in a stew

 

will you make me stop
thinking about you
when sleep finally arrives–
waiting out all of our seasons
for the sake
of bitter herbs in the soup

the bitter
with the sweet and savoury
is always there
not this one-dimensional
two-headed
Frankenstein monster
you imagine us to be

yesterday was a game
will you take a chance
and paint your dreams
on a griddle of hotcakes
with syrupy regret
that makes you sick
and leaves you wet

shouldn’t keep
hunting for the hunter
running after our destroyer
one step ahead
and two back
for no good reason
except that it feels right
to stroke the dark places

if no one sees
who does it hurt
when we re-configure our
boundaries
some given
others drawn
with the same old piece of chalk
nearly used up

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Didn’t we die, bit by bit

4 leaf clover

I walked around
the disease
adding up the slights
I heard talk of gangrene
waiting for that four-leaf clover
since ten
(holy shit)
that seems foolhardy

each night
something new tossed into the stew
with the carrots and red potatoes
the gravy and its
discontent
covering everything

wasn’t that sweet
following with cheesecake
and café au lait
each measured step
on rose petals
to silk bliss
the decay forgotten
for hours

Photo by Joe Papp, Wikipedia

A chocolate chip melted in my mouth

while I baked the cookies, taking my
small handful of chocolate on the side
like I always have
my mind wandering
easy to do with a task
I’ve done countless times
cookies to give away
a bit of heart to share in my
own way
made me think of the piece
of someone’s heart
that did not belong to me
I stole for a little while
before I gave him back–isn’t it funny
how the mind can ramble over memories
when the aroma of baking fills the house

during the meal of his life
she brought out dessert early
between French onion soup
and shrimp cocktail
huge Alaskan prawn dripping
in garlic butter and
tomato horseradish
his hand moving from the dish
to his lips in a rhythm
until she cut into the pies
beyond all his dreams
of lust and avarice

The holidays can be brutal

I.

One day after a couple argues
she, a carving novice
hacking into roast turkey
he
with a cranberry stain
in the middle of his chest

The dining room swirling before her
into a painting by Dali
hearing his voice far away
something about irony. How
he thinks it means something

As her knife falls
and clatters
she says,
‘stop talking’

II.

I am an alien
in your world

I try to add to it
giving you my best

yet

whilst my back is turned
you jam holly
into my heart

2016

I am listening to Dylan and eating the last of my Thanksgiving apple pie
and how I ate too much of it, since he doesn’t help me eat it, ever–
content with the last of the mashed potatoes and gravy, and his Jell-O and Cool Whip. This was not the Thanksgiving from last year, was it? Though I thanked the Lord for many things, there was a sad thread throughout that was difficult to avoid;

but it was not last year’s holiday no matter how you slice it, 2016 with Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature, well, that took the cake in mid-October, sliding into the North Side boys winning the pennant while we were on vacation alone for the first time since we met–
and wasn’t that sweet standing in rainshowers of leaves while we remembered why we said yes in 1989;

as if it wasn’t enough–November 2016 came in with a bang, the boys making good on their promises and bets (which I never put money on) came up 7 and 11–in a time in my life I had forgotten what baseball meant to me–then, just days later, watching a new president make history sliding into home in the middle of a sleepless night, we were dreaming about representation in a time of resistance–and wasn’t it sweet sharing something we had previously argued about;

not to say that everything was okie-dokey and worthy of praise, but people can see, no matter if they like the prez, or The Cubs, or even the state of my household, it was a banner year for history, a time we will never forget, regardless of beliefs;

and for my house, where we had not smiled for years, it meant laughs and joy and shared dreams–of what we had wanted, what we didn’t have, and what we still want–and eyes meeting in affirmation under Wisconsin blue skies–that the vows were solid and the names were written in stone, no matter what.

history was made
no matter what the cost
birdsong always

After the carnage

We survey the damage
as Tom lies there
in an awkward position
legs splayed
skin overly tanned and greased up

His chest
hacked at like someone
unfamiliar with knives
went at it with
an ice pick and a hatchet

An onion, a head of garlic
and a lemon are stuffed into him
and I take a piece of bread
wiping the last bits
with gravy

We will think of him fondly
when we remember this day
because he was good
oh yes, he was delicious