Saturday, August 31, 2013

pre cooked chicken

she was not
a good cook.
and would
slip a store
bought rotisserie
chicken onto
the table
forgetting to hide
the hot plastic
bubble it came
in. but you
didn't care.
it was the thought
that counted,
you were
glad she kept
away from the stove
and saved her
energy for other

the plan

you have a phone
plan, two
years that you
can't get out of.
a plan for
your retirement,
which makes
you laugh.
a plan
for paying your
bills on time.
a vacation
planned for
summer. you plan
to read a
book or two,
to lose a few
pounds, eat
you have a plan
for your
dog's heartworm
pills. a plan
to visit
your friends,
to call those
you haven't called.
you have a plan
of attack
for all of these
things, but you
just don't have
the time. you need
a plan
to figure out
the time that
keeps racing by.

peace rally on the mall

when you were
young, too young
to go fight,
you went into
the city anyway
to chant and protest
the war.
there was music,
and dope in the air,
then tear gas,
and screaming
as everyone ran
to avoid being
clubbed like
baby seals. you
were there mostly
for the girls though,
who also seemed
to be upset by
the war. you had
that in common,
that and being young
and foolish.
uncertain about
nearly everything.

something has to change

stubbing the toe
on the edge
of the bed post
is a weekly
thing, it makes
you curse
and limp down
the hallway
towards the bathroom
but then you
forget about
it, until
the next time
you get up
in the middle
of the night.
something has to
change, you
think, as you do
about many things
like that.


you catch
your sweater on
a nail
and it begins
to unravel.
it's how
the day will go.
taking away
your clothes,
until you
are naked
with nowhere
to hide, responsible
for who
you are, and
what you have

new neighbors

when the new neighbors
move into the court
you can see the heads
bobbing in their
kitchen windows, wide
eyed at the kids,
the dog, the cars,
the furniture being
carried in. who are these
people, and why don't
they stop that dog
from barking. but by
the end of the month
enough greetings
will have taken place
about the parking,
the schools, the gossip.
and they will be one
of them too, sitting
near one another
at the fenced in
pool, discussing
their personal lives,
the daily news.


your father
did better with
chatting it up
in line
about the game,
the weather,
the price
of eggs, potatoes
or fish. if
he saw a license
plate where
he grew up
he'd stop
the car and have
a friendly
talk about where
they both were
from. but at home
he was quiet,
silent in his
chair, with his
paper, his tv.
his drink
with a slice
of lime.

Friday, August 30, 2013

brand new bag

on a Friday, when
the day is done,
you break out into
a cold sweat
and turn
james brown up
on the radio.
you know all
the words, as
you spin around,
holding the imaginary
in your hand.
papa's go a
brand new bag
you sing, as the birds
in the tress
stop what they
are doing,
even the worm
half down,
takes a look.

no epiphany

one friend,
poor, but rich
in family
and spirit is
dying gracefully
while the other
friend who has
more money
than he can
count is not.
you love them
both. they've
always been
exactly this way
and will now
leave the world
without changing
who they are.
neither having
an epiphany.


steals your wallet,
becomes you
for a day or two.
enjoys the weekend
on your dime.
another person
your parking spot
even though
you were waiting
with your blinker
on. another person
takes your
place in line
when you turn
your head away.
another steals your
heart, although
it was always
there to begin with,
waiting to be given

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

food infusion

what are you doing
in the kitchen
she says from
the couch as she
separates her
toes with cotton
before painting
each toenail
a strawberry
red. i'm infusing
salt and pepper
into the scrambled
eggs. do some
cheese infusion
too, she says.
sharp cheddar
if you have any.
will do you say,
adjusting your chef's
hat and peeling
off the plastic
from the cheese.

the well is dry

the well
is dry. you
hear the stone
echo as it
the bottom
after a long
fast fall.
there is no
no more words
to eek
out when
sleep won't
your muse
has deserted
you for another.
the pages will
be dry
and barren
like dust
blown fields
until she comes


are we all
not farmers wanting
then wanting
to stop.
needing sunlight,
but not
a drought,
are we all standing
with hoe
and rake
in hand on a field,
waiting for
crops to rise
and feed us.
praying for a good

license and registration

you make a wrong turn
and an unmarked car
with a uniformed
at the wheel
hits his siren,
locks on
his spinning
blue lights.
he points
to the side
of the road
you pull over.
it's just his job.
whether wrong
or right.
do you know why
I pulled you
over he says,
and you nod
and say but...
tell it to a judge
or pay
the fine, he says.
license and registration.
then he disappears
into his
car, you wait.
wipers slapping slowly
against the window.
sign here, he
says, weary already
at nine in the morning,
standing in the rain,
he pushes the clip
board to you.
drive safely.
have a nice day.

