Tuesday, November 30, 2010

iowa

you decide
to move on
with your life.
you pack a
bag and go
to the bus station,
you buy a ticket
to iowa. you know
no one in iowa,
which is a good
thing. there will
be plenty of
strangers there
who won't be
bored by you
and what you have
to say. it's a
fresh start. and
when you board
the bus and find
a window seat and
the bus pulls out
from the station,
you wonder if
you've made a
bad decision.
perhaps you should
have given things
another chance.
perhaps you should
have done something
that you haven't
thought of yet.
it's foolish, this
kind of thinking and you
fall asleep for a
very long time, and
when you awaken
the windows are
full of fields,
full of corn, wheat
like burning brush
as far as the eye
can see, long
stretches of
green fields with
arcs of water criss
crossing the rows
and rows, and rainbows.
but this saddens you.
you are already
bored with iowa
and it's farms and
endless planting
and harvesting. you
decide that you
hate iowa and
that five minutes
there is four too
many. you realize
suddenly that leaving
is harder than it
looks.

wanda

you want to take
her with you, but you
know better. she
can't leave what
she can't leave.
even if you were a genius
you'd never ever be
able to figure out
a way for this to
work, and you ponder
this dilemma until
you get sleepy
and drowsy, but it's
too early for sleep
so you call up wanda,
who has a kind heart
and is very patient
with problems,
she used to live
next door to you
and baked you bread
when you didn't
want bread and
brought you wine,
when you wanted
something else. but
she was willing.
and now all you
want from her is to
listen to listen to
your problem, to be
quiet and listen.
but wanda wants to
come over, she wants
to talk in person
and says that she
can be there in
twenty minutes or
less, she just needs
to take a shower,
put on some make
up and get dressed,
and walk the dog.
i try to stop her,
but she hangs up.
and now i'm really
sleepy, so i post
a note on the door,
wanda, i'm upstairs,
the key is under
the mat, if you bring
food or wine, put
it in the fridge.

the note

you find a hand
written note
on your door
when you arrive
home from work.
but you don't read
it. you'd rather
not. you'd
rather believe
in what the note
might say. you
are an optimist.
and this makes
you feel good,
not reading the
note. and you
decide suddenly
to live your life
this way, to ignore
all notes, all
forms of
communication that
could take you down
a dark road. you
want the note
to be one of
praise, one of
luck and hope,
one of renewed
love and affection.
so you fold the note
and place it in your
shirt pocket. you
feel that the note
is a blessing of
some sort, that
life has changed
for the better.
and then you go to
your car to leave,
but the engine won't
start. and you take
the note out of
your pocket, unfold
it and read it
and it says 'you
left your headlights
on, we knocked,
but you weren't
home. sorry.'

you don't know me

you don't know
me. not really.
what you see is
just a glimpse,
a mere facade of
smoke and mirrors,
me pretending to
be someone i think
i should be. these
are not even my
clothes, or shoes,
or hat. these gloves
barely fit. i
am wearing another
man's watch. at
night i sleep with
another man's wife
and take his child
to school. i walk
his dog. i am
not who you think
i am. the money
that's in my pocket
belongs to someone
else. my desires
are not mine, but
ones that i have
learned through
reading and
observation. i
have stolen all
of my beliefs from
others while on
the train listening
to men cry and
confess to priests
about their sins
and wasted lives.
i am growing old
in someone else's
body and will
be buried under
another name. you
don't know me,
not really.

inexhaustible needs

you realize
that you have
inexhuastible
needs. you need
food and water
sleep, love
and affection
and sex. these
needs are constant
with varying
degrees of desire
and want. and
you spend so much
of your time
trying to fulfill
these needs
or ignoring them.
but they won't
leave you alone.
they call to you
every day. they
tug at your shirt
sleeve, they
stir you in
the morning, or
late at night.
and with every need
there is a choice,
a good one, and
perhaps a bad one.
and so it goes.

this is where you'll live

you decide that this
is where you'll live.
this is where you'll
open the boxes of
your life, put your
furniture, hammer nails
into the wall for
your pictures, place
your bed against
the wall that gives
the most light. you
decide that this is
where you'll be for
a long time. and you
will drink coffee at
the small table in
the kitchen, and let
the cat sit on the
sill above the sink.
and the dog will lie
on back of the couch
and watch the birds
and squirrels. you
decide that this is
where you'll sleep,
where you'll fall into
dreams deep into
night, when winter turns
to spring and you will
be happy in your solitary
life, you will
find comfort in your
choice living here.
you will embrace
the seasons from your
back window. and you
will lie to yourself
everday, over and over
and say that this
is enough, my books,
my house, my pets,
my writing. you will
try so hard to believe
that it is enough, and make
it come true, but it
isn't so. and
the absence of love
will overwhelm you and
you'll fear that this
is it, that this is all
there is and you'll
question where did
all of that time go.

the world

don't believe
the world. don't
shake your hand
with it, or join.
we are born into
this, but you can
choose. you can
take another road.
the narrow road.
higher ground.
don't believe
the world. it
offers little that
will last and cure
your lonliness,
fill you up, or
quench your thirst.
don't believe the
world, and it's
sweet kiss, it's
sultry whisper
that it can
give you more
and more, as if
that will ever
be enough. it never
is. don't believe
the world.

when they find me

when they find me,
i am alone.
i am who i used to
be when i was
young. i am youthful,
my hair is thick
and brown, my limbs
are lean and strong,
i can run with
the wind of summer,
i have no lines
on my face, my
life is suddenly what
it used to before
time erased so
much of it.
i am alone when
they find me
and i have forgotten
what love is,
how love hurts and
destroys you. i only
see the good in
everything, in
everyone. i only
know the possibilities
not the closed
doors. but i am
alone when they
find me. i am
young until i am
told that i am
dreaming. that i
am an old man
near the end,
and someone
whispers into my
ear as i lie
there in the tall
grass of my youth,
in the ashes
of my spent life,
the future is not
what it used to
be, and i begin
to cry, i begin to
sob, knowing
that it's true
and i reach out for
her hand, but
she's not there, i
am alone when they
find me.

thin ice

i'm in a dangerous
place right now.
i can hear the ice
cracking below my
feet. the weight
of me is shattering
the thin sheet
spread like icing
on a cake across
the frozen lake. my
lips are blue, my
heart has slowed
to a point of near
unconsciousness.
the bloom of hot
air that comes from
my lips are slow
small clouds. i am
bleeding life, as
i stand still,
neither leaving, nor
coming. i am too
afraid to do either.
my life is in
your hands, reach
out and either push
or pull me in. i'm
exhausted at this
point and would be
fine with either.

simply this

i'm willing.
i'm here.
i'm open for
discussion.
look at my
arms. see how
wide they are.
look into my
eyes and see
how clear
they have become.
it's up to
you. no strings
attached. what
this is supposed
to be will be,
nothing more,
nothing less.

Monday, November 29, 2010

another hundred miles

another hundred
miles and we'll be
home baby.
sit tight, relax.
roll the window
down. another
hundred miles
and we'll be there,
we'll be in
each other's arms,
we'll make love
all night when
we get there.
another hundred
miles and you'll
see what i mean.
you'll understand
exactly how i feel.
just hold on,
another hundred miles
and we'll both
be home. it's not
far from here.
believe me, just
another hundred
miles. that's all.
that's all. i
promise this time.
trust me, we'll
get there. another
hundred miles.

sailing

as your ship
slowly sinks
and mine
sails on. i see
you on deck
waving for help.
mouthing the words
throw me a rope.
a line, something
that will float.
and there is a
part of me that
wants to speed
up, to watch you
go slowly down
into the deep
dark sea that you
so casually ignored.
but you know that i
won't leave you
this way,
that i won't
go and let you
drown, that i
will turn this
ship against
the wind, reset
the sails and
come around.

outside looking in

neither kind
nor unkind,
this way you see
the world, this
girl. but there
is a passive
sigh of, oh well,
that rises to
the top like
cream. you have
somehow managed
to step outside
yourself and truly
see what is real
and what isn't
what it seems.

cherry tree

we used to
pick the cherry tree
clean every year
when they ripened
black and fat
upon the fragile
limbs and branches.
and the man and wife
who owned the house
knew, and turned
off the lights
inside so that we
could have are fill
and think that
this stolen fruit
was the best
fruit of all. and
the juices would
run down our skinny
arms onto our white
t-shirts. and when
so many of us grew up
and stopped our harvest,
moving on to our own
trees in life,
we heard that
the wife had died
and that the man
had taken a saw
and cut the cherry
tree down.

not how it works

she wants a clean
jesus. an uncut
savior in white
linen, two feet off
the ground. she
wants a superman,
a man of steel,
a christ without
the suffering, or
blood, the anguish
of the passion.
she wants him off
the cross and in
the clouds, no
crown of thorns, no
death, no why
have you forsaken
me spoken as the
viel is rent and the
earth broken in
two. she wants a
statue of christ
on the dashboard,
one that glows in
the dark, she wants
no sickness, no
sorrow, no sadness
in this world. but
that's not how
it works, is it?

