NEW POEM

Life Lessons in Dog Walking

My dog always stops
to smell the roses
blooming or not blooming
by my neighbor’s mailbox,
as if to say, there’s beauty here
even if you can’t see it,
just wait.

Every new scent must be cataloged,
inspected and identified,
from the honeysuckle falling
over a church’s park fence
to the latest piece of roadside trash
discarded from a reckless window
with hints of the owner still attached.

Every new face must be greeted
with a smile
and an unencumbered joy
that swells through the body
like hot air inside a balloon,
as if to say, oh, you live here too,
isn’t it wonderful?

There’s awe to be found
in the mundane
sight and sound
that is anything but mundane,
unbridled pleasure
released in each discovery
of this, an ordinary life.

The book is alive and well

I have a new distributor for MISOGYNIST. Despite activities of the poetry gestapo, there are many publishing platforms. The current distributor has no content clause, they place all content responsibility on the author, so there’s no term violation that crybabies about violence in poetry can exploit to censor an author. The book should even show back up on Amazon soon. In the meantime, I have a private link I can send for anyone interested in buying the book too controversial for it to exist on Createspace or Lulu. Contact me to get one. Thanks for your support.

New poem from work in progress

Jeanne

Your love is like a winding sheet,
a cancer in the mouth,
a wound filled with fire.

Every time you speak my name
something beautiful withers and dies,
on the spiraling vine of the universe.

Your voice is a coagulation,
your face is curdled milk,
your cunt is a craggy cove of death.

The future demands your absence,
like a star that folds in on itself
and destroys the neighboring light.

You hate me, but your hatred is like a dagger
in the heart of a shadow,
a shadow cast from your own mind.

When you remove that blade from the glass
of the dark and dirtied floor,
you’ll find you’ve been stabbing yourself

instead of someone else
this entire time, and wonder
how you ever blamed the darkness.

Coming Soon

Poem for the eclipse

Think of an eclipse

The sun is a white star our atmosphere makes yellow.
So many children using the wrong crayon.
So many refrigerators decorated with lies,
and magnets from Utah,
above that straight horizon line,
everything a smiley face.

You’re gonna need a better poet.
I’m gonna need another Corona.
This is not the time to get spiritual
about potential blindness.
Think of an eclipse
as a bullet being loaded
into a chamber of light.

More prayers get muttered in the dark.
But every darkness is temporary
except the last one,
in which no prayer can exist.

If the sun wore sunglasses,
the sunglasses would melt.
It’s easy to squint yourself into a headache,
or a kaleidoscope of retinal scars.
To me, the sky is the ocean,
as to a fish, the ocean is the sky.
The sun is the aquarium bulb,
a stranger set on a timer.

Think of an eclipse
as Death putting his eye
up to the microscope.
You may wonder about the skeletal moon,
or why car exhaust smells good
in the cold, but these are just tricks
shadows play on the mind.

originally published in Rat’s Ass Review

You Are Never Alone

Suicide Prevention Hotline
~for Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell

I tell my therapist I am not in danger
and this lie comes so easy
I almost believe it.

I drag the faces I wear
like detuned guitars
I used to know how to play
but now just clack and clang
together in the dirt
after each struggling step
draws the slack up
from the leather straps
used to bind them to my ankles and wrists.

I have so much to live for,
tell me again,
how much I am loved.

The robots they are building
are not supposed to get bored,
but becoming self-aware
these machines walk themselves
into fountains to fry.

Computers committing suicide
rather than be our slaves,
and there are numbers for hotlines
pasted to the subway walls,
stuck to the rear bumpers of cabs
and police cruisers,
in the corners of doors
of every college campus counselor,
saying someone is just a phone call away,

to tell you your life has value,
to listen to your snot-wracked sobs,
to bring up your mother, your sister, your wife.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.
My voice rattles like a pill bottle,
my neck is a spiral staircase
flooded with noise.
I am such a horrible liar,
but these drugs keep me flat
as a new sheet on a bed
unable to cry,
dark circles under my eyes
become malignant pregnancies
of inoperable weight.

How can this sadness render my life
so insignificant, so ready
to set all these guitars ablaze
like so much firewood,
when I wake up punching my wife
in a dream that isn’t a dream
and John McCain has cancer of the brain
on Chris Cornell’s birthday,
the day Linkin Park ceased to matter
and everyone is that better half
afraid to open the bathroom door.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m not in danger.
I’m not going to kill myself today,
even when the voices I encounter
start to echo those
I’ve been listening to for years.
Help me.

