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r Dec 2020
Some nights
I crack a window
to let out the stink
of darkness

unsheathe my knife
and think of carving
free my eyes

tossing them high
into a pine
so that they can see
all that isn’t going on
around me

instead I let the sharp
hard winter winds
of black starlight in

to fan the flames
of lonesome desire.
Nov 2020 · 319
The beginning of an art
r Nov 2020
Some may think
a spark
is just a spark
a weak attempt
at a start
to a flame
when in fact
it is the beginning
of an art
found in the ashes
and stone cold bones
of a dark hole
in Zhoukoudian.
Nov 2020 · 393
Gathering wood
r Nov 2020
When I think of those days, I only
remember gathering wood in the cold
in my black coat so I could get a fire going
in the cast iron of a gray early morning;
I dream what it is to be a man lying
beside a delicate woman, sad and quiet,
playing the mandolin, looking at her as
if she were a couple of plums together like
a cluster within reaching distance on the branch;
thinking of the lunar dust of her face, and how
her fingers were like feathers; I heard
the silence of the mill wheel not turning
in the stream and the wild turkeys not drinking;
I knew they had hypnotized themselves wide-
eyed and staring into the steel ax of the creek.
r Oct 2020
So much depends upon...
how willing
you are to stand
in line
glistening in the rain
waiting to sign
your name
longing to right
the wrongs
and fix the broken
axles of the red
and maybe paint
it blue
as a Blue Jay
flying free
in a blue sky
above white chickens
like shadows
of clouds
over the barnyard.
Oct 2020 · 208
The sad dance of fire
r Oct 2020
When I was young
I slipped out of the tub
stinking clean as
the moon and the suds
in the crack of my ***
slipping out the back window
with my pants and boots
buck naked and brave
and my Daddy’s daddy’s
daddy’s knife tucked between
my teeth, but lonely and sad
because it’s all that I had
except for the twenty
that I’d saved
for the ten hour ride
from the bus station
to the recruiter, but alive
hoping my Mother, when shaking
my quilt out that morning
after my last night
remembered my down
in the sunlight
because I didn’t sleep there
and I remember thinking
if I don’t alight here again
take all that is left
of my memory out
and work it loose
from the bone with a thumb
the way you taught me to
clean a fish until all that remains
is a fleeting thought and toss it
in one motion the sad dance of fire.
Sep 2020 · 176
A long gone breath
r Sep 2020
It’s so quiet out back tonight
there’s not the slightest sound
of an earthbound critter to be heard
but if I close one eye and **** ;)
my left ear just right (the right one
is shot now, it was my shooting ear)
I can hear the last dying gasp
of dead starlight from a long gone
breath still breathing softly on my neck
Sep 2020 · 198
The insignia of dreams
r Sep 2020
Fear is a stingy businessman
who will sell you a plot
for your loved ones, little angels
for your children, copper coins
for their eyes while at night
a million thoughts will appear
at your window clear as day
like someone with a lamp
a sack, a clock and a map
in the darkness black as a bat
a boot, a cap with the insignia
of dreams that die in the palms
of your hands like a wound
that won’t heal and turns green
like a fish, like jade, wet moss
growing on stones above graves.
Sep 2020 · 289
r Sep 2020
There is this taste
that I can’t rinse, spit
or rid myself of lately
and it’s not the kind
left behind by a dentist
yanking a wisdom tooth
out or the ****** mouth
from an eighth grade
playground go around
or bad blood in the hood
but something more
like a fight for a life bored
to the bone and hung
out to dry in the sun
having to bite my tongue
on the curse of the irony
of it all that I find too
hard and bitter to swallow.
Aug 2020 · 180
A dark wind
r Aug 2020
Asleep on the deck
of burning ships
whose prows leave a wake
behind like a slow death

I see the white backs
of strange women, sea widows
breathing like low thunder
on the other side of some river

