Saturday, March 30, 2013

genius at work

your genius
goes unrecognized
for most
of your life, but
some suspect
there may be
something
going on.
thye see that
there is something
unusual about you.
they can't put
their finger
quite on it, but
they sense
a spark of
uniqueness that
they know is in
no other. this
is a good thing
though, keeping
your humility
in tact.
to be walking
unknown among
the crowd, or so
you tell yourself
sadly.

deviled eggs

you bring a cherry
cheese cake,
because the sight
of a cheese cake
makes everyone
happy,
your sister
brings the scalloped
potatoes,
your brother
a liter bottle
of coke,
your mother puts
out a spiral
ham and a plate
of mixed olives,
while your
other sister,
the one who doesn't
talk to you
makes deviled
eggs. appropriate.

lap dog

you become
her lap dog.
her toy
poodle that she
can call
when she needs
to pet
someone or
something.
you sit and bark,
beg
on command, you
heel and
fetch.
your eyes are
bright and your tail
wags when
you see her.
she has you
on a short
tight leash,
but before
long your eyes
will wander
and you'll break
free
leaping with
great joy
over the electric
fence.

steal this

she used
to put cookies out
for her burglar.
a glass of milk
too.
sometimes, she
leave him
a note asking
him, on the way
out, to please
set a bag of trash
by the curb
for pick up in
the morning.
he didn't steal
much, sometimes
a ring, a bracelet,
cash if it was
on the counter,
but then he'd
feel guilty
and put it back
the next time he
was in the neighbor
hood.
sometimes she'd
wait for
him at the top
of stairs
as he came through
the kitchen
door using the key
she'd leave under
the mat that said
wipe your feet.
he ease himself in
with his bag,
and black mask
pulled down.
she often wondered
what he looked like,
how handsome he
must be. he loved
stealing from her,
and she loved
being stolen
from. they
were perfect
for one another.

someplace warm

i'm retiring next
year your neighbor tells
you one day as
you both are gathering
mail
from the mail box
out front.
i'm going somewhere
warm and pleasant
where I can fish all
day or do nothing if
i so choose.
his eyes look far away
as he speaks,
they glaze over with
the thought of
doing nothing.
somewhere warm he repeats
smiling. I want
to do nothing all
day he says. nothing.
he looks at you
and you see the sadness
in his eyes,
having wasted so much
of his life with work
and little else.

easter egg hunt

you remember
the competitive violence
of the Easter egg
hunt out in the cold
blue grass
of someone's
scrub brush front yard.
the plastic eggs
holding quarters
or nickels,
tucked in the arms
of bare trees,
pathetic pennies
in a pink egg
hidden in a downspout.
it was the red faced
race of children
hopped up on
marshmallow chicks
hardened under
sugar, their
teeth stained with
the bitten ears
of milk chocolate
bunnies running,
scurrying, bumping into
one another
for those bright
blue and yellow eggs
clinking with
change.

a language of her own

she had a way
of saying everything
by saying
nothing.
a look would do,
the casual blinking
of lashes,
a sigh,
a brushing of
the hair off her
shoulders.
the slight buzz
of hmmm from
her lips
was a novel
of opinion, which
you absorbed
and understood
the second the sound
touched your ear.
the tapping of
her finger was an
alarm
going off.
she had a language
of her own,
that needed
no words.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

who you are

tired of who are,
who you've become
or imagine yourself
to be, you try
to think yourself
different. but you
can't. you are stuck
in the glue of
what you've made
your self to be.
you grow weary of how
you speak, the way
you walk,
how you do things
in your life. but
for better or worse
you are who you
are. of course
small adjustments
can be made. perhaps
a new shirt, or
new shoes. but that's
about it.

on the street

when you see
an old
friend
on the street
you both stop
and greet one another
then begin
the usual set
of questions about
what happened
to so and so.
where's he or
she now. but more
and more
the answers are
no so good,
the illnesses,
the divorces,
the lost jobs,
and wanderings
of so many.
and then you shake
hands, and say
well, you look
good, nice to see
you again, then
go on your way
feeling better
somehow about your
own life.

fighting tactics

let's not fight
anymore
you once told your
ex while
she held
a butcher knife
in the air
and a trash can
lid in the other.
let's put aside
our differences
and fall in love
again. this made
her laugh and stop
for a moment,
giving you time
to throw a dinner
roll at her
then escape
out the front door.

cinammon rolls

you have
a weakness
for flour
and sugar, eggs,
all
mixed and
baked
until the point
of warm
and rising.
add cinnamon
and your done,
giving up
all your deepest
and darkest
secrets.
with you, it's
just your lips,
and legs,
and hips to
get my confession.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

the incubators

at the hospital
you see the babies
in their incubators
pink like balloons
brown like beans.
twisting in their
new lives, outside
the womb, where it's
cold and dry.
and this is just
the beginning, you
want to tell them.
there's more to come,
but all in good time.

it's complicated

it's complicated
she says,
rubbing lotion
into her hands.
i'm perplexed by
how I feel
about you. a
part of me loves
you and another
part doesn't
really care if I
ever see you
again. i'm
confused and
don't know what
to do. and my hands
are so dry.
are yours?
it's the cold
air isn't it?
here, open your
hands, let me
squirt some lotion
into them.
it's aloe. so what
do you think?

the wrecking ball

against the walls
of the apartment
building,
you see the wrecking
ball swing
in the early morning
light, as men in
yellow hardhats stand
nearby, watching
from across the road.
bricks and mortar,
wood, glass and
shingles all come
tumbling down after
each wide arc strike.
the dust of decades
rises in a small
cloud, carried away
swiftly by the march
wind. if you had
lived there at one
time, this would mean
something to you.
at least more
than it does now,
but you didn't and
you can keep going
without it resting
upon your shoulders.

the runner

you see the man
from up the street
in his shorts
running. you've
seen him for years
along the sides
of roads, through
the woods, the
park and around
the track at the
high school. running
with long loping
strides, his face
grimacing and red.
sometimes a new
wife beside him
or a dog.
through the seasons
you've seen him
fighting through
the snow and heat,
one foot after
the other, his arms
clanking awkwardly
at his side.
he stares as his watch,
always searching
for time. then
one day you see him
walking. slowly,
and easily, no
longer with a limp,
his face calm,
no longer straining
along the earth,
having finally
found his stride.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the landscaper

the landscaper
spends his day
in the sun.
his gloved hands
at the wheels
and tools
of his trade,
clipping, clipping
the green,
the dead branches
away. happy in
his labor, not
caring for the easy
way out. the desk
job, moving numbers,
tapping keys.
having to speak
and say so many
things he doesn't
mean.

the happy ending

some stories have
a happy ending.
the boy
gets the girl.
the dog finds
his way home.
the fortune lost
is found
again. it happens
this way
sometimes. so you've
heard. so
you've heard.

her own rain

she's happiest
when she's
unhappy.
when she has
a broken
nail or a
stubbed toe.
it gives her
a reason
to keep
believing that
when it rains,
it rains on
her alone.

in the woods

unworldly
sounds
are coming
from the woods,
fox
or badgers,
or witches
stirring brew
who's to know.
you stare out
the window
and see nothing
and no one.
some things
are best left
alone. no
need to find
out, to know.

