Friday, July 31, 2009

In a Mirror, Darkly

Have you checked your reflection lately?
really checked it
staring intently
when no one else is at home?

No disruption
so you can stare
for as long as it takes?

If so,
how do you look?
Who do you see?

I did today
it gave me pause
but I am not entirely unhappy
with what I saw.

All the life that I thought
had been excised,
was still there.

What I thought I had become
was not quite there yet
though there were signs...

In the end
I can be hopeful
of what may be,
wary of what has been
and perhaps smarter
for having seen both.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Newspapers Fail

I have been a fool,
believing that journalism
is the reporting of news.

Eyes wide open,
I find that it is actually used
in its pejorative sense;
unmistakably slanted,
sloppy, superficial writing
done solely to further
the sociopolitical, monetary, or religious
plans of the overlords.

When times get tight
the first thing to go is substance,
leaving us with lists of who killed who,
who screwed who, who’s pretty and who’s not.

And they seriously wonder
why we’re not interested anymore?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dumbing Down

A fledgling poet,
I learn slowly but surely
to pare down,
to say only what must be said.

In that vein, I search for a word
to summarize the ills of our world.

I find it in menticide,
the systematic undermining
of a person’s beliefs, attitudes, and values.
It comes from the Latin for ‘mind killing’

As Walmart and X Box replace
market and entertainment,
Starbucks and You Tube replace
neighborhood and community,
computer and television replace
conversation and reading,
We become one close-knit world of idiots.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let The Day Begin

She was a nice girl from a close, loving family,
a cheerleader and National Merit Scholar in high school.
At nineteen, she managed a local grocery store and by 23,
all the stores in the area.

Happy, successful, popular and positive
she had a wonderful life right up to the day
that some asshole introduced her to cocaine.

For her, like so many,
coke was a siren song that could not be ignored.
Overnight, life changed from dream to nightmare.
She lost her job in a little over a year
but being resourceful business woman
she knew she could sell coke
and maintain a lifestyle and a habit.

She was not the kind of girl to be
satisfied just stocking the produce aisle, so to speak
she was more interested in wholesale volumes.
This is when, as a narcotics Detective in
the local drug task force, she came onto my radar.
The smallest thing she slung was an ounce;
she could be counted on right up to kilo weight,
with consistent and impressive quality.

We caught her in a roll up from street level.
Once we knew what we had, we took our time
made several buys from her, had things well sewn up
before we smashed through her front door
and put things to an end for the time being.

She was polite, friendly, honest and still had a sense of humor
although she had segued to shooting the shit
into her veins to get her required dose.
Of course, it didn’t get her high any more
it just kept her from feeling as shitty as she would
if she tried to stop.

She understood that we’d be taking her house
and her car and that she would be going to jail.
She was a perfect adversary; smart, accepting of the risk
willing to take responsibility for her actions.

She was out in something less than two years,
on good behavior, of course.
I became aware of her again when all of a sudden,
familiar patterns of sales and weight and players
reestablished themselves.
I knocked on her apartment door one day
she was genuinely glad to see me, still friendly and cordial.
We spoke honestly, and I told her I’d be after her again.
She smiled and nodded and gently patted my arm,
saying “I know what you have to do.”

I asked her why two years hadn’t cleaned her up
and she blushed and shook her head, saying
“Because I know it’s still there…”
I left my card, and feeling really badly, left.
The shit was killing her quicker than either of us knew.

After that, she paged me now and again, and we talked.
I told her how dangerous the business was.
She agreed and explained that this was why she always
kept a “Coke Boy” around; a non-aggressive young man
almost equally addicted, whom she got stoned in exchange
for company and tacit protection.

She now had a bald spot on the top of her head
from her tearing her own hair out
in frustration and pain when she could not
raise a vein to poke. The last time we spoke,
I told her I was afraid someone was going to kill her.

About a week later, we overheard a call for patrol,
a Trouble With a Guest report at a local hotel,
that prompted the well experienced Officer
to call for the Sergeant shortly after his arrival,
with a tone of voice that chilled us to the bone.
With cop sixth sense, I looked at my partner
and said “Oh shit, it’s her.”

It was: Someone had bashed her brains out
with a champagne bottle and left her in the room
taking her money and her coke. Of course,
it ended up being her little coke boy
that we eventually arrested for murder.

The night we found her, I searched her apartment
feeling angry and sick and responsible.
Sixth sense sent me to the stereo.
I opened the CD player and found a disc by The Call.

