Centerpiece

i placed you in a box

a cherished

memory

bound

in unglazed earthenware

in order that

you

may never leave

me

your ashes

line my pyre

your dust

floats upon the very air

i breathe

your death

becomes my sacrifice

as your bones

snap

beneath my weight

i will drag your final moments on

whilst you lie in wait

lingering

in troubled sleep

within stony heart entombment

of chalice purgatory

never to be spread

to the winds

or upon the plains

nor thrust unto the waves

you will sit as a bauble

centerpiece and talking point

a monument

to my loss

The Old Man and the Wealth of Nations

this old man walked up to me

upon exiting the restroom

at the entrance of a clinic

and asked me if i’d read

the wealth of nations

by adam smith

i responded i had not

as he seized the reigns of the conversation

guiding us

on a torrential path

careening

headlong

into the rocks

he said that free trade

was the worst sin ever committed

and cursed the chinese

calling them dirty

nasty people

that ate bats

he kept at this tangent

obsessively dissecting the dietary habits

of people he’d never met

holding his own

unseemly customs

in the highest regards

he seemed to be anchoring

his casual bigotry

upon presumed economic principals

in an attempt to detract

from his biting words

and hateful disposition

towards our neighbors

in the east

as another patient entreated upon the premises

he grew more listless

his words quieter

and less frequent

and he backed slowly

towards the automatic door

exiting to the parking lot

sometimes

animals

are merely feigning death

All We’ll Never Do

all the paintings we’ll never paint

all the pictures we’ll never take

all the books we’ll never read

all the movies we’ll never see

all the words we’ll never say

all the songs we’ll never hear

all the places we’ll never go

all the food we’ll never taste

all the friends we’ll never make

all the sex we’ll never have

all the things we’ll never know

all the joy we’ll never feel

all the pain we’ll never heal

all the novels and poems we’ll never write

makes everything we do

more sacred

An Interesting Bus Ride

i boarded the bus early that morning

coming off a grave shift

a prolonged evening

of stocking racks and

unloading trucks

prime of my youth

the stop was lonely

during those early hours

and i waited there

alone

quite a long time

eventually

the shuttle arrived and

the long shuttered door collapsed upon itself

i proceeded to board

i passed the driver a glance of acknowledgement

nodding my head

signifying a quiet respect and gratitude

pacing to a seat

about halfway in

the bus heaved

exuding its presence

and i turned to face the window

hydraulics and mechanisms whirring

as he followed his route

routine stops

rounding the city

sitting

in a hard plastic chair

awaiting my destination

we continued on the path

finding a man

in his early to mid thirties

standing

near one of the signs

he climbed aboard

and i glanced at him

noting a small beaded cherry of a mole

on his unkempt neck

he looked down the aisle

paused for a moment

then made his way towards me

at last taking a seat on the opposite side

i could tell something was unusual

his body language

was immediately frantic

scratching and fidgeting

tapping his foot at demon intervals

staccato sidelong glances from me

to the window

to the rear

to the front

nervously patting his head and

laughing to himself

at some point he struck up a conversation

the contents of which i cannot recall

i do recall

however

the intensity and discomfort of those remaining miles

he asked me where i lived

how much longer before i depart

touched me and continued

with that same

unsure laughter

his laughter turned

into a crescendo of barking

contorting his face

in a disquieting expression

causing the cherry to burn hotter

as his fair

yet splotchy skin

turned pink

the barking ceased

returning to nervous laughter

he resumed prodding

then unsheathed a knife

letting the interior lights of the bus

gleam

off its honed blade

he brandished it

invisible to the driver

beneath the obstructing barricade

of the preceding seat

unsettled

i waited past my stop

making polite conversation

at last

breaking away

exiting three or four stops

down the road

he watched me

eyes tracing my steps toward that shuttered door

watched me as i descended those grimy steps

stared at me as i began to traipse down that sidewalk

to this day

i still remember looking back

seeing him glancing out that window

til the bus disappeared down the hilly road

i took the long way back

to a shared

tattered duplex

trekking streets i’d never seen before

wandering past morning joggers

quiet culdesacs

and chain link fences

with only the memory of

an interesting bus ride