Wednesday, February 29, 2012

brown bag lunch on a park bench to the world

the sun sits, an over easy egg in the sky. the sky a little brown at the edges from too much time in the skillet. the skillet of mid day, and i don't remember what i had for breakfast. the day is passing too fast, forward, but jerky, stop motion clay-mation in the hands of an amateur.

the park bench eats divots in the back of my legs with fresh edges. i keep moving them, regaining circulation. a new bench, unworn as of yet, no one has slept on it, or not enough to create a cushion. pigeons amble in the dirt and grass in search of bread crumbs, their purple green neck sheen catches the sitting sun.

a man in duct taped shoes, low top cons, brown now over a darker color, lounges under a tree. the cracks of its bark pronounced, rounding knots, limbs once. his hoodie hood pulled over his eyes, hair spills around his stubble cheek, snarled and slick, tan, blond. his fingers carry yesterday in their lines, a picture, hung on nails framed in black.

kids slide and run back around, squeals of joy & laughter trail them, round. their mothers talk in huddles, pointing fingers, each word a gesture. new life swims inside one. a dog runs on the green hill behind them, loose its leash followed close by a man. running man, in a suit, afraid he'll be late for the future if he doesn't catch up.

joggers jog, rainbows in short slick shorts and stretchy shorts, jog black rubberized paths, so not to wear out the knees. a butterfly. bird song. bees. my brown bag crinkles as i crush it, jump shot the receptacle and sit, like the sun sits, just, shining, even though the rain is coming. flowers turn their heads, in secret wisdom.


     & listen.

My friend Mary, has challenged us at the Jam to write in repetition. While more pronounced in the opening para, i tried to weave some subtly throughout.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Off the Wall

'I was here',
         don't we all want,
someone to remember---us

'we are trapped in the belly of the machine
and the machine is bleeding'---

'you are loved---smiles'

another side---

'still love you

'remember that man
in the dressing room
your wife for a bit longer'

everyone is a poet~philosopher~king, chalk
in the whirls as we leave our prints,
at least those willing to pick it up,
to put it down, to let thoughts crawl
from the recesses---recess was fun
once in school, an escape from the desk

it's saturday, sun high and hordes of people
walking by, one man stands, an island, a rock
the flow breaks upon, just watching,

"but i don't understand

what does it mean? what does any of it mean? "

all words blur from where one thought
ends, another begins, and i read the other day that
our attention span is four seconds online, click
its gone if i don't get the hook, and he is about
to walk when, i put my arm around him

put a gun to this poem
make it sweat
but it won't tell you
what it means

take it home though,
make love and leave it wet
between you thighs
and when you wake up,
you still may have no idea
               but i bet
you can't stop smiling."

his wife blushes, he snorts
and off---they go, art lives on in the hands
of those willing to pick it up,
to put it down, that let it crawl, CrawL
into and out of the recesses---
Recess was fun once...

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - our weekly gathering of artistic word slingers, penning poetic zingers, and sharing them on napkins or otherwise...ok so on our webpages, but you really should join us. My good friend Hedgewitch is wo-manning the bar. Gates open at 3 pm EST.

The above picture is from a living piece of art from Charlottesville, VA. A wall where anyone can add anything they want with sidewalk chalk.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

the can, of soup

the past tense of can
is did
       or didn't

& reason matters little
in the moment

     on aisle two
among the soups, you
        your finger gliding
down a Campbell's label,
tracing the ridge
              of every firm rib,

you could've.

written for Magpie Tales.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Poetics: Renape

from his pedestal outside Nordstrom
he does not sing The colors of the wind
as his daughter does in the movie by Disney
but collects them from pigeons
in white, purple and green

like tributes once paid by his nation,
thirty tribes brought together, only to be laid low
by settlers, invaders, it all depends on
who holds the pen

only children stop to stare at Chief Powhatan
and stumble over his given name,
which rolls like marbles, foreign on the tongue

one, her dress a spring day
gathering around her legs, shiny black flats
on her feet, maybe her Easter adornment just
bought at one of the high end shops, asks

"Mommy, who was this man?"

and i want to say, "he was once a man
who was willing to fight for his people
and his land, whose daughter was stolen,
who watched brothers & friends
desiccated by disease dry up like river beds,
slain by pale hands as they defended their freedom
and family, displaced & lost in history
to the romanticized legend
of John Smith (not Rolfe) & Pocahontas so that we
could build---

shopping malls
to fill the void of consumption
once there were no more
great conquests"

but her mom sums it up in,
"an indian"

& they are off to another anchor store,
as i down the last bite of soft pretzel,
and nod not to the monument
but he who was willing
to stand behind it.

