Wednesday, January 31, 2007

modern man

java, bebop, australian wine
yellow hula hoops and polka dot bikinis
sartre filtered through judge judy
but dawn leaves me bedded

notice that my feet are dark
from running through the night
chased, or chasing
we can flip a coin

indecision, improperly dosed
chemical balancers
and dusk leaves me wedded
to my impulses, jumping through windows

when did urban cautionary tales
strike me for a fool
dressed in black, but you'll never
see me mourning

dressed in grey, if i'm caught
out in the summer sun
bent by the glare to count
the spiderwebs of the sidewalk

and i tend with care
my little cemetery
plotted and lined with stones
a fine spot for making gossips

notice that my hands are scarred
i've found that walls are for climbing
they lead to tasty treats
but don't cry out, i'm simply curious

mid day leaves me sitting in my corners
rocking eases anxiety
rum is a universally accepted solution
to life's hoisted delusions

but when the night goes middled
i can sluff off my old man rope
and go running down your street
notice that my feet are dark

Monday, January 29, 2007

true love, no. 4

cream of celery soup, a wedding buffet
courses, line dances, confused hellos
confirmations, reservations
hesitations, reservations
quiet hours in the garden
tending violets

father's checkbook is hidden
in its sealskin wrapping
he's a modern man
made from mismanaged funds
smuggled cigarillos
bitter smokes and hidden
encrypted passably literate
his fair son will have no children
as he creases some minor wake

schedules are juggled, gifts
are studied
we need to be aware of the
boundaries of our excesses
china's been registered
with thoughtful young women
trained and bred for such occasions
for these steps we take
will be recorded, analyzed
rerun with critical consideration
the walk and talk
of true love

we'll be chemically balanced
for the bridal parade
for the shower and rehearsal
twittered under the influence
of california wines
whites for the ladies and
reds for the privately schooled
trusts have been funded
secrets passed on
father to son
to dutifully fulfill the requirements
of true love

shocking confessions may be
liberally spewed
angst or anxiety
difficult to say
chaperones have been prudent
in their suburban way
chocolates are hidden in the
usual places
they'll be carefully paired with
imported vodka
colorful bottles in a variety of flavors
not shaken, not stirred, just

just another day
of true love

Sunday, January 28, 2007

true love, no. 3

3rd time, what sort of charm
materializes, out of nothing
an odd number in a mismanaged day
and yet, when all your faces
have turned away
i smile and i knock on any wooden fetish
i grin full knowing that numbers 1
and 2
have already knocked around
taken me down
but from my awkward perspective
ear to the floor
eyeballing the baseboard
heart kalumping halved between
terror and demented expectation
3 is lurking, prowling
gathering fresh angst for an assault
and if i open my door
crawl in this belittled condition
return to reality
there is the urban legend
of true love
true love, no. 2

jocko made a hip-hop, breaking down his smile
into lopsided parts
did a jump, 2-step and finally
no step
sat on little jilly's swings and
all the while
forsaking a twirl
going through his famously confusing
explanation of love

whipped cream on lemon sorbet
raspberries in a root beer float
are true love

and he let me flip through the seconds
adjust the volume
cross my legs and exhale
in befuddled awe

baseball in Paris
cricket in Omaha
are true love

and he let me toss my scruffy shoes
across the afternoon shade
wriggle my toes into the sun
ponder the first tulips

foie gras with capers and shallots
camembert and sangria
are true love

and he let me muse
listen to a rowdy horse fly
aretha with my angelic falsetto
as he howled

jelly bellies at the Met
poneys at a rodeo
pancakes and grits
are true love

and he let me dream
of midnights
singing with my radio and
baking oatmeal cookies
with my father

and i often think of jocko
here where we left him
some other day
and i often sit
unspinning hours
waiting for his observations
on the silliness of life
expect to hear him breathing
in a rhythm slow
and measured
like true love

Saturday, January 27, 2007

true love

true love
i believe it's closely associated with
pecan crunch
coconut cream pie
if i were able to believe
anything at all
you made a litany of promises
certainly the length of a pre-nup
as many clauses
but i watched your lips
as the stream of words tried to
and it's closely associated with
lemon squares at starbucks
non-fat lattes
cinnamon sticks on our tree
as i try to remember everything on my list
santa's a tricky role, you see
for someone like me
and with meeting at the zoo
where you could kvetch about the animals
and i could smile
making my anticipation an event
and wonder if i'd kiss you
among strangers
true love is about
sleeping through the afternoon
to stay awake throughout the night
watching as you slept
keeping every hour safe
counting my minutes because
life has a tendency to cheat
to take what's mine
and i'm very much afraid of
true love

