laughing and not being normal

I got in a fight, I was indisposed
I was in, despite all the wicked prose
But I’m only a man, and I do what I can

Grimes, Kill V. Maim from the album Art Angels

Grimes says don’t wear underwear—
it inhibits incantations that live
like ash in your throat
too shy to sing or gloat
it sounds like the color of souls
when the ocean rises up
above the ground
in California
Arizona Bay
Slab City

Grimes wants to carry you away
in growls and roars
slim shoulders
thin waist
face painted warrior pink
she loves you
she loves your scars
your pockmarks arouse her
don’t believe her
when she says
she don’t care anymore

Grimes lives in synthetic grumble
sweet
acerbic
cognitive
preternatural
Grimes fights to maim
ties you to her bed
tells you to call her man
asks you to score
her floor routine
Grimes is a perfect ten

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

our next demagogue

bigotry does not discriminate
takes root in any heart
cracked by terror
entwines its tendrils
like atrophy or narcissism

it does not take orange skin
or brown skin or black eyes
or red blood or blue veins
to swell with ambition
to bloat the gullet

it could live in Donnie
with windswept hair
who lost his mother’s love
his father’s approval
in a long dark tunnel

it could live in Carly
her breasts grew late enough
she missed jealous stares
her right her lot
she seeks bland officiousness

bigotry swims in nostalgia
nostalgia treads water
a long limbed monster
inducing arrhythmia
the beating of lesser hearts

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

(before phones were temporal predators)

I want wooden toys
to smell on them your fingers

I want nameless prayers
in languages we make up

I want crickets in jars
to release them before bed

I want to be unfound
or never found at all

I want a loop of string
and infinite permutations

I want mud under nails
to not care about mud under nails

I want riverbeds
and wet sand in white socks

I want dog-eared pages
and papery dog ears

I want your attention
for more than a cat’s breath

I want flatlands
will you go there with me

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

Noah’s second ark

Noah built a second ark before the floods came. He believed he was the savior, the savorer of pulses. Animals matched by color, by temperament. Kimodo dragons with gerbils. Tasmanian devils with peregrine falcons. Dik diks alone, too meek to mingle. Noah spent years seeing the world, a world of ocean, never striking land. Noah never wanted, never wanted a fresh start, he knew the universe unfolds like proteins. Always the same. Always the same. Contract, expand, paint by numbers. He obeyed anyway, let the water tickle his ankles, his knees, choke the insides of his wife, his kids. The floods come again. Noah’s second ark floats dormant in the Dead Sea. Noah long dead. Most of the animals he ushered into the second world barely survived the boat ride. Dead too. The floods come again. The animals did it this time. The Lord smokes a pipe, scratches his head. He doesn’t know about Noah’s second ark. Ark of afternoon sun. Ark of wind-blown willow. Ark of community, devil of profit. The dodo weeps gently in its fossil. We, the leftovers, are next.

Kim Jong Un thinks you’re crazy

Kim Jong Un pees beside you. He’d like to see the size of your arsenal. He’d like to show you his own through a hole in the stall. Kim Jong Un says you are crazy. There is no way to tell. He points at the television, which fizzles in spurts with American obscenity. Lookalike makes adult film. Senator impregnates aide and commands her to keep it. Bodies fill cracks because on the surface they resemble blemishes. A black cloud singes our eyes. We call it progress. Kim Jong Un sits in empty factories. Kim Jong Un claps his hand at a bear, which is a dyed Pomeranian. Kim Jong Un looks over the horizon, admires his wall and its landmine babies. At least, he says, my prop set is known. At least, he says, my people understand the taste of their misery. Yours, he says, is drowned in sugar, four car garage, and people who regard pretense as love. Kim Jon Un goes to a supermarket and eats a peach, bruise first, pit second, leaves the fragrant flesh for his play-wife. She bows at his feet, which smell of mink oil. Kim Jong Un is gracious. He will spare her today. Who, he asks, will spare you?

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

Man confronts his cheating girlfriend. You’ll never guess what happens next!

they have a rational discussion
over a cheap bottle of cabernet,

show their bruises like scout badges,
swap them for fun,

make love in a pantry,
recite poetry by Billy Collins

ingest a thousand chocolate nibs
like chipmunks hoard nuts,

make love in an examination room,
make up new words in forts

the word for storm shelter,
the word for lumpy mattress,

fall asleep to the drip drip
of a kitchen tap they both use

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge..

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embark around the world,
take photos of poor people,
pet a fucking tiger,
share your feelings,
this is all temporary anyway,
Facebook explains,
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ones and zeros don’t decay

but the point is, eat Denny’s,
a cold coffee perched at your elbow,
or Taco Bell, discarded hot sauce
like rose petals around you,
don’t forget to check in—
none of this counts
if you don’t check in.

Jon Lovitz’s Love Child

Jon Lovitz made a baby. Its mother was a tub of mascarpone, its godfather a quirky one liner spoken before a brick wall. The baby didn’t have many friends at first, but Jon Lovitz explained that it gets better when you’re old and white. Paunch outgrows pizazz, he explained. The baby kept crying so Jon sang it a lullaby of lines he feeds to debutantes or valedictorians. After a few years, Jon Lovitz decided that the baby wasn’t his and gave it to Gwyneth Paltrow, who kept it in the fridge for when she needed an ugly reminder. Jon Lovitz kept living, sneering, making passes towards women outside high schools. Jon Lovitz has many opinions, but the baby rotting in Gwyneth’s fridge renders them invalid, so he drinks instead and tells barflies his life story. Even the barflies grow weary so Jon takes to visiting Jared from Subway on the weekends, where they compare notes on lechery.

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

The Rock Show

Someone asks for ID’s. A quaint joke told with a grin. No laughs. Only sighs that turn to thoughts of younger bodies. A woman in a floral dress talks about her first love. A man presses earmuffs to his son’s head, tells him to do as he says. Not as he’s been. He admits that he is an adult. He’s been told to live like this, though he can’t say who told him. Knees creak, exasperated at rare demands the men and women make. A gremlin in the corner sells double-pressed LP’s of dodo song. Everyone lines up to buy. They’ve been sold out for years but the gremlin won’t speak. His brows too furrowed to give way. All the band members wear hats. They hold instruments like molten metal plucked from the foundry. A guitar. A mandolin. Three sets of drums. Percussion is the last sound to leave the body. The band plays all the classics. Even the ones that came after. Someone looks at their watch. It’s past midnight. The babysitter has run off with the children. This seems okay so the band plays an encore, all about infidelity and other things we wish we’d done.

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.

Jason Statham

Jason Statham is tougher than the tip of a nail, sharper than dynamite in a cracked boulder. He’ll strip naked if you forget what his pecs look like. All angles, impossible mounds of muscle. Somewhere between steel worker and Kung Fuck. His sex hides behind pit bull smiles. The kind that speaks in fists and mystery. Jason Statham loved his mother once, and never since. His balls speak languages you haven’t heard, all grunts and outstretched fingers. He is equal parts villain and valor, split down the middle of a nameless scar across his left nipple. Jason Statham speaks only when spoken to, the whinny of a buzzsaw. Jason Statham is a white blade who slices through frivolity. He owns one suit (pressed), which he removes in one swoop when it serves to impress the unimpressed. His face can grind stone to dust. His lips the maw, his teeth the diamond. Jason doesn’t booze or smoke, he prefers the hard stuff. Butane. Nitrous. Ox Blood. Knee caps. Don’t piss Jason off. Unless you’re a freckled beauty who lives in the trunk of his car.

This poem was written for ELJ Publications’ 30/30 poetry challenge.