Time

I opened my eyes
Rolled over to squint
at the clock
Its arms at seven
I sighed
closed my eyes for a second
Stretched
Opened them again and it was nine
Just like that
And in that brief instant
I ran a large grocery
and fired a cashier
and I think back to
all the times I’ve
began a sentence with
“when I was in my twenties”
as if that was relevant
or even real . . .

I only closed my eyes for a second

Pekingese Paradise

When I peel open
the American Cheese
their little butts get to squirmin’

And no they don’t care
that it’s not really cheese
They’re not known for their learnin’

So now you’re aware that
a Peke’s paradise
comes by the slice
and satisfies every yearnin’

One Time in Memphis

we were sitting in Handy Park
Down past the pulsing neon
Past those human bug zappers that
attract the wide-eyed and their
wallets like so many hapless moths
Sitting and watching a Stevie Ray Vaughn
knock off band sweat through the
standards in the oppressive breath
of Memphis in July when what
did our eyes behold but a
very large woman in an equally
large flowered dress rest her ample
back against the cinder block wall
that housed the public toilets
and proceed to squat and piss
on the concrete
The sound akin to a cow
casually relieving itself
on a flat rock and she
content and oblivious to
the urine pooling around
her tattered flip flops
or who might be watching
and the blues played on and
no one gave the egregious breach
of etiquette much thought

Such is life in the city

Cold Clutch

The cedars are drunk
from too much ice
Swaying heavily like
a hopeless lush striving
courageously to remain
between the
sidewalk’s edges
they both
eventually
will begin to weep
releasing their frozen heart’s
burdens to return to the earth

Rough Winter (Hand Lotion Blues)

The backs of my hands
have begun their
unhappy metamorphosis
First a coating of
fine grit sandpaper
that will soon bloom
into two sheets of
coarser grit that will
catch in my sweater sleeves
as my hand passes through and

Finally

Used
coarse
grit
cracked
bleeding
not at all
appealing
this gift
from winter
and all the lotions
are greasy despite
the lines the
marketers
feed me

But they know
I need it

All hoping to be the one
that sees my money

How Now Lowbrow Cow

My aunt Janie raised
beef cattle for a living
in West Virginia
I spent a few summers up
there helping out when
I was younger and something
she said stuck in my head –
that a Holstein was the
dumbest cow alive.
Now, try as I might, for
the life of me I can’t
arrive at what kind of
bovine behavior could
clearly brand it as the
“dumb one” among its
cud-chewing kin.
My aunt has passed
so I can’t ask and
it’s troubling my mind
What do they do?
Miss the door and
face-plant into the
side of the barn?
Do they try to climb
on the tractor and
crow at dawn?
Stare directly at the
sun until blind?
Sit down to pee?
It’s a mystery
to me – I find
myself in a
cow conundrum
Drifting through
the great unknown
of dairy cow conduct

Thank You, Jane

Reading Jane Kenyon
is my chosen
defense against
the cold wet
darkness outside
that is insidiously
sliding into
my soul
How easily she writes
of cats rolling on
sunny rugs and
poppies shouting
from far fields
and even on less
pleasant subjects
her words feel like
a healing balm
There is an ease
there, a warmth
in her flow that
becomes a cozy
cocoon – a true
testament to what
great poetry can do