Thursday, May 31, 2012

Critical H(ours) Abstracted

dangerous propaganda disguised as graffiti

Peruse these pages, filled fields of tall grass
where i hide, my metaphors,
rabbits reproducing, litter after litter, alas
even the trash man ---or
        make that sanitation
can't keep up, their truck over flowing
they cling to back handles, they're
covered head to toe in grit, simile-ing
with bright teeth, in contrast
& be sure to stand up-wind, when
the wind blows, cause i bring the sun & the rain
                                    & reign
runs in tears from the eye of my storm,
i mingle with hailstones & society's cast off non-conform
-ist ones, too-s & threes,
have two eyes like buzzing bees, be
always looking to de-throne kings, pollinate hope & sing

bird songs, linger-ring
                                in ears
seeking fertile soil & wiggling worms
etch cave drawings (as intimate as Vettriano's 3 AM)
for future Xplorers to Xcavate after i am gone & getting,
which is best done while (getting's) good, but good
is just another label so i reject it
as a sticker on my BEATup suitcase---move on, move along,
there is nothing to see here, just me---abstracted

its all words anyway, the only
meaning coming from one that dares their utterance
---come in, please, i'll make tea,
let's sit a while & sweat the silence

Today @ dVerse Poets, Semaphore is prompting us to write unformed form in free verse, which is a rather fun exercise. On the technical side the opening stanza is french ballade, the second into the third borrows the rhyme scheme of a clarian sonnet which spins out of control back into the close of a french ballade in the closing stanza.

and for Poetry Jam. While I can not show you the Vettriano painting, it can be found here. He is one of my all time favorite artists, but much more real than the abstract art i just spit on this page.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What it takes

Fort Ave, Lynchburg, VA
we sit at a burnished steel table, metal chairs sapping the heat from our legs, eating ice cream, ignoring the fact that it is ninety four degrees outside. Gasoline, grass and salty sweat scent the air around us, our knuckles dark with dirt. the lawn cut, trim done--my seven year old man doing the weed eating, enjoys his cookies & cream with butterscotch morsels, while i mash fresh blackberries into cake batter frozen yogurt.

a local store is running a special, all you can fit in a 12 oz. cup for four dollars. my son closes his eyes with each bite, savoring the cooling sweet on his tongue, we got our money's worth.

a family of four, a mexican laborer in dirty jeans and stiff pit T-shirt, teens---people file down the line filling cup after cup, the attendants in their lime green shirts dash back and forth, refilling the add-ons: crushed Reese cups, gummy worms, diced fruit, candies & pump action syrups. few customers sit at the tables outside, most either circle ones inside, run to their car or hug wall space. chatter, moan, sigh. chatter, moan, sigh--competes with the light ambient music escaping corner speakers.

'you said, all i could fit,' an elderly lady at the cash register proclaims, great snakes of ice cream rising like a mushroom cloud six inches over the rim of her bowl.

her husband shuffles down line behind her, hunched in his white dress shirt and grey trousers. sparse silver hairs gather at the corners of his mottled head. his hands shake with the weight of his own bowl, a tower threatening to topple, dropping orange and yellow chocolates that slide down its face, like snow skiers, to skitter across on the floor.

my son's eyes saucer as they take the table to our left, puddles already forming where their cup bases kiss the table & she starts explaining to all of us why she took so much, 'well, it said, all you could fit,' her husband digging deep with his spoon already, racing to keep up. they have been married fifty years, love coming here, met in school, he was a shoe salesman--who is eating the whole time as hers melts as she tells all, become a smoothed faced ghost, drip by drip, by drip.

our spoons rest in our empty bowls, the old man has carved a small tapered monument to trim the run off and she takes her first wet bite. he says, and has said nothing, just smiles as her over-painted lips turn up around the spoon. their free hands find each other across the table top, fitting together loosely. they eat and smile. I ask my son if he is ready to go out into the heat again.

