TSM 135

the Sheep-to-Shore 
phone rings
you say ignore 
the elephant in the room
during Thanksgiving dinner
its ass-end smell
and gasoline from 
the fuming motor
of democracy winching it
through the doorway
hoping the walls don't burst
then we can just go back
to where we left off 
our regular grift and
holding our noses for 
Isaiah 53:6 
all we like sheep 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 134

 what is a turbinado
 and how did it get in my coffee?
 this question stirs and 
 then dissolves
 my mind needs a mulligan
 just one day that doesn't
 crash test my brain
 and blow out air bags
 or leave me punch drunk
 from the rope-a-dope news 
 a la Ali with me praying
 for the bell
 can we go back to simpler times?
 like Nixon Vietnam and
 the National Guard opening fire
 on students at Kent State?
 OK no bad plan
 Manson no no not that
 either good god no
 '38 and Kristallnacht
 gaaah! There's no end!
 Rawanda Cambodia Sri Lanka
 the Armenian Genocide and 
 The Terror of the French Revolution
 this is not going well
 my poem not yielding up
 the calm surface of Haiku –
 Old Pond blooms with scum
 fine no headlines today
 no nervous sounds of clicking 
 like the tiny claws of squirrels
 scrambling across the shingles
 I'll just read about science
 this piece on no my god
 Murder Hornets 
 and they are orange too
 like stinging lights 
 behind the eyes
 of a four-year long

The Sunday Muse

TSM 133

the sound this morning's
broken light
the blues
made me happysad
because muddy waters
do not baptize 
us holy wholly 
with salvation only
part the red sea
into blue and you
and I sing "Halleluiah" but 
we're lost as heaven knows
Leonard's lonely heart 'cause 
"love is not a victory march"
I don't know how
all our voices
can open the soul
when only the gospel
in bluenotes are sent
on a red letter day 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 132

 writing my friend's
 eulogy dead man dead man
 his body double shot 
 of bourbon casket strength
 in AZ asks 
 are the leaves here
 where I am 
 all high
 in the treetops 
 in skin tight red 
 and yellow camo 
 like floozies like 
 his groupies like light 
 line dancing 
 as they fall baby 
 baby baby 
 hit me one more time
 death in the air Halloween 
 in the bag man
 he said
 it was hard to die
 the music hard 
 rock pulverized to grit 
 like chips
 off the old block his skin
 lost to grindstone 
 the sky's wheel 
 towards granite and gypsum 
 the hard times ahead 
 hard in the ground 

The Sunday Muse

Miz Quickly

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
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

flight that stuttered
is the new
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
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
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
harrows a shadow
its vole
darts across the path
in front of me
returns the favor
of surviving another day

The Sunday Muse