a tsetse fly
drinks its next meal
the sun, newborn crying,
is sky ilk
a maze of feathery canopy;
the Bandundu forest,
gives birth to a
litter of bananas-
grass covered savannahs,
stubborn windblown maize
to the river, where
water walking fish farmer
casts a drowsy eye
on a school of tilapia
playing in his bamboo den;
a kihuta viper opens
its razor mouth
while decadent sockets,
hanging by swollen neck,
as he is carried to the garden.
like an old antelope
pulses, waiting to slip
into its last coma,
palm stem walls blanketing
the mind's catacombs
while your planted carcass watches
a tsetse fly
drink its next meal.
the debts of John-Lisathe debts of John-Lisa11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
We are the debts of John-Lisa.
Enter past mailboxes nailed shut
or just ignored. Step by oil marks staining
the sidewalk in slick tailpipe drips,
framed by rails in dead-brain paint.
Scrape your shoe on our welcome,
cheque your tricks at the door.
on our upholstered yawn-chair,
eat our boring bread (coated
in cold butter).
Miss, judge these two-eye-toasts
paid by His truly. Thanks.
It was stale and sharp,
the talking, and each left scars
on too-old wounds. Excuse yourself
splash water on boiled skin - avoid
grease fires. Leave your putdown
footprint inside. Shiver out the
threshold, past the porch
and a flag, caught in the wind's
Maybe tomorrow. [then:]
John-Lisa take a last car ride
to the teller. In a bank, a
Miss shelling mass stacks
finds the key to takeout attacks -
Glasseyes roll flip-back jacks
Eviction of Alice CarpenterIn the low country, in the swamp-peppered cradle of Louisiana,Eviction of Alice Carpenter11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the widow Alice Carpenter trims a potholed lawn made dense
by the suffocating fruitfulness of bayou humidity beyond rickety porch fronts
and the screen door still dewed from morning rainfall.
And she motions insincere welcome with a nod
at the White Man in his tawdry emerald suit.
She watches, blamelessly spiteful, as he steps proudly over cracked cement
and into her peeling kitchen to speak of business with the Brother.
When he leaves, he stops and glances at her baby in the rocking chair
while the boy stares back with Ebony eyes, glaring black freckles.
And he will judge.
And he will judge.
Until, borders affirmed between man, between boy,
the Suit descends the fractured steps and smugly walks
the trail through the lawn.
And Alice Carpenter spits away her fury at his unknowing feet.
ExaroExaro11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a simple grammatic
prophylactic rhapsody in blue--
arms quaking, bones shaking the space
numb hands thrumming
one loud, unending beat.
Polymorphic mobiles dance naked,
so many stars against the vacant expanse
folding the unfolding words
into hijacked, weeping rhyme--
symbols struggling to implant it
in the stone cold static.
CannedLaughterandCoffeeDreamsCannedLaughterandCoffeeDreams12 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Canned Laughter and Coffee Dreams
I grew up in a coming of age novel
A thousand cups of cold coffee
And the meager sprouts of juvenile dreams
Years upon years of canned laughter
And you (and you!) and all those
We thought we were dreamers
Who one day woke up
And I thought
I was always doing the right thing
By being the person inside the background
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.
Cliff NotesCliff Notes11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Cricket leg serenades
To this Asbach taste that veneers late Tuesday -
Companions to a cork parade
Of characters strolling through the vines;
Residential escape in charmed, young prime
Staving off charge of rolling night.
Fetch your pink,
From recessed cupboards, bottled up
To pour on ice.
Lay the tumbler to the coaster;
Watch condensation droplets
Pool into a question
The modern art above your bed
Grasping for tradition, well-kept
And bred in sound conditions;
A sieve that bled until she cried
From underneath those lines,
And you found heaven
Through that answer in her eyes
Shattering shock of matter melting,
Diluting tonight's pride and worth
As the minutes go by;
Leave rocks behind
To remind of true meaning -
Everything at home is everything that's right.
The Man in ThoughtWhite castlesThe Man in Thought11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Set the scene in Vienna, Rome
Tripoli - countryside cities.
Restaurants in the shade.
Men in shade
With white straw hats, the sun curve
Of the day, and buzzing of motors on
Family visits an old man here.
A hearty dinner, the sun a shine on the glass.
She says tell
Like you used to.
The boys poke the ground,
Fiddle with the earth,
Before he sighs.
The dirge splits, spoken
Ramparts, assailed corridors.
Degraded anarchs in the veins.
I hear Fire.
Random chaos in
The voi- voi- Void.
And the entry read:
'Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate!'
Abandon all hope, ye who enter!
The stun is complete. Boys caught moving
Sag to immobility.
She asks why? How?
And he repeats numbly:
Abandon all hope, ye who enter!
As A Row Of TentsAs A Row Of Tents10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
forced my hair into retreat,
unable to cope with the things
I have to face.
So my haircut is,
shall we say, aerodynamic.
To lessen the effect
of my skull poking through.
