Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Online bullying?

when I was comin' up
it was up close
and personal
and in your face
(not Facebook)

one thing it does
when you're on the receiving end
is helps to build character

so develop a hard shell
like that giant tortoise at the zoo
(and shine it with turtle wax)
and have some empathy
for your tormentors
for they are hurting
the same as you


consider the source

can't tell you how many times
that has seen me through

never once validated
or took their words
to heart

that's called knowing who you are

never knew anyone
of my generation
(them damn hippies!)
who checked out over it


there is a place
deep inside
at your very core
where no one can hurt you

find it

it is your strength
and your reserve
and one day
it will lead you
into the sun

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Didn't send anything 
to your journal this time
didn't send anything to
your contest 
(after winning it last year)
give someone else a chance
I said
but the truth is it's just too much
goddamn trouble 
for little reward

Like a lot of things

Like life


But you're expecting

a poem 
of course you are
that's why you're here...

So let's not disappoint:

Last lessons of the afternoon

your last drive
I said, this misery must end

The rolling English road

bagpipe music
anthem for doomed youth

Buffalo dusk

full moon
what are years?

Look within

the lost man
not waving 
still drowning

I remember the woman

 at the Washington Zoo
wearing flames and dangling wire 
a kiss in space
a taste
Xmas trees
the end of love

All day it rained 

Fuck you 

Monday, June 11, 2018


He's just a nondescript dude
 more polite than most
 no need for posturing
at this stage of the game

The one he's not playing

Saw him at the theater
saw him at the school
saw him at the cafe
in the booth
so calm and cool

Think you're a tough guy
and he looks like a pushover
maybe have a little fun
maybe heap some abuse
but you've just drawn to
the worst hand of your life
with the one you never should choose

Talkin bout the man with nothing to lose

Your woman
your job
your booze
will keep you playing the game
by somebody else's rules
and you'll always stop short
of the things he might choose

That man with nothing to lose

Who knows when
the proverbial straw
came into play
suffice it to say
that life has been exposed
as a game for fools
and he is no longer playing
by anyone's rules

When life's no longer
what it seems
you walk along in a dream
a slow motion movie
where there is no sound
and people's eyes appear
to be screaming
and you wonder
in a curious way
if it has anything to do
with you

Saw him at the theater
saw him at the school
saw him at the cafe
in the booth
so calm and cool

And afterward
the afterword
is how did we fail him
but that's easy because
day by day
and each and every day
we shuffle along in a dream
where we wanted to reach out
we had it in our minds
to reach out
we had it on our agenda
to reach out
we had it on our calendar
to reach out
but somehow
we just didn't
and so it's easy to discern
just where we went wrong
my friend
cuz day after day
and each and every day

Monday, June 4, 2018


Moving down the aisle at the
SuperDuper market, a song from
1968 comes on the overhead speakers:
Hi everybody, I'm Archie Bell of The Drells
from Houston Texas...
just as if none of this crazy shit
had taken place in the interim and we
are back to the purity of The Beat.

We don't only sing, but we dance

just as good as we want
just as if this 3 ring circus
hadn't come to town to stay,
and we realized too late we'd
given the ringmaster too much
discretion and now he's wading
into the crowd with the whip
once reserved only for the lions.

But this message from on high

that's washing me in the blood
is as primal as a heartbeat
and the old gal with her cart
that's doubling as a walker
is moving her hips in a way
that tells me to look away



And whether all of this bullshit
falls away one day
or we're in for a dystopian future
that'll make 1984 seem like 
a mere prologue, my permanent escape
through the time warp in aisle # 5
is already booked,
knowing that all must pass
'cept for the one and only thing
that will save us in the end...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


There are places
in my mind
I just won't go to
as having been there once
is enough for a lifetime

I've no need to relive
every misdeed
or stupid mistake

I'll wait to have all that
read back to me
at the gates
of either heaven
or hell

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


There's a mall just down the road
that's dying 
it's a slow demise
as one by one the shops
are closing up shop
(so where ya gonna shop?)
and a walk down those corridors now
encounters just a few curious soles
making contact with the tiles
and yours truly of course
(cuz I feel so at home in lonely places)

You can say what you want about the malls

but for a long time they served as our surrogate
downtown in the days of urban decay when
nobody wanted the real experience 
too scary
and so we strolled along in air-conditioned
comfort and poked our heads into the shops
and always seemed to run into someone 
we knew (whether we wanted to or not)
and the seniors in their Nikes and jogging outfits
puffing along twice as fast as anyone else
and the smells...oh the smells...
of sinful chocolate delights and sticky buns
and the way they went all out with the
decorations at Christmas time and the 
jolly fat man holding court 
(where the hell you gonna find Santa now?)

