Saturday, June 30, 2012

Poetics: Searching for something firm

my neighbor's house

My barista pens a smile in black
on the plastic top of my coffee cup

'Be careful of the storm tonight,"
i tell her, then exit

a growl, a roar---a sound like the dead
rising to wail, all the air presses down
like gravity, then jerks left, jerks right
a cement based umbrella smashes
the front of my car

crack-a gunshot
    crack-a shower of sparks
the corner power pole torches, tongues
of flame rise high, sideways, down
in some macabre dance

trees, trees, trees---fall in yards, the road
black asphalt replaced by green, limbs & leaves
hulking bodies of ancient oaks, maple, cherry
roll & moan like gut shot warriors

streetlights out, our headlights cut slow pools
through the thick obsidian, there are three of us
weaving in a line around the wounded, cars
shaking with each howling breath

BANG, another limb hits, BANG
trying to get in my car, BANG
i squeeze into the drive, between our van
and half a tree, wheezing against its side
& run for the house, gather the family,

huddle in the basement, as the beast scratches
at the brick, rattling windows and doors, keening
our names, my son warm at my side, as i trace
the hard circumference of a button
on his pajama shirt

& wait

lightning creasing my small square of night
in the dark.

Over at dVerse Poets, I am pulling double duty this week as Stu is out of his country today, i am pushing buttons, or viewing the jar of them your mom had, maybe pop a few to give a view....oo...yeah button, button who's got the button. See you at 3 pm.

I may be slow getting around we have no power. The storm last night, put a tree through my neighbors house and crushed his cars. Another one on the street behind us. There are 300,000 without power in our city right now  We are alive though.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FormForAll: The bellman

a mosaic mural, d'town Lynchburg, VA

The bellman of the Parkview sits,
bellman jacket pressed, patch emblazoned, bereft
of pressed service, alone, abandoned guests.

The patch a-lone remembrance, his, since
Parkview inBlazEnd abandoned his city/life distant,
sits bereft guests since distant ages. 

Over at dVerse Poets today, Sam has us writing square poems. If it works it can be read right to left and top to bottom. It is a beast to try and do, honestly. Below, I have spaced it to make reading it top to bottom easier.
the           bellman      of              the                    Parkview      sits,
bellman   jacket         pressed,     patch                 emblazoned, bereft
of             pressed      service,      alone,                abandoned    guests
the           patch          a-lone        remembrance,   his,               since
Parkview inBlazEnd abandoned his                     city/life        distant
sits           bereft         guests        since                 distant            ages  

I wrote this about a guy I met today. He sits on a planter, still dressed in his bellman's jacket outside the abandoned burned out hotel formerly known as the Parkview.    

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainbows with no end

grave at the family cemetary

Thirteen---It’s hard for her to comprehend
how one could die so young, ‘a shame’
she says as we stand over the stone & I know

walking a graveyard is an auspicious way
for a date to end, but I am setting precedent
for the next boy to come along and try to win
her hand--- (rewind)

Have her home at a good time,’ and I answer,
'Yes, sir,’ help her into the car & minutes later
we’re eating ice cream at a roadside stand,
without tables, we lean on a rail, her Cotton Candy
Explosion living up to its name, layer upon layer
of napkins wrapped round the cone become
a pink sticky mess as she tries to keep up,
when a light rain descends, not even  enough
to dampen our shirts, but leaves pearls glistening
in our hair & spins a rainbow,
which she says has no end ---like magic in moments
you can never manufacture

Gently, I take her hands in mine and press them in-
to the clay base where it kisses the potter’s wheel,
pressure form a cup, which I keep having to patch
in places she wears thin & when done, in a lopsided
kinda way, she claps sending clay in wet showers
across our shirts & we’re laughing—it’s just laundry,
unwilling to waste precious time getting upset

Returning home, we ride bikes to the graveyard
walk slow among the dead, talking about which
she might be related to---because that interests her
making it important to me, until back to the beginning
we stand before a girl who died at age

Thirteen---which, at eight, seems a long way off to her,
but young enough to shiver in its shadow
‘Uncle Brian, this is the best date I ever had,’
makes me smile, then, ‘well, It’s the only date
I ever had,’ we laugh again

