The Late Afternoon Sun

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The late afternoon sun, like a great ball
of burning gasses, shines in the sky,
which for its own part looks bluish.

I, like a man sort of down on his luck,
sit in my living room. Evening comes
on like the latter part of the day,

but miscellaneously—

as if perhaps any other day would have
done the trick just fine, and then cooled,
as a poet might say—“as cooling embers.”

The only painfulness here is perhaps
a lack of self-awareness in a city now
night-bound, a lack of authentic being.

For like a drowsing shadow have I become
a half-asleep outline of the man
I once was. But I was more evil back then.

Next, morning, like the break of a new day
will overtake this teeming metropolis
as though it were a city full of people

brought to life by light from above.
I love, during a brilliant mid-morning,
a brisk stroll around the town park!

• • •

The Average Age

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Let’s see. The average death date
of an American male is July 17.
I don’t plan on an average death,
but i’ve been on plenty of average dates,
and let me tell you. It’s in between
like a thunderstorm that darkens the sky
and then, inexplicably, passes by.
She goes home, or you walk her there.
Nothing out of the ordinary about her
hair or limp, nor of yours.
Your corduroys are full of burrs
as you hang them by the cold fireplace.
The average living room late at night
is full of one person’s regret—
someone said. As you sit in your boxers
nursing a bourbon, realizing at last
you’re supremely suburban.

• • •

Target, Target, Target

Monday, April 22, 2019

O pioneers of the red plastic cart
and of a certain … Greatlands art,
of cold white aisles, you have
everything I could possibly want:
clothes, beauty, food, electronics,
and now semi-viable Starbucks.

But what about the dollar dog?
You invented the dollar dog
with ketchup, mustard, and a Coke.
Or should I say the Target Café
One-Dollar All-Beef Hot Dog?
And then pulled it back,

withdrew it from the very people
it was invented to feed.
Hey, we get the need to remodel.
We get that Target Café is outmoded.
But please, from your “target market,”

• • •

The Illustrations

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ancient philosophers observe a rock falling to the ground
and assume this to be an expression of its essence—
its rock-ness. Along comes modern science and says, wait:
a rock’s inherent properties aren’t what cause it to fall,
but rather a force acting upon it. It’s called the law of gravity.
I’ve got news for you, folks. Humans, too, have an essence,
something bold within us that defines who we uniquely are—
it’s called DNA. Four distinct elements combine to form DNA,
cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine. They’re everywhere.
Consider the curious case of Charles McDaniel who walked
into a jungle during the Korean war and wondered, where
did my men go? They disappeared. His son, sitting at home
in the United States, also wonders, where is Dad? Sixty-
eight years later, 55 boxes of bones appear out of nowhere.
War bones. Jungle bones. Using DNA on even the smallest
fragment, we know these are from the Battle of Unsan!
Here, folks, is Charles McDaniel. We have his DNA. Now
you may be wondering: What is the DNA of the Christian
Body? Sacrifice. It’s everywhere. Navigating cultural
boundaries is also everywhere. My dad left me in Malawi!
As you might know, I am no good at tying knots. A man
jumped on top of our car and tied all my knots for me.
He disappeared into the crowd. Now that is called sacrifice.

• • •


For Hugh Cook

Friday, March 15, 2019

The are several kinds of people in Cameroon.
Some of them love to read novels. Some
prefer novellas. Some Cameroonians
are physically strong fellas while others
are weak, always walking to the diaper store
carrying umbrellas. Even when it’s not raining.
Others look like they’re Korfball champions
or maybe Korfballers in training. Or Camogie
players. There are several kinds of people
in the outskirts of Yaoundé, some who love
Jesus and are rich as Croesus, others Buddhist
shrine funders but with a “bit less plunder”
as the Aussies say—as they say “Down Under.”
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run; you better take cover. Yeahhhh.

• • •

Elegy for MJ

Monday, March 4, 2019

Michael Jackson,
dead and gone,

king of pop,
the moon’s own son:

the earth was yours,
so was the night;

neon and sparkles,
hearing, sight,

a velvet touch,
fedora white.

Michael tell me,
if you know,

what power makes
the dark to glow?

What fancy fake

lie must I tell

to keep dancing
under the stars

you hung so

where they are?

• • •

[June, 2009]

Time Reconsidered

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Until a few years ago, an average of ten
workers performed every one robot’s
current job — instantly bringing radical
agribusiness and archeology to teeter
on the brink of obsolescence, says Bishop
von Beater in a brand-new from M.I.T.
Pediatrics. “Hat tricks aren’t welcome
heater,” says a sign outside his office.
“Zambonis, however,” someone’s penned
below. It’s almost as though wind blow
mango smoothie Spartacus Andronicus.

• • •

Finish This

Friday, February 1, 2019

Not a huge fan of my work.
Like how it’s always irked me
that Jerry Harrison didn’t popularize
himself under the mononym
Jerrison: Or how your
forearm’s velvety skin
could be a silk purse or
a horse’s ass for all I know.
Analogies aren’t exactly my
hotsprings, if you can sniff
not only what I’m steppin’ in
but the chemical spray I’ve been
applying to try to get it off.
Or how literally a million
literallys litter the allies of US
rhetoric, near-wrecking it.
Oh, and I’ve been as unsure
when to hyphenate as you are
ready to pop the question’s
answer both for your own sake
and for the good of others.

• • •

I Sneezed On the Beat

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I sneezed on the beat
and the beat got sicker
and eventually died
because it was from
a remote island, and
its primitive immune
system was no match
for my modern microbes.

• • •

The F-Word

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Curious definite article there;
consider: Freedom, folly, fake news.
“Fudge factory feeding
frenzy! Film at eleven,”
as my cousin Stephen
Smallman used to intone.
Television promises, but

can it deliver? You bet.
Fuck you and your raspberry sorbet,
you and your Neapolitan sherbet.

• • •