Friday, September 30, 2011

chainsaw

you see a madman
walking down
the street with
a chainsaw in
his hands,
it's whirring
loudly and there
is a look of
crazy in his
eyes, so you
cross to the
other side, and
then you see your
soon to be
ex-girlfriend emily
coming up
the sidewalk
heading directly
towards you with
a handful of
emails that you
sent her late last
night while
finishing off
a bottle
of pinot noir,
you quickly run
to the other side
and take your
chances there.

the empty boot

as the fireman
puts his boot out
on the street
corner, and the
man on the stoop
has his hand open
for whatever spare
change you can
spare, and when
the doorbell
buzzes with someone
needing a donation
to keep the march
of dimes marching,
and when
the phone rings
from goodwill,
the good samaritans,
or clothes planet,
the lighthouse
for the blind, or
the purple heart
and what not,
you wonder if there
is room for you
out there on
the line,
when your cup
is empty and needs
to be filled too.

the light

your sunshine
is the light above
your bed,
that swinging
bulb with a long
grey string, where
moths and flies
have gathered
in a choir of
buzzing prayer.
a congregation
of misguided
hope, thinking
wrongly that
light equals
happiness and
when the light
goes out, when
the string is
pulled and nothing,
what then? where
is there to
turn when
faith darkens.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

a better place

let's go down
the road. it's a
better life
down there. right
over the hill,
beyond the trees,
across the lake.
come on, let's go.
the sun is shining,
the moon is set
pretty in the night
sky. let's hurry
before we're old,
there's a better
place down the road.

books

i remember the time
i came home from
work and all of my
books were packed
in boxes. salinger,
hemmingway, faulkner,
steinbeck and
o'connor, tucked
and stacked neatly
into cardboard
boxes while my ex
wife wrote with a
magic marker on
the top in bold
black letters.BOOKS.
what the hell, i
said what's going
on here? i'm giving
away your books,
you have too many,
some of these are
thirty years old.
you have hundreds
of them and you've
already read them.
maybe the poor would
like to read them
as well. i needed
more room on
the shelves for
my porcelain
figurines anyway.
apparently she had
never heard of
the public library.
and this was one
of many many clues
as to why we
aren't together now.

tomorrow night

i don't want to
die alone,
she says, i want
to meet someone
and die with
them. oh really,
i say to her.
sounds lovely.
two old skeletons
sitting in the sun
waiting to die.
that's not what
i mean, she says.
i want to live
a full life, but
to share it with
someone who loves
me and i love
them. to live out
our golden years
together. it's a
good goal, i tell
her. good luck
with that. and what
about you, don't
you want to be
in love and to
live out your
final years in a
happy relationship?
sure, i tell her,
but my goals aren't
quite as lofty
as yours.
i'm more worried
about tomorrow
night. if i can get
through that, and
nobody gets hurt,
well, that's
fine with me.

going home

be careful
in the rain,
she used to say.
stay warm,
stay dry.
and then she'd
wait until
the car would
pull away
before flashing
the porch
light and closing
the door with
a final wave.
of course none
this is true,
but wouldn't it
be nice if
it was.

bread money

my grandmother
used to hide
her money,
small bills
mostly,
in coffee cans,
in the sleeves
of old coats
and oven mittens,
a pulled up
floor board in
the basement.
a vent in
the ceiling.
she never believed
in banks,
in stocks and
bonds, any cash
she had, which
wasn't much
was folded
neatly into
squares and tucked
away for a rainy
day that never
came. she swore
she'd never go
hungry again.
and after
she died of old
age weighing
seventy pounds,
we're still
finding it.

at the races

i put almost
everything i had
on one horse.
one race down at
the track. i had a
hunch, a clue,
a tip that just maybe
this horse could
win despite the odds.
she came in last.
and as she staggered
across the finish line,
and i ripped my ticket
in half, tossing it
into the air, another
one caught my eye
on the infield grass.
long and lean,
as tightly wound
and beautiful as any
horse i'd ever seen.
this horse could
be the one i whispered
to no one. she runs
tomorrow. the rest
of what i have will
go on her.

under the hood

she doesn't walk,
she sashays
down the street.
her hair swinging
left then right
pretending that she
doesn't know
how cute she is.
it's not the hips,
or legs that pull
her along and
makes you look
a little too long,
no it's something
else, the engine
perhaps. what's
under the hood.

the dead sea

despite catching
the reflection
of sun and clouds
and an autumn
moon, like love
gone bad,
nothing can
live there,
no fish survive,
no plants
to speak of,
you can float
on your back
with ease, but
don't let it
fool you, it's
the enormous
salinity of
it all keeping
you afloat.
there is no
body of water
that sits
lower than
the dead sea in
it's brackish
depth
with no way
out, no way in.

brown shoes

your brown shoes
still fit.
still shine, await
your feet
if so inclined
to take a walk
or to skp down
the road, or even
dance perhaps if
the chance
arises. but no.
those were
the shoes you wore
with lily.
you can't toss
them out, and you
can't wear them
again. it's funny
how it works
that way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

no singing

it won't stop
raining, each
day is the same.
a grey drizzle,
a downpour, a
deluge. the creek
runs high,
the trees sag
and fall under
their own weight.
lightning creases
the sky
as the thunder
rolls. everything
is wet and full
of mildew and mold.
it's a world
of open umbrellas,
of raincoats
and boots, of
mud. there is no
singing in this
continual rain.
no fools are out
there dancing.

parmesan mashed potatoes

i want this to
last forever, or
at least for a very
very long time,
she says as we're
eating dinner.
and you say, what
are you talking
about, this meal?
whew. i'm already
stuffed,
although i could
use a small slice
of chocolate cake
if you want to
share a piece.
she rolls her eyes,
and takes a long
sip of her wine. she
leans her elbows
onto the table
brushes the hair
away from her face
and makes eye contact.
no, this, us, our
relationship, our
whatever it is that
we have going on here.
how come you
aren't eating
your mashed potatoes,
you say. don't be
so selfish, slide
some over here.
you nudge your plate
towards hers making
them clink romantically
together. she uses
her spoon and shovels
a mound of creamy
parmesan potatoes
onto your plate.
that's good, thanks.
i think we have
a good thing going
here, don't you? she
says. it's so rare
these days that two
people meet and get
along as well as
we do, don't you
think? you nod yes,
hmmm, hmmm. you arch
your eyebrows to
confirm what she's
saying. you start to
eat the potatoes.
still hot, you say.
wow. i can't believe
you don't like these,
good god these are
good. just have a
taste, go on. you
put your fork out to
her but she shakes
her head no. more for
me, then, you tell
her. more for me.
now what were we
talking about?

quaker oats

i was eating a
bowl of catholic
oats the other
morning, that's right,
catholic oats,
not quaker oats.
they take a full
hour to cook
unlike the quaker
variety which take
a whole minute.
the catholic oats
are also full of
sugar and berries,
a variety of nuts.
there are lot's
of calories packed
inside and come
in a stained glass
box. St. Peter
is on the front
wagging his at finger
at you like uncle
sam. i felt guilty
after the first
spoonful, but
kept eating, worried
sick about
purgatory and
hell, limbo
and questioning
if there was
any truth at all
in the food pyramid.
i kept kneeling,
standing, sitting
according to the
instructions on
the side of
the box. by bowl's
end i was full
and yet confused
and burdened with
angst. i may go back
to the simpler oats
at some point.
the quaker oats,
but for now i'm at
the mercy of
St. Peter and
catholic oats.

