Thursday, February 21, 2008

posting this one again

this poem was up here before, but I took it down because I thought it was too personal.
but today is the 4th anniversary of my mother's death and I felt I should pay tribute to her somehow because she deserves it.



she was proud of her hands, cut and file
and cutex and polish every few days.
The only thing my mother-in-law liked
about me were my hands she said. small and
delicate and ladylike,
although she didn’t think I was much of a lady, she said.
true or not, she believed it.

psoriasis made her scratch and it got under her nails and
made them tenuous like shingles in a hurricane.
the polish hid the decay.

she got sick quickly, and liked her hands to be held.
My hands were my best feature she said, not sure to believe
it anymore, looking at them now thin
and cold and rough and grey, like driftwood. with a hospital
bracelet collaring one. her birthdate printed there, hard not
to picture the end date, tombstone style.

the last days spent on the end of the sofa
her hands touching her hair, habit. The psoriasis is gone
she said. nothing left to scratch, gone due to the bullying
of other infections.
sifting through her bottles of medication, keeping the
hands busy, squinting at the labels, wondering how
these bright and cheerily coloured pills could
possibly keep her alive. Made up words she said
either beginning or ending with an X.

the last days spent on the end of the sofa
her hands moving the bottles of pills from
the tupperware container and back again.
pills clicking against the bottles like the
ticking of a clock too fast and irregular.
her hands picking them up and putting them down
and doing it again, looking for the right combination.
faster. like a chessplayer, pawn takes queen, moving
faster, anything to keep the hands from being stilled.

Friday, February 15, 2008

but I have insurance

this morning I woke up and showered
and brushed my teeth, didn’t shave, didn’t
have breakfast, didn’t have coffee, and
drove to work.

walked through the door and clocked in
to an unwanted and unwarranted

Monday, February 11, 2008

12 step

after a dozen beers or so I realize
my words won’t change the world.

they won’t be read like Auden or Frost
or Ginsberg or whomever you like.

but I’ll struggle against that, fight it
like aging, like balding, like anything

else inevitable. do anything not to make
it so, prostitute myself, pose for compromising

poet photos, exit a limo with my participle
dangling (old joke, sorry), Britney style.

for a beer I’ll be Ezra Pound, for a chapbook
I’ll be the poet your finger falls on in the Norton Anthology,

even Rod McKuen.

please remove caps and plastic rings and rinse thoroughly

the muse is drained nightly
at least she has a 10 cent deposit.

photo op

ok, look to your right like you’re reading that thing there.




no, more to your right.

but then I can’t read it.

just look like you’re reading it. wait a second, I meant your left.
your nose looks big looking to your right.

if I look to my left, I really can’t read it.

jesus, just pretend to read it!

click. click.

ok, good, now type but look up at me but still type. but don’t look
right at me just in my general direction.

but I can’t see what I’m typing. I’m not a very good typist, so I
have to look.

just type anything, I don’t care. type gibberish.

well, that should be easy, that’s all I’ve been writing for the last 20
years anyway.


she went crazy in the kitchen.
the burden of life, or somesuch.
carving the roast with a large knife.
she wasn’t crazy for long.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

keep your day job

here's a painting I did a few years ago. "it's ok things are fine."

so I'm not much of a painter, I just enjoy it.
click on image to see large version. like you didn't know that. I just assume everyone is as tech stupid as I am.
carry on.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

never argue with a drunk

I’m done insisting
that it’s Wednesday.

there must be one
day where it’s not

of course, more than
one day, more like six
days where it’s not

but really whether it’s
Wednesday or not isn’t
the problem, it’s whether
I’m drunk and insisting
it’s Wednesday.

it’s Wednesday. stop
arguing. it’s unbecoming.

I love Wednesdays.


patti smith, I like her, you?

patti smith

is waiting for the Lexington Avenue train
it’s 1974 and the hand not clutching her notebook
is at her hair pulling and separating the strands
she’s asking everyone if she looks like Keith Richards
Do you think I look like Keith Richards? she asks it’s 1974
and no one is listening but she keeps asking
sure that someone will agree and that one person
is all that matters but no one is listening and All I want is art she
says and I want to make it, you know? I want to be somebody and
Patti is looking into the tunnel, raising her hands to shield her
eyes against the light of the oncoming train and the shirt she’s
wearing rises up and people are looking at the scars on her belly
like scrawls of her poetry and it’s 1974 and people are looking at
her belly
at the lines of struggle and pain and loss scribbled there
her greatest work
people are looking at her people are
don’t you see?


Sunday, February 03, 2008

what I didn't learn watching El Topo

the other night
I was watching El Topo
and drinking J&B.

at one point I swore a
bug ran up my chest
onto my neck.

I jumped up and brushed
at myself like I was on fire.
stop drop and roll.

I found nothing. but I swear.
and not a case of too much J&B.
just out of the corner of my eye
it was, flat and sleek and
darker than shadow, like a roach.
but this house has never had

el topo means "the mole", the
movie told me. the mole spends
it’s early life burrowing towards
the sun, only to be instantly blinded
when it finally surfaces.

I don’t know if that’s true or not,
but that’s what the subtitles said.

cockroaches spend most of their
time scurrying away from light.
that’s fact. I have more experience
with roaches than moles.

I don’t know if there’s enough
irony in the idea that moles
search for the light that will harm
them and roaches flee it to make this
a proper poem. I just don’t know.

but then again, I didn’t really
understand El Topo either.


lazy hygiene

I shave about once
every 10 days or so.
I used to shave everyday
and wear a tie and suit
but when I quit that job
I swore, never again.
same reason I only get a
haircut once a year, but
this is a shaving poem,
not a haircut poem. 2 bits.

when shaving that once every
10 days I clip the hair growing
out of my ears and the ones
creeping out of my nostrils.

most of the hairs are gray.

I wish I quit that job sooner
so that the stray hairs like
weeds in autumn were still
summer grass.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

father luke

like to take a moment here and not talk about myself and give a warm congratulations to my (cyber?)friend Father Luke, whose first book of poetry is coming out soon. published by Bottle of Smoke Press. BoSP is an excellent small press publisher run by Bill Roberts. he does incredible work, and I'm sure the good Father's book will be no exception.
anyway, nicely done Father, it's well deserved.