Saddest Poem This Month

Will I ever find you?

You’ll find me
Not all at once
But in every moment you meet someone
You’ll catch yet another clue
As you build me from your inside out
So I’m forever there
And you’ll never be lonely

Poor dear you

You’ll be lonely all the time
Empty as you fill up with things you’ll never touch
And you’ll walk cold in your coat
The ghost of your breath vanishing as it flees
your mouth
Speaking a name that forever changes


The whole world
And everyone in it
Is dead this morning

Oh, I see them, the men my age with their dogs

But that’s meaningless
They walk past and vanish into thin morning

Leaving just me
My footsteps
The difficulty finding my way out of this place
I might as well be walking about inside myself


Lick my back
The lonely wind you are
Finding me
On a dreamy threshold
Late after a day of kissing everyone
And slaloming through trees
Sit on my sill
And see my poor old body without judgment
Come meet me where I’m still young:
Where hope is still supple and unlined
Floating o’er my hopeless knees


To be as much in love as those two
Such that they’re spun together
By an unseen but kind hand
Mixed and inseparable
Water and soil after weeks of April rain

And then there’s walking
Stepping in puddles
Jumping from dry spot to dry spot
An umbrella huge to cover the world and the future
April rain forever
Coming down for months of Sundays
Umbrellas up all over town|
And leaned by the door
Where you order coffee and read

The Past

The past is a dog or a cat

Or both

The dog you can call over by crouching, patting the rug in front of you

The cat stalks around the house
And if it spots you
It might slink over
It might let you rub its head

It might purr
And then drive its teeth into your hand
Running off

Later it’s lying on the bolster of the couch
Its tail keeping time to some inner music
Staring at you
Daring you

The dog pads up
And leans on your leg

There is the past that’s simple
And the past that’s tangled

The cat readjusts and yawns
The dog rolls over and offers its belly

3/12 — A Memory

A memory today of my son
Maybe 13?
Behind the door of his room doing exercises
Push-ups? Squats? Something of his own design?

What did someone say to him at school? What girl did he like? What display of incompetence in the gym?

He would tell me of sports he invented, and his mastery of them

For some of us, there is this moment where we know we’re stuck
Battling a part of us that despises us

Where we are stuck forever
Behind the door of that room
Shut even to people that love us more than they love themselves

For C in 1982

A certain awkwardness
In newish shoes
Which get pulled out and put on
When hopes are high and expectations…

Expectations are exciting

I think her name was Caroline
She of the shy sideways smile
Her shoulder against mine

But whatever else went up into the sky on an Indiana night
A bird flushed from its hiding place
The wisps of smoke from the fire
Laughter, and words you can’t quite make out
Blond hair cascades over the collar of her cardigan
And the strange way she’d say my name

On Getting Lost Because Why the Hell Not?

How often have I walked out into my own neighborhood and hoped to get lost…

It’s familiar to the point where it’s not comforting
I know all the dumb plants and the stupid flags the cracks in the sidewalk and exactly where the majority of dog shit might be

I saunter by houses
Imagining the imaginationless people inside
Some fat guy and his wife
Staring at second-day take-out

There are lights on in the upper windows where there’s a kid
And they don’t even bother to look out past the curtains
Because the only thing to see is me:
Some dumb guy walking past at night trying to do something decent for his heart

If I could get lost…

I could follow the sound of an airplane or a train and wind up in 1962
In a bar
In Paris
Listening to film students argue mise en scene
My shitty college French suddenly complete as I get
Gesticulating wildly with the stump of a Gauloises

And then, at 2 AM, under some poplars making out with some French chic who smells like soap and smoke

Suddenly, her eyes fly open:
I know you
She says
You’re that fat fuck that walked past my parents’ house
I dream, too, she says,
But never of you

Well ain’t that a kick in the nuts

Across the park a bunch of plastic tunnels and ladders that might be a pirate ship to a kid that hasn’t lived here long enough yet
Cold in the light of LEDs

It’s still a pirate ship to me. It never changes. And someday I’ll wander like a dog off a leash with a thousand girls to meet
Poetry to write
And enough rain falling to flip the world over


When I returned to Ladyshire
It was February and naught was blooming
The cars moved with slow velocities
The sun awkward and low in early afternoon

Inside we sat
At a window table
Thumbing the local paper
There were things to notice
Framed photos, a porcelain turtledove
Bric-à-Brac on shelves…
The way your hair turned to down along the back of your neck

Glowing somehow

The words in the paper passed by and through me
The same as the wind when once again outside
I turned
To glance back through the window

I should rush back in, to your table
Take up your hands and say:
There are so many things but I do not have the words to explain them
And I’m… a confused mass of bees, and you’re both queen and honey


I move with my own sad velocities
Plodding at my work
Caught at the corners of my own cliffs
Destined to return to Ladyshire
In spring
To fresh curtains
Cut flowers on the table
Stories in the local paper
Sitting once again
What is worth saving?
What is worth letting go?

Snow Night

Out in the snow, each step can be a hundred years
And suddenly you’re wrapped in furs, shoes stuffed with straw
Looking up at a moon
That keeps its secrets

Where will we be when the moon returns to this same place?
When the stars of The Hunter again point his bow across the sky?

Breath comes in cold and goes as mist, over and over, in a watchful forest

The way becomes path then dirt, cobble, macadam then asphalt, all hidden under snow until the porch light senses you

The moon is 238,900 miles away
A jet you can only hear crosses the sky

Where will we be when clock and calendar have done their laps?

A shaman, hidden, watches me, shakes his head, chuckles that I know nothing, and disappears into the snow, one hundred years at each step.

Krakatoa, East of Java (1968)

At the time of the cataclysm
You tumbled screaming into an endless slash in the earth
(what screaming — you threw yourself down it)
Leaving me to walk east to west until once again facing east on an endless
Möbius strip of a tiny beach

“Oh Universe and God,” I never cried out to the surf, which lapped more than pounded, “How much can a man take?”

“You’re not a man,” whispered the wind, or perhaps it was guitar amp static, “You’re a dumb boy. You can take everything I dish out.
You’ll be a man when I’m done with you.”

When I lost you
You weren’t the real loss, were you?
You were a MacGuffin
The microfilm in North by Northwest
Catalyzing the transformation of Cary Grant

The real loss was me, wasn’t it?
(Circa 1985)
Capable of planning on forever
Thinking that words change minds
And love conquers all

(Circa 2022)
Knows forever changes
That words must be husbanded and deployed tactically
And love never conquers but is forever surrendering and letting go

These days no one gets me out in a cornfield to wait for a bus
Or off that strip of sand bound by high and low tidelines

To moon about like a sweet dumb kid
A peach of a guy, still on the tree

That Moment in the Backyard Yesterday — Later in the Kitchen

There’s a gauze of recent snow
And empty envelope silence that arrives hand-in-hand

Cold water I cup in my palm to drink
Pausing to remember other snows, other cold water, other silences.

Then it occurs to me that I can no longer conjure up your face
Rather I see instead photographs I’ve memorized
And you’ve moved from loss to history
From presence to document

And your voice

You could be calling me from out in the snow
If I managed to hear you
Would I know you?

In the morning I might see tracks but they would only be only mine

After Dinner, but Before Breakfast

A million things to do
None of which effect the planet
More so than making dinner
Everything and most people
All becomes electrons

This pointless life on the steppes
These nomads trekking in place
There’s been a shift in the skies
Those pole stars have moved
That course is now un-plottable

Come now: Quiet
A flung and dropped comforter
What keeps a blanket from becoming a shroud is that tomorrow you get up
And after coffee
Begin the thousand footfalls
Forging your own mad chain

Think of the second thing first

I saw a fat kid
on a bike
who had a nice smile

On a bike
I saw a fat kid
who had a nice smile

Who had a nice smile?
The fat kid
on a bike

Out on that bike: legs pumping, face flushed, delicious air running through passages cool into his lungs, and then through arteries and down to the cells, the mitochondria.

That smile of shy, unobserved delight, the glide like a P-51 through the neighborhood, going somewhere or nowhere

Sixteen and on a bike: a moment to be savored

What sort of asshole am I that I didn’t see the smile first?
Am I often given gifts and my focus finds the subpar wrapping paper?

Perhaps if I keep working at it, and if I’m lucky
In future I’ll see the poem first, before I have to write it


When did we enter this world?
Our new strange world
Where all our collective memories are bad
And every moment second-guessed?

The city is noisy and alive
And smells of Sabretts and sweet onion sauce
As it wakes up

You’re where you are, wherever that may be
While I’m anonymous
Talking to strangers
Lovely under their masks


I was young, and autumn seemed to last months, from the first days of school, finally gasping out at Thanksgiving, in New England, where it becomes its own holiday, and you could drive north with a girlfriend into deeper, redder places, the dog wearing a t-shirt and leaping from leaf pile to leaf pile

All the things that never happened

When will a leaf land on my shoulder, pause for a moment as we recognize each other, and then continue falling, taking me along?

Cricket Poem

There are crickets outside
Speaking to the crickets inside my head:
Guys — come out!
We’re mating and stuff!
You’ve not lived until you’ve had insane hopper sex on the lawn and then die!

My crickets conferred:
We’ll stay in this guy’s head
We serenade him; he’d miss us if we left
And he’s a good enough sort of fella
A bit forgetful and prone to melancholia
But he tries

(He tries to get rid of us, actually
He doesn’t like us at all)


At the center of things at the table
He peeled off all the label and he made a little snowman from it
Explaining how taxes work and why we all get fucked

He passed out in the bathroom
Woke up face down in the toilet with a cut above his eye
Crying that he never got his shot and how he got fucked

On the curb beside the garbage
This bald guys walks his dog, and Frankie starts this thing
Talking schnauzers and he had one as a kid until it got fucked

You and I are strangers and we’ll stay that way
You’re a bomb that’s ticking and the explosion will be a fizzle
But I can’t be there to watch, Frankie
I got my own bombs about to go off

Saturday Night’s Alright for Dying

We pushed the windows wide open
Let clothes find their way into any old drawer
The fan is jammed and clicks, broken
We’ll visit it later at fan hospital

We put tiny blindfolds on our pets
Now they’re experiencing new vistas and adventures

We need more werewolves around here
Stalking around suburbia and occasionally taking a housewife

A good place to hide is the basement bathroom, with a book we never finish
Toileting until legs go numb

A pet bumps in, via the walls and door frames
Sniffing for the scratching hand, sprawled at your feet
Attentive to crickets, werewolves, and the occasional plane

A door bangs shut somewhere

But the windows are open still

The Fuck-Up Whisperer

A lumpy woman on a bike
Slows and loses balance on a sharp turn
On the sidewalk

The saddle catches her fanny pack
The pedal, her sneaker lace
Her helmet mushes her hair into a gray fallen soufflé

And now she’s late for office hours
To sit at a desk and hold your hand
And forgive you for failing to become a fraction as notably forgotten as Françoise Dorléac

But she perseveres!
The crossbar crushes into her crotch
She levers her leg down and the bike creaks forward a baby step
Hovering on training wheels of hope and habit

(Françoise‘s ghost laughs, and flings her cognac hair)

She whispers in her own ear:
Pedal!! Pedal, you fuck…

Beautiful You

On a cliff in Greece
You might find your Goddessness

But she also might be found
In an apt. in Philly

At burlesque classes
In shirtwaist dresses and victory rolls

We all fight the battle of
Our body and our past

Our good minds that trick us into
Ruminating on issues that feast on rumination

Yet you delight and surprise
Like old music on a new radio

And these metaphors are skint celebrations
Of the wonder that is you

Before this becomes a homily
I’ll offer this benediction

A dim light touches the slates of the patio
Dream in your loft, never alone

Stop Filling Holes I Do Not Have

What can be done with this monologue-ist? Hunting around the kitchen cabinets for the stale crumbs of kisses, and white glove testing the cracks and the corners. The queen bee is barefoot and pregnant, with no time to whine, but you! Shakespearette of problematic recipes and balking blenders. We let the eggplant hatch on the stove, but by all means, tell me the backstory in detail of someone I’ll never meet, whose name I’ve already forgotten. Meanwhile, back at the ranch in my head, I read the news of myself to myself, while my ratings dip and you interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to ask a question, thumbing in a dime of ersatz interest for a dial tone of an answer from someone who’s not interesting to you.

Poem #42

When the mists rise
And things are clear to see
I’ll know what I want


Cicadas will sing it out
Mourning doves will spell it out in seed husks on the lawn
Fireflies will code it out in the dark
A wind will hold its breath and then whisper it:
What you need to do is —

And the wind runs out, the firefly dies after a night of ecstasy, the mourning dove is a moron, and the cicadas retreat into the ground, with a knowing look that says, “We’ll tell you in 17 years.”

Night is now here. Insect choirs trade eights. The house has sleepy eyes and wonders when I’m coming back in.


I’m never coming back in.

I’ll wait until I make up my mind like a hit by a lightning bolt. The birds and bugs scatter at the crash of it, throwing themselves up through the trees, dodging branches, twigs and leaves, and murmurating into sentences and phrases –

I don’t utter them. No one hears me, just reading strangers. Hello there! Are you somewhere between the ground and the air, too? Dying, and yet so so damn alive?

On the Beach

Geiger counters begin to click

We’ve all been drinking for weeks
And fucking like mayflies
Smashing our houses and appliances
Racing the neighbors’ cars and playing chicken
Pausing only to kick some guy’s ass if they impede shit

But it’s all stupid fun and games until somebody loses a civilization

And now, sobering up, and throwing up in the sand, Geiger counters a relentless polka band, the uncontemplatable becomes the topic of silent discussion

Waiting for something you never want to arrive is so different than what I’ve been doing, which has been waiting for something that will never arrive, you. Faceless and nameless you

You, who’ve been at the periphery of me since I noticed girls
Lurking as a yardstick from first dates to divorces
Everywhere, yet never under any stone I’ve ever turned up, door I’ve opened, mouth I’ve kissed

Now would be the time for you to come walking down the beach and plop down in the sand, with that smile I’ve never seen but I’ve always known

My dear friend! I’ve been waiting waiting waiting, and finally you’re here! Just in time to make it all worth while!

