Wednesday, June 30, 2010

puppy love

you're squeezing
me too hard, she
said, my ears
just popped,
and the bones
in my back cracked
like sticks.
i know you love me
and care about me,
but ease up on
the bear hug and
those sloppy kisses.
i love the puppy
dog in you, but
honey, just give
it a rest, and
please stop doing
that to my leg.

wedding pictures

i adopted highway
sixty-one the other
day and now i patrol
the median and off
ramps, the emergency
pull off lane, picking
up trash wearing my
plastic gloves. perhaps
you've seen me out
there in my orange
overalls and my nail
stick. it's not an
easy job, dodging cars
and trucks, avoiding
the still wiggling road
kill. but what the hell
is wrong with you
people throwing
trash out your windows?
beer cans and underwear
are everywhere. who
are you people running
around without under
wear and how did you
get them off while
driving in a car. i
don't want to know.
but stop it. and stop
with the bags,
the cigarette butts,
gum wrappers, bottles,
the books and magazines,
the sad and used debris
of your day. wedding
pictures? really? okay,
i can understand that.

hmm hmm

the older you
get, the more
nodding you do.
the more shaking
of the head
and letting the
small wry smile
ease onto your
dry lips. no need
for words. you've
used so many
during younger days
in one way or
the other in
defense of an
issue or in an
of passion, or
in dismay at what
goes down daily
in the crazy
world's day. yup.
sometimes the slow
nod will do
just fine.


above the bar
sat a stuffed
armadillo, his
bean brown
shell still glossy
and hard, even
after decades of
smoke and drink,
juke box music
and brawls
over women and
politics. he had
no opinion on
any of what
transpired, silent
with wisdom,
his roadside
death and
had made him
a saint, a calm
above the crowd.
nothing could shake
that knowing
stare from his
black pebbled eyes.

deep inside

we know that
given time
most of what
we make will
go down, subside,
disappear like
sand in wind.
caught into
the air and gone.
blown away.
whether it be
love or fortune
or fame, all
of it will fade,
as it should
be. don't hang
your hat on
any of it as
tempting as all
of it may seem.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

new muscle

i'm lifting
weights to
gain your approval,
veins are popping
out of my head
and arms. i am
a spaghetti mill
of sinew and cut
muscle, i am
tanned too,
with body oils,
butters, assorted
ointments and
goos. the mirror
is my friend again.
i'm almost in love
with me and totally
losing interest
in you.

you know

i'm onto you
and your cat
like ways, sly
with those brown
eyes and sultry
twist of hips.
i know what
your thinking,
before the wink,
before the first
kiss, before
your shoes fly
off and land.
i'm onto you.

in the end

you'll find
me, when things
subside, and the
day is done, the
sun a yellow melt
along the coast,
beneath the palm
tree on white sand.
i'll be stretched
out in lazy bliss,
a cold drink in
hand, shoeless,
shirtless, aglow
in a warm and
well earned tan.

Monday, June 28, 2010

the high road

it's best sometimes
to walk away, no
need to argue, or
debate what can't
be solved with words.
not even time makes
a dent in the disagreement,
the schism that divides
you. call it what you
may, oil and water,
right and wrong,
black and white, but
there is no grey.

marital debris

despite ten
hours of
and candles
and emptying
your mind
to a blank
page, there
is still no
light on
within you.
love with
money is a
path not of
rose petals
but of sharp
tacks that
i'll never
walk on. you
are truly
only happy
when you
in others.
sorry to
you with that
oh learned

Sunday, June 27, 2010

go there

if the beach
brings you sadness,
if the waves
and salt, and sand
are too much
for you to bear,
don't go there,
if the city streets
are hard on you,
and brings you
to your knees
with struggle,
the buildings too
tall with darkness,
then move. and if
you find the
heartland of
kansas just empty
fields of wheat
and wind, and
dark funnel clouds
of despair then
pack up and go.
and if the mountain
is too high,
too cold and steep,
then that too
might be a place
to take off the
lists of where
you need and want
to be. find that
place that makes
you content, not
happy, for there is
no such thing,
and go there.

front moving in

i'm in the mood
for wind. a fast
hard wind on
the lips of a cold
front moving in.
i'd love to see
the blue roughage
of clouds,
billowing with
whites and violets,
low and thick with
thunder, laced
in lighting. i'd
like to feel
the first cold
drops of rain
pouring down,
and all of it
with you tucked
in my arms.


i used to make
love with a woman
who went by the
name of sheila,
up on a hill
overlooking the
glow of a harness
racetrack in maryland,
back in the early
nineteen seventies.
we maybe had a
blanket, a bottle
of cheap wine,
and that was it.
and as the horses
galloped around
the dust bowl
of a track,
and with the stars
somewhere above
the haze of a
clouded light, we
listened to
the hooves pound
the ground, the crack
of whips, the
roar of the small
but vocal crowd,
half under with beer,
their small dreams
riding on a ticket
stub, we would find a
way with each
other that was both
fast and as
as furious and empty
as the race
was itself.


the soft hand,
or kiss on a bad
day can do wonders
to set the soul
sailing back in
the right direction.
just a touch on
the heart's wheel,
some stars or sun,
or silky moon to
align with, and
the sea is yours

out of the aquarium

and into the sea
she swims underwater
lives and breathes
below the depths
of normal fish that
float with careless
ease. flourescent
and bright, she
never stings, and
just nibbles, never
or should i say
rarely ever bites.
she slips in
and out of your hands
with a smile, her
scales sparkling
in the summer sun.
she wants to show
you a new way as
she bends her fins,
wiggles her tail.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

look both ways

before crossing.
nothing is safe.
there would be
no news if that
wasn't true.
there would be
no paper on
the front stoop,
or headline,
or blurb to pause
and say, oh my.
no red scroll
with a warning
on the evening news.
it's in the water,
it's the flea
on your dog, it's
your neighbor, your
kids, the heat
and snow. danger
lurks everywhere.
it's a persistent
fog. don't look back.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

milk and bread

suppose i run out
to get milk and bread
but don't come back.
i get onto the freeway
and head west with
my sack of groceries
and the clothes i'm
wearing. suppose i
toss the phone, i
gas up and go without
a word, i just drive
and drive until i get
to the west coast where
they seem to accept
this sort of behavior,
and never return. but
i don't. instead i
drink the milk and
eat the meal that
has been served me.

snowed under

when the trees
went down in
the storm
onto the power
lines and blackened
homes for miles
and miles and
the snow piled up
and the trucks
couldn't get
through. it didn't
matter, because you
were here and we
had plenty of
things to do.

blind spot

like the new
car you just
had to have
because it was
shiny and red,
and smelled good,
there is
a blind spot
in every new
a thing or place
that you just
can't quite
see as you drive
fast and fancy
free down the
highway of life.
but it's there.
it's unnerving
and you can
choose to ignore
it or crane your
neck out the window,
but sooner or
later you'll
relax and forget
all about it, and
then you'll hear
the sirens.