Her small hand finding mine as a brown hair bunny
nibbles tall grass at the base of another head stone,
the sun painting everything orange---

And I tell her, 'Never accept anything less.'

written for Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Bright June

Store window, Greensboro, NC

She waves not just her hands but both arms,
 the whole way across the parking lot
as if it were a prodigious sea & she anxious
 to reach the concrete beach, complete
with double coupon bill boards & air
conditioned grocery aisles,

talks, talks like each word might be her last
or bears significant meaning, sun glisten
crowns her silver hair, she wears
royal colors, blue & gold, walks slow
but with purpose---

Still swimming to shore. We meet
at the cart exchange, one
plastic bag pendUlum-ing at my knee
just above the surf's reach,

i say "good morning,"
interrupting her conversation, with

screwed face, eyes squinting thru thick glass,
she searches for some semblance of recognition
& finding nONE, curls pancaked lips
round deeply rouged cheeks

then swims on, arms flailing,
chatting away at herself

& maybe she's crazy,
maybe i AM or maybe we all are

swimming, but at least
not drowning

It is OpenLinkNight @dVerse Poets, and I am hosting the festivities this evening, so let's is BYOP, so bring something poetic and let's have some fun...I will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST. See you there.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Magpie Tales: A breath of fresh Ares

via Magpie Tales

There is always justification---

freedom sells, pulls heart strings 
as they flash pictures on the news of children starving 
while evil dictators pound podiums, long lines of soldiers 
march the streets with menace followed by rumbling tanks, 
salute to the left as they pass---

& there is always a flag waving 
to represent what could be, if only
our ideology wins the day---

and let's face it, what better way 
to fix the economy---it creates jobs, 
inspires patriotism, masses of our young clamor 
to sign their name, go on tour, kill
Commies, or whatever 
the going slur

it's just war---
a just war---

God mandated, just check the scripture, 
we must eradicate sin in all its dimensions, 
spread ordained democracy---

because in democracy there is no chance 
for corruption or madMen, We the people 
won't stand for it---

we will fight, vote out those that think 
they might---because we are the mighty 
& have the power---

just not the stomach, so we take it on the chin, 
     take it on the chin, 
          take it on the chin, 

until we're numb 
                & apathy sets in

then we change the channel to a sitcom,
laughter being the best medicine

& war makes a nice distraction
to keep us from asking questions.

written for Magpie Tales

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poetics: Dignation Rex (dOwN but---)

Richmond, VA

There are things a man can only get from another man,
Father to son and at daywane, son to father,
prince to king, killcredit given,
even when the arrow fletchings tell different---

“Are you a marine?”
he asks, shirtless, tits sagging, loose
flesh from his hollow chestcrease,
laden with white Down


“I took one Down, Once.
Pushing me around, I put my hands up in stance
and when he followed, I kicked him---
dOwn there,” he gestures 
in modest decorum.

Unsure how to answer a stranger 
with an introduction like that, I praise him 
for defending himself & his cragchin juts,
failing to keep up with the crooktooth overbite
beneath his moustache

The persnickety pup follows me round the pool,
regaling me with stories, how he Once
landed a plane, fizzled wings & shiftlifted the nose
Touching doWn light.

Fzippsplash dowN the slide, dive,
on and on, I swim
Sit on the bottom with held breath
but each time I surface---

“Look, it’s been great, but---“
And he drags his joints and sticks onto the wall,
American flag shorts waving as he goes,

My son asks, “Dad, who was that?”

“Just a man, trying to see if his fish still swims.”


“Once upon a time, there was this great man who fended
off an army & flew on the most amazing outstretched wings”

“Really dad?”

“Yeah, and sometimes we just need another man to hear it,
So we believe we are not trees
falling silent in the forest.”

