Sunday, October 04, 2009

Poetry News, At Last

My free verse poem, "Haunt," has just been published in ChiZine, the online journal of horror fiction and poetry. You can read it by clicking the link below:

"Haunt" by Scott Standridge on ChiZine

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The End, Again

So yesterday, I didn't write a poem. I thought about it early in the day, figured I would do it later, and then it didn't occur to me again till this morning. So the streak has ended.

I take this as a sign. When I was doing the first Sonnet Year, it was always on my mind--I sometimes had to force myself, sometimes had to sweat it out, but I *never* just forgot about it. It was important to me.

I've enjoyed writing the sonnets again since I restarted a couple months back, but I'm just not feeling the importance of it anymore. I think it's time to do something else. Or just stop entirely.

Anyway, I"m proud of what I've done here, and should I write other occasional sonnets in the future--and let's be honest, I can't really see this *not* happening--I'll probably post them here.

Thanks to everyone who read, and the smaller number of those who cared.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

#449: Nightmare

I lost the path somewhere along the way
and soon I found myself amid thick trees;
their creaking branches rattled in the breeze
like ancient, brittle bones. Their bark was gray.

Around me in the shadows, snarling beasts
beat down the underbrush with padded claws;
the dry twigs broke, a sound like snapping jaws
impatient for their nightly bloody feast.

And overhead the moon looked like a hole
stabbed through the satin stomach of the sky
and slowly bleeding out its entrail cloud.
I stood there, rooted, fearing for my soul,
and listened to the horned owl's deadly cry
as darkness closed around me like a shroud.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

#448: The Green Revenger (Ret.) Remembers the Incident that Ended His Career

When you've been wearing tights as long as me
you know just by the model of their boots
if it's a joy ride or a killing spree.
You read it in the bloodstains on their suits.

This guy--the long black gloves, that leather mask?
He really meant it. No role-playing games.
No banter--stayed relentlessly on-task.
He didn't bother coming up with names.

My sidekick at the time, Flag Wavin' Kid,
tried some big action-hero kind of kick.
He never knew what hit him, but I did.
I saw it, and it made me kind of sick.

He laughed--a chilling sound--and leapt the fence;
and worst of all: nobody's seen him since.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#447: Postcard on the Lam

The sun was bleeding out across the sky
like somebody had knifed it. Squared-off tops
of buildings stood erect like traffic cops
waving a funeral on. I wondered why
you hadn't shown up yet--here three hours late
and Louie's big palms itching for the dough.
He asked us where you was; we didn't know.
I figured dead, or staring out the grate
in some big iron door without a key,
or at the pier, your feet in wet cement.
You should have seen the look on Louie's face
the day he got your card. Although it meant
another bloody job for Ox and me,
I figured that was worth a few days' grace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

#446: Untitled

Sometimes I think I don't have what it takes
to be content; like something in my deep
dark heart that never rises from its sleep
dreams constantly of failures and mistakes
and future tragedies; gray thunderheads;
black puddles with a rainbow slick of oil;
the deep decaying scent of rich black soil
that never will be sown; unslept-in beds.

I've heard the tales of drowning men, near death,
who, kicking toward a world of air that seems
impossible to reach, feel sudden peace;
the way the sun's cold light dapples and gleams
must make their tortured souls accept release
exulting in the memory of breath.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

#445: Ode to the Martini

Martinis are my wonder drug of choice--
experience requires no further proof.
I feel sophisticated and aloof
and something smooths the edges of my voice
beyond that first sour sip. Like Cary Grant
I raise an eyebrow, light a cigarette
and instantly more than my lips are wet.
Each debutante becomes a sycophant
to my suave, worldly ways and derring-do.
There's something in it neither age nor youth
can quite explain--though its effects are sure.
And whether it's the gin or the vermouth,
or something psychological, it's true:
Whatever ails--martinis are the cure.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

#444: A Story without a Moral

So once upon a time there was this troll
who lived, like many did, beneath a bridge.
He earned his meager living taking toll
from tourists on their way to Witches' Ridge.

(The Ridge was an amusement park of sorts--
there were no witches really, just some crones
who put on shows for guests at their resorts
and sold them turkey legs and ice cream cones.)

The troll (whose name was Norbert) never got
to see the Ridge or ride the Broomstick Swing.
He took the travelers' money, cursed his lot,
and lusted for ice cream like anything.

One day they built a bypass round the town,
and both the toll bridge and the Ridge closed down.

Friday, May 08, 2009

#443: Considering My Cat Eli

I live my life in service of a cat--
a cold, ungrateful, evil sort of beast.
And though my care keeps him healthy and fat,
he never deigns to thank me in the least.

I've let him keep his claws, and my reward
is watching him destroy my drapes and chairs.
He walks the house as if he were the lord
and I a vassal far beneath his cares.

Despite the food bowls I fill and refill
he never purrs beneath my gentle stroke,
He would not care for me should I fall ill,
and if I died, he'd eat me. What a joke.

I'd get no love if I had his dish pewtered.
I think next week I'm going to have him neutered.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

#442: The Lucky Frog

Come on: you must have kissed some frogs before
you got to me. It's only common sense.
How many? Dozens? Hundreds? Maybe more?
Not every maiden searching for her prince

gets lucky that first trip down to the bog.
Enchanted royalty don't come around
like beggars, forming lines on every log
with broad lips puckered, waiting to be found.

You must have sickened of the taste of slime
and failure long before you stretched your hand
to scoop me from my pad--Just one more time,
you thought. Don't worry love; I understand

the reason I now wear your golden crown.
I'll do my best to keep the croaking down.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

#441: Don't Get Me Started

Those motherfucking cocks! They don't know shit!
They act like someone gave them a degree
in Ignoramus Arts and Bastardy.
Too harsh? Bub, you don't know the half of it.

So high and mighty, putting on them airs--
much better than the likes of me and you!
That's what those asshats think. As if their poo
was fresh and sweet as roses! Ah, who cares?

Real guys, like us--the hearty, hale and sound
who work to make our pay--we know what's what.
Don't need to tell you which one is your butt
and which a goddamn crater in the ground!

But them? Those fucks? They couldn't find their asses
with flashlights, maps, and magnifying glasses.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

#440: Sonnet to His Dark Mistress

Oh Goddess of the Bean, your bitter taste
converts itself to sweetness in my blood!
Intemperate, I quaff you at a pace
less than I want, but greater than I should;

I let no cream nor sugar come between
my physiology and your dark heat;
My tall, black Dominatrix of Caffeine!
Each day I beg to suckle at your teat.

