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It’s Wednesday

& the corner grocer has once again invited Marcos the elephant trainer to prepare a feast for the holiday & we’re all invited just like the time before when Maria & Nancy strutted naked in the rain & Betsy proposed a nasty rendezvous with Harold’s elegant valet & your kids began a food fight that ended when Irene was shot in the face by Bernard who had stolen his father’s S & W .38 & was known to detest anyone with black curls & that included his mother who wrestled him to the ground but not before Irene’s brother Jack shoved a bread knife between his ribs – But – this year will be different with grilled octopus all around & guards at every gate & two mixed cases of Rioja from Bilbao, beer from Finland & Grappa from Tuscany where they say this year’s vintage will be sensational & we’re all invited to Bob’s gallery for his opening & a horse race where the loser must sleep with the mayor’s wife & perform all the erotic acts she is known to demand & expects.

You, Who’ve Come To The Gate,

will notice his skin which their fires have charred & you will see his nose
is not…but a plastic snout & wires & his ears no longer & no texture but a yellow waxen shine &

you will notice her stumps where there once were hands which could sew & stir the pot & stroke a young boy’s face & you may note her silence but will never ask, “What have they done with her tongue.”

After: Kosovo 1999

At The Side Of The Road

he waits with torso naked for the passersby to see &

touch if they dare

this man yoked, with a gnarled hump &

twisted frame

who comes day by day to offer himself

as the least of us

to remind the strong of the lost, the violent of the humble,

the proud of the weak &

though the air is brittle & the ground is wet,

he comes with cup in hand & alone

as are we all

who wait for our bus that will arrive soon &

with it the inescapable & most perfect fact

we are bound to a future we know not

& will only taste once.

How It Was

It was a lie. In a foreign country. By the side of the road. Oleanders. Under cover of darkness.

It was a lie. Rummaging around the hayloft. Through the brambles. That gold coin. Molasses.

It was a lie. & she told it well. Like an artist disguises the truth with her pallet knife. Like snow drifts.

It was a lie. Fumbling under her skirt. Wishing for water. Drilling for oil. Hunting. His last clear shot. Smoke.

It was a lie. Begging to be discovered. Ratcheting up the odds. Sterile music. Open sewers. Sweet cream & Karaoke.

It was a lie. How did we come to this? Why would you say such a thing? What’s really troubling you? Hopscotch.

It was a lie. Preamble. Sequel. Sequestered. Sold. Into bondage. Smothered. By mother. Love in the time of Jihad. Quarantine.

It was a lie. In your dream of falling. Naked she came & naked she went. All about Eve. All about Jessica. All about . . . Does it matter now?

It was a lie. Daylight’s waning. Here’s the map. We must go. She smokes a thin Cubana. Blowing smoke-rings, blowing, blowing . . . up & gone.

In Memory Of Compassion, Justice & Honor

For Senator Susan Collins

I am your devastating, willful & intoxicating nightmare. I am the conscious you have displaced, the spy in your house of hypocrisy.

When you brush your teeth & glance in the mirror, you’ll see me over your shoulder, when you take your morning shower, I’ll be holding your towel.

When you mocked ‘Advice & Consent’ by ignoring facts in favor of personal political gain, you opened a door too often locked & invited me in.

& Even though I may be easy to denigrate or deride, I’ll still be at work inserting myself deeper in your psyche – erecting headstones etched with the names –

names of those whose lives will be abused, displaced or even lost by decisions made in your name, your history, your discharge of ‘duty.’

Oh – I know you’re not alone in this. Your compatriots share the blame – yours however is distinct – you were the critical linchpin & as such

bear the curse alone – the weight of which I will wield over you all the days & nights you have left on your way to your grave.

