Recurrent Harm

When you took me in your hands
put pressure on my eyes
I tried to feel anything, I tried
not to lie.
Maybe I was born like this,
or changed with the turning season.
Maybe it’s just fate
Some people are alone for a reason.

There are dogs that will always
bite a helping hand –
Until someone calls the dog-pound
Or there’s not a finger left in the land.

Advice From An Old Man

Buy shorts when the snow’s falling
and sweaters when the summer has hardened blossoms into fruit.
Always use an oven-mitt if you aren’t sure about the heat
and brush your cups with a long handled-brush, or they might just
burst.
Never ride on the back of another man’s motorcycle,
and always walk into the wind when you’re on a deer track.
I wish I could tell you something about love,
or something about the way you ought to live,
but being old doesn’t mean you know anything about love,
it just means you’ve survived a while.

7/7/19

I don’t remember where we kept the knives
only which closets hide the bones.
How could this rotting house have been my home?
We would howl at the passing cars,
rut,
and shit beneath the stars –
Who was I when I lived in this place?
Was that the mask, or the true face?

Wild Dog

You’ve got me backed into a corner,
Five of you. Grubby-handed. Little monsters, half-grown,
fangs all bared, fingers pointing. What do you want?
Closing, closer. Leave me be! I just want
peace, I just want
to be left alone. Fingers wiggling, strange cooing
hissing out. I don’t-
I don’t know this threat display, I don’t-
I don’t have a bark left to warn with, I don’t-
have any choice left here in my corner. Down in my
corner where I used to be safe – how quickly homes
can turn to graves –  how quickly
can I yelp and bite the grubby fingers-
How quickly can ignorance
lead to pain

Man-Eater

I am ready for my last fight today,
Khaki shadows cutting down the way.
There’s a widow – wailing.
Blood – trailing.
Cattle – mauled,
So the army and the hunters were called.
When they beat the brush all night,
They shoot everything in sight.
When the stars are glinting off of the guns-
What kind of monster turns and runs?

I don’t know what they wanted from me
I’m in no shape to hunt –
Can’t they see?
Claws blasted down to a stub.
Hunters laughing at the corpse of a cub.
No morals growing at the end of a vine,
Every hero needs a villain,
I’ve found mine.

The Man Who Kills You

The man who kills you will not be a stranger in the road.
He will come home at the end of a shift and
bring you flowers, will rub your feet
when the baby is thrashing. The man who
kills you will look almost exactly like the man
you loved, the man who said he loved you,
but in his eyes will be a new, distant thing,
a hard edge like a shape hovering in the night
and blotting out the starlight. The man who kills you will
wear a better mask than the man you love. The man who kills you
will raise the dead and make them dance.

Fiji Mermaid

Just a freak in a sea of freaks,

A chimeric blend of fish and fur,

Hauled up to the smack of air,

Eyes popping as I suffer there.

How many men will question me:

Can such a beast prowl the sea?

Could God allow this thing to be?

How many women will seethe and scorn,

And wonder what the sea has borne?

When all is known, and all is done,

A mystery squashed, and boredom won