Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pipefish

The tide keeps bringing us mussels covered
with barnacles pried away from the battered rocks.
The gulls have stripped the meat from the blue-black shells
but their passengers still huddle safely within the walls
of their concrete bunkers.
She gingerly picks them up then hurls them
to arc across the water in dripping clumps,
thinking there's a chance they might be saved.
She tells me again about the first patient she saw die.
She was giving him a sponge bath, didn't realize
what was happening until it was too late.
His wife walked in and was upset that she hadn't
closed his eyes. Look, I say, and point at
a metallic green and yellow strand of sea grass
that twitches once then gently floats
on a mattress of foam, staring with lidless eyes
up through a curtain of bubbles.
I prod it but the pipefish doesn't move
as the ocean slips its fingers out from under it.
She puts up her hood and thrusts her frozen fists
into her pockets. I shout a stupid joke into the wind.
She throws her head back and laughs her dirty laugh
as we trudge over the dunes and up to the street,
knocking the sand from our shoes before we step
into the warm, quiet car.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nagasaki Crane Fly


Song from when I was one drop tall
Song of when I was swimming in tar
Of when I was doing the backstroke in
the shimmering mud
When my tongue was covered in glowing moss
When cumulonimbus blood cells swarmed
like crimson mites across the roof of my mouth,
the flesh of the sky before the blast

Song from when I was one hair old
Song of when I was choking on fur
When my esophagus was swollen with dust
My gums spray painted with rust
When the water tower on the edge of town
was furry with mosquitoes, making the block letters
printed on the side illegible

The gas chamber, the oil rig, the armored tank
The Portobello mushroom cloud
growing from the pot of bubbling stew
Torpedo bra fired from a cannon,
a one-piece swimsuit washed up on Bikini atoll
The garbled chorus, the warbled warning
that bubbled from our bloody beaks
as we perched on the wires of a harp made
of electrical lines
I refuse to lose the will to lose my way. I refuse
to chase the shadow flickering
in the last telephone booth left standing
in the neighborhood with its glass blown out.
I sing a requiem into the open mail slot,
whisper dirty limericks into a hole drilled in the side
of the noise buffering wall along the interstate.
I count the flattened gnats, each one a splattered note
on the scale in my fake book,
and I fill my throat, my lungs, even my ass
with your trumpeting song.

Song of stitches bristling up and down your milky shin
Song of the desert lighthouse, of the beachfront silo
Song of the one who died, and the one who wouldn't die
but probably should have
Song of someone who felt something
or couldn't, but wished they were able to
Song of the water babies and their foamy coffins
Song of the albino crows you kept feeding
when you couldn't even afford to feed yourself
Song of the rock that toppled from the branch
and clogged the culvert
Song of a flash of light, a smear of eyeshadow
Song of the steep stone stairs you'll never climb again
Song of how long has my goddam fly been down
Song of the roulette wheel heart, the misplaced bet
Song of my sequinned skullcap and how crooked it sits
on my lumpy, swollen head

Song of how I survived
Song of how I shooed
that enormous crooked-legged  crane fly
out the open screen door

We sucked in our breaths
then both let loose the same song
at the same time
with the same insect voice,
a song that no one could hear
above the roar.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Full Buck Blue

That fucking moon
You can't see it but it is up there
Most likely

Gently held a tender pellet
between finger and thumb
Applied a bit of pressure
felt the whole thing crumble

How often do our screens go dark
How often do our mouths line up
Hair goes slack
Door slams shut
Temperatures drop





Swollen as a milk-filled tick
A sagging splotch, an ancient breast
a single snow-white drop

The interrupted current
Dripping air, rippling sand
The moon you tell yourself
you'll never see again

It will snap its strings and crush us beneath its grin
Or else turn its face away
to hide its expression

I need to see it one more time
Even though I know