Friday, December 29, 2017


…It’s twenty to four and I’m still trying to find the moon.  No big surprise there.
…What do you prefer, that I not think about it at all?

…Looking back, there were a lot of things I could have done differently, but I’m not sorry at all about that.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

…This body is robed in the weight of things I cannot say.
…Every window’s open and the draught is coming in unbidden.

…Love is an immigrant--it shows itself in its work.  It works for almost nothing.
…Is that which appears so, so?  Or is it all flashes and specks?

…Who is this in the mirror?  Why won’t you love me?  Why won’t you let me be?
…I am always trying to bridge the difference between what I know and what I feel.  That’s why I often feel like a surgeon with a little bit of palsy.

…The gate’s not broken.  You just have to walk through it.
...Let’s face it, love and approval are in short supply.

…Some people are fighting for a better life, and you might call that heroic.
…I’m giving you my word.  There’s not a lot that’s worth much more than that these days, but a man’s word.

…Mining glory out of the rock of struggle, does it get any better than that?
…Biting the hand that feeds you.  Well, that takes a lot of gumption, doesn’t it?

…Nothing’s permanent except impermanence.  Upon that I think we can agree.
…Once you take that turn, it changes forever, so off you go.

…I’ve been making a list of expectations, which is perhaps unwise, presumptuous and a tad arrogant.
…I don’t own a single gun, yet if I did, you’d be the one to hold it, aim it, make the bad men run.

…The strangers in this town, they raise you up just to cut you down.
…I’ll admit that I’ve held onto hope like it was a noose.

…Hospital gowns never fit the way they should.
…What you’re supposed to do is stand your ass up, get back to the fight, and do it for the one you love.  That’s what you’re supposed to do.

…I may not be right, but that doesn’t necessarily make me wrong either.
…Adapt.  Bend.  Red and green...  At this time of year, right now, all this weight is crushing me.

…I haven’t seen a ladybug or butterfly in a long time and that really sucks.  You have no idea.
…I know you’re having a little trouble.  So am I.  By the way, I’m having a lot of trouble, actually.

…I haven’t given up on you, even if you are unable to return the favor.
…And yet I smile.

…Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Every Hollow Star

I am gauging my net worth,
that currency of despair.
I’m rich with it,
weighed down like an
anchor that’s been tossed.
Nothing said can ever
really be taken back.
It all gets recorded and archived,
and so the longest moments
become a black rainbow,
an unwelcome smear
overtaking the sky.
Looking up I see the bottom,
a water well without end,
no tarp or trampoline.
When I finally find them
every hollow star
says the same thing
without a hint of irony:
So much wasted time.


White Winter Hymnal

What greets me is
the sound of snow melt
leaping off the roof,
an encrusted suicide attempt
so early this morning.
Everything beautiful wants
to die in a hurry.
No one will say why.
The obstinate trees
cling to old ways,
unwilling to shake
any branches clean
until their coats of ice
have crushed them.
Hoodlum clouds
wait in the wings,
licking their chops,
too lazy or clever
to work for a living.
This winter has been
one for the ages and
yet it’s only just begun.
Even the keyboard
types out slurs
while each blank page
is riddled with hysterics.
Outside the lake convulses
for no reason,
belching up bloated catfish
and someone’s lonely bones.
When viewed
from the right angle,
the waves resemble
a cadaver’s skin,
something similar
to what I see
in the unshattered parts
of my cracked mirror.



Van Gogh would
drink yellow paint.
Picasso had his
blue period while
the early Roman Catholics
favored self-flagellation.
I’m still searching
for my method.
If you have a suggestion,
please pass it on.
I promise I’ll
give it my best
college try.
I’ll be obedient
instead of picky this time.
I’ll follow every instruction.

Monday, December 25, 2017


…Hey, you.  Merry Christmas.
I hope it’s not too cold where you are and that you’re safe and poised for a wonderful day.

There is actually a layer of snow covering everything here--roofs and docks, the evergreens flocked white.  It looks like a postcard made specifically for Christmas.  I wish you could see it.

