Monthly Archives: February 2023

It’s Not That Simple

I don’t have an answer
Don’t know the right questions
to get from one end of this 
to the other

It’s not that simple
Not an equation

Stuck in my head with
A jumble of words
that feel like maybe
Might lead somewhere

It’s not that simple
Incorrect directions

I turn from one to another
I turn from the certain to doubt
I turn away from the road
with the well-marked signs
To the dense darkness under the trees

I don’t have a sense of direction
Can’t make any sense of the landscape
Don’t know the right way
to any destination

It’s not that simple
Not an equation

It’s not that simple
Incorrect directions

It’s not the arrival
It’s the journey they tell you 

No, it is the arrival
They lie as they’ve lied for all of my life

New Patreon Offer

Ok. Gonna try something here…

I’m still working on various other rewards for Patrons — waiting on the site itself to announce some new things. But…
I’m currently sitting at 72 patrons across all levels, bringing in around $800 a month.

As I’ve said, I’d like to grow my Patreon site a bit more and reach more folks in the process. You can help — If I can get another three patrons at the $5/month tier or above by the end of tomorrow, I’ll change my rewards section permanently to make sure that everyone AT ALL TIERS gets EVERY EBOOK I PUBLISH there.

That’s at least one per quarter and the annual anthology. Upgrading to a higher tier counts.

Although it’s not necessary, I will mention that paying a year in advance gets you a discount.

Hit me up through your channel of choice if you have any questions.

Here is the Patreon site. 

Thank you.


They Are Yelling At Me

I don’t know who they are
but they keep yelling at me:

Enough, enough! What’s with
the moaning, all the doom-poems?

You are sitting in a warm-enough room.
You are still warm to the touch.

Look out the window at that one cardinal.
There’s the woman across the street

starting her Jeep. There’s so much going on
that isn’t the direct result of some tragedy.

Write a damn love poem,
they say. An ice-cream poem,

cool and sweet. A feather pillow poem,
soft and easy to clutch. A poem with 

a roar-shaped kiss. A metric ton
of roar-shaped kisses, in fact. Why

the constant scream of pain and 
anger at how the worms of money and hate

twist through all our guts
all day and night? Write us

out of that with a love poem,
a bird poem, a stars in your eyes poem

or two or three hundred, Mr. Prolific,
Mr. I Got Words For Everyone, Buddy?

All my poems are love poems, I answer back.
I wouldn’t stand for them if they were not.

I would not be here with them clustered around me
if I did not think they held love within.

The poems with the guns will do what’s right
for love.  The poems full of moans are the echo

of wishing for better. Every word
may taste like rocky road

to a parched and bitter mouth.
And why is there roaring at all in these words

if not to speak of love for the world as loudly as I can
in the face of so many teeth and such greedy claws? 

They don’t answer. They never do.
I wish I could do anything else but this.

This morning I shall settle at the keyboard
to put flowers upon all the unmarked graves.

It’s not a living. It’s a life.
Shh, I tell them. Enough, enough. 

As American As Petting A Bison

Some context for this: 

How To Lose Your Pants By Being Dumb

If I were to become a bully
I’d do my business
righteously, historically.

I’d fill my raging belly
with ghost egret flesh,
drink nothing but spectral bison’s tears,

grow horns
the size of a railroad car
and start looking around

for a bison-petting tourist with 
jeans and blood to spare.
Watch them run away after trying 

to pet me. Thinking
I’m tame. Believing the 
schoolbooks they’d seen.

You’d think I’d have learned
about how such behavior
tends to pan out over time.

You’d think that — and you’d
be wrong. This is mild. It isn’t about 
replicating their history of violence.

There’s a whole country out there
the wants us lovable enough
to keep on a shelf in the living room.

Someone’s got to set them straight
in the name of survival. Put them
pantsless on the hook

for everything 
they never learned in school
or subsequently.

It’s not their fault, you say,
that they bought the myth they were sold.
But it is. It’s not like 

they haven’t been told.
Anyway, I’m starting small.
No need to panic yet. 