Monday, September 26, 2011

white birds

like ghosts,
clandestine
white birds
sliding on
dry wings
through
the frost of
trees hung
heavy with
last night's
snow. whose
birds are these
so out of season
one cannot
know, but only
wonder at how
lost even
beauty can be
in winter.

yellow raft

after floating
on a yellow raft
for what seems
like weeks you begin
to hallucinate.
you mend all of
your relationships
as you nibble on
your leather shoes
and sip water
that you've caught
and cupped in
your hands when
the rains came. you
loved the sun
when you were
young, but now
it's just a reminder
of another day
passing as you
drift and drift
across this
great unending sea.
the fish come up
to stare at you
wide eyed and cold
as they swim
like grey feathers
as one. this is
not the life you've
chosen and suddenly
as if a shooting
star, you realize
that neither was
the other one.

muses

a brilliant word
or two from
you is all i need
to go another
mile. a kiss,
a touch from
your long fingers
upon my soul
will keep
me fueled and
moving down
that mystery
highway where
there is no
setting suns,
just rising, rising
white pendant
moons.

elephant in the room

you smell as
if you've joined
the circus.
sawdust and
candied apples
stuck to the bottom
of your heels.
did you join
the big top
to ride the grey
elephants,
to fly across
the tent, shot from
a cannon.
is it the thin
man you are sleeping
with, or perhaps
the siamese twins.
how strange
of you to leave
and not give word
as to where
you are. but you
smell like
a cigar, cheap
wine, and grease
paint. i can't keep
waiting up
for you like this.
expecting
the sword swallower
to show up,
or the strong man
with his bulges
smirking behind
his mustache. this
relationship
is just not working
out. i hate
the circus.

mail day

unopened mail,
on the table,
still cold
and sealed within
their white
beds, can wait.
i'm full of
bad news, of
dire circumstances
told from
afar. yes. we
all need help.
but can't i wait
just another day
to not hear
about your
troubles. i miss
those days when
a card would
come and you'd
shake it out
for money not
sadness.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

delivering the post

in the peaceful
warmth of cold
on the corner
of winthrop
and audrey lane
you'd fold
and bend
the post and
slip the news
into plastic
sheaths to
throw onto your
list of porches
that circled
round on your
given route.
and those
mornings of
solitude, with
the dog
so patient
beside you,
the sky full
of half light
and stars
waiting for
the wagon to
roll, your
shoes to move
through the dark
streets
and work, as
much then as
you still do
to this day.

september

summer slips
out the back door
quietly
on soft feet.
she's leaving
a trail
of wet leaves,
of skies
dissolving quickly
under
the apricot sun.
it reminds me
of you, of love
ending.

discipline

i admire
the discipline
of the mountain
climber. going so
far, so high,
pressing on
despite the cold
the thin air
and danger of
it all, falling
into a crevice
to be stuck and
frozen until
the end of time.
and the swimmer
who swims the channel,
the sea, across
the ocean from
cuba to the keys
stroke after
stroke in the choppy
whip of waves
being nudged by
grey nosed
sharks with
lancer teeth. how
brave they are,
how strong minded
and willed. and
i think
about this as
i drive my car,
trying to make
it home, to
traverse the twelve
miles or so
without stopping
for coffee just
once. persevering
towards my
destination without
a grande coffee
in my hand. the
discipline is
elusive, my willpower
weak, not being
able to stop as
each coffee shop
goes by and by.
i'll never make it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

missing person

i saw your
signs
the other
day on
the telephone
poles
all along
the highway.
missing
person with
a small heart.
the paltry
fifty dollar
reward was
embarassing.
it was a picture
of me. i
don't take
to the camera
well and was
disappointed
on the photo
that you chose.
i wasn't feeling
well that day
after eating
a hot dog
at the carnival
and cotton candy.
i am in
the back seat
of a stranger's
car right
now, gagged
and in
a kennel cage.
they are on
their way
to your house.
i hope you're
happy now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

dr. phil

you come
home tired from
a long day
on the job, there
is paint and
dust in your hair,
two of your fingers
are stuck together
with acrylic
caulking. you walk
the dog
to the corner
and back, you
pour some food
into his bowl.
toss him the ball
a few times
then turn on
the t.v. . you
go to the kitchen
and make
a sandwich.
ham on rye
with a squirt
of mustard. you
grab a cold
beer, a handful
of baked chips.
you hate them
but you
don't want to
expand your
waist line
any further
than what it
is. you get
the jar of sweet
gherkins and lay
out a couple of
wet green pickles
onto your paper
plate. you
make the dog
sit and beg
then toss him
a doggy treat
which he swallows
without chewing.
finally you settle
in to watch t.v.
and eat your dinner.
dr. phil is on.
you love dr. phil.
the first words out
of his mouth, which
he says in every
episode are,
"you people need
to stop hurtin one
another. look at me,
not at her. when
she picks up a knife
to stab you, don't
you pick up a knife
to stab her. why
don't you pick
up a fork instead.
and use it to deflect
her stabbing
motion. she loves
you and is only
acting out on her
emotions." this of
course makes everyone
cry before
the commercial break.
you love this show,
it has such a way
of making you
thrilled with your
own life.

falling from the sky

as hundreds
of pounds
of melted metal
cascades from
the sky
in a burning
heap of spent
technology
and we dodge
the rain
of fire
as it burns
brightly
across the blue
curve of
horizon, i
wondered
if maybe we
shouldn't meet
sooner, rather
than later
for that cup
of coffee.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

hemmingway's cats

hemmingway,
given a cat named
snowball by
a seafaring captain
in key west
fell in love
with the polydactyl
feline and to
this day, long
after his
departure, they
have multiplied
and still roam
the grounds and
house at sixty
strong,with names
like emily
dickinson,
and thoreau,
hopping walls
and causing
mischief, many
with six toes,
like gloves
or mittens,
ready to pounce
on any clean
well lighted
place and sit
in his ghostly lap.

