whole thing, i had
to take the kids to
swimming lessons all week,
but what i skimmed in
the van seemed
great, the imagery and
dialogue was outstanding.
wasn't he gay, cathy says,
that truman capote. he
had a really squeaky voice.
donna goes to the kitchen
and gets some coffee,
you know, she says,
my sister told me on the phone
the other day, speaking of
gay, that her son is gay,
or maybe he's just
experimenting, but she saw him
kissing the gardener,
carlos out by the pool
the other day.
chelsea chimes in, is he
any good, laughter ensues.
no, i mean as a gardener,
my hydrangeas are dying,
i don't know if it's
the heat or the insects
that are killing them.
so, anyway, about the
book, did anyone here
read it. silence. okay,
who saw the movie,
everyone nods and says
yes. loved the movie,
and that song, moon river.
you can't get that song
out of your head once
you hear it. audrey hepburn
was her name, betty says.
remember the part where
the little kitty runs
out of the cab in the rain,
oh, i cry everytime
i see that part. i loved her.
she's dead now, cancer,
yes, big smoker, like
jackie O. oh, really,
i didn't know jackie
smoked, yup. two packs
a day, every day. that's
how she stayed so skinny.
oh, the tragedy of her
life. can you imagine.
linda crosses herself,
God forbid, then takes
another cookie from
the plate on the table.
what kind of cookies are
these, they are so yummy!
i must get the recipe.
so what are we reading
next week?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

pull the shades

just let me sleep
for awhile, okay.
i'm tired, i'm
beat, yes i miss
you too, but
pull the shades
get the fan going,
dim the lights.
you can lie here
next to me, but
no talking, or
reading or moving
around and no making
any moves under
the sheets, i know
your style. just
let me sleep, let
me sleep for
awhile, pull those
shades and come here.

i'm not that lonely

i was feeling lonely
the other day, for
about an hour or so,
and had a mild case
of the blues.
it was raining and
cold, and the power
was out, but there
was nothing on
tv anyway, and
the internet was down,
so i went out and
bought a cat at
the cat store. i got
a box too, and some
sand, a collar
that jingled a little
and some flea powder.
she's in the bathroom
now with the door
closed. i think it's
a she, she's got alot
of hair, one of those
mountain cats that
don't meow but howl.
she's not scratching
at the door but
banging her head. as soon
as the power goes back
on i'm taking her
back. i'm not as lonely
as i thought i was,
i guess.

Mall Surgery

i was at the mall
the other day
eating a cinnabon,
waiting in line
for some liposuction
work around my
hips and thighs
and from that little
pocket of jelly
under my chin
when i spotted
my old boss from
the IT office, he
had a mop and a
broom and was pushing
his janitor cart
towards the food
court for a clean
up. we both nodded
hello, but said
nothing. then i
licked the icing
off of my wrapper,
balled it up and
sent it sailing
towards the trash
can he was pushing,
it went in dead
center and he
turned around and
gave me a thumbs
up for affirmation.

natasha

she finds me
on a dating site.
she's from russia
and sends me photos
of herself in a dress,
in a long coat,
in shorts and a
sleeveless blouse,
and then finally
with nothing on.
she's young, she's
lean and blonde
and beautiful. she
was raised on a farm
milking cows
in the ukraine. she
tells me that her skin
is like butter,
and not the hard
stick butter either,
but the kind in a
little tub
that's always soft.
she says that she's
in love with me.
that she has told
her family about me,
and that they are all
so happy for the both
of us. she sends me
a photo of her
passport and tells
me when she will be
arriving. she is all
packed, her family
is driving her
through the cold
wind swept fields
and snow of russia
to the airport. she
only needs one thing
and then she will be
mine and we will live
happily ever after
despite our thirty
five years in age
difference. she only
needs nine hundred and
eighty five dollars
sent electronically
to her bank account
in moscow. i am so
conflicted standing
here at the bank waiting
for the doors to open.

