Monday, December 27, 2010


long before the front
swept north from Carolina
every cell in dad in son in daughter
transmitted at the same

dad its gonna storm tonight
i know i'll ask your mom
dialogue without text
"song without words"
they call it

mom's custody she must approve
she planned a trip to see
her mom in Maryland
will she choose to be snowed in
here or there

parentude ups the amplitude
message returned the children
would be pleased if you came
to play this afternoon i'll supply
the cocoa

emperor penguins and their chicks
can recognize
can amplify
their calls
across a continent

Sunday, August 15, 2010

En Cualquier Mundo (sino tu propio)

Cada niño vive en muchos mundos.
Viven en mundo de aire libre y agua fluyenda.
Viven en mundo de flores y el sol.
Viven en mundo de risa y las lagrimas.
Viven en un mundo de niños y de adultos.

En esto habita la fuente de todos los conflictos.

Vives en un mundo,
Estatico y firmo,
Sólido como una estatua
Pero fractoso en partes no to propio.

En esto mundo viven niños
Viviendo las vidas de niños
Como flores cuidandos de manos
Por las ramas fuertes de árboles altos

De un bosque mezclado con caducos y de hojas perennes verdes

Vives en el otro mundo
Un mundo tan permanente
Como las arenas de desierto de la edad adulta.
Con las temporadas que cambian diariamente, aún por hora,

En esto mundo hecho de sistemas de la presión bajo
Creando mal tiempo sobre el Golfo de Emoción y,
Durante la fluxion de sistemas de muchos adultos confundidos
Un flor te sobreflujo con sus brazos llenos

Llenos de la debilidad y la belleza

Vives tambien en el mundo de los sueños
En tanto mundo entre que todos los flores
Sonriden bajo la luz radiante y caliente
La luz del corazon que ha creado

Una vida de esperanza llena
Una vida de familia nueva - llena
Una vida bendijo con la plenitud de un amor completo
Una vida mas dichosa que la que recibiste

El mundo que te habría bendecido,
Aunque en el yo nunca te habría conocido

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rain Delay 1:39

an hour and thirty minute
rain delay
rain liberation to the garden to the
gardener who simply pops up from his
private napping bed
little finger flicks across the shorts drawer
as if heads he's nude, tails he's half
clad in sheets of mylar rain

trachea braces for the heatblast
but the opening door serves fresh air on the rocks.
cold water, forced under the threshhold,
greets toes used to baking,

I let the sheets of mylar form
Enfolding my hips while I play triage nurse
It is a good 45 minutes of trying on my mylar water wardrobes
While the opportunistic infectives, kudzu and friends, prepare to return to dust.

An hour into the rain delay,
I find that the entire garden glistens anew.
So does the naked body of the gardener,
Changed, too, is the flex of the falling mylar -
That it may be called mylar not rain
And I can be called gardening, not skinny-dipping
Can be left for the language police
The others catch me not
As I dry off - the tarp is being removed
And the seventh inning will soon begin!

echoes from pushcarts scraping

at the turn of the century
that was not a turn of the millenium
an agency formed
with nickels and dimes
and from the machers a dollar
that helped a man be a man
arming a pushcart for war in the streets
while his wife did piecework
and hoped the factory wouldn't burn

the bigger the pushcart
the better the goods
the more the profits
the greater the need
the more the loan
the more numerous the cosigners
one man per hundred bucks

in the modern room
sat the ninety year old officer
and her eighty-five year old husband
completing the sentences
completing the forms
unchanged for a century
the supplicant and his cosigners
one cosigner per thousand bucks
a cosigner asks when the agency was founded
like the scraping of the wooden wheels
of pushcarts on trolley rails and cobblestone
the old couple smiles and answers
nineteen eighty four

Friday, July 23, 2010


wood sprite clad in leaves
airborne toes claim loam, moss, bark
from your bough find me

Saturday, July 3, 2010

black cloud swirling

(This poem, a shape poem, loses about 90% of its meaning without formatting. Try commenting and I'll e-mail you the proper version.)


dark, trembling

mislead in the creek.

black cloud lives

in swell swirl pool schist sandstone rubble

a still liminal in rain and runoff street and forest fouled by teens between

wonder and restlessness solitude comity, the cloud whirls like storms flirting with glass ground edgeless

observed by barefoot doe-brown eyes which, gleefully, take cover from the heat of the car that threatens further travails

eyes which bear the gift of naming these swirling nimbus shadows river-hoppers even though this place of twisted material

fails to bear the gift of Nature but for bearing microscopic bubbles linked for a few weeks to schistsoapstonemarblesteelrod

Here in this ichtyological-amphibian womb fashioned by man, planning, careless, sixty toes rest silent in fine-milled rock glass

watched by five hundred parabolic eyes, sensed by millions of fishy synapses, for if only one toe shifts it kicks up the silt

we watch them back as their indecision causes a random walk in the Wissahickom if foe thought neutral, must go

reactions are linked as the water droplets in a rain cloud act as one

witness how these noiseless nimbus

minnuws hop into young


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Day After

Share with me the gall of this day, fathers!
Feel the absence, part of your heart excised!