tequila sunrise

i woke up
the other morning
in bed with a
vampire, but the
sun wasn't quite
up, so she hadn't
turned into dust
or flames quite
yet. i shook her
awake and pointed
towards the window,
held the clock
up to her blurry
eyes. i could still
smell the tequila
on her breath,
just five
more minutes she
said, and hit the
snooze button. she
lay her head back
down as the sun
began to creep
slowly over the
horizon, shooting
soft trails of new
light into the room.
but still she kept
sleeping, and even
after she began to
smolder a little
there was nothing
i could do but
get the fire
extinguisher. it
was a great date
up until that point.

jersey girl

across the field
i see you rise
in the distance
like a cumulus
cloud moving across
an emerald sea of
blue grass. you
are several inches
off the ground,
arriving as if on
the small wings
of birds in song.
it's so beautiful
that i'm willing
to forgive even
the jersey accent.


if the sun
decides to move
a little closer,
not much, just
a smidgen or
two in our direction,
then pack yourself
in ice. it's over.
and if it chooses
to go the other
way, well, that
too could be a
problem and you'll
be rubbing sticks
together to set
the woods on fire.
another words,
don't change a thing,
because despite what
ever you may think,
things could be
just right.

in the heat

drenched in my
own sweat from a
day out in the sun
working because i
need to, no other
reason than that
can explain being
up on a ladder in
ninety nine degree
heat. but this house
needs me, needs
my arms to cradle
it and smooth out
the wrinkles, fill
in the gaps and
lay a fresh new coat
of love on her boards,
on her abs and lats.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

spam, not on the list

my grocery list
consists of mostly
what i'll eat
tonight, or tomorrow.
but if you decide to
come over and spend
the night.
i'll throw in eggs
and bacon, potatoes.
i know how
important bacon is
to you at this stage
of your life. you
can't get enough
nitrates, i always
say. but the list
is weak. some milk,
some butter and
bread, popcorn, two
apples and a slab
of a hanger steak
to marinate,
peanut butter, a
bag of cookies for
those late night snacks.
there's not much
to get, but i like
walking around
the store with
my cart, listening
to the pleasant music,
looking at other
people's cart, seeing
what culinary delights
they are indulging in.
i'll pick things up
and put them back
onto the shelf.
sometimes i'll buy
things that i'll never
cook or eat in a hundred
years. like corn bread
or beets in a jar.

the web

don't move
an inch, i
tell her,
there is a
fat black
spider right
above your head.
he's rubbing six
of his eight
legs together
like cutlery,
as if he's
up to something
or hungry for
a little piece
of you.
he's easing
down on his slender
thread for a
closer look,
then sees me
watching and stops
and winks. he
realizes that
we are both up
to the same thing,
and out of respect,
retreats and goes
back to where
he came from.

a good start

it's her fourth
go round with marriage
and his second, or
third. the cake
is tilted in the
heat, the four white
tiers leaning south
before the first
cut takes place. she
shakes the rice
out of her hair and
he smiles as the band
plays their song,
Proud Mary,
the one he proposed
to while on the dance
floor at Ernie's Crab
House in town. they
dance and dance, as
the guests clap and
drink and eat chestnuts
wrapped in bacon. this
one is off to a good


i once met
a woman who
showed up for
a date carrying
two large and
full suitcases.
a cab dropped
her off in front
of the coffee shop
in the pouring
rain. she was late
and in a hurry,
as the place
was closing down,
and i was waiting.
chairs were going
up onto tables
and the floor was
being mopped by a
tired girl in a green
coffee splattered
smock. my date,
brushed by me,
pointed and said
my name, then bought
a cup of hot
coffee, the last
from a pot. so,
she said, when
she returned,
and set her suitcases
down beside her.
tell me everything,
she said, what's
your story. what
is it about me
that you liked
enough to want to
meet. nothing, i
told her, nothing
really, i made
a mistake, i'm sorry,
and then i left.


it's a long
list of hits
and misses, bumps
on the hard road.
but sometimes
there is an oasis
of a girl who
takes you in
and doesn't
your soul,
or question
where you've
been or where
you might be
going when the sun
comes up again.
her lips are like
water, cool
and wet on the
driest of days.
she says she'll
wait, and those
words alone
will make you stay.


writing this
poetry in the sand
of my screen,
imagining things
some real, or close,
or unseen, gives
me reason to put
more on paper, to
fill out the blanks
of what i perceive
as clues to the puzzle
of this life, with
the intent of getting
home. in the end,
it's all about getting
home, wherever
that might be.

jimmy on the 4th

my friend jimmy
loves the fourth
of july. the carnival
and the fireworks,
the loud guitars
and parade of motor
cycles and flags,
lots and lots of
flags. he enters
pie eating contests,
and watermelon seed
spitting games, he's
all over the fourth
like a roman candle
in the middle of
the drive way.
he likes to take
his shirt off and
proudly display
his tattoos of God
and country, the
vietnam MIA's and
his ex wife melba
on his back and chest,
he's not afraid to
whistle at the girls
going by, thirty years
younger and wearing
even less. my friend
jimmy is fun to be
with on the fourth
of july, well at
least until the ninth
beer goes down the hatch
and then there could
be trouble.


i am a tourist
in my own town.
a stranger
amongst friends.
i have lost
my way despite
being found, i'm
treading water
in the shallow
end. i've cut
my ties with all
my blood relatives
and set goals
that i'll never
reach. i'm walking
backwards to work.
eating in bed,
sleeping in
the kitchen. i've
decided to start
my own church,
and disown it at
the first high
mass. i'm trying
hard to kickstart
this malaise with
a leap forward
leaving all the dead
weight behind.

the drive in

i met her one
summer, no, not
the summer of love,
we were too young
for that, it was
more the summer
of angst. of learning
things the hard
way in the back
seats of old cars
at drive ins
with tin speakers
gargling out of
sync dialogue on
a techno color
screen so far
away against the
woods. it was as
if we were under
water, as the windows
steamed up and our
hearts raced with
indecision and hope.
and even after
three full length
features we
went nowhere fast.


i know
or white,
and less
but it
to stop
me, or
me from
the next
when i
and fall.


over time
this too will
heal, will stitch
itself right up
and the wound
will fold over
onto itself and
be a soft hard
ridge of skin
protecting skin.
and you will
almost forget
about that broken
heart, that mistep
or fall down
the stairs, but
the next time
you'll grab
the wall, hold
the rail as you
descend once
again towards her
or someone that
resembles her.

towards the light

these bugs
want in. they
are clamoring
at the window,
biting at
the metal screen
with tiny jaws
and fins,
they are
with their wings,
in their
stuttering flight
to get in, to
swim towards
the soft
white light
and what they
percieve as
i completely

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a place to lay your head

it is a fine
place to lay
down your head
and rest. this
new house that
you've found.
the previous
owner has done
well to keep
it up, freshly
painted, the wood
nailed tight,
no squeak in
the floorboards
or squirrels in
the attic. the
gutters are free
of leaves
and limbs from
the overhanging
trees. the
fountain in
the yard is full
of fat golden
fish that
splash in the
sunshine, even
the grass is
trimmed to
stretched like
the emerald skin
of a drum
from fence to
neighbor's fence.
so much time
put in to make
and keep this
gem just right.
it makes
you wonder about
why they would sell,
divorcing one
another like
that, perhaps
they had no time
for each other.


