Sunday, June 11, 2017

be present



how do i approach the edge
of my everything and leap with the
conviction of a man in search
of a fickle faith?

i am the promises
and the comfort of things
i offer to a select few,
but beyond that i am
mostly deferred by the
dead and living among me

who dog me
as spirits chase the
frenzied man
into corners of
vacated houses

i want that i should
go sightless into that abyss
like a sea captain commands
his ship into the night gale;
his is the power of a
man twice possessed

to leap is to say yes
and to say yes is to bow
to it all; the fear of it
consuming you is what holds
me fast to my line

i know
i know...
tell me though again
with your lips to my ear
and i will leap

faith is a chemical
reaction in the fiber of
the soul, breaking you
down as rain does to
wood left in a pile in a
fallow field

it lulls everything to
earth, founders the erect,
breaks your cells down so
that in time
you are absorbed into a
magnificence made of the
minerals of life

i'm open to it
because i know the
truth of you is in its germ;

because the future
lingers there with you
and just how spectacular
this horizon is when your
arms remain wide to my
reception!

faith is listening to
the flower suckle
the rain

it is tasting the
crimson blood of
the virgin

it is smelling the
air after a storm
has prowled the land

it is touching the
fertile moss hidden in the
hollow of a fallen tree

it is seeing
you when you are
not in front of me

spirit me here
to my right place! and be
present and repeat
in my ear
the story with
your fine faithful
breath

any story

i don't care

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

the soul is the master of itself

he frets:
what passion is this that
comes dawning over my horizon
like a prowling feline?

i am unawares
and ill-prepared, my
heart now inflated,
my mind thrown into flux

make it stop!
(but stop it slow)
make it cease!
(but fill me first)

i'd say to him: consider
every new love is an 
exercise in delicate variations
of chaos, its violence truth to the core

he paces in a stir and says
to the muse who brought him
here: i don't know but i'm alive
it's you! it's you! bless├ęd you!

but i'm torn, have i gone too far?
but maybe not far enough? i've been
struck by this and it's sent me into
undulating fits of joy and fear

i'd suggest to him: you see,
you want to master
the reigns to something
God set wild in The Beginning

you desire to be
transported just deep enough
then halt at the line you've
heeled in the sands of your heart

yet the soul is the master
of itself, boundless, and
it holds what it holds and gives
back to the universe unbound

and it humors none who'd
be its champion, beguiles
those who would attempt
to beguile it with reason

so know that if you leaped
(and you leaped, you leaped)
you did so with the wonderment
of a man soul-seduced

and while a breathless descent is the
expectation: a short, furious
fall ended by the impact of
colliding stars,

if you listen, open your
eyes, breathe, and feel
the pull from without
and the heat from within

you will realize that
the world leaped from you
in the moment this passion
came to play

you have the lover
now in an airy sway above
the cosmos, so dance
with her

and leave love to its
uncontrollable devices

Thursday, June 1, 2017

little. league

i remember matty
from little league who'd
broken his arm from
elbow to wrist
while going after a
sharp grounder to short,
how he wailed in the
dust of the infield while
we players all looked on

i stood absently in left
field watching the chaos
of running grown ups
and seeing the faces
go white as the boy was
carried off the field
by his father, who let
a cigarette dangle between
his lips, the smoke slipping
soundlessly across his son's
pinched face

a week later the cast
was already covered with
the scrawled names of matty's
favorite teammates and girls
from school and it was the color of
dirt and the left field grass where
he'd been relegated

his father
fired obscenities at the
coach as much as the ump
in that game, don't think
he didn't

