newborns (Poem 20160421)

newborns, we dusted the earth
off our shoulders
shook it out of our hair

newborns, we were still blind
but we could smell jason
an enemy to cut down

newborns in the bodies of grown men
experts at wielding a sword
experts at cutting down a man

our father was a dragon’s tooth
our mother the dark earth
but neither warned us about treachery

newborns, we huddled together for protection
who knew that duplicitous man
would set us at each other’s throats

newborns, it took but a single rock
tossed in our midst
blind, we died trying to protect one another


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 21
Minor Character

Poem 20160420

pitch beak

you descend in rough spirals
alight on branches

sidewalk hopper
shadowing me
yourself a shadow

coal eye
watching me warily
as well you should

dead eater
oil feather

we share names
if not a mother
surely memories
of sky and nest

clever tool maker
i call you brother


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 20

Poem 20160419

how to exorcise devils

things you will need:
-holy water or sacramental wine
-communion wafers
-an extra long rosary
-a choir of angels (optional)

offer the allegedly possessed the host
if they only nibble at it or insist
on spray cheese or peanut butter
you know you are dealing with
a high ranking demon

if they are a minor, you can offer
them holy water to choke down
the dry bread, otherwise the wine
have some for yourself

make a double-ended noose
slip one end around your own neck
and one over the possessed victim’s head
stand back to back
count down from 666


if the rosary breaks on both necks
you have failed and should start over
if the noose remains intact around either neck
the demon has been expelled
if the noose remains intact around both necks
you are now married


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 19
How To

Poem 20160418

mornings filled with the sizzle of bacon
the clang of the cast iron skillet on the stove
and eggs fresh from nests
the coop in the field behind the house
filled with the clucking and cooing of chickens
the eggs not stolen for breakfast
warming in the nest
or hatched into yellow peeplings

when i was four i grabbed a chick
scooped it from the ground
it cheeped in my cupped hands
i knew to be careful but it struggled
and peeped loud enough to alert
its mother who pecked a beak
against my knee
the right height for her anger
i dropped her baby and ran

in the kitchen
someone set me on the counter
while they cleaned my face
and washed my knee
my grandmother’s husband laughed
–no one called him grandpa–
a bear of a man, red-faced and white-haired
with a high-pitched nervous laugh
but a growling, hesitant southern drawl
he said –now you gonna git the chicken pox–


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 16
The Sound of Home

Poem 20160417

i looked for you using the one
fortune-telling tool i knew, gyromancy
i turned and turned until i fell,
sick, to the ground, my head pointed
toward the graveyard

i asked the other ecstatici
if my telling was true
they shrugged–they were always against us

i knew of one dying elder in the village
and offered the service
of salt and bread up on his chest
as he breathed his last
he told me he would answer freely
that i ought not need to eat his sins
that you were now where he would be soon

i heard a leaf fall and on it
your name written in spider silk
a thousand wings beat the air
that night i followed the ignis fatuus
through the cold stones
where fresh turned earth greeted me


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 16

Poem 20160416

after dark i sneak out the window
down an old oak that grows
next to my room

i smell apples in the breeze
soon we will all be
filling bushels, dreaming of pie

but tonight, it is still warm
or warm for here
and i button my flannel shirt

this town is filled with smiles
smiles on people
and walls, alleys, the abandoned

warehouse where they used to
ship out gag gifts
that smile has faded now

and i think about leaving
before the harvest
before i’m caught in apple dreams

i look up at the stars
and i only see stars


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 16
Almanac Questionaire

Poem 20160415

once there was a mirror in eden
but the first victim
of any hard-won self-knowledge
perfect or flawed
is always the reflection

smashed, resurrected
a thousand, tiny, jagged,
puzzle-piece doppelgängers
each an accurate representation
of the human eye

they paint hell a dark, sooty place

it is polished, clean and bright
every surface shines
magic mirrors that only reflect you
impossible to look away from


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 15

Poem 20160414b

i watch the rat as he eats
the fallen seed the birds have dropped
in this early dusk. this spring
evening as the sun retreats
i have no animosity for the furry mopped
rodent. he’s not stealing from the finches
and the sinking sun makes him a soft thing
who measures his days in inches


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 14
San San Poem

Poem 20160413

miscellaneous fortunes, all true:

  • should you really be eating a second cookie?
  • who has friends will never run out of people to help move
  • lucky numbers are only lucky to those who deserve good fortune
  • you are not a failure if you never try
  • a journey of a thousand steps begins with really good insoles
  • better to spend a dollar on a cookie than to waste it on a lottery ticket
  • are you a person dreaming you are a butterfly or a butterfly eaten by a bird?
  • the man at the next table hates your topic of conversation


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 13
Fortune Cookie

Poem 20160412

an index of things found under my fingernails:

blood, like that time i pulled a nail into the quick, or hit my finger with the hammer, oh, or when i put a staple in my nail;
brownie batter, whenever brownies are being made;
clay, every tuesday night, some saturdays;
ear wax, van gogh’s;
enlightenment, from that time i was able to really just let go of my attachments when i realized that i was just going to die anyway and why hold on to things that aren’t really going to last forever, because, what does forever even mean;
grease, from the routine deathbot maintenance;
guilt, the heavy kind, won’t come out with soap;
laser burns, see grease, above;
murder, well, intent anyway;
prehistoric dinosaur dna, from that time i time travelled or “accidentally” touched the t-rex exhibit, can’t remember;
skin, every single day, sometimes post-shower, not always my own;
zen, see enlightenment, above;


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 12