30 April 2013

Riddle #3

I live in a black box
which opens
out and up

my harem of orange
hips out
toward you

but most all my perfume
slips up
the shoot

29 April 2013

11:21 P.M.

DEAD is no
it sounds like

keening dog
and it smells
like Lysol.

But it tastes
loosely like
late at night

in August heat
Four Roses,


28 April 2013

Woman at Window

The window opened on Paris
or Prague or some other sampled

city ― and your fingers ― well, two
of them ― outlined an O. Were you

smoking ― the glass was touch-dusty ―
or pinching some delicacy?

Perhaps you were signing “okay”?
The O fell back into shadow

then, oboe-like, returned. This time,
with its lowercase mate, glowing.

27 April 2013

Driving Across Ohio

Sometimes there is
a single tree
in the middle
of farmer’s field.
And you wonder

how it escaped
the blades of one
hundred winters.
But there it is
at plowing time

a shadeless lamp
amidst the brown
furrows — formed by
some Zen master
with his red rake

held out behind
an old tractor.
A stark living
room décor. But
summer will bring

the dainty things:
leaves for old trees
and a carpet
of Jubilee,

Jubilee is a variety of sweet, yellow corn.
See also Leviticus 25.

26 April 2013

He rode

HE rode with Custer. But wasn’t
Custer. And he rode with Sitting
Bull. But this one wasn’t Sitting
Bull, either. Just as dead. Just as
renown. This poem levels the field

of fame. Because. On this day. When
your dripping kerchiefs ― just dipped ― touched
their brows ― the nameless brave ― their dried
crud went pink with enough water.
History is [proverb goes here].

25 April 2013

April's Autumn

A false fall,
but faithful
spring’s first leaves

in reds and
yellows and

23 April 2013


WHY call this a crush? I guess it sounds quaint
enough, the puppy lovey ― moods of youth ― naïve
nothings. Nothing heavy or lasting here, so move
along. The only blood is blush: unpainted-

on. THERE are pens ― called crush-pens ― for cattle
and sheep, which narrow like a funnel:
at the business end is the branding iron,
glowing like the inside of a star ― or ―

so I suppose. For your ass ― it hisses,
coming back down, closer to home. Not to mention
the unbecoming ― though mysterious ― fit
of the crèche. But who’s to say it’s not serious.

UNABLE to breathe. Unable to move.
Ask any orange. Juiced. Isn’t that you?

21 April 2013

Talking at Tombs

IF I had such power,
I would put on a show:
hocus my pocus and focus my potions
with lots of hand motions
into that black hole

BUT the Carpenter simply cries
― for the sake of the crowd ― out loud:
Lazarus, come on out and play.
And the rest of you, strip him down
― down like Adam ― on Eve’s first day

20 April 2013


NOT even a full feather
but a tiny torn portion


from, I presume, my pillow
I blow at it ― keeping it


THE delayed response as it
shudders, gaining a little


as long as divinity
angles up from down below

TELL me true

how is this unlike my own
fleeting flight ― torn ― borne up ― blown

and then gone

finally fallen below
the backlighting of window

15 April 2013

Muscle Memory

SWEPT over
by the same
sequence of
weathers ― wind

and water ―
some connive
and thrive ― while
some of us

take the bend
to our souls
and twisted

we ― the wonders
of almost
broken down ―

13 April 2013


WHY are winter
sunsets so
much better —
stun guns of
orange sherbet?

Paper Kite (revised)

ITS tail was ripped from old bedclothes ― a train
of crude bow ties. And since it was cloud-sheering
windy, we made it royal-long ― almost convincing
each other she’d fly. The maiden flight was short ―
and bitter: the scatter-brained store-bought parts
looping in crazy eights ― flashing infinity signs.

NOW dangled upside down like the escape artist
in his sack, tangled by its tail in the still-
bare limbs of the old black elm, the distorted
diamond quivers and crackles ― there ― unreachable.

AND so we await the slow ― but certain ― secret curtain
of summer ― then all the stripping done by fall ―
to be unveiled there for the winter view ― no Houdini ―
just the spine and the spar of a balsam cross.

10 April 2013


For sale. Vintage taboo.
Rarely used. Call after
7 p.m. Ask for Jimbo.
Make an offer.

09 April 2013

How I Won the Chief’s Daughter

pony stolen
spring pursued
summer barren
fall renewed

winter retaken
blizzard returned
parents awakened
fingertips burned

lighting calumet
daughter’s laughter
dark-eyed amulet
ever’s after

06 April 2013

The Breakup

your thoughts all
jumbly your heart all
tumbly your words all
mumbly your tummy
all rumbly your eyes
all smudgy your lips
all tragedy

05 April 2013


This time,
why don’t you draw
off my

grief while
I slip off some

way and
hide out in, say,

This time,
stay on the run
out in

the open —
don’t get caught,
but don’t

try so
bloody hard
to get away.

02 April 2013

The Thought

As soon as
he thought the thought he thought:
What a strange and dangerous thought I’ve thought.

What if he could wrap it all up
after lunch? Wouldn't that be wonderful?
wicked? both at once?

All the sufferings bunched... in one bouquet...
Whadya say? It certainly comports
with a common view of the world.

The one that says, Eat your peas
and your bitter herbs first.
And we've all restrung pearls
or charms at least once before,

so why can’t a man do the darkest parts
of his dying first, right up to the cusp,
right now ― right after lunch?

Let’s have it out now:
the bloody moon and the jumping cow
the boos and the hoos and the blues

and the golds. The whites and the reds
of that nighty-night angel wrestling
toe-to-toe with the Breton maids

watching ― Are they
praying? ― with the milk on their heads
and then just go on

with the rest of the day:
the doctors, the nurses,
the man with the puppets ―

the pills after supper
from those pretty paper couplets.
And then finally

just the firelight
of the constant t.v.
with maybe 30 seconds or so

from Victoria’s Secret to close
out the evening, to round
off the scene.

Paul Gauguin: Vision after the Sermon (1888)

01 April 2013

Paper Kite

Tangled by its tail in the still-bare limbs
of that old black elm, twirling and crackling
there, in a hard March wind, dangling upside
down like the escape artist in his white sack.

The tail twisted up like a rung-out shirt,
with that ― you know ― second level of twist,
suggesting a spiral staircase. And when
the wind calms down, it unwinds for a bit ―
and reposes a nervous chrysalis ―
before rewinding ― yet again.

The leaves of spring and summer will cover
its stripping ― all its paper gone by fall ―
and so there leaving for the winter view:
the spine and the spar of a balsam cross.