Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rainbow Lesson

I looked out
my gray
office window
and I saw
a perfect rainbow,

the arc
of glorious color

and for the first time
in my life
I saw
where both ends
settled on the horizon.

This was a
completely unexpected

I grabbed my cell phone
and snapped a quick picture
but that didn't do it justice.

So, I opened my word processor
to try and capture that thrill,
that catch in my throat,
but when I turned again to look
it was gone,
lost somewhere
in the dirty white clouds
over the Southern California basin.

I felt the pang of loss immediately,
but I was
too grateful to be disappointed

because I just learned
everything I need to know
for the rest of my life.

(Note: This was written a few years ago, and it seemed appropriate to the prompt of being alive in the moment.  So, I offer it up for D'Verse Meeting at the Bar.  Check it out at )

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Be Careful (Prompt: One Last Thing)

With my parents
it  was never goodbye,
so long,
or see you later.

The last thing my parents
always said upon parting was
be careful.

It used to bug me
until I realized that
be careful

I love you
and I want you to come back safely,

The world’s a tricky place
and I want you to come back safely,

Don’t stay away so long
because I want you to come back safely.

In retrospect.
it seems superstitious,

but their superstition is hopelessly locked
in my DNA,

so even as I said goodbye to Pop
as he laid there in the casket,

I could still hear his voice
telling me to

be careful.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lucky Lotto

"Of course, I’m playing.
The jackpot’s up
over 300 million dollars.

Only takes one ticket to win.

My numbers?
Well, I’ll tell you
five out of the six.

Ok, first is 9
because that’s how old I was
when my dad left my mom and
we had to go on welfare,
but that was good
because it made us all stronger,
so that’s why 9.

Next is 13
because that’s how old I was
when I finally
got up the courage
to tell the diocese
that the priest had been,
you know,
doing stuff to me and
they fired him,
or sent him away
or something.

The next two go together,
17 and 2.
I was 17 when I tracked down
my sister’s rapist
and beat his junk
into a bloody pulp
with my Louisville slugger,
and 2 is the number of
years probation I got.

And 25,
that’s how old my wife’s
going to be when
the baby comes out,
if everything goes
according to plan.


No, I can’t tell you
my sixth lotto number.

I gotta keep a few secrets
for myself."

(Written for #OpenLinkNight at

Sunday, March 25, 2012


because a year ago today
she tried to do herself in
and thankfully she wasn’t 
any good at it
and thankfully the insurance
covered her week in the
psychiatric hospital
and thankfully we had enough
in savings to take her
to that famous brain doctor
in Orange County
who provided pretty scans of her
imperfect cerebellum
and thankfully
we finally could toss out all
the misdiagnosis alphabet soup
and discovered a new path
and thankfully
she's free of all the meds
and their prison of side effects
and thankfully
she’s slowly getting better
and thankfully she got to do
a normal teenage girl thing
and go with her friend
to the midnight premiere
of “The Hunger Games”
and I could not have imagined this
a year ago
 so I say in all humility


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To Rachel’s Prospective Suitors

Please turn off
that clicking beeping whirring gadget
and put your eyes here.

Here’s what you need to know
before taking out my daughter tonight:

When you talk to me
please look me in the eye.
I don’t expect you to have all
the answers,
but I expect thoughtfulness.

Please pull your pants
up to your waist.
She doesn't want to see your underwear.
That stopped being stylish
around the year you were born.

If you watch pornography,
stop it.
My daughter is not to be used
as the bull’s-eye for your ejaculate,
swallower of your semen,
or fulfillment of your digitized fantasies.
If you want that,
marry her,
then that’ll be your negotiation.

You may be a player,
but my daughter isn’t a game
with which to be toyed.

If I ask you about your future,
don’t get all weirded out.
I can learn a lot about who
you are
by learning
where you’re headed.

when you take her out 

you are to be 
her unpaid bodyguard,
treating her so royally
that other women upon seeing you
should wish you were
their date.

do not ask my daughter
to pay for any of the
first five dates,
and please have a driver’s license
and a reliable car.
If she wanted a child
to take care of
she would’ve had one.

I don’t mind if you have body art,
pierced anything,
earrings, nose rings,
but if it’s the first thing
I notice about you
then you’ve done something wrong.

Also, please never refer to her as
a “Bitch,” “Ho” or “Man.”

Her name is Rachel
and she is my daughter.

(Written for #OpenLinkNight)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To Any Girls with Bullets and Arrows

All the girls 
who loved me and
eventually left me 
knew I had a writing habit.

they kissed me on the cheek
and said things 
that my mind heard as
“you need this pain for your art”
“you need to stretch yourself”
”it’ll be good for you to grow”
“you can do better than me”. 

