Friday, May 31, 2013

Digging dirt

My hand
Still stained
From digging dirt
Moves inch by inch
Across the crisp
White surface
Of the sheet

My labored breath,
Rasping still
From my stumbled rush
Up the stairs,
I am like a bee
Drawn to an open flower
I feared might close
Before I could come

Softness leads to softness
My fingers have
 no right to feel
My stain glistening
on every space
I touch,
My fingers touching
I can’t believe exist,
I leave my flaws
In this flower
A silver dew
Dripping off
Each still
Opened petal

Wine (1992)

Her sip
Left a drip
In the dip
Of her lip
I could not
To lick

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tidal rush (undated notebook)

We sit in the back seat
And you let me touch it
My fingers coming up moist
As if dipped in Vaseline
But not petroleum gel
But something sweet,
Tasting a little salty
When I lick a little
From my finger
With the tip of my tongue,
I am sixteen again
And ever so hungry
Needing to dig deep
In that space where
My fingers dig
Needing taste it all
Lapping up every lick
Of honey from that dark place,
Needing to plunge in
As deep as I can get
Until everything erupts
Around me
A tidal wave spilling over
That rippled causeway
Until we both scream

From the heat of it.

Way too much

I press my lips
Against your neck
And ease my eye teeth in
Sucking at the salty juice
That explodes out of you
Taking each drip inside me
That taste of you
That makes my blood boil
And my mind to crave more
Needing no full moon
To howl or hunger
Needing no better excuse
To feed than to hunger
My ache making me
Suck that life essence out
Like a bear might honey
Each drip dribbling
From my trembling lips
As I know there is always
Way too much to take in
At one sitting
Needing to sip you up
Like fine wine
One precious sip

At a time

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


It spouts up brown
And pointed
Among stark sharp
Green needles
Of a pine tree
Near the end
Of the parking lot
Dripping neatly
With the last
Drops of
Morning dew
Gray skies
So fluffed up
With expectant rain
I can hardly breathe
New life
Grows out of
Old life
Rising high and sharp
But not without pain
So when the storms
Come and go
And explodes
With screams
And flashes,
The aftermath
Oozes with release,
This candling
Against the rise
Of dark skies
And dreary times
This passion of rebirth
I feel deep inside me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jersey boy

July 17, 1997

The grim cop stopped me
On the Pennsylvania side
Of the Delaware Water Gap
Where one highway bleeds
Into another and rolls along
The ridge of the Poconos,
Telling me this state has laws
Against people like me
Jersey boys joy riding
With headphones on,
This hot day filled with
The roar of thunder
And static on those few
Radio stations my dented
Black car’s radio can receive,
A cop with his ticket book
Poised to empty my pockets
And finally sighing when I
Tell him I can’t find my wallet
Driver’s license or insurance card
Just a business card from my old job
Which I hand him with regret,
He telling me to stay where I am
As he hobbled back to his patrol car
To call for the tow truck.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Heart of the sun (with video)

What is is (from Substitute Intelligence)

Pauly tells me half way to Boston to buckle up
And he doesn’t mean the seat belt,
Mumbling over the steering wheel
He grips too tight,
We both holding on to this world
As we drive straight through the night
Not thinking too much about
What we’ll do when we get there
Or what we’ll say
Or how either of us will feel
If she picks the other one of us,
“What is is,” Pauly mutters,
“If you love it enough,
It changes you.”
But that doesn’t tell either of us
What we’re supposed to do next,
I tell Pauly:
“Just shut the fuck up and drive.”

