Sunday, September 29, 2013

Same time next year?

Oct. 21, 2012

Changing leaves,
Ringing bells from schools
This time of year so sad
Dragging me back
To the most desperate questions
Who am I?
What am I good for?
Feeling bad enough
In the cool wisp of wind
Without eating crow,
Hearing them as I walk
These leaf stream paths,
Wondering if my feet
Will lead me here
Again, year after year

September 29, 2012

And here
I am


The minister needed no holy water to make the flock know he loved them, he just stood there and held his hands in the air, and they knew, their eyes looking up with hope, not of salvation so much as understanding, he glowing a little in his white and gold vestment, while I stood to one side taking in whatever rays bounced off those others. Sometimes, we deserve no more, but certainly, we deserve no less, blessed by something beyond our comprehension, knowing that in the end all will turn out right, despite all we do to the contrary, and that’s all any of us can hope for.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Train ride to Manhattan

The train pops out of the subway tunnel with a gush of air, flooding me with the warm, stale scent it has collected over its plunge through the dark, stirring up abandoned newsprint like soiled bed sheets, the siege of sudden light making me blind, making me feel for the doorway when finally it all comes to a stop, and I take my place inside for yet another plunge, another ride, another blinding explosion I ache to feel.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The dirtiest part

Frank Zappa was right
When he asked about
The dirtiest part,
My mind reeling
With visions
That make me ache
And scrub as much
Or as tough as I must
I can’t make it clean,
A man can drown
In a tea spoon,
And here I am
Over my head
Breathing deep
Seeped in tea
I can’t stop dipping
Myself into,
Feeding not the soul
Solely, but also
That dirty part
For both always
Feed from that same troth
And drown in it


 It is soft
It is hard
It is what you make it
When you shake it
The quake
Inside that
Explodes out of me
And into you
Neither knows
What to do
This thing so hot
Yet sooooo cool
A dip of fingers
In this molten pool
Stirring it never enough
It must be shaken up
Bringing it
All to a boil
To explode like
Newly discovered oil
A gusher
A rush
A blush so deep
In stains
The soul

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rubbed Raw

How do I do this,
Touching this or that
Without exposing my self,
Rubbing myself raw
Against something I can
Barely imagine,
Aching to ache in that way,
To sweat and sweat until
It all comes out of me
In one great, wondrous gush,
How do I do this,
Waiting, and rubbing,
Making myself raw
For something I can
Only imagine
Will ease my pain?

Friday, September 20, 2013


The cool air
Presses against my chest
With both hands
Sharp fingers
Making me pulsate
With their touch,
Breath gushing
Out of me
Until I am
The darkness
Illuminated by my
Own need
To see
And I see
By feeling
The cool touch
That grows hot
With each


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alter Boy

I only wanted to become one
Because of the wine
And the pretty girls in white
Who always sat in the front pews
So pure they made me ache
To watch, kneeing beside
The priest, my eyes unable
To remain down even when
The host rose before all,
the stench of alcohol
hidden only by the raised
chalice and the muttered words
in Latin, I could not memorize
or remember their meaning
and so made up meanings
of my own, always too dirty
to ever repeat aloud
in such a holy place as that,
always aimed in the direction
of those girls, who could not
keep their eyes down either,
or later, after services
prevent my fingers
from going where
they might go
as long as I never
went too far.

The real you

I am always walking through mists even sunlight,
But in this world where you and I are, sunlight
Doesn’t exist, and we spend our lives protecting
Ourselves by staying hidden, keeping our real
Selves out of view so no one can hurt who we
Really are, painting phony images so that when
The blows come; we can pretend it isn’t the real
Us that gets wounded, but some fa├žade of some
Phony person we know isn’t real,
But sometimes, in the midst of all this, the mist
Sunlight cannot clear, I see the real you,
And hope, you see the real me, and I realize

How very important the real you is to the real me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


In the dream
I always come back
To the same place
The throb of it
Deep inside the root
Like a tooth ache
No ointment
Or potion can cure
Beyond reach
Of science
To understand
what makes it work
or not work,
unlike the tick of a clock
that operates on gears
or springs,
this thing springs
from the seams
not as a functional
rational or logical
being, poised to go
wrong or right
of its own volition
except at the core
where it will rise up
like fire
reborn each time
with very little


Sunday, September 15, 2013

First impression

I lied when I said
What I said
Way back when
Ashamed to think
What I thought
Was not what was
Wanted of me
The first thing
I think
When on the brink
Is not swim or sink
Or even what you’d think
But like a jerk
How it works
What makes a clock to tick
And how would I fit
In between its hands
Or of any elaborate plans
Just what makes it go
And my need to know
If I can go as fast or slow
If I can learn just how to grow
And if so
How then to make is so,
You know?


