My Apologies

Sorry, but I believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Sorry, but blueberries make me poop green. (Sorry I told you that.)
Sorry, but I can’t rise to your occasion, whatever is is.
Sorry, but my jeans have a hole in the crotch. (Sorry I said crotch.)
Sorry, but I am prone to various forms of collapse, usually ill timed.
Sorry, but I’ve probably never seen your favorite TV show.
Sorry, but I only watch Saturday Night Live, and I tend to fall asleep.
Sorry, but I don’t really cook, or drive, or own a bike.
Sorry for all the rides I bum and meals I eat but never repay.
Sorry for the times I’m a selfish, noncontributing gasbag.
Sorry, but sometimes you are, too.


That Chair and Other Chairs

When we first bought a chair, we knew we had made it.
When you have no chairs and then you have a chair,
you are worth your weight in chairs. Welcome to my home!,
you can say. Please feel free to sit in the chair.
I wish to purchase the chair you’re sitting in now–
if it’s for sale, that is. I’ll come to your house to pick it up
and we’ll stand outside for a while, talking about
that chair and other chairs as I kick the white quartz stones
that edge your driveway and you begin to regret this parting.


As Far as We Knew

It was a lonely haunted game,
going with you where the crabs came in
and the music couldn’t be escaped. It was
Jimmy Buffett or Bachman-Turner Overdrive,
a cover band on the back deck where
palmetto bugs ducked between cracks
because they knew they were cockroaches.
That night, we knew everything about
choosing the least offensive margarita,
and as far as we knew, that would suffice.


Hit and Run

You know
what I’m going to say
about a hit and run:
It’s better not to know
it’s coming, and then
not to depend much
on the stranger who,
after all, just ran you over.
If you are not dead or
irretrievably broken, it’s
better to pick the gravel
out of your teeth, spit
a couple of times,
carry on with anything
you have left, whatever
was not taken.


Everywhere You Go

The hideous demon monster baby
is thinly veiled
and wants no part of this.
I’m in fashion now, it croaks,
flashing its bad eyes
and leaving its trail of slime.
I’m in fashion now and have no time
to appear
except in visions of magazine racks
at train stations
where it can be seen
for $4 or $5 or
the price of a pack of gum
at certain ends of the earth.


I Break Up Houses

I start early in the morning sometimes,
this fading of America’s

a little tarnishing of everything

a rattle of the camel bells
hanging from the door
to the back porch.

This was at your grandma’s house,
this memory of green Formica and chrome,
the table where you ate sliced bananas
and Cheerios

and you loved them
even though you hated

I steal memories
and I break up houses so that
women named Pansy can take everything
and sell it.

Oh, what a beautiful morning.
Your music box is gone.


How Not to Lose More

No one should have babies anymore
or win things, or do things
until I can catch up and figure out
how I’m not losing, or how not to lose more,
or how to slow the losing, how close I am to
whatever cliff this is, how not to
fall into the canyon, my feet pedaling in air.
How not to be Wile E. Coyote but less infinite,
completely destructible, being, as I am,
made of flesh awaiting its next assignment.


Young Horses

He seems awfully young to be doing this,
the horse with the tufted mane, dribbling a basketball
as if it contained the ends of the Earth, all the old stories.
He drinks from the fountain and returns to the court,
his hooves indenting the wood, a permanent mark
to show that he was here, so we’ll remember him
after he’s no longer breathing, at least not in this
park district gym with mats on the walls and banners
for all the other young horses before him and since.


Things Get Lost or Broken

This is how it began, the fading of
everything that was not indifferent or
did not wish to bend my foot back
as far as it would go, just to see.
This is how it began, the end of
anything hospitable and kind, so that
now when there is sand in my eyes,
no one cares. Gravel hits the rims
of the wheels I don’t have, on the car
I don’t have. This is how things get lost
or broken, just another small step before
the next hill becomes the last hill.