Funeral at the flea market






   my chest
   and back

in the dust        

(dead skin

to my 
& right

to search
      the secondhand        
     I've taken.

an old one 


When Night Comes

I am a secret

Delving into



worthy to channel
nothing & no one

     high pitch cry

my ears
     seem to emit

as I attempt to listen
to silence & stare at dark-
ness still searching for sen-
tient sentences

in the fading vagueness
of the translucent afterimages


In a lucid drug-induced dream
a girl with keys and dark eyes
led me through a wood

choked with bramble and briars
It is blurry now but I remember
It seems we swam uphill

Are we not drawn onward to new era?
She said, "It always circles back 
on itself, this mystery.

Follow me carefully,
never get too close,
never stray too far,

Out there where the water
swirls and whorls, and parts
awaits a giant snake, 

coiling and uncoiling,
stretching its shining black body
A snake named Palindrome."

I approached and immediately
was bitten and turned to stone
her dark eyes lifted me

she held me on the ride home,
I broke in half in her hands,

dust what once was blood,
weak what once was strong.


My fate lay in his fat hands
which always seem to flail
about wildly as he

blabbers bullshit about
red and green
production deadlines

I am constantly questioning:
What does it mean?
What am I doing here?

training to kill or be killed
within an industry
in which the rich get richer

drinking the blood
of the poor that fall through
the holes in the factory floor

My palms dripped sweat
as he had his assistant
distribute the final checks

your services are no longer needed here.
Fuck you and thanks for four years

We can escort you to the front door
(as if I have forgotten the way)

His wallet is morbidly obese
of course he is just doing what
it takes to make ends meet

Doing what it takes to fill
the space, satiate the greed

I made my way back
to my car,
inhaling deeply

a slow
calm sigh
of relief

I stared at the
the sunrise high
limit shining sweetly

through thousands
of windows
of opportunity.

Sacred Ground


There are few places left

with prehistoric roots drinking cold & clean springs

where glossy black eyes peer out of the green

open mouth of the ancient earth

accusing me of stepping

on sacred sands,

and trespassing in the last home of living stones


A word is not a word
it is a symbol 
a freedom a soul a slave
a god a religion an image a temple 
a cornerstone upon which we build 
our lives, egos, selves

all other stones will be set in reference 
at what age did we learn
the difference
between one 
or more spoken sounds?

the smallest element that may be uttered
in isolation with meaning
semantic or pragmatic

The Logos, the louse, the belief
the oxymoron, the allegory
the assonance, the holiness,
fuck, faith, breath,

a rose is a thorn is a bird 
is a feather is a sky 
is a maggot 
is a word

Bowing Out

an orderly & uneventful

so as not to detract
(or distract)

i am a lower lifeform
a filthy fingerprint
on the great green screen
 of creativity                                 they've super-imposed

 just another carbon footprint
  that's what the stars
    are telling me
                                                         (BUY) High definition
    they are arrogant as
they falsely advertise infinity
with pinpricks of light
 in their photo-shopped eyes
                                                                            gracing pages
                                                                            of best selling
     i have to sell
everything including myself
they set the scene

i immediately exit
     stage left

out of reach

I sleep in a societal cage
I rest my head on my father's bones

I accepted the death of everyone
I know long ago

Coffee can't keep me awake
I smoke a pack a day

I don't come home until
the sun begins to burn the treetops

Bleary bloodshot eyes watch words
slip across the page without lines

I automatically write
with an ethereal hand atop mine

I bought these chains
And the world reinforced the locks

I have empty hands
and a mouthful of paradox

The breath does expire
the infinite is nonexistent

and out of reach

these things are beyond
human ken to fathom at all

to thrash around for meaning,
to desperately grasp at straws


The End Of It All

I huddled in a glass-walled
booth outside the hospital,
dark clouds skulked out
of the south,

I smoked six foul smelling cigarettes,
waiting on the child
 born in Bethlehem of Judaea 
in the days of Herod the king,

April twenty-fourth,
and I was in between
a whisper and a scream
of artistic death,

Fearing the end of it all
as the old man jaywalked in the rain,
carrying a sign with a cross
carved with the words:

The end is near,
can ya spare 
some change 
for an old vet?

"I need some liquor," he said as
he grinned a gap-toothed grin,
flashing tattoos
as he held out his hands

A dagger through a rose
below King Neptune,
H o l d         F a s t
inked across his knuckles.

"It'll be over for ya'
know it son, this ain't a storm
I seen storms I thought God 
himself was ridin in them winds."

He limped away
with a handful of change
and my last cigarette,

Night came,
A child was born.

if only in a dream

 Immeasurable & dreamlike
disconnected scenes
flash behind my eyes,
& remind me to look back,

tell me that I have forgotten,
that I am slowly erasing what
you made within me.

