Thursday, February 28, 2013

MeetingTheBar: 50thousand + one

photo by Crystl

a nose knows 50thousand smells
and keeps these in memory---
a dog, 'aLL the wAY,' at the ball game,

baby hair or a bucket of shells
from last year's vacation---you see
in aureate splendor, as you inhale, the same

way you lie in my arms, steeple bells
tolling the hour of our every
waking---the heady spice, us, aflame

still, from night entwined----swells
around & twixt, fragrancing the day
warm as sun through this window frame

dust motes dipDance & i will to 'Stand still!', even my cells,
to not alert or draw near our pending farewells

Over @ dVerse Poets, Sam has us writing a variation on a sonnet...four tercets and a couplet...probably the closest i will come to following a form, smiles...stop in at 3 pm EST and see what he has going on.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

strolling parallel dimensions

city cemetery, Lynchburg, VA

'I saw you today
on the side of the road.'

'yeah, where's that?'

'On the highway.
I almost stopped'

'ha. i saw him too,
heading into town,
and you...?'

he kinda walks like you
& has the satchel bag.'

is how it started & everyday
i get updates as she sees me
& i see me

walking in dead grass
just off the road, no matter the weather
always heading somewhere & never
getting there, until after i pass

'You had a new coat today.'

'yeah, i noticed,'
we laugh

'so, why didn't you stop
if you thought it was me?'

'Well, what if it wasn't?'

one day, i'll pull the car over
just to ask myself where i am going
& once i get there, if it's worth it,
how we, how i got to this, is he
an older me or younger, and if so what
will i still learn or have i forgot
maybe i'll

invite myself to walk a mile (or two),
as the cars whizz by
                    each gravel crunching step
birdsong, birdsong, shiver with the wind, tick
to the tock of raindrops,
smell the morning
& remember

written for Poetry Jam, and i seriously need to check out my other, just to make sure it's not me. Smiles.

Monday, February 25, 2013

OpenLinkNight: i'M adLib-ing the MadNess

random art @ Target

gimme an:

      body part
      day of the week

the list
goes on
as we
in ink, not pencil, cause you'll never
get back this moment

constructing MAD LIBS
& it's aLLways funny, after
you fill in the blanks
not knowing the context

the handsome cat stinks
through the purple garden on tuesday ---
air, the scent of peanut butter

i have all the answers
filling in spaces
to a story i can't see

my pen is
still working

& sometimes

you just have to laugh
at life.

Over @ dVerse Poets it's....OpenLinkNight....a poetic explosion of words and go write something...bring it to the party...and have fun mingling with some of the most amazing people. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

check the script, i think a love scene is next

photo by articotropical

Tan with brown fleck, the tile in front of the cooler boxes in the grocery store---the doors fog obscuring the names on cartons of ice cream when someone opens one to take whatever---there is something strange about the light in here, it's too bright, too artificial & i feel like a college kid again, on a cheap date---two Ben n' Jerry's tubs and a movie. Cherry Garcia for me and caramel coffee for you, only it has a funny name i don't know. Hit the video kiosk perched on the sidewalk just outside---the stars always twinkle nice when it's cold out.

'you really should get some jeans that fit you better.'

'i like my jeans,' they are two sizes ago.

'they would show off your butt better.'


it takes a moment for the heat to catch up, in the car, make it comfortable enough to relax. John Mayer acoustic, free fallin', through the parking lot, turn right, left at the light, all the store signs shine in vibrant color, drawing moths---i over take a white car, dive the entrance ramp & merge, fifteen minutes from home,
your hand on my arm, on an otherwise ordinary evening, your hand on my arm, elevating everything to an action adventure movie

'You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?'

'did you say something?'

'no, just thinking out loud, i guess,' flash my teeth, check the mirror for enemy agents, as the city fades behind us and we disappear between the shadows of rolling hills.

yes. yes i do.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Poetics: the odd couple

'And this is what I see in your art---'
a woman in brown felted coat, coming
just below the knee,
says to the artiste'

he twitches,
red fingered cheeks, without words
& pursed lips---to her lay
out what moved her

as a shaft
of illumination, through the window,
creeps across the floor,
         beyond the framed collage
         of bubble gum stickers,

         by the mass of clay knots
         entitled 'tumorous heart IV'
         (some never learn)

         even still the base
         of the trashcan, neatly plaqued
         'the trashcan'

         to the well worn toe of his shoe,
somewhere below where his art hangs
(in his opinion, of course, which is
           all that matters)

he twitches,
         twitches with each clock ticked moment,
second, closer, closer

