Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cat

Tater's treats sit atop
Auden's "Selected Poems"
on the bookshelf because
they fit there. I thought
this fitting for a poem.


[Working Title: Bloomsday]

The patrons play and fall
regularly in the streets.
Puke splatters the walls,
and the Irish stand tall,
till they don't. Punches
fall and faces crawl
into the gutter. Hunched
back travelers brawl
and wail for the stench
the smell of sheets,
washed and dried clean.

"Let's get out of here!"
said the woman, pear
shaped, to the man agape
with fear. He apes
himself. He knuckles down
to the rippling ground,
and says, "No more."
His last breath is floored.

On this day we sing
into the pissing wind,
and allow others to fend
for themselves till night's end.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Honeymoon

While pulling a barstool, 
screeching across the floor, 
you're hit with the scent of whiskey, 
mahogany, and your own sweat, 
which intermingles with the taste
of blood in your mouth. The hardwood 
backrest is light in your hand. You 
can't see a bottle of Maker's on the shelf.
It's going to be a long night. 
Your husband raises a finger beside
you. "One more for my bride, sir!"
he says, or would have if he weren't dead.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Working Title: Movement

Life is motion. The ocean breaks the shore.

Every door opens and closes more loudly with age.

The burden of living breaks a man.

Each decision aids precision and navigates the river rocks.

The water flows.
Now is the time.

Ever present is His presence.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Breakfast

Green tea peels back
last night's drunken damage,
and the day breaks on 30th
Avenue. Every footstep passing

the sidewalk table eats
a bit of each person that clicks
and clomps toward work.
The day is already done.

Dreams of the reverse path home
fill their heads like water, or
green tea. The leaves sink
to the bottom of this paper coffin.

Dead tired, the writer tosses the cup
and joins the cattle lowing toward work.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Geology and Genealogy

He spent years under Oklahoma stones. Even after washed and dried, his shirt held their incense.

When building chimneys, the odor of wet mortar settled into his beard.

Portland dust fertilized his boots with city-germinating aromaskyscrapers and sidewalks come from this dust and will return to it.

After a rain, the New York City pavement composed him, yesterday, in his son's memory.

Stone or concrete perfumes him into existence, out of thin air, for his descendants. Anywhere.

Text messaged photo from my dad.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

R.I.P. Coach Hampton

In physical education class, you made me run suicides against the oldest and largest boy while the whole class watched. I was the youngest and smallest and couldn't beat him. He'd win by a hair and you'd make us run again. You were rooting for me, but I didn't know that then. The largest boy was running for his dignity. How could I beat that out of him?

That's my most vivid memory of you and your teaching. Wait.

I also saw you on the pitchers mound of our middle school gym floor. You'd throw the kickball maddeningly and bouncily to the athletically gifted to keep the playing field even. And you'd snatch linedrives out of the air as if you had a gloved hand catching a baseball. My older brother said you used to dive, too, before your heart surgery.

Now I see you eternally diving home. How is your eternal home?


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Portal

The soul's window remains
the same from birth to death.
Life parades outside. Jester
and orator are equally framed.
Those born blind see the same.

The eye is a symbol of a window.

A witness knows when one
gives up the ghost, whether
or not the shades are closed.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Earthbound

This incensed hyacinth
purpling aflame in spring
will anger into summer ash.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Incomplete Idea #3

Your eyes are the same size as when you were born. Who knew the soul's window needs to remain the same from birth to death?


Sunday, February 24, 2019

On Berryman

I've recently been obsessing over John Berryman's work. I've been rereading The Dream Songs, and I also purchased Homage to Mistress Bradstreet and Short Poems. Both purchases were discontinued library books. Short Poems was a first edition and only checked out once. Bradstreet was never checked out.

I know that I'm a rare weirdo because I still read and write poetry outside academia, but really? One of America's greatest poets of the 20th century has a book that was checked out once in 50 years, and another book that was never read, until I bought it.

Also, both were academic libraries.

T. S. Eliot said, "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future." Sorry, man, the future doesn't have hope for your art form.

God bless the soul who acquired this library stamp.




Thursday, January 17, 2019

Incomplete Idea #2

If language can compose
a home, each word
is a brick, and this stanza
begins the foyer of this poem.