Friday, November 11, 2016

What the Eye Sees

work in progress

The mote in my eye conceals the flaws
The words from your mouth reveal. In awe
I sit, dazzled, glazed, until the claw
Of doubt creeps out to unseal the door
Where the hidden goblins congeal and  store
the deep, despairing pain I’ll feel if anymore
Of this mote in my eye unseals.

The motein my eye conceals the flaws
Of all you do, the lying, the deals, and more
As your tentacle fingers steal food from the poor
Lawyers connive, in suits and heels, to pour
Fire waves fed with kerosene, and ravens caw
At tent towns under darkness seal. And when I saw
If I saw, through tears, the movie reel with music score
Of Truth in memory and Justice to heal, this festering sore
As the mote in my eye unseals.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


“Unfortunately, there is no mistake,” she said, closing the file.
“You can’t do anything? Anything?”
“I can call around, see if there is space at one of the courtesy hotels, but we’re booked.”
I looked at my friend. She shrugged. “Fine. We’ll stay. Two beds, right?”
“Your reservation is for a king.”
Celeste whispered, “It’ll be fine. A king bed is huge. Let’s stay.”
But I didn’t want the bed to be huge. I was going to be in the same room, the same bed as Celeste, for three days. Agony. 
“It’ll be fine. Chill. We’re going to have a good time here, I promise. You’ll pick up all sorts of new skills, meet lots of people. For me? Please?” Celeste smiled, the dimple in her right cheek peeking at me.
“Okay, fine. Let’s just do what we came here to do.”  The desk clerk handed us the keycards and vouchers for complimentary cocktails to compensate us for the inconvenience.
Great.  A conference I didn’t even want to be at because I’m not a writer or a poet or an agent or anything.  One room, one bed, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Celeste had picked up a few boxes of cardbordeaux, some white zinfandel, sangria and a case of some limited edition IPA for me.  Our plans were to get plastered together, but not to be plastered together. Man plans and gods laugh. Ha ha.
She put two six-packs and the white zinfandel in the mini fridge. “I’m going to donate the sangria and the cardbordeaux to the greater good, take them down to the office later,” Celeste said as she lined up her toiletries in the bathroom and hung her clothes in the closet.  “Two big towels, two hand towels, two washcloths.  That’ll be fine. I’m going to shower. Be a doll and get some ice, I don’t think five minutes in the fridge will do anything for it.”
I filled the ice bucket and returned to the sound of running water and singing. Celeste liked to sing in the shower.  She claimed it muffled her atonality, but that wasn’t true.  The atonality, not the muffling.  I loved listening to Celeste sing, in the car, on her porch, and now, in the shower.  It was a nice change from listening to her cry.
Celeste cries a lot. With me, anyway.  Guess I’m the shoulder of choice for this girlfriend did that, that boyfriend did this, her parents sucked, her job was meaningless, her friends were thoughtless, yadda yadda.  Singing was sweet.
I filled a large glass with ice and zinfandel, opened an IPA and drank.  The water stopped, but Celeste continued singing, something about a hippopotamus for Christmas, then segued into Rascal Flatts’ “Broken Road.”
And then she opened the door.
Celeste was naked except for the towel wrapped around her hair.  A pair of Dias de Los Muertos skulls surrounded by roses were tattooed over her mastectomy scars.  She smiled.
“I told you there were just enough towels. Oh good, I’m so thirsty. How ‘bout them Mets?”  She picked up the glass sipped, and winked at me.
It was going to be an interesting three days.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why I Love I-4 Traffic

And I thank the stars and the moon
And, most of all,
The traffic gods
Who blessed me

With a child,
Who, chatting with a friend,
A young man, newly married,
But on his own,
single for the weekend,

“Oh we haven’t had a girls night out

Chatting on phones
Filled with films
And distractions
And traffic reports
From WESH drones
That they’re too mature
To fight the crowds
On Saturday night
When there is server life
and real estate deals
And anyway

There is no after party, either.

I see the headlines
See her car out front
Text the young ones
And go to the new technology of
“Safe Check In.”

My son is there,
With a rainbow flag and a black ribbon
across his beloved face.

I breathe.

I breathe,

Grateful that poor planning
And construction and the curse
Of turnpike traffic crawls
And I-4 gridlock
Gave me more time to love my children.

I bring cases of water to the line at
The Big Red Bus.
I cannot donate.
It is too soon since my last donation.

