Little Vines 2/13/20

I’ve been doing these tiny poems for a while. Now I’m giving them their own space.

Take a look at this week’s installment of the Little Vines view of the world – written this week of February 10, 2020.

ma’am I knew you were the woman I was meant to find
when I saw you shopping for Aigner shoes
and pronouncing it Agner

I saw in her eyes
the reflected red plaid glow of my sports jacket.
That’s when I knew I was in love.

The woman took the keys to No Such Address
turned them over and over in her palm.
Clink. Clink. Clink.

Three empty coat hooks
I’m telling you she cried all night

He seems very professional, the new guy at work
code words for
He can pour champagne all over me anytime

in this charming inversion mystery novel
the blood-soaked mayhem of their first wedding anniversary
took place before they were born

inside a seashell
the sound of champagne
pouring into a glass

skinny leafless trees
huddled in the weak sunshine
knock-kneed and shivering

the feelings of strangers
never come into my thinking
at all

look out for the tuba
in the marching band
its melodic flatulence
just now crossing the fifty yard line

the hearse took the tunnel
drove right into the grave
parked and let out its passenger

car parked in the alley headlights in the rain
a few minutes to collect my thoughts
before things change for everyone in Apartment B

oh me in the mirror I see you, yes, you my teeth in daily use
you crave your bath of toothpaste! and you,
you my darling hair, famished for a taste of hairspray,
are you?

The garden here in our dereliction. I can offer you
sweltering shade full of stinging flies
sun-rotted canvas chairs beside a dehydrated pool.

I sidestep in the shadowed margins of brightly-lit fantasy
My heart is still with my old habits
I smell the scent of popcorn across the fairgrounds

the blueprints
meticulously linear
if only the life lived inside the building could be

civilized niceties
one of the things this one small dream has shed
as it unravels

her new purse
chic gray
teetering on the windowsill

the sidewalk
hard-surfaced and unforgiving
like everyone who went along it

I opened the window
grabbed the ghost by the hair
threw a necktie on him
took him to the dance as my date

the little cat
curled in your lap while you smoke
on the fire escape

usually you’re just the slap in the face
an out-of-control office party needs but
tonight you’re wrapped in duct tape just like everyone else

another rearrangement of the furniture
another slap-on-a-coat-of-paint session
You’re ready. Curtain in five. Sing your heart out.

a steak on a blue plate
a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the bar
a beat-up umbrella folded and dripping on the floor

Black Sheep

From Clean Canvas, 2018.

Black Sheep

It took both of us
to look discouraging
and I thought we succeeded,
but you kept your sharp eye on us
and caught us laughing
A black sheep in the family
has its amusing aspects
after all
and we are omnivorously-minded
We try out any subject that comes along
with an eye to enjoyment and
skip the harsh judgements
And I know you laughed too.

There are always quite a few of us
Admiring the fleece if not brave enough to befriend
the sheep –
if anyone has a solution to stifling status quo
it’s the fellow who
given the impossibility of knowing when to behave
and how
just behaves.

That black sheep –
that straying from the flock –
You aren’t jealous, are you?
You said to us.

The full moon comes and goes,
crazy times wax and wane,
but it is you who keeps the black sheep
freshly painted
Is it
better to keep out of it
to laugh all night long?
Maybe, you said.


The Movement

From the collection published in 2018, Clean Canvas.

The Movement

The conversation
was so full
The movable parts
making up the fine machine in action striking again
and again
the sounds
atonal hard and unrhythmic dark
adagio pastel and soprano reason
the movement of the words through the air
like a watch with its back off and the gears turning
oscillating sparkle and shadow.
I was a spectator
I was hypnotized.
I did not listen.
When they put the contract before me
I signed
without hesitation
looking at
my signature bold in blue-black ink


No Part of Me Feeling Sorry

From Clean Canvas, 2018.

No Part of Me Feeling Sorry

Torch-up those emotions
Grease fire in the brain pan
Smile marred by scorch marks
years of my life trying
and when it happened
it happened so fast
and after
the exhaustion the regret
the black marks on the ceiling
part of me feels relieved
the other part enjoying the excitement


While My Luck Walks By Outside

From Clean Canvas, published in 2018.

While My Luck Walks By Outside

I went into a restaurant
asked for a table near the window
ordered grilled cheese and french fries
because it was the first thing on the menu
and funds were low. Didn’t recognize you
when you came in. There were half a dozen people
walked through that door could have been you
but they weren’t
only you were you
and I didn’t recognize you
Plenty of room for doubt. Anyway
you knew me
right off the bat. The fragility of the image
varies with the strength of the memory
maybe. Though the inverse could be true –
barely thought of
no intervening layers
have been laid down to alter the picture. I guess
I can argue about anything on both sides
I just don’t care much I guess. What a nice surprise
I say
though I don’t mean it.
Sit down I say though I don’t mean it
I wanted to watch the people
out on the sidewalk washed clean in the sunshine
wearing new clothes and with money to spend
while I ate the sandwich I can barely afford
and thought about things. Instead
I look at my hands in close-up and
push a french-fry into the ketchup puddle on my plate
working it in hard circles
until I lose patience and
eat it. I wait to hear what you had to say
about anything
out of the side of my eye I watch
the sunshine move the people along the street


Very Quickly It Expands and Disappears

From Clean Canvas, 2018.

Very Quickly It Expands and Disappears

This mysterious and vanished idea I had
This idea that was a matter of some importance
How could I just go and forget it like that?
Quick, I think I feel it coming back into view
Where is my pad of paper
my pencil
any paper any pen pencil nail polish chalk
charcoal briquette
Chew my finger and write it in blood
I’m that sure this is the idea that will make things right
or make a lot of money. Or astound my neighbors
cleanse the environment solve medical mysteries
speed up work for millions or get me influential friends
and an invitation to a blow-out of a party
where I meet some other people that next thing
you know
I invite to my luxury ski cabin I’ve picked up along
the way
or maybe instead
they’d like a cruise on my very large and well-fitted-out
yacht crewed by six and
who of course
every one of these people
they all like me just for myself
and not my great idea that
has slipped away again