Category: poem

Passing You on the Street Today

You didn’t notice when I
passed you today,
which is for the best,
I think you would agree.

What doors–so long forgotten–
would have opened had our eyes met,
what knot in the tangled yarn of my heart
would suddenly pull free?

What buried memory of us,
so accustomed to shadow,
would find itself exposed in the
weak light of a early October sky?

No matter–the moment passed,
and we kept pace, magnets of like
poles moving further apart as if there
was no distance great enough to satisfy.

Baby Blue

She gave birth to a baby
missing his third eye but
with remarkably imitative skin–
as he grew, he often looked
like Rock Hudson or Rex
Harrison or Clark Gable
(though his mother wasn’t a fan,
thinking Clark Gable looked like
a well-dressed monkey), always
morphing into men from Hollywood’s
golden age, eschewing anyone new

all because his mother had gone
to pray at Forest Lawn and fallen
asleep and an unholy ghost had
overshadowed her, filling her with
life and deep sorrow as she murmured,
“I am the Handmaiden of The Hills,
be it done unto me according to thy
lustful will,” a fate set not so much
in stone as celluloid, stretching to
accommodate all the pain and beauty
splashed so recklessly across the screen.

The Pocket of Another Man

Gather your courage and
deposit yourself into
the pocket of another man.
In that pocket, storms
rage, empires rise and fall,
and humanity balances
on the head of a pin, afraid
to dance, afraid of not dancing
and so exists in between worlds,
both incomplete, both paralyzed.

In the pocket of the first man,
there’s nothing remarkable.
The grass, you may be assured,
was most certainly greener, and
you will live what they call your
“best life” as long as that life
includes emotional black-outs
and the loss of what might be called
“hope” by lesser people…but don’t
worry about them… you’re right
where you should be, darling.

The Tale of a Grandson

His grandmother poured salt into
his eyes and shipped him of to St. Alphonso’s
Home for Boys Blinded by Their Grandmothers
and there he flourished, rising to the
top of his class and deciding to stay
even after graduating, and so he never
knew the world, and the world was poorer for it.

Yesterday’s Spider

I worry about the smallest of things
like the wound yesterday’s spider
incurred when it tumbled to the ground
and bent its leg backward and let out a tiny
spider moan that I somehow heard and knelt on
the floor and whispered, “I am so sorry
that happened, the world is a terrible place.”

Eating In

I decided that an apron
wouldn’t do as I entered
the kitchen, so I wore your
recently-shed skin instead.
It didn’t really fit, but I
didn’t complain, and look,
what a nice soufflé I made!
Your new skin itched, but you
remained silent as a stone.
And so we ate, avoiding each
other’s gaze, as darkness fell.

An Evening with Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz

“Break some glass and come on in, there’s
there’s plenty more to break here!” Mrs. Kurtz
said and cut a bloody pirouette across the foamy
carpet made glorious summer by this son

of a York Peppermint Patty–Mr. Kurtz–strutting
like the cock of the walk around the shards of glass,
carrying on some counterpoint to her nonsense,
he being vaguely aware of how silly they both were.

Guiltily, we grabbed some drinking glasses and
shattered them against the fireplace, the sound
reverberating and spreading like panic in a crowd,
and we sobbed without knowing why except our

hosts were crying, also, showing us their bleeding
hands and feet, Mr. Kurtz wounded even in his side,
and we decided that we could worship them–they
would do nicely as deities, since all others had failed us.

Love/Hate

Love/Hate

“How can you hate what I love?” she asked
draped over the sofa, ellipses stuck in her throat…

“Because I hate everything,” he answered
and deposited a lifetime of trust in an off-shore
account that the instantly forgot existed.

She thought about his words, and then she
thought about her relationship to the words,
so she took a powder and disappeared somewhere

up north, and he collected fall-out shelters
and moved among them like a wanted man.

Benefit for the Self-Obsessed

I absorbed the style of your night,
your courage like a good-sized cocker
spaniel, crouched and hackles raised,
ready to protect you at a moment’s notice.

But you don’t need protecting, do you,
with your prodigious smile and thick
intentions, hogging all the finger sandwiches
at the Banquet of Forlorn and Spurned Lovers?

My, how you haven’t grown, remarked
the 135-year old woman, frail and blue.
It was true enough, though you rejected
her words like you rejected me year ago.

You moved with the the speed of paper
cut, small but fast, redolent with outsized
pain while the rest of us redrew our maps,
marking off the places deemed too dangerous.

A Blue Affair

It was such a blue affair,
irrelevant, really…or

irrelephant, you said as
you traipsed off into the wild

green of the surrounding hills
and called to those mighty

bastions of memory and deep
sadness, keepers of burial

grounds which sprout stones
like pale, strong flowers, like tusks,

like the very bones of redemption…
or so you said, one unforgivable

morning when nothing was right
with the world but you still loved me.