Contact the Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Contact The Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Ron. Lavalette's work has appeared in these fine publications:



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Slippers

The Writers' Café Magazine (Online) April 2018
Issue #7 - "Shoes"


In the dark, he puts his slippers on the wrong feet; they walk away and he never sees them again.  Sometimes he misses them, wonders if they ever think about him, if they pad around someone else’s kitchen now, dreaming of his rainforest hardwood mornings, his quiet carpeted bedroom nights.  All day long, no matter what he does or how long it takes, he’s only doing it to kill some time while he’s waiting and hoping they’ll find their way back to him.
 
But it’s no use, no use.  They’re lost forever in the great wide world, lost somewhere in the vast asphalt universe, no doubt someone else’s slaves, pacing strange floors at odd hours, bending to foreign biddings.
 
He vows never to forget them, promises himself to remember even their most minute detail, but with each passing hour he can feel them slipping further and further away.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Do It Yourself

Pure Slush Books (Anthology)
7 Deadly Sins / Vol.1 / Lust (Print & e-pub) march 2018


A word to the wise:
it pays to clean your tool
when the job’s finally done
even if you only dip it
in the old paintcan
once in a blue moon
or you’re one of those
six-jobs-a-day
touch up artists;
whether it’s a straight,
long-bristled detail brush
with a customized grip
or a bulky twelve-inch
cement floor roller,
no matter what kind of
medium you’re spreading
—matte, satin, or glossy —
you’ll save yourself a big
headache later on if you
wash it down afterwards.

And you guys with the big
power sprayers: remember
to wipe down your hoses
and flush them out often.
You don’t want them to
get all gummed-up and
rot away from inside;
and pay special attention
to that tricky nozzle area.

Always remember this:
a well-maintained tool will
give you years of service,
but if you don’t scrub it
down between jobs
you’ll pay for it in the end.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Couched

Eunoia Review (Online) March 2018

After he deposits her at the therapist’s office, he goes down to the bookstore cafe and settles in for an afternoon coffee. Before very long, the therapist shows up and she’s with him. They look like a couple, out for an afternoon on the town. They don’t see him right away, and it seems to him that he’s watching two people he’s never met before. He wants to go over and tell them what a lovely couple they make, how he wishes he had a girlfriend as lovely as she, but he tries to keep his mind on his coffee instead, even though it’s so suddenly bitter. A few minutes later, she spots him at his corner table and waves, but doesn’t smile.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Coyote

Cabinet of Heed (Online) February 2018

Coyote only comes to town once or maybe twice during the tundra months, dragging his game leg and leaving an odd print in the deep snow down by the place where the gray silent river turns toward the north. He’s tired of the hard-won slim pickings starvation diet he scratches out from under the hard-packed snow cover. He’s fed up with putting out a full day’s labor for a three-minute reward.

This time when Coyote comes to town he’s looking for a little something extra; something a cold and half-starved beast can take his time sinking his teeth into. He’ll be out there, relaxed and happy, well-dressed, late at night, smiling and coaxing some sweet piece of easy prey into his waiting snare. Few can resist him or, once he turns on the charm, even want to.

Back in the forest, Coyote always had to take whatever he needed by force. There was neither time nor need for either stealth or finesse. Survival suffered no flourish, no filigree. But here, under the protective eaves of balsam and hemlock, inside the sheltering windbreak of the common town, Coyote could afford the luxury of laying-in-wait, the methodical stalk before the inevitable pounce.

It was weeks before the corpses began to accumulate; weeks before his grisly handiwork became apparent; before the bloodstained snowdrifts, driven by wind, gave up their horrible secrets.

There was massive carnage before anyone even knew that Coyote had come to town.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Levels

Months To Years (Online / Print) February 2018
 
Half of these people are already half dead he thinks, watching them watch each other stare out the tall plate glass of the hospital’s east pavilion solarium into the rapidly fading mid-March sunset; the other half is already further gone than that, but remain resolutely unwilling or merely incapable of simply accepting facts.
 
He goes down two levels in the oncology elevator and sits silently with the waiters and worriers, sees how long he can hold his breath waiting for a specialist to find and read a chart, to suggest a cure or announce an imminent demise, or to otherwise free him from his tedium and chafe. Here, at least, two levels down, where the truth is at last both known and spoken, there is far less opportunity for being blinded by the false light from above, as there is no such light to be found. Here, at least, everyone knows.
 
