Showing posts from April, 2013

Brocca, Area 44

Part 1
He sighed and dropped his pencil
and rubbed his eyes
clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

To be a circle,
drifting in endless loops.

Part 2
The dawn had just broken
before the pot of coffee was ready,
timed just right to allow the sunlight
to refract inside the urn and then
muddle with the steamy, black coffee.

He picked up his pencil and transcribed:
He put his pencil beside his breakfast and
rubbed his temples
clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

To be a circle, transcribed in another circle,
drifting in endless loops.

Part 3
His desk is farther from the door here
than it is at home.
It must be by design.
The same comforts of home can't be
afforded to the
workplace. Otherwise, the drive to home
wouldn't be filled with relief and wine.
It would be filled with other emotions
he has yet to grasp.

The chalkboards-turned-whiteboard are
his poetry.
He has long forgotten how to use a calculator.
These numbers, both

All We Know Now is the Rubble

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo. I can't say just how much of a whirlwind adventure this has been. I've met some amazing poets, rekindled friendships, and awoken realization. Thank you for reading.
And now, my final poem (maybe) of April:

I've been at this now for over two years,
and the truth of it is that it doesn't get any easier.
I can see it still, plain as day, though I would much rather stay awake
than have to relive the moment the sun devoured the Earth.
Some have said their nightmares give them the rest they need so
as to not have to face the grey skies and black hearts.

We won't know what happened. All we know now is the rubble.

People turn into animals. Wait. To say they turn into animals would
imply that they live under some carnal instinct and natural code.
Even in the wild, animals don't eat the dying.
Of course, the scavengers do. The buzzards and the vultures, the hyenas,

We didn't want to. But we did anyway.

I wander the roads, myse…

My Flesh is Your Flesh Refined

Old man,
sitting in your chair
stuffed into your corner
sifting the cold whiskey
and colder ice
into your bearded face,
you are me

I see in your hands
the line that made me
and the line that forever
rest in yours,
curled around a
forgotten memory,
stagnated in a cool pond
and allowed to float.

It is in this spot, you and
I shall remain at odds,
housed under the same roof
that conjoined us.

April has been nuts

Here's a three-fer. I didn't post last night due to having to relax.
Sculptors have to rest their fingers.
Artists have to rest the same.
The same goes for the poet and the writer. So, here are my newest three: a haiku and two shadorma.

The Mechanics of Pen and Paper
Despite the late hour,
my fingers turn and spin out
subtle ironies.

Into the Dead
“In the night,
sweep along the east
banks of the
River Dang.
There you will find the man who
slaughtered your children.”

I crept ’til
my fingers felt numb,
my heart beat
no longer,
and when I found him, he was
dead in his slumber

My dad is
a man of few words.
Mom is quite
She can wrap
you into the delicate fibers
of our ancient songs.

Digging In

He went in
near the morning,
and having left his clothes behind,
found the chill meet his skin.

He looked down
and noticed his stomach,
tight, youthful.
This thick thighs twitched with
every step toward his pedestal.

He's admired his hands.
When he was younger,
his parents would look at his hands
and tell him that they would
be his great escape.
He turned them over in the light,
searching for the imperfections.
That's what he was trained to,
to find the cracks and brittle

His arms, bronzed and strong,
splayed before him.

He built his studio to allow the sunlight in
whenever the sun was in the sky.
Right now, just before the day,
the light was golden,
raining down in cascading vellum.
He stood on the pedestal and let
himself be bathed in it.

He picked up his tooth chisel
and began the delicate process
of adding definition.
He scooped from his belly,
building up from a cast he created of his
He rounded the corners of his eyes,
learning from the cast he took from his
He d…

Everyone Caught a Fish That Day

Nah, we ain't that close.
At least we din't use to be.
You see, my family and me,
well, ma she use to chase us with a hose,

threatenin' us to an inch of our lives,
sayin' she would someday make us rue
the day we crossed her. Becca Sue,
my sis, once broke out in hives

she was so scared. And, pa... well pa's pa.
But, there's one day of the year, one day,
where we all forget about the way
Jackie Ray's always breakin the law

and how Curly Sam set fire to the barn.
That day is the day just after Easter.
Weather's usually nice, ain't the usual heater,
and we all head north to Billy's dad's farm.

