Monday, April 30, 2012

another way

i am flat
broke of ideas
to break free.
i can hear
the squeak of
the wheel i
am on
in my own
self constructed
cage.
there is water
there is food,
there is
the occasional
reach of a kind
hand through
the bars
to pet me. there
has to be
another way.

small town

in a certain light
even this town
with it's broken
windows and shut
factories
has a quaint
charm. a quiet
sense of dignity.
but you can't shake
it quick enough
and get on the rail.
you know enough
about the facade
of homes and store
fronts. the park
and school.
the tree lined boulevard.
the roses in full bloom
to move on.
you feel the chill
in the sinster smile
of the pastor
as he stands on the steps,
in the shadows
of the spires.
even the dog
wagging his tail
seems to have a bite
forthcoming.

the rattle

you hear the rattle
before the strike,
before the teeth
sink in,
the thunder
before the tree
splits and catches
fire. you see
the glance of
her eyes, feel
the slight hollow
of silence
in her thoughts
and you know,
just know that
everything is
not quite right.

such darkness

the single pop
and flash of bulb
gone black
surprises you
as you turn
the switch to bring
light into the room.
it tells
you something
of tomorrow,
that's better left
unsaid. it's best
to just get a
new one and twist
it into place.
don't dwell too
long on such
darkness.

fallen stars

you are given
the task to sweep
up. to collect the fallen
stars, the ones
no longer wished upon,
or that have lost
their luster, having
worn out their
welcome and energy
sky relics of the past.
they fall softly onto
the streets, without
a sound, without
a whimper. in bits
and pieces, shards
of colored glass.

the storm

how unearthly
the sky is
before the storm
the grey hands
and rolled fists
of what's to come.
how the breath
of air
roils across
the ground spinning
what it finds
loose and untethered.
how quickly
the day changes
when the front
moves in, how
heavy
and tight your
grip must be to
hang on.
and see it through.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

blue fish

blue fish
jumping
across the bay
bright and shiny
like coins
skipping
across the surface
with wishes
made.
life is good
uncaught,
untethered by
the lines
that seek them out
not unlike
us on dry land.

iron will

you decide to go on
a diet immediately. no more
chocolate, no more chips
or icecream. no
chinese food. no crackers
or cookies. no more late
night pizza deliveries.
you hold your breath
and make your stomach
small, inhaling until your
ribs show. you see how
you will look after a few
weeks of starvation. not bad,
you think. then you let out
the air and pop a button
on your shirt. this makes
you even more determined.
you begin to flex your legs
beneathe the table.
one two. one two. then
you push away from
the table leaving the last
bite of rib eye steak
on your otherwise clean
plate. a dollop of
mashed potatoes is under
it, but you resist.
you are made of steel now.
your will is unbreakable.
but you've forgotten
about the dessert you just
ordered. chocolate waffle
cake with whipped cream.
the waiter brings it to your
table smiling, happy with
what he's bringing you.
you change the start of
your diet to tomorrow
morning. eight a.m. sharp.

coffee, cream?

she says, hi
hon and flips a page
on her pad
pulls a bic pen
from her tilted blonde
stack of hair, perhaps
a new wig, watcha
gonna have hon.
blueberries just came
in. so did
the salmon.
breakfast bar
is about to close,
so. hon, do you
need another minute.
she taps you on
the back leaving
her hand there for
a long friendly
minute. french toast
is good too, she says
and snaps her gum.
scratches her arm
where a red bump
lies next to another
red bump. she
moves her lips
from side to
side, straightens
her slip beneath her
pink uniform and
says. i'll be back.
coffee, cream?

sailing time

slippery shoes
and wobbly
knees, hanging
on to the rail
of the tilting
small boat
as the sails catches
wind and blows
out white like
kleenex from
a violent sneeze.
a tumbler of
vodka in one
hand, a small
cap to cover
the ruddy face.
a short sleeved
shirt embroidered
captain.
somewhere a
pint of blood
worms has
spilled on
deck. it's sailing
time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the end of the world

after the snow
storm and
with the power
down
for days on end
you light a few
candles
put on your
monk robe
tie a rope
around your
waist and
pour yourself
a cup of soy
milk. your
neighbor comes
over with
some hummus
and whole
wheat
crackers. i'm
glad you've finally
joined us,
she says. later
i can show you
a few yoga
stretches
while you empty
your mind
of steak and eggs.

Friday, April 27, 2012

on the clock

keep it short
she says.
get to the punch
line. i have
no time for
the likes of you.
spit it out.
tell me
in as few words
as you can
what the deal
is. time is money.
and the clock
is ticking.

just a test

this is just a test.
that buzzing noise
you hear in your ear
emanating from
your radio or tv
is just
a warning signal.
in the event of an actual
emergency
you'd be on your
knees praying and
asking forgiveness
to someone who you
believe may have
some power over
this situation. or the next
one after death occurs,
but it's only a test, so
feel free to continue
to go about your day
as if everyting is okay.
there's still time.

alien abduction

my friend andrea called me
up the other day and said that
she wanted to have a chat.
so we met for coffee. she was
not too happy and struggled
to get the words out as we
sipped on our lattes. i think,
she said, i think i might be
pregnant. i put my coffee down
and threw my hands into the air.
i had nothing to do with this.
sit down silly, she said. we
haven't fooled around in years.
well, who then, who's the lucky
dad. i wiped the sweat beads
from my forehead with a
brown napkin. i don't know she
said, and here's the really weird
part, look at this. there was a
a couple of small puncture
wounds on her stomach and hips.
what do you think of that,
she said. yikes. i said. i've got
some neosporin in the car
if you want some. they look
infected. how did that happen?
dunno, she said. but don't think
i'm crazy, promise me you won't
think i'm nuts. what, i said, what.
and stuffed some crumb cake
into my mouth. i think i may have
been abducted by aliens
and one of them impregnated me.
i spit out the crumb cake hitting
andrea in the forehead with a
wet glob. whoops, sorry.
she wiped it off. seriously, she
said. last night i saw this green
glow pulsating in the room
and there was this strong
vibration shaking the whole bed.
i couldn't wake up.
and i was having these sort of
sexual feelings, ya know.
i took a sip of my coffee and nodded.
go on. well, i felt like this
creature was on top of me,
sort of bald and white
with really rough skin. he or
whatever it was had this ghoulish
look on his face. and
this was last night, i asked.
why would you think you were
with child? it hasn't been
twenty-four hours. women just
know, she said. we just do.
wait a minute, i said. are you still
dating jeb who works at the airport.
mechanic? yes, she said.
and did you go out for a mexican
dinner with hot peppers.
have a few margaritas,
some of that blue tequila...
yes, she said, a few shooters too.
and did you stay at
the little rat hole  motel near route
one, the one with the vibrating beds.
maybe, she said, her eyes getting
wide.but how do you explain
the green glow and the puncture
wounds all over me.  pfffft, i said,
there's an adult movie
store right there, with a
big green neon sign that flickers
all night long. and those mattresses
are thirty years old. every now
and then the springs pop out
and jab you in the side. whew. she
said. thanks. i just couldn't
see myself bringing up some
little alien monster. Awww, i bet
he'd be cute, i said. just like you.
sit tight,  i'll go get that neosporin.

