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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bones-

Life is that clock
looming on the wall.

Seconds tick by
tick tick tick
the minute hand
swoops forward,
hours add up-
morning,
noontime,
afternoon,
dusk-
nightfall.

In the morning of my life
I tied balloons
to my head
and danced in the snow
on the hottest day in July.

In the noontime of my life
I swallowed
lightning strikes,
farted them out as crocuses
and burped booming thunder.

I still want to believe
six impossible things
before breakfast,
but in the afternoon
it’s harder.

For the afternoon hours
I feel the possessiveness
of the mother bear
with her new cubs.

In the afternoon I just want 
to write words that let me
burrow like a mole
and feel the honest earth
on my nose.

In the afternoon of life
dreams and bones
break more easily,
so you hold them closer.

As the afternoon sun
beats down
I still want dreams
and crocus farts-
but I need explanations.

Somebody please
explain to me
why all bones
crack under pressure-
but society only cares
about some of them.
morning, noon or night-
bones are bones, son.

As the progressing hours
bring more questions
than answers
I want to feel more
than the easy emotions I get
from sad, angry songs
on the radio;

Yet I still want to sit
on the porch
and sing along with Iris Dement,
watching lightning bugs fly
with tears in our eyes-

Those tears fall to the ground
and water seedlings
that become flowers
and stinging nettles;
we place them
on our heads
like crowns
and eventually somebody
in the morning of life
will gently lay them
on our graves.



Sunday, July 05, 2015

Tough Love

that poem was nothing
but trouble;
-the rose bush that
wouldn’t bloom;
-the puppy who refused
to stop piddling
on the carpet;
-that godamned haiku
that insisted
on having 18 syllables.

you can’t lock a puppy
or a rose bush
in a drawer,
but I got smart-
I stuffed the poem
in there.

walked away for a week;
then another.
and a day more
just to be sure.

then I took it out
and opened it up
like a flower petal,
and the words
that refused to work before
were suddenly pliant
under my fingers;
my lovers’ touch
fondled them
and they fell into place.

a moment
of satisfaction.

then I walked away
for another day

just to be sure.





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.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Days-

The squirrels get no snow day-
just ask the cats.
They get no snow day either-
there’s a full day’s work for them
whiskers pressed to the window
watching the squirrels dig
for the birdseed
that fell from the feeders;
no snow day for the birds either,
between huffling their feathers up
against the wind and snow
and bickering with each other
and screaming at the squirrels.

No snow day for the chipmunk
who darts in and out when
neither squirrel nor bird is looking;
a snow day for the hawk, evidently,
who has forgone this magnificent
buffet of fur and feathers
to brood high in his skeleton tree,
watching the party below
with supreme disdain.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ghosts

my amazing technicolor ghost
always told me it loved me
before it hurt me.

people say ghosts
are monochrome,
two dimensional,
dark, or light.

mine had colors,
multiple dimensions,
it was dark, then bright.

it told me it was proud of me,
and then it screamed
I should be ashamed;

I could not imagine ever leaving,
and the next moment
I was fleeing for my life.

my amazing technicolor ghost
is dead now-
except it lives in me.

it speaks to my kids
through my lips;
loves them,
then hurts them,
chilling my heart.

my amazing technicolor ghost
always told me it loved me-
before it hurt me.

Friday, January 23, 2015

In the Footsteps of Captain Scott

I would sell my soul for some heat.
I was told that cold is the absence of warmth,
but that does not even begin to describe
the slicing polar blast that reaches in
and drags my lungs right out of my body,
smashes them, and leaves the splinters
bobbing in the ice-current with the ‘bergs.

I would sell my soul for a candle flame
to pierce the Antarctic night
and cast a shadow on the glacier wall
and heat my last remaining fingers,
grown sullen and crabbed and cracked
with an unbreakable skin of frost,
milky white like a baby’s skin,
but scraped clean of all innocence.

I would sell my soul for the kerosene
that ran out three days ago;
lamps and stove we have,
but nothing but hopes
to burn in them;
and the hope froze solid
the same way Dan and Tristan did;
Unblinking eyes wide open
this dark polar morning.

