Table Scraps & Doggie Bags

Sunday morning
mist commute;
colored ribbon
over job, wishing job
was over.
Bottom found
for first time
stemming from the Hudson:
Diamonds, but no gold.
We take what's left and precious
when the rainbow leads us there.

Birthday barbecue due east.
Fighting not to jerk the wheel.
No yellow flowers
either: a sign of growth
like shedding.
Ride home
to sweat it out.

Staring up the stairwell.
Scrapes of knives on plates
through deadbolt doors.
Found the rainbow's bottom once.
It can be done again.

Currently reading:
"Jorge Luis Borges:  Selected Poems", edited by Alexander Coleman.


Floored Pillows

And when he turns
he turns hard
ignoring the rustic architecture
in favor of feminine frills.
Safe middle names
always on the palate.
A recent increase
in feet tucked to thighs
with emphasis on
a foreign alarm.

Languish in lavender.
Roll through the smoke.
He hails from the marshes
forgotten by maps.
If it happens that cell finds cell
then so be it.
There are holy days made
without the permission
of bank and federal calendars.


Marxist Mojitos

I have a bowl of garden tomatoes
and a gallon of good intentions
gone sour.

You have a winter white vehicle
and the libido of a twenty-year-old

We've been on two trips together
to the ER
and the sex is the best I've had
this week.

"Are you in love again?"
the birthday girl asks flippantly.
And she's right
to flip
through ten more pages, ten more weeks.

The bravest man I've known
this summer
has a kid coming next month
with no idea of its gender.

More lime.
Less mint.
A floater of rum for your comrade, please.

An Ending or Two

He's perched on the porcelain when he smells it.
Blue smoke bleeds through the cracks
around his bathroom door
nearly rattling its brass hinges
as it enters--searching, grasping.
That oracle on 40th and 9th
called it years back.
Both of them were in common form
though one managed to make sense.
He wishes, now motionless like quarry
pinched by steel, that he'd dropped
more money in that homeless man's hat.
He wishes for a lot of different outcomes.

But there's no smoke to smell
and no one's coming to get him.
It's another delusional daydream
set in place to pass the time.
Creative, they used to call it.
Now it's diagnosable.
He stands, rightly constipated
and almost forgets to dispel
the water he made.
He used to scold her
for not flushing
in her effort
to save the world
but now he'd love
to enter his bathroom
tainted by the faint stench of urine.
It'd help him remember
that there's still something left
worth saving.

The knot on his tailbone
throbs harder as he rubs it
wondering if he's devolving
like some Kafka creature--
an exacerbated exercise in karma.

Currently reading:
"'Salem's Lot" by Stephen King.


Playing God in Pine Bush

She's got pictures from a path
I remember from my childhood.
There are placards notating flora
and a statue of Walt Whitman.
I remember the font and the bronzed stride.
"That's the Bear Mountain Zoo,"
I inform her, as if she doesn't know.

"Most of the animals there
were rescued after being wounded
in the wild or maimed by poachers.
A friend of mine brought an owl.
His dog found it in the woods
wandering the ground
disoriented. He wrapped it in a towel
and brought it to a vet
who discovered it was blind.
Now it lives in that zoo.
Did you see it?
How's it doing?"

She's forgotten if she saw it
or perhaps I've stopped listening.
Another thought has taken hold;
a notion which had to come out

Maybe that owl was meant to die
in that forest.

Some lessons you only learn
through repeating to another.


A Silent Mayday

It starts as trivial blips:
I pull up the mail key
to lock the front door;
Refrigerate my wallet
and pocket ketchup packets;
Answers get longer
when strangers ask questions
and I find myself talking
to myself in paragraphs.
Then the echo sets in.
Interpret that how it suits you.
Some hear reverberations.
I see mine.
She's smirking at me, naked.
These days she doesn't respond.

I ash into a tray
someone made for me
from stainless steel.
I'd say "a friend"
but you have to be a friend
to have a friend.
I haven't.
I'm not.
It's all about the spiral
and how to end it
in my sliver of reality
where reflections look
less and less like what others see.
Even the father and husband
I claim as my brother
cringes at some of my antics of late.

There's an odd vulnerability without mountains
so I live in the shadow of one.
Every morning and every night
it groans at me through curtainless windows
picked by the last person who knew me
three years ago--to the month.
Even she wouldn't recognize me now.
I'm paying the price
for what a little bird told me.
My father would call it a snake
though I prefer the secular cliche.

A consistency I'm fond of:
I've always lived in river towns.
Come Hell or high water
I'll be that fluid Pisces.

The moonbow doesn't cackle back tonight.
I spit when I type, not when I talk.

That hotel laugh in New Hampshire
is the last time I was happy.


And the Walls Got Loud

Dinner's almost done
when she shows
choosing water over wine
though I indulge
for the both of us.
"We moved too fast," she says
like it's news.

I stir the pasta in silence.

"Anything? What's on your mind?"
She sips that water
like it has the answer.

I pluck a strand of linguine
from the pot and try it.
Perfect al dente.
Eight minutes.
It's one thing I've perfected.

The water didn't cut it
for her.

I finish chewing, unaffected.
"I've spoken my mind before.
It's why I'm here.
You should have called;
Saved the gas,"
I say, pragmatist to the end.

She leaves as desired.
I eat at the table
not clearing her empty plate.
It stands as a reminder.
The wine washes the garlic down.

A sink full of dishes
and it's back to bedding widows.
I wander my apartment
approaching several countertops
and a table
checking their height
for impromptu penetration.
There are  none.

Tom Petty makes a promise
he can't keep
on the radio.

I crack a window
and smoke inside
for the first time in months.


Catching Up

Any longer
there's no ketchup
kept at my
mother's house
the kids having scattered
to starve elsewhere.
I learned this
when I brought
a fast food
burger and fries
for lunch.
She confessed
the condiment's absence
with a weary widow's voice
her husband
at the gin mill
his headstone
not yet carved.
Holding back the curses
for the Shadow
slow approaching
scythe and contract
in bony hands
I finish my meal
and starve elsewhere.


State of the Union

Waking with his watch on
he ignores the morning news
another workless week lined up
and apathetic bedclothes.
It stinks there
like a slave ship
his mother teaching nothing.
The atlas in his back seat--
that's his father in him.

Necrotic limbs
too weak to chop
spare the amputee
but the heft of muscles atrophied
becomes a latent anchor.

The novel reads like prophecy
foreshadowing a storm.
No man can be an island
for longer than a heartbeat.