Saturday, April 30, 2011


This morning
I'm left with
fragmented images
of what I dreamed
last night:
a drug sniffing dog,
a river, a sunset, a canoe,
a mandate
to be out by dark
and finally
left behind in the woods,

Nothing was what it seemed.
And I got up twice to pee.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunny Day In The Park

In the grass
your agenda clear
to my damaged
adult's mind

There was a time when
I ran these fields
as a super hero
a warrior
a child

With no sense
of the eyes on me
or what they

Stranger Than Kindness

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Again From None

I run a labored mile in
the heavy darkness, finding
the pain of starting over
again from none.

A girl, newly thirteen,
reads Siddhartha, doesn't understand,
and before she finishes closing the book,
a new road has opened
before her.

A boy of ten, fresh from his
first complete confession,
washed nearly clean of guilt,
starts over from here,
sharing his Easter candy as penance.

A smaller boy of five, feels
the inkling of his first
loosening baby tooth,
and cannot bear that it takes
so very long to happen,
foiling his vision of a family trip to Disney World
fully funded by the
Tooth Fairy.

We Want The Airwaves

Monday, April 25, 2011


Thrust, parry and fall
there's no time to
get any younger
yet something stirs
half remembering
half forgetting
sit and cry

Stand, give an eloquent toast
it's time to get it all out on the table
to say your hellos and goodbyes
your I love yous while you still can
to give it all
all you have
or to roll over and go back to sleep
before it's all gone

Evil Transcendental Meditation with The Stooges 1969

Hold your self tight!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Undisputed Truth


Yesterday, a warm heavy mist hung over everything all day and night. Last night I stood out in it for awhile and thought maybe I felt something like anticipation. When I tried to look at it, it dissipated. Whatever it was will happen or not, mostly without me, and I am caught between remembering and forgetting. The heavy air stirs a little. It's not all bad.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Rub

Last night there was no one to pick up after work and no reason to rush home. There was time enough for a quiet beer, time to run a dark mile in the rain, and time to sit at the table and write a little. Last night there was quiet enough to think and too much to sleep well. Their absence added something heavy and stifling to the silence - the feel of a house without life. Tonight, it's all back - all the noise and motion that if I could just escape for a little while maybe I'd actually be able to write something. We live the story, and I steal seconds, struggle for sanity, and try to make some sense.

The Straight Story

A piece of something I think you'll find worth the time.


I half remember something said about the sound of God's laughter related to making plans, but I'm making one anyway. Maybe it's the long winter or too many years of too many jobs, but I have this asthma-like sensation, the inability to fully exhale - mild panic. I want to go, to walk - and it's not abandoning ship - not escape that I'm looking for, just motion. June is the month in which so many reportedly love New York , so I thought it would be a good time to visit. The plan is to stay out for 24 hours and make it to all five boroughs - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx - on foot, aided only by public transportation when necessary, or the good will of the local inhabitants - if I find any. I'll take some time to write in a notebook and snap some pictures and hopefully make something out of this need to roam.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dark Spanish Symphony

I couldn't find this track without video. The scenery is beautiful, but I wanted to hear it without distraction. I remember a time when this music broke me in half.


One eye never closes,
cannot blink.
It burns and waters and sees
and sees and sees.

One eye never opens,
cannot wake.
It wonders and imagines and dreams
and dreams and dreams.

This place might not be
your kind of place,
and then again
it might be.

Admit it,
you don't know yourself anymore
only your various functions,
but then are we really
any more than that -
the sum total of our deeds?

Teach the boy how to be
a good friend.
Do you know how?

First you must convince him
that lying, cheating and stealing -
although admittedly incorrect,
are not really the norm -
not common practice.

It would be better if you believed it.

The beholder is coming.
His eyes are open.
Think about what he sees.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Miles Davis - Blue in Green

Small Indignities And Tiny Redemptions

I got up this morning with the simple aim of changing a tire on the minivan. My ego took a body shot early in the process when I realized I didn't even know where the spare tire was kept. After reluctantly consulting the owner's manual, I discovered the spare, the lug wrench, and the jack handle. There were no instructions on how to get the jack out. I could see it, but it was as though it was welded in place, and I saw no way of getting it out of there without destroying the plastic trim that kept it all neatly hidden from view under normal operating conditions. I'm easily frustrated. I'm not a handy man, truth be told. I do know when to walk away. I did so before giving in to the impulse to tear the plastic trim off in an infantile rage. I thought about the need to be patient and adult. I tried visualizing Mr. Miyagi, but he just looked disappointed.

