A poem is no place
who hold tongues
and pens as if -nestling child.
Weary of being dressed
in unfamiliar wears, the lie,
grows, will rest uncomfortably
on backs. -I know
truth runs bare-assed,
unclothed. On paper,
like my skin, it is imperfect
though it is all -I own,
words, cobbled stones,
layered brick, memories
bits of time. Hell -to that man
who hates me. I will love him
anyway, but not on paper.
In a big brown box,
no ripped-out picture windows,
the wind knocks and whistles
against flaps that beat concrete
“This Side Up”
I know frigid weather. It
takes sleeping men
Who leave their bodies
to grey, to blossom stiff
like flesh and rose petals
Mingus woke me to signal
entering a dark night
dangling threads from a brassy sax
With loss, a breath interrupted
the comfort of a liquid buzz
buried in a tot of Yak.
Her legs crawled walls,
of a Brandy glass. In its mirror,
she wrapped them around a Torpedo's
slow burn. Mingus says hello to Chet
and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
I know the sound of serrated wings,
though I am not running to some distant end
while night touches the edge of things.
Today an old young man passes
in a boy's dialted pupil
falling between thick memories.
Yesterday, he summoned his son
before turning into a stranger
disappearing into those unfamiliar spaces
that remain familiar to the son
who stands quiet in dew-fresh grass
chasing the sound of crickets.
Ignighted by dust smoked
he became Superman
and hunted wild moments
on slick pages in comic books.
Crossing lines and folding pages,
Superman dipped Malboros,
Camels and hand-rolled fat gaspers.
Street corners swelled with laughter
each time he got wet. Superman
heard cheers lifted from the paper
and flew higher than birds,
drying feathers against the sun.
Think you know a bridge,
‘cause you grew up along the rust
bursting umber pimples,
overtaking its beams and girders,
knowing spots where it creaks slowly,
bending in sweltering heat,
as if to breathe, moan, ensnare a breath.
You remember the bruise it left
when it yanked your bike by the spokes
and feed it to the mouth of the river
that swallowed it whole.
Uncle shouted “wussy”, as if
he stored it in cheeks for better moments,
his lips blowing the first syllable
through a lather of saliva like smoke.
I knew his knuckles tattooed to my chest
stealing the air. How it bond to flesh,
bone and word. The mathematics of wimp
and genitals fused to a soul. His gaze,
nowhere, twisting like corn rolls.
The whites of his angered eyes
painted by Mr Daniels and Mr Beam.
Neither, witness to coloring his vision.
As a baby, Mom says he tossed me
out a window, second floor, to his brother.
I laughed. She cried. He always countered
that I would be a soft man
as if hugs would squeeze the manly out.
At the edge of my back porch
in front of a hollow screen door
that always screamed shut, I
dumped forty green army men
from a jumbo clear plastic bag.
Played war in uncut grass. It was
1973, and Vietnam splashed
on our Sears floor model television.
Vise-grip pliers grew from the root
of its broken dial, and Kool-Aid rings
stained the wood-like veneer. Grandpa
glued his eyeballs to the box
holding Walter Cronkite's raspy report.
His grayed figure and shirt sleeves
folded against the newsroom
where everything was breaking.
I preferred the situation comedy,
M*A*S*H, starring Alan Alda. I liked
his miniature moments of play. Now
Kim Jong-un just goose-steps
across my Samsung flat screen.
I had nothing left, no blood
to give them, no sacrificed flesh
offered to football gods. Everything
but my last breath spilled on as many
pieces of grass as could be counted.
Fostered anger siphoned with contact,
and each bone-jarred muscle-bruised
moment gave pleasure as if
feasting, finally, after a fast, a long
rest between whistles and beastly ideas.
Loved it like cold juice in a dry mouth
taken from the meat of fresh fruit.