Wednesday, January 31, 2007

#283: January 31, 2007

The tremor shifts the ground just like the sea
and throws us gasping, earthsick, while the waves
rise and turn ancient bodies from their graves,
turn Now to turbulent turbidity.

The Past buries the Present in the loam
suddenly liquid, churning temples down;
and like a goddess shrugging off her gown
now Gaia bares her breast through brownish foam.

The force that separates mantle from crust
and pulls the work of centuries apart
like motley costumes splitting at the seam
reveals to us the wages of our lust,
transmutes our bodies into wisps of steam
upon the planet's fiery, pulsing heart.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

#282: January 30, 2007

"You'd better use that thing between your legs
before it withers on you, mark my word!
Get out and drink your life down to the dregs,
for one day soon the thought will seem absurd.

"When you're as old as I, you'll spend your days
scratching your head and wondering where it went;
and memories of all your favorite lays
will show themselves treasure and time well spent.

"So go on, now, and stick it to those girls!
Don't worry if they're pretty, fat or thin.
The time's too short! Plunge in up to the curls!
'Cause who knows if you'll have the chance again?"

Grandpa sucked on his beer. "Believe me, kid:
don't do it, and one day you'll wish you did."

Monday, January 29, 2007

#281: January 29, 2007

Down in the swamp, so deep no juicy worm
can squeeze its fat bulk there, the Blurpin lies
with copper scales fastened over his eyes,
and chained so tight there's hardly room to squirm.

But squirm he does, and bubbles of his gas
swim anaerobic fathoms to the air
where they ignite like fiery warning flares
and singe the wings of vultures flying past.

They say one day the beast will break his chains
and seek the wizard out who built this jail,
though that old man's long dead; still, he won't fail
to make some warlock pay for all his pains.

Beware, practitioners of the magic arts:
the Blurpin's coming, flinging flaming farts!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

#280: January 28, 2007

Hold on to this, before it disappears
and leaves you empty-handed, clutching air.
You'll miss it as the cold, relentless years
stretch on and on toward death--so have a care.

Now pick it up and turn it toward the light;
commit each ding and dent to memory.
You'll polish it to shine after tonight,
and bless this call to perspicacity.

So put this moment in your treasure box
against the leaner times that lay ahead;
put velvet over it and turn the locks
on what was done and seen, and heard and said.

Now keep it sure as silver, dear as gold;
you'll live on this someday, when you are old.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

#279: January 27, 2007

Let's have a drink and sing another song,
clasp hands and wander back from now to then;
for moments here are short, and life is long,
and who knows when we'll come this way again.

The world is full of strangers, cads, and thieves,
and far too nearly empty now of friends;
the years fall through our arms like autumn leaves,
and happy seasons early meet their ends.

So come, embrace and call me by my name!
Lift up your glass, and I'll salute with mine.
In years to come, nothing will taste the same
except our love, and this fruit of the vine.

Let's drink our memories, for they are sweet--
My friend, my brother, till next time we meet.

Friday, January 26, 2007

#278: January 26, 2007

Stop to consider Edgar Manfred Sands
in these, the last few moments of his life;
who thinks not of his children, nor his wife,
but only of sales figures in his hands;

Too busy with columnar loss and gain
to note the twinge in his chest growing strong,
so by the time it's clear there's something wrong
he's on the carpet, doubled up in pain;

And so Edgar's life ends: fluorescent light
cold on his pallid brow, crumbs in his hair,
the keyboards' clack and static in the air
as gray cube walls enclose his final sight.

Now then: if you were Edgar, and you knew
it came to this, tell me: what would you do?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

#277: January 25, 2007

My Stabby Thing won't fail to break the skin--
its tapered end is blunt, but hides a sting;
it's pointy and precociously sanguine
and made to penetrate--My Stabby Thing.

My Stabby Thing must be handled with care,
or else there'll be a sticky reckoning;
it has been known to give folks quite a scare
so be gentle with it--My Stabby Thing.

My Stabby thing is quiet, clean, and quick--
it only needs a bit of anchoring;
then cock and press feel the gentle prick
and know it's done the job--My Stabby Thing.

An apparatus worthy of a king,
my pen-shaped pal, My Wondrous Stabby Thing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

#276: January 24, 2007

I've suffered half a hundred spider bites,
but still can't sling a web or climb a wall;
the kids all laugh at my bright spandex tights,
and every time I try to fly, I fall.

I tried getting exposed to gamma rays,
but then I just got sick and lost my hair;
and I'm an earthing--our sun's yellow rays
do nothing for me, which does not seem fair.

