Thursday, June 30, 2016

Molly's Summer

She hated the noise and smell of
the city streets in summer.
Car engines buzzing and roaring.
Charred and smoky asphalt,
the hot tar sizzled odor she
couldn’t shake from her nostrils.

She missed the sound of
the brook near her grandma’s
place, the rustling stillness of a
summer wind gracing the long
fields, the scent of flowers and
sweet pies at the fair.

A bus passed Molly and she
coughed in a cloud of diesel
exhaust. The air was thick and
grey.  The constant trumpeting
of car horns and wah-wahing sirens
piercing every echoed city canyon.

She longed for the sun; un-obscured
by the concrete pillars of business and
trade. She felt sad to walk in endless
shadows across long stretches of
hot city sidewalks. It was a weight
she bore heavily on her hunched shoulders.

She missed her jean shorts and tee-shirts,
running wild with Danny as they played
for hours near the old wood tree fort
near the Old Mill. They chased butterflies and
fireflies, and were never swallowed by any
long shadows.

Her city skin was pale, like she’d never once
been a tanned child of the sun. Her Danny,
out in the field, tanned, toned, laughing as
he sat on the back of a pick-up truck with a
cool lemonade in his hand.  Molly had an
iced Mocha latte something she’d spilled
when nudged by a rude businessman.

The city, crowded, serious, grey.
Molly hoped she could get out soon.
Hoped she could get back to her
open fields, sun dresses and barefoot
summer strolls guided by moonlight
and twinkling stars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stop Chasing Angels

We have to
stop chasing angels.

Like milkweed on the

Like dandelions on the

We have to
stop chasing angels.

Like white cresting waves
on the sea.

Like smoke from a
warm fire.

We have to
stop chasing angels.

Like sand pouring between
our fingers.

Like time flashing before
our eyes.

We have to
stop chasing angels.

Besides, we wouldn’t know
what to do with one if we caught it.

Chase love, chase hope, chase our
better nature and leave the angels

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On the Wing

                The wind rustled the prairie grass that grew along the edges of the highway exit ramp. Harry stared out his driver’s side window as the long grass flittered in the wind. It had grown fast due to the recent heavy rains. A bird flew up from somewhere in the long prairie grass and up over the long line of cars in front of Harry. The bird landed on the roof of a white van and paused. Harry thought it was interesting that the bird had left the obvious natural safety of the tall grass to perch on the roof of a van that was waiting to make a left turn off the highway. It seemed dangerous to Harry. The bird was small, like a sparrow, but the feathers seemed much too black, too dark to actually be a sparrow. There was a little blue tuft of feathers under the bird’s beak. Harry had no idea what this bird could be. He didn’t know much about birds. He’d lived in the city his entire life and bird identification wasn’t exactly a popular class back in his college days. The bird sat relatively still on the roof of the white van, occasionally turning his head back and forth to scan for predators.

                Harry sighed and looked at the cars around him. He looked at the other drivers to see if they had also seen the bird fly onto the roof of the white van. Harry couldn’t tell if anyone else had noticed. They were all so distant. There was emptiness to the people behind the glass windshields. They didn’t look real to Harry. They looked like glossy images plastered on the glass itself. They didn’t move much. Or were moving too much as they spoke into the air. They were talking to hand free devices in their cars Harry was sure, but it didn’t make them look any less crazy to him.  

                The light changed to green and the van began to pull forward. The bird on the roof easily flew up and off into the morning sky.  Harry started his car forward in line with the other turning vehicles to the next stop light.  He wondered where that bird was going, where it was from, and why it had decided to show itself to him. Harry found the randomness in nature so strange. There was no pattern but there was, there was a seeming randomness to it all but it was all part of a larger system; a system that occasionally showed its glory in beaming sunsets, purple summer dusky skies, rosy fingered mornings and the majesty of itself. He wondered if anyone else had seen the bird or if it was something nature decided to show only to him.  

                Harry didn’t feel special though. He felt like a lucky witness. He felt that underneath the beauty of the bird, there was something tragic. He felt that while he was charmed to have seen that peculiar bird just at that moment, it was too fleeting, for him and the bird. It was only another moment in a long string of moments to be forgotten in the business of another day.