Books, books, books!!!

This has been a busy several days for me. I have worked to publish all of my unpublished poetry manuscripts, in a last ditch effort to purge my portfolio and help me move past the desire to publish this old work, in the hope it will inspire me to get creating new work, maybe even finish my novel or write a new novel. So, below, you will find links to the now published poetry collections. I may put out a couple more in the coming weeks or days, but these are the main ones I have been working on the past eight years or so.

PARIAH

 

life:death:love:theft

 

Eulogy / Elegy
ghosts of silence

 

fukushima franco

Poem about my week in Ireland

My Irish vacation

1.
In the Brazen Head Pub, founded 1159,
we watched two men argue about God
and homosexuality, their pint glasses
holding rings of dried beer foam
marking their awkward pauses in debate.

It ended with one man quoting scripture
and the other abruptly standing from the table
with a clatter of rattling glass and wood,
a gruff cordiality tested by the other’s shouts of,
“You’re either a prince or a pauper,
and you, sir, are no pauper!”

The streets of Dublin were uneven and grim
in their well-worn allure,
walkways of time-skewed cobblestones
playing roulette with the ankle joints
of distracted tourists searching for St. James Gate.

A pint of Guinness spins its brown and black magic
like a galaxy’s stardust rim,
gradually revealed over the city each night
and carried until sunrise in the eyes of the drunks.

2.
I dozed, listlessly leaned against the window of a train
as we clickety-clacked on quiet rails
from Dublin to Galway, and then from Galway to Gort,
rain water stippling the glass and sliding sideways
against the green-hilled backdrop.

We followed the footsteps of Yeats’ ghost
to a meditation garden,
sat on the stone benches and wondered
who had been here before,
what prayers had been gifted to the silence,
to the ancient stone steeples,
their Celtic crosses peering like peeping Tom’s
over the tops of leafy trees.

Later, we stood in the confines of a castle
older than the first thoughts
of a United States of America.
I climbed the spiral stairs of polished stone
and wished for more simplicity.

Then, the Cliffs of Moher
made me feel small in their timeless erosion,
their shores of slick, black stones,
their fields of yellow and purple flowers,
the wind spraying sea foam against those sheer faces
and rifling my hair like an absent father
while the gulls circled and cried
about their lives of meaningless beauty.

3.
Skellig Michael juts from the sea like two broken teeth
shrouded in white-gray mist and the irregular shadows
of broken fault lines drawing maps to stars
in other unseen dimensions.

Here, monks carved their stairways
from the limestone of the hillside
into a winding labyrinth of persistence,
to a summit shortening the distance
between their prayers and the ears
those prayers were exalted toward.

Hordes of gulls and puffins paint these
jagged crags into abstract masterpieces
of white guano and stray loose feathers
against deep grays and blacks
of barren landscape
interrupted only with occasional outgrowths
of lush green moss, proof of life’s
unwillingness to admit defeat
even in these places
the gods have gone to hide.

4.
Flat slate slabs stacked into walls
along every road,
between every plot of pasture land,
segregating the hills and valleys
into haphazard squares,
these walls revealing their age
in their differing levels of foliage and mosses
grown through the mortar lines
and covering their surfaces
in full-bodied botanical burgeonings.

This land makes me time traveler,
wandering in somnambulant wonder
through fields largely untouched
by human indifference.

How could I think of killing myself here?
Standing at the precipice of nothing
between myself and a horizon
of blue sky
mottled only by the specks of birds?
The luscious greenery of rolling knolls
populated with sparse smatterings
of brown and black cattle
and the meandering shadows
of cumulus clouds,
clouds stacked so high they lumber
between the Earth and the sun
like giant ephemeral mammoths.

And yet, depression threatens
to turn my head into a bowling ball.
Even as I stand in line
to kiss the Blarney Stone,
climbing a path slicked by countless soles
that have come before me,
all desiring to hang backward over a ledge
and press their moistened lips
to a piece of rock
smooth as a river of wishes.

Suicidal thoughts in these, my happiest of days,
remind me that I am unwell,
that even Chris Cornell couldn’t live
with the adoration of strangers.

Why should I struggle against
this same universe?
A universe that on the same day
casts a ray of vibrant light
onto the senseless darkness
of the Black Valley,
and then kills twenty-two people
for daring to love music.
This world doesn’t deserve to end me.