Today at Dverse Poets, Anna Montgomery is guest hosting Poetics...and if you know Anna, its all about words and the lexicon of language---strange words, words we make up---it will def be a fun trip. See you there when she opens the door at 3 pm EST.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MeetingTheBar: 'dess of the dump

street art, Richmond, VA

Behind a chain link fence, grass overgrown,
in tufts, sign stencilled 'County Dump,'

She is sweat & earth, cracked nails,
tan & creased as leather, wild cropped
whip cream cloud hair & tough---

You can see it in her sky color eyes
& small smile when she pushes the button
to compact the trash---

She'd have to be, spending the day
in the putrid scent of others' refuse,
rising on mirage waves of heat
off oily puddles on the hard pack gravel---

i meet her, over by the recycle bins, after dropping
my white rubber bags in the dumpster,
save the boxes & bottles---

'hot one, isn't it?' she slips through her pearls

'yeah, tomorrow too, i hear.'

 'just as well,' the rest of her words lost in
the scrape of metal as the great mouth closes
rending & remaking empty containers
 into compact cubes

Wispy clouds breeze-dance over her sky eyes,
one on the left a bit bigger as her face crunches,
with upturned lips, willingly graced on each
of us regardless---

a bunny at the base of the pocked stop sign,
stray cat prowling, thin, mewling, tires crackle/pop
throw dust & in the rear view mirror she settles
in an old lawn chair out front her shack,
waiting on the next to pull through the open gate
of her chain link fence.

Over @ dVerse Poets today, Victoria has a wonderful challenge for us to really define a sense of place and focus on building that picture. She will open the doors at 3 pm EST. See you then.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mis-takes on the Cutting Room Floor

street art, Roanoke, VA

Round the aisle end cap at the pharmacy , a kid,
maybe ten, with one of those arm extending claws
grips then throws stuffed animals over the rows,
raining bits of fur on unsuspecting shoppers---

"This animal is worthless," he tells me, nonchalant,
"the only thing it does is shake if you pull its tail.
What use is that? The only enjoyment you get
is killing it." And another missile takes flight---

Midday, on main street, traffic back to back
bumper, exhaust through the window, on the heat's
breeze, bus bellowing behind, coat & capped driver
lays on his horn, a cop talking to two men
in the back seat and they point to a burger joint
where the car owner went to get lunch, leaving
the car idling in the middle of the asphalt---

At the library an elderly lady passes twelve of us
waiting in line for the doors to open, looks through
the window, starts talking to the lady up front,
then rushes in first---

South Florida, on an audit, years ago in my rising,
i found three grubby kids stuffed in a back room,
where the single mother manager kept them hidden,
human smells wafting out and the righteousness felt
as i led her & them to the door,

Her little girl looking back with bleary blue eyes,
across their held hands as they walked across
the parking lot, sometimes---
            sometimes she doesn't even need to cry
written for Imperfect Prose and Poetry Jam

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

OpenLinkNight: an evening with a sex coach

sticker, VA Beach

he watches from a nondescript chair
close to see the action, butt
far enough away to get lost
in the moment, looking for hand placement,
erogenous zones touched, position & variation,
stimulation, flesh flush as blood course (sigh)
softENs/HARDens textures----takes
notes, so after he can coach
how to better pleasure your partner---

he wears a tweed jacket, glasses perched
on the bridge of his nose, one bare hip
visible to his left & offers---

"eat your greens, especially kale" and "exercise,
really work your core," and i am sure

he's been talking to my mom, or maybe his
said the same things growing up,
but i let him continue---
"put a ring on it," and i can't 
help but hear the Chipmunks singing, 
then "to swell the head," now it's arrogant politicians, 
thinking theirs' is the only way and willing
to filibuster, who must be great sex partners, 
thus all the scandals
my mom & presidential candidates dance
in my head, as the Chipmunks take the stage
& i am considering celibacy for the rest
of my life, when he adds "talk deep & dirty."
and maybe it's the fever talking,

because when the old lady passes 
in the aisle of the pharmacy looks back at me
blushing, i drop this month's issue of GQ
and retreat to a nondescript chair in the corner,
massage my stiff & throbbing
sinuses, swollen, so the whole left side of my face
takes on a rather Quasimodo appearance,
& quietly wait for my prescription or the police,
which ever arrives first

wondering if my wife will provide bail, 
when i explain i was reading for her benefit,
or visit me in jail, so i can show her
what i learned.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - a poetic party for anyone that can string syllables into words, form and form-less, none of us blame-less, lest we leave our pens and walk ignorant into the world--so write, doors open 3 pm EST---it's where poetry be.

