Sunday, September 30, 2012

the pumpkin

you buy
a pumpkin.
a large orange
pumpkin
and set it on
your porch.
people
walk by and
smile at your
pumpkin,
they tell you
how nice it is.
how well
you've carved
the face
within its
thick yellowed
skin. who is it
they ask, who's
face have you
carved in your pumpkin,
it's very very
scary, especially
with that candle
burning bright
within. oh, it's me
you say, a self
portrait, which leaves
them only to nod
and go quickly on
their way.

the fire

place your hands
near the fire
as it roars
in a golden rush
out the tunnel
of the chimera.
pull up close
and watch the embers
burn. stir
the logs, arouse
the sleepy flames
again. the moon is
over our left
shoulder, the stars
are sprinkled
across the plain
of blue. the cold
front has moved on.
it's just the fire now.
and me and you.

the ice box

the ice
box is out
of order
the ice cream
has become
cold milk,
the cubes
are wet
shells of
what they want
to be.
the frozen
vegetables
are soft and
ready
to be boiled.
and you,
you too have
defrosted
when i'm
around.

bad news

i hear you
crying
in the other
room.
your
voice a
flock of
scattered
birds
on the phone.
black wings
on
soft air.
nothing prepares
you for
death, your
own, perhaps
the easiest
to digest.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

roll the dice

she says,
with a drink
in her hand
smelling of
cheap perfume.
roll the dice,
baby, toss in
your hat and keys,
your shoes.
why not.
working nine
to five
is taking so
long to get to
your promised
land, whatever
that might be.
put it all in
the middle of
the table and roll
the dice.
what do you have
to lose, but
everything,
which ain't much.
she's right,
but i'm not that
brave or
stupid, not yet.


 

sleep will have it's day

sleep evades
you.
it's in the corner.
a dark
cool pillow
awaiting
your face
and head.
but not yet.
your fingers keep
moving
across the keyboard,
stroke after
stroke.
there are more
oceans to
cross. more
seas
to dive into.
sleep will
have it's day.
and more, but
not yet.
 

the apple with a worm

you're the apple
with the worm,
the lane that slows
down, you're
the rain cloud
on the weekend,
the riptide
in the surf, you're
the bad check
that won't cash,
the ring
that slips off
a finger, you're
the dream that
ends too fast,
you're the girl
who won't linger.
you're the broken nail
on a hand,
the rusted pipe
and the radiator
that goes bang,
you're the sign that
reads danger.
you're the drip
in the faucet,
you're the noise in
the night. you're
everything gone
wrong, you're
everything that's
not right. but don't
leave, i'm not through
with you yet.
 

Friday, September 28, 2012

singing

she likes
to sing
in the shower.
badly.
it echoes
and falls
against the tiles.
but singing it
is. you don't
discourage her.
you've been
in enough
rooms where
there is no
singing,
only
the cold rub
of silence
to greet you.

purple mountains

you swallow
hard
in the dry
desert air
your tongue
has rolled
up like a dust
mat
in the sun.
the cacti
look tempting
as do
the brush
and lizards
that go nowhere
but under
the sweet
shade of
a hot rock.
the desert is wide
and deep.
the sand
as white
as a beach.
those backs of
mountains
in the purple
distance
is what you're
shooting for.
barefoot
and alone, like
how you
were born.

the close of day

as you lie
in bed,
the book
down,
the light
off, a vague
prayer
or two
sent skyward,
you can hear
the small patter
of feet
in the attic.
it's day just
beginning
as yours
comes
to a close.
 

the dotted line

the black ink
on your fingers
will come
off in time
as you sign
on the dotted
line
again. but
there will
be more. there
is always another
dotted
line to sign.
your life
is a serious
of signings.
a pen
moving across
the page
saying yes
to something,
or no
to something
else. it frees
you, or it
can bind.

your closets

your  closets
are full of clouds
and rain.
thunder
roars when you
open a door.
the boxes
are full of yesterdays.
no one is allowed
in, but you like
to take a peek
every now
and then, just to
remind yourself
of how things
could have been.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the golden age

everyone
has a golden
age.
some when they hit
ten
or eleven
for others, high school
was the pinnacle
of success
and glory.
college, or the new
job
is the top of the
hill for many,
or marriage,
or when the kids
are born.
or an age is reached.
the ones
that haven't found
it yet, that have
not arrived
are the ones
most interesting,
they still have hope
that something
is about
to happen.

hot air balloons

i want to live
more dangerously
she says
spraying a can
of whipped cream
into her mouth.
the x-rays were
negative. she's out
of the woods
as far as death
goes, but now
she's chasing it.
what say we take a
hot air balloon ride
this weekend.
fly high into the sky
and see the world
from a different
angle.  two words
you tell her, slowly
stirring
half and half
into your coffee.
power lines.
safari?  she offers?
bungee jumping?
no, you say
and sit back, sipping
your coffee. it's
not for me.

box of photos

you find a box
of photos. random
stacks, crimped
some stuck
to one another.
faces and arms,
places you've
been to.
faces still young.
they never
made it
to the album.
things changed.
cameras
and computers
changed.
your life
changed.
but the box
held them
like folded arms
for you to find
again when searching
for something
else in the closet,
a flashlight
perhaps, or a
hammer, but
not them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

no friends

all day
you walk around
with spinach
between your teeth
a strand of
toilet paper
stuck to your shoe,
your zipper down
and your
shirt misbuttoned.
at days end
when you get
home and look
into the mirror
you realize that
you truly have
no friends.

the turkey cutter

when she carved
a turkey, she carved
a turkey.
the zen of it.
focused in on
the moment.
while her hand
guided
the slight soft
buzz of the electric
knife. she pursed
her lips
and blew
out with concentration.
two drumsticks,
the breast
sliced evenly,
white meat
and dark.
second street deli
would be proud
to take her on
one day,
and when she
was done,
the wings
last, the stuffing
out. she passed
the plate around
and sighed,
saying
that another
year had passed,
and she hadn't
lost a thumb.

the sugar cookie

if she was
a cookie,
i'd say a sugar
cookie
would suffice.
easy
to dip and
nibble on,
not too large,
or too sweet,
but leaving you
happy
with the crumbs
she left
behind,
and longing
for another
bite.

the run

the first half
mile was all about
warming up.
getting the joints
loose
and limber for
the run.
there were no
k's involved.
it was just a run
through the woods,
maybe a few
miles or so.
you had no costume,
no radio
in your ear,
no special shoes,
you never took
your pulse, or kept
a record of your times.
there was no finish
line, or
someone handing
you a dixie cup
of water along
the way.
you woke up,
put on some shorts
and tennis
shoes, looked out
the window,
then left, telling
no one.
 

starting a new career

you wake up one
morning and decide
to finally start
a career.
you go down to the navy
recruiting center
to sign up.
the man in the little white
cap and white
uniform laughs,
he pushes back on his
chair and rubs
the tattoo of an
anchor on his arm.
aren't we a little
bit old to be joining
the navy, he says.
i beg to differ, you say.
i love the ocean, i love
the cool breeze at midnight
when out at sea.
the smell of salt
in the air,
and the sound waves
crashing on the shore.
plus, i can tie knots
really well. give me a
piece of rope and i'll
show you.

