Thursday, October 06, 2022

mmmdccxlii

Folded Brain Sandwich

My head has a whole lot to say to me
lately and it does so, quickly, like by a
(more) silent version of pressured speech
a phrase I just learned from my psychiatrist; 

apparently it’s an affliction that I have. 
Which, like Diane suggests, is nice to know, 
nice to put a name to, but it’s just another 
problem to be fixed. Just another malady to

constantly counteract. Another battle to counter
attack. One more thing that stands as impediment
against my getting myself across correctly. And
I don’t have to tell you how much of an obstacle

that can be. Is. Oh, woe is me. I’m hungry.
My head hurts. And nobody knows who I am.

my distortion

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

mmmdccxli

Team Oval

This is a kvetch about a
certain funk ump any. A
word of advice: Ovoid ’em
at all costs. They’s (y)uck!
Truss tape owe it & heed.
Sizzly. 
Piece, lub, 
oh verandah haute.

get out!

Monday, October 03, 2022

mmmdccxl

P.S. Much as I still love Depeche Mode, the closest
      I have ever gotten to being goth is right now.


She held out her hand for 
the skin graft. Or that’s what
Batz called it. “Time to get
branded,” he said. Everything

seemed copacetic. Another
word we overused in college.
Like anything Monty Python
or Benny Hill. Everything’s

either a matter of taste, of
opinion (ignorant or educated),
of perspective. She looks at the
wingspan between her right thumb

and forefinger now and thinks
about the gloomy affair she had
with Batz, about suicide, about Missy
Misdemeanor Elliott (a reprieve)—

the circle never quite closes around the
“X,” her own cross to bear, she thinks,
which makes her chuckle a bit. A titter
that tastes like distance. And Jägermeister.

red cloud with a little rain

mmmdccxxxix

One Farmer’s Firm Handshake

He held out his hand
for a kiss. What tran
spired was more a blow
than he’d ever beheld.

So not true. I mean
he’d beheld a lot of
blows. Even a few
kisses. But the man

on the other side of
the fence grabbed it
like he’d never let
go. Making the split

second seem like an
eternity. It was hay-
baling season, so that
eternity was a hot one.

Once released back to
its typical limpness,
the hand just sort of
hovered there, arcing

over the barbed wire
of the new neighbor’s
pasture. Wendell was
not even able to con

template that heat, which
emanated from the entire
surface where his palm
and fingers had been

squinched practically
bloodless by the new
neighbor, as if from
first being splayed out

beneath a high noon’s
sun catching every pos
sible ray of it, but then
spreading impossibly

throughout all of his
innards from there,
almost like when he
was coaxed into taking

a colorful pill that was
practically candy-looking 
from a shot glass full of
them that one unforget

table night during the
one semester he attended
university, before coming
back home to tend to his

dad and the farm. When
that warmth got right into
his heart, Wendell realized
his new neighbor bore

a pretty significant
resemblance to Jackie
Gleason. Wendell
hadn’t paid hide nor

hair of attention to Mr.
Gleason’s profile before,
really. But he did remember
the loud laugh that would

have surely awoken
most every soul in the
entire countryside who’d
already been asnooze, or

at the very least startle
the daylights out of
those who were at
least halfway there.

Which would be
most of the pop
ulation of this
countryside,

given its cit
izens’ direct
correlation to
cattle and chick

ens and such.
Early birds all,
awakened by
the guffaws of

Wendell’s long
gone dad every
single time he’d
hear Gleason belt

out (in quite a
colorful black
and white), Pow,
right in the kisser!


hold on & don't let go

Saturday, October 01, 2022

mmmdccxxxviii

Cheap Renovations

     Happiness is never overrated.

                          —Justin Chin

In trying to make my room more habitable,
I spill a bunch of milk chocolate—you know,
the kind you squeeze into milk to turn it into
chocolate milk—behind what I call my book

shelf, which actually does harbor a few books,
but also has boxes of tiny items that have come
from electronics such as computers and phones
(also one folded keyboard protector), it has a

stack of clean clothes of various types, it has
all of my coffee and lemonade fixings, and it
has a little tub filled with things I use to clean
things like spilt milk chocolate, like Mr. Clean,

like a can of air, like a spray bottle of water, and
for reasons that are not logical (exactly) it has a
plastic container filled with colorful blank notes
(no sticky on these notes, they are not Post-Its),

as well as a spray can of Glade freshener, which
I think advertises that it smells like lavender, and
which I’ve used quite a bit lately, mostly because
I’ve been doing my laundry in my tiny little place,

and the odors that come from that tedious process
are quite hideous to me. This tub sits next to my
dustbin and my horsehair brush, which I use as a
broom, and all of that fits in one of the six cubes

that this “bookshelf” has within its plywood
architecture. On top of this shelf are the books
that I’ve read, the ones I’ve read since I lost all
of the books I read up until a certain point.

Which was basically sometime shortly after
I turned fifty. There aren’t very many, but
the width of the the books on this ‘bookshelf’
is growing, and eventually, maybe, I’ll have

another large bookshelf, maybe even two 
or three like I did before, that housed all of 
the poetry books alone that I had and had
read at least once at one time or another.

