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l i n k s





I hear people talking in the kitchen, but there’s no way
to get to them; they’ve had three drinks too many.

The worst is my bedroom, which has been roped off
with yellow police tape. They’ve pulled up the carpet.

I think someone’s been here—a smoker,
trying to bypass the now-defunct security system.

Through my window I see my sister step from her car.
She plans to confront me about the thing she can’t yet know.

I slip back through the shotgun rooms, and once again
enter my mother’s with its unheated waterbed.

In the left-hand drawer of her vanity, I know I can find
her expired pregnancy test with its indelible blue lines.

But, perhaps, like everything else, these are mutable details.
Shouting somewhere in the house now and I have to hurry.

If I take it out now, I might kill myself. If I leave it
I won’t remember what I came here to do.


Miniature figurines hold court in my back catalog
Broken ears full of college dictionary obscenities
Chad White is—oh my god—in my bedroom
With his lesser twin, Stephen, and identically
They’re touching everything: felled animals
The lemony crotches of shed tights
Quietly, the inhabitants of my Reagan years
Reassume their posts; with every purchase
I’m trying to be better, to upgrade the child’s
Garden of verse: a joyful unicorn lurches when I curse
But when I say ‘I’ve changed’ I’m full of terror
And here in the realm of all that is mine
There are mean boys touching my things


She moves into our old house, finds my diary.

After she burns it, I’m invited to spend the night
but can’t find my sleeping bag or my passport.
I should be a child but only know word games.

We play in the Dirt Room; her mother brings Fresca.
Why,” I ask, “is my old bedroom a turnip plot?
Who’s been sharpening their teeth on my trundle bed?”

They’re stripping the blonde furniture: such a bitch,
& everyone on earth is helping to cook except for me.
There’s an ancient training-bra behind the frozen peas.

I’m blindfolded, levitating, they drop me like a 2x4.

In the morning I finally get it: my hair’s all gone.
Somebody’s chopped it all off, irrevocably;
my friend offers me half her French toast.

I howl to her dad, “do you understand
your daughter symbolically castrated me?”

He listens carefully then diagnoses the problem:
“You need a real man, not a boy,” he says.

Later he’ll wear the hell down & out of me
until I understand the verb to have, a teddy.


Being from Austin is a bit like being a unicorn

in a universe where people only care about unicorns

that also write screenplays.

When I try to self-promote

I feel like I’m selling long-distance plans

for no other reason than that my inner Hispanic boss

might give me an aggressive shoulder massage

and take me out to pizza.

I only end up uncorking the stinky chardonnay

of friendships I don’t have the time to enjoy

but can’t, for some reason, pour down the drain.

Chris, newly uncorked by my recent facebook blast,

tells me I can’t write in my hometown, that my mind

gets muffled in the cotton of careless childhood

and whether my car is washed.

This is what shakes down on the lonely

inconsequential patios of this century.

My selfishness exacerbated by sunburn

and the belletristic myth that drives me

to dip my fingers in the Limoncello of Love!

Sometimes I use my dreams to spy on dead poets.

All my life I’ve been trying to catch the Brownings

boring each other. I want to bring them back

to my condo in Texas and watch them try to write a sonnet.

At Eyore’s Birthday you can still see men in shirts that say

“Welcome to Austin. Don’t Move Here” and

“Keep Austin Weird” but you can no longer see them

as catalysts for a metaphor that stopped working

long before the economy collapsed on top of my poetry,

like a fat guy with a bum-knee at 80s night.


Copyright © 2009 Literary Pool, Inc.