The War

upon finishing a fourteen-hour
documentary about the war
I felt as though I had survived
a little something of my own

nothing of importance
nor comparable to combat
barely even enough
to mention aloud

a war of non-participation
of non-identity
of having no excuse
no million-man march
no moon landing

only these words
same as everybody else
given life then blotted out
under the scrutinous eye
of history

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Sawdust

sweeping up the sawdust
like the tender to a zen garden
in swirls, patterns,
graceful dancer movements

the long, flat broom
sliding across a concrete surface
creating flower petals
with her footprints

twirling around the room
in her favorite day-off shirt
either a pink or orange color
I can’t tell the difference

moving to the hum
of the rumbling mechanisms
staring intently at the floor
in concentration

surveying with fulfillment
shoulders back, hands on her hips
the unintentional performance art
in everything she does

Albatross

this bird, the albatross
goes running hard across the rocks
one flatted foot slapped down
after the other

its body thick and stout
too long and heavy to lift off
neck stretched out ahead
charging like a bull

forcing air above its wings
with incredible effort
great stampeding steps
determined groans

massive white body
barreling along the beach
every muscle aching
pushing harder

perhaps the effort is rewarded
when the bird finally takes flight
sailing on the swells
over the ocean

perhaps extinction might hold off
another year for this migration
ten-thousand wingbeats spent
to cross the north Pacific

Konami Code

during the tedious obligations
in the routine of daily life
I recall a secret combination
all the possibilities

I begin gesturing deliberately
first up and down, then left and right
performing final movements
like a ritual dance

people stare uncomfortably
as I mime the letters B and A
until a chime rings out
into a world instantly altered

feeling suddenly complete
having achieved my full potential
I skip the working part of life
with unlimited funds

I ditch the unemployment line
the DMV, and jury duty
with perfect health, a variety of skills
and infinite lives

I breeze through to the end
where you and I retire young
to sit on a shaded porch
with a cup of coffee

Pyramid Blues

we are subalterns
hinterlands for one another
fading ghosts in a spiritual river
fertile ground beneath the trees

swinging from a fire escape
on a hot metropolitan night
a network of telephone wires
timeless, blazing, and drunk

mythologized men
a prickle in the stew
our historical bodies
and I, your tributary

cats on a fence
under the same cruel moon
with burning songs
and unpublished desires

cast-iron straws
the geniuses of failure
we were never here
we are never really gone

Morning Song

this morning I awoke
to a terrible commotion
one of the cats
singing to the rafters

I didn’t shout
or throw projectiles
at his stage at the
top of the stairs

I just left him
to his song
and waited for the
final notes

of his tone-deaf
and rambunctious
melody

The Descent

she comes to a rest
near the edge of the pool
beginning her long, slow descent
into the surface

first her heels and then her toes
with her ankles soon to follow
as we sit beside the pool
with no one else around

I quickly slip into the shallows
swim across the pool and back
she’s made it to the middle
of her shins

I say the water’s cold at first
but it feels fine once you’re in it
still she eases herself in
just an inch at a time
and I don’t mind

I’m alone under the surface
tugging at her two-piece swimsuit
she kicks her feet, creating
ripples in the water

standing in anticipation
patiently for her embrace
she amazes me in ways I still
can’t fully understand
I’ll wait as long as I have to