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

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

Curio

I take things and keep things, no sense of regret
but things still remain there, right where they were set

I take things, display things, and covet them too
but I am no thief sir, look here’s what I do

I take with my eyes a thing’s copy in light
and things with my ears, when I did hear them right

I take what I felt with a brush of my hand
and the flavors from dinner, unless they were bland

I keep things in memory, my curio shelves
describe to my guests what they can’t see themselves

I touch things by knowing and recall things, and yet
do forget things as well now, the older I get

~

When the lamp in his curio finally grows dim
it will flicker, go dark—oh well, too bad for him

Book of Rain

Humidity palpates the heedless air
then, blue nits pound the city dust
and china cabinets rattle in its thrall
a piano falls out of it, a pulled
muscle, a gash in silence, the ivories are
fisted in pedal depressed clusters
divided by earth into sky
upturned at the brim of its bay
buckles the paper, warps its print

We scatter seeking cover, but
the sky is our cover, the rain covers
and rends the book of sights
now the thrill of lost footings
leaping curbside puddles
I feel suddenly late for something
and after, I cannot begin
to catalog all the sounds
now that it is quiet

_

This bit was started shortly after TS Imelda inundated the Upper Texas Coast with absurd amounts of rainfall, and has since been revised and rewritten, modified and culled dozens of times. Raining, as it is this morning, I had better go ahead and send it on its way. “A piano falls out of it,” was the seed that germinated.