Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Water Daughter


A ten dollar fee,
just to see,
the amazing and
incredible underwater
beauty.

She swims, she floats
she plays, never gloats,
she dives, she splashes,
she never clashes, all the
while batting her long lashes.

She’ll smile through the glass,
and you’ll consider making a pass,
she’s got great legs and a wonderful…
sense of humor, she’s a fine lass,
with oodles of class.

Just suck down your beer,
at the bar as she swims so near,
just behind the bottles of cheer,
creating a certain atmosphere,
of lust and camaraderie.

Out of the water, in her tiny
pink robe, she sits and smokes
while businessmen make jokes
and lewd faces and invite her to
dark places.

She only performs on Mondays
and Wednesdays for the beer
jockey crowds, a ten dollar fee
at the door, and you can ogle
too.

The amazing and incredible
underwater beauty.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jukebox Demons

Jukebox demons keeping me
from the songs I want to hear.
The songs I want playing in my
head to help me get through the
long days, the long nights, the long
lulls between loves.

Crowded around the old Wurlitzer in
my brain, the leather jacketed demons
box out anyone that tries to get close
and pop in a dime. (Because the jukebox
in my mind doesn’t take quarters.) The
oversized jaws of the jukebox demons,
slick with glistening drool and blood,
grin with bullying anticipation as I
approach.

They won’t let me get by their swinging
tails, they nudge me and shove me and
ask, “Where do you think you’re going shrimp?”
And I just stand there and stutter and mutter
and hold my dime out in front of me like some
ancient talisman of protection.

They laugh, and poke each other, the jukebox
demons. They turn their backs to me and continue
to play songs that no one knows or likes, or just
keep the air empty of any songs at all. They are monsters
of the highest degree. They are cruel in their petty
punishments. In their ridiculous bullying.

I know they’ll grow weary at some point, and then I can
get to my jukebox and play songs to lift me up, to lighten
my mood, to give me the energy I need to get through it,
but for now, they’re leaning against my jukebox, smoking,
fixing their greasy pompadours  and talking about
some famous woman’s breasts and what they’d like to
do to them.  They’re just jukebox demons after all. No class.
And eventually they will get bored and go to the library to
pick on the other squares in there. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Philosopher's Club


If you’re ever asked,
“What if…?”
Or thought about,
“How would it be…?”
Or given yourself over
to asking yourself the
hard questions about
yourself, then you’re in.

If you’ve ever looked at
your shadow and wondered
if it’s looking back at you,
then you’re in.
If you’ve ever thought about
the vastness of the sky above,
then you’re in.

If you can put yourself in the
shoes of another person and see
the world from their feet, then
you’re part of it.
If you’ve stared at a bonfire and
imagined a world before electricity,
you’re there.

If you thought about Socrates, Plato,
Aristotle, any maybe read a little about
them, you’re part of it.
If you’ve thought about Fran├žois-Marie Arouet
A.K.A. Voltaire, you’re in the game.
Even if you haven’t but know who they are,
you’re probably in.

You’ve drank the red wine and stayed up
till sunrise with friends, discussing the essence
of being who you are, who each other are, and
why you gather as a collective, you’re totally in.
The only membership fee is curiosity. The dues
are only your desires to know something more
than you knew yesterday.


That’s the club, and it’s likely you’re already in.
But if you’re not. If you have no idea
what this is about, then what are you
doing reading poetry?
Get back in your bubble of self-involvement
and let us worry about the shadows on
the cave walls.

You don’t know the secret handshake anyway.

(There’s a hip bump involved.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bittersweet Beds


                Allen hated to get out of bed. His alarms had been silenced over and over as he hit the snooze button every nine minutes from six until eight thirty. The very idea of tossing the covers off and getting cleaned up; facing the day was nearly more than he could possibly bear. But he’d do it. He was expected to do it. He knew he had responsibilities he had to attend. He couldn’t just cocoon himself in the silks of his sheets and pray the day away. He had to face it. He had to do it.

                Carmen struggled to get out of her bed. Her five thirty wake up time seemed to come earlier and earlier which each morning.  She did it though. She dragged herself from her bed and started towards the kitchen to get her bowl of raisin bran and a cup of coffee. The same bowl. The same mug. The same spoon. Washed after each use and put carefully in the strainer to dry; ready for use the next morning, and the next.  She felt the weight of it all, but pressed on because she had to. There was no choice. It was what had to be done.

