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


In Time


It's impossible to imagine the geometry of blood--

the faltering heart of your father--

that takes you from Georgia to Ohio.

While you drive, consider the shadow-lines and wind-rise,

the rain beating on the roof of your Monte Carlo,

the windshield pockmarked with water and the lightless highway,

how the silences of your life are beginning to claim you.


Then drive past Silver Lake to an all night diner called Venus.

As you order a burger, coffee,

study the wind posturing the pines

a little closer to ground making them like old men

huddled over, clutching their hearts.

The waitress smiles at you.  You don't know why

but you assume she'll go home to her children,

sneak a look at them, then step into the arms of a trucker.


She'll be careful to undress, settling into her nakedness

like ghost-mist onto grass.  It will be too late for sleep

and too early for birds with their routines,

so she'll take the finger dances, the whispers of skin

and sweat, and when she wakes up to a simple depression

in her bed, she'll pass it all off as dream.




Of course, this is not about you, it's about me

and when I reach my father's slight apartment

just beyond the Maumee River the smell of fried potatoes

in bacon grease saturates the morning air. 

There is no verve, or flash here,

only a hint of rain in the air, his morning cigarette

and daily paper.  The dust glint pops like fireflies around him.


It's sad: the hushed breathes, the chest-heave

and shoulder-slump, the way his body still seems foreign

to him even after the shakes have returned it.

Years ago the veins in his hands bulged

like bodies under a worn blanket when he came in

from shoveling the walk.  This morning,

I finally caught one those hands mid-shake

and embraced him for the first time,

neither one of us considered the politics of our awkwardness.


Carrying our conversation from one stillness to the next,

the radio pumps out tunes I haven't heard in years. 

We trade sections of the paper, say huh and

you believe that?  His stomach forms a parabola

of skin and cotton on the table.  Bessie Smith sings slow

on the radio.  His barefoot, and mine, keep time.


Originally published in Spillway

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