Monday, September 30, 2013

V. 2, #185: September 30, 2013

Dust off the pumpkins, polish up the skulls,
and launder all the sheets the ghosts will wear.
Put new hardware on those guillotine pulls
and oil the swinging blade works. It's a scare

we're wanting to impart, so muss that hair!
Put on a fright wig, should it come to that.
String cotton webs around this evil lair,
and from the ceiling hang the vampire bat!

Make haste! In stores the managers are quick
to push us out before we've had our due.
Stuffed snowmen in September? Makes me sick!
To sentiments like that, well I say BOO!

I'll chomp blood capsules, paint my forehead green...
just one more month to go till Halloween!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

V. 2, #184: September 29, 2013

I know that on the outside I might seem
the sort of man who never causes strife.
Well-mannered, kind, the sort who'd never dream
of hurting anyone. A pretty wife,

two kids (yes, one of each) who are polite
and never show their elders disrespect.
A steady job, home every single night--
a good man, if a little circumspect.

And yet, I could accuse me of such deeds
as Christian men should quake to call by name;
reveal a monster in my mind that bleeds
rage without cause, and deceit without shame;

You'd gasp at what I hide, if you but knew.
But then, I bet it's just the same with you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

V. 2, #183: September 28, 2013

The kids are outside playing on the swings,
which means inside, an eerie silence reigns.
These moments I can steal for other things:
I can veg out with TV, wrack my brains

for clever rhymes I might use in a verse,
or read a book--my God, such luxury!
Just drink a cup of tea? I could do worse.
I'm paralyzed by possibility!

But no, the whoosh of sliding patio door
alerts me quiet time is at its end.
The house is mere cacophony once more,
the broken peace beyond my skill to mend.

My singing muses suddenly are mute.
Good thing for children they're so fucking cute.

Friday, September 27, 2013

V. 2, #182: September 27, 2013

We'd stayed up late, and Grandma didn't mind.
A few feet from the black and white tv,
to popcorn cold and salty, soda cans
with drinking straws beside our tucked-up knees.
We whispered in between commercial breaks,
"How long now till it starts?" Then Johnny said
goodnight. The tube went black. We sat and stared.

The old pipe organ groaned. Pale cobwebs lined
the screen. We leaned in, straining eyes to see
what would emerge: monstrosity of man's
creation? Werewolf? Vampire? Killer bees?
A dinosaur, or maybe giant snakes?
Later, awake and trembling in our beds,
we'd laugh at each other for being scared.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

V. 2, #181: September 26, 2013

I figured you'd be up and gone by now.
No one would blame you for capitulation,
I know I make a mess of things, and how.
Most women would require a stipulation

regarding end dates on this love affair;
They'd specify a bunch of exit clauses
to let them out should I seem not to care
about their favorite films and cherished causes.

They'd tell me I would have to get in shape,
to trim my beard, forsaking all tattooing,
to act more like a man, and less an ape.
It's clear, my love, you don't know what you're doing.

Yet there you sit, demure and undemanding.
But wherefore is beyond my understanding.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

V. 2, #180: September 25, 2013

The dreams I have might be achievable
in some strange universe apart from this
where there's no word for "unbelievable,"
and longshots hit more often than they miss;

I like to think there might exist a plane
but slightly changed from this in which we're living
where it's a simple matter to attain
one's goals, and gods of Fate are more forgiving.

The sun would shine, with no precipitation
to mar parades or cancel tee-ball games,
desires would never suffer sublimation
nor waste the heat of their initial flames;

It might get boring there, eventually--
but still, I'd like to try it out and see.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

V. 2, #179: September 24, 2013

A jellyfish was floating in the ocean
at one with lunar ebbs and warming flow
when suddenly its dreamy, fluttered motion
was stopped. Because it had no way to know

the cause of this transoceanic hiccup
(for brains are something jellies do without)
it waited for the salty whoosh to pick up
afflicted not at all by fear and doubt.

It could not see the dread form of Cthulhu'd
burst upwards like a rocket from Ry'leh;
would not have shaken, even if it knew who'd
brushed past it on his vile, destructive way.

It simply waited. Soon the flow returned.
It floated on, while mankind shrieked and burned.

Monday, September 23, 2013

V. 2, #178: September 23, 2013

This body will not last as long again
as it already has. The halfway mark
recedes with every passing day, and when
the next signpost appears, its script will mark

a finite distance toward a fixed, black spot
that was not visible when I began.
It will be possible at last to plot
the miles that yet remain. The track I ran

will stretch behind, with every turn and bend
that brought me to this point now etched in stone,
unchangeable as that predestined end
toward which every man must run, alone.