awaiting news

the old moon
comes out yellow
tonight. a harvest
moon over the bland
empty field that
separates homes
from factory, over
the single black road
in and out of
this town. and
the woods on the
far reach, where
the rubble is
stirs with movement,
kids of age seeking
love, or what they
percieve love to be
at sixteen. and a
an old dog howls
somewhere, and a
the cars have nowhere
to go at this hour.
and the blue lit
rooms with televisions
pulse with the slow
heartbeat of old
age and no age
and another tomorrow
awaiting news.

what's new

there was a time
when i wanted new.
a new car, new
clothes, a new watch.
a new set of lips
to kiss. the old
television
wasn't good enough
anymore. i wanted
to move into a new
house, with new
neighbors, get a new
dog after the old
one passed away,
but i've changed.
i've grown accustomed
to the old. gotten
used to the memory
of what is gone.
i've lost interest
in the new. and that's
where i am right
now with you.

bacon and eggs

he was an old man,
who came to the same
bench everyday where
i walked my dog
in the park,
and sometimes we
would sit and talk.
small talk for the
most part. weather,
sports, small change.
sometimes we'd discuss
the poetry i was
writing. but that week
i wasn't in the mood
for talking, and each
day i would avoid
the bench where the
old man was sitting.
i had just come out
of a relationship
with someone that
i loved, or at least
preceived to be as
love, and i was
dragging, tired,
and bedeviled by
this girl who i
had probably no
business being with.
i had no appetite
for life at the moment,
and the old man yelled
at me from his bench,
hey, what's wrong with
you. mr. poet, you can't
stop and say hello to
an old man anymore?
i thought we were friends.
i smiled and went over
and sat next to him
and told him my story,
which by that point
i was tired from
telling. after awhile
the story becomes
you and you become
the story and that
is what all anyone ever
sees in you anymore.
but i told him just
the same. and he smiled,
he gave my dog a treat
from his pocket, as
he always did and then
he said. i was in love,
once, truly in love.
i am eighty seven and
i can honestly say
that it only happened
once in my life. i
was a very young man
at the time. much
younger than you.
he looked far away,
his eyes were wet with
the memory of this woman.
we were like bacon
and eggs, he said.
i'm not sure who was
which, but we were.
he laughed and nodded.
bacon and eggs. and,
i said, so what happened,
where did she go.
it doesn't matter, he
said. none of that matters.
the only thing that
has meaning is that we
were in love and that
is forever, you can't
change that, you can't
erase that, not even
death will take away
what love is, how rare
and wonderful it is to
have and hold. and then
he looked at me and
smiled. embrace your love
for this woman and let
her go. you will always
have the love, right
here. and he tapped
his chest. right here,
he said again.
bacon and eggs. yes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

the endless games

when my son was young
there was always
a game, a place to
be, a jersey that needed
washed. each sport
having it's season
and then some, as they
overlapped into one
another. it seemed
endless at times,
the long saturday drives
to a field far away,
and the games dragged
on in the rain, or
heat, or cold winds.
and for the most part
it was fun, it was
amazing to be there
standing beside him
as he grew up. it
seems like yesterday
those ten years like
that, those sweet
games of youth,
how quickly this
time comes and goes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

when we were young

there are things
unsaid, that need
to be said, and yet
won't be spoken.
that is the way
of this world.
silence is cruel
like that. it
only deepens what
isn't, stills
the water, clears
the sky to unveil
the awful white
of a new moon.
and the years will
pass, and what was
will fade over
time almost as if
nothing had ever
happened. and i will
age, as will you,
and our lives
will end apart
in separate rooms,
with only the
memory of a sweet
kiss under the warm
and brilliant
summer moon.

mercury

with time
there is less
of her, and
more of me.
and you realize
that with
space and
distance, and
the absence of
voice, that
the balance
of love or
like, or
infatuation
is impossible
to hold. like
mercury spilled
upon the floor
in a a prepetual
roll away
from hand,
and heart.

writing

when you
were young
each day
was different,
each time
you came
home everything
had changed.
someone had
arrived, someone
had left.
chaos was
the order
of the day.
and so you
found yourself
in dreams,
you stepped
backwards into
yourself to
save yourself,
and to eventually
do this, to
write it down,
there was no
other way.

the broken washing machine

my father who turns
eighty three in june
and who won the lottery
a few years ago for
a hundred and fifty
thousand dollars and
tried to keep it hidden
called the other day
to tell me that his
washing machine had
broken down and he was
wondering if i knew
of a good washing machine
mechanic who could come
over and take a look
at it. he said that
he had already wasted
forty five dollars on
it by letting the
handyman who cuts grass
at his condo work
on the motor, but it's
still broken. he has three
retirement checks
coming in on a monthly
basis and hasn't bought
a new pair of shoes
or a shirt in years. he's
never sent a gift or
a card to any of his
seven children.
he never dials long
distance, he waits for
you to call. and he
will die with all of
this hard earned
money. he will pass
away without any of it
being put to good use
towards his children,
his grandchildren or
anyone in this world
that might need
a helping hand. it
may be harsh to say this,
but it's true. he will
never truly get those
clothes clean, not in
his twenty year old
washing machine, or even
in a brand new one.

bon fire

don't refrigerate
your sorrow or
wrap it tight
and tape it for
the freezer, or
store away your
pain and sadness
in the attic,
to collect dust
and cobwebs,
don't save a drop
of those tears
in a bottle like
rain water for
a dry day. don't
tuck away that
bad memory between
the a pages of
a book, pressed
like fallen
leaves. instead
immerse yourself
in all of it,
bathe in the darkness
that you breathe,
then have a bonfire,
and let it all
burn and burn
and burn, and be
done for all
the world to see.

as it is

as the hand
moves towards
her hand
and there is the
soft sigh, and
there is the subtle
blink yes
of the eye,
and the night
slips quietly
by, and when
you lie down
together, and
see the moon
just over the
lip of the window
sill, and hear
the breeze move
brush and limbs
across the open
field, don't
even try to
understand, or
figure it out,
or where it might
go. this moment
is good enough
as it is.

Friday, November 26, 2010

the fourth tv

i felt the urge
to purchase
another tv,
so i set the alarm
for four am to go
get in line.
three is just not
enough, not cutting
it. there is room on
the wall going up
the steps where a
nice 46 inch plasma
would fit just
fine. i could
take down my
oil reproduction of
the rembrandt painting
the prodigal son
and hammer a
nail dead center
for the tv to hang.
no need to plug it
in. they just look
so good right out
of the box, shiny
with that plastic
black trim,
and they are all
on sale for five
dollars at the local
big barn electronic
shop celebrating
the economic holy
day, black friday.
maybe i'll buy two
just in case the others
break at some point.
back up is always
good. i might need
some new phones too,
maybe another camera.
they're all so cheap,
why not.

poetry blog disclaimer

there is an inkling
of truth in some
of this, but then
again, there is
embellishment
and fiction
interwined with
a grain of absolute
reality. it's
not all black
and white. there
are various shades
of colors mixed
within. loves
do come and go,
sadness and
sorrow do sometimes
turn into gold, and
goodness often lurks
on the other end
a darkened street,
or not. but alot
of this is just me
spinning yarn,
muck if you will,
shaking it up,
having fun, relating
tales that may
or may not be true
or false, they
are imagainary
wanderings for
the most part. there
are no intentions
of hurting or saving
anyone with these
words, save judgement
for later, i am neither
as good, or as bad
as others think i am,
i'm just on the road,
on a journey,
and i'm sure that
holds true for you too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the lobster roll

i fell in love
the other night
with a lobster roll,
fresh and cold
on a hot toasted
elongated bun.
i washed it down
with a sweet apple
martini. it was
so thick and fat
with meat, that
i could hardly pick
it up in both hands.
it dribbled down
my arm, got on
my lips, my cheek.
and as we devoured
our little feast,
i couldn't help
but think what
biting into you
would be like too.

buyer beware

she likes
the darkness,
the cold,
the damp and lonely
night where
she can stay
and grow old.
she wants nothing
more than to
take you with
her, take you
down and under,
she sweet talks
you with sadness
and sorrow
and a sultry
pair of lips.
buyer beware,
this can only end
one way. badly.

a place to go

your hands are cold
your feet too.
as is your nose,
the extremities
of you are icy, and
red as we stand
and wait for the
express bus down
town. we shuffle
in place to gain
heat. the sky hangs
low without
movement, the clouds
almost touchable
grey and white, silver.
perhaps the buses
aren't running today,
or are late, or
have taken off
because of the holiday.
it makes no difference.
it's standing here
together, with
a place to go
that seems to matter
more, not
the destination. not
the cold.

tell me where it hurts

tell me where it
hurts. come here,
step closer.
stand in the light.
does that hurt when
i press my hand
into yours, no. how
about now when i
kiss your neck
and whisper into
your ear. tell me
where it hurts,
what about now
when you curl your
body, warm and tender
next to mine, is
there pain, is there
the slightest
twinge of discomfort,
no. well good.
i think you're healed.
we'll have to
repeat this now on
a daily basis until
further notice.