Plan B: take the jack from my compact Toyota and use that. Good thinking! I search for the recommended jacking point. Is that it? Maybe.... go with that. But it bothers me that I don't know instinctively, and I am diminshed as my clumsy hands fumble with the mini-jack. Eventually the van's body begins to rise. My knees hurt, my eyes are watering, nose running- the wind is cold, and I would like to go back to bed. This is a small thing, shouldn't even qualify as a chore. I've done this dozens of times.

The driveway is loose sand and gravel. The jack slowly and mockingly tips over...three times. After much incongruous swearing and muttering, I realize I am a member of AAA and I pay an annual fee for emergency roadside service. I surrender, ashamed, and call them.

A young man arrives in a flat bed truck. I meet him outside. Avoiding eye contact, I explain my dilemna. He's ready to dive in and change the tire, but instead I show him the jack-frozen-in-place. He explains that all I have to do is lower the jack a little to get it free. Raising the jack a couple of inches is what keeps it from banging around in the stowage. Ohh, now I see! I put the jack in place on the ground and start to crank it up, telling him how the smaller one kept tipping over.

"Did you have the emergency break on?"
No. Ohh, now I see!

So I set about changing the tire myself, using his tools, which are much better than the standard toys that come with the car. He says, this is a first, and I confess that my labor is an even exchange for his teaching - kind of, without saying that exactly. In the end we shake hands. He drives off with a honk of his horn. I walk up the driveway, eyes level, hands a little stronger.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


You have to expell the words from your head sometimes, remove them from your experience, but when you wipe it clean you lose it all. That is something you should understand from jump.

What about contagion? My poisonous exhalation is someone else's next breath. If I said nothing, could it be worse?

This is of course a fictionalized account of historical events. You've got to get yourself a new bag. Your point of view is just that, but frequently you'd like to have another.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Papa Won't Leave You, Boy

Stuck Kid (III)

He's placed, at last, the Stuck Kid. The same children's psychiatric hospital that rejected him daily for two weeks gave in at last last night. Who knows why. Political pressure from somewhere probably, but you'd like to think it has something to do with responding to the needs of a kid and family stuck in limbo without help - it's easier to continue that way. He's gone, and many of us who's job it is to assess, scramble and come up with something are relieved. It's a good way to end the week.

But for him, the game is just beginning, and it's not a game. No game at all.

He worried when he knew his mother was there, in the hospital, but not with him in his room. He worried.

Academically, she says he functions at a second grade level. Hormonally he is a teenage boy carrying within him all the demons of the age and none of the skills necessary to keep them a secret. He's in a psychiatric hospital now. Everyone is relieved. The parents are thankful, very thankful.

What transformation are they hoping for?
What do they imagine will be different on the other end?

This boy watches cartoons and Harry Potter movies again and again. He doesn't even look up until it's over. Does he sense what's coming?

When they adopted him, he was just four years old - a little boy, round faced, dimples. He wasn't yet out of diapers, only spoke a few words, and could be described as a little slow to warm up to you. She was a newborn baby girl, her tiny hand wrapped around their respective pinkies, clinging tightly - a silent and lethal charm - really, sealing the bargain right then and there.

They talked about it. They prayed on it. They knew it was the right thing to do - to rescue these orphans, to erase the wrongs of the past with kindness and love and a stable home life. The social workers told them there would be damage. What the boy had been through was bound to leave scars. They knew, they knew, and yet they went forward.

Babies don't stay babies, and grown ups change their minds. This is a sad fact. This is the realization his parents came to a while a go. He hasn't yet arrived at this realization. He's a little slow.

There is an impending moment that I can't get out of my head - a meeting at the hospital. The treatment team, the state social worker, and the parents are sitting at the conference room table. The kid, torn away from Hogwarts after multiple prompts, is brought in by staff and, after some small talk, someone says it gently and indirectly cloaked in jargon. It goes right over his head. He pauses, confused, then gets straight to the point.

"Am I coming home today, Mom?"

