“Plus Ca Change,” “Telling” and “About Last Night”
That swagger-daddy On the Red Line el
asks the auntie if she’s Spanish
she’s Italian he requests a sex act:
poor lady won’t muster insult or outrage
and we roll our eyes on her behalf. Read more.
“Linn Junction,” “Midwestern Blues,” and “Dear Capitalism”
My father built the cabin by the river
himself, and built me a treehouse
on the riverbank and two kinds of swings:
one with a tire you sit on and one to hang
on upright. We found a wounded duckling
near the pond, and nursed it back to health. Read more.
“wakeup,” “Popular,” and “Landlocked Lament”
with a hodgepodge pile of stuff
to make a bouillabaisse or salad of leaves
build a mansion or lean-to shack
protect from elements and enemies
fashion a tiara or a sassy sash
so as not to scare the children Read more.
“Self Portrait as Poet,” “Work Friends,” and “Now Playing”
Poet, you mama’s girl, so bad at volleyball, first dates, job interviews, your albatross of asymmetry flung floorward like an eloquent glove, ironic as that yellow pedestrian yield sign on Chestnut Street, permanently pavement-flattened. Read more.
“On the Way to Conception” and “Different Folks”
My parents loved each other but it’s unlikely no one was harmed
on the long, broad path to my conception, and as for fidelity,
my mitochondrial DNA is British all the way to the damsel
du chambre of Queen Philippa, born in Tonbridge Castle,
mother unknown, fathered by Edward’s ambidextrous favorite. Read more.
“Chicago (After Ginsberg),” “When You Spot Your Flower” and “The Spring-Bringer”
Chicago I fell in love with you at first sight in May 1975.
I wore that green dress and you wore the Lake.
You were the Big Man in the Midwest.
I was 15, you were 138.
I gave you the best years of my life when I thought you had given them to me. Read more.
“It’s October,” “Professin’” and “Fitting In”
and, just back from the Farmer’s Market, the last of the year, I’m wearing a summer sweatshirt the amber and aubergine of falling leaves. The cats mill expectantly, for what I know not. Read more.
The Rules of Improv
Lainie emerged from her shock, lying on her side in the driveway surrounded by a black wreath of cleft-chinned superheroes in boots and helmets. She noted the gravel in her hair before wincing at the tenderness of two small broken bones in her left hand, various bruised ribs, and shrapnel-inflicted gash above her ankle.
It was a mistake any mortal could make, exploding her gas grill by forgetting to open the lid before turning on the gas. Read more.