Friday, October 28, 2016

Leon Redbone

Remember when we went to see John Prine, you and I
and a couple of your fellow folk-singer friends
at the old State Theater in downtown Reading
Leon Redbone opened. I’d seen him once before
in college, though why he would deign to perform 
in front of a bunch of art students who knew him only from
his ALL detergent commercials will always be a mystery. 
It looked like he hadn’t changed a bit; same Panama hat, 
same sunglasses and mustache, same strum and mumble.
A weird caricature of a bygone era, singing songs
from the infant days of the previous century.
And he whistled, a pinstriped peculiar bird,
strangely affecting despite his aloofness
And then Prine came onstage, performing with more gusto
than a man his age should be able to muster,
but what I really remember from that night
is that lonely, haunted whistling. I hear it now, 
summoning the hungry animal that gnawed a path through your bones 
burrowing up your spine until it finally found your brain.
I’m glad I saw you that last time, tired but still able to laugh
in your living room with your floppy hat
covering your skull, though I never did get to hear you 
play your guitar, never heard you sing I Ain't Got Nobody,
Shine on Harvest Moon, Whistling in the Wind.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Plunged your hand into the icy water
Curled your fingers round the clawed iron rod
Raised it over your head and shook it
Releasing a shower of winking crystal droplets
The sun did its best, but the wet length
did not shine, its black surface
sucking in the light.
Even with all the beauty shimmering  around you,
lush green vines and leaves and the bubbling stream,
even with the sky so flawlessly blue,
the dancing motes and midges,
rainbow hued river stones, sprays of wildflowers
even with the forest singing and whispering her secrets,
even with the world so still and calm and nature
such a soothing balm, even with all that love
and the iron weight in your hand
even with all this, you did not smile

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


She was all sticks and twigs,
slapping, scratching,
bony knees, big glasses
crushed beneath the leaves
shoulder blades sharp clouds
of breath, cutting
sun, branches black, teeth
tight, eyes
unable to shut
Birds huddled silent
feathers the color of the wood
watching her flutter
and wrestle herself
to the earth

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

White Cotton

I dreamed of you for the first time
 just before I woke up this morning
I was wearing your bra on your head
it was white
Don't tell my therapist but
my mother was there, too,
watching from inside the house
with, I feared, disapproval
as I finally gave in
and grabbed and kissed you,
slipping your white cotton panties off
from under your dress
and tucking them into my pocket
just before I woke up.

When I got to work later that morning
alarms were going off
and there were leaks everywhere from
the late night downpour
that had occurred while I slept.
It was a frantic, chaotic morning,
spent running around
and cursing, but when I finally had a chance
to sit down, I took a long drink of coffee
and reached into my pocket
and smiled