Thursday, October 31, 2013

they may have been canadian

they were nice people,
almost too nice.
in fact they may have
been Canadian.
with them they carried
small maple leaf
shaped bottles full
of syrup. have one,
they'd say, pulling
out the amber, thick
glassed bottle
from a suitcase. on
us, have some syrup,
try some on a pancake
today. they were nice
people, tough and
weather worn, but
gentle too.
they may have been
the nicest people
you've ever met
at a train station
in new York city.
they may have been
Canadian. you
hoped that they
wouldn't stay too
long and be ruined
by the likes of you.

good to be home

clinking
keys
in the night,
tossed into
the green
bowl,
the door
lock turned,
the grumble
of the furnace
as its
small fire
bumps on
and roars.
the kettle
boils,
the turn
of a crisp
page
in a new book
you can't
wait to get to.
good to be home.
such as it
is.
without an
unnatural sound.

the easter bunny

once when you were a child,
maybe ten or eleven
years of age, you were
at an easter picnic
with other children
and families. you were
in a park, with trees,
and a wide dark river
nearby. the sky was blue
as skies can be
at the time of year.
it was a pleasant day.
neither cold or hot.
out of nowhere a car
load of young men swung
their car around
the circle and yelled
out to us. The easter bunny
is queer, one man said,
sitting on the edge
of the window. he was
pale with slicked
black hair. a cigarette
was tight in his lips
and you could see a beer
can in his hand.
they circled several times
honking their horn
until several of the fathers
together marched towards
them, rolling up
their sleeves. the young
men drove off, laughing
hysterically. hooligans
your mother said, hands
on her hips, shaking her
starched stiff hair. there was
to be an easter egg
hunt at some point.
a game of tag perhaps,
cake and ice cream.
baskets of candy in
colored celluloid paper.
but you remember most
that day,
hearing those words,
they've never left you.
the easter bunny is queer.
perhaps it wasn't about
sex at all, maybe the young
man meant
that the bunny was odd,
or different. quirky
in some way perhaps.
you knew he didn't
even exist anyway, so why
be bothered, you tried
to reason it all out
with your ten year old
logic. in fact. why did he
exist at all, representing
the resurrection of
the savior of the world
from a horrible death.
how did a rabbit sneaking
into houses leaving candy,
and colored eggs, jelly
beans somehow become part
of this event. and now,
he might be queer,
whatever that meant.
your head rushed with ideas,
confusion, a maelstrom
of insecurity made you
squint your eyes and caused
you to lose interest in
searching through the thick
green grass and in the hollows
of leafless trees,
for hidden eggs.

oh, that's funny

she doesn't laugh
at your lame attempt
at jokes.
instead she says
quietly,
oh, that's funny,
keeping a straight
face. she's a tough
crowd. so,
your goal in life
now is to make
her laugh,
not a guffaw, or
a mere chuckle,
no smirk will do.
you don't want
a giggle either,
or a broad, teeth
baring smile, no.
you want tears
in her eyes, a laugh
from deep within
her, a laugh that
will bend her
over and make milk
squirt out of her
nose, or for food
to leap from her
mouth. you want that
kind of laugh
you've got work to do
with this one.

happy holidays

we are done as friends
she says.
brushing her
hair in the mirror,
applying lipstick.
don't talk to me
anymore. I don't love
you and never have.
I've pretended all
these years. our
marriage is a sham,
a mockery of a sham,
a mistake
that never should have
happened. you make
me ill just looking
at you. what? did
you say something?
have you seen my green
Christmas tie, you
ask, as you rummage
through the closet
on your hands and knees.
I wear it every
year to the party,
but I can't find it.
it's red with little
snowflakes on it.

stretch pants

preparing for the holidays
you go online
to find
the stretch pants
with the elastic
waist band. not
exactly one size
fits all, but
close. some even
have a little draw
string in the front,
while others have
a built in belt
with varying degrees
of notches, all
depending on if you
have that second or
third helping
come thanksgiving.
there are festive
colors too, but
you prefer black
or brown, or
even a rustic
orange color, keeping
the gravy stains
hidden, as well as
the pumpkin pie
filling that
inevitably falls
into your widening
lap.

the last day

the you lick
the last
day of the month
like the corner
of a final
page in a chapter
in a book
that seems
to have
no true reason
to end
or start
again, but it
does go on.
even when you
are asleep
the calendar
turns, the story
moves forward,
for better
or for worse,
and you know
your part so well.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

it's all fiction

it's all fiction
every word of it,
the writer claims
as he turns another
page over
to his editor
for publication.
no one in this story
is real, or has
ever said the words
spoken. no love has been
made, no hatred
stirred, the plot
is untrue. the heroine
does not exist.
the hero is a wish,
the villains are all
people that I never
knew. it's all
fiction, every word
of it, i promise,
even what i said
about you.

confetti days

throw
your confetti
into
the air.
despite the rain,
the forecast
of doubt
and undoing.
set
off your
fireworks
and be bold
with
your days,
even more
so with those
fleeting
nights,
don't pass
on
the next chance
at
wonder
or happiness
or love.
blow that horn.
throw your
confetti
into the air
and live.

broken things

the broken
things come
easily.
the bones,
the table
leg,
the faucet
rusted
in your hand,
the broken
belt
of the vacuum,
spinning
madly.
hearts of
course.
the streets
are littered
with those.
promises
and vows,
empty and
limp like
popped balloons.
the cracked
pipe
from
the first
winter freeze.
your tooth on
a candy
apple.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

an ordinary life

what simple
task
is last
that we do
before
our lives
slip away.
the paper read
perhaps,
or the trash
set near
the curb.
the dog walked,
the lights
turned
out before
going up
the stairs
and saying
good night
to someone
in another room.
what ordinary
lives
we lead
with ordinary
endings,
we hope.

moon beams in a jar

inventive
and romantic,
the blue eyed
child
holds
the jar up
to the window
as the hunter
moon
beams yellow
across
the patches
of wet fields.
i'm catching
moon beams
she says, so
that I will
have them later,
for whenever
I want,
thinking
that love too
will be
so easy.

she cast no shadow

she cast
no shadow.
darkness never does.
she was most
happy
was when she
was sad
and lonely
aching
for what she
never had.
she was hard
to be around
for very
long. digging
her nails
into your skin
and asking
does that
hurt, and if
so you have no
idea what pain
really is,
or I am,
or where
I've ever been.