surprise snow

like love,
the whisper
of snow falling
in the night
puts a light
cool layer upon
the ground, it
comes that way,
in a surprise,
the moment of
affection, a
feeling of newness
about to come.
about to rise.

i'll tell you later

you seem distracted
she says, on the phone.
i can hear you typing
in fact. why are you
typing on your computer
while i'm telling you
something very important
about us. so i stop.
what, i ask her, what
is it that you want to
say. then i start typing
again, because i'm in
the middle of writing
a poem about her talking
to me on the phone, and
about to tell me something
of great importance about
us and the future of our
relationship, but i can't
finish the poem until
she tells me what she
has to say, and what
is so important. so i ask
her again, and stop and
say, what. tell me. and
she says, never mind. it's
no big deal. it's just
that, that, and then
she drifts off and i
hear her washing dishes
in the sink, banging pots
and pans around. so i
write that down too.
just tell me, i say again.
what kept you up all night
and made you call me so
early in the morning.
i'm shaking my head now,
but still typing. i hear
the water running and
the dishwasher go on in
her kitchen. i'll tell
you later, she says. we
can talk about this at
dinner. so i stop typing
and say, well. okay.
see you later then.

to the moon

okay, so now
you know that
your heart is
not made of glass
that can shatter
into a million pieces,
or stone, or wood,
or steel, or even
a liquid that can
evaporate in
extreme heat or
freeze when
life gets cold
and unbearable. no.
none of that. your
heart is made
of something else
entirely.
it's made of
some sort of
vulcanized space
age rubber that
can withstand all
conditions and
rebound and regroup
and love all
over again. it's
capable of going
to the moon
and getting you
safely back
home again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

photo albums

you forget sometimes
how far away you are
from the start.
the photo albums
seem surreal at times
and you wonder who
that is in the photo,
with a head full
of brown hair holding
up your two year old
son, near the christmas
tree. and everyone
looks younger, your wife
is lean, and pretty
and as usual dressed
as if in church. and
somehow everyone appears
to be happier, even
me, although i know for
a fact that that isn't
true. it was a
different world then,
illusionary, and yet
real, all at the
same time. holding
on to a pretend
marriage, because it's
what you had to do.
what she had to do,
until it was time to end.

the manger

while filling up my car
with premium no lead
gasoline, because that's
all it takes, standing at
the pumps, listening to
the christmas carols
on the loudspeakers
i can't help but notice
how beautifully decorated
this gas station is for
christmas. i almost forget
the oil spills, and
the toxic fumes that
rise by the minute into
the air depleting the
ozone layer, causing
deadly radiation to give
us skin cancer. the blinking
lights are everywhere,
on every bonsai tree
and bush and strung along
the faux stone wall around
the pagoda garden. blues
and whites, magnificient
reds and greens, i wish
that whoever did this winter
wonderland of joy and mirth
in lights would come
to my house and give
me a helping hand.
there are balloon filled
santas and reindeer on
the roof, floating about,
elves with fat red cheeks
dance in the wind,
tethered to the air pump
and new tire racks on
the side. and in the corner
near the bays where the cars
are worked on and inspected
is a manger scene lit up
with a gold beam of light,
with charlie brown and linus
as shepards, lucy is mary,
pig pen is joseph and in
the mangager is a blowup
figurine of snoopy as jesus,
savior of the world, himself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

black olives

my friend theresa
in richmond who once
wrote to the pope
in rome for love
advice was quiet on
the phone today.
i got the call while
opening up a can
of black olives
that were intended
for thanksgiving day,
her new love, her
new beau, her new
long term relationship
and man was suddenly, or
perhaps not so suddenly,
tip toeing backwards
down the hall. his
calls were shorter,
his texts were weak,
his love making skills
were diminished and
well, let's just say,
quick and to the point.
i could hear sadness
in her voice. this
newness had worn off.
again. a big sigh.
and i listened, i
told here where i was,
how whole i was now,
after a long period
of grief, and she
said she was happy as
she began to cry. i
ate an olive or two,
and told her not to
worry. trust. just
trust. ruthlessly.

chop sticks

somehow i'm losing
forks, at last
count i only had
three left. a year
ago i had twelve,
i'm not sure where
they are going,
or who is taking
them, but it's an odd
thing to say the
least. they are not
heirlooms, or even
sterling silver, my
great grandmother
did not pass them
down to me,
they are just your
basic bed bath
and beyond, grab
a handful of them
off the shelf forks.
i've looked
everywhere they
might be. sometimes
when i eat chinese
food in bed, i'll
bring a fork up,
since i refuse
to use chop sticks,
and it will end up
on the floor,
under the bed,
or between
the sheets. it's not
good, i know. but
there is no one
here to yell at me
for that, so i get
away with it. i
do have a suspect
or two, but they
aren't talking to
me at the moment.
i'm sure they're
wondering where their
earrings are,
and necklaces and
the occasional
mood ring. i keep
them in a drawer
with the chopsticks,
but so far no one
has asked.

Monday, November 22, 2010

survival skills

my mother had
seven children
and when my father
left her for
the avon lady,
her best friend,
she went to work
in a strip mall
bar, first
as a waitress,
then a hostess,
then finally
as a bartender,
with which she
excelled.
being italian,
dark eyed, dark
haired and bosomy
she got it done.
sometimes at two
or three in
the morning i'd
hear a car, or
a truck, or
a motorcycle
dropping her
off in the street
in front of our
narrow brick
duplex. i never
looked out the
window. that part
i didn't want
to know. i didn't
want to own that
memory. and in
the morning,
reeking of smoke,
and beer, and
the cheap cologne
of the men who wanted
her, with her lipstick
smeared, still
in her shiny short
dress and her black
apron, her shoes off,
beneath the coffee
table, she'd
be sound asleep
on the couch, with
seven neatly stacked
piles of coins,
lunch money awaiting
us before we went
off to school.

voice mail

my mother likes
to leave sad
messages on my
voice mail. and
she talks as if
i'm listening,
as if i'm there,
as if the machine
is an ear, my
ear. and she
goes and on,
about this and
that with
no reply from
me, which is not
unlike our real
conversations
either, now that
i think of it.

hop on

i think i can
carry you across
the street, over
that very large
black puddle you
call today. but
that's about it.
i can set you on
the other curb
of your chaotic
life, but i can't
make it through
the alleys, the
freeways, the tunnels,
over the broken
bridges of your
troubled world.
i don't have the
energy or the years,
or the degree
in pyschology to
get you to all
six boroughs. i am
not an ordained
minister.
but how about you
hop on my back and
i'll get you over
there. okay?
it's a start.

illness

i prefer to
see you when you
aren't sick. when
you aren't coughing,
or green, or covered
with little bumps
that make you itch.
i'd like to see
you without the limp,
or the lisp, or
the broken arm, or
sweating with a fever,
and a sore throat.
is that too much
to ask, i tell her.
and she answers. okay,
and how about you
show up without a
broken heart one
day. fair, that's
very fair, i tell
her. a little mean,
yes. but fair.

chicken wings. now.

my friend, rimute,
from germany, all
blonde and brassy
and bold, and not
afraid to smack
you around a little
if you got too
frisky. i'm not
a race horse, she'd
say, slow down.
when she arrived
in town, and
entered her hotel
room she would open
her suitcase and
toss everything in
it into the air,
letting her dress,
her pants, her
shoes land anywhere.
no dresser for
her. and that was
how she lived. and
i asked her if
she'd like to go
to a museum, or
to a show, or to
see a monuement
downtown and she'd
laugh and say, no,
what for. i came
to see you. i
prefer room service.
call them. i want
some chicken
wings. now.

the room of dreams

i went to
the room of
dreams. it's
a place i keep
everything i
conjure in my
sleep. in fact
i added and
addition to
the attic of
my mind to keep
them all there.
there's no
dewey decimal
system to keep
them all in
place though,
they are just
randomly tossed
about, alive
and moving,
ready at the
blink of a
sleepy eye to
come back and
play again.

discarded friendships

i don't know why
i'm so often
surprised at how
hard people's
hearts can be. it
stuns me. i don't
understand
that closing door,
the tightness
of feelings locked
away, thrown
across the room,
onto the floor.
love and friendships
discarded as if
they never meant
a thing. it's
beyond me this way
of thinking.
it catches me
off guard, this
behavior. i'll
never get used
to it.

circling

my sister in florida
keeps moving from one
new house to another,
to be closer to
the beach, to a city,
to something she can't
quite ever get to,
but she tries. she
tries so hard to find
that spot in the sun,
circling like a tired
pup, before settling
down, at least for now
in that oval spot
of sunlight on the rug.

the next party

when you stand
there like that
in your red coat,
like a cherry tomato
out of season,
posing for a picture
against the shimmering
white snow, the
sun setting low
behind us, i can't
help but think
of where you'll
be a year from
now, still in that
coat, cold and
shivering, outside of
arm's reach. awaiting
the next party
to begin with someone
new, and someone
else holding
your camera.

