Killing ants seemed normal.
Six-legged black bodies scrambling
on slab rock patio, drip of
citronella candle wax, my own
backyard Pompeii, dead, then
frozen for all time, and me the
volcano, or God or murderer.
Bored kid waiting for dinner,
smell of pork chops on the grill,
smoke into summer air.
Killing ants seemed normal.
My son made 100 baskets,
really quite a feat, for
he’s not a natural athlete.
He stood in the sun
and watched the rim, again
and again and again. Mostly
he missed, but that was
no matter, because he never
quit. And after many minutes
over an hour, in fact,
he drained his last bucket,
arms triumphant in the air.
I hugged him very close
my best moment all summer
All is stillness in Kentucky woods
where fireflies flicker, earthen stars,
one, then another and another.
With my son, we get to sit and stare
together into glowing darkness,
watch floating journeys. He clicks our
flashlight to say hello, then asks me
to stay close before summer slumber.
Breathing softens, he falls asleep.
I lie next to him for many minutes,
let life be at ease. With dawn there
will be another day, but for now this
is all, this is everything.
state of grace, country faith
Miley, Dolly, Shiloh, and all that
Civil War remembrance of rocking
chairs, old hickory, days of yore
and what of it? might find out
let late southern June, smell
of mowed lawn, magnolia trees
warm air breeze fill me please
Standing as if a sundial, my hand, a glove shadowing time.
Waiting for the ball I blink, wink, chew gum, itch my rear,
because nobody is watching me out in the wilderness where
gnats and sun, smell of cut grass envelop me, make me
a tall insect wearing stripes, socks hiked up high. I pace, shuffle
cleats, shout “Hey Batter, Batter,” as if my distant voice matters.
Take away white lines, the small crowd, he’s just a bushy haired
boy in a quiet meadow, looks like he might be talking to himself.
Or god knows who he is or what he is doing out there alone, a
quiet king with monarchs that flutter by. Until wooden bat breaks
daydreams, interrupts his nature, baseball soars over his head.
please let me
tell the truth
that I saw
it, the mountain
lion, lithe, yes
springy, legs, twitching
tail, like at
the zoo but
free on golden
hillside, in California
I had just
eaten a banana
morning at camp
counselor for kids
with HIV, beautiful
sun peeking through
fog and me
and the young
lion, that I’d
wanted to see
for hundreds of
miles hiking, camping
hours of night
and nothing, but
longing for wild
but nothing, maybe
a rattlesnake or
coyote, but then
the moment passed
and it moved
down the hill
toward the road
the next day
saw it dead
on the asphalt
I wanted to
take some of
its teeth, save
something, after so
much time waiting
but I let
it rest, sad
it was gone
Manicured ladies in stilettos navigate ancient smooth
stoned pathways, corridors assembled during Roman times.
Smooth curves of their exposed skin pattern the night,
wafts of perfume mingle with the smell of grilled
octopus and cigarettes.
Some cling to tan wrinkled arms
of sugar daddies, men with white chest hairs
attached to fortunes drenched in cologne.
I never visit the island for Gucci or Fendi,
air-conditioned square shops of consumer luxury.
The purring cicadas surrounded by sea
are my siren song, blue water darkening as it journeys
to Tunisia. Pulsating, my calves quiver up and down steps
to Villa Jovis where Tiberius reigned supreme, decadently
tossing the unwanted off cliffs into the watery
chasm of time.
The ruins sit unaffected by sun’s sweat dripping
from my elbows. I rest in pine tree shadows, imagine when
Neruda was here, arranging verse in his head. Away from the glitz,
everything is as it was, as it is, ants, jasmine, laughter
of the old women who were born in Capri,
born by the sea.
Whiskers start in June
mostly black, some gray
pushing through skin
like sunflowers they emerge
carefree, unrestrained by razors
of other seasons
when they are scraped away
like speckled truth
man’s primitive nature hemmed.
Summertime, I let them grow for days
like a backpacker searching
for my lost youth.
Long hours of shadowy sun
my face like time