Friday, February 24, 2017

Crow’s Feet

I ain’t never been nowhere, not really.
The grooves at the sides of my eyes
make it seem like I been around, seen
some things, know what’s what. But
that just ain’t the case. No, them lines
from a whole lot of staying-put pain,
from being all the time surrounded
by too much come and too much go,
mostly go. I guess sometimes life’s
just stumbling right into where you
s’posed to be, which is, maybe, same
as always being just a little too scared.
Still, I don’t know if I’d do things too
awfully different if I started all the way
back from scratch. I’m used to these old
crow’s feet in the mirror. I like knowing
how they got there – and I’ll tell you what,
it weren’t from staring all day long at the sun.

First appeared in San Pedro River Review - Spring 2017

(Pushcart nominated)

Outrage Nation

Starched and crisp as slut-shaming sarcasm,
the after-flail of vigilante justice sighs – empty
with incrimination, full of dirty smiles. Its smarm

stands too close in line, leaves behind a yellow-lined
blacktop smear – just another snapshot of whisky-scars
at the very back of everyman’s throat, a burning bile

of ashes that won’t let go until the gray grows cold
as a double-tap bulge in someone’s side pocket.
Cushioned on the far side of the table by plastic planets

spinning randomly within the bronzed reflection
of a barmaid’s sweaty d├ęcolletage, we beg forgiveness.
She laughs at the burls popping from our index fingers

and wags her head as she lines us all up. There’s nothing here
but the gray residue of breaths mingling with old smoke
under lampshades stained beige and gone rancid while

we close in on the half-hot power of a smooth and steady drunk.
Our voices rasp. We swallow an envy as itchy as a bug bite
and turn stale offenses blue between spheres and points

sliding in their own special trajectories toward an eternity
full of whatever it is we call void.

First appeared in The Main Street Rag - Winter 2017