my pitiful heartache.
I looked up at the end to see
my reading had emptied the joint.
I’m through with this city.
Or it with me.
[A mirror cinquain, inspired by Yeah Write’s March poetry slam. I cheated a little by having three syllables on the first and last lines.]
We’re waiting and joking anxiously outside the famous pizzeria. A meekly smiling man shuffles through, extending an upturned hand to each. A woman averts her nose. My hand stays in my pocket. Before leaving he frowns in genuine despair over his shoulder.
We mixed it with coke and read aloud the only play we had with two copies. “Thrift, Horatio!” “To a nunnery, go!” We stumbled, spake, drew swords. Morning found retched scrambled eggs on my bedroom rug. No method in it but friendship.
Stepping out through the door of his house, which was swollen by the moisture and did not shut properly, casting off his shoes to thrust his feet in the uneven grass, which, dead and alive, was a chorus of mute tones, browns and reds and greens, casting off his sleepiness with a shudder as he stepped beneath and then out from beneath the newly leafed deciduous trees into the sunshine, casting off his shirt, casting off his boredom, turning, arms outspread breathing in, out, casting off his ambitions, casting off his intelligence, casting off death, casting off his ideas like the clothing he cast off until he was nude, falling in faith and not knowing that he had ever fallen before like that on his back in the grass, casting off his language and his memory and his poetry, he was as mutely eloquent as a lion basking and blinking in the mid-day sun.
[Stepping Out appeared in Vine Leaves Literary Journal Issue #11]
As Dr. Baskin strapped me in, her face was twisted uncharacteristically, but I couldn’t tell what emotion it conveyed. Was she holding back tears or just concentrating on getting the tension right? When she was done she paused, which in itself was strange in the midst of the efficient, hyper-kinetic whirlwind of preparations that were underway. A smile flickered across her face. “Little monkey,” she breathed, before looking at her watch and turning away suddenly as if sucked back into the machinery of launch preparation. Continue reading Little Monkey
I’ll be sitting on a park bench, looking like a picture, a little old man with a little fuzzy hat. I’ll put my elbows on the back of the bench and tilt my head into the sun, like I used to, but my eyes will be rheumy and start to water, and my right hand will twitch as if the sharp edge of the bench is pinching a nerve. I won’t be too disappointed to notice my frailty. Of course not, because I will have become used to it, and years earlier, decades earlier, will have seen it coming. So I will shake the twitch out of my hand, take an only slightly damp handkerchief from my inside jacket pocket, and wipe my eyes. I will lean my head back again, and this time my eyes will remain dry for several minutes of close-lidded, red-drenched, sun-warmed pleasure. Continue reading My Old Hands
After dinner today my daughter remarked about how much alcohol I drink. “No offence,” she said. This elicited from me a dissertation on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, which transitioned into a history of fermented beverages, upon which civilization as we know it depends. She immediately saw this as the elaborate rationalization it was. Man, I miss the days when my kids were easy to bullshit.