Just a day ago, Rebecca, singing,
Daddy, Daddy, I love Daddy
Erez shaving strokes to let me win
His big heart saying, "Make Daddy feel better."

I push them on the swing, higher, higher
No vision of shattered children fouls my spirit
They touch hands at the zenith as the chains go slack
Erez pirouettes, adding a noogie to his pendular path.

Planning a picnic for King Daddy, Crown Prince
And Princess, and kitties knighted, not benighted
We spend Monopoly money on Costco caviar, lox,
We leave with vitals, and a story to share.

The root beer float
Makes Erez beg for mercy
So his tank-topper
is water and a kiss.

Already the void in the casting of my soul
Opens, as I turn down HER street
Becca practices, "I love Mommy, right?"
Erez, silent, reads my heart.

Father's Day, an excuse-me holiday for men
Married, a month after the fete for the stay-at-home
Mother, witnesses the pain of the cast-off Dads,
Taken to the curb as we did for so long.

Let my words speak to the fullness of yesterday,
Tha the hole in my soul fill with love, not bitters.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

13/38 the gift

what do you want to do next dad asked
was there ever a question
i dazzled on my day at shul
like the cantor i'd become
i took over at the torah servicce
boy soprano plus a new octave
they could hear me in the kitchen
lecturing leyning loving

i had earned the question i thought
i put it in dad's head or else
he plucked it straight from mine
let's go to Duke's house i said
as if Dukey were a neighbor
not ten neighborhoods nine exits eight months away
it was decided
not like there was any question

seven of us squeezing
lap to cheek to thigh to handle
of the sky-blue Pontiac station wagon
if we could breathe in any deeper
when the wagon turned on Tulip
Street, the gasp would cause a vacuum
never had arisen any question
would he be there

or at the ballfield

at the warehouse

visiting a canine lover

a new family

yet a golden form came into focus
lighter, smaller than i had remembered
at a distance smaller than the bulldozed
track above our house already fallen
speckled like the sandstone blocks in sunlight
head cocks growing recognition
Duke? says dad not totally believing
answer bounding through unbounded bonding

rang out the breathless wagon
your family has found you
in a flash of synchronous emotion
the back door opens as the dog flies inward
never was so much dry cleaning created
never has the bill been so forgotten

still the puzzled fearful look
of the children living there
shades the moment - still the shift
from dad to patriarch commanding
half against his will
we'll come visit you i promised
yet another vow
i couldn't

12/37 we are your family forever

(how else to say it)
up and down the bulldozed trail
that used to be The Clearing
you golden boy
and your long haired
black buddy
(it was 1970 when we met)
bounding where The Sweetheart Tree
once squeezed me in her arms
with acorns
recalling the day with
the haze of history
it was your friend
i pet

(I think I'd call it)
In and out of earshot
Your bark's report like buckshot
So rarely I would hear you
Beyond your happy panting
From games of kid-tag leaving
Children doubled over laughing
After romping
Catching breath and back to ramble
Round the Gordon's Warehouse building
Soon no longer rambling
You became like family
The name of your
Black buddy
I forget

now in a pack of playmates
up and down a blacktop trail
they call Duff Road
where once we lobbed a basketball
back and forth like Nipsy
no point of destination
you chose your own stunt
settled in the center for a good long scratch
and if a car approaches you'll catch his eye
and continue scratching
i threatened you with a leash
that you'd listen
but not too

Only 'til your scratching
Scraping on our screen door
Ends whatever sojourns you've
Attempted. We learn later
You've another family
Another set of children call you
Dukey, another
Grocery list attests to
The feelings you engender
Even when the Shabbes round roast, left untended,
Disappears into my dizzy spell
The sitter's split attention
And your animal soul
Or doggie

growling with your nuzzle
down in the grit grout of the sofa
grand and giant gestures
with names you gave them wordless
majestic Duke loving Duke playful Duke
shifts in sense so subtle
that to name is to overstate
paw on each shoulder
resting your chin on Gary's neck
like a lineman, injured,
leaning on a referee or
napping with one front leg
folded under, one
leg over my

