Saturday, November 6, 2010


On most paths in my life
there are places to rest,
giving me a chance to gather courage.
I can resume, or not, as I wish.
Not on the trails of pain.
I’ll not do those who stumble
along with me the disservice of claiming
it any further by naming it.
There is no place to rest,
no place to turn back to.
Yet for all that it is one path,
no one walks it with me.
Others on the path see me,
cry for me, pray for me.
So it is that my path
is lined by trees that mock me.
Then I see trees in the hills
that bring me much hope.
I then see only kindling
for one last flame of frustration.
I see bones stripped
by a wind that never ends.
It may happen that I
drag my pain through a desert,
or along a path by a great sea,
waves counting out my heartbeats.
But all I see
are the lines chiselled into my forehead
and the lines hammered at the corners of my mouth.
All I see are talismans.
Each cross, each crystal,
each star or feather or stone.
All I see is the knowledge
of no going back.
No chance to share the burden,
no end but death or life,
no answers.


There is a trash man
that follows behind us who walk.
I picture him like a person in a park;
large blue bag slung over one shoulder,
stubble of cigar jammed in his mouth,
long wooden rod with a nail sticking point down.
He walks slowly stabbing everything
we thought was so important, putting it in the bag.
Snag a thick portfolio of stocks;
countless key rings to large houses and BMW's;
clothes from the Gap, diamonds and emeralds,
silver and gold, platinum and rare china.
In the bag.
I imagine that the farther he follows us,
the stranger the trash we leave.
A lucky rabbit’s foot, a rosary,
a tattered picture, names of the dead.
A cheap locket, a strand of hair,
a pocket knife.
Then there comes a time when
things start to thin out.
Now we are to the real things.
A letter asking or giving forgiveness,
the last will and testament of a life.
A flower sealed in wax paper, a wedding ring.
Or maybe the offerings end long before this.
I wonder then if he dances a little jig
to celebrate finding the end of pain is not always death.
Or does he know the path will resume down the way?
At the end of his shift or millennium or life,
or when he tires of the burden of carrying our treasures,
what does he do with all the fine shiny golden useless stuff
he has carted so far?
Does he keep them and pawn them,
or has he learned what is most important
cannot be carried, or lost?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Been down roads

Redemption Road ain't in this neighbourhood.
I've walked so many side walks
I know this for fact;
Streets do not forgive.
Streets remember.
The Law life lives by is this:
The only certain thing is this moment.
I have walked down roads.
Known little of the peaceful life.
From one uncertain day to the next,
among strangers I sought shelter and safety,
however brief.
At a Bible Rescue mens center
my immortal soul was traded for
three meals, a pack of smokes
and a ride to the highway.
At a Salvation Army
I napped in a pew through
three hours of fire, brimstone,
and the bloody word of God.
Poor God.
I knew if it was up to Him
He'd pull the blanket up around my shoulders,
pat my head and say
"'Night son. I'll see ya in the morning."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Great Land Hurricane Of 2010

These winds,
the late October winds,
hollow me out.
There are so many scents,
each one wakes a part of me.
I do the work of the day
but I am elsewhere.
It's like time travel.
Each leaf is a name
of someone whose life
I drifted into and out of.
Every one beautiful,
their faces so bright.
Swiftly grown,
swiftly gone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Every son wants to sing his fathers song. 
Sound the horn and drum. 
When the Father is gone
Sons burn like a wickless flame,
Attached to nothing, consuming everything. 
Sound the horn, pound the drum. 
Sons weep to sing their fathers songs. 
The need drives them into the wilderness.
They sleep among each other,
The wounded, the drunk, the lost sons. 
They wander until they find
The song they need to sing.
When sons honor their fathers
Rightness returns and the words come
To say what is in their hearts. 
Our fathers, everywhere they are,
Sing among themselves until son
And flame and song are one.    

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sitting in a truckstop waiting for what ever comes off the ramp.looking for a bluejeaned road woman with many miles on her face, sunsets in her eyes, and faded maps in her heart. The road calls like a nagging ex, where are you, where you been, when ya coming home, you owe me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hey all, sorry about the lack of imput lately. Life interferes. I need a cold drink, a hot woman and a cool poem. I will be around. Later

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Tangletown

I am the last lost poet.
At 3rd and Market I sit
at my old table, by the window
on the second floor
and wait, and watch and write.
The trains stopped running
long ago, the nights are silent.
Poems don't come easy.
There are no more saxophones
crying in the lonely dark.
Only the occasional glare
of a window lamp marking
the territory of an insomniac.
The buildings are mute.
Curtains hang heavy and damp.
This place has lost its soul.
The streets are quiet
in Tangletown.