There are, he knows, many other rooms; many other even lower levels, most with even far less light. This he knows with certainty. Armed with this awareness, he contents himself with his current level of twilight.
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, January 22, 2018

Poet's Biggest Fear

The Drabble (Online) January 2018

Hanging out with the fictionauts and the prosers, he fears, may have damaged his poetry.

These days, instead of concentrating on linebreaks and imagery, he worries about commas and semicolons; thinks in dependent clauses; ponders parallel constructions and parenthetical prepositional phrases.

When he writes, he no longer recites each phrase aloud to hear it sing.

Instead, he declaims his work from start to finish, paragraph by dreary paragraph, from beginning to end to ensure that it makes sense; conforms to the norms of grammar’s logic.

Sometimes it puts him to sleep.

He’s afraid of writing a nightmare.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Haiku (flute)

Haiku Journal, Issue 56 (Online / Print) January 2018
 
alone on the porch
a man welcomes the morning
Spanish cedar flute

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Death Of A Salesman

Coffin Bell (Online) January 2018

In the absence of the bird-thin body
that usually haunted their perch
two crows found tenuous purchase
on the rusted chain-link fence
where the dealer normally dealt.

They muttered and chuffed
a secret revolutionary code
about the day that would come
when all the corners of the world
would be theirs and theirs alone.

Klling That Bitch Again

Coffin Bell (Online) January 2018
--originally published at: Your One Phone Call (October 2016)

Last night in the arcane landscape
of darkness, while my actual body
remained in the safe soft confines
of headboard and fitted sheet,
I drove some wild dirt back road
at 80, dust everywhere, radio loud
 
her beside me on hot red leather
all at once terrible and terrifying.
I knew it was her again. As usual,
I couldn’t see her face but I knew,
when we found ourselves naked,
later, the musty room sun-slatted,
 
it would be her again, urging me
to pay the voodoo priestess, drink
deep from the proffered chalice,
let the ravens circle in and dive,
dive. I knew it would be her again.
When I raised the knife, I knew.

Zombies And Werewolves Need Not Apply


Coffin Bell (online) January 2018
https://coffinbell.com/zombies-and-werewolves-need-not-apply/

 
He’s sick to death of reading about people who spend all their time reading about werewolves and zombies.  He tries to spend at least an hour every day in the bookstore café, having a quiet cup of coffee and writing about whatever else comes into his mind, but—no matter how hard he tries—his fans come in to stand behind him and prod him to wake the sleeping dead, outfit the living with glowing eyes and fangs.

There must be something more,” he thinks, knowing full well that there isn’t.  He turns to confront them, but it’s clear that resistance is futile.

They unzip his skull and feast on his brain.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Inspiration

One Sentence Poems (Online) December 2017

Twice in a day and a half
he’s almost certain he hears it:
the voice of an angel speaking
from just around the corner
as if from some great distance
seeming almost lost in recitation
almost inaudible
telling some cosmic joke or
posing a celestial riddle,
repeating the words

hoodwink, subterfuge,
flabbergast.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

So Much Depends Upon A Red Wig

Of Burgers & Barrooms (Print Anthology from Main Street Rag Bookstore, December 2017)
-- Originally Published by Higginsville Reader (print) May 2001


So Much Depends Upon A Red Wig
 
Ronald hasn’t shown
for several years now
since he came to cut the ribbon
and open the public doors;
has only sent an emissary
once or twice a month:
eighteen wheels and a logo
bearing frozen potatoes
and placemats or paper bags.


Manager Mike pines,
longs for a simple glimpse
of pancake, rubber nose,
or a pair of two-foot long
red plastic shoes.
He watches
his all-expenses-paid
managers’ incentive
Holiday in Cozumel
go south along Main,
turn left into Peking Gardens
while down the block, smirking,
his arch-enemy Wendy
serves Mike’s former regulars
with a vacant and Frosty smile.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tanka (Castaway)

Tanka Journal (online & print) November 2017

Silence at sunrise:
only the sound of breakers
—morning, lost in fog—
I am adrift on the shore
unable to set my sail

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Shelter

One Person's Trash (Online & Print) November 2017
-Previous version (Titled "Charlie") in *82 Review, March 2013

Charlie visits the Precious Savior
Bookstore, stocks up on all the latest 
offerings: Ticket To Heaven postcards, 
sticks of incense, The Greatest Hits 
Of The Grateful Faithful, featuring 
the Certain Resurrection Choir.  
He goes for a walk on Water Street, 
his head and headphones buzzing.  
 
