Posts for June 16, 2018


Oxen, Oxen

Ten thousand oranges on ten hundred trees,
a black mamba can take down
6 oxen before it runs out of venom. The boy laughs;
oxen, oxen, actually, one can’t approximate
the inane things he says, half based on puns, half 
on half-assed associations. All the Cajuns come from Acadia, think of Acadian
with an accent, Canadian,
a drawl of a thing. The boy
sticks his fingers out as he walks, extends two and
thumbs the others; he is counting something,
counting as he walks.

The smell of a black walnut fetus,
the smell of something fruiting in the leaf rot,
the smell of a man she has not seen in a month
emerging from her deodorant-depleted armpits
blooming like a weed of Jericho. At the Overlook
there is a deer
standing as if in headlights,
only there is nothing, just
clear field and sun and the boy and the girl

and other incidental things. Ben Franklin 
dumped his fiancé because her parents wouldn’t pay his debts, then he blamed her for the STDs he got when he slept with prostitutes after. Everything has always been the same.
Everyone has always done some grabbing: special
fresh memes of dissatisfied customers
opening interdimensional wormholes
that swarm with minions packing AK47s that 
riddle the body of the boy and the body of the girl
with positive affirmations and political truisms.
Seize the means of production.
Kill your landlord. 
Workers of the world,
divide into tiny factions and argue over minor shit while capitalism devours the planet.

The boy prefers
pesto night to ham sliders night; he walks too close,
then runs very far. He follows her
into the house, sits next to her, stares
at his phone and sometimes
flicks at the side of his nose as if it itched
but he is probably trying to pick it
without her noticing.
Today was Fidel Castro’s birthday celebration,
or maybe not; children in Cuba are celebrating.
Elizabeth Holmes is finally being charged
with fraud, but can you imagine
being only 23 and Henry Kissinger comes up to you at a party and says,
I’m going to find you a boyfriend?
Sometimes one is just too close to someone,
without trying; they couldn’t maintain
a comfortable distance 
with or without a glass of wine. Nothing would do for it— they just both understood how it was
with the world, how it was to watch it, ever
unfolding, always on the edge of making 
sense. What was it he had said about 
oxen? She remembers
she had laughed.


I40 Zodiac (excerpts 2)

(June 15th)
the monster of a thousand leaf-faces, tendril-teeth grab trees, hollow buildings and chew them empty
you are… obsessive, relentless, surviving the forgotten places of the earth
horoscope: you will grow beyond the miserable plot that the world has offered you; you will sink your thirsty bite into every beautiful thing you encounter and consume it and make it your
Cypress grove (dead)
(June 20th)
eerie ancientness hangs itself here, the web white trees grow like swords against the water
you are… merciless, impatient, nostalgic for things that never happened
horoscope: you will like a bitter witch spin the world into your needs, moss hanging down your tired fingertips and strength building in the bayou of your tears
Shadows in a copse
(June 24th)
a peaceful drink of shadows in the dead-groan of summer, your car rolls by and you long to fall asleep in its moss
you are… pensive, curious, mistrusting of things that can be seen and touched
horoscope: you will delight in easy days of growing senses; the bugs will kiss your feet as you walk among them and learn the plants they devour, the plants they worship
Sun – descending
(June 25th)
here the sun sets over hours, lowering as if it can’t stand the thought of missing you
you are… languid, uncertain, vibrant of words

horoscope: you will endure many losses and survive them all, more beautiful and terrifying for each that falls at your feet, and you will shine with golden talons in place of suffering
Hills after fields
(June 26th)
they should be the walls that giants laid down to keep their flowered fields safe from the world of tragedy
you are… distant, gentle, guarding what you can keep from falling through your fingers
horoscope: you will eventually crumble away as we all do, but you will leave behind the soil and the rocks and the bones of yourself like maps and almanacs
Petit Jean
(June 30th)
not far in the distance, she died, and my grandmother, too, is buried there, ash upon earth upon longing
you are… tenacious, well-grounded, following your desires across seas and mountains
horoscope: you will grow weak with the sickness of your devouring heart, never content with what you can reach and taste, but won’t it be perfect to have just a morsel of all the world in your mouth?


Missing a friend

Your polite distance and careful soft gaze
 Misses my meaningful smiles,
  Evades my efforts to engage,
    Does not require my support.

  Your precise words and rhythms pour over me
   My own feel puny and flat
     I repect this distance, this paralysis

     I wish I knew what careless phrase
         Or needy tendencies
       ( Or flat out talentlessness?)
           Drove you from me -truly, I am sorry .


Like there’s no tomorrow

it’s in his heart
to be something more
speaking for us
twenty years later

so play it again
the war and the treaty
like water and wildfire
so young and so pure

that’s why we do music
for it to matter
and it brings her to tears
to know it still matters

and it brings her to tears
that it still matters


Her and Stella Artois

She says the Stella grows slowly,

Tugs on her gently,

Taps on her shoulder,

Creeps up on her undetected. 


When I turned on the lights 

The Stella protested. 

It didn’t like anything brighter 

Than a star on a cloudy day. 

I knew it was close to the end of the night for them.


I coaxed them both to bed,

Let her to lean on my arm,

Pulled up the blankets,

Listened to her the Stella retell her stories,

Until sleep took her into her arms 

To care for her the rest of the way. 



A Friday Night

Wish I was a cool girl
sauntering up to the bar,
owning the world.

I’d order a fashionable drink:
rum and coke, bourbon-neat,
whatever’s on tap.

Instead,  I ponder my mood,
calculate the hours til home,
sip on a soda.

Smiling from the corner,
I catch whispers and glances,
inappropriate dances,

then drive everyone home.


One Pure Note

For M.P., in gratitude

Your tall, round sound—
Fine therapy for sorrow—
Filled out this strained day.



Anticipation is
the last cold breath 
of the mountain 
before the sun rises. 


haiku 16

smiling on a bus
I wish they still made cool cars
let’s hit up craigslist


The Sacrifice of Honey Upon Ashen Altars

Labors lasting gift
ripe fruits of remembrance
harvesting the days

In great furrowed fields
convictions seeds shall flourish
ocher nectar flows

When fallow hearts ache
barren moments linger on
in passions absence

Burning honeycombs
reveal compassions demise
in fires of faith

Sewing bright eyes shut
with bleak threads of devotion
needles made from fear

Ashen marble slabs
bear witness to extortion
baptized upon lies

Doubting gold pulpits
wise flocks soon put to pasture
blissful ignorance

All idols are false
before clear eyes of reason
cast out sick shepherds

For thy lord is dead
buried in a shroud of myth
and thine will is mine