Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Find Your Seat On The J

The last one is off to school
a little nervous
but looking cool in his
green shirt and blue Chucks

It's good to see him
find his place
sitting on the only J
on the teacher's alphabet rug

It's hard to leave him there
and be confronted in the hallway
with the passage
of time

Heard A Cover of This on The Radio in The Car Today

Sunday, August 28, 2011


She dumped a lot of rain
surged the seas and scattered leaves.

She dropped a tree, quite mercifully
right beside the house with no damage.

The last of the winds
are still blowing through here
now, after midnight.

Clear skies
all quiet, save for the wind
scoured, cleansed

There was a time this afternoon
when the winds waned
and the birds, all at once,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Goodnight, Irene (Be Kind)

Four O'Clock And All's Well!

Sunny, calm - it's eighty-five degrees
as Hurricane Irene churns this way
whirling malice and raining flood

The Oracle says she's staring directly at us
her course set for right between my eyes

I'd like to be drunk in the sunlight
listening to one of the patrons
sing along with Dinah Washington,
maybe I'd sing some too.

I'd like to be drunk and
worried about nothing at all
content to let tomorrow
blow us flat or drown us deep
if that's what it's got a mind to do.

All this struggle and worry
and how much can you
really prevent?

I remember the story of an
Irish ancestor in the bar after work
on Friday evenings -buying and drinking:
drinks, all around

And in the midst of the happy din
a little girl appears tugging at his pant leg,
sent by her mother to save the rent
before it's all drunk - you see
nothing could reach him
like she could.

I couldn't understand then how he could be
so weak, so mean, so addicted, 
so whatever it was

In this moment, from this stool,
I wonder if maybe it was something different,
some kind of sad universal love,
that and knowing tomorrow wasn't his to have
at all.

She's working her way up the coast as we speak
and my little boy is nervous,
but right now the sun is shining,
and I have but one beer to toast
your health with,
and I do.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Because I Forgot Just How Mighty It Is

The sound on my computer is far too puny for this song. I hope you have hardy speakers and can enjoy this at the maximum freakout setting the song deserves. For you youngsters, if anyone reading this is a youngster, this is Rock.

Where Does It Come From?

Last night he spent awhile sleeping next to me
waking me with jerking limbs
and fear in his voice
more than once

What did you dream?
I asked in the morning

One hundred monsters
one hundred tornadoes
one hundred hurricanes...

A young woman with
too many kids
and not enough help
calls the crisis line
routinely at midnight
in a panic:

tightness in her chest,
dread without a source,
certain she's going to die

Where does anxiety come from?

and you search the darkness for an answer
to give her that might help
and say something like
it's depression's twin
which doesn't help
and only gives her another illness
to worry about

you want to tell her
anxiety comes from believing 
that you are just too small
to handle the enormity
of all that you are dealing with
combined with all that's still to come

instead you tell her to exhale fully
and take a big, slow breath

slowly out
slowly in

slow your breathing down
and your heart will slow down too

focus only on the next breath
just the next step

she says thank you and hangs up
and then in the darkness
you find sleep has slipped
out of the room
and you try to focus on
breathing the next one

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


documenting your own descent
on you tube
brilliant, confident, beautiful
recent graduate
private school
full of promise
you would have made them all
so proud
if not for
what runs in your blood

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hold On

Another Tidbit From The Mind Of Young Jack

He's getting dressed and ready for kindergarten orientation this morning, his hair still mussed from his pillow. He finds a tiny figurine of the Statue of Liberty that he dug up in the basement yesterday and shows it to me.

"I want to live in a big city. I don't want to live in this old lazy town", he says, making a sweeping gesture with his arm.

"I want to live in New York - like the Statue of Delivery!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

To Wear Still The Coat

Slammed on the breaks
and came to
on the highway's edge
snapped awake in panic

where are you?
who are you now?
and how did you get here?

you're going to change
so much more
before this is through

how much so
you cannot know

will you recognize

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Paycheck To Raincheck

now you've given
yourself a fever
smart guy
trying to work
an extra week
on the weekend

I've got the chills

it's been a quiet
shift and my bed
is just another
three hours away

I line them up in front of me
in segments of 8, 12 or 16
and then I look for more

I scramble
for crumbs
while dreaming
I am a vagabond
always walking away
to find a better

only to find myself
startled by every
child's laugh
or cry
haunted by
memories of home

some version of home

a helluva

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Town With No Cheer

Welcome Chicken Underwear!

It is wrong to work 24 hours in a row
even if during some of it
you're really just marking time.

It is also wrong to be away
from your children
for five weeks.

Right is falling into bed,
before the heat of the day hits,
the sound of crickets and
nothing else.