Charlie folds himself into a corner,
contemplates nations murdering
nations.  He no longer aims or claims
to be a general; thinks instead about 
suicide, rain, and the sidewalks, running.  
Smoke rises near the airport, insubstantial,
like a ghost rises from a cooling corpse.
Charlie, airborne, cools his heels, thinks about
jets and vapor trails.
 
Back at the shelter, he’s got a fan                                                   
and a paint-by-number Jesus.
At night they find a little harmony:
the fan spins around and 
the room spins around and Jesus, 
pleased, lets Charlie go to sleep.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

2 Senryu

Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu (Online) November 2017

she could read him like a book—
not surprisingly
all his pages were loose leaves

a conference room:
he can’t believe his own ears
—it’s all doubletalk–
 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rehearsal

Eunoia Review (Online) October 2017

He feeds the ravenous seagulls down beside the lake, shares his lunch hour with people that most other people disregard. He thinks about Richard, living alone in his shack made of watermelon sugar, thinks about Robert risking his life by having his teeth cleaned without the benefit of antibiotics. He thinks about his own heart, murmuring unsteadily in his chest; about the problems of becoming older and colder in a land that rewards youth and warmth; about being fat and lazy in a place that values only fitness and ambition.
 
Today he listens to the radio and watches a freshwater iceberg circling around in the current where the lake flows out into the river, flows north toward Canada, where the iceberg seems particularly unwilling to go but seems equally and inevitably destined to be.
 
When he gets home, before it gets dark, he remembers the seagulls and the iceberg but he only tells her about the iceberg. When he tells her about the iceberg’s apparent indecision about staying in the lake or going with the flow, north to Canada, she tilts her head to one side and wonders about where he finds the time to think about saying such things. When he opens his journal and reads aloud the same words he just used to tell her all about the indecisive iceberg, everything seems to fall into place for her. A look comes over her face: sudden awareness that he’d never say anything out loud he hadn’t already written down (or imagined writing down) to tell her later.
 
He loves her and she has brown hair. He plans to write about her beautiful brown hair at some time in the future, as soon as he can, and come home after work, tell her all about it before it gets dark.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Awaiting Acceptance

Poetry Breakfast (Online) October 2017


I will have coffee and cigarettes on the porch.
I will watch the morning build itself


from fading dark. Men will arrive,
and I will think that this is work


I could do myself, but it will not be
true: there are to be new steps, and I


will only watch. There will be scrap heaps
and sawdust, and I will be busy, inspecting


cobwebs in the joists, pondering errant
commas, watching for the mailman’s van.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Duty

The Drabble (online) August 2017


“Has my time finally come round, brother?” he asked the executioner, who stood by patiently, ax in hand. Because he was hooded and constrained by statute from speaking, the executioner did not reply, but their simultaneous presence at that very spot, standing opposite each other, separated only by the oversized chopping block at the appointed hour, spoke for him.

The prisoner made a low bow. The executioner took full advantage. Soon it was silent and they were both welcomed home.

The executioner’s mother, having lost half her sons, wept.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Sisters

The Drabble (Online) May 2017

One sister, mad, alone and despairing, stood arms outstretched, motionless on the track. The rail, as rails must, sang under the weight of the train, and the sister, bereft of song, stopped singing forever.

The other sister, later, curious, leaned too far over the railing of the trestle hoping to see where her sister had finished her song.

In the morning, passersby, unaware of the relationship, finding the second sister lifeless on the graveled rail bed, marveled at the coincidence of two women, dead at the same spot, less than a week apart.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Sad Truth

One Sentence Poems (Online) January 2017

You never know it
until the door closes
behind her
and you think.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Daily Grind

Poetry Breakfast (Online) January 2017

After the five-day holiday, after
almost a week of sleeping in and
napping at will, he’s unprepared
at half-past five to face the fact
that it’s another workday to be
endured, to slavishly slave away.
Routine works best to overcome
inertia, he thinks, so he goes out
to the kitchen, sets the coffee
brewing and turns on the morning
news. A scoundrel’s in office—no
news there—and by the time he’s
brushed, dressed, and ready to go
the coffee’s ready, too. He fills
the travel mug, kisses his lover
goodbye, and sails out to face
the day ahead. It’s not until
he’s almost half-way to work
he reaches for the cup, takes a
sip and frowns. It’s awful and
he can’t imagine why. But then
it comes to him: no brandy.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mercy

One Sentence Poems (Online) December 2016

He takes a breath
feels the switch
hears the click and
almost instantly
all the numbers
disappear
forever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A New Green

The Drabble (Online) October 2016


He hears on the news that they’ve discovered a new shade of green.

