...

...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Darth Vader

Darth Vader carries his own
beach umbrella;
a pair of Imperial Storm Troopers
in Hawaiian shirts
carry Darth Vader’s cooler
and his jug of margaritas.

Darth Vader is angry -
The Wicked Witch of the West
got a Tony-award winning musical
and was the toast of Broadway,
 -so why not him?

Darth Vader is sad
because all the movies
about his formative years
got Golden Razzies.

An article on the internet
claims the Death Star
was not energy efficient;
that annoys Darth Vader
because he spent
6 billion Imperial Credits
installing solar panels.

Darth Vader wants to friend you
on Facebook.
Darth Vader has 3,657 followers
on Facebook,
and most of them
scare him a little.

For Halloween, Darth Vader
dresses up as Darth Vader.
For Christmas, Darth Vader
dresses up as Darth Vader.

Darth Vader and Han Solo
once spent a romantic weekend
in Mos Eisley together,
but neither of them
will ever talk about it.

Darth Vader wishes
his kids would call more often.

Darth Vader is taking a course
in Mindfulness Training.

Darth Vader cried
when Mr. Spock died.

Darth Vader considered
giving up drinking
after he realised
he had no memory whatsoever
of blowing up Alderaan.

Darth Vader sends Carrie Fisher
a Christmas Card every year.

Darth Vader thinks Eddie Izzard
is da bomb.

Darth Vader would like you to know
that George Lucas
took a lot of liberties
with his storyline.

Darth Vader and George Lucas
 are no longer speaking.

Despite what you may have heard,
Darth Vader is alive and well
and living in retirement community
on Tatooine.

Darth Vader likes to walk
in the desert at night
and look up at the stars.

Darth Vader would like to say
he is sorry-
but Darth Vader
does not make apologies.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Plant Sale-

First plant sale of the spring-
bright boxes bursting with blooms-
marigolds, petunias, zinnias, snapdragons;
six-paks of hope all competing
to see who I will take home
and kill with neglect first-

Pots of sprouting hosta,
from your backyard to mine;
breakfast for your deer last year,
a midnight snack for my deer this year.

Pots of raspberry and blackberry canes-
so much potential,
so much neediness
in a black plastic container:
prune me-
thin me-
weed me-
take the Japanese beetles off my leaves-

then sprint out in the blazing sun
on the hottest day of July
to find that the blue jays
harvested the fruits of all your labors.

Flats of tomato plants-
fresh dark green already smelling
of earth and deliciousness-
and blight
and aphids
and yellow jacket nests burrowed
into the ground at their roots.

Perhaps it is time
to sit in the shade
with a lemonade
to plan my first
farm stand visit of the spring.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Morning Internet

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry
are having a feud-
the internet told me that this morning,
so it must be true.

and important.

on the other hand-
my cat doesn’t care,
so why should I?

The web exploded this morning
with uncountable, serious, informed
discussions and analyses
of the final episode of Mad Men.

I tried discussing that with my cat,
but she just yawned,
and mewed for her breakfast.

Bikers in Texas
are shooting each other-

Florida is slowly submerging
while her governor grins-

A 16th Bible-thumping Republican
is running for President-

What late-night tv host
will I go to bed before watching
now that David Letterman is retiring?

I tried to interest my cat
with all these important questions
but she just curled up on my desk
and went to sleep.

I may do that as well,
as I learn to appreciate her approach
to the Monday morning internet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Posterity

I picked up a flier the other day-
after you die there’s this company that
will take your ashes and use them
as fertilizer when they plant a tree-
it’s the ultimate recycling;
a vegan’s dream:
“Hey- after I die,
I’m gonna get eaten by a tree”.

I called and I asked,
“Can I chose the kind of tree that will eat me?”
We were seriously discussing
the benefits of being eaten by a pine
versus an oak or weeping willow
or honeylocust
when my wife walked in,
and I realised,
this conversation sounds a little odd-

I asked the man-
Hey man, what if I don’t swing that way?
What if I want to be eaten by   -a hedge?

“We don’t do hedges,”
the man said,
“that’s just weird”.

They say you are what you eat-
Does that mean that years later,
when the tree that ate me is grown,

and shedding leaves one autumn
and young Johnny Turner,
grown grey and old and achy now,
when he swears at the fucking leaves
all over his lawn-
will he be swearing at me?

Will I be responsible for putting up
all those squirrels for the winter?
Will robins celebrate the first day of Spring
by shitting on me?

What if the crows don’t like me?
I’ve had some issues with crows,
scientists say they have long memories,
and you know crows-
they’re very judgmental.