'THAT is NOT what it MEANS
              at ALL!"
then storms off, arms & everything
leaving her to stand, alone with his work,
like that couple----the beautiful girl
& rat faced man, too tall & short,
who can't stop playfully touching
each others hands, ogling & pink---

you don't understand,
                         but can tell
---it works

Today @ dVerse Poets, Kelvin is up for his first time behind the bar...and you would think he owned the joint...showing up to his first day of work he brought all his artwork to redecorate. Ok, so he justhas us writing about'll see...come 3 PM EST.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

MeetingTheBar: Killroy peeKING over the wALL (S.O.S)

banksy's caveman


another name symbol'd
emblazoned on walls, so so-
ciety will notice in its
waking, as if-----
       (wet paint
               drips down bricks
in reality
         just graced by the tips
of favored fingers

         a new braille
for those who can't----


the revolutIon has begun
         i was here)

Over at dVerse Poets today, Anna has us scribbling on walls...and focusing on graffiti...gotta love some Banksy too...ha...actually I am a huge fan of street art, so this one is right up my alley. She'll open up at 3 pm EST...bring your spray paint.

and in 55 words, for g-man.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the stripes of zebras

photo by LWY

white on black,
       or black on white
there is an answer
       but does it matter?

my son sits a bench, over looking
the book in his lap, at a small child
& mother
             in the kid's section
of Barnes & Noble

unnoticing i've noticed him,
his eyes follow them, then the child,
much smaller than him, his face creases
smile to straight again & again
like joy twitches, as the little one
s t u m b l e s,

just learning to walk & grabby hands,
a mind all their own, knock over
anything they contact

he catches me
& i want

to ask what he sees, himself
perhaps, what rings the register
along the cortex & what next---
at what line he would flinch, prejudice
slipping in, where'd he learn that?

(everything) just

on the kiosk, zebras dance
the front of a book, black on white,
white on black,
                  the only grey
on the bottom of their hooves.

written for Poetry Jam

Monday, February 18, 2013

OpenLinkNight: all the worthless things in one place being bought

model airplane

all the faces here hawk their wares
to the next
               buyer, memories for pennies
nickle & dime you, at tables, in stalls

toys, cards, coats, stickers, some appliance
i can't guess where to put, pillows, clothes
a velvet Elvis or ten, movies, road signs,
clutter to shift one house to the next
     flea-ing the market

& him,

he's the loudest, crippled, bent, small
in some places,
                     hunched big in the shoulders
all out of proportion, a cane, bandana-ed bald pate

'how bout an autograph?'

'sell you a picture for a dollar,
      my book for ten'

it's hard back, in sleeve & says WOO!
he much bigger when a professional
              wrestled with the best, knew how
to take one to give them a win, steel chair
to the face, razor blade to make blood
& sell tickets---
                  his fifteen minutes over,

it's good when you're in it,
feels like it would last forever,
                                           but doesn't
i know this, and after,
                               you realize
it was the wrong goal all along

if i had a dollar, i'd give it to him,
take a picture, put it atop the mantel
and tell everyone----'LOOK!!!!
YOU must have ONE!!!! do you know
WHAT it's WORTH?!'

but the coins that jingle, like
kindergartners learning to clap, missing hands
more than hitting out of coordination,
in the depths of my pocket

they're for dinner, and if i'm lucky
it might get better, if you'll let me
sell you an autograph

Over @ dVerse Poets, it's OpenLinkNight....the weekly poetry extravaganza where poets from around the world all settle in one place to read, write and get our poetry write...come join us. Doors open at 3 pm EST.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

circle, circle, dot, dot...ah, it's too late for cooties

photo by Eleaf

playing Rummy on the floor,
The Fray in concert on the TV
my wife drinks peppermint tea

they were all out
of our usual---spearmint
when i went to the store
this week

a bit sweet
for my taste

happiness is a kind
of madness

comes around like a cat
to scratch the door
when hungry,
beggars on Sunday
for faith enough
to believe the reality
                         of it