Monday, October 28, 2013

an entire life

you see
the fish
golden
under the clear
water.
bending
in the light
flags of color
swimming
their entire
life. hard to
imagine
such a thing
you think
and they too
glaring
up with flat
black eyes
think the same
of you.

on the other side

the dead
don't talk
or whisper
or sing
or provide
a clue to let
you know what
lies on
the other side.
that is left
up to me,
to you.
is there happiness
and joy,
are memories
part of
the new vine
growing
beyond the grave,
or is that a wish
that we have,
wanting
death not
to be darkness
but hold
light, and be
kind.

the coin flip

they knock
at the door,
they call
your lonely
land line,
young republicans
or
democrats
pleasantly
asking who
will you vote
for.
and you tell
them, you aren't
sure
anymore,
you haven't flipped
that coin
quite yet
to pick
the lesser of
two evils.

the ties that bind

perhaps it's
the harness of work
that keeps
us from
going wild
like jack London.
surviving madly
on raw
fish, berries
and whiskeyed
wits,
digging for gold
in the Yukon,
coming home
with dust
and scurvy.
perhaps it's
work that keeps
us tethered
to our homes,
close to the fire,
with the dog
asleep
not worried
if he is next.
perhaps it's
the labor
and sweat of our
lives that keeps us
from a dream world
of doing nothing
but wondering
what could
one do if freed
from
these ties
that bind.

the shoe sale

near ten a.m.
you see two
well dressed
women fighting
for a parking
spot
in the store
garage,
fists are hurled
while strollers
sit nearby,
pocket books
set aside.
hair is pulled
and names
are called
while
their cars
sit idling
with lights
on, music playing
loudly
from their open
doors.
it's a once
a year sale,
after all.

there are days

there are days
when the world seems
tired.
when the sun
hangs heavy
with thin light.
and the low
mountains
in the distance
are bruises
against the wash
of yellow.
the trains run
slow, the birds
sit still,
black pinwheels
on the wires,
the people are
hunched over
moving towards
destinations
to them,
only known.

used book store

the shelves lean
and bend
with the weight
of books.
you can smell
not ink, but
dust, some
leather too,
old books,
once proud
best sellers now
with torn covers
and pages wilted
from being wet,
read
in tubs filled
with hot water,
or beds
at night before
the lights
go off,
turned so
many times,
dog eared
on favorite
pages, some
with names written
on the inside
cover, like shelly
1967, with
a heart in red
drawn in
with her
name, a plus
sign, and jim.
all of them marked
down, stacked
in small towers
awaiting
new eyes, or
old ones
coming back once
more,
for another read.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

the big store

these Christmas
blues
come early
as silent night
holy
night
plays over
and over
in the stadium
sized store
where you
buy your
boxed
wine and
pound of cheese.
the garlands
swing green
and gold
over the radial
tires,
and knit sweaters,
boots
for you and me.
strings of blinking
lights
stretch around
the rafters
where birds still
fly
and the unshrunken
elves
frying pork bites
for tasting
are too jolly
for any season
or savior's birth
on this seventy
degree October
night.

wonder bread

i'm saving myself
for marriage,
she tells you
while throwing
broken pieces
of wonder bread
to the squawking
ducks. again?
you ask, weren't
you already married,
once or twice.
why save yourself
now, have some fun.
they don't count,
she says, whistling
to make the ducks
swim closer. the pope
annulled both
of them, so I am
free and clear,
virtually a virgin
once again with a
clean slate. oh,
so, he erased
your past, just
like that? that's
right, she says.
and he can do
the same for you
if you want.
very well, you say.
let me work on
my list and i'll
get it to him
pronto. I could
use a fresh start
too.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

for sale

the woman
next door, despite
the years
of living
beside you
separated by
a mere wall
is unknown
as you are to her.
the small hesitant
wave
as you come
and go about
your silent lives,
no smile
across her face,
busy
always, with
something in
her hand.
waiting for
a moment to slip
inside
without words
between you,
and when you see
the sign
go up, for sale,
you realize
how you'll miss
not knowing
her.

small pieces

your torn
sleeve and broken
lace,
the button
spinning
like a clear
star
across the floor.
are small
reminders
of ourselves,
falling apart
in small
pieces, perhaps
towards a more
whole cloth,
we hope.

one station

some get there
before you,
arriving unexpectedly
at the gate,
their ticket
punched,
their bags
left behind.
they arrive to
what?
it's all uncertain
no matter
what you've
kneeled
and prayed to.
but all trains
come
eventually
to one station,
each to his
own ticket,
his own time,
the veil lifted
from travelers,
blind.

come rain or shine

you like
to write your
checks
with an ink pen,
putting
the payment amount
in the given
box,
sliding
the paper slips
into
envelopes
with a stamp
on one corner
and a return
address, yours
on the other.
call it old school,
old
fashioned,
crazy, if you
must, but it's
what you like
to do.
you like the mystery
of the mail.
and seeing
the postman
coming up
the street
with his worn
leather bag,
come rain or shine.

a hard rain

the next
war may save
the world.
stopping industry
in its tracks.
keeping
oil in the ground,
depleting
the planet
of people.
strange to think
that something
so horrific
could actually
be in the long
run, the best
solution
for those
that remain.
back to planting
seeds
in the ground
by hand,
as it once was,
waiting
blissfully
for nothing more
than a hard
rain.

making love

she liked
to tap
and wiggle
her foot
to the music
playing on
the nightstand,
and chew
gum
while you
made love.
she was a
multi-
tasker,
talking
about how
the laundry
needed
to be put
into
the dryer,
and how
the cat
may need to go
to the vet.
there was
chicken
defrosting
in the sink.
at some
point, she
would make
eye contact
and say, hey,
are you almost
done.

the pumpkin patch

it won't be long,
one pumpkin
says to the other
sitting plump
and orange
in the cold field
still attached
to the wiry
vine. they'll be
coming soon take
us. to set us on
their porches.
ghoulish faces
carved into
our skin, our seeds
and guts tossed
aside for a candle
to burn. then
the hooligans
with their bats
smashing us
into smithereens.
I hate that band
one pumpkin says,
and the whole patch
sighs. all year
we are ignored
one says, but better
I guess,
to be loved once
than to always
be denied.

Friday, October 25, 2013

comparing scars

her one leg
had a deep scar,
almost a fleshy
ravine in it,
running
down the thigh
bone.
motorcycle,
she says, seeing
you staring
at the straight
line with dotted
stitches
the color
of a white fish.
pass me
the ketchup
she says, then
makes a red
patterned grid
on top
of her egg omelet.
do you have any
scars, she
says, before
taking a bite
of her breakfast.
yes, you say,
holding out your
thumb.
crab claw got me,
couldn't shake
it off.

sugar and salt

the world
has decided to
not let us be
bored with ourselves
anymore.
contemplating
one's navel
is over.
that ancient
steam train has
left the station.
we have gone
electric
attached to nerve
center
and pulse
of what sells.
information
once ignored
as trivial
and pointless
can't be
ignored anymore.
our eyelids
are raised open
with pins
like in clockwork
orange.
nonsense is
shoveled down
our collective
throats,
saturating our
brains, filling
us with the worlds
sugar and salt,
always teasing us
with more, leaving
us empty
and full at the same
time.

the argument

the argument
of old friends,
fueled
by rum and coke,
split green
limes
with cubes
of ice
in small
tumblers, goes
nowhere fast.
history
is obliterated
when points
are made.
fiction becomes
fact.
the room spins
with animosity,
as each
one hacks off
the sentence
of whoever's
speaking.
you wonder why
you came
and how do you
leave gracefully
before being
dragged in.