An update: The swelling in my face has reduced by 75% & fever gone, since writing this Saturday while sitting in CVS and reading this all too read article. I will blame it on the sickness---a fever write. Far as they can tell it was a bacteria infection of the sinuses.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Footprints & Puddles (Father's Day)

MC Escher (via Magpie Tales)

'daddy, one good thing about when you used to
drink, was we always had beer can targets.'

his dad grunts, uncomfortable with any answer
that might fall out his mouth, if open

plink---click clack---plink---click clack---plink

coffee cans rattle with each plink of a pellet,
and they even let me pock a few, a break from
writing pertinent details of their visitation
to celebrate father's day
there's no manual to explain how this works,
between boy & man, especially when they turn
out so different---i always had my nose in books,
lived on planets of my own imagination, while
dad was nuts & bolts, wood & lathe

we could have met in the middle more, but

i carry snippets, like fading photographs
in the back pocket of my jeans, of learning
to drive, musical toots round campfire edges,
tee ball, soccer, early morning newspaper delivery,
the day he could no longer hide the cancer,
the snow was crimson, footprints & reflections
in puddles with unusual depth

(mom gave me the sex talk) Mr Booth, in Physics,
gave an equation asking if one car leaves point A,
traveling X miles per h(our), while another
leaves point B, where will they meet
                        & i only wonder, if they wave
as they pass, does it mean their love is any less?

plink---click clack---plink---click clack----plink

the boy has a dead eye at thirty yards, dancing
cans at the ends of tree limbs, his dad stubs ash
from his cigarette, says, 'you got a lot left to learn.'

plink--click clack

don't we all, there's no manual


Happy Father's day everyone & specifically to my own dad who has always been a part of my life, we are just cut from different cloth and we could have met more in the middle. Written for Magpie Tales & Poetry Jam.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Poetics: As the currents off Château d'If

Charlottesville, VA

'You are not special', he said
in the graduation speech heard round the world
& we cheered---

'You have been coddled & pampered',
things we knew, but would not say ourselves,
for our own conviction

but i dare any of you to visit the hospital nursery,
say those same things to new born, pink
wrinkled bit of flesh
& see who cheers
& who gets shot

this is dangerous business, the theft
of magic that makes us
who we are---

but the government for years, four years
at an empty clip, reduces lives to statistics,
ticky-tac tally marks, erasable as chalk---like actuaries
determine acceptable loss (unless
of course you have status) & we accept

our place in column, forgetting our birth-
rite, of nature, as notes in the margin,
exiled to the edges of pages, our letters,
not as straight as those that lockstep
lines into paragraphs or chapters

on & on they march to logical conclusions,
pausing at commas, stopping when told
by periods---&Moses is not coming---
us though, there is something

dangerous & wild in the hand written,
barely legible scribble---anXious, awaITing
revelation like John on Patmos, ready
to choke the dragon that creeps tween thighs
of birthing moms with bare hands & cut teeth
all horns & seals (will be) broken in time---

not spoon fed ideas, gruel with no need to chew
but inspired thought signed, in flourish, X, I'LL mark
the spot we stood up---so believe,

there is nothing special in being one in a million
in a world of 6 billion & there is always another
to take your place when you fall
but heed the laughter of the ones peering
through the ant farm glass---

me, i will be notes in the margin,
you find in a book one day
and dream something different
than exile, disguised as freedom---
like gasoline rainbows, right
before the match strike.


At dVerse today, it's K of ManicDDaily, sending us to poetic EXILE and making us find our way back. So bring some shoes, and maybe a spoon to dig our way out---doors open at 3 pm.

The above chalk message I found written on several walls around Charlottesville last time i was there.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

FormForAll: For what it's worth

'Pool' by Cole Miller (7)

pretty little girls
at the pool, prance & preen
to get a rise out of old men

smooth skin & newborn breasts,
young ones with so much life
left to live & learn

not asking much, they
graciously give it away
flesh so commonplace

becomes as boring
as a McDonald's hamburger,
but even they charge a dollar.