Monday, June 6, 2011

nature

i was working
in my yard
the other day.
likely story, i
know, but i was
thinking about it,
which is very much
like doing it.
sometimes i get
callouses on my
hands with just
pondering a rake
or hoe, or shovel
and what must be
done. i try not
to look out
the window just
to avoid these
very thoughts. i
believe in nature
taking it's
course, sort of
like us. but we
both see where that
leads and it's
not a pretty sight.

saturday at the lake

you see a kid
with a few balloons.
they are pink
like his belly
which sticks out
like a melon
from under his
striped shirt of
red, yellow, blue.
his face is smeared
with some sort of
candy, or icing, you
can't be sure, but
he has these balloons
while his mother
stands behind him
in her white shorts
scraping something
off her shoe with a
stick she found in
the woods, and the lake
is there, and ducks,
and people throwing
pieces of bread from
their hot dog buns
into the water. up
on the hill the band
begins to play something
by john philip sousa,
and the kid lets
go of his balloons,
and screams, and the
ducks take off, splashing
the water, and the mother
keeps scraping her shoe
while talking on
her cell phone, and
in the trees the deer
wait patiently for
nightfall.

request list

my neighbor loves
to sing. she can
sing anything, anything.
from a broadway
show to opera. from
pop to classic rock.
i hear her in the
shower, in the back
yard, walking her
dog, constantly
humming or singing
a tune. it's beautiful
but i wish
she'd mix it up a
little, she seems
to be stuck on just
a few songs, and it's
mostly elton john,
not that there's
anything wrong with
that. but tomorrow
i'm slipping a list
of requests under
her front door and
hope she gets the
message.

shake and bake

standing there
in the kitchen
beating egg
whites
and sugar, butter
and salt in your
white apron
and little else,
reminds me of
why we fell in
love. or at least
one good reason.

what are you doing tuesday night?

she says, i don't
want to be your
B side girl, your
go to last minute
replacement because
your date coudn't
make it on friday
night. i don't want
that late hour
text, or call to
see if i'm available.
i don't want to be
on your back shelf,
on the bench waiting
for a time at bat,
circling in the air
like a plane that
has to wait for
the runway to clear,
i don't want to be
leftovers wrapped
in the freezer waiting
to be warmed up
when nothing else
appeals to you,
are you getting this
message, and no
i'm not available
tuesday! it's
saturday night, and
tell me by wednesday
or lose this number.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

the gentle thief

time is
a thief,
a gentle
but cruel
cat burglar
who works
not only
the night
shift, but
the day
shift too,
and he works
quietly,
cutting
the glass,
turning
the screws,
eating
the bread
upon your table.

working at the zoo

i see you at
the zoo with your
new man, sheldon,
i believe his
name is. you are
both standing
by the elephant
cages eating cotton
candy, the pink
kind. and you
know how i feel
about cotton
candy. i think
of awful things
to say to you, such
as your new boyfriend
looks like he
should be on the
the other side
of the bars
eating peanuts,
but i don't. i just
keep sweeping up
shells on the sidewalk.
working here at
the zoo has changed
me. i'm a nicer,
better person.
i now see the animal
in all of us.

love minus one

your year
of twister
like emotions,
now bottled
up and safe
within, with
no poems
of love, or
loss leaking
out ever, not
ever again,
you feel safe
in your next
day, your
love minus
one routine.

run boy run

your dog is off
his leash.
i saw him running
across the road
towards the woods,
his blonde coat
glistening in the sun.
he was smiling,
his tail was
wagging, his leash
was dragging
beside him, his
collar was loose
around neck,
he had broken free
from your yard, from
your instructions
to sit and beg,
to roll over and
play dead. your
little treats
couldn't keep
him there, nor
could the punishment
of sting from
the electric fence.
he's galloping now,
he's gone, he has
that sweet taste
of freedom in his
mouth and he won't
be coming back.
i am that dog.

the long day

how slow
the sun goes
down, it's nearly
nine, and
the dry wind
is soft as it
circles our
skin. the light
appears not
to be coming
from anywhere,
it's just there
and we wish for
nothing at this
moment, there
is no place
we need to be,
and there is
no rush to see
this moment
end, for darkness
to settle in.

