Tuesday, April 30, 2013

unearthly girl

how unearthly
she is at times.
cool
and distant,
aloof as any
celestial object
that shines
but can't be
reached, although
none of that
keeps you from
trying. each day
you build on
the ship that might
take you
there. the wrinkled
plans of
your desire laid
out on the table
with coffee
stains, and the sweat
of your
anxious hands.

hair

even though
you've seen it
so many times
through the years,
of punk and
new wave, of post
modern, a
streak of blue
in a teen's hair,
or orange locks,
sprung wildly
out like
rusted bed
bed springs. or
the violet shades
in rain bowed
lanes in
a girl's
once wheat blonde
strands. it's not
shocking
anymore, but it
turns your
head to look.
as perhaps your
brylcremed wave
did when you were
young, but you
doubt it.

dust to dust

as you drag
your finger along
the ledge of
your bookcase
you see that
there seems to be
enough dust
in the world for
everyone.
it is something
to be relied upon.
not love
or wealth. it
is a constant
in our lives
that will continue
even when we
are gone,
covering all that
we hold dear.
everything
that we once
thought was
so important
and eternal will
succumb
to it in time.

animal instincts

your animal
instincts are not
what they used to be.
the tiger
in you has
become a tame
tabby with a
mute meow.
the eagle that
once soared
is a blue bird
pecking at the feeder.
your lone wolf
behavior has long
since gone,
and now you
wish for the company
of strangers
or even family,
although only
for a short while.

unread poems

unread poems
are like
unkissed lips.
awaiting
love
they sit upon
the cold
white sheets
listening
for footsteps,
hoping for eyes
to find
them delightful
and fun
and then
showered
with kisses
until the next
one comes.

the poetry reading

the church is full
when you arrive.
having found parking
at the last moment,
hurriedly
fast walking
through alleys,
and side streets.
it's a well groomed
crowd, well mannered.
quiet as if
a church service
might take place
after all.
without knowing,
you can sense
education. that
many are well read,
well versed,
the glasses on noses,
the hair pulled
back, the neatness
of their clothes
and shoes. fingers
to pursed lips.
the poet, finally,
after introductions
and announcements,
adjustments
to the sound system,
and his microphone
clipped to his lapel,
he begins to read
his poetry.
it is clear and concise.
no thesaurus
is needed, no
dictionary or knowledge
of greek mythology.
there is no bite taken
when you look at one
another and say,
what's this?
with purpose, it seems,
he stays away
from angst. he keeps
it light, rewarding you
for coming so far,
in the rain to hear
him. the banter
and preview of each
piece is amusing. the night
is neither too long
or too short. it's
enough to make
you say, oh, how nice.

Monday, April 29, 2013

storms

when people
are cross with
you
for various
reasons, some
right,
some wrong,
you try to think
of something
in nature
that it compares
to.
a storm,
a strong wind
that knocks
over
the fence, peels
the roof
of tiles.
a hard rain
perhaps, but nothing
comes close.
it's
deeper, more
shallow than
that.

in the mood

the rain
brings her in
holding
the hem
of her long
dress, wet
and darkened.
it's
raining she
says.
not smiling,
but feeling fine
with that.
the cold
gloom of the day
puts her
in a mood.
see you after
my shower
she says.
and you go into
the bedroom,
lie on the bed
and listen
to the rain
against
the window.
you smile
and wait.

the block party

you see in
the annual e mail
that the neighborhood
block party
association has
decided that this year
they want to have
a nude party.
that's right.
one with no clothes
on. adults only
of course, and
no pets for
obvious reasons.
big jim, or king
james, as he is
called by
his wife,
and a few women
in their book club,
has decided
to have it at
his house, because
he has a fenced
in yard and a large
heated pool.
you laugh and show
the e mail
to your wife, who
strangely says,
you know what, it
might be fun,
liven things
up a little
around here. i'm in.
aren't you?
you shake your
head no, and put on your
hat and gloves.
i'm going for a walk
you tell her. a
long walk through
the woods.
the world has gone
terribly wrong.

ice fishing

your friend in Alaska
says
hello, attaching
a photo of her
in a parka
drinking from
a flask of bourbon.
she's rubbed
her face in what
looks like Vaseline
to protect from
the wind and cold.
i'm going ice
fishing today
she says, I wish
you were here
with me. we could
catch a big
sturgeon and fry
it up for dinner
with some small
potatoes and biscuits.
sounds delish,
you tell her,
wish I could be
there too, but of
course you don't,
as you slip into
your shorts and flip
flops and head
out for some
ice cream.

club card

everyone
wants you to join
their club.
asking you,
do you have
your club
card with
you.
and you shake
your head
and say no.
I don't want
to join.
i'm a loner in
this consumer
driven world.
I don't want
to go online
and tell you
how well you're
doing, or
receive your
updates on sales
in an e mail.
I prefer to go
it alone.
spend the extra
nine cents
for my next
self help book,
or tomato.

winning

you buy three one
dollar mega million
lottery tickets from
the local
seven eleven. the man
behind the counter
in his striped
orange and red
shirt says, good
luck to you mister.
you begin to imagine
winning a hundred million,
cashing out
for a mere 60 million.
you think of all
the people you will
help, all the people
you will snub
but let know in a
grandiose way of your
great luck
and now superior
change in social status.
your imagination
runs wild with what
you will purchase.
the cars, the boats,
the houses. you've always
wanted a hot tub
full of bikini clad
run way models. already,
you see the problem
with this money, how
it's changed you.
you are embarrassed for
your Caligula like
tendencies after winning
so much.
so when the numbers
come out on Tuesday
night, as you stand
in the kitchen in
your underwear while
making a tuna sandwich,
you are relieved
and happy that not
a single number on
your slip of paper
is called.

light weight

red eyed
and heavy from
drink
from the night
before,
you dizzily
rise out
of bed and
like the old
man you are
slowly becoming
you stagger
to the bathroom
sink. you
turn on the cold
water and lean
towards
it splashing
the chill
onto your face.
you can't drink
anymore you
realize, and
the next time
it will only
be one, not two
vodka tonics
with a twist
of lime.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

saturday at the park

the man made
lake,
wide and shallow,
maybe two feet deep
at best
and five miles
around
is beautiful
in the sunlight.
a united nations
of picnickers
come and light
the grills,
turning up
their music.
after a hard
rain the cans
and tires, float
off to one corner
of the kidney
shaped lake,
the plastic
bags and empty
wine bottles,
the syringes
and spent condoms
all gather,
as if cornered
and caught near
the metal dock
where the kayaks
and canoes
disembark. sometimes
small children
avoiding
the broken glass
and debris
step into the water
with their
pants rolled up
and chase
with glee
the ducks who lean
in with long necks
and fierce black eyes
for food.

best seller

you buy the latest
best seller
that anyone
with eyes
is reading.
the secret lives
of da vinci
bees with tattoos,
or something
like that.
and it's embarrassing
to say that you
can't get through
the first ten
pages without
throwing it across
the room, so you
smile and say that
you don't want to
ruin the movie
by reading it
and creating in
your mind the plot
and characters,
the fine points
of the story,
you'd rather someone
else do it
for you and enjoy
it that way.

every other weekend

on the weekends,
when it's their
turn,
you see
the fathers, divorced,
with kid
or kids in tow,
still too young
to protest,
too young to be
off on
their own.
you see them in
line at the ice
cream shops,
at the toy stores,
at the park
kicking balls, or
flying kites.
everyone trying
so hard
to have fun, to
make a difference
and show love
despite the drama
of their
lives. assuaging
the guilt
and sadness
as best as they
know how
before driving
them home for
the drop off.

