Friday, August 21, 2009

May 3, 2009


When I woke up this morning,
it was a half day. The curtains
half-drawn let half the sun
fill half my bed with light.

The half-slab of bacon I cooked
on half an iron skillet filled
half the kitchen with smoke
and half the alarm went singing.

I walked into my office carrying
only half of the papers I needed: not
forgetting some, but carefully cutting
them down into equal portions.

By the time noon rolled around,
I had finished half my work
and was looking forward to half
a sandwich I had half-hidden in my drawer.

Eating with the right side of
my mouth on the left side of
a nearby bench, I saw a
whole person walk past.

And when they smiled, it was not
the half-smile I give, but
a whole, tooth-heavy grin,

and I, half-heartedly, smiled back,
knowing that only I knew it was half.

May 2, 2009

If one day we should meet
and you should fail to recognize me,

I will break your arm,
ensuring you'll not forget again.

May 1, 2009

I awoke last night
in a brilliant peace
and walked, bare-footed,
into the hot night air.

The stars, who have
always been for the poor,
spun around my outstretched
hand, and grabbing one,
I fell to my knees.

My unopened hand, still
an arm's length above my head,
a trembling fist, opened
like hibiscus,

and for a moment, I
held both the sky and earth
at once.

April 30, 2009

You bit my lip
while kissing and
I, none the wiser,
bit back, but baby,
if I had known
you were devouring me,
I would have run.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

April 29, 2009

They're building a house at the corner of Fairview and Old Jersey,
a great and terrible house that will surely swallow up the kitsch
and courage of the crumbling Historic District.

I hope that when people pass it on their way to football games
or the ghost of the MSC, they'll refuse to admire its gabled windows
and easy wrap-around porch.

I hope instead they close their eyes and remember the first professors
who lived there, in those twisting and colorless shacks, now gone.

I hope they walk past it with a certain arrogance, knowing what the builders
do not, that their home will never be at home here, that their children
will not be family, that their mobile home money can only buy a house.

April 28, 2009

While walking last night,
I found a small book of matches.

The front design was fading,
and the matches were worn.

Nonetheless, I slipped one through
the bent book hoping it would ignite.

Predictably, the match didn't light
and I continued my pilgrimage in the dark,

heavy with the thought that if I wait,
I too will be rendered useless,

A wordless book and the sulfur I still smell.

April 27, 2009

Drunk girls, I've decided
have the same appeal
as parking lot carnivals.

What, with their squeaky
merry-go-rounds and poorly
constructed Ferris wheels.

And I, having paid my
admission, assume that
the bright lights and
cotton candy are for me,

that where there is
laughter and balloon animals
there is a certain peace,

but I, like many drunk men
have never stayed long enough
to see the carnival end,
to see the carnival workers
with their long faces and leather hands,
picking up the crumbling party,
welding, screwing, gluing it together,
hoping it holds so that no one gets hurt.

April 26, 2009

The cobweb Kilimanjaro
is still snowy and unclimbed,
and I, shoeless and asleep
will not, cannot touch the tip
until you or someone like you
with soft lashes and lips
can bring its apex down,
can bend or bow the mountain,
to meet my hand in repose.

April 25, 2009

I think it is not a passing of the torch
as much as it is a torching of the past.
And as I sit here, ash-eyed and forgotten,
as the chronal flames leap beneath my chin,
I am whole and human and combustible,
and this scream I sing is not one of pain
but one of longing and hope and light.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

April 24, 2009

The bagels are burned
and the toast is now toast.
The sunny-side-ups took
the train to the coast.

the juice has been lossed,
and the mik is now cheese.
The jam has re-fruited,
the honey, rebee-ed

The bacon backed out
on account of the ham
who has, just like the sausage,
jumped out of the pan.

The flapjacks were flipped
and chose not to come down.
the waffles we cooked
are a little too brown.

The French toast and scones
have repatriated.
The blueberry yogurt's
absurdly outdated.

And I'd have some bran flakes,
but the milk is still cheese,
and the bran flakes with beer,
they don't look fit to eat.

And though I need breakfast
I have half a hunch
the only breakfast I'll get
will be timely called lunch.

April 23, 2009

I wear my sex
like an origami hat,

and though silly and strange,
these corners are sharp.

I wouldn't recommend
this razor thin crown.

April 22, 2009

These waves are not too high
and will not crush you if you stand.
These waves are not too high
and will not crush you if you stand.
These waves are not too high
and will not crush you if you stand.

But these shells beneath your feet are sharp
and under magnificent weight,
will cut you till you bleed.

April 21, 2009


He loosens his collar
with olived fingers,
sure to drop the next
thing that isn't wet.

April 20, 2009


Shivering in diamonds,
her rhinestone ribs
and sapphire stilettos
quake light.

April 19, 2009


Head back on the
pool lounger, she
moves her glasses up.
Her eyes still shut.

April 18, 2009

The next few poems may contain short descriptive verses about the anthropomormhic nature of a word. Imagine if you would, what exactly you'd see if a word walked through the door.