off the list

she's taken me
off her christmas
card list.
her party list,
her go to list
for saturday night.
she's made a
little box
of things i left
behind, a watch,
a book, a coat.
and all of this
will be returned
not soon, but
when the season
of summer deepens,
all in good time.

on the train

as she tunnels
home, over bridges
and water, through
the underground
carved out below
the trees, and land,
and the flicker
of sun, rains
into the empty cars
where she leans
on the warm seat,
she dreams of sleep,
of love, of
mornings, when she
isn't on the train
with a roll of wheels
below her, the steel
rails glistening
with sparks and shine
and heated bends
towards home.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

vancouver

she told me, while
we sat out on the lawn
and the summer
stretched green
and warm before us,
and the stars were out,
she told me about
riding horses into
the ocean, when she
was a girl in
canada, galloping
on the sand, then
into the blue bright
waves, and how the
horses didn't struggle
but listened and went
in, their heads held
high, their legs
strong against the
current, and then how
suddenly, the horses
were swimming and
you couldn't hold on
to the reins, how
you slipped off,
you floated and
separated from your
horse as he swam
beside you, unafraid.
she told me all of
this, then began to cry.
we were girls then,
she said, we were
still just girls.

the gift

i thought that
by buying her a
pony, that i'd
be in. i'd have
sealed the deal
with our fragile
relationship, but
instead she got
on the pony and
rode away with
a cowboy. no more
ponies for me.
it's back to
kitchen gear from
now on. a blender,
or a set of steak
knives, no, forget
about the knives.

skinny minny

she says does it
bother you that i only
weigh eighty-four
pounds, and i say no.
not at all, i admire
someone who watches
their weight and
tries to stay in
shape. in fact,
it makes your eyes
look bigger, more
expressive. you have
very lovely bones,
but i sort of look
like a boy with my
shirt off, she says.
and i say, well, so do
i, so in some crazy
way, we break even
on that point. i bet
you're a great body
surfer, here,
hold my hand and have
a bite of my sandwich,
the wind is picking up.

i don't get it

does that hurt,
that stick pin
in your eyebrow,
and that safety
pin needle thing
in your tongue,
does it make
you drool and spray
or slur your words,
here's a napkin,
you got a little
spittle at
the corner of your
mouth. i'm just asking.
and that hole in
your ear, the size
of a half dollar,
does it hurt, i
can see the clock
on the other wall
right through it.
but it looks infected,
or red with pain,
i'm just trying to
understand. and
that tattoo of your
mother, or grand
mother, and that
lobster on your hind
parts, or scorpion
will that wash off,
or is it there forever.
i don't mean
to be judgemental
or intrusive, i'm
just trying to
figure it all out
and understand why.
by the way, that hook
in your belly button
seems to have snagged
my belt, hold on,
i can shake it loose.

Friday, June 3, 2011

in the navy

you decide
to join the navy.
you like
their uniforms,
and the ocean.
you envision
being a sailor
on the seven
seas, although
it seems there
are more seas than
that, but who
cares. you want
to meet women
in tahiti,
toss coconuts around,
and peel bananas
with some
costa rican beauty.
but you don't
want to really
do anything on
the ship. you want
to be a look
out maybe, and
say things like
ahoy, or land ho
or iceberg dead
ahead. you could
work on your tan,
do push ups on
the deck under
the sweet blue
mediterrean skies
before you go
to port in venice
and meet someone
with a name like
marisa.

in the park

while lovers
linger on the park
benches, arm
in arm, faces
flushed with
something like
hope, their legs
touching, their
world confined
to this moment
in time, when
all things have
stopped, you can't
help but stare
and stop reading
your book. this
unknown drama
before you is
so much more
endearing and of
interest to
your heart and you
want to place
the bookmark here.
right here on
this bench, for
this moment in
the park.

just a slow leak

while the plumber
leans over
the pipes and whistles
while his wrench
turns a bolt, or
two, and he slips
in a gasket, then
writes up his
bill for five
hundred dollars
for an hour's work
you stare at all
of your degrees
up on the wall,
and wonder if
perhaps you've
made a mistake
with the choices
in your life, you
aren't sure, but
when you talk to
your therapist
at noon about this
very thing, you'll
more than likely
think the same
things about her too.

