Dinner at the Sizzler

if purgatory

is a soup kitchen line

in a catholic church

hell

is serving up grub

on the corner of 8th & vine

southern baptists

pulling up

in their tax exempt jesus wagon

to serve homeless people

hot chili in july

heaven, happens

in Cincinnati

when pigs fly

October

summers lies struggling
beneath the wait of autumn
murderous season
slicing away sunlight from her limbs
bleeding color onto orphaned trees

sweet tea

southern women
always seem
exhausted to me

i’m no exception

legs aching
in need
of a cold drink

perhaps
it’s partially

the toil over laundry

an oven’s heat
adding to
insufferably thick
summer
locust cry
air

hammock reading

gardens demanding attention

heaviness in their breasts
too soon to explain

why the chickens have gone quiet

and keeping secrets
from their husbands

old enough to know better

finally a june
that has seen
no gloom

verdant
wet hot
already yielding
the perfect red tomato

as i pluck seeded fruit
from the vine
yellow blossoms conspire
still wearing curlers
sipping tea
looking over the rims of their glasses
breathing sighs which imply
you’re old enough to know better

reminding me
in motherly fashion

this is the sort of summer
that gets you pregnant

still shots

there they go
darting in and out of cars
on I-75 doing 95mph
rain or shine
beneath artemis digital traffic signs
proclaiming it motorcycle season
share the road

“stupid shits”
i utter as i drive

i’m plagued every time i see a bike

ducati, indian, or harley
they all kill you the same

a photographic memory
and having been a mortician
doesn’t mix well

still shots in my mind
the smell of torn viscera and burn
you can’t download online

because a head wearing a helmet
can still be broken at the neck
turning it backwards on the body

a limb wearing leather
will quite easily sever from the torso

you’d be surprised how
the flesh of the nose
the lower jaw
and tongue
so willingly rip from the face
when asphalt is applied

so no,
you half drunk mid-life crisis
stumbling out of the mini-mall
sports bar
in your just for men beard dye
and
go vroom vroom costume

i’m not interested in a ride

early summer in brooklyn

i only put johnnie walker in my mouth once
stoned on a balcony after a poetry reading

swimming with gutterfish
early summer in brooklyn

he was beautiful
perfect for me

cock so big you could feel it in your spine

so i knew to leave him there

hanging in that tree

it was a sunny summer afternoon
i don’t remember exactly when
but i must have been around 3
because we still lived in the little farmhouse
on ellison ridge
where uncle louis hung himself

the day felt the same way i feel
when i hear the cowboy junkies sing
sweet jane
lush and southern

dad was sitting with me
at the white picnic table
he built with his hands

i climbed on top of the table
to be closer to the large overhanging tree limbs
telling him i wanted to hang from them like a monkey

he hopped to his feet and i remember the jangle of keys and change coming from his pocket

his watch flashed in the sunlight when he picked me up and put me on his shoulders
then we walked to the lowest sturdy branch
within my reach and he said

“Grab on a-hold…”

i remember giggling with glee
as i latched on
he slowly crouched down and turned
to face me
freeing my swinging legs to dangle

he never took his hand off my shoe

“Daddy, let me swing!”

“I’m not lettin’ go-ah you, little girl…”

i held on for as long as i could but
my hands began to lose their grip
i clutched at him with my chubby legs
as he caught me in his arms

all i saw were his smiling dark eyes and glimmering green leaves

he was dead within three years
from kentucky fried booze and pills

and i’ve spent everyday thereafter reaching for him in various ways

uncle louis’ ghost isn’t the only one still hanging in that tree

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