He can’t remember, later, whether the newscaster said “discovered” or “invented,” but he wonders how such a thing is possible, and what such a color would be called.

Maybe it’s puked-up-broccoli-or-split-pea-soup green or first-shoots-of-early-tomato-plant green.

Maybe it’s last-gasp-of-the-tamarack-in-autumn green, or green-only-a-dying-parrot-can-see green.

He looks around him to see if he can spot it.

He hopes it’s black-rock-that-only-turns-green-in-the-early-April-rain green because, newly discovered or not, that’s always been his favorite.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Interstates

The Drabble (Online) October 2016



The crow, apparently ravenous
for the unrecognizable splat of
highway carrion, does not budge
from its feast, despite the near
passage of a barreling fourteen-wheeler
in the adjacent lane. The truck’s
driver barely notices the banquet
as he flashes by, his mind
on his destination, his eyes scanning
for radar cops or construction cones.
The truck itself, intent on only its task of
hauling weight and displacing the air
it moves through, has no sentience;
cares neither for the beast it carries
nor the beasts it passes. It’s the middle
of June, at last, and everything beside
the highway’s grey is green.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Killing That Bitch Again

Your One Phone Call (Online) October 2016

Last night in the arcane landscape
of darkness, while my actual body
remained in the safe soft confines
of headboard and fitted sheet,
I drove some wild dirt back road
at 80, dust everywhere, radio loud


her beside me on hot red leather
all at once terrible and terrifying.
I knew it would be her again.
I couldn’t see her face but I knew,
when we found ourselves naked,
later, the musty room, sun-slatted,


it would be her again, urging me
to pay the voodoo priestess, drink
deep from the proffered chalice,
let the ravens circle in and dive,
dive. I knew it would be her again.
When I raised the knife, I knew.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Time Machine

Poetry Breakfast (Online) July 2016

I remember how cigarette smoke
curling up after almost midnight
mingled with incense and music
spilled out through open curtains
from one private space to another
all night long all along the boulevard
all that long long summer long.

A Note, Tabled

Poetry Breakfast (Online) July 2016

Thank you for leaving
the light on. Thank you
for not staying up or
waking up; thanks for
not making me tell you
all about it just as soon
as I got home, it being
very late and all, and
I would just as soon
take it to bed and see
if it affects my dreams,
see if it leaves me
anything I might be
thankful for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Current Events

In Between Hangovers (Online) July 2016

Fwim ted de mommiefish,
fwim if oo tan…

but it was too late,
too late. Her many silver
children, sadly unschooled, netted
only death, provided only
one small unsatisfying meal
for the insatiable clattering
leviathan, working its way
along the shallows, swallowing.

Daily the nightly news blared and
all the careless cavefish, distant,
buried their heads in sandbars, blindly
reading only the sports page, the
market report, the alleged comics.

Lured into compliance, lulled
by the infomercials and the
ever-present sitcoms, caught up
in the water over the dam,
everyone went with the flow.
No one was laughing now.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

All The Phones At Positive Pie

In Between Hangovers (Online) June 2016

All the babes at Positive Pie have
phones that go unanswered, phones
that bleep and glurg incessantly;
insistent phones that flash and flash
and stab their heedless owners’ eyes
and ears and only add to the general
beer-filled boisterous brouhaha, add
to the overall overkill of noisiness
to no avail:
                    all the babes at Positive Pie
ignore their phones. The more they ring
the more they get ignored.
                                          The old man
at the end of the bar, at the bitter end
of his working Wednesday, watching,
has seen the babes ignore their phones
before, has heard the glurg and buzz
and, buzzed, he works to find the words
to turn it into certain verse, to turn the
worst of sounds around, to make the
endless ringing sing a song.
                                             He thinks.
He finds, at last, the ink. He sings along.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

*82 Review
(Print & Online) June 2016


He was already at the bookstore’s café, trying to imagine something to write about when he saw them walk in. She was holding his hand like any young girl might hold her father’s hand, though it was obvious that she was the mother and he the son, clearly in his forties or maybe early fifties. They chose a table adjacent to his own, and the son helped her off with her coat, pulled out her chair, and settled her in, rearranging the napkins and the sugar dispenser so that the table was clear before her.

