Moving In / Moving Out

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Moving In / Moving Out

On the coldest day of the year
so far, my new

neighbor and her rescued dog move in
my old neighbor’s

house. The new neighbor drives
an energy-efficient

car and hauls ReUseIt grocery totes
back and forth to

the store, best I can tell. She cares
about the world.

I wonder what the Realtor said
as, Sibyl-like,

she led her client through the parquet
halls and circles

of my old neighbor’s Hell: This is
where she walked.

This is where she talked. This
is where

she buttered her bread. And this—

the heap on which she stood Dido-like,
full of rage and pain,

before she threw herself into air
and flame.

Who knows what’s truthfully required?
Some parts of life

and owning up must be nothing less
than a hard sell.


The Revised NonStandard Version

The Revised NonStandard Version (RNSV)

Then, the Teachers
of the Law brought a woman

who had been screwing around
to Jesus

and told him
in lurid detail what she had done.

Jesus—being Jesus—was not
easily amused, so

He scribbled
on the ground, “This is fucking

bullshit,” which, of course, surprised
the Hell out of

those Teachers—
being upstanding men and not

accustomed to such coarse language. Then,
one of them said,

“Whatcha gonna do now,
Big Boy?”—which, frankly, pissed off

Jesus even more. So, He scribbled

in the sand—again.
But, this time, it was a list of names

followed by dashes followed by “particulars,”
so to speak—

like getting a full-
treatment massage and amassing

dirty drawings and masturbating
under your

robes in church. Teachers,
being teachers, can read upside down,

and that’s when Frank saw his name
and a dash and

what came next, so
he eased on back to the Synagogue,

as did the others. And it was right then
Jesus looked up

at the woman
and loved her so deeply and spoke

so kindly—them being alone—her heart

Tupelo Press 30/30 Project

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Tupelo Press 30/30 Project

T-17 Days and Counting until my first poem appears on the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project Site. Astronauts report it feels good. Guidance will soon go internal.

Please consider donating to Tupelo P—or subscribing to their annual book series—in my name if you like one of my poems in February.

Do it for me, the kids, your cat—whatever motivates you. There will be a theme, a title, AND hand-sewn, printed, signed copies of the collection for contributors when the month is done.

This is not Amway, but I can send detergent too if that’s your thing.

Take your protein pills. Put your helmet on. And may God’s love be with you…and me and poets everywhere. —David Bowie


No One Publishes Poems About Mothers

No One Publishes Poems About Mothers
—advice from a writer friend

Every morning, when I make
coffee, I see

my mom hunched over
the sink

that last time, washing her face
while it was still

her face, and not
some image

her sons hold in small, breakable
cups on the back

shelves of their minds. I see
her making

a fresh start and her own
coffee, holding

her own cup with both hands
in the early

half-light and steam of dogged

a moment and morning
that lasted

just long enough for a good
smoke and for

the hummingbirds to visit
their feeder

before everything was swallowed
in light.

Down by the Riverside

Roof reconstruction with wood framing and trough roof trusses to the sky

Down by the Riverside

Today, I walked down by
the Riverside

Realty sign in front of
the white house

where my neighbor hung
herself last

year. Early modern build, wide
soffits, straight

lines of brick and wood
at odds

with one another. The gate
was open,

so I crossed wet, suburban grass
to the back

yard and looked inside
through miles

of picture window glass: scuffed
parquet, probably

beyond repair, and a loose coaxial
cable for a TV

ain’t nobody gonna study
no more. But,

then, an open door, and the damp
garage. Exposed

rafters, joists, and collar
beams—just as I

imagined. 2 x 8’s and 10’s
for the load

they were meant, and never
meant, to bear

before somebody laid their
burden down.