high school reunion

high school reunion
is coming.
you've received
the emails, every day.
joe somebody
is running
the show.
it's at a crab house
on the eastern
a place with picnic
and newspapers,
butter and hammers.
a place to be fat
and sloppy, which
many of us are at
this ripe age.
the formal dinners
are done.
the ones still alive,
for the most part
are undecided if
they will come.
lots of maybes,
ten said yes, out
of four hundred
and seventy three.
you have no real desire
to see any of these
people, and
they probably feel
the same way about you,
therefore the lack
of contact all these
long years.
you don't like crabs
anyway. the bleeding
fingers, the tugging
for tiny morsels
of meat. they should
be free, crabs.
we don't milk cows
for a glass of milk,
do we?
or squeeze an egg
out of a chicken.
okay, okay. so I digress.
i'm not going
to the reunion,


some days
you are late, but
you don't care.
let them, or
her, or whoever
it is wait.
but you hate
people that
are never on
time, so you
rush to get ready.
shirt on
pants in a bind.
phone left
on the counter
with your
money, your book,
your peace
of mind.


where did all
these boxes of tea
come from.
and lemon.
teas to make you
sleep. teas
to make you
think more clearly.
you could use
a box of that.
plain old
lipton too
next to
the earl grey.
who put these
boxes of tea
in the cupboard,
someone you
used to know

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

you're old

you don't
quite understand
the fish
in the lips,
the pins
and needles
through eyebrows
and noses.
the ink
on the legs,
giant murals
of people
and places
across breasts
and necks.
you don't quite
get the look
of someone who
appears to have
fallen into
a tackle box,
covered in trashy
it all seems
and injurious.
you've spent so
much time
in your life
avoiding pain
and injury,
this all seems
but what do you
know. you're

this is it

there are no
no aliens
no second
or even third
there is no
secret corporate
the show.
there is nothing
in the water,
magic, or
loch ness
monster. no big
hiding in the woods.
there is no
no life
on other planets.
this is it.
so get used to


your favorite
has died leaving
you a fortune.
only you,
not your six
brothers and sisters.
they want
some, but they
never liked her.
never visited her.
never gave
her that call
on her birthday
or for Christmas.
they called her
mean and cold,
but now
they want to divide
it up evenly,
this small
fortune. most of
it in cash
and gold, jewelry
and stocks
and bonds. how
nice they would
have been in knowing
what she had.
how kind the world
becomes when
there's something
to be gained.

complaint window

the complaint
has a long line.
so long,
that there is
another window
just to complain
about that.
few seem content
and happy
with their
lot in life.
the trains are
never on time.
the bad boss,
the soured marriage,
the bills,
the service,
the food is cold.
there are few
of serenity.
even in their
sleep they turn
in their beds
with the choices
they've made,
the mattress being
too hard.

Monday, August 26, 2013


the child was not
exactly ugly.
how could any child
be called that.
it was no fault
of his own, but
through an unfortunate
of parental
genetics the boy
was different.
perhaps he'll grow
out of those ears,
people would
quietly whisper.
and that nose.
a rudder
on such a flat
board face.
those teeth can
be fixed.
he was a head turner
and suffered greatly
under the teasing
of other children.
but because of this.
he became beautiful
he glowed with
words and wisdom,
consuming books,
and pondering the world
from his window.
being alone so much
will do that
in the end. how
few truly beautiful
people there are
in the world anymore.

ship ahoy

fearing failure
you once pondered joining
the navy.
but you didn't like
the hats,
the bellbottoms.
the yes sir, no sir
nonsense that went
with it.
you didn't think you
could kill anyone
but being on a ship
had it's appeal.
the open seas,
blue skies, the fun
of it all.
but you didn't want
to cut your hair,
which took so
long to get it
down to your shoulders.
what girl in
the seventies would
want a man with
a crew cut?
so you didn't join
and look at you
now, typing this
while planning a cruise
to the south seas.

dripping mustard

at lunch,
your friend
tells you
that his wife
has gotten fat.
you remember the day
that he gave her
an ultimatum to
marry him, or else
go their separate
ways. ten, twelve
years ago.
she used to be
so attractive he
says, taking out a
photo of her
when she was twenty.
look at her,
she was beautiful,
but now she doesn't
care. she's lazy
and indifferent, she
won't do anything
fun with me anymore.
we have no sex
life. we hate each
other for so many
reasons. he finishes
his hot dog,
as mustard drips
onto his shirt.
I don't know what
to do, he says.
I can't leave her.
especially since
I lost my job.
he seems perplexed
by marriage, as he
orders another
half smoke
with all the works.

