Wednesday, July 31, 2013

in our hands

someone you
has died.
it's been a while
since you last
saw or talked
to him.
but at one point
in your life
you were day
in day out
kind of friends.
you get the word
third hand,
a friend
telling a friend,
passed down
and told to you
while in line
at the store
for milk and bread.
you are stunned
as well you
should be.
there is guilt,
you shake your
head, then go
on and pay for
what is in your
hands. there being
so little
of the world
that we can carry.

bumper stickers

my son
is an honor
student at Pillsbury
the bumper
sticker says.
and then there
are stickers
of hockey sticks
and baseballs,
tennis rackets
and basketballs.
little silhouettes
of a family
holding hands.
boy girl mom
dad, dog.
there's a Harvard
sticker too,
and a few ribbons,
yellow and pink
for the troops
and cancer.
they have been to
the grand canyon,
and Disney world,
not to mention,
OBX and Canada.
they have covered
all of their
and virtues smartly
on the bumper
of their
car. they are good
people, well read,
well traveled, but you
kind of hate them

mood swings

your mood swings
to the weather
and what the last
person texted
or maybe it's
the traffic
or a disgruntled
who is feeling blue
because, well,
he is blue.
you've lost
the gandhi in
you for the moment
and perhaps
the foreseeable
future, if there
is such a thing.
you need to get
back to your happy
place, where
life rolls off
you, unabsorbed,
content with all
good or bad, each
having its place
in your life.

the internet date

will you visit me
in prison
she says to you
on the first
date slash meeting.
why? are you
going to jail, you ask,
dipping a rubbery piece
of fried calamari
into the red sauce.
you name it she says,
scratching at her arm
that seems to have a rash
where a tattoo may
have been.
do tell, you say, crunching
down on the calamari.
tax evasion, she says,
for one. then there's the
time I slashed my
ex husband's tires on
his pick up truck.
plus I left my kids
alone and they set
the apartment building
on fire while I was
out on a date. I told
them no cooking
while I was gone.
how old are they.
four and five.
the youngest can really
make some good
scrambled eggs if you
pull a chair up
to the stove.
there's some other stuff
too, she says, reaching
into the basket for
some food, but I'd
rather not tell you.
you might not like me
then. you laugh, or visit
you in prison?
right she says, so tell
me about you. enough
about me.
what do you like to do
for fun? she says.
you seem like a fun guy.

one cloud

there's just one
blocking the sun,
but that's all
it takes, one grumpy
soul in the boat,
one angry
man in the crowd.
one fly in
the ointment,
a small bug
in the glass of
ice tea
that almost
touches your lips,
just one small
thing can change

the portly mugger

a man approaches
you on the street
with a gun and says
give me all your money.
you pull out your
pockets to show
him that you have
none. sorry, you say,
you're too late.
I was robbed at
the last corner.
then take off your
shoes, he says,
what size are they.
ten you tell him.
never mind he says.
what about my shirt,
you ask, do you
want that? turn around
he says, taking a
look. no he says,
I don't look good
in aqua. well, you
tell him, i'm sorry.
and I'm sure my pants
don't fit, you look
a lot bigger than
me. are you saying
I look fat, he says.
looking at his waist
dropping the gun
down. no you say.
you might be a little
portly, or big boned.
but definitely not fat.
I should lose about
ten, he says. well,
you can go. sorry that
you have nothing.
it's okay, he says.
but I don't look fat,
do I, are you sure.
i'm certain you say.
far from it. in stripes
you'll be fine.

Monday, July 29, 2013

dining alone

you see a man
in the corner dining
his glasses on,
reading the paper.
his plate in front
of him, a napkin
in his lap, almost
as if he was in
his kitchen at home.
there is no
rush in his eating.
no hurry to his
he nods when the waitress
fills his cup
with coffee, then
moves away, she seems
to know him, his
routine. it's good
to have someone, when
alone, that seems
to understand.

happy hour

you were happy today
between the hour
of nine a.m.
and ten a.m.
maybe it was the easy
drive in
and the coffee.
maybe it was because
your phone
was turned off
and it wasn't raining.
the cause of it.
it was a good hour
to start the day with.
a nice happy


you don't
pet snakes, or
or crocodiles.
they seem the kind
of creatures
that won't cuddle
up to you
at night without
first taking
a bite. there's
no smile
in their eyes,
no gentle purr
or play
in their soul.
it's not what they
are about.
it's just the dotted
line with
them. cold blooded
and true
to who they are.

other nails

your hand
doesn't see the nail
but feels
it as you rub
against the wall.
your flesh
rips easily,
bleeds quickly.
it's bright
red, as it tear drops
down the fat
of your thumb.
next to the other
scars, from
other nails,
hammered into
other walls.
not unlike your
heart as you've
bump into other

the pinch

she was so
your teeth hurt.
and perfect
in her manners.
never knowing
much of pain
or death,
you wanted to pinch
her on the arm
just to hear
her swear
and curse.
but no,
you couldn't
break her spell
that the world
was full of good,
that all things
end well
to those who
are true and kind.
so you let
her go on her
way. not being
the one
to tell her
how things really

go and sin no more

the faith
healer comes to town
in a white suit
and bright lights.
he fills
the room with
broken hearts
and limbs,
lazy eyes,
and kidney stones.
he has his work
cut out for
him with only
a ten gallon
drum of holy water.
some feel better
at the end of
the night, some
feel worse.
but all leave
with one thing in
common, their purses
and wallets feeling
thin, relieved
and light.

too much rest

you have gotten
too much rest.
so much so that
you are wobbly
on your legs, your
eyes are blurry
from sleep
and slumber on
the couch.
you've watched
the trees outside
your window
sway with their
green leaves,
catching rain,
and drying in
the sunlight.
you've lost
the weekend with
too much of nothing.
too much
reading, too much

early american

on the street
in a mink stole
trying to decide
which way
to go, you could
see that she was
an early
antique with
spindly legs
and blue eyes.
nails polished,
appointed with
jewelry, and
a pill box hat
worthy of
Jackie o.
she had her day.
but where oh
does the time

Saturday, July 27, 2013

let's sleep in

at seven
in the morning
she wakes
you up, shaking your
shoulder, hey, she
says, hey, let's sleep
in today.
I was sleeping, you
tell her. well go
back to sleep, i'll
go make some coffee
and get the paper
off the porch.
you turn over with
your grumpy face,
still swollen
with sleep, misshapened
by dreams
and slumber. that's
not sleeping in,
you tell her,
reaching for the pillow
to put over your head.
that's lying in bed
awake. whatever, she
says. hungry?
I could make some
pancakes too.

