Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to School

The time of year when the sun takes the color
Of pages in a paperback left too long on a shelf,

September makes Underwood remember school
And a girl who gave him a book.

"You should read this. It reminds me of you."

September makes Underwood think of promises and lies,
Books he did not read. A sun will come up
But not this one. Every day passing
Is a torn-out page.

Underwood studies the mirror, researching
The cause of each wrinkle. Considers

Buying a pink shirt, maybe some shoes.
This time of year everything's on sale.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hurricane brings the beat, but we ain't dancing.

A storm down south pushes funky
air through every crack and wrinkle.

We cannot get naked enough
To vent the heat or cool our skin.

The clouds are clothing us. We wear
rain for a hat. The wooly-wet

a river-muddied Saint Bernard
who wants to be your best friend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Venus Looks Downrange

As she lowered herself
Onto me, she took
A sharp breath and held it,
The way a marksman waits
Between heartbeats before
Pulling the trigger.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Venus on a Tile Floor

She emerged from the shower
Flourishing her towel,
The cape of a matador
In the heart of a warm
Spanish afternoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Walk Through the City with an Invisible Bear on a Chain.

Listening for rain, like a kid on Christmas
waiting for the hooves of reindeer
on the roof. Please Santa, bring me
some lightning wrapped in a bow.

Thunder, the sound of a storm getting its license
to drive wet and loud, out of sight of the clouds
who now question the decision to give him the keys.
His friend the wind will lead him to trouble.

By mid-August, the sun seems a little older,
yellowing like the edges of an old photograph.
A scattered few leaves change colors --
in the mirror, the greying of my own hair.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aging Bachelors Argue about the Thermostat

Smell fresh rain in the dark of the evening.
Brother Heat said "Oh, alright. I'll give you the night,
Brother Rain replied "Damn right you will".

Ozone and minerals rise in the steam
air and stone vaporized by lightning,
and the matter laid to rest until morning.

Jumping the gun a little for Poetry Thursday this week. Re-working a Facebook posting, maybe some good will come of this eventually.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Have I ever told you about the time...?

After the hail storm
turned the yard into a sno-cone,
The moon painted the whole world gold
like a carnival ride at rest.

When the tree frogs sang
over the sound of traffic,
the lightning seemed so far away,
Like a story a friend used to tell.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Putting up some older poems

I thought I might blog a few pieces that are older and have been in circulation for a little while now. My thanks go out to the editors who saw fit to publish them.


Blunt Force Trauma (Published in The Legendary Oct. 25, 2011)

Blunt Force Trauma

Nothing focuses the mind
like a good ass-kicking.
In bed afterwards, internal organs
re-arrange themselves inside the body.
A bruised spleen tickles, an exquisite
organ in its movement, second only
to the clitoris in provocation.

Granddaddy killed a cow who had turned
her uterus inside-out calving. Stove in her skull
with the back side of an axe. The calf survived;
nursed by a sharp-boned Holstein cow.

16-year-old boy half-way
ejected from a black Pinto
rolling down an embankment.
The police towed the wreck
to a garage only three blocks
from the funeral home. We gawked
past in awkward high-school neckties.
Ours was a small town.

Throw ten thousand punches
into the wooden man dummy, then
go out to eat dim-sum. A chopstick
dumpling is slick and heavy
as a new-born world.

Even after the divorce,
she still sets mouse traps
in her kitchen on occasion.

Joe Strummer & William S. Burroughs (published in The Legendary Oct. 25, 2011)

Joe Strummer Gives Advice to William S. Burroughs

When you kick down a front door,
Pay close attention to whether
you are going in or coming out.
Going out, you should have a get-away car
Coming in, you should bring a gift
Either way, the kick-down is only the beginning.

Fast Food Sestina (published in The Legendary Oct. 25, 2011)

Fast Food Sestina

On cold days Rochelle has to stand
out behind the back door just to smoke
a cigarette and worry about money.
She works doubles because she needs the hours
she and the manager have had a little talk
and she gets what she wants now, baby.

She flips her phone open to see a picture of her baby;
looks for the little envelope symbol to tell her where things stand.
Nothing there. She drifts back to when Corey would call to talk
and laugh and call her "honey". He rolled away like smoke
from a chimney. Now she fills her hours
with French fry grease, paper hats and never enough money.

She is going back to school when she saves enough money,
get her GED, a real job and some brand-new toys for her baby.
Or at least get some sleep, she's running on about five hours
or less these days. It's getting to where she can't stand
the thought of even one more shift meal, or the smell of smoke
when the grill gets too hot, or the way the high-schoolers talk.

Once in time, she could talk that talk
about who liked who, and what "I'm gonna get me with my paycheck money"
Now, these kids know better than to ask her for a smoke.
Back in the kitchen, the manager tells her she's going to have to baby
that machine along, or it'll fall right off its stand
and he's not paying for a service call after-hours.

She punches her card into the ker-chunking time clock and adds up her hours
in her head, how long to buy gas, how long for formula, and how long to talk
with Mama about this week's rent. She watches the customers stand
in line, looking up at the menu like it's a spaceship they have to give their money.
She smiles a thin smile as she thinks about her own little alien baby
sees her dropping from a space ship flashing its lights and spewing green smoke.