pre-marital counseling

i was walking down the street
the other day when i was suddenly
accosted and thrown into the back
of a moving van. a bag was
thrown over my head and before
you know it i was unconcious
from a rag full of ether. when i came
to i was blindfolded and tied to a
chair. a hand was gently tapping me
on the cheek, hey buddy, you okay,
wake up, wake up. who is that, i said,
it sounds like tony. do i know you?
yeah, it's me big tony. what's that
smell?  that's baked zita, little tony
is in the kitchen making us lunch.
what's going on, why did you kidnap
me? long story, kid, he said, but it's
for your own good. he took off
the bindfold and untied me. what's this
all about, i said. he put his hand on
my shoulder. sit still, he said,
hear me out. i sniffed the air
and could see little tony in the kitchen
over a hot stove, stirring sauce
in a pot. have we ever steered you
wrong, tony said, lighting a cigar.
in the few weeks that we've known
each other, what have we done for
you? winning tickets at the track, right
nothing but winners. we like you.
well, now we want to help you some
more. little tony said he saw you the other
night at the movies. yeah, so.
well, he said the dame you were with
had a ring on her finger and you two were
pretty chummy. so what. i took my
girl to the movies. The Artist. it was
a great movie. whatever, he said.
i'm done with silent movies, i prefer
the talkies. doesn't mattter. what matters
here is this. you and her are engaged to
be married, right? yeah, so what's
it matter to you, i love her.i looked around
the room. on the table were buckets of
water. what's with the water? you're not
going to water board me with those are
you? he started laughing, hey little tony,
did you hear that. little tony raised
the wooden spoon with dripping red
sauce and shook his head. nah kid. you
got no worries from us. that's for later.
we're doing some pro bono work for the
feds down at the port authority.
so back to you. what happened when you
got divorced the last time? i shrugged my
shoulders, i don't know. crying, misery,
sadness. it was horrible. okay, and what
happened to all your money, your house,
your savings, your retirement? where did
it go when you got divorced? she got half
i said. half of everything. not to mention
alimony, child support, the nice
car. exactly my point, he said, and for what?
was she crippled or something, no.
did she work, did she save, did she
contribute? don't answer that, i can see
by the look on your face that the answer
is no. well, we're here, me and little tony
to tell you don't do it. don't get married,
we don't want you to lose half again.
we don't even have those kind of percentages.
we might get thirty or forty per cent,
but never half.  never, he said, using his
cigar for a pointer, never sign a business
contract over an emotion. emotions
are like the weather. you're in love,
you're out of love, its cloudy, it's sunny.
but, but....no buts jimmy, we are here
to help you. but why are you doing this
for me, why are you telling me these things?
we like you and maybe we'll need a favor
some day. but listen to what i'm saying.
live with her, don't sign anything.
you ain't having kids no more and that
house with the picket fence and the little
dog in the freaking window, that
boat sailed a long time ago. okay, okay,
relax. get up, straighten your tie.
you might want to change your pants,
they look a little wet. you can go now.
think about what we said. he folded
a slip of paper and put it in my hand.
here's a number, that's the winner at
the track in the fifth race. rosebud.
go make some money. have fun.
little tony is gonna wrap you up
some ziti to take home. hey little
tony, put some garlic bread in there too.
and maybe some meatballs in that
little tupperware container on top
of the icebox.  he put his
hands on my shoulders and said,
look at me jimmy. don't do it. don't
get married. you're getting plenty of milk,
ain't ya? well, no need to buy the...well,
you know what i mean. now get out
of here kid, sorry if we roughed you up
a little, but we like you. he looked at his
watch, little tony, let's go. we have to
get down to the port authority before
rush hour. little tony handed me my
bag of baked ziti and bread, then
they showed me out.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

some day

i put my dreams
there. in a small box
that i slide underneath
my bed.
the dream about
you is there,
the one about us,
about tomorrow
and the next day.
i won't let them
slip away, i keep
them under lock
and key. safe below
the bed where i
sleep. maybe i'll
show them to you
when the time is
right, when the sun
is up, some day.

don't think twice

you remember
how she used to sing
in the morning
brushing her hair
in the mirror.
you can see her
standing there,
the pale curve
of her legs, her
back, the soft round
of her shoulder
like hills
in the sunlight.
you can close
your eyes and
hear her now.
singing, singing,
don't think twice,
it's all right.

farmville

you decide
to raise chickens
for a living.
you buy a few
from a farmer up
in purceville,
some brown hens.
a few white ones,
some roosters
too. you make a
little barn for them
in your back yard.
throw some straw
down, a pail of water
and scattter
some kernels of
corn about for their
lunch. you give
them names, like
norma and madge,
billie jean, and
cindy loo. you call
the rooster jimmy,
and his friend
clayton, farm
names. before
long they start
laying eggs like
nobody's business.
you're eating scrambled
eggs, egg salad
sandwichs for lunch.
poached eggs,
over easy and
eggs benedict.
you can't hard boil
them fast enough.
pancakes, french
toast. you have a
pile of eggs five
feet high in the yard
and they keep rolling
out of those chickens
like coins from a vegas
slot machine.
you check your cholesterol
count and it's out
the roof. your
doctor tells you that
it's time for the chickens
to go, but you can't
fry them up, you've become
close to them, so you
chase them out of
yard and wipe the tears from
your eyes as they
disappear into the woods
where you hear the foxes
cllinking their forks
and knives togther,
but you love the farm
life, and you wonder what
next. you go online
and investigate pigs.
you'd love a pulled pork
sandwich right about now,
so you give a call to your
bud up in purceville to
see if he can hook you up
with some fat porkers.
sure nuff, he says.
sure nuff. i'll bring the truck
around tomorrow.

the congressman

i watched the blue
jay, like a congressman
for life, bully
the other birds
away from the feeder,
thick and loud
he ordered them around
with his hard
flapping wings
and thick beak. i
could almost imagine
him at the Palm,
red faced with
martini in hand,
a rare piece of steak
in his mouth, a
wad of ill gotten
cash in his blue
shiny pants.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

no justice

you stop for a quick cup
of coffee and a donut, parking
your car for a mere five minutes
in what seems like
a very legal spot. you don't see
the blue handicap sign behind
the sagging branch of a leaf
covered limb. the road is freshly
paved so there are no marks
saying don't park here unless
you are limping, in a wheel
chair, or closing in on death.
you pull the ticket off your
windshield and spit out your
coffee and glazed donut into
the wind. one hundred and
seventy eight dollars it says
in smeared cheap small town ink.
you say something like what
the hell, but not using the word
hell and instead choosing a
more colorful word that
rhymes with bad luck.
you decide to fight this injustice
with your own quick wit
and sense of freedom.
you go home to watch
court room dramas, to
kill a  mockingbird. you
are atticus finch. perry
mason, you are paul newman
in the verdict. these people
can't handle the truth. you will
sway the jury with your
knowledge of the legal system,
if a man can't buy a cup
of coffee and a donut in
this town without being
harrassed and gouged by
the man, well isn't that an
indictment on all of society.
isn't that saying the world
as we know it is coming to an
end. but you sigh and write
the check. it's hopeless, and
it wasn't even a good donut
to begin with. should have
bought the bear claw.