another shot

her room is full
of bags.
new crisp bags
with handles.
bags from
macy's and nordstroms,
neiman marcus
and stores
you've never
heard of.
you ask her
if she had fun,
did she find anything
new and nice
that she loves.
no, she says,
taking off her shoes.
I couldn't find
maybe we could
go back later. it
was too crowded
to do any serious
shopping. i'm
not happy
with my purchases.
I need another shot.

busy with things

you hear
your neighbor
cutting his grass
at eight a.m.
on a sunday
morning. you
look out the window
and see him
sweating in
the early sun.
wiping his brow
with a rag.
later he'll wash
his car
and cut branches
down from
his trees.
sometimes he'll
haul bags
to the curb.
this goes on
until sunset.
he's busy with
his weekend,
filling up
the above ground
sometimes you'll
see his wife
and son looking
out their
window, blinking
their eyes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

tipping point

the pregnant
woman, licking
a double scoop
of ice cream is
almost to the tipping
of falling
face forward.
her face
is red and round
in the heat.
you pray that
she doesn't
pass out or go
into labor
while you both
stand in line
at the grocery
store. you just
want to get your
milk and bread
and get out.
she's holding
diapers and
baby oil under
her free arm.
you want
to ask her
how this happened.
or why isn't
she sitting
someplace in a cool
room waiting
for the baby
to arrive, licking
her ice cream
why is she out
in this heat?

the tenants

the tenants
don't care. look at
the front lawn.
those oil cans
in the driveway.
listen to that dog
bark from the window.
laundry on
the line showing
the wear and tear
of someone else's
they seemed nice
at first. scrubbed
and polished
for the signing.
but soon, the checks
stopped coming.
and the ones
that did, bounced
like balls against
the floor.
it's hard to get
them out.
they are weeds in
the field.
your field, your
house. you hate being
a landlord.
but they don't seem
to mind
being who they are,
staying put,
keeping warm
in the heated air.

the peach

your yesterdays
your tomorrows.
but so what.
who cares.
today is a peach.
it runs down
your chin, makes
you smile in
the summer sun.
it won't last,
but that's fine
every tree will
and blossom
and have its day,
then die.
so will you.


some people
build walls their
entire lives.
brick after brick
onto one another
in the stiffening
grey mortar
of their thinking.
keeping everyone
out and away,
to the point of
having no one at
the end to say hello
or farewell to.

hot or cold

when the first
of water
hits your hand,
your mind and skin
are at odds
as to which it is.
hot or cold.
it takes some time
to decide
which knob to turn
further, which
faucet will fill
the basin.
so it is
with the first
kiss too.

ten things

ten things you
hope you'll never have
to do
begins with standing
on a street corner
with a bucket
and a sign,
eating lima beans,
or going up in
a hot air balloon.
and then there's being
a greeter
at the front door
of a big
chain store, or
listening to opera
on a nice
sunny day.
picking up a snake
is one of them too,
as well as a rat,
a lizard
or slurping pea soup.
deep sea diving
doesn't melt your
butter, nor does
knocking on a door
to sell windows
or books,
or delivering a
letter. i'm not sure
if that's ten
or not, but there's
more. a whole lot
more. I have to go
work now and hang
wallpaper, which is
also on the list.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

road trip

you take a road trip
with your parents.
they are both in their
eighties. so it's
a long ride to Philadelphia
where their parents
are buried, and where
they grew up and went
to school a thousand
years ago in south philly.
you suggest,
after a hundred miles
or so and three stops
for coffee and the bathroom,
singing as your father
drives his chevy impala,
but he cant remember
the words to any songs
and begins to make them
up. fly me to the moon
becomes, fly me to that
white globe in the sky.
after about three attempts
at Sinatra and dean martin's
mambo italiano, your
mother puts her hands
over her ears and screams
I have to pee again. now.
I have to pee now. I
may have peed a little
when you hit that last
bump. why are there so
many bumps, it seems like
you are purposely trying
to hit them. which makes
your father shake his
head and say something
in Italian that you don't
understand. after stopping
and getting back into
the car, you suggest
playing the license
plate game, but they don't
want to. your father
keeps asking you if
the traffic lights
are red or green
as he speeds through them,
and your mother says
she has a headache on
account of the fumes
from the trucks going
by twice as fast as we
are. it's a long trip.
but nobody dies and
everyone is happy in a
strange blissful way.


the zoo keeper,
on his daily walk
down through the zoo
gives the chimp a wink
throws him
a banana.
he's got a few
in his pocket for
the seals,
some bird seed
for the birds.
he feels sorry
for all these animals
locked up
behind bars, no
crime committed
other than being rare
or cute. adorable
and different.
how sad to be confined
for life in a cell
because of such
sweet attributes,
but the snakes, he
has nothing for,
taking a wide path
around their hissing

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

martinis and brunettes

you make the mistake
of opening
a sixteen ounce
bag of salted
and shelled
pistachio nuts
at your desk.
it isn't long
before the pile
of shells
grows to the left
of the keyboard.
a crumbly hill
of pale debris.
what demons
these nuts are
going from hand
to mouth after
nibbling at
the stubborn
shell, biting
the green bean
clean of it's
snug little house.
you can't eat them
fast enough.
you'll never buy
another bag and
do this again.
but you say that
about everything
you indulge yourself
in. from martinis
to brunettes,
and now this.


the bees are in
the wood
in perfect
it takes them
very little time
to carve
through one
side to the other.
there seems to be
no discussion
as to what they
are doing,
they just do it.
all of them
agreed upon this
one task.
and when
the woodpeckers
to take them
out, you understand
the progression
of things
though you ponder
your own
place in life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

here, hold my baby

it occurs to you
at some point
in your life
that women love babies.
they adore babies.
even when they are
virtually children
they want plastic
baby dolls that cry
and pee. they want
to hold them,
play with them,
pretend that they
are theirs. they love
their own babies,
their neighbor's babies.
babies on the bus,
babies being pushed
in carriages,
and even more so
the grandbabies.
they can't stop talking
about them, touching
them, showing
you photos, posting
pictures and videos
on facebook
of all the babies
in their life. and you
can't tell one from
the other. all bald
and wiggly with food
on their faces.
put a baby in a room
full of women
and it's like a flock
of seagulls
around an open loaf
of wonder bread
on the beach.
they always want you
to hold a baby, pushing
the baby towards you
like drunken
sailors trying to buy
you another shot
of tequila.
here, just take it.
go on, go ahead. hold
my baby. look how cute
he is. put your hand
behind his head.
there you go. now rock
him. oh, now he's crying,
what have you done?
you are filled
with information about
everyone's babies.
which one pooped,
which one is talking,
which one is walking,
which one put his finger
in a light socket.
which one has a new tooth.
women love babies.
and you? well, they're
okay, but you're sort
of done with babies.