Process Note: Renape is Algonquin for "true humans"

Today @ dVerse Poets, Victoria has a wonderfully sculpted prompt for us. Hehe. Don't stand there frozen like a statue, come on over. Doors open at 3 pm.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

55 - son of a son of a son of a

snow crusted lip,
breathed grey by exhaust,
ditch, in which sits

a beer can
dented & crushed, slow
eaten by rust, intox-

ication consumed, only
one golden drop left, to catch
the sun, un-

noticed by passing cars,
face, window pressed
watching power-

lines murdered by crows
the whistle wind blows

& he,

come home

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Over at dVerse today, Blue Flute is running the bar for FormForAll examining a different approach to our writing by using tanglible images. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The tyranny of socks & everyday radicals

so much depends on
the color of our socks

we'd get them at Christmas
and by January first,
we lost nearly half

knowing this, they'd get us
all the same color
so what was left, could still go together

and i remember enough
of what little
fashion sense we were given
to know they should match

in case the pant leg climbed up
when you crossed your leg at the knee
or in one of those growth spurts
where you found yourself ready for high water
whether it came or not

there was always someone
that had nothing better to do than notice
if you were not careful in your selection
or rushed to care

'heaven's child, your socks
are the wrong color,' or

'why your mom let you out the house,
i will never know.'

off to our room we'd go
or be sent to change

at the library, today, i saw an older gentleman,
cross legged and peering at the news through
nose end glasses, sporting
one black an one green.

garnering his attention,
his bushy brows raised ever so slightly, i said

'sir, you are beautiful.'

questions filled his face,
but before he could ask
i was already on my way
out the door to enjoy
a new day
in the revolution of living.

written for Poetry Jam.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

OpenLinkNight - in-NO-sense lost

my boys put ketchup on everything,
even mix it with ranch dressing,
mad scientist gleam in their eyes
as they stir it with green beans

& i have brushed my teeth a hundred times,
yet the taste still clings to my tongue
& that dangly thing in the back of the throat

char & ash

the air, my clothes, my boys hair
where i go for the solace
of innocence---

they say it started where the clothes drier
joins the wall, now scorched---
but awaking at 1:30 AM to a house full of smoke
it doesn't matter---

does anything?

my grandfather was a fireman,
and on Sundays after church,
we would go for dinner, his helmet,
coat and boots by the door,
just in case a call came,
smelling of the last family
he saved or---

we are safe, damage minor,
but i would give anything to sense
something else,

even ketchup
mixed with ranch dressing.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - The wonderful Natasha Head is hosting this evening. So go write something poetic and join us. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

I will be a little slow getting around the next couple days. As you may have gathered from above, we had a small electrical fire in the middle of the night last night. All are well and we are in the clean up/fixing phase at this point. We do have heat back, so we are making progress.

Monday, February 20, 2012

a broken hush

      in the 61st day of winter
the world has fallen

to the hush
                of snow,

only by glee-filled
         down hill squeals


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Magpie Tales: No Quarter

JESUS SAVES, is written
in black magic marker, block letters
on the bathroom stall door

above, for a good time call
and some number & i
                           but fear
if the pastor answers,
it might be all he has to offer

as if our happiness were the true measure
of a life
          well lived.

written in response to the picture prompt, which can be viewed at Magpie Tales.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poetics: IN the END


