Tag Archive: poems


Like an uncertain monstrosity, the laughing cowboy surveys the wild plain

taking in the artificial sheep and monumental lanyards,

the percolating fences that manipulate local disdain.

For too many pavements he’d squandered his cigarette charisma,

rubbing his beard stubble vociferously in a gesture that drove the laundresses to drink.

He calypsoed at Gilbert’s Diner, sashaying in front of the mashed potatoes carousel,

fingers poking out of his pockets and eyes hooded with knowing nonchalance.

He’d known too many women to recapitulate,

even using his efficient pocket calculator from the drug store.

Maladust, the befuddled sheriff, provided free custard to anyone who’d look away

while the transparent donkeys performed burlesque routines outlawed in most other towns.

It wasn’t as easy as the days when brain-dead Hilda made a display of reticence,

chomping on lipstick the shade of embarrassed nectarines.

“You can’t find trains like that in the old world,” she muttered, nursing a tomato hangover.

She cavorted with menacing toothpaste in a show everyone knew to be planned,

squeezing the green malignancy from the giant tube

with a grin that any dentist would shiver to behold.

She’d offer to sleep through anyone’s resilience,

proferring her arcane plant knowledge afterward,

pulling obscure thistles from her apron pockets

bewildering the veteran men with tales of creosote

and bursting into laughter at a windy provocation.

“History is for the hysterical,” she’d whisper in an unctuous tone

before drawing the gingham covers over her head.

It remained only for old Doc Hallway to extract a mint cornhusk from the dining table.

“Don’t let your laundry obstruct your better nature,”

he would counsel, sinking his head onto the greasy bar.

“I’ve absorbed the scorn of a woman tossed,” he’d somehow enunciate,

his mouth a rubbered distortion. “Let’s take the parade to hunkytown and dangle the miasma.”

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She played guacamole games with a doctor from Japan

She laid on polo fields with a Venezuelan man

She danced in failed skirts with a designer also-ran

She took trains to Albuquerque with a fascist Indian

But on a Sunday evening, when her paramours had fled

She watched a taco program and ate Fritos on her bed.

Even T. S. Eliot couldn’t get a deal

when he pitched The Wasteland limited series,

so that crazy premise based on your lame

lemonade stand verses won’t get off the ground.

You don’t even have fateful fortune tellers or

impatient barmen and your childhood characters

are trite and unreflective of grander social mores.

You should return to your drafts, have the

stand burn down, get sunk in a deep morass of

moss-draped swamp water, dissolve like a

shipwreck from the Near East and entrap

beneath its counter tokens of ill-starred scamps.

Depict distressed clients, kicking thin cups on the

sidewalk and bedraggled housemaids clinging to

some forlorn hunk of pulp, hoping for a fresh

squirt to transform their existence.

Then maybe you’ll get a second look.

“We should have a flashback,” said Jeff spreading

his hands, “of the time he stowed away, scared,

riding in a test capsule with no one,

trapped in  a long orbit he never made.”

At which Leslie puffed on her cigarette.

“Don’t make me laugh, you hack. That’s the oldest

cliché in the book. The dark childhood mess

come back to enmesh him in its tight grasp.”

Her straight brunette bangs jittered. “Rollo stares

space in the face, unafraid. A mighty

white-suited orbit warrior, darting

into the far reaches of the unknown.”

Milton rubbed at the ache in his forehead.

“We know Rollo’s tough, but we gotta glimpse

his tender side. Maybe a space babe, a

statuesque princess from Mars with some spunk.”

“You have to be kidding,” sneered dry Leslie.

“The last thing we need is a Mars vixen,

a small-brained twit to simper at space hunks.”

“Let’s just do a jelly monster,” urged Jeff,

“like the one in ‘Moon of the Unhallowed’.

we can all get behind slimy feelers.”

There were reluctant nods. The meeting stopped

at four with notes on grappling tentacles.

Tough Girls – a poem

Tough girls

in grocery store parking lots

intimidating children.

They consider doing violent things with grocery carts

and smack their gum loudly, like soldiers bouncing tin cans off brick walls.

They posture and flaunt,

proud of their tops,

knowing every crack in the lot.

No one from the coffee stand will wave them away.

They sneer at local dogs and petition people.

Soak in the yawping sun, disdaining lotion,

daring their skin to darken.

Nighttime clambers onto them, bringing no quiet,

Spurring them on to jeer at loud cars,

their bravado rising with every baffled elder clutching a reusable bag.

Two burritos appeared on a sign board,

And pretty sure I could eat only one

And be left unsickened, long I stood

And looked on for as long as I could

To the trays that they were served upon.

 

I saw the large, saucy Macho Beef,

And having perhaps the greater fame,

Since it was quite massive and flaunted meat;

While the weirder Tropical Treat

Had nuts and fruits that might be lame.

 

And both that evening temptingly lay

In long trays with a paper sack.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

And knowing how tray leads on to tray,

I doubted not I would often come back.

 

I shall tell this one day with a sigh

By some ruined Mexican fence:

Two burritos appeared on a board, and, yeah —

I took the one less frequently tried,

And that has made all the difference.

We interrupt this burrito

We interrupt this burrito

to bring you a chicken with no ulterior motive

luxuriating in a ravine where the leftover Panda

rots in the sunset.

When a headless mole makes the effort,

sets up a marmoset playground with fabricated logs

and collects porcelain bras from exotic countries,

the discriminating Teutophile adjusts his vest and

combs his mustache: incommensurable blocks of cheese,

floating above the intersection, surprisingly petrified,

make their own plans when day care is condemned.

Just as Cousin Rollo failed with his omelet,

and raised a race of rats that developed fears of seedlings,

Maxine will tear apart each taquito, shred by shred,

until she has conquered her final cuisine.

When you leave Sears at midnight

Turn off the lights for the mongoose

And luxuriate in a papaya tea

The gypsy woman with the eyeliner

Will wait in the boxcar

Undeterred by sheriffs

And dental assistants

Where the slides of her youth betrayed a razor

A man with rollerblade sides

Who took too long to appreciate her gum

These are the voyages of a girl who takes trips

Where the beaches are less photogenic

Than the steel folds of your lost hometown

And the desiccated potatoes of Mrs. Lindstrom

Who knew more about driveways than you ever will.

When you can’t live up to your license plate

and your taco’s the color of burnt sponge,

your subscription to Beard Man’s expired,

and stray women in Kansas unfriend you

the empty Cheeto bag holds no response,

the deflated roadside doughnut gapes in vain,

no two red vagrants lean at the same stance

and small mammals expose drab rearward views,

the state is not the low road that you know

but another with less yellow and more stone

exposing legless fish to winter sun

and flattening viable cops to crumbs.

And then    it was ten-fifty-seven

When her man stumbled through the door

Repeating the paper towel, recasting the ashtrays and counting all the daughters.

“Is it for the lack of a moon that you followed me

where the parked cars… Wait, is that the latest issue of American Male?”

 

But it was her lost moon,

the toothpaste on the cabinet and the

discount beer that splayed around.

 

He wasn’t the only prone guy she’d found,

Only the latest.  With a shirt to match his intelligence

And that old rabbit trick that no one enjoyed.

 

“Don’t brush that mustache.”  She threw her bottle on the floor.

“I like them Western.”