Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who gets the blame?

My fortune cookie read:
“No snowflake in an avalanche
ever feels responsible,”
a wise saying at a tough time
as the wind blows troubles
in my direction,
and evil things stir
in warm places
I always thought safe,
An my uncle
Who was a carpenter
Told his own fortunes
Those days I worked
At his side
“If someone hits you
in the head with a hammer,
don’t blame the hammer.”

Friday, September 21, 2012


Today it was her birthday
Her friends gave her a card
Wet ink on the cool background
still oozing of life’s regard

Her hair curled behind her head
Her smile sweetens hate
Her life began in the shadow of doubt
About whatever would be her fate

A lady drenched in secrets
She keeps locked inside her heart
No lover ever has the key to it
Only the shards of it blown apart

Who can say what happiness is?
Who will guide her hand?
Who will be behind her?
Who will be her man?

She smiles at the open card
She laughs and even sings
The rage for the moment vanquished
and do not mean a thing

So sing your song of happiness
Of the rise and fall of the sea
Today it was your birthday
A momentary glee

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Washington Square

Some it comes to this again
Smiling faces in concrete
Listless souls forever prisoners
To this all might wheel,
Circling like pathetic moons
Chained to it by invisible links
Harder than steel to break
Each of us like tiny silver balls
In an insane game of roulette
Always putting our money down
On the wrong numbers
Me, sitting at the north end
At zero zero,

I am tin man whose heart
Has stopped ticking,
Thinking of those other times
I sat here,
Sometimes the brainless
Most often,
The cowardly lion,
Dorothy long gone
To wander this less
Than emerald city
Clicking her heals
Washing water over
Every witch she sees
Singing her songs
To the wind

I write in this notebook
Out of context
Out of mind
These words like all words
Too weak to lift the burden
I need them to lift,
Even Atlas could not
Bear this burden long,
Calling to Pluto or Apollo,
Throwing his chips
On this wheel,
The way I do mine,
Waiting for the little silver
Ball to stop,
Waiting for everybody
To stop orbiting this circle,
Waiting for me to sit
Anywhere else
But zero zero.

I read the words

I read the words
Because I’m not allowed anything else
Nor deserve them,
I read them aloud to squeeze
The juice out of them
Even when sometimes
They drip down onto me
Like acid
A self-torture
Full of painful parodies
I alone can see
I read the words
Because they stay true
Even I can’t
Their meaning filling me up
Like a beggar’s cup
Coins for that last sip
Before the night seeps in
Rattling around inside my head
All night – keeping me warm
Even the bad ones
The truest ones
The ones I have to shout out
To even say them
As if someone else is
The echoes of some distant
Downtown stranger
Screaming at me
To understand
I read them all,
Again and again,
Gritting my teeth
Over those words
That grind on me most,
Until I can’t tell
Whose voice I hear
Inside my head
I read words
Because they tell how it was
And is,
Even when it hurts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time is on my side?

I stand at the end of the pier
The old Rolling Stones song
Stuck in my head
Snatched from tuning the radio
Passed nostalgic stations
I can no longer stand
My mother’s madness
Clinging to me
Like the shroud of Turin
A death mask overlaying
Even the most peaceful scenes
This deep river full of silence
Even as the helicopters buzz
And the ferries churn up
Dark water into a mean white broth
Slippery fish slithering out
Between a fishman’s fingers
Hard to catch, even with both hands
A struggle of not gripping too tight
Or holding on tight enough
Hooks always out of the question
Full of agony even when you need
To toss the fish back
And standing here
Searching the surface
For what was lost
Fishermen seeking things
No longer possible
Hoping for a glimpse
Of silver in the churn of ferries
Knowing how completely
The old song was wrong.
Time isn’t.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Last hour before midnight

You borrow from peter to pay paul,
The hours of each day ticking passed
But not in seconds, minutes or hours
But remembrances,
left in the wake
Of your passing,
Drifting in a sea of sand
One even Lawrence of Arabia
Could not navigate
So far out of memory
By the time you reach
The peak of the next wave
And you lost, too,
That genie already out of the bottle
Cheating you of all your wishes
The savvy sailor who defied sea sickness
Only to succumb to love,
Loose changes rattled in your pockets
Instead of gold,
That one magic moment gone
In a whirlwind
Time ticking on,
One hour bumping into the next
Until you reach that hour when
You realize you can never catch up,
And rub the bottle over and over
With a vain last wish
For the genie to come back,
For someone to fill that one missing hour
Before the clock strikes midnight
And you turn back to what you were

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