Monday, March 25, 2013

a bar of soap

the bar
of soap
does not
represent
your life
although
the thought
does cross
your mind as
it slips out
of your hand
once more
in the shower,
slowly
getting smaller
and smaller
with each
new day.

land line

the land line
has
lost its
way.
no one calls
anymore
but strangers
selling
things you neither
want
or need.
and yet
a part of
you, can't
surrender
the phone on
the kitchen wall.
it's where
you talked
for hours
to your first
girlfriend, where
you made
prank calls
to your neighbor.
it's the only
number
your mother has
for you.
people can find
you
with this number.
it's in
the book and
that's something.

things to come

ungrateful
children, red
faced
and spoiled,
scream
loudly in the store.
their pink
lungs
exposed as
their parents
drag them with
clenched
fists across
the linoleum
floors.
and you wonder,
if it's just
a phase
or a portent
of things
to come.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

bread

when the church
delivered
a basket
and box of food,
canned goods
and a turkey
on your porch
in 1968
you rejoiced,
your mother cried
while she cooked.
you ate
until you
and all seven
of your
sibling's stomachs
were full
and round
and your waning
faith, for
awhile
was healed.
staying hungry
has a way
of moving you
closer to God.

good to go

you try not leave
things
at your new love's
house.
you've lost too
many pairs
of shoes
and nice coats
that way. books
too that you wanted
to share
during those
honeymoon days.
you don't mind
losing a toothbrush
or two,
your shaving
cream and razor,
a hat perhaps,
a pair of socks,
but that's about it.
best to pack light,
and travel
fast, for when you
get the call,
the nod, the hint
that things aren't
going to last,
you're good to go.

frozen meatballs

alarmed
at the furniture
store for selling
bags of frozen
meatballs
made with horsemeat
you decide
to not shop there
anymore for food.
from now on you are
only going to buy
shelves and desks,
chairs and beds
that take three hours
to put together
with sketchy directions
and can't be moved
because they are too
fragile and weak.
you have to draw
the line somewhere.

cold eggs

it's snowing
in april.
the birds are
in the trees,
in their
new nests,
trembling
in the wind
trying to keep
their eggs
warm. it's
confusing
at best. and
you too,
in your shorts
and t shirt,
shivering
on your walk.

in disguise

you don't know me,
she says.
you've never known me.
who I am, what
I think, what makes
me tick. i'm
not who you
think I am.
deep inside i'm
a very sensitive
and loving
person. my bad
behavior is just
a charade, a
disguise. i'm
really good
and fun, i'm not
mean at all like
you've surmised.
I act this way
to protect myself
from love, from
affection. from getting
too close
to someone and then
breaking their
hearts when I leave.
give me time
and you'll know what
i'm talking about.
you'll see.
you'll see.

row boat

she wants to
row in one
direction
and you want
to row
in another.
there is no
shore we can
get to with a
mindset like
that.
one or the other
needs to let
the other
one lead. at
least for now
until the arms
get too tired
or the boat goes
down.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

the black and white cat

she finds her way
home.
finally.
at an age
where her feet
are tired,
her bones heavy
from
the journey.
enough
is enough she
thinks while
petting gently
the black and white
head of her
oldest
rescued cat.
i'm home she
thinks, at last.
in a place
where I belong.
no need to
stray
any longer.

life on mars

they find life
on mars.
but it's different
than
life here.
they live underground
on account
of the weather
and radiation
from the sun.
but they are just
like us
in many ways.
they worry about
everything.
eat and drink too
much.
have their ups
and downs. but
they are an
optimistic
bunch, like we are
and can easily
forget the mistakes
they've made
and move on.

the gift

you gave her a watch
one Christmas
which she destroyed
with a hammer
on valentine's day.
it was a nice watch
too. but she said that
she took great joy
in smashing it against
the pavement, sending
pieces flying into
the air. she's been
really hard to buy
gifts for since then.

the after glow

lying there in bed
we both sigh and say
almost at the same time,
whew, that was good.
our heads are against the
pillows with beads of sweat
on our foreheads.
she lights up her
electronic cigarette,
hands me one and says,
I hate to admit it but
sometimes when we make
love, I drift a little,
I think about different things.
oh, really you say. like
what. well, don't get
mad, but I think about
Julio, that landscaper
who does our lawn.
sometimes I see him
looking into the windows.
with his big brown eyes.
you mean the one with all
the tattoos? no, she
says, not that one,
the one with the earrings,
and the broad shoulders.
that's Pablo. oh, she says.
well, I think about him.
but sometimes i'll
think about shopping
too, or what I might
do later with mindy.
what about you, does your
mind wander when we're
having sex. you put
your cigarette down and
fold your arms across
your chest, pulling
up the sheet. yeah, I
guess so. like what?
she says. do you think
about beyonce? or someone
like that. nah, you say.
maybe someone I saw
at the grocery store
in the produce department.
but sometimes i'll think
about baseball, or food.
like just now,
I was wondering if we
had anymore of that easter
ham left. i'd love
to make a sandwich for
lunch. yeah, she says,
there's some in there,
and some scalloped potatoes
too. well, i'm getting
up you tell her.
there's a game on in
a little while. what
time are you and mindy
going shopping?
in a bit, in a bit.
I just want to lie here
for a little while longer
in the after glow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

balloon ride

on the way
home
you see a hot
air balloon
snagged in
the power lines.
the wires
sparkle with
electricity.
it's full
of tourists
with cameras
and maps.
they are shouting
down to send
help, help us
we're stuck.
but there's
nothing you can
do, so you wave
and wish them
well.
you speed up
so that they don't
come tumbling
down upon you.

the good son

you look like someone
I used
to know, your mother
says to you
as you stop by to check
on the mice
problem.
so do you, you tell
her, handing her
a new bag of
traps and a pound of
uncut cheddar cheese.
you don't come around
much anymore
she says, trying to break
out into
tears, but can't seem
to muster the negative
energy to do so.
what's up with the mice,
you ask her, zipping your
coat up tight
around your chin.
what mice she says,
chasing one with
a broom as it prances
by with a few small
friends. I don't know
what you're talking
about. are you staying
for dinner, she says,
taking the traps
and cheese into
the kitchen. you watch
her cut the cheese
into small bits,
loading them onto
the traps, pulling
back the springs.
no thanks
you tell her, I've to get
going. heading over
to dad's house,
he's got a snake
problem in
the basement, bats
in the attic.

looks like rain

someone says
it looks like rain
as she sits
staring out the window.
you don't know
her but you
admire her ability
to predict
the weather.
you nod and say
something like yup,
sure does.
it's cold and windy
too. blustery
for this time of
year. which makes
her smile
and move closer
to you. tapping
her paper
coffee cup against
yours. it might
freeze tonight,
she says. you should
take your plants
in if you have
any. or wrap them.
I don't have any
you tell her. I don't
like plants.
all that responsibility.
this makes
her button her
coat, and stand up
to leave. nice
chatting she says,
and goes out into
wind.