Over at dVerse Poets, Gay has us writing Terversen. Rather than me confusing you by explaining it, head on over.

And if you have read me any amount of time you realize I am no prude, but at the pool yesterday it seemed the age of innocence and modesty is ever diminishing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

in gratitude

art on the corner, Charlottesville, VA

The day is over, the day is done,
night's great curtain has fallen,
pin pricked & shimmering,
outside the window pane

animals scurry, prowling,
as moths beat themselves against
the light---and tomorrow i will
find their remnants, but tonight

on the table, a plate of bones dries
still held together, a carcass bereft
of meat, marrow straining through opaque
points--it flew once, this bird, with purpose

danced lazy on the drafts, or strutted
round the yard, gave birth, sacrificed
it's children to breakfast---the joints,
round & dimpled, ribs templed,

back bone notched---i suck
my fingers then pick my teeth with a sliver
of wood, not to miss a moment, content
then let slip the remains of this day
along its own juices
into the garbage

and flip the switch
giving way to night,
so those seeking the light
will stop killing themselves to reach it.

written for Theme Thursday & Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Statements&potential lies

Cole w/ personality

if we let him, my seven year old would
work all day---having figured out
weed eating means extra money,

money he spends on cards-adorned
with pictures of players that make millions
to toss a pigskin on Sundays-at the flea market,
where they go, each for a quarter,
or five for a dollar---on Saturdays,

we go, he holding my hand as we weave
the crowd, then lets me talk, because
i always work a better deal or get them
to throw in a few extra---

'You either become a hero, or stick around
long enough to become a villain,' a line from
Batman, runs through my mind, as i sit
on the couch, he cuddling in the crook
of my arm, the binder behind him, full of
free-of-fingerprints cards, safely contained
in their plastic sleeves, ---

his hair smells of summer & sweat,
grass & dirt---& my shirt bears the stains
of his touch, where his still small hand rests

I remind myself, there is no middle ground,
in that statement & potential lies
in all of us.

At dVerse Poets, it is OpenLinkNight---come one, come is poetry at its finest. Your host this evening, it the inimitable Hedgewitch, who will open the doors at 3 pm EST. See you there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Magpie Tales: Remnants

Still Life, 1670, detail by Jean François de Le Motte

They will find it under the end of the bed,
covered in dust, once we are gone from this earth ---
a box, painted blue & red, my name penned
atop in black, she created when we were dating

Prying open the lid, they’ll find stacks
of correspondence, post-it notes, receipts with
scribble on the back, tickets to memory,
all the letters & cards I ever left laying or sent

Their rubber bands snapping in stiffness, spill
old stamps with post marks from the year we spent
apart, the last before ---

     Just the other day, I explained
     how when she walked through the door,
     her white dress turned the tap on the faucet,
     twin streams guttering in the corners
     of my up turned lips

And while they may receive little
in the way of inheritance, as they unfold crinkling
pages and scan the words, they will understand
waking on cold mornings to naught, yet the taste
of mana prepared by God’s own hands---

Written for Magpie Tales

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Poetics: So many choices...

Boonsboro, VA
Choice & circumstance, how much
of life is each?---a hot air balloon
(red, yellow, green) floats above the horizon

sun high & hot, i just want to get out
away from everything. so familiar, i can tell
you the given names of the trees standing
by the brick entrance to the cemetery
at the end of our road---boys at gramma's

the house too quiet to appreciate, I-29 runs North
to Charlottesville & we are talking, about?
all the green in variation, up & down,
the road meanders through the hills, flowers
in bloom, mountains stretch kinks out their spines
in the distance & your hand on mine, when
blue lights come on behind---

"Do you know why i am stopping you?"
has to be the worst question ever, but i answer
& receive a ticket for my time

We visit shops & art galleries, walk the bricks,
so many bricks, purchase two books
at the used store & eat mediocre pizza
at a side street joint, people walking passed,
all the people----

When the judge asks how i plead, i will answer
"guilty" of going too fast,
because sometimes i am,

but not today,
feet to the brick, time meant nothing
your fingers tracing love notes
on my palm.

