Quickly Now

a pair of egrets flies long and low
up the estuary long and low
up the water long, beckoning
water, white and low
to the grasses where they nest
across from our window
feeling like flight,
feeling low,
stepping out –
my face hidden behind a white wing
folded across longing,
my legs as strung as reeds
from a nest of crow tangle –
copper and liquid crystals
woven ever tighter by zooming
in concentric circles, whirlpools
draining silica
from an hourglass like sand
never up and out,
never as white as those feathers
with no song,
swinging into the air
ready to dive and slice
into water, speed first

For Quickly

TSM 109

roses by the fence
have clawed their way
from thawed dirt

colors hungry
as if red and yellow had
hibernated underground

all winter
and now devour
the morning

it was you and I
hunkered along the path
between thickets

our eyes foraging
twigs and bristle
that left scars

down the bark
a sight too famished
for Spring

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 108

Aztec Two-Step

sometimes the old ways are the best ways
who needs vaccines, I say
let’s roll some heads tumblety-peg
into the volcano of contagion,
appease the lava god in our lungs,
intubate with obsidian knives

fellow free citizens –
you jaguar knights and eagle warriors –
a poet you must choose:
you will rip a heart from its ribs
and light a ceremonial hearth
in the hole in our chests

first paint me blue-starved O2
and surrender my body
to the cash pyramid and the priests
will you then all snake and feathers
dance with immunity
wearing my skin?

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 107

put a tiger in your tongue
we have a lot of mouths to feed
and only ferocious words on the hunt
to provide

fierce mothers day and night
with the moon like carrion,
dragging home the light
of a dying country, no game
to nourish our children

so if I call you ungulate – you wild pig you
odd-toed, craft-brewed deer –
will you be ungrateful,
flee that leap in my eye,
my mouthful of wonder?

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 106

What can you show me
with your spork mirror,
your runcible visions
of past, present, and future
like when we drove
through the take-out window
at Popeye’s
and unwrapped the cellophane
where you revealed not white plastic
that would break at a touch
and a napkin, but
a feast of all that had passed
in the rear-view, then
watching the rain through the windshield
our road ahead gone
because laughing together
once again
we were too late, too late
for whatever we imagined
the looking glass had on offer.

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 105

lost in a sadness of gold,
our fish killed herself in the night –
swimming up the bubbler jamming her body
in the tube, hose to the car exhaust
of deadly oxygen, engine running

toodle-loo goeth before the fall –
she’d tried it before, I’d rescued her
over and over what sorrows
went unseen in the bright mirror
she’d finned and scaled for us

water the unbearable clarity
of loneliness –
no company but the ennui of snails
and the alien deep-sea diver
unspeaking as a statue

the children came down to breakfast
and gathered round a bier of Kleenex
her wet outline the Shroud of Turin –
a Jesus-fish relic too sacred
to flush

its been years; I’ve been remiss
doesn’t everyone deserve
a proper suicide note –
do the same for me as I would for you
if it ever comes to that

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 104

Jack Kerouac is like having bits of fish stuck in your teeth and you are desperate for floss, your tongue sweeping back and forth trying to dislodge it all

When I was a kid I knew Ted whose dad was Kerouac’s roommate at Columbia and his only square friend with a job and a normal family and Kerouac and Cassady would crash at Ted’s when back and forth from Denver and one day when I was over some guy who was Cassady and a girl came out of the shower naked his mom starts yelling at them to get the hell out Ted and his brother climbed a tree and started a crabapple fight with them Ted has a copy of On the Road signed Happy Birthday Teddy! – Uncle Jack which is creepy AF Kerouac must have been close to dying ’68 or early ’69 I guess that’s all he had to give at that point

Jack Kerouac is like getting the tip of your penis caught in the fly of your bluejeans, and shouting even though the whole world wears jeans because Kerouac and Cassady wore them

Hitchhiking East on Colfax in late December and finally making it out I-70 and a ride to Limon I’m standing for days in the snow and the wind because who the hell is going to Kansas from this on-ramp at Christmas freezing and waiting for luck finally a guy in a Caddy with a case of Blue Ribbon in the back he’s drinking the whole time and swerving but finally lets me off in front of a bar in Colby which isn’t any better than Limon I guess I hadn’t paid attention to that part of the book when Kerouac couldn’t get a ride half the time anywhere he went and got a bus I didn’t know taking a bus was an option and I didn’t have the money anyway I thought I just had to tough it out because that’s what Jack would do fuck you Jack you pussy

Jack Kerouac is like the subway leaving the station while you run alongside pounding the doors

In SF with my oldest must must go to City Lights where I buy him a copy of Howl and OTR a right of passage my big gesture later in the hotel he’s reading and puts it down and says Nah Dad these people are incredible assholes they lie and steal from their friends and treat people like shit you wouldn’t want to know them how on earth do you look up to them you raised me better than that

Jack Kerouac is like toenails clipped too close and your feet bleeding in your shoe

At Boulder Naropa had just set up their writing program and Ginsburg and Corso rambling in and out of people’s parties but at least they always brought a jug of Boone’s Farm and one night Burroughs ran his hand up my roommate Heather’s crotch what a decrepit scumbag shot his wife in Mexico City

Jack Kerouac is like the soles of your boots peeling off and duck taping them back on

Every late October near the anniversary of his death there is a 5K road race in Lowell I’d head over from Boston we’d run from the park of tall stone markers with Kerouac quotes up to the cemetery and back the outbound route was steep and hard but I stayed in it with everything I had didn’t let up coming back all downhill and I’ve got more in the tank so let it rip way too fast barely at the edge of falling and breaking my legs and ribs and face grinding into the pavement the thrill pulling away from the pack crossing the finish line a personal best that still stands how is this to memorialize someone who died at 47 of drink OK sure he was a football star in High School they give you a shot of whiskey when you are done who the fuck wants a shot of whiskey I want some water and a banana I wore the swag t-shirt with Jack’s picture on it until it was rags

Jack Kerouac is like

Sleepless all night Jack oh Jack Denver is still lonesome for her heroes

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 103

Before I bite your head off,
let me boil your bones with moon –
milk marrow and soft ribs of light
to feed my tenderness.

Did you say the Sea of Tranquility
simmered your stock in trade?
Here – to your lips – a soupçon of truth
blown to cool across that cauldron of dust.

My teeth would carry you lightly,
the way gentle jaws of the Dog Star
carry a rabbit past constellations of dreams,
whimpering home in the night sky.

What’s this, you say? Why cannibals,
when love alone should suffice?
Eat or be eaten this Quarante-tine stew,
forty days and forty nights gnawing the wilderness.

For The Sunday Muse

TSM 101

nothing left for this morning
but a “Yo!”-ga sun greeting,

followed by a sideways dog leg-lift,
Pooch Pose by the side of the road

today we’re juiced for a blue-cleanse
to wipe the walls off our eyes

life is a bleach when it’s time to detox
with Clorox sacrament, this is my blood

this is my body, stations of the cross-wired
graffitto: messages of hope

sprayed across the way of sorrows,
my neighbor a Judas coming too near

if I can’t get a haircut soon
I’m gonna look like Jesus

and you’re gonna look like Jesus
and she will fix upon me crucifix eyes

when this has all blown over
like Hiroshima and Nagasaki

For The Sunday Muse

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