You see, there's this real nice lil lake,
real nice. You can see straight through
to the bottom. Ain't much to do
but stare at first. Then, Mildred, Billy's wife, brings out fresh-bake

chicken. We stare at the lake, eatin'
our fat faces off. Usually, Jackie happs
to start some shit, but pa slaps
him hard and he stops. He don't wanna be…

The Heart Quickens

This is a simple haiku. The prompt: write an auto poem.

When in a state of
total control, even the
faintest heart quickens.

Love, isn't it?

You let it go on again for far too long,
and I can't blame you,
because sometimes it's easier to say I hate you
and let the doors close for a few hours
than it is to turn the phrase just a little more to the

You and I began this years ago, didn't we?,
when we both were perhaps a little younger
and a little shorter,
but that's what happens as the day-to-day
turns us around and around
like a gigantic screw.
I remember you there, in my lap,
singing your own songs
and asking me to sing along.
Any words would suffice.
Any melody would be fine.

You would test our limits, you would,
sometimes pacing clever little lines
in our faces as we traced
the little messes you left behind.

But, you would always be there,
little girl,
coming with your knees skinned
with hands open and cheeks stained
a brilliant red.

So, here we are. You and I separated
by the thinnest of iron doors.
I know that tomorrow, you'll
walk from your room, and join us for breakfast.

Everyone Wakes

Everyone Wakes

and they leave behind a subtle ripple
that rocks the boats of distant shores.

and they allow one last passage
for their loved ones to share forgotten stories.

when the light filters in through dusty shutters,
and soon the day shakes off its covers.

except the ones who don't.

*This is a response to today's prompt: "Finish this phrase: Everyone __________, and make it the title of your poem. Write the poem." (I paraphrased.)


Something silly. The prompt was to write a "love" or anti-love poem. I'm still not sure on which side this one falls.


We watched the struggle,
we did,
we did,
from our silent vantage point
on that seated hill.

To date there has never,
 no never,
not ever,
been a struggle so clearly mistook.

They chose sides, they did,
like we knew they would,
like we knew they would.
Perhaps that was their first mistake,
for no true relationship can be built
on unspoken rivalry.

Perhaps, they'd be better friends than enemies,
for sure,
for sure,
but part of me thinks that
would be a terrible lie.

Thus it begins.
He starts.
Insults lobbed,
degradations volleyed,
occasionally, he would get caught in
her net.
Eventually, the baseline is just a memory.
Then, after the tete a tete,
and they are bruised and sore,
so very sore,
15 - 0.
Fifteen - love.

Understanding: A Shadorma

means to plant our feet
below the
others who shadow our quaint,
earthly existence.


"Do as I say, not as I do,"
I remember my father, alone on the porch,
chewing his SKOL, and spitting the charred
remnants into an old Coors can.

I always wondered what it was he tasted.
It looked like gasoline, swirling around with
little bits of gunk mixed into the oily blackness.

But, he dipped. And dipped again.

When I was four, I tried to drink some of it, swill it down
like I thought he did when he was done.
My mother told him that would be the end of the marriage if I did.
They divorced anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter much now.

Dad quit anyway, and bought a pipe, a nice briar pipe with an
old man face carved into the bowl.
He bought some vanilla tobacco, which smelled like
wealth and bourbon.
At that age, I didn't know that, but I do now.
He said he would quit at some point.
He said that it was bad for him, and more importantly
I should never start.
He wanted me to be around for a long time,
longer than him,
but that was pretty much a given.

As my 21st birthday rolle…

You Are Where You Live: A Senryu

Some say you build a
house where you rest your tired bones.
His rocks fall like bricks.

The little droplets
dribbling down the rounded face
remind him to welcome

with a jute welcome
mat his new friends, inscribed with
encouraging words.

Beyond this Day

In her bed, limitless awaits.
The covers are drawn tightly around her cherub face.
Long ago, longer than time,
her parents demanded she turn off the lights.