before you leave

come here
and kiss me.
don't worry.
i'm not contagious
or sick,
or in love
with you. what
we have is
something less,
and yet, good.
and sometimes
good is all we
have to go on.

where are you

there is no
you, not really,
there is someone
that wakes up in
your bed, but it
isn't you. you are
much younger, the
years have not gone
by. there is more
in front of you
than behind. time
is on your side.
and yet, your bones
ache, as you slowly
move to the edge
of the bed, and
rise with caution.
you find your
glasses, your
slippers, your robe.
you turn on the news.
you wait for water
to boil to make
your tea, but this
is not you, you are
already, out the door,
your hair drying
in the summer sun,
your feet taking
you on a run through
the thickness of
green woods.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

she wants me back

she's got a new
boyfriend, i've
seen her walking
hand in hand
with him around
town and he
looks alot like
me, but with more
hair, and he's
taller and ten
years younger,
thinner and more
manly and muscular,
and drives a
mercedes, but other
than those minor
things, he looks
exactly like me,
as if i don't know
what she's up to.
she wants me back.
it's so so obvious.

theology

when i'm not
on the phone
talking with
friends, i like
to talk to
God, she tells
me hurriedly. oh
really, i say,
and what's that
like, i ask
her. what do
you and God
discuss? and
she says, well,
he's pretty
much quiet,
because i am
so gabby, even
my friends say
that i should
come up for
air sometimes.
i can be pushy
on the phone,
it's the way i
am. i just have
alot to say about
alot of things,
you know? but God
is very patient
with me, he lets
me go on and on
and on about
just about
anything that
comes into my
mind. for instance
my sick cat who
has a liver
problem, or if
i lose my car
keys again.
God can be very
helpful that way.
He's very
understanding,
God is, but
you sound nice
too. maybe we
should meet
for coffee sometime
and discuss
God further. I
think he can
help you too.

membership

there is nothing
that i feel
the need to join.
no book club,
or gym, or group
of travelers
on a bus. no
religion, or camp,
or reunion. i cringe
at the thought
of belonging
to something that
has membership.
i can't show
you my savings
card, or stamp
on the back of my
hand that lets me
in. i prefer
to get out of
line and go around,
or not go
at all. don't
follow me, and
i won't follow
you. it's best
that way.

kiss

these lips
have no
memory of a
first kiss.
only the last
one, seems
to linger
and want more.
and what that
says about
love, i don't
know. but
it's part of it,
i think.

these clouds

unsettled, these clouds
are. undecided, like
lovers, bruised with
a first fight, on
which way to go. the
tumble of blue and violet
and white, braided
into loaves that lie
there, awaiting not
night, but morning
and the fresh start
of daylight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the new dog

the new dog
does not remind
me of the old
dog. the new
one doesn't
bark, or whine,
or beg while
i eat, or drag
his bag of food
to his bowl
across the kitchen
floor.
the new dog
doesn't hog
the bed, lying
sideways, or
howl at the moon,
or chase cats.
he isn't in middle
of us, as i
make a move on
a saturday
night trying
to unzip
your complicated
dress. no.
the new dog is
no fun like
the old dog was.

i'm in

she says with
a sigh, brushing
the hair
from her eyes,
fanning herself
with an open book
of love poems by
t.s. eliot.
i don't like
this game, this
dating, there are
so many lost
and wanting
souls out there,
but like them,
i'm too lonely
not to toss
the dice.

the secret

although i wish
you hadn't told
me. your secret
won't get out.
i promise.
it's here to
stay. right
here, you tell
her pointing
at where your
heart used
to be. i'll
never tell a soul
about the mischief
you've been up
to. no one
needs to know
what you've
done. not even
your husband.
but you should
come clean at
some point,
and leave me
out of this.

