Chit for Chat

breaking up the ice for the
lack of warmth to melt it, float
a smile, sample the kool-aid

can we ever say anything
that finds its mark, or hear anything
that doesn’t confirm a conceit?

icebergs have their own momentum
parts unseen, underneath

we mobbed the place
in formations, like teeth
crowding into a mouth, behind lips
pressed together in a hum
a lullaby, in the face of it

I can count on the fingers
of two-and-a-half thousand hands
the deflections all the many mouths
have muttered, the reasons for
not seeing what no one
wanted to see

the impossible thing
in plain view

And the elder gods looked down upon us
and all that we had done, and with grave countenance
called upon the Faerie Oracle for guidance, and came she
into the hall, emerged she from her trance, fixed them
all with a haggard and frightening grimace, and
proclaimed she, “send Greta!”

Bell Strike

You don’t get to keep anything
Outside of these temporary configurations

The coil is always the coil, it’s the
Dispositions, born mortal, that shuffle off

We are bell-strikes with ears, clinging
To our own sound

Soothed in this melodious gestalt, let’s
Stay, just a while longer

Dreaming the Jitterbug

My leg is asleep
and dreaming the jitterbug
and once it wakes up
I’ll be able to walk around
like a person with places to go

And my leg will fondly
recall its dream, and put
a little kick in my happy step
and it will all be good, unless
I think about it too much

A Prosecutor Prepares for the Testimony of Mr. Carlos Santana

Thank you for testifying today Mr. Santana, let’s get started.

Concerning the Black Magic Woman you wrote of, to be clear is this a woman who practices black magic, or a black woman who practices an unspecified type of magic? Would stage magic be considered a valid type of magic in this instance?

When did you first suspect that the Black Magic Woman was trying to make a devil out of you? Is being a devil something you have attempted unsuccessfully on your own?

Is it possible that your own perhaps unacknowledged desire to be a devil is what drives your relationship with the Black Magic Woman?

Let’s move on to your baby and her alleged evil ways.

Now, when you arrived home on the night in question, you stated that your house was dark. Aren’t you in the habit of shutting off lights when you leave the house? Isn’t it true that you have no real concerns about the lights being off, except to imply that your baby was not at home when you expected her to be. Where were you, and who were you with, prior to returning home?

As to the pots which you claim were cold, you stated that they were, and I quote, “my pots,” so this was cookware that you yourself had purchased? Is it your view that your baby is somehow solely responsible for heating up pots that she doesn’t even own?

When you complain that your baby’s ways are evil, isn’t it based on your own view that her role in the relationship is to be subservient, and that you are being overly zealous in detecting deviation from this desired norm?

Is it possible, Mr. Santana, that what you describe as “running around” is simply your baby’s pursuit of an ordinary and healthy social life?

You have complained that you feel compelled to be ‘runnin and hidin all over town,’ and also ‘sneakin and peepin’ etc. This sounds exhausting. What is it that compels you to do these things, if not an exaggerated sense of suspicion or jealousy?

This issue you have of feeling like a clown, did you seek counseling? Is it possible that you are projecting your own sublimated inadequacies onto your baby, in the form of blame?

(possible objection: witness is not a psychologist)

Is your baby as well acquainted with the Black Magic Woman as you are? Have they ever even met?

How did your baby respond when you threatened to stop loving her? Are you sure she’s still your baby? Have you checked lately? Why do you never refer to your baby by her given name? Surely she has one. You refer to her friends Jean and Joan by their names.

(possible objection: badgering)

Are there any women at all, Mr. Santana, that you admire, or even approve of?

Mr. Santana, are you familiar with the term “woke?”

(Note: Evil Ways is a great song with very stupid lyrics.)

Confidence Game

An ice cream truck on a neighborhood street
jingles a malign rendition of the The Sting
its notes warped, tempo ill-kept

The future is out for delivery, youngsters
clamor for ice cream sandwiches and evening books
lodging for the night, rises from its sleep

There’s something of the grifter in time’s passing
the done light signals a message, with a
surreptitious touch to the side of its nose

And things will go wrong for someone, somewhere
at some point, but they savvy buy into it
craft a destiny in relief, a slant reckoning

Even though time is there, in the shadows
selecting a point between past and future, for fate
to pull a fast one on some gullible bit of luck