For A New Age

Not every new age practitioner is a hustler
Not every magician is a mystic
Not every girlfriend is a life partner
Not every moment is the last one
You and I are standing here on the bridge
Looking out over the dark and dank river
That flows alongside the verdant path we walked
And toss stones and stories into the tepid water
A plane crashes in the woods, snuffing out a life
Children play alongside the tracks
Where freight travels from one endless day to the next
The lessons we learned in our lifetime
Don’t measure up to to
The stones and the tracks and the freight and the broken metal
And the memories we hustle

Dinner Rush

People fought wars to get into this dining establishment
But on this glittering evening
In full view of the celebrities
And the lottery winners of the coveted tables
She took off all her clothes and ran through the room
Shouting with glee and wild abandon

Alfred was stuck to his seat because
His mother wouldn’t let him have dessert
Until he finished his vegetables
And now he triumphantly lifts up his fork and shows his empty plate
And mouth
Like a garland of war

So her companions tried to calm her down
And cover up her imperfections
And their sensibilities
While Alfred absorbed the sorbet

Years later, I am reminded of this as I pay my final respects
That night at the restaurant
I only saw your shining eyes
I don’t even remember the menu
I don’t even remember the place closing down for the night around us
I don’t remember you


My circles get smaller
Just when my dreams explode
I see you in the distance
But I can’t reach you
Because the leash is too short

And somewhere on the border
Between what I am
And what I was
And who you are
And where we find our dividing wall
There is a scream coming from the ground
And it says

If you step here
You will never come back
And If you fight the boundaries
You will bounce off the walls
Until you are silenced

Once there was a pen
And there was no one
To fill it with ink
But that emptiness
Was its boundary

I am that pen
And I scream to write


I talk too much
And usually people tune out
Or walk away
Or say,
“I need to work on my own shit.
It’s not you; it’s me.”
Or say,
“Come on, get to the point.”
If I knew what the point is,
Maybe I could keep it in my head
Long enough to get there.
My ideal lover simply listens
And when the words end
Is still there
Saying, “I know.”
Making love
Is the absence of words
The only time my soul is quiet.
Words just won’t do.
Words come too easily with solitude
Because they’re all I have to love
And sometimes I can’t stop
It’s like the floodgates
Went south for the winter
And in the river’s path
is my broken heart.

The Fallen

The walls of love can’t do enough to
keep the bullets out
But maybe they can keep the slivers of hope inside and safe
No stories different here
Than the ones we are told yet again
In a blinding flash of rage and angst
And hoaxes
Splayed like blood stains on the memory of
The fallen

Drifting across an endless ocean of condolences
And “What the fuck can we ever do to change this?”
Is the memory of the fallen child
Who you used to take to school
In the carpool with the other screaming kids
You hadn’t had your coffee yet
And it was hard to go about your day
With all that wild maelstrom in your head
And then you arrived at school
And they piled out, running fast to join their friends
Except your kid, who turns and looks at you with a “Yeah, I know” look
And it’s all worthwhile
‘Cause they’re safe in school
And you’ve rediscovered the gift of silence

But it’s much too silent now
Except for the phone calls
And the reporters
And those who bring you food
Because there is crushing silence now
A silence so loud that there is
No place where you can simply prepare a meal
For your family
That is now missing a place at the table

Where do we go from here?
How do we place a setting at the table when we don’t know
How many fewer people will come
Those walls of love are now
Here to hold our hearts in place
So we don’t break
Till the next time.

In the darkness and quiet of the house of the fallen
Is a door that leads to answers
On the other side of that door
If we truly look
We will find each other
In silence



On long car trips
There are the rituals and games
My family played “The alphabet game”
We were supposed to look only on license plates, but I looked everywhere for signs
My wife’s family used to call out whenever they saw a Waffle House
“Waffle House, wanna have lunch?”
Even when it was dinner time
Even if they just stopped for a meal at the previous exit

I call out many things as I pass them by driving through life
I point out the billboards
And all their promises
The airplanes in the sky

Or the Holiday Inns
Though I miss their iconic signs
Pointing toward heaven
Or at least a nice resting place
For the night
Those great signs
Which my father and I used to inspect
To count how many lights didn’t work

My son would tell you
I point out cows and sheep and all kinds of creatures
They are the grains of sand on this earth that I am
Called to count

Numbers are my destiny
My cross to bear
My source of fame
Because I remember them so well,
Or infamy
Because I don’t remember
What really matters

Taking inventory is my albatross
And my blessing
Here are some of my important numbers
My age and my siblings’ ages
The age my wife always used to say I really am
The number of days since my wife slipped quietly away from us in the
Neuro ICU
The number of days since some motherfucking bastard
Stabbed the life out of an amazing red-haired
Kind soul that I loved

The number of breaths it takes
to remind me
Every time I get lost in the census of sadness
That I am one privileged sonofabitch
To still be here
To record these numbers
To count these truths
and on and on
The number
of you
I’ve never met, but
Who I am blessed to count
As my friends
In this moment
Which may be
The only moment
That counts


Wealth of spirit
Like a woven garment
Made of gold and sorrow and listing back and forth
From the waves
of you

I once noticed
My fortune
Carried on the backs of
Forgotten visions
of you

That momentary lesson
I learned
When asking for your attention
Was interrupted
by you

I was dead in the water
Caught in a basket of laughter
And stories of insanity
But my bastions were breached
by you

Celester In Oakland

The bus was crowded
The air conditioning on the Greyhound
But the air was
Like the pot of gold
She always hoped to
Find in the new city
Her first time there
Her first time anywhere
Outside her life
In service
To her dream
She could finally go there
Finally see the bright shining city
Near the coast
Near heaven
Near the sea
No more meals alone in the kitchen
With the lawn mower
This was her journey
Her time
Her destination
Now in that mercy she could rest
And she slept the sleep of Gods

Seven Sketches

Seven sketches were all the artist had
Left in him before his death

And one by one his art pad filled with
Life passing before his eyes

Shining once again in the bright sunlight
He dove into his masterpieces

Born of his illness and his salvation
Weeping at the thought of putting down his brushes

With greatness he surveilled his reputation
And the critics who tore his dreams apart

When he knew that all that mattered
Was the tear in the eye of the patron

As the gallery announced closing time
And the workers steadily prepared for the next exhibit

The Pharmacist


If you fall in love with a poet, she will pen great verses of love

And elegies for an asshole if you break up


If you should fall in love with your pharmacist

She knows about the viagra and the blood pressure medicine

And about all the things you put in your system to get through

Another day

And if you fall out of love

Watch out for what she puts in the bottle the next time you get refills

And watch out for your heart

There’s no prescription strong enough when it breaks