Sunday, September 16, 2012

DYLAN AT THE BEAT MUSEUM



I went to the beat museum
but they wanted $8.
$8 of my hard earned money
$8 of my cracking eggs for the people on the sidewalk
$8 of slicing peppers and peeling onions in a truck
inside another truck
$8 of my eyes weeping as I slice
$8, man.
For $8 I could buy a roll of paper
or a typewriter ribbon
that would unroll my blood, sweat, and tears
down Woodie Gutrhie's ribbon of highway
in this, MY land
of earth, wind, and fire
all the way home.
I stand with my hand out
on the sidewalk.
Not asking for eggs, or egg money or pin money or pin numbers
Not asking for a lower tax rate or higher fences
or to sanctify gay marriage or to marry a sanctimonious bastard.
Just asking
for $8
Just asking
to see some beats.
I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for the beat museum today
Can I borrow $8, man?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

THE PREACHER SAID DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME (but you did anyway)


Your hair is like a herd of goats           
Your preacher gave you bad advice           
I want to sail a flock of boats           

You had to go and sow some oats           
You’re almost home; it feels so nice           
My hair is like a flock of goats           

Now it’s time to swim some moats           
The road is long; don’t screw up twice           
You want to sail a herd of boats           

I had to stay and thresh my oats           
Your cupboard’s bare; let’s cook some rice           
Your hair is like a herd of goats           

Now is not the time to gloat           
The supper’s bland; let’s add some spice           
I want to sail a flock of boats           

We’re looking for the golden goat           
The ring is round; let’s thank the mice           
I want to sail a flock of boats           
Your hair is like a herd of goats

Sunday, June 26, 2011

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO GUY SMILEY?


Oh, my sister.
We can mourn what we’ve lost
Or we can claim what remains to us

Two deer run beside the road
The panther is ready

We two wait on the roof
The house submerged
The water rising

But we are not alone
Nearby a house is engulfed in flames
Another has a foreclosure notice tacked to the door
Our friend shuffles silently from room to room
In house filled with despair

Here. I will lift the infant from his cradle.
You will sing him songs of mercy.

Remember this:
We two have diamonds
They are not set in golden rings
Or locked in boxes
But protected in labyrinthine chambers deep in the earth
And they are made of carbon
Defined by pressure
They will survive even this

February, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

THE BEEHIVE


 

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the bee.

For I’ve lived my life in cycles
And this is just one more
I’ll be waiting for the morning to arrive.

And the bee will take me round the bend
And then she will return
Collecting her nectar for the hive

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the bee.

Now only cry a little
And only for the beauty
For the clover will make seeds of her own.

And the bee will keep the cycle
And the sun will rise again
And someone may remember my song

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the bee.

For I’ve lived my life in cycles
And this is just one more
I’ll be waiting for the morning to arrive.

And the bee will take me round the bend
And then she will return
Sipping sweet honey from the hive

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the bee.

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the bee.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Life’s Works Cited



Auracana Hen, Emma. Blue Egg. White Heath: May 2, 2006.

Cat. Damp Nuzzle with Purr. Bed: March 9, 2007 (3:31 AM).

Fessler, Lucille Anaconda Musgrave. Pickled Eggs with Beets. Champaign: November 21, 1975.

Fessler, Lucille Anaconda Musgrave. Turkey Soup. Champaign: September 28, 1982.

Fessler, Lucille Anaconda Musgrave. “Hair Rinse.” Apple Cider Vinegar. Bathtub: December 13, 1966.

Fessler, Robert Ellis. “What Was the Name of the Town? Waukeegun” Joke. Champaign: 1967-1994.

Fessler, Robert Ellis. “What Was the Name of the Town? Millwaukee” Joke. Champaign: 1967-1994.

Foxglove, Chad, Sunburn. Phuket: January 6, 2007.

Foxglove, Chandra. Whole Wheat. Cataluna: June 8, 1984.

Hays, Emmy Lou and Leonard Keith Hays. Mary Lucille Hays. Urbana: January 30, 1961.

Hays, Jane Frances. I’m a Liddle Ode Lady Fwom Pashadena Wishout Any Teef. Champaign: August 16, 1968.

Heath, Dylan. “Sock Puppet Show.” Monticello Rec League Soccer Game. Monticello: October 17, 1991.

Hoag, Ellis Sparky. Thumbs Up. White Heath: February 4, 2000.

Hoag, Michael. Goodbye. White Heath: February 17, 1994 (12:43 AM).

Isis. “I Want to Go Outside” Scratch. Bed: March 9, 2007 (3:38 AM).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Cinders

You have inherited a house where your people lived
For five generations
In the yard is a sore spot
Where they used to burn the trash
Like a wound
On the face of the Goddess

For twenty years
You have worked
To improve the place
Making hills of the junk
Hills becoming piles
Melting into soft mounds
Like the Rockies becoming the Appalachians

Until now
Even the burn pile is raked flat

This spring for the first time
You can mow over it
Cut down the tender sprouted ragweed
Before it becomes a forest again
So the grass can grow
Nothing to shadow the ghost lilies
That have always managed to thrust up
Between the rusted bits of debris 


Even now
After a rain
You pry with a stick
At the flat glinting of glass that seems to grow
Like crystal from the ash

You comb and rake and fill buckets
With broken jars and twisted wire
And pop tops—the old fashioned ones
That pulled a teardrop hole in the top of the can
The kind
You used to chain together as a child
Hoping to make a chain long enough to hang in the doorway
Many chains to make a curtain
One that would swing and glisten as you ran through it
Into the room
You didn't see
How they could slash a child
Wide open
On even such a sunny day as this

This spot in the yard is lethal
You can never hope to grow more than crabgrass
On that patch
You would be afraid to garden here
Afraid
Of what you might harvest
With the roots of carrots and beets


The most you can hope to uncover is the occasional artifact:
The handle of a saucepan
Three dirty marbles
A shoe horn
Seven pennies, not one of them wheat
A crusted spoon in your grandmother's silver pattern
A bright piece of glass melted
In the shape
Of the tooth of a dog

The most you can hope for
Is that your grandchildren's children
Will not have to wear boots
To run through the yard

Or at the very least
They won't walk barefoot
Through the coals of a fire
Hot enough to melt glass

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lessons from the Hippie House



  1. The sesame has finished roasting
    when the seventh seed leaps from the pan.
  2. Bake the squash beneath the pie;
    let it catch the drippings.
  3. Always respect the
    sourdough.
  4. When in doubt
    stir-fry.