When Gary broke
His leg you sat
By his cast and licked
His little toes peeking through plaster
And my injury? No different.
Mel could pay for hands to replace mine.
None could pay for a heart to touch mine.
You would curl up, feline -
You'd protect me, caring, ursine.
Even Mel fell in your thrall
His eyebrows danced to hear your call
Or scratch on screen with paw uplifted;
In his heart rocky mountains shifted.
Duke, I could never
Begrudge you that
Pot roast

every box we packed
held youandthebooks youandthegloves
youandtheclothes even youandthechina
every chair every pillow
bore soundless panting spotless pawprints
every room disappearing into echoes
and i? away to school
ten miles and a light year away
Not a floorboard left unsniffed
Not an echo unremembered
The coldest, wettest nose yields
Moisture to your eyes and mine
The softest ears I've ever touched
Now mop my little Gary's cheeks
Gary's arms still felt
On your neck
As the truck
Pulls away

11/36 The Piano

too many fingers hitting
too many white slabs
too many black bumps
how can i make those sounds

wherever i found one
i grabbed the bench first
or if by myself i
slid the cover off the keyboard

placing a pudgy finger
on an arthritic key
scouting for don't touch that
adding more fingers, forceful

now while the synagogue
songs flow choppily
second time a melody
add something - hope you like it mom

He has an ear, an eye, a feel
He lacks an instrument
We lack space and the money
But just a Spinet in the corner, maybe

Then some lessons if you practice
thanks mom listen
The notes flow out of him like breath
Let's stop at Volkwein's; don't forget the Liszt

little Gary climbs on the piano bench
the cast on his leg keeps time
am i special if my baby
brother plays like me

Both demeaned will be in the
Sibling rivalry

10/35 I Take Over the Religious School

I am the gardener
Each child skips through my flowers
I don't plant the same bed twice
Each set of toes knows where it has danced
(or trudged or ground into the mud,
spurning each blossom with "Ewwwwww!")
I take cuttings from one bed,
Splice to stems from another
The cheery yellow tulip from the front
Goes double, earns frills and purple trim
No single path to blossoms here
Each species groomed, each petal sculpted
Drawing every set of toes forth
Never tiring of my garden.

One set of feet, too nimble, too quick
For even a garden so crafted as this
No mere tulips for this dancer, orchids,
Bird-of-Paradise, Spathodea,
Bloodlily, jacaranda,
koutruk leis around his hips his neck
For this one is my dancer
My child my Ronnie-Me
And the most elegant plantings
That I craft for the others
To dance five years 'til their legs grow weary
Cannot hold him for a fortnight
The artist gives her star student
To the conservatory

9/34 Mom on the Moon

the moon we could see
no Magnificent Desolation
that Buzz Aldrin described
a friend, a guide
by day a ghost of the future
by night a companion
we all drew what we saw
you never knew the moon had
so many faces

mom prepared us like a teacher
i don't remember
that summer
before the mission
that July it was stories of
space time travel journey to the center of the earth
cutting moons out of swiss cheese
painting round rocks
dad even bought a UL-approved
bottle rocket

we launched that rocket at Penn Hills Junior High
more amazed than thrilled that it worked
two long-haired young men watched and exclaimed
lucy in the sky with diamonds, man!
i never called her lucy
my older brother said she was luna
apollo went up 7/16 9:32 am
ours went up 7/14, more like 1:32 pm
lucy luna could wait until
after lunch

the night that we came in peace
mom caused a stir at shul
she left the board meeting early
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to watch
history with my children."
our sitter had special orders that night

we would not sleep until the Next
Frontier had been claimed
the Channel That Brings You All The News
would unite a generation

at 10:56 Pittsburgh time
The Man in the Moon
accepted an oversized boot
and with it
six hundred


8/33 Bobby

Bell tolls, tape extends.
In the sadness of the day I wrote
A liturgy with my dad's tape measure.
Brass clangs such a solemn note.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
Days ago I'd read the news
Kennedy Dies in 72 point type
As if all hope to disabuse.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
By inch number 44
Not for birthdays lost to Ray
Bring him back, the peals implore.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
Once my father's uncle died.
Will they give him a parade
Like they did John F? Mommy cried.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
Harry only mattered here.
Kennedys to all the world
Touched hearts and spirits. No, my dear.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
I have to catch my taxicab.
Dad and Zayde sick at once,
Mom's Kleenex gives her tears a dab.

