Pizza Port, Morro Bay, California

It was quiet until it wasn’t.
But waiting for pizza is hard
on kids. I wasn’t surprised
when the little girl started to cry.
Her brothers drank their Cokes.

Mom looked at Dad.  It’s your turn,
her eyes said, twinkling. She
watched the game on the television.
Dad picked up the crying girl,
following the game until she sat on
his leg and leaned in:

“I miss Lolly” before resting on his
flanneled chest.  It looked soft.
His hand covered her back.  
He whispered:  “I miss her too.”
“Can I get a new one?”
He was all hers.
“We’ll see.”

Pizza came.  No grace but grace.
Mom wiping her boys’ mouths,
Dad pointing out uniform colors
on the TV, on his forearm one tattoo,
his smile large, kids fed,
old truck outside, no room but room,
family,

peace.

There are more poems here. And books here.

And then some stories here.

On the Phone, 1978

My grandma stood outside the door
to the garage.  The cord went through the
crack.  I wouldn’t hear what she was
saying. The drier spun to her voice.

“Get away from the door,” my grandpa said.
“I want to hear what grandma’s talking about.
I think it’s me.”

Grandpa’s eyes changed.  He took out a deck
of cards from the drawer.  “Wanna play 21?”
He set the cards on the kitchen table.

When she finally came in, I was concentrating
on my Ace.  One or eleven.  Her hands 
surprised me.  They were on my shoulders.

“Eleven. See?” She pointed to the eight. 

I looked back and up.  Her hair was lit from the 
ceiling.  She was my grandma.

I decided right then:
she was my grandma.

More poetry here.

Or maybe a story? Here.

Layover

Down from clouds
night-sky Atlanta/LAX
arriving not-home
beer for beer-bellies
tucked under flesh folds.
“Cleaning girl did a nice job.”
Two waters on counter
microwave popcorn.

Beasts circle fat and bald
thin black sock-hose in beige carpet
flight bags lean on table
beer cans crack.
Bald one experts TV
checks watch
enters Animal World.

“Text your daughter” says 
sweaty navigator leaning at table.
Bald now-greasy pilot nods 
drifts back to TV:  
what would win — alligator or lion?
“Alligator.”
Happy B-day text
phone slips inside couch
“Marjorie gonna bring chips?”

“Wishful thinking.”

Alligator kills lion
as sleepy-not sleepy drink
rolly fingers grip cans
no chips no attendant
no return-text.

(from I Can See You — A Collection of Neighbors)


Huh, pilots, right? Here’s some more people. Click here.

And then the STORIES! You gotta see these stories! Click here!

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.