Monday, April 23, 2007

#365: April 23, 2007

Don't say goodbye--it sounds too much like death,
and I will not be called upon to grieve.
Let's sing together till we've lost our breath,
and take a little with us when we leave.

Please understand, I've tried to do my best
with every bit of hope I've come upon.
The time has come to stop a while, and rest--
so take a little with you once I've gone.

May all your paths be crooked, and the bends
reveal at each turn something grand and new;
may you die old, surrounded by your friends
who love you just as deeply as I do.

We'll meet again--though when, we cannot know;
so take a little with you, when you go.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

#364: April 22, 2007

My feet propped up, a cold beer on my thigh,
lawn freshly mowed, my shirt still damp with sweat,
and dinner coming soon, but not here yet;
I sip and belch and watch the world go by.

I brush a fat mosquito from my jaw
and savor my mild alcoholic haze,
while in the west, the sun's departing rays
turn clouds purple and pink, like Mardis Gras.

There's something fraught with meaning on the breeze,
with daytime done, and darkness just a hint
of shadow underneath the spreading trees;
but search for Truth can wait--the Spring is here,
its flow'red gown on the bosom of the year,
and soon enough we'll wonder where it went.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

#363: April 21, 2007

How does he do it? Just seven years old,
and already an expert at discord.
His blue-eyed glare makes parents' veins go cold;
he cuts down to the dark blood with a word.

With sadistic precision, lashing out,
he somehow hits exactly the right things
to murder my restraint--I twitch and shout
and twist, a puppet strangling on his strings.

I know one day maturity will come
as much to ripen him as rescue me;
so make haste, dotage, pull us safely from
this grim morass of young hostility.

And if I'm senile when the fighting ends,
at least my son and I might part as friends.

Friday, April 20, 2007

#362: April 20, 2007

A Roman candle, fuse smoldering low,
hot balls of colored fire all set to fly.
The strokes count down: five-four-three-two-one--go!
It sprays across the bosom of the sky.

A cannon packed with pearls and powdered milk,
its load primed for a target hard to see;
a rod of glass rubbed with a swatch of silk,
just tingling full of electricity.

The roar--the load delivered miles away!
The charge--discharged with sudden, crackling might!
One splatters on the mountains, streaks the clay;
the other shocks to shivers, heat and light!

Bazookas, silos, smokestacks, volcanoes--
it means something...but what? Nobody knows.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

#361: April 19, 2007

Out in the field, a throng of wildflowers:
each lifts the tiny burden of its head
unsteadily, and spatters drops of red
upon green blades, as though some claw had scoured
the meadow's skin, rubbed raw; nothing beside
but sparse, elongated shadows of trees
that twitch and lock their branches in the breeze
to sieve the light, and show the fawn earth pied.

A minute's walk returns me to my chair,
computer screen, and three blank, not-quite walls;
fluorescent bulbs banish the shadows' play,
and black glass separates the here from there--
too thick to hear the flitting songbirds' call,
too dark to watch the sunlight fade away.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

#360: April 18, 2007

Name anyone--now, when you take a breath,
one of his atoms flies into your lungs.
All history parades across our tongues,
and every exhalation conquers death.

For matter, not created nor destroyed,
but changed only in form, must then persist;
and all who existed must still exist,
though parts of them be differently employed.

Therefore, long after I take my last taste
of Einstein, Shakespeare, Lincoln and the rest,
and go to particles--don't be distressed,
my love, for nothing in us goes to waste:

In breasts unformed, in breaths untaken, we
will be together, elementally.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

#359: April 17, 2007

Forgive me, love, for what is it infects
my sometime thoughts; for when I draw away
to force you come to me; for when I lay
apart, seething your sleep; where intersects
desire and almost-hate--what can it be
that drives me punish she who keeps me safe,
who shields me as from hot machinegun strafe
with just her naked flesh? Love, forgive me.

What's unlovely in me should not intrude,
but does--and nothing in me can explain
how, when you lie against me, warm and nude,
down in the very joining-place of you
and me, how any meanness could remain
so untransformed--I know not, what I do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

#358: April 16, 2007

Hid in the roots of that thunderstruck oak,
black with disease, pus boiling from his skin,
sits Sigur's toad--who for his namesake's sin
has crouched there since that dark day he awoke.

His fiery tongue, as fell as any dart
impregnated with venom, chokes his throat.
The earth grows rotten from his fetid bloat,
this cancer in the forest's living heart.

