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Poem-a-Day

Kegger

Kegger

 

Kids in seed company

hoodies kept closed

with safety pins 

since the zipper broke

are burning stanchions

their grandfathers milked in

taking turns jumping

over the bonfire screaming

whenever they catch

somebody's steel toe

boots clip the flames

Doesn't even count bro

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The Door of the Season

 

The Door of the Season

 

That time of year when deer confer

In rings around the coldest springs,

Their antlers woven into chandeliers

Lit with eyes. The door of the season

Is about to open, a door that is flush

With the earth, its jambs brimming

With light that pours up from the secret

Room in which dead fathers embrace

Their solemn sons, who pull away

To climb the rungs, pushing the door

Up with the butts of their guns.

The hinges creak and the door falls

With a heavy thud to the forest floor.

The deer hear it and begin to sway,

Unlocking their antlers, then back away

Gallantly into deaths all their own.

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Overheard at the Funeral Bar

Kid had an awful big heart

Even if he kept it pretty much

Covered up in blaze

Orange and camo

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For Jean Follain

For Jean Follain
 
Some evenings a poet will turn

Down a ride and decide to walk home
After the banquet where he was honored
By members of a boat club


Still feeling the roughness of their hands
In his soft hand as he walks
In his coat the medallion they gave him
Already forgivably forgotten
 
It will be that hour when women change
For dinner before bathroom mirrors
Pins pressed between their lips
Listening over their shoulders


To what their husbands

Aren't saying from the bedroom

Where they stand wiping their glasses

On their untucked white dress shirts
 
They don't yet know that

They'll never make it to dinner
Because they're fated to

Hit a poet on the way


Though even as his body lies

Bleeding in the street
He will go on walking

Invisibly along the Seine


While in the restaurant where

They had reservations
The silverware is entering the dark
Of others' mouths
 

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Artifice

Artifice

 
Poorly shot perhaps by a shy boy taken
Hunting for the first and last time, I find
What remains of the deer years later where
It finally fell, dead in the door of another season.
These bones, staves in winter's anti-still,
Bequeath to the aging air their calcium…
 
Stop the poem a minute. If I'm being honest
(I try to be honest), there is no poetry
In these woods. That's why I left a house
Full of books of it and drove here.
 
Let's start over.
 
On a whim I went off trail and almost tripped
Over a rib cage. The cage holds nothing captive
Because it isn't a cage. And the woodpeckers
Aren't carpenters with hangover headaches
In the scaffolding of the canopy,
They're woodpeckers and they're hungry.
 
But all this aside, I think it can be said
With some degree of certainty that somewhere

In time a boy is closing his eyes precisely
When they should be open.
 
Also, that it's fucking cold.

 

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The Signs

The Signs

 

This man! No,

this man! This

man! No, this man!

the sign shouts

at the sign across the street.

 

Each name five letters long,

beginning and ending

in consonants,

b, n, t, p;

some vowels,

i, e, u,

sandwiched in between;

the same colors,

red, white, blue,

for the background.

 

The men the signs stand for 

stand elsewhere,

talking at each other

like these signs do,

while

in the space between them

very heavy things

rush so fast

they're just one bright blur.

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These Days

These Days
 
are like when, at the height of autumn,
the trees have by lonesome paths all reached
the apotheosis of color,
but then one night
a big banshee wind blows through
and one wakes to a world that appears
to be burning beneath bare black branches.
 
 
 
 
 

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Just to Clarify

Just to Clarify

 

They said I'd die in fire

 

Or did they say

 

I'd die in flowers

 

 

Pretty big difference

 

So I called them

 

Been on hold an hour

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People Can

People Can
 
People can have a beer or two.
People can have a glass of wine.
People can go into the shop, have a look around.
People can meet up for coffee.
People can finish a draft.
People can take this call.
People can feel the inner body.
People can hold space.
People can put down their phone.
People can swing by around six.
People can probably make that date.
People can circle back soon.
People can leave it for tomorrow.
People can offer a little feedback.
People can use their airline miles.
People can put down the deposit.
People can forward that email.

People can pick up where they left off.
People can tell you what you missed.

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Your Watershed

Your Watershed
 
One day the watershed
Nearest to where you were born
Decided to stand up
Out of the valleys it had carved
And become a tree.
 
It had grown tired
Of being given so much.
It had never wanted
To be given anything,
It had only ever wanted to give.
 
It was like a tree of glass
Still flowing, full of fish
And waving green weeds,
A few stunned fishermen
Standing on its branches.
 
But it was a tree so someone
Came along and chopped it down.
Two people, actually.
A father and son.
They used an old crosscut saw,


Pulling the quivering blade
Through those rings of water,

Dampening their boots dark,
Then bucked it up
And sold it off in cords.
 
All winter people burned
It in their stoves.
It burned beautifully.
Even the fire was deceived,
Believing the water


To be wood, but its smoke,
Its smoke was like
The smoke of veils
When all the bride wants
Is to be invisible.

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The Garden

The Garden

 

 

For the first time in weeks

I walk out to the garden.

 

It surprises me to find there 

are still things growing here,

 

rooted in the earth but forsaken, 

like people on a road somewhere.

 

They don't know this road. 

They've never walked it before.

 

I was the one set them upon it

and now I've abandoned them.

 

When I drive past they wave 

vaguely, having given up hope

 

someone will stop and take them

wherever they're going.

 

But then, in a sudden reversal,

I realize I'm the one walking,

 

wishing I could go

wherever they're going. 

 

 

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Stunt

Stunt

 

The last light tried to pull off

A straightjacketed underwater escape stunt

But couldn't get out of either

The jacket or the water in time.

 

Later, its lifeless body was found

Floating facedown in the river

But no one thought to drag it out

Having mistaken it for the moon.

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Shortage

Shortage

 

When in doubt as to

What to use in the loo

In lieu of bathroom tissue,

The newest issue

Of Poets & Writers

Ought to do.

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Rally

Rally

 

Our fürher,

Who farts in sevens,

Shallowed he lie vain;

Thigh dingdong dumb,

Thy kill for fun,

On earth as it is in weapons.

Sieve us this day our daily dread

And poor live us our yes masses

As we poor give rose to

Yes pass against us;

And bleed us rot into damnation,

But baa shiver us numb evil;

For thine is the wring crumb

And the cower

And the gory

For bow and for sever,

Ah men.

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