                A car honked somewhere behind Harry. The light had turned green and traffic was once again underway. Harry accelerated with the flow of the river of other cars. He changed the radio station. He played with the air vents. He remembered that he wanted to adjust his passenger side mirror at some point and then quickly forgot as the car in front of him came to a hard stop at another red light.  Harry looked out his driver’s side window and nothing seemed amazing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sleep Troubled

Words like punches
thrown at the rain.
Love’s invisibility
present in my brain.
An enemy still a friend,
a friend still an enemy.
My Bed.

No, that’s not it.
None of it.
That’s not it at all.

It’s dreams.
Long tiring dreams.
Stirring me with confused
messages, blurry meanings
and nonsense that lingers
like smoke after a fire.

Old loves mashed with familiar
fears, between the uncertainty of
jumbled dreamy flashes, mixed,
swirled in colorful menageries of
tropical horrors.

I did not sleep, but lulled about
in a prolonged memory, flavored
with items of the present and
concerns of the future. To toss
and turn in mind and body.

My eyes were closed but I could
still see the trouble of choices,
past humiliations, embarrassments.
The ghosts. I could see the ghosts.
And they haunted my lulled mind.

The invisible, the indistinct, the

foggy, they danced, in the rain. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I've had some thoughts on this...

I guess what baffles me, really baffles me about the gun control conversation is the strange disconnect between disparate views of public safety. One side thinks stricter control over weapons is in the public's best interest, while another feels that any infringement on the public's ability to legally obtain weapons is the real risk to public safety. I don't quite get it. I think Family Guy put this argument best when they made a joke about Charlton Heston, then face of the NRA. He was accidentally shot by Joe Swanson in "Love Thy Trophy", who said the safety on the gun was on. In his dying words, Mr. Heston explained that it was his right as an American before collapsing in the street.

I often wondered about the message of that animated scene and how on point it was. It made me wonder, if the real life Charlton Heston had been shot by a mentally unstable person screaming about Allah who had legally obtained an AR-15, what the NRA’s or Republican party’s reaction would have been. Would they have agreed with the animated Charlton saying it was indeed the right of the mentally unstable person to legally obtain a firearm and then use it with unbalanced impunity? Or would they mourn the loss of their spokesperson and attempt to create legislation that would help keep dangerous people from obtaining firearms through comprehensive background checks? Or create a special department within say, the ATF, for the monitoring of weapon licensing for individuals?

            I just don’t know what they would do. I know that as a reasonable person, when I see that there is a problem I would like to try and takes steps to correct that problem. It seems pretty simple. I can see that there has to be some balance to it all. I know in this country we are all innocent until proven guilty and no person can deny the rights of another just because they are suspicious about their intentions; although you don’t give a drunk a beer, or crack to an addict and tell them to hope for the best.  We do have some level of good judgment we should adhere to. Yet, for some reason, good, sound judgment seems to run contrary to what some of the people want as a matter of law.

            That’s why I’m so confused about the arguments about what is public safety? I mean, the Federal Government, through the FDA, had no problem banning all homosexuals from donating blood due to the perceived threat of the spread of AIDS in the 1980’s. They had no problem with it. They didn’t even know for sure how AIDS was spread but they had no problem as a “matter of public safety” to ban all Homosexuals from blood donations. Yet they don’t consider mass shootings a threat to public safety and refuse to take any sensible action about it. I mean, maybe the numbers aren’t there to consider it a public health hazard. Since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been 418 people killed in mass shootings. So maybe we haven’t hit an epidemic threshold yet.

            What is better for the people of this country? Is it to live in fear of the gun or to take hold of that fear and manage it as a matter of public safety? I’ve made this case before, after nearly every shooting, mass shooting or even individual shooting and nothing has changed. I’ve supported Gun Control Advocacy groups, written to my representation in government and nothing has changed. I’m baffled on what to do next. And I fear that’s just how it is living in America.

            A peaceful, intelligent society should be above resorting to firearms to resolve their differences, perceived slights, or in your face insults. A population focused on what really is in the best interest of Public Safety should overcome the self-interest of a few loud voices. Yet, here I am again, back to two differing views of the definition of Public Safety.  The Federal Definition of Public Safety is, “Public Safety refers to the welfare and protection of the general public. It is usually expressed as a governmental responsibility. Most states have departments for public safety. The primary goal of the department is prevention and protection of the public from dangers affecting safety such as crimes or disasters. In many cases the public safety division will be comprised of individuals from other organizations including police, emergency medical services, fire force etc.”

