Monday, December 11, 2006

The Mayans

I was taught by Miss Shepherd that The Mayans were extinct.
But here they were.
Short, stout people, selling silver trinkets to tourists.
"My silver is not plated." they all repeated as you walked by their booths.
Pause in front of any of their tables and you'd be treated to the same joke.
"For you wife." as they hold up a silver necklace, "Not plated."
"For your girlfriend" as they hold up a pretty pair of earings, "Not plated."
And the punchline, a giant machete, held threateningly, "For your mother in law." delivered with Henny Youngman inflection and a big silly grin.

Many of them spoke no English beyond these lines and you were forced to conjure an image of the traveling salesman that sold them these plated trinkets and bad jokes. Hell, he done more for them than I had or would. He'd certainly not cheated them as badly as Miss Shepherd had.

Step into a tent and you'd see that there were worse things than extinction.

The Mayan gods, represented in sculpture, fucking each other, doggy style, sixty-nine, missionary, wheel barrow. You'd pay extra for the threesome, sculpted in rough red clay, you know, to make them really authentic.

What should have happened

We were all gathered around, five generations present when you counted the elderly gentleman who had asked us all here.

"This is what should have happened." He began. "And don't take offense that if this had happened you wouldn't be here. You're all the product of my cowardice but you're not the punishment for it, you're the only thing that makes it bearable. The potential I've wasted is still alive in all of you, so please, don't fuck it up."

And here began the tale. The long twisted story of every orgy, every fight every suicide. He told of dying over and over, starving, fevers, he told of sweating, fucking, kicking. He talked of roads, roads that led everywhere and never took you to the same place twice. We all listened attentively to his tale of madness and gluttony and sweetness and indulgence.

When it was over the old man stood, and walked out of the house as we all stared in silence. He went to his room where he spent a few months reading and slowly losing his senses. When he died he didn't seem to even recall who he was.

It was another few months before any of us spoke of his story. Odd to discover none of us heard exactly the same tale. I seemed to have gotten the craziest version of it. My brother caught more about meditation and prayer. Maybe that was in there, though I hadn't heard it, but I'm quite sure my niece is wrong in thinking that the old man shared recipes with us, though I must admit the bread she started making was delicious, unlike anything I'd ever tasted.

Was it a peculiar magic the old man possessed? Or were we, his many descendants, just really shitty listeners?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Random Bad Thought

On November 30th I had the following random bad thought:

If I was going to go on a crazed killing spree, I'd probably go in to the co-operatively owned health food market, guns blazing. When the killing was done I'd climb behind the deli/bakery counter and eat healthy vegan cakes and cookies until the cops brought me down.

If you love something

If you love something
Set it free
If it comes back to you
It's probably hungry and confused
If it doesn't
Something else probably ate it

Monday, October 30, 2006


Bryna unwraps her presents slowly
peeling each piece of tape
lifting and smoothing out the wrapping paper
each present offering a strip tease
the dance of the seven veils
the veils in this case made up of paper
covered in candy canes and wreaths

I have tried this technique
I have endeavored to savor the unveiling
I peel one piece of tape, slowly
until I hear a rip and
crumpled, discarded, the box upside down, the present revealed, and the next gift sought madly, to be consumed in a similar rush until at last, I'm done, out of breath, out of gifts, and

Maybe this year I'll let Bryna open my gifts for me.

I will enjoy the winter

This year
I will enjoy the winter
Not just the fall

This year
I will enjoy the winter
beyond the nostalgia of the first cold winds

This year
I will enjoy the winter
the city continuing to hum hours after the sun sets
the hats and gloves and coats
the sting on my ears as I pedal my way to work
the soups, spice cakes, pots of hot tea
and the warmth of your hand in mine

Sunday, September 17, 2006


"Yeah, where do you have raisins and babyfood?"

"They're not in the same place."


"The raisins are in aisle 11, the baby food is in aisle 15, but you know, you can't feed raisins to a baby."

"Yeah, they're for me. I don't have a baby."

"But you asked for baby food."

"Yeah, I need some, aisle 15, thanks."

"Okay, it just seems weird, you don't..."

"Look, the baby foods for me. I'm shitting blood alright!"


Monday, August 07, 2006

The Socket

Six years old
a rare moment of solitude
a brief window of privacy

I unplug the lamp
sit on the floor, with it in my lap
unscrew the bulb and set it gently on the carpet

I extend my pointing finger
look at it
right there in front of me and then
I start it moving
toward the lamp
toward the socket

I know it's unplugged
and unable to hurt me
there's nothing to fear
but I'm afraid anyway
and I love it

I push past the fear
inching, slowly, closer, closer
at last my my finger is floating in space
inside the socket
not touching, just resting in the middle
my eyes close involuntarily
as I push that last half inch
the cold metal connections against the tip of my finger

A charge rushes through me
a charge of exhilaration, panic, ecstasy.

The bulb is returned to the socket
the lamp placed back on the table
plugged back into the wall
and I get ready for bed

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Death Envy

I felt guilty
for getting jealous at the funeral
But why should the deceased get all the attention
So many nice things they're all saying about him
What about me
You can start with, "Keith Lowell Jensen, he really knows how not to die!"

Monday, June 12, 2006


I hadn't fought with you in some time
I had a good reason to now
it seemed

You'd gotten mad at me
I hate that

So I pretended to be mad at you
I went through the motions

I acted out the way I thought I should be feeling
making up for the fact that I wasn't feeling much

you of course didn't catch the game
responding with real emotions
the kind that don't go away when I want to stop playing, wrap around you and go to sleep

Poetry Weather

The wind is blowing like it does when winter is coming
It's a delightful tease as we've already felt the first hints of the coming oven that is this city's summer
I'm sitting outside and I'd put on a jacket if I had one, but I'm glad I don't
I drink my tea and eat my brownie
A small bird is having a rough day
The weather has tricked him and he's out in the cold
nobody is around to share their sandwich crumbs with him

"Sorry buddy, this wouldn't be good for you.
Ah, fuck it. It aint good for me either.
You can decide for yourself."

The wind blows under the blue sky and I sit sharing a brownie with the small bird.