(Dedicated to Wolfen, who deserved better)

There is too much failure in flesh and bone
to mete the measure of a dog’s faith
and so when death leaves me alone
I tread through woods in search of his wraith.

What is that shade following from behind
that I scarce glimpse but in twilit gray?
The best friend I will never again find—
gone, too soon, and missed every day.

It must be true, I believe, that if heaven exists,
all dogs are Assumed into its celestial ranks,
but I also know that in Death’s parting mists
I may well find myself on infernal banks.

Truly, my greatest sin was to a friend
whose sin was to love one unworthy of love
and if I meet him again, at the very end,
his heart will decide if I go below or above.

It is a cruel joke that Man should enchain
as if he does not, himself, need to be fettered;
we think ourselves lords over this fickle plane,
but only by a dog’s love are we bettered.

Let me repeat this, so there is no doubt—
a dog might treat any devilish man so well
as a god in life, but when that man’s life runs out
there is no place for him but in Hell.

New Beginnings, Day To Day

In the lightening East the sun rises
and roseate blushes the virgin bride,
Dawn peering past all groom guile and guises
until there is no shadow he may hide.

Her bridal veil is fog, and yet
she sees clearly in the new day’s light,
his black tux a shade she cannot forget,
nor forgive the thrills of his bachelor night.

The veil of fog lifts from the bride,
her heated glare beneath waxing wild
with conjecture which she cannot abide
until the twilight comes, reconciled.

Then the proposal once more is given
and plans made for the morning rites
as light and shadow are ever riven—
never quite finished with their fights.

Autumn Vixens

Autumn Vixen I
Look at her lovely sly eyes
glinting darkly among the leaves;
a fox, but only in disguise—
her red hair often bereaves.

Autumn Vixen II
Autumn blew a chill kiss with its wind
through the tree-lined streets of our small town
and teased us softly of Summer’s end
when her leaves would soon fade and fall down.

Eager to wear her yellows and reds
and that drab brown frock she herself loves,
she coos, and her breath goes to our heads
with a fog that rolls over foxgloves.

An artful lover, she also weaves
spells with her middle-aged, mature charms,
yet playful, too, as winds through the leaves
so her love is fresh and, thus, disarms.

And though withering with winds so cold
that you bundle up for her embrace
she is lovely, still, her colors bold—
lovelier than Winter’s haggard face.

Autumn Vixen III
When the season reaches an age
and cares not for judgment from the world,
she may well turn to the next page
and let her dress fall freely, unfurled,
and welcome onto her bare breast
a man daring the scandalous task—
naked, unafraid, wholly blessed
with neither name nor shame nor a mask.

Prison Valentines

Frankie sat alone in his dim prison cell
thinking about how he always hated Valentines,
and digging through a heap of perfumed mail,
skimming through the romantic bullshit lines.

Here was a long letter from New York City,
while this letter came from down South, near Savannah;
this letter’s ink was smeared with tears of pity
and was lipstick-kissed by a girl named “Hannah”.

This letter was full of details that were quite lewd
whereas this one promised to see him very soon;
here was a photo of a girl, spreadeagled in the nude,
and here was a poem written about him as the moon.

Frankie laughed mirthlessly as he read through the letters,
remembering when he was just a hapless teenage guy—
back then women overlooked him for his many betters
and he never went on any dates as the years went by.

He had read online about Incels and Men’s Rights,
about bone shapes and Chad and Stacy and such—
his brain became awash with “beta males” and “overbites”,
convincing him he’d never feel a woman’s loving touch.

Next was the Illuminati and the Powers That Be,
the Racial Wars that Manson said would soon come;
he read so much that he lost all perspective to see
humans as humans, feeling reptilian, cold, and numb.

Finally, he had had enough and purchased a gun
and went on a shopping spree through the mall,
buying lives with bullets on his helter-skelter run
while people screamed and fled down the hall.

He surrendered to police without putting up a fight
and was taken to trial, thereafter sentenced to die—
it was then that he realized, in the paparazzi limelight,
that he had finally caught Cupid’s crazy eye.

“Cupid is a blind sniper in a tower,” he said aloud,
“and he is as deaf as a mute bat without ears.”
Despite the mail, Frankie felt neither loved nor proud,
and wondered how he had become so lost through the years.

Suddenly smiling, he thought of all of these sad women
who wanted to be the tragic Bonnie to his Clyde,
and he wondered if they got off while thinking of his sin,
loving a man that was not Dr. Jekyll—only Mr Hyde.

Loved To Death

Grandma smoked like a dragon on the gazebo,
hearing her estranged daughter praise a placebo—
“Love is the strongest drug a doctor knows,”
she said, fanning the fumes from her nose.
“It keeps you well and happy and strong,”
but she coughed as if sucking from a bong.
Her children, meanwhile, played in the garden,
laughing and crying and begging pardon.
“Maybe so,” the beldam said, still chugging,
“but it’s bad for your heart, all that hugging.”
“You can’t mean that, momma,” her daughter said.
Grandma meant it: “Love will kill you stone-dead.”
On cue, her grandchildren leapt onto her back—
she died of a hug, and a heart-attack.