Please excuse my eyes,
They stare,
It’s a mechanical thing,
like one of those
carnival games
where the levers
always going to the wrong place
when you mean
to look at something else
a rick, tick, tick
in my head
Rusted from little use,
When what I think
Is not what it seems at all,
The first impression
Covered in newsprint ink
So it is not what it seems
At all


Soft fingers on my arm
Makes the most sense to me,
A pause, a laugh,
A sense of truth exposed,
I play chess in my head
With bedposts I don’t always
Want to lay down next to,
Sometimes because the chase
Feels better to me than the catch,
And sometimes the best moments
Are those spaces in-between
When there is no chase,
When people lean against each other
Just to catch their breath,
The rest is an illusion,
The rest is all we need,
A breath and a sigh
Before the game begins again
And we rush about in anguish
Over nothing worth having
In the first place


The car lot lights are lit
Even in sunlight,
Towering, defiant gods
Who illuminate nothing
On this chill morning,
A damp I still need
To shake off to wakeup
Like a wet dog does
wet fur,
the illusions of a luxurious
Saturday, clinging to me
Like the remnants of a dream,
One from which I only
Reluctantly wake,
Feeling better sometimes
When cloaked by shadow
Feeling exposed when
The clouds shred
Sometimes it is better to believe
Than to know,
To dream over and ponder on
Things that seem impossible
At first impression
Which are, after all,
The only ones that 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twisting love until it hurts (notebook sketches)


I don’t always want all of you
 just your mouth
Or whereabouts,
But the mouth out of which
Your words flow
Telling me things I ought
To know,
Blistering, beautiful
Words that wind around me
Like high winds
Leaving me spun
Inside the eye
So I can’t see
Only hear the screeching
Deafening wail of words
All I want is the mouth
Out of which those words come
And I’m undone


It scorches like acid
But I can’t stop it
My lips blistered
From each kiss
The tip of tongue
As piercing as
A saber,
Cutting me
With each
In and out,
A perpetual
Hari kari
That splits me
In two but always
Leaves me
Aching for more,
Never getting enough,
Always begging
To continue
Rather than mercy
Making me dip myself
Into that fire
Until I am
And forever


In you let me touch it
I can’t promise
It won’t hurt,
Locked into
That soft embrace
With all of me inside
Eyes closed tight
To let me feel it all,
My hurt your hurt,
Both burning together,
To get so hot
We melt together
As one,
Needing to lubricate
Only those parts
That need to move,
To keep us moving,
My fingers spread
Around both uprises,
My tongue plunging
Into where your tongue hides.
We easing in and out,
Up and down,
Eyes closed tight,
Burning  both ends
Of this insane candle
Until we both
Turn to wax.


I feel your warm breath
On my neck and I wither
Still stiff and unable to resist
A complete surrender
to something overtly superior
Bushwhacked by my own need,
Shackled by my desires,
Lost before any shot is fired,
Or expired, drawn in until
Totally spent,
That one breath,
One little breath,
All I need to survive


I spread you like a blanket
Soft side up,
My fingers weaving through
Each entangled strand
Until I am entangled, too
Struggling to rub that fabric raw
Until the shreds spread translucent
So I can see straight through
Warm not from the covering
But the uncovering.