salsa

she wants
to go dancing.
salsa.
you cringe.
and rub your forehead.
tonight? you say.
no, she says.
saturday.
eight o'clock.
susie's husband
takes her all
the time.
they took lessons
together when
they were on
a cruise.
how you hate him
through and through.
 

one night stay

the cleaning
fluids try
to mask
the thousands
of travelers
that came before you,
but fail.
you can almost
see them
sitting on the edge
of the bed, like you,
taking off their
shoes, and socks,
removing their
pants.
opening a suitcase
on the chair.
the thin walls
let you in on the laughter
and coughing
that goes on next
door. a t.v. is on.
smoke comes through
the outlets
into your room.
it's a cell.
without a guard
or bars. it's hell
with a stale donut
and a cup of coffee
in the lobby
when morning comes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the last leaf

the wind shakes
the tree
of yellow
leaves, some fall
some stay,
some are hanging
on for another
night, another day.
it's nice
to be the last leaf
on the tree.
 

making the turn

you have
to make the turn
so you slip
your car into the gap
between the long
line of cars. the man
behind you
flips you off and shakes
his head.
he's angry at being
another twenty feet
away from where
he wants to be.
this is how you start
day, inches from
his bumper, his
red face and hands
gripping the wheel
of his unconscious
life.

the owl

roll up your sleeves
the woman says,
this marriage
can be saved.
she is an owl
on a limb
in the darkened
woods of us.
her wide round
glasses do nothing
to ease this
notion of how she
looks. we
are  mice in her
claws. trust
and communication,
she says,
respect and love.
she uses her finger
as a small thick
wand. pointing
at me, pointing
at her. you know
it's lost though,
but this what you
do when the boat
sinks. you tread
water until your
arms and legs
grow weary.

but this

the goose
pimples
that line
your back,
running
down the curve
of your pale
shoulder
rise and fall
at the touch of
my hand,
my lips. i
have no power
over you,
but this.

Monday, September 24, 2012

what you remember

it surprises you, what
you remember.
how far back you go.
it's scary, the decades
under your belt.
the sirens,
kennedy and cuba.
the yankees
and marilyn.
how is it possible
that you are not on
that stoop at twelve,
blonde hair
in the sun, tanned
arms and legs,
broken shoes,
and striped shirts.
you can still see
the gleam of color
in your father's
torquoise impala.
the imaginary hose
in his hand as
the sunight sprayed
happily through
the water.

death is sleep

i don't believe in god,
she says. there is nothing
out there. we are alone.
when we die, we die.
your prayers are wishful
thinking. smoke going
up into the air, then gone.
there are no ears
up there, no ledger of
right and wrong.
no hand of wisdom or
forgiveness. there is no
god she says. no savior
no messiah. there is no
life beyond what you see
and feel. we are less than
stones, less than stars.
there is no grand maestro
to this universe. death is
sleep. this makes you
cross yourself and pray
that it's otherwise.

raccoons in the trash

a raccoon
has stumbled out
of the woods
and found the gathering
of white trash
bags set out for
tomorrow's pick up.
another
raccoon joins
him. they slowly
pick through
the broken
bags with small
child like hands
decorated with long
curled nails.
they stand on their
hind legs, making
them tall and fat,
almost prosperous.
their whiskers
are straight
black sticks
below their bandit
eyes. they don't budge
as you approach
to put your  bag down.
cautiously
you drop it near
the curb,
keeping your eyes
on their eyes,
like gunslingers
out in the street.
as you back away,
you point to your
bag and say, hey
that one has chicken
in it, still warm too.

car vultures

the man inside
the cage, a trailer
the shape of a rusted
egg slides back
the confessional
screen and says
i need to see your id
and a credit
card. your car,
towed deep into
the night
down a gravel road
sits there
unreachable behind
the chain link fence
and barbed wire.
the fault is all yours.
neglecting the sign
that said employees
only. there is nothing you
can do, but pay
the man
and go home.
he unlocks the fence
while eating
a sandwich. his
hair is thick and black
like a bird,
his nails are chewed
down to moon rims
and lined with grease,
there is no eye contact,
no thank you's,
no have a nice day.
you hear the snap
of the padlock to keep
the other cars in
as you drive away
towards the rest
of your life
and away from his.

when the world was different

write me
something.
a poem.
something clear
and simple
like a glass
of cold water,
no ice, no lemon
wedge
no tea darkening
the liquid.
keep it real.
keep it easy.
make it about us.
about when
we were lovers
and the world
was different.

the roman emperor

you wrap
a large
bath towel around
you when
exiting
the tub.
it drapes
across
your shoulder
and brushes
against the floor.
in your mind
you are disposed
roman
emperor
about to make
a peanut butter
and jelly
sandwich
on white bread.
those sirens you
hear are not for
you, not yet.
 

hammer and chisel

the sculptor
claims
that he is just
freeing
the form
that already
exists
within
the block
of marble,
bringing to
life
the soul
and limbs
the beauty
with a hammer
and chisel.
you are not
quite there
yet, you hope,
as you listen
and feel
the scrape
and  ping of
each new day.

on the corner

the deaf
woman holds
a red
bucket out
on the street
corner.
you drop in
a dollar
or two
on occasion
when feeling
benevolent.
hopefully
God is  more
charitable
than you are.

great falls

the rocks
have no
choice
in the matter
it's the rain,
the surge of water,
the relentless
passage of time
and weather
that defines
their shape,
sharpened
and smoothed,
crumbled
and broken.
they have
no way to
respond
as we do,
having no excuse
for who we
become
or don't
become.
 

winter food

i can't eat
another chicken
or slab
of salmon.
don't bring
that lettuce
leaf near me.
i need
some red meat.
a potato
and a few
string beans
coated
in butter.
look out
the window
the leaves
are falling.

can't trust that day

monday, can't trust
that day
the radio plays
loudly on your
alarm.
what does mean.
you don't know but
you like the old
song anyway.
and now it's in your
head the whole day.
you try to think if
there are any other
untrustworthy days
out there.
tuesday, can be a
little suspicious
at times too.
monday and tuesday
need to be watched,
no doubt.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the book of you

you find the book
of you
on the table.
it's been left there
accidentally.
it's a permanent
record of your
life. your memories.
it's all there.
your mistakes,
your careless words.
all of it in ink.
there are pictures
too of things you
didn't want to see again.
your thoughts
unfiltered are all
listed
from lust to greed
to anger.
the jealousy and gossip.
the book is full
of you. there is some
good too, but not
enough. you flip
to the end of the book
to see how many pages
are left to be filled.
there are some.
and that's enough you
think to turn this
story around.
 

run into the light

your friend
has saved enough
food and water,
dry goods, dry ice
and batteries to last
a year or so
when the big one
hits. he's ready
with his guns, his
bows and arrows,
his survial books
and gear.
he's ready for the end
in his concrete bunker,
ready to contiue
his life after all
others have gone.
he laughs when i
tell him, that i'd rather
run towards the light
than go down
into the dark with
him.

snow days

the red
boots
by the door
are wet
with snow
and ice
from being outside
for hours
and hours.
they sit
side by side
on a folded
newspaper
dripping
dry near
the vent.
the child
who wore them
and his pink
feet have
gone up the stairs
to sleep.
how wonderful
the snow is
at this age.
 

the lost and found

the world wants
to save you.
save you
from yourself,
from going to hell
in a handbasket,
they want to
save you from
being cold
in the winter.
too hot in the summer.
they want to save
your body,
your soul
they want to reach
way down deep
into your pockets
and save you time,
they want to pinch
your pennies,
but give you
the best.
it's a world of
saviors and you are
one of the many lost
waiting to
be found.

