Thursday, October 31, 2013

Slasher Flick

It’s always a man
lumbering through the dark, wearing a mask
or with a face so twisted he may as well be,
and wielding his tool of choice
with which to slice, chop, drain them of
their precious fluids. She wearies of all the shrieking,
just once she wants to see one of those stupid teens
meet their fate with dignity. Look, she wants to tell them,
you know he’s unstoppable
as he comes shambling for you through the dark.
Always the dark! What about the blinding daylight,
scorching her sensitive skin,
or the shadowless corridors
of the labyrinthine clinics they wheel her through?
She wants to tell those doomed adolescents
 to just sit quietly a minute,
to enjoy these last few moments before
the cleaver swings, the scalpel cuts.
Listen to the wind in the trees. Smell the night air.
He’ll get you when you least expect it,
though if you see enough of these movies
you learn to always expect it,
though she doesn’t need a man
to destroy her body. It’s doing a good job of that
all on its own, and there's no guarantee
the chemo will save her in the nick of time.

Louise Says

He popped the tablets, cupped his hand beneath the spigot, clapped the water to his mouth. Immediately he felt his eyeballs sucked dry, his skin begin to fizz. He grinned and it felt like his mouth was crammed with a thousand teeth. He took a running start and tried to skate on the sizzle, but the floor was not as slippery as his soul was and he felt himself slide out of his body and keep on going before snapping back like a rubber band to look out through his eye holes once again. 

A pair of lips stretched around the corner to whisper into his ear: you’ve got fifteen minutes to destroy this joint. Go. And then he was slapping up the stairs with a strap around his neck and standing on stage and the others were there waiting and without a moments breath they opened fire, the four of them blistering through their set with flashbulbs popping inside his skull as with every note he died and kept on dying and every bead of blood burned, every scream a scattering of acid spat buckshot blasts peppering the walls and filing the room with smoking constellations, even if it all just the swirl of dirt in a bucket of mop water, even if the arms of the galaxy were covered with track marks and cigarette burns, it was all beautiful beyond belief, it was still everything, it was still just rock and roll. 

Of course there was the inevitable drop, the sink, the slow. The gray flesh sagging, the creaking numbness, the weary wobble. Eyelids drooping lower and lower. Flesh webbed with cracks. Still he continued, stood there weaving, thin as the mike stand, gravel stuck in his gums. He watched his friends wither, or immolate themselves, or get ripped to shreds. Handfuls of paint flesh thrown into his eyes. He traded the old pills for new ones to soothe those tender organs. And still he kept on, voice digging new holes in the sand even as the water kept seeping in. Then one day he realized he wasn’t just moving slowly anymore, he’d stopped. Everyone was shaken up. Even though they had secretly expected it to happen years before, because it hadn’t, and I think we all just thought that maybe it never would. But it did, and things will never be the same.  

in memory of  Lou Reed

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bug Zapper

A lawnmower driven across a tuxedo.
A casserole thrown into a woodchipper.
A cherry pie run over by a snowblower.
I am shredded and sprayed. An IED stuffed
inside the corpse of a coyote. The sturgeon
in the propeller, the windhover in the turbine.
I am cantaloupes hurled from the overpass,
Corona bottles shattered with buckshot.
Gather my atomized remains, try to reassemble
my hundred thousand scattered pieces.
Even God, huddled in his shawl
in the nursing home rec room, would struggle
to put this jigsaw puzzle back together.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Encased in wicker crescents and metal scallops
knotted with rope and leather, he stands on the parapet
and gazes out over the valley. When he turns,
his tassels sway and the bronze paulownia leaves chink together.
Below, the horses snort and buck and flatten the grass.
The wind plucks at his mustaches, the plumes adorning
his lacquered scarab helmet.
A crow-shaped hole is cut from the blue paper of the sky.
He paces, clattering like a crustacean, 
face damp and brown beneath the iron grimace.
Across his back is slung a quiver filled with arrows
adorned with feathers plucked
from his own children. He shudders as he thinks
of that other bird, the one he saw reflected in the pool of dream,
where carp flash and pike gleam in the dark water:
the bird he saw last night, when he plunked a stone
into the depths. When the ripples cleared he saw
a silver bird dropping its eggs from a great height.
From each egg hatched a chick with flames for feathers,
with smoky wings that rose to block the sun.
He awoke, his pupils shrunk to blackened skulls,
and leaped from bed, struggled into his armor
and rushed outside, where the crow now alights
on a twisted branch, eying him.
He removes a tiny scroll from his breast,
wraps is around an arrow and sends it flying
right through the black bird's silhouette
to pass beyond into dark, starless space 
where hopefully it will be received and answered
before it's too late.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Park in August

A gaggle of young men in sequins and wigs
stand in a circle and bump fists 
then scream “capture the fag!” and scatter
whooping and screaming across the field.

In the middle of the pond, a duck quacks madly
as she is attacked by a half dozen mallards
who nip her neck to hang on 
as they mount her floating form from behind.

The skunky stench of weed besmirches the air.
Girls sunbathe on the blankets, chest down,
bikini tops unstrung. Dogs strain at leashes. 
The trash cans overflow with bottles and cans. 
From among the trees, the sound of a hidden drum,
the mindless, hollow, hungry, thump of Summer.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Clogged Arteries

A paper heart
torn in half
becomes two droplets of blood,
becomes two falling tears
becomes the two plucked petals of
she loves me, she loves me not
I heap on the clich├ęs
like they were cold cuts
in an ever-rising corned beef sandwich
of sentimentality
dripping with slathered-on condiments
I am salivating with sappiness,
ravenous and misty-eyed as I chow down
on this fat, sloppy stack
of overemotional victuals
Once I have swallowed every maudlin morsel
every cloying crumb
I will throw it all up
to devour and disgorge again and again
like a dog enraptured by its own mess
fascinated by what has spilled
from within his own pickling depths
no matter how rancid, how fetid
how bad for the heart

Friday, October 4, 2013

Closet Door

That way you looked at me lying there
as if I was a mirror
I tried to mimic your expression as best I could.
But my grotesque caricature
turned your face.

Your hand on my arm jerked me
out of the trance but it was my own hand 
on my own arm and I wondered 
if those eyes gazing down
had been yours or mine

Everyone's busy flipping through their wardrobes
for the shroud that best fits them
Combing through the tangle of wire hangers, 
piles of sloughed snakeskins and beetleshells 
for that one perfect outfit

I shiver raw as a skinned rabbit
teeth chattering as I tally the results, hoping 
my good traits end up outnumbering
or at least overpowering the questionable ones
Though who fucking knows
There’s no guarantee and if this ends up being
the last thing I ever write that seems ok
Let me be interred wearing nothing 
but this cheap threadbare suit
this word skin