Posts for June 20, 2019


bad animals

un jaguar a empezar,
un brigante brillante,
sí, yo soy el cazador más amante.
amarro mi presa preciosa
y amo sangre, también.
entonces el zorro,
por medio de mentiras yo mato el coro
y mientras siempre rompo mentes.
pues, todo el mundo teme a
mis timos míticos,
y claro que sí
un chacal
me quedo
l final.


Cuyahoga (Ky-Yuh-Ho-Guh)

A reporter,
Coming across the NPR airwaves, 
And speaking with just as much confidence
as when I say:

Albrecht Dürer in German,
Jacobin and Girondin in French,
Brunelleschi and Boticelli in Italian,
Or Guangzhou and the Empress Dowager Cixi  in Chinese,

Announced an upcoming story about the Key-Yoga River in Ohio.

And I felt better,
Knowing that even people on NPR,
Don’t know everything.


The Press of Soles

disturbed by nasty dreams
i refused to give up my right 
thumb and the silk-edged blanket
that balanced my left; i’d wet
the bed and wake myself 
with screams, slide into
the bottom of mommmydaddy’s
bed, feel the soles of their feet
press against my face and side

these scenes of early fright
i know to be true but the words
for them come from further in,
from the light and space
that anyone who digs 
in the dark needs

as the age of monsters and ghosts
receded and i gave thumb back
to hand and slept the night alone,
soon there came the mortal fear  
of what the priest and nuns brought
along: original sin 



i finally made my bed

it was last night
at 11:57
the bedspread
was wrinkled
but i didn’t care
it was warm
they say
it’s supposed
to increase productivity
and i think
they’re right
my head
feels cleared
at least
a little
and i’m gonna try
to keep it maintained

——at least for the summer


Poem on the Road

Is this a real town?
I don’t understand
the thrill.
What’s the point?


Some Days

Some days

Are a nice sail through the ocean

But some

Are like a hurricane ripping through a town

And some

Are a bumpy road with potholes.

You never get to choose

Every morning

You wake up

With a new hand of cards

Enjoy the sail

Take cover for the hurricane

And think of the great places

That bumpy road can take you.

Keep going, hang on,

And know, there’s more.

Good or bad?

Who knows, but either way…

You’re prepared.

You got this, we got this.


The Chicken League

A quarter mile past the McDonalds, past
laundromat and bowling alley, the road turns
onto a side street. At first, trailers and brush cluster
between hardwood trees, then the rolling
green hills dot with black cows,
gives way to the farm built in to a curve of
the highway. They park haphazard
around a black barn strewn
with rusted tin and old sheet aluminium.

They enter through its wooden doors.
Some remove coats and hang them
over a half-wall fence that sits near the pens
four foot lengths of tobacco sticks, 
piled sharp ends. One of them, she
who works down at the bread factory, lights
a cigarette. “I’m in, after I smoke.”

Some of them look the birds over,
their delicate necks and sharp curving beaks.

The woman from the factory walks
a green-tailed animal into the circle,
knuckles dusted. Flicks cigarette butt
onto the dirt in one quick motion.

The others lean quietly against old barn, 
its splintered walls, but as the flapping
and noise loudens, the others move in,

closer and closer and closer.



The cast iron skillet slammed onto the stovetop and she closed the oven door, pulling the stained oven mitts off her hands.

“There’s just so much that comes in to me. I can’t imagine where it will go. Like those dogs. Dalmations? You know, those skinny racing dogs.”

“You mean Greyhounds, Gran?” I asked.

“Yes, Greyhounds! There’s that skinny part of their stomach that curves up into nothing. You’d be hard pressed to get a thimble full of anything through there.”

She reached up to get two dinner plates. “Can’t imagine anything getting from the thinking end to the business end. But they run.”

She handed the plates to me as I set the table.

“They run and they run.”


Returning Home

When I’m depressed I tend to build
a nest inside of myself, shaped like me,
cocoon. Picture something
like a swaddled child or an electric car. 

The fireworks outside battery-jump my heart. 

Have you ever felt the weight
of the inevitable, crushing
your chest like a Coke can?

Yes, distance is perspective. I can see
unhealthy, like tasting infection. 

Have you ever drove next to water
or across a bridge
and felt the quick fleeting urge
to take your car clean off the side?

Me, too,
but it’s been a while. Have
I told you, this poem
is about joy?