Four hours

I can hardly breathe even though the air gauge tells me I have four more hours of air.
It has said that for almost four hours so I know it lies.
For a while, I held out hope, strung along by the idea that if the gauge says four hours, it might mean there is more air than less.
Time clicks away and I think worse for it, and think perhaps I have less – maybe nothing.
Maybe death is already on me and the lack of air deludes me into believing I am still alive.
It is hard to breathe.
I stare out the portal again as I have often since the crash, looking for help I know will never come – and finally, as if in an acceptance of fate, I close the outer cover so I can see the stars or search among them for illusion of rescue.
Space scares me, but being closed in scares me more, as if I have just sealed my own coffin. Yet I make no move to reopen the portal, deluding myself into thinking closed means I might have more air from some imaginary leak I know does not exist.
I am a dying man.
My throat hurts. I feel pounding in my chest that is not just my heart, as if someone inside is pounding on the walls to get out, this flesh cell so much like the metal and plastic one that contains me.
And despite the closed portal I still see space after having stared out for so long in my desperate hope for rescue, the starlight has become burned upon my retinas so I see little else – that vast gap of blackness and stars that I always thought as wide open and free, but only a larger prison, one made more intimidating for its lack of walls, because men who tempt it build their own walls, not just the spaceship that contains me, but something more impenetrable without gauges to torture me with promises of air, but worse tortures, one claiming I am free when I am not.
I slap the wall in frustration, telling myself I didn’t ask for this, when I know I did, knowing that I ached for space when I looked up at it from more solid ground, telling those I loved down below that I needed to explore it a little before gravity’s death grip made it impossible for me to ever get off the ground, telling them that I would be back when I got my fill of it.
But how does one get filled up on a vacuum, and the higher I went into it, the less there was to fill me up, until I had filled myself up with the illusion that I was free, then I was much freer in the grip of gravity where I knew where I could place me feet. Here, I float in a limbo without boundaries, laws of the universe, a joke even Einstein disputed, nothing to tell me who I am or where I am or where I am going except for illusion of freedom. So the farther I took my spaceship, the more lost I became, taking comfort only in the fact that I was among others just like me, people who looked to the same stars with the same lusts, and who for some ungodly reason, looked to me as their companion in this unholy mission.
I always despaired that no one needed me; no one thought I had significance. But what did I know of insignificant until I came out to this place and saw how utterly insignificant I was? We do not conquer space; it conquers us, always finding a way to ruin our best laid plans.
So it was with me, and I still hear the scream of the alarm bells, shaking me from my weightless sleep, and the roar of ruin from some explosion somewhere else in the ship I did not then yet know meant doom.
I still thought that perhaps this was some new facet of space travel, our launch perhaps into hyper drive that brought me to some new level of understanding and accomplishment. I struggled to undo the straps that held me in the bunk so that I might indulge more fully in this new freedom, recalling the cabin manager telling me that we all had to spend some time in free fall before we attained the next stage.
Not until I saw the bodies floating outside my portal that I realized disaster had struck and I had been lucky to be in a part of the ship which had not yet been breeched. Luck held true until I reached and escape pod.
No, this is not luck. For even as I cough now, I understand that no hope exists. I grow weak understanding that even if the gauges are wrong, and the tanks that provide air have an infinite supply, I have no hope.
All is too distant to arrive in time regardless of how much air the gauges say I have, all my staring showing life beyond my ability grasp, and that four hours stretching out into four hundred or four thousand would not be enough to save me, even if anyone has heard the mayday message or cares enough to leave their own orbits to seek out one poor fool so isolated in space as me.
I smell my own sweat, and eye the medical supply cabinet wondering if the wise masters of fortune had thought to include a cure for this, something that would not take four hours to accomplish, something that could snuff out this light in an instant rather than drag it on and on.
But that is not nature of mercy. Nor is the beep of the constant SOS I hear and the torture of knowing that nobody hears it but me.
I keep waiting for a response, tortured by the belief I might hear one, when I know I won’t.
It beeps as if counting off the time of the air clock that just doesn’t move, always telling me I have four more hours to live, telling me that there is still hope, and even as the pain increases in my chest, and the fog settles over my eyes, I see stars on my retinas and wait for help that will never come, only the gauge face telling me over and over and over, I have four more hours.


