The Cleaning

Work continues the same everywhere
Beginning again in the early evenings
Into the nights and mornings as quietly
Changed into white clothes we wear
Surface layers of dust that air brings
Are wiped again until the cloth is slightly
Shaded where fingertips polished the hue
From flesh to cloth a mild vinegar scented
Astringent of sorts, the final mortal flavor
Held to thirsty lips, an ancient chiseled statue
Cleanses daily filth from pure and repented
Fixtures that furnish the house of our Savior

The Gyre

Notions are hardly worth their whimsy, rising as oblong pockets from
Feathered beds below the glassy sheet of calm.  Nature turned her head
Away while coughing, politely sparing us the lurches and trauma here
As distant to one place as to another. No state or nation or kingdom
Within the sound of our still ocean cradle, resting our feet instead
Along the dark-shored island, floating but not drifting, our deepest fear
On its way to greet us. But that’s only half of it. The others continue
Spreading the dullest sunshine of hope from beach to dotted beach,
Solvents disbursing the beads of lives lived before fines imposed
Language flowering from tongues tasting another tart idea in you,
Sharp and bitter in tone and meaning, piano strings tuned each Continue reading “The Gyre”

Carrier Wave

The music, don’t worry, carries away in a shopping basket,

Frozen peas for a pillow, cool and soft, warm and sweet.

Words and sounds decay through the air we breathe a dozen

Breaths per minute, inhale, exhale, difficult as the task it

Has become, to the point of exhaustion as we merely complete

A sentence, something we’ve done so thoughtlessly–those inch-

Long phrases never measuring up or down or any direction we

Let our subjects wander. Most years we never saw coming until

Here upon us, life’s bellows, or billows, squeezed Smitty’s

Little accordion. One note only hissing at wood, a ship, a tree.

The wind fills our solidly trimmed sails, fade in the sun, still,

Placid as a mirror you can hold like that pillow. Split peas

Softening with age, so much younger than friends we forget

As they have forgotten us, little frozen spheres the flash

Of which is well thawed on the way home, green as the day

Pods ripped and spilled them, anonymous mass in conveyors of wet

Produce, boiled without tattoos, without arms, hoarded in a cache

Below instant zero, static until now, until the steam bouquet

Blooms against the ceiling. And this, baptism by water, total

Immersion, you know, is the best way to learn a new language,

Heated so that surface swirls curl back in waves without foam.

No games here. All these little balls. No games. A gravy mote

Around the starchy white castle, guards awaiting the changes,

Press their forks into the road as lovers lying awake at home.

Incapable Tongue

What is worse than beginning a poem with single question?
Would you agree that two questions at the beginning of a
Poem are worse than one? How could such questions improve
This rhetoric when readers simply won’t agree the best one
Is their last and, most likely, only distraction. Designer Java
Tides erode smiles, warming tongues that gracefully move
From subject to object, rich bitter concentrated dark language,
The kind that burns as it comes and goes, in and out your throat.
That acid, some sort of tannin, citrus hinted, a day off vinegar
If somebody doesn’t check the temperature before the damage
Sets in. The edge of stone tumbles through your nostrils, you note
The involuntary exhale as part of the story, the marvelous command
This half-ounce wields over you during, fulfilling, the moment
For which it was created, when taster and tasted merge. Active
Consumes passive. Passive overwhelms active in the pleasure,
No, not the pleasure, the complexity, the gathering of ancient
History into a brief present, the memory rehearsed as you relive
The subtleties of generations gathered along the yellowed denture,
Pooling at the gate of duct and vein, the wet blue underside of glisten
And gland. You want to spit. But you refrain. That’s part of the ride.
It wants you to do what it wants you to do, not what you want to do.
The is more complicated than you had ever imagined. Clenched fist in
Your face, the back of your hand funnels your breath along side
Lips and into lungs, one of each, in the same symmetry of
A squeaking door opening and closing, its trio of hinges
singing to and fro, each its own beginning, middle and end.