The first song was called Let the Day Begin.
I punched it up and listened to the chorus;
Here’s to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin.
Here’s to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin, let the day begin. let the day start.

I took the damn disc, put it right in my pocket.
I own it still, that exact same disc.
I still feel chills down my spine when I play the song.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tag, yer it.

My friend Dave tagged me with the following challenge: Come up with a set, (or sets), of four things that have something in common. There is no restriction on the number of sets, but you gotta come up with original topics and then tag someone else. I am tagging Del Cain and Steve Mann via Facebook, (They're fellow poets, they aughta bite on this...

Here is my four:

Sid Abel
Ted Lindsay
Igor Larionov
Brendan Shanahan

What are they and what's their connection? They are Detriot Red Wings Wings who won Stanley Cups! And yes, wings twice in a row is purposeful - They were wingers, as opposed to centers, defensemen, or goalies.

Sid Abel was the third member of the legendary Production Line with Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe. Igor Larionov was one of the first of the famous and hugely talented Russian players to come to the NHL and succeed, at 31 years of age. Brendan Shanahan is the epitome of a grinder; not flashy, maybe not famous, but always there, scoring consistently, and a tough two-way player.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twisted Esoterica

Do birds whack off?
Are cows romantic?
If mosquitoes have the largest wangers,
do the blood sucking ladies
equate foot size to shlong?

Do bees even have knees?
How does one quantify a cat’s meow?
Is wherever birds of paradise live
exactly that?

When dogs bark together,
are they talking, or is it more akin
to the seagulls from Finding Nemo
calling “Mine?”

What exactly should I do
with your drift, were I to catch it?
And if you really hope to say,
then why the hell don’t you?

Are crazed bitches really rabid?
Do bastards truly not have moms?

Where did ‘Bless her heart’ come from,
when what is really meant is
‘She can’t tell her ass from a hole in the ground?’
And what shall we make of someone
who really can’t tell that difference?

When the cows come home,
do they know they’re there?
Just how much of a chance
does a snowball in hell have?
Has anyone ever really amputated
a body part just to spite their face?

Why in the hell would a bird in the hand
by worth two in the bush when all they’ll likely do
is poop on you?

And finally,
if it really don’t beat all,
are we in trouble?

Above the Dark Side of the Moon

Above The Dark Side of the Moon

Forty years ago I slept soundly
in the screened porch of a ramshackle cabin
fitful south by southwest breeze blowing
glare of the lighthouse beacon
turning like clockwork across the wall.

Sixty miles above the far side of the moon
Aldrin and Armstrong sailed a fragile boat of gold foil
and stared at fields of boulders below.

On the appointed day, we joined lobstermen
and the sons of lobstermen dressed
in their Sunday finest,
and paraded to an old two story house
gingerbread trim worn by weather and time.

Invited by twin spinster sisters,
who owned one of the two TVs on Swan’s Island,
we filed in to behold it,
doily topped and dusted in the spotless parlor.

With drama tense as Hitchcock
we watched anxious faces at Mission Control
chain smoke violently as their boys’ fuel ran low
I clutched my model of the shuttle from 2001 A Space Odyssey
solemnly noting the difference between
slick craft and baling wire and duct tape Eagle.

Above the Sea of Tranquility,
the boys were jolted by an alarm so esoteric
no one knew what it meant until a young engineer
determined it was a computer
shrieking of command overload.
“We’ve got you,” Houston assured finally,
“We’re go on that alarm.”

I watched Adam’s apples bob under
stoic New England faces of men
who routinely faced death in lobster boats
so Boston fat cats could enjoy their three pounders.

Meanwhile the computer lead the lads ever closer
to moon rock shoals; so Armstrong,
heart skipping along at 156 beats per minute
did as any pilot of old; he took the con
calmly announced, “I found a good spot,”
and brought the Eagle safely in to her berth.

As I watched a tiny bouncing figure descend
to the moon’s surface, I thought of how much
it looked like the marionettes from Stingray,
almost expecting Armstrong to turn and say
“Stand by for action!”

But of course instead he spoke poetry
though it was Buzz Aldrin’s comment
upon his first view from the surface
that I recall most; he called it
“Magnificent desolation.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Ours is a neighborhood of little boxes
a Bradford Pear in each front yard.
Five or six different house designs,
alike enough that more than once
I have turned into the wrong driveway.

