There's something sexual about a yawn.
It climaxes and goes nowhere
but into the thin air.
And I think the air keeps it,
and remembers it
when we don't.
Like the time I went driving
nowhere in a car
and didn't quite think,
until this week, about it.
When the car was gone,
and the ride-over.
Born into an odd name I never wanted
for it would not cheerlead me
into stardom according to numerologists
and Chicago Bears fans
who tortured me throughout my youth.
So I won't have a tombstone
to float over in the afterlife
attempting to erase the evidence.
I will only have this poem
which is a testimony of my disgrace.
Circus of the Impossible
A clown was bargaining with my mother
for my father's life.
He gave me toys
and told me to call him,
Thick-lipped, I heard him
claim his kisses could arouse
any woman in a large tent.
Four years old,
so happy to be a part
of this small circus.
The elephant's comforting odor
when my mother was
too busy to buy me
the cotton candy-
so pretty pink.
Fall in the City
jet across a one way street.
Just my uninvited luck.
I hide, stooped to conquer,
the odd foes of sad jazz music
that sends its love everyday.
is there so much noise here
here on this planet,
on this street where I am
Waiting in a million
for you to pay my cab fare,
this miserable ride after shopping
for nothing in early December-
just before the suicides
[...] Read more
A Good Woman
Must be a good woman
Who darns his holed socks
Irons his heavily starched trousers
Makes his bed more comely
A good woman who agrees
When he is pricked with salt
Eats vinegar with his cornflakes
A good woman who sleeps beside him
With the sugar plum sweetest dreams
Awakens with the surprise of his leaving
A good woman who tries and cries
Does not succeed except in housebreaking
When all walls of a room
Have been washed clean of him.
Planet of Six
Six people were born:
three pink, two blue, and one yellow
like a jaundiced newborn's
There were more pink people,
rulers of this great nation,
controlling valentine's day
and cosmetics counters.
The pink had the ability to turn
blue people's offspring
somewhat purple, they could
transform the last of the surviving yellow
into agent orange.
Discouraging, especially since
the frail yellow boy sat in a corner
holding his flute between his legs.
Professor in the Mirror
Two pupils you know
watch you. They see your Civil War
in your homespun suit,
the threads of your mother's
embroidered on your bosom.
You are ready to leave
the fallen apples,
your father's broken ladder
behind in the backyard.
How the branches become elegy!
See them reach down to his sleep
in the cool thin grass?
Professor of the dead,
you tighten your collar
with the words of an evening sermon,
its smallest stars burning
your right palm.
Frank P. Kosmach- 90th Birthday
My mother gave me a silver pen
with Frank's name and birthday inscribed.
We never knew Frank but Father told us
he was a very lucky man,
richer than the silver pen that drove him
to write my father a big check on pink paper.
Frank was lucky alright.
He paid his bills on time
and he had silver mint ships and pens
to spare and everything had
his name on it. He was the proud
chief of his german tribe and I'm sure
he knew all about world wars
and how they lasted all the time.
A story must have stuck in his head, too,
sweet like too much molasses
though I never knew him, like I said,
but whenever I write with his pen
I think of his skin, his silver-
where it went.
We shout like Russians. Ever-so-tragic.
My father, the poor devil, feeling sick.
We've planted our tree on a landscape of vast sadness.
Our tears water weeds that kill us.
An immense saga all night long.
The police with their slugging faces arrive,
baseball bats ready for a homerun. Sideshows
of fellaheen gypsies on the main driveway
of our house of noble where horrified women
cast spells for money. It's like an incantation,
a cameo hotel, a flophouse of Chicago, full of
strange commuting children with milky white thighs.
We talk excitedly below a huge portrait of
the cancer stricken patriarch. We burn our diplomas
and the police applaud us. They beat my father
into bloody anonymity.
Ex Post Facto
i. Prologue Ex
This forever war is flowing somewhere…
A ballad of the blues over sanguine seas.
The baghdad blues:
a man in a corner does not move.
His wife and children, strewn: lost love-letters of blood.
Beneath the veil of a willowy dream,
as if the world shall absolve you with buttery palms.
God is watching you, sad soldier,
dragging the landing gear of prosthetics.
ii. Post En Medias Res
In this land of no escape,
Take me to Walter Reed,
The privatized foothold of rats,
[...] Read more