Thursday, September 16, 2010


I recognize you, Writer.

You're a perfect portrait
     of prosaic potential.

You're not writing poems over there
     like I am, about you, over here,
  but you're definitely up to something.

It's the glasses, I think,
     or the curly hair, graying
          like the whiskers in your shadow.
It's your stylish shirt and tee,
     intentionally worn to look chill.
You're leaned back, casual,
     because you have time to kill.

Your office is under that awning.
     Maybe tomorrow you'll look just as serious
          in a coffee shop
                    (You like it as black and viscous
                         as they'll make it.)
          or park or --

Oh! A phone call!
     Hello. You're fine. You're just --

          Watching a movie?!

I completely misjudged you, I guess.


Do the thing you can un-do
In case it's less a hit and more a miss.
Or, if life and love are too important,
Do the thing with the greatest risk.
Opportunity costs and ROI
Work for things like factories and coffee shops,
But when there are no debtors, just you and that thing,
Sometimes it's worth it when it flops.
Don't be stupid or reckless or bad,
But beware the packed-down trail;
Unexplored territory means you'll find something new
Even if, in the end, you fail.
Live out loud as hard as you can
Even if you pretend you have the guts
Because heroes, warriors, and lovers
Didn't find passion sitting on 'buts'.
So now you have a choice:
You can be supposedly wise, or a wimp,
Or you can take a chance
And never wonder what could have been.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This, then, is how you should pray.

The beggar crouches in his street-level
offers his sacrifice, fasts with patience.
His open hands await the manna.
The manna never comes.

The cracked out whore lies prostrate in her
     holy of holies,
faithful and obedient with her talents.
She awaits her master's return.
Her master never comes.

The trashcan orphan dreams in his
gently cries away his empty belly.
He waits for the safety of home.
Home never comes.

And lest ye be judged, then judge not these,
For this, then, is how you should pray.


I am in you
I am you
I am your hot blood on the ground
Your sick in the gutter
I am your broken bones
Your oily skin
Your dry, tangled hair
I am your bitter tears
Your angry screams
     I am your disease.

                    You are in me
                    You are me
                    You are the life in my veins
                    My feast from the fields
                    You are my spine
                    My defense
                    My rain on my brow
                    You are my sweet tears
                    My laughter and moans
                         You are my repose.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I had to start running
When the fire got too big.
You said you could hold it,
But I was there alone.

Anyway, I'd never let you near
The fire that you started;
It burns so hot you can see from there,
And I know we'd both explode.


Atomic number of phosphorus,
Letters in "dermatoglyphics."
Now another name for Jewish G-d;
Please write "nine" and "six."

The Devil's card,
Gun salute in the Guard.
U.S. Route, Interstate,
Octal seventeen base eight.

Triangular, hexagonal,
Pentatope, and Bell.
The value of the first point
Scored by Rafa Nadal.

La niƱa bonita,
Now you can drive.
Composite and natural,
Factors three and five.

A quarter past
Or before.
The lines in my poem
Plus five more.


Your favorite cup is feathered with fractures
and stained in the bottom corners.
It's probably older than I am.
I've known it longer, much longer,
than I've known what's inside.
I took my first sip from it, you know.

You take time for one coffee
with cereal (two if one runs out --
it doesn't matter. Sugary flakes
with colored ohs, some two percent
and they taste about the same).
You're going to be late if you don't go.

What are you reading in today's paper?
Not the sports; mom wants the obits.
Is it local? Finance?
Has the lottery been drawn
for moose permits again?
What are they saying of Olympia Snowe?

Fifteen years and more have passed.
I see the cup still in the cupboard
three thousand miles away.
Or maybe you brought it with you
when you rushed out the door for work,
hazarding little drips, now dried up mid-flow.