ugly words

ugly words are little and small
it’s no wonder I can’t say them at all

because I thought I had everything
but it all fell apart
and what’s the worth of misery
past a small bit of art

because failure is always an option
and every story has an end
but shouldn’t some last forever
and if not, what then?

because life would be easier
if life were easy
if love were easy
and it’s not

because hearts don’t fit like puzzle pieces
four chambers, a sanctuary, a cemetery
a court room, and a cell
a drumbeat borne from hell

because words written in private
cannot always be spoken in public
and ugly feelings
inspire ugly words
but sometimes the words hold beauty
in the hearts of ugly things
the hearts of ugly people
that taste bitter on the tongue
and squander
what was better held onto

because open hands
are a sign of welcome
and release


Sculpted Lightning

or, The Beautiful Sameness of Normalcy

Original photograph by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikipedia, “Lightning”

Not like vinegar touches the tongue
or the futile efforts to mow down cement
make the sidewalk bloom with daffodils and daisies
let the summer unfold in whispers and sideways glances
let the heat undulate above the asphalt
paths that lead us to park benches draped in shade
and supernovas launched from baseball fields
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the curvature of disconnected sets

turn the corner
the radio down
the windows up
turn the picture
till it looks right
turn the car
the key
the other cheek
turn the snow
to wet streams
and damp moss
turn the signal on
the signal off
the wireless fidelity
still not linked
from one screen
to another
turn up the volume
the brightness
turn back
the seconds
now frozen
like winter frost
on chapped lips
turn back
the minutes
to the moment
you saw his smile
turning the corners
of your mouth
to meet his

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Line Items

I didn’t plan to check my bag
but by the time I reached the gate
and waited for boarding to begin
first priority and then first class
then zone two and three and four
by the time I dug out my ticket
from my backpack, held my passport
between my forefinger and thumb
my carryon gripped as firmly
as a child at my side, by the time
the attended greeted me with a smile
and scanned my ticket
there was no more overhead space
on the plane today, their apologies
for the inconvenience
would you please step this way
for a moment while we print the label
and weave it in and around the handle
and hand you your receipt
please take your seat, your luggage
will be waiting for you
at your final destination
it will be waiting, like you are waiting
to board the plane
to take off, to land, to taxi and unload
to walk along that long hallway to customs
and stand in that long line
between a mother and her crying children
between an elderly man who smells
of cheap cigars, his breath like alcohol
and not the rich kind either, between
teenage girls on cell phones
and boys staring at large breasts
waiting for the man in uniform
to stamp your entry and nod to you
go on, proceed through security
past duty-free gift shops and restrooms
finally to baggage claim, conveyor belts
long since turned cold, your bags
sprawled out and waiting, waiting
as you were to leave, to say hello
to be whole once again.

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