It's a lot we're losing and we don't even care

So I just think a eulogy is in order
for the death of brick and mortar
as we gaze glassy-eyed into that screen 
and click add to cart 
and wait for the guy in the brown truck 
to ring the bell
or more likely than not
just dump your package by the gate
cuz he's got lots of rounds to make
and you don't need to greet him
cuz after all
it's not like 
he's anybody
you'd be happy
to run into 
at the mall 

Friday, May 4, 2018


Lengthy verse (more than 100 lines or so)
bores me to tears. Just make your
point suckah, and admit that you are
a novelist at heart. And haiku, 
while so tasty and perfect for our
ADD world, is the Chinese 
food of poetry. You're ravenous again 
shortly afterward. So I'm going to 
feed you a light lunch to tide you over. 
Let's's about me (isn't it always?)

I'm wasting away in the bar of a 

hotel (you could call it seedy)
when a woman slides 
onto the stool next to me.
Maybe she's a hooker.
Maybe she isn't. But we end up 
getting a room and afterwards 
as we light the proverbial fags 
(I don't smoke but it's necessary 
to the atmosphere of the story)
we begin sharing details of our 
personal lives and lo and behold 
it turns out that she's my long 
lost sister! I look her square 
in the eye and say that I don't
regret a thing. She says well
she does regret one thing 
and I say what's that and 
she says it's that now you're
prolly not going to pay me!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Did U ever think about why
Officer Smith gets a lavish
send off--a showy parade provided
for by your tax dollars
when he falls in the line of duty?
I do, and I'm not saying he doesn't
deserve the proper respect,
such a risky job...
but then we have Tyrone Smith
over here (no relation)
who was charged with an
equally harrowing task--
that of driving himself to the
store and back without getting
pulled over for not employing his
turn signal, and if he made 
one wrong move 
that could have easily been
curtains for him too--
and ya see Tyrone was just
laid to rest in a pauper's
grave with no fanfare,
no crowds lining the streets
as the cavalcade of motorcycles
files by, and it makes you think--
well maybe not you--
but it makes me wonder about
why that is, and there's no other
reason of course than
authority must have its due...
authority must always have its due. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Those who love
fiercely and
often find themselves
or so it may seem
as opposed to those who
for what presents itself
as a long-term solution
to solitude
which one who loves 
eventually learns
is the long-term solution 
(many) wrongs
not making a right 

Monday, April 16, 2018



I've taken to writing my grocery lists
on the backs of my business cards
(I make better use of them that way)
and if I should happen to forget
and hand one out
at least the recipient knows the answer 
to the age-old question of
What's for dinner?

And how one longs for the days when

the man in aisle 5 talking to himself
was just your garden variety crazy
person and not some pussy-whipped
hubby taking orders from headquarters or
some Russian spy 
reporting to the White House


The highest office 

for sale
to the lowest bidder 
while Joe Six-Pack grows so 
worshiping flags
he's lost sight of the 
Grand Poobah
who transcends all this tribalism 

but even God knows

He's less sacred than


We gather by the river...

we're not praying

we're just wading in
and peeing 


There's another kind of pollution

it is of the mind
it's seeped into the water supply
it's in the drinking water
it makes you paranoid 
to the point of nothing and
no one can be trusted
not even your own 


you strongly suspect she's a
crisis actor on her days off
from the waffle house

the next stop for you is 

The Walking Dead


I will admit it's getting

harder to identify
the good guys
it used to be so easy
they were the ones with
the white hats


There's a deranged man

who shambles down my street
in the mornings
Take that shit to Valhalla!
while tugging on his crotch 

I feel that he's in contact
with unseen spirits
who know exactly what he's
talking about
but as for me
I wrack my brain daily
sifting through possible meanings

I know one day
that same flash of illumination
will arrive for me
being fully aware
that to get there
I'll have to follow
in his footsteps