Without your curling steam, I'd walk the earth
in deep malaise, the listless living dead!
Nor will I suffer fools who doubt your worth
and down their tepid cups of tea instead;

So scald me! Stain my teeth and make me shake!
I'll crawl back to you, every coffee break.

Monday, May 04, 2009

#439: The Ancient Lover, to a Young Lady

Some men might watch you flirt and say, "Too much!"
And so, to them, you are--that much is clear.
But I, a connoisseur of scent and touch?
Too much is not enough for me, my dear.

You're wild as Queen Diana in her wood,
whom Actaeon watched bathing silently.
He bought her naked glory with is blood.
Ah, such a price is far too cheap for me.

I've plucked the flowers of virgins by the score
and sniffed the sacred odalisque's delights;
my memories are flavored with their dew.
My hair is gray, but we have countless nights
before Sweet Lady Death, that final Whore,
drinks my last spunk. Till then, Love--it's for you.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

#438: Tired

I'm slow as cold molasses, slow as pans
of tepid water creeping toward a boil;
as languid as the shifting desert sands
and thick as thirty-thousand-mile oil.

I'm sleepy like a puppy when his hours
of romping through the meadowgrass is done;
like Dorothy and the lion in the flowers.
Like any kitten stretched out in the sun.

I'm worn like some old suit with frayed lapels,
beat down like doors of long-since conquered keeps;
depleted like a year-old battery's cells,
and slumberous now as any thing that sleeps.

The time has come to hit the sack, lie down
like crooked fighters, bound for Sleepy Town.

#437: Hidden Talent

His tryout was disastrous, I recall.
He took the test like everyone, you know.
His fighting skills were zero, none at all;
His strength not super--average or below.

No water skills--he couldn't swim a stroke,
much less communicate with octopi.
His foot-speed was a kind of running joke,
forgive the pun. He couldn't even fly.

We broke the news as gently as we could:
"Thank you for coming in," that sort of stuff.
But told him, though we knew his heart was good,
The rest of him was not quite good enough.

He rose and thanked us, fighting back the tears,
then BANG! The modest bastard disappears!

Friday, May 01, 2009

#436: The Last Raid

The pirates stood surrounded on the foredeck,
outnumbered twenty redcoats to a man.
And every buccaneer knew what a sore neck
awaited him before his feet touched land.

And so the Captain drew his Spanish saber,
his Mate the curved blade of the Saracen,
and, having set themselves this final labor,
sang out courageously to all the men:

"Ahoy there, Lads! For yonder sails a frigate,
Its gut as fat as any English lord's,
and rum to drink from mug and glass and spigot,
the finest on the seas--so Up your Swords!"

The soldiers turned, the muskets came about--
and two, or one, almost had time to shout.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

#435: Backyard

It should be flat. There ought to be a tree
right there--a river birch as centerpiece
around which everything else falls in place:
the compost heap, the long landscaping ties
around the garden--tall tomato plants,
with their red ornaments and glutton birds.
And over there, of course, two metal chairs.

There ought to be a swing set you can see
from inside, at the sink, say, finding peace
in one tall, sweating tumbler, while the lace
of hops that climb the porch posts give your eyes
some shelter from the sunlight, and the dance
of wind and leaf speaks inscrutable words
designed to calm away your daily cares.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

#434: Grammar Lesson

A noun? Well, that's a person, or a thing--
could be a place--like Dallas. Boston. Crete.
Your dog, who you don't feed. Your Uncle Pete.
Your Lego blocks; that kite without its string.

Crete? That's near Greece. The country, not the lard.
Though both are nouns. One's proper, one is not.
A kind of name, like Archibald, or Scott,
Or Shady Rest Resort. It's not that hard.

An adjective describes the noun, you see:
The messy room. The sassy little kid
Who gets no spankings like his father did
For smarting off the way you do to me...

I tell you, if you'd been my father's son--
Whazzat? Ah, never mind. Now, are we done?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

#433: Communication Breakdown

I called my mom to tell her all my news;
I only got the answering machine.
Then Pop--I had a phone card I could use;
I guess he rand down to the Dairy Queen.

I tried my cousin--Dad's half-brother's son--
it rang and rang and rang; nobody there.
How many college buddies answered? None.
I slammed my phone book, fighting off despair.

The Operator would not talk to me,
And Information's some recorded voice
Tried 9-1-1-; I cried "Emergency!"
The sole reply was that damned beeping noise.

But then you answered, love--my lucky day!
Too bad I hadn't anything to say.

Monday, April 27, 2009

#432: The Rabbit's Dream

A bunny we'll call Moppettop once found
himself in some strange field; the grass was blue.
His floppy ears paddled a sea of sound
he'd never heard before. The flowers grew

on woody stalks three times their normal height.
They bloomed to platter-size, and smelled like rain.
He crouched there, motionless, until the night
came on in deep maroon. Almost insane

with dizziness and fear, at last he slept
and dreamed green meadows, red and golden flowers
that smelled the way they ought. When he awoke,
the magic of the intervening hours
had dissipated like magician's smoke.
Incurious, the rabbit looked, and leapt.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

#430: Drinking Buddies

We came out of the bar about as drunk
as we could get--unburdened, clumsy, broke,
and singing bawdy songs. We stank of smoke
and failure. In the street, a black cat slunk
away, afraid of all our boisterous noise.
He clattered down the alley with the cans
and moaned a hopeless music, like a man's
last cry before despair packs up his voice
in rough pine crates. My hat all bent to hell,
askew atop my wildly spinning brain,
I sang Oh Mary Jane, won't you be mine?
I've had my penecillin
--then we fell
into each other's arms and laughed the pain
into our collars. I got home by nine.

