John Chardovic

John Chardovic sits in the airport, weary, tired from years of service to the Firm, a brown worn heavy samples case at his feet, tie still strung tight around his neck, perspiration dripping down his face, exhausted from chasing the next sale, no longer a young turk, wonders about the years he's missed being on the road like this, the family he left behind, the children who have disappeared, all for one more catch, one more big one, one more attempt to keep his job.  Thirsty, he rises in slow motion, grabs the sample case, takes it with him as he walks the airport, passing so many brothers.



The mirror asks
Is this what you've come to?
Its reflection is charged, obscured
A raised eyebrow of knowing
Yes, it's ugly
So to turn away
The image will always be there
For study, reference, reminding, insult, lecture


Push Pin

The day gets away
It runs on rails
Speeding past pushy people
The balding man crosses the intersection 
Emergency siren draws attention 
I Can't Explain claims the lobby
Energies and entities push pin points
What is happening 
Twisting all outcomes
Such great thinkers evaporate
Drawn into a whirlwind of
Dead skin and insects
Feast on the past



The man in 801 sits on his couch at the precise time that a floor below in 701 a woman sits on her couch, just under him, both facing north, connected magnetically in a mirror universe, wind-up toys living lives in cardboard boxes, running from room to room, opening drawers, changing channels, talking on the phone at the same time, living identical desperate lives, wondering what that noise is coming from the floor above/below. 


Inverse Life

Inverse life
Splayed, revealed, open
Conversing in double 
Split and bloodied 
Truth on display
Here I am
Thrown to the lions
Tasty treat



We yearn for martyrs
To worship
To hold on high
To reference and guide
To die in our place


Dinner guests

The kids cook dinner while we sit on our asses. Joyous. Even if the food is burned it will be worth it. Even if we are forced to clean the dishes it will be water well spilled. Has the BBQ been turned off?


The Juggler

The red felt hat sits tall on your head, as if it contains a warhead or a giant cartoon bump, but it serves to counterbalance the star-filled orbs you are weighing, tossing, pulling apart by the cord that joins them.  Even then, with everything at stake, you show off by moving your left foot back, daring strangers to push you down, to challenge your confidence in an eternal life, and paying no mind to the rough waters that toss ships



Half empty coffee cup
Liquid tepid
Dares another sip
Into room temperature
Molten promise faded


The Brainstormer

The damsel, brainwashed, spots a glowing fairy fly in the window
The invincible hero, relaxing in his tropical plantation, dreams about being a musician
The mysterious hero, fresh from hunting wild animals, pushes the cowboy into the arena
The inventor's lab has been demolished, vengeance for a crime
It's madness, certainly, but it is undercut by his intergalactic shield
Perhaps through self-preservation, the collapsed police station still resonates
A naturally nomadic porcupine wakes up transformed into a crab spider
Cautioned, the emaciated amoeba morphs into a barn owl
The makeshift steam punk finds his trailer too confining



We bother a hive
A swarm of bees
In formation 
Sends us running to the small pond
We duck our heads under
Wait for the bees to give up
Like the movies
Only they don't leave
The call their wasp cousins 
Who glide and dip
Touch the water 
We run out of air 
Gulp some above water
Wait for our enemies to grow weary
Before we tire and drown
Sinking to the bottom
Sorry for antagonizing them


Objects in the Mirror

Objects in the mirror are
Closer than they appear
Or closer than you want them to be
They loom somewhere behind you
Pushing into your blind spot
Finding invisibility in what's left of your
Peripheral vision
People at parties employ this tact
They lurk a the punch bowl
Eying you
Moving to the end of the table when you cross the room
The ambiguous woman in the frozen foods section
Hides behind an open frosted door
Your higher ambitions
Your better self
Remain out of sight
Challenging you to find them


This is How You Will Remember It

At night, the dark seeping in through the window and under the closed door, your music echoed through the house, the same melody, over and over.  You were working on a song, trying to get it just right, tuning the guitar to your only pitch.  Then, when you got the melody just where you wanted it, you payed it a final time, singing carefully, sometimes as if you meant it, performing only for yourself.  I hear that song these days, and it brings a strange, sweet comfort I hadn't anticipated. Where is that guitar?



Wire was made here
Thin, thick
Steel, copper
Great iron rolls and pulleys 
Rails for protection
Wire straining, whipping 
Cutting throats
Opening abdomens
Spilling bellies to the floor
Mopped up and cleaned 
Before the years pass and
The restaurant opens


Two Liripoops

Two graduations
Two robes
Two liripoops
Two careers and hopes and dreams
And debts
Two worlds and two paradigms
Two drinks and two cities
Two timers
Too much
Two, too
To you



The light at the end of the tunnel burns bright
It pushes into flashes fantastic
Pulls at rubber faced villains
Asks them to grow a brain
For once
And when the switch is flipped
When it reaches enormous radio-like proportions
When it opens into a chocolate lake
We all take a backseat and
Tell the driver where to go
How to get there
Techniques for avoiding an accident 
Flies to appease the lord



Fortune met
All his money emptied
Crashes and burns
Falls like a river over a cliff
Asking, imploring
And so it goes all the way down
Thinking that every chair should be padded
And all lines can be circumvented


Sear Sucker

Transitions pose themselves as change, but are present in sear sucker tailored jackets. Try me on! See how light I feel?  You can move with ease!  But no clothes are form fitting off the rack. They need pinning and cutting and sewing, so even then it will shrink and be constricting. 


