Daily Archives: March 30, 2016

Six PM

Six PM.
Darkness not far off.
A neighbor’s cat
loafing on the front wall.
Doing the afternoon thing —
TV, a glass of water,
a wish for enough ambition
to practice the guitar,
a self-loathing raised
from the soil of knowing
how much I could be doing.
It’s a lost day, again, one that goes
by the formal name of
Monday through Sunday.

I’m jealous of that cat
for such willing public laziness.  
I’m jealous 
of the dead
for never having
to move,
for never being expected

to move.

Six PM
and you shouldn’t look at me.
If you look at me, 

don’t be jealous of a damn thing
about me. Move along.
Do something I won’t or can’t do —

look alive.

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Cashing Out

Originally posted 12/22/2008.

Each of us is a vault of moments,
a bank for remembered scenes.
Poets eventually spend all that they save,
and I am one — or rather, have been one, 

for from this moment on
I refuse to pass my mysteries out 
like so many stray pennies.
Let it now be someone else’s turn.

Yes, there are times
when it comforts me to think again
of the way her hair felt
the first time I touched it;

times when it seems important to recall
what it feels like to press
the point of a hunting knife into my chest, 
adding a quarter pound of pressure with every breath;

I could still make them real
for anyone who asked, 
but could anything I got back 
make giving that away worth my while?

So much that I saved from youth to now
has ended up on stages,  was spent
for others’ amusement, was traded for glad hands. 
What has it ever gained me?

Just grant me now, at last,  
my hoard to hold for me alone.
Let me count my terrors and my ecstasies
in my own time, sitting up late at night with them.

Lord, how I wish I had been 
less profligate with these 
when it would have been wiser
to keep them close.

If I can learn
to be tighter 
with a memory now,
I might yet be happy. 

I could get a job where no one will ever ask me
about who I was, where I’d been,
how I view the search for meaning, 
how I got here. 

It’s none of your business,
I will say if they ask me. 
Write your own goddamn poems, 
that’s what I’ll say. 


Natural

we are natural
as we are

natural as plague
as fire ants

skyscrapers and letter bombs
animal products

ash wind blowing over burnt land
animal flavor

natural as rat packs
as ticks in spring

toxic bloom brownfields
a natural spoor of animals

stripped rights of devoured bodies
a natural prey of animals

natural as locusts
as red tide

slander and disgust with others
a natural call of animals

genocidal anthem barking
a natural mating behavior of animals

natural as whales beaching
as fish kills

to say we are not 
to say all things human are not natural

is natural

to use our surroundings till they no longer surround us
to then lament how evilly we shall starve 

is natural

to starve 
to become extinct

will be as natural as anything else we’ve been and done
has ever been