Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I put my hand on it


I put my hand on it, slip
between the buttons, they
tremble like jello too
warm but stiff at
the peak -- the drip of it
like milk on the tip of
my finger and then by
tongue -- the feel of it
like all I ever imagined
my mouth on your mouth
seated in the dark where
I wait for permission
to take the next step,
move up or down
or more like in or
out, the scent of something
in me overheating
so I hold on, quivering
like it quivers
stiffing like it stiffens
waiting for you to grab
hold and shake it up,
quivering inside and out



It's all in a memory


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Short Cut


Highway 35 revisited


This old highway looks mostly the same
struck with images of another time
this car like my grandpa's car
easing down narrow lanes
looking for something we might never find,
the boat yard were he worked so hard
filled with mast like a forest
the bungalos he build back then
yellowed and tattered from too much when
the fruit stand where we always stopped
closed for the season, maybe forever
the sad face of some broken watch
that tells the time I ache to remember
and still there are things that cling to this place
the roots of a life we still love
the paint disguises a familiar face
which we can never get enough of
I ride this road
it is in my blood
these miles I feel
like an old love
my head hungover
each lost mile
my lips lift
with a saddened smile
Route 35 where I ride
even when I'm barely alive
The beat of it hard in my chest
with every little hill I crest
Route 35 is where I ride
right up to the day I die
How many roads can I recall
how many dreams both big and small
How many things upon this road
this life I live, the life I know



Corn stalk and Star Bucks


Monday, June 27, 2016

Fall of Montgomery Gardens


Bite me


I love the way her lips glow
in the dark club, red, white,
as if she has just sucked
blood, I wish was mine
Sometimes, I even see her
eyes, reflecting the stage
lights, like bat's eyes,
seeing but not seeing, she
uses other senses to
seek us out in the dark,
and we need no extra
ordinary sense to find
her, we always know
where she is, even when
we struggle not to,
aching all the time for
a wet kiss we miss
and know when we don't
we'll taste our own blood
dripping out of her mouth,
her laugh is a strill
as a bat's laugh, and
yet we keep coming back,
hoping to get bitten.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

rubbing sticks together


She rubs two sticks together
and comes up with an over-
heated me, pressed between
the palms of her soft hands,
rubbing as if I am
the bottle out of which
a genie might emerge,
someone who might grant
her three wishes or the
ability to plunge deep.
I ache all over from
her touch, scalded to
the soul, a contest
winner who does not yet
know the prize I've won,
letting her manipulate
all of me, reshaping me
into whatever she
wants me to become,
moist and desperate
to know she won't ever
stop, begging for whatever
future she intends as long
 as she keeps rubbing,
a regular girl scout
making fire with the slightest
touch



Stone Wall


The day before the army got me, Max
took me out to get me drunk and
get me laid.
I'd just turned 18 and he believed
if basic training didn't kill me,
Vietnam would.
The drunk was easy even though
I was under age -- Max knew all
the bartenders in all the bars though
why he picked the bar he did was
a mystery to me -- just as was his
idea of whom I might get laid
by since the only people he introduced
me to were men and even then
I thin he was only showing me off
so he could bring me home to his
place later.
He kept telling me the whole
night he didn't want to see me
die a virgin.
I kept telling him I wasn't
a virgin.
But in his eyes, I learned later,
I was.
I must have disappointed him
when I got drunk, but not laid.
that night instead went home to
sober up for the sober ride to
Fort Dix from Newark the next
day.
I heard about the riot even before
 Max wrote -- his letter full of guild
at not being the one to have fought
back -- a frail flower child who
set lady bugs free -- could not raise
his fist when other I'd men on
my night with him did.
On an after-basic pass, I
I made the same trip with him to
the same place to meet the same
people only to find all of
them had changed -- or what it me?
Max was as proud as a rooster,
and crowed over each, introducing
them as the heroes they were, each
wearing invisible medals
of honor on their puffed-out chests,
each having endured and enrured
until they could endure no more.
The drunk was different although
the outcome was the same -- I took
the bus home to Paterson alone. Max
took up with some hero from
Christopher Street and later he wrote
me in Fort Dix that he had pretended
it was me.
"I love you," he wrote at the end of this
one of his many letters.
"I love you, too, Max," I
wrote back in one of the very few
I gave in return, "and I always
will."


