Wednesday, April 23, 2014


…It’s mid-week and I’m just four day away from being in New York City.  Can’t think of many things I’d look forward to more…

…Ah, those witty people on Facebook…
-Women! Leave your husbands! Kill your children! Practice witchcraft!
-writing a short story about a goddamn egg.
-Always keep your chin up.  Otherwise you are just looking down at your boobs all day.
-I want a bunny. Can it really be potty trained? Does it eat a lot? get sick a lot? Is it a good pet? Are a lot of people allergic to it?
-Overheard the most fascinating conversation between two much aged (long white hair and toothless) surfer dudes at a San Diego Starbucks, this morning. They hadn't seen each other in more than a decade, when they knew each other from the strip club they hung out at. Their catch-up talk included updates on their various acquaintances: One guy is dead--"meth"; the other was divorced after he was caught growing mushrooms in the mountains; and Smiley shot himself in the head--"Smiley had anger issues." Sad news for Smiley and the lot.
-Watching 3 rabbits running circles in my tiny dirt backyard. A male mounts the female, she bucks him off, he does a perfect backflip and dismount, and off they go again, running.

- I know 16 people who like Nickelback? SIXTEEN!?!?!

I didn't think there were 16 people on Earth who liked Nickelback.

Monday, April 21, 2014



            His sister was there one minute, then not.  He wasn’t supposed to leave home but he’d wanted something sweet to eat and so they’d trekked four blocks from home to the convenience store with his six year old sister in tow, complaining about the bitter cold until Jessie promised to buy her a chocolate bar.
            Thinking she might be pulling a prank, Jessie waited outside the store, crunching on Jolly Ranchers while shivering, nervous, angry and anxious.
            An hour passed with no sign of his sis.  He knew he should call the police or his parents but both options seemed terrifying.
            After another hour, Jessie ran home, thinking his sister might have gone back on her own, although she hadn’t gotten her chocolate bar yet.
            He scoured the house, even looking under his parents bed ,and then in the closet where his Dad’s belts—belts that were often used on Jessie and his sister--hung from hooks like petrified snakes.
            She was nowhere.
            When his parents arrived home from work, Jessie put TV trays in the microwave and then put the meals on plates and handed them to his mother and father who sat like bored ghouls on the sofa watching a man on television talk about faraway places.  Jessie ate this dinner at the table, in silence, as he was always ordered to do.  His food was gluey and tasteless and Jessie almost choked trying to swallow, so filled with fear and worry over his sister.
            But then night came and morning came, days and weeks came without his sister ever showing up.  His parents never said a word.  After a month Jessie filled his backpack and left, not wondering if his parents would notice, but wondering who would make their meals and receive their discipline.


Friday, April 18, 2014


Juvenile Delinquent

everyone else is passing me by
they don’t look but that’s okay
i don’t have anywhere else to go
that cop over there
that cop leaning against the meter
he’s sneering
the same way my mother did when I told her I took second
only this cop has a mustache
not a porn stache
but a bushy squirrel tail peppered with speeding tickets
he asks for ID
i ain’t got it
he wants an address
right here on this curb I say
he asks for a motivation
I tell him boredom
is a cruel bastard
and my old man was one too
he says get in the back of the squad car smart ass
i oblige him
it’s the fourth time in one week
different cop but similar car
no siren or anything
just a window seat
with a pretty good view

Probably Famous

maybe in ten years
you’ll find me or
I’ll find you
you might be sliding down a stripper pole
and I might be holding a benjamin between my teeth
perhaps you’ll become a billboard with a pepsodent smile
your grass-green eyes should be trademarked by now
everyone knows that those abs are off-the-charts ridiculous
anyway you were always more ambitious
bludgeoning cronies on a lark
taking two scoops instead of one
waving wax-on wax-off at the tickertape parade
after all the carnage
it’s insane to think about you
as much as I do
but hey
time’s a slippery bitch
even when you’re wearing boots
whatever city you landed in better hold its breath
call the bomb squad
alert the media
start a very thorough investigation
and fingerprint the witnesses

Suicide Announcement

someone told me
there’s nothing wrong with suicide
so long as you
give folks a head’s up first
sort of like sharing your virginity
with the boy from Holland who visits during summer
well maybe not like that exactly
maybe it’s more like yelling fire In a movie theater
or wearing a scarlet letter on your forehead
either way i’m putting you on notice
no i’m not killing myself
but i am about to murder your darlings
all those panties with the tags still on
all those love letters stashed in a shoe box
i’d like to get our apartment burned down by four
before traffic becomes a bitch
and just before your shift ends
that way we can listen to the sirens together
watch the sky light up
the way you and I never did

The Mayor of New York

a ways north of this dive pub
up on park ave
there’s a woman with a dutch boy haircut
and expensive cat-eyed sunglasses
that she wears
even when it’s dark out
her leather gloves smell like lilacs
sniff them if you don’t believe me
anyway this woman is really something
yeah man she’s a piece of work
the world’s her yo yo
someone should sculpt her likeness if they haven’t already
even without the titles
she’s prime minister and chancellor of this city
if you see
the woman I’m describing
you’ll know it at once
but she won’t bother noticing you
so here’s the favor I need
take a full breath
and yell
your son’s a gay cock-sucker
but god loves him anyway
shout loud and mean each word
make sure everyone else hears it too

