The prince of darkness keeps a nightlight on,
Casper the friendly ghost, Count Chocula
The sweet undead, or Spiderman the lord
Of flies. It helps him when the shadows grow
A second head or look like Angela,
So white, her bodice and her breasts are one
Insipid sight. No princess for the prince
Who keeps his favorite souls in coffee cans
Along with his loose change. They make a sound
Like pinto beans or minute rice. He thwarts
His nightmares with the songs of nursery school.
Last time he was in hell, he took a snack—
A juicebox and his favorite fruit, handpicked.
Tonight he can smell ashes on his breath
And hear a jewsharp twanging where his chest
Would be if he were more conventional.
A flashlight underneath the blanket helps,
But not that much, too much to know, too soon.
Monday, August 14, 2006
This is a really old poem. It appeared in the Ball State University Forum.
To dinner we had Paul and Sam, my bosses,
and their young blonded wives (acquired lately,
at no small charge of alimony, losses
of stock and children, both lamented greatly).
The trout was awful—thawed a bit and breaded.
Sam said he knew where corporately we’re headed
(to hell, he thinks). Paul never says too much.
He drank almost two bottles of my best
French white bordeaux; I thought he looked a touch
green towards the end. His wife was tightly dressed,
skirt slit to the thigh (which, nudging against mine,
made me uncomfortable, what with the wine).
Michelle wore her blue denim suit, of course.
She looks less like a preppie than a horse
after a couple joints. I thinks she keeps
me back, of which Paul’s drinking is a sign.
Then, much as always, after all departed,
she starts to strip. And here the poor tears started
(her fists curl up and shudder when she weeps).
I might have been gentler in what I said.
A final cigarette. And so to bed.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The stones evince no brogue, the skyline not
A trace of paddy, taters, or the wee
Dear men in funny shoes and buckled hats.
Vikings, you say? A pyre burns the night,
Which helps me read this ATM. I've no
Experience of euros, and I falter.
Never you mind. A lacerated heart,
A kidney grilled for breakfast: these are good
Solid attractions. Phonics stroll the park,
The poteen in them brewing up a storm;
And maybe help will come from God or Spain,
And Pizza Place, just up the street, delivers.
But not from evil, nor from cheesy bits.
These are the incidents of life and faith
From which we cannot flee, though packaged tours
Offer us, all-included, to new homes,
Good homes like these, which never flinch, stood stone
On stone, until they proffer us the bread
Of Liffey. Maybe then this hole will fill,
The betting shops acknowledge their defeat,
The rain-peeled townhomes open colored doors.