Monday, August 24, 2009

My Mother Used to Say

Always wear nice underthings, she said,

whenever you leave the house

just in case … of terror attack.

Maybe she said don’t expose

your nice underthings to terrorists

because they will never leave the house.

Perhaps it was always wear

your terror exposed when

you leave your nice underthings at home.

Not lingerie (too fancy)

not panties or bra (too specific)

not underwear (what boys have).

By nice she meant clean, no stains,

no holes, no worn elastic.

By leave the house she meant

go anywhere besides the yard.

By just in case she meant don’t embarrass me

if you get taken by ambulance to the hospital

because you were in some accident

where they have to strip you to get to your wounds

and you are wearing a pair of underpants

held together by safety pins.

Because they will think

“what kind of mother do you have anyway,”

which will distract them from treating you,

then you will die because the nurses and doctors

could only focus on your ratty underpants,

your neglectful mother and the fact that no one ever

told you to wear nice underpants when you leave

the house and so there you are dead because

you didn’t take the time to put on nice underpants.

And what she really meant by that

was don’t live your life in fear.

Dog Play Doggerel

I’m being dogged

by a dog star – Sirius.

Hot sticky heat

and so dog gone humid

you can dog paddle

down the sidewalk.

But this dog is gonna

have her day!

Even if it is

a dog-eat-dog world.

You know you can’t teach

an old dog new tricks,

so curb your dogma;

let sleeping dogs lie.

Tired of this doggerel?

Then it’s time

to put on the dog!

Get out your dog-eared songbook

cuz we’re going to the dogs tonight.

Meet me at the dog leg.

We’re gonna howl

at that dog gone star.

Oh hot diggety doggety dog!

Palm Sunday

Welcome to BibleLand!

A few announcements and reminders

before we get started.

Serpents have been spotted in the older sections of the park.

Please do not speak to them.

No apple picking.

Parents keep an eye on your children.

The park is not responsible for loss or damage to your eternal soul.

First aid is available in the new section of the park.

Follow signs to the Lazarus tent.

Sins are absolved daily, on the hour, in the Lazarus tent or by visiting

the wandering Jesus (please don’t touch his robes).

Remember you may not enter Sodom & Gomorrah without protective eyewear.

See Park Staff for details.

The Garden of Eden remains closed indefinitely.

Also, expect flooding in certain areas, especially during the rainy season.

For those interested in visiting the Tower of Babel, headsets are available for a small fee.

Kiosks can be found throughout the park.

Don’t forget to drop into our Loaves & Fishes CafĂ©.

It’s all you can eat!!

One last item – the crucifixion has been cancelled today on account of lightning;

however, there will be a stoning later this afternoon. Management is seeking volunteers for this event. Ask your guide for details.

Remember that we have resurrections daily (weather permitting).

Please don’t forget to stop in our gift shop on your way out –

it’s good for the soul.

Ask a salesperson about our frequent visitor rewards program.

Thanks for your patience. We hope you have a divine experience here!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Elegy for Bumpy

On the most picturesque day
we remain in the house.
Now you have earned your place
in the eternal sun.
As we dot your grave with a marker,
you have already begun to chase birds
stretching your sleek blackness.
Freed from pain and immobility
You dance in our hearts once more.
Songs of your legendary exploits
—now un-sung—
leave the taste of you on our tongues.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Poems from Terrance Hayes Workshop

# 1

Every evening my mother pulled her knitting

out of the basket behind her chair.

After the dishes were washed, leftovers shelved,

she sat with her metal needles

counting stitches, colored markers, pattern rows

as if ticking off time.

Like the Fates, she measured and spun.

My life could be counted by stripes

of mittens, hats, sweaters, blankets

created in her post-prandial meditations.

When she cut her final thread,

put away her last skein of wool

I felt as if my life too had ended.

Until I lifted her needles

took up the frayed yarn

and saw her hands reflected back

as I looked out the dark window.


There we stood, dressed like Egyptians

or what we thought Egyptians should look like

from so many National Geographic magazine

pictures we used as examples,

wrapped in old curtains, jewels, tulle,

prancing around like we built the pyramids

while life in our Ohio town

rolled by on its way to middle America;

men went to work at the refinery

spewing invisible gas and smoke in the breeze

women ironed shirts and watched television

but we didn’t notice the quiet turning

because we were too busy inventing pictograms

enslaving younger brothers in our game

of carving scarabs and conquering the desert,

ancient worlds so enticing because

the glossy pictures were so clean,

unlike the peeling paint from too much sulfur

the houses abandoned when factories closed

there being no room for Egyptian princes

or slaves or kings in this Republican county

known for its prized cattle, corn and soybeans.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alex & Buddy

He sleeps curled like a French “C”

Blond head on the pillow

Body curved to one side

His breathing nearly imperceptible.