he won't say he loves me

worried sick about
how her relationship
is going,
she calls you, and
asks for advice. I
think he's seeing other
women, she says.
you can almost hear
her wringing her hands
on the other end.
pulling at strands
of hair on her head.
what makes you think
that, you ask. I don't
know, she says.
we spend four days
and nights a week
together, but I don't
know what he does
the other three.
plus, he has never
said that he loves me.
yesterday he bought
me flowers and I started
crying. no one
buys flowers unless
they feel guilty about
doing something.
so true, you say.
so true. maybe I should
break up with him
she says, end it to stop
this pain. or maybe
I should wait until
after my birthday,
and that trip we have
planned to Europe.
tough call you tell her.
tough call.

large head

the kid
with no social
stares at you
across the dining
room table
then with a mouthful
of mashed potatoes
you have a big
head mister.
it's like a
helmet. shiny
and large.
do people call
you pumpkin head?
you'd laugh,
but instead you
look into the reflection
of your spoon
and think, maybe
I do. what can
be done about that?
a striped
hat perhaps.

Plan B

plan b
goes into effect
plan a,
had its chance.
there is no
plan c
to speak of,
but it could
happen as well
if plan b fails
and there is
no other
to fall back
on. it's
the way of war,
of love,
of economics.
trying another
until there
are no more.

Monday, July 22, 2013


you go through
a flurry
of mechanical
break downs.
the washer
not washing,
the dryer
not hot,
the air conditioning
unit, whirring to
an ominous clunk
of a stop.
the smell of
burning peels,
in the disposal,
that too, silent
like a well.
even the lights
for some unknown
as you hit the switch
and turn
it off.
on cat's feet you walk
the house, avoiding
candle in hand
like ben
in his long robe
thinking about
and lightning.

the gardener

her arms
against the white
table cloth,
the veins
open in harsh
strings of blue
and violet,
with blotches
of brown,
like fallen
roads she's
and left
the gardens
that she's tilled,
the loves
she's nourished
and set
her life was
always in her
turning the earth
over each
spring to see
what might
come up, what
might survive
and be taken

the sub plot

the story goes
in a direction
that you never thought
it would.
you didn't see
it coming,
that stroke of luck.
how she came
through the door
when you did.
was it meant to be,
was it always
in the cards, or
was it something else.
a distracting plot
line, keeping you
from the heart
of where the story
is going?

the rose bushes

with spite
she burns
the toast,
puts the coffee out
denies him
he lets the lawn
the weeds
rising higher
than the thorny
they bought
together some
sunny spring
things were
looking up,
not down.
he keeps his
to himself.
she keeps herself
to herself.
everyone knows
but doesn't know
that it's over.
her mother says
leave, her sister
agrees. her father
can't stand him
to begin with.
but there's the dog,
the money.
the kids.
the vacation house
in the florida
let's get another
rose bush, he says,
the ice.
okay, she says.
let's. and so it

Sunday, July 21, 2013

the old broom

she can't let
of her old
curled at the end
the bristles
and broken,
the handle
it sits like
a witches ride
in the nook
of a kitchen
new brooms are
but not so much
the memories
of what she
had to clean
and sweep
to get her life
right again.

how different love is

how different
love is
each time
it begins
and yet
how much
the same
it is
when it ends.

but to go on

the patient
holds onto
the bed
and sits up.
the sun
as always
is in the window.
the radio
is on.
a plant leans
on the sill
the light.
the faucet drips.
the cat
everything seems
to ignore
his dying.
what choice
does the world
have, but
to go on.

life for some

for some
is slow dying.
the day.
joy is a dish
that sits
on the edge
of a sink.
love is a word
on a
card, with
a cartoon
dreams are
stuffed with
life for
some, but not
is slow

Saturday, July 20, 2013

in the future

in the future we
will all get along.
technology will give us
more time to be
with one another.
we won't be obsessed
with money and work.
religions and race
won't matter.
even old people won't
be dismissed
as meaningless.
we will have more
time to read books,
make love, write
poetry and songs.
in the future
we won't need cars,
we will fly about
like birds.
no one will go hungry.
there will be no
need for guns
or lawyers in
the future. peace
and understanding
will flourish
and blossom with our
advanced way of
thinking. the future
will be promises
fulfilled. it will
be the good road
taken. we will all
wear white robes
in the future to show
how good we have
become. how kind
and compassionate
we have made our new

in your good time

I can see
people on the other
she whispers
lying in
the rain coming
down outside
her window.
I see my mother
and father,
my sister
who took her own
life, she says,
a hand out as if
to touch someone.
it's all so
clear, she says,
smiling. it's all
so good.
I'm glad to be
going, don't weep
for me. i'll
see when you
arrive in your
good time.
in your good time.

a little bit more

your neighbor
starts his own church
one day.
it's an obvious tax
dodge, but who cares.
he's doing good work.
he asked for a donation
the other day,
but you refused, not
knowing exactly where
the money might be
going. you see a
lot of empty vodka
bottles in his yellow
recycling bin every
Thursday morning.
last week he put a sign
up on his roof
in red fluorescent
lights. The Church
of Jimmy it blinks.
he emptied
his living room
and put pews in,
facing the flat screen
tv at the far end
of the room. sometimes
you hear him
practicing his sermons,
while pacing the room,
yelling about how
the crops will come
in if you put
in the basket just
a little more,
a little bit more.

love, sylvia

i'm no longer
in a mental
she writes to you
via e mail from an
address you don't
I've escaped.
right now i'm in a
library using one
of their computers
while a line of kids
waiting to their
book reports
stand behind me.
i'm going to be in
your town, next week,
if I can steal a car
and rob a store
without getting caught.
if you aren't seeing
anyone, or in a
relationship, perhaps
I could come over
and we could snuggle
on the couch, get
some Chinese carryout
like the old days.
maybe you could make
us up some mai tais
and we could play
scrabble. I've learned
a lot of new words
since I've been
write back soon, got
to go, the security
guard is coming for
me. bye.
love, Sylvia.

