To Sleep

close your eyes, close your eyes,
there is nothing left to see today
rest in warmth and wonder and
allow the night to slip away,
dream sweetly; smile, love,
your labouring is done, today,
breathe steadily, then quietly,
let dreams go where they may.

Bradbury’s Carnivals

his heart must certainly be a carnival
in the darkness, kept lively and light
through fluttering fluorescents and the spin and jump of
ribboneers, the hollering of barkers and
fingers skittering like locusts at night
pointing out each word,
the weak light beneath the blankets sputtering
while the parents think you asleep. But we are not
in that world for the moment, not in the world of
mothers screaming and fathers beating, no,
we are with Bradbury in his carnivals,
safe in the company of dangerous men and
devils that dress for showmanship, we are
peering with eager eyes through the tent-flaps
at creatures swimming in murky jars and
sideshow freaks with sad, sad thoughts,
and we are here, still seduced by the
whistles and blares of the carousel,
and the night is growing darker and
the flashlight is fast fading and
just as quick as dying we are
slumbering, with soft dreams twinkled by
the visit of Bradbury’s carnivals.

Up The Mountain

The mountain cares not for the climber,
it will not mourn, nor notice
such a small death,
such a little thing as
the burying of a man.
The mountain cares not for the widow,
the mother, is deaf to the
steaming tears of the father,
the mountain is not
moved by a loss, nor
will it be defaced by a grave,
no, the mountain will splash
down a fresh coat of whitewash
and bury all
in its own way.

Landfill of Possibilities

And there they all appear, in front of me,
the specters we could have become,
lingering, laughing,
having purchased every happiness.
drowning in their luxurious furs and
stooped beneath golden chain
they do not want for much, no,
only for others to have less and
be grateful for it.

Sharpening Years

these years are coarse-grit
rough to the touch, hard on the edge,
peeling and sawing at the metal,
starving away the fullness, reshaping
the bevel, the weight, the heft,
these are the years that profile the blade,
curve the tapering to a point –
blunt, broad, maybe narrow,
too early yet to tell
but we feel the process,
see the flakes pile on the floor,
and wait, I suppose,
for a time for finishing,
a time to finally enjoy a task completed.

Just Outside Alliance, Ohio

they don’t let poor boys be president,
not anymore at least,
don’t see a man in the bully pulpit
chaw under the lip, with
squirrel in his gut, no,
but there’s a certain something they want to
play-act like, a certain way they want
to be seen, big men with big guns,
strong men but not rough men,
tough men who never prove it,
the kind of life experiences only money can buy,
bootcamps that don’t get you killed and
hunting chained lions, drinking
liquors beaten down to smoothness,
fishing with computers and
pretending, somehow,
spending more money to do it
gives them different reasons to enjoy it,
reasons that ain’t like ours,
because we’re just poor boys,
and poor boys are
different,
that’s why they can’t be president.

Last Chance At The Night Sky

On the last night of the stars
you didn’t know. You didn’t even
know. You got the mail, you
walked the alley and
didn’t look up, the last time
you’d see the
very last time you’d see
the stars for the very
last st ars very
stars, hung there for you alone,
how could you know
it would be the last time, what
waited for you was
greedier than sleep was
ready to
your last time very
last stars and
you didn’t
know,
and if you knew
if you knew the last
very last time was
very last now,
would you have even
would even have
looked up?

Resolutions,

The late year lingers in the lungs
emerging in wheezing coughs,
desperate expulsions,
ready to be gone, to make way for the
fresh inhalation of a new, crisp day,
yes,
yes,
replace the mouldered goal with new promise,
more durable, perhaps,
like to live another year and
be gentler to those you love,
including,
(and especially)
yourself.

Genealogy Of A Drinking Problem

The family tree is here watered with beer,
in some places full of mushrooms
and in others sprinkled with snuff,
grown erratic where cocaine was used and
one bough of opium slunk towards Bethlehem,
and there, high, little buds of
Mothers’ Little Helpers,
and bark on the collar bears cocaine,
laudanum,
coffees and teas and
burning grasses, and
plants with no name,
oils mixed by men in bark masks and
skulls, drugs to make live men dead and
dead men live; there, there,
is the history of man, of
finding new ways to water the tree.