The world so often surprises me. Just yesterday,
I went to piss at a Panera Bread, did it
the usual way: polite knock on the door;
locked it behind me, relieved;
washed my hands in the too cold water
by the soap thing that never works right
while the urinal flushed itself, a cake of disinfectant
eroding at the bottom.
Wash vigorously–used to work
at a hospital, you know–
so I had time to look around,
really take it in while my hands froze.
Paper towels where you should grasp firmly,
two hands, not one, and pull straight down,
but if it’s an emergency, I guess
you’re supposed to turn this wheel.
I thought, “Huh, emergency feed. When
do we need towels so bad?
Is everything such a damned rush
that we can’t just use two hands,
grasp firmly, pull? Follow the damn
pictures they made so even chinks
can do it?” I pulled, two hands,
I like when it rains in November, you said,
when dreary skies and leaves stain the sidewalk.
Eyes smiling wide, we kiss in mid-step,
and my head shakes a bit before we touch,
afraid I’ll miss but unwilling to slow. We laugh,
noses scrunched from impact as you exhale,
growling as dragon’s breath envelopes me. Our hands
have sex with everyone watching. They can’t have us.
I sometimes look at people as if they’re dead,
not worth considering,
altogether nonexistent because I don’t
want them to know
how interested I am in them.
I do this at the mall when I pass people,
and sometimes on campus when I glance
and see that their face is turned
towards mine, that their eyes are seeking,
that they are looking straight at me.
When I’m sitting in class and a pretty girl
walks by, or when I’m walking to my office
and see someone, I’ll keep my face carefully blank.
I’m married. I have a wedding ring on. I’m not looking
for a phone number. I’m afraid they’ll catch me glancing.
I’m nothing. It’s not worth their noticing
that I’m looking at them, and besides, what must
they be thinking? I probably look
like some creepy old guy, on top of which
I’m married. They probably think I’m horrible.
So I act like it was an accident, a chance
meeting of gazes, a non-occasion. I move on,
and they move on, and we forget. I pretend
that I think nothing of them because I want them
to think nothing of me. I want them to not notice
it makes me a little sad each time.
“Life’s too short,” he claims as grin,
His crooked smile a snare of charm.
Each lass with breasts and legs he spies
He will pursue with every lie
Like water tinged by oil’s spill;
It seems he’d give you life and more,
But rather, death will come with dive
As suffocate in Charmer’s eyes.
A feeling of deep wariness-
I see it in his current prey-
As lean he in, hand on her knee
And promises fall from his lips.
The string of words that fly from tongue
Bewilder those who pause to hear
Until disarm and gently lift
The fear that comes with common sense.
His goal? The moment of the catch,
The joy of another conquest
And pleasure peaked in instant found
In dead of night; it’s at this time
That like the night, just so will die
His charm and interest in the prey-
In lass he snared through Charmer’s Way.
And so he leaves, another broke:
So spawn’s another Charmer’s Joke.
We’d set out as the sun would set,
Dusk settling like child’s blanket,
Comforting chirp of insect’s mate
And frogs who sought their hunger sate.
The small town crossed and crossed again
With naught an hour passed, and then
We’d head back home, assured we’d share
Another walk without a care.
Those days have passed, those times are gone;
Though can’t reclaim, still rise the sun,
And now I walk on clean poured stone-
The cobbles gone like bird that’s flown.
My eyes downcast in silent cloak,
Lost in my thoughts and sorrowed hope:
Someday I’ll find a friend to walk,
Someone to share cobblestone jaunt.
He’s murmuring into his beard,
Curses or prayers, falling
To the stone under his feet.
Crouching by the road, jaundiced eyes
Darting from their hands to mouths,
He whispers to those who would hear,
“The end, the end, the end.”
Clutching his jacket, eyes rolled back,
Whites turned to overcast skies.
Another demon takes him,
Convulsing at Hyde and Sutter while
Shoppers walk past, clutching
Stained glass dreams.
One purple flower…
Or maybe it is fuchsia, or lavender
Or that seventh colour, what is it?
It is the one we’re never sure of;
The last upon the spectrum.
It is all that remains.
A hemmed in lake of muddy dirt;
Not even the rich, black kind.
This lonely flower blooming in
Maybe it’s my romantic nature
Or a last ditch effort at
But I think that flower of
I admire its tenacious grasp
And its oft unseen petals
Fluttering in this bitter wind.
I admire its courage to bloom,
So unlike us.
The bus stop filled for all to see
Through dirty glass, light filtering
As sun sets over cold city
And man looks over busy street.
People rush past to board the bus,
Yet still he stands in silent hush
With phone forgotten in numb hand.
The voice falls silent like the land.
One slow blink as bus does leave
And turn his head with naught to see.
This busy street teeming with life,
Yet all has fled his little life.
Blink again at child’s play
Across the street at end of day,
Yet sight moves not his shattered heart,
Nor sound reach soul that’s lost its part.
A woman walks in stately grace
Past man who wears a mask in place
At that bus stop so they will see
Nothing of his silent plea.
She walks up Fifth and turns at State
Carrying day’s conquests to take
Them home to family, home to child,
Home to peace, leave city wild.
He slowly blinks and slowly falls
Down to his knees as cloud’s soft pall
Smothers setting sun so soon.
And yet no dirge, no soothing croon;
His jacket lead, his tie a noose
His clothing feeling tight, yet loose
As seem to shrink himself, and world
Fades as final flag is furled.
Someday he’ll rise and travel home,
Relate the tale that stranger told.
The sun will rise, the world will spin
Life will go on, but without him.
upside down, but read
wor s, the meani g
without mouth, and want
without spel each
onance hi ligh wh t's
import nt. I want seen
without speak . Just
truth from knees.
It was too beautiful a day
to sit in class.
Worn thin, this adjective,
Like steel wool used too often
And cheapened like the girl in the
Second row; she’s just another
This day is like every other.
No clouds, and the sun
That makes us squint so
We can’t even see.
It is beautiful outside, it is March, and I
couldn’t bear to sit in class any longer.
And while all the trees are still dead,
Their limbs only sometimes resembling
The skeletons I hear them compared to,
One has bloomed, white bursts–
I’d tell you if I knew
What kind of tree it is.
To my eyes, it is pretty, unlike
Those beautiful non-skeletons.