the jello poem

i made you jello
she says proudly,
strawberry,
shaking the red bowl
in front of you.
it jiggles, catching
the white of
the overhead light.
i have whipped
cream too, she
whispers.  she
puts one hand
on her betty crocker
hips and smiles.
your cooking skills
astound me, you
tell her, pulling
at the bow on
her apron, but let's
forget the jello
and bring the
can upstairs.

her flowers

she pours
herself another
cup of black
coffee
let's her dark
wet hair
fall down
to her shoulders.
she feeds
the dog, then
waits for the sun
to rise a cloud
higher
then goes
outside to attend
to her children,
her flowers.

seamstress

i forget about the tear
in the pocket
of my favorite jeans.
and money falls
out on a daily
basis. keys, and a pen,
hit the floor,
roll away
and spin,
a note i was going
to send. i forget
about the hole
and think perhaps
that it will seal
on it's own.
not by my own hand,
with needle and thread,
but by divine
intervention, or by
someone like you
who knows how
to sew and mend.

without light

unsleeping
awake at midnight.
slipping
out of clothes
going to a window
to listen
to what the woods
have to say.
there is no
silence like
the subtle
speaking
of life
in the darkness.
the mole,
the fox, the mice,
the scramble
of soft feet
finding a
way, like so
many others,
to live
without light.

dinner for two

stir the pot
it's boiling over
take that long
wooden spoon
and slide it
to and fro
from side to side,
touching bottom.
stir the pot
then take a taste,
blowing gently
on the heat,
bring it to your
lips and see
what we have
cooked tonight.
see what delicious
meal we have
yet to eat.
come closer
and stir the pot.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

in her summer dress

i see you roll
down the green hill
like a ball.
you are five
somewhere
inside your still
limber limbs
that know sixty
years. and the bumps
and bruises
you'll endure,
the burrs caught
in your hair,
the grass stains
on your dress
you'll pay no mind.
it's worth each dizzy
turn down
the summer slope
with so few
seasons left.

the narrow road

you are aware
of your own
weaknesses.
sweets and
sex. sleep,
another pair
of shoes, sports.
so many things
that begin with
the letter s.
but you digress.
moderation in
all things says
every wise soul
to wear a collar
or a robe,
so easy to say,
and yet harder
each day to follow
that narrow road.

going green

i'm going green,
turning
over a new leaf,
lighting candles
instead of using
electricity,
i'm walking
to the liquor store
instead of driving.
hugging trees
and separating
the plastic
and the glass.
my garden is full of
carrots and green beans.
i'm playing my banjo
instead of listening
to lp's. i'm making
a compost pile
of eggshells
and lettuce leaves.
i'm shaking hands
with daffodils,
embracing raccoons
out in the street.
now i'm getting
rabie shots
in my stomach,
but when i recover,
i'll be back at it,
going green.

Monday, April 23, 2012

the dark train

i see you on the black
train. the trail of smoke.
the slight rumble of
wheels. the chug and
pull, the whirr of pistons,
the choking of
the engines throat
i see you in the window
with a hand up.
tears in your eyes.
tears in mine. tomorrow
has become today.

throwing stones

i  brought back
the stones you threw
at me. here they are
in this sack. do with them
what you must.
throw them again
if it makes you feel
right. but wait until
the morning. at night
i like to sleep.

the exit

no one is saved
not really.
the dead nod
this truth
from the gallows
before they swing,
from the chair
before the switch
is pulled..
the sinner
on his knees.
there is no saving
anyone
from the door
we all must pass
through.
the doors of life
are wide, and of
your choosing,
the exit is just
one.

phillip

someone, i suspect
a boy. perhaps a young
boy, has carved his name
into the the table
where you sit and wait
your turn. the time it
took to carve
out the letters
one by one, the strength
it took to push
quietly into the soft
wood a name given
to him at birth is strange.
to be that young
and still unknown
trying so hard to
be so. finding the knife
his only way, at
least for now.

not pants

you press your face
to the glass
hands cupping your
eyes to see inside.
waiting for the store
to open. there are
things you need, that
you already have.
there are others
there too. waiting,
looking at their
watches, their phones,
waiting for the doors
to be unlocked
as if it was bread,
or water, or love,
that you are all
desperate for,
not pants.

knitting april

she likes
to knit
while having
a glass of
white wine.
the rain
pouring down.
the dog at her
feet.
music playing
somewhere
down the hall.
there's a candle
on the table
with the white
glow of a flame
willowing.
she likes to
knit and let
sunday have
it's way with her
in the sleepy
chill of april.
connecting
her yesterdays
with today.

swimming upstream

you see a dog
swimming up stream
with a bone
in his mouth.
he is paddling
with all his might.
you whistle
and call him
to the side, to
dry land, but he
shakes his head no.
like you, i
like to do things
the hard way
he barks and
continues on his
journey.

quick fix

she says
can i borrow your
religion for
a day or two.
i'm going through
some things
that meditation
and carrots won't
fix. can i steal
a prayer,
those rosary beads
and a book.
just walk me
through it and i'll
take it from
there.

earthquake

a small fissure
across the land
leading to the quake
and rattle
and roll of deep
seated crusts
scraping and biting
hard against
each other
reminds me that
nothing, not even us
can stand
on solid ground
and that we must
take hold
of one another
to wait it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

pablo

picasso, at a certain
point in his life
never carried
a purse, or money
when out and about
at the cafes. drinking
and eating all night.
he never had to pay.
instead he would sketch
the horns of a bull
the obscure curve
of a woman's hips,
a breast turned sideways
onto a napkin. then
he'd add a box,
a circle perhaps, or
a line drawn through
it all. he'd hand
it to the garcon and say
with a wry smile,
keep the change.

the dripping faucet

drip drip
drip all night
the shower faucet
leaking
onto the chrome
drain below.
drip, drip
drip. it would be
easy to rise,
get up and
go down
the hall to tighten
the handle,
but no. perhaps
it's telling
you something
in a strange
watery world
of  morse code.
you'll give it
another hour.