…My Christmas present to you is a list of very random, and some very unsettling, things I learned over the last couple of weeks.  Here they are…

-Honey bees dance to tell other honey bees where the food source is.

-The average age of a Seattle sex traffic girl is 14 to 15 years old.

-80% of heroin users started out taking opioids.

-The United States has 270 million guns and had 90 mass shooters between 1966 and 2012. No other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shooters.  Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American.

-America has the highest recidivism rate in the world.  80% of all prisoners are re-arrested within five years of their release.

-45% of Americans don’t have money saved in a retirement account.

-The average American has credit card debt of $15,564.

-The app, Candy Crush, generates $6 million a day.

-More than 10,000 different languages are spoken in Africa.

-The longest recorded bout of hiccups lasted 68 years.

-Officially, the Mexican government acknowledges the disappearances of more than 30,000 people — men, women and children trapped in a liminal abyss — neither dead nor alive, silent victims of the drug war.

-The richest 1% of the world’s population now owns more than 50% of the world’s wealth.  There are now 36 million millionaires in the world.  The US leads the way with 15.3 million people worth at least $1 million.  Japan ranks second with 2.7.

-Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” sold a few weeks ago for $450.3 million with fees, a record for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed the sale of Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015.

-There are over 3 million lakes in Canada.

-Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, passed the $100 billion in wealth over Thanksgiving weekend.  It would take the combined wealth of 160 million Americans to equal the net worth of the world’s three richest people—Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett.

-Mark Zuckerberg made $5 billion in two weeks.

-This year on Black Friday the FBI received 204,000 requests for instant gun background checks, an increase of 10% the year before.

Friday, December 22, 2017


…What I don’t get is how you go from that, to this?  But then there’s a lot I don’t get.

…You are a necessary thing.  You might not know that, but you are.  You’re necessary.

…It doesn’t really make sense—not on the surface—but sometimes when people are being cruel to you, it’s really because they care about you, or else they’re working on self-preservation.

…You always fool me and I can’t react.

…You asked, “What’s your pleasure?” then I stuck around for the answer.

…The sex you’ll figure out.  Everything else is the hard part.

…It’s getting dark a little earlier, and now I can’t see my hands.

…It’s probably good you’re not around to witness this.

…Sometimes when I look up from the bottom, I can’t see the light.  And still, I know it’s there.

…Sometimes words fall through me like rain.

…You can convince yourself of anything, and I guess I can, too.

…My best friend once invented his own religion called “Leathamism” whose main tenant was—If you want to do something, and your actions don’t offend anyone, then it’s okay.  For a long time, I believed in that, until I didn’t.

…When somebody says, “The same goes for you,” you should take notice.

…I need someone to take this sinking boat and point it home.

…History will be kind to me if someone I don’t know writes it for me.

…That’s what we should be doing—something fun and adventurous.

…People are always more attractive when you think someone else has them.

…If you start using long pauses between answers, you’ll probably come to different conclusions.

…Here’s the thing—logic doesn’t always work, and sometimes your mind plays tricks on you.

…Don’t expect a free ride from anyone—that’s a good rule to live by.  Another is—never let someone mess with your ugly, or your beautiful.

…What I hate is dreaming, then waking up only to fall back asleep and slip into the same dream at the point where it had just left off.  Almost always the dream isn’t a dream, but rather a nightmare.

…It would be really nice if we believed in the same heaven.

…Nothing you do can fuck up the space for God.

…The people who make you soup are almost always the ones you love the most.

…Once you name something, you can never see it the same way again.

…If one does one’s solitude right, this is the prize—you can give someone everything without giving yourself away.

…People keep asking, “What do you need?  What do you need?”  Well, I need for you not to be gone.

….So if it’s all right, I’m just going to sit here for a while.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017


…Things can get lost in the overlap.

…What are we looking for again?

…I might have a black mold problem, and you need sleep.

…The trash goes out, but it seeps back in increment like the backflow of blood.

…We should make you an appointment, first thing tomorrow.

…We couldn’t be any safer, could we?

…Life only moves in one direction.

…I didn’t want that either.

