JOURNAL OF NEW ENGLAND WRITERS (PRINT) Nov 03
(Honorable Mention; Robt. Penn Warren Free Verse Competition)
Almost 20years later, I find the Buddha.
I know him instantly. Each of us has aged,
lugging around our bellies, and I, too, am bald.
I see him through the window. Even at night,
six horizons from home, even through a sheet
of glass in sheets of rain, I know him instantly.
I know how the Buddha was broken. I go in
and tell the man how the Buddha was fired
from the dense, black clay of the Barton River,
his cracked glaze an accident of temperature.
I tell the man the Buddha’s mostly clay and glue;
tell him that the Buddha, shattered, has fallen
time and again for the same reasons; fallen,
time and again a foolish, foolish Buddha.
THE WRITER'S HOOD (online) Aug '03:
I've Married The Fly
I should have been home
alone in the kitchen
heating and eating a burger
checking the blue flame
under the cast iron pan.
I should have been
watching the cheese melt
watching the marbled fat,
browned, sizzled into grease,
run down the side of the patty
like a lava flow off Mauna Loa,
infernal, inexorable, out
toward a flat black beach,
broiled from above and below.
I should have been thinking of you
but instead I've married the fly.
IDEA MUSEUM (online) June ’03:
While you are away, I go out
into the sunless morning.
The door that closes behind me
closes forever. The house is an echo
and the vacant windows reflect
the flat grey-brown mulch in your gardens.
I have nowhere to go
but I get into the car and drive.
All the signs are stopsigns
People in the village stop, stare
as I pass, seeing only half of me.
Cow Myth Exposed
Even when the second city had its fire,
clearly, they experienced it first-hand.
The library was the first go. A homeless man,
smoking in the stacks, his clothes already smoky,
fell asleep amid the news of Euclid, the history
of shape, and dreamed of conflagrations, of ash
rising on waves of superheated air, then became it.
It was hard to tell the place from Alexandria.
MOONDANCE (online) Jan 03:
Janey At Five Below
Janey leaves alone
what she’s left behind. A door,
closed, remains closed.
Dark remains dark
and Janey does not linger
long enough to fix the blame.
a slashing, glassy air. She
stands, transfixed, wreathed;
her own breath her only halo.
ANTHOLOGY OF NEW ENGLAND WRITERS (print) Nov 02:
Plains Bless The Newcomer
The fortune of finding a keyring
after having been given the keys:
shining ring on the sunny sidewalk
at the bus stop; and the driver, friendly;
these, and other blessings beside—
a yellow note, taped to my door near midnight,
Sandra, safe and away in The Windy City,
a fridge with a freezer that works---
these are the blessings of the plains,
and I am come to claim them all:
the countless thickets where the gray birds sing
the thunder, rolling through rolling hills,
the small, still lake where the water
holds the clouded sky upside-down, an
instant balanced on the promise of rain.
RAINTOWN REVIEW (print) Jun 02:
Invitation: The Shepherd To Join The Meager Flock
Climb on down, do.
We do not believe in gated air
nor find ourselves, chosen, unfolding
into welcomed and forgiving arms,
chastened and repentant. No. We are
too bold, always, and blind. Climb on down
to be among those who, nattering,
notice only the banquet’s crumbs; who
weave the lost threads of the Great Tapestry
into humble and ignorant cloth.
CONSPIRE (online) Aug 01:
Later She Said
Later she said
when you see her see if
she’s got those names right
see if she’s got that list
or the numbers reversed or
what was his name on the paper there
The doctor ought to know
See if she thinks
we should save it
if it’s red again or
check the list and see if
you can find out if she’s
waiting for the doctor
or she knows if I’m
having any pain or not
Tell her it’s red again
Tell her to tell the doctor it’s red
Othello is a small gray box beside the bed.
Two plastic tubes move air
from one place in the room
to another, but fail to inflate
useless, hungry lungs.
Late at night they lapse
and I am helpless,
lying in the dark,
to mechanized promises
and the hiss of whispered lies.
I get up; move around the room
looking in the corners for morsels of sleep.
When I can breathe
I walk out to the desk
jot a few lines
about the death of Desdemona.
THE HIGGINSVILLE READER (print) May 01:
So Much Depends Upon A Red Wig
Ronald hasn’t shown
for several years now
since he came to cut the ribbon
and open the public doors;
has only sent an emissary
once or twice a month:
eighteen wheels and a logo
bearing frozen potatoes
and placemats or paper bags.
Manager Mike pines,
longs for a simple glimpse
of pancake, rubber nose,
or a pair of two-foot long
red plastic shoes.
Holiday in Cozumel
go south along Main,
turn left into Peking Gardens
while down the block, smirking,
his arch-enemy Wendy
serves Mike’s former regulars
with a vacant and Frosty smile.