Hiroshima Penumbra

My shadow is walking untethered through my house
I’m hiding in a quiet room in the dark

We divorced sometime early in middle school — those things kids know how to say, off-the-cuff, but targeted with smart-bomb accuracy

After Hiroshima, they found the last shadows ever cast
On walls, stairs, sidewalks

My shadow is now shopping
I’m still atomized, although I’m tagging along these days
My hat pulled down low
My beard a white shadow slowly taking over my face

Better Living Through Root Canal

Tired of lopsided eating,
which caused me to poop lefty,
I found myself in a chair
As He probed my face.

He massaged my feet and x-rayed my unmentionables.

He studied me, with those sensitive eyes, and announced:

“You have much wrong with you.
And your diet isn’t helping.
And the drinking! Phfssst!”
(He gestured, his hand a flapping bird startled off the porch)

“You are poisoned by many tiny things.
I’ll remove what I can,
but it’s a plethora, I tell you.”

The lights changed and He put on special goggles.

He drilled, politely.
My tongue cowered, henpecked and unemployed.

Then, with a thin instrument inserted,
He pulled out a little red guy — like a bit of chorizo caught between the chompers.

“This. Has. Been. The. Problem.”
(Each word was accompanied by a hand motion, as if hitting me lightly, and with no small affection)

He lit the red thing — the little red guy — on fire with a bunsen burner flame.
It squeeked “Yeep” and vanished.

“I have removed it!”
He warned: “Don’t you put it back!”

Oh! Alas!
I am a dumb ass!
I’ll try. I will try.

But we creatures of bad habits
Nose pickers
Singed and flowering with recriminations

We always put things back.

Moonboy I

Moonboy was still in diapers when we discovered him staring up at you, and then he became moonboy

Through cloud cover he could track you — we’d hold him up, move him in a circle ’til he smiled

And at night, we could peak into his room, and even if you were on the other side of the world, it seemed an errant beam lit his face

Then math came along, and science, and when he learned of the actual distances involved, the space between you grew with each trip ‘round the sun

But perhaps… on a clear night, you might peak over the horizon and find his face?
And his girlfriend might see a moment of moonboy, in between beginner kisses

Miss Lyndonville

My queen is at Miss Lyndonville Diner

I order a cuppa coffee and nurse it for an hour just to watch her.

Caffeine kicks my IBS up bad so the whole thing is painful.

I watch her the whole time, careful not to get caught.

I watch her long neck with her hair piled up.

I watch her hands and the way her legs move and the way she… I dunno.


Everything everything everything

And the whole time my gut is killing me, from that first sip on.

But I order coffee cause that’s the first thing she says to me.

And it’s ok that it hurts cause I’ll never have the guts to — Oh, here she comes now here she comes:

She glides by and I can smell her for just a moment. Part of her stays in the air for a moment.

And then I go, and I drive across the lot to look in the window a last time.

Rosebud, Little Friend

Rosebud, little friend
There will be boys to meet
On stairwells, he’ll pass you
With all his hair
Hiding his eyes
This will go on for some weeks
As he figures out your schedule
And figures out himself
’Til he surprises you
(and himself)
Stopping on the stairwell
With an eloquent “Hey…”

It is then
You might notice his lips

The best of these boys
Are so scared
Send him down the stairs
To dream unending of you

You will never hold so many of the cards again

Soon Summer

Soon summer…
Trapped in a bed with someone who sleeps hot
And no escape from lazy curls of grill smoke that hunt you down

The house on the corner will start throwing parties — you’re never invited
Shitty music and the laughing of drunk mothers banging on the window

Come out! Come out and play! Come sit and get some food you couldn’t see in the dark all over your fat shorts!

Swim in the pool with everyone else’s drips and liquids, and $5 French fries sticky fingers that were up that’s kid’s nose

Soon it will rain, and there will be a mist when you walk in the morning, and so quiet that you’d swear you heard dragonflies holding hands

And then off and running for the bathing suit body that hasn’t been seen since your early 30’s

Soon summer will end…
Still trapped with that hot sleeper
And no escape from caramelizing onions that find you opening windows

The house down the street leaves garbage cans in front all week and who knows what those teens are up to

Stay out. Stay out all day until your sneakers are wet… and you stepped in something

Jump rope and use the bike in the basement, and watch the country fall apart between commercial breaks for medicine you’re likely to eventually take

Soon it will snow, and you’ll have to pick your path to the park, empty handed

And then creaking up the stairs with your old knees, dreaming of new hips

Pizza Girl

just a girl that works
in a pizza place

Today it was thunder and rain

I stood in the doorway watching the street empty of people

I fuck up so many things
all the way back to grade school

I could step off the sidewalk and be swept away
to where no one who knows me might find me

And I could be a mermaid to someone who’s never seen a girl
from a pizza place

April 24

Let’s sing something dumb
About love and sex and being everything

To some someone
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing
About tomorrow and forever and it doesn’t mean a thing

April 23

The talkative 7 year old has tired me out

Constant questions that he’s asked before, and for which I have no answers.

Constant comments and observations about everything.

And funny, cute, even seductive. I mean, how can ya not give the kid an ear?

He doesn’t like this bit of writing. Fuck him. I’ll post it anyway.

April 22

Why not speak in code? So many ways to say so little.

A bottle wrapped in a bag results in a bag shaped like a bottle. All the words make clear the shape of what isn’t be talked about.

I’m trying to say nothing these days, so I can glide invisibly, and weave my way through, a mackerel in shark water.

April 21

Your past is clean garbage
We can be rag pickers and pull interesting things out of it
The day 40 Aprils ago that put such a twist in your circuitry
That woman at the car wash
The time a firefly landed on the tip of your nose
Why you love pancakes

We can pick your garbage
But stay the hell out of mine.

April 20

At his end he was far down his personal hill.

The struggle for hope and something decent takes a toll, as dreams dry up and mistakes pile up. Crying to no one but yourself in the kitchen. How to get through ‘til bedtime.

Remind us of our duty, which is serve and protect. To recognize what is right, kind and merciful, and then do exactly that, regardless of what came before or comes after.

There are ever hills to climb.

April 19

There is a clock in here

It’s ticking again

It could be a bomb I fear

Counting from ten

When it’s zero

We’ll either wake up or explode

Ah! Just three seconds left

So soon we’ll know…

April 18

The news is presented by handsome people. But the news is ugly. And so often sad.

Who would sniff a flower that looks like shit but smells of newly remembered old love?

It’s not the flowers. It’s the nature of the ground and the gardener.

April 16

Dangerous country you shouldn’t be in it again you were in it before and it did you no good and now you’re back and looking for that lost house you left your things in only now it’s more hidden than it was and the woods crawl with teeth and claws

“People die easier than some promises and some dreams”

That’s what’s on the sign post that’s miles behind you now

April 15

Where do you go when it rains?

Do you find a nook somewhere, a branch, an overhang?
Are you by yourself or with others?
Do you count the minutes, and is it excruciating?

I’ll bet you merely sit somewhere, and wait, and watch, and the rain
goes as it comes
Barely noticed, just a thing that happens when it happens

It’s over now—you get a drink or take a bath
A puddle is good enough

I stand outside, looking for you
Looking for the simplicity of you

Everything rains on me
I wish I could wait, and watch
But what I see is the passing of the time that is left
And the water that spoils it

April 14

I was enough
Was was was

The younger me, blind and ignorant in the moment, was sufficient. Generous. Transcendent. Charming.

Today I’m less

Less is not more

I’ve shrunk against your yardstick
And you know it
And measure me every chance you get

Between what I am and what I’m not is the problem

It’s never the measuring, is it?

April 13

Today the plumbing came alive and tried to kill me.

You wouldn’t think a toilet would be so angry, but I suppose someone sitting on you and crapping into your open mouth… it would piss me off.

The drain system was fed up. “You guys do too much laundry and I’m caked up with soap and grease.. and use different tolet paper. I hate that quilted shit.”

We try our best, but… you are plumbing, you know. And we are not, uh… “drain whisperers” that can lean over a vent, listen intently, and then sigh sadly: “Much pain… much upset… much build-up… years of having to take it, in whatever form was dished out…”

Well, said the drain system, in the smart house of the future, we are going to have a voice. We’ll tell you what’s going on. You’ll be in a meeting, and you’ll get a text from us: There is a floater in upstairs Kohler Flushmatic. Press 1 if you wish us to take care of Number 2.

Later, plumbing calmed down, and let me do the dishes and the wash. After I hired a masseuse for $300 to give the drain system a happy ending.

April 12

There’s a wind inside me
Blowing me all about
I could be a slip of paper or a water bottle
Bouncing down the street
Landing at your feet
Utter garbage
Kick me to the gutter
To be lifted up and recycled into something gorgeous
Perhaps a pair of pleather shoes…
On your feet I’ll pinch and bite you
That’s what you get for kicking me in the gutter!

And I’m still full of the wind!
And I’ll make you wander and wonder:
“Whatever will I do I’m so confused!”
And tumble you over into bad decisions and unreliable lovers
Til you can’t find your spot on your mattress and your inner head bangs off the ceiling

But one night you’ll shiver with the open window cold on you
The wind will sashay in like a big-dicked king and take what has always been something that’s been borrowed

April 11

What would be very cool is if we all looked so different there was no way to compare us to each other. You couldn’t say, “His nose is big,” because no one else would know what a nose is. Fat? What’s that? Cockeyed? Bald? Black?Thin lipped? Buxom? Huh? What are you talking about?

Take every species and make it a singular thing and that’d be us: people shaped fluid like jellyfish falling down stairs.

We would have to recognize each other in deeper ways — by the colors of our minds and hearts.

April 10

At night on my street I can stand under a street light and be the only person in the spotlight. Be the only person on the planet. Be the only person in the universe. Be so huge that I can’t tell where I begin or where I end. Be all knowing, because I am everything. The total power that is me.

But it gets cold as it gets later, and I have to pee, and to do so I have to make myself small enough to fit in the bathroom of a little house in a little neighborhood.

April 8

You should go back to forest school
Find a desk near a nice bird and copy her songs and her sweet voice

Hang out with the grass
Learn how to be stepped on all day and then pop up all refreshed like you felt nothing

Run with squirrels
Back and forth, doing the same damn thing everyday, in any weather, and always surprised and delighted by the same outcome

Or live a day with a bug — do the full routine: hatch, molt, hook-up, die — and then you’ll know just how little you get done across all of your human days

April 7

I do not know what anything is anymore

It seems melodramatic
But it is a cheap penny dreadful
With too much unneeded drama
Arguing over who should wash what
Who said what
Who thought what
With sad violas floating over the mess that it is
Everyone traumatized like it was in the Middle Ages
Before tv

By a cold shore
With blue eyes
Is now the time to give up?
It circles around in every space available
Doubt is the packing peanut

One must be cagey and merciless
To bring the king out of his castle and cut off his ears

April 6

Loaded into the car, driven for miles and hours
Dumped on the road without even a puppy blanket

Do I think someone will ever come?

No. I’ll still hope and have vivid dreams, but no. What we think and what we hope for are often two different things.

(You can always tell hope because it’s artificially sweet. It’s a candy that makes promises like a politician, but in the end, you’re in the same shit neighborhood with the same shit job, and beside that road.)

I can stay here forever, though. It’s not so hard. There’s plenty of candy in the dirt. I’ll get poems out of it. And I know you’ll drive back. And I know the sound of your car. I can hear it miles away. And I’ve already dug myself a hidey hole.

April 5

Best remember this:
It alternates between sun and cold
Like flipping a coin
That falls uncaught
Through a grate
Into dirty rainwater

That becomes your wishing well
Half through the year almost:
What do you want?
Will dirty water genie grant you a wish?

Or are you playing with a monkey paw, and the more you want, the more you pay?

April 1

To find beauty in this day
Is to walk towards the sunrise
Knowing it is behind the clouds
That ugly houses
House beautiful people
And every car that passes
Is driven by a fragile organic ball of doubts and hopes that might or might not survive till sunset

Why isn’t that enough to keep your mind from picking at the scabs of things nobody remembers but you?

Negligent Mirror

If I open that door
Go in that room
Sit at that table
Across from those disinterested eyes
That look everywhere else

If I eat alone in silence
Just the click of my jaw
The imagined hum of a busy spider
Working on a web for me
To stick me here

If I explore the rooms
Still in dust
Tiny things in the air
Brushes and an armoire
An empty smell to it all

A weird sensation of a nose, a face close by mine, but lipless, and gone, or never there

Using a corner of a wall to scratch my own back

Someday they’ll come and ask, “What have you lost” and the only answer is: “Everything. And everybody.”

Winter Solstice 2020

This long night
Is waiting like whoever drove to the emergency room after the accident
Checking its watch at the sound of a red eye out of Kennedy

Do words have the power to unmake the damage? These words, tapped into a phone?

On the other side, consider what is done in each second, and which are left empty
While hovering over the bed watching the doctors reassemble you
It’s the winter ritual that goes back
Back further than It’s a Wonderful Life,
Back to mammoths and meat and staring into a fire

Consider what is done in each second

At 7:15 the sun returns — see it climb over the houses and climb with it.


