Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankfulness, a list from Moskowitz

Dear Colorful Ones:

Smarty Fireblossom
Mama Super Zen
Angie Inspired
Shadorma Girl Paula W
Difficult Degreed Amy Jo
In The Corner of My Eye Mary
Brudberg, wherever he is
Di Domino
De Whimsy Gizmo
Sue the Laundry Goddess
Candy Bug
Clairey Love
Writing Outta the Mary Bachs
and Joanna the Tenth Muse,

it's easy to feel
in this virtual world.

Thanks for seeing me,
reading me,
writing me back.

Thanks seems so small
when your words feel so big,
and on many days
are the best part of being me.

thanks one and all.

I hope you know
how much your reflection
means to me.

Amen and

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


With a fierce determination,
these architects plan
and sculpt
and build
their bodies
into monuments
of self-discipline
and sheer will power.

They are temples
worthy of awe
and admiration,
but some display
their weakness
as peacock feathers.

Those who graffiti
their bodies
until they've no more
skin left uninked,
display the worst
kind of weakness:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today's High: 81

Rust in the trees,
turkey shopping
in short pants,
In Moreno Valley.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brown Privilege

I can arrange
to be around people
of my own race
most of the time,
whether I
want it or not.

I can avoid spending time
with people whom I was trained
to mistrust,
mostly because
I’m unwelcome there.

I can go shopping alone
most of the time
at la carniceria,
la panaderia,
or any of the price-point,
mini-mall variety stores
pretty well assured
I won’t be followed
or harassed.

I can turn on the tv
or read the front page
of the newspaper,
and see people
of my race widely represented,
mostly in stories about
illegal immigration,
and quinceaneras .

I can be pretty sure
of having my voice heard
in a group where
I am the only member
of my race,
as long as I am
amusing and

I can do well
in a challenging situation
without being called
a credit to my race,
although I have been called
“one of the good ones.”

I can worry about racism
perpetrated against
white people
without being seen
as self-interested or

I can take a job
that I am overqualified for
with an affirmative action
employer without
my co-workers suspecting
I got the job
because of my race.

I can be late to a meeting
or La Raza
without my lateness
reflecting on my race.

I will feel
welcomed and “normal”
in the usual walks of public life,
institutional and social,
provided I know my place
and stay there.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Queen of QVC

The parcels arrive daily,
like seaweed and shells
from the tide.

She keeps calling,
gifting and re-gifting.

She’s hates if someone
calls her a hoarder,
and can’t understand
why she was prescribed
an antidepressant.

When I visit
there’s no place to sit,
and it resembles less
the home I grew up in
and more a packaging
and shipping depot.

In a rare moment
of lucidity and candor,
she confessed
she’s trying to find the
perfect gift
to give so people
would like her.

Digging further,
she knows
she’s trying to find
the perfect gift,
and I ask her
what’s the one thing
she wants.

I already know
the answer,
and she sobs
and I just sit there
unable to do
anything about
my father’s death.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Only Golden Time

I play these records
until the grooves
are etched deep
in my soul.

They remind me
of growing up,
when Christmas was
the only golden time,
the only magic time
of the year.

These days,
I often see my parents,
and my heart aches
because in my memory
they are together,
not separated
by an early passing.

"...through the years
we all will be together, 
if the fates allow..."

These days,
we have our own
private tradition,
and I live to fulfill it
every Christmas Eve,
and I look forward to it
because it is
the single best
moment of the year.

Everything after that
is just a
thankful exhale.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Weight (for Sarah)

When The Weight returns
just nod,
but don't try
to make friends.

He doesn't hate you,
but he sure ain't your friend,
and he especially loves
kicking down
your lovingly built
sand castles,
while sitting on your chest
making breaking difficult.

No one knows why
The Weight
chooses who it chooses,
but it's clear
it's tragically random.

I'll try to distract you
from it,
and even though
I'll probably fail
I'm here,
and I love you,

and as best as we can,
we'll get through this

eyes forward,
waiting out
The Weight.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Don't get
too comfortable
because everything
all the time.

Everyday has
its own problems,
so don't feel like
you must
solve them all
upon awakening.

Don't forget about
the sweetness
In the breeze,
the music
in the flowers,
the kindness
In the small animals.

