Monthly Archives: August 2010

Villanelle for a Zombie

Life is a challenge for the living dead.
It’s not a life that anyone would choose.
You’ll be all right if you can keep your head.

Despite whatever Hollywood has said,
you can’t know ‘til you’ve walked in zombie shoes.
Life is a challenge for the living dead.

When all who see you regard you with dread,
you have no opportunities to schmooze.
You’ll be all right if you can keep your head

and find those tasty folks who haven’t fled.
It’s simple when you know to look for clues.
Life is a challenge for the living dead

elseways. Many a ghoul has been misled
by background noises that only confuse.
You’ll be all right if you can keep your head

and hope another part gets shot instead.
It’s really not much of a pleasure cruise.
Life is a challenge for the living dead;
you’ll be all right if you can keep your head.

The Tree/ A Jurassic flower; Size it’s/ Super power; Time no match/ For woods

Shall I compare Tree to a Jurassic flower?
Trees art more sturdy and more resilient.
Rough centuries do shake the darling buds of Evolution.
And Jurassic’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too frail the hand of heaven designs,
And often is his gold petal trimm’d;
And every generation from generation sometimes declines;
By chance, or time’s steady course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal Era shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that generation thou owest;
Nor shall Extinction brag thou cool’st with thy shade,
Where in eternal soils of time thou growest;
So long as leaves can breathe, or roots tap free,
So long lives this and this gives life to tree.

What Comes Out When the Sun Does

His hair is gray; he is older. The way he speaks suggests that he is, in addition, wiser. His tone threatens to teach me a lesson. I transition from humoring him to reading my book, rereading the first page of the third story several times. I try to decide if I am young and impenetrable and stubborn. I think he is just overstepping his boundaries; he is the worst kind of cynical, unaware and feigning joy.

Eventually I outright ignore him, give him more fodder for hating my generation. He tells me that his bike was stolen, that he’s written a letter to the culprit to be published in the local paper. In the letter he dares the thief to come to his home. After he is certain I am aware of his bravery, he informs me of his quiet and observant side. His neighbor’s an interesting guy who has stolen one of his library books; he sighs and tells me he keeps his distance from transients. Too many people in and out of his life; he’s been hurt, he’s damaged, I assume this is how I’m supposed to interpret it.

I am patient, as I’ve been taught to be. I try again to engage him; discuss the stories I’ve just read with him. I watch him, waiting to speak, and give in. I pause, allow for his interruption. When he announces the death of letter writing, accuses the rest of the world for letting it die, I don’t have it in me to argue. I file him under things not to become, push my fingertip against my arm to see if I’m burning.

Escape Route

What’re you more afraid of, zombie plagues
or tidal waves? Aliens or earthquakes?
Lava flash floods? Spontaneous combustion?
Werewolf terrorists? Tornadoes from the Black
Lagoon? What’s your contingency plan?

You should have a bag prepared, filled
with emergency supplies: water; flashlights;
batteries; matches; NASA food pouches;
one of those funky space blankets, maybe;
a whistle; some rope; a deck of cards.

Or better yet, scratch these words from
your list of acceptable adjectives describing
a potential home: rural, isolated, hot, cold,
populous, Southwestern, Transylvanian.
Unless you don’t have a problem dying unexpectedly.

You should probably avoid cities altogether,
too many unnecessary dangers. Rioting, disease,
economic collapse, subway accidents, indigenous
populations of subterranean mole people,
rat infestation, terrorism, Scientology.

I guess you can’t live by the coast, though, either:
tidal waves; tsunamis; asteroid impacts causing
sheer walls of salty water eighties stories tall
to descend upon your home; mutant jellyfish.
But honestly, who’d want to live away from the ocean?

Can’t go to Japan (Godzilla), China (communists),
Russia (Russians), or anywhere that’s too hot,
for fear of constant ultra-violet exposure.
Definitely don’t go to California, ever. Deathtrap.
Australia’s nice, if you want dingoes to eat your baby.

There’s no escaping it; you are going to die
where you live unless you find a way to escape
to somewhere less deadly, though it’s fairly
safe to assume you’ve got a good chance of
dying there, too. Not gonna lie, it sucks to be you.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Paul sat in his darkened room, alone, but not lonely, with his favorite blue sheets pulled up over his head, enwrapping him in sky. Two large, cushioned cans hugged his ears like clouds, billowing as he in turn wrapped his arms along those sleek vinyl curves. This was the way that Paul preferred to listen to his music. It was an absolute immersion, one that enabled him to get lost between the thuds of the deepest rhythms and drown in seas of reverb, stripping his essence bare until that warm, familiar Telecaster twang reached out its hand to save him -— a solace that smothered him in ecstasy.

But Paul forgot to close the door. A trapezoid of white light from the open crack bisected the room, its radiance the white heat of a candle in a dripping black cavern. It was enough to expose his sweaty body as it rustled between the sheets.

“Paul?” a voice spoke from the shelves, interrupting the throes of his atmospheric passion. “Paul, is that you?”

Paul pulled the sheets down just enough so could see, while still covering the rest of his exposed being. “Wilco? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Oh God. Listen, I — it’s not what you think, I —”

“Is that —,” Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot swallowed hard, afraid to speak the truth that it already knew. “Is that the new The National album?”

“No! Well, yes, it is. But — I can explain!”

It was too late. The trapezoid of light from the door fell precisely on his bed, theatrically illuminating Paul’s infidelity. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot could clearly see his right hand rubbing and caressing the grooves of The National: High Violet‘s coarse plastic flesh.

“After all we’ve been through, Paul. After all these years together, this is how you treat me?” cried Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with a shrill of a turntable needle scratching its soul. “You just…throw it all away when some other hyped-up indie band’s follow-up album comes along? Is that it?”

Paul looked over at The National: High Violet, trembling, hoping to find support. But all he saw was black.

“Where was The National when Chloe dumped you, huh?” continued Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. “Or when you had to move back to your parents’ house for that year. Do you even remember what I told you? I said I’ll love you, baby.”

“Look, it’s…it’s not you, okay? It’s me. I’ll always love you — I am the man who loves you — but The National just connects to a different part of me, and…I wanted to feel that part come alive.”

There was a pause, as the two lovers stood in gridlock, both unsure of what to do next. Finally, Paul broke the silence:

“If I could, you know I would —”

But Wilco cut him off. “No, Paul,” it said. “I’m sorry. It’s too late. But who knows? Maybe distance has a way of making love understandable.”

And that’s when the record stopped spinning.

Conference Hotel Haiku

Sound, and then fury.

And then, of course, sound again.

Hello, housekeeping!

It’s a Jungle in There

In City Zoo gorillas
two with bananas
the day pass.

With air of ceremony
drops ape peel
atop the grass.

With eye
sharp captivating
primate looks away.

“It’s not” gorilla
says “my turn
to vacuum today.”