Stinky Park

That’s what we always called it.
Sure, we lived near the water treatment facility,
but we didn’t FEEL like
people who lived near the water treatment facility.

It was mostly a place for kisses.
Young, sweaty kisses and cheap cologne and
prayers to God about pregnancy after the first time
even though she didn’t and I didn’t.

I almost bit off my tongue while sledding there
with my brother and sister. I remember trudging back home
the same way I remember so many other things,
which is to say not at all.

I went back here and there over the years,
like the time we played Frisbee after rehab.
I even showed my kids around,
though they didn’t seem to feel the lingering magic.

Today I searched it on Google Earth,
but I couldn’t see the details through the trees.
Still, I’m sure we’re there on the swings,
or slumped against the handball wall no one ever used.

Breath Enough to Argue

Serenity sprouts amidst the wreckage.
What has already retreated to clay
can no longer die.
What is broken is not at risk.

Bullshit. Serenity rots amidst the wreckage!
It must have flesh—
more than a dressmaker’s dummy
to hang this weight!

What dreams of clay is already dead,
forgetful of the flesh,
little more than uneven ground
beneath the feet of those who still move.

What is broken is more at risk than ever!
The pieces scatter in the face of abstraction.
Where is the flesh?
What happened to the skins we wore?


Such lively verbs.
In conversation, they caper with life.
As a team, they tremble with power—
more vibration than linear motion.

But something rumbles on the horizon
when a noun names himself Pharaoh.
The mission grows oily with imperative,
and the vine begins to droop.

What of the message from the coast?
Can it be trusted?
Is love an interruption?
Can we find what doesn’t hide?

We must gather our adverbs with abandon
and a shameless lack of discrimination
lest we grow numb in the company of adjectives—

but wait…is that just another ultimatum?

Living in Exile

Home was an uncomplicated space—
a quiet verticality with room to stretch,
not a place for harshly phrased missives
nailed to the door, parting the lovely grain.

This new country is no promised land.
The natives are ill-mannered—
all teeth and lips, they cluster in throngs
with a great cacophony.

Was the mother land that bad?
Its ravages worse than this so-called peace?
We do not refuse the language out of pride—
it is simply too loud to think.

9:00 means 7:00

skin learns soil
with a naivete of nerve
swirling paths in rich cocoa
stubby fingers, toy cars

skin proceeds to smolder
with no preamble
a blinking look about
a white-hot army of questions

skin knows breath
as the fires slowly diminish
we open our eyes in the street
we flex our claws and build

skin meets tide
in all its fickle glory
fashionably late
two hours early

Squeezing in just under the wire!

Thanks to the Poetry Marathon organizers for allowing me to join at this late date. Poetry is my life, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of the half marathon. The family is in Europe, so it’s just me and the dog here in Colorado, ready to focus and see what we (I) can turn out. Best wishes to everyone with hopes of a few useable pieces.