It is too soon.

I climb the stairs,
Kiss her sleeping shoulder
Remembering the Towers,
Fallen icons of our other home
And light a candle
For the fathers
Who dread the phone that will not ring
this Father's Day,
The phone that will never ring again.

Rain Through Painted Glass

Thin scratch in the paint covered window
If I tilt my head
and squint
I’ll see a raindrop

I never thought about the sky
clouds and glitter in the dark
rain was a frowning slippery road to grumble at
torrents of elevated humidity and flood calling cards
leakstains in the corner above the door

I never thought about the wind
knocking down branches and rooftops
now blue tarp covered wrecks
rare scattered days of open windows
low drone of the neighbor’s motorbike

I never thought about the rancid heat
killing new plants and inciting passions
even when the only passion is the next fix
sweat soaked shirts peeled off in the shower
like orange skins dry scent rising

But now all I have is
to think
and squint at the scratch
in the painted over window.

Teshuvah, Tefilla, Tzedakah

Once, if I were honest, more than once, much more,
I wish I still lived alone
Just me, my pens, my books
And the ducks, murmuring under the street lamp.
Train whistles,
Who’s ready? Who’s willing? Who’s able?
            All Aboard!

Bagadnu, gazalnu ,dibarnu dofi:
But I do not live alone.
Other people, things, inhabit this temporary home,
            of bodies and offal
            On the search for real
I, responsible for detritus, distracted and rerouted
by not alone. Home is a vial of ash.

Heevinu, v'hirshanu:
In my heart, I am always alone.

Midnight.  I feed the ducks, throwing stale bread upon the water.
At sunrise, they sit on the edge of the eave and
Stare through the pane.
I am afraid that they, hungry, will break the glass.

I am a walking suicide.

Tafalnu sheker:
I am more alone than I am with
More surprised when not surprised by the shadows of others
As they talk in the galleries
And I make tea and sandwiches
And salt the buttered bread
Memory of the dead and nearly dead and might as well be dead and draped mirrors
Playacting that I connect with those I serve.

Rashanu, shichatnu,Tiavnu, tainu, titanu:
The conductor holds the door, impatient,
Calling me night after night.
All aboard, where’s your ticket,
Reading numbers inked on the inside of my forearm.

The ducks sing Adonai dayan ha-emet
And then I hear nothing.


Teshuvah, Tefilla and Tzedakah[Ma’avreen et roa ha’gezeirah]

Repentence, Prayer and Charity Temper Judgement’s Severe Decree

Adonai dayan ha-emet: God is the True judge
Baruch atah Adonai, elohainu melach Haolem, dayan ha-emet.
The Hebrew blessing on hearing of a death :
Blessed is the Eternal One, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge.

Ashamnu-we have tresspassed
Bagadnu- we have dealt treaturously
gazalnu-we have robbed
Dibarnu dofi- we have spoken slander
heevinu- we have acted perversly
v'hirshanu-we have done wrong
zadnu- we have acted presumptuously
hamasnu- we have done violence
tafalnu sheker- we have practiced deceit
rashanu- we have acted wickedly
shichatnu- we have dealt corruptly
tiavnu-we have committed abomination
tainu- we have gone astray
titanu- we have led others astray

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Arbor Wist

Arbor Wist

Spread wide, I drape the arbor
With scent and scattered petals
Shadow evocation of little girls with
Frill filled baskets.

Bored, alone, I gaze across the path,
Over the stone wall
To the St Johns
That now deserted waterway
Once a hotbed of commerce.
A sculler crew plies their craft
Stroke stroke stroke
The murmur of the drummaster beating galley time.

A child stands on the wall,
Her mother paralyzed with fear
Until a stranger throws an arm out,
Swings the child to safety
And carries her off to the sprawling banyon tree.
I hear him say, climb here. Mama, come, she’s fine.

The stranger approaches me
Takes a seat on my concrete bench
Dabbles his toes in lily pond
Staring out at the amber sky.

He turns to the woman,
The woman I hadn’t notices in my sculling revery.
She clasps an open copy of Virgil’s Aeneid.
The murmuring was her voice, slow Latin,
Rounding the words.

He turns to her, intent on her profile,
the curve of her nose
the length of her fingers on the page.
Leans over and brushes the scar on her shoulder with his lips.
I drop some petals on her book
And close my vines around them.