Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Resolution

I resolve to stop driving past your house,
knowing I won't knock on your door.
Not today, maybe not.
Maybe, if I see some sign of life.
A flower pot moved into the sun or an open curtain.
Anything to entice me to your door
and ask the question I don't want answered
and maybe ask forgiveness for buckling under the weight
of a burden no rational man would lift,
but a boy would raise high and carry,
and I did. 
I have to know if you know
what you cost and what you bought.
Maybe you know,
maybe you always knew,
maybe you never cared,
maybe you never thought of it,
maybe it never mattered at all.
I did not leave.
I did not run away.
I did not hide.
I just stepped outside for air,
a boxer's minute between rounds,
just to breathe deep and stand at the bell,
gloves at my chin, ready to swing and jab.
The ceiling caved in behind me 
and you were in the wreck,
buried under debris a boy could not lift. 

So I drive past your house, 
not so far out of my way,
not so much time out of my day,
and know one day you will be there.
I will stop and act as if it was just chance.
Act as if I recognize you through forty years
and wait for you to answer every unasked question.

Friday, February 15, 2013

La Vie en Rose

I awoke to la vie en rose

through an open door.
The pillow is damp with her perfumed sweat
and I hear le vie en rose and a splash
as she raises one foot above the water,
and French slips between the English
smoother than the cloth across her breasts.
Quand il me prend dans ses bras.
When he holds me in his arms? 
The faucet interrupts to refresh and reheat my songbird
and she sinks to her chin, 
careful not to dip the happy towel 
who holds her hair off her freckle peppered white shoulders.
Il me dit des mots d’amour.
Words of love?
My song drowns in another splash
as she stands and all the pink in her 
rushes to her skin,
my la vie en rose.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Funeral on Wednesday

Yeah, I look good in suit
and you don't own one.
What else does everybody know? 
It's early and I have too much to do
before I have to sit on the survivor's bench
and watch a parade of daughters,
still shocked and too young to know,
and nothing I can tell them, 
even though I know it all 
and know how long it will be 
before it is real again
and how real it will be. 

It's too many times
and every time is harder,
and holds less reason.
Is it anger or denial that comes first?
What's third and tomorrow is pitching today. 
It doesn't have to make sense
and I don't have to explain.
I don't have to do anything
but pay taxes and die
and I've seen how to die,
so get out of my way 
and let me get this done.
I've got some grief to process
and I don't need your fucking help.



On blueprints drafted before birth
you were planned and crafted
to be my compliment.
The silhouette of my profile,
the mend for my every flaw,
the finished form of this ragged prototype.

On blueprints drafted before birth,
you were created to complete me.
Carefully measured and laid on the cutting table,
every hair on your head
and thought in your mind..
Such perfection in execution
could never be left to fortune.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lamentation of Katrina

By the waters of Pontchartrain,
we lay down and wept for thee, Easy.
Wept for all we lost,
the precious and unique.
Wept for all we gained,
the bitter and unending.
When black night blind, minion of the storm,
stole the sky, wiped light from the world
and left us not in the dark, but under it.

By the waters of Pontchartrain,
we lay down and wept for thee, Easy.
Wept for the harsh detergent 
that scrubbed all color from our world
and left everything brown and gray.
Stripped and scoured the thin paint of civilization
off the wooden skeleton of the city,
unbleached and unbleachable,
never to shine again. 

By the waters of Pontchartrain,
we lay down and wept for thee, Easy.
Wept for our city by the river,
wept for our city by the lake
wept for our city by the sea.
Wept for our faith in walls of mud,
Wept for our faith in machines,
wept for our lost faith
in what we should have done,
could have done, would have done
with our moment of failure,
frozen in time.

By the waters of Pontchartrain,
we lay down and wept for thee, Easy
wept for the our Mother Water,
wept for days when she filled our plates
and held the cool cup to our mouths.
Wept for the nights when we slept between her breasts.
For what can the child do when the Mother says,
“I don’t know you,”
but lie down and weep.
We lay down and wept and knew
nothing would ever again be Easy.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Green Eyes and Black Hair

Green eyes and black hair,
you did delight me and I wanted you.
I wanted you in my arms all day
and under my arm all night
with that last ember of blind boyish love.
The ember which turns to coal and hardens the man.
We danced every night and I loved to dance with you,.
spins and twirls and kicks and slides,
until that night you weren't drunk enough
and just sober enough to see us
and my happy awkward unconcerned
out of time rock and step embarrassed you.
You did delight me and I wanted you,
but I heard a voice that said,
She'll never do.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crazy Redhead

There she was and there I was and there we were,
but Fogelberg and Chapin wrote it first and maybe better,
old love and the ghosts of Christmas past.
Songs are more forgiving than poems.
Slow the tempo and drop the key.
The clock twists backwards and slows,
caught in a relived moment that died in the moment
and took a piece of me with it.
The poet has only words and no music,
while life is such a sad song and sadder still,
when you can't hum the tune.
There she was and there I was and there we were,
ten years vanished in the air with no idea where they went,
a sweet monument to victory over myself
and walking away from problems I could not cure,
stepping over the snare, backing out of the unsprung trap
while the Who sang, won't get caught again.
Call it selfish, call it self centered, call it self preservation,
I couldn't save us both.
I wish I could have kept you.
Why didn't you?
My brain locks in mid-spin.
I don't remember the one hundred reasons, good reasons, everyone.
My drinking, right?
Not one hundred, just one.
There she was and there I was and there we were,
ten years captured in a word.
Thrown out, dried out and tried out was what it took
to solve your problem and I had the solution all the time.
My gift to the world.
There she was and there I was and there we were,
married to different people and beautiful baby pics on a cell phone.
Once, just once, I wished another man's child was mine.
There were one hundred reasons.
I remembered them all before the morning.