Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Much Of A Poem

For A.J.

All I can do for you now is write,
so I will.

At fourteen, you were already a smooth con.
Taller than me by several inches,
you liked to brush against my shoulders
every chance you got.
You lied as easy as breathing,
maybe easier.
Most days
(and you were in trouble most days),
all that stood between you and expulsion
was my big mouth and skinny white ass.

All I can do for you now is tell your story,
so I will.

It was a railroad school;
all you had to do is look a ways down the tracks
to see the train wrecks coming.
That's where they stick kids like you,
and they stick you with teachers like me;
first year teachers with good hearts,
but no experience with
junkies (like your dad)
whores (like your mom)
gangs (waiting for you outside the school house door)
abuse (all of your life)
and
poverty (the kind that only sees one way out).
I didn't have any books to give you
even if you could have read them.
I did my best,
but the whole system . . .
we were all just trying to get through each day
without getting eaten alive.

All I can do for you now is say I'm sorry,
so I will.

So, I was listening to the news yesterday,
and I heard that they found you dead in the middle of the street.
Seems you botched a home invasion, kiddo.
Damn you, you were only twenty-two years old.
Damn us all, you never had a prayer.
And, damn me for not knowing how to help you.

I'm sorry, baby.
I am so fucking sorry.

All of the above is true.  It's not much of a poem, but I needed to write it.  Thank you for reading it.


Submitted to dVerse.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Funeral


I threw a funeral,
and nobody came
but the guys from the half-price barber next door
and the old Beaumont hooker they let sleep on their floor.

No service, no flowers,
no mourners in line.
I threw a funeral,
and the funeral was mine.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Milkweed Maid

The milkweed maid
measures time
by the beats of butterfly wings.
She has her own tales of fleeting beauty to tell.

Her losses gather
like petals
at the base of an aging flower.
She knows the pain of fading slow.

Her treasure
is the clean sweetness
of a plum.
The ache of ripeness untasted is familiar.

She is a remnant of a passing season.
Soon, winter will have its way.

Submitted to Poetry Pantry

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peace By The Slice

When meditation failed,
I ordered pizza.
Unlike enlightenment,
it arrived in thirty minutes or less
(greasy as a Texas politician, but still hot,
so I double tipped),
and with half a bottle of passable wine and a paper plate
balanced atop the pizza box,
I made the pilgrimage to the living room
to reverently place my offering and myself
before my third eye.

A click brought me the world.

On CNN, an insurance agent struggles to remain upright in pounding surf
while he explains the delicious fine print
that will fuck policy holders
out of reimbursement for hurricane damage.

On channel 4, a voice over urges me
to ask my doctor if the latest antidepressant is right for me,
the screen filled with the image
of a woman weeping over her infant,
a heart monitor standing silent by the hospital crib.

On Channel 29, the Rams are playing,
and though the sound of swearing and shattering bones
drowns out the play by play,
I happily settle in for the evening
to enjoy a bit of circus with my bread.

There's only so much truth a girl can handle on a Thursday night.

For the Third Eye prompt at dVerse.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bartholomew

You gave me your blessing
and a promise of fair weather.
I gave you head
in an empty bathroom stall.

Bartholomew

May the saints preserve us
like little jars of pickles
stacked against the cellar wall.

I chased the end of summer
playing guitar for the folkies.
You got a steady job
selling Nikes at the mall.

Bartholomew

I know you don't deserve this,
but I've met a pretty singer,
and I've promised her the fall.

We left with your blessing
and a warning about the weather
and a brand new pair of Nikes
I shoplifted from the mall.

Bartholomew

I wish you could come with us,
and if you're ever down in Katy,
promise me you'll call.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dashed Hopes


Jimmy thought a threesome sounded just swell . . . until he realized that Jane and June only wanted him to pay for gas and stand look-out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Expectations

Somewhere between broken-hearted and bitter,
there's an empty plain
where a body can find a cold beer
and an uneasy peace.
It's as quiet as a sleepless night,
a place to rub salt in the wound of your choosing
and ponder hard men and the harder truths they come bearing.
Naturally, I think about you.

Some lies are meant to be told and told well.
Some truths should never be spoken aloud.
Even in confession, I whisper and mumble
you don't make me feel less alone
and try to snatch the words back,
but I can't,
and I'm tired of trying.

I just long to sink into this silent ground
and study my discontent until the edges blur.
Instead, I spread my expectations wide on a blanket
and let the sun leach their juices and steal their colors.
Then, I give them to the wind.
I have no use for them anymore.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let It Go

Locked away in your darkened heart
you never see the light.
Heard too many hurting words
you don’t want to go outside.
The years go sliding by you
but you don’t feel the change.
Everyday is just the same
with you at center stage.

Staring eyes and pointing fingers
are all you see.
Baby, you’re not living,
you’re just living with a memory.

Let it go.
Leave it behind you.
There’s been so much wasted time.
Let it go.
Don’t let it blind you.
Your accuser is in your mind.
Let it go.
No more reminders.
It doesn't matter what they did to you.
The face you see in the mirror
it’s not you.
So why don’t you let it go? 