'for christ's sake paul,
he can still play,
it's his glove hand,
he can squeeze it -
squeeze the glove, matty! -
why is he out there
in the fucking reeds,
paul?' and later, he told the
plate ump he was
a blind piece of shit

matty had replaced me
in left, so now i was
out of the lineup altogether
and that was okay with
me, i couldn't hit
and the coach never
looked at me without a
scowl

so
i sat the bench and watched
the drinking-buddy
fathers of the team's most
favored kids strain the third base
line chain-link fence and
smoke and bark at their boys and
slap the asses of their wives

later
we marched in the
memorial day parade, the
favored boys in a rowdy boast
in the front led by matty while
i hung back, told the shortest always
carries the team banner alone

the baking heat bore down
on the bills of our caps and on
our necks while a gangling high school
senior played taps and my father
took a picture of me with his
instamatic and waved

after the reading of
Flanders Fields and the
jolting fire of the rifles and the
inaudible prayers by clergy we
ate ice cream from round cups while
matty thumped his cast against the
porch railing of the vfw

'it don't hurt,' he said to
us, swinging the arm down
and letting the cast bounce off
'i could hit you in the
head, Turner, and it would only
hurt you, not me at all,' and the other
boys laughed, their faces
turned to see if i would say
anything: mount a defense

that was the defenseless summer
when matty's boys looked at
me and laughed most days
and i did not tell my own father how
i hated baseball, my father who stood
apart, on the first base side, away from
what he called the smoking drunks.
i sat in the dugout ashamed at myself
too much to look at him

'how come he doesn't play
you?' he once asked and i
shrugged. 'would you like
me to say something?'
no
no
god no

at the vfw
i did not say anything and matty
said 'pff' and dismissed me with the
casted arm and the
boys laughed, goaded by
a bloating sun

i walked the mile and a half
home alone in my Norway
Cardinals baseball jersey so that my father
did not have to wait with my mother
in the heat while i had ice cream

and as i walked i wished
i had a harder face turned toward life,
hard as a smoking drunk or a boy
with the bravura of a fearless bull

i wished i had a broken arm in a cast
and not such a broken head

Friday, May 26, 2017

i yearn for the unveiling release

i yearn for the unveiling release
of the artist who can open life
with the stroke of
the brush against canvas

she paints with blood,
and each approach is the
forfeit of her virginity
again and again

such an artist longs for
an appreciation of her
existence and must stand
naked before the canvas,
ready to give birth -
a rendering on the weave
of her pale womb

and the pains of it are
tidal, each stroke
a violent lashing
against the quay
built with chaos

i have an image of her
in her flesh holding the
instrument of her art
while i burn in my place

i consume her
while she stands
there, devour her
with hungry teeth
sunk slowly

if i truly risked it i
would press against her,
in her nakedness, and
beg to feel the pulse
of it in the skin

her head tilted, hair pulled up,
neck serene, the flesh
risen to the touch
of each purgative stroke
of the hand

how the hips stay square,
the feet apart, the shoulder
of the working arm tense,
the bicep and forearm
taut, and from heel
to finger tip a shuddering

and all of her everything
transferred at once to the
flat canvas now made round,
made deep, made open
by her deliberate pressure

i would beg to feel that
energy as a hand searches
for the heat of the
sun-bathed stone after
a cold swim

she paints not what
she sees, if she is being
true, but what she feels in
the rhythms of her
surrender: life beneath the life

i am jealous of
such an artist, clothed
as i am and remaining
clothed as long as i
drown in my fear

Monday, May 8, 2017

her smile is the thing


my mama, she holds the puppy
in one of her black and white histories
and her smile is the thing

a bare-footed gypsy in the 
early years of her epoch,
building up those resistances

i think i might believe that 
that smile is for me-in-waiting, 
because i called for her even then

her youngest child, who
would be heir to her runty,
her lush lips and lank

and i would be picked on for it
during the early school years,
but she loved the hell out of me

the best way she knew how,
with her little body and 
deep well of blood-fever passions

there is everything in that 
picture that needs to be to 
tell her future

the uncomely summer dress,
whose hem is soiled by the
daily drag on the ground,

gives voice to a life in the 
shade of a forced frugality
on a teacher's salary

the toes in the dirt sing to
a future of days treading an
eternal path of stones and ruts

the arms, in a desperate clutch,
cry to a soul made out of the
effusion of a heart's radical charity

