Thursday, December 13, 2018

SHE LIKES A WITH A SHAVE


She likes a man with a shave
and a room temperature IQ
who can trips over his words
‘though he hasn’t spoken 
for weeks and months and more.
He is both Popeye and Bluto
brawling on avenues
and twisting streetlights
around the neck of the other
over a friendly
dispute over which one of them
is going to pay the bill.
He is also Leopold and Loeb,
Abbott and Costello,
matching pairs of
the same dark impulse
to play in traffic
and keep score besides.
He trips over words
he hasn’t spoken,
he is hit by buses
he didn’t see coming,
he is always flat on the asphalt
staring into what remains of heaven,
circles of planets, stars, and singing birds
and some notion that
he might have been someone named
Roland Barthes getting pulverized
by a laundry truck
in a city where words
are loud as car horns
screaming in configurations
that cannot be untied.
She likes cartoons
above all else,
cute animals
destroying
hungry wolves and
wretched vermin
endlessly in variations
that allow them to
eternally return to
the sparely drawn
desert-scape where
the only laundry truck
within 1,000 miles
in any direction
will find them
and collide with their heads
and flatten their bodies
like sheets of wax paper
just as they
are about to claim their feasts,
amid all their famine.
What goes around
turns out badly, she thinks,
I need a man
the way a man
needs a shave.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

NAVIN'S DAY


Wrap these sandwich slivers
in a paper napkin, place it
in a crumpled plastic bag
from the 7-11,
leave it by the dumpster
that's been locked
for fear the flies might escape,
go to work
and bill every citizen
whose accounts are in arrears,
take an extra twenty minutes on
your hour lunch,
sing a happy song,
buy tickets online
for a reunion concert
of a band whose original members
are dead or are quarreling
with those who've passed on,
pass on a chance
to get with the girl
two cubicles behind you
because everyone
is  suing everyone else
for bad pick-up lines
and suspicious gravity
around the waistline,
return emails drink more coffee,
call your sponsor,
plan a trip on Trivago
and then cancel the purchase,
regret that you gave up smoking
because that was the only
good reason to leave the office
and hang with the inventory boys
at the loading dock,
ask an intern if they've
ever heard of Woody Woodbury,
ask the intern
if they remember the theme song
to "One Step Beyond",
update your blog
with 500 words on
why the good things
in your life
are being forgotten
or turned into
theme parks,

it's still twilight when
you get home,
the plastic sack
with the sandwich halves
is still next to the dumpster,
the napkin discolored with
the grey stain of congealed mayonnaise,
the bag is covered in flies,

and on the
black security door
of your apartment
is a notification from the management
announcing a date and time
in which they will need to enter
your space
to inspect your pipes,
your comic books,
all your bullshit,
all of it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

JAZZ CAT DREAM POEM


The armies of the night
might as well be
stray cats on a fence
having choir practice,
a twelve-tone scat fest
improvising new
metaphors for hunger
as a grey, lunar ash
covered the backyards
and corners of old buildings
that haven't been
entirely seduced by the dark.
I sat up,
a head full of conquests and amours
receding like retractable cable,
reaching for something to fill my hand,
harmonica? shoe?  Lunch Poems by O'Hara?
to be frank,
I turned on the radio
but kept the room dark,
ad-libbed Coltrane extravaganzas in the cool shadows,
got up and tripped over my shoes,
on the floor, I heard Benny Golson
stomp at the Savoy,
sweet tenor notes and
rhythms that made
skip the elevator
and take the stairs.
then there was static,
the radio was silent,
so to speak,
the darkness became deep,
the cats had found
another dark window to
haunt.
i saw your silhouette
as you sat up
in the bed
and asked 
what the matter was
and I said I was dreaming
of moons and music,
serenades under many stars
and thought I heard
you laugh,
and
then realized
after getting to my feet
that
you were not there,
still absent,
somewhere beyond
the window drapes, the city’s skyline,
the night itself and the day that follows.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

POEM ABOUT POETRY WITH PLAGIARIZED FIRST LINE



Poetry makes nothing happen
other than making our tongues
wag at one another and our
brains send words to our limbs
to suggest a proper hand gesture
to underscore a swift lyric response
and to undercut the boogeyman
peeking around the corner
of the door frame
because one of us started humming
a light and sprite tune
when the slim collection
was closed by two calm hands
and all came to rest
sweetly in the lap.

