The Beloved Others
In dreams    we turned on the lumpy mattress 
to spoon    It was a fluke we slept ourselves    
We missed the eclipse of the harvest moon    
after lightning struck the elm    Past this age
our luck will yellow to a cadence bound 
in rhyme    or hearing reverb’s slack echo
empty noise        stuck            in time     
—roommate’s boot crunch    travel over gravel
Before the strip club    he drank a whole wine 
spritzer party ball    He mocks our blooming 
onion—mocks the wine bar in the strip mall
His bedtime disaster? Stove top—burning butter
Dirt path   through the thicket   rotting plums molder
Upright and apart we surrender 
to the sun. To the end I’m the other    
witness to shrug. We officiate debt, 
we bury change on tiptoe. Her cooling 
bread—cultured tomato. I praise raw youth 
purple with scheme, I catch full ball, yield 
music free. Before her waking she ate 
church linoleum. Luck-lack stuck-drank struck—
fluke, mocks yellow. By oven success or raw      
poverty’s meat dough. Rotting-plums, burning—
butter, missed-eclipse, molder. By design 
I grape flatter, blooming onions—surrender.
Passing, she applaud both phone booth & empty road; 
we stop at the parking lot where waxed apples grow.
I Erased Her Then We Erased Each Other
Why resembles why when I say there’s need.
Just look, an entire paper fruit in my hand.
If I had one in my body I would know why.
Church is all chant, tongues or holes to be filled 
like naked albatross have to wear monsters 
of the word, and like that painting of fog 
that fill the sailor with drink, I party 
with hair, eyes in the woods, in the night, man.
Sex is what the mouth eats itself. The things 
a smile means. What do fertility rites    know 
    of the world? I wish to say nothing, 
to make a new version of eat, but boobs 
when I see them bring on wonder. I fall 
under a funny word. 
The color as tools are really black
the sound of rubbing feathers 
peacocks hear. Maybe first love as spring
not summer, not autumn, but achieves 
an I love and not at all attached 
to I smell her poetry wet with promise 
of boob, like blood, meat stained pink.
I guess what happens when what happens faces 
the sun. I never turn into an old man.
I want to hold her and soon enough, sheesh.
Not man, saint, sheep when I started standing 
on the chair, found I slipped after the time 
I told her I’d change. Only peacocks hear 
the ring of wanting to pull apart.
Next Time Choose the Switch
Times dad whooped my ass with the belt 
the whistle of leather played a mute note
like a flung knob of mashed potatoes sliding 
down the grease-stained cupboard door. 
In the lull while he rested, the dull 
fluorescent hum was no balm, though I tried
to stay, no, to live inside the moment      he
re-clenched his grip. The belt played 
a new one, chopped out a staccato 
rhythm where the leather rubbed his calloused
hand. Its squeak more bass than our two 
Styrofoam ice chests jostling against each other
behind the back seat of the baby blue Suburban 
as we drove over a washboard dusty desert road.
Between buzzing waves where welts wore, 
where once I thought my ass was, I can’t 
even remember what the original crime was. 
Was I late home for dinner? Had I trashed
with thrown 
dirt clods the neighbor’s cherried-out 
aquamarine boat-tail Riviera? No, that was 
long past. When he sighed and said 
five more I wished I had chosen the switch
which I would have cut too thin, and which 
by now he’d have snapped then cursed 
and quit.