The Salesman

I am the Salesman, great as can be!
If you want to sell something, sell it through me!
If you want to buy anything, I’ve got ’em all!
The blue ones, the red ones, from short to tall!
The best ones, of course, cost a lot more.
What a wonderful way to prove you’re not poor!
What’s that, sir, yes, you, in the back?
You sell worthless junk? Well, I’ll take a crack!

“Sir Wallace, sit down, let me tell you a tale.
This fanciful thing once held Merlin’s ale!
Two hundred, you say, would be fair enough?
Go home, you poor man, that’s nothing but snuff!”

“Miss Eckard, fine lady, I’m sure that you know
King Arthur himself would keep this in tow!
Two thousand’s your deal, you claim it is fine?
Then you don’t deserve this object of mine!”

“Dear John Edward Kuffnick the Third, my friend,
This thing was with Washington when he met his end.
You offer a million? Truly? For real?
A measly old million’s a horrible deal!”

“Madam Clessy, take heart, I know what you want!
You want this rare item, so rough and so blunt!
I’ve had offers of millions, just so you know…
Only a billion… Well, alright, it’ll go!”

That is my line (salespeople, jot down),
Everyone will prove they could buy a gown
Worth millions, or billions, they couldn’t care,
If others will pay, the rich want a share.
The thing could be termites, or inchworms, or fleas,
If it costs money, it’s the bees’ knees!
Money’s worth money, and that’s all that it’s worth.
That is the trick of the best Salesman on Earth!

Medicine

9:00… 9:01… 9:02…
It’s been 32 minutes.
32 minutes past the time I should have stopped.
Should have laid down my book and glasses,
Stood and gone to the medicine cabinet.
32 minutes past when I take my pills.
Nothing so far has happened,
or so the Pages read
“I do believe I’m cured!” I CRY
but the doctors shake their heads.
“you’re not a pretzel-makkkk er ,”
sAys the one wiTh turQuoiSe skIN.
Idisagree,butcannotspeaK
The sHark haS GOt mYY to n g ue.
i’m feeeeeeling or~ange, and qUiTe BBBrand,
l,i,k,e a kitten in a cup
i looke~ bac~k at the cloCccck and see
the REAPER’s back to r e a p^^
MY tImE is done, thE enD is here,
but staAArts baCK uPp at pearE
The WATER’s””” getTTTting hiGHer now
and aMMMMManDaDa wont stopp clogging!
The SEAs are pUUshINg at my s c/a/l/p
a swAn!!!! diV..es ((dowN my)thrOat)
I cough. Look up…
The book is on the floor.
I am standing by the chair.
All my friends are gone.
“Did you forget your medicine?”
asks Tom.
He’s right, that clever plant!

A Color Without a Name is…

He is a strength unlike any other. He is swift and true and brave. He is the ocean at its deepest, fiercest. He is proud, but not too boastful. He is the sky on a hot cloudless day. He is the typhoon, the earthquake, the mountains towering. He is honest and loyal and pure.

She is a goddess incarnate. She is the power that gives man and woman the will to fight. She will hold a lover’s hand close to her heart. She will rend any enemies asunder. She is powerful, not to be trifled with. She dances with the history of her people before your eyes each night. She will speak her opinion with certainty and authority. She does not think; she is action.

He, on the other hand, is gentle. He will not shout unless he’s delighted. His dances are slower, a ballroom gown twisting in the summer breeze. He does not fight for a voice, an existence; he simply is. He can be somber, an oak tree standing tall, not quite imposing. He can be joyous, new buds of life springing into the world. He always has been, in every shade, and I hope he always will be.

She is all the light in the world. She stand out with honor, untarnished by pride or sorrow. She is the mother, from which all other are born. Although she is old, the oldest, she is still pure and bright. You cannot dim her, and still call her by name. You cannot deny her. She is the joining of all creation. She is wholeness.

He gets a bad rap, to be honest. He is the father of all the rest, or perhaps their fate? He is strong on his own, too strong, overwhelming. He is the confusion of the others’ arguments, too mixed up to tell any one voice from the others. Yet, he is peaceful, for all are equal in his presence. He is the judge’s robes, the very law of the land. He carries them all in his multitudes.

Dark Jump Rope

Dad went crazy,
Mom got sick,
Baby got too close to the candlestick.

Home went quiet,
Home got dark,
Cat came home with a dead brown lark.

People start talking,
People get mean,
Neighbors can’t keep their gossip clean.

Stains like chocolate,
Stains like mud,
Have you ever tried to wash yourself with blood?

Jump way high up,
Come back down,
Play with me in the old ghost town.

