-originally published in Red River Review
I walk in the closed cavity
of myself, glancing up
the alley behind Jigs’, the one tavern,
the True Value store, the feed lot,
the grunts amid the heaps,
Nothing’s changed. Maggots
flies flies maggots, angels
descend upon the living and the dead.
What I’ve found here, what calls me here
is a winged, terrible thing, its red mouth
sucking me in secret. With a lift of my foot
I am gone, deep in the war
as if in prayer.
Those Nights In L.A.
-originally published in Triplopia
Nothing but laughter those nights
after we closed the studio
and some of us took the Ten to Ocean Avenue
for a stroll along the beach. Others
drove home to wives, families, the six o’clock news
setting the war down in their living rooms
like a guest who would overstay his visit.
But in the Blue Room, we’d laugh and laugh,
nothing could hurt us. Shots
ran through us like water on hottest days,
and our big mouths roared over small jokes
at the other poor bastards in the world, the fucked up
moments of their lives a cacophony of booze,
Angels’ games, Hendrix, white noise
we romped around on like teenaged children
who’d eaten their virgin to her core, juice
spilling over our lips, and the world crumbling into an emptiness
that grew as silence grows, quietly, tenderly,
to take our breath away. Those nights
I heard boys in other rooms of our house.
I saw their bodies straighten like reeds along a river
then flatten beside us in the paddy.
An awful wind passed.
I was there when Gale Sweet drug his rag across the empty stools
and unplugged the box, but still
the sound of a thunder, ten thousand whispering
and the walls alive, and the television
flashing through the dark like light through the limbs of trees
though I wouldn’t move, wouldn’t make a sound. When sweat dropped
to my thigh with a soft puussssh, I leaned closer. Behind the door,
irregularly, my wife breathed. I closed my eyes.
One inch, then another, breath for breath, I slid away
as though gliding under water, the moon above me, the stars.
In the halogen glow of my garage, jug in hand, I heard her
nice and steady,
then poured life through me like a river.