            So that seems pretty straightforward. And yet again, I’m stymied by the argument that firearms are not a public safety hazard, crazy people are the public hazard or extremist fundamentalists are the public hazard, and that weapons are just tools misused by the crazies. A hammer is a tool designed specifically to drive in nails, firearms are weapons designed to drive ammunition into other people. Sure, you could use a hammer as a weapon, that’s possible, but it’s still specifically a tool. It’s not recommended to use a weapon as a tool for driving in nails or unclogging a sink. Plus there haven’t been 418 mass hammer beatings since 9/11. So let’s say that argument is now moot. 

            Individual freedoms under the Constitution trump any societal freedoms of the citizenry? I’ve heard that argument before regarding firearms. The right to bear arms is more valued than an individual’s right not to get shot by a lunatic. So maybe that’s the real threat to public safety right there. The perception that the Second Amendment was given to us by Jesus and no one shall ever take it from our cold dead hands. I think I got it. Maybe, in the course of our right to pursue happiness, we might need a tweak to the Second Amendment as it relates to life in the 21st Century. I think as a matter of Public Safety that might be the best course of action. 

It was relentlessly repeated to me as youngster that the Constitution is an elastic document and it is not carved in stone. The Constitution can be changed as it has been several times in the course of our young country. Slavery, votes for women, prohibition, the repeal of prohibition, votes for 18 year olds, were all changes made to the Constitution over the course of history. It is possible to adapt and evolve as a country as long as we’re willing to agree on the public safety threat this complicated issue has and actively do something about it.  

But what to do? How do we come to a consensus? Where is the middle ground we can all agree on and encourage our elected officials to agree on? What can we do? I wish I knew. I wish we all knew. 

Something in the Closet?

The monster under the bed
is bored.
The slime creature in the closet
is filing his…slime.
The zombies in the graveyard
are bonking into each other.

The ghosts have dropped their
chains and just watch TV.
The werewolves are looking into
real estate in a “nice” neighborhood.
The vampires are on a strict
vegan diet. 

The Creature from the Black Lagoon
is considering relocating to Clear Lake.
Dr. Frankenstein is a share holder in a
pharmaceutical manufacturer.
His monster is on the board of

The Mummy is gathering dust
in the museum, in a dust pan, he works there.
The Demons of ancient lore have a
reality show and production takes up
way too much time for possessions.
You’ve probably seen it.

The terrors of the past have
nothing left to do. So they sit,
looking into retirement communities,
checking their 401k’s, and hoping
the damn grand-kids might call
and tell them how scary the world really is.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

First Day of Summer

The first day of summer
arrives like a maniac to a
dinner party he wasn’t
invited to but everyone

His eyes are wild,
his hair is a mess,
he yells a lot, he wants
to play electric guitar
while surfing.

He makes it hard to sit
around the dinner table,
the butter softens, chairs
are sticky. Everyone is
slightly uncomfortable.

But he’s always forgiven.
Women love him.
Men want to be him.
Children run to him like
he’s made of candy.

He wants to stay up late,
he wants to listen to the
ocean at midnight and the
wind blow over the fields,
He tells dirty jokes.

He’s never wrong,
yet he can be ceaselessly cruel,
and go on for endless hours telling
stories that have no point over warming
beers and fruity island drinks.

He smokes, he stalls, he lingers,
he tickles, he teases, he incites
revolution, he demands attention,
he encourages nudity, he needs

He’ll come to the party,
get everyone laughing and
as soon as everyone is nice and
comfortable with him, used to him;
he’ll leave.

In his wake are summer flings,
several poor choices, sun burns,
empty wallets, liver failure,
riots, chaos and general unease.
And we can’t wait till he shows up again.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Unicorn Farts

“Did you see that unicorn?”
“No, I missed it.”
“What?! It was right there, farting
rainbows and crapping candy!”
“No, sorry. Didn’t see it.”

“What about the giant? You saw
the giant right?”
“No, missed that too.”
“He was gigantic, like 30, 40
feet tall! How could you miss that?”
“I just didn’t see him.”

“You saw me chase that Leprechaun
though right?”
“No, must have missed that too.”
“Seriously!? I was running all over the yard
screaming at it, trying to catch it with the
pool skimmer!”
“No. Sorry Again. Didn’t see that.”

“Tell me you saw the Fairy tea party.”
“No, I didn’t, sorry.”
“How could you miss it!? It was epic!”
“Yeah, just didn’t notice I guess.”
“Sheesh, there was house music and
dirty dancing!”
“Nope. Didn’t see a thing.”

