Monthly Archives: March 2018

Waitress

Almost out of gas
But I had enough to make it to Lake Charles
Carrying everything I own that could fit in my car
Driving like a tweeker
Even though I wanted to slow down
Finding a rest stop only made things worse
Given that I was nearly as empty as my tank
Hold on a little longer, I thought
Ignore the possibility that she was already gone

Just outside of Slidell, I stopped for coffee
Kindred is kin to me is what Dad used to say
Less than something is better than nothing
My waitress plunked down a menu
Nothing but rain all week, what’re you havin’ honey?

Only what I can’t have, I said
Perhaps you have something that makes you strong
Quick, like a gust of wind on a railroad siding
Reaction time is everything when you are meeting a lover again
Sure as you’re born, and as soon as you know
Timing is everything, she said

Underwater as I am, I don’t know if it would help though
Vines and more vines, all around my life, my brain
Where are you heading, she asked
X-ray me and find out, I smiled
You know, my x-ray is broke, but I think
   you might best turn around, she said with quiet eyes
Zero chance of good weather where you’re goin’

Tower Worker

Tower Worker was published by Work Literary Magazine. It is about a worker who was killed in a fall while working on a radio tower in Portland Oregon.

Logger

Logger was published by Work Literary Magazine.

Saving Daylight

Time and space are modes by which
we think, not conditions in which we live
–Albert Einstein

Today, in the speedy parts
of the world, we band together
to save time by rearranging it

Maybe time is an orange
Peel back the moment and there
is a circle of segments inside, each
with the seeds of other times
You plant one and live a different life

Maybe time is an orchestra. A loose
confederation of things that have
willingly assembled to create
something where things appear coherent
and beautiful, but only if you are alert

Maybe time is a circus. The elephants
walk in a circle, tail to trunk. Someone
rides each one giving instructions
and we all experience time together
They spin in place and time goes
backwards

Maybe time is an ambition. We aspire
to live in a way that makes sense to us
so we age, wear funny socks and die in
small rooms with low lighting
But just as easily we could live so that
we make no sense to each other and time
could stand still forever

Thermopolis, Wyoming

The mineral water swimming pool in
Thermopolis, Wyoming has a smooth gravel bottom
My little kid feet were delighted to learn that
The water tastes oily. People are shouting
Women are wearing bathing caps with big flowers
on them and men are in baggy trunks
My brothers and I splash around like new
spring frogs in the slippery gray water

Decades later my wife finds some family
postcards, long forgotten in her fathers
desk after he died. There is one card
from an aunt that is postmarked
Thermopolis, Wyoming 1937

She writes to her fiance. Why haven’t
you come out to join me? They were going
to start a life together, there beneath
the Bighorn range. She talks of the late
spring, the snowdrifts, the new town jail
The slow pace of her life drifts off the
page like mist from a blue Yellowstone
sulfur pool

The postcard was written in pencil
On the front is a drawing of the mineral
water pool. Men in long bathing suits
wearing mustaches. Women in longer bathing
clothes. The roads are ok now. I know they
are slow, darling. It took me three days
to get here from Laramie. Why haven’t you come?

Maze and Beam

Eight Things About Being Lucky
Like saints in old Prague
feet under the table cloth
dining car sex
Nibbling on the horizon
snapped off clean
weightless and empty as particles
brown as old cream
wrinkly bits in the cuticle salt air
we were never lucky

Six Things About Being Ready
To be entered is a beautiful thing
lunging
rime ice on back teeth
kiln-fired and ready
a beach glass necklace wedding
rolling in the rubbery darkness

Seven Things About Being New
Farm dirt fresh
wanting
gulping in a tender garden
street corner buskers
grace, a one time delicacy
a folding table
loitering by the paper cups

Eight Things About Getting Away Clean
Packets of raw sugar
language of pencil fire
a bulldozer rite
the color of a cataract
an eyes-locked blow job
new ruby outcroppings of Iceland
a blond cello
blue skirt
perishing, unaltered

Five Things About Home Birth
A nipple apparatus
a black horse splashing
a slippery arm
ions drifting through like strange perfume
in an all night diner

Four Things About Bad Timing
Orpheus and Eurydice
floodlit in the glands
smell of an old red sweater
pinball flippers
that never touched

Six Things About the Cost of Winning
Velasquez and Delacroix
Frazier and Ali
crepe paper and relativity tricks
singed cotton
the purest arc light
a chair in a snowdrift

Seven Things About a Birthmark
Lobes and ink and needles
the rigor and rush of melon
borrowed toxin
a yucca plant
heady and overripe
Slivovitz, the plum brandy
Slovenia is bitter almonds
a new birthmark burns us both