143

Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you be my lover?
Won’t you be my friend?
Through thick? Through thin?
Here in the neighborhood
Or in the land of make believe.
Because we should tell each other,
the truth and the facts.
Because we should tell each other,
That it’s a beautiful day to be alive.
So won’t you be mine? Would you,
Be mine? Won’t you be?
There’s been 143 times 33
Days since we’ve married.
And 1 + 4 + 3 still equals
I like you.
I love you.
I want you.
I need you.
Just the way you are.
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estelle

a summer dream
we speak of love
in birdsong

do not poison
the air with your
“sentences”

do not focus your
“attention”

i would work a lifetime
for 5 minutes more

with her

The Devil Never Settled

I sat for perhaps a lifetime
my hands clutching nothing
as I rocked in the perfect black

I found my feet slowly
When finally I could breathe again
and found the pool more slowly still

“Further West, I’d wager,” I whispered
as I eased in to the frigid water feet-first
and filled my lungs with all the air they’d take

In a moment I was submerged
in another I was swimming under sea and stone
It wasn’t long before I saw the sun again.

Almost Paradise

“You’ve come so far,” you whispered
as you wrapped me in warm arms
robbing all my breath from me

“You know I can’t come with you.”
I felt you say in to my chest,
my arms finally overlapping yours

“I swear you’ll see me again.”
you crackled, tightening your hold
even as you began to fade away

You took the light when you left;
With hands and knees I found the cave floor
and laid my tears there in the darkness

The Queen A Muse

I came to on a slab of hard rock
my eyes adjusting to the soft blue light
peering through a thin crack in the cave roof

Seasoked clothes clung to my skin
as I rolled my sore body to the side
working slow to stand before gazing around

You were there next to a gentle pool
there was a glow about your bedclothes
and a gentle brightness in your smile

We stood in the cool of our breathing
until you stepped forward to touch my shoulder;
I couldn’t say a word

The King A Prophet

I made tracks through the sandy beach
closing on the vast blue sea
which calmed and quieted with each step

There was only a yard between us
when the sea became stock still,
the air a perfect chill, and silent

I stopped a moment, hearing only my heart,
the quiet breaking as the sea exploded,
thundering upward in a great pillar

The watery monolith roiled as it blocked the sun
“Hello, old friend,” I whispered in its shadow;
it shuddered once, then crashed down to consume me

Gates of Paradise

I made my way through sand-set grasses
beneath the heat of the high noon sun
falling forward with each soft step

The salt-air harassed my hair and clothes
The rumble of the unstoppable growing louder
I found myself on a short dune-cliff

The sea stretched out immeasurable
rolling softly beneath a nearly cloudless sky
its vista unmarred by passing ships or seabirds

“As cold as it ever was,” I murmured
as I dropped my pack in the yellow stand
climbing down to the beach below

God was a Sailor

My body rose first the next morning
awoken in part by the rattling cold
I stood watching the sun a horizon away

The tin kettle was near the top of my kit
the black grounds in the bottom were thick
“Just a taste sometimes,” I muttered, stoking smoking coals

When I descended toward the water
it was full on oats and coffee
and with steps unsure as they were careful

By the time the sunrise had ceased
I was half-way down the mountain
with only the great blue sea in my sights

Breadth of Heaven

It must have been twelve hours
Though the dark laid useless my pocket watch,
I could have counted clacks

As the car slowed beneath my flour-bag perch
I pushed the slide-door wide
leaping to beat the bulls

I rolled to and stopped in a pile
my eyes finally finding me on a mountaintop
overlooking a great wide sea

The dusk set in as the freighter set out
“Mountain’s cold as scorn,” I mumbled gathering fuel;
I found no serpents under fallen brush

Northport Angels

In the afternoon sun
I could have heard my fits of coughing
but for the freight train’s clatter

you were somewhere near the ocean
“I’m sure of it now.” I said from my knees;
My feet found ground beneath me

My pack lay heavy on my shoulders
the blood nearly reddening my cheeks
my tracks leading to the freighter-line’s

the clatter had ceased by then
and it was just a short climb inside
to the long ride up the mountains