POEMS NIEDERNGASSE (online) Feb 01:
Janey Misses Mister Right
Janey thinks back on aches
she remembers as
blades between shoulder blades,
sudden and sharp, electrified
tingle and shudder of
nerve impulses running
the length of her left side,
and the long flame of tendons
torn without warning.
Janey has that history.
She lets it wash over her
in the shower, lets it flood
her temples, invites it in
and feels the rush
of red again, lingering
like her last lover’s final touch.
MAELSTROM (print) Nov 00:
Tues. nite / Wed. am:
The prospect tonight of daylight tomorrow, the noises
on the second floor, the repetitive tiled hallways --
...it hurts, hurts.
Even deep Mingus on well-traveled tapes,
even Nocturnes no use, no use.
Bloody camel stubs in ashtray
bone pulled from bone, ancient practice, barbarism...
Another sun unwinds behind another smothered sky;
August opens slowly:
an ache of air impossible to breathe.
Ten before twelve. One into two goes soon,
Quick as a click.
PINE ISLAND JOURNAL (print) Oct 00:
I want to have a farm he said
I want to make things grow
sun wind soil seed
the soft brown earth
the laugh-blue sky ---
Backache was all I could answer,
Wheels against the barn
rimmed with rust
the fallen gutterspouts
and all the grey and ancient boards
made echoes of agreement in the air.
ABLE MUSE (online) May 00:
The Most I Could Do
I watched: her breasts grow large
Her nipples swell her belly
Barge-like ferocious with child
Like the moon at a midnight door
While angry he at home puked
Grudgingly she grew. He
Distracted, drunken, sunk
Beyond his own oblivion,
I don’t remember what / if he said:
The phone or he was nearly dead
And what could be said, then?
What could one say? The day is
Ended? The night is coming on?
What to do?
I offered her a cup of tea;
The most I could do: far more
LYNX EYE (print) May 00:
(Featured Artist: Three ‘Janey’ poems):
Janey’s boyfriend steers his goatee
and Metallica T-shirt down Main,
wishing he had leathers and a Harley.
From two to four, the empty ovens
bake only air, and Janey has to breathe.
Her mother’s echo recommends otherwise:
a simple change of shift, perhaps. Janey
simply shifts from foot to foot,
does not note the smallest change
from one sad jukebox world to the next.
Janey counts the empty booths again,
gathers herself near the window
considers the bars.
Janey Takes A Break**
Janey finds herself
in the furthest corner
of the darkest room:
everything there is cool.
She dreams of seamless days
and dreamless nights; she
trips in the hallway
under unlit lights and
sings to the tune
of untolled golden bells.
Janey gets lost in the attic
but she won’t come down:
everything there is, is cool.
**Subsequently published at Wicked Alice
Janey Waits At The Airport
Janey sits and listens
to arguments in Arabic
about the quality of water
on West Bank kibbutzim—
she takes no sides; finds
the contenders pointless,
the point of contention dry.
Janey reads other people’s poetry,
discovers dances beyond dizzy.
She borrows occasional phrases,
minces words and, sifting,
shifts an emphasis, deletes
a wasted measure, turns
the tune and, lifted, sings.
RED RIVER REVIEW (online) May 00:
She was old, so they beat her severely.
She was old: they kidnapped her,
drove her away stuffed in the back
of her own stolen car. She was old.
When she regained consciousness
they stabbed her repeatedly
with her own stolen steak knife
and dumped her on the roadside;
drove away, dreaming they were druglords.
She was old, so the wounds to her throat
and the wounds to her chest, and the wounds
to her face, and the wounds to her arms
will take ages and ages to heal;
and the scars that they left on her body
and the scars that they left on her mind
will last and last and last and last.
NEW WORKS REVIEW (online) Apr 00:
The river sings of its rocks, mirrors
emerald and jade where summer
shadows attempt to outrun
sundown. I intrude, I presume,
I stand near the middle. The second cut
of hay is on the banks, neatly ordered
in rows this time of year, golden,
measuring the march-step toward August.
I think about changes: the movement
of sand through narrow places, how
a ripple diminishes downstream,
how a sound sounds when it stops.
Wheeled glossy-wing’d and black
Corvus Cornix, Corvus Corax
to Home in golden Tamarack
this cold day in space & sad
when the sun goes down these hills
Merge here wood & water
inland, hillbound streams
dreaming driftwood beaches
along the forested seaboard;
Merge green & grey the conifer
and elm stands, gazing, down
where fine white waterlace
fans flat rockface & falls
Melancholy in this mist land
The Raven and The Crow
The Last I Heard
I’m rudderless tonight,
the forgotten lamb of visions,
(as clear as yesterday’s sky)
(as pointless as planets warring)
the Loch Ness Monster:
the loneliest of creatures.
The last I heard
you thought I hated you
but I’m only a madman in Coventry
staring up dumb at the Moon.