The Bedside Book of Quarterly Returns



The geese seek magnetic north

and can’t be bothered

by unbalanced lines


or floodlights.


Sometimes the blackest night

makes it clear


that the baptism did not take;

something other than


the holy spirit moistened

my polyester slacks.


Every day trash and leaves

blow into my neighbors’ yards.


Widows pause at their windows

waiting like magazines

with questionnaires.


Millionaires gather at the edge

of town like gooseflesh


invading the set

of a pornographic film.


After all that money invested

and all those miles flown,


there’s only an over-lit

picture of naked people


throwing brown shoes

into the sky.






We could have dinner on Wednesday.


To dine on Thursday

would be like asking

a beautiful woman’s

sister to dance.


By Friday I will lie in ruin if this continues.

Walking home late Saturday.

Arriving home Sunday morning.


But Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday:

first a thought,

then the whole of my thinking,

now the mechanism by which I think.


A day to answer the million-

dollar question:


Where have you been hiding

yourself, Glen Franklin?


Well, I followed this guy with a pipe

and a trench coat for a while,

convinced he was Mitch Ryder.


I sat and ate falafel

while reading a Metro Times.


Then you walked in,

which made it feel more like Tuesday.


You were never full of woe,

but always full of whoa . . . dude . . .













Dead Letter Bureau





I imagine my own pine box.

I talk to Jesus and smack mosquitoes

and drink a beer


and write a letter

to President Taft.


After a while, I get this sudden urge to collect

shoes from roadsides and highways.





The medicine trapped inside my sister’s blood

thrashes about before it fades.


The house in shambles.


Her body, a ragdoll

that has fallen out of fashion.





I imagine a place where the pain

can get no worse,


where the only surprises

fit in decorative boxes

no bigger than postage stamps.





The shoe slowly poisons the foot.










Dead Letter – page 2

[2 line section break]







The naked bodies must be inspected,

then destroyed.


They have no place

here, unlaced for wicked schoolboys

or art collectors


who didn’t love them enough

to risk getting caught.





I ought to know better by now,

but I believe these words will reach you.


I will be waiting for your response.

I won’t move from this place.