on the perpetually wet streets of Clifton

10 pm
fresh out of sin
headed for a sip
in a bergamot tearoom
I became distracted
my January boots
compelled
to follow memories
through puddles of patchouli oil
stalls peddling shiny baubles
half finished dissertations
and bohemian postulation
stopping abruptly
at Biagio’s Bistro
fine Italian cuisine
featuring a gourmet dessert cart
a self service bar for the regulars
despite having
no customers &
a candlelit patina
covering
a thousand nights
spent ruining tablecloths
lovingly destroying
illusions
your every word brilliant
eyes alight
that saccharine fucking
Andrea Bocelli CD playing
on maddening repeat
my laughter too loud
for the intimate room
we were certainly doomed
our conversations
were always the wildest sex
i smiled remembering
into the fezziwig glow
of the old window
warmed by the fact
they still haven’t dusted
when
my ears perked alive
as suddenly crept
haunted sounds of
a minstrel show
a hand
strumming a guitar
your voice
in half notes
amidst sodium lamp motes
drawing me toward
that ancient apartment building
where you
serenaded me
I began to
swiftly seek
certain
I would find you
if only the source of the sound
was located
before the melody ended
rounding the corner
I found myself all alone
with weary dumpsters & brownstones
breathing clouds of longing
hair damp
with the scent
of dead pine wreaths
& recollection
because
truth be told
i miss my friend
so true without you
there will never again be
music for me
on the perpetually wet streets
of Clifton

tough eggs

it’s frustrating

when you’re trying

to teach your offspring

to fly off

from the nest

when

they are pigeons

the size of bowling balls

with no desire

to put aerodynamics

to the test

high school interrupted

in the 1990’s

your flannel shirt

was a cultural ticket

that took you

greasy haired

through a graffiti pocked

bathroom stall door

to a grunge wünderland

where herpes came standard

with every tribal tattoo

nirvana whining

about your libido

a mosquito

&

girlfriends untrue

your dreams will be

dry humped

in a Geo Metro,

Generation X,

your so-called life…

high school interrupted

…eating Pearl Jam until

Zima vomit came to the house party too

with green apple jollyranchers

attended by

your skankiest girlfriend

who smoked Marlboro Reds

with the acumen

of a triple divorcee

her eyelids

the trashiest

ice blue

across the ohio

when the oxycodone and meth crops fail in kentucky

the country folk flock

across the ohio river into cincinnati

to go to the open air opioid market

people once came to the queen city from the south

to get factory jobs that no longer exist

they were called briar hoppers

we don’t have a name for these new immigrants

other than marginalized, homeless, inmate, and DOA’s

but they’re good at making change

a five dollar bill on the streets of this town

will turn into a baggy of heroin

faster than it will turn

to singles

asphalt nile

driving to work

sleepy eyes searching for signs

of life

rounding mount adams

on columbia parkway

asphalt nile

church of the immaculata watching over

queen’s tiara skyline

the city unfurls

buildings rising

to meet the sunlight

morning glory blossoms

in cincinnati

 

 

this house has a history

 

i put on some water for tea

then decided to mop the floors

of our new little nest

before the furniture gets carried in

before the rest of our lives happen

Murphy’s Oil Soap

water and sunshine into a bucket

carried through the echoing emptiness

of what will be

over original hardwood

placed there in 1941

i love to clean

the ritual of it

i write in my thoughts as i work

images painting themselves

into spaces around my gentle humming

spreading wet across the grain

seeing hands that mopped this floor

before me

wives husbands

fathers mothers

lovers and

put-upon teenagers

oh this house

has a history

built the year

the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor

it’s all still there

nailed down memories

layers of time entombed in wax

someone stood in that living room and heard

we dropped the bomb

we landed at Normandy

of a flag raised in Iwo-Jima

Kennedy was dead

Vietnam was a lost cause only good

for folded flags being handed to weeping mothers

Nixon was a crook

Reagan and John Lennon had been shot

the Berlin wall had fallen

i heard first steps

crying babies

crying widows

joyous laughter

say cheese

wine glasses clinking together

realizing with a smile

this floor is mine

the foundation of a family

and i will love it

then

the teapot

began to whistle

 