…Those times were terrible, but they grew so familiar and looking back, I’d say they were even beautiful.

…Out on the lake, ghosts are singing an opera.

…Terrifying things come in very small pieces, slowly seeping in.

…I took a walk down the driveway just to feel the trees reach for me in the dark.

…I know how crazy it sounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s made up.

…I did what the book suggested—I ignored things.

…I’m no good at séances, but I could host an amazing playdate with the afterlife.

…I’m fighting off the voices and doing my job.

…Growing up, none of us, except the richer kids who skied, had enough warm clothes.

…Is it possible to mourn and celebrate at the same time?

…My body has become a hard bargain of skin and bone.

…The moon always seems to know something I don’t.

…It’s lovely, every once in a while, to run across that sweet forgotten place.

…I grew up in an anorexic home.   I’d say no.  I’d say, No thanks, No way.  But what I was always saying, really behind those words?  One thing: Love me, motherfuckers.

…The house I grew up in seemed like one big scar.

…Now we’re too far past the moment for me to backtrack.

…I’ll let you call the shots.  You’re better at that than me.

…I heard a lot of serious words growing up.  Some of them carried knives.  I could put myself between the fights if I held my breath long enough.

…I’m practicing saying Yes.  Apparently it’s the right thing to do.

…I checked the To Do list but that’s all it said.

…Snow is a little like an anorexic’s ice cream.

…I could hear my mother’s voice in her handwriting, in the way the walls stared at me when she would light up.

…Maybe there’s a time up ahead, or there was a time, or there is this time right now when you’re in a place with too many people, it’s sweating-hot and you don’t know any of them and mostly you feel lost because everyone seems to know each other.

…When you’re alone you’re invisible.  You’re figuring out how life works.

…Mostly anger is unfamiliar territory for me.

…Instead of putting pressure on your brain, hold a cold beer to it.

…Most people are better at me in the art of looking at a problem and tracking backward, analyzing the smallest pieces to find out where things went wrong.

…Whatever was going on with that guy, nobody told me.  Nobody asked my opinion.

…We don’t know how this will turn out, do we?


Monday, December 18, 2017



People ask if I’m
having trouble breathing.
They say my
neck’s begun to droop
like a noose
that I’m
becoming diaphanous.
I sort of believe them.
When I put my arm
through my torso
it comes out of my
back bloodless
pain free
with Jazz Hands
and squiggly fingers.
So to them I say
You’ve got a sharp eye!
I say Thanks for noticing!
I say Best not get too close
in case it’s catching.
I stay busy
picking scabs all day.
That’s going to leave a mark! they say.
Dimwit, a scab means it’s healing! they say.
Maybe I’m just an old filmstrip
black and white stop-motion
or a thumb drive stashed in box
waiting for temptation to take hold.
I have to remember that
nothing matters
if you think it doesn’t.
Nothing lasts forever
though I’ll be sure
to be on time
when I die.


Clearance Sale

In the storefront window
I see my taxidermied heart for sale
on the clearance shelf
along with used baby shoes
and my mother’s favorite blonde wig.
Why every woman wants to blonde is a mystery
as slippery as Mom was.
The clerk gives me stink-eye for staring too long,
taps the glass with his hairy knuckles
so I’ll notice the No Loitering sign.
I should tell him about the fire
that burned down my siblings,
how they squealed helpless in the flames.
I should ask him what the going rate is
for a set of charred bones and teeth,
one with fool’s gold in the back molar.


Mother and the Wolf

The wolf and I meet at midnight
in darkness where no one can see us.
I’ve brought my flamboyant despair again
but the wolf says he’s fed up with leftovers and
rips five irrigation ditches across my face.
I scream but the only sound that
comes out is a hiss of smoke
which makes the wolf convulse with laughter,
his spittle dotting my forehead.
Mother said having scars meant
you worked with your hands,
that you’d made something and had
made something of yourself in the process.
She could spin a tale, that woman.
If she were still alive she’d
probably say I’d imagined the wolf
and the claw marks dripping blood.
She’d call me dramatic and needy, say
No supper for you.  To your room now.
Lights off.