And there he'll squat, caked in poisonous mud
where weeds grow yellow and no creature dwells
(the stink of him keeps even flies at bay),
until a maiden born of Sigur's blood
can lift the curse (though how, no legend tells)--
and then, like ice, the beast will melt away.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

#357: April 15, 2007

Somewhere down in the catacombs that lie
beneath this manor house like spiders' webs,
all labyrinthine--where the stale air ebbs
and flows, like breath of monsters soon to die,
you'll find the Viscount's tomb. Look for his mark:
a raven on a red field strewn with bones.
Remove his banner, lay aside the stones:
the secret you seek sleeps there in the dark.

But do not go if you've a dread of death--
live out your days in ordinary time!
For something conscious shifts there in the slime
that hasn't been the Viscount these ten year.
A dead man's wares are never bought but dear.
Listen--the tunnels echo with his breath...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

#356: April 14, 2007

When I came back, the fields were just as green
as two years past. The buildings were the same.
The old faces peeked out among the new,
but slightly changed. And though your words were kind,
the spaces in between them stretched too long,
the friendly clasp of fingers broke to soon.
Already, then, you were forgetting me.

Later, alone, as I wandered between
college and house, a thing I couldn't name
turned my steps toward the back fields, where the blue
cold light and waist-high weeds bent and entwined.
I shed my clothes--for, naked, we belong
to just ourselves. Beneath that foreign moon
I walked back, silent, like a refugee.

Friday, April 13, 2007

#355: April 13, 2007

"Young counselors of Crystal Lake, beware!
Jason Voorhees is prowling on the bank.
He can't be stopped, he moves just like a tank;
He doesn't think, and therefore doesn't care.

"His meaty paws have snapped uncounted necks,
His machete cuts campers down to size;
He'll shove those pruning shears into your eyes
while you lie naked, waiting on hot sex.

"His mom might shove an arrow through your throat,
but he'll just bend you backward like a hinge.
If half-drowned, rotting retards make you cringe
you'd best not go anywhere near that boat!

"Impaled or gutted, smashed against a tree--
you're doomed, kids, DOOMED!" Old Ralph said. "Wait and see!"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

#354: April 12, 2007

"Look, I'll make you a deal: just shut yer trap,
or else I'll shut it for you. How's that sound?
One way, you keep that dame across your lap;
the harder way's a hot date with the ground.

"What now, a heater? Second time today
some gunsel's thought the gat in his right hand's
the whole world by the tail. What can I say?
This type, a beatdown's all he understands.

"Here, gimme that! You're gonna hurt someone.
Now what to do, since Plan A just got scrapped?
Somebody's always giving me his gun.
Punk, you'll take it and like it when you're slapped!

"C'mon, let's see if Gutman comes across.
This'll put you in solid with your boss."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

#353: April 11, 2007

The trick is looking busy every moment;
the actual business barely enters in.
Hard work and deadlines met pass without comment;
Appearing to be idle? Mortal sin!

So cultivate a deep, thoughtful expression:
set eyes asquint and knit those heavy brows.
Better go blind than make the wrong impression--
less seen, the less suspicion you'll arouse.

Hold paragraphs of jargon at the ready:
a baffled boss keeps projects off your plate.
Drop lines of code, delib'rate, slow and steady,
and never finish early or leave late.

'Cause what you do just doesn't count for beans,
so long as what you're doing can be seen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

#352: April 10, 2007

Look, no one here's your friend. The enemy
is all around, just waiting to attack.
They finger bloody knives behind your back--
the only difference is one of degree.

There's some who wouldn't stretch to cause you pain,
but likewise would not help except for pay;
and others who, depending on their day,
would crush you even absent promised gain.

And then there's that sadistic, scheming class
who make it their life's work to crush young dreams;
through great expense and convoluted schemes
they plot your ruin--they're after your ass.

So best cast off that idealistic blindness--
for Time has soured the milk of human kindness.

Monday, April 09, 2007

#351: April 9, 2007

I've got to pluck the gray hairs from my beard;
it's not a case of vanity at all.
To be so shallow surely would appall,
and aged wisdom's hardly to be feared.

Rather, the case is one for seeming neat.
A lone white curl 'mongst whiskers brown and black
appears a remnant of my morning snack,
a souvenir of what I've had to eat.

Therefore with tweezers and these close-chewed nails
I seek out the offenders on my face.
I rip and tear 'til there remains no trace;
small scissors serve where such extraction fails.

If it makes me look younger, that's a plus
unsought--so let's just keep this between us.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

#350: April 8, 2007

Go on and pour me two glasses of wine;
I'll tell you when I need some more to drink.
'Cause lately it's been hurting me to think--
a few more snorts of this and I'll be fine.

