Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I saw two lawn chairs facing a fallow field under an angry sky…

They like to watch the weather

More than forty years, 
side by side under a changing sky
cyan turning gray
they watched storms from folding chairs 


I was happy

I was bouncing off the stars 
but none of this was mine
Everything would wash away
like sunshine does each day
I'd sit down to cry
just counting passing cars

Prop me in a lawn chair
you can walk away
a heavy heart will keep me there
to wait another day

I knew the joy would blow away
I stared at the sky
its staggered moon a-waning
tired from the strain
tired, and so am i

prop me against the sky
where i might blow away
or drag around a heavy heart
that might rise again one day

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Daylilies like flames brighten mid-summer fields while overhead thunder shakes. Raspberries' ruby fruit ripens, coneflowers' petals pinken, and Queen Anne's lace crowds the roadside.

It's everywhere, she said, everywhere. 

By noon wild asters sag in the heat. When will summer's lazy breath grow short, stagger, and sigh? When will she sense the fall and hasten her days? When will the humidity and hurting flies let the dogs and I through without breaking skin?

A wall of quiet moonlight broke, shadows rippled, and I thought of you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just A Picture

Just like you on a hungover mid-summer Saturday watching the room rippling while wild flowers bend in the heat, a girl like me has gotta hope.

But I remember your face. You were not thinking about me. Maybe I'll center yesterday's empty wine bottle on the linoleum floor and erase it with a hammer.

Should I do it?
Should I daydream?
In Long Island on a road following the beach and pink sunset on the sand I strolled, stretching my thrift shop jeans.
From a phone booth I called Noah and he picked me up for a fundraiser. Everyone was steeped in wealth. Half of them had AIDS and the music was bad. I didn't mind leaving money in the pot, but I didn't want to stay.

She's creeped out Noah, said his friend, and so am I.

So, what's your name? his friend asked me.
We met that day on the beach. They followed my prints to the water where I was stepping out of the easy bay surf in cut-offs, walking toward my workboots in the sand. Noah had long black tattoos slashing his back and ribs. 

We work for MTV, they told me. Me? I was just looking for something to do.

Seventeen years later I still remember telling Sean that I had lost Noah's number. When Sean came back from the phone booth he handed it to me, but I didn't call again. What would I do with MTV?

The summer stuck like honey. Cool barrooms filled with drinkers in a fishbowl and a girl with sunburn and seasonal rent. I was waiting for September to brush the vacationers away. 
Tomorrow is the first day of school, I said.
It is? asked Will. Well, cheers, he said. 

A few weeks later he would nearly die turning off Sunrise Highway headed for my driveway. A speeding car hit him and knocked him off his motorcycle. I didn't know about it until I overheard his friends asking why I didn't care.
I didn't know! I said.

He rolled over on his stomach on his hospital bed and I counted more than 30 staples along his spine. They put rods in it, he said.

Clubs had rolled up their banners by late August. When I went back to school I bought lunch with couch change and read Baudelaire. Stinginess, sin, stupidity, shall determine our spirits' fashion… and we shall feed on the corpses of our remorses, he said.

Looking backwards nearly twenty years I don't see a stingy girl, or sinful, or stupid. My daydreams had always shaped me, and still do. My spirit lives and dies a hundred times a day based on my hopes and imaginings. I can see where we would feed on remorse -- the one thing left when failure leaves us in the void -- but I am not so sour. I am not there yet.


Just A Thought

I was standing in a bathrobe about to light a fresh cigarette.
He wore fuzzy slippers in the camper doorway.

Maybe he was shooting a movie.
Maybe a makeup man pushed gel through his hair.

Where is he? his beautiful curly co-star would ask.
Drunk, I think.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

After He Left

Small dark hours when longing creeps in
I miss him

as summer's marmalade sky thickens
wild flowers ablaze in blue and white
i wonder, does he think of me?

July's deepening green trembles with heat
an early emerald morning
where is he?

holding my breath in the dawn i wait for dreams to come
or dreams to fade
away by the time a crescent moon
sews its sliver in the sky

with humid thoughts and a crooked heart
i pick through my day
what if i had softened my lips
instead of turning away?


I saw the strike marks on Anne's house where she smashed her cane against tired asbestos shingle.
Help! Help me! she shouted on an early autumn day at 4:30 in the morning. I sat behind her where she lay sprawled on the ground, and propped her against my knees. The police flashlights soon picked us out of the dark. They were good about everything. They called her Ma'am and shined the light in my eyes. 

I live next door, I told them. I heard her yelling. 

Where is my son, Anne asked. Check the car. My grand kids are stuck in the car.

Her children are grown and gone, I told the police. Anne, they're not here, I said.

Then check in the house. Check the bed and see if it's warm where he slept.

I said, no one is here Anne.

Police called for an ambulance.


I had often been to her house where she shuffled through heaps of old, stained, scribbled papers. She was saying, what's your phone number? What if I need to call you?

Flies buzzed over raw trash piled in a small container next to her couch. 

You gotta get me some of that bug spray, she said. Flies are everywhere.

Anne, can we clean out this trash?

I brought groceries to her. She shouted her list over television noise. We struggled with new phones, threw angry glares at the fuzz on her TV, or tried to work her medical alert button.
You know anything about this? she asked me.

Her house is empty now, and a wreck. The plumbing is bad and social services took back a furnace they lent to her, while her kids had hauled out the wood-burning stove. Looking at Anne a few years ago in her sloppy house dress and combs in her hair -- a small effort to be normal, be pretty, be a woman -- I knew I would be standing in her empty house one day, wondering if I should make an offer to buy it. She has been in Florida with her daughter ever since the ambulance drove her away. Today I stood there, looking at the couch and rug stains, wondering if I should call her. Wondering if I should buy it.