Thursday, January 28, 2016

Looking Through a Hole in the Mortar of the Bingo Hall




I see an excited man standing, everyone else sitting,
in the fourth row through the tobacco haze

He looks at his card, finger tracing,
eyes looking up down up down while a
toothless man somewhere in the back lifts
a bottle to his lips

The plastic balls click in the drum like
forgotten change at the laundromat

The man, hand raised, shouts over
four laughing ladies and the room
hushes to hear his case

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Happy Death by Albert Camus


is sitting there on the table,
a gift from my delicate lover

The title rings like a heckler’s laugh
as we sit teary-eyed across from one another

We talk about the things that will stay with
us like a brand in our sentience

I get up and stare at the door for ten minutes
before turning the knob and closing it gently

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Go

I see you dormant at
    the desk, keeping your
sweet ideas captive like those
   three girls in Cleveland

You should set them free –
    give them up –
make the muse proud and
    trouble Plato’s soul

There’s a budding in your mind:
    peel the soft nude flesh
of your green walls and run;
    magnificent inception
   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Air and Smoke

I watched him take a long,
confident drag from his cigarette -
the ashes hanging like a paralyzed limb -
and I became strangely jealous of
his ability to waver between
protagonist and antagonist of his life as he
lived and killed

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Listener



            He looked at me with gentle eyes as the sun invaded the translucent prosciutto news flap from the Forest Park bench. As his face turned and looked downward at the letters, I noticed a feather tattoo on his neck. Some people pull me toward them and I sat down after a moment of hesitation. It must have been my shyness. Other people were walking around the gravel track that circled the fountain wearing scarves and jackets, overcompensating for the changes. I rubbed my hands together and told him, “Man, it sure is getting cold out here.”
            “It is,” the man said.
            “It’s not like Nevada.” 
            "Are you from there?"
            "Yes. I moved here a couple years ago," I said
            This short exchange was all that the man needed to talk about how his mother was from the west and that he craved her pumpkin pie and how his great-uncle on his father’s side was one of the lawyers brought in to speak on behalf of the United States at the Nuremberg trials, and that he canceled his dentist appointment that day because he wanted to experience the first temperature changes of autumn. When he finished, he lifted his coffee tumbler, blew, and sipped. A lady passed and her poodle sniffed my shoes before continuing. I enjoyed listening to his stories.
            As the sun rose toward the zenith, shadows crawled back to their objects. A group of construction workers sat down and took off their boots. I wanted to ask the man the story behind his tattoo, but I thought he might view the question as an intrusion. I did not want to ask him something unexpected. In order to offer my participation, I asked, “Did your mother use any special ingredients?”
            “She used to smoke pot,” he said, “to get her through the rough times.”  
            I nodded.
            “After dad died, she had a hard time going to sleep. Sometimes, I did too – still do.” His eyes lowered and his poignant smile remained.
            “My father loved watching birds; we used to watch them together,” he said. “I took an orthography class in college a couple years after. In the final paper, the professor wanted us to write about the physiology of twenty different species.” He placed his tumbler on the ground and rubbed both of his hands through his hair like a rake. “All I could write about was how he spoke to me through the feathers.”