Friday, April 20, 2018


I want to deny
we ever existed
but that is
giving us
a cachet that we
did not earn.

We can admit it now:

after six years of dating
neither of us
wanted to get married
but we went on with it
anyway because we didn’t
want to lose face or
our deposit.

Even our honeymoon
in romantic San Francisco
lost its steam after
the first day.

Being married to you
was the hardest
141 days of my life.

Even as it unraveled
and I asked you to fight
for our marriage
you just defaulted out
with silent, apathetic

I always wanted it
to be better than it
ever was
and I was always

Even today,
I gave in to curiosity
and paid 10 bucks
to an Internet company
to show me your addresses
and employment history
for the past 15 years,
and all that came up
was your parents’ address.

after all these years,

Lan Anh,
you’re still a big disappointment.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sunday Morning

The world is vacant
this early Sunday morning

except for the newspaper deliverer

and the liquor store
and the customer who waited for 6am.

Mostly people are inside
sleeping off hangovers

slumbering in a warm bed
of post-coital narcosis

lone desperation
passed out at a kitchen table
splayed with overdue bills
and trepidation.

Some greet the day with reluctance
some will ride bikes
and some will never know
Sunday morning exists.

As I drive my daughter
to the early church service
I pass stray tumbleweeds
the occasional roaming coyote
and a multitude of other
holy beings,
all unaware
that it is Sunday morning
or that it is January
or that it is 2009

but they are completely alive.

They are also ignorant
of their enviable




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Anger Island

Don’t look for me.

I’ve gone to Anger Island
and I’m not taking calls.

I hate coming here
because it’s never as good
as I think it’s going to be.

Rarely has it ever
been worth it,
but I am drawn to it
as some are drawn to
Israel or Mecca.

Anger is the bloody river
running through my soul,
separating me
from the higher aspect,
that divine sliver.

I’ve tried to resist
but the lizard brain
is in charge.

Sitting here
I try to reassemble
what this visit
has wrought.

I’ll be back
after I purchase
my return ticket
with regret.

Monday, March 26, 2018


As a former boy,
the shame impulse
when I cry.

This false
Kevlar masculinity
now breaks
easier than
an egg.

I worked hard
to retrain
these dry,

I don’t care
if it makes you


It makes me

[Written for]

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fire is the Best Teacher

It doesn’t waste time
with words or clucking tongues.

Fire beckons:
respect me,
use me,
warm your tired, rattling bones
by me.

The earliest memory
of my Mexican grandfather
who chain-smoked
was the accidental
cigarette burn
inflicted by
a tentative embrace.

I learned.

I watch wildfires
reduce drought-dry
California to crumbles
and check and double check
the burners on the stove,
the unattended curling iron.

It could all be over

is passion
and force,
an overwhelming,
impossible to ignore

If you’ve only
been singed,
count yourself

[Written for]

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Last Hit

The temptation is to look back
and bask in the
two or three

but that is not
what this is about.

Writing is
about moving onward,

trying to dive deeper
and scrape a little more
pyrite from the gulch.

My hero is Lenny Bruce
who felt he was a machine
if he did the same bit
night after night

in his quixotic quest
for the truth and
the uncorrupted

You're only as strong
as your last hit,

and that's what keeps me
on my quixotic quest
for the truth
and the uncorrupted

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


When I do not ask
for what I want,
I feel bad,
guilty, ashamed.

When I ask
for what I want,
I also feel bad,
guilty, ashamed.

I just didn't think
I was so

Friday, February 02, 2018

I Let Her Sleep

In the chilly
pre-dawn February,
I hear her
gentle, soft breathing;

not quite a snore,
but a rumble
of blissful narcosis.

I curl up
with her,
our bodies
warm and soft
under a light
of blankets.

This is intentional
so snuggling
and cuddling
is inevitable.

I hold her close
and let her sleep,
taking care
not to poke her,
prod her
with my insistent,

I let her sleep
that is more urgent,
more needed
and I love her
that much.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I Wait for the Moon

I wait for the moon;
she is holder my secrets,
holder of my dreams.

