The Guys in the Bookstore

My eyes stay fixed on parts I imagine touching;
my mind invents the ways to lure them,
to teach them how to abandon themselves,
to accept a longing they don’t really have.
My eyes are not cooperating with my shame.
Perhaps I have no shame left to hide behind.


New Vacancies in Music

It’s falling to pieces because we’ve been abandoned.
In hiding, in secret, we’re no longer who we found ourselves to be.
Rhinestones and glitter are falling around us as our dreams have died,
our childhoods, our imaginations, our innocence.
The tides came in and brought us music and when they receded,
the corpses left behind tore holes in our hearts.
We would have been devoted to that merriment forever,
and perhaps we still are. Maybe it is shock that makes us feel dead,
and we’ll rise from the ashes of the alien trenches
that are likened to what we remember as music.
It hasn’t all been a tragic mistake.
Suit up in red leather and sunglasses,
make sure you haven’t scabbed over irreversibly.
As we bury our king, don’t also let those songs in our souls fade.
Sing on, World, sing on.
A faint echo of a time we loved to hate a person,
a person we used to love to love,
the echo will fade and the memories will become more beautiful
that they might have been.



A seahorse struggles to hold life, gasping for water
as it dies, wriggling into the position it will dry into.
Agony for the sake of amusement. A carcass is worth
the smile on the face of a child who will pick at the bits
left in the bony-plated shell of now peaceful being.

We contort into positions that seem unnatural,
drying out in the forty years to hold onto life.
Our fragile bodies are thirsty and becoming rigid
as the important few decide how human we are.

America, the land of those whose voices don’t frighten
the small-minded into recruiting toddlers to fight
the great injustices of equality and tolerance.
The little hands hold the hatred in words they cannot yet read,
and the seeming importance of what they are doing shows
on bright and happy faces. They aren’t the evil they spread.

Our bodies are labeled for easy identification,
classified and sorted so the yokels will know where to direct
hate and whose livelihoods are free to destroy.
Hate never stands a chance against love;
those of us who’ve bathed ourselves in this goodness of life
are catching they eyes of the sympathetic.
Hate is sitting on rather shaky ground.

The heroes haven’t all made it through,
drying out at the hands of assassins or themselves,
future great leaders struck down in youth
by the oppression of a nation plagued with fear.
They are the fuel of our passion, the fire driving us
to keep searching for a little more to drink.

The arms are starting to open up, to take us in.
Bodies are too numerous to count, the toll is high.
War is ugly, but the fallen find great honor in victory.
None will be forgotten as we start to find our new America,
falling safely into the comfort of new friends.

Carcasses won’t be on display anymore, the animals
will have been put back into the water, into their homes.
Christopher Street will remain peaceful, the rage
we still feel fading into history. We will know only trust.
The sun of that day is just throwing light across the horizon
and perhaps our children will finally see it rise.


untitled [‘elephants’]

So much is riding on the backs of elephants.
The words dance almost merrily around the point
and my soul shrinks back a little in fear.
I’ve become quite clear now;
even I find it difficult to make out my form
in the translucence I see in the mirror.
The elephant stares at me angrily,
begging silently to be acknowledged,
unable to move or make a sound.
I close my eyes, finding it much easier to see
and decide to take another step forward tomorrow.



Icons crumble, gasping for desperate breaths.
The poets have been usurped by melancholy memoirists,
aching to have original lives.
Every story seems to be told, despite repetition
despite repetition
despite repetition,
offering nothing new to literature, to life.
I keep sweeping up remnants of fallen giants —
Thoreau, Dickinson, Whitman, O’Hara;
I even find Baum and Steinbeck and Spyri in the wreckage —
I collect the bits I can in a beautiful vessel where they remain safe.
Nobody seems to be searching for the treasures,
the once proud glory of the masters of Word fades into irrelevance.
Picking through the pieces still brings me joy
even if I’ve no one to share them with;
I wish I were as beautiful whole as they are in shards.


for Stacy

Peacocks are blue and green and brown
they have really long necks and wear a crown.
Peacocks sit in trees or run on the ground;
they cry out “help” — it’s a very loud sound.
Peacocks strut proudly, displaying a train.
Peahens gather ’round, all the color of champagne.
Peacocks are indigo and eau de nil;
they roost in our hearts, making them fill.

I’m not wild about this little thing, but I wrote it in order to create a project for Stacy. It is growing on me, but rhyming of any kinds tends to make my skin crawl.