at the wheel (20180102)

the heart is
a driver in a hurry
who takes shortcuts
who has mistaken the gps map
for the territory
who fails to signal
when changing lanes
brakes [breaks]
suddenly
ignores stop signs
posted speed limits
maximum speed limits
road hazards
never knows who goes first
at a four-way stop
guns it through the intersection
on a stale yellow
merges poorly
cuts off
flips off
offramp shoulder surfs
is night blind
is always under the influence
is always running late
is always driving facing the rising sun
is always driving facing the setting sun
always falls asleep at the wheel

thanks for the epiphany (20161120)

for a sudden insight
i want to thank the asshat
who spaced out at the intersection
until i flashed my high beams
–saw it twinkle
–like a lightning bolt
–out of zeus’ clenched fist
–in his rearview
and he decided it was okay
to turn right onto the
empty street

and then i had to follow him for
two miles
–not stalking
–we were both headed for the freeway
he signaled
to get on the northbound
and then changed his mind
long past the p.o.n.r.
and swerved back into traffic
so i could follow him
onto the southbound

and my god
i realized that the only
way hell
would work is if you had no
idea you were there
because if you knew that shit
was going to just keep going on
for fucking literally ever
you would just refuse to cooperate
and curl up into a ball
and sisyphus could roll you
up the damn hill because why not

but what would the point of that be
as either a deterrent
or a punishment
if you didn’t even know you were
being punished
you wouldn’t even develop
stockholm syndrome and that would
mean god is just a dick

and how can we tell
that’s not what we’ve got
on our hands here anyway

macaque (20160830)

watch the monkey
climb down from the tree
see him smile
displaying sharp canines
/what a ridiculous
name for a tooth
in a monkey’s mouth/
and climb into his porsche
to make up for his
pinkie-sized monkeyhood

he’s got a meeting
in hollywood
in forty minutes

the freeway
is gonna clear for him
and if it doesn’t
he’ll throw more
shit than is possible
for his tiny simian body
to produce in a year
at the other
freeway monkeys

Poem 20150509

too much twitching
–a damaged seventh cranial nerve
thank god it wasn’t the fifth–
squeezes like a vise on the temples
just like uncle fester
only not funny
and pressures the ear
so that you hear the ocean

the throbbing of the sunlight
early in the morning
hits the eyes
even coming from behind

and the malevolent glare of brake lights
of the cars on the 405
well, that just adds menace

like a spider it stretches its legs
at the back of the neck
and crawls over the scalp
and drives hairy fingers
right behind the eyes

the throbbing behind my eyes
is the pulse in my head

Poem 20150326

there’s something wrong
with a road made of concrete
that forces you to drive
in a single
straight direction
as fast as you dare

–faster than the driver in
the lane next to you because
by god, he’s not going to beat you

in spite of the fact
that you don’t know him
and you have no idea
or interest in where he’s driving
or when he has to be there

there’s a lack of freedom
on a freeway
with its straining arteries clogged
by lipid, adiposian cars
all racing toward
one giant cardiac event

Poem 20150209

on the windshield the bee
motionless but not dead
i begin to back down the driveway
sure that it will fly off

i call it mr. bee, though
it is undoubtedly a drone
with no thoughts of queenly
courtship
just long days of scouting flowers,
finding nectar,
redistributing pollen

i tell it to fly off before
i get too far away from my house
“there are lot of flowering plants
in my backyard,” i say through the glass
not that it listens.

i tap on the glass and it doesn’t move

a light mist covers the glass too
but I don’t want to use the wipers
too many bees have perished already
and though it is only one bee
it’s my bee. my wife turns on the
defroster and warm air hits the glass
and my face

water evaporates, the bee starts to wake up
at a stop sign i press a finger against the glass
it responds to the added heat
moving its wings and legs
but still refuses to fly away
perhaps when i hit the freeway
the extra air will lift it up

it stays there until I drop her off at work
i am parked
and she is turning to go when i reach over
to touch the glass
to encourage mr. bee to fly off
and my hand hits the wiper

it’s swept
away
“oh shit!”
again
the wipers move
across the glass
i try to remember, pushup or pull down
to turn it off and manage to force the blades
across a third time
before shutting them off

she tells me the wipers just pushed it
to the corner of the window
and that it was moving around
but i wish i could have seen
mr. bee take to the air
under its own power
miles from where it went to sleep
and i will wonder all day
if it found its way home