Category Archives: poetry

What Hennessey Stole

If you count the taco meat
– and there was lots of extra
taco meat –
even after they’d placed
the tiny food scale,
white with a silver
top and a red indicator needle,
on the disinfected counter
and made her
weigh the tacos
she purposely(!) made
the tacos too
heavy.
So first
there was taco meat.

Then mostly candy
or other small food items.
Milk chocolate bars
three for a dollar,
pixie sticks that burned
her throat
when she swallowed
or Dinty Moore microwave
meals, turkey, potatoes
and gravy but only when
she was very hungry.
Most of the time
she bought it
for fear of the security
guard who would ask
her do you dance
for your boyfriend honey? Show me
how your boyfriend
likes to watch
you dance do you dance
for him
with your clothes off?

But then there was money.
She’d had no idea
until the boy
(he’d slipped up behind her in the aisle
where she marking down
shirts with a wax pen
on the tag and whispered
onto her
neck
I
love
you
and it made
her heart
thump)
taught her how to
hit no sale.
It was easy
When the customers
didn’t speak English.
A couch. Fifty dollars.
A box of diapers. Thirty-four dollars.
A pile of clothes. Forty dollars.
So probably around
five hundred dollars
in all.
And the boy’s heart.
And it was all justified
because the owner
was a volunteer cop.

The next place,
A proto pipe and many
many boxes of
cigarettes.
Ramses II with sweetened
filters and then after
the dope
and the booze
and the coke
and the booze
and the dope
and the dope
and the dope
just plain Marlboro
filtered Reds.

Then just
a mop
and not entirely
on purpose.

Followed by some bowls and unmatched
silverware, clothes if they count
from the lost and found,
some gloves and some mittens
and four heavy metal
trays to put food in
for novelty
for the kids.

And that’s what Hennessey stole.

Each time
making a promise
to no one
that if she
didn’t
get caught
she would never
steal anything
again.


gracious

sleep drapes itself
across my body
like a layer of bees
subdued by smoke,
and humming
hypnotically.


I Spy With My Little Eye

over there
you’re wearing a party
hat and is that a fur
coat where they
have you frozen
in a gesture
of mock horror
your long long fingers
with their knuckles
and their nails
spread a touch gently
covering your generous
mouth and your
face


grey

This is not a glamorous grey
but grey like an elephants skin,
the color, texture, weight and smell
as that of an elephant.
Grey hands, shapeless
blobs of unformed clay,
heavy when they hit, heavy
in stupid, digits
unformed, prints yet unmade.
The rain will cleanse us all
in grey. Grey sidewalks littered
with cigarette butts,
the world as ashtray overflowing
grey ashes, wet and pasty, the gutters
clogged with grey.
Brains, grey and wilted,lungs
smoggy grey. Not gunmetal
or pewter
silver or ashen. Not granite,
stone,leaden or smokey.
Not oyster, pearly or peppery.
This grey is drab and somber.
This is not a glamorous grey
but grey like an elephant’s skin,
the color, texture, weight and smell
as that of an elephant.


melancholia

soppy wool sweater
wrapped around the brain

‘Cat’s in the Cradle’
playing on repeat


She Never Knew Her Father, But She Loved Her Dad

She never knew her father.
Summer afternoons,
beneath the apple tree
on the farm
where she lived
with her mother
and her step father, whose sailor
tattoos, taut white t-shirts and Old Spice
smell she loved almost as much
as him,
she nevertheless
day dreamed.

He was of Russian heritage
she’d heard
from her aunt
who would talk
when her mother
would not.

She imagined her life
had he not ran
away, created
Omar Sharif in a sable
coat, braving the tundra
to save endangered
belugas, a loud
Russian family, vodka
cheeked around
a wooden table, eating
borscht or piroshky.
She hummed a tune
which would be more beautiful
played on a belailaika.

Until supper time,
announced by her mother
standing in a shirt dress on the porch
voice carried by the same breeze
which pushed a curl
over her eye.
Her mother,
a different woman now
than the one
who had fallen
in love
once
with her real father
wherever he was.


Just Like Bukowski

i’m sick
of poets
using the word
joint
to describe
the place
they live.

when you and i
both know
how they got there
and who they
had to hurt
to make sure
they would never
make it any
farther
than shit.


for the optimists

is the garbage
can half empty
or half full?


CareOregon

My shoulders are full
of razor blades
and ninja stars,
sharp sticks
and unkind words.

My back is bent
from lack of home,
songs I don’t know
and things
that aren’t mine
and never will be.

I dream of separating
my body
from my soul,
hanging my bones
in the closet
by my clothes
and hovering
weightless, painless
capable and kind,

but awake
every morning
alive.


Something to Lose

There comes a time
when you cannot tell someone
you love them
anymore
because you’ve
realized
you actually mean it.