pink balloon

that balloon
you see, way up
in the sky
is you. it's you
floating,
a pinkish hue
into the white
sun. so easy
it floats,
so quickly it
sways and moves
between the clouds
beyond the trees,
over the lake
where we once
rowed together
that late fall
day. and you refused
to wear a life
jacket, that's
how you lived,
how you died, no
rules. that was
years ago,
nearly eight
years. and that
balloon is never
quite gone
from view. i liked
that in you
and still do.

chaos

it's easy to make
the wrong choice,
leave the umbrella
in the car,
i do it all the time,
take the wrong exit,
or make a left instead
of a right. go north
instead of south,
grab the wrong coat,
or put on the brown shoes,
when black would have
worked just fine. it's
easy to ignore the red
flags and go forward when
the danger signs are
everywhere and blowing
brightly in the breeze,
so clear. chaos seems
enchanting, not unlike
you. why is that.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the great wall

i get an e-mail
from china as she
walks along the great
wall. wish you were
here, it says. it's
a really crazy, and
big wall they have
here. not unlike
the one you keep
around your heart.
funny, i tell her.
very funny. don't
fall off, don't
slip and go tumbling
down into the mouth
of a panda bear. that
would be just awful.

litmus test

she's says, come
on, just one more
kiss before we go,
before we leave
this cold parking
lot where the moon
is sharp and round
above this empty lot,
as vacant and white
as freshly fallen snow.
just one more kiss,
before we hit the road.
lips are the litmus
test for the next
encounter, she says,
and gives my lower
lip a healthy bite,
almost drawing blood.
i'm in trouble i
think, as she says
goodnight, please drive
carefully and keep both
hands on the wheel.

don't hide it

lay it down.
set it on the floor
or the counter,
but don't hide
it. put it out
where anyone can
see, where you
can pick it up
and hold it,
touch it, feel
it against your
skin. stare deeply
into what it is
and isn't, and
what it will
never be. and in
time, it will
no longer be
necessary to do
so. you will have
gained another day,
another step
towards wholeness.
and this thing
that you hold onto
so dearly will
be put into it's
rightful place,
and you'll be free.

it keeps coming

in a short time
of rain and cold
and wind, the trees
have been stripped
bare out in the woods,
just beyond the window,
past fence. and you
can see the deer,
the fox run, if you
watch long enough,
and you can see
the smooth silver
reflection of the autumn
stream that feels cold
from even here, on
the second floor.
you can feel the moon
rise, as the sun
melts just barely
high enough to cast
a shadow. there
is no pause in nature.
it just keeps coming.

The Big Bowl

over drinks and pad thai
at the Big Bowl she tells
me about the time she
was in a state of grace
and angels, and where her
heart was still and quiet
while she immersed herself
in prayer and i nod and
laugh and say, hey, i know
exactly what you mean.
the sparkling warmth,
that surreal state of peace
where everything is known.
and the crowd, the pulsing
music and the line
within the restaurant,
and the waiter that
scurries in and out with more
water, and the dessert
tray, are blurs within
our conversation. and here
i thought i was going to
have to find a window,
or a back door from which
to escape from.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

staying put

it's safer sometimes,
you want to believe,
to stay put, to stay
in chaos and confusion.
to stay trapped.
no one can get to you
that way. your heart
is protected from new
love, from having it
broken once again.
your survival skills
lock in. and so
you stay. you sit in
the fire and let the
world around you burn
over and over and over
while the ashes of
your once proud life blow
in the soft warm wind.

giving in

don't try to take
my plum pudding from
me. it's mine, all
mine. get your own.
i'm not afraid of
sharing, not at all,
it's just that you
offer nothing in
return, nothing.
so the plum pudding
is mine. no. not
even a small teaspoon
of it will find it's
way into your sweet
parted lips. what's
that you're saying,
you're whispering into
my ears, making me
flush, hmm. well.
okay. just one
spoonful, but
that's all.

glenda the good witch

there was a time
when my ex wife would
ride her broom across
the threatening cloud
covered skies and write
in black smoke, surrender,
stephen. but that was
a long time ago, and
she's pretty much gotten
over that. but there
have been others up
there on similiar brooms,
with equal passion and
chilling anger. i tend
to lean towards the bad
witches, but i'm trying
to change that, i really
am. glenda, where are you.

almost covered

i'm covered,
i've got car insurance,
home insurance,
health and liability
insurance, i've got
an extra policy on
my new washing machine,
my i pod, and lap top
and i pad and toaster
oven. i'm covered
from head to toe.
my roof is insured
in case the wind blows
a tree onto it,
as is the fence around
the house. i've
got life insurance,
whole and term, i've
got dental insurance,
and insurance on my
travel plans, flight
plan and cruise to
the fiji islands, i've
got assurance from
my priest who says that
i won't be going to
hell. the flu shot
i got the other day
insures me against
the flu, well, at
least that strain.
even my dog has a policy
on him just in case
he needs a new kidney.
like i said, i'm covered
with insurance, but
not compltely. there's
one thing not covered for,
and i think you know what
i'm talking about.

shelf life

when things break
down, it's easy to
tear the mess apart
and get to the problem,
analyze and complain,
examine it from within,
but maybe, just maybe
it's shelf life has
run out and it's time
to get a new one. whether
it be a fridge, a fan,
a car, a computer,
a phone, or perhaps
the dog you've loved
so dearly is now way
beyond it's years,
and the fact that
it can't see or
walk, or bark, or
stand up and pee anymore
is a sign that it's
day has come. love
can be like that too.

silence

silence is the true
church. the real place
to go and worship.
in the hollow of
your quiet, without
words, without a
plan or point, or
purpose, no petition,
no asking, but just
the open silence.
this is where you
will hear the words
you need to hear.
in that stillness
you become whole, you
enter the place
of light. no singing.
no beating of the
chest, no bells or
lectures, or homily,
no choir. silence
is the cathedral of
your faith.

the fast clock

there are times
when the clock moves
too fast, the calendar
pages flip over
and over as if the
wind was involved.
and the world
seems to spin at
a clip that makes
you hold on to the
rail, plant your feet
and take a deep
breath. a week, a
month and a year
transpire like
nothing. each season
is just a blink
of the eye, the new
love you embraced
in may, has become
just a distant memory
in december.

Friday, November 19, 2010

panning for gold

leaning over
the stream
in the hot sun,
knees resting
on rocks and
sand, dipping
the pan into
the thin sleeve
of water that
rushes down
and out from
the mountain
that is full
of snow, and
maybe gold,
sifting through
what comes along,
with heavy arms,
the broken pieces,
the pebbles that
have that shine,
but aren't who
you think they
are, looking for
that one nugget,
that gleaming
gem upon which
to rest upon.

lighting the tree

as the tree goes
up, and the furniture
is moved in order to
make room in the
far corner and the lights
are strung around,
and the bulbs and
ornaments are carefully
placed throughout
the thick green
branches, and the tinsel
is thrown sparingly
about, the angel
placed on the top,
and you hit the
switch in the darkeness
and stand back,
well, it's a good
thing. a very small
and good thing to behold.

victim status

there is a long
line at the counter
for victim status.
it's a grey dark
line that wraps
around the corner.
the lonely and tired,
the jobless, the
divorced and widowed,
the sick and
disenchanted are all
there in their long
coats. they
want to wear that
crown of thorns,
they want to be
known for all that
can't be, for all that
they have lost and
won't get back.
they want you to
know and know and
know the mess that
they are prepetually
in. they want you in
their corner. they
don't want out, they
want to stay in,
and they want you
to join them everyday
for a cup of tea
to discuss it. i can
can do one or two
such cups, but then
it's time to move
on when they don't
listen to a word
i'm saying or refuse
to seek help.

ghosts

in the shadows,
ghosts arrive
from years gone
by. ones you loved,
or thought you loved,
but have revised
that notion with
enough elapsed
time. but these
ghosts linger
in the hallways of
your mind. turning
on the lights
rattling the pots
and pans of your
emotions. but it's
okay, this too
shall pass and
things will once
again, be fine.

in search of

in search of
a cup of normal.
a slice of apple
pie, the girl
next door with
the wind in her
hair and a smirk
in her smile.
edgy and bright,
with a desire
for joy, for life.
all of her baggage
can be stowed away
in the overhead
bin. you know her
when you see her,
and the kiss is not
just a kiss, it's
a beginning. a
start to what
you've always thought
could be, and yet
somehow missed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

divorce

divorce comes in
stages. first there is
the recognition that
it's over, that love
has died or at least
ebbed to the point of
lonliness while with
the other person. sex
is over, or at least
should be in the form
that it's taken. and
then there is the big
talk, the crying, the
fear, the anger, the
accusations, the admissions
of sins, confession
and remorse. okay, some
regret too. but basically
the house is burned to
the ground. then you
go together to counseling
which is like the fire
department spraying water
onto the ashes of your
marriage, it's way too
late. and then the fun
really begins. lawyers
measure you up, count
the money you have before
surrender and off you go.
but the hard part is now,
the limbo period, when
you are stuck together
in the same house, in
different rooms, in different
beds, loveless and
confused, sad and blue.
this is the hardest part.
escape. letting go of
the ties that bind,
the holidays, the furniture,
who gets the dog, the
cat, what days do we
split the child in two
and shuttle him back and
forth from new home to
new home. and money, oh
how the money begins
to matter. it takes over.
who gets the house,
who stays, who goes,
who gives in. and this
is just the beginning.
friends take sides, in
laws and neighbors.
the world will never be
the same, at least not
for a very very long
time. divorce. god help us.