A touch---

Feel the BASS in your chest
             air thick with each breathe
             ash, & ash, & ash
Feel the BASS in yoUR CHEST
             ground liquefies beneath
             earth sky earth sky
             lines blur between
             falling into each other
FEel the BASS in yoUR CHEST
             the gods have returned
             the gods are here
             the gods are insane
             the gods
             oh my god
             bodies, mouths wide
             screaming loud but unheard
             100, 1000 lions roar apocalypse

fire, fiRE, oil & fIrE

where are the children? where
      am i? damp, sweat, piss, blood
      god,  i, ash & ash
fade to grey, then black,
      fingertips on a shoe
a sandal, a..a table leg,

orange-red, a light, bright, blink,
      black, heat, blink

black, breathe, can't,
    black, breathe,
black, can't

finger hovering over the stone that once was
--was a body, sitting now between stalls, fresh
fruit in the market, it's curled, seeking safety

---and at a touch
i cross time, there, the moment where
hearts stopped--her heart's stopped---
first thoughts in the face of---

of--but then, a woman, her child
on a day of celebration, they are smiling,
laughing, she sees
               her husband, smiles, crossing
the stones when---

the BASS begins, (this is the end) feel it
      in your CHEST (this is the end)
this is the end---

and you never
    never saw it coming, even through
you have felt the tremors for weeks, months
    years, and swore, it

to you---

At dVerse Poets today, I am manning the pub and bringing friends, in particular, Reena from Missing Moments, who has graciously allowed us to use some of her wonderful pictures for our poetry prompt today. Trust me, there are some pretty amazing shots, but---you will have to tune in at 3 pm EST to see which ones...smiles.

And do stop over at Missing Moments and check out an artist behind the lens.

Friday, February 17, 2012

55/MTB - at the grocery

Mr. Jones, that drives the bus,
wears a hat, Built Ford Tough,
& as we pass, in the parking lot,

he out,
          i in

he shuffling not so fast,
          i in a rush

waves his long-fingered hand,
creased like a leather map
& shares a word

his wife waiting patiently
by his Chrysler in a handicap spot.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Over @ dVerse today, for Meeting the Bar, we are celebrating modern heroes. In yesterday's poem i celebrated my wife. Thought i would look outside the house for one today and find an everyday hero or heroes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meeting the Bar - Heroes (&Villains)

57 channels (and nothin' on),
the Boss sang --- now i have hundreds
at the click of a button, and still got nothin'
this is how we measure our progress,
more but no substance

In this season of superheroes,
at the movies, everyone wears spandex
or muscles plasticized in some unattainable

we set them on pedestals
                we can no longer reach.
                Our heroes

are mass produced and paraded through
and when one actor gets old, we find another
younger, start over, rewrite their origin,
begin again---the last Superman had an
illegitimate kid, perhaps that makes him
more believable, i guess

he has kryptonite to bring him down
but---as a kid i waited for my mutant powers to man-
ifest because i knew they were coming, b'cause this
              could not be it---flipped
pages back and forth measuring the angles
of john romita jr, shadows of jack kirby,
designed costumes,
       picked names
            & practiced

when the time came,
i was more villain than anything,

nursing a stiletto chest wound & spinning webs
to trap & take as many with me as i could, mis-
understood & ready to write a last issue,
                      end-ing circulation, or at least
dilute the ache with a drink, a drug, a late night escape,
                       billowing hospital gown as my cape


Heroes don't always make the movies or
after school specials, much less the comic books,
sometimes they wear jeans and their power
is limited to seeing---
       this is where she found me---
             & she loved me


so do i know heroes, yes
i have kissed their lips & will again
when i get home---and if there is nothin' on
(the tv tonight),
                   well then...

Today @ dVerse Poets, Victoria has a wonderful post on celebrating our modern heroes. She will be opening the doors around 3 pm, so if you are feeling poetic, do join in. Smiles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bubbles, along the surface of the deep

Dawn is a slow fade, the mystery of night dissipating in the vibrancy of color. A deer nibbles breakfast at the base of the hill, the muscles of his legs as the shift ever so slightly undulate the fur of his body in moving shadows. Birds dip low, briefly land and return to perch in the trees working their catch in their beak.

Through the window, i watch, as warm water fills the sink. My hand strays beneath the faucets stream as i wait. A few dishes remain from last night, remnants of dinner dried on their faces. Around and over it flows, between fingers, lending its heat.