Well, I’ve pulled this shelf away from the wall
where last night I halfway cleaned up the milk
chocolate. Guess what I have to do this morning?
Yep, clean up the rest of the mess of milk chocolate

that is still splotched next to my bookshelf and desk,
against the eastern wall of my little hotbox, which is
what I call the little place I live. But what am I doing
now? Well, I’m stalling by reading poetry, of course.

apathy

Friday, September 30, 2022

mmmdccxxxvii

The Last Sonnet for
This Particular September


This year is the future. A past that,
as I’m listening to the baloney of
the week that ends with this day
and that ends this month, which,

despite the death of all of the inno
cent people, is more than a bit 
hil
arious. Hilariously political. Do we
remember our dear hardcore

pillow hawker? Well, he can’t
move money from one of his
accounts to another of his ac
counts because the FBI took

his cellphone while he was
driving through a Hardee
s.
Gosh, there’s so much more
to discuss, and you’d all be

ROFL, I could almost guar
antee it (you might actually
know this because you know
this). So, my question is that

if an American guy has been
given an honorary knighthood
should we call him Sir? I can
imagine maybe one adult per

son in the universe for whom
it might be a disservice to hu
manity to literally suggest any
hello or what the hell to this

particular mammal by starting
with the assertion of “Sir.” “Sir
Rudy?” Yuck! How am I trying
to end this (clearly not yet)? This

apocalyptic month, one in which I’ve
been so broke I’ve found it impossible
to concentrate on the one act, the only
real action item for which I should

be giving my all (the job of
getting a job), which, oh my
beautiful dears, if I were to
write about this one vast seg

ment of my life, that has taken
up so much of the last decade,
wherein I only held ones that
were contractual – a thing I

blame on the economy for niching me
into these circa 2013 – which I have 
been doing double duty to avoid, only
applying for jobs that are permanent,

or at least temp-to-perm (which, his
torically for me meant I was only to
work a couple of days, by which time,
however, I was instead hired just so that

I could go on the firm’s full San Francisco
office’s summer retreat to Yosemite.) What
a treat to be outed in the introductory note that
went out to the rest of the staff (I’d barely men

tioned the partner with whom I’d moved here
from Boston reluctantly so that he could go to
graduate school; now he’s in Austin, and I very
rarely hear from him – same as I almost never

hear from anyone else from that time, or any time
during my over 22 years in San Francisco thus far.)
I’m complaining again. It’s not that I tried so creat
ively to remedy that. In general. I mean what a waste,

I thought, before giving into the ephemerality (if not,
as I recently mentioned, the illusory nature) of so-called
friendship. I stay on subject sometimes interminably.
But what if things literally are about to change? And

dramatically? It certainly feels as if this might be the
case. But wow, do the dominoes have to fall just so!
This constant falling and flailing just for movement
in any direction; I’ve stood stubbornly immobile for

far too long now. But because I did try. I failed and
I failed and I failed and nobody can handle failure. A
failed friend is no friend at all. Who teaches this? A
friend in need is a friend in what? All the bullshit goes

out the window of a car I drove for 3 years with no air
conditioner or heater – these were the years I lived in
the snow belt. It was an Audi, a name that perks an ear
or two. And what am I back to by mentioning this?

Class. I attended so many of them, became known
as such an aficionado of information, a curious
enough human to do whatever it might take to
get to the why and the how and the how come

of things that the thought that, even growing
up inches above the poorest of the poor in
tiny white town Arkansas instilled within me
what, that curiosity? The desperate need

to rise above? The good sense not to com
pete just for a good grade but to leave what
I thought at the time was a godforsaken town
instilled with enough knowledge that I might

beat the odds and rise a caste above. And I
did, did I not? And so what? What was the
big deal? Besides being okay in the eyes of
others enough for them to believe enough that

I belonged in this new area of existence, just
enough so that I could believe it myself. It
was a lot of work, just that aspect of this trek,
this goal, which, truth be told, was almost every

aspect of me. And yet me. I could shrug it off
as if it were nothing when in fact, what was it?
I can’t be too sure now. Didn’t know until I then
suddenly didn’t have it. Just like that it was gone.

Although it’s not as if I haven’t kept this outward
gaze about me that I must hope shows me as some
thing akin to what I was but am not, wasn’t but
wanted to be, but what I’d now call, sure, even now,

I’d call it a sort of necessary illusion. And yet, I’m
not fooling many any more. And why the hell should
I? Buck the system, I say. When I’d be with someone
out and about with whom I was partnered, oh how I

got a kick out of presenting as a stereotype that I’d
then knock down. Just to show ’em. To not judge a
book by its cover. How silly it all was. And how funny
it always was to me to have people think one thing about

me only to realize (and, unfortunately, not ever realize,
all too often) how wrong that imaginary cover of who I
was, who we were, of who I am. Was not me. Not me.
Not me at all. Think again. Think hard. It was a way to

get attention, but what was that attention for, I’d wonder.
Did i just want attention? Nope. As it turned out, I got
a huge kick out of shocking people who thought things
were only one way; to see their look, the way their bodies

contorted, to hear the faster-than-normal questions coming
at me (if we were that ‘close’ – and now I remember how
tenuous that closeness was and why, of course). Our ex
pectations are so easy, based on such little information.

Isn’t that something? The world, its people, sure, many
are as simple as they come, but even the simplicity has no
easiness to it. It’s complicated. I’m complicated. What
am I saying here? Please, I beseech you, if you disagree

with me, be vocal about it. Ask me what I mean. I
mean, I wish. I truly wish. But there’s that ephemerality.
There are those endless illusory dioramas. Turn a full 360.
Do you think you get it? And if you don’t, do you want to?

I do. I really do. No matter what I learn. It’s my everything.
My most everything. Well, My everything has more to do with
when I do get something. Or believe I get it, having studied him
and his ways for what seems like forever. I’ll get it mostly right.

And when I do. . . .

Aware

Thursday, September 29, 2022

mmmdccxxxvi

Love

Keeping you up until
the middle of the night
just because I want to,
because you won’t say

“Shut up!” but instead
lie there with your eyes
half-closed pretending
to be lost in listening.