Yet our ticky tacky box has been transformed
by the soul and hands of a woman:
Her vision created an oasis in the suburban desert,
The mundane swept away by verdure.

In front, ground covers overrun the crushing symmetry
of concrete sidewalk; layers of green and flowers
taxing the checker board norm.
To enter the house one must brush aside Oleander;
staid front porch has become a home to Mourning Doves.

Inside, gentle yellow scrubbed away the industrial grey/white.
Rugs of brick red and blue and green cover the tan.
Plants tumble over the ledge above kitchen cabinets,
bookshelves and counters; each corner and nook an invitation
to sit and read, listen and feel. Catnip sits by the back door.

In back is her true heart; veggies and herbs layer and flow
with flowers and trees. Greens, tans, reds and flecks
of bright rock rose bask. Birds, cats, dog and I revel
in the rustle of pampas grass, the tap of oleander on glass,
the smell of tomatoes, peppers and basil warmed by morning sun.

In the Texas summer, you can smell and feel
water in the birdbath, moisture from the maples;
watch greens ripple across wind tossed foliage.

She is my partner, but even if my view is biased,
the critters aren’t wrong.
These beasts are drawn here as I am
by sensations of peace, created from love.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

That Guy

The guy who takes
brand new shopping carts at the factory
and fucks up one wheel
so that they thump with dependable annoyance.

The guy who jams the works of the meter at
the only open parking space
for blocks and blocks.

The guy who removes,
before final packaging and shipping,
that one tiny screw from the item
bearing those three terrible words,
some assembly required.

The guy who designs tops for salt dispensers
that pour enough at a single shake
to make your food inedible.

The guy who adjusts
the power window switch
on your car so that it fails
the day your warranty expires.

The guy who writes
the unimaginably difficult directions
for doing something simple that you need
to be able to use your new computer.

I don’t ever want to be that guy.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Were there no Babe, Henry Louis Gehrig
would be the player all fans remembered.
Regarding his baseball career, perhaps
New York Times writer John Kieren said it best;
“He was there day after day and year after year.
He never sulked or whined or went into a pot or a huff.”

In a seventeen year career, he batted .340, with a .632
slugging percentage. He averaged over RBIs a year.
He hit 496 home runs. He played in 2,130 consecutive games,
a record broken only recently by Cal Ripken.

Seventy years ago, on the forth of July at Yankee Stadium
Lou Gehrig said a few words, among them, these;
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading
about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself
the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
This from a man who was informed that the disease he had,
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, had no cure and was fatal.
The disease remains so to this day.

Lou was many things; professional, capable, amiable,
exciting, dependable, explosive: No athlete in any sport
ever comprised the complete package this man did.
Yet to this day, what Lou did for ALS shines brighter
than his amazing career.

Every day, fourteen people are diagnosed with ALS;
all of them will die within three to five years of that day.

Lou’s example brought appreciation for life to even those
who suffer from ALS. In front of sixty thousand fans,
he chose to accent the positive instead of the negative.

May we who are so much more fortunate,
never forget this gracious lesson.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Super Group

I know that there is one hell of a fine band
in Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla, Olympus, wherever…

Were one given celestial production powers
to bring back anyone for a one night spectacular,
(Held at the Casino Ballroom on Catalina Island, of course),
who would the players be?

Hard decision, because they’d have to surpass
genre and age. Nonetheless, I’ll take a stab at it.

On drums, Bill Kreutzmann;
granted, he’s still alive, but he played with the Dead
so long that departed band mates wouldn’t bother him a bit.

Percussion is easy, Eddie ‘Bongo’ Brown from
The Funk Brothers; is there anyone else?

Now vibes, ‘cause they sound so cool, and of course
those would be handled by Mr. Lionel Hampton…

For keyboards we dip back into the living;
thank God Booker T is still among us.

A harp player is a must have, if for nothing else
so that we have an excuse to provide a green bullet
for someone to blast into: Paul Butterfield gets the nod.

And bass well, I’d have to snag a second
Funk Brother, the superlative James Jamerson.

Now for guitarists two is just right, and we need a pair
who will breath fire when they play together;
Charlie Christian and Stevie Ray Vaughan – Can you imagine?

And for sangers, well, you just gotta have two here as well,
one from each gender, to be fair if nothing else. I’d tap
one living and one dead; Lowell George and Joan Osborne…

Sit back, relax with a foo-foo drink at a round table
and let this vision wash over your soul, OK?