Hour 12

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Hour 11

Brain Wrote to Heart:


Hey idiot, you do us no favors

when you long for him

pine for him,

obsess over him, how tedious!

Do I make myself clear?


You think he is a ladder to a higher plane.


But he is a stone. He is a stone

that we must carry, so you can

stand on it and dream

and if you could let us put it down

Just Put It Down

We could all rise up.

Hour 10

Father’s Day Hike


We drink coffee out of a styrofoam cup

and water from a canteen. You gave up

Irish whiskey and scotch and now

gripe about it constantly.

But we both know better.


Hush. There is a doe at the trailhead

one hoof held high, eyeing us nervously

the same colors as the trees in the fog. You say

she reminds you of my mother.

And that is as close to romantic as you get,

when you snap a picture to show her later.


We hike through the firs to the dock,

and strip down to our swimsuits. It’s not warm,

but it also isn’t crowded, and as you like to remind me

the lake-bottom feels better on what’s left of your toes

than concrete.


I watch you swim, like I did when I was ten

and you, buoyed by the water

smile like a child. And then say

damn, it’s cold” with blue lips and we light a fire.

Dinner is hotdogs and trail mix.


And we head back to the car

and I put you back in the ground

and I say “sleep well, old man,

because someday we will meet again.”


Hour 9

I Know This Much Is True


I am surrounded by lies and liars.


My social security number has not, in fact, been frozen,

and I cannot lose weight by giving up bananas.


The president will not help me buy a home.

The government responsible is exactly who you think it is,

and not the one on the news.


Don’t be tiresome! And don’t be greedy.


I can’t get sculpted abs or better orgasms

by the end of this week. There are no aliens here.


And if he doesn’t love me today, then this trick

will not bring him ’round to it. Believe me,

I tried.


We are not amused.


My soul is not at risk, nor my job or savings.

There is no “Agenda.”


I have heard the Good News, and honestly,

I have heard better. This God of theirs

holds too many bizzare opinions about my behavior.


Keep it to yourself, if you please.


I have seen enough, heard enough,

I know this much is true:


the arc of the crows’ flight as they wing toward their roost

calling to each other as the sun sets: “come home, come home”

is the geometry of Diogenes’s lantern.


There is no such honesty in Man.

Hour 8

In my right hand

a pen, a passport,

a sheaf of stories to fly me round the world


In my left hand

a photo, messages, promises

maybe, maybe this time, maybe he will.


In the center, a fool who can’t choose which hand to let go.

Hour 7

The scent of warm redwood and pine

and golden light dripping between the branches

of a California forest afternoon

and you lean back in your chair

beer in hand,

and sigh contentedly with the trees.


There is no life like this

not like this


I step onto the patio

my bare feet dusty and stuck with sap

you smile, I thump forward

and ask about the barbecue

will there be ribs tonight?


Maybe this is a thing that happened

and maybe it never did

because it must have been a vacation

and I was a child

and you were a dead man

and the places we meet are as fleeting

as the shadow cast by a moving bough

in a California forest.

Hour 6

Sliding Sonnet for a Side-Bitch


The air is cold, the night is deep

and I on bended haunches creep

like feral dog, to where you sleep

more like than not, untroubled


I express a desperate whine

outside your door, the thousandth time

open up, oh please be mine

my simpering love redoubled


This pathetic vigil faithfully kept

all the nights while you slept

in company you despised except

when I came close enough to meet them


You pet me, praise me, throw me a bone

then leave me shivering out here alone

outside your oh-so-happy home

promising one day, one day I shall unseat them.


A master’s hand is a brutal thing

when encased inside a metal ring

Hour 5

I was playing 3-person Hearts

and, for once, not even thinking of you.


To my right was my dead father,

to my left, Death himself. I couldn’t see his face

but his hands were white and thin.


I wanted dad to win, so I gave him all my high-cards:

Ace of Hearts

King of Hearts

Queen of Hearts


Predictably, I lost quickly, so I left the table.

Upon waking, I realized

in order to cheat Death

I had given you away.

Hour 4

Dew-wet pink petal

once fallen from the rose, you

can never return.

Hour 3

Scent of cold and rotting flowers

Songbirds rattle

Traffic seethes

The brute exhaustion that sleep feeds

but never sates completely


the stealthy dawn

the light creeps around the edges

of this dark curtain.

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