Thursday, January 26, 2012


I wear a canvas shopping bag over my head. The rain, like waves of storm troopers, sweeps through the streets. The makeshift umbrella presents a navigational problem. I lift the edge of the bag just far enough above my eyes to narrowly avoid stepping into the path of an onrushing garbage truck. Like the wild-eyed bulls that careen through the streets of Pamplona, the stench transport is oblivious to everything in its path.

Murky, mud-laced water splatters my trousers. My middle finger springs into action (a knee-jerk response) and already the day is off on the wrong foot. I hurl some choice obscenities at the Salad-Shooter from hell. The driver eyes me through his side mirror. I jerk the bonnet back over my face, in case his buddies from the Teamsters come looking for me.

Embarrassed by a large, accusatory wet spot in the worst of all places, I grab the handle of the nearest door. The wind propels me inside. Once the bag is off my head, I suspend it strategically in front of my crotch. I case the joint. Ah, yes--the Mystery Book Store. A quiet, brooding little place. Smells like an attic.

The woman behind the counter is young--probably a student. Her hair is short, witch black. Razor straight bangs lick her eyebrows. She wears pasty white makeup and thick brown lipstick. Glancing up from the book she is reading, she says, "Is there a particular mystery I can help you with?" Her manner is genteel, a bit exaggerated--a diaphanous swan sculpted from a block of ice.

"Yes," I reply. "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

"Because the light was green."

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

"Much softer than that of one foot stomping."

"Okay, about the meaning of life?"

She searches for her place in the book. "I figured you'd get around to that one. Einstein said the only thing that matters is whether the universe is friendly."

Resisting the urge to challenge her on the capitol of North Dakota, I retreat to the bookshelves. So many mysteries in life, and now I am faced with about a thousand more.

Scanning one wall, I lose track of how many times "murder" and "death" appear in the titles.I go for broke and select a paperback titled Death Is Murder. I flip through the pages, periodically casting a wary eye upon the dark circle between my legs that shrinks with glacier-like speed.

How long have I been standing here? Is she watching me? Of course she is--I'm the only refugee in the place. What the hell, buy the damn book. On my way to the counter, I reach for my wallet and absentmindedly drop the shopping bag to the floor. The girl glares down at my pants.

"Hey, you one of them sick muhfuggahs man?" (Out of nowhere, she has developed a Brooklyn accent.)

"N-no," I say. "Th-the rain!" I whirl to face the plate glass window, but the storm has subsided, sunlight glinting off the last rivulets trickling into the gutters.

"I get all kinds in here," she says. "I got pepper spray in my purse."

I lay the paperback on the counter. "I'll take this one and be on my way."

My hand clutches the doorknob when she calls out. "So...what if we knew, ya know?"

I turn, "Beg your pardon?"

"The game would be up, wouldn't it? The end of  THE MYSTERY."

I smile. She returns to her reading. This is where I came in.

Outside, I breathe in the clean, sweet air. My trousers are nearly dry, and at last I carry the bag containing the book at my side in a manner befitting its original purpose. day you head for the corner market and the next thing you know you're jostled about like a pair of stained jockey shorts in the spin dryer of life--disjointed, as on a morning when you wake up sneezing.

Two sullen looking men in brown leather jackets scrutinize me as they pass by. They glance down at the bag. They glance up at my face. I jerk my head around to get another look at them, only to catch their eyes shooting bullets back at me.

Universe, let's be friends.  

Friday, January 20, 2012


There's wispy clouds 
morphing slowly into
some other shape--
some other beingness
right before your eyes.
Not like your life, which
does it behind your back.

The birds are doing strictly bird
things, they don't give a crap
about you and me, unless its to splat
some on top your head

And off the top of my head
I'm rehearsing what I might say to you
tonight, if you ask about her, and why
it all turned to shit so quickly, and

I'll just say that she was the
prima donna type, and me,
just a casual guy who doesn't sweat
the small stuff--and I think it was
'cause I didn't bow down to 
her, or even curtsy, somewhere
along the way. Not really knowing,
but banking that you won't be
the same, but hey...

Sitting on the porch, I spot
the feral cat who lives underneath
the house, heading off on his mid-afternoon
hunting expedition. And when I think about
moving from here, I think about
where would he go in this 
stark coyote land?
There's a bowl of water that I set out.
Never food. 
He's lean, but he's a survivor,
and I'd never want to turn
a wild thing into something less.

And I glance up at those birds on a wire--
heads down in a heartbeat--
and off to who knows where,
'cept that it's someplace else, as

I languish here, dreaming of 
Adriatic whores, and some way to 
attain that kind of altitude. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


She often spoke in rhyme or verse.
A strong semi-classical face.
Decked out in shocking pink.
And who needs a bra?

Her mother was a sorceress.
She has the power to move
objects with her mind.

Compellingly strange.
An ambiguous mystery
wavering between good and evil.

Rising early on Saturday
mornings to watch cartoons.
Coffee enemas laced with hallucinogens.
She has the power to
turn men into murderous zombies.

Sailing into treacherous waters.
Storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
You must make her stay.
Faced with the ghosts of
the past, your summer love
will fade like a press-on tattoo.

Mounting a furious campaign
to find a new love by Columbus Day.
Taking a transatlantic cruise to Zanzibar. 
Then, in the rain forest
somewhere near the Indian Ocean--
bees and wasps and flies.
Calls of a thousand strange creatures.

