Pages

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Remember Me

“I know your world
is full of
noisy details
and there’s always something
or someone trying
to get your attention,
but, please,
remember me.

When you see
a rose,
breathe in
its sweet scent
and remember me.

If you see
a skating chimpanzee
wearing a tuxedo
and smoking a cigar,
laugh and
remember me.

When you hear
“The Tears of a Clown”
by the Miracles,
remember me.

If you remember me,
then I’ll always
be with you,
alive in your world,
neither gone
nor forgotten.

Remember,
this wasn't my idea,
and don’t blame the
public defender;
we all know
I was framed,
but that doesn't matter
now.

I know
I have to go now,
but,

remember that impossibly
bright summer day
when we went
to Newport Beach,
and we just watched
the waves,
and we breathed in
the sea breeze
until the sun went down?

Well,
thank you
for letting me
love you,

for letting me know
how sweet
it all could be.

I’ll wait for you
on the other side
of that sun.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Burlesquing My Soul

I started out
wanting to be
a song and dance man,
an entertainer.

I haven't
the hubris
to assume
you'll follow me
down the
rabbit hole
of vague,
inscrutable
imagery and
poetic conceit,
so I just try
to amuse
with the
workman's toolkit of
humor and pathos,
sex and violence.

I need
an audience
for confirmation,
so I'll sing,
dance,
and in desperation,
burlesque my way
into a motley strip tease,
revealing my
naked soul,
every hairy orifice
and unflattering bulge
on freakish display,
hoping you won't
turn away
and find someone else.

I don't write about
the horsetails in Asia,
or a church bell's lonesome tail,
or anything noble
like that;
its most just about
me.

Seemingly, in humility
I don't describe myself
a poet,
but rather a documentarian
and my only subject
is me,

which,
upon reflection,
is hubris
in its purest form.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Masuda is Dead

Masuda is dead
and I am sometimes
caught off guard
knowing that he isn't
in his wheelchair
somewhere I Oregon,
a phone call away.

I mourn because
sometimes I avoided his calls
because I knew he was going
to ask me for money
and how do you say no
to a man with
an incurable illness?

When I was an atheist
he told me I was
one of the most
Christian people he knew.

We went through
graduate school together,
he also wrote poetry
and he was able to crank out
entire books
thanks to the manic part of
his bipolarity.

He was Vince Neal
until 18, when he
accidentally learned
he was adopted
from a Japanese-Norwegian
couple named Masuda.

He was a red-headed
mountain of a man
who loved Jesus
and still considered himself
married, a Catholic,
even though his wife
threw him out
a decade ago
for philandering.

In many ways
he was a cautionary tale,
but he was also
just another broken kid
who wrote brutally honest poetry
about social injustice
about the challenge of the Christ
about getting raped at five years old.

Now
he’s free
from the vasculitis,
from the diabetes,
from the poverty,
from this moribund
life sentence.

The last thing
he told me
was to read
“Ragman and
Other Cries of Faith”
and I told him
I would.

It arrived
months ago,
but I haven’t
opened it,
as if somehow
my reading it
would somehow
close the door
on him forever.

I’ll get to it
someday,
when I’m not so
weepy.






















Me and Johnny Masuda, August 2005.

[If you want to buy Johnny's book, I think it's still available at lulu.com .]

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Secret Recipe

Take a beautiful,
unique child
and unfavorably compare him
to everyone else.

Buff out his unfinished edges,
sand off his spiky angles.

Paint him ghastly colors
(because those are the colors
that are on sale),
and dress him not for
aesthetics,
but rather
because they fit
his bulky girth.

Feed him daily
three squares of
shame, guilt and self-loathing.
He’ll balk at first,
but he’ll get used to it.

Make him a bookworm,
call him a sissy,
give them a ringside seat
at the glorious childhoods
of his joyous, unworried
classmates.

[Extra Spicy Option:
Make him Mexican,
but don’t make him
dark-skinned,
that would be
too obvious.
Make him
light skinned
so that he thinks
he’s one of his
white classmates,
until they start
telling Mexican jokes.]

