Thursday, December 17, 2015

When I fell in love at Fleet Farm

The sun was considering rising over Lake Elmo
when I fell in love at the Fleet Farm gas mart
grizzled buzz cut
six feet two eyes of hazel
jeans and boots and well-worn Carhartt
he held open the door for me
and my 24 ounce coffee
(99 cents today, any size)
I said thank you
he winked at me by way of you're welcome
and said into his iPhone, "Well, if you can get a hold
of a big enough syringe, I've got enough
Euthasol to do the job."

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sitting on the ice looking at my bloody thigh

Sitting on the ice looking
at my bloody thigh
wishing to hell I could afford
the cost of digging my cell phone
out of my pocket and calling
for uniformed men and their
I looked around for a tree
or telephone pole
with which to haul myself up
to start the slow limp home
and I saw that the rising sun was sending
red streaks out into the sky
like the streaks of my blood in the snow
I said out loud
red sky in morning
sailor take warning
as if walking on icy sidewalks
is cousin to sailing the ocean

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The cannons shoot cans of tuna

The cannons shoot cans of yellowfin tuna which
the trees duck except the silver birch which
has been truculent since an independent poll
of arborists voted it Least Likely to Survive
Repeated Liftings of the Leg

The houses received offers of ducking classes
for any income level but the houses marked the emails
with a Reminder red flag or a Important red star
and so never opened them again
consequently the houses never learned duckery
and the better suburbs claim dents are all the rage in Paris

Volleys of cans intimidate garage doors
fences are beaten down by the barrage
barred windows prove no barrier

It is widely known but never admitted by the last
remaining flag lapel pin wearers that the ducking skills
of humanity lack reliability and so cans of tuna
have been known to hit them in the head
making the people bleed until they are empty
this damages the label of the tuna can
rendering them less valuable to foreign collectors

Dogs bred to be very smart so long as
they're not smarter than their domesticators often mistake
an incoming can of tuna for a Frisbee
Border Collies have been entirely wiped out
Shih Tzu now herd sheep

It's enough to make a planet develop major depressive disorder
fortunately the earth has a core of iron or perhaps it is granite
we should have paid more attention in geography class
anyway, we're holding on

Thursday, July 9, 2015

If you were a fish

If you were a fish
I wouldn't cut you
into nice chunks
for a chowder
with cream crackers
on the side.

I wouldn't sharpen
my best knife
to make of you
a handsome filet.

I wouldn't stuff you
with Indian rice
and Irish butter
to serve you
whole and proud
on my longest platter.

I would get out
my cleaver
and bring it down
upon you
and bring it down
upon you
and bring it down
upon you
until I had made
you into shreds
fit only for the least
of all fish dishes
fish sticks.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The wind its ass kicked by Canada

The wind its ass kicked by Canada
Searched until it found a
Smaller victim and is now bullying
a solo Siberian maple
Until its blossoms fall in
Clusters yellow on the asphalt
Its trunk bending to shelter them
Or, perhaps, to whisper I’m sorry

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Chickadee Trio

A trio of chickadees
lands on the feeder bar
next to a red-winged blackbird
and for an instant all is an
iStock image keyworded diversity
then Patty Chickadee
hip bumps Maxine
and Maxine hip bumps Laverne
second verse same as the first
and then there's a wing protest
and then there's a squawk
and the blackbird eats the air
flapping his red-tabbed wings
to stay level with the feeder
and yell your mama wears army boots
while the chickadee trio

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What if all of this

What if all of this
is the punishment
for having used pages
of my King James
for rolling papers

(It's thirty years on
and I only took
from the concordance
no red letters
I swear)

What if all of this
is the punishment
for that afternoon
in Whitby Hall
in room 413

(with the view of the maple
I thought of as mine
and the artificial pond
with the artificial name)

What if all of this
would have been different
if I had sacrificed
the onion skin
over the frontispiece sketch
in my 1899 Cranford

(What if all of this
has been
outer darkness)

Monday, March 9, 2015

At some point midstream

At some point midstream
people stop asking how are you
You stand there out of breath
on the rock that is Monday
after making the leap
from the rock that is Sunday
a leap that is equivalent
to translating Beowulf into Western Yiddish
while climbing Everest
on a moonless night
when all you know of Western Yiddish
is gonif and putz and maybe matzoh
when you should have worn something better than sneakers
when the crank to the crank flashlight
won't crank

Monday, January 12, 2015

Therapy Dog

So small is the woman
her wheelchair looms around her
like a man's boot
looms around a child's foot

So thin is the woman
her bones are like
bent grasses waiting
under an iced over pond

So silent is the woman
death is her only voice
and he whispers
walk on she's mine

And so I walk on past her
but the dog turns back
stands before her
and rests his muzzle on her knee

Friday, January 2, 2015


My fists raised
I wake up
In the doorway
Of my bedroom
In the dark
And then I feel the dog
standing beside me
leaning hard against my thigh

And I bend down
To put my arms around him
And the rise and fall
Of his breath
Feels warm against my damp shirt
And I say to him It's okay
It's okay now
And I know I am talking
To myself 

Dr. Rx says knowing the details
Won't change a thing
Don't go lifting up rocks
You think it will help
To see what crawls beneath
But it doesn't work that way
I see her point
In the day in an office
Filled with fluorescent light
But in the night
In the dark
In the doorway
Of my bedroom
I want to know my enemy
For who he is
So that I can see the whites of his eyes
So that I can kill him
So that the dog and I
Can sleep