Capital Punishment

we hide and seek
around facebook
and chat
while the rest of the world
has fingers
and wet lapping tongues
how strange and cruel
to lock our love inside a technological box
might as well get a hair cut
or be seated upright
ready and willing
in the
electric chair

Mad Man

for some reason
don draper notices me on the subway
maybe we’re both going uptown
perhaps we both have really big dicks
i tell don that he’s such a conniving shit
it’s hard to feel compassion
he asks if i’ve ever watched the show
do I know the half of it
what about the flashbacks
and the switching of the military dog tags
doesn’t that do anything for me
betty draper meets don at his stop
with her fat suit deflated
just a mold of ratty smelling manufactured plastic
and her resplendent anew
how fair is that I ask
it’s fucking tv don says
peggy looms in the background
rocking a tartan school girl uniform
with the skirt drawn high up to her thighs
cleavage spilling over
the top of a crisp white blouse
that’s it I think
my life is nothing but a television show
so much happens
yet I’m always a spectator
go on
go ahead
feed me another fantasy
i’m hungry
and eager as hell


you were at my wedding
i know it
know it like I know promises are usually broken
you were in the back row
the last pew
your head bent
like a collegiate prior to their first hangover
yet you were saying all kinds of meaningful prayers
one must have been meant for me
because I felt it
shot like an arrow
slung at the exact moment of commitment
me becoming something
other than what I should have been


oh hey hi
it’s me again
really I had no idea it was this late
come on don’t hang up
give me a sec
stop with the drama
why don’t you tuck the toddler in
and I’ll come by in an hour
how’s that
see when you talk to me that way is
when I get my dander up
a woman’s supposed to respect her man
yes you are you’re my girl
always will be no matter what
I don’t care about any restraining order
what a word restraining
like i’m some sort of pit bull
as if i’m dangerous
to hell with that it was one time
okay maybe a few others
but you know you can frustrate the hell out of me
you know it
say you’re sorry
say it
damn it say it
okay fine
if we’re going to play things that way
we’ll just see how the game ends
yes I am
i’m coming over
get all the police you can
but do it quick
have them bring shields and shit
because this is the last time
i’m taking your crap
go ahead
cry bawl
i don’t believe you
you’re a liar
i’m a good person
yes i am
listen just shut the fuck up
or i’ll fuck  you up
hey you there
are you
now you’ve done it
hung up on me again
all right bright eyes
here i come
oh yeah
with saddles blazing
you can hide your sweet ass
you can run
but baby
i’m sonar

and i’ll find you

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I just finished Bud Smith’s fantastic poetry collection, “Everything Neon.”  In many ways, the poems feel like love letters the reader has found stashed in a shoe box in someone else’s closet.  Both tender and wise, Smith’s pieces are rendered with the kind of confidence that comes from a writer whose heart is laid bare on his sleeve, nothing to hide, nothing left to loose.  No matter the length, each poem is wrought with vitality and tenderness and an acute awareness that the moments in between the bigger moments are often the ones that matter most.

In “I Kiss My Wife” Smith writes:

We’re just one window
of a thousand windows
looking down
on a shared riot.

The collection allows us to scour through the author’s heart and soul by whatever means we might choose, and in doing so we discover joy, wide-eyed boyish wonder, and romance in experiences that we might otherwise overlook or even find trite.

Through Smith’s lens, we journey down city streets replete with fire escapes, fire alarms blaring, bored policemen, ambulances streaking by, bridges sagging under the weight of neglect, taxis, and an ever lurking moon.

Littered among longer piece are potent gems like “Youth”:

When we were little
our mutual dream
was to slam dunk
so hard we’d shatter
the glass backboard
that was it
our whole dream
and now
here we are.

Some poems, such as “May 4th”—about the author’s marriage in a movie theater where he’s written his vows on a parking ticket-- are so goddamn sweet and romantic they make you smile inside, even while being envious.

“Everything Neon” is riddled with wise observations and clever lines such as this from “Dead”:

Life is a weird rumor
somebody started somewhere.

Other times we are put on notice, as in the cleverly titled “We Collect Skulls”:

fair warning:
most of our heroes get shot in the head.

Finding poetry this honest and vulnerable, while also being entirely accessible, is a rare thing these days where most poets rely on gimmicks or word play strung together without any sense of cohesion, let alone any kind of narrative arc.   Smith’s poetry is like an urban take on what Raymond Carver might have written, spare yet lush, brimming with answers about what it means to be clear-eyed and alert while everything around us spins, entangled.

Reading “Everything Neon” makes one want to fall in love, or in the very least take a new look at the world we experience and flush it full of bright light.