I suppose these phrases 
were meant to console me.

Well, how dare they.

I don’t know if their goodbyes
improved my writing
or perhaps I passed my creative peak
long ago,

but store this away
all you girls with my name 
on your bullets and arrows:

I’ve had enough of the pain
and tears just make the words 
sound stupid anyway
and the morning after is always worse 
than the night before.

even though your leaving 
would fuel another contribution
to the canon of the 
self-pitying written word 
writ swollen and drunk after midnight,


[Posted for D'Verse Poets Filling the Gaps . This was an especially tricky assignment, as I try to make my poems completely self-contained and self-explanatory (with no need for explanation).  That said, here's an old poem from 1988, when I was having an particularly self-pitying night. Hoped you liked it.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Eternal Challenge (Prompt: Challenge Poem)

Throw down the gauntlet
I’ve drawn a line in the sand

I dare you
I double dare you
I double dog dare ya
I triple dog dare ya

you’re yella
you’re a chicken
you ain’t got the stones
why don’t you grow a pair?

knock this off my shoulder
stand up for yourself
shit or get off the pot
what’s it gonna be?

you ain’t man enough
put on your big girl pants
don’t take another step
I’ll slap your ass
into the middle of next week.

if you loved me, you would
oh yeah?
you and what army?

come over here and say that
smile when you say that

I’ll drop your ass like a bad habit

go ahead, make my day
feelin’ lucky, punk?

Monday, March 12, 2012

She Looked Me in the Eyes

After a seven year courtship,
we were married on
Black Sunday.

She looked me in the eyes
and said:
“I Do.”

The day was cursed,
her family
wouldn’t speak with my family.

The two-tiered cake falling
during the first dance
wasn’t a good omen either.

Though she slept a lot
during the day
throughout our honeymoon,
I kept thinking
that my expectations
were too high,
and things
would get better.

Six weeks in
I discovered she
was secretly dating her
C+ programming professor
since before we got married,
and she assured me
that he was just a friend,
but also somehow mentioned
that he made $70,000 a year
to my $29,000.

On Day 141,
I left,
and she went to his place
to drink champagne,
slow dance and screw.

Five days later,
a flirtatious married coworker
who pretended to care,
offered me
sympathy and fellatio
anytime I needed it.

I was aghast,
but still heartbroken.

After weeks
of dreamless nights
crying and trembling,
I could no longer

She looked me in the eyes
and said:
“No One Will Ever Know.”

I gave in
and shot all my hate
rage and anguish,
into her sweaty
debased body
that August afternoon.

I thought that might end it,
not realizing that she thrived
on such humiliation.

The next day
she offered herself
as my slave
to be used

my soul sent up a white flag,
and I unilaterally
ceased and desisted
from seeing her again.

She eventually
broke her promise
when she told her husband
that I tried to rape her.

when I tell you I have
trust issues,
it isn’t that
I don’t know
how to trust;

I don’t know
who to trust.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Afloat (Prompt: Toulouse-Lautrec’s “In Bed The Kiss”).

Eyes closed
heart open,

future laid
before them.

This moment
erases years
of obligation,
forced sentiment
spent elsewhere.

Afloat in
that mysterious
afterglow, before
losing consciousness

and gaining
direction for
this newly
coupled life.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rapture Strategy

The world is coming
to and end
and we couldn’t be happier for it!

While we don’t appreciate
all the evil in this world:
the fornicators
the drive-thru abortionists
the sexually deviant
the slave owners
the torturers,

we are grateful,
as their sinfulness
rockets us closer to
the Rapture.

Reaching out to them
in compassion and
might work against us,
for if we really loved them
and understood them,
they might change their ways
and then
the homosexuality
the abortions
the war
the wholesale destruction
of precious life
might cease

and there might be
Heaven on Earth,

and that just can’t be
permitted to exist!

How the Hell
is the Rapture
going to get here
if we love and
take care of each other
and this world,
and make ourselves
as sinless as possible?

It can’t
and it won’t!

we just won’t presume
the inherent sinfulness of Man,
and the necessity
to turn to Jesus,

we need to
foment the misery,
and slaughter,
so that it becomes
so abhorrent
that Messiah will return

and take us up
with Him in His rocket ship
to Heaven

and leave the rest of
His Fouled Creation
to wallow in the filth
and fire of the nonbeliever.

I ask the congregation:

do you believe?

(Written for #OpenLinkNight)