Bus rolls, Mom attends
Her father destined for the Home.
Huntington's had won the battle,
Leaving him a helpless gnome.

Top floor, Montefiore.
Good my men are in one place.
Three hours' travel for a visit
Checking vitals, just in case.

Bell tolls, tape extends.
So much trouble in one year.
The country shakes to its foundation,
Dry ducts fail to shed a tear.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

7/32 Gary

While you formed in my belly
My soul swirled first.
I could say to an insect
I feel you.
I feel you.

Still smaller than a marble
Tiny bundle of nerves and sea water
Refracts my essence
Filling me

My eyes saw four children
My heart saw five
Den and Ron would play chess
I imagine
You teaching.

When you emerged from me
In the typical way
My compass gyrated off its center
Then, like a magnet,
Two complete.

Now in your own body,
You grasp every toy like Torah,
Study every angle, every property.
Eyes hunger
For every action.

Not content to watch impassive
You capture and command attention
I who bore you see and witness:
I feel you.
I feel you.

6/31 Brigantine Beach, NJ

Encased in steel and glass
Nearly a thousand pounds of sinews, strength, and dreams,
Soar to a lofty platform. Ten thoushand eyes
Of sandaled children...

i among them
miss the spectacle
of the plunging half-ton
i hugged his surging white neck
from section one-eleven

These are my children
Never before have they seen
An animal DOING something
Does my oldest, Dennis, 8
Make sense of a horse
Leaping from a tower?
Does my Ronnie-me long to ride?
Joel, not quite four, will he remember?
Did I pack enough bottles for
Baby Joyce?

Four days ago a family pulled up
to Cottage 43 in Brigantine
The floor and sheets are full of whitest sand.
The cleanup task begins...

now now
i badgered dad
a day in the Pontiac wagon
i'm hungry i'm hot
the sand on the blanket
will be fine until we
get back

My Mel is like that.
Sweep the floor, set the stage.
Every prop has a grid in storage;
Every toy knows where to sleep.
You play like you rehearse.
The best window displayman
The Three Rivers have to offer
Doesn't leave for the water
With the wagon full.

The boys, aged eight and six, in an embrace
Reserved for lovers. Had they only known
A battle for a new room would take place
At least a sleeping bag...


Aware the sky, that silky black
Is turning steely blue I steal
A moment when even the seagulls sleep
But I perceive the change.
The water not yet boiling,
The sun not yet rising,
The children undisturbed.
A jigsaw of somnolent body parts
Will spring to life in not too long -
And they will be hungry.

Atlantic City boardwalk, where the boys
Eat shirtless, wistful gaze of teen girls met
With gestures to be seated, but the noise
Of wild guitars...

mary margie our sitters
recognize it in an instant
the guitar leads us like pheromones
dad, who for once touring freestyle
did not get that the music,
not he, was in command

Mel, what to do when we've obtained
The secret door, neglected
By aught but a crack?
The girls begged to stay
As Sgt Pepper rattled the door
Against its hinges
No expert on the changes, can't predict
The seismic shifts these sounds portend;
My children hunger.
Leaving legends to suckle offspring,
Time of day trumps epoch time
For us on the fringes.

The music stays, Alas! The band moves on
To feed the hunger of a different sense
Unvoiced resentment roils their Diet Cokes
No words are uttered...

maybe dad's afraid
of these new noises, strange
not the folk songs of protest
not mary abd margie's ballads
no, change progresses in measured steps
not this rip in time

Over lunch I sense the nannies
Glaring as if the meal's repugnant.
Mother-in-law asks, "How're you feeling?"
I mutter, "I think I fell pregnant."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Prompts 6/4/10

1) If you EVER ask, "I don't need the microphone, do I?" then you DO!\

2) The apotheosis of defeat
the destiny defined by sorrow
watch all the minions, walking
in my tracks untrodden
see the tall guy's voice -
you can't hear it;
vibrato but no sound
water with no moisture
it rains but changes nought
of the cracked moonscape
that doesn't even cognosce
its soul in peril.

3) I can't bear this
solipsism or cynicism
vanity, vanity, all is vanity!
R'difat ruach - chasing after wind

while my powerful heldentenor
improve with age though rendered uncommercial
I sing the sorrow of the dues I haven't paid

to take away the miserable
folds of flesh you wear like plastic diamonds
in your mica throat
have you more right to your breath than i
how dare i share
the are you breathe
devoid of oxygen for prayer

6) and that same man who
ripped the song from my own palate
has ripped the prayer from these pages
turning pain and passion
into pabulum.
there is another cantor sitting here who...

