Poems

After Dinner, but Before Breakfast

A million things to do
None of which effect the planet
More so than making dinner
Everything and most people
All becomes electrons

This pointless life on the steppes
These nomads trekking in place
There’s been a shift in the skies
Those pole stars have moved
That course is now un-plottable

Come now: Quiet
A flung and dropped comforter
What keeps a blanket from becoming a shroud is that tomorrow you get up
And after coffee
Begin the thousand footfalls
Forging your own mad chain

January 25, 2022

Think of the second thing first

I saw a fat kid
on a bike
who had a nice smile

On a bike
I saw a fat kid
who had a nice smile

Who had a nice smile?
The fat kid
on a bike

Out on that bike: legs pumping, face flushed, delicious air running through passages cool into his lungs, and then through arteries and down to the cells, the mitochondria.

That smile of shy, unobserved delight, the glide like a P-51 through the neighborhood, going somewhere or nowhere

Sixteen and on a bike: a moment to be savored

What sort of asshole am I that I didn’t see the smile first?
Am I often given gifts and my focus finds the subpar wrapping paper?

Perhaps if I keep working at it, and if I’m lucky
In future I’ll see the poem first, before I have to write it

December 14, 2021

12/02/2021

When did we enter this world?
Our new strange world
Where all our collective memories are bad
And every moment second-guessed?

The city is noisy and alive
And smells of Sabretts and sweet onion sauce
As it wakes up

You’re where you are, wherever that may be
While I’m anonymous
Talking to strangers
Lovely under their masks

December 2, 2021

When

I was young, and autumn seemed to last months, from the first days of school, finally gasping out at Thanksgiving, in New England, where it becomes its own holiday, and you could drive north with a girlfriend into deeper, redder places, the dog wearing a t-shirt and leaping from leaf pile to leaf pile

All the things that never happened

When will a leaf land on my shoulder, pause for a moment as we recognize each other, and then continue falling, taking me along?

September 15, 2021

Cricket Poem

There are crickets outside
Speaking to the crickets inside my head:
Guys — come out!
We’re mating and stuff!
You’ve not lived until you’ve had insane hopper sex on the lawn and then die!

My crickets conferred:
We’ll stay in this guy’s head
We serenade him; he’d miss us if we left
And he’s a good enough sort of fella
A bit forgetful and prone to melancholia
But he tries

(He tries to get rid of us, actually
He doesn’t like us at all)

September 14, 2021

Frankie

Frankie
At the center of things at the table
He peeled off all the label and he made a little snowman from it
Explaining how taxes work and why we all get fucked

Later
He passed out in the bathroom
Woke up face down in the toilet with a cut above his eye
Crying that he never got his shot and how he got fucked

Sunrise
On the curb beside the garbage
This bald guys walks his dog, and Frankie starts this thing
Talking schnauzers and he had one as a kid until it got fucked

Frankie
You and I are strangers and we’ll stay that way
You’re a bomb that’s ticking and the explosion will be a fizzle
But I can’t be there to watch, Frankie
I got my own bombs about to go off

September 10, 2021

Saturday Night’s Alright for Dying

We pushed the windows wide open
Let clothes find their way into any old drawer
The fan is jammed and clicks, broken
Whatever
We’ll visit it later at fan hospital

We put tiny blindfolds on our pets
Now they’re experiencing new vistas and adventures

We need more werewolves around here
Stalking around suburbia and occasionally taking a housewife

A good place to hide is the basement bathroom, with a book we never finish
Toileting until legs go numb

A pet bumps in, via the walls and door frames
Sniffing for the scratching hand, sprawled at your feet
Attentive to crickets, werewolves, and the occasional plane

A door bangs shut somewhere

But the windows are open still

September 6, 2021

The Fuck-Up Whisperer

A lumpy woman on a bike
Slows and loses balance on a sharp turn
On the sidewalk

The saddle catches her fanny pack
The pedal, her sneaker lace
Her helmet mushes her hair into a gray fallen soufflé

And now she’s late for office hours
To sit at a desk and hold your hand
And forgive you for failing to become a fraction as notably forgotten as Françoise Dorléac

But she perseveres!
The crossbar crushes into her crotch
She levers her leg down and the bike creaks forward a baby step
Hovering on training wheels of hope and habit

(Françoise‘s ghost laughs, and flings her cognac hair)

She whispers in her own ear:
Pedal!! Pedal, you fuck...

September 3, 2021

Beautiful You

On a cliff in Greece
You might find your Goddessness

But she also might be found
In an apt. in Philly

At burlesque classes
In shirtwaist dresses and victory rolls

We all fight the battle of
Our body and our past

Our good minds that trick us into
Ruminating on issues that feast on rumination

Yet you delight and surprise
Like old music on a new radio

And these metaphors are skint celebrations
Of the wonder that is you

Before this becomes a homily
I’ll offer this benediction

A dim light touches the slates of the patio
Dream in your loft, never alone

August 20, 2021

Stop Filling Holes I Do Not Have

What can be done with this monologue-ist? Hunting around the kitchen cabinets for the stale crumbs of kisses, and white glove testing the cracks and the corners. The queen bee is barefoot and pregnant, with no time to whine, but you! Shakespearette of problematic recipes and balking blenders. We let the eggplant hatch on the stove, but by all means, tell me the backstory in detail of someone I’ll never meet, whose name I’ve already forgotten. Meanwhile, back at the ranch in my head, I read the news of myself to myself, while my ratings dip and you interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to ask a question, thumbing in a dime of ersatz interest for a dial tone of an answer from someone who’s not interesting to you.

August 19, 2021
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