67 chevy

we are all
vain,
taking pride
in what
we do,
or own,
worried
at how we look.
even
the monk
on top of the
mountain
praying
in the wind
has on clean
clothes
and a beard
that's
neatly trimmed,
so don't say
a word
to me about it,
as I polish
the chrome
bumper on this
old sweet
ride of a car
before cruising
slowly
towards
the sun.

the photo box

the photo box
sits
with crumbled
memories
in the basement.
bright
sunny
pictures of
happier days,
when kids
were young,
when we were
young.
when the furniture
was new
and a shiny dog
sat on the sill
barking
out
the window.

home made

your appetite
for food
has never decreased
over the years,
home made and hot,
something that satisfies
your hunger.
your tastes have
not changed much.
you'll sit down
and give
any meal a chance,
at least once,
and the same goes
for love
and affection.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

dear sylvia, or occupant

dear sylvia
or occupant,
the envelope
reads,
we love you and want
you to come
back to our
flock.
how long has it
been since
you last attended
church.
we are your
friends. we are
here for you,
we want
to comfort you
in your times of
trouble
and sorrow.
we miss your voice
in the sunday
choir
and how you made
those pancakes
on Saturday
morning
before bible study,
dear Sylvia,
or occupant, come
back and be a part
of our team.
we love you
and miss you dearly.
if you can't make
it we are enclosing
a stamped return
envelope for any
contribution
that you can give.
bless you Sylvia,
or occupant.

nine cats

you now
know nine
people with
the name of cat.
it makes
it confusing
to have them
listed in your
phone.
so you have
to be more
specific,
delineating
each as a
type.
maine coon,
Siamese,
tabby
and tom, Persian
and stray.
alley and felix,
bobtail,
and then
there's frisky,
your favorite
cat.

the mountain

when I climbed
mount Everest, she
says,
flexing her passport
in front
of you,
I almost didn't
make it.
we were nearly out
of air
and the sherpas
were not as strong
as they were
the year
before.
I had one granola
bar left
and my power
water
was down to a
single gallon.
it's really hard
to talk on
your phone, let
alone text, she
says,
and the view, if
it's cloudy,
which it was that
day ruined
the view, plus
I had forgotten
my good
camera, so I had
to send someone
back down
to fetch it.

model airplane

the glue
of us
is mostly
applied
by you.
finding
points
of breaking
you squeeze
out another
drop
of affection
to keep
the wings
on,
the wheels
tightly
fastened
below.
each door
or window
you oil
to let the light
in when
light
is needed.
where as I
like to throw
it all
into the air,
and see
how far
it goes.

the feast

it is better
to over cook,
having more
than enough
for everyone
at the table, no
one should
leave hungry,
as it is with
love, when you
find it, empty
the cupboards,
defrost everything
in the ice box,
turn all
the burners
and let the feast
begin.

it still works


shivering
in your bed
you give in
and turn the heat on
for the first
time this season.
a musty draft
warms the air.
the ancient furnace
circa 1968,
clanks loudly,
then
cranks on,
it hums
with flames
and gas behind
the olive green
sheets of
metal. it still
works.
still gets it
done, which
is what you hope
others
will think of
you, as well.

insurance

much of what
you worry about
will never happen,
you realize
this, but it
doesn't stop
you from going
through your
list of what ifs.
turning the pillow
over in
the black of night,
listening
to the wind
move branches
against
the house, wondering
if it will
fall.
the world is at
your door
and in your pocket
for insurance,
asking to protect
your for the what
ifs that never
happen, but could.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the rash

your doctor,
who might be twelve
or thirteen,
examining a rash
on your arm,
says in a high
pitched squeaky voice
have you
been around
anything toxic
lately
and you quickly
reply, no,
I've been divorced
for quite a while
he doesn't laugh
but taps you on
the knee
making you
swing your leg
forward
as if it had
a mind of its
own.

each wave

each wave
a new day
each grain
of sand
a life,
each sunrise
another chance
to get
things right.
maybe
tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

traffic jam

lately you are
an impatient
person who does
not like to wait
in line
for anything.
traffic annoys
you,
the cones
and signs, the
detours,
the cops
with their
blue lights flashing.
you imagine
having a plow
on the front
of your car
and going forward
clearing
the road ahead.
pushing forward
to your destination
leaving
the debris of
others behind.
you need coffee.
you need
a good nights sleep.
you need
a vacation.

chicken dinner

you defrost
an age old
chicken from
the freezer
and throw it into
the oven
salt, butter,
pepper,
a quick
spackling
upon it's
goosebumped
skin.
you look at
the clock
on the wall,
the one
on the microwave,
the radio clock,
the phone,
you look at the sun,
going down
over the trees
and figure
out as best
you can when
to flip
the chicken,
baste it again,
then when to pull
it out. you almost give
up though under
the pressure and
call for a pizza,
but no. you have to
get this chicken out
of the house,
and be done
with it.

lost in the wind

you hear
through the thinning
grape vine
that is
your own
that one of you
is ill,
about to die,
or that someone
has passed
on.
one of your own
being
of your age,
perhaps your school,
a lover
or a friend
who, not unlike
you, got lost
in the wind,
but not forgotten.
you are glad
though for the memory
of when
they were young
and strong,
full of life,
with so many years
before them.
you are glad in
a vague way
to not have known
them towards
their end, or seen
the suffering that
time and age
will bring upon
us all.

the fast cold field

the cold seats
on
the steel bleachers
your thin
jacket
is not
enough to keep
out
the wind
of late
October
and as the boys
run
across
the green wet
field
under the white
lights
of their
youth, you remember
too
when your son
was out there
on the field,
what was it,
a thousand years
ago, or
more when he
waved
and smiled
as he sped past
you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

june bug

she liked
say things like
if i lived
closer
i'd be all over you
like a chicken on
a june bug.
the visual caused
you to make
a buzzing
sound, vibrating
your lips together
like a june bug
might,
whatever they
are, just in
case she did
come to visit.

white shirt and blue tie

free will,
you think have it,
but you
don't.
your parents saw
to that at
an early age,
schools
and church
reinforced
the system of
proper
behavior. but if
you really did
have free will,
what would you
do. what would
you change?
would you live
in a different
place, would
you have married
a different
person,
would you be in
the job you have
now, sitting
here at this
desk in front
of windows
that don't open.
would you be
wearing this shirt,
starched white
with a safe
blue tie.

mystery food

it could be fish,
or it could be
meat of some sort,
chicken perhaps,
or a cut
of steak
half eaten.
or it might
be cheese,
a lump
of blue cheese
or gouda
that never
made it to
a crackers face.
or a chocolate
easter
bunny from last
year that
you somehow
forgot to eat.
it could be
anything
beneath the crunched
up foil, stuck
in the siberian
portion
of your refrigerator,
but you might have
to do more than
smell it to find
out, perhaps
later when
you have more time
you'll peel
back the edges
and take a peek.

