Sunday, June 17, 2018



Poetry makes nothing happen
other than making our tongues
wag at one another and our
brains send words to our limbs
to suggest a proper hand gesture
to underscore a swift lyric response
and to undercut the boogeyman
peeking around the corner
of the door frame
because one of us started humming
a light and sprite tune
when the slim collection
was closed by two calm hands
and all came to rest
sweetly in the lap.

Poetry makes nothing change
except the key the music
is played in,
the time signature
that now follows the whim,
not the metronome,
the temperature
between the ears
that rises and falls
as the senses are engaged, inflamed
and then deflated,
poetry does nothing
except make the rooms we walk
into fit us a little better
than before the first stanza
was read, exclaimed, declared at length,
these verses do nothing at all
that wits alone can measure.

Poetry is a bouquet from
the angels or our better regard,
a sharp stone in every pair of shoes,
a lover's sigh,
a boss's grunt,
a wall of wet paint that dries too slow,
friends who understand
too quickly and
grasp not a word
you've said,
assuming of course,
something rhymed
or cursed with irregular
lines mattered enough
to stop the clock and arrest our attention
with handcuffs of wonder and what the fuck was that?,
Poetry makes nothing happen,
poetry is what happens,
and nothing ever happens around here.
Top of Form

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


I could sing all night
if the lights never changed
and if the radio played this song
again and again,
it’s a riff that rubs me
the right way in traffic
it’s a chorus making downtown
a party of long ribbons
and tap shoes,
the motor purrs and growls
with each keyboard grunt
and grunting guitar,
this car just rocks
when there’s no one I have to
return it to.

This is the curse of
owning things
that merely own you in exchange,
Cars, toasters, hand guns and
and magazines hug your
face with a deep kiss of need,
What I receive is nameless
and elusive, some music, some smoke,
dry ice vapors and a wallet that
floats away,
that’s how light it’s gotten,

Money is air, invisible but potent,
I owe money I’ve never seen
to people I’ve never met,
Like you, shuffling your debit cards
and saying prayers that don’t seem
to soar as high as interest rates
or blood pressure,
you should be dancing
for all the coin we owe,

This moment , right now,
on the street that vibrates
with orders on how to drive
when to cross and what to smoke
the thirty yards from the public entrance,
the world can stop and we perk our ears to
listen to an imagined needle scratching
the surface of percussive vinyl,

The bass line and the grunts of soul singers
are all the advice we need; they called decades ago
when we started to toss our cash out from
Wall Street Windows,

They advised
Do the jerk, baby,Do the jerk now!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


you'd be so nice
to walk away from
in a crowded piazza
that exists solely 
in imagination,
i can see it
anytime i want,
the crowds of small faces
and gesturing limbs
walking across the way
cathedral to cathedral,
toward the long decaying stairs
or to the fountain
tall and dry
with ruddy faced cherubs
grimacing when
love seems nothing
more than a match
in a room full of
very dry , brittle things,
and then, of course,
a large flock of
irritated pidgeons
taking flight,
flustered and fluttering
wings against
clouds the
color of old tools,
you on the bench
eating crackers and cheese
or maybe standing
as it begins to rain
and the crowd
gets thick about you
while you try to watch
me walk a line
to a vanishing point
on the horizon
between apartments
and gaudy government repairs,
yes , I would be walking
away toward a fate
obviously unplanned ,
trivial as a crossword clue,
meandering into
an anonymous history,
walking in uneven steps,
one leg longer than the other,
it begins to rain,
I won't look back,
yeah, that would be sweet.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


I talk so the birds
do not fall from the trees
and bruise their feathers
whatever the weather,

I sing so the bricks kiss the mortar
like the two were sealing a deal,
a conspiracy to grow old fall where they stand,
I dream so that you will love me
because you see my face
when I'm not looking at it
rehearsing a pose and stare
I think will send you to the stars,

I walk everywhere I go
to keep the earth spinning
where it belongs
with the other marbles,
making music that
is far from the center
yet near the heart
of wonderful things
nameless and unseen.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Oh! the world is a vulgar place where the words for beauty are matched with calamities of tongue , coarse and unloved.
So we sigh and watch the flowers die a day at a time, petals curled and brown, pistel and stamen bowing to the table, hanging from the vase like dry tongues swollen in thirsty gasps.
We raise our glass to the new born babe damp and mewling the same experimental complaints, we remain in awe and transported wonder and give ourselves to regrets that the tears go by too fast,
too soon our own words will indict us for each pipe dream and in seam come undone.
Ahhh...we will lurk longer at the lake and stare into the water after we’ve skipped a stone and toss off a cigarette, relieved the lines in the face looking back aren’t ours just yet. There is only enough time to invent all these phrases that sustain themselves and contain mystery that arises the harder we squint for a clearer view of the lines of our face,
our faces are terrains of over explored expectations, the lines are the ravines where the certain futures fell,
hands,arms, legs tremble, ache, drag along the walk way, each step gets a caress from a shoe heel that could not be lifted high enough against the minor gravity.


Sister wants to fight while Dad prefers to drive and smoke his cigarettes alone in the car,
Brother tells sister to stop telling him what do do,
it’s his tree and it’s branch and he’ll jump if he feels like and if gravity is kind,
Mom stares at the mixing bowl she filled with unwashed potatoes, thinking shit, all the ice has melted
Sister throws a rock at brother as he sits on the tree branch, swinging his legs back and forth.
The rock misses him and flies next door, crashing through the neighbor’s upstairs window. An old man comes to the window stares down at sister, who turns and runs into the house to find
Mom still considering the dirty potatoes in the mixing bowl.
Lighting his third cigarette with the push button lighter, Dad sings along with the advertising jingles on the radio and steers the car with one steady hand, the other one conducting a sudden outbreak of big band music from the speakers that is all but drowned out but a loud and frantic screech of tires.
Brother thinks about climbing down at last, thinking the dying of the light and the cry of sirens coming closer indicates that something’s amiss and someone is going to get yelled at.


We were in San Francisco standing on a steep, sloping corner outside an Italian Ice store, smoking a joint in the cold , cutting wind. It was a beautiful night otherwise, because down the hill you could see the lights of the downtown buildings form a bright crescent around the bay. It was night and it was lovely but I was slightly drunk and shivering in my sport coat, and the joint made nervous as an assassin’s cat. The famous poet who’d come to see our reading at New College asked me what I thought of Gang of Four and Lydia Lunch. My stammering blended brilliantly with the gust of wind that swept over us just then. I muttered something finally about Johnny Winter and turned to look at the skyline and the expanse of the black bay and the boat lights that dotted the surface with bobbing bursts of yellow and red. Save for the gusting bluster, the rest was silence.