but her smile is the thing,
the beacon for so many of
life's migratory love-makers

who will find themselves
on a reckless sea, thrown and
imperiled, raging and raw

her smile will cast out and
in that sweep, capture them and
hold them fast for a better port

i know this as much
as i know those small hands
and tranquil, sufficient lips

my mama, who played
in the dirt with her bare
feet and hands and who

grew up wanting me in
her womb and loving me
in her wondrous way

felt no poverty but that
which was poorly placed
at her feet by others

i have her smile

i have her smile

Friday, May 5, 2017

lost joy found

i see in you a flicker of the joy
that hides now in the well of this grown man
a flame lit when he was an active boy
a prince of all the fields in which he ran

a certain seed was planted in the rows
within the hallowed virtues of his youth
it is with love and life that something sows
to bring to fruit the wellspring of his truth

and in a time he sees the goodness drowned
by all the labors of the evil kind
who whisper death to joy without a sound
and swallow all the passions of the mind

but now i've found the courage to be brave
and rescue this: a flame from certain grave



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

the love of many

i'd wish for you a second lover's lips
to sing the praise of your passion's passion,
for the largess of your engulfing love,
how it spills from founts to
overtake the seas

love is not a bound volume, to be spent
judiciously or loaned with the frugality of
the moneylenders, but a thing refreshed by
the vitality and desire of the giver, who cannot
stem the tide any more than cease her heart

i'd wish for you a third lover's lips
to suckle at the bosom of your
engorged wants and soothe
the oppression of the constricting
vestments of the prepossessed

drowning those who would march in arms
against the native urges and authentic
conscience transfused to us from the
Original Mother, yet suppressed in the name
of a specious piety

and i will remain your first lover,
your primary, lips uttering a prayer
to the Goddess of the Divine Universe,
asking for Her blessings on us on
the eve of this embarkation

to entreat her with a question: how
does one divorce oneself from the
flock of the sedated, and approach
the true divine, the epic universe whose
manifold nature is the model for love?

for there is no sin in the love of many
so long as the lovers partake in a feast of
harmony with their eyes equal to the
same horizon and the sun, at her zenith,
illuminating all

there is a moral chisel against convention,
a subterranean river that cuts through
the hard rock as veins beneath the
surface of the skin, pulsating with the
genuine power of the soul

the heart has more than one chamber,
after all, and a multitude of ways
in which one approaches her and leaves
her, bringing life to her and carrying life from
her, and her strength is in the love of many

i'd wish for you a life of lovers, on a
migration toward the source of light,
gifting what you have in abundance,
to unlock all the gates so that it will

flow openly as it was meant to be

Saturday, April 22, 2017

no pyre

i'm minding the folly
of my own conceit
that burns in my
breast for men whose
art i envy

in life's balance the
gifts of the creators
are pyres set upon
their mountains
and lit for all

burning the corpses
of their creations
to let the ash rain
down upon the heads
of all receivers

in my darkest
i have fallen into
a valley and the
summits rise up to
cast me in their shade

and urged by malcontent
i scale their jagged
slopes to gain the
peaks and douse the
flames that burn me

such is the blindness that
befalls a man who loses the
sight of his own vistas and
comes to rely only on his
feet to move

a man whose jealousy
has embalmed the
spirit of his creator and
wrapped him in the swathe
of self righteousness

and on the last scaled mount,
turning 'round to check my
progress, i see the fires are lit
anew and sending up great
plumes once again

except mine, which stands alone,
unfired and distant, cold and cast
in the clouds of neglect and
wanting the return of its master
to bring the fire back

