Monday, June 04, 2012

Poems from Anthem, my first collection

This Cocoa Tree Bower, My Prison

Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.

Everything I do is bad and wrong and smells like fish.
Oh sweet Latitia, come back to me, now
that I’m fat and old. Wrap me in the Afghan of your arms
and tell me stories. I’m too sad to clean my toilet,
you must do this for me. I see spots behind my eyes
and open them to the stars. Latitia, something in my pancreas
is killing me. Bring me cookies, the kind you can only get
at Christmas, with colored sugar that looks like salt.
We’ll dip them in milk until they grow soft –
Latitia, all my teeth are gone. I gave them to a man
from Pennsylvania, but my sweet Latitia, it wasn’t love.

* * *

Something Dies in Your Eyes

Wake early while the sun is still fresh and climb
your blessed body up the maypole. When your heart stalls

in the turning lane tell them it was gas, blame
the car; it doesn't know any better than to forgive you

these few trespasses. Those things leaking out of the corners
of your eyes, my son; those are all that remain of the blood

of kings, the womb water of goddesses. So many truths
you carry inside you; tie a string around them and keep them

for later. Someone might want to know something someday.
History marches on your blessed shoulders and your face

like the spike heeled kiss of a winter wind. This is how you know
you are alive. All the world is waiting on you to decide

whether you'll have onion rings or fries for lunch with your burger.
Shamans note your name, my son. These things are important.

Someone once loved you and will again. Someone once gave you
all you'll ever get. Something dies in your eyes and grows and waits

to die again. Save them up like lint, these corpses. Shove your
fingers into your pockets and feel them dampen in your hands.

* * *


I step out to water the hanging fuchsia that is dying
a slow thirst-death by the door,

and I am Edgar Allen Poe. I am seeing
my dead mother in everyone. It comes

over me slowly with the calf of the girl in too-short shorts,
walking by, across the street. She turns, flashes

a skull grin, the kind that never fades.
I want to bury her, brick her up in the basement.

I am supposed to see flesh. Desire is supposed
to wash over me like fire on Gomorrah. All I see

in her thighs is a life waiting to be given. All I see in the mound
where breasts should be is something to be emptied

and ignored. All I see in her face is something that will be used
then thrown away.

* * *
Wednesday Afternoon

Death slept late, missed morning cartoons, had to have lunch
for breakfast cause he stayed up too late blogging.

Met a friend for drinks in the early afternoon, killed
time staring at the waitress's ass. Tried to work up the courage

to ask her out. Probably for the best. Saw Wally on the way
home, couldn't remember the last time they'd jammed.

Wally played a mean saxophone. Death managed bass.
He watched Wally waddle down the sidewalk, his wife Susan

trailing behind, head down, her body sagging like a landfill,
arm stretched behind her, dragging their kid. Ronald?

Death tried not to think of the party, was it five winters before?
When he'd knelt before her, lapping between her legs

like a Labrador, Wally, getting felt up by that skinny girl
from Virginia Tech in the other room.

* * *


Use your eyes like shovels; dig through the smog, the muck
in your head and see the mountains beyond the skyscrapers.
Something is rising like bread within you, but the slightest noise...

Get to high ground. Ford the rivers of traffic, and if your feet
should get wet, just remove your socks before the ice
joins your skin and you lose all feeling for walking or balance.

There is a type of tree they say cries. There is a frog freezes solid
in winter. There is a bird mimics the sound of cell phones. Even
you can recognize this. Let that bit inside you that grows trail out

of your eyeholes. Dribble it down in front of you, and follow it
to something more than made.

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