Normal rhythms

If you listen, you can feel
the fat whoosh pounding
beneath fingertips, the ready warmth
of rush-of-red head-
ward from heart: not
ruby-red or glitter-red
like Dorothy’s slippers
but still magic, the way
the machine putters on,
isn’t it? How I can put pen
to paper or make love
with my thumbs by typing
less than 3 or wink or walk
away

while under it all
I am filled
with the smell of rust, bloodstink,
someone said, like old traintracks
sunk in summer mud,
persistent as hell, as sin; copper-
tinged bleeps on a blank screen :
alphabet soup : pee-kew-ar-ess, an iron-
y bulge-thump of muscle: lub-
dup like the one-legged steps
of my father’s crutches, how
it has nothing to do with love,
after all, and everything, lub-dup,
lub-dup, lub-dup unremarkable
until it is not.

a soft closing

the leaves are nearly gone now, but the rose
we planted in early May persists, and i
can see still the scars the ivy left, pulled vine-like
and root-wise from the inside of the back fence.

when i feel lonely just right, they itch, the dark
fingerprints like love-by-night bruises
on the inside shadow of my back thighs,
drunk on espresso and vodka and dreaming.

it is after one, and the sheets have lost their color.
you are painted in moonlight through the open November
window, a crack. the rose is without perfume, but
we have no need to breathe. it is near noon,

and we are tangled in the poems that haven’t come
out in so long. my arms are stronger for it.
the leaves are nearly gone now, naked and dead,
but people gather in the park over the city

to sop up the autumn sun. there is a girl
and a dog and you are distracted, and dreaming
tastes like soap bubbles, easily broken,
worth the bitter for the bloom of the November rose

for all the sad country ju-ly crooners

june river

love is just the lightning
flash
between old
bitterness and the new,
a thunder that tastes like
antique lace catch-
ing in your throat
as if you had swallowed
spiderweb under a honey-
suckled sky with clouds like
cotton-bolls behind a river city
summer choking
with angry greens
& browns, river current
swollen and diverging.
in the low sky
june fireflies wink still,
flashing for loves
of their own.