Friday, April 20, 2012

to be or not

you learn
to speed read
and memorize antony's
soliloquy following
caesar's death,
impressing no
one but those
few elite readers
of the bard.
you conquer
the cobwebs of
hamlet and
macbeth. taking note
of lines that you
can use throughout
the day.
it  doesn't serve you
well, speaking
in these tongues.
but you have fun
with it just the same.
you throw back your
robe, adjust your
crown of leaves
and order coffee
while saying loudly,
to be or not to be.

more to this

is the tornado
spinning a house
in midair,
an act of God.
the tsunami sweeping
away the land.
is the missed kick,
either left or
right, or one made
of his concern.
the broken cells
burning hell
through lungs
and veins.
does life and death
come from
a throw of his
dice, or whim,
or payment due
from lack of faith,
or sin.
or is there more
to this than
we can fathom.

eggs in the basket

so, did you find everything
you were looking for,
the clerk asks as i set
the carton of eggs onto
the moving belt.
one dozen brown eggs,
fresh from the farm.
at least there is a sketch
of a farm on the carton
with cows and chickens
playing together in a
sunlit field. there may
be a horse there too.
yes. i say to the clerk.
i found my eggs quite easily,
they were in the egg
department.  thank
you for asking. is there anything
else i can do for you,
she says, smiling.
ummm, i don't know, i'm
unsure, i say.  well, is plastic
okay, she asks.. yes. i answer.
nodding not unlike benjamin
in the graduate, plastic
will be just fine to carry
my eggs home. i give her my
money and she gives
me change with a
receipt that she marks
with a bright pink marker
on one side. please visit
our website and tell us
how wonderful your visit
was with us today.
there is a twenty point
questionaire. i'd appreciate
it if you mentioned my
name. she points at her
name tag that says
Janice. but i only bought eggs.
i tell her. yes, she says,
i see, and do you
need help getting those eggs
to your car?

blue

then blue again.
then red,
the color of
your lips
at night.
then green
the soft unfolding
of leaves
on the stems
of trees.
then blue again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

to land

like a small plane
you sputter
and spin through
the low sky
just over the green
hands of reaching
trees and the black
whips of power
lines. you just need
to reach the ocean
the blue arms of
sea and sand.
past the houses,
the highways.
you've been circling
out of gas
for sometime now
and your
heart is ready,
is willing
to land.

gone fishing

you wake up
and find sand in
your bed, it smells
of wet salts
and seaweed. there
are fish too.
flounder, rock fish
the size of cats
and small dogs.
hooks and sinkers,
litter the sheets.
there's a map
of the chesepeake
bay and a net
lying next to you.
scales like thin
shiny coins
are scattered
everywhere. a blue
shelled crab
is perched
on your headboard.
a seagull sits
at the bottom
of your bed with
black bean eyes
staring at you.
it's been a long
cold night
of dreams and
the fish were biting,
your hands are
raw and red from
the take.

the phone call

your father can't help
himself. he's a joke machine.
what do you call a blonde
standing on her head,
he says over the phone,
but he can't stand the three
second pause by you before
answering it himself
and laughing
with a loud cough into
the other end of the line.
a brunette, he says.
you hear the snap of his
bic lighter, firing up
another cigarette.
so, what's new he says?
how's your love life,
work. how about them
cowboys this year.
the conversation rarely
varies from this set
pattern. it's friendly
and light, and non invasive.
talk of tomatoes in his
garden, a book you sent
him. how much it rained
or didn't rain. you talk
warmly for twenty
minutes until you begin
to hear him fade and feel
cornered with nothing
left to say, so he clears
his throat and says, hey,
i got one more for you.
okay, shoot, you tell him.
and he says, a tree fell
in the forest but no one
heard it, because someone's
wife kept talking.
you laugh despite having
heard it before from him.
you make your laugh new and
fresh, thankful for all
that he has done, despite
how small that is.

warm bread

bread rises
on the silver
tray behind
the glass
warmly becoming
what it
should be, until
it's ready
for your hand
and lips
and the calm
slice of knife
to let
the heat out.

fishing

below the soft
skin of sea
the schools
of slender
fish bend
like prisms
in a rainbow
of discontent.
they swim
carelessly
away and
towards me.
the boat
rocks gently
as each
one rises and
falls without
memory
or concern
for what happens
next below
or above
this wet land.
they know little
of what i'm
doing with this
silver hook
i've readied.
so bright
so sharp, so
deadly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the rug

you see her
standing
in the yard
beating a rug
with a broom.
the dust rises
and falls like
brown clouds
around her.
she turns it
to the other
side. this is
not over.
life will
change at
some point.
she beats it
harder.

election year

sometimes you
have to swallow
your pride
nibble down
your dignity
reduce your
principles to
mere rubble,
eat your ideals
and ignore
the heartburn
of injustice
done. turn
the other cheek
to every thing
you once
believed to
be true
and bury
the hatchet
in someone else
not you, then
run.

m m

she had six
toes on each foot,
marilyn monroe,
taken
off as a child.
but few
seem to know,
they'd rather
ponder
her nude,
her breasts,
her hair,
and eyes. her
whispery voice
making her life
meringue
with no depth.
i'd like to think
that her strange
slight differences
meant something,
something
not gotten to
quite yet.

the raft

you go mattress
shopping. it's taken
days and a hundred
or more test lie downs
in the middle of
a neon lighted store
to say yes to this
one, the beauty rest
shakespeare firm
and yet with a pillow
top to sink into.
but when you get home,
you have second thoughts.
maybe there is a
better one, one more
suited to your back,
your curves, your
dreaming of oceans,
after all you will
be spending the
next third of your
life upon this raft
and it should be one
to sail upon under
those starless nights,
or full moons when love
is far away, or
with you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

april rain

she leans
on the sill
elbows up
rubbed raw
and red
from the cold
and wetness
that seeps
in from an
april rain.
an hour passes.
what are you
doing i ask
her. and she
says, i'm
not sure, but
this feels
good for now.

marching orders

bring me
this, do that.
don't forget
to pick up
the things
i told you about.
and don't wear
that shirt.
i hate it.
don't be late.
arrive on
time. don't say
anything dumb
or that might
embarass me
or you. another
words don't
be yourself,
be someone else
and all will be
fine.

botox

i went to my doctor
the other day for
a diagnostic on my
health and appearance,
trying maybe to turn
back the clock a little.
he did the usual
once over, turning me
around, and saying
things like hmmm.
and then hmmm again.
what, i said. what?
quit being so damn
mysterious. i'm not
a mind reader tell
me what's wrong.
oh, he said, nothing
serious. but i'd like
to start you on some
treatments. oh, yeah.
like what i said. pulling
the stiff cold tissue
paper i was sitting
on around my buttocks.
why's it so cold
in here. i'm shivering
like a penquin. i think,
he said, with his
finger on his chin, that
i'd like to dip your
entire head into a vat
of botox for starters,
maybe get rid of some
of your wrinkles. but
i earned these. whatever
he said, if we are to
turn back the clock
we must start there.
and then we will work our
way down. we have
methods now of tying off
the extra fatty skin and loose
muscles. he pinched me
around the waist and
the back of my arms.
ouch, easy doc. don't make
me slap you. he laughed
and then pulled a needle
seemingly out of nowhere
and suck it between
my eyes, right above my
nose. yikes, what the
hell. it is just a sample
injection, see how
the lines fade away.
already you look fifteen
minutes younger.
now go fill out the forms
and slide your credit
card into the machine.

message in a bottle

walking along
the beach you see
a green bottle floating
among the waves
thrashing the
shore. it rolls
to your feet,
so you pick it
up and see that
there is a note inside.
you take off the cork
and unravel the scribbled
sheet of paper.
it's not for you
though, someone
needs help, someone
is lost at sea,
stranded on an island.
it's a desperate
plea, but there is
little you can do.
you look out across
the shimmering
ocean, shading your
eyes from the sun.
you see no one. so
you write on the note
a message back,
asking where they
might be, then throw
the bottle back
into the ocean. if
there was a way
you could help, you
would, but you can't.
not everyone can
be reached.

