Wallet Chain

The barfly that I love
is making out with some balding white dude
with a wallet chain.
Two suitors
have been circling her for hours,
each more hipster than the other.
I think the wallet chain was able to supply more drinks
so its owner
is sloppily grasping
the owner of my lonely heart.

From tables away
through my own brand of beer goggles
I see a look in her eyes
I can remember
from when we’d first met
and the world seemed new
and life was more like a buffet
and less like closing time
at an under-stocked arcade
when you hold
only a handful of tickets.

She’ll drink her fill of him,
my barfly will,
as she has, no doubt,
many before us
and will many afterwards.
She is seeking a taste of something,
I suspect,
that she has not yet found.

I wish I could have satisfied her.
I wish I knew
what flavor she was seeking
so I could supply it
and give her the drink that she wants.
I wish I could look away
from her
and the hipster in her arms
but I can’t
so instead
maybe I’ll get out my billfold
and get blind drunk.

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Studied Eyes

You know…
Really? I have to spell it out?
I can’t believe you’re putting me in this position.
I hate being this guy
but I have to tell you
that there’s a pecking order
a hierarchy
in just about every part of the world
and most certainly in our little place.

There’s an unseen structure
that guides our interpersonal dynamics
and those with keen eyes
– not yours –
can see it
can understand it
can appreciate, truly,
the necessity
the majesty
the elegant divine design
of our social order.

I’m sorry all of this wasn’t clear
to you.
You’re new
and can’t see things
the ways that studied eyes do.

In any case
in this pecking order
your opinions means
I’m sad to say
Your ideas are irrelevant.
Your beliefs do not merit discussion
and your voice needn’t be heard.
I wish this information
could have been imparted
at an earlier time
but, well, Leonardo,
you should have been able to absorb this
without my explanation.

So, for the foreseeable future
do mind your manners
and shut your mouth.

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Kodiak Bronze

I know.
You’re probably right:
you’re not worth it.
You can’t offer me anything close
to what I want;
you don’t have it in you.
And I don’t have it in me
to be satisfied with what you will provide
(it is, after all,
so very little).

And you’re right:
I will get over this.
It seems inconceivable
that I would stay in this state
interminably. Eventually,
I’ll escape this funk
and feel better about myself
and feel less bitterly about you.
Someday, I will think of you
with a smile.

Not today.
Is it obvious
you’re too important to me
for me to be wistful
and neutral
and happy.
I will come back to you
when I can see you
from the proper perspective.
I hope you’ll still be here
but if you’re not
by then
I guess it’ll be just as well.

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Big Bad Wolfe

Look, we can work this out.
We can talk to your roommate
or your super
or the building management.
We can talk to your friends
or that boyfriend you
– ex-boyfriend?
Oh, thank God.

There are still options.
It doesn’t have to be a cataclysm
or a catastrophe
and your cat doesn’t have to be left
out in the cold.
As said above,
you’ve got options.

You can find a share.
You can call your cousin.
You could try out one of those new
housing services, or
I’ve heard good things
about communes and cults these days…

There’s your sister.
There’s your mother.
There’s your ex-brother-in-law
or any variety of homeless shelters.
I can buy you insulated boxes
if you need to be on the street for a beat.

Look, you can’t come home.
I love you like a daughter
whose room has already been converted
but, after all the things we’ve said
and all the oaths you’ve sworn,
don’t you think it would admit defeat
to just come back here,
where you always felt so constricted,
so dependent, ineffective?

I can’t do that to you.
You need to be strong.
You can’t come home, baby.
I’m sorry.
I love you too much.
You can’t come home again.

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Feather Kisses

You’ve moved on
if ever you were truly here
to begin.
You seem happy together.
You make quite the pretty pair.

I think of him sliding upon you tonight
doing the things I never dared,
pleasing you in ways I was unprepared to.
I imagine how
in drunken throes
you stroke his hair
where he has it
and kiss his chest.
I picture the butterfly touches
and feather kisses you provide
and I am undone.

I know you’re better off.
I can see clearly
the perfection
you two could share.
I get it.
I understand your choice,
painting the portrait of you two tonight,
envisioning the joy
you might have,
your delicate strokes,
and then
in solidarity
I stroke myself in turn.

