Wednesday, May 30, 2018

From Bone To Lace Edge

Don't let your wings drag in the sand.
There's only so much white from bone to lace edge.
If you need to, borrow from the clouds.
Fill yourself with rain.
Remember that lightning on sand makes glass.
Walk on the sky when you get the chance.

Don't let your wings drag in the sand,
no matter gravity always trying to work you.
Feathers fill in one at a time--
there's all day or there isn't.
Earth turning will create its own breeze.
The sky is in motion, sure of its place from any angle.
Everything is ready, ongoing, self-defined.
You should be, too. 
_____

A bit of impromptu nothing for Sunday Muse #6
 
______
 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Remember

Remember the Alamo.
Remember the Maine.
Remember yourself, in my dream last night,
tilting your head the way that's done
when the next word is "no."

In our bed, Santa Anna's Mexican army.
At the breakfast table, saboteurs asking for the Tabasco.  
Sunken steel and mud missions know
how it was and
how I remember you.
______ 

a 55 for my BFF.

 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bosco

baby Bosc with a stick
My pet store refugee, four months crammed in a small cage with another dog. Stinky but beautiful, I knew you were the one. They had become concerned about you, you'd been there so long. Don't worry, handsome boy, you're coming home with me.

It was obvious you'd never had space before. At first, your gait was clumsy and unsure, but within a couple of days, your herding instincts kicked in and you were running my other two dogs around the yard like a champ. (They weren't thrilled about being "sheep" though!) 

You were a handful, chewing things, peeing in the house for weeks, scared of the dishwasher. One particularly difficult night, I gathered you up and told you, "I know you are very special, little boy. I don't know how, or how I know, but I know it's true." 

Captain Handsome
Not long after that, you seemed to catch hold in life. You began to shine. So much energy! So much joy! And so tireless! You were a brat, too, dropping your toy just out of my reach, again and again, or standing exactly far enough away that a turn of your head put the plaything out of my reach as you grinned impishly, squeaking it, egging me on to keep trying. (My hallway walls are still streaked green, red, and blue from all the toys that caromed off of them for you to chase.)

You only loved me, and no one else, though you grew to like my son late in your life. When guests visited, you silently placed yourself between us. No one else could even touch you. Only your mom. At bed time, you'd bring your toys for me to throw. Why sleep when we could be playing?!? You learned early on that begging didn't fly, but that turning your cheery smile up to Warp Factor 11 worked like a charm. And you had a trick of coming up on the couch, pretending to want a scritch-scratch, and then plopping your large self on me and turning both your winning smile and your Aussie Shepherd stare on me, for a cookie. You always got one.

Whatcha doin', Mom?
When you were 8 years old, you were diagnosed with diabetes. You lost your sight shortly after that, but you knew your home and your yard so well, a stranger wouldn't even have known you were blind. I had to give you insulin shots twice a day for the last 3 years of your life. I never minded. I'd have done anything for you.  Your toenails used to get caught in your curls sometimes, and you would patiently wait for me to notice and come carefully free them. Every day, I always came straight home from work to see you and take care of my sweet boy. You were my whole heart, you know? One day, I had a breakdown on the way home, and was two hours late. You were panicked and beside yourself, and I was too. Didn't you know I would always come home to you, no matter what? 

Bosco the Brave vs. the Snowstorm
All you had to do was walk up to me and you were sure of a happy greeting. You always believed that I could fix anything, make any situation right for you, and I always did. But as you got frailer and more unsteady, I worried about you. As winter approached and I remembered how you struggled the year before despite my best efforts to clear your way from the door to the yard, I knew i couldn't ask you to go through it again. You were 11 years old and more dear to me than I can possibly say. I held you and told you that I didn't want you to go, but if you needed to, you had my blessing. I cried. In less than a week, your back leg failed due to the diabetes and you could no longer stand or walk. The next day we said goodbye. I was there with you, and so was my son, who you had decided was the one other person on planet Earth that you would allow to pet you. 

My son Joe holding his doggy brother at the vet
Bye, baby. I love you so much. I still feel you close by. One day, when my own time comes, I will see you again, my bright-hearted boy. Until then...tears from missing you, smiles at remembering our time together, and your paw print forever on my heart.



