Family Legacy

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,
and left.

Mid-step

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.

A Secret For You

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.

The Charmer’s Way

“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.

San Francisco, USA

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.

A Flower Among the Mud

One purple flower…
        Or maybe it is fuchsia, or lavender
        Or that seventh colour, what is it?
        Indigo?
        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
Everyday muck.

Maybe it’s my romantic nature
Or a last ditch effort at
Schizophrenia,
But I think that flower of
Negotiable colour
Has value.
I admire its tenacious grasp
And its oft unseen petals
Fluttering in this bitter wind.
I admire its courage to bloom,
So unlike us.

Triple Score Word

elbbarcS
    upside down, but       read
    wor s, the meani g
without      mouth, and   want
      understood
without spel     each
line,      ass-
onance hi  ligh     wh t's
import nt. I want        seen
without speak   . Just
truth from     knees.

Another Beautiful Day

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
Beautiful face.

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.

Hourglass Eyes

As my glassy eyes reflected polished ash,
I realized that I never understood
Why the living mourn the dead.
These hypocrites who never cared
For Jones-most never knew his name-
Now standing mute, ranks of inconvenient
awkward office mates.

Mike told me that we all die.
It’s true, I thought, slipping my hand
To the breast of my coat.
The tobacco, held tight in its roll-
Just as we’re held by the sonorous
Supplications of the priest-
Came free. They heard the click of my lighter.
I did not care:
They would be dead someday too.

Thoughts of hypocrites and caskets
Left my head with the first drawn breath,
And it seemed as if all the blood
Drained from this coil to be
Replaced. That incense, holy and pleasing,
Filled me like the fluid that filled Jones,
And I exhaled our obituary,
My eyes reflecting their prison.

Compliment

You don’t want me for
whatever reason.
I don’t mind.
You needn’t justify your personal
desires; your dislike for facial hair
or the way I actually look
into your eyes.
Don’t think I worry that
you do not find me unattractive.
I don’t care.

I do not call you beautiful
because I want you.
I think you pretty
because you are.