Sunday, September 30, 2012

In the court of the king


King Vitamin is no Captain Crunch. The elder king with his crown of spoons grins maliciously from the box as if elated over the nuggets of cereal in his spoon. I stare, waiting for him to move, put the spoon in his mouth, to see how his face changes with just a bite.

These are my earliest memories of death.

Shorts and a t shirt, the later twisted on my body from being hastened out of the house in the early morning. The sun, bright and blinding. I squint, driving the shards of sleep into the corners, my bare feel on the gravel drive between our house and my aunt's burns my soles.

Across the table, my cousins carry on, pleased to have company early. The TV plays Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans is talking from beneath his hat. We don't have a television in our kitchen. Milk drips down their chins in wet white rivulets, exploding on the table and the gold brown linoleum floor, in sunburst patterns. Their house smells sour.

I want to go home.

They thought watching my grandfather fall down the stairs would scar me, scare me from going up and down them. The heavy thunk of each step as he rolled, rolled, rolled into a pile at the bottom. I don't have a problem with them. He was bedridden after that.

He was a seed man---sold seed at a store. His wife was the post master. She has been gone for years though and he has been living in the front room of our home. I have little memory of it, but they say we used to play. I do remember his skin. It was darker.

The cereal is hard in my mouth, scrapping tender flesh around the gums as I chew. Spoonful after spoonful, I wait as they take the body that is no longer my grandfather. I can not find it in me to grin like the king or be as excited as my cousins. My aunt offers pancakes, trying to fill the space within me, but I refuse and take another bite.


The grass is green on our side of the field, unlike the far corner which doubles as the baseball field in Spring. Our boys, in their orange jerseys and blue pants, line up at the twenty yard line, preparing to charge the football toward the end zone. The score is 12-6, not in our favor.

I am silent today, much different than other weeks when I am carrying on, yelling encouragement, along with the rest of the parents. When we arrived at the field, once my boy had run along to join his teammates, I told my wife we would lose today. I could feel it, like the fireplace smell in the morning air.

The quarterback hands the ball off cleanly to the running back and he swims through the opposing team, slipping here and there, avoiding their attempts to take hold of him. Ten yards. Five yards. The ref raises his hands signaling a score. Cowbells. Horns. A hundred voices. The boys run for the sideline, their own arms raised.

'Girls and glory,' he says from behind me.

I turn, raise an eyebrow.

'The reason we played when I was in high school,' he says, like a war veteran. Just the facts, no emotion.

His lips curl, adding wrinkles to his already well creased face. His shock of white hair firmly in place, remains unmoved the slight fall breeze. A blue sweatshirt swallows his body, thin with age. A grandfather. Maybe more.

'These boys, they are different. At this age, they play because they enjoy it,' he adds, his eyes crinkling behind wire rimmed glasses.

'I wonder when it is we lose that,' I reply, but he is already moving down the sideline in a slow gait toward where the boys are settling up to kick off again to the opposing team.

My stomach rumbles, asking for breakfast. Perhaps cereal.

But please, no grinning kings.

Writing just to write. We did end up losing 27-21 yesterday in a hard fought game. Thanks for all the love for my son as well on his special day....we had a great time at his birthday---will write about that later this week.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Poetics: Arranging Paper Dolls thru the window

shooting passersby with a water cannon, Branson, MO

two lovers
hug the street corner,

& how can i really know,
the way their hands hover near, faces
creased with white teeth, they banter
back & forth, together and with others
as buses pass tossing trash
into the air or along curbsides

perhaps it's my own heart that colors
them, you think---eXperience,

we only see through the lens we create

he grips the metal stop sign post,
an anchor in the spinning, she checks
her make up briskly, he the cell for email
a few words, the horizon of their eyes
never settling

no kiss

that is not it---a simple PDA preference,
they dress stylish enough to play the part,
but you can't argue statistics
flip a coin to find the ending
& they
follow eXpectations


---only solid for seconds then begins
to flash, but they make it without effort
another 3 minute love story
i'll never know

what's missing,
the tension's un-hidden
no matter how hard
you try, i

know this, but can't give them answers,
i choose though

to write them happy, he home already
when she arrives, a back rub, tears,
kids at the sitter, as they


in true, intimacy---
period my verse, close my notebook
then turn to you.