It is not enough
to take the pain away
but it brings something else
to the equation

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What is it about me
that causes so much dysfunction
in so many directions?
I’m a good guy
occasionally polite
sporadically charming.
I have been known to be funny
on several occasions
and can discuss at least four events
that are current.
With all of that in mind
why doesn’t your daughter like me?

I can see in her eyes
that she does not enjoy my company
or see much of value
in what I have to offer.
But what I have to offer
really, is so very much.
I own over forty Michael Moorcock novels
and a catalogic knowledge of mainstream comics
from the seventies and eighties.
Frankly, my dear,
who could ask for anything more?

And still she feigns disinterest!
What is it?
What can I do?
Who can I be
to gain her attention?
I’ll offer her candy
or treats of any other sort
if she looks my way.
I’ll get her a pony to ride
or a red corvette
or whatever animal she likes to draw.
Tell me how to bridge the distance
between your daughter and me.
I’m sick of it
and really don’t want a repeat
of her fourth birthday.

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And suddenly
my face is stone.
I am still.
I have no control over my cheeks,
my smile.
My eyes are open
but I’m not seeing.
My lips are quivering,
my nose shivering,
but nothing’s coming out.
Rictus has set in.
I am in stroke.
I am gone
while still right here
in this moment

I am not a man now
but a sounding board
a conduit for your feelings
any whims you might choose to express.

I am not any of the things
I anticipated at the start of this day.
All the hopes and expectations
have dissipated
while I remain, reduced,
reinterpreted into stone
and shame.

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Dad Bag

I carried a portion of my father
out to the island
because it is a place he knew
and loved well.

He would sit at the bay
so I opened the bag
and dropped a little on the bench
where he liked to sit.

I walked to the spot
where we studied sunsets
and salted the cement
with the ashes I held.

I delivered him to the library
the beach and other areas
he had appreciated
in more active times

and then brought the dad bag
to the dock
which first received me
and let the rest of him fall,
scattered by the bay
which had delivered all of us
at one time
to the island.

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Dancing to the End

A hearty welcome to our invading conquerors!
We wish you well
as you approach our gates
with glory in your chests
and booty in your eyes.

May you see many things
worth pillaging
and few people who require slaughter
as we are a proud people
– proud of our flexibility
and willingness to bend
at the whims of our oppressors.
We hope you enjoy your stay
on our shores
and want for nothing
that cannot easily be taken.

If there is rapine to be done
please take advantage of our conveniently located pleasure centers identified by the word Penitentiary
at the entrance.
You will find a suitable population
available for your carnal desires
and if you have need of munitions
with which to further harass and destroy,
we wish you luck in finding them
for at the end of the day
don’t we all want the same thing:
the destruction of our enemies?
That’s rhetorical, of course,
we locals want merely to be left safe and secure
as you come through our territory
prepared to do what you will.
If you find any weaponry here,
we really don’t know where it came from.

As you look down upon our cowed streets
and defeated avenues
from your lofty position of superiority
we truly hope you have the time
of your genocidally victorious lives
in our fine land
and that you enjoy your wonderful
and brief

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Appointments and Scheduling

Yes, I suppose it’s possible.
I might be able to move some things around
I could have the meeting the next day
and I don’t need to stop by the bar
to see Delilah (she might not be there
It’s all in the realm of possibility
is it really necessary?
I mean, how important is this event, anyhow?
Really, your daughter’s funeral
could not come at a worse time.

No, I understand.
It’s so rare to have your kids predecease you.
It’s a once in a lifetime affair.
I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you
but is the date set in stone?
Wouldn’t a Thursday make more sense
for the flow of the week?
I’m just suggesting it
as an alternate.
Hear me out.

If you move it up
you can be more selective with your invite list.
If you move it up
you might get a better price on the room.
If you move it up
it leaves the weekend still available
for bigger ticket events.
It’ll probably flow much better
for your higher profile attendees.

Consider it. Maybe we can work something out
or maybe I can make the appointed time work
or maybe
you could wait
until your daughter actually dies
instead of doing this kind of crap
every time she goes into the doctor’s office?

Either way
I’m there for you
convenient or no.

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