Straw man

Doesn’t matter much if it’s a man or a woman
If it’s made out of straw, it’ll burn.


I only write

I only write poems when I’m romantically distressed
Well this is the one that is going to prove that wrong
So that if anyone reads these, they won’t think I’m a perpetually frustrated sod
Stroking himself to the sight of distant windmills.
It’s silly, I know, especially when practically nobody is going to read these
Least of all the subjects of my past frustrations.
If one of you is reading this, you’re proving me wrong
Or I’ve sent you a link and this is all an elaborate set-up.
Is that brilliant, or just painfully self-obsessed?

When it comes down to it, though, the fact that you are here is complete dumb chance
There’s very little quality control on the Internet
A fact which may be poised to change,
But not for the better.


I deserve to have a nice morning
I’m going to hit this bowl and make a burrito
You’re probably smoking a cigarette right now
Like a damn fool
Yesterday I didn’t care much, but today I awoke early again thinking of you
I’ll admit to feeling slighted, a little angry that you didn’t know what was good for you
But you deserve to be happy
Or do you?
It’s a notion so facile as to be meaningless.
I like to regale my friends with the etymology of the word “happiness”
How it comes from “hap” as in “happenstance,” as in chance
And the idea of pursuing it at all is as stupid as any idea of how it should be pursued.
I took a hit and I feel pleasantly fuzzy
Step one in my grand construction of a nice morning
More at peace in my delusions of infinite wisdom, I feel muddled and serene
I deserve nothing but the best
I deserve nothing

Poem 3

I almost wish something bad would happen
Reason to unfasten the moorings and let this thing sail
Morbid thread: the death of a friend would send me off to create and contemplate.
I lament my lack of a consistent creative mental state,
Is it this place? Or will that follow me if I retreat?
Creature of routine, it must be some of each.
My mind desires discipline, my body just wants meat.

My head aches and my neck muscles are screaming but in most other respects this is an ordinary night
An ordinary winter plight amplified by the rising hellish tide
Where everything sounds like sirens

Red Herring

Walking back from the liquor store I was gripped by a desire to create something fiercely beautiful
In that moment my focus was crystalline and I felt whole, determined
Heating soup and bread my thoughts oscillated between these poles
The height of my ambition, the power of art, the grinning wolves consuming it all whole,
And you
Oh, such hubris to write me off after a mere two encounters
I am rich and my depths would excite you, as you were excited by what bubbled to the surface, but so much more
I am no fool
I see it all too clearly
My mind spins petty doughnuts in the parking lot
I pour two fingers of bourbon and open my phone to chart the course of my past hour
As if it was important
I was gripped by a desire to create something fiercely beautiful
But this isn’t it

Poem again

I feel like screaming
Stupid screams
Powerless in every way that matters,
Or that’s how it feels anyway.
I ignite the contents of a bowl and think,
“Everything, even this, gets harder soon.”
I feel like crying
But I have to talk to my boss any minute now
So I will be convivial as usual
I like my boss and he likes me, and everything is normal and everything is fine
Except the howling whirlwind at the threshold preparing to rend this shitty fabric to bits
And you, kindly but matter-of-factly, telling me you didn’t feel a “strong connection” and wishing me well
I presume this strength is a relative measure, weighing your infectious smile in my presence, the poems you read me as I stroked your hair, against whatever excitement transpired last night,
One of the nights you “had plans” but didn’t specify, as we worked out that we’d see each other Thursday of next week,
And probably Tuesday too.
You once asked me if studying psychology enabled me to “read people”
In a sense it did
But the ink is already dry
And while an awareness of the primacy/recency effects
And the crude mechanisms of attraction
(Had you only not been called in to work that night!)
Might help you understand why I’m here, feeling like screaming
It wouldn’t change a damn thing.


If I didn’t have it already,
I probably have it now
Stray grains of kitty litter on your bathroom floor
Tracked into your bedroom and left to accumulate
Atop your sheet
There where I caressed your leg, tongue playing along faint veins
Foot brushing aside sandy grains.
Supposedly it makes women more warm and open
And men more impulsive and mistrusting.
You might have had it already, but me, I’m not so sure.