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 café.  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


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Adrift On the Ocean.

Adrift On the Ocean.

Finding the island this far away would require
A heavy debate.  I didn’t want to debate anything
Right now, I wanted to get home.  The sun was
Stretching low over the horizon, glimmering red
Like a ball of fire, and our boat was drifting farther
Away into the great ocean, and we were getting low
On rations-we still had some worms left in the bottom
Of the color, and one spam sandwich I happened to
Snag from the fisherman on-shore.  We were a little
Too far away from the shore for my liking, but the map
We had gave no indication of any off-shore island,
And nothing was above us but clouds and a perpetual blue
Sky.  We were lost.  I knew it without glancing at
My mother or my father, knew it without certainty that
We would never find our way back home.
The sun was warm on our backs and our heads, but the sun
Was sinister in our minds-it could kill us, the longer we
Stayed out here.
Suddenly there was a breeze, ever so slight, and my mother
Took up the paddles and started rowing towards shore,

Her laughter ringing in the quietness.  We were all glad.

At the Height of Summer.

At the Height of Summer


I feel myself slipping
            Away from it all.  Not caring if I ever come
            I see a vision of myself ten years from now,
Raking leaves in a garden.  This is a promise
            I must make to myself:  to overcome all odds,
            To get out of being broken, used, abused.
Sometimes I see myself as someone else,
Giving myself a second chance at life, a second
Chance at success.
            Then I realize the only thing I eat for dinner
            Is ramen noodles.


At the height of an Indian summer,
You are there, lost in a midst of twine.
            You staple out hunger like a sieve.
            End over end, you begin to sigh.
It is the sigh of the long-lost dying,
            The sigh of someone who has seen
Defeat and risen from the ashes.

            The taste of summer is heavy in your mouth.

The Sight Within the Summer.

The Sight Within the Summer

The smell of summer fills my lungs.  It is like
A night without stars-the sunrise is a gorgeous
Array of colors that perpetuates the sky.
The summer apples are golden in the sun,
And the sun is golden, and everything around it is
Golden, too.  The grass smells of sweet summer
Rain.  Rain is etched with dew.  This is the end of
August, but summer is still here-still standing.
There is a light at the end of this reach,
Where every color matches everything else,
And the rain falls smoothly into a waterfall of
Crisscross colors.  Nothing is mismatched.
The apples are ripe for the picking, and the wildflowers
Need to be picked, too.
A light surrounds everything-in the grass, in the trees,
In between the bright-spoken leaves.  The leaves
Are bright green, so bright you have to wear sunglasses
To see past them.
This is what I imagine in wintertime, when it is so cold
I have to have the heat on 24/7, and when I go out
I am encircled by the coldness that reaches out into
Everything I touch, everything I see.
So forgive me if I want to see a little bit of summer

In wintertime.

A Pool of the Universe.

A Pool of the Universe

In the darkness, we dwell in a pool of
The universe.
The universe is vast.  It fills inside us like
A deep pool of water.
So deep, there is no ending or beginning.
It fills us up, up, up, and does not want to end.
There is a science of understanding that
The universe is vaster than this planet.
The planet whirls, spins, twirls.
Sometimes, it jumps off its axis and does
A dance near the sun.  It comes back again.
What little do we know about the universe!
How vast it is!  How grand!
DNA does not exist beyond the simplistic forms
Of it.
Aliens are on their alien planets-perhaps,
First on Mars or Jupiter.
Maybe they have their own space shuttles.
Maybe they dance with the universe-

As the universe dances.



The sight and sound of color does not exist.
It is a make-shift promise that belittles all else.
The wintertime is cold, colder than Hades,
And it goes through your entire body and into
Your bones.  Your bones are colder than you know.

The straightness of it, the grandness of winter-
Everything is moving slightly to the left.
The deceased will not dwell here,
The shadows will not move, ever so slight.
Some things are better left unsaid.

