Woke up Choking at Zero Four Hundred [fresh out of elegies]

The unofficial version of the story: He was stumbling home on Valium and unlaced Chucks cutting through the old abandoned factory, tripped, fell into the pond where they used to flush their chemicals and dyes—floated, floated, sunk. Willie’s obituary might as well have been blank (we weren’t even 17) some junk about still searching for … Continue reading Woke up Choking at Zero Four Hundred [fresh out of elegies]

Nude Sketch: Tupac

Nose ring rusted Red Wings jersey faded to a sun-wrecked pink bandana, once head-tied (to keep one’s brain from exploding, Foster Wallace said) now unknotted, hangs limp around your neck lacking even the noose’s grim dignity. Twenty years on and the runoff still spills— all those ripoffs and posthumous comps, a desert hologram, a Broadway … Continue reading Nude Sketch: Tupac

Protest Singer

You could reach into my voicebox and pull out a fistful of ammunition.   You could reach into my larynx and pull out a dead canary, X’s for eyes.   Come see me spitting spent shells like sunflower seeds at the monument’s feet   scrap metal castanets on asphalt clattering broken sambas.   You could … Continue reading Protest Singer

When Mothers Would Bathe You

A careless girl is warm and cool like cornflower blue filling the tub with a sweat-heavy heart Where home sweet home is sweet and sour as a purse full of stolen sauce packets And you’re a tidy list of pleasant tasks, assembled with the discreet love of a wet finger taming a curl.   (Count … Continue reading When Mothers Would Bathe You

Discarded Headstones

Here where broken pile on broken where marble stones and limestone crisscross together in a final, final resting place— a place for remembrance, for collecting together the discarded, As though death were not enough the threat of time further advanced a more fatal blow. Forgotten. Surely loved ones carefully selected the stone, the words, the … Continue reading Discarded Headstones

The Slope of Seasons

Taking a draught of Autumn draft I stopping sought on the air the old subtle sting, butcher’s shop smell Or the aura of blackening coffee beans smoky incense, thick through and hanging around A hundred of those old suburban towns Each of one street Each with a thousand tree-closed tunnels and Luminous dead-orange Maroon soaked … Continue reading The Slope of Seasons

Elegy with Underlying Tones

Imitation of Kelli Russell Agodon   I hide from emotions at a funeral by saying a joke: A lonely man went to a burlesque show—His pride was stripped. The only time I cry is from laughter. I skipped a rock across Roubaix Lake. When we sprinkled the ashes, the fire in my eyes was doused. … Continue reading Elegy with Underlying Tones

Gifted

The morning the angel fell in love with her, he attached his blazing invisible wings to her shoulder blades with transparent duct tape.   Her first child would often reach behind her ears and stroke the shivering feathers in the air or he would tilt back his head to see the cirrus canvases tacked above … Continue reading Gifted

We Children Had No Choice But to Give Up the Roses

and the stone lions guarding the front door under the magnolia trees, the curved bronze figures resting and dancing in the den, the matted-down olive carpet running up the stairs, the towering grandfather clock standing watch in the foyer, swinging its golden scepter stiffly, ticking loudly, precisely, right, left, and on and on, every second … Continue reading We Children Had No Choice But to Give Up the Roses

What Da Vinci Saw in Her

You said you would only know for sure once you saw her in person, so you flew to the Louvre and you saw her as he once did, sitting upright all day against the wall, smiling so softly at the crowd, not smiling to you, and you thought: she’s smaller than I expected but not … Continue reading What Da Vinci Saw in Her