I sent many prayers
her way,
wishes and kisses
I've bounced off her
to lovers far away.

She bathes
the windowsill
as I gaze,
eyes glaze over
and future plans.

I know
this cool, blue lady
does not belong
only to me,

but the essence
of this longing,
this incompleteness
in my soul

belongs only
to her.

I wait for the moon
and she never

[For Poets United at

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Phoenix, Arizona

We snuck away
on a business trip
and she really wanted
to be with me
as she had a fear of flying
and we met at the airport.

That evening
safely in another state,
we went straight
to the hotel
unpacked only desire
and made love
with all the lights on
as the tv flickered
it’s muted blue witness.

She let me eat
the ice cream sundae
we ordered from room service
right off her bare bottom.

She was my kind of girl.

The next morning we walked
and chanced upon
a tribal pow wow drumming festival.

It was strangest, most beautiful
music I ever heard,
and I knew it was no coincidence
she was there.

Providence smiled further
as we saw the Norman Rockwell
retrospective was also within
walking distance
and we marveled at the original print
of “The Marriage License”.

We stayed up talking
all that night
and somewhere in there
I realized
she was no longer some
causal hit-and-run.

I started thinking
in longer, broader strokes

and it awakened
something fiery
and powerful

that had been
asleep in me
for a thousand years.

For Open Link Night - read others and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another Great Artist

I looked up
and she was feeding
our first grandchild,

and I regretted
that I wasn't there
when our kids
were that little,
that helpless.

Then I realized
if this were my son,
instead of grandson,
I'd probably be
too worried,
too anxious
to soak up
this moment
of The Divine.

All great artists
have a natural skill,
an inborn passion
for what they do,
and as I watched her
soothe and tend to
this little person,

I thought of
Miles Davis,
Pablo Picasso,
Charlie Chaplin,
Mother Teresa.

She is
another great artist
who belongs in
the pantheon,

and her work
is on display
in Oliver.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Swing Out Sister in Heaven

I imagine,
(perhaps, dream)
that if there is a
Swing Out Sister
plays on a continuous,
comforting silky loop
for all eternity,

the warm synths
whooshing slowly,
the kettledrums
gently thundering,

since this is my
version of heaven,
I will not have
to explain why
Swing Out Sister
is playing
to anyone

[For Friday 55 at Friday 55. Also, get Swing Out Sister's newest creation "Almost Persuaded" at]

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I (Take My Meds)

presses on this
growing pate
with the predictability
of gravity.

I see his
eyes squinting
in service
of his smile,
and I see him
looking back at me
in the mirror.

I hear him
repeating everything
just like I do,
like I do.

I'm a wee bit taller
than he was
but he was more lithe,
more trim
than his lazy glutton son.

I happily take
my chemicals
that sound like
foreign banana republics:


I have one
advantage of him:

I know how old he was
when he suddenly
had that one
kick-ass strong
heart attack
that claimed him.

I am 54 and
he died at 64.

I can do math.

I take my meds.

[Written for Poets United:]

Hey, Stupid, Wake Up (For Myself)

Hey, Stupid,
wake up.

So, let’s review:

if you’re not writing,
you’re not a writer.

If you’re not playing music
you’re not a musician.

what are you?

I don’t know either.

But I do know this:
wake up.

Wake up!

There are roses to be admired,
sunsets to be dreamt upon,
napes to be kissed,

ice cream to melt
upon your tongue.

Wake up
because you can’t do
any of this
if you’re asleep.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Christmas on TV

The musical cues
are perfectly timed;
the actors, beautiful,
the Thomas Kincaid lighting.

TV houses remain
impeccably decorated,
with wadded-up
wrapping paper
strangely absent from
the living room floor.

Any tears shed
are because
the two principals
finally found
each other,
and (of course)
they found love,
their cynicism replaced
by a sentimental gesture
that reminds of them
of their lost innocence.

