Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Card For My Family And Friends

I think most of us hoping for a miracle want one we can witness.
We can believe when we see. Lotteries and big payoffs.
A negative ( or positive ) on the pregnancy test, an "A" on a final.
If we have a wider view we can recognize that the meteor
that finished the Age Of The Dinosaurs was fortunate,
miraculous in long term.
Noah having an ark handy for the Flood...
luck or miracle, I'll take that.
For me, the miracle I celebrate might not even have happened.
Imagine that while God formed the formless into form,
maybe He sneezed, and while occupied with the sneeze
a comet strayed a bit from it's intended course and out of His intent,
flashed over an ancient desert world, answering an age old question:
Can one birth change what an off-course comet could not?
The margin between miracle and catastrophe,
between salvation and loss, between here and gone
is in the pause of a sneeze.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How 'bout this?

I don't want to be
the greatest living Poet.
Too much work,
not enough money.
But,
famous when I'm dead...
no pressure, no burn-out,
plenty of time to relax.

I am the poet
with a switchblade corkscrew.
I can type faster one-eyed
and one fingered than
I can read.
Can't write a rhymed poem
to save my loving soul,
but I know the blues
when I feel them.

Fame would just come
between me and the Word.
I can't spare time for anything else.
Call my agent after I depart,
I'll give you an interview.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yeah

It is not a good idea
to drunk-text the President,
on face book.
He was selling a patriotic
coffee mug to support
his presidential habit
and I commented
Sir, its a nice mug,
but I think there are other things
that could use a little tending to.
I asked him to remember
the promises he made
and we believed.
And I said
give my love to the family.

We'll see how this one goes...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

BYE


Those many times
when the thought of you
brightened my days...
So many years wasted,
waiting.
I hung on every word.
I knew the color of your eyes.
Well, hearts can be fooled,
yes and laughter can be lost,
but I can get past even this.
Loving you
was the holiest act
of my life.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's left behind
when the City leaves?
If time is a thief
and tomorrow a treasure,
why is the past
still here?
The cat on top
of the book case
hunts in his sleep.
One paw stretches,
claws extend,
and some small
thing gets buried
in his fist.
I can hear the rumble
of his pleasure from here,
can almost taste the warm.
If time is a thief
I am a watchman
holding my light
against the night.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A note from a few babyboomers to OWS

We stand in silence
because this time speaks for itself.
We cannot give our small voice
to the shout of today.
As always the young are in front,
willing us to wakefulness.
We wish we could let them know
they will not fail.
We would tell them
we never gave up hope.
Do you remember the longest hour of your life?
I bet it involves a loved one leaving. Mine was.
On a bench covered in green fabric, 4 in the morning,
near the bank of elevators
waiting for my brothers Scott and Jeff.
Our mothers' body on the way to the morgue
in the basement of the hospital.
When the elevators'
doors open it seemed like the gates of Heaven
and a bright radiance filled me,
and the hour was done.
Been years since these late October winds
have blown through this melancholy heart.
The rattling noise comes, I guess, from a faulty framework.
Once said "What cannot bend in the wind, breaks."
That is what I hear, late at night, as I lay to sleep.
What was once sturdy stands unsure in these winds.
I am not frightened, that lies behind me,
I feel like I want to be cast up, outside,
let me go where I will. Roots mean little to me now,
how can I stand still any longer while the geese
follow the same road that I paid for with my love.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lock-up Lucy was a Prozac junkie,
a certified ward of the state.
She was a main street maiden,
an alley cat hellion.
All the cops knew her on sight.
She was a cross-eyed vixen
in need of a fixin'.
She'd pull out her no string guitar,
and sing like the chorus of Heaven.
She works the corner of Main and Market,
across from One Hand Armand’s,
in Tangle Town.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Man, One Poet

When asked what kind of poem I would write about America,
I would rather write about how we beat the PACs
by grass roots smarts, an angry vote, and facebook.
By Yankee stubbornness we caught the wind,
harnessed the Sun, grew our fuel in cornfields.
I could write this, almost, and tell true.
I would write, instead, how we are nearing that point
where our only choices will be Yes or No,
not when, not if, not why.

When the poets gather in their hundred thousands,
in malls, in bookstores, in squares,
I will rise up among them, poem in hand,
I would rather read how children are happy,
how delicious the rivers of my home taste,
how the histories of our lives are carried forth
in the stories we tell around the table,
generations in one room,
telling so that we will remember
where we are from.

