Lost: Photograph of Mother and Her Young Son


It stuck to the bottom of my shoe
like a leaf on any November day
a week, maybe two, after a wind
wretch’d from a down belly funnel
ran off its tracks,  god-plowing miles
of field across twelve states, ripping
through lives built on wide-open prairies;
in the quiet ringing after calamity,
I tried to kick it off, then forgot.

Glued to the wet of the car mat,
a little face with a halo of brown curls
bundled in his young mother’s arms
sits in a car now upturned on Route 24,
dumb to the loss, this innocent find
all that is left of October’s calm.


Winter


I tried to stay awake
to watch the night
that comes early
move into a dawn
that arrives late,

but the cold came
and the covers
blanketed me
into a cozy
dream sleep.

Winter is not
meant to be
watched; rather,
it is found
in the drowsy
rhythms of hibernation.

To Me, He Came


He liked to cum.
Now, they all do,
oh, I know that,
but he did,  so
especially.

Like a cat, he
came to the door
with teeth clenching
delicacies

in gold boxes
of caramel
and chocolate
Belgian truffles,

or some rotten
piece of trash from
the back dumpster,
I didn’t mind.

I would gobble
it all up, so
satisfied that
to me, he came.

Good Grief


Stars are painted
tin foiled twinkle
that hang overhead
the Xmas tree lot
and trailer shed.

A bald bulb
strung across
the graveled path
is the only living
thing besides
the balsams and firs
cut months ago.

They’re not long
for this world
dropping needles
and losing sap
as they choke
automobile fumes
and the watch’s
cigarette smoke.

I look.
But good grief,
the loneliness
on the corner
of vacantcy
is more than
I can stand.



Black and Blue


My fingers hurt
for no reason
other than
they are
the last thing
that doesn’t hurt
on my body.

Head to toe
side to side
black and blue
hematoma.

When I met you,
I tripped up.
I fell down.
I hit my head.

Internal
hemorrhages
bleed out.
I close my
eyes.

Nothing good
survives.
It’s all dead.

All Hallow's Host


All souls race
slick black
rain leaved,
pavement toward
the door
I leave open.

Alone they find
dust piled
in corners
that tell
tall tales
of another haunt.

The sun’s been
gone now
for hours,
night’s nearly
grasped the
last of it.

I wait standing
to feel
their warmth
come ‘round
in circles
to finally settle.

Ever Green


Out of the wood
bucks exploded
flying across
the ancient path
that guided me
with seashells,
the pilgrim’s mark,
and Roman ruins.

Sweaty beasts
agily leaping
into the pine
their rush
spreading needles
across the path
drawing scent
out.

Breathful they
still the air
quiet captive.

Pine sweat.
Pine scent.
Pine sweet.

Our shoes
knock concrete
my love always
looking to
buy trinquets
to soothe
time not spent
on same road.

Frasier fir wax
lit, reminiscent
of the ever
green of Spain
timeless beat
of a tramp
toward sacred.

Like the beast
he will come
and go so fast
leaving  me
to conjure
his stillness.

Some Sister She



He married  his sister.
Happily ever for now.
She’s just   moved up   
from his past to    live,
hers is where she  left
it decades ago    when
she was just a       girl.

I have read.    Siblings
are true life    partners   
that connect us      our
collective     memories
 young innocent naive
untethered to    worlds
of   required  attention.

Some sister        she is
from a block he  knew
lost too    forked roads
boomeranged          to
life before      age hurt
oh, incestuous      rapt.
playpark of   standstill.

Pink Slip


He buys a round
of pink slips.
Worry not,
it won’t come
to you but
it will find
a throat
that will have
to chug it down.

First round’s on
he who hasn’t
a care in the world
bulldozing
knocking down
what’s real
to find what
he thinks is lost
in the past.

He’s a sad man
with a clown jig.

I cannot bear
witness.
I hold it.
I’m not pink
slipped through
the cracks.
Is it enough
for the sad man
to not know.

His is a slip
I don't envy.

Point of View


In slow seconds
of the day
I wander
to before.

But it does
no good
to look
back there.

I am third
person in
the fading
light.

It’s best
to come back
to where I
is found.

The Worm


My finger snakes across the table
to demonstrate the path
that a dissecting tool would take
to split the skin of a worm.

Its smooth, taut shape
I will slice and pin back,
careful not to cut too deeply
severing its ribless body in half.

Lowly invertebrate:
fish bait - earth composter
the all’s clear after rains -
neither sexed – both sexed

opened for discovery,
guts revealing aortic arches:
five loops carrying blood
to its five beating hearts.

