Thursday, March 22, 2018

the long party

the spill
of red wine on the white rug
is one thing.
the broken glass
in the sink.
the lit cigarette
still burning in the ashes,
the music still
on, the needle stuck
on the same
song, the same phrase
over and over again.
the house empty, but
the front door wide
where a strange cat
peers in.
some parties
keep on going and even
when they're over.

the calm

the calm
is sweet. nice.
the unworried day unfolds
before you.
what is,
what isn't is yet
to be
so why discuss it now
in that
bright and nimble
of yours.
relax in this moment.
nothing can
be done
about tomorrows.
lots can be done about

the jitters

the jitters
come over you like ants
like bees,
an itch
that can't be put out.
like unbalanced chimes
in the porch wind.
the tingle of
feet and fingers
the ringing of ears.
that flock of blackbirds
in the field
in flight from fear.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

poem in the mail

I get a poem
in the mail.
it's from me to me.
a long time ago.
it's about us.
about you.
there is truth in it.
lies too.
it's the summation
of all fears.
i'll sit down and
rewrite it,
take a match to the old,
start anew.

the speed of light

the G force
of life. the wind in our
the pull back
of our shoulders
against the seat.
we are going faster
than we ever have before.
the speed of sound,
the speed
of light.
we are there before
we get there.
gone before we left.
who we are
is never known.
who we will be is undecided.

yours or mine

we divide the things
we own,
the rooms.
the bed.
we split the rent.
the dog in half.
separate the child
in two.
we do long division
for the bank
account. my beef
her tofu.
take this, leave that.
who cares.
we say.
we are at not at a cross
but a cliff
and a hard place.
is that your catcher
in the rye,
or mine?

the breakfast vision

she saw a religious figure
in her eggs
and he in his mound of warm
they stopped eating
and called the waitress over.
she said. hmmm. topping off
their cups with a steaming
pot of coffee. I sort of see
what you're saying.
was it st. paul, or Stephen.
was it moses
coming down from the mountain
with his stone tablets?
they took pictures with their
phones, putting down
their fork and knife.
a crowd gathered.
I see it one man said.
I don't see nothing another one
they called in the parish
priest for a confirming voice,
pulled away from mass.
but he said no. sorry.
just eggs, just scrapple,
then grabbed a fork and took
a bite.

the impassioned day

it's the impassion
that clouds our day, makes
our feet
instead of lift
and spring forward.
it's the heart
in second gear,
the pipes of blood
gone slow,
clogged and detoured
with old
issues, unswept fear.
the smile hides
beneath the shadows
of thought,
unable to make
an appearance.

the egg of us

the egg of us.
the embryo of love
and affection.
the shell
of us.
the nest.
the tree we rest in.
the sky
above, the rain we
to wet our beaks.
the egg of us.
time to break free
of all that holds
us in
and spread our wings
to fly.

the sinking ship

the ship lists
to one side.
it's going down, but
the captain won't let go.
he's on deck.
staring out
into the wide ocean,
how deep,
how cold.

brown bird

the fat brown bird
sitting on the snowy sill
is full of air.
two sizes larger than
he really is.
the iced field
whitened over,
hardly a meal out there.
just the tiny
clock work of bones
and feathers,
how and why
any of us got here.

the muck of life

the insanity
of it all is mud.
the mud of blood
of thought,
hip high,
of legs
heavy as lead.
the brain in a muddled
of doubt
and worry.
we're in mud.
in the this endless
of wet trees
snake vines.
this muck
of indecision.
not a branch to grab.
not an arm or hand
within reach
to get us out.
we need to slug through
this mire,
and get to dry
and soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

the glass road

the donut spare
will get us there. to the next
to the first gas
station on our side
of the road.
we go slow though.
we look at the long dry
on either side,
the cactus soldier
cactus, standing
green on guard.
before us is
the black ribbon of road
with specks of sand
gone glass.
but we have water,
we have
we have each other
in case the worst happens.

grey elephants

the elephants
in the room take up so much space.
there they sit.
and grey.
in size and thought.
trunks and tails entwined,
buying time.
waiting, just waiting
patiently to have
their say.

late winter

we shovel,
we push the snow
to the side.
the wipers crank
and against the window.
we're thinking
daisies though.
we're thinking long
summers strolls
along the boardwalk.
our skin
browned in the new
but for now,
we dig out, we bundle
boot up.
sip on the hot cup
in our hand
and look upwards
into the soft flakes
of a late winters storm.

Monday, March 19, 2018

let the sunshine in

from nowhere
she resurfaces. the moon face
of my mother
towards a sister.
let the sunshine in, she says
from her deep bed
as the blinds are hatched open.
she hasn't spoken
in months, nearly a half
year, and now
what's to make of it?
what mystery
there is in life, in dying,
in observing
the hand of God
on her.

the blue plate

it's horse country.
long fences
railed, stone houses
with trails of smoke
out into the sky.
the hills roll with
tall grass, the blue ridge
in the near
the march wind is soft
as is the sun
on our faces
as we sit facing it.
the bench
cool against our legs.
we go through
it. we talk. we come out
of it, then continue
buying little, wanting
settling on a small blue
to set against the light
of our kitchen window
to remember
this day by.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

we're so alike

a small
puddle of sunlight
coming through
the open door
on a sunday afternoon
is enough
for the old dog to bask
he knows sunlight
when he
sees it and lies down.
three turns,
tail tucked tight,
snout under
folded arms
and he's gone,
we're so alike.

the itch

I see her scratch
an itch
on her leg. then her hand
moves to her
her neck.
her ear.
I hand her a bottle
of calamine lotion,
then she sits
over there,
while I sit over here.

let's go

her purse is large.
it overflows.
she puts a smaller purse
inside of that purse,
and a wallet inside
of that.
keys, phone, umbrella
are dropped inside as well.
she puts the strap
around her shoulder
and says lets go.
I slip a few dollars
into my
pocket, grab my keys
and we're off.

better days

my friend
who used to be a farmer
now on the porch
and stares out at the barren
where nothing ever grows.
the earth
is brown.
the children
are gone, off to their own
the wife
is in the ground.
a stray dog wanders
down the road
from the house.
on the roof of a fallen barn,
a rooster crows.
what was once green
and lush
is history,
but there were better
he swears to that.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

waiting in a stroller

the small child
in the his stroller
is eating a donut.
chocolate glazed.
on his face, his hands.
but he pays it no never mind.
he licks
at the edges.
licks his fingers. sticking
each small digit
into his mouth. he
puts his nose through
the hole.
he has no care in the world
but to eat
this donut
while his mother shops
and tries on clothes.

being human

I write a letter of apology
to a dozen people.
all saying the same thing.
i'm sorry.
I deeply regret the way things
turned out
and for saying the things that
I did.
I know how badly
it must have hurt you to hear
the things I said.
i'm not sure what got into me.
I just broke
and it all came tumbling out.
i'm sorry. i'm human and weak
at times too.
signed me.

she gets flowers

she gets flowers
for her birthday. cards. gifts.
hand written notes
of undying affection.
all from
those who love her.
still do.
the old boyfriends.
the ex husband, children from
him, from her.
then there's me.
i'm in the mix too,
but at times it's hard, so
hard to compete, but I do.
I can run
and love with the best
of them.

the train is late

a baby
is crying in the other room.
I don't know whose it is,
it won't stop
crying. the women get up
to go see.
they want to help
settle the child.
feed or change him.
hold him or her in their
and rock it to sleep.
a baby is crying in the other
I turn the page
of the newspaper
then look at my watch.
the train is late.


the skeletons
rattle in the hall closet.
those old
dry bones shimmy and shake
when the wind
or the house creaks.
what's done
is done. nothing you can do
about that.
ancient history,
but still you want it gone,
tossed deep
into the past.
who hasn't made a mistake.
some deed
in the throes of despair,
or desire?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

me too

the joints are weak.
the glue
won't hold, the screws
out in small turns.
the table tilts.
it won't hold the weight
of what it's meant
to hold.
all things
in time, come undone
if not attended to.
me too.

a farewell kiss

it's the circle.
the round
about way we come back
to the grave.
a mother's first kiss.
the rise
of legs and tongue,
the striving
force of our blood
and bones
becoming what we are
to become,
less and less, until
a farewell kiss.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

i want it now

i want what i want
and i want it now. don't make
me stand in line.
don't make me
wait, don't delay my
satisfaction one second longer
than absolutely
stop with the buffering.
how dare you put me
on hold, make me wait
like this.
give it to me now
i'm American.

