Monday, June 12, 2017

Whiskey

I need some comfort tonight.  I pour whiskey
over ice, just submerging the frozen blocks.
I take a sip and the novelty burns
slowly down by throat.  I turn the page.
I read, reread my favorite poetry:
Digging, Death of a Naturalist, Follower;
I take a drink.
It burns less as I read Personal Helicon and Antaeus.
A 1966 comfort
against the heavy Irish rain and smell of potato mold.

I turn to Whitman with my next sip:
larger this time with shards of ice sliding down my throat.

"of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow because most full of love."
Last night I cried with no one to kiss away my tears.

I take another sip and flip through
Leaves of Grass until I come to an old,
folded paper; names of former students:
Tatum with Dylan
Alyssa with Eli
Why did I put Joey with Amy?
Why is this memory lost, stuck between
Song of Myself versus 6 and 7?

"What is the grass?"
I take a final sip, smell warm dead grass
handfuls pressed underneath my nose.  I inhale
deeply and close my eyes.  This is my song;
my comfort.  This is myself I sing, interrupting
myself to ponder in silence.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Petrichor

She smells of the sun
and sounds like summer sun
showers smashing into dry, dusty asphalt.

She bursts into rooms like fizzes of
aromatic aerosols, telling me, asking me,
showing me; creating memories she can draw from
when reading a beach novel, warm sand
heating her towel and she can't quite put her finger
on it: palpabilis.
Or when she touches an unknown word.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Death

The way you describe Death
in that last poem
as a mysterious traveler
with no sense of direction,
counters everything I've ever thought
about the subject.

Perhaps the death of my Grandfather,
sudden and shocking,
or all of my childhood pets
playing now, on a giant open farm
near the moors of the Yorkshire countryside
as I was told:
they all go once Death meets them.

Most likely, though,
my mother's death
solidified the concept for me.
Her beautiful, bountiful, golden curls,
bouncing from her shoulders
like one of Charlie's Angels
as she walked hand in hand with Death
one afternoon down Hermosa Beach.

You see, to me, Death is lonely
and needs such company.
Death is an animal lover
and enjoys watching fields of dogs,
guinea pigs, birds, cats, mice, and still others
frolicking together.

Death needs grandfathers to teach
how to fish, hunt, and put together
a bicycle chain.

Death needs grandmothers to care,
filling their little farmhouse
with smells of German food,
baked breads, sweet rolls:
warm smells.

But, most importantly, Death needs
a beautiful companion,
such as my Mom,
to warm the bed on those
deathly cold, November nights.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Aubade

I will think of you
alone in your study
4:00 AM blinking on the plastic face of the clock,

or perhaps you have an old grandfather clock:
long chains attached to circular disks,
slowly ticking the moments.

I will think of you
awaiting the first bird to deliver his call,
those 3 notes.

I will think of you
while I am putting on my socks,
lacing up my running shoes,
fighting my inner daemons of laziness,
plugging in my iPod,
putting in my earbuds,

awaiting aubade.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Perdita

I'm holding her hand, tighter than I realize,
as we serpentine through the crowd,
when I realize that I'm lost.
I know where I'm walking, the benefit
of living in a decade where I am always the
center of every digital map; watching my haloed
triangle, stylized for effect, gliding toward
that red, inverted-drop-shaped destination

Omnia perdita sunt.

I'm disregulated, close my eyes
to oneiric images of my father
dragging me to the bathroom,
stripping off my clothes, yelling.
Hot tears dissolve in the steam-filled
shower, as I shit myself.
His breath spews forth like lava,
molten magma, scarring my body,
callousing my ten-year-old skin.

In extremis: my memory fades to black.

We've crossed the street, skipping across each
crosswalk stripe, arriving at the park.
My son's run off ahead, fearless and rugged:
Appaloosas galloping in the still-warm dusk.
I hesitate before letting go of her hand,
quickly desperate to never let go of her hand.
We walk toward the swing-set.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Poems of Billy Collins

The Poems of Billy Collins--
I shouldn't be surprised
that I'm writing again.
It only takes about

half-a-dozen of your poems
to cause that itch,
forcing me to write again.

Do you use special ink?
Magical, mind-altering ink pens?
or are your books laced
with a drug that eliminates

even the most stubborn
writer's block?

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Lost Ideas

I’ve had
more attempts of
poems
than poems.

I have sat,
pen in hand;
(actually,
open laptop,
white screen,
blinking cursor,
fingertips pressed lightly
on the keys,
almost feeling each letter)
to be more accurate.)

I almost hate
when an idea hits me,
square on the back
of my head,
like a hot slap,
after a sarcastic remark
to my father.
If I do not have
pen and paper,
computer and outlet,
the idea is lost.

So, I run
frantically
looking for
napkins,
tablecloths,
scraps of paper,
a pencil, pen, marker.
I would use a knife
and write in my own
blood,
if the idea was
that good.

Most of the time,
I wait,
looking over my shoulder,
for a periodic
slap,
that is a poem.