The Dead

I’m still inhaling
that smell of beer
on dead people’s breath.

Sexy Eiffel Tower!

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Poem for October Shootings

Another autumn comes
to get the trees stoned,
to squeeze your hand
with thin and late light
a little on this street
that’s shaded by all these
ancient sycamores. You love
the scraggy sounds
those giant leaves
make when, dried-out,
they fall, and run like rats
down the street when wind
comes around that corner
that’s actually a dive bar.
The soul spittoon’s only windows
are narrow glass cinder blocks,
castle slits, so you’re spared
from seeing the dead/dying
who sit in there and watch
a small television
in the moist underworld,
who sometimes shoot each other
dead-for-real just outside the door
of this cave establishment,
because someone else just said
what they were already
thinking about themselves
in a cruelly honest way.

Her Husband, Who Lives in Bars

A spaniel runs through a field
of wildflowers, purple, white lace and goldenrod,
and it is nobody’s dog
and doesn’t even know it is Tuesday
or that it is now called “missing,”
though it intends to return
to the arms of the one it loves,
and plant a sloppy kiss
on an angry mouth,

the dog solution to everything.

Bryce, My Shirt

I am wearing a shirt I named Bryce. My name is not Bryce. The shirt just looks like a “Bryce.” So I named it that. I think I bought this one drunken, summer afternoon in Kohl’s. I don’t know how many years ago. I was probably talking to the shirt. I was alone. I was probably very happy. That was the way it was then, euphoria in-between the hours like broken windshield glass cutting through me. I mean when I was an alcoholic. But I did have a shitload of credit cards then. I was responsible. Because I wanted my addiction to continue.  I was probably wearing sunglasses inside the store. I was probably sexually attracted to Bryce. What does Bryce even look like? Bryce looks like a hideously ugly tattoo. Let me take off the shirt and stare at it. Let me study Bryce for you. Let me pay the horror forward. There is a big electric looking dragon, blue body againt egg yolk-yellow background, snaking across the back of the shirt. Below this dances a series of higgledy-piggledy human skulls that look a little like they were applied as drab, white spray-paint.  If Bryce was a human being and not just a shirt, he would probably have to pay for sex. He’s that ugly. But I found him just now in the back room of my house; he was convenient; he was there. So I am wearing him. If this were Chinatown, if it were 1974, Bryce might just get lucky. If there were any sexually ambiguous bikers out on the block. Bryce would probably wilt in the Chinatown heat. He would melt as his cheap, synthetic fibers would under an iron, if that man were to just reach over and put his hands through the holes of Bryce’s sleeves. He’s a terribly shiny, terribly easy shirt.