Tuesday, April 29, 2008

dare

she has one tooth in the front that is turning brown. when she smiles it
looks like a darkened doorway. lights out, shut tight, there was always
one house like this on my block every Halloween. vampire dares ghost to
go on the porch, touch the door. every 9 year old needs a Boo Radley. but
Boo didn’t hide behind teeth. and if you ran up on her porch and
touched her darkened door and she opened up all you would find is her
tongue. but you are not 9 years old anymore, and maybe this is precisely
what you are looking for?

from my chapbook the confusion will be enough for them to leave you alone, published by Chance Press, 2009.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm not a very good traveler

back from New Brunswick,
happy not to be in New Brunswick
anymore.

not that there’s anything wrong
with New Brunswick, it’s just that
I’d rather be here, and here is not

New Brunswick. if it was, I’d leave,
to get back to here. which I hope
isn’t New Brunswick.

Monday, April 21, 2008

she's something else

if I told you I knew a girl like that you wouldn’t
believe me, you’d get angry and curse and, like
that one time when I said I met Chubby Checker
as a kid (me a kid not Chubby), you’d give me the
finger, which seemed a silly thing, me standing 2
feet from you and you with your middle finger up
like I cut you off in traffic.

but if I told you I knew a girl like that you wouldn’t
believe me, you’d get jealous and say O yeah? well
I once kissed Candice Bergen.
why you picked Candice Bergen I don’t know, not that
she isn’t a handsome woman, she is, especially back
in the Carnal Knowledge days, but Candice Bergen? are
you sure that’s your pick out of all the beautiful women
since and before?
but really, this is my poem, and we all know from reading
these types of poems that the you is collective and just an
extension of the me, so yes it’s me who has a thing for Candice
Bergen, not you, so my apologies, you can like who you like,
and if it’s Ms. Bergen we have something in common and no
wonder I write so many poems about you.

if I did tell you I knew a girl like that you wouldn’t believe me
and who can blame you? I’ve been known to fib and make things
up and wander off point like Hansel without breadcrumbs, but
really, I do know a girl like that, so just let me have that and let
me ride this poem
like a cowboy, like a horse, like a cowboy on a horse into the
sunset.

dog

when the last one died, the dog, he
said That’s it. no more. meaning dogs,
no more dogs. no matter how we try to
convince him, no more.
we try to tell him it’ll keep him company,
lower stress lower blood pressure
he has trouble with his blood pressure
he still says No more.
well usually says no more. sometimes
after a drink or 2 he’ll say It wouldn’t be
a lap dog or a yappy dog if I got one, it’d
be a dog dog. and then he’ll say But I just
can’t see watching another one die I don’t
know if I could handle that I love dogs so
much.
and we leave it at that, who could argue
with that?
but one afternoon after no drinks in the rain
before supper he says It won’t be long before
I’m 70 maybe I’ll get one when I turn 70.
and we sit in the quiet for a while, me watching
him doing the math in his head.

the kind of cheese they have in Prague

they just came back from a trip, from
somewhere, make it from somewhere in eastern
Europe, make it Prague because of the cheap beer
and because of Kafka.
think of Prague and think of a bug on its back and
its legs scuttling the air. think of their trip as a
large confused helpless bug.

he said he was going to write but the portable
typewriter never made a sound. he just sat on the patio
that overlooked some part of the city with his feet up
on the wrought iron railing and his face against the sun drinking
the cheap beer. less than 50 cents a bottle if you know where to
find it. I don’t know what that is in Prague money.

he grew a beard and one day said Hey look at this and she looked
and he was resting the beer bottle on a bulge in his stomach that
wasn’t there before. like a little shelf. she looked at him and looked at
his stomach and gave a smile that wasn’t really a smile and said
she was going out.
she came back with some cheese and bread and 3 bottles of wine.
I imagine the cheese to be white and pitted and the bread to be
thin and hard and the wine to have a label showing people
stomping grapes and she drank 2 of the bottles herself and that
was the last night the trip went well. remember the scuttling bug.


