Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How to Live Forever

“Well,
not every experiment works.

We try and learn from the stuff
that doesn’t work as well.

Not everyone can discover penicillin,
you know.

So,
even though you still
have not unlocked
the mystery of mortality
perhaps,
you amused  yourself,
and that’s something.

The captain said
“the reward is in the doing,

and if that’s not the truth,
then you
better find something else
to do.”

Whatever you’ve got
in front of you,
lowly and modest
though it be,

experience it,
live it,
inhale it,
jump in it
and splash about
and from that

make something
that will outlast you:

the best would be
if you made
your life
a glorious gift,

freely given
to everyone.

It would be
so beautiful,

that your love would
outlast you,
outlive you,

and that’s’ how
you live
forever.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bequeathed

"Here's how we're
going to do this:

take all those boxes
labeled
"Writings: 1977-1994"

make sure they are
double sealed and
and put them in
the archive stack.

No one's going
to want to read
those,
besides everyone
he wrote those for
are either long dead
or married.

Then there's that
plastic bin
of cassette demo tapes.

I don't think
he's ever going
to bounce those
to digital,
so I think we can
archive those too.

Then,

all his stuff from
online....sheesh 
it's scattered
everywhere.

It's like he had no
discretion
just because he wrote
under a pseudonym.

You have all the
passwords, right?

OK, then
here's what you do:
go through
each site
and take each one offline.

Don't delete them,
just don't let
anyone see them
until his daughter
has had a chance
to see them,
to review them.

Well,
since he
bequeathed
to her
all the rights
to all his artistic
(yeah, right)
artistic products,

until she decides
how to proceed,

I guess we can consider
Buddah Moskowitz
offline indefinitely.

For now.

Wow,
it just hit me
that he's really gone."

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Consultation

"Hey, Danny,
listen before
the girls get back,

I gotta
ask you something:

I'm thinking about
marrying Anita.
What do you think?

Great.
Yes, I agree,
she's a phenomenal woman.

Yes,
I love the kids,
they just sweetened
the deal.

No, no tonight,
but I'm planning
to propose
on my birthday.

Yeah,
great, thanks,
and obviously,

don't tell anyone.

Thanks, Sh!

Here they come."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Gold Experience

"Of course,
we can make that
happen,
silly.

You're one of
my favorites.

Ok, let's make sure
we're on
the same page:

So, you're looking
for the
"Silver Experience?"

Oh, "Gold?"

That's a better deal
because it starts
with a warm stone
table bath,
including the
pomegranate scrub.

And we'll follow
that up with the
full-orifice lubrication
with imported
Middle East
saffron oil,
including all-digital
full prostate gland
stimulation.

Following that
you get the
full-body
45-minute
skin-on-skin
Swedish Massage.

And
by that time,
if I've done
my job right,
you'll probably be
ready for
Arrival Expression.

So, let me total
that out,

just a sec...

So, that comes
to $740,
before tax and tip.

We take all cards
(except American Express)
and, of course,
cash.

Yes,
cash is
best of all."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Last Words

"I said
everything
I needed to say.

You found me
guilty anyway.

I don't expect
any mercy,
any understanding.

That's beyond the scope
of what you mere mortals
will ever  understand.

So I leave you here
but my blood is
on your hands,
my death is
on your head.

Someday
when the evidence finally
exonerates me,

you'll see.

But,
how are you going to make it up
to my kids?

You're taking away
their father,
and you know it was all
circumstantial.

You will have to lived
with this.

I won't.

I'm free.

That's all."

Friday, November 25, 2016

Do You Have a Hotline to God?

“No, she didn’t make it
today.

Well, she’s been having a lot
of ups and downs lately.

Mostly downs.

Yes,
she still sees
Dr. Emma,
but she’s kind of lost
faith in science and
medicine.

She has
what they call
Treatment-Resistant
Depression.

She’s tried pills.

Yah, she’s
tried that one…

and that one…

yes, and that one too.

We just got
the name and number
of a psychiatrist
at Loma Linda
who performs
ECT.

