Set the House on Fire

keep close to me
you and your mistress
american dream
soon you and your wet feet
will be hot as ifrit’s armpits

your lovemaking was like old books
burning the truth from your head
camping on the carpet of cowardice
a tent made from blankets
but your trailing yellow streak thinks
we’re outside
where

between the madness and the blind she is waiting
her breath is graveyards
she spits headstones and banal epitaphs
dead decades before the deceased
what are you sprinkling on cold biers for?

you hide it so well
you’re so dead inside

so set the house on fire
sweep up your dreams with dust pans
burn her picketed prison
as skuzzy as motel linens

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Turn Your Head (and cough)

turn your head and cough
I promise this won’t hurt
me at all
and I promise I wouldn’t lie to you
much more than the next saint
and pathological liar
trust me, I’m a doctor
in theory
and this is for your health
I think

Paper or Plastic

Paper or plastic
My groceries are wrapped in
Paper or plastic
My items are bagged in
Paper or plastic
My purchases are paid in
Paper or plastic
My leftovers are kept in
Paper or plastic
My life is stored in
Paper or plastic

Deep Down

This life is:

A collection of
Words
Misdirections
Puns and bad jokes
Open ended questions
and one way streets
Spreadsheets
Trailblazers
Square ones

East Sides
West Ends
and all the avenues
Jigsaws and equations
Between
the next traffic light
and equal sign =

Do you hear me?
He loves you.
He loves you!

What are you
going to do about it?

Spin It

Why is it so awkward?
I didn’t make it awkward.
You did.
Because every time I ask, something inside you says,
“I should, I should, it’s right.”
But you say, “no.”
Something squeezes at your intestines,
getting caught like a moth halfway up your esophagus before you swallow.
But it’s there.
Something says, I’m rejecting it.
Something says, I’m spitting in his face.
But we’ll unravel miles of colored yarn balls
Longer than a curious kitten
With this and that
With this and that
With this and that
Yes, we could take a ride on this carousel and believe me,
there’s more than enough rope,
and there’s a horse with your name on it.
We can go around and around and around
so by the time we’re done, it will be hard to tell who’s who anyway-
Impossible to wrap it back up, present it as truth-
These gnarled, knotted strings become tripwires,
tripping us up
letting us give way to pretense- pulling the pin on explosions-
Messes that we couldn’t possibly seek to unwind and glue back together.
And there in the middle of it all you’ll say, “see, I told you so.”
But if you told me so, then why is it still awkward?
So let each be his own spinster
Pick the thread that best suits him
And let him trace it to his own sense of truth,
you’ll say.
This, after all, is the road I’m on, and what right do you have to tell me that I have to pick one?
That only one is the right one?

Tumbling over tripwires, stumbling into traps you’ve laid,
bumbling backwards into the nets you’ve created with our words-
Your tongue twisted trails leading to no where but back to your own entrails stretched
as lifeline markers to navigate our return trip through the rabbit holes and loopholes you’ve crawled-
When you’ve finally found yourself and found there’s nothing to be found in yourself-
When you’ve willingly pulled every last organ out-
What will your whimsical words have wound?
I know the answer.
So you can spin it any way you want.
But why is it so awkward?
Is it awkward because you’re wrong?

Glass

A finger presses MUTE

sun glare silhouettes
a dying plant
streetlight
stop sign
leafless sycamore
empty mailbox
canadian geese in file
a leashed dog dragging its owner
two runners with white earbuds
momentary vehicles broadcasting phosphorescent joists
as reflections play life on the windowpane
and all the world is stuck inside two centimeters

The System

Them errors
ain’t no fault of mine
Don’t know what
happened
cause its the systems fault
that the pipes are clogged
with who knows what
(and who would want to know)
The system charged you that fee
The system denied you access
The system caused that break down
The system’s the one that caused the crash
The system’s broke and needs fixin’
and you better believe it was the system
that got us in this mess in the first place

Reflections on Pop Music Lyrics #3

Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby

I’m a freaking genius!
Give me millions of dollars. Now.
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
Baby baby baby baby baby baby
(x38754098873)
-JB

Least of These

Saturday and Sunday get all the glory.

Friday too,
with all its happy hours
TGIF’s
and promise of the weekend.

But the results are in
and painfully it’s obvious
who’s in last place.

You’re not even the middle
of the week
like Wednesday is.

Not to mention you’re still close enough
to Monday for the drudging week ahead.

Even with all its cases
and blues
at least Monday has notoriety.

After all, hatred is an emotion
but indifference is the far greater insult.

You’re nobody’s favorite,
Tuesday.

And if nothing else, Thursday is
The day before Friday.

But Tuesday,
You’ve got nothing going for you.
Could there be a worse day?