October 7th2018
The day after Judge Kavanagh was confirmed by the US Senate

The Flimflam Man

The crafty dodger sets up his card-table at the edge of the park & waits like the Jackal he is – for the sucker in the blue parka with ‘Stop Me If You Can’ stitched across the back of his jacket & when he arrives fresh from the market or a catch-it-when-you-can crap-game or was it a lazy liaison with his sister’s friend Camille, the Jackal strikes. Today it’s Three-Card-Monte where the ace-of-hearts slips between two black kings or does it . . . & So – we watch closely as the plump man in the little red ball-cap chatters & cajoles & moves his cards from right to left & left to right until the idea of the Red Ace is merely a momentary memory in the mind’s eye & when the sucker picks the wrong card & loses his ten bucks we’re not surprised but we are when he asks to try again & again & still again & it’s then we listen to the Jackal in the red ball-cap as he chants his chant, ridiculing one disgraced disciple while castigating another & promising great wealth while stuffing his own already fat pockets, promising security & moral certitude while yanking babies from their mother’s arms & when the next sucker sidles up real brave & sure-of-himself the fat man in the little red ball-cap claps him on the back & begins his rancid rap again & steals the money again & on & on goes the scam & the captivated crowd roars their unwavering approval & now it seems, even after lie after lie after lie, no one can pull them away from the Flimflam-Man in the little red cap & his mesmerizing Rap & Roll.

Improvisation – Where The Rivers Meet

Be watchful. There. Where the rivers meet. Release the caged wolverine, the scorpions & hooded cobras. Time is your mistress. Bring her a hot sweet-roll & coffee. Kiss her on both cheeks & remind her of your love. Beware the man who rides the whirlwind, he who bridles the stallion in the yard. Collect his fractured dreams. Order his sentries to the four gates. Unbolt the basement door before the moon rises & the bats are free. This is your cue to exit. Remember your keys & water for the road. Before it’s too late, forget the lost briefcase, the maps & ironed shirts. Once you’re in the wind, repeat the lessons learned & actions taken. The mystery left to solve is the one you carry in your black pouch. There will be a signpost & an owl to guide you. Those of us who have gone before salute you. Our praise is not enough. You must take back what was misplaced. As the sun rises so shall you. Bend to your task. What lies behind you is not our question or our concern. Where the rivers meet, under the Banyan Tree, under the rock, you’ll find the box & all you will need of revelations. Here, at the edge, the scent of lilac & sage. Take a deep breath. Reach up. Step out & open your arms.

As My Prisoner Ages

It’s no longer an exercise in torture. That ended years ago.
The pain of incarceration is far subtler:
days & nights spent sifting through soiled linen, he wanders
the compound like a hapless joke
anticipating applause that will never come.
I’ve learned to ignore
his yearning for Bourbon before noon,
his trembling at the mirror as his beard whitens & his thinning
hair falls.

Coloring his nights,
the replay of Janine’s suicide, her blood soaking through
their newly installed Berber carpet,
her dream of a new home blown away by her own hand & his
Smith & Wesson ‘38 Mag.
As the years have tumbled by what might be has morphed to
what might have been fueled by the image
of the hobbled horse awaiting the lion’s leap.
Horny but fearful of impotence
he surfs the web for porn,
masturbates before he dozes-off, accomplishes
as little as possible.

A Wet Afternoon

A wet afternoon recalls the image of a small boy riding his bicycle with wet newspapers
to deliver to a home where they’re soon trashed &

in the next frame on another wet afternoon he’s driving a grocer’s truck & the load is lettuce &
roast beef & we find him

in bed with a girl who is wet & knows more than he about wet afternoons & rolls over to show
him how &

a winter goes by & another & in a thunderstorm he’s sweating under a canoe in Wisconsin when
Diane offers her hand & her wet mouth &

it’s ten years later & he & Julia are driving through mist to the mountain & the rainbow that is
their final run at hope &

today, on this wet afternoon, he’s no longer a kid & shuffles his collection of photos to find the
one of her under the umbrella &

how wet she could be on any day or night when the fire crackled & Noche, the cat, curled on
their hearth & . . . & it ends here

with an empty bottle & a loaded gun & when the rain comes again it will just be rain & no place
to run

Sordid Sequences # 3

I am the avenger of lost causes, says never trust strangers. I carry the plans to the next exposition, the future is in my backpack, salvation & brimstone marry in my wake. This is one for the books & I’ve read them all. I especially liked the ones with lots of sucking & fucking & lots of gore. The more the better. Understand, these are the remnants of your fractured civilization. Sorting out those worth saving is my immediate task. I’ll need volunteers. Two men & two women. You’ll be models for what’s to come & become. &. As if an after-thought, he tweaks the cheek of Marty’s mom & hauls her off to see his designs & his mysterious garden spoken about in the Big Book. In a matter of minutes, night falls on the town. No one has even hinted at sleep.