a thousand years

I think that
I will be here for the next
one thousand years

…here in the thick of it
here in the corporate tank
with that guy from
the San Francisco office
sending me threatening email
bugging the corporate hell
out of me saying that
if I don’t fix this or that
within the next 24 hours

Then
The corporate shit will hit
the fan by tomorrow
morning at 9 AM Eastern
Daylight Time
causing the four horsemen
of the Corporate Apocalypse
to ride into town

RIGHT

into South Miami
right up the tailpipe
of my brand new laptop
computer,
threatening the very existence
of my unfurnished condo
and nine year old car

I think that
I will be here for the next
one thousand years
staring up at the stars over
Biscayne Bay
going to Publix on
Sunday afternoon to
pick up dog food for Precious
and kitty litter
for Millie
and stopping to fill up
the Subaru
at the Chevron

on Alton Road.

I can’t imagine it being

any other way.

It is all so important

all of it

and it will

be this way

for at least a thousand years

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bird in the house

if you can’t write it
easily,
walk away
because
poems write themselves
just
wait for awhile, wait until
late at night
when the bird that got in
when you opened
the door
to let the cats out
flyies across the
bedroom,
in gentle arcs
mocking you

as he sits on the ledge
over the bureau
and says things to you
that you
do not understand
…be patient
wait for him
to pass low
and dangerously near
the ceiling fans and
watch carefully, because soon
he will be
circling the California king
…coming in for a landing…
…he’s got no scruples…
the bird…

to the bird,
the winners and the losers
are all
the same

…go
get the broom
and
chase him away and then
yell to the dog
and say
that there’s a
bird in the house
so bark like hell…

…free him,
…you can’t let him stay
all night long!!
…you can’t kill him either

So
let him out
through that tear in the
screen on the back porch
and when he is gone
take your yellow notepad
and your fountain pen
and pour a Fairbanks port
and sit on the porch swing…
…listen to the night river wind
whistle through
the boxelders
in the back yard

…you’ll find the words

…dig them up – exhume them
like you did yesterday
when you wrote that
half assed
poem about that coke dealer
you knew when you were about
20 years old

or
when you wrote
that dismal poem about the last
time you talked with Leah
on the phone
when she was in Spokane
and you were at home
in the old house
on the Delaware
and about
Memorial Day
ten years ago
when you visited the
soldiers lying at peace
in that graveyard
up in Duluth

you might
write about the night
in 1987 when you
buried Riley
in the pasture
behind the house
with his favorite bone
and it will all come so easily…

So

Enjoy it
Because…
…soon it will be
over
and you will
recall that

the bird

is gone

and suddenly

you miss

him

afraid of ghosts

I’m afraid of ghosts

…I see them

before I go to sleep
they wear old hats
and they walk along the
fence rows of
Iowa cornfields
in late afternoon
and they sit in the
cabs of old trucks
parked along the
back fence of an
Oklahoma cement plant
…I see one now…
chewing on a straw
and another smoking
a Camel cigarette
I see them
playing cards
with a horse-faced
guy named Mercer
in a Winnebago Brave
that sits alongside
a wrecking yard
in South Chicago, and
I see them
picking their way
carefully – across the
tracks in a
train yard in Kansas City
and…I see them

in
a board room of a Wall Street
bank – leering —
at the opposition
as if to see all the way
through her cream colored
skirt and all the way to
Shanghai
where it is a new
Banking day

I hear them predict their own
demise
at a cocktail party in South Hampton
then I hear them predict
their next wife
and then
their next drink
and I hear them laugh
at the prospect of
their eventual
incarceration
Old ghosts rise from
the tin blue water of
a lake
in northwest,
Minnesota
where
my cousin Mitchell died
in 1963,
I see them
sulking in the hallways of
a morgue
in Oregon
where they brought David
after he put a bullet
through his left eye 22 years
ago, and
I see them
deplaning — single file from
a flight from Southeast Asia,
back in 1969

I see them

in my dreams
when it’s too late
to sleep
and too early to
drink…
…the old soldiers
the old dogs
the pieces-of-eight
the forty pieces
of silver
the
trunk of gold bullion,
that sits at the bottom
of the ocean
a hundred sixty miles
off the coast of Honduras

I see
the farmers, the
miners
the
drinkers and fighters

I see
lovers and thinkers
the writers and
the scorned painters
the castaways and
the forlorn
…and the
suicidal hookers
and the near death
actors
and,

The solemn
preachers
and the snake-oil salesmen

…I see cowboys, drinking
Falstaff beer
and cussing at horses
long after the rodeo
has left town.

I’m afraid of
them all.