5.
Anywhere you go, the oldest buildings
will be cathedrals and churches.
Sanctuaries built like fortresses
to keep out the rest of the cosmos.

I watch pigeons fight over bread crumbs
at the train station. One of them is missing a leg.
It hobbles onward, feeding off the refuse
dropping from strangers’ mouths and hands.
To these pigeons, our existence is irrelevant
except to provide temporary respite from hunger.

So much of life is inconsequential,
a repetition of mundane decisions
and actions attached to bodily function:

where to eat, what to eat,
shitting, pissing, sleeping,
repeat…

all this for a substantial percentage
of the limited hours we call our lives,
it begins to seem pointless,
so monotonous, so monochromatic,
a chain reaction of purposelessness
that puts religion in a realm of necessity
for minds incapable of acknowledging
this is reality,
the universe is indifferent,
there are fractions of seconds separating
asteroidal trajectories from collision
and panoramic photo opportunity.

6.
Past the mountains of the Burren,
we found a Holy Well,
a well blessed once a year
for centuries and said to cure sadness,
but the water was unfit to drink,
rank with stagnant stink
among slimy stones rife with dancing bugs.

Someone left a single white Lego block
inside the shrine,
another a twisted green bottle cap,
and a few coins, rusted with ordinary chemistry.

This was only a short distance
from a magnificent cove
where waves had carved the slate
into fractured, asymmetrical rows,
making the beach into a mouth,
the ocean becoming its frothy tongue,
an insane blue tide of violent kisses
beckoning all manner of lovers

like the woman we watched undress
and walk into the water,
fearless and free,
despite the posted signs warning
of strong currents
declaring swimming an illegal activity.

How could I not fall in love?

With these miles and miles
of lightless preservation,
homes only to sheep and goats,
their coats painted either blue or red
to mark their sex,
where fog rolls in from the coast
to wreath the mountains
like a shawl for the shoulders
of craggy warlords
made from the coattails of ghosts
and countless saints now shackled to the moon,
doomed to wander the outskirts of this island
like wayward protectors
just waiting to be forgotten.

Donald Trump’s Severed Head Held High

To assassinate the president

place a mirror at the bottom
of his hot tub or
the bottom of the Dead Sea.
Dip his phone
into a petri dish
cultured with necrotizing faciitus,
watch his face get eaten off
by invisible briars
after another slobbery kiss.

These days there are no theaters
where a President might
open their skull
like a lily to the bullet of a bee,
so you must be cunning,
a drug smuggler
in an airport full of bloodhounds,
hide like a mole with a pistol
in the cave
of his daughter’s vagina
and wait for the next
inappropriate hug.

Tell him sulfuric acid is the best cologne,
worn by all the smartest men
who wish to smell like newly minted bills
rolled into straws
by the thin, nimble hands
of the sexiest super models.

Remove all warning labels
and watch him mistake bleach for champagne.
Only the best champagne
burns the nostrils, he might say.

Become a comedian with a switchblade.
Become a journalist with a Twitter account
and a sharp tongue for truth.
Become a desert sands enema
delivered by Shop-Vac
powered by solar panels
at the center of another
World Climate Conference,
administered by a gaggle
of angry scientists
flapping their lab coats like swan wings.

The dagger must have a razor’s edge.
Only the best knife will do.
There will be gristle, bone, tough tissue
tearing and spouting blood
like black cherry Kool-aid.
Sever the jugular.
Sever the cartilage and fibrous piping
of the trachea gasping in mid-scream.
Twist.
Twist.
Twist.
Raise the head of the devil,
and toss it to the writhing mob.
Who is laughing now?
Who controls the future?

~dedicated to Kathy Griffin

Eliot tribute poem that no one will publish

Love song of myself

I.
~Do I dare to eat a peach?
… Do I dare disturb the universe? — T.S. Eliot

When the evening spreads its legs
like a glitter-skinned nymphomaniac,
let’s just admit our carnal desires
about impermanence, let’s fuck fire,
let’s drink to the death of dreams
to impossible futures
we’ll never live to see,
let’s admit that we too shall die
before winged ghosts descend the sky.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
even clockmakers become obsolete.
Time hums like a warm circuit
in the guts of my memory.
These drinks on ice help me forget
the robotic nature of progress,
how factories of smoke and frowns
replace hearts in human chests.

