The Senators (Loaded for Bear
(for Bob Heman)
The senators are trampling through this poem like legislative deer caught in the rosebushes.
Some are wearing Republican-red coats; others, blue ties in the shape of England. They have flag
pins over their lapels, but they pledge allegiance to the bears. Their national anthem is black
bear. The state of their union is brown bear. Their vote on climate change is polar bear. Their
stance on guns is silence; instead, they cast unanimous ayes in favor of winter. The senators
waddle single file like a row of German ducklings, orderly but defeated. They sit in sandboxes of
mud, with bloody paws and pockets full of dirty money. When recess is called, they pack up
their soapboxes and bullhorns, and retreat to various golf courses or corrupt caves.
Heart (a sonnet)
Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better
Dick Cheney got a new heart. To replace the one he was missing at birth.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. It’s red like the devil’s horns on his head.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. So he can triple bypass the abject poor.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. He can jog—but, for God’s sake, don’t let him run.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. It has no left atrium and no left ventricle.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. It has four fully loaded echo chambers.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. It ticks like a weapon of mass deconstruction.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. He invented the term A-fib.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. With a sticker that says I Heart Halliburton.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. It beats like the one in The Wizard of Oz.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. How about a little waterboarding, Scarecrow?
Dick Cheney got a new heart. But I don’t think he’ll send me a valentine this year.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. As the guilty donor sighs in his grave.
Dick Cheney got a new heart. Let him live and be well . . . and shut his heartless mouth.
(from Habeas Corpus: Glass Lyre Press, 2015)
I am waiting for the Age of Anxiety to drop dead.
Anxiety went gentle into that good dawn with its white fingers and dumb mouth, pendulum of panic, cap of migraine, dark cape of fear. It free-floated out the false window, sweated and shivered through the unhinged door. It had stayed too long like a meddling mother-in-law, but now Anxiety has gotten the hell out of Dodge and dodged its way out of Hell. It was sucked under a house in Kansas, leaving upturned feet in black-striped stockings and ruby slippers. Anxiety has boarded the plane with its Xanax and shoebomb, its straitjacket, its flask full of angry cortisol. Anxiety has succumbed to biofeedback, asanas, hot baths, long walks, Baptist prayer, and chamomile tea. Anxiety has hyperventilated its last labored breath. Anxiety has gone to that great cuckoo’s nest in the sky, and now what will I do with this strange cauldron of calm?
CliffsNotes for Whitman’s “Song of Myself”
(or, How to Pare Down 52 Stanzas Into One)
Grass. Workmen. Equality. Yawp, yawp, yawp. Boot soles. Any questions?
(previously published in MonkeyBicycle)
The Poet's Stages of Labor (ars poetica)
(previously published in a broadside by Marymark Press)
From needles of unthreaded knots
(a scissored sentence in mid-air motion)
From sandless deserts of windblown words
(a salty sea of sadness)
From this tangled tongue of untamed tangents
I turn unplowed fields of fragment
into fertile ground.
Warning to Ekphrastic Poets
(with apologies to my many ekphrastic-writing friends)
Explications of art: better left unsaid
especially when the painter is dead
o' Ekphrastic Poet, what I'm trying to drive home
is that van Gogh and Picasso
would have hated your poem