You can your copy here:

Monday, April 14, 2014


…How was your weekend?
Where I live, we had stellar weather.  You reside in a place where it can rain for four months straight and then the sun appears, well it’s kind of spiritual.  You certainly appreciate sunny days a lot more than say, a Floridian or Californian.
…I’m reading many books at once, which I used to never do.
Here are some, and they’re all good so far:
-“Everything Neon,” Bud Smith
-“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Home, “Ben Fountain
-“The Submission,” Amy Waldman
-“Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” Wells Tower
-“The Zero,” Jess Walter
-“Going After Giaciatto,” Tim O’Brien
-and also, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” which is not so good.
 …Whenever someone (usually someone famous) says they have no regrets, would never change anything that happened in their life, I call bullshit.  Who wouldn’t want certain moments, choices, events altered?
…I love babies and kids.  I wish there were more of them in the world.
…I want to learn to be more grateful: grateful for everything that exists that is good, grateful for my life.
…Deer are incredibly graceful creatures.  I don’t know how anyone could shoot one.  It’s be like killing a child.
…The “Shameless” season finale was pretty good, but not as terrific as the episode it followed.
…”The Walking Dead” is very addictive.  What a great cast of characters (and I’m not talking about the zombies).
…Today should be a good day, don’t you think?
…Here is the notable commentary from last week’s Facebook posts:
-The very elderly man in front of me in line at Rite Aid purchased the following:
- 80 condoms
- 2 enormous bottles of multivitamins
- toilet bowl cleaner
- nasal strips
-It's a beautiful day today, despite the fact that a seagull just shit on me. I'm hanging out in a gasoline storage tank field. They look like birthday cakes under vast blue sky. Mucho sunshine. The weekend right here. Even the gasoline smells nice. I have forgiven the seagull.
-Totally officially divorced. Fuck yeah.
-Your sex life is a not yet written Sci-Fi novel.
-There are a lot of great things about getting older, by the way. One of them is you can take your clothes off in the kitchen.
-I have now witnessed the ultimate in internet irony. Someone called someone else a mooreon.
  -Ah Monday, you capricious little prankster. A 5 hour power outage and right on into 38 degrees with a bone chilling driving rain! Such a lively imagination!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014



She worries about becoming an imitation of herself, of having conjured up a physical facsimile of someone she’s not.  Sometimes her secrets gurgle and brew so loudly that she’s afraid she’ll be found out.  The two abortions.  Making out with a girl one summer at camp.  An uncle’s hairy hand under her shirt.  The year she compulsively shoplifted mascara from Rite Aid.

The cat curls around her ankles like a scarf as she plucks an eyebrow in the bathroom mirror.  Last night she made love to George Clooney although it was her husband inside her.  Now he’s suited and ready for work but gives her a kiss on the head where her wet hair is parted.  He says, “Love you.”  He says, “I’ll be late tonight.  Don’t Wait Up.”
After he’s left, she gets the fireplace poker and smashes the bathroom mirror.  Shards the size of carrots lie angled on the tiled counter, dissecting her reflection, reproducing a million frauds.  She picks up a jagged piece and holds it against the inside of one wrist.  She remembers a girl in high school, Lisa, who did the very same thing.  She remembers being flabbergasted that anyone would want to kill themselves
Now she lets her robe drop to the floor and climbs inside the tub.  She runs the water hot, wanting to burn, to hurt, but not enough to die, wanting instead a way out of this hoax of her. 

She drops the chunk of glass on the floor, thinking; I can do this, somehow I can, I can be a real person.  The faucet floods out water.  The water smokes steam.  Pieces of the broken mirror lie idle without speaking.  She closes her eyes and starts at the beginning.  “Who am I?” she asks.

Monday, April 7, 2014


…Unlike a lot of people, I’ve never been a huge Beatle’s fan.
Yet this year marks the 50th anniversary of their scoring the top 5 singles on Billboard, along with Billboard’s #1 and 2 albums on the same week. 
That’s impressive by any measure.
At one point, they had 14 singles on the Billboard’s top 100… Even more impressive, if you ask me.

…I learned this week that 16,000 people in the USA die from heroin overdoses.  That’s now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

…I also learned that more people die from coconuts falling on their head than from shark attacks….

…Yeah, so here are some interesting comments from Facebook friends last week.
-It's nice out. Anybody wanna follow the train tracks with me to see a dead kid?
-Being a hybrid author like myself, an author who has published with presses AND self-published, is like being bi-sexual. It is very hip.
-According to Tumblr, I own a nifty catheter company in Florida.
-I swear one day I'll sign into Facebook and discover that I'm dead.
-everyone on facebook is talking about making out but I am not making out with anyone
-ok now everyone is talking about being gay on fb but ive been gay all day so im good you guys
-Bookseller:...and here you are. All of Shirley Jackson's books.
Customer: This doesn't look right. She wrote all these books?
Bookseller: Uh, yes. You've heard of the Lottery?
Customer: (pause) Oh! I'm sorry. I was thinking of Shirley Temple. Do you have any books by her?
-Would it be bad to stab myself in the abdomen?

 -I just saw a Vespa gang ride by and it has inspired me to NEVER EVER START A VESPA GANG, OH MY GOD, HOW FUCKING PATHETIC.