end of the world (as seen by a stray dog that doesn’t know it’s the end of the world)

this poem is dedicated to wayne gilbert, my friend and teacher, who taught me the joy of reading, writing and speaking poetry

perhaps this is a poem
	or ancient prophecy echoing thru the ether
	or page three hundred and three of the g.e. 
	refrigerator repair manual 
or too much caffeine 
	too much ambition 
perhaps i’m walking the block 
in high tech shoes of direction and destination
or maybe i’m just spinning the earth with my feet
this might be september
	and the moon is shaped like a riddle 
	too big to smash with a hammer
this might be a fishbowl 
	and i’m just another fishy citizen
	working in a fish stick factory 
	i eat and shit and work
	work and shit and eat
	and then pray for god to come and clean the water
this might be the sticky afterbirth
	or the moment of climax, or the wink
	of a lover’s eye
in a faded blue buick with steamed up windows
	and young spirit waiting to enter
	the motel called mother
this might be a daytime tv talk show
this might be a keystone cops movie
	or maybe both
	grainy black and white
	big hat, billy club
rescue of the whispering, whimpering mr and ms damsel
tongue tied to the railroad tracks of tv guru voodoo
this might be a snow globe 
	 and i should feel foolish 
	for not believing in fairytales
this might be candy-hopscotch-doo-dah-la-la mountain
	where happiness glows like a crack-pipe cherry
	where catfish swim with dog packs of dolphin 
	grapevines sing songs of festival wine 
	and all the spy satellites hold hands and twinkle
this might be a motor-home graveyard
	flat hills of empty shells and grey weather
	dead center of humdrum 
	where hummingbirds forget how to hum
	and drop dead
this might be trick photography 
or the rare occurrence of natural magic
	behold the mighty onion
	a gallery of curtains
	unwarp the mummy from the mummy and wah-lah
no more universe
perhaps there’s another universe next door
	that looks and smells and shakes just like this one
	except no one there sings songs
	about onions (let’s go!)
this might be leap year
	and all the leap frogs are leaving this world
	to orbit some other mud puddle 
	bum around in limbo
snuggle up in candy-colored god clusters
	get too heavy with philosophy and fall down
tomorrow it will rain frogs 
this may seem crazy
	but this might be someone else’s fever dream
	and i’m sleeping in the wrong head
this might be the day before i die
	and i’m here to cast the first stone 
	to fill my coffin with novocain
	comic books and last minute field goals 
perhaps all of this could be or should
be or once was
		long ago
			all i know is
	i misspoke, tried to sing a choked
	bit my tongue so hard it made me cry
and i can’t see anything very clear
this is a poem

published in edge of humanity magazine 4-25-2023

poem written on the back of chinese take-out menu (2013 version)

i found god in a bowl of chinese mustard
he was just sitting there 
shimmering and grinning 
the way large bowls of mustard sometimes do
humbleproud, heaven-roasted
a little slutty? 
i was so innocent back then, so virgin, so milk bone 
all that changed when i dipped into his yellow heart
sweet at first it burned raw brain babble into biblical boil 
heat swelled hallowed hell 
i, inflamed 
i, in tears
lean back into synaptic-back-snap-back-flip-eggroll-dip oblivion
and floated there 
		for a yellow minute
then slapdash burn-crash into heat rash body knots, fist pounding table to the rhythm of repent! repent! repent! rapture-tingling soul-strip, snot dripping from my chin into little fire puddles on a chinese take-out menu slash placemat slash liability waiver slash chemical sutra slash contract to bring back a flower from a place with no sorrow 
slash star chart

posted for dverse open link night

snowing in omaha

maybe it's snowing it tokyo 
maybe it's snowing in omaha
and maybe there’s a shortcut tunnel between the two
	an easy commute
	thru the center of the earth
an inter-dimensional breezeway of the soul
a straightaway that stays true 
	and there you are 
side-stepping two blizzards

the long hallway is filled with portraits of dead uncles
and other gorgeous goons who stare at you
	admiring at your shoes
antique tables with antique candles and
chihuahua zinnias in chinese vases
the floor is covered in zebra skin rugs
zebras sold separately 
	there’s a gift shop
that sells postcards of all your favorite memories
(sunshine, razorblade skyline, sunburnt faces
eskimo pies melting on a playground) 
		nine for a dollar
there’s a waiting room 
recently repainted and waiting to dry
so you have to wait to wait in it
	that’s ok cause
there’s a dumbwaiter that delivers old world newspapers
	printed on new paper
made from reclaimed lumber
but the same old news as yesterday
	there’s a gallery where you are on display
where you stick your head into a cage and talk like a parrot
(squawk! like a parrot! squawk!) 
		but then something feels wrong
			something feels sick, oh
			no, you say
				where am i?
this is not a dusty old museum, it’s a mausoleum
it’s a warehouse full of funhouse mirrors
center of your soul
dead center of gravity
where momentum goes to die
		it’s a prison 
you run and run but go nowhere
and the more you run the more nowhere you go 
you try to leave but the doors are just painted on  
you try to sleep it off but wake up three hours before you slept
and have to start over 
you rage at the walls 
in fast forward and super slow-mo simultaneously
feeling like a poet who swore an oath of silence
wears a black beret and striped shirt
pulling a rope of pure hope
symbol of the dead
and your skin feels cerulean and your breath is feathery 
and your mind feels glassy and your heart starts to foam
and you don’t want to search for yourself inside yourself anymore
cause a hole inside a hole is dangerous and ugly and unholy
and it’s still snowing in tokyo
still snowing in omaha
and probably six foot deep and blowing sideways in rome  

and there’s a banjo in your pocket 
but you don’t know how to play it

note: i think i should get credit for using the word “mime” even though i didn’t use it… i mimed it =) just kidding.

posted for shay’s word garden word list

posted for the sunday muse #241