Monthly Archives: May 2013

Junkie in the Stairwell

He was nice. Friendly.
Hey, how ya doing.

He didn’t know I’d seen him
hide his works as I came down.

Smell of urine on concrete.
He wears nice, casual sport clothes.

I walk past heading to work,
to the stoney vineyard of commerce.

His eyes are set on a far horizon
where the ships come and go.

The sand is white and clean
and someone sifts the entire beach each day

looking for clean needles and China White
that may have been carelessly dropped by previous visitors

who now rest easy beneath the sand
while the waves roll their family’s dreams up the endless beach.

Where Are The Voices

If you preach tolerance
and believe all religions point to God
you are Ba’hai.

If you are Ba’hai in Iran today,
where the religion was born,
you are hounded, imprisoned, persecuted.

When did the persecution of tolerance
become the way to be a good Muslim?
If not, where are the voices of Muslim outrage?

Cluck Old Hen

My old hen is a good old hen
She lays eggs for the railroad men

Sometimes one, sometimes two
Sometimes enough for the whole damn crew

–trad.

Swing and a Miss

Grown men playing a game for love
and maybe for money

in uniforms barely changed
since the 1920’s.

Men named Santana and Hernandez
play with a stick and a ball,

hitching and tugging at their clothes,
pulling at goatees, leaning, squinting,

scratching, digging a cleat in,
mostly doing little or nothing,

until it is time
to make gravity disappear,

and slow down time
for as long as it takes

to make me and every other man
remember how that felt.

Dealey Plaza-November 22, 1963

The motorcade moves stately and slow
through the oddly intimate space

Above, in the book depository window
a nail-thin shadow

The first shot disorients the driver–
and he slows down–even more

Then the second
Then the third

Finally he zooms under the overpass

There is a copper penny taste in your mouth
and a roaring in your ears
Your arms fly up to embrace
the awful change that is coming
Your vision narrows

The bleached world begins to tilt
A magpie in the tree by the road
A song you heard your mother hum
when she walked you to church

Soon will come the caisson and the drums
But right now, just the magpie
and the humming