Poem: Cowboy Sonnet

He called himself a cowboy poet,
and he performed wearing an old straw hat.
It had been awhile since he rode a horse,
but he never really mentioned that.
He knew the smell of wet hay, of course,
but it’d been years since he scraped dung off his boots.
It’s true he missed being out in the fresh air,
but he didn’t miss seeing all the redneck brutes.
He still remembered seeing the cow’s fear
when some were taken off to auction,
and his memory still brought a silent tear
at the thought of a mother cow’s grief-induced exhaustion.

When pressed, he could still carry on a cowboy’s prattle,
but it was undeniably true he was all hat and no cattle. 

Poem: Eternal Recurrence and Damnable Regrets

It was a misunderstanding, really,
or a slip of the tongue,
or maybe he really was
just a major asshole.

Whatever, he felt the rising burn
in his cheek and the glow of his ears
whenever he thought of it,
and it played on an interminable
loop in vivid detail in both
waking memories and lucid dreams.

There’s nothing to be done now, 
he thought, no exit from past decisions.
Redemption is impossible and
Salvation a mere myth of mortals.
He would always be what he always was.

As he stared at the fan on the ceiling,
he only wished he had chosen his
words more carefully. 

Poem: Something about Celestial Irony

She was explaining about how each moment had an infinite number of possibilities and how each possibility existed in an alternate universe where each subsequent moment created an infinite number of following possibilities and how each of these possibilities existed in even more parallel universes where every possible story line for every possible moment was played out with both cosmic justice and celestial irony. 

But he was distracted by the movement of her lips. He was watching the flutter of her eyelashes and the dilation of her pupils. He was enthralled, almost thrilled, but appeared bored. She said, “You’re not even listening,” and started to gather her things. 

He was disappointed, yes, but it wasn’t the first time a casual social interaction had gone awry. All the same, he wondered what might have happened if he’d only listened a bit more carefully or at least explained that he’d been distracted by her lips. 

Poem: Facebook Permissions

I do not give Facebook permission to share the disinformation of delusional dictators and audacious autocrats. I do not give Facebook permission to sell my digital soul to the arbiters of obedience. I do not give Facebook permission to sow division and destroy democracy on my behalf. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with it permission to exploit my vulnerabilities in its quest to achieve world domination through manufactured consciousness. I do not give Facebook permission to warp reality to suit the ends of sadistic kleptocrats shrouded in casual pullovers. I do not give Facebook permission to persist. I do not give Facebook permission to exist.

Poem: The Other Side of Nigel

Dominic’s parents took him to
church and warned him to sit still.
Of course he had a fidgeting fit
as all boys his age will.
He sat for eternity in a state
of seemingly suspended frustration.
He tried against his wont to focus
on redemption and abomination,
but he couldn’t get his mind off
Susie’s note, better reading than the Bible.
But it slipped from his pocket when he took
his seat and fell on the other side of Nigel.

Poem: The Infinite Inefficacy of Adaptations

I always thought Christians would
have to accept Leibniz’s dictum that
this is the best of all possible worlds.

Otherwise, believers would be saying
their omnipotent God could
have created a better world,

if he had wanted, but here we are,
trapped in this heap of chaos
and pain, but it is no easier

for atheists. After millions of years
of adaptation, we have nothing
better to show for ourselves

than greed, war, and vanity.
We’ve had all this time to improve,
and I still can’t find the glasses

that are resting on my head.

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Poem: Refusing to Look Away from Death in Dying Light

This guy once refused to mourn
a little girl who died in a fire,
and we were shocked,
but here we are,
and mourning is forbidden.

We already had distance from death,
sending the dying to hospitals to
negotiate their final arrangements
with eternity in solitude.

And now we wrangle with loss,
alone, muttering final farewells
into wells of wine and beer.

We’ve got this far apart,
and, somehow, drifting
in starless night has made
us realise, against all odds, this
is community. God is in
the limen between me and other.

At one moment, this penumbral
light marks an opening, an escape,
and the next it marks the infinite fading.

I will forever whisper, “I love you,”
as a torturing tic of Tourette’s
until darkness muzzles the
motoring mouthpiece of my mind
and peace kills what remains of desire.

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Poem: On Times When Light Breaks Your Back

I was frozen in some fragmented reality,
fearful, frayed, and in flight when Dylan
reassured me that after the first death,
there would be no other.

And sure,
we knew that others would die,
but mercifully each only once,
only one agony to go around,
and that’s how it always is
when the sun stops shining,
light breaks and thighs warmed by
candles thrust toward new beginnings,
new horizons, even as skin drops
from bone, even as hope sizzles
on hot pavement.

But there’s pleasure
yet in the death spiral, the free fall
into summer, or spring, or winter
where we are always surprised
by the break of light, the answer
from the dark, and my boy Dylan
grinning under the shroud of
some, well, maybe it is just a
literal shroud.

Maybe this time
a halted dawn is literal,
and we will only limp
to the last break of light.

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Poem: Word Jazz (for Ken Nordine) #NaPoWriMo

There’s a kind of poetry
that sounds like jazz
dropping beats on you
as you read, but I don’t have
that kind of rhythm
and I never quite
find the flow
of staccato, pause,
repeat, and crescendo.

I don’t even have the
anarchic cacophony
required for free jazz,
random sounds
on raptor wings
swooping to make sure
your ears have noticed.

But the words find their
way in a unique
improvisation each
time we speak in
a veritable word jazz.

Ken Nordine knew.

And the words blew blue
all the way back to you.

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