So smooth it makes me ooze
Like a used up tube of tooth paste,
I can’t even stop when you
Have squeezed me dry,
I keep pumping all the more,
Quaking at the need to fill you up,
So I won’t feel empty,
All of me inside of you,
All of you around me,
So smooth I would choose,
To let you use me up,
Always coming back for more,
For you to squeeze dry
To make me ooze,
Used up and still wanting more

The fire inside

 We set it on fire
Then don’t know what to do
We thought the world
Would expire
With still greater fire
Nuclear holocaust
That would leave
No one to witness it,
Instead we got
The world’s end
In bits and pieces,
Crumbling steel and glass
And then a gush of dust
All of us would carry
Deep inside ourselves
Long after we washed
It from our hair,
A piece of eternity
To carry with us
Our former world’s ending
While “the real” world
Continued on
With some fools
Fanning the war flames
To some new fire
We know will come
Again, and
We are helpless
To stop.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

She has to remember

(This is a poem I wrote at the end of last year and something I perhaps should have posted sooner)

She has to remember to tell herself that someone else did this to her,
even though she has repeated it over and over ever since,
staring at famous paintings on a not so famous wall in a very famous museum in NYC.
She keeps seeing herself here every time she looks,
her features linked to the rolling hills that looked like waves
and are trapped in the borders of the frame.
She has to remember to remind herself to tell herself that like the painting,
she, too, is a masterpiece, crafted and still baring the marks of camel hair,
each stroke wearing the perfect patterns of a perfect life
that doesn’t ever seem to turn out perfect.
She has to remember that crying isn’t a crime,
But perhaps a waste of energy and space,
Perhaps she is a masterpiece someone set aside
before the artist had time to put in the finishing strokes
always something incomplete,
and she always trying to steal the missing pieces.
She has to remember to tell herself that she was meant to lead a wondrous life,
because it is rarely wondrous or fair or right,
or anything else that trickles up or down, tears or paint dripping at her feet.
She has to remember that for every painting on this wall,
there are many others half finished the way she is,
So she must not feel ashamed of being  incomplete,
or assuming that she ought to be somewhere or have something
 when she aches for it so much
She has to remember to remind herself what it must like to feel complete,
to reflect the perfect sunset, to know each master stroke, each note of music,
each move of dance, each piece of perfection is meant to be
when nothing is ever meant to be, but shaped and pounded, and built.
She has to remember to remind herself to light the candle at night,
to sip wine that is no longer wine, to let the night come calmly
and filled with dreams, master strokes on her canvas
 she just can’t manage to create in the daylight.
She has to remember…

I’d love to change the world…

(this is sort of a companion piece to another poem I wrote last year)

The Ten Years After song keeps playing n my head
The same line over and over
Like a skipped record when we still had records to skip
But in this digital age mp3s I have to live with it\
Like the indigestion of my own inability
To be anything other than what I am
And to do what it is I can
And not to assume I can do more or should do more
Than I ought to,
To know more than I actually know
Indeed, if I know anything at all,
But to let things be and accept what is
For what could be, and take pleasure
In the world as it is and learn to live on it
I have to learn to accept it
And love it as it is
Or if not love, then not at all
And being is better than not being
I have to learn to take what I can get
And not expect to get more than I deserve
I have to learn

Shake, rattle and roll

They say you can’t
Reinvent the wheel
That the best anyone
Can ever hope for
Is that what you shape
Won’t rattle your wagon
And yet will still get
You where you
Need to go

Friday, September 6, 2013


All you have is faith,
Even when
Jericho’s walls fall down
Faith that there is hope
Even when there is none,
Faith in the father’s
Who have lied
And cheated
And been lied to
And cheated on,
Even then
Telling you
Everything will be
All right
When the dust pouring
Out of the cracks
Of the crumbling walls
Tell you different,
And the hosts
That have encircled
This city for so long
Are about to bring
Justice to a world
That doesn’t know
Right from wrong
Hope prevails,
Shaped out of the smoke
And like smoke
With evaporate
When you most
Need it,
Hope going up
In smoke
As sacrifice
To gods
You never thought
You would need to
Believe in,
Except now
Finding faith
When it’s
Too late

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The rat’s trap

I came here because it is safe,
Giving up one thing to get another,
For you a tool, for me an inconvenience,
A distraction that still distracts,
A rat trap you get to trap rats in,
I mistook for addiction,
Both thinking the other needs it so badly,
It might lure the other out,
When in truth it’s never meant as much
Most people make it out to be,
A tool, a distraction, a rat’s trap,
While the real thing slips out the cracks,
Almost impossible to get back
Regardless of how much we want it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

If this be a dream

(after reading too much Shakespeare)

If this is but a dream,
Why can I not dream it?
Is this heart so hard
That it would deny me sport,
that transpires
Only in my own mind?
If it be love,
Then it is enough
That I feel it,
and in feeling it
make it real,
to peal it
like a precious pear,
to savor each slice
in the darkness of night,
to keep mine company
to become real
if only in this dream I dream,
where none other
need feel it but me.
If this be a dream
It is the best of dreams,
The sweetest of dreams,
A dream that I must dream
or cease to exist.

