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Jesus and Me and a Pack of Camels

I like to talk to Jesus when I chain smoke.
Tell him what’s working and what isn’t.
Ask him if the things I’m doing are right.
(I think by simply asking I’m confirming they aren’t)
    The daylight never really feels like prayer light
    And I get honest on the back porch under the moon.
So I talk and he listens and I listen but he’s silent.
I’m still learning his language. I think its carried by lunar beams and crickets and the gentle wind.
    Sometimes I wonder, if he was standing next to me
      As I pulled another cigarette from the pack
        Would he take it from my hands
          Or quietly offer me a light?

and, Michigan

Our country is drenched in oil

and your body is

                           Flint–

has rubbed together

all the dry books you read.

                           You learned nothing

                            about how polluted

                            friendly people can be

like too much lead in water.

Say What You Will

Our town ventriloquist
amazed without a dummy,
putting his words into the mouths
of local people and their pets.

Politicians on TV certainly benefited.
It took skill, so few of us even bothered moving our lips
after a few years of silence and/or doubt.

Especially uncomfortable conversations
he would have with himself

when neighbors weren’t around to hear.

After Orlando

1
The Angel of Death had yellow—
and-black wings that looked
gold and gray in the setting sun.

You can be killed any time
by someone you don’t know.

2
My mother’s side of the family doesn’t
exist anymore. Someone killed them all—

had them gassed, shot, hanged, injected.
I can’t think too much about it without

feeling I’m meeting the person I might’ve
been. Billions of us occupy the same small

planet, but it only seems like we’re sharing...

 

An Epistle to Alzheimer’s

The man leaning over the window is volatile. The winds could carry him without a trace of noise, particularly on a night like this. His eyes are contorted by a sudden loss of memory, his fingers tap restlessly on the sill. His voice is nebulous—a gathering of clouds in pursuit of its shadows. Everything seems to be lost here, even his body.

He leans closer to the mirror to realize he has lost it. Where did it go? 
Answers seem to evade his feeble ears.

Somewhere far away, a horse neighs softly. That is his voice, it dawns upon him. His reality. When he drapes it around himself, the moon will no longer be a stranger. The sun a myth. He will stop wondering about the stars in the horizon, their irreparable losses.
Perhaps, someday.

 

My Demise

after a career of running guns
in North Africa, Rimbaud succumbed
                        to either syphilis
or carcinoma (depends on who you've read)
in Marseille in the care of his sister,
            much as he had written.

he was thirty-seven–
same age as Mozart.

Zen Masters, it is said,
recite a poem at the exact
moment of their death,
often ending with
the exclamation "Ha!"–
            whereupon
                they die...
 

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