Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Deep End

I’ve gone to the deep end of life
And swam back to safety
I played with fire and ran with scissors
I tripped the light fantastic then fell over myself
Lessons remain largely unlearned
It’s so easy to get lost
To not see the trees for the forrest of....
What is that forrest?
Why is it there and why do I keep trying?
Because that’s what the problem is, you see
That yearning for more
More answers
More knowledge
More of life
The search is continuous and fraught with perils unseen
Biting of the serpent's apple is only a snack
There are entire meals that we can sit down to
In the end we just devour ourselves
Eroding, eating away, decaying
The debris of the universe
But there’s never a point in quitting
The curse of being pain free is to try the painful
Wisdom begets risk
We know no other way
So be it
Dive in, dive in

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Football Game

The long bare legs of young women
Who are wearing very short pants
Or very short skirts
Some pale, some tanned, some of darker skin
They are walking, dancing, bouncing on a warm Autumn afternoon
On their way or outside the football stadium
The middle aged man, whose daughters are of the same age or older
Can’t not look but is careful not to leer
There are so many
There are also children
And the elderly
People of all ages
Flocking to the football game
Rival colleges set to do battle on the grid iron
The middle aged man loves these Saturdays
Bands play and march
Organized cheers and chants fill the air
Long held traditions are honored
New wrinkles added in the name of money
The commercialization of amateur athletics
Yet the flow of money is not enough
Other sports must be cut
Where does all the money go?
The middle aged man grumbles at the thought
The football teams play
Passes, runs, tackles, blocks, kicks
The home side is superior and establishes dominance
This makes the air seem crisper
The musical notes clearer
The pretty girls even prettier
The setting is magnificent
An 87 year old stadium nestled in a canyon
Hills and trees ring one side
Vistas of the Bay Area the other
With the home team’s win, these views seem all the more
The more breathtaking
No breath is actually taken
More like given
Life seems richer to the middle aged man as he walks home
Especially as he watches those bare legs

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clarion Call

Testosterone fueled violence
Manic frenzies of flying fists
Ugly language spewed angrily
The death of calm
And of reason
Respect demanded but seldom offered
Lies, thefts and vandalism
Poor, desolate lives of repressed agony
Relief sought through artificial highs
Sex used to express desperation 
But love hides there
Compassion, dignity and grace too
The challenge is to draw it out
Mobilize the rich and powerful
(Not to mention the middle masses)
They must see the broken lives
The communities in death throes
They must be rallied to help
So many others are merely diversions
From the crying need for urban relief
How have we forgotten?
Never mind, we must remember
Care for and love our lowest
Cause them to reside on a higher plain
Give them from our bounty
Challenge the angels that they secretly are
By challenging the angels that we secretly are
Restore respect and dignity
Or we are all lost

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elegy for an Inner City

Clashes at midnight
Strife in the streets
The bright glaring color of danger
Illusory hopes dashed by ugly realities
No way for some to crawl back from the abyss
Their dreams crumbled up into slimy decaying little wads
Escape is momentary and only creates more hunger
Flying fists and gunshots define lives forever
Permanent scars from deadly hates born of raging loss
The epic tumble of cities into quiet nightmares
Hollow words from officials do nothing to soothe or change
Flowery orations from holy men fill voids but soon evaporate
The dead do not rise
The wounded heal in body but not in soul
A sunny day suggests hope
But today replicates yesterday as it will tomorrow
Still we push on
Ever determined that our small efforts will make a difference
Without this conviction there is no hope
The human spirit is indomitable
Without it...cities are so much junk

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Responds Well to Praise

Atta boy
Good job
Way to go
You’re a star
Say five positives for every negative
Get back in your seat, Johnny
-- Now I owe him five!
Johnny stop talking to Sally
-- Now I owe him ten!!
Gotta put a gold star on his homework
Darn, he didn’t do it
Johnny, quit throwing spitballs
-- Now I owe him 15!!!
Good choice not to strangle anyone, Johnny
-- Down to 14
Focus back to class, they’re patiently waiting
Get out your notebooks
Nice job of getting out your notebook, Johnny
-- 13 to go
Johnny, stop hitting Sally with your notebook
Up to 18 now
Those who can teach!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Sub’s Day

