Poems

Poem #42

When the mists rise
And things are clear to see
I’ll know what I want

Or…

Cicadas will sing it out
Mourning doves will spell it out in seed husks on the lawn
Fireflies will code it out in the dark
A wind will hold its breath and then whisper it:
What you need to do is —

And the wind runs out, the firefly dies after a night of ecstasy, the mourning dove is a moron, and the cicadas retreat into the ground, with a knowing look that says, “We’ll tell you in 17 years.”

Night is now here. Insect choirs trade eights. The house has sleepy eyes and wonders when I’m coming back in.

Or…

I’m never coming back in.

I’ll wait until I make up my mind like a hit by a lightning bolt. The birds and bugs scatter at the crash of it, throwing themselves up through the trees, dodging branches, twigs and leaves, and murmurating into sentences and phrases -

I don’t utter them. No one hears me, just reading strangers. Hello there! Are you somewhere between the ground and the air, too? Dying, and yet so so damn alive?

August 17, 2021

On the Beach

Geiger counters begin to click

We’ve all been drinking for weeks
And fucking like mayflies
Smashing our houses and appliances
Racing the neighbors’ cars and playing chicken
Pausing only to kick some guy’s ass if they impede shit

But it’s all stupid fun and games until somebody loses a civilization

And now, sobering up, and throwing up in the sand, Geiger counters a relentless polka band, the uncontemplatable becomes the topic of silent discussion

Waiting for something you never want to arrive is so different than what I’ve been doing, which has been waiting for something that will never arrive, you. Faceless and nameless you

You, who’ve been at the periphery of me since I noticed girls
Lurking as a yardstick from first dates to divorces
Everywhere, yet never under any stone I’ve ever turned up, door I’ve opened, mouth I’ve kissed

Now would be the time for you to come walking down the beach and plop down in the sand, with that smile I’ve never seen but I’ve always known

My dear friend! I’ve been waiting waiting waiting, and finally you’re here! Just in time to make it all worth while!

August 15, 2021

Hiroshima Penumbra

My shadow is walking untethered through my house
I’m hiding in a quiet room in the dark

We divorced sometime early in middle school — those things kids know how to say, off-the-cuff, but targeted with smart-bomb accuracy

After Hiroshima, they found the last shadows ever cast
On walls, stairs, sidewalks

My shadow is now shopping
I’m still atomized, although I’m tagging along these days
My hat pulled down low
My beard a white shadow slowly taking over my face

July 17, 2021

Better Living Through Root Canal

Tired of lopsided eating,
which caused me to poop lefty,
I found myself in a chair
As He probed my face.

He massaged my feet and x-rayed my unmentionables.

He studied me, with those sensitive eyes, and announced:

“You have much wrong with you.
And your diet isn’t helping.
And the drinking! Phfssst!”
(He gestured, his hand a flapping bird startled off the porch)

“You are poisoned by many tiny things.
I’ll remove what I can,
but it’s a plethora, I tell you.”

The lights changed and He put on special goggles.

He drilled, politely.
My tongue cowered, henpecked and unemployed.

Then, with a thin instrument inserted,
He pulled out a little red guy — like a bit of chorizo caught between the chompers.

“This. Has. Been. The. Problem.”
(Each word was accompanied by a hand motion, as if hitting me lightly, and with no small affection)

He lit the red thing — the little red guy — on fire with a bunsen burner flame.
It squeeked “Yeep” and vanished.

“I have removed it!”
He warned: “Don’t you put it back!”

Oh! Alas!
I am a dumb ass!
I’ll try. I will try.

But we creatures of bad habits
Nose pickers
Ruminators
Singed and flowering with recriminations

We always put things back.

July 7, 2021

Moonboy I

Moonboy was still in diapers when we discovered him staring up at you, and then he became moonboy

Through cloud cover he could track you — we’d hold him up, move him in a circle ’til he smiled

And at night, we could peak into his room, and even if you were on the other side of the world, it seemed an errant beam lit his face

Then math came along, and science, and when he learned of the actual distances involved, the space between you grew with each trip ‘round the sun

But perhaps… on a clear night, you might peak over the horizon and find his face?
And his girlfriend might see a moment of moonboy, in between beginner kisses

June 28, 2021

Miss Lyndonville

My queen is at Miss Lyndonville Diner

I order a cuppa coffee and nurse it for an hour just to watch her.

Caffeine kicks my IBS up bad so the whole thing is painful.

I watch her the whole time, careful not to get caught.

I watch her long neck with her hair piled up.

I watch her hands and the way her legs move and the way she… I dunno.

Everything.

Everything everything everything

And the whole time my gut is killing me, from that first sip on.

But I order coffee cause that’s the first thing she says to me.

And it’s ok that it hurts cause I’ll never have the guts to — Oh, here she comes now here she comes:

She glides by and I can smell her for just a moment. Part of her stays in the air for a moment.

And then I go, and I drive across the lot to look in the window a last time.

June 25, 2021

Rosebud, Little Friend

Rosebud, little friend
There will be boys to meet
On stairwells, he’ll pass you
With all his hair
Hiding his eyes
This will go on for some weeks
As he figures out your schedule
And figures out himself
’Til he surprises you
(and himself)
Stopping on the stairwell
With an eloquent “Hey…”

It is then
You might notice his lips

The best of these boys
Are so scared
Send him down the stairs
To dream unending of you

You will never hold so many of the cards again

June 23, 2021

Soon Summer

Soon summer…
Trapped in a bed with someone who sleeps hot
And no escape from lazy curls of grill smoke that hunt you down

The house on the corner will start throwing parties — you’re never invited
Shitty music and the laughing of drunk mothers banging on the window

Come out! Come out and play! Come sit and get some food you couldn’t see in the dark all over your fat shorts!

Swim in the pool with everyone else’s drips and liquids, and $5 French fries sticky fingers that were up that’s kid’s nose

Soon it will rain, and there will be a mist when you walk in the morning, and so quiet that you’d swear you heard dragonflies holding hands

And then off and running for the bathing suit body that hasn’t been seen since your early 30’s

Soon summer will end…
Still trapped with that hot sleeper
And no escape from caramelizing onions that find you opening windows

The house down the street leaves garbage cans in front all week and who knows what those teens are up to

Stay out. Stay out all day until your sneakers are wet… and you stepped in something

Jump rope and use the bike in the basement, and watch the country fall apart between commercial breaks for medicine you’re likely to eventually take

Soon it will snow, and you’ll have to pick your path to the park, empty handed

And then creaking up the stairs with your old knees, dreaming of new hips

June 22, 2021

Pizza Girl

I’m
just a girl that works
in a pizza place

Today it was thunder and rain

I stood in the doorway watching the street empty of people

I fuck up so many things
all the way back to grade school

I could step off the sidewalk and be swept away
to where no one who knows me might find me

And I could be a mermaid to someone who’s never seen a girl
from a pizza place

June 5, 2021

April 24

Let’s sing something dumb
About love and sex and being everything

To some someone
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing

April 24, 2021
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