Thursday, October 19, 2017


The skulls
the bones,
lie in the dirt
in the desert,
among lonely cacti
against hot,
unforgiving skies.

They were once
alive with ambition,
inflamed with passion,
wracked with worry.

they are but
silent reminders,
mute witnesses
to the sheer folly
of empty bluster
and shiny objects.

bring the wisdom
that even the richest
among us,
those most privileged,
will share
the same
exact fate
with the humble.

Who will leave
a richer legacy,
the humble
who shared freely
the fruit
of their grace

or those
who lived
in opulent vanity,
clutching every crumb
to their bosom
lest it be stolen?

remind me
of what is

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

That Moon

The moon hung
big and buttery and
close to the Earth.

It didn't say
or try to mean

It was just
to tug
at the tides,

to give lovers
to make promises

to be witnessed.

I wanted to
pull over
and savor it,

but there was
a reason
I didn't,

I thought was
more important
to do.

like a fool,
I pressed on.

I can't remember
why I passed
that moment by,

but I'll never
that moon.

[This wasn't it, but it was like this.]

Friday, October 06, 2017

The Siren D├ęcolletage Mocks Me

Don’t confuse
their ubiquity
with mundanity.

in the employ
of marketing,
they are profaned,
on slick,
magazine covers.

Different hues,
fingerprint creases
and folds
and curves
in magical, mystical
sacred geometric

“Save the Ta-Tas.”
“Squeeze your Boobies.”
Change your avi
for the month
and flash them
to the world.

for the greater good
is advocacy.

the mystery
of that delicate skin
upon the breastbone,

the hint of
shadows falling
in between,

still cast their spell
on me,

as I remain
in perpetual

for connection,
for communion,
for restoration.

My lifelong desire
for embrace
to the eternally
warm, soft
female bosom,

to correct the deficiency
of a non-breastfeeding

remains unrequited,

as the magazine cover
silently mocks “no”
and you’re just
too tired.

[Written for Fireblossom's Challenge at]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Death Will Not Be a Surprise

It is the only reliable thing
in this world.

When armed
with the right lens,
the specter of Death
does not hide:

the opossum frozen
with the shriek of death
on its face in a tidy
pool of dried blood,

empty wrappers
littering the streets,
reminders of
everything that was taken
so that we the living
could be nourished,

the putty-colored
misshaped used condoms
employed to halt
or at least delay
the continuum of life,

even these modest
and ill-conceived ramblings
are written so that
when Death comes
to redeem my ticket
I will have
beat the game.

But any fool knows
that’s another losing

Death will not be a surprise
and it will not take
“No” for an answer.

Until that day,
drink in the roses
dive into the orgasm
with eyes wide open

swim in the melody.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Father's Pearls

"Everybody wants to be
a musician
but how many actually
get a job doing it?"

"I really want
to read more books
but it hurts my eyes."

"Nah, it doesn't
matter to me if
you don't wanna
have kids.
You can't miss
what you've never

"Sure, I believe
in God but
I just don't want
to go to church.
I did all that
stuff when I was
a kid."

"If you're gonna
get married
you have to know
how to take
a punch."

"To apologize
to your mother
is the biggest
mistake you can
ever make."

"One of these days
you're gonna meet
a pretty little girl
and you're gonna
start dating her
and before you know it
she's gonna be
pregnant and then
how're you gonna
pay for it all?"

"Go into electronics.
I know about that
field and there's all
kinds of jobs there."

"Do you know why I
bought this carpet colored
Because I want you
to treat it like

"Don't waste your vote,
Vote for Perot!"

"What you eat in private
shows in public."

"Thank you, mijo,
your reward will be
in Heaven."

[Actual quotes from my father. Posted for ]

Friday, September 15, 2017


We sleep together
face to face,
like the cherubs atop
the Ark of the Covenant.

I lay my head
closer to
her breast,
eyes closed
my sleeping gaze
pointed up
to her placid face,

a telling distillation
of our relationship:

ever worshipful,
ever deserving.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hands Digging Into This Earth

Cool Saturday mornings
in spring
I weed the planter
in blissful silence.

It’s simple,

I break the
cold hard ground
and sift the dirt
through my fingers
plucking the weeds
as though they were
errant gray hairs.

The same ground
worked and farmed by
my Mexican ancestors
and the Mestizos before them
and the Indios before them
and the Aztecs…

I am connected
to that eternal continuum
of hands digging
into this Earth.

It is almost
a mindless activity,
this private haven
that I own

and I smile
at my self-deception
and audacity:

to think
I own this land
that was here
long before
all my ancestors

and will outlast us all.

My name’s just
on the deed

for now.

Monday, September 11, 2017


When you’re free,
you become
weightlessly untethered
from the ground.

Though I am
a willing slave
to gravity,
I remain
a wisp,
a scent,
a flavor on the breeze.

May you
catch me
in your hair
and hear
my whispering plea:

be free!”

First Poem Published, Fullerton Daily Tribune, 1972

I was eight years old
and my local newspaper
a variety of
student submissions.

