Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three Laughs (for Harold Ramis)

The first person
I ever wanted to be
was Groucho Marx.

When I was a teenager
I wanted to be part
of the Second City
television show.

In my early 20’s
I thought I could be
a Mexican Woody Allen.

I told myself
I wouldn't give it a go
until after
I graduated college.

When I was 22
I got up on the stage
where I tried
and I failed

It was a Sunday night
and I remember
I couldn't get the
flush of the embarrassment
of my face.

I spoke
to one of the regulars
who told me
he worked
different clubs
in the valley
every night.

I asked him
how much he made
each week,
and he said
“Thirty-five dollars.”

Putting my college degree
to work,
I calculated and
I realized I lacked
the drive,
the desire
to pay the dues.

So that night
I put the dream away,
and eventually went back
to graduate school,
where I earned a
Master’s Degree
in sociology.

Throughout the nineties,
I worked evenings
teaching sociology
at the local community college.

All the years
of studying the masters
Cheech, Chong
paid off

as I peppered
my lectures
with original jokes
and observations.

I finally
found my audience
when I realized
that a nightclub comic
who only gets three laughs,
is a sucky stand-up,

but if you’re a college teacher
and you get three laughs,
then you’re the fun professor.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Relative Gratitude

My brother Masuda
who is dying
two days at a time
tells me
about his leg
which may have to be amputated
and how the diabetes
is raping his system
and that its working
with the vasculitis
to speed his immune system
into oblivion
and how he’s so broke
he trades his pain meds
for hamburgers
at the local diner
and how one of his daughters
won’t talk to him
and how his computer crapped out
and will it cost $65
that he didn't have to fix it.

I take it all in
and heave out a sigh
“Man, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Masuda changes the tone
“Hey, I ain't complaining,man.
I could be in Afghanistan
somewhere dying.
At least here I got a place to live
and I’m still alive.”

It’s a simple but compelling
relative gratitude.

I store it away
in the part of my mind
where I keep my
nasty spritzo insults,
orgasm memories
and hacks I use to tweak
my programming

so when I feel like
walking away
or driving into the oncoming headlights
or giving into something
wet and forbidden,

I stop
and reboot.

when I'm in the angry pitch
in the blue quicksand
or if I’m feeling cornered
I’ll be able to say

“Hell, at least,
I’m not Masuda.”

[Posted for my pal Masuda and #OpenLinkNight at - go there and drop yourself in the healing, poetic waters.]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

With Sweetness and Wonder

He stumbled through
grad school,
and a first marriage
that didn't survive a season.

He philandered,
ejaculated hatred,
and received
a death threat
credible enough
that the cops advised him
to hide.

He hid in her house,
lost himself in
her PTSD,
and finally found his way out
only after
a painful, adulterous affair,
his father’s
unexpected cardiac arrest,
and two planes
flying into
two buildings
almost knocked him
off his axis.

Since then
he remarried,
bought a house,
raised kids.

he hit 24 years of sobriety,
and I've seen him
through every frame
of that movie.

The fact that
he can slip
at any given moment,
and somehow doesn't,
imbues his every day
with sweetness
and wonder.

[Written for #openlinknight at - love poetry? Get'cher ass ovah there!]

Thursday, February 06, 2014

For What It's Worth

This just came in the mail.  Box #2 tickled me. (Click to zoom.)

Don't worry, it's not enough money to corrupt me. If you bought my e-book, thanks. - Moskowitz

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Space is an Illusion

Space is an illusion
not only is the glass
always full
(it is half water and half air),

but the glass is connected
to the air
that is connected to you
and to me
and to everything .

The illusion is that
such false divisions
even exist at all:

what separates
the property from the boundary
the inside from the outside?

Nothing can exist
because everything
is connected
to everything else.

The Buddha knew it
and so did the Christ,
and sometimes
so do I.

So, why then
do I keep swimming

trying to stand
from everything else?

[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at, where even empty-headed poseurs like me can find love!]