lost numbers

you have a drawer
in the kitchen
full of dead phones.
dropped
phones, phones that
got wet
and shorted out
in your showered
hand, wiring gone bad,
buttons stuck
on a single letter
forever, phones
with batteries that
died in the heat
of declaring love,
or saying don't ever
call me again.
and now this phone.
this fragile
mirror in your hand.
a thin line
of communication. it
too, has expired.
taking with it all
the numbers that you
never knew by heart.
and you are left to
say embarrassingly
when people call,
who is this? who
am I talking to.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

too tired

too tired and
weary in the bones
to sit still
to write a poem
you start over
and over again
deleting each
horrible try.
you have nothing
of value to say
this late at night,
but you go on
just the same.
they can't all
be gems. just as
every kiss can't
mean love.

work

to each his
own way
into
the world
finding work
for his hands.
but going
forward
it is less
about survival
and more about
dignity
and respect.

the empty hand

a man
comes up to you
in the street
he is
your father
your brother
your son.
he's a stranger
to you
he's everyone.
his empty hand
is your hand
his open
mouth holds your
teeth
your tongue.
he wears
your shoes,
your hat.
he finds a way
inside you
with his
lonliness, his
lack of
love, his
freedom from
possessions.
you could give
him everything,
or nothing
and it wouldn't
matter
he would find
a way back to
being where
he is.

gamble

your friend
loves to gamble.
you can see it in
his eyes.
it's sex,
it's a drug
to him.
poker,
the slots, horses
at the track
all is fair game.
even with
food he'll say
things like
I bet I can eat
thirty raw
oysters and not
have a heart
attack.
and someone will
put down
the money and watch
as his eyes
and stomach
grow larger
and larger, a
little horse radish,
some tabasco,
a bet is a bet.

the burglar

the burglar
enters
the back door
quietly with his
soft
bag
and tools
his mask
and gloves.
he tip toes
across
the darkened
room
wanting what
is yours.
before you
know it
everything of
value
is gone
while you sleep
and he leaves
the way he came
quietly
in the night
leaving you,
as lovers often
do, never quite
the same.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

mouse traps

you hear
from an older
brother
that there is mice
in your mother's house.
and her husband,
herr goering,
decides to become
the great white hunter
and he himself
take them all out
with small traps
and squares of
yellow cheese.
one day he caught twenty.
keeping count
and telling everyone
within earshot
what a good day
it's been.
by the end of the week
the world
knows about these
mice, uncles
and aunts, friends
and family. all
diving in with money
and suggestions,
wanting to help to
solve the mice problem.
but the great white
hunter, says
no. he and he
alone will take
care of things.

two people in one

when she's happy
she's wild
and carefree
all sunshine
and full of sugar,
she's doing
cartwheels
like a child
across the lawn,
but when the clouds
appear
and the rain
falls, beware.
the knives
come out sharpened
and gleaming
in the dull
damp basement
of her broken
mind.

discount doc

the doctor
in his white coat
with
a mustard
stain
on the collar
comes in
eating a long
wet
pickle
staring at your
chart.
everything is
fine, he says,
crunching
down. you can
go home now.
we made a mistake
after all.
you're going
to live.
seems that shadow
we saw
on your lung
was my thumb.
our bad. pickle?

almost here

she is the tide
coming
in
the sun
lifting light
over
the horizon
warm
bread rising
in the oven.
she's
the open window.
the cool
sheets
on the bed.
the taste
of honey
melting on
your tongue.
she's the long
deep
sleep, the lingering
kiss.
the whisper
in your ear.
she's on her way.
she's
almost here.

first lunch

you see a man
on a ledge
eating
a sandwich
seventeen floors
up.
people
gather on the street
waiting
for something
to take
place.
but he's in no
hurry.
someone yells
up, what are eating
and says,
don't worry about
it, you'll
know soon enough.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

motion detector

the motion
detector
gone awry
is set off
by you
moving from
one point to
the other.
then it says
the back door
is ajar
unlocked.
then the window
too,
as you raise
it from the sill.
the disembodied
voice
tells everyone
and no one
how unsafe
the house has
become
with the dog
going up the stairs,
the cat
on the counter
pawing
at the milk,
you opening
the fridge
for ice cream.
small bowl, it
says, small
bowl.

twilight

with increasing
speed
the pages
of the calendar
twist
and turn
in the wind.
ripping off
days
and months
into a whirling
cyclone
of time.
by days end
it's everything
that was your
life,
all things
somehow in
the twilight air,
entwined.

Monday, March 18, 2013

the open safe

you bend down
rubbing your
cold hands together
and put your ear
to the safe.
you twist
slowly the dial
listening
for the empty
space that tells
you to go
the other way
then back again,
it clicks
gently along
until finally
the door swings
open. if only
hearts were
so easy.

the rattle

in the hospital
she holds
her grandchild up
like
a baked
ham towards
the light.
smiles as someone
takes another
picture.
it all comes
and goes
so fast
with these
babies. you can
still hear
the ancient
rattle in
your own son's
hand, before
you kissed
him and said
goodnight.

out of the rain

the rich are seldom
seen
in suits or furs
with pearls
and heels, shined
shoes, standing
in line for lottery
tickets at the 7-11,
they are more discreet
with their need for more.
shuffling in
at late hours in
sheep's clothing.
whereas as the poor
have no shame
with their rumpled
bills, their saved
coins and lists of
numbers that are
perceved as lucky,
all day they stand
in line, coming in
out of the rain.

wanting more

many are patient,
and some not,
waiting for
their ship or train
to arrive
at dock
or station
bringing fame
or fortune
into their working
hands.
for what else is
there to do, but
to wait and work,
staying true
and hopeful.
to do nothing would
be foolish, admitting
failure
in this world
of luck
and hard knock.
but if it doesn't
come, as it won't
for most,
what then is there
to say
about a life
of want and not
accepting one's
given lot.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

the contractor

you call a contractor
in to measure
your counters, ponder
your appliances
and floor. you want
to move a wall perhaps,
change the lighting.
he doesn't write anything
down though. instead,
he keeps talking.
pulling on his
short grey beard
telling you stories
about when he was
a child in pakistan.
you see the gold
in his teeth and a farway
look in his milky
blue eyes.
he tells you about
his goats, his six
children and how
he lost part of his
little finger in
a power saw accident.
holding up the rounded
nub of it for
you to see. it still
works, he says
wiogling it around.
he finally stops and
throws his head
back to laugh
and you say gently,
touching his arm, how much.
please. how much to
do all of this and when.
he nods seriously,
rubbing his dark hands
together. ahhh. he
says. the work. always
the work, isn't it?
i don't know.
but i will call you,
i will call you soon.
give me your number
again.

ticking quietly

you understand
many things,
or at least you
think you do.
how things work
or why
they don't, but
the human mind
is more difficult
to deal with.
the nuts and bolts
the springs
and wheels
of it all are
maddening
sometimes and
yet magnificient
at others, like
now, with
you beside me,
asleep, ticking
quietly away
in a dream.

exploding tires

you hear a loud
bang in your parking
lot and look out
the window.
people are standing
around your neighbor's
car. hands on
their hips, eyes
wide open.
you go out to see
what's up. the front
tire of her
car has exploded
and ripped
the metal off
the car itself
as a small bomb would
do. the car was
at a standstill.
no one was in it,
or around it.
it just exploded.
no one knows what
to say, as the woman
curses, cries
and searches for
meaning, when there
is none.

