Buying Time

To find the cash
For buying time.
Oranges, sweet crude
Coffee, corn,
Commodities traders
Delisted love and friendship
Health and fathers.
The buying chits line
The exchange floor
Like clothing once
In the bedroom.
Proof money can’t
Buy love.

In department stores
Perfumed and made up
Clerks compartmentalize
Stuffed emotions and
Big wide-eyed bears
Into shopping bags.
Leaving through
A glass revolving door
Tumbling onto the gray
Segments of sidewalk
Blowing like leaves
I chase down sealed
Dented cans of hope.

With one pair of eyes
Inevitably you’ll find yourself in a single view someday.
Walking alone without another Pair, your hands empty
Except for your
Pocketbook and calling cards.
Blistered heels and skinned knees -
No one else to help watch the bumps in the road.
Holding up one hand
Hailing any empty cab while
The sun waits on the horizon
For me to return to
No one in particular
Loneliness casts
A long shadow.

With a single pair of eyes
The myopic make few plans.

The Little Prince(ss)

I’ve no time for fiction anymore.

A folly of a hobby, yet what could taste sweeter than this wasted layer cake?

Years and weeks, those larger tenders for anyone with leisure time to spare

(How can I afford those considerable denominations, now, anyhow?)

Can I recall whose face frowns on the thousand?

Whomever, he held only a few notes with his own face, mind you,

Not enough to carry a tune in his sow’s ear purse.

Instead I play with pockets full of minutes.

The change jangling as I count my fortune repeatedly,

Yet my blessings just once.

Sifting it in my fingers like beach sand in a swimsuit

Blindly reading my wealth like Braille

In my cinched up hand me down blue jeans’ pockets.

I remember the feeling in the grooves in time between

The hour hand and the sweep hand.

Feeling the smooth thin copper of seconds.

Im unqualified to earn hours anymore,

That time belongs to a different reader now.

Just as the hour glass tells me I was and I will be,

As the cliche says, it all spends the same, bills or coins,

My heavy change slows me down.

To cashiers, what does it matter how I pay?

To the line behind me, I waste their time

As I count out my minutes in cents they look at their watches

And tap their toes on the slick toast colored linoleum floor.

But it’s just enough to pay a poets salary.

Such a task for a quixotic empath,

Kicking dirt with swollen feet in tall worn boots

Right alongside the railway tracks. (I hope the train’s not the local)

My hands hide deep inside old suede coat draping

Over me like closed curtains hiding the light

In the cold parlor from the afternoon.

This picture doesn’t resemble anything familiar to you.

No dogs play behind me, chasing my strained heels,

No little fox to find me alone and existentially incomplete.

Down where the saddest of scars betray my enemies

Pointing weaponry at a made-up game of risk and reward,

Where I hold (hopeless) hope like a balloon in a child’s chubby hand.

Tightly gripping at the candy-cane twine, leaking

Air leaves a wilted poppy stem fainting over my fist,

Petals dripping red years from the tired back of my wrist.

A little fox chases me until I stand atop a moon

Drawn high in a blank white sky

Head bowed heavy by the ascension of a fool.

The Cancer’s Tale

We wait.

We Do.

All born souls queue

Up to ascend where

Unknown certainty begins

And known uncertainty ends.

We sit.

In stillness our

Hair billowing, bodies

Skin covered in ripped sheets

The bark on eucalyptus trunks,

Bent from blow back towards

The earth, arched away from the sea

Arms outstretched

As if to grab something

That’s behind them

Like a runaway a dream

Or a lost child.

I think, “how limber”

Coats lined in misplaced trees

Searching the land

But not belonging on

This continent where

Their branches suffocate sparrows

Dead and flightless

Laying in the shade of their foreign leaves.

Let’s use up those tourist trees instead

Belonging in another hemisphere anyway.

Use them for pens and walls,

They deserve to die – not

Native redwoods and sequoias

Whose needle hair holds

Those human-sized

Fatted trunks where

Locked inside the bark

We saw off gifts worse than their bite.

We drink.

Clear cold words

Pouring down our throats.

Stopping to read

Unbound leaves of golden red-fire.

Our thirst

Like the trees

Sipping through tiny straws, the roots

Magic wells fill with rain in the sunlight.

The slight of branches

Trick the sap into the trunks turing it into life’s blood.

The ax wielded by

The mind thirsty still

For more fruit, more nectar

More magic.

We read.

Pulp fiction

Dedicated to the willow

Growing in the fringe

Of the yard where

Someone’s mother planted

Her husband or sister

And we see her from the rotted old wood swing

Moored like a ghost ship

Out of time, out of our sites.

We travel.

Returning from the east

Heading out to the desert, west

On the horizon where warmth sinks fast in winter.

The hour’s late and dinner’s cold, politely

I sit chattering, shivering very quietly with my hands on my lap

Like a good child

Quiet in my discomfort.

Never complaining

The chill in the house freezing any love

Out into the wilderness

Get lost or turned free.

Sudden and without announcement

The next book begins

The old book returns to the building on the hill.

Scoundrels sneaking away with a story or two.

We finish.

Bookends holding up

Our bodies on the shelf

Related to no one

Left to right.

Packed up and traded

To clear the way

Leaves fall, memories

Raked up and bagged

Hauled away.

Nicely mowed lawn,

Honey, dripping, life like hives in neat rows on streets called Elm, Pine, and Main.

Painted the color of Spring bulbs they pop

And remind you of

Someone you knew

Or a character

From a book

Once borrowed

Now, long overdue.