Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ferris wheel lights

Ferris Wheel Lights (A Sestina)

Working at the amusement park is a grand old time.

There’s nothing like having to hide
In the ticket booth when you wanna smoke a joint
So your boss doesn’t find out and fire you.
Every ride has bright, multicolored lights
And this is how I waste my time away.

The closest bathroom is half a mile away,
Those Porta-Johns are full all the time
And always smell like Marlboro Lights
It’s where those teen brats like to hide.
A kid always asks for another toy gun from you
And immediately bends it all out of joint.

Jocks, barbies and snotty kids mill around this joint,
Throwing all their money away
Buying more and more tickets from you
Screaming, complaining, cheating all the time
And there’s no good place to hide
With all these obnoxious lights.

They’re poor substitute for big city lights,
They only illuminate this cheesy joint,
Don’t even let dirty gutters hide—
I’m surprised they don’t want to look away.
Cotton candy disappears in your mouth every time,
But you think it’s worth it, don’t you?

The only boy who ever liked you
Works across the park, beyond the lights,
But you miss him waving at you every time
Because some skeez is yelling, “Let’s blow this joint!”
And a mom drags her eight kids away
Screaming, “One more word and I’ll tan your hide!”

Why do the five-year-olds always play hide
And seek in the Fun House? “Hey, you!”
Where the hell are your parents? Go away!”
Finally Anna, who manages mini golf, lights
A gloriously white, papered little joint
And we smoke until closing time.

This is where I hide, and yet these lights
Are poor substitutes you know, for home, the joint
You tried to get away from, before you wasted your time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

how i failed calculus

"How I failed calculus"

The glint
in Miss Jessel’s hair
was so simple, so quick,
that I almost missed it,
like an answer to a riddle.
Suddenly, I cared about derivatives
even less.
So casual, how she tossed her strands,
and yet how cleverly she caught me.
It wrapped me up tight
in a cotton memory
of home, when I was nine,
beneath a fort of pillows
and hiding from the night.
Her glint of blonde hair now
 was the light from my hall then
that peeked through my door
to tuck me in.

My parents’ shadows
walked across my bedroom wall
and I saw them in her hair
now, as if my past were a part of her body.
My father’s silhouette from twelve years ago
snuck in to Miss Jessel’s hair
as if he were going to bed
down the hall
in the nape of my teacher’s neck.

Saturday, April 9, 2011



I live in a box
Full of yellowed papers
And a kitchen half-painted
Viridian green.

My little house
Always smells of your coffee
Because tea for one
Is lonely in the morning.

I draw the curtains sometimes
And crawl in that queen-sized bed,
Confessing all my secrets
Beneath our tent of sheets.

If they could bottle you
I would add a slice of lime
And drink you dry,
My Communion.

I come home each night
Carrying you across the threshold,
And we play hide and seek
From the world outside.