mice

mice
want no
trouble.
they just want
food
and shelter
like
you do.
a warm place
to sleep
and breed
and live
in peace.
they don't
understand
the traps
and cheese
involved in
doing so.
no different
than you
or me.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

fly me to the moon

after your traumatic
divorce a month ago
from your wife of ten years
you decide to never
drink alone.
well, hardly ever.
but sometimes
though, on a cold windy,
rainy, beast of a night
you put on your black silk
pajamas, mix up
a white russian
and turn the stereo on.
that's right. the stereo.
leave me alone
with your i pod
mp3 whatever junk.
you've got two big
stereo speakers
in the corner and
a stack of pioneer
recievers. you drop
the needle down on sinatra,
the capitol years.
you dim the lights
and settle into
the big leather chair
in the corner, the one
you fought for in
the settlement,
then you pull out
your little black
book of old girlfriends.
trying to see who
might be free and
willing to drive
in the storm to come
visit. it's a little dusty
and sticky, but
you manage to
open to the B page.
you try betty
first, but she's
crying when she picks
up, so you quickly
say oops, wrong number.
next is lulu. lulu
is a girl who knows
how to have fun.
she answers with a
cheery hello, which is
a good sign. hey baby,
you say, sipping on
your drink, what's
happening. long time.
i just got out of rehab
she says. oh really,
you say, flipping to
the next page. what for?
oh, for sex, drugs and alcohol,
she says, so i'm sorry,
but i can't see you, plus i have
my knitting circle tonight.
okay. you say, make me
a pot holder or something.
bye. next you try gloria,
g l o r i a, you sing
out loud. this makes
the dog sleeping in
the corner lift his head
and squint his eyes
at you. hey gloria,
it's me. jimmy. jimmy.
from the club. we met
one night.... hello.
hello. dial tone.
you vaguely remember
sneaking out of her house
one night and borrowing
some money that you may
or may not have paid back.
okay, you say, clinking
the ice around in your drink.
no problem, let's see here.
shelia. good old sheila.
red wine sheila.
big lips covered in
cherry red lipstick
sheila. you dial her
up and nod yes to yourself,
why didn't you call
her first. of course.
she's gold. a man
answers the phone.
hello, you say, is ummmm
sheila there. yeah, buddy,
she's here. who's this?
you're speaking to
her husband. who is this?
you hang up and sigh.
what the hell, you think.
what happened to everyone.

retail therapy

you need some
new stuff.
you don't even know
what you
need, but you
need to go
shopping.
you have
shopping needs.
you'll know
it when you see
it. you grab
a handful
of coupons from
the trash
and find your
wallet.
buying things
will make you
feel better, you
can feel the surge
of energy
and excitement
already just
thinking
about walking
through
the stores
touching, feeling
picking
things up.
you have a good
vibe about
this trip.
you may actually
end up with
something
you can use
at some point.

exits

you can
only stay so
long
in one place
without
staring
out a window,
getting up
to walk
around. you
see the windows
and doors
as ways out
not in.
you do leaving
much better
than entering,
that much
you know
is true, about
who you
are, but not
why.

surrender

the trees
surrender
each
fall its
leaves,
the cloud
its snow
and rain.
everything
knows when
to let go
but us,
that we must
learn
over and
over again.

a symphony

you hear
your neighbors
through
the wall arguing
again.
it's never an
intellectual fight
over art
or music, politics
or religion.
it's mostly about
spilled milk
burned toast,
a seat left up
in the bathroom,
always ending
with who can yell
the loudest
and throw
the most dishes.
even the dog
is barking.
but before
the night ends
you hear them in
bed, making love.
passionate love
saying things that
burn into your soul.
it's a symphony
amidst the train
wreck of their lives.

the unwritten note

you slip
a note under
her door.
it says nothing.
there are
no words
to express how
you feel.
words seem
small
and insignificant
when
you're in love.
a silent
quiet note
full of
nothing and
everything seems
to say it all.

Friday, March 15, 2013

it's all about me

embarrassed
for being unable
to pronounce
or spell
the word narcissistic
which she
just called you,
you hang up
the phone on somebody
that you hardly
know or care about
even though
you had sex last
night and look
the word up online.
you practice
saying it over
and over again,
looking in
the mirror
flexing
your muscles,
staring at your
handsome face
until someone
knocks
at the door
which makes you
very angry
and petulant.
they don't know
how busy you
are, what important
things you have
to do. let them
wait for
awhile.you repeat
the word again
and again until
you've got it.

look at that

she was from jersey
and the first thing she
showed you
was a molar
in back of
her mouth that was
turned completely
around.
she'd open her
mouth up wide
on the first
date and said,
look at that.
this worried
you more
for some reason
than the lizard
tattoo on her
ankle, or the gun
in her purse, or
the baby sleeping
upstairs
behind a closed door.

this ain't a library

when you were
thirteen
you'd go down
to the rexall
drug store
and peruse the rack
of comic
books,
selecting
the ones you'd
bring to the booth
to read
as you
ate a grilled
cheese sandwich,
with a pickle,
chips and a
cherry coke.
you'd sit there
for hours
until
your leg fell
asleep, or
the manager with
a black skinny tie
and white
short sleeved
shirt
tapped you
on the shoulder
and said, hey kid,
this ain't
a library, buy
em or get out.

they slip away

they slip away
into the fog,
those
you knew,
in younger
days,
those on the fringes
of your
life.
they slip away
into
the haze
of morning,
the mystery
of night,
like shadows
of memory,
never to be heard
from
or seen
again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam

the new pope, who's real name
is jimmy. listens to the throngs
outside the vatican chambers
as he sits back, bobbing his head.
oh, yeah, he says to no one
in particular, who's your daddy
now? that's what i'm talking about.
then the door swings open and
he quickly goes silent, folding
his hands together in prayer.
his assistant, jeremy, comes over
and tells him, okay. it's official.
you are the man. he says. now
stand up, we need to get some
measurements for your new clothes.
turn your head this way, i think
red is your color, but today, we'll
do a bright white. can i wear
red shoes, the new pope asks,
kicking off his grey sketchers.
ummm, well. sure, how about
some nice red slippers though.
they are in that closet over there.
slippers, stockings and evening
gowns. your head wear.
big hats, the little hats,
and a baseball cap that
the old pope left behind
are in that armoire from the
thirteenth century. but today
is a big hat day. okay, now we
need to practice your wave.
let's see what you've got. no.
no. no. you are NOT in a parade,
or miss america. when you wave
it's sort of like this. he raises
his arm and slowly turns his
body around. like that, move
your body, not your arm. now you
try it. good good. like a statue.
be a statue. okay. now
this is important, so pay attention.
look at me, hey, look at me.
he points his fingers at his eyes.
the crowd adores you, but sometimes
there are some nuts out there
who might throw a tomato or two
at you, or worse, so we
need to practice ducking. i'm
going to throw this communion
wafer at you, and you try to duck.
the wafer hits the new pope in
the head. okay. bad. very bad.
didn't you play soccer or anything.
never mind. he writes a note.
we'll practice later.
okay, before you get dressed
and go out to the balcony
to wave and say a few words,
we need to talk about
your big hat. if it's a very
windy day, hold on tight,
because you'll be flying away
across vatican square and then we
are going to have to do this
all over again with those grumpy
cardinals and the white smoke.
so hold on to your hat. okay,
the second thing is that if
you have to go to the bathroom
do it now. once we start
putting on all of these layers
of clothes, well, it's going
to be tough to go, so if you
have to go, go now. no?
okay, good, now here, drink
this. i got you this red
bull just to get your energy
up a little and to put
a twinkle in your eye.
open your mouth, wider.
you have some spinach between
your teeth. did you have a
calzone for breakfast
from the deli down by the
coliseum, thought so. i
can smell the garlic. they
really load it on there.
well, your breath is going
to kill an altar boy, so we
definitely don't want
that, why don't we go
brush up and gargle
before we get started.
chop chop, the world awaits!

