A Terror to the Savage

I've seen their palest skin
where it's calm under the cotton
the curtain call of twenty-four
and all the King's best men.
Compared to petting burning dogs
I'm a solid wager.
The theater has been emptied;
still all these palls to bear.

A threat posed like a mannequin
seeps down beneath the rifts
that we never would suspect.
Some eat the windfall apples.

When father's lure caught lakeside branch
there never came rebuke.
A sentence that would slice too late:
"You've got a lot to learn, son."



She came bearing a gift
contained within a bottle:
New Zealand's proudest grape
as per his request.
Some friends converged
in honor of a day
they draped in scarlet.
The march home
had cigarettes, missed calls
from one missed lover.

In the morning
when he found it
there wasn't much surprise.
The bag held the receipt
and the value of his life.

There are terms
like "martial artist".
The female knows of blood.
He hopes seats aren't assigned
in whatever they deem Hell.


The Breakdown

Photographers are painters
with slightly less ambition.
Painters are but writers
afraid of the true challenge.
Writers are skewed historians;
scientists stumped by time travel.

Let's hope the threat is shallow
and those who can't
don't teach.


We All Have Our Reasons

This hellion stands
smoking at his post
listening to the flakes
as they hit the awning above
and a stubborn motorist
in the distance of a still night.

Across the street
a known neighbor
works at the sidewalk's snow
though he doesn't live
on that side of the drag.
The Samaritan pauses
looking up from his silent toil
causing the guilted party
to retract into the safety
of his building's concrete vestibule.

We wonder what it was
to catch and kill magicians
but really, through some sifting
the meek already know.

Battered, resilient
in clothes befitting peasants
a better man throws
what Mother Nature's dropped.
Having defeated much
but not enough
he shovels for himself.

Currently reading:
"Texas Devils" by Michael Collins.


The Spinster That Scares Me

My greatness is not readily perceived.
Even when I let neighbors
smoke in my apartment
it's unnoticed.
They probably assume
I've made a habit of that.

I dated a man once
who used his knife
so gingerly
to persuade food
onto his fork.
Three years later
I do the same
and cringe
at picking up
his mannerisms
like poison from a plate
my stomach's rejected.

A woman like me
says more by saying nothing
neither waving nor drowning
in this river of indifference.

I almost felt bad
for my overripe onion
that sprouted and tried
to set its own roots.
Had it been summer
I would have tried planting.
Instead I chopped chives
and fried a blue omelet.

He's out there flailing.
For now I paint sunsets
and hang them in closets
where no one can see.
It's a matter of shared profit loss
before I'm discontinued
like my childhood perfume.



The mail-order quality knife set
that Meg bought for my birthday
two years ago is slowly falling apart.
Handles break when there's company.
Blades rust in the sink.

Rather than ditch it entirely
I let the joke play out
like, "Maybe I won't answer
the next time that she calls,"
or, "Maybe that cutlery's
stainless as it claims."

It's hard to replace
what you never had
and China will never be Germany.

A Reluctant Matador

Exiled from bed
by a stranger's shameless snoring;
a sin only endearing
when the victim
paws at quarry.
Instead these novice saviors
flood the gates
with raw incentives
though none taste like
stale cigarettes
nor other ancient innocence.

Fellate, filet, and file.
Incinerate the vine.
A mattress is an altar
with a sacrifice that varies.
Listen for the asthma.
Spare none but the willing.
Plug your ears with cotton.
That's not Christ.
It's heartburn.

Currently reading:
"Lana Turner, Vol. 6"



We're careful observers
who may or may not offend
those who aren't careful.

We're kids who loved to play
but hadn't enough toys.

We're that special breed
of craftsman
who swears he could rebuild Troy
through skilled renovation
and without any horse.

We'd rather excrete than eat.

No secret we hear is sacred.
Every word uttered is fair game to field
as long as we change the names
at least slightly.

If we pooled all our knowledge
there'd still be a question.

At the end of the day
and the end of the sentence
we do it for the same reason
that rock stars first picked up guitars:


For a Vagabond Who Could've Housed Me

You disappeared
so hard and without warning
that snow fell from the sky
and the sun sank backwards
the next morning.

They still can't prove
what day of the week
He was crucified
but I know you left on a Thursday
and I know you took everything with you.

We could've been our greatest regrets.


Soma Smithereens

Neither parent
recalls the making
of my first memory.
I asked them last week
in their separate houses
when their second spouses
weren't around.

I'm grateful that night
is all mine, shriek and all.
And maybe that's why
when I turn on a lamp
three decades later
I still expect it to fly.