Friday, January 17, 2020

Passing Strange

This appeared in Blood Lotus.

Here we are in Oklahoma, the next
stop Strange, where no one you know ever lived
and popsicles are served up for dessert,
wrapped in serviettes, where the dogs are bred
never to bark until they're spoken to,
and finger puppets entertain the kids.
Look quickly. Strange won't last long. Kresge's there,
one story, is the tallest store in town.
The 7-11 locks its doors at 10.
The newspaper is trucked in out of Enid.
It's gone, Strange is, you can see it behind,
an El Dorado, full of dust, the home
of unwed girls, pretty, each one, so briefly
their hearts grow dense, like cherry crumble squares.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Apocalypse Now

This first appeared in The Shit Creek Review

The end of things may have come yesterday,
When frozen sparrows dropped from budding trees
And spectral hordes on smoke-stained ponies rode
Suburban streets. With swords. And women gave
Birth to stones. When red anacondas hung
Like plastic icicles from guttering.
Those all seemed predicators. Like the voice
Who spoke out of the sewers, “Be ye not
Amused. This is an actual alert.”
And yet the network news provided live
Detail about absconded brides and junk
Bond status for GM and Ford. I watched
Game 6, and no one said the final match
Was cancelled for Apocalypse. I spread
Fertilizer, clipped a forsythia
Whose day had passed, but which will bloom again
When spring returns and all these frogs are gone.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

That Voodoo You Do

The recipe is principally blood
And Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, stirred till
All bubbles have been beaten out, then fried
To burnt beyond description in cast-iron.
Cooled and crumbled and sprinkled on a brush—
Tooth or hair, macht nichts—it can be observed.
Debs may grow blue and die, Associate
Professors watch all hope of tenure fail,
Children shift into Senior Homes. And still
None of them finds a hint of consequence.
Sometimes, however, conscience gone on break,
The air will fill with lust and violins,
Like soundtracks at an old Italian dive,
Ladling the night with syrup. There is hope
For magic, then, and sweet unlikelihood.
But, geez, you would have had that anyway.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Geoffrey, P.I.

Just moments ago the kings and princes left;

Priors pleading engagements to buy and sell
Indulgence futures, they commanded peals
And hautboys to blow them off. I drank my beer.
Pale enough, sure, but nobody would mistake
Moi for a prince, me for the high command,
The stuffed lark on my mantel for a hawk.
I ate some pretzels. Somebody's dead duke
Had fucked with the wrong archbishop's piece, employed
A crucifix between his jersey legs.
You shouldn't ought to do that on a nave
Made shiny and kept clean by novices.
I missed my lunch, and nobody seemed sure
If dukes were to be solved or disappeared.
My ex had opted for the latter, left
For some deer park outside St Smithereens,
And me and Buster sifted through the clues
In ashpits, huts, and shabby priories.
I could tell tales, but then I'd have to leave you,
Springtime or not or cherry-staining skies.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

For Two Nights Only

Left me the day before the opera came

To town, a Fledermaus for bellowed love,
Its banjo on its knee, and would not stay,
However grievously implored. It went,

Trailing a cloud of bosoms, a mist, a wake,
Heaving the way Valkyries do. Left me,
And took up with a drummer from down South,
A treadmill salesman fit to be untied

And smooth as putting greens. Left me just as
A pitcher of tequila sunrises
Mysteriously emptied. Left behind
Headache and backache and cocks without a crow.

These are the days the market crashes, boys
And girls beneath the strip├Ęd awnings; clay
And scalded dogs are everywhere, the heat
Like Tristan, broken kneecaps, broken heart,

And me without a woodwind to my name,
Ensemble on my own. The holidays
Are coming, leave me with a stocking, lumps
Of coal, and acappella, myrrh and myrrh.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Occupy Christmas

That was some night. The world went black.
We never got our feelings back
Below the waist. The frost descended.
All of the stars were apprehended,

But not by us. The cars refused
The roads. The birds of prey, confused,
Flew into clouds, and there they stayed.
The householders were sore afraid.

Since mangers would be closed this year,
A sensible wise man would appear
On other stages, baggy pantsed.
And all the stars in Heaven danced.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Wells of Time

This will transport you to the elder times,
Fire like slabs of meat and smells so strong
They pound the air in dactyls. In a pinch
You can recite your “Please, Sir, send me home,”
There where the heart is, but no wolverines
Or kettles of boiling grease or water nymphs.
What would you give to have your teeth decay
Authentically, to wear a powdered wig,
To spread your plot with nightsoil, or to fetch
A fair price on the open market? Home
Is what you looked like when you were a boy;
But now you’re not. Now you could almost stay
Old as the hills when hills were young, and you
Were cold and muddy. Please, Sir, send me home.