perhaps

she points at
a spot on her neck
and says
i like it when you
bite right there.
not too hard.
don't make a mark
or break
the skin. no bruises
please, just
a nibble, a small
bite will
do the trick.
pull my hair
back a little
and move in gently.
hmmm. you
say, writing it
all down.
making a sketch of
her neck on
a pad of paper.
got it, you say.
perhaps i can come
over on saturday
and practice.
perhaps, she says.
perhaps.

give me some time

you hate when
people tell you to
count your
blessings when
you've had a bad
day, or something
has gone terribly
awry. and you too
have said those
thoughtess words.
trying hard
to console someone
who has fallen.
what you really
want to do is cry
your eyes out
for awhile, feel
sorry for yourself,
go into a dark
room, mope and sleep,
overeat and have
a few drinks. but
that's it. then when
the sun comes back
up in a few days,
you'll count your
blessings. but all
in good time.

i like where i am

don't you want
to be in a nice home
with nice
people,
playing rummy
and shuffle board.
maybe soak
in the community
indoor pool.
you'll have fun
making new friends,
sharing stories
and recipes, photos
of grandchildren
almost grown.
don't you want
a room of your own,
with a view
of the lake,
the trees,
the geese
as they float
down from the sky
in june.
don't you want
to be happy, you ask
your mother,
holding her
hand, as she cries.
no, she says,
not like that,
i like where i am,
and you say, well.
i suppose
neither would i.

the bee hive

when she opens
her mouth
bees
fly out.
her head a
buzzing
hive
of ideas
and notions
of what to
do, where to
live, who
to be with.
when and where
are wishes
on the wind
changing
everyday
like
the flag
on a flag pole
fluttering
to be set
free.

fireflies

your mother
sits
still
in her chair.
her ears
catching
words
like
fireflies
in her
hand.
the meaning
of it all
flickers
though
despite her
smile and nod.
the jar
never completely
glows
and brings her
light
anymore.

going away

you go away
for awhile.
you leave yourself
alone.
settle into
quiet.
not caring, not
wondering
about what you
did,
or should do
next.
you give yourself
a rest.
ease down into
a hot bath.
turn off
the phone.
you close your
eyes
and fill your
mind with
nothing. you
exhale
the person
that you try
so hard to be.

twenty seven inch drop in stove

your stove dies
in the middle
of cooking
dinner.
the chicken is raw
the potatoes
hard
and unboiled
in the pot.
it was a good stove
circa
1968. hard
to complain. it
lasted that
long. how many
meals it cooked
through
the holidays,
through
the winters
and storms,
how many hands
have pulled out
a pan
or dish, or fried
an egg
with its heat.
state of the art
for that
era,
push buttons,
the red lit light
when on.
the clock
that stopped
behind
the yellowed
glass.
the sound it made
when warmed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

just a word

you fall in love.
you fall
out of love.
you stumble
into love, you
trip and crash
against
love. you find
love in
the strangest
places, you love
everyone.
you love
no one. you hate
the word love.
you are sick
of love.
you make a pledge
to never use
the word love
again, or tell
anyone that you
love them even
if you do.
you don't have
a clue about love.
you probably
never have,
and never will.

starting tomorrow

you've eaten
way too much chicken
and lie
there in front
of the tv
staring at
your swollen belly.
it resembles
a woman in
her second tri-mester.
you are suddenly
happy that you
aren't a woman.
you can work this
off come spring.
you loosen
your belt
and push your self
up off
the couch, bracing
yourself on
the coffee table
that shakes under
your weight.
you waddle over
to the fridge
for some ice cream.
it's too late
to turn back now.
spring is on
the way, you say
to yourself. starting
tomorrow a hundred
sit ups. where's
the chocolate?

kindness

nothing
surprises
you
too much
anymore,
but
kindness.

waiting for an answer

she stares
at her phone
then puts it down.
three minutes
later
she picks it
up again.
hits a button
or two,
shakes her
head, then closes
it once
more. she puts
it in her
purse, snapping
it shut.
goes to the
bathroom
comes back
in five minutes
and opens
the purse back
up to look at her
phone again.
nothing.
no one.
she shakes
the phone, tapping
it on the side.
checks
the weather
and the time.
stares at it
until it goes
black. she sets
it down
and looks out
the window.
she sees other
people staring at
their phones.
she bites her lip,
sighs.

doctor visit

your doctor calls you
in for an appointment.
just come in, he says
on the phone. we need
to talk. so you go in
and strangely don't
have to wait.
a nurse leads you back
into an examining
room, and points
her finger, he's in
there, she says,
shaking her head
and snapping her gum.
you go in and and jump
up onto the steel
cold gurney and take
your shirt off. suddenly
you see him.
he's sitting in a chair
in the corner
smoking a cigarette
and drinking
a manhattan. keep your
shirt on, he says.
this is about me,
not you. in fact, here's
a hundred bucks for
coming, he throws a wad
of bills at you, go
ahead and count it, if
i'm short, you can
take home some cotton
balls or something.
so what's wrong, you ask
him, crossing your legs
and buttoning your
shirt back up. i'm sick
of sick people, he
says. i'm tired of
the insurance squabbles
and the mean nurses
and receptionists
that i hire. i want
out of this business.
my wife hates me, my
kids are all spoiled rotten
from giving them too
much, and my pool is
full of leaves.
so what's that got to
do with me, you ask.
well, he says,
rubbing his cigarette
out with his wing tips,
i think i'd like to learn
a trade, maybe house
painting, like you do.
hanging wallpaper.
something like that.
i thought i could work
for you, if that's okay.
like an intern, you don't
even have to pay me
for a few years.
and once i learn the
trade i'll go out on
my own. what do you think?
i don't know you say.
i'm kind of slow right
now. sure, he says, sure.
but maybe when it picks up
a little. his beeper
goes off and he looks
at the message. geez.
i almost forgot, i have
to go take out mrs.
rinaldi's gall bladder.
i have to get going,
wash my hands and stuff.
but think about it, okay,
he says. i want out.

