The Xylophone Is Blaze
Voltage or diabetic, my hands.
We crossed the river pirouetting
on buoys. Predictions of sunshine.
Come over now, my hands flutter.
Did you believe you were good
as the rust-dulled axe, the go there
& be happy? On a beach
of violin skins we turned into lightning,
or didn’t, but smoked too fast,
attacking. Our chests tightened
with glee. Swaggering. Hip-tight
to the rough bark of perverted trees,
we shouted bloody, lips cowboy tall,
knick-winged & dusty.
I waited all day for you to tell me
that love is what I hate about myself.
A Country Mile Of Soft
Do it, the ocean wept
this morning. No one will
know. I burned
from my fingers
to celebrate waking.
I wallpapered nude
so when I flipped
into the down-dog,
I became the jumping
bean’s slow cousin.
This is the New West.
The la la in sagebrush,
a magic-strummed scenery.
Last night was guns
& confetti, an elephant-
sized centrifuge & we
were spic & span,
tongued safe & clean.
-both poems previously published at Octopus
Below The Never Sky
The goldfish spins, fan-tail
spread like fingers on fire.
It fast-forwards for days—
Figure-eights a whirling fury
that spills. Everything is forgotten.
It burns, a lightning-struck barn.
Its silken flesh unfurls, ribs
shine like a whittled moon.
But skin knotted into ruin
can’t stop it: the staccato jazz
your fingernail flicks don’t help.
It will never quit, you think,
until the summer morning
it’s found belly up in murky water,
still as a town ravaged by storm.
The fishbowl shimmers dark, golden
as if, in your absence, the heavens
crawled—packed stars cellophane tight;
waiting for you to shake off your impossible
dreams and bow to that half-whole reflection.
After Charles Baxter
In the dark, I count fingers,
Watch lightning spider
Over the mountain’s toothy peaks.
All the while, the cupola grows
Cloudy with accidents—
Dark blossoms sticky and wet,
Clinging shadowy with reincarnation.
Yesterday eight and now, eleven,
Memories distilled, frayed.
The neck-breaking spiral
Of this morning’s junco
Landing on a gnarled fence,
A surgeon’s fingers tapping
His way through afternoon sleep,
Breaking a heart into ballet
Or the several postures of pain
A body makes falling unconscious
In the bathroom while violins roar
On a television straining with blue Light.
The fatigue of healing
Interrupted by the susurrus
Of an empty shower. An ear, blood-
Smeared cheek and bit lip—
A sterile, sweating tiled floor.
-both poems previously published at Post Road
You think I’m lucky, but tell that
to my pit-bull soul. Bruise-bit,
it dreams of sunlit concrete & steak.
Squeeze its tender neck,
hold hands like explosions. When it licks
your face, you’ll see, under the tiger-star,
the Toyota flip & roll. Constellations
of face-cuts, then flames. There are
names for this burning: winesap, still-life
with three skulls. Can you imagine my hands
welcoming pain as I tried to help? “That’s all
I can do,” the dentist said when he pulled
the slivers from my gums, holding
the mirror up to my emptied smile.
-previously published at Konundrum Engine Literary Review