Friday, March 30, 2012

Bad Company

my eyes are apparently
criminal instruments
and my words a
clumsy form of battery

my heart wants to
show you everything,
all the colors and
varieties of love,
but the message gets lost
in the company it keeps.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reminded of Usher's House

He referred to something happening
on one of his good days -
a young man in the prime of life -
like he was sick or something,
are you sick or something?

It doesn't make sense.

We're home from work now, it's quiet,
and there's just time enough to wonder
about that.

If You Stub Your Toe On The Moon

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Off Hand

you noticed three wide open faces in the last two days
such unguarded happiness
like children, nearly angels.

it swelled your heart,
made you feel protective
and look away at the same time.

they were beautiful
but it hurt somehow
like beauty often does.

you're not really a cynic
just beat up sometimes
with not a lot of juice in reserve
and no end in sight.

everyone gets lost.

you envy artists
and how you imagine their lives are lived
while you live yours inside a
different silo.

you think reading is cheating
and that everything must come directly
from your own well.

you think of all the time wasted
self-limiting, imposing, negating,
and you're a little scared

My Little Red Book

Monday, March 26, 2012


Man, that kid talks a blue streak. He tells me everything: all about his day, the details of his dreams (except the bad ones, he keeps those to himself), what he's curious about, the fact that dogs love him, observations and critiques of me and my mistakes, why he likes Easter and St. Patrick's Day - everything.

He breaks up laughing, trying to explain something funny that happened, seventy-two times in the course of a completely incoherent narrative, and though finding myself a mildly frustrated listener, I love it.

We stopped by to visit my mother a week or two ago. He really wanted to tell her how much he loves her homemade pear jam and to ask her if she had any more. I'd been hearing about this from him for weeks, but when it came time to do so, he just clammed up. You couldn't pry a word out of him. Later, I told him the polite thing to do when someone you know talks to you is to say something back.

Yesterday we're sitting in a cafe inside a book store. He's drinking ice water. An older man reading next to us in a comfortable looking easy chair looks at him and says, "hi."

Jack breaks eye contact, waits a few seconds, and musters a deep and formal "hello". Then he turns and looks straight at me, "happy now?"

Six years old.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day Off

Driving and swearing at the traffic,
the drivers - inconsiderate, inept,
distracted, oblivious, and my
internal soundtrack of judgment, slander and murder
clenched teeth, wholesale negation -
applying the flame to the wheat
along with the chaff.

On the radio, changing stations, a book channel
the reader talks about the power of the unconcious mind:
thought manifesting in actuality.

How many legions of demons
have I conjured into this world?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Enter the woods
into another world
slowly emersed in
the smell of earth,
feel of sun and shade,
the sound and flow
of the river.

I try to run lightly
toward the sound
of a woodpecker hammering
until it is right above me
to the left,
no, to the right,
no, left...
a trickster.

The world of nature
and of spirit
is a joke
until you're

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Regarding The Escape Clause

Having kids, man,
means you've got skin in the game,
you're a stakeholder,
the outcome here matters.

So if all you've got to say is,
we're doomed,
then that's some shit, and
you've got some explaining to do.

So you'd better get your ass back to work
re-imagining a better ending or
willing the damn thing into

Lisa Hannigan and The Chieftains

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


In a hotel room on
an unusually mild night
for March, the room is stuffy
and the toilet tank fills too loudly,
but the state is mountainous, scenic,
with that big lake and this college

For a minute, you sleep,
and dreaming you write the first line
of something

I never asked her if she loved me back.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Night Runners

Tonight, running in the dark
labored breathing and the stars
are out, and I mean bright,
but before I can enjoy them
I realize they're blurry
and start worrying about
all that I'm losing again.

I try to run faster, push harder,
stepping in a puddle
I never saw, cold water
enlivens my foot
and there's scurrying in the brush
to the right,
squinting through eyeglasses,
I label it a rabbit.

It darts forward
maybe squinting at me
wondering what the hell.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


It's her birthday,
and she's sure it
has everything to do with the arrival
of the first warm Spring day,
and that big orange moon in the sky,
and I would swear before God
that it's true.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Psychiatry certainly has a name for it,
a billable diagnosis and
medication at the ready -
probably renamed and repackaged
and making somebody a fortune -
but let's face it,
this stuff is subjective
unless of course
are the subject.

You carry this human skull around
everywhere you go, and to tell you the truth,
it's more than a little off-putting,
and don't think for a minute that
everyone hasn't noticed your stiffness
and how you stand so awkwardly over there
by the door.

Which maybe is better than
the last time, when you sat at the table
and you and that damn skull tried to
respond to the small talk directed at you.

When you started to speak,
hot, black, liquid tar
came bubbling out of the eye sockets
of that ghastly thing
and some kind of putrid, acidic bile
drooled out through the gaps in it's teeth
corroding the table cloth and
causing the other guests to,
gradually and tastefully,
excuse themselves.

You two do that every time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Winter Scene

Winter waited for the first of March
to show up, just as I was getting up
to lock the door.

I must admit, you've transformed
this brown, tired place into
the Great North Woods.

The tree branches hold the snow,
fog settles around the hills,
picturesque, certainly,
but there's a darkness.

It's no winter wonderland,
no pixies or frosty snowmen,
something heavier

As if you were out in it
trudging, exhausted,
light fading and the sweat
of your labor cooling
causing you a chill you know is dangerous,
but secondary to the solemn
menace of wolves
howling close,
on both sides of you now.

You'd like to leave behind
some sort of message,
but you run out of fluorescent
multi-vitamin fortified urine
half way through


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