The picture that they drew of you
you carry in your head.
And you believed, lived and breathed,
every word they said.
Much too proud to let them see you fall apart.
It's time to take that pride and reject
the part they gave to you. 

Let it go.
Leave it behind you.
There’s been so much wasted time.
Let it go.
Don’t let it blind you.
Your accuser is in your mind.
Let it go.
No more reminders.
Doesn’t matter what they did to you.
The face you see in the mirror
It’s not you.
So why don’t you let it go? 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Home

I'm not the clay goddess that you've made.
I'm not the sacred bones that you have buried.
I'm not a tender shoot sprung from your earth.
I'm the woman that you married.

And, if your clay toys crumble,
and feral dogs find your bones,
if drought deprives the tender shoot,
you can still come home.

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Instructions

If I go to crazy and don't make it back,
bring her up to love Jesus.
Remember that she likes her milk warm and her peas frozen.
Let her make you laugh.

If she asks, tell her
that a blue sky bird may break a wing,
but that broken bird will still sing.
Tell her to listen
in the quiet of the morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Red Moon

Red moon rising.
We're stringing fish guts through the corn.
Red moon rising.
Wonder what I could grow with yours.

Gonna raise me up a dusty man
with rain water in his eyes.
Hands as smooth as a preacher man's
moving up and down my thighs.

Red dirt blowing.
It's like Abel said to Cain -
when that red dirt's blowing,
ain't nothin' in those fields but pain.

Gonna raise me up a money man
with gold pieces in his eyes.
Hands that burn like the preacher man's
just to get between my thighs.

Red moon rising
hanging high in the dusty air.
That red dirt keeps on blowing,
but we can't go nowhere.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Paint


If I squint just right,
I swear
I can see your lies
just like graffiti.

If I stare too long,
I swear 
the words breathe
and slither like snakes.

If I tilt my head
and listen close
I can hear
the snakes start hissing.

"Not everything can be covered with a coat of paint."


Note to Shay:  And then, someone dies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Others

There have been others.
Conveniences, really.
But, no one has undone me
with a look
the way you do,
made me ache
with a smile,
the way you do,
enveloped me
the way you do
without even trying.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shoes

The roses that you brought this morning
smelled like dog piss
and wilted well before noon.
That, and you tracked a mess
of strange dirt all over my kitchen floor.

My horoscope said that you was a waste
of my powerful carnal energies.

But, what can I say?
I love a nice pair of shoes.

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Other Woman Blues


Love is patient.
I've waited.
Love is kind.
Turned a blind eye.
But, I ain't your mama.
No, no.
You get that from your wife.
Have mercy.

You're always coming round
Yes, you do.
just after nightfall.
Ain't never seen you in the day.
Next time you come catting round
looking to get some
gonna find my porch light off.
Stroll on, now, boy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Walk

Lace your fingers with mine
and walk with me.
It's just a little rain.
Let's match our footsteps
and nestle in each other's silence.
I have others for the words I say.
But, I have only you
for what I leave unsaid.
Lace your fingers with mine
and walk with me a while.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Threes

I was little more than a girl
when I started keeping company with death.
He didn't know me by name;
I was just a worker in his fields,
tending frail, palsied fruits
until the appointed times of each.

I never begrudged him his harvest.

I came to know his ways, though.
I could feel his footsteps along my spine,
catch the faintest drift of cinnamon and decay in the air,
and notice the exact moment when the birds
nesting in the north wing stairwell
hushed their song.

I know that he always takes in threes.

Six days ago, just after my first round,
he came for Mrs. Faulkner.
Hers was a quiet, pretty death.
Four days later, Mr. Layton clung to his final breath so fiercely
that I lost my usual indifference
and left work early to come home.

That's when I saw you with her.

Tell me, do you smell cinnamon?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Mind Of God


God takes her coffee black,
no sugar.

I didn't have to ask.
I can read God's mind.

God thinks tea parties
are for children and glassy-eyed dolls.
She'll make it rain
when she damn well pleases.

I didn't have to ask.
I can read God's mind.

God has a soft spot for widows and orphans.
She sends all attempts to "pray away the gay"
directly to voice mail.
She does not own a corporate jet.

I didn't have to ask.
I can read God's mind.

For the Giorgio de Chirico prompt at dVerse.  Automatic writing (free association) was very popular among Surrealists artists and poets.  This is where the painting took me.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Hole

It's so quiet
I can hear the corn grow.
The wind chimes hang lifeless on the porch.
The local dogs have abandoned the moon.
Even this old house
has left off its litany of complaints
and fallen silent.

I miss the sound of your breathing.

Since you've been gone,
I've fasted,
but for chocolate and Corona.
I've charted new constellations.
I've whispered poorly composed laments
and non-specific prayers.

But nothing I do
slows the leak of my color
trailing after you

through the hole of your leaving.

Submitted to Poetry Jam.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Store Bought Peach

You're like a store bought peach,
all promise on the outside,
but stone beneath the skin.

I hold you in my farm girl hands,
wise to the sweet weight of ripe
and unmoved by a flawless blush;
there is no give beneath my fingers.

Like a store bought peach,
you'll never soften till you rot.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.