Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The common folk have made
a friend of death.

And why not?

The wisest and poorest among us
know he can't be avoided.
The rich may use medicine, tonics,
and surgery to hide their trails,
be he can't be avoided.

He is as inevitable as sunset,
as inescapable as a cold front,
as inexorable as a glacier.

Death has a bloodhound,
all nose, teeth, and feet,
on our trail and no matter how fast we run
we all end up in
a tree with his hound baying below.

So, why run at all?

Let's take Death's power.
Take away his scythe,
and replace it with a cane.
Take away his cowl,
and dress him as a dandy.
Why fear his bloody hound
when you can make him wag his tail?

Drugs, lust, liquor, and smoke
are Death's secret weapons,
and laughter is ours.

So laugh at the dandy,
throw rocks at his top hat,
and make that bloodhound
sit, speak and roll over
for our bones.

Tony and Anna had been best friends forever, so when.he said he wanted to get married and join her family she naturally assumed he meant her. Turned out he meant her brother Ted. She wore the dress anyway.
Catrina never married,
or had children of her own.
It' hard to make sweet love
to just a pelvic bone.
One day she found three dogs,
a merry little pack,
She found them in the woods,
offf the beaten track.
She lavished them with love,
and made them little hats.
She didn't care if the village people,
thought she had gone bats.
Dias de Los Muertos
was her favorite holiday.
She made the children sugar skulls,
and with her dogs they'd play.
She had no children of her own,
yet the childrem called het mom,
each one was special in her eyes,
each playground her kingdom.
This was many years ago
in a hamlet far away,
where people say they still are seen
on the Dead's favorite day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Ballad of Timmy and Tommy

Timmy and Tommy were strange, twin brothers,
different as night and day.
Timmy said "yes, please" and "thank you much ma'am"
Tommy said "Screw you!" and "No way!"

Timmy played soccer for his school's home team,
under the stadium lights,
Tommy played hooky, drank beer, and smoked weed,
and got into numerous fights.

The two you men loved and hated each other,
as only two brothers can do,
Tommy said, "Won't  you try once being bad?"
Timmy said, "Try being good, can't you ?"

One day the brothers were sent to the store,
to buy there poor mama some bread,
Timmy was driving as safe as can be,
till a cement truck struck them both dead.

It matters not how good or bad you may be,
is something that's hard to apprehend,
A good life or bad life, its all up to you,
the cement truck is how we all end.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I am a pretty unorganized Novena follower.  The Writing Novena group on Facebook doesn't seem to mind to badly. We did haiku for the last nine days. I didn't keep up very well  (8 out of 9). Here are all the haiku I could manage.

On the pond tonight
The moon is checking its face
While crossing the sky.

Sitting in a park
Listening to grackles call
Soon I'm back to work.

Jury duty blues
Sitting, waiting, to be called
Hoping to be skipped.

Tiny flowers hide
Minute beauty in the grass
Nature's modest maids.

Dog on a long leash
Fur, muscle, flesh, so alive
Walking in the.rain.

On the Internet
Nothing but Renee's new face
Isn't there real news?

Bird of paradise
Orange flames bursting from green stems
Nature showing off.

Dozing in my car
Waiting for you to appear
Completely relaxed.

Old Man complaining to El Cucuy. 3/9
El cucuy, could you be a dear,
take the kids next door away from here!
Or if you can't, then could you please
give them colds to make them sneeze?
Or down each pair of filthy pants
drop a handful of red biting ants?
All day long they scream and jump,
And wake me with distracting thumps.
Because of them no rest I get,
Fly them off on a cucuy jet!
I think it is true beyond dispute,
My life would be better if they were mute
What's that Cucuy? No I don't recall
Myself as a child, no not at all.
You mean I was once as noisy as they?
And ran and jumped the livelong day?
And drove Old Men crazy as they do now?
Well then, Cucuy please tell me how
To live with them without defeat?
Should Xanax be my Halloween treat?
What's that cucuy, you've something for me?
You've brought me a gift, a small one I see,
Why thank you cucuy! I owe you ten hugs!
A shiny new set of golden ear plugs!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

2/2 "Creepy Things"

La Llorona's Lover

How was I to know what that
crazy Indian would do?

