Selected Poems — Points of Departure

April 15

In the super-market aisle
you didn’t recognize her
and he three years on Valium and booze.

Later we fabulate
hyenas in Cadillacs
multi-million dollar homes
new world wars with China
and dirty one’s right here
as neuro-biologic events overboil–
anger, madness, whatever

Iron fetishes
concrete pedestals
cholesterol disables
restitution to the crazies

To the dump
we’ll cart it all to the dump
we’re unable to climb
the flight of stairs home.

April 16

A Sabatier rises falls
a recitation of sums
suborning tongues with iterations
of rain, cigarettes and alcohol.
Fireballs over Wichita
single-action Peacemakers
once challenged passing clouds
but now
issues of age and place
it’s too late
and no one takes prisoners

April 17

There’s disruption and disorder
all across the supper zone
a surfeit of sympathy fatigue
seeps through yellowed walls
into every orifice
as I try to recall
the dozen simple tricks
that kept my day

April 18

A shifting incidence of refraction
as we scrabble toward peaks
setting fire to fog as clear air
chimes. This new physics illuminates
drifting crystals extending from
the slaughter of dogs to the skateparks
of Kabul. Spent fires of winter solitude
call out with withered tongues
souls fly like whirligigs
bumbling through red velvet curtains
that bisect the light of each never-ending day.

April 19

Bastille Day emerges from a uniform white sea
a plume of expectations and plaintive sclerotic song.
Alive! Alive!
On the bullet train from Osaka,
stitched-up and drugged by Doctor
F., you think about the late-night shows
while pain burrows into your chest.
Like an old dog rising off a cold stone floor
the VOIP stutters ‘n stops as you describe
the breezeway that leads from your past
toward ever more awkward reconciliations.

April 20

At the end, the ceiling liquefied
dripping down upon the table
as passing generations cobbled
a sobriquet of tweets:
the names of life and death,
and all the fun-house mirrors.
We stared into the flames, amused
talking to ourselves
as droll schisms appeared
writing florid names on the collapsed stiffs
that had long ago lost their organs.

December 29

The thing sits perched
seeking shelter beneath the eaves
its sodden wings drooping
under the torrent
its painted face smeared
once gay colors
muddied and blurred
its smile a rictus
fixed and askew
revealing gleaming incisors
its eyes plead
for brief respite
from the ever-present rapture

December 30

his shirts hang limp in the closet
his shoes have disappeared
we took them to the Goodwill last year
four pair of glasses, expensive in the 70’s
linger in a drawer smudged and worn
but from the gilt frame on the side-table
his eyes still track
and letters still come, though rarely now
with their promise of so many miracles

December 31

Outside the Blockbuster on Pico
I offered five bucks
for the hand-drawn sign
that rested
between the small wheels of her chair
each letter outlined with shaking hand
filled with ballpoint scrawl
the usual message but nicely worn from countless days
and even though the sun was almost gone
she said she needed it for the rest of the day
I walked away shamed of my arrogance
so poorly concealed
and regretted not offering $7.50

January 1

Dread shall be our watchword
the first day of the eleventh year
as it insinuates between slack fingers
binding us to the breakfast table
like winter rain it will flow
from cold hearths
staining the floor rust red
pooling under the nuptial bed
it will break our backs
as it blooms across
our insignificance

January 2

Our heroes bobble down Main
humbled by rain and long neglect
trailing sodden bedding
and bulging khaki packs
that once held so many victories
more than we could eat
more than
now only the dogs bow
rubbing hairless bellies in the earth

January 3

Today so many birds fell from heaven
above Beebee Arkansas
it was a plague
it made the national news
at six and eleven
15 on one front lawn alone
tiny eyes crumpled
thin feet curled
they fell
countless starlings some black birds
all dead