Après Moi le Déluge

Buy-One-Get-One-Free
chicken on sale, the tender breasts
repeated so tenderly I suffer
meat shock repeat after me my wife says
but I still forget and return short-handed, clew footed,
clueless, gizzardly beaked and peaked
with life and liberty and the pursuit of feed corn
sandwiched between life in the fast lane and mayonnaise
it crosses the road again and again
like some kind of pullet Sisyphus,
a chicken of the sea you can tune a guitar but you can’t tunafish,
chicken-handed left-winded side-wounded, wound rewound webfooted,
It bears repeating but no repeating bears since isn’t even one bear unbearable?
The cockscomb truth waggles in the telling
like wind in a two x two chambered heart —
my capon tastes like a castrato
singing in St. Peters




For dVerse MTB

Ground Zero

I visited Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan today
to see if poetry had taken root, like fireweed,
among the cracks in the rubble and the dead.
Instead I heard the voice of a friend

Who reminded me that
the study of death
and dying teaches
nothing.

And so I stood, empty handed,
again, without the grace
to give
or receive.



For dVerse Poetics

Quadrille 68

Wringing out all
forty-four winks of sleep –
the twisted rag of night
leaves wrinkled sheets
damp with sweat.

Carrier pigeons of dreams
in full retreat
back across the Channel,
messages in invisible ink –
I misread “blessings”
which means “wounded”
in Napoleon’s French.



For dVerse Quadrille

Lease

A dusty piece of paper at the bottom of boxes
that rattled down the highway with me
from one place to the next
as I moved East,
said “Mineral Lease,
Lincoln County Oklahoma.”

Wasn’t worth one red hard earth cent,
but let me keep title I suppose
to the stories of families coming through
our ranch in Colorado,
A lease on my mother’s telling
what she saw of the Grapes of Wrath.

A claim too maybe on what lay below the topsoil
that blew away like the people –
what can’t be moved, but only extracted
like gold from the teeth of uncles
buried quickly
and left behind.

I made up tales my grandfather
won it in a poker game,
or took it as payment for a meal
at the back door,
but its origin as dark without genesis
as the sky

to the people of New York City
when it dimmed on Black Sunday,
in the Dust Bowl of ’35,
sky the color of deeds
done in wind
and grit.



For Miz Quickly

Randall On

First we randalled the cattle into the barn,
sort of like wrangling, but longer, leaner,
maybe more handsome too, milking it all
with my stainless steel machine,
uddering, wringing.
Later a calf coming but too large,
so reaching in and chaining its fetlocks,
slippery steel in hand heaving, braced
against the post birthing a bull
they name Randall. The bellowing
of steel, milk and pull.



For dVerse Poetics