you work

you work
for money to
buy you things.
like food.
and clothes.
gas for the car.
a martini or
two and a steak
when needed.
it's a selfish
with the boy
in California,
the ex wife
the dog
in dog heaven.
but you feel no
you sleep well
under the stars,
the roof that
you pay
for with work.
you have your
books. your
your hands, your
your memories
still in tact,
and tomorrow, at
least you hope
you do.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

your receding gums

your dentist
comes into the room
as you lie back
in the chair
listening to the doors
greatest hits in muzak
form. she's holding
a computer print
out, x-rays
and pushing an
empty wheelbarrow.
you know the news
can't be good.
i'm very sorry to have
to tell you this,
she says, but
your gums are receding.
I measured them
last year and like
the shoreline
along our coasts,
there is less land
than there used
to be. no kidding,
you say. but isn't that
just the inevitability
of aging
and eventual death.
true she ways, but
we can do something
about that now
with our new gum implants.
we'll take the tissue
from another part
of your body and
surgical stitch it into
the places where
your gums have receded.
but maybe I like
the vampire look, you
tell her. it's kind
of a hip cool style
to have long teeth
in this day and age.
perhaps when all
the vampire movies
and shows go out
of fashion, i'll
consider it.
well, don't wait too
long, she says. right
now, the cost is only
one wheel barrow full
of money, next year it
could be two. well, i'm
willing to take my
chances, you tell her.
say, when does
that new technician come
in? the pale one with
dark eyes and red lips.
she's kind of cute.

the church parking lot

at the light,
as you wait
for it to turn
you see a fight
break out
in the church
parking lot.
it doesn't
seem to be a
religious discussion,
but one more
of who
scratched whose
when getting out
or getting in.
it's a heated
as each
parishioner points
his church
bulletin at
the other one's
chest. you wish
that you could
see how it
turns out.
but the light
it's a busy church,
you think as
you drive away.
maybe valet parking
is the answer.


the black piano
in the window
dust, a photograph
or two sits
nearby and
the petals
of flowers
from a tall
glass vase.
it shines
in the sun
for everyone
on the street
to see.
there may not
be music
coming out,
but it
looks good,
and who's
to know of
the silence
that lies within.

remember when

he starts off
each conversation
by saying
when I was younger.
he's been doing this
for years.
never enjoying
the moment that
he's in. my wife
was pretty and
slender, he says.
you should have
seen her then,
you should have
seen me. we
had so much fun
back then.
life was good.
then he stares
out the window,
avoiding his
own reflection
in the glass, not
wanting to see
what the dead
look like.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

the queen of ice cream

she was the queen
of ice cream.
slender and pale,
wanting a
soft or hard
sugar cone, or
cake. no matter
the season, you
rarely saw her
without a cone
in her hand,
and a chocolate
or strawberry
smear on her chin.
you wondered
why she didn't
weigh three hundred
pounds, but she was
shy and slim,
always with the mona
lisa smile
and grin. a coupon
to dairy queen
in her purse
waiting to be
cashed in.

doctor cupcake

when she was
a young scientist
she had no idea that
she would be
baking cupcakes
in her golden years.
from test tubes,
to eggs and butter
in a bowl.
but she kept her
white smock,
with the doctor
script on the pocket
and smiles now
instead of frowns
when the oven bell
rings that they're

how love ends

the story is the same.
you've heard it
over and over
again. the characters
the location and
may be different.
but everything else
and repeats itself.
a familiar pattern
with similar results
on how love ends.
you know it before
the first word
is spoken, but you
sit and listen
anyway, hoping for
something new.

the boxer

the boxer,
cut and bleeding
in his corner
as the card
girl walks
slowly by
with the round
the crowd
on edge, he spits
into the bucket.
someone wipes
his brow.
he sees double
and his
head and muscles
and pound from
not just this fight
but the ones
that came before
it. there is
only the next
payday now.
the notion of
being champ, long
the bell rings
and he gets up
to go to work
again. as do you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the whistle

the man
in the ditch,
with a shovel
in hand,
whistles at the woman
walking by,
in her summer
dress, her head
held high.
she doesn't
turn to look,
nor does the man
expect her to do
so. the whistle
for both of
them is a good
thing, that's
all it is
and nothing more.
neither wanting
that desire
to ever stop.

the song bird

she had no singing
voice what so ever
but she loved
to sing, for you
and strangers.
pulling her hair
back over her
shoulders and smiling
brightly as she
she began. her
guitar playing was
even worse, but it
didn't stop her,
as she sang and played
the night away
to anyone who would
listen. you never
had the heart
to tell her how
badly it all was.
she was too nice
a person, but it didn't
matter. your bags
were never unpacked
to begin with. your
shoes never left
beneath her bed.

as it should be

how fast
they leave,
the children
once under
foot, and on
the swing.
how quickly
they move to
the side of their
own lives,
making room
for their dreams,
leaving you
as it should

the unseen

there's always
to what meets
the eye.
take that tree
for example.
or the ocean,
or you
and me.
what lies
below doesn't
always come
up in conversation
or confession,
it's left alone,
as it should be,
to always
be unseen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

the falling star

in a wide field
away from
city lights
someone points
to a falling star
and says, look,
make a wish.
some do. some don't.
some are
done with wishes
and want to be
left alone
in their own
savoring the quiet
and peace
they have created.
but you remember
wishing too.
many times.

modern lust

she runs with scissors,
talks with her
mouth full.
never looks you in
the eye, or say what
she means, or
means what she says.
but she has other
that make up for
so much of what she
lacks in manners
and education.
after all it's not
a forever thing,
and you'll never
tell her exactly where
you live, or
what your real name
is. it's not modern
love, but something
akin to modern lust
and loneliness
bumping into one

fix the pipes

you call
your landlord
to complain
about the clanking
the radiator
the night.
it's affecting
my relationship
you tell him.
no one wants
to spend
the night with
that noise going
i'll lower the
rent, he says,
how's that.
no. you say.
i'll let you have
a dog, a cat
too, he bargains.
no, you say.
I want it fixed.
I want the pipes
to stop making
how about I repaint
the apartment
for free, he
says. no, you
tell him. no, no
no. you must really
like this one
a lot he says.
she must be special.
you ignore the sarcasm
in his voice.
fix it, please,
you tell him.
okay, okay, he
says. i'll send
a plumber over
tonight. i'll come
with him too.
I've got to see
this girl.

the weight lifter

you see the body
outside the gym.
sitting on a curb,
his muscles, and veins
as he sobs
into his large
tanned hands.
his shirt is too
tight for
him, the muscles
along his shoulders.
his neck is a
tree trunk,
his arms
are the size of
your legs.
even the curb he
sits upon seems
to buckle beneath
his massive weight.
what's wrong, you
ask, as you stop
before him.
it's my cat he says.
I had to put
fluffy to sleep
this morning. I
loved that cat.
you put out your hand
to try to help
him up.