Winter is over and
stumbles into spring
the bees bumble
confused by the flowers up so early
confused by a poster of the girl
with a bouquet they never reach
a pile at her feet
of spent lovers
forever dowsing
as rains come and
take them

At the Edge of the End of the World

There should be suns and filament clouds
Keening buildings and a rapture
Of hitherto unknown knowledge
A reveal of all that one should have done

Like a conversation with Fellini or Rilke, or Derrida — the bunch of us in a room with Joni Mitchell

Phones on, great laughs, scotch and smoking, everyone shooting video and texting whomever is in the twilight

It turns out I’m no more forward than I was at the end of the Harry Potters
Life is still more brushing the teeth than brushing the stars

The room is quiet but the exhaling of a radiator
There’s only little me here
Hearing a red eye on approach
Wondering what the fuck else must be done before the lights are out forever


I’m a challenge tonight

She breathed out in her grey voice

Nails tapping on her thigh

A glance out the window

In the lights on a passing car

The trees twisting in a witches dance

She breathed us all in

Let us trickle out of her nostrils

And back into a puddle on the table

She got up

Walked out

Her enviable backside

The last thing seen

One of Those Guys

7th and 31st
Somewhere btw 25 and 45
That cigarette
That tan
That shine
That smell

Whatcha doing here, guy-o?
Where’s your mom gone to?
Hiding somewhere like a pregnant dog
I’ll betcha…

I’ll betcha if I was a pregnant dog someone’d stop
If I was small with a bent ear
Even if’s I had mange
Someone’d scoop me up with an old plastic bag
Feed me cookies
Take me someplace with a bath fer fucksake
Then post me on social media and shit

One of those guys could get knifed
Or keel over out of nowhere
That dirty tan hand on someone else’s cigarette butt
The shine and the smell worse than mange

The wind, which is so busy

The wind which is so busy
Has time enough to listen to me
It goes everywhere moving everything
From leaves to pollen
Birds to boats
Delighting a child by making a paper cup dance across the street into a gutter drain

It hears me

What do I do with these things in me
These gifts for no one?
My czarless fabergé eggs
Once the property of a lady
Hers no more

The dust of a thousand things
Throw them into the wind
The inklings of one man
Scatter with the wind

On a leather jacket day
You might be walking
Something unsaid might come to you
You might think of me
Distracted as you are
A leaf hurls itself off a maple
The wind catches it before it hits the ground

A Poem for C

She split work on a Friday to see the Aurora Borealis

Drove north to no place in particular other than north, into weather with the bite of autumn’s first apple

Near the Canadian border, she sat on the hood as the sky turned a green shower curtain with occasional flashes of God’s naked body

The drive home was all hurricane news and the new Tool album, and that internal banter one has when they’re worthy of love and alone nevertheless

The thoughts that keep one up or pretending to sleep, or while wheeling a cart through a supermarket, or sorting images in photoshop

There’s no Aurora Borealis in stray cat land tonight, but the planet is alien, and it takes forever for the casher to recognize someone they’ve seen hundreds of times, and make a mild joke of recognition, and I’m not even as gone as I will be

Better to go ever North ‘til you’re facing South and like Stuart Little have a sense that Margot is somehow ahead of you and you’re in the right direction, then to go West and West and West and never see anything other than your own tail-lights

Depressed, by the pool


Peter, are you awake?

I saw your eye move I was just thinking that when we get home we should change everything everything

new drapes!

redo the yard!

gut the basement!

Add a man cave you’d like a man cave cosy papa bear cave it would look great in blue with a faux wood floor add that lamp from my mom’s old house

Somethings got to change

This 21st century nowhere

Somethings got to change


You’re listening I know you’re listening

Remember that email I was telling you about the one from “the boss” he just totally ignored everything I wrote him in my email the one a few days ago you remember and I thought how rude but that’s him self-centered like he’s inside of a disco ball like if there was a little room in it and all the lights are on him and the music is all for him and everyone is dressed up for him

Something’s got to change

Everyone here is nowhere

Something’s got to change


Peter, wake up, Peter

There was a time… her voice trailed off and then:

You were different you were interesting you asked questions you were curious you shared ideas and dreams now it seems a wind has found you and taken you away and I’m stuck here did I mention I heard from my boss again this time he acknowledged my email but pretended my ideas were his!

Can you believe it?

Something’s got to change

Look for me in nowhere

Something’s gotta change

There is all this beauty

Don’t see any beauty

There is all this joy

Don’t see any joy

There is all this love

Don’t feel any love

There is all this life

Late August for me

Our friends divorce and drift apart
The dog becomes a mass of tumors
Brazil burns

It’s late; perhaps it’s early
In a dark room with tinnitus and the never ending throb of air conditioning

My ghost climbs out of my body
Glides through the doors across the balcony, the pool, the Yucatán

Ghosts go where thoughts go
Up on the ceiling looking down at the dumbest things I’ve ever done
Dispersed with the morning mist as dawning doubts litter the walkways in any and all directions

Oh this trial and error life
I won’t let you eat me

Shovels Down

I’m not digging up
what was
buried years ago

The things we should have known
will not
smell better, only worse

What can be planted
on the grave
is now the concern

Sad Mouse Sonata

Sad mouse of a man
Drifting through the audience
Alight with opinions and non-stop commentary

Sad mouse
Clutch your stumbling heart
Hear your secret cacophony
Guess at god know what lurks behind everyone and everything
Teeth of cats everywhere
Owls over the parking lot
Brave you
Drive home and search for that forgotten bottle where you know exactly where it is

March 21

Now that I know the secret it doesn’t work.
It’s a seance and the ghosts are just some guys you know from work complete with bag lunches.

Talk of mysteries! This guy explains toilet paper, and the flushing process like it’s a demon conjuring.

And angels! Buttinskis the bunch of ‘Em. Dead and wondering what some guy is gonna do? Let him hang out in the bathroom in peace. Go help cripple kids, flood victims.

The fact though, is this, and is a true mystery: I know some corner has been turned. The bike is now cresting the hill. It will pick up speed and create its own gravity.

Escape from Turtle Island

When you’re alone on Turtle Island
Toes on the edge of an unending ocean
Look out past the horizon
As clouds dip and flutter

At night in your lean-to
The surf and stars commingle
Your fire dies
And there’s the sweet smell of cooking

One morning your toe clicks against a bottle
in the surf
It’s been sealed with wax
The note inside beckons

You read it – it’s faded
…! …it is your own note

Your story
Your plea

You hurled it past the rocks on an outbound tide years ago
Now it returns to you

Always we find our escape is up to us

So walk out to the end of shallows
And then past the sandbar
To where it might be over your head

Go! Go now!
Go now or you will stay forever


Should I try to write
Halfway up the stair step
The groaning day now over?

Where did you bury my first love?
The one I met on the playground
The one that haunts me this week?

The bitch lisps out Beatles songs
Forever cross-eyed
Waiting for me in any silence

Can’t you go away, old girl?
Haven’t you destroyed enough?
Soon I’ll forget I was ever happy


Once they’re set to ringing it seems they never stop

You people
looking at me weirdly
Don’t hear

Don’t hear me at all
And please, by all means tell me about the days that strangers have
I’m all ears
And hands
And swiss knife for opening your bottles and cleaning your nails

Meanwhile, there’s a sock somewhere that will fit over the clapper
We’ll cut the rope


I’m happiest on mornings when the teeth of the cold snap me awake

On nights I’m a huge gerbil snugged down in a bed nest

On days when lunch is lonely because I can only think of friends

On afternoons when the sauce is coming together and I search for that damn basil

At two am I wake up as a car ambles past, the radiator sighs, and some dream I’ll forget invites me to dance

Local Color

Thousands of tall round cars
The thing that’s the latest
The wireless humming
Whatever will happen next?
Color photography would show
That not everything was a black and white

Some kid sleeping under a railroad trestle
Fresh meat from home
Because dad will have no fag son

Quiet Now

Stop talking, kiddo
It’s schedules and complaints and
attempts to spin the unknown into cotton candy that’s delicious and sweet and actually healthy

What can your mouth do
about shit teenage behavior
that ass in the White House
the friend with the big C

The decisions we agonize over
don’t require agony
and nobody hears our prayers

There is small flashlight in your hand – the English call it a torch – quaint
and you can point it where you want to go
and then walk in the dark following

And gently close your mouth
as one would stifle a laugh at a funeral service

See and hear everything gorgeous and musical about your life

From the last of the potato chips to the first snowfall, this is all you’ll ever have

What was the Title?

I forget more and more
Or is it less and less?

Where my pens are
Where is my hat?
While talking on my phone I look everywhere
for my phone…
Things I promised
Most of the needed groceries

Someday I won’t forget anything because I’ll forget forgetting

The nice ending: but I’ll never forget you

The true ending: I can’t forget the small thoughts that eat me from the inside out
Termites that nest in what’s left of self-esteem
The patterns of a life that holds me where I have never wanted to be
Boat anchors that still have plenty of scope

Maybe the hawsers will be cut in a memory care unit

More likely: I’ll forget how to speak yet remember how I used to make people laugh

Breakfast in America

At breakfast in a diner
The tv has a map of
The Violent Attack
We all ignore it
There’s unlimited coffee and whipped cream!
And food selfies!
Ha ha! lol!
Back to the tv:
Trump plays his invisible accordion
A snow storm moves in
They found a gun
Some family arrives from church
There’s a chorus of chatter
We all feel good
This is the current peak of evolution
Of everything

That one guy is lonely but fuck it

Lay her down

Lay me down
It’s all I can remember to do
Stare up
Blindness at the ceiling
Wondering if my back side
Might be left outside
And the curve of my spine
Is it taking me down tunnels
Where I remember I’m a girl
I’m a woman
I’m a mom
And I hear summer crickets
Hidden in the lawn
Calling my feet to the beach
And there’s someone in the darkness
I’m not sure who he is but
I’m sure he’s mine
And I’m lying very still
And I can hear all of you
Mumble prayers
Soon enough he’ll come
Take my hand
Walk off with me following
On feet that haven’t felt this small and lithe in ages

The Facts Concerning the Creation Myth

The creation of everything started with a tired god, in His chair, overlooking the nothingness

Anything can be made – with a gesture that could yank a mountain up, another gesture that could carve a river and fill it with water

And the god saw it was good, and napped at around 4

Later, after the nap, he resumed: the car port, the workout area, the sort of cloistered walkway

At the end of that last day, the god stood tall, pretending it was at a parapet and was smoking, and each puff brought forth something new. Cars! Money! Appliances! Calls from friends soon visiting! A speaking engagement! Something mysterious and perhaps erotic! Dinner!

Overhead the lights dim as he sits to eat

Lately, he dreams constantly, and can no longer distinguish between what’s real and what’s invented

Train Song

The wind is amped up tonight
It could be a long train miles off
Car and after car pulling by

There’s an ocean in the neighborhood tonight
It even drowns out planes heading to Europe

This could be any city, especially not here…

A windy night with espionage on its mind
It’s black and white
Suits and cloche hats
Merciless eyebrows and unfiltered smokes

At the station there’s the 10:33 waiting, steam in its teeth
The merciless eyebrows soften for a moment
Her hand reaches down a moment late
He runs along side
This was the sign he was waiting for
The hand always just out of his hand

The locomotive screams
He’s out of breath awash in leftover steam
She vanishes
The rhythm of the trucks like his mom’s clucking tongue: She never loved you she never loved you

He’s an empty garment bag tossed on a slat bench in a station house wondering how he’ll get home and explain this abortion as an adventure to himself
Beg for his old job back
And let his mom hold him and be right as usual

And in the distance there is still the plowing of the wind like worry that never stops

Feb 24

Good days

Bad days

They come and go like rain
Like strangers passing on a sidewalk
Like cracks stepped over

Don’t know them
Don’t stay long enough for more than a taste on the mouth or a smile intercepted meant for someone else
And then that embarrassing feeling
Pretending that wave to someone not there
Acting: “Oh, I thought you were someone I knew.”

I though you were a day I had
A very good one
When I was in my 20’s
I read the kinky parts of romance novels in line at the supermarket
You were embarrassed but laughed too

Later that night we fell asleep and it was taken from under us
pulled away between blinks –

-and back on the street
The cracks
The quick faces
The spaces between the raindrops

The Wonderful Night

It’s the most wonderful night on earth
From Finland to Costa Rica
and the Celebes to the Thousand Islands

Everyone is outside
And it’s night everywhere and the sun giggles from the hall closet

We shrink and fall through our clothing
And scamper about
We’re flexible naked mini action figures in perfect health and beautiful breathlessly

And the lad is in the north – Copenhagen, or Helsinki? The Aurora’s overhead and it dyes her tiny huge eyes green

Miles melt to inches
There’s good music playing
It finds them through the street and kicks their feet into action

And everyone dances into the night and on towards morning that never comes

I opened the widow wide

I opened the widow wide
To let in the sound of new snow fall
Let in the very breath of winter
It’s hours away and I’ll be asleep
Drawn off by the planes from JFK
And the hum of a dying transformer on a phone pole
The radiator chuckles from steam

When technology replaces all this, and snow no longer comes
When winter stops breathing ‘round here
What will bear my consciousness away
And will my dreams require extra props to be interested in me?


Has love crushed you yet
Daffodil of a girl

When you were a kid
Would you run around the park
Make up games yourself
In a fertile henhouse of imagination

These days I don’t have the energy
Why, he’s scattered about lawn clippings
What a worthless celebration

Maybe a clutch of daffodils
But not a whole damn garden of them

When you are finally crushed, dear girl
You must write me and tell me every detail
So I can miss the past too.

Doof Laugh

Doof laugh
Like a horse in pleasure
Like the time the sun was low behind me and I played with my shadow, distorting and remaking myself until the family of strangers (also behind me) couldn’t contain their laughter anymore

Laughing with me
Doof laugh

Is my delight annoying you, dumbass teenager? So much so that you clip my wings and now I sit like a kid that didn’t quite last to the potty.

Learn from me now: 30 years ago, a girl I loved would make a funny face and then kiss me. One day I imitated her. She never made that funny face again, and I’ll miss it forever.

The crow cackles a call to find a mate: the one that hears music in the metal on a blackboardness of it.

You would prefer the crow silent and alone just so you’re “chill.”

The Dragonfly

Get up and fly, dragonfly
You can’t sit there on the paver
Awaiting an errant foot
You with your multifaceted eye
Surely know what’s coming

I’m so tired, he said
I’m at the end of my week
There’s almost nothing left

Wind that just took him up
What will you do with him?

I know a place, said Wind
Because I visit everywhere, don’t you know
That is quiet, and I have crocus in mind there
And that’s where I’ll leave him

And then I’m coming back for you, said Wind
Because, as I pointed out earlier, I know everywhere and I have something in mind for you

Where? Where will you place me?

But the wind just blew cold
and I buttoned my coat
to wait

The Winter Me

By winter I will be quiet and silent as snow coming down in an empty lot behind an empty house
Going about my doings
A slave to my habits
In a space yet not occupying any of it
Never in the way such that amnesia sets in
Where the floor creaks or you feel a draft like something passed you at a run
In the newspaper
In a few words I might have said

November Poem

Everyone so so beautiful
With a long, drawn out sigh
Oh me oh my
The only joy I know
Is this song
He thinks
Pinching the end of his nose
To curse that kid back in 8th grade
What’s that? Bells?