not just another day

you see a man
in his underwear on
the street.
he's carrying a
he might be fifty,
or older,
it's difficult
to tell.
but there is the
look of worry
on his face.
a woman may or
may not be involved,
but you suspect
that to be so.
he's in a hurry,
srtipped of everything
but shoes
and black socks.
his briefcase
madly in his
hand. it's not
just another day.
this one won't
be soon forgotten.

black birds on a wire

what birds
are these
with oiled wings
and locked
what's with these
black eyes,
unnerving in
their stare,
and curled
yellowed claws
on the wire.
what sinister
are they up to.
are they dreaming
of us, as we do
of them. hoping
it's not
a portent of death,
or worse,
what message
do they carry
in their stillness,
in their
awful squawk.
I don't want
to know.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

love and affection

you take
the flat head
screw driver
out of your
three year
old's hand.
keeping him
from sticking
it into
the electrical
this makes him
cry and scream,
bellow as if
it was the end
of his life.
which it could
have been.
this goes on
for years,
until it's his
turn to do
the same for you.

14th street

in the mid
you remember
seeing the
women, with
and lipstick.
dolls eyes,
the mayflower
heels and nylons.
hair teased
and stiff
in the street
lamps pink
towards the car
as husbands
out for milk
and bread
shopped for what
they weren't
getting at home.
and you,
caught between
man and boy,
in a parent's car
with your friends,
out the rolled
up windows,
sealed still
in innocence,
but breathing
fog onto
the glass.

Friday, August 23, 2013

poetry workshop

you cringe
at the thought
of another workshop.
of reading other's
works, other's poems
being kind without
malice. you feel
exposed. naked
in your seat
reading your own.
unable to breathe.
judged and skewered.
you don't care
who sees or reads
what you write.
this is often
good enough. to be
in the darkness,
with all this light.


almost loved
he sits
in his room
with the memory
of her.
she was almost
almost in
his arms.
the years gone
the memory of
what almost
was is still
and as he rocks
the window.
in his lap,
the empty trees
remind him
that it's
almost over.

little you can do

she cries
in her hands.
you see her
irish eyes
her fingers.
it's a mask
of sorts.
pink flesh
the soul
and losing.
she cries
in her hands.
there is little
you can do,
but wait.

i'm hopeful

you try to avoid
saying things
like, I feel great,
work is good,
i'm in love,
and all is well
with the world.
before the words
leave your mouth
you can hear
the train veering
off the track,
the sound of steel
bending amid
the screams,
the imminent crash.
so instead, you say
things like.
i'm good. everything
is okay, for now.
but it could be
better. i'm
hopeful, but not
doing cartwheels
down the street.


occasionally it
you being
a man,
her a woman.
the differences
from head
to toe
and within.
you find a
middle ground
to declare
and together
a flag towards
a country
that you
hope to win.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

she unsays

she unsays
what she said
not with words
but with her eyes.
sorry for being true.
you swallow
and hide your
heart. go
someplace where
the sun won't
set, but only
rise. accepting,
but not
hoping that
the truth is
just a lie.

start to finish

and marched
to the far wall.
the last
sound of your
upon the ground
in your ears.
the dust
in your mouth.
you hear
the click of
rifles, shouldered
and aiming.
the sun is on
your face.
a wide yellow
sun against the blue.
it's always
been this
way, from the start
to the finish.

each day

in the mirror.
who are you.
what have years
changed you,
from the child
you were,
into this.
greying and
holding hard to
every meal
the hair, a
thin grey field,
the bend
of life,
the gravity of
curving you
towards the grave
as all
must go
don't dim
the light, hold
be bold in
your demise.
each day
conquered not

what roses?

your imagination
is slipping
as you work
too hard, and
sleep too little.
you see grey
and white, the black
sky, with needle
pricks of stars.
your eyes burn.
your legs and arms
heavy from work.
when you were
young you could
spend hours lying
on the picnic
table in the back
yard staring
upwards, waiting
for a comet
to flash by.
but who has the time
these days.
what roses?

