Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Poem live at Uncanny Magazine

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

My poem “Keening” is now up for your viewing pleasure at Uncanny Magazine. It features one of the most interesting (to me) cultural relics from my childhood: the afilador, the knife-sharpener, a guy with a big van full of blades and tools who travels the city sharpening people’s knives for them. I can’t remember the last time I heard the afilador’s whistle, but it’s a sound that stays with you.

Thanks for reading!

Big Screen Serial Killer

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Dark highway uncoils
like a movie’s final reel.
Handcuff chafes my wrist.

Gored cop hails Mary.
“Copycat,” they said; murders
plagiarized from films.

Sirens, lights and dust
usher in my last homage:
Thelma and Louise.

* * * * *

For Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge for February 8.

Double Dare You: Compacted

Friday, May 27th, 2011

both get picked.
nappy hair,
always a fork,
wood, plastic,
Always your fingers.

Negro slaves
bleached black from heat
burning like wool
in the hands of a shearer,
sweating in a barn.

wear a cotton skirt
or shirt
on a 110 degree day,
tell dead slaves
under the soil
your children play on,
how that feels.

Try picking
the Negro’s nappy hair,
then tell me
if it tastes like
Cotton Candy.

if you do
the non-black Negro
will start acting like a Nigger;
and the actual Negro,
will go off like a Nigga.

So I dare you.
I double dare you
to compare nappy hair
to cotton candy.

* * * * *
The original by Emmett Wheatfall

Pompeii Graffiti

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Preserved by ash, perfect as when
it was carved or painted onto walls.

Almost poetry, lines left by lonely
people baked into clay statues.

“Secundus says hello to his Prima, wherever
she is. I ask, my mistress, that you love me.”

“If anyone does not believe in Venus,
they should gaze upon my girlfriend”

Some philosophy: “A small problem
grows large if you ignore it.”

“Lovers, like bees, live a honeyed life”
“Once you are dead, you are nothing.”

But mostly, it’s what you would expect
from anyone today.

“Staphylus was here with Quieta.”
“Marcus loves Spendusa”

“Restituta, take off your tunic,
please, and show us your hairy privates”

“Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up.
Now it penetrates men’s behinds.”

“O walls, you have held up so much
tedious graffiti that I am amazed

that you have not already collapsed in ruin.”
But they haven’t, they haven’t.


Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

“Aveilut begins at the conclusion of the funeral and continues through the seven days of shiva.”

Bread goes in the breadbox, shoes
go in the shoebox, and you go
in the you-box, underground
to mellow like some fine wine.

On the first night, the elephant slumps
in the corner, stares, sometimes
waving his broad, shroud-like ears.
He brought his own bitter grapes

to crush, spraying the sour juice
on your sister, my best friend,
even your mother, her blond hair
and black veil. It becomes impossible

for me to tie my shoelaces, to keep
my teeth away from my fingernails,
to eat without immediately vomiting.
Wine cannot be poured back in the bottle

once it has mixed with water.
The elephant will not go away unless
I ask it politely. Which I won’t–
it is easier to leave and lock the door.