Muse

Some say that inspiration
is the work of muses in our heads.
My muse is stubborn, obnoxious, dull.
He throws about the papers
in the office of my brain.
“Give me inspiration!” I demand.
He laughs and takes a nap.
I can’t be expected to do his job!
Look at how he’s wrecked them,
all my good ideas.
Now, never-finished stories sit
(I suspect he ate the ends).
When I put a pen to paper,
my muse becomes quite riled.
He snatches everything I might have used
and hides away in some deep cavern.
I think he must be minuscule
to do damage so tremendous.
His hair is long and blue and spiky,
And his eyes a scheming green.
I asked for beauty, emerald forests,
Instead, he gives me this.
Does his ego know no bounds!?
When will his antics cease!?
Well…
I guess the poem wasn’t bad…
But he still won’t get a raise!

Roses

I was walking through town
when something caught my eye.
A bouquet of roses
sat lonely on a trash can.
Left out in the frigid air,
a few petals had been browned.
But wrapped so neatly,
arranged with such care,
I couldn’t help but wonder,
“Why would someone leave them?”
Perhaps the owner came
to see a sweetheart true,
only to find a world of heartbreak
and fled in pitiful sorrow.
Perhaps it was a meeting spot
and I was only there
in the middle of a story
not there to see the end.
That woman in black heels,
the one across the street,
may have wandered over
after I had left in thought.
Perhaps that boy with shades
had placed them on the bin
to wait for her and sing
her praises when she came.
I do not know their fate.
I do not know their tale.
But I can make up stories
about the roses I saw in town.

Street Performers

I find myself wondering
about the people on the street
the ones who bang on heartbeat drums
and dance on hummingbird feet.

Do they travel road to road,
the country in their wake?
Or live on one streetcorner,
clutching at the brake?

I wonder all the time:
What will become of me?
What does my future hold?
What woman will I be?

If she is a street performer
I hope that she will roam.
Countrysides to cityscapes,
taxicabs to ocean foam.

She’ll dance her way across the earth,
see all the people pass.
She’ll thank the Lord she does not have
a mansion made of glass.

A nomad’s home is stronger;
It will not fall by stones.
I’ll make my home the woman
that dances in my bones.

The Blue Chair

Almost all of the furniture in my house is from IKEA.
Of all the furniture in my house, my sister likes one chair.
When we were little, we both sat in the Chair.
Side by side, our legs pressed together on the seat between the arms.
Now I try to sit beside her and she pushes me off.
We don’t both fit in the Chair anymore.

The Chair is blue like dark denim.
(Note that the Chair is not made of denim.)
It has tears from where the cats used to scratch.
Special tape was put over the torn edges.
A blanket was draped over-top to dissuade kitty claws.
But we don’t have cats anymore.

Sometimes my mother is in the mood for change.
Either her hair will change color, or all the furniture will move.
We stand back and move the things where she tells us to.
My sister doesn’t want anything to ever change.
She came home from a visit to our grandparents and
the Blue Chair was not in the same spot anymore.

My sister’s stuff piles up around the Chair.
It doesn’t matter where the Chair has been moved.
Old dishes once filled with Cheez-Its and crackers
And library books upon borrowed books upon her own books
Build impenetrable walls that read, “MY CHAIR. DO NOT SIT HERE.”
The Blue Chair is my sister’s chair, and it always will be.

Wedding Band

You bought me so long ago, I can barely remember.

I sat in a box, soft and dark, until early December.

The lights were so bright, the people all so thrilled.

I was pleased, too, my purpose finally fulfilled.

I rested on his hand, warm and shaking with pride.

(But in just a few years, that warmth would subside.)

He built you a chair, and I got hit with a screw.

It left quite the dent, but I protected him for you.

I clanked against bottles whenever he drank.

Those warm hands grew cold, and my hopeful heart sank.

I remember the feel of your cheek on my skin.

That was the night the policemen barged in.

He threw me away, but you picked me back up.

You cradled me softly like a frightened young pup.

I’ve sat in the box for years, now, I think.

I’m losing all hope and mourning my chink.

But look! There you are! Smiling and crying.

Yes, I do believe this man is worth trying.

 

And here, on his hand, I’ve perched for ages.

I feel a small giggle as he turns the pages

of a little girl’s book, the ink bright and new.

I can’t keep from thinking, “She looks just like you!”

 

Necklace

I have a necklace in my drawer.

It is a locket that holds a clock.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

I bought in a Philadelphia thrift shop

with a group of friends.

For Sarah’s birthday, she takes us all

into the city, into the thrift shops.

We all bought a necklace with a clock.

I am the only one who still wears mine.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

I used to wear it with the pride of knowing

I could pop it open and tell the time.

Time was in my hands.

I wore time around my throat.

But time cannot be held for long.

It slips by, and leaves tiny brass locket cases.

It slips by, and I am the only one who still wears mine.

I wear it when my neck looks too empty.

I cover my emptiness with an empty clock.

It is still right two times a day.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

It is a beautiful conch shell:

Once home to an animal so rare and strange,

an animal that left or died,

leaving behind this necklace for me.