Salvation Army guys…

Does Santa dread returning to the pole
After a night on the sky
Drinking with reindeer and
Breaking into houses?

To my left, she’s in an ugly hat and pissed off about her eggs
He carefully de-folds a napkin and does what he can with a unstable sandwich that tastes great with coffee

Let it die

I think I know what I must do
he said
to himself
who listened
To the whispers of the heart
punch clock
leave at 5
drive home

I know he keeps things in a box
and he swallows down the key

Let it die
Let it die

Bay Poem

Waterfronts in decaying industrial areas
Hint at promises that will not be kept

Rusting machinery enjoying a view
Side streets with
Art Deco buildings and chop shops
Can’t see anyone but you’re sure they’re smoking
And all the dogs are skinny sad things

Climb a hill?
A hill the rich seldom come down
Into a neighborhood in which you always feel lost
And find your way out without ever finding your way in

Later on
The sun sinks into un-swimmable water
A skinny sad dog gives you a cigarette
licks your hand
A breeze kicks up and makes the rusting machinery sing

At the Pole

In a rocking chair at what is called The Summit. June, 1888:

The Commodore watched it all revolve
While he himself was perfectly still
Airplanes, and other gravity defying vehicles, vaulted through the sky
Children piloting their own rockets
Animals with enhanced intelligence operating heavy machinery
The thoughts of the masses instantly converted into pulses controlling the Aurora Borealis
The weather at the flick of a switch
The men of business setting out to conquer emerging markets
Retirees clustered in small groups that dwindled before the Commodore’s eyes
The leaders, in togas and expecting wine at any moment, hell bent on executing marketing plans, stood before the herd of babies and whispered that which can only be sized as a curse

Shopping Poem

Who are you?
There, behind the counter
Coming around it to show the shoes

Where are you?
Now, transferred and moved
Never quite remembered or forgotten

During a movie – a junky movie,
You’re resurrected
Just for the flicker of a frame
And then hours later you’re still hanging on like a never drying towel
A half read paragraph
Or a blurry photograph

Or a daydream that can’t be LEGO assembled – too many parts gone. Too many days lost.

She walks heavily

She walks heavily
Each step creaking the floor
And bouncing the plants

The ripples go out
No one notices
Perhaps no one lets on

Maybe she walks that way deliberately
A handfuls of pebbles tossed
Into the cosmic sea to make a wave on a shore

Somewhere it registers
In the bedroom of a teenager
Who looks up from texting

The shadow of the slats of the window
Imperceptibly move
And her heart reads the coded message

And daydreams about
Being in her 50’s and a miserable job
And a husband that’s in a box

She jumps on the bed
To a Janelle Monáe song
Rippling in reply:

“Cheer the fuck up.
Talk to yourself in gentle tones.
Spend to get”

The night unflexes the collapsed baton of the mother confessor

The night unflexes the collapsed baton of the mother confessor
There’s the wordless tell-all of everything from 30 years ago
Every sin every crime every faux-pas misdemeanor
Completely unheard and unforgiven
You manage to be your own merciful one
Explain it as stupid youth
And, listening to the clicking of a radiator,
Find a hallway that leads to sleep

There are places I remember

There are places I remember that the latest incarnation of my car has never met

We take shortcuts to nowhere in particular, the scenic route to waste time

An apartment building feels like a hotel at which we once stayed

Shops in the village so much like that village we went to

Warm places for a drink, the previous incarnation of the car parked out front

A fence mailboxes like another fence, another mailbox, behind which lived a girl who was reminiscent of another girl, neither of whom I knew

It’s this mushy gray October sky
It always slices me up so

More Red Lady

I’m too alive to sleep tonight, red lady
Been alternating between beer and peaches
Ghost stories and The JavaScript Bible
The wind has come home to roost in my belfry and there are puppies in my stomach

If you float outside my window tonight, like you did several poems ago
I’ll jump out and join you
Won’t even brush my teeth
And you’ll bring your map?
Of the precise location where I finally do what’s right, right there on destiny’s doorstep.

Birds live and birds die

Birds live and birds die
and I don’t know the difference
Call me, or hang up
both speak volumes
I’m good
I’m incredibly evil
I’ll do what I can
I’ll do nothing
The sun comes up tomorrow
it never comes up again
Spelling doesn’t count
just make up your own words

Lorre is a bird
a parakeet with a deformed beak
I might have to put him down tomorrow
Will he haunt me?
Flying around the murderer’s dreams?
Or will I bury him out back and then
come in and have toast?

I don’t know anything anymore
I’ve never met anyone
I’m alone
I’m surrounded
Poor Lorre
You’ve never existed
I’ll remember you forever
The days are neither good nor bad but they roll on by
They stay perfectly still
Lorre stops breathing or flies away
I understand neither
Judge neither

You in the red dress

You, in the red dress
Dancing past the men
Turning them back into boys
The flower in your hair comes with its own bees

Blink your big eyes
Jiggle your jiggleless frame
And drink a toast:
At midnight we can all walk home

This Morning

The consistent chirp of the bugs
Indicate the gears of creation are meshing
Grinding fine the coffee for the cup
Eddie next door taps with a peen hammer some part for the mower

We can wait forever, the bunch of us
For a finger pointing: Go there! Be this!
But you’re nothing more than the glow on the leaves you see when you lift your head and look east
Leaves that are 6 weeks from falling and the clatter of rakes

A Garden Poem

The flowers – well, really you’d call them weeds – flowed out from the door and across the imaginary meadow. On days when they were long they’d move like an ocean under the eye of the breeze. On dry days they’d crack, brittle and broken, a poor man’s Sahara. In winter you could stand on the porch and it was as if the sun imaginary was the thinning scalp of an old woman, the snow barely punctuated by ghostly hairs.

Stand on that porch, look over that imaginary meadow, ask yourself the question: who will be coming over that meadow for you? Who won’t ever come over that meadow for you? Who will walk about halfway across, and then abandon their effort as the wind paws their clothes and bites at their lips and nose. Who runs in circles as if writing words in the tall weeds spreading out from the porch


monica, you make seventy just another number
though your old bones… perhaps there’s enough cesium to bring down the empire of you
but for now your glasses are the bridge of the battleship on the prow of your nose
the great grey fleet
encircle the world

The Thing in the Night

This woman
pale with orange hair
floated outside the bathroom window:

“I’m peeing here, you know?!”

“Come out before the rain comes. This is the last night on earth.”

She was floating. No strings or CGI. Floating. Like a leaf in an updraft but without the chaos.

“Come out! The rain is minutes away. This is your last chance!

“I’m in my underpants.”

She was in a nightgown and gave me a blank look. Her hair started rising up, from the ends to the roots, each strand maybe the contrail behind a tiny flying bug.

“Come! Come now! It’s almost too late!”

I guess I started to push up the window, I don’t know. Maybe I was opening the screen when a drop of water hit the bridge of her nose and trickled down the side towards the corner of her mouth.

“Ah… it’s too late.”

The rain picked up tempo, pelting her with drops. Dissolving her.

She floated there, staring at me, until I was a guy in his underpants staring out a window, staring at rain. Thinking about all that I needed to do tomorrow, things on a worthless todo list

I thought to myself as I climbed into bed, hearing the rain, and electric fan with a wobble at the foot of the bed. Asthma medication at the head. Typing this out on an iPhone.

Maybe 10am

What if I poured myself into a tight black Lululemon and then walked the dog? What would people think?

Laugh laugh ridiculous! Does he not know who he is??? He needs to hang a mirror by the front door, or near the dog’s dish!

I don’t know who I am anymore. Maybe I am a 34 year-old mother of two getting in shape after the last baby. Maybe I’m a well dressed older Jewish guy. Maybe I’m young, black and dredded. Maybe I want to be.

Maybe I’m walking down a hall, like in a hotel. Maybe there’s a window at the end of it. Maybe a pale woman with orange hair is floating just beyond the glass. Maybe I’ll open the window to jump out expecting to be caught. Maybe there are still doors open to me in the hallway.

Maybe there’s not even a dog and what there is… is a parking lot near a train yard.

A Scene in Bright Daylight

An old guy

Garden party

Enough alcohol to make everyone a lying clever philosopher

Kid, someday you’ll be lucky enough to be old enough to not give a shit what people think. A knowing laugh. Supercilious?

A girl walked up just then with a fucking SICK body

He turned and introduced himself, ignoring us, his left hand with its missing fingers drifting up behind his back like a guilty child that knows the drill

The Young Genius

She arrived in the way she usually arrive, awkwardly and gangly, and looking at everything informing questions in her head. Occasionally she would get the nerve to ask the question. That is how she was, the young genius herself

They were all so beautiful

They were all so beautiful
Said the man, now in a cave
I’ve a memory like Facebook
It goes on and on
Every smile and nose, and curve of the cheek stored here
He tapped his head
But now…
He seemed lost for a moment then he seemed to find a different himself:
There is this, and just this? All my works are to eat sweet melon from my own fingers standing at the fridge? The getting up at five, still confused from dreams, to work to make a dream reality?

Then he was sad

I don’t even know what… I don’t remember my dreams at night, and when I work I wonder this: Is the dream a nightmare?

Now he was breathing heavily, seated to left on the couch, leaving room for someone that would sit if there was a someone

But I remember them all, all the beautiful face


Your memories are no help to you now
Look! Call! Plead! Beg!
They’ll never come
Like trying to touch your own fingertips in a mirror

Your imagination can be washed out by a good rain and that future you’re aiming at? You think you’re the shooter? Hah! You’re the target

This leaves you exactly here, exactly now
There is nothing else for you
Watch the cars, watch the trains
Your lesson awaits you there

I’m That Guy

I’d be the guy that uses a time machine to visit the past, and immediately meet a wonderful girl who then perishes in the catastrophe I wasn’t allowed to prevent.

Later, on a beach and down to my last pair of jeans, with a beard and my naked feet calloused from shells, I’d find a bottle with a message – a heartbreaking message from the wonderful girl! “My love, meet me at -” and then a water stain smeared the latitude and longitude, rendering them indecipherable.

Months go by. On my balcony in Del Fuego a lizard is sunning itself. On impulse I try to catch it, but it darts into a crevice. I poke into the crevise with a stick, and withdrawing out the stick I find a key on the end of it. The key fits a door in the basement – a door no one has opened in years – it is clotted with dust and webs. I turn the key in the lock, and swing the door open to find myself in a familiar room, and in it is the time machine. I step into the room – the door behind me closes up into solid wall. There is another door in the room, which is one of the ways out. The other way out is to use the time machine, the controls forever set to the past, to the catastrophe. Somewhere there is a ticking sound, and a fly meanders through the air.

The sun rose this morning

No big news?
I woke early
In the dark I faced east
And I willed that sucker up
Now there it is
Hanging in the sky over the Panera
Where Gloria is behind the counter
And says my name with her accent

Y’all can share my sun
But don’t blame me when it hits 90
I just got it going
What it does after that is what it does after that

Believe me, it’s difficult enough starting

Act IV

There are clouds tonight
Crowding around the window to get a look
Tonight the curtain goes down
Tomorrow it comes up

The script has been hinting, the playwright reticent
But the music plays
The enchantment’s on
The clouds’ invisible silent clap
ushers in
Act lV

The Mystery Cat

There are mysteries to me

Cats, large, smell-less, unpurring and wary
Could be sneaking around Stevie Wonder’s house, making things disappear

We have our own cats
That thing we do, we always do, we shouldn’t do

Beyond a blind spot – there’s a deafness of the soul

The maids have conversations:
Do we tell Mister Wonder that a cat licked his toothbrush?
No, let’s just rinse it or get a new one

Hey! Your soul is deaf! You can’t hear me even say that, but I wouldn’t say it anyway

Because my soul is deaf too

What Lenny Chooses

It’s verging on summer but the temperature hovers at 59
If you were visiting from another planet you might think it was a lucky day in a mild winter

So you do a magic trick for that kid In the shop where you get your coffee
There’s people walking to the stadium like sports at church on Sunday

Sitting on a bench eating a plain bagel
plain New York bagel
Why do people think these things are special?
They’re just bland out of shape donuts that no one paid attention to in the manufacturing process
They’re only good as a sherpa for something else – salmon, peanut butter, bacon, a schmear of something:
“That’s you, Lenny,” says Lenny to Lenny.

The kid in the shop is too young to grow up remembering that guy who got the coffee and a bagel, and did a magic trick

You, Lenny: God has decided that you die texting


I went out whispering in the storm today
5 minutes past the hour with oh so much to say
A paper prepared, annotated
The wind took it immediately
And fluttered it up and away over my head like a bird dying backwards
The storm laughed as she squatted and pissed everywhere
Ho ho ho! Ha ha ha!
Under my feet were trampled wild flowers
Sodden from the rain, but I think they thought they were crying
A pocketful of tears, a pocketful of flowers
They’ll buy you nothing once she stands back up
Ask your question, Luke, she likes questions because she loves her answers

Schlepping Forwards to Victory!

I leap out of bed ready to kill it!

But first I have to take my pills: the one for diarrhea, the one for constipation, the one to lessen the amount of snot, the one to keep snot freely flowing, the blood thinner, the hair thickener, the light green one (I forgot what this one does), ginkgo to improve memory, an adult gummy, probiotics, turmeric supplement, fish oil, lavender chew-able, that other one that I always drop…

Done! Ready to go!

But first I have to run in place 10 minutes. 2 minutes. And then do a dozen full burpees. 2. 2 is a lot. And I’ll use the stationary bike… tomorrow.

Energized! Set! Ready to go! Ready to kill it!

After my shower. Jeez, look at all these skin tags. And the love handles. An entire fire department could grab hold and there would still be room for the Knights of Columbus. What asshole came up with the phrase “Man Boobs?”

Done! Pants…?… Pants! Phew! Wouldn’t want to repeat THAT mistake! Lol!

Onward! Kill it!

But first feed the cat. Open the blinds. This one is lopsided. Broken. Jeez. From outside it looks like my house has had a stroke. Set the heat to 60 because LIPA. Shoes… oh god, who put my feet down there?? Grrrrrrrrhhhh… hip replacement someday… what’s that doctor’s name? Schenectady? Topeka? His name’s the same as some shitty little city I used to drive through in college… Wilkes-Barre! The ginkgo worked! Where are my keys?

