Here, in the white light
Of the pale ivy
Moon, your brown breasts fit
Shyly in the cups
Of my hands, measured
By expansive sky
And the grasses cut
And bagged from our yard.
And in the softness
Of this clumsy year,
We have aligned more
And accurate as
A sextant set out
To measure the stars.
May in Savannah
It's a shotgun smell,
all oil and powder,
the kind that leaves you paranoid
what could be missing.
it's only the scent of magnolias blooming,
pollen flypapered to nostril hair,
sporadic mucus itch.
Joking aside, what else is there -
a solitary man on a square's bench,
slumped, scratching his chest,
the weight of gravity
or a hammer,
the pressure of breathing in early spring.
A warped sonnet intended to demonstrate the confines and sacrifices given to a significant other, be it a person or a habit or a hobby
I do not believe your innocence, instigator.
There are dolphins instantly shored
Desperate for constrained food,
Cornered mackerel – which I am – a sore
Bone scraped clean hollow, a meal to lacquer
Your stomach. I give you my blood.
This is love. I will always serve you my solid
Mess of muscle and spasmodic over-grooming, my hair
Nothing more than a bush to act
As grappling devices for you to wrap
Your fingers into as you try not to slip into sleep
Near an ocean attempting to subtract
Itself of the fat of a dirty beach where horseshoe
Crabs mate and jellyfish die bloated and stiff as old glue.
What Has Always Been – The thought comes in the final line: ‘power’ is what is needed, the real against unreal. Power is definitive (stone), but there is no constant power; it flashes (flicker) and leaves a stone.
Electric lights illuminate the fat night air;
And in straight windows slick with the steam of paintings,
Conclusions roil over the tick of each gray gear
Rasping into the dark. When cold metallic stings
The blood, the rancid smell of stale ink and cooked mounds
Of wet paper permeates the cigarette cloud
Gravel and pavement broken by grass and dirt clods
Where hundreds of pairs of shoes hum and hammer plod.
Later in the early morning next, blue curtains
Hang closed with an eye for an ear on what transpires
To become the predecessing day that contains
Within its leaves and winds an exhaustion of stars.
The magic believed to be good has never been.
All there is is power, a flicker and a stone.
We come together in the silence of a house that isn’t ours, a tiny bed where one back down is necessary, no death, only white light exploding in the jet, a dim lamp holding its own offering meager guidance simply too late in the lingering cool down under a ceiling fan of sympathy. Giving what it could, the mattress of air cradles familiarity best it can by varietal space or vintage, as though one year is sweeter or possesses better body, while another bottle’s subpar blends masquerade as crafted. On half foreign dirt, taste acknowledges confidence and resourceful intuition. Locale shot by vantage sight sabotage, we alchemize the salt from pores fortified by two oceans, night by night, to kiss and lap dreams vacationing in the black sand valleys of our folded brains.
I Will Tell You a Story
When I was a kid, I called cicadas
Electric bugs because they sounded like
Blown fuse boxes. Summer can’t be like this.
We separate into opposite rooms
Completing projects and various work.
(When I was a kid, I called cicadas)
There is always a massive weight, a case
Of fluctuating current like the broke
Blown fuse boxes. (Summer can’t be like this)
A girl sings a single octave song. This
Is my heart, a mess of needles and milk.
(When I was a kid, I called cicadas)
You are that girl, alone between the trees
Of Michigan, your dark hair laced to break
Blown fuse boxes. (Summer can’t be like this)
Our naked bed rests next to my slippers,
And I take my rummed coffee straight and black.
--When I was a kid, I called cicadas
Blown fuse boxes. Summer can’t be like this-
Retrograde - a memory draws itself a line
Out from a bowl of soup cradling an image
Of forced exposition, a retreat speech deluge
To engage a potato or beef chunk a gauge
Of some created city erased to ruin.
The notion blanks into oblivion and I
Return to myself, the sky the same gun gray as
The morning before; a restaurant bricks up; chairs
Scrape under and Asian family; my two beers
Sitting empty by my bowl. I wait for my rye.
Or is it dementia? Or is it a brain
Has capacity for so much information?