“You didn’t see the unicorn, the giant,
the Leprechaun or the fairy party?”
“No. None of those things.”
“Then what the hell were you
 looking at?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”

“What? I’ve an open mind.
Of course I’d understand.”
“No. I don’t think you would.”
“Just tell me.”
“Fine. I was thinking about stuff that
actually mattered like, war, poverty, murder,
rape, genocide, massacres, intolerance,
hunger and the general state of the real world
and not the imaginary bull crap you obsess over.”

“Ah, right. Yeah, I don’t understand.”
“Yeah, didn’t see that did you?”
“No. I didn’t. But that unicorn man,
I wish you had seen it.”
“Stop talking to me.”

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Romance Poetry

The music played delicately
in the background as the two
lovers stared into each other’s
eyes. The white tablecloth shimmered
in the candle light under the
lovers hand holding across the

The meal was finished and
the wait staff had cleared the
plates and silverware. A bottle
of red wine remained with two
mostly empty glasses. The lovers
had declined any dessert and never
stopped looking at each other.

The time seemed to slow as
the lovers connected, yet it
was going too fast and neither
wanted it to end as quickly as it
had started. They wanted to linger
in the embrace of their eyes, waiting
for that kiss.

The ambiance lent itself to mystery,
intrigue and desire. It was moody and
dark, bathed in 1940’s noir and neon.
The lover’s eyes twinkled in the dim
flickers of candle flames and electric

“Should we go,” asked Brian.
“I think we should,” smiled Allen.
“Happy 20th Anniversary,” said Brian.
“Happy 20th,” said Allen.
They stood, they kissed, like the first
time. The room applauded.

Monday, June 13, 2016

American Exasperation with Exhaustion

                I don’t want to write about it anymore. I don’t want to have to continue to scold, cajole, or otherwise attempt to influence the minds of others toward peace. I’m too baffled to even begin to understand it. I don’t know or understand that level of violent hate. I just don’t know how as a society we let it get to that. When did the immorality of murder get so customary? We’re just used to it. Especially in Chicago. Especially in America.

                Murder. Out-right murder seems so normal. It’s just something that happens nearly every day so why bother with it. I mean, let’s just start The Running Man TV show already and start down that dystopian path of least resistance. We might as well make it a damn TV show with the potential for games and prizes. I could use a Toaster over and a life time supply of toothpaste.

                Has our blood-lust finally gotten to us? Have we lost the ability to be outraged by things that are truly outrageous? Has outrage become so normal that we don’t even know how to respond to said outrageousness?

                On March 5, 1770, British Army soldiers killed five male civilians and injured six others in what would come to be known as the Boston Massacre. It was an outrage across the American Colonies. It inspired the American populace to say, “Enough of this tyranny”, and take action. I get that it’s a little different today, I know these acts of hate and terror on our soil is different than an Army being commanded in the field, or as a police action.  However, the effect of the Boston Massacre was to galvanize young America into motion and vigorously take steps to free themselves from the tyrannical fears of a foreign power. American’s wanted to be free from fear. So they acted. Their outrage inspired men and women to stand up and say they would not be bullied by fear. They would resist any terrors thrust upon them in order to be free from those fears. They acted.

                Five men killed, six injured. That was all it took (and some pretty healthy propagandizing I’ll admit) to motivate a young country into action. They knew that in order to be free from fear they had to be bold. They had to turn their outrage into something constructive, something to build upon and create a society that could be free. Five men killed, six injured was the call to do something about the oppression of freedom and resist the fear of reprisals of the British.   

                Yesterday, June 12, 2016, 49 people were shot and killed and an additional 53 injured in Orlando, FL. There is sadness. There are prayers. There are the lives left to be reassembled after tragedy. There’s finger pointing. There is name calling. There is anger. In Chicago there have already been 278 murders for 2016. Neighborhoods are upset, scared, tired, and beat down by the onslaught of the compassionless. People are terrified to walk their own neighborhood streets. We are scared.

                Yet for all our fears, anger, rage, sadness and astonishment, we are lacking in any real outrage. We’re sort of used to feeling our fears, anger, rage, sadness and astonishment. We’re almost numb to any further outrage. We don’t even remember what it was like to be truly outraged and act upon that outrage. The outrage of racism in America resulted in the Civil Rights Act. The Mobilization of college age men and women taking to the streets helped end the war in Vietnam. The gay community marched and protested just to be heard and reach some acceptance within our society. Was that the extent of our outrage through? Have we hung a banner over the country that reads, “Mission Accomplished”?
Are we done with outrage as a motivator to take steps for the good of all the people? Are American’s quitters?