Ready to kill it! Yeah!

And bounding down the steps like a boulder of doom!

Garbage. Garbage day. Fuck. A raccoon got it in and there are coffee grinds and chicken bones all over the goddamn driveway fuck me. I’m gonna get rabies all over my hands where’s a bag? Pick this shit up…

Ok! Ready to kill it! In the car! Oil change overdue. But only by 3,000 miles so no biggie next week…

…look at that sky… …look at that… … …           ….

Uh, the time! Press start. Flip it to drive.

Ok! Ready! To! Kill!

But first coffee.

The ice melts the snow thaws

The ship creaks back to life
The crew breathing to their hands, into each other’s hands
Flinging the breath into the sky
Raining back down as tiny pricker mist
A whale groans, miles away
With the opening of a barnacle crusted eye
Spies glow fish
A chevron formation of them
Swim off into the darkness
The whale decided to follow and eat the road ahead
The captain thinks
Perhaps we’ll finally get home


Incessant accordion music in 3/4 time
And a pounding on the barrels
Slobs, sans teeth
cavort and smoke
Happy strictly in this moment, in this sliver of time
Before the approach of the rainy season
After the underground work is completed
For the dull men of clay
“Let me dance, too!” The thin voice of Billy the Cripple
Back and forth on his wheeled board
Under the radar and under the skirts
“Let me dance, too! Someone dance with me! Someone?”

RA: 5h 54m 12.57s DEC: 9.44′ 05.3″

No one ever showed me the mercy she showed me
as if she knew the center of my system wasn’t the sun or the planet
but rather a pocked little moon
on the far dark side

“Train your telescope there, Lesperance!”
“The mysteries continue to elude us!”
“Double check the calculations! It must be in the heavens somewhere!”

The Story of Robert

What strange dream are you pursuing, Robert? What nightly goings-on cause you to labor in the basement after even the cat has gone to bed? Some contraption to print money? A portable stage for extravaganzas? An electro-magnetic stimulator to revive the youthful glow? Are you reading Nichirin Buddhism and Napoleon Hill, trying to figure out how to fill all those holes you’ve dug? The basement is a mess with all your abortions and ill-conceived notions. Come up out of there! Come upstairs and, uh… watch tv! Rachel Maddow is on. She’s a delight when she trolls the president. Please, Robert! Come up! …Oh, for god sakes give it up. The rest of us can’t sleep when you dream.


There are many cups in the cupboard
And many glasses and mugs – some actual glass, some ceramic, some tall like a highball, some stumpy

A lithe young man with coffee to go slides along the sidewalk
I’m a squat chewed plastic cup
But I’m full, goddamnit


it’s the coffee in the am
the chit chat and the interruptions
the skinny pants and the skinny jeans
and Buddhism and Mahler
charcuterie and students
the wisdom the other one has

“Oh fuck fuck fuck… I’m up a wall here. Up a wall.”

come down and sit, the whole world can wait

the whole world can wait for us


The bird
perched between the barbs
on the edge
of no man’s land
in the morning
in the mist
reduced to worms
turned to ashes
the very air a commingling of
fear and desire
The bird takes to wing

A crossing
In the morning
though an invisible sea of
fear and desire
over where you cannot land


Car full of strangers
Where are we going?
Why, down the tracks
Easy answer
But we ride a metaphor
The steps across the gap
From platform to motion
Irrevocable now
And what follows
As inevitable as
Locust Manor
Penn Station


Old buddy
I’m melting like a cloud here
or like a dog toy or something
Look at this face in the mirror:
The face that sank a thousand ships!
This little sucky room
This garbage can with nightlight

Shoulda been reincarnated as a tiger
I got a tiger’s heart


The moon has a cloud over it
and when it’s full I can become anything I want:
The tiger
The leaper of mountains
The deer
The bird in the winds

The Party at Nolan’s

The film out of focus
The camera miss-set
The director is desperate
The guests all upset:
“There’s not enough finger food!”
While they empty the trays
The waitress is lost
But there’s no script for the play
They’re all trapped in it
Actors and audience both
Confused by the plot
It’s the story of a ghost
That went on a trip
That turned out quite badly
Stuck on a train
With a horrible family
That spent all its money
To go visit Disney
Discovered the whole thing
Was bullshit and chintzy
Now the director and ghost
Are getting quite drunk
The waitress shipped herself home
In a trunk
The audience leaves
As they always do
And the actors send headshots
Because that’s what they do


a face
the surface of a pond
the twitch at the mouth’s corner
a damselfly’s touch
while you sip
your coffee
blind to your own footprints that walked you here


The phone rings
It’s night and
the phone rings
Pick up: hello?
There’s breathing
like after someone has been crying
shuddering breaths
Or maybe
It’s that wheezing breath that comes after a long hard laugh
A laugh that hurts
Check the number…
It’s my number!
Hello?! Hello??
Hello I say: is this a call from my future or my past? Is this a warning or a reminder?

There’s no answer.
The breathing is quiet, but someone is still on the line
Pretending they’re not there!
I fall silent, too
And for a while we breath at each other
My heart does a weird gallop and suddenly
I know it is in sync with the heart on the other end

A thought blooms: this feels like…
And I start to laugh – this is what love is I realize! This is love!
And I laugh for joy, my body aching from it
And then I hear a click

and I think:

they’ve hung up.

They’ve hung up? They’ve hung up! Hung up! And my heart does a strange gallop, as if it stumbled on a loose step and suddenly I know
I know

I know it beats alone

There is a catch in my throat. A blockage… a lump… a chunk of heart or a falling thought lodged there
Alone. Alone again. But now… I know it’s forever
Doesn’t something have to be something to be forever? Can nothing be forever?

This is loss
pure loss
A space made for something never to be there again, an alter – a box! An ark of a covenant but it’s empty and hollow and the inside is missing and
Nothing is sacred
I start to cry! I’m crying!
Desperate! Desperately!
Cruel! Cruel!
I press buttons all over the phone
Please! Please! I must reconnect! Pick up! Pick up!
A click and a ring:


Less Like Fire, More Like Mold

My dear friend
It doesn’t end the way you think
Battling the rising water
The sun leering down
Or a blast then a wind
then cliché images of rusty bikes and swings

It ends cold ass on a couch
Lipitor commercials and QVC
Re-reading picture history books
That just don’t give any clues as to why no one visits anymore

Thought Balloon

Any morning you wake up alive is a hell of a lot better than a morning you wake up dead m’I’right?

It’s a simple philosophy but I’m a simple guy
Too simple for the word
Such a big word, and for all the BS and Europeans
It basically says,
Here’s what I think about some shit that can’t really be thought about
but we can pretend

Here’s a good one – try this try this:
Wake up somewhere half-way
Between dead and alive
And choose which
Way you’re going to lean
for the rest of the day

Today I’m leaning towards dead
I don’t even want fricken’ flowers –
just walk by me like
like I’m a drab tombstone of
a drab couple that seem
to have done nothing other
than get born and die
and you never knew them


Would that this was pop-able
But it’s improbable
Because it’s invisible
Like a grey never ending sky
With black trees cut out of it
It’s a burn-out fabric
Found in a thrift store
Tom behind the counter
And a lilt to his accent – a lilt to everything he does
And you walking on the edge of something
And me holding your little hand, waterbear
Always invisible
Quite possible
So lovable


Hey Fella

Just a quick one
I’m sorry
You’re forgiven

All those years ago, when you dropped that dish – that expensive heirloom plate
What grade were you in? Well, never mind. Doesn’t matter. I digress.

Digress. Digressed all over the fucking place – Ha! The lost tribes of Israel had a GPS compared.

Whatever. It’s about Kintsugi at this point, right? Like the waterbear.

Anyway – that’s it for now.

Men Like Us

Men like us
Having a healthy breakfast
Healthy bacon
Laughing at that dick Billy Squire
Still pathetic since 1984
What’s his net worth these days?

It’s the Plantars Fasciitis that makes me so bitter
My soles hurt
So we don’t walk much anymore
Men like us

Old men like us

Long, Jump

How scared should we be?
Scared to death?
No – we should be scared to life
Jump up and run like hell
Yaws open behind your slow fat ass
So scared you shit out problems like raisins
Fear! Awesome enough to strike
Dread into our personal hearts:
Schnell, man! SCHNELL!
The cancer is coming
So put yourself like a shot
As far down the field as you can
The starting gun – take it in your hand

Morning Act of Minor Bravery

I will wake alone
in a strange city
before it becomes my home
was out the door
to the streets
to be the first in line at the door
of a new coffee shop
(looking for one that fits)
and holding the door open for people
bodies younger than my body
but not so my spirit

Suburbia in the Fog

Bleak morning a few weeks before Christmas
Trees reduced to various sticks
Decorations just wires, plugs and sockets
In a neighborhood of drab old women with thinning hair
Done up for a party and waiting for the dark

The Widower

They will wonder:
How does he live with such a heartbreaking fate!
There will be no such Romance and Tragedy
There will be the slow grinding down, like a pencil

That Particular Ex

Loneliness you are
A kidder, you smart bastard
Dropper of standards
Fall into something, not love
Dumb regret as one looks back


I want to skate across the surface of the soup
And fall into the broth, barley and carrots
Huge mouthfuls – it’s so delicious to drown
And choke coughing and spitting out gook
While dying facedown in the bowl


By the fire can be hot
Not warm, not cozy
But hot, burning and sweating
Consider where you lie
Old dog of me

Winter and Dad

To cross the gulf

In big boy boot across the snow

And stand at attention

And the father cries while on YouTube

The son hugs the tombstone

For December

If we paint the green with frost
And hideaway every single leaf
Will it pass us by
The way parents know
the children are pretending to sleep?

With J

A little rice
A lot of wine
A bit of cheese
Taste the talk of the kitchen
The silent clean-up after

Pearl Harbor Day

What would be brave
Would have been speaking up
Rather than nodding
Seated at the table
With the bombs going off


The road this morning
Is straight and the color of the sky
The end vanishes in the clouds
I’m driving it
To my own disappearance

Lizard Mind

I’ve not seen a friend
In years but he tells stories
I figure in them
Somehow I have forgotten
My own life as I lived it

Em Brooklyn

Of young parents
In Vinegar Hill
And the decisions
over which they agonize

Sink and CVS

In the world of men
we drift by on bicycles
and pile up dishes
It’s a cruel catechism to be alone
to be alone in this world


For just a moment
One frame of video
I had a good smile
My eyes lit up with delight
To see me handsome for once

The Widower

They will wonder:
How does he live with such a heartbreaking fate!
There will be no such Romance and Tragedy
There will be the slow grinding down, like a pencil


Nib Sizes: 0.5, 0.3, 0.05. 0.03 (tiny!), brushpoint
Med. Fine Sharpies (x4)
Copic Double sided C4 (+refill)
Alvin Retrac 0.7mm

They sit in their pocket, waiting
for drawing that seldom happens

On the Island

the island in the sun
the rooftops in the morning
the boys at the bus stop
the girl in the window
the dog at the stoop
the flower he sniffs
picked by the girl
given to the boy
left on the bus
he leaps from a rooftop
on an island
in the sun

Ides of December

Rain came down all day
Ms Luck visited the house
Sexily gave me a mop
And, her lips puckered, she said:

A) Here, life’s a squishy orange

B ) Here, the basement is flooded

C) Trump won the presidency

D) Both A and B, but not C

Silly Ideas When You’re 22

I was so young
Desperately in love
I sent her folders
For her to store thoughts of me
As if love could be imagined


By the fire can be hot
Not warm, not cozy
But hot, burning and sweating
Consider where you lie
Old dog of me


There is the toaster
And the coffee
And the egg becoming solid

These things happen
And the universe goes on
Collecting the particles it loaned out for 69 years

That magic arrangement
Of luck and energy
That was you


Some invisible person
Will blow up your balloon

You dangle from a wire
Bone china in a blizzard

There is no possibility of not work
So I am content to work

There is no possibility of other houses
So I am content to clean

But there are endless possibilities
So I am not content,
and I choose to perch
the bird between barbs
singing in the winter light
the spring the invention
strictly of my song

I Remember

I remember
Things that never happened
Love that never was
Adventures we never had

I remember
Stories I never told you
Kisses we never shared
Hands I never held

And in these new dark days
These awful day to days
These sprained heart times
I remember when you were never mine

As the clouds march in
Over a gray parking lot
On a lunch break
In a car
Waiting for the next leaves to drop
Down down down

The Bay

Late at night and
Swerving around
In a car
Looking to capture
Trying to capture
That youth
Pulls into a bodega
For a Negro Modelo
And chips
And swilling it from a paper bag down by the bay
Sandwiched between
The stars and the crickets
“I’ve got out of tune violins to play my pity party, and mistakes as plentiful as stars, and still I’ve not done anything, and now I’m too tired to even wait”


That hair of yours
Blows when it’s windless out
Even inside you look breathless and breezy
Your walk down the stairs is jumping
Dancing while you stay still

Me – at my fastest I’ve the acceleration of
A mushroom

No wonder you can’t possibly love me

The People

They crawl around the house at night
Doing splendid things on the rugs
Holding court in tiny castles
Balls in pavilions
Fancy dress parties and casual smokers

Once my sister woke up
Watched them over the banister for hours
Then told her friends at school the next day
Who decided our parents were swingers

The Shut-Ins

The Shut-Ins walk on by
Like a silent family
Bystanders hazard
To guess:
What is wrong?
Where are these long tears from?

There’s a tv flicker
Picture tube shot from being on constantly
Pace around
Just walk on by

Darling Boy

Now we fall
Into a pattern we’ll have
The rest of our lives
Sit on couches
Fighting through movies
The rest of our lives
You get hurt and I get mad
The kid grows up I’m no longer dad
But I still creep
Into your bedroom
Every night
Mess your hair
Pat your backside
Never switch on the light
Go, grow up, I’ll just get old
That’s the last thing you’ll ever be told by me
Darling boy
Darling boy
Darling boy


Appearing from nowhere
These surprises that wreak our sleep
or threaten our existence
These phone calls that could do us in

After the accident things weren’t right
But your heart doesn’t know such things
You drink with your friends and dirty your knees a bit
Sleep with an eye mask and a fan on to mask the traffic
But in the attic it’s cold for what’s in storage
And as it lunges down the hill at you…

Hang on!

