New poem at Poetry Breakfast

I have a new poem at Poetry Breakfast, one of my favorite on-line poetry sites.

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Twice Burned:Previously Published at qarrtsiluni*

Last night I was burned twice,
once by one who cares too little
and once by one who cares too much.
Some nights I would light matches to stay warm,
if only someone would cup two hands
around mine to block the wind.
But I am dry tinder, and fire can consume
like the Ganges crematorium at Varanasi.
Did you know that when the monk
Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon
to protest the persecution of Buddhists,
he was re-cremated after his death
but his heart, twice burned, remained intact?

*Read and listen to the author at qarrtsiluni magazine

Summer of ’69*

(Previously published in Eclectic Flash, Vol. 2, Sept. 2010)

The circle where we played,
a rabble of bare-footers browned
like August lawns, was ringed
by ranch houses and split-levels.

Some days I rode my red bike
alone to the new neighborhood
to climb dirt-pile mountains
and hide in the cool of the culvert.

By night I lay on the bed
tossing a ball toward
the plastered ceiling textured
like the surface of the moon.

That was the summer I learned
to lie still by the drain
at the bottom of the pool
and look up at the sun.

The trick was to go limp,
watch the exhaled breaths bubble
into scattered light and listen
to the ticking in my ears

that felt like the pressure
of the deep but could have been
the weight of seconds passing,
precious and ordinary, and yet,

curiously, I was light
in the way alone is not lonely
when you’re under the porch
in a storm, smelling rain.

Unamuno’s Dog*

*(Previously published at Eclectic Flash, Vol 1, in 2010)

Poems
circle
like flies
buzzing
just out of reach.

One poem,
like a nuthatch
in winter
at the suet feeder,
pecks for
word seeds.

Another poem
leads me
astray
like Unamuno’s dog.

I follow
her swishing tail,
watch her
snap at flies,
teeth clacking
the air.

The nuthatch
pecks
another seed,
flies away.

Gentrification: First Blush*

Squatting in the boarded-up brownstone
of your fin-de-siécle love, in moieties
of decay and splendor, sophistication,
world-weariness and fashionable despair,
I say it’s not habitation but rather my art
when they come to evict us, so I call out
“Don’t come in, I am painting a nude model.”
My brush hairs stroke your intimate SoHo,
my fingertips chalk your pastel breasts.

*Previously published at Contemporary American Voices,
Lisa Zaran, editor,