be still

the world could
use a time out.
a quiet nap.
just a few hours
or so. to slow
down to a stop.
no talking, no
no arguing,
no debates or
discussion. just
shut up for awhile
and be still.
see how that goes.

standing on her head

she likes
to stand on her head
and make
a small
humming noise.
she's in her
pants, against
the wall
while you
are on the couch
potato chips.
your eyes
move back and
from the tv
to her, her
legs, her hips,
the way
her hair hangs
upside down.
you see her
ears get red
as the blood rushes
to her
head. and her
arms begin to tremble
from the weight.
you ask her
if she needs
any help. she says
no but
tells you not
to eat all the chips,
to save her
some. even upside
downm, she has
her eyes on you.

lane change

the lanes
have changed.
where once
you swerved left.
you now
go right.
the exit
isn't where
it used
to be
and it takes
some time
getting used
as all things
when life
your lanes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

breaking news

she loves
the news.
the gossipy
juicy news of
who killed
who. who's
cheating and lying.
and corrupting
our youth.
the tv is on
all day.
with Jessica,
the view,
oprah, paula
and oj.
a bag of chips
is near
the remote,
the cell phone
just in case
between storms
and new
there is breaking
with the jury's
or a slimy new

Friday, July 12, 2013

saying no

it's hard to say
sometimes, so
you say okay,
maybe i'll
come, but don't
count on
me. there may
be traffic,
the weather, I
have to walk
my dog.
but I really
do want to come.
so, i'm saying
yes, but
with an asterisk.
okay? which makes
them smile
and say.
perhaps next time,
to which you say
yes. okay.
i'll be there,
but you never

abandoned tub

the rusted
in the woods
once held
a tired naked
in warm
they brought
a book
in to read,
or lit
a candle,
maybe there was
a glass of
wine sitting
on the porcelain
but now
it sits
empty, some weeds
coming through
the drain
around the pipes,
a home
for frogs,
and birds,
that need
they don't seem
to find it
to find a tub
abandoned deep
into the woods.
but you

Thursday, July 11, 2013

i never meet men with money

I never seem to meet any
men who have money, she
says, sitting at the kitchen
table while flipping through
a copy of Vanity Fair.
I thought we had some saltine
crackers, you say out loud,
rummaging through the cupboards.
Ate em, she says. You have
ants, by the way,
not looking up as she
licks her thumb before
turning a page. You shrug
and take a butter knife
to skim out the last of
the peanut butter from a jar.
All the men I meet are just
average joes, punching
the clock, driving old
beat up cars. No offense,
she says. None taken, you
say, licking the end
of the knife.
She flips another page
and stares at a David Yurman
bracelet, holding it
up to the light.
Maybe it's your kung fu.
What? You know, your feng shui,
your karma. You're attracting
men like me because of your
negative attitude.
Whatever, she says. I want
to go places. We never go
anywhere. What are you talking
about. We went to that Batman
movie last week. That was
a forty dollar night out,
because you had to super
size everything. Speaking of
which do you still have that
box of junior mints in your
purse. Yup, she says, but
they're probably melted by
now because it's so hot in
here. Why don't you turn on
the air conditioning? It is
on. I set it at 74. she
says something under her
breath about your mother,
then flips another page.
Are we or are we not
eating out tonight?
she asks. I'm starving.
those three crackers are not
going to hold me.
You look at your watch.
Well, there's going to be
a long line at Chipotles
at this hour. How about I
scramble up some eggs. do you
have any cheese? she asks.
Got some American slices.
Mushrooms, chives? she says.
Nope, you say, staring into
the bare abyss of the
Figures, she says.


when they return
from Italy
they are smitten
with it's beauty
and culture.
suddenly they are
driving up
to the mall in
their mini vans
to buy paint the color
of golden
apples in sunlight,
gallons of
browns and muted
yellows, shades
of tuscany.
they find
in stacks the machine
painted pictures
of grapes
that linger on
the vine. chefs
in large white
hats. they
buy venetian plaster,
reading quickly
the easy three step
and smear it on
their walls,
they buy scarfs
to throw across
their shoulders.
red wine by the box.
with coupons they pick
up a pasta machine,
and wide brimmed
hats for working
in their townhouse
they flip through
the photos
for anyone they see,
regaling a story,
each a priceless
tale, a work
of art, an Aesop's
fable. they show
you the one of
a peasant sweeping
dirt in a store
front, which is
your favorite.

lucky penny

your lucky
has expired.
you can tell
by the expression
her face,
the way she
limply hugs you.
it's dull now
where once
it shined
happy in your
you need a new
lucky penny.
a horseshoe
and a rabbit's
foot as well.
a lucky star
to wish upon
to bring back
what was.
put the Jeannie
back into
the bottle.

night crawlers

they come
out at night
their eyes
their bodies
into places
that they never
in light
these are not
the people
you invite
over for
dinner, or
any holiday
for that matter.
there is blood
on their
teeth, and
mischief on
their minds.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

one loose thread

she stitched
her life together
so carefully
by hand, by book,
by manners
and beauty. never
the thread she
left unhooked,
needing only
one hard pull
to unravel

the apartment

as he packs
each box
marking the room
where it
will end.
he begins to
write, anywhere,
or who
with a dark
ink pen.
it's come to
a marriage dissolved,
grown and blown
to their own
now finding
two bedrooms
down from five
in a three story
walk up
with a view
of the pool.
another start
all over again.

the long hour

the bloom
of red
and blue loud
in the sky
are nice
to look at
as the rockets
sail with
a whirl
upwards towards
the stars.
they repeat
over and over
the safety of
water, on
a distant dark barge.
after two or
three though
you've seen them
all and what
joy was found so
fades in the summer

the spill

in heels, she
spills out
of her dress,
the words falling
easily to the floor
from the brim
of her open
she needs
something or someone
to lean on.
perhaps we all do,
some glasses
being neither
half empty or
half full, but just
dripping always
over the edge.


