Friday, October 31, 2014

The Stench

I ran up to my front door
stuttering my key into the lock
and I could feel that presence,
a stiff, steaming stench
breathing at my back.

I turned on every light,
reflexes at the ready,
and I inspected the room
(there are only so many places
a psychopath can hide in a studio
apartment).

I snuck up
on the shower curtain,
and whipping it
to one side,
I found nothing
and then proceeded
to give myself a one-handed scrub,
with my kitchen knife
poised in the other.

Finally,
I lay myself down
in the darkness,
safe in the knowledge
of the gun in the drawer,
the knife under my pillow
and the door
chained and tripled-locked,
and I drifted
into slow, deep-breathed
slumber.

The last thing I remember
before feeling
the piercing of my chest
was the stench,
laughing and derisive:

“I knew you’d
eventually
fall asleep.”

[Written for Fireblossom Friday at  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2014/10/fireblossom-friday.html - write something scary...boo!]

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What I Kept From My Father (a Dia de los Muertos tribute)

I kept his humility
but not his shyness.

I kept his loyalty
but not his tribalism.

I kept his laughter
but not his derision.

I kept his discipline
but not his strictness.

I kept his skepticism
but not his cynicism.

I kept his patriotism
but not his blind allegiance.

I kept his faithfulness
but not his routine.

I kept his integrity
but not his inflexibility.

I kept his hairline
but not his irregularity.

I kept his high cholesterol
but not his naivete.

I keep him inside me
but never hide him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making Peace with War

There is always war
waging somewhere.
This is the nature
of this pageant
that begins
bathed in blood
and ends
in the snuffing out
of the breath.

Even Jesus,
the Prince of Peace,
was at war
with those who did not
honor God.

Trying to eradicate
this malevolent pulse
will keep the foolish
and the naive
running in circles,

so I try
making peace
with war:

Yes, I see you,
but I refuse
to fight back,

or cause your demise,

and I will not
surrender
to your
destructive ideology.

Live and let live,
you can't kill me
for this soul
has no beginning
and no end.


[Posted for my friends at dversepoets.com - come on in and lose your war.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Love Note to the Muse

Turn me on baby

wrap me up
in your electric
fuzz guitar solo

send the firecracker
giggle of spicy coconut
chicken to my tongue

give my body
a gazelle’s grace
as I jete
off the cliff

and then spread
my wings and land
just south of
the fragrant field
of sunshine roses.

Let the Beatles music
play
and let this guitar
be the extension
of my arms

soften this heart
to catch a glimpse
of God
in every shape and hue
and tone

and help nurse
my hopes in this borough
of disappointment and filth.

It’s an ugly world
but you always give me
x-ray specs

to penetrate
and see all those things
otherwise hidden and divine

and give me
a pencil and paper
always within reach
to prove that
it’s more than
a dream

turn me on baby
you know what I need.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Want To Be an Old Man with You

I want to be an old man with you
to weave a lifetime tapestry
and repaint bedrooms,
plant more Korean box woods
and take more pictures
of the kids as they dress up
and become adults.

I want to be an old man with you
and feel the warm,
reassuring grip of your hand
as we stroll through Decembers
and sit on our bench
on the warm July nights
beneath a blanket of ancient stars.

I want to be an old man with you
and remember all the ways we changed
and inwardly smile because
we never were in doubt,
not for a second.

I want to be an old man with you
and hear you laugh a million-fold
to dry your tears, both happy and sad
and feel your heartbeat
when in your embrace,

and to wonder
who said “I love you” first,

and to revel

in its infinite echo.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Predestined

As the Earth
orbits in lazy silence,
we are mostly helpless
but to do the same.

I am ever amazed by
the orchestration
of falling leaves,
ripples awakened
by the pebble,
roses proclaiming
ecstasy in the breeze
not just for their mystery,
but because they were
put here for me.

Dear Jesus,
your followers
want to put you in a box
of containable contradiction
to carry around
and show to their friends
and possibly make a sale or two.

I don’t need to know.

I just want to
feed your sheep
with humility and gratitude,

even when all I have to offer
are crummy little poems
like this one.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Goddamned Wart

He sits on the knuckle
of my “fuck you” finger.

I've had him removed
at least 7 times
but he must like me
because he keeps coming back
bigger
and uglier than ever.

They tried cutting him off,
freezing him off,
burning him off with putrid chemicals,

but he returns,
unrepentant
and defiant.

I try not
to obsess over him,
he’s less than
an inch
so I try to keep him
in proper perspective.

If I fight him
and just try
to rip him off with my teeth
I’ll only end up
bloody
and the sonofabitch
will just return again.

Why do you love me so much?

I can almost
forget you’re there
as I gesticulate when I speak
sometimes enamored
with my own brilliance
and I know my listener
is similarly enthralled,

but then I catch a glimpse of you

and I become self-conscious
and my timing gets shot
and my soliloquy dries up
and I rein in my hands.

Even if I wanted to show
my wedding ring
everyone will see
the goddamned wart,

but perhaps that
is his purpose:

to remind me that
while I sometimes
temporarily delude
myself into thinking
that I am perfect
I am not,

but also to remind me
that I don’t have to be perfect
to be lovable to someone

warts and all.