Here is what I sent in,
inspired by
an late night sermonette
on KTTV channel 11:

"God made
people to love
and things to use.

Some chefs
use people
and love
beef stews.

But God
made us to love,
with the love
from Above,

So, remember,
God made
people to love
and things to use."

Not bad
for a third-grader.

I forgot about it,
until it was found
in my Grandmother's purse
after she died in 1994.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Spark Joy

I bought her
the book
on tidying
your house,
your mind,
your life.

"Look at every
and determine

if it
spark joy,

throw it out."

I'm trying
not to read
too much
into her decision
to sleep
last night.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Greatest Challenge (for Oliver)

I can’t
smell that
“New Baby”

but there is
overwhelming peace,
warm, breathing bliss
in holding him,
my grandson.

This is my greatest

to be
completely present,
and enjoy him

instead of
dreaming of
all the times
we have
to come.

    Pop-o Moskowitz shares fine literature with Oliver.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's Still Magic

I've studied
Burt Bacharach's
"Bond Street"
for 40 years -

the quirky, uptempo
funky saxntrumpet
Hammond B-3 riff
that strange Eastern
flavor and the
soaring orchestra
aural transcendence
- even the Gypsy

and it's only
two minutes long.

I've played it
a million times
since I first heard it
when I was 7
and it still makes me

stop everything
and surrender
to its mystery.

If you know how
a magician
does the trick,
does it make it
any less magical?

it's still magic.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Night used to be cells of
unsolicited solitude
but I put the time
to good use.

I read,
wrote songs
and practiced
all the clever things
I would say
if I were ever lucky enough
to get a date.

I stayed up
late into the night
beside a static-filled
AM radio
and I imagined
I was the only one
tuned into this
distant AM station
playing old country and western tunes.

Night always told me
Someday, man, it'll
all be different.


at the end of the day
filled with
my family
who have no hesitation
in claiming
my every waking hour,

I revel in my solitude,
as I troubleshoot computers,
listen to old C&W songs over
the internet,
write the occasional poem,
and sink deeper
into some library book,

I look out
at the blue purple sky

and realize night
was right.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

VHS Seventh Heaven

Some people went to
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
and memorized it.

I was always too timid
to venture out that late
among all the self-congratulatory

But when VHS came about
I was in seventh heaven:

memorizing the rhythm
the cadence of
Groucho and Chico
bantering in “Duck Soup”

William Holden
leaving Faye Dunaway
with pithy eloquence in

Dustin Hoffman’s
grand deception
unraveling with
masterful despair

Richard Dreyfuss
and Marsha Mason sparring
and falling in “The Goodbye Girl”
set an ideal for dialogue
rarely encountered
in real-life,

almost every Woody Allen
schlmiel neurosis
giving a defiant voice
to this misfit teenager

Ray Liotta as
the amoral narrator
in “Goodfellas”

Bert Lahr in “The Wizard of Oz”

Zero in “The Producers”

Linus explaining
the true meaning
of Christmas

I’ve lived in
and through
these movies
more than five times

and now I want
to see them

[Posted for .]

Monday, August 14, 2017

I'll Take Reality

I do not believe
in happy endings
or dreams coming true,
because nothing
ever really ends
and dreams
are not real.

I believe in
spontaneous music,
idiomatic orgasms,
laughing pizza,
trusting puppies,
falling asleep
beside her,
her soft, sweet exhale:
these are real.

[Written for]

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Outside in the dark,
warm summer night breeze
streaming Don Rickles
on YouTube,

high as a kite
from year-old
Lemon drop;

we're both laughing,
and me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


A flurry of activity
will not make up
for a life unfulfilled.

This moment
came unbidden
and will leave

unless you

to matter,
to count,
to touch,
to hold,

to love. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Hey, Pimp

"Hey, pimp,
I ain't fooled.

You ain't never
been cool
despite your
shiny, freezer burnt
and the badass
you wear like
a shitty prison

You're the
of all the worst
of amoral capitalism
and atavistic masculinity.

You're nothing but
a goddamned slave owner,

and shame on
anyone attempting
to glorify that
wretched ugliness."


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Two Promises (for Oliver)

I was gifted
with two grandfathers.

One I saw regularly
but never spoke with
because he spoke
only Spanish
and I didn't.

The other grandfather,
because he
divorced my grandmother,
I saw less than
10 times in my life
Including his funeral.

I promise these two things:

whatever language
you end up speaking,
I will learn it,


I will never divorce
your grandma.

Welcome to the world, and
welcome to our familia, mijo.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Exotic Flowers and Ethereal Memories

I hail from
Boys Only

On the
televisual dataport,
I saw
from another galaxy
with curiosity,
open-mouthed wonder.

They smiled
and sang,
they reminded me
of exotic flowers
and ethereal melodies.

For the longest time
the only one of them
I knew
was our Queen Mother,
who was really just a man
with wide hips
and a bullet bra.

I snuck
off to the
launch pad,
years before
my scheduled
puberty flight,
and crash-landed
and tried to
infiltrate their

I watched
from a distance,
but timid:

they were all
too smart,
too strong,
too capable and
too beautiful
for me.