 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

when the power dies

when the power
goes out, the house
let's out a sigh.
relaxed in it's bones
and brick.
the blood gone
from it's veins.
it's just me and you
now it says.
the walls
and floors,
the concrete,
all stopping
for a breath of fresh
air as the windows
go up and the curtains
blow wide.

straddling the abyss

you like the idea
of jackson
pollock in his
garage standing
over a canvas
with a cigarette
in his mouth,
his lean tired body
straddling
the empty
white abyss,
splattering paint
like a mad man.
house paint, no
less. brushes
and stir sticks like
tongues of demons
dripping with oils,
reds and orange,
black and peacock blue,
all slung as if by a
demented
drunk man, which is
entirely possible.
it's the genius of
this. of this lawlessnes
this anti-art, this rebellion
towards things in
order, that gives
you hope and keeps
your own canvas wet.

the denist

in traffic
you see the side
of a bus beside
you.
there is a large
colorful ad
for a dentist.
strangely enough
it's your dentist.
a man is in
the chair with
his mouth
wide open, his
white teeth
are the size of your
head, a woman
wearing a white
smock is smiling
while she holds a
gleaming syringe
in the air,
the pointed tip wet
with
novocaine.
as the bus moves
down the street
her eyes follow you.
this makes you
roll down
your window and
spit your gum out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

the happy pain

when your father
came home early,
early for him, he would
come into the room
and kiss you goodnight.
you felt the rough
bristles of his cheek,
smelled the whiskey
on his breath like a
dangerous cloud.
he'd rub his fingers
together near your ear
and pull out a dime.
those were the good
nights.  he'd say
goodnight then
leave, closing
the door. but you
could still hear
the clinking of glasses
in the livingroom,
the playful chase
and then your
parents bedroom
door close gently
against the frame..
the sighs and noise,
the flesh on flesh
was muted by walls
and wood, but enough
seeped under the door
to hear
your mother's voice
enduring and enjoying
some sort of happy pain.
or so it seemed.
the other nights,
involved a different
kind of pain altogether.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

mormons at the door

as soon as you get home
you make yourself
a highball, then
you unbutton your shirt
and throw it down
the steps to the basement
you unbuckle your
belt pull down the zipper
and step out of your
pants, they too go in a ball
down the steps towards
the laundry room.
your underwear follows,
as does your socks.
you take a long gulp
of your drink, letting
the ice clink against
your teeth,
and standing there
naked without a thread on
you see two mormons
at your glass storm
door in their
coats and ties, white
shirts. they shake their
heads with their little boy
haircuts and keep
knocking. they have
the look of determination
on their faces, as if they
really have some work
to do.

shades of grey

you see them gathered
in the coffee shops,
in the park with
the strollers, sitting
in groups talking
in whispers, smiles
on their flushed faces,
excited, knitting
in circles, talking
in hurried turns about
their favorite parts
of the book, how
secretly that they too
wished their man
would do this, do
that, and then
nervous laughter as
they stare at one another
for that knowing look,
each holding a copy
of the trilogy of fifty
shades of grey
in their warm
and stirring laps.

let's say

let's say that the story
is a good one
with a happy ending.
no one gets hurt.
there are only blue
skies and birds
chirping. let's say
that no one ever
dies, that nothing goes
wrong, that you can
always fall asleep
and wake up with
a smile and something
like hope on
your lips. let's  say,
for this storys sake,
that there is a happy
ending and leave
out all of the bad
things that are true
and eventual in our
lives. let's just say
that for now, and leave
it as it is.

stage fright

you have stage
fright.
fear of  being found
out
for the fool
you really are.
sweat grows
beneath your arms,
your throat
constricts and you
can hardly swallow.
your heart beats
like a snare
drum at the mercy
of buddy rich.
or ginger baker.
you can't face
the audience,
you've built
a house of cards
with your days
and nights. you can't
go out there and
be found out,
for then what?
it's best to stay
put behind the screen,
hidden in the shadows
with the curtain
never raised.

at night

at night
you walk the streets.
no one is around.
it's quiet.
it might be winter.
there may be
a moon, there may
be stars, it doesn't
matter.
it's dark and it's
quiet. you can
think this way.
being alone.
you can figure things
out. your mind
clears of the days
debris.
it's not dreaming
but it's close.
the long walk
in the dark
at night.

animal house

you leave your door
open all night.
you have gone
to bed and not locked
up. when you come
down the stairs
the livingroom is full
of animals.
they have come in
and made themselves
at home. a raccoon
is on the couch having
a cup of coffee,
the badger has the remote
and is searching
for animal planet.
a few birds are on
the shelf in a line.
three grey squirrels are
trying to open up
a jar of planters nuts,
while a small black
bear is in the fridge
licking clean a butter
tub. what the hell,
you say, which makes
them all laugh.
you shake your head,
grab your briefcase
and head to work.
lock up when you leave
you tell them,
and clean up after
yourselves.

california dreaming

in your mind
you buy a surfboard
and move to california.
you start slowly
to change your diet.
nuts and berries
replacing potato chips
and red meat.
tea instead of coffee,
white wine
instead of vodka.
you buy an old
vw bus and paint
the sides with wild
colors. purple and blue,
red and orange.
you begin to drive
across country and pick
up a hitchhiker.
her name is amber
and she has long
dark hair, and green eyes.
she's wearing a leather
vest, and a headband.
you ask her which direction
she is going and she
smiles and says any
direction you go, i want
to go too. which makes
you smile. she lights
an illegal cigarette
and passes it too you.
in a short while you pull
over and make love for
what seems like hours.
then you hear a voice and
feel a tapping on your
shoulder, someone is
telling you to wake up,
wake up, my parents are
coming over today and you
need to cut the grass
and clean up after
the dog.
 

the soup line

the bread line
runs parallel
to the soup line
which is next
to the  gourmet
coffee shop
where its line
runs out the door.
the haves
and have nots
have suddenly
come together.
now they both
sit and ponder
life on their
laptops, almost
indistinguishable
from each
other.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

politics

you fall asleep
in the middle of dinner.
someone is talking
politics. you are out
for a few minutes,
face down in your
plate. there are mashed
potatoes in your eyes.
gravy and steak sauce
on your cheeks.
no one seems to notice.
someone says something
about the economy,
and another about
immigration, the woman
to your right says
she needs to go to
the bathroom and wants
you to move. she points
at the food on your face
and hands you a napkin.
the man at the end of
the table says that he has
enough dried goods,
fresh water
and ammo to last him
at least a year if things
go wrong in the next
election. someone asks
you a question about
where you stand on the
issues of the day, and they
all stop talking and turn
to look at you, but you
don't hear the question,
you are busy trying to get
a snow pea out of your nose.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the found wallet

you find a wallet on the street.
it's full of money and credit
cards, there's a library card too.
green and glossy, unused.
there's a picture of a woman,
a glamour shot. blonde hair
and lipstick, she's staring off
into the clouds as if in
love, or about to fall asleep.
there is another picture of her
in a  bathing suit, showing
off her long tanned legs.
there's a man's driver's license
inside with an address.
the man's face is a pale
pink smudge, a mug shot
of a photo. undeserving
of the queen bee you
judgementally think, but
maybe he had a bad day.
maybe they don't get along.
she's high maintenace needs
a lot of new shoes, and he
drinks to soothe his anxiety
about his job, his wife who
is too beautiful for him.
those legs, that smooth skin.
he can't sleep, look at his
eyes, half mast.
and the lines etched
in his forehead. he's too
young for that face. he
appears worried.  maybe
she's cheating
on him while he slaves away
at work, trying to keep her
in the things she loves. those
shoes. what the hell is wrong
with her being so needy.
you look at the address again
on the driver's license, you
could be there in an hour
on the subway and then
the cross town bus. maybe you
should take the wallet there
yourself and give that woman
a piece of your mind, but no.
it starts to rain. you see a
mailbox on the corner and
drop it in. who's got time
for these people.