7) Mchayei kol chai -
what if you're already dead?

8) No hard feelings
people walk through me all the time
what import is it whether i had
something to say or not
i had nothing

9) no hard feelings
they really don't want me here
they're just allowing me
until i pay my dues
then silence

falling into emptiness i
take notes on my way
so if i eveer have the fortune
that someone other than my children my mom
will know i soiled their earth

10) cycles of life

they don't need me here
unless i'm reading Torah
never torah small t for teacher
because i have nothing to offer

unless i pay dues
which i don't because
the world doesn't need me

unless i pay lots of taxes
which i don't because
no boss needs me

unless i utter some special incantation
which i don't because
without a pulpit i have no prayer

without a prayer i have no voice
without a voice i have no soul
with out a soul i am (add word art in circle:)
a cantor without a pulpit without a prayer without a voice

rendered soulless by forces of extraction
less subtle than a dental vise

11) There is another cantor in this place who_________

Sunday, May 9, 2010


wave my blackberry at the man
put away all electronics he says
make me
he outlines the objectives
while circling about
he turns they throw
his art pencils
bought for his son
turned into artillery
he warns they pull
more mp3s and other
electronic contraband
a piece of carmine red
glances off his cheek
lands in his pocket
i smirk
and as he jerks toward impact
i quickly crumple the handout
he translated into spanish
and hit him square
in the back
of his old head

still talking blah blah blah
he asks a question blah blah blah
a classmate answers blah blah blah
a cabrón in a tie
teacher lunges grabs my cell phone
i tip it to a co-conspirator
hot potato hot potato don't touch i'll sue
he's new we can do whatever we want
if the principal comes, he gets a warning
if she comes again he gets a writeup
if he touches us he gets a 204
BAM! right off his eye
this is better than youtube

lock his door and raid his cabinets
no one gave him locks that work
no one cares for this stuff anyway
least of all me
that was a pickled cat!
what will he do give me detention
think i'll ever
show up

who's gonna make me
follow anybody
what do i care
if he reports me
it goes on his record
he'll never get the
paperwork right
call my parents -
my phone's cut off
he won't walk to my house
if he does
he won't walk back

HA he bought stuff for a lab
HA more stuff for us to damage
HA he tells us the procedures
HA we wait till the right moment
HA he turns to help a student
HA one dork who doesn't dog him
HA let's see just how he likes a
HA big bleach stain on his trousers

OFF one buddy flips the light switch
NOW one kid shouts three attack him
ripping tests his "documentation"
now he has got nothing on us
even while we clean his desk off
dancing in the pile of papers
grabbing gradebook, get the laptop!
Ms. A won't be back up here today
last class told us we were home free
(the cop said call us one more time we'll take YOU off in cuffs for prank calls)

listen to his vocal wobble
(what a bozo)
look a tear forms in his helpless eye
see him counting down the days
(he won't make it)
we ran two we'll run him surely
Serrano had a nervous breakdown
Fischman can follow
and ya know what?

it's his
that ends
in our

Monday, April 26, 2010

It all depended on a word

it all depended on a no
no not again and again and again
naively cast into a vortex of ego
the riposte drips from a caustic pen

no not again! and again! and again!
all i had earned since my first Hebrew word
the riposte drips from a caustic pen
my place in history thus interred.

All I had earned since my first Hebrew word
The highest placement in the eye of all,
My place in history thus interred?
Your lack of skill in things political,

The highest placement in the eye of all,
Leaves you unsuited to participate
Your lack of skills in things political
Give me the joy your talent to berate.

Leaves you unsuited to participate
in the movement that seeks God's Face, calls God's Name.
Gives me the joy your talent to berate,
To cast aside, grant you a life of shame.

The Movement that seeks God's Face, calls God's Name
Treats slither-smiling icons as the ones
To cast aside, grant you a life of shame,
A fatwa on your leadership, you're done.

