Pound of Sand

I see a line drawn
in a sandy beach
on a hurricane shore.

The waves defeat the seagulls
bobbing helplessly, surfacing,
sipping air in exasperated curses,
calling out the storm god,
cursing him.

They live in strip malls
with convenient store to store
purchases, sail-less villages with excquisite
customer service.

Their veins are opened
like lead and gold married,
divorced, separated,
unaware of their vacancy.

Grays and specters,
anatomical configurations –
mannequins, with ample bosom
but no offspring.

A cavity,
an empty cave,
A daydream with no playground.

An ounce of determination
in a pound of sand.

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Summit Unreached

I wandered alone on a mountain, lost.
Each path looked to me the same.
Every aspen, yellow-bright blinked happily
against a coniferous sea.
The stones were strewn glacially
which made for difficult climbing
My sea level lungs struggled for air.
Others had raced ahead, reached the precipice
witnessed the dying of the day,
while I nuzzled in a musky den of boulders.
Snow then settled on me, braced in a sleeping bag
crumpled near a blazing fire,
pack tangled like mistletoe in a tree.
That was my one success that night,
a spirit rousing blazing fire,
perfume of some wild beast nearby
prodding me to add more fuel.
I remember the rocks, the food dangle,
and the defeat of a summit unreached.

Lazarus Stink

Trivia like foundlings whimpering on Mount Aetna
speeches delivered sanctimoniously, framed elegantly
we, in our little catch pens are sows, squorking
at humiliated ravens, wingless, flightless, bobbing
staring skyward with black eyed malice, misappropriating
murderous thoughts and plots of revenge
for their torturers unending recompense, the pay stub
taxes detailed, FICA forgotten, so many details
missed in the quickness, the rushing wind, the burial
with no hope of resurrection, lie entombed, embalmed
waiting for Lazarus to stink.

Ordinary Details

Teeth turned to grit, little pebbles
flat stones on a tongue beach covered in spit
like the foam of the tide ebbing
leaving little jelly fish and broken shells behind.

A finger of land, an asparagus Higgins Boat
met the chip chip of bile gunning, built up
fomenting, viscous flow, like Pinatubo,
crater filled with molten earth, hissing hate.

Dinner gave ample evidence
that attention to ordinary details
forestalls predictable failures.

I elide

Always the linden line, the neatly slatted walls
with shouting blinded windows echoing light,
singing the carol of four wheelers, of dirt bike
racing through back woods, to smoke stacked mills
long abandoned – spinsters fishing for compliments
ivy draped red brick crumbling, mortar bone white
like the leering smile of a local philanderer stroking his beard
striped and baby blue fedora tilting anxiously forward
like a Dramamine infused rider on Coney Island
this Colossus does not shadow Rome, though its millions
smile at the sea, the long planked miles home
to pedantic sea gulls and needle tossing visitors.
Elsewhere eels and sharks mark the wash, or a whale
breathes its last while nervous bathers try to roll
it back toward the water, like some interventionist
stuffing a coup back into its box. I elide.

Greased Pole

It’s nothing without it
that little catchphrase
that little geriatric jerry curl
pasted to Superman’s brow;
I wrote a top ten list,
recommended fifteen articles
saved less time than I used
with all my time saving devices.
Life is like a pirate,
forecastle splayed like a dancer
slid down a greased pole.

Light Socket

Hooked on a curb, traffic watching
stubble faced, blue eyes churning the day
summer phase is sinusoidal, coughing fit, sneezing
dopey head from anti-allergens, thoughts wheezing
sugar breezing, iced tea in the sun
main street, traffic jam, lemmings on the crosswalk
fit craze, God praise, prosperity gospel.

In all this world of bits and pieces,
actions and reactions; physical laws
and their spiritual counterparts —
where is the alleyway between grace, mercy
and sticking that fork in the light socket again.

Forgotten Songs

That moment after victory, that dance
that shout, the plans for duck boat parades
those beating chests, kisses from pretty strangers
the last discovered continent before the rift
as the blazing meteor descends, destroying all evidence
and perplexed future archaeologists piece together
the shards of mirrored civilizations, as jaguars
lope through leafy jungles, cancer researchers
shaving bark in the everlasting quest to cure death,
there in the hissing breaths of emphysema
in the hubristic wards of the unbreakable
there where our sins find us out, we lie and chant
struggling to remember the chorus words
of forgotten songs.

