Life Might Survive, If—
Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888
If real stars were made of hand stirred yellow gold
and wild-eyed blues could stay awake through the night
in the absence of genius brushstrokes—
If space would wait, breathy & warm in reach of my fingers,
if this city finally bore beauty in the face of its slow going
If fact had the talent to evoke the same gilded
edges and magic as my beloved painter’s torment,
Life might someday survive the anticlimactic.
You Are/He Is/She Was
You are aftermath: the sizzle and hum riding low
over scorched fallow fields, center of nowhere.
He is golden street lane lights keeping count
(desperate to keep count) for miles and miles.
She was the crack and flare of a burned-out bulb
that left you stunned, hand still on the switch.
You are marmalade on my fingertips
about to be licked away. Don’t go.
He is yesterday’s migraine.
He is the migraine medicine.
She was the lost rule book—
dogeared pages & smeared ink.
You are silver-edged, misty mornings with
good coffee and cozy socks.
He is a laughing baby, the scent of newspaper,
the glow of a lamp.
She was shelter against the weather—
a tin roof rain danced down.
You are hello.
He is so long, see ya around.
She was always ready for a road trip.
You Can’t Have My Last Cigarette
Radio songs play true love
out to a beat, childish and hollow.
With a smirk I’ll paraphrase, I’d live
and die for you; morph into a superhero;
be the sun and the moon.
But you and I know we’ll both live and die
while the sun is still the sun and the moon
is still the moon. Truth is, I’ll say what I want:
so, pack away those tights and keep on looking
fly in business casual, babe. Bring home
those benefits like a real hero.
Romance ain’t dead, it just looks a lot different
than the radio believers pretend. It plays a bit
offbeat, something like this:
I will take care of your dogs.
I will walk to the ballpark on date night with sore knees.
I will drive in the pouring rain to gas up your car when
you’ve got the flu.
I won’t hazard a guess at how long we’ll be
together beneath that fading sun and gloomy moon.
Truth is, you can be quite the dick and I can’t seem
to stop this mudslide from hot rocker chick to fragile
In moments of doubt, though, memories wash up
in full color: Your devotion steady and quiet, obvious.
Like that day in the ER when they wheeled me away,
but you followed.
It’s unreasonable to give each other our everything. You’ve
got to be you and I can only be me. So, no, you can’t have
my last cigarette. But you can have the first cup of coffee.
And in your moments of doubt, let this vow be proof
of my devotion: There will always be beer and bacon
in our fridge.