TSM 100

on the last day because we were poets
we came home late and lit a match
to our cash in a cereal bowl
like burnt offerings for the Wheaties god of 3AM
chanting “star light, star bright,
it’s Benjamins I burn tonight”
and reading Usura from Pound’s Cantos
because you can’t eat a Kuggerand –
I know, I tried
to put the gold they extracted in the camps
back into my teeth
what’s the point of the end of the world
if two herons take flight from the far side
of the pond outside from my window
mocking me with slanderous elegance




For The Sunday Muse

TSM 99

it’s insane I want to bite
the fire-roasted apple of you,
my teeth breaking the char,
the crust, of your tasty your
sweet boiling

fruit of knowledge burnt
by meteor flight,
still smoking, still glowing
under all that dirt you kicked up
ejecta, trajectory, projecting

radiance like lava
under ash, I want to
drink what is molten in you,
quaff my cool thirst
in your fire




For The Sunday Muse

TSM 98

Let’s do the hang in your grudge gallery –
that marble nausoleum where we all

Frame, gild, and geld our hurt,
preserve our trophy bruises

Under halogen lighting like glitter
of broken glass.

Your panoramic grievances – Waterloo,
you glory-horsed Napoleon you!

Or that day you bravely crossed the street
like Washington crossing the Delaware.

Show me your modern art of insults
more pointed than mustachios,

Your curated vandalism, subway car panels
grifted and tattooed,

And your Renaissance room’s priceless Titian –
taking Jesus down from the cross.

But it’s closing time,
and my feet are tired.

The guidebook says tomorrow
we should visit the zoo.




For The Sunday Muse

TSM 97

Where the buffalo roam
and she’s Wild Bill Hickok, crack shot
bringing down that damn piano –
hairy beast of a grand, grazing
in her living room, taking
more space than its huge eyes

The Cowgirl a different tune
from The Opera Singer,
my parents not a duet, just her
singing Home on the Range
on the Naugahyde pony she roped
and branded and broke from Sears

His voice a cold Norse sea,
piano his Viking long boat
raiding notes and throwing Lieder
to the shark Valkyries
feeding under its shadow,
a funeral barge burning in the harbor

I try to smile, gap-toothed child –
empty spaces for black keys –
my tongue tickling holes
between the ivories,
searching to fill all the
missing notes




For The Sunday Muse

Dripping Clay

the morning is slipped,
like clay
slicked from rain’s
dreams in your hands,
bringing up water
to shape my skin its dust,
mud, dirt and rock,
your fingers
turn
on morning’s wheel,
pulling new ribs into standing,
your touch of willful, wifely
symmetry
make me a vessel,
a well to hold water
and now a lip
to meet yours



For The Twiglets

TSM 96

Can you wolf-whistle Dixie
with your fangs sunk deep
in the South?

A mouth full of fur and grits
stuffs my howl with mumbling
yes ma’am, no ma’am

as the house blew down
when my Grandfather’s heart
huffed and puffed its last,

my Grandmother
red riding hoodwinked
into the woods of East Tennessee,

Southern Gothic from before Grimm
hunts down the False Grandmother –
La Finta Nonna

where the wolf leaves
the Grandmother’s blood and meat
for the girl to eat

and says remove her clothing
and toss it into the fire,
but it’s a boy this time, it’s me

riding shotgun
where the dirt road narrowed
to two ruts by the bend in the river,

an animal stalking
the words for rage,
holding perfectly still

like morning mist
in the bottom
of the holler.




For The Sunday Muse

TSM 95

Boyo, you haven’t taken off your boots
in a week or brushed your teeth –
my son the Jack of Knives – you stutter Instagram
accounts of theft – how you cut blue
from black out of the night
and hid in the Dunkin Donuts until 3AM
when the police finally were gone,
the color drained from the face of the cashier
because he knew, he knew.

I heart you from safety
where I am not father to the chicken tenders
hardening under your bed –
can’t you manage *both* art and hygiene?
Do you have to put your camera
in my face, the shutter flicking open like the click
of a switchblade, mugging before the lens?
We scuffle about your overdrafts, my insistence
you return the stolen colors in your pocket.




For The Sunday Muse