Sunday, September 15, 2019

sunday poem


To decide whether life is worth living is the fundamental question of philosophy”
-Albert Camus

Camus knew how to question
The nagging vexations.
He never found an answer.
The best he could do was a method;
Pushing massive boulders
Up and down a steep hill
Day after da until the end.
Sweating, straining under the weight,
Somehow still smiling,
Grinning at the absurdity of his fate.
You can close your eyes
and imagine him happy.
Or peak a bit when no one is looking
And wish the boulder would just stay put

I too embrace the absurd:
Another night of call
Every other weekend
Days and times blurred.
Another gangrenous gallbladder
Busted up appendix
Perforated bowel
Air under the diaphragm
Air tracking through the perineum
The wounds that ooze
Frantic next of kin phone calls
Chuggering wheeze behind a curtain
While on the other side
An out of town niece weeps.
Try to go home but 
The ER is calling again.
The doors never close,
Sickness never sleeps
Blah blah on and on until the end
The living all die, just you wait.
That one you save 
Gets a lovely obituary soon enough.
The stones always roll back down.
But I have no time for boulders.
My weariness precludes the effort.

Awareness of the absurd is not nearly enough.
This is second derivative shit.
I need to be aware of the absurdity
Of my chosen form of distraction.
That's it.
I carry an old newspaper clipping of 
a young boy’s death
smashed by a car one fine day.
We had tried to save him.
Cut open his little chest.
Feathery lungs spilled out
But he died right there in the trauma bay.
There’s nothing ever here.
Good and good and so what.
And so I keep a small 
rounded pebble in my shoe;
formless, blunted, no blood is drawn.
A modest ache, at most,
a dull nuisance,
a query lodged against my sole.
When are you coming back home?
They don’t understand.
There is too much work to be done.
I can't lie down.
I carry this rounded stone
every step of the way
as a gnawing reminder
of the final absurdity.
How could I ever forget?
It’s too late to escape
this particular fate.
So dumb, stone in a shoe.
It throws off my gait
Makes my back ache.
But it works.
And this is the life I choose.
Running away is not an option;
For the faster you run
The deeper the stone digs.
The very bone gets bruised.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Good Boy

I was always a good boy.
I did what I was told
Finished my work
Got those grades
Kept my head down
And I wasn’t too bold,
didn’t make a scene.
“Don't waste that brain,
Don’t make me ashamed”
Sit down
Roll over
Fetch me that stick
Good boy.
That’s a good boy.
But I eventually got around
to becoming a man
and I made a few scenes
and wasted a bit of my brain
and lived for lengths of shame.
I swirled around the drain
but somehow bobbed to the surface
like flotsam after the storm.

Now I have a little one of my own.
He doesn’t listen to what I say,
thinks he'll figure it out all alone.
He wants to make his own way.
Everyone says, “He’s just like you”.
Just like me.
Someday he’ll see.
For he’s a good boy too.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Poem sunday

Storm Coming

I heard something like
A stray dog's low growl
And went outside to check.
There she was---8 feet up---- in a wretched tree
Wedged between a cachectic trunk 
And a crooked scurvied limb.
Hey what’s with that look on your face?
I’ve seen that look before:
The bills are late.
Dad didn’t hear a word you said.
The lovely girl across the bar
Chatting up another guy.
Passed over at work,
Picked last, too short,
Passing another whole day unseen,
Passing the next unable to hide 
The things you want to keep inside.
The feeling the world won’t simply unfurl
Anymore from within but simply hurtles
Forward,clacking and whistling, runaway train
From somewhere around the bend.
But the tracks seem overgrown with weeds--
How can this be? as the whistles scream
And the lights bear down;
You’re frozen in time and place,
A deer spooked halfway across the interstate.
Hey little girl, don't scowl like that.
Hey now, sweet girl, you're still only ten….
She says the boy she likes
Has a crush on her own best friend
And there’s that low rumble again,
Of a train somewhere around the bend.
Or maybe it's a far away thunder.
Those clouds are clumping up gray.
You'd best come down from the fray;
Trees are a bad place to get caught
When the lightning decides to strike.


Monday, August 12, 2019



A neighborhood without sidewalks
Is a world unlimned.
Staggering along soft shoulders
One leg slanting lower than the other,
It’s dumb and dangerous.
Cars honking, swerving
You can't trust your fellow man
On the arbitrary grids he’s laid out
Especially in the dark
You leap into the boggy ditch.

Beyond the ditch is a rising plain,
But it’s just a yard
Goose-bumped grass iced in frost
Like it’s afraid of the dark,
A lawn bounded by another.
Homes and fences.
It all belongs to someone else.
Stick to the road.
But this old road is no good.
This road just goes into town
Which is just a place 
To pour out the asphalt
And lay some red bricks down

I want to make a home
Beyond the borders
Of the known 
dutifully mapped world.
Let us trace a path,
My hand guiding your fingers
Across conjured maps 
Etched on blank sheets.
Look, we can’t help it,
it's happening without trying;
Straight, cross-hatched lines 
All across the page,
Hopscotching from thought to thought,
Leaping across cracks
In our imaginary sidewalk.  


Saturday, August 10, 2019


Poem #6

This one doesn’t have to be about sickness.
I don't need another ode to chromosomes
or anaerobic metabolism,
a sad dirge about suspicious adrenalomas.
I don't want to write anymore
about the provenance of dark stains
on my blue scrubs,
the strange odors that linger on my palms.  
The post call anguish of alone.

Doctor so and so has written another poem.
Look, he’s alluded to lungs,
the last gasps of life.
The fearful wide eyed last days gaze.
The true heart that lives in a cage.
Must he go on like this?

Look he’s switching gears, 
he’s describing a beautiful woman;
perhaps he had once operated on her.
it's always about that.
Maybe he’s wistful and older and tired
of scalpels and salves and bandages:
Almost done here.
Let me wrap this up.
Shower twice a day.
Apply this ointment.
Take this for the pain
that comes later.
Kiss me when you find me like this.
Hold my hand, later
when you see me like this. 
Ask me about all the mysteries
I've already dreamed the answers to.
Be right here at time o’clock.

I've stopped writing about chromosomes
and sicknesses and unbalanced hormones.
This is a lump
I find in your breast.
No, no, no this is my hand against your heart
that rises and falls in your chest.
It swells like a mass
without edges but
I swear I can feel something.
I want to describe it precisely
using the proper terminology;
supple, caudal, infero-lateral.
I want to classify what this is.
I am reaching  for your heart.
I have been flailing for your heart
and so this poem for your heart.
My love, I cannot speak
for the lump in my throat,
and for all that's beneath
the heaviness of this white coat
obscures the sounds that escape,
an exhalation of garbled words
for the time we have lost.
for the time we have left.

The doctor will see you now.
(I’m sorry I am so late)
The doctor is ready now;
he is sorry he is so late.


Saturday, August 3, 2019



We passed the carrion, the mangled deer, 
On the side of a bend in the road
That wended its way up the hill
To a lookout I wanted the kids to see.
Ooooooooooooooooo, they scream,
daddy gross it smells roll up the window!
The rank gamy invasiveness of odor.
I wanted them to see the valley stretching out below
The mist enshrouded trees
The generational timelessness of 
All that falls below,
All the unnavigable naturalness
They'll never probably go.
But don’t stand too close to the edges.
Goddammit what did I say!
You don’t know enough of 
the buzzed moss or
blotched whitened lichens,
the blood against rock
in the noonday sun,
the slippery humors
that ooze from the 
dead along the way