The shadows consume,
They twist and laugh, and spin and bloom.
All the while, there she lays
thinking of all the little, tiny cherubic ways

that the prince will rescue her tonight,
how he will show all his charming, wily might,
how the dragon won't stand a chance
when it is stabbed with his steely lance,

or how the wretched queen
will bite into her own apple and her face will turn green.
The king will be freed
from the spell with spell's speed,

or how the vacuum of space
expanding rapidly, cooly, in front of her face.
She'd reach out and touch
the surface of such

objects as Jupiter, Orion, and the sun.
The night, she thinks, is no more than real.
The monsters in her closet
could do no more to cause it

to change and morph like their shadows.
Perhaps, she thinks for the very first time, blankets below
her knees. That the night
could quite …

Name It!

Name it!
The madman who burns from the inside out
discovers he cannot, WILL NOT!, go about
dousing the flame with water refreshing
or else find the burn evermore unrelenting.

Woe to he, the man who burns inside,
for soon his heart will soon decide
to wretch itself free from flames everlasting
and scorch his lungs and throat and end in his passing.

From the outside, it is a pitiable sight.
It begins with the glow, the spark in the night,
enveloping around him the shadowless light.

His flesh becomes ruddy, red, aflush,
smoking and steaming, engendered thrush,
burning and yearning, an intentional rush.

His heartbeat quickens.
His stomach sickens.
The behemoth awakens.

This burn, this fire, this wily flame,
it consumes.

A flame left to its own devices, left to burn for days,
will seek to sustain itself, sustain itself always.
It will seek out the tinder, the tenderest spots
to burn and to burn and to burn itself hot.

Eventually, you see, if the flame is not fed,
the man will burn to ash…

The Burn Inside

Sometimes, at night, when the air is just biting enough, I like to sit outside in our Adirondak chairs
and wait in silence until the dew covers my legs.
It doesn't take that long, especially since the days are so warm
and the nights are so cold,
like adolescent love or driving a car on empty.

Used to be that the dew didn't settle. Mainly it's because I didn't care to settle
into a gentle recline and slowly let the flame in me die out until the sun came up
and refresh the burn inside.

The chiminea splits the chairs. It's this behemoth of clay and smoke,
but it's flue is covered and it's easy to light a fire in there.
Sometimes, if I feel so inclined, and I often do, I'll pretend
I live in it. Barefoot among the ashes,
I stare out the open maw into my backyard,
counting the petals on the dahlia, trying to decide what color green
the grass is today.

On nights like these, when the dew settles on my legs,
I scrounge around for some dry tinder.
Sometimes, I light the f…

On Sundays

Here's something a little different. It's a short story. I haven't written one in a while.

The man at the lunch counter is usually the only one who listens to me when I start to ramble. He takes his knife, serrated for slicing bread of course, saws his way through a tough loaf of rye, and magic happens.
"Tony," I say, always thinking to myself that for some reason I found his stereotypical Italian name funny, "every day I order a ham and Swiss on rye, with a little olive oil drizzle and a side of potato chips."

He looked up from under his black bushy eyebrows and lack of eyelashes. "And?"
I wasn't expecting that question. I wasn't expecting a question period. I stared at him in apparent shock, mouth agape.

"And?" he asked again, I suppose because he thought I didn't hear him the first time.

"I don't know."

He took off his plastic gloves. "Sundays are different." He sighed. "On Sundays, I go …

I am a Seed

I can't remember when
or where I heard it,
but a friend,
and I know them,
but they told me I was a seed.

From which tree I fell, I
cannot tell.
From which flower I
was carried,
I cannot say.
From which grass that blows
in the breeze and browns
in the winter,
I truly cannot respond.

I wish I knew, though.
I wish I knew that I were inborn of some
greater purpose.
And perhaps I can serve some greater purpose still.

They say that I am planted,
and when I am planted, I stew.
I stew until the moment
that I become an itch.
I become an itch that can't be scratched.
Then, I stir.
I stir the soil around me
causing ripples in the earthen flesh.
People who are good enough
can see this. They can feel
the tiny convulsions underneath the surface.

They tell me that I'm fragile right now.
That if I were not grasped I would halt. I would never bear fruit.
Fruit. That is my purpose is it not?
Then again, I don't know whether I
should provide shade to allow
my offspring the natural …

Thunder Among Branches

At 6:48 a.m., give or take a few, the
sun begins its steady climb up and toward
the afternoon.
I would know, I'm there every day.

