Monday, August 4, 2014

Because We Could


Gotcha some bullheads, I see.  Hap
pulled us into dock, bullheads carpeted
our boat's floor, fins surrounded our feet.

When they're biting, nothin's
more fun than pulling 'em in.. 

Ready to pull anchor, the first strikes
stunned us.  Our reels spun and rods
tipped as catfish dipped for the deep.

My dad's excitement nearly swallowed
the stump of his partly chewed cigar.

Discarding my Hemingway novel,
I leaned into grace under pressure
to land fish after defenseless fish.

Goose Martin and I hit a strike one night
and filled a garbage can while it lasted.

The wide yellow heads adorned with timeless
barbels rested in the alien world of our sport
while knowing eyes mocked our amusement.

Three pounds of infinitely formed flesh
tempted by minnow disguised hooks.

Underwater boxcars, they lack the stylish
design of the sleek northerns and walleyes,
elusive muskies, the flare of the bluegills.

Scavengers, bottom feeders, controllers
of the night, their defensive fins disabled.

What shall we do with these?  We have
a couple of nice walleye for our supper,
and we're leaving in the morning.

I'll smoke the suckers. Hap eyed the catch
with relish, mixing mental barbecue sauce.

The last fish gasped for air as my departing
sneaker nudged his dream,  visioned minnows
swam just beyond his open mouth.

Herding Socks


I've given up on socks. The washer
eats them for its lunch. The dryer melts
them down for its own mysterious
purposes, welding art behind the lint
trap, strange alchemies that only dryers
understand. What few I am able to rescue
like a bag of puppies tossed to the road
running past a likely home, I struggle
to match. Litter mates, twins from birth,
but beyond the obvious argyles, stripes,
and patterns, I'm at a loss with the blues
and blacks. They wait patiently in baskets
littered about the house for desperation
to pull near matches for a walkabout
under dark pants. On their good days,
the cats upend their lairs and drag
them on trips only socks can appreciate.

(For Tweetspeak Poetry's laundry giveaway)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Westie Lament






















Please tell me that it doesn't matter
that my ear is bent, leaning
like a limb broken from its tree,
an envelope permanently closed.

I know you chose me, rescued
me when my parents could no longer
care for me. You thought I looked
like the Westie you'd always imagined.

I'm still the same boy, just slightly
used, a bit arthritic, maybe too fat.
And sure, my face is usually stained
from nosing the scent of squirrels

I feel I must rid from your yard.
If you look at me from my good
side, you'll see. I'm just as
adorable as any Westie can be.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Red Eyes and All That

The words of my poem
spilled from my very own blood,
captured the fleet feet
of my lamb’s innocence,
yet the judge was only Abel to see
the basket of lentils
sorted in iambics, parsed
in quatrains that grained
the wilder growth. Cain I
care for darkened lessons
of acceptance and rejection?
No, my active voice
sounds deadened
past tense.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Havarti in the Highest


Is it the way the word rolls off the tongue
that delights the senses even before
the cheese is chosen? I'll have Havarti,
I tell this deli sous chef, his knife poised
for a lasting imprint on the block
of buttery goodness about to climax
my roast beef sub. Danish
slices topping 100% purebred
American Angus, garnished with dark
brown English mustard. My taste buds
jealously watch the wheat roll warming,
the cheese bonding and bubbling
while my ears ring with "Havarti!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who Planted Those Grapes?


Clipping loaded stems from the bunch, tasting
succulent globes, skins stretched on juiced
flesh, I live only in the moment. Whose hands placed
the cuttings into the moist earth, tended and watered
virgin plants, shepherded creeping tendrils into fruition?

Opening the new jar of olives, I ponder the trees
in a sandy land far removed from the verdant green
of my Louisiana landscape.  The interconnection
between hands that open and hands that plant,
hands that harvest and hands that bottle

provides the link, the connection, establishes
the patterns that reveal our selfhood, our identity
on a plane, plumbed, sheered, consummate,
completely beyond our own finite consciousness,
enigmatic as the patterns of DNA to an ancient seer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Longing for Cheese


And the women come and go
            speaking of Vermeer.
They wonder why his women
            yearn for cheese. Take
the Girl with a Pearl Earring.
            Her full face shows she's
no stranger to the fat content
            of good Dutch cheese.
Mouth partly open, her eyes
            linger on the plate
just beyond the viewer's eye,
            mouth watering with
the taste remembered over time.
            His full-figured Milkmaid
pours cream and thinks of cheese
            she will add to the crusty
bread in the basket of her table.
            Even the woman, fingers
on the virginal's keyboard,
             in The Music Lesson
can't wait to cut the cheese. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ode to Drawers that Fail to Close


The delicate balance between
drawers and dresser contains
the personality of the bedroom
piece. Whether it's called bureau,
commode, highboy or simply
a chest of drawers, its disposition
is destined by the tongue in groove
of the fit of drawers to cabinet.

Drawers ajar, strangely angled,
calls for assistance shouted
from the ill-fitted oak mark
the lack of created skill. Sired
by uncertain hands, the tongue
lolls loosely out of the mouth
of the imbecilic wood. Socks
are destined to peep beneath
the folds of speech. Their obscene
toes lick their cornered chops.

Foot in mouth teeters dangerously
between decorum and decadence
in the corner of the room. It bids
me enter an ill-fitted world where
who I am and what is wanted
never matches. Argyles and stripes
seek a destiny where only silken
solids are allowed. Woolen threads
are coarse and scratch the surface
in ways the feet can never hide.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Caelestis


Is there a shred of decency
behind the marble shroud
that cloaks your comely form?

Within your crystalline breast,
the near warmth of virgin
idealism must beat its adagio
of distant impulse, its forgotten
whisper of modest perfection.

Somewhere deep within
created form a message
must escape your silent lips,
a signal subverting masculine
logic of your portrayal.

If goddess you be, confound
this metamorphic hardening,
licentiousness unleashed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sylla


Beware of a crown seen
in another's liver. Emotions
not cleansed from the blood
are deadly to the soul. The liver
knows the liver and speaks the words
of ever-renewing passion. Control
is forfeited as hubris reigns,
and the Promethean scourge
burns in unceasing destruction.

The Layoffs


Words like doppelgängers hang
in the head. Two swinging bodies
on time-burdened ropes. Forced
retirement meant to mask the eyes
that look backward to purpose
and meaning, the swing of routine
woven into productivity damned
by unfettered nihilistic chaos.

Bodies stiffening, no longer
aware of the breeze that disturbs
the hair on distended heads.
Minds floating above the initial
shock of uselessness, crashing
against glass ceilings whose
identity is no more than figments
of deteriorating imagination.

The stench of released fluids
wafts over the cognitive fight
for reason. The phoenix sleeps
on chilled ashes behind the water
cooler. Yesterday's sardonic quip
gurgles in the clogged pipes
about to spew outrage and disbelief
on yet another unsuspecting victim. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Testing Cicero


Anxious to hone his rhetorical skills,
the ambitious eighteen-year-old
pored over the dialogues of Cicero.

But it wasn't form but function
that shaped the intelligence
of young Augustine. Looking beyond

classical discourse, the student saw
into the mind of the master of rhetoric
and hungered for the wisdom

that reason held. In reason's circle
time is a never ending dimension
that brings the student toe to toe,

mind to mind with the master's
best assumptions. The challenge
is waged, the refutation laid.