The Devil Went West

In the autumn dark
between silence and sleep
I’d thought you could be found

I fumbled with my switchblade
When I heard the racket
Just beyond the edge of the clearing

there was a rustling then
a whisper to the din that had come before
and the viper slid up my leg as carelessly

“What did you do with her?” I asked unanswered
while the fangs found my deepest reddest vein;
I was dead by morning

the ant trap

at what point do
you know
that it is poison
that you are
eating?

you stupid bug

that smelled
your way here
as you were born
to do
looking for
something sweet
to take a little
for your
infinitesimal
self

while the lion’s share goes to your master

it was i who put that poison there,
you bastard!

for you and your kin
because it
disturbs me
to see you
i am repulsed
by the
very site
of you

you should know better
than
to be soft
and dumb

and fall for an easy trap
placed
conveniently
within your
reach

Lay Here, Thinking About Love

To stand on the cusp of a waking dream
is a dream all itself
and yet I stand coughing up
a bittersweet backwash
as I lay here, thinking about love
and I am tempered fully
because the adage is true;
you can’t have everything
and Pat Carroll was right, too
about everything, just like I feared
he may be

she hid him beneath her bed

if i could only write one good
poem
it would be about when we went
south
and the humidity of
the middle part
of alabama

how it did fog up
my glasses in
just seconds

it would be about how i felt like
a stowaway
the whole time i knew you
a small puppy hidden under
your bed
and when we got to golf shores
i felt the foreboding of
being set free
by your sullen parents

in this, the best of my poems
i would remember and in detail
explain the last moment we
spoke
in person
but only the beach remains
that
sunbleached afternoon
walking barefoot and
the new freckles
i would fall between

and i would end the poem
very poignantly
and much before i spent a week
at my grandmother’s
in ocala
far from home
vomiting out religiously
all the sickness i had
endured.

it wasn’t fair, no one said it was, now go toast the happy couple

the lights were
still on the music
still loud when you
ran crying into the
cold night

the sand ate up
your steps and
when you met the
sea it was so cold,
and so uninviting

what did you expect?

maybe a caring and
warm omnipotent
cloud whose womb
you would climb inside
of and wish it all away

yet the air outside
the wedding tent was cold
as was the water that
lept at your toes
as you stood backwards

let go
fall into
the ocean
wait for
the dj to
stop alltogether
and the
party to
come for
you

drift into
the icey
ocean of
your feelings
and your
ambitions and
your perfect
universe never
to be

or, don’t you have the balls?
or, walk back to the tent
let the sand eat your steps
wipe the salt water off your face
and toast the happy couple.

when i ran away, rachel robinson

if i could live
16 again
i would meet you
in the open field
with your boys
at 2 or 3 am
and knowing then
what i know now
i would close my
laptop lid
and walk miles
in the cold country
darkness and
fight you with
everything i had

even if your boys
came in, as i
had feared
and stomped me
to pulp
i would lie my
bloodied face
on the thick,
dew covered grass
of my hometown
and laugh a crazy laugh
and spit the blood
out and laugh

and if you didn’t
kill me,
i would be better
for that

maybe better, some
how
than i am today

maybe i wouldn’t shake
or worry so much
maybe i’d be a better
man.

krokodil

i first heard your name the
winter of my returning home

you were the promise of respite,
a gentle wave lapping on the shore

your words were hyperbole and
placeholders for others and
you said i didn’t have to stay
or that you could go and

some years later it is finally
the morning after
the waves are garbage trucks
the sunlight is acidic
and my arm is rotting
from the paths you traveled,
krokodil

old songs

my life in memory

is beautiful and eternal

it includes

dramatic retellings

and for moments in real-time

i can spend years in the past

and all the people

whom i’ve torn apart

are there in whole

we never waste time to catch up

and we just pretend like nothing

ever changed.

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.

to renee

i love you in the only
way that i can

the way that is unsure
if it is good enough.

and i’d travel great
distances to prove

that the smile on your
face is a real one.

in a world of smoke
and mirrors

you are a cool breeze
and a warm sun,

and
i am sorry
for sometimes
being unsure
in miracles.