Hope is always
hiding in plain sight.

Just squint,
And you'll see it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Which One?

If I tell someone
"I believe in God,"

and they reply
"Which one?"

then I know
if I am talking with

someone holy
or merely

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Strongest Fragile Person

Her injury didn’t happen
on a battlefield,
but rather in an unsecured,
off-site Army barracks,
with a poorly locking door
that she reported
immediately upon notice.

They did nothing.

She would have to replay
the memory of
her rape at knifepoint
everyday for a year
(that’s how it felt),
until the matter was

She wasn’t offered
psychological counseling
at the time;
it was 1968.

She quickly married,
and her husband’s only advice
was to try and forget it.

When I met her in 1994,
she was the strongest fragile person
I ever met.

she received treatment for
her PTSD,
and a partial medical disability
from the Veteran’s Administration.

That assault
cost her so many things,
including our love,
and Teresa,
I’m sorry
I couldn’t help more.

When you can’t see
the injury,
it’s hard to know
how deep is the wound.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kiss Me

Kiss me
like a fall leaf kisses the earth
like the sea strokes the sand
like a misty November moon.

Kiss me
like a quiet cup of coffee
like a poem you’d forgotten
like an Eric Clapton solo.

Kiss me
like a rose pressed in a yearbook
like Thai tom yum soup
like an eternal haunting melody.

Kiss me
like its déjà vu
in the emergency room
before we jump.

Kiss me
before I drift to slumber
like the first time
like it’s the last time.

Monday, November 09, 2015


I wish I knew
what brings her
rotting, pathetic soul
to my door.

She is sick, ravaged
and promises nothing

She is a bony hag,
splotched skin,
mottled hair,
decaying smile
offering me
a blow job
for a hit.

Still, in the right light
or a bored moment,
I recall

her empty company.
insincere embrace,
loving facade.

I hear
her voice,
a coo stifling

I close
the door on her.

How I Became a Racist in 1973

Imagine my confusion
when my fourth-grade teacher
kept correcting the way I
pronounced my cousin’s name.

Mr. Brown (ironically named)
confidently proclaimed:
“Roza Linh-deh”
and I countered with
“Rosa Leen-dah,”
which is how I heard it
my entire life.

We did this two-step
for about a minute
until I realized
he was getting mad,
and I didn’t want
to cause trouble
because my Mexican father
would have no problem
belt-whipping me
if he found out I disobeyed
the teacher.

I pretended to struggle,
pronouncing her name
in his blanched,
sterile way,

and then finally
it came, stumbling out
“Roza Linh-deh,”
and I faked smiled
as though I were proud
to have mastered
this deficiency.

He smiled,
genuinely oblivious
to my ruse.

It was one
of the few lessons
I remember from
grammar school.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Pat's Worst Season

November through March
Is Pat's worst season.

It's nothing but anniversaries
and holidays
and commemorations
of days passed,
days before her mate,
my father,

When the hurt
is this big
there is nothing
that will take away
the pain.

So I went smaller,
and brought her Trini,
the cast off I found
in the Jack in the Box
parking lot.

Trini can't take away
the pain,
carry on a conversation,
or even watch tv,

but Trini can love
and be loved,
and can be embraced
if needed, when crying,

and I know
she carries
something divine
in her,
and I trust that will
find its way
and comfort the wounds
in my mother's heart.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Sleep, A Plea

wrap yourself up
in the sweet narcosis
of letting go.

When you awaken
I’ll be right here
and we’ll pick those apples,
paint the kitchen,
and do all the other things
we never have the time
to finish
because we’re too tired.

Just sleep now
and everything will seem better:
every worry, diminished,
every sadness, lightened.

Sleep is just
what we need,
so don’t let me wake you
as I slip in at your side
and take your hand
and follow you
into dreamland.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

An Old-Fashioned Judas Day

"Remember, people,
it’s not about
who has the fanciest
Betrayal Cakes
or whose Lights of Regret
flash on and off
to the updated versions
of the traditional
hate-spew carols.

The shops may start
hanging effigies
earlier and earlier
each year,
but neither are they
the reason
for the
Judas season.

And it’s certainly
not about which kids
get the latest, flashiest
Judas Day toys.

No, we must remember
those who sacrificed
so that we survivors
would band together
in hate
against a common enemy.