Friday, April 24, 2009

#429: Last Laugh

Nobody thought he'd take it quite so far.
He'd always been a prankster--leaving tacks
in teachers' chairs, those funny snap-gum packs,
the dummy leg you hang out of the car
to fake an accident. All fun and games.
But then his woman left him--couldn't take
not knowing whether things were real or fake
between them (honestly, nobody blames
the woman--how much plastic doggy-doo
and roaches could you stand?); but in his head
something went snap! They found him over there--
the buzzer in his hand, the metal chair
wired to the doorbell--smiling, sure, but dead.
Nobody saw it coming. Well, would you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

#428: Demento Mori

I never did it in a cemetery,
and would not have succeeded had I tried;
my partners would have found it sick and scary,
or else preferred to make our love inside;

Those crypt tops don't make comfortable bedding;
they'd leave you all dissatisfied and sore,
however much you like the thought of wedding
your bodies over those that wed no more;

And so, my thoughts of carnal celebration
of life there in the palaces of death
cast off, I've had to do my copulation
in hotel rooms whose tenants still draw breath--

But sometimes I get randy when I see
a grave--it's the romantic soul in me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

#427: Sonnet from a Begging Dog

I don't need hugs or lips-to-muzzle kisses;
I don't want walks around no parking lot.
Don't need to piss where Ralph the Beagle pisses;
But one more Milk Bone sure would hit the spot.

I don't want none of them hand-knitted sweaters;
Don't need a collar weighted down with bling.
No fancy house like Pat the Irish Setter's;
But liver snacks is my most favorite thing.

A goose-down sleeping pillow then, perhaps? No--
The hay bale where I'm bedding's fine with me.
Car seat for trips, like Frank the Lhasa Apso?
No thanks--I knows the bestest gifts is free.

So clear my bowl of them dry, crunchy pellets:
You're cooking roast tonight, man. I can smell it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

#426: Old Friends

I thought I'd need some poetry today
and so I pulled some favorites off the shelves:
Byron and Cummings--those speak for themselves.
The Brownings, Donne, and St. Vincent Millay;

I passed on Burns, preferring Heaney's brogue
to his; took Housman's regimental verse,
the holy joy of Hopkins, the perverse
delight of Lord Rochester, that old rogue.

Jack Butler, who can wrap his pain and mine
in smiles and mathematics, make them sing;
Marvell I took, Swinburne I left behind
with many others I'd have liked to bring.

"Next time," I promised, so to make amends,
then left, my arms weight down with old, dear friends.

Monday, April 20, 2009

#425: Dark Arts

They did not like the art he made--they said
his lines were primitive, his colors weak.
They claimed he had no eye and less technique
and should have been a house painter instead.

For season after season he endured
their withering critiques; he only sighed
to hear his talent slandered and denied,
and never raised a hand nor said a word.

They could not understand his genius yet.
They could not know what higher muse he served.
It would be years before they understood.
Then--when they saw his masterpiece, still wet
with all his critics' entrails, bile and blood--
he'd get the recognition he deserved.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pub or Perish 2009: Sonnet Boy Reads Again

Last night I read at the Arkansas Times' annual Pub or Perish reading, held this year at Sticky Fingerz in downtown Little Rock. It was a great time, and my poetry seemed to go over well. Dorothy Allison, author of the 1993 National Book Award finalist Bastard Out of Carolina and the featured reader of the night, made a point of telling my my sonnets were "wonderful." So that was nice. :)

But why take Dorothy's and my word for it? Pushing the Sonnet Project into multimedia territory, I am pleased to offer free for download my complete reading from Pub or Perish 2009 in mp3 format, via

Just click on the link, select "free user" (unless you happen to have a Rapidshare Premium account), and wait until the link appears, usually less than a minute. It's about 10 MB big.

Also, I tried to record the kind intro David Koon of the Arkansas Times gave me, but my VR didn't pick it up very well. Once I start reading though, it comes through all right.

And let me know what you think!

CLICK HERE to download Scott's reading from Pub or Perish 2009!

#424: My Love, How I Have Failed You

My love, how I have failed you. I have yet
to book that flight to Rome, to take your hand
and lead you to the Trevi, Neptune's band
of demigod attendants soaking wet
with faux seaspray. I have not yet arranged
that long-promised Lake Country holiday,
those fields of daffodils where poets play;
nor London, Paris, Venice. I'm unchanged
in my intentions, dear, though how I ought
to make my words come true, I cannot tell.
Back then we lived on romance, without kids
or mortgages or day jobs. Just as well,
or else we'd not have promised what we did.

But one of these days, Love, I'll get you there.
You married me--after all, fair is fair.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

#423: Truffles and Bones

So once upon a time there was this dog--
a little guy, with hair all in his eyes.
His best friend was this truffle snuffling hog,
whose talent made him every Frenchman's prize.

They went into the woods one day alone
(their owner sleeping off too much red wine);
the dog in quest of some long-buried bone,
the hog for fungus much more rare and fine.

Then suddenly the dog began to dig
and pulled up truffles, truffles by the pound!
"This is easy!" he called out to the pig.
"I'm finding more than you have ever found!"

"Should I start seeking bones?" the pig then said,
and bared his tusks. The dog just shook his head.

Friday, April 17, 2009

#422: La Noche del Hombre-Lobo

They had him in his grave, or so they thought--
but now he stalks the moors and knows no rest.
The Gypsies, damn them--dirty, thieving lot!
have pulled the Silver Cross out of his chest.

Daninksy Castle's windows are ablaze
with torchlight; then at night, those horrid screams
that turn to howls. The moon's cold, deadly rays
bring down a curse that only Death redeems,

and that at True Love's hand, so says the lore.
The ancient legends teach no other way.
Look there, where on black velvet Luna hangs!
Tonight the Polish hills run red with blood,
and no virgin is safe from his dread fangs.
He's not that pure at heart. He does not pray.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

#421: Invisible Perv in a Girl's Dormitory

We've spread the flour in front of every door,
so check for footprints first, then go inside.
The curtains twitch--don't hang around for more:
get out of there and find someplace to hide.

And now, about the toilets--he's been known
to crouch there, pantsless, motionless for hours,
and some girls say, erect. Don't go alone.
Be sure before you sit. Avoid the showers.

But should the worst occur--you find yourself
pinned down, an unseen tongue tracing your throat
and hands under your boobs, kick out and yell!
There's tinted pepper spray on every shelf
in every room. Find yours, and make a note.
Invisible or not, we'll give him hell.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#420: Artists' Model, at His Local Bar

Each Wednesday night the university
art teacher calls me up to have me pose.
Say what? Professor? Yeah, she's one of those.
Her students sure ain't seen the likes of me
in any of their textbooks! It's the burns.
She says the texture--ridges, pits, and whorls--
are good for shading practice. All the girls
stare hard; I don't mind that! The platform turns
so everyone can get a look.
The boys
try not to check my dick, but always do.
I wink and tell 'em I've had no complaints.
"A ribbed one's something every broad enjoys!"
I whip it out. Sometimes one of 'em faints.
Ten bucks and hour for that!