Let this concoction
stew for 15-16 years,
and then
when he’s 5 foot 2
and 210 pounds,
with greasy skin,
an erupting face
and tumbleweed hair,
make him suicidal
after the girl he’s been
writing love poems for,
tells him that she only
likes him as a friend.

But
don’t let him die yet.

No.

Give him
a pen,
some paper,
and the loneliness
he’s known for years,
stretch him into
a full-grown man,
and whisper in his ear:

“It’s ok to be angry.
Now, write.”

Teach him how
to deny
everything he
used to shove
in his mouth
(because he’s so
orally fixated)
and teach him
to begin running
obsessively.

Awaken him
so he can
write his own destiny,
paint his own paradise
and then enter it.

Guide him
through college,
through losing
his virginity
(wherein an angel of mercy
took pity and
deflowered him
a month shy
of his 20th birthday,
just so he could say
he had sex at least once
as a teenager),
through college
and into adulthood,
where he will become
a nervous-stomached,
130 bpm pulse pounding
faceless, over-achieving
college dean.

Then,
he’ll crank out
these poemonologues
to miniscule acclaim,

never really triumphing over
his guilt, shame and self-loathing,

the secret ingredients
in the recipe of his success.

My Lord's Prayer

Lord,
please.

Please help.

Please help me.

Please help us all.

If it be Your will, help, please.

You know what I need,
hear my pleas,

please,

please,

Lord?

Sadie the Cat is Missing Haiku

Dirty gray cotton
threatening, menacing rain;
find a warm place, cat.

Friday, April 24, 2015

For Adults Only: An Incantation

When the tiggle-de-biggles
go bump-bump-bump,
and the mischkel-lee-fishkels
go glump-glump-glump,

don’t look an oopy-dee-doopy in
the eye-yi-yi,
lest your dingle-mack-shmingel
might die-yi-yi!

No, better bratchet your fatchet
with a wee small small-wee,
and don’t fobble your dobble
under the brown globble tree,

just grab your sexi mac-lexi
and squish-up your dish-up,
forgot the blah-lah-ders
and mish-up your frish-up,

by the zizzel of kizzel
I invoke Lord Snapwaggle,
does any of this schmizzel
make you want to persnaggle?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Love Poem Recipe

1. Decide if you want
it to be
abstract
or representational,
as this will
determine the
poem’s trajectory.

2. Pick three memories
of your beloved
(two obvious ones
and one almost forgotten one),
and set them aside.
Later, scatter them
throughout your work
to suggest
your beloved
has casually become
the center of your
universe.

3. Write something
about your beloved
that you cannot say
about any other person
in the world.
Do not despair,
if necessary,
fabricate something credible
and trust that the person
will grow into that.

4. Make a positive comparison
about one of your partner’s
physical attributes
to something non-physical,
“your lips
hold the promise
of a hundred
Christmas Eves.”

5a. (for men only),
if you must write
about her body parts,
do not use slang
or the anatomically
correct Latin term;
either of these will
kill the mood,
5b. (for women only),
if you must write
about your future plans,
do not mention marriage
or wished-for children;
either of these will
kill the mood.

6. Dump all
these ingredients
into a word processor,
hit the start button.
Turn it off
when your words
begin to look
like mush.

7. Do not present your poem
in calligraphy
or have it center-aligned,
both of which
imply insecurity.
Simple handwriting
or a plain font,
left justified
should suffice.

8. If you realize
that your poem
doesn't adequately
convey the expanse
of your love,
that means

a) congratulations,
you have a love
for the ages! or

b) your poem
needs a rewrite.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Gentle, Wet Kiss

Gray mist envelopes
the valley,
blessing everything
with a gentle, wet kiss.

This fog
makes everything
soft and beautiful
as if I were driving
through a
soft-focus photograph.

There may be
disappointment and
despair waiting
somewhere in
my day,
and I can’t change that,
but for now,
my heart is near
bursting,
my soul,
silent but electrified,
gliding through the dawn.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Name Is Buddah Moskowitz (and I Am Funky)

Self-abnegation
brought me to
Buddah Moskowitz.

My teenage plan
was to be a sitcom writer
when I grew up.