They dream of ghost sailors
aboard ships, and pull the sheets
between their legs, like a flag
flying in the fog, a dark wind.
Jun 2020 · 233
Damn’t dog
r Jun 2020
I saw the sun set
between my toes
and the moon rise
with just one eye
while my mutt Daisy
looked at me sideways
and sighed like maybe
she thinks I’m lazy
and I thought, ****’t
it’s a shame when a man’s
dog makes him feel bad.
Jun 2020 · 165
r Jun 2020
We burn the pillows of the sick
as if it’s some sort of magic
against death, lie in our own beds
we’ve made holding our breath
hoping for light to return
as darkness blankets the earth
tossing and turning in dread
dreaming only of pandemonium.
Jun 2020 · 166
The dogwood’s bark
r Jun 2020
I find it odd
that my old dog
and lifts her ears
when she hears
a pine cone fall
somewhere out there
on my neighbor’s
forty acres
but pays no mind
to the dogwood’s
bark in the quiet
of the night
out in my front yard.
Daisy is a strange old hound.
Jun 2020 · 234
The smoke burns
r Jun 2020
Remember when we burned
down the federal fences
and let a black family in
a white house built by slaves -

man, the fire was hot
and the smoke smelled like freedom -

but that was then, and here we are
not so much later, the rails are made
of iron like the fists of a dictator -

the smoke burns my eyes, man -
and now - I can’t breathe.
r May 2020
Did you see them take the green fields
one by one, now line by line on hills in echelon?

Still, holding ground held holy by their sons;
no longer marching to the smoke and drum.

Where bugler called the day to final rest,
now silence grows like lichen on the stones.

For those who gave their all at our behest,
our memories alone will not atone.

Do you see the fires burning at a distance,
and more hallowed ground broken day by day?

Each new stone laid a fading reminiscence;
each new boquet soon fading into gray.

What better way to honor sacrifice
than to pause and speak their names aloud.

Until the gods of war are pacified;
until our flag no longer serves as shroud.
In memory of those who gave their all.
And again, lest we forget. 5/29/17
Memorial Day 5/28/2018
Remember to remember.  5/27/2019
May 2020 · 352
As my shadow turns
r May 2020
The day came
I watched my shadow walk away
It was his time to go
Time to find his own way
along the road
I don’t know if I should cry
or try to smile
I know he’ll make it on his own
now that my shadow’s grown
And I know that he’ll be fine
He’ll be alright and so will I
as my shadow turns to wave goodbye.
May 2020 · 147
Slow road crossing dog
r May 2020
Another night  of oarless
boats adrift in white caps
and slow rolling waves
we hold our breath
like the clouds hold the wind
trying not to breathe on the trees
and Death changes his tune
so the songs all sound the same
turning up the radio
in his black Coupe de Ville
spinning his wheels, showing off
those silver mud *****
and shiny swan on the hood
running red lights and stop signs
all around town, up to no good
circling the block one more time
looking for a slow road
crossing dog to run down
I swear, where are the cops
when you need one to stop
trouble dead in its tracks.
May 2020 · 265
Chrysanthemums and soybeans
r May 2020
to the news
is like dreaming
a bad dream
but I hear
it’s going to be
a banner year
for roses, lilies
and soybeans.
Apr 2020 · 151
The depth
r Apr 2020
I have dreamed
of escape
a way out, a forever
ladder stretching
to the clouds
steps counted aloud
along the planks
just off the prow
a pointed bow
towards starboard
before a final wave
to shore, a short
stretch the length
of a dock, the depth of
a drowned-out shout.
Apr 2020 · 588
Black Lilacs
r Apr 2020
Black Lilacs
blooming -

a blossoming
of grief -

dark fallen pollen
on the breeze -

I can see it falling
all around me -

there on the wall
for us to see -

April will be
the cruelest of them all.
“ April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land...

I will show you fear in a handful of dust...

...And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls;...”

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922.
Mar 2020 · 493
r Mar 2020
life seems
like a waking
and I’ve been
my days away
to a sundown
setting in
my window
and there’s
this feeling
in the air
so real, surreal
a real sundowner.
Stay well, poets.
Mar 2020 · 172
Shipwreck of love
r Mar 2020
There is a bluff
the shipwreck
of love, steeped
in dreams best
kept in sleep’s
fog, shattered
and abandoned
on the rocky
hard shallow
depths below.
Mar 2020 · 156
Nasal spray for a soul cold
r Mar 2020
I could
if I thought
it would
do any good
~ lay my head
on the temple steps
~ like an addict
getting a fix
by a fire-station
~ but I know that
there’s no
for the soul
~ when it’s OD’d
and grown cold
and oh so old.
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