Friday, July 27, 2012

Smooth

We’re nibble-close
in our sheet-strewn bed
on a Wednesday
while Jackson is sleeping.

It’s dark outside
and we spend most of the time
staring into each other;
I tell you that your blue eyes
are the stuff of poetry.

I run my fingers through
your long brown hair
just because I know
you will slide your body
closer to mine.

I admit,
that my work began to suffer
from the moment I met you
and that I was wrong
to have told you
during our honeymoon
that I could never be happier
than I was right then.

I tell you that I became aware
of this mistake the first time
I saw you nursing Jackson
and had just become aware of it again.

You whisper in my ear,
I love you, Danny.
But you’re lying on my hair.




Snakeskin Poetry Webzine - August 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tsunami

Tragedies
like this don’t
just happen all
of a sudden. First,
there is this unseen shift;
then a shaking and a splitting
at the core of things. Next, the rush,
fast and hundreds of miles deep. From
the very first wiggle sirens sound evacuations.
Sometimes there is a scrambling for higher ground.
Sometimes there is denial, fascination with the odd receding calm,
exploration of new beauty until the holding on for dear life, a few loud words,
                                                                                        and
                                                             being
                             swept
away.



Other Rooms Press - Summer 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Huck Finn Summer

I turned twelve during Huck Finn summer
just after spring delivered baby brother,
red-curled and dimply. All I wanted
was to teach Stevie life’s important things,
but his crib bars kept him jailed from playing
bare-footed outside or climbing in trees.

     Squishy brown fruit from our apricot trees
     aimed at my sisters - two prissy summer
     targets, pigtails and sundresses, playing
     house or dress-up - splat them mad, our brother
     laughs as they chase me inside. “There’s one thing,”
     I holler, dashing by – I am Wanted.


Our house was full of holes we each wanted
filled – Mom, by herself, could not trim the trees;
big sister’s silky quilt, a threadbare thing;
little sister drew one picture all summer
long, over and over: baby brother
and our father, loves of her life, playing.

     Calloused against sharp dry grass, I’m playing
     with the worn brown boxing gloves Dad wanted
     me to have. “Don’t you mess with my brother,”
     I warn unseen bullies, jabbing at trees,
     smelling old leather, apricots, summer
     sweat, and the rank taste of some big lost thing.


I wag my head at how tiny a thing
it takes – the sound of children playing,
the wet of dew between my toes, summer
afternoons hammocked with nothing wanted,
peanut butter and apricot jam, trees
with swings – I was a lousy big brother.

     Between his bars I say, “You’re my brother
     and you won't have to play alone. One thing
     you can count on is me. We’ll climb high trees
     and have adventures, just us two, playing
     pirates like Tom and Huck – outlaws wanted
     dead or alive. You’re gonna love summer!”


Each year as trees grow bare, I wonder how my brother
marks the passing of summer. Can he see that things
age and hue? Playing with me was all he ever wanted.



Big River Poetry Review - July 9, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Residue

I was propped in bed
smoking a cigarette
under the ceiling fan
after recent exertion.

My wife,
fluffing her hair
in the bathroom mirror,
had already moved on to talking
about how her cell phone
no longer holds a charge.

Strange.
All I could hear
and see and taste
was the nasty yellow residue
my ex-wife left

hovering around
my nakedness
like smoke rings
that never float away.



Yes, Poetry - July 2012 (titled there as I Have a Hard Time with Happiness)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The New Boss is from Hawaii

Hola, Knife River Company,
how can I help you?

Annie, this is Dan.
Why are you answering
the phone that way?

It’s Hawaiian-Shirt Friday.
Didn’t anybody tell you?

No.
Annie, hola is Spanish.
Don’t you mean, aloha?

Dangit. You’re right.
Let me start over.
Aloha, Knife River Company,
how can I help you?

I need to talk to Fred.
Hey, why didn’t anyone tell me
about Hawaiian-Shirt Friday?

Maybe it’s because
you don’t know how to hang loose.
Maybe it’s due to fear
that you will show up
in a grass skirt and sandals –
my god!
Do you still want to talk to Fred?

Yes. Please.

Well, I’ll have to send you
to voice-mail. He is busy eating
a pineapple and Spam sandwich.
Mahalo and adios.



The Waterhouse Review - Summer 2012

Our Son Cries

your heart is a cracked accordion filling fast with salt - Patrick Rosal

My ex-wife called to tell me this.
Well, not exactly this. She called for money
I’d already paid. As an aside, in passing,
she added this: Our son cries.

He holds his face in his hands and sobs.
He stops by for food, cleansing, a couch
for sleeping on. He talks to himself.
He scratched the name “Jesus”
into his chest, says he’s fighting
the devil. He asked if he was adopted,
says Bob Marley is playing games
with his mind. His prescription
bottle’s full; he says the doctor is stupid.

Our son cries, she tells me in passing
after asking for money I’d already paid.
She cries, says she prays for magic.
I do not cry right there in front of her,
on the phone. Instead, I blink hard
and blink hard again.



Burningword - July 2012