Sunday, April 16, 2017

one hundred thousand thousand and one

every moment now is past
and therefore marked and
the names for each are etched
onto melodic strands that
you drop into a jar

one hundred thousand
thousand and one marked
moments that make the jar
a perfect measure

of the virtuous time
and pleasant peace
and tidal epic that you
once shared

the jar a wide-mouthed
ewer of crystal that you
place upon the window sill
of your aggrieved mind

and when you reach into
that blessed chamber
you swirl, with a child's
fingers, the dowry within

because a good man gifts
a daughter a certain trove
of one hundred thousand
thousand and one blessings

that no other can read
or attain or approach
or wash away or believe in
or dispel or ruin

what is yours is the memory
fashioned between the two
of you singly and without
the authority of others

and in a day, any day, most
nearly every day, you will
hear the words singing to you
as echoes in a deep wood

you will reach into your glassy 
globe, your crystal keep,
and swirl the subjects with
a child's devoted fervency

and let a word come to
your hand in a magical
fortuity and pull it out
to give it renewed breath

one of a one hundred
thousand thousand and one
wonders will sing in your palm
once again

as if you were back there
in the moment it was born
and he will be there as if
sitting beside you

and you will feel as
if the time has not fleeted,
has not been spent, has not
rolled on, but rather has hesitated

hovering in a small place
just for you in this conceding
luminescence in which God has 
allowed you to once again bask

before replacing the thing,
the gift, back into that
place in your jar
on the sill of your mind

i knew not the man,
or the name of the far-sighted
sprite that you birthed
together, father and daughter

but that is why it is yours alone,
your one of one hundred thousand
thousand and one time-woven
remnants of life's labors together

Thursday, April 13, 2017

jennifer's sonnet


i sit to write a psalm of spring and love
when morning sun has made her light be shone
through frames of glass and cast from up above
this violent view has left me all alone

a crooked thing that bleeds into my room
was once the purest form of all that's true
the sun, a bride, and life her lovely groom
are separate now in time and rent askew

a friend whose sister's breath was taken fast
is witness to the evil of the game
that slants the light and life when giving pass
and takes its toll when filtered through the frame

the pain of death is how it foils the heart
by taking light and breaking her apart

Saturday, April 8, 2017

body in the river


it was the beginning of april
and the local river had glutted her
banks and shouldered away a man
who'd jumped from the bridge.

when i met a lover who
was a poet and who told me
she was put on this earth
only to change people.

she had full lips,
which is all i
cared to know
about at the time.

she believed also in past lives
and claimed that her prima persona
had originated in 19th
century eastern europe.

i told her, when she asked
what moved me, that i mostly
loved the Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel,
and much of the Dead.

so she wrote a poem
for me that claimed
we'd met on a battlefield
of vietnam as medics, lovers.

it called me, the way an open
door at the end of a dark hallway
calls to a child sprung
from the throes of a nightmare

so i leaped

she smoked a lot and had
experimented with drugs while
attending an ivy league
college and she was an impatient lover.

her mouth was too big
for her face, i thought, and
she said she distrusted men who
spent too much time on foreplay.

but we played it out
all the same, met and
engaged, pitched forward
and back fully.

the snow had been
rained down to weak,
fallow patches in various
spots along the road.

every walk alone outside
smelled like overturned
soil and the renewal
of past conversations.

i found myself walking
a lot those days
and not bothering
to wear a coat

because i wanted to
feel the bite of
the spring wind in
my feverish bones.

the kind of jarring waking
up that comes with
the hard resetting
of a runaway furnace.

or like the plunge in
december waters after an
immersion in the purity
burn of hot springs.

i told her i cared about her,
but i didn't really;
i agreed with her that
we should run away,

but told myself: only to a field
in vietnam, or the capital
city of lithuania before its
fall to the imperial russians;

a long-off escape
in a distant separation
with that cold wind
i felt now stinging the eyes;

to some place
just enough out of the
reach of my own
feeble, dying imagination;

to convince myself that she
was as romantic and
as important to me
as she was to herself.

she didn't love me -
i knew that;
she loved how
the smoking bothered me

but that i didn't complain;
that i had not been to europe
like her; that she had a degree,
unlike me;

that she had expansive stories
and an exotic history
and a resume written
at the knee of the literati.

she teased me about
my unimaginative domesticity,
my narrow, provincial reference,
my impairing lack.

