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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ALONG THE PATH



old couples
meandering through the park
make me smile
though I'll never be fifty percent
of that kinda awesome twosome

peeps with pooches
the more the better
movin
stoppin
sniffin
make me smile
'specially when they choose me
to spontaneously lick
(the pooches not the peeps)
when I happen along
though all the lickers
I've known up close and personal
have slurped their last of me

 speakin of which...

young couples 
with strollers
movin along the path
always conversing
animatedly
about somethin
cuz they've got a lot goin on
in their world
make me smile
though no one's ever called me "daddy"
'cept a couple of floozies
back in the day
along the way
along the path 
I choose to walk alone 
but in my solitude
there's still some gratitude
still some reasons
every day
to smile

cuz it finally hit me ya know
that when I pop outta dat bed
each mornin
and still be hangin
round
still upright
and not uptight
that it's only by The Grace
it's only by The Grace
it's only by The Grace
say it again
it's only by The Grace
so come what may
I'll always find a reason
don't even need 
a freakin reason
to smile 



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT



The story has been told before...
our intrepid host stops the film
described as a dream of dark 
and troubled things
for lively discussion with experts.

Essential questions we ask about life

while confronting truths
that didn't fit in with our holiday schedules.

When all hell breaks loose

as the Reptilians in the balcony
begin to shout: Bring on the crazy cat clips!

A hush falls over the assemblage

as the Lizard King's voice 
reverberates through the hall: 

Life, as you know it, is a dirty fairy tale...bittersweet at best...when our time comes, we'll drive electric cars, support compassionate causes, abolish pay toilets, and live in elaborate 
communal herpetariums! 

You grieve for irretrievable things

your whole lives long
then wax philosophical
uselessly
in a joint like this 
when that's really the long 
and the short of it

Then slowly, one by one,

as the realization sinks in,
the peeps begin to rise
and file out of the theater
in a sad and dejected looking way
as a series of crazy cat videos
seemingly endless
careen across the screen
for those still insisting upon
their full money's worth.
  


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

SHOUTING DISTANCE


To kick off the new year, here's a freebie for you from my book Last Tango In Timbuktu 

The rain came before sunrise
in steady sheets
like the one I was trying
to pull over my head

I was just out of a dream

where I was whispering into the ear
of a woman who seemed to be
 my counselor
or confidante
a dream where I had speculated about
the sex of a pencil

It was long
a real woody
and it could prick you
when it's sharp
no wait...erase that

It was worn 
past the last hurrah
like a space ship
in the shape of a cigar

(And when hers was worn down to the nubbin
Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven)

It made so much sense to say
that I am my brother's keeper
but of course the other side had just claimed
that we'll get you to the promised land
in just a little different way

Let us fly and make our own mistakes

don't need a hand or a handout
of course that's the way where
crash and burn
 is followed in sequence by
oh shit
oh well

The rain had no intention
of letting up
as dawn's curtain lifted slowly
the new year now within shouting distance

And in the dream I was giddy
as I breathed into her ear

that I didn't know whether to laugh
or to cry

The culmination of a lifetime
of fledgling flight

Don't be concerned
if I crash and burn









Tuesday, December 26, 2017

THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF LIFE


Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

As we stand on the cusp of the new year, I'm in a reflective mood...so here's an encore presentation that I know many of you have not seen before that addresses what I'm feeling...and am always feeling to some extent. HAVE A HAPPY!




I'm cruising down to the convenience store to pick up some beers
with the words of my spiritual master ringing in my ears:
You must give up your worldly attachments if you want to advance.

Pulling into the lot I spot a raven-haired goddess
riding in with some biker who looks like
one of the lout-infested Vikings in that credit card commercial.


While he is distracted inside,
I whisper in her ear: "What's HE got that I ain't got?"
And she says..."He's got...a big...HARLEY!"

