Friday, June 27, 2014

Two short sequels

Sixteen years later

he walks down a hallway counting his steps
out of habit.  The polished wooden floor
reflects a comet tail spilling milky
from a tear drop light that plumbs the sink, splits
the glassy black slate of night. He fills
his glass come face to face with a geezer
framed on black velvet.  Parched but too polite
to take the first drink a toast is proposed
to break the impasse, “To the ravages
of time”, drawing hands across lips before
heading for bed, carefully retracing
his steps in the thin celestial dust.    

she unloads flower flats from the cozy
hatch of the car bought on a dizzying  
down and trade in of the emblematic
Marquis, aromatic as the walk in
closet before she jettisoned vacant
shirts and slacks, amusing herself briefly
with heady pangs of recognition real
or imagined, thrilling to place mismatched
Salvation Army bargain buys on some
tattooed lummox out for an evening stroll.
“High time I yank these muscling junipers”,
buoyant, inhaling lush perfumed palettes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

For GMH (revision)

3 P.M.

Toiling, tolling on a blistering day,  
shadows poking their noses where they
don’t belong, patch of burley a furnace.
Lamp green fountains at parade rest out past
the wind break.  Strange, bells in the yawn
between dinner time and supper time,
Henderson Chapel dozing mute in the
oxbow of the Little Pigeon River,
topping knife gnawing a memory
in the tender palm of your hand.   

Fort McPherson filtered through piney
woods,  a livid rash on red Georgia clay,
caking your boots coating your tongue sucking
last sweet drops of marrow from boyhoods
rib bone.  Bells?  On a rifle range?  slicing
through cold drenching rain, needling spittle
from bellicose sergeants pretending
not to hear plaintive peels between cracking
Garand’s, sagging paper target a stand
in for some farm boy from Hokkaido.  

Solemn chimes riming rackety chatter
from the CB radio, prickling your
neck, limning the approach of something
roused dowsing for a heartbeat down the line. 
West Virginia three-way split, fresh gash
in a runaway truck ramp oozes odds in
your favor so pedal-to-the-metal.
Youngstown by midnight, hint of actinic
keratosis riding shotgun on your
sunny window arm, clinging for its life.

Seventy-one Thanksgivings seventy-one
heaping helpings not to mention seconds. 
“Another piece of pumpkin pie?” well why
the hell not?  After all, I mean, you know,
considering.  L Tryptophan might
explain the tears but those confounded
bells, drowning out the ones you begat
reading In The Night Kitchen on the sofa
for the seventy-first consecutive
time, across the room yet miles away.

Tolling, tolling, warm for late December,
leaden sea laden air keeps to the coasts.
Too late to make the early buffet in
Kissimmee, metallic din a swelling  
companion piece to the final flutterings
of a broken finch flagging against its
cage.  Scale a ladder just shy of 3 p.m. 
so like you, an early exit to beat
the traffic.  One last look, it tolls for you
sweetly, sweetly like the Bells of Rhymney. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Easy spare

Thunderstorm Sonnet

The hell with Putnam’s Bowling Alone
Wednesday night’s league night, been waiting all day
all those mewling “forgive me” ‘s, “I will atone” ‘s
Or “Just this once if you would kindly save

my sorry bacon, I give you my word"
blah, blah, blah and blah.  That one really drives
Me bat shit, but when they take up the sword  
in My name My forehead breaks out in hives.

On with my embroidered shirt, shoes and ball
in hand, some folding cash to buy a round
down at the Lucky Strike where one and all  
feel like gods for a frame or two, the sound

of a juke to drown out harps and angels
world peace they plead, I’ll just let ‘em dangle.  

Blank revised


My father was a quarryman, hands at home
On a welded wheel, fingers stiff, waiting for sun
To clear the lip of the pit, an artist is his own way

Content to read the grain through an emery palm
Leaving the rest to rain and wind.  My mother on the other
Hand was a chiseler with a syncopated mallet

No stranger to the fluter and veiner, fine dust felting
Her coffee, laboring late, ankle deep in drifting flake
Humming as she whittled down to the quick. 

This morning, seeing my chance, right hand freed
In the wee, wee hours, I hacked out feet and a face
Only a mother could love, raking footprints clean as I left.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Catch, revision


An eternity spent back peddling
On your lofted rocket through
Unruly mobs of leafy canopy

Teeming green at the ragged
Edges, frowzy on slender stems
Chastened one by one in dying

Light, pooling gold where
I waded gloved, judging
Then misjudging parked cars

Engulfed in swirling eddies
Only to lose the ball
Against chalk white skies

Stricken with glazed black lattice
Tracking the parabolic frown
To jaunty robins hawking spring

Like it was something new
Under the sun, making the snag
At the curb, in the webbing, on the fly

Off my stride for the return
Throw, taking time to plant
My feet and read the Braille of 

Infinite stitching, a farewell 
Note to say you hadn’t
forgotten to pack your glove.