She's pretty, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#419: Express Checkout Girl

She says she wants to die at forty-five,
which after all is twice her age plus one,
and seems eternity. Her race well run
before she's like the old man, still alive
but doddering and helpless, whom she spied
the other day shuffling between the rows
of frozen dinners, veins blue on his nose
and urine down his leg. More dignified
to quit before you get there. I just smile
and pay her for my frozen beef pot pies,
not trying to explain how thirty-eight
will stretch the road for her, adjust her eyes
to look for something more--another mile
to run, in case she missed something. Just wait.

Monday, April 13, 2009

#418: Worst Case Scenario

The skateboard waiting by the bottom stair:
concussion. Broken ankle. ER trip.
Deep tissue bruise. Brain damage. Just one slip,
and Tragedy can catch you unaware.

The bike ride down the driveway: not so bad;
but then, a speeding car. You draw your breath
to warn him--screeching tires and certain death.
And all your fault. You should have been there, Dad.

But worse than this: you make that one wrong choice
or say some angry words you can't take back.
Then years down the line: the blood-red hate
shot through his eyes, the venom in his voice,
his childish memories all edged in black--
and you, speechless and old, grown wise too late.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

#417: Not Looking for Answers

What? Set 'em up again? Yeah, might as well.
It's not like anybody's keeping score
or waiting up at home, so what the hell!
What was my last, a whiskey? So--one more;

At least the one--we'll see what happens next,
then judge what course of action suits us best.
If cured, we'll say good night, but if still vexed
by life or love or--well, you know the rest.

It's clear the riddle's answer that we seek
will not be found in bottles, vats, or cans;
we are not fools. We have not come for such.
For now, we're done with mysteries that leak
like icy water through our blistered hands.
So pour--I'll tell you when I've had too much.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

#416: Dangerous Intersection

The corner store is where they always meet,
long after all the windows have gone dark
and only alley cats prowl Dunham Street:
that fatal intersection near the park
where each of them remembers screeching brakes,
the smell of burning rubber, then the sick
flat slap of steel on flesh. It sometimes makes
the youngest of them weep. Their elders pick
the trash and detritus for souvenirs--
a shard of glass they can pretend got broke
on their own mortal coils. As morning nears,
each spirit sighs and dissipates like smoke.

The brand new traffic light reflects the sun.
It's eighteen months since our last hit and run.

Friday, April 10, 2009

#415: Gepetto

Upstairs, in that small room above his shop,
the puppeteer is carving something new;
his gnarled and wrinkled hands know what to do
as all around his feet the shavings drop
like Autumn leaves. His knife blocks out a chin
and notches lips above; the nose a twig
repurposed. Two knotholes will serve for big
blue eyes with just a little paint. Within
the hollow of his chest, where blind grubs ate
scant days ago, the ashes of his boy
now dead these seven years--a father's joy
whose smile made sweet a life he'd grown to hate.

A few more spells, perhaps another day--
his son will live again, and God will pay.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

#414: Machine

The bank of instruments and gauges glows
with green, unearthly light; the metal ticks
with heat. Somewhere an ancient mainspring clicks
its coiled potential down, while rows and rows

of switches wait. On each a cryptic rune
is carved (its function? maybe some dead name
important to its maker? All the same,
since none can read them now). Outside the moon

shines blue and cold, and there, at these controls,
a madman sits--brains addled by the tides,
his senseless eyes as red and hot as coals--
with power enough to split the world in two
before him. Elbows tight against his sides,
his fingers itch to see what she can do.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

#413: Dogs Playing Poker

They sit quite still, politely placing bets.
The cone of light, tipped with a green glass shade,
encircles them. New cards are dealt and laid.
They mark the passing time in cigarettes.

Reflected in the Pug's huge, umber eyes:
the pair of queens he's holding over tens.
The Afghan sees, and checks. The Beagle wins--
a full boat, rocking aces over threes.

A few more beers, the Boxer wants to fight
("How typical," the Bulldog notes, all gruff).
The Dachshund cashes in and tips his hat,
says Gutentag to all, he's lost enough.
Remaining paws divide the pot; that's that.
No one got bit; in all, a decent night.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

#412: Oh, Henry

Oh, Henry Miller! Tell me where you got
your glorious contempt for consequence--
the will to belch and fart at common sense
and dive headlong into a life of Thought.

Such all-encompassing, sweet unconcern
as yours for life and country, health and heart,
such unflagging belief in Truth and Art,
and damn everything else!--these I would learn.

If I had even half the fearless trust
in my peculiar muse, I'd fly to France;
I'd smoke, start drinking barrels of Merlot,
write sonnets just to get down some girl's pants,
and waking in some whorehouse, rise and throw
myself into the Seine in sheer disgust.

Monday, April 06, 2009

#411: Desire

Lie back and put your hands behind your head.
No covering up--that's good. Now spread your thighs.
Open yourself to me. Look in my eyes.
I want to see you sprawled upon the bed,
your nipples hard pink buds, your skin aflame,
the flower of your sex all wet with dew,
breathe in your passion's scent, and cover you
with hungry kisses, whispering your name.

I want to drag my tongue along the line
of calf and inner arm, elbow and knee,
the furrow of your rump. I want to taste
your every flavor, drink you in like wine,
be drunk on you, and make you drunk with me.
We have all night. There is no call for haste.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

#410: Mulligan 3

Some nights you have it, other nights you don't.
Now guess which kind of nigth this one might be?
Sometimes the muses will, sometimes they won't,
and no use being a jerk about it, see?

I've got a few ideas I kick around,
a line or two composed and good to go,
some incidental music, striking sounds,
But will they come together now? Hell no.

I hate to write like this; it seems a cheat
to spout iambs, beat them like a drum
As if to count to ten were such a feat,
I guess it's either this or sit here dumb.

What's better--silence, or misshapen air?
That answer I don't know--and don't much care.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

#409: Saturday with the Kids

It used to be, a weekend was two days
of fun and frolic, hours without a care;
we'd wake up with the morning's warming rays
near changed to afternoon--now such is rare.

We used to read our books in quiet peace,
sometimes all afternoon, and then at night
we'd go out to a club (dinner at least)
and make love till the dawn--that was all right.

But nowadays, it's up at six a. m.;
it's playdates, soccer games, overnight guests.
It never can be us, it's always them,
and gone is peace and quiet, sex and rest.

They scoff, "You'll miss it one day, just you wait!"
Maybe--but on that day, I'll sleep in late.


