Flanked by kin
Holding up the stretcher,
The white sheet charting your casing like the afternoon mowing down inner cities.
The mosque hurling the compassionate to your side
To temporarily wreck their composure
Uncovering how you were a pillar of the community,
Your tenants took a furlough from their inflation adjusted lives
And stuffed their mouths and shot their feet under the flash of cold showers.
Doorbells ducked into tin-foil wraps,
Dirty dishes into slumber parties going through laminated albums
No one said it was your penchant for red meat,
Or the hostility of habits to diabetes,
It was: ‘remember how he used to keep to himself mostly, but was a good man.’
It was: ‘he is survived by his wife, five children, and ten grandchildren,’
The likes of who will gargle the holy water used to bathe their wounds.
Periodically, pension off memories
And shuffle them into greeting cards.
The principal characters of your stories have forgotten their lines,
The audience’s faces have begun to tighten in barely restrained dismay,
The stage hands have all clocked out and de-unionized.
Strobe lights bounced off walls,
Painting obscenities along the corridors,
Redeeming friendship coupons.
Jumeirah listed as a deductible on the paycheck.
Lifeguard towers are cozy.
Almost enough to atone the wagon ride.
Not the front door,
Not the Gas station shoplifts,
Not the Construction-site Hand-jobs,
The In-utero tempest.
You have matured as an aneurysm
Your use of pronouns are seldom and provoke want.
Clutch Free Throws
As we approach tip off some under the bleachers fuck you has captivated the hearts and minds of the nation: alimony is finally off the table.
Pompoms-a breakaway NCAA
The parole board has green-lighted proposals for the whites in their eyes to use all available tools to combat recidivism.
The scuttling fishermen are hard boilers in a B-Movie.
Mother-ships of Convenience
“What would you say to the allegations?”
“Unfounded in scripture. Unholy in their essence.”
“And the accusers?”
“Blasphemers, who believed they were wronged. Below-average GPAs,welfare queens, anti-depressant overdosers, would-be fornicators.”
I wanted to tell you about my brother. He was born a few years after me. I barely remember the times he was a kid, not that he grew past it. He was one of those children who died in the death throes of smallpox. I would say that I miss him.
Photography: Patrick F.Tobin
You sssshh me because it’s the world’s best kept secret and that’s all you are telling. Even if i am the one the cashier on the graveyard shift at mcdonalds calls welcome back mister. And he’s loving your bangs, even post-mortem, and your stumps for fingers tornado the ranch and dollops of-effacing i am a pig and i am ready. The safe cracks. But somehow he forgets his lines and no you would not like today’s special with the sauce on the side, please.
Photograph: Robert Chappell & Stefan Czapsky