Thursday, November 30, 2006

#221: November 30, 2006

She got the stems, the gams, the set of wheels,
Start at the floor and right up to her ass;
The slippers silver, ruby, made of glass,
The stockings leave you wondering how it feels
To trace that line, that seam joined at the back,
Old-fashioned, like they drew on in the war--
Nylon was scarce--what did they use it for,
Those soldiers? Secret pantyhose attack?
It doesn't matter--Christ, it makes you choke!
A cuff of lace around the upper thigh,
Right where you'd like to cuff a wandering hand--
Black silk obscuring firm, plump calves like smoke;
Her heels inflame the boys, you understand...
Just listen to 'em burn as she walks by.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

#220: November 29, 2006

His uncle used to make the kids step up
and punch him in the stomach, just to prove
how strong he was. The younger kids would cup
hands around fists; the old man wouldn't move
as each one came forward to take his turn.
The sound of knuckles slapping his plaid shirt
like raindrops, he waited for them to learn
that here was a bastard could not be hurt.

Years later, with his aunt twenty years dead,
the boy would tell him how his cousins used
to imitate him, punch their knuckles red
and go home with their stomachs sore and bruised.

The uncle smiled. "The trick is to be tense,
And hold your breath. Makes all the difference."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

#219: November 28, 2006

I'm not the best and I am not the worst,
But somewhere in that glorious in-between;
I'm not the last, nor yet am I the first--
Not dull, perhaps, but surely none too keen.

I'm not Jesus and I'm not Lucifer,
Nor Gandhi, Buddha, Vishnu nor the Pope;
Not Don Juan, though I sometimes wish I were,
Nor Quasimodo, so I've still got my hope.

Not top, bottom, nor too much either side,
I perch upon the apex of the curve
Like some robin too young to try to glide,
Or else too old to muster up the nerve.

No blesséd good, but maybe worth a damn--
It's hard to say exactly what I am.

Monday, November 27, 2006

#218: November 27, 2006

So--is this what you wanted? This malaise
that stupefies you daily can't be good.
Just selling off the hours and the days
of the only life you've got--and all you could
have been, or should have, falls like autumn leaves
leaving only this frame, crooked and bare;
and all that's left of Spring inside you grieves
for fruitless blooms no gardener can repair.

Sure, you could sell the house, and quit the job,
the irresponsibility of dreams
embraced; but in so doing, would you rob
your wife and kids of their most cherished schemes?

Or stay grounded, society-approved,
stable, and so secure you dare not move.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

#217: November 26, 2006

He walks just like he's sliding over ice,
A dancer's grace--the natural dip and fold
of knee and hip, never the same move twice;
his shoes are hot, but his blue eyes are cold.

Down at the Blue Note seven nights a week,
the women crowded like smokes in a pack
to watch him work, to listen to him speak,
they follow that boy to heaven and back.

And out of Eden, up three flights of stairs,
her chin cupped like an apple in his hand,
he flicks a serpent's tongue to taste her skin.
It may be that she'll never understand
what brought her to his dance hall and this sin;
she falls, and maybe only Jesus cares.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

#216: November 25, 2006

I had a robot forty-five feet high
Who came to see me when my folks were out.
We had adventures, that robot and I,
and saved the world a hundred times, no doubt.

Gigantic buzz-saws gauntleted his arms;
He wore ten warheads in a bandoleer.
And together we'd fly over the farms
And forests, making sure the coast was clear.

We fought against Martians as tall as trees
And lizards that put Godzilla to shame,
Brought evil battle robots to their knees
And sent their masters back from whence they came.

Then with rockets still smoking from our flight
He'd put me back to bed and say goodnight.

Friday, November 24, 2006

#215: November 24, 2006

I know one night Death will come stalking me
on padded feet--its fur will catch the moon
and return violet fire, while I, the soon-
to-be-departed, watch the trees. I'll see
a man-sized shadow, maybe, bend the limbs
under its weight, then vanish like black smoke.
The wind will silence then, all at a stroke,
and Death's eyes will leer down like blood-red gems.
Perhaps I'll hear the roar and see him fall,
the slashing claws, the teeth yellow and bare;
or maybe he will catch me unaware,
a sudden darkness that envelops all.
Or perhaps he'll crouch down, softly nose my hand,
and lead me gently toward that other land.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

#214: November 23, 2006

The turkeys are not thankful for Thanksgiving;
pigs also are ungrateful for the day.
Quite selfishly they'd rather go on living
than serve as cold cuts or a meat pâté.