it's a good world

full of novacaine
after a root canal
and a new crown,
you go for coffee
and a scone.
your white shirt
is quickly streaked
with blotches of wet
brown drips
and crumbs, you
have a crosseyed
look about you
and can only mumble
on the phone. you
realize later
that your zipper
has been down
all day. you are
trying to read
the newspaper
upside down.
a woman comes
over and smiles
at you and puts
a dollar in front
of you and this
repeats itself
until the table
is covered in
money. it warms
your heart to think
about the goodness
in the world,
then you take
your sleeve and
wipe the drool
from the corner
of your mouth.

marie

you start with
a small room
over a chinese
restaurant. you
are happy there.
with your table,
your chairs,
your sofa
and tv.
and you love
the smell of
roasted duck
and fried rice
wafting through
the vents as you
lie in bed
and listen to
the traffic
outside your
window. it can't
get much
better than this
you say to
your girlfriend
marie who has
a pillow over
her head and is
trying to sleep.
and years later,
with more rooms,
more furniture
more of everything
that doesn't matter,
you remember marie,
and think about
how right you
were.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

unspoken

he remembers a
girl he knew in
school. blue eyes.
a pony tail.
short legs
with skinned knees.
he loved her
as much as he's
ever loved anyone
despite her
never knowing.
which doesn't
matter even now.
so many decades
past. why
change this
pattern, he thinks.
why let anyone
in on such
a thing.

the bank robber

the bank robber
sits drinking coffee.
he's waiting
for the doors to
open. he's
wearing a mask,
and gloves. and
has a briefcase.
he carries no gun,
not believing
in violence.
there is a map
on the table that
he studies.
he talks on the phone
to his wife
and tells her not
to wait up,
to leave
dinner in the fridge
if he isn't home
by six. he looks
at his watch
and sighs.
another day, he
says to himself.
another bank.

fish sticks

i was making dinner
the other night,
fish sticks
and broccoli when
the phone rang.
it was a salesman
asking me if i
was interested in
buying some
generic drugs at
a discount price.
he was working out
of india,
but could have them
shipped within
three working days.
i told him i was
fine and really
didn't need anything
at the moment.
no aches, no pains?
he said in his
indian accent.
ummm, well now that
you mentioned it.
yeah, my achilles and
my knee have been
acting up a little with
this cool rainy
weather we're having,
and i've had a headache
ever since my mother
stopped by on sunday.
oh, and i've got some
sneezing going on
with the fall pollen.
oh my goodness, he
said. it is a good thing
that i called you. yes?
i can send you
the multi-pack
perscription that will
cover all of that
and itching too.
itching? sure why not,
i'm always scratching
something. no
indigestion, he said
inquisitively?
i looked at my
fish sticks spinning
in the glow of
the microwave oven.
yeah. that's coming
too. might as well
include that in the
package. i will send
them out immediately.
just read me the numbers
off your card and we
can help you out.
bless you, i said.
bless you. let me
get my wallet.

no parking

the policewoman
who used her bull
horn and flashing
lights, telling
me to move on
from the spot where
i was idling,
because there
was both a hydrant
and a handicap
sign ten feet
beyond that,
looked twelve years
old in her blue
uniform and
cap. she may
have been wearing
braces and had
a pony tail.
the windows
in my car
were steamed
as i was trying
to convince my
date to extend
the evening further
at my place and
when i rolled
the window down
to show the police
woman my driver's
license and she got
a look at me and
my date and how
old we were,
she began to laugh
with her bullhorn
still turned on.
i'm sorry, she said,
as if speaking to
her parents, but
ummm, you can't
park here. i can
still hear her
laughter echoing
down mt. vernon
avenue. the story
she will tell.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the mayo clinic

you go an entire
hour or so without
thinking about
women and sex. you've
been concentrating
on work and other
assorted things.
this shocks you though.
this sudden change
in your thought
process so you go to
the doctor and ask
him what's wrong,
am i losing my libido.
has my testosterone
abandoned me. are
there pills i can
take to get back this
formerly irrepressible
drive? a whole hour,
the doctor asks. how
many days in a row.
just one, i tell him.
and at your age, he
says. oh my,
lie down on the table
for awhile. this
could be serious. i'm
making an appointment
for you at the mayo
clinic. we'll get
to the bottom of this,
don't worry. it could
be nothing, perhaps
something you ate,
lack of sleep. i'm
sending in the nurse
to hold your hand
for awhile. thanks
you tell him, thanks,
that would be helpful.

mind reading

i know what you're
thinking she
says to me walking
across the room
in her little
black dress,
swinging her hips
like a pocket
watch. i know
exactly what's
going on in that
brain of yours
right now. oh
really i say back.
and just what is
it exactly that is
on my mind. let
me whisper it
into your ear,
she says and smiles
and does so.
you should put
on a turban
and have a booth
at a carnival,
i tell her.

thirty seven minutes

your subscription
has run out.
you've let your
membership expire.
the light on
your dashboard
blinks yellow.
you've decided to
no longer water
the flowers, they
are on their
own, just like you.
even the milk
has gone sour.
the bread is green.
the apple soft
and brown upon
it's flattened
side. the bananas
are black and
the clock though
ticking is off
by thirty seven
minutes. everything
is normal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

re-enactments

you join a group,
a meet up group
that does re-enactments.
this week it's
the civil war, but
you hate the civil
war. next week it's
the great depression.
you sign up for that,
to be a newsboy
who stands on
the corner with
an arm full of
newspapers and
a cap yelling out
the headlines,
that dillinger
is dead. next you'll
huddle around
a barrel of fire
that licks the cold
night air. you'll
stamp your feet
into the ground
and say things
like, i wish i had
a bowl of soup,
or a t-bone steak
and a garden salad.
then later, after
the re-enactment
is over, you'll go
get what you've been
talking about.
the next month they
are re-enacting
the black plague.
you can hardly wait.

the great hill

on the great hill
we would sled
in january
with socks on our
hands for mittens.
our shoes soaked
through and red
with numbness.
and despite the
wind and cold no
one wanted to go
in. i still remember
the streetlights
going on, as the
sun disappeared
into the bleak sky.
and everything
dark seemed
permanent, and
everything good,
like the snow
seemed short
and soon to melt.

