February 28, 2013

Black Spaghetti, 10 Years On

He slices onions for me
because they make me weep so
my eyes blur till I can't
see what my knife is doing.

He takes over, competent, quick,
dry-eyed as I sniffle and wipe
my eyes across the kitchen.
Distance does little good.
My eyes are as full
as his hands, and I am tired
as the metaphor
of cutting onions.

The kitchen is hot. The oven
is coming to temperature. Broth
bubbles in the pot, waiting
for the grain, the carrots, celery, those
goddamn onions. I grind
pepper, pinch
thyme off
stiff sprigs, chiffonade
basil, sharp, green-smelling,
like an unwashed

picnic blanket. We shall feast
like kings, he says,
depositing the choppings
with a flourish in the pot, and I

smile wanly, overcooked
already, and the roast's
not even in the oven yet.

I remember to season
the meat, take the potatoes
off the fire, I remember

how little all this matters,
how much I love him,
but not why.

Perhaps it's only that
he slices onions for me
because he can't stand to see me cry.

February 1, 2013

ballad of the temp worker

The old, the lame,
the unwashed, the insane,
unemployables on parade.

The manager drones
like a dial tone
and pretends we're here to get trained.

And we'll take it all for the money.
We'll take it all for the check.
We're like cattle in here, but what's funny,
is that cattle get more respect.

January 13, 2013

birds & bees

When a man & a woman
love each other very much
or, anyway, enough

the man plants a seed
inside the lady, and,
nine months later, the lady
gets to drink & smoke again. Also,

there is a baby. The baby
cries & eats &
shits & pukes &
sometimes smiles.

Payment. Then, walks,
then talks, plays,
learns to lie, learns
not to. Goes
to school, learns

life isn't fair, disappoints
the parents, is disappointed
in turn (in its way, life IS fair),
learns to lie
again, better now,

grows up,
grows      up

(when has it EVER made sense?)

picks up bad habits,
wishes it were never born or born,
at least, to different people, or, at least
with thinner thighs,


not to commit suicide. Calls it

Goes on
trips, retreats, forced
marches in the wrong direction,
finds it is wrong,

keeps going, determined
to get there and build
a city where there isn't one,
gets tired,

hitches a ride
to civilization, complains
it is too crowded and impossible
to meet anyone.

Meets someone,
claims it is love,
plants a seed, nine months later
drinks and smokes again,

empty as a drum and loud,
almost convinced
of having done
something, made

out of nothing, something
that might last.