say what

I remember the time
my phone was tapped by someone
I was related to
by marriage.
I found the large plastic
bag of cassettes
hidden in the trunk of
the car, under the wheel well.
why or how it was done,
I have no clue.
I shook my head as I listened
to the scratchy
voices recorded and laughed.
to this day it's a mystery
why someone would want
to hear the babble
that comes out of my mouth
when on the phone.
I can hardly listen to myself
at times.

the round table

I over hear
the soothsayers
at the table out in front
of the coffee shop.
a round table
of wise men
in addidas pants
and shorts. women
in sweats,
children in strollers.
the world wobbles
with poverty and pain,
I hear one man say.
and pestilence.
who isn't unhappy
is about to be, he says.
give it time.
let the pendulum swing.
your turn
is coming. he sips his
adjusts his sunglasses
and smiles. have a nice
day he says
as someone gets up to leave.
see you tomorrow.

tea and toast

if I lived to be eighty
the age
my grandmother was when she
to lung cancer,
I could close my eyes
and still
remember her voice,
gravel pitched,
the smell of her perfume,
hear the rattle of
the newspaper in her
hand, her nails
hardened by gelatin,
the tea cup, the toast
spread with butter
crunched down by her
lip sticked
damn those kennedys
she say, fist to the table,
on a daily basis.
all of them, crooks,
got their money
and now look them.

Monday, March 12, 2018

i'll give you a kiss

i'll give you a kiss
she says,
but then you'll want another
and another.
where will this lead,
down what path are we going
with this kissing.
this affection
on this sunday afternoon
before church.
is that your hand on
my knee.
I hope so, she says.
kiss me some more,
I have so many to give,
don't ever leave.

there is that

it smells like
century boulevard.
the coast. the vineyards.
the false
sense of what a blue
sky will do to you.
the warm
air in our eastern lungs.
putting down our
winter coats
to bask in the sun
a beacon of false hope,
of possibilities.
all lies.
but all desirable,
as we bite the orange
of the valley.
take that rose
for example.
the point of a thorn,
and the blood on your thumb.
in all beauty
there is that.

say what you want

say what you want
about these old buildings
about to crumble.
the liquor store,
with its open sign,
lit for
the early morning
drive through.
each rise of sun,
a fix to begin that
say what you want about
the old bowling alley,
its arched roof,
as if to tell a story,
now a thrift shop
of sorts for what others
no longer needed.
say what you want about
the house
we lived in.
the duplex with its flat
the brick of then,
roughed red
bleeding its color each
time it rained.
a single bathroom with a bad
the casement window
we crawled out of
and onto
the tin roof when the house
got hot.
say what you want about
the life we lived,
the church food, the absent
father, the new baby always new,
the front stoop we grew
up on,
then left, no longer unwise,
no longer kids.

third base

the neighbor, mrs butler
and her husband, pearl,
had an old
Volvo, yellow, rusted, with one
flat tire that sat
in front of our row houses
on Dorchester street
in the 1960s.
we used the passenger door
as third base.
by the end of the summer
there were dents
in the door from where our
elbows and hands
collided with the metal,
or a ball got thrown.
in time the car was moved,
or towed, so we found
a lid from a cardboard box
to lay down be our third
base. but it was never
the same, nor has any summer
since then.

she knows what i'm thinking

she knows
what i'm thinking, what
i'm doing.
where i'm going.
she can feel me ten miles
or in the basement,
what i'm up to.
where I am,
who i'm with.
she's impossibly
I can hardly say a word
or finish
a sentence, without
her knowing
what's to come out
and off my lips.
I can't hide a thing,
nor do I want to.

sunday morning

they parents come
for brunch. to the beautiful
red and pink
set so well. the flowers,
the flutes
of crystal filled
with champagne and juice.
the napkins folded
just so.
we make
French toast
and quiche.
bacon, potatoes
and bread.
the father, his coat
and hat still on, ready to leave,
looks at the design
of fruit
circled on the plate
and whispers,
I don't want to disturb it.
it's beautiful,
so he plucks a blueberry
off the top
and smiles.
his wife, her mother
beside him,
a sweater around her thin
shoulders, sips
on a mimosa, delicately
eating what's on her plate.
she's happy, she's says
in French, happy
that her
child is happy.
telling me to love her,
to which I say, of course.
of course,
I do.

tomorrow is tuesday

with too much
on hand. they wander
the internet.
they make new friends,
who aren't friends at all,
but why not.
the circle the the stores.
the fields.
the long paths around
the neighborhood.
they're on the phone.
looking out the window
for something
that needs
to be done.
they sigh. it's the sigh
of life
near over
and what's become
of the years.
tomorrow is Tuesday,
they think.

same old

we're on our way,
they say, from the car. we
should be there
soon. the wife is coming.
it will be fun.
we're staying for a few days.
get together, do lunch,
do dinner, shoot the breeze
like in the old days.
let's catch up
and reminisce. figure out
the future of our parents.
see you soon, they say,
we're not too far away.
then you both hang up.
three days go by.
not a word.
not a call. nothing but
the dead silence
of air between us and
the bridge they crossed.
we're going back,
they say when you finally
get them on the phone.
we're driving, so we can't
talk too much. but
sorry we missed you. see
you next time, my brother.
next time. it'll be fun.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


how the woods
into the deeper part
of darkness.
the dollops
of light.
the path worn.
the stream
cold and grey beside
how fast our feet
press on, our
as we gallop
the fallen trees
and leaves.
the stones, forward
the future of our

the first kiss

the first time you see the ocean
cant believe your eyes.
the sights
the sound, the smell of it.
the grit of sand.
the expanse of clouds
and blue sky.
the sweeping stripes of gulls,
the boats
crawling slowly along
the blue
curve of earth.
the shell held up to your
echoing the roar
of waves
into your soul forever.
the first kiss is like that

the long night

there's a long
that goes well into the night.
drinking is involved.
two boxers
we go at it.
knowing when to duck,
to bob
and weave, when to
but we know each other
so well.
our strengths and weakness.
it's hard to win,
but we know how to hurt
each other.
punching the right
in when we get an opening.
we grind it out,
round after round
until the last bell rings,
and the judges
show their cards.
a draw again.

who they realy are

some families
and friends,
in time
just don't get along.
don't communicate
they come
and go.
no words. no hey.
letter in the mail.
no call.
we're here, we're
see you next time.
once you're no longer
of use
to them,
you find out who
they really are.

Friday, March 9, 2018


the trees dance
in the wind,
budded green. fourteen
of watching them
from this window, alone.
the old leaves
still on the ground lift
in a swirl.
the stream, silver
along the rocks
ripples cold.
another season is almost
another about to begin.
but things are different
more to come.

violin music

my friend,
who is only happy
when he's unhappy
has stopped talking
about his myriad
of problems.
he just puts the violin
his chin and shoulder
and plays.
he's done complaining
about work, his wife,
about his age,
life in general.
it's just the sweet
melancholy sounds
of the strings now, and
that pretty much sums it up.


put your head under
the desk
the teacher said
standing in front of the class
with a gas mask on.
when you
hear the sirens
in a few minutes we will
release you
and send you all running
home. we are about to be under
a nuclear attack.
you may hear a loud explosion
and see a giant mushroom
in the near distance.
try not to look at the white
blast, as it may
affect your vision.
if you run fast enough though,
perhaps you'll make it home
in time to see your
parents and siblings,
your pets one
last time.
but for now, keep your
heads under the wooden
desks and no talking.
don't forget to do your homework
too, if nothing
there'll be a quiz
on fractions tomorrow.

erase and delete

we try and forget.
and smooth over the rough
of our
the bad things, the awful
things, the dismissive
looks, all the wrongs
that we did.
we want to be good.
we want to be free from
all the evil
we've done,
to start fresh again.
to erase the big board
with a sponge,
delete our
permanent records
in the office
with a big black

Thursday, March 8, 2018

what you should do

you ache
from what ails you.
of sleep,
you wander the earth
at times
going through
the motions.
no oar,
no rudder, the sail
the maps you've used
your whole life
are no longer
the land has changed.
water has risen.
people turn you
in one direction
or another,
and push.
they say, go there.
go in that
direction. this is what
you should do,
they say.
so you do.

i can't get in

I can't get in
at times.
the door
is closed.
each window
down, the locks
there is no way
to find out what's
in her mind.
in her heart.
she's shut the blinds.
pulled the curtains
turned off
all the lights.
she's in there, but
she's gone for now
and I can't get in.

