Saturday, July 09, 2016


There is editing a poem to the point 
where it is concise & taught, 
with no extraneous matter- 

and there is editing a poem down to the point 
where it no longer makes sense- 

 Guess which has just occurred...

Friday, June 03, 2016

The Bunny Yawns

I’m going to form a Goth Punk Poet Slam team
called the Bunny Farts.
We’ll dress in black pleather jumpsuits
with pink bunny slippers
and recite Poe at random people
on street corners.

Then we’ll all memorize Rod Mckuen poems
and when people ask us why we’ll say-
“Can you imagine anything more terrifying
than 5 Goth Punk poets in black pleather jumpsuits
with pink bunny slippers
reciting Rod Mckuen at you?”

Then we’ll go to the National Poetry Slam
and they’ll be all like,
“you can’t compete because your team isn’t certified”
and we’ll tell them we don’t need no stupid certification-
we have pink bunny slippers
and they’ll say “Oh, ok, you’re right.”

And then we’ll say, “No, you’re right,
and we think competition is all Patriarchal anyway”,
and then they’ll say, “We want you to be the Ambassadors for Poetry,”
and we’ll say “Cool”, and give everybody pink bunny slippers,
and copies of ‘The Best Poems of Rod Mckuen"
that we’ve run through a paper shredder.

And then we’ll go to the White House
and the President will be all like, “Hey, it’s great to see you”
while he’s motioning to the Secret Service agents,
and then we’ll say, “don’t worry,
we won’t read any Rod McKuen at you,”

And then we’ll all laugh and he’ll order pizza,
and then Ruth Bader Ginsburg will ask if she can be
an honorary Bunny Farter, 
and of course we’ll say, “Yes”,
and give her a black pleather jumpsuit and pink bunny slippers,
and she’ll wear them for the rest of the year at the Supreme Court.

So that’s what I’m going to do for
National Poetry Month next year-
there are four spots open on the Bunny Farts,
if anyone wants to join me.

Monday, January 04, 2016


Being a poet sucks!
Normal people can use
those cute little internet emojis
to say ‘I’m happy’, or ‘I’m sad’;
Poets are expected
to be able to express our feelings
(often in orgasmic detail)
even when we don’t want to.

‘Poet, heal thyself!’
and, ‘You’re a poet,
Show, don’t tell’ -
those are great workshop lines,
but when what your feeling
scares and embarrasses you-
one of those cute little emoji’s
would come in really handy.

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I saw the Facebook post
about your move-
I’m so happy for you-
I’m so sad for me.

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I’m so glad that you have
moved forward,
I’m so glad that you have grown a little,
grown a lot,
gotten your shit together,
you fucking prick-
how could you leave me behind?
I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I wish you luck,
I wish you well,
I wish you fortune,
I wish you fame-
I wish you were still here with me
shoplifitng nip bottles of gin
from the corner packie
and getting wasted at the back
of the Walmart parking lot-
at age 52,
I’m too old
to do that shit alone.

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I am so glad you have
found your balance,
found your muse,
found your freedom
found other people
who don’t make you
feel bad about yourself-
what makes you think
you’re so fucking special-
come back here,
I’m not ready for you to be happy.

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I love you like a brother-
I hate you like a brother-
I never had any real brothers
there was only you and Tom and Alex-
and who knows where the fuck they are-
what’s a pseudo-family for
if not to be miserable together?

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of saying-

I am so glad you got help,
I am so glad you found your star,
found some tools,
found your way-
I am so glad you found a way
to deal with all the bullshit-

I wish I could use an emoji
instead of having to say-
You fucking prick-
how could you leave me here alone?
I don’t want to be alone-
alone scares me-
I scare me.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Life is that clock
looming on the wall.

Seconds tick by
tick tick tick
the minute hand
swoops forward,
hours add up-

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


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


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;

- 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,
on roads with names but no numbers,
past farm and lake and bar and diner,
you will eventually


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.

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?