Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Her World Turns On Weakness

Feeling like a cockroach
that even God pitied,
I went to her street.

I knew she’d be there
and she surprised me
by giggling
“you looking for me baby?”

My blush convicted me.

Giving her the once over,
she looked exactly as I
only better.

“You haven’t been around lately”
I had dreamed of her lips,
that playful smile.

“We can make it like old times.
I can’t hold a grudge,
even though you have
been a naughty boy
staying ‘way so long.”

My heart diverted the blood
from all my extremities
save for one.

She was always up for a good time.
She’d let you do any nasty thing
your mind could conjure
and I always wanted to be
the freakiest one
in her collection.

“You’re thinking ‘bout those old times,
aren’t you, Sugar?”

She knew
the phantasmagoria of carnality and excess
we’d known
but my memories were fading in and out
like faulty television signals.

She leaned closer
and tried to sweeten the deal
by whispering in my ear
“I can still suck it good
until your head pops, Daddy.”

Her bluntness told me
she was playing for keeps
and I knew the pathetic cadre
of men
she had snared
and kept.

Her world turns on weakness.

I looked at her, smiling
and shook my head “no.”

She was lousy at being coy
but she tried:
“I’ve missed you.
It’s been almost 18 years.”


She knew she was losing,
so she reached down
and ran her open palm
over my semi-hard Vulnerability
and fixed me with
a purposeful gaze, saying
“I know you want it.”

I continued staring.

“No one will ever know.”

We’d played this game before
and this is always how it ended.
This time would be no different.

As I turned and walked away
her singsong trill trailed behind me
“I’m here anytime you need me.”

I continued walking
thankful I had escaped
with my sobriety

Monday, June 29, 2015

Once So Perfect, Orderly and Privileged

We must move 
because there is 
little here
worth coming back to.

Some look back
with soft, toothless 
while others remember
with anger
that their world,
once so perfect, orderly
and privileged,
must be shared 
with everyone else.

If you have skin
any color but white,
or genitals other
than male,
or had a love 
that dare not 
speak its name,
what is there
for you 
in the past?

By definition,
a conservative
wants to keep things
exactly the same
as before,

and the struggle
is not in bringing 
especially those 
labeled as 
as chattel,
into the circle,
sharing in 
the bounty.

No, the struggle
is to convince
the owners
of the wall 
to dismantle it,

before we 
tear it down.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Will There Be Bibles in Heaven?

Will there be bibles in Heaven?
or nations?
or wallets?

The first year in Heaven
will be spent
at our previous imaginings
of the afterlife,

and the Jerry Falwells
the James Dobsons and
the Pat Robertsons
of this world
will be there too
looking for people
to minister to
but they won’t enjoy it
so much
because it really
won’t be like they thought
it would
or should be,

and some of the inhabitants
of Heaven
will be expected
--like the Christians who
proclaimed Jesus as Lord
and the Orthodox who kept
every one of the 613 mitzot--

but those in the afterlife
may be surprised by the absence
of those who said
they would commit their lives to God
but really never did
and acted holy
for every reason
except the right one,

their souls may be somewhere else
and perhaps that is where I’ll be,

but as I see it
Heaven will have a bible
and a copy of the Koran
and of the Bhagavad Gita
and the Upanishads
and of all the holy books

because Heaven welcomes all books
and all those who find them holy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures of What I’m Hearing

Don’t believe the hype:
vinyl records suck.

The poseurs
can wax rhapsodic
about the warmth
of a record album,
the color…
the ritual…

I listen
for fidelity:
truth to what
the musician,
the artist

the surface noise
was intentional,
then all the crackles,
and electrostatic pops,
ruin the experience.

Give me digital,
something that sounds
the way it was intended,
not just the first it’s played,
but the tenth time
the millionth time,
every time
it’s played.

I’ll concede
to record albums

those big beautiful covers
that I could study,
gaze upon
for hours at a time
as the music played,
imprinting itself
on my soul,

almost beautiful enough
to distract me
from the


that my music
rode upon.


[Written for Fireblossom's Friday My Way Prompt:

The Businessman Speaks Again

"I used to be
a Christian
until I made
a six-figure salary.

Then I became
an American;
it’s easier
to give money
to the poor
when you’re
one of them.

I made it.

I now espouse
the religion
of capitalism,

which I define

a poorer man
fellating a richer man
fellating an even richer man
until all that
hot, sticky money
trickles down.

When I was a Christian
I used to believe
“that which you do
to the least of these,
you do to me.”

