Sunday, September 30, 2018


Brave Words

(the first of a set of poems
with titles from a page of
“STICKERS” with “man of
the house affirmation
phrases” [my words]
in Stephen  Colbert’s 
I Am America
And So Can You

I must tell you this
before the parquet
full of butter explodes:
Politics sucks!  It was
the era when politics
sucked more than usu-
al.  Summer in the South
when wasps and hornets
build their nests out your
bedroom window and you
are mesmerized. And
that’s when the realization
occurs: we each bring some-
thing of (relative) relevance
to the table, should we de-
cide to arrive at it.  And no
matter the number in attend-
ance at the table, each one-
on-one engagement that trans-
pires at the table is every bit
as unique as what we bring
to those tables.

[interlude: whilst several
poems are lost and some
of them are found again
and edits are actually
made, and, and...]

Yes.  I know.  I talk entirely
too much.  I always have.
Too many words. Words and 
words and words and words. 
Thank you for not telling me 
to shut up (this time).  A 
million times thank you. 
Brave words, all.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


West Coast Mayoral Debate

(a more gleeful topic than the G.O.P.,
which my friend Joe Duffy alternatively
expands to call Gloomy Old Pussies)

“What’s so wrong about being smitten
by a person you don’t know except from
the internet?” I ask.

"Did you just sequitize my nonsequitur?”
he’s pissed and questioning my ageless
query, adding “You sockmaking sock-

squirter! You smock-wrecker!  You fog-
headed smokemonger.  You, you, you
smack-cracker, you!!”  “That’s awfully

artful and artfully upstanding of you,” 
I meander, thinking (definitely a bit
starry-eyed, I’ll be the first to admit).

You start with London, a European
capital, and you end with sex (albeit
that of the the perpetuating persuasion).

And then… “That’s Mayor Sporkbreaker
to you,” crackles the one speaker on the
dais, the one directly underneath the mike

covered with a black, fuzzy, spongy, mat-
erial that all principals and politicians are
overly familiar with (or maybe not, being

on the wrong side of the microphone to 
have to deal with such things).  He has
spoken the obvious, the oblivious mayor.

And besides, this two-bitcoin town has
no room for such resentment, such
bittermongering, such grudges against

those who are cooked up and served
a doctoral degree (and not an M.D.,
mind you).  Oh, the riff-raff amongst

us all.  And we, mere fodder for the
riff and the raff.  Later, settled com
fortably on my couch, with my overly

well-mannered (at least today) cat,
overlooking the sooty, foggy and det-
erminedly unromantic rooves below.

I mouthed her name (using only my
tongue and teeth).  London.  Breed.
I picked up my all-in-one and dialed

M (for Mayor Spotmaker, of course),
the always gifted palomine, and re-
minded him (once again) that unless

he had lost his faculties or unless he
was lost faculty (in the Albee/Virginia
Woolf sense), then….  Oops! That is

precisely the moment I remembered
that they are both vegans for health
reasons.  Always the hopeful nincom-

poop, I closed out the connection with
such a terrible swiftness that my aged
mind quickly returned to normal. Longing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


     (Part 1: Health: Walking from ‘home’ to the intersection of Klonopin & 
     Malice Cooper)

I’m stepping over a mint-green pill
on the sidewalk on the way to my
doctor’s office (located on Capp
Street around a block from the 16th
Street BART Station.  My appoint-
ment is with Dr. Sheran, the doctor
I had for the year (that ended 7
months ago) in which I was on 
Medi-Cal.  I have visited regularly,
especially since medical benefits
are about the best possible thing
that can come from homeless as
far as I can tell.  It is called 
Mission Neighborhood Resource
Center and is a free clinic for 

folks such as myself (who are not 
free people, pretty much the opp-
osite it seems at times, but folks f
who are instead generally free of
finances of residences, and this
is a place we go; and one of the
many reasons I love it is because
every time I walk into the office
I feel like I'm walking on to the set
of an Almodovar film...)...  I’m on 
one of the three or four versions
of Medi-Cal that can be assigned to
folks with the freedom mentioned
earlier here in San Francisco.  Con-
fusing, but nevertheless, at least