the orbit

the orbit
of me
is getting
closer
as the gravity
of you
pulls me in.
i'm not sure
if it will
be a soft
landing
or a firey
one, but
just the same
i'm falling
towards you
in a dizzy
spin.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

your place

your place
in the world
fills
a void
where others
once
lived, or
worked,
or made love.
and when
you depart
the space
will be
filled again
by others,
some not
yet born,
and in this
way
the world
moves on
as it must.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

crime wave

if you stuck
gum
into the coin
return
slot of a
corner telephone
in 1966
you could
trap
a few nickles
and dimes
by the end
of the day.
and that red
round
shouldered
coke machine,
sweating
in the corner,
it too,
could be of
use to a boy
with long
skinny arms,
reaching up
until the feel
of a glass
bottle hit
his hand
and slipped
it out.

whose shoes are these

whose shoes
are these,
black with laces
untied, left
in the gutter
for all
to find.
what feet
left them here
last night.
to be found
this morning
empty except
for the rising
sun with its
soft yellow
light.
what legs gave
weight and
moved them down
the pavement
before being
slipped off
along the side
of this road.
whose shoes are
these, and why.

they know me

they know me
at the pharmacy,
the old
woman says,
holding a small
dog in her arms,
his white face
streaked
with brown tears.
it's closed now,
she says, peering
into the hollowed
room of empty shelves.
they always had
my order ready,
they knew my name.
what now, she says.
everything has
changed. they
knew my name.
do you know
where I can have
my prescription
filled? she asks,
holding out
the wrinkled slip
of paper rippled
by wind and time.

the lesser american novel

everyone believes that
they have a book in them.
a tale
of unbelievable
circumstances
with a complex
plot full of
colorful characters
and cliff hanging
moments. love
and death, sex
and hate. exotic
locations with
heart strings tugged
all along the way.
there is evil
and good battling
for one's soul.
financial ruin,
financial windfalls.
it's the great
American novel.
not so. most books
are thin,
and short, they
have stayed at
the wheel of their
lives and did only
the things that
were right, which
is a boring read
to be sure, but
refreshing and good
to have on the shelf
just the same.

Friday, October 18, 2013

the visit

he had
snow in his
hair.
his bones were
lean
and showing
the bend
of age.
his once clear
eyes
were muddled
blue
with memory,
but
the twinkle
of a smile
eased
through
and made you
know that he
was still
inside there,
somewhere.

the blockbuster movie

the movie
is long and tedious.
the acting
phoned in,
you can see
the beginning
middle and end
within
the first ten
minutes.
you need toothpicks
to hold your
eyelids open.
people are
laughing at
the sad parts,
mimicking
the dialogue.
you want to get
up and leave
but you
can't.
you have a giant
box of buttered
popcorn
in your lap
and a liter
of coke
leaning
in the cup holder
sweating
in your hand.
you haven't
opened up
the twelve dollar
bag of candy
yet.

the error of your ways

when you were young
and foolish,
last year,
you were careless
with your words,
spoke boldly
about what your
desires were,
your fears.
but not anymore.
you are a clam
now, burrowed
in the sand,
unpicked by the gulls
who fly above
you, unable to
get to the meat
of who you are,
but this too will
change as you
realize the error
of your ways
once more.

it's something else

it's no
longer money.
it's something else.
being
wanted,
perhaps, that
gets you out
of bed
and pushes you
towards
this thing called
work.
you have
enough forks
and knives
and places to
sit at the end
of the day.
how many cars
can you
drive.
how many clothes
can you
put into
your closet
without wearing
them.
you have enough.
gathering
more of anything
is no longer part
of it.
it's something
else, it's
beyond you,
you think as you
rise and
go.

moving leaves

a gaggle
of central
american
astronauts with
their loud
churning
jet packs
strapped
to their backs
are blowing
single leaves
across
the barren
stretch of
parking lot.
they use hand
singles
in the deep space
of this
foreign
planet of falling
leaves,
of small patches
of grass
that need
cutting, to
communicate
when each leaf
is in a good
place to be.
they like the sound
of their
machines.
it soothes
the air, makes
it hard
to be misunderstood,
or to listen
to what isn't.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

jimmy and the whale

what kind of whale is
that, you ask
your friend betty as
you walk the shoreline
along the atlantic ocean.
don't know, she says.
blue whale maybe?
white whale, sperm
whale? there are so
many. it looks lost,
or stuck or something
and is making
a high pitched squeaky
noise. she puts her
hands over her ears
but spills the cherry
juice out of her
sno-cone that she's carrying.
it trickles down
the front of her
white bathing suit.
oh hell, she says.
I have to go back
and change now.
look at me! but
let's look at this whale
first, you tell her,
approaching
the giant beast washed
upon the shore.
his eyes are blinking
and occasionally he
shoots water out of the
top of his blow hole.
maybe we can push him
back in, you tell her,
digging your feet
into the sand
and shoving with
all your might
on his nose. i'm going
back, betty says.
I can't push that whale
with this juice all
over my suit. i'll be
back later. i'll put
on my yoga shoes
for traction, be careful,
those things have
teeth, she says.
don't let him bite
you, or worse swallow
you like that guy in
the bible, Jacob, or
jimmy, or something
like that. Jonah, you
yell back as she
scurries down the beach
covering up her suit
where the cherry juice
spilled. you pat the whale
on the nose and shake
your head. bad day,
eh? you tell him.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

liver

liver
lima beans.
kidney beans,
in fact
most beans
but coffee
beans.
pea soup.
long
lectures
or speeches
or sermons,
black ice,
hospitals,
hospital
gowns
needles.
snakes.
poems about
things
you don't like.

borrowed scissors

borrowed
scissors on
the table
gleam
in the soft
light
from the kitchen
window.
they are pink
as only a pretty
girl would choose.
they want
to go home,
but
you can't part
with them
just yet.
there are
ribbons to
cut, paper
to trim as
you wrap her
a gift for letting
you borrow
them.

even the cows knew

you find out
through whispered
secrets
on cold death beds
that your last name
is not really your last
name.
your father's mother
had a little
fling in 1928
that resulted in
your father being
born. everyone
suspected what the truth
was.
he looked exactly
like a man
in another town,
not like her husband.
it was scandalous
and the gossip
spread like
wild fire
across each farm
land fence,
the words
blowing across
the acres of corn
and wheat throughout
the years. even
the cows lifted
their bent
ears in amusement,
nodding to
one another what
they always knew.

when she's blue

she likes
to wear her blue
dress
when she's
feeling blue
and not quite
right.
it's a rain
cloud blue,
almost
a purple
hue. it doesn't
match her
eyes, or
her shoes.
you know when
you see her
wearing it,
to stay back,
be quiet
and aloof, don't
even try
to comfort her,
or kiss
her.
she's blue
and not taking
calls
from anyone,
not even you.

cat scratch fever


you pick up
a stray cat
in the alley.
it's on top
of a trash can
licking
the bones of
a dead fish
behind
legal seafood
restaurant.
it's a cute
cat, but
it turns on
you protecting
it's find. it
unleashes it's
sharp claws
and scratches
your arm.
you fear that you
may get a case
of cat
scratch fever.
your arm
itches and bleeds
all day
making people
point and say
what happened.
a cat
scratched me
you tell them.
but worse is
the song that keeps
going through
your head.
ted nugent screaming
out the lyrics.
you can't get
it out of your mind.