I would sell my soul for a match
to burn those damned ship’s papers
I signed that got me into this place.
Glory for King and country, they said,
a grand adventure, and
three hot, square meals a day.
Fuck their glory and adventure,
and fuck their damned king,
I’d sell my soul for one last hot meal.

But the hot meals ran out the
same day the dogs did;
roast husky isn’t mutton,
but at the bottom of the world
you can’t pick and chose like a toff
at some fancy London restaurant.

I would sell my soul for the roaring fire
of my mother’s cottage in Donegal
and the musty smell of sheep, 
another chance to lie on the green grass;
Lord, I thought the winters there
were cold and uncomfortable;
what a fucking fool I was.

I would sell my soul for London gaslight,
the flickering iron-perched torches
of the sordid, grimy East End,
the warm caress
of the brown-eyed bar maid
serving more than beer,
though the useful part of my anatomy
is frozen too solid now
to ever again be of much use to her.

I would sell my soul for some heat.
I was told that cold is the absence of warmth
but that does not even begin
to describe the slicing polar cold
that reaches in and drags your soul
right out of your body
and leaves you gasping,
grasping for death,
warm death,
my final savior.








Thursday, January 22, 2015

Words Fuck

Words fuck.
That’s something they didn’t tell you
in high school English class-
word copulation is a touchy subject.
Your teachers knew, but didn’t share,
that Romeo and Juliet were not
the only ones getting it on
on that page.

Most words are discreet about it-
at first glance the sentences and
paragraphs appear innocent enough,
but then suddenly you see it-
“Oh my- Look what those adjectives
are doing with that noun-
...and the noun
seems to be enjoying it.”

Words get randy-
don’t ever doubt that.
There is a reason that
adverbs come boxed
with each one in its own
little cellophane wrapper.
There is no such thing
as two adverbs,
and just what did you suppose
that participle was dangling?

But before we get all offended,
and start banning things,
and passing laws,
remember- it’s all
completely natural.
Words fucking gave us
some of our greatest literature.
So leave them alone-
it’s what God,
and Webster,
intended.




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This is the House That Jack Built

Jack was a carpenter.
Born in Italy,
he came to America in 1910,
and for twenty years
he built waterfront vacation houses
on Cape Ann for wealthy Bostonians.
He died of a stroke on his 46th birthday,
and all that’s left of him are a few houses
and a fading black & white photograph
in a box in an attic in Marblehead.

Jack was a cook.
Born in Pennsylvania, he served
with the 28th Infantry Division
during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2,
and all through that battle he never heard
the roar of bullets and bombs,
only the clatter of pots and pans.
And even though as the years went by
his friends all told him-
"Don't worry about it!
Napoleon said an army travels
on its stomach”,
he always felt guilty
and a little embarrassed,
and would never talk about
what he did in the war
as he sat on his barstool at the VFW.

Jackie grew up on a farm
in western Massachusetts.
She and her husband Peter
ran a greenhouse
in Brattleboro, Vermont
where they raised orchids
for upscale florists and hotels
in New York City.
The day that Peter died of a heroin overdose
Jackie sat alone in the greenhouse
all afternoon,
listening to water drip from the pipes,
and then she got up,
and went back to packing boxes of flowers.

Jack was a truck driver
from New Hampshire.
He drove tankers
filled with unknown chemicals
around New England for thirty years,
and then his hair and toenails
started falling out,
he had trouble breathing,
and he died in a small motel room
in Nashua, New Hampshire,
surrounded by no one.

Jackie was a waitress from Queens.
She waited tables every night
at a fancy French restaurant in Manhattan,
and three times a week
the maitre d’ would bend her over a box
in the walk-in freezer
and screw her,
and she never said anything,
because she was determined
that she was going to put
her two kids through college.

Jack was a firefighter from Boston.
He rode the hook and ladder truck
for twenty-two years,
and he played the dog races in Revere
every weekend,
and raised four kids,
and 15 grandkids,
and never regretted anything.

