eBooks available!

I have eBooks/PDFs of my work available for sale to those who might be interested. All were previously offered as rewards to various tiers of my Patreon subscribers (a program I will be continuing there, btw). If you want access to the most recent collections as they come out, I’d go there. Just sayin’.

The titles include:
Annual “best of the year” collections. Currently available: 2017 — 2022.

“Then Play On,” a chapbook of poems about music

Pushpins and Thumbtacks,” a volume about icons and cliches of American culture

“Noted In Passing,” a revised eBook of a chapbook from 2012 that was a limited edition written for a single feature

“White Pages,” my collection of poems related to race and its role in my life

Decay Diary,” a collection of poems about aging

In the Time Of Contagion,” a collection of poems about you-know-what

“The Wrong Flowers,” a prose/poetry meditation on the state of the USA in 2020

Show Your Work,” an eBook version of an earlier, out of print chapbook.

“The Day,” a selection from 20 years of poems about 9/11/01.

“Ideation,” a short collection of poems old and new about living with depression and suicidal ideation.

“Long Winded,” a collection of longer poems.

“songs for reluctant warriors,” poems for the US political moment of early summer, 2022.

“3 Quarters” released in October 2022. Random and recent.

“Owner’s Manual” released in December of 2022. Poems in the form of directions.  

Minimal # of repeats among the collections.

All are available as both PDF and ePUB formats.

If you are interested, let me know with a comment on this post. Right now? They are 1 for $8 through Paypal, Venmo, or Cashapp — 3 for $16. We can talk about larger quantities and discounts if you want more. Message me for the details.


The Huddled Masses

They slimmed themselves down
to fit under the door
between you 

They thought you’d let them in
but they needed to become 

and flatten themselves
into the dust on the floor
to slide on in

Once it became clear
the door would never open easily
They would never be a given

Would never be granted a pass
Would be forced to starve
and crawl dirty to you

And then would be criticized
for sneaking in 
Filthy from the effort

Slimmed down
to almost nothing
and thus became all you wanted 

All you ever wanted 
was them outside your door
Dirty-begging for entrance

from the door mat
where they can be pointed at
and praised for the longing

that convinces you
of your desirability
as a destination

You have always felt your best
when you are looking down
at the tired and the poor

This Particular Window

Big vehicle
grinding by 
on the street

Unfamiliar racket
brings me to my feet
to see

a truck
delivering worn furniture
to a neighboring apartment 

that a week ago was emptied
just as early 
with just as much noise

I’ve become
a senior settler here
I never thought

I’d make it 
this long
Never thought I’d have to

Expected to be 
Or at least not make it

as far as “senior”
here in this part of town
where old timers have typically

stared out their windows
and wondered
when everything quiet

and familiar shifted
toward racket and fear
without their permission

Does this mean
it’s time to die off?
I never thought

I’d be asking this question
while looking out
of this particular window

June First

Barely past dusk,
first of June: today pitted
sweat and fatigue
against joy at the light
pouring down and joy won. 

Something tells me there won’t be
a lot more days like this June 1st
in my future. No reason to 
believe that to be true
except that following

the story of my body
suggests I’m old enough
to say confidently
there’s no reason to believe
I’ll beat the odds;

no reason not to sit back
and soak in June 1st
as if tonight I’m getting
to attend my own funeral feast
No one’s sad. No one’s crying

and I’d be fine to call it right now.
Let it be this good, this shiny.
Let it end this warmly,
this full to my brim for once
and for all. 

Something Like Grace

There was a robin
under the feeders this morning 
as there has not been in 
I can’t recall how long — 

They prefer to be in the backyard
on the ragged lawn under the giant maple
where the raccoon is raising kits
who may be gone by now — 

They prefer to feed in the scrub grass
among the pesky dandelions
that make up half the green back there
and all the yellow and then the white — 

To see one upfront under the feeders
that are customarily occupied
by sparrows and starlings
woodpeckers mourning doves and cardinals — 

suggests nothing or everything or something in between
That my powers of observation are growing
or that the robin’s in need of new vistas
as am I — 

Maybe this one was just lost in flight
and stopped to see what the fuss down there
was about before moving on
to its ultimate place in the world — 

Yesterday I found a dead kingbird
on the edge of a supermarket parking lot
lying softly in its ultimate place in the world
next to the tall windows of an empty bank building — 

I looked up from death  
into those mirrors so black 
Saw myself looking back
Empty as a body on pavement — 

I think about all of us staring into dark windows
Thinking about how we go and where we end up
We worry about finding out sooner than we’d like
That robin made the most of it without worrying I trust — 

That kingbird I hope felt nothing like my fear 
as its reflection loomed before it in mid flight
As it fell from flight to Earth
where it was received with something like grace


You expect
every morning
to be different,
and it isn’t.