waiting for a bus

despite having
nothing to say
you say something
against your
better judgement
just to make
small talk
while you both
wait for the bus,
and of course
it turns out
wrong. have you
gained weight,
for instance, or
are you okay,
you look very
tired today?
have you ever
thought of not
wearing a red
hat with a yellow
coat? just
asking. where
the hell is that
bus?

that last slice of cake

it wasn't so much
that she stole
the blankets, or her
light snoring or
the fact that she
may run off to
guatemala with
an ophthamalogist
who has a small
piper plane and a
ranch in montana,
no, it was that
at all, it was
that she ate
the last slice
of chocolate cake
left on the dish.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

bread truck

you've been driving
a bread truck
for a few years
now. wonder bread.
debbie cakes.
donuts.
short bread and
the occasional
loaf of french
bread in the open
ended bag.
you used to like
the smell of hot
bread fresh out
of the oven.
that soft warm
dough simmering
on the racks in
back of the truck,
but not anymore.
at this point
you couldn't put
a slice of
wheat toast in
your mouth to save
your life. you
think about
other trucks you
might switch too.
ice cream maybe,
but that would
break your heart
to give that up,
just as it would
if you were
riding in back too.

the old ride

you'd like to
roll back
the odometer.
correct
the steering,
realign the wheels,
and get a new
paint job.
the engine could
use some new
plugs, the oil
changed. you
definitely could
use some tlc
on this aging
ride of yours.
you both could.

september snow

you wake up
and look out
the window.
there's a foot
of snow on
the ground and
it's only
september.
your neigbor
has already
shoveled out
her car three
times and has
been up to the store
for groceries.
she sees you
looking out
the window, still
lying in bed
and throws a
snowball at you.
she's smiling
brightly like
it's christmas.
you shake
your head and
almost flip her
off, but don't.
instead you wave
and fall back
into bed and
mutter that it's
only a dream,
it's only a
dream, which
is broken off
when you hear the
snow plows coming
up the street.

marking time

with a pencil
i stand straight
up against
the door jamb
and make a mark.
when i was a
kid my mother
did that to see
how tall we
were, the
progression of
our growth,
but now i'm
doing it for other
reasons.

the round bed

she says i want
a round bed
that way i can
never wake up on
the wrong side
of the bed.
very wise i tell
her, very smart.
maybe it could rotate
too, i said.
not fast, because
then you'd be
dizzy all the time,
but a slow rotation.
put a sky light
in the ceiling
for some planetary
viewing.
yes, she said,
how cool would that
be. very cool, i
said. okay, let's
do it. let's
find me a round
bed. what about
sheets though,
i said. where are
we going to buy
round sheets.
hmmm. no problem.
i have scissors.
will it vibrate too,
i said. nah, she
said. we don't
need that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

the commune

i joined a commune
after losing my job.
it seemed like a good
idea. save money.
conserve energy,
be a part of a
progressive and
eclectic community
of new age souls.
the no clothes thing
however wasn't working
for me. i opted
instead for the loin
cloth and was
immediately
ostracized and forced
to clean up the
chicken house
and collect the honey
from the bee hives.
i'm saving up now
for some neosporin
and sunscreen. we get
paid thirty three
cents a day from
selling eggs and jars
of honey on the side
of the road. starburst,
formerly known as
shelly, is the unofficial
leader of the commune.
she's got it in for
me though because i wear
a watch and still have
my cell phone. i
don't see myself
lasting too long
here though. i haven't
had a martini in weeks
and they don't have
cable tv, they don't
even have electricity,
like what's up
with that. commune,
pfft.

directions to lucy's house

lost again, you
pull over to ask
directions from
a man sitting on
an orange crate
selling flowers
at the corner.
he's smoking a
cigarette and
cleaning out his
nails with a
pocketknife. you
roll your window
down and ask him
if he knows where
vine street is
and he says yes,
i do. he smiles
and pulls his hat
back. who you going
to see on vine street
he asks, and grins.
you ain't going
to see miss lucy
are you. how'd you
know that, i say.
cause i see those flowers
on the front seat
of your car
and you look like
the kind of guy
lucy has come over
to pay her a visit.
oh really, you say.
and just how often
are you giving
directions to lucy's
house. third one
this week, he says.
do you still want to
go. i don't know,
you tell him, is it
worth it? i couldn't
tell you that mister.
okay, okay, how do
i get there. well,
do you know where
the water tower is?
make a left there.
you can't miss it, she
spray painted her
name on it one
summer when she had
too much to drink.
she's the only house
at the end of that
dirt road. follow
the broken hearts,
he says and laughs.
she doesn't like roses
by the way, she's
more of a daffodil
kind of girl. three
dollars a bunch.
i can make change.

felix

you see a cat
crossing the street
with an empty
jar of crunchy
peanut butter
stuck on his head.
it's a tabby cat.
he crosses in a zig
zag fashion, partly
blinded, trying
to shake free
the jar that he
stuck his head
into to get that
last lick of
peanut butter,
but it won't budge.
you pull over and
give chase, but
the cat is too quick
even in this condition,
you decide to yell
out a few cat names,
hoping to land on one
he might listen too.
but felix is the only
one you can think
of at the moment,
so you yell out,
here kitty, here kitty.
but no luck and off
he goes through
the alley and into
the woods. you walk
away, go back to
your car. you can't
stop thinking
about a peanut butter
sandwich.

mercury

if you could visit
any planet, go to
any of them with
the snap of your
fingers and be
there, which one
would you go to,
she says. i don't
know i tell her.
maybe mercury,
but i'd need an
abestos space
suit, and food
pellets and a lot
of water, maybe
a pair of really
good sunglasses
too on account
of the sun being
so close. a nice
pair of reflective
ray bans would
work she says.
don't you already
have a pair of
them. the blue
ones? yes, i tell
her, i'm halfway
to mercury already.

the butterfly

i see that you
borrowed my car
again. how could
you tell, she
says looking
in the other
direction. oh,
look, there's
a buttefly out
side the window.
i can tell by
the new dent in
the door. how
many times have
i told you not
to drive my
car while
you're drinking.
do you see
that butterfly,
she says. i want
to go out and
catch him. can
we talk about
this later?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

trouble

whenever there was
trouble in
the house, when
my father was
away, my
mother would bake.
if the money
ran low and there
was little or
no food in
cupboards, she'd
find a way to
bake a cake,
a dozen or so
cupcakes, or a
sheet of cookies.
she'd let them
cool on the counter
and allow
the smallest
of kids to drip
white icing onto
the tops. i
remember this
now as i stare
through the window
of the oven door
at a square
of rising batter.

