Author Archives: bpmcgackin

Crystal Ball

For those who didn’t finish seer school,
here, let me predict the future for you:
this poem is about life or maybe
it’s about love or at least it is most
likely about growing old and knowing
what the future will hold and this poem
sometimes rhymes because it has to have a
bit of that sort of thing or else it’s not
an official poem a sanctioned work
of art and oh this poem is about
death duh and probably sex or wanting
sex or whatever it is one does with
sex during the fallow times and oh yeah
this poem is all about frustration.


This is what happens when you fall behind:
you write a “this is what happens” poem
like you’re some Great Artist in the know, some
ageless linguistic mystic, comma here,
example there, extended metaphor
to illustrate the wisdom of your oh
so timeless take on the nature of man.
And you can, because you use phrases like
“the nature of man” and own it, and oh
there’s that interjection again, all the
best poets make such exclamatory
motions, and this is what happens when you
commit your life to art, and oh what a
life and oh what a world oh if only.


I haven’t written a poem in days,
the kind of break that could easily turn
into an extended bout of malaise,
antipathy towards anything that could
be word related. I’m playing chicken
with the universe, expecting it to
blink first, capitulate and create a
wonderful life for me, yearly book deals
and high royalties, a long series of
celestial gifts I’ve earned for being
such a good boy, such a well-behaved child
of the world. It’ll come now, any day.
There’s no need for me to participate.
I am the master of coincidence.


I’m reading Dracula and finding flaws
in the logic of religions: 1) If
each belief is the One True Way, why do
writers bother with new fictional gods?
2) Did Jesus ever jerk off as a teen?
3) Is there an exact constant speed at which
Mohamed flies, Mary rises, or the
angels fighting Satan dutifully
march off to their not war to never die?
4) Does it make a difference to vampires
which communion wafers one chooses to
sterilize consecrated ground, or would
Eastern Orthodox work just as well as
Baptist, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventist?

Frozen Yogurt

Taste image and color image and smell
and everything else you’d expect from
a poet, only this time we’re in a
frozen yogurt place and it’s October.
But this is California, and it’s
90 degrees outside (why don’t you live
here? it’s nice) so maybe things are a bit
different. Or you could always pretend
that it’s really 4th of July and the
colors are a bit more red, white, and blue
than black, green, and orange, the tastes cooler,
too, than this new pumpkin flavor, the smells
a mix of bbq and fireworks
instead of—no, we have that when it burns.


What was yesterday? No, let me rephrase:
what was I doing 24 hours
ago that led me to today? Was it
a birthing phenomenon, a newness
brought upon by my actions to enhance
my life? Or a slow, floating sensation,
a makeshift raft lolling on the day’s waves?
Each morning is like another jump off
of a cliff towards death, and what I want to
know is whether I was pushed, I stumbled,
or I leapt. The ground is racing towards me,
the whistling sound my plummet makes getting
lower, and at some point I’ll be little
more than a cloud of impact dust. How soon?


Your white dress billows like a jellyfish
plume, tentacle limbs askew, buffeted
by the windy waves beneath the surface
of my gaze. If I stare you down too long
you’ll drown the both of us, disrupt the thin
tension of our infinite possible
futures: look back and I might go under;
ignore my eyes and I might dry out on
this lovely beach and die; gently rock your
lifeboat hips in my direction and I
might forgo all metaphors, lose myself
in the depths of a wet speculation,
imagine it all in reverse, your words
a faint seashell whisper in the morning.

Beach Blanket

Not so much sex on the beach as second
base on a sandy blanket, wet towel
barely concealing the rhythmic movements
of her hand on his manhood roughly ten
feet from where I’m tanning, reading, eating
a peanut butter sandwich. The girl on
her back, straps undone, t-shirt over her
face to protect it from the sun; the guy:
much older, pretending to massage her
shoulders, leaning over her, constantly
checking if the white-haired gentleman to
our left setting out his chair has any
clue what’s going on there, never looking
at me, or maybe knowing I don’t care.


Rolled oats or miscellaneous other
possible cookie ingredients strewn
across the kitchen counter. Is “strewn” an
oats verb? I assume that there are proper
baking words one would use to describe the
sight of overexcited particles
of half-mixed batter splattered, scattered, or
whatevered. I’m not communicating
myself innately like the baked good I’m
making is able: one clear memory
for the sight of flour on the table; one
for the indelible smell from the hot
oven; another for the taste, homemade;
one for the love of someone feeding you.

Conference Room

Go to sleep and dream three years of a tough
relationship, love the shoe string holding
your two tin cans together, until that
fateful dream day when a stranger arrives
to rob your house, kill your wife, and then die
in the escape, and you’re left to tell the
police the whole thing. Wake up to go pee.
Go to sleep and dream of another lifetime,
a hot tub scene with another lover
completely, devoted to each other
and to the steamy feelings bubbling up
from below the surface, take your love on
the road, a jungle cat in a circus
show, and you don’t know your lines, but that’s fine.