Blue Sky, Part II

They want a poem

about jazz music

as an understated triple clef, a hip

to trombones tapping that ash off

syncopated soft curves, because

that bared marrow crackling

of rap on the avenue

won’t sound right.


So speak the jangle of lawn chairs,

the rattle of revolvers locked in

broom closets, conducted by

passing car door speakers—

keeps an eye on the breath of children

over dark night. Having already

turnt the soil, the earthworms

into sour milk from that timbre

of slouch and high lark.


So when the skies feel parched

remind them of the Mayans

tossing human heads down temple steps

to the same beat that built the calendar


and a fire’s smoke

inventing zero.

mayan wayne





Keep it

just over the berm, no,

further, beyond the punched out bicuspids of Kandahar.

If there’s enamel to be scraped

do it on the far side

of mud walls until smoke rises like a preteen in fits—

in short bursts of sporadic fire on the other end of a television

clambering to tell vapid tales

of concussive blasts—

an echo of a telegram, dead

by the time it reaches, acres clear of nodding infantry,

as if poolside by poppy plants.


It’s best to keep it

somewhere else.


Nope, not gonna’ get rope-a-doped

back into the material world of gunplay.

The hack-hacking

of another joking broken soldier unloading.


in the same ditch he finds his counterpart:

strokes from the cleft of the ear across,

shrapnel upending clean butcher slices

returning his pallet of bones to the stars they rose in.


This is not what sells. They say

if it bleeds it leads, but they insist upon ketchup.

Not the amber glow either of us were looking for.

We keep it locked in safety deposit boxes patrolled by Swiss guards

plucking chocolates

from a golden tray.

Hang ’em High

When missile parts are found

bound for North Korea on a miner’s pass,

carving submerged stretches of the Panama Canal, wrath

silent as a Snowden redux, we

may never discern why. Whimsical armageddon

gauging Oahu? Or plainly, ballistic tests

set for islands depopulated

at the behest of dictators who wish seagulls

would go bang?


But Zimmerman’s spellbound beauty

will forever be a tale of a man

and his gun. That fragile solitude of American oblivion

we discharge the same in rap songs entrepreneurial

as dust caked country Broncos

where only the west

has won.


Shoot first into the starched mist,

where humid hoodies cling like

little sisters, because the winner

is always the living who deem those shot dead

merciful from an afterlife, if merely anthropologists

speaking through artifacts, now only acrid animals above a mantle.

So hang ‘em high, the Seminole and Apalachee

tangled in Florida branches

of the state’s great Slash Pine.