after 2 months they came back, alone together, a name of a song
from the ‘40’s. Jo Stafford sang it and it fits here.
he tried to ignore it and she tried to make him not ignore it and
one day she went to him and stroked his Prague beard and said
Let’s get rid of this.
she lathered him and sat on his lap to shave him and he
thought this was the beginning of everything being ok maybe this
was her idea of foreplay?
she finished and handed him the mirror and he stared at the 2
halves of his face. the top half brown with tan and the bottom
looking like the cheese she may’ve eaten in Prague. he looked
at her and said You did this on purpose didn’t you? she didn’t
say anything her eyes were lakewater calm.
he tried to think of something else to say
but she didn’t have to.

originally published in MILK, #1

revision

these words are raw from rereading
raised bloodred from rereading
these words are bloated from rereading
are saturated to dripping from rereading
rereading these words is making them bloated and
saturated to dripping is making them raw red raised
sores
this rereading is making words is making the words
sore and bloody and angry to the point of
raising up redraw and angered
rereading these words
these words are raised and bloated and angry
the anger in rereading these words is raised these
words are words these are words
words are these angry words are these raw are these bloated
are these are these words
words are these words are these words are these
words
are these.

originally published in Alligator Stew, vol. 1, # 1.

but don't blame it on Edison

there is no electricity just a lantern on the table
and her hands are folded one on top the other like blades of grass
and she turns to me twice, once halfway, stops, and looks again,
she turns to me twice, looking at me through the window,
the window has no glass in it and there is no electricity
and her hands aren’t like blades of grass, there is a lantern on the table
and she turns to me twice, her hands
are crossed like cutlery, scissored and shining, and she turns to me twice
looking through the window with no glass, her hands scissored and
she turns to me twice, just a lantern on the table, and there
is no electricity.



originall published in Alligator Stew, vol. 1, #1.

Monday, April 07, 2008

amway

there's no one to blame but me.
I get myself into these situations,
there must be reasons, deep and hidden
that would explain everything
(my mother didn't hug me enough, hugged me
too much, the babysitter stared too long at my
penis while getting me ready for bed, those types
of things)
but I really don't want some things explained, it's
too late now to try and dissect. let's just say
I get myself into these situations and it's my fault
and whatever the reasons are are unimportant,
and leave it at that.

but the situation: one day this phonecall.
hi! we met before. I must apologize, because
you don't remember me, I would guess. but I
liked your style and I'm looking to expand my
business. it's become too much for me to
handle. it's growing too quickly. I need to share
the workload AND of course the wealth. hahaha.
pause.
is that something you'd be interested in?

and because my spine doesn't exist (see above
for explanation, or the reason for lack of one),
I say Sure.

GREAT! let me drop off some info, what time would
be good...etc., etc., etc.

he comes by and
he talks too much
too easily, I distrust social
skills like his, though he seems
nice enough, and on some “T” words
he has a slight stutter that makes him
slightly more human, but the whole time
I'm just wishing he wasn't in my kitchen
talking about the things he's talking about
and I think of the things I should say to
make him leave but nothing comes out.

eventually he leaves on his own and I say
to my wife Don't you think what he does
goes against who I am? what I stand for?
and she doesn't know what I'm talking about,
what I'm saying, she doesn't understand what
I mean and it's not her fault, but what's the
use of having a personal philosophy if
no one knows you have one.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

art imitating life

o yeah? he says when
he finds out I write.
what kind of stuff?

o, you know, whatever comes to mind.

o yeah?

sure. I can't afford to be picky.

hey, he says, that's a good one.
you should write that one down.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

what Edward Hopper does

is like knots in the stomach.
something has happened or is about to.
that moment
I imagine
during the war, when the doorbell
rang and a mother
opened it
for a man
holding a telegram.