On the bus with the sad, the disaffected, the forlorn
They stare at the passing concrete
Lost in empty thoughts, dreading another lost empty day
Walk a few blocks to the school through an industrial area
Cold and unwelcoming
Yesterday’s dreams litter the sidewalks
Desolate minds create this blighted version of life
Cawing of crows an appropriate accompaniment
The job is at a school for rejects in a rejected district
The flotsam of the jetsam of other schools
Angry or stoned or bored or beaten 
Or all that and more
Failure permeates as they share a desperate destiny of defeat
Can’t fool ‘em about it either
Already bitter at 17, cynical, savvy
Resigned to lifetimes of loss
If they think about it
So they avoid thinking
At all
These are young veterans of jousts with police, judges and parole officers
School a safe haven, a place to share war stories and to hatch plans, and to chill
For a precious few, it’s an avenue of escape, a last chance
I’m stoic, silent but flexible
Showing no fear, nothing
Ready and glad to help
Putting in a day’s work, frustrated that I can’t do more
Anxious to leave though
Go home to a place where smiles beam sincerely
And pleasantries are exchanged freely
Where there is a trust and hope and eager anticipation 
Of another day

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is There a Map to Eden?

The roar of the sunlit freeway
And the wail of catastrophic collisions
Sully the sanctity of precious perfection
How profane the assault of engines on our senses
Where is the tranquil and serene?
Is there a map to Eden?
We need a respite from the bombastic bluster
There must be a route to lightness through heaven
An extended trip to blissful beginnings 
Under shade trees of Saturday with drizzles from below
Misty laughter and fuzziness all around
Find the route to gorgeous nights of sexy freedom
Leave behind the metal and the mashings
Say farewell to jack hammering hate speech
Time to savor the delicious laughter 
In the long thrilling afternoons of kisses

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Traveling back in time
I’m 11 years old
My wife is 12
We hold hands and fly
We sing at Vietnam War protests
Our voices rise to heaven
She’s wearing a dress and saddle shoes
I’m wearing cuffed jeans and Keds
We smell of kids playing on a warm dusty Autumn afternoon
We go to poetry readings and bob our heads 
Find a party and sniff the wisps of marijuana smoke
Invisible to all, we smile conspiratorially at one another
At the party we do a silly dance to Jefferson Airplane
I steal a kiss on the cheek
She frowns then smiles
Oh how we giggle
Holding hands we soar again
All the fantastic trippy way to a Beatles concert
We are kids, but so in love
More flying
Boo the president at a press conference
No one can hear us, but so what
We laugh at our audacity
Pet the president’s beagle, it’s in on our secret
We visit the places we’ll live in as grown ups
Just can’t relate to them now
Chewing gum and exploring each others’ eyes as we soar
Sorry we’ll have to wake up soon
But glad we’ll still be together
What a fun little trip we had
To 1965

Friday, October 22, 2010

When John Barleycorn Was My Friend

Drink drank drunk
Long a speciality
Quaffing with mates in convivial bars
Or sotted alone at home creating worlds in my mind
The slur of the word
The stumble of the step
Saying without thinking
And doing so loudly
Believing my own lies
Making up new ones
Echoing them wherever I go
The life of the party
The death of my pride
Running asunder over anyone in my way
Next mornings should have been a clue
The head filled with little jack hammers
The body run over by a tank
The stomach angry and defiant
So of course
A hair of the dog
The pattern ad infinitum
Guilt washed away by more liquid
Remorse saved for another time
The exhilaration of the next high
Living in the sloshy liquored world of my mind
So much more “FUN” than the “REAL WORLD”
Too much is just a start
Limits do not exist
Nothing matters anyway, except of course, the liquor
Then at last...
Spiraling, diving, falling, plunging
Lucky to crash
To find myself broken, beaten and lost
Seeing at last a glimpse of how I really was
The world I’d wrought for myself
Hoping to make a new life
Not easy
But knowing the alternative
Is to go back
No thanks
No more for me