You’ve a fight to win now
And would killing yourself be what you’re most remembered for?
Your thick hair and that? Being half of a tragic couple?

You will have a secret story that you’ll share with those people of the future
Who will see your tears as your voice cracks, as you repeat his name

No Rabbits

You will have a home someday
The phone will be in its cradle
Not a crumb or an oil sheen to be seen on the counters

A clock ticks
Heel tick across the floor,
Stop at the base of the stairs then head up

The rooms are quiet like moved away kids
The bed is neat, warm
No piles of stuff
Books on the shelf

Toothpaste – one tube, no gunk on the end of it

The lights off magnifies a fire truck, the driver leaning on the horn
The fire is not here

Nor am I

Time of Magic

Now we enter the time of magic and wonder
Where our mutual decay is
Melodious and interesting
And pain quickly becomes a memory
And more quickly are memories forgotten
The ripples on top of a pond cause more trouble than I
and are more lasting
I’m content, a match, a dandelion, a feather off the breast of a bird, a footnote on some
legal document
Know me by my symbols
And I apologize for never apologizing again

The wind takes me by the hand
And blows out the candle love

I no longer need to hear that word nor say it
But give it to a few


‘E’s an interesting chap, ‘e is…
Never ‘appy wif anything about himself
Always wishin’ fer that one’s face, that one’s ‘air, that one’s job, the other feller’s ‘ouse
All ‘e ‘as what’s ‘is own is ‘is problems
An’ ain’t they just like everyone else’s?

With Mitch

In late 1970 something while hiking around the Delaware Water Gap, Mitch and I discussed
And it was fun?
It was something that was trying to be fun, and we were trying to sound smart, because really we were hoping the girls would notice us

Not so much last of the Mohicans, more still virgins

At Night

Can you hold your breath forever?
Or long enough for the years to stop, little boy?
Worrying at the window
The fate of the planet and galaxy
Why the universe has forced you into a teaching job
Or what the doctors might find
Is no hobby for a boy of nine

We could cuddle by the window
Imagine snow and silence
Listen to our birds sleeping
And feel blessed with love


We all woke glum and sleepy
Doze dreamed the morning away thinking of bacon and music
with a bad radio song stuck in our heads
The world for a change was peaceful with no gunfire or
domestic spats
While we hunkered down in sweaters for the rest of the winter


The birds are watching Curious George
Dave serves coffee
The sun is winter hot over the roof of the garage
The radio plays great old songs
And ahead is a day of good work

This is magic and hope today

Gonna Die on a Train

Gonna die on a train some night
My electronics and shit all winding up stolen, head askew,
50 and running around like post college to the city, exhausted and trying to squeeze a few dollars more out of the rock.


What happens on tv
Stays between us
When she comes in the door
I want to scream
I want to die
And then run outside until the end
Witches, they have these places
Safe houses for those who’ll hide
From country, from the neighbors
From ghastly crap they have inside
At at dawn’s light
Right near some train tracks
With fingers so lost and wild
I try to re-conquer my empire
But the girl beats me every time.

Jan 1

A new beginning
As seen from the air
Those two bodies
Spiraling entwined
Through azure and green


Paint the new world azul
And keep your past
In your pots and in your pans

12/25 was Yesterday

It’s funny coincidences
Like a Law and Order episode
With a father and son
and the trinity
visited by the unholy ghost
in the morning
I could have had coffee
Instead, children’s milk for me
from some night years ago
When my toys were smashed
We try to be the best we can be
But some presents are the gift that keeps cursing
And will I give it forwards too?
Or will it end with me
Or is it too late?
What have I done?
What has been done?


The day after it all ended
Is the day to sip coffee
Breath in the air of coming snow
And pretend that it will end tomorrow
And this is my last day
My last night
And what will I make that survives me?
And I go out like a light
Over a square in Europe
With people strung by chains of locked arms
Surrounded by music and sharing one idea:
To move forward ever in the hope that life gets better


I sat there
Like it was the end of the world
As final as virulent cancer or a bouncer enforcing last call

These days I don’t know if friends are visiting to say hi or goodbye
If they hover over me in a chair or in a box
If the night is quite because it’s unspeakable or nobody has anything to say anymore

And if it is the end
Then what comes next?
Because there is always something next
Even if it lonely nothingness
Which is no worse than this lonely waiting for nothing in particular that might or might not happen.


Somewhere else better
after that journey
and the creaky sailboat oceans
the meals hard to stomach
the mouthful of bread
dry as tinsel

Always looking over his shoulder
the hero crept into town
just like a sacred dog
visions of sugarplum lust in his head
plans for everyone

Now hiding behind a toilet
wet mammy to the doctors
you trade your dreams for your ticket in
and you jump up on the table and cough
measured for sutures rather than custom clothes

The 4th Floor

Like I’m not around no more
And with the switching off of the electric lamp
I wander the halls past the bedded down people
Sleeping and drifting away
Fishes caught in the sky
Between heaven and hospital ward

LIRR 8852 Far Rockaway Line

The procession of lazy slugs of trains
And a sky with birds and planes the same gray, the same size

The magic of today isn’t the possibilities of what could happen,
But rather the slow, inevitable escape from what’s occurred already

And the train now hums and vibrates at speed, sprinting from
the God Damned to the God knows what.


Boys boys
Settle down settle down
Soon you’ll be sad older men
Settle down
Soon you’ll regret what you did and didn’t do
Settle down, calm that tongue, settle down
The idea of a house and a wife to
Settle down
With the chimes and the churches and the fights too
Settle down
And the kids with their coughs
And the house with its creaks
Settle down, settle down
It’s unthinkable undreamable
That we rock n roll animals
Have all settled down

Tell Tail Pulse

That tell tail pulse
in my ears at the top of the stairs
on the days the hungry ghost eats too much

Can one wish for things one can never possibly get, things prohibited by both physics and miracles? Or is it only in dreams we forget that the genie appears and feeling a bit generous from drinking spends like a sailor


The Tall Thing

Tall things – towers
we pass through them
turning sideways and pulling in our stomachs
squeezing between molecules
with our very normal blood pressure
and our very average complaints
eating chips at the goodbye party
for that guy who’s heading home to die

I look small from the height of that tower

At Starbuck’s

Would I be as gentle?
In my 70’s, getting a coat for my retarded son, now in his 30’s
Waiting in silence at the door while he puttered with the sleeves and his cap, and then holding his big
hand that never got any older, my face inscrutable, worn expressionless


29 years ago I saw the most beautiful girl
A waitress at a Friendly’s
I cannot remember what she looked like
Other than that she was blond and breathtaking

It is an anniversary of sorts.
There’s a blond, and I can’t breathe.

The Older Student

an older student
sent me a love letter once
silent I shower
my memory still chooses
to do the wrong thing



Perched like birds between the barbs

Unfriend me

Tap that button
Down inside
Relegated now you are to the outside

There can be love
There can be games
There can be knots of tears for the girl down the lane

And when the morning
I wake up
With my eyes glued shut
And do a little dance
In my lonely little hut
In splendid silence all can be forgiven
Ah, if only my mem’ry had no vision!

Aug whatever

I’ll never be known by you
The way the wind knows
That a-frame shed
Or those poplars by the street

There was this time
When that would have been
A worthy dream
The dream of a lover

Now I deem it impossible
A bad idea
You’ll have to flit around
Like the wind around glass
Peek in, sniff for an opening
But stay right where you are outside

2 in a row

Two night in a row
Restless yet dreaming
A small room in my aunt’s house
A small room at my mother’s apartment
My own wide bed
And on the sidewalk at thirteen
You’re leggy in green shorts
And your glasses
A striped shirt

Years later at your brother’s wedding
You were divorced and angry
Red-faced and loud from drinking
And no one I knew
And you didn’t know me

And why would you
We never had even a single bungled kiss
When we stood there, you quiet, me knowing nothing to say

Thinking of you once every million years
On nights of a certain timbre

July Thursday Night

There is a beauty to all people
To which we must cling
In ugly moments
When our hearts hijack our mouths
And we speak symbolically but hear literally

Later, he was powerless on the street
Without even the words to beg
And wanting arson or intervention
Someone on his exact and only side
His side, not ours, or family, or humanity
To be listened to and hear in return
As soft voices work a compromise
The shouting reserved for moments of depth and passion

Remember that day? I walked down the street, and cried when she came along
who said nothing, but was both pond and bridge

He crossed over that day
For a few seconds

Regardless of mule-ish work
And mutual angry silence
beauty must be found

July 13

The deals we make
with ourselves
just to get through
things we don’t even want to get through
We’re like salmon homing to spawn
Aware we are to die
To end
Ah, there’s the rub
Perchance to dream
That what is could be wiped as easily
As waking up


Musket guns and rifles
Electric fans and ex-husbands
Kids and barbecue sauce
Summer plods on
And on into the 90’s
Try as I might
To wish to build it all over
With endless power tools
I drive nails by hand into my own head


Melted cloud anger
Seething on the tennis court
and practicing the
Way of the Clenched Fist

You’re right.
You’re always always right.

I’d have to fly like that gull up there,
a speck against that cloud
Far enough away to win in
silent thoughts of moons at night
Unbroken by the harsh righteous victory


Tonight we’re underwater
with electric fans and civil war folk
And we dream of retirement to
a redecorated bathroom

My feet search around for your feet
My hands search for the spot that itches on your back

But ever my mind wanders alone
A twelve year old in muddy boots on the ridge of the hills

In manner born

In manner born
more like flowers, less like lions
We apologize for our collective weakness
Which has us second guessing our own worthiness to even pee in your bathroom, or share in your cake

In summer it is always worse
Planes fly over the house
As you drive in
And part of me runs after the plane
Slow down, I’m coming if just for a moment of peace

Upon Us

Summer is upon us
Like before the deepest sleep
Weary, trudging upstairs

Sleep sleep until fall
And let the sleep bring dreams


The branches
don’t move at my passing
All is
quiet animals hiding

June night

A slow tick dribbles out
of the clock
Night and the big bed
are a southern porch at 5pm
Languid and lazy
Like abandoned cars by a river
The mood cut by a flyover jet
A winsome blond alone in a window
A boy wishing he had a dog

Calculus from a photo album

Morning birds mutate
Into creatures lurking
’round my car

I rappel down the side of the house in a suit
Thus begins my commute

Once inside I lock the doors
Back out of the driveway mad quickly
Fly past stopped school buses

And dream in the parking lot of a real life that looks like it was shot with Hipstamatic

Morning Prayer

Do we live this exact way
or to some other

Does the morning embrace us
and am I a turtle?
Or do we embrace the day
and spin around the world
our world
and are properly mystified
enthralled by everything from
spiders to bill paying?

for the sake of more interesting times
let me rediscover who I love
why I work

A slimmer wardrobe would be nice, too

Black Majik

Where the sky meets the ground
Look for my hands
Where the sky meets the ocean
Look for her smile
When the boy runs across a field
Look for the tracks of a pony
And where the little girl’s heart goes
Turn it over to find a tear, or a star

By then the wind will have carried our ashes home
In a mist around that old mailbox
And, quietly, music plays
Small – as from a tiny, hidden radio

As the morning breaks like a dish hits the driveway
You can call your friends
To conjour up stories
Of once knowing you long ago.

Mad at Me

Yet again
Slow to make tea
Not enough water
Mad at me

One more time
Didn’t read your mind
Where’s my tea?
Mad at me

To: feet to the fire
What’s been doesn’t have to be
Vote by walking
Mad at me

To: lady of the lava lamp
Cool your ire
Here’s your hatchet
Mad at me


Mirrors lie if we let them
And steal from us
Bribe and blackmail us

After hours of pleading
With a nose that just won’t go away
The person, abandoning hope,
Walks out into traffic
Hit by a car
Lays in ICU languishing
There’s a face transplant,
Which gets very involved, by the way
And a year goes by, and puffy and blind
The world applauds the unveiling on Oprah



There are patterns that cannot be followed
Lines of thoughts scribbled and crabbed
With that full empty head of hair and them big manly shoulders
To wear your dick on your sleeve.
Once, twice, three
Thousands of times I’ve dumped the ashtray with bits of him in it
Always the next morning it’s butts and matches
And tacky orange lipsticks
And stink in my remaining air

First Up

First up
Then into the hall
To the boy’s room and bending low over to hear
The telltale wheeze

In the armchair downstairs
The bars of a venetian blind thrown across my chest
We can sit and ponder
The unwilling genetic will imposed on our kin

The allergies
The talkativeness
The tendency to wander around
Never feeling fit in and

Always at the start of something magical

Wind Our Way

We wind our way
Aimlessly, and yet off target
Knowing where to go
Knowing the path, the route
Traced on a map in shaking handwriting
And taking all minutiae of deviations
All possible tourist traps
Burning lotsa gas in a
big-assed American way
And sneaking back to the same carport every night
Discussing our wasted time while wasting time
With a friend, with Doritos and a heating pad.

The racist

They’re at it again
She’s cursing again
A basso profundo voice unimpeded by a majority of teeth

I suppose later they’ll divide the spoils, make love in the kitchen, top off the night with ice cream


There is a ghost party
Across the street
Echoing off the houses
Flitting around the children
As no-see-ums orbit bug lamps

A dead man yells
An ex-woman laughs
Drinks are served promptly
And we awaken and die with the sun drunk stumbling a stair of clouds on the morning

odd night out

Drive through town on beautiful nights
firm as sugar snap peas

I’m unimaginable
with my imagined hump and screwed face

Five thousand nights from then
they’d never talk to me
Tree thousand nights hence
same thing

What can be done?
I’ve a step ladder for a heart
Up and down, never quite high enough
As I spot flaws in an old friend’s make-up
The lover is me

The monster, me, too.

Silence is the sand

Silence is the sand in my eyes
The spasm in my back
The pain twice regretted

Floating zeppelins of it
Track across the ceiling
It is solely for them to decide

It is for you to decide.

