the ark

snake charmers pecking at malnourished carcasses
bodies strangled in murderous waters
walls so high, mountain steeples flatten
follow the arc of the convenient
the long story is best told aboard travelling vessels
bridging episodic whims
this is where they followed
the writers
two by two
in it for the long journey spanning centuries
creative creatures called to board
before the raging floods of sameness
drown out overweight minds and weak voices
protected in the ark, safe to endure extreme swells
the chosen and their miraculous words survive mankind’s dysfunction
sowing seeds for independent reaping
sun to sun to sun
after earth recovers and swollen rivers recede
writers perished by insignificant waters finally reveal themselves
their dried out bones almost identical

golden horses

warrior of the asphalt

hawk talons grapple the dense power lines
an eighteen-wheeler speeds over the underpass
he’s flying more than the raptor right now
wonder what the driver is thinking
traveling alone
heaving semi propped up on massive tires
trailing long, behind his sun-bleached Kenworth cap
burning a day’s rubber
friction not exclusive to the highway
is he fatigued
in need of sleep
in want of the broad bed where she lay
milk-curved skin and pink perfumed
the way he likes her to wait
shouldn’t have left like that
anxious for the heavy payload and burning light
regretting his exhausted voice
bellowed like his semi’s Kleinn Triple Horn
he soars again and again
cranking his hand to move the big lady into gear
her gentle touch lingering on his skin
honeysuckle freshener and hand-rubbed leather
he’ll get the haul done
always does
this warrior of the asphalt
dreaming of flying highways
that speed him back to her

what story will this be

Backseat
Waiting
Quiet and low
Steel eyes trapped behind metal car door
Glass window mocking
No view to the street
A world crisscrossed with yes and no
violence and peace
He lies there
On his back
Silent
Thinking about his family, his life, his choices
Circling to this moment
In an unmarked car
Followed from the crime scene
An old-school mafia hit
From another time
Only one commonality
His heritage
The dark looks that placed him in harms way
Undercover
This moment
His wife, his children
Clinging to a backseat
A tale papa may one day tell his grandkids
His ears are his eyes
The men are closing in on the car
He steadies his service weapon
What story will this be

this is a work of factual fiction

toilet paper gown

A toilet paper gown has outlasted this fondant fairytale
Our dark lies gessoed white on white
Look at me leaping into a downpour
I’ve grown so very tired of ikea domesticity and Wayfair lighting–
dressage for mules in horse harness
These tissue sheaths spontaneously combusting, quiver my body
You once did this for me, do you even remember,
flesh-dancing with a blue fire no ocean could smother
I’ve become a zombie waltzing in a deluge
Alone
You and I suffocated in Egyptian cotton well before this pulp symbolism
Now my white paper gown disintegrates, I pray to the black prescient sky
Look up, nimbus clouds hide nothing-they never deceive
Dearest Love,
We doomed ourselves to this Pompeii,
the moment we under-appreciated the dark sky and caressed our monogrammed bath towels

she gotta be mine

“There’s an Old West saying that if you stole a man’s horse, you had condemned him to death…”

In 1824, I wer hung, hung out wit hemp thick as Nellie’s mane
but twice as deadly ‘n ten times as quick to ther choke
they dun hung me, dried boots ‘n all widout a reckon ‘o my side pockits
my neck it snapped ‘n dat fucker hurt sum, befer the snappin,’ not after
I dun stole a man’s horse, a white gorgiss thin’ wit sharp fetlock ‘n marble eyes
don’t know what made me do thar impulse
wuz her Godful beauty, I’m a certin
ain’t no crime in thar, stealin’ wutz perfict
do ya know wutz ’tis a see’in that Godful beauty ‘n not hold’n it
not bein part ridin’ in that sunset after dem saloon duz kick yer hide inta the sand
they dun hung me out thar, hung me out ta dry ’til I very, very disgustin’ly die, yup dem basters
black crows a diggin’ at my sockets ‘n balz

a beaten white station wagon, the last white stallion in this town
she’s in my rear view mirror, prancing on the hill
just admiring her I am
my eyes flapping faster than wicked-quick saloon doors
the white beauty of a generation long since past
men were men, at least that’s what my dad was and is
my elegant mom, remaining a woman who transcends time
so many white horses chasing down the freeway, miles of galloping herds
so many it’s impossible to believe they will ever disappear
lightning white buffaloes by the thousands
and there she is, the sexy white wagon, long and sure as sugar
Custer’s battle scars, blood-rusting her panels, but she’s still smokin’
revving that big engine, purrin’ like a puma
at times, she breathes smoke to wake the dead
I hear tiny family fannies sliding across her vinyl bench seats
all the way to the Catskills
to the Jersey shore
to Vermont’s Green Mountains where her body plays with light
my SUV is climate-controlled, too controlled
Oh, here she comes, the last unicorn
driving by, I’m a body ensconced in sealed air
stuck behind tempered glass, I can’t caress her hide
she knows nothing of tightness, she has always been free
a drop of air escapes my lungs
a grain of water falls from my eye
I feel the hangman’s noose a callin’
come ‘n git me ya dem basters
I seen dat dar white beauty ‘n she gotta be mine

painting dun painted when I be a kid, ta small fer dem dar saloons

Forgive me, dear women who were fifty

Please accept my apologies
dear women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women nurturing children in the world
when I so casually whirl my polished hair
crop top hiking up my iron-flat abdomen
Forgive me sweet ladies
you women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women rising, thin-lidded and lined
as I saunter by your commuter wheels
nearly naked, fresh breasted and easy
Will you vindicate me
kind women who were fifty
when I was twenty
for the times I fluttered my wicked lashes and smiled coyly
at anyone, maybe your lover,
perhaps your husband
I pray you absolve me
good women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women warriors scarred by life’s weaponry
if my flipping fingers and cheeky laughter
interrupt your seasoned reflection
your focus on work, on family, on meaning
on all I will not know
and can not know
until my car is stopped at a red light
and I watch myself saunter by
regretting how I never once thought of you

joy august ripsaw

do you (think you) know me

do you (think you) know me
inside my words
on top of my art
are your elbows leaning at your side(s) as you read along
do they comfort you
your elbows, not my word(s)
not my art
maybe you’re only getting to know me
if you don’t know me, (I dislike math)
these thing(s) xx2f (art+writing) are no source of comfort
rather(!) representational of all I don’t know

I do know–if we lived closer
we might be (great) friends

I am told I smile most of the time

when I write dark(ly)
or when I write in darkness
(lights are sleeping. I’m not)
I grin
unintentionally
like mad grimacing
once long long ago in a generous glass grocery store window of epic proportions I spied my reflection she was smiling. I wasn’t happy

I want you to be comfortable
inside my words
on top of my art
with your elbows at your side(s)
and tell me something
about yourself
I might even get to know what it is I don’t know
about myself

PS (person singing)
when we meet on that special day
in that secret place (where I wait for you)
we will smile at one another
I stop looking in a generous glass grocery store window of epic proportions to see another smiling face
my personal shopper