Selected poems from JUICE

published by Regal House Publishing

From Part One

 

BECOMING LEGEND

 

At some point in their lives just about everybody

wants to go to Hollywood to see stars. My point

 

is now! Just turned sixty, and as the pilot announces

we’re about to land in LA, I hear a big W H O O S H

 

and everywhere outside my window I see seaweed,

not palm trees. Others on board see seaweed too.

 

I’m here to see stars and I’ll be darned if that

isn’t young Lloyd Bridges from Sea Hunt snorkeling

 

with a dolphin and there, Jack Cousteau, skinny

and French as ever, and no, it can’t be, it is,

 

it’s Miss Esther Williams doing her famous butterflies,

and oh my gosh, I can hardly believe my eyes,

 

I see other planes out there buzzing around, diving

and swimming with mantas and hammerhead sharks

 

and the gi-normous finbacks, one with a baby, and look,

look, it’s the giant squid everyone has been

 

wanting to get a glimpse of. The pilot comes on again

and tells us we can now deboard and thank you

 

for flying Ocean Air. I make my way to the carousel. Where

did these sunglasses I’m looking through come from?

 

And all of the flash bulbs and people with pens?

Oh, Miss Merman, it’s so wonderful to see you again!

From Part Two

PYROGYRO

 

I tell you in a whisper

I enjoyed your warm words

over the burn barrel. And what

a lovely spectra as the fabric

 

softener jug turned to goo.

Wasn’t it thoughtful

 

of the officer in his chopper

to descend to just above us and declare

 

the degree of your singed brow?

He was one and the same

 

who spread your uncle’s ashes

over our desert crater. Didn’t you

 

want to add The Sun about now?

Watch page by page so much thought

 

on our world go up in smoke?

You know this very moment

 

hundreds in Samoa and the Congo

are roasting supper on a stick

 

while hungry thousands abide outside

the stone circle. And countless

 

homeless here at home are rubbing

hands together over flames

 

as if mere hands

were keeping flames going. 

 

  

From Part Three

 

HOOKEY

 

I ask Titus, an alien from CX-48

in the constellation Cassiopeia

why he doesn’t want to meet

the gang down at the bowling alley.

He says they’ll take one look

and want to knock some pins down

with his head. He’s right.

So let’s go fishing.

 

We wade Paduka Creek halfway

where Titus reaches down

among the rocks and picks up

trout, three per hand. Trout,

he says six times before he lets them go.

I’d like to get some pictures first,

and he agrees but when I look at them,

he’s barely there, only trout

that look like they are roosting

in the aspens. I forgot Titus

really doesn’t capture well,

if at all, and my pics look like I ran them

all through Photoshop.

 

I ask Titus why he’s always

stretching his arms up in the air

and he tells me that he’s reaching

for his long-lost playmate

back on CX-48. I ask him

if he’d like to stand up

on my shoulders. He does.

 

Titus starts to cry. His tears

come out all purple

and silky like Johnson’s baby oil.

Then he disappears.

But only for a moment and then

he’s back. I ask if he’s forgotten

something and he tells me

he was told it’s not his time

but I know he misses the trout.

 

 

 

From Part Four

BUILDING A BETTER MOUSE

 

Freda lays frays of red blouse thread

on her forearm. They look like scratches raised up

off her skin. She either breathes on them furtively or

waves her hand over them dismissingly and they skitter,

get lost on the red rug. Freda feels for them,

circles her lined palm on the pile and returns with

a loose ball, ganglion she calls it when held up

to the patient white of incandescence:

this is the start of a heart. For a body Freda recovers

a pink jellybean clothed in the fate of a dust bunny

under her recliner. Pinches, twists make limbs, features.

Slight bulge in her apron pocket begets a soul.

Somewhere in Freda’s needle is a hole.

 

 

 

From Part Five

 

THE TWO ARMSTRONGS

 

Boy deep down inside the man

has Keds on. Springy as a pogo stick.

Divides his day-to-day among his pockets:

maps, collapsible telescope,

Mars bars, compass.

On his belt, canteen full of life force:

Kool-Aid or Tang.

 

Boy’s been rattling the man’s

thorax. Man just calls it gas,

something he ate. Words come,

sound like module, lunar.

Doctor comes,

pulls a beanie, bent propeller

from the man’s esophagus.

 

Boy launches

like a Saturn 5 rocket. Lands

in a silver-on-the-inside cape.

When he lifts his arms,

a thousand parakeets fall out.

Doctor falls down.

Man puts down

 

his instruments.

Throws his keys

into nearby weeds and woods.

Donates explorer/discoverer biographies.

Stops the mail.

 

Boy shows him

how to walk all over again,

leave prints

that make good pics. How

not to kick up dust, jar rocks.

 

Eventfully they plant a flag.

Place hands upon hearts.

Never before, stripes

wide as these. Never again,

stars this close.

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