Monday, April 16, 2012

spicy

i ate a chicken
sandwich the other
night and thought
of you. skinny,
boney, white meat
with no hot sauce.
i'm done with chicken
and heading over
ben's chili bowl
for some meat and
beans, potatoes
and something
a lot more spicy.

a different moon

how this moon
is different than
the other
is that you are
not here.
the same goes
for rain, or wind.
or the ice
that spills
out solid across
the pond.
so much is different
in your absence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

rock climbing

you go rock climbing
with your friend
ethel when you fall
into a ravine
and get your leg stuck.
cut it off you tell
her. quickly, i don't want
to die a slow death
out here in the desert.
take that butter knife
over there and start
sawing away.
but we're on a cruise
ship, she says
and your foot
is just hung up on
the safety net. these
aren't even real rocks.
she knocks on one with
her knuckles, see.
hollow. well
can you get me a drink
or something. i'm
really thirsty.

cat black

i want my room
painted black she
tells me and points
at a color on
the chart that says
black cat. that's
the one, i want
that paint on my
bedroom walls,
the ceiling too,
and the doors
the window frames,
the baseboards.
black cat. i want
the room dark
so that i can sleep
all day on a sunny
saturday and eat
chocolate, drink
red wine alone,
read trashy magazines.
talk on the phone.
so how long have you
been broken up
with your boyfriend
i ask her, writing
down the paint
color onto my pad.
one hour she says,
one hour and i'm not
doing too well. what
about you, are
you taken?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

moonlight swim

you take off all
your clothes
and step gently
into the moonlit
lake. you swim
out along
the lane of light
silvery
and soft as
it ripples
with your weight,
the smooth stroke
of your arms,
the kick of your legs.
you are swimming
towards something
or someone,
you aren't quite
sure, but it's
nice to be off
land and free
of the gravity
of your life.

the magic bus

you have a photo
of your sister,
the one you get along
with and her
hair is electrified.
she is sitting
in front of a day
glow poster of
jimi hendrix and her
eyes are red and
blurry and there
is an impish smile
caught on her lips.
she has beads
around her neck.
there is a lit
candle on the shelf
stuck in the mouth
of a mateuse wine
bottle. you can
almost hear the music
in this photo, smell
the smoke. but that
was a long time
ago. now she makes
birdhouses and plays
a nice round of golf.

love or chocolate

i need chocolate
she says.
right now.
if you aren't
going
to make love
to me,
and mean it,
i need a deep
dark
bittersweet
chunk
of chocolate
to ease my
discontent.
you decide.

Friday, April 13, 2012

beauty finds a way

and the next
year comes,
and the roots
of trees thicken,
the grass
finds a way
through cracks
in the pavement.
flowers grow
on the median
of the interstate.
roses bloom
on rooftops,
beauty finds
a way despite
all that we
do to lessen it.
take you for
example.

bonjour mon ami

when my new internet
girlfriend estelle
got off the plane
from paris, she took
off her white gloves
and slapped
me hard across
the face. why did you
do that, i asked
her. that, she said is
for something you will
probably do later.
it is a warning.
but, but, i stammered.
she put her finger
to my lips
and said, no, do not
talk back to me.
i will not tolerate
your insolence.
now feed me, i am hungry.
i am thirsty too and
i do not want a cheap
bottle of red wine
from the grocery store
with a tweest off cap.
i want to go to the
nearest vineyard and
taste their wines. but
we are in springfield,
i told her. what a
silly name, spring
field. i see no springs,
i see no fields. i see cars
and donut shops. obese
people wearing
athletic clothes. okay,
calm down, i told her.
let's get your luggage
out of the car and see
what we can do. how
long did you say you
were staying. don't
patronize me you swine.
now where
can we can we dine
on duck and escargot
i do not want your
american hamburger
with onion rings,
i am hot and tired,
stand near me and
block sun, fan me
with your stupid
baseball cap.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

becoming one with the universe

the other day i was
taking a yoga class
when i fell asleep
in the middle of
the session.
the teacher was blabbing
about something that
was really boring
and repetitive, droning
on and on and i
just dosed off.
my legs were crossed
over and they got
stuck together, so
when i came to
i had rolled over
like a stiff pretzel
onto my vinyl mat.
they had to call 911
to help free me from
my pose. they wet
me down with a hot
saline solution then
each of the firemen
tugged on my arms
and legs until i
snapped free. there was
a really loud pop, but
nothing was broken.
despite all of that
i felt pretty centered
and free of my inner
turmoil and was one
with the universe.
the whole class stood
up in a praying mantis
pose and applauded.

the industrial revolution

the sun rises
like a can
of chicken soup
spilling yellow
and thin
across the ragged
skyline. you push
the pillow back
over your eyes.
the sun has mistaken
you for someone
who cares, for
someone who actually
wants to get up
and do something
constructive with
his day.
you look at the clock
peeking out from
the dark cave
you've formed.
you wish you had
a cow to milk, or
a chicken laying
eggs out in the barn
house. it would
be nice to have
a goat or two.
maybe a plow horse
to cut through
the bottom forty
where you could grow
some corn, or wheat
or whatever.
you're sick of industry,
the industrial
revolution. just give me
a horse and cow,
a well to throw
a coin in. a woman
ringing the dinner bell.

bertha mason

you buy a new suit.
it's black.
you pick up a white
shirt and a blue
tie to match.
a new pair of shiny
shoes, and black
socks.
new underwear, why
not.
you get a hair cut.
you shave, you brush
your teeth, you
slap on
some cologne
then go and mix
your self a strong
drink, you keep
the dog off your lap,
shedding and whatnot,
then go sit by
the phone. you begin
to read jane eyre.
you ponder the life
of bertha mason.
crazy as she is.
you are ready. ready
for love or something
that resembles love.
you keep reading.

hazel in space

when i arrived at
the space station i
was exhausted and wanted
to take a nap, but
no, vladimir said.
nyet, you clean up
this pig stye, now.
you have chores to
do, he said, everyone
must do his part to
keep the space
station clean and
running. this is not
some cracker barrel
restaurant in ohio.
i hardly had time
to unpack my bags
when i was given a list
on a flimsly white board
with a string attached.
take out the trash.
water the plants.
feed the white rats
their daily dose of
cheese pills.
and let me tell
you the place stunk
to high heavens.
those cosmonauts
have a different
idea about
deodarants than
we do back in springfield.
bathing and shaving
seem to be vague
suggestions as
opposed to a rule
of thumb. i had to
dust, and make the
beds, see that the
pillows were fluffed.
then there was
dinner for the four
of us. heating up
the swanson tv
dinners, peeling
back the little plastic
windows. olga has
special dietary needs,
so she couldn't eat
meat or fish, but
had to have spaghetti
squash. i'm a
decorated veteran
and a nuclear engineer
and now i'm hazel
in outerspace. i
finally lost my temper
and yelled at leonoid,
hey, you're not
the boss of me, and
he laughed while
throwing back a shot
of vodka. pfffft, he
said, you americans
have no space program
anymore, we are kings
of the sky.

