July

My brain is a gritty bike chain grinding in circles,

friction where there should be smooth pedaling,

well-oiled ease.

My face pinches into a squint,

jaws ache from clenching, keeping the words in.

 

My words would slap a person silly,

bloody his lips,

leaving them fat and lisping into next week.

My Pandora’s box is full of words,

none of them worth a damn, not a dime for all of them.

 

Fireworks have rendered us small.

We are a quivering creature hiding under a bush,

with one eye open

while every other part presses to the ground,

determined invisibility.

 

We are the bruised puff of kitten left outside

with the sky raining fire and breaking apart in thunder,

fragile resilience.

We are picked up and put into a silk-lined pocket,

a well-heeled ticket out, but to where, we wonder.

 

The Muse Eludes

 

Early January, balloons slowly deflating, the tree

still up, random red and green items scattered around.

A parched feeling, a lack of juice

in the leathery remains of last year.

 

Days are dark and like a miner, I cast

my flashlight beam into the depths,

there are only echoes.

People more clever, more juicy than me,

find gold.

 

I raise my face to the sky, praising the cold blue patch

sprawled between rain layers.

I puzzle at the sprinkles on my face

and realize the wind is blowing rainwater

off the live oak tree next door.

A micro-climate for me and my delicate dog,

who dislikes damp feet.

 

Today is the second day between rivers of rain.

The sun rose between buildings

and shone onto the bush at driveway’s edge.

Mist rose up like a spirit leaving the body,

a pure thing going home.

 

 

Morning

Dodging sprinklers that green grass,

I cross the street, scanning for traffic.

Half a block down, a cat-sized mound

dots the center line. Two crows argue

above in the trees. Cars zip

between me and the mound,

which ruffles black in tires’ breeze–

One car, two pass. Contemplation

from the ground and above.

Not cat nor crow, but a wig

animated in abandon. We nod,

continue with our ways.

 

 

World Abuzz

In the kitchen, I make a grocery list.

Windows flung open,

cats bake in the sun outside.

The air  around me hums.

Cats run in,

bones in my head vibrate

in circles.

A hummingbird is in the house.

Whirring overhead, beak clicking

into glass, whirring, clicking.

Crouching

I crawl to the door, open it

hoping.

Zipping out, it perches atop the maple next door.

An Offering

Conversation swirls around the bloodmobile,

an iodine swab cleans my arm.

Phlebotomists discuss lunch

over my head as my blood drips

into a plastic bag.

“Vietnamese, Chinese, what’s the difference. Soup.”

I chew on a poem Sharon Olds wrote.

I suck and savor, pull the marrow

out of its bone

with my mouth,

Slide her words

over my tongue.

Spicy