half moon rises against a black sky (scanned notebook)


Half moon rises against
a black sky, like a
large white eye caught
in half a wink,
warmth of a late
August rubbing
against me as I
stumble from the
porch, the carress of
night making the empty-
ness more acute -- I
am Peter Pan always
running away from
home, in real life as
as a kid, in my mind as
an adult, needing to
to feel the world
pressing against my limbs,
tasting it on the tip
of tongue, embracing
it with both my arms to
keep it close -- this
moonlight like a
powerful drink, leaving
me drunk and
staggering as I
stumble through the night.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Boxes of Buttons (scanned notebook)


Lost road, this ride through
distant past -- this mark
35 years old where the detour
started and has yet to stop --
that three day over two nights
trip to the place from which
I alone would return -- drive
there, fly back -- my last bird
flight over the endless stretch
of what has become one great
sea of light. the last face at
airport looking at lift off
seen a decade later at his
mother's funeral and then never
again -- the shreds of a once
close family, spread across
the landscape, the surviving
bits of something I never thought
I would miss, but now miss
everyday -- survival as much
a curse as a blessing -- me
remembering most the boxes
of buttons we packed for that
trip back as if that particular
part of the planet lacked
that singular piece of civilized
life. This existence always
marked by significant
moments we can't help dwell
upon even when all we
sometimes want to do is
forget.

Stockings (rewrite of a poem originally written around 1974)


She wears stocking as if she
was all leg, slick, black hose
going the whole way up -- and
I can look no where else--
like a road sign point me
to the place I want to go
most -- no GPS needed -- just
nerve to make a move
I see her here every night
the band plays, an icon of
the Red Baron Lounge, as
regular as the bartenders, who
punch in and punch out -- she
wearing a too-tight top and
skirt that outlines
her in my mind, just enough
touch of breast for
my imagination to fill in.
I always want to buy her
a drink and think of a thousand
clever lines I might drop in
her ears, lines she never
hears about the roar of guitar
she's come for
And I watch those stockings
shimmer as she makes her
way out with one guitarist
or another, and I tell myself
it will be me the next time.


Following the rail


The rain rubs under the
wheels through Hoboken,
then Jersey City, just enough rattle
to make me realize I
am still alive, sunlight
flowing over me through the
tinted windows and into
my soul, I feel this journey
rather than see it, I
taste the polluted air
that oozes off the highway
and yet I feel unstained,
the motion moving me
in time and space, inside
and out, these faces of
work people clustered
near me, strangers but
not strange, as familiar
as family who shored
such trips, a grand mother's
wandering to New York to type
each day, a grandfather
who followed her and
his own heart.


Friday, June 24, 2016

I eat figs and think of you


I eat figs on the beach
and think of you, the sway
of the sea, the grit of sand
with each step I take, the
sense of being lost, or small
like a snail struggling to
escape the wrath of gulls --
my bones hurt from kneeling
or running, my head fogged
up like a stranded sail boat
I never know which way
to go or even where I have
come from, or worse where
you are when I can't see you
I eat figs and taste you,
so sweet a dish I ache
to taste even more, my
tongue rough over the
spilling seed, my need
dripping from me
I am always lost
in these dunes, pretending
my life is lived in castles
of sand, waiting for the
moment when the waves
wash them away,
I eat fights and think of you.


Remembering the rain (scanned notebook)


A cool breeze touches
my cheek with the promise
of rain. I always ache for
rain this time of year and so
wait for it's arrival. I
miss the scent of river or sea
most on days like these -- recalling
when I sat at the foot of the
river near the bay under the
extended branches of isolated
trees to watch the clouds
rush in -- this near where some
fool tried to rebuild an
old hotel only to burn it
down when he realized he
could never make his money
back -- and sold the land off
for condos later, spoiling that
one small sacred place. When the rain
comes finally, it smells of
pavement -- the strange
metallic scene that comes
when the drops first hit
the over-heated asphalt --
a smell I remember from
when I was very small,
and this, too, brings me
back -- if not to the same
place or time, then to the
same sense of peace.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Green fills the window