In One Hand Armand's

the cold outside is kept at bay by
the heat from bodies gathered
to drink loneliness and salvation,
to drink the nearness of flesh
and the fleeting pleasures it offers.
Tonight my poison is wine,
cheaper by the glass, better buy the bottle.
The smoke is thick,
and the juke box can't make a dent
in the conversations.
Armand, let me top off your wine glass.
Button down the hatches and load the guns.
Revolutions start in places like this.
We are tinder waiting only for fire.
We may die but we will set the night aflame.

In Tangletown

I walk the streets at night.
I am not the boy I was.
The hardness of this place has
crept into the lines of my face.
The rain soaks me but
I am no longer moved to tears.
The shadows are mine,
and the dark corners,
dead ends and alleys.
When people pass me they don't see me;
I am invisible, a piece of trash.
Bothers me not. I've lived here for years.
The stains on my soul are forever.
Forever the streets of

When we die I believe our essence is thrown back into the stew pot of the Universe

The body does not need us when we die.
When what animates us is gone,
the flesh has plans of its own.
It starts by cleaning out impurities,
the debris of bad living and fast food.
As fresh air starts the transformation
the flesh feels its own rebirth.
No morals, no meals, no fear of death.
It rejoices itself as a garden.
As the spirit flies unattached
to time or place the body reaches for home
to take a long overdue and much deserved rest.
The body does not need us when we die.
It goes its own way.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

iPod muse

Song Title poem

Babe, I’m gonna leave you


Blown wide open

Crash! Boom! Bang!

Everybody knows

Blues in the midnight hour

Feels like rain

Kiss the rain

Fall like rain

Give me one reason

Good loving gone bad

Hell at home

Hey, hey, what can I do?

I’ve got to go now

I don’t wanna

I want to walk with you

Love is a stranger

Nowhere to go

Side of the road

Smoke and ashes


Thank you


Unchained melody

Wish you were here

Monday, April 12, 2010


On a hotel roof
in San Diego, California,
caterwaul of sirens
and hookers muted,
I read my horoscope
and fed my appetite
for loneliness
and chemicals.
The minutes crept past
slow as thunder.
Smog lit by night lights glowed
like a translucent shower curtain,
and I wept,
thinking of home,
of Ophelia's head
resting over my heart.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I live for the rush.

Words a friend told me.
Riding through newly-awakened
fields and swamps,
critters everywhere,
birds on every branch.
Deep from the hearts of trees
in the stands and copses
green leaked like life-blood,
burning the air with possibility.
I wasn't driving, so my rush did not
come from speed or
the need to remain alert.
Feeling the blues slip from me,
a coat I stripped off
and hung out the car window
leaving a trail of dust, worry,
and the scent of the sickroom.
Between the two Mallards in the creek
and the riders doubled up on big cycles
hunting the long easy curves of these
old roads, there was a space I felt so human
I can never go back to where I was.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Sure, he liked the tattoos he got

when he ran with the 1%’s

and he liked burning a bowl before

the stockholders meeting, the presenter

puzzled by the sudden chuckles

floating above the sea of Parker Brothers

suits, silk ties, nightmares of the world

crashing silently among the others

He drank a little wine

some say a little too much

but by damn it was good wine

And it wasn’t so much his touch

with the cue stick that made his name

but the beauty of his bank shots

as the balls danced their gavotte

and whether he made the shot or not

his opponent bought the drinks regardless

Ok, maybe he chased the ladies

and his indiscretions were as dramatic

and fatal like some STD malaises’

Money was not his friend

he went through it like shit goes through birds

and he was depressed and mal-adjusted

and treated people like smelly turds

But he was a fine poet, he ran deep

He brought us all on his journey

So what if he couldn’t sleep

‘till laid out on a steel gurney

Where were you when the river rose?
I was running for higher ground.
Where were you when the river rose?
Was bagging sand with other men.
Where were you when the river rose?
I was crying on the shore.
Where were you when the river rose?
Was packing my baby’s things.
Where were you when the river rose?
I was dancing like a fool.
Where were you when the river rose?
On my knees praying No, No, No.
Where were you when the river rose?