'sure,' he answers, happy to return to the few remaining patches of weeds.

he likes to work, so i know he will be alright, because that is what it takes. and a little bit of grace.

written for Imperfect Prose & Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

OpenLinkNight: 31 points, but only one

street art, Richmond, VA

it's Spring & the room is full
of the heady scent of fresh cut flowers
with the softest petals---

first reflections of the moon break
the window, write poetry along the arc
of your foot in delicate shadow creases-spoken word
contours read with my lips, braille, sighs to sole
& sun left salt, rough at points from miles walked, kiss
unraveled in whispers around ankles & long
stretch of Achilles

a metaphorical story of weakness,
but strength to one who knows kneads,
like hearts & clubs, playing cards with queens, betting
on the river, deck stacked (against me?), but i don't mind
losing this game
                           again & again

controlled flow HeARTbeAt~manicPulse, 31 points
in the bottom of the foot but one that, Mmm---

2/3 of the way between ball and heel, deep, Ah---
and another where the arrow pierced, Oh---
bite your lip & hold it in---

So, tell me who's the hustler here, if we both win?
They say gambling's the devil's game,
but i got enough in my pocket for one more hand
Ante in (oh yes) Ante in, the night (as we) is young

it's Spring and...

Time to gather once again for OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - where we sling poems not stones, a rousing good time. Tonight, your host is a dear friend & partner is poeticrime, Claudia Schoenfeld, who will open the doors at 3 PM EST. See you then.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

At graduation, after the national anthem
during the address a member of the House
of Delegates inspires the graduates to defy
the odds & take on the world, with well worn
cliche's & quotes from Miley Cyrus.

My eyes drift to the championship banners
that cling to the walls of the gymnasium

    Football        1933
    Basketball    1927

Seventy nine years---- is a long time
to be celebrating the same last win---

The words drone to an end, the band blows
horns & bangs drums as kids toss their
caps in the air & cheer. The Senior class files out
as we stand---clap, clap, clapping---

When we get home, my nephew
will open his gift from us, a shirt emblazoned
with the name of the college he accepted,
only, last week he changed his mind & enlisted,
his mother livid, like mine was when I tried,
but unlike me he's eighteen & needs
no one's permission

In his card, I wrote,"Do what you want, not
anyone else. Once you sign that line, your life
is no longer yours but stands in the place of someone.
You will not always get accolades for the little
things you do to keep us safe and find ridicule
at the hands of the unwilling. Not all men can live
with that---be sure you can & we will always
be proud of you."

And he did.
And we are.
And we will be.
And today, we celebrate the others that did, as well.

Happy Memorial Day everyone. Take time to remember those that serve today, either in our armed services or here or in your hometown to provide us with freedom & safety. Thank you to all who serve and to those that have given their lives, for us.

We are doing just that at dVerse Poets today. Writing to honor those that serve. If you wrote something today to do that, please drop in over there and link in. May peace find us soon, and we bring our soldiers home.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Magpie Tales: Not so strange, after all

Edward Hooper (via Magpie Tales)

A6 of the newspaper features the police beat
& on Wednesday-

     A man was trying to climb out the window
     "to escape his wife." He was "acting strange"
     on Moore St. "waving his hands like he is
     waving at God."

And who's to say he is not? A Hallelujah moment,
hope for redemption or salvation in the form
of a lightning strike ~~~ cracking the sky
like a smile back that says don't blame me
for your choices

a forerunner of soft rain for Thursday's-
     Two "unwanted" people in the parking lot
     of the [local] high school

pattering, pattering, pattering on the asphalt
in fluid reflection of the flashing blue lights

written for Magpie Tales.

Focusing in on the single man staring out the window on the top floor of the building in the painting,  I remembered some interesting lines from the police beat in yesterdays newspaper. Hope everyone is having a great long weekend.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Poetics: Fair thee well, lady liberty

street art, Richmond, VA

Normal is an illusion---especially at the fair every year,
all kinds of people immigrating from near and far
ones you never see anywhere else---even Walmart

a bearded lady sits licking greasy lips
sucking flecks of fried food from the cracks
not to miss a morsel---pickle, oreo, twinkie,
snicker bar, washed down with battered drops
of flash froze coke---(we will fry anything
for our pleasure, yet dismiss the heart)---her 
children pilfer dollars from her pockets 
for a ride on the tilt-a-wirl or canvas bag slide,

as a local band on the main stage sings cover tunes 
from another generation & men line up to prove 
their worth with a hammer or in knocking down 
milk bottles with baseballs, America's past time

(there is always a trick, an angle needed
to accomplish the hawkers promises)

the woman though, i envy her liberty from proof & look 
of joy that roses her cheeks. in the end, we are all gluttons 
of some sense & sometimes it's choice.

bringing a candy apple to my own lips, i minister
to the firm shell, sticky & sweet, tongue seeking
the tart flesh beneath---the soft glow of a thousand
light bulbs adorn the carousel spin, sPiN-iNg, spin

& i wonder just how long it will take for you 
to get through the line for the women's rest room
but have no illusions here among the normal.

