Friday, March 12, 2010

#461: The Old Detective Waxes Philosophical Over a Pusher's Corpse, While His Young Partner Listens

"There's two ways you can look at it," he said.
"First, maybe he was only passing through.
Got tangled in some drug deal, lost his head,
and wound up here. Old story. Nothing new.

"The second way is metaphysical,
involving destiny and fate, you see?
Some cosmic, strange gravitational pull
brought him to where he was supposed to be.

"And so his death is like a sacrifice
to gods we have forgotten. If not that,
chaos, to which no meaning can adhere.
So, one or two, son? Neither's very nice."
He lit a cigarette and grabbed his hat.
"Well, anyway, he's dead. Let's get a beer."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

#460: Things to Do with Pencils Besides Writing Poems

Beat out a rock song on your desktop set
(Your mug makes one great cymbal, FYI)
Or maybe see how many you can get
stuck in the ceiling tiles on your first try.

Unsharpened, use as chopsticks. (If the taste
of graphite doesn't bug you, sharpened too.)
Stir water into stubborn clumps of paste
and then create sculptures of wood and glue.

With rubber bands and paperclips, pretend
you and your friends are fearsome Indian braves.
See how many you can stack end-to-end.

Make tourniquets, or splint a broken bone;
or put them down and leave the things alone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#459: Hail to the King

I am the king of all that I survey,
my dominion as far as I can see!
(That's half the yard on an uncloudy day--
the house, my car, mailbox, a rock, that tree.)

I am a vicious warrior without peer
who's never known the sour taste of defeat!
(In fact, my reputation wields such fear
no one has even challenged me! That's neat.)

Fair damsels are unable to refuse
my charms (or would be, if I asked them out).
Conquer the gods? I could, should I so choose.
(I don't choose so, but that's no cause for doubt.)

I'm more handsome and strong and brave than most
(but no one knows, 'cause I don't like to boast).

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

#458: Mystery

He did good work; he hardly ever spoke,
and when he did, he never wasted words.
Few friends, even among the IT nerds.
Three times a day he went outside to smoke.

But now and then he'd laugh--a short, sharp sound
as if some joke had caught him by surprise;
no explanation, no smile in his eyes,
and only when no one else was around.

Then one day he was gone--just didn't show
for work, with neither notice nor goodbye.
His coffee mug still on his desk, a ring
of keys there in the drawer. Beats anything.
At last the boss just shrugged and let it go.
I still don't know what happened to the guy.

Monday, March 08, 2010

#457: The Less Things Change

I tend to think that life will stay the same:
how things are now, that's how they'll always be.
Experience can't teach the contrary,
despite its constant lessons. I can blame

a kind of sad inertia of the brain,
stubborn determination to believe
only the worst can last. I can't conceive
an upward curving graph, an end to rain.

And yet I know Spring comes. I know the sun
does dissipate the fog. It's nothing strange.
But something in me sees a cloud-filled sky,
a moonless night, a treasured plan undone
and thinks it permanent. I don't know why.
The world is wet. The weather will not change.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

#456: End of Day

A quiet hour at last: the ice cubes sing
like chimes, and I can sit back and relax
at last. The daily burden of our facts
and figures melt away, and everything
casts off its weight. There's nothing left to do
but reconsider calmly what has passed;
the tally of our breaths and heartbeats. Last
to go, now that the sky has gone from blue
to pinholed black, is this: what have I done
today (of all days) that might, in a year,
a month, a day, still be remembered? What
will stay for one more cycle of the sun?
The gin dilutes, the tonic stays as clear
as always. What was my point? I forgot.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

#455: There Was a Time, My Love, When We Could Sit

There was a time, my love, when we could sit,
hold hands, and stare into each others' eyes
for hungry hours, and not get bored of it.
Young love has just such power to hypnotize.

In former days we'd only kiss, until,
our curfews near, we pulled away and sighed--
Our hot desire fed, though unfulfilled;
our lusts inflamed, but strangely satisfied.

But now experience has taught us greed,
and what sufficed once will no longer do;
thus fantasy has transformed into need,
and blasted what contentment we once knew.

A touch, a glance, a breath, a sigh, a kiss;
A shame we hunger now for more than this.

Friday, March 05, 2010

#454: Prologue to Attack of the Megafish

(an unfilmed scifi/horror movie existing entirely in the poet's mind)

The doctor pushed his glasses up his nose
and stared in wonder at his petri dish.
He never thought the genome grafts on fish
would ever work this well. Not even close.

He shot the stuff into a minnow's brain
and sent his intern, Fritz, down to the pond
to set it free. His mind soared, well beyond
all ethical concerns. He would explain

himself to history, shaking his fist
at research fellows--backwards, fearful lot!
The fools! He'd show them who was on the fringe!
Perhaps soon something monstrous would exist
that never had, and, most would say, should not...
He sat back, smiling, dreaming of revenge.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

#453: Giallo

Tonight get out the J&B, and don
black leather gloves. Dust off that wide-brimmed hat.
Razor: in pocket. Huge sunglasses? ON.
And don't forget your metaphoric cat.

Pack dragonflies, a broken doll, but not
a handgun--that's too amateur by half.
Don't shoot; don't torture ducklings; don't get caught.
Stay shadow-bound, and let the windows laugh.

At midnight, when the real and dream worlds mesh
She'll come to meet her lover in the glade.
(She ought to learn not to go near the park.)
You know that somewhere in her folds of flesh
the secret lies, so free it with your blade;
She'll show you all the colors of the dark.

"Giallo" films are characterized by extended murder sequences featuring excessive bloodletting, stylish camerawork and unusual musical arrangements. The literary whodunit element is retained, but combined with modern slasher horror, while being filtered through Italy's longstanding tradition of opera and staged grand guignol drama.--Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

#452: Zippadee Doo-dah

Alarm goes off; even a string quartet
rattles like heavy metal round my skull--
too early yet to savor how the pull
of horsehair bows on catgut sings. I'll get

the covers off, although they cling to me
like some man-eating blob from outer space.
Robe on, I'll splash some water on my face
and lurch downstairs, my only thought: "Coffeeee...."

When Phoebus slaps his flaming stallions' flanks
and draws his chariot over the line
to start his chase, some doubtless think that's fine;
but I'm a bit more stingy with my thanks.

"The Sun will rise." Well, you know what I say:
it's sure a rotten way to start the day.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

#451: Leaving the Castle

Let cobwebs gather in the corners; let
the dust fall from the chandeliers like snow.
Let those who knew the path from here forget
and those who didn't, let them never know.

Let rafters creak unheard under the weight
of their own mass; let tiles fall where they may.
Let cellar bottles transubstantiate
their guts to vinegar. We cannot stay.

Let glamour go to squalor; let the vines
creep in between the windowpanes where glass
once held, but now lies shattered on the floor.
And if someday someone should see these signs
of habitation, let them sigh and pass
these rooms where we once lived, who live no more.


Monday, March 01, 2010

#450: Things I've Found in the Parking Lot at Work

The bolt from some machine, about the size
of one finger. A plastic bubble shell,
the kind that holds a supermarket prize.
A dented, ornamental jingle bell.

An Uno card (Blue Zero). Paper clips.
A water bill, apparently unpaid.
A shiny chrome hub cap. Garish wax lips.
And once even a rusted razor blade.

A chintzy shamrock pin. After a rain,
some drowning earthworms twitching in the flow
of oil-slick puddles, whom I tried in vain
to rescue. One dark feather off a crow.

Pennies, of course, and dimes; both heads and tails.
Five screws, and maybe half a dozen nails.