Electro-Convulsive
Therapy.

No, it’s not like
in Cuckoo’s Nest

It’s more controlled
than that.

Yes, we know it’s extreme,
but so is
having my 19 year old
daughter in constant
psychological pain.

No,
I don’t think
she’ll want that.

Because she’s been
praying for respite for years,
and what makes you think
your special prayer group can help?

Do you have
a hotline to God?

I’m sorry,
I’m not trying to be rude,
but I have a daughter
who hates being alive
so much
that she’s
investigating countries
where they have
assisted suicide.

Yes, I know.

Look,
if you want to pray,
don’t let me stop you,
but

after all this time,
I admit I’ve lost
some of my faith.

Who wouldn’t?

Maybe you should
pray for me
too.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Day After Thanksgiving

"Thank you
for coming and
helping out.

Well,
you probably can
help out
in the kitchen,
but honestly...

at the moment
we've actually got
more volunteers
than we need...

yeah,
but that won't be
for long.

There'll be another
wave soon,
but I'll give you
this tip about
volunteering:

on the big holidays,
especially like Easter
and Thanksgiving,
people always come
out big to help...

but do you know
when we
really need help?

The day after Thanksgiving,
the week before Christmas,
the month preceding Easter...
you get it?

No,
we don't need your help
just on the days
when you remember
the poor,
the hungry,
and the homeless,

they need your help
on ordinary days when
they're forgotten.

OK, I see some folks
just came in,

you, find them a place
to sit
and you,
follow me
to the kitchen."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our First Thanksgiving

"From this
vantage point,
all we can see
is a peaceful
bluish planet
in silent orbit
in a stardusted
dark infinite.

We have our
freeze-dried turkey,
and the reconstituted
cranberry sauce,
and some
pumpkin pie paste
we can suck out of
this tube.

We're going
to try and make this
as close to home
a possible.

Our first Thanksgiving
in this floating
space station,
and we have much
to be grateful for,

but the nagging thought
persists:

who is already
out here
that we're preparing
to displace?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Since the Turkeys Took Over

Can’t catch
my breath!

Since the
turkeys took over
it’s been
RUN!
RUN!
RUN!

No, I don’t know
how it happened
but damn it,
it’s real!

They don’t care
if you’re Vegan,
they’re out
for blood!

For God’s sake,
stay in
on Black Friday!

[for D'verse Quadrille Challenge.https://dversepoets.com/2016/11/21/quadrille-21-take-a-breath/]

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bad Timing

“Hi Stacia,
thanks for meeting
me now.

What?

Oh, it already
came in
the mail?

Good.

There’s something
that I need to tell you
and I don’t want to
wait any longer.

I don’t think
we should
see each other
anymore.

There’s someone who
was in my life
for awhile and
now she’s
come back into my …

no, it’s not Darra.

And, well, I think
I want to pursue
that relationship,
and I don’t want
to be unfair to you,
and…

I’m sorry.

I didn’t mean
to…

ok.

What?

Uh, yeah,
just ignore that
Valentine’s Day card
that came today.

I’m sorry,
for the bad timing.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

How Marriage #1 Ended

“Hey, Lan,
I know what you did.

Yes, the management company
give me a copy
of the cancelled
check.

Right, I
can see that you forged my signature.

Were you not going to tell me
that you got it?

No,
no,
no, you’re not entitled
to all of it.
You’re not even entitled
to half of it
if you ask me.

Hey, I didn’t fuck up
our marriage
only two months into it.
That was you.

By the way, how’s Steve?

Does you read you
his bank statement
when he’s fucking you?
You’re such a
money-grubbing whore,
I know that would
get you off.

Ok, whatever.

Look,
the bottom line is that
you forged my signature
and took my half of the money.

Listen,
listen,
listen!

Lan, I’m give you exactly
one chance to
do the right thing
and stay out of jail.

If you don’t deliver
my half of the money
by tomorrow night at 6pm,
I’m going to
the Corona Police Department
and having you arrested
for grand larceny.

