30 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 20: I'll Never

I'll never deserve your love,
And I'm glad I won't.
How insufferable would that be?

"Well, yes, thanks for that kiss.
I really do think, though,
That my greatness merits another."

"A present? For me? How sweet!
But I'm not sure why the dollar value
Isn't substantially higher."

"You'll stay with me till you die?
Of course you will.
Why on earth wouldn't you?"

I'm much happier this way,
Where every caress, every gift,
Every promise is an act of grace.

NoPAD Chapbook 19: Excuses

She was asking for it,
It doesn't apply to me,
This isn't my normal job,
The train was running late,
I was holding it for a friend,
A little one wouldn't hurt,
You don't know my life,
Everyone does this kind of thing,
That's not what I meant,
I've had a hard day,
And I deserve this.

NoPAD Chapbook 18: Sweet and Sour

Complementarianism looks like
Bleary eyes before sunrise,
Crowding food-encrusted plates
Into an ancient dishwasher,
Your hands like prunes
From scrubbing yellow babymess
Out of faded sleepers,
Sweeping scraps of food
From under every chair,
Scrubbing every surface
To a hard-earned gleam,
Boiling your own laundry soap
From Ivory and borax
And Arm and Hammer washing soda,
Folding clothes you don't own,
And tucking in your wife at night.
Complementarianism looks this way
Because it demands
A husband's sacrificial love.
As Christ loves His bride,
As the Father loves His Son,
So you must love
The warm and yielding woman
Who shares your bed each night.

28 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 17: Afflicted

Despised, rejected, a man
Of constant sorrow,
Acquainted with grief.

How can this unafflicted life,
Bare of reviling,
Free of mockery,

Carefully calculated
To avoid discomfort,
Arrayed in respectability,

Be that same life
Of pain and humiliation,
Of service to vicious enemies?

NoPAD Chapbook 16: Explanation

He meets me at the door
Deflated like the balloon he holds.
Tears well in his eyes as he asks,
"Daddy, do they make balloons
That never pop?"

I ache for his ache as I answer,
"No, son, they don't."
I try to convey life's brevity,
The tragedy of entropy,
The ineffable longing
We all must somehow contain
For a better country than this,

But all he knows in the end
Is this insurmountable sorrow
That no mere explanation
Could ever alloy.

27 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 15: Holy

holy cow,
holy crap,
holy hell --

our "holy"
set apart

for surprise,
for despair,
for profanity.

no word is
left for us
to describe

our awe-filled
brushes with
the divine.

21 November 2014

Chubble, Chubble, Chubble: An Erasure Poem

Response to WD Poetic Form Challenge: Erasure Poem 

Chubble, Chubble, Chubble <3

I don’t mean this to be offensive but
man this song
She almost went off key
She’s actually pitchy at places
asians are hot …
for GOD’S sake …STOP IT!!!!
there’s no reason to call it
something bad or unproffesional
even if they r wrong unlike u
Wtf is wrong with you
insulting other people in youtube comments
it bothers me more than it could ever
how many guys have she dated, OKAY?
learn something!!!
I am sure you are Thai..
the good thing about the lady
( defiantly not the worst
The only thing she’s good at
” This is a new york treble”
I got one and I was like
You do not know
This erasure poem was based on comments at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh4RMEaCME4

17 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 14: Following

His face is grubby,
His hands clutch
A precious teething ring,
He looks up to everyone
With a hopeful smile.

He crawls across the rug
Viciously, digging toes deep,
Pumping chubby thighs,
Expending his all to reach
The elusive goal.

On hardwood floors,
He's even faster,
Skimming along on his belly
Adding his milky saliva
To the wood's shiny patina.

His fuzzy head bobs along
As he traverses the floor.
Finally he halts, having
Caught up at last
With his big brothers.

His joy is short-lived;
The older boys
Have lost interest in these toys
And head out to the living room,
Leaving him to follow.