Day

Zzzz
(guard mom)
zzzzz
UP!
out
in
Good-N-Fun bone
chew chew chew
scatch
lap
Up!
harness
leash
yes!
door
take mom for walk!
sniff sniff sniff
peeeeeeeee
home again
door
water
couch
pant pant pant
nap
Up!
stare
stare
stare
kitchen
Frosty Paws!
lick lick lick 
chew up container
rest
couch
up
out
help mom
dig dig dig dig
run
sniff
smile
in
lunch
tv
scatch
window!
dog!
ROWOWOW! 
couch
plop
MAIL!
ROWOWOW!
smile
toy
fetch
tug
tug tug tug tug!
fetch
nap
smile
UP!
out
sun
breeze
yay
in
cookie
dinner
couch
cuddle
tv
belly rub
zzzzz
(smile)
UP!
dog on tv!
ROWOW!
good boy
guard mom
couch
scatch
out
moon
cool
pee
(MY yard!)
in
lights out
cuddle
scatch
good boy
turn turn turn
settle
sigh
Zzzzzzz
(guard mom)
zzzzzzzz
dream
feet flipping
zzzzz
am loved!
smile. 
______

for Sherry at Real Toads.
 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Smoov

Hey Smoov,
talking out both sides of your mouth,
tell HER, she's got the rabbit ears for ya;
me, I'm deaf, don't waste your breath. 

All night, she toss and turn if you don't call;
me, I dance all night,
kick the phone right off the wall.

Smoov, you think I'm stupid?
Think you not made of glass, I can't see through ya?
Save your bullshit tap dance for HER,
she hear ya but can't see a damn thing.

She the sweet child, 
I'm the stone bitch.
Everywhere I go, she got to follow me,
crying the blues over you.
She's in my ear,
under my skin,
out to double every losing bet.

Tell HER whatever made-up fairy story you got.
Tell HER how it's gonna be different from now on.
Tell HER, you whiney-ass pencil-dick motherfucker.
Tell HER, not me,

Cos she's the one who loves you.
_____

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The November Eye Of God

Born with a Fleur-de-lis birthmark,
I said, "De la paix du ciel, 
je suis venu pour la guerre."

Men who spoke against me,
who minced and mocked,
have seen their teeth and tongues curl and fall
like leaves under the November eye of God.

Now, as rodent churchmen scurry to lay a puny trap,
I light candles for those I pray for,
and dance on the graves of the rest.

I am not afraid; I was born to rise in righteous flames untouched
to Heaven and there be judged--
leaving behind the clever, the craven,
and just my body's dust.
________

This is a rewrite of an earlier poem "Novembre" which I have reworked for Brendan's "hero" challenge at Toads.

 "De la paix du ciel, je suis venu pour la guerre." = "From the peace of Heaven, I have come for the war."

 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Thought Broadcasting

"Nobody gets me"
is something the thought broadcaster never has to say.
She's a noisy spill, despite still lips.

She thinks, "I'm a bitch today. I need to get laid"
and some guy in China crashes his bicycle.

Diogenes meets her at the diner--
no texted invitation necessary.
She's his bae
bending spoons with hello.
_______

A 55 for my BFF.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Moonset of A Working Girl

"Gathering Wood" by Edward Emerson Simmons

"I said this can't be me
Must be my double
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember what"--Leonard Cohen

 
Gathering kindling, wearing wooden shoes
is work that makes the sun slip
and the dust rise
in stupid excitement under the wheels of that chariot.

I pull bones like branches slowly
from body to berm
until there sits the new me, blinking,
carefully arranged, expendable, ready to burn.

I am a moonset, walking, blathering,
obscured in a bonnet of overcast and dry leaves.
My effigy with her soft hands rises,
ascends, lights brightly my obligatory entropy.
_______

for my own Fireblossom Friday

 

 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Devolution In Akron

When I devolved,
it was late afternoon.
I lined old nickels along the window sill,
vending extinction and electrical deluge
from the absurd Akron sky. 

I'd had enough.

Rubber companies once existed here.
So did enormous bird-creatures
who spoke languages no automobile can mimic.
I leaned out,
watching the BP sign on the corner seize in the wind.

Behold the power of natural vocabulary. 

Akron is the birthplace of the soap box derby--
gravity-driven containers carrying children at high speed.
When I devolved, I grew a shell
and time propelled me backwards
past divorce, failures, rejections, geographic landmarks,
changes in bone structure, loss of logical reasoning and 
vestigial tail.

You cannot find me where I've gone.

What was your name?
Why did your skin matter to me?
Why us, and not someone else?
Why not birds,
insects,
volcanoes,
earthquakes,
fireballs,
oblivion?

When I devolved,
it was late afternoon.
By evening, huge, stupid and dying,
I discovered that it hadn't mattered at all--
I'd lost time, nickels, everything Akron could offer,

but retained the ability to cry.



 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

When The Circus Boat Sank

When the circus boat sank
there in the sound,
both schedule and physical limitations were suspended
and everything slowed down.