 

 

 

 

the spider slayer

there was little indication
i was not a part of the sunlit green
moss covered bridge

afternoon
summer creeping
along the gorge

me
perfectly still
save the rise and fall
of grateful lungs
taking deep lustful breaths
of rushing creek below

my eyes set upon the soaring
white sycamore trees
where the indigenous people
of this carved miami valley
sought refuge
after glaciers melted

musing that
200 million years
isn’t so long
in the grand scheme

when my sacred peace was disturbed
by the sounds of new things

tremors caused by seven year old feet
across creaking boards

three little boys

too varied in appearance to be brothers
accompanied by an aloof
iPhone addicted mother
walking along oblivious behind them

i turned my head slowly
to observe the play
and
wait for the poem to come

the tallest of the prepubescent trio
crouched down
scooping up a daddy long legs spider
off the trail
before running onto the bridge

he set to taunting the other two boys
with the harmless creature
then dangled it toward his still absent
phone call mother
on whom
the gesture barely registered
a turn of her head

darkness came into his eyes

his gapped teeth gave way to a wicked laugh

as he cast the spider to its end
over the side of the bridge

the other two boys were distraught
over his brutality toward the arachnid

the youngest of them looked around
for an adult to whom he could run
for solace
for sense in the matter

choosing me and my quiet
over his uninvolved chaperone

he ran desperately toward my calm
to ask
if what his companion
had so cruelly
done to the spider
had killed it

could the spider survive
that fall?
he pleaded to me
hurriedly pointing to the water
tears streaming down his face
as if i were
the one
who made such choices

in that moment
i felt the age of my bones
older than pious pebbles
praying silently
in the stream
beneath us

i knelt down
so that i could look directly into his eyes
and said

no, son
i’m sorry
it’s likely
the spider did not survive the fall

but this moment
has more to teach us
about the nature of humans
than the nature of the spider
doesn’t it?

his brown eyes grew amber and wide
with new understanding
as he turned to look at his friend

the spider slayer
triumphant

in a low voice
uttering
…yes, m’am
…it does

hunt and peck

oh god
how i wish i had taken typing in high school
but the word processing and typing classes
were for the pregnant girls whose medusa fried hair
smelled like rave hairspray and marlboro reds

but no
i was too busy accumulating more important credits to graduate early
from glen este high school
and to this day i still don’t give a damn
who glen este was

i had to get away
from the bullying
more bullying
and did i mention bullying

the place was a varsity lettered lord of the flies reenactment
and nobody had the conch

the history teaching goomba soccer coach
with the 40 weight greasy slicked back hair
who was screwing the whole team
promising them scholarships to the coveted xavier university

the choir director who only gave the solos to his pets

and my mother who had decided to start having church services
in the living room

yeah i backed a moving truck up to the house at age 16
better that than climbing a clock tower armed

so here i am
20 years later
the queen of hunt and peck
i’m serious
i have the shit down to a fine art
my pointed index fingers flying
cigar clenched in my teeth
spectacles resting just above the tip of my nose

the only thing i’m missing is a fedora
with a little press card tucked into the brim

it’s really okay
my crappy typing will stand for all time
an emblem
of my daring escape

he does not know the new hum in the sky

in my possession
has been the disposition
of an old drunken man
since i was a southern girl of five

perhaps i’ve traveled too long

my high heel collection is ancient

certain i was there
when
caesar’s sliced body
was set ablaze in the forum

present in the tepee
where pocahontas lost
her budding virginity

saw lincoln slouch in his chair
as blood and hair
flew over the balcony

but the image that haunts my bones
the reason my soul will always drink
was that sunny april morning
on the deck of the orizaba

hart throwing his leg over the rail
his eyes full of cutty sark
and the cum filled memories
of his thirty sailors

beaten bruised
screaming

the sad indian

“Goodbye, everybody!”

as he vaulted into the sea

my face twisting into the shape
of an unnecessarily brutal horror

but somehow
wishing for his sake
it was
his precious bridge
from which
he was falling

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