the maestro leering,
scissored teeth, his crimeboss mug
lined as a flattened palm
pull my sway to his orbit
the curve of his fat belly


split the thick rind
wedge the slit with knives
hands turned into claws
pull the flesh from its cracked shell
golden strands, seeds like white pearls


backyard fence slung with
ivy and white flowers, lights
bobbling on a string
dusk finds us pulled into rings
pressing words to opened hands


electric spiral
births all-knowing zygote drain
suns bloom new, decay
amid checkerboard chaos
lapsed synapse, newly-fused path


the blue-black morning
echos with my cadence:
measured fall of feet,
monotonous sawing of
weak lungs, throat choked with effort


cracks in the sidewalk
crawl with chicory, the last
flowers of the season
fall singes the knotted stems
blushes scarlet the leaf tips


slip under water
tilt back your head, silver throat
open to the sky
your humble stance, legs askew
sweet vulnerability


the evening stillness
broken by a pipe knocking
in the basement wall
upstairs the cat migrates from
bed to bed, her cotton steps


in the coal cellar
the cat snuffs, pawing boxes
touching cold concrete
she probes the perimeter
tail hung with cobwebs and dust


the day's rain, endless
dangling streamers of grey crepe
and shuttered windows;
at sunset a lone pink beam
sets fire across the river


benzaldehyde whiff
dizzy from butter's richness
and the soaring heat
sheet after sheet of cookies
hearts and wreaths to seal their love


the thunder of blood
and I'm blinded by the bloom
of stark white sheets
gnawing feeling that never
subsides, never stills my hands


I part the dark room
with one outstretched hand, grasping
for the bed corner
folding my body for sleep,
I find you, I always do


the embrace of sleep
two soft arms bearing respite
and a yard of rope,
manacles, a pillowcase
to bind my head, and strange dreams


cigarillo puff
floating down the sidewalk, thick
as a man's bare chest
small cloud and I, side by side,
neighbors in the autumn air


velvet galaxy
a milky way of strung beads
and tarnished chainlink
lustrous stars, facets burned warm
where the sun stroked their faces


run, wooden horses
the up-down levers wheezing
in the jewel-lit dark
noses flared, wild eyes all white
spooked team bolting in circles


suspended amid
the brick, an open cypher
of a window frame
and there, behind gauze curtains,
the smooth line of a boy's back


sky shook down on us
stifling mornings, the cruel heat
waves of roaring rain
she shook us to the same corner
serendipitous junction


my hand's swollen hinge
bust knuckle leaned to one side
with queasy indifference
coddle the ruined joint, prop it
against its neighbor's backbone


iris in the weeds
lush low of purple on dusk
blooming unbidden
she sits frozen at the bus stop
her blank face, her bruised eye


push back the worn vine,
scavenge the wind-fall harvest
marked with black loam
toothed flesh of the fruit, crisp bite
bloomed to sweetness' embrace


back to the warren
we pull close, memories of
warm food and cold hands:
the last false days of summer
sweat through the open window


these neon caverns
lush with painted women, booze
spilled on a bass beat
pull to the corner, notice
the plaster holes, ripped duct tape


five hours, I remained
still as a granite obelisk
parting sun from shadow
the hours pass unbidden
under the hands of my task


shirtless with his scars
wry mouth, ink-flecked fingernails
drinking flat piss beer
a crown for this slouchy king, lord
of hard years and nothingness


the chill prick of fall
slides through the slatted fan blades,
collects in the corners
I wake, half-frozen, feet curled
in the thin refuge of blanket


light spilled off the table
and puddled, honey pools
blushing the worn boards
I tug the curtain half-mast,
hide in the lip of darkness


each exhale chained a twin
syncopated lungs panting out
clipped bruised breaths
a dark spiral opened within
and I curled as if in death


we dine in treetops
emerald ceiling bowed to touch
the rim of your plate
concierge of cicadas
plucked chords of spiderweb prey


stacks of cracked spines, slung
cheek to cheek on sagging shelves
some wet afternoon
your cough, heard across the room
tugging the sleeve of my heart