December 28, 2013

State Bird

You told me
state bird is
your name--

I replied
     Dogwood Violet
the difference
between flora
       and fauna
     I’ve dated both
                rams, orchids,
                daisies, and
     to no avail.

You corrected me
asked me how I prefer
eggs to be prepared
or if I pepper the pizza
pasties we purchased

then stopped

my poetry

with a Van Dyke
trip over the coffee
table; your way
of telling me
not to be

And that’s why
this poem has no
ending line like

                     I tripped too
                     you trip I follow.

It’s stained
with the butter from
cooking me breakfast.

December 22, 2013

What I thought of, on the hill

(did a poetry exchange with my friend Jocelyn; this was the result)

What I thought of, on the hill, helps me.

I remember small pub early days
leftover Rolling Stones suits
long since abandoned
helmet hairdos put on hock
and bought from broken up Beatles.

What I thought of, on the hill, hurts me.

Drum, drum, drum the heart goes;
first went Stewart, then Silver,
then Mayhew. Banks and Rutherford
looked lost; then we lost Phillips;
got some new guy named Phil.

What I thought of, on the hill, haunts me.

Opera in my heart, mascara on me face
and I dragged them with me, even Phil,
the new kid, to 102 towns, and performed
the same songs again and again and again
and deep down something stirred with in me.

What I thought of, on the hill, heals me.

Striking out on my own, learned more
about the drum, and the string, and horn,
and the flute, and the synth, and yet
I still had my vox, and kept it close,
and guttural, and high pitched, and smooth.

What I thought of, on the hill, hears me.

And I hear you, in South Africa, and bring
you with me, and hold your vox, healed
from the whips and knives and scars
brought to you by my ancestors; we sing
and hear together a voice that is…

What I thought of, on the hill, helps me.

So scratch my back, for us
Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Bon Iver,
David Byrn, David Bowie, Regina Spektor
up on that hill, and in turn,

I’ll scratch yours.

December 06, 2013

Forge Ahead

Forearms thick,
sparse arm hair sprinkled
like loose grain o'er Roman field
were his tools which held the tools:

soldering gun.

at his craft
ignored the crass
his fleeting lass
upturned at him
when she visited
that armored ass.

Dipped in oil molass
a bent and folded spade
not unlike the black cards he played
with friends in a late night bar
attached itself to a round beam of pine
chopped, cropped, and sanded
to smooth imperfection
a loose grain here
an unruly knot there
a sliver to remember her by.

He made statuettes
          a skeletal monster with martini glass raised
and bronze sculptures
          faces three in all directions but north
and manly-nerd-trinkets
          mjolnir, cap's shield, black bolt's tuning fork
but not once
did he make
something useful.

He waited months
to use the gift he gifted himself
for the gift he gifted later
to become ungifted and
          instead of ignited like
          the house she burnt before
he channeled Peter Gabriel
before Willy Porter
and began the dirt
three feet down, four feet wide, three feet long
a burial without pomp
and circumstances dictated by stances
stubborn, uncured, soured
by soothsayers
who were no better than
the worms that chewed the black sharpied words
scrawled on the side of the box

buried beneath a fresh roll
of Kentucky blue.