a hallowed out tree-stump
plays oboe jazz lines in 3/4 time
outside the backyard dumps
while a poet damn-near loses his lines
in the cold molasses flow
of a tenor sax that can't blow
long enough notes to eclipse
the words sealed beneath my lips
like dirty words and promises.

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there is an absence
within me
like a surgical removal
of something vital,
life-giving
which isn't necessarily a good thing,
& I keep to myself most of the time
'cause it's a crowd inside my mind
the way they say there is potential
and that isn't necessarily a good thing,
because life is a growth
like a malignant tumor as big as a base-ball
that has its roots in hope and expectation
as much as it does
cigarettes and bourbon.