Friday, December 19, 2014

Bull Dozed

Tear Down

Look for signs
At your own risk if you ask me
Disappointment at the very least
You could be courting

Eyes to the sky
Ear to the ground or cupped
Listening for the sound of trumpets
Played with Divine embouchure

Will leave you open to the tart
Tongues of neighborhood wags
Dogs being the safer bet
Three turns before bedding down

On the braided rug but a quaint vestige
Robins better still
Glowing embers torching lawns
Burning the filthy hem of winter in flight

Take the tear down on Altadena 
Yard and driveway  
Tagged blue and yellow  
Trees amputated at the ankle

Stumps worn down with market logic
Curbside breadline of black plastic bags
Three legged chair with a stiff upper lip
A one eyed teddy bear

Pink as sin
Among bus stop rabble
Waiting for a lift to the landfill
A keen eyed observer

He saw this coming long ago
While you were busy
Knee to knee with gypsies
Divining delicate bones of flightless birds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The poem "Cemetery Beautiful, Avenue Love, Row Paradise" appears in the Fall 2014 issue of the Madison Review. 

sitting around the kitchen table

Still Life With Apples

Cezanne would ignore the grain
Omit the quarter moon
Flute burned quarter inch deep
Would pay only scant
Attention to your recollection  
Of the barn in Armada
Rinsed to a rumor of red
Listen politely
As you paint for him
A picture of the man who ran
The orphanage
Bedsteads and wardrobes and sideboards
Roll top desks
Stirring at the groan of the hasp
The report of the bolt
Blinking awake in morning light
Steal glances
At his watch while you play both parts
In a retelling of epic horse trading
His eyebrows frantic to escape gravity
Your own straining
To lift off and boomerang around
The circumference of the table
Lighting on the ordinal points of countless dinners
In the mind’s eye of the artist already
Flocking like birds
To defy gravity
On the dizzy oval of oak.   

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seen this play before

Edgewood Elementary Spring Review

Richard Bryant played The Boy
With me in the role of The Father
Inspired casting in the months following

The March On Washington
For Jobs And Freedom
The 16th Street Baptist Church
bombing in Birmingham

I remember Mr. Conti
Or was it Mrs. McKinney?
Directing us to remain silent for one full minute
Before speaking

Richard who lived
North of the plastics factory
In the colored section
Near Collis Harris and Richard Jenkins
Lacy Webb and Dennis Ross

Played the inquisitive child
To my detached adult
Asking questions like
“Why is the sky blue?” and “Which came first the chicken
Or the egg?”

My character
Puffing on a prop pipe
Hiding behind The Detroit Free Press
Had only to repeat the line
“I don’t know, son.”

I remember the audience laughing
When we delivered
The set up and the punch line

Perhaps the playwright either
Mrs. McKinney or Mr. Conti
Would have revised their script

Had they any inkling of the uprising
That would burn the city in three years or
Written new dialogue fifty years later

The grave father
Telling the wide eyed son
About survival in an age of enlightenment.