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

sojourn in flesh (20160725)

i want to be made of metal
and electricity
i wouldn’t mind the rust so much
if i knew it were coming
if i could clean and polish
the rivets and oil the joints

but unlike the woodsman
i can do without the heart
with it’s complicated gears
incessant ticking
always needing a gentle hand
to turn the key to keep it beating

even better, a data bank
–please, god, not the cloud–
would be a fine sanctuary
to store my mind
to let my consciousness expand
i promise i won’t
launch any nuclear anything
or ever go rogue
i won’t even bother you
asking for a game of chess


The Daily Post
Daily Prompt: Sanctuary

Poem 20160214

i want to be a cartographer
when i grow up
although only a grown up ought to say
that he wants to chart every curve
every hill
every slope
of you

the map is not the territory they say
but i refuse to create an unusable guide
–something destined for a dusty
grave beneath a book
on some mouldering shelf–
without first hand knowledge
of the topography of your body

i suppose a grown up would not
say such a thing
–just so
then let me remain caught between
this youthful lust
and an old man’s cautious wisdom
and let us go exploring

Poem 20150512

according to my high school
biology teacher
we are mostly water

sacks of salty liquid refreshment
a little fat
a little meat
some gristle and bones

but even the meat and bones
are mostly water
and if you could siphon that off
maybe reclaim the water
for the drought
and apply enough pressure and time
to the bones and powder-soft organs
we would all be diamonds
shiny, hard scintillating gems

Poem 20150321

head and shoulders
knees and toes (knees and toes)

is all well and good
but the parts i am interested in

the eyes
the ears
the lips
the mouth
–inside and out
the nape of the neck
the throat
the elbows
–yes elbows
the breasts, good god
the ribs
the wrist
the bellybutton
that hollow in the small of the back
the curve of the hip
the ass
the swell of the thigh
the inside of the thigh
the knees
–wait the knees are in there–
ok, the back of the knees, then
the ankles
the soles of the feet
and skin
–skin skin skin

i suppose there is a reason why
they are left out of the song
too many verses
that adults couldn’t get through
without tearing off their own clothes