little leagues

there are four fields.
all neatly
groomed and swept.
the dirt
as fine as silt,
the grass
as green and lush
as a golf
course at the country
club. white lines
perfectly drawn
for the day,
and each field has
a game. small children
with orioles
and reds, and nationals
for names.
and the p.a. announcer
calls each
child as he comes
to bat
and swings. sometimes
the ball
reaches the plate
other times
it's over the back
stop, or strikes
a child harmlessly
in the back. every
now and then the ball
will hit the bat and
they run like small
pinwheels, their
hats flying, their
faces red in the sun.
happy no matter what
the outcome.
in the outfield
some are picking
daisies, others
blowing bubbles and
singing to themselves,
staring numbly into
the clouds,
and the parents on
the sideline, deeply
invested in
cleats and gloves,
in drinks and food,
trophies for those that
win, or tie, or don't
finish at all and lose.
they yell out, swing
swing, swing batter
swing, keep your
eye on the ball.
catch with two hands,
remember what I told
you, what we practiced.
now run, go, run now.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

open mike

you listen
to her sing,
and she
has the voice
of an angel.
an angel gargling
broken
glass and whiskey.
she has blue
eyes. cat eyes.
and heavy hands on
her guitar
strings. spanking
out the chords,
plucking notes
painfully,
one after another.
grimacing as she does.
her feet move like
chickens on a june
bug, tapping
in every which
direction, out of
sync, out
of time, completely
out of her
musical mind.
and when it's over
you stand and applause,
everyone does,
those that haven't
left. happy
that it's over.

out of work

you've been
in the bread lines,
the soup
kitchens of America.
you've washed
your clothes in
streams
waiting, longing
for work.
you've stamped your
boots in the rain,
on the street
corners with your
homemade signs
and stared
glum eyed into
the eyes of drivers
on their way
to work, as
embarrassed
as you are.
you've mended
fences in Colorado,
stood
in the mud
digging trenches
for pipe in Alaska,
you've felt the steam
and fire of the steel
mills before
they went down
and became great
empty cold
mouths of defeat
in Pittsburgh
and ohio.
your arms have
felt the burn
and fatigue of lifting
nets of grey fish
over the sides
of wooden boats
in the chesapeake.
you've heard the words
we don't need you
anymore, and felt
the hard tap
of a hand on
your dusted laden
fired back.
you've known hunger
and thirst. you've only
want love and respect
and a good days
wage, but it's hard
to come by, no matter
what the president
or congress or
the paper has to say.

romancing the tree

when the old
tree
dies and the last
leaf has
fallen,
when
the workers
come
to cut the limbs
and branches
away.
when they pull
the trunk out
by its roots,
you'll forget
the endless
raking,
the power lines
it invaded,
the roof
that limbs crashed
upon,
and just remember
it's golden
autumn leaves
and shade.

Friday, April 26, 2013

zoo blues

you take a walk
through the zoo,
but are quickly bored.
the monkeys are
shaking limbs
and screaming
in the trees,
snakes are
coiled in
glass boxes
with no
one to strike.
a slender necked
giraffe still gums
the same
high tree.
the lions hardly
move, sitting
back on their
haunches
waiting for a dinner
they didn't choose.
it's over for
these beasts, no
longer doing with
their lives what
they were meant
to do. still young,
some, not
old like me,
like you.

a can of soup

you pull a can
of soup
from the cupboard.
chicken
and broth,
noodles. it's
a strange can.
you have no clue
as to how
it got there
and you have
no intention
of ever cutting
through the lid
to boil
its contents.
you turn the can
around
looking for an
expiration
date, but there
is none, so
you gently slide
it back
onto the shelf
and give it another
day. you would
hope that someone
would do
the same for you
when it came
time.

the gardener

she could
dig in the dirt
all day.
knees
sunk into the cold
wet ground.
weeding.
planting, moving
a bush
to another
spot where
the sun is more
generous
with its light.
she is at home
mending
the soil of
her yard
tending to
the children
she never had,
but wanted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

moonlight

in the victorious
moonlight
asleep
on the soft ice
of sheets
with the windows
clean
and clear letting
the heavens
in. you stared
at her
face, the curve
of her
shoulder,
the way her
hand and arm
folded like
a swan gone
sideways
in the blueness
of water
and shadows.
you wanted to
touch her, to
kiss her, but
you let her alone,
allowing her to
go further
into the dream
that was putting
a smile
upon her lips.

chewing gum

all day
there is something
stuck
to your shoe.
you feel
it pull
against the street,
going up
the stairs
and on the rug.
you lift
your foot
when you finally
get a chance
and see
a pink wad
of gum
going grey
imbedded in
the sole.
you take a pen
from your pocket
and dig it
out flicking
it towards
the street.
where a bird
flies by and takes
it with
her, chewing
as she sings
and catches wind
under
her wings. there
is little one can
make of this,
as you can see.

her fast ball

you haven't
seen my
fastball yet,
she says brushing
the hair out
of her eyes
and going into
a wind up
with an imaginary
ball.
she checks
the runners
at
first and second,
takes the sign
then throws
her pitch.
you laugh.
I've seen your
curves and your
slider, you tell
her and perhaps your
sinker
too, come to think
of it, but you're
right, I've
never seen your
fast ball.
well maybe tonight
you will, she says.
now leave me
alone I need to
get this batter
out.

skipping

the kid
with blonde hair
and a striped
shirt,
skipping
down
the sidewalk
is free
of his tomorrows,
untethered
by a past.
there is only
the moment of
skipping
gaily, still
unaware about
stepping on
the cracks.

then go

any minute now,
you are really
going to work.
just a few more
things. a few more
words to say.
but you need coffee.
there are places
that you have to be.
a schedule to keep.
already you're
thinking about lunch,
about how bad
the traffic is.
it takes a handful
of sun
to come through
the window, to get
you up and going.
throw on some clothes.
stretch your
arms, then go.

the new dress

I made this,
she says,
spinning around
in her summer dress
full of flowers
and bright light.
nice, you say.
beautiful in fact,
like you.
is there a snap
or a clasp
in the back.
I can hang it on
the door
where it won't
get wrinkled or
stepped upon
while it's lying
on the floor.

cutting ties

you cut
your ties with
those
who
never did
quite
care, or was
concerned
for your
welfare.
but you played
along, as
if they did.
their three
act constant
state of drama
wore you
down. you no
longer clapped
and applauded
their success,
or held
them on your
shoulders,
pretending to
believe their lies,
defending their
boorish
behavior.
the weight of
them has finally
taken it's
toll, and you
let them go
to find
someone else
to listen to their
woes.

clearing the room

there comes a point
when you have to clear
the room,
throw away what's
bothering you.
that chair for
instance. springs
out, tufts of sponge
padding revealed,
the broken
lamp that won't
light has
to go as well.
the clock stuck on
eleven thirty-five
almost always
in a lie,
the thin
bare rug once thick
and bought in
more prosperous
times. coffee
stained, and torn
where the dog
worked out his angst
about you not
being there.
a fresh coat of paint
might help as well.
throw the windows
open and let in some
clean fresh air.

the drowning man

the drowning man
doesn't
want a rope,
or a floating
device
thrown his way.
he doesn't want
advice on how
to move his arms
and kick
his legs
he doesn't want
to hear,
breath and relax,
don't worry,
help is on
the way.
he wants you
to jump in
and try to save
him. kicking
and screaming
as you both go
down.