Growing up happened
when I realized
there were no sitcom writers
with last names resembling
Reyes or
Martinez or
Garcia or
Ramirez or
Gutierrez or
Torres or
Salas or ...
...you get the picture.

Also,
I didn't look like
anyone in
Hollywoodland,
and I didn't have
the self-confidence,
the flamboyance
to bust out as
the fat freakshow
that I was.

I wanted a name
that would confound
these prejudices
and be all my own,

Q: Why Buddah?

A: Because Judas was
already taken
and I tend to be
a non-dualistic,
non-materialist.

Q: Why Moskowitz?

A: Because even though
there is nothing but
gentile Mexicans
in my lineage,
I know my soul
is Jewish,
plus
I think it looks
very cool.

So, when you see the name
Buddah Moskowitz
do you picture
an overweight 52 year old
Mexican American?

Neither do I,

and I like it
that way.

Anita (April 20, 2015)

I see her
on the treadmill
focused
and determined,
her stride
controlled and
graceful.

I watch her from
the weight machines,
wanting to
catch her eye
but not wanting
to distract her.

Her chestnut hair,
bouncing like
children on a hayride,
makes me smile.

She cannot see
herself
the way I see her,

but she is perfect,

and for her
I will lift a little more
run a little faster,
try a little harder,

and I cannot believe
the good fortune
that she wears my ring.

Mindfulness Exercise

Feel the crush
of the grass
beneath your feet
as you
inhale and exhale.

Take note
of the breeze
how it kisses
your face and
tousles your hair
as you
inhale and exhale.

Witness the
many shades of green
and the blues
in the sky
as you
inhale and exhale.

Be grateful
for every moment
because you know
each one is a miracle
as you
inhale and exhale.

Know these things
are true and remember
life is sweet
even as
you scoop
the dog poop
as you inhale and exhale.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Eternal Challenge

No two heartbeats
thump exactly alike
and no two sets of eyes
perceive the same thing
the same way
and so it is with
the self.

So,
tear open your soul,
not neatly as though
you were unzipping
a windbreaker,
but madly
as a thirsting man
in the desert,
guzzling it,
too lustful in
consumption
to worry about
appearance.

Remember,
the Infinite
does not just move
outward
but once you recognize
that it penetrates
inward
you will never
be bored again,
as you dig deeper,
revealing more
layers of mystery
hiding in your DNA,
interwoven in your soul.

I cannot tell you
how to access this,
but I know
once you understand
that everything
has been building
up to
this
very
moment
right
NOW!
then your days
will be made as
fine masterpieces,
universal yet personal
works of art,

that no one else
can teach
and only you
can inspire.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Folly

I have guitars,
both electric and acoustic
including the
Yamaha Guitalele
the ukulele;
a Korg microarranger,
my other Yamaha keyboards
and synths,
assorted samplers,
midi controllers,
my Novation MiniNova
synthesizer
and a variety
of effects pedals;
the Korg Kaossilator
and the KP Mini
grooveboxes,
a handful of
microphones,
and a few
multitrack recorders,
some analogue,
some digital.

Thousands of dollars
all spent in the service
of making
musical recordings,
still hoping I will be
“discovered”at 52,

the World’s Oldest
Child Prodigy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Broken Girls

I see broken girls
everywhere,
trying to hide
behind polished smiles
something secret
and shameful
that was born
so long ago
and was pushed
down so deep
it is almost forgotten.

Almost.

I see broken girls,
frantically flapping,
always trying to
win approval
from parents
who have long since
departed this realm.

Broken girls
never rest feeling 
that they did 
enough.

Broken girls
possess hearts
ever weary,
muscles exhausted
from always holding back
that sadness they keep
in the dark,
lest it see the light
and multiply
like malignant cancer cells.

Broken girls
can see each other
and in their
invisible bond,
they make silent prayers
for each other,
knowing that
even they 
are entitled
to a bit of happiness
now and then.

I see broken girls
in line at the supermarket
at evening prayers
fighting with the insurance company
waiting out colorless marriages
in drunken, half-naked stupors
frozen and stuck in therapy
writing poems no one will see
stroking cats in silence
worrying about the future.

