how to drive a stock car

the morning after Elvis died
the wind had blown the patio umbrellas
out onto the lake where they
floated like an amusement the
stock car drivers
remorsefully hungover
stared and
hummed sadly Blue Suede Shoes like a
quiet Handel chorus the
King was dead and there were
only Cigarettes and Whiskey left
that and the blush of numbered cars waiting
for a weekend fame and the
coloured flags of speedway semaphore

Final Lap
Session Finished 

there was gunfire from the highway
there were claimers on trailers


how to tie your shoes

we were the poor kids
black and white
spooky on Kodak paper
our bodies fixed and angled
our eyes engines of impulse
the child algorithms
of our prejudiced neighbourhood

our clocks ticked then
stupidly the time
and we studied
its three hundred and sixty degree passing
the radio active glow
isotopes like bullets
to our innocent nightmare minds

we were the future of violence and escape
legend and Harley headlines
handguns without knowing it
doing what was expected
of boys and learning to tie our shoes

how to inject insulin

shaking up the NPH
I think about demanding more from words
even the single syllabled ones
standing at the end of sentences
wanting to jump the period
and run-on

I think about what words would say
caught talking and smoking cigarettes
when a book has been closed

neutral protamine Hagedorn
is an intermediate acting insulin
created in1936, the vial is a snow globe of zinc
but for the pyramids of my blood
and the deserted cities of my heart
no words live

how to read a fortune cookie

they found an ancient Chinese restaurant
in the buried Mayan city
Noodle Moon of the Golden Lion Café
built and deserted centuries
before Columbus scratched his first flea bite it
was a dark place near a Nahuatl court where
high priests ordered Kung Pao Ming Har and
sipped their cacao dreaming of alien spacecraft

erect temple cities and abandon them
construct your pyramids of righteous stone
Venus smiles upon your war
there is a conquistador in your future

the cookies came with the
cheque in Mesoamerica
placed on a plate the
ambivalent waiter dropped
upon your table as he sauntered lazily by

enter the forest as you would a friend’s home
you will overcome the trials of the underworld
linger not in the River of Scorpions

how to take antipsychotic medication

to sleep like a seed
& dream of a garden
the stem I will be
bent under late snow

voices on oils
their lips their
stilled tongues & rapid eyes
they think of me as family
from a tragic buttoned distance
the Christmas poet
still as a century
on a Seroquel street corner
in my shoplifted coat

take at bedtime
the label says or
when the angels gather &
hum your name or
do not take them at all &
fall in with the angels &
walk with them their
whispered mile

how to read a poem

you breathe and know the words are yours
but have somehow switched position upon the page
as the small audience dreams and expects at
well coffeed tables

so you look up from the page and
smile looking
over the top of your glasses knowing
you look professorly but
knowing also that
professorly is not a real word just
four syllables that
fit with adhesive
somewhere on the
edge of a sonnet in which
the word love in the
second line now reads

how to wash your hands

stand at a sink with a
bar of soap

& watch what’s wild coming the
wrongness of the second knuckle
index finger left hand the
leftness of it so wrong for cursive writing the
palms of both hands creased
with lines of life a
planet hidden in every wrinkle

do not inventory regret &
poorly written poems just
turn the faucets on
the right amounts of
hot & cold with

only reflection between you
& what is behind the mirror