between us

there are shades
of color
of words spoken.
of thoughts
that slide like clouds
between the sun
and earth,
then off the lips.
and bluer. white.
the greys
mixed in.
just words though.
just words
that have nothing to do
with love
or loyalty.
that's a fixed star

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

on the road

we adjust our
for the long drive
we may be lost, but
we don't care.
the visor goes down.
the window
is slightly open
to let in the march air.
we turn on
the radio.
open water.
she dozes as I drive.
a book in her lap.
her head rests against
my shoulder.
I look at her,
the good soul that she is,
her hand upon my knee
and wonder where
I was before.


these old
jealous bones come
out to prick
your skin
on occasion,
that fierce green
with a bang.
a gun shot of angst
to the heart
and brain.
they were packed
so long. but
enough with these
dark dry
back into the sack
and into the cold
damp basement they go,
or better
a roaring all consuming

everyone gets a turn

how unkind
the world can be.
how mad
and mean
the eyes and mouth.
the strangle
of emotion
in a freeze frame
on each
that misses the train,
or slips
and tears a knee.
who hasn't
been betrayed?
how unkind
this world is that we
live upon.
that we may be better
than another,
be free from pain or
sorrow, and escape
all that's wrong.

let me know

I could lick
cream all summer with you.
if you'd
our feet in the creek
the house.
the trees full
and green.
our troubles behind
I could lick
cream all summer with
if you'd like.
let me know.

embrace the flame

the candle
goes down in the slow
melt of a
yellow flame.
the plate it stands
is cool,
a puddle of dried
wax upon it.
only so many
matches to go,
so little
candle left
to be burned.
let's light the wick,
embrace the flame,
go slow.

there are roses

there are roses.
then there are roses.
the flowers
then cut
then die
in the vases
in the arms of lovers,
they follow us
each path,
each turn of the calendar
a birthday,
an anniversary, a slight
or wrong
word said.
we seek forgiveness
in flowers,
more flowers,
the giving of
even now they are brought
with care
to be laid upon
the freshly dug

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

at eighty nine

when her
eyes open to see me
there is the slight
of recognition
before the lids go down.
her lips
are dry.
her hands wrapped in cloth,
the blankets
wrapped tight up
to her neck.
her silver hair,
the pins,
the band,
an angelic crown.
she's in some dream,
I hope.
she's young, she's holding
her child
up to sun
or moon. she's free from
where she is,
inside this grey strange

not just words

some words fall out
of my mouth
or get written through these
curled hands
that surprise me
as well her.
untethered by
they are careless balloons
sent aloft.
I cringe
at the thought of causing
pain, whether friend or
at times I slip,
and the sound
of my voice
is heard,
the ink hardly dry,
as to what I've written,
or said.

the lake of love

the lake
of love we
swim in
is deep
and wide. it's
a risk
to take your hand
and go under.
to open our
in the glassy depths
of green
and blue
see what's what,
what each
together will bring
something old.
something new.

now when

I remember my knee
on her
linoleum floor.
touching the cold soft
the words
tumbling from my mouth.
my heart
and trembling
with percussion.
I remember saying what
I said,
and waiting for that
second for an answer.
then rising and saying.
now when.

time for a change

things change.
even the clouds overhead
can't help
but change their shape.
we can't sit still for
eighteen years
was enough.
time to move on,
get a real life,
grow up.

what's coming

the birds
won't be quiet. you
can't get them
to settle down
no matter how much
bread you
toss out the window.
we're trying to sleep
in here you yell out.
but no.
they fill the tree,
about what's coming.
flapping their
chirping. ever
on the alert for
and worms
for breakfast.

Monday, March 5, 2018

a long days run

I circle
the bed like a tired
who's been out on a run.
a long
run through the woods
before dark.
chasing shadows among
the silvered trees.
I scratch
at the pillows.
douse the light,
nuzzle into the blanket,
give one
last howl at the moon,
then curl
against your warm
body. so nice at last,
to be home
with you.

not everyone is you

not all have
the grace
of forgiveness.
that sweet faith
and trust.
not all can let go of
the wounds
others have caused them.
not everyone
can see the frailties
of being
human. not everyone,
not everyone
is you.

the fallen tree

we see the priest out
in his black
vestment and collar.
the wind
in his silver
hair. his Irish eyes
wet with
his fleshy cheeks red.
he points up at
the power lines, twisted
and sagging
from a fallen tree.
three days
without electricity
he says.
we've been in darkness
too long,
but it's almost time.
Easter too is not far off.

wisdom teeth

there must
be a large can of teeth
the dentist's office.
how the wisdom teeth
once removed
keep filling it up.
not to mention the compassion
the serenity molars,
the kindness
the canine teeth for
and knowing
what truth is.
at times it seems we
are in a toothless


my daughter violet
a gem.
a little flower
she's bright and full
of herself.
her mother's
saying carefully what
to be said,
and little more.
her wry smile. her
soft eyes.
the gold of her hair.
my daughter
is in my imagination,
but she's
out there,

back on earth

back on earth
get to work.
the usual.
coffee, shower. clothes.
one shoe
at a time.
I dip my
head out the front
door for a weather
then find
the right coat to wear.
the lights
go off.
I smell the light
whiff of
in the air
lingering in the space
where she stood
ten minutes ago. i
inhale, then go.

last flight

her death
at midnight in seattle
me awake
at four a.m.
eastern time.
I hear
her in the house,
coming up the stairs
in her way.
me awake to say farewell,
the next life
awaits. this is my last
see you when you get
bye bye.

ignorance is bliss

is sublime bliss,
not to know what you
want to know,
but do.
better to let things lie,
let things
rest where they are,
whether in
the open or hidden
in some desk
or drawer.
land needs boundaries
as do lives.
each to their own
to live in.
yours and mine.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

we can do this

I shake off the dust
of yesterday.

all those yesterdays
lying behind me.

stamp my boots onto
the cold ground,

tighten my belt.
button the coat to my neck.

I feel the unshaven
bristle against my chin,

squint into the sun
and look at where I've been,

where I don't want to go again.

I take her hand
and move on. we can do this.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

a blue bird

we're blue
at times.
we bring it on.
call it emotional weather.
steeled over from
the winds that sweep
from the artic.
we're blue at times.
bitter and still.
waiting for spring
to arrive
in the shape
of a yellow sun
and a blue bird
from above.

Friday, March 2, 2018


it's not what
to confess as you stand
in line
in church, it's more about
if there's
enough time,
and how exactly do you word
your digressions
in a palpable
forgivable form.
you want to go in and just
say the word
through the dark screen
into a waiting priest's
what penance do you have
for everything?

come home

a day off is a good thing.
to lie
in your books, in your wide
the wind
alive in the trees
beyond the fence.
the cars
all gone.
the house warm.
the coffee
hot in your hand.
it's nine a.m. but
already you're
for her to get home.

at the diner

he's a large man
sitting at the diner.
red suspenders hold
up his high waisted pants.
he's placed a napkin
into the collar of his shirt.
it's a blue color.
and soft like his eyes.
the plates
surround him at the table.
with butter and syrup.
eggs over easy.
bacon, sausage, toast.
purple packs of jam.
his hands
touch a knife and fork,
then he sighs.
he can't decide
which way to go.
he sips his coffee.
slipping his
finger into the small
circle of the white
cup. he stares out the window
at the morning traffic
rushing by.
they know him well.
call him by name.
they approach him with
their hands
on their aproned hips
and ask if everything
is okay.
he nods. it's fine, he says
smiling as best he can.
it's all good.
just some trouble
at home.


something is amiss
you can
feel it in your bones.
the tingling
of a spider
up your spine,
the startled
at three a.m.
something is awry.
there is a door
a window
ajar, a black bird
about to fly.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

her music

as she sits
the piano.
she closes her eyes
and puts
her hands upon the keys.
she begins
to play.
she begins to cry.
it's her own love
that makes her weep,
makes her

a different road

the bum
in the park is not
a bum.
not a bum at all,
but homeless
by choice.
he has discarded
the ways of others,
of us.
snubbing his nose
at the mundane tasks
of work
and love,
children and marriage.
he has found
his own way
more to his liking,
for better or worse.
with no clock to punch,
the trees
and shrubs
suit him well as each
sun rises above
his small
secluded camp
below the highway.
no one there to tell him
to take
the trash out dear,
go walk the dog
wear a different tie,
forget your lunch pail.


when I iron
a shirt. a pair of pants
i think
of my mother standing
a filled basket
of clothes.
I see her glasses
at the end of her nose.
the steam
button pressed with
her thumb.
the weight of the iron
back and forth
against a white sheet.
I can almost hear
her sing,
hear her hum.