No time to rest, and little time to think.
It's getting closer, every time I blink.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

V. 2, #177: September 22, 2013

If I broke bad, you wouldn't have a clue.
I'd keep my job, trudge off to work each day,
then slouch back home again when I was due.
I'd say the same dull things I always say.

No matter what the count of lives destroyed
or evil plans I'd culminated was,
I'd mow the yard, pretend to get annoyed
at all those little things our neighbor does;

I'd play upon your lack of interest in
my work, my hobbies, all my boring dreams,
to cover up my life of crime and sin,
for none of us, my dear, is what he seems.

You'd never guess, and I'd never be caught,
if I broke bad...but who's to say I've not?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

V. 2: #176: September 21, 2013

Stop making sense: consider that the pig,
however steeped in mud or garbage smells,
owns some mysterious beauty, just as big
as that of butterflies, or polished shells;

Just turn your brain around: see how the toad,
not blessed with smooth complexion like its kin,
sang just as sweetly nonetheless, and showed
itself as worthy an amphibian.

I'm sure some whales are floating in the seas
who wish themselves as thin as garter snakes,
and elephants who dream of being fleas,
and cows who wish they could dispense milkshakes;

But that just goes to show, both near and far,
you'd best content yourself with what you are.

Friday, September 20, 2013

V. 2, #175: September 20, 2013

Below the lab, where kings kept enemies,
and chains encircle wrists long gone to bone,
the madman's failure festers, like disease,
and drags its claws across the living stone.

It's fed on table scraps, and bits of meat
the doctor grows in cultures he creates.
Sometimes a nosy cop makes for a treat,
but mostly it lies in the dark, and waits.

Its Father, not indifferent to its pain,
has promised one day to concoct a friend;
but even with its faulty, malformed brain
the Creature can foresee this story's end.

At night it glares up through the dungeon bars,
and when it's very lucky, glimpses stars.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

V. 2, #174: September 19, 2013

The jester could not think of any jokes
(a danger to his job, and worse, his life);
so, desp'rate, he consulted with his folks,
tried out his new material on his wife,

but all to no avail--from their retort,
he might well have been droning Latin texts.
So he sought help of quite a different sort:
applied to all the varied comic sects

to find the name of some dread deity
or demon he could bargain and cajole
to give him undeserved prosperity,
if not good jokes. The price was steep: his soul.

Familiars now hiss punchlines in his ear;
and that is why Dane Cook has a career.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

V. 2, #173: September 18, 2013

A gollywog is not a pollywog,
no matter what they teach you at that school.
The rhyming names put some brains in a fog,
but Son, your daddy didn't raise no fool:

You might as well confuse fishes with dishes,
though two more different things will never be.
One might present t'other, fried and delicious,
but that's a far cry from equality.

You see, the Polly grows his rear legs first.
In contrast, Golly sooner sheds her tail.
And G-wog does her business while immersed,
but P goes pee on dry land, without fail.

So now you can discern betwixt the 'wogs.
Till they mature, at least--then, frogs is frogs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

V. 2, #172: September 17, 2013

I might not have as much hair on my head
as sprouts in ragged tufts upon my face;
and stairs where formerly my steps had sped
on up, I now take at a slower pace;

I may not be as handsome nor as sleek
as when I drank from crystal springs of youth;
while knees and hips and other joints might creak
as ne'er they did ere I were long o' tooth;

You might find, on inspection, that my brain
is not the Tesla coil it used to be;
the lightning thoughts it once could not contain
reduced to static electricity;

But there's one comfort I still hold on to:
I may be old, my dear--but so are you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

V. 2, #171: September 16, 2013

The eyes that used to watch me now are blind,
Egyptian lashes covered by the sand
that buried all the tombs you left behind,
no more a witness to that ancient land

wherein I once belonged and felt at home,
if only for a moment; where your breath
perfumed the air I drank, and made a poem
of every thing I felt. So come--let Death

erase at last the memories I've kept,
as dunes erase the crumbled legs of stone
that seemed invincible. Let how we slept
in one another's arms decay, like bone

and flesh. Let nothing of me now remain
to mar the roiling desert of your brain.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

V. 2, #170: September 15, 2013

When all this goes to ashes, and the sun
destroys the planet it once nurtured; when
the wetlands bake to brick, and there are none
to witness this new shattered wasteland; men

will be a distant memory, or less:
a ghost with no house left to haunt, no kin
to pester for remembrance; just a mess
of charred leaves and bleached bones; if someone then

should come upon this ball, some other race
from distant stars should walk the dried sea bed
where life began and ended on the face
of dear, departed Earth, and count the dead--

I hope, before they shrug and carry on,
they'll wonder who we were, and where we've gone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

V. 2, #169: September 14, 2013

By now a tired theme, but once again
I've got no time to write a sonnet well;
therefore, I must commit the poet's sin
of crafting sloppy verse. But what the hell.