the same stories in a different hand

touched, my mind replies,
"I've read these stories elsewhere,
in a different hand"
- after Bernice Bricklin

this pandit spoke of being
Surprisingly Happy, surprisingly jewish
tales of alte-bubbies marking
the moment of departure with
a salty stream a lake made of women

folding up her seventy years
in a serpentine posture
her body teaches a pathway
of yogic mastery from the womb
the greater to shock with the word sober

the wax impacted in my
ears doesn't block the pathway to my
brain as these words trigger
the same story I read somewhere
someone some context some same

spiritual direction from the stories
in dialogue with my own drash
the pandit rabbi's silejnce speaks
like a spare neuronic spark interrupting
mindfulness like the "j" in silence

a teacher transforms by touching
by being

didn't isaac bashevis singer say that
did i read that in english
did a jew write it being buddhist
did a bu write it being jewish
so much more modest this time

the young, broken divorcee
brought two toddlers to a minyan
eight feet tall in her tallit
Woman manned the pulpit
chanting and reclaiming
the ancient men's text
the ancient men's rite
the ancient men's story

in forty years she would be that
woman chatting across generations
woman folding into a skater's spiral
woman finding the origin and pulsing
power through the periphery of time

a dikshit whose journey becomes
my own as I walk her path with unstable man's feet
my ninety year old friend comments
i so enjoyed these stories
i read them when they first

came out over nine times ninety
years ago
or was it only
April, 2010

beautiful, alone

"A beautiful man,"
she cannot conceal her pleasure.
beautiful, alone
- April 24, 2010

thanking her for the compliment i wonder
for who for what
the havdalah candle glimmers off her
iris the window her iristhewindow heriristhewindowiris
havdalah means separation

i am kind yes and i
and walk with God but
did Micah mean more
Micah was married

so was the speaker
who Micahs very well thank you
and says havdalah at the end of every
sabbath. If I celebrated separation,
would it hurt so?

Ice is

the opposite

of separation

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gossip in the Middle of the Night (for Carolyn)

in the mind
in the spine
a call is made
a lyric blade
the ace of spades
scratchy overdubs
speech cut at the nubs
indicts the jack of clubs
Ace: the chick who held the camera
on you and Shivananda
beneath the jacaranda
says you need to work on tantra
from the clumsy artless way you let him mount ya

say it ace
to my face
do more damage
with your frottage
at the cottage
where the boys line up
each with coffee cup
lacking just to sup
all the bone grind on the bone meal that you want to schtup
Ace: pervs like me hide in plain day
while poor priests are nabbed at play
but did you hear our mate Clay
and the boss's son today
damn near tore apart the carpet with the Man away

why is this
so amiss
to ace jack scoffed
a little boff
with cameras off?
Jackie lit the fire
mucking in the mire
according to the wire
service in the sanctum of Talent For Hire
Ace: That's not all did you see Charlie
nose red eyes bloodshot pearly
crystals streaming down gnarly
matted whiskers quite surly
twitching like a loony? he left early

how i wish
i could dish
like this spade ace
bearing false grace
such a fast pace!
rued the outdone jack
knife behind his back
pointing out his lack
of slat-toungued comebacks leaving his jaw slack
Ace and his suit can read minds
their ilk the jacks leave behind
in the race to trap and bind
fools who end up as their find
with all positions partners powders pleasures publicly mined?

I'm Looking at the MF in the Mirror

hey motherfucker in the tie
did you see me when you looked
in the window at your reflection
at the Rich Slob Bank on Rittenhouse Square?
ties werre invented to accentuate

did you perceive the buckle
that swashed as you swished
through crowds never cresting
always cracking where you create
turbulence and trauma in the

did you see my life in that Big Bank
Window did you see my love my
longing my lot as liminal to my fellows
did you cognosce my cavil
as a cover for the caravan of broken

were you too obsessed with the fall
of your tie the crease of your trousers the
pop of your shoulder pads the sheen
of the sun on your slammed-shut
briefcase, carry lives embossed in every

rich fuck did you even
feel my breath heavy on your silk lapel
vibrate to the rhythm of my too great
flesh bearing the scars of surgery and
sickness in stuff and spirit pirouetting its

did you even notice that you'd overrun another
man with a vision that you occluded
with your stumble to prominence, blind
to any obstacle, least a middle aged teacher composer
poet in jeans on a workday, fighting for equitable

one day you too will be a castoff
the next young lion will rip off your mane
and hand it to you "as a hood ornament"
the next Amazon will rip from you client after
client until your partners lose their sense of

one day those steely blues will turn ice
cold as crows feet gather beaks will peck
until your cold gaze chills hearts no more
your buckle will have far too much to do to swash
that cloth penis will fray and point outward
and you will know the man before you dodging, imploring

