NaPoWriMo Day 9: Off-Prompt

The plane was delayed

And the train was delayed

And the city rose up inland

From the lake like the gashed

Rows of an old supermarket,


Regular but not quite kempt.

Down there and ahead it rises

Without mercy from the lake

And a grey-haired tyrant issues

Dictums at the train staton.


Whitman called inland America

Never constrain’d, never obedient.

Wonder what he’d make

Of Chicago today: empire,

Catastrophe, haven.


Napowrimo Day 8: Flower Poem

Hops are the guy in the middle

Of the street as you drive home,

A little buzzed. He stumbles back

To the sidewalk and you smile

In silent affinity with him.


Hops are a cousin of cannibus.

Hops are a climbing plant.

First the Germans cultivated them.

Somehow all these things

make sense.

Napowrimo Day 7: Tritina

Somehow stranded in Ohio,

known for rusted factories and politics,

America condensed: I could be everywhere.


But that’s not true for everyone in everywhere.

Dubose, Crawford, Rice, Thomas: Ohioans

all, but something in the politics


won’t let them live. Sometimes politics

leaves 15 dead. Cincinnati’s nowhere

everywhere else, but it made Ohio


scared 15 years ago. Now Ohio politics are everywhere.




Napowrimo Day 6: American Lunch

Inhaled in its Tupperware,

Unwrapped from its foil,

Reheated in the micro,

Paid for at the window:

Have a nice afternoon.


Filled but not full:

One o’clock stupor,

Two o’clock bathroom

Nap, regret for the lunch

At the desk you ate at.


Napowrimo Day 3: Fan Letter


Maybe in German you’re more poetic

but I doubt it. Still my soul lifts

at your labyrinthine sentences.


Misunderstandings, miscommunication,

misanthropy, missed connections:

I’ve got three different translations


of the best of Kafka. Same nightmare,

merciless sentences that rain down

like blows to the head.


Josef, Karl, Gregor, K.:

no matter the protagonist

he loses more than he can win.


I am a fan of Kafka’s winning

loserness, of loss so large

poems cannot contain it.

Napowrimo Day 2: Family Portrait

Bundled up, just heads held aloft

By layers of coats and scarves

We are truly twins, your thinner

Frame not so visible.


In the spring and summer

You tan better, so much so

Grandma called you Mexican

Then revised herself: Black Irish.


I don’t live here anymore

So I depend on you, brother,

To lead our bloated bodies

To the football game.


Before we step out Mom

Takes another picture beaming

Joy at her big boys:

Some things should stay the same.

Napowrimo Day 1: Lune

You squatted in the doorway

Pen in hand

Scribbling a grocery list, maybe


Or a letter to someone

You’d forgotten awhile.

I was just walking by


When I saw you there

First of April

But instead it was snowing


I thought I’d notice you

Bring you out

From the doorway into life.