Monday, November 17, 2014


 I want every poem I write
to be like an insect, perhaps a member
of the family coleoptera, that is, a beetle, 
tapping a path with delicate antenna
as it scuttles across the floor.
With jewel-like eyes refracting the world,
a mouth with intricate parts 
like a precision grinder,
a body so small it can squeeze
into any corner or crack,
and hidden beneath its hard, 
shiny carapace, just waiting for 
the right moment to unfurl,

Friday, November 14, 2014

Claude Rewarded

Claude slathers on the lube,
straps on the ball gag
and zips up his mask,
then reaches behind 
and  tries to fist himself.
Thwarted by the limits
of his anatomy,
he slaps a saddle across his back
and smacks his crop and attempts
to ride, even as he tries to buck
himself off. 
Claude cuffs himself to the bedpost 
and adjusts the buckles and hooks
and tightens the collar an extra notch 
and places the sole of his boot against 
his neck. Claude orders himself 
to lick his heel, to grovel and beg
for mercy. Claude begs.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Claude Reincarnated

Claude drove an old rattling Plymouth  
with a hole in the floor and doors
that were different colors. Its vinyl top
had been shredded by the nimble fingers
of baboons at one of those safari theme parks
Claude had had the poor judgment
of driving through while intoxicated
one afternoon. Claude refused to wash the beast
and during dry spells smart alecs would write insults
all over its dusty hide. In winter its skirts
turned white with salt, its wheel wells gnawed away
as if by a giant hamster. Neither the gas gauge nor
the speedometer were particularly trustworthy,
and the antenna had been replaced by a straightened
wire coat hanger until even that was stolen.
It possessed a single hubcap, spray painted orange.
A fender bender had wedged the trunk permanently stuck.
The seats were more electrical tape than vinyl at this point.
The back bumper was plastered with stickers
for political candidates Claude couldn’t remember
ever voting for. Some of them he’d never even heard of.
Barnaby Carmichael? Snopes/Dewlap
“Get Up and Go!” 98? Despite all its flaws,
Claude loved that car. It was his prized possession.

Claude got out of bed and looked out the window.
His black Maserati sat in the carport, freshly waxed.
“Just a dream,” he thought, shuddering. “Just a
Horrible, horrible dream”
as some monstrous V-8 engine backfired
somewhere in the night.

Walden Claude

Claude teeters on the brink 
staring with bovine eyes
at the yellow froth 
that dries like a fried-egg crust
at the edge of the pool. 
Claude toes the crud
with his black, clumsy sole 
Wrinkles his nose
A little ways out floats 
a waterlogged plank.
It’s been there a while 
and its worm-pale skin
is no doubt soft and slimy. 
Claude scans the mud
for a stone to throw 
-discovers none.
There’s absolutely nothing 
of interest at all
along this bank. 
There’s just  the pond of sour water
coated with a film of dull green scum.
There are no birds, no frogs, 
not even any bugs.
Not a single mite or dragonfly 
dares to sip this sludge.
Claude looks around, 
then gets down on his haunches
and touches the tip of his tongue
to the surface of the water, 
takes a single lap
but it’s enough. 
Claude is now the pond,
placid, stagnant, shallow. 
Completely opaque and clothed in funk
with a plank where his heart should be.