Archive for the 'Poetry' Category


Fragments from a bar on Cape Cod

Once upon a time I used to just write. Let the words flow from my fingers regardless of sense or form or even merit. The words themselves were the purpose. There was little correction and if there was, it was crossing out. I wrote by the line. My thoughts conforming to the shape and width and style of the page and the pen.
Now, there are pixels and lines that never end. I never have to cram a word into an unanticipatedly short space before the edge of the page. Never mind margins. Margins are for people who give a fuck. Not writers.
But constraints can be creative. Constraints can be what spurs us to creativity.
So, I start typing. Writing words just for the sake of it. Not caring what people think. Or at least trying not to. Not too much.
There are so many things I want to write about and yet when I sit down in front of my computer the ideas seem truant. The really good ones are hiding in the bathroom sneaking a cigarette.
My nose runs. I have a cold I find inconvenient.
But then aren’t all colds inconvenient?
I have things I want to do. Socialization. I need to charge my battery. Yet even the long practiced art of making small talk with strangers properly eludes me. I see my opportunity and the words somehow come out wrong. I’m planted at the bar. I’m ready and in need. Yet, my mouth fails me.
Cape Cod, Hyannis at the Sam Diego’s back bar. I know these people, more or less. And I’m from this place. Of this place even, in my own way. But I don’t think I belong here. I have no earthly idea why I keep coming back to this place. I always forget how weird Cape Cod is in the middle of the winter. Not that it changes.
There used to be a gay bar here. For years and years. Now closed.
Why? Did all the gay people leave? Did they get rights and integrate? Where the fuck did my people go?
I’m relatively sure there must be some gay and Trans and just even weird old punks. But where the fuck do they go??? Even the very few places that where here when I was are gone and don’t seem to have been replaced.
There’s not even a decent independent coffee shop I can find. Just bars. With basically the same sorts of people in them.
Good gods. So why am I here? What am I waiting for?
Take a break to scan Facefuck. Click a buzzbait link and immediately click away when I come to my senses. Try to focus on the words before me. Write instead of feeding more good hours to the clickbait beast.
But again, what to write about?
I could write about anything, my fingers flying across the touchscreen keyboard. So what to do, what to do.
Maybe I should start my story.
It begins with pain. My earliest memory is of waking up my mom in the middle of the night. I have a hernia. She tries to make me laugh, because that’s all she can think of to do, to make me feel better. The laughter is pain, the pain brings tears. The tears mix with laughter and love.
A pattern is set for my life.



Grey Day in NYC

Grey day in New York City.

On the edge of a stranger’s bed I sit sipping a hot cup of Mate,

Reading and looking out over the East River at the rain shrouded Island of Manhattan.

The orange construction cranes at River’s edge and the vivid green of the trees interspersed among the muted red and grey brick buildings in the foreground, make that great skyscraper filled island appear as the painted backdrop from an old movie.

A film Noir that begins, “It was a rainy day in Brooklyn.”

The room is quiet but for the sound of afternoon rain filtering in from the open balcony door.  My head though, is filled with a babble of voices.  All the old Poets and Punks who shaped me.  Kerouac and Burroughs and The Velvet Underground.

Wild, crazy voices screaming about “living, really living!” and “Go, go, GO!!”

“Sunday Morning….” In an ethereal German accent.  Somewhere, Sid Vicious is singing “My Way” while Frank sidles up to the bar and orders another Jack and Coke from his Heavenly Host.

And the rain whispers about stories as yet untold.




The silence always unnerves me.

I feel like I always have to have some… thing, going on.

Some music playing, some voices talking.

Some distraction from being alone with my own thoughts.

Because the silence is never silent.

The reason I rarely smoke marijuana anymore is because it just makes the noise in my head louder.  My thoughts run rampant from a million directions at once.

But that’s what it’s always like in my head more or less.

I think I’m afraid that if there’s no music on, maybe the thoughts’ll get so loud that the neighbors’ll hear ‘em.

Even when it’s quiet, it’s never silent.

The outside world leaks in.  The noise on the street.

A car honking, a machine whirring.  Indistinct voices speaking in a rapid fire patter.  A cadence you can tell as not English even though you can’t hear the words.

Those even can be distraction enough.

I’m afraid to be still.

My day is full of distractions.

From the moment I wake up, I’m trying to do anything but listen to my own thoughts.

I can’t nap during the day, and if I wake up for any reason, no matter how little sleep I’ve had, I’m up for good.  Once the fog clears, my brain starts to whirring.  All of the thoughts chased away by sleep’s sweet fog come crashing in on me.

The silence means I can hear them.

Even these words are distraction.  I start typing because a thought hits me and I can’t ignore it.  But then the words themselves fill my head.

I struggle to maintain honesty and not get caught up in the cadence and the details.

All I ever want to do is tell the truth.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

But not truth as in 1 plus 1 equals 2.  Or I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.

The truth of a story.  Of poetry.

The truth that rings in your heart.  A little bell that sounds, “I know that…”

I want to get up onstage and open my mouth because that’s the only place the thoughts leak out.

The floodgates open up and all those thoughts come pouring out.

And my head quiets down.

When I’m in front of a crowd is the only time I am alone and it’s silent.



A Collection Of Rooftops With Cops Passing By

A collection of rooftops with cops passing by and mountains in the background.  The cat tries again, and fails to get into the cupboard under the kitchen sink.  I hear the slam but barely glance.  Instead I start writing.  The radiators in my old building appear to have been turned off for the season.  Wind whistles through the empty pipes.  It is not warm enough yet to have no heat, but it’s not cold enough to complain to the authorities.  It’s unlikely they would even care here in my ramshackle Western Massachusetts city.

The place was once filled with millionaires.  More than any other in the area or the country or some such historical fact like that.  Not now.  Now it is a city whose purpose is long ago passed away.  Crumbling buildings and rotten infrastructure.

It’s not dead though.  Not by a long shot.  There are still people here.  People who live their whole lives here.  Or some of it.  Who call this home.

This collection of rooftops with cops passing by and mountains in the background.

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