Arabian Night

The night is populated with tiny sounds
Cars miles off
A jet somewhere
A boy turns over and exhales
And my ring
Like a parasite in my ears
My Siamese twin
Talking during the silence of the movie,
“I’m going to remind you of what you lost forever. You’ll be one of those sad old men in the Arabian Nights, crying forever because you opened a door you shouldn’t have.”

Bird in the Dark

is it a lone bird
heard calling?
Three notes:
One Two Three

And is there a note of
desperation there?
a chirp in the dark
or is it me
The ring in my ears
The deeper gloom
painted over

The bird in the dark:
Is it me?


Unwholesome in a bikini
Dragged behind a truck to hide it all away
Never did anyone find out
About the time behind the clothes in the closet
When the air was dew thick and smelled of berries

Day 1

Climb into all those empty spaces
Run across the train tracks til you’re home and new
Greeted at the door with your depression burning in my nose
A glance around to check the exit situation
The phone is loudly silent
The baby knaws on a salmon bone
We say our goodbyes too soon

Night Breadth

The night is as long as arms unwrapped
around the world
With cricket fingers and spider fingers crawling
across a shoulder
A small of the back
To nestle like warm nothings on the
bosom of your ear
Lips chaste and chapped repeat stories in a vague manner
Stuttering, a nervous pause
A missed word here or there
Later I wash my hands
I dip my hands in cool water
And press then against my shut eyes

Old Doug

Did you drink to forget
Or because you couldn’t remember the last time you heard good news about yourself?

I heard good news about me:
It was the scratch of a crow on a bleak fall day, a field painted by Wyeth
It lasted but a second before the wind took it away

Doug, your lopsided grin
Smiles down on me I hope
As I try to do my best
Or try to convince myself I’m doing my best
Am I ok, Doug? Dad? Louis?

Daddy, am I ok?

Still reeling

Still reeling
Still dancing
With my feet knocked out
And my teeth kicked in
But you can’t kill me
Cause I’ve got get up and go
Which is what I will do

Bang Bang

Hugs in the chapel
While the minister checks his credentials
And cleans his stamp
And in walks some Elvis, or some Marilyn
Across some bridge of sighs or the other
And down the stairs to the rooms where they shoot the prisoners

A Night Like This

I am under and deep down
The path I am going to walk
Away from the house, the responsibilities
Are spread out amongst us
There is a traitor, and there must be an investigation
Into the causes
These problems which keep coming back
Please come back home

100 days

100 days away
From winds that blow happiness away and freedom in
I’m too scared to walk
Barely able to talk
My hand mute, merely holding the pen and more to the point: will sorry go or invite its cousins over to weigh down life and render nights so lonely

Two trees

Two trees
Fell together in the aftermath of the rain
Two tables, two closets
Two things made of the wood
Two trees miles apart
Two band-aids
Too long ago to be remembered
Two, long ago forgotten
Too forgotten
Two – long ago.

In May

I’ll climb the mountains of my own making
Diving off into pools of my own tears
And wander with snakes and eels and other things


May 1 7

Too many glasses of wine or beer
Or things that go bump in the heart
Or things that climb out of your mouth
And climb in my ears
Drip down my legs into a shallow hole
A grave situation

May 16

It is not three little words I need
But sentences full, paragraphs
From you
They will never come
But a drizzle of rain
Will mist in my eyes
And I will cry the tears of some guy in a desert pitching into the mud of an oasis
And then stumbling on seeking the shore of the ocean
Sentences like crashing breakers
Telling of a history of me I never knew
From someone I thought not watching


today tonight
I love hate whatever you’re about
whenever you’re around
it hurts it’s good
planes roar o’er the house
I’m stuck stuck
on the ground looking up

May this

be the start of something new
and beautiful
Too long now … deep breath
Too long now this has been allowed to go on
Since the time of the pharoes
First grade…
Seventh grade at some school dance
Switches were installed and no love has yet been an amputator
A physic
And we dream of alchemy
To the end
A toast!
To the end.

May 13

Play evil
Play evil on my bones
Play evil on my bones all the days
All the days
All the days that remain for me
For me and my bones
My sad old bones
My sad old lonely bones
All the days

All the days that remain all the days
All the days that remain


May 12

Fate tied her to a tree
Left her there like forgotten fruit
When the two strange men walked by
There weren’t even tears enough to cry
And the moon does a dance on the pond, on the roof
While the clouds play havoc with the view
Cloud like tears
Tears like wondering
Snow like sand
Sand like stars
Stars above like fish in the sea
Stars like love no stars for me



I soak and read about Edvard Munch
As the night slides out from under me and the rain patters down
And hours wrinkle my skin
My eyes fail to focus
As the clock reached a hand towards one
And the rain patters down.

Art 2

Is it done?
Is she finished?
Is the mom like her daughter?
Are they of similar texture
Or is one smooth, the other rough?
And is it paint or character,
My mistake or divine communication which I obey but can I remember hearing?



The space of the studio
Filled and empty
With walls open to the universe
Accessed through a broken garage door.

May 6

I droop like a wet forest
And drip down my branches onto myself
Tired in the spring after a savage winter

Cinco de mayo

Girls and their mom stare at me
Not a good stare

A stare that makes me wonder if they think I’m foreign

On this shore
The distant land of the mall waits


Belted down for the duration
Spelling bigger words
Swimming with dolphins
Caring for the wounds
Two miles from bigger things and 10 years from fully bloomed
But never can take a long time to prove itself correct

U there

Walking around the corner
Near the noisy cars
I expect to see you again
A ghost, a visitor, a beloved stranger
Or cropping up in old home movies
Or in the corner of an ad
A quizical smile
As we try to figure each other out
And you go as quickly as summer rain
And I forget you as I make change or eat ice pops on the porch as the sun goes down and the heat simmers on the street


It is of no account
No philosophy can take you as far down the path as you need to go
No companion or running partner can come with you
No decision will be right or wrong
No outcome correct, wanted or anticipated
All there is for you is an interior shaking of the head
and shapeless guilt as you wander between what you’ve done and what could have been


Things that never come back
Regardless of prayers on your knees
Or self-righteous anger
Or pleadings to the still living
The still beating heart
Doesn’t hear


The 29

And so you go to your fate
Somewhere in the woods – not even a forest, not even a house

In years you might return
No one knowing you anymore
No one ever knew you
Shuffling over to the 7/11
A big moon comes up
And you look paler than usual

April 28

The boy has nightmares tonight
I’m not a good dad
Am I passing on the worst of me?
The part that wasn’t good at sports
The part that lost


April 27

This is what life demands of you:
Not much,
But still beyond your capacity.


These are vines
These clocks and schedules
Problems and decisions
They entwine us
Hold us apart

Some climb down your throat
Like a body snatcher
Compelling you to say those things
And maybe they’re in my ears
Repeating those words
And are they in my heart?
And are mercy and forgiveness choking?


200 times tired
With summer running up and spring away fast
My two hands work 100 times each but know songs come
Rain drips down as planets fail to collide
Moss and lichen sprout across from us
A no man or woman’s land
As flowers are plucked from soldiers’ graves.


What does it take?
A broken wing?
Down and out and drinking problems?
Too few phone calls?
Ready? Hear the silence?
Do you feel a warm hand or nothing?
And can it last?
And should it?


The sky is blue in its blackness
Firm as fresh fish
A girl much like Eva Braun stretches towards the moon
As flatcars trundle by on the tracks
Why not run away right then and there
To a concrete octagonal house
Stuccoed white in good repair
Books on the shelves with intriguing titles
And later the two share a meal, taking turns serving each other
Quietly such that the clock two rooms away seems loud
Echoing in the hall
Like amorati, but then
nooseless and tired he ends the day to begin it again tomorrow



Jet away to a slim dirty blonde girl
With a low, halting voice and dark blue eyes
I climb on the fence, look out over grass
Cloud shadows roll across
The sun dips and it gets colder

Night and Crystal Clear

Night and crystal clear
The thoughts of the watchman
Asleep and parapet-less
The pacing of the guard
In his head
Halberd at the ready
To fence out the circus
Fence out the zoo
With angels snoozing above
Angels twisting the blankets
Angels having the watchman’s nightmare
Of lonely dinner
Empty photo frames
Dirty bathroom
The curtains that came with the place


A small doll
Finds me under a chair
We are both unwanted in the way we are unwanted
In the way

But that was years ago
Behind the mountains
And towns have since sprung up

April 17

All days wrapped into one hour
All words wrapped into one moment
Relived forever and ever
Like a black dead diamond
Rolled about the fingers
Each facet felt
And the dull sparkle of a dying ember
Tossing light which cannot be seen around the room


Why I walk is you
complain about my shoes
the mud I leave behind
from the wanders and paths
I’m down six all moments
I’m down under your foot

Prodigal Daughter

She breezes in brave
As she ever was
Beautiful and forgiveable

Eyes wide with questions asking
“where are all the boys? I need to break some hearts.”

When we let them run wild sometimes they return
Only if we forgive them before they go


A drone
Miles off
Light trickles down the staircase
Two cars rush by
I could count to a thousand
Rather that climb those stairs
And what is up there doesn’t wait for me but will get me none the less
Exhausted at almost 2am

Short Poem with Toes

Gorgeous night falls
Silken hands beckon across a chasm
My toes on the edge
My ties severed
I remember kissing you goodnight on your neck
Your gentle breathing
Soft on my hand


After a day of watching boys play

To nestle in blankets

Silence on the radio

Breath as slow as clock clicks

Lonely hands wish for something soft

Not 100

Hold me down
And pick me up
Scoop out the summer sun
And the winters rain
Cold on the hill of my neck
And open to interpretation

No one knows which path to go
Which god to follow
Which words will sooth

I’ve nothing to give
Nothing to take
Wander the yard
Look up at the sky

April 9

Was it the lure of summer sun
Which lights up the azure harbor
Reflected back in your eyes
Wearing a slinky black little thing
Legs crossed under the table

But what’s happening?
What’s happening now!

April 8

The night is good to me
A friend that mumble whispers the answers to the test
a nodding god to my prayers

Too often I’ve walked off
Night brings me back everytime
Drops me off at my garage door
saying “sweat dreams, kiddo, see ya.”



Night is my pillow and blanket
My cave against the wild and the wind
My eyes collapse as the night tumbles onward
Deep into the night til the sun is ready to return to who he belongs

Never ever

Get to bed early
To sleep perchance to dream
With the whisper of far away cars
Going to someplace new
In the back seat kissing and holding hands
Sliding on the ice on the Pennsylvania turnpike
Crushed once maybe for good
Everyone smoking and eating jewish food
I could dream all this without
special effects

When I’m 62

The girls watch Gone With The Wind

The boys sleep

In my head I hold and store everything – a faithful St Bernard librarian

Mind your soul when you pass, though
Bumping into the wrong soul can hurt


We’re out off the harbor
A big net tossed out

We catch and catch
Throw nothing back
A haulin’ wooden ice chests full
O’er the dock

But what do we catch of ourselves
That we throw back
And catch again
And throw back
On the endless sea
Of who did what to whom


Two thousand years ago there was death

10 hours ago I got in a car and drove

Will there be rebirth that is anything more than heresay I cannot say
But I pray:
Dear Lord: please grant me peace when I am awake – like the peace I know when I’m dreaming and lost, found by someone someday

Baltimore Again

Today I kicked in a window
Saw some Jasper Johns an a great Monet
And drank half a box of wine in a hot bath
So hot I thought my toes might drop

What will happen is what

Tonight I celebrate and mourn the audacious clarity of the inevitable

Tonight I am ok with everything from pie flavor to eventual death

Tonight I know the simplicity of myself and the limits of my own goodness, and my own badness

Truly I will never be more free
Because tonight I know exactly
What to do

And it scares me


Loneliness can take on different shapes
And stalk us like a sad silent panther
Or grow in vines from our bed or car seat

Mine looks like a quiet old man

Yours is a fire in your chest which burns everyone and is inexhaustible these days

Oh the places anger will take you

Baltimore 2

Whatever can be done
Cannot be done
And things cannot be undone

Seagulls fly and sparrows poop inside
We just cover our beer

Outside, somewhere beautiful
Spiced and longing for more than all that tumbles out of a mouth
Loosened by a migrane

Two feet can walk a trail winding along a beach

Two feet can pause before a Cezanne in a museum

Two feet can do many things


There is a moan winding it’s way through the venting of the hotel
A wind trying to get it, sad about it, angry about it
I’m trying to stay out
The wind is me, I’m that wind
I’m that sad angry moan so low in the belly it might not be there
Discontent as quiet as a small finger brushing a pillow in the next room
But as busy and impulsive as the highway we drove in on
But I’ll leave by local roads, through the back country, through a long cut that takes years if you’re lucky



Tis where no wind blows
And no one finds me
Light but glances in and leaves me

Horn sound far away
Planes soar past and onward
Rain gathers by the stoop

When it’s clear
When I choose
We’ll sit on that stoop
With summer flavoured ice pops
And sticky fingers
And await the fireflies

rain and clocks and dreams

The clicks of rain and the alarm clock remind me I’m neither where I belong nor on schedule.

What a fuck-up I’ve been. What a mess.


Point Source

We keep a light on somewhere
To guide you in
Or keep monsters out
And stumble about
Like the carpet is calf-deep water

In the red glaze of morning
I lay on my back and rub my chest
My reflection wonders what happened and why didn’t we see it
And we shuffle off, crying and arm and arm

What to do

Now that she does not love me
Hokey lyrics
What to do

Sell those earrings buy some goldfish
For the children

It’s a big mistake to let it end
But when the sun is high overhead
The shadows cover up my eyes
And water flows from low to high

Head over heels is not a comfortable position
nor a permanent condition

But by some act of contrition
6 years hence they’re still delivering flowers
I’ll relent
but until then I know what to do



What next?
A rose or butterfly wings
Delight and rolls of money
Two prancing lions and a heart of good intentions about keeping appointments and looking at the moon more often

Under the sink, things to do
Papers to collect and young girls at twilight
Never get around much anymore in this lush life

My father knew most of this but I prefer to unmake the bed of my mind, sleep through the best parts of my dreams, and awake with a start beside someone who stll hasn’t met me.



