For Claire, on her Wedding Day

The firstborn
Leapt into the world like a unicorn
With twice the myths surrounding her.
She laughed some, cried some, smiled some, screamed some,
And laughed some more,
Laughter contagious like chicken pox
And we all caught it,
A dotted itchy mess.
Fought to hold it in
With not a chance to win
She introduced us to her friend Matilda
Her violin
Told us about little so & so
Who ran snot-first toward her shouting,
How she valiantly defended her treetop throne,
Held her own
Against assailants young and old
From her perch at the McDonald’s playplace.

Do not know Claire
If you have not walked with her for miles,
An appropriate mix of talking
And taking in the world around,
A pleasant sound of ponder wandering.
Do not know Claire
If you haven’t sat eyes closed ears open
Listening to her sing
Winged words of truth and beauty.
Do not know Claire
If you haven’t seen her five minutes before she has to leave:
And then glides pretty as a bluejay out the door.
Do not know Claire
If you haven’t engaged in the rousing drama
That is llama tag.
Do not know Claire
As well as some
As well as one
For He knows how we are formed
He remembers that we are dust
The first man was of the dust of the earth
The second man from heaven, Jesus Christ
The water of life
Turns the dust to mud
To open the eyes of the blind
That we may see
And know that He is God.

And on that grand canvas
Amidst all the other spots
Today He connects two dots.

Early Warning

The third stair squeaks expectantly
like a mouse in labor
and whispers to the fourth step,
which passes the message silently along
to the fifth step
who never had a library voice in his life.
The sixth step sighs
and rolls her eyes
and the eighth step shakes his head disapprovingly
as the tenth step asks politely, “Pardon me, but what’s going on down there?”
and then you’re here.

Burning Rubber

Another pair of headlights come and gone
Another body speeding off into the black heart-attack night
Her face backlit by the setting sun
This car is too quiet
There’s too much air to breathe in-out
Thoughts are like screeeeeeeeching tires
Turn the wheel,
Lose the silence:
Here are the sirens
She had a red dress on and smelled like summer
Windshield wipers in-out and she’s gone

He didn’t say a picture of what.

“Hey, Mrs. Dubose.”

She was as pretty as a picture
Of Hitler at the podium,
A greasy, zit-speckled face,
A baboon’s bottom,
The 1980’s,
Honey Boo Boo,
Nicolas Cage,
A hairless cat,
And the Citarum river,
All Photoshopped together.


Nickel for Your Dreams

Don’t hedge your bets//
Too often we stand at the cliff edge and blink ourselves into oblivion,
Unsure whether to close our eyes to the vastness

He Liked Looking Through Binoculars Backwards

He never wore glasses;
It made the blobs real
And sometimes he just
Wanted talking blobs.

And when he spun he saw a kaleidoscope


Time is not sand in an hourglass
To be turned over and over
Like a well-tilled garden.
It is a ring that slips off your finger
And drops down the drain.

The Ripple Effect

The music poured out of the piano in waves
Each one splashing louder on the damp floor
Flooding the basement
And filling our heads with rain
That pounded down the long sidewalks of our brains
Washing them white as snow.

Photo by Claire Anthony

Amerigo Round

My America is not
Wall Street, but
The Walgreens down the street
Not amber waves of grain, but
A beer can in the sand
Not purple mountain majesties, but
Purple Rice and Lewis jerseys.

And that’s only half of it

I sat by silently as doctors ripped into my research like it was a patient due for a quadruple bypass–
I rode the bloody carcass of a cow down a dark highway, pitching over potholes and narrowly scraping other cars like fingers on a chalkboard–
I jotted down a few notes on poverty as the silverware rang out louder than Big Ben at midnight–
I spent the night in a bed of strangers as the prostitutes paraded past in various states of disarray and Modesty slipped down the fire escape as the gin flowed freely–
I ran with the wild dogs and they came back and bit me in the butt with their rabies fangs shredding jeans like paper–
I trashed my taste buds testing textures of animal parts not even considered fit for hotdog meat as eager children grabbed greedy handfuls off my plate until it vanished like a black hole–
I vacuumed up a baby from the womb, washed her off, and handed her to a still-grimacing Hillary Clinton, restoring her faith in humanity.

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