Sunday, April 28, 2013


March 10, 1978

My imagination
Shapes sound
In the night
The creaking plank
Outside my door
Footsteps climbing
Stairs I know
Are not my neighbor’s
Too silent a wraith
For souls for whom
Silence is a sin
And I huddle closer
To the storm for warmth,
And the soothing
Sound of gas
And it’s always
Enticing whisper of sleep.
Is that the door handle
I hear rattling?
Is that a stranger
Seeking to come in
Out of the cold?
Or seeking to steal warmth
I’ve already convinced
Myself to give up?
By the whisper
Of gas

Key to the kingdom (from notebooks -- thought significantly reworked)

 I touch the hard spot with the soft side of my forefinger
Lingering with the tip on the lip of a keyhole I ache to invade
A spot shot with warmth and wet from excess
And the need to go deeper to reach the keep
Beyond the frail veil that of wailing and wonder,
Beyond the shuddering and the cries of the dark of night
Beyond the moans and groans and feigned protests
Or the shrill cries of pleasure pain raining over me
Down deep beyond the veiled promises and seductive rites
To that place where all real secrets reside,
To that place where all life is ripe
Down where all pain turns to pleasure,
And all pleasure to pain,
This key to that door, that wondrous gate
I ache to swing wide and enter,
To forsake all else for paradise
That wonderful, amazing, irresistible,
Gold mine
of your mind.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yet another notebook entry -- very recent

"Nobody can tell you how to live your life but you," that savvy nun once told me on the sly when I got dragged to the office again, a constant petitioner for mercy I long ceased to deserve, she thinking I would rethink the direction I was already steered in, the shadow of prison bars showing on my face, long before I ever saw the inside of a jail cell, God showing in her eyes with the flashes of lightning and judgment I did not reckon with, preferring to steer my life in which ever way I wanted with nothing written in stone, writing my life with a number 2 pencil not pen and ink, hoping that when I got to the pearly gates God had an eraser. "Nobody can tell you how to live your life," the nun said again just as the ruler cracked me across my knuckles.

More notebook -- undated

She tells me she is like the wind and I believe her, breathing her in and out as if jogging through a hurricane, every part of me fully engaged, touching and being touched, flowing up and over, under and around, falling deep and rising high, my head pounding with the impacts no hurricane warning could prepare me for, mother nature -- if that's who she is -- humbling me, forcing me to my knees, making me breathe deep with hope that I don't drown

Notebook stuff -- undated

I taste blood, but I don't know which one of us is bleeding, or if it comes from inside or out. I don't even feel the pain of it, having rubbed so long the same spot until I would either bleed or explode, love rubs whole lives together with hope to spread fire, stirring coals up inside, heat making me breathe flame out of the intensity of pain, shaping a point where pain and bliss meet and make love.

Unicorn (reflection on Hudson County)

I’m too long in this game
To believe innocence exists
Skeptical when I come
Nose to nose with it
Refusing to believe it
The way I refuse to believe in
UFOs or Big Foot, or even God,
Shattered when finally 
I see it wilt,
Its hard shell cracked open
by reality’s hard knocks
like seeing a unicorn drowned
in polluted water
I swim in without harm

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

 They say: give a man enough rope,

 he might hang himself,

 tied up, gagged, unable to move

 or do except what he is told

 ordered silent and to submit or else

 this intense twice

 tied up inside and out,

 pulled tight from the groin,

 though it is really the heart 

that binds him

 twisting the hemp ever tighter

 each time he disobeys,

 waiting for the moment

 when he is relieved, 

a kiss, a cuddle, a sign of kindness, 

he aches for or explodes

willing to do just about anything

 to make it happen, 

and as the gag ties up his tongue,

he generally does.

Invisible men

I’ve always confused
One book with the other,
A sci fi classic
With the morality play
And vice versa
Never fully understanding
What it means to be either
Until I became one
Or the responsibility
That comes with being unseen,
The power of the good side
Or the dark side of the force,
The requirement of those
Who invisible men profess
to love help stay whole
knowing that love
is the most powerful force
in the universe
even when unrequited,
and that giving it freely
and expecting nothing in return
is love in its purest form
needing no light saber
or magic formula
bearing no prejudice
only presence.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Love of nature

The rain patters on my cheeks
But I’m not crying
Love isn’t blind, it’s blindingly bright
Even in weather like this
The river, the soft swell
Filling up each step
As I stumble along this path
No destination except
Where I already am
No thought except to
Embrace this moment
The warmth breath of spring
That has not yet blossomed
And may never but is always
A bud wanted to burst
Full of the ache of anticipation
And the whisper of some voice
I can almost but not quite hear,
All life lingering
On the edge of a dream
Those who love it
Need only to listen
To its song
For deep in that voice,
In the gurgle of the river
Truth can be found
And we spend a lifetime
Working out the harmony
And love of nature
Is often simply being there
And waiting
And breathing deep.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Plucking the celestial virgins (or Happiness is a warm gun) (with video)

