Friday, October 31, 2014


Period Ending

What I remember from the period
ending February sixteen nineteen
seventy-five would fit inside the o
near the end of Filippo’s with room to

spare for all the beer we drank on the sly
late nights on the kitchen crew with space left
over for seventeen dollars ninety-
eight cents, my net pay for the period

ending one cold gray winter day.   Seven
hours and thirty minutes at two sixty
five an hour comes out to one hundred and
sixty hours thirty minutes to spare

in a period ending aimless two
days after Valentines Day, a few weeks
into winter semester at Macomb
Community College where I studied

patterns in the acoustic ceiling tile
when I wasn’t reading Kurt Vonnegut
in the solitude of the library. 
Cat’s Cradle has gone brittle and yellow

as the pay stub that fluttered free last week
returned to announce one dollar sixteen
cents paid to FICA will be mine all mine
a few short years from now and once again

exhort me to Detach Retain, advice
I still find ambiguous sitting by
this window, dusk erasing my dog eared
Vonnegut in the period ending. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crazy Rhythm


Django Reinhardt played hot guitar sissoring
Two surviving fingers against the neck perhaps a
Roma homage to the uncanny arithmetic of fire accident
Of subtraction yielding extravagant sums of jazz.

But you’re no Django Reinhardt and I’m no St├ęphane Grappelli
Gigging between wars with the Quintette du Hot Club de France
Who never passed through Roseville on a swing through the Rustbelt
But can we agree that “Crazy Rhythm” or “Tiger Rag”

Match the tempo of events the night I severed the tip
Of your finger in the bedroom door blood if not hot
Gypsy blood oozing through Kleenex lights blazing
In every room mom keening all the way to St. John’s 

Dad doing what he did best white knuckling the wheel
Church to Kelly counting backward from 10 Mile to twilight
By the time they turned east on Moross retracing his route to retrieve
Your squib from down low on the jamb lights left blazing

Open throated Chrysler carb inhaling gulps of east side night
Fingering the twist of Kleenex in the pocket of a Pendleton shirt
Wool plaid they last forever who would blame him for wool
Gathering waiting for the light at 8 Mile running toward the emergency

Entrance the way big men run belly out elbows in chin down
But by then you were sedated and asleep nursing an abbreviated
Finger perhaps wincing a little even now on certain chords destined
For guitar if you buy another door opens when one slams shut.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

inspired by Friday at the DIA

“Degas’s Shoulders”

draw the eye
to rolling landscape


blue tree line or
interrupted by
crenellated hedgerow
daubed with a satin butterfly


to dry her wings
before clearing a rise
of clavicle countryside
set alight
where I wander
lost amid familiar landmarks.