Tuesday, January 26, 2016


                                                                        For Matthew

                                    I have the Saturday night set
                                    for breakfast on Friday in my silent way.
                                    Someone knows how to cook the basics
                                    and I almost taste the color—
                                    kind of cool and born of blue.
                                    It’s as filling as an Egyptian queen
                                    who’s done waiting for her prince to come—
                                    spiced like young girls from the mountains,
                                    sketched by a Spaniard. So I try
                                    the Friday set around midnight—
                                    full of Bud’s bells and Porgy’s Bess
                                    but light and hollow as a horn.
                                    All that’s left is that very rich, cool,
                                    very peaceful cup of bitches brew.
                                    I’ll tell you what it is later. Shhh.

Mark J. Mitchell

                                    MORPHY’S WATCH
                        For Morphy a game of chess is a sacred duty.
                                                            —Adolf Anderson

                        He was left untouched by a useless hand
                        like some forward pawn on an unmarked board.
                        The room remains empty, dust drifts like sand.
                        When did he enter this game? No one asked
                        him to play. He adjusts a shadeless bulb.
                        Things stay dark. He can see how this began—
                        He enters this room. He thinks it’s the last
                        door he’ll open. He thinks there’s reward
                        just beyond it. He wants this game annulled.

Mark J. Mitchell

                                                MACHO MAN

                        The man who was Thursday stopped by last Tuesday
                        to perform his ugly, simple office.
                        Each hole was perfect—the weight of his fist
                        enough to pierce a wall, the earth. He preyed
                        on solidity. He tracked down unmarked
                        surfaces. Any enemy would know
                        where he walked at all times. He broke windows
                        just to step on glass. He liked the stray barks
                        of half-wild dogs. Less a man, more a force—
                        a personal storm followed him around—
                        it was his mobile home, it warmed him
                        when the sun was too bright. You liked the course
                        of his duties to bring him by. The sound
                        of his day was crisp. You’re glad to see him.

Mark J. Mitchell

                                                EDITING ANGELS

                                                Their tears
                                                punch holes in pages
                                                of various Holy Writ.

                                                Knife-sharp feathers
                                                cut off chapters—they fly
                                                away like dandelions.

                                                There is no intent here—
                                                They don’t mean to confuse.
                                                It’s their job.

Mark J. Mitchell

                                                WHARF HAIKU

                                    On a white hydrant
                                                gumdrops in rainbow order
                                    lighting up gray fog.

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...