okay. stop the train,
stop everything. today
will be a fun day.
don't give me that
look. no fighting, no
smallness, or
churning of old digs,
let's just pack a
bag and go to the
beach. forget work,
forget school, let's
run straight into the
ocean without even
testing the water.
let's dive into that
deep blue and begin
again, start over,
find ourselves in love
like we once were.
don't forget the sun
screen, oh and can
you pack a lunch,
where's my towel,
my flippers and
snorkle gear? the
umbrella, where is it?
you had it last, you
should know.

she says this

you bring me flowers
as if flowers will
stop the flood of
dismay and sadness
that i feel towards
you at the moment.
you bring me flowers
as if to say, here,
look what i grew
for you, knowing
all along that you
would never put
your hands in dirt
or bend over to
nurture anyone or
anything. you bring
me flowers, and yet
i put them in a vase
and take that as a
first step, a very
pale sign that
there could be hope.
but deep inside
i know better, and
this too will fade
as will those sharply
cut flowers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

a glass of water

just a clear
glass of cold
water i feel
will wash away
so much of
this day. and
if i could
have a wand,
i would, with
the water
invent a world
where i could
take all the
hurt away
and make things
right, not just
with you, but
for all that
came before
and those that
are yet to

war children

during war, the children
knowing from the adults
that there is one, play
at war. they hardly know
what it means, but it's
fun and keeps them
busy throughout the days.
and as the war goes on,
and so many don't return,
the young ones grow
older, waiting, and knowing
that one day, as always,
they too will have a turn.

just go

go with it, take
your leave and be
gone. pack your suitcase
full of sorrows,
your jealous knives
and forks, stuff it
all in your sea bag,
take it off the walls
those memories,
those plates of no
meaning. my ears are
full of consequence,
of your voice crying
out for what i can't
give you. leave
your curses, your
disillusion and sadness
on the curb. i've
had enough and need
for you to go. i need
to see the back of
you, to hear your
footsteps echo out
the door.

a good cause

i'm taking a collection
for a very good cause.
the cause being me.
my hand is out, my
cup, my hat, my shoe,
i am on the street with
my carboard sign and a
bottle of water.
i'm not sick, or lazy,
or lame of foot, i just
would like a handout.
a free ride for the final
years. i'll be here all
day until i get my million,
no wait, why not two
and then i can find
a bed and sleep all day.

finding inner peace

in an effort to
cleanse my soul
and be a better
person i shaved
every follicle of
hair from my body
then scrubbed
myself with mint
soap. i turned the
lights off, lit a
candle then soaked
in a hot bath. i let
go of everything.
i took deep breaths
and slowly released
them, repeating
sounds like ahhh,
ohmmm, hmmm, things
like that, but to no
avail, the second
i got out of the
tub i called you
and asked you to
come over in your
little black dress.

on the road

go easy on this
road. tread lightly.
it's narrow, it's
full of stones,
i don't want you
to trip and fall.
it's a long way
down to the bottom.
watch your step,
keep your balance
and shade yourself
from that hot sun.
take some water
along, watch out
for snakes and
wolves, watch out
for everything, be
careful, i want
you to make it to
me, in the shade,
where i wait
with open arms.

you, in the air

please don't point
out my faults
anymore. i have
the list, the one
you left on my
front door
written in red
ink to resemble
blood i suppose.
hopefully not mine.
i'm scared of you
more than just
a little, scared
of your mystical
ways, your long
hair and dark eyes,
and that cat you
carry while you
sweep across
the moonlit
skies, on a broken
broom. i know who
i am, and feel bad
about that, you don't
have to keep
reminding me with
those well aimed
poison darts.

in the well

i fell deep
into a well last
week, leaning
over to drop
a coin to hear
it splash, making
an absurd wish
about me and you.
and down i went
straight to the
black bottom,
where i landed
in the coldest
water i've ever
felt. i was waist
deep with no
way out. trapped
as i often am
by bad decisions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

one yard

you lower your
shoulder, tucking
the ball tight
against your body,
not waiting for
impact, but causing
one, you need the
next yard to have
a chance to win
this game. your cleats
dig into the wet
grass, your legs
tighten and spring
forward as you heave
yourself into
the arms and heads,
and hands of the
line that wants you
down, and as you
spin at contact
you see the blue
sky above as you
are lifted upwards
and over, no longer
tethered to the
earth but free in
this small infinite
moment of youth
and possibilities,
and this memory
will strangely
carry you forever.

no return

i'm trying
to think
of a place
i've visited
that i want
to go
back to,
but can't.
and i'm
sorry if
that includes


from the window
i can see that
the carnival has
gone up over night.
appeared like magic.
it's tinsel colors
of green and red,
the circus blues,
and shadowy whites
glow in the near
distance, a smudge
of a child's mirage.
the music a jumble
of disconnect, noise
trying to be a
melody without
success. and the
ferris wheel that has
risen from the flat
dry earth swings
slowly around and
around going nowhere
and nowhere.

set sail

lie down here
beside me. let
yourself go. find
sleep, find me
in your new
dreams. cut loose
the ties that
bind the ship
you are on. let
it sail, let
the wind fill
those billowing
sheets and
take me with you.
the night is
dark, but there
is a moon, find
faith in that
small light.

black ink

with a sharp
shovel you dig
to find the words
to slip out
from under the
guise of a normal
day. you want
the ink to spill
like blood,
bringing it all
to bear witness
to what you see
and feel, no
matter how true
or false it might
be. the pen is
your sword, your
saviour, your way
in and out of
the black night.

plow the field

another cup
of coffee goes
down. another
morning, another
day of work, of
plowing the field.
i don't even read
the newspaper
anymore. i know
what it says
before it hits
the porch. it's
all bad news.
i bang my boots
onto the dusty
planks, put
on my hat and
head out. the heat
will have
me soaked in an
hour, i've got
a field to plant,
and then pray
for rain. pray
for the crops to
get full and
and then hopefully
have a harvest.
it's that simple.

night trains

give me what you
can i tell her,
parcel out the love,
the affection, the
daily or weekly
dose of contact as
best you can. it's
all that we can do
now. this modern
love at this late
age is a rolling train
with schedules
that run all day,
and when it can pulls
into the station
at night with the
rails hopefully
still hot and willing.

i'm thinking that

i need a new suit.
black perhaps, a
new pair of shoes
to match and a red
tie, like a flame
across my white
shirt. i need some
bling, some cuff
links and a watch,
maybe a diamond ring.
i could use a shave,
a haircut and a rub
down, a shot of booze.
i need a dab of polo
cologne across
my cheeks, a flower
in my lapel. i need
a brassy brunette
with flashing brown
eyes and killer legs.
i need to step out,
get off the ranch,
away from all these
chickens and mooing cows.