Sleek and leggy
A man at each hip
Unlit cigarettes
Burn in her lips.

April 17, 2009


The locks are unlocked,
and the old brass hinges sing.
This door we cannot open is ajar.

The small moon of its knob
is spinning at a carousel's speed.
This door we cannot open is ajar.

The tongue of its latch
is pushed out by a well-oiled spring.
This door we cannot open is ajar.

Now the stage that we curtain
is crowded with things never seen.
This door we cannot close is ajar.

April 16, 2009

It must have been late
when I told you over
a hot coffee and the
rolling cobblestones of the
Rue de la Huchette
that the gargoyles of
Notre Dame no longer scare me.

I know because if it
had been early in the day
when the the tourists were
still riding the cathedral
like a rollercoaster, you would
have laughed, put your
shell-like hand on my shoulder,
and told me the gargoyles
aren't just stone in this town.

Monday, August 10, 2009

April 15, 2009

Walking Through the MSC

But where will they put the spheres
while the living room is renovated?

Surely not in the building
as it bends and breaks and burns.

And surely not on display in
some unused hall or treeless aboretum.

No, I think they'll be stored away
in some tight-lipped closet about the city
where predictably one small boy
with a bobby pin and a bit of luck

will uncover the find of the century.

Two whole worlds, one blue, one red,
Being held, prisoner planets
in the dark.

April 14, 2009

Fixing a Poem

For the last three days
I've been turning
a screww ina hollow,
lip-less hole.

It is no further in now
than when I started, and
it holds no promise of
tightening soon.

The manual has its lettered
body poiting to what
I know is this numbered hole.

So I'll just keep turning.

Better to be dilligent than lazy, I guess.
Who knows what wild world I'd create.
If I shook these words like bones.

April 13, 2009

That I would write the stories
children sleep to dream.

That I would grow from black sand
an apple tree.

That worlds would live within me.

Whole worlds with mutinous children.

Asking, demanding to be set free.

April 12, 2009

In pieces I will be less intimidating,
less august, less grand.

In pieces I will be easy to handle,
acquescient and small.

In pieces I will weigh nothing
and hold a gavel-less court in my hands.

In pieces I will perish,
but in whole I will swallow your cities

without water.

April 11, 2009

You can keep your windy cities
and pockets full of light,
your skyscrapers and office buildings
that stand like eager children.
You can keep your undergrounds
and asphault spaghetti, the
commuters who ride them like
rollercoasters. You can keep your
elevators and moving sidewalks
your neon nights and midnight oil.

Just leave me this railroad town
with its slow summer clouds
and crawling heat. Leave me
its humble bones and modest homes.
Leave me its translucent stars
that stir and rise with the
faraway bellow of a southbound train.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

April 10, 2009


I have long feared
that my small walks
in the heavy forest of poetry
would make me one of
those sad characters
in Vaudevillian melodramas
or French cabarets.

Even now as I
sit and wait, my
concrete pencil
barely moves.

The rash on my leg
is growing and the
sky is starless and still.

I begin to believe
my hypochondria.
I take small breaths
so the cancer doesn't spread.

April 9, 2009

Empty Threat

I will hold his larynx
in my hand, push my
finger through its taut
chords, set it gingerly
beneaththe heel of my shoe,
then apply my weight
until I hear your last word

April 8, 2009

Vegetable Apocalypse

In the last days
there will be no
fruit or vegetable
only hard, weather-worthy
wheat and nuts.

The barley and tobacco
will still grow, but the corn
and tomatoes will fall
and un-twist. The
carrots and beets will
uproot themselves from
the drying earth.
The orchards will sway and
break like our fathers.
The gardens will crawl
and burn like our mothers
and our tables will be set
with chestnuts and bread
and we will eat our
colorless meals in silence.

In the last days
I will not hold
your hand and
I will not regret
your death, but
for the small cherries
of your cheeks, the
smooth squash of your
arms, the ripe
cantaloupe of your
head and the harvest
that will rot, a
broken cornucopia
beneath the dry
and unforgiving earth.

April 7, 2009

With my bags still packed
from a 4-week vacation
and my beard more ragged than usual,
I wonder how many of these
middle-class Houstonians who pass
quickly by my current park bench, think
that this leisure park is my home.

Surely children's hands have been
gripped tighter since mothers saw me,
and the scennc stroll past my particular path
is seemingly less attractive than others.

I am forced now to review my own
assumptions. How many slumbering
men and women on the streets of our father cities
were just travelers in repose, worn and weary
from a long journey that they'll one day
end in a host of warm hands and lifted glasses.

How many of these buskers and bums,
drunks and derelicts, homeless and has-beens
are just passing through, prodigal children,
waiting for the fatted calf to be cut.

April 6, 2009


Returning to Houston I stumbled
upon a small park tucked like an
appendix on the lower east side
of downtown.

Finding an empty bench, I sat
back and watched little rainbow
children dance feverishly in a water garden.

To my left there is a little cruiseliner
of a convention center and directly
across the water, a quilt of a building whose
woven windows would make even the most
precise Amish hands, slightly green.