Over at dVerse Poets, I am hosting Poetics is also my son Cole's birthday...but today is write like me day...haha...ok, so I set myself up with an easy prompt because I am always PEOPLE WATCHING, just saying. So go find someone to watch, write it and then come tell us about it...see you at 3 pm EST.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

MTB/55 - Don't confuse whose flag you are flying

fair, an interesting concept

under a concrete sky
we lash ourselves to masts
dead sunflowers & live telephone poles

America! America!

obsessed with the cancer
because we hold...truth(s)
                                to be self-

check your flag pole---wealth
is what you save, not what you
spend & who

rises tomorrow
more stepping-stone
                   than milestone

Over at dVerse today, Sam has us writing 'cento' poetry...which means none of the lines above are mine (only 3 words)...actually each line was taken from a different source, including Beth Orton (song), David Eagleman (lecture), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (poem), America the Beautiful (song), Breast Cancer Awareness Fund (press release), Declaration of Independence, Saul Williams (poem), MarketWatch, FOX News, Jacob Swanson (book), From the Ashes (movie), and The Sri Lanka Times (newspaper)

Doors will open at dVerse Poets @ 3 pm EST.

All done in 55 words, to join my great friend G-man.

And since this is getting long winded, let me tell you where the idea of this poem came from, because i was intentional in my choosing....My parents are at the beach this week and yesterday went to visit a church that was born out of the freeing of the slaves after the Civil War. There is a really amazing story behind the church.

The part that got me though was that Michelle Obama's ancestors were a part of it...and that the First Lady is five generations removed from a slave that worked the rice fields. I dunno, that just kinda made me think---

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

denying Autumn, i fall further Every day

tonight on the way home, Forest, VA

feathered wing, flock of seagulls, sand grain
on your big toe knuckle,


tip of the tongue, taste,
grilled jerk chicken, coconut lotion
wet, golden sun skin

& waves & waves & waves

hard edge bottle mouth, parting lips,
perspiring circles on the wood face,
encyclia opening

from after-
noon rain

(blurred line between)

hard sidewalk, grass brittle, sky pinked, sun fade
wind blows, a leaf leaves---as leaves do,
impales itself on a branch 

& you & you & you

written for Poetry Jam - which was a lot harder than I originally thought, to write art for arts sake-which ended up feeling rather imagist.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

OpenLinkNight: The game of game

Through the windshield, Lynchburg, VA

Guy Fieri, of triple D fame,
Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, on tv
stands behind a chef, prepping veg for soup

a little orange, a little green
for color, flavor, eye a-pealing

clack, clack, clacking the knife edge smacks
the cutting board with machine gun precision

'oh no, when you cook a turtle, leave it in its shell
to get all the goodness'

soft laughter, they banter about spice in the water,
proper texture, slip the top, release steam & shuck the home
right off its back with a wet sChLuCK

exposing everything in an ignored eviction
notice kinda way, returning home to find
neighbors plundering your stuff, curbed on the street

'oh this is yours?'

'you don't want it back, do you?'

as your tooth brush slides into their jacket pocket---
they're cutting again, only this time to commercial,
and wouldn't you know it's political, promises
only a vote will bring

some metaphors don't need explaining with experience
a common language between beings,
does a tree falling in the wilderness make a sound
with no witness? or if they are there, yet choose
to keep silent?

no, one question remains,
who to blame---the knife or the hand that wields it
or is it the witless turtle, farm bred
for consumption---a well cooked meal,
just got to find someone to fix it
'want to turn this off and play a game?'

'sure, which one?'

'dunno, MONOPOLY or LIFE ?'

'we could just go to bed'


we leave a light on, descend the stairs
and best we can----play the game
of game

It is OpenLinkNight once again at dVerse Poets - bring your verse and come join the poetic party. Doors open at 3 PM EST.

'The game of game' is a phrase from a Nikki Giovanni poem I read a while back that stuck with me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the space between---


Post football. Post shower. Post lunch. We find each other
on the couch, and not because there is nothing to do, there
always is something else, but this is where we make right angles,
boneless fish prepped for the evening meal and later,

riding in the car, you'll tell me, next year, you'd rather play
soccer, for no particular reason other than preference & i
remind you, no matter what---

but for now, we share a pillow, television on, sun striping
the room & your still damp hair tickles my nose---our
hands glance, you grip my thumb then curl into my chest
like a knuckle, the briefest moment, of all our yesterdays
& tomorrows---

a pause in the flipbook, paper corner caught on a fingerprint
leaving little cuts, unfelt until your are long past

'you sure you don't want to do anything?'



