Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Spoils of Colby

He says he has the Eagle of the Ninth
For sale. He says he bought it secondhand
At Wagonwheel Collectibles in Colby.
It doesn’t come with provenance, he says:
He can’t afford to DNA the stains,
Though you can, if you want, on your own dime.
They found it in a yard sale up in Vail,
Where folks have follies, know about the used,
And might speak Latin. That’s the bit that sells,
He tells me. I said, empire is dead.
It’s only lost, he says. Eagles can last
Longer than vandals wearing furry suits
Who pocket pillage. They can transfer wealth,
But not create it. I bought used CDs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manon

Dear Abbé:

We are pent up in our loft,
Too stippled to sing, too poor to buy new clothes,
Ladies and gentlemen, too sick to beg.
We tell each other stories. I'll be quiet,
She'll be at peace, and when the fairy says,
A plugged sou for your thoughts, then mum's the word.
Orchids could never change our little love.
Once she is dead, I'll be a notary
And practice barratry; when I am dead,
She'll move to customer service for the mob.
Someday, God willing, there will be crème brûlée,
Amoxicillin, and some warmer clothes.
Till then they hum, who do not know the words.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chains They Forged in Life

The poems no one heard of populate

This verbosphere, invisible and bleak,
Dottering incoherently in dry
And crumby cupboards, turning old bedsheets gray
On sleepovers, making little girls pale,
Afraid that they have accidentally bled.
Elegiac and embarrassed, full of tropes
Disparaged by Seleucian kings, most tell
Stories of unrequited jealousy
Engraved on stone with sponges, vetted by
The underappreciated and the fat
Recipients of Golden Books and schmaltz.
A few are goodbye letters, never signed.
A few are tax returns, unaudited.
Some lisp. Some swoon. Some have these wild ideas
About the immanence of outer space.
They drool. They belch. Complain. Complain. Complain.
They like a mirror, write they backwards verse.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When Nighthood Was in Flotsam

The staff has snapped; the flag has been misplaced.
The Coconino County Bar & Grill
Breaks both its windows, locks the doors, and posts,
Send me a kiss by wire.  Bourbon flows
Through the arroyos.  Canteens burst with beer.
The news does not report.  Tequila leaks
Upstream.  The fish are dying for a drink.
No, sir, my realism is not an art,
Says Jenny Wren, the brickbat in my pie,
The neon in her undies, my patootie.
She shines from both sides now.  The Bar & Grill
Has set cane chairs out on the promenade
And pointed them with seashell, which it sells
By the seashore, if only it were there.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Burying the Survivors

They buried the survivors in a hole
Just big enough for almost all. Waste not,
The adage of the moment, after years
Of blood extravaganza, seemed all right.
The one left over got a monument,
A roundabout about him, and a sign
Pointing the way to Points of View and All.
Homies broke down there every day, from age
And penury and flats, with rubber bands
Holding their hearts together and their clothes.
Lucky the Caravan sold cups of joe,
Premeditated burgers, cannabis,
And shortbread local mommas wept upon.
Somebody blew him up one summer night.
He fell back to the ground in bits of spud.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Milk of Amnesia

It covered up my recollections, some
Oobleckian, obliterating ooze
Memories couldn't penetrate. It took
Her name, their numbers, all the horses' men,
The time and dates and instruments of debt;
And where it came from, plumbers wouldn't say
And politicians promised not to learn.
Unkempt, unkept, I cried, ringing my bell,
Making my way down North & South, well past
The point where anyone I knew had lived.