April 9, 2020 Or, A Poem About Family

poetry

I remember ever scratch
on my parents’ dining table

I can see if I close my eyes
the chipped veneer
on my father’s end

the puncture from a project
by my middle brother
in the summer of ’03

I can feel my quiet frustration
at the grain not aligning
in the center
when the leaf is out
and sheer annoyance
that the lines don’t match
even when it is laid in
perfectly center

Ever stacked with clean towels
government paperwork
off-brand Tupperware full
of different kinds of cookies

a bag of fresh fruit even
within a few days of the market

and wonder at the dinner
that it could have held
but for a global pandemic
and a quarantine order
from the Governor
that won’t let up ’til May

April 1, 2020 Or, A Poem About Rich Men

poetry

The dust from our grinded bones
would settle in neat piles
under the chutes of great machines
rattling away through the night
to distill us in to the parts
best worth consuming
and my only hope, then, would be
to take the sickness with me
through each infernal mincer
over every hellish gear, so
by the time they found infection
it would bee too late for them
and they would suffocate inside
their own retched throbbing lungs
as the world spun fast enough
to fling them in to space
to die
the rest of the way

(Today is the first day of National Poetry Month)

King of the Mountain

poetry

I stood on the top of a snow mound
at eleven, hands without gloves
cold from the climb and face red
in the late afternoon light and I
watched as three boys made their ways
to the top where we would grip one
another and try with might and leverage
to cast each other down the mound
to hold the peak for a few seconds more
until another challenger summitted and
made their case to reign supreme but
not one of us had gloves and most of us
had rides home coming but I had walked
to school that morning so I would last
until the final bus had pulled away and
I would rule a minute more until my
beet-red hands started hurting

I Thought So (I really did)

poetry

I can’t have you
whistling through the vines
out there,

teasing cool
in the summer heat
and bringing,
for just a moment,
the fragrances
of another man’s
supper

My head lays
on the kitchen table
like a chopping block,

pressed against the scratches
in its perfect,
marred surface,
lolling on
the center leaf

it is seven PM
exactly
when I will lift
my head again

to gaze in to you,
cool night air,
like a memory

to think your name
and dream of you
in winter

conversation that never happened

poetry

you want to
eat the eiffel tower

you want to eat
notre dame, the grand canyon
so you can fill your
brain with images

“go outside and breathe in the crisp air
and smell the city”

but for what?

for myself to keep?

you think you live to eat
i think you live to kill
and shit

the colors are already
inverted for me
and i just have to
live like this

so that i won’t one day
find myself

in someone else’s brain
trying to tell them
what to do

6:01

poetry

I watched that video
again
for the hundredth time
but maybe only the twenty-fifth
without you

and I don’t even know
what day it was

it was every day
at 6:01
until we memorized
each word and we
laughed whether
we fucked it up
or not

but look, man
we’re in the
prime of our lives
got to live the way we got to

gonna make us some money again
gonna fight

but not all fighters
are champions

and I don’t even know
what day it was

but I hope
it didn’t
hurt

11212019

poetry

at least i’m in wichita
and one of
maryann’s cousins can’t just
towe my car

at least i’m wichita
making over 50 thousand a year
and my mom can’t
yell at me

i’m not back home
smoking mids
behind a gas station
with some kids i went to
school with

rob’s dead
a lot of shitty things have happened
(and continue to)
but it’s fine
it’s fine

what takes me out better be
something
not like falling in the
shower
i’m too self important
for that

i want to say thanks
for the cold air
and thanks for the
moon

Appreciation

poetry

Your stock has been one in a million.
Given away freely,
Now of priceless worth.
Your steady trend has been upwards,
Always forward, never back.

And there have been recessions.
There’s even been depressions.
But you’ve been resilient.
Downturns will surely come in the future,
Opportunities for you to turn up.

And here we are today,
More than a decade since inception.
You alone are my portfolio.
Un-diversified.
Exposed to risk.
Betting only on the appreciation of you.

Because it’s the same every time

poetry

You are a white-hot point in space
searing through my retinas as I
stare and I
am clinging to this moment
trying
so
desperately
to
hang
on

but I know how this ends
even as you burn as hot as ever
I know how this ends
because it’s the same
every time

and it will be no surprise
as my fingers tire
my grip slips
and I am flung through nothing
and I am incinerated in your
holy light but I
am clinging to this moment
trying
so
desperately
to
hang
on

but my clothes
are already
burning

It Comes in Threes

poetry

So watch your back
Two days gone,
Two’ve passed on.
I hope that you’re not next.

One had lived on the edge for years,
Fighting cancer’s deathly grip.
The other dead in two hours’ time,
“Unforeseen” and “tragic,” just as they said,
So, as is always, the rule of threes.

The rule has begun,
So a second life was taken.
Too early for all involved.
The rule has begun,
So who’ll be next?
A question to ponder, all.

I hope it’s not me,
But will it be you?
Or someone unforeseen?
Time can’t be stopped,
so this we all know:
Don’t get in the way
Of the rule of threes.