Friday, December 21, 2012

This Is the Knowing

Cheeks flush pomegranate red
upon embers - this is the knowing
that eventually everything ends badly.
Still, there’s a welcoming of the wet
taste of raspberry against my tongue.

Fingers lace saltwater gray
between damp - this is the knowing
that eventually everything turns tepid.
Still, there’s an easy sway to the talk
on the scaly brown boardwalk.

Lungs inhale thick sticky black
against rot - this is the knowing
that eventually everything is a suffocation.
Still, there’s a strange steady rhythm
to this sharing a blanket each night.

Minds race cold paisley and blue
upon ice - this is the knowing
that eventually everything grows gone.
Still, there’s unlocking my eyes in the dark
and seeing the absence of being unknown.



Shadow Road Quarterly - Winter 2012

Always I Laughed

Did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? - Mary Oliver

The grass was brown, prickly against my bare feet.
I could smell summer ending and things changing inside.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed, just like my dad.

I could smell summer ending and things changing inside
the tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed just like my dad
when they squished between my callused toes.

The tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot
was a place he never lived with an overgrown field he never knew.
Apricots squished between my callused toes
and the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone.

This place he never lived, that overgrown field he never knew,
how the sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade,
the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone -
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.

The sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing;
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.



Shadow Road Quarterly - Winter 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Debonair

Darlin', my name is
Earl and you sizzle my
bacon. How's about you sidle
on over here onto ol' Earl's knee.
Now, don't go playin' shy. Earl
ain't gonna bite ya. No ma'am,
I's taught to treat my little fillies with
respect.



Boston Literary Magazine - December 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wallowing Is Underrated

I mean, why not just sort of roll around
in the mud, let the filth of it cover you entirely,
let its reek gag you until odor-fatigue
begins to work its nasty little magic?

Why not refuse hands offered to help you up?
They don’t know the freedom that comes
with being able to just shit in your shit.
There’s nothing quite like rooting around
with your face buried in what shoulda-coulda-woulda,
snorting, coveting, pining.

And don’t even get me started about slop
quality. You got your rinds, rots, cobs, swills,
just-turned-green’s, and nobody-remembers-
what-it-is’s. There’s always something more
to feed upon. Always.



Other Poetry - December 2012

Of Pearl or After the Divorce I Get a Cat

Covered feet cricket
in a peaceful cozy calm –
little Pearl pounces.

     While writing haiku,
     fingers count five, seven, five –
     Pearl times her attack.

          Come to Daddy, Pearl.
          I extend my arms; she leaps –
          purring already.



The Broadkill Review - December 2012

A Blessing for My Sons

May you each find a girl who

doesn’t mind wearing pig-tails
as long as you never pull them,

loves math and animals
and kissing you where it hurts,

has a stand on Roe v. Wade
but would never stand for you v. her,

can wink at the checker when choosing
between the milk and the bread,

is loved for the shirts off her back
and comfortable arms that know how to let go.

May you each find such a girl
and tell her you did and you will
and you do; then keep your word.

When your girl becomes your wife,

sink deep into the soft of her
and let her find rest in the firm of you;

put your ear to the ground and discover
her tender names and endure their sweetness;

bask in the folding of blankets together,
the soapy smell just after showers;

revel in the smile of your favorite chair being moved
to a pretty spot too far away from the wood-stove.



The Broadkill Review - December 2012

Gifts

Two beloved sons
seventeen years before
bartering against their good.

Wild and passionate
laughter
that just about got things done.

Firsthand knowledge
of the blacksmith power
of a constantly wagging head.

Her breast to cry upon,
more comfortable than safe,
still, better than crying alone.

Slouching, biting fingernails,
two decades of knowing
my prayers could never be loud enough.

I gave her gifts, too.
(Her list to share, not mine.)
I will only mention the one I want back.

I gave her my prime.



The Broadkill Review - December 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Just Pink

There it is again; this time
it’s in the morning sky
over Three Sisters and it’s layered
with various shades of blue
and somber dawn.

The gray frost on the grass
is a metaphor, but I don’t get metaphors.
So, I stare at swirls in the sky
until I see smoke from a chimney
and colors begin to fade.

It’s gone now and I wonder
if it was ever there at all.
Maybe it was really
a more sophisticated hue of itself,
a near-relative with money
and a hundred-dollar name.

No, I decide it was just pink
as I stumble into the bedroom,
kiss her barely wetter than a peck,
whisper I’m sorry for last night
and head to the barber for a trim.



The Toucan Magazine - December 2012

Muse

You’re right.
I show way too much
skin and roll up the blinds
so high that the neighbors can see
too much of the inside and private of us.

You blush
at the almost half-way
of a page of prayers for you
and I can tell that you secretly wonder
what life would be like if shared with a carpenter

instead of a poet.
You might be sipping
iced-tea on a new shaded
deck watching him drive nails hard
with single blows of his tanned, muscled arm,

and your busyness
would be your business.
Instead, you married an indiscreet
worshipping wordsmith with a vanity blog.
It is lucky for you that I don’t know how to draw.



The Toucan Magazine - December 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Step-Dad's Dog

Shame on me
for not loving that dog.

Part collie, part shepherd,
barrel-chested and brown with
white and black swirled in,
Pete was a runner and a barker
and he came with us when my step-dad
packed us all up and moved us
from California to Oregon.

We got a place in the country
with some land and with post-holes to dig.
There were seven of us kids still too young
to have a choice about moving. Still, only I
got assigned to dig the holes.
I was 16 and strong
and, seemed to me,
always the odd-man out.

Well, I’d get a hole dug and then run
in the field as fast as I could just to see
if Pete could keep up. Of course he could –
we were in our primes
with ferocious lungs
and legs that never tired.

I’d do what lonely kids
with dogs in the movies always did –
run in the tall grass and stop
to wrap my arms around
that barrel chest and roll around
and laugh it up and talk to him
as the sun set. I’d scratch his belly
and under his chin and let him
lick me right in the face.

After I graduated and got married
and had myself a couple of sons,
Pete got skittish and cranky
and just about all the way blind.
My step-dad refused to believe
that it was only a matter of time.
It ended up being a neighbor kid –
one serious bite right above the ankle,
four deep holes that earned Pete a bullet.

Shame on me
for shooting that dog.



Memoir Journal - Issue 11