Hello?
Do you understand?

Do you understand?

Ok, whatever, I’ll give you
a 15 minute grace period,

but if my money isn’t left
in my mailbox
by 6:15,
then at 6:16
I’m going to the police.

Do you understand?

Good!

What?

Ha! Don’t worry,
after this is done
I never want
to see you again
either!

With friends
like you...

look, just get me
my money
by tomorrow
at 6:15.

Nope, that’s all,
we’re done.

Goodbye, Lan.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Voice Mail from December 24, 2001

"Hi,
this is Teresa.

I just wanted
to leave you
this message
on your phone
this Christmas Eve.

I know we're not
together anymore
but I wanted
to let you know
that my Christmas gift
to you
is that you don't
have to spend
anymore Christmas Eves
with me.

That's my gift
to you,
and that's how
things should be.

So, I hope you
and your new girlfriend
have a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year
together.

OK, bye."

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thankful

"No,
I don’t know you,
but you know me.

Every year,
right around Thanksgiving,
the LA local news
show the homeless,
lined up and waiting
for Thanksgiving dinner
at the Fred Jordan Mission.

I’m that guy –
I’m always the one they
talk to.

Yeah, the homeless problem’s
pretty bad out here, but
the way they film it,
you know,
they way they cut it,
it looks like
there’s camaraderie here,
and that it's almost fun.

they show
lots of people
and tents,
maybe some dogs.
They make it look like
all we’re missing is
the s’mores.

And because it’s LA,
it’s never snowing or raining
so it makes for a nice
“this year
let's all be Thankful
for what we've got,
and be thankful
you’re not one of
these poor wretched souls”
story.

They make it feel like
by just watching the story
about the homeless,
that you’ve actually
done something
to help.

Well,
I don’t mind
going on camera
and talking about it-

Right!
I probably qualify
for my SAG/AFTRA card
as many times as
I been on TV –

but it’s not getting better.

No, it’s getting worse, and
I’m getting discouraged, and
it just keeps getting
colder."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Voice Within, A Transcription

"You ain't foolin'
no one,
mutherfucka.

It only looks like
you have this talent
because you keep taking
the same 5 events
in your life
and recasting them
as new
to the ever changing
coterie of followers
who think they're new
or worse, insightful.

You ain't saying nothing
that you already didn't say in
1998,
1994,
1987, 1985, etc. blah blah blah.

Why do you keep
at it?

Nobody,
underline that,
nobody reads you
and if they do
it's because
they feel sorry
for your ignored
and unread ass.

Nope,
I don't get it,
You just wasting
your time
and what's the
payoff?

Is there going to be
a
marathon
poetry
reading
of all your shit
at your funeral?

Do you still think
you're gonna be
discovered
and become a star
in your 50's, schmuck?

You ain't getting laid
from any of this shit
now
and it sure
ain't gonna happen
anytime
in the near future.

So, why?

Love?
That's an illusion
and you can't trust it.

Every woman
who ever took you
to their soft, perfumed
bosom
did so out of pity.

They didn't want you.

Hell, even the one
that wears your ring,
she only
throws you a bone
every now and then
just to keep you
mollified.

Listen,
why do any of this?

Why even try?

The truth is
no one'll remember you
after you log off,
sign off,
retire and die.

Hell,
your time would be better off
rather than struggling
with these competing voices,

just go off someplace
and jerk yourself off.

I mean,
someplace beside here."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Non-Compliant Patient

“So, Mrs. Moskowitz,
your numbers look
…ok…
for the most part,
but I’m still worried
about your blood pressure.

Are you taking your meds?

I know it’s difficult
to remember to take them
all but, it’s …

Yes, I know, it’s been
a rough week,
most everyone
I know has been upset by the
election, but still…

Well, do the meds give
you any bad side effects?

Yes, I know
it’s hard to remember
when you’ve got problems in
your personal life, but…



Well, then
maybe what you need
to do is get
one of those pill boxes
with the days of the…

You have some?

