Tuesday, November 26, 2019


It’s Actually Possible That It’s Okay To Be Stupid

Because I am stoned 1st time
in years the clouds play tricks
with my eyes, the sun cools
down the lengthening shadows

and my steps are within (myself:
my home).  This little heart of mine.
Thinking it must be hilarious that we
already found the suburbs and they

weren't nearly as slutty as we had
imagined they would be.  Mom was
caught in an ice storm.  That shook 
us to the core (do not try to peel me!).

Dad was sitting lotus-style in his pod
which is not something to which one 
listens, but instead, keeps noises in their
proper places.  So he could hear naught 

from within nor without (said pod).  My
thoughts, those that are mine, what con-

sists of my mind, are two trains attempting 
to pick up each of the individual Pick-Up-Stix 

without moving any of the other Pick-Up-Stix;
are not intending to crash into each other,
to be jerked from their rails into a catchy 
medley filled with upper-class death, though 

as the game persists, even if metaphorically,
they are coming at each other directly,
each at a high-class speed that is most
certainly not to be sneezed at.  This is

a bit nervously witnessed by men on
horseback.  They are extras in a West-
ern being filmed about a mile away, 
and are now each wondering at what 

speed it is appropriate to sneeze.  The
Stix, I realize, startling myself a bit, 
were actually made of plastic. I always
attempt to summarize, to rationalize.  

Is it my nature or is it inherently human?  
The fog, which wants to roll in this instant,
is nowhere to be seen, but, once here, will 
erase everything that has come before it.

Saturday, November 23, 2019


Losing The Most Important Page Of A Speech
  (And Giving It As If Your Life Depended On It)

Alligators and pythons (who get

along quite well, it turns out).  They

are a sight for sore eyes as the
sweet corn is ground into Sept-

ember.  In the tropics?  Yes, here
I am, like all of those who came

before me.  The peyote poets.  At
least until the first of the Arabian

horses (and, oh, such an infinite
trail of these succulent minia-

ture creatures!) trots upon my sun-
burned lips (How long?  The sun?)

and onto the inside of my jowl
(the side on the outside of which

is the un-sunburned side of my
face).   My mouth still agape in...

something like hunger...so no
harm to the Arabians there.  But

then the epiglottis.  I choked a
bit.  A weak cough, I would say.

then, as the horses still kept
marching inward and ever in-

ward, their infinite trail winding
infinitely, beyond eyesight on this...

mirage...this desert dune, I
began to realize how hilarious

I must look.   And this thought
was not without a tinge of 

my own humor, how hilarious 
I looked, only I could not chuckle

(the Arabians, you see).  With
one full half of my body as red

as an all-but-perfectly-ripe
cherry; the other half as pale

as an ivory teacup full of tap-
ioca pudding.  Later the next

day, by the time the entire
entourage of Arabians had

ever-so-elegantly marched
into my half-burnt mouth,

down my throat and some-
how began to (surely with

some grace) swim in the hor-
rifyingly squalid juices that

dared remain in my stomach,
juices that were flowing freely 

again, I could feel the energy
that I had once known so long

ago, when as a child, it truly
must have been, return.  In

fit and starts at first.  But
then, It was my manhood

again, and later no small
amount of puberty (which,

as it turns out were my
less awkward years)...

anyway, the juices were
flowing again and my eyes,

my lachrymal glands were
most definitely...yes...they

were leaking and soon even
flowing like rivulets on either

side of my snotted nose.
And I desperately had to pee.

Should I do it with the Arabians
in me, I wondered aloud.  Al-

ways aloud, this incessant
voice that is my very own.

Or, more at, should I do it for
the Arabians.  And this I thought

silently as I began to rise and
without a hint of a limp or a 

stumble upon wave after wave 
of sand, I began to make my way 

to what had become of my house,
which I had built with FUTURE all

of those years (?) ago upon a rock.  
In truth, I surmised, as I had for 

what seemed like eons that this fu-
ture that had all but disappeared.  

Was, perhaps, like this so-called 
future:  always non-existent, yet 

spread right there in front of me, 
as if on the tastiest egg with the

largest circumference that would
lean out the edges of all sides of

the square pillows of toast.  And
then I wondered what Gary would

think.  About all of this.  The dunes
The burns.  The banished future.

