Poetry

Turkey Vultures

All huddled about the skull
and spine of a squirrel,
gently piecing each rib
to each knob—
their beaks like tweezers,
the masked craftsmen finish
the frame of the ship,
easing their way through
the mouth, feeding her meat
as if she were their chick
and tucking her in
with a nice warm pelt.

When the mast is hoisted
they nudge their fledgling
on to set sail,
hissing their goodbyes
as they prepare for their retreat,
for summer is coming
and the sun is setting in the east.

 

 

 

Appeal To The Void

We can make this life thing seem
a pretty dream—see the back
of a quarter: the state of Arizona
encapsulated by an idyllic sunset splashing
its rays across the Grand Canyon, cacti
scraping the sky;
Washington, stern and grave,
his head turned from the symbol
weighing the gravity of the illusion:
this majestic desert is desolate
and barren, this golden sunset
silver—and yet all this
but a quarter, and
at the same time
all but a quarter.

It’s all pointless, you say—
but what of the space
between the ears that hear
these undulated utterances
and behind the eyes that see
these figures, these encrypted dances
where there was once morbidity—nothing—
where now postulates the possibility
of something?

Is this not the very tale
of our origin
or, perhaps, some small-scale
repetition, all bound in the nothingness
of a circle?
Bound, yet freed of its edges—
so yes, it’s all pointless.
Like a coin. Like any heavenly body
dimmed or illumined
by death or gravity.

 

 

 

Big Pink Industrial Suburban Sunset

Linger a little longer—
let me gaze; how pretty, how shitty
how pretty you are. Rosily, laying lazily
your violets across the light of my days
and fading with my nights’ noir—
my medial, my remedial darling,
how pretty you are.

How viscerally tied am I to the lilt
of your rise and your demise, consistent
intrinsic peak, tugging me climactic—
you wear me out.

What synaptic failing, what deceit—
to think you slip into your pink
nightgown and out when the sun’s down
just for me. You cannot be owned,
I know, but when all debts are paid
and we’ve exhausted ourselves of rain
I see you clearly beyond your brine-
encrusted clouds; the sweat of other lovers
sticks to my skin, residual acidic lust
clings to my tongue, yet still
I wish you were mine.

Linger a little longer—
let my cigarette smoke entwine
with your wispy, floral scars—
how pretty, how shitty
how pretty you are.

 

 

 

Post-Haze

The summer came and went like a whisper
you couldn’t decipher, could not care
to decrypt, for it was not for you
outlying, eavesdropping on some strangers’
banter muddled under the hum of cicadas
clamoring in the sun, articulating
their secret mystic rituals
gesticulating themselves out their skins
writhing in rhythms already written
all to echo on their antecedents’
form, their origin, their destination;
spasmodic, they seize their intermittent
season.

Deaf to the whole rigmarole, you cling
hollow to a sprig of grass or a fray of branch
whimpering on the wind like the shell
cast from its host, like the casing
of a legume long since consumed
cleaves to the tooth and coats its youth
with cavity, with depression.

The cicadas scream in the sun
as their husks hold fast to some vain
redemption as the cicadas scream carpe diem!
as an old lover’s mandibles pass the curd
to the tongue, as the fangs dull and rot
as the cicadas die in the sun.

 

 

 

Caumsett

I returned to the place where we grew old
and young; where we’ve slid down clay cliffs and sung
to the Sound until we grew cold.

There was a tree there which we named Time, old
as its rings, and young, all tattooed in carvings.
I returned to the place where we grew old.

Where we laid on a knoll with stones on the folds
of our foreheads; Time rustling in the wind:
the sound of leaves getting cold.

And in those stones I saw spirits unfold,
freed from their fossils—but you saw nothing.
I returned to the place where we grew old.

Where you climbed our tree and tried to hold
it still, close to your body, but fell:
it was the sound of the ground growing cold.

No color to withhold, our spirits were bold
and ablaze—but kindled with Time, our fires must fade.
I returned to the place where we grew old;
resounding were the sounds of our growing cold.

 

 

 

Goblin Blanket Flower

Who would have thought our summer
could be saved by your convict-cousin?
We knew he would be our savior
when he gave you his fifth and said,
“Drink this. Put some hair on your tits.”
We were lost pilgrims until
he, Bud-Light-in-hand, enlightened us:
“Drinking brewskies and quoting movies:
That’s what guys do.”
Ah! The good life was ours.
We would no longer need to
think for ourselves;
and now we know that “San Diego”
actually means a whale’s vagina.
He would probably punch me in the nose
if he heard me compare his brain
to a cockscomb—
but what I mean is that it’s bright
and beautiful; his Pittsburgh Steelers-
fitted cap the protruding petal.
He was our goblin blanket flower,
spiraling drunkenly and pissing
on your guitar pedals in the backyard
where we performed for young teens
drinking punch and sitting at picnic tables—
but at his core he was red with love.
“An apple a day
keeps the parole officer away,”
he had told us a week before
he robbed another convenience store.
When autumn came he went back to jail—
and you and I went back to school;
the walls seemed colder, greyer,
the lessons less amusing.
The days grew frigid and all we had
to keep us warm was the hope that he
would return once more, when the sun is red
and most overhead, bearing a fifth of whiskey.

