The Fading Pride of All Lions

something like a fish on the gaff feels or the
gauze touch of worn jean pockets it’s something
that falls between those two

like drinking cold ether to the sound
of thunder to the sound of a slamming
doors fight across the hall that would take
having a nightmare to understand

in the fading pride of all lions in the lions’
eyes the moon is trying to have a look at your
heart to hear your heart thump like dryer shoes like
a faraway falling bombs war

or remember
the wet whisky mouth of a lover
and remember it
like it was something that fell so
beautifully from the sky that its
beauty made you hate how cruel
and ugly
you then found the world

Burn Package

let’s some cottonseed wine
and toast the pride of kings
but fair warning
I laugh then
become a nightmare
the one where animals chase you

—no wine for you
—I know, I know.

…so, a solitary toast then
to pearls before swine
and sulphur match eyes
and crossword puzzles and sleep and
the simple sober joys of whatever.

now that is done
and fair sailing to you
the ocean find you gently amen.


thanks for asking, I’m fine

I had cigarettes for breakfast
I have three broken teeth and
you can see the women adore me
and their men
they fear me like a god.
on my way down the street
after another immortal conquest
all the neighborhood dogs follow me
a smiling parade of wagging tails
and oh, the cats—
I know all their REAL names
they come purring and rolling when I call
they never make a move for the sparrows on my shoulder
I am stronger than all Russian bombs
so sharp I can’t be used
for fear of breaking my edge
my soul is the spirit of the dandelion
growing in the sidewalk crack
and like plastic grave flowers I last
I am the no shape of fire
I was never born, only nursed
in a kind of forge
put into shape by hammers and heat
and I drift like forest fire ashes to the ground
I am the solitary moment of suicide,
and my voice is the thunder of buffalo
driven mad eyes and off the cliff
by the sound of a whistle
and in my chest
my heart is…

how are you?

The First Son of the World

we can only hope to carry on now
knowing the very first sound was only
water against rocks
a sound of transferred faith
the last sound will be something similar
nothing else is worth knowing.

but here we are
and we can’t escape July heat or
afraid for your midnight toes out of blankets
or silent faraway lightning
sit your plastic chair and watch

our only hope is
grow a soul so big
that the comfort of rain
or the collusion of spirits could
never whisper your ear a promise
or a threat
you cannot contain
that you do not already contain


you will answer for
the land mine
the graveyard
the geometry of those crosses on the hill
poison gas artillery
factories night and day
turning out missing limbs

you will explain how
we came down from the trees
to tame and stop rivers
how we touched the moon
and all we’ve ever found
is worry and murder

you will clarify how
the movies get it wrong
it’s not the explosion
it’s the shrapnel
like smashed Indian pottery
that gets the job done

you will account for how
we even weaponized balloons.
of all things

quiet please
the court will come to order
we’re not quite finished
the defendant will remain standing