Father and Son

Dreamers Are Gluttons




Over  A Bowl Of Potato And Corn Soup, Mr. Marvin Tells Me How He Castrated Baby Goats


Love Poem #1

Leather Death Fruit and Flying -- A Consideration

The Mechanic Takes on Language

135th & Crossing

It Could've Been

Kermit's Jazz

The Muse



In Time

Bottomed Out Language

Such Fears

Spreading Out Histories

Days Unfold

There is a Flutter of Noise in My Head


Bottomed Out Language


I don't understand this: my shapeless

shuffle through darkness to dress, the numb

amble to my 79 Monte Carlo hulking outside,

the door-creak, the ignition,

the moan of mufflers attached by hangers,

and the sudden realization--

I'm on 61 North again,

traveling past barren fields of clumped clay

and sparse gas station lights,

to some place I don't want to be.

Driving toward Onward, Mississippi,

where the cluster of trailers with sheet curtains

and sun-paled decks raised on cinder blocks

continue to house stray dogs

and children who chuck rocks at soup cans

and cats unlucky enough to walk by,

I remember calling that place home.

Now it's personality with edges.


One summer I found my arm fitting a fat boys' throat.

Pea gravel imprinted our red knees.

Kids semi-circled us on their bikes

while my dad eyed us from behind the open-mouthed GTO. 

All I wanted was the boy to give and

I would have let go.  Now my dad had seen fights before -

bloodied and purpled himself a few times I'm sure -

so he understood how rage gets inside a person,

spreads like buckshot till he's all holes,

and he probably thought I needed to reach that threshold,

that bottomed out language of skin and fist

to heave each hard syllable one breath at a time.

I'd wonder later why that boy wouldn't say it.

After I let him go, he blubbered in a heap,

sucked air and held his throat.

I turned and rushed indoors.


The exit for Onward is always straight ahead.

I want to take the town for its namesake

and keep going.  I know I won't.  The last I heard

that fat kid got skinny, married at eighteen,

and moved to South Dakota or Minnesota,

a place where the sky smothers everyone,

holds them down, no matter

what they may say, or want.


Originally published in Defined Providence, now defunct; however, you should check out the founder and editor's paintings which can be accessed here

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