Featured Work Archive
What is it about Paris, that grande dame
with her jolie laide smile and her je ne sais quoi,
saucy hips of soft blond stone and
marble décolletages enticing love birds
of all sorts?
Sunlight filters through suspended cotton,
reflected in puddles that splash up her skirts.
Her eyes—windows of galleries and antiquaires—beguile
and bat their lashes, fluttering letters signed by Cocteau,
Colette, Flaubert, and Hugo,
or display Modigliani look-alikes.
Your ghost strolls with me through the Tuileries.
Among picnicking friends and lovers
the occasional lone wolf casts his eyes about
for the comely waif.
I imagine your touch boiling against my skin
as we walk, arm-in-arm, heels echoing on flagstones.
How our fingers would tingle with heat in the aftermath,
skin cooling under the sheen of sweat, listening to Piaf.
Non, je ne regrette rien…
and still I ponder the what-ifs.
A tube of Brylcreem. A brandy
old-fashion sweet. Two oars
from a bass boat. Dirt from Ireland.
A Tiger Moth. Rope, some sky,
some lake water. Stations
of the Cross. Pall Mall straights.
Dirt from western Wisconsin.
North. Radio tubes. The bishop,
the knight, and a few pawns.
A circle, a line, a square. Assorted
words. Roses. Slowness. A Sarah
Vaughn album. Dirt from the corner
garden. Birch leaves. Some words,
some numbers. Some corrugations.
Golf clubs. Golf tees. A sleeve
of golf balls. Daisies. Weather.
Rain. An old window-frame.
Crickets. The pine rocker to sit in,
look from. The key to the mantel
clock. Hand dexterity to wind it.
Look at my hands,
aren’t they for picking wild daisies,
trapping a dragonfly?
My nails still short, without paint,
fingers thin, curling,
palms for all-day street begging
just enough for coins,
mister, why are you asking me
to feel the calluses
of your skin, touch its sweating,
a hint of your motive,
bear the pricks of your whiskers?
Look at my feet,
aren’t they for the grass drenched
right after the rain?
My toes missing the froth of waves,
the scratch of sand,
pale soles yearning for the frolic
of the morning,
mister, why are you soaking them
in your saliva, urine,
the viscosity of an itch, bare urges,
your shaking grip,
the malady of your sweet doting?
Look at my lips,
aren’t they blue from swallowing
the air, songs?
My mouth sealed, its ambivalence
to speak like a pipit
chirpless in our backyard, a grave
of bitter oranges,
mister, can I just take off my shirt,
close my eyes,
recall the noises before nightfall,
bite my tongue
while you watch me, then quiver?
Sooner or later, all magic will
worm its way loose of mystery.
My pack of hounds has finally
stopped pacing the tile. Aroma
did them in, I cooked for most
of the morning, an Asian meal
for later in the day. Can't say if
soy sauce or the sweat of garlic
was the charm, but something
in the vapors secured the calm.
Long ago, it was the same when
I got off the bus. Mother's half
cooked soup reassured me I was
loved. Starting at the basement,
where I removed my boots, and
filling the chimney up to the roof.
It was big as all over, bigger than
any pot could ever keep covered.
All I do is
This is a woman
who faces me live
from where I've not been,
nor will be. She kisses me
across continents. She holds
my hand by electron, sends a
quick message while flying
from Paris to Los Angeles.
A liquid pellucid myst'ry
is known to us both.
(Also to others,
Even Jehovah’s Witnesses look away,
since I started wearing my fur coat year-round &
pervs in the park leave me be, until
some pop tune reminds them I’m alone
in a world where a woman can’t be alone
unless she's lost a kid to a grave somewhere.
Then she will be allowed a little madness
Just warmth around my neck, always,
and to be kicking my heels in the chorus,
that’s all I ever wanted. It’s simple,
our fathers taught us to dance, our mothers
warned us that thin dresses catch fire.
Don’t be afraid.
When a stranger steps forward with an arm,
it means only that you are not alone. Even if you are.
I get a measure here of solitude when the street turns in
& the night is soft & distant.
I hear the blue light of a siren dying, & in the silence,
the corrugated iron clawed by the cold fingers of the plum tree.
This is my table in the corner, photographs, postcards
bought on holiday; the body of Christ
post crucifixion; de-nailed, tender - it’s queer
to think of him that way – & other memorabilia:
a Madonna, for instance, presented after a funeral.
I remember because i’m swayed now & then,
believe for no reason. Even immoral things.
I react i think to rational politics, the nightmare
of production-production: i’m for the risen Christ,
the soft night; the flashing blue light in the distance.
Since I began living with my friend James and his girlfriend Monica I acquired a new run route. Recently, on the final leg, I began noticing a duck on the side of the road, washed up onto a sewer grate. When I first moved in, Monica and I were both unemployed so we started sharing stories. I learned she was first generation Polish and had grown up watching her father beat up her mother. After we both got jobs, I hardly saw her. When James wasn't around, she'd hide herself in their bedroom. The door was always shut causing me to wonder when she was home. When I went to my room, often I'd hear their door click open. She always knew when to scurry. Over time, Monica began to unravel. Nine months after I moved in, she moved out, back to her parents place, citing me as the cause. On her trips back to the apartment, she began confiscating random kitchen items, anything that didn’t belong to me. First it was the pots, then the cutting boards and dishtowels. When I woke up the other day...
If her wrists ache, forgive her:
They are freshly chiseled.
If her head rings, maybe it’s the hammer
somebody just laid down.