All I wanted was
their approbation,
their approval,
their recognition,

all things
the Queen Mother



Monday, July 24, 2017

Trust, Spittle, Dreams and Sweat

This unpredictable
and glorious collage
of blood-splattered memories,
semen-stained butcher paper,
tear-fueled promises,
depends so much
on spittle
and dreams,
and sweat.

When you finally
the horrible truth
hiding behind this
smiling harlequin mask,
I hope I am long gone,

a memory
of ashes spread
into the murky
blue-black sea,

too far gone
to retrieve.

May I be
past the point
of all redemption,

save for Jesus,
who I hope
keeps His promises

and saves me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Really High

If you hold
the vapor deep
in your lungs,

long enough
to quickly recite
"The Lord's Prayer"
in your head,

by the time
you get to

you will get
really high,

and really high
just means
you're closer
to Heaven,

closer to God.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Vape Playlist - June 28, 2017

Note: These are the songs I listen to as I sit outside in the June night and vape into relaxation. 
Vape along, or have a nice glass of wine, smoke, or just enjoy!

Cash in Your Face - Stevie Wonder

Stand - Sly and the Family Stone

In The Stone - Earth, Wind and Fire

Hip Hug-Her - Booker T and the MGs

Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) - Al Green

Turn Off the Lights - Teddy Pendergrass

Creepin' - Luther Vandross


It feels quicker than a blink
since I first saw you
and took you to raise up
as my very own.
Through laughter, patience
scrapes and tenderness,
I readied you for
a cold and undeserving world.

Through the seasons
you blossomed
and the world became
resplendent with possibility
when seen through your
naive and limitless vision.
I knew the world
would sing your song
once you taught them.

You asked if I was ready
and I snapped awake
from my reverie.
With a weak, sincere smile
and moist, quivering eyelids
I face my hardest challenge
as your stepfather:
to smile bravely
and not let you see my loss
as I walk you down the aisle
into your destiny.

[Posted for Dverse Open Link Night.]

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Would Atticus Do? (For Sarah)

We get in the car,
my 20 year old daughter
who suffers with depression
and I,
driving around
looking for normalcy.

Her moods,
dark and bleak
marinate in her room,
her hospice cell
she calls it.

So, everyday
I try to get her
out of the house
out of her own head
out of her sadness.

Some days,
we have errands
but some days
all we do is
aimlessly drive
the freeways
as she reads to me.

Right now,
we're in
the middle of
"To Kill a Mockingbird,"

and as we drive
her mood lightens
(being outside will do that)
we talk,
we share,
we get a soda.

I'd like to think
Atticus Finch
would do the same
if Scout had
suicidal depression.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

and Suddenly, it was Clear (for Anita)

A little before midnight
on my way back
to my bachelor apartment

her perfume still in my nose
her heat still on my skin

my mind replayed
the evening:
we sat with the kids
laughing at
“Spongebob Squarepants”

and after they fell asleep,
we did likewise
in each other’s embrace.

It felt like home,

but there I was
driving back to a place
I called home.

As I came up
to the intersection of
Alessandro and Moreno Beach

an idea I’d banished
long ago

floated in

like a leaf
through an open window

and suddenly,
it was clear,

and I said it aloud:

“I’m going to marry that girl.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

When the Fruit is Ripe

You have to trust
that when it is
to spring forth,
it will.

It does so
out of necessity,
because that
is what it was
made to do.

When the fruit is ripe
it will fall.

When the faun is ready
it will walk.

Don’t try
to predict when.

Just try
to be ready.

Life presents
all that
you need.

The trick is
to know when
to reach out
and grab it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oliver's Inheritance (for Sarah)

It's not going
to be found
in a stack of books
you leave him,
no matter how carefully
you choose them.

the real legacy,
his true inheritance
will come from
you'll make,

the part of you
left behind

in the cluttered
emotional attic
of another.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Foggy Unknown

Just as we
cannot predict
which hue of blue
the sky will be today,

or how the really
best films
are going to end,

or how sweet
the red-black cherry is,

no one knows
how this will
turn out.

I couldn’t predict
my world changing
-thunder loud and
lightening fast-
with a phone call,
telling me Pop died
two days after
his own mother died.

My world was
not just thrown,
but cosmically fucked
off its axis,
my compass pointed
in every direction

and each way ahead
was soft, foggy
and unknown.

Some paths were bright,
some dark gray,
a few even black,
but none of them
were clear.

I got lost trying to find
my way back
to my life before,
until eventually,
I gave up that

his death
also erased
who I thought
I was.

Only when I accepted
I couldn’t go back,
then I started moving


Be not afraid
of what the world
and this life have
waiting for you.

Stay open to
the foggy unknown
for one day
it will be
your turn,

and then you’ll be

and it’ll all
make sense.

Right now,
it remains
a heartbreaking

Written for D'Verse Poets's prompt: Poems To Save a Life

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Neither Condition nor Profession

"To be a poet
is a condition,
not a profession." -Robert Frost

To be a poet
is neither
condition nor profession.

It is