August Poem 45: Into the Yellow Heat

Changed. The wounds on a poem retold. My feet

Micro expressions express the micro

Aggression that is hiking campus on

Forgotten old rolls of toilet paper.

Dimmed but the words remain. Throbbing Into

A lack. Into the yellow heat. Proverb

Of feeling. Of the hillside cliffs. My milks—

A foot filled with fiery embers of pain.

Barkeeps—they keep my words lubricated.

They can recite them from memory. Like

Substance. Like fiction. Like lips that never

Make the wrong base spirit. The brown-red of

Stiffness. Pain. A limp. A rock in the heel

Of my foot. I try not to limp. Only.

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August Poem 44: Axe Handle Sunrise

I marched acted upon by axe handle

Sunrise. I marched until Arizona’s

Pink highways, and my feet were blistered. And

I marched until conjunction. A Jaguar.

The ash in all the blisters on my feet.

Popped crevices. Driveways. Or even both.

To bleed her pocket. Real. Backwards. I marched

Until too smart. And they came out of the

Washer popped and bleeding into the cracked

Road, the bed, and the blisters on my feet.

I marched until easy understanding

Of the popped blisters on my feet. I knew.

Being able to, I marched. Light puss

Glued my socks to my feet. Wanting. Pillows.

August Poem 43: Blowing Smoke

Take a deep breath. Deeper. Take their smoke in

Your lungs. Become them. Become carriers

Who could be rendered with sparks and smoke long

As scraggly brush blown off the burn pile.  Long

Of the yellowed cotton filters. Burned out.

And the butts everywhere. Burned out. Scattered

With these used up people. Dotted. Frayed by

Their time in the dryer. Hand around the

Black lake. Willing all find their way carried

Brains like piles of clean clothes. Thoughtless heaps.

They smell of diffuse cigarette smoke. Like

Mental peanut butter. In line for the

Illness. Blacks your fingertips with each touch.

With the paper gone. Dissolved. Washed away.

August Poem 42: Single Payer Healthcare: It Will Only Cost Your Soul

I was seeing its fresh Christian thunder,

Eyes that had seen the millennium set

On deep clay. Wearing what weren’t even

Tamed and pulled closed. The hospital gowns. For

Me, they brought two. The pale horse. Six foot four.

Two hundred and twenty-five pounds of grey

Flesh. Tie one on backwards and one on forwards

To haunt the white halls. To determine the

Bodily apocalypse waging. To

Be wheeled from one bright room to another.

To be prodded with cold instruments. To

Be fed through the center of a spinning

Machine. Modern inquisition to force

My confession. My forced resurrection.

August Poem 41: Advice Before You Get Published

When you are too cutting edge and you don’t

Know you are housing morality. Smear

In enough fish smut to flavor the press,

Before you are published and gone. Counter

The pleasures of the day. Float. Nothing to

Show the white line up from the rock strewn for

The red and blue fauxhawked rebel run dream.

Man as mesquite. His six pound soul. Flavor

Your enemies, flesh, and influence as your sin.

As neighbors of many science fiction

Religions. Boys step away from dinner.

The table. The dangerous aftertaste.

This notion to be with a mouthful of

Thought not befitting a hungry poet.

August Poem 40: Dinner  in the House of Ghosts

The red faced gagging. Calm, you grab him. He

Has chocked before. The crook of your left arm

Between his legs, your palm across his chest.

You lift him tilting his head toward the floor

Resting your arm on your knee. You clap him

On the back with your strong hand. Ears still red.

The side of his cheek turning purple. You

Clap him harder. But you don’t want him hurt.

You ask, “Are you breathing? Are you breathing?”

He turns his head, red faced. He turns his head

And looks you in the eye. His watery

Red eyes. Pleading. But he can’t speak. He just

Reflects back your same fear. You hit him on

The back harder.  He still isn’t breathing.

 

You hit him harder afraid you might break

His ribs. Then you hit even harder. You

Put your ear next to his mouth and listen.

No breath. Why isn’t it working? His cheeks

Are full. There is something in his mouth. You

Forgot a step. Finger sweep. You reach toward

His mouth and extend a finger. But he

Sees your hand. Thank God. He is still conscious.

He turns his head and spits a wad of chewed

Sausage into your palm. Looks at you and

Smiles, red faced and watery eyed. And

Croaks one ragged breath. Much too short. But breath.

You say, “Are you breathing?” His face purple.

And he says nothing. You turn to listen.

 

His breath. Nothing. What else? What do you do?

You call out for his mother. You don’t know

Why. You cry out for her. He isn’t able.

You scream for her. Crying because he can’t.

What are you doing? You can’t stop trying.

You have to pick up the phone. Call nine-

one-one. But you can’t leave him. You can’t move.

You cry. Where is his mother? Where is yours?

Death lingers just outside your vision. He’s

Waiting to lend his cold hands. Whispers. And

He’ll call your son’s name. You’ll feel Death’s breath and

You’ll wonder: what kind of devil is Death

To leave a man helpless and on his knees

With a warm wad of chewed meat in his hand?

August Poem 39: Internet Tofurkey

Work. Pleather jacket. A fast food worker.

I had this idea that I was going

To add something poetic to the scene.

I had something new no publisher would

Touch. Take your order. Prefabricated

After college. An independent in

Facebook. Internet Tofurkey. Wouldn’t

You know it? Friends you never hang out with.

Community. Antisocial fucks. One

Accomplishment In letters, and there is

This living. Fresh out of the microwave.

I could do McDonald’s. A Bachelor’s

Degree in the McRib sandwich. Boneless

Yoo-hoo chocolate English and victory.

August Poem 38: Woman Cutting Truth

The holes in the wall for electrical

Outlets, the light switches. Always wrong. You.

White walls cut and cut again. The you. The

Adjustment of white walls. Raised and installed.

Pulled down. Cut again of a pan of hard

Work. Timed. Protected. You sweat in the house.

Beat. All the sudden. For no reason. The

Celery, and peppers. Tonight. They’re just

White dust dying in your hands. Her cut. Truth.

A suitable piece of scrap that you cut

To fit the spot where the wall crumbles.

It gets on the floor. It gets on your clothes.

In your hair. In your eyes. It gets on.

Because even in your eyes it gets on.

August Poem 37: Melissa Click

Over cooked. Words and fire in the pan.

Preaching truth to power. Not brown enough.

The schoolyard fragrant with words and wind as

You were hoping it was. The doe eyed gal.

The joints. A grave. Oil and flour all

Medium heat had worked. Not brown enough.

Just toss in the vegetables. The oil

To the fire. The doe eyed gal with her

Muscle. Fragrant. Flagrantly so. Don’t

Walk away. Peaceful in our safe space.

But threatening to burn. Not brown enough.

At a point where Asian reporters have

Contracted white privilege. If you’re not black,

You must know that you are not brown enough.

August Poem 36: Ragnarok

Catastrophes. Revealing stripes of the

Manufactured Gods. Hidden like slender

Cigarettes held to their lips. The old Gods

Growing in a field as leaves. Let their smoke

Linger in their veins. Wrapping. Smothering.

And hiding between religions. Hiding.

The snakes and spiders and rats and rocks and

Pits. They balance the feeble human mind.

But it doesn’t make sense to remember

Where Gods have not been poisoned. Where you saw

Them last. Stalking you. But you don’t want to

Chance their bite. The Gods had been exceptions.

Wrong. Tied. But that didn’t stop them. Or you’d

See them now in the grass. Decomposing.