Thursday, December 1, 2022


No Dutch Uncles, no mansplaining 

after midnight (at sunrise, or ever again) 



Change (especially internal) 

doesn’t only come down political hallways. 


Sometimes you have to go up high, over the hill, 

through the magical moonlit smoke 

up to where the coyotes are running. 


But not for office. 




Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Christopher Blue 


How I feel tonight is how I felt long ago, 

the night before going to school knowing the bullies 

were gonna get me behind the gym, and I couldn’t stop it. 


HOWEVER—that night long ago, I made a plan: 

come morning I’d lie to my mother (another bully) about 

going to school, then go off, play hooky. Everywhere. 


But don’t get me wrong; I’ve already bullied my way 

(fiercely, yet festively—in a shade of Christopher BLUE) 

into the voting booth and made my mark, way before 

heading off to higher ground. 



Saturday, November 19, 2022


Spinach for Popeye 


There’s a radio tower seen at night—blinking 

rhythmic red bulbs—for miles in all directions 

above 31st and Main Street in Kansas City, 

and below it one night we all piled out of a bar at 

a break between sets of music by They Might Be Giants. 


We smoked in the alley, the sun wasn’t down yet 

so I looked up into the steel tower and told them, 

these women and men pals of mine, that I could climb it; 

I pointed at the straight up ladder, they looked straight up. 


They didn’t go for it

thought it was the smoke talking 

laughed in a nice way, hugged me in a loving way, 

then went back into the bar for more independent music. 


The sun went down and I began to climb. 

The view got better and clearer, longer and farther, if 

at times colder, sometimes hotter, and I haven’t fallen off yet. 




Saturday, October 29, 2022

 Got my jeans on 


I woke up with a yellow splash of sunlight across my

chest, a blanket of blue sky across my 

lower regions; all by my loose and lonesome in bed. 


But all of a sudden, 

waking up—in more ways than one 

I was no longer going to be lonesome. 


I had, I think, one or two twenty dollar bills 

but I wanted Mozart, ABBA, the Clash, Sinead 

O’Connor, Chrissie Hynde, the Captain and Tennille, 

oysters on the half shell, and to fall all the way in love. 


I’d have it all before dark. 


I remember—and confess—that it was meager where 

I was that morning. There was my bouncy mattress, 

my clanging radiator, and my lonely beer refrigerator.  

But there was also that sun and blue for untold miles high, 

and suddenly I wanted nothing any meagerer. 


Bringing all of this just a little bit down to earth—

what we’re talking about here is six cassette tapes, 

dinner for two in a romantically low-lit restaurant, 

and finding one ravenous and rebellious kind of woman. 

My apartment lit up. I did too. I got my jeans on. 


My jeans walked to open the door of my now-not-lonely beer 

refrigerator, down the cigarette-smoky hallway stairs, 

skipping to the midtown village to Penny Lane Records. 

My cold can of early beer was happy history. 

I had my Irish newsboy cap on. The puffy one, on top.  


I got to the record store, I got in the record store, passing through 

the security wafers at the front door brimming with innocence, 

but checking them out nonetheless; there was a bright and busy woman 

by the cash register who said good morning! to me, she was very pretty; 

I made a mental (not to mention physical) note of it; then I swung

through the aisles, picking up Sinead, ABBA, Chrissie, the Clash, 

the Captain and Tennille, and proceeded thoughtfully, maybe studiously, 

probably obviously, over to the classical music aisle, for Mozart. 


A guy came in with a beard, a backpack, a beatific smile, 

and he began to glow as he walked to the woman 

at the cash box, asking her: where’s the feminist music section? 


Such perfect timing, this young man was my ideal cover, and 

I’d just about got the tapes in the back of my jeans, but then of course 

remembered (how could I forget) that that was why I’d worn my 

puffy Irish newsboy cap (the woman was so beautiful I almost forgot everything)

—the cap that was high, floppy, puffy, and roomy enough 

for the tapes to ride in, secretly high above the security wafers! 


I slipped the tapes in the hat, got my jeans on toward the front door.  


But the woman, within the young man’s earnest glow, 

listening to him halfway, was halfway watching me. 


I was walking toward the wafers, the door, Broadway

he was asking about Indigo Girls

she was watching me like she’d seen my movie before. 


But like she might lay low, 

get her some popcorn, and sneak into the next show. 


Within mere feet of the wafers my feet went cold but

my jeans (I’ll take credit) kept them moving, passing 

unalarmed through and outside to Broadway Boulevard.


The door to the record store swung open behind me; 

the woman running the store told the good-hearted guy

where Kate Bush was inside, which made me want 

to go back in and steal her too but my hat was full-up, 

plus the woman was behind me, I could tell by her heels. 


“I knew you were stealing,” she said, with a surprise of a smile 

that was so big, unafraid and without ending it made me feel 

like someone might finally love me all the way and without ending; 

this all sounds way over the top, but it was … that kind of a smile. 

“I knew you were going to steal the moment you walked in the door.” 


We both broke eye contact, reluctantly for sure, because 

there was something going on and we both knew it, but 

we needed to get a grip, regroup, even savor this—

so I looked north to the corner restaurant, she south to

the big city’s Plaza shopping and entertainment district. 