pills from the sky

pills
are falling
from the sky.
and the mouths
of pedestrians
are wide
open as
they look up
and take them
in. swallowing
then moving on.
the government
health care
system
has taken to
the air
with crop
dusters, trying
to keep
the insanity
at a manageable
level.
it's not working.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the angry man

some people
are always right.
they need to be.
there is no give
no take.
they'd rather
run, than stand
and listen to
both sides
of a story.
they need to be
angry, to shout,
to slam their fists
into the table.
hide the truth with
their fury.
there is no
middle ground
with them. no
apology, or
forgiveness in
their hearts.
they live a cold
and lonely life,
putting money to
the flames to keep
them warm.
saying everyone
is wrong, but
them. it's sad
especially when
you love them
despite everything.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the simple things

you come
home from work
and there's
bread
in the oven.
flowers on
the table
in a crystal
vase.
curtains
are hung over
the windows
and there
are vanilla candles
burning.
you see a strange
purse on
on the counter.
a pink umbrella,
a hat,
shoes, and
a dress
on the floor
leading up
the stairs.
there is a drink
poured.
Tanqueray
and tonic
with a slice
of lime. suddenly
music
begins to play
it's the summer
wind
by frank.
you begin to
worry and take
your pulse,
there is none.
heaven is
apparently in
the simple things.

in the sun

you see
a dead bird
on the ground,
a robin.
orange breasted
and grey.
it's claws
still
soft. it's body
a puff
of life
extinguished.
you move it
with a stick.
nothing.
you wonder
what killed it.
and what
to do as it lies
in the april sun
on the grass
below a shrub.
you ponder
for a brief
moment why death
is so strange
despite being
so common.

sweet gherkin

i'm leaving you,
she says dramatically
throwing her long
black hair back
over her shoulders,
i'm leaving you
for another country.
I have other lovers
that are waiting
for me. they are
not like you. they
know how to cook
and bake in Italy.
they are chefs, born
with olive oil
on their skin.
they make
love with a spatula.
you have skills,
my friend
but they aren't in
the kitchen. hmmm.
you say, okay,
that's cool. you
continue spreading
peanut butter, crunchy
onto a slice
of wonder bread
and then the grape
jelly. you cut it
neatly
from one corner
to the next pressing
gently on the center.
so when are you
coming back?
you set the sandwich
in front of her with
a handful of potato
chips. you pour her
a coke on ice in a plastic
tumbler. so how long
will you be gone?
do you want a pickle
with that sandwich.
sweet gherkin?

no surrender

you start
a new job
in a new suit,
with a spanking
brand new pair
of shoes.
your tie is neatly
aligned
with your
crisp white shirt.
you go in
and sit at your
desk and begin
the tasks
that they've given
you.
but within an
hour you are staring
out the window
at a man cutting
grass.
another man painting
lines onto
the parking lot.
someone
reading on a bench.
then your boss
looks in
and says how's it
going. can you have
that file ready
for me
by lunch.
you tell him that no,
it won't be
ready, you have to
go. there is
still no surrender
in you.

the honeymoon

the honeymoon
is over.
the seat is up.
the dishes
in the sink.
shoes
are everywhere.
her long
hair
is clogging
the drain.
a stale half
sandwich
of tuna
is on the counter
being eaten
by the cat.
you remember so
long go, what
was it.
three weeks,
when there was bliss,
and now
we leave and say
things like
see you
when I see you,
without so
much as a hug,
or a kiss.

it gets better

your son
calls you with
sad news.
he's broken
up with his
girlfriend in
California. the poet,
the actress.
the whirlwind
of spice
and hair.
you have little
advice to give
him,
but to stay
calm, cry if you
must.
write a farewell,
remember the good,
and move on
to higher ground.
don't forget to eat
and breathe.
it's taken you
many years
to do the same.
it gets better.

Monday, April 22, 2013

tell me why you love me

convince me
of your love
you tell
your girlfriend
of seven years.
i'm still
here, she says.
isn't that
enough proof.
no, you tell her,
it tells me
nothing, perhaps
you don't want
to be lonely,
or are too
lazy to go
find someone new.
oh, you know me
so well, she
says, and that's
why I love you so.

election day

the politicians
are waving.
it's election
day. and they stand
out in the cold
in the median
with their
hair cuts
and coats, waving.
waving.
the women with
big hair,
smiling at
each car. you don't
necessarily hate
them, but you'd
wish they'd
go away and take
their signs,
their platitudes
and ambitions.
you wish
there was something
they could
really do
to help your life.
like widen the roads,
give everyone
a cookie, a glass
of milk and a check
for ten thousand
dollars.

birds on tv

you know
the day before
you
when the lace
snaps,
the coffee spills.
the train
is missed
and it's raining.
best go
back home
and go to bed.
but it could
be worse,
you could be
there all
day with no
where to be
or go, or see,
staring at
the ceiling
in your tattered
pajamas,
watching
the cat as
he paws at
the screen of
birds on the tv.

the jester

the king's
crown
has slipped
and sits
awkwardly
on his head.
the queen is
long gone,
run off with
the jester.
the castle
has been stormed.
the knights
are slain,
anyone
that cares
is bleeding,
or nearly
dead.
but sit, and
sit he
will upon
the throne
until they
come to take
him,
and relieve
him of his land,
of all that he
surveys,
and his once held
high
imperious head.

we'll talk soon

the busy
people tell you
that they are
very very busy.
they have windows
of time. just
minutes to spare.
they are doing
things in
a new York minute,
and saying
things like, be
quick I have
to catch a bus,
a plane, or a
train. can we
do this later.
they have
very little time
these busy people.
they tap their
feet with
impatience, push
on their horns in
traffic. they are
bees in a hive struck
with a bat.
they'll call you
when they can, they
yell, exiting
the room, I have
to go now, i'm in
a hurry, let's
catch up later.
leave a message.
we'll talk soon.

how it begins

you
remember her
foot.
pale
and narrow,
one
shoe removed
as she
bent it
in the light
of morning.
and you
on the bed
watching
her.
her hand
twisting
at the heel,
saying,
I don't know
what's wrong.
but my foot
hurts. i'm
not sure
if I can put
any weight on
it. I might
have to stay.
that's what
you remember.

the artist

they interview
the artist on public
radio.
the soft music,
the rustling
background noise
of birds
on the sill, brushes
and canvasses
being handled
and set up
on the easel.
you hear the sipping
of hot
coffee,
the settling of
things as the interviewer
moves in
and gently asks
the first question,
knowing the artist's
penchant for being
grumpy
and abrasive. so,
she says, if I may
ask, and please stop
me if you want, but
tell me about
your blue period.
the time in your
life when all you
painted with was
various shades and
tones of blue.
your wife was ill
then, wasn't she,
your dog died, you
had a nervous breakdown,
is this why
the blues, the constant
use of blues?
he shakes his head
and scoffs.
no, he says.
I was poor and it
was the only color I
had to work with.
now go away.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

the toast

drinking
with friends leads
to talk
of women
and wives,
and ex wives,
girls we've known
and have
slipped
away.
someone says
that the cure for
divorce
is to never get
married,
which brings everyone's
glasses
together.
they clink
loudly against
one another,
but the eyes betray
and say something
different.