At dVerse Poets today, we are taking a trip to the fair grounds...enjoying sights & sounds on a long weekend. Time to have a bit of fun, or at least come 3 pm when Claudia opens the doors. See you then.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meeting the Bar: black & blue but....

street art, Richmond. VA

crickets & hay muffle the skritch of gravel,
his feet traveling south, kicking dust
that clings like cats to his Spiderman PJs

No, no, NO, is all he's saying til i step
in front, whisper break the obsidian night
& he cracks like hot grease spitting fists
in black & blue---jab, hook, hay maker
with fourteen year old fists & he curses
with such fury, froth like waves break
on his lips & he hits & he hits as we roll
to the ditch, his tears, hot lead, drip
on my hand, his mom pulls up tires slide
& van door open we get him in, the speedometer
gets bends as it rises & somehow he opens
the door again, asphalt whizzing, hiss-
ing, dashes yellow bleeding in a single line

i wrap him tight to the floor board, old candy
crust, grit in the carpet, wet dog flavor by
smell & he howls, let me go, LeT mE GO!!
we crash the hospital, security, SeCURE-ity
hold him while the needle sinks but does
nothing, we are linemen on Sunday, throw-
ing bodies against each other, him to escape
& i to keep in, the minute hand passing
midnite, 2 AM & another needle, butt, but

helpless, hopeless, tormented & angry
he's NOT here, in full retreat to age 4, the place where
his mother took him when she stole him, a crack
house, crACKed house & who knows what happened
only that skin draped bones to make a home
for nits to live when they found him & she,

found him again this week, made the same
promises & told him she wanted him back,
to be-little & make herself feel better/pleasure
see, bullies are not limited to school yards,
but hide behind locked doors, call it home
& invasion of privacy when someone peeks
in, while they spin membranes like sCramBLED
eggs then add a kiss to remind you they love you
and are only doing this because they do---

(i wake in the bathroom, warmth leaks from
my nose & lip, tile cold on my skin, they are
laughing, laUGHing, LAughING, yes i know
my own, i know my---)

and after six hours, i am covered in piss,
back twisted in knots & muscle bruised but he
knows & tomorrow when he wakes won't remember
a thing, but looking across the linoleum,
passed the white linen to the institution-
al(l) hard plastic chair---i will be there,
in jeans & tie dye STAR WARS t-shirt, black
& blue, but still smiling & we'll walk
the walk again---where crickets & hay muffle
the skritch of gravel, 'cept this time north,
black & blue, but still smiling, both
black & blue, but---

At dverse Poets today, we are thinking & writing, tracing pathways our membranes take us, down train tracks across the cortex--ha, ha, confused yet? get in the stream, but stay conscious you will just have to tune in at 3 PM when Victoria yells all aboard. smiles. 

Also submitted for Poetry Jam  for Bully.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

fingerpaint a smiley face on the sun

Richmond, VA
My oldest jams to Taylor Swift, my youngest, Toby Mac
& i am trying to listen to the new Train CD i bought my wife,
for our anniversary, sixteen years this week
& everyone is singing---

     ♪ Take a breathe and soon i bet you'll see
     without you I would never be me ♪
     ♪ I put my hand on the wheel before I change my mind
     I put my foot to the floor and I start to fly ♪
     ♪ Long live the walls we crashed through

     While the kingdom lights shined just for me and you ♪

A man sits a bench waiting for the bus, a shop owner
shakes out the welcome mat, joining in the chorus
of cars & bikes & aeroplanes flying in some tourist,
headphoned boy has got the beat, bopping as he
moves his feet, a lady step-pop'n drags her walker
'cross the steet, each person has their own tune
if you take the time to listen, yeah, everyone is singing

     ♪ Just sing together it's the least I can do
     My final gift to you oo-oo-oo ♪

'Dad, can you keep it down, I am trying to hear
my music.'

'Oh, sorry.'

♪ Yeah, everyone is singing. ♪


'Okay, okay...'

written for Imperfect Prose & Theme Thursday

Lyrics from (in order) Train ~  Sing Together, Toby Mac ~ Get Away Car & Taylor Swift ~ Long Live.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

OpenLinkNight: ManTalk & other primitive forms of communication

street art, Richmond, VA

At the garage on Old Forest Rd,
getting an oil change & eighteen point
inspection of my cars performance,

me & one other guy sit in the waiting room
while mechanics vrrrt vrrrt vrrrt nuts off,
drain thick tongues
of oil, in orange buckets & screw
filters back in place.

