Time Melts, Colors Bleed

Nothing fails me quite so wickedly as
words! when they turn against me,
huddling up in a corner and refusing—
refusing to play games with me
sulking, like a child with no cake
(no flavored tea, no raspberry jam)
with clam-shut silence resonating
through the whole house, and
only my (time melts, colors
bleed) impressions for company.

Business Casual

I’m mastering a polka-
dot dress and a little case
of Thursday morning nit-picking
has soured my work ethic
for near eternity (or close enough),
so if you see this in the crystal ball tonight
(me barefoot and dancing
in the midnight-painted street)
don’t be shocked, don’t shake your head—
just come and join me. 

Straw & String

There are specks of raindrops
in the bluest skies, accumulating
like dust and cobwebs on a broomstick
of muddy string and yellowed straw
(not clean at all) and
with so little time to sweep out those
cavernous pits and
craven self-interest—
well, nobody dies without a little bitterness.

Best of Luck

Curious is not my cup of tea
and Alice can keep
the Cheshire cat grins to herself
or save them for the teetotaling hatter—
it doesn’t matter.
I’ve got a deck full of cards
and they’re all coming up aces.

A Sudden Turn

Sweet like cinnamon, tart
like green apples, mixed,
matched and patched up 
in poetry—
but god it’s so hard to write
sunshine from midnight.
Squeezing out blood from a moonstone
that has nothing in it…
and the whole damn world is riddled with leprosy
begging, on scabbed knees,
and scarred hands
to mask this grim play in fantasy.

Souvenirs

Art (as an expression—
as a love letter to a long lost…
friend)
can box you in a brown paper package—
with one exotic stamp, and a simple return address.
But nothing magic in it—
you can’t bottle the sea
(or sunshine, for that matter) and
without those, my darling,
you can’t make him understand.

Borderlands

Glancing down aisle fifteen in Walmart, I saw
a young girl in a blue dress and black bonnet,
(no lace, no ribbons, no pretty white buttons)
shopping with a wicker basket that had in it,
sewing needles and six nectarines, and
her back was turned to me, a simple silhouette
of the ghost country that lives beside mine; 
her black carriage and chestnut horse tied
to a streetlamp in the parking lot outside.

Did you have something to say?

Listen, there’s nothing to it
and let’s not get into this again
having been down one road too many
and too many roads too short
in temper, I mean, like a fuse
on dynamite that’s set and ready
or chutes and ladders laid down
         u n  st e   a dy 
against the fire-painted siding 
of a burning house. 

The Demi-Monde

I sink my teeth into the half-life
and find myself in the big house
where we stay up all night
and each night is fifty years long
and that’s counting in carrot sticks
and lightning sparks precede the
least of odd reunions in a library
full of books I haven’t read
and a man I’ve never met (but
a man I always know), like the way we see
the twist coming a thousand miles back
but come upon it at a railroad crossing,
a bridge burning, a lady in black rags,
catch a glimpse of something rotten 
in the rear view mirror
and say what the hell was that?
 

Girl Talk

Red noise at the cinema
(like a million magpies
and a couple sullen seagulls
picking at the garbage)
left behind—
scavenge and scatter
daydreams and
lines that seldom truly matter.