Okay, by now you’re
not pretending to be
anything. You’re
clearly half asleep. So

I say goodnight. And
thank you for indulging.

cutie

mmmdccxxxv

Sex With Poets

How shy is this guy? Anyone who
admits to blowing it on social
media – what should be the limit?
Maybe even once. That can’t be

shy. I mean admits to blowing it
without the big ask. I’m not talking
about the people who panhandle the
internet. There should be a word for

that. Besides GoFundMe. How re
pulsed I used to be when poetry gather
ings would be like Friday night at the
gay club, people checking each other

out lasciviously. I’d try, once or twice,
but lose it quick, speed like a freak to
the gay bar, were it at least a Thursday
or a weekend night (save some Sundays).

Even Wednesday, I’d hightail it out of
there as soon as, oh who am I kidding,
we were all so socially awkward. But
at least I had the good sense to know

who had the good sense to know when
someone was being gauche. At most
there’d be one, maybe two of us. Of
them. But for whatever those two or

three with actual decorum, and how or
if they caught me slip silently from the
auditorium at full speed before the app
lause was even finished (should there

be any), my only concern was that they
didn’t notice. Like I would have borne
witness to anyone leaving. It was a con
test. I was always the first to escape.

gay haiku and other poetry

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

mmmdccxxxiv

That’s Horrible!

     Go sandpaper a horse.

                 —John Ashbery

He blew his nose into what?
A ham sandwich, you say?

Not a single day goes by
but there’s a whole week

of ’em. A month, even.
Years later, we get a

closer look. But staring
at humanity through a

microscope is enough to
make a fella upchuck his

lunch in a pathetic lurch.
Quiet on the set! That’s

what needed to be said,
at any rate past around

mid-volume. Voluminous
days. Days that make one

gorgeous. As if. Those
were the days. The days

of what?
Or that’s what
Toupee Harry wondered.

horrible

mmmdccxxxiii

Watches Late Night All Morning

I do try to catch it as close to live
as possible and all, but sometimes,
when I’m particularly antsy about
getting some important stuff done,

the whole thing sort of mushrooms
out and interrupts all points morning,
by which I mean after midnight and
before noon, so, yeah, that’s quite a

lot of mushroom. People have often
told me that I should do mushrooms.
I bet you didn’t see that coming. It’s
true, but I have yet to partake, except

when it’s on pizza, say, or in a salad
or a casserole of some sort. Anyway,
my days of roiling emotions, fun as
some of them were, are well behind

me, I think? Now it’s just the late
night comedians making me laugh
through the night and well into the
morning. I suppose someone trained

in the psychological arts might find
that sounding like I’m using television
as a substitute for something that’s
more real. The thing about real is that

it’s fun, enlightening, seems like a thing
worth aiming for, but like everything else,
real’s ephemeral, and real can gut you. It
can filet you like a fish. That has yet to

happen while watching these guys do
their monologues and interviews. That,
to me, is fun and enlightening, and it
always perks me up. Even Johnny

Carson reruns, which, for example,
made the pandemic bearable for me.
Watching the gamut of late night tv
fills me with life. Puts me in better

spirits. Riles me up, sometimes, sure,
and catches me up on what’s what, or 
at least skews me in that direction. How
is that not real? And, as time goes on,

and night melds with morning, and I’m
still watching Stephen Colbert or Seth
Myers from the night before, I’m happy,
which, if you ask me, is a state of being

toward which I will always aspire. And
for a gutted man like me, that’s as worth
while and as real as anything else could be.

Meaningful connections, lasting results.

mmmdccxxxii

The Night I Died

I like to try to look back.
But only sometimes. You
must think me wildly nostalgic.
Or vain. Vanity used to grab me

by the collar and shout “Look
around you!” So I did. In short,
there’s always plenty to see, even
from here, where I’ve sat now for

several years. It’s a tiny view, no
matter how you count it; vertical,
horizontal. With such angles you’d
think the walls would be closing in on

us. On us. On me, is of course what
I meant. I’d call this my onus opus.

yay

mmmdccxxxi

        I’d like to introduce you to Asteroids
                                     —Edmund Berrigan

Are you my friend? I certainly don’t want to
lose you. Not just yet. I do mean never but
I know about forever, so whatever. Not just
yet. Are you? Let’s hang out for a bit. As in

champing at the. But seriously, I’m just pull
ing your leg, just joking, trying to be funny
over here. Check my eyes. They’re laughing.
All kidding aside, think for just a moment.

About what we’ve all been through (some
more than others). Do you know why the
pandemic didn’t bite me in the butt? Be
cause my butt was already bitten. That’s

the main reason I’m asking. Because who
am I without being able to introduce you
to the others? What others? Well, funny
you should ask that. Check my eyes.

Check my eyes.

mmmdccxxx

Head Maps

     I’m imagining America.
     I’m fumbling to make this mine.
                                   —Justin Chin

I’ve jumbled the glory of place
into this one for quite some time
and the brain in my head which,
when unfolded, becomes a map

the size of seven football fields
in the shape of America—cocky
word—because bigger is my best.
Sorry, I got lost. About how here

is better. Tonight, I sit alone, imag
ining my gigantic, unfolded brain
telling me to go someplace else.
Into this thicket. Or to the middle

of that desert. Press my flesh into
a certain butte. Fly over that cliff
as if soaring were a capability of
this bowled over brainless body.

because better is over a cliff

Friday, September 23, 2022

mmmdccxxix

Touchy

nerves jangled more than
he could remember them
being, even in this purest
and most sinister isolation,

he could tell how affected
the movements of his body,
the thoughts within that tiny
brain of his, and his emotions

(had he lost all contact with
himself? “is this a new me,”
he wondered, and perhaps
even hoped). the next morn

ing he got out of bed, switched
on his laptop, watched the news
blips, feeling a little less, yearning
a bit less. utilizing his momentarily-

lost focus, he whipped up a plan and
some breakfast and made the day his.

