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




Quitting time.  I walk past pallets of brick, two-by-fours, sixes

under a loose tarp bearing bare wood for rain's warping hands.

It's not my job to tie it back down.  I stumble over stones, rag weed,

send lizards crawling for shadows, and think about the woman

we're remodeling for.  This morning I studied her silhouette

behind closed blinds.  Arms raised, the form slid

into a dress I pictured as cotton, loose,

waved when she walked and when she finally came out

back, I began framing her new room.  I nailed

the studs to treated lumber, raised the wall, checked for plumb. 

She said, I believe my husband will be pleased. 


At home, my wife and I eat Rubens, potato salad, drink a few beers.

I try to tell her this life is a story everyone knows the end to,

that I refuse to become my father, my grandfather, any of the men

who build homes for strangers to live in, construct rooms

of redwood and cherry for others to walk through,

install toilets for them to shit in, put up cypress ceilings

for them to stare at while making love.  She wraps up

my hands in hers and says Baby, it's in your blood.

After the table is clear, I show my son pictures of homes,

point out the carved JBR on the backs of cabinets

and bookshelves, tell him about his father and father's father,

and how those names lay on one another like bricks.  I describe the holes,

the crevices, the way the mortar can break down over time. 


Tonight we pretend we are driving my blue S10

past the soul's horizon.  We have two bags

in back, a harmonica, and a dead bee on the dash. 

Sheet lightening and cornflower clouds our company.

We head west for Texas sand and Gulf wind, nights so cold

we'll think we're still in Ohio with kerosene heat. 

In dashboard light, I listen to tires hum.  He unrolls the window,

touches his sloped nose, looks in the rearview.   The gas gauge wavers left,

lies down.  A door opens.  Our footsteps.  Sky-flash and rain-buzz.

My  boy is limp when I lay him in bed, pull the sheet to his chin.

He's soft in dream.  The wind's fist lifts his curtains.  In streetlight glare,

I glimpse the dogwood I planted when he was born.  Full bloom.

Maybe tomorrow, after dinner, I will teach him words, tangible words,

words like mahogany and chestnut.  Words he can carve his name into.

First published in Bottomfish, now called The Red Wheelbarrow


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