They'd just as soon not lie at center table,
surrounded by potatoes, rolls, and corn;
they'd make a break for home if they were able,
back to the pen or nest where each was born.

It's not that they dislike all celebrations--
ice cream and cakes and party hats are nice;
but they can't approve their own eviscerations,
nor willingly lie on deathbeds of rice.

For you it's ham and roast bird packed with stuffing;
for them, a date with that Eternal Nothing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

#213: November 22, 2006

Oh I've had friends who could not be my lovers
And lovers whom I would not want as friends;
A relationship that starts beneath the covers
Should not surprise you if that's where it ends;

Oh I've kissed lips before to stop them talking
And held a hand to keep it from a blow;
And I have tickled feet to start them walking,
And laughed through bitter tears to watch them go.

I've suffered through the carnal contradictions
Of love and lust, of hate and happiness;
And I've pronounced curses and benedictions
O'er heads I've loved or could not care for less;

You'd think a fool could not continue long
Thus without gaining wisdom--but man, you're wrong.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

#212: November 21, 2006

The way you curve between shoulder and hip,
hands stretched above your head, a violin
of flesh; your sides invite my palms to slip
the alabaster polish of your skin--

I'd fold your fingers, tune your humming nerves
with feather touches down your arms, and know
you vibrant, vibrating within those curves
while I stand straight and rigid, like a bow--

I'd lay my cheek along your thigh and wait,
the hush and stillness; I could disappear
into the music we anticipate,
this symphony that only we will hear--

The way you answer me, taut as a string--
I move my hand over you, and you sing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

#211: November 20, 2006

Watch carefully, for this is not a trick:
I'm going to disappear before your eyes!
Don't blink, because it happens pretty quick,
And I'll be gone before you realize.

You'll posit me a master of disguise,
Say I slipped out unnoticed with the crowd
Like any one of half a hundred guys
Who leave scratching their heads, completely wowed.

You'll wonder, did I somehow hypnotize
The audience, or give the lights a flick
And through a trap door seem to vaporize?
You'll wonder how such trickery's allowed--
While round about your heads my essence flies
And dissipates like vapors in the skies.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

#210: November 19, 2006

This stagnant pond, where once the water flowed
as clear as glass, now lies coated with slime,
little recalling that happier time
of leaping fish and sun, before it slowed;

Before it stopped, the stream talked to the stones
and sang along with songbirds in the trees
who dove to bathe and dine on water fleas,
while basso bullfrogs hummed the lower tones.

Now all is silent; under that thin scum
no serpent moves, no monster stalks its kill.
Nothing but black mud, bones, and airless space.
Whatever sang here once perhaps sings still,
but far away; while in this poisoned place,
all Nature couches motionless and dumb.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

#209: November 18, 2006

The Great Old Ones forgot where they were going,
Took one wrong turn at Mars and oozed away;
When they'll be back we've got no way of knowing,
And Cthulhu's getting lonely in R'lyeh.

The dusty air has dried out all the shoggoths;
The Mi-gos packed their jars, called it a day.
There's nothing going on now at Yog-Sothoth's,
And Cthulhu's blowing bubbles in R'lyeh.

Old Dagon's church in Innsmouth has gone quiet;
The townsfolk all have gone to sea to stay.
The ghouls under the kirk are on a diet;
The Necronomicon once caused a riot--
Now it's for sale, but nobody will buy it,
And Cthulhu's still a-snoozing in R'lyeh.

Friday, November 17, 2006

#208: November 17, 2006

His dissolution came as no surprise
to him; he'd been awaiting it for years.
Stoic, almost Grecian, he shed no tears,
even before it liquefied his eyes.

His arms withered, his legs shrank down to bone,
his ears dried up and fell like autumn leaves;
his teeth vanished as though purloined by thieves,
yet his dessicate tongue voiced not a groan.

For as his body crumbled into dust
and maggots rutted through his sad remains,
his mind still dwelt above in flowered halls;
he thought, through clouds of pain, how God is just
and numbers every songbird as it falls--
right up until the insects ate his brains.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

#207: November 16, 2006

I'm groggy and bone-tired; my brain is wrapped
In cotton and my ass plated with lead.
Coherent thought's a project should be scrapped,
As every second image is a bed.

It's hard to work on just five hours of sleep,
With bland blank screens inducing lethargy;
Bad, bored, and boneless--sluggish, I should creep
Through gardens and find rocks to cover me.

Oh let me dream of dreaming; let me fall
Through scented linen onto mounds of fluff;
Let me rock like an infant there, and crawl
Out only when at last I've slept enough.