Color is like a movement that bends and waves.
Everything waves as if in a dream. 
We are born here, and then we die. 
The dying is simple in form; and then we rise
From our ashes.

Heaven takes flight.

No bones about it.

How To Break a Promise.

How To Break a Promise

This is the man that breaks the promise,
The time that is forgotten before the man.
Hope is not a withered stem of roses,
That glitters between the thorns.
We make leaps and bounds and sometimes
Fly through the sky on rocket ships,
And the quietness is so great that it makes
A loud boom-a sonic boom, if you will,
That gravitates towards a blackhole.
The understanding of time is nothing more
Than a blank page of misunderstanding,
I thought I was a scientist yesterday but today
I am a human being.  Or maybe I am an alien,
Trapped in a veil of withered veins,
An old man on his last life.  Sometimes he screams,
Sometimes he cries, sometimes he doesn’t realize
He is doing these things.  His arms and hands
Are a mesh of simple things,
And my dreams are hoped with vines.
The ravine is deep and dark and I can swim in its
Depthness.  Sometimes I can see my hand in front of
My face, other times I can’t even breathe.  The withering
Of time is broken, just like all those broken promises
And yesterdays that turned into storms of youth-
The rain was pitter-pattering on the ground,
The glass, the roof.  I couldn’t find my gloves until
Late January, they were packed, hidden, in the attic
Upstairs, and it took me so long to find them that I almost
Gave up.  But I bounced back and went outside in the cold,

And it felt exhilarating.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Learning.

The Learning.

What now is learned, cannot be unlearned.
The grips of understanding are the lack of man.
Turn myself over the other hand-and judge yourself
Lest ye be judged.
The forest is full of wild beast, and just like man,
Finds himself wandering cold and alone.
His head is carved from Tempest’s stone.
The wandering is not the time for anything,
And I have set to myself to fall into an abyss,
The abyss that is myself.
She who cannot think deep thoughts will never
Understand the goddess of divinity, or the purity
Of the notion that one can be born without rule.
The color of the mind bends, and darkness is quiet.
Without us, darkness cannot rule.
Do you understand that the doubt in your mind
Creates rule, without a lack of understanding?
Without a lack of passion?  The thought is forsakened
By man alone, and judging what he wants,
He shall be ruled by greed.
Greed is the ruler of the planet, the ruler of the lion.
He stalks his prey.  He is a wonderer, not a wanderer,
And bleeds like a goddess bleeds.
His heart is not his own.  He dwells somewhere,

Far away into the nothingness of doubt.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Published poem!

Here's a copy of my published poem:

Friday, November 10, 2017



The headache can be pinpointed to the back
Of my mind-a memory that slowly resurfaces.
Clutching a small doll, walking like a monkey
Towards my mother, all smiles.  Then I say, “Up!”
And she picks me up and takes me over to the couch,
Where I flop down and watch cartoons as my parents
Talk over morning coffee.  It is Saturday, and the bright
Sunshine pours into the small house-small, compared
To some, but large enough for me, because I didn’t
Understand money then.  No one told me what it was.
As I wait for my breakfast to be made, I watch cartoons,
Trying to find some sense in Wile E.
Coyote and the Road Runner-dumb names, I thought.
They should make up more interesting characters.
That was when I started making up stories to myself,
Then, as I grew older, I would write them down on paper,
And sell them for a nickel to my Grandma, who was
Always there for me, until she grew too old to take
Care of herself.  I remember the cookies she used to send
Us as care packages all the way from Florida,
Especially chocolate chip, which was my favorite.  The headache
Is pounding at my brain and I take some aspirin, trying
To keep myself from going into the alcohol cupboard for
A bottle of gin.
“Does alcohol age?” I ask myself, and I search for the answer


