My god it is raining again.
It has been raining all week in this little pocket of relatively sane weather
while the rest of the globe is going crazy with heat and thirst. Why here?
I don’t know. I am supposed to be
genius about this kind of stuff and I am shouted down at my own fucking poetry
slam. I do not know why the evil
overheated weather patterns continue to approach and then swirl over or around
the great corrupt state of Michigan. If
it wasn’t corrupt before It sure as hell will be soon as every greedy
opportunist turns his developer’s nose this way.
where you begin.
would make the
piece difficult to read
if you began
it somewhere else
had a specific
So that is
what we do.
where we are supposed to.
We dress it
the way we are expected to
And we do so
many things that way.
ok. It is every bit as much ok to follow
these conventions as it is to
I do not got
to think about this.
I’m looking across to where she had been sitting. The sun has dropped below the window, but
there are still those blotches in my eyes.
There is one on the leather where she was sitting and a smaller blotch
on the sill like a puddle of water. I
close my eyes and the blotches turn purple and swarm together. I consider closing that blind but I am dimly
aware that it isn’t necessary now, that everything is ok; that the Snake has
left and I do not have any new holes in my body, any new holes in my soul.
She has come and gone and there are no new curios on my
desk, no graffiti on my walls. I am not
overdrawn at the bank. I have not been
jailed. I have not been married in some
third-world country to an adoring maiden whom I have never met. I am aware any
of these things would have seemed right and normal to her. That it would have seemed to her wrong of me
to refuse them. I see a flowering of
color and light and color over the building across the street followed by a
blinding spot of light.
The concussion rocks the sky and I am already under my heavy
oak desk before I realize that some idiot is celebrating the 4th of
July. Several of them are at it judging
from the sounds. I uncoil pressing my back
against the desk. My temples are
pounding. The office lights up
periodically from the skyrockets outside.
Some of the ordinance sounds less than harmless. Who can tell? There is a hit nearby and tiles and dust
rattle from the ceiling. It occurs to me that perhaps this is no longer the
safe place I once thought it to be.
Sampson Krynite particles
off the roof
up in the gutters.
This is what
for rain in
True it is
It is just
And it will
We had expected to drown
Not to have
all the water replaced with
Of the two scientists
it was said
coined the phrase
“It is what
you don’t expect
where the corn begins to stalk
The sweet suburban
As the wind
flows over naked
starry cool skies.
Here a line
of men and women,
already leaning hard against them
day in graphic detail.
stretches line all the way
past the cemetery
where the hounds are pulling at their leashes.
O God where
is the tiny choir that sang in the church?
Where is the
preacher’s broken Bible?
I think I see
them all in the line
step into the whirling green blades.
Which is to
say my head is turned so that
I can see
across the space
occupying the upper
of the sanctuary.
It is hot in
here and the doors are open and everyone
the first five minutes after they have sat down
there is no air conditioning.
Is there an air-conditioning
nuptial package that is an upgrade?
When I was a
child churches never had air
and now the heat only makes you forget
whores walking the street outside
As the bride
and groom kneel at the altar.
I stumble in
A plan is
I have lost
sense of an idea had a grip on me
But I lost
computer. It is
a fountain pen and notebook…
I am yelling
even as I see the ball popping straight
into the middle of the sun.
And already I
know that that is where it will fall like a jagged burning ball of light
Into a tiny
glove that no man could hold on to.
fly out of the sky
purple green orange red
and you cry
As the great
Each covering the one before
that the magician’s hand is never seen
scorpion’s tail flickers and crackles
There is a
moment of silence before
A long tail
follows a rocket to its zenith
before it hits it is framed
By a quintet
of giant blooms beneath that crept there unseen.
owner does not smoke.
Of course no
one else lives here.
be evidence of cleaning habits
point to the dusty burnt out candle
turn could as well point
back to cleaning
is clearly hand made.
with bits of odd color
even in its retired state
it has an
aura of the mystic
as if the
candle maker had inhaled
too much wax
or too much…
What was her
Why did he
America’s no country
to write about.
There’s no romance allowed
in the country of coal.
What’s a man to do?
Should he squat and write about the fourteen-hour day?