And the Arabians.  I knew precisely
that he’d be heart-on-sleeve giddy

with the curiosity that always was
life to him.  Taken so young, that

shit-eating grin, that unnecessary,
yet omnipresent, I don’t care.  I

know I’m having fun.  Now.
itude that never left him, even un-

til the end.  Not a suicide, but....
I often contort my face in honor

of that grin, which does not feel
so good when it is as half-burnt aa

it was at present.  And as my mind
wandered on, in its odd but log-

ical way, I wondered, this time
aloud again, And what would 

my father would have thought?  
To relieve myself of the tension,

I actually said dad instead of
father, but for a moment I got

just a bit caught up in the re-
telling.  Which means I must

still be here.  Somewhere.
What would Dad’s presence 

have to offer:  an uncom-

fortable wave that works its

way through one’s body, from
the tippy-toes to the top of the 

head, that gives one that humble
feeling of knowing that one is

blessed?  Why, yes.  And then
some, I added.  This thought

about my father, about Dad,
proved amazing to me at which-

ever moment, and as I stand
here before you, my scalp is

tingling.  Because among so
many other profundities that 

one thinks, or sometimes just
dreams up, while stranded in

the middle of a desert’s mirage
of an oasis.  In that paradise

I realized that my father —
the cop, the mailman, the house-

painter, the cattle-rancher, the 
fence-pole digger, the artificial

inseminator (back to the cows,
as it were — it was a thing in 

that era — in fact he was offic-
ially certified), the volunteer fire-

man, the owner at one point (and
at some points even simultaneous-

ly) of a donkey, a mule and a Kawa-
saki motorcycle —— I thought that,

well, I thought that my Dad was more 
of an artist than I would ever be.  Would 

he roll over in his grave, the man who ne-
ver let me get over the fact that I switched

majors in undergraduate school from
Chemistry (almost had it, in fact) to 

Theatre Arts in the middle of my 
junior year (and I personally paid

for all of my education after I left
home at seventeen; it was part of

the deal)?  Do people do that? 
Roll over in their individual graves?

Or wherever the remains of their 
bodies that lie, some in ashes spread

here and there, some in bits and 
pieces in places too numerous

to imagine?  Others, of course,
in literal graves, I suppose.

I am a success at imagining. 
It is one thing I do.  I do not

know if I am an expert.
It is not something for which

I had an apprenticeship.  I

do not hold regular conver-

sations with others who might
be better or worse at it than

I am.  I do not hold regular
conversations at all.  And so,

I decide to enjoy this feeling 
of cockiness about imagination.  

Which is when Larry shows up.  Is
punishment the greatest allure 

of words?  I wonder aloud. Impede-
ment.  Integument.  Impertinent.

The road to redemption
is long and arduous, is

wild and fun, is up and
down, heaven and hell.

Sunday, November 17, 2019


There was a bit of an auspicious but
clearly detectable mumble at one end
of the giant dining hall in which a fam-
iliar discussion had begun to engross the
men from the North and South sides of
the border, a tradition that had begun
years ago.  The two traditions: one
was the dinner they were now enjoying
together, one of only four times a year
in which they officially mingled, these
two factions (of course they were not
the first...) that inhabited the local
land.  And the other tradition was the 
subject with which they were by now 
fully entertaining, with mostly respect
and only a few loud voices coming from
a smattering of red-faced fogies: talk of
a long-ago love affair, a suicide, a murder
or three, another purported suicide that 
ended it all — or one would think.  But.
Perhaps it was just the story about the
border, between the two states, an old
and very random wooden fencerow (a
property signifier, they still liked to call 
it — by which I signify that this discussion
captured the attention and engaged all
of those at the table: those from north
of the old fence, and those who resided
to the south of it).  The fence was to
become the basis for the official border
between the Dakotas at this time.  It was
1889.  The party in this grand ballroom
(the joke about in the middle of nowhere
was beginning to be grumbled) always
got a bit rowdy at this point.  The con-
versation was not exactly a tradition.  It
was just something not to be forgotten.
Not by these men.   And this was the
one time it always was brought up.  The
Lindseys weren’t really thinking about
the crows that dropped to the fence every
day about the same time; an ominous
sense of foreboding thought the Milliners
(some had already reduced the name to
Miller, but they were still always called
the Milliners at this y ), but were think-
ing more about the women, and how it
could not be escaped that those from
one side of the fence had a certain
homeliness (some even used the word
possessed) look about them.  On the 
other side were deemed the beauties.  
On this notion, both sides mot often
agreed.  These were quintessentially
male arguments, of course; the women 
were yet to be allowed at the function,
except for the cooking and the cleaning.
Not to be heard or hardly seen.  And now
this gathering of men had moved on to the
more jovial topic, that always followed the
grumbling about the randomness or the clear
thievery of the fencerow that became a border
and would always round out the evening: they
began to speak of the love story between the
an up-and-coming young man on one side of 
the fence who fell for a low-lady, as they
were often still called, from the opposite
side.  This was, of course, anathema to the
tribesmen.  But, as always, this nostal-
gic epic took over the conversation,
the rowdiness became congeniality
and literal awe for the lovers on both
sides of the fence and what became
of their love, which was tragic.  
Although no one was present 
at the table that had actually
known either party, it had become 
bit of a legend; a sort of modern-
day equivalent to the Capulets versus 
the Montagues in Romeo and Juliet,
even though none of these men likely
knew a thing about Shakespeare
except, perhaps that Shakespeare
was Shakespeare.  This part of the
discussion carried inevitably on into the
parlor that wrapped the giant old home
that took up what must have been an acre 
of the dry surface of what was normally
a cracked earth template toppled with
incessant and swiftly-flowing tumble-
weed during the months when the
surface of the earth was not snow-

