Sunday, April 21, 2019

The picador in the corner


    In the corner near
    The standing lamp is
    A painting of a picador
    With arched back and up-thrust
    Arms just then ridden into place.
    What happens next, what we are
    Not allowed to see, is the

    Down-thrust of his lance
    Preparing the bull for eternity.
    Is it worthwhile now to
    Reach around and grasp
    A lance, ease it out if one
    Still has the strength, reach then
    For the other if there be two

    Or possibly three if one
    In one’s younger days
    Was especially fierce?  I let
    Mine hang, dragging along
    Behind upon the ground,
    Looking instead ahead 
    For the matador.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Social Combat


    They watched me limping
    Ahead steadily pretending
    I don’t exist.
    I ought to be remote
    From whatever they
    Whisper to and fro,
    And an hour or two

    Punching the heavy bag,
    Running the treadmill
    Should make it so.
    Stars later twinkle through
    My window and catch my
    Eye.  I pause, take
    A twisted towel and

    Mop my brow.
    These junctures
    Are thirsty work.
    Hoisting a beer I look
    About at all I’ve destroyed,   
    Ready now for the next
    That comes my way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Neighborhood Watch


    The explosions, one after the other
    Moved away – a Brobdingnagian
    Striding off, marking each step with
    Olympian rage.  Smoke shrouded
    The neighborhood.  I counted
    The seconds until the next series
    Of mortar rounds would begin to fall.

    Beneath the floor
    In a root cellar they
    Wouldn’t have known –
    Musty with age and a
    Smell of sage I sat
    With shotgun in my lap
    And revolver in my hand.

    They were persistently
    Seeking my end having
    Given up efforts to meld
    Me into accepting
    The lot on which my
    House dwelt belonged to
    No one, much less to me.

    I checked the rounds in my
    Guns, drew the case of 
    Shells and the boxes of
    Bullets close by – this
    Alternative to submitting
    To force waiting here
    Beneath their feet.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Stand Up Comics


    He stood there grinning, pointing
    His gun at my head, showing
    Off for his friend.  I glared at
    Him, but he still held his gun,
    Pointing.  I turned opened my
    Car door, got my badge, turned
    And pinned it to my chest.

    He turned then, smirking in
    Satisfaction, laughing with
    His friend as they strolled
    Away.  “Why not arrest him?”
    The novice asked later
    Back at the station.  “How
    Exactly do I arrest someone
    Pointing a gun at my head?”
    “But you had yours.”  “Unpointed,
    As I said.  Letting things go is
    A skill you’ll learn as you age. 
    Not everything is worth fighting
    For.”  “But you’ve fought,”
    He maintained.  “I recall all

    That fighting pretty well.
    Didn’t walk away as often
    As I ought.  They know by
    The size of the chip on
    Your shoulder whether you'd
    Rather fight or ignore
    Their taunts and grow older.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Fading Dream


    I think I’d remember if I were
    Really there – though sometimes
    In dreams it seems something
    Like that -- fading as I
    Sip coffee from my cup.
    Sometimes vividness carries
    On into day-dreams strangely,

    And I wonder where it
    Originates – meeting
    Someone like her, knowing
    I could never have
    Had that reality or
    That she could be
    As lovely as I dream

    Or have an interest in
    Me, struggling,
    Yearning, hoping
    To find her hand
    Reaching mine,
    Her bright eyes shining,
    Watching me wake.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


    I cared for her up until her
    Frailties were past my
    Abilities, I assure myself
    With fading confidence.  I
    Go back over the evidence
    In the sleep of each night:
    I should have discovered how

    To prevent her diminishing,
    Hold her here still and watch
    Whatever happened as though
    It merely may have, but instead
    I wasn’t enough -- snapping
    Awake with pounding head, eyes
    Swollen from all that lacking.

    “You failed her” echoes
    From a once-watched movie,
    From the mouth of a
    Criminal too smart for all
    But the clever detective:
    Someone less old, less
    Inclined to get it wrong.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Social Solutions

    Down through the labyrinthine passages,
    Tunnels and clearways interspersed
    With stairs, winding up underneath
    A bloody moon and star-studded
    Sky:  They say dark signs
    Cause in us deeds like these.
    I considered all the possibilities

    Until only one remained.
    I remained on the platform
    Waiting for the helicopter
    To appear, hover, and set
    Down.  I watched the uniformed
    Police rush me and force
    My hands behind my back.

    It didn’t matter that I had not
    Yet killed, that no life had been
    Lost.  I was genetically unclean.
    Accepting that, I broke from
    Them and leaped off the roof,
    Down into the sea which was
    The last they needed to see of me