Chaos Is the New Calm

Chaos is the new calm
violence the new balm   
to be spread on lips
unused to a kiss.             

Left is the new right
as I brace for a fight
with a man who stands
on his remaining hand.

Fetid harbor harbor me      
until someone is free          
to drive me away          
from what happened today.
Don't strand me standing here.
If you leave, leave beer. 

Postcard from Searsburg

What was it you wanted he calls out the door
as I walk toward his house, which tilts uphill.
I just wanted to ask, I start to say — but he 
cuts me off, tells me he doesn’t talk to strangers, 
says that I should go away. I tell him I like
his old car, I name the year and model, 
and soon he is shaking my hand, 
inviting me in for home-brewed beer. 

After my second and his who-knows-
how-many-pints, he tells me he’s ready 
for the government when they come.
He takes me down to the cellar, filled 
With enough food for years, calendars 
for the coming one, enough water for 
about a month. He shows me the vegetables
he’s growing under lights, but I can’t see them. 

I swirl out the door like the windmills 
we watched from his den, ten spinning, 
one broken. I stand in his driveway
and feel them, their slow whipping roar. 
The town’s elevation is unmatched, 
except by a few of its people, higher 
than kites from the slogans they write
on the outside of their dwellings, 
which no wind has managed to blow down

Mars Poetica

Imagine you're on Mars, looking at earth,
a swirl of colors in the distance.
Tell us what you miss most, or least.

Let your feelings rise to the surface.
Skim that surface with a tiny net. 
Now you're getting the hang of it.

Tell us your story slantwise,
streetwise, in the disguise
of an astronaut in his suit.     

Tell us something we didn't know
before: how words mean things
we didn't know we knew.