To find the cash
For buying time.
Oranges, sweet crude
Delisted love and friendship
Health and fathers.
The buying chits line
The exchange floor
Like clothing once
In the bedroom.
Proof money can’t
In department stores
Perfumed and made up
Stuffed emotions and
Big wide-eyed bears
Into shopping bags.
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
A long shadow.
With a single pair of eyes
The myopic make few plans.
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.
All born souls queue
Up to ascend where
Unknown certainty begins
And known uncertainty ends.
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
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
Fatted trunks where
Locked inside the bark
We saw off gifts worse than their bite.
Clear cold words
Pouring down our throats.
Stopping to read
Unbound leaves of golden red-fire.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Now, long overdue.