                I’d like to say that we are not. We are the most able nation on the Earth to take steps toward the betterment of us all. We can be a beacon of real Liberty in the faces of those that wish to disarm us with fear. We’re not stupefied by the blow-hards and braggarts that ply us with rhetoric. We’re a people dedicated to the idea that our Freedom from fear had to be fought for and no lobby, hobbyist organization, ignorance or hate, no single individual, lone gunman, smiling politician or any other threat to that Liberty will be acceptable.

                I know we can make the sacrifices of the Patriots mean more than a prayer vigil and a shrug of our shoulders when politicians say that it’s not time to have a debate about assault weapons, gun control or the murder of our own populace through murderous indifference. American’s have mobilized with less for great causes before. It’s time to remember the outrage, the injustice and act. It’s time to look fear in the face and say, “No More. Not One More”. We can overcome anything. It’s time for our tired, exhausted outraged hearts to turn to action.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cut Loose

Steamed in the soup
of humid afternoons,
we crawl from the muck
to the early evening
adventures that call us
like sailors to sirens on
the shores.

Spitting at sunlight,
gawking at the heat,
a drink, A DRINK!
My hearty heated
friends. We’ll toast
the toasted and cheer
the roasted.

A klaxon to the gala,
the fiesta, the party,
we hear over the roar of
the weary weekday world.
Another Drink my comrades!
Another toast my companions!

We’ve made it again.
We defeated the mighty by being
mightier. We silenced the braggarts,
the blow-hards and the mice that
roared. We’ve toppled the ogres
of time and embrace what is
ours to squander.

A toast! A Drink!
A weekend to revel!
Time to waste instead
of time wasting us!
We’re lions on the prowl,
in the pleasures of laughter
and smiles with friends.

No heated temperatures will
belay our good time. This hour is
ours to relish, to enjoy.
A Toast!
A Drink!
To the long nights!
To the long day!

Winter is dead!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Webs

                The spider’s webs trailed in wild crisscross patterns across the small dark basement. Barry bumbled through them as they broke. He spit and hacked his way through the sticky and surprisingly resilient webs toward his father’s old work bench. The old overhead bulb was barely bright enough to light his way. The afternoon sunlight streaming in from the ground level windows was nearly all Barry had to guide his maneuvers around the clutter his father had collected and stored. Barry hated spiders and their webs.  They made him feel unclean somehow. The musty, dirty basement didn’t help that feeling.

                He never liked the basement. When he was a child he would never go down there, yet his father loved it. Barry’s father was down their all the time, tinkering and fixing various broken trinkets he found in alleys and at garage sales.  Barry’s mother hated it too, but she never said anything. She just left one day and didn’t come back.  Barry moved an oil stained cardboard box out of his way with his foot and tried not to imagine the millions of spiders scurrying from underneath. He didn’t dare look down at it.

                Barry had to find a key to a safety deposit box. He had been told by the executor of the estate that there had been some mention by his father of the key being on or in the work bench. The executor, the lawyer, had been the only one present when Barry’s father died last week. Barry was in San Francisco with his own wife and daughter, trying to forget the house on Melrose in Indiana.  Barry couldn’t imagine what his father, the drunken handyman of Calaveras County, could have possibly had in a safety deposit box at the bank. He had nothing but the house, the mountains of junk in the dank basement and furniture from the 1960’s on the main floor. Some of the furniture still had the plastic covers on them, from the sixties.

                The work bench was mildly organized. The tools were put away on their pegboard hooks, matching their carefully traced outlines. Barry remembered that his father was meticulous about his tools. They had to always be in good working order and easy to find. The workbench counter top was a mess however. There were obsolete TV parts, a washing machine motor, and part of an oscillating fan, coils of wires, nuts, bolts, screws, nails, a Band-aid box, C-clamps, and three different tape measures. There were piles of warranties, instruction manuals, and receipts from the old hardware shop that had been out of business since the 1980’s and tubes of super glue.

                Barry sighed at the mess and brushed his hair off his forehead. The basement was stuffy and warm, which seemed odd since basements were usually cooler than the rest of the house. He pulled the small worn green bar stool out from under the edge of the work bench, dusted it off, and sat down in front of the mess. He was sure his father had some organization in mind but to Barry it was just clutter. It was a mountain of unfinished attempts and half completed goals. It was the perfect description for his father.

