TSM 137

Winter rain splats like an egg 
in a cold frying pan.
This morning my mind 
is refrigerated, congealed,
a rictus of cheap margarine –
I scoop fat substitute thoughts
with a spatula. They splat in the pan too,
alongside the egg.

Isn't there meant to be
an order to things? Heat 
first, then butter, then egg?
Kitchen mullions rattle
as the Nor'easter tests their strength.
The vacant house across the way –
Is this the year the windows break?
Will it give up the ghost
in a final shiver of broken glass?

Outside in the storm, as with the world,
birds have abandoned flight.
No flying south to depilate winter,
the bikini waxing of dreams –
no tweezing the snow moustache
from elderly Florida swans.
No way to take the hair 
off it all.

You toss me a frozen bagel and laugh –
hardtack or life buoy 
for a morning's survival, 
my shipwrecked words 
wash ashore this deserted island.
The rain slants, cants,
through these old portholes. 

The Sunday Muse

Quadrille 117

as dragon fruit

There can be no aubade,
no gentle lifting
the morning light

Paring back sheets
like skin of soft plums
to abide this leaving

the heart of fire
like the sun 

In my palm
burns just to say

dVerse Quadrille

TSM 136

A poem plunged into the seaI hear you singing
I row to where the words riseThe Water is Wide
moil, roil 
in columnslost in time, escarpments, translation from the Malagasy
The return of the Sargasso Comet 
The Salt MeteorIt was hard to tap the sky
and break through clouds
quarried of marble 
Are your tatters of seaweed
meant for wings?I am tired of sinking ships and sailors
I fly the slick and rope of sorrow
And soAnd so
Were you ever Icarus?I’m sorry, no
And soAnd so
I return to shoreYour oars are oak and stripling ash
The forest has no place at sea
I press the ore blades across my chestI will bring the lightning
Restart my heartOne hundred hundred times
For this I love you

The Sunday Muse


Subject isPrecarious
Subject isPredicated on beginnings
Without end 
Subject isContemplating **-a-cide, you
Fill in the blanks 
Subject isBeyond repair, beyond
The pale 
Subject isExcruciating
Subject isSubject to further revision
Subject isWM, 6’3″, no prior record
Subject isExhausted, the horse is still dead
Subject isTrigonometry, you pale, OK, fine
Subject isHistory, 3rd period
PeriodWithout recourse
SubjectTo indifference
SubjectTo theorems of poems
ProvingLove by first solving Poe’s
TintinnabulationOf the bells bells bells bells bells bells
Plotting like the grave 
Sub plotsSub sub-terranean
Sub sub-woofer Is a dog under the
Sub voce temperamentsFrayed as old socks
Subject toThe Queensbury rules
 Subject of the Queen
SubjectOf the Queen, essay of no more than
500 wordsSubject to
Sub-liminalUnderneath limes and lemons, covered
With citrusSubject to
WeatherHay Fever
SubmissionThe mission
To wend it allTo begin under
A cloudTo begin no matter
WhatFinally begin
BeforeAll is said
And Done 

What the hell.

Subjects for Quickly and Quickly

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