When I look 
into the mirror,
I see a broken girl.

Monday, April 13, 2015

No Overarching Narrative

I attempt  
completing the puzzle
even though
my soul knows
many of 
the stray pieces
have been hidden.

There is no meaning
in these random occurrences,
no overarching narrative.

It's just grasping 
at disparate shards
of perception,
those meandering clouds
of feelings
and assembling them
into something
recognizable.

The spider in the bassinet,
the ice cube in the ashtray,
the eyelid closed in slumber,
the Bowie knife in the pew.

The story is not
that they are related 
in some meaningful frieze,
but rather it is
that they were
never disconnected.

There is meaning
in this world,
but it is not ours to
know,
so why ponder.

Enjoy the drink,
breathe in the air,
savor the meal,
fall asleep in
a naked embrace,
chest heaving
in the afterglow.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mussolini the Crow

Every morning
perched atop
the three storied
steel and glass office,

Mussolini the crow

surveys the filling parking lot,
squawking declarations
and orders,
his ranting lost
on human ears.

I always stop
and smile
as he berates me
with all the others:

"You fools!
Don't you see
you're just wage slaves!
Your life is being
traded away for mere
millet!
Don't go in there,
they'll take everything
from you, and won't stop
until they have your soul!"

Nobody listens
as we all dutifully
single file in
with quiet resignation.

Still every day
he is there,
taunting us
without mercy.

Perhaps,
he isn't even a crow,
but rather
a mockingbird.

Balance

Balance
is an illusion,
only because we think
we need to achieve
equilibrium
to achieve peace.

Remembering
to breathe
completely in
and then
completely out,
forgetting the past
and the future
resets everything,
wipes the slate clean.

It is as easy
as it sounds
and
it is not as easy
as it sounds.

Now go,
and
become balanced.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Kiss


And so,
after all the words
have been spent,
this is
how love is:

the lover
adores from above
and does not need
to show his face,

his beloved
bathed in affection,
eyes closed
in holy rapture,

both lost
to this world
and
both lost
in each other.
Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (Lovers), oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1908–1909. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, 180 cm × 180 cm

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The One I Threw Away

I've kept damn near
everything
I ever wrote,

just in case
the Smithsonian calls.

The only one
I threw away
intentionally
was the whine
written for the
deranged and depraved
married woman
who pursued me
after my newlywed bride
abandoned me
and my heart
was oozing
pus all over
our still-unopened
wedding presents.

In weakness
I wrote it
and in weakness
I dishonored
her marriage.

I secretly wish
every poem I ever
gave away
is still somewhere
secretly tucked
inside a memory box,
yellowed and folded,
treasured beyond
explanation,

except the one
I threw away.

I hope that one
was unceremoniously
dumped along with
wadded candy wrappers,
sticky, spent condoms
and other detritus
born of regret.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Where is Sarah’s Miracle?

When the Lord’s Supper
is shared in our church
lights are dimmed,
and I was grateful
for the darkness,
because I was doubting,
despairing,
wondering why
the Lord
saw fit
to scratch
my daughter’s brain,
in utero, 
marking her with
cerebral palsy,
mild enough
to prompt the
well-meaning,
but ignorant
“well,
at least
it’s not
that bad.”

(Never mind that she
has been diagnosed
with depression
since she was 7;
anxiety and OCD
as a teen.)

I sat with my head
in my hands,
hiding my tears,
thinking,

“where is her miracle?
Do You even perform
miracles anymore?”

Sensing the usher
standing by,
I looked up
and it was Bill.

Bill should have died,
when he was driving
that two-lane highway
through the Badlands,
and was struck
head-on
by a Mack truck.

He was in
intensive care
for half a year,
rehabilitated
for a half more
and now
here he was,
smiling and offering me
God’s grace
in the form of
an unleavened cracker
and a plastic
cup of grape juice.

I ate the bread,
drank the juice,
and patiently
kept on
waiting
for her miracle.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Just One Star

I look into the
limitless purple black
trying to focus on
just one star.

I am dizzied
and humbled.

