13 Ways Of Looking At Bourbon

As a short life
that bites and quickens the blood
before swirling the drain,
he downed the shot in one go.

The bottle of bourbon
was his djinni demon,
granting his most beloved dream
in the black-out oblivion
of inebriation.

So much that was hard to swallow
in life
he washed down
with firewater burning
at 180 proof.

He cut his worries
like he cut his bourbon—
with chunks of ice-cold indifference.

The angels drank their
inspiriting share
and in return
blackened the world
with their drunken hymns.

Sour mash teemed,
life becoming death
as bacteria ate themselves
toward extinction—
Man likewise.

The golden amber liquid
sloshed inside the glittering glass,
a magical potion dispelling illusions
and opening portals
toward the truer realms of

The bottle,
like his patience,
had been depleted,
shattering over the
of the belligerent country bumpkin.

They lubed the wheels
of their lovemaking
with bourbon foreplay,
only for the wheels to slide
right off the tracks.

and full of himself,
his blood burned hot as bourbon
until the day
a bullet
un-bunged his heart.

They distilled their culture
using corn, rye, malt,
limestone springwater,
coal, lime, salt,
and plenty of caustic.

White Dog so pure
it brought tears to their eyes,
and helped them breathe fire
to burn crosses.

The rackhouse collapsed,
spilling its barrels outward
like a dying sow
birthing a fat farrow of piglets.

Haikus IV

Whittling her body
with a chisel-sharp hunger;

Limestone-lipped Lethe
from which forgetfulness flows;
Kentucky Bourbon.

She opened herself
like a silk Japanese fan:
cool smooth skin, tattooed.

Her smile slants sideways
like a fence after a storm—
how can I mend it?

Noodling in Kentucky
where Southern girls bite harder
than snapping turtles.

A Christ-like scarecrow
welcoming carrion birds
with his outspread arms.

Acoustic chord struck
with sweet nothings and kisses;
heart string serenade.

Looking glass angled
to catch the glow of her face,
pond mirroring moon.

These severed fingers
still trying to pinch the pen
to stop the bleeding.

Tweeting so loudly
while you remain cooped, wings clipped;
internet crusades.

Creaking like timbers
of a ship tossing at sea,
her jaw grinds at night.

Pa rum pum pum pum
the little drummer boy played;
some hear a war song.

The fury of Zeus
threaded into taut cords
to power kids’ toys.

Black roses blooming
like mascara around eyes,
planted by knuckles.

Woodpeckers tapping
at code with beaked fingertips,
hackers look for bugs.

Spankings from my mom and dad
were only temperings for weak steel;
a hammer and anvil love.

Lying as perfectly still
as a corpse is no unique talent;
all master it, given time.


My brain was restless
like frog eggs ripe with tadpoles
eager to burst free.

Notching no arrows,
violinists aim their bows
and pierce many hearts.

How happy you are,
like a fine, fat pig in mud
deaf to the whetstone.

Termite-eaten stump
seeping white pus from black bark;
a gangrenous thumb.

The age spots spreading
along her arms, legs, and breasts
were Time’s watermarks.

Ink dripped from the quill,
blotching the still-life sketch with
life’s own signature.

Such harsh handwriting,
as if the paper was skin
and each word a wound.

How sweet the jingoist song
of a butcher’s blade biting to bone;
how sweet each nation’s anthem.

Silver silos stood ready
like ballistic missiles set for launch,
the fields aflame with sunset.

When their tongues wagged with envy
he thought them green laurels in a breeze
and crowned himself with their leaves.

Her heart was a creek—
the water shallow, stones slick,
snakes silent…unseen.

She fumbled through her own life
like an actress baffled by curtains;
never could take center stage.