powder of decay
frosts the web of leaves, yellow
stems thinned to straws
piled lumps of unripe melons
stuck knots in a green shoelace


god bless a cold beer
the way stories tangle tight
head to tail to head
the dog's perked ears, velvet scraps
between my nervous fingers


lace the sinew to
my curved calves, narrow boy hips
trimmed down to meat
the blood bolts, singing through
newly forged paths of my body


crossing dark water
the gentle humped backbone
of the unspooling bridge
summer evening cleft by
the white skin of concrete


basil bolted, ruined
by flowering flotillas
the cloud-like sway
a ragged leaf mashed to paste
warns an acrid bite, no good


the skinless fruit, moist
and sweating in my cupped palm
parting into fat halves
the snarling tooth of the knife
the nicked web of my curled thumb


the glare and the blight
heat-shimmer and bleached-out rock
cupping warm bathwater
pink lungs rattle with pain
my stomach leans uneasily


racing down the hill
a friend’s bike, his reckless grin
snapped back, stunned moment
flying, tethered by a chain
caught around his tender neck


a splash of water
stacks of wet dishes, puddled
in the steel sink
outside a brace of lightning
and a steady night rain


four thousand faces
unlined, warmed by youthful joy
shouting at the sun;
behind a rock, small omens
paper-thin skull, fanned feathers


I am downtown, mired
between suits and cigarettes
dazzled by the noise
I clutch my lifeline, swallow
down pain and vomit, cyclic


the same old zero
shuffling, fists balled in pockets
with a bad-luck eye
Sam said 'fail again, fail better'
I say he's got my number


heaps of velvet, felled
on the border of roadside
amid the tall weeds
I think of doll-sized fur coats
sleeping minks, missing kittens


my blood's exhaustion
the trembling muscles, shaking
with adrenaline
I breathe and close my eyes, sense
the body's swift work of repair


astroturf, green nap
rolling a florescent ball
through peeled-paint windmills
street lamp spotlights, flat shadows
pooling in the eighteenth hole


the half-lit theater
rows of folding chairs, unhinged
and thick with listeners
in the back a cooler weeps
ice melting between glass bottles


cold breezes punch through
august's false sun, promising
pinprick autumn nights
front stoop tomatoes waver
between ripe fruit, withered leaves


full of vinegar
salted wounds, back-bitten bile
sneers and smashed windows
cross as a tired child
I call quits and march to bed


the hum of the fan
and evening cicadas.
we sleep like children
splayed on the old quilt; the days
are growing shorter. fall waits.


warm woozy sunshine
shoe soles melting, the brick heat
of the sidewalk home
my belly is full of gin
I just want to sit and smile


the curved river bank
lays bare the morning vista
thrust of glass buildings
we duck under bridges, feet
push us west then turn homeward


fat wheeled suitcases
click seconds on the tile floor
wobble down hallways
one pale face then another
disembark, unfold smiles


small disappointments
sit like sparrows on your arms,
petty indulgence:
the dissolution of plans
lost hours, the meal unsavored


the evening gridlock
cars pile into crosswalks
animal insistence
the sky spits wind, sallow tones
the rapid slew of storm clouds


rowhouses, uneven
tightly packed as front teeth
black before the dawn
here and there a single light
one heart beats to wakefulness


ripped web of bedsheets
my feet knotted together
sweat glued to my spine
I pinch my eyes shut, churn sleep
in the hum of a box fan


every window open
to the cool blue evening
perch at the table
a glowing beacon, still life
with pen and lowball glass


ratty tea towels
a dozen masons boiled
glass parched by the heat
steam and sugar, afternoon
alchemy, hot pepper jam


creekwater and corn
overripe fruit, smashed puce bruise
wet coin-metal tang
bouquet of cheap beer, spare
yellow trace to be forgotten


a slim promise on a street
thick with harried people
two eyes can turn off course, find
home in a stray brave glance


pink dusk, empty streets
new cicadas grind a chant
husky summer song
circle like druids, arms raised
bounty and birth our blessings


a piebald nightmare
grease-soaked feathers lashed to bones
picking gutter crumbs
bedraggled, limp and totter
on warped and tumorous feet


sweep the sand away
stoke a pyre to scorch
a thousand years of strife
cherish this new void, hold it
where your heart once weakly hummed


summer of make-do
lean pockets and no real plans
to fill the long day
scrounge twenty, cheap beer to cap
event-less afternoon daze