Others are quick to admire
her newly gaunt shape,
her willowy thighs,
the slope of her nape.
But her waist stings from the rasp,
and it appears she will forever be naked,
no hint of clothing in the scheme,
bare toes clasping a block,
that remnant of her soapy seam.
The sessions are long, and when she’s
left alone under a drape,
she recalls a coppery darkness,
the scrape of shifting plates,
the song of gems, and how she wept with aquifers.
Now her arms seem to be reaching
up for something - she worries
they haven’t finished her face -
wants a good nose -
She believes they will send
birds to perch on her shoulders.
She believes her hands will become bowls.
Crumbs under you forewarned
A Rich Tea
is not a biscuit
a Rich Tea
is a statement
of your faith in
and the hope of
a Bourbon Cream
is a chocolate thing
good for dunking
if you like to
have a gamble
pimp your mama
at the dogs
but the Hobnob?
oh the Hobnob!
is a sad
and shameless bounder
and give you travel tips
with its hand
down your partner's pants
that's Italian cheese
that rides out in
a reindeer hat.
The city of London bought an old man
and his crumpled wife. The city sent in
the Orange-jackets: they bashed skulls
and made a bonfire of paper-thin skin.
The aim is to make our investments
more desirable, said London's mayor.
Don't waste time picking over
our musty bones, said Grandpa and
Grandma, we were never that interesting.
their spectacles and drove out
the squatters in the old lady's head.
The Orange-jackets laboured behind
plywood screens: newspapers Grandpa collected
and tied together with string, he forgot them;
Grandma groaned , they change
the meaning of words, my prayers sound like
some silvery nonsense uttered by wizards.
Artists came and painted the couple
when they were made new. I glide an arm's
reach above the ground, said the renovated man.
His wife posed naked. A sculptor ran a finger
up her thigh and she cried,
This is how it feels to be a bird!
Performed in Augusta, Georgia on August 25, 2011
I Love You, Catherine, but I Don’t Like You
your words sounded fair at the time—
but they hung like ghosts in the air,
like Dad’s work shirts filed headless
on the basement line.
I’d watch for larks out the window at lunch
after buttoning all those shoulders onto hangers
in the breezeless dark.
Blocks of garages lined the back alley,
as the winter sky at noon
froze into stone like the face of the moon.
Icy hands through vents
forced me into sweaters,
tucked me down into empty naps.
were you happy at home, homeschooling me
as you drowned in depression’s relentless sea?
And when I’d curl, five o’clock-groggy
in the vinyl recliner, you’d vacuum,
the house aroused to talk show applause.
Still the silence of afternoon
wrapped its fists at your throat,
like rope waiting in the coat closet
to tie off your suffering,
your hope only in Heaven—
but without you, Mom,
the engine of home would grind still....
Elvis tap dances
down to Chinatown
shopping for a sombrero
to harmonize his blue sari
fresh Maori ink bleeds
through the cover
as it rains
on their barely
see thru burqa
in a 30 second spot
pushing patent leather
IKEA honors me
with a Greek
letter on my
sweater when sales of
Aztec Codex Headboards™
despite inner city
and in defense
of the cute little faces
on my exotic cookie
I invoke my color
(in times like these)
to confirm to the rest of the
(sad emoji) world
all that i desire is
GOP members of Congress were targeted at a baseball practice in Virginia. If not for the Capitol Police, many of them might have been killed. Special Agent Crystal Griner took a bullet in the ankle.
Michigan congressman Steve Bishop said, “The only reason any of us walked out of there was the grace of God.” Since Griner is an African-American woman, married to a woman, then God is a Black dyke.
- Michelangelo Signorile
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let it stay dark: and it stayed dark.
And God saw the dark, that it was good: and God also created light on the side.
And God called the light Wendy, and the dark she called Fine.
And God said, Let us make man not exactly in our image, nor likeness: and let them have no dominion over the fish of the sea, nor the fowl of the air, nor any cows, nor any thing that bleedeth upon the thigh.
What is her mission here on Earth...
...and do I even waste what chance I have
lounging beside my locker, checking-out
the girl from Mars? Nobody ever saw
her father's car: so maybe she gets dropped
at five a.m. by shuttle-pod somewhere far
beyond the football ground. She has no clique,
not even in the default group for freaks
and friendless geeks--I know; I've run with them
myself. How can you stand outside outsiders?
Unless intelligence, so alien
broods silent in one eye? It sees but does
not do; it won't join in; her hands so thin:
she writes machine-like, awkward and a touch
frustrated, as if paper with only two
dimensions is so quaint. She ain't stupid
in maths, she writes the answer first, before
the working out. And think of Martian sex!
Does she have tentacles...? Scratch that. Relax...
Focus on facts. She's drifted through these halls
for three years now, with always half a smile,
an emissary from mission control;
or maybe robot telepresence rig,
I was seven years old,
the unforgiving wood
of the church pew
pressing hard into my back
the morning after my Father
buried it in the backyard
and took off.
I didn’t know at the time
the innocence of
swinging my legs in the abyss
between my seat and the ground.
my mother clasps her hands
and turns her eyes
in blind hope
to the cosmos of the cathedral ceilings,
her wet, dark lashes the greatest and weakest
tether for the tears.
but, even at seven
that stars fall and tears fall
and my mother cries—often.
“the world is divided into two types of people,”
the preacher man says.
and I knew then which one I was
as I watched the river steal god
from my mother’s eyes.
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