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.