Friday, March 12, 2010


when you wake tonight trembling
sensing presence on your brow
each Bellagio faux cloud
on your wall leering
through the quiet dark
pointing hidden teeth to streetlights
glowing crimson through the Roman shades
remember daddy put them there
washing the clouds on the Behr Eggshell sky
with natural ocean sponge

when you hear a murmur from above
your head a monster speaks
the mattress creaks
the bedframe squeaks
subglottal noises from a ghoulish
flatulent throat threaten to eat
the little girl that lies in the bunk below
remember daddy built your bed
the ghoul is just your brother
fighting with a nightmare

when you hear a shivering
gust that shakes the flimsy window
frames in frames in plastic sheeting
water beating
off the storm frame air is freezing
trapped in plastic pillows scraping fibers
of that crimson Roman shade
remember daddy tacked it up
capturing the wind and weather
you feel the radiator, instead

when the teddy by your pillow
starts to shake while you hear gentle
engine sounds like a motorbike
next to your ears not unpleasant
unexpected yes but friendly, soft
paw reaches out and pets you silent
the cycle sounds were Whisper, purring
remember daddy brought this cotton
ball of caring teaching you
you can bring a purr to her grateful throat

with tomorrow yet in leisure
hours in the future over Greenland
you sense the noiseless paw falls
of your pillow partner, then a door
calls you forth into the hallway
you and cat into my room creep
both alight on my bed I sleep
remember daddy’s soul forever
opened like a sand casting
like a casting just your size

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


factory opens
haze precipitates
precious sleep dances mockingly away
from my gnarled form

millions of jagged crystals
each unique beyond remediation
millions of crystals
myriad million sawblades
whirring abrading debriding

diamond grit spread on a grindstone
flay fibers in a fan like a
fishmonger lays out flounder
cheloid chemicals cut my soleus cell by cell
diatoms fillet a million mignons
from mangled muscle

Monday, March 8, 2010

On the First Green Tendril

was that the manager of the water ice
shadowed by the lattice of aluminum
sheltering the window from the impact
of an errant snowball

did i see the quickening of the vital sap
lifting up the greening tendril of ground pine moss
twisting up the muddy brick, still clad in grey brown crystals
seeping life and sun admixed

has the crumbled edifice from the snow wars
toppled in a reckless rush born of deception
ending in an eight-year-old's body slam,
grown a stubble beard of grit

as one more nor'easter threatens icy havoc
twigs waken roots, stoma open eyelids
tubers bathed in thawing runoff shiver, swelling
school's closed while my world opens

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I. (In the beginning there was the Word)

has not
been such a
breathless moment

such a
blush fluted

nothing stronger

blinding flash
of creating

exploding into life

II. (standing on common ground)

have you ever
looked a baby in the foot
from profile and, not noticing
where the melanin begins
if it does at all?

gnarled walnut finger
traces image held in
tanned maple hands
Burnt Siena-cherry baby
teeters on pink soles

just like my baby
coos grandma

III. (Seek ye beauty where it may be found)

the thicket threatened

twisting viny imports from
bowels of a casual bird
what chokes worse,
sumac or shade grass?

blades and hatchets
merge with muscle
air infused with sunlight
whispers warmth across the crown
of rose of sharon

one bud unbows its head
chartreuse grey-veined sepals stretch
makes way for the blossom

IV. (To sleep, perchance to dream)

i've been here before
dim light glows pink off the live ones
dusty pigments pinken up the dead ones
they don't call them icicle roses for nothing

see how the pink gold threads
forming candles in the misty carpet
bare pink-gold candlelight
reflected warm yet wan
The color of birth
dimmed to pallor

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dregs of the American Dream

Shambling to the door, the old man
Split the Post-Gazette as follows:
Things that matter; adverts, weather,
Real estate he'd sell, excuses.
Then the pace of war, of taxes,
Last, the sports, once to his manhood
Central. Now decried as worthless,
More a torment to the man who
Stares into his cold reflection
In the china case just past the
Pile in which recycled dreams die.

never could i gain
no man will obtain
excellence! my brain

rigidly declares
triumph flees before
boredom's pall prepares
to death

Forty years of struggle locked in
Seventy years of mist, of memory.
Wed a fertile mind soul body
Planted monoculture there
Five lost children call you "other"
Only grandchild bears your witness
By a bird call you once taught him

Legacy written under claims of
Rights of age and skill of rhetoric
Finally, power fading, shame
Strategies could not assemble
What was born already broken
Broken now, your body resting
Freed from one last lecture given
Look at what is left - a relic
Of his time cast bitterly
Into ours.

