To Paige (From Jack)

no one else spell w – a –
l – k jus ta invigarate

our senses & tendons
jus me & u, ta be outside

& sniff da wine in roses, .

when ya dance arms a whirlwind i dont speak
cuz i kno a days come we both dancin

& howlin, listen da moon whisprin secrets
& i dont want ya palms leave my full belly

da way da sun snatch ya gone in mornins.

dont want u to wake : it mean some
time u stay , other time da wooden gate

outside squeak & take u where my nose
cant find u, , sometime fa days . i chew

on bones u gave til my tongue become
a skeleton thirstin . , i wait fa blue sky

ta stop ringin da sun , when da day turn
gray , when u somehow materalize ..

dats when i have u : darkness : u sleepin
on ya bed a bleach & purple catmint .

i pray da bright awful requiem dont
replay– when u rise i wonder if

today u turn ta harmony , , or void
& how long . but

wid u beside me ,
no need ta wonder .–

u,, protected , & me ,
nose fulla ya petals ,

da sauvignon in roses .

 

(originally published in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Autumn 2016)

The Dust

Often I find myself wanting to move
from the dust like a lost, small dog,
fur a summertime shackle.

Those dark winter days
we were our own light.
Lapped the water in from a trough.
We didn’t have to dip (not deeply)
and we’d share our sips freely.

Then Valentine’s Day
came and went.
Meanwhile we sat alone
at our computers,
waiting to press send.

 

(originally published in The Legendary)

Dog on the Patio

Whenever I let the dog out
onto our small back patio
on sunny afternoons
and he lays on familiar brick

scratching his ears,
nose curious and wandering,
I remember my father

who, in the endless days of retirement,
learned the lawn better
than his calloused palms:

every humpbacked tree and drooping limb,
every snake and gopher hole,
every new and fallen anthill,
every cobweb on the lamppost,

where to find toads after rain,
how to catch them–

when he did not strive to create utopia
by chiseling trees into magazine models,

I often found him on a patch
of freshly-mown grass,
scratching his smoky, sun-basked beard,

waiting for the wind to speak,
to say more to him than I ever did.

 

(originally published in Black Elephant Lit, Spring 2016)

Jack

This dog has seen you paint red the walls
and its color fade from sheetrock.

Rest. You walk butterfly wings,
each step a budding stem.

You and Jack love similarly, a dance
of tongue-and-stomp. Long-nailed

paws clomp heartbeats to the closed
door, painted white– a desire panting

for who is on the other side– and he waits,
as you have, on so many nights.

 

(originally published in Heartbeat, Issue 2)

29th & Vermont

bone-worn dog & hung head asked high kids holding lemons,
tangy hair in the air, zest & bitter tantalus–

went to dumpster-cat (blackberry feet)
sick of white gloves, guttural mews.

coarse throat, bumpy pink tongue trickled yesterday’s juices,
held the water, blue sky whirring, whirring– engines / exhaust!

icecream trucks! brahms overture, mary had a little lamb
escaped from jail with vanilla dripping down her hands–

pigeon following, little pecks, boots collected
sidewalk grime and ran, ran, ran!

ask the man skin dandruff collecting flies–
there’s no more room in this bone-white van

still raise you head high, tide bring ‘em to shore
hang you head on my leg say the moon help me beg!

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, February 2016)