28 October 2011

the way of worth

the difference
between distance
and dignity
      laid the barrel
in his mouth

 close eyes
      almost out



did what you had to do
and didn’t like
who you became
which was the way
of the world
the way
      of worth

18 October 2011

for the contrarian

making the whole process
more complicated than it has to be
no-body would disagree
it matters not
how good you are
what good you do

or does it

is the final measure
more than cronbach’s alpha
more than just seeing
if the same answer
can be had again
are any answers
is any



for goodness sake
       for pete’s sake

my sake
   for me

what about that
years speeding up
only to slow down
in libraries
and on dirt roads
in locker rooms
in your mother’s home
atop her piano
more for holding up
than stirring chords
or sweet songs

sing along

none of this
and none of you

the sunset
was not meant for you
nor was it meant for
everyone else
stone stuck
staring at it
without the words
to make a stand
only word enough
to meet demands
of consumer culture
that coffee colored vulture

with a shaker to the right
a stolen glockenspiel in the center
                                                          its silver bars glimmering in the middle

   of it all
the glimmer
   is something you hear
and if you hear it well
   you can see it too
you can make it through the
through the roof


and if that’s not enough
to get you to stop calling me

   then i don’t know what else
i can do for you

   defend it
make a case
tell me why
you ended up in this place
and why you feel such a strong want
   to heal the hate
to set it straight
   from out of state

the harm’s long gone
don’t you know that son
don’t you forget what we told
you when we said that
we know what the color yellow
what the color yellow

what the worth of work depends upon
when we sat on the back bumpers of fords
      always more than one
and just wanted to play golf
before we went back to work
before we came home
from the moon
or from utah
where god only knows what happened
and what that meant

the port in the storm
called itself arthur
but you always said
   ‘author’ like it was writing
our story
from the gulf coast
   ankle deep in crude
            strike broke

didn’t seem right to me
at the time
doesn’t seem any more right
despite my red subaru
and three green semesters
for the contrarian
the septuagenarian
   who tricked me
every day of the week

 *leaf cutting by Hillary Waters Fayle

13 October 2011

the elephant is no longer in the room

malcom mooney is walking to work
malcom motherfucking mooney is walking to work

the allan b. locke school
the children are all out   side
the children are on the out   side
and the in   side
of the allan b. locke school
and they don't know
      no they don't know

they don't know malcommotherfuckingmooney like i know malcommotherfuckingmooney

and he is walking in the door

he looks typical

                                                               i'll say that again

he looks typical

      cropped hair

no longer wild and driven batshit crazy by the stylish but somehow still german

      with repetitious rhythms and

twelve years since ‘below this level there is none’ 

if that was 1998 and i live in buffalo now
then i don't live in atlanta no more and
      the elephant is no longer in the room
                                                                  most days

*art by Malcom Mooney
from 'Three Corner Symphony'

10 October 2011

the simpler life

lucy cured lonelieness

         in the sand

        with a branch

she had to

what’s changed
that virtuous luxury


is an only child
it’s foolish
              but fine

looks mean everything

         the simpler life

cotton wool

a sacred charge
from the lord
      a binding contract
      half is never half

         it has to be
sounds like laughing
                                                                 from a distance

we didn’t get along when she was alive
but things are different
                        when you die

i know what a woman at the top of a staircase means
      toeing worn wood
staring at saving grace
      the last line
the seized ships
      ruby      red      lips