shiny banjo catfish

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Coyote

I saw you born of fog, playing with your brother on the colonial carriage path,

Surrounding glacial pastures, in northern New Jersey.
Your pack barked and wailed, when the fire horn screamed,
As I sat at my campfire on haunted Schunnemunk Mountain.
I followed your paw prints in December snows of Black Rock Forest.
Coyote, suckle your pups at Summer filled teats.
Breathing poetry under dark Mountain Laurels.
A truck murdered you.
I stopped at your majestic torso—
a yelp of rich blood like a red vine from your open maw.
Dark blonde fur caressed by Lenape ghosts, beckoned me to halt my car.
I could not leave you to be spread into ruin by oblivion's emissaries.
I grasped back legs, and pulled your sleeping body from damp and dumb pavement—
the sacrificial altar of commerce.
Petroleum death barges sailed by.
I dragged you, like a sack of wet sand; a fallen rebel against an urban incursion.
The humid day called witness clouds for ghosts to clean your blood
with hail and cool July rain.
They chased you down in Central Park.
It took days but they found you:
cast a net over your feral hide, stabbed you with needles,
and made your green fire smolder and smoke like addicts in alleyways, on stoops,
and Victorian tenements.
They captured you, ensnared you with poisoned meat
and rifle dirges like bold Grey Wolf and Mountain Lion.
Their metal traps mock your fangs; chew your fur, flesh, and muscle.
People turn on their own packs—they kill what they do not comprehend.
Coyote deity, your rut will be written in soil tales; on lichen parchment;
Spring fog, Summer oak stands, when your clan is gone.
Yet, who shall write of the human drama of blood:
Babies born of starving mothers and warfare fathers;
skeleton houses and twisted automobiles?
Humans prepare for war and make babies.
They slaughter the forest, and whelp babies.
They poison the water, and drop babies.
They pave over farmland and starve children.
Your spirit walks in Summer-mad marshland, searching for your mate and pups,
Crossing roads in bog mists, and scavenging like humans.


-Robert Milby

July 24, 2006





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Eating Lipstick

​Lipstick to lips wears off.  Or does it get ingested.  Some gets ingested.  

Ingesting one's own appearance is toxic.  One's own image, viewed too often, can be toxic.  

God made into image Is limited.  Matter made God Is toxic.  

The color of lipstick wears off faster 

Than the color of beets.  The color of beets 

Comes out in the urine.  The color of lipstick?  

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Featured

Teachings

My mother taught me to walk in heels.
She didn't teach me to kick.

My mother taught me to smile.
She didn't teach me to question.

My mother taught me to be alone.
She didn't teach me solitude.

My mother taught me vanity.
She didn't like me.

My father encouraged my independence.
He didn't like rebellion.

My father encouraged my talents.
He discouraged my direction.

My father made me listen.
His voice buried mine.

My father made me eat.
He did not feed me.

My brother brought the world home.
I wasn't allowed in his room.

My brother wrote for the college paper.
I wrote for myself.

My brother went to Paris.
I defended against men on the subway.

My brother argued with my father.
I watched.

My parents held to monogamy.
I learned to suffocate need.

My parents held to thrift.
I learned to turn off want.

My sister took care of my mother.
My mother took care of my father.
My father taught Gabriela to sing.
Gabriela bought me a dress.

I took care not to cause trouble.
Trouble took me in.

Trouble took me in
so quietly, I thought it listened.

Trouble took me in
so softly, I thought it was love.

Trouble took me in
with such a thrill, I thought I was free.

Trouble took me in
so deftly, there was no choice.

Trouble has a gnarled face -
Unmasked now, it unravels.

I continue to follow
dazed, hidden
I await the infant to kick.

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Chicago Overcoat

It was a dream: Posing as a grifter
w/a bearcat named Ellie.
Nothing happened. We just kept posing
as the photog fumbled
w/film and flash.
Ambience. Angle.
Incidence. Time.

We chatted easy. She’d just broken up
w/a guy named Jim
who ran a deli on 6th. I’d just celebrated
my 25th. It was a great party.

Shadows. Stanchions.
Contrast and grain.
Hand in hand.
Depth of field.
Arm in arm.
The rule of thirds.

She looked like two million
and I felt like three.
Flash. Zoom.
It was a dream.

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MJ Live Aug 5 2016

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​road deconstruction #15

my body has an asphalt aroma.

i'm idle and my fuel tank,

a shot glass, is in the gutter.

outside table

is set with elbow,

fist on cheek, book

of cracked pages.


i watch this scene on the wall of my skull:

my brain, a clod of tendrils in search of a plot.

there is no place to root

in the exposed isolation of the road,

a dead ringer for the physics of chaos.


the shade of an oak is a collective memory.

i glow metallic in the ultra-violet sun.


i've hit a possum and the road, built

with no regard for obstacles,

continues its tail-pipe regret for the shy and blind.

drone of tires rolls out mother's predator pie:

a recipe for chainsaws and parking lots

to expand the rush hour of denial

and shorten the proximity

of stand-up comedian to botched executions.


once deflated, roadkill reveals its broken bones.

unable to stand, life continues

in the crawl of maggots.

may 17, 2014

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Cement Mixer Me

Cement Mixer Me
I do not sleep, night after night.
I stomp snock-wall cranium,
leave bloody bootprints, bone bruises,

swallow chemicals, hold my throat—
to close eyes is sand on talc,
is memory ink, grotesque plasm;
a spill within my wadded heart.

I spell words I would not hear,
on lines collapsing in the heat—
my stupid moves, my lies, my grief.

Cartoon nemesis, gravel'd me,
sinks into the alum ocean, 
wave on wave of best forgotten.

A momentary self-crustacean
snarled up in holiday lights.
All bees within, crushed in tins.

Or stoppered pour of chatterstone.
Cement mixer me.​
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Goggling Ooh & Ahh

Goggling, Ooh and AhhThe village eccentricspits on your car.The aging hippieargues a lot.No one has a handleon it anymoreExcept the marketand you knowthey're bettingyou turnon your own anddo the dirty workfor them. You knowthey've got itfigured outto the very last gasp.Rounded upto eat your dimeand daughter. You knowthis is how it goes.It happens t...

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two wives ago/two doors down/the haloes in her glasses

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