test drive

while test
driving the new car
with the salesman
in the passenger
seat pointing
in which direction
to go while
he speaks rapidly
on his cell phone,
in korean, he
whispers to you,
international
call, you
wonder if it
will rain soon
as the clouds
drop low and blue
across the horizon,
and if so, will
you be able
to find the button
to switch
on the wipers.

so tell me about yourself

let's really
get to know one
another, she
says over a mojito.
her third. she's
happy in a
drunk sort of way.
i want to know
what makes you tick.
who are you really?
the waiter brings
over a large plate
of fried calamari.
you don't want
to know, you say,
rubbing your forehead
as if trying to
remove a stubborn
smudge. oh come
on, she says.
tell me about your
family, your friends,
what's your true
passion in life?
who do you want
to be when you grow
up? she's really
tipsy now.
okay. you say and
finish your gin
and tonic in one
large gulp.
i was raised by
wolves basically
and my passion is
pretty much
survival, keeping
a roof over my
head and having
something to eat
and drink. sleep
and other assorted
sensual pleasures
such as romance fall
into the mix somewhere
too. her eyes get
wide as she sips
hard on her straw.
oh my, she says. but
you say you write
poetry too, right?
i'd love to read it
sometime. can you
recite me some poems
right now. i'd love to
hear them. no. you
tell her. i'm a writer
not a circus
clown. oh, she says,
sensitive type,
aren't we?
so do you consider
yourself to be a
lone wolf, she asks,
tossing a large
rubbery ring of
calamari into
her open seal like
mouth. yup, you
say, i suppose i
do and more so
by the minute.

sweet tooth

you've always had
a sweet tooth,
just ask your
dentist. stand
back and admire
her new mercedes.
you have been
crowned more times
than the royal
families of europe.
but you've learned
to cut back.
you might only
eat one cake a
month now. one
gallon of chocolate
chip mint ice
cream. perhaps
a dozen cookies
or so and a small
bag of jordan
almonds that you
keep in the car
for an emergency.
but other than that,
you are sweet free.
you have taken
great strides with
your dietary needs.

must be a girl

it's not like
you to sleep in
like you have
these past few days.
what gives. is
it the rain,
the changing
of the seasons,
or something more,
something deeper.
your aging bones
perhaps, your
sore leg,
one too many
martinis last night.
what gives with
this eleven a.m.
wake up and
crawl from bed
to the bath
and back again.
it must be a girl
again, it's always
a girl, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

good talk

we need talk
more, she says,
discus things,
don't leave
so much on the
table before
we go to bed.
what, he says.
did you say
something?
she turns on
the light
and taps him
on the shoulder.
are you going deaf,
you didn't hear
what i just said,
no, he says,
you were
practically
whispering. you
know i like to
sleep with a pillow
on my head. what
did you say? he
rolls over to
see her staring
at the ceiling
with tears in her
eyes. what, he
says? what now?
what did i do?
we don't talk, she
says, sobbing.
we never discuss
things anymore
like we did when
we first got
married. he sighs,
and shakes his
head. honey,
that was thirty-
five years ago. i
think we've covered
everything by now.
was there something
in particular you'd
like to talk
about, i'm listening.
you have my
undivided attention.
he looks at the clock.
not really, she
says. i mean i
can't think of
anything at the
moment, i was just
speaking in general.
that our communication
should be better,
that's all. okay,
okay, he says.
let's work on it.
maybe you should keep
a notepad and
write down some
things you want to
talk about and
we can discuss it
at dinner, but it's
really late now.
can we turn the light
off and get some
sleep. i've got
golf in the morning.
sure she says. but
i'm glad we had this
talk. yes, he says.
good talk, good talk.
goodnight.

the corner store

the corner spot
that seems like
an ideal locaation
and can't hold
a restaurant
for more than a
few months is
once again dark.
chinese, italian,
a greek deli,
a thai surprise
carryout, a
vitamin store,
campaign heaquarters
for someone who's
bound to lose
have all been there.
a mattress store
with bright yellow
posters saying
going out of
business, posted
on day one. but
it's never empty
for long,
and bums find a
way to sit out on
the front steps
drinking from a bags
with pigeons
and stray dogs
at their feet.
they seem to know.
and there's no
rhyme or reason
to what comes or
goes, the effort
is surely there
to make it work,
not unlike us,
and yet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

choices

your life is
not your own,
you've sold out.
let them have
their way with
you. money was
pretty much
the culprit,
needing food
and clothing,
shelter, that
sort of thing.
a line formed
and you got in
it. what were
the other options.
starve for your
art. no. instead
you took the coward's
way out and worked
for forty years
to then finally
lie down and say,
that's it,
i'm done.

the A-9 archive

even now,
with fifty years
gone by,
the hiss of air
brakes and
and folding
and closing of
the doors is
familiar to
your ears.
and the exhaust
as the bus
crawls to a stop,
is old news,
as is the ding
of the pulled string
along the sides
above the worn
vinyl seats.
holding on,
staring out
the emerald
windows that were
always stuck
shut.
you could be
blind and ninety
and still know
where the dc
transit A-9
archive will pick
you up
and drop you off
downtown in
the middle of
a school day, with
a pocket full
of quarters.

moe and a bag of trash

after eating a
bag of trash
that i had forgotten
to set out on
trash day
my dog would often
hide in the basement
before i got
home from work,
tight behind
the big couch
against the wall.
he'd lie there
quietly,
holding his
breath, his belly
full of chicken
bones and scraps
from the the week
gone by. usually
there was a trail
of cans, and
wrappers, milk
cartons and
licked cores
of apples that led
me to him. and
when i'd find him
wedged between
the wall and
the couch i'd drag
him out and give
him a stern
lecture on eating
trash, the dangers
of those sharp
chicken bones, but
he never seemed
to pay my warnings
any mind. the bag
to him, left
unattended was
fair game, what
if i never came
home, then what?
and i sort of
understood that,
and respected his
position on
the issue.

travel teams

i remember looking
out the window
where i used to
live, when i was
married and there
were roses in
the yard, and
the fence was
painted white and
seeing soccer
fields as far as
the eye could see.
but these were
not the fields
where my son
would play, no,
god forbid we
would walk out
the back yard and
play a game, no.
instead we would
drive fifty miles
or so to somewhere
off the map,
following a
caravan of cars
and vans, and sleepy
children with
shiny uniforms
clinging to their
already tired
and sweaty backs.

say what

you are adept
at making something
out of nothing.
taking a word
or a glance, or
gesture and
weaving it into
some wild
imaginary drama
inside your
head. you've
learned this
over the years
from your parents,
one parent in
particular who
will go unnamed,
but she knows
who she is.

