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?

*

Any Day

The phone vibrates twenty-seven times
between Beowulf and lunch.  I 
snap each time. Students always know.
They look at me carefully, compassionately.  

I dial the number. Wait. “What, Mom?”

Labored intake:  “Took you long enough.”

She says the chicken’s spicy.
She says she’s always alone.
She says no one cares if she lives.
She is my dying mother.

I listen, stare at the wall,
wait for the tears to subside.

Beowulf.
He had it easy.				
Monsters and a dragon?  
Any day.

*

Apartment

I can sense them, his old lovers,
   his old leavers,
   their cloves and smoke thick in
   threaded carpet, grease stains
   browning on unwashed paint.
   Other tenants, other times.

Most pass through this station,
   moving up or down the home-hierarchy
   to new mortgage or penitentiary.
   I stay.  
   His transience suits me;
   I never want more.
	
He can only be rented,
   like everything else, really,
   pimped for profit.  But I treat him
   well, I think, much better
   than the others.
   Every time I open the door,
   I tell him I’m lucky.
   I tell him he’s beautiful. Mine,
   but still his.

I’m not jealous.  He can think of 
   Them when he’s with me;
   who am I to demand?
   I love him.
   He compares me to others,
   I know. They weren’t so
   dependent, so needy.  
   He is who he is,
   and that’s okay.

I have no claim,
   pay another for his company,
   sure that he won’t remember.
   Sure that I am not the last.
	
   That I’m grateful 
   to have made his acquaintance.

*

There are books. Great books. Here.

And poetry. Always poetry. Here.

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.

*

Like these? There’s more — all collected into a NEW BOOK! Click here!

So…what do you do? A Collection of Poems

Spend a day observing people. 

Most of the time, it’ll be boring. But if we’re lucky, we’ll catch a glimpse of something we’re not meant to see. Pilots leave an apartment window open while waiting for flight attendants to arrive. We see their desperation. A man in a breezeway doesn’t think anyone is upstairs when he tries to get his dealer off his back, all while his little girl plays. The fratboy next door doesn’t know someone can hear everything — and wants him anyway. A whole political party shows its true colors. 

These poems are dedicated to who we are when we’re on our own time — to the strange, laughable, heartbreaking, dangerous ways we do ourselves.

Want a sample? Click here.

Available from Lulu.


More poems? Click here.

Or maybe a short story.

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.

Gene-Pool

Before his spa-crowd, 
the Brush-Cut endowed
his words with much lamentation.
“After making myself					
rich, strong, and svelte,
they want me to give up my station.”

He continued.

“No one helped me
crawl out of that sea!
I did it with grit, nerve, and drive!
Why should I cry,
bring tears to my eyes,
when Nature, through me, surely thrives?”

More.  God, still more.

“Should I be cast down
when dolts sputter and drown
while wading in water too deep?
We need to remember
Life wants to dismember
weak chaff from rare bits of strong wheat.”

Then (you’ll love this): 

He let his arms soar,
lifting muscles adored,
standing up in the midst of The Lost — 
but wet shorts do slip,
slide down on thin hips — 
and what Life rewarded...had cost.

I’m not one to laugh
at men —

breathe —

at men with toy shafts —
but I wasn’t the only one present!
With chortles of glee,
the wrong kind, you see,
we saw that his boy also...bent?

Thor’s grand self-made views
had been a bit...skewed —
Coy Fate had decided his game;	
his thoughts, teeth and hair,
his wants and his pair,
just gods doing their thang.	

Now don’t cause a scene,
or think I’m a queen — 
I’m not saying it’s all been decided!
But I’m tired of “studs”
nipped close to the bud
pushing “FREE WILL” without being chided!

So the next time you muse,
“I’m Awesome! I choose!”
remember Thor’s tiny “reminder”:

Fate casts the tool,
the job, house and school,
the cool and the fool,
the rule;

it’s always the loud,
judgmental and proud,
who most need the shroud,
the stage and the crowd,

whose heads should be bowed —

instead of being elected President.

*

Books — for readers who like real paper — are here.

Bible-School

In those days, 
after God scourged their enemies,
the holders of the land
and keepers of older scrolls, 
after those made in His image
dashed soft child-brains against dusty rocks
and bathed triumphant feet in still-warm blood and tears,

Little Mikey raised his hand in Picture Class
and setting down his crayon, asked:
“Excuse me, Mr. Hawley,
does this mean it’s okay
to kill? ‘Cause it says 
‘Do Not Kill’ somewhere.”

To which the teacher replied, 
smiling down at seven-year-old Mikey:

“Son, it’s always okay to kill.
We kill cows, don’t we?
It’s murder you got to watch out for.
And you can’t murder an animal.”

*

Other work? Just find your way through the Menu above.

Or your could start here, with Stories.

I’ve Tried

I’ve tried
to not want my City,
to make life here,
far from the streets and hills and men
that brought me life in such breadth that I gulped lust
at every turn, bodies and books and 
sweet blessed fog, busses, parks,
crazies four floors beneath screaming
“HELP! HELP!” though there’s only a streetlamp,
three-hundred-dollar theater seats steps from
human defecation (it’s not pretty) —
tether-bridges to windy and windy headlands and 
mystical beaches and sex — 
where to walk is to be enveloped,
in love.

I tried 
to love her instead of him, once upon a time,
way back when lies meant caring, 
and my brain and niceness said I 
shouldn’t hurt anyone so I 
drowned Aaron in hope and went on screwing
and became good at it and talked about;
but each night, laying on top of her
sweet and forgiving body, sculpted
ballers did sweaty lay-ups in my room,
in my head
in me
and if it wasn’t for those players,
she never would’ve cum,
so it seemed like it was okay.
But it wasn’t.