Coupled with the harsh angles
of my face it gives me
a thuggish air. Policemen
eye me suspiciously,
OAP's cross the street
and real thugs
exhume their aggression
from shallow graves.
Donning designer specs
and perfectly ironed shirts
softens the impact
on the eye,
it lends me an entirely
different air altogether.
The Garden of Ethelart deco fruit punch spouts,The Garden of Ethel10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The Garden of Ethel.
but if i keep my mouth open,
will the sun rays damage
my sunbathing throat gums and ridges?
Why do the palm trees slouch?
Why can i see the creases and wrinkles between the obvious
puzzle pieces that construct this constant blue sky?
God: Ethel was fond of her slender ember sticks and she passed by
way of emphysema. This world is the fallen eyelash of Ethel.
A woman's flawed life and the sky cracks mark no sympathy.
The Lyrebird and Writing DeskThe Lyrebird and Writing DeskThe Lyrebird and Writing Desk10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It is a frightening lung,
a not-quite-natural red swell beneath feathers,
that grates like a shaken sack of nails.
This bird is a chameleon
of voices, modulating its shriek
to whatever frequent note might rise
through the trees. Today
its cry has become the gargle
of splinters and split wood:
the chainsaw's growling melody.
In my own climate, adapting
to the shift of pages and their stains,
my voice strains; I almost crow.
LatitudesLatitudes12 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
These prancing fillies are picked apart and headless;
Tiki torches dancing on rooftops
bathed in candy
while I'm soaked in rum and sweat.
We talk the length of the tab, for miles
trading eavesdroppings so decapitating
that it's easily decreed
which one of us is tethered, and
which one of us never learns his lesson;
locking on subjects that make the grip tighten
while eyes follow paths crossing sights,
and the makers of graphs begin tracing their plots
to ride lands and set their courses on maps;
measured with legends of character
or love at the drop of a hat.
As easily explained as how to stay sane
she trots with a smile and a promise of shots
with such leagues I'm beneath that it hurts
just to speak,
a marketing victim to short green plaid skirts
and a smile that sells myself whole
right on the spot;
He'd never even consider her,
his trade with a mind dulled from pain
the other us, the me, unsheathing no lies
in true form and leashed tr
NORMANSCRISMUSNORMANSCRISMUS11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
am i mising sumthing?
how did this awl begin
wat duz this holedae
never mined look at all tha presants
a seeson of desepshon
of plesent lys
so cute wen we fule children
wat hapens wen thay find owt tha truth?
wat is tha truth?
never mined look at all tha presants
look at tha presants
stand in aw of tha presants
its all abowt tha presants
you no its sumthing deaper
pretend you no wat it meens
or just enjoy yur presents
and eet turkey or ham
watever you eet evry yeer this tym
and i well call you nayber
and ride yur slay
wen the nite is silent a baby is born
that duznt cry wen thare ar lowd sownds
and sheperds bring presants too
becawse He is speshal
who pepol well always argyoo abowt
in apartment b16I throw you as I hear the widow cryin apartment b1610 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
beneath us. I imagine
her to have a veil of make-up running
down her face, or maybe she is bent
in the shadow
of a crucifix or a sun catcher,
starving for some light.
I heard she once went bicycling
over the dry dirt
roads of Italy, and chased the man
she loved into a private
Then in Boston, or New Haven,
she would laugh, throwing
her stockings to the wind
as she watched them parachute
down where the children
They would smile ,
and life would begin.
But, really, as we drag and pull, she
is gone. She has moved past Amber
Street, and has taken
to baking breads,
and holding them
in her arms
as she once held
november 2ndsquatting.november 2nd11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when all the formalities have
finally been packed away
in a box marked p.c.,
when they've been stored
in the attic until some later
season when couth is again
in fashion, we'll use the proper word:
squatting. or perhaps, renting.
sure, there are those who still like
to costume their actions in words
like "dating" or even "talking,"
but it is now much too cold
for such flimsy decorative terms.
bring on the wool sweaters,
the stocking caps, the sweatpants:
the truth is an extra-large sweater
that you think you'll never grow into.
it takes courage to try it on, because
you do look foolish at first, with its arms
extending far beyond yours, and its neck
orbiting yours at a very cautious distance.
but if you keep wearing it, you'll find yourself
saying things like "i miss you," and you'll
feel yourself growing, feel your shoulders
wearing the sweater on this early morning
in november, i found myself writing this:
i never thought i was doing such a
AzaleasAzaleas11 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
The Metro can be heard.
Its dark blue silhouette
passing through the station
like a film reel,
with the sunlight filtering in to reveal
the drama within each frame.
The announcements weave
their ways through the pigeons
and land gently at the bottom,
like the autumnal auburn drift
from a Darjeeling dive.
And I trade in,
a glance of grooming reflection with the window,
for a ray of paradise
shooting in from between two skyscrapers,
whitewashing the interior,
as the cabin curls
around the outer lane.