dancing fools

beware of women
who love
to dance. they
are not to be
trusted. you will
bore them with
your clumsy feet
in short time
no matter how
skilled you are
in making love.
dancing is
their religion
and if you don't
become a member
of their congregation
you will not
go to heaven
but will linger
in relationship
limbo. doing
the twist and
the mashed potatoes
and the watusi,
will not get it
done anymore.
she will laugh at
you as jose
pulls her out
to the dance floor
and throws her
over his head
with a smirk
on his dancing
fool face.

a new day

you wake up in
a strange motel
with someone
named bella. she's
sleeping beside
you and the only
reason you know her
name is by a tag
on her luggage
sitting by the
door next to a
small lap dog
who stares at you
with bulging eyes
and a tongue
dripping onto
the floor. you
pinch yourself
hoping that this
is a dream, but
it isn't as she
wakes up and calls
you honeybun.
can you go get us
some coffee,
honeybun and take
the dog for a walk?
who are you,
you say to her,
and she laughs, i'm
your wife, she
says, don't you
remember picking
me up in the rain,
hitch hiking?
the dog jumps onto
the bed and licks
your face. it weighs
maybe three pounds
at the most.
you hate small
dogs and their
small barks.
this is not a
good start to a
new day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

sprained tendons

you ice it
down, give it
heat, a massage
you swallow
down some pills,
you stare at it as
if you had x-ray
vision. you move
it around, left
then right, you
strap on a
tight bandage.
a few days go
by and the limp
subsides to where
you are no
longer walking
around like grampa
coming out
of the vitamin
store. a week
passes and
by friday you
feel okay. not
perfect, but
on a scale of
ten, maybe a
seven and you
say to yourself,
not anyone else
because they'll
just roll their
eyes and shake
their head,
i'm ready to
play again.
and so you do
and on sunday night
your leg is propped
up on the coffee
table and it's back
to the ice pack
and a stiff drink.
do not go gently
into that good night.
no, you're not.

today

these words have
traveled further
than the ones
that came before
them. are they
less or more
compassionate,
perhaps,
or just more
wary of the
stupidity and
violence of
the world.
i'm not sure at
times. only
today, and the
next day, what
those words will
bring can tell.

the zoo

after the young
lion escaped
from the zoo
and ate a few
tourists
things changed
around here.
it's a different
zoo now.
the animals almost
seem happy.

the call

she hands you
the phone,
it's for you
she says. who
is it, you
ask. does
it matter,
she says. i'm
leaving now.
the cab is
here. i'm
packed. i'll
see you
around. it
was fun. you
nod, and
wave, then
take the call.

she gets blue

she gets blue
when the sky is
grey and full
of soon to fall
clear rain.
the chill she
feels as
september rolls
across her
skin at night
makes her sleep
a different kind
of sleep. uneasy
about what has
passed and what
may come
to light.

Friday, September 9, 2011

white water rafting

while i was
white water rafting
to work
the other day
on account of
another hurricane
swamping
the area with a
deluge of rain
and winds
and downed power
lines, i paddled
over to my local
coffee shop. it
was still open,
sandbags out front
and a team of
green aproned
baristas hand pumping
water away from
the doors. thankfully
they have their
own generator,
so it's business
as usual. i set
anchor, tied
up my raft
then went in. they
were quite
happy to see me
and helped to
wipe down my
bright yellow
l.l. bean windbreaker
slash raincoat
with bar mops.
jimmy behind
the counter was
already working
on my usual grande
non-fat skim extra
hot vanilla latte
with a sprinkle
of chocolate
and an extra shot
of espresso. i bought
a cinammon scone too
and one of those
nice pre-packaged
healthy salads that
i see skinny people
eating all the time,
i was already
hungry and knew
that i'd need the calories
with all of this
rowing i'd be doing.
after hugging everyone
goodbye, i climbed back
aboard my raft
with coffee in hand
and set sail towards
the city. there were
cows on rooftops,
and little
dashchunds and poodles
swimming beside me
as i tossed
them pieces of my
scone. traffic was
easy peasy, no
lights, no stop
signs, no gridlock.
the usual back up
at the bridge was
gone too, pffft, what
bridge? tomorrow
i'm thinking of bringing
my fishing rod along
to maybe catch a
few fresh trout for
dinner. oh, and
a dry pair of
shoes too, maybe i'll
get a pair of those
nice duck shoes if
the mall is open.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

cooking show

it looked so
easy on the show
in high
definition. to
make the souffle,
the perfect sauce,
that tender
pork loin,
the just right
dessert called
cherry delight.
you just needed
an oven, a bowl,
a spoon or
two, a knife
a fork and seventeen
exotic ingredients
or so.
there was music,
and laughter as
the wine was
poured, and easy
to follow
instructions. i've
already run out
of wine.
what happened,
i don't know,
but go ahead, be
my guest, you
take the first
bite.

the new tv

there are wires,
a tangle of
black and white,
orange and red
plug ins and
screw ons, cable
connections,
strung out tight
and long,
loose and
wandering from
the wall and
where they
need to be.
it's a dark
hollow behind
the set, in a
jumble of cobwebs.
don't even try.
just make
the call.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the wind

the rain
is wind in
your ears,
silence
is the room
where you
sleep.
you eat dreams
all night
long and
relish another
uneventful
day full
of light.
but it's
the wind you
don't soon
forget.

broken

not everything
is broken,
despite
the flat tire,
the leaky
faucet, the
washer hose,
the lint
liner on
the dryer.
that letter
from you
in the mailbox.
and just
because the key
just
broke in
the lock.
and your cell
got wet
in the rain,
it's not
the end
of any world,
but it feels
that way
at times.

religion

that weak
tea that you
pour and
hand to me
on this
cold day
is not what
i want, or
need.
something
stronger would
be in order.
something
that hits
bottom and
warms
the soul.
saves me
in this deep
ice and snow.
pour me
that drink.

underfoot

underfoot,
this shadow
of you,
that i keep
tripping
over, unseen
and low,
almost
hiding in
the dark
corners where
old memories
seem to go.
i need to
pick up my
feet and
get past you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

hands

your hands on
the table
are not yours.
they might
be your father's
or your
grandfather's
but surely
they do not
belong to you.
you are still
young, and you
imagine
that one day,
your son
will think
the same.

that much you know

thinking about
how little you
truly know, you
have strayed
too far and too
late into the woods,
taking one
misstep after
another while
a pale
sun melts
into the trees.
your breath is
a warm cloud
in front of you.
you are lost,
but pleasantly
so. you await
the transparent
moon to become
full, to lead
you. you can hear
the stream against
the rocks.
you can always
find your way
home through
water. that much
you know.

roses

as
the rose
bush,
so deftly
hides
it's thorns
amid
beauty
and bloom,
so is it
that you
too
hide yours.

the dark house

it isn't so much
the drafty
windows where
the air seeps
in with cold
blue fingers
and finds it's
way up your sleeve
or leg.
nor is it the lack
of light, as the
low sun falls
too quickly
into darkness,
drawing shadows
across the room.
no. this house
is just turned
the wrong way.