“Oh, this is nice,” she said. “Have we been here before?”
“I come here sometimes, but I don’t think I ever brought you. I’ll get you some tea,” he said. “Would you like a muffin? Or how about a scone?”
“Yes, please,” she said, smiling up at him, not recognizing that a choice had been offered.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, adding in as playful a tone as he could muster, “Now don’t you wander off on me again.”
“I won’t,” she said. “I’ll be right here when you come back for me.”

She looked over at the adjacent table.
“Is that a television?” she asked.
“No. It’s a little laptop.” he said. He turned it around so she could see the keyboard. “Is it okay if I write about you?”
“Is it getting dark yet?”
“No, Ma’am. It’s Saturday morning”
“I’m waiting for my tea, I think.”

The son returned to the table with two small dishes and both a blueberry muffin and a scone on a single serving plate. She seemed baffled as to what should happen next. He started to sit down across from her, but had a second thought and pulled out the chair next to her. He broke both treats in half, placing them on her plate. She looked at him lovingly, looked down at the food, and sat still with her hands in her lap. Half a minute later the barista brought a pot of tea. He poured. She only stared.

“Go ahead, Ma,” he said.
She reached for the spoon and stirred the tea. He put some sugar in it and she stirred it again. He broke off a piece of the muffin with his fork and fed it to her. She smiled as if it were chocolate melting in her mouth.
“Don’t forget to chew,” he said, adding, “remember last time.”
She put her hand on the teacup, but did not raise it to her lips.
“It’s okay. It’s cool enough now.”
“What?”
“I said it’s cool enough now. You can have a sip.”
“A sip?” she asked.
“The tea, Ma.” He lifted her cup and handed it to her. She sipped. She sighed and smiled, placing it down on the table beside its saucer.
She reached over and broke off a corner of the half-scone, looking at it quizzically.
“Is this the french fries?” she asked.
“No, Ma. It’s a scone. You love them. Taste it.”
She raised it, touched it to her lips, then lowered it and dropped it into her tea. He pulled the cup over in front of him, sliding his own to where hers had been.

“Is your wife coming to join us’” she asked.
No, Ma. I’m not married anymore. You remember?”
“Is she dead?”
“No, Ma. She’s just gone. She got married again.”
“So she’s still alive, then?”
“Yes, Ma. She’s just married to someone else.”

She looked toward her tea.
“Go ahead,” he said. “Have a sip.”
“What?”
“The tea. Have a sip of tea.”
She looked at the muffin, then at the scone. She put her hands in her lap.

“I remember your wedding,” she said, smiling.
“You do?”
“Oh yes,” she said. The movie was clearly running somewhere deep inside her. “It was hotter than hell. There were lots of flowers. They were lovely. It was in Hartford. Everyone was there. She had one of those umbrella things she carried down the aisle with her. What do you call them, again?”
“A parasol.”
“Yeah. A parasol. She had a parasol, right?”
“No, Ma. That was your wedding.”
“Mine?”
“Yes, Ma. That was your wedding. Remember?”
“It was a long time ago,” she said. “But I’m still in love with you, even after all these years.”
“I love you, too, Ma.”

“Do you think we should go now?” she asked.
“It’s up to you,” he said. “Whatever you want.”
“Oh, let’s stay a while. This is my favorite place. Everyone’s always so nice.”


Friday, May 13, 2016

"...some sort of gun."

See Into The Dark (Slim Volume, Print Anthology #4) May, 2016

I’d like to think
I might have found more to say
had it been me lying there
.............instead of him.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Commute

One Sentence Poems (Online) April 2016

It’s both, they tell him,
particle and wave

and under the sub-zero
winter solstice moon

he brushes off the photons
and swims to work.