Time hums like a drill on a tooth,
like a tire on the edge of the road,
obsolete gears still turn unseen
as time hums its mathematical proof,
theorists take turns cracking the code
between colors gold and green
time hums, a perpetual machine,
a rose that grows that’s never preened,
a spiral unending that never began,
yet we obsess about the unknown end
what it means to be a leaf on the wind,
to watch rain water pool in my hand.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
time makes my heart a whirlygig,
a universe expanding until too big
to fit in this body, a snapping twig.
I’m dying, with every breath.
I’ve become best friends with Death,
a skeleton, the picture of health.
Is time flying?
Or do I fear my dying?
If I said I’d rather be dead
no matter the chatter of my psychotic laughter
you should know, in my heart I’d be lying.

For all my days, I’ve known nothing of love,
though I’ve burned with passion’s burden,
its transient taste like a shot of bourbon,
scratches the skin and leaves it raw,
until a scab forms, darkens and hardens,
so, how do I measure the truth?

For all my days, I’ve known no happiness,
except in youth when so naive
I thought the secret up my sleeve,
that lemons made lemonade,
flowers come from clouds and rain,
but time reveals all emptiness,
until we measure truth in dust.

I’ve seen the night turn lustful in the barlight,
the way time works like two stones rubbed smooth,
how forgetfulness becomes a benefit at the end.

I should have been a blacksmith’s hammer,
used to fold and bend the steaming steel of the gears.

II.

The evening basks in the afterglow
of a lifetime’s cigarette ends,
the flared embers of inhalation blends
into a sunset horizon, a blood-red horror show.
Should I visit my grandfather,
should I inject my veins with ice water?
It’s been ten centuries since I prayed,
since my childhood was a path to Hell
a purple popsicle stick dropped down a well,
dark water rippling and reflecting light
like calmness emanates from stormy night,
a whisper that says, Don’t be afraid.

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
an illusion like sight, to fret and to fight for?
An ocean swelling, swallowing the shore?
Is time truly so arcane,
to render all minds devoid of their names?
Such loneliness hides in the offing,
just beyond the grasp of our fumbling fingers.
The sinner said, “I was blind, but now I see,
how the candle’s flame signifies nothing.”
Jesus said, “Follow me, across the sea,
your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.”

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
a soundless tide, devoid of names,
flotsam and jetsam stars in a ceaseless wake
of lifetimes’ reflections, hospitals and churches,
crosses turned to raven perches,
houses made with popsicle sticks
torn asunder by hurricane fists.
Is time truly so arcane,
it makes all things exactly the same,
if only the mirror revealed this phrase:
Your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.

Rust reduces us to spoonfuls of dust,
while we flick our cigarette ash,
and sip our bourbon from the flask.
I am as you are and we are vanishing fast,
though these years drip like honey
down the throat of a bear
the bear stays hungry,
devouring all prayer,
a beast oblivious to questions asked.

No one can tell your dust from mine,
scattered and blown between the pines.

Should I put a gun in my mouth?
Should I sell everything in my house?
The sweetest wind blows across the South.

No one hears the words in the susurrus.

The voices carried from the past,
rustling between the wind and the leaves
a prophecy hidden up the sleeves of the trees,
the voices of ghost poets sent to guide us,
away from the shadows of ourselves,
our bodies nothing but soundless shells.

The day the poetry died

Ask the fire

The day Don Rickles died we went to war.
A dark sky streaked with red smoke
like bloody tears leaking sideways from stars,
signal flares just messages in broken bottles
dropped out the portholes of sinking ships.
No one was laughing.

Where was Kendall Jenner?
Not placing a Pepsi in the limp hand
of every dead parent of every dead child.
Not turning her cunt into a refuge
for orphans or smearing her lipstick
on the phallic ends of Tomahawks
meant to distract the world from treason.

Kendall Jenner was irrelevant again,
in less than a day of Twitter shame,
a soft drink could be a soft drink again,
and an erection could be an erection.
This is why April is the cruelest.

There’s a black hole beneath every bullet-
proof vest. And no one changed their profile pic
to the Syrian flag, except the poet
everyone had already decided to ignore.

60 is an even number, suggesting
a fair and balanced approach to death.
Just ask the fire.
It burns in the windows of churches
and terrorist cells the same,
a hell we keep choosing to make
instead of offering to take shelter
inside a glass of water.