Pink Bicycles

the accident sends me through the windshield

certain things are shattered, but I barely notice

an x-ray technician studies the film and says, “yup, just as I thought you have no feelings.”

I leave the office with an official doctor’s note:
I can do no wrong
my empathy has eroded
sympathy slipped into stomach acid
guilt ground down
I’m free to limp back into the world

the junkyard crew will crush my car
after a lunch we share
their stale crackers are the worst
coffee is from yesterday
but I’m there to rescue some things from my trunk
before they burst

“how’d you wreck?”

“I was driving to work, and there was a sharp bend in the road, two little girls on pink bicycles were coming. I wonder where I’d be now, if I ran one or both of them over, instead I swerved. I hit a tree; I landed on a mattress some kids had lit partially on fire”

I share my rum with the junk yard crew
turns out I have a little love left
and one by one, they sign my cast
with fake names
Abe Lincoln, Mike Hunt, Ivanna Longcock.


When They Fail You

Go away at speeds approaching disintegration
Go away with no trophy
Go away without your name carved into a bedpost, an oak tree, any lonely mountain
Be happy you had rain to drink
Be happy the nights left you alive for the big birthday party each burned down dawn
Be right like a broken clock, on the money, twice a day
Be a quitter, a 9 of clubs, but never an ace, be a fork dropped and picked up with a socked foot
Some people, some people, some people: I can answer for none of them
Go weigh the dice; go open the screen door for the mice; go weigh the reflection of the moon on each ripple as you swim away for good,
for better islands; go off and crush some flowers, wherever you stomp, stomp hard.

High July

bulldozers roll up the block
we’re in a pine tree, watching them rip apart our house
I kiss you and palm an egg from a robin’s nest
everything feels as big as a full stick of dynamite
everything tastes intense and fake cherry: your lips, my doubt, the smoke billowing out our crumbling chimney
It’s high July I wonder which version of me I’ve let you know
it’s high July I wonder if the crew below enjoys busting apart our front steps
your bird bath, our rose arbor, our seashell mailbox
the bulldozer disappears into the house, just like we did
it might be inside, putting on the coffee pot, playing with the stereo, petting the cat; or, crushing the couch flat, eating the TV, busting apart the wall to our bedroom, destroying the painting I did of you sitting naked on the sunset cliff
but now look at us out in the open air, happier
looking down at the neighborhood changing
the garage collapsing
the back deck collapsing
I place the robin’s egg in your mouth
you bite, slip me back half
we swallow like it’s aquamarine gum
that we’re not supposed to swallow, either
it’s high July, we’ll have to de-evolve back into the net of nature
It’s high July there’s some changes we’re going through
it’s high July we’re out on a limb in our underwear
but about to spring from branch to branch
all the way to the beach of our youth
your rhodendrums are on fire
my trophy case just shattered
the roof just met the basement
I’d like to die
surrounded by those I love
owning nothing
you have only grown more precious to me, something I might have never noticed like this
sitting in front of the computer.

reading till i don’t fall asleep

I read James Claffey in the bathroom
and Ryder Collins, and Nabokav
not all of them on the toilet
I take long baths, you see
read Amy Hempel in the bath tub too
book is goddamn destroyed now
I read Bukowski, Love is a Dog
From Hell, while pissing
each piss, a poem, standing there
paperback in one hand
and you get the rest
and I read Len Kuntz that way
too. Pablo Neurda: also a pisser.

I read Seidlinger at work
sitting on top of a tower that boils
oil into gasoline, fire shooting
into the black starless sky
and inside a big metal drum
I read Heather Dorn, I was supposed
to be chipping concrete with a
pneumatic gun, but I wasn’t
I was reading and pretending
so be it, they had a night shift on the way

When I crashed my car, I was reading
Raymond Carver, the cop asked
“is it at least a good book?”
“sad book”
“goes well with this ticket then”
I was reading Meg Tuite on a narrow airplane
when the war zone turbulence started
the lights flashed out
and in the dark cabin
the family in front of me
started singing holy death bible hymns
we survived, the book ended good too

was reading Dustin Holland at
the doctor’s office when they couldn’t
figure out what was wrong with me
for the second and third time
fourth time I was reading Gay Degani
now I’m onto Robert Vaughan
they still don’t know what is wrong
with me

was reading merce rodoreda
time of the doves in the park
by my apartment when I was
on unemployment
have read Fante and Misti Rainwater
on state checks too, not to
mention Kevin Ridgeway
Denis Johnson and Frank Reardon
I like being unemployed and
being state subsidized to read
those books in that park
by my apartment
more of that please

read Kyle Muntz at the beach
got sunburn everywhere
except between my toes
and my nut sack
read Ben Loory to my friend’s
kid who couldn’t sleep
read Mik Everette on the subway
and missed my stop
two times, but that’s the good life
read seven of Aaron Dietz’s books
in a yellow chair next to my radiator
the radiator was chanting and
popping and making a fucking racket
occasionally I’d yell at it
“shut up shut up shut up!”

read In Watermelon Sugar again
last night, did that one again
in the bath tub again
I’m always doing that
In Watermelon Sugar and
the motherfucking bath tub
Richard Brautigan probably
had a good one
he brought into the bath tub too

one can only hope
and order more books, drunk.