And when I blink, the sun sets.

I wish I could claim to have supernatural powers,
the ability to eschew time across space.
But, I do not.

it is the simple time and space I live in.
My expedited life, compressed into a
short passage,
held hostage behind doors of electricity.
If I could manipulate time,
my dream would be to slow it down
so I could see the sun crest and
fall like
the breathing chest of my infant
or the hairs on the back of my arms
when I embrace my wife.
I wish I could see the
reds and oranges of the midsummers'
The changing seasons would awe and
Perhaps, I would finally have
time to sleep.

The Sun

I ventured to peer into the
sun at dusk,
filtered through the twilight trees.
Like that,
I can see the outline,
perfectly round.

I know it's a sphere,
but to me, to my
terrestrial feet,
bound to this ground by toes and heels,
it's but a disc,
slowly spinning
and burning itself from the inside.

I'm suddenly not satisfied
with my eyes.
Though the sun should blind,
the trees protect me.

I reach out with my hand, for I would not
reach out with another,
and play with the heat on the pads
of my fingers.

I imagine a symphony
as the warmth threads itself into my
hanging tapestry,
weaving a story into the lines
and lines

Propelled by this new sound,
I step up into the sky,
bouyed by the breeze
and the sounds of the road.
To set foot on the sun
is to become a god.
And that is impossible.


Old man Forest sat on his front porch,
like he sat for the past 50 year,
with cool breeze in his hair
and a tune in his ear.

He been around the block a
few time or more.
And he seen the change
many a time before.

Used to be, he'd say to his kids,
the neighbors would mow
lawns on Saturday;
church on Sunday, go

to work on Monday.
Used to be that kids would
be in school from 8 to 4
and would rush home for supper.

They'd do they homework.
Moms would do they housework.
Dads would do they lawn work,
Families would do the hard work.

What happened to us? he'd ask,
his little whistle squeaking across
his perfectly white teeth.
Frankly, as I breathe, I am at a loss.

It must be an illness.
it must be an infestation.
Look at them there, staring at
blue-light manifestations,

He'd cluck his tongue, shake
his head, before he continued.
I help'd built this country, workin'
my hands raw to the roots.

I woke at 4. Walked at 5.
Worked at 6. Walked at 5.
Cooked at 6. Bathed …

The Winter Knell

A lot has happened since you left these halls,
these unhallow’d, shallow’d, marbled, quiet doors
no longer are lively, spritely talks in-walls,
Nor has the sun bounced, nor pounced off the floors.

Whilst you were here, the gardens simply sang,
sang forth the triumphs of your bespoke deeds!
Above the roofs the clearest of clear bells rang
and birds above the sky flew bright and free!

But, you have left behind a shadow. Near
to us we find the chill of winter snowfall,
though it be closer to June than December.
You’ve gone and left the ground a deadened pall.

When you return, will the flowers once again
untie the air with your sepulchered scent?

A little thought and a new poem

I've been doing a lot of poetry writing and reading this month (as if I don't do it any other month), and I've come to several conclusions:
1. Some people think they are poets.
2. Some people think they are poets who are actually really great story tellers.
3. Some people write commentary thinking it's poetry.
4. We have no idea what makes poetry.
So, I started thinking about this. What makes poetry? We can take a look at a painting and say, "That's a painting." We can to the same with sculpture. We can do the same with acting. We can do the same with novels and short stories. But, what is poetry? Ever read the epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf? Those are poems!
Poetry has been described as the heart's song. It's been described as the suffering of the human soul. It's been characterized as the truth of life. But, it's none of these and all of these. Poetry is the art of the wordsmith.
Like there are the Pollucks and van Goghs, poetry exists in fo…

Under the House

The old man and me, we was out the other day clearing brush from under the house.
We don't want no house fire,
not after the McKinley's lost they house 'bout a month or more back.
Sad tragedy that. They had three dogs and a son that
was lost in that blaze. Could feel it for a mile 'round.