Revolutions

Parents did most of the work
while we mostly floated on styrofoam noodles
bobbing between tubes
and the tiniest of toddlers slapped around in
cartooned swimmies
letting the rotating current drag us along
picking up our feet feeling the undercurrent
squiggling through our toes
tugging at our swimsuits
making bloated air pockets in our crotches

a select few
the more bold took big breaths before
going under
the force propelling us further that our cupped hands often could
and more likely than not
into a collision of legs
and toenails and furious bubbles
like aquatic insects zipping over chlorine slick skin
burning inside our noses

when the water was whisking faster
than we could push
waves sloshing over the sides
hiccupping relentlessly into the drain
the circle finding its other end
someone inevitably yelled switch
and we would

the pressure mounting onto our backs
dividing its way around
our browned arms and bleached hairs
fanning out
cutting the water like a ship’s bow
on expedition to discover unknown continents

and with aching appendages we fought against the tides
as if our lives depended on it
—and made up a heroic story as to why they did—
until the whirlpool’s water changed direction
as if it had always been moving that way

Three Remain

I – The Work of Faith

Yes. I have seen the cosmos.
The drudgery of crafting constellations
The slightest sleight of hand
Tipping moons and meteors into orbit.
Mundane as discarded fingernails.
But do not worry,
This monotony prepares a place for you.
Believe I am returning.

II – The Patience of Hope

Does my busywork fail to marvel you?
Messengers will speak my witness.
The solution is promised, but are you listening?
Mirrors cannot be convicted of perjury,
But their sentencing is always transparent.
See where the intercessor must stand?
Hold on.
I am sending one greater.

III – The Labor of Love

But of all these things, do you love me?
The ocean is vast, and waiting.
Let us set sail, and cast our nets to the other side.
Breath deep.
Drown, won’t you, in this ocean I have made for you?
I have tasted the sands upon the shore of hell
It was while you were yet cursed, I died for you.
I have returned.

I am.

In All His Splendor

If Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived
then I say, give me more wisdom than Solomon.
If a man unmatched in wisdom
found his delight in the ceaseless gathering of innumerable riches—
the captivation of hoarding of chariots and horses—
and the pastime of collecting seven hundred wives
and three hundred concubines of foreign princesses—
I say, give more wisdom than Solomon.
And if that harem could deceive his heart,
convincing him to build shrines of idolatry
to worship the abominations of Moloch and Ashtoreth—
rejecting the very God who gave him
the wisdom to attain all that he had—
I say, give me more wisdom than Solomon.
Tear me in two.
If Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived,
make me a beggar.

Tetanus

It isn’t rust that causes tetanus,
you said, but outside conditions offer a fertile habitat
for the bacteria to thrive on any nail, rusty or not.

But before it could hardly matter,
the weathered nail had already slipped through our soles—
oxidized arrows from Cupid’s sheave—
puncturing worn socks and
ejaculating its delivery into the wound, making a slurping sound on exit.
Thick lines intersect the scar like the nomenclature of buried pirate treasure.
Dig it out, rip it open, peel the veins bubbling backwards
and we would uncover a red pulse flexing fervently with devotion.
We thought it wouldn’t hurt as long as we didn’t fall,
but the immediate pain was hardly a consolation.
Our blood was black and blue, already eroding to the color of rust.

The nursed asked,
had we been vaccinated
and that we ought to be more careful.
We told her we would,
but we could already feel the lockjaw.

Happy Holidays (for you politically correct snobs)

Where’s the line for Santa?
Oh where, oh where could he be?

This Chistmess
This is Christmiss
Christmaze
Christmaddness
Christmustness
Christmastide
Christmaswaves
Christmaslines

But surely this isn’t Christmas?

Mass
Masses
Mass introdus
Mass exodus

The malls have opened.
We have been commissioned:
Ite, missa est.

Trash Day

Sunday evenings before football I contemplate life most.
Trash day is tomorrow, and the red draw strings constrict through my fingers like excavated veins that seal in the stench of my so-called day-to-day living.
The autumn air, the herald of Winter, reawakens my lungs from their Sabbath slumber and there’s something magnetic in the atmosphere.
A static that heightens my senses, spurns hibernation, tastes the tension of a minute hand trembling across the numerals of an hour, makes it matter.
Where has it gone?
Heaving the bundle of paper and plastic product necessities from three yards out – the point after – delegating possession to tomorrow’s trash men.
Will they ask the same questions when their shift ends or only wake up to punch the clock again?
On most nights, I still meander back inside, flat tire my shoes and peel them off, wondering whether the Eagles will cover the spread.
Besides creating more garbage have I done, and am I doing anything with what I’ve been given, or am I just throwing it all away?