No, Christmas on TV
lacks the wailing, moaning
and unremitting sadness,
longing for loved ones
long passed over
passed by
or passed away.

Christmas on TV
proves no loneliness
goes unanswered,
and everyone
has someone looking in
on them.

But life isn’t TV
and there are
dark, lonely quiet
living rooms,
with lone strings
of half-burned out lights
and dusty, faded nativity scenes,
valiantly trying
to imbue festivity
with warmth.

Christmas on TV
isn’t anything sad,
it sticks around
playing and re-playing
familiar fantasias
that rarely happen
in real life.

For some,
Christmas on TV
is the only Christmas
they know
as they wait
for December 26,
when it will all
seemingly overnight,

and everything,
for better or worse
or same,
goes back to normal.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


At the red light
a crow,
oil-slick black,
swooped in front
of my car,

on a dingy white
fast food

that had blown
into the busy

snatched it
and flew
to places
with the
speed and grace
of a jungle

in the
sliver of time

the light
turned green

and his
athletic prowess
was forgotten

in the rush
of drive time traffic.

(not a crow, but you get the idea)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Anita (November 28, 2017)

So much
has changed;

the obvious:

Less so:
momentary peace,
blissful pleasure,
a security
deep inside
a shaky heart.

Kids are a constant:

with two kids gone,
one still here,
a new generation
starts with Oliver.

What hasn't changed:

she is singularly
the most beautiful,
woman I've ever seen,

and the love,
this mammoth adoration,
never dissipates.

Simply put:
she came into my life
and made everything


Friday, November 17, 2017

Bra Straps Akimbo

The end of a Thursday,
she’s undressing
in the closet, and
I’m in the adjoining
vaping, listening to
America Top 40 re-broadcasts
from 1981,
my senior year
in high school.

All Jarreau’s
“We’re in This Love Together”
comes up,
and I remember
so desperately
to have someone to love
back then.

I wanted to be able
to hear that song
and think of her –
whoever she was.

I rise and
go to her
her blouse off,
bra straps

she is casually,

I tell her,
“don’t fight me”
as we melt
into each others’ arms,
as we have
countless times
during the previous
decade and a half.

We close our eyes,
hold each other,
sway to the music.

thank you for making
this dream come true,

a dream
I never had

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Glory HalleStoopid!

Glory hallestoopid!

Kick that nozzfoggle
to the back
of the drearidome!

Someday she'll
wiggle the tiggle
the way you want her to,
all wet and slippery,
sticky as teriyoku sauce.

the way forward
is strewn with
hibblefly mooklers
and they've not come
berating gifts.

So, try not to feel
all persnucka-reefal
just because
your yarblebarbles
are filling with
pus-like sploosherinka.

Your day with come,
little gonche-felber
and you'll ride
that flesh covered,
love masheeeen
late into that
silky, dark

and friztle-rippling
until Morpheus
drills the
deep inside

and you finally
literal buckets,
which has to
be seen
to be

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Indoctrination Begins

When it’s just
him and me,
with no one else
he is my captive
the indoctrination

“Since I Met You Baby,
my whole life
has changed…”

“Only You
can make this world
seem right…”

“So darling, darling
Stand By Me…”

I perform
my private concert
complete with
doo-wop group
dance moves
for my grandson,

so he’ll know
what’s important
in this world.

My Little Friend, Oliver

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sometimes a Cigar


sometimes a cigar
is just a cigar.

It's not always
a penis.

it's an warm nipple
forever out of reach

everyday of our life.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Scenes From a Marriage, Part 62

(After the fight.)

Her: Have you seen my wedding ring?

Him: Yes, I put it right here.

Her: Why did you hide it?

Him: Why did you throw it?


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Stop Saying "God is Good"

When your Lotto numbers
come up,
the surgery was
a success,
your kid
was found alive,

stop saying
"God is Good."

You sound insipid,
immature and stupid
but moreover,
you belie any faith
you profess to have.

