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
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
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
For Miz Quickly
If a friend insists TGIF, but the
near-beer, half-hearted/half-empty glass of your week
breaks in your hand so that you cut your finger with worry,
you mix a Bloody-Alice, because when life hands you blood oranges
you make Band-Aid, which
instead of raising a toast to wrap
the incredible bullshit you go on about,
Alice said “DRINK ME”, like in the story, and she
drank with you in the bar then drank with you back at your place
drank herself until squinting you looked like her wonderland, her velveteen rabbit, you want to ask her “are you my mother?” because its Go Dog Go, all now another story entirely
where you wake tomorrow with capillaries
that are toffee-sticky, a
headache gooey as cherry pie,
you didn’t listen to your friends
who warned you about the poison.
For Miz Quickly
Life ain’t no picnic
’cause when I open the basket
I get a head cheese sandwich
which is body parts, right?
In aspic, like the gelatin
of love, holding it all together.
Ain’t a bowl of cherries either,
aren’t the pits toxic? Dog got sick
last time she got into a bunch.
More like life is a bowl of crabapples
and those make her sick too.
If life is a journey, I’m amazed.
If it’s a game, my bones feel like
at-bats, and my ribs are scored.
If life is change,
someone stole my lunch money!
If life is a gift,
are we all supposed to
live in the present?
Tossing a salad for Miz Quickly’s Labor Day Picnic
The rubber bullets of night have ceased their thrumming against the window
Dreams that wanted to run riot, dispersed to the outskirts of the city
Christ of the Abyss underwater in the Genoese harbor, but not you, not in Orlando
The two cities turning on the axis of old and new prayers
Where you write in skeins of rust, eyes heavy as iron poor blood
All that the Guardia and mall cops have have left to you for the Night Watch
The passwords dissolving in ink and wine
“The hardest part is when the river
is too swift and goes underground for days“
– Jim Harrison
Love me like a J-boat
all rubbery and tubular
whanging through the roil
and the walls and skys of water,
you are my Colorado rapids
running whitewater canyons
It’s been Class V crazy
but I love the thrill,
thrown overboard for you our
velocity pulls us under
rescue is impossible
Will you marry me?
Day 14, 28 Days of Unreason
“I took a nap and wept for no reason.”
– Jim Harrison
It was more like seeping than weeping,
water beaded on the walls of our dreams
Did we know the quiet of snow’s malice,
Spring’s melt too slow, too sure for imagination?
How it would rise like sleep,
darkness spread in lazy pools across the floor
A cellar that welcomed nightmare
from between the cold stones of its walls
What mother language of night did you know
to wake with a start and tell me “it’s time”
And I again to descend,
in the wake of the flood.
Day 13, 28 Days of Unreason