January 28, 2014

Medical Oneups(wo)manship

My nose bursts
like it does once
a day.

I'm pinching it closed
you're mocking my
already accented accent:

Aie cahn't wash ndishes
nlike dis, eh.

I remind you
I am not Canadian.


When you first saw
my bloody news
and asked

what the fuck
happen to you?

I made up some
crap line about spilling
blood like words
from an open heart
wound; being powerless
in the face of words;
using my mind to fight
and earning the perpetual
bleed like a red badge
of courage.

How's that badge now,

you remind me.

you remind me

when we walk
down the block
for your treatment
     like we do
     once a day.

          When you get stuck
          you don't bleed
          you wait
          for the medicine
          to make you sick.

January 22, 2014

Nights in the Museum

Past three nights
you slept
in my office
known by both of us
as the museum.

Slept under the desk
that takes up the consumes
the room;
curled up, no pillow,
at night
and sprawled
a pillow from the couch
from me
in the A.M.

Your exes artifacts don't
bother me,
after I tucked you in
with grandma's old blanket.

You pointed out
           the magazine cover
           the adam & eve pic
           the Mighty Boosh DVD
           the hand-drawn apartments
           connected by a string of hearts sketch.

You offered me a kidney stone
from the doctor's visit that started all this.

It's next to the lego alligator,
the CD my brother made me,
and the comic book never opened.

You gave fair warning
when you woke
to blonde roast coffee:

Maybe you get something
more substantial after the next

January 16, 2014

Dust Might

Across the envelope
          and your always unrolled
          roll-top desk
is a layer of dust
like fallen snow.

Time to dust!

you refrained
Sunday through Thursday

but your daily
lyrical antics changed:

first day
     the bookshelf
     your dog-eared,
     unglued, loose binding
     poetry books;

second day
     your hand-me-down stereo
     and cobbled together speakers
     from yard sales and swap meets;

third day
     each nook on your nook shelf
     second-hand game board pieces
     and knick knacks your niece gave up
     when she was “too cool for school;”

fourth day
     the dresser,
     the bureau,
     the armoire,
     and the two shelves
     in your two closets;

fifth day
     countertops and underneath
     microwave/toaster/coffee maker

     yes you can dust the kitchen,
     dead skin sells fall here too.

At the weekend's onset,
          before we drove to Madison
          for various fundraisers, lectures,
          and the one poetry reading
          where you didn’t want me
          reading the poem about your
          freckle constellation
the letter and desk gained another layer
matching the fine white dust outside.

Like a laid bare construction sign
     where the stickman shovels nondescript stuff
     buried beneath the microscopic macro collection
     of flakes

your doctor’s letterhead became faded.

January 07, 2014

The "Belows"

over our weekend
like candy-canes
over your weakened
Christmas tree.

You check the local news
     on the tens
instead of piecing
that jigsaw puzzle
your mom gave us--

                          gave you
                              you didn't want me
                              left out after the awkward
                              family, new years dinner.

The Monday morning peace
you hope for puzzles me
until the Packers lose

and I'm picking up the pieces.

Fuck the belows

     you say during healing session two
     after the television screaming
     before the head scratches.

           Did you say bellows?

No, the "belows":
ten below
fifteen below
twenty below.

You read the midwest numbers
on channel 4's high-def map
like a morse code junkie from Michigan
arcing through Arkansas
                                       to Montana
minimizing the Packer bellowing.

Unsatisfied, you propose:

We must beat the belows;
unlike the jones you can't
out buy them
unlike the smiths you can't
out wesson them...

                             --head scratch pause--

so I suggest
we beat the belows:

          make snow pirates
          on our walk

          to the German bar
          for mulled cider.