water life

a light on in the room
she used
to live.
but she's not there
someone else
is in there now.
how quickly
things change.
how beds disappear.
become bare.
boxes get filled
and emptied.
life being water,
finding its
own level of comfort.

maybe tomorrow

I find the largest
I can pick
up and throw it
the water.
it barely makes
the edge of sand
and gravel,
hardly a splash.
the ducks
don't even look up
the bread they're
eating, tossed
in by an old man
with a plastic bag.
I need to hear
the splash, so I look
for another rock,
but there isn't any.
it would make my day
to ruffle
some feathers,
ripple the lake,
cause a disturbance
of some sort.
maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

her red high heels

i start to tell my therapist
about recent events
when she interrupts me
in mid angst sentence
and holds up her hand.
these shoes are killing me,
she says.
my boyfriend insisted i
get these red pumps and
my toes feel like their
being tortured.
i nearly broke my ankle
coming into work today.
she takes one off and holds
it in front of me.
it's a beautiful red shoe
from nordstroms. a nice
glossy red with a long heel.
i can see the blisters
on her feet. do you mind
if i take them both off,
she asks, as she does so.
no, i tell her. please.
make yourself comfortable.
okay, she says, grabbing
her pen and pad while
stretching her legs
out on the chair beside
me. i wish i had a pan
to soak them in. anyway.
where were we?


I see him
on the bridge, the water below.
the road.
the trees
that reach where he's standing.
a crowd
he hangs on with hands
in back of him,
the crumbling
marble of the ancient
someone comes up
asks him if he's
going to jump
or not.
traffic is piling up.
the crowd
is making it impossible
for people to go to work.
he looks around
at the waiting faces.
they just
want to get on with their
own lives,
not caring too much
what's to come, or not

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

the pressure

the barista in his green
apron, with his earrings
and lip piercing
glimmering in the low
light of the coffee shop
tells me to have a good day.
same to you
I say
taking my coffee in hand.
licking the overflow
of vanilla foam
off my thumb.
all day I think about
what he's asked me
to do, to have a good day.
so i keep at it.
I smile. I forget my
troubles. I am conscious
of making this the best
day possible.
but it's hard. so
tomorrow i'll make
my own coffee at home
to not be under
such pressure.

nothing to say

exhaustion sets in.
next to sadness
and futility.
I move over and let
and sorrow
into the bed as well.
we lie
there beside one another,
still as stone
and say nothing.
what more is there
to say. what more can
be done.

there is work

it's work.
this glue, this binding.
what holds
the book
the pages worn, earmarked
and stained.
it's work.
this day into another year.
the boots on.
the splattered shirt.
the dusted hat.
we find
what we need to find
and eat.
we settle into
our chairs,
our bed at the end
of the day. we wait
for sleep and sigh
into the darkened air.
there is work.

the gas

the furnace
won't stay lit.
the gas
seeps out into the air.
into rooms,
into our lungs as
we sleep.
we need the fire
to burn
it off.
we shiver
in our bed and listen
to the vents
of wind.
we wonder what the house
is telling
whispering to us
about who once lived
we take a match
down the dark
steps and pray.

wrong address

I get a photo in the mail.
I open it. afraid
these days of any
that reaches my house.
it's a horse.
a small horse
in a field.
there's no one else
in the photo.
there's a red barn
in the background.
a small white chicken
in the yard.
I want to give
some meaning to the horse.
to the photo.
the empty field.
but I've
got nothing and let
it go.
I tear the photo in two
and drop it into
the can. then I look
at the envelope.
it's addressed
to the neighbor next door.


the future is not
what it used to be.
the unknown
stays ahead of us,
a vague figure
in the fog.
the past is
so far behind.
nothing to do about
what's coming
or what came.
it's the moment
that counts.
the shoe striking
the pavement.
the air
coming in, going out.

Monday, February 26, 2018

the palm reader

the gypsy laughs
as I give her my hand,
palm up.
boy oh boy she says.
would you look at this mess.
ain't you seen it all,
she says
laughing. she yells to her assistant,
jezebel, who's making chicken
soup and nursing a baby
behind a beaded curtain.
get a load of this dude's
palm. she says. jezebel comes in
and they both
slap their foreheads and shake
their black mops of wild
this one's free, she tells
sit down you poor poor man.
this one's on the house.
oh the trouble you've seen.
jezebel get this man
a cold drink. make it a double.
gin and tonic, I tell her.
Tanqueray, she yells through
the curtain as it sways
between rooms. get the cheese
and olive tray too.

make it go away

you despise them
but sometimes you need one.
a good lawyer?
someone who can cut
to the chase.
a man or a woman in a sharkskin
suit who can
see the light at the end
of the tunnel.
someone who can make it all
go away.
let you sleep at night,
penniless perhaps,
but well,

all yours

I show her my scars.
the old bruises.
the bumps,
the redness of muscles.
I show her
how my finger was twisted
from a long
ago injury. the broken
bone that healed.
I lie down on the floor,
take off my clothes
and stretch out my arms,
my legs.
I open my mouth.
I let her peer inside.
I tell her to take a long
good look.
I tell her to put her
ear to my chest
and listen to my heart.
I ask her to listen
to my lungs
as they grow and diminish
with each breath.
I tell her that I have
nothing to hide.
no secrets. no lies.
look as far into my eyes
as you can, I tell her.
i'm yours. all yours.
what's on the outside.
what's within.

should have had the meat lasagna

I get the lemon
with artichokes.
penne pasta
sprinkled in parmesan cheese.
sprigs of parsley.
it's a mistake,
but I wanted to prove
that I could
try different things
in my life,
that I could be
spontaneous and free
from my
long engrained
habits, not stuck in
my ways,
but after one bite
I know,
as I do every time
I try eat out of
the proverbial box,
that I should
have had
the meat lasagna.

to kneel and pray

we kneel
to pray
and listen as the priest
the stations of the cross.
the pews
are scattered
with mostly
older men
and women.
they've been catholics
their whole
never straying once,
but making
every mass,
again and again.
you can't say the same.
but you're trying.

stop the bus

the bus is crowded.
we are
meat in a rolling
sub sandwich
of metal
and fumes.
the driver is in and
out of traffic
like a drunken
on leave.
it's Friday.
everyone has the look
of a long week
on their faces.
we just want
to get home. get
off this bus,
but there are miles
to go,
stops to stop at
while we spin and creak
down the city

what else you got?

hmm, the doctor says,
getting closer
to inspect
the small bump
on the rim of my eye.
I just don't
she says.
does it hurt?
or itch?
i'll have to get back
to you on
this matter, she says.
sorry, I was up all
night after going to a
happy hour. drank a little
bit too much.
she spreads my eye open
with her fingers.
I see the black nail
polish with glitter
on the tips of her nails.
when we had eyes
in med school
I was out sick that
with the flu.
but I think I have
a book under my bed
that can tell me
a little more
about it. i'll get
back to you in a week
or two.
what else you got?
she says.
lighting a cigarette,
and rubbing the back of
her neck.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

we have the room

it's hard to be mad
for too long
at the field mice
that find a way in.
so small.
so brown.
their long tails
behind them.
the thin whiskers
with worry.
why not let them in
to burrow.
to wait
out the snow and ice,
the wind.
we have the room.
why not?

a plate of hours

anxious to get out
into the yard, she looks out
the window
to the vines,
to the weeds, the fence,
then up to a grey
wet sky.
maybe tomorrow.
maybe the next day. we
need flowers, we need
to see the red
and pink blossoms.
we need sunshine.
a large unburdened
plate of weekend

the white cake

a sliver
of her cake is left.
the white
icing hard,
the morsels of sweet
now cold but moist
under wrap,
on the shelf
next to butter and milk.
shame to see it go
so soon,
so fast.
it was a good cake.
to be remember.
one that will always

the busy hens

the ice man
with his horse. his
sagging under the weight
of blocks
of ice
squeaks up the street.
his wagon
and splintered.
the wheels in need of repair.
the early morning is coolest
to deliver
the ice.
he whistles.
by his task.
people need ice. what
would they do without me.
the drinks
not cold?
he snaps the reins and up
and over
the hills he goes.
and nodding to the egg man,
the paper
the roosters crowing,
the busy

Friday, February 23, 2018

sunny inside

the radio
tells us about the weather.
a siren of sorts
across the air waves.
wear a coat.
tie down a hat.
it's going to be a rough one.
beware listeners
the man says,
but we don't
we're in a sunny
frame of mind.
a happy disposition.
love has warmed us
to the brim.
let it rain.
who gives a damn.

