Friday, December 12, 2014
If you wait any longer
the moon will have slipped
like a shiny quarter
beneath the earth's velvet upholstery.
Try as you might to retrieve what’s lost,
there will only be popcorn husks, cookie crumbs,
a nest of shredded tissue, at least one paper clip,
a dried up ink pen and a tough little nugget
composed of either meteor fragments
or the desiccated remains of distaste.
The fullness of each moment
held tight, then tighter.
Friday, December 5, 2014
I’ll hold the pen like a microphone,
lean over the poem repeating test, test, test
until I can hear my own voice
bouncing back off the paper.
Later, after I’ve rambled
about weather, time, and the usual sponsors
I’ll turn to the day’s calendar
and write a line like, “This just in…”
so what often goes unnoticed
glitters with worthiness, as if my life
was breaking news.
I’ll imagine readers calling, asking
that I use a favorite word,
that I dedicate some portion of my time
to their loneliness, and really
what can I say, I’ll try to work it in,
if after an interview
and a few anecdotes
designed to keep the poem upbeat
and family-oriented, maybe
I’ll go to a prerecorded commercial,
lean back in my chair
and ponder for thirty seconds
what’s next before the dead air’s back
and all I can think to say is
“This one’s for you.”
Friday, November 28, 2014
Wind chill contains no predator scent.
It threatens with double negatives,
passes through walls like a ghost,
cracks glass without a sound.
It whistles a dirge,
not a melody that’s sweet,
accompanied by a rhythm
with the chatter of teeth.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Peering into the display,
my reflection floats between
the flightless lines of a last
feathered specimen behind glass.
The Dodo stares back at me,
its awkward beak and best foot
forward, all that remains of
the original shipped to Britain.
The rest is fabrication,
a depiction of what explorers
found more than 350 years ago
on Mauritius, an island
500 miles east of Madagascar.
Unchallenged by predators,
they say, it stood three feet tall,
weighed forty fearless pounds.
On any given day the exhibit hall
bristles with visitors, cacophony
enough to shatter glass, but it's me,
not the Dodo, that flinches.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Sun, moon, and stars,
then coals, oils, and wicks,
tapers coated in wax, all this
before any wires hummed.
Still, the boy lies awake
in the near-dark after his mom
turns off the switch, his tiny nightlight
illuminating a 13.8 billion-year-old promise
that nothing could go wrong.
The blanket tight to his chin --
a backup plan should his brain
start glowing like a filament
after he’s plugged his thumb
into the old fetal socket.
Friday, November 7, 2014
“You know what’s wrong with our political parties?”
“Not enough alcohol?”
“I mean the party system, the way citizens are vetted as voters.”
“I’m not sure, but if you’re going to tell me, I probably could use a drink.”
“Candidates are forced to align with one side or the other.”
“The other what?”
“The other party. Pay attention.”
“Oh sure, two parties, I see. Gotta go to one of them, probably should go to both.”
“Be serious, the integrity and future of Democracy is being unwritten by the party, not the candidate.”
“That sounds serious.”
“It is. What a candidate believes is unintelligible and negligible. The voter only hears the party line.”
“I hate party lines.”
“They’re the most generic, insipid, dishonest approaches to information that a voter can be exposed to.”
“I was at a party one winter and got exposure.”
“Don’t be stupid, I’m not talking about keggers.”
“Me neither. I was talking about an art opening.”
“What does that have to do with politics?”
“One of the paintings was a flag done with ketchup, marshmallows, and eggplant.”
“Eggplant isn’t blue.”
“Yeah, I know, but it got me thinking.”
Friday, October 31, 2014
Maybe Ovid begins this day of the
unread, reciting Latin eulogies,
his waxy white skin luminous as the
moon, followed by blind Milton bemoaning
the paradise he lost, his eye sockets
sunken, his daughter thin as the wisp of
his tattered sleeve, tangled like a serpent
at his feet. Wordsworth grey as the ash
in his fireplace, stirred by his sister
with the tip of her walking stick.
A graveyard of stanzas stumbling,
unstoppable, iambic pentameters
like the shuffling of weary feet. Plath
with her gas, Hart Crane stepping off a ship's
deck into unfathomable ocean.
So many poets only half-gone, poems
crawling like ivy over a grimace
of tombstones crooked as yellow teeth.