pixels and chips

each generation
erases
the last.
slowly
re inventing
each wheel,
believing
that music
and sex was
their idea.
this new one
relies on
pixels
and chips,
their
genius
being wasted
on
another
telephone,
then another,
and
another,
hopelessly
endless.

the book of dreams

you buy a book
on dreams,
what they mean,
the possible
implications
involving your
life, how
each dream
could reflect
the direction
your life is taking.
it suggests
that dreaming
of water
may mean that
you have to go
to the bathroom.
it was a cheap
book stacked
by the carts
near the front
door, marked
down for a quick
sale.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

the pope dot com

i don't know what's wrong
we me, i'm a binge eater,
your friend sylvia
tells you as you both
sit on her stone
patio. she has a bag
of lays ripple
potato chips
in her lap and is
eating them one
after the other.
there are crumbs
on her black blouse
and small birds are
circling, landing
near her feet.
I binge eat, I binge
drink, I binge date.
what's wrong with
me? i'm willing to be
helped. please tell me
something, you are so
wise and smart.
you hate when
she asks you these
impossible to answer
questions. she
leans the open family
sized bag towards you,
but you nod your head
no. not without
onion dip you tell
her. yes! I wish we had
some, she says. should
we run up to the store
and get some. there's
a 7 11 five minutes
from here.
no, she says suddenly,
stamping her flip flops
onto the stone deck
chasing the sparrows away.
no, what's wrong with
me. I need a doctor
don't I know? if I had
that onion dip
i'd scoop every last
glob of dip out
of that plastic
carton and lick
what I couldn't get to.
I want to be good, she
says. I so want to be
good. I think this is
what Paul in the bible
talks about. right?
maybe I need an exorcism.
the devil is possessing
me. well, might be
worth a shot, why don't
you shoot an e mail
off to the pope tonight
and see what he can do.
I think there's a special
on exorcisms this month
on account of Halloween.
great idea, she says,
turning the bag up
to have the last of the
chip crumbs roll into
her open mouth.
I could just google him
right? pope.com?

stuffed duck

you ask the snobby
waiter for
a bottle of ketchup
to dip your duck
in. the duck is stuffed
with plums and snails
and surpisingly not
too bad, but it
needs a little ketchup
to make it just right.
the waiter sends the manager
over, who runs across
the room to slap
you across the face
with his white glove.
you are in france
and you do not know
their customs. he tells
you to leave, to go now
you stupid American.
he points towards
the door making the crowd
of diners stand up
and clap with approval.
you put your baseball
cap on and say, i'm
leaving frenchie,
no problem, but wrap
up that duck to go. he
says non, non,
and sets the plate
on the floor where
a dog walks up
to eat what's left.
now go, he says,
smoothing out his
greasy black mustache.
go back to your ketchup
country and never
come back.

the duck

a duck
walks up to you
and shakes
his feathers,
water
spritzes everywhere.
you feel
like he's trying
to tell something,
but you
are too busy
worrying
about an issue
you have no control
over. like
your mother
and how she sometimes
says things
to hurt your
feelings
without even
trying.

sympathy cards

you get a job
at the hallmark
card factory
where you sit
in a cubicle
and write sappy
sentimental
lines to fit
the moment.
untimely deaths.
illnesses.
pets dying.
disasters of
all sorts that
may befall any
of us, given time
and bad luck.
you think that
the job is going
to be easy, but
it's not.
you struggle
the entire day
then finally come up
with,
sorry your dog
died, hope you
find another as much
fun as the other one,
and that he
last longer.
perhaps walk him
on a leash
next time.
too harsh your
new boss says,
handing you a
stack of petunia
covered sympathy
cards all with
the heading, sorry
for your loss.
sorry, that your bird
died. where are
you possibly going
to find another
bird, you write
on the next card.
your boss shakes his
head. what about
love, he says,
maybe you should
be in the love
department. sweet, you
tell him. I know
love like the back
of my hand. we'll see,
he says and takes
the sympathy cards
away.

Monday, October 14, 2013

namaste brother

your yoga instructor
angelica
sees you in
the back row
struggling
to do the
praying mantis
pose and stops
the class.
have you been
drinking, she
shouts out
in her non
yoga voice.
wobbling on one
leg, your
head held
high in the air,
you stretch
out your arms,
flapping them like
a large bird,
and say, maybe.
well, I told
you before, no
drinking before
class.
I just had one
you tell her,
no big deal. one
martini is not
going to stop me.
I can do this.
come up front she
says. now.
she is sister
Mary Margret
at St. Thomas Moore.
berating me, about
to beat my knuckles
with a stick.
no, you, tell her.
I like the view from
here. this makes
the entire class
of women groan,
you being the only
man in the room,
except for Irvin
who is in
the front row already
and is doing
the downward dog
while this goes on.
pick up your yoga
mat and come up
here she says.
no, you tell her again.
which makes her rush
back to get in your face
with her fist
curled. how about
I kick your drunk
butt in front of
everyone, she says,
bouncing around.
I take kickboxing too,
she says. you don't
want to mess with me.
you know, you are pretty
cute when your angry,
you tell her, pulling
up your yoga pants
as far as they will go.
when you awaken
the room is empty,
there is a knot on
your head
and someone has poured
out all of your spring
water upon your
face. Namaste.

courage

your dog
decides to run
away one
day. no note.
no message
left
on the fridge.
no dog bones
spelling out
what's up on your
pillow.
no farewell
bark.
he just leaves.
dropping his
his chain
and collar
on the floor
and goes
out the door,
over the fence
to his
new life,
to a world
without me.
you admire
his courage
and wish you
could do the same
sometimes.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

what's that smell

you are very
accepting
of most people.
you'd like to think
that you have evolved
into a kind
and compassionate
person. live and let
live, you often say.
quoting a well worn
cliche. and you are
that way for the most
part, that is until you
run across someone
that smells really
bad. if that's
the case then
you are very
judgmental and want
to get away from them
as quickly as possible.
suddenly you attach all
sorts of unspoken
bad qualities to them.
you want them
to understand
what soap can do,
explain gently how a bar
of deodorant can
change their
lives for the good.
but you don't like
to interfere
with other people's
lives and so
you say nothing, you
throw up a window
and pinch your
nose until you
can get out of there.
you are trying to be
so good, but sometimes
it's difficult.

like, whatever

while
waiting to have
your toe nails
washed
and clipped
at the happy
nail pedicure
salon, you get
into a conversation
with a young man
wearing
checkered
sneakers
and a rolex
watch. he asks
you what you do for
a living,
and so you tell
him.
very cool man.
he says. very very cool.
and what do you do,
you ask, expecting him
to explain his
pizza delivery route
to you. I like to seed
small firms
like yours, he says,
smiling and nodding
like budhha might.
I throw capital
towards the dreams
of those striving
to make this world
whole
and rich.
huh? you say,
chasing a fly
away from your ear.
I made millions
with start up companies,
buying selling, creating.
I am an angel planting
seeds of my wealth
in order to
grow the world.
I can help you man
put down that brush,
get out of that truck
and to live the life
you deserve
and crave. I can
help you be the person
that all your other
past lives have
wanted you to be.
I am your angel.
okay. you say. dizzy,
your eyes glazed over.
I think they are
calling me to do
my toe nails now.
nice chatting.
keep it real, the boy
says. Namaste.
the future is now.

