Maintaining Enough Shades of Green to Keep

The clouds drift slowly lit by the falling

Light of the evening sun. The green of

The trees fading toward silhouette while

Maintaining enough shades of green to keep

The eye working like a painter blending

In the cool part of day when bugs come out,

And children come in. At least when children

Were still allowed to go outside to play

Before times of mass-communication

When we didn’t know what we didn’t know.

When we didn’t have a constant window

Showing the red-faced people with their signs

And their people behind the podiums

Baiting us with the words they want to say.

But You Have Heard Other Ghost Stories, Too

There is a man standing behind you dressed

All in black with short sleeves and long black gloves

That go halfway to his elbows. He has

A blade in each hand, and he wears goggles

Just in case your blood sprays him in the face.

And your buddies? Don’t expect them to help.

They can hear your screams. They will be running

Wildly in the dark. You can see them

Jumping at every sound, afraid of their

Shadows. They feel it, too. The skin crawling.

The hair standing up. You shouldn’t be here.

But you have heard other ghost stories, too.

You didn’t believe them. But you didn’t

Feel their breath on the back of your neck then.

Frigidaire, Gallery Glass Cooktop Oven

How would you like a spanking new cooktop?

Slick black surface impossible to clean?

Thirty-seven different function buttons

With independent, indecipherable

Logic specifically designed to make

You hate every minute of time you spend

Monkeying with the infernal device?

Is that a scratch or is it something cooked

On to the surface? The recommended

Cleaning solution will not get it off

And don’t even think about using a

Blade on it. Not unless you want to void

The warranty you spent so much more on

Than you ever thought you wanted to pay.

Murder City Stories

If you visit Murder City in the

Waning days of Fall, mind your Ps and Qs.

He stalks the darkened city streets, between

Buildings, through alleyways unseen. He waits

Behind you should you break the law. He lives

In the back of your mind and the corner

Of your eyes. Dressed all in black with a red “M”

Across his chest. His blades glint in the dark

Before the villain is disemboweled.

Murder Man. The hero the city has.

Your mother told you never tell a lie,

Never break the rules, never break the law,

Be good, and always cross at the crosswalk.

Take heed, or the Murder Man will get you.

My Love is like the Southern Summer Breeze

My love is like the southern summer breeze,

Slow, sticky, and smells like a chicken farm

Gleaming read and dirty in the distance.

Her hair is like a garden of vegetables

Bald except for a few struggling plants

Fighting off beetles and worms and root rot.

Her mouth like a sprawling field of bluegrass

Ringed with a fence of teeth, a few weathered

Planks still standing after the others fell.

Her body a sturdy line holding clothes

Of fading unmatched colors hanging off

Like all of a homeless man’s belongings.

And her mind is like poetry written

Ringing of the men who don’t understand.

The Mirror

The girl. I knew her a little. She was

There for a while. She had a young child

With autism, a boyfriend (not his dad).

She was there. She was gone. She had been sick

And dropped out of school. But I had known her

Enough, or she had known me. She had read

My writing in class. She could recognize

My characters when they moved one story to another,

When my stories were bad and no one cared.

I never had heard what happened to her.

I never cared. If she had finished school.

Or if she had nothing to show but bills.

I may never think of her (or her me)

Except for a moment in the mirror.

Fifty Years of Heavy Metal

Did you find your solace in Black Sabbath

Even when Ozzy Osbourne was shriveled

And bowed by the passage of time? When his

Countercultural influence had been

Killed by the unending multitudes of

Corporate cash grabs? Did you realize too late

That the world is blank and Godless, and the

Antichrist hangs himself in effigy

Stuttering incoherent and staggered strings

Of expletive laden bleeps as he is

Doomed to repeat himself in the bowels

Of reality TV rerun hell

Can you still bang your head knowing that the

Music of death is now called classic rock?

November Poem 12: Marina (Part 9)

That night, I didn’t drink. As bad as I

Wanted to. As bad as my life seemed at

The time. I just looked at the paint on the

Wall. And there next to the raised bead where the

Shipwright had welded together the two

Sheets of steel was a raised lump in the paint.

Pressing my finger against the lump, it

Deformed with a slight crunch. It was my fault.

I had been neglecting her ignoring

The rust near the waterline. The blotches

Dripping down like fat tears of blood. In the

Morning, I would address the problems with

A needle gun and a few coats of paint.

With love and hard work she would forgive me.


Marina (Part 8)

Marina (Part 7)

Marina (Part 6)

Marina (Part 5)

Marina (Part 4)

Marina (Part 3)

Marina (Part 2)

Marina (Part 1)

How I Write: a Walk Through

November Poem 11: Sunday in the Park

Black and white flocked on the green field honking

And scratching lazy through the grass. Mother

Sat by and watched (or didn’t) as she was

Posing for hundreds of pictures in her

Long dress and sun hat hoping for the one

Lucky one from that perfect angle that

Makes her look prettier and a hundred

Pounds lighter. Out in the field, her son, the

Angry fat kid tried his best to hit the

Geese as he lumbered toward the flock and heaved

The ball in an arcing directionless

Toss. Her fat kid with a football chased the

Flock into flight. Haphazard and frightened,

They were all getting some needed exercise.

November Poem 10: The Heckler’s Veto

I walked out on the stage and choked down the

Blood filled consciousness of style. The red

In the faces of the people in the

Crowd. The halos on their crown. The yelling

In unison to overpower the

P.A. But this language serves. And willing,

I forgot how I fought through the echo

Of these cracked bricks of wall to have my voice

Heard. My religious rhetoric couldn’t

Belie fart fetish inconsistencies

To discuss the blank painted few and the

Furniture decorations revolving

Completely around far chicken and the

Ways that these things disprove the narrative.