sink the boat

i dream of a boat sinking.
the hole
in the side
from the jagged rocks.
the whole
crew of pirates
going down, drunk
each other, with consumption,
with wine.
down to the bottom
it goes,
to the murky green,
out of sight,
out of mind.

the ping of contact

it's a slow
that won't stop.
the ping
of contact
keeps me up.
the constant
of drop
after drop.
it won't let go.
nothing I can do
at this hour.
I close
the door, put
a pillow over
my head.
in the morning i'll
forget about
or try to.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

come home

the dog is lonely
in the window.
his bark is just a yawn.
he stretches in
the sunlight, ignores
the mail man
as the mail falls
to the floor.
what's the point?
he looks down the street,
for your car.
circles again
on the pillow, scratches
at the feathers
and shrugs.
what's taking him
so long.

give her room

her sleep
is long now. her dreams,
are they
or something else
what we know.
the glimmer of stars
in her
is fading.
the shallow breaths
she takes
are numbered.
let's hold her tightly
one last time,
then let her go,
give her room.

the love within

I remember her differently.
not in this state
of skeleton
and skin,
hollowed out by the cruelness
of how
all life must end.
I remember what
thrived inside, the sun
the storms,
the clouds
and rain, her ice. and
When she finally makes
i'll remember her for all
the good
she brought
to this world, all
the loved she shared,
and was given.

some people

some apples
never make it to the hand.
get tasted for the glory
that they
though perfect
and round,
or green as bright as any
on a tree.
some just ripen
and wait,
fall to the ground,
never to be bitten,
to be found.

the stage mother

the stage mother
can't wait for the role to come
she's aglow with what
it could mean.
she imagines
her self in the front
as the Oscars come in,
the Emmy,
the life time
achievement award.
she's patient and tells
about how well
the boy is doing. one
day, she says, you'll
see, you'll see,
he's only thirty three,
then she sits down
to sends him a check
to pay
the electric bill.

the picnic

we take the kids
on a picnic. we pack
the big basket,
full of sandwiches,
cookies and drinks.
something there for everyone.
we fold the checkered sheet
to lay down
upon some stretch of
we bring the dog,
his leash.
the kids bring a ball,
the wife
a radio,
a portable tv.
brings her phone
in case
she gets a call for
a new prescription at
the pharmacy.
I bring a book or two.
the chairs.
we jump into the car
and drive.
we drive for two hours
until we see a spot
near the river.
it's there we park
and take everything
out of the car.
the dog runs off, the
kids chase him.
the sun slips behind
a cloud
and it begins to rain.
there's lightning
and thunder, but then it
clears up. we gather around
on the edge of red and white
sheet and eat. we should
do this more often I tell
the wife.
but she's lying on her
chair. the soft sun on
her beautiful face,

where have you been

she'd collect
from every land she
went to.
rhode island,
ocean city,
she kept the handful
of grains,
dirty blonde or white,
even black,
in small mason
in the cellar.
marked clearly
with tape
and black ink
the places time
and dates.
if someone came over
she'd march them
into the basement
and say there you go,
this is where
I've been,
how about you?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

the long distance call

they were married for
thirteen years.
from 1950 until 1963.
the mother, the father.
unlucky 13?
she was a phone operator
in Philadelphia.
he was a navy man making
a long distance
call to boston.
she was going to connect
his call,
ready to plug in the wire
when he said
with a twinkle in his
sea blue eyes.
hey. let's meet for a
so they did.
seven children later
they were done.
the marriage was over.
off he went. off she went.
what fell between those
years is hard to put
down on paper.
each finding his or her
own way in life.
for better or for worse.

secret ingredients

I can tell you everything
about this recipe expect the last
ingredients, my friend
jimmy tells me
while he stirs a giant pot
of grey stew.
my grandmother swore me to
on her death bed
about revealing the ingredients
of her venison
the key is to slow cook
and to find
a deer that hasn't been on
the road too long.
salt and pepper?
I ask him.
who told you that? i'm
not saying those are the
ingredients, but i'm not
saying they aren't either.
now give me your word
that you won't ever tell
a soul though.
I promise I tell him,
then call in for a pizza.
hold the meat.

gun control

if everyone who
owned a gun shot everyone
who owned
a gun
would that solve
the problem
once and for all
about gun violence,
the woman asked
at the community
on violence and gun control.
perhaps, the man said,
a politician
with an NRA button
stuck to his
but then,
he pondered out loud,
wouldn't innocent people
be dying
for no reason?
next question.

doing laundry

I wait on the washer
at the blue iguana laundry mat.
I watch the slosh of suds
and grey water
splash against the glass.
the line of machines shine
in the morning light.
the dents
seem natural.
the rust, the lint, the open
are just fine.
there's a basket in the corner
full of dark
wet clothes.
they've been there for
a week.
left and forgotten,
I suppose.
I see the same people
each time I come. we talk of
small things.
leaving out the big things.
we're doing laundry.
but now I come early
before they do.
before they start their
of whites and coloreds.
carrying in their bleach
and detergents.
I want this time alone.
to hear
the spin, to hear the coins
fall into the slot.
to say nothing to no one.
and have nothing
said to me.
I want to fold my warm clothes
on the counter
without a word said,
then go home.

nine pages

the angel on my left
bickers all day with
the angel on
my right.
do this one says, don't
says the other.
write this,
say that, you deserve
to let others know
how you really feel.
how dare they,
how little they know
of you, or walked
in your shoes.
i breathe in and out.
i come to my senses
the devil
out the door.
deleting the nine pages
of feelings I
wrote to get even.

in the moment

we carve
initials in the tree
with a finger into
the wet
take a hand
onto sand before
the next
comes in.
we try so hard to secure
the love
we share,
wanting it to last
without end,
but it's the moment
we're in
that counts most.

Monday, February 19, 2018

as it should be

we wish
on the star zipping
the rug
of black sky.
we toss a coin into the well.
we avoid
cracks in the sidewalk.
black cats
and ladders.
we read our horoscope
and have
our palms read. we
look deeply
into the empty
we want to know what's
we want to wish
something into being.
we're a mess at
times, not letting it
all go on
as it should be
and leaving worry behind.

spin the wheel

he takes his paycheck
to the
has a drink. has another.
puts some of it
on black,
some on red.
he spins the wheel,
rolls the dice,
takes another
it's a life.
it's a death.
pay day is next Friday,
hardly soon

one island

one island
looks like another.
palm tree, one curve of sand
and crystal
blue water.
one drink, in one hand.
the sun,
alone in an impossibly
blue sky
burning white.
one island
looks like another,
tomorrow we
take flight.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

into open arms

I fill the empty space
with what
can't be bought
or borrowed,
or stolen.
I find it where it can't
be found,
where it must
find me,
when i'm ready
with open arms to
say yes.

yes. me.

who needs a cake,
a gift
a balloon or card.
who needs
things to mark
the road
to bend the corner
of a page
to remember
this day.
who needs a kiss
or warm hug.
who needs a candle
to blow
or a song sung
to celebrate another
on this good
cold earth
in the month of
who needs a party.
yes. me.

the black crow

the loud crow,
in mourning,
black as an omen
at the highest point
of a bare tree,
the grey
arthritic branches
what does he know
or see,
what can be told
by this single bird
so high
above you, above me.

night walk

a blood orange
unbitten shadows
this snow
in vague light. we
our steps left
behind us
in puddled ice.
our tomorrows before
the bloom
of cold from our
warm lungs
telling us we're
still here.


the swallow of time.
the gulp
of hours
and minutes, fleeting.
the wind
of it all.
the dry thirst
quenched in love,
or not.
the spasm
of rush, the linger
of sleep
and dream.
how uneven and sure
life goes towards
its certain end.

why not

we all
want the golden egg.
the ring.
the watch.
the pile of retirement
the lake house
with a porch swing.
we want our feet up.
the sway of stars,
the melting moon. we
our backs rubbed.
we want
hot coffee, warm
to be loved
without conditions.
we want nothing,
we want everything.
we want the golden egg.
why not.

so far away

the slush
of night. the pound of wipers
as the trucks
by so close.
the snarl of traffic.
the dotted lines
of the wet road.
the wind
seering through
the cracked window
as the radio plays
carol king.
the destination so far away,
our head lights
in the falling sleet,
our bones
weary, our eyes tired
and red.
we dream of sleep.
we dream
of sleep. so much road
behind us,
so much more to go.

the fast year

where did the year go.
the days
and hours
into the wind.
swirling away
like so many leaves,
so much
flowers unleashed.
where did
the past go,
the laughs and tears,
the small
moments of joy,
the tenderness,
the fear.
where did it all go,
what place does it
land and rest,
living on
in memory.

