Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Undercover Chicano Speaks (Day 17 Prompt: Risk)

In the hierarchy
of White racism
I see  
two distinct reactions:
there is hard hatred
against Black skin
and those who 
inhabit it,
the blacker the skin,
the more virulent
the animus, and

there is soft hatred
against those
who are off-white,
of which I am

Since I am not
as dark as others, 
I do not endure the same 
wrath as they do,
but don't think
this is any kind 
of protection.

As I am 
the White racists
sometimes forget
that I am non-White
and let me see 
who they really are

-in all their 
entitled ignorance and ignominy-

and I can test 
in real-time
whether their 
words and actions 
into ethical integrity.

This perspective
is a blessing,
and the finding
is often a curse,

but that's the risk 
you take
when you're 
the Undercover Chicano. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Best English Teacher I Ever Knew (unprompted)

"I wanted to say
that Bob Tomes
was the best English teacher
I ever knew
because he was 
to the point of 
indulging me
and my unreachable dream
of being a playwright.

He was kind and funny 
and didn't take himself 
too seriously
and let his students 
do the same.

More than anything else
he treated me like
a peer,
an equal, 
-which I 
was not-
but this led me 
to believe 
I could become
someone he read
and admired.

Yes, so if I felt this
way about him
as a student,
I can only imagine
what it would
have been to be 
his son.

I'm so sorry
for your loss, Jay,
and I'm also sorry
I didn't get a chance
to say these things 
to your dad
before he died."

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

No Poem (For D'Verse Prompt)

No future 

no past

no hunger

no fast

no sadness 

no joy

no girl

no boy

no music

no silence

no kindness

no violence

no blessing

no hex

no longing

no sex

no this

no that

no dog 

no cat

no one 

no call

no nothing

that’s all.  

[Posted for ]

Monday, November 14, 2022

Playwright Story (Day 14 prompt: "blank" Story)

I wanted to be a playwright

which gave me the first taste of 

playing God,

fixing the problems 

in my real life with 

imaginary characters.

My plays had great 


but terrible plotlines 

because I could never figure out 

how to end the story.

I just liked being 

in the moment

one person 



with another. 

I tried five times

and finally quit

and this is why 

I am here 

doing this 


I no longer

play God 

nor do I want to,

and I am 

ever surprised 

by the endings

written for me. 


Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Sign-Off (Day 13: didn't write to prompt)

In a previous media world
before the existence of 
the 24-hour broadcast day,
television represented 
a stable world to me.

I thought 
everything in the world 
shut down 
when the stations 
signed off for the night.

I imagined the lonely
tape operators 
playing the 
canned messages telling everyone 
about the end of broadcast day
and imbued it with a gray 
duty-bound romance.

If I ever stayed up late
to see it,
it was oddly comforting 
to hear the sermonette 
or other words of wisdom,
and them the Star-Spangled Banner 
then came 
the unceremonious 
disorienting signal loss 

and the loss of connection 
to the rest of the world

and my world became unstable
until the 
next broadcast day.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

56 Days in the Time Machine (Prompt 12: Time/Future)

Every year
starting November 12 
and ending January 6
I allow myself
to linger in the 
time machine of 
Christmas music.

It is one of the few
lifelong continuities
still comforting
this solitary soul,
with visions of warmth,
togetherness and love.

Images of people long gone,
places long forgotten
and things I thought were important,
softly bubble up through 
my memory like a slowly
cooking stew.

I forget where I am
and remember 
where I was,
who I was
and am thankful 
for this awareness
and the familiar glow
of hopefulness at 

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Uncontrollable Teardrop (Day 11 prompt: fear)

The fear is not
we broadcast it 
by our avoidance.

Our fear is 
the uncontrollable teardrop.

We are trained to be 

when we fail,
then comes the deluge,
untamed and embarrassing.

Our species 
will not survive
without a radical rethink 
of male tears.

One properly placed
might be all it takes
to bring down the

Why do you think
The Male Code
is so strongly guarded?

Tears make us 
and humanity makes us equal,
and there is no hierarchy, 
no property ownership,
no power differential 
in humanity.

The uncontrollable teardrop
can change us
from machines back into
people again.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Struggle to Walk over Burning Coals (Day 10 prompt: Struggle)

It is a struggle 
to walk over burning coals 
when we do not expect it 
to hurt.

We struggle when
we don't accept things
as they are.

Life is difficult 
when we fight 
the universe
or anything else
we have no control over.

When we try
to resist the 
will of the universe, 
or fate
the will of 
something greater,
plan for a struggle.

So, it's easier 
to change our way,
than it is 
to change
the will of the universe,
or fate, 
or the will of 
something greater. 