run by hippos

mmmdccxxviii

Do Not Cry For Help

he will not come. the
ways we prepare for
an emergency, as if
we must be ready. but

sometimes emergencies
preclude readiness, by
definition? sure. see the
sawdust in among the clean

clothes in the rickety chest
of drawers. your rickety
chest is diagnosed with
sawdust. like stardust, it

has its disadvantages. don’t
disabuse those. or be a user.

water cries for help.  you do not.

mmmdccxxvii

Autumnal Equinox:
Spring Into Action


when you’re no spring
chicken. my bad. this
is a personal narrative.

again, my bad. my at
tempts are usually not
temporary. once again,

that’s my bad. clear the
filth. is that possible?
breathe. that is most

often not impossible.
step on something
sharp? bleed. dis

infect. take a step
until you’ve no
hip. step even

more. don’t be
lame with excuses.
develop an import

ant case of obsess
ive disorder. but
do not obsess on

anyone but your
self. that’s an im
perative that i can’t

personalize. but
this is only narrative.
it’s not life. crawl.

that’s a baby step. bust
your shallow ass as if
there is no tomorrow.

do not cry for help

Thursday, September 22, 2022

mmmdccxxvi

Gratitude That Comes with a Curse

what are you grateful for today?
that’s a cruel question. but even
through the maddening fog I can
see its purpose, that it comes from
a good place. let me begin with ‘if
you only knew my day!’ if i were
to give context, let’s say it’s the
worst i can remember in a year or
so. let me continue to be hyperbolic
by suggesting ‘if only i could fathom
how to be thankful on such a horrific
day!’ if i continue with my maddening
context i could say that now i know
better than ever that friends are ephe
meral if not illusory. so, sure, this is
something i can appreciate, but with
what am i then left, and what kind of
gratitude is this kind of appreciation,
really? can it really be dubbed some
thing for which i am thankful? maybe
gratitude is broader, it is a kind of wis
dom or knowledge, and so i can find
within me an appreciation for knowing
this. just like the knowledge that i am
more alone than ever, that i am a hermit,
and that i’m asocial to such an extreme
is anathema to who i am. or was, i think,
not knowing at all who i am now, given
what i just noted as true and seemingly
wrong and despicable and sadder than
almost anything. but while paradoxical
in so many ways to anything good or
happy or something for which to aspire,
this is also good to know. glad to know
it. it’s gracious of me to call it gratitude,
but i can and do, even out of desperation.
it is an important thing to know. i’m grate
ful to live and i can say with assurance that
i want more of that, life. much as this exist
ence cannot be called life, i live. which adds
a sort of hope for a life that can be called living.
so, i desire to live longer, despite everything that
i have mentioned above, which might and does
counter that impulse in more and more profound
ways that is hard for me to fathom. but not so pro
found that it overwhelms the desire for a life that
is a life, that is living. i can be grateful to have
known love, if none but that of my own. it got
me places. it might have been reciprocated, but
how can that be known, really? can i appreciate
that? i cannot help it, i do. other things. that i
yet desire. that i still believe, and outwardly. if
that is a curse, i can be appreciative of it. for that
is to live. but more than anything, and here is the
real gratitude, disregarding everything i have said
up until this point because this is different, foolish
as that difference might seem: that, for approaching
almost three years now, i have known the most sup
erior companionship i have yet to encounter, by leaps
and bounds such that there is simply no comparison. 
this is true even (and not because of) the fact that we 
live in separate hemispheres of this earth, and have for 
the duration thus far (not much longer, please, powers 
that be, not much longer, if only i could snap and it be 
the way it should and will be) (will be!). it is for this that
i am most grateful. and if you ask me (as i ask myself)
why each thing for which i am grateful comes with at least
least one curse, i am at a loss. let me just assert with as
much confidence as i can muster, that these curses are 
only temporary. i must and do believe that i will live to
see each and every one of these curses vanish, one
by one by one, so that all that is left is the gratitude.
that for which i am thankful. right here. it will be.
i do swear to you and anyone else that it will be. 
my friends, ephemeral or not, will know me. and 
my love, my love, my love and i will live a long and
blissful adventure. just you wait and see. well. you 
can wait and see or you can just move along. it will
nevertheless be, and none but one of you need
ever even believe. it will be. oh, it will surely be.

gratitude that comes with a curse

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

mmmdccxxv

The Ignorance That Isn’t Bliss
(so as not to float too high above the ground)


would that i could articulate how dif
ficult it’s been, this endless cycle of
trying to climb out of this mess of losing
everything, the cruelty of people to

whom you were once devoted and whom
you believed and with such effort came to call
your people because the people who release you
into this world misunderstood or even worse believed

you less or took the blame for your supposed lessness.
called you twisted and hell-bent or -bound, even as you
grew prouder and better and worked harder to be the
best. the more you believe in humanity and friendships

and agape or romantic love, the more you get proven wrong,
so why, in times like this, do you persist? you say just because.

payroll advance

mmmdccxxiv

Understated Underpants

it’s not that at first sight
they go unnoticed. far
from it. they’re elegant
and even a color upon

which you can’t quite
put your finger. pastel,
i suppose. but yet a past
el that can’t quite be rec

ollected. were they peach?
maybe mango? a very mel
low banana? it just can’t be
remembered. they were more

speedo than boxer-briefs i do
believe? not at all billowy.
nope, they were form-fitting.
the material, in retrospect,

seemed to be quite irrelevant,
insignificant, if not just plain
indeterminable. the only
thing that this keen (i cannot

say that there was any attempt
at being surreptitious) observer
can say with absolute certainty
is that i won’t soon forget them.

it’d be an understatement to say
that they packed quite a punch.

meow, indeed!


