Vinegar and Brown Paper

May 6, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 2:18 pm

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April 16, 2010

He leans me in

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 1:15 am

He leans me in with casual mention of
property ownership
checks to see if any buttons have opened through
the sheer force of wealth.

Truth: power turns me coy,
turtle neck logic I make him wait
because men like this only climb
the tallest towers.

Dragon teeth hook braids, raised
wit flashes- he sees surely
less than he has shown
bicep endurance tap promises to crack the fairy
right from her tail

Remind me why we bother when you know
I am already there
finger tied into the softness of
your belly I breathe
feathers flutterbetween.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 1:12 am

he does not use the towel
instead runs dripping fingers through
short hair constructing slick edges
spiked peaks and a rock and roll exit
into the family room
vocal bass line “hot wheels, beat that!”
cool moves and a flip over the couch

as predicted, cold snap catches us in our sleep
chilled morning toes tip into our room
“Mommy can I come up”
he is already there, snuggled in
eiderdown warmbaby feet reach down past my knees
when did that happen? this constant stretch
I whisper shhhhh still some time left to sleep
smoothing down his hair that tickles my nose
as I breathe warm easy my son my son my son

small talk in a big state

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 1:10 am

what to say?
assume everyone knows about the deer population
how the lake level is up or the oil level, down
and your team our team their
team of horsehair pigskin well
what have we hear Johnny is
marching home again soon

briskets in the fire
turkey’s in the fryer
we’re fixin’ to say
all the nothings there are

wait quick
sex up the talk in case someone is looking
lean in my valley so low hang
your head over hear the wind blow
shhhh sanity smells of car wash quarters
tastes of juke box tater tots sanity looks
like maple leaves before the fall
feels like weighted comfort, toes tented up all
warmth pillows tucked under
for just the right angle for
what’s that you just said?

I remember
the berry tongue experiment
senses tricked into believing tamarind
and even lemon as sweet
that is crazy
but no more crazy
than this

April 15, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 1:04 am

They are coming for my trees,
the invasive Lagustrum stands,
the dead and cracking Hackberry elm.
“Trash trees” she called them.
What the hell do I know?
This is not my land, but I am learning:
spring is summer fall is spring winter is two weeks and
summer you just stick to the shadows.

East-siders don’t cross the river
for milk or coffee,
west end won’t cross the highway
for gin or saddle soap.

I am learning
to seal boxes between visits,
to keep secrets
in separate pens.

I heard you cannot go barefoot on the other side
of the limestone ridge, fire ants and
flint, scorpions, rattlers,
prickly pear.

We keep St. Augustine soft with
sprinklers on timers.

They have come for my trees.
My fingers on wavy glass
read the chain saw vibrations.
Eyes closed and still I see
metal sharp slicking layers
into mulch.

Just like that time you called,
talking just loudly enough for that girl
(table two)
to hear (if she wanted to)
the things you planned to do to my native lands
cowboy mountain lion sharpening claws
on my yankee limbs.

Gone still I can see you
fingers that fingers that fuck if I know
who you are just cross that divide
name the trees
show me the place the rope broke
and you got away with barely a burn.

April 11, 2010

Brooke Sheild’s Eyelash Deficiency: Cured! Thank God, your miracles never cease

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 9:21 pm

Brooke Sheild’s Eyelash Deficiency: Cured! Thank God, your miracles never cease

Across blueprints
we stretch angles with elastic,
straighten psychic curves
into lines with LifeTime endorsed
pharmaceuticals. You
have seen them press against
the current of posterity. You have
seen lasers burn and chemicals foam
those follicles persuaded to grow
or die depending on location.

Fuck fate! Blue smudge erasures
cross mind and heart and adrenal streams
while clots thrown high in thigh get caught up
self suffocation you were stolen,
knees broken I lost you I lost you
I lost you.