swimming lessons

your father
threw
you off the boat
in the middle
of the green
bay
and told you
to swim.
and swim you did.
you took your
son
to the pool
and put
flippers
on his feet,
water wings
on his arms
and stood
next to him,
within reach.
he too learned
how to swim,
but it took
longer, much
longer,
not just in
swimming, but
in all things.

the white rabbit

you see
a white rabbit
in
the backyard
but
no alice.
just
the rabbit
eating
a light
green stalk
of celery.
going
at it slowly
with
deliberation,
he sees
you in
the window
and waves
a paw.
you need an
alice.
this won't do
for much
longer.

scratching

you miss
having your back
scratched
you tell your friend
linda when discussing
your long ago
marriage.
it died on
the vine,
as they say.
never really coming
into fruition.
that's it, she says.
from twelve years
of marriage
you only miss having
your back scratched.
yes, you say, sipping
your coffee.
she had nice long
nails and was patient
in finding
the right spot.
I admired that
in her.
twelve years? she says,
shaking her head.
twelve, you nod,
sipping on your drink,
your eyes widening
with disbelief too.

what the....

when the hammer
misses
the nail
and strikes
your thumb you
say words
that you don't
normally say
out loud, words
you usually
mumble while
stuck in traffic
or waiting
in line
while someone
fumbles
at the register.
but the words
seem
appropriate
in the moment.
you don't feel
bad about it
at all despite
what your
catholic
upbringing did
to you.

freckles

she had
red hair.
very very curly
red hair.
and freckles.
lots and lots
of freckles.
a universe
of dots.
and her skin
was pale white,
almost translucent
behind
the freckles.
or burned
from a minute
in the sunlight.
but she
was fun,
and smiled big
and hard
showing her
pinkish
wide gums.
when she laughed
it sounded
like
seals clapping
for fish.
her head thrown
back
to see her tonsils
and molars.
but she was fun,
lots
of fun. did
I mention she had
freckles?

black and white trees

the photo
of trees
in black and white
is coming down.
you're done with
it. the lacquered
frame still
shines, but
the top is layered
with dust.
you remember
when you fell
in love
with it.
the way the shadows
fell.
the striking
silver of sunlight
along
a stream. you
knew exactly
where it belonged
in your room.
measuring, then
hammering
a nail into
the wall, in
a perfect spot.
but it's coming
down. things have
changed.
you've changed.
it's going
to the basement
where other pictures
have also
worn out
their welcome.

Friday, April 19, 2013

sun bathing

almost naked
in the sun.
she has no
blush in her.
no sign
of embarrassment
of her
skin revealed.
her wings
spread wide.
why not.
she is far from
old,
being so young.
closer
to birth
than death.
if not now,
then when, she
thinks,
when can I
flaunt
what soon will
be gone.
the lines will
come,
the wrinkles,
the shedding
of youth,
like
feathers
will fall
and fly away,
and i'll be done.

work to be done

you feel
the warm pulse
of skin
on your gloveless
hands
burning
under the weight
and tug
of shovel
and rake.
the blisters
are rising.
but you still
plow away,
the sun not
yet down,
the moon
not up.
there is work
to be done.
blisters, or
no blisters.
you go on.
it's your way.

much to say

nothing
said, says
enough
sometimes.
silence
is plenty
of information
with which
to understand
where
you stand,
or lie,
or sit
in the cool
shadows
of your room.
you don't
need
a single word
to say
what you have
to say.
this quiet
says it all.

the artists

you see them
in the back rooms,
behind the counters,
the artists, who
aren't artists at all,
throwing eggs
onto the fry pan
slinging
hash browns,
dropping dollops
of batter
onto the griddle.
artists
with a flair.
wiping their
brows, adjusting
their hair nets
and soft hats.
their backs hurting
from the long
day of bending over.
artists staring
at their canvas,
working
swiftly at
their craft.
never finding a
museum wall.
but still a glorious
creation
on one plate after
another. and for them.
it's enough.
it's enough.

post modern

what period
of time we're in
is
vague.
with art,
with music, with
literature.
it's everything
and nothing.
copies
of what has been
done already,
it seems.
although
brilliant at times.
you don't
stand there
and say,
it's genius.
perhaps in time
you will,
or the world will,
but doubtful.

the righteous ones

those that
think they know
and
have become saintly
in
their lives
cause the most
damage
to the world.
unforgiving
and accusing.
wanting everyone
now to be like them.
holding the light,
forgetting
their past lives.
born anew.
those most certain
of who
they are and
what they believe
are the ones
to careful with.
those are the ones
that start
the wars.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

wisdom

together,
the rake,
the shovel
the wheel
barrow,
all new,
await
your hands.
the yard
though,
wise with years,
with weeds
and brush,
knows better,
knows that
you won't
be coming
soon.

misery

a man with a broken
leg
standing in line
for top
soil
at the local
hardware store,
looks at you
and says
do you want to
know how
I broke my leg?
you tell him
no. you'd rather
keep it a
mystery, which makes
him angry,
picking up
his crutch to
swing at you.
you are not good
company for
misery.

cough drops

your dog
would sniff out
and find
a cherry cough
drop in the pocket
of your jeans
that you dropped
to the floor
before climbing
into bed
the night before.
he'd drag
them off somewhere
private
and proceed to chew
and lick
the denim
until he
got to small
oval candy
lozenge. when
you wore the jeans
again and went to
put change or
your keys into
the pocket
everything
would fall
loosely through
the hole,
rolling
and clanging
around the room.
you'd shake your
head and curse
the little beast,
but what was there
to do. and from
what you remember
he never had a cough.

saving money

in a growing effort
to save money
you decide to
cut your own hair.
you buy a pair of
electric clippers
and give it a shot
looking into
the mirror.
slowly you move
the blade over
your balding
scalp, not unlike
shearing a sheep.
around the ears,
down the back
of the neck. over
the top. sideways
then back again
long ways. getting
all those little
stubborn strands
that flatten out
and bend.
it takes about
forty five seconds
and you've saved
twelve dollars, plus
two bucks for
a tip. now you just
need to find
an old towel to
mop up the blood,
and apply some
Neosporin to the
oozing wounds.

the mechanic

the mechanic
opens the door as you
sit in the waiting room
reading a five year old
people magazine.
he calls out your name,
and says in a deep
voice, will you come with me.
you grab your keys,
your wallet, your phone
and your Dixie cup
of coffee and follow him
out to the garage.
we have a problem,
he says. it's not
just the wipers making
that noise, we need
to overhaul the entire
engine. seems you've
been driving way to slow.
do you stop for red
lights, stop signs?
slow down on exit ramps?
he shakes his
head. do you do less
than ninety on the belt
way? you sheepishly nod
yes. I obey
the laws of the road,
well, i'm sorry, he
says, but it's going
to cost you. these cars
are made for speed.
your engine is choking
on itself with carbon
buildup. I see
no wear on your tires.
you are going to have to
step it up. it's
a roman chariot race out
there, join in. push it.
your car wants you to.
do you want to wait for it,
or can I have someone
drive you home?

sierra madre

you question
your illegal
friends how they
get across
the border going
back and forth
each year
with no documents,
and they throw
their heads
back in unison
and say, documents.
we don't need
no stinking
documents.
and then you all
have a drink
together, talking
about the desert,
the banditos
and the gold
that will slip
through all our
hands.

just around the corner

he thinks
if I can
sell my house
i'll be happy.
if I can get the girl.
get the car.
i'll be happy then
too.
if I can
get the deal
signed and delivered
putting
the money in
the bank, well
that too will
add to
my growing
happiness.
if I can lose
ten pounds,
buy a new suit.
take a vacation,
I will
be on my way.
happiness
is just around
the corner.