and after that brief
fire, when june came,
she was gone in a
bland ceremony.

against our wills, somewhat,
but not really, and for the best;
i walked the banks of the river
afterwards, from the opposite way.

the cold wind was
gone, the blood back
down to a reasonable
temperature.

they found the body of the
man in a downriver town, bloated
and bobbing, run aground among driftwood.
changed.

i can't listen to the
Byrds anymore;
the Doors, the Stones -
without feeling transposed

i heard years later that
she had a husband and children,
lived in some city as a wife
and no longer writes poetry

i do

Monday, March 27, 2017

Keep digging. You might just find yourself....


P.S. The content on these pages is copyrighted. You need permission from the author to reproduce anything in total or in part. 

thank you for your support

The book continues to get rave reviews. 

And Corrine and the kids couldn't be more proud.

Thank you to my readers. 


All of you.


"Your book came!"





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The new book has dropped!



The new book, "the girl who loved dorothy the most," is now available for orders through Amazon.com or by contacting your local book store.


the girl who loved dorothy the most

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

fall down with the day


fall down with the day
now, fall down the day-
let the fever go.
let it go now

if you were afloat in
an ocean on your
back you'd let it
let you feel it let
go and your arms
would be outstretched

like falling down with the
day. now, let it fall and
get those arms outstretched
and wait for the collision
with the world

we all love the fall-feeling
but not the fall, it has a
sinister meaning that we
know but always forget;
it is unknowing the known
forgetting the unforgotten

when i'm writing i am
falling down the day
down with the day
arms outstretched and the
rush is in the belly and in
the cock

so there is power in
the fall, intelligence in
the descent, of the going
down too fast but sometimes
not fast enough

we must go to it:
go to it, to have the
pleasure tamped,
the pain amplified,
but neither giving quarter
to the other

falling is a skepticism,
like the feeling of being
confronted by a crying friend
and not knowing what to
say

i still feel the tumbledown
for those who tell me
they've sat at the bedside
of a dying sibling, even though
i've sat there with them

so someone says to me,
'she went home to the lord
last night' and
<she had cancer>
is in the white noise of the grief
and i nod and i say
'our thoughts are with you,'
which is a terrible thing to say

and then i am pulled out
of the fall, fully out
fast, and i feel like
throwing up

after my brother, dethroned,
left us all standing around
that dark, shrinking hospice
room i wanted everyone to
just shut the fuck up about it

or at least to say,
'your brother was an asshole
to me in 1979'

or to ask,
'was he still a drunk?'

or to weep,
'i didn't come around because 
i didn't like cancer'

something approaching
honesty; something
approaching a look in
a mirror; something
other than all that public
masturbation

instead to be
falling down with the
day, fallen now -
the day, float-falling
low-flung and arms outstretched

giddy with the fast rush,
the belly pull, the kink
in the groin, in that place of
shade between fear
and knowledge, the
good long slide

listen:

when love comes
it's a fall

when death comes,
it's no ascent, child

when the sun sets,
it's a plunge of the earth

when i make love to you,
it's a driving down

the baby sleeps in the
arms, and she flails from
a primal reflex
then shutter-sobs for a
moment then is at peace
again

fall down with the
day now, fall down the
day. let the fever go
let it go now.

arms

don't forget the arms


Saturday, February 18, 2017

so you wanted to know (it is)


so you wanted to know,
but i've avoided your
request these last few days
yet i see you're not going
anywhere without an answer

(it is the tipping of the glass
by a misdirected hand
and flailing to catch the
fall before spilling the wine)

so you wanted to know -
and your persistence is admirable -
but i question the motives behind
that limp smile and cocked head;
your expressions a familiar stage craft

(it is a boat abandoned on the bank of a pond,
flipped over to expose her slatted bottom
and spiny keel, laid to rest in a rabble of wild
grass while the pond moans for a lover's return)

so you wanted to know -
forgive me, that was harsh, but you see ...
i've had my fill of the glad-handing campaigners
who knock on my door only when the clouds stir
above my head and the rain comes a'crying