Lord Benedict Arnold,
Saints Julius and Ethel Rosenberg,
and of course
Mohammed Atta and the
18 other al-Qaeda martyrs,
who gave of themselves
so that we could have
glorious unification
in their self-destructive

This year,
let’s try to remember
what Judas Day
is really about."

[Written for Real Toads Out of Standard prompts at .  Thanks, Isadore.]

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


is the moment just born
and the moment just died
and the understanding
that these are the same

is the breath drawn in
and the breathe sailing out
and the knowledge
that they are
the same breath.

is remembering
there is no You,
no Me,
no Other,
but rather,
there is one
infinite and forgiving,
and once
this is known,
all that remains
left to do
is smile.

[Written for Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Tranquility, ]

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


We are united by blood,
untied by skin.

We are united by country,
untied by party.

We are united in Christ,
untied by denomination.

We are united in wedlock,
untied by death.

We are united in cooperation,
united in competition.

We are united by attraction,
untied by distraction.

We are united in each other's eyes,
we are untied looking past each other.

We are united at good luck
We are untied by bad breaks.

Monday, November 02, 2015


to the rhythm
of your beating heart.

Do not do.
Do not act.
Do not react.

Just be,
and surrender
to whatever
fate or God or luck
may bring you.

Our misery is caused
by fighting that which is
bigger than all our
wishes and dreams,

stop fighting.

to the sweetness of sunrise,

to the soothing random song
of the birds outside,

to the warmth of the sun,

because you
didn’t cause these,

because they are
what you need.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

March 2, 1999

I slept soundly,
head sunk into
a cool, feathered pillow.

The morning sun,
soft and bright
gently roused me,
bestowing upon me
the sweet blessing
of disorientation.

Nothing stuck in my mind,
I just enjoyed the warmth
and softness of my father's bed,
not remembering why
I was there.

In an instance,
I remembered,
and it obliterated my peace,
and nothing was ever
the same.

So, I got up,
summoning all my strength
and praying with every exhale,

the morning after
my father died
from a heart attack.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ofrenda (A Dia de los Muertos Offering)

Were I “that kind of Mexican”
I’d make an authentic
instead of this:

por mis abuelos,
for Trini
who always had hugs and
warmth in her smoker’s rattle voice,
y Juan
and his ever present stubble which
scraped my face with each embrace,
y Irene
whose caustic humor
belied a broken life and body.

Then there are mis tios:
Rudy the bear,
Ray the quiet genius,
Fernie the garage philosopher,
Eddie the passionate spark,
Kiki the gentle soul,
Carmen the humble and strong,
y Nancy the loud, proud eagle.

Then, there are my cousins,
Celia and Johnny,
both taken too damned soon.

mi Pop,
Daniel (pronounced Dan-Yell),
called Copi,
short for “el Capitan”
who gave me everything he could.

I send my prayers
to God
in thankfulness,
in wonder,

and I pray
for each of you
to send me
what I need
from wherever you are

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Things I Love the Most Are Not Things (for Anita)

You don’t need to
write me a poem,
or pen me a song,
or bring me a fist full
of fresh picked daisies.

A mountain of possessions
will not persuade me,
nor will a watertight argument
convince me to your side.

The things I love the most
are not things,

so bring me your passion,
long for me in your breast,
swaddle me in gold compassion.

Your joyful laughter,
your melody
sweet and true,
is the dream
from which
I never hope
to awaken.

Written in response:

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Kissing Contest

The theme of
her 8th grade
boy-girl birthday party
was “Tonight’s the Night”
by Rod Stewart.

Barely teenage couples
slow-danced and
laughed in the
nervous darkness.

Then came the
hotly anticipated,
much whispered about
“who could kiss
the longest?” contest,
a gauntlet
presumably intended
to discern some kind of
bravado and boldness
for its participants.

Despite my overweight
bookworm status,
I knew I could win this,
and I was matched up with
the only other Mexican invited.

The timer started
and the competing couples
all lunged in:

the others catcalled, hooted,
vicariously enjoying the
implied bravery
of this all,
it was just an act,
there was no passion –
just lip-to-lip suction.