dandelion

you find a piece
of you
that you thought
you lost.
it's the weather,
the cut
spring grass,
a wave
of yellow pollen
in the air,
the rain.
but it's a memory
floating
unattached,
rising as clear
as when it
happened. you
take in
your hand and
remember before
blowing it away
into the breeze.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

act now

don't be a loser,
refinance with us
now. rates
will never be this
low again. don't
take one dollar out
of your pocket,
let us do that for
you. we will roll
over all the costs
of closing, appraisals,
origination fees,
lender fees, bug
inspection, home
inspection, points
and whatever other
fees we can think up
between now and the
almost guaranteed
percentage rate
that you will be
borrowing at if done
by midnight tonight.
you will save at
least seventy-nine
dollars a month
over a thirty year
fixed rate, or take
the even lower
rate for fifteen
years and save an
extra ten bucks.
don't be a fool. just
call us now.
have a job, have some
money in the bank,
don't be in debt,
have alimony, child
support, or have a loaf
of stale bread on
the counter. these things
could affect your
rate. but act now.
don't hesitate. these
rates are only good
until midnight.
don't be a loser,
a chump, don't be
caught with your drawers
down. act now.

pacifist

I don't believe
in the death penalty
she says,
unless of course
someone killed my
parents or daughter,
or brothers, or nieces
or nephews.
if that happened,
then i'd
like to personally
drown and electrocute
them slowly over
a long period of
time. taking
breaks for lunch.

cheap and on sale

your rooms
are full of things
you don't
need.
or want, but
you have
because they were
cheap
and on sale
and it seemed like
a good idea
at the time.
and now those
very words
come back to haunt
me, as you
put me out
on the curb
with a bent
lamp, a bag
of old clothes
and my suitcase.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

the world

the world
finds a way
somehow
to go forward
despite
the evil
and darkness
that rises
every day,
with child
like thinking
you wish that
everyone
could live
in peace
and die only
in their old
age.

washboard abs

you have fond
memories of your abs.
those venetian
blind
washboard muscles
that made
your torso
ripple in
the golden sun
of your youth.
they are still
in there, but now
you choose to
protect them with
a safe layer of
soft skin
and tissue. it
took a while,
choosing the right
ice cream
and cake, but
you've done a
great job of
preserving those
muscles for
future use, when
you might need them
to strut along
the beach
gleaming like steel.

gluten free

it seems that
everyone has an
allergy of some
sort these days,
and it's not
just the pollen
count that
has them sneezing
and rubbing
their eyes,
many are
lactose
intolerant,
or bug eyed about
gluten, wheat
or nuts,
even chocolate
is causing
hives and rashes.
that can of paint
is green now.
safe to inhale
it's masked fumes.
but the Kleenex
business
is booming, as is
everything with
a little green
leaf on it, is
there a connection.
i'm not sure,
but it should
be looked into.

who are you

you think
one way about someone
for years
and then
they surprise
you by saying
or doing
something different
that you
didn't know was
in them.
the dog that
suddenly
bites,
the horse that
kicks, the cat
that scratches
you as you
walk by
in your bare
feet.

Monday, April 15, 2013

traffic cop

cheerfully
the cop in blue
directs
traffic in and
out of the church
parking lot,
pumping his
arms with
enthused waves
of his gloved
hands. go left,
go right, go
straight,
now stop.
behave with
your cars good
people, go
slow. go slow.
he is a minister
of the streets
directing
his flock.

small things

reaching
into the pocket
of your
favorite jeans
you find
a piece
of candy that
you'd
forgotten
that you had.
it is even
sweeter on
the tongue.
and this
simple thing,
of something
that was always
there
makes you
wonder
what other
small good
things
you are over
looking
and unaware.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

the cartwheel

she beams
like a full moon
when you see her
on the street.
her head held
high, a smile
unconsciously
etched
into her soft
face. before she
can say the words,
you say them
for her.
you're in love
aren't you,
you tell her,
and she laughs
and throws
her hands up
to the sky.
yes, she says.
yes, I am.
it's wonderful,
she sings,
then does a cartwheel
down the street,
waving
farewell.

moving the bed

you cringe
and move your bed
to the side.
wanting a change
of scenery.
dust.
debris.
socks. things
you thought
lost
and then forgot
about.
whose ring,
or heel, or
hat, you have no
idea.
a book half read,
spread open
to the last
page you
fell asleep on.
the months
have turned into
years.
you could blame
the dog,
but he's gone too.
despite
his bone being
safely buried
in a lace
bitten brown shoe.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

going home

at the basketball
court
your French friend
sammi,
is nearly
in tears
as he tells
you, I must go
back to Paris, my wife
no longer loves
me. I think
she is cheating, but
I don't know for
sure.
tonight I go out
for beers,
everyone comes
and says goodbye
to sammi, okay?
will you be
there? sure you
tell him. sure.
for what else is
there to do.
and then he throws
the ball in
to start the game
and runs and runs
and runs.

fresh bread

you can't
help but put your
hand on the end
of a loaf
of bread
and squeeze to
see how stale
it is, or soft
and warm. so rare.
how difficult
it is to stay this way,
as you well know.
we were all
fresh from the oven
at one point.

the book

you slow down
near the end
of a good book
not wanting to finish.
you've fallen
in love
with the heroine,
the way she has
risen to the top,
the way she
conquers her fears
and delivers
her love to you.
you embrace
the unraveling
of her mystery,
savor the beauty
of the plot. you ration
off a page a day,
one at night, before
you go to sleep,
holding the book
sideways before
you put it down,
measuring what's
left, another kiss,
another kiss,
not wanting it
to end, not just
yet.

Friday, April 12, 2013

utensils

I was a fork
and she was a spoon.
we had
different views
of the world
and how to
go about feeding
ourselves.
but we slept
together in
the same drawer,
showered and
clean, separated
only slightly by
a plastic wall,
a tidy little room.
we lay there
and shared
the stories
of what plates
we'd been to,
what food and mouths
we'd seen.
the times we were
dropped and licked
by the dog
before being
retrieved,
but it was never
meant to be,
especially
with the knives
so close by,
sharper and more
clever than we'd
ever be,
always listening
and plotting
against us.

the conspiracy

you want to laugh
when your friend,
who once did hard
time in Jessup, tells
you in all earnestness
that Lincoln
was in on it too.
how the conspiracy
goes back into
the time of the pharaohs.
but you don't laugh
as he tells
you what books to read,
what websites to
visit to bring
you up to date
on who really runs
this world. he looks
from side to side
with his dark eyes
and whispers in
confidence,
this is serious, he
says. this is
no lie. you nod,
and nod some more,
keeping quiet,
wondering what else
he learned in prison.

cold glass of milk

your love
for milk is
undiminished over
time.
even now
as you pour
it cold into
a clear glass
you like
the sound
of it filling
that space.
the coolness
of it
in your hand
as you bring
it to your lips
after taking
a fork full of
your mother's
cake. time
has erased
many things,
but not that.