Brownie batter, and blunts,
we drank vodka
straight from the bottle.

There is an old photo:
My hair is ridiculous colors
resembling a snow cone,

I may have been fifteen &
You had your hand
on my shoulder.

I have grown out
of that boy cocoon,
I am stronger & older,

reaching up, and out to the light
I am forever indebted
you have my gratitude brother

We lived on that road,
we would walk in the cold
just to smoke,

that potent smoke, bittersweet
in our lungs, once formed a blue-gray
halo around your head.


Bad rap music &
grungy guitar amps,
rusted strings &
calloused fingers,

those ever present video
games & "adult" magazines,

angry outbursts at
violent films,
baseball, sawdust
and spilled beer.

An orange extension cord
looped lazily across
a silver step ladder.

I never would have known
just how much
We are all connected

we both walk that road
as ghosts my friend,
because that me 
passed away with you

I would give up my own laughter
to hear you joke again,
to hear that horrible grammar,
if only in a dream.

-For R.G.R.

Starring Death As Himself

Good mourning Uncle, you are missed,
(sage, rambler, floating forever adrift)

Let us personify Death for a stanza or so,
let us personify Death for a second.

Let us say that cliche rictus snarled at you from the roadside as those long tapered talons outstretched for your chest,
and toyed sadistically yet childlike with that life giving muscle pumping, pumping, pumping crimson faster rapidly. Panicked.

Let us create an epic fantastic tale of some dark cloaked skeletal stranger wielding a scythe standing beneath that tree luring you headlong,
and sniffing at those fumes wafting from the empty Wild Irish Rose 
bottles clinking in the floorboard.

Let us express how He tilted His attenuated Death's-head as he heard your falling grace note, and He lifted His hands in preparation for the reaping
as you (as Thomas suggests) fought against the dying of the light as you raged against that oncoming night.

That is heroic almost, that is epic,
but is that realistic? Is that what happened?
No, I'm afraid, the answer is no.

There was only you
as the tires yelped on the wet black pavement,
the sound of aluminum cans rattling in the back.

and the sickly sweet stench of stale beer
spilled across the passenger seat,
half eaten sandwich flung from
under your makeshift bed.

You swerving sloppily.
You, suicidal as usual?
You moving a little too quickly.
You couldn't correct it.

That massive van plunged
from street to tree,
wrapping around an oak,
snapping metal back like rubber.

You slipped away amid the wreckage,
You lay undiscovered for days.

Prunus Avium

You are my only witness,
gnarled gaunt tree

with moss buried branches
wooden yet stone-still

without movement
you point that
black finger at me

You whisper and threaten
in accusation (or envy?)

Not tonight tree,
I have no time for 
your jealousy (or guilt)

I have this ability
to perambulate
not those stiff arthritic limbs!

gnarled gaunt tree
you lichen-cloaked

you hypocrite  
do not gawk at me,
I still have my hatchet!

you alone have seen
these stained hands' capability.

Bees will not pollinate
your fragrant white flowers

Birds will not eat
your small sweet cherries

I stand, I swing,
I sweat & scream

Your prehistoric roots
will not writhe

to reveal
my secret.

The Dignified Transfer

With no intentions or words I begin,
just an idea, and a fear,
I am bereft of any respect I had left
for our “democracy"

I dreamed distantly of someone
that may have been my brother,

He was given the dignified transfer,
The purple heart and a folded flag

I have a microphoned heartbeat  
in front of a crowd,

They wait with bated breath.
He came home and 
I. Can’t. Speak.
This eulogy should easily utter itself,

I walk away from the mourning din
 let me get back to my own safe home

without dead soldiers
 without bullet holes in corrugated tin
  without these tears and anger
   without this oil, money and blood
    without this kid-hero 
in a shining box worth more than my car.

The bittersweet pride of dying for a country that only seems 
to plot to spread
a couldn’t care less- stressed out- economic disease


He was given the dignified transfer
conducted promptly upon arrival.

we all thought we would be somewhere else by now

4 A.M. (an alarm clock demon screams)
We all thought we would be somewhere else
we could be so much more than we are

5 A.M. (driving the drive)
Aren’t we all philosophers, writers, musicians,
artists, poets, painters? 

12:30 (catching my breath)
We all have some skill, or some passion
we could happily do (day in, and day out)

clock in- and clock out-
herd mentality, we are sheep,
we are cattle,
we are aging puppets,
twitching marionette chattel.

our young strings attached 
to the fingers of the man
that has the check in his hand.