(it is an unseen finger burning a hole
in the middle of the breastbone
that lets life bleed out all over your
lap and onto the floor at your shackled
feet while you look the other way)

so you wanted to know:
i don't know where exactly the water all sheds
to after it rains. i don't see the evidence
of the storm until after i've
opened my eyes and smelled the air

(it is the beginning feelings of hunger,
just before weakness, when the gut
expands and you feel like
someone has pulled the plug that
sucks you down to a smaller place)

so you wanted to know
and have outlasted my
dodges and vague excuses
and stand there now illumined
by a fluorescent sensitivity

(it is the queer pull of the ocean
water past your feet as the tide
is lulled back out to sea, how it
feels like you're what is
moving, not the briny draw)

so you wanted to know:
so i will tell you, as long as you
understand that i do so from a position of
a man who has crawled under
his own chapped skin to hide:

it is not merely sadness, baby

Friday, February 17, 2017

sea glass sister


all those sea glass pendants
in the shopkeeper's window
hung from gold twine
a certain constellation
catching the sun
and diffusing her light

we stood, my sister and i,
outside and remained
hypnotized by the watery
glean of their reflections
how they penetrated
us from their distant universe

she was older than i
my sister
and the atlantic ocean
sighed in the background
the breeze a whisper on the bare
shoulders of burnt siblings

'i like the green one'
she said, pointing
i scratched my bare leg
her arm was slender and
her fingers were slim
you could snap her with a word

'i don't have a favorite'
i said, squinting
'of course not, dummy'
she said and she told
me to stop scratching
the same spot on my leg

sea glass the shapes
of an egg, an amoeba
a horse's head, a marble,
a tear drop, a fingerless
hand, a mountain, a
heart, a coin

'they must be a million
dollars,' she finally
said, about the brilliant
pendants, how they were
jewels on a string and
how we were always out of reach

and then, just then,
i saw our reflections
in the shop window
my eyes refocused, fading
from within to without
and we now stood clearly

two burnt and squinting
siblings on a white
commercial row of a street
among rows of coastal
streets and we looked like
hungry ghosts

i didn't like that
my eyes had fooled me,
sliding from pendant to
these two helpless
waifs, teacher's children
on a day's vacation to the ocean

so i closed my eyes
and opened them and the pendants
came back, sharply
dangling, motionless
behind the large glass of
the shopkeeper's window

'someday -'
she began
'yes. all of them -'
i said
'every one! yes -'
she said

'you get the green one'
i said
'i know'
she said
and we walked back together

to the sighing beach

Monday, January 30, 2017

avis, of dignity


i'm calling you from across the
waves of endless hours that have
rolled upon our mutual
seas

calling back farther than
my beginnings on this earth, farther
still than the beginnings of your
children

back to the place you were when
the picture was taken that i've stolen
from my mother's cache that she keeps in her
closet

a picture in dwindling black and
white and lashed with the
patina of history and
time

i call back to that perfect you
frozen in the frame, a face with a
thousand long views toward me
here

and ask that we sit face to face
in some pastel landscape
that is nearly too sweet to
taste

beneath a tree on a slope
of green land that lapses
into the bosom of the Atlantic
ocean

with a noble breeze carrying
the midsummer fragrances on her flows:
briny salt and ripe grass and honeyed
wildflower

this is where i dream you
were before you were my
grandmother and were just
avis

this certain specimen of
history: a woman in youth, handsomely
alive in her country's leanest
years

before the world out there
beyond your slim fingers
and taut face went to
war

i call out to you in that
dreamy blur of a place i've
invented and ask you to not
respond

but listen to a grandson
on a distant horizon still ahead of you
who is living in a world of a new
scarcity

not unlike the hard, white, bone-dry
landscape of your youth in
which hope was a savage
thief

and men and women alike threw
themselves against the tide of
black and chased hatred into the
wilderness

the land here is going fallow again
i fear; the water is drying up,
the oceans staying away for
good

everything seems to be receding:
time, love, passion and God and
the goodwill of merciful men are all
impeached

there is a draining pull these days
that has the strength-in-draw
of the tides of your beloved
Lubec

where you once met Eleanor
Roosevelt visiting the sardine
factories that swelled the coastline with
workers