Try to remember 
you can only change
what you have 
some control over.

Let go 
of everything else,
and most of the struggles
will go with it.

your next challenge 
will be 
staying clear 
of the burning coals
in your path.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The Nose of the Matter (Day 9 Prompt: Blank of the Blank)

Every night 
when I emerge from the shower,
hair wet and thinning

I see your face
in the mirror:

the unembarrassed scalp,
the big, unforced smile,
the shnozzola.

Yes, I am my father's son
and with every day
I am happier 
about this fact.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Monday, November 07, 2022

This Adaptable Heart (Day 7 prompt: Adapt)

This heart continues beating
as if it was only 
an internal perpetual motor
without memory.

It breaks often- 
sometimes of my own doing,
sometimes it is broken for me-
but it still continues,
and unstoppable.

She broke my heart,
it kept going.
God took my father
it kept beating.
I walked away 
and it never abandoned me.
I fail  
and heaped scorn and shame
upon myself,
and yet it is still here.

I lost my wedding band
and I fear it is gone for good.

My heart broke
but it never stopped.
It just kept going while
I took the time 
and accepted the inevitable.

This heart I carry
is my reminder
to keep pushing on 
while I still can,

and trust that it will
still be there,

always working,
always helping,

my trusted friend. 

Sunday, November 06, 2022

None of this is New (Day 6 Prompt: News)

There is 
nothing new 
under the sun,

except us
and our 

The Stoics believed
no man steps 
into the same stream 
the words may be new,
but the themes are
unchanging and


We change 
and the world changes
and none of this is 


Saturday, November 05, 2022

This is Not a Test (Day 5 Prompt: Peril)


Democracy is in peril.

In a democracy
your vote is the great equalizer,
not wealth,
not education,
not skin color.

Do not vote for someone 
who wants to take away 
your right to vote.  

Reminds me of a
sign in my dentist's office:
ignore your teeth 
and they'll go away.

If we 
ignore democracy
we do so 
at our own 

Friday, November 04, 2022

In the Garage (Day 4 Prompt: In The ...)

In the garage
in my cannabis haze
in the memory of a love song
in the embrace of my girl
in our 20 year marriage
in a world I never dreamt possible

in love.  

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Misguided (Day 3 Prompt: Misguided)

My plan was to document
about all the misguided souls 
in their daily parade
of selfishness, hubris and idiocy
from my perch
of unassailable 
self-righteous justification:

the MAGA cosplay fascists
who are intimidating election workers 
so that others may not vote,

the White supremacists
who want to kill 
their presumed replacements,

the Christian literalists
who think the correct interpretation 
can be written and read,

the scared Alpha Males
who hide behind guns
and tweet their threats,

but since I am not 
in their shoes, 
my words
would be 
as morally vacuous
as their actions. 

If I label them
as misguided,
then there’s hope,

but if I think 
they are the enemy
then, they must
be eradicated.

who would be
the misguided one?

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Bittersweet Is My Favorite Flavor (Day 2 Prompt: Sweet)

Human love
in its powerful 
and life-changing
is ultimately

the familiar taste of 
ripe strawberries
a melody 
that recalls a memory
of kindness
the breathless
skin-on-skin warmth

To forget 
the fleeting beauty
and venerate the loss
is to miss 
the necessity 
of their interconnectedness:

the bitter
only exists
the sweet
also exists.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Why November (Day 1 Prompt: Start or End Poem)

After the slow grind 
of loneliness and dialysis,
she left earlier this year
and is finally reunited
and celebrating 
Dia de los Muertos 
with my father
after 23 years 
a widow. 

November was
their anniversary month
and it was the start 
of my origin story.

November is when 
I begin the Christmas music,
the gift-buying,
the general nostalgia
for a childhood 
that was inevitably 
sad, hopeful
but still together.

Why November?

Working backward, 
I calculated this was 
the time of the year 
I was conceived.
It’s when I started.

It’s not the same this year.

This November,
I am moving on 
with fewer people, 
more memories,
and an ever-growing list 
of things I wish 
would come back.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Break and Make

Every living thing 
for its own growth, 
for its own survival
break away 
to make a way. 

If you are not 
then you are just 
and staying in this old place
for too long 
will make you sick. 

So, make a break 
from that old self, 
those old thoughts,
those predictable indulgences. 

Trawl the second-hand stores
of the infinite consciousness,
and begin collecting novelties
to assemble into a new self, 
a little at a time. 

When you break it all down
completely trust
The Invisible Inevitable 
will bring you 
the images 
the dreams
the inspirations
to make yourself anew.

if that doesn’t work,
break it again,
make it again,
break it again,
make it again,

over and over
until it feels right.