conformation (20181011)

you rise out of water
majestic
gray
as if breaking not
only the clear surface
but also erupting from
the riverbed

but you have fallen
from some greater height
propelled by the very water
you petulantly divide
cling to the earth
refuse to let go
resist all forward movement

the water will tear you down
the river will carve you up

i race past you
on the surface
like a miniature cloud in a sky
weightless
casting my weightless shadow

water will take me
and i will go
i spin as i pass you
declaring my verdancy
even as i change

even as you refuse to
gripping the mud
with your fingers
curled into claws

but the water will tear you down
the river will carve you up
you will be moved

your fourth dead body (20180521)

your fourth dead body
lies in state on sunday
on pillars before a home
a house on a busy main street
still sleepy on sunday afternoon
not a funeral home
just a house and no crowd of mourners
but three modestly
well-dressed people
gathered behind the coffin

it’s a few blocks
from that taco shop you want to try

post obedience
involuntary body viewing
the second time
you have been surprised
by a corpse

the grass is green
cut short at the house
clouds part by the hand of god
like god is karate chopping the sky
the opening reveals a sky bluer
than the ache that
lives in your bones
creates a vacuum
the clouds refuse to rush back in
instead the heavens suck the air
out of your lungs

you are too far away to see details
of the face
but the sun reflects
off a brown forehead
you can smell pomade
thick massaged into black
permanently styled hair
what you took for beads of sweat
is mortician’s wax
pilling on skin
that will not ever sweat

you have stopped breathing
your breath has fled
like a soul on the lam

a police car pulls up to the curb
maybe to ask
why they have a body on their lawn
why the casket is open
why the corpse is sweating
why can you smell it

why are cops who have gathered
around the corner
laughing with each other
like one just told a joke

traffic lets you move
and you breathe
and the body in the casket
does not

friendly game of cards 20180505

me and wolf
flop down on the ground
because he refuses to sit
at a proper table

i deal cards
some variation
of five card poker
don’t know what the name is
it’s the wolf’s game
after all

i keep my eyes on him
while i reach for the pretzels

–wouldn’t want to lose a hand
he says, wheezing at his own joke

i bet a finger
he spits a bloody tooth
into the pot

i win
but the hell will i to do
with this tooth

he deals
and i realize that his paws
are delicate human hands
porcelain white
china doll small

i find my self staring

he lunges
swallows my finger

–best attend to your cards
he says

NaPoWriMo Day 25

make a mess of it all

dissect living flesh without anasthetic

sow seeds to pluck later
sin’s littler flowers, rose-scented petals
so many, many thorns

feel the bones around the eyes
zygomaticocfacial foramen
posterior lacrimal crest

exotic birds waiting to sprout feathers
or fossilize like the ancient dinosaurs
they are

look at the t. rex skeleton
who says
hens don’t have teeth

NaPoWriMo Day 16

mockingbird you

put your
whole self in

smart ass
smart as
take your pick

repeat everything i say
adds a few phrases in my voice
–stop hitting yourself
it offers and
–i know you (are) but what am i

oil slick wings
a song of sanded butter
you grate on my nerves, blackbird
you vex me, jackson–you vex me

i will feed you bits of me
wrapped in freshly baked bread
still steaming from the oven
from my furnace-hot heart
you will shut that beak for good
when you have–

take, eat; this is my body

–been poisoned

that’s
what it’s
all about

NaPoWriMo Day 12

i am driving when the absurdity
of everything hits me
an existential moment of
whatisallthisbullshit?

i and every other driver
hurtle down the freeway in
explosive metal coffins
to jobs we we don’t want
to do every day
the ideas of
property
ownership
money
all of it squeezes down on my chest
like a fist squeezing out the last
pea-sized drop of toothpaste
from a wrinkled tube

of course
i try to be a good buddhist
detach myself just enough to
recognize the feeling
acknowledge it
watch it pass like a leaf on the wind

it helps
it does
the squeezing goes away but it’s replaced with
a hollowness in the chest as if someone
has shoveled out
my heart
my lungs
my stomach

i’m not much of a buddhist
the tension goes away
the hollowness keeps me company

attract/repel
those are the two human choices
unless you’re really good at balancing
and i’m not

and seriously
why is she putting on eyeliner while she’s driving that fast

did any of us have the imagination
to see ourselves older
in these circumstances
and it’s the circumstances that matter
they’re the nitty gritty
all those kid daydreams about the future
were just looking at a map where you can see
the red and blue arteries pumping out blood
but so zoomed out
so zoomed out
you forget about the smell of the hot asphalt
and car exhaust

some of are trying to fly here
some of us are lucky
because we weigh less
due to local variations in gravity

NaPoWriMo Day 9

the old man in front of target
is probably homeless
probably–i don’t know
haven’t seen him before
he isn’t holding a sign
or asking for anything

as quickly as he appears
he disappears
out of sight
out of mind
but when i enter the store
he fills my nostrils
human stink so arresting
i stop breathing

i wonder
how can someone smell
this bad
i wonder
how small can my mind be
that i run into this
like it’s a wall

we browse the same aisles
he carries a plastic bag
stuffed with other plastic bags
is he planning
on shoplifting
that’s where my head goes
a train on a track
because i suck
he walks past
the refrigerated dairy

part of me dares the target employees
or another customer to try
–just try–
to usher him along or out
part of me that knows it should be on fire
part of me made bitter on dregs of self-directed wrath
part of me that knows someone should speak for this man

that part of me doesn’t to spring into action
he is invisible
unless you count the smell
he might as well not be here
might as well be somewhere else
or nowhere else
or someone else
except
he is right there

by the time i check out
i am sick on my own shame

Mr. Chibi

As promised, here are some photos of the newest addition to our family: Chibi Fantastico. He was born November 1, 2017 and came to live with us two days before Christmas. The pictures above are from now–he’s just over five months hold.

Here is a picture of him from before we brought him home:

He is a fun, lovely boy. We read that shiba inus can be aloof and aggressive, but so far, he’s been extremely social with both people and other dogs.

If you can’t get enough of him, you can find him on Instagram. My wife and post pictures of him under his own stream (of course). He is ChibiTheShibi there.