They talk to us one on one
You to him,
She to me
You pumping him up to say
Wouldn’t you be happier working
Down there,
She telling me how
Great some new and upcoming star is
When it’s all just the same game
Some puppet master pulling your strings
Her strings so you can pull his
And she can pull mine
And in the end it’s same game
Same puppet master
Only a different face
Being dumped on us
And we like sheep,
Shouldn’t look up
To see where the spin
Starts, and who is really
Being served
But to go blindly along
Ignoring the strings
You and she
Have on us
Or the strings
The spin doctor
Has on you two
Or rope around
All of our necks
That gets tightened
If we don’t
Go along
With the new

Friday, May 24, 2013

Gold digger

I watch the ground hog hobble from hole to hole
Digging furiously at something he cannot find
Frustrated, he moves on, doing exactly the same thing
In each place with exactly the same result,
Leaving only pockmarked landscape
Worse off for having traversed it,
Puck, my best friend’s little brother, growing up,
Used to talk about buried treasures in the mountain
Near the city in which we lived,
Going up there every weekend to dig holes he claimed
Would someday make him rich, leaving nothing
In his wake but holes for innocent hikes to stumble in,
He, years afterwards, found his calling as an armed robber
Leaving a lot more holes in a lot more innocent people
But never found the gold he was looking for
Because it was never there

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Panic button

Somewhere in the middle
Of all this
Is a panic button
I haven’t worked out
Where it is
Or what it does
Or whether I’m
Supposed to push it
Or pull it
Or leave it alone

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I don’t want to be sad any more

I don’t want to be sad any more
I don’t mind glad, bad or even mad,
As in crazy, not hazy and lazy crazy,
But a vivid psychosis I can make the most of,
A full head soak of delusion I can count on
When tough times come, if not real love
Then a fake love love would lust after
Like a lost dog, panting in the midst of the
Illusion, just not to be sad. I love truth
Until like a tooth ach it gets too deep
And makes me weep, or leap or lose face or
Faith, a bad god is better than no god
As I sacrifice my vices on its alter, bleeding
From every orifice. I just don’t want
To be sad any more – if not glad, then mad
Enough to lust after love, the way love does
Crazy enough to believe it’s real and I can heal
Even when I know it can’t be,

I want it to not be so (with video)

I want it to not be so
For no cold wind to ever blow
To keep the world I think I know
And set the rest not to show

I want the things in spring to grow
And never wilt with the coming snow
And life lined up in long neat rows
Filled up with highs but never lows

But wishing I know won’t make it so
Or get dead things once more to grow
Or stop life’s woes that come and go
The best I can do when the wind blows

Is set my feet and let it flow
And let go of all I think I know.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

No one

December 3, 1988

Once I was satisfied
Being no one,
A man in a place
A statue in a window,
My hands poised
Doing always
But never doing,
My mouth slightly open
For speech
But always empty of words
And in those times
I found most contentment
Questions with answers
Motives with reasonable acts
But these days
I drift in spaces
Where questions lack answers
And motives lack reason
And I am never satisfied
And yet,
Move and breathe and think

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Can't all be good guys

You can’t all be good guys, folks

They aren’t the same the kind of people these days
That I grew up with, you know,
I mean watching them through time’s yellow haze
They seem ragged and riotous and low

Not at all as intelligent as my old friend
Though looking back I see the same roles
The acts of courage and idiocy that in the end
Got us up some serious political poles

Not they aren’t the same they are younger
Like a whole new breed needing to learn
Filled with passion and pride and hunger
And over the same future they yearn

I wonder if I was on that shelf
I would even ever like myself.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Flight is easy (from Substitute Intelligence)

March 28, 1980

“Flight is easy,”
She said, leaning over
The bar to help me
Write a poem,
Staring straight at my
Crooked script
To make sure I got
Every word right,
“Just lift your wings
And fly.
It involves one
The will to fly.”
She laughed
At this
As if she didn’t
Believe it, but
Went on anyway.
“Just as independence
Freedom,” she said.
And I could almost hear
The flapping of wings
In my ears
And feel the sun
Warming something
In my heart.
“I am content,”
She said, and as I wrote
continuing on
Where the poem
Left off,
“I see you, as I’ve
Seen you for a while,
But you are not a deer
Fleeing before me
In the woods,
But a chain,
Linked to eternity,
Linked to a two car garage,
A job in the supermarket,
Sunday sermons
And the misery of
The day to day,
Love is simple
Just lift your heart and try
It involves one ingredient,”
She said, staring straight
Into my eyes,
“an equal partner,” she said
Softly, “but it’s not me.”