the wet cat

why are you so
mean to me
she says
pouting, staring out
the window at
the grey rain, the black
streets, a soaked cat
slowly slinking across
the lawn. but i'm not
mean, you tell her.
i'm aloof and distant
at times,
i'll give you that,
but there are no mean
bones in my body.
i think you
misunderstand me.
i want a cat, she says.
still looking out the window.
i know you hate cats, but
do you mind if i have
a cat. sure, you tell her,
i love cats,
why not, in fact just
to show you how nice
i am we'll go to the cat
pound and pick one
up today, just as soon
as it stops raining.
no need, she says
and goes to the door
to let the wet cat in.

the fish are jumping

the fish are jumping.
you don't
know why, but you
can see
the silver splashes
along the lake,
there's something
going on below
the surface that you
don't know about,
there's more to
everything than
meets the eye.

nothing changes

nothing changes.
not really.
but everything is
different.
the clothes you wear.
the bed you
sleep in.
the work you do.
even the food
you eat is new.
the moon, as old
as it is, is fresh
against the sky.
the lips that press
against yours
are also new.
but nothing changes.
not really.

the next train

there are times
when you feel
like you are living
in between
the lines.
inbetween
the breaths that
you take, in that
small space
before the next
heart beat
takes place.
you are in limbo
waiting, waiting
for the next
train, the next
change of seasons.
the next love
to slip in and put
her arm
around you
even though she's
already arrived.

Monday, September 17, 2012

your new free phone

your old phone would
neither turn on
or go off.
it repeated incessantly
for two hours the word
droid.
droid
droid.
so you take it in
to the horizon center
and the twelve year
old technician
holds it up to the light.
what's that he says,
what's that goo all
over it.
gravy, you tell him.
maybe some mashed
potatoes too.
oh, he says and
removes the battery
with a twist of his
hand  and puts it back
in. it stops saying droid.
finally.
there you go mister.
just like new. but,
he says excitedly,
if you want a
new phone, we
have free ones today
on that shelf over there.
free, you say,
raising your eyebrows
like groucho marx.
(don't ask)
as in no money,
nothing. it's free.
yes, he says smiling
showing the tacos
he had for lunch
stuck in his silver
braces. yes sir, he
says. free.
so you go over to
the shelf, pick one up,
shrug your shoulders
say pfff, and
get a new free phone.
of course you need a
car charger, a home
charger, a case,
an insurance plan,
and a upgrade on your
minutes, and data, so three
hundred dollars later,
you have your new free phone.
and it's gravy free
so far.

 

cat love

she went in
for a new
kidney
a new heart
a new hip
and a lobotomy.
her knees
needed
scoping too,
not to mention
the cataracts
and liposcution.
but other than
that, she was
good to go.
you love
your cat,
and would do
anything for
her. the parakeet,
not so much.

the live wire

when touching
a wire
wet
connected
to the switch
and outlet
a stream
of harsh
electricity
runs through one
arm,
through
your heart
and out
the other hand.
it rattles
you, and
makes you dizzy.
you fall
back, free
of the sting,
but more
cafeful now
of what love
can do.
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

rip it off

like a bandaid
just pull
it off in one
quick motion
and tell
him the truth
she says,
friend to
friend in front
of the fire.
rip it off.
it will hurt
no doubt,
but not as much
as the slow
tear against
the wounded
flesh.
be kind, and
rip it off. it's
the best way
to end
things.

the snowflake

a flake
of snow,
a grain,
of sand
a kiss,
a smile
a hand
laced in
a hand.
the seasons
that we share,
the moments
that are
ours,
the moon
is laid
bare by
the absence of
stars.
come here
and stay
awhile
don't fade,
don't leave,
don't melt
away.

we are alone

moon dust,
martian soil,
meteor crumbs,
all probed
and pulled
dissected
to the point
of molecules.
they want
so badly to find
life beyond
this planet. they
point telescopes
out into the
stars, radar
dishes
rotating and pulsing
with our buzz.
and yet.
another war
breaks out,
another child
starves,
another act of
violence occurs.
no wonder
they stay hidden. 

what's her name?

the doctor comes into
the room
and places
a stethoscope
against
your bare chest.
it's cold. he listens
and nods. fast, he
says. it's beating
very fast.
he touches
your forehead,
you're warm too,
stick out your
tongue, oh my
he says, here
put this in your mouth
and in goes
a glass
thermometer.
he knocks on
your knee making
it tremble
and kick out,
hmmm, he says.
you look tired,
very tired,
but happy, he says.
so tell me,
what's her name
and does she have
a sister my age.

bus ride in mexico

in mexico
once. not knowing
the currency,
you handed
the bus driver
a bill. he gave you
change.
you took your
seat not
knowing that
what he gave
you back
was play money
from a children's
game.
he knew that you
had no clue,
and smiled
happily
as you took your
seat
and stared out
the window
at the vast wasteland
that was cancun.

the ocean

the ocean
speaks to you.
it whispers
it roars, it screams.
it's silent
and blue.
it's your wife,
your husband,
your children,
a friend
an enemy.
the ocean is every
one you
ever knew
and have
forgotten.
it's a place
between
far away shores.
it's where your
dreams lie,
where your failures
have risen
and sailed away.
it's the beginning
of your life.
it's the end
of your life. it
welcomes you
with a cold
embrace
that warms.
 

things borrowed

things borrowed
get lost
or forgotten
and a calm
but blue bitterness
sets in
about the book
you loved
and lent, then
never returned.
soon you resist
the good
giving side
of your nature
and become one
of them, but it
passes
and before long
you are giving,
things away,
though less
important,
once again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

the snake woman

the woman,
a street artist
with the snake
wrapped around
her shoulders
and neck, and arms
is a study
in insanity
you think while
you lick  a
strawberry italian
ice on
the sidewalk
of new york city,
but then again,
you had a pet
cricket once, so
to each his own.

sleep like nobody's watching

everyone's a buddhist
now. going to
their happy
place and
living in the moment.
dancing
like no nobody's
watching,
and hopefully nobody
is, especially if
it's me doing
the dancing.
being baptist
or lutheran just doesn't
cut it anymore.
the sermon,
the preaching,
the guilt,
the begging for money.
people want a
more portable
religion or philosophy
to live by. they want
the pain gone,
the suffering to
end. you can hardly
blame them.