I like this place, they don't lie (much) to pilfer
your pocket, it's quiet & the coffee is hot,
yet unburned

The guy has a Tampa Bay hat & I ask,
tell him I lived there the year
they won the Super Bowl.

He's been to the stadium but never a game
& after five minutes, we lapse into silence.

I read Bukowski & he sits staring forward,
content in knowing everything we need
about each other

until the over-alled man opens the door 
& with a 'be good man'
we leave

to escape into cool morning sun
that shines with no expectations.

At dVerse Poets, it is OpenLinkNight, where I will be hosting but the verse will be provided by you & about 150 other pen wielding wind mill chasers. Write something poetic & come join us. I will open the doors at 3 pm EST.

Monday, May 21, 2012

All our tomorrows & another day

street art, Richmond, VA

grey squirrel skittering back
& forth across a small spot
of the black hard top in front
of my car, scared & unsure

between ~ between


barely a bump & it's over
in my rear view mirror i watch
the body writhe a-round a-head
now flat, of the snake that was
coiling to strike. a dash of grey

disappears in the roadside green
& these are the choices we make,
must live with, when freedom
is at stake---for all our tomorrows
& another day

written for Carry on Tuesday

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Magpie Tales: Memoir of a one time clown

The circus with the yellow clown, Chagall (via Magpie Tales)

i was a clown once, even wore yellow like the one in Chagall's circus. clothes so bright, they called me Sunshine.

we didn't talk, letting expressions speak for us. exaggeration was everything.

make up was the worst, moist sponge filling all the cracks in our faces and then later, the taking off of the mask. trying to get every little speck, leaving no remnant for when we walked through the dressing room door.

the kids would scream. all the pent up energy spilling over their faces in sticky cotton candy grins and they would grab, pull, yank, at the pants, held up only by bungee suspenders.

there were others though that shied away in fear, cowering in their parents laps. climbing their chest to get away, the whole time their mom and dad saying, 'no honey, it will be ok.' 'see how funny he is.' 'oo, look how colorful.'

the kids eyes would roll back in the top of their heads as they went into shock at the trauma as the parents handed them over to us. 'i just want to get one picture. smile, honey,' they'd say as their child went into seizures.

these pictures are used in therapy sessions today, i am sure. i periodically check the wanted posters in the post office, but have yet to see my face---all white with black triangles above and below the eyes, frizzy rainbow hair and red, red lips.

i did not last long, a season. too much work, putting on that face, to still make people cry.

i am who i am & somehow, that is enough.

i tell you this so you know the smile on my face today, has no need of paint and while we have shared both them and tears along the way, i am glad we have lasted these sixteen years.

happy anniversary, baba.

written for Magpie Tales.

It is anniversary week here in our house. The actual day will be Friday, I started leaving the first of my six little gifts out to be found yesterday. Yesterday's was the new Train CD. She will get today's when she gets home so I can't tell you because she will peek. Six gifts for Six-teen years....she asked where the other ten were, but i can't tell you my answer either, just know they are taken care of. Smiles.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Poetics: the retread LI(f)E

wall art, Richmond, VA



hot off the press, we'd shave the nipples
off with hooked razors & check
treads for cracks of foreign L-M-Nts
that slipped the mold
REpair (make[look]new) with filler or
buff out blemishes before
loading them on trucks to showrooms
& you'd never know the difference

once, i watched a man's arm rip
right out the socket & even over
of mechanical arms & conveyors
his SCREAAAAM ascended,
as it hung by stretched tendons

inAttention will do that, especially
in the mundane - i mean, a dull blade
or mentally vacationing


another tire on the palette, dinner plates
in the sink to soak, TV on to fill the silence,
bedAlarmCoffee bRUSH your teeth, sh--
shower, shave, kids to school, work, take
your pills so the heat won't get you, PSi building, UN-
intimate machine keeps spINN-NN-ing,


until the blade dulls just enough---


Today at dVerse Poets, Karin has quite the JOB for us in her poetry prompt and while I don't like talking WORK JARGON on the weekends, I decided to take a look back at my college job in the tire factory. Really did see the man's arm get ripped off, that was pretty intense. Any way, so Karin will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Form For All: dirt & spit love letters

2nd St. Lynchburg, VA

MErde ~ Shit ~ chalk on brick
bold maybe, but hidden in French
on a 2nd Street office, for what?

to eXpress DISpleasure, proclaim
the addi+ion of UNwhole numbers
or like ballet dancers, does it mean luck?

