Thursday, September 18, 2014

TFLN Poem - Conversation, Carnality


Here's this week's poem.

Here’s what I didn’t do:
Park the Saturn atop some
Cliffside, mountainous overlook.
Have my shirt prepped with two loose buttons
-          sprig of chest hair winking out of the seams.
Stretch and drape my arm around her milky shoulders.

I didn’t do this. 

We were pretty wired from watching the play,
Nestled shoulder to shoulder.
A few fingers grazed here and there, shifting a program,
Adjusting a coat. 
And now, at this point,
Talking.   Offering dissenting takes on Restoration Comedy.
She, wicked and clever, and peppered with salty speech.

My id struck, as I was clearly losing the battle of wits.
I tickled her.  Her body lurched and shuddered as she giggled.
Suddenly, her cheek cradled my lips and my right hand
Cupped her breast. An accident, both.

Yet, in that moment. We collectively inhaled and accepted.
She took my other hand, demanded symmetry.
I nibbled softly on her quickly reddening cheek, turned,
And found the other, patient and cool to the yielding touch.

Then, at last, we peered, hunger to hunger,
Mouth to mouth.  Ravenous, without words.
Not being clever or droll. Finally speaking.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

DD Poem - A Divorced Dad Punches a Wall


Here's this week's Divorced Dad poem.

A Divorced Dad Punches a Wall

He knew what he was doing.
He saw where the picture
Of the inspirational red Maserati was framed.
Cocked his fist,
Pushed up his glasses,
Moved his arm six inches to the right
(avoiding the unyielding stud)
And was gratified.
The drywall shivered into a gust of speckled powder
And the surface shook
And the skin on his right ring finger snagged a screw
-          But did not bleed –
Once done, like in all erotic acts,
He found himself humbled
With the clumsy task of extrication.
Using his second hand as leverage
To winch out the caged limb.
The hole now open, he peered
Into the mess he made, and sighed.
The walls, they're just air, cheap gypsum board,
And wood.
Not concrete like his childhood.

Nothing really lasts anymore.

Nothing holds up under the sudden fist of misery.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

TFLN Poem - Crow, Consciousness

Taking the stairs up
Two at a time, I was marinating
In the instant replays of time spent
With a crush.  Filtering and sifting through the
Tone, the words, the lift of her lip.   I, I have been far too
Misguided in my kinship findings all my life. I wanted
To be matter of fact. Before I cleared my throat, stuck out my neck,
Made myself plain, held my breath, and deepened the mystery
In her company. Would she have my company.

While this quiet suffering took hold of me,
I failed to notice a thin, bearded
Stranger in an orange, checkered sweater
And a plaintive, transfixed grin, who
Not so such descended the same stairs
As threw himself towards me.

We collided.   I caught the railing,
Prevented us from falling.
His grin, forlorn and never failing,
Thanked me.  Then, he tapped me on the shoulder,
Raced back up the stairwell, and I followed.

Upon rejoining him, he offered me a lit cigarette,
And pointed, with slight reverence,
To the distance,
At a tussle of wings,
And a mottled, , mutilated crow
Marking a pace round
Itself.   A compass of blood growing thinner and thinner.

Been hours, the stranger whispered.
He’s made that circle for hours.  And just minutes ago,
I think the bird has made his peace. 

And with that, we smoked and watched the creature
Spin into smaller and smaller whorls
Until the light diminished from its eyes
And he toppled onto the cold concrete.

He was witnessed. That was his legacy. 

We buried him. We kept his story.

We photographed the art he made.

That was the very first time I met Howard,

That was how I began to intuit this world externally,
And imperfectly act in it, unafraid.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

DD - A Divorced Dad Plans His Funeral


Here's today's Divorced Dad Poem.

A Divorced Dad Plans His Funeral

By the fourth hastily sipped scotch,
And the frustrated efforts to find an old college crush
On Facebook  (Did she marry,
Never pick up the desperate strain of self-broadcasting,
Did she ever move to Zambia and build wells for the Peace Corp,
Like she wanted)
There’s an unkempt pocket of yearning.
Itching, itching away.  Between his ribs.

Like a sparrow, rising with the morning sun,
Scratching at the dirt for kernels of corn.

So he opens a desk drawer. Seizes a pen,
A legal pad. Scrawls on the top:
MY FUNERAL.  He’s gonna bullet point this,
He decides.  Simple, precise.

He nods with fervor, struggling to raise his head.

Item two:  OPEN BAR.
Item three: NO SPEECHES.
Item four: I’M SERIOUS. 
Item five (he refills the glass, fifth scotch): MAKE ME INTO A PINATA.

And he stops. Marvels at the sheer brilliance of the request.


Nearly there, he reasons. The world’s getting wobbly.


Complete.  Those who hated him, his imperfect indiscretions, his garlic breath, his
Own ramshackle fumblings with physical
And the muddy practice of interpersonal love,
These poor creatures can at last be mollified.
They can come together,
Swing and curse and cry.
They can smash open his thin skin.
Wrench away the treasures, the value.
Collaborate, his chorus of disappointed attendants, in a final peace.

And with his list complete,
The last bit of energy fizzles.
He passes out, head to the desk,
Stray hand knocking the glass onto the pad.
Rendering the letters into a smudgy, water-logged mystery.

He sleeps, and as he sleeps, the sparrow in his heart
Tucks his beak into his wing, and closes his eyes,  in a temporary rest.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

TFLN Poem - Panties, Presence


Here's this week's poem.

You were sleeping. You always sleep so easily.
And I had taken to plucking out my eyebrows in the dark, indiscriminately.
Pinches at a time. Something to arrest the nerves, to stop me from waking you
And pressing: Just where are we going?   

What company shall we keep?

What names shall we offer each other and to the inquiring world?

Will you still adore my beastly nose when time’s novelty has waned?

Will you hold your breath at my clenched, rote resignation?

A hive of questions.  A muddy, sullied mind.
An urge to clean. I rose, entered your bathroom,
Stripped off my weathered, black panties
Turned on the taps
And, eyes closed, used your hand soap
To scrub and winch out the sweat collected.

Thus done, I held the soggy mass,
Wringed it out.    And instantly, a wash of regret
Pinned me down to the floor.  I was naked in your apartment,
Alone and quiet.   Unprotected.    A remedy had to be found.

Microwave, it was.  I tried a minute on the timer at first,
But all that did was just make the fabric more humid and moist.
So I set it to five.   Watched the elastic of the underwear press itself
Close and apart, like hands in prayer.  Rising and falling.
Then the carousel jammed.   Then, a corner of the fabric snagged the
Metal wall. A gust of smoke and burning human hair and cotton.  I screamed,
Yanked the plug, grabbed some tongs, ripped out the carcass,
Threw it in the sink, and turned
To find your sleepy, hurried face standing in the kitchen.

You said nothing. You paused, took in the wreckage, my shivering frame,
You opened up your arms, we held each other.
And finally, with words,
You whispered: Love, I’m here.  I am here.

And ,buried in your raft of chest hair,
I sobbed, and nodded.  Because I knew
I wanted to be connected, in this fragile moment,  too.  
Scary as that testament may portend.
I wanted to be here.