Wednesday, September 15, 2010

...I have a new poem, "Brick Room" up at The Camel Saloon and also here under "Words in Print." I was listening to Ben Folds sing "Brick" and so the poem became an homage to that.

...My daughter leaves for college on Friday. They talk about the circle of life. They are right about a lot of things. They must be psychic. They are certainly smart because it feels as though we are planning for my daughter's funeral, as if she has a fatal disease and the doc has given her a week to live. Yesterday her grandmother brought over a box of my daughter's old baby pictures.

...I like being a Dad, a parent. I think I should have had lots of children. Well, not me, literally, although I think it would be cool to be pregnant. (I realize that doesn't sound very macho, but I'm being honest.) Kids are a good thing. Kids should run the US Senate. Kids make me happy, they make me laugh. They help make sense of the world. Thank God, I still have my son at home.

...I got a piece accepted at Dogzplot today. I like that lit mag a lot, and Barry Graham, their editor is a damn good writer. If you want a great story collection, buy his "The Virginity Pledge." (There's actually not a virgin in it.)

...I was not very productive today. Did nothing on the novel, but I've got the sheers on my desk right here and some Tickle Me Elmo bandages, so I'm going to get to work editing it in a minute. The only thing I wrote today was this piece (I don't know who Anne is, but I miss her):


You come in and out of focus like migraine vision.
Even the pressure point is there above my brow,
an ice pick pricking my skull,
sinking into the coiled maw of my sad brain where
no tool has ever been.

I remember that we danced in a hail storm once,
all those frosted Dip ‘N Dots catching in our hair, bouncing off our cheeks.
You tilted your head back, daring heaven,
started spinning and never did stop.

We went skinny dipping one night at your Uncle’s cabin.
The water was black as oil and the moon sluiced a worn white path from one end of the lake
to where you dog-paddled,
out of breath and smelling like weeds,
the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.

We had a dog named Che and you bought him fatigue-patterned hankies and
taught him how to wear a beret, “Like a real communist,” you said.
When he died, you read a poem you’d written on a napkin at Starbucks.
Those words still stun me when I recall them,
their cadence and the way
you did not cry.

Not a long while later
we broke apart like wet newsprint.
We still had sentences and stories stained on our skin,
verifiable tales of our shared history,
but we became faded, ink-smeared, and
I often wondered:
if someone took our two torn sheets,
would they fit together,
the jagged rips like two different halves of the same whole,
yin and yang,
needy and full?

I have not felt whole since the night you played
connect-the-dots with the bare naked stars,
moonglow on your face being the push I needed to propose
then and there.
So when I got the news last week
I thought it was a prank you were pulling,
because if anyone loved life it was you.

Now, I have been writing for days.
My words are reedy and thin,
shredded scraps of balloon rubber
that make my mouth clammy
when I read them.

I don’t know if I can do it, Anne,
be as strong as you,
face the future knowing
you are no longer in it.

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