Gods of Inventories

Berthold Auerbach, like a garden gnome
painted face flecked and weather worn
guarding petunias under a Deutschland hedge
like a pet, the regarded female sports anchor
the black friend, the trusted confidant.
The signal to noise, the real injustice
is chained to the impersonal dispensation
of a thousand Protestant Popes, or caste-lisping
Hindus, sapphron sprinkled, in guru poses
dispensing the wisdom of inoculated isolates
the unworshipped gods of inventories.

Unhinged Saint

Self sequestration, a gentling hermitage
four walls, shelves, a desk and a few lamps
a comfortable prison, furnished, paid for
by the charity of self pity, a remonstrance
unbecoming, smelling salts the atomized
conscience of disenchantment, fairy rings
worked out on dusty floors, crumpled paper
abandoned diagrams of constabulary restitution
the surprise verbiage of a well delivered line
plastered on the bumper of a rusting van
speeding down the highway with unseemly haste
toward the dudgeon, the white waisted, belted
ringed, Saturnine bellicosity of an unhinged saint.

Mortars

The thick mud under boot
spread, trousers sloshing in
gun upraised, no man’s land ahead
turned back briefly, balked
the soloist singing ahead
as the pitch changed, red-faced
blood spattered heroic, he suspended
his disbelief as the mortars
calculated the range.

Blushing Cheeks

On the further shores of anguish
where the cast iron skillets sizzle
bubbling lard waits for the shelling eggs
calcium crunch like a bone field
bright line of hydrogen diverted
to a blistered spectrum, ghosts in apogee
paradise disclaimed and forfeited
by Adams and Eves, loins leaf covered
the first shearing shame of blushing cheeks.

While We Slept

Cold treacle, cold, fused with the bottle
the hibernated blood stream of a sleepy bear
a geyser settling into a stagnant pool –
there in the afternoon, the chill wind blew
the moon forgot her place, forgot to rise
twinkling stars sang their somber tunes,
cradle hymns to Heracles grappling snakes.
In the corner Bacchus blubbed, snoring
spittle cementing in his beard, nyads draped
pillowing the floor with their voluptuous bodies
the baby demi-god bouncing into prone females
as he wrestled for his life.

Fish Hooks

A surcoat of leaves, the panoply of branches
spreading like boils, like rat infested storehouses
plagues and poxes and Khans, the skewers
of wooden fences pricking Seljuks to anger
as New Rome falters like smoke in wind,
tracing the zephyrs, conforming to the shape
the political engagement of turbidity,
a swirl of dust spun up like yarn from the hoof taps
of a thousand stampeding horsemen.

Over the plain, in the teeth of white capped hills
some horde, some golden envoy, some Tatar king
spies the walls of Muscovy lingering, low, pegged
to the soft ridge of a rolling highland, no domes,
no baptism, no Methodius, only the wooden piles for
ritual sacrifice – wine for men and flesh for women
an Animistic hypothesis, tilting quintains of
impending revelation, the spinning jabbers, the fish hooks
of an international conspiracy.

Lyrical Flexibility

The newspapers lead with death, newspapers
what an antiquated term; in a few years will
that word be like Xerox or PC or Kleenex
as brand names slip into bland names and
the ever present marching, the tick tock of time
Captain Hook and his clock-o-diles dribbles over us
like the salacious details of a political scandal
outcome determined by the lyrical flexibility
of the leader.

Curling Like a Bow

Saw the morning too early, rain coming
eyes popped open, thoughts wringing
words eluded, like a rabbit fleeing
or an abbot locking his doors before a Viking raid,
my illuminated manuscript, book of Kells,
my silver golden I, curling like a bow
illustrated serpents, winged like dragons,
tongues extended unnatural long, allying
with unicorns and every disparate cryptid
a retinue of elastic demi-creatures, tangoing
caught between perplexity and communion
the friction of the heirless badger king,
maverick Swein the bully, divided lands,
a cousin returned to stir up mischief.