Monday, May 20, 2019


Beauty is skin deep (miles deep in her)
misogyny is men deep,
but she was a bartender
and while many men
are enough to make your flesh creep,
she can take it
stocking the bar, while ugly old men sleep.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Get off your sneeze

I was so tired from hundreds of miles
of driving myself through the dark
that when I saw the rest stop
I couldn’t turn the steering wheel anymore
so I just leaned to the right and the car rolled in.

Right up to an 18-wheeler, and a truck driver’s legs
dangling out of the cab; she was smoking long cigarettes,
they looked like Benson & Hedges. If they’re still selling those.

“You come a long way?” the driver asked, but she didn’t say baby.
“You look worn down.”

“No, wide awake,” I said, “bright as a bunny, and excited about
driving somewhere, especially this somewhere, where I’m going,
 but ... there’s such, um ...”

She pulled up the visor of her Dixie Chicks cap, and smiled
bright white in the dark, bright even with one missing tooth. “Uniformity?”

“Yes, exactly. McDonald’s and gas pumps that talk to you
about nothing and Burger King and billboards about Jesus or
affordable funeral plans or HVAC services/layaway plans or free Coke
with a fill up and the dull same thing stuff people say to each other
every morning and night that they think is love and life,
and then there’s another McDonald’s and another Starbucks
with the same seating arrangement inside and the same scripted greeting ...”

“Wow! How long you been out here driving?” she laughed, blowing smoke.

“Yeah, I know,” I calmed down, “I get a little wound up. Plus,
I’m a Scorpio, so watch out.”

“Ah, I’m another one, don’t worry about it. But I hear you. And there is
a solution. You’re not trapped in that uniformity anymore than I was.
Pretty easy, really. You just make a decision.”

“To do what?

“Get out. With your body and soul. Especially your mind. Changed.
Once you just decide, then that’s it, and the rest is easy, even when
it gets hard. Because a lot of people will resist you changing,
and pull down hard on ya.”

I bummed one of her long cigarettes. But it wasn’t a Benson & Hedges.
It was long and rolled rough. And it didn’t have a filter. Pretty soon,
I wouldn’t either.

“But decide and stick with it. Everything gets real clear and you get real brave.
Big shot of energy, and it keeps coming. Just make your decision.
It can be something hard you’ve gotta do, like trying to learn how to play
Mozart’s Requiem Mass on a guitar. But once you decide to, who’s
gonna stop you? Not Mozart, that’s for sure. He was probably like us.”

She looked brave when she said all this.
I admired her for it, and it was catching;
I was beginning to feel braver, too.

As we stood there bravely looking at each other
with trucks blowing by on the 70 doing at least 80,
I made a decision.

Meanwhile, she sneezed right out of the blue,
one of the most completely satisfying sneezes
I’d ever heard or watched. She was laughing and blinking
and gasping for breath, trying to recover.

“Shall we have a cigarette, after that?”
I asked, passing mine over. “After that sneeze of yours?”

“Sure,” she smiled. “Then, you just get on your way.”

Thursday, May 9, 2019

All that at the same time

L ust destroys Jesus 
sav es, said the sign in Paducah, Kentucky.

I have a feeling that friendly,
open-minded Jesus
wouldn’t object to a little of all of that
at the same time.

It’s certainly what I’m looking for. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The orphanage by the sea

I just drove down here from New York City
couldn’t get the time of day from my family
at that little family reunion, and may I tell you something?
I didn’t really want the whole watch, just the time.

So here I am at this friendly but seedy but clean
seaside motel at Virginia Beach, checking in for the night
or maybe longer. Probably longer, even my car
is giving me dirty looks.

Next, without even changing out of my highway Levis
or the sun to come up,
I’ll go jump in the ocean and float;
it’ll be so soothing to my
better but battered back
and soul.

After that, I’ll come back in here and get online,
I see they have a complimentary lobby computer
so old, the plastic so yellow, I can’t believe they still have it
or that I’m so behind the times that I need it,
and I’ll listen to John Denver all night.

For sweetness
for light
for life
for love
for possibilities
west of here
in a new family

I really will, don’t worry about me.
But first, the Atlantic Ocean.

All those family albums gone
all that scotch tape come undone
out with the tide.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Elevator music

A lonely rainy day—
no real reason to be lonely
except for some stuff that happened
a long time ago, back when I was
from one to four feet tall—
I walked inside the hotel elevator.

It was a new hotel so naturally
I wanted to go up and
see the view from the top.

I stepped in alone and was enveloped
in perfume; a smell so wet and thick
I couldn’t see through it, couldn’t find
the lighted row of floor buttons to push; I inhaled
this enveloping perfume
that was mailing me somewhere else.

The elevator door closed.

I oozed through the aroma, it was wetting me down,
weighing me down, filling me up, found
the buttons, and pushed

I wasn’t really in the elevator anymore
not in the hotel anymore
not lonely anymore
nor four feet tall.

I began to speak, right out loud—

Who was she? Where is she?
Oh, boy ... all the people we’ll never meet
or get to know. 

The elevator wasn’t talking.
But when it got to the roof,
it had the instinct to reverse direction
and blink off the floors
one at a time
back down to the

Friday, January 25, 2019

Haiku this poem to Cuba

So, no one needs me
Christmas Tree Past, tinsel still flashing; 
But I sure am fun! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A pine tree (not a pining one) advises—

Me, walking through the woods last night
heavy with tragedy
(me, not the woods)
came to a pine tree, heavy with snow.

It leant down, branch first, asked:
“What’s the matter?”

“It’s sad,” I said, “when a woman you love
falls in love—really loves—someone else.
Don’t you think?”



“You love her, yes?”

Oh yes, I said to the pine tree, wanting to climb it.
Or someone.

“Then you care about her, how her happiness goes.”





“Ok, I see that. You’re right. Wait a minute—
I think I’m having a realization.”

“Alright, stranger. I’ll stand here and be quiet. I won’t
needle you.”

“Wow! You are right! And I do love her, so ... ”

“Good. Now. It’s time you got out of these woods.
Do you see that merry red glow over on the horizon?”

I saw it.

“Time for you to get back to town.”