Distant Relatives

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I have distant relatives
in my immediate family.
They just seem to be thinking
about other things.

• • •

Catch a Shooting Star

Sunday, September 15, 2019

I’ve tethered my star to a wagon hitch
of dreams I can’t even begin to remember:
In one, one of my oldest and dearest friends
waits patiently at a diner two-top.
His date never arrives. His date is me.
In another, a party to which I am not
invited begins to disperse, and there I am,
sitting in the middle of a well-lit
and now nearly empty room. Me again.
In last night’s, whatever we’re paying for
we don’t have enough money for,
and I’m asked to go sit in the car.

I guess i’ve put too much stock in things
that circle back around to devour themselves.
Crushes, consumer products, promises,
even institutions such as the Constitution.

I—we—had such high hopes! Once,
sitting behind my favorite bar and grill,
I proposed to my friend Devin that what we
really all want is to be back together again.
All in one place. All sitting at the same table.
He said he doesn’t want that. He
wants to be off on his own, ultimately.
Maybe that’s changed now that he has kids.

• • •


Thursday, September 12, 2019

He said that he would join the dead
that we humans no more may die.
I believed him! But then he said
that I myself would three times lie

when asked point blank if I knew him.
“No, no, no!” insisted I;
“If the whole Dead Sea I must swim,
you, my Lord, I’ll never deny.”

He looked at me, sort of grinned:
“I know you’re perfect, Peter; ‘Rock.’
I know you’ve never even sinned!
But think twice when you hear the cock.”

He knew me, how I’d prove myself a liar.
They took him (apparently the plan?),
and then night fell. Folks made a fire.
This girl came up and was like “Man,

I saw you with him. Am I right?”
Unthinkingly I just said “Nah.” I mean,
the air was cold, the fire was bright.
I needed to be chill, not “seen”

by some servant girl without a name.
A hubbub broke out—just a small one.
By the light of growing flames
I was accosted by a centurion.

“You’re his disciple?” asked this guy
wearing a helmet with a transverse crest.
He looked me dead in the eye
and cocked his head a bit to the west,

seemed a wee bit cock-a-doodle-doo,
like he’d been hitting the vino
for some time already. “I am a Jew,”
said I, “But a disciple? Me? No.”

He wagged his red crest back and forth
like he didn’t believe me at all.
Unsettled, I left the common hearth,
into the dark, tiptoed along the temple wall.

And though there was no light or noise
and though I never felt my heart harden,
ex nihilo a very sober, earnest voice
said to me, “You were with him in the garden.”

And then I snapped and shouted “No!”
I was heading down a darker road.
“I’ve said it already: I’ve never met the fellow!”
And just like that, a rooster crowed.

• • •

Nobody’s Watching

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Jog like you’ve never been kneecapped.
Jump like you don’t live in shame.
Traipse like you’re not made of feathers,
and nap like you’re already dead.
Win like you’re not tired of losing,
and lose like you still want to play.
Sing like your dad isn’t drinking.
Shop like you’ve never been dumped.
Dance like your exes are watching.
Shriek like you’re not getting stabbed.
Barf like a toilet’s nearby, lease
billboards like yesterday’s here,
and let the peppers sauté like nobody’s
coming for dinner, like nobody’s
ever passed by this way—nor will they.
Tweet like you aren’t abandoned.
And live like you’ve never been loved.

• • •

Vaguely French

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What galls
me about Gallic
art is the balls
  it took to make
it all so phallic.
  I mean, apart
from O’Keefe’s flowers
everything is—
basically towers.

• • •

Two Things

Monday, July 29, 2019

I do not think that I could drill

So many holes I could not fill

Them with the sand from every beach.

That, and my name’s not “Stacy Keach.”

• • •


Prune Seeds

Thursday, July 25, 2019

From one point of view, now is twenty years ago.
That point is, of course, twenty years from now,
Standing perhaps where you’re standing, eating
The prune you’re eating as we watch this show.
I’ll suggest changing the channel: “I’m so bored.”
As prune juice and seeds spill down your arm
You remind me to do something I’d been
Putting off for decades. Let’s say, for the sake
Of argument, that something is planting a prune tree.
I might plant an entire grove today, but
That won’t have moved our constabulary
Any closer to the sea. Oceans between you and me,
Jefferson. I want you the way I want myself:
Somewhere buried in the remote if magical past.

• • •

Alphabet Nouveau (for the Sake of New Zealand)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ayy, b! See the effigy?
A chai jay kale. Amen, Opie.
Cure Estée UV. Double UX,
Why? NZ.

Now I know my
ABCs. Next time won’t
using with me.

• • •

Wounds and Kisses

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The wounds of a friend are hot, fiery kisses.
The reprimands of an enemy border
on flattery, perhaps even side-hugs.

A burning kiss, delivered by a dear friend,
plants deep into the middle of the mouth,
and the fruit thereof is being less of a jerk.

So much more unintriguing are the passing
compliments of those with whom one
is connected socially—and vaguely, at that.

For baubles and trinkets passed from
bored hand to bored hand are not even
returnable to Target: they are vapor.

They honestly remind me of surface rust
on the fender of a newer Kia. Who knows
how it got there? Polish it off, and roll on.

• • •


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Before I tell you what happened,
Let me give you some context.
Many years ago I won a lifetime
supply of marshmallows. I know.
Sounds great until you consider
the amount of care that goes
into keeping endless marshmallows
fresh: Letting them out for air
and sun, “turning” them regularly
in their boxes. Verged on a full
time job until I met Bernie, a
woman in my neighborhood who had
a “soft spot” for marshmallows.
Well one day, and I’d say quite
recently, but that isn’t true—
it was a long time ago now, several
decades at least—one day Bernie
set them all out for a moment
of sun when just out of nowhere
one of those devil beating his wife
popup sunshowers came and went
and so did my fortune in marsh-
mallows, and so eventually did
Bernie, into a sticky, whitish mass.