Then one day the city arborist
will gaze at my tree sadly,
inspect its age-wrecked limbs
and broken crown-
 - he’ll check that box
on the form that says-
“Recommended for Removal”
then rev up his chainsaw-

What then?
From man,
to tree,
from tree,
to the fire?
Ashes to ashes?
Dust to dust?
But we don’t burn anymore,
we chip-
will my wood chips
get made into paper,
and the paper be used to print a flyer-
to put on somebody’s car,
to tell them
Hey- you can get eaten
by a tree!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Golden

Early morning,
before my brain begins to work,
(process - edit - manage - filter)
is my golden writing time
when my mind is crystal clear

- free -

When the sun breaks over the windowsill
I can feel the moment growing shorter;
golden light erases golden focus
-don’t throw light into my brain;
it makes the shadows stark;
dark;

- gone -

auto-correct wins
every time.

but tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Road Trip

They told us that the road to Fame
went through Maine that Friday night-
so the band ended up in New Hampshire.

I was the roadie for a pack of Boston rockers
who worked at liquor stores and copy centers between gigs.
The only band member who owned a car
was the drummer, and we named his
1978 Chevy Impala station wagon “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

Our bassist worked in a screen-printing shop
and supplied all the weed we could smoke for our road trips;
we never worried about the cops-
sure, they noticed us,
but a gold station wagon
with its back bumper duct-taped in place,
red and blue lightning bolts spray-painted
on the doors and the hood-
that may be the sort of car you do drugs in,
but it’s not the sort of car you haul drugs in.
We got laughed at a lot-
but never stopped.

I wish they would have stopped us that night,
just to ask us where the Hell we thought we were going,
because we had no idea.
Our lead singer was the navigator;
to him one interstate looked pretty much
like every other interstate;
in those days before GPS,
before the small talking box on the dashboard
which we would name GiGi
who would tell us exactly where we should go-
all we knew was that
the interstates tagged “Ninety-three”
and “Ninety-five”
both began with “N”,
and North begins with “N”,
and Maine is north of Boston, so-
 how much difference could it make?

The Friday night lights in
1980s Concord, New Hampshire
did not exactly rock, at least not for us-
the bar we were aiming for was in Portland, Maine.
But if you hang a sharp right in Concord
and head east,
across Granite State hill and dale,
twilight-wending
on roads with names but no numbers,
past farm and lake and bar and diner,
you will eventually

   (inevitably)

hit the Atlantic ocean.

Turn left then and head north again,
taking care to stop short of Canada.
If you hit Canada you’ve gone too far.
We did not hit Canada,
not that night, anyway.

It’s a hard fact of rock and roll roadie life
that when you and the band arrive at the bar
in Portland two hours late
that’s always the night,
(and the bar)
where the booking manager went on a bender-
  - hit the bar owner
  - hit the road
last Saturday night.

Nobody knew we were late
because nobody knew we were coming.

The manager took the amps and mics
with him when he left,
not that it mattered,
because the owner and the band
and three drunk college co-eds
were the only ones in the bar anyway.

So we bought everyone a round and a pizza,
played some pool and pinball with the co-eds
(one of whom looked startlingly
like Catherine Zetas Jones)
and called it a night,
starting out on the long drive south
on Interstate 95.
-That’s when the trip really went south;
we didn’t stop to realize it at the time,
but just as interstate 93 north
does not go to Portland, Maine,
Interstate 95 South
does not actually go to Boston-

but that’s a poem for another night.



Friday, April 03, 2015

Time bomb-

tick- tick- tick-
The Time bomb seconds count away.
tick- tick- tick-
The only explosives here are the seconds themselves
tick- tick- tick-
They count down in the clock on my computer
tick- tick- tick-
(Twelve minutes until the cats’ breakfast)
tick- tick- tick-
They lurk on the microwave clock
trick- tick- tick-
(7:24, six minutes left to get through Facebook)
tick- tick- tick-
Seconds pound away on the face of my phone
tick- tick- tick-
They peer out accusingly from the cable box
tick- tick- tick-
They hover eternally in the upper right corner of my iPad
tick- tick- tick-

Please do not tell me you lost track of the time-
There are no words for that in my language.




Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

If Wishes-

I want to get so drunk on rhyme
that I pee on Emily Dickinson’s flower garden,
and then I’ll stagger across the lawn
and have a croquet-mallet fight
with her brother, Austin,
when we disagree about
whether his lover, Mabel Loomis Todd,
did a good job editing Emily’s poetry.

I want to become so inflamed with poetic passion
that I punch Charles Bukowski in the nose.
It will be at one of those
public poetry readings which he hated so much
that he always got drunk halfway through,
and after I help him up off the floor
we’ll take some beers
and a basket of ham sandwiches
and eat them together
in a grimy Los Angeles parking lot.

I want my brain to become so addled with metaphors
that I go up to New Hampshire
and challenge Robert Frost to a fence painting contest,
and then I’ll break into his barn
and steal his damn horse
and race it down both paths
in the yellow wood.

I want to have hot poet sex
with Edna St. Vincent Millay
on the floor of T.S. Elliot’s kitchen,
and then Dorothy Parker will
write an indecent limerick about it
which they’ll refuse to print
in the New Yorker.

I want to madden myself with verse so utterly
that I stand,
naked and hysterical,
in a Walmart parking lot
with Allen Ginsberg,
and we howl and howl
and howl and howl
and howl.