My poem will not be that one.
It will be the one where I fear
for the sitters at my table,
and hope we are as strong as we need to be.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's shaking, dude?

There is a man I know
who does big important work
and makes impressive money
but shakes his wife when he's drunk,
leaves her bruises like jewelry
and turns tears to fear.
AC/DC playing Ride On
and I killed a good bottle of Pinot Noir,
and remembered when his wife
was the toughest girl I ever met.
The light of Buddha shined in her,
and the earth caressed her very feet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sandy Beech,
( and before you start ripping on her name
she knows 'em all and will beat you to it)
was a crew cook in a smallish show.
We met my first summer on the road,
in Kentucky, or Missouri.
I spent fifteen hours cutting wire
and making cords, dealing with
thieves and sneaks, near-broke carnies
trying to keep their gear running
haggling a lot harder than I was.
Sandy brought me a plate of ribs and beans,
and a cool quart of Milwaukee's Best beer.
I offered to pay her and she walked away,
half singing "Pay me later, big boy."
That’s as much of the story as anyone needs to know.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bug Man ran game tables, drop the dot,
knock the pin down, rings over bottle tops.
His Boston accent gave his pitch a bray
you could hear over rides, kids and rock music.
His patter was flawless, slightly condescending,
and totally off the cuff.
He didn't see his hustle as fleecing the public,
precisely, rather as a Darwinian challenge to improve
the species.
He was educated, banal, and without many scruples.
His wife and girl were fed well and happy.
Last I saw of the Bug Man was in St. Louis,
when he dropped me off on a highway on-ramp
pointed vaguely north-east.
He shook my hand, a twenty tucked into my palm.
Gave me the honor of a carny's send-off;
Catch you in the next town.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Slick was a wrangler at one of the larger traveling Carnivals.
Through a season we would do business four, five times.
Through out the south, on every midway, every newly bare hay field,
you asked a carny about a man named Slick, they knew who you meant.
You'd think in a culture that lives by different rules than most
no one would rise to the status of barely being tolerable
let alone respected, Slick was.
He knew what he was doing, he put on no airs,
he knew when to bend and when to say hell no.
The only times I saw Slick riled was when he had to deal with a fool.
Slick asked him , " Who the hell are you to waste both our time like this?"
Slick walked power cords like tight wires,
juggled forty things in one hand and thirty three with the other.
He knew safety codes, local preferences, phone numbers and names.
Roustabouts and game wagons, foodies and barkers, would likely
rob a citizen of hard earned coin, ( everyone knows how this game works),
truckers like me who followed the shows all summer with wire, bulbs and plugs.
Slick was the one man we all knew, and if your name was good with him,
it was good with us.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

There will be a day, I think, I guess, I know,
when the fires of the flesh bank and burn low.
One day the fireworks will end.
On that day lets be friends.
I would rather marvel at the lines of your face,
hear your stories, and let my heart race
to the smell of you, and the way you fit
all my curves and bulges when we sit
and watch movies and sip wine from the bottle.

So maybe our hackles don't raise anymore.
Less the heavy breathing and more the s'mores.
I guess it comes down to the end of wanting to run.
You have long been my friend and at times the one
who shared a sense of the darkness that seems to hover
at the edges of the day, and offer if not sunshine, cover.
There is something to be said for knowing sanctuary
is familiarity and routine and sameness; you know; ordinary.
Watching movies, drinking from the same bottle of wine.
I duck under a guillotine
every time I enter a bar.
I know the blade is sharp,

the trigger almost invisible.
Walked into a thousand dives
from Michigan to Thailand,
Alaska to Tijuana.
Once the gloom leaves the eyes
the rooms look familiar.
Threats and conquests
taken in one glance,
juke box, bathroom, back door
the next.

Now I'm older and wiser,
I tell myself,
better at getting along.
I know every day has its own
wicked blade.
Whispering names,
humming to itself.
Inanimate, cold,
a tool of time.
Makes the surprise of each day
joyful.

Memorial Day

They brought a Hero home today.
The brass of his casket was polished,
the flag that covered it crisp and new.
The Honor Guard carried him
past planes,family, Color Guard.
Their shoes were as black
as the storm-ridden May sky.
Forty Harley's shouted their pride,
the Patriot's Guard Riders pulled
off the tarmac, the hearse close behind.
Me,old sailor, old cabbie,
saluting the procession,
eyes suddenly tearing,
tears unnoticed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Closer To Blue

Closer to blue today than when we walked in the city.
Together, alone, drenched in light and the gaze of strangers.