I learned a long time ago that to return
To past cerebral landscapes never remains clean
Or gets any easier, just a bit more fun.
After a Series of Disasters Over a Span of Five Years
Something else wakes me
after midnight -
crab that isn't settling right -
It's an event,
static lightning residue,
the bronco's overpowering devastation
valued above wit, colorful tailoring,
and yoked carriage stallions
utilized in relic towns
to haul tourists,
drunk locals, and newlyweds.
My eyelashes crust together
in the wake of strange news -
pressure cooker trashcans,
and unused boxes
of ammunition cartridges
stained clothes and wasted bodies,
limbs left where they fell.
Sleep vanishes forever into corpses.
There is always an exchange
whether we believe it or not.
What we need is abandoned or traded
for what the deceased need.
And at this point we are
outnumbered daily by the dead,
a mock piranha language
bound up in thumb grease smudged books
documenting history - mostly tragedy
regardless of victory or defeat,
capture or release,
aggression or peace.
All I know
is that for tonight
I will not sleep.
A dry spell, brain rocked
Letting this green fist
Joints swelled from the stressed
The plush flesh and hair
Of the overly
Of supposed anger
And craved punishment,
A few negative words
Followed by shakes caught
While sitting through night
Until red daybreak
Catches itself up
And yellows to work.
Rain hangs its head, weak,
Misting on live oaks,
Silent trunks with loud
Leaves dropping on trucks
Coughing by, dipsticks
Caked with dried out oil,
Dust about to be
Returned to the soil,
A limp disposal
Service where flags fold
And skull crowns are touched.
The fist is unfurled.
Too many times; glass
Takes its place, splintered,
A bull head impasse,
A distraction. Toss
In a craning throat
And no alcohol
Will threaten to cut
The surge strands of fight,
Whatever you can
The strange symphony
Of constructed caves
And catacombs through
Bone marrow octaves
Tenoring the lives
Of plasma cells coursed
Like a hare dog crossed,
Taut, scampering lost.
I greet you with Tempranillo and a Piazzolla thump,
monster processional clouds glowing slate, granite and geodes
in the moon’s wake, the radial light waving through
moisture translucent as flesh and veils.
Bent in movements and tempo, vocal gutturals and screeching whistles,
not one person outside us knows what transpires
in the lapping of our apartment’s tide,
eruptions of creation not entirely understood during the process.
We stand back observing the result, the stench of seared eggplant
visibly confined by latched windows, moving among rooms,
cardboard balanced against a bookshelf, a rejected meal, but the rice has been dug into.
Rejected clothing left at my hips, the elevation of our
bed bound in crimson, too deep a color for fresh
blood attained through overworked muscles
built in midnight product thrown on aluminum
reinforced by union wage and disengaged optimism.
I greet you with Tempranillo and a Piazzolla thump;
we cry out at the finale of morning, school children’s concluding laughter
as we swing egos gun gray as concrete intentionally underappreciated
as sidewalks left to weathering in abandoned villages
and metropolitan communities
hidden from tourist snapshots, painted to present attractive mosaics
from positioned vantage scenic points on mountain road curves.
This bottle sits not half finished with my glass drained and you are not here.
Empty bowl. My belly is full with rice and corn soaked in the remnants of your breakfast soup.
There is a sad spoon before me, silver pupil on porcelain,
limp handle begging for a fist whether it rough or gentle.
The scene is a mere table, tragic with trash, outdated bills
and on old computer maintaining its infections.
Broken seal, a new bottle jumps from its chill to join
festive glasses pouring into the container of my stomach,
broken pieces of coconut, white food with white drink.
When I place my lips to the rim of words I speak to people without faces
I am tranced, still focused on our last embrace,
caring less than any man should, maroons washing
through my throat, noting sparks with a judger’s bias.
Unintelligible demeanors attempting to surface meet
my palms and are crammed back to the bottom of the keg where fermentation originates.
these are not steel constructions when you are involved;
they are oak and cherry wood, fired boards
torched by the hands of abandoned deities,
furious gods drunk as mortals, manipulating molecular compounds
into absurd caricatures. I wish to be so vulgar and cannot.
