Lost Khajiit

Standing at the Crosswalk

“You know” – six­pack rattle ending,
double­hood covering most of her face,
the wheelchair’s rubber turning over the sidewalk
and carrying her closer to the cars
that wet my jeans with puddle water
and gave us a louder silence to break –
“I don’t like it here anymore.”
Smoke lungs shaking asking mine
(and they obliged) to shake too –
“It was nice for a couple”
– or “a few” – “months,” I said.
Red hand – we stared ahead at it
(or I stared ahead at it)
– telling us we still had to talk.
“No wonder” – wheels turning –
“I drink beer every day.
You have to around here.”


Married, Worried

I found some of her hair on the counter –
she had plucked it from her face
earlier in the day –
and I swept it onto the floor
with the side of my hand.
I thought,
“What if that’s the last time I touch her?”
so I put the hair in a Ziploc bag
and put the Ziploc bag in the cupboard.

I stepped on some of her toenails –
she had clipped them off her feet
earlier in the day –
and I swore because they stabbed me
and because they were gross.
I thought,
“What if that’s the last time I touch her?”
so I put the toenails in a matchbox
and shut the matchbox in a drawer.

I saw bits of her skin on the pillow case –
she had been sunburned
and the skin peeled off –
and I didn’t sweep them off
and I didn’t change the pillow case.
I thought,
“What if this is the last time I touch her?”
as I grabbed them one by one
and hid them in a coin purse in my shoe.

After years and years she died –
she had been living
for quite a long time now –
but I didn’t worry
and I didn’t cry very much.

I opened the cupboard,
I slid out the drawer,
I turned over my shoe.
Inside the baggie,
the matchbox,
the coin purse,
there was enough to put her back together again.

no title 8

I fell in love
with a girl I saw
dancing on the web.

She wore red lipstick
and lacy black undies.
Blonde hair covered her boobs.

I could see her bed
behind her body
when she stood and shook her hips.

I imagined myself
lying in it and
saying “Babe, turn off the webcam.”

I saw the outlets
on the wall
that sometimes charged her phone.

I imagined myself
getting her voicemail
as she danced on other people’s laps.

“Private show –
be back in five.”
I fell out of love and I clicked “next model.”

Only Some of Them Die

I can move my little army men any place I want:
send them
down the disposal,
or hide them
in the grass.
When the mower’s motor runs I tell them this too shall pass.

Some of them fall over and are spared the sharpest blades.
Others fly and land in pieces like they fell on a grenade.
Some of them are cowards and they crawl beneath the wind.
Others will be eaten and end up in the yard again

I can line my little army men up any way I want:
in a phalanx
like the Romans,
or on the edge
of my windowsill.
When I push them, one by one, I tell them this is for the best.

Some of them bounce on the carpet, or land softly on my bed.
Others hit the heater vent and stay there like they’re dead.
Some of them land on their feet somehow, ready for another fight.
Others I will trip on when the lights are off at night.

Nice Big Truck

Gas prices are down
and my hopes are up
so I think I’ll trade my coupe
in for a nice big truck.

I was on the news today
buying my big truck
and so were the other happy
buyers whose hopes were up.

It feels good to be up high
over all the little cars
that were made in Japan
unlike my nice big truck.

But what goes down,
as they say, must go up
so I’ll move to Saudi Arabia
with my nice big truck.

Don’t Call, Crazy

You’re gone, I see a car crash
That’s how it always starts –
Asphalt, glass, blood on the dash
No more beats left in your heart –
And my hand is in my pocket
And I leave it
And I don’t call
I’m not crazy after all

You’re gone, I see a stick-up
Like that’s ever gonna happen –
It’s a juice bar, a door down from a gym
Not a 24-hour gas station –
There it goes, hand’s in my pocket
But I leave it
And I don’t call
I’m not crazy after all

God’s Closet

burn burn burn
god’s closet’s full of birds
and the devil’s closet
doesn’t ever run out of room

burn burn burn
god’s closet door is open.
on the floor, a couple birds
they couldn’t fit there anymore

burn burn burn
a long weekend spent in hell
so his father’s closet
doesn’t sit ajar anymore

All You’re Worth

he knocked on the door and said
I want to learn
but the fools they locked him out
they said
bring us a check for all you’re worth
and we’ll see if you’re worth our time
so he ran home fast
asked his mom for a check
because his dad was away at work
she said
here son
and gave him a check for all his family was worth

he knocked on the door the next day and said
please I’ve brought the check
but the fools they took the check and tore it
they said
you must not want to learn

so he walked away
but didn’t go home –

glaziers iced skyscrapers with sparkling panes of glass
painters covered yellow houses with white paint
farmers fed their cattle

the fools they didn’t watch
didn’t care

he was taught a lesson on linear perspective
by the road and the golden dashes

– and didn’t bother moving fast
for there was nothing waiting for him

no title 7

pull back brother,
put the cage on craigslist
and your bird won’t sing
the blues no more

sleep tight brother,
slip the noose from your neck
and your bird will be
there in the morning

Tell Me (How it Happened)

Tell me, where’s your daughter
When you cash her father’s checks
That keep those walls up
And bought that Cadillac for you

Tell me, where’s that girl you were
When you bus to work each morning
Why’d you trade those boots and that van
For this government job you have

Tell me, how can you open your eyes
When you come to in the morning
After dreaming that your loved ones’ lives
Will end up just like yours did