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Survival of the fittest? (From Substitute Intelligence)

Survival of the fittest
Is not a team sport,
You don’t get a uniform
Or a position to play,
And can’t rely on anybody
To get your back,
A fact that
Even the wisest of us lack,
And why so many slapped
Back get stabbed,
“Great job, Delmore,”
They tell you
Even as you feel the blood
Trickle down
Into the crack of your ass,
Survival of the fittest is
Dog eat dog,
Sometimes you’re the dog
Most times you’re dog food

Friday, May 10, 2013

explaining the poetic notebooks (with video)

I've been writing in blank notebooks since the early 1970s (and prior to that in an assortment of other notebooks), I explain some of them in this video. It is something of a bad habit since it takes forever to transcribe these into text. I keep vowing to just just my computer notepad, but for some reason, i write better if the first draft is handwritten.

Regardless (with video)

Regardless of
Who does what or
How the world shifts,
I will feel the same
Planting what roots
I can in order to keep
What I can keep,
So as not to lose
It all, knowing that
Something valuable
Is planted here,
Even if I never
See the harvest.
I can watch
The slivers rise up
Out of the moist
Brown earth
And appreciate
That which will
Grow now
And know later
It will blossom,
I do not need to
See it all to know
How amazing it
Will all be,
I just need not
Stifle it with
My heavy tread
And to nourish it
If I can
Regardless of
How it all
Turns out
In the end

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Boston (with video)


She spread the curtains wide
And the morning light thundered in,
Like brown bay waves rolling
Into a shore
It was a good morning
And she could feel its light
Seeping into the cracks of her
She never knew existed
The light was warm and welcome
As it washed away the dreams of the night
Until they were merely memories
It dusted old cobwebs from her mind
And made the day seem easier to begin.


Her eyes, they watered and teared
The slowly focused on a huge
White blanket unfolded beneath her
And although it was spotted here and there
With the needle sting of pine
It was still perfect,
The sun dancing on its top
Sparkling, shinning, hypnotic,
With few people about
To wrinkle that blanked
In a storm of muddy boots
And snow-caked tires


She turned away,
Thinking and dreaming dreams
That the sunlight could never dampen,
It was of one man
Her man and she,
Dancing, loving, playing
But stained with oil stains,
Her man, his car, and she,
he, driving his car,
And she watching,
Jealous, impatient, sorry,
Hearing the words of “Someday soon,”
And Judy Collins’ voice
Racing in her head,
As the cars ripped around the track
Dust winning and
The spectators’ eyes losing


She turned back to the window,
Staring out, but not seeing,
Hearing the birds sing,
And the snow drift,
but listening only to his voice,
a slow steady voice
with its Boston drawl
competing with the purr of his engines
then she heard the sound of his clutch
and he was gone,
gone to the blue skies of summer,
the cool autumn leaves
burning sweetly in their pastures
like grass learning to grow
in the spring,
but gone, really, physically gone
when the snows come,
for Boston cries louder in his ears
than the echoed wind of Colorado,
her man, Boston, his car, and she.


A lone tear trickled down her cheek,
She didn’t want to let it go,
But neither could she stop it,
So down it fell, crashing to the floor,
Searching for dust to drink,
She felt lonely, while knowing that people
Around her, were beginning to wake,
Breaking their morning fast, and
Meeting the pale frozen sludge
With shovels in their hands,
They seemed like toy soldiers,
Marching to battle, fighting the white,
Winning only until the next snowfall,
Those little people, swimming in the snow.
Do they know who they are?
Her man, the little people, the snow, Boston, his car, and she.