what we want
gets harder and harder
to say.
so much of what
you desired
when young is
now in the attic,
the garage,
where you don't
it goes to back
to food
and drink,
sex and love,
respect, whatever
that might
in no particular
sleep and shelter.
animals till
the very end.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

no charge

you see your therapist
at the local
bar, in a dark corner
by herself. she's sobbing
into her hands.
you go up to her and
ask her what's wrong.
everything she says,
not startled by seeing
a patient outside
the office. she's drinking
scotch on the rocks.
a pack of cigarettes
is on the bar,
next to her cell phone.
she's taken off her
wedding band too,
which sits beside her
drink, wet in an
icy puddle. I know
you she says, don't
I. you're a patient
of mine, are you the one
scared of the dark,
or is it bridges.
you laugh, no you say.
i'm the one who whines
about his ex wife
and his mother. oh, right,
she says, you never
felt loved. yeah.
that's me. Tuesdays
at 7, right she says,
taking a gulp of her
drink. yeah, you say.
well, get over it, quit
being a baby, man
up and move on with your
life. she wipes
a tear out of her eye.
come back to me when you
have a real problem,
okay? okay. you tell
her. I will. in fact
that's the best advice
you've given me in months.
no charge she says.
now leave me alone.
I've got problems too.

small change

as you reach
into your pockets
to pull
out the spare
change from a day
of spending
you listen to it
hit the bowl
and rattle
against yesterdays
still nickels
and dimes
quarters, resting
their heads
against one another.
at some point
you'll haul them
to the bank and pour
them slowly into
the machine, minus
the banks cut,
then start all over
with fresh bills.
such is life.
repeating itself
in small things.

the new dress

I bought a new dress
she says, spinning around
in the living room.
do you like it?
you look up from
applying calamine
lotion to your leg,
and say. hmmm. looks
like all the other
ones. no, she says.
this one is green
and blue, the other
one was blue and
green. oh, you say.
this itching is
killing me. are those
new shoes too.
no, she says, but
I think I need some
to go with the new
dress. okay, you say,
pick me up some
gauze and more lotion
while your out.

the worry

as she lies
sick and dying
in her bed,
nearing the end
of her life
she wonders why
she spent
so much time
over men.
how to get them,
how to keep
them, how to
get rid of
them when it
didn't work out.
why couldn't
she have been
alone. now
in drawing
her last breath
she whispers
to herself,
wringing her
boney hands,
which ones
will arrive
to see her
off at death.

cast all your cares upon me

feeling blue,
actually purple and
emotionally, you
dust off your shelf
of self help
religious books
and start browsing
through. looking
lazily for a phrase,
a proverb, a line
of wisdom to get
you through the day.
fortunately you've
underlined in black
marker many of the books
when the chips were
down, so it's
easy to fetch some
quick and easy help.
cast all your cares
upon me, is the one
you grab hold of
and leave the house
with today. you're
running late, so
it will have to do.

santa in shorts

I miss Christmas
she says, tapping her
foot and eating jello
on the front porch.
I miss the carols,
the lights, the smell
of the tree.
we should have two
Christmas's she says.
one in july,
one in December.
don't you think it
would be fun, she
says, scooping out
the skin of stuck jello
from her bowl. it could
work you say.
I can see santa in shorts
right now, like
the mail man
coming up the street.

within and without

you've painted a thousand
houses, at least.
inside and out.
most were pleased, but
some expected
the yellow to brighten
their mood,
the blue to raise
their spirits.
a red to throw color
into their mundane
lives. and when nothing
happened, sometimes
they took it out on you.
the slight crookedness
from the line of your brush,
as your hand moved,
the small splatter
at the edge of the room.
the curtain rehung
not quite right. still
unhappy, within
and now, without.

the cold sun

the writing professors,
full to the brim
with Faulkner,and
henry james, salinger
and joyce carol
oates, are writing
children's books.
it seems easier,
to go the dr.
seuss route than
to involve one's
mind into
the love and pain
of day to day
existence. enough
of that. but they
stumble on the art
work, and so the pile
of awkward words
sits dust laden
in the corner
near where the old
dog lies in
the cold sun.

strange cat

a strange cat
is on your porch when
you arrive home.
a striped grey
tabby with a white
chin. it meows
and rubs her body
and head against
your leg as you bend
down to pet it.
she wants in, but you
aren't so sure.
there is no collar,
no sign of anyone
down the sidewalk.
she stares up into
your eyes, hers are
nearly as green
as yours are.
but you don't let
her enter. you set
out a bowl of milk,
which she ignores,
shrugs, then walks
away. it wasn't
love at first site,
but she almost fooled

Monday, July 8, 2013

the future

the future never
the promises of
dashed and faded
in comic
and fiction.
movies of what
could be, that never
everything was
to be silver
and smart.
the pain all gone.
cold water
and blue seas
for everyone.
blood seeped
no more
into foreign
how little has
that we can see.
the future not
being what it
used to be.

how thirsty they were

the summer heat
slowed everyone
down to nearly
a stop,
standing at the waters
as if waiting
for their lives
to start
even the trees
sighed in the warm
women's dresses
clung to their
waists, men
wiped the sweat
from their brows
and necks.
the red faced children
looked tired
and angry,
sitting on
the rocks, throwing
sticks into
the slight ripple
of brown water.
later they would
all talk about how
hot is was, even
near the river, how
the boats had no
wind in their sails.
how long summer
had become, how
thirsty they were.

beach diet

get that egg
away from me, you
tell her. pushing
away the plate.
no bacon either.
or potatoes.
i'm on a diet.
getting beach
ready. but we only
have a week
before it's surf's
up, she says,
you'll never see
your abs before
then, which makes
you laugh and say
you're right, where's
the toast
and butter?

on bald tires

on bald tires,
and bad
brakes, one
wiper flopping
like a lazy
eye, red from
a tail light
out, one
pointing not
to the road
but to a tree
in the woods
where a lone
deer waits
for the belching
of exhaust to
clear so that
he can pass,
in her rumble
she rolls and
and it's not
the journey she
but the destination,
and home at last.


apart, you think
more of her,
the appeal
with distance.
you forget
the rain, like trees
do, staying
full and green,
with what fell
before. you dismiss
the lightning,
the flood of
and cold.
that wind is a
distant memory.
you like her
more, from here,
across the miles,
behind the storm.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


without so much
as a single word
the old couple
get on and off
the bus. decide on
where to eat
lunch, and discuss
the weather.
there came a time
in sharing the air
so long, that
the words had all
been said, and now
just a nod, a smile,
a narrowing of eyes,
is all they need

the sunfish

you feel compassion
for the sunfish
as you reel it in
on a thin filament
line. his life was
so sweet and easy,
sublime, below
the surface of the
water, his sunlit
body at ease
in the currents.
his sheen a yellow
shellac of flowers.
and now this.
this steel barb
caught on his lip.
tugging him to place
he has no business
being in.

the wait

I've gained
twenty pounds,
she says
on the phone
as she crunches
down on a
potato chip,
and not
in good places,
so I won't
be able
to see you again
until I lose
the weight.
can you wait
for me?
can you resist
your tom cat ways
and be patient
as I push
away that second
slice of pie,
hold off on
the pasta and
the chocolate
and crème
are you still