one took one who could not love him
one found an angel
one joined with another victim
two so certain of their path
they stayed alone

surveying my aging body
my shopworn life I
see my father's footsteps lengthen
( He a 10 1/2, I a 12)
overtaken by his shadow
his pain my shame
am I more or less

more polished yes
spit-shine on canvas sneakers
more money no - more debt
degrees lie fallow
more waist line tells a different story

less healthy less fit
failed heart in a strong body
less confident less brash
tagged by this century's introspection
aware the success machine
the American Century
is broken, rusting

Father, we are one - failures!
Dregs of the drink called American Dream!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Good Day

i can't do this with mama
snow angels in his eyes she plunges in hip deep
walls i can't climb

she's worky real watchy dad's sportsy
my soul dances over this snow blanket
no food for days

filling buckets full of snow pack
packing hours into memories
i'm cold mama

bombs fly. Abomasnow!
eyes fixed on plum plaid jacket
paws sink in drifts

watch me hide behind the wood crate
not a care for cold for time for hunger
hide in bamboo

dad's not watching rush the castle
fusillade of cloying crystals
tracks in the field

GOTCHA overturned a turret
(changes rules while plowing forward)
hush stalk pounce kill

jumped his castle! daddy, how?!
Special Forces dad detachment
did i do that

now i surrender daddy tackles
tumbling in reflected sun-blind
claws slice mouse guts

how come you never hurt me daddy
hoist him like a sun-bronzed trophy
thanks old deu-who?

three times my weight yet never crushing
the image of my soul eclipses sun
i eat at last

this is the best day of my life
this is the best day of my life
this is a good day

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


winter blossoms grow by the hour
pampas grass waves white
frozen flowers born in wind
plucked by the next gust

transported, i
walk the fields of winter wheat
waving white as donkey carts
drag a scythe promising
chlyeb for the weekdays
challah for Sabbath
potato vines threaten to withhold their tubers
hiding under blankets

cold cotton crumbles across my cheeks
fluffy frozen memories
shtetl children in bomb shelters
stitched from rags and skins
escape the hungerby throwing snow
eating snowcones
without syrup

retreating to black bread and cholent
potatoes bob in the pot like marshmallows
in our chocolate milk

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Chat Room

sound coalesced
from chatter
from scatter
blown to fluted glass
yet unfixed

magic dances
swirl and freeze
a frieze in time
yet sublime

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Massachusetts Massacre

A Massachusetts pallor sets my soul
Aquiver, cloying vapor, no escape
From pending loss, of dreams digested whole.
Election leaves depression in its wake.

But one year since Obama set us free
When Slash! The strings our every move controlled
Sliced by Hope's blade, regained our liberty
The puppeteers their toys cast in their hold.

Their trap, a liar in a pickup cries,
"I'm one of you!" Compelling puppet brings
A veiled agenda, writ by moneyed ties
Four million puppets blithe retie their strings.

"I am not dead!" the year old baby cries.
The facts quash Truth! I mourn while Freedom dies.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slap. Wrap. Stick. Too thick.
Willing Workers On Organic Co-op.
Source. Label. Price unstable.
One wave. In the basket drop.

Slap. Wrap. Too thin bin.
Craggy boss with one-word Fix.
"Add," grunts. Fragment shunts.
Wrap again. The member picks.

Slap. Wrap. Styrofoam
Blue for bluefish, white for meat.
Shift ends, now go home.
Shelf of free-range cows complete.

Shrink wrap. Butcher's knife
Hair nets, gloves, tools of the trade.
Buy our food, prepare, serve kids
Your dollars my employment made.

Slap. Wrap. Simple tasks
Mindful no-mind members' gift.
Link intention with your meal;
Collective will creates your shift.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


parents teacher rabbi
I turn a page
ask que sucedrá
el va a leer la Tora
his golden hand grips
el yad de plata
india ink swims in parchment

they wonder
amigo que no conocemos
responded to a post
para traductor en su templo
faulty spanish
no falta corazón
the child his parents
ticotora judiotico
love needs no dictionary
orgullo sin traducción

In a day my own
judiolatinos chapin-ebraos
lisp letters off twisted tongues
einam y'cholim they can't
no pueden
erase the retroflex
from the awrrrr to form a resh
the distant errrrr-re
no closer than the hebrew
twisting sinuous across these
pages I translate
en la memoria

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why am I stuck?

Mei Nu, your Lao Ren calls you across the cold water
A day long by JP4
A week long by arctic tern
Microwaved body tangles doubting
Questions draw blood at the dot my gut
I dither wander fritter
Timergy besotted with lust and longing

Cannot move without moving
Cannot think without thinking
Cannot calculate without
Mantra, "Think, Answer!:
Will the carbon offset
Balance the forces
Clawing my spirit
From my soul?