No batter hits a homer every time
he steps up to the plate to face a pitch.
Just so with meter, imagery, and rhyme:
sometimes you've got to fudge the ol' sumbitch.

If I'd an ivory tower, I'd take me thence
and view the kingdom from aloft; my quill
would dance in fairy rings around the sense,
and draw from words and beats the dreams I'd will.

But I've got chores, a dinner to be cooked,
a wife to please--so you can see, I'm booked.

Friday, September 13, 2013

V. 2, #168: September 13, 2013

Oh, spare me! Don't you think we've heard enough
of all this bitchy whining you emit?
You'd like us to believe your life's so rough,
but face it, baby girl: you're full of shit.

Your shoe habit is driving you to debt;
your car smells worse than when it was brand new;
Your TV's on the fritz; your Internet
just keeps on getting slower? Whoop-de-doo!

You sit in air-conditioned rooms all day
and answer phones when there's no other choice.
A billion folks would trade with you and say
they'd never seen such comfort. So rejoice!

You've got a house; a car; a place to work.
So don't complain. You come off like a jerk.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

V. 2, #167: September 12, 2013

Old Terence knew what he was on about;
I've praised the man before, and will again.
That, in a life beset with pain and doubt,
Booze is the balm available to men.

There's whiskey for your worry, beers for fears,
and gin to hold depression's clouds at bay.
Red wine is fine for mixing with your tears,
and rum can give the dumb something to say.

To those who call intemperance a sin
and shame the drunk with their religious deeds,
I say, God made booze and this world we're in,
and one's the cure the other sorely needs.

See, Jesus thought wine ought to flow till dawn,
and water? Only fit to walk upon.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

V. 2, #166: September 11, 2013

The horrifying monster in the cave
outside of town is fierce as he can be.
He scares the pants off everyone but me;
see, I made friends with him. I call him Dave.

His insect eyes are big as bowling balls;
his tentacles are thirty feet in length,
and no one knows the limits of his strength.
He loves to have tea parties with my dolls.

My folks don't think a little girl should play
with with some abomination from the deeps;
but I say when you're friends, you're friends for keeps.
The kids at school don't like me, anyway.

So if the cave emits a rumbling moan,
it's Dave singing to me. Leave us alone.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

V. 2, #165: September 10, 2013

The dog, who's on the couch, scratches his ear.
His tag takes on the semblance of a bell,
and maybe somewhere, not too far from here,
a Pixie Fire Brigade mistakes the knell

of that aluminum identifier
for some alarm sent up from forest keeps
of their Dread Pixie Overlord, whose ire
they should not wish to court. He never sleeps.

And so they rush from out their mushroom beds,
strap on their gear, fill thimbles full of dew,
to quench a blaze that's only in their heads.
They'd mock their own confusion, if they knew.

The Pixie Lords may punish as they please.
Meanwhile, I think I'll treat my dog for fleas.

Monday, September 09, 2013

V. 2, #164: September 9, 2013

He's sealed the windows, bought a sensor light,
and put two brand new deadlocks on the door,
made sure his chimney flue shuts nice and tight.
She won't be coming round here anymore.

There's garlic in the kitchen on a rope,
and cryptic circles drawn on every floor.
Black candles, too. Now he can only hope
she won't be coming round here anymore.

He keeps some holy water by the bed
and on the nightstand, books of ancient lore,
plus warding charms to use against the dead:
don't let her come around here anymore.

Midnight, she comes, more rotten than before.
"Love, please--don't come around here anymore."