                Ethan made his bed. He tucked in the corners of the sheets. He fluffed his pillows and placed them against the ornate headboard. He’d been dressed since six thirty even though he didn’t have to leave for work until seven thirty. He was whistling along to his “Morning Jam” satellite radio station. He smiled at his reflection in the mirror. He combed his hair. He thought he might need a haircut over the weekend but he wasn’t sure he’d have time. He was taking salsa lessons, going kayaking, going to a gallery opening and cooking a dinner for five after their trip to see the symphony in the park. He figured he could just get up a little earlier on Saturday and get to the barbershop right as it opened. No big deal. It was easy to do.

                Colleen didn’t get out of bed. The alarm clock continued to buzz as she slept. She was content in her dreams of luxury apartment living complete with valets and penthouse pool parties and never ending cocktails. The noise of the alarm just became part of the EDM soundtrack of her dream.  It was so much better than her job at the coffee shop where she barely made enough to afford her studio apartment with the fold out sofa bed.  She had a college degree in Greek Philosophy but she wished she’d learned a trade like a plumber or an HV/AC repair person. Her dream went on and she dove into a crystal infinity pool. It’s what she wanted to do.

                Larry mashed his bed of newspapers together under his head.  The street noise had kept him up all night. The rain had come in the morning and he had gotten soaked. He could smell his own mustiness mixed with his body odor and he felt shame. He’d been someone once. A local weatherman, sometimes sports. Always ready to jump on whatever assignment he could. Until he started the cocaine, then the crack, then became a junkie no one would bother to help. He knew he should get cleaned up. He knew his redemption story was just around the corner. He just had to score first. He had to do it.

                Stevie sat up from the metal bed in the holding cell. He rubbed the sore spot on his head. He didn’t do anything. He was just minding his own business. He was just walking home from his sister’s place when the cops rolled up on him. They said he fit the description of the guy they were looking for. Stevie didn’t resist. They said he resisted though and they threw him to the sidewalk and cut his forehead. So he kicked one of them in the nuts. So they threw him in this cell, onto this metal sheet they called a bed. It’s what they did.

                Jimmy sat on the edge of his bed. He stared at his sleeping wife as she snored lightly. The sun was coming up and was dappling her graying hair with morning sunbeams. Jimmy held his service revolver in his hands. He felt its weight. It was so heavy. He wasn’t sure he could holster it ever again. He wasn’t sure why his wife was so mad at him. Why they fought so much last night. She was going to leave him. He didn’t want that to happen. He wanted to keep her here. He wanted to be together forever. It’s what he would do.

                Sandra got the kids out of bed. She made them breakfast. She stopped them from fighting over the iPad. She got them dressed. She got them out the door to school. She got to the store. She bought the household provisions. She restocked the pantry. She cleaned up after breakfast. She cleaned the bathroom. She did the laundry. She put it all away. She paid bills online. She dusted the dining room after noticing just a small spot she must have missed yesterday when she dusted. She vacuumed. She forgot to eat lunch. She picked the kids up from school. She took one to soccer, the other to ballet, the other to swimming. She looked in the mirror for the first time in three days. She didn’t recognize herself. It’s just what she did.

             The bittersweet beds, resting in silence, saying nothing of the lives they lure into their embrace.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Timeless


In the end, when the clocks
are stopped and the last
bell ringer ceases to be,
all we will have to mark the
time is the stories we tell.

Stories of that time he did
that hilarious thing, or that time
she said that marvelous thing,
or that time he gave so much
of himself. Of herself.

We’ll sit back and collectively
remember all those times; we’ll
smile, wipe away a tear, maybe laugh,
maybe wonder where the time went and
why it had to go.

We are the stories of time,
etched into the watch faces we
wear around our hearts, that keep
the time beating for others to
set their watches to.

 So when it’s done, when time runs
out, the buzzer tolls, the last tick, the final
chance to have that moment comes;
We will still have the times. And no time
can ever take that time away. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

DJ Yoga in the House!


“DJ Yoga in the house,
got a fresh cup of frothy
enlightenment to serve up
with some wicked dance
beats,” shouted DJ Yoga.