take a picture

the young cannot
stop taking pictures
of themselves
and others.
the camera constantly
clicks
as they eat eggs,
or stand near
a statue
by da vinci,
or a painting
by Renoir, or
bend over to
gaze at
a broken beer
bottle
on the street.
they mug
for the camera,
arms around one
another, posing,
eyes wide, mouth
agape. they are young
after all
and beautiful in
their youth.
in love with
their image.
this too will end.

writing poetry

after writing,
and re writing,
scratching
things out.
correcting
spelling. adding,
subtracting.
you ball up
a piece
of paper and toss
it towards
the trash
can in
your office.
it misses,
and falls to the
floor.
it lies
next to the other
shots also
crumbled
next to the can.
but this doesn't
stop you,
you keep writing,
one will go
in eventually.

no more cary grants

there are no cary
grants anymore.
suave and sophisticated.
or grace kellys,
calm as a cat,
and beautiful.
that's over.
people now are
out and about
in their pajamas
and flip flops.
rude and crude.
impatient and sloppy.
they want their
future now.
they have a thousand
itches that
can't scratched,
but they do it anyways.
in public.
it's a what about
me world now.
no holding doors
for the people
leaving, just
a rush in to get
what they believe
they are
entitled to. there
are no more
cary grants. no
grace kellys.

the end of the world

what if it
doesn't stop raining.
then what.
you have no
carpentry skills
or wood
with which
to build an ark
and sail
the new seas.
and if you did,
what about
plumbing,
and heat,
food and water.
who would you
invite along.
many of your relatives
annoy you
within an hour
same goes
for your friends.
you're sure they
feel the same
way about you.
how would you
charge your phone?
what about coffee?
let's hope the rain
stops.
we're not quite
prepared yet for
the end
of the world.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

tornado dream

you dream
about a tornado,
black and tight,
ripping
through the alley
way.
your long
departed dog
is in the dream
and a woman
tv star that
you can't remember
her name.
she's wearing
a very short
dress
and kissing you
madly, making
plans with
you.
the dog is barking
as the tornado
lifts
the neighbor's
roof off.
you don't know
what the dream
is about, but
you are very
disappointed
when you wake up
with no woman
there, no dog
at the end of
the bed, but
there is a wind
pushing
the wet trees
against one
another out
the window.

are you off for columbus day

are you off
for Columbus day
people ask
every year. no, why,
you say.
when is it?
Monday they reply.
the government
has off, they
say. how can you
tell, you
answer back.
how do you celebrate
that holiday?
you ask.
we sing, and dance,
drink wine, eat
to celebrate
the discovery
of the new world.
but how can you
discover a place
where people already
live there.
good question,
they say.
what about arbor
day? they ask.
sure you say.
who doesn't like
a shady tree?

she is the rodeo

she is the rodeo,
the circus
come to town,
the big top
and the trapeze
artist.
she's Christmas
and new
year's wrapped
in a glittery
bowed box.
she's the fourth
of july
lighting up
the hot summer
sky. she's
exhausting and
as much as you
like her to visit.
you need your
rest when
she packs her
bag and leaves.

Friday, October 11, 2013

your happy place

up
side down
your
feet
where your head
should
be.
what are you
doing
in this yoga
class
with
the change
falling out
of your pockets,
your face
red,
your arms
trembling
with the weight
of you.
you are no
longer a lithe
cat
that can stretch
or
touch the center
of your back.
your toes
are a distant
memory,
your happy
place
is not here,
someone needs
to help you
down.

fast food clerk

you repeat
what you want three
or four
times
to the clerk
working
the register
at the fast food
counter.
each time you
say what you want
you say it
clearly
and loudly,
making eye contact
with the glazed
stare
of the young man,
but it
doesn't matter.
the day
is long and cluttered
for the boy
in his apron
and tilted
paper hat. his
mind his elsewhere.
slaying dragons,
making
love to princesses.
dreaming of
better days
to come.

side effects

you fear
the flu shot.
the needle
puncturing your
skin,
your body
accepting
this syringe
full of medicinal
fluids
meant to
save you from
harm. you
fear the side
effects,
the rare case
of being paralyzed,
and blinded.
deaf and dumb,
but without the flu.
you'd rather
take your chances
with the sneezing
hordes,
the drooling
masses
that linger
in the stores,
pushing lazily
along
towards the cold
medicines.
holding your
breath
on the bus,
the plane,
gargling, and wiping,
washing your
hands
like a madman
for the next
three
months.

how are you?

you put
on your lucky
hat
before leaving
the house,
avoiding
each crack in
the sidewalk.
you go around
the ladders
that lean against
the burning
building,
hopping over
the cat, black
as the ace
of spades.
you avoid
the 13 bus,
and wait
for the 14,
which takes
the long
way around
the mirror
factory.
you knock
on wood when
asked how are
you and reply
just fine, just
fine, a little
crazy, but
well, and you?

bookless world

they are taking
down
the library
around the corner
they need
the room
and space
to put
another coffee
shop
and outlet in.
the books are bleeding
ink
as each stone
falls
to the ground.
war and peace,
the fear of flying
catcher in the rye
and run rabbit run,
all finally
meeting in a shoveled
pile, eye to eye.
the librarian
is sitting on a stool
wiping
her tears,
grinding her
teeth, texting
on her
I pad
what has the world
come to, woe
is me.
woe is me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a good day

it's
a good day
to stay
put, to linger
inside
with the covers
pulled tight
to your chin,
to listen
to the rain
fall cold
and hard
against
the street
outside.
it's a good
day
to do nothing
but wait
for you to
arrive, making
the day
full of rain
even better.

robo calls

if elected
you'll clean this mess
up.
no more
standing in the median
waving
like a clown
on election
day for one thing.
all politicians
will wear
a red suit so
that people can
find them in a crowd
and ask
them questions,
berate them
for doing a bad
job, or praise
them for getting
things right.
it will be a non
paying job, so
that the economy will
truly affect them
when the government
shuts down.
they will no longer
take the month
of august off,
and you will be able
to reach
them directly by
the phone at all
hours. just
like they do you.

every day for a year

you inexplicably
come across,
as you log
on to your computer,
a video
of a woman being
interviewed
online
about her having
sex every day
for a year
in order to rid herself
of her loathing
self image.
true story.
I want to be more
comfortable
about who I am as
a woman, she
says, smoking a
cigarette, blowing
the smoke
up into the hazy
air of her
bedroom. there
are circles
and bags under
her eyes.
her clothes are
torn, and she's pale.
there is a bottle
of wine
in her hand, and
a box of oreos
cookies on the bed.
in the background
you can hear
marvin gaye singing.
so what day are
you on, the interviewer
asks from
a remote
location.
day ten, she says,
peering
out the slats of
her bent venetian
blinds. okay. I have
to go now, the next
guy is here.