So, I don’t understand,
why won’t you take…?

Well, it’s all connected:
if you get your blood pressure
under control,
it’ll help that pain
in your kidneys…

yes, it’s all connected,
Mrs. Moskowitz.

I mean, your numbers
have been … ok,
these past few visits,
but that luck
won’t hold out forever.

Well, no, I wouldn’t agree
with your son
that you have a death wish, but …


most likely,
you’re not going to go
in a sudden
quick flash,
but rather,
you’re increasing
your chance of stroke,
and you’ve already…

right,
two strokes already.

I’d like to see you
back
in two months,
and please,
please,
just take your meds,
everyday.

Please?”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Charise

“The secret to
my happy marriage?

Once a week
I go to different
places like
Home Depot,
or Lowe's
or anywhere you see all those
Mexicans hanging
around the parking lot
looking for day-labor.

I look for the
most handsome,
cleanest looking
young man,
I don’t care
if he can speak English.

I tell him
I have some
light handyman work
for him to do
and we negotiate
a price.

He follows me back
to my place,
but before he gets
to work,
I ask him to wait.

Then I slip away
to the guest room
where I change into
lingerie,
something from
Victoria’s Secret
that shows off my legs
and my tits.

Then I call him
into the bedroom,
and I’m stretched out
on the bed
with an unmistakable smile.

You remember
that thrill of a new lover,
that feeling
of a young, hard body
on top of you,
warm muscles
and a strong throbbing,
hard and deep
inside you?

Well, I do,
because I get it
every week.

After he’s done,
I pay him
and he leaves.

Then,
when Randy comes home,
just before
he falls asleep,
I play a DVD
of the sex tape
I secretly made with
the day laborer,

and remind him

“This is for
fucking that
fat slut receptionist
in your office.”

One of these days,
I’ll tire of this
and forgive him.

Or not.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meanwhile, In Marketing...

"Ok, I'll make this quick:
we're having trouble
marketing the product
for Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas sales.

No, forget Tom Turkey.
The vegans
ain't gonna buy that bullshit.

What?
A free-range turkey?
Who gives a shit!
The schmucks
who still
eat meat
are goddamned gluttons,
what do they care
about a turkey's welfare?

No, get off
those whole turkey theme.

What's that?
Pilgrims?
You wanna base a campaign
around killjoys
who didn't drink booze,
are you kidding?

Besides we're already
having a bitch of a time
selling that new
Pumpkin Pie Spice Ale.

Who cares
it's locally brewed?
The stuff reeks like piss
and tastes worse.

How would I know?
Hysterical.

Listen,
if we don't
find a way to move
this product by
Thanksgiving,
someone's getting
the chop.

What?
Something with
the first Thanksgiving?
With Indians?
Do you want to get
our balls sued off us?
It's Native Americans,
you idiot!

And, no,
Native Americans test badly.
Nobody wants to throw
any money their way
unless its a casino.

Wait...
maybe we're going about this
the wrong way.

What's Thanksgiving about,
at its root?

Right,
thankfulness,
gratitude.

Taking the time
to slow down and appreciate,
everything you've been
given.

We could show
lots of people,
all different demos,
telling what they're thankful for,
and what brings them all together?

Right,
the client's product!

OK, you two,
Rabinowitz and Wong,
you're in charge of this.

Remember,
keep it tasteful.
Remember that whole
gratitude angle.

Yes, by Black Friday
I want everyone talking at
their family dinners about
JackRabbit Thrustin' Vibrators!

And try to remember
we've had soft-market penetration
with the over 65 set,
so make sure
you hook them as well.

OK,
you've got your orders.

Go!"

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Phone Transcript, November 2, 1994

"Listen, motherfucker
I know
what you did
and I'm going
to kill you.

Don't act
like you don't know
who this is!

I know
what you did
to my wife,
you took her
to your house,
laid her
on the bed
and raped her!

I KNOW
WHAT YOU DID
AND I KNOW WHERE
YOU LIVE
AND I'M GOING
TO KILL YOU!

