–for christopher robin

there are things as a child
we do not understand
and what we do not
we make up

when we ate our vegetables
said our prayers
and left the light turned on
the world was a much
better pace

under a bed tent
made of sheets
i clicked the light
when something moved–
knowing full well
that even brussell sprouts
were no match
for closet shadows

mother said keep
the door closed
they would stay away
but they did not
stay away
they danced out to
juggle my toys
sang my name
in mocking songs

i would fall asleep
white knuckles
holding down the sheets
casting a shadow


Cuffs by C. Derick Varn

You, lover, once laughed
as I struggled against
the ropes, but ties
that bind, hollow
out with hemp burns
that kiss the small
of the thigh, leaves
no word, no thoughts,
the spent waste that
renders me rags.

Every sound
relevant, strangely
to the syntax
of yearning.  True,
the weight makes
me breathe easier,
the heft removes
the heft of empty
skies.  If my love

have lifted me
with her skinny
fist with that rope
to the center of sky,
I would fly-mercurial
and bound, open
like the hinge to
heart and swoop
out the viscera
into the bliss
of immaculate

Opening my eyes,
our love turned
the stars into
shards of our
bones, cleaned
by the friction
and the entwining
little mouths
that whisper,
our tongues

clearly preparatory,
and the algae retracts,
rodents leave the
safety of pines
outside of our bed.
The ocean itself
barely breathing
as rain falls on
someones shoulders,
we thought
our breathe white
against cold of
other women.

Squall by Rich Ives

This storm comes not from the sky
but from the stones on the mountain.
It’s the pebbles with good reason.

Perhaps I’ve become a grumpy old man.
It’s a pleasure I never would have guessed,
its rain too gentle to send me inside.

If I contradict myself, I become happy.
If my contradiction stands up,
I am left only with my life’s pebbles.

I have been trying to find them every moment.
It’s best when I don’t know I’m trying.
I’ll stop now, happy to have failed.

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí,

You think you know me
But you don’t
Any more than you know your self

I am so many things
More than the sum of my parts.

I am flesh
The shell of an egg.

My solitude is stone.

I am you, your echo, bone

Earth air water and fire
Flow through my veins
As silent as the mist

There are no trees
Where I dissolve into the crags
And crevices
Becoming one with you

I am alone along the precipice.

Not even the mountain has a name
Nor do I.

Brian by Rob Dyer

Brian, was an animal
looked like one and acted like one
his face, dented and scarred,
a result of too much interaction with oak trees
while under the influence of Methaqualone

I watched his way with women, his only way
“hey, you wanna fuck?”,
it was a question asked without fear,
with confidence, with a sad knowledge,
that there were no other options for him

he swore his batting average was .100
1 out of 10…10% SAID YES

and there I was, clever and polite, offering humor and beer
for entertainment purposes

I would have been thrilled to bat .100

God Is In by John Tustin

God is in
the exhalation
of her breath
as she stands
on the elevated train platform,
Sunday morning,
eight A.M.,

Listen, mister, you’re a guest
at the Night Owl Club
so you can sit here
all night long, tip me
after every song,
buy me scotch
till the final gong
but none of this will help.

You’ll still go home alone
unless some other lady has a need
to make her rent
and sees the opportunity
you offer. It won’t be me;
I can’t be bothered.
I need a different kind of man,
a man who’ll hug me tighter

than my panties can,
a big old man
whose big old tongue
will be my tampon
when I’m dry.
If you’ll get off that stool
and look in the mirror
behind those whiskey bottles

standing at attention,
you’ll see clearly why
you can never be that man,
not even for an hour.
I’m no Billie Holliday,
but even with my glasses off,
I can see that you
ain’t no John Wayne.