I stand and cipher;
I appraise, I squeal, vibrate, and sneeze.
I am clouded with steam and smoke,
I am dripping with piss and puss,
and am staked four-square in a valley of excrement.
I walk on hallowed ground,
covered with eight inches of asphalt
already cracking around the edges
where the stiff new green shoots are shoving their way
unaware of the first full frost
roaring down through Canada.
Last night my eight-year-old Amanda looks at me and asks for
a poem for her teacher and for her librarian.
What has she been telling them?
What are they expecting? What is
she expecting? Something like the Language
of Trees where I climb the hill behind my house to bark at the dark green urth
in the middle of the night? Something
where I howl at a swollen moon, pregnant with cancerous mice? It is so difficult to submit to someone
else’s expectations. So much easier to
just produce, spew, hone, file, and shape.
So much finer to just secrete.
There are nights I would rather
just lean into my piano,
touch the keys, taste the notes,
making believe I can smell the walnut
wrapped around the sound board,
steeply leaned against life,
driving long after my reason has run out.
And I am sitting in a church pew
In summer Michigan watching my Tommy
pledge marriage to a woman he loves.
In my memory I am back
in a tiny kitchen in Ohio
looking at the worn yellow
I am six years old, and in the
in the same instance I am
watching my son.
At the same moment,
I see him as a baby in a
He is thrashing a plastic ring of
a baby toy or rattle, and they
fly out of the cradle
landing on that yellow linoleum
a generation down,
forty years back.
My father is sanding the cradle
In his workshop
Pausing to feel the grain with
Eyes gazing out over the
Now, the Tommy keys lay
like a crushed butterfly on the
The Tommy himself flutters
fitfully in his crib,
and it is, of course,
long past my own bedtime.
Tomorrow will come lunging out of
rolling me along a highway,
pitching into the dark and frozen
head lamps stripping the broken
yellow line around the curve,
breaking the sheen on some new
turgid green stem shoved up out
of the road.
I'll shiver behind the wheel,
sleepy again, always
God, why am I always
my six-year-old son
“Why do I always want to kiss all the girls in the world?”
My Tommy is kissing the bride.
His son, one of the groomsmen
Is smiling at a girl seated behind me.
more than a single
strand of spider’s
tree to bush
I have been
told for many years now
yet I do not
see the advertisements
web tweeters for your
moves there, catching a slash
Of light in
to break or sag.
It is an
idea of tension
events which cannot be seen
And whose beginnings
are only whispered
In the daring
in. I breathe out. In that space of time are placed two tones. These are followed by a familiar two-note
dance. My mind is wheeling, fluttering in
lazy rolls on dry dragonfly wings out over the back deck, glancing off the
rusty iron bell there, slashing through the mulberry tree, cutting leaf shards
into the air, knocking berries into the tiny pond so far below. I am climbing, climbing, the breeze drying my
eyes, her fingers slipping through my hair, cooling my face. Empty air slips
past my belly, and a thousand night skies slip through my arms.
It’s colder than I would have expected for a July day and I
have plucked the heating system to life, choosing that “program” without
looking at the settings. The “hot” days
have been so erratic that I have not done a program for the cooling, uncertain
what to make since things are so dependent on the humidity and the delta
between day and night. I don’t think I
can really make a “program” for air conditioning for this house. There are too many variables besides
temperature and time and those are the only things my smart thermostat takes
I feel that dizzy woolen thing that signals the
sugar/insulin imbalance one way or another.
I could check my sugar level.
Probably should stop and check the sugar level. That would be the smart thing. I would then be armed with some partial
knowledge at that point although there would still be uncertainty attached to
it given the conflicting advice I am constantly given regarding what I should
eat and what the numbers mean. One
doctor says my numbers are too low to be significant. Another says they are dangerously
relevant. One says I should eat
this. Another says no.
They still say my grandson is coming to live with me in two
days or so. My mind is resisting this
because I understand life is fickle and subject to change. It will offer things
and then take them away, sometimes in very cruel ways. I have learned to close my brain to certain
possibilities until they are undeniable realities. In this way I am often poorly prepared for events,
but I am much better prepared for the things that don’t happen. It seems to me that you can always find a way
to manage the things that do happen.