The monsieur with the pipe
shades his visage
with this morning's crispy newspaper
and the young woman beside him
a bit of cologne from her neck
while shying away from the light.
I combed my hair across my left ear
and closed my eyes,
all the way to the boulevard.
I arrived at the café too early,
and my watch
received the couple of unsolving perusals it deserved,
by the sporadic lapping waves
of the pedestrian's potential energy.
I took refuge
in the garden
The Coffee HouseThe Coffee House11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The Coffee House
Two handles for the perfect purchase,
Presents itself on an offset table,
The froth decorated with chocolate tornadoes.
The lip mark and the powder coated rim,
Hides the delicate flake.
Spoon in hand, thought in other;
The dark liquid flows; bringing forth its bittersweet warmth
Leaving a smug thought and a white moustache,
That only the tongue dares search.
A thought ventured as the voices fade
And the background music becomes every song you know
And every song you are yet to know.
Art of the Onward MarchArt of the Onward March12 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And here you are, perched on the eaves
of your fathers' understanding,
ripening in folly as the chorus swells.
Like an heir to Babylon you meditate
on the melting of peoples
sloughed into your flaming voice and hands.
This is your manifesto, artist of broken
lampposts and husks of homes, streets
where metal whines like
mangled mongrel dogs still limping
roads emptied behind the
crackling gravel of your many, many brushes.
Your calligraphy is stroked in slanted reds
and browns, ink leaning from the force of your
latest, brightest work.
AmphiprionAmphiprion10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I have been a bloodless fish tossed about
with wild blank eyes -- whiter than the foam that smashed me
into rocks that flaked my scales and sent them scattering
gold vermillion flashing at the knees of stinking fishermen
that bent to taste me,
one hand in the folds of their trousers where they started to stiffen
and the edges of their boots all caked with guts.
With salt crust forming in the corners of their lips they turned
to face each other, to shake hands or
compare rod size -- I made this community!
A limp queen rotting into water where I lay with seagull shit and algae scum
that floated and coated the mouths of babes and still I heard
carried in the wind to sluice my innards from cliff faces
and flavour all the oceans with part of me.
I have been a wailing cadaver, slinging hooks to ships
and several first mates drunk recalled a mermaid, though they can't
stand the stink of the sediment under their fingernails at night.
With the lack of light and of cou
They'll Be Back In SummerThey'll Be Back In Summer11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The boats pull in
Every year breaks open
On the edge of the seasonal bowl
Its fiery orange yolk
Giving the extras their cue
The camera reels
Behind my eyelids
Record this summer at-home vacation
The aural thump
Of their midnight parties
Permeating the walls
And bone alike
Until the role of ambient silence
the sea salty sweet withthe sea salty sweet with10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
birdcry (the sea salty sweet with)
the sea was his womb;
the salt the waves the sea
the boy, he counted waves:
and said: I'll live to be that--
-- old man drowning & crow-
birds cawing &
let's pretend he is deaf:
and the waves have number but not
the sound of rushing past quickly. the
old man doesn't stop drowning, though
a croak, silent & open-mouthed desperation,
carries him under.
The Tabloid Papers ManThe tabloid papers manThe Tabloid Papers Man11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Sits on his own at a single table
His back turned and his head buried
In the gaping mouth of his tabloid papers
Steam spirals in a rising column from behind the printed yawn
From a coffee hidden behind the death and slander
That forms the morning read.
Pages turned, noisily cut through the gentle atmosphere
Accompanying the explosive jerk that straightens the papers
To a rigid upright salute, till the centre folds give way again
Angry murmurs and aggressive mutters of fallen stocks
The cup crashes to the saucer with each unlucky purchase
Creating a tidal wave of black that breeches the rim
And falls safely to the saucers jaws
The arrogant tabloid papers man…
He downs his remaining rich black brew
Leaving behind the wash of black granules
His time has come to behave as any other, on his way to work
The papers return to the rightful place;
Tucked neatly under one arm, as a brief case is held knee high by the other
And then he leaves.
asea, tonightasea, tonight10 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I'm at your door; can hear the brass and bass,
the snare drum, through the glass. It's jazz, tonight.
You let me in and suddenly I'm in
a room of profound poets, who sing their verse
through shining horns, sweet saxophone riffs.
The solos drift so richly, dance among smoke rings—
tonight, when everyone's somebody's cool cat.
There's a girl whose trumpet weeps when she woos its keys,
those wailing notes like Miles would have played.
And the long-haired bassist pains his face as he plucks
away at the tired shape the body makes,
he sways. And when the guitar's clean strings do sing,
it's melody carries a twang so sweet—it's jazz,
tonight. Tonight!— We can be alive, tonight.
And I'm in the corner, no horn in hand, not even
a cigarette for now. I'm just a shadow this evening,
no harmony for me. Just silent taps
of thumbs on thighs; of a breath before sirens sing.
Tonight, blue tunes knew the way through a smoky
sea—found me… Last I heard they were still awaiting