Hours ago, in the shower, i let the cascade beat my neck and work my shoulders, little rivers running through my hair into my beard pulling it down in wet tendrils where the water continued in long lines eventually finding the drain. Steam thickens the air. I like it hot enough to pink my skin, so when she steps in, she gasps and turns the knobs to a more comfortable temperature.

Soap slicks the body as we wash, places we can not reach ourselves. Places we neglect in our day to day, yet feel deep when clean. Everything and nothing gurgling, then gone, and nothing between.

The deer meanders into the woods, meal complete and i lever the water off, sink mostly full and lower the dishes in one by one. They clink and clatter against each other then settle to the bottom, beneath a blanket of bubbles. The sun, now above the trees, pierces the window playing along their skin in swirling rainbows.
written for Theme Thursday

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Canvas Hearts

Four score and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth on this continent,
a new nation,

conceived in Liberty,
and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal---

but we know thats not true
and this aint a size thing, not what you do
before but after the ring, yeah
script fliped when the lips tripped with 'i do'
and don't, soon as you get home
once hot, now---heh, guess not,
romance, a body that needs exhuming
to search for evidence of its existence---
yeah rome is burning, all heat consumed by ashes,
leaking like ceasar, perpetrated by cassius

clay could rope a dope but when you won't swing
you got no hope and'll kiss the canvas mat
1-2-3 now ten count, yeah you out---what's that,
laid back on the couch, getting while the gettings good
---then you passed out
snore a dull roar, yeah boy you got a pretty mouth
& a silver tongue, enough to seal the deal but what you got
when it comes undone

Four score and seven years ago
has it really been that long since you last tried to woo
instead'a just expecting her in the bedroom,
St Valentine's a martyr, so one day a year---
you can try harder, it's the Hallmark & you been carded,
yeah this is a song for the broken hearted,
 it's time to leave Egypt, water's parted,
don't know bout you but my love needs more than 24 hours
they say the dandelions a weed not a flower
who we got to model the role, but our fathers
but then again, ain't all men created equal
and there's a reason her answer is two advil
ooo how bad's that feel, you can deny
but it's mad real

Time to plant the flag in this hill, nah not like that,
but this, a new nation of understanding what
love is, not a one day plan from a one night man,
in a one minute stand, where ladies got no reason
to say "you mean that's it?"---damn,
time to grow up boy be a man,
open your ears, and don't skip dedicate to a proposition
romance is a life style, not position, once more back to Lincoln

In the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - time to get all poetic, and you have the perfect's Valentine's love it, you hate it...either way let those emotions come out and find a place on the page....tonight, my good friend Claudia is manning the pub...see you at 3 pm EST.

The picture was taken by Lady Fi another long time blog friend.

Happy Valentines Day everyone. I will be cooking an elaborate dinner for my lady tonight.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Magpie Tale: Black & White

There was a time she would have been sent away to live with a distant relative, some school of reform, labeled crazy or even burned at the stake---

They, being inferior stock, would hang by the throat with rope, dancing beneath the trees until their tongues lolled, or roasted on spit---

In preservation of what?

We've come a long since---

Is it always black & white?

this is a Magpie Tale.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poetics: resurrection/man

Caught behind a chip truck
going up
         the mountain,
a quick stitch in time,
        a life time
a hem, shortening moments
        they spill faster
through the hour glass

 i am going nowhere
           going to be late---

i found one once lying on its
     side in the ditch, unwinding
the road too fast down the back
side, spilt wood chip strewn
     across the asphalt, a mess
in broken resurrection promises
     (or was it dreams)

shoveled & swept it off in the weeds
as a crane raised what was left
           taking it to the mill,
where ghosts rise in a great white pillar
of smoke, at river's edge---

my boys call it the poop plant,
be-cause it stinketh, the process
by which it be-comes paper, be
comes books, be-comes notes,
      be- revolutionary thoughts, revolting
against the name 'stationary'---

insidious things with spindly legs that crawl
                        cranial cavities,
i feel them even now
       who & what i read yesterday
three weeks ago
                   a year, they are
having a party, noshing
neurons, building atomic bombs
      with sledge hammers

