Daddy did some really dumb things

Emaciated runner, sweat ringed white baseball cap
worn backwards on her head—
that damn bitch huffs her way up the hill in this heat,
what an asshole, what a freak...
Thin, wrinkled, saggy-boned, fragile, repulsive,
she looks like a detainee at Guantanamo Bay
where we lock “them fureigners” up
not for what they’ve done but
for what they might do—
the way we imprison so many
Hey, she looks like a terrorist...
Lady, do you eat on your own at all
or do they have to force feed you
through a tube, bitch, through a fucking tube?


It took his daughter awhile to realize
(and even then she wasn’t all that sure)
“Mom, is daddy very, very smart?”
she asked of his ex-wife
“Yes, dear, daddy’s smart”
It took her so long because daddy did
and still does,
some really dumb things
A myriad of voices creates his songs
no space at all left between us
He drifts among us skillfully, casually,
stealthily, steadily, and wrong
Hits for a time the right, wrong notes
Always this close to her, look it—this close


They give him a stubby little pencil to write with
the kind you get at bowling alleys
No eraser and they never feel right in your hand
I have some of his letters written that way
Tough to read, written as they are
with a stubby little hard pressed pencil
He’d pretend to collapse
just to see how his dog would take it
On cue she whimpers her doggy-like distress, each time
He wrote:
The ship that leaves us
will greet them by and by
They wait for her there
as she comes across the sea


Things will never look to me as they did then
(it’s like a prison behind a cold flat door)
I function okay but it doesn’t feel right
No stereo sight, no depth, with just one eye
Her 16-month old sleeps (at last, she says)
next to his mother on the plane
He doesn’t bother us other passengers
the way the kid down the aisle does
He looks up, smiles, yawns
Mama, her skin a bit blanched and red,
is so tired and so proud
This is the most love he’ll ever know
Go with it there, kid, go with it now
This life ain’t always so calm and sweet, you know


These ashes aren’t Howard,
they aren’t Matt,
they aren’t your mother,
they aren’t your dad,
grandmother, grandfather, sister
Don’t give me those ashes
or that lock of his hair
If it leads to happiness but kills desire
If it contradicts the inner heart of my machine
Keep it to yourself, you bastard
Keep it to yourself
Exile or sanctuary—banishment, loneliness
A battle of thought, dread and self-sufficiency
The undone scars that come from before


Don’t dare think those who lose their minds
revel in some harmonious, numskull, superficial bliss
The loss of every little thought hurts them keenly
Here’s what I hate:
Knuckleheaded hierarchies
Classless scorn from clueless, political, Alaskan loud-mouthed bitches
Prison running schmucks from the south
Professional wordsmiths, manipulators, ignorant donkeys
I don’t hate those two old guys with their long, impressive,
downright scraggly, gray black beards
They were once farmers, I’m told
The one in that wheelchair, the other bent over, fragile
They’ve been together for thirty years and rumor has it
they’re really wealthy, get this, they’re millionaires


Mom did try to kill herself once or twice
I guess she was serious but she failed and was revived
She succumbed instead to a painful, lethal, drawn-out disease
which she saw through to the end
Unless you look you shan’t see her absence
Such sight doesn’t come naturally and it’s not for free
So you bastard I’ll tell you what
If your lady love and I have any offspring
you’re welcome to come and rip them apart
with your lion-like false teeth
But why did he love someone awful like that
What a fucking mess of it he made
Let’s talk now of some really stark nonsense
Daddy did, face it, some really dumb things



-July 6, 2013-