pink scarf

you hear
the clinking of
knitting needles
as your girlfriend
wiles away
the time while
you watch football
on tv.
who's winning,
she says, looking
up from a frilly
pink scarf
that's half done
in her lap.
the team with the
most points, you
reply back.
that scarf isn't
for me, is it, you
say. I don't look
good in pink.
nah, she says, it's
for me.
when is this game
over. three
hours, you say.
good, she says
and continues

the birthday gift

you lend
your neighbor
a hundred
dollars so
that he can get
his wife
a birthday
but then you
see him
carrying in a
case of vodka
from the liquor
while you are
out front
your hedges.
what did you
get mildred
for her birthday,
you ask,
taking off your
turning off
the trimmer.
oh, she left me,
met someone
on the internet.
he says. so I
got me something.
oh, I see, you
say. interesting.
don't worry,
he says. i'll pay
you back, honest
I will, just as
soon as I get
a job. later.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

it wasn't carlos, was it?

we haven't
seen you in a while
the bartender
says, mixing you
a green martini
before you can
say apple.
where you been,
he says.
here and there,
you say. mostly
must be in love,
he says,
pushing a basket
of pretzels
towards you.
love, lust, like.
all of the above
you say, pulling
out your phone
to show him her
nice, he says. I
think she was
in here last night
with some guy.
with who, you say,
shaking your head,
your eyes bulging.
it wasn't carlos,
was it? which makes
him laugh. I was
just kidding, he
says. just joking with
you. I've never
seen her in here,
unless she's been
with you. damn that
carlos you say,
taking a swig
of your apple

baking a cake

when baking
a cake
with your son
it was all
about who got
to lick
the spatula
and then
the big flat
that smoothed
the icing.
the cake itself
was secondary.
taking an
to cook,
then cool.
you can
still see his
round face, nose
and lips,
in chocolate.
his eyes lit
up, happy as a
monkey in a
banana tree.

cyber friends

it's hard
to believe
that there
is lying
and deceit on
the internet.
ages, weight
and marital
it's almost
like the real
world at times,
but moving
much faster
and more polite
and friendly.
it's so surprising
that I have
so many friends
in Nigeria
wanting to give
me money.
how kind
the world has

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

christmas cards

you go through
your Christmas card list
early this year.
it's still summer, but
you don't want to be
caught in the xmas
rush like last year.
you grab the box of
cards you received
back in december and begin
to write down all of
these special people.
AAA sent a nice
thick card with snow
and a string of lights
hung on a house
in the woods.
inside is a stamped
name, jimmy, your
regional rep.
DSW was kind enough
to send a bright
blue generic card
with a picture of
wing tips on the front,
wishing you happy
holidays. then there
was the card from
firestone where you
bought tires,
and the paint store
where you buy paint,
the liquor store,
where you have become
fab friends with
Syrah. not to mention
safeway and giant,
both with wonderful
cards made out of
recycled trash. being
a club member has it's perks.
oh, and then there's
mom's. a snowflake
on the front of a small
red card, the ten
dollar bill still
tucked inside. and her
smudged inked
greeting. merry Christmas.
love, mom.
the rest are on e-mail.

the summer wind

at the long
red light
the car next to you
with sound. thump
thump thump.
it rattles your
spine. obliterates
the sinatra
tune you are
singing to. you see
the young
men with the windows
enjoying their music.
knowing every word
of dr. seuss on
crack, making
nursery rhymes.

floral patterns

no longer
to kill.
she dresses now
to disappear.
with floral
patterns and wide
squared shoes
and hats
with brims
to keep the sun
and eyes

winter people

you can see those
who want winter
to come.
at the first
slight hint
of a lowering
sun, and cool
breeze their hats
go on,
their long coats
and sweaters
too. even
boots are laced
high with hopeful
of what's to arrive.
they are anxious
for snow,
for comfort food
and fires
full of fallen

Monday, August 19, 2013

the devil's music

you call
the 800 number
to contact
the IRS
about an
erroneous late
fee they are charging
you for
an extension
which you
filed back in
they have threatened
to garnish
your wages,
come and take
vials of blood
out of you,
cut off your hands
and feet
in order
to get their
391 dollar penalty.
you sort through
the seven pages
of drivel
and duplicates,
you realize how much
our educational system
has failed us
with spelling
and grammar, clarity
of thought.
after pressing an
assortment of numbers
to select your menu,
you are put on hold,
the seventh circle
of phone hell,
for sixty six minutes
you listen mindlessly
to a loop of music
you've never heard
and bell chimes.
the devil's
music, you presume.
a pitchfork
being dragged across
a blackboard.

the pressure

it starts, perhaps,
when an adult asks you
as a child, so what
do you want to be
when you grow up.
the pressure begins
to mount in your five
year old head
and you respond, i'm
not sure, thinking
madly about what it
is that you could
do to make it in
this world.
suddenly the crayons
in your hand,
the ball and glove
on the floor,
that swing set out
the window
has gone sour.