“Is this guy for real,” I asked
the person next to me.
“You don’t know DJ Yoga?”
I shook my head in the negative.
The person snorted at me and
moved to another seat.

“Yo, yo, yo, we’re gonna get
our spirituality in tune with the
groove of the universe y’all,” yelled
DJ Yoga.
I looked at the other people on the
train and some were weeping with joy.
Some were tearing at DJ Yoga’s tight
flannel yoga pants.

“Downward facing dog yo!”
DJ Yoga brushed his gloved hand through
his thick beard and then adjusted his
fedora. “We’re gonna get cosmic with this
new meditation beat yo,” he shouted at me.

“I’m not into this,” I said, “I don’t... you know,
do this stuff…,”
The deep bass of DJ Yoga’s mix scratched to a halt,
which was odd since it was on an iPod, and everyone
stared at me. A laser stare, as if they could rend flesh
from bone with mere hate.

“That’s alright baby,” yelled DJ Yoga in my face, “You’re
just not into it…yet,” as he wiggled his eyebrows at me.
“No, no. I’m a bit beyond that. I had gym as a kid,
so I’m good,” I said as I started to stand.
“You don’t want a piping hot cup of celestial
enlightenment and kick ass grooves,” asked a smirking
DJ Yoga.

“No. I like my celestial enlightenment at
room temperature and my grooves mellow,”
 I said as I moved to the train doors.
“Blasphemer,” whispered one of the riders.
DJ Yoga smiled at me with his golden teeth.
“That’s just a different path, that’s all,
punk.”

DJ Yoga started his music again as we
pulled into the station and I got off
the train. The people I left were toasting
each other’s balance and woolen caps with their fair trade
blends. The doors closed behind me and the
train pulled away.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hustling


Mr. Hustle gets up early.
Mrs. Hustle goes for a seven mile jog.
Mr. Hustle works out for an hour.
Mrs. Hustle makes egg whites.
Mr. Hustle thinks there’s time.
Mrs. Hustle doesn’t think there’s enough.

Mr. Hustle uncovers the Jaguar.
Mrs. Hustle starts the BMW.
Mr. Hustle waves good bye, says “I love you”.
Mrs. Hustle waves back, says nothing.
Mr. Hustle turns on the radio news.
Mrs. Hustle drives in silence.

Mr. Hustle drives East, as the sun rises.
Mrs. Hustle drives West, where it’s still dark.
Mr. Hustle will be the first one at the firm.
Mrs. Hustle heads to her P.R. business.
Mr. Hustle will think about the account.
Mrs. Hustle will think about where the money is.

Mr. Hustle takes a call in the car.
Mrs. Hustle stops to get a green tea.
Mr. Hustle pulls an errant nose hair.
Mrs. Hustle watches a bird poke the ground.
Mr. Hustle tells his assistant to re-set the meeting.
Mrs. Hustle sees the bird poking at a worm.

Mr. Hustle gets to the office and starts right in.
Mrs. Hustle watches the bird fly off with the worm.
Mr. Hustle spills a little water on his oak desk.
Mrs. Hustle drops her green tea in the trash.
Mr. Hustle yells at his assistant to bring a napkin.
Mrs. Hustle drops her wedding ring in the trash.

Mr. Hustle holds his assistant by the waist.
Mrs. Hustle starts to run.
Mr. Hustle kisses his assistant’s neck.
Mrs.  Hustle runs.
Mr. Hustle takes another call, pushing his assistant away.
Mrs. Hustle ran. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

That's So August



August is a peculiar month.
There’s no doubt in my mind
about its strangeness. 

The waning summer, fading
with longer shadows earlier in
the day.

A month, made from the whims
of Romans, numbered and toyed with
from 700 BC to 8 BC.

It’s historically a month of triumphs,
of successes, fertility, meteor showers
and civility.

August has had dates etched on
my mind, never forgotten,
and a marvel for their timing.

It’s a weird month,
full of odd holidays and
traditions.

It’s currently International Clown Week,
World Breastfeeding Week, and of course,
International Beer Day on the 5th.

A mish-mash of events,
so if you see a drunken breastfeeding clown,
you’ll know why.

Because it’s August.
And it’s strange.