Monday, December 21, 2015

Mimi at Nepenthe

Mimi at Nepenthe
(For Kirsten)

They drive to Big Sur and
pull into a lot hovered by
witchcraft oaks

Says Rodolfo:
It's named for an elixir,
one that takes away all sorrows

Says Mimi:
In that case,
let's drink all that we can!

Scrubby hillsides sprayed with
copper sunset, a single
cloud in the shape of a boomerang

The Pacific far below,
a shade of forever nightsky that wraps the
continental rift like a fitted sheet

A fresh fire over
Mimi's left shoulder

Rodolfo takes a rhapsodic breath,
brings the fork to his mouth and
chews on a glazed duck that could
bring La Scala to tears

Even in Puccini,
such moments should not be possible

Thursday, December 17, 2015



Caribbean moxie on a dolly face,
the tone pours out like
pecan praline expressed as an
algebraic formula

If the hands get any
where near the hips,
pull up a chair.
You are due for an
hour of unfiltered standup

Three hours later a lil-ol-me smile,
naughty niƱa from Juarez,
a range bigger than Wyoming

I wish she loved her
self as much as I do

One night she drove into a
parked car and removed every
inch of interior except the
part containing her

This is what some people need.
Some seeds do not
blossom until they
pass through fire

I am eager to see what she
becomes, and till then will
enjoy the liberties of a duet:

to look someone square in the face,
to sing and smile and match words,
our voices mixing in the ether as
the lights guide us home

Notes: The last line is a quote from the Coldplay song "Fix You," one of the many tunes we do together.

Sunday, December 13, 2015



Each night, the picture comes to kill me:
you and the baby, walking to the bedroom.

You tie an American flag around his eyes,
then sit in the kitchen and study your final option,
silver and cold to the touch.

When did the math arrive at this?
How many drunks, flare-ups, divorces,
pregnancies, bad dreams?

Hold an invisible gun in your hand.
Pull the trigger.
Feel how it flexes a muscle all the
way back to the elbow.
The finger cannot do this work alone.

Each night, I stand next to you in a
field in Atlanta as you bring the
metal to your chest, and I ask,
What was your last thought?
Why didn’t you think of calling me?

Notes: about my dear friend Sharona, who committed suicide ten years ago, along with the kind of random thoughts that go through a grieving mind looking for reasons: the similarity to the final scene from Madama Butterfly, and, oddly enough, an interview with a pitching coach on how throwing a forkball causes wear and tear on the elbow.