Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hibernation time

Well, that's it, folks, I'm pretty much dried out. Haven't written anything new in months (the recent pieces I've been posted are all from last spring), I have nothing to say and no ideas for new pieces, so I'm going to take a break and shut down the blog for a while. In the meantime I'll be editing two collections of poems from the past year or so, expect them to be ready in a month or two. The first of which will be called Fauxhawk, the second I Kept Waiting for Them to Play Tusk. I'll let you know when they're ready. Thanks to the half dozen of you who have read and followed this blog over the years. 


Friday, August 22, 2014

Another Round of Spencer Tracys for Table Six

She sits there in her monkey hair jacket,
its long black strands draped across the leather seat
her jewelry gleams her bright vermillion lipstick glows
in this dimly-lit corner of the Driftwood Room, where
we clink glasses filled with fizzing cocktails named
for old-time movie stars and starlets, pluck olives
from a dinky bowl and carefully spear
mushrooms from the sizzling pan. 
Our favorite waiter glides by occasionally, his smile
simultaneously ingratiating and condescending.
I don’t remember what we’re celebrating.
The mirrored wall deepens and doubles
the tiny room, and we sneak glances at our
stylish doppelgangers, her in her pillbox hat
with its shimmering rooster feathers,
me in my sharkskin suit and fedora,
both of us pretending that we’re in another time,
that we’re of another class.
We nibble gorgonzola cheesecake, crack the crust
of an amber pond of crème brulee.
We are overflowing with charm and charisma,
always ready with a quip or rapid rejoinder,
lobbing witty banter across the table.
We have stepped out of some sepia-toned
dream, some shadowy screwball romance,
and would gladly slip back into it
if only her phone would stop buzzing
deep inside her alligator handbag

Monday, August 18, 2014

Charles in Permanent Hibernation

He huddles in his den, a bear 
whose hide hangs from his shoulders 
like an ill-fitting coat patched together 
with more scars and bald spots
than actual fur. He chuckles sardonically 
to himself, paws shaking 
in his lap, glancing up slyly
now and then but mostly content
to stare at the carpet and hold 
his cigarette, barely even sucking 
at it, letting it transform into ash.
He is perpetually woozy 
not from a long Winter nap
 but from high doses of prescription
tranquilizers. Occasionally he’ll shamble
to the bathroom, past the cat dishes,
past the precarious stack of paperbacks, 
but mostly he just stays in this room,
with its blankets tacked up over 
windows glazed amber with nicotine, 
air thick and close, time standing
as still as it can, afraid that if it makes 
any sudden moves
he will snarl and swipe at it 
with his claws, tear it to crumbs
with his teeth, crooked and yellow
but still very, very sharp

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Late one dry, cold night there appears
a strange flicker on the curtains;
halfway up the block a refrigerator
is standing on the curb burning.
The flames dance silently beneath
the anemic street lamp, flickering
against the bricks and dead porches
of the boarded- up row houses.
A siren starts to whine
then fades to nothing.
The fire is still burning
when I pull my head
back in. It’s still burning now,
years later, lighting up
the frozen narrow street

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Birds don’t chew, they swallow whole,
or else they peck and tear their food
into less awkward bits before
they gulp it down, making use
of their solitary fang, that single tooth,
that spearhead which constantly precedes them,
affixed to the front of their feathery faces;
this weapon with which they greet the world
like a dart slicing through the air,
a streamlined projectile piercing
the atmosphere. No wonder they make us all
a little anxious. Do they ever long to unstrap
that pointed apparatus, lay it aside and use
the soft remains of their mouths to murmur
subtle words, to smile, to kiss without the risk

of poking out their partner’s eye?

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Bride

The walls in the back room of the billiards club
are decorated with trompe l'oeil bookshelves
and cork dart boards. A chess set sits between
leather wing-back chairs. Splayed with her legs spread
on one of the beige billiards tables
is a cheap blow-up doll designed to look
like a girl from an anime cartoon. It resembles
a pool toy; her features are painted on
rather than molded in three dimensions. Her breasts
are perfectly round and lack nipples. Her sides, oddly,
are transparent, so you can see right through her torso,
can see the tunnel that connects
her clumsily-molded rubber vagina
to the plastic pucker of her anus.
Filled to the brim, the men finally tire
of taking gag photos of the future groom
fondling and pretending to mount her,
finally run out of ideas of things to insert into
her orifices; pool cues, chess pieces
-in retrospect, the dart was probably a mistake-
and stampede bellowing out into the night
in search of a place to howl at flesh and blood girls.
Now she can rest, her enormous shining eyes
staring at the ceiling as she slowly shrivels,
wondering if her men are ever coming back;
afraid that they will, more afraid they won't.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Still Life with Rolling Rock Bottle (v.2)

A tiny bat clings to the stone wall
inside the abandoned mill, sleeping
in the cool shade above a pit filled
with ashes and petals of green glass,
beneath the dead apparatus labeled
“Nigger Killing Machine”
in blue spray paint. Sunlight streams
through the bullet holes in the roof,
making the vines glow like cathedral
windows. We lounge intertwined
beside the creek and eat tomatoes
and brioche and cheese
and later that night slow dance
in your room to Kiss me Kiss me
Kiss me, your scar-crossed
cigarette-burned wrists
locked around my neck, my nose buried in
your sleek black hair.
Then your blue face in the dawn
and I’m running down the street
to catch the bus before your dad wakes up,
and then it’s decades later and I’m
kicking through the clutter
that accumulates mysteriously,
the bones and boxes and bottles
in this huge heap of wet debris
that no matter how many matches
I toss onto it
just will not burn

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Sentence

 It’s like digging with your hands through the mud for a slippery animal that keeps wriggling just out of reach; it’s like clawing through the muck for prey that keeps slipping out of your grip; it’s like frantically trying to grab some squirming creature before it disappears into the murky depths; it’s like scrabbling and screaming and trying to get a grip on this thing that will not be gripped, that lives to slide and slip through your fingers, lives to wiggle away from you, gleefully maddeningly burrowing for safety, forever eluding you into the greasy crud, the primordial ooze, the proverbial mud, a string of words that dissolves into pre-verbal slime.