Category: Poetry

Poem #140

Shopworn Rejection Slips

Dear cubic zirconium crystal from Home Shopping Network,

I am writing to inform you, if at first you don’t receive a rejection letter,
submit your poem, again. An accepted poem is one that didn’t receive a rejection letter. Not to call the color of our rejection letters coal,
but published poems do not make any lemonade to drink.
Only years slowly mash their gums about how old my printing press is.
Did you try WordPress? I might as well be worn as the Appalachians
before I read your poem, if it is sent USPS, and please buy the envelopes
and return postage yourself. We write many rejection letters each day.
Still, be as brave as a mouse at the feet of a Transvaal lion.
Be as glib as you are with friends and enemies, no matter how
much heart you devour, nor how many assault rifles you shoot,
I see you were raised behind a writer’s desk.
Were you really raised behind a writer’s desk?
Very well, then, you were raised behind a writer’s desk.
You are immense like your notebook, you contain pages.
I yawp over your pen, over the raisin stained wood to myself.
We are not belligerent at you, we are belligerent with you.

Graffiti to appear on Trump’s Wall.


Poem #139

Thank You, I Do Not Remember
Dearest Kay,

What magic did you put into my drinks, when
mixing one part Kraken,
one part butterscotch schnapps, splashed
with cola, two separate glasses of
buttery black spiced rum cocktails, one
a la mode, one
on the rocks?

We have a grinder,
we have both our glass pipes,
and we have a bag of reefer
and we have the end of a joint,

Kay, do you remember reading of the Caterpillar, there was a problem                                 when Alice visited him in Wonder Land, on a whim,
and he was sitting, smoking hookah upon a mushroom,
and neither of them could recite the poem,
“Father William”?

I do not remember
the rerun of Penny Dreadful,
weary in the throes of back trouble,
only I remember the title,

where John Clare, ward and alone, wishes to die,
to rest on the Northampton grass below–
above the cathedral ceiling sky.

And yet, my lover, you, too, were so high
neither to remember how I pry,
nor to remember how you reply
betwixt each hit.

You are forgiven. We went much higher, then,
when we ascended the stairs of the duplex, when
and where I do not discern where you end and I begin.

has to exist opposite
The Creator,
as The Adam of his Struggle
is of The Fallen Angel.
I am too presumptuous, when
I assume God must be a man, but never have I held the keys,
and you rebuke, “No. She is a woman.” A woman I long to please.

What would transpire, after
the monster
of Victor
and Vanessa reciting together
a poem of John Clare, does not matter

I am much happier here,
where drink and smoke have led
me lying next you, my dear,
to finally sleep, without my pain and without my head.

Yours Truly,

Poem #138

An Anti-Sonnet for the Koch Brothers

Worried with indenture to Billionaires and their kin,
I hurry to my cola and two shots of rum, when
I embark on an expedition through my head, then,
to work my brain when its vessel is broken.
For right then my premeditations, at a distance, where I sin,
aim at a jealous voyage to your dynasty of Kansas Cooks’ cotton gin,
when my back is broke, with bad disks, which constrict
through the nerves of my spine, and detain the illegals
or eyelids from falling down, and up pupil width, to shift calls,
to look on dread which the good prophets see; save that an addict
with my poetic spirit’s creative vision presents your destruction convict
to my visionless persuasion which like a fear in pleasant morn makes
white days dim and her new face ancient; So, therefore, by nights my body aches
and days I give my madness to you, and for myself, all your thunder shakes.

Poem #137

Poem #137

Elegy for a Tunnel Rat

A startling ring: the phone is frantic still
to a tenacious teen.

This stressed student at his kitchen
silently studies,

meticulous like a surgeon
inside Economics instead of skin:

supply and demand, Industrial
Revolution, market, capital, budget, bubble,

boom and bust,

His grandfather calls at nine at night.
He has to ask his father’s permission

to meet the old man
up at the American Legion on a school night.

In a turquoise Chevrolet Blazer, they speak
through the dark meanders of rural roads, taking their time,

in the off chance he is done
and he’ll be gone.

The dialogue is about the previous generation,
the validity in family legends, or if the myths were Jack and Jill,

and just stories falling over themselves and a hill
trying to fetch any elusive pail of water.

They speak:
father and son.

After returning from tour,
Grandfather slept with a machete underneath his pillow.

You may hear his yells from a night terror,
behind his door.

How it would  scare the children to endure
in his room with the silent fellow.

I remember
a different family member,

a family member
who could break your neck.

He could break your neck with only his legs.
He is reaching his mortality, beat by a gang,

after hopping from bars: his eye is still bloody
at mom’s rocking chair.

This was the last I had seen
of the geezer-marine, until now,

when he camped at my dad’s home
to repair from the final battle,

losing a different war
at home.

He climbed the circus ladder
of the riveted and rusting tower

high above the gorge
and downtown Richmond,

near the district
of the depot,

to hang Christmas lights when no one else would
to make the metal and wire skeleton imitation

of a yule log

when no one
had the gull.

If no one else would,
if only they asked him, work tough to come by, he would.

A tunnel rat acquires
information in the enemy trenches

with a knife big enough to fit in a pocket,
and enough wire to push against Hansel’s windpipe.

I heard different versions of German nationalism,
after school

from someone who flew
over the Fuji mountains

an explosion.

And here was the Norman Rockwell
of the Midwest: belly to a bar,

the only money from retirement
checks from the government

in a coke and two shots
of whiskey from the well.

And yet I remember how he took his coffee:
with cream,

and two spoons
of sugar.

By the urn I am kept from mourning
your passing

on anti-psychotics;
the sadness fights with my tear ducts.

This is why
I cannot cry.

At Williamsburg Cemetery
not far from the fishing reservation

where he, my father, and I
sat and ate cold chicken,

fishing for blue gill off the shore
in a small secluded town surrounded by corn.

At Williamsburg Cemetery
not far from the orchard

where you and grandmother drove me
for popcorn and caramel apples.

The firing squad recoils.
The order to fire refrains and refrains.

Shots fire.
Their fingers squeeze.

Poem #135

DECENCY: An Epistle on the Passing of the Religious Freedom Act
in Indiana, 25 March 2015

What do I know, of love,
in the middle of the fields?
An owl asks in a hoot, “Who?”
I fear I go with women and men.
Merriam-Webster says she knows,
about the color gray.
There are shades of gray
on the southern horizon,
blue-gray, pearl layers with gray
in the background clouds that fan out into the
foreground where I drove.
There is dung flung into feed the fields,
workers working in a factory,
or a work-study working on a graduate degree, maybe.
A social science teacher teaches me
we have enough (enough bureaucracy).
Decency, decency is
when human is humane is
when cruelty will end,
from the egg to now.

Poem #134


There was no road to relieve traffic sent
twixt blocks of sixth and tenth to bemoan, to repent,
and commemorate the forty-one that should not be dead.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima cloud
above Marting Arms Sporting Goods downtown
where the rescue units crowd.

Into the cellar of the store,
black powder that they own
waits by a corroded gas pipe’s hole that grown
to soak up their leaky cast-iron
for its chore.

And yet complain commerce and currency
for they have not been wed
with customers rerouted they could see.

That is why these tires drive
over the dead that should be alive.
To revitalize what is gone should be done
with a frown.
I’ll call it downtown.