No super villains look up my address,
just bill collectors and religious folk.
As caped crusaders go, I'm just a mess:
powerless, impotent--a super-joke.

I may not be bulletproof, swift, or strong,
but I still want to save you. Is that wrong?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

#275: January 23, 2007

Before Jamie exploded, we all thought
that maybe she was just a little tense.
Given her stressful job, it just made sense,
but now, in retrospect, we all guess not.

She had some trouble with the intercom
just after the board meeting's second break;
she suddenly turned red, began to shake,
and then went off just like a cherry bomb!

Was it her boss's lousy attitude
that drove the poor girl finally to combust?
Or was it pent-up, boiler-pressure lust
for that muscular mail delivery dude?

Good workers can be so hard to replace--
especially so, I'd wager, in this case.

Monday, January 22, 2007

#274: January 22, 2007

"If everything did happen for the best,
you'd think we'd all be better off by now.
Forgive me if I'm not that much impressed
with what the Plan's accomplished here, or how."

"But God counts every sparrow as it falls,
and things are how they have to be, my friend.
The thing is to be ready when He calls,
and not bemoan results until the end.

"Do not be sad--if such a Plan exists,
then even tragedy performs its task."
"No matter how my preacher friend insists
on dumb acceptance, questions must be asked--

"Two answers, neither one likes me one bit:
there's no plan, or there is, and this is it."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

#273: January 21, 2007

He only missed one day--whether some spell
of sleeping, or some illness, laid him low,
some brain disorder, he would never know--
but when he came to, everything seemed well.

A single revolution of the sphere,
during which life had gone on while he stayed
completely out of it--he, undismayed,
began again, perceiving nothing queer.

Twenty-four hours lost--he felt no change.
And so his life continued on from there
until its end; his mourners, unaware,
entombed and left him, sensing nothing strange.

But if he'd had that day to live again--
Christ! What a different life it would have been!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

#272: January 20, 2007

When he was blind she gave him both her eyes,
and did not see him blink and turn away.
Her ears were deaf to all his alibis;
she'd bite her tongue rather than tell him nay.

And so when he withdrew from her his touch,
he left her on a plane devoid of sense;
she, never having dreamed there could be such
a world as this, abandoned her defense.

The darkness in the sockets of her skull
ran down like oil over her mouth and nose,
and all around her, limitless and dull,
the universal wavelengths fell and rose;

The planets turned, the moon drew back the sea,
and no one noticed--nobody but me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

#271: January 19, 2007

Dracula's got arthritis and the shakes,
can barely flex his fingers anymore;
Igor's acquired a morbid fear of snakes,
and so can't even crawl through a trap door.

The Monster in the dungeon's learning dance,
so villagers sleep soundly now, and free;
And Larry Talbot's buggered off to France--
his wolf act knocks 'em dead in gay Paris.

The Creature keeps submerged in his lagoon;
he lets the buxom bathing beauties swim;
and Dr. Griffin's leaving London soon--
he swears by Christ we've seen the last of him.

All night the zombies fidget in their graves
and ghosts sing dirges for the good old days.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

#270: January 18, 2007

He walks down stairs composed of human beings
crouched on all fours, like dogs at his command,
and stretches out to you a taloned hand,
his bearing and composure like a king's;

All round about his head the colors shift--
the world is suddenly liquid and strange;
his thoughts entire geometries derange
and set all moral sanity adrift;

His cape a devil's wings, his eyebrow creased
with fury, his top hat an altar stone
whereon is sacrificed and stripped to bone
your remnant mind, awakening the beast--

So best sit back and just enjoy the show,
in this strange world of Zé do Caixão.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

#269: January 17, 2007

The things you want to do have all been done;
that means they must be possible, you see?
How nice to know such hopeful ancestry,
how comforting you're not the only one!

And if that comfort's cold, it also chilled
those aspirants awake in days gone by,
who started from their bedsheets with a cry
and shivered as though they'd almost been killed.

Your darker mind reminds you few succeed--
few reach those possible, unlikely heights;
and dreams of failure keep you up some nights,
gnawing your nails with strange, psychotic greed.

Try not to get too caught up in that game;
succeed or fail--we all end up the same.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

#268: January 16, 2007

"I don't know who she was or where she went to
after that moment we locked eyes and smiled;
I stared at her much longer than I meant to,
those cloudy eyes, that hair--I was beguiled.

"Beguiled's a word you don't hear very often,
but here I swear to God it fits the bill;
and had my ice cream not begun to soften
I might be standing, staring at her, still.

