Blues in D

D for destruction?
D for demoralized?
Can’t decide which blues.
Maybe it’s the no-room-in-the-city blues.
Or a body-like-an-airplane-crashing blues.
All I know is I got it.
And the motel room on the outskirts
with the green shag carpet
and TV on the blink is no help.
Is that a cockroach skittering across the floor?
What a nightmare.
So I got the nightmare blues.
Like the one where I was trapped in a meat locker.
Only with a urine smell.
And a dripping tap.
And a print by some Georgia O’Keefe wannabe
on the wall facing the filthy window.
Didn’t bring my guitar along
so I can’t play the blues.
Who wants to hear my sudden-rainstorm blues anyhow?
Or my tooth-picking blues?
Or my tattoo-of-a-bullet blues?
The answer is no one. Least of all me.
I’m just looking for a good night’s sleep
so I can declare victory in the morning.
But the mattress feels like a dragon’s scaly back.
And just outside, everybody and their dog
are trudging noisily back and forth.
I have a commitment to my subconscious
but the clamor, the stench, won’t let me keep ot.
So this is the saggy eyelid blues.
And the careless-with-my-crazies blues.
A little of the scratching bed lice blues.
And there’s a spider crawling across the ceiling.
Plus the frantic frenzy of a moth at the bare bulb.
So many choices for the blues.
I should tear life into strips and pick the one.
But what’s the point of knowing
if I can’t do a thing about it.
I got the inadequate blues,
the ineffectual blues.
They tamper with my sanity.
And D is just the beginning.


I sit beneath the stream’s sharp drop,
where water’s callous chaos
is too in thrall to gravity’s pull,
to gather up all it leaves behind.

But rough brush, jutting jagged rock,
divert the splashes here and there,
cradle, cosset and retrieve
the spill tossed clear beyond the madness.

Current hammers out its violent path,
raw and reckless, roaring off into the distance,
while here, a trickle makes its escape,
settles down into a cool, clear pond.

Reflected in the surface of this pool:
inverted trees, upside down expressions,
and there, afloat the gentle ripple,
a minor face is cushioned by the shore.

Floating Woman

Levitation is impossible.
            But I know it’s possible
            having once been in the audience
            as a hypnotized woman
            rose up from a gurney
            at the coaxing of
            a magician’s wand,
            hovered halfway between
            floor and ceiling
            before floating back down again.
Sure I get it.
The stage was dark enough
to hide the strings, the pulleys.
And the lights never left her body,
brooked no wandering gaze.
It was all a trick.
Levitation really is impossible.
            But I know it’s possible.
            My eyes did it the once.

A Very Human Art Form

Doctor stares at
the backlit x-rays.

He has the image
of the perfect chest radiograph
implanted in his head—

a work of art
by a grand master—

and then looks at these,
the sketching of a rank amateur.

He turns to the patient,
shakes his head.

No gallery on earth
would show such stuff.

Honking the Horn

Every weekday, on your way to work,
you pass the cemetery
where your husband is buried.

Once, you’d honk your horn
as if to say, “I miss you.”

But now you’re seeing someone else.

You still drive by that cemetery every weekday.
You honk your horn so that he won’t suspect.