If it really matters…

The perfect scrambled eggs is less about the chicken

and more about the cooking,

although many obsess over the whisking or lack thereof

or additions from chives and French butter

to all sorts of creams or cremes or cremas

and I’ve tried them all and learned it’s more about

constantly moving the pan off and on and off the heat

but always knowing they’ll keep cooking after plated

and shinny and soft and that’s the best, if it really matters.

6 hours at the border…

Hungarians don’t like Ukrainians, Ukrainians don’t really like Hungarians

and although I was neither, I spent 6 hours at the border

not understanding the point of this waiting and the multiple searches

for alcohol and cigarettes in my suitcase (it received more attention

from the border guards than I’d given it packing in haste that morning);

Are you sure you don’t have any alcohol or cigarettes in here?

was the unbelieving query I answered multiple times

and my definitive No only encouraged their doubt

until one younger, entrepreneurial soldier summoned me

to the roadside and asked again, I answered again, and he mused

Would you like some? and it shortened my time at the border

considerably.

Without irony

He said as plainly and honestly as you can imagine

and, therefore, I felt no need for offense

(although I heard him say clearly that I’d done

such a fine job considering the circumstances),

as I stood over my error with tears I couldn’t hold back,

No, a fine job considering – and I felt none the worse

for he spoke without a hint of irony.

Writing about writing…

Writers love to write about writing, about their chairs

and desks, cabins or coffee, and especially

their modes and means of composition – times of day,

pencil sharpener, pencils and sobriety (theirs, not

their drunken and/or editing #2s – although that’s an idea),

and their Muse (the nine goddess and which visits them,

inspires or taunts their victims because we all like someone to blame

when we’re too afraid to write poorly so we don’t write at all

and call it the writer’s life, so we mope or wander in search

of a new place or process or pencil to help (and it either does

or doesn’t and they write about that – they write about not writing

and that’s what we do – that or we try some prose I suppose.

Crucify him, crucify me…

The “he’s not here” of

“he’s not here, he’s risen”

always scared the hell out of me

but that was yesterday

when he was in hell

descended there to preach;

why they’d listen wasn’t obvious

stuck forever in hell, unless

it was like Johnny Cash

singing about Folsom Prison

“ain’t seen no sunshine” in hell

and there’s no parole

so they’d listen and clap.

 

Let them debate

about God’s right hand

and divinity’s dignity in death;

I’m just a worm after all

and not much of a man

or so I’ve been told

but so was he

screaming that it’s over

cursing God’s failures

taking that vinegar sponge

like I drink my wine

to end a shitty day

and sleep it off.

 

He was mocked

and that’s nothing new

to any kid bullied by jocks,

hazed in a locker room,

called a ‘fag’ or ‘pussy’

with our Judas’s laughing too;

his pageant had a robe

and a crown and blindfold,

a psycho-sexual sadism

of a perverse fetish

not unique at all

or a substitute sacrifice;

de Sade is no savior.

 

 

 

I was just yelling

“crucify him, yes, that one”

clarifying “not the other one”

which made me feel guilty

about that one;

but that’s the point

about what’s wrong with me

and I’m just admitting it.

Barabas had to be happy

getting out of jail for free

like pulling a card

for a second chance

in life’s monopoly.

 

Today he’s not here

omnipresence absent

making an ironic point

about never leaving, forsaking

like he was on Friday

naked and exposed

would be embarrassing;

I’d say remember me

this way rather than that

because of the nudity too

always robed and decent

except when he’s not

he’s always with us.

Ezekiel’s visions are my dreams…

Those wheels that are within wheels,

with their belts circling and spinning,

in an array of neon panchromatic –

this was a childhood Nyx apparition

and she made a reunion just last night.

 

When truly and absolutely exhausted

from the life of living a childhood

at the close of day – almost every day,

bathed, tucked-in, fighting sleep

wheels were waiting behind eyelids.

 

Determined to detain this hallucination –

as best a child could resolve a thing;

when it appeared, as a restless alarm

spinning so brightly and then fading

fading to nothing leaving just sleep.

 

Coming oftenly, absent occasionally

this bittersweet nocturnal specter

replaced falling and dragons, demons

and haunting fears afflicting other minors,

returning if the pulleys were missing.

 

When dreams fade and mares cease

and waking hours command such tasks

the refuge of wakefulness replaces

frightening incubus of nighttime starts

the grown now pining for puerility.

 

The halting haze of bedtime memoirs

reappeared unexpectedly hailed

amidst a cyclone of exposed doubts,

the cheered neon spinning, whirling

away until in sleep again disappeared.

 

Where do these vivid pulleys abide

that they might be found when needful

for trusted rest of juvenile peacefulness?

mistress, spinning wheels within wheels

reunited now much too infrequently.

An old man…

The old man sits in the same chair at the same time

every day, perched on his porch surveying the world

and always cheered when I appear walking my dog.

The first time he spied us, I was training the puppy

to sit at each street crossing… and she did and he noticed

and called out, ‘That’s a good dog!’ and nodded.

From that day, I made it my path to cross at his street

and my pup would hurry to settle, looking in his direction

to hear his congratulatory remark – every single day.

He’s the kind of man you know has stories to tell

but no one to tell them to – his wife once sat in the other chair

that’s empty since late summer (which is sad).

And I can imagine him telling his children, if they call,

‘There’s this good dog that I see every day’ and his kids

tolerate this recitation each time they call.
While I return home after each walk, following this path

day-in, day-out, rain or shine, just to stop at his corner

and hear him say ‘That’s a good dog’ like I’m an old man.

 

There are no morals…

The marks have no moral,

they know no stories,

nor me or mine,

no memories surfacing

in the quiet of the day’s ebb

haunting and mocking what can’t

be changed by dreams,

they are carried along

as the wave of the page turns slowly

to the next leaving anyone

reading to wonder who writes this way,

not how but why;

and the way the words go

becomes a prophecy because it is a path

leading to another nowhere

ready to mean something, to be noticed

and maybe even remembered

enough to justify

a child’s plea to read it again,

again, again, and again.