DICKENSON IS WRONG (August Postcard Poem 2017)

He sits in a beach chair,

on the fire escape balcony,

the sweltering heat

encasing him in amber.

 

At his feet sits a seedling,

ghostlike, ethereal,

thriving in a yogurt cup

filled with soil of Babylon.

 

He sings lullabies of anguish,

in cryptic lyrics of despair,

positions a dented watering can

to catch his monsoon of tears.

 

“Hope is not the thing with feathers,”

he mumbles out to no one,

rotating the fragile seedling

in its worship of the sun.

 

“Hope is a seedling,

just barely visible,

watered in sorrow,

exposed to the light.”

 

Copyright 2017

 

 

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HOME BOY AND THE ZEN SHIT (August Postcard Poem 2017)

Home Boy is the Thursday night bartender at Thirsty Ben’s.

 

Buddha arrives at 8:08,

not one minute earlier or later.

 

He has a thing for the number eight,

upended infinity begging for a reprieve.

 

The beer and wings crowd has actually noticed,

leaving the end stool perpetually open.

 

But only on Thursdays, the night of the Buddha.

 

Neighborhood ritual is highly respected.

 

At exactly 8:08, the door to Ben’s opens,

the sea of testosterone parts for the prophet.

 

Buddha wears black Converse, cargo shorts, a t-shirt,

retro Magic Eight Ball silkscreened on front.

 

Home Boy starts the blender,

adds opinion, skewered fact,

mixes a cocktail of convolution:

politics, philosophy, religion,

with a finishing jigger of racy hood gossip.

 

A garnish of ego tops off the drink.

 

Buddha is offered this signature cocktail,

though he always declines,

yet pays just the same.

 

Home Boy sighs and murmurs:

“Just the usual then,”

retrieving the sake off the top shelf,

adding just one ice cube,

clear as the truth,

strong in its pleasure,

so like the man.

 

Copyright 2017

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN (August Postcard Poetry 2017)

He sat there

cross-legged on the dining room floor,

devouring every move

as if it were new.

 

She sat

in the kitchen,

on a lone folding chair,

bathed in the moonlight, cello  at her feet.

 

Clad only in a white slip,

no jewelry,

no shoes,

she unloosed her hair,

set herself free.

 

He forgot

how to breathe,

anticipating the moment,

for this was the way

it always began.

 

Cradling the cello,

between open knees,

she caressed the strings,

disappeared in herself.

 

Eyes closed tightly,

she became his stranger,

the look on her face

a painful reminder.

 

He arose

from the floor,

stood transfixed behind her,

his breath

on her neck

a reminder of presence.

 

Placing a hand

on the small of her back,

an open palm

on the face of the cello,

he held her somewhere

between body and sound.

 

And that’s where he lived,

on the edge of all silence,

though she made him believe

he could always hear her.

 

Copyright 2017

THERE’S A NEW GOD IN TOWN (August Postcard Poetry 2017)

Using tweezers and a magnifying glass,

he gingerly places another angel

on the head of a pin.

 

He has refined his technique

of pinching the wings together

in order to avoid damage

to the heavenly bodies.

 

So what if a halo

is lost in the process?

It just breaks the focus

of clear lines anyway.

And clean lines are imperative

in dance.

 

He is up to five angels now,

a new world record.

 

He presses play

and “Rich Man’s Frug”

from “Sweet Charity”

saturates the paneled workshop.

 

The angels are flawless,

every movement,

every step,

a direct channel

to Fosse’s choreography,

all delicately performed

under the gigantic blue eye.

 

Tomorrow

he will try for six angels,

dancing to Twyla’s

“Push Comes To Shove.”

 

Copyright 2017

 

 

HOW TO KIDNAP A POET (August Postcard Poetry 2017)

Find the shoebox that housed Mary Magdalene’s black stilettos.

Ditch the pumps before the apostles arrive.

Keep the box.

 

Take Salvador Dali out for a night of cheap beer and wings

then bring him back to your apartment.

 

Gift him a small plastic tray of cake watercolors

and a paintbrush dipped in sweat.

Set him loose on the shoebox.

 

Maintain a constant loop of Jimi Hendrix on the stereo,

ideally at 80 decibels, no higher or lower.

 

Hail a cab for Dali and send him packing

when the imagery becomes frightening.

 

Line the box with tissue paper woven from irrelevant ideas,

the more erratic the better.

 

Sharpen an exacto knife on Satan’s top molars,

being sure to pay the devil his due.

 

Slice out the longest-bodied noun

on page 214 of the Oxford English Dictionary, pre-1971,

careful to openly sing its praises

until the word is safely ensconced in the box.

 

Continue to flip through the lexicon

until a hyperactive verb vaults out.

 

Grab it immediately by the tail,

careful not to harm any soft vowels.

 

Dump it inside the box.

The noun will exert a calming influence.

 

Gentle humming will ensue.

Pay no attention.

 

Before securing the lid,

add a drop of cheap bourbon

and the dead ashes of a French cigarette.

 

Tie the box securely with a string of expletives

and escort the package

to a pre-determined coffee-house.

 

Find a secluded table in the back

and set the trap.

 

He had kidnapped over thirty-six poets

using this method

but never once received any ransom.

 

Copyright 2017

SMOKE AND MIRRORS (August Postcard Poetry Fest 2017)

When he was young,

his uncle had told him

that the moon

was made of cheese.

 

From that point on,

he had ecstatically consumed

every Muenster, Cheddar,

and Swiss encountered.

 

He burgeoned into

“l’activiste du fromage,”

cultivating no discrimination

as to nationality, taste, or age.

 

If there was

a chunk of the moon

fallen to Earth,

he was the first

to consume its magic.

 

No one had ever

enlightened him

to the fact that the moon

was merely a reflector.

The sun did it all.

 

On its own,

the moon is only

a pock-marked stone satellite,

incapable of even

a cigarette’s glow.

 

Still, he clung

to the lunar cheese theory,

waxing,

never waning,

until the total eclipse.

 

Copyright 2017