Saturday, June 27, 2015

DNA



photo by Giles San Martin


The dump smells of all the things
we refuse
                                      the spoiled,
                                      broken,
                                      unwanted,
                                      replaced.

I practice holding my breath,
                                                inhale

too deep
                                                &  you  are sure
to vomit

sometimes        I forget.



Friday, June 26, 2015

The retractable kind



photo by Jennifer C


Ah, to be the umbrella
her finely manicured fingers stretching my shaft
to bulbous head,
                         she underneath---

                         to stay dry?
Whatever weather throws
down from heaven ---
                             hail even,

unless of course she leaves me
without a thought,

in the back seat,
coat closet, a corner somewhere,
perhaps trusting the weatherman too much/or little
& I unavailable --
                       
she will surely remember me,
exactly where she had me last ---
             being wet
                           & littered with crystal
gems of heaven's rain
                               drops
                                    until her hair hangs
                                    a damp frame
                                    about her reddened cheeks

Oh,
that I could be the umbrella forgotten
in that moment,
                        & she decide to take off her shoes,
                                              not to care,
                                                                any/more,
dancing alone,
wherever the puddles
may take her.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

& This is the war that is going on



photo by cezary borysiuk


There are things every boy should know.

How to open a beer bottle with your teeth,
the birds and how to deliver a good bee sting

are not on the list today,
but are about the only thing #men trends for
most days ---

                           my son and I build a shelter
under the pear tree, of larger limbs trimmed last week
and a few low hangers, still with leaves,
to keep the sun away
                              & I teach him how to hook the end,
for stability,
                   face them down, so the rain has a route
                   to the earth,
                                      to crosshatch bare branches
                                          so it all holds together

& there is no war going on,
like that summer - 
                            sticks & rocks rain,
as I run the path our feet cut through the forest,
retreating from an invasion
                                              -- of my cousins' fort,
leaving devastation in my wake
                                                        out of breath,
                                                        slick with sweat,
                                                        full of victory
I never feel the catch     of the trap,
hear the branch's whistle          
only
        my leg won't work,
        a spike protrudes from both sides
        & blood & dirt & ---
                                                   
he's seen the scars
in my calf, on my knee, the faint line
along my ribs, the burn on my arm, my knuckles' braille,
wrist, dent
                                       in my forehead,
these are stories
                          he knows well & I tell,
but this
            is survival, how to
build for two // protect
your fire
              & no metaphor is perfect,
                     which is why you boil the water,
                     know what you can eat
                                             & never complain
                                                 how it tastes,
because it all does not taste like chicken
& not all boys know
                                           these things.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My broken soil


art by Nicolas Raymond


I carry you around like a seed
between my lungs and spleen,

anxiously waiting, for it to burst
open
           ---filling me,

with the byproduct
of your photosynthesis.


Monday, June 22, 2015

seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation


picture by claudia


In the Emergency Room, the doors shush
everytime someone enters, as a school mom
with a ruler on a quest for knuckles & morality.
She never stops.
                        & neither do we.

There are no strangers here. Everyone is family,
blood relation by the spilling that brought them
to the Waiting
           Room.               A man,
with an 'S' on his chest, and moustache
that looks like a comb taped to his lip, each line even
& parallel, is staring over the back of my couch, listening
in. I want to reach out to his face & muss his symmetry.

So they won? he says.
Yes, 5 to 4.
Who do they play on Monday?
Vanderbilt.
And that is it?
Yes.

He wanders through all the huddles, of family members
taking his space again, under the exit sign. Shush.
Shush. Shush.
                      Two circles over is an MMA fighter,
I taught - math & how not to be a jackass.
His wife broke her arm.

                          I mark time by the number of coins
fed into vending machines - $1.60 for Buddy Bars,
$1.65 for a soda, 85 cents for coffee flavored water.
It is $8.45, in the evening.

My son counts ambulances --- racing in, lights on.
That makes fifteen, he says, and years fall away.

A nurse in warm colors calls names like a crier
at an execution.

Gunther,
Hawkins, the family of Hawkins,
Siegel & Shuster.

I wait for Superman to move from his station,
he doesn't. & when our turn comes, they take us
two at a time, into the ark - every creeping thing
of the earth after his kind, two of every sort
shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

It's been raining for hours already. Gutters,
full and rising. The wind sings on the window.
I wait.
My grandmother, dying.

I have $3.15 left.
I shake the hand of the MMA man.
Superman has left the building.

                                                              Shush.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

60%


photo by ed schipul


As certain as the gravitational forces
pulling the oceans into tides,

between bodies
that are 238,900 miles
apart ----

         distance is the ever unraveling
         metaphor

of all the water
within
            us.