Friday, July 5, 2013

summer ice

shaved ice
with cherry
in a small
paper cup.
down your
hand. to
be licked
and remembered
even now
after all
these years,
longing for
the same

less saucers

there are less
in the sky now.
less sightings
of monsters
in the swamp,
rattling chains
in the attic,
ships lost at
sea, and aliens
with elongated
heads and bodies
your crazy
aunt bee.
ever since phones
can record
each waking
moment, the world
has become
less interesting,
more sane,
well, sort of.

two vultures on the side of the road

you over hear two vultures
talking to one another
on the side of the road.
they sit in the shade,
waiting, waiting, as
they do, with the patience
of Job. I don't know
Henry, the wife says.
the boy just isn't eating
right. he hates red meat.
it's this younger
generation, Martha, he
says. they all want
to eat vegetables,
soy, hummus and what not.
they are so health conscious.
that whole save the world
thing, he says,
shooing a fly away
from his beak with a
black oily wing.
but this is what we do,
she says, exasperated,
watching the cars roll
by. we are the original
recyclers, we are the leave
nothing to waste kings
and queens of nature.
I know, Henry says, what
are you gonna do? we
are living compost piles,
and we have a son
that wants to eat
carrots and string beans.
it's a shame, especially
with the volume of
cars out here now in
the middle of nowhere.
I think I've gained
five pounds this week alone
from so much eating.
he doesn't look good,
Martha says, staring at
her claws, sharpening them
against a rock. he can
barely fly sometimes, he's
so weak. Henry shakes
his head, then points,
across the road. look
do you see that? a possum,
looks like he's going to
make a go for it across
the highway. get ready.
i'm ready Henry, i'm always
ready, you know that, she
says winking. maybe we
can wrap some up and make
a stew for the boy,
tonight, Martha says,
stretching her legs.
i'll throw in some turnips
and onions. good idea,
Henry says. maybe go online
find a recipe. half meat,
half veggies.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

go away, i'm making a sandwich

you pretend that
no one is home, as
a stranger knocks
at your door with a
box of something
and a serious looking
clipboard in his hand.
you crane your neck
over the sink
to look at him.
he sees you in the
kitchen, half naked,
as you make a sandwich
at the counter.
I can see you,
the man says. but
you don't answer.
you put two slices
of toasted rye
bread down
and lay on some
ham and cheese in
even amounts,
delicately. your
sandwiches are works
of art.
on goes the lettuce
as the doorbell
rings again
and again. a little
mayo, some onions.
roasted tomatoes.
you slice the sandwich
in half, carefully
pressing down so
as not to topple
the whole thing over.
hey, the voice says
as you pop a beer
and throw some
chips and a pickle
onto the plate.
are you going to answer
your door, or what?
you wonder what he's
holding in that box
beneath his arm.
but not enough to
find out, plus you
are hungry and the
sandwich is ready.

sun rays

you like the sun
although you realize
that it's bad
for you and will
turn you into a
prune of sorts. but
you embrace that
youthful feel
of warmth
on your face.
the same as it was
when you were
young. the summer
endless and sweet.

the flowered dress

when she hangs
her flowery
summer dress
in the closet
against your
you can almost
hear the pants
and shirts,
up, getting
nervous. not
knowing quite
what to say, as
if all of this
was suddenly new.

the bee sting

bees don't
who they sting.
there is no
in their
bite, they find
a small
to land
and let it
go. such are
the words
you fling
at those you
and don't

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

saturday night?

mistakes were
made along the way.
words said
that shouldn't have
been said.
but we're only
human, or at least
some of us are.
we make
missteps, we make
bad choices.
everyone that is,
except you. yes
you. you know who
you are, and you
probably think
this poem is about
you, but it's not.
it's about me,
or who I used to
be. I've changed.
since 9 a.m.
this morning i'm
a different person.
more forgiving,
more kind to the unkind.
more tolerant
of the intolerant.
it's the coffee.
that second cup
of the morning that
puts a halo on me.
i'm turning over
not just a new leaf.
but uprooting the
entire tree. you'll
see. you'll coming
running back
begging for my
love and affection.
or maybe not
and if that's not
the case may you burn
in hell. I mean.
i'm sorry, I didn't
mean to say that.
really, I've changed.
Saturday night?


she buys
you a map for
your birthday.
what's this for
you ask.
it's a map she
you're lost
and drifting.
you need some
direction in your
life. here, she
says. it's a
and a sexton
with which you
can navigate
by the stars.
and what about
you, you ask
are you coming
along. no she
says. I know
where I am, and
where I'm going.
but I wish
you all the best
on your journey.

the mayor of the court

the mayor of the court
with his war
wound limp
and purple heart
from nam
likes to post himself
on his porch
to have a better view
of the trash going
out early,
or the double parked
cars, or dogs
without leashes.
he's quick to yell
out instructions when
shoveling snow
from your walk, or
trimming that tree.
at night he wears a
coal miner's hat, with
a light so that he can
take even more notes
of disobeying
tenants, and to better
see. you wish
him no harm, but
laryngitis, or that
someone find him
a hobby, or to please
give him a thick summer
book to read.

life is enough

why aren't
the animals bored
with their lives
the child says,
staring out
the window. all
day long they
look for food,
build nests,
eat and sleep.
they have no books
to read, no
television to
entertain them.
it's the same
thing, day and night.
night and day.
how do they live
without phones
and computers?
they are more
advanced than we
are, you tell
him. they don't
need distractions,
life is enough.

power lines gone down

the power lines
are down
in the rain
snapping like
black snakes
along the road.
sparks lighting
the darkness
of the storm.
so much goes
on below
the wires,
that the storm
brings out.
like you.
placid and calm,
until lightning

they don't like you enough

I keep meeting men
who are unavailable
she says to me
while knitting another
the ball of yarn
is on the floor
as the needles
clink against one
another. well, maybe
they just don't like
you enough to commit
to you, you tell
her, squinting as
if about to be jabbed
in the leg
with a needle.
hmmm, she says,
stopping her knitting
for a moment to
stare out at the setting
sun. maybe you're
right, she says.
I never thought that
it could be me, I
always blamed it
on them, men being
men. but it's me
isn't it? nice sweater
you say. can't wait
to see it when it's

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

cold feet

your feet
and legs are boot
in a snow drift
in your dream.
the white shroud
of the storm
everything you
there is no
light ahead
to get to, no
fence, or gate
to go over or
push through.
it's just
white and it
keeps coming.
snow on top of
snow, the cold
wind pushing it
against your face.
stiffening your
turning your
lips blue, you
can't wait for
morning and this
to be over with.

