Probation poem 12-4-17

They decorated the

probation office for Christmas:

Stockings, snowmen, Santas.

Green garland and green lights

shaped like a noose.


Stillness reigns.

Christmas pills.

Christmas black eyes.

No baying yet.

I can’t write a poem without baying,

so I won’t.


I’ve got Walt with me.

Was Walt into Christmas?

I bet he wielded his eel spear

to bring home eel

for Christmas dinner.


What would Walt make

of his country today?

Of course he’d be in prison,

doing what he implied

in Leaves of Grass.


Walt was always singing

praises for America.

Can you sing like that

for America anymore?

You can certainly bay.


We assemble around the table.

A new man

already in the act of disappearing.

I hear Americans gently baying:

I can’t go to church.

I can’t ride horses?

I can’t go see cattle with my dad?

I have to live in a stable.

I want to use so bad.

I need a job.

I can’t take a welding class?

I can’t live near a bus stop?

I can’t go to AA seven days a week.

I live in a culvert.

I can’t burn but I can take pills?

I spent the night on the roof.

I’m becoming more sallow.



A man said sallow.

I heard it.


He was wearing

a greasy brown hoodie

with the hood on.

I could barely see his face

(and it was sallow),

but I heard sallow

and I listened.

There is a difference.


I’m hearing

Americans baying

in this soundproof studio

and I’m recording it,

mixing, (no over dubbing),

producing an album

of an undetermined

musical genre

that somehow

I must release

because Americans need

to hear their

fellow Americans bay.