As she bent to answer the conch telephone – hold it to her ear and take a call from the bottom of the sea – my wife found a sandal washed ashore. Green with algae and black with mold, the uppers were split, its sole flapping. Some sturdy glue holds together what remains, stitching no shipwreck could undo. It is the color of broccoli, charred with oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt that I learned to cook in sheet pans this year. A flapping soul – how could it be otherwise? Were we always these gulls returning to land?
pawprints of feral cats snowprance around the dead seal where winter licks its wounds – hungry sex kittens doing lap dances, their warm tongues in the bullet hole that killed him – strippers all, teeth ripping seal meat into g-stringed ribbons of fur naughty muse, naughty muse, you've caught me in your vice – we are after all but peeping Toms and Thomasinas two bull-neck males bark threats from out in the waves – warnings, grief, hunger – they keep watch over their own like bouncers – there will be no more grave robbing for me today
“blue hoof ice – the kick of frozen air – stepping outside breathtaking me for a ride” – qbit bobbleheaded blue breaker bray into the blue blue blue blue blue maker, blue taker haymaker, rain slaker, name saker cawing like a horse-crow yawing like this raven knows to saddle up your win, for the floor fight raven-ation and its food biters, Foo Fighters flightline sighttime nightrhyme signal towers, wedding bowers, Croesus flowers slow rolled into morning in barney stones, blarney homes floors were made for falling there goes the topple-ganger neighborhood arch-top flat-top baby baby fabled barking nonstop harking into blue blue into blue into starkly raving madly craving rinny tin tin tin tin tin tin tin saving into blue into blue into blue
|This story, I’m walking deep in the moors|
where even the deer become lost
and die of starvation
|This story is an aubade for trilobites|
their message in a bottle washed ashore
for lovers and horseshoe crabs
|In this story, turkey vultures huddle|
in their cage of wind and thicket
|In this story, my hair|
blows at right angles to my mind
|In this story, you are at home,|
|In this story, you are too long|
gone from our bed. Trilobites
evolve when they are not observed.
|Hello muse||On s’amuse boucoup|
|The trilobite has crept|
from your poem
|You are welcome to it|
they smell of the sea,
love, and dreams
the hand that needs you
|let the caged|
age old dream
split the difference,
split the tongue
old bird sing
|do vultures sing?|
|we are tasted|
to undo you
dark-o-rama dark as Rama
bury buried buries
my eyes and nose and
|cat got your tongue?|
it wags, it shakes, it gets carried away,
a limp mouse
in grey fur
|“A man’s character is his fate”||“Nature likes to hide herself”|
Snappish winds start a locker room towel fight, welting my skin with pops of ice. I don't see it coming, a left hook of cold blasts the side of my face and I'm seeing stars, no It is snow, the fisticuff air full of mirror shards blown out of thin, tin air. Color me gargantuan, color me snow blind, the gloves are coming off you winter SOB! Wait no, the gloves go back on! Dammit! [redacted: a flurry, a blizzard of blows] [redacted: "The first rule of Fight Club…"] [redacted: I am a mime waving away rainbow gnats, pestilent sparkles] Back at the house, the pipes are frozen, and when they thaw they will burst. January, by TKO.
With holes in their necks where they might have last kissed or nuzzled, not one, but two deer, frozen, gently surface from a dune on the shore. Their empty eye sockets gaze upon each other – bridal veil of sand pulled back by the sea – ritual minister of joy and last rites. Were they driven from their families, a hunted Romeo and Juliet? Did they come down to this water like you and I to drink and die together from the beauty of sunrise? My black jacket flapping in the wind, I join ravens picking at the choice bits. I hear your voice – snow owl, prophetic wife, your scorn stiff with salt and rime.
A white-tail deer moons me, disappears behind clouds, and I'm moon walking in the stumble-light Tripping on potholes of moonman craters and astronaut seas mirrored in puddles It is way past bedtime for stoats and voles, they watch silent horror films of hawks, shadows that flicker on silver screen leaves The taste of time on my tongue, my gloves soaked and cold from this morning's sleet I trace a line to the Pole star, but is my filmy world a negative, I have it all backwards? Am I headed South, not North? I walk in light, old and yellow as sticky tape, peeled from b&w photos off the bottom of the sea
Wind bites through my skin – white-capped teeth off winter seas. Sand whips and tastes of banishment. Umbilical prisoner, I walk bleak Eden. Rain breaks covenant, floods, waterboards my knowledge of good and evil.
Christmas Nor'easter, waves crash-landing from wind's broken navigation, I kneel on the beach and dig for Amelia Earhart's bones. Yes here, yes now, my arms sweeping sand like Electra's wings, to answer just one death of the tall and the lost. Next to me the cadaver-sniffing dog, furious, frenzied, finds a baloney sandwich from WWIII.