The sun is hot and settling
on my shoulders like some mink, but
as the buildings rise and the shadows
of the McKinney St. skyscrapers are
pulled over me like some stage curtain,
I am happy to be here in the city,
in the heat of its geometry.

April 5, 2009

Art work

Along the allée Marguerite Yourcenar
the walls are full of pictures,
small hand-drawn tributes to a
gun death earlier this year.

If you walk past them fast enough, you can
see the Eiffel Tower crumble and rebuild.

If you walk past them fast enough, you can
see colors rivering like the Seine.

If you walk past them fast enough, you can
hear the dead boy laughing before he
died, bleeding beautiful pastel blood
along the allée Marguerite Yourcenar.

April 4, 2009

Gypsy TV

The Romani family standing
on the platform is not unlike
some zany television series
of the 1990's. One is tall
and rather dull, while another
is slender and good-looking.
A third, unattractive one
must be the brains, and the small
long-haired one runs circles
around the gang. There is also
a woman among them whose
scarved beauty or bangled arms
must be enough to keep her in the know.

I wonder what delightful theme
music would play, just before
the episode begins where they swindle
the bald American out of his passport
and small collection of unimportant poetry.

April 3, 2009

The water in these Grenoble fountains
flies nowhere and is largely disregarded
by the stale smelling French who pass by.

The mountains to my left and right
stand vigilant as the Haussmannian homes
spread virally through this valley town.

The ladybug who is crawling towards me
wrongly thinks I will not kill her as
I have killed many before her,
small, crawling, beautiful even in death.

April 2, 2009

When I look across these dark mountains
the villages are small handfuls of light.

I imagine that tucked away beneath heavy quilts,
the children have small hands, full of light.

April 1, 2009

She told me that she
was singing in Polish,
but the timber of her
young voice and the
expression on her face
were that of hymns
hidden in the rocks,
unlit lamps of our
bankrupt generation.

March 31, 2009

I want to wear your warmth
like a robe and feel it brush
against my numbing skin.

Better yet, empty your golden
barrels down and let me drown
a beautiful bouyant burning.

(I think I was cold when I wrote this, remember when I promised poems I was enjoying the very loose definition of the word and at no pointdi I add any evaluative adjectives)

March 30, 2009

The swallows that spin like
ashes down this long
green valley are brave and do
not need my weak poetry
to sustain them.

They are instead just
the weightless product of some
avian fire, burning crows by the murder.

And my poetry is no more wind to them
than they are breath to me,
my featherless lungs still waiting.

March 29, 2009

The thunder i thought I heard
is nothing more than a passing plane
and the storm I hoped for is still
patient in the wings.

Perhaps I can coax him onto stage
with a short prologue about precipitation
or a well-written intorduction
from the chorus.

Maybe the old Broadway hook can
pull him from his cloudy dressing room

assuming his thunderous vocal warm-ups
have made him miss his cue.

March 28, 2009

Catch and Release

I have tried to write this poem
oem many times. It is
about a girl I know who
walks the walls of
and old cabin, looking
for resting moths.

Once found she captures
them by the wings and flings
them into the open sky.

She says she loves to watch them fly.

I have postulated in earlier
drafts that she throws the
creatures as she herself
wants to be plucked and thrown.
I think instead, though, it is I
who needs the heavy hand hand
to take me from this ancient wall-
throw me into a fluttering oblivion.

March 27, 2009

The southeastern city of Lyon
smells of gingerbread and cigarettes.

Standing at it's airport terminal
(named for some famous French author)
I wait in English for a mountain bound bus
to carry me and my luggage far from here.

Waiting with me are a gaggle of boarders
sure to have marijuana in one of their many pockets
a Midwestern couple whose orthapedic shoes reveal them
and a quiet businessman who's been sittting on his suitcase like a stool.

As the bus pulls up they line up
like migrant workers and feed their tickets
to the nameless driver.

Before closing the door he steps outside
to smoke a cigarette.

I can only assume his wife is at home
baking gingerbread.

One Lyonese couple just doing their part.

March 26, 2009

And I am back,
now far from home and
its ever-closing walls.

Now far from the tree
and all the apples who fell so close.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

March 25, 2009

And here on the top shelf of the world
between stones that have never moved
and the mountain cactus that flowers
like some unworn corsage,

I have come to sit and write this
unwritten poem.

I am sure that I am not the first
to poetically describe the snaking stream
that leaps halfway down the mountain.

And I am sure that I am not the first
to pen a short heroic couplet about
the snow that crowns the regal mountain's peaks
and how like chipping paint it peels away.

The sky ahs long now been a subject
of admiration and the prima donna
that is the sun, with her grand exits and
entrances will no longer earn my ink.

I think, instead, the poem I am
here to write is of a small ant
who has with his sticky legs been
climbing in and out of my Alpine landscape.

My poem will not begin or end with
him, it will only graze him as a tangent
does an arc, as I am sure his eyes have noticed
and unnoticed me, a small god
sitting on a rock that is the world.