a new day

the car won't
start, the milk
is sour. the egg
you cracked open
is green. there's
no hot water
for the shower.
that rash on
your leg looks
like poison ivy.
it itches beyond
belief. there's
a salesman at
the door and your
ex wife is on
the phone with a
list of things
you need to do
and where to send
the checks. quickly
you take off
all your clothes
and climb back
into bed. you stare
at the ceiling,
at a bee circling,
circling, waiting
his turn.

saving the world

she loved
to march.
save the whales.
abort
the babies.
stop cancer
now. peace.
no war.
free speech,
equal rights
for straights
and gays.
she had all
the ribbons,
all the t-shirts.
animal rights,
oil soaked
penquins,
the elephants
and hummingbirds
and she marched
for everything
and everyone.
mile after mile,
disease
after disease.
her children
and her husband
gave up
eventually
on where
she was on
any given day.
she was saving
the world, but
had no world of
her own.

go to work

i have to go
to work now.
no, seriously,
i have this job
where i get up
and go and make
money. i know,
i know, sometimes
it seems that
i'm just goofing
around most of the
time, and well,
sometimes i am,
but on occasion
i have to get out
and make some dough
rey me in order
to continue on
with this so called
life i've gotten
myself into. so
please, i have to
go now. there's
a ladder i need
to climb. text me
later, call me,
something, something.

estee lauder

late at night
while walking home
from elaine's
apartment in
the city,
under the summer
moon with a spring
in my step,
whistling a tune,
tucking my shirt
in, i stumbled
and fell after
being struck
from behind
by someone
demanding my wallet,
my money, my
phone and keys.
i recognized
the perfume she
was wearing, in
fact i had bought
it for her.
she screamed at me
as i rolled over,
holding my head,
how could you do
this to me, she
bellowed, how,
how, how. she
looked beautiful
in the moonlight.
there was passion
in her eyes.
i loved that
perfume on her,
she looked lovely,
despite the fact
that she was now
poking me with
the steel tip
of her umbrella.

marie

my friend marie
wants to get
married. again.
those twenty three
loveless years
with her husband
and traumatic end
has put her in
a romantic mood.
or so it seems.
let's do it
again she says.
let's walk on
fire, let's dive
into the deep
end without
so much as testing
the depth, the
rocks below,
the temperature,
the sharks that
circle with those
dull grey fins.
i know i can make
it work this time
she sings. i
have the dress,
we just need a
place and a cake.

black dress

please, don't
wear that black
dress. i'm in
a fragile
state of mind
and might say
things i don't
normally say,
i might even
confess things
that only a priest
should hear, so
don't wear
the black dress.
it could be
dangerous.

going downstream

an inkling
of interest,
just a small
rain drop
of a kiss,
can lead
to a deluge
of affection
and put you into
the deep pool
of adoration
which pushes you
down the stream
of lust and desire,
and that in turn
over time, can
take you on
a journey into
the ocean of love.

Hazel

you reach into
the drawer
for a spoon, but
there is none,
a dish, no luck.
a glass, or
clean cup, still
nothing, all
is in the sink,
dirty with a
week of cooking.
and the mop,
dried and hard
with no chance
of soaking up
the suds and dirt
along the floor,
no bags for
the vacuum, or
rags to wipe
the dust, where
is this dust coming
from? and laundry,
that too, piled up
like mt. vesuvius
on the basement
floor awaiting
wash and folding.
where o where is
my hazel to do all
of these mundane
chores.

how dare they

i understand
your anger
in being criticized,
our skin
being as
soft and fragile
as a butterfly's
wings.
how easily we
bristle at
the unkind word,
or finger
pointed at some
blemish. our
babies are
our words, our
songs, and art,
how dare anyone
come and say no,
please stop.

over writing

you've lost
the beauty
of your room
once so clean
and sparse,
by hanging so
many pictures
on the walls,
why ships, why
moutains, why photos
of lost loves
and dogs. clean
and bright has
become chaotic
and dull
by placing too
many pillows
on the bed, too
many layers of
curtains and sheers,
of chairs, and
mirrors. what was
the room you
so loved. where
is it now, buried
within somewhere,
behind the plants,
and three colors
of paint and
a border of
daffodils.