Saturday, April 02, 2016

How It Happens

Poetry Breakfast (Online) April 2016

Just before I wake up it’s Friday
and a child I’ve never met
living in my old house by the river
takes a walk to the dark bank
withdraws a gold nugget
small as his infant sister’s eyeball
bigger than all the false gold
he’d ever found there before—
but this time it’s the real thing
and the kid looks astonished
has no idea what will happen next
and I’m a little startled too
I wake up thinking liquid
liquidity, liquefaction.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

(Mr.) Metamorphosis

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2016
Song Of Myself (RWJ Anthology) August 2016

Call me Looneyman Coffeeslut.
When you find me in the morning
long before the sun comes up,
(as if there’s likely to be sun)
when you find me at the keyboard,
half a man half asleep, call me
Fingerdreams Hopeful, call me
Renovated Crashburn.
Yesterday I was Flabbergast
Downheart , but all my friends
(as if I’d had a friend)
loved me as I was, called me
Sameold Goodold when they
met me on the street, gave me
everything, I guess, they thought
a man like Hankernot Renunciation
might ever need. Still, though, need
followed me everywhere, hunger
dogged me secretly. Tomorrow
(as if there’s any other day)
is another day. Tomorrow
you can call me Smiley Nirvana;
tomorrow I’ll be Karmic Bailout.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Critique

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2016
Song Of Myself (RWJ Anthology) August 2016

The mirror these days
winces
when it sees me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hard Going

Poetry Breakfast (Online) March 2016

I had considerable trouble leaving you.
It was car trouble, mostly: I wasn’t really
used to the standard, then, and it was
hard to find reverse; or hard to find it
fast enough anyway. Getting out of town
was no picnic either, with all that snow
piled up for blocks around the house,
the storm localized around the cold front
generated by your occluded heart.
I had to start running the red lights
because every time I stopped
people kept coming up to the car
asking me what took so long.
I have to admit this much, though:
when I finally got to the border,
even though I was running on empty,
I considered giving up and driving back.
But I only considered it briefly.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Disappearance

Front Porch Review (Online) January 2016

While you are away, I go out
into the sunless morning.
The door that closes behind me
closes forever.  The house is an echo
and the silent windows reflect
only the vacant, untended garden.
I have nowhere to go
but I get into the car and drive.

All the signs are stop signs.
People in the village stop, stare
as I pass, seeing only half of me.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Fernophobia

Amygdala (Online) November 2015


Nearly dawn
near the border:
Seconal, Valium, booze.
No one expected
the slow opening of eyes,
least of all
the man among the ferns, dismayed.
This was to be the longest sleep,
the rest, at last, so well-deserved.
Imagine his surprise:
dew-soaked, a slug
across the bridge of his nose,
no shoes or recollection.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Eurydice

Deep Water Literary Journal (Online)  August 2015

She goes to that dark land
of her own free will
and far too often.
 
She blames it on snakebites:
something inside writhes, closes.
Below, something opens
invites her in,  insists;
she does not resist.
 
In the morning, dazed,
apologetic,
she rises, stares
burning in the day’s light
she barely sees
then turns again,
descending.
 
I am no Orpheus
to follow her there.
I let her fall.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Breathless

Your One Phone Call  (Online) July 2015

There is neither edge nor precipice;
nor slide, nor knowable fall.
There is only bottom.
Lack makes itself known
abruptly, not losing or loss.
There is only nothing, suddenly.


There is neither flight nor flying
nor slipping away into airlessness;
there is no drag or drain, no
low warning, no looming alarm.
There is only bottom and nothing
.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Revisiting Venus

Objects in the Rear View Mirror (Print Anthology) July 2015
Kind Of A Hurricane Press


               He leaves the hospital for the last time, unable to forget her face.

Half the country was locked in an arctic vortex that night, wind chill readings in the dozens of degrees below-zero, but he’d driven home—an hour’s drive over The Heights—with the window fully open, his hands frozen on the wheel, his eyes blinded, the radio blaring some almost incomprehensible ‘60s tune about love and a forever he can only just barely recall.

When he reached the top of The Heights he remembered how he’d once stopped at the pull-off on a mid-summer night, sat quietly for an hour staring up at Venus, and written a poem about a homesick Canadian dying to get home, flying across the median, sailing over the ditch, and crashing in flames into the granite embankment. After all the years of reading and reciting the poem, it had ceased to be a fiction. He never crossed The Heights without recalling it.

Now, years and years and half a year later, flying home, frozen, he forces himself to decelerate when the headstone grey granite, harder than mere rock, looms, beckoning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Icarus, These Days

Anthology: Greek Fire (print) July 2015)
Lost Tower Publications

Morning: Icarus pursues a correlation
between a red hawk, gliding,
silent on a far dark horizon
and the first slash of sunrise,
dull fire before the day’s flames.
But everything intervenes:
meetings that haven’t
happened, that won’t happen
until after it's light, until after
it’s almost dark again;
the coffee that spills,
the words that don’t;
the pills and calls
and all the deadly needy
people, ready to be served,
waiting to be saved.