Monday, March 11, 2013

nine lives

nervous
about the needle
going into her breast
to search
for
cells
that could mean
either life
or death, she sighs.
and sets
her mind
to it.
she has fallen out
of many
buildings
before,
and cat like
has landed
firmly on her
feet. as i'm sure
she will,
once more.

who i am

she used to cry
a lot, using
a bucket
near her
bed to catch
the tears.
by the end of
the week it would
be full
of her sorrows
and cares.
she would carry
it around
with her
and people would
stop
to tell her
how sorry they
were for her
troubles,
her sadness.
they'd offer to
empty it for her
or to it
carry down
the street, but
she refused.
how would they
know about me,
she'd say,
who i am?
if my bucket
was empty.

i could use a drink

she comes out
of rehab a new woman.
she's almost
shines in
the sunlight as
you pick her
up at the station.
so how'd it go,
you ask her,
staring at her clear
eyes and placid
face. i'm
good she says,
smiling. good.
it went well. i
think i got to
the bottom
of my addictions.
of my past mistakes
and wrong
turns. it was
tough. a lot of
crying and soul
baring. i've heard
stories that i
will carry to
my grave. but
everyone was so
kind and thoughtful,
understanding.
she wipes a tear
from her cheek.
sorry, she says.
so how are you.
how are things in
your world.
i could use a drink,
you tell her.

what's coming

in the past
you heard only
your own
footsteps,
but now
your ear
is to the ground
you want
to hear
what's coming.
whether
good or bad.
the horses.
the next train.
footsteps.
you listen
hard for tomorrow,
narrowing
your eyes
holding your
hand up, saying
shhh. listen,
i want to hear.

becoming you

there is less
of you
as the years
increase.
less hair,
less
bones,
less tolerance
of fools
or clowns,
how quickly
now you'll turn
the set off
or put a bad
book down.
your vision
too
grows weak,
as your
voice changes
and your
gums
recede. it's
not a pretty
sight,
but beautiful
to become
who you were
meant to be.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

clear water

you wake one
morning, later in
life than you wish
and suddenly realize
that you don't care
what other people
think of you.
this revelation
is like a clear
cold glass
of ice water
on a summer day.
relieved you drink
it down and laugh
at how you used
to be.

pink sheets

you have pink
sheets now
that once
were white.
one small red
shirt
thrown into
the wash
has changed
everything
about how she
thinks of
you.

gold watch

your gold
watch stopped
ticking
many years
ago, but you
still wear it
as if it
keeps time.
you slip it
onto your wrist
each morning
out of habit
despite the
tarnish,
the lack
of shine
just as you
still
kiss your wife
goodbye
before leaving
to work,
as if everything
was fine.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

what they used to be

things aren't what
they used
to be the old man
says
from the stoop
a bagged bottle
of wine
between his thin
legs.
he stamps his brown
shoes at a line
of ants
going by.
things are different
now, he says.
lighting a cigarette
watching a girl
walk by across
the street.
sure, he says.
the girls are still
pretty and men still
need to work
but it ain't like
it used to be.
it's hard to
explain he says.
but you have trust
me when i say,
that things are
what they used
to be. i was young
once too, he says.
you'll see, you'll
see.

the drowning

i am a bad swimmer
she says,
wading cautiously
out beyond
the shore,
but the sea
doesn't seem
to mind.
it gathers me
in it's cool
hands
and pulls me
towards
the center. i wish
love was like
that, she smiles.
deep
and mysterious.
dangerous
and alive.
the relentless
new waves
washing against
me with
affection.
why can't love
be like that,
but it is you tell
her, watching
as she
goes under.

Friday, March 8, 2013

don't take her home

she had a shady
past.
an emerald ring
on her little
toe.
a small tattoo
of a bleeding
rose
on her breast.
she sighed
alot,
and looked
off into the distance
as if
waiting for
a ship arrive,
to come sailing
over
the horizon.
she might have been
indian,
or mexican,
or from the middle
east, who knows
for sure, but
she had an incurable
disease
and a habit
of twrirling
her hair
and calling
you chief.
it was just a week,
but she
made a lasting
impression.
you still have
the scar on your
shoulder
where she
bit you one
night in
the heat of passion.
it was only
a week, but
it seemed longer,
alot longer.

fried chicken to go

an angry man pulls
a gun
in the fast food
store,
coming back
in from his car
and demands
that they get his
order right.
i said crispy,
he screams,
spicy and dark
meat only.
and i want
fries with that
not beans.
he waves the gun
around
in the flourescent
lights
jumping onto
the counter,
i want a biscuit
too, not a hard
sweet roll,
now take this
bag of plain chicken
breasts and make
it right
he yells, do it
now or someone
is going to
get hurt. i'm
hungry dammit.

the snooze

they garnish
your wages
for back taxes
and missed
child support.
someone steals
your newspaper
from your front
porch.
the milk you
just bought has
been opened
already with a sip
or two
missing.
there is horse
meat
in the meatballs
you bought from
the furniture
store
according
to the nightly
news.
but nothing stops
you,
as you look
out the window
at the pink
parking ticket
flapping
under your
wiper blade against
the windshield.
you make a sandwich,
you drink
the milk
you send a check.
you take a mid
afternoon
snooze.

journal entry

i know
he doesn't love me,
she writes
onto a crisp
yellow page
in her
bedside journal.
i know
he's seeing other
women,
secretly
when we aren't
together.
i feel it
in my bones,
down
to the bottom
of my
cold feet.
i know what
the truth is,
but it doesn't
matter, not
really,
i don't love
him either
and i'd rather
this
than be alone.

the wind

the wind
is reassuring
in it's
voice.
the blow
of march
dusting
the trees,
scattering
what's
left of winter
towards
the ground
into the cold
new water
of streams.
the wind must
come first
in all our lives
in order
to move
forward,
towards another
spring.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

it's so nice out

you look out
the window and wish
it was raining.
but it's not.
it's sunny out.
blindingly sunny
with a bright
blue egg sky.
you tell yourself
that you will
take a long
hard walk through
the woods, work
up a sweat, but
it's hard to get out
there. it seems
kind of windy,
and it might be
muddy from the rain
yesterday.
you see a bird
fly up to the window
batting his yellow
wings. you should
go out. it's so
nice. you shouldn't
waste this beautiful
afternoon inside.
you can tell
everyone how you
took advantage of
the day, the weather.
but it's getting
kind of dark
out now. better not.
there was a report
on the news about
marauding gangs of
miscreants. right.
it's almost dark now.
maybe you should just
get a bowl of
ice cream
and stay put.
whew. what's on
tv.

but...

the speaker
is alive with words
and charm.
his pockets full
of checks marked
twenty-nine,
ninety-five.
he glows
with inspiration.
freshly tanned
from a
caribbean
vacation.
anything
is possible
he says with open
arms
and wide blue
eyes.
everyone here is
special, he says,
even you, pointing
at a man in
a plaid shirt
cleaning his teeth
with a toothpick.
everyone
has a hidden talent
deep
inside. deep inside,
he repeats, pounding
on his chest.
don't be afraid
of tomorrow,
or today,
but live
your quiet lives
aloud. leave your
sordid worthless
pasts behind, be who
you were
meant to be, not
the do nothing
loser
that you have become.

who he is

he re-invents
himself each new
day.
erasing
the person
that came before
him. his
sins
fall like
scales
from his eyes.
he inflates
the air that
has seeped
out by those who
prodded
and pricked
his enormous
pride.
by noon he is
in full form.
filling
room
the with who he
thinks he is
once more.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

thirst

as someone
said
if thirst is
the purest proof
that there is
evidence of water,
and if there
is hunger
then there must
be food,
then what
can be said
of faith
and the longing
for salvation.

