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A selection of my personal writing. 

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A fable for kids who are adults

and adults who are kids.

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The Kings of Summer

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Remember that summer when we were kings?

We were the kings, the kings for a summer,

sun-skinned, bruised & bleeding,

wetting spear grass with our mouths,

mown grass and mosquito crowned.

At night the TV was the only light

in the house except for the cars from the street,

running headlights up the wall and lighting up the hall,

like the sun would light the culvert

at the creek.

 

Where we were licked clean like nursing puppies,

pulling ourselves up the riverbank by the roots of the trees

into the fields of purple thistles,

enacting the miracles of loaves and fishes,

and everything was either tinder or flame

from when the animals were brought

before Adam to name.

 

Together we were kings, the kings of summer

and the days stretched into each other,

over thick blankets of fields stitched with thorns

from the mesquite, with the hours

moving through our bodies as a heart beat.

 

Cloud sitting behind the fireworks stand,

we exhaled June into July.

We would bike to the rec center through

the neighbor's yards, flattening bills

for the vending machines and hammering nickels

to the size of quarters to play Joust or Eight Ball Deluxe

at the 7 Eleven.

 

And July was swept into August with a broom

of jasmine laying against the peeling paint-chip-back

of the tool shed, with all its weight

like your cur pup would lean against me,

when I sat at the end of the doc,

fishing the stock tank.

 

And the cottonwood snowing over the lawn

sung hymns to the knot of toads under the steps of the patio

and to the water striders making rings on the pond.

 

We nailed rungs of ladders up the trunks of the trees

like the teeth of a zipper, and we left our shirts

in the branches like cicada shells or as a flood leaves debris.

 

We flew with the fanfare of plastic bags

on the tips of the twigs, spinning like windmills,

twirling like helicopter seeds.

 

 

It stopped raining that summer except for the Bodark

that rained horse apples making solid thuds on the streets

rolling around the roulette curves of the cul-de-sacs

like the eddies created between the hardened flows of cement poured into the little streams by contractors behind the construction sites.

 

And the grasshoppers called atop their grass steeples to the roofers mopping tar and cutting strips of flashing, to get themselves born again.

 

And the ranchers hung poisoned coyotes on the fence posts

because they said, it kept the prairie wolves away.

 

And the honeysuckle thickets moved softly with the wind like a girl

letting her hair down at the foot of your bed.

 

Remember that fig tree fanning its leaves against the window screen

as big as a man's hand and the heat through the afternoons,

laying thick with a plastic texture over the tarmac,

that seemed to slow the motion of the laundry on the line

like it was underwater?

 

 

I remember that now and again

at the very end,

of some sheet billowing like a sail

there would be a flick,

like when your leg would twitch

while falling asleep on the carpet

in front of the TV set.

 

We would ride down mounds of black clay clods,

sharp as flint chipped into arrowheads

on your brother's Moped.

 

And we laid in a bucket

of a Caterpillar tractor,

cradled like baby rabbits

in nests made by their mothers,

tucked between the grass clippings,

 

strung into rows by the riding mowers

under the neglected

swing sets.

 

And we raised an architecture of bike ramps

built from plywood pulled from the building lots.

 

As each extension of the sewer line

cut squares out of the farmland,

clearing the prairies of their grasses and replacing them

with Bermuda and St Augustine

sprayed over the ground like paint.

 

Each day we would walk the creek as far as we could,

scratching bites until they’d bleed,

and we became Zacchaeus

trying to see Jesus

by climbing into a tree.

 

We’d sled like an avalanche

down the banks of the streams

to run like dogs off leashes

through the fields of sorghum

with the light spooled at the end of the horizon

and stretched into a pipe blowing the sun like it was glass

and where we would slip evening into our pockets

padded beneath the daybreaks sewn into our jackets

 as we smuggled our last hours past the checkpoints,

 always expecting this grace to end.