Monday, February 15, 2010


How to explain to someone who has never driven out of state.
When I have driven more miles in a year than most people
drive in their life, what can I say about the drive they would believe?
A lot of bad poetry, and a lot of good has been written about the road.
Johnny Winter sings of Highway 61, bleachers on the shoulder,
Abraham with a knife to his son’s throat, the shadowed profile
of a mother’s seventh son, telephones that will not ring.
The Boss cruising mansions of glory on suicide machines.
The rumble of iron thunder, the thunder of iron steeds,
Steppenwolf providing the soundtrack to a bat out of hell.
The road has my heart.
I have spent more time behind the wheel than any other place.
At rest my hands sit curled, fingers around a steering wheel’s rim.
I always notice the hawks in the trees.
I always drive with the windows down.
Want to find out what kind of a person you are?
Drive from Appleton to Dallas and back in forty eight hours.
Want to find out where your soul is?
Watch a thunder storm roar through the Badlands late afternoon.
Turn a curve and see clouds beneath you.
How could I do other than I do?
Plenty time for one place when I’m dead.
And when I die, don’t plant me in the ground.
Throw my ashes to the wind
and let me go where I will.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What a Man Leaves

On my last day let it be known that I danced.

I drank some good wine with a meal I cooked.

I read my favorite poem to a lovely lady.

Let it be known I left my rooms clean,

the dishes racked and dry, the lights off.

I love my family, forgive my enemies,

clear my heart of hurt or grief.

I love my cat, the sunshine,

the hard north wind.

Let it be remembered by someone

that a hawk graced my sky today,

that juncos chittered in the cedar

outside my front window.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


When a nephew told me he didn't think
I could get by today if I were his age,
well, what can you tell those who don't know.
He is worried about guns, Aids, bad drugs...
and he's right to worry.
I'll keep the Bay of Pigs to myself,
and the Cuban Embargo, and the Gulf of Tonkin.
He doesn't remember the Brandenburg Gate,
or Bikini Atoll, or the Civil Air Drills.
He doesn't know that from the day of my birth
obliteration was a daily fear, looming,
in the conversations of adults, preached
on the Evening News, taught in schools.
I am a child of the Ultimate Flame,
invented by men of science,
hidden in locked labs,
one of millions who pray at night
that we will wake up in the morning.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


What can one poet do, or even two,
when the numbers are human
and very large?
We can write words until our eyes bleed,
stroke keys until our hearts implode,
bury the dead until the fields are full.
What separates the living from the dead?
And who is to draw the boundaries?
I say let the living honor the dead as they may.
Let any act be an act of love,
any labor a labor of community.
From the safe distances of my life, my home
we must let the living tend to their loss,
and tend to them as they bury their lives
in the land they share even with the dead.


I remember dancing in the garage
listening to the Top Forty,
calling the radio station to make requests,
the station you worked at on weekends.
Your friends Lorelei and Gail,
me the pesky brother harder to get rid of
than a case of acne or a bad perm.
Portable radio perched on the beat up piano,
tinny speakers fuzzing like crazy,
Casey Kaseem sending out long distance
love songs to soldiers in 'Nam,
sweethearts away at college,
and you could tell by his voice Casey
loved them, loved us, dancing in a garage
on a summer day in Michigan far from the war
and race riots and Woodstock.
Decades later, you're married and a grandmother,
me, well, still me, strangers mostly,
but I remember dancing, and am happy
to see one of us still dancing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm on the phone to my street corner girl,

traffic in the background, voices laughing.

It ain't no biggie, it's not the first time,

some hearts just to need to wander.

Some hearts just wait by the phone.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New reads

Armand, gonna throw some books at ya.
Anne Sexton, "Live Or Die"
Her third book,
brutal and honest, dark and lyrical,
a kind of free form mental soup,
scattered images, sad memories,
but vibrant and wired, like a prosac cocktail.
There is a neurotic energy here that carries these poems
beyond the lithium fueled delusions you would expect in the chronicling
of a breakdown. Sexton laughs, not always appropriately,
but always deservedly. She is not looking for redemption,
or sympathy, but maybe just a witness.

On my scale of shot of mezcal (Junk)to a dram of absinthe,( Great)
this is a bloody Mary.