Enough of teeth, I say. Let’s sell gelato.
Enough of radiant lights. Let’s smoke the casinos.
Let’s do it. Let’s do it all night long with women
And virtual cleavage.
Let’s sell them masks that look appealing
But reveal brittle bones.
And despite this revealing,
They will want it. They will want the mask,
They will breathe through the mask,
Listen to the money coursing &coins clinking
Through hard silver slots
As I slither around diamonds in clubs
Longing for one more collapse.
And the big eyes with their wallets,
Won’t see it. [The victims I hold under
The shallowest of shallows.] But if they do,
If they do,
Big eyes will believe these must have fallen.
Which in fact, they have.
For the Sunday Whirl
She became ours because God was smiling
Because God was in favor of furry hugs&kisses
&Because we were beginners, we named her Rookie
Because even though we didn’t know it, we were
Learning about windfalls of dumb luck in life, in Winter
Because that’s really what happens when you’re young
Being hopeful for so very little &grateful for the privilege
That you can claim any living thing to be yours, all yours, never
Conceding that maybe this one belonged more to the Colorado snow
To the horde of small bundled children squealing and reaching
For tufts of angel white hair as this carefree creature zigzagged
Her way across Greeley’s snow-flocked school playground
Being the happy hotdogger that she was– a happy tail wagger
&Even though –even though I’m past those amateur dog days
I catch myself still reaching for her now –like we all did
Like she loved for us to do as she dipped her nose to the ground
Before she took off quick and free as any living thing could
I put myself in the middle of the hugging,
reaching, touching, and the patting of little old
ladies whose vertebrae are currently collapsing.
Verna is shorter today without her matching hat,
but still completely color-coded in violet. She clips
her way to the altar, and bumps me. I don't know why,
but I reach my arm out and touch her left shoulder
as if to say, you touched me Verna. And after I do
she turns around to see who it is touching her.
You can't bump anyone in church and get away with it
is sort of what I am thinking, although I didn't mind it,
or my plumber touching the small of my back today.
I remember that now. And the fact that I'll probably never
see him again because he's moving to Maine. After a firm
handshake & a wink he says, "It's my final resting place."
Dominic at summer camp had caramel brown skin,
Half adult/half baby teeth, and two doe eyes that sparkled
When he talked about how his left hand was faster
When drumming his fingers on the table. He could drum.
But one time his face fell off when dinner just started.
An empty taco shell sat on his eggshell dinner plate.
Other campers went on smearing beans inside corn holders,
Saying pass the cheese, pass the sour cream, the lettuce.
But Dominic’s face had fallen off. He had no mouth,
So the big man at the table took him by the hand
Away from the mess hall, away from his sadness.
Sadness was what it was, then, as sadness usually is.
And I don’t know what the big man said, but I can guess
How the big man said it, because when the boy came back
He asked for a mountain of rice. A pile so high. So high
It touched the sky, seasoned with tomatoes and salt.
Boy, could he eat. I watched him eat one mountain, then two.
for Real Toads
Before I ask
my able/bodied legs to fly
there’s this niggling gnash of gray bones
And it is you
who is the morning/delivered
paper barking only bad news
Cold snap’s coming
for thin/skinned people like me who
know a cliff that could end it all
But, hey/it’s not
yet noon, not the end of the world
according to dogs on a walk
And my muscle
memory can move me up this
mountain so I can say/hello
And passers by
won’t know I’m trying to forget
you in between measured/breathing
Who is alone,
Who is never alone.
Who can’t find a path
When every night light’s a nail
Feels the throat of a dogged moon.
Am I suffering?
I am insistent this is my own hand.
I fell a tree.
A leaf is really a finger attached to an arm.
These lumps feel soft and vague under the sole of my shoes.
Why should this loss smell good to my nose?