In the park,
trees are stark,
to the very bones.
We stroll by,
pretend not to notice,
the same way
our eyes avoid
the homeless man,
the begging woman.
bear the seeds
will rejuvenate in time.
there is no cure.
Frank, the guy who owns the body shop
is an ex-marine, hair cut shorter
than Clint Eastwood’s,
tattoos of the flag on either bicep,
and a voice half-rasp, half-growl.
But on weekends, he’s a cross-dresser,
hangs out in a gay club
a block from City Hall,
lips maroon, red wig, pink high heels,
makeup applied as artfully
as if he’s smoothing out
a bashed-in Chevy door.
Frank can rebuild a wrecked Camaro
so it looks like new
or belt out, in a gravelly voice,
every verse, the chorus,
of “The Trolley Song.”
That’s why we need guys like Frank.
Regarding These Words
You can wear them as a mask
or wield them like a blade to cut yourself open.
Sometimes they come out like good food upon a table
but on other occasions, they’re inedible cold leftovers.
They can hammer home how they mean exactly what they are
or they can drive their wagons parallel to what’s really
They can conjugate friendship or blood ties
or just be a choreography of sound, kitsch, pretty but
They can navigate the people whose tongues have come to
care for them
or wander off in a different direction, bored and restless
They can float the future, pin-prick the past
or merely act as point man for the present.
They can draw their strength from the silences before and
or prolong the weakness in the unthinking stream of themselves.
They cannot love you outright, but they can wield the
banners, carry the flags.
Wield the banners? Carry the flags?
Ah yes, those words.
They make a grand disguise.
Or a bandage for these knife wounds.
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