cake love

she bakes cakes in her
sleep. round and layered,
tiered. angel food
and devil's food, all
floating like balloons
in the blue skies
of her dreams. she can
taste them while she
turns in her bed, her head
upon the pillow, a smile
on her lips that savors
the texture of eggs
and sugar, flour and
sweet icings all as
one. and she wishes
that her life could
be as smooth and perfect
as these cakes that
line the shelves of
her slumber and awaken
her with a hunger for
true and lasting love.

pirate girl

she's not a pirate,
but she likes to dress
up like one. with the
boots, black and shiny,
the pants, also black
and tight all the way
up. and that billowing
white blouse with three
buttons, cut loose
and alluring. she has
no sword, or parrot, or
patch on her eye, but
i like what she's got
going on. climb aboard.

the rolling boat

back and forth,
yes and no,
perhaps and maybe,
these are the
waves that roll
the boat, get you
nowhere. i'm coming
for the holidays,
no, i can't, i've
changed my mind,
my flight, my
whole outlook
on life is upside
down. i might get
back with the ex,
perhaps i'll drop
the divorce plans
and make a go of it.
we're so happy
when we are happy.
so no, don't plan
on me coming, don't
overcook, or buy
too much. just set
out one plate, you're
on your own. but
wait, let me sleep
on it. can i tell
you for sure tomorrow?

low on ink

my printer keeps
telling me that i'm
low on ink. i know
that. i really do.
you'll get your ink,
just hold still.
but it keeps
shaking and moving
back and forth,
it seems very
nervous and confused,
almost trembling
with anticipation.
it's blinking
and making squeaky
noises. i know that
feeling, it's exactly
what i go through
when i'm low on
grey goose.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

social marketing 101

my friend jimmy met me
for lunch the other day. he
was really excited. i've got
this great new business
he said, bursting with
enthusiasm. what, i ask,
what is it. it's called
marketing. okay, i say.
what are you marketing.
whatever he says, it
doesn't matter. but it's
a great way to meet women.
beats the hell out of the
internet. they love this
stuff. you get dressed up,
go to happy hours and
'business meetings' and
stand around drinking talking
to attractive women. but
aren't you married? yes,
but, i don't wear my ring
when i'm out 'marketing'. i
tell her i'm out working
late. he gives me a wink.
she's at home watching
the kid, exhausted from
dragging him around to
soccer games and birthday
parties. ha. i'm working
late, babe, i tell her.
she's out like a light
by the time i get home
from work. by the end
of the night everyone
is so wasted no one cares
who's married, single,
or whatever. it's crazy,
i tell you. it's a party
three nights a week.
but what are you selling,
what are they selling, who's
buying anything? pffft, he
says, you are so missing
the point. you collect
business cards and shoot
the breeze, knock down
a few glasses of wine, flirt
around, nod your head alot,
smile, and say serious
things like, my numbers
this quarter are definitely
up or i really feel like
the economy is finally turning
around. be positive and
optimistic, women like that.
these things are a gold
mine i tell you for meeting
babes. he pulls out a stack
of business cards, i got these
last night. it's hard to
keep them straight, who's who.
it's like shooting fish in a
barrel. but, i ask him,
how is anyone making money.
he laughs. nobody is really
making any money except
the people throwing these
'events'. they collect
the fees to get in.
most people are losing money
doing this, but hey, they're
hooking up. hmmmm. so you quit
your day job to do this?
hell no, he says, i need
some source of income. why
don't you come with me
next week. put on a nice
suit. it's martini night
at the local executive's
business association, it's
at aldo's italian restaurant,
women love that place.
they flock to these happy hours
like bees around honey,
networking. trying to hit
that homerun with some guy
with dough. get some business
cards made up too. you'll need
plenty. what should i call
myself? hmmm, how about
senior vp marketing executive,
east coast division. perfect,
he says. it starts at
seven or so and runs until
midnight, unless you
get lucky. he laughs. i keep
an overnight bag in the car
just in case. well,
i gotta run, he says. i'm
working. i've got a lunch
date at one, i mean 'business
meeting' and another one at two
with these women i met
the other night at happy
hour, i mean the networking
strategy event. ha. he
waves his blackberry at me
that is blinking and buzzing
off the hook, then slaps me
on the back, see you friday,
for work! don't forget those
new business cards, buddy.
welcome to the wonderful
world of marketing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

escape

when you try
the back door
and it's locked
you go for
the window, but
that too is sealed
shut, then you
check the air
vents, and boost
yourself up with
a box from the
corner, you feel
that you can
shimmy your way
in, and through
and out the other
side or to the roof,
who knows, so you
slowly turn
the screws and
remove the screen
then slide halfway
up and into the dark
shaft, but then you
feel a tug at your
shoe, there she is,
pulling you right
back in. and she says
sweetly, where you
going baby, it's
not quite over,
not yet. i'll
decide that. now
come down from
there and give me
a big kiss.

the blackberry blues

who are you texting
now, my dear, or
e-mailing, what
is that beep, that
bong, that music,
the tweet, the twitter,
why are you typing
while we are eating,
driving, making love.
why do you sit in
your car for ten
minutes when you arrive
to catch up on those
fifteen missed very
important
communications, what
the hell is so
urgent that they
can't leave you alone.
where are they now,
where will they be
in ten minutes. what
are they eating,
drinking or saying,
or doing this very
second. oh please,
let's find out.what
are they wearing,
and who are they with.
we need to know,
don't we. the whole
world has turned into
a fifteen year old girl.
it keeps lighting up.
morning noon and night.
it never stops. why do
you tilt it away, so
that i can't see it,
who are these people
that can't leave you
alone, that can't for a
minute give you rest
from that gizmo in
your hot hand. why do
you have to go to
the bathroom so
often, or leave
the movie theater
right in the middle,
it's beyond rude, it's
absolutely crazy.
a sad social addiction.
it's midnight, please
make it stop for just
a solitary moment.
i can't wait to get mine
just to show you
what i mean.

mon ami gabi

there was an old
trio in mon ami gabi
the other night
in bethesda, silver
hair, or no hair,
a paunch on two,
and the other one bone
thin, lanky and lean,
with his clothes
just hanging on him.
he was on the drums,
his eyes half closed.
but they could play,
jazz, and blues,
their fingers blistering
fast and smooth
on the bass,
the sax, deep and
tender, slight smiles on
their lined faces,
they've been playing
like this for decades,
you could tell, not
missing a note,
as tight as a trio
could be, it was
wonderous and warm
as the night went on
and the wine was
poured and the food
kept coming, they
kept playing and
playing and made me
wish that you were there.

the waitress

my waitress, with
the starched pink
uniform, pouring
coffee and showing
more cleavage than
anyone wants to
see, asks me what's
up, why aren't you
eating, just toast,
no eggs, no bacon.
come on bud, have
an omelette. let
me have the kitchen
make you some french
toast, on me, she
gives me a wink.
no really i tell
i her. i'm not
hungry. it's a girl,
isn't it, she
says, and smiles,
the hot coffee
pot still in her
hand. hell, honey,
as cute as you are
you won't have any
problems finding
a new one. there's
another bus coming
down the street
every ten minutes.
pfffft. just go
stand out on the
corner for awhile,
you'll see. now what
can i get you, girls
don't like no
skinny boys. okay,
i tell her. scramble
me up some eggs,
sausage, more toast,
and some home fries.
there we go, she laughs.
coming right up, then
she wiggles away
in her tight dress
while looking over
her shoulder at me.

music

that sound you hear,
that eerie quiet,
that lack of conflict
or concern, the absence
of drama, and just
the steady rain on
the leaves outside
my window is music,
a quiet storm of
silence that embraces
the day, and me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

pruning

pruning, thinning
the brush, cutting
back the weeds
that choke the beauty
and soul
out of a garden.
digging up the bramble,
the vines that
wrap and break
the fence, softens
the brick as it
climbs up the wall.
cutting away
the dead branches,
the poison ivy,
sweeping up the leaves
that pile into
corners, heavy
and wet. getting
rid of everything
that isn't true
or brings beauty
to the yard and me.
it's hard work, but
it has to be done.