What will they tell him? How will they tell him? But, it's my great dread that inevitably they will tell him. I can see it in my head, a slow motion car wreck, the moment that puts the hole in the boy forever.

For all the right reasons, of course.

The medical student who took care of you while you were waiting called me every day these last two weeks, to find out if there'd been any progress on finding placement for you. Each day he had a new anecdote. You charmed him with your open smile, your sudden bursts of excitement, your knowledge of all things Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings. Sitting in that meeting would put a different slant on his education.

The lessons you will learn today, Stuck Kid, are a review of those you learned in infancy:

1.   The world is not a safe place.
2.   Adults, those who say they love you, can and will hurt you.
3.   You are all alone.

And once you have internalized those lessons, we will diagnose you with Reactive Attachment Disorder. We will then reinforce that diagnosis by placing you in multiple foster homes, group homes and residential treatment programs where you will most likely fail to make a real connection with any of these loving and well-intentioned adults.

Over the next few years,
many of us in this field
will ask you out of
honest exasperation
why you won't

Thursday, April 14, 2011

When You're Hot, You're Hot

3:00 AM

Start thinking at 2AM and sleep sneaks out of the room once and for all with the intention to ditch you. You're either overzealous or half asleep most of the time, and if you could choose one over the other you'd take the zeal for sure. But, truth be told, it doesn't come around that much these days. You're imagining standing up and reading your words, and wondering does anyone want to hear your false starts, the sounds of you walking aimlessly the floor, watching nothing move, hearing time slip? Someone in your head's audience says, "do it", and fifty others heckle, throw fruit, suck their teeth. Someone in the back says "sheeeiiit!"

This is what we used to call psyching someone out. You can do that to yourself now.

Give yourself 30 days. There are all kinds of thirty day challenges out there these days. We are all striving toward improving ourselves beyond perfection, either that or sleeping away our days. Even just thinking this thought, I can see an audience comprised of a cheerleader, a pep talker, some kids under slicked hair, leather jackets and defiant leers, the faceless "sheeeiit" sayer, but most of them are just plain tuned out, playing their DS or sexting - whatever it is the kids do these days.

I'd like to walk into the home just as solid, upright and confidence-inspiring as Mr. Ward Cleaver. Maybe it's the fedora that lent men credibility, that and a grey suit.

The kid, 13, took to me alright. He spent some time telling me about being misunderstood by adults - parents, teachers - and also the cool kids. He's got some friends, and they worship the Insane Clown Posse, and he wants to prove to me that you can't just judge them by their appearance, that there is something redeeming in their music. I get it, smile, let him make the argument. The kid tells me, but he's really asking me, that everyone thinks about killing themselves sometimes. He says he'd never do it though, and I ask him why not.

Because I have people who love me.
Yes, you do, and may you always...

There's this place in Brazil, somewhere in my mind's eye. I feel this soft breeze and hear this soft music and think maybe I can relax there. Suave. Soft. Shhh.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Can You Say What My Best Interest Is?

Stuck Kid (II)

Remember me? No? I'm the kid from last week who was stuck for five days in the emergency department's locked waiting room. Want to know something crazy? I'm still stuck. Yup, now it's been like eleven days or something - I don't even know anymore. What am I here for again?

Oh yeah, they want to put me in a psychiatric hospital, but none of them will take me. Of course most of them are always full, and the rest don't want to mess with me, my issues, or the fact that I'm going to need an out of home placement for the long term. And where's that coming from? It's not in the state budget, that's for damn sure.

In the meantime, I'm just chillin' - watching cartoons on the pediatric medical floor in a general hospital - not because I'm sick, right, but because these people got no place to put me. That means when a kid who's sick for real comes up in here, there's nowhere to put her. That's mad whack, right?

You know what's mad creepy, yo? I heard a story on the radio, on NPR, today about this exact same thing - psychiatric patients stuck in emergency rooms. The dude they had on there was waiting.. like.. thirty hours or something, and he was all complaining and shit. Pffft, home boy don't even know !

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chet Baker - Zingaro

If you have time and access to You Tube, you can now listen to the whole of Let's Get Lost. I recommend doing so with quiet vigor.