Friday, January 26, 2007

the quiet man

he's sitting beneath my magnolia tree
feeding oreos to the neighbor boys
tossing goofy tales like talcum in the bath
they're dusting down on pouty lips
savoring consonants with misplaced vowels
beneath my magnolia tree

mother's baking crumb cakes
she says to lure him back
she says he's never been the same
but when she's wrapped in granny's shawl
no explanations will be forthcoming
when i was 17

i can't seem to untwist those years
father kissing strangers
in the back of sarah's bar
sitting in my bedroom window
itching from the thunder
cooked in the summery heat
making fever and going deaf
when i was 20

why do we bring our dead
into the parlor
folding up the lace
bringing out the silver
i've never cared for casseroles
too many brownies cloud my mind
too many cousins that i can't hear
and if i look away
i can leave their lips where they belong
when i was 21

i dreamed of tina turner
and a bridge over troubled waters
that i was dancing with julie connors
at a white cotillion ball
my sister signs into my palm
when the moon is clouded dark
my memory tries to whisper
can she understand its voice
when i was 25

sometimes i walk bare footed
down city walks
through randy alley ways
following scents that tell me stories
then tiptoe past white doors
with my fists inside my pockets
never tapping
feeling this old sleeping town
with my toes
when i was 28

my mother went across the lake
to sleep more quietly
they say
i'll miss the notes she'd leave
tossed or scattered
here and there
tidbits of maternal advice
cautions and instructions
drawn from a life full lived
bounded by her simple love
when i was 30

where do they go
all the echoes of the world
my ears have forgotten
the hardness of shouting
the sharpened edges of the world
i lie with my indecision
alone in the house
that my father built for children
when i was 33

my parents loved the tango
i would cut a rose
without misgiving
just to watch their swirls and dips
sitting on the kitchen counter
past my bedtime
ached with laugh
wondering if i'd ever grow
as tall, as dashing
they make their ghostey dance
when i was 36

they call me now
these maudlin spirits
they walk as though
every yester day is fresh
the only voices these ears can welcome
i set a table for all who've touched
this quiet man
this quiet house
we've made our bargains
and drunk our wine
when i was 39

Thursday, January 25, 2007

the question

old man, tears are for young boys
for the passing of our days
when at last we know they're few
am i a dream to you
have you shrunk to just a weepy husk
swaying in the garden of the dead
rocking on your floundered ship
here with the pools of shadow

have your dreams wrapped you
twisted your mind between
the living hours and its lies
let's stop and read these stories
cut in burial stones

do you remember now

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the garden

there is a garden
buried in the odd angles of the world
foggy in wilder scents
home to a man unknown to himself

go make yourself a spyer's nest
wrapped careful in a water oak's arm
high over that stoned wall
for a bit of thievery

he'll sit on the moldy earth
between some red camellias
for he favors sun and heat
yellow skies in dank summer

he'll whistle baroque tunes
cleffed in odd keys
they'll make grimace buttery flies
and break their eggs

he may jump and jig
so hold your startle in a fist
don't shake the leaves
or unquiet the airs

he's forgotten days and lovers
memory has let him loosed
unguided or held unsparing
in his stillborn time

he'll bring a tray when all is late
steamy with brown coffee
soft sweet cakes
his hands powder white in sugar

notch the days in your hiding
his hours are slipshod
they'll twist you into knotted reverie
and you'll wake beside him

in the garden

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

mirror, mirror

mirror, mirror
i've come to introduce myself
shades that keep my company
have kept me loopy and beguiled
and i've forgot this fancy face
so let's discard some days
lived in rather strange disrepair
and reacquaint ourselves

am i not a handsome fellow?
is this not a bold and determined chin?
a nose to bring the covet glare of kings?
they must be stole
from strangers that inquired into my health
that may have stopped and gambled
on a guileless country lad
gone walking in the world too wide
and open to a bit of thievery