I want to become so stupefied with stanzas
that I collapse in the grass with Walt Whitman
and we will sit there all day in the dooryard
counting lilacs,
and I’ll write songs to myself,
sort of like this one,
and then Jack Kerouac will call both of us
“damned hippies”,
and then he’ll take us to a bar
and buy us a few rounds
and then I’ll wake up,
and I’ll wonder-

what's wrong with people
who think poetry is boring?



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bargaining-

Books tell us that the basic difference
between me and my cat
is my greater cranial capacity,
and an opposable thumb-
but that’s science;
the important difference is that
I make deals with the Universe.

It may seem silly to believe
that if I use a certain spoon
to stir my coffee every morning
during baseball season
the Universe will help the Sox win-
but it’s worked so far,
at least some of the time...

Some people may call that ‘Superstition’,
or obsessive, or neurotic;
I call it Playing it Safe.

Looked at logically,
making it through my day
may not be directly related to
how I butter my toast-
but try telling that to the tiny voice
lurking deep down inside
which tells me that the Universe
will punish my failure
to follow its often arbitrary rules
by making bad things happen.

Sometimes the Universe is very specific-
Going around the left side
of the dining room table
when entering the room,
and always passing to its right
when I leave
may look a little silly-
especially if I forget
and have to re-trace my steps,
but it’s what the Universe says I must do
to keep my 18-year old diabetic cat alive.

Usually the Universe and I
make more general bargains-
For instance,
I know in what order
it wants me to open the tabs
on my internet browser every morning,
and I go along with that,
so that it doesn’t punish me,
so that it doesn’t hurt those I love,
so that it doesn’t
take them away from me.

And I don’t have to worry
that I’ll miss something,
because the Universe
is always there to grab my hand
and say, “Wait- you know
that if you put the spoons away
before the forks,
something bad will happen”.

Cats can’t make those deals
with the Universe, but I can,
and that’s what makes me human.
And if I keep up
my end of the bargain,
it keeps me safe.  

For now-



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snow Love-

Poetry does not help me love the snow.
It helps me love the ‘concept’ of snow-
It helps me appreciate the metaphor of snow-
the blanket of innocence-
the pure white new morning-

or whatever.

Poetry or not, the snow
has still got to be shoveled.
And there’s a metaphor
to be found there as well.
Shoveling the s---.

And while shoveling I begin to contemplate
the subtle, eternal question
a new snow brings-
is snow really innocent?
Or is snow simply cloud shit?

Is that blanket of stillness
which cocoons the fields and woods,
enveloping all sound,
really just there to cover over
the wake-up farts of sleepy bears?

That’s not a question
Robert Frost would have asked-
but then again,
he had a hired hand
to shovel for him.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Explain-

She watered her anguish
with tears, and kept it fresh.
Repressed memories
no longer repressed
had given soil to the seed.
Late-night nightmares
she’d wake screaming
and sweating from,
were finally explained-
but not really.
Explain it?
No, not easily.

When the one who was
supposed to love her
took his own hatreds
out on her instead,
and hurt her
hurt her
hurt her so deeply-
 she buried it,
planting the seed so deep
it took years to sprout-
explain, she thought.
Please.

Strangers nurtured the seedling.
Sidewalk catcalls,
groping hands on
the bus and subway,
lunchtime leers-
flashbacks provided
fertilizer for pain.

Broken trust,
Broken bonds-
explain, please.
For god’s sake,
she would silently cry-
explain.

please.

She could not.
Explaining would hurt
more than remembering,
but she watered her anguish
with tears,
keeping it fresh,
turning it inward,
turning it into hatred,
insulated and private
so it would not taint
her own daughter,
would not frost
tender leaves,
would not transplant itself.
She prayed every night-
God, let it end here.
Please.






Monday, February 02, 2015

Snow day

It is a Big Bad Poetic Day out there-
the air is alive with syncopated syntax.
Oh, wait- that’s snow.
Blowing sideways.
Back to bed.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Gifts-

For as long as she could remember,
she had feared the Easter Bunny.
Santa was also suspect.
Experience had taught her that
no adult ever gave her something
without asking far too much in return.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Voyeurs-

Read the sad poems,
they demanded-
bludgeon us with your words;
fist-fuck our tender ears,
give us adverb-strewn images
that blast the luster
off our eyes.
We can take it.
We want it.

I’d rather not, I said.
I have some newer
Nature poems here for you-

God damn it,
they yelled-
we want to revel in
your silent screams,
make us sob and moan
as you surrender hope.
We want to drink it in
like beer;
gulp it down
and savor it.

All right, I said. I’m  poet-
I always carry a little
venom and angst in my pocket.

So I spit it all out,
stinking and sour,
and they drank it all in.

And the next morning
the bar floor was stained
with the puked-up remains
of experience-envy,
gone bad from getting
what it thought it wanted.
Or maybe it was just
the logical result of too many
beers and vodka jello shooters.
It was, after all,
a college town.