I'm from the East
and you know what we do
to guys like you?

All's I'm saying
is you better
pack up and
leave town.
I know where you
live!

I HAVE A GUN
AND I'M COMING OVER
TO SHOOT YOU!

I KNOW THE
DAY YOU DID IT!
SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE
SHOPPING FOR
MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!

All I'm saying is
you better leave town
and find another job!

YOU RAPED
MY WIFE!
I'M GONNA KILL YOU!"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Phoning in a Personal Day

"Hi,
it's me.

Yeah.
No, I won't be
coming in today.

No, it was
Sarah.

She tried again
last night.

No,
thankfully,
she didn't have enough
pills to
do any lasting damage.

Yeah,
well, she's
on a 72 hour hold.

No,
first I'm going
to sleep for awhile.
We didn't get home
until 5:15 this
morning.

OK, thanks,
yeah.

Look,
I might need
some more time off
later in the week,
when she comes home.

I just don't want her
home alone
for awhile,

at least, not until we
suicide-proof it.

Yeah,
I'll try
to get some rest,
but I've got lots
of bad adrenaline
still flying around, so...

Hm?
Thanks, I'll take any help
I can get,

even prayers,
especially prayers.

Yeah,
ok thanks,
talk to you later .

Bye bye."

Friday, November 11, 2016

My Soul Shook

"So I'm sitting there
in the chapel,
holding my
91 year old
Grandma Trini
who doesn't
speak English,
who is sobbing
in Mexican tears,
mourning the taking
of another son.

I'm at a loss
because I love her
and I cannot
say the right thing
to calm her,
to comfort her.

This is the woman
who loved me and
let me sneak cookies
from her kitchen
and was always
happy to see me,
what could I do
to help her?

From somewhere
inside
and completely outside,
I said to myself,

"God, please help me.
Help me find
the right thing
to say
to make her feel better."

Then
a competing voice
in my head said,

"Shmuck,
you're an atheist."

I didn't fully
comprehend it then
and I still don't,

but right then
my soul shook,

and it hasn't
stopped shaking
since."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kookoo Savant and My Secret Weapon

"Yes, it's been
a rough year, Kookoo.

So many things
went wrong.

Now, I can't even
fathom
how we're going
to get through.

My country is divided
between gloaters
and the glum,

the have nots and
the have more
than you can imagine,

us and them.

So,
even though
it seems dark now,
I have a secret weapon:

when I flew out
out to Missouri
to bring you home
after being away
for three weeks,

you came down
the stairs
of your friend's
budget apartment,

in pajamas
way too late in the day,
your red mop
frenetically free,
and your wide
unforced smile,
your face's fingerprint,
that's the happiest
I felt in a long time.

That memory
sustains me,
carries me,
tides me over.

Just remember,
Kookoo Savant,
everything changes
and you can always
come back home."

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Now, Kiss Me

“I’m sorry
you can’t
come with me
on this path.

This path
I must walk
may be lined
with devils and imps,
the flames of hell,
so I’ll not be
taking you.

No,
you stay here
and breathe in
the mist of the ocean,
the grandeur
of grilled onions,
honeysuckle wafting
in the breeze
for me.

I’ll send you
a signal
when I reach
the other side,
maybe in a dream
or when the radio plays
the DelFonics
just when you need
to hear it.

This is
the longest trip
I’ll ever make
and I am
not taking
anything,
except the memory
of your smiling face.

Like that,
right there.

Oh,
how I'll miss you.

Now,
kiss me
and I’ll sign that
“Do Not Resuscitate”
order.”

[For Poets United - Wednesday challenge - path]

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Stephanie

“This isn’t what
I expected.

What’s she doing
here?

Yeah, she’s one of those
pious church ladies.
Everything is
“Jesus this” and
“God Bless Whatever”.

Is she here to pray
for me?
Probably wants me
to change
my ways.

“Come to see the light.
Get right with Jesus.”

What a crock.