this face speaks nothing to me
nothing more than idle babble
could it be that i've been caught
been slaked by spirits and possessed
now left beside a darkly chasm
foolish grinning inside a husband
strayed and slaved and filled
by a ghostey passerby

am i a child or man or careless boy?
do i have a lover
sitting by an unlocked door
waiting through the nights
that i've stripped of passion
heard a traveler's journey song
and wandered through a kitchen window
to find whatever brings the day

mirror, mirror
let's have our bit of speaking plain
can you give me some direction
talk this mystery through
what have i done that merits
such deception
how can you disavow a man discarded
bared inside your glassy home
let me sit beside you
i'll wait for any whispers
you can spare

you and i
we're full up in our confusions
talking like a father to a son
am i sinner or confessor
have i flown too near to God
and fallen back rejected
just the subject of cosmic joking
among His angels at their tea
mirror, mirror
am i not a handsome fellow?

Monday, January 22, 2007

untitled, no. 7

come sit with me
here, in the mouth of the sea
and its salty tongue

bring your ear close
and careful
let me make some whispers

i have a hot breath
may be fevered
but scented and dark

wrap your toes in watery weeds
the sea loves hungry things
this is an unquiet place

watch my lips red in the sun
if you are an unjealous lover
and willing to my ways

sit here loose in dreaming
hours walk meaningless
and the sand forgets everything

i collect the tears of angels
they serve to break my fast
they can ease your thirst

let's sit here swallowed
and if my kisses please
and if you're willing to my ways

here, in the mouth of the sea

Sunday, January 21, 2007

an idle man

what a lazed and idle man i am today
chasing coffees, done sweet with liquor
kissing that soft breeze wound loose
sitting by and giving ogles to the strangers
shuffling down this country lane

if you bring a melon, red and tasty
full of summer and late day rain
i can tell your rightful future
whether sorrow or father's joy
i can see the long procession
dressed in black and singing grace
winding past the old white steeple
giving peal and melancholy
binding tight your final day

if you bring some farmer's whiskey
kegged where neighbor's never spy
i will twirl the airs and bring you visions
shape the clouds that weigh on high
we can sit and rouse some chatters
roll your dice and shuffle cards
til you see your loves and fortunes
all your days and all their hours
will pass like shimmers in the glass

i have a chair gone soft and shaky
from telling tales and sipping gin
sitting neath these green magnolias
smelling up sweet granny's jasmine
and running through the silky air

i am a man gone lazed and idle
selling stories and taking coins
taking gifts from far off places
here where the end is ever near

so take a seat down on the mosses
close your eyes and listen strong
i know some rare and strangesome stories
we'll savor breath, be glad of living
you are a prize come free unbidden
here where the end is ever near

Friday, January 19, 2007

the bath

he's gone into his nether swirls
making jitterbug in the bath
typhoons of armani scented rain
white clouded by spanish soaps
who owns that delirious chap
that whoopee fella
in the bath

may be if i concoct a scramble
with fishy roe and fancy cheese
sweet temptations from creams
or vanilla milk
i can cook a scent that might shake
whatever charm has gripped
that frenzied lad
or would some master stroke
of a chemical combination
ease his rowdy steps
a-cha-cha in the bath

i'll brew exotic liquids
give up mysterious aromas to the air
bake fanciful creations
in my desperate quest for calm
before my neighbors clamor
with their horns and surly dogs
deface my sleeping garden's wall
with angry exhortations
i need a moment of repair
perhaps beneath my stair
i need to ponder
the stranger in the bath

sometime in the night
was i transported
to a land that's never known
suburban omaha?
to a place where life
cavorts in such unlikely ways?
if i walked beyond my garden
would i find magicks loosed and careless
as the laddy
in the bath

my feet go crossed and aimless
cause havoc on the floor
when musics jump and turn the air
i am no charming prince
laughing in disguise
leaving flutter and awkward smile
no cowboy riding bareback
in a comic rodeo
so will someone quickly tell me
what happened to omaha

