Blue Plate Special

a poem should be written
on a whim, in the dark
its meaning a puzzle
its purpose a lark

assertions, like tires
should be poked with an awl
erudition abandoned
it’s not needed at all

extruded ideas
so much pasta, all carbs
an early-bird special
no spices, no barbs

rote and pedantic
sanitized and deburred
screw that, draw your daggers
have quarrels with words

make inanities dance
to a literal din
as many as will fit
on the head of a pin

when done it should lunge
at your throat off the page
in a cheeky, precipitous
perpendicular rage

or at least make us laugh
at ideas we hold dear
or confront the hobgoblins
of truth that we fear

if not, set some meta
to meter and rhyme, like
a bore, argue theories
per dozen, a dime


The Fourth of You Lie

Jolly England stretches, reaches
plucks herself some jolly peaches
in America, her new-found land.

The Colonies, ungrateful leeches
organize with sword and speeches
sever their dependence, ain’t it grand?

Now the colony beseeches
with military might, “to each his
own,” except the grabs that we have planned.

You that’s got the world’s peaches
we will take, as finance teaches:
you don’t like it you can go pound sand.


fledgling Blue Jay
seems bewildered to be
in the world, what
a peculiar urge

to leave the nest, without
a second thought
to do, and do and rest

in a place where
every moment is
a kind of birth canal
squeezing us out, into
the next, and for what

—to do our best

Young Blue Jay photographed June 28th, 2018, in Galveston, TX where they are said to be somewhat rare.

Hackberry Moon

The untenable bloat
of a star-fed night
the belt of blackened sky
finds the end of its catches
and drawers, breaches the opened

Window of evening
baring to the plebeian fields
a pimpled moon—abruptly
   speeds away toward the dawn
rattling what remains

Of leaden, time-bound constellations
in a hooting, waxing mood
pranking the polished mirror
where the cosmos appear—

Did you see that, dear?

Swimming to Campeche

I know the air
well enough to bathe with it
feed the fires with it
live with it in me, we in it
delighting airfoils, it rushes
suddenly from pressurized places
into unobstructed sunshine, I’m

swimming to Campeche in
adopted waters of the new rivers*
flowing, oxidizing the ferric mischief with
its snail-flame, interest earning rust
scuttled man-touch, the landfill drifts
on the pant-legs of the gulf
the biosphere perspires, and we

build our cities within the folds
of its soiled laundry, the daytime
programming of geology’s TV
all the while, without
really meaning to

* Geologically speaking, all rivers are young. See: John McPhee, Rising from the Plains.

A Slice of Longevity

pyre of the moment
denies all these lingering traces
and the fireproof memories
are breaking and entering
we weep for the dead
and gone, weep for ourselves

the death certificate
rendered into thin strips, gathered
ignited, burned, lanky curled effigies
prostrate their ashen bodies
in offering, an act complete in itself
without forethought, intent
or memory, like a barfly
tossing back a shot of whiskey
at the funeral pyre of this particular
slice of longevity


The providence of light
honors the appetite of all things seen
knows the curvature of space
from the choreography of the red-shifted, to
the bent lamplight of the inner lanes.

In the headlights, opened eyes
a latent disorder is caught deer-sighted
and joining, we work the tantra of an
off-world insight, seeing in the rearview
landmarks, clutch-holds, and signifiers.

Hello, host of house-haunting neuroses
I so want to be gentle with you
the troublemakers who cast shadow puppets
onto appetites that are themselves shadows
in light that I myself provide.