& we settle comfortably in the space between stars

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Poetics: P.O.W.s & underwear

Bristol, VA

adults should not wear superhero underwear,
i think, at the rack in Walmart, yellow&black
bat signal sack or red&blue with golden S shield,

it just seems presumptuous, imagine them
chest puffed, taking a flying leap on the bed
only to have it break---nothing says sexy
like a trip to the ER---where
the doctor takes one look beneath the drape
then excuses himself to laugh
with the nurse at side jokes---'up, Up
and aWay!'

if you got to dress it up, you ain't got it and i much
prefer my freedom anyway---this is what happens,
when turned loose to wait while my wife grocery shops,
i wander around, look&find the unusual, cause give me
the list, i'll end up fetal position in a corner

i bore, retreat to the attached McDonald's,
sip a dollar sweet tea & watch tomorrow's feed
for People of Walmart---God,
she looks like Gollum, two booths over
nursing coffee---sparse hair, ungreyed black
hacked short in sprigs from her round dome cranium,
big bug eyed, thick bags hang on the fingers
of her cheek bones & thin lipped in just
another shade of skin or mole, crooked teeth grin
with a twitch, twitch---'my precious, my precious,'
whispers my ear lobes lisping---bathroom
door bangs open, a kid flings himself out,
into her booth & that grin

her precious---takes his hand to say grace
before the syrup & pancakes---sips coffee
never once taking her eyes off as he relates
Power Rangers or Angry Birds, something---no need
for superhero underwear here---she is beautiful
& i the poorer, in their leaving

scratch this remembrance note, check my watch,
take a sip, then another--- toast their now empty table
---'to survival' in a world that doesn't care
what's under
the exterior.

Today at dVerse, Karin of ManicDDaily is having us get all unexpected---or explore the unexpected---and what better for me than a visit to Walmart...oy...(and the 'heartless' way i describe her, it was for a point, so don't hate....smiles) anyway, chaperoned the Homecoming dance last night so I am in recovery mode today...smiles...Poetics opens at 3 PM EST. See you there....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MTB/55: zen and the art of a beer truck wreck

pic above a restaurant toilet, Asheville, NC

late for work, i don't think
spilt beer will fly
                     as an excuse

but sit, transfixed
                     on golden tide,
foam & froth teeth tease the surface,
                     fountains arc


from the wounded, greatest among them
a lumbering giant on its side

five minutes...six
traffic creEps--beEPs, pissSssed

missing life's show, window

Over at dVerse, we are looking at the moments of solitude we find in our lives...and at the pace we run, you take them when you can get this morning, mine was being the first in line to wait at a rolled over beer truck...with thousands of cans rolling down the asphalt, spraying beer into the air. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

And told in 55 words, for my good friend g-man.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

man/tis humble

St. Louis, MO

a husk remains, no life,
just a crystalline facsimile
in intricate detail

eyes & arms, still bent in the humble
prayer postures---moments we shared,
this summer over coffee,

watching the world careen
through screened back porch windows,
little did we know---time
was frail

did we ever see the same?

your head cocked sideways.

does it matter?

& leaving, you left me
a brittle memory, something
tangible to remember, a finger
along the ribbed abdomen,
unmoving wings

a delicate mist rising from the surface,
above the lip of my coffee cup as i sit
in the same place

sun cutting in, illuminating
what once was you, a sparkle still---now

out there enjoying a morning with someone else---
perhaps needing your prayers
more than i---

or dead,
either way

be well, my friend.

written for Poetry Jam, about a mantis who lived on our porch this summer, who left his moulting for me in his leaving with the change of the season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OpenLinkNight: thrU seasons

found name in the sidewalk, Cleveland, OH

i desire, to be

the love song you sing
when alone, to feel again


from your lips, round
ear lobes, down the secret place
of your neck, in run-on sentences

it's an act of devotion
to hold back my commas,
in the warmth of your ellipses,
give far off looks

of Time's Square, root
in equations containing no variables

2 + 1 is unequal to three
but equals x's

the nexus of nature
is not sex but pleasure
i l(i've)
given to you

regardless the season
tu-lips bloom

keep singing
i'm coming---acorns

brown & shell broken
root, a root
in spring

be-come trees over accumulated moments
without leave-ing, shared, bare limbs ascend
sky creasing, new art forms
& i nestle,
    i nestle

a squirrel
in the psalm of your hand---

with desire to be...

