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


Spreading Out Histories


This place is no longer

the festering

humidity of Louisiana;

this place is the silence

of my family,

the silence

of myself moving

toward something,

not entirely unlike anger,

or loneliness,

but something more

intact, more

explicit.  Everywhere horns rain:


cars cussing

through intersections,

trains rumbling,

the radio, and I

am not taking it all

very well.  Do you

know what I mean? 

Even the people around me

are barking, guttural. 

I am not good

at writing

about my experience

because it seems so

distant from me. 

My father,

minor league pitcher,

threw down drugs

in Germany and got thrown

out of the military

only to come back

to his wife

and five year old son. 

My legs dangled

over the couch's edge

as I licked joints

for him--hisown lips

and tongue were too dry. 

Is this what the poem

is about, how a child

and a father can learn

to spread their histories

before them, pick

the seeds out

(who needs a headache?)

or is this about how

I later watched him

at the stove,

stirring roast beef hash

with a wooden spoon;


or how  my mother

came home, pulled me

off the couch,

and threw their wedding

picture at him;

or maybe how glass sparkled

in my roast beef hash

which was thrown away

for a hamburger. 

At least I don't think

they were trying to kill me. 


This is all proportional. 

I was so small then. 

And years later,

after a party,

my dad bought dope

from me,

a quarter pound,

said if you are going

to deal,

you're going to do it

right.  It's not

as twisted

as it might seem,

I mean he's a very nice guy,

has the smile and the grey slacks,

the eyes that move

like spirits. 


I'm understanding

how once we get

a few beers into us

we look for whores

in downtown Toledo,

talk about drugs,

and intentions,

the way we will live

our lives.  It's all relative,

isn't it,  the way

these things appear

here, how I paint

this picture?

Once I borrowed his truck

to go to Ann Arbor

and he left a card

on the seat--

it was a cheesy hallmark

verse, with my name

scratched at the top

and his signed

at the bottom. 

This is the truth,

when I was in rehab

my father came

to one of my meetings

and listened,

drank coffee, said,

do what you need to do,

then left. 


Originally published in Key Satch(el) 

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