Wednesday, April 20, 2016



Demons on the Clothesline

All my other selves are hanging on the clothesline
The thin ones, the sour, the sin-stained,
The bloody awful red ones
The sun looks away and the wind screeches to a halt
A pair of children wonder what to make of it
Raising a tree branch they treat me like a piñata
When nothing falls, they get a can of gasoline
And spritz my feet and calves and light a match
As the flames lick, I smolder black and tarry
There is no tortured screaming
I watch it all, sighing, thinking perhaps
It is finished


Your allergies are acting up again
It’s the pollen or the way the water warps
In the drinking glass you shatter in the sink
Meds can take the edge off, smooth a few sharp corners
But there are days and nights when volcanoes spew
Their lava down your throat and suffocation
Seems like a very real possibility
So under the bridge you go
The sound of the cars overhead a kind of
Auditory waterboarding
Peace is a slippery distance
And the demons are never satiated
If you could just come home
If we could just talk for once
Like father and son
Or friend to friend
We might forge a footprint
Cut down the weeds and detritus
And carve a way back to the beginning



Alone again, you find yourself without ribs
Your heart hanging loose by a bloody tendril
The moon mocks you while
Stars form a bejeweled noose
You hear your mother’s ancient instruction
This is how we pick ourselves up
And so you walk to the window
To the lake
To the shore
Where the water accepts you as you are
Because what other choice does it have?
You float in an uneven eddy
Twirling in stilted patterns
Moonbeams striping your face
While galaxies expand for no other reason than
That they can
Seconds pass, minutes, too
And you as well
One with the unsteady current
A soggy carcass never so sad
Hoping to float to a new world
Where things bloom and can be resurrected


This Lonely

When the marauders come for you
There is nothing left to steal
Cornmeal perhaps, or stale bread
And still you are so lonesome that
You offer yourself as a proxy.
Take me, you say.
One bandit looks to the other
Then glances away
Before leaving without a word
Through the back door
You converse with the mirror
With a reflection in the window
With anything that might resemble
A friend

Lazarus Is Up

Lazarus is up.
He looks dehydrated,
but that’s to be expected from a corpse.
He asks who all cried, who all cared,
writing down every name I tell him.
What I don’t say is that I wish he’d stayed dead,
that sometimes what’s done is done,
no tricks allowed,
mortality making meaning out of death.


Safe Word

Your hair is messy, the way he likes it
He’s hissing in your ear, sound of a tire going flat
He’s taken to using handcuffs or rope
To amplify the arc of his pleasure
Sometimes there is a wire or candle wax
You have a safe word but your mouth is gagged
His face is flushed the color of crushed berries
In it you look for the charming nineteen year old boy
With feathered hair and puka shells
You look and look, desperate as ever
Until it’s time to close your eyes



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