It is OpenLinkNight @ dVerse, and I cant seem to stop writing love poems this week---but that does not mean you have to---ha, just write something poetic and bring it to the pub here in a bit when Claudia opens the door for us at 3 pm EST.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

love & war (part 1)

Venus and the sailor, by Dali (via Magpie Tales)
'no breathing means no music,'
the man says, pushing buttons,
compacting bellows, engaging moans

Venus hears

goddess of love & war, inseparable
passionate pair, palm & fist of the intimate

walk through the tenement
each door is the same, yet different

'i do this---
          because i love you'

'i just love you so much---
           i sometimes lose it'

mixed with amorous affirmations
like some master DJ of the affectionate
wi-key, we-key, whack---
            spin that record back


riap elbarapesni eht raw & evol
love & war the inseparable pair

          no, go back further


cisum on snaem gnihtaerb on
no  breathing means no music

         ah, now there's the rhythm
         use it

raw & evol, love & war
raw & evol, love & war
sometimes beautiful, but
no breathing means no music

& the accordion plays on & on & on & on & on
on & on & on & on
& on...

written for Magpie Tales
i have not written a part 2 but wanted to leave this one open...i found it interesting that venus was both the goddess of love and war...and thought to explore their connects...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Poetics: popping silk & other simple complexiTIES

a couple lizards, Lynchburg, VA

i married this morning,
much like yesterday,
as on the first day
we met

at the altar, of us

a vow on each waking breath
(5Thousand9Hundred&fifty-eight to be exact)
in case this one's my last;

a parachute
slowing the descent
so we land

which all makes me
want to go back to bed,

sleep, dream
of lions stalking gazelles
in tall sun bleached grass
& ice cream trucks

tinkling their cranKorgan music
as they make their rounds
& when the window man asks,
i'll say,

'waffle cone'

eat its dripping mess,
with great diligence, fingers sticky
i scratch the great cat
behind the ears

at least until he pounces
like the crunch of my cone
in contentment, just to wake up
look across the expanse
of our pillows
and know

i will marry
once more

Over at dVerse today, Fred takes the pub for the first time --- so he is talking about first times--- go figure. Anyway, whether its your first time or hundredth, come join us for Poetics @ 3 pm EST.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

55 - spray paint on the cafe bricks & shiva' in the wind

AVIS advertisement

'people don't use their hands,'
he says, twiddling fingers
type-like, universal
signal for digital,

re-turns to

a chunk of wood,
carved crane, by riverbank,
layers paint, one on another
in texture


guitar case in the seat
next over, invites us to play
soiled jeans & t-shirt


rhythm & blues
pearl bright


This one is actually from my time with Steve E, while he was staying with me on his trip. Pretty cool man we met out one day .A story in 55 words, for my friend g-man.

Over at dVerse, we are writing sonnets...below you will find my attempts...cringe, cringe...similar except the ending...and in millermeter oh well...smiles.

shiva' in the wind
beneath the willow tree weeping, i ape
my own heart for its sway, in a slow dance
masquerade, cindrella's slipper escape,
hands to the face, til clocked , taking my chance

forsook! forsook! beat’n chest in askance
at time's sickle on wheat fields, fall harvest
golden heads, life o’r death, lain low expanse,
even the deftest tongue’s left prone to rest

august nights to september's kiss, madness,
a bee's nest, behind rib's unbending cage---
eyes stare out, where she's taken residence
without parole, nor draught strong to assuage

love’s itch, without reason, I’ll sit & finger
count the distance tween now’n forever

shiva' in the wind (first version)

beneath the willow tree weeping, i ape
my own heart for its sway, in a slow dance
masquerade, cindrella's slipper escape,
hands to face til clock struck, taking my chance

forsook! forsook! beat'n chest in askance
at time's sickle on the wheat fields, harvest
ing golden heads, life/death, lain low expanse,
even the deftest tongue left prone to rest

august nights to september's kiss, madness,
a bee's nest behind rib's unbending cage---
eyes stare out, where she's taken residence
without parole, nor draught strong to assuage

i'm not leaving, i'm not leaving here
til morrow promises the sun, dear