Five hearts, four more
than human, to torment
and devour the one
so easily insinuated into.

My finger remembers
the smooth, sinuous skin 
that covers his cheek.
How did he work his way  
in and not fertilize?

Smoke In My Eyes


Cornea burn.
Corps burning.
Heart burnt.

The visor
not down
lets sun blaze
enzymes
that protect
blue eyes.

White  vision 
blind drive home.

Western-fried,
my core smolders:
smoke   no   flame.

Fans Don't Cool


Hot night I sit on sweat
breathing cigarette smoke
that wafts from the ground
floor like fog across rocks.

My mind is hot split in, too
often revisited complaints
of he who does not listen
to reason or facsimilic truth.

The whir of the fan dulls
all sound from the street.
I do not hear the smoker cough
up the years he drags out.

The air moved into the room
is wet and full of the still
atmosphere that preexists
the storm that is sure to come.

I wipe the moist pebbles
off my brow and wipe my leg.
I will surely die second hand
stuck to my fretted glow.

the box


An inheritance
arrived in a box,
thousands of letters
and photographs
too heavy to carry.
In his journal
I was in third person.

He drank
himself to death
found days after
his heart exploded.

Then,
I did not
warn him
of his indulgence
blind to influence
to make a difference.

We were young, love
came like quicksilver:
willful      fragile.
We spent time,
his other time
wasted.

She calls every night
I am the connection
to a dead son:
did the box arrive, dear?
I don’t pick up, how
she never called him.

Now,
he stands in the corner
watching my sleep
safe from his demons
I suspect.


revised from an earlier version




waco beach


on the shore
looking out,
summer shandies
in hand,
the world looks
finite.

beyond the waves
at the curve,
it seems to
just stop,
and my buddy
says so.

let there be


light comes
cautiously
creeping in
like my old
cat as he
raced up on …
something
lurking.
a quick move,
lightning speed,
a heart’s sigh,
then all shine.

cocked


sliding forward,
knees knocked out,
he pops his cock
to talk to me.

not warbling
morning songs
or squawking
warnings,

it settles silently
in its nest
protected by
a trouser’d arbor

to feather ruffle.

anesthesia


everyone said that I’d be out like a light,
switched off, wouldn’t remember nothing;
I looked forward to it having had a few thinks
on the mind that I’d soon like to forget,
or at least have a few hours respite from.

oh, but not so fast lady,
no narcotic can numb you.

the needle was real enough that stuck in
to push tranquilizer and opiate through;
I didn’t feel the doctor’s hand on my shank,
but I saw everything that he examined
magnified so he could navigate his instrument.

you’ll not be taken
by what they’ve got.

lying in an hour of incarcerated recovery
hearing every discharge, every snore,
tied to a machine in one or two ways,
my mind, lucid and fluid, felt focused
as it wandered to its current playlist.

stronger than unconsciousness,
it seems to be my drug.

it is not a spell of death-like trickery,
it doesn’t put me under or out,
it rises and falls and puzzles and claws
every bit of me ‘til nothin’ seems left,
then it starts all over from the start.

oh lady, who are you kidding?

you want all of the feelings,
you want to put your finger into
the middle where it hurts and poke.
what good is having felt so much,
to then feel nothing at all.








stray


a cat sits still
looking up
at the tree
undisturbed
by calls
signaling his
presence.

pesky wings,
out of stillness
claws will fly
silencing them.

sharp


dull knives
don’t cut.
dull knives
need sharpened.

skilled hands,
not mine,
were asked
for help.

my knives,
still dull,
can’t cut.

he asked,
I did.

he wanted,
I found.

he anything,
I jumped.

my knives,
still dull,
can’t cut.

dull knives,
cut me.





lost boy in the hood


his tears spilled
over the black top
in the cross walk
as cars moved on.

are you lost?
‘yesssssssss’

stopping to see
where he belonged,
his little shoulders
begged for comfort.

it’s ok.
we’ll find help.

she came over
the playground splittin'
‘you not gonna snatch
that boy, hear’

no, I’m not going
to take the boy.

‘he belongs to his
cousins who went
over there, I seen ‘em.’

where do you live?
‘over there at grandmas.
I can’t go there,
I be in trouble.’

‘he alright here.
I seen who he with.’

the cops pulled
over, watching me.
protecting me.

‘he alright here.
I seen who he with.’

sweet boy,
I should’ve
snatched you.
I saw how
you quaked
with fear
for living
in the hood.

I seen you.
I didn’t see
nothin’ else.