Featured Work Archive
As in back from the dead?
There's a lot of that. Folks
think gone is coffin closed.
But we are dying and rising
all the time. I am a ghost of
a ghost of a ghost, shot and
buried in a hand held device.
This is an old haunt, but my
grave is outside. Birds pray
for me in the thick of arbors
weeping clusters of Wisteria.
Her hands are hummingbirds.
But slower. Gentle.
The dim room redolent,
the oil warm.
A tiny fountain sings
about a rainforest.
Muscles tense, submit.
I quell the urge to talk.
She speaks of energies,
bone and fascia,
Says I sparkle gold, like
sunset on water, and I try
not to laugh. I paid for this.
Knots are loosened, coaxed
away. I want to believe.
Want to think she sees me
as a glowing form of light,
incandescent on her table,
wreathed in flashing,
covered in a value
only she perceives.
Tomorrow I will navigate
an afternoon rush hour,
sit the grey eternity of the DMV,
but here, for now, this moment, I am gilt.
Twice it has happened. Without permission,
It was Sunday when in the woods I’d seen
among the walkers one who walked not a dog
but a deer.
Today, leaf falling from tree became
sudden death drop of black crow.
Something from another world is threatening me.
I wonder what my other self has seen to push that world into this one.
I think I have yearned too hard for the wild and
it is starting to seep through.
Behind bathroom doors, I search myself for
grey talons, furred knees, amber flecks in eyes.
Perhaps I should fear the shade, the depths of pungent moss green.
Instead I flick glances into corners and walk each day through half-feral dreams.
In daylight I stalk the edges and depths.
At day end I stare from windows at foxes outside, breaking in.
Dawn leaves teeth marks in my welcome mat.
There’s fur and feathers where milk bottles should be.
some things are like a warehouse
full of hot charred women
women with smoking hot bodies
red hot bodies with brazilian jeans
jeans for red hot muscled asses
tight crease down the center
with red and hot celtic arrow tattoos
one after another women wave
their arms trying to stay upright
piles of hot women in tight jeans
smoking hot bodies fall in a shower
from the 9th floor cracking like
watermelons on the sidewalk
The love of gently falling things:
snowflakes, evening, leaves;
sweetness on the tongue and dew;
the yielding softness of cold water
on my face; silence and birdsong;
the protection offered by faith in absolutes;
the moulding nature of the world,
and grief with depth, with strength
to still the storm and calm the wave;
these things I learned from you
and from your grave.
The man in the house
I just saw
my black leather man's wallet
it was rough
and wrinkled in lines
that looked like traveling to rough places
it had dirt, creased cards and cash
I just saw
my man's brown canvas satchel
with brass buttons
it looked like
an antique grandfather's clock
I am too little in my sickness
to look at
belongings like these
The end of an African
elephant's tail is hairy.
The hair is coarse and
strong, like fishing line.
On big game safaris
it's traditional to cut off
the tail of your dead elephant
with a knife.
The bwana will take a
picture of you holding the
tail in one hand and your
knife in the other.
When posing, make sure to
hold the tail vertically:
bloody stump down,
hairy tip up.
Don't let blood drip
onto the hair. Nobody likes
bloody elephant hair.
It's very hard to clean.
Legend says wearing an
elephant hair bracelet
will protect you from
misfortune and illness.
It will bring love, health
You only need two
or three hairs.
You can buy a
bracelet on eBay
or you can kill
your own elephant.
Tanzania and Mozambique
still allow elephant
hunting. But Zimbabwe
is the best place to go.
You will find an elephant
to kill about midway
and Victoria Falls.
Kenneth Patchen Comes to Lunch
I make collard green rollups with avocado,
carrots julienne, tofurky, and Sriracha–
sliced on the diagonal. I forget whether
he writes or paints his poems these days.
He declares art is a perched walnut
then launches a story about squirrels–
enough to make Dostoyevsky blush.
We drink lime water from canning jars.
The cat curls in his lap, its tail flitting
like a broken windshield wiper as he
tells a winding story of Two-Finger John
at the riverbed. We watch the sun die
behind the grove – always a good ending
for lunch. Rexroth sleeps in the car.
I doubt I'd win you with my looks alone,
so I've moved into your summer shoes.
While you're sleeping in the cobalt dark,
the trees are bashing up against the sky;
and in case the goblins are cooking something up,
I soften the leather painfully every night
should your heels get blistery on the lane
and you miss the last bus home.
One October, after milking, and with cattle fed and bedded, my father took string, brown paper, white wood and glue.
We made a kite in the farm workshop. There was one dim bulb, a lot of dust and cobwebs. It took a long time.
