field dress

some sounds stay with you,
like the first mention of love,
and unfortunately,
this is one of them –
this sonata of butchery,
the first cut from neck-to-tail,
the hiss of warm innards
round or long or lumpy
spilling onto the snow, steaming,
and the scrape of a buck-knife,
along the hollow of a carcass, the
scratch in the ribcage,
the pooling of blood
and evil odor
where a heart was racing and
a stomach was churning,
only moments ago.
some sounds stay with you,
like the first mention of love,
and some are left behind,
steaming,
staining the snow.

discarded homes

there are mice thumping in the walls and
raccoons digging up through the vinyl flooring,
spreading rancidity in halls where coffee-steam lingered;
the floors are weak and weary, wet
and wearing threadbare carpet
like mouldering, moth-battled flesh,
where once two lovers laid and laughed and
noses brushed together while their hands breezed
across familiar planes – here,
bedsprings spill from their padded host like
parasites in bloom, here
there was a home, once,
people lived here,
people loved here,
here,
is where all homes end up,
when the past is left to compost.

the flight of forty flocks

in the walnut tree is a rioting cloud
of wings and beaks, incessantly loud
and screaming hate in remotest hours;
I do not know where they were hatched,
by what peaks, or from fated powers,
but I do wish they would head back,
flood the sky in one great gout –
a winged army on the rout – a
darkening branch grown free and flung
into the heaven’s furthest rungs;
but still, I have heard it said,
that men and birds will squawk til’ dead,
In either case, on any day
I prefer a living squawker
– far away.

Dearth

vast and unforgiving,
hardpan and caked clay
beneath the rustle of sands,
the swirling of their dresses and shifts;
deep, deep, deep is the water and
here is nothing; day and night,
lifeless and predictable as
the rotation of a foreign planet.
Here are my deep and shallow places;
my sands and my dead seeds,
here I am, standing in the thirst,
here I am, digging for promises
and rumors.

Hope is worse than knowing;
tell a man there’s gold in a hill and
he’ll destroy the hill, the hill will destroy him,
and nothing of note will be found.
Tell a man there’s nothing here,
nothing,
and he will move to green prairie
and ignore those deep, deep,
deep waters.

powers that be

Empty threats from empty men
flood out from a high tower;
empty thrones and empty crowns
hold falsities of power;
and man has not invented yet
a crop that blooms when fed by lies,
but wealth is close, and power closer:
and power does or power dies.

Microcosms (and dandruff)

Within the least lay lesser, still
slighter repetitons;
infinitesmal patterns.
Is any particle of a rose not a rose?
is the dandruff on the floor, the bedsheet,
is this anything other than me?
And is a single letter,
devoid of context, rhyme, function,
is a single letter not mere fine-tuned dandruff,
shaped by, and shed from,
an endless sea of scalps?

Snowglobe

You can’t grow roses in a snowglobe,
no,
you can’t grow anything in that
cheap confetti,
and you can’t pretend you’re outside in the sun,
and you can’t escape your regrets,
no,
when you’re locked in a room for two months or more and
there are sounds in the walls and screams at the door and
the world is flooding and burning and worse and
you’re just sitting at home,
plinking seeds in fake earth.

lemonade

you wish for lemons but
life won’t give you lemons,
life won’t even give you apples.
Life gives you rocks,
boulders too large to move, life gives you
stones and
asks you to chew them,
life gives you shit and
claims it’s a smoothie.
Life can’t be trusted,
not with lemons,
not with rocks,
not with anything important;
reject whatever life offers
in all its cruelty,
and build something kind
on your own time.

less than friend

I came for glory,
bloodied, storied,
wishing on what evils lurked in the sky;
I came for you.
I know.
It’s true,
I hoped you wouldn’t feel this reason why.

You held my head to the ground
like the most disloyal hound
and I am less than that,
less than friend, less than dust,
so small and savage in my hope that you
will turn, favorable, with eyes renewed
upon me, seeing at last
everything I want you to.