& a psychotic's scribbles
on the wall of their cell, perhaps
a big smile, put away
for their own good
  (on the wall)
     for their own good

or in notebooks,
while their wife takes another sip
& eyes them

i am doomed

but don't you dare
try and save me---think i'll
savor the taste of peppermint

though i haven't
taken a sip

Friday, February 15, 2013

Poetics: sunrise&smoke

old mile marker

legs dangle off the steel lip, hard concrete
& sunrise

          over the mountains
                over the forest
                       along interstate veins

cars move with intent,
rush the hour, on the way to work
ours done (for now) it's coffee
in styrofoam cups, old men
blow the day's first cigarettes
in roman columns, built not
in a day, but in loading dock life times

i'm sixteen & steel toed, waiting on the next
truck, decyphering their talk of life
i haven't met yet---HMMMmmm
kHSsssss industrial elevator lands,
opening its gape (breathing sweat
           & cardboard, old wood floor
            chipped) grate bangs

up& we jump to, boss back
with a cluster of colorful metaphors
to heel the horse round the next bend
no end, no finish line in sight (look
busy, you'll be okay---a chisel face senior

TssssssBeepBeepBeep, the 7 am
backIn, blocking the day, the air
anything outside the (cell) warehouse
check the strap, numbers match, PoP
rumBle,RUMble doors up

i love this

its an art.

Over at dVerse Poets, Mary has us writing to Leonard Cohen or about a sense of place. I rather love some Cohen, but I have been wanting to write again about the warehouse I cut my teeth in, way back when. Doors will open at 3 pm.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

FormForAll: Dum(he)b, but gettin smarter daily

photo by Daquella manera

every morning, i play warden
to those who just can't get along
in general population

we call it 'alternative education'
which sounds better than iSoLation---
we walk d
                     n the side

of the the building to the bus
which will ship them off to another location

& you can always tell the new ones,
green, unsure what's about to happen

'what are you in for?' i ask
he's in camo, neck to foot,
and blaze orange above
'i was racist'

as in past tense, a quick fix
before the punishment's had a chance
to begin --- or a moment of weakness,
he turned against his fellow man
& what for? he learned it somewhere---

'were you doing it cause you are or to
be cool?'

'be cool,' he snickers

'how'd that work?'

silence, except our shoes gritting out
each step & perhaps he's waiting

but i've no reason to soapbox the street corner,
light up his ignorance as street lamps
like muzzle flashes on a drive by---no,

we got nine weeks walking this road 2gether,
ten minutes across campus tip to tip,
to chip chisel the rock and remake the art
once intended---listen to his heritage
of corn bread & collar'ds, confederate flags
& coloreds---how cool hate is to taste,
it starts here----all the eyes on us
as we pass pimping the walk of shame, yeah

we real cool,

Gwendolyn Brooks wrote that,
she was black, but i bet he don't know it, i do
though & recite it soft, then wave them off
as the bus pulls out, my fav-
rite part of the day

june being too far on to jazz,
just yet.

Over at dVerse Poets today Gay has us pulling the tools out our poetic tool kit...alliteration, assonance, consonance, diction, denotation, hyperbole, personification, simile...and use a few in a poem. She will open the doors at 3 PM.

Yes I realize it is Valentine's Day....and that I did not write about love today...but its expected today...maybe i will write love tomorrow...and its Black History month as well. Still....happy Valentines and all...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

55 - laughter finds mercy on the sacrificial fire

Cole crossing 'The Bridge of Doom'
it's no fluke,
a ram provided
in the thinket
saved Isaac

but it doesn't always work

this way.
sacrifice is part
of life

there is & will be blood

no amount
of dead animals
will take that

if you don't understand
cherish the fantasy---
we won't relate

just wait, it won't
be long

written for Poetry Jam
and written in 55 words, for g-man.

Monday, February 11, 2013

OpenLinkNight: never too old to be a terrorist

Amherst History Museum

at the QVC outlet store,
among things they couldn't sell on TV
i find a guitar

tucked 'tween sheets & pillow shams
as if asleep, a beauty, just
waiting for a kiss
by right fingers,
ones hunGRy enough
to part the chords & wake
the song within

& i begIN,
      i begIN

playing variations in G,
improv on an old song,
written on a gravestone
under a rhinestone sky---
without words,
this time

"you want some change?"
a funny man asks & i
smile, a silent
'if Only you knew'

a few frown at the inconvenience
of it all, awakening the slumbering stumble
through, an interruption to the consumption
but i know
        when to
             go, humMMM aloNG

with my close & hide
the instrument again, when
the manager makes his move

we have little tolerance for terrorists---
     even when all they bring
                                  is jOY

& ducking in the bathroom
we RInG the halls with LaugHter


it smells like old yogurt
in here

It's OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets, which means it is time to get your poetry fix for the week...go, write, read, fall in love with words. Doors will open at 3 PM EST. See you there. Smiles.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

of deserts & rivers

a very old typewriter, Amherst History museum

Fate is fickle.(Trust
it or not) It's better than a bullet
but strikes just as hard.
Especially endings.