the pope vs. mother theresa

you hear a story about
the pope and mother
theresa coming to blows
one night while in monte
carlo on vacation.
the argument was about
who was doing the most
to help the poor,
the sick, the homeless.
mother theresa, tired
of the pope's whining
and rolling of his eyes,
and on a short fuse after
leaving the leper
colony in calcutta
put her glass of wine
down, called the pope
a pansie and took a swing
across the table at
him, but he ducked.
she knocked his hat
off, and spilled
wine all over his white
robe laced in gold
trim, which angered
him to no end.
then all hell broke
loose as they wrestled
to the floor. being
wirey she managed to get
the pope into a headlock,
and bit his ear,
telling him to say
that she was a saint
who did the most ever
to help the needy
in the world,
not paul, not peter,
not oprah, or
joel osteen, but her.
the pope was strong
though. he had a daily
regimine of lifting
the king james bible
over his head a hundred
times every day, so
he was able to flip
mother theresa into the air
and off of him. they
boxed for awhile,
moving around the room.
mother theresa was
light on her feet and
had a wicked jab.
she blackened the pope's
eye with a sweet left
hook, but he countered
cutting her pointy chin
with his diamond studded
pope ring.
at this point she picked
up a salad fork
from the citrus salad
they just had, and
he found a tiramisu spoon
on the floor
which made her laugh
in that high pitched
voice of hers.
they circled one another,
looking for an opening,
cursing in latin,
but then the hotel
security rushed in
and broke them up,
separating them. of course
all of this was kept
out of the papers,
but the damage was done
and they never spoke
to one another again
except for an occasional
terse text around lent.

better days

better days
are ahead you hear
the old man say
as he leans
on a cane
in the snow,
tugging at your arm.
you'll see, he
says. don't worry
about any
of this. i've
seen death on
a great scale.
poverty
and pain. this is
nothing.
better days
are coming he
says, wiping his
mouth with
his sleeve
and taking a long
drink
from a flask
he pulls from
deep within his
grey coat.
better days are
coming, he says,
but can you spare
me a few dollars
until they do?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

boy or girl?

she sends a photo
of her
daughter's unborn
baby still
snug in the womb.
but you can see it's
face.
it's closed
eyes and pug nose.
the comma
curve of it's
body, arms and
soft boned
legs balled
tight.
it's gooey
and eerie on
many levels, but
you say something
like, oh my,
how cute. you sort
of miss
the old days
when someone took
a picture
after they'd been
scrubbed clean
and wrapped in a
pink or blue blanket
with their
thin black hair
combed neatly
to the side.

mustard girl

she likes
mustard.
spicy brown,
or tingly yellow.
squeezed fast
and
straight from
a bottle
or lathered
on with a broad
knife
dipped into
a squat plum
jar. onto
bread and potatoes
it goes.
meat.
she's a mustard
kind of
girl. not like
the others
and their
predictable
ketchup bottles
slow
on the pour
with
the tap tap tap.

water and wine

you read
the babble
of the interview
of a rock
star
god you've bought
into.
every jingle
jangle
of his music
is in
some small part
of your
mind.
but you laugh
at what he says,
never
giving up
on being
misunderstood,
ridiculous,
and sublime.
on the road
until the end
of time,
for what else
is there
to do, but
keep going,
turning water
into wine.

her work husband

you run into your friend
betty at the grocery store.
she's putting a bag
of frozen peas into her
cart while you're
eyeballing the carrots.
hey she says, hey you,
you say back. what's up?
long time no see.
i don't know, she says,
suddenly tearing up. i'm
not getting along with
my work husband. huh,
you say, grabbing a bag
of the asian medley
vegetables and placing
them in the child seat portion
of your cart, where you
like to jam everything.
your work husband? what's
that? that's the man
at work that i confide
in, share all my secrets
with and problems and
he does the same with me.
are you having sex with
him? no, she says, no
way. oh, just like a real
husband you say, winking.
she doesn't laugh.
we're just really
really close. but lately
he's been real chummy
with a new woman in
the cubicle next to him.
yesterday they went to
lunch at chili's and sat
in the booth on
the parkway side
where we used to sit. i'm
so upset about this. he
tries to hide his feelings
for her, but they sit
next to each other at all
the work meetings now,
and she laughs at all his
stupid jokes. hmmm, you
say, squishing your
pork chops next to the
milk, making room for
a loaf of wonder bread.
i don't know what to say,
you tell her, shuffling
your feet and scratching
your head. i know, i know,
she says, i shouldn't have
said anything. it will work
it's way out. i have an
appointment with my therapist
this week to help me
get over this. she sighs.
and stares off into
the distance. well, good
luck you say. she nods,
wiping her eyes
and pushes her cart off
towards the perscription
counter.

gone stale

you bite down
into
the bread roll
but it's
stale. hard
and crusted.
no heat
will bring it
back to
the doughy
softness it
was born with,
no amount
of butter or
jam upon
its stiffend
skin will
make it
good enough
to eat again.
you remember
how it came out
from the oven.
warm and inviting.
the sweet smell
of love
in the air, but
it's stale now.
like you
and me.

snow day

hypnotized
looking out
the windows
the children
scream
from
their school
room
desks
as the snow
begins to
fall.
the teachers
do
too.
it's a happy
day
to be away
from one
another
so unexpectedly.

Monday, March 4, 2013

ruby oh ruby

while making love
to your girlfriend
you accidentally call
her by the wrong
name. you call her
ruby. which stops
everything. it's like
a train suddenly
going off the tracks.
who the hell is ruby,
she says, inching
away from you,
as if you were suddenly
a leper,
and covering herself
up with sheets
and blankets. i
don't know, you say.
i don't even know
a ruby. i'm not sure
where that came
from. geez. sorry
honeybun. it
surprises me too.
now where were we?

monday morning at the dmv

there is no
hell, the wild eyed
man says
while waiting in line
at the dmv.
but this is close
to it, he screams,
minus
the lake of fire
and demons
jabbing us with
pitchforks.
he's standing on
a chair
at this point, yelling.
these people are
all minions
of the devil,
they want to punish
us for our sins,
our driving transgressions.
we thirst, we
hunger and there is
no end in sight.
our salvation is lost.
right on brother, someone
says. right on brother,
waving
his paperwork for
an out of state
vehicle ownership
transfer.
the security team
arrives and wrestles
the wild man
to the ground
they give him a nice
calming burst of tazer
electricity,
then drag him off.
number three hundred
and seventy three
a disembodied
voice says over
the loud speaker,
and everyone
moves up a foot, or so.

ground pepper

if only, she
says, if only
he'd come back
and love me the way
he used to, then
every thing
would be fine.
i'd be happy once
again.
you smile at her
and nod,
and say that your
happiness is
less ambitious,
you just wish
the waiter would
pass by again
so that you could
get some ground
pepper
on your salad.











counter clockwise


at the party,
with the third
bottle of wine
being drained as
it's passed around,
someone says
something
about he was
reading that
the galaxies
spin
both clockwise
and counter clockwise
and know one
knows exactly
why.
and another
person
says, who cares
we're all going
to die regardless.
this gets a laugh.
which makes
you realize how even
death can be
funny sometimes
when it isn't close
at hand.

tight pants

the dry cleaners
has shrunken
all your clothes.
you put them
on and walk
into the store
showing them
how tight
your pants are,
the buttons
on your shirt
about to pop.
they don't seem
to care.
and laugh, saying
you've gained
weight.
you must not
eat as much.
they suggest a
restaurant
down the street
owned by
their cousin.
it's healthy
place to eat they
say. you will
lose weight there.
go now. try it.

