Friday, December 01, 2017

When Daddy Left.

When Daddy Left

The night my father left my mother,
She was crying in her sleep.

Daddy didn’t leave her homeless,
But he might as well have, she’d said
Later, after all the tears

Were shed, and the last cherry cordial
Daddy had left with his mistress.

I had met her.  She was a pretty lady,
With long blonde hair and cute bangs,
And I had asked her to play a song

For me on her guitar.  I secretly wished
She was my mother, but I didn’t tell
My own mother that because I was

Feeling guilty about the whole thing.
I was supposed to love my daughter more.
What a rotten daughter I was to think about

My mother like that, as if she were some
Sort of garbage that needed to be taken out.
That’s what Daddy thought about her.

I didn’t need to be thinking that about her
As well.  She had been through enough.
I tried to be comforting.  “You’ll find someone

Ten times better,” I said.  “We’ll help you
Look,” I said.  “Daddy wasn’t that great,”
I said, which made her cry harder.

Maybe I just better shut my mouth from

Now on.

Thursday, November 30, 2017



A master in flight
High above the city

He dreams of places
He hasn’t been to:

Hawaii, Guam, Mexico
In his mind he is already there

Soaring through the sky
Like a bird with songs on his mind:

Beatles, Queen, Jon Bon Jovi

Learning How To Live.

Learning How To Live

I could not find myself becoming
Immersed in the poetry that has
Large hands.  Like drops of crimson,
The shadows dwell within all of us-

The shadow of defeat, the shadow of
Work, the shadow of fear and greed.
I try not to remember all those bad times
That I was kept locked in the cave of myself,

Locked amidst broken promises and half-assed
Dreams, in order to have a dream I discovered,
One must have money.  I had no money.  I was
Homeless for quite some time, living in my car,

At shelters, or at my niece’s, who was only seventeen
And had two children.  She was more well-off
Than I was, and I was the proud uncle, telling her I would
Buy her everything once I got the money.

Once, I say, once this happens, then we’ll be rich,
And she dreamt of that day, and so did I, but nothing
Happened except she worked six days a week at the local
Drive-in, and dated a man named Bob who had a tattoo

Of a mythical god on his arm.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Dutch Floor, Circa 1984.

The Dutch Floor, Circa 1984

And we still had the floor that the Dutch
Had given to us three decades ago-it sat

Morose in a corner in the living room of our
House, where we walked on it every day.
It wasn’t the kind of floor that squeaked.

It was quiet as a whisper on a cold night,
Where I would lay naked in bed, drinking
Vodka or a Tequila, wishing I was with

Someone, wishing I wasn’t by my lonesome,
Wishing for thousands of dollars.
The floor would be there still, looking up at

Me forlornly as if to say, “Get off your ass,
You lazy bum!” because it was a floor and
It didn’t know anything about jobs or working

Or paying taxes, because it was a floor and floors
Didn’t know about such things.
I wondered about the Dutch who brought it to us

All those summers ago, if they were still alive,
If their children had children, if their children’s
Children had dogs and toy cars.

That’s what I thought about on those lonely nights
In bed, while the Dutch flooring muttered to
Itself in its own room.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

True Love Is Like a Dinosaur.

True Love is Like a Dinosaur

This is lit.  It’s colder than cold.
The light is lit within the oven,
And we are baking a pie for Thanksgiving.

It was the first Thanksgiving without
My aunt, who died tragically in an automobile
Accident earlier that year.  Some things

Go left unsaid, like being in love,
You just can’t tell the person you love
Them because their response might

Rip you to shreds-they’re kinda like a
T-Rex dinosaur, metaphorically,
Because they tear you up inside.

Love will do that to you.  It tears you
Up inside.  But it makes you feel better
About yourself as well,

And sometimes you have to go through
The bad to get to the good,
And the good will be all right in the end.

That’s how it works,
That’s what we know to be true.

Only true love will last.

On Reading the Poem About William Carlos Williams’ Plums.

On Reading the Poem About William Carlos Williams’ Plums

The plums are ripe
And juicy and sit on
The wooden table

In a bowl.  I take a spoon
And dig right in.
Bees buzz unhappily by my kitchen window,

But they can’t get in.
I munch happily on my afternoon

Snack, it is not yet time for dinner,
And I am starving.

Friday, November 24, 2017

My Photographs.

My Photographs

There is no patience here like
Single blocks of geese.  Temptation is
Wrought with food and ill,
Blinded by the temporary pain in my right foot.
Nothing is sacred as a photograph,
So still it seems to capture the sentience of
My father would have been proud of my photographs,
That I take each and every day on my journeys
Walking from place to place, to the park, to the
Grocery store, even to the neighbor’s yard,
He has a huge tree in the front, that bears
The plums of summer.
And it was summer. 

A red-hot Indian summer
In the middle of September,
And everyone was waiting for it to start to
Get cool, and the trees to change their colors-
Red, yellow, brown.  Then the snow would fly
And Christmas would follow.
Yes, my father was proud of my photographs,
Especially the ones I sent out to everybody
For our Christmas cards.  They were especially

Special to me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Great-Grandfather’s Mince Meat Pie.

My Great-Grandfather’s Mince Meat Pie

I make mince meat pie from scratch from a recipe
My great-grandfather had brought all the way from
Turnpike, New Jersey, back when he was a wee child
And had bought the recipe for forty cents from a
Bake sale.  His mother was so proud.  Every day

After school, he would practice making the pie
With his little pan, and with the help of his grandmother,
He would put in the right ingredients and cook it
Exactly the right way and it would come out, nice
And sizzling, from the stove. 