stewed tomatoes

there was a kid
in the ninth grade,
a large
freckled boy
with red
hair and fat hands
who would
poke a finger into
your jello or
stewed tomatoes
and say, are you
going to eat that?
holding it there
until you looked
up and answered,
no, go ahead,
it's yours, you'd
say in a high
pitched voice.
you weren't fond
of getting black
eyes or
ears reddened
and nearly torn
from your skull.
plus, you never did
care much
for stewed tomatoes.
still don't.
but the jello,
well that's a
different story.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

getting busy

the dripping
faucet,
drumming
a beat,
the shutter
loose and banging
against
the house.
the mailman
sticking
mail through
the slot,
the ants
crawling
carrying
boulders
of sugar away.
even the bees
are in
the hedges
getting
busy.
everyone's at
work,
but you.

euology for ladyinred

what is there to say
about your friend
who is no more,
who has died suddenly
and passed away.
she disappeared
into thin air as
if she never was.
you wished that you
had met her though
and not just been her
close friend on facebook
linkedin, myspace
and match dot com
she was the ladyinred123
for all those years,
too geographically
far away, living
in reistertown
to ever meet,
but you enjoyed
the updates on her
kids getting braces,
her dog getting
fleas, her grandmother
getting a new hip
and a titanium knee.
you couldn't get enough
of her petunia pictures,
or the time she caught
that twenty pound catfish.
those angels in the snow
were priceless.
there were so many birthday
party pictures posted
that you felt as if you
were really there
eating that coconut cake
she made from scratch.
she was always quick
to send a joke or a youtube
video she thought was
clever and funny,
and it made you laugh
despite having already
seen it fifteen times
before noon. crazy kids
with those milk cartons!
you're going to miss
her, hearing that little
beep when she would
send you an important
text in the middle of
the night, like 'wasup?'
or an email to your phone.
may she rest in peace.
ladyinred123. you're
going to miss her,
sort of, in a strange
cyber vacuum kind of way.

happy rain

when it begins
to rain
you see the smile
on her face.
she's happy
in the puddles
in the darkness
of mid
afternoon as
the wind
lifts
and shifts
making the hollows
of her walk
wet
and cool.

eulogy

he knew
how to make
life miserable
for everyone.
he was
a genius in
his own way.
keeping
his family
on edge,
uncomfortable
during holidays.
and when he
died and it was
time to throw
the dirt
on his box
there wasn't
much to say,
although some
tried
in an awkwardly
brief way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

group therapy

you go into group
therapy
to get some feed
back on your issues
with serial dating
as recommended
by your therapist,
doctor Jane Woodall,
not the monkey one,
but someone else.
as expected,
you hate almost
everyone in the room.
they make you
sit in a large circle
in wooden chairs,
then when it's your
turn to speak
you stand up,
give your name
and a brief history
of your misery
and woes. some take
longer than others
even though
their problems
seem quite lame
and trivial compared
to yours. pffft, come on.
get over yourself,
you want to shout out
but don't. amazingly
you stick with it
and hide how you
despise everyone,
tapping your foot
and biting your nails
down to their
bloody nubs.
everyone seems to have
a serious problem
with their mothers.
some their fathers.
others are just complete
lunatics with
no chance of leading
a normal life.
those are the people
you actually like
and can relate to.
you see an attractive
woman across the circle
from you, she's wearing
a pair of black
high heels, she stands
up when it's her turn
and says she has a problem
with making bad decisions
with men. you give
her a smile and a big
wink when she sits down
then motion
to your watch and
make a drinking motion
with your hand,
like Koko the gorilla,
mouthing the word,
LATER. she smiles back
and nods yes.
this could be good
after all.

can i have your kidney

if I needed
a kidney would
you give me
yours, she says to
you as she
licks a cone
of vanilla ice
cream
while sitting
on a park bench.
no. you tell
her. I don't think
that I would.
we aren't that
close.
but if we got
close, say we fell
in love,
true love, then
would you give
me a kidney. what
if i was going to
die without
it? maybe, you
tell her. maybe.
I mean if it was
true love, I guess
i'd consider it.
hey, can I have
a lick of that cone?
no, she says,
I don't know
you well enough.

photo op

the shelf
finally, loose
for so many years,
comes down.
you hear
the crash from
upstairs.
the screws
are out, the nails
bent,
the plank
of wood splintered,
hangs
onto one small
brace.
all purpose
flour,
granulated
sugar,
brown sugar
and spices
are scattered
about
like a wintry
mix
on the tiled
floor. you go for
the broom
and dust pan, but
then have a better
idea.
you take a picture.
it will be more
interesting when
you tell
story later.

defrosting

in the old days
you set aside
a weekend
to defrost
the ice box.
you opened
it up and took
out the box
of frozen peas.
the left
over pork
chops wrapped
in paper
and a slice
of wedding cake
from your
second marriage.
it was time
you thought
as you put down
the old towels,
stood on
a chair and went
at the squared
north pole
with a butter
knife
and glee.

the tags still on

she has a hard
time throwing
old clothes
away.
even new ones with
the tags
still on have
a memory.
a good sale,
the right coupon
the synchronicity
of that shopping
spree, unconscious
as she picked
up that lime
green sweater
with matching
shoes.
dresses hang
empty without arms
or legs,
bodies to
fill them and
never will, but
they look good
stuffed beside
one another, almost
like paintings
on hangers.
and then the shoes.
don't even
look. it's shocking.

on the ground

in the pool
she is a baby seal.
sliding,
gliding across
and under
the clear
blue water.
her eyes
sparkle
in the sunlight
her dark
hair, wet
around her
shoulders.
you can't catch
her when
she's swimming
like this,
but on the ground
it's different
story.

tiny strings

don't pull
the tiny string
of that
sweater
or the whole
thing may
unravel.
clip it clean
and don't
worry about
it, we all
have our faults
and it's best
to look the other
way sometimes,
having too
many sleeveless
ones myself.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the accordian

god help us
you say out loud
to no one
as a large nordic
looking woman
in pig tails
picks up an accordion
to play.
there is no
getting out.
the exits are
all in the back
and your chair
is in the middle
of the room.
a dozen people
would have
to stand in order
for you to leave.
so the music begins
and the woman
happily, with
an insane
blue eyed stare
swings her accordion
with her broad
shoulders
giving it all she
has. squeezing
a whining music
out of the glittering
box with her
sausage fingers.
sometimes you believe
that hell is a place
with many rooms.

for what ails you

take a sip
of this your doctor
tells you
while he
sits smoking a
big
Sigmund freud
cigar.
what is it?
don't worry about
it he says,
just take a sip.
it's scotch,
good scotch.
you'll forget
all about what's
her name.
you rub your
arm where her
name is tattooed
in red
floral script.
larissa, it
says. oh don't
worry about that,
I've got a guy who
can laser that off
in know time. cost
you less
than a thousand
bucks. hell of a lot
cheaper than
trying to win
her back
with diamonds
and flowers.
lean your glass
over here, you'll
need more
than that.
this could take
a whole bottle.

the morning stroll

a man
on the inside
part
of the freeway
walks slowly
along the jersey
wall
with a cell
phone pressed
to his
ear. he's
wearing a
black suit
and nice
shoes polished
to a high
shine in
the early morning
light.
there is no
sign of
his car, no
reason for
him to be
where he is
with traffic
roaring by at
racetrack speeds,
but his casual
stroll,
the nonchalance
of him
makes you believe
that despite
what's put him there
he's in a good place
with the rest
of his life.

the sign on hooes road

along the elbow
of a steep
grade
of ribboned road
called
hooes in Lorton
Virginia
is a planted
wooden
sign made
of torn plywood,
with ragged
edges,
splintered
where harshly
cut.
the placard
reads in black
paint, stroked
boldly, as if by
a child,
rabbits for sale,
plus
hubcaps and
beneath that in red,
as if an
afterthought
or maybe a
marketing ploy
it reads
Jesus is Lord.

