The Sixth Sunday of Nevuary

An echo of laps
against the brick of bedroom walls.

Between panicked gasps
she asks
(something irrelevant)
but all he can think
aside from "keep moving"
is that scar tissue itches
and a Pisces can't live alone.


Rubbed Out

How I'll remember my father--
my adult father; the one who listens
when I beg him not to try
to make home repairs without me--
is sitting on the edge of his recliner today
shining his shoes
before my uncle's Christmas party.
His hands worked patiently
as he stared at the television
chiming in with chosen words
when he heard my punctuation.

It took some heavy brushing
and a few layers of polish
to work out the scuffs
and make the leather respectable again
but when he was done
they could have been sold:
An old trick by an old man
who grew up shining shoes
for his namesake.

He still had the knack
and sense of humble wisdom.
He wasn't too proud
to make due or amend.
My three-year-old brother
ran into the room and I thought
I'll have to tell him someday.

A Cenotaph Somewhere

He fucks better in his own bed
downplaying skill for the home team advantage.
He's still searching
for that lady's lost unmentionables
before they turn up
at the worst time possible.
He never brings the bottle
there with him in bed
so the walk to refill glasses
helps him gauge his state.
He's gone to strip clubs sober
for captive conversation.
He has shallow, meaningless sex
with shallow, meaningless people.
He doesn't get to see their eyelids anymore.
He's gifted his seed, though not for the money.
There's a cenotaph for his dignity somewhere
but no one will give him the address.
And if you see him out there
careening through the streets
please remind our vagabond
that addiction is addiction.


The Coriolis Effect

Neil pleas for a gold heart
through the static as I park.
It's possible to want something so badly
that you don't.
The sidewalk feels harder
than last year underfoot.
There's a view of my brick tower
from my path, though I don't notice.

My eyes stick to pedestrians.
Maybe. Hopeful. Christ.
And then, like in my nightmare
Mary Magdalene appears.
Perfection is propelled
by her feet in my direction.
This is how it's meant to be.
Organic. Random. Chance.

Her bangs fall from a hat
that can't disguise her sainthood.
Strength pokes through her face
with stubborn, rigid cheekbones.
The things that I would tell her
over Sunday morning coffee
lighten every step
as we breathe steam in the night.

Like living locomotives
we head for our collision.
I rifle through my lines
like a drunken understudy.
Before I can recite them
she breaks our dear formation
by crossing to her lover
who waits across the street.

There's how it's meant to be
and then
there's how it is
and somewhere in the difference
lurks the humor that we're given
to help with unpulled punches
and moments that we've jinxed
with the notion that a human heart
is anything but shining.

Currently reading:
"This Is How You Lose Her" by Junot Diaz.


Friday the Thirteenth and Other Irrational Fears

Falling in love
at abortion clinics
and battening down
a decade of hatches
is enough to make me wonder
if I could have loved the waitress
whose insides smell like pennies.
Copper is an element
I've come to work already.
She made such perfect dinners
and never kicked me out.

I've given diamonds
and white gold for Christmas
against the urging of women
but I've sworn not to do it again
until I can give all they want:  myself.

Currently reading:
"Letters To a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke.


Kicking Your Soapbox

Waiting in line
I see a Marine.
Tucked underneath
his left shoelace
a spare dog tag shines.
It ain't there in case
he loses his boots.

I won't tell you
to "love it or leave it,"
and much of what We do
isn't right
but the fact that you
can disagree in public
is due to the men and women
who are willing to adopt
a morbid dressing habit
that will guarantee a name
on the grave that may await
so that you can wave a finger
or a flag that doesn't match.



And he knew the wine had worked
by the tiles upside-down
on the dusty Scrabble board
he'd stolen from his father

and he knew he didn't care
when he won and killed the lights;
another vixen smitten
with a man he never was

and the note he left at dawn
had the number for a cab
so she could catch her train
and he could come home tired

to a bed made for a change--
empty, but his own.

And he knew the stench of fate
as it crept into his nose.


Belated Chestpiece Envy

Deathbed graces
shall come as truths clandestine
like how it could have been
if you'd fessed up when you noticed
how her one eye smiles wider
a signal flare, a martyr
crying not about the hurt
but that we cannot show it.