Jack was a sanitation worker
from New Jersey; he hauled
barrels of trash in Hoboken,
and every night he went back,
alone, to his one-bedroom,
walk-up apartment
and wrote poetry and short stories.
The day after he died
the landlord took it all,
and stuffed it into plastic bags
and put the bags out on the curb
for the trash men.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ashes to Ashes-

I have a blank sheet
of virtual paper-
and a virtually blank mind.
It’s not that nothing is in there
(though, sometimes, I wonder)
it’s that nothing that is in there
wants to come out.
Or perhaps there are things in there
that I am not so sure
I want to see come out.
Things that could come out,
but then I’d have
to own up to them,
confront them,
deal with them.

And today seems
an especially bad day for that.
As was yesterday,
as will be tomorrow.

So it is not so much
Writer’s Block,
as Writer’s Lock-
I locked those things up years ago.
Months ago.
Weeks ago.
Days ago.
Hours ago.

And words are the key
that will unleash them.

No wonder words
 are so feared-
No wonder they burn books,
and the writers of books.
No wonder Silence
is said to be Golden.
Illusions are gold,
and Reality is ash,
and it is unnerving
to sit in the middle of the fire.

















Monday, January 19, 2015

Bi-Poetics

Some poems live on the page,
the black type dancing
against the white paper
and setting the brain on end,
or lulling and mulling it
to a fine introspection,
like a brandy-induced pause
in front of a muttering fire.

Some poems live in the air
and merely crouch on the paper,
muscles tensed and taut,
biding time, hiding their power-
only springing to life
when they are spoken.
Shared aloud with an audience,
the words gambol and dance.

Some poems live both lives,
but they don’t like to talk about it-
The page-snobs sneer at them,
and the spoken word crowd
edge away a little bit,
if a poem admits to being bi-poetic.
But if it can stand the stigma,
poems that go both ways
have the most fun.



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just Say No To Reality-

Reality sucks!
and hey- it may not even be real.
Physicist Julian Barbour of Oxford University
has a new theory that the Big Bang
created a ‘mirror’ universe
that exists alongside this one,
and whatever happens here
happens in the opposite way there,
and backwards.

So screw Reality.
When somebody asks you,
“Is your term paper is done?”
or “Have you mailed that check?”
Just look at them and say-
“Oh, Sorry -was that due
in  - this - Reality?”

And answer me this,
Reality lovers-
If listening to Christmas carols
on my Pandora stream in July
is so at odds with Reality-
then why is July the middle
of the winter in Australia?

Truth is-  there is never
a bad time for a really cool scarf,
and if shoveling snow
in my sandals is wrong,
I don’t want to be right.
 - Having a full set
of fingers and toes after age 40
merely means you missed
some awesome opportunities.

If Reality declares that
my cat only puts up with me
because I am her sole source of kibbles;
 - and I probably won’t win 30 million dollars
in next week’s tri-state lottery drawing;
 - and the earth will eventually
become a fiery cinder;
 - Then who needs Reality?

Reality is an endless flight of stairs
that always goes upwards,
but never actually gets anywhere.
And Reality is full of dead people.
More and more every year.
None of us will ever take on Reality
and make it to the end of the film.

Did you ever meet anyone
who was firmly attached to Reality
and truly happy about it?
Ask any Chicago Cubs fan-
Reality bites.

So next time it knocks on your door-
just say “No” to Reality.
It’s ok- you won’t hurt its feelings.
Reality doesn’t have feelings.
That’s why it sucks.
Put on your sandals,
and join me in the snow-
because in that alternate universe-
it’s July and warm,
And none of our friends are dead.
And we just hit the fucking lottery.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The 21st century may be out to get me-

The 21st century may be out to get me-
I took a Buzzfeed quiz, and it told me
that if I was a poem,
I’d be the John Mortara poem
 ‘The Bullshit’.

My Autocorrect tells me
I am spelling autocorrect incorrectly.
It was pretty pissed-off about it.
When a computer program becomes
that self-aware and assertive,
I start to worry about its’ motives...

