Sunday, June 30, 2013

Freedom

A quiet car slips through the neighborhoods
early Sunday morning, before the squirrel chatter,
before the crow screams, before the dog walkers,
the church goers, before the coffee shop opens,
before the sun squeezes the shadows into submission.
Its driver comes to a complete stop at every
stop sign and red light, drives at a moderate speed,
signals when appropriate, greets the day
with calm, unquestioning obedience.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Leaden Beasts



A bird flaps her wooden wings.
The hinges squeak. She preens
her curled birch bark feathers
with her wooden beak, coughs up
sawdust and shavings to feed
her chicks. They clack hungrily
in a nest made of fingers and scraps
of flesh, high up in a sycamore
whose bark is warm skin,
a tree bristling with follicles,
with a trunk that if tapped,
leaks blood instead of sap.
The forest bruises easily,
and the trees shudder when one
of its heavy metal denizens
stirs from its ten-ton slumber
to shamble off in search of a lazy meal
of low-hanging fruit that they pluck
with no mercy or anesthetic, without
bothering to tourniquet or even bandage
the hemorrhaging limbs.
The forest floor grows slippery,
but these lumbering beasts have no need
to run, their alloys being too dense
for even the steeliest predators,
the jungles not yet penetrated
by the men on safari armed with
cold saws and acetylene torches

Friday, June 21, 2013

Apostates


One crow sits
on the left arm of the cross
that tops the steeple at the end of the street.
The bird spreads its wings and plummets
into the trees.

Two crows perch on the left arm
of the cross. Early dusk. Though fitted
with bulbs, the cross is rarely lit. A wire lick
of neon flame curls from its base, the cleansing fire
of redemption, or the ever-present
threat of hell? The two crows dive
simultaneously into the leaves, twin shadows
swallowed by the green.

The sun has died. The streetlamps weakly try
to spread its teachings. All the birds
are settled into their roosts, unseen.
The cross a faint gray kite floating
so small against the black wings of the night.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Lovejoy Columns



We are ricocheting off the pylons,
we are bouncing off the ropes   When we smile,
blinding beams of light shoot out
from behind our splintered teeth   Our eyelids shine
like swollen plums   Our chests bristle
with battered ribs   Our brains have been squeezed
into sausage   Our hearts are gongs
waiting to be struck   Down here where
the splintered sidewalk is bound together
with nets of spider silk   Where the great throbbing
mosquito god descends from the sky  Waiting
to suck us dry   Where you pray to the burnt threads
of the incandescents   Trying to will them back
into blinding life   The slabs slide on ball bearings
The earthworms strap themselves to combs
to convince themselves they’re centipedes
The gutters glow with radioactive vomit
Taped to the backside of every picture
is another picture   Destined to always
face the wall   The mercury dial spins
The second hand sweeps our feet out from under us
The horizontal pendulum scythes the overgrown carpet
The stairs are all just pyramids of railroad ties
We wake up splintered in the nettles beneath
the collapsed on-ramp   Follow the cracked drainpipe,
follow the smell of rust   Claw at the stumps
of the sign posts for dear life   I’ve got sanitary napkin
insoles and solid plywood spectacles   I’ve got stained
glass underpants   It’s like a jigsaw puzzle
where no single piece fits any other  We wear
sandpaper tuxedos and spit blood on our hands
before leaping back into the ring   Knowing
there is no way they are not going to
eventually tear us down

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Molt



Peel the ghosts
from your fingertips

like scraps of dried glue
like shards of cooled wax

crackling into bits
milky shells swept away

by the breeze, reduced
to nearly weightless

residue, particles too small
to ever haunt you.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Claude Has Notions



Claude hemmed and hawed, until finally
he spit out his pins and cleared his throat
and spoke- that is, his teeth
turned into spokes, and the spinning wheel
of his voice got clogged with yarn.
The tapestry of his life had long-since unraveled,
leaving nothing but a few moth-munched scraps
tacked to the walls, so now he produced
a wood-clamped canvas circle
and tried to cross-stitch a new narrative.
But the string snagged and became a snare,
tightening around Claude’s throat, strangling him.
Claude’s button eyes strained at their stitches
and he swallowed, trying to loosen the noose,
but the more he struggled the tighter it pulled,
biting into Claude’s neck until it cut clean through
like a wire slicing a slab of clay.
Oh darn, he thought, as, cleared of its body,
Claude’s noggin bounced and rolled down
the patchwork slope, leaving a fluffy trail
of white cotton batting behind.