the fuzzy past

you had a favorite
shirt
in the 1970's,
polyester, a
bluish wedge wood
color, with
ships, galleons
sailing across
a ruffled white
sea of breaking
waves. it was
button down. white
shiny
buttons. it probably
was less of
a shirt and more
of a woman's
blouse, you wore
it with white
flared pants,
all of which makes
you shudder now
as you sit
here in your black
t-shirt
and jeans thumbing
through a box
of ancient photos
that gives clues
to your fuzzy past.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

what women like

women love
cheese
especially if
you cut it up
before they
arrive and put
it on a plate
with fancy
crackers.
they love wine too.
they love
having
the door opened
for them
and being called
by Wednesday
for a weekend
date.
it's good to
tell them that
they smell
nice, and look
wonderful
in that dress,
or whatever
they might
have on,
and no,
they don't
look like a pound
has been added
anywhere.
women love
cheese,
they love wine.
they love a clean
bathroom,
and clean
sheets.
if you have
a candle, light
it, they love
that too.
it's best to
never bring up
any past women
in your life.
imagine you have
dropped from
the sky, and she
will believe
that with you.
women love
cheese. they love
wine.

cruel time

she tells
you on the phone
from California
where you can
almost hear the
pacific ocean
crash blue
against the shore,
and smell the oranges
falling from
the trees
in the valley,
she tells you
that she is
having
surgery on her
arms.
she wants them
lean again,
so they need to
be trimmed away,
to filet
the wrinkled
selvage acquired
by cruel time
and age.
I want younger
arms she says.
last year
it was my neck,
my nose, my cheek
bones.
so the arms
are overdue.
i'll send you a
photo when
they're healed
and right.
pray for me, she
says. pray for me.
I already am, you
tell her.
I already am.

less of you

there is less
of you
each day, you
read in
a magazine
while waiting
at the doctor's
office
for a brief
visit.
less skin,
less bone, less
hair.
only the fat
from years
of eating
remains.
slowly you
disappear
into the vast
tomb of time,
the wind
carrying your ashes
across some
given shore,
your thoughts
and memories
rising into
the clouds,
unshared
forevermore.

Monday, October 7, 2013

retirement funds

so, the financial
advisor says,
spreading out his
actuary charts
and graphs
onto your dining room
table. so, he repeats,
pulling on his
cheap blue tie
with an American
flag on his lapel,
sweat beading on
his pink forehead.
so, if you live to
95, which is not
out of the question
these days, since
you don't smoke
and I see that you are
in fabulous shape,
you will need approximately
twenty million dollars
saved up in your
savings account, or
stock portfolio
to live the same
life that you do
now. so, if I may ask,
how much do you have
now. how much do you have
put away for those
golden days. he smiles,
showing a nice
set of polished
crowns. well, you say,
pulling on a thread
from your shirt,
less than that, a
little less than that,
you tell him, then reach
for the peanut butter
jar in the cabinet.
i'm cutting back though,
this is dinner.
you hold up the jar
for him to see, it's not
even crunchy,
so it may be more
before then?

i think i might be pregnant

I think I might
be pregnant
she says on the phone,
as you sit
on the basement
stairs
with the stretched
out black
cord from
the kitchen wall.
this makes you stop
talking.
you begin to sweat
and untie
the laces of
your grass stained
sneakers.
what, you say.
why are you telling
me this. we've
never done
anything, have we?
we came close, she
says. that time at
the drive in.
maybe some
got in. impossible
you say, trying to
recall all of your
biology knowledge
learned
from your father's
magazines, hidden
lazily
under his bed.
maybe you've eaten
something bad
and it's doing
something to your system.
remember, we had
that Mexican food
the other day?
maybe she says.
i'm probably not, but
I just thought i'd
tell you since we
are best friends
and all. well, okay.
but I have to go now,
I have homework to do.
you tell her, banging
hard on the steps,
my mother needs to
use the phone anyway,
she's knocking
on the door.

graffiti boys

the graffiti boys
in their
hooded
coats, flashlights
and cans
of paint
in their deep
pockets. in
the early hours
of morning,
relentless with
their art.
their broad sprayed
strokes
along the concrete
walls,
coded silly
names, faces,
below
the underpass.
between
child and man,
in limbo,
marking their
brief spot in
the world,
with blood and urine,
paint.

off the chain

the dog
off the chain
runs
the length of
the dirt
yard barking.
snarling.
left out in
the cold,
the rain, all
night
and day,
sheltered
by a wooden
table.
a rag blanket
to sleep
on. his eyes
are red
with rage.
all night,
all day,
barking.
keeping everyone
awake,
afraid.
the world
is full of mad
dogs
off
the chain.

hurricane lydia

she wants to be
a hurricane.
her name
across the news. she
wants the headline
to read
Lydia blows up
and down the east
coast
erasing towns,
breaking levees.
smashing cars,
turning the world
into a stormy
stew. my name would
come up
over and over
again, she says.
people would
remember me for
a long time,
and it wouldn't
be like now,
when they often
scratch their heads,
and say, Lydia,
I don't remember
her. who?

pumpkin spice latte

I can't have
what I want
most of the time
and don't
want what I
have, she tells
you, sitting outside
the coffee shop
as the weather
changes from
summer, briskly
into fall.
the leaves rattle
across
the pavement
as we sip our
coffee.
she narrows her
eyes and takes a
sip of her drink.
foam is on her
pursed lips. I wish,
she says,
that I had gotten
the pumpkin
spice
and not this.

roll back the odometer

you want to hit
a hundred
than go back
to 50
or 40 perhaps.
roll back
the odometer
on your life,
but nothing
less, knowing
what you know
now.
which isn't much
when it comes
to women.
cats wrapped
in an enigma.
stepping softly
across the bed
to rest
in a loud purr
across
your chest.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

the see saw

the children
in the playground
on
a see saw
of red
painted wood
the sky
above them,
the earth
below.
they begin
to understand
the nature
of things
quickly.

wishing well


with your coin
in hand,
and a wish
on your tongue
you see
that the wishing
well is full
of coins.
no more will
fit.
they roll off
as they hit
the pile, making
you wonder
what was or
wasn't fulfilled.


don't get run over

you were raised
by wolves,
weened while
curled
in the hollow
of a tree
fed wild
life and shrubs.
your parents
had a litter
of children,
too many to be
concerned all
at once about
one, or two.
the older ones
would lead
the way for
the youngest.
it was that
generation
of parenting.
be home for
dinner, do
your homework,
don't get
run over in
the street,
brush your teeth,
and pray.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

men like to spit

men like
to spit. it's what
men do
when playing
sports.
they also like
to grab themselves,
while talking
trash, adjust
what god gave
them. some more
than others
from what you hear.
men like to growl
and bump against
one another
on the court,
in the gym, on
the field. grunting
their egos out,
spreading
their aging wings
in search
for the perfect
shot, pitch,
or game.
men do not age
well. they like
to spit.
they like to grab
themselves.
thank god for women.

enough rooms

you have enough rooms
in this
house. plenty
of space to roam
about
when you can't
sleep.
there is the
great plains
of your living room,
the dank
musk of the basement
with its dripping
faucet
and furnace
that groans
with a blue flame
and green
metal skin.
there are the beds
made
in the rooms above.
pools of smoothed
sheets
awaiting skin,
pillows awaiting
heads to lie there.
there is the tiled
floor
of the kitchen
echoing your footsteps
from stove
to sink, the squeak
of each cabinet
door, you know so
well. the clang
of a single dish
the glass,
the one fork
upon the counter
before the lows
go off.

the seduction

she goes up
the side of
the house, and climbs
into your
window like
a black cat
on the prowl,
with a full moon
shedding its
sheer
white light
across
the room and her.
in a subtle
moment she is
in your bed
beside you, purring
into your ear
that the night
is young
and we aren't.
let's go, kiss me.
her body, a cold
silver spoon
against
your skin.

