What the Cat Saw (Day 26, 2017)

Just a few more days to go for National Poetry Writing Month.

What the Cat Saw

The cat balances 
on the back of the couch
with her face pressed
against the window

the little boy play
soccer in the neighbor’s
yard with his friends
his legs pumping hard chasing
the black and white ball as it

into the street
bouncing up a few inches
on the lip of the sidewalk
and skipping onto the
weathered asphalt 
where it takes a turn 
down the slight slope
to the right

for the silver SUV
going a little too fast
because the driver
is late for dinner
hungry enough to distract
him from the road ahead

small feet slap the
pavement in blissful
ignorance of the 
force approaching
now that the ball is just
out of reach and the
boy dives for it
as it passes under the
black plastic bumper

screams to rise from
horrified throats 
startling the driver into 
braking suddenly and 
for a silent moment
the players stare at the
Star Wars tennis shoes 
poking out from the
front of SUV
not moving
until a tiny voice yells
I’ve got it!
and the boy crawls out 
holding the ball
smiling at his friends
as the driver shouts
the friends resume breathing
and the cat purrs softly

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Smile, Chuck! (Day 25, 2017)

Day 25 of National Poetry Writing Month.

Smile, Chuck!

Someone is taking a picture
freezing this moment 
for millions who
have never and will never
be in the room with you
but who want to understand
why so many love 
and adore you

These folks want a taste of 
your fabled charisma
want to see if you
might also move them
to abandon societal convention

Most of all
they want to know if
you’re as bad as Bugliosi
says you are
if you’re a crazy killer
crossed with 
a low-rent pimp

Show these people 
your best self
the kind, gentle musician
who organized orgies for
a couple of Beach Boys
and made everyone happy
if only for an evening

Smile, Chuck
show some teeth 
because when you don’t
you scare the shit out of everyone

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I’m Tired of Poems (Day 24, 2017)

This is the 24th day of National Poetry Writing Month.

I’m Tired of Poems

I’m tired of poems about
butterflies and lilac bushes
and hope and love and beauty
all that worn-out shit

I want the poetry of 
blood-spattered curtains
and smoking shotguns
clutched in cold hands
and clenched in gold teeth
I want to read haiku about
hardons and odes to
sodomy so detailed and specific
that God considers bringing back 
fire and brimstone 
as a response

Give me vomit on sidewalks
and scorpions emerging from
rusted-out shower drains
in neighborhoods where
used syringes outnumber grass blades
and arson improves property values

Tell me how you fucked my mother
in an over-full port-a-John 
or describe the texture
and taste
of a tapeworm
extracted through your mouth
anything but 
sunsets and gentle waves 
that remind you of your kids

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A Deer Loses the Will to Live (Day 23, 2017)

Today is the 23rd day of National Poetry Writing Month.

A Deer Loses the Will to Live

Perhaps the rest of the herd
hated him
talked behind his tail
blamed him for the tick outbreak

Maybe the does
refused to rut with him
choosing younger bucks
with smaller antlers at mating time

It is possible that his only friends
were a skunk and a rabbit
not exactly fit company
for a deer of his age

Whatever the case,
shortly after dusk
he threw himself
in front of my car
busting a headlight 
with his shoulder
hammering a dent into the hood
with his face
bloody hair clumps
in the grill
as my wife screamed
and I stomped the brakes
I swear I saw his neck
twist and snap 
a foot from my windshield but
when I opened the door
and looked back
all I found was
a trail of blood headed
into the brush

He died as he lived


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Solar Energy (Day 22, 2017)

Today, Julie and I decided to write poems about the same topic.  She suggested “solar energy.”  It is the 22nd day of National Poetry Writing Month.

Solar Energy

He stood in the shower
mouth twisted in pain
wishing the hotel had
low-pressure shower heads

He cursed 
the private beach
cursed her for
saying it was too cloudy
for sunscreen

The meat of his shoulders
smoldered beneath the skin
as he turned in the spraying water
removing sand from his scalp
and his ears

She hadn’t burned much
just a little pink on her nose
but then she had mostly stayed
under the umbrella, reading
as he splashed
in the surf and
hunted for sea shells
which he brought her
and she laughed 
and kissed him
and he couldn’t wait
to get back to their room
and peel off his trunks
and her one-piece 

but the sun
so subtle in
the overcast sky
had other plans
and when the door
closed and she wrapped 
her arms around him
he yelped
and she backed away

The shower was cold
but it didn’t help
at all

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When in Paris (Day 21, 2017)

For the 21st day of National Poetry Writing Month, I exchanged poem titles with Julie Ayers.  The poem she wrote is here.

When in Paris

she never visits the
Tower or the Arc or
Mona Lisa
but instead descends 
to the subway system
she finds the most crowded cars
squeezes between strangers
and holds tight to the
overhead bar

the heat of the car
intensifies the smells
musk and stale cigarette smoke
her body presses 
the man next to her
sweat trickles down her spine
eyes closed, she inhales deeply
their bodies rock together
as the tracks clack below

there is an earthiness
to Paris
that she has never found 
in New York or London
anywhere else
it makes her feel primitive
the percussive tracks
the smell of armpits
the anonymous contact
her whole vacation spent
clutching that bar
like a branch she’s swinging from
on her way to nowhere

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Tyson (Day 20, 2017)

Another NaPoWriMo poem.  We were asked to use sports metaphors.


I try to write like
I am Mike Tyson on fight night
bright lights, hard rights
watch out, I might take a slight bite
my pen is the glove
jabbing your chin
my words make you woozy
then hit you again
I’m telling you now
to throw in the towel
no more cat and mouse
I’m just knocking you out
you fell, my fault
you need smelling salts
the ref jumps in
calls this bout to a halt
bring me my belt, hold it up high
until it’s been raised like
that bump on your eye
Max Kellerman stepping in
hands me the mic
wants to know who’s left 
I might like to fight
I battle all comers
line up, take a number
you’ll leave the ring dumber
your woman will wonder
why she chose a chump
instead of the champ
prepare to get dumped
’cause her panties are damp
all cylinders firing
there’s no retiring
for me it’s just fun
but I see you perspiring
no end to this story
’til I’m wrapped in glory
I pass every test
there’s no need to ask Maury
so savor your time
with tequila and lime
put steel in your spine
’cause I’m coming for mine

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