The New President

The Pumpkin President by Mark Ryden

I survey my kingdom:
a horse skull/ jungle gym
with blond bee-striped boys,
sparrow-sized, halfway in

an eye hole to hide;
the other on top,
staring straight down
to a devilish Scot

who winks at the camera,
that handsome pariah,
his gaze set on us,
he forgets the messiah,

who, perched in his house,
points down from a tree
in a gesture of patience
to him and to me.

For with my striped stick
I'm a cruel master.
Out of ten subjects
there's only my Aster

who sits in the undergrowth
reading a book.
(Though not really reading
by her vacant look.)

She's grown a new president,
one that's honest and true,
and when he is my size
what will I do?


Play Along

O, the moon.
O, the stars
and all the heavens' light,
I said. You're being an ass,
she said and I gestured toward the sky,
flailing my arms, catching
moonlight on my polished teeth,
feeling the wind comb
the hair on my head.
I knit my brow to a fine line
and showed her how deep the creases
on either side of my mouth could be.
She stood steadfast,
impatience pooling from her formal gown.
Play along, I said,
but she wouldn't have it,
We are aristocratic debutantes
and we don't behave that way
in front of the queen.


On A Winter Canvas

A field of Santa Clauses
Huddle together, whispering
through pursed pink lips.

It sounds like whistling.
When they sway, the song
changes, suddenly a requiem

of clouded breath uplifts
the sheet of fresh snow,
which tendrils toward the sky.

The moon: stark, white, whole,
glints off their beards, illuminating
a sea of rosy cheeks and wet red

noses, but their eyes remain
shut, turning coal into diamonds.


We Just Live The Quiet Life

Saturdays, out for a drive.
We just live the quiet life.
Early, turning out the lights.
Always kissing her goodnight.

Sundays are for sleeping in
till my wife's infernal din
wakes me with the tasty sin:
bacon and its buttered kin.

Mondays, lessons at the dojo.
Dinner, six o'clock in Sodo.
Working up my manly mojo
then we can't because... you know.

Tuesdays, all my time at work:
pushing papers as a clerk.
Leaving early is a perk
for my boss, that stodgy jerk.

Wednesdays, time for toast and tea
and a little time for me,
which I spend quite pleasantly
charting Fluffy's pedigree.

Thursdays are so very droll.
So much so I'd rather skip them altogether.

Fridays, Oh, the week is over.
If it could be done forever
I would gladly leave my boulder
and I'd find a something better.


My Expectations Bring In The Tide

When I grow up I want to be the moon:
object of desire, mystery, subject of too
many poems. I'd show you my dark side
and you would be amazed. Nothing to hide,
I'd gaze into oceans, shake my cratered
head to bring the tide to bed later
than ever before. My celestial mantel
grazing stardust, disbursed like an ant hill.

Lovers would promise me literally and figuratively,
my fault line turned up, knowingly,
sparing their soft red hearts the trouble
of finding an unlikely dream impossible.



One thousand salt-sheared
tentacles encircle
my home.Its blinds
unfurl and daylight pours
in. For a moment

I can see
what I was doing. Then,
a rubbery darkness.

I grope around
for years,
it seems,
in love with a girl
whose kiss envelops
my face,
"I want you to hold
my face," I breathe,
the words trapped within bubbles;
the sound spreading out across the ocean.


Letter From The Ocean Floor

I'm so
Hope you are well.
In a waking dream
I ran
of bottles
before I could tell

you about the surface, how
my will to live
props up the whole ocean:
each breath a shallow zeppelin
ready to balloon up, crushing
my heart and other vital organs
-So full of love.


The Ocean Gets Dark As You Go Deeper

She seemed so unreal
as if her face
were a beautiful mask.

She held my head
in hers nightly, wrote
me in homemade ink.

Her letters weren't about
anything in particular, but
they were about me.

Her handwriting was jarring.
Each rounded character originating
from somewhere deep within.

They shivered in lamplight,
damp with ocean spray,
eyes dotted with hearts.

I put them deep
within my head
for safekeeping

just to hear their call,
feel their faint vibrations
in the dark water.


Take Heart

"Take heart
your house
is being towed
out to sea
as part
of the wildlife
reclamation act"

and the seagull clutching
the notice flew away before
I could get my lawyer.



I am Carl Fredrickson.
My girlfriend was his wife.
Now all I need is an Asian boy...
That didn't come out right.