Monthly Archives: January 2013

Soul Butterfly

She grasps the music in her delicate hand
It doesn’t understand her innocence – so complete
Not tonight – not in this place
The words flutter out of her mouth
Like a crushed velvet soul butterfly
They groove as they move
Through the stale smoky air
Not tonight – not in this place
I want to take her away from here
Like I always want to save the ones I can’t have
She is too young and I am in my cups again
And will never get the chance
To catch even one soul butterfly

The Blood Stays on Your Lips

It’s all about circumventing tangential thinking
and pushing your way past the Jim Beam
and realizing that if you had something to say
If anyone was going to listen it would have happened by now

But you keep talking
You keep trying to say something
Anything
And no one is listening and you are not able to stop
You are forced by your spirit to move forward

You dig your teeth into the crumbling flesh
and escape with a mouthful of Fuck you Charlie
so you spit it out but the blood stays on your lips
you wipe your mouth on your sleeve
but nothing is ever the same again

Another Hard Goodnight

A warm body beside me – someone calling to me from the other room
Put away your books and come and love me – make love to me
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

Each word becomes an integral piece to a puzzle that I must assemble
There is no warm body for me – not tonight – there is little for an unknown poet
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

Bobby Broom’s guitar is my only comfort on this cold mid-winter morning
He plays as if it is only for me while I sip bourbon and reconstruct the magic
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

There was a time when I had everything but my pride robbed me of my future
Now there are nothing but reminders of what might have been in a sweeter time
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

All of my past crushes are in someone else’s arms tonight however they got there
All of my past dreams are in someone else’s soul tonight however they got there
But I will press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight
I will press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

Another Broken Soldier

I didn’t want to be the one who told him
Nobody wants to face the broken soldier
But someone has to
So there he was belching up beer
and smelling of cheap leather
Another broken soldier who
Upon breaking the ranks – has fallen
He is there waiting for redemption
He is there praying for his soul
He is there kneeling at the altar of his failures
The broken soldier reaches out for comfort
But receives nothing more than a cold drink
This seems – for now – to be enough

I was sad when I confronted him
Nobody wants to confront a broken soldier
But I guess it was my turn
So there we were trading war stories
and drinking long into the night
He was just another man who
Didn’t understand where all the time went
He was there waiting for his next drink
He was there praying for a punch line
He is crawling from the altar that was his life
The broken soldier reaches out for solace
But receives nothing more than a hard slap
This seems – for now – to do him in

Another Barstool Preacher

Another barstool preacher spits out bible verses
Between burps that reek of old stale beer
“Humble yourself, you bad motherfucker!
He shouts these words while he kneads my shoulder
He works my muscles like a punch-drunk corner man
On a low paying undercard at Caesar’s Palace
Only no one across the ring poses any threat to me tonight
This night that he is where I will be soon enough – or too soon
Strangled by the pain of something he can’t even comprehend
“I did three years in the penitentiary and I love the bible!
I learned to understand and love the bible”

Faith is what?
Faith is what you believe in
When you have no reason to believe
Faith is the answer to the question
That robs you of your sleep at night
So the barstool preacher spits His word into my face
He reminds me to be humble
I remind him to keep the faith
He offers me hope
I offer him a prayer
One prayer from one bad motherfucker

At the KC Laundry on Pulaski

I finally saw Satan at the KC Laundry on Pulaski
The gunmetal orbs protruding from his blurry eye sockets
Showed the horrors in my face – a muted reflection
His powerful teeth were perfect – shiny and perfect
The fresh youthful tattoos on his thick furry arms
Were eclipsed by the layers of coarse gray hair
He pulled his stiff, nasty clothes out of a greasy cotton bag
He jammed the shirts and pants into the machine
His haunted eyes never left my basket of clothes – or was it my face
I looked at the dryer – my clothes tumbled in their unknowing orbit
The boxy numbers on the illuminated red dial didn’t change
I sent up a silent prayer for the cycle to tumble to an end
A sweet-faced-white-haired polack came in from Pulaski Road
Satan turned his grim, leathery face down – a cloud over his head
He didn’t look up again – not at me anyway
The tumbling finally stopped at the KC Laundry in Pulaski