No one coddles you
in any way
you desire.  There’s no
long-awaited recognition

that you are a gift.  Instead
you move slowly around
your shabby rooms trying 
to be quiet and minimal.

You don’t even bother
to wrap yourself in festival
colors as you used to. Ancient
T-shirt, ratty sweat shorts,

beat shoes or none if you’re staying in.
Usually you are staying in.
Coffee then the desk if it’s a work day,
and since it’s usually not off you go

instead to what feels like
your real job:
looking out dirty windows
at your leveled world

and wondering how far
you’d have to go
to find a better one,
if there is one out there.

To the desk, anyway, 
as soon as you can tear yourself away
from your captivating despair.
Make a record of all this. It might

do someone some good.
It’s done nothing for you, true.
You never became the gift
you longed to be. Maybe this will.

Here Endeth The Lesson

The point is to live so widely that
something more is left behind
than tiny paper cups on your bedside table;

laugh so fully the hospital linens
get up from where they cover you
and stagger away in fits of giggles;

and love so thickly the whole staff 
comes running when you code
to applaud and wipe their tears.

The point is not to leave a hole
when you pass, but an entrance
for others to walk through.


is one of those games that people
delight in playing. They squeal
when it’s pulled off the shelf.

A game about which people say,
“It’s just fun. It doesn’t matter 
who wins.” They smile, 

such happy cutthroats,
playing pickpockets at a medieval 
festival. It’s just fun.

and how the clueless smiles add
to the joy. No one could possibly
mistake this for a true battle.

Then again, I don’t squeal
or smile much on my good days
so it always feels like it’s our blood

in the offing for some of us — 
those seated at the game board
with no pockets to pick, no blades to swing.

The Sight Of Blood I Drew

Revised.  Older poem — from 1999 or so?

Right after I turned eleven
Joe Frazier’s left hooks
were constantly on my mind
so, although I was a natural righty,
I threw one unprovoked
at Jeff Maxwell’s jaw
while we were goofing around
in the middle school gym
and laid him out
flat and crying.

I admit it felt OK
to see him there, sliding
on his ass away from me as I tried
to explain it was all in fun
to Mr. Tornello
as he shook me and dragged me to
his sweat-soaked office to await
my parents.

I learned something that day.

Right jabs and Muhammad Ali
were on my mind a few years later
when Henry Gifford
got dropped, this time in anger,
on the shores of Thompson’s Pond
for cussing me out over my being angry
because he’d broken my switchblade.
This time there was blood on his mouth
and I admit it felt OK
to see it shining moonlit black
on his face and I was shaking glad
that I hadn’t had the knife in hand
at the time.

I learned another thing that day.

Kung-fu movies and Bruce Lee
were much on my mind a few years after that
when it felt OK to deliver
a straight-arm open palm blow to the side
of Joe Peron’s nose in a work dispute,
and there was blood again
and the gentle snap of his bridge breaking,
and he knelt holding his nose in his hands,
and that felt even better than OK for a minute;
because we were men
we just shook it off
and told no one of the fight,
but Joe steered clear of me after that,

and I felt fine,
and I kept learning.

How good it felt then,
and how good it would feel again
if the opponents I have now
could be dispatched that easily.

I stand in despair
of unpunchable bills,
bloodless banks, ravening for me;
I’m helpless before
the creeping sense
of having no enemy now
I could beat. 

I can’t fight
what I am today:
old and body-broken,
weak and endgame poor;
obsessed with overthinking 
how much harder
I could hit today
if I could still hit,
now that I know
how it feels to be hit.

I stand in the kitchen
thrashing the kitchen air –
cross, jab, hook, uppercut,
palm strike, temple strike,
slash and stab, icepick grip,
sword grip, kick a support
off a rickety chair.

I was such a bully once.
I had such narrow eyes,
fixed always upon the easily defeated.