Seats at McDonald's are not made for comfort, bite the backside and work the butt, numb. No one is here this time of morning. Breakfast is being prepped by workers moving slow, left then right. The coffee is hot though. Everything he owns is in a canvas bag by his feet.

Exiting the bus, they told him, 'You can't stay here, but there is a McDonald's where you can wait for the next bus.'

An hour from home and only three  or four to wait to make the last leg. It doesn't make sense sometimes. Life or the situation. He raises the cup, letting the heat gnaw his lip. Another drink. Another drink. All he ever wanted to do was serve.

Taking a wad of neatly folded paper from his back pocket, he flattens the stack to the table top in front of him. Medical discharge. Unfit to serve. The bus driver's words, 'You can't stay here,' loop his thoughts.

'Is it always like this?'

His hands evidence weeks of boot camp, PT voluntarily endured for years to prepare, pages turned in books he's studied all his life, hopes and dreams. Sometimes it seems just when you figure it out, life changes.

Headlights carve the street out the window, leave the night even darker. Whose fault is it, when it is no one's and we've done everything right? Otherwise fit, the body he worked to hone, betrayed him.

'What's next?'

There is no easy answer, other than there is a next. At times it's hard to see. Only, 'You can't stay here.' He stands, moves to the counter, refills his coffee & turns to the table again.

A face he hasn't seen in months, only hear on the phone line when allowed to call, comes through the door---his mother. They hug, hard and she consoles him in words he can't hear, not yet.

'I didn't want you to have to wait,' she explains.

Breaking the embrace, he retrieves his bag, they exit and he places it in the trunk. Looking back at the empty booth, the questions turn again, as they will---the same ones I have turned a thousand times.

The car door clunks loud behind him, the ignition cranks & they pull out---head home. Lines blur on the road, unending to the horizon. Welcome home. Welcome home, it doesn't feel the same.

I know,
         welcome home.

Something I scribbled out in my notebook this morning. My nephew came home from boot camp yesterday. Medically discharged for something he could not control. My thoughts are with him as he figures out what is next over the coming weeks and months. I have been there.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Poetics: the letting & going, grey hair in my beard

photo by Lomo-Cam

she's all curls, mahoghany ring-
lets & round cheeks, her sunday dress
floral, trailing the floor,
stomach down

on a skateboard, deep eyes
looking so far

from where she bumped
my ankle
         coming out
                     an aisle
pink lips twisted in

a surprised smile,
     'now look at you,'

i say, letting her
         off the hook & listen
as the grind of her wheels
     grows ever softer
     around the
                next corner

no mother,
     no father
          in sight---

when did letting go
     become so easy?

trusting all will be right,
     there are wolves about
     are there wolves about?

or are we too easy?
      confused with what's really important?

bread and milk, caught in the well
of gravity, pull the basket deep
into my fingers as i pass
women's clothing lined in racks
their button eyes staring  back
enroute to the check out.

Over at dVerse Poets today, Claudia has us learning the art of letting go. Perhaps i went a bit obtuse but tried to capture a bit of the tension in what we let go, and somethings without much thought. She will open the doors at 3 PM.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

MeetingTheBar: the birth of heart, like initials in trees

bus stop

i was small
       my first best friend, an ear dragging dog
                 named Hobo---apropo, maybe
played sports, because my dad coached
         & asthma, kept me doubled up
                 trying to breathe, on the bench

woke up
          surrounded by medics
                  nights the seizures hit

a time or two,
                   so excited Keith missed
                   his first two swings, took
                           the third like a chump

hid between cracks, in books, dreamed
            dark things, ways out, wanting nothing
                    than to get away, kept smiling
                             like i meant it the night

my sister invited me to run, not look back,
             wore my insides out as a black mid-calf trench
                      coat, compensating size with what you
                             do with it, heart broke, i gave it back,
                                    a deposit returned with interest

                  lied.                      cheated.
        hurt.              invited death.
(only played the lottery once
             & lost that bet)

til my body couldn't take it,
sleet, sleet, sleet & headlights, all i could see
the night my mom took me home & my dry martini
    the night we met, was really water with olive,
& the seed,
         fallen from the branch,
             dead, buried in dirt & fertilizer
                    began to unfurl---hoping one day
                               to be a tree

i was small,
                                                 i am still
                just different.

