October Poem 38: Once Upon a Tire Swing

Once I swung on the tire swing pushed by

The father of the children I had just

Met. Once he had spun us in circles so

Fast that I screamed because my fingers were

Going to slip the chain. Once I didn’t

Question the father’s need to see other

People’s children scream fearing bodily

Injury spinning coils in a wide

Arc. Once I envied the play of children

Who had no one watching. Once I didn’t

Have children of my own. Once I didn’t

Question the father’s need to see other

People’s children scream fearing bodily

Injury spinning coils in a wide arc.





October Poem 37: The Bargain With Death

The queer light of sunset lit the old man’s

Face lighting his eyes with blood and fire.

The neighborhood dogs were howling in the

Distance with the old man at the front door.

He let in his neighbor and closed the door.

Breathing heavy, he nearly fell against

The wall one hand on his stomach and the

Other still grasped on the knob. The neighbor

Put an arm around him to help him to

A chair, and the hound in the corner moaned

Out a soft howl in his fitful sleep.

The old man lifted his hand from his shirt

To show a small spot of red spreading on

His button down shirt. The old man said, I


Told you about this scar the night I sat

With your wife all those years ago. I know

That you always questioned how I could know

The exact night to comfort her passing.

Tonight, I have seen the visions again.

The Barguest is coming to finish what

He started in the old grave yard in my

Youth. Will you return the favor I gave

Your wife? Sit and lend comfort, and don’t stare

Into the beast’s eyes when he breaks through the

Door. The neighborhood dogs continued to

Howl, and the old man’s dog fidgeted

And growled in his sleep. And the darkness was

Choking out all the light through window.




October Poem 36: If You Don’t Remember Willie Nelson, You are Him

And while we two were left for the cleaning

Lady through a sweet chocolate parting gift

Of croutons over red wine. A job well

Done. And candied marmalade orange rind.

Willie Nelson had run off with a whipped

And runny cocoa-anything. Although

Mushrooms followed ribs and the magically

Unopened case of Bud light folded meat,

He could take the cream explosions while

Having to hear the tone deaf bursts of song.

The bursts of song that made him think that his

Womanly long hair gave him Sampson like

Strength in the musical arts. Without art.

Without strength. Without a musical ear.

October Poem 34: Enjambment of Pesta the Princess of the Plague

Nature is a woman standing outside

An open window blowing the breeze through.

Do you think her life does not extended through

The screen? Do you think she is just broken

Off to begin again on the next line

Sterilized by your four walls? But you know

She will come through and when she does, will she

Come upon her cart with rake to gather

The dead like so many leaves of fall to

Leave the few to escape the tines or with

A broom to sweep them all like dust gathered

On the floor of an empty tomb. You know

Life brings plague on the wind and none escape

Life alive. But you want to be the first.

October Poem 32: The Roadside Layover

The girls came back to the rundown hotel

Room with an apple and a banana

And an eighteen pack of cold Bud Light on

A night that was already soaked in booze.

They said, when you are travelling apples

Are like freshly juiced oranges, floral

Against the sweet acidic reflux of

Prepackaged junk food. That is why they keep

Them in plain sight of the attendant. They

Know someone will steal them. He thought about

Their words as he sat at the foot of the

Bed and ate that banana. And when they

Had changed into their swimsuits, he watched the

Ducks parade to the pool for tonight’s swim.

October Poem 30: Furious Finals

The sleepless night ached inside of you like

A methane pool waiting sharp and shiny

On the forehead. Your brow wrinkled and wrapped

Wringing through thoughts like sweat soaked hand towels.

Absorbent eyebrows wet and sagging like

The frown dripping down and drawing dots on

The multiple choice test sheet. And yellow paint

Cracking against yellowed teeth chewing

The pencil. Teeth browned by the multiple pots

Of pure concentration poured straight through the

Funnel of your coffee cup cram session.

You and your friends finding new knowledge. The

Night before then becoming mere hours

Before the final was set to begin.

October Poem 28: Death and the Black Dog

That last night, as I walked miles from my

Broken car with a blister stinging on

My left foot, a dog mourned a lonesome howl

Into the darkness of the shard of moon.

He sniffed along the gravel shoulder of

The old country highway. His dark fur could

Hardly be seen in the distance except

From the corner of my eye. But the faint

Green light of his stare so much like the light

That often woke me puddled in sweat. His

Presence brought a chill. Or was it the cold

Wetness of the wind through the roadside pine,

And the vision of a man watching from

The woods and my blood warming his wet hands?