spurred petal, soft viola
tethered before Litha
knoll with tiny hearts
warm my flesh again
Travel in a still place
Root beer and doritos for breakfast
I’m sending up smoke signals in a cicada summer
smelling like how childhood felt when
grasshoppers were abundant
and everything the sunlight touched was ours
We used to drown the silkworms
in buckets of paint water,
and our father didn’t mind
because otherwise they’d kill the trees
and that was god’s creation
Us cul-de-sac kids kicked cans
until mothers called from front porches
“dinner’s ready, come wash your hands!”
Sweat-smudged faces running
with promises to return, bellies full
Weekends spent watching the sun set
over a glistening aluminum-cool pool
smack in the middle of the cow field,
so high up you could watch the storms roll in
for hours before hearing the first thunder crack
Seventeen years of winged carcasses
now sprinkled in the turn lane
of a car I only just learned to drive.
Shining like shattered glass waiting
to cut the next branch and lay in to the future
of last year’s four-o’-clocks
are bones in the flowerbeds.
Sturdy, but hollowed-out. Scoured
by time and rain. My brain shorts-out
when I touch too many of them.
Something echoes; or hopefully does not
I keep at weeding, sweat-beading, neighbor
making polite conversation; until
drops weigh too heavy, falling inside lenses.
Lungs labour on liquid air. Hair clipped-up
tight, trapping salt, scalp itches.
‘Time to take a break’, said as much
to myself as anyone else. Time
to let things green at their own pace.
to leave the bones their own space.
It was there when we first met;
when smoke would bring out
the essence of you,
innocent like a child.
It was there glowing between us,
a mirage with pink edges,
humming a love song.
Beat by beat
reduced to dust particles.
It was there upon floorboards.
It was there falling into cracks,
until it was not.
I ate one that you had been growing
standing in your backyard
with the sun behind thin
white clouds spent for the day
fed on us while I tasted something
pulled from my worn memory
I thought about how there wasn’t
any kind of plan for any of this
what we both were doing when we
stepped out into the world as fatherless
men pretending that we didn’t need anyone
it wasn’t until we had been chewed up
by the things we believed we loved
because we didn’t know
any different that it was wrong
to hate ourselves
most of us
spend our lives
doing most of it wrong
listen to those who don’t know
the middle of the night
with wish and dream and hope
but following you around your garden
looking at the state of your tomatoes
tasting the lettuces as it goes to seed
checking the Budwieser slug traps
with the two women who fixed us
laughing with one another inside
I knew that we found whatever we needed
and I was happy
for the four of us
that’s my problem
all my lyrical memoirs
cause no one believes such
an old poet ever
hitchhiked alone in the Keys
spent a night on
a shrimp boat storm crashing so
hard I thought we’d split
apart and sink
no one would beleive about Crazy
Louie from Saint Lewis with his
dusty boots on my dashboard all
the way to Phoenix and
what about Naked Melvin and the
spear fishers, Sideways Walking
Mary who’s dead now and
what about all those
“Moon-Barkers” why are they mostly
dead now too
I never liked
them anyway could I be that
Outside corner, left eye
Here we go again. Leaky eyed Luca, my son calls me
Always keep a tissue
Granny lost a brother
Mom lost a brother
I lost a brother
It’s just a twitch
Comes on when I’m stressed
Big Mommy lost a son
Granny lost a son
Mom lost a son
Leaky eyed Luka
What can a tissue erase?
in the middle of a road,
sandwiched between two sides,
invisible walls pressing in
invisible forces pulling both ways,
tearing me apart.
there is no escape.
Look forward, look back,
but only see the sides.
My foot edges towards one side,
then retreats back.
Don’t expect me to choose
one or the other–
I walk the middle line.
Come see me perform
the precarious balancing act,
dancing along the tightrope,
trying to escape these chains.
I don’t take sides.
I move forward
with blinders on.