Daddy's bellyDaddy's large belly protruded past the rest of us,
sometimes it gurgled
if it sensed the presence of an
In N' Out Burger close by.
It would shake a little
when he laughed.
It would rise and fall
when he slept.
It would demand much room,
when he drove mother's car.
It came to be that I was convinced
his heart was in that belly,
that it was big simply because
he needed more space.
His Death Certificate reads
H e a r t A t t a c k -
and a small part of me still wonders
why didn't his belly collapse?
Why couldn't his stomach
have attacked him instead?
Not his loving heart -
not his love that everyone envied, admired,
that beat so loudly
as though it were a Chinese gong.
I look in the mirror now
and wonder if my heart too,
is lower than it should be.
turningturning11 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Leaves fall like golden flame on to the road,
the sky stands still and blue.
The earth bears fruit, bright berries, purple, red.
The sun weighs heavily
in the autumn air-- fragrant, ripe, and warm,
like an apple ready to be picked.
There is no death here, only gentle turning.
A blush steals over trees
as they drop their many children to the earth.
Soon they will fall asleep,
exhausted by their own fecundity,
and winter's white blanket will cover them.
The Death PoemsThe Death Poems10 years ago in Scraps More Like This
The Death of Starfish and Submarines
By noon, the coastline reeks of it:
rotting fish, rotting soil,
and all the little shorebirds hopping,
hoping to find free breakfast,
maybe brunch. The tourists
infest the scene quick as flies,
drop their oversized towels,
open lemonades, complain how loud
the gulls are—those rats of the sky.
The Death of Grandmothers
She lay broken at the bottom
of her cellar stairs for eight days
before the neighbor wondered
and called the police
and they wandered in
and carried her out
while the dogs protested
and the house protested
and even the limp dead body
protested. Then it was lunchtime
and they left her in the trunk
while they stopped for cokes
and gasoline and talked about
whose wife was prettiest.
The Death of the Butterfly Bush
This year the early frost came unsympathetic
and silenced all the life of my garden.
The monarchs fled to Mexico
and all the little pink flowers
withered from the heartbreak.
The Death of Presidents and P
HIT ME RUNNINGDon't sell me funeral plotsHIT ME RUNNING11 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
on late night television
if the end is already in sight
am I supposed to pull the sheets up to my neck,
count to zero,
smile, and cease?
keep your pills, in all their pretty colors:
celebrex, propecia, allegra, lipitor, zanex, viagra
keep them for scrabble
keep your rogaine, your facelifts
keep your death insurance
keep your graveyard reservations
hit me running.
let me go down swinging
make it a sport:
give me a ten-minute head start
and an obstacle course.
place a beautiful girl on the far side of a mine field
and whisper, "she wants to kiss you"
target me on my feet
dodging doomsday's in slow-mo bullet time
let me duel the grim reaper in a poetry slam
but let me lay where i fall
let the buzzards and coyotes
pick apart my bones
don't stuff me and sew me up
waste my estate on alcohol for my wake
instead of wood for a coffin,
build me a funeral pyre
and set me ablaze like a pagan-warrior-king
Annie Comes Home to RufusAnnie Comes Home to Rufus11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Annie tumbles from the car
and onto the driveway.
I watch from behind the curtains
as Mother and Father trudge behind,
dragging duffles full of god-knows-what
(sweatshirts, I figure, and a toothbrush, and gallons and jars
of bitter white pills and injections).
"Daddy – keys!" she cries,
and his mouth stretches, baring teeth
(he smiles, he thinks)
as he tosses a jingling cluster.
The latch clacks, and Annie comes home.
I hover in the kitchen –
I never know what to say.
She spots me before even hanging up her jacket and kneels.
"C'mere, mutt," like she expects me to pretend
I'm happy to see her
eight pounds lighter than last Sunday.
Annie is tired.
Only I am allowed in her room,
where the angled light shafts and the dust motes
turn the plastic hairs of her wig
into faceted filaments.
She slides it from her skull
and drapes it on the sleeping styrofoam
Derivative Depositsthey will derive consistencyDerivative Deposits11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from the motion of lax drizzles,
engaging moments with precision,
each peace a steam travel
on a stolid amble amid lit trees
begging for constance,
begging for trespass,
begging for tide...
and you will be
that disconnected line
dotted, for meaning
in some transitory time,
aching for stability
and a thinner crowd.
the silence of a louder shrill
melts quicker than the pelt,
stirring smooth enough to
slick downside the stair
to where we meet in the foyer
at the end of our destination,
and breathless from the ride.