canned beans

your gun toting
with his canned
stored in the basement
and filtered
and bullets
is sad because
he's been ready
for so long
and the sun is
still shining,
there is no chaos
in the streets,
just yet.
he can hardly
wait for the end
of world
as we know it.

waiting for things to change

you insert
the key
and turn
but it sticks.
the lock
is frozen
your key stuck
in the slot.
you are left
in the rain
with the barking
and the meter
on the street
there is nothing
you can do
but wait.
the secret
to most of life.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

it's your fault

a long
line of unsatisfied
forms at
the complaint
I thought my
life would
be better
says the first
woman in line.
I was young once,
smart and thin,
everyone loved
me. i'm unhappy
with what has
happened. things
have not turned
out the way
I thought they
too bad,
says the clerk.
but it's mostly
your fault.
now please move
on. next.

your own speed

the slow
by the snail
in his
the street.
to each
his own speed
in getting
to where
he needs
to go.
no better,
or no worse.
the destination
the same,
with the end
always near.

sweet time

you are not
ready to go.
your shoes are
the dog needs
to be walked.
the windows
need to be
shut in case
it rains.
you are taking
your sweet time.
and isn't that
what time
is, sweetness.
you are not
ready to
go to, as it
should be
when in love.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

girl with snake

the skinny
little girl
the brown snake
in her
the hair out
of her eyes,
runs wild
in the street
showing everyone
what she's
this boldness
be her doom
or her path
a wonderous


your indifference
is showing
on your sleeve.
how casual
it is for you to
say little, to be
and bored, to
get up without
a word, not
so much as
a wave,
and leave.
you've learned
these things
well from me.

the next step forward

the further we
the less we
look back.
the familiar
being too far
in the fog
and trees
behind us.
only the next
seems to matter
now, at least
we get to
higher ground
where we
can see it all.

the next kiss

your last
struck me
on the cheek.
was that
by choice,
or chance.
I can't sleep
I know, until
the next
kiss comes
to see if
your aim
is true,
or not.

pajama world

it's a flip
flop and
pajama world now.
is the dress
church or school
it doesn't matter.
where once
it was only
the beach
or if you were
a hospital
you were allowed
an easy going
manner. but
things have changed.
and not
for the better.
a country of clowns
in green
and polka dotted
rule the day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

wedding preparations

as they prepare
for the wedding,
shining shoes,
painting the front
grooming the dog.
polishing the silver.
all things
that have been
put aside for
years, they wonder
what else
can they do to
show a side
that they really
don't have.

the leaves

the wind
will lift
and stir
the leaves
as they fall
reminding you
of someone
you once loved
and lost.


so much gravity
we'd float
a little
above the earth
by the science
the lunar pull
and air,
and things you
but obey
without choice.
but what
the other gravity
the one that
holds you in a
job you hate,
or puts you in
places you don't
with people
you don't love,
or who don't
love you.
how strong
and persistent
that gravity
is as well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

going green

feeling that you deserve
a special treat
because you have been
such a wonderful
person lately, throwing
your empty plastic
bottles into the right
hole of trashcans,
tipping your hat
to complete strangers,
startling them.
giving your change
to barristas, all ninety
three cents of it
when they hold it in
their palm for that extra
hopeful second, you
buy yourself some lobsters
at the local grocery
store. two to be exact.
you love lobsters.
just the tails. they are
frozen solid but still
a nice greyish
red from being steamed
a few weeks ago.
you disregard the black
magic marker numbers
crossed out several times
over. you can see
the original sticker that says,
twenty one dollars, so at
four dollars and
seventy nine cents,
in addition to your club
card, you know you are
getting quite a deal, and well,
you deserve it. don't
you? you put both tails
into the micro wave
and bring them to a nice
steamy finish. the butter
melts quickly as you
lather it on the cracked
shells. the first one goes
down easily with quick
lusty bites, dripping
juices onto your shirt.
the second one,
you decide to savor,
you are a little surprised
that it still tastes
like lobster, making
you smile. you pick
it up, like a banana
and nibble at the end
working your way down
as you dip it into more
butter. you don't even
care about your shirt
anymore as you devour
it. you wash it down
with a bottle of beer
and sit back, satisfied.
after about an hour
you are lying on
the cold bathroom floor,
staring at the tiles,
one hand on the toilet
trying to pull yourself
up. you cry a little,
and moan, you whimper
for your mother.
you can see your reflection
in the white porcelain
bowl. you are a shimmering shade
of sea green. green like
the ocean from where the
lobsters came from.
you were such a good
person today. why this?