"But people only do things when they've got to,
and so I paid the tab and walked away,
thinking only how much I'd rather not do
those other things I had to do that day."

Grandpa sighed. "After I finished that cone--
well, kids, I never felt so damned alone."

Monday, January 15, 2007

#267: January 15, 2007

I want to think of something nice today:
of warm spring days with flowers in the breeze
and blossoms stuck like sequins on the trees
that rain white petals earthward as they sway;

Of sunshine warm as honey and as bright,
that strews each speaking stream with flecks of gold;
those days of growth when nothing's very old
and always hours to go before the night.

For now the morning sky is cold and gray;
the pines trap vapors in their canopies
and harsh, odorless winds set birds to flight.
Bare oak limbs rattle, threatening a freeze,
and rain streaks every window like a blight,
and sunny thoughts can't keep the chill at bay.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

#266: January 14, 2007

The seventh night of rain we heard the crack
of concrete echo up the basement stair.
We found the crumbling wound behind the stack
of crates old Mr. Johnson had left there.

Next morning, water stood a half-inch deep,
all smelly, streaked with grease, unhealthy brown.
All day the ichor continued to seep;
the rain showed no intent of slowing down.

And when that stinking fluid drowned our shoes
we rented out a pump from Loughlin's place
and set it churning, nothing much to lose.
The rain strove hard, but couldn't keep the pace.

We found two skulls, and more human remains--
and still ain't seen the end of them damn rains.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

#265: January 13, 2007

If I could stand to drink my whiskey neater,
Tequila without triple sec or lime,
It might not make this old life any sweeter,
But surely it would save a lot of time.

If I could down the gin without the tonic,
Or gulp martinis, holding the vermouth,
It wouldn't make my woes any less chronic,
But it would make them shorter, that's the truth.

But I can't drink my spirits any faster;
It's wine and beer that makes my soul-weight float.
And while that leaves me less prone to disaster,
It takes a while, and also gives me bloat.

It's sick, perhaps, but life can make you sicker;
And wine is fine, but liquor does it quicker.

Friday, January 12, 2007

#264: January 12, 2007

The flags fly at perpetual half-staff
because it's pointless now to make the change;
we cry because it hurts too much to laugh,
and laugh because the sight's no longer strange.

We sacrifice for gods we don't believe,
whose priests have bound their eyes and tied their hands;
we hate because that's how we've learned to grieve,
and fear because that's all we understand.

And when we look behind us there's just smoke,
And when we look ahead of us there's fire;
And no one calls the jester on his joke,
And no one dares to say the king's a liar.

We watch because of all that we've been through,
and wait because there's nothing else to do.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

#263: January 11, 2007

No one wants to get caught browsing the aisle
where all the sex books are in the book store.
Discovery yields an embarrassed smile
and sudden fascination with the floor.

Those Kama Sutras, every how-to guide,
the recipes for aphrodisiacs,
go unlooked-at when there's no place to hide
from all those judging eyes that scan the stacks.

They'd not run sensuous fingers down a spine,
remove its dust jacket like lingerie
and probe its secret, innermost designs
for knowledge--God! What would the neighbors say?

And so those tomes sit in their cases yet,
And I thank God there is an Internet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

#262: January 10, 2007

I've filed my toenails down to sharpened points
and practiced crawling up the castle walls;
built up my muscles, stretched out all my joints,
so I can crazy-walk down darkened halls.

I've spent hours at the glass perfecting glares
and teasing out the gray hairs in my ears;
and I can creep down cobweb-covered stairs
without breaking one strand--that took me years.

So when those teenagers' car has a flat
and they come to my door to use the phone
(my cell reception's nil--imagine that!),
I'll greet them with my polished, chilling groan,

Listen impassively, invite them in--
and then, whoa Nelly! Let the show begin!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

#261: January 9, 2007

It pains me to compare you to a skunk,
for animals know better what they are
than you, who wouldn't even know you stunk
unless somebody trapped it in a jar
and shoved it in your face. You vagabond,
you villain, scoundrel, ragamuffin, knave!
Whose facial features barely correspond,
whose very flesh seems fashioned to deprave!
And were you to respond, if you could speak
without spitting and spraying like a newt,
your self-defense is surely sad and weak,
and idiotically structured, to boot.

Stupidity and ugliness combined--
you are a perfect monster of your kind.

Monday, January 08, 2007

#260: January 8, 2007

When Eddie challenged Billy to a race
we all piled in and rushed to Dead Man's Curve.
Bill couldn't back down without losing face,
though otherwise he might not have the nerve.