She must of know it was not to be,
We were from different worlds.
Me, an army captain, with a gleaming
sword, and my very own horse,
a feathered cap on my head,
and gold braid on my vest. She
a peasant woman as brown as dried pine needles,
wrapped in rough schawls,

I had half a dozen like her,
tending small fires outside the
army bases up and down the river.
Something warm for the chill nights,
something soft for my weary head. She was
just like all the others.

Well, not quite just like the others.
She was the only one who press
a warm chicken liver into my hand,
and press the bloody palm against her breast,
so I could read my fortune there. She
studied the twigs in a fallen birds nest,
the way my generals studied their maps. She
rubbed me with herbs and animals fat to
deflect bullets, she said. I think she just wanted me to
smell bad to other women.

True, I returned often enough that in a few
short seasons, there were three little brown
children about. She said they were mine,
but their eyes reflected the moon the same as hers,
and I could see no trace of my family's poor, but noble
blood in their flat Indian faces. I played with them like
puppies, and never learned their names or gave them mine.

How she learned of the wedding, I'll never know.
Perhaps a bird ate a crumb of wedding cake
and flew and whispered in her ear. Or maybe
she read it in the muddy swirls of the river.
She was always gazing at that river. Who knows how
she learned of the rich rancher's daughter,
with skin that had never been touched by the sun,
and ten thousand acres soon to be mine? But somehow
she knew.

She prayed to that river, I know she did,
and gave it her children to seal the curse.
"Let death surround him!" she said and each
sleeping child, drugged with witchery no doubt,
was laid in the careless brown arms of the current.

We both lost everything to her terrible curse.
Cattle gazed at the sun till they went blind and died,
and nothing grew on those ten thousand acres, not even
prickly-pear dared defy her power. My rancher's daughter turned
alabaster and died before my seed could root in her womb,
and now I am alone.

Was it worth it, you Indian dog?
Is your vengeance sweet in your mouth?
I hear stories, tales told in cantina's,
of a woman who wanders the river crying for
her children? Is it you? Do you walk and cry?

Maybe some evening I'll join you. Maybe some evening,
as you wander keening, I'll slip my hand in yours.
Maybe we will walk down
to the river and join our children


I skipped a novena because of my schedule, but I have joined in again for this round. We are to write about "Creepy Things". For day 1 we were given this topic-dolls.

None of my dolls have eyes to see,
and that's the reason I'm still free.
I've sewed their lips with threads of gold,
and so my secrets remain untold.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seen this evening at the Beyond Art Gallery.

An old woman in front of a painting,
shrugs, clicks her tongue, and
waves a dismissive hand.

Not for her,
these colors unleashed from meaning,
This unruly riot of pigments.

But, oh dear lady,
it is for me.

Give me this untrained choir,
of colors. They can sing their
nonsense song for me.

Let me see the brushstrokes,
feel the artist's energy,
still vibrating on the canvas.

It is enough for this to exist,
no meaning need be applied,
It is what it is and that is enough.

Writing Novena 6/9

Overheard in a park earlier this week.

A young boy picking up wrappers,
a future boy scout walking with
Mom in the park, dutifully gathering
scraps of paper, candy wrappers, napkins,
corn dog sticks, the remains of lunches in the park.

"Don't touch that!" Mom shouts,
and the boy steps back, surprised
by the force of his mother's voice.
A hand on the shoulder, a quickening of the step
and they were gone.

Curiosity forced me out of my near slumber,
and there in the grass was the offending trash.
A condom wrapper, nestled in the grass,
a talisman of love or lust,
planted there like Eve's own apple.