'she was so dignified'
you said of the First Lady
who summered with Franklin in
Campobello

the gilded island a stone's throw from
your impoverished shores: an emerald polished
by a billion-year-old sea and just out of your
reach

but everything was out of the reach
of those threadbare fingers,
those durable hands, weren't
they?

those measures of strength,
your hands, that sewed the dress
you wear in my purloined
picture

'she was so dignified'
you said of the First Lady
of the United States of
America

i want to know what that was
like: to be held fast in the vise of
brute poverty yet find in the
face

of wealth and privilege, of
first class comforts and easy
living, the visage of
'dignity'

i want your generous power to
see the long view, to peer past
the pretense of those in our ruling
class

to forgive shining contradictions
between those with and those without
when mashed together like that in
space

and see, for the better, something
grand in the superstructure
that underpins our society, something
essential

i'm of a cynic's age, perhaps, lacking
all the necessary impediments that you
endured in order to survive a broken
world

there are no real hardships in this
world that are not mere tokens when
the light from your past is shone upon
them

we've had it easy, i would tell you
in the pleasant visit under the tree:
we've all gone pale and need some
sun

but i see the malignancy around me;
the spreading crawl of a kind of
old pestilence not see since your
youth

i see the rise of a mind, a bothersome
shade cast at intelligence and reason
for the sake of the drunken dimness of
zealotry

i call out to you in your distance
there, silent and flat as a picture,
and pray that you send me
love

love of the kind from those days that
cut away the brine that separated a people
and brought them together to quell
enmity

and see in each other a lasting faith, a
vibrant energy, a desire toward grace and
kindness in all classes that gives a chance for
dignity

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

no easy chair






















she asks if she might be able to
sit with me and then pulls herself
up without waiting
for an answer

i have a pain in my side
that she presses against
by squirming into the
small place between me and
the arm of the chair using
her bottom as a pry

it's an old recliner
its back having lost its
strength and one side -
my side in fact - lags
beneath the seat

no easy chair,
coarse from the
wear of humans and animals,
reeking of pale urine and
dog's hide and crackers

yet i have slept in it many
times, a lot lately in fact,
covered in a blanket and
embracing a pillow like
a lover, fully reclined
and listing to the right

while across the living
room my wife has taken
to the couch in those late
hours (or are they early?)
when the baby awakens
screaming from a nightmare
and hurling her own blankets
to the floor

this evening the baby asks
if she might be able to sit
with me, shirtless with
her mouth milk-ringed,
her flesh is tranquil as
sea glass, her belly egg shaped

the pain in my side is a stitch
that comes from carrying
wood into the house and turning
one way while not bending my knees;
and scaling up into the chair
her bottom pushes against it
and i flinch and settle, flinch again

outside, sleet patters the window
that we covered in plastic last
october when we felt the tendrils
of a draft; the old collie is at my feet
gnawing on his paw like he's
digging to the root cellar

the minutes tumble from the ceiling
as if shoved from cliffs
and they fall to the
floor between my wife and i
while the child unfolds herself
from this awfully terrible
chair that groans, i flinch

she stomps across the living
room, across all those fallen
minutes and crawls up into
the heat of my wife's body
where i would love to be,
my most wanted place

only god really knows
i tell myself in the
dark, facing the window
under assault, the chair
palsied long ago makes
me feel on the edge of
falling

i turn to my ailing side
and ignore the pinch
while i watch the baby
and her mother sleep;
i smell the baby's hair
on my pillow and watch,
watch them sleep and watch
the minutes fall between us
in this no easy chair

Saturday, January 14, 2017

the moment

blind in my living
a life of fading passion
you offered access:
a touch in that old hallway
dilating these clouded eyes