He’s an unwilling subject:
a wing he cannot grasp, an
image of small flame spread out
across a wide and empty air,
lifts him from sleep but leaves him,
breathless and parched, unable
to speak; drops him, speechless,
down among the boulders
of another desperate day.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Appraisal

Your One Phone Call (Online) July 2015


When you find me, here,
try to imagine me whole:

52 year-old meat, hairy,
leaning on my last leg,

grizzly, unbearable;
a spectacled sight. Behold

before you the aftermath
of a half-century of breath;

half a million hours, wasted,
spent like small change

on small changes. These days,
if you seek me here, here

you will find me, such as I am:
crutched and unbalanced, blinking,

a teetering relic, nakedly unearthed,
recently given to fits, recently,

when exposed to sunlight, stunned.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Empties

Your One Phone Call (online)  June 2015


I had to rescue my older brother once.
He called me after two years of no contact,


begged me to drive to his house, ask his wife
for the spare car keys, meet him downtown


in a bar’s parking lot.  He said he might be
passed out in the back seat.  I told him


I didn’t remember what his car looked like
but he hung up on me before I could ask.


Sure enough: passed out in the back seat
and not a single syllable of thanks.  It still


ticks me off, almost half a century later.
And I have this younger brother, keeps


looking in those same old bottles, looking
for something I know he’ll never find.


My older brother is his older brother, too;
everything I’ve ever seen, he’s seen.


You’d think he’d get the message.  No.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Red As A Bell

Local Nomad (Online) April 2015


Red as a bell
he thought
Red as a wagon
     redder than anger
     & wet
Thicker than water

Something buzzed
     startled by shadows
Particles of dust
centuries old
would not settle there

He turned the corner
in a glint of final steel
     foreign faces followed
There was a feeling
no one knew what to think
any more



Horizons away
Hollywood imagined it differently
Horizons away    
Mars was half swung round    
          in the midnight sky

The world was half asleep

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Whistler's Annunciation

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015


Mister Whistler looms
down the gloomy street,
hoping to meet the morning
but limps himself back home
before dawn.
                        When the sun
comes scrambling up at last
over the staring and eggy town,
sleepy in its early kitchens,
all the yellow curtains
in all the yellow windows
burst into Sunday flames
and fall, burning the countertops
and leaving their feeble yellow ash
on Mister Whistler’s sad and
unswept morning floors.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Chase

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015

The old man scoops another
thin scrape of riverbank, dips
the rim to drown the till,
swirls the pan. Part of the dig
slips over the edge with every
circle. The murky water clears.
Sandy granite. Schist. A glint
of mica. The man looks up.
The sun is gold in a blue sky.
The man sits still, resigned.
He sighs; scoops; swirls; spills.
He wills himself to wait.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Sundress

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015

She thinks about how she looks,
about how she looks in a sundress;
puts it on and steps on out
onto Main Street, pushes her stroller
down past the Creemee stand
where the hunks hang out,
admiring each other’s tattoos
and planning their romantic assaults
on the wide-eyed waitress at the Valley House,
making bets on who among them is
most likely to get to second base first.


She knows she doesn’t stand a chance
of catching their full attention
or holding it very long, but she’s
hoping there’s enough breeze
to flutter her sundress,
lure at least one of them
into a second look, hold his eyes long enough
so that her red hair and lipstick
sends him a green light, tempts him to
come on over and chat her up.


But the stroller’s working against all that.
Sundress or no, lipstick or not,
she knows she’s made her bed;
she just doesn’t want to lie in it alone.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Anthropomorphism

One Sentence Poems (Online) February 2015


I saw my father cry
like a baby
once.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Billy Writes A Play

Red Wolf Journal (Online) December 2014
Anthologized (Theme: Play) January 2015

He chooses a theme and a pen.
The nib is crucial, especially
by the time he hits the third act
when he makes a fine point
on a dozen or so pencils for back-up.
He exposes the characters by stages,
methodically spilling ink on the script
here, blood in the storyline there, and
—as their hearts resolve themselves
from paper into flesh—he beats
them into submission, his manuscript
their master, his work their play.