Friday, August 19, 2016

Coffee Run

he dropped two pounds last week.
     the weight came right off for want of eating

there were cars on the street
     and the street was an old street with no parking

he was tired and slightly lightheaded
     maybe from dying or just the not eating thing

most likely it was from dying or kidney failure
     maybe it was liver failure or heart or something

the street was parallel to another street east of it
     then west came the river there were no other streets before it

beyond there were probably some other streets
     they were possibly newer and blacker topped

his street the one he was standing on was gray
     there were no sidewalks just a small concrete border and grass

it was not easy to walk and be dizzy and hungry while avoiding cars
     it was not the busiest street but it was not abandoned either

he made his way past the cars and the cars passed him
     there was a place to be at the end of the street

the place to be was where his street went perpendicular to another street
     at the corner there was the place he meant to be going

he wasn't going to eat there but other people did
     just coffee is what he would say and how much is that he would say

he would say that knowing no matter what he was going to buy that
     formalities were observed on this street and he would pay in cash

next to the place he was going were some places he'd never been
     they didn't interest him so he saw their signs but ignored them

he knew some people who liked those stores better
     there was no convincing them otherwise and he wouldn't have tried

he had never been to those stores
     after he got his coffee he would empty a packet of sugar in

stirring the sugar into the coffee gently he would look at the cream
     he would place his hand on the cream but never use it

drinking the coffee made his head feel better
     he decided he wasn't dying after all

on the way back to his car parked with the other cars on his street
     it was nice to walk along the river's edge

he noticed that really there were only like fours different colors for cars
     if you paid spacial attention you might catch an off color one day

the river however was brown today and yesterday and the day before
     tomorrow it would be brown again and the day after

he made his way past the cars and the cars passed him
     the door handle lifted in his hand the latch unlocked and the door slid open

today he was sure to lose another pound
     that would be nice he thought that would make three pounds

Soon i'll be back to eating he said to the inside windshield
     the key turned in his hand and the car gave a jolt at the start

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

draw the line

I will lie when I am drawing the line
even when I am alone

it doesn't matter

I lie and brush it away and let it fall
and if I am not alone I pick it back up
taking quick glances around me
as I brush it off and return it to its place

not if I am alone tho
if I am alone
I savor watching it down there
beside my feet flat to the floor
face down looking away from me
standing above it in the dark

it doesn't matter
but it's what I choose to do
by myself alone unencumbered
owing nothing of any sort to nobody
watchng as a giant from above
at the small discarded things below
while I sit and draw the next line
where maybe I will lie

Monday, August 15, 2016

some vague sense of completion

voices behind me
coming down the trail

I had stripped to my underwear
feet dipped in cold green sky

sun still bearing down hard

my fingers over the edge of the dock

small green fish in god's tear drop

we had made the summit
we had run from the peak

there were five of us

I held my breath a moment
and there was nothing left

there was nothing to think
there was nothing to say

Joe jumped past me
but I didn't wait to hear the splash

I let the water catch

lift me up

Sunday, August 14, 2016

this was the first time I'd seen gangrene

this was the first time I'd seen gangrene

afterward I had a portrait drawn of me

I paid nothing for it
                                 tho he only needed
15 dollars to grab a bed to sleep for the night

it was 100 degrees and the air

this was the first time I'd seen gangrene

it grew from his leg like fungus
                                                    hard as sponge
soft and death-like against the paints he struggled
to pull up

the color was dull
                              and muffled

I forced the thin white paper into my bag

knowing it would crease and tear
                                                      knowing it
would come to nothing in some trash bin

this was the first time I'd seen gangrene

Friday, August 12, 2016

listening to voices

there's a phone ringing and a monotone voice going
but no pictures of phones and no body to hang the voice on to
and I asked myself why in my ear do I hear a phone
and why in my head do I hear a voice in monotone
why can't I figure where these sounds are coming from? I asked

I couldn't answer myself, I had no answer
now the phone has gone silent but the voice
keeps going
                    maybe they were two separate sounds
maybe there had been no connection which think about it
makes sense why would a voice be talking while a phone
is ringing if a phone is ringing then a phone is unanswered
and a voice has nothing to talk to

there was only one sound now
                                                  the voice while I
watched my fingers typing wondering if there
were mistakes on the screen because my eyes couldn't
follow the rhythm or the speed of my hands
                                                                       when I looked
up trying not to concentrate on the voice words but hearing
the voice sound I screwed a few words and deleted them and
corrected them in kind I had spell check of course but sometimes
it's nice to just correct as you go often times it does nothing to
the poem I am writing and I go on and sometimes it is everything
and it fucks everything all up

the voice is talking about watermelons and the color of the melons
and I had watermelon this morning with my coffee
                                                                                  I wanted to eat
them with my fingers picking them up and placing them in but instead
I used the fork I had the same fork I used every day to eat my lunch
stir-fry vegetables and rice I couldn't taste any residue on the melon
a good sign since I never clean the fork all that well
                                                                                    I just wipe it
with the most soiled napkin of the bunch I grab three and use them
strategically and there is a whistle in my ear the voice is done gone
wherever the ringing had been a vacuum
                                                                  where all this had been going
is gone and done look I am alone with my ears and my fingers and my eyes
and the memory of sound of the phone separate
from the memory of the monotone voice