fly away

it's easy, she says,
do this. pack your
bags, get a ticket,
get on the plane
and just go. why not.
pick an island,
select a place,
somewhere you've
never been before,
and just get there.
go now before you're
too old, before
you're involved
again with someone
new. lock the house,
stop the mail,
pack lightly
and fly away.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

town square

the church bells
in the town square
would awaken me
on sunday morning with
new snow on the
ground and her
beside me sleeping.
it wasn't long
after being divorced
for the both of us,
and this togetherness
was as fresh as
that fallen snow
outside on the grass,
lacing the cars
and streets.
frosting the thick
pine trees along
the frozen pond,
but the bells didn't
move her, it was
where she lived.
they were a part of
her sleep, her dream,
but for me they were
music, they were loud
and lingering with
the start of some
new path i was on,
although without her.

the turnstile

in new york city once,
when my son was ten or
eleven and we were
just there for the night
we took the subway
everywhere, and there
was a man, an older man,
working the booth who
winked and smiled at
my son, and said you
don't have to pay,
just go under son, go
under the turnstile
and live a little, it's
fine, i'm telling you
it's okay, and he
laughed with all of
his years behind him,
still on the job,
still in his well
lighted square of home
away from home, watching
the thousands of souls
arrive and leave, finding
some sweet joy in it all,
day in day out, forever.
and so my son went
under, and off we
went into the cold
new york night while
the man waved and smiled
with delight.

what follows is this

what follows often
at the end of love,
at the end of
sadness and retreat,
what often lies in
the wake of tears
and sorrow and missing,
is a fragile kind of
relief. and you turn
that hard corner,
with a sigh
and leave the cold
room of despair, you
find the sun is still
as warm and caring
and gentle upon you
as it always was. and
food finds you again,
and fills you once more,
and sleep takes you
into her dark and sweet
arms and gives you
rest. you find new
clothes to wear
and your heart
heals, and begins
again to believe in
all the things that
gave you joy and hope
and wonder in this
temporary world.

at the zoo

the zoo is a sad
place, really.
the beauty of
the caged beast,
the lion, the zebra,
narrowed out
in stripes of
black and white
behind cold bars
and grazing on
a thin patch of
grassy dirt.
the gentle roar
of the tiger is
less of wonder,
and more of his
fatigue and slumber.
and the chatter
of monkeys is not
unlike the traffic
in the city, even
the giraffes,
so spotted orange
and leaning towards
the tall trees
almost bare of
leaves are melancholy
in their stature.
and down through
the tunnel
where the fat
and furry pandas
hide, shy, and
shadowed behind
the glass and long
and anxious prodding
lines. i'm no happier
when leaving the
zoo, less so,
perhaps.

the deep end

come with me,
jump into the deep
end where the water
is dark and cool,
mysterious in it's
depth. come swim
with me when the
sun is out, when
the moon is up,
open and white
above us. come
hold me in these
waters, and let's
get to the other
side together. take
a chance, take
a dive, remove
your clothes and
leap towards love.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

embers

the chill
in the night
air does not
cool the fire
that burns
within.
the heat
of that moment
survives even
with the passing
of time
and seasons.
the embers
easily stirred
with just the
slightest turn
of the wrist
into the belly
of the stove.

the glow

a million
silver balloons
called stars
are adrift
in fixed points
along the coast
of nightfall.
clustered and
separate, but
brilliant pin
points beyond
reason, like
ideas brimming
to be told, like
love when it
begins with
a glorious
glow.

christmas island

there is an island
in the south pacific
called christmas
island where millions
of red crabs migrate
to the sea every
year, and from above
it looks like a red
carpet moving across
the warm white sand,
they know from birth
to death what they
need to do, in which
direction to go and
how to return home
again. how nice
that is. how simple
and yet complex our
lives can be, in
finding home,
in finding our
own sweet blue sea.

Friday, November 12, 2010

ice cube tray

i have seven ice cube
trays, yes, that many.
however, i only use
just one. the one
on top of all the
others. a clear blue
plastic tray that i
fill to the brim
every other day. i pop
the cubes out of that
one and have them tumble
into the white plastic
box on the door. i don't
believe in icemakers.
which may be connected
somehow to my relationship
with my mother, but i'm
not sure. i'd rather
do the tray, despite
the fact that i always
seem to be breaking
them free when i'm on
the phone with you
and i lose those fifteen
seconds of conversation
because of the noise,
the racket of cubes
crashing against
one another. i can't
hear anything when
i do that. perhaps
that's when you told
me that you loved me.
i just missed it, right?

a new coat

slipping into
this nice new
coat, this clean
black coat that
fits just right.
checking the mirror
as we speak, yup.
this one will do.
i need to snip
that tag now. no
it doesn't matter
what it costs.
a perfect fit
is a perfect fit.
see you at eight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the next flood

she says to me
what's up with
all this religion
stuff. what the
hell is wrong with
you, just shut
up and go to work,
there's more fish
in the sea, throw
your net over the
other side of the
boat and see what
you bring up. let
them flop around
the deck and just
pick the ones
you like. i
laugh. she's a
hard one. she
believes in a higher
power. money,
fame, fortune,
friends. she's got
a nice warm blanket
of people around
her. who needs God,
she says. let's
drink, i'm buying.
it really is time
for the next
great flood.

always something

i saw you on
the news the other
day. holding up
traffic with your
protest sign.
what is it now.
save the whales,
the babies, the
snapping turtles,
what cure are
you marching for
today, what color
ribbon is pinned
to your shirt,
what rally, what
issue are you
holding the torch
for and blockading
the road. always
something, isn't it.

crumb cake

i bought a crumb
cake the other day.
and there is a trail
of crumbs from
the kitchen to the
bedroom, to the
den to the livingroom
and up the stairs.
you'd be right if
you thought i was
leaving you a trail
to find me. it's true.

high heels

the twelve
hour distance
is disconcerting
to say the least.
she's over there,
i'm here. i've
got jet lag
just thinking
about the time
difference, putting
myself in her
shoes, not that
they would fit
to begin with, and
i don't think that
i would look good
in heels anyway. i
imagine they must
pinch your toes.
but well worth the
pain as you well
know. it's the jet
lag, i tell you,
the babbling will
stop soon, promise.

bad boys

she wants more
muscle. she wants
a man with a tattoo
or two, edgy, and
a bad boy, this
stirs her soul,
put him on a
harley with
reflective shades,
make him tough,
and wild, make him
hard. shave his
head and put a
ring in his ear.
put a snarl on
his face, a sneer.
a man that will
sit there all
night drinking and
close the bar
down with you
and stagger home
with you in tow.
those are
the best men,
you can just throw
them away when
you're finished,
because they don't
care either.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the new mask

i like your new
costume.
how it shines
bright, the
silver smiling
face of
your new mask
it's a brilliant
disguise. like
the amber liquor
that swirls
in your short
thick glass.
it warms you
to stay hidden,
to keep the shine
on, the fun drum
beating, beating,
despite every
thing.

cotton candy

have i ever
told you that
i'm not fond of
cotton candy,
the pink or the
blue kind, and that
it's a deal breaker.
of course all
of the really
really important
deal breakers and
red flags apparently
escape me. it's
funny how the heart
works that way,
blurring our vision
with thin sugary
clouds of infatuation.

you know where i am

i'll let you in
the back door,
if it's okay, in
fact, i'll leave
a key under the
mat. you know
where to find me.
you've been there
before. you don't
need a light
on or a candle,
take your shoes
off and tip toe
up. you know
where to find me.
i'm waiting.
bring your heart
this time, okay.

you have permission to slap me

honey, if i start
talking out of my
head again about love.
just reach over, shake
me silly and give me
a good cold slap
across the cheek. let's
just take that off
the table, off the list
of discussion for about
a hundred years. that
should do it, clear
the air, clear the
smoke out of the room.
and by the way, who
is that slinky friend
of yours, the one in
the black dress
that you were having
lunch with the other day,
single by any chance?
not that i care. nope.
not me.

around and around

and this too,
these words, this
stream of
conciousness, this
string of thoughts
pretending to be
a poem, will
tumble to the
floor and slide
away without so much
as a whisper between
the cracks of
the floorboards
of this merry go
round where the music
is loud, a kaliedoscope
of pianos out of tune.
and the children scream
and hang onto
the hard plastic
horses and unicorns,
the paint worn off
their manes,
faded into lime, once
green, and reds now
pink. their eyes
are bent, afraid of
being left, seeing only
the blur of their
world going round,
searching for their
mothers, for the love
they want and need,
but will never get.

the last tenant

a nice snow
pile stack of bills
sits on the round
black table, check
book, pen, register,
a calculator that
i never use, stamps
and fresh envelopes
soon to be licked
and creased and taken
to the post office.
they keep coming,
don't they. i still
get notices and bills
for the last tenant
who died seven years
ago come december. i
take a finger and
touch her name across
the front, and remember
her well. her smile,
her voice and stormy
moods. all of her
in a name, coming
once more through the
slot onto the floor,
once her house, now
mine. she loved to
light candles, everywhere,
i'll put one in the
window just for her
this christmas.