But oh how these hips still sway slow and circle in tighter
circle in this primitive need for someone anyone to match my
movements balance all forces until as one
we are finally zero. For now. Was this
drafted before birth? This curse?
This magical motor hum that draws me to you
and to you? You, my habit, you my promise,
you my wired edge.

the first time I wore pink

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 9:19 pm

the first time I wore pink

two foolish boys
slid over the falls
over their heads yelling I can’t swim
I can’t swim and of course
more annoyed than heroic
I wound up pulling them to the side

You drove me to the thrift store
dry clothes, cashier rang up tags for baggy underwear,
boy-plaid shorts
and the best thing warm in my size
this disgustingly cute pink cardigan with tiny white buttons


It was first time I wore pink since
I was tortured away from the thought
of anything girly by the scratch of Sunday tights and the pinch of stiff
Mary Janes. After church the boys in the basement told me
I’d have to take off panties
someday if I was going to push out a baby
and why not start taking them off

leading to thirty years believing
girl means weakness, submission
girl means eye-fluttering ignorance
tall tower heroes and railroad rescue
girl means constriction, tight elastic

towel dried you tell me
“Hey, you look pretty
in pink.” Like Molly?
“Yeah like Molly.”

what took so long to
discover the secret power
of pink
hidden and soft
that pulls mystery of men
into folds of not what they have
but what they are missing

like these breasts that still ache
in a burning thread
and humm with the urgency of that false cry letdown
pull with heaviness that longs to be relieved,
emptied, pink nipples pleading
need me

Dead-end Voyeur

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — jkvanburen @ 9:17 pm

There is no 14th block of Maple Street
but the city touched up the red and white stripes anyway
dead end diagonal gate who could forget to stop?

The girls will hand jive you down for twenty
we see their headlights disappear down the ditch by the tracks
we pick up the glass they leave behind

Tambora beats from the apartments how they deny
the polka sound with the one-two-three one-
two-three Bandora pounds with oompah of the accordion even
Pancho Villa steps up the winds on Tejas mainways

Spenser sharpens a stick by the driveway. Baby naps.
You pull me behind the metal shed and we watch
the young lovers parked at the end of our road,
her head disappears, he fakes the inhale
of a smokeless cigarette and I try

to press down thought of rice left on the stove,
grating cheese for quesadillas, try to forget the mess
in the kitchen just long enough
to reintroduce myself to your lips
Bésame, bésame mucho,
Como si fuera esta noche la última vez

hips pressed close the beat from their car speaker slows
into lazy summer circles how I wish
we could go back there again

July 2, 2009

Half a Cup of Charity

Filed under: Poetry — jkvanburen @ 3:28 am

I prefer Jesus flesh to Jesus fish
although every August in Austin
its Jesus water they hand out to
homeless vets and artists under the bypass.

Marty tells me “commit the sins,”
David tells me “confess your goodness.”

Just don’t jolt too hard
down the see-saw.
Gotta push it up
before you get let down
(balance, unlikely
down by the access road
cardboard cathedral, littered
with piss and yesterday’s biscuits.)

Jesus tease us, untie your robe. Why
are you always half dead half re-arisen
in the sexy statues? Subligaculum
riding low, just a hint of hip
but never pubes. Come on God knows you must
have grown a few between Christmas and Easter
year zero one two.

Sister Mercy arrives with chilled Evian
for the one-legged brothers and
a three-nippled whore, 105 degrees
closer to hell with all of us,
one slip knot away from the dangling
line of damnation.

Coming to a town near you

Filed under: Uncategorized — jkvanburen @ 3:27 am

they all stop trying to figure me and
fix my tangles, pointless really, yet
I have grown accustomed to their brushes
and combs and thick conditioning compliments
as fingers work scalp to neck to shoulder.

But it seemed your teeth
had the right spacing
your fingers, the right rhythm as you
brushed the bangs from my eyes
as you trimmed me close
opened me for exploration, tossle
and smooth, tussle and soothe I wonder
did you move to the next chair
because my knots were too many
too tight too involved for your attention
or did you have me figured out day one?
Was it all so

I have heard
we all follow
a pattern
we follow a design
you know us, the broken
the damaged–
click any channel they will tell you
our axis our serial number our
orbit and rotation
biochemical pathways
on a collision course.
Everyone loves
to watch the sideshow
as it passes through.

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