So I hop back into my car,
resigned to worshipping her from afar--
but my master is adamant on this point:
You musn't worship something that could give you an STD.
And I'm supposed to give up sex--
or at least not enjoy it, if I want to be enlightened.
And I must atone for a life of living fast and loose,
in order to extract my neck from this karmic noose.

And I must be engaged with the great mysteries of life,
as I ponder why the weather girls on the Spanish channel
are always hotter than all the others...
and I am picking up a Christian radio station
on my television: POSITIVE, ENCOURAGING, K-LOVE!
It drowns out the regular programming on my PBS channel.
And I'm certain that it's some kind of sign from the cosmos--
but why pick on a nice Buddhist boy like me?

Heading home, I see Kerouac on the corner,
trying to wangle a ride--
he's been standing there since 1955.
But hard times have fallen on vagabond scribes,
as "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"
gave way to One Night In Paris.
But he's picking up some extra jack
writing the direction labels on shampoo bottles
in his stream-of-consciousness style...

Once upon a time in a Ford Galaxy
far, far away--I whispered empty words
of love to Suzie, and Lucy, and Betty Jean--
until...VOILA! Fourteen years of coming
home every night and saying: WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Thinking this is it--the happiness that had eluded me--
as the prime of my life slowly...slipped...away.

As did she.

And I can see my mother and me
standing on the platform
as the train roars down upon us--
she is running away...again.
And it is said that boys grow up
and seek out their mothers--
and so it was
that I chose one
who would RUN.

And I tell my master it's easier
to give up your worldly attachments
when there's little left to lose.
And there's something about being done
with the greater part of it that turns you young.
And you find yourself saying WHATEVER
and you come to understand that it means
accepting things the way they are--
and you think maybe these kids are on to something
as they shrug and turn back to their internet porn.

And yet, here I stand, crying
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?
But Alfie's too busy scoring
to offer any kind of reply,
though he seems to be saying heaven can wait.

So I just want to know...
can there be any compromise
for one who is other worldly, yet worldly wise?


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

COSMIC JOKE

An encore presentation that speaks to our times

The point
is not to point out
this injustice
or that
and rail
and wail
and flail
or send those angry missives
through the mail
have at it if it floats your
rubber ducky
if it makes you feel better
 to care
just be aware
that injustice is EVERYWHERE
you haven't been singled out
(snort some o' this up your snout)
be a fundamentalist
if it turns your crank
let the preacher take
your money to the bank
you're still missing
the fundamental point
that this world we've created
you and me
is a topsy-turvy
absurdity
a game one can only win
if not taken seriously
that sounds like a contradiction
(now you're getting warm)
you don't react to absurdity
you don't respond to insanity
with a jerk of the knee
just laugh along
with the other inmates
of the asylum
who've discovered the
cosmic joke
play the game
for all you're worth
but don't take a life
or give your life
(settle down with your wife)
this cheaply
alone in your room at night
putting together that explosive device
and when you've blown yourself
the hell off the planet
and your soul is streaking
back to that place of
clarity and light
you'll say oh you
stupid
silly
sonofabitch
you fell for it again
and all because
you missed the point
of the game
which is simply to remember
that you're playing one
and that later on we'll all have
a good laugh together
and go back
Jack
and do it again











Tuesday, November 28, 2017

THE STRAIGHT POOP



If you got outta bed
this morning
you're an optimist
plain and simple
otherwise why would you?

I mean really
you're getting ready
to do your thing
goin' to work
goin' to play
goin' to get drunk 
and the sun is shining
and the birds are tweeting
( many of them have Twitter accounts)
and you just don't think about
how it can all turn to
shit
without a moment's notice
like the snap of your fingers

We live in denial
about the true nature of life
and the turning to shit factor
we just get up every day
and figure that everything
is gonna be fine
but then circumstances
beyond your control
and that's really the key
beyond your control
kick in 
and you stand there
shell-shocked
reassessing everything 
you poor pathetic 
asshole

What did I do wrong?

