Monthly Archives: March 2009

catching out

shucky ducky quack quack
is that my train
mind fields meld glossing over
what was there
what wasn’t sticks out
like an angry tree

stumbling grabbing
trying to hop another rail
molten veins lead track
bloodline rushes back
a few more hours dazed
before the next yard

it comes down to
three more teeth
what if life lasts long enough
to not have enough
what if it lasts until
next Thursday

wicked tree
twists its passions worried for
the sweat of an axe
the din of a chain saw
an act of god
desperation is a lonely rider


Selling Out

I don’t know if I’m nervous
Or just glad
To finally be doing it

We meet at three

One last load of laundry
Look for coffee cups

I wonder if I seemed anxious
or scared
waiting a week to meet
neither is true
I worry about the effect of perception

eat a bit
move some boxes

Maybe a quick run
I have two hours
To be complete

Moving the things a mom keeps
Making sure the car starts
Drilling roots to implant poison

I just want to be ready when she gets here
Everything in order
The price understood


good morning insanity

good morning insanity
smoking a hometooled bowl
out in chill spring snowed drive
sweet reefer
monday mary jane
her skirts lifted
ready to kick out
another week
in these tough economic times

wendy shaffer

my street

a robin trots across the last march
frost turf treelawn on the treeless street
my street
the ugliest in cleveland
where the hump shrinking old woman walks
her three small unleashed dogs
where the latin kings gang boy’s little
sisters call after me
for popsicles in summer
where the long hair guitar man cracks
another one & throws it down —
lovely —
where i am just one of two cat ladies,
new crops of fertilized kitties crying
at us each year
where this united states raises the grit the sinew
the muscle & the mouth
to invade foreign
lands & maim & rape
& kill all the while
thinking they are right

my street

last night a muslim sufi* on a movie screen
told me he will love
those who love him
and he will love
those who hate him —

good morning goddess!
how good to know
we are one!
that my head touches the earth
across oceans
for the same spirit
of love

wendy shaffer
*Yousou D’Nour

hero worship

I won’t really be your partner
until we eat smoke together
sitting in a room full of
exhausted desire

I can’t wait for the whiskey
the throaty growls
the after shaved ecstasy
the second floor is uninhabitable

watch as the roof implodes the ceiling falls
15 minutes of oxygen to go
time to find the way
out of here

I feel your fingers
through the rubber gloves and suits
see the sweat
under your mask

if we’re still alive
I know a good carpenter
and if we’re not
I know another one


Daniel: Death by Proxy . . . (The Sacred Years)

I stop by Daniel’s place.
It’s 1:30 in the early morning.
Daniel is busy watching movies.
His dogs are barking at me incessantly.
I take a seat upon the vacant couch.
It’s not movies . . . it’s not movies at all.
Daniel’s sitting there quietly watching old reruns of past-lives.

Barb is in the kitchen practicing speaking like Betty Crocker.
It’s Daniel’s voice that is uniquely him.
That quiet soft loving Daniel.
I go into the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee.
I spill some upon the floor.
I did not clean it up.
Barbara was not too happy about this.
She said repeatedly “Leaving it up to me the maid to clean it up.”
I apologized several times but it did not soothe her irritated bosom.

I like coming to visit Daniel.
He’s so very kind . . . like a rare light in a darkened neighborhood.
He shares some of his meager rations with me.

It is night.
“the huddled masses”* are sleeping in the midnight blackened city.
But in the darkness, in the middle of the city, sits Daniel.
He’ so . . . so . . . well . . . you know . . . unafraid.
An old broken Las Vegas light emitting from his heart.
A subtle peanut butter milkshake at Tommy’s on a busy Saturday night.

The electric TV is flooding his handwritten portrait.
His brain memory center is filled with old poems.
He never typed them up . . .
Like old socks on the floor in the closet.

He’s so intent on helping the helpless.
He doesn’t care that he is without money.
He doesn’t pay rent anyhow.
Like an aging Achilles he takes nourishment from the fragrant day old bakery runs.
You know, the stuff he drives in the back of his pickup downtown at 3 AM.
To the homeless and the hungry
Daniel . . . a hand painted wing-ed midnight saint wrapped in a faded cotton army fatigue.
A master at healing the poor with aging notebook poetry.
Delivering jugs of water and bags filled with old baked goods to the desperate.
I don’t know where he got the money for living.
In the afternoon love of his eclectic eternity.
He stands before the light.
Daniel . . . sweet, sweet Daniel.

Peter Leon
*”The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Six years

I loved this woman like no other
I bled for her, my heart ached
for her to believe in me.

She never did.

Once we were talking about my past
which to me was boring and insignificant.

But she insisted so I told her about an illness
I had. She said it was impossible to survive
with out medication being hospitalized.


Yet here I am.

Deny that.

Steve Thomas

cleveland skyline

a line of fog surf foam
slices key bank
tower in two
whispering lure bait —
join this fizzy nothing air
mini drizzle in time

wendy shaffer

10 days without pay

cleveland morning soaked in grey
late again
one way to the time clock
bob dylan
dulcet lay
slow lady lay
cleveland future soaked in grey
but no commercials
no corporations
at wjcu the heights
where 372 non faculty staff will choose
which ten days without work
without pay

i like the girl DJs the best
with their recorder clear note voices
their charming insecurity
or their flitty commentary secure
in the firm unquestioned structure
of the middle class

i love these girls
and that world
that has long
been gone
for me

wendy shaffer

spring is disappointing

spring is disappointing
this year
although that globally warm sun
is brighter
and burns with more
potential than
54 years of Cleveland spring

the DJ says
Happy Spring
& Patti Smith
is covering
a future paradise
my dead emotions
from my stopped up gut
like stubborn crocuses
between cracks
of ghetto cement

wendy shaffer