Is that my Dad?
Where’d they find him?
And did he do
all his time
or did he make
early release?

Don’t come nearer.
No, agh!
Don’t kiss my forehead,
you miserable fuck.

You’re lucky
I’m in this goddamned coma,
because I’d bust your ass
if I could,
you selfish prick.

Don’t stare.
Don’t you know it’s not polite
to stare at someone
who can’t stare back?

Just get out.




Wait,
is that…
no, it can’t…

Stephanie?

Steffy?
oh my God.

Don’t cry, honey.
I'm sorry you have to
see me this way.

Ain’t you married
no more?
Where’s your
wedding ring?

Shh. Shh.
Don’t cry.

I forgot how
your head felt
resting on
my chest.

That memory feels
a million miles away
now.

Steph?

Steph,
I’m sorry
I let you go.

I’m sorry
I couldn’t change.

I’m sorry
I took that corner so fast.

Steph,
if I get out of this,
can we,
you know,
try again?”

[Written for https://dversepoets.com/ and http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/ ]

Monday, November 07, 2016

I Wasn't Breastfed?

“Mom,
the latest research says
you deprived me of
necessary chemicals,
so now,

I am an adult
searching endlessly for

that essential tenderness,
that intimacy denied,

parting
my vulnerable pink lips,
waiting for a nipple,
some milk,

all because
I didn’t suckle
on cue.”

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Protection

"It's rough here, right?

Well,
it could've been worse,
but everyone knows
you're with me,
so they know
not to fuck with you
or else
they have to deal
with me.

This is how it is:
once you learn
the hang of it,
it's pretty easy.

You want some more
toilet wine?
Yeah, it ain't champagne
but it'll get the job done.

The shower help relax you?
Good.

OK, this is it.
Come on.
You know what I want.
Right.
Just relax.
No, relax.

Listen, you want me
to throw you
to the wolves?

I mean it, man.

I'm not fucking around
here.

Get on your knees,
and open your mouth
and make me feel
good.

And if I feel any teeth,
I'll kill you,
bitch."

Prayer of the Uncertain

"Dear God,

I've run out
of things to ask for,
because I don't want
to seem greedy
or get my hopes up,
but...

help me
to get to the point
where I am joyful
at whatever
nonsensical hell
you send my way.

Help me
to stop asking for help.

Help me
to just be here now.

Help me
to stop picturing you
as an eternal daddy,
and treat you
like a friend.

No, better than a friend,
better than a parent.

Help me
treat you like my God.

But don't make it
too difficult,
we both know
I have problems
with follow through.

Okay, amen,
I guess."

Friday, November 04, 2016

Nowadays, You Can’t Just Pluck an Apple,

“This is a beautiful apple.

It’s a Granny Smith,
green and tart and juicy.

I’ve always loved them
and I haven’t had one
in years.

They put me in mind
of when I was a kid
and we’d pluck ‘em
right off the tree.
Nobody cared
who they belonged to.

There was
nothing better.

Those were
the days before
everything changed,
and everything became
more
complicated.

Nowadays
you can’t just
pluck an apple,
you’ll get sued ,
or worse yet,
arrested.

Everybody’s got their
precious rights.

It ain’t like
the old days

No,
that’s why I did it.

I wasn’t trying
to hurt anybody.

I want America
to be great again.

How was I
to know
there was someone
inside that church?

It was dark inside.

Well,
I guess it doesn’t matter
anymore.

Please,
just do me a favor
and make sure you vote
the right way,

because they won’t
let me vote
anymore.

Yeah, it’s ironic.

This is a fine way
to treat a true patriot
like me.”

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Calling Dr. Chau

“Look, I realize
you don’t understand me
and I’m not trying to be
condescending
when I say that.

I know you don’t speak
English, doctor,
but just keep nodding
like that
and I’ll keep talking.

I come here because
I can say anything
I want
and I don’t fear judgment,
I don’t fear
the moral recrimination,

you just smile,
and nod your head
(sometimes you write
something down)
and after 50 minutes
I get up
and give you a check
and point out
on the wall calendar
when I’ll be back.

