A Father’s Gentle Guidance

now he’s used to
the same familiar
tom-tom rhythm
guiding the rivers of his mind’s
tributaries polluted by
tepid word streams
the worst of which
so simple
misappropriates Binet
pours casually
from father to son
so easy
to pound a single label
without meaning
to stake
shifting sands
until name-stung
the tag plants
water recedes and
solidifies
now he’s used to
the same familiar
dumb-dumb rhythm

(7 April 2015)

A New Year’s List (3 January)

Call her what you will
Those logos were fair warning
For the demands she will now sweat forth
An insatiable lust distilled into this
Thirsty, greasy, slick layer of want.

For starters, please, she’ll take
Adoring looks and admirers
(disposable and temporary are fine
for the coming months),
Flowers and chocolates
(weekly, from the above,
though other souvenirs of their
unrequited affection will do)
A diamond ring
(for the engagement, obviously,
with the words “I love you”
tattooed inside the band,
no, better: outside),
A new boyfriend next year
(the order seems amiss, somehow,
but the old one had to be let go
to make room for new season stock).

But for now, sixteen, she cannot waste
A chance for future planning so to
Graduate into a bejeweled life where
Glittering smiles and envy-stoking laughs
Catch light on shining ornaments of bliss:
Marble, leather, stainless steel,
She will grow accustomed to smooth surfaces
While making inventories of rival abodes
As she perspires from more than heat.

Surely, though, the eventual, inevitable
Coupling will lead her friends to chatter
(To her, of her, but mostly at the
very few gatherings she will miss)
Will give her more jealous pleasure,
Undiluted by adjectival comparison:
Bigger, better, pricier,
Happier,
Surely.

Between demands she pauses
Air, water
Then continues her decree,
“I want…”