Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Devotional

April is a reckoning,
a beckoning
of robins -
one to build,
one to sing,
both fat from seed I've spilled.

Kissing bees,
the lilacs list,
lips slick and plump with pollen.

Bees buzz with the promise
of honey
and of sting.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hands

More sketch than sonnet,
her spun sugar hands
faint with freesia
and the latest need met.
She is my soft path
past all regret.
She is the high road
I've never taken.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I Was There

I was there - could she hear
my feeble comforts in her ear
or does nothing
carry clear into that wait?

All my tears
and snot and sobs
in the breach -
couldn't stop
the stilling spirit
come to rob,
come to take.

So I bargain with the beast -
come and gather,
go in peace.
But after all of this
at least
give me a sign

that she goes to a better place
into gentle arms of grace.
But all I get -
an open grave.
Faith is not kind.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Old Mother

Old Mother Old Mother in her small, country home,
her days as coquette long journalled and gone,
lit her last lamp at midnight, then pulled from the sea
a woman of knowing robbed, cruel, from a dream.

Her hands were pure pages from the book of the heart,
tattooed with sonnets, the foundation of art.
The skull of a mouse and the skull of a man
rode on each shoulder and spoke in slow stanzas

rich with the romance of suicide seas
to gentle Old Mother down to her knees
to bare breast and bone to the touch of the tide -
then fully alive, she died.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Christening

Woman swallows a star
and calls it hope.
The smoke and burn,
she names desire
and likens labor's pain to love.
Birth, she christens fire.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Note:  I have three poems in the September issue  of Ygdrasil (click over, scroll down to September 2016; it's a free PDF download).  If you have a minute, check it out!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

This Skin

This skin is too thin
and a size too small;
I'd like to make a return
and exchange it
for something a little more "in"
and less likely to wrinkle and burn.

I'll need something fair
that goes with my hair
and take off a decade or two.

This tacky old skin
has never been
a good fit; I want something new.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Quickening

When there is nowhere left to bury
bodies.  When throats are slit silent.
When our last language is a creaking of the gallows.
When all of our best are beneath us.
When those above us are saliva slick teeth -
spring trap jaws, snapping and grinding.
When all of the colors of collateral damage
have fallen face first in the dust.
When every bandage is a rusty ruin soaked through.
When there's noting left to do,
but cauterize the wounds
and sear the flesh.

Yes -
the quickening of burning.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Gray Man

We're afraid.
With the internet, any fool can make a bomb.
We're not safe.
Not our selves, our jobs, our kids, our place
in the world; it's a race
to the bottom,
the breakneck bottom,
of a fall.

So let's kill them all.
Build a big, beautiful wall.
Make America white again -
show her might again.
Our leadership these last
few years has been (black)
weak and stupid.
What we need now
is strength (not a woman).
Only I (an old, rich,
heterosexual, Caucasian male)
can fix this
(hateful, hateful
browning).

But it's unfair to only air the nasty
sound(ing) bit(e)s.
Some of them, I guess,
are good people, right?
Deport eleven million
or two million
or just the bad ones.
And ban all Muslims -
well, not forever, just until
we figure out what
the hell
is going on and come up
with an ideology test
'Merican as apple pie
and Kardashians.
There's my African-American!
Black Lives Matter.
Every time a black woman dies
by gun violence
a Twitter bird
gets its wings.
What have you got
to lose?  And Blue
Lives Matter, too.  Let's arm
everyone.
More Kevlar,
less health care.
Sick cops are low
energy and boring.
Our military,
our heroes in uniform,
deserve our utmost respect
(don't you dare exercise a right
they fought for by kneeling
during the national anthem),
but I know more abut ISIS.
I studied military strategy
during my numerous deferments.

What is a simple soft target
like me or you to do?
I'm as base an animal as any.
My ears are tuned to self-preservation.
But if the enemy of my enemy
is also my enemy,
who is my friend?
Not him,
not some empty man of gray -
the sorry sum of left unsaid
and what he can't unsay.

A rough draft rant for The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Norman's Finest

Norman's finest waits
at the end of my street
in case my dogs bark.

My neighbor called in a tip;
swore he heard a yip
or maybe a growl.

It'd been a while since I'd seen
a man so buff
carrying handcuffs -

enough to drive a woman
to kick her dog
to make it howl.

Note: True story!  The police officer that came to my door was just a kid, but he was HUGE. Coincidentally, I read a story in my local paper about him just a few days later; he's a world class competitive bodybuilder.  Not to be outdone, the neighbor mentioned in the poem is a world class asshat.

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ngombi


Ngombi - Metropolitan Museum of Art - Photo by Margaret Bednar


Frail in this fall through world -
so merely mortal,
so innocently ignorant -

your evil is endless
and your better angels sleep.
Even the stones weep.

All of the mother's tongues have forked.
Their legs have spread; their eyes 
are rolled back in painted gourd heads

Unheld, you hold a virgin instead -
stroke her neck, ride
her belly on your thighs.

Let the thin string question high,
and the God string grumble low.
Silly Sister of your creator,

it's you who plucks them both.

A rough draft for Margaret's very cool prompt at Real Toads.

Note: I have some new poems in the fall issue of MockingHeart Review.  Check them out here; I'd love to know what you think!