July 31, 2006


Their hands are like marshmallows, white and pudgy.
Sticky-sweet, they catch in her throat, then melt
into snakes and wrap themselves around her heart.
Jesus Christ never visited the Vatican.
His hands are hard and dark.
A wine-stained kiss brings cold comfort.
"Open your ears, and I shall speak to you."
The screaming light of eternity rages behind his eyes.
"You are dead, but don't know it."
Mother Agnes trampled the sheep asleep in their pens.
Tomorrow, her bloody footprints will still lead back
to a yesterday that never was. The lambs' song is bleak.

July 26, 2006

Whiskey Whines and Whispers


Twangs and hoots give way to whistles
that dissolve into grunts and whispers.
Backstage at the Whiskey a Go-Go,
the young man mutters, growls
and then whines through the music.
"It sounds too slick, somehow.
She's too sure of her next whiskey bar!"

Bonnie's babe is plump with ashy hair.
It whines as the wrong mother feeds,
smoothes back his son's light curls
and whispers, "I'm sorry."

Used to be when someone whined too much,
she called him on it (and the one beer,
or two wines, or half a dozen whiskey sours),
but she can't think anymore.


At Twilight Manor, she feeds her grandfather
one last bite of ham puree, then wipes
a bit of green gelatin from his whiskered chin.
"So, do you think the problem lies
with the man or the whiskey?"

The old man blinks his rhuemy eyes,
shrugs his slight shoulders and coughs.
His voice, once clear and strong,
now wheezes and whines.
"In England men of letters drink wine...."

The man whispers to himself.

July 18, 2006

Bedtime Story

Night tastes like chocolate pudding.
Spoon after spoon, I swallow.
The aroma burns my eyes
like Tito burned my heart
one cold winter back in Michigan.
Flavorless, long nights pile up, uneaten,
while morning waits, untouched,
and PopTarts dream of warmth.
A caballo dado no se le mira el colmillo.
The keen flashlight of understanding
doesn't run without batteries--
Santa took those along with the milk.
Hush now. Don't tell Agnes.
Her future holds enough sad stories.
Green, the stars scream of madness,
while fairy godmothers lie under our beds
awaiting orders to give needed infusions.
Giggling, sharp needles dance in old hands.
Too bad the dish ran away with the spoon.

July 12, 2006

Dry and Dry (after Emerson's Blight)

Give me booze,
for I am sick of soft drinks
and die of thirst. If I had
only the brews and spirits of the tavern,
rum, cognac, gin, vodka and applejack,
bock beer and tequila, schnapps, whiskey,
mescal and malt liquor, kvass and sake,
and fine and not-so-fine wines, which to these bars
draw untold lushes with a common need,
not told, not known, and I could smell
their odor, and their chemistry absorbed
by strange osmosis through my flesh,
driving the demons and feeding the angels,
oh, if it were so, I could be a part
of the rounds, caught up in the wild
and crazy world, and be mixer
of their varied combinations.
But these punks, who invade our clubs,
bold as the dealer who runs the hood,
and often using the drug he makes,
don't love the brew they suck; they don't know it.
All they love is gangsta games.
The old men studied magic in suds,
and fortunes in an empty mug,
and omnipotence in a broken bottle,
preferring things to tags, for these were men;
these were drinkers of the drinking world,
and, wherever their bleary eyes fell,
they met the bootprints of the same. Our eyes
are not strangers to the fermented fruit,
are not strangers to the goblet and to the keg.
The hair of the dog says, "No!" and growls.
For we use it selfishly;
we gargle unreligiously,
and pickled, seek its power, not its pardon.
So they push us away,
yield only what our whining tongue is due;
but the sweet wealth of sex and song,
the best of the gods' grapes are withheld;
and in the midst of shots and barmaids, we tipplers
and tosspots of the beer garden, shut out
to drink ginger ale and lemonade,
turn pale and die.

July 05, 2006

Darling Teddy

Sleepless within the stronghold of night glow,
I spot its head poke up behind my weary bedmate.
Darling is dutiful, well-worn, but smug,
with a soft throttle made to squeeze,
too wanton for marriage and too wary for whoredom,
but perceptive without gold ring or red carpet.
And its button eye shines briefly, as if to say Watch.
And each flicker honors her movement.
And each new position is an eye opener.
The long-lived companion, the queer, patched thing
held head-scissored, wedged in the southland,
this fellow traveler--strange, fuzzy thingamabob--
is eyewitness to this night's desolation.