And should you find me snoring at my desk,
Please douse the lights, punch out, and let me rest.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

#206: November 15, 2006

I know it's scary now, but just hold on.
You'll get used to the bright lights, the cold air;
The loud noises get easier to bear,
and soon those prodding doctors will be gone.

That frightened-looking fellow with the beard
and that exhausted woman on the bed
will keep you close and warm, and on your head
will place like jewels all they had hoped and feared,

and give you strength to bear them, like a king.
So close your eyes a moment and be strong.
This world, so loud and cold, is not a place
to hold too dear; and right now everything
you need is holding you, kissing your face.
Don't fret. You'll have this sussed before too long.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

#205: November 14, 2006

When there's nothing left to fuck up, and the clouds
Rain ashes from the burning atmosphere,
When stars wink out like Christmas lights, and clear
Blue skies give place to poisoned purple shrouds,

When tiny creatures turn the oceans red
And drop new fossils toward the ocean floor,
Innumerable black bones litter the shore
And toxic sludge strangles each river bed,

When Earth tires of our foolishness and throws
Our deadly unconcern back in our eyes,
When everything is sick and nothing grows--
When Was becomes the victim of Is Not,
And Consequences overwhelm their Whys,
And God lies dead in His heaven--then what?

Monday, November 13, 2006

#204: November 13, 2006

November, and the Bradfords are ablaze
in residential spaces where they grow
each a lone, burning matchstick; now the rays
of setting suns all round about them throw
a panoply of color: orange and red,
like tangerine and pomegranate flesh,
and yet already browning where the dead
and flamboyantly dying cells enmesh.

Ahead another autumn, maybe two,
topheavy, all their fruitless limbs will crack
in middling winds--uprooted then, and new
ornamental arbors will fill their lack.

Many of us are losers at that Game--
though once we stood as proudly, crowned with flame.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

#203: November 12, 2006

In Spring the Moon is full here every night
And faeries strew gems 'mongst the morning dews;
The sleepy owls blink in the golden light
While gnomes polish their stones and mend their shoes.

In Summer dryads sleep beside the brooks
And willows trail their fingers in the waves;
The Sun drives trolls and ogres to their nooks
And firefolk dance over forgotten graves.

In Autumn shadows stretch like bony hands
To tangle up the Moon, and spirits walk
The fens where werewolves hunt in growling bands,
While banshees wail with faces white as chalk.

All Winter, aging angels come and go;
Their molt blankets the frozen earth like snow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

#202: November 11, 2006

Suzie Excusie would have been on time,
Except her daily planner skipped the date.
She would have called, but couldn't find a dime,
And anyway, she's hardly ever late.

Suzie Excusie would have called you back,
But vandals cut her phone line for a lark,
And also painted all her windows black,
So she dared not go out--she hates the dark.

Suzie Excusie meant to feed your fish
the way you asked her too--but then that night
The President told her his earnest wish
She leave at once for Greece, on the next flight!

Suzie Excusie wonders where you've been.
Why don't you call her? She thought you were friends!

Friday, November 10, 2006

#201: November 10, 2006

The human hearts in jars began to beat
in Dr. Stein's laboratory last night,
with no pipes, electrodes, nor eerie lights--
just formaldehyde and rhythmic, pumping meat.

Sensing a miracle the doctor rose,
returning moments later with his wife
who gasped and sputtered, "Herbert, is it life?"
To which her husband shrugged and said, "Who knows?

"They cannot reproduce--they lack the parts--
and without bodies, where have their souls gone?
With no minds, how to query their intent?"
And so the baffled couple watched the hearts
pulsing unhurriedly until the dawn,
uneasily unsure of what it meant.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

#200: November 9, 2006

You should have seen the look on your mom's face
the moment she first touched your crowning head,
as you pushed your way into the world, and spread
the veil between her womb and sight, like lace
over a window, drawn and then--so bright!
Both in her eyes and bursting from her skin,
a radiance of love she'd stored within
and then, opened by you, shone forth her light.

