The artist and the canvas

After dark, there’s an unveiling;
a curtain dropping from your shoulders.
And then the ballet, the paint brushing canvas,
the pen inking notes like flags through our lines.
We trapeze over the hushed crowd
and limbo under a flaming sunset.

Afterward, on your back I draw plans
for skyscrapers and airports,
wineries and dog parks.
In studying the blueprints of your shoulders
I find the best floor for a fire escape.
I’m scribbling a poem
in front of a twentieth story bay window
overlooking this new country we have built.


That is the April 22nd poem in my month-long effort to write a poem a day. It’s coming along great! Way past the halfway mark, and I’m considering just keeping it up into May and beyond.

Penciled In Poetry – Episode One

Welcome to Penciled In Poetry, a twice weekly podcast about my poetry.  This episode I read and discuss “As she begged me to slow down,” published in my book There Is Nothing Poetic About Fish.

As she begged me to slow down

The car flipped, we exchanged ground for sky,
and in that second, you and I
found the truth more solid than ever before.
My right hand gripped yours,
the left white-knuckled the steering wheel,
and the autumn sun tiptoed through the windshield like
a disco-ball slow dance on fire.

Baby, the truth is,
sometimes we’re a forty car pileup
and nothing will ever fix that.

The tax break

Paul sits down across from me and the tower
of paper I call the last year of my life.
He’s probably 22, but looks 12,
and the cocky sonofabitch straightens his glasses
his tie his comfy H&R Block job
and checks his notes before saying

There’s a new stimulus package handed down from on high.
You may qualify if you promise to
lay down your pen and never write another poem.
It’s quite simple actually:
we’ll deduct every poem not written,
every moonbeam undreamt,
every gull sailing from the edge of the sea
to your lover’s arms…

He’s shaking now. This job is getting to him.
I’m not the first poet he’s seen today,
and he’s become intoxicated by the imagination he’s helped destroy.
He’s a giant hose siphoning the gas from my car,
and he’s babbling now, his arms spread wide

but I’ve stopped listening. I’m too busy spending my money,
my new mansion plucked straight from a Pottery Barn catalogue,
gold orthodontics, a trophy wife serving me diet lemonade
in glasses made from the sun, and all smiles.
Finally, I’ll be free.


For National Poetry Writing Month, I’ve been actually writing a poem a day. This one was from the 7th.

I like poems about completely giving up poetry. I’m trapped in their irony.