Friday, September 14, 2012

the nun

the nun
with her ruler
and black
shroud
rimmed in white
haunts you,
every mistep
along the way,
every left turn
you've taken
when you should
have gone right.
she's standing
at the front of
the room,.
slapping a ruler
against her
pink hard hand.
her black eyes
shadowed
by the cross
and the altar,
the centuries
of evil disguised
as good.
 

the secret to everything

yesterdays
are dried leaves
falling
on the lawn.
don't live there,
the green is
gone.
they're done.
lost loves
are trees
fallen in the storm.
let them lie
and rot
and float
away in the flood
of days
turned into years.
here's the secret
to everything.
let it go.
.
 

salt water taffy

i'm a traveler, she
says. i just love love
love to pack a bag
and go whichever way
the wind blows.
i've been to tunisia
and cambodia, she
looks up to the ceiling,
and bangladesh,
counting off countries
with her fingers.
thailand, what about
southeast asia,
have you ever been
there, or the ivory
coast. no, oh my,
you don't know
what you're missing.
brazil, what about
brazil or columbia.
nope, you tell her.
never been there
either.  have
you have ever been
to china, or taken
the tansiberian railroad
across russia? no?
well, it's a must, i
tell you, i went last
summer and had a ball.
australia, please tell
me you've been there.
i just love those little
kangaroos.
or london, or berlin.
you shake your head,
chewing on a salt
water taffy. so where
do you like to go then,
she says, exasperated,
what's your go to vacation
destination.
ummm, you say,
unsticking your teeth
from a banana flavored
taffy. i like ocean city a lot.
the french fries there
are to die for, not to mention
the taffy. here, have one.
it's only a year old.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the autum game

you remember the feel
of the leather ball
spiraling off your hand
down field, effortlessly
across the grass
below the blue sky,
the air cool and fresh,
an autum ritual with
childhood friends still
at it in mid life.
you can still feel
the burn in your lungs,
the hard muscles
of your legs churing
churning towards
a goal line, in another
game. you remember
this and smile, you
remember the days
that would never
end, and don't.

the small print

the small print
tells you everything
you don't want to
know and they don't
want to tell you.
so they whisper
it in tiny letters,
hardly readable
with a light or
good eyes.
the small print
is everywhere.
it's on the back of
a perscription
bottle, on a contract
for a house, a car,
a can of food.
the small print will
save your life,
or take it, if
only you could read
what it says.

 

the bluebird

a bluebird
flew onto
my window
sill and sat
there quietly.
he had no
song
to sing.
i looked
out and asked
what's wrong
little bird,
got the blues?
no, he said,
shaking his
head, and ruffling
his feathers,
i'm hoarse
from singing
so much,
perhaps
you should
try it too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

clouds too

how grass continues
to grow.
no one needs to tell
it what to do.
how high, or what
color, where to stop
and stand
it just keeps coming
up green
and green again.
there is something
beyond what we
see, what we want
to believe or
disbelieve. and clouds
them too.

your hair style

you thought about
joining the army
or the navy when you
were younger.
but you didn't feel
like dying at the time,
or cutting your hair.
things were
different then.
patriotism was
measured in other
ways, besides
putting on a uniform
and going to war.
it was more about
marching to end
wars, but there
was only one going
on at the time so
it was easy to focus
and the government
couldn't be trusted.
i guess in many ways
nothing has really
changed, but your
hair style, or lack
thereof.
 

this can't be good

in another life
you were an indian
standing on the banks
of the virginia shore
as the first ships
approached,
the white sails
billowing against
the blue sky.
you remember
shaking your head,
while you snacked
on a roasted squirrel
and saying, what
the hell, this can't
be good. little dog
go get my bow and
arrows, and tell
the others we got
company.

cake poem

you nibble away
at the edges
of a cake.
a small bite
here, a knife left
on the dish
for that late
night sliver
as you stand in
the light
of the icebox.
you lift it
to your open mouth.
the icing on
your lips.
a trail of cold
sweet
crumbs follows
you up
the stairs.
and when you
awaken
in the morning,
wanting more
you suddenly
realize
that's how you feel
about her.

faith

the broken bone,
the busted heart
the twisted
tree, fallen.
the spent night,
alone,
the empty
glass, a cross
stitched snake
looking for
a leg to bite.
the water rising.
but things,
despite all of this
are alright.

rinse and repeat

a row
of blue houses
on a one
way street.
a square of green
grass,
shutters and doors.
fences
and chimneys.
a dog
in the yard
a kid
in the window.
a car in the driveway
a roast
in the oven.
fifty years come
and go.
rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

read books

read books.
sleep in.
let go and love.
smell
the roses.
eat well,
laugh.
listen and
touch. don't
hurt anyone.
read books.

camping out

let's go camping,
she says.
but i don't like
beans, you tell her,
not in a can, not over
an open fire. plus,
the ground is too
hard, i can't sleep
like an animal.
no, no, she says.
we have air mattress
and quiche,
and i'll fry us up
some pork chops
on the grill
and roasted potatoes.
it will be fun to be
out in the wilderness.
what about the game,
you tell her, i'll
miss the game.
oh no you won't
she says. i have
a generator that will
provide us with
heat and electricity.
we'll bring the small tv.
we'll have all
the comforts of home,
she says smiling,
packing utensils
into her backpack.
what about grizzly
bears, you ask her,
rubbing your eyebrowns,
shifting your feet.
pffft. that's why i have
this rifle, and this
stun gun and this bear
away spray. come on,
don't be a girly man
sissy, let's go.
then she holds up a
bag from victoria secrets.
and raises her eyebrows
up and down.
new camping sleepwear
she says. and i have
heels to match.
let's go you say.
let me get my hat.

marshall hall

the wooden roller
coaster at marshall
hall in southern
maryland
was on wobbly stilts
with peeling paint.
it appeared ready
to collapse at any
given moment
under a breath of wind.
the rusted metal cars
screeched
and screamed
along the worn
glistening rails.
how many died,
no one knows
for sure,
the death count
was never revealed,
but it was an act
of courage to get on,
strap in,
and scream as it
clicked and clacked
slowly up that first
steep hill. struggling
to rise to the top
of the park before
plummeting into
the dark abyss of hell
where you could see
a mechanic tightening
a screw or two
beneath the boards.
it then whipped
you around like
a rag doll for
another five
frenzied minutes.
prayer was mandatory.
and whatever you
had eaten
was often left behind.
and then you went again.

the winery

you go
to the winery
and taste
some wines.
there are many
noses in the air,
sniffing before
sips are taken from
small cups
of red, of white
grapes
culled and grown
and eventually
picked and squashed
right there
on the grounds,
fresh off the vine.
there is spitting too.
you have been spitting
since you were ten,
this is something
you can do,
but they are not
amused when you
ask if there are
any wines that taste
just like vodka
with a twist of lime.

