Permit me to introduce myself. Wile E. Coyote, genius.
I first see the roadrunner
on a sepia-painted morning in the desert.
Some might see an odd bird; I think he is the perfect
prey – in a land of shifting sand, a rock.
When I see him, I learn hunger.
I start by exploiting his hunger.
It is a stroke of genius;
At dawn, I hang a rock
over some seed I set out for the roadrunner.
He falls for it; the timing of the trap is perfect.
I cut the rope. Blackness covers the desert.
When I come to under the desert
sun, my accordion-like breath drowns my hunger.
I now see how to perfect
my trap. It is a stroke of genius.
I will lure the roadrunner
into a tunnel, actually a painted rock
with darkness painted on. He runs into the rock
and disappears. How could my wits desert
me? I follow after the roadrunner
and flatten my thin form on the sheer face. My hunger
doesn’t drive me anymore. It is a frustrated genius
that beckons me to build the perfect
mouse trap for a bird. The perfect
snare for him is speed, I realize. Make him rocket
to oblivion. The genius
of it is how he will run out of desert
at the end, falling, falling, falling. It is a soul hunger
I will feed: there will be little left of the roadrunner.
I am not thinking of the roadrunner
as I make a perfect
arc off the cliff. What kind of hunger
was that again? I wonder as I strike a rock
and take it with me. I will hit the desert
floor first; après mois, the stone. Sheer genius.
The roadrunner is pecking at something as I crawl from beneath the rock.
Such a waste, a perfect chance. My arms and legs desert
me for the moment. I will go now; feed my hunger with my genius.
you were dying, I stared at you, thinking
it was one of your philosophical remarks,
served up between Schrödinger’s Cat
and the Platonic Ideal. We were eating popcorn
in the kitchen and it was just like that, you said
the worst was that telling your friends
would be like hitting a dish with a hammer,
hoping someone else could glue it back together.
This is the third of three posts in this series.
came downtown to see you,
we were cracking wise about
the hospital, but Phil was
suddenly aloof, determined
to get to your room, showing
no patience to the volunteer, a
nice-enough lady with a
metal angel pin. You
seemed old, but not enough,
sitting up with us talking
weakly about everything
before we left downtown we
wanted to see the museum
but it was closed. We walked
back to the station; Jenny
bought a Saint Peregrine
medal from a street vendor,
started to cry. I spent
the rest of that day
holding her hand, or with
my arm (which fell asleep)
around her on the train.
This is two of the three poems I intend to post in this series.
called a wake, although we slept,
worthless disciples in the garden
of doubt and anguish over the
tumbling foothold of grief,
We smoked cigarettes, switched
to beer to get soberer, shaved
and put on clean clothes, clothes
we’d bury ourselves in,
were we dead ourselves
and not walking in the long shadow
behind the grave.
This is one of three poems I intend to post as the next three entries.
This isn’t a come-on, but –
he says, and you wait for something so clichéd
there should be a grammatical case for it –
the unbelievable inevitable,
perhaps, or way past tension:
the sense it’s all been said before,
with better lines and timing. Read more…
For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
1 Peter 4:6 NKJV
I walked a long road for this home-going:
tangled paths of memory. You both assumed
it was a trick. You were expecting flowing
wounds, blood-torn back—I looked as if hewn
from rock, and not a grave that thought it had me.
Peter, you were right, but didn’t see:
everyone had the same eyes. To be
drowning, to have your soul (demanded
from birth, the owed death waiting) returned—
all one, all the same. Peter, everyone dies,
but not all live. Some choose to burn
in prison, waiting to be freed. Why
judge the dead until you walk the sea?
Even the death of you will live in Me.
A bit out of sequence, but… this is from a somewhat neglected collection that I need to get back to work on.
Christ calls Peter
We cleaned nets which stank from a long night
of nothing and mended them where the sea
snagged and tore them. He wanted to talk.
Not to me, but to the mob coming with him,
a rabble that made me and James look
like tax men. Read more…
It hurt worse than expected,
feeling my soul pulling free,
like meat off a bone, like arriving
when she told me Joseph died—
I knew, but now I Know.
Drunk with pain, down to go deeper,
to get under all of it, down under
the staggering load.
It was hard to be there for it, hard
to see her seeing all of this, hard
to explain, even if I could have,
that it was all merely a stage,
the necessary pain, evil, darkness,
And then it began.
You’ll be coming off three days on the night shift
when you realize there was no sugar
in the bottom of the cup, no bottom
of the cup for that matter. Sometime
after your last 12-step meeting
you’ll know you’ll always walk wounded,
limp home. Those wounds in your hands
won’t heal; they’ll be a sign to all,
especially you. You’ll walk around clean,
feeling the hole in your own side,
wondering if this was the glorious
published around 2005 in the now defunct web journal, The New Pantagruel
Sestina: Blue’s Clues
What the past three years have been I don’t remember,
only that the now is taken up with Steve and a dog, Blue,
a sort of surrogate mother for our children, who look for clues
while Mommy, like me, is busy doing something. Think
though we might, we won’t recall that something later.
But Steve is kind, assuring them they can be anything
that they want to be. Read more…