Friday, June 18, 2010

read to me

read to me
and let me
fall asleep
with your hand
touching mine.
your heart
so close.
read to me
a tale where
good things
happen, and
in the end
all is well.
read to me
and watch me
go gently
into that
good night,
knowing that
you'll be there
when i awaken.
read to me,
that's all
i need
right now,
to hear a
story where
no one ever

unlike us

there is no visible
fret in nature, no
sighing, or heaving
of hearts among the
trees or wildlife,
the stream doesn't
sag in sadness at no
rain, or at a deluge,
their is no grief
in snow or heat,
or sheets of ice
that find a way
to cover everything.
it all just happens,
death comes, life
goes on, everything
on it's own merciful
clock, so unlike us.


she tells me that
she believes every
single word in the
bible, straight through,
from moses, to
jonah and the whale,
to noah and the ark
to jesus and mary,
the water and the wine,
and of course
the ressurection.
there is not a hint
of doubt in her faith,
and she gets none from
me in return. she
asks me if i'd like
another beer as she
puts her cigarette out
in the can of the one
she just finished.
the doorbell rings,
that's the chinese
food, she says, i've
got it. and so we go
out to the patio in
the garden and drink,
and eat peking duck
with plum sauce,
and discuss salvation,
damnation and dinosaurs
and natural selection,
limbo and the aborigines,
and when it's almost
midnight we go to her
bedroom for a moment
of silence, well,
not exactly.

cotton candy nightmare

i'm not fond
of cotton candy,
as you may well know.
the pink or the blue
kind. having once
caught my arm
in the machine
as it spun wet dry
sugar into furious
hairy cones of
stickiness. i am
scarred for life
with that memory,
and often wake up
in the middle of
the night screaming,
no, no, not again,
as the carnival
roustabouts bang
their mallets
against the motor
in an effort to
save my life.

accountant by day

her job, well, her
night job was to keep
them on the line, the
men with their husky
voices and low quick
pants, like animals
trapped in corners,
caught up in something,
or someplace they
shouldn't be. she had
a day job too, and
three kids in elementary
school. please don't
answer, don't every
answer mommy's special
phone she would tell
them when the beep
beep beep of the line
rang through the house.
it's mommy's work, so
let me take this call
in the bathroom, where
she would place a rolled
towel at the bottom
of the door to dull
the sound of her talking
to these strangers, these
men with dark and not
so dark needs of a
sexual nature. please
give me your credit card
number, she'd politely
ask, and your three
digit code on the back
and your expiration date.
and then the clock would
start. sometimes she'd
be in the middle of
folding clothes and
would bring them into
the bathroom with her,
or mixing up a cake
for her daughter's birth
day party the next day,
and she stir while talking
the men into imaginary
bliss. she said that
the money was amazing,
much more than her day job,
but it was taking a toll
on her soul. she was
beginning to hate men.
all men. everyman and
their needs, their secret
desires and lives. once
i get my new car, i'm
done she said. and maybe
a pool for the kids out back.

the day off

you need the day off,
one day of rest
of doing nothing,
going nowhere, just
finding a spot in
the sun and stretching
out like a cat on
the window sill. so
you make the call,
you cancel the job,
delay it until monday,
you push appointments
to the side, the favor
you were going to do
can wait. you tell
the cable guy not to
come, the neighbor
sees you and wants
to know what's
up. your son calls
and gets nervous about
next year's tuition.
your mother sees you
online and wants an
explanation as to
why you are home in
the middle of the day
and if you're free,
why don't you come
over for lunch.
and finally you just
give up and go to work.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


she told me over
wine, in a restaurant
about to close,
while discussing
pasta and sauces,
that meatballs bored
her. i laughed and
said what. pfffft.
meatballs. she said,
throwing her hair
back and taking
the last sip of
wine. as i do
with my men, i'd like
a more complicated
meal, thank you.
and at that point i
knew i was in trouble.

the long goodbye

she tried several
times to get to
the other side. pills,
a razor, a leap into
the river from a too
low bridge. but the
efforts were weak
and she promised
wearily to do better,
as did sylvia or anne,
or countless others
awash in the brackish
waters of their
minds. she once
wrote a letter in
a car, in a park
overlooking the grey
river as the rain
turned the windsheild
into one large tear,
it was a long farewell
to everyone that
mattered, though not
enough to stay. but
then the sun came out,
and the rains stopped,
and she lost her
nerve, her enthusiasm
for death dwindled,
at least for that moment,
and she put the gun away.

in the woods

the sky can't
make up it's mind
shifting from sun
to clouds, from
breeze to utter
stillness, but the
trees don't mind,
nor do the red fox,
or deer that lean
out in the shadows,
getting ready to
step towards the place
where we once were.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

bon voyage

i need a vacation.
somewhere warm.
someplace fun,
whatever fun might
be. i'm not so sure
anymore. i think naps
are fun at this stage.
but you can come along
if you'd like. don't
bring much. some money,
some clothes. no watch,
no maps, no phones.
we can linger on
the beach and make plans
to do nothing, but
make love, eat, drink,
sleep. repeat and rinse.

gone fishing

i laughed when
he told me about
the fight the fish
put up at the end
of his line, a
steel hook embedded
in his numb hard
lip, his body
in shock at the
tug and pull of
biting into the
fake red worm
that wiggled
delightfully just
beneath the shimmering
blue. for the fish
weighed three pounds
and he weighed
in at two hundred
ten and while dressed
in camouflage he
carried a knife,
and an electronic
underwater tracking
device. next week
he'll be hunting in
the woods, hiding
in some bushes,
with his high powered
scope rifle,keeping
still, eating beef
jerky and awaiting
the big bambi kill.

separate nests

i married young,
then in the middle,
i'm deliberating if
a third and final
ending to this three
act play can happen.
i doubt it, although
i'm not immune to the
possibilites, just
as i'm not immune
to leaping into
the air and flying
about like a bird.
i lean now towards
the exclusive thought,
with separate nests
in separate parks,
with very high trees.
i don't find reason
anymore in having
a business contract
for love. where is
the trust in that, in
clipping one's wings.


when an old
shirt dies,
and the buttons
go, the sleeve
gets torn,
and the fit
mishapened, you
go out and buy
another. this
is how it works
in retail and
in love, or so
i thought.

the one

in the photograph,
behind the others,
lined in subtle rows
of choosing, those
on their knees,
or center, or standing
tall, having gone
there for a reason,
you are on the edge,
nearly out of range.
your smile quietly
being the light.
and this is what
i like about you,
there is no push or
pull, no trying to
find the middle and
be the one, you are
that without effort.

dr. seuss in the house

none of your
poems rhyme
she says while
slowly licking
an icecream cone
and sitting back
on a hill of
pillows on the
white sheets
of my bed. i'd like
it better if you
tried once in
awhile to rhyme
a few words. just
give it a shot,
i'd like it alot.
that's when i kiss
her and say okay.
maybe i will, if it
gives you a thrill.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


before it rains
i need to go
to the store,
buy some stamps,
write you a
long letter and
mail it. before
it rains i need
to plant some
tomato seeds in
the back yard,
prune them,
brace them for
the hard times
ahead. before it
rains i need
to save some
money for when
the day comes
that i no longer
have the strength
to do what i do.
before it rains,
i need to find
the hole, to
to fix the leak
that drains
the love between
me and you.