16 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 13: Optional

A 40-foot waterfall
In an Ecuadorian rain forest
Seems like a great thing
To climb, explore, conquer.
The thing is
That in Ecuador,
You conquer
At your own risk
And handrails are optional.
If you want to keep
Your ankle-bones intact,
Caution is not.

15 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 12: Things Unseen

With grace and humility
I execute my sacerdotal duties,
Standing continually before an altar
Of CPU and RAM, of OSes and APIs,
Committing code with fear and trembling,
Casting out defects, embracing enhancements.

12 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 11: Timely / Timeless

"Be sure your sin
Will find you out,"
My mother said, her fist
Full of butterscotch wrappers.
I didn't have to be told
What came next;
I trudged, knife in hand,
Out the door,
Through the yard,
Toward the barren mulberry tree
To cut the green switch
That would hurt her
More than it hurt me.

Bill Cosby's PR firm
Thought it would be cute
To release a Cosby Meme engine.
"Go ahead. Meme me!"
@BillCosby tweeted,
With examples like
"Happy Monday!"
And  "Vegetables? Yuck!"
What he got instead
Were "14 Allegations of Rape?!
And "My 2 Favorite Things:
Jello Pudding and Rape!"
As the PR firm scrambled
To take it all offline,
I heard my mother's voice:
"Be sure your sin
Will find you out."

11 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 10: Car Trouble

the trouble with my car
is that it goes too fast
for me to gaze at the moon
behind her translucent cloak
of shimmering clouds.

the trouble with my car
is that it is enclosed
so i can't feel the west wind
blowing winter into Kansas
or feel the drifting snowflakes.

the trouble with my car
is that its radio works,
making it impossible
for me to hear the coyotes
lamenting autumn's death.

10 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 9: News Poem

In Berlin, 25 years ago today,
The Wall came tumbling down.
Checkpoint Charlie was suddenly irrelevant,
The Palace of Tears obsolete.
A generation's languishing socialist hopes perished
As the next generation's democratic hopes were birthed.

I had just turned eight.
I didn't understand the frenzy,
And I didn't like their mohawks.
I just wanted to get back to my rerun
Of "Alvin and the Chipmunks,"
But even there, I couldn't escape
The anthem: "Let the Wall Come Down."

(True story: http://www.vox.com/2014/11/10/7187211/alvin-chipmunks-berlin-wall )

NoPAD Chapbook 8: Blind

When you can't trust your own eyes,
Who can youtrust?
WHEN you're typing, for example,
Are the keys still where you remembderd them,
or are you making subtle mistakes?

When you're blind,
you have to learn to trust
whether you like it or not.
Maybe that's why it's so dangeroius
to pretend
to see

NoPAD Chapbook 7: Compulsion

She can't help but blush
At the brush of his lips.
Her rosy cheeks belie
The mock severity
Of her coy nightly flight
From his burning touch.
His caress warms her;
They continue their
Intricate, intimate dance,
Unending cycle
Of pursuit and retreat,
Of cooling and heat,
Of his glorious gaze,
Her desire to yield
To that passionate embrace,
To the rush of heat that comes
With every new day's dawn,
With every fresh sunrise.

06 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 6: Happy Now

i remember the weight
of a dozen cinder blocks
on my chest,
the struggle to rise,
the bloody abrasions,
my lungs beginning to collapse.

i remember the miry pit,
swamp-muck sucking
me deeper with every twitch,
with every effort to escape:
now to my chin,
now in my nostrils.

i remember the frenzy
of ravenous sharks,
rough teeth ripping into arms
and legs, tearing chunks
of bleeding flesh
from my torso.

i remember that job:
like sisyphus pushing his rock,
stranger to my wife and precious sons,
before dawn and long after dusk.

but now i arrive at 8 and leave at 4:30
every. single. blessed. day.

05 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 5: Keep This Dream Dead

Last night, I dreamed
Of independence.
I traveled through Scotland alone:
No diapers,
No schedule,
No complications.

I met a mysterious woman,
An Israeli divorcee
Looking for something uncomplicated:
No strings,
No frills,
No commitment.

