Man Alive, Number 5

Another dream of “normal” life,

the morning takes a knife &

plunges it into a weakened soul,

waits until time sears the pain & then

wraps it in a plastic bag of pregnant desires.

 

The bingo caller’s lost his voice,

numbers fall to the floor, & are

left to roll around while the players panic,

clutching cards to their chests,

under house/cardiac arrest.

 

Sleep & the day becomes another,

dread falls like a midnight phone call –

did you remember to leave an

out of body message now you’re a

thousand sighs from home?

 

But

maybe you should call home,

to save some embarrassment of absence,

find out if someone’s fed the elephant in the room,

and watered down the dandelion wine,

(be responsible, man). No,

 

instead you eat a cancer sandwich

& sit on the side of the road

while cars race past

and a voice in your head screams

“BINGO!”

 


Published in Tincture Journal #9, February 2015

Published in The Frequency of God, Close-Up Books, December 2017

 

A Series of Beautiful Mistakes

If I’d sat down earlier in my life

& considered what lay ahead,

I wouldn’t have thought I’d be here,

I wouldn’t have thought I’d work there,

and I wouldn’t have met you.

 

If I’d taken out a book

& on each page drafted a year,

I couldn’t have written this narrative,

I couldn’t have developed these characters,

I couldn’t have drawn this conclusion.

 

If I’d counted all the days on average

& plotted them against x & y axes,

I could have studied the curve & calculated

my final point, the point of my life,

in exact Cartesian precision, cogito ergo sum.

 

If I’d planned every day to achieve maximum efficiency

& return on investment, I would have raced through,

leaping days like hurdles with nothing but goals in mind,

focussing on defined achievements,

that would have filled out a resume & supported a career.

 

But instead I simply flowed

through a series of beautiful mistakes,

.                                                           a life.

 

A Celtic Blessing

Postcard bought from Loch Fyne Gallery, Tarbert, Scotland, Friday, 4 December 2015

When I Last Spoke to Cocteau

for Jean Paul De Santi

 

When I last spoke to Cocteau

he told me about a spin-

-ning game he played

as a child,

.           I laughed but Cocteau

just smiled –    then serious

he said “I wrote to Satie

the other day   but I don’t expect a reply.”

I told him I’d been to Arcueil

just after Satie died,

found a pile of unopened letters

near where he worked.

 

Cocteau didn’t want to talk

anymore & said we should

go for a drink

he pointed to the end of the street

where a piano played the sound of clouds

 

but I was too tired.

 


A version of this poem was first published in Writ. Poetry Review, 5 January, 2015

The above revision appears in The Frequency of God, Close-Up Books (December, 2017)

A video of the earlier version is available here

An audio of the earlier version is available here