And She Thought of the Names of Her Children Would Be…

And She Thought of the Names of Her Children Would Be…

She sat staring at the parking lot, in the middle
Of winter, thinking about all the names she could name
Her unborn children.  Rome, Monte Carlo, or Garden City-
These names rolled off her tongue like red wine,
Places she dreamt of visiting before she would have the children
She was destined to have.  She thought she was supposed to
Have children.  She thought it was supposed to be her dream.
But the names of children-Sarah, Robert, Poinsettia-they didn’t
Feel right, they gave her an unsettling feeling in the back of
Her mind, the way a spider bite would, as if it were biting
Her insides, slowly emptying in the void she called her heart.
Even though she was married, she was bitterly lonely and thought
She might visit Mexico City one day and paint a portrait of a homeless
Man, perhaps someone she met outside a soup kitchen one day,
Just strolling around as if he had no care in the world.
That’s how she wanted her life to be like.  Walking about with no

Care in the world, homeless, but living off the land.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

And She Was Thinking About the Man Who Said He Drove the Mercedes.

And She Was Thinking About the Man Who Said He Drove the Mercedes

“You need to leave the mountains,” he said to the girl behind
The counter, who was wearing a blue suede vest with sequins.
She had just gotten back from a party and was just starting her work-
She downed a cup of coffee, and asked him for his ID.
“I don’t have an ID, I have a driver’s license, stupid,” he said
In proud disgust, and handed it over to show her what he meant.
“What do you drive?” she asked him quickly, trying to steer
The conversation in another direction-perhaps from her earlier mistake.
“A Mercedes,” he replied.
“That’s good,” she said.  “Maybe I will leave the mountains.  I don’t feel
Like I’m doing anything worthwhile here, what with all the crime and
All, everything is getting chaotic.”
And everything was chaotic at the café.  There were people from all over
The place who came there to drink coffee.  Coffee made up of
Hopes and dreams, coffee made up of broken promises.
Sometimes, couples would go there, kissing and holding hands,
And the waitress would look on at them with a sigh in her mind,
And she would dream of the day when she, she would have someone
To kiss, to hold, to talk to, but she was always alone, alone in a way
That implied she was lonely, always reading books, going out alone,
Watching tv alone, taking a shower alone.  She would remember
The times a man would talk to her, and she remembered a man,
The one who said he drove a Mercedes, and she thought maybe he was
Single, perhaps not taken, but that didn’t sit well in her stomach and her
Mind drifted elsewhere, to another time and place.
“You need to leave the mountains,” he said.

She thought about that some.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Freedom In the City.

Freedom In the City

The lights from the glow of the city streets
Beckoned me from my window.
I was a Scottish woman, driven to America by hate
And greed, and this was the first time I felt a little
Thrill of excitement at being on my own.
I had just arrived to Columbus, Ohio, the night before
From Scotland-having nothing with me but a garbage
Bag full of old clothes and food I needed to take
With me.
I wasn’t looking for anything but freedom, which was
Rare in those days, rare in the way that women weren’t
Really supposed to have any freedom, that my parents
Just wanted me to marry someone I wasn’t really in love
With, an older man with a degree in Engineering and who
Slept too much and drank too much and wanted me to cook
And clean.
I didn’t want to live a life like that.  I wanted to live a life
Making my own decisions and doing my own thing, marrying
Who I wanted and taking any job I please-anything but a
Homemaker, I thought, as was the style at the time for young
Women exactly like me.
Most women weren’t like me at all, I was a red head out of so many
Brown heads, a duck in a meadow full of swans.
I even walked like a duck, but I didn’t talk like a duck, I had an
Extensive vocabulary that my mother didn’t much like-she was brought
Up to be a homemaker and not focus on schooling, which was
What I was doing.
I moved to get away from her, to be able to think and do as I please,
And to find my own light in a world full of darkness.
The city lights beckoned me and I jumped out of the window of my
Apartment and climbed down the ladder, and wandered about
The city until I found a place to belong to.  Which is really what

We’re all trying to do, isn’t it?