 

Yes, we held strands of Black Cats

as if they were serpents

like the Pharaoh's magicians

had conjured before Moses,

and we danced like Pentecostals

dropping them as they exploded,

burning the dirt by the mailboxes

just past the cattle guard,

black as the ashes

rubbed on our foreheads at Lent,

and marking our homes

as the Israelites did

to protect their children

in Egypt from the angel

of death.

 

We lit punks and stuck

them into anthills,

grinning like

Sheela na gigs.

 

 

Remember when we were kings,

the kings for a summertime

with that sky thrown open wide -

to all the emptiness above the clothesline,

when we inhaled our world

before going in for dinner

holding our breath all night

until we could be

together.

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Small Seas

After our trip to the gulf 

You started working weekends 

And I could feel the bed shift 

As you swung your feet 

To the floor 

 

With the white of your undershirt like the crest of a wave creased by your spine in the windowpane 

 

Behind the fence, the day roots itself into the morning with barking dogs and sprinklers keeping time with the shadow from the roof like a sundial, dividing the street as the seawall did the beach in Galveston

 

And I remember those tide pools like singing bowls between the pier and the piper plovers that were racing the lace of foam - running up the shore like it was the hem of the ocean and drying into white ribbons of cursive along the beach. 

 

And we spelled our names with 

Seashells pulled pink from the sand 

Opening into tiny cradles of sunlight 

Of pearl-gull-wings in scalloped-ivory-chrysanthemums 

 

Cupped like a palm and asleep beside me,

counting hours strung into porch lights

With the warmth in our sheets in small seas sewn as seeds

still lit for a few moments in the mornings when you leave. 

 

We sifted sea glass from the sand. 

The tips of the waves made shepherd's crooks on the horizon and the sidewalk-white of the light threaded like a needle through the mesquite behind the dunes to the Portuguese man o' wars, Purple - as the flowers on a railroad vine. 

 

And I remember swimming at night with such beating hearts, we couldn't catch our breath. As we swam through the black to the sandbar. 

 

Pressed between mirrors

of the sea sparkle and the last of the Perseids 

and your warm laughter was in my ear

as you pressed your body against me

holding each other up to stand drunkenly

while the sand was pulled like a tablecloth trick from under our feet. 

 

Each morning I'm waiting for you to turn

as you did on the dock with your face soft and smiling calling back to me at the very end of the railing in the spray as if you could 

swallow the sea. 

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The Cardinal

The morning the cardinal started striking

His reflection like a match

Against the kitchen window

We had walked back from the pool

Through the fields behind

Your apartment

Shoulders peeling

Lips the color of

Fanta grape

 

Eating honeysuckle along with the gate

Kicking anthills in the alley

And our steps exploding in grasshoppers

With socks full of burs

Climbing the stairs,

Burping Dr. Pepper

Your headphones

Playing a cassette

Recorded off the radio

 

We were sunburned

Smelling like chlorine

Thin, freckled, and bleached

Seeing halos around the streetlights

And the trees singing with cicadas

A mockingbird echoing in the stairwell 

Like a chord in a soundboard

 

How I loved my body next to you

Held like a heartbeat

Strung like a sentence

Counting afternoons

In cigarette burns on the windowsill

 

How I loved my body next to you

Pinned under the ceiling fan

Flung on the bed

Like we were clothes

Just pulled from the dryer

 

How I loved my body next to you

pressing your length against me

 

We left the clinic with a gauze dried red

Like a blanket flower

 

We used a payphone to call a friend

To drive us home

And I had a sobbing in my chest,

Stone heavy that didn't make a sound

Drowning in the mornings

Pointing fingers, counting regrets

 

You fell asleep against me on the couch.

Listening to the June bugs thumping against the screen

The bottoms of your feet were black from being barefooted

And I could feel the rise of your side

Becoming in time with mine

As we took the air in the room and

Turned it with our breath

Like the apartment was a prayer wheel

And the tip of my tongue was the point of a top

And you, it's spinning crown

 

I loved my body next to you, 

Held like a heartbeat strung like a sentence.

Counting afternoons

In cigarette burns on the windowsill.

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