for the kids

the first bank
i robbed was so
easy. no gun, just
a bar of soap
carefully carved
to look like one.
i was nervous,
of course, my
mask was soaked
with sweat, but
it went well. i
disguised my voice,
made it deep and
gravelly, like
my ex wife shirley's,
who put me up to
this to help
with chld support
and alimony. she
planned the whole
thing actually
and drove the get
away car, well,
mini-van. we even
stopped for some
drive thru
burgers and fries
on the way home.
her home now, i
have a studio
apartment over
the liquor store.
we're on our third
bank now and i'm
almost caught up
on my back payments,
so she's happy,
i'm happy, but it's
exhausting. strangely
we have been getting
along alot better
since we started
robbing banks. in fact
we once pulled over
after doing ninety
on the freeway to
escape the cops
and made out for awhile
in the park where
we ate our lunch
and split up the dough.
i'm only doing
this for the kids
i told her while
in the back of the
van. i know sweetie
she said, i know.


i see you lying
on the couch
like cleopatra,
with a snake wrapped
around your long
arm. overflowing
bags from nordstoms
and neiman marcus
are everywhere.
your dark hair
is gleaming
in the late
egyptian light,
your eyes and lips
are black, and wet.
a small boney man
is in the corner
playing the lyre,
while a schoolboy
drops grapes into
your mouth, and fans
you with palm leaves.
and this is what
you do all day
while i go to work
and slave. putting
blocks of granite
on top of one another,
building our future
home, the one we
quietly call a grave.

Monday, June 14, 2010

the game

she confronts you
on a sunday afternoon,
back from mass, hands
on her hips, still
wearing her white
shoes, and carrying
her tiny pink purse.
you're insensitive
to the needs
of others, she starts
with. you're callous
and cruel, you are not
a good person. she's
pointing now with the
church bulletin rolled
up into a tight baton.
no wonder bad things
are happening to you.
all you care about
is yourself, your money
and your time are all
yours. you have no need
for someone in your life.
no room for love, no
sense of family. it's
all about you, what
you need and want. why
do i bother sticking
around. why, she asks.
why. and you want to
answer these things,
address them all, but
instead you say, honey,
please, your blocking
the game, you're standing
in front of the t.v.,
move just a little to
the left, yeah, right
there. now what
were you saying?


step up
on the scale,
breathe in
breathe out,
bend and swallow,
arms up
arms down, gargle
and spit. close
your eyes
and touch your
nose. open
your mouth.
does it hurt
when i do that.
how about that.
follow my finger.
focus and blink.
just a little
pinch and the
blood will come
out. how long
have you been
lost and unable
to remember
your name. say
your prayers,
the worst
is yet to come.


on a whim
i leaped
out of a
plane over
orange county
above the quilted
fields, and
cows. the clusters
of trees, and
blue ribbons
of water.
i was sick
with fear
that the chute
wouldn't open,
that i would
to earth
like a stone,
and yet it
did, it bloomed
like heaven
above me and i
painlessly to
the ground
with limbs and
heart in tact.
now that i've
gotten that out
of the way, my
next leap might
be you.

three wishes

given three
wishes and blown
through two,
i realize now
that the
the cadillac
and the blonde
twins from sweden
were big mistakes,
now i sit on
the pressure
of having one
wish left, and not
knowing what
to do, perhaps
i'll heal the sick,
feed the hungry,
clean up the oil
spill, raise
the dead or grow
hair like a movie
star upon my head.
i might need to
sleep on this one.

shadows in the park

old dogs
in the park
on last legs
and light
chains with
barks. once
kings who
slept with
still dapper
in their
suits that
hang on
brittle bones,
the few with
hats are
older still,
and the polished
canes are worn
from striking
steps and doors
to get in,
to get out.
they are ghosts
before dying,
shadows from
the past.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

these steps

these hard steps
of concrete that
lead up to your
door, the black
railing, laced
in ivy, i've seen
a thousand times,
but after tonight
no more. i know
each crack, each
crumble of soft
cement, the clouds
of moss that grow
in dark corners,
and say farewell
with my shoes that
gently tread
upwards to see you.
i'll miss these
steps, for each
one at one time
meant i was another
step closer to you
and sweet, though
fleeting joy.

waking up

suppose one
morning you
woke up
and saw that
you had to work
for next forty
years at a job
that you didn't
love, but you
had to pay the
bills, feed
yourself, your
wife, your
children. you
had to keep a
roof over all
your heads.
and suppose you
got two weeks
vacation to
the jersey shore,
and that you
were able
to buy a new
car every few
years. suppose
you woke up
and drove to
the train station
to get on
a train that
took you into
the city, where
the other million
or so fine
souls were doing
the same thing
as years turned
into decades.
suppose you woke
up one morning
and said no.
what then?


i'd like to know
another language,
perhaps french
or german, maybe
even tagalog,
but truthfully,
at times, i struggle
with this one, it's
difficult in finding
the right word or
words to express
my love or anger,
my disgust or joy
in the day to day
existence between
sleep. even with all
the books read, the
words written,
sometimes the simple
word, the so called
curse word is the only
one that fits.


i was disappointed
at first that my
mother could no longer
put up her dukes and
brawl, that she had
lost several steps,
and was on the defensive
for the first time in
her mothering career.
she was eighty-one
though and had had
a good run with that
left handed jab,
and mean uppercut
that came out of
nowhere. i waved
the referee in to stop
the fight. there was
no sense in it anymore,
she was woozy
and tired, done. she
had forgotten what
the fight was all
about, and her corner
threw in the towel
and finally, once more
i was ten again
and she was thirty
four, the way it always
should have been,
not us in the ring.


when you sigh
and move
like a white
cloud in
spring, above
the green.
i see the
of us, although
i have been
wrong before.
but for now,
in this
sweet moment,
it's nice
to believe in
more nights
like this and
to dream.

the long line

it was a long line
and yet i had to
get in and wait
my turn. the hours
turned into days,
and the days into
seasons. luckily
i brought a change
of clothes as the
weather went from
warm to cold, and
when the rains came
i had an umbrella.
slowly i inched
ahead in the line,
patiently awaiting
my turn. i even had
a sandwich or two
in my pocket. some
mints, a cookie, a
bottle of water.
as time went on
and the line grew
longer, i thought
i could see the front,
the back, but it
always seemed like
i was in the middle.
i read a book, i
counted the stars,
i lifted my spirits
by sleeping. my hair
went grey, my posture
suffered under the
weight of my bones.
i grew heavy in
the middle and my
eyes grew blurry, yet
i stayed in line.
i needed to know
what true love was,
i had heard so much
about it and was
willing to wait and wait
until it was my turn.