joining a band

bored with
your life,
you decide
to join
a band. hit
the road
and meet some
who are hopefully
and don't
want to hurt you.
you have no
talent, but
you were once
able to keep
a nice beat on
the dashboard
with two hands
when inna god
da vida came
on the radio.
you can whistle
a little too,
and sing
in the shower,
you've been
for years,
as your dog and
your neighbors
well know.
it should be fun,
the eastern
seaboard, finding
dive bars
to ply your
new trade.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

lunch with birds

the bird,
a swallow,
a sparrow, who
knows, not you,
rises in the air
with the garlic
crouton you
tossed towards
him onto
the brick patio
in order to scoot
him away from
your salad.
birds on
the table while
is not a good thing.
but in mid flight
you see
him spit it
out and wing
back in a large
diving towards
your head.
he seems unhappy
your crouton.

i've got a guy

if you need a guy
I have a guy,
she says,
picking at
a swollen bug
bite on her leg.
plumbing, pipes
no problem.
gutters cleaned?
he does that too.
need a roof
fixed. loose shingle?
he's on it.
he'll walk
your dog, take
in your mail,
put your trash
out while you're
on vacation.
he paints too.
no spills or splatters.
i'm telling you,
whatever it
is you need my guy
will do it. let me
give you his number.
here, write
this down,
or put it into
your phone.
he does massage
too, not to mention
party food, shrimp
on a cracker
with bacon
and a little
water chestnut?
he does that.
he's coming over
later tonight
to take a look at
this bug bite on
my leg.
he knows bug
bites. he can tell
you everything
about insects,
this guy.
my guy. how long
have you had that
mole on your forehead.
let him take
a look at it.
he can be your
guy too.

sweet lisp

she had a slight
that made
her sexy and kind
in a subtle way.
it kept
her honest
and compassionate.
neither a
thorn in her
side or a
pebble in her
shoe. it was a
sweet lisp
and over time,
one you grew
used to.

ripened tomatoes

slightly green
not quite
off the vine
sit in a white
on the table.
you'll probably
never eat them
as they fade
into yellow
and red,
but for awhile
you'll let
them sit,
we all like
to be
at times.

i'll send a postcard

some people like
to tell you
where they've been,
where they are going,
when and how
they will travel.
they want you to
be envious of their
stamped passports,
their tagged
luggage saying
Italy or france,
new Zealand
and Africa. they
tell you that they
will send you
a postcard when
they get there.
but you don't care.
you are happy
on the front porch
the slow trains
roll by. ice tea
in your hand,
a cat in your lap.

have cake, need icing

you used to believe
that a slice
of cake and a cold
glass of milk
could solve nearly
especially with icing.
how can you be
angry eating
cake, or sad, or
lonely, or heartbroken.
licking the fork
clean of frosting
was a pleasurable
moment of a long
hard day.
but you don't
think that way anymore.
cake and icing
are in the rearview
and it's not a
pretty sight.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the stew

his face
pink as a balloon
in may
by a yellowing
he stirs
the stew of
his life
and tells another
letting the broth
rise, a carrot
of memory
the soft potatoes
the pot. his
his first,
and second wife,
the meat of youth,
all seasoned
with a dose
of pepper
and salt.
and as he speaks
he stirs,
closing his
eyes, inhaling
the steam
of the stew
that was
his life.


words are left
on the table
or go swallowed
a bite
of food on
the plate,
the poem, half
thoughts, like
church bells
in the distance.
even love
can go unfinished
as does
the book
unread, or
the painting left
to dry
in mid stroke
between clouds
of blue, or

flickering pixels

point and click
for love
for lust, for
home, for
and movies.
for food and shelter.
and products
to wash your
dog with.
don't make me
get out of this
to walk around
the block.
keep the power
on and I have
everything I need.
i'm nothing
this mouse,
without this
screen. you've
become a distant
a flickering of
and light,
dissolving into
blues and greens.

Monday, August 12, 2013

the nut of the matter

your mother calls
beating around
the bush. angling
for something. you
can just sense it.
you go through
the litany of gossip
and illnesses.
which flowers are
blooming, which aren't.
deaths and misfortunes
of all that she
knows, or proposes
to know. she throws
in that sometimes
she feels like she only
has a week to live
at best, then you
get to the nut
of the matter.
sunday dinner. can
you come, I made
beef stew. and oh
by the way. can you
help move the freezer
from the basement
out to the driveway,
where we can load
it into your truck
and then drive
it to your sister's
house, the one you
don't get along with,
in waldorf Maryland?
the line suddenly
goes garbled.

stray cats

this cat
keeps showing
up on your front
so you open
a can of tuna
in spring
water and set
it out.
she snubs
it with a sniff
and half
lick. she wants
meowing as she
paws at
the storm door
peering in.
but you've
drawn the line
with her,
you can't
let it in.
you are too weak
and giving
to the needy.
twenty minutes
be twenty years.
and you don't
have that kind
of time to spare.

