Rivers of blood

See that news story the other day where a hobbyist drone pilot flew over a meatpacking plant in Dallas? There’s a photo of a river of blood flowing out of  a pipe at the back of the plant. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.


Snow falling, brilliant backdrop of a scarlet river, the stream of life ending in mud

So many lives. No matter that they aren’t human.

Ask the man with a borrowed valve animating a failing heart

He can tell you the parable of swine and pearls.

Conveyor belts of spleen, hanging rows of beautiful shiny carcasses, plastic-wrapped feet and legs.

Detritus of a massacre, oh no, only dinner destined for a nation of hungry mouths

And fat bellies, nursing too many children from the teats of privilege. Those baggy, hanging teats.

Newborn ungulates bred especially (especially = Latin, belonging to a particular species)

for the size and shape of their hearts. Clone that one, he’ll do.

Never mind the miniscule chimeras buoyant, gently bobbing

And waiting in warm incubated blood. Joining the monkeys in silent rebellion.


One-sided Love Song

I fall in love, every time I watch a musician. Male, female, it doesn’t matter. The power of songs, music, all that talent packed in to one person…sigh. I just can’t get enough. The wine helps, or the beer, those old love-instigators. This was written after listening to Gregory Alan Isakov play in an old opera house in Pinos Altos, New Mexico just a few nights ago. He’s amazing. We’re (I’m) in love.

I see you but you don’t have a clue, it’s just all of them and me and you

You’ve got to wonder at that, you’ve got to wonder at me

Letting our love lie in these songs, just in these songs.

You’re the boy in first grade with the hearts in his eyes, who cried and cried

It hurts my art, these words they hurt my art, you slay me down

Just tell me more about the moon

That full-bellied whore, she captures your attention so.

Best one-sided romance that I ever had.

Never more disconnected than when he’s next to me, he’s empty of these words I crave

They fly by him on the wings of a song, just you and me and the rest of the crowd.

I see the men hold her down, they try in vain to hold their women down

Where do these tears come from? They see us fade into you.

We’d go with you if you asked us to.

And the reverb dies, and the amp clicks off

I wave and move along to the next great song.

And now you’re just a short man, shorter than me

Delicate hands and a voice worn down by the sounds you croon to me.

Leagues Apart

Your negligent hands around my throat, compressing the very air

Compressing my meditation on myself, my internal worth to a pinpoint of white on black

Craving you, breathing you, I want to break your bones with my teeth and errant thoughts

Your brother ran naked after my car, tears on his cheeks and a bruised heart

While you stared with pale eyes through the rain-streaked window, thousand-yard stare

The stare you stared while they took her out behind the bushes, set down weapons

And you listened to her scream, and you watched the sand swirl, and you did your job.

Because we do our jobs, because of this I want you to break me, I want you.

In our own desert, with the break between us chasm-like, I reach out over it

Only to feel the cold wind of bottomless depths. I smoke a cigarette, though I don’t smoke

I walk alone in the rock garden until you come to find me, out of duty, only duty

Call of duty, a game to you and obloquy to me. The shame of the hands and my neck

And the way my body craves it, is a supplicant to the sham of your adamantine volition.

Ferine, I burrow toward your heart, or what beats within you, I own your skin while you watch

From leagues apart, from leagues above, clinical, detached with only your own words to comfort you.


For my friend. My tears, my thoughts are with you.

Ángelita, con las rosas muertas

She said she felt your dancing stop

When it wasn’t over, when it wasn’t time.

Mothers know, they know

With every breath, with their skin

And with each heartbeat

She thinks she always knew.

They waved, blew silent kisses

Besos de lluvia

As you drifted above our mortal coils

As you danced a new dance, that we have not yet learned

You left your other half, forgotten, dear heart, híja

Did you forget her, your other breath?

She waves, too, tiny perfect hands

Until you  meet again, forever.

As if the warm dark place with the steady thud, thud

Is all you were to see here.

There were more things, that we wished to show you

There were more things, but you left before them.

Excuses, excuses

Is this it? Is this shit…all we get?

I am confounded, befuzzled, I am blowing sideways in this storm of shit

I am watching the seconds, minutes, hours of this life pass by waving

Their long, fading fingers at me, they are shaking their heads in shame

Why do you sit on your ass? Because it is here to be sat on.

Because I am not good enough, because someone is better than me.

My own fatigue begets more fatigue, and shame, and that leads the lazy.

The pressure. The PRESSURE.

Til I am blue in the face, an excuse for you, second, about why you flew out the window

After that blackbird on the telephone wire, after he saw something greener over there.

Child prodigy? More like mid-life loser, someone who is no longer

So young to be so smart. Today is Better get moving. Time’s wasting. What’s taking so long? Get off your ass. No more excuses. Tomorrow- there’s always tomorrow until there’s not.

Not this summer

The Equatorial Jungle- Rousseau 1909
One Summer Before this One
There were monkeys in the trees outside my window, in the mornings
After nights of bugs bouncing off the fan and sleeping in my mouth
No doors nor screens, but brilliant mangoes for breakfast
The blonde man-girl sang old Tina Turner songs under a blue moon
And tiny red-purple crabs gathered in droves at the edges of the shadows.
They wanted to taste my toes, feed on meaty bones.
Las Brisas smelled like yeast, like sea and grease
He took me there, on a bicycle built for one, just once
Laughing with his friends, watching me out of almond corners
Click, click, click said the crabs, and their myriad eyes shone with tears.


Burning the bodies of our ancestors to fuel our excess

Sacrilege, sacrilege, sacrilege the pistons say

Punching holes in our umbrella, shitting where we breathe

Apathetic, worn down, I drive my car 100 miles without apology

Idle, and watch their souls fly ozone-ward on the black of my exhaust.

Drink my BPA-free water, eat hummus and crackers

Sit by the shore and watch the offal beautiful upon the waves.


My drop in the bucket, it won’t save us now

Our desert, once grassland now cracked gator skin

Lakes exposing the suicide dead and schools of fish stranded, surprised

Sucking at the mud and air in wonder as their scales dry

The hot winds of change blow strong here.