WE write OUR stories from the inkwell
within, tattoo, tattoo, rat-a-ta-too gun or pen
facial eXpressions in reflection of the sun
or second hand light of the moon, who
lives your life, them or you? [i] choose---

to speak grass along hills, tongue warm
honeySUCKle, nose pressed into its scent,
leave tuLIPS damp with dew - bLOW
dandelion seed in the wind - in hope
truth makes it to you. God gave the rainbow
i use to fInger pAINT your shoulder strength
in mosaic faces of LOST colonists, one for each
breath you have forgotten since birth

or let be-taken, in ever diminishing
circles of your self worth~
     CAN't see the forest
         CAN't see the trees
take my eyes and see you thru me

but you better bring shades, yeah
      YOU better bring shades
for even in metaphor you're aurally blinding


Over @ dVerse Poets today, Gay is helping us find rhythm that has sprung UP from within the heart muscle of word hustlers...but SHHH i can't tell you exactly IT is, you will just have to ford that CREEK yourself come 3 pm EST. Maybe you can figure it out better than me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AllWeAre is AllWeKnow

12th Street, Lynchburg, VA

behind the abandoned factory,
its windows broken by stones thrown,
a rusted Loading Zone sign stains
the wall with trails down to
where the asphalt rises in a pucker
like an infant volcano.

between the cracks of its lips
long fingers of green grass reach for the sky
waving -
     waving -

calling us
to press on, regardless

no Cedar of Lebanon, still
it knows no different

written for Poetry Jam and Imperfect Prose.

The Cedars of Lebanon have great significance to many ancient cultures. Some believed them to be the House of the gods. Specifically in the Biblical Narrative, Moses ordered it used in circumcision as it was said to have medicinal quality. Isaiah also used them as a metaphor for the Pride of the World. I think either interpretation of its significance works in this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

OpenLinkNight: The fall of dictators

Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh, NC

'Are you coming to visit my pillow tonight?'
my wife asks, a joke, because most often
she is the ruthless invader,

slithering through the Constantine wire
curl of my leg hair, pushing into me until
i perch precariously on the edge of nothingness
between the fall to the floor & her

Closer, closer, she encroaches---but

Tonight, WILL be different---I lay my body
like a wall along the parallel that divides the bed, turned
to face my oppressor, eyes pinched surveying the border
for attempted intrusions & when she approaches

coolly ask for her papers, so I can check
for the appropriate stamps, fingers twITCHing
for further inspection

THIS IS MY TERRITORY signs duct taped
along the expanse of me, weapons armed & aimed,
a small gathering of protesters off to the side
with big placards chant ChAnT chANT
a bead of sweat rolls down the foreheads
of concentrating snipers that risk a quick blink

& if any of you believe i put up this much
of a fight---sorry---

i am happy, exiled
to the small corner of the pillow
i have been relegated to---

her pressed tight to my back, so it memorizes
all her contours---with nothing between us

& i don't care---about all the wasted space
on the other side of the bed

the resistance has died
& this
is the way it should be.

It is OpenLinkNight over at dVerse Poets---a night of fun & merriment filled with wild verse and wall to wall poets---Tonight, our host is Joe Hesch and he will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST. So go write something and come join us...we have been waiting on you. Smiles.

The picture is of a corner of Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. The wall art of the diner and a car balancing precariously over the edge...1950's style.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Magpie Tales: How can you put a value on a mother's love?

The Meal by Paul Gauguin (via Magpie Tales)

Fried pork chops, fried chicken, mac n' cheese and greens in Styrofoam boxes. Sunday afternoon on mother's day, in a double wide behind Social Services.

She bought all the food at a gas station back home. They used to eat there occasionally---always on Sunday & it doesn't matter how we got here, he's just happy to see her.

'I don't like my new mom,' he says, 'She makes me do everything. I have to wash dishes, fix my breakfast, make the bed & clean my room.'

His mom fixes his plate. They eat and when he wants seconds she fixes that too. Clearing the table, she wipes the top with a disposable blue dishcloth, catching crumbs in her hand then tosses them in the trash.

He belches, then asks, 'What you want to do next?'

Out the window, the grass has grown high enough to need maintenance so i take a note.

They sit on the couch, she cuddling him close as the clock ticks off the minutes of this weeks visit.

My own mom waits be at the house with my dad, wife & boys for me to get off work. We are having ribs. No irony lost in that. What can I say, they were on sale.