Sunday, September 08, 2013

V. 2, #163: September 8, 2013

What is it, but the insect pulse and thrum
of Summer, beating in your ears like blood?
The hot wind pushing through the trees, to come
upon you like wave. There in the mud

below the leaking tap, jut from the brick
and keeping time with every wasted drop,
a wood frog nestles, comfortable and slick.
and sings his satisfaction, while me mop

our brows and watch the violet skyscape fade
to purple, blue, and black, just like a bruise.
A few peekaboo stars slip past the clouds
then disappear again, just to amuse
themselves at our plain bafflement. Dark shrouds
the sky. The moon cuts through it like a blade.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

V. 2, #162: September 7, 2013

She's got a soaring eagle on her thigh
and shooting stars adorning either hip.
On one forearm, the Great All-Seeing Eye,
and on the other one, a battleship;

One shoulder shows an angel, bright and fair,
and opposite a devil, bat wings spread.
She got a stoned koala on a dare,
and next to it, a Mexican death's head;

A dragon on her lower back, which hides
the kanji script of some ex-lover's name;
memorials and mottos on her sides,
and peeking o'er her waistband, racing flames.

Some people call it art, some call it sin.
But she's quite happy now in her own skin.

Friday, September 06, 2013

V. 2, #161: September 6, 2013

The way it was, was this: I'm at the bar
with Willie, when the guy walks in and smiles.
You seen that gravel parking lot. We're miles
from anyplace. We never heard no car.

He steps right up and plops down on the stool.
He spoke--I can't remember what he said.
His voice was low. He smelled like something dead.
And all the time just grinning like a fool.

That grin--too wide, too many teeth. It grew
until his nose and eyes were just three slits.
He disappeared behind it, like the cat
in Wonderland. Willie gets up and splits,
but I'm plum froze. He gapes. His tongue is blue.
I don't remember nothing after that.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

V. 2, #160: September 5, 2013

Like something disconnected--rusted wires
now frames for cobweb tapestries, their lace-
thin shadows fall where centipedes displace
forgotten bits of newsprint. Outside, choirs

of insects line up, thrum, and resonate
like motors, while the blank, noctlucent clouds
await some lost projection. Meanwhile, crowds
of frogs and field mice find their seats, and wait.

But up above, behind locked doors, the cold
stiff body of the lone projectionist
sits silent, dead, and long since gone to rot.
Spooled off the reel, a story never told
will dry to crinoline around his wrist,
and soon--by all save one--will be forgot.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

V. 2, #159: September 4, 2013

A tinker built a magical machine
out of some copper pots and bits of wire
connected to a crystal, glowing green,
he picked out of the ashes of some fire.

(The fire's cause, a falling meteorite
from far across the galaxy, he could
not know a thing about. But that's all right:
he used it, same as any tinker would.)

Just how he knew where to connect the nodes
and how to set the power source just so
to unlock all those secret, alien codes,
we can't, and maybe shouldn't, ever know.

But now we all live subject to the whim
of Gnarthan Warlords--all because of him.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

V. 2, #158: September 3, 2013

I used to read that Larkin poem and smile:
"They fuck you up, your mum and dad." How true,
I thought! Equal parts tenderness and bile
in that, "They may not mean to, but they do."

But now I scan Phil's verse with different eyes.
The focus shifts, seen from the other side,
when one's done harm he could not recognize
as such, however hard he might have tried.

You had your chances, sure--you might have said
a good, kind thing. Might not have raised your voice
at small mistakes. Taught happiness instead
of bitterness. You could. You had that choice.

I only hope one day I live to see
my son a good, kind man--in spite of me.

Monday, September 02, 2013

V. 2, #157: September 2, 2013

Just think how awful everything would be
if all I ever told you was the truth!
How different would your image be of me?
Right now you think I'm sweet--at times uncouth,

but mostly good. How could I disabuse
your unsuspecting mind of such kind thoughts?
I'd sooner crush a butterfly than lose
your ignorance of all these different Scotts:

The one who ponders murdering the guy
who cut him off in traffic; one whose lust's
insatiable and weird; the one who'll cry
if he hears one more Coldplay song. What trusts

could well survive such truth? But never fear:
I love, therefore I lie to you, my dear.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

V. 2, #156: September 1, 2013

Sing me a song you've never sung before:
just take a good, deep breath and let it flow.
Like those Aeolian harps of long ago
let air determine melody. Before

your conscious thought resolves itself to words,
and introduces doubt, give it your voice.
Hold forth as if you had no other choice,
freely and heedlessly. Sing like the birds,

who could not even fathom keeping still
and silent, those whose very breath is sound,
whose music is the essence of their being.
If you don't do it now, you never will.
Don't worry if there's anyone around.

Your soul is music too. For God's sake: sing.