Last week Autocorrect changed
“enthusiasm” to “euthanasia”.
Then, when I was typing this poem,
it changed Buzzfeed to buzzsaw

Who’s paranoid now?

The 21st Century may be
trying to drive me insane.
Don’t get me wrong-
I love the 21st century,
but like that passive-aggressive lover
you can’t live with, and you can’t live without-
Parts of the 21st Century
are best dealt with
with the help of pharmaceuticals.

Ambien Dreams are the best dreams,
aren’t they?  Ever had one?
There are entire websites
devoted to Ambien Dreams...

In my Ambien Dream,
My Poetic Muse  looked
a lot like Katherine Zeta Jones,
in that Zorro movie-
She carried a long whip,
and a bag full of adverbs,
and she made me produce
 a tv game show for her 
called Wheel of Sonnets.

We were at a bar with Allen Ginsburg
and Jack Kerouac,
and they were arguing over who had
a better score on Goodreads.
I don’t know who won,
but Dorothy Parker was sitting in the corner
snapping photos of the fight to post on Flickr.

We got so drunk on words
that Charles Bukowski took me aside
and told me, “Man, you need an intervention”.

Emily Dickinson emailed that
she wasn’t going to be joining us
because she’d been up all night
streaming Beyonce videos.

I got instant messaged by Robert Frost-
he needed five synonyms for
“dickhead neighbors” that
the editors would allow in The New Yorker.

Edna St. Vincent Millay kept Skyping me -
Bukowski had been drunk texting her again.

I staggered out of the bar
and ran into Henry David Thoreau,
and he wanted me to watch a dozen videos
he’d posted on YouTube -
God help us, he has cats at the cabin now...

Edgar Allan Poe popped out of a manhole
with a Goth Groupie Gang-
and recited a poem about how
Goths love Depressive Men in Black-

I ran for my car, turned on the radio,
and Shel Silverstein was singing a song
- Dr. Seuss lied about the Grinch.
He never gave back the toys!
He was hunted down, beaten to death
and eaten by murderous, starving Whos.

I woke from my Ambien Dream
to find that I’d used my keyboard
to batter my monitor senseless.

The 21st Century may be
trying to drive me insane.
I love the 21st century-
But like that ear-worm song
that eats into your consciousness
I keep hearing Catherine Zeta Jones
reciting ‘The Raven’ over and over and over-
And I’m out of Ambien.













Friday, January 02, 2015

Writer's Block

If there is one single thing
writers like to write about
more than anything else-
it’s Writer’s Block.
And it is not true
that all writers get it.
Many writers do,
maybe most writers do-
but there are always a few
who never get it,
and sometimes,
after reading what they write,
you dearly wish they would.


Entire forests have been
swept from the earth
to provide the paper
for books and articles
about dealing with Writer’s Block,
written by writers
who’ve obviously never had it.

And, like cures for the hiccups
or avoiding the common cold,
all writers have advice
they freely give to others
about how to avoid it.
Advice which,
in the vast majority of cases,
they never actually
follow themselves.

Picture prompts,
word prompts,
dictionary exercises,
long walks,
short walks,
showers, enemas, and
whiskey are all solutions
of one sort or another
that pale with time
and unsuccessful repetition.

There are a number
of innovative and exciting cures
I am very fond of,
at least in the third-person-
“I have a friend who repeatedly
hit himself on the head with a Thesaurus”
is one I especially like,
not because it sounds as if it might work,
but at least that poet
was taking definitive action.

My own solution is
to sit down at my computer-
draw the window blinds-
lock out the cats-
turn off the radio-
sit in complete silence,
before the blank page-
and then slowly,
methodically,
with great mindfulness
and intention-
type over and
over-

Poet, Heal Thyself.
Poet, Heal Thyself.
Poet, Heal Thyself.
Poet, Heal Thyself.
Poet, Heal thyself.
Poet, heal thyself.
poet, heal thyself.
poet heal thyself.

and then i go
play in the snow
and leave the page
for another day.