The Last DetentionI've spent too many years sittingThe Last Detention in Free Verse More Like This
in the back of a classroom.
We see thousands of chalkboard faces
in the evening haze of rush hour traffic.
The nicest days of the year always happen
when our Teachers give us detention.
We can't be trusted to punish ourselves.
Grab a stick of chalk and begin.
100 times- I will not cheat on my husband.
100 times- I will not miss my nephew's soccer game so I can drink alone.
100 times- I will not leave smaller tips for the older, less attractive waitresses.
100 times- I will finally get the courage to kiss her tonight.
100 times- I will tell him it is over if he hits me again.
100 times- I will not be weak.
100 times- I will notice the sky today.
100 times- I will invite the widow in 5A to Christmas Dinner.
100 times- I will call my sister.
100 times- I will learn the difference between what is worth fighting for and what isn't.
100 times- I will ask my co worker how he is doing and actually care.
100 times- I will do more than just get by.
What if there
ForeclosureWhere are they now?Foreclosure in Free Verse More Like This
emerald city slums,
dirt in the sky.
The child fell off his bike and
skinned his knee. He cried when
I tried to help him up. Ants carried
his blood away. We don't need
that kind of pride.
A woman in Pasadena sold a slice
of toast with F.D.R.'s face on it.
I thought it looked more like you
standing in the rain.
We were asked to recreate the Gospels and
you suggested Michael Bay.
Some things never change.
Columbus found America,
the same way Descartes found existence,
the same way my brother found bourbon
the same way a horse finds religion.
It was always there so
just be careful with it.
We're all afraid of snakes.
MyiagrosYou went quietlyMyiagros in Free Verse More Like This
Like granite with finesse
Days and nights
The come down monster
I had a drink
Six, seven, eight more
Always and sometimes
The weeks of illness
Before it pulled your eyes shut
No small talk
Just plain, empty time
I walked to the store for smokes
Struggled not to howl
There was fly paper nailed to the register
Legs still moving
And I knew what they were buzzing for
Hell had found you first
Tokyo Motel My faith has failed meTokyo Motel in Free Verse More Like This
Your words are like the sunset
Please take me with you
We're always looking for something worth seeing.
I like to picture a young Franz Wright reading his life
sentence to a song bird and a hungry cat.
You're a poet. Welcome to Hell.
My father was a welder and probably more cynical.
(Another reason why I still throw salt over my shoulder.)
If I could, I'd ask him if he meets a lot of
pen junkies in the wherever of the afterlife,
and nothing else
A Farewell to MoleskineI chose not to water your Oleanders.A Farewell to Moleskine in Free Verse More Like This
There was a reason, but it has dried in
my mind like those magenta petals.
You stopped buying me first editions,
when our friends claimed they made
me seem pretentious.
They didn't know about the ketchup stain
on Catcher in the Rye, or the highlighter
I took to This Side of Paradise.
They didn't know anything about being the oldest
book on a shelf- The fact that dust yearns for the
attentive breath of life to set it free.
Words are not prisoners in a flower pot.
They do not die with ease.
I remember now,
I didn't water your Oleanders
because they made you seem
Springfield, MO1991Springfield, MO in Free Verse More Like This
In my father's house there are many rooms
(Only one gun cabinet)
A cross hung over my grandmother's
bedroom door for thirty two years
Her phone rang late on a Saturday night
She was the last person he called
The sun rose early the next morning
The cross was taken down
High WaterIt took eleven weeks for my stomach to stop turning.High Water in Free Verse More Like This
White water reality, broken hands, splintered paddles.
If you ever felt inclined to place your head against my chest again,
you wouldn't hear a heart beat over the roar of water in my lungs.
If you ever desired to wrap your arms around my waist,
you would find that there is far less warmth to hold onto.
For now, we drown in the perfect darkness of canyon waters.
Like infant gods, we chose to carve these wounds into
the very foundation of our fabricated universe.
Deeper than the initials of youthful lovers.
Further inward, past yellow bone and soured marrow.
We've been forever spoiled by the idea of our own greatness.
(But when my body washes upon the shore, I will always try to find you.)
Freedom and the Summer of CarbonThere's a band aid on her ankleFreedom and the Summer of Carbon in Free Verse More Like This
bleeding up her thigh and onto her neck.
A right handed whiskey bottle slung
over her razor wire shoulder .
Today, the train track was a catwalk .
Nothing about her hair or her lip ring
cried out "Help me". No, she was the
collective pulse and the sun couldn't set
until she took off those shades.
I couldn't leave until I found her eyes.
She shouted over the whistle of an approaching train.
"Sometimes you can find lumps of coal tucked between the rails.
They turn into diamonds. Didn't you know?"
"I think that process takes a really long time."
"Time is all I have and coal."
We stood off to the edge as the beast rolled by.
I think we both thought about what would happen
if we stepped in front of the next one.
Both in different ways.
"You should leave. I feel silly being watched."
"Diamonds right? Aren't they all about pressure?
"And heat." She smiled and removed her sunglasses.
DriveIt was going to be last night.Drive in Free Verse More Like This
Instead, I drove until sunrise and
had breakfast at a truck stop diner.
I spent the day, lost in a nature reserve
on the frayed edges of a small town.
I made myself forget its name and,
somehow, I found my way back home.
I once told you that the world
would become a better place.
I intend to keep that promise.
StainsI.Stains in Free Verse More Like This
You burned the eggs and wrote scripture
in the shadows of a lunar eclipse.
I haven't slept for years, but it took the far away
scream of a siren to convince me that
the moon is a liar.
Body bags are filled with better men.
There are rivers of oil where I can't seem to break
The mirrors that flaunt your reflection.
You couldn't dare me to walk across that bridge.
You couldn't ask me to sit through a full sermon
and still remain humble.
I'll never be home before the street lights come on and
you'll never hold my hand in the day time.
We're both clinical fools.
"The only difference between poison and medicine is the dose "
Yet, our intentions were never good.
Lately I can only focus on how many days we have left
before ash blankets the entire sky.
Before my free will is no longer an issue.
I feel the most sympathy for the birds.
The ones who will fly across an ocean to find nothing on the other side.
Just a life boat buried in the sand.
You made those clou