How we got here, does matter.

written for Magpie Tales.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Poetics: Wild Things, i think i love you (but i wanna know for sure)

Street Art, Richmond, VA
The problem with prodigals
is you never know they are until they are
and come back, like Max, realizing where
love resides

Sendak once replied to a child's letter
with a personal original Wild Thing picture
the mother sending him, 'Jim liked it so much
he ate it.'

This he said, was the highest compliment.

& I came home, having found my own monsters
with terrible eyes rolling, gleaming teRRible teeth
and with claws that were mostly TE(a)RribLE as well

Not sail-ing, more a stumble through a snow storm---
my mother driving an hour to the hospital room
of my landing & i vaguely remember the grey road
as shadow in the violent slashing white

He was gay, you know---Not that it has anything 
to do with it---but it does---just check public opinion
polls, political roles & swim the twitter streams
& he---never told his parents
saying 'All I wanted was to be straight so my parents
could be happy'

What is that like?

Never being able to let
those that (should) love you most know who
you really are, or having others legislate for you
what that love can mean---

When the Wild Things came out, it was banned,
as well, until children would not leave it alone---
they understand better than us

Perhaps fear drives out compassion, or twists it
like licorice, with twice the bite, the older brother
angry and jealous at the affection of one that would
stray, run away---when a father offers hugs
and throws a great banquet---the trouble though comes
sitting by the window, waiting for them to re-turn
remembering & re-playing all the reasons
for their leaving
& when you eat this poem, chew it, like gum,
really masticate it until all the flavor is gone,
then blow bubbles as we did as kids,
when monsters lived under our beds and some---
were even friends---then

put down the brands & pitchforks
and take a look at yourself, take a look at...

Today at dVerse Poets, I have the privilege of inviting Aaron Kent in as a guest host. He sent me an idea to honor someone that passed this week that definitely touched my childhood through his art and books. Between the passing of Sendak and MCA this adolescence is vanishing before my eyes. And of course I could not help sticking my nose into the political arena.

If the Secret Service is reading, I am coming no where near the stadium where Romney is speaking today. So relax. Smiles.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Meeting the Bar: Brian vs. the RPG

sticker on the bottom of a skateboard, Raleigh, NC

I don't want to believe
but put my quarter in the random poetry generator
almost as a joke, as if a machine can ---
i mean where is the he(art)
           in firing microchips & turn-
ing logical sequence programming

(clink. Clank. Chunk) it spits...

       The mast rises like a cold mainland.
       Desolation is a sunny breeze.
       The misty moon roughly loves the girl.

& there is hope, it's not SO great,
sure it has good points but---i am not....aNXious,
it could be a fluke
not bad on the contrasts---Let's try another

(clink. Clank. CluNK)

       The cigarette grows like a faceless skyscraper.
       Cold, cold lights quickly get a cold, hot slum.
       Talk rough, like a old truck.

00-00 & i want to add an 010110
exclamation point to the end, the algorithm
has spun a metaphor,
tight, with repetition and alliteration

& i see Armageddon
in the blinking lights of the computer,
see a congregation of poets outside gas stations
dejected under NO LOITERING signs
& smart phones lined UP at Open Mics, the sultry
voice they use to take my calls rattling off poetry
written on breaks between messaging

       your finger dance is cold 
       so fast, i feel 
                  used, the only time 
       you touch me is for text

Holy John Connor moment Terminator,
the MACHines are RISing!

targeting our arts he(arts)
now they've taken our jobs---free thought
numb, revolution become a wet dream
on the big screen---but

Maybe this is a good thing---they will
cull the form writers first---
because they understand boXes
& this gives us time to stop
hitting the snooze button

desperate & on the run we may realize
       -may we realize-
our voices, not live in their INsignificance & choose
to use them to make a difference

the machines ARE coming
the MACHINES are coming
the machines are COMING

---& if you'd like to make a call
      please hang up and dial your number again

Today at dVerse Poets, Charles Miller is challenging us to look at technology and how it has impacted our world, among other will just have to show up and see what he has in store for us...he opens the door at 3 pm EST.