Friday, April 03, 2009

#408: The Bright Side

Let's try to see the bright side: most work days
the sun comes up, and you have things to do.
Your idle hands are where the Devil plays,
and staying busy's known to breed virtue.

The code comes hard and steady all day long--
yeah, sure, it's not exciting, but so what?
It sure beats digging ditches, am I wrong?
You want to sell fast food? That's what I thought.

By now I've learned just what a sucker's game
it is, to seek fulfillment in your work.
Whether you smile or not, the pay's the same;
so cash the checks. Stop moping like a jerk.

Hell, twenty years from now you'll wonder why
you ever wanted more. And then you'll die.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

#407: The Hazards of Marrying an English Major

My loved one has to be a Grammar Nazi,
Correcting me at every small mistake;
It makes her feel all smug and hotsy-totsy
to get her digs in while I'm half awake;

A typo in an email brings down thunder;
A misplaced adjective will stoke the flames.
There's hell to pay for every tiny blunder:
arch ridicule and denigrating names.

If I could diagram her in a sentence,
The subject and object of my desire,
We could forget anal retentive nonsense
And just wink at my dangling modifier;

Alas, though--it has yet to come to that.
Now, where'd I leave that darn red pencil at?

#406: Mulligan 2

There's nothing to it but to do it now;
I'm churning out another piece of junk.
Just get the ink blots down and don't mind how--
without some inspiration, it's just bunk.

And yet the show goes on, the way a clown
might tell his jokes to seats covered with dust:
nobody there to cheer or smile or frown--
but anyway, it helps knock off the rust.

So maybe, should I stay in shape this way--
no waiting for my muse, just ink and sweat--
perhaps when I find something good to say
I'll find myself strong, fit to bear it yet.

That's why I grind it out day after day;
I keep telling myself that, anyway.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#405: Because Such Distractions of Beauty Cannot Bet Left toStand

Out yesterday, along a path that led
behind a dozen houses on my street
I suddenly smelled honeysuckle flowers.
The sweetness of their perfume made me turn
and break through brambles till my shins were lined
with scratches and my ankles burned. In pain,
I trailed that sunny odor to its source.

Perhaps I half expected godly bowers
where Venus, ringed with cherubim, entwined
her earthly lovers. What I found instead:
a grumpy neighbor rooting out the sweet
gold blossoms and green vines from where her chain
link fence was set. She piled them high to burn.
She smiled and shrugged. I understood, of course.

Monday, March 30, 2009

#404: Pediatrician's Appointment

The longer they were gone, the more it seemed
that something must be wrong; he tried to think
of harmless things, but something in him screamed
it was all lies. The monsters in the sink
of his black thoughts raised up their heads and danced.
They sang the names of all their progeny--
bone cancer, diabetes--devil rants
occluding all his rationality.

And when at last they walked back through the door,
the doctor's good report clear in their eyes,
he could have wept for joy--except he knew
this was a moment's respite; there were more
worries ahead, more nights of fearful sighs--
years yet for all his nightmares to come true.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

#403: Night Encounter

A fog lay nestled close against the ground
that night, and up above the moon's white eye,
half-lidded, stared us down. The only sound:
the squeaking of the bats. Old Ned and I
sat in the cabin. I turned bleary eyes
on that back window where the Thing had shown
itself the last three nights. Across my thighs,
a loaded rifle. Ha! Had I but known
what kind of thing was lurking in that mist--
What fearsome claws! What eyes of burning flame!
--I would have held my Bible there instead,
or spent the evening taking Eucharist.
At least God showed His mercy to Old Ned;
he was asleep and dreaming when It came.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

#402: Annabelle

So once upon a time, I had this horse:
I called her Annabelle--that was her name.
I swear the sunlight was her power source;
on clear-sky days she'd run, tail like a flame
behind her, hooves that barely touched the ground
beneath, and up above, the sun and me.

She'd jolt my spine with every leap and bound
till my ears rang and I could barely see,
But still, tears down my face, I gave her rein;
sometimes she'd go for miles, until at last
a cloud obscured the sun. Then she would halt.
I'd clamber down, bow-legged and in pain,
but never angry; it was not her fault.
She had to chase the Sun; and He was fast.

Friday, March 27, 2009

#401: Another Friday Job

Why is it every Friday afternoon
I get so lazy, lose my will to write?
I put the pen to paper, sure, but soon
it's back to themes like this, cliched and trite.

A piece about *not* writing poetry
has always seemed a cop-out most obtuse;
It's navel-gazing to the nth degree,
for which I normally have little use.

But now in my old age I understand
why poets do this time and time again--
it's watching the poetic grains of sand
slip through, until the weekend can begin.

If in this battle I turn tail and flee,
At least I know I'm in good company.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

#400: Storm Front, with Pines

God put a gray lid on the sky today
and pressed down hard; the belly of the storm
seems inches higher than the trees that sway
beneath, and every pine now changes form

into a giant's spear, whose needle tip
wil pierce whatever cloud should fly too low,
like cutting through a wineskin, and the rip
will spill the thunderstorm on all below.

But still the clouds maintain integrity;
the tall pines waver gently in the breeze
and do no harm to man nor earth nor cloud.
And something in their motion speaks to me,
as if their calming souls whispered aloud
and offered up the wisdom of the trees.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

#399: The Case of the Missing Shoes

Don't talk to me about your missing shoes
Unless you've something humorous to say.
You've got to see the funny side, okay?
It's really an uncommon thing to lose.

You don't have to get mad, although you may--
You'd be within your rights, no question there--
but wouldn't it be better not to care?
Just shrug and chuckle: "Oh man, what a day!"

The cops? You're kidding, right? I've got some news
for you: they won't go hunt a purloined pair
of sneakers, man. Who says crime doesn't pay?
Stop leaving those damn things under your chair
perhaps, and--search my office? I refuse!
Just what are you implying, anyway?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

#398: Dear Editor(s)

Oh, please reject me--please! Here, take my piece
and crumple it into a paper ball,
then throw it in my face, or at the wall
and bank it in the bin. If your release

Is quick enough (I hear it's in the wrist),
you might get one more poem in the air
before the first sinks--that's pizazz, right there!
Now try a three-point shot--no, I insist!

Without some sadomasochistic streak,
a need to know my stuff's not any good,
would I send it your way? Maybe I would--
but then, God knows, my outlook might grow bleak.

So fire away! I've got sonnets to burn.
Then maybe, one day, it'll be my turn.