you'll live

as the color
comes back, and
the mood improves
and they take you
off life support
and you actually joke
about something in
your old sarcastic
way, and you shake
your head in dismay
at what the paper
says, or the news reports,
and you begin to
think about food,
chocolate in particular
and things that
are heavy and filling,
and you find that
sleep is once more
a wonderful thing,
and you turn your
head when the sound
of high heels clicking
against the floor
go by, well
it all adds up. you'll
live this time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

sheila

my printer
has a mind of
it's own. it's new,
and cute, and flashy,
but it still churns
and rattles, stops
and starts, begins
and ends when it
wants to. it can
do alot of nice
things, like take
a fax or send one,
or make copy, or
scan a photo.
she's very very smart.
but the buttons
that i push don't
seem to matter much.
eventually it
get to printing,
but it's always
whining about paper,
or ink, or a loose
connection, something.
nothing is easy with
her. it reminds me
so much of my first
ex wife, sheila.

holiday plans

making plans for
the holidays.
wine, red and white.
turkey, check.
potatoes, yup.
gravy, of course.
dinner rolls,
cranberry sauce,
whole berries,
without a doubt.
stuffing, home made.
green beans, okay.
sweet potatoes,
well, if you insist.
olives and
a salad. throw
in a pie or two.
pumpkin for me.
whipped cream.
a hot pot of coffee.
i know i'm leaving
something off
the list. hmm.
come on over,
we can figure it out
together and then
if we can move
find a way
to work it all off.

a soft place to land

a soft place
to land, she said.
that's what i need.
peace and quiet.
she yawned, she
sighed. she shook
her head. i'm tired.
work,is killing me.
i'm alone. i know
everyone, and i'm
alone. i need
a soft place to
land, she said again.
and took my hand,
i wish you were that
place, she whispered.
i said, i know,
i wish i was too,
and at one point i
thought i was,
but i'm not.

simple things

the simple things
like coffee
in the morning,
together,
holding hands,
the kind word, a
touch upon the
shoulder, an
unexpected gift,
or kiss, before
leaving, or when
arriving.
a call when
there is nothing
to talk about, but
to say hello,
how are you. these
simple things,
can fan those
flames, keep
the fire burning.

delayed

there is much
in life that you
can delay, even
your own death
given money and
proper care, they
can string you along
for years on end,
plugged in. and
marriages too
can go that way,
drifting on and on
in a sea of doubt
and fear, with no
rows in the water,
no sail to take you
anyplace, but where
you are. going
through the motions,
circling the absence
of love, delayed
are the flights out,
delayed are the
flights in.

Monday, November 8, 2010

leaving

leaving home,
leaving a tip,
leaving room
for someone else
to come and sit.
leaving space
between the words,
space between
the lines. leaving
the mail in the
slot to be picked up.
leaving a trail
with your finger
of the dust on
the tabletop, leaving
a mess in the kitchen
sink, leaving a note
of apology to the
maid. leaving
a trail of footprints
in the snow. leaving
blood on the towel
where you cut yourself
shaving. leaving
the lights on, a burner
on the stove. leaving
a hairbrush below
the sink, one shoe.
leaving home. leaving
a long regretful
message on the phone.
leaving love. leaving
you. it's always about
leaving, isn't it.

breakfast art

when the toast
comes out, hot
and browned, almost
too hot to touch,
but you manage
to get it to a plate,
and then a soft pad
of butter, a swab
of blueberry jam,
and you let it sit
in this morning
sunlight, framed
in shadow, like a
picture, not a
rembrandt of course,
or even a warhol,
but something else,
something that resides
within you, that is
just as good and
wonderful.

let it play

i lean towards
the dial to change
the station, but
each one is the
same, the same song,
the same. it's
funny that way,
and you reach
down to pull
the plug, to snap
out the battery,
but decide no. not
yet, let me hear
it just one more
time, let it play
let it go.

another song

each day is not
without song, whether
bird like, or
cathedral worthy,
or a dirge, or
a melody that rests
between your other
memories of pop, and
rock and all of that
noise you danced to
when you were young.
it's strange now,
these tunes that roll
within, both fading,
and staying put, like
bookmarks in your
life. touch stones
of loves once new,
now old, now blue, and
yet you'll find another
song, another voice,
another heart that will
sing as loudly and as
clearly as the first
one that you knew.

photo albums

a winter's pinch
of frost is what i
awaken to, the blanket
too thin, the heat
too low this night
in november. but
it's fine when my
feet hit the cold wood
and feel this
new season. and as
i bend down to get
my shoes i see the
photo albums still
on the floor, beneath
the bed, where we
left them so long
ago, when summer
was still on, and
we were wet with a
sultry smooth sweat
from making love.
i'll put them back
onto the shelf
tomorrow, and you.

in the quiet

it's in the quiet
that you'll find
an answer. it's in
the silence, in
small room of
your mind, where not
even the clock
ticking is heard.
it's there. if you
can be still long
enough and not let
the moment run away,
that you'll find
the answer to
whatever it is you
need an answer for.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the baby

my friend looked
tired, disheveled
unkempt and
sleepy, unshaven,
he was dragging
himself around.
the baby
was just a few
weeks old. but
he had a smile,
a shine on him
with his solid
and loving marriage,
his life, his
work and now this,
putting it all
in sweet order.
i relish those
days.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the rising fog

there is a tipping
point in life, when
you are closer to
the end than to
the start. you are
in fact past the
middle. and those
around you are slipping
away, one by one.
it's unfathomable,
that such a thing
could happen, that
so many years could
transpire right in
front of you, and
these friends, these
lovers, these people
that you have known
and woven into
the fabric of your
day have passed on,
become memories,
become names and
faces that are fading
into a rising fog.

first snow

i wanted the
first snow to
come quickly,
to cover the roads,
to rise and get
deep with heavy
flakes falling
from a low grey
sky. i wanted
the first snow
to keep us there,
inside until
the storm blew
over. i wanted
to dig us out
of where we were,
to carve a new
path, a new road.
but it never
snowed, we never
got there.

vanity

the mirror is
neither kind,
nor unkind, it's
just a pale
reflection of
what the outside
appears to be.
the inside has,
or will take
over, that's
the way it should
have always been
and will be, but
it takes others
longer to realize
that, and by
others i mean
specifically,
vain souls, like
me.

desire

desire is a wonderful
thing. just as fire
is when it's cold.
but you don't you
lie down in it for
long. it will consume
you, heart and soul.
it's a fine balance,
this thing, this lust,
this appetite for
sex, for affection
and togetherness. it
gets more confusing
with the years, not
less.

keep moving

the time is
such that it's
dark when you arise
and snap the leash
onto the dog,
and go out into
the cold morning.
there is the first
hint of ice on
the car windows,
and the dog is
slow and cautious
in the wet grass.
and you pull your
sweatshirt tight
around you, you
blink your eyes,
blow on your
hands, then go
down the street,
you make
the turn, you go
where you've always
gone. you think
about what's new,
what's old and
keep moving. it's
what you do best.
keep moving.

the blue

the furious
blue calm
of sky after
the storm blows
out across the
sea. and you
can see it move
like a dark
hand over
the green
plateau of
water rising
and falling back
from the heart
beat of an
unseen moon.
and the blue
is brilliant,
the blue is
everything you
ever imagined
it could be,
when this
storm passes.

a new season

as she goes
up the stairs,
leaning on
the rail and
me following
and the light
from the bedroom
laying down
a soft yellow
path, i know
tomorrow
that i will
leave her, and
that this night
of love, will
be the last.
just as the
weather changes,
and the leaves
fall, and the
snow comes,
it's fine, it's
good, it's
nature taking
it's right
course, you
can't stop it,
you can only
accept it,
and bundle up
and build
that fire within.

how much

what do you
need to get you
there. gold, money,
how big of a house,
how many rooms, how
many forks to lift
the food into
your mouth, how
many knives to cut
the meat. how much
love do you need,
how much sex will
keep you warm and
happy. how many beds
can you sleep in.
what title do you
need, what promotion
must you have, what
level of education
will put you there.
will the new car
do it. the new clothes.
how many rings do
you need on your
fingers? how many
friends do you need
on facebook. how much
love and affection
and attention do you
need to make you content
with your life. how
much therapy, or sunday
mass do you need.
ask the homeless
beggar who has found
Christ and he will
tell you.

asleep

i remember you
asleep. nothing
in your hand.
long and lean
shadowed in
the morning light.
your eyes closed.
your warm and
still body beneath
the sheets. alseep.
no words, no
movement, nowhere
to hurry off to,
but well within
a long and well
earned slumber
beside me, while
i lay there awake,
worried about
everything.

shake it off

plans get cancelled,
the flight's delayed,
a storm, a fire,
an illness changes
your plans, not for
better or worse, it's
perception, response
that decides your
new found feelings
about this turn of
events. it's out of your
control. anger sometimes
gets a nod, or sadness,
or grief and sorrow.
frustration, but
to what point.
this road is the only
road for now, so shake
it off and let it go.