The Penny Lane record store hunkered in bricks behind 

us as if to say, hey, what about me? 


“And yet,” I broke the melting ice, 

“you’re looking at me like you seem 

to maybe like me.” “I do,” she said, 

melting both of the ice caps, so far away. 


“But why,” I continued, starting to swim, 

“when you’ve caught me at shoplifting? 

It’s true that I put on my bluest jeans 

this morning, but what else do you see?” 


“It’s not your Levis,” she said, but took a look at them anyway. 

“The crotch, um—the crux of the matter is that I see need, a little 

lack, but I see the inclination to do something about it. I see desire

I like it. It’s rare, of late. Even if you did just sneak off some tapes in your hat!” 


She bent over laughing, slapping her fishnet thigh, 

her hair falling crazy like wild out of her loose-bound bun, 

so I took off my cap and handed her back the cassettes. 


“Keep ‘em, but tell me, is it true what I say I see?” 


“It’s true, and I don’t want to go home. Will you go out to dinner 

with me tonight? I’d love some oysters on the half shell. 

I woke up wanting oysters, all this music, and to fall in love.” 


I was out of breath. “I like you,” I added. She took over. 


“I will definitely go out to dinner with you, thank you for asking, but I want us 

to go to Annie’s Santa Fe a few blocks down on the Plaza—Mexican food, 

maybe no oysters, and it will be my treat, since you’re stealing this morning, 

but about that, I’ll hire you at Penny Lane Records here behind me as my 

number two, if that doesn’t insult you as a guy, but I have a sense it don’t. Doesn’t.” 


It doesn’t. I’m not made like that, as a guy.” 


“I guess you could say that I was charmed by the spirit off your stealing.” 


“Thank you, but the stealing is now over.”

 

“I’m kind of sizing you up right now, I bet you stole 

just long enough to get in the spirit, so to speak. 

Anyway, that’s how it was for me. Hang on to that, I say.” 


“You too?” A window open, in her. I jumped in. 


“Hang on to the spirit, I mean. And yes, me too. I could 

see you coming a mile away. But, of course, I didn’t 

know you were going to steal more than just my music.” 


“I’d like to become gallant enough to take you to dinner.” 


“I’d love that, ask me again after your first payday under me, 

in two weeks time. I’d like to kiss you now, please. 

I’ll close up early, lock up, us inside. I have a question.” 


“Ive been wanting to kiss you since I saw you, 

since before I saw you, ever since I woke up this morning.  

Would you yawn or laugh if I said since I was born? 

I’ve been wanting to kiss you since two minutes ago, the way you 

bent over and slapped your leg, your hair flying aromatically out of control

floral marshmallow? Hey, but first we’d better let that nice guy 

out of your store, the guy with his Kate Bush record. You’ve a question?”


“The Captain and Tennille. Are you sure about that?” 


“Sure I’m sure.” 


“We’re going to have fun getting to know one another.” 




There was a yellow splash of sunlight 

and a blanket of blue sky, all around us. 



Wednesday, September 28, 2022


A deep blue horizontal trauma 

(or maybe sympathy overkill) 


But that’s how bad my childhood was. 


Somebody gave me a Slinky, 

and I had no stairs. 



Sunday, September 4, 2022

 

No shoes, no shirt, no (funeral) service


Don’t even do anything if it’s not going to be fun. 

Refuse. Walk away. They’ll go on living without you. 


This brazen philosophy may put a lot of churches out of business.


You may need to unlearn a lot of that stuff, that stuff 

they said to you from the start, in Sunday school. 


Not to mention Monday school, Tuesday school, 

Wednesday school, Thursday school, Friday school, 

and Saturday school; landing you back around in a 

dull stifling circle to Sunday—the same. Time to get out of orbit. 


It’s no good getting up in the morning if what’s coming 

isn’t going to be fun, and this includes dying. 

But not yet, please—I’m having way too much fun! 


Is it bad taste, or mean, to bring up death, as fun? Nope. 

Remember? School’s out, the church service is over,  

bright bouncing misbehaving even bilingual babies are carrying the collection plates 

loaded down with sushi, disco records, strawberries and cream on tiramisu, 

and yes, those kind of beautiful (first class, one-way ticket) mushrooms!  


Death will be fun (hey, not yet!) because 

all things new 

anything surprising

whatever you didn’t see coming—

hasn’t that always been nothing but fun? 


The churches mopily prepare you for decades, your 

grades and transcripts follow you around tediously, your 

parents look at you like you’re out of date yogurt. 


But fun—you can do it, and I’m behind you all the way.


If you ever do die, some people will say, 

in their rubber stamp language 

to some other people you might have known, “Sorry for your loss,” 

but won’t even know how much fun you were and are having. 


It can start now.  

But you’ve got to get out of orbit. 

There’s so much room. 


Go get a lot of colorful, inappropriate, sensually out of control plus artistic 

clothing, put it all on, then—take it all off! 

Your nakedness has never skinned up such sacredness, 

not that its all that precious ... but it is all that free, finally. 


And fun. You can do it.  




Friday, August 19, 2022


PTSD 

The waves keep coming in. I dont care. 

I think I’m gonna towel off, mop up, mope not;

say fuck it, then go find me a new and starlit beach.