Monday, September 10, 2012

the wages of sin

the bible says
that the wages
of sin
is death.
but sometimes
it seems that
the wages
of this life,
as meager
as they are
in the breadline,
the ditches,
the grind
of the factory
is an even
slower
path towards
the end.

the cake knife

when i see her
with a cake knife
in hand, raised
high into the air,
icing still on
the sharp edge,
her shadow
on the wall,
the arm, the blade,
her head reared
back, i wonder
what i could have
done differently
to have avoided
this untimely death.
flowers, candy,
perhaps a kind
word or too. maybe
if i had just
listened just once
to what she had
to say, but no,
i was too bored
and sleepy
with her voice.

driver take me home

you don't enjoy
driving.
but you do it.
for work
for pleasure,
for convenience.
you are always
on the road.
fighting traffic,
gasing up,
getting oil
changed. you
are a reasonably
good driver,
rarely angry,
rarely honking
your horn
at others.
you use your blinker
religiously.
however
you'd love
to have a driver
pick you up
at your front door
and take you
where you want
or need to go.
never touching
the wheel again.
you could look out
your darkened windows
and sympathize
with those less
fortunate.
how sad it is
that you weren't
born rich,
or have come into
money by now.

birthday candles

her birthday
not unlike the day
before,
the day to come,
but unique
in its marking
of time
come once more.
how quickly
the leaves
fall, how the years
gather.
how love
and joy return,
and fade,
as does
spring. as does
the sun
each morning.
and how strange
it is that
more mystery
comes with each
new candle
added.

bellows

in bold
slashes of color
broad landscapes
political
and benign,
dense
bodies, nude
upon the pier.
boxers in liquid
violence
leaning
towards
one another.
the city of
new york
at the turn
of the century.
some field
somewhere.
an armless
soldier.
or a girl on
a pedestal holding
flowers.
bellows
tells you
the story.
gives you a
reporter's look
into what
goes on.
embellished
with his brush.
and he too
in the corner
bald and
wide eyed
taking it all in
for the next
time at the easel.

the kiss

the kiss
soft and wet
upon your parted
lips
says more
about
the tomorrows
yet to come
than it does
of the moment
you are in,
although
that will
be a memory
too.

the shadow

your shadow
tired
of following you
takes a
seat on the bench
when you stop
in the park,
the leaves
now falling.
the sun low
in the winter sky.
what gives, you
ask, as it slides
and slumps
beside you,
trying hard to
hang on.
i'm tired, the shadow
says. all day
on the ground
being stepped upon,
taking different
shapes, different
forms. curling
hard on a corner
diffused by
the sun through
the trees. it's not
easy being me.
when you wear
a hat, i have to
as well, even if i
don't want it.
everything you do
changes me.
is this what love is?
maybe, you say.
just maybe.
 

your heart

your heart
sometimes
is the size
of a thimble
unable to fit
another smidgen
of symapthy for
the world at
large
and other times
the ocean could fit
into it. every bird
with a broken wing
could have a place
to heal
it expands and contracts
like metal.
which has you
worried at times
considering
the flesh and bones
of your makeup.

the book club

your friend ruby
was into things that scared
you.
take the sex swing for
example in her basement.
and the chains,
and the whips,
and the metal cage
with straw in it.
but she loved to knit
too, and she had
a book club
where we would all
gather and read
the latest works that
oprah would recommend.
but the whole time
you were discussing
the da vinci code
or grisham's latest
lawyer tome, you could
only think about the squeaking
hinges of her swing
in the cellar
and what went on,
once the book club
adjourned.

fresh eyes

when you remember
tomorrow
before it happens.
then you know it's time
to leave. to pack up
and get on the bus,
to find an ocean,
or a prairie full of nothing
but uncut wheat
and the cornsilk
blue sky, with clouds
like cathedrals
along the horizon.
you needa  fresh set
of eyes. a cleansed
soul, a new  tune
to your old song.

the quiet day

do not dismiss
the quiet
day. the lukewarm
handshake
of hours
with no ups,
no downs.
no news is always
welcome.
kiss this sister of a
day gently on
the cheek and
hold it near your
heart for things
will change,
indeed.

the apparition

your dog
barked furiously
at  a point
somewhere close
to the ceiling.
but there was
nothing there.
he continued
to bark though,
the hair on his
back raised
and bristled.
his tail wagged
and his eyes were
full of fear.
so you stood on
a chair
and waved your
arm around
the area
where he was
staring.
your hand went
into a cloud
of cold wetness.
it was a frigid
sleeve of air
surrounding
your arm, so you
quickly pulled it
away and out.
which made the dog
stop barking.
you reached up again
waving your hand
around. it was gone.
so you went back
to watching your show
on tv, the dog quietly
curled in your lap.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

bon appetit

there is no use
in pretending your love
for her cooking.
she can't cook.
it's that simple.
she burns eggs.
she spills milk,
the fish are still
alive on the plate.
but how do you tell
her. and what will
this do to your sex life
which causes you
to have a religious
out of body experience
with her. perhaps,
you should say
nothing. yes. silence
is the best course of
action in this matter.
bon appetit.

moving muscle

can you come
and help me move
she says.
i have boxes
and tape,
and a magic marker.
all i need is muscle
 i have
a truck rented
for the weekend.
i found a nice garden
apartment on the third
floor overlooking
the pool.
can you help
me, she says
and smiles.
but you move
every year, you tell
her. and every
year you ask
me to help you move.
i know every piece
of furniture you own.
the blue bean bag
chair, the old
tv in the bedroom.
the coffee table
with the broken leg.
i know the shoes
you wear, i know
whats' under
your sink, what's
under your bed.
so, she say, well it
should be easy then,
right? are you in?
sure, you say, what
are friends for?

back into the egg

it's not your stop
but you decide to get
out anyway.
you pull the cord
and the bus slows
at the corner.
you are tired of
the same routine,
the same day
repeating itself
over and over again.
you want
a new face, a new
voice, a new frame
of mind. you are no
longer who you
thought you were,
or who you were
trying to become
all those years.
you want to go back
to day one, back
to the beginning,
from scratch. you
want back into
the egg and start
over again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

apple pie

with no one
around
you stick your
finger into
the hot apple
pie and pull
it out covered
in baked
soft apples
and crust. you
lick it clean.
then press
the little hole
closed so
that no one is
the wiser.
and then you
turn to see
the spatula
coming towards
your head.

sleep walking

she used to walk
in her sleep
and go down
to the corner bar
and meet men.
sometimes she'd
come home to
finish her sleep,
and other times
she wouldn't.
i forgave her
though. she was
asleep. who's to
know what one
does or doesn't
do when in a dream
state. i was asleep
when i married
her and it took
years to awaken.
i'll never fall
asleep like that
again. no, i'm up
all night now.

a love poem

instant coffee
one minute oatmeal
ten second bacon,
the drive
thru, the atm
online banking.
the quickie mart
instant credit,
the bullet train.
wi fi and fiber.
the world is
moving faster,
so why can't we.

Friday, September 7, 2012

do the hustle

i was born too late
she says.
i should have lived
in another era.
do tell, you say,
flipping through
a food magazine.
you pull out
the centerfold
of a pot roast and say,
o my o my.
would you look at
those potatoes.
i am more of a
seventies girl, she
says, ignoring me.
disco and make up,
polyester dresses
and big hair
like farrah,
blowed dried
into a nice frosty
meringue. i know
the words to all
the songs, donna
summers is my idol.
i even know how
to do the hustle, then
she gets up and
starts dancing. come on
she says, you know
this dance, you're old.
my hip hurts, you
tell her, plus i'm hungry.
maybe later, okay?
 

the car wash

the man
with a bucket
of water and soap
goes after
his car as if
there was
something else
on his mind.
he is chasing
something, not
just dirt away.
his thumb
presses against
the nozzle
of the hose
forcing out
the water into
a hard hurtful
stream. his
expression
never changes,
he is
deep in thought.
he goes from
wheel to wheel
with a scrub brush.
he has much to
say, you can see
that, but the car
keeps him
quiet, at least
for now
and he refuses
to look up
to see her
in the window.

