Tag: poems

Road Trip

I get up to the old thus-and-so game
every now and then, and my old lady
starts carving out a new home in the
black hills of South Dakota, which is

my cue to high-tail it back to Alabama
with a dimebag on my knee to find a
replacement for our dear old dog Fancy
who took a bullet meant for me last year.

“Bring me back something nice!” my old
lady shouts at me as I drive away from my
broken home full of broken dreams and
promise myself, this time, I won’t fuck up.

Last Night

Two poems in one day? Who do I think I am?!?!

Last Night

I smoked a whole bowl
of ground-up teeth and it
made me think of licorice
nights when you and I
co-mingled with deadly
dares and stared point
blank into eclipsing suns
while the band played a lazy
version of “Sympathy for
the Devil,” the only Stones
song you ever liked, and I
held your shaking hands,
saying, “One day, we’ll find
the time to love each other.”

Obsession

“What’re you obsessed with?” she asked 
before her her mouth melted away and
time, having lost all its stitches, unraveled. 
I thought of a dozen lies, some of which
made me quite proud, but I opted to tell
the truth, though her ears had long since gone.
But when did that occur? There was no way
to tell anymore, and that was for the best,
given the terrible weight of the world and
the failed dreams of everyone, not the least her.

Winter Evening, Reading Akhmatova

Was it prophecy that made you cry?
Was it exiled tongues and luxurious bloodbaths?
The hills ringing with the screams of sons
stolen in the night and you, like Grendel’s mother,

running toward that awful sound, recalling
your newborn’s cry, that silver fulcrum on which
your heart first broke? No…the truth is harder
than that, offering the kind of hard clarity

that follows death or after a lover, seeking newness,
sheds you like an old coat, disappears into another life.
What then, Anna? What is left for us, poets without
a homeland, men and women saved from the fire

only to be drowned in the icy river? What is beautiful
now that voices are silenced again and hatred springs
from the head of a malignant Zeus? Would you save us
or would you smile and tell us to fight our own battles?

I long to see you in the doorway of The Stray Dog,
eye dark with promise, your lips like hot coals, and I’m
stuck in this time, breathing air that could spell my doom.
Save me a seat in that fabled café. I will find my way to you.

Self Reflection

I have mixed greens for memory
and an old window for a mouth.
It’s expected for some people of
the older generation, like myself,
when the laws of attraction were
more rigid and a man could count

on times spent alone–a few months–
but not this hellish stretch of years,
time like an old rubber band that
once held newspapers together,
and all the headlines screamed:
MAN SPENDS FINAL DAYS ALONE.

It would be funny if it wasn’t true, I tell
my reflection, which wants nothing to
do with me and decides to vanish,
looking for another mirror to haunt,
hoping beyond home it wont be another
selfish, long-in-the-tooth bastard like me.

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.

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.”

Advice to Myself at the Onset of a Panic Attack

Try breathing on the moon–
it’s been known to cause death
which will stop a panic attack.
If you don’t want something that
extreme, there’s always lopping
off a hand or a finger–focusing on
the pain will at least shift the panic
to something more real, not the fake
crises you’re always yammering on
about: the fate of the Neanderthals,
what to make for dinner, the price
of a restaurant meal, your place in
the vast, unfeeling, cold cosmos.
Okay, the last one makes sense,
but the rest are just fucking bonkers.

Dinner Date

By the time your mother invited me over
and baked her famous blood casserole,
I had already invented the art of recycled
pain, jettisoning any hope that we would
have a normal love or even a normal day,

so it wasn’t weird when your mother–
a member of the Guilt of the Month Club,
standing there with oven-mitted hands,
offering us her family history baked into
savory strangeness, some relative of hers

gasping out culinary horror– spooned
giant heaps of the stuff onto our silvery plates,
and we ate dutifully, aware of the darkness
clotting our throats, making it hard to breath,
let alone swallow the years of agony in each bite.

Change

So it went that there was
a golden time that I emerged
from my shell and made nice
with all the flowers, and the sky
darkened because it didn’t like
my sudden change of heart
and wanted me to remain cruel
and full of hate…

…but I had outgrown that,
shed that skin, and was ready
for new experiences that
weren’t so twisted and full
of shards of black glass.

The sky threatened rain,
and I held up my cup.
The sun began to bleed,
and I offered a bandage.

Below, on the green earth,
I turned and turned in my
hot dreams, and my waking
life began to resemble
a memory of something
better than I ever was.

Is it real? I asked the birds,
who flew on and ignored me.

I visited the water, my ancient enemy,
and asked, Have I really changed?
Of course not, the water murmured.
You’re the same as you always were.
Look at your growing list of victims.

I turned the other way, convinced
the water was lying (it always had before).
I made my way through my dwindling years,
buoyed by the thought that I had been
reformed, reimagined, and the dead
were not dead but merely pretending,
playing a joke that I didn’t understand
but would get on a not-to-distant day.