true story

it's not all
fiction, once
in a while
a real story
happens that
you want to live
in, to last,
to linger on,
and be a part
of. you want
the pages to
turn slowly, like
leaves drifting
off an autum
tree, you want
the hero to
win the day,
for the romance,
teetering on edge,
to end happily,
you want to hold
the book
for another
night in bed,
with the light
on, and everyone
but you asleep.
while you breathe
in the sweet
folds of a tale
well told.


the meal
won't do,
you need
to skip
the salad,
the appetizers
of shrimp
or crab,
say no
to the bread,
the fish
or steak.
the pasta.
or even a
hot bowl
of soup,
you need to
go straight
to dessert,
to know
the meaning
of life, or
at least
what's next
on the menu
for me
and you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

less being more

the best.
i don't
the eiffel
or a grand
just a
wink or
or whisper
into my ear
from you
will do.

the green light

you can't go
until you see it.
oh sure, a yellow
flashing might
permit a kiss,
but you are in
risk of the light
going red in mid
move towards
lips. don't even
try the red.
you'll hear the
sirens, you'll
pay a fine, it
will set back
on points. you
might even get a
slap. the light
has to be
green. you have
to keep your foot
on the brake,
hands on the wheel,
and be patient.
and when it's
your turn, she'll
go green and there
will be no mistake
about it as your
foot hits the
pedal and you take
the open road.

Friday, June 11, 2010

these plates

they were all once
new, but i'm finding
more cracked dishes on
the shelf. i have
no one to blame this
on, but me. the
son is away at school,
the dog is running
free in his version
of heaven, so it can
be only me who is
chipping and cracking
the dinner plates. i
rub my finger along
the rough edge of
porcelain and shake
my head. i don't know
what goes on behind
the closed door of
the dishwasher.
i never see the pieces,
i never seem to
hear it when they
break, but it doesn't
stop me from putting
them neatly away.
after all they still
shine. i can't help
but feel that it's an
extension of me, these
plates, although i'm
probably wrong. not
everything holds meaning.


i remember as a kid
sleeping outside in
the yard in sleeping
bags with my friends.
and we'd talk through
the night about baseball,
and girls, and the stars
that were as endless
and deep as we thought
our lives would be.
it was hard to sleep
as we listened to the
crickets, to the silence,
to the light sounds
of televisions flickering
black and white in
the houses nearby.
the ground was hard,
and often wet with dew.
and when all of the lights
went out, and the dogs
stopped barking we'd listen
to adults making love
in their darkened bedrooms,
the strangeness of their
voices, their whispers
haunting as we lay
with our eyes wide open
our hearts finding another
speed, unknown up until
that point in time.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

once garden fresh

the frenzy at
the salad bar
is beyond me.
the thrashing
at lettuce
and eggs, hard
boiled, the
round balled
burgundy colored
beets afloat
in what, beet
juice? carrots
shredded and
ignored along
with celery
and cabbage,
why bother. but
the croutons
are everywhere,
as are the bacon
bits, so soft
and gravely,
the blue cheese
is ripe and dug
into like ice
cream scoops,
diced tomatoes,
and little baby
corn from some
strange world
of tiny things,
creepy little
stalks to say
the least. red
onions, white
onins, sliced
olives, whole
olives, all of
it floating in
a moat of grey
soup. and
then the bottles
of sauce, the
oil and dressings
lined up like
barber shop
bottles. it's a
mess, the sneeze
guard is dripping,
the carnage. it's
a roman orgy of
food, the caligula
of the grocery store.
i just want to
find my plastic
spork and begone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

belated wishes

it's her birthday
today, or wait, was
it yesterday. i wrote
it down somewhere,
someplace, on a napkin
perhaps, or the inside
of a book on the history
of cupcakes. but i
know i'm close. it's
this month for sure.
i'll get her a card
tomorrow, one of those
belated wishes cards,
something funny, hmm,
no, maybe something
sweet and gooey, with
a picture of clouds
and birds on it,
maybe some flowers,
a small gift. a bottle
of red wine. who
doesn't like a bottle
of red wine. maybe a
thirteen or fourteen
dollar bottle, nothing
under ten for sure.
i can't believe i forgot
her birthday again.
these birthdays
are killing me.

deep fried

i'm living
on scrambled
eggs and bacon,
toast and potatoes.
i'm on the edge
of gout, the edge
of a culinary
cliff of fried
and greasy food.
i've got the jones
for popeye's
extra crispy
spicy chicken,
i'm eyeballing
that mc D's
third pounder
like a hungry dog
off his chain.
i've worn out
my frying pan
with vegetable oils
spitting and
splattering all
over my kitchen
walls. if i don't
get a piece of
fruit in me
soon an artery
is going to pop.


i remember those
hot nights in barcelona,
the bullfights, the wine
and the sweet green sea
that stretched forever
along the coast of
spain. i remember the
music, the dark eyed
women dancing on the
tables, their castanets
clicking away to guitars
and song. their feet
stomping out the rhythm.
i remember the hot bowls
of paella steaming with
fish and rice, the bread
and oils, the wind of
change holding all of
it in a precarious balance.

orphan annie

it's a blue wednesday
when you get the call.
if it's late it's
never good news. or
the text, short and
sweet. beeping in
the kitchen as
the phone recharges.
sorry, it's
just not working out.
live by the e mail,
die by the e mail, and
text is quicker. it's
the lethal injection
of breakups. the
swift drop of the
blade, the guillotine
ending of a fragile
relationship. i've
killed and died in
all such ways, ah
yes. but a hot bath,
a steak and cheese
a cold drink and a
good night's sleep
and the sun will come
up tomorrow as that
little red headed
scamp annie sings.

avoiding thelma

go around back
and knock twice
on the door
that says no
entry here by
order of the
fire department,
that's where
you'll find me,
i'll be on a
stool, in the
ice room, avoiding
thelma, and the
heat that she
brings, trying
to stay cool.
it's too long
a tale to tell,
and you won't
believe it anyway.
i'm prone to
embellish and
expand on things
lace the lining
with little white
lies. some of it
is true, some
isn't. you decide.
but it's really
all my fault,
always is. thelma
is just a symptom
of some bigger

the list

there is not
enough time
in the day to
do all of these
things that you
say are so
important to
the continuance
of life as you
know it. it's a
long list
of people to
stay in touch
with, of friends
to commune with,
of lovers to
mend fences with
in the hope of
more affection.
not to mention
work, and family,
the dog, the
bills and general
upkeep of nearly
everything that
moves and breathes
within your little
circle of life.
there is not
enough time, and
yet, it doesn't
really matter
most of the time.


i let you drive my
car, sleep in my bed.
take my credit cards
to nordstrom's for a
binge. i cook you
salmon on a daily basis
and buy you grey goose
vodka for your
cold martinis. i let
you watch the lifetime
channel all night,
even when the game
is on, and sit in my
spot on the couch. i
let you use up all
the hot water for your
two hour bubble baths.
if it wasn't
for the one thing
that you do, i'd
seriously consider
ending this relationship.

