Veteran’s Day

A man at a podium with a widow’s peak
who only lies when he starts to speak
told us it was his great honor to be here,
and that, god willing, he’d be relected next year,
and he wants to thank the soldiers, and their sons,
who will take their place before this war is done,
and how peace is a mighty unpatriotic ideal:
Without war, we’d have no veterans,
and then the bugle squeals.

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.

Autumn Frost

The flags of summer have all flown
And now are strewn about my home;
Begonias lay, all drabs and grays,
Suffering in degrading ways.

Some subtle portal called my own
Through which the sunshine stabbed and played
Is rayless, dark, with doom foretold
Of slush and sleet and snow and cold.

The season slips towards decline
With brakes stuttering in the slide;
Screeching shrilly,  joy-dead drunks
Hunker down and enjoy the ride.

Yet there are roots and dreaming trunks
Patiently waiting to revive.

Thistle

She kept a weed on her windowsill
in a small, dirty pot,
said she was in a play and flowers were
a metaphor for hope.
I told her that ain’t ever gonna bloom,
it’s a thistle, and you won’t
be smelling flowerflesh,
you’ll be bleeding when it
blooms.

Mammon

What good is gold when the ground is lead,
brass, powder, poison earth and
dry riverbeds?
What good is gold when the shops are in ruins,
and the earth lies cold and
cratered as the distant moon?
What good is gold while children weep,
while fathers raise their hands and
daughters can only pretend
to sleep?

A man cannot eat gold
and no fish swim in the old mine.
I dream of shining chains
pulling down all mankind
into a pit, by his own hands designed,
where the secrets of the earth laid plain:
Heat, screeching, noxious fumes,
and the wicked shine of veins.

stench

It clings to the sofa, the crumpled pile of sheets,
like perfume gone sour,
it catches in the drain
and streaks the mirror.
Candles can’t hide the smell,
and if you leave it long enough
it clots like spoiled milk.
You’ll think about it first thing in the morning,
and last thing before sleep,
retching and heaving
into shallow, wild dreams.

I Miss You (terribly)

I miss you most terribly,
utterly, poorly, the worst
missing of a soul that a mind has ever hung.
I wish I could miss you better,
or more quietly, at least,
miss you with less certainty that I will see you again,
and when next we meet, I will miss you so ferociously
that, unsettled, you will flee,
and I will miss you even more terribly, then.