Oxnard Street Poet

Older than the sidewalk cracks and
street, settled on his flaking porch,
he remembered the Valley when it was trees.

“I’m ready to not be old,”
he said as I passed by.
His eyes were uncommonly blue,
for an old man.
He said: “They published my poem.”
I was on my way to school,
about to not stop.
“Once I get the book,
I’ll read it to you.”

*

The book cost $49.95.
He held up the flyer they sent.
But he was proud, 
so I said nothing.

*

“Hallo,” he’d say,
waving from his chair.
“Hello,” I’d say,
not wanting to be rude.
Lovely day,
awesome morning,
top of the world,
hello, hallo,
have a good day.

Joe was great-uncle wrinkled,
and I had class to get to,
I was a Senior.
But everyone should talk
to a grandpa sitting on a porch.

*

He asked if I wanted to read his poem.
The book was thick with cheap paper.
I was late but said yes
and the poem was about apples
and I didn’t have to make something up.
It was worth more than the book.

“Do you like it?” he asked.
“I want to read it to my English class.”
Joe gave me his book.
He said to be careful with it.
“I never got published before.”

*

We sat watching cars
speed down Oxnard Street,
heads moving left to right
then back again, ready.

*

Joe made coffee
and I listened to stories.
He voted for Roosevelt
and Nixon, twice —

“bet you no one’ll ever tell you that!” —

He didn’t like his grand-daughter.
He said I wouldn’t either.
“Uppity.  Ugliness is inner.”
He said if you wanted to get 
a pothole fixed in LA,
put a movie-camera next to it
and the mayor would come fill it himself.

He so near the end
talked to me so near the beginning,
said we were bookends on God’s shelf.
His hands trembled, so I carried the cups.
“That’s what age does,
shakes us loose
from the inside out.”

*

The Oxnard Street poet and
an uppity kid who learned to listen
to words warmed by coffee
and care
and age.

More poetry here.

Stories? Here.

FR-eee!

W-R-O-N-G
is a sound.
Go ahead and make it,
SoundMaker.
W-R -- do you feel the 
gravel in your chest?
Vibration?
O-N -- 
almost an OHMMMMM,
almost prayer,
right?

R-I-G-H-T
is a sound.
Go ahead and make it,
SoundMaker.
Different, eh?
Frequency rests
someplace else --
R-H-I, closer to 
my head.
Distant. BRI-ght.

Now say
P-O-O-P!
Or L-O-V-E.
OR...

SoundMaker,
SOUND!
Stop thinking
letters.
G-OH
into the FEE-lds
and FO-wrists
and BRIE-thhhh!
Sound FRE-eee to LoverSound.
I'll be waiting
to SOW-nd with you.

Want more words? Click here.

Mine

He’s a poster.
He posed for it,
flexed.
Baseball player
who’s won —
wife, kid, God, arms.

Good.
Yes.
I wish him well...

and then plod
up my empty street
soaked in past
and full of dark.
The house is on the right.
A light is on.
He waits for me.

Posters aren’t made of me.
My triceps don’t act like that.
Fans?  No.
My shy love
and this quiet plot,
beautiful,
mine and silent and 
home.

I’ll choose mine
every 
time.

More Poetry? Click here.

A story or five? Click here.

Beginning Middle Man — Poems

Beginning Middle Man. Its poetry is surprisingly straightforward, honest and strong, adult without apology. All gay-eros, all the time, a way of remaining true to what I’ve known since I was 17: if we’re not talking about sex, then we’re not talking about ourselves.

These poems are like most men I know and love, rough around the edges and awkward in the extreme. But still beautiful. 

Available at:

Lulu.com

Amazon.com


More? Click here.

Drinks

I studied the bar for possible moods — 
what was the one I felt yesterday,
right after the Manhattan?
Was that CareFreeMelancholy?
or CitySad
mixed with WindSweptLoneliness?
WoeIsMe?

No. Wait.

I sent that 
first one back, 
got a TallBud
and rode AwesomeConvo
and his wingman,
BroLove
into the land of 
FuckAin’tItSolid!

Or was that
the AMF?

More moods? Click here.

“Better”

“You want me to stay?”

The beginning
that unfolds to an end
I won’t like.

Kill that tale now, 
before it becomes our story.

“No. But thank you.”

“Really?” he says,
eyebrows newly engaged,
the way they rose before,
before this had to mean.

“Yes.”

Then he kissed my hand
like a man does a magistrate.
Got dressed fast —
maybe I’d change my mind.
One last glance back

as we began 
better.

Like it? Here’s more.

For my dad

"Grease"

I get practicality from him,
and height.
I can stay up until 2am,
get up at 6, and push through the day.
Smart friends call this “resilience”;
I just call it a day.
Up or down, it’s still got to be lived.
Might as well do it awake.

I can’t fix cars like him, and I don’t
have grease under my fingernails
and my hands are not rough like his.
But I don’t trust mechanics with
clean, soft hands, and at least I don’t
drive around ignoring strange noises.
Both are him,
and I’ve never said that before.

There is not one person on this planet
confused about the way he feels –
personally or about life.
He likes what he likes and who,
doesn’t have much time for niceties.
He is himself, and when he leaves
he’s going to take nothing but himself,
and he’ll be just fine with that.

I don’t know where I got the letters;
he doesn’t trust books, or writing.
But it seems, as long as I have them all,
I might as well do something useful.

Here:  he did his best by me.
I guess that’s all I need to say.