Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Long, Brown Line

The line at the AM/PM
was long
and short
and dark brown.

These day laborers
who manicure the lawns
of the wealthy

and add the aftermarket
water fountains
to the McMansions

were stocking up
for the day:
chewing tobacco,
and 2 for 1 hot dogs
overstuffed with
free condiments.

I look like I could be
related to them
through some long brown line
of ancestry.

They would
probably speak respectfully
to my mom,
probably work hard all day in the sun and
probably are here

I stood at
at the end of the line
with another kind of brown.

He reminded me of
my dad:
He looked like
he was first-generation
who grew up
aspiring to assimilate..

He looked like
he earned the American Dream
owned his own home
sent his kids through college,
and even voted Republican.

I don’t know
what he assumed about me,
in my suit and tie
on my way to
my white collar job
in academia.

Perhaps he thought
he’d found a kindred spirit.

Referring to that line of
brown distant relatives ahead,
he turned to me
and in tones
mocking and conspiratorial

“Boy, Immigration would have
a field day here, huh?”

At that point
he stopped reminding me
of my dad.

I gave him
the cold, indifferent stare
I reserve for racists
and the otherwise

and channeled my father:
and I replied,
“No se.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Challenge Remains

He made it
simple yet profound,

like a still pond,
a crow flying away,
a night hiding stars,
a misunderstood sob,
a narcotic slumber,
a perfectly-sweetened coffee,
a silent funeral,
humble, serving love,
electric anticipation,
a familiar embrace,
the dog dancing hello,
the crack of the bat,
new music from old strings.

I first heard him
when I was 17
and the challenge
remains steadfast:

he not busy
being born
is busy dying.
[Written for Kerry at Real Toads - the line comes from my favorite Bob Dylan song "It's Alright, MA, I'm Only Bleeding." Time to listen to it again. ]

Monday, October 17, 2016

Whatever It Is

Whatever it is
inside every living being
that makes it all

lived in the flower
I saw growing out
of an open bag
of sand and concrete mix
out back by the trash cans.

That desperate,
mad energy
kept it stretching


reaching out
the other side
of the Sun,

where the
face of God
was smiling.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Best Decision I Made Today

I stare
pen poised,
to shape this pain,
this suffering
into art.

Hours pass.

I surrender the pen
and decide to play
"Blood on the Tracks"
and enjoy
Bob Dylan's pain
and suffering
for awhile.

[Congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Posted for #MeetingTheBar at - a poetic oasis.]

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Twin Serpents

Take this desire
and tie it to memory
and purify it in the flames.

My ego is a zombie
of unquenchable thirst
and it needs more brains
than I have to feast upon.

I do not want
a mirror made of
website hits
and reader posts.

Take these
twin serpents
and wash me clean.

Lord, hold me under
long enough
to drown
all these predictable

and raise me up
through this baptism


without memory,
a virtuous

Monday, October 10, 2016

Autumn (A Quadrille)

Some call it fall
but Autumn has gravitas.

Everything engages my senses:
leaves crunching underfoot,
green apples
and cinnamon wafting,
sundown hastening,
in a cloudless sky,
I marvel.

She’s a mournful beauty,
a defiant burst of color,
before surrendering
to the sleep
of winter.

[for D'Verse Poets a Quadrille, if you will with the word "cloud."]

Friday, October 07, 2016

No Escape

Somewhere else
is what I want

but right here
is all I'm gonna get

and all I need
according to God.

So I'll walk through it
without booze
or pills
or illicit thrills.

You walked through
this howling madhouse
of no escape
and let them
nail you to the cross
where you died for me.

you suffered for me
and now
I pray
I can
return the favor.

Monday, October 03, 2016


Upon rising, faithful like a robot, I make my way to the bathroom, eyes-still mostly shut and open the appropriate partition. I shake the pills loose, a white one for diabetes, a green and white capsule for scalp nerve pain, and a clear, urine-colored vitamin D3. At night, I add Simvastatin to slow the inevitable clogging of my arteries, along with more diabetes and nerve pain meds. I don’t fight this ritual, as it is a small price to pay for staying alive for (perhaps) one more day, one more starry sky, one more orgasm into her perfect, contoured being.

I swallow good pills
hoping they will counteract
the bad I swallowed.