A Selection of Poems
Poetry from collections
Between bites of Kung Pao chicken
I study the placemat menagerie, fold
my tail out of the aisle, huff smoke
through cavernous nostrils.
Eccentric and passionate, I sort
sugar packets from Sweet ‘n Lo, know my kiss
stuns like a spoonful of mustard.
Your life is complex.
In an earlier dynasty, I wed another Dragon;
we ended dueling flamethrowers.
Marry a Monkey or a Rat late in life.
The Monkey I loved was married
and the Rat proved herself, so now I break and open
a fortune: “You will soon create a favorable impression,”
though not on the woman who saw me drop
a tongful of foo yung in the Happy Family.
Her glance skewered me. Again: “You will travel
far and wide, both business and pleasure.”
I swing my scaly neck from the booth, rise
over barrows of gold plate, cowed villagers,
torching the odd haystack, my glittering tail
the green scythe of morning.
Avoid the Dog.
-published in Kakalak 2007
All torso and angled appendage,
their disc heads float
on thin rims of collar.
Black-and-yellow tenants of the school zone,
faceless loiterers at crosswalks, at least
their lavatory cousins are gendered:
the males’ four blunt limbs,
the females in bell-skirts
with their perfect posture.
How unlike us, these shadows
of caution and propriety, presuming to lead
without feet, hands, eyes.
-Published in Runes: Signals
THE MOON’S FACE OPENS IN SONG
Stars are dragging webbed chairs toward the campfire of her voice.
Clustered under quilts, they sip from plaid thermoses
as marshmallows flame and fall. Bellowing old camp songs
they pitch their voices higher on each chorus
until they have sung all the songs they know.
One old star, around since the beginning,
uncorks a jug of shine and pours some
into a leaky dipper. “Have you heard,” he asks,
“why the moon never shows her backside?”
“Do not tell that story,” the moon cautions,
but the old star winks, takes a long
draw from the jug. “Was this young comet
came through here once,” he drolls
and settles back to tell.
-Published in Kakalak 2008
Mine is a small
round duty, a patrol
tight as lighthouse
stairs, routing neons
hourly from this plastic
castle. They think
their quick transparency
hides them, but I
see their true colors—
electric jazz and
flash, that’s all—
garish as the rainbow gravel.
And what reward?
I am barely remembered—
an occasional shake
from the can while
they shuffle the bookshelf
for mislaid keys
or the small paddle
of buttons they wave
while eating from
hinged boxes or papers
bright as a Yellow Tang.
When they settle,
less mouthing occurs.
Pat as a pair
of bivalve wings,
they stare into
the flat tank of flux
and color, blink
now and then,
but no bubbles.
-Published in Main Street Rag Winter 2016-17