I don’t have the right
to look up
and examine them
as though they were
specimens
in a laboratory,
for I am temporary
and replaceable,

inconsequential,

while the stars
are unreachable,
indestructible,
lasting longer than
the stones we use
to understand time.

I look up
into that massive
dark silence,
wondering if
someone
out there
is trying to find
me.

Easter 55

Virgin birth? Life after death?
Have you been smoking meth?

At attention, in your pews,
straining for any good news?

Heard not in any church,
hidden books I did search.

Hanging there, as a wraith,
not demanding assent of faith,

seems not a divine plan;
more likely by profane man.

Remember:

Jesus’ death saved everyone.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction books
bought, stacked,

possessing the
truth of
the world;

more than
I can
read in
a lifetime,

staving off
The Angel
Of Death.

Fiction books
remain superfluous.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Just One More Cup of Coffee

When we met at that Starbucks
I didn't think it’d change my life
I didn't think I’d find a wife
but there you were.

Now we sit by the fireplace
in this home that we both share
in a love I’d never dare
dream would feel so pure.

Through the years so many memories
put smiles upon my face
and time will not erase
how you answered every prayer.

But lately you seem somewhere else
and the question that I see
have you lost interest in me,
do you have something to share?

Let’s have one more cup of coffee
and we’ll sort everything out,
like we did when we were new
and we didn't have a doubt,
let’s slow down and just remember
the dreams we made back when,
just one more cup of coffee
could make everything right again.

I know that time has changed my body
by it hasn't changed my heart
like I knew right from the start
and I let him lead the way.

What can I do to make you feel
the way you felt when you said yes
that excited hopefulness
grows fainter every day.

Perhaps there’s nothing I can do
to re-ignite that spark
where it now feels cold and dark,
something here’s amiss.

So we’re polite but we don’t face it
knowing something isn't right,
we fall asleep each night
without even trying to kiss.

Let’s have one more cup of coffee
and look each other in the eye,
fixing this might be painful
that doesn't mean we shouldn't try,
but if you've already decided
please don’t tease me with a lie,
just one more cup of coffee
then you can tell me goodbye.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Anywhere but There

I shared a room
with two brothers -
a bed with one of them
until I was 16-
so I learned not to expect
too much privacy.

My earliest memories
were sitting with my brothers
on the couch that my father
reupholstered himself,
(partly
because he could reupholster
and partly
because we
couldn't afford new furniture)
watching Warner Brothers cartoons,
memorizing the voices
and the jokes,
on the color TV
that occasionally died
and my father would
resurrect with his vast
collection of glass vacuum tubes
he kept in a shoe box,
again,
because he knew how
and because
we couldn't afford
a new TV.  

The kitchen
had a breakfast nook
upholstered in pleather
(again, my father)
that made our thighs
stick as we slid in
wearing shorts
on hot summer days,
and my mom would concoct
things that only now
I have the words
to describe:
her go-to meal was collect
all the leftovers
and throw them in a skillet,
bind them all together
with egg
and serve it up in a tortilla.

My favorite place,
my only sanctuary,
was the spot on the floor
in front of the "stereo"
where I would
plug in my Pop's
over-the-ear
gray and black
plastic headphones
and listen to the FM radio,
or albums I borrowed
from the library,

and I would
escape from my world
of patched-up furniture,
hand-me-down clothes
leftover recipes
and my unspoken
Mexican inferiority complex

and I would dream
I was in a New York high rise,
or a Los Angeles bachelor pad,
or a Chicago recording studio,
anywhere but there.

Decades later,
I still consider it
home.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

About Sandra

The first poem
I read was
in the volume entitled

"Love is a Dog from Hell."

The perversity of the title
hooked me
and I opened to the section
about Sandra

and read about the temptress
who brought her
naive, young boys around
to show off to the author.

I had been
one of those boys
and I was red-faced
as him
caught me
in his descriptive grasp,
looked me over
and summarily dismissed me
as the inconsequential
youth that I was.

I read more
and more,
each poem
defining the man
and resonating
in me,
at once idiosyncratic
and personal.

I took it home
and Bukowski became
that unreachable standard
that all who create
must have.