The spirit of my Aunt Mary's dead
rang her doorbell, shouting, "Let me in or I'll
float around back & piss on your roses."
Peeking through her curtains, Aunt
"You were a reasonably decent man
even if you were Protestant, but obviously
the rejoicing of the Sisters of Saint Joseph
who prayed for you was for nothing,
your death bed conversion didn't take.
"Those roses are dedicated to the
She protects my hard-earned & restful
widowhood. Seek her intercession
& purgatory will be no more painful
than ten hours of agonizing labor
followed by a caesarian section."
With that, the spirit disappeared
leaving only a spray of mist
that smelled like Lysol in the air.
A J E R S E Y L I S T
Ray DeCarlo, caporegime Cadillac
parked by his office behind a steakhouse,
his pal, Little Pussy, runs the shore rackets,
his rival, Richie the Boot, an uneasy truce,
& the guy they keep on a leash, named The Leash,
Joe Bananas, Bayonne Joe, & another Joe
among lonely Joes, Indian Joe.
Sam the Plumber, dapper & popular,
a boss that knows whatís a boss, says,
Iíve only done good. The guy
that does anything bad to me
is the worst S.O.B. in the world.
Oh Ray, cry the boys, where
are the great wise guys of yesterday?
All this Black Power crap wrecking our turf,
the Feds grabbing the union books,
those crazy kids from Philly love to kill,
the State taking over the numbers,
& what they want to do to Atlantic City
is a crime, we might as well burn
the 500 Club, Frank wonít sing there no more.
M U R D E R I S M Y M U S I C
The airport is being watched,
consider the harbor frozen solid,
no refugees slip through the cracks,
railroad tracks hum your song off key.
Two men wearing trench coats
driving two dark sedans
triangulate your breath
whenever you stop to rest.
They follow their dogs,
their dogs smell your shadow
where it folds up a wall
like an old paper doll.
The roses you forgot to kill
twist toward the new moon,
a tangle of thorny mistakes,
evidence linking you to me.
For a small bribe, perhaps
a black rhinestone necklace
or the contents of a piano bench,
youíll turn your coat inside out.
R E J E C T I O N L E T T E R
We have noted the appearance
of horn buds on your forehead,
also an insect-like proboscis
capable of sucking nectar
is emerging from a nostril,
plus the corkscrew penis you enjoy
demonstrating in the menís room.
We heard the screams of your lover
coming from the back seat of your car
following the poetry reading.
Her husband, a man long accustomed
to being an ordinary cuckold,
now must consider her new tastes
for exotic cuisine, home-cooked with care
rather than with the indifference
she formerly showed, but more troubling
is her appetite for performing sexual acts
she previously found repugnant.
He is becoming suspicious.
Be assured that our concern
for your well-being is sincere,
but in the absence of any reasonable
explanation for these events,
or until you have completed your molt,
we must ask you to decline our invitation
to appear at the literary conference.
I F Y O U
G O T O T H E C A R N I V A L
If you go to the carnival, pin a dollar bill
on your fatherís coat. His place is between
the calzones & the cannoles, candles flicker
at his feet, he is guarded by many old women.
When you pin a dollar bill to your fatherís coat,
he will not guarantee your happiness,
but the howling of dogs cannot frighten you,
the crows no longer bear sad messages.
The dollar bills resemble green scales
because your father is really a fish
out of water, he is too dry to cry.
This is the secret everyone knows.
Your father is married only to the moon.
If you want to please him, draw very close
& whisper these words in his ear:
ďFather, I have neither arms nor legs.Ē