Friday, November 30, 2012


I come from a line
a long line of singers
midnight drunken choir members
some have sung
as ragged beginners
others so old they can’t remember
the words to the hymns
that soothe a distemper

I come from a line
a long line of dancers
midnight drunken reeling romancers
some have waltzed
young at weddings
the older ones just beginning
to raise their skirts
in unbridled sinning

I come from a line
a long line of poets
midnight drunken killers of romantic love
some have murdered
at funerals
forgetting the outcome
to hurry the truth
of unrestrained lies

I sing and I lie and I write poetry
I die many times unnaturally
I come from a long line
of comics like me.

Art by Leonard Baskin

Friday, November 16, 2012

After the Storm

For Bel

we make mistakes
we heal those breaks
or leave them to die naturally
a limb falls under
a tree torn asunder
pressed close to the
wet clean earth
nature has warned
nature transforms
our offering, our friendships, our worth
the cat runs for cover
no lover of thunder
you watch and you wait
until dark dissipates
in an hour or a day
there are many false starts
a light then a downpour
you wait
for the song in the roar
clouds roll back on a
storm wearied night
what’s clear is an absence
of rage of fright
awake in the sunlight
on a still sodden lawn
you cross a ball field
bravado long gone
you seek grandeur from
trees that you’ve learned
from a friend
have something to
tell you
and so you pretend
the bigger the better
you think and you’re pleased
until you see in the distance
resilient young trees
they’ve weathered the storm
as your friend could not
once the map was drawn
she leaves unlocked
but she still has a word
to bring you to age
and you will hold dear
that hard fought wisdom
trust the trees she tells you
come when they call
be alive while you’re here
you still have to grow some.

I will miss you every day of my life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


these private moments
these little sins
they fly through the window
like they’ve got their own wings
they come with the moonlight
leave with your dreams
alone with your sorrow
you’re coming unhinged

how many steps to the moon
I’m still in love with your song
how close is your room
and will you take me that far
and will you take me that far

time passes slowly
time always wins
she comes to see lonely
like they’ve always been friends
she’s barefoot and dancing
god only knows
awake in the moonlight
it's her sweet revenge

how many steps to the moon
I’m still in love with your song
how close is your room
will you take me that far

she’s come to it again and again
and again
there’s no where or when
there’s only the sound
of the uptown crowd
hallelujah amen

how many steps to the moon
I’m still in love with your song
how close is your room
will you take me that far
how many steps to your room
I’m still in love with your song
how close is the moon
and will you take me that far
and will you take me that far

Friday, November 9, 2012

round two

fearless lover
duck and cover
jump back
dance the canvas
go the distance
on your feet
resist defeat
winner loser
loser winner
put the gloves down
make the dinner
be kind to me
pull the bed down
towel the sinner
remove the guard
soften mouth
kiss the pout
kiss it hard
leave the room
let the fighters
heal the wounds
pull the ropes
return to cope
draw the robe
ever tighter
then to bed
it always ends
and starts again
when you're a fighter
in the end

For Percy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

“my beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead christmas trees of the world.”
Charles Bukowski

It’s not healthy, it’s not productive and most of all it’s not fun. But today I wallowed in it, wrapped it tightly around me and made it my skin. There was a confluence of events that hit like a tsunami and then forced me under, temporarily out of reach of the light. It was inevitable and unexpected. It was like it might feel for a cat to be tossed casually in a clothes dryer for the amusement of the kids who, while not necessarily bad, still wanted to escape the bad in their lives. As long as they got what they wanted it didn’t matter what else got hurt. It was like having no opposable thumbs.

It was like pressing my nose to the glass, the very thick glass that separated me from the ability to be calm and rational. I could see unruffled me, but thoroughly disgusted and despairing me was the one breathing hard returns on the glass. It was like I had read the book to the end and while a goodly number had also seen it through to the end and what hard things the book predicted, so many, many more had refused to turn the last few pages and just tossed the book aside. It was like watching people work at a crossword puzzle and avoid the words that distressed them: drones, civil liberties, innocents, women, children, foreign, war, murder. It was like suddenly inhabiting the body of a homeless person and being the one who must shuffle through the intake line for a cot that will be dutifully disinfected before your very eyes while you stand patient and nervous at the same time, wanting nothing more than to slide under a white blanket made of polyester material and imprinted with little red crosses. It was like wanting that even less. It was like the friends of like-mind, people who had traded information and were not afraid to face the end of that book, well it was like they had disappeared in a puff of snow. In fact, they had not. In fact, I had disappeared myself. That is despair.

No bullets were dodged. No storms went down easy. There was utterly no reason to cheer. That is despair. Yet there was cheering, loud and clear on the other side of that thick glass wall. And my neck ached from head shaking in disbelief, in despair.
Somebody hoped I would find happiness somewhere as if that was my problem. I find happiness everywhere that it exists in its generous, selfless guise and have since childhood. Tomorrow I will find it again when the skin of despair will be peeled back if it has not already evaporated of its own accord. And I’ll read more revealing books to the end. I will not shy from the harder words in the puzzle and I will remain among the ones who will do the same.