Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Best Birthday Present I Ever Got

Friday afternoon
(my favorite time of the week),
September 27, 2002.

It took forever
to get the kids out the door
and into the custody
of their dad
for the weekend.

We sat on the couch
and I told her that
I had something
for her to wear.

Knowing my mind,
she asked if it was
or some other kind of
kinky sex costume.

I’ll never forget
her look of surprise
when I showed her
the modest ring
and I pitched
my modest proposal,

and I will always treasure
her reaction
because she’s too smart
to be surprised
very often.

She said “yes”

and that was
the best birthday present
I ever got.

[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at, the best poetry site on the internet.]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mockingbird Laughter

She said:

“Your mom asked me
not to tell you
over the phone.

Just come home.

promise you’ll stay calm.

Are you sure?

Your father died today.

He was mowing
the lawn and he had
a heart attack.”

I couldn’t hear anything
after that

except the sound
of my youth
slamming shut

and the
mockingbird laughter
of Fate

forever silencing
my Answer Man.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cockroach Defense

Don’t hate me because
I’m beautiful.

Your police
use body armor
that is but a faint copy
of my birthright.
I have been
tempered in everything
designed to annihilate me.

We probably could triumph
over AIDS.

Don’t hate me
because I’ve dined
at the finest tables in Europe,
stolen morsels
from Dust Bowl sharecroppers
and have prospered
where your kind has perished.

We inherit the wisdom
to turn your refuse into manna,
a feat you’ve yet to accomplish.

And we thrive on waste.

We are efficiency personified.

And the only tool
in your arsenal
to defeat us
is an atavistic and angry
shoe crushing down upon us.

Don’t hate me
because I violate
the sanctity of your pantry.

Hate me because I defy
your greatest technology
with impunity.

[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at  - where poets can find compassion and other poets!]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Then the Twin Towers Fell (my September 11 story)

I couldn't leave the woman
I was living with
on September 10th.

It was the life I knew
and she needed me,
but I stopped needing her.

I had strayed
long before this,
and only my material things
were still there.

We shared a bed
but were not intimate,
we shared a life
but were disconnected,
we shared a house
but were not married.

She survived a lifetime of
sexual abuse and trauma
but the scars carved
unbridgeable chasms
into our life together.

After seven years
it had all become passionless,
and I cheated on her
which only added to my guilt,
fueled my obligation,
and strengthened my paralysis.

My soul cried
to be released
from the twin towers
of guilt and obligation.

The next morning
an airplane flew into
the World Trade Center,
and like others,
I saw the instant replay
as a tragic accident.
Then came a second plane,
then, a third at the Pentagon
and a fourth destined
for the White House.

the world seemed disoriented,
knocked from its axis,
hurtling, upside down
in chaotic twisted disorder.

Shock and suspicion and confusion
went viral
because the terrorists could be anywhere,
or everywhere.

I saw the quick and unforgiving
nature of reality,
the fragility,
the precious lives
snuffed out
like cigarette butts,

and my guilt and obligation
seemed small and pointless,

and that motorcycle I was riding
in the fast lane
after midnight
without the headlights off,

pulled over

and I knew
I had to make
a change

and then the twin towers fell,

and one month and a day
after September 11th,

I left her
for the woman
who eventually
become my wife.

[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at - Love that site!]

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Leaves Will Not Fall Forever

In Autumn,
memories come,
cascading predictably
like leaves
off the trees,

and as the years
add up,
the pile of leaves
at my feet
comforts me,
but also reminds me
that the leaves
will not fall
for me.

I do not gather my leaves
to be pressed in a book,
or burned in a pyre,
or squashed into mulch.

I collect my leaves into
a brittle bed,
and gently lay myself
upon them,
savoring their scent,
their ticklish scratching,
thankful that
I can still do so.

Looking up
at the increasingly
naked branches,
I try not to worry
about how many leaves
I have remaining,

but rather
just enjoy
the ones I’ve been
given today.

Detour: The Twilight Canopy

This is not a mash-up, but rather how my brain processes music, hence my audio nom de plume, Noisy Therapy.  Name the samples, and win bragging rights. - thanks for indulging the Mosk

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I experience sitcom reruns,
like chewing gum
that’s been chomped on 
so long 
that the original 
juicy flavor is gone.

I've memorized the jokes
the set-ups,
the pauses, 
the punch lines,
the musicality of 
the canned laughter.

They take me back 
to my childhood,
to the days before 
I had responsibility.

I wasn't a street kid,
but more a shut-in
who mostly listened, 
and the sounds 
imprinted themselves
on my soul.

They were comforting then
and they still are
comforting now. 

When I hear the voices of 
Fred Sanford, 
Archie Bunker, 
Rhoda Morgenstern,
Ralph Kramden,

I am
transported back 
to my 
parents' house,
where it was
warm and safe and 
simmering pans birthed
comforting smells
and my parents 
were somewhere in that house
doing all the worrying 
for me.

I still love my sitcoms
but wonder whether
I learned the wrong lessons:

that I should try and be 
funny all the time 
every few seconds,

that I should look
for quick problem solving
as most can be resolved 
in 23 minutes, 

or in the rarest of cases,
over a two-parter.

But I know
if a dire situation arises 
and I must become 

I don't panic:

I just become Hawkeye
in the later seasons of M*A*S*H,
and suddenly
I become sensitive,
with appropriate sincerity,
and remarkable wit,

generally, a simulacrum 
of an adult, 

and everyone believes me.

[Posted for @OpenLinkNight for - the best site for poetry in the world.]