Monday, October 19, 2009

May 17, 2009

On the quilted first floor
of the Dabbs Hotel,
there are trains that
no longer run and
passengers who watch
their luggage gather
sheets of unstirred dust.

On the quilted first floor
of the Dabbs Hotel,
there are empty ballrooms
full of gossamer gowns
that hang like once happy women.

On the quilted first floor
of the Dabbs Hotel,
there are doors that lead
to guns and gold
and wide trunked trees
whose rotten fruit are not grown.

On the quilted first floor
of the Dabbs Hotel,
balanced between
the river and the rail,
there is a story and a crime
and a girl with no eyes,
a song and a spade
and an unmarked grave
and a man with no tongue
who's afraid of the sun

and so plays the piano each night.

May 16, 2009

As our best selves, we are still no better than the mice
that churn like ants on this small revolving orange.

As our worst selves, we are still no worse than the fish
that bite and tear the skin of drowning calves.

And so I sit, pen in my mouth and fingers slowly searching these
ergonomically placed keys, thinking if it is optimism or pessimism
that makes me think I should be heard.

Friday, October 16, 2009

May 15, 2009

You did not glance towards Evelyn
when you spoke of black women.
You did not look at Jon
when you spoke of gay white men.
You did not look at Patel
when you spoke of the Hindu faith.
You did not look at Renee
when you spoke of single mothers.

But it was not until you concluded class,
when you were saying nothing at all
that you looked at me.

What monster, what hero, what
pagan, what priest, what birth,
and what death do you think hides
beneath this bubbling skin,

And what do you think your
cataract eyes would do if they
finally saw it?

May 14, 2009

They tell me to read the Bible
sit down and hold my thumbs
Breathe long deep breaths
and listen to a God who is close.

They say they talk to him daily
they feel His presence like so much wind
They hear His plan for them.

And so I sit cross-legged
and cross-armed on this dirty carpet
my Bible opened to Job
my eyes closed and my
breathes long, slow as the Nile

And I don't her Him
and I don't ever hear Him
and I don't know if my
stillness is not still enough
or if he forgot to show

leaving me alone
a handful of thumbs

Sunday, October 4, 2009

May 13, 2009

If I had a dog,
I would not feed it.
Instead, I would let
it forage, dependent
upon neighbors and
passersby to give it
a bit of ham or some
cool water to drink.

When it returned, well-fed,
I would of course reward
it with a tickle behind the ear
or a scratch on its plump belly,
but no food will come form my hand,
no drink will come from my bowls.

I think the dog will eventually
thank me for making it so resilient,
so resourceful.

The technique obviously isn't my own.
(Though I'd love to take credit)
Parents, in fact, have been doing it for years.
Just look a their hungry children
filling up our nation's soup-kitchen classrooms.

May 12, 2009

The clothes in my
closet hang like
thin men at attention.

One is wearing my woolen
jacket, another my Parisian scarf.

The all stand facing the same way.

And people wonder why I don't get sleep

I don't even know what the
paper soldiers, feet from my head,
are saluting.

May 11, 2009

There are some nights
I must write a poem
before I lie down.

It doesn't need to
be an award winning poem,
not even a publishable poem.

It just needs to be a poem,
a small part of the contract
I signed up for
the first day I raised a pen.

And if it is good,
And if it is not,
No bother,
These things were never meant for the world anyway.

May 10, 2009

Bottle htis up.
This acrid melancholy.
This sweet salvation.
This hope. This fear. This light.

Bottle this up.
This way I'm looking at you.
This hitched hip you've got
pointing my direction.
Bottle this up.
This periwinkle elbow.
This thunderous acorn.
This hot air buffoon.
Bottle it up.
Because it's going fast,
and I'm still thirsty.