Monday, September 5, 2011

women's lib

you see a woman
in the safeway
putting cans
of tuna into her
purse and cans of
beans into the pockets
of her long coat. she
makes eye contact
with you and puts
her fingers to
her lips. shhh,
she says. i'm old,
please don't tell
anyone. i can't
go to jail,
my grandchildren
would be horrified.
i wouldn't do
well in prison.
i offer her some
money and she
laughs.
you don't understand,
she says, it's
not about the
money. i have
plenty of money.
i bought this fur
coat at nordstroms
this morning,
it's more about
the system, i'm
tired of the man
keeping me down.
and you say, what
man. and she says.
all men. i hate
men. they control
the world
and all of us
women. and you
mention gloria
steinham, and
cher, hillary
clinton. what about
madonna. and she
says, don't bring
up the bible to me
sonny boy. a bunch
of lousy men wrote
that too and then
steps on my foot
with the heel of her
boot. you yell out,
what the hell lady.
and you're glad
that you have a
whistle on your key
ring. you begin
to blow it and yell
out thief, thief,
as she scampers down
the aisle knocking
over a pyramid of
grapefruit.

they said

she was from
a good home,
a loving
family, a good
school
with talents
you wouldn't
believe,
you would get
no trouble out
of this one.
finely groomed
with strong
white teeth
and a great
tail that wagged
when she walked.
they broke
the mold with
this one, they
said. and oh
how those bright
eyes would light
up when you
came into the room.
no fleas, no
no biting, no
howling at the moon.
as loyal and loving
as the day
was long is
what they said.
so what choice
did you have
but to marry her.
and it wasn't
long before she
hopped the fence
and went running
down the street,
knocking over
trash cans.

a new mattress

you feel a sharp sting
against your leg
in the middle of
the night so you turn
the light on to
find a mattress
spring sprung from
it's web of mattress
mayhem. it's time
for a new mattress.
you've flipped
it so many times,
bought so many mattress
covers, you've taken
it out back and beat it
with a broom. you
vacuumed it down.
there are coffee
spills, martini stains
and other assorted
spots and smudges
that you'd rather not
think about. there's
also a single rut
in the center
where you've slept
the years away,
and a small diagonal
slot where the dog
used to sleep. so
you wait until president's
day, which is tomorrow
and go down
to mattress kingdom to
buy a new one. a
new queen mattress
with a pillow top
and handles on the side
for easier flipping
you tell jimmy
the manager on the
floor. he's wearing
a wig, like george
washington, a red vest
and boots and has
several cherry pies
sitting on the table
out front with coffee.
what can i do to get
you to buy a mattress
today, he says slapping
you on the back.
i don't know,
you say and begin
to lie down on the
fifty or so mattresses
that line both walls
of the store. other
people are in front
of you, behind you,
families, young
couples holding hands,
old people giving each
other a boost up,
a dog is loose and
jumping from
bed to bed barking
with someone's shoe
in his mouth.
you finally find the one
you like. not too
firm, not too soft,
not too expensive,
or cheap, so you find
jimmy and he wants
to cut you a deal,
but first there's
the warranty, the delivery,
the removal of the old
mattress. then there's
taxes. the price has
suddenly doubled. so
you shake your head
and say no and begin
to walk out. but he
stops you and says,
hey. i can let you use
my family and friends
coupon. and you say,
nah, i'm going elsewhere,
and then he says, how
about if i cut the price
by a third, you hesitate,
looking towards the door,
and he says, how about
half? he's sweating
beneath his wig and he's
popped a few buttons
on his too tight vest.
okay, okay, you say,
agreeing to the half price,
free delivery and
free removal of the old
one. great he says,
just great and you shake
hands with him,
then go for a nice
big slice of cherry pie,
but change your mind on
the slice and take
take a whole pie with
you instead. you can't
wait to get it home to
eat on top of your
new mattress.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

guilty

you get called up
for jury duty and
take the day off
from work and go
down to the courthouse
in a black suit.
you go through
the process of
being qualified
and you tell the man
that you think
everyone is guilty
of something, if not
the crime they are
being tried for,
then something else.
it's just a matter
of time before everyone
finds out what you've
done or haven't done.
you haven't spoken
to my ex-wife, have
you? you blurt out.
you are sweating,
and so you loosen
the tie around your
neck, your shirt is
soaked. you tap your
fingers fidgeting,
you can't keep your
feet still. we're
just seeing if you
qualify to be a juror,
you're not on trial
here mister, the
man says. good, you
say, and finally make
eye contact with him.
you were almost
ready to confess
everything,
to throw yourself onto
the mercy of the
courty. you wipe
your brow, and
nervously step down.
don't worry, he
says, we won't be
calling you anytime
soon. whew, you say.
that was a close call.

wants

the rich have
the problems
that the poor
wish they had.
married men
want to be single,
single women
want to be
married. the sick
want health,
the tired want
sleep. the child
wants everything.
there is this
strange push
to want what you
don't have, and
solving that
will bring a
peace beyond
understanding.

stopping the leaks

it's the small
drip into
the chrome
drain
of the down
the hallway
sink that
awakens you,
gets you up
at four a.m.
to twist
and turn
hard against
the knob to
make it stop,
at least for
awhile, and
you wish
that somehow
the days were
that easy.

holding light

your cup has
always been full
even when it
was empty.
you have seen
the other side,
before you've
travelled there.
unraveled the knots
that bound
you before you
knew you could.
it's always
been this way.
holding light
when there isn't
any to be seen.

towards hunger

the earth inches
it's way towards
winter, the trees
undressing, what
was green has softly
folded into gold
and brown, the
buttered yellows
of autumn. and
the ground gets
heavy with the new
cold, the wet
soil, everything
digging in, burying
towards a hunger
what they'll need
when the winds
blow, the snow
falls, the moon
sharpened white
against the frigid
black night.

monkey legs

when she stopped
shaving her legs
i noticed right away.
they were making
my legs itch
like crazy
and she said so
what. i'm rebelling
against the system.
the system of what
i said. grooming
your self? it's
natural, she said
rubbing her hand
along the bristling
brown hairs. well,
i can't date a
monkey, i told her.
i'm not a fan of
the monkey look
or how it feels.
so this is how it
ends then, she said.
yes. i said, holding
the razor up, shave
or go home and take
your bananas too.