But the Highlands are bleak
This time of year,
And the divorcee was hollow:
No truth,
No intimacy,
No connection.

I was glad when I woke
To the warm welcome of your embrace
And descended from empty clouds:
Back to love,
Back to sacrifice,
Back to solid ground.

04 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 4: Supermen

We love Superman because
He doesn't have our human frailty.
Trains? He outruns 'em.
Bullets? They bounce off him.
Lasers? Shoots 'em out of his freakin' eyes.

And if that's not enough,
So long as he doesn't hit
The ol' Kryptonite too hard,
He's pretty much immortal.
The guy's got it made in the shade.

I guess our love for him, is more, though,
Than mere Freudian Super-envy.
Somehow, this ultimate being,
This perfect specimen of human(oid)ity
Is also the nicest guy you'd care to meet.

What if his Super-Space-Crib had landed on Manhattan
Instead of in Smallville?
Would he be a Wall Street tycoon by day?
Would he even bother hiding his true Self
If he weren't infused with Midwestern humility?

What if he'd been adopted by John Gotti
Instead of Jonathan Kent?
Would we envy him any less
If he ended up a Super-Wiseguy
Doing the will of his Godfather?

What if he'd been born with no powers at all
Into poverty and ignominy,
His virtue his only weapon,
His wild-eyed, locust-munching cousin
His biggest fan?

03 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 3: Blanket

A fabric store is overwhelming
Even to a love-intoxicated boy.
It smells like factory-fresh cloth
And cloying potpourri.

The walls are neatly lined
With gleaming shears and razor-edged scissors,
Like some kindly old grandmother's
Basement torture-room.

Dozens of aisles are jammed tight
With bright, fancifully printed bolts of fabric,
Enough to clothe an army
(If that army doesn't mind bright, fanciful prints).

The fleece was in the back corner,
Near the buttons and zippers.
My eyebrows bounced up at the pricetag,
And I reconsidered this gift.

But love overcomes all objections,
Even those of a bank account on life-support,
So I took a breath and hesitantly chose
Two lengths of soft, expensive cloth.

We laid them out in the living room,
My maternal accomplice and I,
And smoothed out every last ripple.
Then, we bared our blades and began to cut.

Careful slices, an inch and a half apart,
Wound around the fleece-pieces.
Then we lined them up and tied a score of knots
To bind the counterparts together.

There it was, in all its garish glory:
Purple on one side, heart-spangled on the other,
The sort of blanket you'd expect
A clumsy boy to give his girlfriend.

I studied it with a critical eye.
At least the knots were tight.
"You think she'll like it?" I asked.
"I'm sure she will," my accomplice replied.

And, wonder of wonders, she did -- and does.
She's cherished that silly blanket for more than a decade now,
Only a little less time than she's held
My ridiculous, little-boy heart.

02 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 2: Together Again

The sun seeks Pacific rest
Beyond Olympic pines.
We sit beside a glacial lake
With a cooler full of microbrews
And a relentless, ravenous silence.

Do you remember Bible camp?
We rose before the sun; we huddled
Beneath a tattered sleeping bag,
Reciting Psalms in Spanish,
Whispering petitions for the day ahead.

Do you remember July chess games
In the air-conditioned chapel,
Scraping paint in the swimming pool,
Lazy laundromat Saturdays,
Baring souls and sharing poems?

Do you remember the bread and the wine,
The stifling heat of the church balcony,
The crucifixion reenactments,
The late nights obsessing over crushes
And sin and righteousness and judgement?

We needed each other, then,
More than we ever admitted,
But on this bobbing dock, all we share
Are these cold beers
And this all-consuming silence.

01 November 2014

NoPAD Chapbook 1: Game Over

The bishop that was "free" was bait --
I see that now, remorsefully,
With sudden insight far too late.

We dance around the battle-grid
For form's sake, knowing perfectly
Our moves have been delimited.

My frantic, panicked king now flees,
Now smites his foemen viciously,
Grasps for opportunities.

Too soon, two rooks will finish up,
But I've been dying inexorably
Since I took that blasted bishop.