Your jeans 
don’t begin to pay off
what was stolen, but it’s a start.

What Drives Me

Bags filled with
broken promises and
hands full of random illnesses
and injuries: that’s where I am
in this late middle age.  I have
the residuals of bad choices
to weigh me down
and of course
the words, the Work,
always and forever
driving me.

To feel better
I’d give up a lot, 
but not the drive, not the Work.
I’d let blacktop cover me,
let the city take my home, 
let me fall on a sidewalk
outside the library.  Let them
use me as a warning, let them
slip me into forgotten history
and leave me there — but the Work

shall remain on my tongue
poised for release
then fight its way past
my light stripped eyes through
frozen fingers into the world
where it will live or not on its own
because that’s my Work 
and I’m not done with my job.
I’m not quitting it just to die
at peace with my body
and my wallet. No.

Looking Ahead

When the end comes 
will you be able to sit with it

and keep telling yourself
it is all going to be OK? 

Are you willing to find a park bench
upon which to sit by yourself

in the last green grove on earth
and tell yourself this too shall pass?

Think about how you are trying
to make the best of this, of how

everything you’ve known till now
is coming to a point:

all existence squeezed into a dot now,
a pencil mark

on a dirty scrap of paper;
the world compressed to a period

at the end of
a sentence fragment,

and it’s harder that ever to recall
what that sentence was.

It made sense.
That’s all you know. 

It was uttered by someone
you loved, or could have loved. 

All you’ve got to go on
is one faded period and 

an illegible word
to puzzle over. Same as it has been

for most of existence: broken puzzles
are offered with great authority

and finality. No answer, no clues.
All you have to do is figure it out

and speak it for it to be real. Are you willing?
Are you ready to have this be the way it ends? 


When you look outside
expecting trumpets and fire
and all you hear is the drone
of photo opps legions seeking 
clicks and likes and affirmations
from the devils or angels they prefer

Peeking past the blinds
into a gray morning with no
distinguishing features beyond 
unseasonable weather and more 
humans signing on the street these days
jerking drug dances for survival

When you turn with a headshake back around
to the relative warmth of shabby rooms and rugs
and your yet to fail walls and aged thin pipes
it all doesn’t seem as bad as the trumpets
and fires you expected at this point
since you are warm and for the moment aecure

You raise a shout and toss a dance move
A wipe of the forehead and a raised glass
A song to whatever lord you think has saved you
from the trumpets and the fire and the nights in the cold
Forgetting the imminent snuffing of all candles and lanterns
You exhale in uneasy and unwarranted relief

Thank you.

Thanks to all, patrons and non-patrons, who came out to the Rip-Up Reading last night. At one point we had 29 people in the Zoom Room.

I’ll be writing up a more formal recap later today or (more likely) tomorrow. I’m exhausted still, as I usually am after doing one of these.

Until then, thank you.


Last call for the Rip Up Reading.

Follow this link to the details for the Rip Up Reading. Last call. Hope some of you can attend. 


Three Chords And

REVISED from 10/19; originally from 2008 or so.

Once you were a chucked berry,
a fogerty full of sloppy chords,
a skip to my lou reed.

You got all slippery
with clean sauce. Turned down, tuned up, 
tossed out your faded paper bag

of dark wanderings. Bought into
commercial anthems that worked well
in the fluorescent aisles of big-box stores. 

Come back to your game desire.
Come back slaphappy, sharpened
for the war against plastic.

You used to have
a mouth full of splinters. Used to
honor dingbat and idiot,

all those
who broke the social charm
with a fart. Do you remember yourself?

Gas monster.
Blunt huffer.
Smoker of the right goddamn herbs.

You chased the scent
of acorn porridge, worked
Delta mysterious.

That devil in the crossroads
still valued
your willing ass.

You used to not be such
a freak for safety.
You used to not be

such a doom escape. Children
hate you more
now that you’re safer

and nearly devoid of a scrap
of care left
for your sulfur traditions.