Org Chart

Musical chairs begins at 8:30 eastern time, so now everyone can get in line and pony up with their complaints and insecurities. 



He lives for now and in the future 
That this better be worth it
Projecting himself into situations, rooms, relationships 
Imagining and crafting tomorrow 
Writing an autobiography in advance 
The new shirt becomes a talisman 
Its price tag not yet removed
Already he has cast it into the future
Molding it into an item of myth and religion
Fabric faded, worn, pliable
Transferred into his favorite garment
A symbol of this moment and future remembrance 
Admired by others
Until his future wife chides him for it 
And threatens to toss the ratty thing


Graduation Day

On graduation day we say get the hell out of here because we want our school back, so someone else can take your place and walk our halls and pay our fees, so naive cats can get lost and rush and vomit on our mall, so we can call you an alumni and ask you for money and claim all your accomplishments as ours. 


Page of Pentacles

In all his mercy, the page with the red floppy headdress and green frock gazes longingly at the pentacle he guides aloft, hovering just above his fingers, giving off a glow of hopefulness and desire.  He stands in a field of wild berries, some perhaps poisonous, a grove of lush trees in the distance.  An icy mountain pushes toward the sky and a crop of elderberries readies its bounty. I can have everything, he thinks, just show me where it is.


Story Cubes

The nervous boy, perspiring ridiculously, removes his shirt and lets it dry, sweat bleeding from the fabric, dripping to the desert floor.  He spies a lone tepee in the distance set against a stand of saguaro, and he makes his way to it while checking his compass and being pestered by a bee that will not leave him alone as if to give warning.  Inside, the boy finds an ancient person of undetermined lineage or gender who asks him to choose between poison or an unopened letter. A choice?  He selects the letter, which is opened with a rusty pair of scissors to reveal everything beginning with the letter L.


Gory Glory

Another bad day will come
A phone will squeal
The news, long delayed
Arrives in all its gory glory
I will sing that song
Red sails at the ready
Intoned and invoked
In celebration 
In remembrance
In defiance


Elusive Promises

Floyd Fox enjoys the listing
Open house Sunday 
No one comes
He rests in the great room
Waiting for the doorbell
Waiting for his life to start over
Thinking he needs just one close
To pay most of his bills
Salvage what's left of his credit
He uses the bathroom
Spies in the medicine cabinet
Eats some leftovers from the refrigerator
A lonely dried piece of chicken
Looks in bedside drawers
Wonders why this house, this life
Was denied him
Perhaps if he bought the property
He could have its emotional riches
Its beautiful wife
All its elusive promises



The lords of a neighboring planet castrate captive humans because they were observed doing it to their imprisoned pets.

The specimens are skinned and flayed and baked and sautéed because it seems customary on that blue water world.

Genders are opposed and matched, forced to pose in strange positions as assumed is customary.

Hordes buy tickets to observe the latest catches, marveling at their pleading expressions, then dine upon their raw organs like fresh fish bars on the place they claim as Earth.

At night, broadcasts of Star Trek and Dr. Who are projected to induce sleep so dreams can be tapped and seeded.


The Lion and His Twin

The lion, in the shadow of canyons, rests, alert, poised, pretending to be oblivious, shivering under snow, sweating with humidity, ever present, waiting and watching with his twin, discerning all with overdue tomes.



Rise up
Grow some nads
Proclaim the truths that fester and hide
Inside everyone
Every thought
Every salacious disgusting detail
Every rock overturned to find
Scorpions, spiders, centipedes
Scream it from the roof
For once
Just for once try a sprinkle of honesty
How does it taste?


The Gonk

The Gonk
Rests wearily
A hundred years
Welcoming artists to
Drink, gossip, breed
A round table for arguments
A comfortable room for writing
Elbows for egos
Whispers, secrets, lies
Elevators tiny, cramped, intimate
Feline guard
Ghosts check in
Claiming the aging wood and rugs
Floating through walls
Vaguely aware of their careers
The building's place in their lives
Earthly container


Madison Square Park

Thick red and blue ropes
Piled high
Solid walls lumbering through the park
Snaking in and out among the trees
A cancer pushing into wilderness
Crying out to be touched or
Hauled away
I push against the colored wedge
But someone is leaning on the other side


Taxi Buddha

The taxi Buddha rules his domain
Watching the driver
Providing good karma
Waiting for incense and prayer
He smiles
Raised above his fat belly
Sensing an accident ahead
Unaware of repulsive body odor
And bad tippers