high expectations

your new girlfriend
has a headache.
and you are the cause
of it.
you left
your shoes
in the hall
for her to trip on,
wet clothes in
the dryer,
the seat up
in all three
you forgot to sweep
away the crumbs
from the kitchen
not to mention
you failed to
put gas in her
car when
you borrowed it
to go get pizza,
beer and lotto
she has set
the bar so high
it's difficult
to live up to her
sometimes you almost
feel like
she's withholding
when she sleeps
in the other
room. you aren't
sure, but it's
a feeling.

the wrong side of the bed

you wake up
one morning and your
no longer fit,
they are one
size too small.
your pants are
too short, your
shirts too tight.
you put your hat
on, and it
barely goes
goes onto
your head. snug
around your
your dog growls
at you,
your wife sneers
and avoids
your good bye
kiss. your children
their doors
and say, what do
you want.
you are no longer
who you thought
you were
and you don't know
how to turn
back the clock.
the world
has become
the wrong side of
the bed.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

the massage

so, we have you down
for a deep tissue massage
at four, is that right?
right, you say over the phone.
deep tissue. i'm really sore
and need a great massage.
good, she says. well, we
have corky and Amanda.
both are available
at four o'clock.
Amanda, you say quickly.
okay, but corky is really
good at deep tissue.
he really knows how
to get into those knots.
Amanda, you say again
without hesitation. sure,
she says. see you at four.
Amanda leads you into
the darkened room full
of incense and music.
bongos beat gently like
rain drops in a tropical
forest, and mandolins strum
softly in the shadowy enclave.
you strip down
into your bvds, tossing
your clothes on the floor.
she comes back in, rubbing oils
into her hands. smiling
blissfully as you lie
there beneath the cool sheets.
she is slight and angular,
hardly any weight to her
at all. harder you say,
as she kneads her tiny
hands into your shoulders
and back. harder? she says.
yes. I can hardly feel
it. okay, she says, leaning
up onto the table,
pushing her elbows into
your neck. harder? yes, please
you say. okay, she says,
jumping onto the table,
rubbing her heels into
your spine, how's that.
ummm. okay, I guess. I still
have a really sore spot
that you aren't reaching.
she hops down and grabs
a small baseball bat
from under the table
then hops back up.
she begins to strike you
with the bat,
how's that she says.
perfect you say, and
slowly slip into a daze
as she pounds out the
muscles. pffft. who
needs corky.

the end of the world

the end of the world
will hurt me
more than it will
you, she says,
putting her make up
on. men always have
it easy. you'd find
a way to survive
with your guns and
knives, your know
how will pull you
through. this makes you
laugh. I have no guns,
you tell her, and
the only knives I
have are in the kitchen
drawer waiting to
butter toast
or to cut a slice
of turkey. and as far
as my know how goes.
without google these
days, i'm lost.
whatever she says,
can you zip me
up, i'm almost ready.

the short list

you hold
the door for
the limping
bent over man.
he says thank
you, as you
let him in
with his cart
and bag, his
hat securely
on his head.
his hair
as white as
snow. his eyes
blue like old
stars with
life still in
them. you watch
him as he
pulls out his
list. shorter
today, perhaps,
than yesterday.

a place where people say hi

you wrestle with
the idea of moving
to a better climate.
one with sunshine
and low humidity,
no earthquakes
to speak of, or flash
floods, or wild
fires. little or
no snow would be
nice, occasional
rain is fine. a
place where the
people are nice
and friendly, where
they don't mind
saying hello when
you pass them bye
and they don't
avert their eyes.
a place like that
you could get used
to. if you know of
any, call me up,
or drop me a line.

Friday, August 9, 2013

dinner for one

a table
for one is not
so bad.
you order when
you're ready.
no fussing over
the wine
list or holding
a candle
to the menu.
you know what
you want, and
how you want it
before you
you can eat all
the bread
with honey butter.
no eyes there
to scold you.
there is no
one there to
pick at your
plate or to ask
you to taste
their asparagus
or cold beet soup.
there is no
extra spoon
dipping into
the chocolate mousse
as it comes
with a swirl
of whipped
cream riding high
on top.
there is no
styro-foam box
to go, to carry
the restaurant,
out to the car.
but then there's
later, it's then
that you'll
truly miss her.


of earthen
spoons, and forks.
where lips
once met,
but empty
of wine,
or milk,
hollow bowls
for broth
now stitched
with worms
and mites.
the earth finds
a way
to take back
what it has
in time,
all things
falling to
their grave.

