The Concubine of Lazarus

He suggests we round the corner
to admire his latest feat;
"later" meaning "now"
we comply and view his painting.
The title slips from lips
between his sips of stout.
I'm familiar with the book
from which he stole the name.
"You've read CĂ©line, haven't you?"
he asks about my journey
hoping to feel superior
in our own predestined night.
"Any Bukowski fan should,"
I fire at his oak.
He turns away, a poet
still working on his tan
and I wonder if his walls
can scream through dusty glossies.

Currently reading:
"The Walking Dead:  Compendium Two" by Robert Kirkman.


He Limps Across the Plaster, a Body Drained of Grace

My lady was the pen
and I cheated with the bottle.
There were Claymore mines
and concertina wire.
There was blood unspoken for
on sheets that went unclaimed.
Plaid button-downs
covered chests unfit for medals
and when the eagle fucking cried
she really fucking sang.

Now hobble that sweet ass over here
and show an old pervert
how well a wounded bird
can kneel.

Currently reading:
"The Colossus and Other Poems" by Sylvia Plath.


Tabletop Bloodletting Americana

If I could get
my head out of my ass
I'd be a decent husband
and if you could keep
your ass in the air
you'd make a decent wife.
Now are you going to finish that
or am I taking it to work for lunch tomorrow?

A Sentence Worth the Crime

There's gravity and magic
that no physicist nor director
can capture
in absorbing a scene
for what one's gut knows
is the last time
like the sunset from Hither Hills West Overlook
while leaving Montauk, New York--
a first taste of the scale
tipping closer to the grave
with nothing about it
being anything short
of perfection
(Fuck you
wherever you are
Rocco Esposito, Jr.).

Currently reading:
"Howl and Other Poems" by Allen Ginsberg.



"Wait, what was his name?"
I stop my fifty-year-old cousin
mid-sentence in search of clarification.
He repeats the victim's name for me.
I lay my beer down on his coffee table.
"I played soccer with his son in elementary school,"
I tell him, dumbfounded.
The boy I knew fell off the face of the earth
or maybe I did when my parents split
and I moved out of that one-horse town
with my mother many moons ago.
The revelation feels fraudulent.
Things like that don't happen
to people we know;
or maybe they do
and that contributes
to the world's current state.
"How'd it happen?"

My cousin continues
after a long drag of Coors.
"He was on a snowmobile
with his son--your friend--
on the back when the old man
plowed into him.
There were targets
and casings in the car
when the cops searched it afterward.
He was on the way home
from the range when it happened.
As soon as he opened the door
to rip that old man out of the car
and pummel him for almost
killing his kid on the back of that sled
he was shot with a pistol.
Then the driver got out
aimed at the ground
and unloaded in his face
while he bled out in the snow.
His son witnessed everything.
The old man got away with it.
He argued self-defense.
It was sickening."
He punctuates the account
with another swig of his swill.

My cousin continues
his rambling, but my ears
are under water.
What else had been censored
by that hamlet's parents decades ago?
Where does that old friend
call home these days
and did I kick the ball his way
enough times on our field?
Sometimes the world isn't big enough.


Don't Tell Me How to Live My Lie

Casting aspersions over a sundowner
our genius stares into the offing.
Cesarean fleshpots.
Rheostat dreams.
He's crossing the Rubicon armed.

He'll never outgrow the symbols he knows.
That degree works wonders on townies.
An albatross hangs from his neck
to the rest of us;
fugazi, a cubic zirconia.

Forgotten the taste
of fruit that's forbidden.
Searching for devils in details.
A windowless room that reeks of bleach.
I've never grown out of that mean streak.


Crumbs in the Carpet

I wake to candles burning
and a third bottle of Portuguese red
that I don't remember opening
keeping guard from the nightstand.
She lies naked under bedclothes
on the side of the mattress that's typically mine
while I fumble in the 5 a.m. darkness
for my denim attire.
The notion of leaving
this warm place for work
seems ludicrous.
I lace my boots dizzily
and creep back into the bedroom
blowing out the final flame
before kissing her mass of hair
that conceals her face from sight.

You know what my versions
of Hell are by now.
Now let me tell you
what Paradise could be:

Five more minutes spent
in places like that bed
and a chance to address
a list of things I almost did.

West Point Folklore

A soldier on base
shared classified information:

When someone else is servicing
the wife of an officer
who's been deployed overseas
the invading faction leaves
some stripes from his uniform
in a corner of the violated party's sock drawer
to let his fellow warrior know
that his wife's been waging a war of her own
against the most sacred of orders and vows.

It's no apology, but honor amongst thieves
and if you think your freedom's free
then you've never had your wife fucked
by a buddy while you're at work.

Currently reading:
"I Am Soldier of Fortune:  Dancing With Devils" by Robert K. Brown with Vann Spencer.