Like most guys,
I learned how to
disassociate my feelings
from my body
in kindergarten,
when boys are taught
to ignore their boundaries
of privacy
and learn to urinate
standing next to
some random 5 year old
in an accompanying stall.

Compared to that,
kissing a girl
was a piece of cake,
a party game
to be won,
and we did,

and I still have
the prize:
a 45 single
of Peter Frampton’s
“Do You Feel
Like We Do?”

Friday, October 23, 2015


Even in your
unrelenting, oppressive darkness,
we see you
because your light still shines,
your spark still dances.

as you are,
we keep writing letters
to the warden,
and searching
for the key
to release you.

The next time
you go over the wall,
we’ll go to the library,
sing all the verses of ”American Pie”
when it comes on the radio,
and practice driving in reverse
so you can get
your license.

the sun is always shining
somewhere on this planet,
the trick is
putting ourselves
where it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Golgotha 5-1479

After meeting with
his press agent,
campaign strategist,
personal adviser
and astrologist,
Pilate thought
creating a martyr
would probably
come back to bite him
in the ass
in the long run.

There was something
about the demeanor
of the accused.
He was too cool,
too controlled
and it made him
rethink his initial

"This Jesus probably
had some kind of trick
up his sleeve,
like that
loaves and fishes schtick,
and maybe I should
find a way
to bring Jesus
into the Roman fold.

don't I always say
“keep your friends close,
and your enemies

He summoned
his Chief of Staff
to put in a call
to Mount Golgotha
to stop the execution.

As the rotary phone dial
slowly zuzzed and whirred






one of his lackeys
sauntered in,
sucking on a lamb-pop,
causally announcing
that Jesus had just died.

With that,
Pilate hung up the phone
and stared out
at the desert,
vast and unforgiving,

wondering at
the array of
the ramifications
now before him.

[For Fireblossom's Friday Challenge - here's the linkarino 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Rivulets of Desire

These wet
and slippery
tongues caress one
as lovers share
the same
hot breath.

A niggling,
drop of sweat,
down the small
of her back,

and joins the droplets,
the rivulets of desire,

the slick anatomy
finding and
reuniting with
one another,
resulting in
the grandest,
and most sumptuous
mystery of all:

how can so much
cause so much fire?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Even She Deserved Her Dignity

There were tales about her,
rumors and gossip:
she doted on the
decrepit star,
plied him with compliments
and sexual pleasure,
orchestrated his return
to public life and relevancy
as his days waned.

A friend of mine
who also liked
Hollywood’s dark side,
worked in a mental hospital
in Norwalk, California.

Once night she smuggled
contraband out of the hospital
she knew I would appreciate.

I looked at the photo ID
and I confirmed:
yes, that was her.

She gave me the card,
knowing I’d appreciate
it’s macabre and unique value.

I looked at her face:
crone’s wild hair,
wide blue eyes,
weather-beaten skin,
and wondered
about each ignoble step
that led her to that place.

I stashed the card

Through the years,
I learned when the star
she was kicked out of the house
where his children decided
she had milked his fortune
for too long.

Without an income
or an address,
she descended into a world
from which she never

I don’t know
if she really
was his savior,
his paramour,
his twisted puppeteer,
and probably
never will.

Years later,
I found the card
I’d stashed away,
with the shallow hope
I could maybe sell it
to an even more callous
and selfish freak
than I.

But I threw it away.

I no longer
wanted the proof,
the indictment,
of her insanity,
her weakness.

Whoever she was,
she was a daughter,
maybe a sister,
maybe even
a mother,
and even she deserved
her dignity,
her privacy,

even if the rest
of the world
thought she was
just a starfucker.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Mutant Messiah Speaks

“I hate that it’s come to this,
but this world just doesn’t unite

We need tragedy.
We need chaos.
We need an attack.

Only then is the world
set in the same direction.

Only then is there
a shared recognition
of life’s preciousness.

A plane flying into a skyscraper.
A twisted warrior in a kindergarten class.
Unidentified white powder in an envelope.

These are the things
that unite us.

Fear binds us
and perhaps
in our vulnerability,
we will learn trust,
and find love.

If you’re no longer
afraid of God,
then be afraid of me:
I’ve strapped on my explosives
said my prayers,
and am coming for you.

I am not trying to be
some mutant messiah,
but please remember,

I am
sacrificing my life
for you."