But we was under the house, like we usually is,
chippin and clearin. Ma was upstairs. We could hear her feet
tip-tappin like some giant dancer or that telegraph machine that
makes it so's we can talk to one another from across the country.
Why anyone would want to do that, I don't know.
Ain't nobody there but Yanks anyways.

But, she were up there, tip-tapping, dancing like Ginger Rogers,
we could tell because that's what she does when she's baking,
and dad gets this look on his face. He gets this look like he's just finished
painting the barn doors. I look at him funny, and he says to me, he says,
"That woman..." and shakes his head.

I know ma and pa sometimes …

To The Night

I’m all here.
There are no abnormalities,
no gashes, scrapes, nor bruises.
There are no burns, no fractures,
 no bites or stings.

But, it is here I wait out my days
cold and unclothed, devoid of the sun’s rays.

It has been a long time hence
I had set foot on greenest grass.
The bygone days are days of my past
and the world has become past tense.

Foul’d, I had been painted a villain.
I, a villain! An enemy of state!
It is a wretched twist and turn of fate
that I be shackled and split in twain.

My love, my dearest Agnes of Ford,
ran from the estate screaming.
I, in my chambers silently dreaming,
dreamt more of her than of God.

It was there, that wind-swept night,
that Agnes was found at the bank
of the stream, unholy stream,
streaming with black water and blight

night dances dancing on her head.
Her body became the night howl,
heard above the deepest bowels
of hell and the damned dead.

The next morn, whilst I slumbered,
the constable arrived at my door.
He asked if I had see…

The Hunted

In the Moment

of my death,
I ponder on things left behind.
I wonder where it is I shall go.

The arrow pierces lightly.
That part I pay no mind.
It is the force of will leaving me.

I saw him, too, the elegantly clad
man in a mirrored wind.
He smelled of tiresome hunger.

He was weary then. Perhaps too thin.
His fragile bones climbed
up through his sinew.

I shall remember none of this.
My body will become rigidly defined
as I deliquesce into mud.

I am more than I once was.
My flesh is your flesh refined.
My blood is your blood.

We are consanguineous.
You eat of yourself.

The Hunter

They say she is the mother of invention.
Tonight, she is my mother
and the mother of creation.

In some respects, my brother
is the unused wilderness surrounding my perfect
eyes and earth. Why bother

with that which cannot be wrecked?
I see a dissimilitude.
There be a stark moment of checked

gut and desire. My eyes understood
while my lips, quivering, dripped
in synchronicity with my mood.

My ego, no longer strapped and shipped
to the branches of my mind,
connect to the deer-blood crypt

I long to be in. It is there I can find
the finely beating heart of desire.
I level my arrow, search for the blind

side and let loose my trusted flyer.
Tonight I shall dine by the fire.

In Math Class... Again

(Day 5: A Plus Poem)
Won't someone stop her talking
because sleep is slowly stalking
and I've reached the end of caring
for algebraic thought.

She stands in front of whiteboard
not realizing we're all bored,
squawking her marker ever forward
into the deep and dark mind rot.

I've fallen in and out for hours;
I've lost all my super powers.
I should take lots of cold showers
because I'm not feeling hot.

Then, she finally ends her barrage
of quotients, dividends, and average,
and bespeaks her old adage:
Subtract and plus not.

Hold that Light to my Cigarette

(Day 4 NaPoWriMo)
Hold that Light to my Cigarette

and watch my world become a
puff of smoke.
Dancing Chantilly lace
at the edge of my nose
and the end of vision
tickles my toes and
makes my fingertips buzz
with profound anticipation, knowing that
every breath I take is a breath
that may make me cry.

Don't worry.
I've done more to myself
than to you or another
and there's a place in my
heart where your smile
had been.

But, that don't matter now.
What matters now is that that
hole fill itself with smoke.
It don't make me choke anymore,
thank the Lord for that.
Embarrassing that, having
to choke down the dreams
of Brando and Wayne.
Now, it's a cold comfort,
like holding hands
in the hospital bed
as the last beep beeps and the
last rise of the chest is followed by
a steady churn in the bowels.

So, please. Please, hold that light for me
while I breathe in your flame and filter
it through black tar so that it sticks
to the inside of me.