In the heat of it

In the heat of it
It all goes away
Like water to mist
It slips into the air
The more heat
I make the less
There is to
Hold onto
This thought
Of real
When all I can
Do is feel
Touch, press
In and make
More heat,
Movement making
All thought
Vanish before
My eyes until
All there is

Is you.

Not invincible at all


We and our machine
We like to think we are invincible,
the, the reason four our
Grand advance,
An alliance between flesh
And that other
more bas material
We have forever called
We, from early times,
Beating gold and preciousness
From it,
The real discovery,
The real innovation,
By which the gods feed on
And we feed upon the dull


Never forgets

November 27, 1988

Rosy always comes in for coffee and donuts, every morning after a hard night selling cocaine out of the near empty bar she claimed Babe Ruth used to hang out in on the Garfield side of the Wall Street Bridge.
She was a young girl back then, before all the bullshit happened, and she got caught up in stuff she doesn’t talk a lot about, all those years trying to reinvent herself so she can go on with life the way she feels most comfortable doing.
But she always comes back to the Babe Ruth stories, as if that was the last moment when she felt honest about herself, before something snapped inside of her, and she woke up a different person.

She talks about how men from New York used to come to the bar to haul inebriated Babe down the bar’s narrow back stairs, wiping mustard and lipstick off his face in the hopes they could sober him up enough to play the game, and how small she felt in the shadow of a truly great man, a 15-year-old girl in love with a man who would not remember her later, even sober, even the next time he came to the bar and repeated the pre-game warm up, always asking what her name was, and immediately forgetting it. But she never forgot him, not one detail, even in the lonely mornings like this, hutched over the cup of Dunkin Donut counter – staring at me through the glass where I roll out the dough for the next batch of donuts. She never forgets.

mob men


Mob men come
in three piece suits
speaking school room
in dark back
of dilapodated
knowing the name
of every painting
and how much
they take in

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hanging on by the tips of my fingers

I taste the sweat as the tip of my tongue moves over the soft surface, where my fingers first explored, a brave act done in the deep dark where the only light comes from the projector above us, as it casts James Bond against the large flat screen below, my hands moving as his hands move, over a landscape nearly as sweet, but with far less a provocative name like Pussy Galore, although the hair my fingers weave through fits her Sandy colored name, and places my tongue reaches must taste as sweet – each sweep raising my heart beat and more, so that I ache for more, and plead for more, but can only go so far before yes turns to no, and I want to get to that place very slowly, tasting every inch of it, hoping she will, too, even if it takes forever to get there, even if I have to hang on the edge of it, and let only my tongue and fingers reach the places I most want to feel, even if in tasting and feeling, I come near to explode, hanging on to it with the tips of my fingers that I later can taste, long after the heat has expired.


I can’t breathe right
This close, the air
Stifled by the scent
Of something sweet,
I can’t breathe at all
If I press too deep,
Gasping between each
As if drowning in
Something far
Softer than petals
And much too deep
For me to
Every breathe
Right again.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Morning rain

There is nothing in my voice but noise
The patter of rain against the glass
Easing me into easy sleep
If not dreamless, then unconcerned
A life lived in simple declarative sentences
As to what to do next and after that
Each morning rising to rain a blessing
Unexpected and moody,
A gift from some spirit elsewhere
That knows me deeply enough
To know what I need most
And to spread it over me in moist dots
Sometimes, I sit in the car and refuse
To turn on the windshield wipers
So as to have this world smeared over me
Like a special skin, each drip filling me up
And making bringing me awe no dream can
The morning rain is always a special rain,
And when it comes it feels like prayer
Filling my voice with meaning I cannot
Do at all for myself,
As if I need to wait for these spirits
To fall down on me to complete me
to give me visions that I cannot otherwise see.