After the Burn

Bukowski met a Dutchman
at a Philly bar in the 40’s.
The seventy-something sat
with a straight, broad back
and cracked three raw eggs
into each pint he drank.

Bukowski, a frail, twenty-something
virgin, felt afraid in the Dutchman’s
presence, this seventy-something,
still strong, a working man,
a dying breed, although immortal
now, thanks to the sickly little
man with a funny name. The difference
between each like that of starvation
and anorexia, one true, the other contrived.

It don’t matter
what it is,
whether fear or desire,
or absence,
as long as it’s real,
the flame that is.

do the dishes

i feel like a nightmare ̶

scooped peas out of a stained sink

w/ fingers all chewed up

terror phantasmic skull cave-in

the kind of feeling that’s like a premonition

i’ve done this thousands of times

worked menial mechanized organic motions

thru spacing ̶ being there

not being there

thoughts that could make good poems

but thoughts aren’t that easy

the trick is poetry

and feeling like a nightmare

every once in awhile

doesn’t hurt

To Wear Disease Around Your Neck

The ebola necklace at the flea market

was not in the shape of a microbial

ambiguous blur, nor did its reddened

insides resonate on a blue slide.

No, the item was not an artist’s rendering

of some surreal flattened figure.

The ebola necklace gemstone

was a vial in which liquid

shifted as its steel chain-link swung

before the pale vendor gushing

about the ebola necklace.

The worm-like replication

floated peacefully in its cage

hanging from a wooden rack

among the inane as privileged customers

laughed while touching the novelty,

the disease only temporary to them;

it, the object between plump, pallid fingers ̶

the ebola necklace at the flea market.

humanity within

That man sees beyond
this passing train as he holds
his son's restless hand 
fingering for tomorrow.
 
A moment we sit
in, staring in,
thru ruins, pounded gray 
pavement, crumbled red
brick, black
asphalt 
 
canyons children cannot escape
from unless in death. 
 
That man's eyes, no less
darker than the altered 
ground from which his boy
will grow,
are blind to mine
 
as I see myself standing
in his place
amidst a decayed city
grasping onto the limb
of an invisible sapling.