When your
beloved puppy
is hit by the car,
or the layoff comes
on the same day
as your kids
are sent home
with lice,
or when
you find that final
bit of corroborating
that confirms her

that's when
you must say
"God is Good."

Faith without works
is dead,
but also
faith without adversity
is empty.

God doesn't just
love and defend me
only when I do
what God wants,

so we shouldn't
love and defend God
only when God does
what we want.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Long Curved Blade Thingy

"Look at him,
that old fuck.
He sucks on
that vape pen like
he's a fucking baby
with a bottle.

What's he
trying to prove

He's a Dean
at the college.
Not the University.
The community college.
No, the community college.

Right, not really college.

My favorite part is
about 4 songs in,
this lame ass
mother fucker
starts to dance.

It doesn't matter
the music,
could be rap,
heavy metal,
that shitty
country music,

he has one move:

grooving like
a fat 50 year old
trying to feel
young again.

He sees the skeleton,
the one with
that long curved blade thingy,
and he sees
his coming death,

with the certainty of gravity,
and he's trying to grab
a little fun before death.
His death.

And I also know
he can't get her off

Yeah, I can hear him
snoring and
she's in the bathroom,

late into the night."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

I Am the Nostril Monster

I am
the Nostril Monster
and even though
I’ve a huge snout,
sharp, jagged teeth,
a mountainous girth,
and stink of
swamp water,
I still want,
no, need

What I love most
are beautiful,
delicate flowers
with soft wisps
of fragrance,
and delicate petals
exuding all things
perfect and divine.

The problem is
because I am
the Nostril Monster,
my claws are rough,
and my grip
is crude,
my movement,

Mine is a
cruel fate:

everything I
try to love
I end up

I am
The Nostril Monster
and I need love.

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Warehouse of Unanswered Prayers

The vapor,
white and slippery,
snakes its way
toward Heaven,
and with each exhale
I offer my petitions,
prayers and requests
for friends and family,
for problems
too big for these
mortal minds.

I see the fruit
of my
answered prayers
in this world,
but where do
the unanswered prayers

The Warehouse
of Unanswered Prayers
is why the heavens
stretch into infinity.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Thank You, Raechy

Thank you for being
the first one
to convince me
that becoming your father
might be a good,
no, great idea.

Thank you
for always asking
how I'm doing.

Thank you
for the memory
of you and me
getting our first
tattoos together.

Thank you
for teaching me how
to use a bong.

Thank you
for my beloved grandson.

Thank you
for every second, Raechy.

Happy birthday
and happier tomorrows,
love, Pop-o

Friday, November 03, 2017

The Sealed Box in My Closet

I have a sealed box
in my closet.

In it are emails,
greeting cards
with her
deceptive cursive
begging and pleading
for my love,
the initial police report,
the restraining order
granted against her husband,
for threatening to kill me
because she told him
I raped her.

She cheated
on her husband,
didn’t want to
take responsibility
for it,
and tried to make me
the Fuckboy Scapegoat.

She dropped the charges
when confronted
with all the
contradictory evidence
I’d saved.

I have a sealed box
in my closet,
it is labeled
and I’ll keep it

in case
I ever need it
to save me

Thursday, November 02, 2017

This Wine (for Anita)

Emerging from
the shower,
she wraps herself
in a warm towel.

I revel in
her soft skin,
the smell of
her wet hair,
our comfortable

Before she
slips between
freshly laundered
I kneel,
slowly tugging
the towel
toward me,

all that is perfect
on this
November night.

Starting at her ankles,
my lips tease
their way up
to her intoxicating

which reminds me
of the first time,

only now,
the years have made
this wine
and much more

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Unworthy Victim Speaks

I still jump
when I hear
that phone ring,
unbidden, harsh.

I won’t turn down
the ringer,
nor change the ringtone
lest I forget this feeling.

“I know what you did
to my wife
and I’m going to kill you.”

Just because
my actions brought it on,
doesn’t make my
any less crippling.