Monday, August 8, 2016

hallway song

the fire alarms are exits
                                       the green lights
available          shelter-in-place
coffee machine burn sigils into wooden tables
dig holes in the mud
stairs covered in dust
                                     make faces as hands
and feet
doors are made from the remains of a millions beads
of aspirin
                they cloud the empathic centers of the brain
like sharks in open space caskets made of glass
the fissure in the foot
                                   burns skin and opens blisters
on the toilet seat from bathrooms cannot be found
invisible is the front door
                                         and the only escape
goes beyond what you can see


those red eyes, move steady toward me

night chases the morning          on headlight streams

& bitter miles left to go     the bitter miles between me

where I am meant to be     in traffic hours ago

a dry cough          into empty water bottle neck

soon by the side of the road inked in red          Both doors closed

I'll lose the lead I've built up          the dam will break

those red eyes, move steady, fading away

Friday, August 5, 2016

watch as I consider the world

every nebraska sun sets over a deep blue pool;

          on its banks the light crests dirt trail tire marks,

on its crystal surface there are shimmers and breaks,

          ripples and waves cut by rainbow fins at dusk,

traced by winding switch back roads leading out into dry hills.

watch as I consider these things
          from the backseat.
watch as they consider me.
as owls in sparse trees above
          descend thru headlit mercy at
          the mice beside the road
as the beetle come to meet its end
          on my horror windshield dragging

this is this is just as it is
colors wrapped in shape and size
the miles behind
and the miles beyond

every sun sets over shadows lit by the rising moon;

          on its back the next days arrival

the orange breach of sky and birth of dawn

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stop and Go

Hang my head until it drags my bones

          I watch the skin peel from skin in my finger tips
I don't feel it go

          --it smells like a dentist's office here--with all the
white light--

          I relax my bowels to the sound of
approaching footsteps

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

notes to go west on

notes to go west on and the final history of tall tale bottom of the world:

johnny appleseed rode a dinosaur into battle
on the western plains
     took on gasoline by the blacked out road signs
sinclair lines in the valley of sagebrush and wine

Chimney rock was the last left over piece of the
house that Paul Bunyan built
     was a pillar of a mark for the tired pioneers
tracking across the acrid rattlesnake land

climb down the tobacco root hills and in an old
winnebago at the bottom you'll find
     ole Morris Clark and his dried beebom tea leaves
just a mile off the hot pot trail montany

up the beaten path from Ross Lake comes the soft footprints
of the gentleman of the mount
       hard white collared shirt slim packed and leaning on
his beaten stick he points north to desolation

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Elevator and the Pants

standing in the elevator. There were
three of us there. I was standing in the right
corner back against the fold

we were all wearing pants.

After we passed the second floor the
two other people huddled close. whispering
but I could hear them.

"See he has pants on," one said. we all had pants on.
"do you see?" one said. "Yes." the other said.

Their backs were turned to me. I looked
down at my pants. 'I am wearing pants,' I thought.

The elevator doors would not open. How many
floors had gone down. 'They're wearing pants, too." I thought.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


behind them. the fire burned on television sets

They couldn't know. the sound was
muted. scattered about the room

they were eating lunch. as the fire burned. and
they didn't know they couldn't know.

the suits in front of the fire. three of them
in all colors. it was their words held the answer

but thet were muted. ARE YOU GOING?
they were saying they were telling but no one could tell.

no one could. knowing. they were not knowing.
only the voices could tell and they were speaking before

the fire no heat or smoke but the fire burned. flame.
hot flame. HELL. they held the secret

in their mouths but the words came as silence
comes over a loud room unnoticed. they wouldn't know

what they couldn't know. they remained
with their fate. unknowing. ARE YOU?

IN HELL. they were letting them know
where they were going but there was no sound.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

High Tops

shake the elevator          go down
chills down your spine           go down
sit still and shimmer
caffeine course through system
base of skull shrink           expand
blood vessels          tighten

smudges in corner of glass roll
                                                   eye socket tension
too many cups on the mantle
                                                   shaking hand

Can't turn a face to the          sun
wrinkled toes in bent shoes          jaw clicks
hours slowed

you can't pick a stone then walk in a          circle
or the words won't lay down          right
what's in my head is sucked down battered in drain
torn by the
                    garabage disposal mechinism

A song about murder

when I first listened to it it was mostly for the melody and the sound of
the voice gravel like and strained and the words bounced kinda bounced
off and I didn't pay attention just to the melody of it and the sound
of it all mixed up and the meaning didn't well it somtimes picked at my
ear but I would lose the thread as the song lost its push and it ended and
I would start it again back at the beginning forgetful with the words
bounced back to the start and starting again it would just go on with the voice
and gravel like I'd forget to pick into the song for its meaning the words
even while after several times I sang the chorus along in my head but that
only brought the words to life with now the lines in my head but the meaning
still bouncing off or washing off and slipping under my feet enjoying the melody
the beauty of the song as it like crested the waves up and down up and down
as it slowed and came to a finish I would remind myself just once more I'll
listen listen to it before I pour over the lyrics to get at what the trees how or what
washed to the river in the night what was that gravel like voice moaning for

Monday, July 11, 2016


you were the sky
where I grabbed you
and choked you
became your wing your legs
your body
pressed into paste
wiped black and grim
blood like body
or some other curse
where you were
suffocated tortured
and broken
it was only a mistaken
movement in
the corner of the eye
I reached out for you but you pulled away
why? it was foolish. it was all your fault.