Monday, March 23, 2009

#397: Disappear

One day, the ones we love will disappear
and in the spaces where they used to be
an empty outline only we can see
will mark their absence. Time to time we'll hear

a voice almost like theirs, perhaps a phrase
they used to speak in laughter or in tears,
the cadence like an echo in our ears
of songs we sang before, in brighter days.

We're destined to be haunted in this way
or else to haunt the ones we leave behind;
That's how it is, and how it's always been.
We'll leave, and where we go no one can say,
these memories a perfume to remind
us all of blooms we cannot pluck again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

#396: Rock Star

I could have been a rock star--up on stage,
I'd bang my head and dance under the lights,
play my guitar while groupies half my age
would wrestle for the honors of my nights;

My music videos on MTV
(or youtube rather now, like everyone),
more cash than I could ever spend on me,
and my day job description: having fun;

I could have got tattoos and pierced my tongue,
and driven fancy sports cars everywhere,
sampled the newest drugs and oldest sins;
made it a game to lead astray the young,
divorced my model wife for our au pair...

Say now--why did I not do that again?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

#395: A New Worry

As if you had not taken yet enough
from me of Life's enjoyment, span of years,
and nights of rest--another cause for fears
slides suddenly from your pressed, black suit cuff

And flutters to the ground, it's brazen face
turned up for all to see: the Deuce of Spades.
And so another nightmare thought invades
a mind where calm seldom enough has place.

I think of you, a skull whose grinning teeth
are rotten, in your fist a sugar bowl
you sprinkle in the bloodstreams of your prey.
If there were one gift I would not bequeath
my child, one wish I'd barter for my soul--
but you, Devil, take even that away.

Friday, March 20, 2009

#394: Billy's Gone Away

Young Billy hooked the cables to his head
(he'd wrapped a hanger round his temples, tight)
and threw the switch--some smoke, a little light.
"I must be doing something wrong," he said.

He tinkered with the box a little bit,
tightened a couple screws he found were loose,
adjusted half the gauges, checked the juice,
and put the top back on again. "That's it."

And this time, luminescence filled the shack;
his face took on a weird, unearthly glow.
He cried, "Eureka!" every hair on end,
and vanished into smoke. That's all I know.
Wherever Billy's gone, he won't be back.
I hope he's happy there--Godspeed, my friend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

#393: Disgruntled

I wish I had a Robo-Kicko-Bot
to follow me around all day at work
and put its boots to anyone I thought
was acting like a snotty, pompous jerk;

He'd give his good swift kick to worker drones
who spend the whole day snuffling like bears;
and salesmen, welded to their tiny phones,
best not let KickBot catch them unawares!

I guess I must absolve the CEO,
and payroll folks--the ones who cut the checks;
but everybody else, look out below!
Robotic justice comes--you could be next!

Behave--and should you need me to remind you
the reason why...well, friend, just look behind you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#392: The World I Cannot Reach

If there must be a world I cannot reach,
it might as well be beautiful and green;
let breezes bearing petals kiss the hills
and ruffle grasses like a child's hair;

And let the sun set gold there, like a peach;
let purple-flower clouds complete the scene,
where silver-armored fish sleep in the rills
and nothing gentle, pure, or good is rare.

If I must stay here, trapped in glass and steel,
where nothing blooms, where everything is gray,
I think I'll bear it better if I know:

The world I cannot reach is warm and real,
and all are happy there who've found the way
and someone (if not I, then you) may go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#391: Down the Pub

Come on and pour the ale out for us, lass!
Give us a jar and fill it to its rim;
The nights are long, the fire is growing dim,
And nothing hates us like an empty glass.

It's Guinness, black and bitter as the years
We've spent alone, our friends and family lost;
A round for all, barmaid, and damn the cost!
This potion's fit to banish all such fears.

Or else it's Bass, as warm and brown as wood
Tossed in the stove to chase away the chill;
Or maybe something stronger by the gill--
A dram of whisky sure would do us good.

Time marches on, it's no use to resist;
So let us face it: brave, unbowed--and pissed.

#391: Down the Pub

Come on and pour the ale out for us, lass!
Give us a jar and fill it to its rim;
The nights are long, the fire is growing dim,
And nothing hates us like an empty glass.

It's Guinness, black and bitter as the years
We've spent alone, our friends and family lost;
A round for all, barmaid, and damn the cost!
This potion's fit to banish all such fears.

Or else it's Bass, as warm and brown as wood
Tossed in the stove to chase away the chill;
Or maybe something stronger by the gill--
A dram of whisky sure would do us good.

Time marches on, it's no use to resist;
So let us face it: brave, unbowed--and pissed.

Monday, March 16, 2009

#390: Lunae Infinitum

Another Monday down--how many more?
Let's see...what's fifty-two times thirty-five?
(It could be thirty-six or thirty-four,
that's just an estimate. If I'm alive

A decade more than that, well that's just cake!
But you can't count on it; Therefore I won't.)
That's eighteen-hundred-twenty, give or take.
But wait--there's something I forgot. You don't

Count holidays; but then it gets too hard.
You have to break out calendars and such!
Say eighteen hundred flat. That's clears the card
of Mondays for a lifetime--not too much,

And this one's nearly done! That's one less, now.
Chin up, my lad! You'll make it through--somehow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#389: Sunday Night Clean-Up

It's Sunday night--we cannot now ignore
the mess the kids have made; it must be faced:
the action figures strewn across the floor
as though some massacre had taken place;

A horse's head lies, mounted on a stick,
like some Godfather's warning in your bed;
a Nerf Gun choice of weapons--take your pick--
or have a Jedi lightsaber instead!

Stuffed animals like trophies from a hunt,
and one splayed, naked, shameless Barbie doll.
The leavings of some spry, tornadic runt
already snug and sleeping down the hall.

Ah, hell, let's leave it there another day;
and if it gets too bad--we'll move away.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

#388: Dark Day

If I had stood up years ago and said,
"This is not what I wanted. I refuse,"
back when I did not have as much to lose,
it might have made a difference. Now instead,

I stay pressed in my cushioned, comfy chair
and do not speak--there's little left to say.
Escape? Perhaps I'd try, were there a way,
or anyone at all I thought would care.

And I could rage at circumstance or fate,
but I know better now, and so do you.
Inertia is a symptom, not a cause.
The type is set, the hour is growing late,
the tale's not tragic; neither is it new.
It ends like every other story does.