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Hour

Roaring bellowing drunk
Inhospitable whirling
Slurring not just words but thoughts
Bliss O happy elated merry joyous song
Spitting angry desperate rage
Bleary eyed and bleary minded
A sodden body
Copious sentences of nonsense
Vows loudly proclaimed
Soon forgotten
Hugs and kisses proffered
None accepted
Desires aplenty
Lacking the means to attain them
Heavy breath approaching a snort
Sonorous wild retching fuming
Hysterical laughing
Tripping falling rising awkwardly
Deadened brain wakening occasionally to spout
Stuff and nonsense and no sense to the stuff
On the verge of crisis careening towards disaster
Managing always that somehow of surviving
Finding bed
Sleep easily loudly deeply
Awaken to the sounds of armies marching within the brain
The body feeling as if trampled by armies
Armies everywhere and all battles lost
Deep darkness of mood
Gripping regret tearing at the psyche
Wallet depleted
Remorse so powerful as to sag the body
Never again never again never again
Until tonight
First round’s on me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Relax, It’ll Be Okay

Stay true to your reality
Don’t leave it for anything
It is your walking womb
Judge yourself as you’d have others judge you
See yourself through as many eyes as you can get a hold of
Know your place within your own vision
Don’t step out of what you are
Unless you’re pretending
Stay alert
Be mindful
Don’t take any chances
For god sakes hold tight
Keep a grip
See how it is, memorize it
Be the change you seek at your own risk
Don’t listen to those voices
You’ve got to be careful
It’s dangerous outside of your mind
Take pills if you need to
They’ll keep you centered
Calm you down
In fact, its very important that you don’t overthink
There are plenty of people who’ll break down the complex for you
In fact, it’s a good idea for you to watch TV
Very soothing
Lot of answers there and plenty to keep your mind “occupied”
Remember that people are judging you
Keep a mirror handy
Both a real and figurative one
Are you getting all this?
If you’re having trouble, get some help
Don’t try this alone
It’s scary out there
When in doubt just be sure to be yourself
Who you are
See how you are
And don’t worry!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Strong and sure
A calm sense of right
An anger towards the wrong
Still, full of fun
A lightness and joy
Keeping depression at bay
Not by denying, but by facing life as it is
Rejecting the cruel of it
Embracing its warmth
Ever curious about the undiscovered
Always seeking new truths
While suspicious of old facts
Open and awake and unafraid
Suspicious of guarantees
Embracing promises
Happy to meet those in need
Provided they can and want to be helped
Knowing when to be cautious
Knowing when to gamble
Loved, loved and more loved
A lover times ten
Healthy in body, mind and spirit
Expecting amends not apologies
Forgetting wrongs
Remembering always kindness
Never proud but always satisfied
All the things I want to be

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Miss Allard Lowenstein

I miss Allard Lowenstein
He was a politician
Murdered at age 51
Husband and father of three
Worked on Civil Rights
A leader in the anti war movement
During Vietnam
Bespectacled army vet
Inspirational, motivator, organizer
One term congressman
Widely admired by fellow liberals
Thought of him today when I saw
An item about someone named Allen Lowenstein
Allard made it on Nixon’s enemies list
(Wish I had but I was too young)
He once said “The question should be,
is it worth trying to do,
not can it be done.”
I like that
I like activists, people who are committed
Fighters for others, for causes
Not out for the money
We need more guys like Allard
Bleeding hearts
Starry eyed
Committed and caring
Dreamers who are also schemers
Hey! He had the same birthday as my Dad
Two heros of mine
I miss them both