credit card blues

your spending has
exceeded your earnings
again this month.
you see the future,
and it's bleak.
you imagine
yourself with a
hand printed
sign stating a
case for your poverty
and  homelessness.
too many martinis
and steak dinners,
the mercedes,
the trip to europe.
melinda, need i say
more?
was lipo and a nose
job truly necessary?
please help.
will work for
caviar and champagne,
i want my
corner office back.

your fears

you have a fear
of bridges, so you travel
over one, and back,
again and again
until it subsides.
you have a fear
of raw seafood, so you
indulge in various
sushi until that fear
too wanes,
you fear public
speaking so you join
the toastmasters
and become an orator
of some renown,
reciting your poetry
at large gatherings.
and then there's heights,
so you climb the steps
of the empire
state building and
stare downward until
that fear too is lessened,
and then there's
love.

crossing the rubicon with ginger

can you carry me across
the stream she says
and bats her eyelashes
like a butterfly
in the sun. sure you tell
her hop aboard,
why thank you kind
sir, you are so strong
and brave. i will reward
you handsomely when
we get back to the castle.
more batting of the lashes
occurs and even a wink
and a pucker of lips
assures you of what's
to come. so she hops upon
your back, arms
around your neck
and you step into
the ice cold creek, both
boots find the slippery
round rocks below
the water, and down
you both go. there is
no more batting of the
lashes at this point
as you drag her to the
other side. the lashes
are downstream,
her lips are smeared
with an angry scowl,
her hair too is afloat
like a water lily. neither
of you is what the other
thought you were.

my lips are sealed

it's a misunderstanding
a slip of the tongue
a faux pas, but it
doesn't matter
the milk has puddled
on the floor
and the glass is
broken. best to step
away and tread
lightly, no need
to cause further damage
to what's already
been done. my lips,
are sealed, but a dozen
words too late.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

heads or tails


pondering
on what to do,
a coin
falls from
your pocket, it
rattles and spins
on the floor.
you see
the thin edged
shine of a
wilson
dime in
the light
and you call
heads.
you've made
important
decisions
on less. why
not?
 

the well worn path

you decide to follow
no one
no organized religion
no sect
no way of thinking
beyond your own.
no flag is yours.
you refuse to stretch
and bend and breathe
to buddha,
no jung, or lenin,
no freud,
no pope, or oprah.
no ayn rand or ginsberg,
no guru.
but tell me
more about yourself
let's see what
you have to say,
maybe i'll follow you.
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the candy bowl

the candy bowl
once full
is now thin
and bare, you can
see the bottom
of the white dish.
your hand
has reached and
reached throughout
the night, even as
you promise to
yourself, one
more sweet piece
and that's it, but
no. you can't help
yourself, you have
the willpower
of a new born
baby. and when
you come to
the last few pieces
you shrug and
say, why not.
what's difference
at this point.
familiar words.

she already knows

you travel light.
a few necessary items
packed in your
small bag,
it's not where you
are going, or
where you are
coming from, it's
the movement
you need, no moss,
no stagnation
in the pool
of you. no rust.
just pick up and go.
don't leave a note.
don't explain,
she already knows.

the circle

it's a circle.
it's a clock,
a round and round
merry go
round. it's
the stars, the moon,
the earth,
the sun.
all in an orbit,
a spin, it's
the same over
and over
and over again.
it's a circle.
just wait
and it will all
once more begin.
 

times square blues

you miss the old times
square. the neon
piercing
signs shaking
the sky from it's darkness.
the hard
eyed women
with legs out, and lips
as shiny as candy apples.
pickpockets and
cops, shoulder to
shoulder, the staggering
smells
of what was eaten
and left behind
blending in with
roasted chestnuts.
a drink, a sandwich,
a fortune teller
one step away.
taxis careening from
curb to curb
their doors flying
open to take you anyplace
on the island,
or beyond. it was before
disney got a hold
of it, before
espn did too, and before
the singing cowboy
in his underwear
strummed his guitar.
they would have beaten
him with it,
back then, back when,
and left him
in an alley.

the sandwich maker

you forget to ask
for cheese
on your sandwich
but the woman
behind the counter
has already
wrapped it up
in stiff white paper,
tagged it with
a piece of tape
and scribbled onto
the side, black forest
ham, no cheese.
excuse me
you say, but could
you put a slice
or two of provlone
on there for me,
sorry. her face gets
red, and her blue
eyes glaze over.
you see her red hands
gripping a knife, then
in one quick motion she
picks up your sandwich
and throws it against
the back wall
where it breaks up
like a flowering
fireworks display,
scattering lettuce
and onions,
peppers and tomatoes
into the air,
then she turns back
to you and says evenly
with the voice of a woman
who needs a drink
and a cigarette badly,
provolone, are you sure?

it looks like rain

the old man turns
his ear
to hear what you
have said, again.
his eyes turn
to the side
in order to focus.
you have nothing
new to tell him,
it's just weather
related chit
chat of no importance,
but he needs to
hear it anyway,
he needs to know
that if it rains, that
he too will
be here, and be part
of that, like you.

code blue

the nurses won't meet
you eye to eye.
they are busied
with the next room,
the next prelude
to death. they are
heavy in the hips,
unable to eat or
walk off the cloak
of sadness that
is there day. no matter
how colorful
their hats and gloves
are, their thin
pajamas belted
around them, they
can't shake what
comes, what goes
here in this strange
and glimmering
sterile place.

sand jars

she keeps sand
in small jars
labeled belize
or barcelona
rehobeth
and miami.
brazil too,
and bermuda.
places she's traveled
with one
love, or the next.
their photos
are down,
but the sand
remains in small
hour glasses
slipping
through
the narrow path
of time.

ink stains

the ink
that drains
from your cheap
ball point
pen finds it's
way out
and leaves
a stain on
your white shirt.
it's happened
before, in fact,
it's happened
a lot. you have
a notion to drive
to the factory where
they make these
crummy
pens and hand
them all of your
pants, your shirts,
and whatever else
has been leaked
upon and stained.
but no.
china is too
far, and they wouldn't
understand, or
even care that
the ink should stay
in the pen
until pressed down
upon a sheet of
paper. and then you
check the tag
on your shirt to see
where it's made.
and now you understand.

retirement party

you've worked hard
all these years
being self employed
but now it's time to step
down and retire.
you make yourself
a cake and buy a nice
gold watch. you go
to hallmark to purchase
a sentimental card
stating how much you'll
be missed. you blow
up some balloons and
string them across
the room. you put some
music on and order
in some pizzas.
you put a little cone hat
on your dog and set
him on the chair,
he let's out a happy bark
somehow knowing
that you'll be home more
often now, which means
more treats, more
walks, more pizza.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

no doubt

you get a box of candy
in the mail every year
from a mysterious stranger.
no note, no return address,
no sign of a post mark,
so it must be hand delivered.
it's untouched expect for
the fact that all the deep
dark chocolate covered
cashews are all gone,
your favorites,
leaving behind the brown
crimped papery cup where
they once sat awaiting
fingers to pluck them out
to slowly eat, and savor.
truly, there is evil
in the world. no doubt.

blowing bubbles

you are incapable
of blowing
a bubble
with a stick of gum
in your mouth. no matter
how many pieces
you chew
the daylights out
of. you got nothing.
no bubble. sure you can
snap, and stretch it out
all over the place
but you can't for the life
of you blow a bubble.
it was very embarassing
as a child. but you've
gotten over it
without therapy,
and according to betty
there are other things
that you can do
that are a lot more fun.

