new year’s meh (2nd draft)

to the year that has passed and all its happenstance 
so long 

to all the crosswords left unsolved 

to the books i stack everywhere
have faith

to the sky that does not know if it wants to rain or snow 
may you find peace 

to my neighbor who rakes the leaves that fall from my tree on his lawn
i wave from the window 

to all the dead batteries in the back of the desk drawer 
i’m sure we’ll meet again 

to last year’s new year’s eve seven-layer dip on the bottom shelve of the fridge 
sorry i let you down
to the empty gum wrapper blowing around in the gutter 
enjoy your travels

to the cable tv news and the loons who scream on the bus 
good show 

to all the potholes on east alameda avenue that never get fixed 
stay true 

and to the new year that approaches with all its nervous verve 
i say 

note: submitted for publication 12-31-22. i turned off the comments because these are just updated reposts, for my own organizational purposes, comments and whatnot would be redundant

the rainkeeper (2nd draft)

old maid marge never loses a single drop of rain
leaking thru the roof
none will stain the wood grain floor
she spins a million puddlebowls
each drop will plop plang and pling with planned precision 
        she likes to sing along
old maid marge keeps tidal waves in jars 
angry stormspells, unrelenting and fermenting 
        old maid marge turns water into whiskey 

old men drowning in parked cars paralyzed by old guitars
old dogs play dead on spinster rugs 
        as storms bang against the paint-peeled world
old winds blow thru broken windowpanes, old books blown open
flipping random pages, old voices singing: armageddon! 
                god himself screaming:
                        we need more jars!

rain for the cities and the plains
rain for the little desert warbler
rain like razor blades in cascades of liquid rage
rain to tame fire, rain to wash the scars, rain to swamp the graves
	rain for cain 
	rain of abel 
rain for thirsty puddles
rain for the thane and rain for the rogue
                rain for getting naked 

old maid marge plants watermelon in her weathered garden
she likes to watch water grow, sells them by the barrel 
old maid marge sits like marble sculpture praying
a birdbath in a grove
the water in the bowl seems somehow blessed
is the same rain that falls everywhere
cup your hands to catch some
			and exist 

note: going to sit on this one for a minute, something still doesn’t seem right

seven dogs (3rd draft)

i drank nine beers with nine chasers
to glue the nine pieces of my mind back together
walking home i walked past the red house
over yonder
same one i’ve walked pass ninety-nine and one-half times before
i stopped right there and thought, how drunk am i?
so i did the math 
nine beers and nine chasers, nine times nine is eighty-one
in nineteen eighty-one i was nine years old
and i walked this very path
with the same nine mailboxes to the left
and the same nine garden gnomes to the right
ninety-nine and one-half take-out menus piled on the doorstep 
of the red house over yonder
and that’s when i saw what i saw
seven dogs fighting in the alley
for a leftover chicken bone
seven brothers forgot their bond and surrendered to the hunger
i saw their teeth grow long and their eyes grow sinister 
i saw mortal fear up close and personal
and then i saw the blackest crow i ever saw
swoop down and steal that chicken bone
then perch high on a steeple, seven tail feathers pointed straight to hell
i saw seven dogs in disbelief 
seven dogs, one dead chicken 
and a tax collector in the blackest crow-feather sweater i ever saw
nine creatures total

note: submitted for publication 12-31-22