She heard a motor cough,
And her heart beat a little faster,
Knowing all the while
It can’t be him, Boston,
It can’t be him, his mother,
But still, she had hope,
Clinging to threads and dreams
Like a spider in her lair
Clings to the web,
She sees that these are the things
The ties holding her down,
But still she dreams,
Her man, his mother, the little people, the snow, Boston, his car, and she.


It was not him,.
As the car went by,
And she secretly and silently cursed
The lure of Boston,
Wishing she could steal its charms
Hold its beauty,
And keep its man,
Her man,


She drew the curtain again
Knowing in her mind
That when he comes back in the spring
This time
She wouldn’t be there
Somewhere it would be
Her man and she,
Her man and she
Her man, love, caring and she
Maybe forever,
Maybe not.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Holy Thursday; Rock & Roll (with video)

April 3, 1980

Holy Thursday and Rock & Roll
Yeah, I sit here now blasted by the blaze of guitar and drums.
The crowd is thin, silent.
No one knows how to clap. That’s the breaks.
I sit here thinking of Day, of sunshine, that shimmer from the lake like a million candles, lifting their lives up from the muddy, sulky depths to burn in a second.
I think of the ducks that wear their winding paths across these candles, weaving patterns of light and time.
Oh, and the seagulls that cry forlorn over the trees and their wings flicker in the sun.
They all beg for break. They all flock to the shores to the children with extended hands and open smiles. The children come on Sundays. They come to the water edge with humble offerings to these gods.
Yes, it’s Holy Thursday. The day has just begun.
An old man rolls upon his bench from sleep induced by Thunderbird. The dreams burn heavy in his eyes as he wakes, the sunlight a foul demon burning too, but at another level.
The sky screams of blue, the deep blue shaded in on post cards, the deep blue that washes up to the shore with the uneaten bread.
Yes, it is Holy Thursday, and I’m here now with music pounding in my ears and memories pounded in my head.

Do they mean me?

I never know
To whom they speak
Those spirits
From other worlds.
Do they mean me
When they whisper
Through the trees?
Is it their voice
That sings a siren’s song
Off the choppy
River waves,
Seducing me with
Favorable omen
I have no right
To expect, or do I
Wish for too much
And get only what
I deserve
As I stumble
Over unseen stone
Along this leaf-cluttered
Path to now where,
Wondering how I might
Ever get back?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Something to shout about

If I get to know you
From inside out
What more can I
Go on about?
The real feel
Under the seal of skin
Where there is no sin,
Where no lies lie
My truth and your truth
Rubbed raw
Scraping all that crap that
Clogs the pores
With all that superficial
Clap trap
We can all live without
I don’t want to go in and out
Shouting out like a water spout,
I want to get in and stick
Until I know the thick of it
What you are all about
Until in is out and flows
Out my mouth
Or eyes or pores
Until I’m soaked sore
And know all of you
And you, me
And that is something
To shout about.

No other way

Should be different,
That ache for deep blue
When skies are gray
In a world
Where everything
Fights to survive,
Most folks
Look at this river
As a polluted mess,
Its sins spread across
Its shimmering face
As if it is to blame
When I know better
Feeding off something
Other than the fish
Or fowl that stir here
But the soul I find
Deep in the depths of it
That ever rising spirit
I used to imagine
As a kid,
Sailing these waters
Not quite immune
To its sirens
Yet not stopping up
My ears to avoid their song
Hating the darkness
The factories spew
Hating the stains left
By the evil hands
That dip into it,
I don’t pretend
This water is pure,
Only that without it,
Without some sense of it
Without the depth of it
I would diminish
No water is so pure
As we wish
Yet fish still swim here
Life still goes on,
And I come to this place
To find a piece of myself
And would have it
No other way.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mutual distrust