you are getting sleepy very sleepy

i've been practicing
my hypnotic skills
these days on norma.
she doesn't even realize
that she's clucking
like a chicken, or
barking like a dog,
but everyone else does.
it's lots of fun, well,
for me, not so much
for her. when i snap
my fingers three times
and she comes out of
it she is often on top
of a table gnawing on
a pork chop, or under
the bed trying to claw
her way out of an imaginary
hen house. i know i'm
going to hell for doing
this to her, but she
should have seen it
coming when she met
me and i told her that
i was a magician. instead
she was impressed and
offered herself up
to my hypnotic whims.
oh well.

guilt no more

in an attempt
to assuage guilt
i begin to clean
the house, starting
with the upstairs
rooms and working
down. so much dust
beneath the beds,
on the dressers,
the sheets need
changing, the
tub scrubbed, floors
need sweeping and shine.
each window needs
a spray and a wipe.
by the second room
i feel a little
better, by the time
i go downstairs, i
need a beer and a
short break, i've
almost forgotten
the reason for my
cleaning binge, but
then it comes back and
i begin to vacuum,
i haul out the trash,
i remove everything
from the fridge,
including all three
ketchup bottles,
toss most of it out
and put the milk
and the vodka back
on the shelf.
a fresh start. that's
what i'm aiming for.
i finally squeeze the
mop full of pinesol
one last time, and
give it a swirl
across the glimmering
kitchen floor. done.
i've completely
forgotten what's
her name.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the white flag

do you see the white
flag. yes. that's my
hand holding it up
in the breeze. i am
hunkered down behind
the dunes, behind
the barbed wire i've
constructed to keep
you out. no need
to be angry anymore,
no need to bleed or
bore me with your
volley of words
and accusations.
let the bullets stop.
accept the flag as
a fond farewell and
let's call it a day.


i'm very impatient
in lines, at the store,
the dmv, the post office.
i twitch and tap my feet
or hands, i bite my
lip and fiddle with
the phone. i feel that
there is a dumb quotient
that keeps the line from
moving, and yet i'm a
part of it, and realize
that the people behind
me think of me as i do
of those in front. i try
to find logic and reason
for the ten mile back
up, i want cause for
this delay. i want the
bridge to be out, i
want a herd of moose
to be crossing the road.
i want a sink hole that
smells like china. i don't
want just a flat tire.


quck sand
being a swift
way to sink
and be swallowed
whole is not
a good way
to go. i much
prefer the slower
path of work
and work, and
more work,
and hopefully
small sweet
flowers that
grow between
the cracks.


so you don't believe
anymore. your faith
like fresh snow, so
pure and clean, so
deep and bright has
melted under fire.
enough pain and death
has stung your nights
and days that
the cross means
nothing to you. fables
is what you mumble
as you walk past the
church. mythology
for the weak, for
those who need to lean
on a God they cannot
hear or see, or touch.
so where does that leave
you. no longer do you
doubt, for now you
claim to know, and your
life has become a grave
that you will not
rise from. pity. i
don't know, sometimes
i'm unsure myself.

Monday, June 7, 2010


as you lie
next to me
asleep, your
skin so pale
and warm in
the morning
sunight. i try
to remember
what it was
like before
you, before
this, before
and what i'm
finding out
could be love.
i'd rather
not remember.

the disagreement

it's not okay
to win every
argument, what
fun is there
in that. so
sometimes i just
stay quiet
and let you
ramble on and
on as if you
have a point,
as if you've
logically thought
out what you
are saying and
the words that
leave your
mouth are
not like
wild bees
escaping from
a hive when struck
with a stick.
sometimes a tie
is good. i feel
like that's the
best way to end
the fight,
the disagreement
that we have
about everything
under the sun.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

tornado alley

my new friend
francis is a
scientist of sorts.
she tracks germs
across the country
and makes a chart
and a graph
as to where
the measles have
surfaced or
a rare but deadly
case of bubonic
plague, or scarlet
fever, or even
where the mumps
might be lurking,
it's a weather
report of death
and illness.
she is a tornado
chaser of infectious
diseases that are
swirling towards
a neighborhood
like yours. she
takes her work
seriously although
knows that eventually
the twister will
visit you and her,
and everyone that
breathes. there is no
cellar with which to
grab your little toto
and go to. you
can't stop what's
coming, she says
with a sweet nice
smile fluttering
her big brown eyes,
then puts another
check and number
upon her chart
when you tell her
that you have
a scratchy throat.

the girl next door

a new girl
moved in next door,
although woman
is more correct.
i know. don't
brand me as evil.
i saw her lifting
weights in
the back yard,
doing squats with
a dumbbell, clean
jerks, and presses.
curls. she has
a marine flag decal
on her car. she
nodded at me
while she was
carrying in
her sofa by
herself. i don't
think i'll be
going over anytime
soon for a cup
of sugar. i'm
keeping the music

the new job

the first day
of any new
job is important.
it's in your
best interest
to dress nicely.
dark suit, white
shirt and a not
too flamboyant
tie. you can't
take too many
coffee breaks,
or talk it up
too much at
the water cooler.
it's best to
tone down your
interest in the
and her friend
buffy who works
in accounting.
it's better that
you don't ask
about happy hour,
or the christmas
party and bonuses,
or when the
company picnic is,
yes. the first day
you actually have
to do some work.
be a part of the
team, earn your
keep and prove
your worth, do alot
of firm handshaking
and smiling, but
on the second day,
all bets are off.

the art of the nap

i'm busy
these days
with perfecting
the nap.
you might laugh,
but it's an
art form that
is very under
rated, under
used and mis
my recipe goes
as follows.
try four p.m.
if you are
lucky enough
to be home from
work. take off
all your clothes.
get in bed.
all the lights
are off, the
phone's off
the hook, the
shades pulled
down, the overhead
fan is in motion.
okay. you're
ready now.
put your head
on a pillow,
close your eyes.
see you in twenty
minutes, you'll
awaken refreshed
and ready. you
will be good to
go until midnight.
repeat this on
a daily basis,
and by week's
end, you'll be
calling me up
to thank me, or
sending me flowers
and gift
certificates to


i'm saving
time by
taking the
around traffic,
i'm saving
money by
buying pecans
in bulk.
gallons of
milk and vodka,
instead of
i'm saving
by turning
the thermostat
or up
depending on
the season
and which
way the wind
blows. i'm
waiting for it
to rain to wash
my car, to
take a shower.
i'm living in
the dark, reading
by flashlight.
i'm getting a
cat, instead
of a dog, one
that doesn't shed.
i'm cutting
gathering bonus
points with
each purchase.
i'm going slower,
in the right
lane, i'm
wearing clothes
that have
gone out of
style, shoes
that are worn
thin. i'm
cutting my
own hair,
doing my own
using webmd
to determine my
fate. but most
of all, i'm
saving my
saturday nights
just for you.
aren't you lucky.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the accident

when i see you
limp in on
crutches, your
head bandaged,
and your arm
in a cast, i ask
you why, or
who, and what
happened. you
manage a small
wry smile and
say, you should
have seen the
other guy, but
then you sit
and tell me
that it's your
heart that will
never mend. all
of this will
heal, you'll get
better. she was
the one you truly
loved and now
she's with someone
else. by the way,
you tell me,
never ski at
night while


a small window
is still a window,
a place to
go through
or even out
if circumstances
don't turn
your way. the
window is
from the
door, the front
door or
the back door,
it's too
obvious of
an entrance or
exit. i much
prefer the
window and
the secrecy it
might provide
until things
are more clear.
let's say that
right now, we
have a nice
window, the two
of us to,
climb through.

