Ten Lords-a-Leaping

There's a rare and certain comfort
when a story
lived or printed
ends exactly how it must.
The universe is sated
by our sacrificed desires.
Out there in the offing
Strunk & White are even pleased.

We mortals set aside
the arbitrary yearnings
that will someday drain
from catheters in deathbeds.
Taking fate's cheap shot
leaves us pissing blood for days--
days that seem longer
than those years we battled ourselves
without knowing our opponents.

The horn will go dead when the battery dies.
This isn't a soliloquy
to commemorate a path.
It's thinly veiled specific;
our futures drop like flies.
Consider it a blessing
to live on maps forever.


Sloppy Jalopy

But it's funny
this folklore we make;
how we sit at coffee break
telling tales of prior lives--
Kira Sherwin, the quiet student
who fucked five guys
at a high school party
thirteen years ago
and blew three more in the woods.
Whether or not it's true
or a rumor, like the pickle chick
we laugh and breathe
and pray that life's not over
then look to the apprentice
smugly perched across the room
and wonder if he's busted
hymens, hearts, and the rest.

It's a raucous life we live
chewing bacon-egg-and-cheese.


From the Chapped Lips of a Taxpaying Subject of Her Majesty

Be brave enough to put yourself aside
in the name of whom you think you are.
Set down the vices that make you human
for long enough to be the Ideal
that beckons you in the morning.

When an iron hand in a velvet glove
sends your head sideways
be gracious, ye sinners.
It is only a friend who tells of your folly.

Peter called the authorities
as soon you paid Paul.
Learn to drink the cheaper wine.
It suits you more than handcuffs.

And, if nothing else, beware of the uninspired.
Apathy is the drug of the dead
and every clock is a dealer.

Currently reading:
"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.


Marauder Eyes and Water

She wants a Polaroid
and I think she's got one coming
since she isn't fond of cameras
but knows what shots to take.

They say a lady's hands
speak chapters on her habits.
I'd bet those pretty fingers;
I'd wager those blue eyes--
somewhere she still has
the notes I leave her in the morning.



She took her clothes off
for money, but that was OK
since for me they fell for free.
We'd met again eight years later
and it seemed some sick joke
which we foolishly pursued
for a few months.
You may remember them:
the ones when I seemed crazy--
really crazy.
It started as a pit stop
but became a destination
as toxic as the Chinese sky.
We ignored her monthly
with a black towel
and her profession
with the same.

She loved yellow flowers
so I brought them every week
although I wasn't working.
They were her mother's favorite
until she died a year prior.
The color of cowardice
didn't make sense until the end.

I'd watch my girl get ready:
makeup, hair, packing bits of lace--
putting her war paint on, she called it.
She'd text me all night from the club
counting down the hours
until she could crawl into bed with me
after a sad shower
rinsing lavender and glitter
but when she disappeared
for too long my mind wandered
and it stung.
One night I woke up
to her pulling piss-soaked sheets
off the mattress; three empty bottles
of wine and some whiskey
on the counter.
That was the worst of it.
After that it got better.
She framed a poem I wrote her
and it was on her bedroom wall
until she ripped it up
one night when it got worse again.
I'd thrown her flowers on the floor.
All of them.

Others knew her stage name
but I knew her real name
and that her stepfather raped her
until she was eleven
when she told her mother
who did nothing
so cancer killed her.
How can a man
who's worth a damn
blame a woman
so detached
when life
does that
to a kid?


Alexithymia and Other Happy Accidents

The source of my existence
was on my father's curb
and almost lost to the nearest trash heap.
I'm known to pick through leavings.
I thrive on memorabilia.

This token of nostalgia
is a rectangle of plastic;
an image of a lobster
above my mother's name.
The pin on the back of the tag
still catches.
If my old man saw her now
she still would catch his eye.

He worked locally.
She was a waitress.
The rest of the tale
is as rote as the franchise.
Here I am thirty years
after that missed pill
picking up trinkets
of a love that almost was.

Currently reading:
"The Stand" by Stephen King.