October Poem 42: Building Community

Like the siren of the neighbor’s tail lights

As he scraped ice from the windshield, the trees

Waver through the silver of a full moon

And decry the hawk and blade that spread the

Hardpan of dampened earth to the daub and

Waddle communities of people who

Say hello when stepping out to check the

Mail. The communities who may know your

First name but not the color of your eyes.

The communities who can only look

On your face until the small talk gets stale.

The communities who lift the blinds just

Enough to be out of sight until the

Neighbor’s car is warmed up and driving on.




October Poem 40: On Planning My Plans to Plan

The future. Tomorrow. I will make plans.

You’ve seen the scar. I’ve shown you before. It

Pinches at the deep red hole in my scalp. The

Hole surrounded by puckered and drying

Skin. The hole that three days ago was much

Larger and weeping puss. If I keep it

Free and bleeding it should heal with the red

Gelatin of the future blackening

Into a plan brushed with hog’s hair on white

Textured paper, a sumi image from

A master artist of Japanese form.

With the blood like Aaron’s precious oil

On my head dripping down onto my beard

And the collar of my shirt. To make plans.

October Poem 39: These Four Walls

These four walls with their white textured surface

And the wooden strips that cover the seams

In the presurfaced sheets of drywall. These

Four walls, the blank canvas painting my life.

These four walls, will your shabbiness leach in

My morning cup of coffee like so much

Leaded paint? Will it fill my lungs like the

Black mold that brings men in hazmat suits to

Cover the neighborhood in plastic tubes

Only to have the anniversary

Release with FBI men’s guns replaced

By walkie-talkies like E.T.’s PC

Police run amuck? These four walls that give

Me support. These four walls blocking me in.

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.