Friday, June 19, 2015

An American selfie (ii)


photo by James Nash


He's coffee with cream & mocha shag carpet,
a red tank,
         blue shorts,
                  & Nike high-tops,

walks
everywhere, in the center lane ---

                                His name
                                is Sherwood,
                                but is known by this tongue
                                of street
                                as "Wood"

nods
his head to passing cars ---
no one chances second glances,

(Lot's wife, lots in life & all the uncomfortable others
we imagine in the dark
alleys @ night,or our daughters
bringing to the dinner table --- )

& when he thinks
no one is looking,

breaks into
a shimmy-shake / jive fake / passing the unseen
ball between his legs / sets / leaps

defying gravity & other conventions we depend on
to define our world view, a sense of self,
our justification for mental health
                                         or other/wise ---

practicing his fade away
                      until he gets it right.

                               

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sunswell

photo by blue eyed puma


It's early still,
                      night hasn't given up,
                                                         yet.
the grass is wet,
laying atop one another, across
the whole of the field,
                           tucked

tween mountains of trees ---

                        only my bre / ath / ing
    
                        only

It begins
with a whisper,                  ruach
a single blade,

as the door between earth
& sky opens

               --- & a thousand lovers
leave the arms of their other,
to rise
          and greet the day.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mus i Ka


photo by greta ceresini
 
 
There is a song on your lips
that has kept me humming
                                        --- all day
 
 
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Facta, non verba ~ Faciam quodlibet quod necesse est







I don't mean to be an asshole,
                                  it just happens,

like mac n' cheese ---
try as you might to keep them apart,
they sneak out at night & melt
into one another,

noodles plump-ing up
as cheese works its way into the in-most parts,
the warmth you feel as the first spoon
lays them on your tongue
traveling down
                        & building a comfort-
                        able home within
                                                      you

A place you want to return
                                              to,
not always found in
                                    a room divided by cubes,
a 100 emails by noon, only some Exclamation Point-ed
for prompt attention - needing something, the cereal box
where your bed exists & your arm up to its wrist
in the mouth seeking the prize at the bottom
the cute cartoon on the front promises
is there, but ---
                           someone else got to it
                                                                first,
the wrong color socks
"No, I did not give it much thought."
"I really don't care about --- socks.
They serve their purpose."
"Seriously, they are fucking socks
                             --- get over it already."

And mac n' cheese & all their warmth ---
          are too
                quickly forgotten.

So when you come,
           to take my bowl, break into my home,
with sledgehammers / tin snips /
the lock pick
                    of your tongue,
                             threatening those I hold
                             as mac n' cheese

I will be the asshole
you never dreamed of /
          in whatever language you choose,
          & with a spoon
                    spouting "Cause, it hurts more"
                    in my best English accent

& you can play the victim,
of circumstance / of your own ignorance,
                                    I won't argue

            enjoying every bite
            of my mac n' cheese,

knowing you could have some too,
if you were not so busy
                              being you.



Monday, June 15, 2015

An American selfie


picture by tim gears


A boy and a girl.

She's a mess of curls & a tulle dress,
mid calf & stark white above a rainbow of socks,
ruffle top boots -
                             & orange ram horns
                             twisting out
                             the sides of her head

He's ordinary,
             & could be any of us
            @ that age - uncool & thin
             in the way it is popular
                                             - these days

She & her beau stand close,
       not on top
                                of each other,
       together            - in a way few other
       under                stand


They sing
            in clicks, whistles & moans,
            dolphins & whales
            beached

on the cold tile of the mall,
in all the backlit names
& clearance posters,
                                    Abercrombie,
                                    plastic,
                                    bag carrying people

authentic
in every possible way.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

(oh, poetry)

photo by Nathan O'nion


They painted PRIVATE on every wall
                       of the dumpster ---
                                    obviously an exclusive club.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The attitude jazz takes ---

photo by jimmy baikovicious


TOO HOT  _   TOO HOT  _   TOO HOT
TO HOOT       TO HOOT       TO HOOT

A car, a man, a maraca,
a butt tuba,
                    Gabe’s on a nose bag

Air an Aria
                                  A – LU – LA
                                  A – LU – LA

We few
we panic in a pew ---
                                  deified

                                  Dogma; I am god,
                                  never even or odd
                                                           --- I prefer pi

won't lover's revolt now?!