we're going backwards

you read in the paper
that half the people alive today
were not alive when man
first landed on the moon.
this scares you, in fact you
pee your pants a little
and have to sit down
to catch your breath.
you wonder in another
fifty years what great event
will attach itself to such
a depressing statement.
perhaps someone will say
with big wide eyes that
only half the people were alive
today when the 4 G phone
was introduced.

barking dogs

you find yourself
unconsciously talking
like those around you,.
falling into catch phrases
like, i was literally tired,
or that cloud in the sky
looks literally like
a boston cream donut.
or saying things like,
not so much, when biting
into a carob cake, or it is
what is when at a funeral.
you scratch your head
to ask yourself
what you are even talking
about.  and after a long
day of parroting those
around you, you go home
to your dog, who barks
excitedly, which of course
makes you bark too,
throwing your head back
with him, as if to a full
yellow moon.

love sonnet

you study the sonnet
the fourteen lines
of shall i compare thee
to a summers day
and make a vague
stab at the form,
and rhyme,
but your mind wanders.
you want to get there
more quickly than that,
take a short cut,
write more clearly
how you feel about
the subject and so just
say. come here and kiss
me, don't wait for
the seasons to change.
just make it soon,
perhaps today.

Monday, September 3, 2012

burning hoops

you can't jump
through enough
burning hoops to
please everyone.
so why bother.
let them fall by
the wayside as you
will with them.
enough with
the hoops.

your button broke

don't treat me like
an object she says
with her blouse open
and a long slit
up the side of her
leg, baring almost
all of it to the hip.
she stamps her high
heels then pulls out
a compact and applies
another layer
of red lipstick.  she
tosses back her dyed
brown hair frosted
with blonde and
snarls. i won't be
treated that way.
i want respect
and to be taken
seriously, not as
some sex object.
i'm smart and educated,
i know the theater
and poetry,
literature, why just
today i went to
the museum of fine
arts. what? you say,
did you say something?
i was distracted.
i think one of  the
buttons broke off from
the front of your blouse.

the artist at work

even on a rainy
holiday
the artist is in her
studio, above the insurance
company. jackson browne
plays loudly on
her radio and she sings
along, doesn't hear
you coming down
the hall. she's
gluing together
sea glass onto popsicle
sticks, little legs
and eyes, and strands
of thread to be hair.
beach people,
she says. and you nod
and notice
the price of thirty seven
dollars and wonder
how she arrived
at such a cost. i'm almost
done with this one,
she says, gluing
the feet to another piece
of glass, blue, like an
ocean has never been.
this one is twenty three
she says. after all
it's a holiday. i call it
lost tourists.

waitress under duress

the waitress
can't remember
the specials, so goes
back to get
a list of what
they are, then reads
them, stammering
on the words
sauce and cheese.
she smiles
and tells you
how handsome you
are and how
beautiful
your date is tonight
then she leaves
the table without
asking what you
might want to drink.
the same day,
she returns and says
oh. are you ready.
she tries, she tries
so hard, but there must
be other things on
her mind than
the gravy on her blouse
and the crumbs
that sparkle on her cheeks.
the food is rich with
sauce, the fish fried
too deep with batter,
and the coffee
stays cold even after
the third attempt.
and bitter, but the moon
is full and you too
have other things
on your mind, so you
don't mind too much.

at the barn

the horse in his stall
swatting flies
with his tail
and hoof
stamping at the saw
dust that covers
the square of his
room, and the one
eyed cat, tired
of chasing mice,
the queen, lying
in repose,
in the straight
line of sun
that arcs over the bending
trees, the water,
the flat scrub
brush lay of land.
each awaiting
someone, or something
to come soon.
a carrot, a brush
in hand, a bowl of  milk
with which to wet
her whiskers.
how are we so different.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

chinese egg yolks

you get
a you tube
video in your
e mail from china.
it's a woman
sucking
an egg yolk
out of a cracked
egg
that sits on a white
dish.
again and again
she squeezes
the bottle
and up goes the
yolk, no fuss
no muss.
the world has
shrunken
like a white
cotton t shirt
in hot water.

traffic

every road
has a thousand
orange cones
down four lanes
to one.
the country
is broke
but every inch
of pavement
has a man and
a shovel
with which he
leans on
while the cars
slug by. day
and night.
night and day.
interminable
traffic.

the wedding suit

you get an invitation
in the mail
to attend a wedding.
you open your closet.
the two suits that still
fit are dust laden.
the black one less
so because you brushed
it off for a funeral
last winter.
the tan suit might be
the one for this event.
white shirt. yes.
a tie. red, blue, yellow.
this could take some
work. and shoes.
they should be shined.
but its not me getting
married, so what's
the fuss. go and eat,
and drink, and breathe
a sigh of relief.

loose change

you are saving pennies.
dropping coins
into a jar
in the corner
of the kitchen.
there's one
in the basement
too, a tin can
that speaks when
the dime rattles
against the rim.
it sits beside
the dryer that spits
them noisily out
onto the floor.
there are lots of
coins. pocket
change. loose change.
parking meter
change for when
there used to be
meters that took
change.
but things have
constantly changed
and not always for
the better,
and the pennies
don't and won't
add up anymore.

women are musical instruments

your therapist goes on vacation
and turns off her phone, but
she leaves a man named vinny
from jersey to cover for her
while she's gone. she owes
him a favor, and this is what
it is. he feels he has a knack
for solving problems. so you
go see him at your regular
appointment hour. he's wearing
a white jacket, and has on
a gold bracelet and ring.
his hair has a quart of oil
in it and he's sipping on a
highball. come in, come in,
sit down, he says. i've
been looking over your file
and truthfully i'm a little
dismayed at what i'm seeing
here. go lie down on the couch
over there. i hope you
don't 'mind if i pace
the room while we talk.
i see you got a lot of problems
with women, what's up with
that. and i see you don't get
along with your mother. do
you have any idea how you're
breaking her heart everyday
with your wisecracks and
lack of attention. well that's
gonna end right here.
stop doing that. i'm telling
you. it ain't right. you listening
to listening to me cheesehead?
you nod your head as he lights
up a cigarette. women are like
fine musical instruments, he says,
and you have to play them all a little
differently. capiche? hey. answer
me when i ask you something.
yes. capiche capiche. good, he says.
some are violins, some are pianos,
some are saxaphones. of course
there are some tubas in the mix too,
but hey, what are you gonna do.
but each possesses their own
special musical voices.
you nod, looking at him wide eyed.
okay, so treat them gently.
play nice with them. go easy on
them and they'll all be playing you
some wonderful tunes. he winks
and puts his cigarette out on
the carpet with his wingtips.
okay. we're done here.
but it's only been five minutes.
i said we're done. i think we made
some progress. that will be a thousand
dollars. what? you heard me.
if you don't have it, next week
it's fifteen hundred dollars, cash.
he takes his coat off and loosens
his tie.  but i don't have the kind of money.
well, i believe the banks are still
open, i'll give you an hour.
don't make me come looking
for you. now get out of here.
i need to lie down, take a nap.
remember what i said about women
being musical instruments. i called
your mother and told her to call me
if you don't start treating her
right, in fact send her some roses
when you go to the bank.
hit that light switch on the way out.