Maybe it wasn't just germs that made mom
afraid, may she wanted delay.
Delay the talk about sex, love, lust.
Delay the condom found crinkled in
a teen boy's wallet.

Postpone the cynicism and naivete of adolescence,
and hold on to her baby boy, halt  the unstoppable
growth of a boy so innocent as to pick up candy wrappers,
in a park. Maybe she sensed these vanishing days. a delicate
age, should not be hastened by a piece of foil.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Overheard at the .99 Cent store today-"These beef broth cans are three months out of date."

Everything looks familiar, but is slightly different,
this island of misfit consumer items,
where the fine chocolates are Elmer's brand,
where the over-ripe fruit is bruised,
and where the people are too.

I heard a child singing, "I am stuck on Band-Aids..."
I turned the aisle to see the little girl,
and instead saw an adult woman,
squeezing a bag of bite-sized herring snacks,
and singing to herself, full-voiced, shamelessly.

I was embarrassed, but only for a moment.
It occurred to me that everything here,
at the .99 cent store was simply what it was,
without shame, without pretense, without guile,
both people and products without pretense.

Here is a young girl matching plates
to plastic silverware for her birthday party.
There is a grandma examining nectarines
like a jeweler judging diamonds. And here
a young man buying five razors for a buck.

People here want practicality, not prestige,
They want things that do what they are made to do,
and don't say anything about who you are.
They want to shop without labels,
and sing, full-voiced, while they shop.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Overheard at a pond a 11:00 p.m.

This path is too dark to walk on this late,
the lights are all out, the moon obscured,
the asphalt is black and so is my dog,
and my wandering leash disappears into a void.

How the toads and the crickets call!
Tiny, noisy engines, vibrating life,
filling the darkness with their hum,
crying, "I am here! I am here! I am here!"

A mockingbird calls out, a jazz musician's
flute solo, a flashbulb pop of sound,
a silver scarf thrown against the night sky,
singing, "I live! I live! I live!"

The waves crashing on a distant beach,
are just cars on the road past the trees,
taking breath as they come, sighing as they pass,
calling, "We go! We go! We go!"

Mesquite beans crackle under my feet,
my dog huffs and snorts in the grass,
my shoes scrape the pavement,
as we circle back towards home.

Live-blogging a poem. 3/9
So I'm sitting in this bar,
smoke clouds the air,
rays from the disco lights,
cutting through,
like the spotlights they used
on King Kong at the top of the
Empire State Building.
The oompah of the Tejano band,
is the heartbeat of this bar.
Twin sisters, little people,
are on the dance floor,
dancing like shrink-rayed Shakiras,
and the bar back labors mightily,
a Sisyphus with the cooler of ice.
Gritos are thrown in the air like confetti,
and smiles that would have once dazzled behind fluttering fans,
are now illuminated by cell phones.
An old man fishes in his peanuts,
and a young man scans the bar,
looking for love or a fight.
I think either one would make his night
Heard on the radio: "It's all about that bass, bout that bass, no treble."
Why do we teach women that it is their duty,
to sing about their great big
And where is the call for men to
in singing about their great big
Are women still just the sum of their
I'll stick with the songs about broken
I failed to keep up with the last writing Novena, so I am trying to keep up with this one. Our prompt is to write a dream poem or a poem about something that is overheard.

Overheard at Starbucks: "Iced latte for Eunice" 1/9
When our parents name us
When they bestow a name
It is a spell never to be broken
No kiss can wake us from our name
It is a star that guides us
Or a stone chained to our feet.
So consider a name carefully.
Imagine it spoken by teachers
On those first nerve-wracking days
Or whispered into an ear by a lover.
Imagine it on a police blotter.
Imagine it in an obituary,
Or a newspaper headline.
Make it flexible so it doesn't constrain
Make it loose so it can be shed like a snake's skin.
Or, at the very least,
Make it beautiful if spoken in Spanish.