Roach Motel


I must do this to survive, Cardinal.

No breathing allowed, Mr. Bee.

I tripped on the stairs made of you, Maple.

Es muy Piso Mojado, Mr. Snail.

I will take my sleepwalk, Cloud.

The world is the mirror

and the world is purified.

Throw your hands in the air

and run. We'll be eatin'

what's on the shelf, Anne.

The puppy wants to jump

into the redwoods. The lamp

holds up the wine of illumination.

The mirror reflection

of the painting is all about the future.

We cannot live there.

Two women meet

on the road to Pissarro's

village. A little girl hides

behind the skirt of her mother.

The cattle lie in the field.

When I was a child,

I walked these fields alone

never thinking of danger.


I drank a pint of stout

and watched the ember

of my life glow, down there,

at the bottom. My Irish

friend, Denis, spoke to

the South Carolina girl.

I could tell by the way

she shifted in her chair

she was becoming aroused.

It was a winter's night

and embers were falling

from the sky and glowing

in the streets in vast

piles. The ember removal

team had to be called in

with their huge machine.

This was all quite close

to the Canadian border,

and everyone spoke softly

so not to wake them, the Canadians,

who slept

under piles of centuries

old maple leaves and twigs.

I'm not anyone I know.

I release a beautiful

blue wasp from a jar.

Later I am stung


by a yellow jacket

as I mow the yard.

No hard feelings.

Today there are no

magic numbers.

I recall how once we ran

the quarter mile sprint

in eighth grade.

It was 84 degrees F

with 79% humidity.

I ran about half way

and stopped breathing.

As I lay on the ground

surveying the lives

of grasshoppers,

I thought today there are no

magic numbers. It was

a comfort and I was

perfectly willing

to accept my death.

The gym teacher

hoisted me up by the armpits

and screamed, BREATHE!

It was that kind of era.

There are no magic numbers.

I sit in a stall

in the men's room.

A ton of paper

recycled saves 7000

gallons of water.

I wipe, flush, stand,

redo myself, wash,

and then walk back

down the hallway.

There are no magic numbers.

All the paintings of saints

and flowers.

The book of hours.

Dali's melting watch.

There are no magic numbers.

Like a Guantanamo

prisoner squeezing

his fingernail

into a Styrofoam cup

to write a poem,

so this day.

I wonder how the bees

back home are doing.

The red monk holds

his empty gold candlestick.

The monk has no face.

I am sitting in an old

red brick building

once owned by Al Capone.

Now it is haunted

by Captain Twinkle-Light

the pirate of love.

Young people drink

here and sell zines.

I am a veteran of the Roach

Motel Zine Festival.

There are no magic numbers.

I am close enough to the clock

tower to hear the chimes.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

A group of women

in the alley below knock

back tequila shots:

One. Two.

Girl's night out.

One looks ill. The building

across the way is “The Red Monk.”

The dystopian future

you once anticipated

is here. Blue and cherry

red haired waitresses

with playing card tattoos

work the tables.

The ladies' night out

has cleared. Gravy Sue.

Taste the hour.

There are no magic numbers.

I was saving this for you:

the super-utensil.

It costs a lot more

to park here 

than any other life.