Monday, April 8, 2013

unclogging the drain


you resist
thinking that
the clogged
drain is not
a metaphor for
your life.
you are not stuck
in one
place, stagnated
like the water
and debris
that sits still
in the sink.
but with plunger
in hand,
and chemicals
poured
with a skull
and cross boned
warning on the side
you do your
best to get
things moving once
again.

abstinence makes the heart...

is it absence
or abstinence that
makes the heart
grow fonder.
do we romanticize
what came
before and left
forgetting
why it ended, or
are we completely
out of our minds
sometimes about
all of this mystery,
the answer is
of course, a
resounding yes.

you decide

her feng shui
was telling her
to move
the bed three inches
further
to the center
of the room
while mine
told me no,
it has to go
closer to the window
and be completely
turned around
the other way.
then we had
the issue
with the forks
and spoons,
she wanted them
on linen napkins,
while
I pulled paper
towels off
the roll.
her potatoes couldn't
touch her peas,
while mine
didn't care and
carelessly
slid into one
another.
her feng shui
told her blue, while
mine was a
lighter shade of
grey. we were so
different in so many
ways, and yet
the same
because of them.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

the daily news

feeling unloved
she sips
her tea
in the sunlight.
a slice
of lemon
on the white
plate,
a cat
at her bare feet.
the news
paper
is crisp
in her hand,
as she turns
without
thought
from page to page.
she knows
that was has
already
happened
will
happen again.

the new ice box

before the new
one arrives
you unload
the contents
of your old
ice box. there
is an inch of
red ketchup
in several
bottles.
more salad
dressings than
you can count.
the tops firmly
glued stuck.
pickles floating
for years
ignored.
frost covered
food
you've lost
track of.
hard bread
stuffed in
a corner.
stray strands
of salad,
still somehow
green. one
egg without
a friend to
be fried with.
it's a mess
and you promise
the next time,
you'll do better
as you pull
off the sticky
magnets of places
that you've
been.

where she visits

she packs
her bags
slowly.
folding
the black
skirt. the white
blouse,
shoes. she's
leaving
again, or is
it coming.
there seems
to be no
difference
sometimes.
home is a
place
she visits.

swords

when the conversation
begins,
my lawyer says,
you immediately
cringe, and internally
shake your head.
you know
that the world
needs
lawyers
and the world
needs swords, but
you do your best
to avoid both,
hoping that injustice
does not
visit upon you
so that you
will need neither.

maple syrup

your friend from
Canada,
can't stop talking
about Canada.
how beautiful it
is there.
the maple syrup,
the mountains,
the wonderful
woods and streams.
she loves
everything about
Canada.
the mounties
in red on their
horses,
hockey and ice
fishing.
after awhile though,
you want her to
go back. go home
and put her
snow skis on,
take her weird
holidays with her
as well. Canada.
pfff.

the gum incident

when you were in
high school
slow dancing one
summer evening
to sergeant pepper's
lonely hearts
club band,
in Vivian's basement,
who happened
to be captain of
the cheerleaders
and had beautiful
long black
hair, you accidentally
let the enormous pink
wad of baseball
card gum fall
out of your
mouth and into her over
flowing locks.
did I mention
how lovely and beautiful
her hair was? halfway
down her back.
well, it's true.
I tried to get it
out with my teeth
and lips at first,
but it got worse,
spreading deep into
her hair. finally,
she stopped dancing
and said, what are
you doing. which you
replied nothing.
she felt her hair,
and screamed, pushing
you away. the lights
went up and all
the other kids stopped
making out on the
couches and ran to
her aid. the other
girls screamed like it
was the end of the world.
you were done
the next day she told
you to come over and get
your sunglasses which
you had left. her hair
was short as if they
had taken a salad
bowl and chopped away
at it, getting rid
of your gum. by the end
of the summer she was
dating a new guy whose
name was cricket and
played on the football
team. you didn't care
though, not really.
and you kept up with
the gum. you liked gum
and blowing bubbles.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

late night call

you get the drunken
midnight
call from
an old girlfriend
in California.
whatcha doing,
she says sweetly, pushing
other buttons
with her chin.
sleeping you tell
her. it's four
a.m. here.
oh, she says,
did I wake you?
what's up, you
sound wasted.
she starts to hiccup,
I miss you,
she says and begins
to sob.
I miss you too,
you tell her, but I
thought you got
back with your
husband. I hate him
she says. he's
sleeping
on the couch, we
had a fight. he
forgot that it was
our anniversary,
the one where
we took our vows
again. again?
that's the third
time you've done that.
who can remember stuff
like that.
you hear the glass
clink against the phone.
are you taking his side?
bastard.
you men all stick
together. I hate
all men.
maybe you should
stop drinking, take
a shower and have
cup of tea or something.
maybe, she sobs. maybe
I will, but
I want to lie here
on the couch for a while
and read this new self
help book I bought, but
my eyes are too blurry
and the room is spinning.
oh, you say. well.
what's it called.
your new book?
men, she says. men,
who needs them?
oh, great title.
but then in small print
it says, we all do.
okay. well, I have to
go back to sleep now.
sure, leave me. go ahead.
you are so selfish, so
mean to me...sooo. my
battery is dying, you tell
her...
your breaking up, I
can't hear you...

spring cleaning

on Saturday you
hear your neighbor's
vacuum
running across
her floors.
the smack of her
stiff broom
on the hardwood
steps.
she opens the windows
and reaches
out with
paper towels
wiping.
you get the feeling
that this is
nothing new with
her, that she's
done this many times
before
and watched her
mother do the same.
spring cleaning.
but there's something
else going
on. something
you are unsure of,
something more.

broken glass

when the window
breaks
and the cold
air
sweeps in,
everything
changes.
jagged pieces
of broken
glass
are on the floor,
you never
get it all
up. there will
be cuts
long after
the glass is new
and clean
again.
not unlike
the broken heart.

Friday, April 5, 2013

carnival ride

when you
hand your kid
to the carnival
worker
whose smile
could open
a can of
tuna fish,
and
you see that
he has satan
tattooed
along
his neck
and chest,
you realize how
little
control you have
on
your children
as they want to
ride
the rides
and feel
the alluring
spin
of life.

my fault

she cuts
her wrist and
bleeds
into a paper
cup. she hands
it to you
and says, see
what you
made me do.
my life is
all your fault.

she arrives

she arrives
with three pieces
of luggage
two dogs, a cat
and her
mother in tow.
you weren't
expecting her
mother
who feels guilty
for coming,
but quickly makes
herself at home
in the kitchen
and tells
you to go get
a broom
and her flip
flops from the car.
I will make
lunch for all of
us, she says,
shooing you
out of the way.
go to the store,
we need eggs.

she leaves

she leaves
no fingerprints,
no
shoe behind,
no tube
of lipstick
in
the bathroom.
she disappears
like
dreams do,
out the door,
out of sight,
out of mind.
even
the air is
clear
of her given
an open
window,
and time.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

it's only monday

there are people
in the street running.
mobs
of people.
a crowd of frantic
souls
holding their
babies, running
with a look
of fear on their
faces. in a stampede
they run
knocking over
one another. pushing
the slow
and old out of
the way.
the sick and lame
have no chance.
all day and
all night they keep
coming, running.
running.
and it's only Monday.

