Take me to Poems: Raw

Poems: Cooked



Breaking In

Breaking into print is that?
like breaking into song
Or more like breaking into
a mansion late at night and
no ones there
Theyve moved away and as
you walk from room to room
the drawers all need soaping
doors bang shut behind you
and the echo
of how it might sound in your bio
rattles through the house
like bones in a coffee can, spooky
juju, and suppose you did break in?
(to print I mean)
and got stuck there like someone
in a book, falsely imprisoned, no big
death penalty, nothing too grammatic,
just
dangling there at the end of a life sentence



This Five-Pound Hammer

When I landed on this island the boss turtle
handed me a fifteen gallon barrel
He called it a drum
For a while I thought Robert Bly or Mickey
Hart would show up to give me lessons
The first day I threw in my dirty clothes
The second day I tore up all the letters I had written you
Tossed the pieces in the air
Like butterflies they hung from trees
Until winter drifted off when
They fluttered down into the barrel
I poured in my blood, sweat, toil and tears
Out came the money I had saved
I got up at five in the morning and my belly grew up
Out of the barrel like a sourdough culture
I took tennis lessons and lost my job
Then the boss turtle gave me
This five pound hammer
I use it to crush walnuts so the flowers bloom in spring



Close Call in Slo Mo

As I was motivatin' over the hill
way
too fast to handle anything,
well, unexpected,
naturally the unexpected
was
just what I had to handle.
It wasn't like I sometimes ask,
"Can I handle this situation?"
Or
"Am I justified in doing this?"
No
I was comin'
around the corner flying through
a hard right
swerving
out to the
left-
most edge of the curve
when there they were.
Scattered
in front of me
like dice on green
3 cars
stalled out,
post-
collision turned every
which way.
Whoa, Maybelline,
whoa, now.
And as I was
gettin set for the downhill
S
suddenly
everything
went slow.
Slow
like baby's breath
like
when LaMotta's jaw
took
punch after punch
in Raging Bull spittle flyin'
Slow like
you set your video
to playback frame
by
frame
like time shut down,
I dunno, like, maybe
a walkout.
Anyway, I felt weird
It was like
this, this
dreamlike maze,
It was like "Okay, this
is a mess and I'm in it,
no getting out and so...
how can I
negotiate my way
through
this debris
life just threw in my path...
Hey, maybe I can
weave thru this, if
I can just
downshift here
between the blue pickup and the
white Mazda
now, turn and shift
again around this twisted fender
and then turn past
the ghost-grey lowrider
and I'm in the gut
of the S
and it's all uphill from here.
For years I swore my
triple-black
Porsche was
the reason I made it through
But now I know
what got me through was going slow
What I still don't know is
How
no, why
did I get that
chance?



The Game Face

Three painted faces stare
down at me from my
office wall, ornate
masks I'd bought in Singapore.
I glance from Asian warpaint
to a cold TV
whose face, blank, hides
its feelings blocked
by a simple switch turned off.
I leave my desk and turn
away from three more
video faces -- yellow, purple,
teal green -- hooked to cyber
space through my computer net.
As I walk past my refrigerator
the faces of my children smile
up at me. The floor
they crawl across
in that photograph is not
in my kitchen, but their mother's.
Their mother's face is absent
from my life.


A few months back, before
we split, I stood
at the podium in a large hall
filled with the faces
of technophiles, eagerly
awaiting their tour of the web.
As head spider
I'm there to spin a thread
for them to follow.


This techno-tour I took
my clients on
was meant to hit
a few exciting sites,
but
nothing
like
Red Hot Amsterdam
Dark Wanderer
or Peacockblue.
Yet there
on my laptop's face,
now projected to
a twenty-foot-high screen,
like adolescent acne
those icons of eros
I'd pulled from
the Net shouted
out their names --
"Best friend's fiancee,"
"Slut wife out west,"
"Public sexcapades" --
for all in the hall to see.


Oh, well, I thought
composing my game face,
maybe five or six will
see them,
one or two might
know
what they contain,
but
who will care?
With excrutiating
patience
I eased those icons
out of view, behind
the blank face
of a closed folder
and then I,
technophiles in tow,
made my pilgrimage
through cyberspace,
stopping by the Chupacabra
(goatsucker) site,
The CIA Homepage
and Heaven's Gate
along the way.


Meanwhile, the mother of
my kids, at home, she
did her mother thing. And
I -- away on business,
game face on -- well, I did mine.


Why

You ask me to tell you why
It won't work between us
but I don't know
Why
is the word
I ask myself in the mirror
Every night
when I brush my teeth
Why
in the morning
when I punch my clock
Do I wake up alone
scrape off my beard
shuffle downstairs
to make my breakfast
Why
Do I find myself staring far
too long at the toaster


No way I can make it
past
the truth is
I don't know
I feel
like we don't
both
want this
you'd say simple life
Kids at home and hearth and not
so much of work
to do
so many things and
God
so much money
why
we don't need this
we need love
yeah I
know
I'd say
but but but and so
you see
what you want
you need you
you don't need
me don't even like
me all that much
most of the time
what I care about is
the way I am
not the river
not the water coursing
through wooded glen
dappled shadows and a leaf
dropped onto
its surface like a butterfly
I am the guy
who tosses out
a branch a rock a piece
of gnarly bark
and tries
to sink that leaf
that butterfly
erase
the shadows with a splash


If you were oil and I was water
or say that
I as fire and you as ice
played trick or treat
too late at night for candy
and the only tricks remaining
were the dirty tricks
a couple of kids out
lookin for fun
where they won't find
none shouldn't be
So it's you put me out
and I with my intensity
you vaporize


It's not that I don't want
you, it's just
that what I want
I can't have
You in my bed
waiting for me to snuggle close
kiss and whisper the
stories we'll tell our children


You coming home from work
tired, sick of talking to
anyone about anything,
happy to be
done with another day


You sitting up late to finish
another piece
of art from broken plates


You watching me
change our 2-year-old
or
help our 3rd grader
tie his soccer cleats


At moments like these
you pretend
to think I don't see you
watching me
but we both know
even tho
we don't know


why