Today @ dVerse Poets, I will be tending the pub for Poetics, bringing you a multiple CHOICE prompt to write on. It's all about CHOICE isn't it? smiles---will open the doors at 3 PM EST---see you then.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Bedford, VA

A river ran through once, salt crust remnants
still cling in the creases & crevices criss-crossing
the surFACE of this forgotten planet---

beLOW the pools of blue--lakes wet enough to reflect
twin suns, on days it comes---but BElow,
the hills have moved, that which held them in place
lost strength---

A forest LIES to the north, wire-y & sparse,
south a twiSTING jungle, they rim the desert,
pocked & pitted as it is-
                               as it is-

Is this what is left?

What desolated this place?

An ancient history lives here, unwritten or recorded,
of a people, passed down on cracked lips
that seldom speak---so many
other heavenly bodies, it's slipped into shadow

Venus crosses the sun & everyone turns, yet---
no wind breaks with nothing to cause it,
at-most-spherically speaking, of course

traverSING the universe on duct taped sandals,
he settles in a pile at the corner, back
to the brick, back to the brick

SEE HIS face---this forgotten planet, a whole race
extinct to notice, deaf ears hear---

---you got twenty five cent, man?
need some change, i need
          some change----

At dVerse Poets today, Charles Miller is having us explore other worlds and alien landscapes. Mine may be a bit more familiar. The landscape of the face of those that cling to the periphery of our own world. Aliens & strangers right here at home.

Also submitted to Poetry Jam.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

kHARMa is the altar we die on

Lynchburg, VA

The difference between the righteous & hypocrite
     is a trip---

Two men sit, outside Starbucks,
after 10 o'clock, night's grit descended
     the moon is a broken circle,
     the broken moon halo-es in the clouds
both acknowledge my presence through my downed
car window, where i mooch internet & they talk---

how church goers today got it all wrong,
shifting a bit in their seats, making small adjustments
as one describes the size of the rubber phallus
one girl in the youth group got caught with, sexting---

on and on they moan, how the pastor is all about
the glitz & show, they should be more involved
admittedly, but but but

finally one says, "when i get my turn in the pulpit,"
interjects himself with, "but you know i won't , cause
every time i interview, i tell them how I do things---
and they never call back."

They laugh & laugh
overpowering the crank of my engine
their wet laughter following me to the edge
of the parking lot

a cache of gravel
under the tires groans
as i turn away.

written for Imperfect Prose & Theme Thursday

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

OpenLinkNight: specialK

Richmond, VA

last week of school, halls full
as a shook can of coke
       &she asks---

you sign my yearbook?

&i am no one, just someone willing
to say hi, give her high fives, each time i
stop in to see one of my guys

eyes wide behind thick panes, she waits,
cocked grin, hip hitched in exaggerated gesture
same as when she walks - thus the saddle
of the specialK moniker - oh, they're
careful not to say it loud enough to be heard
by anyone but her & she may be slow to process
but not clueless to cuts, blue&black  rock

& i find a blank space, crowded by blank space---
she's moving to high school next, so i wish
her grace, remind her who she is & the future
that awaits---repeat REpeat REPEATed phrases
for impact, come backs to combat whisper,
whiSper, WHISPEred---attACKs

we smack palms & she crooked lines off,
sun dress dancing her wake, showing anyone
that will look, in her marbled mouth dialect,
how mr. brian signed her year book
they just as oblivious as she is about who

i am, no one, just someone willing
to say hi, give high fives & recognizes another
human when he sees one---

it's the last week of school, halls full
& she's special, oK.

It's that time once again, OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets, which means we are about to get our poetry what are you waiting for, grab a pen and get to writing...the doors open at 3 pm EST...see you then.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Magpie Tales: Pour me, another

Gertes, via Magpie Tales

The sky is a sigh, spread
Tree to tree,
Blue egg to blue
In a nest,
On flushed skin.

I take another sip
Of coffee --- moved
Having never left
My seat --- sun now creeping
Deck board grains.

Listen to the opening throats
Of the flowers in morning---
Measure growth, the day’s increase
In length and width, heavy hung
On the garden vine.

Traffic is backed up
on the expressway,
I am sure.

written for Magpie Tales.