4 Poems: shots / Ceto / sleeve / sev’n



Death drops onto the stool next to me
(can you doff a hood?)


psychopomp arm reaches into the well
grabs a Heineken
pops the cap with curved scythe
sighs & takes a slug


“Long day?”


Thanatos nods


“I get it.”


Mr. Reaper wants to tell me how I don’t – how no mortal can know the burden of carting off C/overscore souls each twist of the Mother to a wobbly ferry raft – just the trouble of coming up with enough coins – I can almost touch the smooth sorrow in his sockets


“bartender, shots for me and my friend – neat”


the keep fists two shot glasses
onto the Dutch elm bar
leaves the bottle
we use jiggers
blue label precision sinners


“look, Pesta-Hel, I know you think no one understands. But let me tell you a tale.”


3 a.m.
driving home
cat in the road
flat feline
crushed left of middle
pancake flat
crawling forepaws
reaching like a three-toed sloth
to drag itself out of bone-crushed misery


it begs for death
just inches over the curb
O, the infinite lap


Death cocks an as-if brow
runs a phalanx along the blade


“that’s right”


pushed the pedal
aimed straight for the head
to save that miserable beast


* clink *


“cheers, to mercy”


skinless smile


and then what?
that Grim bastard
walked out on her tab
stiffed me


still, I’m not cross








vessel filling at the sink—
scale too slow to build
F – A – C – E
so many drops
drips to line, inching inching
upward in epochs


white noise
left it running
right foot plunging
amaranth skin


I spend a century
redirecting Hudson Bay
into my tub
but still it could boil eggs


then there are the days
when clouds encircle the Jericho of your youth
you pull your ball cap down past your nose
and cast glowing coals at the gods


because the rain
because the rain
because the rain


water takes its time
its time
every ancient drop


because it can










Please pick up the stem glass
that I left on the yellow curb stone
a tribute to you
an oblation
to moths that sacrifice themselves
to torch fire.


I reach down to Hades
I sing Orphic hymns
I search for your eye,
to pull you back to all your possibility.


pack my pate with dust


I invent us daily
I imagine a world
with you whole


I would trade my victory
for your resurrection,
and then erase that sleeve.


O, the interjection.


O, the unloved love.




You can never outdrive the moon
Jezebel’s eye
that pocked pearl


You can outrace the king’s chariot
down the mountainside


But the queen
moves in all directions
from her color’d square


She’ll swoop and slice you
raze rooks
bewitch bishops


It’s all a game to her
that sets
with the coral morn




wash me in coral
and accent of carnelian


it’s a beautiful day for a funeral – get out the ironing board


add some softener
spray that stain
rub the Egyptian cotton until the Ra comes out


a hush falls over the crowd
liquid sunset


bouncing on the diving board
star-spangled speedo
twilight cap


open the lid and dive right in
final gainer


the bugler purses his lips
and plays




lady in the niche
& lithe
she moves
like a partial eclipse










there’s always a body


somewhere in Amsterdam
a tourist snaps shots
o’er the top of
Rembrandt’s bones


somewhere in Rome
a student sketches
in the margins
of Raphael


whose bones
or skin
do you


lay me down to sleep
lay me down








On a day approaching Twelfth Night,
When the shadow of the ribbon on the wreath
struck me as the tail feathers of a kite,
I heard the call of plastic blooms.


So I walked among the cheap tombstones for a time;
each plot gleamed like a penny.


peck the flesh. peck. peck. bob.


A wake of vultures,
Turtleneck’d Carrion, the Guardians of al-Jabr,
cleansed the Earth
of an orange and white tabby


peck. peck. bob.


Feline medallions. A bit undercooked but can’t complain.


peck. peck. bob.


There’s still a manger under my tree,
There’s still a skeleton underground,
There’s still a cat under Chevron tires.


But I’m under the impression that I’m above it all.


Yes, I’m under the impression that I’m above it all.




Clip to Evernote

You must be logged in to post a comment.