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Nonsense

Why are tables of elements periodic?
Can they not have consistency?
Regularity is a good thing
Just ask your bowels
A word, by the way, that rhymes with vowels
I quite fancy them in conjunction with
I also like reading the works of Thomas Wolfe
Who was human and not in a pack
Which is something you do before a trip
Unless its the kind where you fall down
The other Fall is a season
But not one for cooking meat
Which as a vegetarian I never do
A word, mind you, that is a homophone of dew
I do not refer there to a gay telephone
Not that I would tell a phone anything at all
And that’s all I wrote
(Except for this rather long parenthetical bit
which could amuse and bemuse if I ever manage
to get to the point which is unlikely given that I have
Actually that reminds me of a funny story 
That could serve as an addendum 
To what I’ve written so far
And in fact would be but now I’ve forgotten the story
Something about punctuation and sentences
Or being sentenced to punctuate
Maybe a semi colon was involved
Or a quarter colon 
Or an intestinal one
(Took a lot of guts to write that)
Anyone mind if I stop now?
Yes, I’m presupposing that someone has read this far
Or that far
Far be it from me to presume
Or exhume
Or resume
I best be off now.....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The State of the World

From the primordial ooze came many blessings
Clock towers, palace maids, salad dressings
As a civilization there’s much that’s great
The hockey puck, the radial tire and serving plate
We should all rejoice and say yippee
For the computer, mouse trap and teepee
Much around us is worth a cheer
Like catacombs and the fishing pier
There’s also lots of fun things to do
Bouncing, writing and playing Clue
Some of us enjoy dancing and singing
Others go to dinner when bells start ringing
Listening to comedians is very nice
Some jokes are so funny I repeat them twice
Of course there are lots of places to go
Like duck ponds, museums and the city of Bordeaux
There’s much for which we can be most grateful
It’s only a shame some people are hateful
I wish that kindness ruled the day
And instead of wars people would play
So the world is not perfect that is for sure
So for what is ailing us let’s find a cure

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Soup

The old man ate his soup slowly
All his concentration was devoted to the task
The pretty young waitress sashayed over to his table to deliver crackers
After her shift at the cafe she would audition for a part in a musical
Francesca, her name tag announced
She smiled at the old man
“Everything okay?” she asked perkily
The old man looked up, at first annoyed that his eating was interrupted, but them glad to see such a pretty face
He hadn’t really noticed her before
“Fine, thanks” and he returned her smile
Another customer came in and sat down heavily
He was a large bulky middle aged man in a suit
He opened a menu as if annoyed with it and stared at the offerings
The waitress cheerily greeted him, although in this case her heart wasn’t in it
The large man barked his order and slammed the menu shut
The old man frowned as he looked at the businessman, trying to project his disapproval
To the old man, the businessman had broken the spell of the soup and the cute waitress
At last he finished the soup and pushed the empty bowl forward
“Anything else? Francesca asked
“Just more water, please”
The old man and the waitress liked each other
They were complimentary
One was full of hopes and dreams the other was full of memories...and dreams
Each appreciated the other as a fellow traveler in different phrases of a long journey
The businessman snapped open a newspaper, disgusted with most everything he read
The world was full of mistakes, people doing stupid things that offended his sensibilities or made his life harder
He dismissed his memories a sentiment only to be trotted out to fill in certain conversations
His hopes and dreams were distilled into goals and bottom lines to be ticked off if and when met
The old man got up to leave, unable as he rose, to suppress a burp
He looked around embarrassed
However, no one had minded or noticed
The waitress saw him leave and forgot for a moment about the audition that was making her nervous and excited
The waitress said to him, “bye, have a nice day sir”
“Thank you, you too” he smiled at her, then looked at the businessman and frowned again
He stepped outside and zipped his windbreaker closed against a sudden chill
The waitress brought the businessman his food, eschewing the pleasantries that would have been ignored anyway
She had 25 minutes left in her shift

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Power of Love

Hercules you bum, you did nothing for me
Not impressed with feats of strength
I like feats of understanding
Those who dare to care impress me
The compassionate and kind
The lovers and givers are to be praised
Those builders of giant clouds of love
The erectors of throbbing phalluses of nurturing
The wet fertile receptive crescents of ummmm
We need armies of niceness thrusting and sucking peace
More beauty please -- in large desperate numbers of ooohhh
We need powerful clutches and snatches of happiness greedily grabbed at by one and all
Strongmen need not apply unless they derive their strength from the all encompassing  
love of their tribe
And only if they use it for the good of all living, loving creatures
That, brothers and sisters, is a feat of strength