It is also right
watching your boy through
a window playing pirates
with his best friend
first love
his face brightening
even more when
he notices you.

That's enough for today

Friday, August 19, 2011

What Am I Doing Here?

Notes on This Place

My son asks why it is so bad,
at ten years old,
and I know what he means,
but am compelled to defend it

Estrella de Jacob
tries to outshine the
piles of syringes and decay,
the pimping of a white girl

Jesus and Heroin in
endless running skirmishes
for dominance of these blocks
and it's people

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


A chorus of experts
between well and ill
there's but an inch.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here Haiku

enter a place where
the patients tell versions of
my own life story

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning

I feel like
I am coming to the point
in the dream
where there are no

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Carousel of Progress

Lesson From A Five Year Old

Yeah, it was cool to stay in the resort hotel with its miraculous ceiling and polka dotted rugs. Then there was an afternoon in the pool complete with tropical themed waterfall which was very nearly a dream come true all by itself.

That night we could hardly sleep in anticipation of the Magic Kingdom. 

Breakfast was tasty, if incredibly overpriced, and we had our pictures taken with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy (coolest of them all). We made our way to the Magic Kingdom, like Mecca, thronged by pilgrims and devotees. It was at least 95 degrees and the sun was in a sadistic mood all day long. We bought a Goofy hat and rode a couple of rides in Tomorrow Land. The five year old melted down in the super-loud, strobe-shattered darkness - Stitch, on the loose and menacing.

That was it, not a full hour into everybody's dream-day-come-true, and he was all done. He spent the best part of the rest of the day with his fingers in his ears and a look of sheer terror on his face. "It's too loud with music, train whistles, parades, and too many people talking and laughing all at the same time...". We never made it to "It's a Small World After All" after all.

After dark, a sudden drenching downpour sent him shrieking. He must have assumed it was the moment of the absolute end of the world after this day long Apocalypse of the senses.

After the deluge ended, we found a relatively quiet corner and a bench to sit on.

"Dad, eventhough we didn't ride too many rides, I loved the "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow!" ride, and the Country Bears. I got to have some fantastic snacks and bought this awesome Goofy hat, and we walked around and we were just hanging out. It's still half a dream come true".

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sleep Walk

I'm world weary. Going on vacation. See you in a week.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wonderful World of Disney

Matter and Anti-Matter battle for dominance of my tattered soul. I'm tired. I'm tired of crisis - the experience and the management thereof. So I will join my wife and children for a vacation next week. I will relax - try to relax. I will not think of work and I will allow any crisis to occur or not without my intervention. I will try to focus on Matter, on what matters.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Al Green

Chinese-Americans Digging On Al Green

A bar called Winnie's in Chinatown
in the shadow of The Tombs -
Central Booking - Manhattan's jail.
We drank and sang
almost fought then felt ridiculous
and we met people, talked, joked
liked them just fine
and seemed to be liked in return.
How unusual.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beach Boys - Wind Chimes

From The Shuffling Madness

We goofed on the train on the way down to the Lower East Side. While most of the other commuters rode with their earbuds in, shutting it out, I was straining to listen and taking it in. Of course, I was only visiting.

I made stupid faces for my sister-in-law's camera.

I thought of a story I recently heard on the radio, set in this city, of a man falling onto the tracks while in the grip of a seizure directly in front of an oncoming train. Many people saw this happen and looked on, I imagine, helplessly. One man, there with his two young daughters (4,6), jumped down to try to help as the train hurdled toward them. The seizing man was limp and could not be moved. The train could not stop. The intervening man laid the man down between the rails and then covered the man's body with his own. The train passed over them, breaks squealing, finally coming to a stop with the two men somewhere underneath. The little girls screamed. The on-lookers looked on.

Both men were unhurt, and the radio show went on to investigate why, in times such as these, some people act heroically while some do not act at all. What is the thought process? The motivation?

I like to think it is some kind of inborn nobility. On top of the rest of the mess, we are more good than not. But that rings of mythology, simplistic, and I'm just not sure.

We find a Nepalese restaurant where the food is cheap, simple and excellent. The people running the place are working hard. They have come very far to engage in this struggle -the American Dream. My companions go for vegan options, while I seek out meat. It's a small place and a crowd of people come in. They're loud. Listening, I feel as though I can write the dialogue before they speak it - stereotyped, flat, moronic. I scowl, as do my companions, not because we have anything against them, really. It's just that we wish we did not have to endure their fake good time.

Vitriol, Senhor Coelho might say. Not good.

I wanted to ask each of them who in their group would they cover with their body to protect them from the harm of an oncoming subway train. That'd sober them up. But instead I ask what's wrong with me, and where the hell my vision of nobility went.

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