as the truck coughs black
              shuddering the last few feet
to the top,

death is just a comma, not a period
         in consecutive life sentences,
and if i am late, find me
      on the book shelf, run
your fingers along my spine
      as much
              me as you and read
back to life

i found one once lying on its
    side in a ditch

Today at dVerse, Charles Miller (of no relation) is leading us on a merry romp through philosophy in our poetry prompt. i wrote mine on an employment application as i was sitting in Wendy's--recycling you know...smiles...anyway so come join us at 3 pm EST today to get the full scoop.

While all true moments here i strung them together as a great big metaphor for life...feeling stuck, the things we leave behind, and my own thoughts on what comes next.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

55 - Star Eyed Blind

we built a rickety rocket ship
from boards out back dad's shop
and banged nails unbent---

piled in with our
precious things, comic books
& napkin wrapped cookies,
dreaming we'd truly lift off,
star eyed blind---

back when anything could happen,
afternoons & weekends,
for no other reason than we believed
it would & did.

55 words-that's all you get...tell a story then tell g-man. Thursday nites @ 8 pm.

i am posting early. my boys are out of school on break the second part of this week so i am doing a bit more playing than usual and may not be as quick to respond to comments the next couple days.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Patriot Games

Tom Brady is not to blame for losing the Super Bowl game,
just ask his wife, you "can't expect him to F'n pass & catch"
while those who don't just stand and watch, much less drop

oh i bet that was an interesting ride home after

as she stroked him, like women do men, husbands
with wives, coaches and pats on the butt, or buddies
around a campfire, 'it's not your fault, if only'---

all well intentioned of course, wanting to soothe turn
of the worm where stomach meets intestines,
he'll feel with each pause, rewind, play, pause, rewind
his eyes taking in each mis-step, missed ball, blown call,
thrown pass, safety, sack, SportsCenter's top ten play

And when he hears the sound bite once more, her absolving
him and turning on his team, will he Clint Eastwood or MIA?
slip them the finger surreptitiously or carpe the day---

Yeah, it's halftime America, and only the ego can answer
which to please and depending  on which way he leans,
it could make him a prime candidate for the presidency,
only turning political means less interesting commercials

As for me, i'd rather the humbling of reality,
than the pop---
                                     of an over inflated fantasy
and another four years of it's all about me.

It's OpenLinkNight, and my turn behind the bar @ dVerse Poets, so write something poetic and come join me and a whole bunch of friends as we sling verse. I will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST. See you there.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Magpie Tales: Fragile Life

There is always a crowd where dead bodies are concerned. The fresher the better. Neighbors lining fences watching the stretcher for some sign, perhaps a finger sneaking from underneath the shroud, to dispel the mystery life, that ends in death. Strangers seeking a simple glimpse beyond the pulled back veil, happy not to hail a ride, second saddle on the pale horse, this time.

They whisper. Some prayers. Others their version of truth, formulated behind the safety of lifted slats on the mini blind. "I just knew he was going to be no good for her. Why, I heard them yelling just the other night." "Did you know, I was told by..." And fifteen seconds in the lens of a camera to fill space on the evening news.

"When we get out of this car, you will see things you hope you never see. It will haunt your dreams and drive you crazy if you let it. Do yourself a favor. That body, it's evidence. Treat it with respect, but at the end of the day, it's evidence," and we are out of the patrol car, our soles wearing thin on sun hot asphalt.

Pill bottle, paper, half a CD, bills due. Plastic confetti glittered from every imaginable piece. A hat, a shoe, pennies, a paperback with a dog eared page. Fluid rainbow rivers running and every car slows to a crawl to take in the chaos of a car wreck. Against one back seat window a little face framed by hands flat on the glass and we are eye to eye and then gone.

This is my first time. Male, age 38, truck driver. From Alabama, by the license in his wallet. His kid's soccer picture tucked behind, orange and black uniform, posed with the ball before the goal. Fell asleep coming down the exit ramp, plowing the concrete center column of the bridge. Maybe he never woke up.