Monday, September 19, 2022

mmmdccxxiii

A Knee Brie Ate So Briar Tee

as i hopscotch my way out of
humility, can’t i just pretend
that it’s the hopscotch that got
me here in the first place? do i

look like a guy who’d be humil
iated by a hopping a bit of scotch?
i suppose not. i try for hours to
display as a background, a back

drop, a screen saver on the larger
monitor at my desk that i sometimes
use multiply with my laptop this lovely
set of photographs of enclaves hidden

away among colorful mountains. so
gorgeous, the one photograph that
ever shows up, at any rate (there are
supposedly over two hundred of them).

so briar tee is sew burren.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

mmmdccxxii

The Squee of a Forlorn Queen

     Home is place of permanent work
                        —Edmund Berrigan

Do I want to be a jade tree?
I don’t know about the hobo.
Fourteen times I twirl around
until the paper floats in swirls

above my head. My notes
about the end of life. And
its beginning. That’s a couple
of things that just cannot be seen.

Fourteen fruits into the juicer.
A continent of ice would be
nice at a time like this. At a
time like this, so would bliss.

The car, a Jaguar, goes har-har. A
fleeced sheep stares up at the geese.

the squee of a forlorn queen

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

mmmdccxxi

The Best Years

these are the best years
of my life. i don’t care
what anybody else says.
nobody knows but me,

anyway. i mean, think
about it. what do i need,
really, but me and mine
and you? don’t get me

wrong. every day is not
a piece of cake. but look
at all of these silly folks
reminiscing on their youth

who’ve no clue how to soak
in the blessings of the present.

me + yeti

mmmdccxx

How to Make It Through the Worst Day Ever

sleep. are you
kidding me?
play bingo on
your dying i

phone. there
are other games,
too. for a com
plete list, say

the word. or
walk all the
way to the
golden gate

bridge
and back.

Monday, September 12, 2022

mmmdccxix

Sauteed Onions & Pine Nuts

extra sausage
pickle cheddar
brown mustard
horsey sauce

extra pickle
homemade
milkshake
pepperoni

bleu cheese
pickle juice
diet soda
sauerkraut

bacon double
cheeseburger

Sauteed Onions & Pine Nuts

Sunday, September 11, 2022

mmmdccxviii

The Breakdown of Me Breaking Down

lying in bed all day, wondering what my
next move might be, twitching on occasion,
dozing off, waking abruptly, the happiness
of what i’ve been forgetting on purpose, won

dering why i’m reading such somber verses
versus watching the news, what a choice!
oh, if only the world were filled with a
few fantastic choices. i make the decisions,

this is my choice, trying not to laugh, not
letting the door hit my butt on the way out,
the way out? lying in bed all day i did say,
choosing this, strategizing isn’t in the stars, i

imagine, this maze i could make my way thru
is all that i have left of me and my material.

the breakdown of me breaking down

mmmdccxvii

The Golden Gate Pebble

is a bridge too far. over a
river about to be bombed.
i’m kidding it’s a rock that
can’t roll, but it knows the

lead singer. i pocket a rock
on greenwood ave. that’s
217 north to the kinfolk out
vesta. out vesty, mr. mcgee

used to say because that’s where
he lived. i don’t think i made that up.
long live the queen. and long live queen.
in queens, my mood is good if not a bit

elevated. last night the muzak stung my
soul, but björk, today, rocks me up and down.

sunsmile

Friday, September 09, 2022

mmmdccxvi

He Wipes with No Connection to the Dust

Ordinarily the pleasantries overrule.
Tonight the posies on the window’s
sill move a little bit with the breath of
what’s coming in through the crack

in the corner of the glass.  Oblivious, he 
plants nails into the wallpaper surrounding
the living room windows – the dining room
is galaxies from his perception. The

posies wouldn’t know. Neither would
the crack in the glass. On the fireplace
mantel sits a vase that was blown at a
carnival in Pasadena. It has an audacious

green hue that knows that blues were made for 
beckoning the night to come quick for mercy.

sonnet collage

Thursday, September 08, 2022

mmmdccxv

A Multitude of Itchy Feet Make the Caravan Competitive

Competition becomes one of the great opacities of
confusion and of anger at times (when I allow some
semblance of expectation, when it appears to my
ignorant pea-headedness—on such matters—I would
refuse to say that I in general exhibit a pea-headedness—
and how ridiculous that statement is considering let’s call
pea-headedness ditziness and it’s a whole new ballgame.
Is it my imagination that I’m a ditz? It’s one typecast that
I have worked over so much time in order to—and here
is where I’m not 100% sure I’m being real, as this could
be some sort of excuse, albeit subconsciously, refusing
to believe (and I don’t, I believe I come across as ridicul
ously pea-headed at perhaps a majority of time until people
[please until people get to know me] get to know me, right?)
Oh, I don’t know. Who does that anymore?  That novel of freak
ishly freaky tales of one so-called interview after another after 
another after another, and then getting the feedback I request at 
the end of I’d say each and every interview I’ve had for months now – 
if not all of them, then most of them, “Do you have any questions for
me?” “Why, yes, I do. The first one is a bit more difficult for me
to ask, and yet, what would you say, in the short time that we’ve
had together, if anything, is an obstacle or obstacles I might have
getting from here to filling this role?” I find that, while the answers
are couched in all sorts of supposed compliments, which are helpful
too, the nitty gritty comes. And quite often that nitty gritty happens
to be a phrase or something similar to what I have heard countless
times since the beginning of my time interviewing (and before) (but of 
my time interviewing and then having the wherewithal to ask for such 
feedback). This question goes way back. I am, as I prefer to call it,
overly enthusiastic. It can also be called: you seemed to interject
a lot, you speak too fast, you meander, you talk over others. I have,
I think, learned to control this, for the most part. My therapist
says that I have “pressured speech.” This was a new one to me,
but makes perfect sense. It is often associated with bipolar dis
order or schizophrenia. In my case, it seems to be anxiety that
is the root of the problem. Isn’t that the root of so many of my
problems? She likes to explain it as my brain just being faster
than most everyone else’s (this was my father’s excuse, by the
way, for why he spoke so slowly that I would finish his sentences
for him, much to his square-wheeled sentence delivery conster
nation). Well, okay. I can live with a problem that could also
be considered a compliment. But, oh, the problems this has
caused. It was exacerbated by things I had no real control
to change quickly, and so now, at 55 years old, I have a
medical term for the problem that seems to have kept me
from getting a job for all these years in the easy manner in
which I always had been accustomed when I was younger;
I have all but eliminated this nightmare of an issue. Could 
this be why I’m suddenly getting a slew of interviews? Only
time will tell. There have been many false alarms thus
far in my illustrious non-career. Or my career ellipsis.
But, since this is happy month, I vow here and now to
not make it a career dead end. Much as I have had
interminably strong thoughts in that direction over
the past half a dozen years, most especially. So, I
think my third interview this morning went well.
Tomorrow morning, there is yet another first int
erview. And I’ve spent the evening sending out
new applications, letters of interest and resumes.
Chin up, fingers crossed, positive attitude, and
off we go again. Updates to follow. As always.

