Sunday, April 14, 2024


 Two Men

One man withdrew from life

Falling ever deeper into 

An alternative reality entirely

Of his own making

He never left his desk, the 

Responsibilities of creation 

Being so onerous 

What no one else could see

For him was most robust 

Another man turned outward

Away from his own roiling

Inconsequentiality and embraced 

The entirety of this physical world 

Made friends and lovers

Used and discarded objects

Touched everything he could get his hands on

But never came home to his now empty house

He had become no one

Except for what remained 

Of the world without him 

Both men were extremely unhappy

One committed suicide

After finishing the final chapter

Of his life’s work 

The other fathered dozens of children

And ultimately died in the arms of the wrong woman

The grandchildren are all that’s left of us 

Living off the royalties from the sales

Of the first man’s masterpiece .


Thursday, April 11, 2024



The universe has an announcement. 

Everyone gathers to listen.

From my vantage point

It sounds like: have a cashew

Which can’t be right,

Must have missed it

Solar eclipsed it.

Whatever it was

It probably rhymes 

With you.


Saturday, April 6, 2024



Once I finally left the island

Of Calypso the highway became an endless 

Series of off-ramps and mergings

Each exit sign an indecipherable medley

Of directional words— 

North and south, east and west

Future and past, here or now—

All mixed up in inexplicable combinations 

That made no geographical sense 

The GPS on my phone showed

Only a red dot moving along

A single black line relative to nothing else

Which is the definition 

Of going nowhere fast 

Time lysed itself from space

While space moved on to whatever comes after time  

Three minutes allegedly elapsed

According to the digital display clock

But it felt like I’d traveled to Corpus Christi 

And back and now was speeding along to Bethlehem, 

Pennsylvania, next exit straight to hell. 

When I began to tickle

The edges of rumble strips

Panic set in and I had to pull over

On the shadowed shoulder under a bridge. 

Here, it got very cold and gray

Everything solid blurred

And the blur coalesced into strange rain 

That didn’t make anything wet.

Lines and shapes wobbled 

Then briefly flickered out of sight. 

I put the car in park, then drive

Then park, then drive 

But it didn’t matter

Nothing happened. 

Neither movement nor stillness

Tuesday, April 2, 2024



Sometimes I remember the world is just a mirror showing me my real face. The sunrise my eyes. Clouds my hair. Birds my fingertips feeling the wall for a light switch in the dark. Cars zooming on the highway like erythrocytes rushing to deliver everything they have to whatever needs it. God is the face on the other side of the two way mirror looking at me. He touches his birds with divine hands. Brushes the clouds from the sky. Discovers a vast arboreal wilderness now lashed with arteries of blood. If I focus properly— really pay attention— I get this unsettling feeling of being watched. I stare into the middle distance. But I can’t see anything. I never can. God gazes upon the sun, rising again.



 A History of Anxiety

The ER wanted me to admit the patient to my service. Young, otherwise healthy male with appendicitis. No medical problems except for a history of anxiety. Anxiety? I asked. Is he anxious right now? Well yes, Dr. Parks, I just told him you would be his operating surgeon. Better admit him to psych then, I said. His sigh whistled through the phone like a sirocco wind. I just mean that feelings are weird. Your mom or your pet dies and you’re sad and that’s ok, everybody understands. But if you’re sad all the time, for no particular reason, you now have a history of sadness. Which doesn’t seem fair. Because there’s lots of things to be sad about if you concentrate and really think about it. Just because your mind blanks when someone asks why doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. That you now have a diagnosis. You know what I mean? There’s a long pause on the other end. So I’ll put in a request for a bed under your name, Dr. Parks. Zosyn has been started. Can I give the patient an idea of when surgery will happen? But the phone is glowing from my bed. I’m already standing, pulling on pants I found on the floor. It’s 3am and I’m about to drive back into the hospital. And I don't mind at all. Looking forward to it, actually. I’m grinning and I don’t know why. I daresay I suffer from a history of happiness, not otherwise specified.  




Most precipitation begins as snow

When it falls, it either stays 

That way or melts.

Sleet is when it tries to freeze

Again but runs out of time.

Rain is just rain—

Irrevocable wetness.

Snow is the unchanged

Original form. 

We can all be as soft 

As when we were born

Before we knew what it meant

To be cold


Tuesday, March 26, 2024



In every moment there is a fleeting

Truth, unnamed but always felt

By the time it is described

Everything has changed 

And the narrative no longer holds

Words just falsify 

What was once real 

Books, chronicles of myth 

History, a kind of mourning

For everything lost 

Every biography is resurrection

Without the transubstantiation

Heaven is a fairy tale

With lots of good lessons

But it gets boring

Listening to it before bed

Every single night

We all know how it ends:

Everything you’ve ever wanted

Everyone you’ve loved

Pluraling into eternity

Where’s the fun in that?