                His father wasn’t a mean man or a bad man. He never got into any fights with anyone in town. He never started any real trouble. But he was a drunk. He was one of those happy drunks who sang songs about Ireland even though he’d never been, talked about politics with anyone who would listen but never made any real political affiliations known. He never made unwanted passes at women or tried to force himself into any conversations. Yet, he was a drunk. He never raised a hand to Barry yet he never pulled him in for a hug either. To Barry, his father was the man who wasn’t there, but was there. A shadow of a man; or at least the shadow of what might have been at one time something like a man.

                The funeral was very small; Barry and a few other townsfolk. The bartender at The Easy J came but Barry thought that was only to possibly collect on any inheritance that might help pay the bar tab Barry’s father had left. His mother did not come. Barry didn’t even know if she was alive or dead herself. She was too big for Barry’s father. She was a woman of large character, too big for the small town life, but too small town for life in the big city. The rumor was she’d run off with the town pediatrician but Barry didn’t really believe that. He figured she was tired of trying to clean up the happy drunk who had nothing but a pile of trash in the basement.

                Barry started shuffling through the pile of old crusty paperwork on the work bench. It was mostly receipts that Barry’s father should have written off on his taxes as business expenses but never got around to doing. There was nothing on them but dust and oil stains. A few of the receipts had his father’s oily fingerprints pressed into them. They were smeared in some places and clear in others. It looked like the fingerprinting department at the police station had gone insane. Barry ran his own thumb over the dried oil stained fingerprint of his father. He thought he should feel something. He thought he should feel sad that he and his father never had the relationship like the ones on TV or movies. But he didn’t feel sad. He didn’t feel anything.

                They hadn’t spoken much more than the casual Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday’s since Barry stormed off to college as soon as he could. He was ashamed to be the town drunk’s son. He wanted to get as far away as possible. Barry’s own daughter hadn’t even ever met her grandfather. Yet, it wasn’t hate that kept Barry away. It was the fact that his father never made any effort. He never tried to clean up, or show Barry that he was capable of something more than just drinking and tinkering and occasionally fixing the boiler at the High School. His father, just never tried anything.

                Barry didn’t know if that was hate or not and that’s what bothered him most. He didn’t even have a close enough relationship with his father to consider their rift anything more than casual indifference to each other, or at the very least, an incapacity to express any love. Barry just knew that he hated coming down to the damn basement. That was for sure.

                He felt the warmth of the dark basement. Its dingy overwhelming heaviness seemed to be creeping in over his shoulders. Barry leaned forward on the old workbench and closed his eyes.  He felt an anger in him he had pushed down a long time ago bubble to the surface. He clenched his teeth and balled his hands into fists. He stood up and with all his might swiped all the parts and tubes and papers off the workbench in a furious tornado. He pounded on the old bar stool and tossed it to the far side of the basement knocking over old boxes and crates. He kicked old boxes and pushed over piles of magazines and newspapers until he stumbled on a coil of industrial cable and fell into a pile of old clothes in big black plastic garbage bags.

                He lay there panting and sweating. The basement was filled with old dust swirling in clouds in front of the window. They danced in a confused swirl trying to understand why they had been so unceremoniously startled from their untouched slumber. Barry put his hands to his face, as if the clouds of dust might somehow turn into the ghost of his father. He put his forearm over his eyes and felt the sting of ancient tears on his cheek. He waited. He caught his breath and lifted himself up from the pile of old bundled clothing. He suddenly got the Heebie Jeebies and thought he was probably covered in spiders. He started bushing himself off, grabbing at every tickle or itch like a black widow was about to chomp down on his skin.

                Barry looked at the mess he’d made. The mess his father had made. He decided that he’d had enough for today. If there was a security deposit box key somewhere, it was probably long lost. He’d have to try again tomorrow. He wanted to take a shower more than he could ever remember. He trudged up the old stairs and flicked the switch to the old overhead bulb and the basement fell into darkness.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

No Getting It

The weight of her eyes
was something to marvel.
They were awe inspiring and
simultaneously  terrifying.
A simmering cauldron.

“What’s wrong,” he asked.
“Nothing,” she’d reply.
“Are you sure? You look
unhappy, or sad, or something,” he’d say.
“I’m fine,” she’d reply.