two oars

with one oar
in the water,
you don't move very
fast or
far in the strong
so you ask her
to climb aboard,
grab and oar,
take a seat,
the front or back
will work just fine.
row as you please.
this makes
all things so much
easier, until
she points to
a distant shore,
where you don't
want to go.

two sets of feet

without even
putting a glass
to the wall
with your ear,
you hear
the footsteps
of the woman
next door as she
gets ready for work.
the heels on
as she goes down
the steps
to her door,
then car.
sometimes there
are two sets of
feet, heavier
than hers,
but you never
see whose, you
not being too nosey
as to peek out
the window
and be rude.

in the dark

how odd it is
to pick up a pair
of pants
that don't fit,
getting dressed
in the dark,
and say these must
be yours
because I can
only get them
around my legs.
and she swims
inside your shirt,
pulling it over
her long
saying, I like
this shirt, can
I have it?


pink with too
much sun,
she undoes her
and sets it on
the bed.
you see the pattern
of her
against her
skin, the hot
singed glow,
the straps,
the folds,
the too short
the burn rising
up along
her legs.
and you smile
as she says what,
while you stare,
and you say
something like
that's going
to hurt
in the morning.

filling and unfilling

the policeman
with his whistle
and dark hat,
his sunglasses
tight around
his eyes, the
uniform belted
and starched,
waves into
the parking lot
anxious parishoners
bent on not finding
god, necessarily,
but in
punching that
guilt clock.
the cars come
nearly all days,
filling and unfilling
the large
striped lot,
no different
than you or I
perhaps, with
what we believe,
or not.


there is less
as the year moves
but for now
the trees are
full of who they
like children
out of school,
beneath the blue
the warm
night of stars.
the rain soaked
the bare feet
of youth,
sinking into
summer, not
peeking towards
the dimming

Monday, July 1, 2013

new hair day

and prompt, the ad
these are not your
grandfather's hair
plugs. no way.
these are state
of the art hair
replacements done
by men and women wearing
white smocks.
you'll have a full
head of hair in
one hour or your
money back.
but where are you
going to get all
this hair you
ask, sitting at
your consultation.
whose hair is going
onto my head?
who cares, the doctor
says. you'll
be washing, combing
and styling
your way back to
a youthful appearance
in no time.
then you hear the barking
in the back
and see the shaved
daschunds jumping

burrito assembly line

going through
the burrito assembly
line at the local
fast food
establishment, feeling
really hungry,
you are frustrated
with how little
chicken they
put on that giant
spoon, how
small the portion
of guacamole
and cheese is.
what's the point
of having a big
spoon if you aren't
going to use it
you want to say
out loud, but the
man in front of you
knows how it works,
asking, pleading
for extra with each
turn of the spoon.
so you do the same.
hot sauce, yes, please
cheese, yes, extra.
more sour cream.
oh yes, you say,
don't be stingy
with that ladle.
come on give it to
me baby. give me them
black beans girl.

the job interview

where do you
want to be in five
years, the interviewer
says to you, as
you sit across
the desk from him.
i'd like to be in
an exclusive
relationship with
Elizabeth Hurley,
you tell him,
straight faced.
he looks at you
and writes something
down. so what are your
salary requirements,
he asks. not missing
a beat.
you tell him that
you'd liked to be
paid in cash at
the end of every week.
small bills placed
into a brown bag.
hmmm, he says.
making a small note
of that.
and what do you feel
like you will bring
to this company,
what skills do you
have to help this
company grow and
become more profitable.
I can't tell you that
right now, you
say, staring out
the window towards a
set of new trees
that line the acres
of freshly paved
parking lots. but I
do have a question
for you.
do these windows open
you ask him? why, he
says. well, I liked to
be able to leap out
of one if this job
doesn't work out.


you aren't quite
as old as the band,
but not far behind.
even so, you feel like
you might have more
tread left on your
tire than they do.
they look like broken
sticks, glued back
together again.
strumming hard at
their guitars, pursing
their lips,
the blue spotlights
hitting their
shadowed eyes,
neither smiling, nor
grimacing, but more
stone faced
and resolved to this
life that has chosen
them since that first
big hit. satisfaction.

the bank teller

you keep all your
money in
the bank.
but the red headed
with a stern face
and buttoned vest
makes it hard for
you each time you
want to take some
out. three Id. s
a thumbprint
your mother's maiden
name, and
your account
number please, he
says, while smirking
the portrait of his
who started the bank.
it would be easier,
putting on a mask
and holding up
a rubber gun
to get your hard
earned cash, than
it is this way,
in line at the teller.

get used to it

the world
shakes loose
the dead, making
room for more.
more of me
more of you,
more of them.
a tree shedding
the crops
being mowed
down, harvested
and plowed
even the memory
of who are
in time fades
gets swept away
with more. it's
the way it is,
get to used
to it, it's what
we came
here for.


the renters don't
they leave
the water running.
the lights on,
the doors
cats and dogs
run free
the house,
flies are buzzing
in the kitchen
in spilled
syrup, while
a line of ants
carry away
sugar from
the counter.
the owners live
in another state,
so there is no
and the cars
out front pile
up and rust
in the driveway
the music stays loud.
the parties
last until sunrise.
and the neighbors
hate them all.

dominatrix next door

the dominatrix
next door
is in her yard
tending to her
she's still
wearing her leather
thigh high boots
from the night
and a bathrobe
that's seen better
she sees you in
the window and waves.
so you yell
out, hey do my yard
when you're done
with yours, which
makes her smile
and say behave, don't
make me come
over there and whip
you with a belt,
which she really

storm warnings

the radio
broadcasts its
the familiar
buzzing noise
three or four
times before
a voice comes
on to tell
you in somber
tones, take
cover. seek
shelter, a storm
is on the move
to a roof near
you. how nice
it would be to
have warnings for
all such
things in life,
the measles,
heart failure,
the flu, or love
going south
when you don't
have a clue.

the electric man

the electrician
with a pony
tail and earring
in one ear.
a dead head
sticker on his
van. a lightning
bolt tattooed
on his hand.
he's mellow now
in his sixties.
cool and easy
as he goes about
the wires,
humming to himself
a song
he's known
since 1968.
it doesn't take
him long to get
you up and running
he high fives you,
you a brotherly
handshake. and when
you ask him how
much for his services,
he smiles
and shakes his
head, I don't know
man. you tell me.
what's good for