TSM 131

Did you hear the one about the alcoholic liver
that went on a road trip with Jim Morrison, Janis,
and Jimi? Me neither but your wife
snatches the phone from your ear
while you cough in spasms of laughter
and screams at me what are you trying to do kill him?
because your liver isn't coming home from on tour either
 
I ask you what it is like to die, is it interesting
at all or just boring or a pain in the ass do you
wish it was finally all over and before
she can click off the call I manage to yell
I want a preview and can hear you choking
but a good choking like the bong hit really landed
deep when we were in high school
and said stupid shit like death is the ultimate trip.
 
Only you and I know what I stole from you,
girlfriends were fair game but I took your poem
and never gave it back, it's still here in my pocket
where I unfold its origami of blotter acid
like rolling down Colorado Boulevard
with you at the wheel tripping Van Gogh, me riding
Dali shotgun, and Liz our very own
Kahlo shouting Lucky’s speech
from Waiting for Godot out the windows
 
The words of yours I took were more precious
than sex or dope or rock and roll in one perfect
moment, everything I had in me needing transgression,
needing violation, opened naked opened like
the doors of your car at the red light with me
puking tequila and pinto beans
from the all you can eat buffet at Casa Bonita
 
How long now have you lived without poetry,
how long have I held friendship hostage
to words, how much of you is on every page
I write, how much unspoken has been dying
between us for years and I stole
what I wanted to say on the phone
 
If I'll see you no more in this world*
I'll meet ya on the next one
Don't be late
Don't be late





                                                                                              *Apologies to Mr. Hendrix

The Sunday Muse

TSM 129

tape your hands
with light
jam horseshoes of light
into your gloves
lace light
across the leather
and pull it tight
with your teeth
 
after pushups of light
speedwork furious
with light
heavy bag swaying with
body blows of light
your jump rope
braided and hopped up
with light
 
running dawn's
steep miles
as you eat sleep and breath
light
 
so that tonight
even with history against you
 
bending not toward you but away
the fix in
 
you punch so hard
into the sky
 
that darkness explodes
and night falls
 


The Sunday Muse

TSM 128

feckless
butterfly
 
flight that stuttered
orange
 
is the new
black
 
a dead monarch
on the sand its
 
wings pressed flat
by the unabridged tide
 
the dictionary of water
from anemone
 
to zebra fish
I said to you pointing
 
that's him
that's the bastard
 
the one who's tiny hands
fluttered
 
and the flutter
became the headwinds
 
the tornados
au poivre the chaos
 
the hurricanes
that tore apart our shore
 
and I have butterflies
in my
 
stomach in the twitch of
my eyes, the itch
 
in my arms
to fly the downlegs
 
the doglegs
to visit the graves
 
of the flight
from Egypt
 
or Mexico or
even Ohio 

to watch 
the rain

of silk
 


The Sunday Muse

TSM 127

this morning the ocean
soft as calf snout
 
slow-eyed waves
of a seaweed manger
 
you began to sing
newborn to the water
 
each note translucent
curled and umbilical
 
yet I fear your voice
will wake
 
and beckon
another such hurricane
 
as those just now
as if all joy were oxygen
 
and bloodline
to catastrophe
 
I let go your hand
and walk up the shore
 
because my heart seeks
the lost ground
 
must learn again the shape
of salted firmament
 


The Sunday Muse

TSM 126

I've been reading about the French Revolution
and the Terror
how the sound of tumbrel after tumbrel rattled through the streets of Paris
all night
like semi's out on I-70 from Indianapolis St. Louis Denver
diesel smoke
of our oil-black Amazon burning cross country
from truck stop
to truck stop where waitresses
keep vigil
praying the rosary on their
order pads
 
and how the whisk of blades was as casual as you my love
chopping peppers
for our ragout last night then chicken & onions with that same
satisfying thwack
at the end of each stroke and me cheering
you on
the more the merrier I christen this dish
Marie
 
because none of us are ever any more or less than this
 
because you can howl black robes into black flames
like a bellows to the supreme heart
of the news this morning
 
you can write all their names on wings
of a death's head moth
and tape them to the internet
 
because don't kid yourself
one moment your baguette smells like bread
the next it smells warm and sweet
like an iron pike
 
one moment you laugh at yourself in the mirror
and the next
you grimace at your wig of raven feathers
 
this isn't a prayer or excommunication
dear child of God
 
only a reminder to look up
and see what angel wears your face
at Passover
 


The Sunday Muse

TSM 125

I press feathers
and bits of bone
into the earth
like seeds
like teeth
 
thinking gestures
of futility
might bloom
into foxwomb  
or begonia eyes
 
but only wormwood
will grow a magic flute
from my ribs
thin as a reed
and hollow
 
the chunk of spade
in earth
from my Mr. McGregor
shovel
harrows a shadow
 
its vole
darts across the path
in front of me
returns the favor
of surviving another day
 


The Sunday Muse

TSM 123

even the sunflowers too tired
to raise their heads
like exasperated mothers prone on the couch
with washcloths over their foreheads
 
you toss the wilted ones down
from the upstairs deck
rain of dragon teeth and yellow
bees wings
 
and I shortstop for Team Entropy
double-play them into the thicket
which season by season creeps us closer
like Birnam Wood towards Macbeth
 
such we play hot-potato
stalks held by rubber bands
for the end of the world gathered
in a slight bouquet


The Sunday Muse

TSM 122

even as my eyes are scuffed
with scratch and sniff corneas
from staring so at the atlas
of longing and latitude
that used lottery ticket we share
 
you complained I was not optimistic
but here I am unscrewing Oreos
to reveal the map of El Dorado
a doomed conquistador of fluff
yet without disappointment
 
the world is not your oyster
maybe its a Fabergé Egg McMuffin
bejeweled off the dollar menu
ketchup ruby glory on a gilded side
of hash browns
 
let's take yet another shot, sight in
our telescope's muzzle bore and barrel
fire a cannonade of stars
and planetary grapeshot
let the cracks fall where they may


The Sunday Muse

TSM 121

the sky a chain-smoking
haze of coughing grey
 
there are no parallels
there are only parallels
 
to the rutting earth
where the whales, dutifully
 
dragged themselves again
out of the sea
 
not to return to the land
but to plow it under


The Sunday Muse