I’m learning.

I once again narrow my eyes.
The urge to admire again
the sight of blood I drew
is almost more than I can bear.
I don’t know
how much longer
I will want to hold on.

Procrastinator’s Ghazal

Waiting for coffee to brew. It’s been bright out but I’m a snoozer. 
Lying here guilty, nothing is done. I’m such a loser. 

I usually do at least one thing before coffee. 
Start a poem, balance the books — but not today. Call me loser.

So far? I opened my eyes and I fed the cat. I showered and opened
the living room blinds. Nothing else. Not much to say but “loser.”

Some folks would tell you it’s enough to chop wood, carry water,
let impressions lead to enlightenment. Keep it simple, loser.

Tony, you may say, it’s just a word. To fight is to win. I may say:
this is not your path and I’m not on yours. Stay your tongue, loser.  

The Head Of A Pin

I’m out here dancing on the head of a pin
I’ll keep on dancing till I swell
And fill right up with sin
I’ll be large enough to see
But small enough to spin
Like a razor balanced on the head of a pin

I’m out here dancing on the head of a pin
Angelic when I started 
Becoming demon under the skin
As the dancing grows more frantic
Limb over limb, limb over limb
A cyclone set upon the head of a pin

Hear the band that’s playing
Hear the rhythm of the drum
Hear accordion and violin
There’s a keening in the background
And a flute beneath it all
Hear a mystery of dark and light revolving

I’m out here dancing on the head of a pin
I’ll keep on dancing till I swell
And fill right up with sin
I’ll be large enough for you to see
But small enough to spin
If you choose to dance with me on the head of a pin

And I Would Not

Come to the table
and I will serve you
all you’ve asked for:
look, it all awaits

on formal china
with proper silver
set beside the plates
in proper order,
all laid out upon
the best linen,
and soft.

I promise this to you
in the name of propriety
and all I have tried to do
to explain my faults away,
at which I have failed
in spite of decades of 

You tell me 
I should have just tried harder
to not have the faults
in the first place
and we would have been fine
eating little but bread 
with our fingers and cheap wine
from old jelly jars
while seated upon stones
in a ragged ring around a fire.

I look at this table,
think of all
I’ve spent upon it.

I look up at the vaults of heaven.

I am not at all sure
I’d be the same person today
if I had done what you asked.

Perhaps that is your point:

if I’d been welcome
in the house of your God
all along I would have been

a different man;
you would be here,
and I would not.

How Are You?

Not having an answer
when you are asked how you are
makes you ruthless and honest
or maybe a little bit dumb.

The door in your chest 
flies open and you rise, 
hover above your chest
looking down at your body

which is still somehow trying
to figure out how to cover
all your bills. You’re outside of that 
calculation right now. It goes on

while you are hovering. Maybe
you have died and the bills 
will now be covered by your
not being present. If they ask you

later today how you are, 
you won’t have a real answer 
even if you fall back into the body.
How are you? Revenant. How

are you? Insolvent. How 
are you? I’m behind the door
again so let’s say I’m fine.
I can’t complain. 

Don’t let them know 
you’ve been smothered
by the math. Don’t let
yourself know

you don’t want to be
a person anymore. You were never
that good at it. How are you?
I’m fine. And how are you?

Riddleface Mountain

Riddleface Mountain
is on my bucket list
of places to visit after
I die. The name

tugs at me like a pup
on a cuff. I want to hover
before it, a midair ghost;
stare into the granite,

and let it make me whoop,
delighting in the punchlines. 
I’d have that slight twinge
of regret when I guessed right

and then of how I’d beg for another,
another, squealing for more. 
At some point I know I’ll need
to float away and see the rest

of the land around those parts.
But before I do, I’ll hang suspended
before the cliffs
of Riddleface Mountain,

laughing one final time
at moments of silly human delight
as if I were a four year old
delighted by small things.


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Warning The Would-Be Poets

Please contact me
that you may at least understand
where I’m at.  

I can’t describe
the landscape well enough
for you to come find me

but you might find yourself enlightened
and informed by the view.  I hope
I can do it justice — really that’s

the only hope I have now: 
that by you being in touch I might
be able to warn others who might come.

Please contact me, reach out
that you may understand
that I was never comfortable among you,

even if you still cannot see why;
and even if I am somehow at home here
it is not any place most would want to live.