spring cleaning

with a green bag
in hand
you start with
the closets.
the shirts not worn,
the pants that
haven't been
put on for years,
those dust laden
shoes in the dark
corner. ties that
you never wear.
then you bend over
and look under
the bed. tumbleweeds
of dust. a stray
sock, a lost book,
magazines and
a coffee cup.
you go to the windows,
opening each one,
to wipe. you pull
the couch out
and vacuum.
you shake the rugs
out on the porch,
you mop the kitchen
floor. and all
along you hear
the banging up
in the attic,
at some point
she has to go
too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

the last supper

you get word
that you are being
electrocuted on
monday for that fatal
hot air balloon
accident you caused
with your bb gun.
the governor
has denied
a stay of
execution, but you
are okay with
that. you've made
your peace with god
and fellow men,
and now there is only
one thing left to
do, one important
decision to finalize.
what's for dinner
on sunday night.
you ponder all day
in your cell, pacing
back and forth.
you really like
chicken and mashed
potatoes, with some
baby peas, but how
about a nice rib eye
steak, or lasagna
with a fresh garden
salad, but then again,
you wouldn't mind
some spare ribs
on the grill and
a side of slaw
and shoe string
french fried
potatoes. oh, this
is hard. so hard.
maybe a big breakfast
sausage, eggs, waffles,
even though the execution
is a four in the
afternoon. heck,
breakfast is all
day these days.
then again some chinese
wouldn't be bad
either. a couple
of egg rolls and a
mai tai or two to
wash it all down.
but you know one thing,
anything but lima
beans, liver, or pea soup.
you can't stand that.
who eats liver?

three cherry tomatoes

you have
cheese in the fridge.
three slices
of american
cheddar wrapped
in plastic,
some saltines.
a half a glass
of old red wine.
lettuce and three
cherry tomatoes,
and you
stare into
the cold white
abyss of your
empty ice box
and wonder aloud,
when i work
so hard,
why am i still
living
like a vagabond
in a deserted
train yard.

falling trees

the soft roots
are soaked,
old trunks
hollowed out
gone grey,
gone thin,
leaning towards
the lower
earth, the muscle
to stand
straight is
lessened over
time, with
weather, the pull
of wind, the
cruel of cold.
time is neither
with or against
such things
as trees, or
even us. this is
just the way
it will be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

day one of donut sobriety

while oogling
a box of entennman's
donuts under the serene
buzz of neon at
the local grocery
store, you notice
that you are drooling
and that your
donut eating hand
is trembling. you reach
for a box to put it
in your cart, but
fortunately your
phone rings and it's
your sponser, betty.
don't do it, she says.
put the box back down.
just do it. now walk away
slowly towards the carrot
section. towards
the apples and grapes.
avert your eyes from
that evil shelf. but
i want one so badly,
you say, just one of
those gleaming beauties,
chocolate iced, and some
with sprinkles.
full of all
the ingredients i love,
like butter and sugar,
eggs and all those
chemicals that i
can't pronounce.
they are smiling at me
from behind
the sheer plastic
window where they
await my lips, you tell
her. that's not a smile
she says, it's a sneer.
your knees go weak,
and you lean on your
cart full of hummus
and carob, soy products
and fat free yogurt.
you hate yourself.
why, why can't you
have just one, one fat
donut. it would be
the last one, you promise
her, then everything
goes black and you
fall to the floor.
when you awaken the store
manager is hovering
over you with a salt
stick under your nose,
and he's eating a
bavarian cream.

the good neighbor

you had an apartment
once in a bad
part of town.
a ground floor
unit where you had
to keep a bar
in every window,
every door.
the open stairways
were never swept
or scrubbed,
and the dust
and debris was
part of it. but
you had a neighbor
who stole your
morning paper
every morning,
your milk,
your bread, your
eggs, back when
these things
were delivered.
you asked him about
it once or twice
and he shook his
head and laughed,
so did his wife.
finally you ordered
him everything
that you were
getting and he
had no need to
steal anymore. he
was a good neighbor
after that. but you
soon moved. sometimes
even now, when
the wind blows
a certain way you
can hear the cold
rush of it up that
stairwell.

the lullabye

she kept
the tv on
at night.
it helped her
sleep.
the blue
blur of snow
and static
calmed her,
sang a
chaotic
lullabye of
sorts, not
unlike her day.
a bookend
to her life.

red wine

the red wine
spills
drips down
the side
of the table
onto the white
rug, puddles
into a sheen,
but you weren't
happy with
the wine anyway
and the rug was
old and the hand
that let the glass
drop is now
empty for
you to hold.

wedding bell blues

you decide to get
married again. why not.
it's been ten years
since the last debacle.
why not give it
another shot. you call
up the few women
that you know and
ask them if they might
be interested in such
a thing, most of them
laugh, or curse you
before hanging up
the phone. but you are
persistent. you know
how wonderful marriage
can be. that peaceful
existence, the meals
together, the bedtime
rendezvous, the overwhelming
sense of security
and tranquility.
the mutual sharing of
bills and expenses. it's
a goal, and you haven't
had a decent goal
since that pie eating
contest you entered
last summer and lost.
you get out a pad and
a pen and make a list
of all the qualities
you want in a wife, and
of all the qualities
you have to give.
you put down things like,
i have a job, i'm strong
enough to open olive
jars and i'm frisky
after a glass or two of
wine. good sleeper.
you realize suddenly as
you scratch your head
that this could be
harder than it looks.

planet x

they discovered
another planet.
there's a photo
of what it might
look like in
the paper, a
computers rendition.
it's not unlike
our own, with air
and water, heat
and cold. perhaps
an ocean, a volcano
or two. but yes
we could live there
if it came down
to it. however
it's far far away
and we would
have had to left
yesterday, at the very
least to get
there before this
one ends.

destinations

you draw a line
on a white
sheet of paper
that goes
nowhere. you start
another line,
and then another,
you add a dot
at the end
of the next line
as if
a destination.
soon the lines
all cross one
another. the places
you've been too
remind you of
where you are.
and at the end
of your life
your realize that
there was
only so much ink,
and so much space
with which to fill.

indiana wants you

you wake up one
morning in indiana.
you are not sure
how you got there,
but you look out
the window
and see a cornfield
that rolls along
forever and someone's
head deep under the hood
of a rusted pick
up truck. a harsh
sun obliterates
the cold blue sky.
you hear someone
from another room say,
honey, are you up.
i got some pancakes
on the grill
and fried scrapple,
the way you like it.
you hear this stranger
ring a cowbell and
stamp her boots against
the slab kitchen
floor. get up and
get your sleepy buns
in here pronto, she
says loudly. this farm
don't run itself. okay,
okay, you say, finding
some overalls on
the floor. you chase
a fat cat off of
them, with her
kittens and slip
your legs into the
wide britches. you scratch
your head, wondering
how you got here.
who are these people.
a little flat headed
boy with red cheeks pokes
his head in the doorway
and smiles with missing
teeth and says, hey
daddy, can we go down
to the racetrack after
we milk the cows today.
please daddy, please.
ah, yeah, sure. but
come here kid, who
exactly are you and
where are we. this makes
the kid laugh, and say,
you're funny when you act
crazy daddy. why we're
in indiana daddy,
indiana and i'm your
one and only boy,
your pride and joy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

the end of the fiscal year

i was yellling
at my maid
helena
the other day.
asking her
why she hadn't
dusted the top
of the book shelves.
why hadn't she
picked up
all the loose
popcorn kernels
around the couch.
she smiled
at me and tapped
me with a duster
on my nose. you
mister are just
a frustrated
artist. you are
a man without
an island, a
city without
lights, a painter
without linseed
oil. i don't
know what any of
that means, i told
her, but i
think you're right.
what did you do in
russia before you came
here, i asked
her and she said,
i was one of the top
neurologists in
moscow, but i wasn't
making any money, so
i came here. i see.
well, the end of
the fiscal year is
coming up and if
you can make me a
pot roast for dinner
there will be a bump
up in your salary.
i will try, she said.
i will give it
my best shot my
sensitive artist.

