(Photo, davy carren)

Hardly under the table

The kind of thoughts I’ve got

Understandably slipshod if not a bit tacky

The distant mining song of trains grumbles low

To the cat stretched to noodles in a ladle of sunlight

Or some stray lettuce edged between tiles

My expression’s tarnished and worn like sugared marble on a tombstone

Anointed with some testy blathering

Hypersensitive to the smell of your touch

Longing for the taste of the way you move

Whisk me away

Why don’t you

Oar that damn dinghy over here

While I’ve still got some fight carved into me

Rough stuff doughy up the sleeve

Got those pillows stacked so high

Always on your side

Tiny tears gouged in the flesh

Fluff to manhandle and caress

Until the puling barks of well-paid rabble-rousers fade

Like motor to changeover cues punched on film print

As we hunker down and hold on

Battery-powered rabbits with pinball eyes

Cooped up like daisy petals shredded to party-streamers shrapnel

Or pallets of toilet paper for display purposes only

As sea turtles stroll on empty Brazilian beaches

And whales crowd Mediterranean Sea shipping lanes

A stimulus of office supplies for the freshly unemployed

While we reconsider my closet of unwell-kept things

And barnstorm the dusty hunting magazines and the burnt two-by-fours

Never quite walked out

To a crowd that can’t possibly be eagerly waiting

My untimely arrival

Or guess the cause of death

Just kissed-off on my last breath

Whispered between hints of barrel-proof whiskey and untamed violets

All along the butcher’s block with a shotgun’s iron sight’s chance in a drive-thru window

To send me any longer ways than away

To or from all this unresolved ache

Sacked in all the right places


Hit the dirt

Before my insurmountable demolition-derby past overtakes us

Jagged roots of body bags planted like dumped shoe lasts in ear-splitting dissonance

I drop like orange roses into the warm jumble of your limbs

Safe in the whiff of masa flour frying on the stove

Or just the sound of you putting a jigsaw puzzle together

To drive me so much more than wild


Belt out another one to rainy Des Moines summers and drill bits and outrageous tips

Birch branches that’ll never shake on it

Sketches of Carlin in your childhood home

And afternoons that pass too fast to ever have to keep

The troubled way we never get enough sleep

Trouble is

You were being so cute in the hospital room

All boot taps and lilted body blows and puckered lips

Thread to thread in dancing capillary action

The little things you do to me

And all the ones you won’t

As is your wont

In the brassy come ons of Saturday’s cringing poses

Matte finishes on the unfinished paint jobs of gray doors

Let’s invest in solar windows and pickled onions and pet snails

Copyright a few dance numbers and one-liners and that sure-fire way you say my name when you mean it

Lives led so abnormal and abused and absurd

Just as they should be

Tossing gladiolas to the crowd under a moon-swept banner

Reading Stay Home

And we lower our heads

Lie chin-down in the gravel and plowed fields and subfloors of the world

Cling to the Bauhaus hues of grain elevators and coaling bunkers

In the strident collapse of privacy’s dampened antibodies

Batteries below 10 percent

All communication defrosting in the fridge

Too slow to notice the day getting overdone

Just like the way we talk our way into tomorrow’s socks and leftovers

Before it’s time for a stirring nightcap again

And again


Of course


You have it


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