Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On the Other Side of a Contrived Day



On the Other Side of a Contrived Day

A parched split-second landscape comes to mind.
No roads.  Brush and maybe a distant calcified pine
in country it was not native to.  A daylight quarter-moon
pales and sinks toward a rattletrap town of TV gawkers
living on powdery Social Security bucks and weak pensions.

               ***

The sun comes up the color of church gold, finds you
in a waffle house taking bourbon relief from a silver flask.
You're in a booth at a custard-smeared window.
Fever-deranged, Doc Holliday thinks he is beside you,
though he is pissing a mattress, dying in Glenwood Springs.
Or you are in Doc's withered brain in that room in the Rockies. 
The waitress, blonde hair in dirty knots, scuffs up to you,
Coffee?  Or you want a water glass... a filmy one.

               ***

Or you have a senior citizen job swatting flies
on the community bulletin board.  Back in Nebraska.
South of Valentine.  Living across a narrow road
from a blow-out that regularly sends sand into your
two-room shack every time you have canned meat for supper.
You've developed a pack-a-day cigarette habit.
Cigs are easier to bum, and hoard, one at a time from tourists,
than Copenhagen cans.  You have confected three personalities,
two for tourists (salty old cowboy and bad-luck stock broker)
and one for your wife (disheveled former snake oil pitcher).
To get paid, you have to save each killed fly in a paper cup.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scarcely Not Feel... Not Think



Scarcely Not Feel... Not Think

You could
eat
an almond paste
table
or
a bucket of them

right
from the can.

          ***

Wells & Fargo
stagecoach
punched-holes
leather
straps
from a hammered-
down
lunatic asylum....

Recycling
through ages.

          ***

How often
sexual
loneliness
takes a train:
small town
porches
roll past
sleeper cars.

Bathed
in tobacco-
brown light

          ***

You
dusk-hold
her
as corners
snow-blind
you...

for
tighter
angles.

          ***

It relies,
this question,
on whether
one
says dirt
or
soil.

Ever
so
quietly.

Daring to Pretend



Daring to Pretend

At the slack and blubbery end,
Elvis could no longer shake it.
It was dumb sleep, harsh daylight
outside, curtains drawn, stone-blue pills,
the arms of a couple of local girls
across his soft, barely rising and falling
gluttony-ruined chest.  The girls
were left awake as The King
dreamed schoolyards and Jesus hymns.
I'm gonna be his next pretty wife,
one girl would say to the other.
They'd pillow fight over the top
of a girdled Jailhouse Rock belly.
The King would gasp for breath,
a broken pillow's goose feathers
tickling his nostrils and plump lips.
One of the girls would kiss him,
brag, His eyes glaze-over at the lovely
sight of my smile, then tap the diaper
changed every eight hours by men
with gold TCB medallions and rings.
The last girl awake knew what to say,
what to pity-please into his ear,
Oh, daddy, I'll be yours forever.