Stop!
Murder us not,
tonsured rumpots

TOO HOT    _   TOO HOT    _   TOO HOT
TO HOOT         TO HOOT         TO HOOT 

Egad! A base life defiles a bad age

                                           --- Emu love volume

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The joy of papercuts

photo by stephen h


You are the book
                          that never reaches
                          my

               bed / side / table,

I would love
                to spread
                along the spine
                & consume
                                                          ~every word.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Black/White&Grainy as a photograph, a love poem


photo by sigfrid lundberg


A car rounds the corner, heels hot
from an unseen pursuer or hopped up,
hallucinating 2 AM stickfigures

& stretches the man flat across asphalt,
side walk, up the hard metal fire escape,
night cold brick --- black as pitch,

but the headlights & his eyes, you'd expect
to be wide, with flashes of life soon passed,
aren't --- He is sure, as Euler-Lagrange equations,

as the distance shrapnel flies from an incident
can be used to determine the force, as a couch
dropped from a third story window will

implode. A window,
swollen shut with summer
humidity, that never leaves,
opens,
          in his chest

& there are no gunshots,
no howling mother, to BE QUIET!
lest you wake the chillen',
fresh off the nipple

In the window of his chest,
an interior light snaps to,
like Let there be,
bright, blinding
                    & fresh,
and a shadow,
                     tentative at first,
                     pokes a head out,
then leaps,
            quick & spread
            as a leaf in fall,
                                      does ---

dropping like stars,
seldom seen in the city
             except those made by man,

             but even when they fall,
                         we all
                                    make a wish.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mama Kin

photo by brett jordan


She's an origami dragon,
             so soon consumed
                              - in her own fire

reborn every morning
        of wind-tossed ash

& folded with precise creases,
    so tight
               oxygen & light
               are kept from the truths
               inscribed on her inmost

                                     paper

so soon consumed
                       - in her own fire

& our relief -
            as the blisters of her passing

                                         --- crack.


Friday, June 5, 2015

A rose, by any other name


photo by nattu


A hot summer day & an ice cube,

a lone stiff feather
                     --- purple bleeding
                                          into blue

                                             & you.

                        ~~~


"You only get 3 wishes, silly."

"So, does this count as one wish
                                             or two?"


Thursday, June 4, 2015

There is so much hope here

photo by Jon Díez Supat


When down,
          I head to midtown ---

where PAWN in big lit letters, lights the way,
like some neon
                            steeple
& moustached men barter
                                                   salvation
in increments
of 5's and 1's

I stand
          in the dis/play window
with guitars, wedding rings, power tools, autographs
(insert your own thing
                           - I got mine)

--- every dream,
               with a tag on its toe,

a morgue of people
                     
                         that could have been,

& though
I have heard their stories
a hundred times
                                        I listen ---
always leaving,
                     with a smile.


                              

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Outer spaces

photo by Tori Lindstrand


The moon watches you undress each night,
the sun as you prepare for the day

& I spend too much time
being envious
                        --- of heavenly bodies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Terrarium LXXIII Stardate: -307582.1137430239

photo by alice popkorn


Why ask the moon to be anything but what it is,
to expect so much of a rock,
                                             suspect for being born
of a collision ---

                             my tom cat
cleans between his pads with his tongue,
gnawing particular tough spots

a head and lone arm
                         of a squirrel are all that are left
under the maple tree, eyes fat and round with gone
wonder, paw splayed&reaching
                       the ants have come to carry him home,
one bite at a time

The neighbor three doors over is hiding again,
behind the oak by his driveway,
                                                   awaiting cars
with unknown drivers - speeding,
so he can walk out in front of them
like an apocalyptic preacher
                 "Slow down!"
                          (The end is Near)
                     "You'll kill someone."

It rains. A handful of pebbles.
Each drop a cold baptism. The sky a murder in monochrome.
Our houses swell to fit their vinyl, white under built up pollen
& dust - harder now, it rains a haystraw brush
to our backs.
                      The neighbor is gone
                              to his porch, only the cherry
                              of a cigarette visible.

Furious, lightning cracks like gunshots
quiet the world,
                      gunshots like lightning crack, quiet
                         
                                      is the world,

flowerpots tip returning soil
to its roots,
                 each blade of grass dances
                            around the water pulled
                                  down
                                    hill

where the dry ditch catches it
and a newborn river squeals children on a roller coaster
disappearing into the dark
                                   of the concrete sewer pipe

And even unseen, the moon is there,
         moves on, but never leaves - only ever showing us
         its pock marked back side

                                                     & we will call it
                                                      a face ---

Monday, June 1, 2015

Self-eviction


photo by ben tesch


I keep my skin
                              lo(o)se
ready to leave it
                              at a moment's
notice.