who doesn’t love a man who steals parking meters?

urban heroes

I write from a whirling propeller

I write from a whirling propeller
that seems so troublingly slow
when submerged under the water
all these bubbles that I blow
are a drowned man’s latest prayer
floating up until they pop
and every time I reach the surface
I forget that they said “stop.”

I Married Helium

You’re betrothed is beautiful
she’s quite a comely lass
the only downside I can see –
she moves just like a gas.

My Bend Had Broke

My bend broke
just below the knees.
I didn’t think
my bend had broke –
I thought it was the trees.

And when the world it tilted,
and to the left I sunk,
I didn’t think
my bend had broke –
I thought I was just drunk.

Lying face down in the carpet,
seeing fibers, nothing more,
I didn’t think
my bend had broke –
I thought someone’d raised the floor.

When my bend broke,
I didn’t think of cures or mends,
I didn’t think
my bend had broke –
I thought, “Wow, how cool is that? Now I’ve got two bends!”

Why Tie a Fish Filet in Your Hair?

Beautiful woman, with a face of rings,
answer me these puzzling things:

Why tie a fish filet in your hair,
or keep a headdress tied in your shoe?

Why leave roasting ribbons
(skinless, boneless, chunky white ribbons)
wrapped round synonyms for glue?

Why place seahorse bones in every print
your foot has stepped in wrapped in lint?

Why make the TV only blur?
Why make a hacksaw out of fur?

Why leave the literati twirling in the trees?
Why choreograph a minor ballet danced only on the knees?

Why gather sailors’ ends,
and keep cold comfort warm,
pack the world inside a can,
pray for a stronger storm.

“Oh what am I to do?
Oh what am I to do?
It’s what my master tells me to.”

Saturday, In a Light Gone Sunday

Saturday, in a light
Of two Saturns painted white,
We searched for fillings from my cavities.
By the time we were done,
We saw Sunday’s setting sun
And laughed that we had drained our batteries.

and this dark fire makes us

the paths after dark
make the search for light
a horrid task
a difficult care

combing the dawn of all its night
sorting for light in the pile of night there

oh, the sensible man knows
there’s less light in night
a million times over more light in day

but we are possessed
and this dark fire makes us
hunt light in night, compels us to say

it’s not how much light
you’ve got from the night
but knowing the way
you’ve made the night pay

the billionaire in my basement

illustrated poem: the billionaire in my basement

Ask a Question of the Shadow

We can talk (to project). We
can talk, project to, “Please,
ask a question of the shadow.”
“Do you talk in Shadowese?”

“Are you sheltered or you swallowed
by your big brother the night?”
“Shadow, where do you think you’ll go
once everything is light?”

The Ballad of Bill “The Bunter” Hobson (A Spectacularly Undistinguished Practitioner of the Art of Professional Fisticuffs, Who Nevertheless is Remembered as a War Hero)

baseball player v. boxer

It was just in Bill Hobson’s nature,
before he was even a runt,
why, before he even learned to walk,
he’d taught himself to bunt.

He showed little interest in grade school.
His teachers found him as a student wanting.
He’d do no homework, but every day in his backyard,
for six hours after school, he’d diligently practice bunting.

He made the freshman baseball team,
but he gave his coaches a fit,
for Bill insisted on bunting – no matter what the sign –
as a way to get a hit. (He never did.)

Tossed off the team for insubordination, next fall, he tried out for football.
The coach showed him how to punt it,
but instead of catching and kicking the ball,
Bill Hobson tried to bunt it. (It will come as no surprise that he did not not make team.)

Bill got a job as a night watchman.
After he’d made the rounds and checked all the locks,
he would spend the rest of the night
practicing bunting out on the loading docks.

Late one evening, a gambler spied Bill,
said to his partner, “Look at that schmuck.”
His partner said “He doesn’t look like a fool to me,
He looks like a stroke of good luck!”

And so the boxer Bill “the Bunter” Hobson was born.
Of his prowess at fisticuffs the gamblers would sing
as they’d travel from town to town, get Bill into a boxing match,
then bet the house of the other guy in the ring.

His head it was battered.
His jaw it was shattered.
Across his tattered baseball jersey,
his blood it was splattered.

His eyes black and bruised,
but he never felt used,
for if one’s calling is bunting,
one’s life can’t really be choosed.

Then the Great War in Europe broke out (version II).
Bill was drafted and sent to the front.
It was at the Battle of the Bulge
that Bill made his most famous bunt.

​A German soldier tossed a grenade at his platoon’s foxhole
It hung in the air, everyone thought in that instant, “My God! We’re done for and that’s that”
but Bill saw the grenade as a baseball,
and bunted it with his bat.

And even though Bill “The Bunter” Hobson was a failure as a student,
could not even stay on the baseball team,
never stood a chance at making the football team,
never became a doctor or a lawyer,
and although his lack of prowess with women was up until this point
not heretofore mentioned, one can only imagine,
and his total number of wins as a professional boxer amounted to zero (0-533 to be exact),
when it came time for his final out,​
Bill Hobson died a hero!

So it doesn’t matter if you reach first base,
it doesn’t matter how many runs you score,
in the town square of Rosemont, Ohio, is a statue
erected in honor of “Bill ‘The Bunter’ Hobson – a Hero of the Second World War”