Green fills the window of the yard side of my house
muffling the clang of the rail road on the far side of the highway
that in early spring keeps me awake,
I do not know what the sound of silence sounds like
only the high and low where inside and outside of my head
-- especially in the early morning when I wake with the fear
of what I should have, could have done and did not,
silence is a gift from god, bequeathed on the innocent
or the feeble of mind,
of which I am neither, and all I have is a volume control
to keep from driving myself crazy.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

drowning without regrets (scanned notebook)


You are the bird I hear each
morning when I wake, a call
that stirs me up from dreams
not sweet so much as
compelling as I toss aside
the covers and rise.
You are the whisper of the leaves
rustling with the night breeze,
a whisper in ears I strain
to catch, aching to under-
stand just what is said, and
I cannot sleep for the pain of it.
You are the sound of rain I
hear midday when I am alone
on my porch, the forlorn
song of loneliness I cannot
cure, the desire to leap
under and drench
myself in the flow and
know down deep what you are,
You are the howl of wind I
hear when I ache most, the
sire of the deep I plunge
into the dark to
find, my moans an echo
to yours as I rise and
fall, this tide in which I
drown and never regret it.



Monday, June 20, 2016

sweat dribbles down my cheek


Sweat dribbles down
my cheek as I walk
up the viaduct from Hoboken
to Union City, to Jersey
City and beyond, the rub
of cloth against my
chest and thighs, the
heavy breath -- the
rhythm of movement
in the over heated air
and the taste of salt
as sweat drips to my
lips and mouth -- a life's
journey, up and down,
in and out, over and
around, each movement
pressing me against the
powerful fires of
a nature I am never
able to over come,
but ache to surrender
when the most I can
do is keep on

Sunday, June 19, 2016

When the rain comes

The rain comes in sheets,
rapping against the
windows as I try to sleep,
this night stretching out into
morning so I do not know
even with eyes open in which
day I am, feeling the wet
fingers tapping on me and
inside and out -- waking to
wonder and doubt, feeling
the stern clouds behind my
eyes and the crack of lightning
in my loins, aching for
something more than sleep can
provide -- the tick tick tick
of a clock I cannot clearly
see, only hear, and feel
along with my heart beat
I ham shrouded in doubt
and worry over things I can
not pin down -- each thought
like a buzz of a mosquito
in my hers and in the fear
of when it might bite.



Friday, June 17, 2016


I stagger even in
sunlight, hung over
on moon glow I can't get out
of my head, a mist so frail
around me I break through it
with every step, summer
all stretched out around me
on every side and still I feel
a chill, the wait of city sirens
like magpies in my ears so small
and fast I can't swipe them
away. I taste loneliness on the
tip of my tongue like the bitter
remains of win drunk in
darkness but grows stale in this
dawn -- all too stark in this
morning light, like a bleached
out color film turned into hazy
sepia of black and white --
Everything seems too big, too
well-defined, street sign
groaning on rusted hinges with
each gust of wind, a groaning I
feel inside as I walk, a stiff
unrelenting sense of reality I
cannot make soft -- this haze
around me an illusion that
does not change the world but
is what I live like, an envelop
I cannot find an escape, bursting
out for a moment only to fall
back into its folds.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

sales pitch (scanned notebook)


In moonlight everything changes (scanned notebook)


In moon light, everything changes,
the boiling point of blood,
the rising tides cannot extinguish
because the fire inside
sealed in,
building up, like a pod
ready to explode,
with moonlight as the instigation
as the flame under it,
to make it worse
high tide all the time
and rising not from global warming
but from some more primitive instinct,
some element of the elemental
found as far back as the caves
we either learn release it
or we are consumed,
waiting out the moon cycle
until we can breathe easy again.



midnight plus (scanned notebook)


The cool air pressed against my chest with both hands
fingers making me pulsate with their touch
I seek the sea
because it flows inside and outside me
making me ache to dip my oars
in the dark of this mysterious sea
that so vibrates under my keal
this life floating over something so full
I come to it again and again
and always want for more


if this is but a dream (scanned notebook)


If this is but a dream
why can't I dream it
in this heart so hard
that it would be deny me sport
that exists only in my mind
or the real love
that can never be made real
the real feel no one can feel
but in such a state of dream,
and just because I feel
does not mean the other must
feel it, too,
if but a dream
then it is best a dream of sweetness
I must dream or perish.