3 poems

Been writing bunch of poems lately. I don’t know, somehow or other, doing the book Everything Neon with Marginalia, really got me into poetry mode. So, been into the mode of fucking around and writing a bunch of new poems, but not so much about living here in the city. Instead, been working on a collection of poems all about growing up in a residential suburban development just off a two lane highway and being excited beyond belief to go ELSEWHERE. About drifting off. About shooting off into space on a jet pack.  So, here are 3 poems …


“so so SO terrible,” she sets the newspaper down
“a kid died, couple blocks over,
on Mallard Ave.”
“eaten by a chipper.”
“what the hell is a chipper?”
as if it was an animal, like: look out
a chipper is loose in the development
they’re as big as a jaguar and hungrier
“a woodchipper” she says
“he worked for the tree service”
I looked down into my shredded wheat
she folded the paper, as if
the paper was cursed

and so we went for a drive
at first pretending that maybe
we weren’t going to look at the yard
but that’s where the car wanted to go
there was no stopping it
yes, exactly true, just a few blocks over
it was a small blue house
the yard was wrapped in
yellow crime scene tape
nobody home, too much shade
no grass, all moss and lichen
a sad lawn to look at

the chipper was still out there
it said ‘Travis Tree Service’
on the side of the machine
“there’s no blood”
from the car, we scanned
everything we could see:
the siding on the house, the ground,
the machine, the leaves in the tree
“the people who cleaned up the blood
did a very good job”
“paper said he got his shirt sleeve
caught and was pulled in”
“that’s how it always happens”
“it stopped halfway down, the machine,
there’s a safety … by then it was too late”
“mos def”

a green car passed by at a crawl
then a group of boys on bikes
went past and pointed, but kept pedaling

finally a cop car pulled up, and we watched
the officer get out and duck under the
yellow tape of the crime scene
he walked around the mossy yard
for a bit, just looking, staring off
then he sat on the steps and stared some more
“what do you think he’s looking for?”
“he’s probably doing what we’re doing”

she started the car, the cop didn’t even
look over, his eyes had become fixed
on something caught in the branches
of the tree
I’m not sure what.
and so be it.

Walking By the Kitchen In Just My Socks

the refrigerator door
was left open just a crack
no one notices for a thousand years
the light was off

life is as exciting
as frozen blueberries
that used to be wild.

art sucks dick

have left behind
blue petals of life force
have slept on the roof
in my mortal clothes
have been polite to
armies of magician’s doves
slipped off, high
just passing

art levels status
here’s to many more
Tuesday nights
getting plastered

but first I have to
take the garbage

It’s Only July

have been standing under the waterfall
even a dog knows to stay out of the rain
been night swimming, been faithful
been stone carving your invincible name
I aim my rocks at the moon
till my rocks orbit down
back into my hand
god grant me the serenity
to whatever whatever
whatever, I cannot change
the calendar changes
a cat in gloves catches no mice
fuck it, I like mice
from time to time, I even leave
the waterfall cave

blue sword in hand
coupon-less, sideways
there’s no more consequence
there’s no more wilderness
there no more negotiations
there’s no more gentle prayer
there’s no more invention
or doom or hiccups or dare
but plenty of life, eternal girl
it’s the forth of fucking July
and raining.

Two Summer Poems

Sunny Day

beautiful weather here
you won’t find me
dead today
I’d eat a thousand bullets
to no ill-effect
tomorrow they say
it’ll rain
we’ll see, then

Couple Hours Before Memorial Day

doves cooed
at twilight
that’s all over
sitting still
somewhere in
the outside dark
little bit of moonlight
falling through
some black trees
frogs, bugs, buzz
black powder
new summer bombs
the roll of cars
as waves
on the two
lane highway
I’m drinking bourbon
and lemon
slouched here
couple of those
tall saint



A Wedding, A War, A Necktie


I put on my three piece suit
and stand in front of my mirror
practiced shooting my
own reflection, a 2 finger gun
I dodge fake bullets
till late afternoon
till it comes easy
an hour before the wedding
I try to learn how to tie
the blood red tie
but I can’t get it
so I slipped my pre-laced
neon sneakers on
I don’t own dress shoes
and rode my bike to church
the sun was hot
and this is why no one
before me
had tried to ride a bike
in a three piece suit
as I ride
the red neck tie
is granny-knotted
to the handle bars
and streaming in the August air
no dogs have the guts to chase
and I still have my gun
the bridesmaid
in the peach dress
helped me
with my tie
ducking into
a quiet room
possibly not holy
later, I learned
she had a brother named jay
who drove a jeep
over an IED
in one of those deserts
she had a picture
of him alive beside the bed
saw it on August 19th
I remember it well
a Tuesday
in her bedroom mirror I stood
naked, tie around my neck
my dick hard
in the reflection
I shot her dead
laying on her bed
we laughed
I was late for school
bunch of days after that.

my street

a tire swing with rusted chain
that’ll snap soon
a pit bull happy in the yard, digging
bluejays return each year
to destroy rival eggs
the girl living in that window
shoots them with her BB gun
a nameless cat
collects their heads

oak tree growing in and through
the power lines
yesterday a crew painted it orange
a row of Xs
many cigarettes were smoked
staring up into those
electrified branches

now: lichen on old brick
asbestos singles
no one want to strip
kites wrapped around
the phone lines
the thud thud thud
of a basketball distant

there must be a lake here
somewhere stocked with fish
on warm mornings a man
in a maroon hat
walks down the street
with his fishing pole and bucket
“where do you go?”
“I can’t tell” he says
“come on”
“well, I could, I mean–
but I’d have to kill you”
sometimes his bucket
is still flopping around
and he’s whistling

the ice cream truck
has better plans
for better streets
I can smell a wood fire
it’s the first day of spring
the air tastes like smoke
somewhere bees are sleeping

a mailbox, the exact replica
of a certain house
overflows with paper
rumor is, they’re losing the house
but will they take the mailbox?

down the hill, six cars
rest under blue tarps
I wonder what cars they are
but I never lift the tarp
I don’t want to be disappointed
never meet your heroes
mine: the quiet kid who never misspeaks