Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


Sometimes you hear
A song that punches

A hole in
Your reality

And there’s joy
In it

But also a loneliness

Because suddenly
You feel
You are outside

Of the reality
You didn’t know
You were on
The inside of

And this journey
To outsideness

Was solitary

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They put their last dollar
In the brand new gas tank
He said it in his vows:
How he’d always be frank

That they had no idea
What kind of life was in store
How he might give her nothing
But he might give her more

So she took to the diner
And he took to the drink
They loved much too often
And they laughed at the sink

It was full of used dishes
And their house it would stink
But he gave her his all
All the life he could think

And he read her that poem
She loved as a child
“How like you this body”
And her heart it went wild

For the love that’s forsaken
You can taste it in heart
And so he was loyal
Love’s best at the start

But she needed her freedom
A new poem to hear
Someone wreathing her eyes
Who besotted her ears

And she left him that liquor
And she left him to die
And he laughed at the dishes
And sometimes he cried

His love’s inventory
And she’s got the store
And he promised her less
That’s how he gave her more

And he promised her heaven
A room and a drain
And the hole drank his blood
Like the sea drank the rain

But he gave her her freedom
And a new happy heart
Cause just like in Eden
Love’s best at the start

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Lie To Me Like a Junkie

Lie to me like a junkie
Make it soft and intimate
Say it in my ear that we can make it work
It’s all going to be better

Put my ear in something soft
Bathe it in falsehoods
Make it feel like this time
We’re really going to fall asleep
In the water and drown

Tell it to me like I know you’re desperate
That you have no choice but to sweetly
Ever so sweetly smile and cheat me
The moon knows your kiss is cold
And that lie that the moon shone on
Was old
But it felt good to lie on the grass
And pass this lie south
From mouth to red and stupid mouth

Lie to me like a junkie
And it’ll feel so fine

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You used the word ‘problematic’
To describe something you didn’t like
On TV. You didn’t like
The idea
Couldn’t put
Your finger
On it

So you used a word
That sounds scientific
To English majors
But isn’t
Because every idea
And certainty
Is a piece of chum
Waiting to be eaten
By the shark

That is a deeper idea

And you can’t stop it
And you can’t help it
And “problematic”
Is your blanket
Your cage
Made of straw

But your big idea will be eaten
That’s what your big ideas
Were born for

Just like the straw
A word you can break
So easily
So fragile

It snaps

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You fell asleep
Like milk being stirred into tea

You felt yourself being distributed
into slumber

You floated cold
With the lovelorn shipping heiress
Grasping at chocolate bars
And barbiturates

Sleep as heavy as the look
Of desperation
A tongue waited on words
That wouldn’t come.

Gravity turns your gazes
Into faces
The kisses didn’t know what they were
Until they had ended
Sleep is the gravity of the mind
Seizing on broken things

You can’t turn the heavy ship
To wake against the rudder
You form black water into black ice

Hold her hand
You won’t be in this dream for long
Can’t succor her with a kiss
Can no longer fly
Can’t help
But turn the boat on its side

A person wakes to crash
And for the dreamer’s sake
A person hopes to crash
When she hopes again to wake

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Love Is Memory

Love is memory

Love is a series of past acts
You saw go by in
A parade or a pageant
Or a passion play

Love wasn’t carrying
The cross for her

It was the dream of carrying
In a past whose truth
Was evaporated
Upon waking

Hugs never last for more than
A few seconds

But the memory of the hug
Or the kiss done in passion
Or anger
Lasts a year
A century

They wove it into a tapestry
At the cloisters

That thing you wove
Was love

Because love is memory

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You have to have a lot going on
You have to keep yourself busy
You have to stir things relentlessly
While you tear the focaccia
Like a banal half sentence
From your mouth

You drink inertia,
When the light hits your inertia in a glass
It makes a dark red wine stain
On the white tablecloth

You have to do something with idle hands
You have to crank a pasta maker
As if you were Penelope making a shroud
And your virtue
Is the pasta getting squeezed out
And somebody else can eat it
Cause only other people enjoy
Eating your virtue.

You married a boob. You know that now.

You have to let the sun hit your face.
You have to eat the Vitamin D,
You and the accidental child

You married a boob,
And the green sun slipped behind the building
At dusk in June
Embarrassed for you both

You have to keep many irons in the fire
Cause you might cheat or gamble

The minutes of the day
can seem so long

Much more than your heart can stand

You might have an oven full of prayers
But you can’t quench desire
You have thirst to do wrong

Time, when I stir you into my heart:
You make fire

You have to have a lot going on
You have to wear an aqua lung
Just to breathe real air sometimes

Time to study the fluid mechanics of time
And try hard to be able
To not see
Where you began

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I Had To Squeeze My Eyes Shut

I closed my eyes tight and saw phosphene butterflies
Closed them tight and saw
A yellow cloud in space with a hole in it
I closed my eyes tight and saw brown outer space
With colored stars, red, blue, green, yellow, purple

My eyes:
They knew exactly what to do with the dark
And the light they drank in
Spilled back and forth like milk in a saucer
Free from whatever animal gland had expressed it

I closed my eyes and the light was mine
mushroom cloud shapes
They pinched off some yang
And made some yin

I tried to be many eyeballs
To untangle logic from insight
Because I know the danger of seeing
Springs from its own privilege

I squeezed my eyes tight against the oppressive danger
Of a world that is all reflection and no source

I squeezed my eyes shut tight
knowing that playing with the light
And being with the light
are different

I squeezed my eyes shut tight to know there is no blindness
And everything
from a taste
to a smell
to a sound
makes a picture
And that this constant forming
of pictures
cannot be helped

I squeezed my eyes shut tight to see my future and my past

Conspiracy of seeing
I am a part of it

Conspiracy of seeing
You have to see it
And so you must constantly
Squeeze your eyes shut

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I ran home from night school
                Where I ate pencils for hours
To lock my door and watch Carmela
                I broke into a sweat on my neck
Slobbered like an ogre to pass
                My driver’s test

And I never graduated,
                Never went naked in a graduate robe
With the toenails she painted pink
Instead I rode
my bicycles in many Italian races              
                Only to watch Carmela give her face
To a thousand other faces

Vulgarities are red in a mouth—the raised red glass
                A kiss sealed together with rubber
                A kiss from a stranger
will get a raise
While you wait for the love you can light with matches
Love you can’t know from praise.

And I wait for another race to put me down
                Not ever knowing the first one’s fate
                And I race Carmela in my mind
And carry her cross from time to time
No matter how many years she’s late.

–begun 1991, finished 2021

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You put the juice on the table

You put the spoon deep

In the soup

You watch a sun that’s been angry all day

Put its anger to bed,

In the purple sea.


It’s a different kind of struggle

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