the spoiled child

you see
the spoiled
later in life
with greying
red faced,
still unhappy
at the long
at poor service,
his or
her hands
in the rain.
given so much
for so long
at such
a young age
has made
life a hard
road to travel.
things never
coming quite as
as they once

Thursday, August 8, 2013

bring two

the waiter
is surprisingly
with your choice
of tile fish
for dinner.
and you not
knowing what
tile fish is,
or wreck fish,
you ask him.
he says, they
are not
unlike flounder.
then why
not flounder?
you think to yourself
while eating
a fried potato ball
jumbled in
a red netted basket.
why these fish
and not
the ones you
have the crab
cakes, he says,
his blonde
pirate hair
off his
sunburned brow.
the crab cakes
are really
good tonight,
he says. his smile
is white and wide,
and you get the feeling
that he does
well with the girls
on the beach,
and you trust
him, strangely.
why would he steer
you wrong.
crab cakes you
say, smiling,
bring two.

missing you

under water
you open your eyes
to the soft green
of ocean, to
the shadows of fish
and legs
the shells
and sea glass
all rolling
on the cool sand
where your feet
as you come
up for air
and sun, and blue.
the ocean
pulls you to its
as if wanting
you, wanting
your essence,
to hold
you in its
dangerous arms
awhile longer,
you more each


each year
your father bends
into his garden
to grow
he picks them
the morning
before you
then places
them into
a plastic bag.
he has struggled
with showing
and affection,
but somehow
these red plump
and sun
tomatoes have
helped him
reach your heart.

the summer parade

the wash of
kisses your
as you turn
your eyes
to see
the clouds
move in
the sun
in its yellow
the summer
moves on
as you do,
holding close
the memory
of this
in your bare

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

at the beach

going away
to the beach
leaves you wordless
for awhile.
your fingers itching
to get back
to work,
to the keyboard,
to get the sand
out of your shorts
and ears,
to ease the burn
of once white
enough fish
enough kites,
enough waiters
pouring you
coffee. you are
and renewed
to begin the next
week, to reboot
your life

Sunday, August 4, 2013


you fear
not being
as Oscar
wilde once
you don't want
to lose
the edge,
the sword
of metaphor
and mystery.
you don't want
the full bright
light to shine
on everything,
you'd like a corner
or two
to be bathed
in shadows
and darkness,
what joy is there
in being
known, completely?

the embrace of water

the ocean
has no arms
and yet it
pulls you
in with it's endless
blue, the white
of waves caressing
your life.
that everything
will be fine,
everything will
be alright, just
dive in. let it
wash over you,
and let go.
what you leave
behind will
wait for you, but
for now,
this is
the embrace
that you need.

the horses

she puts her
to the ground
and says
do you ear
what I hear,
the beating
of hooves,
the stampede
of horses
coming to
rescue us.
to take us away
where we are,
where we
have been
stuck for
so many dry
and thirsty
days. but you
hear nothing.
your canteen
is full,
and you sit in
the shade
reading. not
needing to be
rescued at all.

Friday, August 2, 2013

the unfair advantage

as Shakespeare
we could have
a battle of
wits, but I see
that you are


but fierce
she brings
fury to the fight.
her weight
and lack of
or height.
be wary
of her, don't
those green
eyes of
emerald fool
you into
thinking she
is soft
and not a

the loose thread

the single
thread, so thin
and fragile,
in the wind
like the smallest
of tails,
when pulled
can bring the
whole house
leaving you
in the cold,
the world who
you really

Thursday, August 1, 2013


there are flowers
in your
you know nothing
about flowers
or how they
could have
grown there. but
it's a nice
they make
you strangely
happy inside.
I feel that
way about you.

knitting needles

you like to say things
like i'd rather
put knitting needles
in my eyes
than go to my mother's
house for Christmas.
but you go anyway,
and have a pleasant
time despite it being
two hundred degrees in
there because there are
no windows open
and dogs running
around everywhere,
licking plates and
forks, with the tv
on and people that
you are related to
through no fault of
your own are screaming
at the top of their
lungs about how their
gingerbread house
broke when they slipped
in the driveway.
but you are glad that
you didn't put
knitting needles in
your eyes, at least
for today.

the girl with the pony tail

the girl
in school you
fell in
love with,
the memory
has never faded
with time.
you can still
see her shimmering
long hair
in a pony
tail, the ribbon
holding it
in place.
you can still
hear her
sweet melodious
as she turned
with steel braces
around her teeth,
telling you
to quit kicking
her chair
or she was going
to tell
the teacher.