Back in the sunny land
you practice the changing of reality
 like a film with an alternate ending.

It is going to be a night to remember.

The scent of sandalwood from an open doorway.
Background music.
The thrum of guitars.
Crimson And Clover over and over. 

The sun sets in her amber eyes.
The ink black night.
A veil of white.
The sound of rain,
sharp, like the pangs of regret.

A handful of dust.


Friday, January 6, 2012


it's so strange to be a 


to suddenly zzzzzzip back 
from the nightly sojourn 
to awaken and 
allow it to dawn 
that you're back to feeding this drama
the trauma
of CHOOSE at every turn
no way to win with those kinds of odds
so go ahead and make 
mistake number three
cuz you're really just here to
accumulate karma
now what kind of dharma is that?

Goin' apeshit  batshit  ratshit  

at the prospect of writing the next line
knowing it signifies nothing
but still gives you something 
to read 
as you sip your Corona 
on the beach at Pomona

that tenuous hold
on all of your gold 
to stand there and stare
pretending to care
playing the game
just for shits and grins
knowing nobody wins

banking on Nietzsche being full of it
with his eternal recurrence
(like all philosophers, he was in his head way too much)
yet considering the possibility
if all of the highs
(of which there were many)
would be worth all the lows
(of which there were plenty)
to come back, Jack
and do it again
making your grand re-entrance 
but if you really gonna heed that guy
then you know ya gotta try 
to make every day
the best it can be, though

kinda hard when you're walking through the woods
in the dead of winter
and having to whiz 
and discovering that you've put
your long johns on backwards
with an opening in the front
but none in the rear
which is now reversed...


It's so strange to be a person
fresh from the slide
off a magic carpet ride
feeling trapped here inside 
once again

now you've been zipped
your wings have been clipped
you soul has been stripped
to fit inside this box

so strange to be a person
this creature
this thing
fiddling with your ding-a-ling
hoping it will bring
some solace from it all

and it's so strange to be a 
when you've seen beyond the pale
when you've poked through the crack
in the cosmic egg
grasping at last
that it's no longer a matter of 
when will you leave
but of how much longer 
will you keep coming back

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SWIFT AND DETERMINED (inspired upon observing a local TV news person striding through the mall)

Hi, it's ME...the girl who does the local news on TV.  Yes, and I'm BEAUTIFUL!  Well, you can see that, you pitiful peon!  No ugly girls on television, you know. I see you gawking when I pass by but...don't look at me!  Well, I mean...just LOOK at me, dummy! 

Life is grand when you're byootiful!  I walk through the mall in a swift and determined way. As if to say GANGWAY PEASANTS--my heels pounding the tiles.  And what does it feel like, you pathetic piece of poo that's stuck to the bottom of my shoe?  Don't try to stop me!  Well, yes---STOP ME, if it's copious praise you'll be heaping. 

'Cause there's no ugly girls on TV. Okay, well, there's that UGLY BETTY show. Geez, what's up with that?  Oh yeah, and there's Martha, my colleague. Not nearly as FABULOUS as me!  She's a MINORITY--and you know how that works.   Still, she PLOWS through the mall in a swift and determined way, thinking she's hot poop just because she's on TV! What a stupid thing to think. But not if you're BAYOOTIFULL!  Now, kowtow to me, you scum! 

When he hired me, my boss said there's no CASTING COUCH. But I did him anyway, just to cement our relationship. Cement...that stuff that starts out soft and then gets hard...tee hee!  Never a dull moment. 

Oh yeah, I had a STALKER once. Calling me at all hours of the night. Breathing real heavy into the phone and making these weird chicken noises. And peeking into my windows. Well, I can't really blame him for that. Like, who WOULDN'T if they got the chance? It puzzled me for a long time. Then I got this BRILLIANT idea to look at my caller ID display when the guy was on the phone. Sure enough, there was his number!  Turns out it was my little brother's best friend. That knucklehead! I told him I might give him a good spanking if he didn't watch out, but he just looked at me with this weird grin on his face.

Now, I want to say something about the way we look on TV. Some people think just because I have this BLANK STARE on my face when I'm doing the news,  that I'm stupid or something.  But when we read these stories about homeless people getting squished in trash compactors and stuff, my boss doesn't want us to show any emotion.  That's because EMOTION could be, like, expressing an OPINION with your face. And some people might get OFFENDED if we did that. Then, if they tune out, our ratings would go down.

I know in another ten years they'll be booting me out on my butt--replaced by someone who's younger and (don't want to say it) more BYOOOOTIFUL.  But before they can do that, I'll get knocked up and go on maternity leave. Hey, last year the weekend anchor filled in for Jennifer for like, SIX MONTHS. And she wasn't even preggers!  She brought these pictures of her SISTER'S baby into work and showed them around.  Yeah, we ain't dumb, ya know. No, pathetic excuse for a cockroach.

Hey, it's not all a bed of roses. There's hair and makeup right before the show. And having to learn those big words like Ahmadina...uh...Amajina...uh...oh FORGET IT, panther poop!  I'm not paid to be SARAH PALIN (she's smart!)  I'm paid to be FABULOUS. It's in the contract. Anyway, it's time to go parading through the malls again...

So BOW DOWN to me, you slugs!

ADORE ME, pig lickers!

WORSHIP ME, maggots!

Oh CRAP...look at that...I just broke another nail.