letting it go

she lets her hair
go
one winter.
allowing it
to be white
and grey like
ash being
swept up
into the blue
sky. she feels
relieved.
finally
letting
her wrinkles
show, her weariness
become full
and whole.
she's earned
this raise
of consciousness.
she likes
what she sees
now. after all
these years of
keeping
the years at bay.

clean windows

a small
yellow bird goes
limping by
on the street.
a crutch
of twigs
under his wing.
his head
is wrapped
in a white
bandage,
and there is
a slight
twist in
his beak. don't
even ask
he says
when he
sees you
looking at him.
don't even
ask.

sounds of summer

you fall asleep
to the sound of
a cracked bat
and the announcer
saying there goes
another fly ball.
you doze off
for an hour
and awaken to
find yourself still
in the same
inning with a
new pitcher,
a lefty,
spitting and
scratching, adjusting
his glove, his
pants, his shirt,
his hat.
one hundred and
fifty-eight more
games to go,
so many more
sweet naps.

screaming baby

the young couple
holding
the screaming baby
are perplexed
as to why
and what to do.
they hand the baby
back and forth
between
one another,
taking turns
googling their
phones to
find a viable
solution, and soon.

submission

there was a time
when women
hid their
legs beneath
dresses that
resembled drapes,
and their
intelligence
too was muted
by men who wanted
quiet
in their little
imagined kingdoms.
desire and lust
were in
the closet, safely
held secrets
in the dark.
ambition dulled
with a wooden
spoon
and a crying baby.
even their names
had to be
changed in order
to show
submission, to
erase where they
had come from.
how little room
there would have
been for the likes
of you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

don't i know you

I know you, don't
I, the grocery store
clerk says
as he rings
up your items
from the moving
black belt.
you used to be somebody,
didn't you.
weren't you on
tv back in the eighties?
you look like
that cop, that
cop who's always
getting into
trouble, but finds
his way out
at the last second
using a bobby pin,
or a wad of gum.
but he had lots of hair
and you don't.
at least not now.
not me you say,
watching as he
pushes your potatoes
and toilet
paper to the bagging
area. sorry, not
me. I see you're
buying a lot of
generic brands, he
smirks, holding
a can of tuna up
to the light
looking for the bar
code. so what, you
tell him. mind
your own business
and ring me up, I
have to get out of
here. lots of pills
and vitamins, he says,
hmm. hmm.
moving the over 50 multi
vitamins through
the red light.
kid, see my hand
in my jacket, well
it's not just my hand
okay? now shut up and
ring me up. I don't
want to hurt you.
oh my, all you old
guys are testy today.
okay, okay. 79.24.
do you have any coupons?
club card perhaps?

easter church

a cheap blue
suit on a cold
day
in april
hangs on your
dry bones,
with your
toupee floating
loose
in the wind.
last years
program still
in the coat
pocket,
a hole
in your best
brown
wing tips,
going to
confession
so that you can
get the wafer
and the wine,
it's come
to this,
being good
one day a year.
but it's
a start.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

road kill

doing sixty
on the dark
unlit road called
shore drive
between
acres of woods
a fat grey possum
walks slowly in
front of
your car,
the headlights
shine in
his black eyes,
he is numb with
bad luck,
and you can neither
slam on
your brakes
or swerve to
avoid him, or
her, who's
to know. there
is little you
can do, but
cringe
as you hear
the thumping sound
of it beneath
the carriage
of your car.
there is no stopping
to get out to check
on him, no
911 call for
help. it's just
strangely odd, and
weirdly sad
for the both
of you. there is
nothing you
can do but go
on with your life,
having this
to add to it.

a dozen eggs

you see
a group of kids
throwing
eggs at cars
along the stretch
of woods
that borders
the road
in your neighbor
hood,
they see you
coming up
the walk,
in the dark,
and begin to
run, leaving
a dozen or so
raw eggs behind
in the carton.
you know
the kids and where
they live,
you see them
in the morning
waiting for
the school bus,
with their books.
there is nothing
you will say
to them, or
do, all of this will
pass with time
as it did
once, a very long
time ago,
for your friends,
now old,
and you.

the entire book

this story
has a different
ending.
you don't
know what happens
like you
usually do.
you can't turn
to the last
page and see how
it goes.
you're going
to have to read
the entire book
of her
this time around
to see
how the plot
enfolds.
it's not
a page turner,
by any stretch,
but it's a tale
well told,
and each
chapter ends
with you wanting
more.
you book mark
where you leave
off with a parting
kiss and a wave
farewell.

the north end coffee shop

at the hipster
coffee shop
they are adjusting
their black framed
glasses
on their noses while
they say things
like. I know
exactly what you
mean. they sip beet
soup, and nibble
on seaweed cookies
staring deeply
into one another's
I pads and phones.
the women are free
from animal
tested make up
and the men have never
heard of an unplaid
shirt or comb.
there's music coming
from upstairs, indie
music with a throbbing
beat and a mournful
wail of a woman
singing about the
injustices of the world,
and it's diminishing
whale population.
but the coffee is hot,
and it's cold
outside, so you stay
awhile and watch.

chemistry

I've been married
five times, she says,
and i'm not afraid
of doing it again.
one was a writer,
a very
good writer,
he kept me entertained
and smiling,
another knew
how to cook a soufflé,
the things he could
do in the kitchen
would amaze you,
in fact it's how
I gained all this weight.
another was
a wonderful
lover, he wore me out
with his lovemaking,
i'd pretend to be sleeping
or sick, just to
push him away, while the
fourth
had a winning
personality and
a trust fund.
what about the fifth
one, you ask, she
sighs, looks off
into the distance and says,
I loved him the most,
but he was good for
nothing. he had no
skills, never read
a book, was selfish
and sad, but he was just
like me in so many ways,
we had chemistry.
he was the one that
got away.

Monday, April 1, 2013

lemon meringue pie

you divide
your life into
segments.
like a pie
perhaps.
slices of sleep.
of work,
the large
meaty portions
of relationships
and family,
there is
a piece of
being responsible,
the ring of
crust holding
it all together,
then the meringue
covering it all,
fluffy and frivolous,
the nonsense
of you
which is sometimes
all that
people see
or think you are.

street juggler

a man on
the street is
juggling
bowling pins
and
flaming torches,
he puts a knife
into the mix
and
throws them all
into the air
at once,
catching them,
from hand
to hand.
his legs spread
wide for
balance,
his eyes
looking upward
with a
crooked smile,
you know this
kind of life
all too well.

the wind

the wind
approaches you
with brusque
arms, a cold
attitude.
a chill laced
breeze
with
debris from
the street
of twirling
paper, crumbled
leaves.
you don't believe
the wind,
what it's telling
you,
how it loudly
speaks
into your ear.
these things
you don't believe
you don't
want to hear.
you prefer
the sweet whisper
of may.
the gentle stroke
her hand
against your
aging face. the
kiss of sunlight
when you awake.

comes and goes

tearing down
the old shed takes
all day.
removing the cans
of paint,
the debris of broken
rakes and
hoes, never used.
flower pots
and seed.
the aluminum
is rusted and the
boards
along the bottom
rotted.
rabbits
have come and gone,
snakes,
perhaps once curled
beside
the lawn ornaments
that seemed perfect
in their sunny
way.
and when it's
cleared it's almost
hard to remember
it was even
there, like so
much of life
that comes
and goes.

the pebble

like a small
pebble
in my shoe,
i felt
you there
all day,
allowing you
to stay
for just
a little while
longer,
and then
sitting on
the side of
the bed,
to shake you
free
at last.