my world got interesting
various fowl
wandering through
crying foul
when I thought
I had
hit a grand slam
hot damn
not again

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Mama

Sing me to sleep
Mama
The night is hard
press’d to give up
its joy
you went too soon
I want to hear you
tell stories
you used to tell

I knew you were happiest
Mama
when you were a little girl
traveling state to state
in a time when
girls didn’t give up dolls
so young
as now

For you I would have tea
Mama
so we could share
iced, with chips
laughs again over
silly thoughts
he never understood
but I always laughed

Laughs come at a premium now
Mama
like gasoline
and forgiveness
your unbounded joy
something I got for free
and tonight
I remember
and laugh

You (r charms)

I straighten a safety pin
from my desk caddy
trying the sharpness of the tip
against my thumb
watching with fascination
the bubbling up
of the dot of blood

Like a child I squeeze my thumb
to produce more
of the crimson minim
doming, then
dripping down my thumb
and to my desk with a splash
and still, I see your face
in the minute puddle

You and your infuriating way
of being right, always
so dear, so charming a way about
your wooing, but you know
sometimes you are so right
(for me) and I won’t tell you
because you are horrible
at taking praise

Not a painter

for my children

I.
Then.

I’ll tell you now what you want to know
only lay your head in my lap first
and I will brush my fingers through your hair
while I tell you the story of why we are
who we are and why you are who you are
born into a whirlwind, your mother
a bundle of cautions, and your father
still trying to wrap up his own childhood

I had always wanted to be a painter
or a rock-and-roll singer
someone like Janis Joplin, leaving
her heart on the floor every night
and I’d sing in the bathroom, with
a hairbrush for a microphone

II.
Now.

I wasn’t blessed with that talent
with a throat that could create a masterpiece
I’m no Kathleen Battle or Renée Fleming
I am not Billie Holiday
I am that songbird outside your window
that does not shut up when you first wake
the one that gets in the last word

Blessed with words in my mouth from day one
I’ve learned to give them away
give the world something back
that it gives to me every time I open a book
or turn on the radio
each time I sit in a concert hall
how often in the museum
do I sit down in awe

III.
Posterity.

We all are given something, and this is mine
to tell you about your Father in Heaven
though I am not worthy to truly paint Him
I have faith that I will see him when I am done here
I have a voice to express my love to you
fully and completely
and perhaps if I am really lucky
to spread some words across the land

I have gifts in hand
I must give them away

and if I am very lucky

and I pay attention to the wind
when it blows
I might just get some of them back

Didn’t we die, bit by bit

4 leaf clover

(redux)

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

going green

 

Mall.jpg

are we being recycled?
tossed into the bin today
will I be found tomorrow
on a rack at Salvation Army
sold as ‘like new’
re-purposed for someone
looking for a bargain

the last of me seen
Sunday night, late
looking like something the cat dragged in
covered in a coat of exhaustion; I
sat down on on the pile with a loud sigh
grateful to be done with all of it–
I could use a change

now you can find me down at the outlet mall
looking so chic
a mannequin wearing a wanton sweater
just clearing the mid-drift
in a casual pose–pointing at
Starbucks
with a faraway look

dame in a red dress

I could be anyone in a red dress walking into Clark’s. Anyone in a ripped, red, satin dress walking up to the bartender without looking at him; hearing him mutter, ‘that’s original’ when I order my whiskey neat. I chase it with the Schlitz he slides in front of me, and finally look up at him and then past him to the reflection in the bar mirror after two more. They don’t see me. I am just part of the furniture here, where dames in red dresses get a raw deal seven nights a week. We get tiresome, I know. But, give me time. I might grow on you.