do not disturb

you take
the do not disturb
sign off
the door of the hotel
room and
tape it to your shirt.
your wife wakes
up and points at
it and says, what's
up with that.
and you make a
motion of sealing
your lips with
your fingers and
then point at the
sign. do not disturb,
she says, rolling
her eyes. yeah,
like whatever,
what's wrong with
you? you really
are disturbed,
now go get us some
coffee harpo
and a paper.

the dylan t shirt

you're afraid
of committment
aren't you, she
says, over breakfast.
she's wearing
your black t-shirt
that you got
a hundred years ago
at a dylan concert.
his smirking
face is faded from
the wear and tear.
the words don't
look back, still
visible. you continue
to butter your toast
and lather on
a nice blueberry
jam as well
before taking
a bite. why do
you say that, you
say, still chewing.
you are just
very evasive,
elusive
with your words.
and you say
something like,
pffff, words.
who needs them.
it's what you do,
not what you say
that counts. are
you going to eat
the rest of
your bacon? you
grab a slice
off of her plate.
hey, be careful
with getting
jam on my shirt,
okay?

trash pickup

you are sound
asleep
when you hear
the trash truck
back up
with the gears
grinding,
the impatient
and serious
beeping that they
do as they
roll slowly
backwards
towards the corner
where all
the bags have been
gathered according
to condo rules
and regulations.
you hear
the clanging
of the wide
heavy door
rotating down,
it's shiny pistons
pushing with
a groan as men in
orange jumpsuits
covered in
spills and sweat,
with once white
gloves throw
bag after bag
in the dark mouth,
and you lie there
and think about
your own three bags
in the hallway,
neatly tied with
everything you want
to dispose of,
sitting there,
missing once
again, the pickup.

Friday, September 2, 2011

star gazing

you have been following
the constellations
late at night with
your new telescope,
the movement of the
planets, the stars
as they align into
the big and small
dipper. there's
cupid, there's
mars, and then you
see your neighbor
on the tenth floor
of the highrise up
the street. she's
on her balcony,
in a white bath towel,
brushing her long
brown hair, her
legs are long
and as white as
the surface of
the moon. and you
have suddenly
lost interest in
the galaxies above,
who cares anymore
about pluto, or
shooting stars.

super size that would ya?

a dangerous
place to be is
to come home
to an empty
fridge and you're
starving.
fried chicken
immediately pops
into your head,
as does pizza
or a cheeseburger
with all the
trimmings and fries.
a good meal
would take
too long to cook,
slugging down
the aisle at
the grocery store,
and why wait
when you can
drive up to
speaker box and
yell out your
deep fried feast.

what children say

my son
when he was
six or seven
said a few
extraordinary
things such as
it seems that
women are trying
to trick men
by wearing
makeup and
to that he
added, you can
say beaver
dam, but you
can't say
damn beaver.
then there was
the one about
the trees that
looked
like they
were dancing
when the high
winds blew. and
then there was
the time he
said, with
him in my arms,
crying after
not giving him
what he wanted,
i still love you
dad, i'm just mad
at you.

the next entry

you devour
a good book,
a well crafted poem,
a perfectly told
tale, but
throw without
mercy across
the room
anything that
doesn't
hold your
interest within
the first ten
pages, or
five lines.
and that's
the beauty of
writing on this
machine. they
can't throw
it across
the room as
you would when
clicking on
the next entry.

things

so much of early
life was spent
in gathering,
collecting all
of the things
that you thought
would give you
pleasure, give
comfort to a
world you were
creating. this
table for instance,
these dishes,
that bed, and
gold watch. there
is art in
the basement that
you had to have,
now stacked
side by side, no
longer hung
on any wall. you
see it all
leaving, being
passed on to
others who will be
taking that same
journey. there is
nothing you will
take with you.

the other room

you go
to the other
room to sleep.
the room that
was once yellow,
but is now blue.
you take
your pillow
and your
book, a glass
of water.
the dog is unsure
of this turn
of events
and waits it
out, but when
some time goes
by he barks,
then finally
gives in. you
hear the thump
of his four paws
hitting
the floor and
then his nails
clicking
against the wood.
he finds
his way in, hops
onto the bed
and lays his
head against
your chest.
he's worried,
as you are, but
for different
reasons.

leaving town

you tell no one
that you are leaving
the country.
you've packed a
small bag of
personal belongings,
and a picture
of your dog. you've
had enough, you're
done with
everyone. they
don't care or
love you anyway, but
you feel the need
to text them
as the train pulls
out of the station.
hey, you write,
can you water my
plants and take
in my mail while
i'm gone? plus,
there's some left
over chocolate
cake left in the
fridge, help yourself.
i'm going to canada,
you tell them,
who wants syrup?
and as your
fingers tire, telling
everyone that you
are leaving town,
your battery goes
dead, and so you
stop and close
your eyes. you stare
out the window
as the train rolls
slowly by some
cows out in a field.
there's a weathervane
on top of a barn,
rusted and bent.
you can't wait
to get home.

grudges

her family,
could hold grudges
for decades.
they would go
stone cold
towards one another
despite living
in the same
neighborhoods,
attending
the same churches
and schools,
the aunts and
uncles would
find ways to avoid
one another.
funerals, weddings,
birthdays
were neutral grounds,
but the art of
ignorning one
another never
stopped. sisters
against sisters,
brother versus
brother. the point
of disagreement
long since lost
in the falling
leaves of months
and years. only
death seemed to
warm things up
once again, but just
ever so slightly.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

relationship scratching

i used to be
able to talk
her into scratching
my back for
hours at a time
by saying things
like, you have
a gift for
scratching. you
should be in the
back scratching
hall of fame.
sometimes i'd
doze off as her
long nails
slowly etched
out circles
and swirls
around the wide
plains
of my back
and when she tired,
and stopped
she always planted
a kiss, like
a period onto
my shoulder,
and i'd say, why'd
you stop so
soon, but not any
more. i might get
five minutes
of cursory
scratching and
then, hey, it's
my turn. things
have changed.

love is like a pot roast

you don't
fall in love
easily.
it takes time,
like beef
stew, or
a big fat
turkey, or
a pot roast,
or, okay, okay.
love is not
the same as
cooking food,
but once in
awhile you
do need a
quick fix
of microwaved
love. okay,
not exactly
love, but you
know what i
mean, something
very hot,
and quick.