Hank once told me that
The only ones
You can trust
Are the ones
You can’t trust
You always
Know where
They are
coming from,”
He saying this
In the front seat
Of a car
We drove
Up to Simon’s Rock
From New Jersey,
So he could make
up with the girl
He loved
And always thought
I was trying to steal
Only for us
To get so drunk
The most he could
Do was puke on
Her feet
When she yanked
Open the door
To ask,
“What the fuck
Are you two
Doing here?”
Hiding the two of us
From the college
Until I could clean him up
And sober up enough
For that long
Lonely road
Home, he spouting
So many
Words of wisdom
We both forgot
By the time we got
Back to Jersey.
Me, remembering
Over the lip of
My hangover
The next day
That one piece of
Advice he’s spouted
Which hit me again
somewhere on the
New York Thruway,
When consciousness
Had left us both
In that dismal limbo
Of self pity
He thinking of his
Rich girl Cynthia
He knew he didn’t deserve
And me thinking
Of the distant
Girl who I thought
He’d tried to steal
And who I didn’t deserve
And neither one
Of us trustworthy
Enough except
To deserve each other,
In mutual distrust.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Great’s quake

I know great ain’t always what we see MoMa using for wall paper,
Nor speech, screeched at Bard’s balcony’s feet, the only measure of love
Or that love must always seem neat or easy or even complete,
Or that Romeo has to sip the drink or Juliet slip in the knife
Or that their fate is the only way souls like theirs can find peace,
Or that the embassy that connects must always be comic relief
To keep this fool’s tale from becoming tragic,
But I do know only a fool would ignore great when it shakes the world
A quake that makes the bones ache and the heart race,
And fills that space of mind so otherwise wasted
Nor should I be so proud as to not accept those small tokens
Cast out from the passing carriage with the great one inside,
Those small gifts given to humbled masses like me,
And I’m not so stupid (though I might appear that way at times)
As to believe I’m not a better person for all of it.


He wouldn’t even give
His real name
That wraith that invaded
Me with claims of fame
Sticking camera in my face
While pretending to be
Someone he was not
Or would soon be,
Pumped up by the same force
That pumped up others
I knew, shaping him
And them into things
They could not be
But wanted to be,
The force who gave
Them bits of fame
For coins of silver
Always promising
But never as much
As the dark force took,
And seeing his face
Looking at me
Over the lip of his camera
I knew he believed
The big lie, too,
Just as we all did,
Some for longer
Than others.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I drift with the swift drift the river,
Even as I stand on the shore,
Coming and going,
Part of and apart,
Inside and out,
A confusing mix of rip tides
That draw me in
My fingers clinging
To the satin lace of fox tails
I know can’t secure me
Or keep me from falling in,
Nor can my feet be as firm as roots
Aching to dig deep into ground
I know won’t hold me
Needing something to hold onto
And something to hold on to me,
reading the reeds
As I did as a kid
Dreams filling the seams
With lacy faces of fancy ladies
Uprising out of the mists,
Whose songs draw me in and
Draw out of me
As I search out that face
In that space
With the ache
That face
Is looking back
And somehow,
Still connected,
Even as the river flows
Even as time goes,
Even as I know
I’ll hang on here
As long
As I have to,
Clinging to the reeds
And this river.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I blink and it’s gone
That will to exist
In a world so savage
My feet ache from
Walking over hot coals
Rituals of endurance
Tests of strength,
Of character,
Of will,
With me failing
As often as
I succeed
Why does all this
Have to be so
Why can’t love
ever be enough?
Why do I always
blink when the world
seems brightest?
Why do I always want
What I least deserve,
Not just because I
Can’t get it
But how little I’ve done
To earn it,
Trust, unquestioning loyalty,
Me blinking when
I should nod,
More hot coals
To stumble over,
Not enough will
To carry on,
Not enough character
To paint me as
A proper villain
Let alone a hero,
Why do I always blink
When I don’t mean to?