Trio No. 30


Charles Bukowski, 

I cannot revere you

For you are all humanness

And no humanity. 

Mark Kozolek,

I cannot respect you

For you are all words 

And no heart. 

As for myself,

I must reflect 

That I am all myself

And know not your hurt. 


Stony lonesome and basement afraid as I grew from a child to a taller child to a person who can still cry at the news of the death of an ancient acquaintance.


A list of objects and compound objects:

A vat. 

A car full of newspapers. 

Three rats. 

Four rats. 

Scrap metal. 


A fiery ring. 

An empty vase. 

A beer can tab. 

A golden retriever's tattered collar. 

A sponge. 


Trio No. 29


Her hair is hair

And her legs are legs

And her teeth are teeth 

And her back is back

And every morning 

She looks in the mirror

But never changes anything


A hundred a day is what I respond when someone asks if I smoke cigarettes it's not true of course but sometimes at the end of the day when my throats feels burnt and I'm brushing ash from my shirt tails it feels like a conservative estimate. 


The fluorescent lights of a CVS

The fluorescent lights of a 7-Eleven

The dim glow of the Washington monument

The headlights of a cab

The light reflecting off the asphalt and concrete 

The orange pulsing of a hundred lit cigarettes

The fluorescent lights of an elevator car


Trio No. 28


If you are able, find a patch of clean earth

Where the grass has not been cut

And no roads have been built.

Lie down and close your eyes 

And do not rise until the dampness of the soil seeps through your clothes 

And cools your body.

Until you hear the sounds of the crickets rustling past

And feel the ants crawling over your neck. 

And even then, if you can, stay awhile.


I am eleven green years old and as pink raindrops dimple the roof of my yellow tent a bird sings a yellow song sad short and ascending and I do not know his color or shape or name and never intend to learn them. 


A list of objects and compound objects:

Thirty three balloons. 

An empty room with blue walls. 

A necktie. 

Two bowls, nested. 

A broken tape player. 

A fir tree in winter. 

A fur coat in tatters. 

A fern. 


Trio No. 27


To speak your name—a sacred act; 

A tiny sin, a fleeting fact. 

To let the small sounds fall from lips 

Or letters drip from fingertips, 

Is just enough to keep, I think,

My head and hands in duty's ink. 


My only real feelings on modern music have to do with whether or not it speaks to or moves anyone and if it does well I'll let them to it and give it all the respect I give anything that speaks to or moves me after all who am I to invalidate anyone else's emotions or to compare the objective value of one piece of expressive art to another?


A list of objects and compound objects: 

A fork. 

A knife. 

A spoon. 

Western civilization. 


Death By Beauty

When I was seventeen
I began to dream
Of a beauty so deep and so pure
That it would transcend my being.

And so I began to search
For the perfect chord,
The perfect color,
The perfect face.

To find it would be
The end of need
And pain
And desire in me.

Now I'm thirty-five and
Last week I realized
That this experience is called

And I am no longer afraid to die
But somehow still afraid to live.


Trio No. 26

The moon is large and black, 
And in dusk-light disappears 
Behind the silhouettes of winter trees. 

Even when my mind and heart are on the rim of breaking there are moments when my body feels as strong as a musk ox and and I could break through walls though that is rarely my desire. 

A park before dawn. 

A puddle of water below the curb. 

A pond covered in fallen leaves. 

A red scarf. 

A blue scarf. 

A dead battery. 

A broken wheel. 

A seagull. 

An airliner. 

A park at midday. 


Trio No. 25

My biggest regret is having told a child that there is no adventure left in the world. 

He is grown now and I hope he didn't listen. 

At summer camp I always took archery class and when one of us shot a perfect bullseye the instructor would let that camper launch an arrow into the woods which was a fairly irresponsible thing to allow. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A set of leather stamps: the alphabet. 

A plastic wristband, signifying aquatic prowess. 

The dew-wet grass of a soccer field. 

The hand of a red-haired girl, which I never held.

The same hand tousling my hair, which I never forgot. 

A chapel, where I was held hostage twice a day. 

The counter at the new snack shop. 

Overalls worn by the counselor my counselor was in love with. 

The moss I peeled from a cabin roof. 

The boys I threw it at. 

The circle I ran laps around as punishment. 

A letter from home.

Trio No. 24

She drew hard on a cigarette and then flicked it into a pile of dry leaves.

It smoldered there for a few seconds and then died.

Nothing interesting ever happens around here.

They told us all that sex is not normal and that people who want to have it are deranged or depraved and to be avoided and when we grew up and married one another still we could not have it because even the thought of having it filled us with shame and guilt because of what they had told us and we lived into old age and died unhappy and that was the end of the human race.

A list of objects and compound objects:

A wooden boot jack. 

A bowl of onions. 

Six dogs on six leashes. 

Cardamom pods. 

A worn salt shaker. 

An anchor. 

A bent nail in the claw of a framing hammer. 

The cold floor of a basement workshop. 

The only window in an empty room. 

A field of dandelions. 

A garden of marigolds. 

A pot of gardenias.


Trio No. 23

The problem with the outward speaker
Is the same problem with the inward listener:
Neither holds the truth

But one knows it
And the other can't hear anything 
Outside his own head

If I had said today what I believed I would have doubted it tomorrow just the same as if I had never said it at all and I'm not sure which action (or inaction) makes me look the bigger fool or who it really is that I think would care. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A book of rules. 

A glass wrapped in a towel at a wedding. 

A wild horse. 

A child's porcelain bank. 

A trip wire. 

A set of rubber tires. 

A coconut shell. 

An evil spell. 

The status quo. 


Trio No. 22

And give air to the thing which lies
Under the veinous floor boards
As the cavern fills with blood

Something about the sails on that particular boat triggered a memory of my uncle when I was small sitting at the dining room table under the stained-glass lamp that gave dim light to the family and it was the way he sat up straight and maybe he was somehow shaped like those sails or colored like those sails or empty and floating sad like those sails. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A key. 

A watch. 

A wallet. 

A fox. 

A plate of fruit. 

A handful of foreign currency 

Two toothpicks. 

A fast car. 

A rope, one end tied to a pier, the other end frayed and floating. 

A wig. 

A fig tree. 

A fog. 

A log. 

A log.