Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter

The sun sets on an unbroken hide, an unblemished skin.
But something worms its way in, digs itself a burrow,
then curls up to sleep inside this cavity, this pouch,
this greasy envelope.

A paper-lined drawer in the abdomen
The body riddled with secret compartments
Hollows and hiding places, false bottoms built into
this fleshy bureau, this leather steamer trunk
And stashed in the back of the bone closet sits
a tattooed radio topped by a speaker hissing static
its tongue running over the sharp ends
of snapped diodes and splintered antennae

A knot in the limb, a sinkhole in the asphalt,
a mouth in the frozen dunes spitting sand.
A whirlpool tries to fill the belly of the sea,
a black hole sucks at space's milky teat.

With a start the little thing wakes and yawns
and stretches, crawls untranformed from its chrysalis
to bask in the morning sun and warm
its unbroken hide, its unblemished skin,
not feeling the little thing that worms its way in.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Clancy Lowers the Boom

It was fucking St. Patrick's Day again
and strictly amateur hour at the bar. But
we dutifully lined up anyways, tracing the paths
those bent arrows took before they clattered in the corner.
Recorded the drunken impressions of cartoon characters
that ricocheted across the room. One guy was yelling
"Hey Boo Boo" and "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"
at the top of his lungs before sinking into
a Guiness-fueled Droopy Dog kvetch-fest.
I dropped the anchor of cracked faces,
of foam hearts and felt hides. We all got tangled
in the wires, in strands of sticky webbing,
fumbling for a scissors with a rubber grip
so we wouldn't get a shock when we
finally decided to snip the line.
I felt that thing squirming within
and I socked myself in the stomach
to get it to settle down.
A woman in a powder blue jean jacket
handed me a thank you note written in ketchup
on the back of an envelope. U folded it in half
and shoved beneath the fourth leg of the table
to keep it from wobbling. At the end of the night
we staggered out singing all those old novelty songs
Dennis Day used to sing on the old Jack Benny Show.
Christmas in Kilarney, Clancy Lowered the Boom...
In the gutter next to the fountain
there was half a raccoon. The tail was gone.
We took it to be a good sign.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another Crutch

On crutches, the little things
are what wear you down
like trying to transport a container
of leftover linguini
from the microwave to the table
not to mention the glass of water.
The cars that block the crosswalk
and even worse, cut you off
as they speed around the corner.
The people who stand in front of the door
without bothering to open it.
All of these things chip away at you;
the aching shoulders and armpits,
the shortness of breath, the copious
amounts of sweat.
There's the moment you realize
you left your phone upstairs.
There's dropping your keys,
your change, your pen.
But then there's the gorgeous creature
who gets up so you can have their seat
on the bus; that shy smile another crutch
to help you hobble through the day.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Seafood Flavored Gravy

One by one I disposed of all his things.
First the litter, then the dry food, then the treats.
I left his water bowl for last, let the water evaporate
as it sat there on the kitchen floor.
Weeks later, all that are left
are the paw prints on the windowsill,
the carcass of a plush octopus
that had once been filled with catnip,
and the unopened can of his favorite flavor
of Fancy Feast I bought for him
that final morning,
whitefish and tuna feast in sauteed
seafood flavored gravy,
just in case he was strong enough
for one last meal. One of these days
when I am brave or drunk enough,
I will pop the metal lid
and eat it for him.

Friday, March 4, 2016

We Used to Call it Something Other Than Light

The light you see when you close your eyes
The light that shines up out of the ground
 
We tried to reassemble the broken bulbs.
We experimented with different kinds of glue.
We had difficult imagining why anyone,
given the choice, would ever want to be a man.

The light that unspools from its source
to wrap itself around and around and around
your shattered hand, your crushed foot

We found ourselves fighting for things
we didn't really believe in.
We thought we could capture light, tame it,
make it do our bidding.
Sometimes we used our bodies
to block the light. Sometimes it was the light
which blocked our bodies.

The light that made the other light vanish,
swallowing it up completely
The light that in turn was swallowed up

We made our confessions but
screwed up the punch lines.
We screamed our secrets into the wind
asking it to promise not to tell anyone     
The wind just laughed

The light that locked itself in its room
and refused to come out until we agreed to meet 
its one and only demand,
that is, that we allow it to shine through us.

           We, of course, refused.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mountain Dew

An old man sits in the waiting room chair
at the infectious disease clinic
bending over a number of items
which he has placed on the carpet
at his feet; a clipboard with his medical history,
a few scraps of mail, a bottle of Mountain Dew
and half a Kit Kat. He is just sitting there,
staring down at these things as if trying to figure out
what they are and how they came to be in his possession.
Kids are screaming and running around.
Paper signs are taped everywhere, instructing people
which line to stand in. The windows face the nearby
cinder cone, its pines black beneath the stony clouds.
The old man reaches into his back pocket for his wallet.
A look of panic flashes across his face.
He frantically checks all his other pockets
before noticing the wallet lying open-faced
on the floor in front of him, next to the Kit Kat
and the Mountain Dew, which he takes a long swig of
then rearranges all the items on the carpet,
looks at them, rearranges them again,
checks his back pocket for his wallet.