it seems to me, the absolute best 
part about being jobless and home-
less here.  Any medical issue I’ve 
encountered since being ‘free’
enough to get this perquisite (the bias
and condescension by many med-
ical staff who have helped me to
be on my healthy, happy way is
free, as well, but these things are
from emergency room visits, in 
particular to St. Francis, a few
blocks from where I lived for 
16 years before being evicted
from my lovely home, and for 
things like severe panic attacks 
or the bout of pneumonia I slammed
into last October, during which time
I was sunk into my shelter cot (#13,
top bunk, middle of room that holds
nearly a hundred men at night —
and still holds the same if not more,
but now I’m on bunk #43, on
top again, which is my preference;
the new one is located at a busy spot
adjacent to one of the main shower-
and bathrooms, and right next to 
the mop closet, but except for the
bed bugs and dealing with daily
fights and the occasional —
well overly occasional thus far this
go-round, as there have been two in
the last week which I have no choice
but to witness and even to provide 
some assistance — drug overdose)
bed for nearly two weeks, barely 
crawling down to even eat.  During
that time someone stole my wallet
and my phone from the very bed in 
which I slept; a common occurence,
and one of a few common occurences
which has kept me from obtaining
solid employment.  These are things
that passed swiftly and cinematically
through my head as I was headed to
a check-up which (in retrospect
I can happily report) led to my 
very first dental exam and cleaning
in around a decade.  And, along with 
that, will be followed soon, purport-
edly, by my first eye exam in several
years.  Which will mean a new pair
of glasses for me (exciting!), and
I have not worn, new or old, any
glasses, at least with real lenses
included within them, in at least
a few years, and which look a bit
appropriate at interviews, in my
opinion (that is if you have any 
sense of style at all; and while I
believe that I will be interviewing
again very soon (I need a job-search
worthy smartphone, which thanks to
many gracious folks will be arriving 
into my hands in very short measure)
I will nevertheless need anything that 
can might even possibly give me a 
bit of added panache, because my
recent experiences at trying to imp-
ress have been less than impressive,
and I need to impress, need intensely
to impress, and need plenty to get 
there, still, but am about to dig in
as deep as possible to do so.  it 
would appear that such seemingly 
silly stuff as a pair of glasses, at
least in my world now, has become 
much more important than it used 
to be, at least during the first 28
year journey through my career. 
So, I shall have my eyes tested at
Zuckerberg San Francisco General
Medical and Trauma Center (a name
which, sounds nicely like home to 
me, even though most everyone 
around here still calls it, simply,
“General” — like the few 
holdouts who go to Pac-Bell Park 
to see their Giants play - a park 
that has been non-existent for
nearly a decade now.  All of this
at the corner of Mission and 
Duboce, as I step over a 
blister-packed Klonopin, a drug
I've never been prescribed.  So
how do I feel sure about what
it is over which I step?  I catch
myself mumbling an answer of
sorts, something about how it’s
simply one of those odd and mostly 
unnecessary things one picks up in 
my particular world, I suppose.  Dur-
ing those moments when I find myself
more curious than depressed or anxious 
(the irony, yes, but also, happily, time-
frames which are, over time, increasing).
As I step over the pill, briefly considering
picking it up (I don’t), I notice 
that across Mission, at the Brick & Mortar 
(a venue I have at which I have seen a per-
formance or two, but I feel surely whenever

that was the venue had a different name, 
and seems eons ago (with long ago friends 
who now only exist in my head, present-
day ghosts I wonder about often, but rarely
if ever hear a word from or even spot in 
any of my social network feeds, where 
they often used to appear, in large per-
centages within photographs that were
taken by me over the years). Or in per-
son, even though we live in the same
square and smallish city.  The marquee 
reads “Malice Cooper” and it gets me to
wondering what kind of performance 
this Malice Cooper might present to
the probably now absurdly young and
yuppish San Francisco audience.  A mixed
group of yuppies and Alice Cooper fans
certainly does not compute to me, but
I&rsuq; quite likely incorrect in any of 
my quick assumptions or thoughts about
this inevitable event.  Is it a cover
band who only performs music 
originally done by Alice Cooper?
That is of course my first thought.
I can’t recall a single Alice Cooper 
song, to be honest.  But surely 
there must be one that would 
at least ring some sort of bell.  
For some reason Alice Cooper 
seems to be of some enlarged 
significance today (as compared 
to what, me reading their
name on a marquee at a 
popular venue? or because of
whatever opinion or popularity
they had or have in my own lim-
ited head, whic is simply the
beginning sketches of a formation 
of a notion looking from the pers-
pective of the moment and into a
few moments of my youth?; 
but why do I think the original 
Alice Cooper might be perhaps
now worthy of a biopic revealing
something of importance, some-
thing that could be deduced into
a present-day relevance?  Perhaps
(perhaps, perhaps) any such anal-
asys of anything from the past
could be regarded with that no-
tion, and maybe it’s I
believe right this moment safe
to say that one might gather a
tidbit of importance from look-
ing back at anything, be it 
supergroup, small shared mo-
ment in time that can be re-
corded for posterity, filmed
dance, recital, family gather-
ing, finding a stack of books
you read when you were a 
kid, a couple of x-rays of
just about anything that can
be x-rayed.  Maybe this Malice 
Cooper in now way has any 
real relation to its less mal-
icious namesake.  Perhaps
it's a means to gather att-
ention, to simply get some-
one, anyone, to show up.  May-
be one or two of them may lis-
ten, wondering why the name
Malice Cooper, both being fans
of the Alice Cooper, and yet
absolutely LOVE this Malice.
One the other hand there is
the possibility that fans of
the band whose first name
was the also the maid's
name in the Brady Bunch
and whose last name is 
the name of a currently
popular actor who is re-
viving by starring in and
directing a movie made 
famous by a young woman 
whose popularity sky-
rocketed during the 
time period when the 
original band formulated,
began trying to make a
name for itself might ar-
rive at the venue, order
a beer or two waiting for
the night’ perfom-
ance, only to be complete-
ly mortified by what they
saw, as they wondered 
aloud to each other how
anyone could vandalize
the music of the great
Alice Cooper.  Perhaps
there is a woman in at-
tendance, usually keep-
in her distance from the
rest of the crowd, seem-
ingly lost in some corner,
witha cocktail in her hand,
whose name is Barbra
Cooper, a woman who
revels in sadness at 
local concerts of all kinds
We might imagine (as I
did) the horror (or sheer
adventure of such a new
and unexpected discovery) 
if any of the concert attend-
ees did not even see the
M in front the rest of
of the headliner’ name
on the marquee at the Brick &
Mortar at the northwest corner of
Duboce and Mission Streets one
recent afternoon and, still 
obvlivious, immediately de-
cided upon their plans for 
that night.  These were just 
some of the things was think-
ing, perhaps embellished a bit
for flare, at just that one in-
tersection during my pleasant
walk to my doctor's office one
morning last week as I stepped
over a blister packed singular
pill of what was (I think) Klonopin.