There in the bottom of his curve

a gray tabby colors

the empty space

Curved in unison with boy

Purring while he breathes

Together they enter the world of dreams.

November 2008

Weather Report

My loss, at times, is an ocean.

It’s all I see on the horizon

stretched from East to West,

North to South.

Some days it is a river

coursing through the middle,

perhaps overflowing

its banks but soon receding.

At night it is an underground spring

Unseen, but there, silent, cold

Always underneath all thoughts.

The worst days are when it is a cyclone.

Thundering, pounding, pelting me

with reminders of wet grief.

It turns my world around

Scatters me across the landscape

Then leaves me amid the rubble.

November 2008

The Visitor

Crow came to me in a dream

my spirit guide, to show me

what I once was

thousands of years ago.

His black feathers were iridescent in moonlight

broad wings and strong beak

gestured as he spoke.

I understood in the language of sleep.

I come from earth, dark, rich

moist with worms.

I come from skies and clouds,

thunder and rain.

I come blown from the winds

borne aloft and soaring skyward.

I come from the mountains

swept along riverbeds with melting snows

trickling the byways of streams

seeping into bedrock.

I come from the volcano

out of hot lava

spilling in rivulets down the sides.

I come from the down

of a new born chick

ugly, vulnerable, helpless.

We are not so different said Crow.

We have come from the same places

We are ancient.

Find your feathers

they will free you

but you must be willing

even to be slandered,

to be case in dark shadows

I awoke

black feathers on my doorstep

Shadow of a wing

Guardian of my soul.

November 2008

Roa’s Laundry (2nd version)

“Roa, Konrad Lorenz’s raven, raided clotheslines to steal ladies’ underwear.” B. Heinrich, Mind of the Raven.

First, I want to say that it was never my fault.

I should have been in the woods that day.

There had been talk of red-tailed hawks,

so I explored the yard next door.

My therapist, I’ll call her Dr. Z,

says it comes from a deep seated instinct

conditioned by learning from my keeper.

Sexual perversion? none

she calls it classical conditioning theory.

Same as Pavlov’s dog

except the dog salivated with a bell

Maybe a bit inconvenient with all the gadgets these days

But not as embarrassing as salivating at underwear.

Secondly, I need to point out

I was never attracted specifically to ladies’ underthings,

although the shiny materials did catch my eye

waving at me like little flags in the breeze

stray lace undulating in the sun

who could ignore the sheer sensuality

of the panties’ movement

calling to me with their siren song

Roa. Roa. Roa.

It could have easily been socks or string.

Proximity to lingerie aided this process.

I was never particular – Victoria’s Secret,

Hanes, JC Penney – no pretensions on designer fabric

Nor did I differentiate between bikini, brief, cotton,

silk, printed or plain

All made me salivate.

It’s the connection between food and underwear

that I cannot seem to shake.

There are days I don’t know if I can eat

without bringing Dr. Z a small present.

I sit on my perch

exploring my childhood memories,

reviewing the symbolism in my nightly reveries,

wandering into the depths of the Corvid mind,

Dr Z reassures me that we can re-condition my response.

Honestly, I don’t know if I want to change.

I do love the tasty reward --

some meat or eggs for a pair of silken panties,

a lace-edged slip, an occasional satin brassiere.

I love the dance of freedom

lifting lingerie from laundry lines.

Dr. Z tells me not to blame myself.

It could have happened to anyone.

Curiosity may have killed the cat,

but I know men who have been jailed for less

it isn’t necessarily the action

but the thought of action

that imprisons us.


This morning I awoke

with a dream

of a poem

parked in my unconscious.

Trails of it remain

so lightly that when I focus

they dissolve.

Maybe the poem was never there at all.

The dream could have been

that I awoke with a dream

of a poem

in my mind.

Like the mirror

In the mirror

In the mirror

An image that goes to infinity

showing nothing

except what fools we are.

November 2008

Poem in search of a title

Notes dance through my open mind

and out into the world again.

Where is the line between open and raw,

vulnerable and pitiable?

We all live in a prison

To break free

Is to find another

of greater or equal value.

The music I hear is born of

Millions of years of evolution

finely tuned to express itself.

Messengers sing, they have to.

Thousands of years of enlightenment

and still we seek

to escape the pain.

To understand the necessity of infinity.

To hear, dance

the music in our minds.

November 2008