Friday, March 13, 2009

#387: The Hole

We found it round the back when we moved in.
It's bottomless. Near thirteen feet across,
sides smooth-worn stone. It yawns there like the den
of some gigantic worm. We're at a loss
to give it explanation.

Some dark nights,
when there's no moon, I take my rusted spade
and toss in fill, imagining dim lights
down in its depths. It's an illusion, made
of stars and cool, still water, says the wife.
But there's no water here.

It takes its toll.
Sometimes I swear to God I feel the pull
of some force down below that wants my life.

I keep on tossing dirt into that hole.
I don't believe it ever will get full.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

#386: Some Days

Some days it's like molasses in your pen:
you shake and shake and shake, but nothing spills;
On other days you can't wait to begin,
but some damn fool has blunted all the quills;

Some lucky days the poetry just flows
like sun-warmed honey over lovers' flesh;
Still others you would kill for days like those,
or anything at all that might sound fresh;

Some days you stain the page with blood and tears,
slip fingers in between your ribs and squeeze;
Some days your thoughts resemble well-oiled gears
inside steel locks to which your words are keys;

And then some days you've got fuck-all to say--
and you end up with nothing. Like today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

#385: Byron

A cad, perhaps, who never felt a thing
could not also be tasted, smelled, or heard;
his tongue designed to wrap around a word,
drape it in golden robes, and make it sing;

His fingers stained with ink, lips always curled
in wicked, mocking smiles; and yet a heart
to march to Greece and play the hero's part,
however much he claimed to hate the world;

No hope of heaven, wringing from this life
forbidden fruit, his sister by his side
(he could not take Augusta for his bride,
and so, in vengeance, sodomized his wife);

A devil, angel, dreamer, sage and child,
he whispers to us still--"Be wild. Be wild."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#384: Dragonslayer

I know it was not happenstance that set
my foot upon this path those years ago
when I, a lad before my first shave yet
by two more summers, braved the ice and snow
to search for that hard beast. Not chance, but fate
propelled me north from my hometown to sit
by wizards' fires that burned so strange and late
into the night, that by no hand were lit.

The crafts I learned beside those wizened men,
with runes drawn in the wrinkles of their cheeks
and stardust in their beards, will serve me well
when, sweating in the foul reek of his den,
the voice of Ardeth, Ancient Slayer, speaks
once more, and sends that demon back to Hell.

Monday, March 09, 2009

#383: The Way Tricks Went Down

The way she tells it, Tricks went down like this:
the Boss's man came in, eyes red, aflame
(they called him Hash, but Ed Fink was his name,
the nickname from the weed), and in his fist

the racing form that showed Don't Fail Me Now
had come in third instead of pulling lame.
The Boss had lost a wad, and knew the blame
was Tricks' and Tricks' alone, no matter how.

The gunsel, high as income tax, took aim
(the gat was in the paper, natch), his wrist
supple as surgery, would not allow
last words or prayers. Tricks winked at Betty Dow,
his lips pursed, flirty, one last Judas Kiss,
before the bullet took him off his game.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

#382: The Neighbor Dog

Last night at three a.m., the shade of sleep
was ripped in two by brightnesses of sound--
a needle-yelp, that icepick-wielding hound
who haunts the neighbor yard. However deep
in Dreamland's tide you swim, he'll pull you out
with tireless, tooth enamel-wearing noise.
It seems like hours--you'd think he'd lose his voice!
But sadly, no. And when you start to doubt
your moral firmness, picture in your claws
the mongrel's throat, a silver cleaver close
with Silence on its edge, or else a dose
of cyanide to drop in champing jaws--

His owners save him though an open door,
and you lie waking, fuming, until four.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

#381: Just the Same

Though now we're fatter and our hair is thinning,
Though wrinkles line our cheeks and crease our eyes,
Though years have passed us since our last goodbyes,
It's just the same now as in the beginning.

Though clock hands large and small have not stopped spinning,
We've changed zip codes and lovers many times,
The word for "age" and "tongue" no longer rhymes,
It's just the same now as in the beginning.

It's true, our lives are closer to their ends
And glories lie behind us, while before:
A track on which we have no hope of winning;
But never mind--at hand are wine and friends,
And hours till dawn--why would you ask for more?
It's just the same now as in the beginning.


Friday, March 06, 2009

#380: TGIF

It's Friday afternoon--don't watch the clock--
you know about watched pots by now, I'm sure;
Start counting every tick and every tock,
there's no way you'll be able to endure.

Eyes on the screen, keep tapping at the keys,
try not to think about your car outside
just waiting there to give you your release
and speed you on that lovely weekend ride.

Another hour and this will be the past--
the emails, phone calls, crisis of the day,
all dissipated like a cloud of gas
and nothing else to do for love or pay.

Put in the time, just half an hour more...
then let no one between you and the door.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

#379: The Philosophy of Disappointment

Babe, dig it: everyone will let you down,
you give them time enough. That's in the bank.
The world keeps turnin', leaves go red and brown,
and nothing changes. Got no one to thank

but Nature, babe. That's just the way we're built--
can only keep it steady just so long
before we wreck. Then nothing left but guilt
and shame, and who was right, and who was wrong.

Your friends and relatives, your lovers too
(especially them), whoever gets your trust
betrays it, baby. That's just what we do.
What you expect? We're made from clay and dust.

God could have made us out of stronger stuff--
but then the test would not be hard enough.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

#378: Handler

You know, they're only ugly; they're not mean.
But people still assume the worst--they see
those curling claws, skin cracked (and worse yet green)
and jump to foul conclusions. As for me,

it took some work, and lots of sleepless nights
(and countless liver snacks, of course) but now
I've gained their trust. Sure, I could show you bites
and scratches--but I'd sooner show you how

they purr whenever tickled on their chins
(just mind don't touch the tusks, they're sensitive),
or how they love to nudge you with their fins
(but don't nudge back--not if you want to live).

But folks will hate, with no reason nor rhyme.
Come on, best lock the cage. It's feeding time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

#377: Cranky, 24/7

"WE NEVER CLOSE!" in letters two feet high
above the drug store halfway down the block.
If that be so, I asked the sign and sky,
Then why does every door here have a lock?

And anyway, what good to anyone
does such insomniacal commerce do?
A snacker desperate for honeybuns
at 3 am, as well as Theraflu?

To open up at six or so, and close
at midnight, even one, will well suffice.
I'll wager there's no cold nor runny nose
can't wait
that long; if not, well, pay the price!

And as for those who might well look askance--
They'll learn to buy their condoms in advance!

