Shimmering

I tried to run just like them,
the gods of track whose ankles worked
as they shimmered before crowds,
High School Heroes of ambitious dimension.

I plodded desperate for legs, 
then arms, then breath 
up the curious street of my youth.

My feet slapped ridiculousness
as wild elbows jabbed wildly
at dreams I didn’t fit — 
lungs wheezed 
vapid sissy-fire before 
an incredulous emptiness —

I bent without a friend,
alone on the side of the road,
and thought:

“Speedos are way-sexier
than this!”

*

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Sailing from Salem

The desperate horde
hanged the mighty witch high —
as she watched from behind,
laughing, musing:

“If I’m as mighty as they say,
and so well-versed in 
dangerously Dark Arts,
do they really think —  
can they really believe — 
this is over?”

And so the mighty witch
swayed in nature’s caress, 
seeding her folk with everlasting
consequence

before moving to California.

*

There are STORIES, too — HERE.

Yes, Brother

When I ab and sunglass,
trim, talk low-and-slow — 
pose an aging, faithful body
against sunning sand and waves,
breathless for perfection’s attention,
I know:
Brother, you’re not for me.

When I’m empty, yet still scrape 
this darkening shell for one more 
acceptable pearl;
when I pray dimmed sea-light and
dusky stars right my crooked face,
I know:
Brother, you're not for me.

But if on this patient winter’s beach
we wander from books to pasts,
honor quiet scars and funny ignorance, 
sandy jeans, faded flannel shirts
warm against the LA cool;
cheap beer;
if you ask for another, eyes 
still on the page, and laugh a bit
at my dancing disbelief:

Brother, my answer is yes.

*

Poems, the good ones, are small stories. See other stories here.

Two Trees

I couldn’t help it, leaving.
It  must be the way I’m made.
They spoke God,
said I'd wreck my soul
with that abomination —

so I chose the other tree,
blue-green against the same sky,
splashed its dark on my face
and fell sound asleep

as they raged beneath
an equally good tree
preparing for my salvation.

*

If you like this, try some more here.

A collection or two? See Books here.

Descent

Sylvia’s ceiling was glass.
She could see armed men 
perched above with orders 
to shoot anyone whose parts didn’t
protrude.

But that’s not how she fell
into an oven.

That happened when she realized,
as all thinkers must,
that thought itself is their enemy —
not sex, not sin,
but a single word: 

Why?

*

Late-Night Lucid

What you discover
after —
after the battered “Yes, okay”
to your heart’s direction — 

is that all of your guns
that once shot enemies and fools
are now trained and aimed
at you.

One Last Chance
to apologize
to recant
to come home.

So you write another poem
as familiar bullets 
speed toward their mark.

*

“Quick!  They’re coming for you!
Call down your god!”

Oh, buddy, if you only understood.
My god runs towards me,
bayonet in hand,
trying to scare me off,
see if I turn.

“Some god!”

Yeah.  My god.
As I take a run at him.

*

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North Hollywood Elegy

Lankershim Boulevard was better
when Grammy took me to the
Jewish Council Thrift Store
to buy me an out-of-date
Writer’s Market, and I looked up
at her against the naked fluorescent
tube lights, and wanted to write
a story that would make her rich
and me famous
so that we wouldn’t have to shop
at the Jewish Council Thrift Store
again.

*

There was once a time —
you’ll have to trust me —
when Dad would write notes
for cigarettes and liquor,
and off I’d go to Dales Jr.

And then if I was fast,
he'd give me a sip.
It burned all the way down.

Probably how I got so good at track.

*

“I want you to stay away
from that guy upstairs.”
Old Shirley’s hair was frizzier
than usual. She held a glass.
“Something’s not right there.”

“Okay, I will,” as I walked 
past her window
down the driveway
out onto Oxnard

remembering how he 
held me to his chest
and showed me I was happiness.

*

Roam around the stories here. They’re pretty good.

Evolved

You remember it from somewhere:
“The only place now
I can hear myself think
is at the bottom of a swimming pool.”

So you try sitting 
down in the deep-alone.
Soon, no more bubbles to the top;
soon, eyes caressed in water’s well,
arms held — 
strange elongated creatures above,
splashing and splaying
toward cement shores,
over and over,
eager frogs fascinated by wavy light —

and you wonder whether
evolution
was such a good thing.

*

Stories and more — maybe even a book? Play around with the menu above.

Game

You know that game
where you walk
around chairs to 
music?

	“Musical chairs?”

and one is removed,
leaving someone standing?

	“Yeah?”

I’m the one left standing,
looking at this dumb game,
this violence-inspired
mirror of the human need
to hurt
and wondering

	“Why you ever 
	started to play?”

Yeah.

	“You think too much.”

*

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