They had older stoves back in the day,
Not the new ones they have now,
With their digital timers and self-cleaning ovens,
No, he had to clean his grandmother’s stove himself,

By hand, with soap and water.  But the hard work
And wait would be worth it, because every week,
After trying hard to get the recipe to come out right,
He would eagerly come home from school on Friday
Afternoons and sit down at the table, his legs swinging
Over the edge of the seat, waiting in anticipation for

The great piece of food to enter his cute little mouth.

DNA in Space.

DNA in Space

Stars are forming in space like a riveting
Dark brown river that folds and bends like

Taffy.  A star is born after a catacomb of
Vices collide.  Yesterday becomes today.
Nothing is quite so simple as all those broken

Promises, wrapped in tar paper, wrapped in
Christmas presents to be handed out on
Christmas day.  Maybe space is a lot like

Dna, twisting like a ladder.  Some people
Say don’t walk under ladders, that it can
Give you bad luck, but I wonder if the luck

Is all in their minds, as if it is created by
The thrusting outward of imagination.
I guess maybe you could say I believe in alien

Life forms in space, something simple yet quite
Not so complicated, something that forms on
The breath of it all, the breath of a heart,

The breath of lungs, the breath of touch.
And then maybe there are aliens and maybe

There aren’t.  No one knows for sure.

Someone Mentions My Face.

Someone Mentions My Face

Somebody once said my smile lit up an entire room, but I didn’t believe them.  I think who said it was my college roommate, but I couldn’t be too sure.  She had bleach-blonde hair and blue eyes that twinkled like the bluest sky.  I wish I had eyes and hair like hers, but especially her eyes.  Mine were burnt brown, like mud, like the kind of stuff you would find at the bottom of a swamp, full of seaweed and muck and dead fish.  I didn’t think my face was particularly pleasant, I thought I looked a bit like a pumpkinhead, with large, disc-shaped ears and buckteeth, even though no one said so outright.  I wasn’t exaggerating.  My face looked like a giant squished pumpkin ready to be devoured at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and as I said this to my mother, she would laugh and say you’re being silly, not caring at all about my feelings, only caring about the feelings about herself.  I suppose that was how it was with most families.  They didn’t bother to care about you at all, only what you can do for them.  Or how they would say “Smile and be happy,” when you didn’t feel like smiling.  And then they would mention my face and I would become angry and counterproductive, wishing I was somewhere else, in some different family.

The Coffee Daze.

The Coffee Daze

I used to drink a lot of coffee back in college.  Those were the days when I wanted to be something, to be someone or to go somewhere-anywhere but there.  I wanted adventure.  I wanted excitement.  But none was to be had, because I was a poor college kid living off of ramen noodles and coffee, doing errands here and there, wasting away over textbooks that cost more than my car.  I was hoping for something to change, but it didn’t, and I slaved away over my homework, and by the end of the week I was so overwrought that nothing was better than anything I have been through, and I wanted to get out, to go, to be.  But where was that?  That seemed to be nowhere.  At least I was away from home, I would think, and shudder at the anger of my mother, the absentmindedness of my father, the strangeness of my brother, who would lock himself in his room all day, playing his unhappiness through video games.  

The Poet's Mother's Lovers.

The Poet’s Mother’s Lovers

As if words are not enough, I am now
Considered an emerging poet.
I found this out yesterday while I was waiting
On the train that would take me to Nowhere,
A hop, skip, and a jump away from New Jersey.
I missed my mother, but she was long gone-
She traveled all the time, from Japan, to China,
To Guam, taking pictures on her new iphone
As she went, gathering souvenirs.  She was recently
Widowed, recently married again by an older man
In his fifties with hippie-length long hair and a cool
smile.  “Boy,” I said.  “You sure got back
On the love train fast!” the last time I talked to her on
The phone, and she agreed with me and giggled a little,
Saying she thought she finally found her true love.
I wasn’t about to argue, but I wasn’t about to agree,
Either.  I flash-backed to the memories of my true loves;
The boy who didn’t talk to me in high school; the guy
With a ring in his nose; the one who read books at
The local cafĂ©.  I had all sorts of lovers, but the books
I read were the best, taking me to far off places that
One could only dream of.  And I did, and then I wrote
My own words on my own piece of paper, and I started
A journal, and now I don’t know where I will end up.

It will be a great adventure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


No, Hercules, I am Not In Love, Thank You For Asking

I did not want to wait for the right moment
To break it to you:  that I am not in love,
That I had not been in love, that I will never
Be in love.
We can still write letters, we can still take long
Walks on the beach, we can still dance in
The moonlight.  But only as friends.
You think maybe I’m being too harsh,
That perhaps one day I will fall in love with you.
This I have my doubts.  It’s not that I don’t want
To be in love, I’ve just never really considered
Being in love due to my abusive background,
That my parents were never really in love,
That they didn’t really love us.  I ran away from
Home when I was fifteen years old, got a job
As a bus boy and never looked back.
I can only continue to go forward, and maybe
One day I will write that love letter to you,
Maybe one day I will sing you a serenade,
Maybe one day I will give you what you want.
So no, I am not in love, but tomorrow is a different