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Monday, January 13, 2014


I posted this on Facebook as my friend Zac (a truly wonderful poet in his own right) asked me to do so.  I am a shamelessly autobiographical poet, and I miss writing poetry.  The roots of this poem are sad, but sometimes this kind of subject matter can also unearth some alchemical treasures, and touch the hidden "that which is" humming in the poem's small machine.  This was published in Maryland Poetry Review, a nice little literary magazine which has since folded.


No matter how fierce the Saturday rages
of his belt-buckle whistling in a red-hot arc
or how deeply he slept later, drunk on the couch
while police chased criminals in show after show,
my father woke early the next day, our house
quiet as a Sunday confessional.

Organized as a T.V. chef,
he cracked eggs into an aluminum bowl,
whisking them to a yellow froth
as bacon strips ruffled and bubbled
in fragrant skillet-grease
and white lumps of Bisquick dough
baked to round golden hats in the oven.

A mist of steam rose when they were split
and spread to the edges with butter and honey,
so I learned how love was half salt, half sweet
those mornings when he filled our plates,
his cruelty throbbing in secret like a second heart.

As he cleared the table and rinsed dishes,
I sometimes went outside, to a cinderblock barrier
between our yard and the next-door neighbor’s.
There, in the hollow core of the wall,
a colony of bees made sullen murmurs, soft,
as if the whole hive lay wrapped in velvet,
the workers entering and leaving
through a gap in the mortar, gilded bodies
ripe with venom and pollen.

I stood motionless, my ear pressed to the pink bricks,
listening to the hidden song at the center of coldness,
the wax cells packed to overflowing
with amber sugars no one could touch