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Art of Angels

The art of angels is 
And their talents and gifts are
The rainbow laughter of happy children can
And the melodic mellow musings of cherubs will
But when the carnivorous cravings or ogres and trolls abound, you must
So looking at deadly dadaists dancing should
All of this, of course means
Yet sometimes there is
If ever there weren’t the clams of bright-eyed cobras we would
But surely there is less of nothing and more of everything than
So shouting your perceptions and pretending to sing your opinions has
I say all this with the conviction of a reformed rambling roamer of recent ravings
(Alliteration lives!)
Happy to oblige readers
If confused I refer you all to the Book of Belongings
(All new edition with updated footnotes coming next millennium)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get in Touch With Your Inner Lunatic

Getting in touch with my insanity...ahem...
It’s really important to suppress the sanity in oneself
It’s what being an artist is all about
Look at those people rushing off to BUILDINGS
In their cubicles
Talking phone calls
Sending business emails
Reading business emails
Sharing office gossip
Rushing home to their TVs
They’re the normal ones
Maybe when they were younger they touched it
Their insanity
But have since locked it away
Trying to keep it from coming out
Look out, it’ll express itself
In too many drinks
Or depression
Or a psychotic episode
Or insomnia
Or an eating disorder
Or rages
Or sexual deviancy
You can’t keep your madness under lock and key
You try that and it’ll sneak out
Boo! There it is
Let your craziness out to play
It helps you see how you are
Express what you feel
What you want
That sanity is okay in small doses
It’ll help you pay the bills and wash the dishes
But you can’t have any fun with it
You don’t learn anything from it
And you sure don’t create anything
Or beautiful 
With it
I’m going to delve into the loony in me
Try it yourself friend
Thank me later (in a moment of sanity, perhaps)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Allen and I

In the backyard looking up at the branches of the redwood tree
Reading Ginsberg
Wondering if, one day when I was a baby
Mom pushed me in the stroller and Ginsberg walked by us
Because he and I were in the same city
When I was baby
Next door someone is doing work in their backyard
The noise disrupts the flow of my thoughts
Plus there is no breeze and it’s too hot
For my liking
Stare at the branches some more as I recline
A breeze, the noise stops
And I’m back to Ginsberg....
Maybe I looked up at him from my stroller
When I was one
He might have smiled and maybe made a face
I might have giggled
Did the one year old me think:
“I will read and love that man’s poetry many years from now”?
Or did I just giggle at the goofy face he made?
Or did our paths never cross
Hope they did
Will my daughters read this poem?
Never know in life
Never know
Maybe once I pushed one of them in the stroller
Past a famous poet
One they’ll enjoy in later years
Lot to contemplate as one stares
At the branches of the redwood tree

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stay in My Dreams

I’m hiding you in my dreams
Where no one can find you
It’ll be just you and I lovers for all time
We are a pair
Like the puffy cloud that accents the bright sun
Like the water lapping against the rocks under the pier
Like the milk that blends with my black tea
We are love
As long as we’re together
I’m sorry I can’t let you out
But my dreams are a wonderful place
Full of the orgasmic willows aside a roaring river
Rife with the loud softness of the cooing ecstasy
Replete with wandering delights in technicolor surround sound
Oh the kisses we’ll kiss
The hugs we’ll hug
The thrusting and the bumping and the shouts of sex that we’ll fuck
Will you stay?
Will you trust my heart and the leaping soaring soul that embraces
Can you come
And cum
In my dreams
You and I 
And destiny 
Have to agree
That arrangements can be made
Deals struck
Vows pledged
Together we will fight the nightmares
Defeating them through the pristine perfection of our coupling
And in joyous triumph we’ll celebrate by hopping from cloud to cloud
Through snowy mountains
Across the briny bubbling rocking socking seas
You must enter my dreams
No one will find you there
You’ll be with me and my smiles, my laughs, my jokes, my tears
Oh and my thoughts
And of course, my body
That will seek you out at every turn
For hidden in my dreams you will succumb to passion
And my oh my 
So will I