Old Men and Birds

Old men and birds
Have the best stories here
No empty rhetoric
Words or songs pour out
Of beaks and trembling mouths
Reliving those moments of glory
Like they could bring it all back home
Whenever they needed it

Old men and birds
Get ignored around here
No honest attraction
They live within us
They who have seen so much
They know all they have is each other
Like the friend to share secrets with
At times when you need them most

Old men and birds
Die terribly here
No evident losses
Flies buzz around them
The rotting carcasses
Reclining on the dirty sidewalk
Where they fell when they got too tired
And simply needed a rest

My heart is as heavy as my head tonight.

My heart is as heavy as my head tonight. I am sure it is equally hard but the weight is what bothers me the most. There is no explanation for the condition I am in – not tonight.

There are times when my heart becomes unbearable – too precious. There are times when I can’t even stand to listen to the broken-hearted balladry that pours out of my heart when I smell something that reminds me of something else – when I hear a snatch of a melody from a song my father used to sing.

Some times my soul will trip over its own feet as it steps up onto the curb by Laundromat. Maybe my soul skins its knee. Maybe there are some teeny, gray, dirty rocks embedded in my soul’s hand. My heart watches – helpless. My heart begins to cry. Each tear a precious vessel absorbed quickly back into the fiber that is my heart. Each tear means more weight, but my heart will not betray itself.

My soul brushes itself off and goes to put another quarter in the dryer. There is nothing as sad as missing the mango man with the white cart, but my heart can’t reconcile being helpless. My soul is practical even when my heart is heavy and sad.

Some days my spirit soars over the neighborhood. It careens off of the odd turrets and architectural antiquities decorating the façades of the crumbling building. It breezes through the trees insinuating itself in between the feathers of the soft-boned birds living there.

When my spirit gets caught on a stray branch – maybe a big antenna – my heart just looks up and watches – still helpless. The sadness of the spectacle overwhelms my heart even as my spirit struggles to free itself from whatever has captured it. My spirit is intrepid even when my heart is heavy and sad.

My mind has never betrayed me. My mind has never stopped long enough to get a good look at what my heart was doing. My mind was last seen heading south on a cool slick highway with a bottle of dreams and a sack of promise slung over its shoulder. My heart wiped its eyes and waved good-bye, but my mind never noticed.

My heart is as heavy as my old work boots tonight. They hold about the same value to me right now. The boots sit in one corner of the room where they collect dust. My heart sits in another corner waiting to be told what to do.

I Weave my Hands

I weave my hands and fingers in dedication
To those already come and gone
And in anticipation of those not yet here

I openly welcome with a welcome hand
Beckoning forth as to bring all closer

I push away lightly fingertips dancing carelessly
On the ballroom floor of air
The fingers do not threaten as they rumba and tango about
But they do keep their own distance a private dance for lovers

Impassioned by speech my hands gesticulate
Like my father’s clean red hands – like my mother’s wrinkled white hands
Like a four-pound bullhead on your line on Memorial Day weekend

I weave my hands and fingers carefully – thoughtfully
each expression a work of art – each interchanging movement graceful

I put my weary head in my sturdy palm
And my palm never gives in
My palm holds strong and never abandons ship
When my palm finally begins to give in
And when I have stopped my fingers and hands from weaving
I put them to rest between my ear and my pillow
I put them to rest between my lover’s legs

Pulling Close Holding Hard

I.
Whenever I look at you
The white-hot sparks blind me
I have to close my eyes
All that I have dreamed about
Has come to me
And its body shudders
And it pulls me close
And it holds me hard

II.
Whenever I touch you
The white-hot sparks burn my fingers
I have to hide my blistered hands
All that I wanted of us
Is finally here
We weren’t even ready
But it pulls me closer
And it holds me hard

III.
Whenever our lips meet
The white-hot sparks blind me
I have to close my eyes
All that I’ve waited for
Has finally come
And my body shudders
As it holds me harder
And it pulls me closer