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


lads who have found their sleep
should not be waked
if you must, watch them in their peace
they offer you a shadow of their repose
so sit and plunder memories
gather them if they've gone discarded
these times are of a rareness
and you've been a wastrel
you've lived in careless hours
and there are so few

as for me, i'll sit up in my window
caught between the ghosts and day
i'll guard you for a moment
go thief what ever fancies
i can try to hold the sun at length
spin some tales, dance the fool
but i'm not armored
so take my cautions at their face
don't wake the sleeping lad

his lips will give no heat
i see well the dark's temptations
though full and angry red
they're not for you
even here, in my awkward shelter
i can feel your anguish,
feel your weakness shedding resolution
see your pale hand frozen
in hesitation
and your hard breath clouds my sight

i would take some of this laddy's sleep
and hold it for myself
i know how to cherish
unsought things
so we sit in our indecision
but this i know
we must not wake the lad

Saturday, January 13, 2007

the question, no. 2

are you lonely, standing in this haunted place
lit in garish splendor, and are you waiting
for a hero, tall and fierce with a hero's pride

i'm caught within some wafts of soft deceit
running in wary currents through the night
and i smell the angry passage of the beast

what more unlikely place could we have found

Friday, January 12, 2007

a question of roses

some time in the night my roses passed
into that sorry state of petals gone loose
look at them, scattered on my table
why do i persist in bringing dead flowers
when i have no funerals or wakes
to suck the sun down into the dust

you know i go raw ravenous in the morning
led about like some roman's slave
by the merest and the simplest of pleasures
why do you make some prances
and some frowns when the sun's about
i can't strike darkness on your whims

what reason do i have for bringing roses
cut and broken full of aimless thorn
do they have a meaning that i've misplaced
i much prefer my foreign coffees
brewed in comfortable mystery
that i can sit and marvel on the day

i've caught some tiredness, maybe wafted
from the bay, maybe settled by our fog
and your hurried steps leave me wearied
i rather like this old brown sofa
pushed up to the window, ripe for
lazy smiles and musing, perhaps

i'll warm my toes in this early summer heat
sit and wait for strangers on the lane
and if they wander to my door
bring news from far or leave a sailor's charm
i'll say their fortune, give a portent
for their journey, for the hours standing by

and perhaps they'll finally tell me
why i bring these roses
and watch them die

Thursday, January 11, 2007

the shore

walk out on the sandy flats
stretched to meet the sea
we can cause with sprites
i have hot rum to bring you smiles
then we'll part the fog
like a hungry reef
make waves in the salty air
someone's left round pebbles
tossed across these beaches
shall we gather some odd jewel
and fill our pocket

i sing ancient sailor songs
in tune with the night's raw horn
and call the fish to shore
to feed these rowdy birds
for they leave me bothered
and in a rare unwholesome mind
here where the lands all end

do you sway with these curious tides?
or do you start a dance
to bring some heat to the bitter clime
old and holy lads come here to chant
but i don't see the marvel
of the tales they weave
do they get caught in the fisher nets
and cast out to the deep?

this place bears my questions well
though you think it's mute
it speaks rounds and rimes
it fills my head with untoward joy
i could startle you with a young boy's leap
watch me shed the all too cautious years
and grow into a man come late to life
here where the heavens bear so light
upon the quiet of my soul

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

the thief

summer's not your time, you'll see no more
of those hard days
my promises will beat the sun
at a game that never gave a winner
and i've thrown your hours into the
hungry biting fields
you see them marching rowdy
a wall like no other
taking back their own

autumn fell across the acres
carrying your exhaustion
tossing its shed skin
you believed it some fertility
not the graying day to dust
what a strange and barren pact
slays these months down to nothing
look, you've used them up

childhood is unspare and ravenous
fierce cold hours that breed pain
but you no longer know that time
i stole it when you finally slept
crept neath your bed
you never think to look for thieves
while waiting for the clouds
you can no longer
remember me

i've got old magicks that talk to me
whisper words that i can make dance
they loop and saunter and trick
then bring me gifts
bring me strangeness discarded
for i know some use for all old things
i can barter, give them way to sorcel
and you can't see me
i've taken that as well

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

the spirits

i have an empty bed full up with you
scents ghost me with the hours you've gone
my sleep is thrashed abusive
this awful quiet casts its haunt around me
and i dread the night and day equally

through the glimmer in my eyes
i see you still, sitting in that tattered chair
laughing at my poor missteps
listening to the moon rise from our garden
and i have a soul full up with you
the marvel of a life built by an ordinary man
constructed with a hope come unexpected

and so i sit before the window
watching shadows stretch into the dark
the spirits are no longer fearsome
i make them welcome, as i must
we sit and make our idle gossips
for they come to ease this sweet despair
and relate the marvels that are waiting

then we bring the photos hidden
in a chest beneath the stairs
and i fall in love again
and can finally hear
the end of days

