Thursday, April 17, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #17: Everything


You will want to make love on a cold spring night.
But that is the last thing you should ever do.

Open the door, inhale the frosty air, get hit by the wind.
Watch the assembled garbage cans on the curb fall,

as if they were dominoes of smell and waste.
The house across the street has always been dark,

not even a porch light to make the place seem human.
On one side a couple stays alive through their nineties,

while on the other a new family blasts rock from trucks.
One night you saw a owl seal itself against a tree,

before it flapped massive wings for its scary hunt.
You are not a mouse so you have nothing to worry about.

Even the televised signals you keep on in the living room
warn you about conflicts you don't quite believe in.

The best thing that could happen is the appearance of deer
walking across the street, gingerly, as if they could be shot

at any moment, as if you too could be assassinated
in your home, and people would collect your antlers,

mount them on walls where big game hunters chuckle,
drinking their gin and tonics, smiling at everything.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #16: About Disguises

There's the Halloween costume
which is meant to be figured out,
no, you're not a naughty nurse,
you can't be an army soldier
who should be fighting far away.
There's also the joke's uniform,
the TV shows meant to trick you
into believing in big groceries
for the price of a nickel and penny,
or that a little boy was president
of a corporation selling chocolate.
You're left with egg on your face
that you've fried and salted yourself.
Then there are the devious identities
that are meant to trick you into hope.
The newspeak fellow on the TV
who blames all of humanity's woes
on a group you don't like very much.
Or the rich boys and girls who flip
off the police and rave all night,
making you believe your own acts
are as equally blameless as theirs.
Even as mysterious are disguises
you cannot see and never will see.
If I could tell you what they are,
I would, but I can't find my own
in the universe that I'm part of:
city streets camouflaging them,
nature hiding them inside gardens,
a lunar sea covering them in the sky.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #15: Joe

Joe learned how to summon fire yesterday,
and control it for food, use it for war.
He also gained the ability to gather grain,

to get beyond a fully nomad lifestyle
just north of Rockville, Maryland.
We were impressed, but the classroom

of people studying English for a good job
were put off by Joe killing an ocelot
in front of them. We hoped it would go

further, but Joe's date fled the drive-in
when he tried mounting her in a parking
lot. We even believed he'd create a city,

but He only wanted to sack the towns,
leap walls with his muscular strength.
The scientists wished he'd return to the past,

so we wouldn't have to expect the appearance
of early human beings in the United States
during the time of mascara and TV.

Joe left his bones everywhere,
in a doggy bag inside a refrigerator,
jutting between passengers on a bus,

at a center where writers taught
students how to express themselves.
Archaeologists couldn't believe their luck.

They polished the bones, assembled
them in the museum, where Joe lived
again, where he waved to the future,

where one day he'd already be there,
wearing a three-piece suit and tie,
talking on a cell phone about mastodons.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #14: Origins

He was found under a cabbage leaf,
and he was brought into the house.
His mother found him strangling
a snake that had infiltrated his crib.
The temple priests asked him about faith,
and he, a nine year old, answered them.
When he was a teenager he started
his search for peace and enlightenment.
His first wife died when an asp
bit her ankle. His second was burned
by him when he was deranged
by a curse. His last one desired
for him to return home from the sea.
He became a hero for hire -- stopping
savage trolls from stealing a baby,
climbing up golden hair to save
a princess, killing various gorgons,
dragons, chimeras, other beasts.
When he was a king he sent away
his sons to make their own fortunes.
One returned as a beggar in disguise,
tricked away his riches. Later, he dashed
into the storm, mad. "They've killed
my daughter. All beauty is gone.
All beauty is gone, gone, gone."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #13: The Strange

Our clouds are the same shaped animals,
caribou and hedgehog, no longer enemies
in the wild.  We brush our hair with paste,

our teeth with combs.  Reading books
to our children we scream like banshees
at the same part, and our kids run

to tell Mom something's wrong with us.
No longer do we work like mayors
trying to save their cities.  We understand

it's all doomed to burn into ash,
even the stadium where the pro teams
pretend everyone can afford their tickets.

Before we sleep, we wonder how weird
we need to be for Good to look past us,
assume we're angels in disguise.  We hear

our final breaths coming someday,
at the same time, doing what we didn't
love, but what was vital to save lives,

turn the strange heart beautiful,
the beautiful into what's needed
to breathe.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #12: Dust

Forgive the world in my beard.
It's in its last throes, and I feel
a little sympathy for its dying.
Other planets orbit around me,
their god, their personal savior.
(What a kick that job is!)
Some will go up in flames, but
that's their personal decisions.
I give knowledge – they choose
to use it. Check this one out:
the residents call it Earth.
I have a bet with the archangels
whether or not they'll blow up
or make the environment so hot
that all beings will boil over.
They're one of my carnivore
globes – still eating meat, as if
they were sacrificing it to me.
I keep them from everyone else.
No use tainting a perfectly good
universe. They made it to the moon,
but that last footprint is all I want
to exist outside them. Who do you
think cut NASA's funding? Still, I feel
a certain kind of sympathy for them.
They were the first ones I tried
the “garden” and “snake” trick on.
They didn't know they were always
mortal. And that if it hadn't been
an apple, there would've been something
else to remove them from Paradise,
my hand, guiding the way, into dust.

Friday, April 11, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #11: Carpe Diem

We're going to lose to the future --
have to sell all our hotels, quit the game
with future cackling over Park Place
and Boardwalk in his meaty little hands.

No matter how much we leap, dance,
study, or earn, someone will be hoisting us
into the oven, or plunging us in a grave.
Or they'll never find us, and the earth
will lead all ceremonies from now on,
with an assist from some hungry animals.

I know what you're saying: carpe diem.
That all of us shouldn't sit around
regretting what we didn't do, like
ghosts at a pity party, shaking chains,
sad that we have to haunt people.

What if you wanted to sky-dive, of all things,
and you boarded the plane and it crashed?
Would a little devil flash a tiny flag
when you entered your afterlife?
Would God say he didn't expect you
so soon, then look at you sardonically,
“Oh, we have a real daredevil here.”

If anything, I'm wearing a life-jacket
at all times; carrying my own personal
air bags; sitting in the room with my back
to the wall, expecting attack at any time.

Time may beat my ass, but hell if I'm going
to make it easy for him. I will wrestle him
to the ground, say I've eaten my vegetables,
I jog daily, and nope, I've never smoked.
He'll limp back to the place he came.
Bruised but not defeated. Waiting
for the rematch. He likes his chances.