Children dove to us as falling leaves
with apples in their mouths for our horses; 
manes like the arms of women whose chests hum with lullabies 
remembered from the drowsy south.

The tiger and I dance as months go by
and rescue loses meaning, light its immediacy.
One child has kept with us, here,
and looks to me for starfish and story.
"Once upon a time," I say to her,
"there was blue tiger, blue water, drowsy you, dreamy me." 

And so the story goes,
ever blue,
ever more,
everlastingly.
_____ 

for Sunday Muse #4




Friday, May 11, 2018

The Other Sister

Born in a house of wind,
I leaned hard, a little animated stalk.
In a house of rain and mud,
Mother Rot stuffed endings in every word.

The Other Sister, the One Denied,
set the fields on fire
as signal and salvation.
Catching her scent on the gale,
I ran hell-for-Sunday
into the burning wild.
_____

A 55 for my BFF.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Night Support

You will argue that it's none of my concern
who you embrace,
what fruit your mouth accepts and expresses
as the pulp and sweetness of your desire.

Doesn't sick soil poison every leaf?
Doesn't richness bless every bloom?

I am the Quantifier and Keeper of Carnal Particulars.
The muscle of his shoulder beneath your cheek
 two Novembers ago?
Bin 47, lot 5.
The dusky sound of her woodsmoke voice
on a bridge above the river on a night last July?
Shelf 21B, Warehouse 2, Compound A.

You just wait.
Let that grating emptiness come over you when you're alone
remembering his paint-stained fingers
or the caramel curl of her hair.
You'll need to retrieve it then,
more than blooms need stems,
sharp as a outcasts need warm mercy.

There I'll be,
rolling my cart to space 4G7 in the auxiliary bay,
requisitioning the very thing you need,
sending it out,
replacing it,
maintaining inventory and your equilibrium.

I'm good at what I do
because I understand need and weakness and lack.
Envelope G, in file B7GK4
should contain your wicked smile,
the angle of your teeth, your lips,
your tongue,
and the 27 catalogued effects they had on my dissolving bones.

Inventory shows them on-hand,
but though I search your name, 
your skin,
your scent,
I can't find any particle of you;
just a ringing emptiness
and this paltry job to fill it.
______ 

for "job title" at Toads.

When I was in the USAF, I worked night support in a warehouse, finding aircraft parts for delivery to the flight line. I drew on that, for this.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Marxist Coffee Mug

The Marxist coffee mug
hid itself in a packing crate,
deep in the excelsior.

Swinging from a dock crane
above ship and below blue summer sky,
the Marxist coffee cup left the bombs and arrests of its homeland
in favor of the welcoming warmth of Castro's Cuba.

Class struggle dissolves
when conga and brass trumpet combine
in the rising air of sultry evenings.
The parrot's wing is 
red for passion,
yellow for unity
and green for plenty, by the hand of the noble proletariat. 

Imagine the alarm of the Marxist coffee mug
when, a day after arriving and being thieved from a government-owned warehouse,
it found itself in the hand of a woman named Consuela
who smashed it over the head
of her unfaithful lover Miguel.

When you dream,
when you love,
and most of all when you take up a cause,
remember the Marxist coffee mug.
Realize how closely the bones inside your flesh
resemble ceramics,
and the white around the sideways eyes
of your fellow traveler,
El Noble Loro de la Revolucion
_____

("The Noble Parrot of the Revolution")
 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Pottery Of Ancient Cultures

In your eyes,
the pottery of ancient cultures.
From your smile,
sunspots
that leave vervet monkeys sitting, perplexed

At the breath-thinness of a peasant blouse
reclining between August stars 
and the skin of your shoulder. 

They find, in every stitch and design,
a catalog of figs, and vertigo.
They are drunk
on the ferment of your lazy accent.

At the Museum of Utilitarian Wonders,
I find
the pottery of ancient cultures.
A brochure contains the beginnings of nests
for birds who do not exist--
vervets who do not exist--
drunk under a sun hidden by clouds.

I clasp ancient ornaments onto your wrists,
your throat,
your ankle,
but your body is clouds.
You cannot accept these gifts, or anything else--

Just rain,
love,
colors,
reversed images,
that do not exist except in the singular attentions
of these useless lines.
_____

Friday, May 4, 2018

If, In The Morning

If, in the morning
you wake alone,
it is because it has rained while you were sleeping--
drops suspended from pear blossoms
like fruit in dreams.

If, in the morning
you miss me,
let our love be blackbirds' feet
wrapped around stems of marsh grass.
In afternoon, the sliced loaf
drips with blackberry jam. 
_____

A 55 for my BFF.