Her eyes were teary but
icy, stony, marbled.
“I said I’m fine,” she’d mutter.
“Oh, I didn’t ask. I took your
word for it,” he’d say.

“You’re a jerk,” she’d blurt.
He’d stand there in confused
silence wondering where the
hell this came from. Where her
love went so quickly.

“Baby, I did ask before, if you’re
alright,” he’d stammer.
“I said I’m fine. But you’re a jerk,”
she’d say.
“I don’t understand,” he’d say.

“Of course you don’t. You never
understand. You’re a blockhead,”
she’d accuse.
He stands there, arms out at his sides,
a perpetual shrug across his shoulders.

“I’m going to go I think,” he’d say and
gather his jacket and keys.
“Fine. Good,” she’d say and fold her
arms across her chest and slip
into the depths of the couch.

Her eyes melt as he leaves.
Last night’s make-up
streaming down her cheeks.
She didn’t get that he didn’t
get it.

He didn’t get why she wouldn’t
get it. She didn’t get why he didn’t
get that there was no getting it.
He walked to his car wondering if
he should go back.

She hoped he would,
but would never say it.
She opened a magazine from the table
to a celebrity wedding. She wiped the
sorrow from the corners of her eyes. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Walls at the Mall are Totally Tall or Shopping Maul

Yesterday I had to visit
a bastion of American
consumerism at it’s
most decadent, and
it was gross.  I visited
a Mall.

It had been a terribly long
time since I went to a mall
and walked through the
various concourses and food
courts surrounded by…
the people.

I’m sure they are all
just regular folks, just
trying to make their
way in the world,
but there was just
something about them
that made me feel sad.

I deny things to myself.
I rarely buy things I don’t need.
I rarely buy things I do need.
I’d rather shovel coal than
shop.  Yet I was surrounded
by people’s insatiable hunger for stuff
at every turn.

New this, new that, neo-retro,
new tech,  buy it, buy it, buy it,
buy it all. Now. Do it. Get it.
hang it, play it, stuff it, fuck it,
eat it, cook it, ram it down your
throat and for God’s sake use
the in store discount.

I was only killing time while I
bought new tires and the mall
just happened to be there.
I couldn’t stand it after one full
walking circuit of the mall
grounds and it was killing

I like nice things. I’m fascinated
by nifty convenient gadgets and
fun trinkets, I just don’t want to
have to look for them on the
killing fields of the mall. Or
surrounded by mall walkers,
which are worse than Zombies
or vampires or werewolves.

They shuffle, stroll, amble,
mosey without direction or
purpose as slow as they possibly
can, in front of you. Even without
purpose I still walk pretty quickly.
I have a funny walk as it is. So there’s no
need to advertise it.

But the people with eyes filled
with glittering dollar signs, teenage
girls wearing little to nothing in line
at the mall Starbucks ordering coffee
drinks I’m sure 13 year olds shouldn’t.

Teenage boys looking thuggish in
sleeveless tees and droopy shorts,
baseball caps pulled low over their eyes
so no one can seem them stare with lust
at the Victoria’s Secret store.

Over-stimulated parents in a sea
of bewilderment over the new hot
item that just has to be purchased no
matter the cost. I navigated my way through
it as a deep sea diver would comb the sea bed.
Slow, trudging, in the murky depths of
colorful signs demanding my money for stuff.

I was glad to leave. I was glad for my cynicism. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Massive Heart Sale!

The Massive Heart Sale
Extravaganza is going
on right now!

We’ve got used hearts,
broken hearts, still-beating
hearts, wounded hearts,
hearts of lions, tigers, baboons
and heroes!

Don’t miss our
Heart-stravaganza sidewalk

Black hearts, red hearts,
rainbow hearts, are all
discounted to move
and move fast!

Looking for that matching
heart to yours? We’ve got that
too! A fine selection of lonely
hearts, isolated hearts, miser
hearts, silly hearts all priced to

Need a break from the summer heat?
We’ve got cold hearts, icy hearts,
stone hearts, and the ever popular and
highly sought after heart on a sleeve!

No sale would be complete without
our amazing discounted costs on the
most precious “Heart of Gold”.(For a limited
time only, selection is limited. Not available
in Hawaii or Puerto Rico.)

So come on down today to Michael’s
Massive Heart Sale Extravaganza!
We’re just a Heart beat away!
Located next to the old Arcade on 5th!
Be there!