April 1, 1980

Stoned again
They have terms for fools like me who huddle under dim light bulbs in dark rock clubs, jotting down words we hope someone, someday might want to read
            The back beat of the drum kit reverberates as much through me as through the walls or floor, setting something in motion inside me I can’t put a stop to.
            And this isn’t really a rock club like the clubs we usually play in, but a public performance space in a religious college for girls, who hope some day to become nuns, but aren’t acting like nuns tonight, needing to get in now what they won’t get later, ladies of faith who have no faith that their marriage to Christ will be enough, stripping off their habits for this night as an offering for later nights when they might wish they had – and we lucky enough to have arrived in their hour of need, looking better in their eyes than we actually look, taking what we want while we can get it before the chastity belt snaps shut and we lose the opportunity for ever.
And as always, I need to document these close encounters, seeking some other meaning from this other than what they obviously mean, looking as The Eagles point out, for love in all the wrong places and getting my invite to a deeper circle of hell reserved for those who cuckold Christ and mess with his celestial virgins – and I wonder at the end of this, if what we get now is worth eternal damnation, and if these future nuns think about it as I do, and do they even care.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Turn, turn

Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger,
Or even The Byrds stirs
Inside my head
With the change of season
A dial-up menu to
The assorted feelings I feel
Sorrow, pain, guilt
Gladness, and then what?
Is there a season
For being right?
Or wrong?
Or some point in-between
When I discover
A difference?
All the leaves
Are not brown,
And I have no need
To wear a flower
In my hair,
I need no pill to
Make me tall
Or small,
And that the last thing
I needed or wanted
Was love,
But can’t get it out
Of my head,
And that wild horses
Can drag me away,
And indeed it has been
A cold, cold winter,
And it is better to let
Roxanne do whatever
She needs to survive,
And what I need most
To start me up
In a good look
In the mirror,
And maybe
A clean shave
On a green day
When moss isn’t
Growing on
A rolling stone

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I eat it up
That last lick
Of warm honey
I find
At the bottom
Of the jar
My tongue
To reach deep
Then lingering
On the grooves
Near where
The lid loosens
Where the sweetness
Hides in the
Folds of glass
The tip of my tongue
Missing not a drop
The golden cream
The busy bees
Churned up,
The taste of it
Warming me
From the inside out
That amazing nectar
I can’t live

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I return to this water
Each time to renew,
When the walls close in
In that other world
I don’t ever understand
Where I am always
Stubbing someone else’s toes
Where I always say the wrong thing
Make the wrong move
Hurt the wrong people
When I know no better
Than to think I might
Make things better
But make them worse
When sorry sounds sad
Rather than sincere
When I ache for redemption,
I find it here, flowing over me
Inside of me, around me,
even when I know
I’ve been wrong.


I always used to be small
In my dreams,
The perpetual little boy
Who got lost from his parents
Not in a mall
There were no malls
When I was small
But in some large place
Filled with scuffed tiles
And tall people
Who didn’t know
How to smile.
I say lost to my parents
For whom I cried and cried,
But who were still
Not there when I woke up
These days I dream big
Not so much of me
But of a world
And its problems,
Though the space
I roam through
Still seems cold and remote,
And though I imagine
I still cry in my dreams
It is not for parents I cannot find
And never had to lose,
But for something
I cannot easily find
And won’t be there
Even when I wake up

Friday, April 12, 2013


The river swirls with shadows
On this bright day in spring,
Shadows twisted out of shape
By currents or fish
Or even the ducks
That swim to shore to feed
Or even when the wind blows
And leaves float down
Or the branches
The branches mirror stir,
Shadows aching to be trees
To grow high and strong
To sink down deep roots
Shadows mocked by movement
Never more than shallow
Imitations of those they ache to be,
Rising and falling
With tides they cannot control,
Battered by cloud bursts
Struggling not to fade
There but not there
Real and yet unreal
Strong yet not strong enough,
Aching for the day
When they can be real
Trees and not fade away

Being a mused?

I never wanted to live
My life as a ghost
Haunting the edges
Of things I love
To watch
Unable to touch,
To feel,
But not felt,
Except as a remote
But Homer sang
To his muses
And this thought
Inspires me
The power of connection
That reaches beyond
The edges of the world
Defying life or death
Or any of the petty details
We get saddled with
To inspire and be inspired
To go on to become
Something greater
Than I could ever be alone
I hear its songs
Each time I stroll the river side
Filling my lungs with its breath
My nostrils with its scent
Letting its thoughts
Fill my head
Until I no longer know
Which part is me
And which is muse
Nor do I care.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Big Fish

He drinks water
And pretends he has gills
Thinking he’s a big fish
In a small pond
Until he sees her
She breathing things
Too deep for him
To swim in,
A drowning man
Gasping for air,
Forced to survive
On each breath
She lets out,
Learning to be content
As a small fish
In her small pond,
Learning to breathe deep
Without drowning

Monday, April 8, 2013

What’s it all about, Alfie? (with video)

What’s it all about, Alfie?