He wanted me to be happy; I knew that later. He wanted me to be proud of him. I was both. I was nine.
one day I found him
pinned against the sky
snagged by starlight
For a week of that dry blustery autumn I found the wind in the low meadow, the hayfield and the seven-acre.
I ran until exhausted, into the breeze and back, unpossessed of time, innocent of other times.
pierced and punctured
poured out, dry
The kite reared and whinnied, snorted when I hauled it in, tail flicking and swishing, stomping its resistance,
the reins an umbilical connecting me to the sky.
skin taut over bones
black with cold
On the seventh day I found myself standing...
Row along, children, nothing to see here,
it’s not an oar that floats in the seaweed
but a branch, slender as hope;
that stifled cry was a gull—
how much time have I spent reassuring you?
probably not enough;
a beached boy lying face down is not a boy,
but a large doll,
waves turn his face
from the pitiless sun,
but keep his blue shorts on,
one last kindness.
I must have drifted off,
thumbs on my cell.
Despite the constant negative press
I could have authored in my sleep—
a Trump cliche.
Which really proves my creativity.
Just look at all the theories
and interpretations out already!
Too bad Freud is dead—
I’m sure it’s deep!
I’ll ask the CIA.
The Dems accuse me of stupidity—
which shows their fakeness. Wow.
It may be code.
A ploy or dupe!
What if it’s secret Russian alphabet?
from the buttons of the keypad?
Or may be another circumstantial
wild-goose-chase that the Congress
I’ll take this secret to my grave.
Believe me. I’m too smart.
World’s greatest hackers in the dark!
What was that movie—Rosebud?
H. G. Wells.
but not like mine!
Could be a password for the aliens
to land and conquer Earth.
Could be the sign
for Armageddon to begin—
the Final Judgment Day.
full series so far @...
When we were 18
we had an abortion.
A few years back she
called me on her friend's
phone to arrange
a private conversation.
She said he monitored her
email and phone calls.
I offered to send her copies
of our love letters.
She said no,
he will find them.
It's not a good idea
for me to dwell in the
past, if you get my drift.
Yesterday I found her
on Facebook. I saw a
picture of the two of them
riding a tourist bus
in some faraway city
with the caption, I met my
true love in 1976.
When we were 18
we lived together
in a small box with pink
walls and no windows
and all I know about her today
is what she eats.
All night, I climb you,
hook leg on your shoulder,
you make me shudder,
I vine my other
leg through your thighs.
You pin me apart, lunge for me,
plunge arrow into bull’s eye,
where I lock like a leash around you,
I sought you, and I found you,
bow before you, twist around you.
Conquer me—you’re such a man.
You balance my sanity,
focus me where we come together.
You untether my chains
and let me wander
till you drag me back in
and spread me out.
Your mouth turns delicate lips into petals—
you’re sucking on my blushing skin.
And then you flip me, stomach into bed,
slicing my skin to let you in.
The mirror shows you arch and slide
across our sweat that oils my thighs.
By the early hours of dawn,
repetition becomes meditation,
and the stoned world starts to rhyme.
So we doze at the foot of the bed,
wrapped together, paused in the bond
of years of time.
But too soon, the speed of day overtakes us,
so we pack up our lust and our need
and stash them inside each...
Presenter's greasy chin shines
like a full English breakfast.
Muted, I guess his words
from accented eyebrows.
Blow on a hot espresso and
soundlessly watch a feature
on a baby sloth,
headlines spool underneath-
'Terror threat raised to critical'.
Make-up touch-up in ad break;
everything is matte again.
Text loops beneath weather map-
'22 confirmed dead'.
In the middle of a Wall Street crash,
Honey, my daughter's German Shepard,
vomits on the kitchen floor.
My granddaughter screams
"I'm not cleaning that up!"
I scream back, "I'm not either!"
and we die laughing.
So we sit around for an hour,
avoiding the dog vomit
which looks like slimy pizza,
and discuss what we should do.
Then we discuss at length
who should do it.
Finally she grabs a roll of paper towels,
unravels all of it on top of the mess
and with one broad sweep
scoops it up.
My granddaughter is a hero.
And it's a damn good thing.
Long days, back when the sun was beneficial,
my sister and I lay on our stomachs
reading Agatha Christie mysteries.
We couldn’t imagine being anything but
seventeen and slender, but just in case,
as a hedge against age and thickening,
we drank Tab, ate salads, smoked Marlboro Lights,
smeared Bain de Soleil on each other's backs.
The days were endless.
The days were exactly the same.
We lay in our fenced back yard,
desperate for something violent, interesting.
Neither of us knew how sunlight
can disappear, that we might spend years,
decades, trying to find another place
that would hold us, would say, now,
you can turn your backs, safely.
first in Blast Furnace Press.
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