tradesman

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

mmmdccxiv

Flipping the Occasional Burger

How blessed to be a Gemini.
No time to focus without money.
No place to hold except this radiator,
middle of summer, fans blowing above,

fans blowing below. The cheapest chair,
new, gets buried with the desk that came
before it (if only). Trading one superhero
series for another. When to bathe is to sweat

and to sweat is to cleanse. Free is the new
cheap. Pay you back on the first is the worst.
Nobody minds, it’s only time that feasts on
all of us nobodies. Even the somebodies

get wasted after a while. Crash courses in
happiness at every lurid twist and turn.

To: Someone Special

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

mmmdccxiii

All the Harpies Everywhere Relax

One of the things I’ve been
trying to do every day is this.

Not only this, or, well, a big
part of this at this particular

time is to try not to overstate
the particulars that might be

getting me and many of the
rest of us down, but to instead

go about the business of finding
one or two things that might be

uplifting, happy-spirited, some
sort of nourishment for the spirit.

That part is a thing I do here on
occasion, where I find something

thematic to dwell upon for a while,
or some sort of parameter or repeti

tion (like, say, beginning each with
an epigraph of sorts by a certain poet,

for example). Tonight, I have a lot to
worry about, so much so that it can

(and has) become overwhelming, but 
at the very same time I have a lot to

celebrate, as well. So let’s concen
trate on the latter, as I’ve been try

ing so hard to do this past few days
(and it has, I must admit, been dif

ficult – but so what, right?). I had
a second interview this morning.

Great company. It went okay, I
think. And this has been an over

whelming trend quite recently,
that is getting more than one and

sometimes two interviews, being
“in the running” so to speak (as

I would be if I had only one in
terview, of course, but still...).

And before that interview, I
received a call from the per

son who has been my contact
at another fine firm through

two interviews thus far. She
wanted to schedule (and did!)

a third interview, and that went
into the calendar on Thursday

morning, this Thursday—they
have come fast and furious,

the interviews this time around,
so much so that at times my

head begins to spin and I get
a little confused as to whom it

is I may be speaking with at
any given moment. What else?

Oh, all of my laundry is now
officially done. Except for a

couple of items that are still
drying. This has taken me

weeks, it seems. No, it’s
true, it’s taken me weeks,

because I’ve been doing
everything in my sink and

in my two buckets which
are usually kept tucked

underneath the sink. Oh,
and Seth Myers is back!

After a long hiatus in
which both his and

Stephen Colbert’s late
night talk shows have

been off the air for what
seems like the entirety of

summer, thus far. What a
relief to have at least Seth

Myers back! Oh, and one
more thing before I sign

off for the evening: for
dinner, I was treated to

a cheeseburger, a caesar
salad and, treat of treats,

a strawberry milkshake.
To the person who regaled

me with such a treat, well,
my heart is yours. Mom

always said that the way
to a man’s heart is through

his stomach. Mom, on this
point, is right on the button.

don't give up

Monday, September 05, 2022

mmmdccxii

A Cautionary Tale

On the happy side,
doesn’t everybody
have one of these?

I have plenty. I
read the one en
grained inside my

brain to the aud
ience as they
sleep. It is

such a relief.

a cautionary tale

Sunday, September 04, 2022

mmmdccxi

Breaking News

On the happy side,
I’m stuffed. Just
back from dinner
for one at Miss
Saigon. Shaken
chicken with gar
lic noodles, so del
icious, and then, I
stopped at the cor
ner store, otherwise
known by me as my
regular grocery store,
mostly, and picked up
two little tubs of creamy
flan for dessert (don’t
tell my diabetes, which
has been fine, by the
way, pretty much out
standing, says my doc
tor and the blood sugar
checks that I generally
remember to perform of
a morning) which I just
slurped up while saying
goodnight to my one true
correspondent (hello and
smoocherinos), which
was lovely but at the
same time made me
very drowsy, and I
said to him I’d
maybe just go
to sleep, too,
but then said,
well, perhaps
I should write
my little piece
first.  So, here 
it is, from me 
to you. Moving
the barometer
ever toward
the more plea
sant end of the
scale. An att
empt to stay
happy and to
say goodnight.