 

 

 

Why I Never Write You Love Poems

I love you—I do—
but, it’s not that simple.
How do I account for the days
when I can’t even look at your face
without wanting to slap it—
days I want to push you down a flight of stairs
or strangle you with your own hair—
and still write a poem that’s sweet, expectedly?

The truth is the love poem’s
the obsolete technology
of dirty old Petrarchs
luring Lauras with tired verses
in dank corners of busy bars,
fading in their nightly mating rituals.

Our love would not fit in a fixed form
as the ocean would not squeeze in
any of the tupperware
you scold me for not cleaning.

It is wavering, and any attempt
to say anything about it in a poem
would never set it in stone:
and that is why I love you—

now burn this.
Come home.

 

 

 

Today

Birds are chirping outside my window
today—
fledglings finicking about their nests
pitching their raw notes high against the grey
pregnant springtime air soon to infest
the verdant earth with more birds, more nests,
more life, more days—

And today, like yesterday
I watch the unraveling
and rethreading of time’s fabric
webbing and rewebbing havoc—
catching and killing flies
hatching, refilling lives
in and out, out and in—
where it ends where it begins:
Today,
forgetting me
as I slowly, steadily
decay.

Be here now, so they saysaysay—
Do not worry—All is here today.
But it is early, I say
to the chirping, to the ceaseless
peeps. It is early yet—
let me sleep.

 

 

 

Penny Found In Alamogordo

What meaning can I impose on this penny—
rather this circle of copper,
features weathered indistinct
by the white sands I somehow found it in?
Who put the Word of Luck
in Abraham’s mouth—
who pried open his russet jaw?

How lucky I must be to have found it—
and to now scribble it down
and yet still know that
this account of this penny will, too, in time
fade, be ground into grains
and dissolve in the mind
as vague as the sand
that spills from my cupped, hourglass hand.

 

 

 

Pre-order Your Casket

Plan your life
thoroughly.
Write your will
your re-scribed and
perfected eulogy.

Here are the ills
here are the cures—
for lethargy there’s
energy
for apathy there’s
family
for suffering
we endure.

There are freer ways to die—
untied from the litany,
the monotony
accruing in shards chipping
away at the crusts of your
rusted youth—
ponderous days squandered
on rekindling the childish haze
you once saw clearly, you once
held dearly—now fading
dissipating at your periphery.

We are not gods
but we can prepare for the rain,
the wars, the odds.
We can care for the sane
and marginalize
the lame. We can
harmonize our real
and ideal. We can
afford our own
funeral, our own
deceit.

Let us free, let us lie.
Give us our papers
our receipt.
Let us die.

 

 

 

Carpe Diem

Her eyes—
striking and blue
green fine lines
curling in kisses
sinking to the depths
of her cosmic abysses—
her inverse universes
speaking soundless verses

reflected in the window
beside the divide: the seat
she wouldn’t sit in
for fear of an unpleasant ride:
the chance of our eyes dancing
not some removed, prudish jig
mother would approve
but a telepathic tango
to dispel the emphatic Nothing—
ah, but the waves that would trill
at our touching
we’ll never know.

The wonder in your lap
is certainly of more interest:
the hands tensely clasped
the wriggling of the fingers
the hangnail in need of biting.

And yet this is not
what you’re thinking, not
the thought you’re fighting
of the warm, brown eyes, seemingly
inviting, prying at, crying for,
dying for your attention.

In this reflection
at this angle
we have perfection—
we don’t want truth
we want convenient fictions.

Unshroud us of our –isms
let our lofty ideals exhaust:
if we are not We
we are lost.

 

 

 

Loveflood

I was a lone, cold port
devoid of light when I first
witnessed the canal being built
between us.
How your dim distant lantern
danced and rippled its rays
for me—
you and I, I and you,
the illumined colors of our fleets
passing through
like tropical birds sun-dappled
on a crisp, forested morning.

Occasionally some dinghies would sink
or hulls would dent when docking, yet there
would always be repair.
We became quite efficient,
quite comfortable,
and the water between us—
well, quite stagnant.

I began to wonder
what was sourcing
the light bouncing
off the dew—
it could not have come
from you, your fixed
finite angle.

Yet, what with that pink
pleasant fog lingering
in our midst,
I could hardly distinguish
you from the burning red arc
rising from the horizon—
devising to extinguish
our lofty mist.

And how that fiery sun
glinted off the ribs
of our self-made cage,
awakening us
to our winglessness.

As the great Warmth grew warmer
pressure began to build,
fissures began forming
in our concrete core, and
our concrete walls
were torn asunder from our
skeletal infrastructure;
the tide began to rise as if tied to the sun rising
higher and higher, paling the sky bluer and truer, sprawling
its warmth and light indiscriminately across all seas and seeping
deep beneath the valleys of the finite—swallowing
our microcosmic crick, our ports, our mortal frames dismantled, dissolved
in one amalgamated undulation free from any one concentration, free
from form, our frail fractal flow now grown, immersed in the whole
of the great Fern of divine elation…

A kind of death—
a kinder death.

A birth.

A breath.