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On Becoming Briefly Infatuated While Married

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The day after falling in love,
I became unmoored from everything familiar,
(this chair, that piece of curtain)
and floated off, as light as photons.

You stayed behind to guard our homestead,
to summarize the situation when
onlookers stopped to gawk.
"Nothing to see here, move along," you said
in your crossing guard's voice.
"It happens now and then, she's just that way."
The neighbors shuffled off, looking doubtful.

In my altered state, beset with hiccups and filled with poetry,
I had no need of food or a clean bathroom.
Eventually, days later, I regained corporeal form,
and, subject to the usual rules of gravity,
I fell to earth like Icarus: aflame
but not regretting my too-short flight.

Precisely

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She tells me to be more precise when I speak.  I can't imagine that I have been unclear, so I am puzzled. She sees the puzzlement on my face but interprets it, somehow, as slyness. She thinks I am searching for another underhanded way of saying whatever is coming next. "I was precise," I say, repeating my previous sentence, just a little bit more slowly. This she takes for insubordination. Her face twists with rage.
"You are a liar. You lie every time you open your mouth." Ah, now I have gone from speaking unclearly to lying. I can see there is no way to salvage this confrontation. So I take the only course left to me and go mute. We stand there in her airless office with the dying plant on the sill and the desk on which every object is placed precisely. Is it my imagination, or is her chair afraid of her? Time passes as she waits for me to speak. No chance of that. I left my body 45 seconds earlier, although she doesn't know it, and I'm kayaking the Nantah…

Sparrow Down

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We buy an old house from an old builder, and soon we are builders ourselves. We pull off layers of flowery paper to find more layers beneath, every wall a palimpsest. We become intimate with plumb lines and levels, with setting things straight.
Down we go, down to the bones: the load-bearing joists, the sub-floors and lathe. We are its surgeons; we know the periodic table of its elements, this house made of carbon and copper and antimony.
At night, I hear music, a sound -- unexpected -- like the whisper of water that slips over bricks.

In this driest of months, we bravely tear off the roof. I lie on my back and peer up at the sky through what once was an attic. We haul in a mattress and sleeping bags. This feels like camping except that the ground is heart pine, newly varnished, instead of Piedmont soil.

There's no surcease from heat, no "cool of the evening," like the songs say about summer in the South. Those songwriters sat under fans, I tell you, in the Brill Building i…

One Poem, Eight Rejections

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“Your use of metaphor jumps off the cliff of excess into the sea of confusion.”
--Tamped Down: The Pipe Smoker's Quarterly.
“Too much rough stuff for us.”  -- Warm Porridge  Review


"Too tame for our readers."  -- Slap and Tickle
“Derivative.” -- Jazz Is A Poem/ Poetry is Jazz


“Oops, bad timing I'm afraid as we've lost our grant money, and our poetry editor went back to school to retrain in digital media, but if it's any consolation, we would have published this.” -- Wichita Community Center Newsletter.


"This has a certain energy that crossed the brain-blood barrier and continued on, into the unknown. Do you suppose you could make the female protagonist a salamander rather than a human?"  -- Amphibious World


“Not quite there. Do try again.”  -- ASKANCE!


“As if!” -- The New Yorker

Never Been Down to Lonely Street

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“You've never had your heart broken? Come on, never? How can you not EVER have been jilted? You've been with like, what, 20 guys?”
I took my eyes off the road for a moment. 
“The answer is never, 41, and now, shut up.”

I switched on WBHM, turned north on I-65, and lit a Marlboro 100. Felice made fingertip circles on her iPad screen. I knew she'd be back to drill for more. My niece wasn't the first to try to coax a sad love story from me. I've been worked over by some real pros -- the ones who tell you about all their sad break-up shit and then wait, like you're supposed to take your turn next. 
Hey, what can I say? I don't have anything to tell. I go out with somebody, and, if we mesh, I stick around. If not, I walk. 

Felice and I were halfway along our drive to Memphis on a pilgrimage of some urgency. She had confessed she knew nothing about Elvis Presley, and I immediately decided to take the child in hand. She might be 14, but that was no excuse.
“As her godm…

The Late Show at the Argo

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The Argo Drive-In late show ended at 11:30. When the last car had gone, Marti doused the sodium vapor spotlight, slipped on double latex gloves and rolled the trash trolley through the semicircular theater lot. An empty pint of Courvoisier, an unfurled Trojan, and a baby’s sippy cup joined the usual popcorn tubs and soda cans. Nothing special, not like the previous week’s find of a SouthSea pearl ring and umber calfskin gloves. She heard the cough of the projectionist’s truck about to leave; Avner sounded a see-you-later beep and rumbled out the exit toward Cooley’s Package Store before it closed at midnight. In the distance Marti could see flashing blue and red emergency lights where the road bent sharply west. Silently she wished Avner a safe detour around the latest crash. She remembered to check the speaker wires at Slot 23. She’d had to disable that speaker earlier; best to reconnect its parts while it was fresh on her mind. The couple in the car at Slot 23 had not been ugly abou…