A Portrait

 

As previously noted, clocks appear rather often in my poems.

A Portrait

It was he: master of the nondramatic
handshake, non-functioning plumage,
and reasonless flicks of the tongue.

He was a fan of asocial sunset parties
and slick, adamant monotheism.

He was known to drag his eyelids.

No one sniffed when he parceled
out a spit of land for his dreams and lunged
for the kindest security he could find,
a maiden of gray habits and uniform grins.

Together, they invented wild secrets
as they quietly crept into small clocks.

Road Trip

Road Trip

My shallow breath should be
a giveaway, as it rattles in my
lungs and does its best to fog
up the windows of your car
but it can’t quite manage…

like so many things about me,
it’s only half-right, functions only
at a diminished capacity–my broken
thoughts, my shrunken confidence,
a puzzle missing key pieces.

You turn the the car back on and
drive through the night without
headlights, taking your chances,
chain-smoking and listening to oldies
while I try to convince myself I’m real.

The Going Rate

I’m going through old poems and editing them since I have so little time (or energy) to write these days. I think this poem appeared on this blog at some point.

The Going Rate

She was dog-ass drunk when he asked her,
“What’s the going rate for damsels
in distress these days?” and slid closer
“Not a lot,” she said, eyeing him. Not too bad,
probably even better with the lights off.

She wobbled off her bar stool, grinning,
remembering when she was younger, hoping
for more than one AM nights and a double
vision Prince Charming, his horse a weary
Dodge pick-up, barely street-legal.

They meandered to a Haggard tune,
kissed and groped in the dim wattage
that eventually bled into night.
She greeted the morning with a black eye
and he, late for work, drank breakfast.

Differences

She spreads her hands
toward the gray sky and
tells me to look closely
that I might see some
hope amidst the clouds–

perhaps in the sunlight
as it tries but fails to break
through and shine on us.

“I much prefer the dark,”
I tell her and disappear,
leaving only traces of myself
behind, small memories
she will struggle to recall.

Fire, Sun, Sadness

Fire, Sun, Sadness

Can sunshine be sad? she asks,
poised atop of a pillar of flame and
none the worse for it (amazing what
young people get away with these days).

I check the wreckage around me
and find the sun’s dire reflection
in the dents of twisted metal, spidering
tendrils of steel spread far and wide.

Sunshine is always sad to me, I say
and watch the flames dance around her,
filling me with dread but also envy,
knowing I could never face the fire as does.

Relocation

I’ve probably posted this one before…too lazy to check.

It was supposed to be a country move,
but it quickly became continental,
and the girl with the chess-game past
moved into a foreign town with glass walls
and dagger-teeth folks who told stories
by torchlight and prayed away their hunger.
“Will I die here?” the girl asked.
The man with blood-spotted hands replied,
“By and by, young lady, by and by.”

Where You’ll Find Me

I miss the controlled burn
of your stare, the clean, white
oval of your face, and the ease
with which you dismissed me,
lifetime after agonizing lifetime.
Should you ever wish for my
questionable company again,
look for me north by northwest,
dying, as always, under the Bodhi Tree.

Another Experiment Gone Wrong

Another Experiment Gone Wrong

Are you some kind of duke or baron? the forlorn man
in the tweedy jacket and wearing the sunset asks me.
Surely I don’t radiate royalty in my smacked-down
outfit and my hair twisting and shouting like a bad
dance move, my eyeballs gyrating independently
of each other, my tongue confessing crimes at break-
neck speed, my curlicue tail suddenly forked and red
just as the local authorities realize I’ve broken loose.
No, good sir, I’m just an another experiment gone wrong,
I say and lope toward the sinister house on the hill.

The Closed-Eyed Girl

It’s so unlike you to die, especially this way,
with gaudy beads in your hair and necklace
your father gave you before he lit off for lands
unknown, dooming your mother to selective muteness
and your sister to constant roaming similar
to his, but she always returned home, bruised,
full of quenched stars but steady.

We thought you had this, with your elegant
sunglasses and stylish purses that held all
your loneliness and left room for little else
except for rain clouds you pulled out sometimes
and flung into the sky, daring the weather
to contradict you, which it would never do.
Your cold rain always left me wanting more.

I stare down at you now, laid out, strangely
still, your face a poor, stiff Halloween mask,
and I watch your mother and sister huddle
close and paint black circles on their palms,
perhaps a family ritual I never knew about
since I know so little…and thought I knew
so much about the closed-eyed girl before me.

The Color of Your Sadness

There is a color to your sadness
but it flies away on a moan
that barely escapes your lips

and I am bereft of knowledge,
a child of a man, a morsel of a grain
of sand on a strand of angel hair,

as remote a chance as that seems,
treading where others fain to step,
my reward a bacchanal of emptiness.