Therapy
used to be
me putting on
another persona,
saying different lines,
still trying to impress
or amuse
the practitioner,
and I’ve never had
a breakthrough.

Now,
I come in,
I talk, I don’t talk
I pay attention,
I nap.
I read.
I meditate.

Finally,
a place
with no demands,
no responsibilities,
no schedule.

I can just
be me.

Now,
that’s therapeutic.”

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Tingled, but Entangled

“Remember when
we were first
thrust together
in that college
acting class,
instantly pulled together
with undeniable velocity?

Everyone could tell
when we performed
our class final exam,
a scene including
a kiss so passionate,
and prolonged
it was almost comic.

But you remember
the problem:
I was with someone else,
entangled,
so what we glimpsed
could only be hinted at,
sampled,
but never consumed.

We kept tiptoeing
around the borders
of our friendship,
pushing it
until something
or someone
was bound to break.

Then you got engaged.

What was his name?
Tim.
Right, Tim.

Something wasn’t right
because the electricity,
that tingle,
wasn’t extinguished.

Then,
I found myself
no longer entangled,
unfettered by neither
obligation and morality.

I made the offer,
you accepted,
and unclothed
between naked sheets,
we gave in
and it was everything,
every tingle promised.

In the afterglow,
you mused about
whether you should tell Tim,
and at that point,
I knew we were doomed.

I don’t blame you
for weakening,
for confessing.

I secretly think
you wanted out,
and you acted on that,

but It doesn’t matter now
because we haven’t talked
in thirty years,

and I can’t help
but feel guilt
and remorse and sadness
because I still miss you,

especially when I hear
that song,
that syrupy pap playing
when we made love

and drove any tomorrows
we may have wanted
over the cliff.

So,
I’m sorry, Katy.”
[And here's that song I remember.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Orale, Ese (Pronounced Oh-Rah-Lay Es-Say)

"Orale,

I've been waiting
for you, ese.

Where've you been?

Yeah, I know,
you're alive and kicking,
and no one wants
to come down
to the cemetery
on their day off.

I've been watching you,
from here,
and you're still
kind of a boring
guy, pocho.
Jes' kiddin', ese.

I get it.
I'd trade with you
if I could.

Why you keep
looking at your watch?

Yeah, I know
you got kids waiting
for their Chick-Fil-A
but first,

I dunno,

just think of me
sometime,
you know?

You don't have to put up
a whole ofrenda 
or anything,

but when you hear
Trio Los Panchos,
or when you get that
warm, full feeling
after you eat menudo,

think of me,
en Espanol, tambien.

Ok, that's all,
thanks, senor. 

Adios, ese."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Long, Brown Line

The line at the AM/PM
was long
and short
and dark brown.

These day laborers
who manicure the lawns
of the wealthy

and add the aftermarket
water fountains
to the McMansions

were stocking up
for the day:
coffee,
chewing tobacco,
and 2 for 1 hot dogs
overstuffed with
free condiments.

I look like I could be
related to them
through some long brown line
of ancestry.

They would
probably speak respectfully
to my mom,
probably work hard all day in the sun and
probably are here
illegally.

I stood at
at the end of the line
with another kind of brown.

He reminded me of
my dad:
He looked like
he was first-generation
Mexican-American,
who grew up
aspiring to assimilate..

He looked like
he earned the American Dream
owned his own home
sent his kids through college,
and even voted Republican.

I don’t know
what he assumed about me,
in my suit and tie
on my way to
my white collar job
in academia.

Perhaps he thought
he’d found a kindred spirit.

Referring to that line of
brown distant relatives ahead,
he turned to me
and in tones
mocking and conspiratorial
said

“Boy, Immigration would have
a field day here, huh?”

At that point
he stopped reminding me
of my dad.

I gave him
the cold, indifferent stare
I reserve for racists
and the otherwise
aggressively
ignorant

and channeled my father:
and I replied,
“No se.”