Friday, June 4, 2010


it was a small
leak, a hose
worn, come loose
where it connected
from the pipe
to the washer,
but the puddle
grew and soaked
the rug, the clothes,
the boxes full
of things i don't
remember. all of
it was wet though,
and ruined.
the water rose
and when i stepped
into the room
it was ankle deep,
then higher, before
i knew it, before
i could find
the cut off valve
it was up to my
waist, then i
was swimming.
it pushed me
out the window in
a rush, with a wave
that took me
to the stream,
that flushed
me down the river,
and finally swept
me to the bay which
put me into
the atlantic
ocean, adrift,
which is
where i am now.
but i am not alone,
there are others
here who also had
small leaks in
their lives that
led to this.
we wave to one
another, but there
isn't much to say.

take care of my bird

i see her
in the morning
with that look,
my wife of ten
and the day
hasn't even
started. she's
biting her
nails, putting
too much sugar
into her cup
of coffee. she
doesn't even
stir or add
cream. the news
paper is in front
of her on
the kitchen
table. i ask
her what's up
with that oil
spill, pointing
at the paper
and she's says, what.
oh yeah, right. i
heard something
about that. but
listen, she says.
she puts her hand
on the suitcase
that sits next to
her rolled up
yoga mat, and
blow dryer.
i'm going away
for a few weeks,
i met someone
and want to see
how it might go.
can you feed my bird
while i'm gone.
i study her for
a minute, then pour
myself a cup
of coffee.
i'll think about
it, i say. i'll
think about it.
but i really don't
know much about
birds. i can't
make any promises.

green lights

the lights
go on,
and stay on,
a whole string
of green
lights against
the night sky,
the road
is open
and there is
no need to brake.
the kiss
is good,
the moment
just right.
you want to
stay on
the open road
a little
longer, hit
the pedal,
hug the curves,
take the long
way around,
and enjoy
the wind, the
view. you
want to see
what lies
ahead on this
new road
you've taken.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


you said that
this would be fun.
that no one would
get hurt,
handcuffs and
whipped cream.
so you cuffed me to
the bed in my bvd's,
but it's been three
hours now, and you've
taken the key.
i heard the car
start as you pulled
out of the driveway.
you even took the
whipped cream.
this is no way for
a relationship to
start out. in fact
i would say that
the trust i had
in you has been
it may even be
irrepairable if you
don't return soon.
the wedding is
definitely off, and
if i ever get out
of here i'm cancelling
the cake, the band,
the hall. i'm losing
circulation in my
arms and legs and
other places.
it's not good.

new rain

under the
flash of
the rain
is a delicate
wash on this
heated soil.
it shimmers
up in soft
waves of steam
as we walk
and soaked,
going down
to where the
rush of new
water fills
the stream.
we want love
to be like
this. warm,
and dangerous,
always fresh
and taking
us somewhere.

no more parades

the parade moves
slowly through
the empty streets.
it's not a good
parade, a few cars,
a couple of delegates
with ribbons and sashes
sitting in the back
seats, their knowing
faces grey with tight
lipped smiles.
a beauty queen or
two, pale as death
itself, with frozen
lips and a dozen
roses perched
up on a convertible.
nobody cares. behind
her a few motorcycles
rumble on, loud
and leaving a cloud
of fumes. flags line
the way. a band
of old soldiers
missing the beat,
playing on and on
into dusk. no one
gives a damn. they
just want this war
to end, and the next
one to never start.
please, no more parades.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

it's all over now

she doesn't
drink anymore.
or smoke, no more
lines of coke,
or random sex
with guys she
meets in bars.
she's been
to driving
school to get
her points down
and in rehab to
dry out for 30
days with some
rich celebrities
that she can't
talk about. she
has to blow
into a tube
to get her car
started, and can't
even have a teaspoon
of cough syrup
without setting
off the alarm
and locking it up.
she tells me,
between coughs,
about all the fun
she used to have.
the cough is bad,
the kind that rattles
your bones,
sears your lungs,
makes your eyes pop
and water. i used
to be alot of fun,
she repeats, and
winks her baby
blue eyes. lots
and lots of fun.
i play softball
on tuesday nights
now, she tells me,
and rolls her eyes.
she shows me a black
and blue bruise on
her leg that's
going green. i'm
the catcher, she
says, just shoot
me, would you.

moving time

lately there has
been a man
standing outside
my house all day.
right by the door
near the dying rose
bush. he's holding a
sign made out of
a folded piece of
cardboard saying god
bless, thank you,
please help me.
and in the
other hand is a
red can full of
change and bills. when
i leave to go to
work, i put a dollar
in the cup and he
smiles and says
thank you, but that's
about it. have a good
day, i tell him.
see you tomorrow.
he nods, and says if
you're lucky,
maybe you will.

these boots

i don't own
any boots. not
real boots.
i used to when i
was twenty
and had hair
down my back
and dressed
like a hippy
cowboy in a flannel
shirt and tight
blue jeans, i was
out on the range
riding about
in my 68 camaro,
looking for girls
who might want
to kiss me. i
had lots of
boots, ridiculous
boots, black
leather, brown,
crazy fake snake
skin boots. i
think i even
had a butterscotch
colored vest, god
help me. the
boots i have now
are rubber, or
vinyl, and i
bought them from
LL Bean, out of
a catalogue. i put
them on now when
it snows and i
need to dig
my car out. no
longer a camaro.

giving blood

ah ha, she says,
hands on her hips,
standing over me
after i've fainted
onto the kitchen floor
from giving blood to
the insurance man
who sits there
filling out a chart,
checking off some
box that will increase
my rate tremendously.
ah ha, she says
again, my funny
happy wife, so pleased
to see me weak, and
out like a flickering
light. i can feel
the cold linoleum
against my cheek,
as i come to, and
hear her whispery voice
as she laughs and says
would you like some
juice and a cookie.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


i like what i see
in this fire,
how it burns and
won't go out.
it's been too low
for too long,
it's time for heat,
for the flames
to reach out and
lick the sky.

some words i've never heard

you'll catch cold,
here, be a good
boy, put this on,
wrap this scarf
around you.
where's your hat,
your gloves,
did you do your
homework, don't
forget your lunch,
milk money, it's
on the table.
did you take the
dog out, comb
your hair, you
can't go to school
like that. did you
brush your teeth.
wait for your sister,
hold her hand
when you cross
the street, hurry
now, don't be
late. be a good
boy. behave.
don't fight. watch
out for cars, don't
talk to strangers.
listen to your
teachers, come
straight home. be
a good boy. dinner
is at six. we'll
all eat together
when your father
gets home from work.