Over @ dVerse Poets, Victoria is inviting us to look back and write memoir poems, about a particular time or across the surface of our early years. She'll open the doors at 3 PM.

And for g-man, a little 55 word story

Up jump the boogie

"what are you doing?"
i ask, face down
on the pastel hotel bedspread
her nose in my ear

"smelling you."

"and what do i smell like?"

"like you are mine,"

her nose in my ear
no longer

police sirens cry near
then into the distant night

star light through the window
bisecting our shadows

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

dogs don't argue with the hydrant, just relieve themselves

sticker on light post

surrounded by YES men
      you go NOwhere

    always telling you what you want
& how good you are

they're the movement
     ever up, over
promoted beyond the point
     of competence
(on ass chapped lips)

yES, Yes, YEs

titlating isn't it

i don't pity the blind,
they orchestrate
their own demise

building on sand,
building on sand
                 of their pride

their business a temple
the sycophants come to pray---


the enemy is not your competition
but the friend that will kiss your cheeks
then let you step off the curb
in front of the bus---NO

yES man,
     YEs man,

written for Poetry Jam

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

OpenLinkNight: it's a long fall from the high wire, where they place us

the side of a truck


his piece doesn't fit the puzzle,
having all the tell tale signs;

pudgy face, cocked grin
assigned the stricken, odd gait
& clumsy as a new born calf

bowl cut doesn't help either
but fits the mould made of him

we sit in the library among bound thoughts,
his not, constant talk
of things just off the sidewalk
most stroll with ease

'Buggers and Ender,'
i read Orson Scott Card
when i was young as well,
hard for him to believe,
as he
just found it
'trained for war,' he twists fingers
as he talks & you have to really listen
to understand---i find it funny
the reports say he can't read but---

'it's violent,
i remember that
& not all take it well,
i like Locke & what's
that girl's moniker?---they post essays
or commentary, looking to
change things,'

he clicks/hums
processing my words & for a moment
i think
this might lead to another Obama tirade,
the next anti-Christ (in his opinion)
we spar this often

we all have Buggers breeding us
one way or the next, a twist here,
turn there, nip/tuck to shape
our mental evolution

he's simple, yes
this boy,
but thinks more than most,
that fear leaving
well worn

or talking with those
      ill fit puzzle pieces.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - verse away, write something and put a bumper sticker on it that reads poem, only the hauty will tell you it's not anyway...and you can ignore them, i do...smiles. Come join us, the doors open at 3 PM EST.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

after 48 hours

street art

my son notates his homework,
providing commentary on his brilliance

for instance, one reads:

"what a beautiful 'n'
a near perfect curve"

like a sportscaster, calling a pitch or:

"this sentence
says it all"

as if you could in one line
ending with an adamant period.
perhaps you can.

it's not arrogance
as far as i can tell,
he erases them
before tucking the sheet
away in his folder for the night

but if you are quick,
you can catch them
when he goes to the bathroom
or to get a drink

i like to think
he sees beauty in simple things
like the tractor outside the Golden Skillet,
chicken joint, just north of the Carolina line

not a modern mini one
but a great steel behemoth, 40,
50 years old, grass growing
round its hard black tires,
faint hints of rust, FOR SALE
sign painted by hand
in long strokes---

& i only an hour from home
when i'll see
him again.

I took the picture above on a side street wall off Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, NC. Traveling home today. See you soon as well. Smiles.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Poetics: the Cabal of Intelligent design

poster in our class room
a month,
      is all it takes

to get from men in lines firing muskets
to submarines & atomic bombs

in history class,
      my co-teacher tells of his grandfather

who, in his life,
went from running water to nuclear fission
but what have we done since?

it's all improvements,
nothing new under the sun
or return to the moon, just a repeat
of the same tracks, back
familiar roads til they rut

entertain us!

it's all about that, what keeps us 
dumb & smiling,
while in some government facility
the next thing waits for reality TV
     to catch up

(as if that isn't scripted---Orson Wells
said we'd be in flying cars by now, but
that's SciFi, believe it)

who writes this stuff?
    and controls the flow
    of history
          ever forward
          revised backward

You'll know,
     what you need when it's determined
     you need it, from the shadow'll come
     brightness for you to bear witness,

another revolution
     manufactured for your pleasure
     & their pocket book, like fish on a hook
           ...on the hook
              ...there's the hook

class dismissed

Today @ dVerse Poets, K has us writing about 'bright shadows'. It is Groundhog day afterall. Smiles. I am traveling today with my wife so i will be around here and there but mostly this evening. K will open the doors at 3 pm EST