despite it all

the lake
is wind swept
to one
corner.
and the debris
of not
just leaves
has settled
near the dock.
every can
and plastic
cup
sways with
the light tide.
pens
and books
without their
covers.
wine bottles
and
shoes. spent
condoms
and clothes
float like
fallen angels.
and geese
pay no mind
to any of it,
the green etched
turtles
climb across,
their heads
moving side to side.
a fish in
the distant center
leaps,
glimmering in
a soft winter sun.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

there is work to be done

how there is
work to be done
in this world
as seen by
the hurried
hands
of butchers
at
the bloodied
block.
each clean
knife, not
clean for long.
the shoe shine
boy
his hands
darkened
with the soft
paste
of shine after
shine.
the dullness
of each day
comes back again
and again.
he depends
upon it.
the policemen
loading
their guns to
stop
the criminals
who are loading
theirs, always,
always, in the world
there is
work to be
done.

another day

she wears a coat
not unlike
virginia woolf
might
with a fur
collar, sand
brown and long,
three
black buttons,
to below
her knees
where her laced
boots rise
against the skeletons
of winter
leaves.
she's prone to sighing
on cold
days such as this.
impatient with
the weather,
with me and where
our love might go,
or not go.
but she'll see it
through
another day, why
not. why not, she
says to no one,
waiting for the train,
a stone
in the deep of
her pocket.

the fly

a fly
stuck between
window
and screen
keeps
trying
to find the way
out.
neither here
nor there,
he flutters
his blue green
wings.
he sizzles
against
the wire mesh.
unwanted
in either
direction, you
think that you
too have been
there before,
but you haven't.
not really.
it was just a bad
day.
that's all.

it comes around

there used to be
a kid, a big
red haired kid,
on the bus
who on the coldest
day of winter,
would sit behind you
and snap his
finger against
your frozen
red ear, then
howl.
he was hated
by every small
kid in the school
that he
picked on
relentlessly.
so when you see
him on the news
years later,
being handcuffed
and taken from
his senatorial
office you are more
than just
a little pleased.
smiling as you
touch gently your
warm ear.

woman in a cake

you strangely turn
a hundred and
your friends, mostly
new ones, because
the old ones are
dead, throw you
a party. there is
a defibrillator
nearby next to a
gurney and a
muscular
registered nurse
named renaldo.
a blonde haired
buxom woman leaps out
of the enormous cake,
which makes you smile
and clap your soft
old hands together.
you've always wanted
a woman to jump
out of a cake
on your birthday, but
you sort of wish
that she was a
brunette, not a blonde
and that she had
nicer legs.
maybe the cake could
have been chocolate too.
it's been a long
life. you still
aren't exactly happy,
but like always,
you play along.

down 301

three eggs
over easy, hash browns
and coffee
buttered
toast and jam,
three links
of jimmy dean's
sausage.
and the girl
in pink
a year out
of highschool
hair pinned
above
her ears, blue
eye shadow
and a tight pink
dress
showing cleavage
sounds fifty
already
as she swings
by the cluttered
slick table
to say, hey
hon, everything okay
here?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

marching onward

you see
the admirals
and captains,
the generals,
the retired soldiers
at the grocery
store, pushing
their carts
or riding
the electric ones.
the wars
are over for
them. slowly
they roll up
the aisles
in baggy clothes,
some with flag
pins,
putting carrots
in the basket,
potatoes
and corn.
milk and bread.
eggs.

money

money
is hot in some
hands.
cold
in others.
some bury it
in a can
in the yard
while others
play the market.
live large
like kings without
countries.
money makes
you sleep well,
or lose sleep.
money
corrupts, or
makes you a
saint.
money doesn't
grow on
trees your
mother used
to say,
sitting at
the table cutting
coupons
for lemonade.
some have their
first nickel,
while others
have a plan
to get yours
out of your tight
gripped hand.

near the roses

you remember
moving three times
in five years
when the hammer
fell. an apartment,
a condo, a house.
but they were
happy moves
involving fresh
paint, new linens,
a new mattress,
a new phone number.
a new
address. sometimes
you woke up
and wondered where
you were.
it was confusing
giving directions
to your house,
telling people
where to park, which
bell to ring.
but that was ten
years ago.
and you have no itch
left to scratch
when it comes
to moving again.
you're fine right where
you are, and you say
things like
when it's over, just
bury me out back.
near the roses
i might plant this spring.

a little blue

feeling a little
blue you look
around and see that
all the glasses
are dirty
and in the sink.
the spoons
and forks too.
the dishes
are stacked
and sticky with
this weeks
now mysterious
food. coffee
cups sit
with puddles
of that last
cold sip not
taken. pizza
boxes lie
on the counter
with mouths ajar
next to chinese
boxes white
and red, left
unopened, dried
solid like
glue. this is
what happens when
she doesn't call
and you're
feeling a little
blue.

clues

the yellowed
spot
on the ceiling
is a clue,
like how i
don't hear
from you on a
saturday night.
there is water
leaking
slowly
somewhere above
you.
it could be rain,
it could be
a pipe.
it could be
the grout
or caulking
around the
tub or tiles,
but something isn't
right.
you'll get to
it eventually,
but not right
now, not
tonight, you're busy
waiting
by the phone.

Friday, March 1, 2013

heads or tails

you decide to
make all your big
decisions in life
with the toss
of a coin. you carry
a half dollar
around with you
just for this
purpose.
heads or tails.
why not, your intuition
and smarts
are not what they
used to be.
you like
the decisiveness
of a coin flipping
through the air
deciding your
destiny. what could
go wrong,
that hasn't already.

centerfield

your sister's ex
husband is
in the hospital.
he's on a list
for a new kidney.
he wore the last
one out.
drugs and drinking.
cigarettes.
he's only sixty
but has the body
of an eighty five
year old man.
he was the best
centerfielder
you ever saw.
he could run, catch
and throw
like a young
mickey mantle.
he even wore number
seven. but that was
a long time
ago when time stood
still and the grass
was green, with
most of our lives
before us.

night out with the boys

let's go out drinking
tonight, your friend
howard says on
the phone. let's round
up the guys. i feel like
getting out there.
i'm stuck here in
the hinter lands with
the wife and kids. i need
a night out with the guys.
like the old days.
sure you say. see you at
eight. Harry's? by the way,
what are you wearing,
he asks. casual
you say. is there parking?
yeah. garage, next door. you
tell him. what if it rains,
are you still going?
do they validate parking?
sure. i have an umbrella.
how's the food there?
bar food, you say, staring
at the phone and rolling
your eyes.
do they have the sunset
special if we get there
before six? ummm. eight
you say again, see you
at eight. are jeans okay.
are you wearing a button
down shirt or a sweater.
i might wear both, is
that okay? what are people
wearing these days?
will there be babes
there? like our age?

raccoon

you see a fat
raccoon
in the trash
at the end
of the cul
de sac.
she rises
with an apple
in her hand.
eating.
she bares her
teeth and
gives you a
hiss. it reminds
you a of a girl
you used
to be related
to by marriage.
slowly, you back
away just like
you used to do
back in the day.