Talk with me the taste of animality, though I am
the only one in which love has been floodgate released upon,
myself too tired to take on the violence of your reservoir.
Too slow, the necessity to reduce pumping,
I pause just out of reach though you are further pressed.
Today I sip from a white glass glittering its sweat,
the bloody one gone same as days before.
Sandy grape and corroded hair, though I want it more
in your hands than mine alone, gray and blue with dust and broken bottles.
Games of creation gun their ways from electric plugs,
rain barricaded and confined to outdoors. I watch it slant
spitting itself against pavement and o’hia-lehua,
everything going gray in the torrent, my fingers
itching for oil dissatisfied with only feeling my own face
and the contents of the corners of my eyes and caverns of my nostrils.
Stumbling off sugar, another bowl empty, the chocolate residue
from the cereal flaking after hours, I crave sleep
resigning to a mug of coffee the girth of my skull.
Empty bottles stash themselves where I cannot remember,
and the sky approves applauding my laps of memory.
With marionette strings stapled to my head’s posterior,
I lower my face slack from the stick
still clapped after by rain, the air brightening
as Hawai’ian warriors march in the wet sun.
Leaves like oxidized copper foil shake in the steps,
the ferns unfurling their alien fingers,
mongoose bounding from the midget dates and their orange spikes
to the tangle of guava trunks and orchid shoots.
Mynahs fluff miserable on power lines, the scratch
of their voices silenced with drenched weight.
I feel the shift from script to improvise rising from our couch
thirty years infused with Pekinese and Pomeranian urine and dander,
my nose clogged by scabs building scaffold layering
dried by new structures preparing for their grand opening
as a house of kilombo, dissonant music altering speakers.
First nights where parking lot lights keep me full arc from feline nap,
the yellow rain slanting, as it does at our home, filling me with nostalgia,
distance tethering strong associations; cycloptic boxes
developing pixilated landscapes and magic
replaced by my enamourment of you,
eight-bit music hailed as electronic orchestra
replaced by my enamourment of you.
By all other things I am reminded no matter the cost, I could never cover
the fee for replacement of just one cornerstone in the pillar of my legs.
I return brought by the plucks of strung luck and bandoneon squeezes
while there is not blood left in me, the tragic table
abandoned of its excruciating existence
taking the radiance of new sound, Argentinean houses
and French adaptations of street rhythms, outmoded
pocket watch defibrillated back to life, held in an occasional hand
or tucked into the secret stitching in the right side of my black corduroys.
This whole time is cleared of its mess, tri-tone
facilitated as night turns day, but that was hours ago and is now dusk once more.
I occupy myself with unnoticed endeavors as you further your technical color prowess.
Only at the tail end do we realize the children in us are necessary,
parallel to understanding older singers birth better singers today.
You and I may live beyond each other as it were
but with shattered eyes, the mandarin horizon askance
as either of us may stumble before being seen by any other individual.
But once seen, a strut stilted with pride would surface from the spheres of our marrow,
bird whistles and heels, pick pluckings being our solitary language
meant to find the other’s ethereal cerebellum.
Pink carried me until I could not
count the clock numbers,
the alarm licking over the edge
of the bed, a burn at the base
of an overworked esophagus.
Night flattens. Textures numb.
Hair erupts in thick stranded shadows
arcing around palmetto bugs
tracing ceiling fan currents with
divining rod antenna erratically rotating.
The struggle to define bone outlines
hindsights off ceramic coffee mugs,
mixed up thrift shopped sheets,
and a lack of care cradled in a lack of sleep,
the moon sinks into cloud bath drinks.
Singular music, useless tongue clicks
upended and crammed under heels planted
lifting bodies of dead memories,
a necromancer’s gift to spirited defiance
attempting to be suffocated by pewter
smelted from the shack of a desolate man
smearing a sweaty rag caked with old polish
against his face, the door locked,
and the rubber hissing as he pours
more molds of pineapples and seahorses.