A Short Walk On A Dead End Street

In the course of yesterday the world rose from the dead. Seventy degrees, greening grass, budding trees, the peepers chirping in the swamp sprung spontaneously from the mud. A smile, a touch, eyes meeting and holding, friendly words, a small dog lying next to your arm - these are signs of love. They should not be trifled with. You can smell in the air this new life, and it inspires. A warm wind on your face, you close your eyes, inhale and feel. Stop a moment. The street is empty save for the parked cars and the trash, the lighted windows, curtains, hanging sheets, flat screen television other worldly glow. Be grateful for life, even when the evidence points to farce, lies, fakery. That's the advice you give yourself, and accept, for now. Which is fine.

Friday, April 8, 2011

You Said That You're My Friend....

Howdy, Partner! (Ode To A Spammer)

jennifer Benson, I fear for you
casting your line so randomly
and so innocently (no doubt)
into the dark void of the internet
in hopes of a tender response from
an honest partner for friendship.

How can you know me so well?

It's what we all seek, muchacha
and I do wish you well, but for today
I will maintain a respectful
though not unsympathetic distance
and you need not trouble yourself
to send that photo.

Your open heart
your honest plea
made quiet an impression on me.

Drop me a line when you
make your first million, that is
if you haven't already...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Story And Music From Pakistan

Important to Us

This hold music smells
like a disolving cake of
public urinal deodorizer

sweetly - the murder
of your time

I press down hard on the fear
that I'm being tricked
into a gassing,
irrational only
to those who do
not know

Use the time to
count the money
you don't have,
and don't think
about the

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why, Kathy, Why?

I had a visitor from Nigeria, I think,
come through my blog here
posing as one Kathy Lagoli
asking me if I would be willing to
discuss something on the telephone.

What exactly would that be, Ms. Lagoli?
Let's just get to it.
Might it involve account numbers?
There's nothing to steal here, friend.
Feel free to comment on a post though,
and thanks for coming by!

It's So Easy

Stuck Kid

The kid's been occupying a waiting room now for five days and four nights awaiting psychiatric hospitalization. His adoptive parents are locked in there with him. He's a teenager with a history of sexual trauma in infancy, mild mental retardation, and he's somewhere on the autistic spectrum. His hormones are raging, and he can't control himself, directing it toward his mother, sister and pet. None of the psychiatric facilities in the entire state are willing to accept him. This is not unusual. On any given day, there are kids like this. Stuck.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Song For Early Spring

I equate this song with the arrival of Spring for some reason. The waking is welcome but somehow painful. And he sings it just as smooth as you please.

The Continuing Adventures of Jack

Jack received his first pair of glasses yesterday and is pretty tickled. He thinks they're very cool. He doesn't need glasses, however, to see his new friends George and Alissa (reportedly ages 4 and 2) who travel with him everywhere. Snaily is another member of Jack's posse, a wooden snail on wheels with a pull string, who also goes everywhere with him. Jack couldn't find him this morning despite the fact that he took Snaily to bed with him last night. I asked Jack if he thought Snaily may have crawled off somewhere. He gave me a dirty look and said, "maybe he didn't like this place !"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Steady Now

A shot of courage from Dio and the boys. Never say die!

Don't Fade Away

You're dying here with the quiet kids in some gesture of solidarity. Anyone who stopped to look could see that you have stifled the process of your own blossoming on principle. You know this thing is tragic, you feel it all the way down, all this flowering brilliance not coming into being.  The quiet rooms are half-filled with those who do not seek your eyes and find solace on the floor, in the corners with the dust and chipped flakes of wax. You are there for the anesthesia, if you're honest, as much as for love of the beau geste. The sun will find you, I pray, and unfold you, and you will become the you that you must. That road is difficult and dangerous and beautiful to behold. You have all my faith.

Friday, April 1, 2011

To Help You Mobilize: For Driving Fast At Night, Breaking Things, Or Getting It Out Of Your System

Spring Snow

Chinese, he speculated, as she came out of the building a few feet in front of him ahead of a very small dog on a very long leash. Thank eyouoooo, she said from behind an exaggerated smile and he was both puzzled and awkwardly apologetic for happening to be white and walking right there at that moment. His thoughts were immediately tackled and hog tied, after breaking free and jumping up and down behind the windows of his eyes for a moment, but that little dog saw, and knew, and hated the man.

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