The silly, the scary, the spooky,
one toothed, many toothed and snaggle toothed
sharp eyed, droopy eyed, one eyed,
the expert's, the child's, the parent's,
the neighborhood all lined up at seven
tables, the squirrels watched impatiently
then settled in for an early
baking chocolate chip cookies,
such an essential task on a dreary Sunday evening
clouded over by the certainty that tomorrow will come and
we will once again be glued to office chairs and computer screens
let us drown our sorrows in leaving sunny afternoons behind
by baking chocolate chip cookies to carry us through
curious calculations, Monday meetings and quick coffee
breaks where we can walk through piles of leaves, kicking
them towards the heavens where surely everyone eats
chocolate chip cookies at every meal.
I sit at the small round table at the coffee shop
with just enough light to write about her
soaring voice, snazzy chords and meaningful lyrics
having traveled so far along lonely slippery roads
there's a fellow in front of me
his carefully tended dreadlock birdsnest perched so precariously
on his white trustafarian head
who would possibly hire him
leaning over to look into the artificially
endowed, amply displayed bosom of his companion,
he leans back for an affected laugh of one
unencumbered with work hours, bills to pay,
only to glance down his nose at the tip
jar circulating to his table,
he doesn't pull out his wallet.
irritation trumped beauty.
the eyes never lie
like her words that grate
the eyes never lie
life's not that fine
fake smiles terminate
with a frown
the eyes never lie
tears that should be falling
do not in spite of
eyes that never lie
no it's not fine these
never ending lies that
strive to become truth,
eyes never lie, lying
eyes only lead to
between every word, every sentence
hangs a wish; the mark of pen on paper,
marks of love disguised as letters,
each "a" aspiring to articulate a yearning
for the "c" of connection long ruptured
in my empty room when she came home
from work in the season of leaves falling from trees,
my suitcase gone, only a pen on a pad of paper
now, a new pad, a new pen pressing against it,
each letter full of letters, a wish for connection
hanging off every word, single sentences
singing for her.
Green turns to yellow
leaves on cement on the way to
a coffee break, away from the office
where computers whirr, voices travel
up and down the hallway, some have
stomach aches, I head out for coffee
kicking leaves into the blue sky.
she walks leaning far forward, her arms stretched in front of her
like wings preparing for flight
an awkward bird, this one, with her white
sneakers pointed inward, pigeon-style, her jaw
jutting forward as if to balance her backpack loaded
with AP books, leaning slightly left to balance her
right hand hanging heavily under the weight of her
if she's lucky, she will look like you some day.
Back then, I hated lessons.
Every Saturday morning, Mr. Grimes
would notice my peeling lips and remind me
to use Mentholatum balm as he pulled his jar from his old wooden desk.
I hated the smell of the stuff.
Back then, I dreaded having to play my exercises,
my only motivation to avoid the "look" he gave me
to indicate he knew how little I practiced
since the last lesson.
No words needed.
I knew that one day I would feel differently
in that rather indistinct way the teenagers are
sure that their angst driven existence must somehow
evolve before a self or other destructive act.
I pick up the flute and miss Mr. Grimes, his jar of Mentholatum
in hand, his endless patience, knowing now that he
never actually used a reprimanding look, just the look
of a wise man at an angst driven teenager.
if the rain had begun earlier,
I would have brought my umbrella
if the freeze had come later, my tomatoes
would not be sodden orbs, hanging limply from black leaves
the hoeing, planting, weeding yielded so little fruit
if the snow comes early, the hillsides will sparkle under the stars,
my umbrella will be stored away for the winter,
the rotten tomatoes buried under a layer of white.
freeze watch tonight! is the prompt for tonight's poem
andouille sausage and shrimp
leeks and garlic
all in a potpie,
family and dogs,
add a dose of
peach crisp, bottomless
margaritas on top of a
mindless TV series
and you've made a perfect
remove cobwebs obstructing light,
the jaune of new moons
shining over prison yards after the
basketballs have settled themselves
into metal racks for the night,
waiting for the sun to rise the next morning,
the call of young men, their large palms
embracing their warm roughness
as they arc into the light.
they have been there so long it seems like home,
cold bread and rotten peaches, cracked sidewalks and peeling paint,
they trudge to work each day, returning to gun fire and police dogs,
finding their beds hard under their hips, they toss and turn all night
to the sounds of the other prisoner's snoring and shifting side to side.
there is no wondering if there is another life, the old one so long gone
of moonlight and dancing, holding hands, drinking wine,
the sounds of only two glasses clinking
into the night.
my reviewers love me, let me bask in it for 15 minutes
before the ink dries onto the pages and the words
have fallen as so many dust particles drifting into oblivion.
the manager sits across from me and has to deliver
this positive message, in spite of his distaste for
Democrats, or more precisely people unlike
himself, or even more precisely, people like me
who break rules, ignore the boss, but still
bring in money and make progress.
ah, let me bask in the love for a few moments
before the door swings open and the warm
moment is swept out by a cool Fall breeze.
addicts pretend to walk away citing health, cost, pride goddammit
but they always look back, longingly, for the high that comes
from their drug of choice, mine being Grey Poupon,
in spite of HFCS, GMOs and other evils, there is no substitute.
anonymous in a far off city, a grocery store stocked with other evils
that held no allure, I found this jar, an economy size never seen before
for addicts of the highest grade, Grey Poupon addicts,
count me in.
The walls speak volumes
of pages arranged in books, magazines
stacked one on the other, or
she, the Zombie Jet, is leaning across his lap
paying Homage to the Lone Wolf on this moonless night.
The walls hold up our lives that otherwise might
spread across the floor like oil slicks on puddles,
auto headlights reflecting back into dilated pupils,
blinded, we run off the road only to
what to say,
the window frame chewed off
heavy glass in pieces
like my heart once again
for no good reason except
what to say except that you love the one
who loves the other and so you
accept the broken glass,
the chewed window frame,
the laptop askew, spilled detergent,
a cloudy windowpane
that looks forward to one
day when the door can stay open,
the windows will let in a breeze
and we can walk out freely
into a summer eve, hand in hand
without a single backward glance.
everyone read about it on their iPhone,
their iPad, or amongst the older or less wealthy set, their Mac.
Steve Jobs has died.
the Reed College drop-out, a young father not quite ready,
the adoptee who finds his sister, a friend, a colleague,
with standards as high as the stars
that shine a little less bright tonight,
one of their own has gone dark.
city dogs need city hydrants
no self respecting city dog will pee on a lowly rock;
one of dozens perched in a lousy field,
only a hydrant will do.
we will set one down at the edge of the forest
for dogs walking by, bladders full, just
looking for the perfect place to pee.
no matter the state of the world,
protests on Wall Street, burnt cookies.
no matter tedious work assignments,
undone dishes, children who don't call.
the sun filters through golden leaves
on this sunny day, speckles of sunshine
glitter on eyelids blocking our view of
the downtrodden, the suffering; we only
see glory and optimism.
he beseeched city council to save his nest egg
let the wind blow in all year round to cool his ardor
let water drain from his rooftop into his coffee pot.
the garden is lovely, contained within an ornate iron gate
he pulled from a garbage heap at a job site, the better
to contain his lovely from leaping from a swinging chair
pastels in hand, a paintbrush piercing her nose,
a camera around her neck to capture
what I wonder, what does she capture all day in
that green house, only venturing so far as to
paint street murals on neighborhood pavements.