Well it was nothing
try to understand that it was
nothing
it's just your turn
in the barrel
and everybody gets his turn
cuz we're all here to learn

And that's really when 
it hits you
that you gotta be brave
that you gotta find meaning
when all the evidence points to
a universe as cold
as a witch's left tit  

And so you wrack your brain 
with the question...

What da fuck 
what da fuck
what da fuck
do I do now?

Don't worry Bunky...
you'll 
think 
of 
something

Climbing out of bed is the first step

Sunday, November 19, 2017

GOD BLESS



3 a.m. on a Sunday
and I'm tradin' sleep for a poem

thinking 'bout all the folks
who will don their Sunday finery
to hang out in a pew
with you and you and you
and you
still don't get it
that your soul is immortal
and not in need of savin'

but sure
I get it
it's a sense of comm
unity
we gather together to ask 
the Lord's blessing

and even though I'm fallin' apart
in my decrepitude
I'm good to go with all of that
don't feel the need
cuz a coupla peeps singing loudly off key
on either side of me
isn't exactly what I call "inspirational"

having said all that
I'll admit I've prayed before
but it's always been 
a white-knuckled
get me out of this freakin' jam
kinda thing 
and by god 
somehow...
somehow...

so let me say that if you don't feel 
a connection
with something larger than
your own ego
whatever you wanna call it
then I have to wonder about ya
as in how did you miss it?
(ah--your head was buried in your phone!)

Goddamn...

my pen is running out of ink
so I guess I'll close for now
but it's been nice chatting with you
and if you don't mind 
I'd rather not ruin my reputation
so let's just keep all this
between you and me

God bless

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THIS THING



Sometimes

something is there
waiting for you

you don't know what it is
you have to see it
touch it
smell it

you have to find out
what it is
and what it's going to do
to you
or for you

you won't know that until you
see it
touch it
smell it

and even then you will likely
have only a clue

you have to
play with it
let it touch you back

gah damn
what is it?
how did I find it?

you didn't
it was just there
waiting for you
though you may have walked
by it a thousand times before
head buried in your phone
(read butt)
never realizing it was for you
just for you

or that this thing
you don't know what to make of
if you caress it
and nurture it
and let it grow
might just be able to show
you the way
 to a new beginning



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

IN PRAISE OF LONELINESS





Easy come
easy go
I've watched the parade
march in and out my door
the flute players
and the drummers
the only thing they share
in common
is their transience

while I play the silent monolith
stoic
with eyes that must
not water

I see the couples
when I'm out and about
so many of them look
mismatched to me
but at least they've got something
(a roll of fat maybe)
to hang onto through the night

been in that comfortable rut
before
and a comfortable rut
is still a rut
with
ironically
less and less rutting
taking place
as time goes by

does it matter
which life you choose
when there's no way to win?

but

the one thing I've learned
and maybe I'm "lucky"
in that respect
is that pain
is the only way
to feel truly alive



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MAKING HAY

An encore presentation from a couple years back. If you ain't seen it, enjoy. If you've seen it, enjoy.



I'd like to be mysterious
like some I see who never
respond to comments
but just let you wonder who they are
behind the brilliance of their pen
and though my heart is not exactly splayed
upon my sleeve
it's still up there somewhere
waiting to be played


I'd like to lead a hard life
in the Appalachians
and see what kind of verse would
well up from my underground
all blackened and irredeemable
like a coal miner's fingers

I'd like to freeze my ass off
on the ski slopes
somewhere in the Rockies
and then warm it next to the fire
in the lodge with the sound of
tinkling glasses and laughter

Someone said that a poet
is a whole world
inside of one person
choose your words
and your worlds carefully

But then there is me

I'd like to be the proverbial
traveling salesman making hay
with the farmer's daughter

And I can hear you say
I KNEW something like that
was going to come out of you

That's exactly what she said too