In Lieu of Hours

radar loops of crawling showers
clouds seen through the window, look

I watch them as the daylight sours
and take a break to read a book

now drenching all tomorrow’s flowers
best to stay inside and cook

it comes as rain in lieu of hours
the time I freely gave, it took

You May Also Like

you like rope swings
and graham cracker brownies

can’t decide on a favorite color but
in the lavender of the jacaranda in bloom

a certain message seems to be hidden
signs that say open come in

cigar smoke a little bit, not too much
and gut laughs where you think

you’re never going to breath again or
a two-year-old picks you out of the crowd

and hits you with a big cheeky grin
catching yourself lost in thought

you can easily live with your regrets
the mail order shoes, they fit

right out of the box, the order
and safety of things in their containers

you mitigate with words when things get awkward
always a day late to get the joke

and oh the food, the meals, how we
measure the time by working, feeding

coffee, coffee like long wet kisses
and cold brick-hard stick butter

ripping gashes in warm toast
long lazy mornings and that spell

comes over you when the book you finish
ends strong and ends true

call it an honest living
but for the parts squandered in distraction

it’s all good, enough with the edits
these uncorrected proofs are ready to call it a day

Keepers

I can’t keep a dollar
in my pocket
or a girlfriend happy
for a day and a half

and she was a keeper too
oh well, boo hoo

sign says keep out
and I go right in

sign says keep left
but it didn’t say when

warned to ‘keep it up’
I comply with a grin

that keepsake of yours
I have tossed in the bin

guns and fences under the sky

my campfire can be seen for miles
signal to prey and predator alike
and in the old days some Apaches would
come and take me if not the Comanche

what spoils of that raid
I have nothing but loose talk and
indelicate gossip from the fort
where I am no longer welcome

laconic sons of bitches don’t truck
with no chatterbox shirttail leaving
word-litter drifted on a fence and
out here, let me tell you, the sound carries

my indiscretions have become self-aware
wild things galloping away, like mustangs
and I think at last to be rid
of them, but no no no

further West, the canyon walls
will ape whatever you shout
and as they say when the pistols are drawn
choose your words carefully friend

the prairie’s not owned by a boot print
but there are guns and fences under the sky
where the Karankawa once speared turtle and fish
and I press pause at the eventide’s first cricket

in the morning I am up with the gallows maker
hammering a sun to the lip of dawn’s bowl
and the Rio Grande is but a trickle at Big Bend
still a good spot for lookie-loos and selfies

Defiant

a tiny bronze flea
is set to leap on
a peeing bronze dog
as protest vs counter-protest
devolves into a
microscopic absurdity
about the love and
resentment we all feel
about money

Bondsmen

filling out a local business survey
I am asked to name my favorite bail bondsman
I imagine they are all pretty good
but I’m just not doing that much crime
these days, much less getting caught

I guess the best bail bondsman
would be the one who uses
a total rookie skip tracer
so if I have to bug out
I’m less likely to be found

then again, there are plenty of reasons
to want to run away and not be found
that have nothing to do with the law
I can think of about six right off the cuff
but the survey didn’t ask about that

Edge of Sleep

Sometimes I try to stay awake through the process of falling asleep. This doesn’t really make sense (you are either conscious or unconscious, right?) but the effort is interesting as you can get much closer to the edge, that point where you just fall, than you might think, and it’s an interesting and peculiar experience. Most often what happens is that sleep is merely postponed and you lay there wrestling against the fall into blankness, which is not what I am trying to do. I want to fall asleep and be aware of everything as it’s happening. So you stand guard and watch and you can actually get a sense of it approaching without having a sense of what IT actually is. You can ward it off, or let it come and take you, but you somehow aren’t allowed to watch what happens when it does.

Occasionally I notice that I seem to be entering a dream before I lose it and plunge into sleep, which is still a loss of awareness but with a thin slice of lucid dreaming at the leading edge. I’m assuming that my memory of this after waking back up is reliable. After experimenting with this for a while, I read somewhere that a very high Tibetan Lama, a really highly realized individual, had admitted to one of his students that he himself would lose the view briefly during the drift-off to sleep. Well, no wonder I can’t do it.

Quiet Mischief in a Damn Fine Universe

a shirt button strikes carpet
like a mouse tapping a conch shell
with a pine needle

the button threads dangle
in the happy memories of their
tightly crossed youth

when the air moves slowly
we don’t call it wind
and tree leaves abandon their chatter

the crunch of gravel beneath tires
falsely accuses silence of a mischief
that no one cares to name

the language takes its glory
in noise making, and tangles us
in an infinite knot of meanings

but silence knows no mischief
and so we busy ourselves
with gossip about its secrets