Poetry makes nothing change
except the key the music
is played in,
the time signature
that now follows the whim,
not the metronome,
the temperature
between the ears
that rises and falls
as the senses are engaged, inflamed
and then deflated,
poetry does nothing
except make the rooms we walk
into fit us a little better
than before the first stanza
was read, exclaimed, declared at length,
these verses do nothing at all
that wits alone can measure.

Poetry is a bouquet from
the angels or our better regard,
a sharp stone in every pair of shoes,
a lover's sigh,
a boss's grunt,
a wall of wet paint that dries too slow,
friends who understand
too quickly and
grasp not a word
you've said,
assuming of course,
something rhymed
or cursed with irregular
lines mattered enough
to stop the clock and arrest our attention
with handcuffs of wonder and what the fuck was that?,
Poetry makes nothing happen,
poetry is what happens,
and nothing ever happens around here.
Top of Form



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

MUSIC FOR CASH REGISTERS


I could sing all night
if the lights never changed
and if the radio played this song
again and again,
it’s a riff that rubs me
the right way in traffic
it’s a chorus making downtown
a party of long ribbons
and tap shoes,
the motor purrs and growls
with each keyboard grunt
and grunting guitar,
this car just rocks
when there’s no one I have to
return it to.

This is the curse of

owning things
that merely own you in exchange,
Cars, toasters, handguns and
and magazines hug your
face with a deep kiss of need,
What I receive is nameless
and elusive, some music, some smoke,
dry ice vapors and a wallet that
floats away,
that’s how light it’s gotten,

Money is air, invisible but potent,

I owe money I’ve never seen
to people I’ve never met,
Like you, shuffling your debit cards
and saying prayers that don’t seem
to soar as high as interest rates
or blood pressure,
you should be dancing
for all the coin we owe,

This moment, right now,

on the street that vibrates
with orders on how to drive
when to cross and what to smoke
the thirty yards from the public entrance,
the world can stop and we perk our ears to
listen to an imagined needle scratching
the surface of percussive vinyl,

The bass line and the grunts of soul singers

are all the advice we need; they called decades ago
when we started to toss our cash out from
Wall Street Windows,

They advised

Do the jerk, baby,Do the jerk now!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

YOU'D BE SO NICE


you'd be so nice
to walk away from
in a crowded piazza
that exists solely 
in imagination,
i can see it
anytime i want,
the crowds of small faces
and gesturing limbs
walking across the way
cathedral to cathedral,
toward the long decaying stairs
or to the fountain
tall and dry
with ruddy faced cherubs
grimacing when
love seems nothing
more than a match
in a room full of
very dry , brittle things,
and then, of course,
a large flock of
irritated pidgeons
taking flight,
flustered and fluttering
wings against
clouds the
color of old tools,
you on the bench
eating crackers and cheese
or maybe standing
as it begins to rain
and the crowd
gets thick about you
while you try to watch
me walk a line
to a vanishing point
on the horizon
between apartments
and gaudy government repairs,
yes , I would be walking
away toward a fate
obviously unplanned ,
trivial as a crossword clue,
meandering into
an anonymous history,
walking in uneven steps,
one leg longer than the other,
it begins to rain,
I won't look back,
yeah, that would be sweet.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

WONDERFUL THINGS

I talk so the birds
do not fall from the trees
and bruise their feathers
whatever the weather,

I sing so the bricks kiss the mortar
like the two were sealing a deal,
a conspiracy to grow old fall where they stand,
I dream so that you will love me
because you see my face
when I'm not looking at it
rehearsing a pose and stare
I think will send you to the stars,

I walk everywhere I go
to keep the earth spinning
where it belongs
with the other marbles,
making music that
is far from the center
yet near the heart
of wonderful things
nameless and unseen.