Venture

I once fell in love.
I once found a prince.
He stood on a beach
dark against the rolling surf,
full with the universe.

I once flew into
daring rough hands,
mute, lucky, held —
an odd fish silent and ready,
silent as hope.

“Why couldn’t you be a woman?”

In rowdy hands
I wiggled the signs,
did my best to become
sexy, curvaceous, something —

but slipped lonely-homeward
back to the sea that rushed for me.

*

We are not equal

“For gold is tried in fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.”

We are not equal, not in this land.
Your love is not my love.
I don’t care what stickers say.
You and I are not equal in this land.

When mine sleeps,
when his scourged spirit 
lays down legal sin,
lets slip Christian hate:
when I worship what you can’t see,
witness his dreaming mouth 
curl in playful expertise,
hands stroke invisible joy —
he’s cooking something, I can tell — 
Original Fire!

Then I assay you, 
set ablaze your soul,
wonder why ;
find on your foul stone 
the smoky remnants of an absent father-god —
babbled orphan-speak
raving of war, always war
mad-driven to despise all bounty	
execrate all bonds
sacrifice hope
to a doll —

No.  
You and I are not equal in this land.
Your love is not my love.
Mine is fire and yours is ash.
You and I are not equal in this land.

*

(“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” — Justice Clarence Thomas, proving his worth.)

Miracle of Life

“You came out talking.”

I hold my breath against this metal world,
this chewy phlegm and snot-dripping contraption, 
close tight my eyes against the green-gowned monster
and think:

“What the fuck!  Deceiving womb!”

Sweat and salty tears now on my cheeks —
why is she crying?  Narcissist.
I was the one ripped into a rotting cell that tasted of —
is that excrement? —

birthed into man’s horrendous hall,
his macabre theater of death and religion.
And she’s crying?

I scream.
(Was that the “talking” you heard?)

*

Note:

Coming home from college for the first time, I told my mother what I’d learned in my philosophy class: “Your fifteen minutes of passion condemned me to death.”

Her response: “Sounds like your philosophy teacher needs to work on his stamina.”

Dawson, binged

“You have until April 30 to watch this selection — Netflix”

Older young people play at younger
young people, six episodes a day — 

how did I miss this show?  —

models given the gift of living twice,
darling thieves of wiser words, hard-earned middle-aged 
insight unencumbered by bad knees or hernia,
post-menopausal Truth now un-hot-flashed,
now rehoused in pert vessels of
improbable intelligence —

it’s got to piss you off!
All our bones stolen by 
twenty-seven-year-old
fifteen-year-olds,
un-wrecked Sexy Buddhas 
arsoning our kindling
while we hyper-watch the blaze

before it, too, is taken from us.

*

“Doctors”

New doctors are like puppies.
They have to play with all their toys
and can be wildly cute.
Fresh out of obedience school,
all they know is rules and cutoffs; 
they cannot yet lay by the fire
because they are the fire
and have trouble being still.

Old doctors, like old dogs,
aren’t so eager.
They know our secret heart,
the love we’ve spent against
coming back

and smile
as we wave
So Long.

*

Lake House Memory

The coffee pot sticks a little
to the warming plate.
Sliding-glass door’s a bit rusty.
I love it cracked open,
lake-smell gets in,
grass and summer rain, 
trees on the breeze — 
maybe the morning doves
will come again.

It’s good to feel stiff old shag,
see stacks of books we’ve partly read,
stacks and stacks. 
Your grandpa’s kitchen table,
Ruth’s worn chair,
dusty Mantovani on the player.

Paintings hang crooked, 
curl on paneled walls,
fading in memory and slow-days,

that other house, the city one,
already forgotten.

*

Witness Stand

Of course we box our bodies,
bury them underground,
cold and silenced.  Alone.
Or burn them gray,
all evidence scattered.

After a lifetime as ours,		
why allow the thing we’ve 
starved and carved
hated and baited —

used abused accused
assailed curtailed veiled failed
jailed — 

to testify?

It might never get off the stand!

*

Take a walk through the site menu. You might find something you like.

LA Tourist

“You know how you tell a native
from a tourist?” asked the damp guy
not-nursing his scotch.

			Why do they always talk to me?
			I shrug my shoulders.

“Tourists talk.”

			I shrug again, 
                        leave twenty on the bar,
			check the phone — 
                        finish the bourbon, find the keys,
			slide the ball-cap on backwards,
			position steel-rimmed sunglasses, 
			hit the mirror,

			and leave.

                       Tourist.

*

If there were other poems, they’d be HERE.

Unable to Explain

While I wait for the light,
wonder which words to use —
whether “immature” or “innocent”
best conveys America —
an unfortunate unhoused woman 
dies on the sidewalk cuddling 
garbage and a teddy bear —
her last moment unhinged:

it is too much, too much,
this humanity;
so she passes it on
to the passersby — 

who sit in traffic
with closed-up windows
thinking “Poor Soul”
thinking this is so sad
thinking at least she’s in a better place

unable to explain.

*

Sometimes it’s nice to sit with a book. Check them out HERE.

Good Ol’ Gal

The grandmother never existed.
I made her up — the convalescent home,
the diabetes, a high school lie.  
Her name was Betsy,
and she never asked for candy,
or walked me through the Depression.
Hand-made soap, aero-planes —
the whole shebang 
kinda not true.

But she was a good ol’ gal,
always ready to listen to my 
teen-boy problems, so open 
to “these new-fangled relationships” —
“It’s not like we didn’t mess around
in our day,” she once said.
“Just don’t get anyone pregnant!”
She knew there was no girl,
nodded when I told her how 
all my friends — you — stared at me	
like I had depth, like I was heroic 
just for visiting The Elderly.

Well, Betsy would’a liked that.
She would’a liked that just fine.
If she had ever existed.

*