sated hippo

Saturday, September 03, 2022

mmmdccx

Channel Pie Take All Cheek

What did I do but nothing
on this hot as blazes day.
A photograph of refriger
ator magnets arranged
just so from sometime
quite past make up the
first line. Nothing came
after for a very long while.
Sent out only just a few
resumes with letters of
interest. Moped. Napped.
Got up. Walked solemnly
up 6th and crossed Market,
solemnly still for a few more
blocks up Taylor until I got
to Geary, turned right and
made my way to Jack-in-
the-Box for a thirteen dol
lar meal. Mainly just so
I could have a Peach
Fanta (Zero Sugar).
Watched the line of
mostly all adults snake
around the corner of
Geary and Mason
Streets along the
sidewalk and coil
by coil into the
Curran to watch
a Harry Potter
theatrical prod
uction of some
sort. The bari
tone singing
“Ave Maria”
and “Memory”
louder than usual.
Back to the hotbox
where I slipped in
and out of conscious
ness while texting,
wanting company,
my company, the
company that I
want. Speaking
of companies, if
only I had the en
ergy to stay up all
night in the middle
of this three-day
weekend to send
out an infinite num
ber of applications,
letters of interest,
resumes, so that by
this time next week
end I’d have a new
company of employ
ment and then I could
have the company I
want. My company.
But all bets are on
slipping back into
unconsciousness.
And soon.

looking for company

Friday, September 02, 2022

mmmdccix

A State of Steamlessness

To say a little something
that I’ve never said before
and keep it happy keep it
up keep it outside of the
areas of morose and de
pressing and morbid
and mean. That’s
what I mean to
do. It’s a game
of logic at the
moment and
what’s worse
I’m out of
steam to
pull off
such a
feat, but
yet, I’m here,
hello, there are lots to
tell, and many ways to
switch my gears from
sinking to uplifting.
Surely? Tonight, I’ll
make this simple. I
thought at first I’d
tell a story, perhaps
one beginning with
(in order to divert
our attention, both
mine and yours)
me mentioning
that I’ve never
worked fast food
and then explain
how that statement
is quite untrue, at
which point I’d
detail for you
the three specific
things I’ve done
that make that
notion—that I’ve
never worked fast
food—at least a half-
lie (but more like a
whole one – there’s
no such thing as a
half lie)
, and I’ve already
gone quite off course. So
what will I do instead? As
if I did not know (this time)
from the very top of this benign
stack of ruses. I figured, hey,
I’d say I had a second interview
this afternoon, which I did. And
that I’ve another second interview
with another company on Tuesday
(Monday being a holiday). And
it’s right about eleven pm and
I have been up since around about
six am, which is about the time
I’ve been up each day this week
(and I don’t think I’ve been asleep
before midnight since last early last
month). Which would all be to say 
how hard I am and have been 
doing for so long off and on and 
then off again, looking for a job.
And right now I’m feeling better
than I have in a very long time
with regard to how to play the
game of getting one. So rather
than press my luck by coming
up with some sort of huckstery
way to find my happy, I’ll just
say that, while I’m not unhappy,
I suppose, I am for certain quite
exhausted. And now that you
know my most overarching
modus operandi and that
I need sleep you probably
won’t mind if I just leave
it that. Would you?
I didn’t think so.
You’re very
sweet that
way.

Good night, dear friend.
Until tomorrow,
I’m signing off.

Brillo

Thursday, September 01, 2022

mmmdccviii

This One

This one
I pulled
out of
the trash.

This one
I pulled
out of
my ass.

Mom
tells me
I wasn’t
raised

to be
vulgar.
That I
was a

child
of the
church.
And it’s

true; it’s
all too
true.
But

yet,
this
one’s
for

leathery
pleasure.
This one’s
for to

feather
a few
hedonistic
navels

while soft-
swiftly
twisting
one or two

quite
unrelated
nipples.
Oh, don’t

be dour,
Mom.
This
one’s

for
tasting
the warm
heart in the

back of
your
teenage
throat.

This one’s
for spooning
and kisses
that make

you feel
like you
might
float

right up
to the
textured
white

swaths
on the
ceiling
of some

scrappy
man
’s bed
room, of
whom, to

me, at least
you never
once men
tioned.

This one’s
for the
uncle’s
lingerie-

filled
basement.
Oh, hush,
I just made

that one up.
It’s called
fantasy, not
vulgarity.

And since
these things
get passed on
hereditarily

(in fact,
thanks
surely
to such

lascivious
brain mean
derings, and
finding the

means to
put some
action to
such sal

acious day
dreams, I,
myself, was
concocted, I

bet, and soon
thereafter
duly arrived),
so what, pray

tell, is all
this fuss.
We come
from the

very same
custard, my
dear, and
that cannot

be denied.
She sighed
a mother’s
sigh, but

even I
could
tell
that

it was
mostly
one
of

sheer
relief.
“Good
night,

dear
Mom,
talk to
you soon.

I love you,
hugs & kisses.”
“Love you,
too, hon.”

And then
our sweet
and spark-
filled,

conversation
was for the
moment,
at least,

paused,
(that is,
until to
morrow

or the
next day
or the next,
at any rate,

thinks the
well-intent
ioned trouble
maker as he

slips into
an inspired
night of
slumber).

scandalous

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

mmmdccvii

Pieces of Mind

This moment
is just a blip
in an otherwise
hectic day.

Is the crux
of the issue
that we simply
have no time
for such blips?

Psh! I feel
quite emphatic
that these blips
are not useless.
They are imp
ortant. They
are substance.

Am I but a blip?
Truly. Of this
there can be
no arguing.

I am a tiny
human blip
nestled with
in a medium-
sized metro
politan blip;

an inhabitant
of a world, of
a galaxy, of a
universe that
are each and
all blips, too.

This reflection,
this pleasant
minute-stretch
ing blip in an
otherwise un
satisfactorily
utilitarian day
is, I’d venture
to say, the very
height of this
day’s import,
its poignance.

I don’t give a
flip about being
but one mere blip
when in the grand
scheme of things
it’s the cumulative
blips that make me
much less of a drip
than most of the
breathing but be
leaguered blips I
encounter through
out my blippy
existence.

Life is weird?  Take some cat love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

mmmdccvi

Bubbles Are For Bursting

If only I’d
had you
for lunch.


             My internet has
             brought me many
             funny animal clips.


I watch them
and I laugh for
at least half of
my entire day.