Monday, March 02, 2009

#376: Songbird

At first I couldn't find him; branches crossed
each other like the shadowed edge of pen
and ink drawings, the wind would blow, and then
in rattling leaves his music would be lost
till calm returned, and like a ghost he'd take
the melody again--the pipe and trill
and once martial and mournful--thus he'd fill
the woods with music only he could make.

Yet still invisible--I strained my ear
and eye in fruitless search of him, so long
I'd nearly given up; but then he changed
the tune to one of joy, so brave and clear
I picked him out--gray, feathers disarranged,
and barely big enough to hold his song.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

#375: Wherein Sonnet Boy Questions His Motives for the Restart

What for? Not just to show it can be done--
That's proved already, most conclusively.
And so far it's been hardly any fun,
Though one still hopes it will, eventually.

Perhaps like Rumpelstiltskin's lady fair
I hope to spin my straw thoughts into gold;
Discover treasure underneath the hair
I used to have, before I grew so old...

And yet if I did not believe there lay
some secret worth unearthing in my brain,
Some flowers yet ungathered on the way,
then why begin the journey yet again?

It's Patience that I need, that much is clear;
and arrogance enough to persevere.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

#374: Alexei of the Doorways

Alexei is a cat who can't decide
which side of any doorway is the best;
he simply has to put it to the test
at every opportunity. Inside,

he'll peer through darkened glass, desiring Out.
Outside, of course, he strongly lusts for In--
once that's achieved, the Out looks best again,
and so and forth, around and round about.

At any squeak of hinge or knob he'll come
to gauge the portal's possibilities;
and no experience nor history's
his teacher--God, I swear the cat is dumb!

Or else an optimist who won't despair
of something better waiting Just Out There.

Friday, February 27, 2009

#373: The Futility of Valor

I guess it's war between us from now on;
it's no use to pretend it's otherwise--
for every father fights with every son,
viciously, all their lives, till someone dies.

Right now the terms of battle follow thus:
"Clean up your room! Put dishes in the sink!
Don't you talk back to me! No time to fuss--
now brush your teeth! To bed, you little fink!"

They wear me down, these nightly screams and tears,
that face darkened like rainclouds fit to burst,
these silent, hate-filled glares, contempt-full jeers--
I wonder which of us will weaken first?

No matter--I'm the one who writes this poem,
but he's the one who picks the nursing home.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

#372: Witches' Brew

The proper incantation starts like this:
"A pigeon's spleen! The leg of powdered hen!
An eye of newt!" (Of course, for flavor) "Then,
for potency, a turgid serpent's hiss!

"One of the four winds!"--any breeze will do--
"Another pigeon part!" (no sense in waste)
"A tapir's stubby tail, seasoned to taste!"
(If magic fails, you'll 'ave a lovely stew.)

Throw in three pebbles off a chieftain's grave
(He doesn't want them now), then say this spell:
"Ye mournful spirits, Denizens of Hell,
Come forward! Do your damnedest! Rant and rave!"

The dogs will howl, the deadly trumpets blow...
And what will happen then? Christ, I don't know!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

#371: Last Call

Another round, bartender, set 'em up!
There's far too many empty glasses here.
You see the money--go on, fill my cup!
It doesn't matter if it's wine or beer,

or whiskey, scotch, fine port, gin with vermouth
or else with tonic--put it in my hand.
The leap is short between old age and youth--
as who among us does not understand?

Some say to drown your troubles thus with booze
is just a coward's act--to them I say
go fuck yourselves! That's nothing I can use.
Either join in, or get out of my way.

Those that remain, please raise your glasses high--
and may you always be more drunk than I.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

#370: Roadkill

Raccoon, dead on the freeway: forelegs splayed
like wishbones drained of magic, and his tail
curled in, a question mark, striped like a jail-
house suit of clothes; his guts all spilled, arrayed
around about him like a proud man's gold
(the chain of intestines, jeweled green with flies,
soon pearled with maggots), then his famous eyes--
ensconced in double bruises--white and cold.

No tell-tale skids--the driver never saw,
or simply cared to little for this one
inconsequential life; only the hiss
of funereal gas, cooked by the sun,
escaping fissured skin rubbed asphalt-raw.

As if there could be poetry in this.

Monday, February 23, 2009

#369: Mulligan

I let it go today, so now you're stuck
with leavings, bits of thought now to be pieced
like lace--a doily at the very least.
But that's no good--ah, shit. What rotten luck.

I've got to train myself again to look
for things beyond myself to write about;
eschew these paralyzing swells of doubt
for confidence enough to fill a book.

What, three days in, and already so strapped
for inspiration that it comes to this?
Fill out the rhymes and syllables--it is
just what it is, no more. Do not get trapped.

Tomorrow, maybe, better words will flow.
Keep going now, or else you'll never know.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

#368: Momentum

Look out ahead--the journey yet is long,
the path uncertain as it's always been;
and whether left is right, and right is wrong
we will not know until we've reached the end.

When darkness edges every cresting hill
and echoes do not answer to our call,
it's better to keep moving than stay still.
Does fortune owe us safety? Not at all.

There may be treasure waiting where we're sped,
or else a yawning tomb. It's all he same.
The movement is the thing--rest when you're dead.
Till then, just run the race and play the game.

Where one succeeds, another always fails.
Let lexicographers sweat the details.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

#367: Eyewitness

It's said, behind the cobweb-colored drapes
and cataract windows, perhaps one night
of twenty, someone in there strikes a light
and walks those halls. The candle-glow escapes
through dusty panes and warping bits of wood
and sometimes through the craters in that roof--
the attic, where she died. If you need proof,
walk by there now--but I don't think you should.

I've been by there when light shone through the pane
that backed her bedroom. I have heard her moan
through that slit throat he gave her years ago.
And once I slept on her bed, when the rain
had chilled me cold as--why? Hell, I don't know.
But some things, kid, are better left alone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

#366: Prodigal

I'm missing this too much--the way my brain
not long ago would daily search the ground
and sky for inspiration; then, once found,
transform it to a vehicle for pain
or pleasure, memory of wrongs
or little kindnesses, or else just shapes
built to contain odd thoughts and small escapes--
dumb jokes; short stories; benedictions; songs.

The cycle ends, and one day you return
and barely know the place; the hinges rust,
the door swells in its frame. Does that home fire
still smolder under sleeping ash, still burn,
and want only this breath to re-inspire?
I'll get back in and find out now. I must.