There's brisker pipes than poetry for dance,
Old Terence said before he had to die.
He was my friend--I can't think he would lie;
so quaff quintessence while you've got the chance.

Our life's enjoyment lasts but for a season,
and Death's duration is eternity.
Why not enjoy a cocktail, maybe three?
They call the thing a "liver" for a reason!

I've heard the grave's a private place, and nice;
but just try getting tonic there, or ice.

#349: April 7, 2007

Where that old bait shop was by Potter's Creek
is now the First Communion Church of Christ.
The Pastor gives his sermon every week
over by where they kept the livers iced.

The smell of minnows still hangs in the air
along with words of redemption and sin;
the odor's just a cross they have to bear
who want to learn to be fishers of men.

The Pastor uses God's love as a lure
to draw them in, and often that works well;
but he can also howl at those impure
whose souls flop toward the frying pan of Hell.

For most folks, worms and spinners get the bite;
but now and then you need some dynamite.

Friday, April 06, 2007

#348: April 6, 2007

The day after we moved, we heard the screams
and voices start behind the cellar door.
Stored boxes disappeared; we had bad dreams.
That's why we don't go down there anymore.

The scratching in the attic gave us pause.
Raccoons or rats, we thought; one way to tell.
We found the rafters gouged by phantom claws.
That's why we've shut the attic up as well.

The laughter in our bedrooms drove us out;
the kitchen poltergeist broke all our plates.
Dead children singing--what's that all about?
We hear them all night long through heating grates.

That's why we're out here huddled on the porch,
wishing for peace and quiet--or a torch.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

#347: April 5, 2007

If God will damn me for my disbelief,
I guess I'll go to Hell, given the choice
between the meek repentance of the thief
and one who, terrorized, will not rejoice;

For something in this rebel soul resists
salvation offered on a sharpened knife.
A God like that, if such a beast exists,
will have to gnash His teeth and take my life

and be content. And if He does His worst,
if my absence from that great list of names
who feared him so inspires His holy thirst
for blood that I must be fuel for His flames--

Well, I'll be damned with no deathbed regrets,
who could not love a Tyrant for His threats.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

#346: April 4, 2007

So everything is crap. Now that's a fact
that can't be changed by fresheners or words.
No matter what you say, nor how you act,
the whole damn place is asshole-high in turds.

Sometimes someone will get the bright idea
to clean the floor, tidy things up a bit;
but soon an avalanche of diarrhea
buries his good intent in heaps of shit.

It always flows back in, just like the tide.
It's one big global, stinky, septic loop.
Perhaps it's nature, not to be denied:
we've all evolved to live and thrive in poop.

If so, humanity's in quite a mess;
but folks get used to anything, I guess.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

#345: April 3, 2007

A rainy night. The shadows on the streets
elongate in the flicker of the lamp's
moribund bulb. On subway grates the tramps
lie still as corpses in their winding sheets.

The guns in my front pockets chill my thighs.
I pull my collar up against the cold.
The city's dirty, impossibly old,
and plays with us, like wanton boys with flies.

I know that Death is waiting at the end
of this wet night, whether for me or else
some other slob whose luck ran out too soon.
But sometimes that Old Man smiles like a friend.
Sometimes I feel like buying what he sells.
And sometimes, that street light glows like the moon.

Monday, April 02, 2007

#344: April 2, 2007

When first I slipped my hand under your shirt,
I shivered like a thief, stealing your heat
and softness. How my eager fingers burned
down to their tips, while cradled in my palm
your beating heart set fire to my blue veins.
I smoldered like an ember, and your voice
enflamed my skin to blazes with a sigh.

Later, my steaming hands undid your skirt;
My tongue on your thigh traced that secret beat
as if in flames. And who knows how I learned
to handle fire that way? Or where the calm
that so possessed me sprung from? What explains
how phoenix-like, consumed, I could rejoice--
be born anew in you, and, burning, fly?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

#343: April 1, 2007

Le P├ętomane trained for a baker's trade,
but longed to make his fortune in the arts;
alas, the only talent he displayed
was to control the timbre of his farts.

Some might believe an ill wind blew his fate,
but he transformed it into something rare:
with practice and the will to crepitate
he built the world's most tuneful derriere.

He played the Moulin Rouge, and soon his name
was counted 'mongst the most well-known in France.
And Frenchmen still today tell of his fame,
whose art was making music in his pants.

The story of Le P├ętomane is true;
and there's a lesson in't for me and you.