A slow pink
tender shoots along the edge
behind damp thighs
rifle barrels pressed the wrong way
raw lieutenants whose orders are not
to be questioned.
The cheese gathers itself
pawing through the soggy pink
leaving ragged tracks
pressing the shoots
soiling the thighs
bending the barrels
sending the lieutenants
their pants about their knees.
The cement hardens
a lighter shade of gray
with swirls of pink.
it has toe prints
and shoots of tender Bermuda grass
begin to break through within
the first week.
Three shots are fired.
No one is hit.
At work, the
apsules are slow to respond. They will be until the sun rises and warms them to
24 degrees C. After that they are quick and we have to stay on our toes to
avoid the razor sharp talons.
But we had
another twenty minutes and I was looking through ads for a place to stay when I
saw the ad: Come live in my heart, and pay no rent. It didn't say anything
about pets. Nor did it mention the renovations that would be required. It is always
the things you do not expect that get you.
sun and they
and this dance
and they do
and out of the huffs
of smoke and
so far above,
so far back
as the mist
beneath them begins to
at the last
moment to be snapped
face a partner
considers the lazy twirl
just for a
moment you are there
face to face
gazing into their eyes.
coming to town,
bringing the Mixed Numbers.
Can I leave
them with you?”
What could I
in the car?
boiling in a church parking lot
visions of them
her evil GPS
already deserted her on
and western Kansas,
room in the garage.
I can park
my car in the drive.
I can hose
the garage down
is the place, this is the time,
is the part of the letter
one that gets written
the upstairs hallway
the drywall runs
to pine studs
dry in the dark now
the upstairs where we hide the hallway,
we hide the bodies,
the dreaming feet pad naked and dry
spiders crawl the splintered wood to heaven,
the dark holes
in webs of fear,
love or these delicate fantasies
safety we have so carefully crafted in each room.
am no longer in the study.
I have moved out
the upstairs hallway.
is the part of the letter that gets written
in the hallway.
floor here is hard on my butt,
though it is carpeted.
carpet itself seems to
down and press
fibers hard against me.
time, I am thinking,
need to buy better carpeting
am ignoring the begged question
a better butt.
later ignoring the
question about whether
understands the phrase
the question" anymore,
if that matters.
I have a new stick
Of Purple Pastel.
Maybe it is lavender
There is no map.
Think Pastel Purple
A softening of the fire,
A flicker on the wall
A touch of silk trimed with new lace.
I can hear Pastel Lavender
as a bar of music sweet.
She is intimate and lives
in a palace of a powder box.
She drinks candle wax and
Pastel Lilac is spring
singing in an old church with
the windows open.
She is home later,
hanging broken from a jar of water,
gasping for breath.
On the paper,
Pale Yellow becomes swirl,
becomes the crazy
pale yellow whale.
leaping in a lazy arc of sky,
Pale Yellow swallows the sun
on the way down.
The whale crashes against the water,
swimming hard to drown
the burning thing in his belly,
the thing that wants to rise.
The sun glows after Pale Yellow has gone.
After he drops into darker water.
Burning pale skull fish hide their lidless eyes.
The ragged fire settles,
touching the earth who
cries in surprise
whispers hoarse pastel brown,
bellows bloody rivers against the sky.
It is dark outside.
Today we coax a
pale yellow from the pastel box.
Sliding it into the tractor hook,
we convoy to the end,
and wrestle it over the side.
Workmen walk on both sides
Patting the sweet monolith,
hard hats seen bobbing
over the top.
Clothes coated with a light yellow dusting,
they are scrawling their names on its sides.
Pastel is a pale
reflection of color,
a dream allowing many interpretations.
It does not force you
or even oil.
It lies there and
waits for you
to come .
This day has
slipped beyond morning, but not so much. Daniel comes in off the deck where he is
preparing to paint and runs down the stairs.
Perhaps he has forgotten something he needs and has decided to not ask
me for it. I notice that I often ask him
to slow down because he will ask multiple questions without pause while I am
still formulating the answer to the first.
This must be a form of anxiety in him that produces these questions which
do not actually seek answers, questions that seek to live and breed only as