love

love is
an ocean
of immeasurable
depth. blue
and serene.
the end
of love
is a forest
full of trees
on fire,
be careful
where you step.

dog without a bone

you take up
the banjo
and begin to
strum, sitting
on your front
porch in your
ripped overalls
and boots. you put
a piece of straw
between your lips.
you don't know
what the hell
you're doing,
but you like
the sound of
your strumming
and the croaking
noise you think
is singing. you
make up some lyrics
like i'm broke,
my doggy died,
my woman left me for
the cleaning guy.
you repeat this over
and over and over
again until you
think of something else
to sing like,
nobody loves me, and
since you up and
gone i'll probably die
alone, like a dog
without a bone.
you tap your foot
keeping the beat,
this goes on well
into the night
until the police arrive.

the muddy shoes

you are running
out of things to write
about, she tells
you as she scrapes
mud off the bottom
of her shoes.
you're repeating
yourself. i've read
the same poem
nine times, the
one where she says,
he says, etc. etc.
i'm getting bored.
she continues to look
up at you in the morning
sun, her shoes now
off and on the porch,
wet and soaked with
creek water
and mud. i don't
care, you tell her.
i write what i want
to write. i write
for me not you,
and now i refuse
to even write about,
as i once was,
your pink feet and
those muddy shoes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

music to my ears

the woman above
me, on the second
floor walks with
heavy feet. she
plays the piano too.
all day she teaches
children with
lesser skills
the keys, the pedals,
the chords. her
voice is soft
and patient through
the air ducts.
try again, she says,
try again sweetie
and sometimes they
get it right. which
is music to my ears.

cake and sex

you tell her
that you love cake.
chocolate
layered, thick
with a creamy filling
oozing out the sides.
i know that
she says. you
talk about it
all the time. and i
also know that you
use that word
as a metaphor
for sex. you arch
your eyebrows and
make a startled
face. so untrue
you say, licking
clean the fork
full of icing.
so, untrue. you have
me all wrong.

being followed

a man follows
you through town.
he's half way
down
the block but
you can feel
his presence.
he's almost
in your shadow
at times.
you quicken
your pace,
but he keeps up.
you turn a corner
go up an alley,
but there he
is again.
finally you stop
and wait until
he catches up
with you. what?
you ask. why
are you following
me. i'm sorry,
he says, but you
seem like a man
who knows where
he's going and i
don't. there
is something
of purpose
in your stride.
you've mistaken me
for someone else,
you tell him. i'm
just as lost as you.

the five and dime

you go to
the five and dime
for some
things.
minor things
that you need.
you remember
reading comics
at the counter
swirling on
the red top
stool, whiling
away hours with
superman and batman.
sipping on a
cherry coke.
so you stop
at the counter
for a malt
and a grilled
cheese sandwich.
you grab
a few magazines
to peruse
as you eat until
the man
in the little
cap wiping
the counter says
you can't
read those here
unless you buy
them first. not
much has changed
at the five and time
in all these
years.

Friday, April 6, 2012

easter eggs

you find
a red egg
in the crook
of a tree.
unearthly in
color. so
much so
that the birds
have gathered
to talk about
it. to wonder
together
what this egg
could mean.
then a green
one is found
hidden
behind a rock,
and yellow
one as bright
as a butter.
purple and pink
ones lying
in the tall
grass like
lights turned
on in
the april sun.

open windows

the windows
left open
throughout
the night
brings in
the noise
of the woods
the wind
the crackle
of stars
the low hum
of a brilliant
moon
you shiver
in your dreams
and awaken
to a cold
floor needing
more sleep.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

get me out of here

you are at the zoo
one day
eating a candy
apple pointing at
two gorillas behind
the bars. they are
picking fleas off
of one another
and scratching
their heads. looking
dumb and large,
and scary.
they sit in
the sun across
the moat when suddenly
one of them leaps
towards you and
grabs your arm.
he takes a bite
of your candy apple
and whispers
into your ear, please,
mister, you have to
get me out of here.
he hands you
a note with his cell
phone number on it.
call after the lights
go out. i've got
a plan. can i have
the rest of that apple,
he says, his brown
eyes shifting back
and forth looking
for the zoo law.
sure, you say, go
ahead, i was done
with it anyway. call
me he says, then
scurries back across
the moat.

doctor's visit

you go to the doctor
for a checkup.
you are way over due
and you have this
black mole that
used to be brown.
you imagine that it's
the first sign
of impending death.
you sit and wait
with the others.
the sniffling kids
with cuts and bruises
like eggs on their
wide foreheads,
the coughing moms.
the limping grand
parents. you've
filled out all
the forms. your life
history in brief.
coming from a long
line of mutts, not
too much has been
chronic or gone
wrong. so there is
a lot of N/A being
written down. it's
the longest two
hours of your life
and you begin to itch,
and scratch. you
pick up and put
down each and every
magazine. some that
still have liz taylor
on the front asking if
she can keep the weight
off this time. i
suspect she will.
you see the dust on
the plants, you count
the number of buzzing
neon lights that
are out. you watch a fly
banging softly against
the sealed window.
you listen
to the water cooler
bubble and gurgle.
you fall asleep until
the nurse taps you
on the shoulder and says
the doctor will see
you now. thirty
seconds later he says
you're fine. once again
you've cheated death.

parking ticket

she is the judge
and jury,
with her uniform
and pad. her
small toy car
with blinking
yellow lights,
she is
without mercy
as she shakes
her head and says
no. too late,
your meter has
expired. there
is no pleading
your case, your
honest mistake
of leaving
the meter light
with change.
the line was long
you were without
warning delayed.
but no. she's
heard it all
and slaps the
ticket harshly
beneath the wiper
blade. you almost
think she's being
insincere when she
tells you to have
a nice day,
then drives away.

the apple

she offers
you an apple.
it's red.
it's shiny.
it's lovely
in the palm
of her open
hand. and with
the sun hitting
the uncut
peel, you
are distracted
and don't see
the worm
crawling out
the other side
until you take
a bite.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

between the lines

you begin to leave
every other line
empty. then two, then
three until she
says what are you
doing. this looks
crazy, the way you're
writing now.
there is so much
space between
each word and each
line. what does this
mean. there are just
some things i can't say,
you tell her. some
things that are best
left unsaid. pretty
soon the entire
page will be blank
and you'll be happy
again.

