Friday, May 27, 2011

The Missouri Shores

Of all my poems, this probably is my favorite. It's not the best--I can see that--it's just the one I like the most. It appeared in Hidden Oak.


Looking out over the land of retired bison,
where Indians haven’t been seen a hundred years,
the farmers shift their chaw and think of changes.
Maybe the tractor threw another rod.
Maybe the banker’s wife had a bad night.

Someday, they say, the sea will reach Missouri.
But they don’t know. They’re tired of alfalfa
and soybeans and corn. They think they’ll sit
up in their lofts on rockers, watching the tides.
It’s all in plate tectonics, is what they say.

Me, I think that grasses and sycamores
are safer to be predicted here than tuna.
Somehow I can’t imagine Mom and Dad
parking their dory in the new garage
or rowing bagels to Grandma every Sunday.

I’d like to see the moon reflected back in spume
over the vanished town of Moberly.
I hear them wish that everything that stales
washes away and grows a coral shell.
I like to dream, but hopefulness has its limits.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ripe for Recruitment

Under the bridges, then, where can be found
Men lost, bootless, unready hands on fire
And hair they use as lockpicks. Or The Last
Piazza, where the contract killers meet
Their lawyers, to insert a venue clause
And limits on assignability.
Down by the tracks, it's far too popular,
Crowded with scads of housewife-realtors
Who need time off for Botox and mojitos.
The Polo Club will take an application,
But not call back. And Kitty's 24
Prefers you dazed, emetic but aroused.
Or there's the crossroads. Sandwiches and smokes
Purchase apparent assent. Fruition is
Another matter: these are not the deans
Of Mayhem College; often they forget
Objectives, falling asleep on wiry doormats
Stamped with cardinals and black-capped chickadees,
Right at their victim's feet. Such tasseled shoes.
Nothing says loving like a drunken bum
Sprawled at the doorstep, hunting knife in hand,
Asking, if kicked, for dollar bills and beer.
Try beneath bridges. Covered in newsprint there,
Soldiers with stories, drumheads fast asleep,
Forage for excess, settle for skinny sweets.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Marcus Antonius

I threw it all away for love,
They say, but never what "it" is,
More important than what I kept,
Some qua superior to bliss,
That never, ever rhymes with "dove,"
And much more manly. Jesus wept.

You ever ride in a trireme, bud?
Better to fall on your sword or asp.
Drink while you can. Our day was done
The instant Old Baldy learned his grasp
Would not slip though slick with blood.
She can be my Rubicon.