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


Monday, March 11, 2024


 In the Conservatory with a Candlestick

Every moment is a lit match

Flickering in a dark room

Some gray February morning

Menaced by strange winter thunder.

Getting older is running out of matches

Burning each one down 

To the absolute nub

Searing thumb and forefinger.

Every iteration of old self

Is huddled somewhere in a quiet

English conservatory 

Waiting to get murdered.

All you hear is the sound of matches striking

Against strips of powdered glass 

Rapid at first and then spaced out 

In ever wider intervals

Like popcorn left too long in the microwave.

It dusks and then gets darker and darker

As everyone begins to ration what’s left.




Trees un-leaved

Naked in the stillness 

Of frosted dawn,

That old complacent wisdom—

Winter passing, the coming of spring

Buds like curled fists.

Birds returning to their nests

Every winter we shiver 

A little bit longer.

Hoarfrost whiskers our bones 

We slouch. We wither.

Hips snap. We slip.

Exhaust our list

Of foolish gambits.

Spring has passed

And doesn’t come back 

We bloom only once

Then hunt for blankets


Monday, March 4, 2024


 Passive Voice

Limbs were amputated 

An artery spurted

And had to be ligated

Wounds were stapled

Skin had been scorched

Screams were heard 

Children were orphaned

Infants experienced starvation

Buildings became rubble

Those living received a death

Explosions occurred

Explosions occurred

Soon the screaming

Was no longer heard 

No one was left

To speak for the silence

That remained



 A Different Kind of Pain

After the surgery

The pain you used to have 

Will be gone

But something still remains—

A different kind of pain

Here in the places 

Where I had to wound you

To heal you.