The gossip, the chatter,  the small talk,
the language of machines:
the mechanical click and dull dry thud
The serpentine hiss of pneumatics.

4:45 (escape)
the alarm buzzes, the gray block walls surround
we all thought we would be somewhere else by now

words written in snow

There were words written in snow
when I was ten,

Holding tightly with painfully cold hands to
My twisted, dark tree branch pen

Filling the white with these words,
These fluid symbols that are ever shifting,
and flowing

Serving the same purpose as they did that day.

My eyes slid so easily across that page,
In wonder at the sounds I could create.

Just by these letters forming upon
the blank and barren thought,

scrawled across winter
                clumsily scribbled
                                without meaning
thought, form, or rhythm

Dead Art

I never chose this dead art,
never wanted to perch atop tombstones 

scrawling erratically with my hands becoming fossils,
scribbling haphazardly on any tabula rasa.

I didn't ask for this 
aversion to vacuity

I didn't ask for this internal voice demanding
that I battle makeshift monsters,

I am tilting at windmills
I am challenging thunder.

I have no blade, I clinch my pen
raise it as a shield in my defense
No answer is forthcoming
I can will no words to appear

What obstacle blocks their formation?
my palms have been pierced  

I saw fractures form from the conception
red revealed slowly from the split

wet whispers of mortality
rivulets down my wrists

I have maimed only myself
in melee against imagined beasts.

Nothing can fully capture the human heart
there is always some element lost,

when a performance is recorded,
when a painting becomes a print.

There is a hollowness where 
something just can't be expressed

no medium can
convey the condition.

I am eating my paints
I am drinking the thinner

I have pthalo blue on my tongue
and lemon yellow on my fingers


My Center

From that first breath I inhaled,
when my mouth lingered near your neck, a hunger grew.
There is no better word for it, there is nothing closer to truth.

The desperate urge, the incessant longing
formed somewhere in my center.
The gaze we shared, the nervous glances,

Building cathedrals of painted glass between my throat, and chest.
We were constructing elaborate works of art.
Immaculate in detail, and such delicate design.

A glowing realization dawns an exhilaration of knowing
that you are the one that has shown 
me my sanctuary 

From the first breath I inhaled near your neck
You are the piece I was missing. You are the answer to my riddle,
You are the center of me you are my middle.

There is no other altar worthy of my worship.
There is no other’s praise I would sing.


        Consider this pitiful rhythm
hallelujah to you. You are hazel & evergreen.
I am gray & blue.

You are the best & most holy part of me,
You are the stars that have always inspired,

A muse moving words through me.
You are the sea without horizon that makes me
          breathe deeper,
because I believe
I am so insignificant, silent, & small. 
Jazz music doesn’t resolve.

It only circles rhythm & melody.
It is improvised free, always changing

what it should, & could be telling me.
 Question & answer,
Singing back breathlessly.
You are music, you are meaning.
This is my philosophy: you confirm my being,

affirm my existence,
      such a small dimple to possess such power.

     No more dreaming
of rhythms I cannot create,
no more redundant words of metaphor or music.

 just like jazz
this cannot resolve,
& I can only improvise as it flows

I can only close my eyes & float.

All While Listening To Holy Ginsberg

The junkies sell their bodies
in bathrooms like
they're manuscripts

they have manuscript
drafts of masterpiece novels
describing the deepest

eccentricities of themselves
they scribbled stanzas
of gibberish

on confluential synchcronicity
they have drawn a map of

the rivers that merge
just south of 7th Avenue
smell of sewage and lost virginity

the country has lost its virginity
when gas is thirty-five.ninety nine
a gallon & we can no longer

drive our coffins on
& the nonsense

these smiley-glad-hands spew
while sipping
their bitter black designer coffee

benzedrine-caffeine-nicotine addled
slumlord won't answer the phone call
of those sleeping in the cold

those sleeping with the cold needles
one bedroom apartment
painting on the walls late at night

painting wartorn landscapes
on walls late at night
inhaling deeply the aerosol
amazed at the blue lights

the mechanical skeletons
controlling the siege engines
with the wailing blue lights and sirens

have never seen them huddled
together under the same blanket
all too human under

the same blanket
skin to skin
pulling in warmth

in defiance
it all

all while
to holy Ginsberg

cry an
out of his

the way we saw the world

The way we saw
the world's fury
in our youthful glory,

vivid worms of paint
as if squeezing fresh
fruit from the tube

in careless
& inspired

blood oranges &
fire pomegranates.

October embers
leaping to the
empty sky canvas,

casting lamp black
shadows on
scumbled undergrowth.

Warm sun made
of cadmium
& glowing titanium.

Our flesh,
in essence,
a beautiful blend of it all.