where have you been

it surprised
me what i heard
in the silence.
no books, no
music, no phone.
just a deep
quiet. i was
stunned at what
i heard below
the sound of
my own breathing,
my own heart
beat. that whisper.
the small voice
within that
turns a sigh
into joy. where
have you been
and where will
you go now,
questions that
need no answers.

at the well

it's easy to discard
the lonely, the noisy,
the tired and weak
souls that are on the
fringe of your life,
or perhaps right in
the middle. it's easy
to run and hide from
the chaos that others
can bring and spoil
your day, your night,
your sleep, but compassion
and understanding is
necessary if you truly
want to walk that walk.
distance and shutting
them out, turning your
back to the broken
does nothing to make
this world a better
place. it's painful,
it's a struggle at times.
but there is always
someone at that well
going to get water and
some days it could be you.

motion

there is a madness
in the world
that makes one
think and believe
that motion is
meaning. that
purchasing, and
chasing, and
being somewhere,
someplace, or on
our way there
will somehow fill
that void, that
space that only
fits one thing.
and yet, we all
fall victim to
this constant
hurried state.
without our phones,
without our friends,
without that drink
in our hand, without
our schedules
packed to the brim
we are little, if
not nothing in this
world. it is so
much about
tomorrow, not now,
not in the silence,
the quiet of now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

riding

in the wind,
on my bike,
through the woods,
across the wet
path of fallen
leaves, to the
lake, so grey
and blue, so
full of sky, the
long arms of trees
near empty as
winter approaches,
i find the bench.
i take in the sun,
i lean forward
breathe in the
sweet shine of
a good day.

ah ha

my new best friend
beth, my counselor,
adivsor, paid
therapist, at least
for this short spell
until i get to the
other side of this
bridge, pointed out
that clearly i sought
chaos, because that
is what i know having
grown up in a whirlwind
of shifting sand,
and storms, violence
and infidelity. it was
an ah ha moment, to
say the least. you feel
safest when things
are unstable, when the
winds are blowing, and
seas are crashing
against the boat. i'm
still nodding and shaking
my head at how true
that insight is. quite
an epiphany.
whatever i've paid
her, it's not enough.
in search of peaceful
shores. hmmm.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

the kitchen drawer

i was staring
into the knife
drawer full of
measuring spoons
and dull blades,
oversized forks
and spatulas that
have seen better
days. i didn't ponder
the mess for
long though. it
was beyond organizing,
beyond reason. it
had taken on a life
of it's own.
everything a different
size and shape and
purpose. the ladle
lay next to the
chopsticks, next
to the long wooden
spoon that criss
crossed with the
cheese grater and
meat thermometer.
cork screws and bottle
openers, can openers,
skewers of unknown
origin were all there.
it didn't take long
to close that drawer
and move on. i've
known lives like
that and i've
got enough on my
plate right now.

the orange

i take a fat
orange out of the
fridge and dig
a finger into
the side, ripping
the skin in small
chunks, sending
an arc of citrus
spray up
into my eyes. and
it's a sweet
orange, very sweet.
i can't remember
eating one
this sweet and
juicy as i pull
the skin off and
break apart the
translucent fruit,
in small wedges.
i am amazed at how
orange this orange
is. amazing. how bright
and thick the skin
is. stunning
actually, the color.
it's as if i'm
seeing it for the
first time. it's
been that kind
of a month.

the client

the future is not
what it used to be,
he tells me, shuffling
papers at his desk,
writing me a check
for the work i've
done. a cigarette
is smoldering in
the ashtray,
the doctor gives
me a year, at best,
maybe two if the chemo
works, the pills,
the shots, prayer,
magic. what the hell
he says. fucking
cigarettes. how much do
i owe you. i put my
invoice in front of
him and he finds the
number and nods. i'm
throwing in a little
extra, you don't
mind, do you, he asks
and smiles. can't
take it with you,
he laughs. but it's
grim. he's grey,
he's ashen, he sees
what most of us
can't see. he sees
an ending to this
life. he's gathering
himself for this
last storm, this
last trial, this
final journey. and
there is nothing i
can do or say, or
tell him that will
change that. so the
words i say, i say
to myself in silence,
then shake his hand,
and look into his eyes
to let him know
that i get it.

change

we all need change,
whether it's the cold
side of the pillow
in the middle of the
night, or where we
live. perhaps it's
a job, or a love gone
sour. but change is
good despite how
hard it is. it's
difficult to make
that leap from safe
and sane into risk
and faith.

waves

they call them waves,
this emotion that
swallows you whole
in the beginning. it's
dark, it's sad, it's
a sorrowful place to
be when it engulfs you.
you can hardly breathe.
as the water rises
above and below, and
holds you there. it's
an amazing thing to
be in one, but with
time, the waves subside.
the tide goes out,
and the water begins,
finally to just ripple
onto your feet, around
your ankles, cold, and
harsh, still, but not
like it was before.

the fire

to make a fire
you need dry wood,
thick dry logs
to build upon.
you need kindling
thin and lean,
twigs that will
set fire quickly
and burn hot
to singe the logs
and get them going.
it's work, to
build a fire. you
have to be attentive,
be aware, move
things around
and adjust. you
need air to breathe
in. and it's so much
easier with two
going at it, to
keep it going
throughout the cold
nights. not
unlike love.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

white christmas

surprisingly, i was
singing in the car
the other day. i
shocked myself.
it just came out
of nowhere.
wasn't i still
supposed to be sad,
in mourning, in deep
dark distress about
a girl i fell in love
with and couldn't
keep or have, or,
what the hell, it's
so confusing now,
but anyway.
i was singing that old
standard 'white
christmas', and doing
a fine job with it.
impersonating a
voice somewhere between
sinatra, bing, and
sammy davis junior.
but i can't hit those
low notes very well,
or the high notes
for that matter,
and i couldn't
remember all of
the words, or stanzas,
but i plowed ahead
and just repeated what
i knew over and over
again. it felt really
good and crazy.

long day

exhausted, i drop
my clothes onto
the floor. take
out the keys,
the watch, the phone,
fling the shoes,
fall into bed naked,
pull up the covers, find
the cold side of a
pillow and grab a book,
toss that one, and
find another, nope,
one more. okay. i'll
sift and skim through
this one. every page
has been underlined
at some point, so i
read those lines. i'm
making it easy on
myself tonight. i've
got no room, no time,
no energy for any more
soul searching,
not tonight.
sleep would be good.

just a dream

i had a dream
about a cat
the other night.
black with no
white. small eyes,
green and lit
like lanterns.
she was on
the window sill
purring, as still
and quiet as
the room i slept
in. she couldn't
decide whether
to leap and
jump upon me,
or to stay there,
cold and unloved.
it was neither
a good dream, nor
a bad dream, it
was just a dream
about a cat.

strange days

it's a warm
feeling. heat.
a fire within.
it's in your belly,
your gut, your
heart and it rises
up, up to your
chin. it surrounds
you, compresses
you, explodes
inside of you,
and when
the tears fall
out they are not
your normal sort
of tears. they
are hot, they
are coming from
someplace behind
your eyes. from
deep within in a
place you didn't
know existed.
and there is no
sadness. it's a
sublime, ridiculous
joy. a feeling
of pure knowledge
and love. it's
crazy. i'm telling
it's absolutely
crazy. this feeling
that happened.

just a message

in the early
morning, still
half asleep i
got an idea in
my mind, or heart,
or somewhere to
e mail an old
friend, not a
romantic link,
but someone who
i met and knew
and conversed with
and eventually
lost contact with,
but i felt the urge
to write to her,
to tell her what
exactly i was
going through in
my life, not that
she would care,
or that it would
make a difference
in her own life.
and so we talked,
we talked for an
hour or more, and
she listened,
and she listened,
and she realized
right away the reason
for the call.
she was stunned
into silence and i
told her that i was
just the messenger
and what she did
with this information
was in her hands now.

stars

i went a few days
without looking up
into the sky, at
the bright white
cluster of stars
thrown out in handfuls
like confetti. i
can't do that
anymore, ignore
the stars, and such
important things.

in the north atlantic

you strangely
want to save
the others
that are drowning
after you have
been pulled
yourself from
the murky cold
depths, when
the ship went
down. but only
a few will grab
your hand, or
oar that you
lean out for
them to grasp.
the rest will say
no thank you,
i got it. i can
swim from here.
don't worry about
me. i'm happy
where i am, but
thanks just
the same. and
as you row away,
looking over
your shoulder
you remember what
it was like to
be faithless
and freezing,
believing that
your strength and
intellect alone
could save you,
treading the water
of this life.

the blur

instant coffee,
instant oatmeal,
quick fixes. jiffy
lube, and the
express lane.
ez pass and the
drive up window.
one stop cleaning,
banking, wash
and wear, never
needs ironing.
instant families,
quickie divorces.
the vegas chapel,
shooters and online
dating. no lines,
no wait, no hesitation.
no questions asked,
no answers given.
just please me
now, please me
quickly, then start
over, start again.
but go fast. it's
best not to think
about where this
is going. go fast.
i need the blur
not clarity.