Friday, December 15, 2017


Yard Sale
My body is having a yard sale tonight
but there are no takers
even though everything is free.
My gently used fingers tap
the table they’ve been set on
Morse Code or the beats to Let It Be
making a curious granny nervous.
I don’t blame her.
These feet have walked miles
like everyone else’s
but I’ve been too frightened to cut the toe nails.
My neck looks so much longer from this angle,
so much stringier, like a loaf of beef jerky.
The eyes are still brown and bloodshot,
two mini-moons bobbing in a jar of gazpacho.
Everyone wants what’s in the locked box.
They shake it and listen for clues
surprised by the lightness and lack of bounce.
I haven’t told them there’s no heart for sale.
That it was ripped out long ago.
I haven’t told them there’s
a ghost of me inside that box
365 breaths for every day
you ruined me.

Just Look

Soon it will be too dark to hold you
and owls will rule nations, bats on dialysis.
I’ve learned how slippery that makes things
but there are reasons fate is an aloof prom date.
Just look--even the moon has become impotent.
Colors melt like sugar-free snow cones.
Trees experiment with self-mutilation and
the mountains are suddenly into anal.
You said Before Anyone Else
as if you actually meant it
as if you’d invented it.
Have you noticed how
an icicle can become a weapon?
How anything can?
Need proof?
Just look at this pillow pressed
over my mouth,
so fresh and clean
right out of the dryer.

If I Was A Better Liar

Inside me there is
a smeared window.
No one’s to blame.
Or someone is.
My mother said I
make too much of rejection
but some of the most
complicated men among us are
boys inside their head
looking for a prom date
or pistol.
If I could shoot straight
that’d be one thing.
If I was a better liar I
might not be on my knees
confessing to an orphaned moon
about the  unfinished poem
I’ve become.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


..."I’m sorry you misunderstood" is something you never want to hear.

…I’m a million different people from one day to the next.

…Sometimes we think we are only observers.

…At a certain point in my childhood one of my brothers had an ant farm in a glass aquarium.  It seems odd he was allowed that.  I remember staring at the tunnels and busy ants.  They were always in a hurry and seemed to be on a great mission.  They had agency and a purpose.  Isn’t it ridiculous to be jealous of an ant?

…Cold only feels cold at first, until it fades to numb.

…A whimper is an interesting noise.  It can sound cute or passionate or it can sound like pain.  That’s why you have to see it when you hear to know what it really is.

…I’ve never been to summer camp, but I’ve heard a lot goes on there.

…Mom loved the Mourning Moon, and said it was her friend.  I hope so.  I hope it’s my friend as well.

…Sometimes it’s so sunny outside, so beautiful on the lake, that even a guy like me can’t stay depressed.

…Sometimes I’m like all those insects that keep slamming into my window, thinking it’s air when it’s actually unforgiving glass.

…Sometimes people treat you like a forensics experiment, them trying to solve a problem, ensuring they’ll be an expert witness someday at the trial.

…I’ve been acquiring new versions of myself and hoping they’ve got thicker skin and better manners.

…If being humble doesn’t work, stick with it.  Be patient.

…I give all the credit to my old friend, Cabernet.

…It’s nice to be told when the coast is clear.

…“Ollie, Ollie, in free!”  That’s something I like to hear.

…I really hate The Minnesota Goodbye, but when I’m older I might regret hating it.

…What I do here is for me.  It’s cathartic, psychobabble.  I guess I just need someone to talk to.  Doesn’t everyone? 

…Most of the time, I’m thinking I’ve got fifteen people who actually read this, and twenty-something bots.   Tell me it’s not so.

…Strife is an old-fashioned word.  I like the sound of it but not the meaning.

…It’s strange how the game has changed but the people playing it hasn’t.

…I can handle a few tears now and then.  It’s the buckets I have a tough time with.

…I better read between the lines in case I need them when I’m older.

…Gravity is working against me.

…That’s bleak as hell, or maybe it’s beautiful.  You decide.

…I’m going to need your help.  We’ve got a long trip ahead of us.

…For what it’s worth, I really care about you.  I do.