With a name like “Alfred,”
I struggled a lot growing up,
Especially after that stupid
Song came out:

What’s it all about, Alfie?

People never stopped asking me that
What’s it all about?
As if I was some kind of wise man
Instead of the class clown
As if not getting a date
With the most popular girl
In high school
Didn’t hurt

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Some names just make you
Work harder
To get over or around them
And when you’re like me
And didn’t show a lot of talent
For much of anything
Trying was never enough

What’s it all about, Alfie?

And maybe I am still a little jealous
Of people who get where they got
Without a bad name
Like the girl from college I did date
Whose long legs I last saw
Climbing into a stretch limo
In front of Trump on Central Park west,
Or the bully I had to beat up
When he wouldn’t stop trying to beat me up
Who got honored as a hero cop,
Or my best friend who stepped in shit
So often he never worked a day in his life

What’s it all about, Alfie?

I keep trying to find something
I thought I’d lost
But maybe never had,
Something that always slips out
From between my fingers
Each time I think I’ve got
A handle on it,
Something I can’t get
Good name or bad,
Something I want more
Than life itself
Always I’d be hard pressed
To put a name on it

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Beats me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A tulip in the yard (part of the Spring series)

I poke the yellow tulip
With the tip of my forefinger
The soft silent bell
Ringing loudly inside me
A drip of dew dripping out
From its center,
My finger as curious as
Any bee’s, seeking
The secret nectar
From far down inside
A hurried in and out
As sunset threatens
To close the flower
Around me
And keep us both contained
Through the cold, chill night,
And I wonder what
It smells like if indeed
It has a smell at all,
Or tastes like
As I press my face into it
My lips against its lips,
Then my tongue in its mouth,
It shuddering almost as much
As I shudder, this precious
Bit of life poking at me
Out of the rich brown loam,
This testimony to rebirth,
That fills my mouth, my lungs
My heart, this one lick
Of rising spring that flows
Over me, inside me, through me,
Giving rebirth there, too

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mudflats (with photos)

 There is no help for it
The tide rolls out
And leaves the world exposed
The bones of this river
Mudflats dark
With my most secret thoughts
Blessed by the scalding sun
And the squawk of sea gulls,
Who mock all they see,
This unholy world
Filled with the disguised
Urges, the scrapping crab claws
The always vulnerable silver gillies,
And the foot prints of scavengers
Scrawled across the brown surface
In a covert language of their own,
The remnants of tiny dinosaurs
Not yet extinct,
This deplorable inner beauty
I deny in waking, but always return to
In my dreams, stirring up
The most savage desires shorn of
When the rich blue water covers it,
This elemental truth
Each of us must face,
In our struggle to survive
Or even thrive,
Our lives flushed out
By the movement of heavenly bodies,
So we can examine it
Take comfort in who we are
Regardless of what others think,
Or how we should be,
Knowing that in this ebb and flow
It is simply glorious
To be alive

Friday, April 5, 2013

A cup of coffee (with video)

All she wanted was a cup of coffee
And some quiet conversation
To make that dark night
Come out all right
We seated in the front seat
Of my Ford Pinto
As if on our first date
That woman I never saw
Before or since
But think about often
Feeling regret over someone
Whose name she only mumbled
And whose face I barely saw
She needing this to be something
More than what it was
Not love so much as
Something not meaningless
As if she saw something in my face
She missed in all the other men
She’d shared front seats with
A cup of coffee
And a bit of conversation
To make it all come out all right
She would even pay for the coffee
On that cold New York City night
When everything seemed strange
And remote, and I
Foolishly lonely,
Did what every other man did,
I said, no.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reading the river (with video)

I read the river
The way gypsies
Read tea leaves
Searching the surface
For signs of truth,
Omens of things to come,
Remnants of what once was
My life lost in these eddies
This backwater
Of bobbing soda bottles
And expired condoms
Bits of me washing away
In the sudden flash flood
Of a heavy rain,
I walk here,
Searching the sides
Of this utterly dark stream,
For signs of what comes next.
Should I hunker down?
Or like the reeds
Stretch out to bend
With the gusts of wind?
And I am always surprised
By the outcome,
Always somehow managing
To survive
The worst of storms

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stars do shine

I can’t always see the stars
from where I sit on my front stoop,
Although I know behind the heavy clouds
or cast of lights from the big city,
they are there.
Sometimes, I catch glimpses of them blinking
As the cloud cover parts, reminding me
That they are always there
Remote, often invisible friends
I can’t always see or touch,
But sometimes might drawn warmth from
In the deepest need,
Icons to come greater
And more powerful universe
Of which I am still a part,
Fixed elements in some universal plan
I am too small to see in whole,
A plan I have not devised
But which has devised me,
Who on this side of that great divide
Can merely wait, and watch