Ed's Mustang's engine roared in neutral, fierce;
Bill toed the start and revved his Camaro's.
We felt both men drawn back, all set to pierce
the velvet night like two huge, flaming arrows.

Then Sue untied a silk scarf from her skirt
And waved it in the air like a surrender;
Those metal beasts sprang forward, slinging dirt
and sped toward Dead Man's Curve, fender to fender.

We smelled burnt rubber, heard the tires scream,
and watched them disappear, like in a dream.

Temporarily removed. Currently under consideration elsewhere.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

#259: January 7, 2007

For God's sake, just shut up a minute, please!
I'll pay you for just half a moment's peace!
Were I to get down on my hands and knees
and beg, would all this damned yammering cease?

What can I do to make the quiet come?
I'll promise anything, just name your price.
These hours of screaming fight have left me dumb
and now I want my head crushed in a vise.

It seems to me that once we got along;
we spoke together in hushed, even tones.
Once we were friends--correct me if I'm wrong--
and didn't want to break each others bones.

But that was long ago, and far away;
for now, let's both just hush--what do you say?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

#258: January 6, 2007

One night when God was drunk, and all the bars
in Heaven closed to Him, He flung his glass
at a speed limit sign, and told the cars
that honked for Him to Kiss His Holy Ass.

He stumbled past the mansions He had built--
the padlocked gates, the solid gold yard art--
and tried to muster thunder for the guilt
He felt, but managed just one strangled fart.

The Paradise P.D. called up His Son,
but only got the Answering Machine;
at Mary's, also, answer got they none,
but just as well: she always made a scene.

And so God slept it off in Eden Jail
until The Spook came by to post His bail.

Friday, January 05, 2007

#257: January 5, 2007

A certain shift and pull of winter grass
against the wind reveals a picket fence
splintered with rot and age. A few yards hence,
beyond a rise where most walkers might pass
with little notice, lay foundation stones,
porous and etched by lichen, red and green.
Upon investigation may be seen
small artifacts: pottery. Flatware. Bones.
Still further on, curtained by waist-high weeds,
a chassis sits, its struts latticed with rust.
An elevation that was once a road
fronts desolation now. In spring the seeds
of dandelions blizzard the field, explode
in yellow riot. Now there's only dust.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

#256: January 4, 2007

Forsooth, milady! Say what thou wouldst think
should I, a lowly shepherd of the moors
approacheth thee, and thus present this drink
from my hand (O, unworthy hand!) to yours?

Acceptance! Such delight cannot be told!
And, by success made brave, now should I press
advantage, like those generals of old,
whose small vict'ries engendered greater--yes?

See here, your hand in mine--oh, be not shy!
'Tis like a beauteous bloom cradled by earth!
Another drink? But if thy lips be dry,
a kiss to wet them is of greater worth--

Ambrosia! Thou dost cause the sun to shine!
Barkeep, the bill! Now love--my place, or thine?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

#255: January 3, 2007

You'd think he would be happy all the time:
seven years old, new toys, a daily nap,
his future spread before him like a map
of green hills to explore, wide trees to climb;

And yet, already, he's thinking of death:
his mother's, mine--he mourns us in his bed,
trembling, the covers up over his head
until his cheeks grow damp with condensed breath.

Can't he be innocent of thoughts like these
a little longer? Breathlessly I run
to snatch him from his sheets, caress his head,
and shush this startling sadness; put instead
around his mind a careless childhood ease--
whispering, "Don't you cry; I'm here now, son."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

#254: January 2, 2007

There was an ape who found a ball of gold
buried beneath the trash heap where he played.
It might have been many hundred years old,
such marks of wear and age the thing displayed.

He took it in his paws and rolled it round;
he tried to crack it, egg-like, on a rim.
But it was solid; no fault could be found,
and soon it lost its interest to him.

So the ape left it there upon that hill,
untended save by sunlight, wind, and rain;
and thus that golden ball is perched there still,
as dull and solid as the primate's brain.

Except on moonlit nights--it spins and glows
under the stars, and opens like a rose.

Monday, January 01, 2007

#253: January 1, 2007

Beginning: full of possibility,
untapped potential, new untraveled roads,
a chance to be the things you'd hoped to be;
a cloud, dispersed, from which the light explodes.

No doors yet closed, no avenues yet blocked,
nothing but "Do I want?" and "Do I dare?"
The future bullet-chambered, hammer-cocked,
and pointed at the bright inviting air.

But with each measured step, decision made,
you may look back, but by then it's too late;
The possible dissolves, the options fade--
for each dream followed, others dissipate;

Till all possible paths resolve to one:
a shadowed highway toward a setting sun.