Monthly Archives: March 2008

The Second Date

you seated across from me
in my office
as you were
one week earlier

your face pale and drawn
evincing the pain and drain
that attends to finding
one’s friend has
a serious medical condition

i study your face
see the age and condition
and think
of the past 24 hours

we sat here
me on your lap
face to face
your hands running
down my back and legs
as i held on

if i take any step
it will be closer
if i cannot take you
as you are in this moment
i cannot take that step

decision made
walk through door
flip switch

at my house
you raise issue
of an ex of yours
at that moment
i realize
no matter

decision made
flip switch

there are some roads one walks alone
decisions are made in the silence between kisses
once it’s done you can’t take it back

flip switch



The neighbor needed some money
The neighbor sold me to the takers
with white lipped sobriety
thinking of his family

The takers FedEX pragmatic packages
diapered, hooded and chained
in container planes
from way out from who cares where
to nowhere

I wait in patient fluorescent
in the big safe institution of your fear
installed here between skin & prayer
the ingredients of a day

Imagine your eyes and hands
tactile tight in a concrete coffin
prison bar for sundial
paved under the unlawful awful blacktop
of your outsourced grasp
and feeble minded wrath

They never turn the lights off here

Lady K

conversations with myself

i drive thru my neighborhood
the mutilated trees
the raped maples
the Y of their crotches open
where taut leashes of electricity
vibrate into the dull white sky

the smoke throated bag lady croaks
for change outside Wendy’s
the fallible world frosting over
with nicotine & carbon dioxide

i am crawling toward grace
i am crawling toward sanity
i am crawling toward an understanding
of myself
thru the mucous messages of the past
the choke pill of inchoate reality
the screaming of talking heads
swinging from the rear view mirror

i pause to pick at the hardened snot
of tomorrow
where a steeple appears from the gloom —
neon mega church —
free gas card when you attend
this sunday’s service for the first time

now it’s home to the stinking
breath of slapdash death
more conversations with myself
hope forgotten
relentless snow

wendy shaffer


Rock-a-bye baby
in the tree top
when the wind blows
the cradle will rock
when the bough breaks
the cradle will fall
down will come baby . . .
and all

I’m calling out the monsters. Let’s name spades spades.
Monsters are not green or purple. Monsters have skin-colored skin: beige, ruddy, brown, olive, gold.
There are monsters of privilege and compartmentalized investment opportunities. These monsters live in gated communities or small islands. They have good health care — what, don’t you? — and perfect teeth & they only eat organic kibble. They wash and recycle their zip lock baggies. The drying rack’s shored up on an air conditioned counter next to shade grown coffee bag flown a thousand miles from the grind of Reality.
The monsters of privilege are well educated. These monsters have good muscle tone. These monsters make small sacrifices & mouth holistic living. These monsters practice feng shui. These monsters are really a-scared of you & me.
And there are the monsters of assured ignorance & monsters of opportunity, the serial killing mercenaries memorialized with state holidays & veterans pensions.
(venerated family members)
(sacred cow monsters)
There are monsters of convenience. They drive their SUVs down the road past peak oil & Exxon-Mobile ill. Set mind cruise speed. Prozac heart at McEase. (Material disease ain’t symptom free.)
These fuel eating monsters believe the corn crop, the sugar crop, corporate science sanctions all this pleasure whilst the lungs of the planet-burn furever & evermore. Unpaid slavery labors US Grade A corn fed leisure. Ain’t no clean green for these mad cows.
And there are monsters like you & me, creeps who eat the beef of seven planets without much grief, common theifs of the brief.
Someone smarter than us will make it all better, alright? Good night, sleep tight, we bite. Monsters have appetites like black holes.

Lady K

maybe there are

maybe there are
stone thoughts,

but stones don’t talk

(so we’ll never know)

Lady K


Crossed beams of wood
Telephone pole or crucifix
Left over for sale unsigned
Or mail unboxed / along
Some road somewhere
Sometime / can’t escape
The simplistic design of
Civilization / the frame to
Keep the world aligned
The tracks to keep things
Moving / what will we do
When the trees are all
Gone / how will we
Celebrate Christmas



She reaches out to embrace me.

She kisses me upon my mouth.

She unbuttons her blouse

And takes off her bra.

Unbuckles her belt.

Unsnapping her pants.

She lowers her panties

Poems spill like cold blood on a winter morning.

The two of us tangled in old linen.

Heavy breathing.

Wet and sloppy.

The journal of destination inside my aging drugstore brain.

Refills and Refills and Refills!!!

The aging prophet extends its wings of electricity.

Unwrapping an old bar of dark chocolate.

An empty bottle of red wine lies in the corner beside the bed.

The radio broadcasts a moment of silence.

The light of the sacred lamb.

And the female ghost begins a high pitched song.

I am late with a cloth bag.

Mail delivered to the wrong address.

Credit cards . . . secret messages.

A strewn pair of empty trousers.

I am reluctant to sing.

A large black bird alights upon the window sill.

A secondhand poem in its claw.

The candle slowly burns through the night.

My aorta bursts.

I lie dead with an electric radio.

Screaming late night subways.

A graveyard of yellow pages.

Unclaimed skulls of Europa.

Peter Leon

Just a thought

There is a time a place for
horny toad frogs and tadpoles
swimmin’ upstream against the
current from dusk to till dawn headin’ towards
home, headin’ towards the soft breathing clouds
of light moving past moving on into the stars
shepherding our way into a place and time unimagined
rushing against my face while swimming upstream
into a constellation swallowing black holes
and gravitational fist fights twisting a minute
into days without sunset while cold analytical streams
soothe our darkest fears with sounds we don’t understand.

Steve Thomas

The Rising Phoenix

Worldwide, there are more rice farmers
Than any other occupation
You could be a rice farmer
Up past your shins in rice paddy water but
The odds smiled in your favor
You’ve never even seen a rice paddy except in a book
It’s not your job to harvest that perfect grain of rice
Now isn’t that a relief. You don’t have to be a rice farmer.
Tough times don’t last but tough people do.

Charlotte Mann