I believe in survival of the fittest:
it’s easier
and more rational.

there’s a Walgreen's
next to my bank,
so I can buy
more mouthwash
after I
cash my paycheck."

[Posted for Open Link Night at ]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hello, Smiley!

This year
I read the
Father’s Day cards
and my heart
didn’t crumple
from missing you.

I miss your jokes, Smiley
and your soft, brown forehead,
like weathered leather,
with natural, wide creases,
made by wiggling your eyebrows
like Groucho
to punctuate a punchline.

I have a toolbox
like yours,
a pliers-like
pincher grip
like you,
and a determination
to fix the broken things
in my house,
just like you.

I hear your voice
whenever I drop
a screw:
“don’t start swearing,
immediately look to see
where it went.”

Whenever I did you a favor
you’d thank me by saying
“your reward will be
in Heaven.”

When we meet again
in the next life,
I’ll say “Hello, Smiley”
and that will be my reward.

Monday, June 08, 2015

The Vasectomy

“you can’t unring a bell”

is what I thought 
when I woke up 
March 10, 1986,
the day
I was scheduled 
to have the vasectomy.

The abortion was 
by mutual consent,
but the vasectomy 
was a unilateral decision.

To ensure 
no more accidental
I made the decision.

I was 22 and 
to default
to my partner’s 
birth control 
method of choice
seemed predictable
and unimaginative.

I was deathly afraid
of getting the wrong woman 
and being forever trapped
with a baby carriage
chained to my ankle.)

I arrived at the doctor’s,
and changed into
the paper gown.

As I lay down 
on the examining table, 
I looked up and 
started counting the holes 
in the ceiling tiles
out of nervousness.

Then someone came in,
and I didn’t even look 
as he announced 
he was administering
local anesthesia.

I tried not to think about it 
as he tore 
a small perfect square
from my paper gown
to isolate my genitals
for the treatment.

His self-assurance 
and precision 
put me at ease,
I saw the needle
and felt a rush of heat in my forehead
and then soft warm fingers
gently moved my penis
to the side
and before I could register 
the strangeness of the moment,
I felt the pinprick
on my right testicle.

My eyes widened,
I breathed deep,
and when he left 
I realized:
“this is really happening.”

I propped myself up
on my elbows 
and looked at my package,
laying there, 
groggy and limp 
surrounded by a 
white paper gown field.

“Look what we got ourselves into.”

I smiled 
there’s something about being 
the master of my own destiny,
no matter how small,
it was empowering
and calming.

Dr. Montgomery came in 
and he described everything 
he was doing, 

and then it was all over,
all my worrying 
all my guilt about the abortion. 

I ached for three days after 
but I took it in stride
because I had done the right thing, 

and because
getting a vasectomy
made me feel more like a man
than getting laid did.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Abandoned Pet Store

Before the bubble burst
Kittens ‘n’ Pups
was in its prime,
a garish and glittery
among the discount retailers
and the Goodwill store in
the less successfully gentrified
section of the downtown.

They sold rare breeds
and traded in
cruelty-free kibble
and mentally challenging
chew toys.

We almost bought
a Yorkshire Terrier there
but something
seemed amiss –
her puppy eyes betrayed
an air of desperation.

Perhaps she was able
to predict what
economists could not see.

Then the bubble burst.

Now it is
an abandoned pet store
and peering into its
shadowy shell
I recall its better days
and wonder

where do the purebreds
in a recession?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

My Modest Change (for Abel)

When I give money
to the holy homeless
of the street,
I ask their name
and assure them
I will pray for them.

I finally figured out
what bothered me
about this:

when I give
from my
undeserved bounty,
it creates
an artificial imbalance,
because I have
some thing
and other does not,
and it really is
only a blessing
of grace
that I have
what I have
at all.

So, today
when I gave to
the vacant eyed
young man
hopefully named
I assured him
I would pray for him,
and then
The Holy Spirit
spoke through me:
"and my name is David,
please pray for me too."

It helped to remember
that I needed his prayers
just like he needed
my modest change.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Simple, Sacred

social stratification in
post-World War II
suburban America,
or the proper use
of inferential statistics
in null hypothesis testing,
or demonstrating
how to tie a
Windor knot
might seem complicated,
even complex,
but they're not.

They're just a sequence
of discrete,
man-made tasks,
and are, therefore,
and mundane.

the simplest,
most basic,
elemental things:

life surging
through a living being,

these things
beyond our grasp,
sacred and divine,

and we take them
for granted,

until they are
in limited supply.

[Written for - go and play along!]