Monday, January 08, 2007

the mystery

i walked upon the mountain,
and it remains below my feet

where can i go and be free of it
if i walk bare upon these stones?

so we move between these shadows
you and i, in our strange embrace

breathing in the clouds
a supper once reserved for gods

i've gone lost up on this mountain
caught and bound too near

to heaven

leave me here, i know this ghost
we've some words to say
do you know that men grow old
that youth will bend with days
i never listened well

do you

Sunday, January 07, 2007

lost, #6

don't dawdle, little sweetness, we've got some steps
before we tire, losing time on 4th street, counting
down the alphabet on the eastern avenues

i'm hankered for a second-line, carrying torches
in this yankee place, can they make a jazz man funeral?
move beyond their irish wake, but let me say

memories make heavy lovers, knocking with
their fearsome clamors, shaking my old sleep time
is it too late to set some traps for wayward ghosts

why do you want me in this cluttered and
unwholesome town, noised with angry barking
maybe running backward is the key

or am i simply lost

Saturday, January 06, 2007

saturday, and a return of a rather beloved work from the summer

i have a window

i have a window, made of old stuff, grayed out in the sun, where
i can make my spying, safe and full-up with the warm of day,
and it never shadows my careful eye, never leaves me open

to the hardness lying by, it is a window special to my taste,
obedient to my ways, i am become here precious

i have a savory flavor, and i may cause with you, bring you
arias from the world away, pander you with scotches, rums
and scents, leave you pleasured, should i gift you with

lollipops and whispers

come sit with me, i am rare as those hothouse secrets,
i was an old man yester day, drunk up with churchy
hymning, drunk up with frittery oratory, but i have a window,

where i can tango in the dark, wear some fancy glimmers,
bring my little frivols to the play, i have watched you making
kisses, and i'll favor you my bruises, imagine you with blushes

we'll forget the sun betakes us both unkindly, if only you will
sit with me

Friday, January 05, 2007

the train

there is that slow train
washed in black, making trumpets
casting ash with every mile
shaking these old barren fields
and bringing sorrow

who are you carrying
will you sing some soldier's chant?
and have you been paid
to make this journey
by men of worth?

Thursday, January 04, 2007


if there was music, would we dance?
do you mind these strangers, oddly smiling
how do they see us, but that's another day
somewhere is a waltz, somewhere a song
somewhere we'd be lovers, if the world
were mine

always remember that

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

the fall

gabriel, angelus
what have you come to say?
i'm of your breath
are you inflicted
with the cancer of mortal love
will you leave your wings
at the door

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

tricks and sorcels

of course, you've been dreaming
longer than you should
it's failed you at the end
you believe
let's watch the clouds breaking
split into untidy pieces

your hours are strange hours
unlike mine, unlike silver-eyed lads
you weave grey into mishappen ropes
conjurers' tricks have you spelled
what strangeness needs binding
from you?
leave me scents and savors
i can go captured by wildness

here is my place for sitting stopped
to watch this world i've just created
i'm banished, still a thief after all
after all
but i've keys to doors poorly guarded
and know some stealth
i've no fear of the treachery you've gilded
i too have met love

Monday, January 01, 2007

one more morning

i'm climbing into the darkly streets
is there something i can steal?
are you hiding rare and strange

i need to run til the airs go blur
leave my howling in the outer world
i am a thief with fame and arts
do you believe me?

let's run across the roofs
leap wild and mad through windows
i hear little breathings and smiles

stop waiting for the laughing boys
they won't be strong for you
they won't carry you to their beds

this is a cautionary tale
captured so i can go gifting
if i wrap it neath your bed
will you sleep?

i've bargained one more sunrise
emptied all my pockets
some things should go unpawned
or discarded

but i may have bargained with a trickster
are you sure the sun will rise?
let me sit with my confusions
for a while

stop waiting for the blue-eyed boys
they're never satisfied
they'll give you all their dimes and nickels
then take them back

there must be in this world of ours
a corner made of quiet
old chairs that shelter times gone lost
isn't there?
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