We love some of you still,
even with your
crystal fraud hippie faking.

We love some of you still,
you wall street loving

It’s like watching
the fattest rats in the world
pretend they aren’t rabid.

Bite me.
Better yet?
Infect yourself.

Be the sick fuck we loved to love,
no matter how bad
you made us feel.

Last Call for the Rip-Up Reading

On February 23 at 7:30 PM EST I’ll be doing a live via Zoom reading (tomorrow night) of a special set of poems. No one has seen them; they will be printed, read once, and destroyed after the reading. Literally, a one time only event. 

I’d planned this to be a Patrons-only event but am opening it to the general public on a pay per view basis. 

It will be $10 USD for the performance, payable through either PayPal or Venmo.  Message me here and we can work through the details. I’d love to have some of you attend. 


A Big Bowl Of Mythology

Having a big bowl of mythology
as the first act of the day
is better than taking a shower,
better than anything one can do
except for having sex and 
because the bowl of mythology
contains enough sex
to choke Dionysius or lay
Thor low, it is not as if
you can’t get that too, slurping
legends down in the kitchen
where all you have to go by
is window light. Forget the news,
forget checking e-mails until after
you are full. The old gods know
what’s good for you and they say,
fill yourself with the good news
of how we ran amok once
in our time
and still kept the world spinning.
It will give you hope and then,
your belly full, you can take on chaos
secure in the knowledge that 
given enough stories, enough examples
of randy and bloody and now and then
noble tragedy, you can get up
and be a god yourself — randomly
screwing, assuming perfect disguises,
pressing nuclear buttons
if that’s your thing; the taste of Valhalla
on your lips, the image of the Cross
throwing its redemption shadow over all.
You’ve got big shoes to fill,
a landscape to change, lightning in your belt
waiting to be hurled. It’s the breakfast of
champions: a bowl of mythology
in one of so many flavors you’ll want 
to try them all. Now
in Mixed Indigenous Berry
and East Asian Crunch!
Available for a limited time.

A Posse Of Deadly Clowns

the form I see before me
is not the true form.

do you see what I do not?
it is possible my eyes deceive me.

it would not be the first time for those little liars,
those deceitful balls playing with tricky light. 

if you say my true name I’ll change
into my true form, if the tales are to be believed,

but why should they be? the writers
have eyes which may be just as dishonest

as my own. they might have no backstory
to support the legend. so the legendary true form

may be not a true form at all but simply that
which kills the perceiver before they solve the mystery. 

never trust a writer to give you all you need 
to seize control of the world. they’re a posse of deadly clowns

riding out in search of illusions they’ll tell you are true,
and they may be right but they don’t know and won’t know

until you are staring into the mirror they’ve given you. 
they wait to see what happens.

no matter what happens,
they try again.

An Uneven Day

What an uneven day
it has been already.
Rose late and made coffee
before I showered 
because priorities
and rituals must be
honored to make things work
as they should

and now I’m sitting here 
with a pile of notes and
something that purports to be 
the start of the greatest poem
I’ve ever written and seeing that
it’s clearly on its way to being 
more crap than canon. Which
hurts more because
when it comes to all of my work
those may not be 

Later on someone
will call out of the blue
to say, can you
come help me move?
and inside I’ll hem and haw
but get up grudgingly and go
because I have a station wagon

and while it’s no pickup truck
priorities and rituals
must be honored.

When we’re done
one apartment will be empty
and another will be full
and I will come home
to my own that is both full
and empty at once.

Then I’ll take a second look
at the Work I left behind.
I’ll sigh and light a pipe
and after that close my eyes on the day
hoping to find myself tomorrow

back on the winding road
that leads from the bones
of one uneven day
to the next one,

where there is still
to be chased regardless
of faint chance of snatching it,
because priorities and
rituals must be observed,
even in the absence of honor.

Urgent Clarification!!!!

The Rip Up Reading I’ve been touting is next Thursday and the date is February 23rd.  I’ve been screwing it up in announcements.

My apologies.