the rebate

you have forty five
days to send it
in and get your money.
but first you have
to fill out the form
on one of the seven
slips of receipts that
are stapled together.
you must first
read the fine print.
address an envelope,
find a stamp,
mail it to the right
place, you have
forty five days to
save fifty dollars.
this will make your
purchase worthwhile.
it's day forty one
and counting. how
badly do you need
this rebate.
the burden of it all
weighs on you,
night and day.
you toss and turn with
this chore you must
do, you have to do
before day forty
five says no more.

butter brickle

your tongue is sore
from licking
icecream from
the pockets
of sugar cones.
lick lick lick
all day long.
there's not enough
icecream in the
world to satisfy
your hunger, and
it doesn't stop
with butter brickle,
or icecream
for that matter.

the boat

you both get on
the row boat.
it's red with streaks
of yellow paint, peeling
along the sides.
there are two
oars, two small
planks to sit on
and the floor is wet.
it's wooden
and heavy, but
moves easily through
the still lake
once under way.
she points in
the direction
of a small island
in the middle of
the lake and says
let's go there,
but it's too late,
you're already
rowing towards
a distant shore,
and so the silence
begins between
the splash and
clink of oar into
water and the ache
of creaking wood.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

old bones

they find a bone
in the dirt
near another bone
in the dirt
and they construct
from these two slender
ancient pieces of
petrified bone
an entire animal
or mammal
that fits the bill
to prove a point.
and likewise i have
made up even larger
tales from lesser
bits of fossils.

the empty field

you have no
field to harvest
no crop to bring
in. there was no
planting of seed
this spring, or
watering the land.
nothing is coming
up to fill the barns
to chop and bundle
for market. you have
no field to harvest,
but you do have words,
and stories,
and that's enough
to fill the coffers
of your day.

the parade

you are not fond
of parades.
they bore you.
you would never
be in one. riding
in an open car
waving to strangers
as they waved back.
switching
arms when one
got tired. your
smile no longer
a smile by a
grimmace as the tuba
section bellows
behind you.
the flag waving.
the floats
and girls with
batons. you don't
understand how
they even came into
existence, these
parades. you shake
your head and say
what. say why.

uncertain weather

how unsure
the sun is coming
up over the trees
half in half out
with clouds.
uncertain weather.
the wind
undecided as to which
way it will push
the sea. how i
feel your heart
is like that with
many things, and
possibly with me.

election year

if you vote for me
and i'm elected,
every night
i'll put a chocolate
mint on
your pillow
and tuck you in, read
you a bedtime story
and turn the light
off when you fall
asleep. i'll lower
taxes too, and the price
of gas will tumble.
i'll put a windmill
on every rooftop,
a chicken in every pot.
if elected i'll protect
you and serve you
and lower your children's
tuition. i'll turn
swords into plowshares,
i'll keep the highways
safe and clean.
if elected, i'll
take us to the moon
again, to mars, i'll
cure disease and
walk on water.
if elected i'll save
the whales, save
the babies, i'll
save you from yourself.
i'll turn your frown
upside down. i won't
overuse cliches
like that last one
that i used.
i'll protect your google
searches, i'll
decriminalize sin.
i'll keep the wrong
fools out, and the right
fools in. if elected i'll
put a mint on every pillow
before you go to
sleep at night. if
you vote for me
all of your wildest
dreams will come true.

before dark

you go to a magic
show and sit in
the front row, which
is a mistake.
the magician
grabs you by the arm
and pulls you
onstage to applause.
he sits you down, has you
stare at this ticking
watch as it swings
back and forth,
back and forth.
he tells you that you
are various farm
animals, a chicken,
then a pig, a goat,
a cow and finally a horse.
you make all the noises.
and then when he claps
his hands you snap
out of it. you have
no idea why the crowd
is laughing, and
clapping wildly
when you come to.
the clapping is tremendous.
it startles you,
and makes you buck up
and run through the
aisle like a stallion.
the magician keeps
clapping frantically
to bring you back,
but its too late,
you are out the doors
onto the highway
you leap the guardrail
and set out for the
high grass. you
break into a full
gallop as you reach
the flatlands that
lie before the mountains.
you can be in the trees
before dark.

Monday, April 2, 2012

separate checks

i don't want
my peas to touch
the potatoes
she tells the waiter.
please take it
back and try again.
and the meat,
keep it away from
the bread, and
bring the gravy
separate. lay
the salad out,
the lettuce, the
onions, the tomatoes,
each with a small
plate. and put
the water right
there, with a
different glass for
ice. okay, she
says, now where
were we. you just
smile as you finish
off your dinner.
you grab the waiter
by the arm
and tell him,
separate checks
please, you have
to run.

fisherman

you decide you want
to work on a fishing
boat and so join a crew
heading out into
the north atlantic
to catch cod and
flounder. it's a stinky
job, to say the least.
lots of swearing
and drinking and
smoking. everyone
has a beard and a lazy
eye or limp, and smells
like a barrel of
anchovies. they make fun
of your black knit
crew sweater from
calvin klein, and
chinos, but you
ignore them. you're a
fisherman, damn it.
they have a rookie
initiation which you
don't know about until
you have sailed fifty
miles from shore. they
string you up from
the mast with fishing
lines and swing you
around the boat, dunking
you into the water
when a school of sharks
appear. it's fun for
everyone, although you
can feel that your
sunscreen is being washed
off with each dip into
the salty ocean. your
favorite pair of black framed
raybans with polarized
lenses ends up in
the mouth of a tiger shark.
they finally
let you down when you toss
your breakfast and it
goes everywhere like a
busted pinata. it's
a long hard day, and
the hull is full of iced
down haddock, but you
learned how to filet fish,
tie a knot and tell stories
about your conquests of
women, although most of
those stories are made
up and embellished under
the influence of rum
and jugs of wine. you
like the camraderie of
your crew mates, singing
billy joel songs
on the way home as the
sun sets into the sea,
sharpening their knives,
letting out gas,
but you feel like this is
your last day, maybe
this job isn't for you
afterall. your hands
are bubbled with blisters
and your penny loafers
are covererd with gills
and something yellowish
and gooey. maybe there's
an opening at barnes
and noble.

to rise

you rise
you rise
you rise.
it's has to
be this way.
the other
options
are too harsh
to comprehend
or live with.

the vase

when the vase
falls
and a cloud
of dust rises
in the room
and the soft gray
particles of
italian mud
older than
you drift
into the air,
a part
of you cries,
another part
laughs.
and somewhere
another vase
spins on
a wheel with
hands gently
at the task.

being young

let the dog
chase his tail
around the tin
drum. let his
feet slip and
slide along
the shiny rim
of his new found
world. let him go
for now, before
things change,
let him be young.

these things

you have leaned
in close and heard
the voices of
the dead. yes, you've
done these things.
you cupped
your ear to the floor
and walls and
listened to
the sound of feet
no longer walking.
you've done such things.
you've bent sorrow
like a rose
and held it in your
blood soaked hand,
breathed in
the life once
whole. you've done
these things.
but no more.