Gush of breath (scanned notebook)




I breathe too hard this in and
out that leaves me breathless,
and empty, a balloon expired
all in one gush,
I drink too much -- sucking
it up like the proverbial
sponge -- needing a miracle
to turn water into more
wine or whiskey
I fuck too often filling
up every furrow like a
farmer does seed, scared
something might come of it,
so I hang on,
I sleep too little, scared
of the dreams that haunt
me even if I dose - those
what-if dreams where I
imagine the worst of what
might happen and wake
believing the worst did.
I cry too little and
least of all for myself,
thinking that self pity is a
crime even when deserved
we pacing the jail cells
of our own lives counting
off days to the end of a
sentence we  really do
not want to end,
if I was a praying
man - I'd pray less
for salvation than the
belief I can be saved,
a small blessing
God has yet to grant me


They shimmer like jewels in the dark (scanned notebook)


They shimmer like jewels in
the dark -- but red -- hot as
coals after the fire has just
gone out -- I burn my fingers
and my tongue with just a
start -- and I don't care --
and keep my stare
until I am so consumed I
cannot stop. I burn up
inside until I glow, too.
They shimmer and I
shake, they quiver and I
ache, red like fire, but
cool as ice, with me ready
to burn either way, unable
to tell which is which,
like an itch which I cannot
possibly scratch -- it goes
too deep and to be rid of it
I'd have to peal my skin
off and delve down into
bone where it all aches most
they shimmer and I shake
and we both glow red in
the dark.

We do the things we do (scanned notebook)


These things we do
we do without regret
because we will forget
though in the dead of night
we wake and sweat
and sweat and yet
come only close to regret
I dream of things
I have never done
should have, would have
or things done
of which I might
take back--
a word said, a glance
glance, the unsaid
like the undead
always haunting
lingering
into wakefulness
like a ghost
I rattle my chains
in my sleep
like Marley did
and tell myself
I have no regrets


If I touch you (scanned notebooks)


If I touch you will you respond? Will you
let me take the next step? Will it feel as
good to you as to me? We spend our lives divided,
each on a different side of some imaginary line
we fear to cross, aching to embrace, but scared
we might not accept the next step such a
touch might bring, aching without reason when
if I touch you there or elsewhere the pain
will each into pleasure, and we might find
this touch in that place is what we wanted from
the start. If I touch you there will you care
enough to let me take the next step?


So how soft is it? (scanned notebook)


So how soft is it, I think as I drink at the bar
and watch her in the mirror, a mirage I dare
not look at directly or go blind. I live in the
midst of myth like this, recalling warnings I heard
as a kid about wanting too much of the wrong
things, and how I might end up bad -- never able
to understand then or now how it might be possible
to ache more or to want less, and now much more
of a curse I might get if I crossed over the
imaginary line between need and want into
know. So how soft are those lips and how
sweet would they taste if kissed? Will I
spend enternity in hell if I insist on a kiss
since I already know a kiss is not the bliss
I seek, but only the eye in the lock -- as
if wanting the way I do is as much a sing as doing.
Why should I deny it if I am already
doomed to burn, and how much worse
will that fire be than the fire raging already
inside me?

I want to drink her up (scanned notebook)


I want to drink her up until I am drunk
shedding one intoxication for one I better
understand, I need to know why I stagger
around in this fog, bumping my head on things I
cannot see -- if I cut my finger I would
better explain the pain I feel, see blood I
bleed now inside -- it would be a wound I might
stitch up with hope to heal, rather than this
vague ache I can find no cure for I I could
only drink her in where I could understand
her better, letting her inspect me
from the inside out, I might know what is
wrong or right, might find a way to come to
terms with this confusion ongoing in
my head -- I could pin the cause on
what I know I actually did to myself
though I know what I feel now, this hazy
ache, this trembling shake, this vast mistake
I caused, I just don't know how I did it
and so do not know how to undo it, or even
if I want to undo it at all.



