Monday, May 27, 2024


Apples and Oranges

Every poem ought to have two endings

One version ends with a hand job

Behind the high school concession stand 

The other with a chaste kiss

Under a mossy bridge, 

You and all the trolls.

Everything is the same 

Up until the final stanza:

The puppy survives another razor's edge day

So the old hound can finally die in peace

A girl is rescued in the nick of time 

Just as the killer decides to go into therapy 

In one version you see where I’m going with this

But in the other your eyes glaze over in disgust

One ends as sacred mystery

While the other is just a bust 

For the poet, endings are interchangeable

One night I give you this one

Maybe tomorrow its secret partner

But if you read them back to back

They tend to self annihilate 

In a flash of blinding light 

Like the doomed ending 

To every electron 

And its positron partner.

Your surprised look won’t make any sense to me

From my perspective

I see no difference.

It’s like a bushel of apples

With all the rot and bruise weeded out

No matter how it ends

I always feel the same 

Gutting wound of loss.

As for heroes:

Sometimes he lives

Sometimes he dies

Yes, I’m a quasi- regular guy

Albeit weird and strange

Wandering through kaleidoscope orchards

Looking for someone to save 

All I have to give you 

Is yet another apple

That you, for some reason, keep calling

An orange 


Tuesday, May 21, 2024



We’re all born screaming

The louder the better

Pink and wet and wiggling

The doctor writes down the scores

And says everything is fine

A proud dad jabs his healthy

Baby boy into the ether 

Death has a different kind of scale

Quiet and pale and unstruggling

Chests like boats in a calm harbor

Morphine or delirium have erased 

All trace of grimace 

Everything has already been said

A semi circle of bowed heads

But I’m afraid I’ll go out fighting

Heart pounding, eyes aflame 

Driving everyone from the room 

Crash carts, code blue

An elderly equivalence to ashen stillborn infants

My dying score a perfect 0

With 5 minutes and then 1 minute left



 Last Requests

Do not intubate

Do not resuscitate 

Do not try to feed

Me finger to mouth

Do not leave me

Alone in the evening

Do not pretend

You see the phantoms

Dancing before me 

Do not stop for roses

On the way to visit me 

Do not visit me

Stay with me

Do not condescend me 

Or ask me if I’m thirsty 

Do not forget that death is comedy

Not tragedy

Do not forget to laugh

Because this is not a tragedy

Do not neglect to bring

My pile of unread books

From the nightstand at home 

Stack them here within 

My field of vision 

But out of my reach

Leave me at peace 

With everything 

I ran out of time

To read  


Saturday, May 18, 2024


 Gift and Burden

Love is both gift and burden

Like having a child

It must be tended 

To in all the rote ways

Dependent as it is while

So young and fragile. 

But it will never cease 

To surprise you.

Some mornings you will wake

And pinch yourself

Hardly believing this is your life

That you have been entrusted 

With something so imperiled and precious

But it is not yours to control

It has a mind of its own

You will be shocked to find 

How well it can do without you

It grows up, matures

Becomes itself

But by then it won’t matter

By then it has become your whole life

Which is not your old life 




The Committee for Public Morale

We are gathered here to address

The elephant in the room:

The sense that everything is bad

Or at least not quite up to the standards

We could reasonably expect given circumstances

Of wealth, status and unearned felicity.

We all feel we have been had.

Nothing works the way it should.

Our abundance is only in the things we lack.

Even this committee is a fraud.

We propose no alleviative agenda

We offer zero solutions

Nothing will ever come to fruition

This is merely a fact finding mission.

We are data harvesters, nothing more

Time is our ledger

We will never not be here

Such is the burden 

Of mere cosmic bookkeepers.

Please write down any ideas 

You have to make things better

On a torn off slip of paper

And swallow it whole. 

We will read them all later 


Saturday, May 11, 2024


 The Name Given 

When you hear your son’s name shouted,

Loose in the wild, by other boys on the pitch

Something elemental shifts

Up till then it was something gifted

A word you instructed others to call him

From the day he was born

When you narrowed his range

Of nameless possibility

To a single monosyllabic stab in the dark

As if a particular sound, spoken aloud

Contained its own protective glossary

But now it’s his and you can’t take it back

You gave the word, he finds the meaning

This is the essence of the giving.


Thursday, May 9, 2024


 Irony Protects

Irony protects. Hedge your bets. Half on black, half on not black. Half of someone else’s on red. Once the ball falls into its slot you find yourself laughing at the obvious falsity of the situation while secretly hoping it all turns out to be true. Wink Wink. Right back at ya. Surround yourself with the kind of people who are apt to say things like yeah man I get what you really mean even when you say something most suggestive of the complete opposite. They're the ones who are always listening. The ones who. Sometimes all you need is one. But you don’t make things easy for them. You could be a little better! Was it the end of the world when they saw you at your worst? Which was every time you did the thing they half-expected. Damn straight. I do what I want, not what I feel. The moment you start laughing is when they all begin to cry.




Today’s challenge: You have been assigned the task of writing poems that only one other person will ever really get. There are no rules or limits on how you go about achieving this object. Whether the rest of the world just doesn’t understand your maudlin gibberish or they do and are actively hunting for it, the meaning, and each time you have to try to figure out a new way to hide it in plain sight from all of them is beside the point. The point is, only one person ever really gets it. Either way, each one has to be more esoterically obscure than the last. An almost mystical kind of insolence. Square roots of imaginary numbers. The shape described by the third generation integration of a three dimensional function The corresponding colors to all terms for human emotion. Boot camp for the aspirationally lost and forlorn. It’s a game you know you can only lose. And so your art deepens and matures.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024


 The New Poet

The new poet seems to have nailed it

Saw something I never thought to consider

It isn’t jealousy so much as 

A thorn pricked mourning 

As if I’d been tricked 

Into attending my own funeral

While he sits close and holds her hand 

I’m way in the back

Hidden in the shadows of an old elm tree 

Her eyes remain veiled

And her body lulls as still as morning grass 

So I never know if she cries

Nor can I hear the verses he whispers

Just before they rise to go



 The Death of the Poet

The ear gets better

While the heart 


The door gets wider

While the hall light


Certainty swells

While wonder


Every gentle nuance 

Gets added to a  giant pile of 


The thin glass through which you see

The world is starting to show it’s


I no longer require the services

Of a Colt revolver, someone just fetch me a


Any stumbled upon bon mot

Is only a case of lucky


Staring into the black abyss

Is no longer just the price but a built-in sales


The white swan displays herself 

But you refuse to look until it


The words become notes

To an old piano song

Played over and over again

Until it dies the death

Of a thousand tiny




 Big Sky

The sky isn't really blue

It’s just the brain filtering out

Insignificant scatterings 

Of heavenly light

But the mornings and evenings

Really are marbled in color

It’s never in doubt 

We have to stop

What we’re doing and stare—

Too much fire, yellow and purple

For any sensorium to reject.

What we know as the beautiful

Is nothing other that what

We see when a thing 

Of this world is fully revealed

Keats being right 

By the amber light

Of the hotel bar

Just before last call

But we remind ourselves

That it was just another sunset

Swallowed by the hunger of night 

Another sunrise 

Brushed like chalk dust

From the edge of the earth

A threshold below which

We simply stop seeing

Frequencies too weak to matter 

Because there is work to be done 

And no time for distractions

Carrying out plans and duties 

Of the person we decided to become.

But I remember everything true—

That flash of truth and beauty

When all your colors came out 

Like it was autumn evening

And we were the harvest.

If I squint I can see them still,

Hiding in the vast canvas

Of big sky