Posts for June 29, 2021


Kevin, part Somethin’ or Other

Rumor has it

that for a real long time


had Death

tied up in a sack

way in the top of a tree

and ain’t nobody died

in that whole long time


an ol’ lady come by a’weepin’.


Now Jack

he’d done enough weepin’ in his own life

that he hated to see people cry

unless they was cryin’ fer joy,

so he ask’t th’ ol’ lady what she’s weepin’ about

and she said she’d lived long enough,

‘n all her parts hurt,

‘n her legs barely worked,

‘n she thought it was time that she died.

Jack said he un’erstood that’n t’wouldn’ be long

before he felt like that hisself

‘n he ast’er why

she dint jes roll over’n die.

And that’s when the old lady lost it,

“Cause some blame fool’s got Death up a tree

‘n ain’t nobody died fer decades!”


When Jack stopped blushin’

he looked her right in her tear-filled eye

‘n he gently’n quietly said,

“I’m sorry t’tell ya this, ma’am,

but that fool that you’re talkin’ ‘bout’s me”

an’ he started in climbin’ the tree.


Same rumor has it

Jack came down with the sack,

opened it,

and to prove She’s as vindictive as some people think

Death went back to work first on Jack

‘n then to prove She can also be kind

She took away the old lady

an’ She ain’t never stopped workin’

not never nohow not since—

I mean we all know what happened last year.

(‘N rumor has it She ain’t skippin’ no-one

‘ceptin’ maybe that writer Neil Gaiman.)


Which brings us back to Kevin.

My wife,

the one who brought him to our house,

took me to see his memorial.

There’s a shiny white cross across the road from his place

and we went there to pay our respects.

“No,” a voice said, “not that one—

That’s for that lawyer that got killed on his bike.

Kevin’s that one down there.”

And they pointed.


Kevin’s cross is quite a bit rougher and has bricks as decorations.

I brought a paintbrush he left on our porch

‘n I wedged it between two bricks.

“They said he was shot,” I said out loud

‘n one’a th’voices said, “Yeah.”

“What happened?”

I think it was me who asked it

but it coulda just as well been my wife.

‘N the voice I couldn’ bear look at

‘cause it mighta been Kevin’s brother’s


“The lawyer got killed by a hit’n’run

‘n rumor has it

it coulda been Kevin turned that driver in

‘n it turns out

the driver’s Amanda’s son.”


Got the rest of the story in fits an’ starts.


an’ i don’ think this is rumor,

Amanda came by n’started yellin’ at Kevin

an’ then she headed on home.

An’ look,

I’m gonna tell you the truth here,

I don’t know for certain

whether Death was disguised as Amanda

or Amanda came back

with Death disguised

as her boyfriend who was drivin’ the car,

but when she came back she had her gun with her

and she pointed that gun at Kevin.

‘N Kevin, well, he did what boy-men so often do,

at least that’s how rumor has it.

Hell, they even do it on tv

so you’d prob’ly do it, too.

He said, “You ain’t gonna use it so put it away”

‘n then he turned his back.


Ok, maybe this is the point,

maybe this is why

I’ve been writin’—Please, my frien’,

if it ever comes up,

don’ turn your back on Death,

‘cause Amanda shot him

a bunch a times

right in the back

‘n later that night

he died.


An’ the boyfriend ‘n Death

or Amanda ‘n Death,


they up ‘n drove away.


But that’s jes’ what’s what, y’know?


I mean I’m gettin’ old now

and I imagine one day pretty soon

ol’ Death’ll come for me.

‘N me?

I dunno.

Mostly I’m hopin’

She waits awhile

before She up ‘n comes for you.



Lazy Summer evenings
cling eagerly to bodies
invested in idle chatter,
sweet tea memories
seeping into carpeted floors,
feline companions,
apex predators of living rooms
the world over, roaming
silent, footsteps muffled by
ceiling fan serenades.
These stains tell stories-
nuclear family tasseography
void of omens,
isolated days hanging
like wind chimes
in the air.



a year from now seems like forever 
but a year ago seems like a memory
today is new and still seems hazy
the future is becoming a reality
it seems to be running in front of me
i can feel my bones hitch in my feet
the waves of opportunity then 


Might As Well Get Comfortable

Do you remember believing things were black and white?
I miss the sureness
There were hills to die on
walls to press your back into
And now there’s not


A Piece at a Time

Dair taught us to reach for more,
one plate, one verse, one drawer 
one damned dollar at a time. 

She showed us where we went wrong,
not because she was perfect-
to save us from her mistakes.

She would not have been quiet
about my untidy house
or all the junk in the yard.

She once observed to me that
my neck was a little short,
so I needed to stand tall.

She might have let silence hang
when my first marriage went South
there was not a lot to say.

Her directness was kindness-
it was what we needed most,
now we need to teach ourselves.



night gone silent
little to report–all’s well
hands smell like dirt


Five Parts Memory

In this memory I am pink skin thin
biting my hand in kindergarten
until the teeth marks show
and the teacher says
why did you do that? don’t do that
I hide the hand under the desk
in this memory
and pretend
she is talking to someone else
Thin skin pink, in this memory I am back
chickenpox meant no dancing with Nathaniel
no more friends with Mary Beth
In the fifth grade I am informed that
while I was gone
she shared her crayons with Faith
and so they are best friends now
despite the ring holder
she gave me for Christmas
which I accidentally broke for spite
In this memory now I am chills
pink think skink
all studied for a driver’s test
but I can’t parallel park
unless no one is watching
I pass despite the fact my dad said, “Dad,”
to the police officer running the test
who said, “I’m not your dad,”
to him and I thought I’d be eliminated
guilt – by association with rudeness
Thin skin pin I am translucent
in this memory, twenty,
sick with the flu and brutal
my thoughts fevered and clear
my words harsh, erupting
I am standing at the bathroom mirror
watching my blood flow in blue veins
as see-through as a jellyfish
which will sting you
and make you piss on yourself for relief
This is the last lament.
In this memory I am thin pink skin
the unborn mother pacing fear and strength
this is my body which is broken for you
don’t think anything of it
, I say
to the man who is sleeping
to the baby who is being pushed forward
I myself will find myself
In the middle of this bloody gush show
it is not you who are delivered, but I


a conversation between me and the static between my ears

the cats are gathering again

the rose bush has wilted but

there’s nothing on the roof but

there’s nothing staring at me

i won’t turn around just yet

if i am going to die on this day

i will have died knowing i forgot

to wash the dishes in the sink 


Hymnals Sin and All

I saw you howling at the moon

as you wagged your puppy tail

I saw your flower in full bloom

as my rain drops turned to hail


You turned into a wolf

as I walked into your lair

You positioned yourself

as if if you were in prayer


And I sang your blessings

The whole night through


Can I borrow your life?

There are so many things
And I want to try them all.
I want to spread my wings and fly
Even if I fall.
But I’m scared that I won’t get the chance
And you know how to dance
Like no one’s watching.
So just for one night,
Can I borrow your life?