Friday, February 16, 2018

stored away

a box
of yesterdays
into the attic.
that happiness done,
now stored
forever or
for a time when a smile
or memory
is needed.
taped and sealed,
wrapped tight.
the secrets
forever resting
in shadows in the cool

the old job

the circus
needs workers.
the bearded lady shaved
her beard
the other day.
the cannon ball
dare devil
wants no more of it.
he limps
around in a cast.
a broken leg.
the midgets
are tired
of being small.
cramped into trailers.
the trapeze family
are fighting,
no longer willing
to catch each other.
one has cut a hole into
the net.
the clowns are sad
and smoking
cigarettes in a bar
down the road.
the hunger artist
fat. there's
barbeque sauce all
over his face.
they've all grown
and tired.
there has to be a better
to make a living
than this they all

Thursday, February 15, 2018

plain vanilla

the days can be vanilla.
which is fine.
the flavor
no news is good news.
no syrup on the cold
no sprinkles, no
cherry on
just a scoop of raw
sitting on a plain
wafer cone,
waiting for a mouth
to advance.

get there from here

the window
left open for the night
in the cool
fallen leaves
scratch at the screen.
the cat wants out.
a fox
in the woods
with it's baby
wants something else.
a moon
says nothing.
the stars
like broken
are far away.
we can never get there
from here.
though we
want to.

rare fruit

how sweet her fruit
the first bite.
the juice on my chin,
the drip of it
down my arm.
how nice it is
when ripe, when
picked in season.
right from the tree.
I could eat a basket
of her fruit.
so rare
these days. that
kind of love.

the buzz of silence

go away food.
beat it drink.
hit the road sunlight.
give me
give me wind and sleet
hail storms
under a darkened sky.
no books.
no television.
no computer.
my knees ache.
my hands
hurt from being pressed
for so long.
give me the buzz
of silence.
the dream
of yesterday.

the itch

the itch
returns. but I can't get
to it.
my arms don't
my fingers are too
the spot escapes
I need someone to help
me with this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

condo association

they tow
and tow and tow.
one car after another.
the condo board is cruel
and efficient.
don't park here.
or there,
hang your pass where
it can be seen.
no refunds. no pay backs.
no remorse
or worry. too bad for you.
don't park on the line.
don't have
a flat tire, or a crack
in your windshield.
don't leave
your dome light on.
inspections, registration,
all must be
on time.
all night the parade
of cars
on hooks roll out the lot
by the predatory trucks,
while the president
sleeps with a crooked
smile on her
happy elected
face. what fun.

a poem

what isn't
a metaphor. take that rock
for example.
your heart, perhaps.
that cold
emptying into the wide
your dreams?
what about the gulls,
the black birds
in their
wired rows?
what can't be written
and turned
into something more
than what it is.
a poem?

the beat

the work
is hard. the road
the car won't start.
the tires
are gone.
we take the bus.
we walk.
we put out
a thumb.
the beat, the beat,
the beat.
goes on.

the hearts

the world
is filled with hearts.
unbroken. sad and
defeated, some blue,
some red
some filled with joy
and hope.
you can see
them dotting the open sky,
like balloons up
into the blue
towards a sun
that will embrace each
and every one.

the long book

into the book.
I see the plot unfolding.
I see
what came
makes sense to what's
happening now
on this page
in this chapter.
I ear mark
the page, and close
the book
in my lap.
I like where it is
right now
and what's to come.
there's no need to
reread or go back
to the chaos
of chapter one.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

my therapist

my therapist
is quiet.
she lets me do most
of talking.
nodding sweetly at my thoughts
and words,
a stream of consciousness.
I settle into the long couch
and begin.
often it sounds
like confession,
without the forgiveness,
without the metal screen,
the dark booth.
the smell of candles burning
on the altar.
she asks
if i'm in danger, or if
anyone I love is
in danger.
I tell her no. I don't
think so.
she says good.
there's a long pause
which means something.
how's your mother,
she finally asks,
breaking the silence.
dying, I tell her.
we all are she says.
we all are.

coffee talk

I've been to jail
he tells me.
I ain't afraid of being
incarcerated again.
I survived the jump,
but he won't
survive jimbo. no siree bob.
it makes
no never mind to me.
someone messes
with my money, then it's
lights out
for that dude.
you hear what i'm saying.
I sip my coffee
and nod.
i'm in the middle of a book
of Buddha quotations.
lingering on
the ones that strike
don't look for the path.
be the path.
yes. I tell him.
taking a bite of my crumbly
blueberry scone.
I smell what you're cooking
i'll bust him up good
if he don't pay me by this
I've got a 32 inch wood
bat sitting
inside my vehicle right now
just waiting to pop him.

the fading light

she's strong
the woman says as I take my
mother's hand.
mittened with a man's sock
so as not
to scratch her bed sores.
she won't let
go. she's strong, the care
taker says, shaking
her head in dismay.
I touch my mother's forehead.
her hair, thick and silver.
my fingers slide against
her cool smooth cheeks.
she is porcelain.
in this bed of pale green
a mish mash of quilts and
thin blankets.
the oxygen machine sits
beside the bed. a stiff chair.
a window
never opened. the shade,
stained and drawn to the sill.
the room
smells of warm food.
warm skin.
sour milk and sadness, but
not death.
not yet.
she's strong, the woman says.
very strong.

as it should be

the neighbor
with her baby bump
is bright
with joy. the first born
now five no
longer crib or stroller
but in ribbons
and dresses.
a small flower
in the winter sun.
walk as one
the pathway that winds
the houses, into
the grey woods.
so quick
we take their hands,
then let go.
letting them find their
own path,
as it should be.

the weight

there is solace
in prayer.
in reading. in kneeling
with head
and compassion so rare
in this fast
what we do
and what's been to us
by others
weighs us
to the ground, but
opens our
eyes, our wounded
hearts to becoming

just like that

the men
in the rain, jack hammers
the pavement.
the brittle noise
off the houses.
white hats,
green bibs,
boots laced high
in yellow mud.
hammers at their side.
wheel barrows,
picks and axes.
the streets come
up in chunks,
in irregular stamps
of earth.
what seemed
forever is gone, just
like that.

the pale sun

the illness of others
brings you
to your knees.
loved ones
or not,
the humbling way
we crumble
over time with no one
getting out alive.
it reduces
all else to pebbles
in our shoes,
the x ray
the blood
the testing all
blotting out a pale
sun with
bad news.

that look

at the wedding
when Jesus turned
the water into wine
there was
at the table shaking
his head
taking a sip.
I can't drink this
red wine
he said, wiping
it off his beard.
white goes with fish.
then Jesus gave him
a look.
that Look.
and he said, oops.
my bad.
red is perfectly

the cave drawings

if you do the things I want
you to do
i'll be happy.
if you don't
i'll have to punish you
in some sort
of passive aggressive
or short answers
without ever looking
at you
i'll come home late
and slam
the door.
watch tv all night
while you go to bed.
it's what we do.
what we learn
the cave men and women
who were
our parents.

the new world

the next thing
we need
to do is
then after that.
but we will go through
the list
like a lumber jack
in a forest
of trees.
clearing the land
for a new

Monday, February 12, 2018

every inch of your love

the scratch of a needle
on the old
hi fi reminds you of
the hours lying
in your room
listening to stacks
of wax.
the bands of your era.
the doors.
led zeppelin's
whole lotta love.
learning every line,
hitting every note,
strumming your
air guitar,
banging on drums
called pillows
until someone, perhaps
your mother,
pounded on your locked door
and yelled
turn that down
and open a window
those cigars you're
is smelling up
the whole house.


once out
of the chamber
with the squeeze
of an angry finger,
and in the air,
you can't
put the bullets
back in gun.
the death or wounding
with words
of a loved one
has happened,
the damage is done.

light starch

the dry cleaners
their squeaky wheel of a rack
that takes
up the whole
a world of clothes wrapped
in the thinnest
of plastic.
the odor
of chemicals in the pink
and dresses. pants
suits. all made new,
crisp again
for wear.
a seam sewed tight again.
your ticket brings you
what you left
three days ago
and someone behind
tosses down his ball
of clothes.
and says, light starch

press on

is a bitter
taste. a rotten fruit
in one's mouth.
the harm
we do to others
stays with us
reason or logic.
we can't spit
it out,
ever, though
the taste lessens
over time
with confession.
no words can soothe
either soul.
press on.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

in colors

she wants pink.
the brightest pink on the chart.
one wall.
one long wall for
accent, for punch,
for pizzazz.
so you pour the can into
the tray
and roll it on.
three coats.
when she arrives home
to see
she screams with joy.
it's perfect she says
I love it.
thank you.
some needs and wants,
come easy
and in colors.

the black bull

the matador,
is old.
he sits in his spangled
the tilted hat,
the shoes,
glittering gold.
blood on his sword.
the roar of the crowd
at the black
kneeling towards
death in the middle.
his eyes
the ache
in his back.
so many bulls to kill,
so little time
to do so.

this way

a troubled world
the restless night.
the ice
under our feet.
the glare of a low
making us wince.
the coffee
bitter and luke warm
on our tongue.
it wasn't always
this way,
was it?

not a pretty cat

it's not a pretty
this black long hair thing
bottled green
a tail like a feather,
and slick as a crow's
she's loud
and needy, cautious
between the cars,
the wheels, then coming
to you
to slide between
your shoes and legs
telling you
about the world she lives
which is so


they arrive
in threes, these men
in dark
hats and gloves.
their world is full
of boxes.
tools and knives
to cut
and open.
they park anywhere
they please.
they want it out
then in,
to get to the next
then leave.

