How Basketball Saved My Life

How Basketball Saved My Life

I

I was born in the USA
To a parrot-head banker and a carpenter who
Built my crib from a stack of dusty records.
Tone arm and nails, motion made time
Turned until my crib skipped a twin bed
On a frame of jewel cases.

Someplace between dropped “Licensed to Ill”
Picked up in ‘96 with the music of “Space Jam”
And ten others for a penny.

I heard Tyrone Sneakers jonez like Bugs
And again, and Paul Revere, and again,
On repeat and replaced both with ten others
For a penny. Jonezed like Tyrone.

By the late 90’s bulk CD storage went mobile.
Backpacks, Cars, Lockers, Class Rooms;
It Takes a Thief, though I don’t remember
When I became one. Not even a penny.

II

In about four iambs a student will begin to learn:

-Because of Tyrone Sneakers he jonezed the drum break.
That those angry highs could be a Cause of Death without
Smoothing them with a fine toothed Blowout Comb;

-Because of Tyrone Sneakers he saw beyond the jonez’.
That the story of life would be told by the dead Gurus;
To move forward with his own I-deas and Abilities;

-Because of Tyrone Sneakers he prayed for vision.
That Pro-Pain, ignited by a Blazing Arrow, smolders the veil
Between us and the apocalyptic backdrop of our Summer Time Pool Parties;

-Because of Tyrone Sneakers he’s perpetual.
That when Queens and Brooklyn battled
Brooklyn sang the Champion’s Requiem.

“To Die Would Be a Great Adventure”

I have no use today
For the calm tones of nature.
I did not come to the wild
To be handled gently
Or spoken to softly. I came
For the peace in breathless humility
That only appears to a mind
Tasked with living another second.

Bring Wind! Bring Fire!
Bring Earth! Bring Water!
These are the voices
With which I wish to match wits.

Beautiful Day Out, Isn’t It?

I’m not supposed to just say that it breaks my heart.
Instead, my job is to express, using crafty syntax
And carefully chosen metaphors, reminders of heartbreak
That trap the reader in my lines with comfortable
White space flooding, but not quite suffocating, them
But here I am considering what that fat green metallic horse-fly,
Trapped between my closed window and the screen designed
To keep him out, might perceive a window and a screen to be
While it drums hopefully from one to the other and again.

Getting to Know You

The three moments prior were spent
Watching waves fold violently considering
How water could be molecularly similar to glass
Though not slice flesh or soften a stiff drink
So a man inside the cantina ordered two
Whiskeys straight before approaching a woman
Whose husband rested softy in her bed
Then a coconut fell and burst like a hive of bees

Opal strands swarmed. But for this quality,
Fewer than three and more than two sides, triangular.
Strands wormed into me through my nose and mouth
Through my ears and filled my sight and in its place
I found myself face to facing judgment.
As it is I find the universe sentient.

I II III

I                                     II                                   III

Giving it                    as if                           the path is set

Away                        labor is                      terrified

Believing days          opposite                     of nights

Can be called            dyslexia; a                giving of

The double shift       dratesman is               yet again

consumed                built (built)                 pawned

A Relationship Between What’s Wild and What’s Natural

I stared back
Just now
A wild creature
Who shot venom
Into me

It surprised me
As I prepared to crawl
Into my comfortable
Steamy bath
While Rebirth of Slick
Softened the tile floor

I had had my back
To its disguise
Before I turned to
Trim the strays
In my beard

We caught each others
Eyes just as it fogged
Over I knew for
One moment

What peeks from
Behind dribble bars now
Is very human

Keyword Nude

I was trying to finish a poem, hands crossed and on my desk, when I noticed a blank spot on my office wall glaring at me blankly. It was there that I found myself – after I hung a faded satellite image of Flagstaff’s grainy speckled grid of my youth – a speck within. Southeast corner of Aspen and Bonito. Fall ’97. When and where the orange air bit through my purple Suns windbreaker. My only trouble. Close-by a cheap cigar, or a pile of browned leaves, burned. A High school bell told next year nothing in particular. Libraries are warm. There I turned days like thumbing pages of black and white pictures sifting the occasional nude. Vietnam, Holocaust, Tienenman Square, Dust Bowl, JFK, Norma Jean, Elvis learned by accident.
Librarian keyword nude card catalogue learned by accident. Microfiche learned by accident. My town’s archives contained no nudes. An occasional grainy map from where I can’t. Here now. Three windows. Google Earth in my parents front yard. Tienenman Square for spelling. Nude Librarian.