And standing in that glow, with its gold rays
dazzling and nearly blinding me, I heard
your voice and saw you lifted, pale and wet,
and trailing clouds of glory--so amazed,
I wept, and spoke entranced a single word
whose sound and import terrify me yet.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

#199: November 8, 2006

Down in Cray Wood an ancient black oak grows
And stretches spindly fingers toward the sky;
In Autumn, when its limbs are bare and dry,
It sounds like rattling bones when the wind blows.
Leaves flutter like dark moths around its feet
And moonlight pools like water round its toes;
Mist rises from the damp earth, twists and flows
Through spaces where the light and shadows meet.
And some nights, when the fog sits on the peat
And the old moon hides itself, wherever it goes
When spirits walk, you just might hear the cry
Of owls, or ghosts long dead, while the cold beat
Of hearts unbodied pulses past to fly
Out toward what destination, no one knows.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

#198: November 7, 2006

I got up on the wrong side of the bed,
Quite literally--my forehead smashed the wall,
Caving the sheetrock. "Jesus Christ!" I said,
And stubbed my toe on moldings in the hall,

As though in punishment for blasphemy.
My throbbing toenail, scraggy and ingrown,
Snagged the carpet, and like a flesh Slinky™,
I tumbled down the stairs, bruised to the bone.

For a moment I lay still and tried to breathe,
My eye gouged on my dislocated thumb,
Awake just moments--I could not believe
The Three Stooges film my life had become.

I limped to my bedroom, put on my clothes,
And while shaving, sneezed and sliced off my nose.

Monday, November 06, 2006

#197: November 6, 2006

My son, forgive me--however I'm screwing
you up, I swear it's not the way I meant
to do it. I just don't know what I'm doing,
nor can I judge results from my intent.

Each day in horror I can see you growing
higher up, older, further from me too;
It kills me that I've got no way of knowing
what my failures and faults will do to you.

When you're a man, and I have watched you living
the way you've learned to live by watching me
for years, I hope that you will be forgiving
and know I wasn't all I'd hoped I'd be.

I'm sorry, son--please don't despise your dad,
who never could have dreamed he'd be this bad.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

#196: November 5, 2006

O Lords of Nature, shield this fresh-flung seed
From strangling rains and fierce, germ-scattering wind!
Give these young roots the footholds they will need
So I won't have to fertilize again.

Nurture these seedlings, let their blades unfurl
Green banners in my battle for this earth.
Under this dirt I've hauled, let tendrils curl
And wrap my yard in verdant, springy turf.

Let no erosion wash away this grass!
Three weekends' labor lies upon yon slope.
I'd hate to think that I'd busted my ass
For nothing--so, ye gods, fulfill my hope!

You safeguard Nature's blessing--please bestow it
And grant me peace...until I have to mow it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

#195: November 4, 2006

Don't say the word "forgive." Don't even breathe
if you intend to give voice to the thought.
It's worse than pointless; how can you believe
my mercy could at any price be bought?

Would you request the dying man forgive
the serpent who put venom in his veins?
Or the broken prisoner who's condemned to live
forever bound, the maker of his chains?

It burdens me, this hate--its bitter taste
that always taints the sweetness on my tongue
and lays even the smallest joys to waste
so that, like soldiers, dreams die hard and young.

And yet I cannot slough it off, nor yet
can I forgive, while I cannot forget.

Friday, November 03, 2006

#194: November 3, 2006

I like to think of you laid on the bed,
on crumpled linen, as if just tumbled there;
recumbent, unselfconscious, flushed and bare,
your pulse the ocean pounding in your head.
I love to draw the organs of my sight
along your ribs, your breasts, your naked feet,
with the essence of us trickling to the sheet
between your thighs and drying there; I might
compare you to a goddess couched in air,
an Aphrodite spent and sweating light;
But that's not how I think of things. Instead
I want you solid, mortal, with your hair
all mussed; groggy with lust, legs sore and spread,
immodest, messy, imperfect--and right.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

#193: November 2, 2006

I don't know what to tell you. It's not there.
I've turned the taps, but water will not flow.
It's not that I'm lazy or I don't care;
I do--but where it's gone, I just don't know.

Maybe I need to exercise my mind,
Think more, and deeper; read philosophy
Instead of children's books. Then I might find
A theme to answer these sad quandaries.

No need to read further--just skip ahead,
or else look back. I'm just filling up space.
As soon as this is done I'll go to bed
And hope tomorrow will correct this waste.

My apologies. Now I'm almost done.
Come back tomorrow for a better one.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

#192: November 1, 2006

I found a hole that was almost my size
and so I laid me down a while to rest.
I pulled the dark brown earth up to my chest
like a blanket, then I yawned and closed my eyes.

I didn't mean to stay--but soon the sound
of wind through weeds enervated my brain,
and when I thought to stir myself again
I'd sunk too far into this hungry ground.

Maybe somewhere above me flowers bloom,
and mother birds feed hatchlings in the tree
whose leaves cover this man-shaped patch of grass
where now I lie, immobile and entombed,
dreaming that, someday, travellers who pass
might stop and wonder what became of me.