The Count

As a boy

I counted years

And soon

Dreamed of

How many novels

I would write

 

I remember

the braided rug

reading comics

grandma read obits

I wondered why

 

Then truck driver father

counts dollars

kids grow up,

who is left?

 

Left to count?

tombstones

empty bedrooms

ever smaller number

of family, of friends

 

dead

dead

they soon

are all dead

no novels, little money,

children gone,

dead

dead

and then

I am gone

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What We Were Before

stand now

listen pain

ignorance

stupidity

poets, priests and punks

spray array

 

oncoming high beam

verses, rhymes,

not, especially not

I am,

was nothing

if not not

 

decades careful

word order

splash

throw out

like fish water

like paint to a jet

 

now I look

a trellis old lady

hung flowers

see mine,

not hung

not blooming

 

tight

sloppy

growing

growing old

wise unto death,

what?

 

words removed

become

like me

not

what we were before

now what, who?

 

now what and who?

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They Don’t Howl No More

Howl No moreI saw the greatest

words of my generation

wasted, strunked and white

wrung out with punctuation

dying a slow txtng death

 

Used in minor+myopic+

progressive+political+positions,

smoking unfiltered vowels

and whoring themselves out

to uniformly avante garde

literary publishers.

 

While spellcheck

gently weeps

and asks

in its best

Forrest Gump

to replace French words

with good solid American ones….

 

I am not a fan of Ginsberg,

only of his best students,

Al and Bobby and others,

you know who you are,

the ones who know the Negro

streets at dawn are

the best places to be.

 

The best words, my generation

whoring Colorado, sudden Manhattan,

Kansas?

 

Floor of Harlem crow, tortillas & egg,

nitroglycide, phonograph,

and yes, one I chopped up

and another I madeup

like frankenstein and lecter

all monsters

sound vaguely Jewish

A rather unlikely accident?

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Dear Morning Bring Me an Ironing Board

No need for an iron to press my shirt

Only tea, with milk I do not drink

small room six people dress

eat pop tarts and tie shoes

 

America is always late

hurry, don’t forget your books

I’ll have more tea to not drink.

 

‘Thank you,” perfect English,

(of course, my people

speaking as servants do

hundreds of years).

 

The walls are thin

and curry flies

under the door

breathes in your skin

and nobody has a dog,

I wonder why.

 

I have a dog,

she whines to go and come

in the city, someone

will eat her, watch her closely

and wonder why.

 

In the suburbs, I have a pool,

more bedrooms than children

and bicycle for health

pants leg sock tucked I ride.

 

Dream of tea with milk

not to drink.

my billion brothers

million miles away.

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From Some Tree this Hidden Calf (trying to escape Poe’s Raven)

 

Waits and bleats

and shadows brown

dappled in darkness

I hear it call

 

a cry, but a cry

without hope

in the tradition

of a beast, whose ancestors

know only slaughter.

 

There is surely a rope

or a pen to hold

until death is called

for veal and leather

these are your name

 

like a nightingale

I do not hear your song

of ultimate sadness

of the empty beauty

of pointless death.

 

Stay hidden

and frightened

and hunger I sure

for the mother’s milk

and kindness licks

 

in the dappled

blackness

that is the lot

of all your kind.

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Something There Is (or The Mending Wall)

After Frost, the poet, not weather, I
built a circle wall, or rather spiral
all to come to mend, wall, themselves to walk
both sides and agree it makes good neighbors.
 
Something there is that loves a wall to mend,
repair the mind and soul gentle grayworn
farm field stone plucked to define god for
us all as ‘mine.’
 
Come take down and build up: stone, man, this wall
to mend- not broken, but not at all.
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Seven-Thirty Sunset

As grandmother and toddler turn to home,
the Hispanic boy with gold necklace
runs through a back yard
and the Haitian girl tosses
a worn brown basketball to her nephews
 
life flows out onto the narrow
streets of Lake Worth
in the hot yellow air
turns colors
black in silhouette.
 
An almost chill rustles uncut palms
and thrusts paper wrappers
against sagging chain-link fences
nine o’clock sunset
is still two months away
 
but the thin old man
steps into the street and closes
the door on his Chevy
glad to be home
before dark.
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