where’s the money shot

sunny with a real feel of 5
degrees Fahrenheit

another cruel moment in April
gets trapped under ice

no algae
nothing’s blooming

good or bad
here where the climate trickster

of our own making
never sleeps

Frankenstein’s monster drinks
from the fetid future

has not yet learned
how to lie

he won’t open his eyes underwater
he won’t tell us what he hears

in all that muffled blue
his silence is damaged

if he would declare his damage
it would spill then bleed

into the fibers
of a wrongly-folded map

someone has abandoned
on the frozen ground

remember those

pockets of jamais vu
dot the landscape

with crimson-tinted notes
in the minor key

no one asks to be
the hero image

that spans an iridescent bridge
to nowhere

The Mats at Midway Tonight

I’m going to start
wearing a money
belt to pretend

I’m traveling
in a foreign
country. Wide enough

to hold
a passport
and a spleen

in case mine needs
to be removed.

I would keep it
so I could still vent.

No one will accuse me
of being passive

aggressive. Where am I
going tonight?
Saint Paul. You never know.

Will have to cross
the Mississippi, you know.
Maybe, you don’t.

Despite What You Believe In

Just because she takes
pictures of snow-packed trails
with her iPhone doesn’t mean

she’s a photographer. Writing
a text to his lover
doesn’t make him

a writer. Just because
she flies
first class overseas

doesn’t mean
she’s a pilot (or
waitress in the sky). Singing

“You Sexy Thing”
in the shower doesn’t make you
a singer or rock

star I might fall in
love with. Just because
I checked out

of the Take No Heroes Hotel
doesn’t mean
it will happen again.

Laugh Phoenix

You are my laughing phoenix,
I am yours.
Our cackling woke the dead.
Endlessly we cracked jokes
waiting for the fire engines (not red)
to arrive.

No, wait! Hurry! Get back
inside. Let the smoke
choke us out of five hundred years’
worth of played-out puns.
Six hundred too many Arabian nights
have us cracked up under the moon.

Reduced to ashes, we could ask to be blood-red,
winged beauties next to one another
shaking feathers forever in the desert.

But you would not reinvent yourself
with me. For me,
the ashes scatter irreverently. For you,
tradition’s fire in the belly burns
as you wait for ladders and hoses.

Dry as the skin of wakened dead,
the puns will reduce me
to tears for five hundred or so
more years. Unless, of course,
you weren’t my last,
laughing one.