I tried Return of the Native.
I tried The Glass Menagerie.
Everything by Faulkner.
All I wanted was Sassoon,
maybe a little Woolf,
but I’d lock myself in my room
to read words words words,
and I’d yawn yawn yawn —
while A Room of One’s Own
whispered slyly to Suicide in the Trenches:
“He’s missed the point.
“He’s really missed the point.”

Sushi Streisand Dances with Wolves
mango con limón my dear friend who wants 
to be dear so he must be but…
no-fap novenas TED Talks on writing
guys who aren’t built
who really aren’t built
who seriously aren’t built
great personalities
no-fap
try try try
John Cage
no-fap
“Thy will be done”
Los Angeles
Christianity —

when all along, sweet lullaby,
sleeps the not-tried, the true, 
until I put on a jacket
against cold San Francisco freedom
and smile

destiny.

*

Books and more. Just hit the Menu button above.

CapitolSchool: Violent Not-Nice Insensitive Seminar for Liberals in America

They look like sweet town-folk,
salf-of-the-earth, flannel and jeans.
People that watch the sun come up.
Handsome.
Christian.

My God their pies are good.

Killers
who pray your mamby-pamby principles 
die with you, slaughtered in the street,
your thoughtful guts lapped up
by well-trained Republican dogs 
named Dog.

(Damn.  I forgot the warning.
“Warning.”)

But!  But!  
“How did this happen?” as the
flagpole stakes your throat, 
as unprecedented wheezes
through gurgled blood
and your solidarity-warm pink hat
floats down Constitution Avenue,
used and dark and alone.

You didn’t see them multiply.
You wouldn’t see them grow — 
in Kansas and Missoura,
Texas and ‘Bama, Ken-Tuck-y,
right beneath your woke-ness
and your museum arrogance and your
holier-than-thou Lululemon mindfulness.

Yeah, see?  You’re kinda 
responsible.

They knew they were safe.
They knew you wouldn’t think it,
then wouldn’t believe it — 
“Love is Love,” right? — 
“We’re all in this together,” right? — 
as Proud Sons and their Daughters
trained for war right under your
upturned noses,
groomed generals in broad daylight,
bought Armani camo, nice blue suits
(they already had the bullets
and the guns left over from
squirrel practice) —  
red necks covered by executive collars,
red ties to hide the splatter.

They left their hayseeds at home this time.

You were ready for zombies, sunken-eyed
okies whose farms were ripped away by BigBanks,
grandpas with four teeth chattering
all the way to the West Coast
(or something like that).
Oh, they had your number!
Talk about stealth!
Their fabric was fine, the
Stanford and Yale and Harvard degrees 
genuine — plus “Wow! He lifts weights, he’s so sexy!” 
(See my companion lecture on MetroSexual Roles 
in the Conservative Cause.)

“Consensus?” you pleaded.
“Let’s talk,” you bleated 
because — let’s face it — you’re afraid to fight 
with anything other than words;
and refusing to believe evil exists
and is usually HOT and BEAUTIFUL,
you left the Gate to the Sanctuary unguarded,
let WhiteNation and WomansPlace
shit
defile
ravage the Holy of Holies, 
our Temple,
us.

Maybe if they had worn
identifying armbands?

I know what you’re thinking
because that’s what you do —
I hear your “protest”:  
“Wouldn’t we be just like them
if we used our fists instead of words?”
“If we don’t move beyond labels?”
“Help them heal?”

That’s why they’ll win,
StupidBuford and LazyEyeLorraine,
because they listened to a real Grandma
who said:  

“Don’t leave your head so open your brains fall out.”

You thought she was old —
she only had one dress — 
you never saw her on Facebook —
Insta? — 

and then,
and then:

after Tucker and Rush and Hannity Ltd.
after Laura and Huckabee and Kayleigh visited;
giving guns to teenage saps
doning MAGA hunting caps
(so they’d know who not to cap);
after speeching D+ mobs,
after fisting fascist slobs — 

(did you get the little Eliot homage?) —

cops bleeding out on marble 
blinded
betrayed — 
the hunt was on!

Smoke-out the out-raged enemy 
like rabbits or Funny Cousin Earl, who
voted for Carter and was then dead
on his river-raft, thinking he was family;
target those limp-wristed Dem-o-crats
whose Cities call to Our Young
as Jezebel tempted Jesus
(it’s in the Bible);
forget, TexasTed, that
HE CALLED YOUR WIFE UGLY — 
AND YOU LET HIM;
we’ve got to corner all codlers, socialists and fags,
show them MTG would win a pig-fight,
make that Puerto Rican loudmouth BITCH 
run the Gov’ment Maze to her death,
execute California, hang the un-Hung
Next-in-Line — 

am I being dramatic?

Because what they want, 
what LittleHornedMan masked
with this “false-flag not-coup” — right? —
is to come:

your ideas, shred like your well-intentioned intestines, 
disemboweled from well-toned tummies,
blood sausage for rabid-stupid hungry children — 
your ideas, your precious and diverse ideas 
that helped BobJoe survive his nail-to-the-head
accident and paid for his black-hating diabetic
momma’s nursing home, 
high-falutin' ideas like Medicare and Social Security and 
vaccines (CONSPIRACY!  CONSPIRACY! ) — 
equality — 
dead with you.

*

Liberals, people who can think
and probably don’t want to die
(martyrdom being highly overrated),
listen to Grandma, please:

“If it walks like a duck and quacks,
it’s dinner.”

There are no town-folk.
There are no Christians.
There are no rights.

There are armies. 

This is America.

And their soldiers will sip sherry
right before carving out
your heart.

(Yes, this will be on the test.)

*