Friday, October 4, 2013

praying for three points

you imagine
the impossible
that God sleeps
uneasy these
days with
so much
to do. the prayers
are in bags
by the gate,
e mails and texts,
the old fashioned
hands together
petitions
are stacked up
in the clouds
asking for
everything from
healing
and sight,
to a field goal
needed
in overtime
from the 48.
the lonely need
love and affection,
the hungry need
food.
and time, everyone
keeps praying
for more time,
for the light
to turn green,
for the crops
to rise, the rain
to stop, for
the oceans and
rivers to abide
God sleeps uneasy
these days, you
imagine,
but not you,
you work too hard
not to.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

new game

the world
is full of pawns
few kings
few queens,
the game is fixed
the bishop
is crooked,
the knight
ignoble.
the castle is
empty. the world
is full
of pawns with
small moves,
in one direction.
the game
is fixed.
you need a new
game.

you cup your ear

you cup your ear
to listen
to the wind
and what it might
have to say to you
this day.
what secret it
might hold
in its whisper
as it makes
the grass roll
the leaves move.
you listen,
steadying your eyes,
being still
as it wraps its
cold air
around you, seeping
against your skin
touching your
white bones.
you listen to this
wind to hear
what it has to say
and it says nothing,
it says everything.

mrs. lynch

you see
mrs. lynch, her
silver hair
pulled back
tightly under
a blue scarf
walking down union
street
with her
wheeled
basket behind
her.
a large black
purse slung over
her bent
shoulders.
she is looking
down more
than up,
listening to
the rhythm of
the cars
before crossing
each street.
she is going
towards an old
house where
the foundation
has been bared
to reveal the fragments
of pottery
and glass, broken
jars,
silverware.
with her life
nearing it's end,
her husband gone
her children
raised and off into
their own worlds
this is what
she wants to do.
kneel in the dirt
and discover what
used to be new.

october santa

the store santa,
dressed in
hot red cotton
overalls,
with his
gummy white
beared
strapped on
with a thin
band, and his
belly filled
with feathers,
he neither ho
ho ho's,
nor sings,
nor is jolly
as each sticky
kid jumps onto
his boney knees
to plead
and beg
for more of what
they've been
given all year
long. the season
starts
early, like all
seasons
these days, no
rest for the weary
as Christmas
is at our
throats again.

the meal

the black
vultures, like
judges
and witnesses,
lawyers
and prosecutors,
a jury
all wrapped
into one,
line up on a
high perch
on a bare
branch of a dying
tree
and wait for
the executioner
to do his
duty.
their patience
is beyond measure,
knowing that
the meal
of death comes
to all, without
exception.

innocent

in the cell
next to you,
you hear the ping
of metal
against bars,
a stolen
stone from
the yard
sounding off
that your neighbor
wants to
talk. so you
whisper, what,
what is it?
how long have
you been here,
the man whispers.
twenty years, you
tell him, twenty
years for
something I
didn't do.
what didn't you
do he whispers.
I don't remember
you tell
him, but i'm
innocent.
we all are, the
voice whispers
back. we all
are. goodnight.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

in the woods

lost
in the woods
you look
up at the low
lying
winter sun
with its
meager heat
and dim
bulb.
which way
is north, you
have no
clue.
each tree looks
the same,
each creek
you cross
you've stepped
over or
through again
and again.
you can only
go straight,
as straight as
your boots
will allow.
one step in
front of the other.
it's how
you always get
out of the woods.

pizza time

dirty dishes
in the sink,
pile up
over time.
you've been
too busy
with your life.
not a mug to
pour a cup
of coffee in.
you've let
things go, get
out of hand.
every spoon
and fork
waits against
one another
to be washed.
no pots,
no pans. it's
pizza time.

loose threads

the room is
full
of people
that all will
be dead
in a hundred
years
or less,
but there's
no panic or
no sense of
doom.
they pull
at threads
on their clothes.
watching
the clock.
there are
small
conversations
of weather,
and sports,
how the frost
might
harm
the cherry
blossoms
in their
april bloom.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

naked dancing

you meet a woman
in a coffee shop,
downtown.
it's a first time
meeting from
an online dating
site called:
crazy people need
love too, dot com.
she tells you
within the first five
minutes of your
conversation, that
she's a stripper.
I take my clothes
off and dance naked in
a club where men
come in to watch
and slip money
into my garter belt.
sometimes I lean
over and they put
dollar bills
into my cleavage.
are you okay
with that, she says,
lighting a cigarette,
cause if you
aren't, what's
the point of going
on any further.
I like to dance too,
you tell her,
but usually with
my clothes on.
really, she says.
what is that? is
that a joke, are you
mocking my profession,
the career I've chosen.
I make more money
in one night than
you make in a week.
I could buy and sell
you, buddy boy.
there's no smoking
in here, you tell her
gently, pointing
at the sign.
i'm leaving she says.
don't ever contact
me again, loser.
you finish your coffee.
taking a one
dollar bill out
of your pocket,
that could have been
hers and leave
it on the table.

egg salad sandwich

your friend.
your work
buddy,
old
and grizzled,
a can
of beer in his
deep painter's
pants pocket,
curses, showing
his bad teeth
as the line for
lunch crawls
towards
the register.
he has an egg
salad
sandwich in
his hand,
another cold
beer and a pack
of pall malls.
what the hell
is wrong with
these
people he
says loudly.
ain't nobody here
speak any
English, get
this line going.
you cringe,
and look away.
as he laughs
and says, i'm
scaring you,
aren't I.

night visitor

the single
mouse
darting
across the floor,
on a crumb
and cheese hunt,
stops
suddenly
and rises onto
on his hind
legs,
his whiskers
shaking as he
wonders
what you
are doing up
so late,
so early
in the chair
with your
feet up,
a book in
your lap,
the sun still
hours away.
it confuses him,
this untimely
sighting,
then he scampers
away
to make a note
of it,
beware, he writes,
something
is amiss.

the slow lane

in the right
lane
you
go slower
let the speed
merchants
fly by
on the left
and in
the middle
with their
flashing lights
and bellowing
horns,
gestures of
indignation
at your turtle
pace.
that's fine.
get there before
me.
I've been
there, and the
end is still
the same
no matter how
long it takes
to arrive.