Friday, February 9, 2018

the long road

we slow
down to see the cows
in the pasture.
brown and white,
slow to move, to look
mouths chewing sideways
to a slow clock.
in the early sun.
the fence rails go on forever
on this road
that leads
to the blue ridge mountains,
the bent posts and wire
keeping them in,
keeping us
so many fences in our


we risk our
each day, taking to
the wheel.
stepping across the street.
we risk
our hearts too.
them up.
allowing others
to know

coming out the other side

it's too hard
to see
when in the storm,
the flood
or fire
what it all means.
the blessing of
brokenness could be.
on the other side,
when the smoke
has cleared
when the water
when the wounds
have heal
can we understand
or begin
to know what should

Thursday, February 8, 2018

we fall

we fall
we land hard.
we bleed
we cry, we get up.
we move
we fall again.
then again.
in time
others reach down
with a hand.
it's there if we
want to take
we need them
to keep us upright.

the black leather coat

he takes
the coat gladly
from my hand.
feels its weight.
it's yours, I tell him.
I haven't worn
it in years.
the last time I was
in a winter storm,
snow up
to my knees.
I remember leaving
looking back at the yellow
square of light
from the kitchen window,
the door already closed
behind me.
it saved my life
that coat, I tell him.
being untruthful
dramatic, to give
the coat
more life.
it's black. it's leather.
been in the closet
for so many years
that I've lost track.
he puts it on,
buttons it.
zips it.
puts his hands in the
then turns up the collar.
I like it
he says.
it's yours, I tell him.
wear it well.

a month of birthdays

the month
of birthdays has arrived.
the coldest
the white month of snow
and ice.
blue wind.
how the trees bend.
how the candles burn,
the flames
in a circle.
so many years of cakes.
many blessings.
so many sins,
mistakes. but I've
changed. so
slice me a piece,
not small,
not just a taste,
but one to fill the

no forwarding address

a letter arrives
in the mail.
the thin narrow
envelope of standard
stamp in the corner,
a liberty
no scent to speak of.
no clue
as to who from.
no forwarding address.
the handwriting on
the front
though a hand has
written my name
upon it.
my address too.
why open it?
why know
what's been said,
what's to enter my head.
what words
will be there
to make me change course.
to alter
my tomorrows.
perhaps it's nothing.
so often that's the case
these days
with mail.

a wrong turn

I remember the bat
that flew
into the house. a small
of hair
and claws, mouse
sized, brown
the zip of it's canvas
veined and thin,
frenetically flapping
from room
to lighted room
the shallow cool
of darkness.
I remember sweeping
it from
the low
sky he was trapped
the stark whiteness
of walls
and ceiling,
moving him
towards the open door
until finally
he was
no more.

form over function

is it form over function?
or practicality
that we need.
what serves us,
what gives us pleasure,
soothes our
minds eye,
us time,
or both.
what are we storing
up so
many minutes for
to begin with?
let's go with form
this time.

light over dark

some days
are without shadows.
we keep
it bright.
our feet walk with
a spring.
our eyes
are wide open,
our hearts
we've left as
many yesterdays behind
as we can.
we savor
this day.
we want it to last,
to become
all of our tomorrows.
light over

in the cave

they find
the skull in the bottom
of a shallow
pool, inside a cave
inside a mountain,
inside the earth.
the bones
follow her out
into the daylight
of blue
skies, a sun
not seen for a
thousand years.
they find what there
is to be known about
give her a name,
give her
a place a time,
a reason to be where
she wandered,
then died.
how fast we live.
how quickly
these days disappear,
as we do,
in time.

the old band

they strum,
on a drum.
pluck at a tune
once down. they
adjust the sound
then play
gathered around,
hand cupping
a beer,
water, pills,
a leg up,
an arm bound.
the old band
keeps at
keeps going.
the voices stretched
and worn.
the remember whens,
passed around.
let's try it again.
one two
three, then four.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

what now

he looks at his gold watch.
his house, the one here,
the one
at the shore.
his fourth wife
in the yard
on the phone,
stretched out in a chair
doing her nails.
he looks at his boat
in the driveway.
the three cars in
the three car garage.
the sub zero fridge is empty.
water beer
leftovers in sterile
white boxes.
the Viking stove, cold
and clean.
he sees himself
in the black glass
of the patio door
and touches the lines
in his face.
he stretches and yawns
at the sun
peeking over
the pool.
it's early too early
in the day,
but too late
to figure out what
went wrong. what to do.

the late letter

the brother
over seas, in the war.
in the trenches
sends a letter.
it's mud caked. blood?
there is the smell of carnage
in the words.
the heart felt
scroll scratched out
in ink.
the mustard gas
in tightening his throat.
the screams
of the dying
and the undead
barely alive drip
upon each page. i'll be
home soon the letter says,
between shells,
between the narrow line
of bullets
searing by,
but he'll be gone
before it gets here,
boxed and draped
in red white and blue
before a tear can fall
from his mother's

waiting for the sun

the ragged
the spit of night ice.
the black lines
after the storm
but the black birds
that are still around,
still here
don't think twice.
they sit
in army lines across
the long
stretch of
beat their wings tight
and wait out the day.
wait for the sun,
as we all

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

rainy day money

with a little extra
cash on hand
I feel the fire
in my pocket.
it needs to be spent.
but on what?
what do I need that I
don't have,
that I can afford?
so little
comes to mind.
a warm
fire, a cold drink.
a good meal.
around me.
most of what I need,
has nothing
to do with price
or purchase,
maybe i'll take
the cash
and give it away,
or save it,
save it for that rainy
that rainy day.

the carnival date

we were having way too much
at the carnival
eating candy apples,
caramel corn,
cotton candy and drinking
going into the fun house
to stare into
the curved mirrors.
so it wasn't unexpected
she lost it all
on the ferris wheel
as it spun high above
the crowd
and fluorescent lights.
the date was over at that
but she seemed less worried
about me, and more
concerned what her
mother would say
about her pretty pink

cow milk

i'm done with milk.
i used to love milk.
we've been
going steady since
mother's milk. cow milk.
skim, low fat,
half and half, light
i just don't have a desire
for it anymore
despite how much i loved
a tall
cold glass with a
slice of cake.
so many things change with
age, but
it's a slow go.

sleep walk

i used to sleep
when i was young.
into closets,
going down to the kitchen
to forage.
my mother
see me in the shadows
of the hall
and get up
to guide me
back to bed.
taking me by the shoulders
and steering
to my room.
goodnight, she'd say
and tuck me in.
not saying a word
to anyone.

what to sell

i'm running out
of things to sell on
the ladders, the sideboard,
the orange chair,
the three lamps
without shades.
one snow tire.
one bird cage.
one small dog kennel
with a rubber ball
still inside
ready for chewing.
I stare at my collection
of shoes.
brown and black.
some loafers,
some with laces,
some perfectly fine,
but I just never liked
them enough
to wear them in
after dusting and polishing
them up,
I take a chance and
take a photo
of six pairs of slightly
worn dress shoes.
I throw a tie or
two into the mix,
one argyle one striped.
no charge.
i'm back in business.

