"Stay" "Entre-Act" "Stop Turning"
a collection of poems
an old Old Fashioned now just a peel
now-marble ice and sweaty glassed
sits lonely as the lounge singer’s
shimmer leaves the grand
the brassy tarnished bell won’t ring
information cards of pseudonyms
your senator is checking in
but won’t need a luggage cart
the room above with “Do Not Disturb”
ironically struggles with their own instruction
their game of stop and go telling a story of its own
he’s trying she’s excited he’s excited that she’s excited
a book lies in the bedside drawer
full of unburned fires while Jesus weeps
between the covers resting
on a pillow gone unused
headlights beam to spotlight me
through shutter blinds and spiderweb curtains
which means that Pontiac has finally left the curb
who parks their car just to walk to the bridge?
the air at 1 AM is crisp
their ice machine is on the fritz
you never hear the housekeeping knock
and embarrassment comes before you get the chance
behind the door you hear a scream
the followed silence makes it hard to sleep
and now the knock of authority
a painted wall wrongly blamed on red rum
news made reviews, a generous three
stars for a pool with a roof but a view
of the sunset
airplanes take off in the night
but lightning bugs are the brighter shine
a fluorescent glow, buzzing on the sign
that reads “VACANCY”
Time waits anxious in the wings
his entrance to disrupt
the plot inopportune, in irony
and other hapless turnings
demanding your ovations
your attendance the sensation
that brings it to climax
Time drinks molasses with red wine
stains on its teeth enjoying bittersweet
cabernets and cabarets with curtains
hung to separate anxiety and actuality
that walk a blur-red line
both seeking your applause
And you don’t think of Time
in money, children, or crime
but sunsets, bells, and bakeries
churning out pasty pastry puffed dolls
who look like friends of mine
demanding what is left
when I’ve no more to give
but all that’s left behind has been
tied around my ankles pulling
covers over me to comfort me
telling white lies today
that prove true tomorrow about
the certainty ahead
I thought I would I should have been done by now
there’s no more lines to read
the vamp has seized
but spotlights watch expectedly
thus introduce another love
interest who seems despondent
to spend another night
but shares a drink and a bed for
an undetermined and unequal
amount of both our Times
III “Stop Turning”
We fantasized about this day, gorging ourselves
on popcorn and double features served
to us on silver platters and silver screens, but
these news anchors weren’t Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
They broke the silence, their faces wet with tears,
Our world had been dying, and no amount
of Stanley Kubrick or David Bowie provided
any solace for the final solstice
we would make. At that moment, the
Earth stood still.
I wanted everything
to stick with me, the books I’ve read
and photos I’ve taken, the friends
I’d made, I recalled the conversations I’d left
angry, but it all just seemed like too much.
Whiplash as we accelerated.
Phones rung as mothers clung, crying,
clung to little ones. Cops dropped
and sobbed, queer families lovingly embraced while
priests had grovelers at their feet.
Taxi drivers became bicycle thieves,
refusing to slow, beginning to throw bodies as
collisions of material and immaterial belongings surround,
watching from a rear window,
plunging me into a state of vertigo.
I was able to recall my first kiss,
on the bank of a dried up river
where she called out “come
stand by me.”
A radio station played Imagine
and I thought of how much John Lennon might have hated that
under these circumstances before thinking of all the albums
pressed into vinyl that would eventually
A man with a
movie camera couldn’t see
the irony in capturing these
final moments from
behind his lens.
I wondered how this would affect
the “nobody” people and then
I thought of how much the “somebody” people
wanted this event to mean
But buildings burned with all the bills and canvases still inside.
Art would be found by the luck of trainspotting.
Sunset Boulevard had become just another area code
and a mutt that was too skinny told me it was andalusian.
And who was I to disagree?
A warm rain started to sprinkle and I walked
into the street, feeling like the end of a movie, before
realizing my life hadn’t been the
science-fiction thriller romance
I had expected as a kid.
I thought of my mother and how she might like to see me again.
I think I saw you, through it all, sitting with some friends I’d never met.
You seemed to handle the news quite well, or
maybe you hadn’t heard, but the moonlight made your skin look blue
and (for me) that was a nice final interaction.
I want to be among a person who knows me
and doesn’t hate me for that. It’s not about
one last experience or finishing a list,
I’m just in the mood