Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010


From Rack and Bastion

she was curly
and parts of her
face crinkled
just cute so.
I’d done my time
on the rack,
leather strap
looped tight
over foot and wrist,
been pulled and yanked,
grown narrow through the trunk.
I’d spent years
laid across
an inquisition tableau
by the teen angel panty-bunch,
each screw twist
sending shivers
of stretch along
my unhinged frame.
I found my
tensile self
I became metal.

When curly came
I had already
been shaped
as a curtain rod,
and she sang
to me and hid
alongside my draped hide
and bastions. She
stripped me down.
I knelt before her
and worshipped her
at the piano bench.
Then we got tabouli
and the daily news,
and read together
about war.

      *      *      *
First published in Drunken Boat.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

James Noir

Sheep with Balls (detail) - Acrylic on Canvas

Oil on Canvas (James and Donna)

Såsom i en Spegel

Såsom i en spegel and in medias res the spider creates
heaven and earth and skirts across the pond’s mirror cloud.
And feet press into velvet moss, and the hill and sky,
the silhouettes of litter-birds as areole the bare limbs of elms, 
and apple blossoms fall like flakes of sun on a stream’s edge.

I’m through the mullion slat, the hazy glass, in an upstairs room.
Adjust to shadow. I’ve seen spiders through slits
of worn wallpaper, beyond the cracked plaster hiding muffled voices
that guide my day like bible verses. Dance. The closet door latch
hangs loose in its untrue jamb, held back by pinch of oak friction.
I reach.

Where have you gone off to now? Stroll the shore while your sheep
bleat their malcontent; hoist your overloaded egg bag
to mount the stile; even splash ankle-deep in the cold clear
to confuse the packhounds. I’ve no mind for this darkness,
nor desire, nor shame, for I’ve heard the crackle of a bush in flames
and quarried stone to lay out a garden path. I’ve pressed seed
into dirt pot, raised window-box sprouts by force of will. Now,
the voices have stopped and I’m alone again.
I’m looking for your clutch of arms, soothing voice. I’m
calling your name to the trees, scanning the sea
for a glimpse of you in the skiff. I’ve even lowered myself
into the clutchhold of that broken boat out past the jetty,
and gone womb-fetal in the dark slant of a shipwright’s dream.
Reach me in the dark.

At dawn, a bird wing flaps in the sun. I sit before toast and juice.
The floor stands in need of sweep, the cobwebs to be dusted. I
wait on the hard wooden bench watching pulp settle
through the glass. Darkly,
shadow spiders wrestle in the cracks and corners
of silvered mirrors. My toast has gone cold, softened with smear
of butter. A helicopter drops anchor out in the yard.
You came to me in that hold and held me through a cold storm,
your skin gnarled and twisted as tree bark. In my dark unsure,
you penetrated me with light and kind. Now,
my mot-valise is packed in the foyer, waiting
on eight eager legs. I’m allowed a last hair-check in the mirror.

Chute Man

A man hung from a tiny parachute
drops into the darkness of an umbrella stand,
and the strange thing is that
this takes place in your foyer near the shoes
and under hatrack. Should one of those toppers
slip from a nub as (let’s face it) hats sometimes do,
the man might be forgotten, entombed
inside an empty death hollow.
Such a man might survive for some time
in the darkness, having no drink or grub, but
at a point the throat tires of the screams, the body
feels depleted and the mind,
once capable of such pretty feats,
succumbs to the heavy black.
And at that very moment, the tv
in the next room is playing reruns
of Ozzie Nelson asking Thorny
that question that seems to stump us all:
            Say you’re driving your car
and you’re supposed to
stop and wait at every red light. What if
you see a lantern?
And that little man who has long-since eaten
every last string and parachute shred
says You think YOU’VE got problems.

First published in Ugly Cousin.