Sunday, January 29, 2012


Worn dentition,
blurred vision,
and I'm losing strength
and dexterity on my strong side.

Hair gone grey now
almost entirely
and pushing back
revealing deeper
lines, darker circles,
sagging bags.

And as in the case
of lactose, I've lost
my tolerance for
most of the rest of it
and because of that
I'm a whole lot less
pleasant to be around

Rowland S. Howard

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sound Effects

An overnight shift, a quiet one,
so I was paid not to work,
but to be available - I was on retainer.
the challenge was to multi-task,
to get paid and get my rest at the same time,
to conserve my resources and maximize my profit margin,
the practical challenge was to endure the
strange and witless cackling of other people,
the blunted dialogue seeping fractured through the wall
past the white noise machine inches from my head,
to be able to surrender myself to sleep, to give myself over completely,
and then to endure the sudden coitus interruptus of a slamming door which,
after the next twenty times, twists your reality, makes you believe
there must be a parade going on out there, a drug raid, Carnivale,
a legion of zombies, a demented toddler in the building -
opening and slamming, opening and slamming, opening and slamming.
you would feel so much better about all mankind if someone would, just once,
close the door gently, mindfully, and with consideration for others.
you startle each time, another flail's lash to your Christ-like sensibilities,
yet, after a while, almost with a grin you
understand that sleep is not really yours to have,
she is not yours to enjoy,
you can only take what she gives you - a cuddle, a wink, the sweet suggestion of bliss,
what the hell, it's a paycheck.

Friday, January 20, 2012


cold red sunset behind
a silhouetted bridge
the river wind cuts
driving you deeper into coat and scarf
your warm heart and dreams

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Effort makes the difference,
it's going harder
through disgust and
behind exhaustion
to  momentary clarity.
something closer to

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wish It Was A Dream

Your mother says she thinks it's just the
after-effects of a traumatic relationship -
your first.

She says you're a very high-functioning girl
on your way to graduate school,
but you're so tired now.

You can feel something on your head
that's draining your soul.

It's nothing the lab work or the
head CT can detect,
and you are terrorized by this
sudden onset...

I feel so weird...

Yes. I can see that,
but I'm a little distracted
trying to think of a way
to ask your mother whether
there is a family history
of schizophrenia
without breaking her heart,
or mine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Not even half remembered -
a smile,
curve of a hip.


Better to think of

Blue Wing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

light sleeper

It's time to sleep
Turning my face to the wall
and remembering that
everything will
be taken

Electric Alice Again

Monday, January 9, 2012


During a break on the
overnight shift,
I took a quick walk
in the pre-dawn frost.

The moon is full, behind a curtain of cloud,
but I can still see her curves,
and can't help but admire.

It was in the neighborhood of
St. Cecilia's Catholic Church
where the houses are old
and well-kept.

There is pride here, tradition,
an Irish Flag, a French-Canadian corner store
offering Pork Pies and Puteen,
a bodega, and a sign at the Spanish-American Club
promising the keys to English.

When there's no one around, I love you all...

That's what I'm thinking when
here, all at once, is Jesus -
dazzling in a crimson cloak,
brilliant nimbus of headlights,
open arms raised in

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


you know that tears have a certain
surprising viscosity.
you also know that your
eyes will turn semi-solid
without them.

you'd like to state your goals,
chart your progress,
but you've already
forgotten your password

666 Posts!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Morning Rounds

This morning's sun
casts off illumination
without warmth,
lighting the way for
three drunks snarling

A symphony of horns, a near miss,
bundled under hoods at 9:17 A.M.,
they ford the river of commuters
to the liquor store, friendly
on the opposite shore -
a bastion - the real social service
in this neighborhood for the last
couple of generations.

You remember Crazy Eddie
in the same crosswalk
bobbing and weaving,
boxing cars
back in the mid-70's.

They say it's going down to zero tonight,
the first true cold one,
and the three of you
staggering and swaddled toddlers,
are in need of better friends.

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