Apology and Poem

To my faithful handful of followers, apologies for my absence (I’m sure you all noticed and panicked accordingly). I’ve been visiting family in friends back on the West Coast, which has been a bit of a trip, which I mean less literally than trip in the sense of travel, although it has also been a literal, de facto trip involving travel. Beyond that, I don’t have any real reasons for the lack of verse hereabouts, but I can come up with some fake ones. Like… I was having my portrait drawn by snails (they inched over water colors, through shallow puddles, and onto a canvas). The week after I was challenged to a pizza eating contest by a cannibalistic pizza. It kept getting larger as it went. Kind of a no contest, really. Anyhow, here’s a poem for you.

The Deadliest Cardboard Box in the World

The deadliest cardboard box in the world
is still a cardboard box. It has six sides,
like most boxes, and… well… it’s a box.
Just like any other box. That’s what I’m getting at here.

What makes it deadly though, unlike some boxes
(though not unlike all boxes) is that it’s not real.
It’s made up. Materialized in my head, like
it’s materializing in yours now. Your fingers
against its coarse walls, your nostrils taking in
hints of mold after it sat out all night in the rain.
You can still hear the water drumming gently
against your windowpane, the slow drip ’round the rain gutter.
No thunder, no wind. Just rain. We slept like babies that night.
Like young children the first night after sleepless Christmas eves.
But we left that box out in the rain.

A piece of unspent figurative currency
gaining interest as its walls fall away.

Valentine’s Poem for Mid-May

The red foil shines
and the blinding light
is February to your soul.

Fat fingers fumble the treat,unfold it,
and the silver of a Hershey’s Kiss
plates the other side.
But there’s no chocolate here.
Just another red wrapper, gleaming
in the sun. Under it, more silver,
more red. Again silver; again red.

They’ve cut down the forest,
Lincoln-logged the wood around you.
You can smell the matches from a mile off
but don’t remember what you wanted to say
when next you saw him.

Fold up the foil; make
a crane. A thousand of them.
Make ships too valuable to sail,
too silly to sink. Leave them
on a park bench.

Remember them
once they’re gone.

Old

Find a pebble. Place it
under your tongue. It tastes
like childhood. Like some ocean you lost;
quicksand memory–damn it.

The balding man squints down at the beach
; the sun is too much to behold. He shifts his foot
from the wet sand to the dry
as his thin grey hairs drift in the breeze,
web-like tendrils
lying in wait
hoping
to snatch up spare change
loose women      spare time.
Minutes, seconds, sounds–
he doesn’t care; he’ll take the lot.
They’re glimpses of eternity
and he was born to end.

The bobblehead,
a hula dancer,
sings him a song.
He sleeps.

While my cat yet lives, Easter 2017

Here’s a poem for while my cat yet lives,
that fiery soul who on my mind engraved:
“Blessèd is the heart that freely gives.”

Votive candles flicker in the dim
corners of the transept–God be praised.
Here’s a poem for while my cat yet lives.

The fading sun creeps from Los Angeles;
disciples, quiet, gather in the nave.
Blessèd is the heart that freely gives.

The crossing, now, with chanted scripture brims
and the bishop in his sanctuary prays.
Here’s a poem for while my cat yet lives.

The churchyard is alive and shakes with hymns
and resurrection takes the place of pain–
Blessèd is the heart that freely gives.

Both they and I tonight think on the grave,
but I… I want, once more, to feel her warmth and weight.
So here’s a poem for while my cat yet lives:
Blessèd be the heart that freely gives.