I'm closer to blue than I was yesterday, in the park.
The silent cat-tail stalks, like fingers accusing heaven.

When you faded to blue, all the things I love did too.
I am drenched in silence, lost in the world, way closer to blue.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ralph Murre and me trading stanzas

I was tempted to play my flute today
until I heard the wind through
the broad wings of a Red Tail hawk


I tried whistling
blues in the Laundromat
but ran out of quarters
& lost the dryer's rhythm


I heard that stones
were rocks when they were young.
Guess it takes time to
bring out our inner stone-ness.


well-rounded the stone
at work in a foundation wall
after carrying glaciers


The only gift we can offer the dead
is to remember them.
Mortar them into our foundations
and they will hold us up.


There were hold-up men
down at the bank today --
the president, v.p., & branch manager,
robbing patrons.

Who said our leaders are lousy?
We have the best that money can buy.
And when our icons have fallen,
we raise such a hue and cry.

We'd like to string 'em up right now, see?
We'd like to hang 'em out to dry,
but underneath the tailored suits
they look a lot like you and I.


A bottle of wine,
a book of poems and
the moon shining through the door.
So much time I have wasted.


wine for the tongue,
poems for the ear,
moonlight for the eye,
and all for the spirit.
For what is the clock?

Monday, March 14, 2011

LIBERATION

Ladies, ladies,
line up neatly.

Goddess, whore,
mother, friend,

I see you now
for the woman you are.

I’m sorry I was
typically male in these things.

If I knew you were
as human as me,

hurt as me, sad as me,
as hopeful as me,

back then as I know now,
I wouldn’t a had to write

this fucking poem.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weather

You come toward me like summer thunder,
flashing that smile, rolling them hips,
I stand like I’m terrified,
like I just put myself in the path
of a locomotive cold front,
But I’m not afraid,
and wouldn’t move if I could.
To your storm,
I am a rock,
and you do not chip at me
with earthquakes, meteors, or lava
but with rain, soft and cool,
having it's way with me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Christian?

AN OPEN LETTER TO
THE MINISTER AND CONGREGATION
OF THE WESTBORO CHURCH

I think that GOD has turned his face from you.
You are like children who want notice at any cost.
What you say is not Christian,
or God-like, or even human.
I am afraid you are lost, bound for bitterness and hurt.
You have forgotten God. You have forgotten the face of your Father.
You have forgotten your brother and sister.
(Your mother doesn't even like you.)
Where in the Holy Book does it say to despise the warriors?
Where in the Good Book does it say God embraces the death of anything?
Read to me where God says it's ok to hate.
You are warping your soul, giving Christians a bad name.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Should poetry mean?

I guess a poem is supposed to mean something, be true.
You need to put stuff in it, memories or flowers or parents.
It should resonate like a whack to the funny bone.
What happens when the poems won't be written down.
You stare at pictures of your mother, remember the smell
of your Grandfather just in from the barn.
The little arrow blinks at you, like an engine at idle,
the screen blank and white,
and you wonder where your gift left for,
and will it be back,
will it still speak to you.
Sometimes a poem doesn't need
to matter to anyone to mean something.

When things move beyond us

There will be a day, I think, I guess, I know,
when the fires of the flesh bank and burn low.
One day the fireworks will end.
Let us on that day be friends.
I would rather marvel at the lines of your face,
hear your stories, and let my heart race
to the smell of you, and the way you fit
all my curves and bulges when we sit
and watch movies and sip wine from the bottle.

So maybe our hackles don't raise anymore.
Less the heavy breathing and more the s'mores.
I guess it comes down to the end of wanting to run.
You have long been my friend and at times the one
who shared a sense of the darkness that seems to hover
at the edges of the day, and offer if not sunshine, cover.
There is something to be said for knowing sanctuary
is familiarity and routine and sameness; you know; ordinary.
Watching movies, drinking from the same bottle of wine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tucson

Tucson, I remember you as a beautiful city.
The roadside stands where you could get a warm beer
and a burrito as big as a football
for a few dollars.
The old Pima Indian women making fry bread
covered in cactus jelly in the shadow of the Spanish Mission.
I feel for you in these hours.
Great Spirit keep hope in our hearts,
care for the ones lost and those left to grieve, and please,
please let us learn a lesson this time.