The Epic Of Gilgamesh

It was not the first literature,
no more than the first human began life –
words have been with us always
sucking coolly at our throats,
from plaintive mewling in the caves and grasslands,
taking strength and shape – clicks, curls,
have they not fed on us?
are we not their domesticated apes?
What proof do we have, even now,
that oubliette, fiefdom, sassafras,
do not linger,
waiting to be spoken
and again sip a little life?

Sickness

What love within burns hotter than fever,
what passion could plump
the sinuses so –
what loyalty could force
a bedridden weekend –
what brotherhood beseeches
the nose to flow

Classy Place

No such thing as a dress code – if
the king of England
or of Pop
walked in
without a necktie, do you
think they would be denied seating?
One could hope, one could hope,
but we can party here or
in the alley,
with rats and raccoons as celebrants,
and it’s likely a sight better time
with a plastic goblet of boxwine in
a basement full of friends,
than alone in a rented tux
in a dining hall full-up
with carefully folded napkins.

good thing

Somedays a good thing
will peck on your window,
begging to be let in from the cold –
and somedays you see it
a little thief,
and others days
a beautiful beast –
wild, alive, a good thing today,
more beautiful in movement than meaning –
and if you are not quick to
open the window,
it will flit
away

God-Fearing

Not an absence but
a wriggling slime-slick beast,
wrestled, but never pinned, at a county fair –
Not an absence but
a longing for somewhere,
The idea of a place crumbling
when you find yourself there –
Not an absence but
the finding of abundance
of comfort, surety, and care –
Not an absence but
counting the take
and wanting much more than our share.

frightful

this army of ticks and fleas
leaping and skulking,
finding purchase in long hair and
skittering on the skin –
how i itch, how i itch
from phantom legs
that brush the back of the neck,
such a small and horrible sensation
to know myself as only
some crawling creature’s food.