Numbers

Numbers make such interesting phrases.  Lucky seven. Eleventh-hour decision. Phony as a three-dollar bill. Three sheets to the wind.

A Charm

Three times she said yes,
felt it in her body like champagne.
Sure this was it. Now, her time.

Three times saying no,
a small pebble on his tongue,
polished his resolve into steel.

Temptation more than once,
floundering then steady.
A sweet blessing on the tongue.

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Cliché

I’m always chasing firsts. How things start. Why things begin. What is next. Who thought of that. Who cares.

 

Deconstruction

 

A man walks into a bar.

Why always man?
This walks is bothersome too.
Bars and prepositions.
How passé.

 

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Plain

I like unadorned things. Useful things. Clean. Clear. Without artifice.

 

Simple

 

ice on a melted day
sleep in darkened rooms
sheets a cool embrace


golden raisins, purple
olives and goat cheese
a creamy salted-sweet melange


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La Musica

Sleep comes on like a tidal wave. What follows is what happens when you have to write a poem in 15 minutes after sleep has left you marooned.

Salsa

it starts deep, an itch
looking for the scratch
a little twitch          one spot
gives way to undulation
hips under sway
neck flicking side
a lado con gusto
cuerpo moving, soul afuego

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Transmogrification

So much of ourselves seem to originate outside consciousness, outside volition. Thoughts, feelings. Our obsessions. We’re always trying to figure ourselves out, aren’t we?

Interrogation

The words come molasses thick
dark, slow, and sticky on the page
some jaw-achingly sweet
most steeped in earthiness
musky and elemental

It’s best not to question them
in the blooded heat
of generation      their where
and how wait just beyond reach

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Polyglot

In Sorrento (Italy), I once had a conversation with a shopkeeper in English, Italian, French, and Spanish. Of course, I spoke primarily English, she Italian. When we ran out of common words in those two languages, I asked if she knew any Spanish; she asked if I knew any French. Our mutual answer was “a little”. We switched between languages plugging in shared words to cover lapses.

 

Human

 

From my mouth shukran flows
natural in the wake of generosity
although the word is from a place
I’ve never been

Beginning a journey or task
I speak ojalá as blessing
insha’allah, a second bow
to the Divine

I yearn to be better
better than self, yet I cannot
deny this schadenfreude
comeuppance’s dark joy

 

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Will Out

We all like what we like. Even when we’re not aware of our predisposition.

From Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, 1596 (Act 2, Scene 2, Page 3):

LAUNCELOT:

Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man’s son
may, but at the length truth will out.

Unveiling


is this the night
after all those words

cyphers into flesh
blood does confess

the I written
becomes
the I seen



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Chromotherapy

I bought an arty kimono shirt today. The graphics are awash in mustard and russet, indigo and green. It reminds me of a Klimt painting. I love color: deep pigments from the earth, the saturated palette of jewels. I wear color as life-saving/life-giving medicine.

Chromatics

today was fuschia, she felt
lips and shirt in liaison
lately she has felt violet  
a vixen of purple persuasion
deep sapphire of a cocked brow
underneath, heart understandably crimson
sometimes glowing cherry in excitement
settling then to a satisfied garnet
thought herself, finally, a contented plum
her night ends in iteration
linens paletted in sepia, bronze, copper
mirror of all flesh
back again to beginning

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Collective

Summer is in the air. We Floridians all are victim to its golden kiss. Golden not just from the sun but also from all the excess pollen. Everything is dancing too — either it’s the scorching concrete against tender feet or the libidinous dusting of thousands, if not millions, of plants. 

 

Menagerie

 

Sometime after a flood of rain,
a brown cascade of small live things
moves through the damp grass, across
the steaming sidewalk in front of shadows.

Crickets? Tiny brown grasshoppers?
Just an endless cloud of frogs, small
as dimes, numerous as pennies
pitched away on a gamble.
Later an ibis wedge sprawls two-
lanes wide. A lone bird, self-
appointed pathfinder, stands point
while cars and fowl puddle midlane.

Overhead, a dazzle of zebra
butterflies swarm rain-drunk blooms:
buttercups, a prism of coneflowers.
A lone moth, brazen dare in daylight,
selects a regal floral perch.

 

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Road Trip

When I was a kid, I loved old movies. Abbott and Costello. Martin and Lewis. Hope and Crosby. Mishaps and wrong turns. Laughter and travel. Or maybe it was the whole buddy thing. Bonding over a shared experience. Whatever it was, I always felt like I had escaped something from own life and had a glimpse of something to which I wanted to return.

 

Road Trip

 

It wasn’t exactly Martin and Lewis but it felt close.
First leg of our cross country jaunt and almost over.
He secured the final hitch, warning over his shoulder
Remember, you can’t back this baby up. Always
pull through. He patted the Uhaul’s side, handed
the keys to you. We huddled over the map, paper
those days and turn-by-turn, and plotted our start.
Tired from steering the freighter-weight truck, you
aimed for the closet space, forgetting the car
hitched behind until almost too late.

That night we both shivered at the near miss.
I became captain of our ship because my yelp
Don’t! made the near miss a reality. From there
we drove almost without mishap, telling each other
stories of other almost-was and never-had beens,
thank God. We saw this country from marsh to flat,
open lands to crops to open again. At times only we
held the road, sign after sign touting giant rodents
and other unnatural wonders. I hadn’t signed on
for such things but was glad I’d shared them with you.