      And then I watch
      the news. Which
      isn’t half bad.


                     What more in this
                     most blessed and
                     longish life could
                     I possible desire?


Oh, I can
think of
several
things.


                     Hush.
                    Smile.
               Be proud
         and less loud.


If I were only
here but to pro
claim life’s
good fortune.


                     All I’d do whilst
                     slipping baritone
                     on down to bass


[singing] You got to
ac-cent-thcu-ate the
positive / E---lim-i-
nate the negative
...


     Inch on up
     the scale a
     bit and put
     on a happy
     face to sing:


Look for the bare
necessities / Old
Mother Nature’s
recipes / That



                 ahem, give us the
                 lowest common
                 denominator for
                 survival [a voice


berates him out the
door] SO GET OUT
THERE AND DIG
FOR THOSE, DIG?



   You bring those
   home and I will
   bake the most
   audacious cake.


           For only then will
           it be right to even
           start to celebrate.


       This positivity
       has positively
       humiliated me.

who you think you're not

Monday, August 29, 2022

mmmdccv

Write Your Happy

Meaning, in this case, I’ve been
feeling not so very. Meaning I
am curious where this might take
me. I can always change the title

should it not quite work out, but
truth be told, I rarely if ever do.
Change the title, that is. I most
often begin with one, and some

times that’s what this will be
about and sometimes it’s so
unrelated as to cause confusion,
which I must apologetically and

yet impishly admit that I enjoy.
It’s not that I mean to poopoo
editing so much, even though
that’s exactly what I used to do,

so my apologies to Tim, to Steph,
to Cassie, Jennifer, Cynthia, Ron
and to all the rest of you fine folks
who’d listen to me overwhelm

the airwaves with my prolific
piles of mostly unedited stacks
of line after line, of page after
page, as they made their way

to you, whether or not a word
of it has been retained, or the
gist of my meanderings. Oh,
they made their way to you,

I know, and this is my happy,
my positive and my true. I
so miss all of you, I do. Have
seen not one of you but Cassie

since the Great Divide, and
that was thanks to Kevin’s
personal invitation to the
reading at, it was Alley Cat?

Another bookstore that has
subsequently closed. I only
saw Kevin once more after
that most lovely evening,

sadly. But what’s a poem
intent on pleasure, happiness
and hedonism without Kevin?
And on that note there’s David’s

Deli, still extant, but they serve
those monumental blintzes no
more, which is depressing, sure,
but the memory of those cheese

blintzes! Learning to be so very
alone is not so bad as all that,
especially after so many years,
because it’s only temporary.

That is what I tell the echoes
rattling around inside my head,
at least. And I have plans to
bring that to fruition. Plans

to murder this hermetic era.
And I will! Such fantastic
plans they are. And what
exactly is alone, anyway?

I mean, these days that
notions isn’t quite so
precise a description of
the me I am. Unless we’re

talking physically, of course,
and even that can be debated—
think, for example, of how many
people that fit (that live) inside

this fair building I have nearly
four years called my home, I
suppose. And while it’s true
that I so rarely hear from

any one year, from either
of you, but sometimes,
thankfully, just nothing
with such regularity as

when we held our swaps,
how so often we’d have
them. There are some
times I wonder how on

earth we managed, but
wow, what frequency
we’d meet and greet
and eat and read what

ever we had with us at
the time. We all go to read
whatever was read. It was
nourishment for me, for

body, for soul, for all of my
senses, and should our less
alternative lives have dumbed
us down the days previous,

well, I recall the energy most
of all that would, while in each
others’ company course through
me like some sort of electricity.

Oh, how you must have each
grown so incredibly weary of
my incessant voice. But in that
sharing, what sustenance. I, of

course, knew this, or would not
have been such catalyst implem
enting them to begin with; it was
not my first foray into such salons,

such engaging feasts of regularity.
But as the years of solitude wear
on, existing in this cocoon in which
I linger ever longer, one thing that

gives me pause is how I took such
bliss for granted. But. Rather than
be bittersweet in the least, I let the
moments specific and in general

from those days take me over, fill
me presently with that same bliss.
As often as I write, making utility
of the past, I’ve much less nostalgia

to which it must surely seem to
any who pay attention to these lines
than I, in actuality, cling. If you
can believe this, my most powerful

belief is this: now is the only time
to live. So, since these days, as
always, it’s living that I’m striving
for, as difficult as it may, in particular,

presently be, and also as I so empatic
ally started off these lines with such a
simple and intentional plea, to write
my happy, as it were, knowing full

well how much I’ve dwelt of late
upon such melancholic guff, which
is important stuff as well, the words
that have spilled directly from my

elevated and hopeful experiment
have in truth accomplished just
exactly what I set out from that
moment to do—and yet it feels

to me as if I might should take
this fair demand a bit further
into action. How hard would
it, in this reality be, to find yet

one more small group, a set of
individuals who could on some
occasion come to sit together
with our individual pages filled

with our own words we write
(like these of mine) and share
them each with the others, one
and all? Indeed, this might at

first seem like such a heavy
task, at least to me, at least
right now, but all I have to
do is look to the perfection

of so many moments past
to know how much of an
impossibility it could not
at all be. A new group

with whom to engage. A
new set of fine folks with
whom to continue this, my
education; with whom to

enact earnest camaraderie
and with whom as a group
and as individuals to find
that thing called friendship,

fleeting as it may, like all
else in life, be. How about
tomorrow, then, I get right
to it? Come up with a plan

and figure out how to mix
and mingle once again, it
won’t take much to hit upon
an imperfect few with which

soon I can be swapping poems
with some regularity, and soon.
I think I will. Indeed, I will get
right to it. It thrills me just to

think about this now, and
of even the somewhat del
iberate process of bringing
such a group to fruition.

poem-swap of yore