Keep us close
with every contraction, conjunction, and
each oxford comma, crying out
for life
don’t leave us here
without the ink

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isn’t it sweet
gray morning
when the sun comes bursting
making me think of spring
isn’t it a gift
from God
in the middle of sadness
to be so warm

Every day

I open a vein here
I said I wouldn’t, I promised that
I could write in public, and give you much of me, and
show you my heart–but there is a line, was a line, a supposéd line
over which you can have all of it except my blood

When the words begin, I only intend to give you a peek at my insides
an x-ray of what I’ve been up to, and how life’s pommels
perturb my organs, my inner workings, the processes of the body;
so how come I woke up in a puddle of blood after a night of quill driving?
I didn’t mean to, and like a moment where one’s pants fall down in a crowd

I would be obliged if you would turn your head for a moment
while I clean this up. No one else will know, or will see
they were not looking, they have their circus tents
their center ring features, the lion tamer is spectacular
so they will not notice the movement among the freaks in the shadows

Again, these rules, more like guidelines, a peek only, into my psyche
enough to pacify the ego, too little to shock the masses, but only to touch
one or two, someone in need of a buddy, a mate, to know
that they are not alone in this;
and I hurt too and I laugh too and I have joy
when the hurt abates for the time being

But the blood is not on the menu. and when you look away,
I take my handkerchief and wipe the corner of my mouth

dreaming, he says

dreaming
he lays
strangers’ steps’ echoes
through the sad city
where mansions
keep vigil
from the sea
to the rocky mount

life and death
is none to him
not breathless, nor feverish
his only occupation
a mover of shadows

his angel
an English rose
wooed
by the threshold of time
and his soul
that has slept away
the evening hours

Florence

Remember when no one could touch us?
You were Superman
I was Wonder Woman
and cape, candles, and
a length of rope
were all we needed

Love at first sight?
I grabbed at you
like in a haunted house
frantic and wasteful
horrific in its lies
but she will not have you
my right to be here
is grandfather’d in

I remember when we arrived here
such hopes consumed me–
I tried to love you, my idea of you
my vision of us, your selfish words, and
my selfish plans coated with expectation
left us in the dust

And now I think I will die here
and never see Paris
or the Thames
never throw my wishes into the fountain
I will die here
and never see Rome
or eat figs from a tree in Sicily
and Florence is just a lady on t.v.

Bad poetry and yearly resolutions

coffee gray

there are too many
poems about coffee
and pens and diners
and longing looks
through penitent windows
and here’s another
to toss on the pile
although
it is not really about coffee
but grief

there are far too many
poems about poetry
the blithe rays of
her sunshine
through my pen
has clogged things, so
have you read enough, now
of wooden writing shacks
and pyramid schemes–
do not fret, this is not
about poets
but generosity

the pages are slipping to the floor
reams upon reams, and
I can hear you laugh
about notebooks
full of birds and clouds–
it is okay
invite me in for a coffee
for this is not about the birds
or the clouds
it is really about
homelessness

 

 

(redux, 2018)