Awakening Beauty

She woke up choking on it
the seed still stuck in her throat
hungover from drugged sleep
and a dream of seven mad kings.
An apple martini, a song beat cue,
everything leading to a man.

She found her dress on the floor
and her purse missing $20
but the keys intact.

From a dverse prompt

Handwritten

for M.B.

A handwritten note I found
that had nothing to do with me
and wasn’t particularly wrenching
or well-enjambed

still startled me
because the handwriting,
the blue lines and charcoal grey
reminded me of days in school
when you would write to me
thinking about me instead of
world geography.

Continue reading “Handwritten”

Sestina: Wile E. Coyote

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.

Continue reading “Sestina: Wile E. Coyote”

A Term of Art of War at an Organ Recital

The phrase has pleasing (even pious)
Connotations, like
Arbeit Macht Frei,
“Molotov Cocktail,” and Enola Gay.

– From Formal Application, Donald W. Baker (1923-2002)

Deep in meditation by the end of an hour of organ music
in an old church pockmarked by manhole-size plaques
To the Glory of God  commemorating rich men’s sons
blown into the next life on the winds of war,
I note the last piece:

Carillion-Sortie – Henri Mulet  (1878-1967)

Continue reading “A Term of Art of War at an Organ Recital”

Tracking

The new UPS driver looks like he’s been working his way down the corporate ladder.
I think he looks too old for a package car and he looks like he’s about my age
and finally: I’ve seen him looking younger.

It was 1982.
He hung an offensive nickname on me
that spoke of something I’d never even seen, much less done,
and I wore it like the proverbial badge marked Chicken Inspector
or I Felta Thi.  How mightily
we called it out when pinching female freshmen’s bottoms.
What cards we were. What utter shits.

Continue reading “Tracking”

The Dream of My Grandfather’s Return

My grandfather at the dinner table of his son-in-law’s farmhouse:
Saltines, sardines, turkey sandwiches, potato salad, jello molds.
The progressive potluck of his hardtack life, coming as it did
toward something like luxury.

The luxury was to sit down – all of his sons and daughters
under the roof, everyone getting along. My father telling
a story about the 1950s that everyone there
except the grandchildren lived through. Laughter.

Continue reading “The Dream of My Grandfather’s Return”

Dull Sermon

He bleats a grey cardboard version of the word of God.
He makes me wish I believed in the kind of Spirit
which strikes men and women with prophecy
or else shuts their mouths to wait for a true saying.

Not the god of committee meetings, an ice-milk
calling no one else heard; a gentleman’s C
In Communications at a community Bible college.

He should have been a farmer.
Maybe then he would have understood
dry days and lightning on the plain,
What it is to work, curse and be cursed,
wrestle with God until your hip pops. He
should read Reynolds Price. He
should weep because he doesn’t understand,
not crow three points about how I don’t.
Jesus.

What I Learned By Not Thinking About It (draft 2, dVerse prompt)

It wasn’t that important to solve anyway,
which is good, because it doesn’t yield
to analysis or much of anything.

Even in physics we learned one can observe
vector or velocity, not both,
which leaves room for something. Call it God,
but not the god of flannel cutouts in cigar boxes,
musty Sundays, leading us to ever more thinking.

But it’s not nothing.
Or if it is, it’s the type of nothing
expressed in the tired old lines:

Have you seen my wife?

Is she about 5’2″, red haired, wearing a blue sweater?

That’s her! Have you seen her?

No, man, I haven’t.

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