Barren

Playing solitaire
in the desert I lost
the two of hearts
in the sand
beneath the bones
of a long abandoned
swing set jutting
up like the ghostly
bones of Chernobyl
so I sat silently
Alone
The sun branding
my arms with scars
I had lost
An unwinnable farce
without two hearts
joined and strong
Even the scorpions
paused their
crawling
Longing

So . . .

I don’t write all that much
due to long intervals of
not giving a fuck
and liquorice black
depression that creeps up –
or maybe not up but in,
or maybe it just sinks
down around me like a
cloud without wind
But there’s profit
to be had from
sadness, a spendable
commodity in poetry
where joy doesn’t
pay as well
as trips
across hell
and see? It
carried me
through this poem
and that’s swell

Once, No More

I remember Earl’s
growing up
A dump where
you could buy
five burgers
for a buck
then pass through
a doorless door
and spend your
quarters and
your luck
at the smoke
swaddled pool tables
stained with beer
And a few times
mom sent me there
to round up dad
who didn’t fare too bad
for a one-handed man
Then there was
Double D’s
alone on a hill
outside of the town
where I live now
Steamed crabs
by the bushel
Ashtrays on
picnic tables
and lots of
biker muscle
always hanging out
A certified dive
that thrived
Long ago bulldozed
Imposed upon by
the drug scene
of a Walgreens
And a Walmart
And a Target
And a PetSmart
I should have
captured some
pictures but
I figured
nothing would change
Everything was going
to stay the same
and never go away
I’m still guilty
of that fantasy
today

Mismatch.com

Hair pulled back
severely
Dress zipped the same
Nearly
A clock wound
too tight
for the poor fellow
she’s with to read
the time right
He’s glass eyed
Mystified
The dating app lied
One or both fakers
That Member’s Only
windbreaker can’t
save him
She stands straight in
stiff-lipped silent pain
A shame that the lovely
winery bears the strain
of this awkward date
Everyone looking away
Sipping hesitantly

Strolling Through a Friday Mind

Standing over six feet three
and one-hundred 95 pounds
I’m all elbows
in the shower
Hard to know what
I’ll knock down
Bent wings jutting
out like a raptor
riding a thermal
sans elegance
and grace
But I can
place the beans
on the top shelf
and peer over most
everyone else
at the mall
so a banged up shower
is a small
price to pay
And what is it with
the long introductions
to poetry books anyway?
I came
to read
the poetry not
prognosticating
about what it means
That’s for me
to glean
The literary equivalent
to banging my elbows
before I get clean

In Truth

All we need to know
is whispered
by the leaves
of oak trees

and all we need to see
to believe
becomes clear
when a hawk
takes wing

A soul can’t be discerned
over the din of
trifling concerns
All the clutter
we place first
creates only
a dearth
of hope

Fisherman’s Dream

He sits on the couch
with the pain in his back,
concerned by the lack
of words reaching his mind
despite the flood he feels inside
A life’s worth of wonder dammed up
in a swollen lake just shy
of the medulla oblongata
The pressure
tangible and intense
but no sirens sound
downstream
Nothing is being released
The dam is strong, ancient
Created with great precision
The finest hand hewed blocks
of repression seamlessly joined
with blood and broken dreams
Only rarely a leak
to allow a few tears of
frustration to trickle
over the spillway and
down his concrete cheeks
If only he could reach
that lake of genius!
Pristine and deep
Full of frolicking
silver-sided ideas
Stocked without fail
year after year and
never an angler touched
Oh, he got a line in
from time to time
but only landed a
a few small fry
because he got scared
Scared of what he might find
in that icy deep, of
what monster might drag
him in and drown him
So he waits on
the high ground
Waits for the sound
of that first crack
when the lake can
no longer be held back
and releases pure rivers
of sparkling brilliance
to flow freely through
the dry chambers
of his mind

Mere Flesh After All

How sadly mortal
I am
in the grip of
great pain
How sadly mortal
and bent
wondering
where my cape went
Grounded
Pounded down
Shuffling around
How sadly
magnificently mortal
How heartrendingly human
I am
Standing
defiantly
with the rest
of the
damned

Ease Up!

Be a friend
to yourself
Everyone else
will be easier
and life more
pleasing
Seizing
one’s own soul
by the throat
every day
is no way
to behave
towards the
greatest gift
ever conveyed
The mistakes
we make are
human not
dooming
documents
determining
our worth
We all matter
equally
Ease up and
you will see

Sabotage

Funny what becomes
important when
avoiding
some other thing
which the day
before
served
to avoid
today’s
important
thing
Always running
to the out
throughout life
we extinguish
the light
of what greatness
might have been
were it not
for tending
so
many
little
candles