Monday, February 5, 2018

wood for the fire

we gather wood
for the fire.
we break sticks into twos
and threes.
we gather around
in a circle
as the flames
and warm our hands,
our feet.
the snow is around
the trees are bare.
spring is far
off in the distance.
we gather wood
for the fire, it's
what we need to do.

never enough

the salesman
knows everyone. shakes
has a smile
and quick word
and laugh
with all.
he's working the crowd.
it's the bottom line.
the tally
at the end of the day,
the year.
how much do I have
he whispers
to his accountant,
not enough
is the answer,
not enough.

the funeral chit chat

some are crying.
bent over
in sorrow, grieving
the loss,
the memory of a loved
some are
slapping each other
on the back
saying things like
nice to see
you again, it's been
too long.
it is what it is.
so what are you up
to now?
are we heading over
to the house
for lunch?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

into rain

we sleep.
we eat.
we work and find
make love.
the days slip
like water
the stream
into the bay
the ocean
then up
into rain.

the large purse

i ask ginger
if she has a knife in her
to cut open a box.
she looks inside
turning on
a flashlight that's
in the purse.
half her arm disappears
into the large
black bag.
she takes out a phillips
head screw
driver, a small hammer,
and chisel.
make up, a mirror,
a hair brush,
and electric tooth brush
and a small kitten.\
she opens up
a tuna sandwich wrapped
in foil
and takes a bite.
no knife, she says,
but i do have
this hack saw, will that

white rice

i can't even look at a roller
these days
without getting dizzy
and sick
to my stomach
i tell my friend jimmy.
he says that he feels
that way too
when he sees a wedding
going on.
i can't even look at white
rice anymore, he says,
without almost fainting.
after four short
to the altar
he's done with marital
his girlfriend
betty, who's
hanging on his arm
and chewing a massive
wad of gum
sighs and shakes
her head
and says
we'll see. we'll see.


I ask my tax
if I can write off
shirts and pants.
takes a look
at my paint splattered
and laughs.
and your hat too
she says.
have a seat
and let's
itemize your life
dear boy.
so where did you
have lunch today,
she asks.
did you take a client?

Friday, February 2, 2018

crayola sunset

it was a Crayola
a box
of crayons melting
on the palette
of a pale blue sky.
it looked religious
in a child like
the lines wavy and off,
the crude struck colors
green where it should
be red.
the sun too white
for winter.

what did we eat last night

i can remember
the phone number i had when
i was
ten and the phone
was black and
hung from the kitchen
with a thirty foot
gnarled cord, but i
can't remember where
i put my
keys an hour ago, or
what i had for dinner
last night.
some things i choose
to forget,
but other things just
don't stick.
it's not dark yet,
but it's getting there.

animal food

i couldn't kill a cow.
or a chicken.
or any animal
unless it was attacking me
and i had
to defend myself.
the thought of trapping
a rabbit and making
stew with small
seems crazy, unless of course
i was starving
and just
got off the mayflower
in my pilgrim
and musket.
after months at sea
without a shower
or a hot meal.
i feel bad enough as it
is pulling
a fish out of the river.
how that hook
must hurt.

the spoon of you

a teaspoon of you,
a small taste,
a dollop or drop
of you
me want
the gallon jug,
the barrel,
the whole factory
that churns
you out.
don't tease me
the spoon, I can't
walk straight
with that.

break out

there's been a break out
at the zoo.
giraffes are running
down the street.
monkeys are on the phone
are stampeding down
Connecticut avenue.
I see a gorilla
on the cross town bus
wearing a hipster hat
and shades,
reading the paper.
he slouches in his seat.
laying low as he makes
his escape.
a small bag is at his
side. an umbrella.
he sees me looking at
him and nods
good morning. tips his hat.
he's out and not looking
I nod back,
maybe it's my turn soon.

waiting on a friend

my man,
my main man
is outside the seven eleven
waiting for his
a lucky between
his lips.
a thermos.
his thin leather jacket
barely keeping
him warm.
his paint pants blow
wide in the wind,
bleached white,
in old dried paint.
his boots speckled,
his gloves torn.
his beard rides off
his chin
in blonde red
curls. he strokes
it patiently while
I arrive on time.

blabber mouth

I hear a secret
and promise
to never tell a single
soul what I just heard.
I vow to never repeat
what has
just come into my ear.
I put my hand
on my heart,
I swear on a stack
of Bibles,
I swear
on a loved one's
to never ever
tell anyone what I
just heard.
this last about
ten minutes
before i'm telling
someone on the phone
asking them
to put it in the vault.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

peanut butter cookies

I get a short distance call
from ginger.
a text with a heart
imbedded in.
she's not at wolf trap
or in fresno,
or sante fe
or even florida, she's
in the other room
baking cookies.
hey, she says. what
are doing?
I go into the kitchen
and kiss her.

a bright red hat

I know
things I shouldn't know.
and don't
know many things that
I should.
I have a cluttered
an attic of old thoughts,
memories, distorted
and ideas
that don't get lost.
I know
who I am, by now.
where I live, what
my needs and wants are.
I know
each fault,
each wrong turn that I've
made along
the way.
I know this. I know that.
I know
that you look fabulous
beneath the sunlight
in a bright red hat.

tax season

it takes less
time each year gathering my
papers together
to take to betty,
my tax lady.
I have the annoyance down now.
she says the same thing,
how we'd do
as I plop my stack onto
the counter.
her little business
is in a small cape cod
next to a farm,
or what used to be a farm,
on the outskirts of
she lives upstairs.
cats roam everywhere.
a window hasn't been opened
in years.
I've seen the same
coffee cups and ashtrays
for decades now.
the magazines too.
liz taylor on the front
of People.
burt Reynolds on Us.
a few weeks go by and she
they're ready, she says.
come and get em.

hot tub

I slip out of my
clothes and slip into
something more comfortable.
is a hot tub
of water.
the lights off.
the phone off.
the world off.
the water steams
the room
as I slide down
to my neck and chin.
I am back in the womb.
back in
the safe place
I started from.


the boardwalk
wasn't always this way.
and swept.
the stores aglow
what to buy.
there wasn't always
and families.
it was a different time.
the runaways,
the drugs,
the collection
of miscreants who
hitchhiked there
from everywhere to
sleep on the sand,
to ask for spare change.
to beg
and borrow their
way through
a weekend.
it wasn't always so
and refined.
the Hilton, the Sheraton.
we'd stay at the Broadmore
on Pacific
and Vine
for two dollars and
fifty cents
a night.
a bare mattress,
a bulb overhead,
the window propped open
with a stick, but it
was fine.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

the razor cut

the blood
is on the sheets, the pillows.
it's on my white
shirt. small crimson
drops like candy.
the razor cut
on the chin
won't stop
shaving in the dark
is not my thing,
but a scar there might
be attractive.
I could make up a story
the fight I was in
protecting a loved one.
or how I stopped
a robbery down at the bank,
saved a dog
from a burning building.
why waste a good cut
on a shaving

back in time

I set the time machine
for ten minutes
to take back the things
I just said.
mean things about
how awful that person is.
I tell him that he keeps
doing the same things
over and over again
with no remorse.
this time
I don't say them,
after I get out
of the machine, I smile
and say, yes, I completely
and if there's anything
I can do
to help you,
please let me know.

the water main

the water main
and the road collapses
which makes
the traffic back up
for miles, for hours.
there is no other way
to get home.
no way to get to our
rooms, our table
of food,
our things
that wait for us
just five miles down
the road.
so we sit.
we wonder. we wish
we had a book
or someone nice to call
and tell them
about our troubles,
not just this one,
but all of them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

at ninety two

at ninety two
she's still picking out
still shy,
her hair done in a glorious
upon her wide forehead.
blue eyed in the light.
i want something similar,
she says.
can you find me something like
this? she waves to the room
as if to change it
now. there is subtle
bling on each wrist.
a diamond on her finger.
her nails done
yesterday by a daughter
comes by.
she sits on a blue velvet
her desk is large.
marie antionette would
have loved it.
her penmanship is
as she writes a check
then delicately
with her
long veined hand
shakes mine.

the traveling salesman

my acting career began
after my divorce.
I was looking for something
to do that
i'd been doing anyway
the entire marriage.
I played a part that came
strangely easy
to me. i hit my mark. stayed
up late, learning my lines.
my gestures, my
delivery was spot on.
it was a long running
on a variety of stages.
mostly off broadway,
way off.
like in jersey.
my venue was the dinner
between acts I waited
on tables, served drinks.
if the food was good
I made money, if it was
bad, which it mostly was
they blamed me.
when the curtain opened
again for acts two or three,
my tables would wave
at me and say, look, there's
our waiter.
i'd wave back, blow them
a kiss before delivering my
lines. I was Willy
and sometimes Biff.