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

chorus (20180321)

i think i hear you
but i have to strain
to be sure
turn off the flashlight
because the white disc of light
seems to hum and it is easier
to listen for you in the dark
disengaging every other sense

a thousand thousand croaking voices
sing at once if not as one

a little rain seems to have
resuscitated you
and your desiccated brethren
hidden by the low tree line
hidden by the cover of night
your song amplified by low clouds

each little voice
a pair of little wings
each pair of wings
lifts my soul a fraction of a fraction of an inch
such a small amount for any
given voice
but such a chorus
raises me skyward
the thousand thousand voices

in gratitude from my great height
i want to yell through the leaves
across the lanes of traffic
thank you frogs
goodnight frogs
but all i manage is a smile
and a bit of a croak

a short walk (20180308)

everything is new
to the new dog
each smell a redolent benediction
from nature’s upraised hand
the rotting carcass
of a crow an equal
of a smoking thurible
each ecstatic stream of urine
a harmonic note
added a chorus of previous hymns

so much outside
franti sniffing
making up for this lack of knowledge
so much i wasn’t aware of
so much to be thankful for
the grass
the wind
the sun in my eyes
even the decayed leaves
even the mud
even the shit
thank you for outside
thank you for newness

rainy weather (20180222)

judas iscariot popped up
in my dream
offered me seven bucks
to watch her son in the morning
because he had the chicken pox
and she had to work

i felt bad because
i knew she couldn’t afford
to pay me
not even seven dollars

she cried when i gave her
the damp, worn bills back
and i got the feeling
that she hated me
for it as she walked away
sobbing in torn fishnets
late for her shift in the warehouse