The onions in the machine burn her eyes like smoke,
but still she smiles for her little girl who giggles for hours
and grins like a post-card lake in the mountains, a cool blue-water baby.
some day, when that cool little girl learns how to talk,
some day, when she can afford the money
they'll find that lake, stare at their reflections in the water, and just stand.

Mama told her "You'll stand what you have to stand, put that in your pipe and smoke it."
So she deep-fries for money, sweats in an ugly shirt for hours and listens to the
code-talk from the line, "Double-double, heavy everything, and drop me some fries, chop-chop, baby"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Philosophical Discussion Between a 'Possum and a Raccoon.

There's a chicken in the road.
What's a chicken doing in the road?
Crossing it.
Crossing what?
The road.
You're telling me there's a chicken crossing the road?
Yep, that's what I'm telling you.
I wonder why.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recent Publications

The Legendary
Fast Food Sestina
Joe Strummer gives advice to William S. Burroughs
Blunt Force Trauma
Another Barcelona
AK-47: Mikhail’s Tractor
I-95: Not Looking Back
This Ain’t Tibet, Baby

Short, Fast, and Deadly
Ode to February 15th

Night Train (ceased publication)
Daddy Warbucks Got Indicted

Clinch Mountain Review (print publication)
Surviving the Drought (prose)
The Guns of Pittston
The Firefly
Maybe it’s Just Me

Hazard Cat
What Happens on Saturday Night Around Here

Floyd County Moonshine (print publication)
Slow Cards with One-Armed Men (short story)

Dead Mule School of Southern Literature (coming out Feb. 2013)
Lumberyard Sestina
News from Home
Trailways Madonna
On Mapping a Slave Cemetery

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poetry Thursday July 19

In Which the Cyclist Reveals Truth to the Rooster in the Road

You were here first,
Closer by the second,
I am the Conquering Dog on a white wheel.

Cross the road
Strut like a man, stupid bird
I am War Fox on a red bicycle.

Blue-speckled egg-son,
Peck at the grain spilled on the shoulder
I am Hunger on black tires.

 Puff your comb Chanticleer,
Stand your proud ground.
I am Death too pale for you to see.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Poetry Thursday May 3

American sentence for Poetry Thursday Hot sun pouring concrete; bgs to work out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

American sentence

American sentence for Poetry Thursday. Hot sun, pouring concrete; bugs to work out.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Le Tour de Noir

Le Tour de Noir

Blackwood drives through the rain tonight;
Traffic lines disappear on the wet tarmac.

He revels in his wealth,
In his dominion
as stoplights toss
rubies and emeralds at his windshield.

Diamonds, diamonds
Paving his path
The oncoming headlights.

Her wedding ring
Blue neon pawnshop
An eye full of sapphires
Mind full of coal

Blackwood is the king of the world.

His driver’s seat a throne
King of old
Ever had

six-way power position climate zone comfort control vibrating massage lumbar adjustment.

Heavy weighs Blackwood’s head
he surveys his passenger seat empire.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Viva Cannon Fodder

Viva Cannon Fodder

Underwood drinks cold coffee and browses his notes
Margins full of restless doodles, “the art of meetings”.

The day out his window is unseasonal, too hot,
like the sun from a month in the future.

A reminder chimes from his desktop,
And a few seconds later from his phone.

His clock no longer ticks in seconds;
It chimes with obligations.

Checks his calendar. Tomorrow is wall to wall.
Green and pink rectangles, a ledger of his time.

From the doctor to the technician, prescriptions,
a lawyer will call, someone from the home will visit.

A ten-peso coin balances on edge beside a cable
Some bent cards, a name tag, an empty toner.

Change from a cantina just over the border
It could fall either way.

Fat man reads about Barcelona (sestina)

Local reading series at Community High School (a local private arts and academics school)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Traffic Report

Traffic Report    

1.      1.  Morning

Underwood commutes past a deer dead
in the median. It still has the shape of a deer,

and he still has the shape of Underwood.
What are your goals for this quarter?

Eat well, avoid coyotes, maybe get laid,
and what about you, Buck?

Underwood laughs as the light turns green,
and the river of traffic surges from the floodgate.

2.     2.  Afternoon

The deer still on the grass
Underwood still in his car,

buzzards hop about in consultation
sleek and reeking in black suits and wingtips,

Synergrizing the carcass.

Underwood takes a sick day

Underwood takes a sick day

And what of you, Underwood
What do you have to add?

A quip, or a day of your life
Spent in an expensive chair?

Results of the test are available
Before you can put your clothes back on.

We have shipping containers full*
Of you, Underwood.

Please present your card.

Spring Training

Spring Training

Somewhere in the middle of Virginia,
night fell like tequila panties,
not with a whimper, nor a bang,
but with the sorority-girl WOOHOO
of the train whistle.

NaPoWriMo #1

Laundry can wait

When you have to dig a grave
every shovel of dirt weighs
as much as you can bear. 

When you have to lower a good dog
into the ground, past the severed roots
and overturned stones,

you remember where you bought
the green blanket, the bright white
lights of the store, the tatter of fluff

When it wore out enough to give
to the dog. The purple memory
Of the syringe in the veterinarian’s kind hand

then the returning of dirt to the hole
where sweat and tears fail
to wash the shovel clean.