Do you feel it? (scanned notebook)


Do you feel it, this touch here? this place
where I place my fingers, where I can only
feel from the outside, not in, and ache for a
touch so close I cannot tell which of us
is which. I used to think the back seat of
my chevy was enough, that wide space over
which I could explore the world, like
an orbiting astronaut who thought I
knew all there was to know when Until I
touched down and touched
all I saw, I knew nothing -- and even then
a touch was not enough to know all
that went on inside, to touch beneath
the surface of this world, to feel what stirs
inside, to plunge deep into its moist
surface, and breath
it all in until I drown



the rain comes finally (scanned notebook)


So smooth (scanned notebook)


So smooth, my fingers slip each time
I grasp -- you cant steal something you
can't pick up. You can't touch something
that isn't real. I used to admire boys
who learned how to dance, edging as
close to unreality as reality might
allow, fingers entwined, chest pressing
chest, guessing at which point they might
make contact with the beyond -- all they
need to worry about is keeping their
feet from stumbling over your feet,
a hard concept when the they can feel
you breath so close and their minds
delving deep where they ache to go



Shell game (scanned notebook)


I hear the words in my head (scanned notebook)


I hear the words in my head before I
scribble them down, trying to make
out which came first, each letter
hatched out of an infinitity I can't
adequately define, I recall the
shape of her face, from slanted mouth
to almond eyes, but cannot create
a word that tells me what goes on
inside her head. We each live in a
self created world of our own delusion,
assumptions we use as facts, biases
we believe untainted, giving each
words we offer as proof, spelling it
out, spilling blood like ink, until
the whole page bleeds, and yet is
no closer to being real than a
page without them. I need to reach
in and feel her to know what is
real or not, to learn for myself what
she is made of -- this golden goose,
this fair princess, this figure of my
amazing imagination, I hear the words
in my head as I scribble and believe
no one of them.

She's always been a dream (scanned notebook)


She's always been a dream to me,
the heat of a blazing sun that warps
air and creates illusions or a wisp
of water vapor that for a moment
takes a shape I ache to seize
then breaks between my fingers,
this desperate soul I so believed, but
was deceived  by, the ghost in the
attic that exposed herself
in moon light when I ache most
and when I am most tempted to
believe, a man perpetually poised
at the prepadice of self deceipt
needing but one poor excuse to
believe again with all my heart
and soul in someone who was
never really real


She believes everything with all her heart (scanned notes)


She believes everything with all her
heart, always the school girl with
a school girl crush on that one
special teacher she would do anything
to please, and did, each new lover
bearing the same basic imprint, carrying the
same burden of belief, she must take
as faith or shrivel up and cease
to exist. She always believes it all
until she ceased to believe by which
time she is so bitter she can't believe
in anything even herself, the girl
who changes everything like she changes
a dress, confident only if all the
piece line up, the accessories matching
the wardrobe she has most recently
adopted, she believes everything with all
her heart, right up to the moment her
heart falls apart. She believes
everything she is told until she
doesn't, and then she believes in
nothing, especially herself.


If two were one (scanned notes)


If two were one, then neither
could survive if one becomes two again
I don't want to find that half
if you people tell me I lost
something in another life. I need
you to be you whole and alive
choosing to be where you are when
you're with me
We search for love like we're
searching for the missing link, thinking
we've lost something in some other
life that we get back when we
meet here, how crazy is that to
think that we walk around in more
than one body and somehow
manage to survive when half of us
is breathing through some other
set of lungs -- this need to
be complete saying we are less
of what we are and can't be unless
be absorb you. What horror
movie did we get this from, where
love requires us to consume another
body, and still somehow to think of
this as love, when inside we
build love on shackles and chains?


Anything more than a kiss (scanned notebook)


I never wanted anything more than
a kiss because I never thought
I could ever get more, seducing
your lips across the table from
me day in and day out, like the
lock to a treasure I knew I
had no key to unlock, but like
a burglar thought I might gain
access that grew into a fire
I could not control, the wish
for a kiss and then a
wish for much, much more -- and
yet knowing I'd be
lucky if a kiss was all I
got, that lock pressed so
tight I could not wedge it
open with a crow bar, so
how much more was the surprirse
when it gave way, taking me
in, filling me up, until I
overflowed, this a Freudian
slip, though sometimes, a kiss
is just a kiss, when down
deep, I know it isn't.


the best way to say it (scanned notebook)


Sometimes, the best way to say
it , is not say it at all,
and take the guff in
silence and know that even
at a distance you can care
like a shadow cares, not
substantial enough to give
or accept a hug but to hang
in and hope the way only
a shadow can hope, knowing that
without you, the shadow ceases
to exist.