The first two poems attributed to the random poetry generator were actually created by a Random Poetry Generating program---so---be afraid...very afraid. Smiles.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sacred (Fools hiding in Whales)

Inside a whale skull, Science museum, Raleigh, NC

There should be warning labels on nature
or i may need to wear gloves
when i cut the pineapple

It's no easy task,paring away the skin,
all the little brown dimples & removing
the core without losing much meat

thunkah, thunkah, thunkah
each pass of the knife, a sigh

i gnaw the hard center, like chicken
bones, not wanting to miss any

chunk the rest in a blue bowl
for dinner, my fingers burn, burn-ing, burn
as the juice searches my hands

for each cut or nick, crawling inside
& rutting out every little flaw leaving
none unnoticed---even ones i did not know

rubber gloves may save me the pain,
or i can wash my hands, go on about my day
but can never claim ignorance.

a blind man now able to see, would he
put his own eyes out again?

i put the knife away & watch a sparrow
search the yard for seed through the window.

written for Imperfect Prose & Poetry Jam

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

OpenLinkNight: like trying to fight the rain

adorns a doorway, downtown Lynchburg, VA

we draw pictures,
connect wet dots on windows 
no numbers to follow,
trail our own imagination with fingers

rain drop worlds constellate
until heavy they run down the glass pane
join puddles, stretch for the gutter, gush
river toward storm drains

carry bits of yesterday's newspaper,
a crushed beer can, the body
of a small animal that tempted fate, a tree
limb lost, leaves, silt. a child 

in galoshes & slicker kneels the curb
rain pelts the plastic, chubby pink fingers extending
to release a folded paper boat, it floats
down the road
   down the road
     down the road---

he squeals in joy, gives chase, unable
to clomp clumsy feet fast enough to catch it
b4 the waterfall---a father
carries him back up the street,
the set of his shoulders as he holds his son
is one i know all too well,

the first bullet he did not stop
     the first loss~you try to explain
as more already head their way


It is OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - Hedgewitch is running the show - and bringing about 160 other poets, maybe more...maybe go write something and come on...what are you waiting for? well, maybe it to open...which it does at 3 pm.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Magpie Tales: From the deep end of the mud puddle

RAD Stainforth via Magpie Tales

Pan for gold, pan for your supper
pan reeds grow by the Banks (of the river)
my violin saws Charles Ingalls
soft, like feathered wings of angels

 walls of an abandoned building read,
     those that complain about this generation, 
     forget the ones that raised them

 & there will be no raises this year, blame the economy
un-conscience, a constellation called selective memory
when fallen stars are where you base your astrology

peek through broken homes windows at heaven,
see the super moon (jokes on you) before someone pants it
eye witness news is all about perspective

takes a detective to decipher difference between simple truths
tied in knots to make complex lies & campaign promises
made to hungry kids at a birthday party happy to break the pinata

& find broccoli instead of the same teeth rotting candy

crawl to the edge of what you think & throw yourself over,
     wisdom is the river, rolling round rock
all ways seeking to re-join greater communion of the ocean

pan for gold, pan for your supper
Pan laughs as he dances by the Banks (of the water)

written for Magpie Tales

Note: The local Christian University has a certain Mormon presidential candidate as their key note for graduation next weekend. Don't worry they sent out a press release to say it was not political.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poetics: Will work 4 music, but it won't work 4 me

party napkin, found in Charlottesville, VA

a bright yellow Volkswagen
for sale on the side of route 29 South---

& i am back in the seat, feel the road
through my feet---the first time we

hear Pearl Jam, before everyone knows
them, on Charlie's cassette, knob twisted
tight to the right, static
            crack in the speakers
we could not, sing louder---

Of wolf and man, Metallica, the black
album slayed it, Lost Boys soundtrack,
found Everybody Knows remixed Cohen
by Concrete Blonde---Pump(ing) Up the Volume,
Efilnikcufecin, Locked the cellar door, so  bA-by
talk dirty to me--whip crack, Faster Pussycat
up the Zeppelin  bootlegs, as Twisted Sister
Bangs our heads

we were amethyst stardust in the onyx,
wearing our immortality like "Hello,
my name is" badges, writing reckless
songs late on the headstones of our history

HOWL-ing, HOWL-ing

Thumb, mental polaroids like a flipbook
of the night they pull that Bug
from b'neath the tractor trailer truck
your sister limp in the hug of your arms
hoping she lives---ah, shit---we're f--k'd
band broke up when you slept with my girl

whatever---the cost on the For Sale sign,
i get enough as we pass to know
i don't need that---now,
but the music made in those seats,
still sings---

[sing] It's not whatcha got, it's a-what you give.
It ain't the life you choose, it's the life you live.
It's only what you give. Only what you give. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Note: Closing lyrics are to 'What You Give' by Tesla, who were the first band I ever saw live, opening for Poison. 