Maybe that’s why there’s no

Book of Heaven in the Bible 

If you were god you would lose 

Yourself in this world too

Wake up one day 

With no memory of anything

That led to this particular moment 

Not knowing who you really are

Where you’re going

Or what’s going to happen next

All you can do is act

One thing and then another

As long as you can

With all of your heart

Until the day you wake up

Surrounded by love

And everything you need

And can’t decide if it’s better

As heaven or your actual life 

Or neither—

Just another vanishing dream


Monday, March 25, 2024


 The Un-Operative Note

I was not on call. I did not meet the 58 year old school teacher on her worst day. We did not review the films or a treatment plan. We did not discuss the risks and benefits of operative intervention. I did not drive in at 3 in the morning, half conscious, blasting the Strokes to wake the fuck up. I did not make that vertical midline incision. Nor was I there to suction out a liter of foul contamination.  I did not place those sutures to close the hole in her gut. It wasn’t my decision to place a drain under the liver. I did not speak to the husband. Or console the teary eyed daughters who’d driven in from out of town as fast as they could. I was not the one to save her life. Afterwards, I didn’t get coffee and sit by myself in a chair watching the most beautiful sunrise I'd ever seen before starting my morning rounds. I was at home all night, staring at the ceiling, self loathing, sleepless with thoughts of not having done enough.


Monday, March 18, 2024


Ancillary Advantages

Ancillary advantages of an answerless

Existence are made manifest

In the margins between questions

And the ever expanding silences—

Very frustrating—but then it gets boring,

Your mind wanders off, gets lost

In the rescissions of reasons.

You start to toss stones through the moon

And listen for the tiny plinkings

On the other side of the galaxy..

You think how lucky we are Christ

Came around in the era when Crucifixion

Was the standard mode of execution.

If it had been the 19th century

We’d all be wearing necklaces 

Of some poor limp Savior dangling 

Crooked-necked from a hangman’s noose.

At some point life becomes 

Simply the one we chose

But only when it’s too late to choose 

Anything else. 

It’s like getting mad at a bonfire

For making you feel uncomfortably hot

And because you think you hear it laughing

At your low brow complacency. 

It’s not laughing, the flames are trying

To tell you something.

Air crackling out of the burning dead wood

Is the fire tsk-tsking your pointless perseverating.

Someone asks what makes fires so mesmerizing

As a way to break the silence

So someone else puts on another log

And the fire clears its throat

Just before it begins to answer.



Wednesday's at Villas

Divorce is Wednesday nights at Villas 

For pizza and all you can drink cokes

Asking Dad for another quarter

To stick in the table side jukebox

So I can listen to Funkytown

And Another One Bites the Dust

It’s drawing pictures of your new stepmom

With horns coming out of her head

And flames for hair 

It’s getting in big trouble for

Cracking an egg on the skull

Of your toddler half brother.

It’s calling Dad collect on his birthday

Because Mom didn’t get a child support check. 

Divorce is figuring out rides

To weeknight baseball practice. 

It’s hearing the phrase “broken home”

And realizing the guidance counselors

Are talking about you

Which means there’s at least

A possibility it can’t be fixed.

Divorce sucks.

But the adults

Say it is necessary

That it cannot be helped

That it is not your fault

That mommy and daddy both love you

Very much, no matter what.

Divorce is anger, a secret shame. 

It’s using the key hidden under the mat

To get into the house after school.

It’s the church pastor showing up

With a carload of donated groceries,

All the good sugary cereals, too. 

It’s watching mom chain smoking 

In the backyard at midnight

Gnawing her nails down to pink nubs. 

Divorce is feeling weird, never quite normal

And doing your best to fake it

So no one you care about knows.

It’s Thanksgivings with mom

And July 4th always with dad.

It’s summers across the country

Away from all your friends.

It’s me when I’m with dad

And then a different me

When I’m home with mom

It's one day realizing that 

I will always be two little boys

Until I learn how to repair 

What had to be broken 

To make me who I am.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024


 Jeffrey Parks

I’ve figured out Jeff

He’s got a chip on his shoulder 

The size of the moon

He loves you like 

The perfect weighted blanket.

He puts himself on ledges

Where, if he loses balance,

Somebody else falls.

He loves you like 

An ancient earthquake 

A thousand miles away

That tremors the wine glass

Half sipped on your coffee table, right now.

He believes in unzipping himself

To prove there’s nothing 

Inside except for what you put there.

He chews quickly 

Because taste is a luxury.

He considers loneliness

The apogee of human connection.

He’s an idiot, a fool,

A mystic in a dark cave

Saving all his unlit candles. 

He loves like a blinded bull

Raging through the streets of Pamplona

He never stops. 

He fears getting caught

Doing nothing, becoming no one.

He thinks life is a debt

And love has to be earned.  

It’s all so obvious now

I’ve got it all figured out

Wish it hadn’t taken so long

But now it’s time

To go be someone else