We gather everything, information in paperwork boxes for filing, keep traffic moving and are back in the car, on to the next and that evidence's like the lie we tell ourselves about leaving work at just doesn't work.

this is a Magpie Tale.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Poetics: Black, i take her

"When I grind it,
it smells like soy sauce,"
the boy barrista behind the counter
says, his curls slithering for his eyes
as he folds scalded milk
into espresso

"Smooth though," i

& he, "Yeah, it's one coffee
i can drink black."

but i've been drinking it
like that since days on the docks,
loading, unloading my way through
high school, among the old men

old men then, now i empathize
their cheers of "go young man"
between sip & steam blow
as i tossed mine back to move
twice as many boxes, thinking
it impressive

a young man's folly, to finish quick
my oldest lover, wet lipped & warm
i take her in my mouth, no longer
ever green or cherry, heady & deep
upon my tongue, tight roping veins
in bare feet, i am young in her, i am
days and nights along her surface, culture,
moments, memories writhe
each taste & she flaunts
her boldness without need
to tease or be dressed
sweet or cut with milk---

"Black is the only way i take mine,"
i tell him, "any other is not to accept her
for who she is."

He is off to another customer already,
but one day perhaps he will understand
and i let the cup settle atop the wood table
admiring the way the sun slices
across her body, whisper

"good morning..."

Over at dVerse Poets today, Mark Kerstetter is tending the pub and having us focus on an object, making it come alive. I probably went a bit afar a field but, it was some good coffee this morning and i could not help myself. Drop in at 3 pm EST and he will explain it far better than I. See you there.

submitted as well to Poetry Jam.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

55 & 55 - Variations in Martian

Over at dVerse Poets today Semaphore has us writing Maritian poetry, which is rather fun. I have two versions, each with very different messages. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

Driving round the Terminus, Rolex & Lexus

A (k)night is lost without sex-tant,
an index arm & indicator to measure
the angle of heaven to earth, plotting
course, chart vast nebulas,
skimming black hole rims
with milky way trails, o'conquest

there's no sound in space
without molecules to vibrate

& they may name (y)our constellation
but does it really give it meaning?

Once more around the Term-in-us

night is lost without a sextant,
along my index arm, an indicator
measuring heaven's angles
to earth, plotted course, chart
vast nebulas, skim black hole rims
coupling comets leaving, milky way trails
birthing u-n-i-verses

there's no sound in space
without molecules to vibrate, what
will they name our constellation?

ground control, we'll re-enter
                                    next orbit
Each is written in 55 words, one of which should make up for schlepping off my 55 on my son last week to appease the host with the most that makes us fit the 5 x 5 box, g-man.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sequences & Ratios III

God hates gays, they are all going to hell, his bomb drops in class,
regardless of shrapnel, This is how i was raised, so this is how it is,
and nothing you can say can ever make a difference.

And at fourteen, he's secure in his conviction, force fed ignorance,
by the same man who froze his dog in the ice box, before burning him.
Trust no one, because you are the only one you can depend on, and difference
is just another reason to the son of the sun, on whose back he beats on.

We both lean on the edge of a plexiglas box, full of pledges
people make at the end of the Holocaust museum. Unable to speak,
with nothing needing to be spoken, raw and reeling, laid open
by witnessing just what the seeds planted within of him are saying
when allowed to germinate.

His body rocks with contractions at what is being birthed
in the broken places and he can't fill his lungs with air fast enough
to fight the clench of held breath when the epiphany, a stuttering utterance
equivalent to a keening wail of how wrong he is and what he was taught
vomits forth in an endless stream on my shoulder as i hug him.

It's going to be ok, i repeat, over and over again until the storm of emotion
abates and in the box before us, mixed in among the other promises made
in the face of such an ugly truth, one girl the same age as him spelled it:

I pledge to remind me everday I am beutiful.

And the difference is, now he is beginning to see it too.

Closing out the story of my trip to DC, by bringing in the whole reason i took my friend in the first place. Connecting the Sequences and Ratios. Thanks for taking the hard road with me.

Tagged into Theme Thursday and Imperfect Prose.