Shot 57 Energy, Force
He understood rain, the fluid arm of untranslatable love. In his town, harbored by man-made mountains and irrigation ditches, children grew up on corn and goat products. Meat was charred and cheese reeked of gaminess. Gray skies came and moved on, the west waxing into the east, religious suns and moons dodging sight by cloud cover. He grew up with fingers too stupid to caress; stealing was no issue. Ribbon strips fluttered and rolled from magnolias, their gnarled bark a sign of facades to come, Spanish moss, symbiotic allowance of how the world progresses a community’s needs and services. He cradled the whole of the Earth in his belly, and it ate just enough so he didn’t die from the accepted embryo. Hands jut out from the sides of office buildings and schoolhouses, their fingers in a constant state of stasis, some closed in a fist, some outspread. He came close to touching a few, but there was never enough pride in him to do so. With these silent creatures in mind, he wanted to learn. After he grew up, long before he ever passed away, he learned there were across the continents and oceans out of a handful of teachers, only one he never met. He learned creation isn’t meant for God alone, if God did at all anymore.
He braces his throat
breaking against the shore like a thing on fire,
wind cooling his flesh, flipping sand
snatching at his feet and eyes.
There are no contenders for his shell kingdom.
He has killed them all,
jabbed holes through their bodies, drank their blood,
buried them underneath his territory,
urinated on each mound he’s covered,
defecated on each mound,
cackled and crowed,
wears a sliver of gristle from each victory
in his stomach lining.
That is where the strength comes from.
That is where nothing dares sleep at twilight.
That is where the cancer formulates and eats
Evaporating sun, it has not moved
All week, discerning hot ascertations,
Its indecipherable language welled
Between cadmium flairs and blood vulcans.
Odd ball of hydrogen, distinguished head,
You roar and implode quick as recession
Scares, gears gaping open the rings fastened
To the outer coils of this Earth’s season.
Slowly, with care, the rays metamorph their arc.
An elephant stands in the air, its huge
Head eclipsing across the soil, the eyes
Sharp and sad, its wrinkled gray armor slung
Over its sturdy bones, molecule weak.
You ask me the meaning. I’m not sure these days.
Nightmare, Spring 2009
Cold terror descends. Across tile floor, silence patters weak marching up to the front door and stands, watching. Mynahs cackle in the tall grass on the other side of the wood swollen with rain. The whole of the world giggles behind cupped hands, its virginity long gone with treacherousness surfacing continent by continent. Fruit withers, deserts flood, potatoes are eradicated again, even from Peru. In quick language, there are no explanations to be offered. None exist. Cold terror descends, and only the dogs of the planet know when to back away from the door.
Morning at the Bed & Breakfast
The guests scuttle for the sun-porch
When the house is full, and they grapple
For the Jacksonville Times while the housekeeper
Prepares the coffee and the innkeeper
Prepares the eggs.
The staff nods their good mornings;
And without the slightest hitch
They make their way back to the kitchen knowing
Table one has swingers cards and a Golden Anniversary Bible,
Table two has toys and a spare pack of AA batteries,
Table three has His and Hers corsets with matching sheer thigh-highs,
And none of them realize how thin the walls are
Or the dynamics of vibration.
Darkness upon darkness
centered by a cardinal speck,
muscle twitches torquing its legs.
How you tremble to sing,
your soprano’s cadences
into the forest of ferns
folded in vog
at the mountain top.
Shiver in the chill
and constant sheet downpours,
tiny in the shroud
of a starless, moonless terror,
thick weed vulturing over,
crickets musing under boars,
and you, a morsel
of modest design,
from the ebony rock
constructed to bury you
standing parameter tall,
your quick wings
understanding well your
generations won’t save
you from oblivion.
Youth in Jacksonville
Walking along the currents, a small group
Of pink weed webs out its flowery vines
Capturing diseased, rotted fish in clump
After clump from the fecal brown St. Johns.
Along its banks, children dip in their feet
Fascinated by its pull and its stink;
They watch as the surface ripples, their seat
Shaking from the train breaking its bridge-track.
No winter ever touched downtown, just chill
When the season turned proper. They felt ill
When their necks torqued captured by the neon.
The weed passed, and the fish passed, water stilled.
When the weak hours groped, they gave and shuddered
Under the good wind. We were strange children.