There are things I cannot do anymore
I’ve not forgotten
Indeed, I remember
But to move on I must forget
Memory holds us down
I will not hold or be held
I’ve been forgetting now for years

Half n Half

The day has nothing that the night doesn’t
sun up, sun down, moon out, moon hidden
The house is still there, the walls

It is only in dreams I climb out the window
And in waking climb back in


I want more
I want everything
All in a moment
Lasting forever
Forever remembered
And always forgotten for the experience of seeing it anew


Party like there’s no tomorrow
‘Cause there isn’t
Tonight the Saxons come while we’re sleeping
To put the torch and the blade to our taste buds and let us lap up our own blood

It’ll been sweet on yonder tomorrow
Older and well-dressed
Perhaps at a Starbucks
Older, with a frappacino
Young girls still not taking me seriously


A long day with odd strangers
The spring has brought newness unimaginable

There are things worse than me at my worst
Because my worst ain’t so bad

Reread these words in 20 years
And know exactly what was in my head when I answered with monosyllables


March 19

Just now something slid off and hit with a thump

Just like three weeks ago: something slid out, silently, like a slight cry

Whenever I see you I miss it, but I’m better off without it

And to grow it back only to again cut it down

I won’t do that anymore.


Just this once
In a quiet night tone of voice
With nightbirds peering over their tucked wings
Bits of paper float down on the wind, which barely holds them
Lowering them to the ground
As dark clouds scutter across the horizon



She emerged out of the trees
Searching, like she was looking for someone
She found me
But now on late winter nights
I see her from the window
Stalk back into the trees
Like she is hiding something
And I’m too scared to ask
And all sorts of pieces are missing



Do I grow as the vine grows?
Limber and stragulating in my discontent?

Or do I grow as the tree, firm and set in my ways until rot or accident moves me?

Or do I grow as the weed grows? Am I everywhere unkept and underfoot, and uprooted do I return again?

I have decided: I never will be the flower – I’m not beautiful. Nor am I the corn or the wheat, for I’m not that valuable.

I’ll be the weed, and I’ll stay here and return no matter where they haul me.



What am I doing in this bed?
I belong at the mouth of a river
Or exploding a lab
Not here! Anywhere but here!

Me – ME in a room with a humidifier running
Alarm set for a day gig
Four door cars everywhere

And there aren’t songs, but there is soap, and chatchka in the bathroom
While I’m old enough for mild gum disease and comforting a small kid
having a nightmare.


Mid match

She comes like a boney little girl
And taking me by the hand we run up the stairs to a secret room
The windows are open, a chill breeze floods in and
Gathers at my feet
I tiptoe across, wave “bye” to the skinny girl and head north

The last night

Of umbrellas we spoke
And covering up
And medicine in what amount

Cars drift past
My slack tired jaw
Advice from the misbegotten

In maybe 4 to 8 years
I’ll sit on a bench in the summer
Under a purple night sky
And have my company kept by fireflies.

Big night

The big night was a week ago
When yelling changed everything

Even the bugs moved out
The yelling changed everything

When no one bothers to write a card or list thank you names
You know there’s Taps waiting in someone’s bugle
And this thing will soon smell dead

Because yelling changed everything

Berlin Tune

Should have slept hours ago
Climb a rickety framework
And lying down in a pillowy pyre
Commit myself to the serious business of forgetting

Should have slept forever.


Twice now I’ve fallen asleep after finishing a poem
to wake up with a start, poem lost, a finger had hit some button

Sleep calls and I follow
To a warm place I can’t remember
Where I am known in deep ways
By friends I’ll never meet
Where things are over
or never started
And new things begin
and never finish

I awake sad, and lost
Forgetting things I’ve never remembered
Missing someone I’ll never meet

I have something I’ll never have
It is better than anything I’ll ever get.

The Dad

The night tightens
He turns up the collar of his coat
Turns his back to the teeth of the weather
It turns out badly

She’s across the other side of the bed
Through the window
Corner of the 2nd floor by the left edge
Down near a bodega and looking up

The night descends damp
A wet blanket
Of unstrung piano chords


we are each the flaw in our diamond
a skip in the shine of an otherwise fine life
the filament of it twisted yet glowing

when light hits me I try not to cower
and when they put questions to me I try just to answer
say nothing wrong, and scared as a boy
because everything wrong is already know
they all but turn and stare on New York street
at me
and then finally making the train
I imagine it going somepace with unaccesable romance
the whole ride home


When They Ask

When they ask who is it we live for, tell them we live for our children

Even though it is killing us, taking away everything we ever dreamed of

For we are artists, and a house was never the goal, the neighborhood, the mortgage, any of it was never the goal

The children, we stumbled into them, loved them so much that we agreed to pay the price

For we were artists


What is enough?

Those voices in my head which are merciless to me
Of late are coming from your mouth

I can know all that is wrong with me sans your help
What is wrong with me is written with the debris of dumb decisions and failed plans stretching back to birth

I read my own map all the time, cursing my wrong rights and lefts
I have access to the horrors of me that you’ll never know

But I’ll ride elevators above
the me made petty
Above the dread at the sound of a car door slam

A chain, this chain stops now with me


March on

Walk on walk on
And always walk alone
Always walk alone

Through the window
Over the house
And the neighborhood
So forgettable
Like the phone message
Must remember the message
And the paperwork
To San Francisco
And your cousins
And no goodnight
To the wicked
From the righteous
Who is who
Who is who

Walk on walk on with head held down
Cause we always walk alone
We always walk alone

March Poem

I’m a slow, sloppy man
tardy on my path and lost

To stride into town two gun hipped is too much to ask

But quietly, beside a brook
a robin lands feet from me
It knows the quality of my mercy
of my nature,
which, lost on you,
is ever my loss


Boy O

A full day of you is too much and yet not enough.

We both grow older with ever diverging orbits.

You, my little moon, too soon off in the stars without me.

I’ll wizen those days, become hoary and dottering.

Maybe alone, ever waiting for your arc back.

Knowing that in the now I’m the pull that also pushes you away.

Forgive me for me, Boy O.



Too long, too tired
Too beaten up to care.

Now it’s 2:15
And it’s tomorrow
A new day

God, at 2:16 make into a new man
Such that to others I’m different and to me, somewhat the same



Fresh washed pillows
Don’t help
Those guys
Guys like that
Saw through the house
We return to it
Notice nothing too wrong to cause our speaking
And then we are out
Old with gray clothes



I close my eyes and still see light
Softened blobs of it

And I wonder at it in my eyes or rather
It is deeply held in my imagination

Sleep now, boy.


The window at half-mast
Simply leave it
Along with the socks
As they are on the floor
And those unpaid bills

There are people to call
And lazy chatter over
Small meals

Then a walk past closed shops
On a street the reminds visitors
Of another place, reminding us of where we aren’t.



The night walks on
Past your particular disease
And down the path from your summit in 1997
The vintage that was bottled never to be even tasted
Thrown out instead with all the plans and sketches and other garbage you still carry and cannot put down

Even tonight
when there is a woman and rain
You are alone in your head
counting your curses


When will you learn what you are?
the slow rain asked

Look at your little house,
your job,
that car…
Isn’t it clear?

Her voice cracked and choked
But already he was gone


Who 22

where are you
when you’re right beside
wherever I might be
where I am or what I am
or who I might be
is of minor concern
why worry
why bother
why question
why hike into these strange foothills
where even you dread walking
with me living
with me is so difficult
when I will live like a hermet
while you stand in an empty yard
while I eat alone


Ticking Dust

The ticking dust
Climbs over the headboard
And down onto the pillows

Alarms are set
Children tucked

And still the ticking dust
Climbs down over me

My feet search for cold spots under the blankets
And the weight of worn clothes
As I search for a dream from which I cannot awake


My feet hurt
Sympathetic to the wanderings of my mind
I walk miles and never move

But most of all, I’m wearing out from the outside in

I’m wearing inward
One day to become a ball
A round milkdud of a human
Up all day, boxed at night


A Nachtpoem

A man proceeds drifting down the street
He smells something we can’t smell

We smell home fires, grilling, pies and cakes baking, the common home smells

But our man on the street licks his lips, opens the door to the house, closes it behind and shuts off the lights.


Who are you
When the wind stops its restlessness
And lies calm and dormant at your feet?

In the dark there are melodies and voices in the sounds of the house, the motors in the fans, the working of the mattress and blankets

The blind and its window are cracked the width of a finger open
A knife of air strikes your face from it. It’s good. It is


Soft glow
Moonswept lighthouse water

Cable knit sweaters
French braids
Shy upturned nose

Laugh lines
Crows feet across
The snow mixed with sand

They’ll be wanting us back at the house

But we have a moment to pull your hair ribbon and wrestle the wind.


Too bright, too loud

At seconds before midnight
The clock is too bright
The tick it too loud
The pants sit too low
The color is wrong
The hair not quite right
The breath a bit off
The words ill chosen, the sentence badly formed
The thoughts tainted
The heart ok
The intentions as purely as deeply as can be scrutinized
The names forgotten
The river of love drained
The nail driven

The humidifier is on
The bed vast and uncrossable
The quatarre depression gets us all in the end.


Buddy Night

With warm hair twisting
You fell asleep
Against my back

You’re silent now
For the first time today

I can hear my tinnitus
And the clock
The wind outside

2 weak

I’m up again
at 2 am
watching Mission Impossible
reruns again redundant

And I never change
although I must
I must I must or die and bust
too late too late

To even be great or even widely pitied
Get out of a house into apartments in NY city

And stay up again alone
Just like tonight


The Bright Ones

Oh, you, beautiful boy
Beautiful boys all
Beautiful boys all of you

Was snow made especially for you?
A private toy from space, from heaven
From an unlocked box in your imagination?

Come! Run into my arms now!



When the snowfall is over
And we are all grown up
I’ll live again

In the fullest sense
I’ll melt as the snow melts
Into new forms and shapes
You’ll not recognize
Not that you’ve ever recognized

Maybe I won’t even know me!


Snow (11)

Snow has alighted
Turning trees into the veins of angels

Shall I stand out there too?
Spread my fingers, crook my arms
And have the snow annoint me beautiful?

A girl I’ve not seen in years follows, laughing

And all the disappointment
like rings if you could saw me down
would drop away leaving us bare
ready for possibilities


Miss Brooks on a night
before a snowstorm
her bob and her bangs

She never really found anyone she was so busy being Herself
And now she forever dies in the lap of a murderer on Christmas Eve

My legacy…? I’ll go back to taking my son to fencing when this play is over – my last for years. And I’ll be a dim name recalled increasingly less frequently in the high school halls – that weird guy – taught Brecht. And I’ll maybe be “your grandfather” to a kid I’ll never meet.

But if there is something after, you’ll find me where Louise might be. Having coffee on any given morning.


My ears make their very own sound which only I can hear

Filling my silence with the unending bowing of a tiny cricket

He tells me horrible things, things about my body and my balance sheet

And reminds me that I will never fit in and that love was mine but it left me years ago


Saturday Night

I want to sip the night
and savour every drop of its mouthful of cold orange juice

I want to drink time
drop by drop and splatter none of it

But for you –
And each day is a shot of unchased tequila
Dopey drunk and slurred at the table


Through the cracks (#7)

Through the cracks the wind is cold
One cold finger after another.

And where do I lie now, with these cold hands?
Cold on my shoulder, my hips, my lips.


Number 6

I cannot
make you better

Where is my power? Not here.
Not even a dad, just a guy
These days just a guy

It’s your power.
You wield it everytime you dream in bed
but then you stay too long there
And at night, if the wind creaking outside keeps you up
You lay awake there
Fighting the urge to finally take the blame you so richly deserve.


Nachtpoem 5

Clocks have changed
They no longer tick tick tick
Or tick tock
Ours are quartz
They just tock
Tonight there are days between each of them:
Tock – when will my wife be home…
Tock – I’m so behind in work…
Tock – my son’s laugh is still in my ears…
And now the tocks – the first at one pitch, the next slightly lower
such that it sounds like a limp
Time gimps along on two different legs
My son moans lightly in the next room asking for a little drink
A car goes by, and a plane…
And I am trapped here between the seconds.


Nachtpoem 4

I’m dim
I’ll dummy down
stymied and
ordering my own retreat
and discontinuation

Mother, I’ve lost.
You’re only here yourself because I hit the “m” by accident
wish I was a happy accident
instead of the distressed product

of this I am sure:
tomorrow may or may not come
and I go to where the sleepers go


Nachtpoem 3

done with it all
with the light to off
the clock to alarm
and to blow out the warm candle to wax

we try and succeed at less these days
now smiles are an achievement
now feeling ok in your own skin for 5 minutes out of 24 hours is
big digs
where once we read minds it’s now sections of The Times


the night encircles like dark butter
I’m reminded how flimsy it all is
hopes, complaints, plans
it’s all bent up
in pieces
on the floor
and this life is a wool sweater
warm, scratchy, old


The Why of This

The other night – January 30th 2010, my son and I were sleeping over at my mom’s place. Well, not really sleeping because we were sharing a small bed and it was cold and Rainer was thrashing around and it was awful. And there were sounds outside – she has an apartment in down town Glen Cove – strange windy noises caused by anything other than the wind, cars most likely, the sounds drifting miles from the Expressway or some such. And so I tapped a quick poem into my iPhone just as I tried to fall asleep for the hundredth time that night. And then last night, I wrote another one – right before corking off, under the blankets, the lights out except for the glow off the iPhone, and me tapping away.

It seems to me to be a good daily practice… nightly practice. Off we go!

Jan 31 – Nacht Poem #2

the moon alone
if the moon holds me
in his arms just above my windowsill
scattershot air and not much more under my feet
and no compass to me
then who holds me?
No one. No anyone.
no compass to me
thick with clotted leaves
I float out over the roof, the gutters- what a word for me!
the afterimage of the moon I see when I shut my eyes
til it fades to true black
the bodies under the blankets make moraines
the radiator boils like rain
and in the dark I can feel the corners
and the walls I cannot see

Jan 30th – the Banshee

the bed the bed
the bed is never warm enough
the banshee wails
the tires of trucks miles distant
like mist from the highway
the banshee wails
I’m always here I’m never here
I’ve never been here I’m not coming back
to the whine of the tires
the dour face in the window
the breath of the cars
the wail the wail
the banshee
the bed


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