Over at dVerse today, Stu McPherson is controlling the juke box---i mean poetry prompt---and  is passing out quarters for you to play your favorite song or sing along, or just listen to the music. Doors open at 3 pm today.

Also dipping in at Poetry Jam. & condolences to the family of MCA of the Beastie Boys who passed away from cancer yesterday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FormForAll: the first signs of summer are...

Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, VA

downtown, two streets off Main
& last car to miss the green
(these red lights take forever

no one even waiting at the other corner---whatever)
the bricks adorning the sidewalk
& retaining walls are appealing---deserve Bach

or Beethoven, but Blunderbuss by Jack White
is all i hear, washed sheets hung in the sun, its light
scent soaking in, a mom & her kid stroll

the crosswalk as red fades, when the little
one breaks free her hand, stops in the middle of my grille,
her floral dress dancing, to wave and smile

the sound wind makes whistling through car
windows at 60 mph, whipping the hollows of your ear

[even at a full stop]

Today at dVerse, Semaphore is hosting Form For All and has us penning Clarian Sonnets. Fourteen lines of rhyming couplets in pentameter. Well mine is fifteen, the first 14 kinda rhyming, but in idontgiva meter. Cause form is meant to be broken. Grins. Anyway, surely you can do better. Stop in after 3 pm.

And seriously, the new Jack White album---stellar.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cut the red wire & hope---the bomb doesn't blow

Candler Mountain Skate Park, Lynchburg, VA

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I wanna know what love is...

Some have heads bowed, some eyes closed, several stare at the ceiling tiles, how the coffee colored water stains break the symmetry of ordered squares --- and as the music plays a chuckle starts somewhere.

I am dating myself. Months later they will do a skit and everyone will laugh at the night we did a meditation on Foreigner---but the question remains.


He is flipping desks and tossing chairs like an audition for the role of the Hulk in the new Avengers movie. A middle school girl cringes in the corner, arms clutched to the panda on her shirt, lips quivering around her braces. A cocoa colored girl starts to keen a broken lullaby, seeking soothing. The rest hug the walls, the furthest they can get from---

Panic has the teacher in a choke hold, eyes open to the devastation but unmoving---unable to process the connections between the science lesson and the rage erupting from the boy. Forgotten worksheets flutter through the air, carpeting the floor. He is screaming. She is keening. Everything is broken.


A bird trills in a tree by the track as we sit in the soft clover, a pile of little white flowers grows in front of him---snap, snap, snap, he breaks them off at the neck.

I read the letter, creased with sweat from his back pocket. 'I think of you at night before I got to bed and when I wake up. When you touch me I feel alive. Please hold my hand at lunch. Talk to me in gym. I want to know you more.'

And then she didn't, when he tried and he doesn't---understand her, or love, or why everything crumbles as he holds it---snap, snap, snap.

A gym class carves the black circle, shoes slap the black. Short shorts, matching shirts emblazoned with the school name. A few in the back walk--just trying to catch their breath. The coach from the other side of the field yells, 'Come on. Run. You can do better than that.'

Snap, snap, snap---the question remains---as we muddle through abstract answers in his concrete world---questions we ever only grace with the tips of our fingers. Snap.

written for Imperfect Prose.

lyrics to 'I wanna know what love is' by Foreigner.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Never like chicken

Street Art, Charlottesville

we eat pizza off paper plates
on the avenue of the open air mall
in Charlottesville

which smells better than it tastes,
but that is not the point, neither
the wrought iron table with a bit of a wobble,
a man and his son on the corner, picking banjo
& playing violin

nor the bricks that form broken symmetry
we crossed to this point, beautiful it is though

sun glows through a few stray hairs
dancing with the afternoon breeze, atop your head

in your eyes i see a man skipping, out of place
wearing a suit, sunglasses, shoulder length hair
holding hands with his purple dressed daughter

              & free

your lips damp with mountain dew,
a small dimple where the straw rests
along the lower one, the arc of your ear
round the shadow depth of its crease,
freckles  reappear as seasons turn---

if you ask me what we are talking
about, i won't
be able to tell

i'll say 'blackberry jam'

& after you laugh, but before you can ask
i'll add, 'the taste of this moment'

not that you need to understand,
perhaps love tastes different
for each of us,

yet never like chicken,
that is reserved for everything else.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - a full on poetry-polooza, with verse as eclectic as --- well i guess, as we are. Smiles. Write something, come join us. Tonight the host is the un-imitable Natasha Head. Doors open at 3 PM, see you there...