The youngest of the Lindsey men eventually
managed manipulatively but somewhat 

subtly (he did have a golden tongue, or
so it was rumored) to veer the talk to-
ward the story of the lady he called the
frippery Gaul girl that he currently had 
more than just his eyes on (this particular-
ly frontier's Romeo of the moment, was
this young Lindsey fellow).  He made his
way to the parlor first, which wrapped
neat clean around the  full front of the
mansion (which is what everyone still
called the old Dullmyer place to this day,
even though it now served as more of a
traditional meeting hall, and yet in this
case, the word mansion was an appropriate
description), a place which swore out most
all frontier creatures small enough to sift
through the windows as well as those large
or wily enough to break through the windows
or even the doors (the screens of both of 
which had been special-made in Sweden 
of the extraordinary exquisitely-stitched 
linen-like but vividly see-through tiny 
wires).  One of the screen doors was
closed and there seemed no way out of
it from the inside and, one always had 
timagine, had no easy way to enter
from the other side, unless you were
one of those fantastical creatures
microscopic.  All of this created a
sense of peace for these third-gen-
eration settlers whose progenitors
had originally been warring factions. 
It had begun with one outspoken
family from a few miles east with a 
grudge against the longstanding
family of old world money.  The
monied clan had already been living
here longer than anyone knew by
the time the tensions even arose.
There was always much discussion 

about how and why this grudge began.
Everything about this monied family was
near ancient now, but there still remained
the sweet and spoiled youngest heir, Julie
(yes, a name after so representative of the 
many such quarterly round-table discussions
which transpired here ar the old Dullmyer
mansions (the Dullmyers, it turned out,
being that old wealth family of local lore).
But that story is for another time.  This eve-
ning, around that grand table in a place that
seemed destined to retell a Shakespearian
tragic love story four times a year, despite 
the general ignorance in these  parts of that
certain universal British playwright and poet.
And so they did, well into the evening.  
Young Lindsey and his best mate, 
clearly meant by Lindsey to attend 
solely as a companion to remain
unnoticeable, finally, indeed rather un-
noticeably, lit his pipe and began the ritual-
istic trek toward the door, a sort of a double-
file hand-shaking ceremony out of the
mansion door and into the night,
as was the tradition, with each man
taking off toward his respective home,
whether it stood on this side of the
of the border fence or on the other.

As he was walking out, In fact,
the young Lindsey's awe of the
this new woman who he intended
to make his wife engulfed him into
the realization that she was not so very
frippery at all.  She was so very near his
age, which was an unheard-of character-
istic of the general courting which trans-
pired in the area. And as he walked out 
into the moonlight he suddenly realized 
how terribly he had mischaracterized his
love, had indeed not even realized what 
it was about the young Miss Gaul that 
really caught his fancy.  And this realiz-
ation gave him a pleasant pause. Not
an uncomfortable nor a worrisome
one.  But, quite simply, he opened
his eyes to the fact that he loved
here for she was remarkably full
of intelligence.  One might even
say that she was combustible
with sage wisdom.  Fancy that,
he thought as he left the cam-
araderie of the former foes’
traditional gathering.  And
he began to take on a strik-
ingly abnormal spring to his
gait thanks to an unusual lightness
in his walk, the back of the soles
of his makeshift shoes never seem-
ingly making contact with the earth,
never resting from tired ankles,
as if a man on a very important
mission, for the miles that he walked
n his way back home that night, look-
ing ever so forward to seeing the
handsome Miss Gaul at the earl-
iest possible convenience. Yes,
the absolute earliest possible
time, he kept saying in
his head, with a smile
that brought on the
most engaging
dimples.  Which
was a trait of the
men from both sides
of the wall that rep-
resented the border
between the old
warring factions of,
as we all are, of course,
related human beings.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019



              (Achizm #1)

And then…

I wanted to hold

the smoke – the


of special breath-

ing smoke – way

up high.


over the elk

standing frozen

on the mountains

large winter-

time cliffs

where they



the fogged

bluffs of


Tuesday, November 12, 2019


The window is a sword.
          —Jack Spicer

And the pen is might-
ier.  Or so said Edward
Bullwer-Lytton in 1836.
Ink on the outdoor side

of a window is usually
graffiti, which is van-
dalism.  If I write you
a poem using my pen

on this window my 
nose is pressed ag-
ainst, cold, each
breath making 

two streaks of 
flaring down
toward the sill,


the fam-
iliar land-

of my
lies in-

ches now
the powder,
getting stick-

y....  Back
when Bos-
ton was

that dis-
tant view

the land-
scape of my 
memory brain-

freeze.  Hot
and sticky
in San Fran-
cisco; unu-

sual, but
now hard
into autumn.
And it has been

this way since
springtime.  No
snow in 20 years.
Now the cold ice

in my head might
as well be hot; 
hot like a tongue 
stuck to a flagpole.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Darling, I said
with my head
out the window,
do not set foot
in the hot tub!

And then I zoom-
ed off to LaLa-
Land for the
afternoon, a
splendor in the

noontime sun.
many of the be-
autiful things
to come.

Saturday, November 09, 2019


Blow Me Like Hot Coffee (or Cocoa)

With marshmallows, if cocoa, or, in the
language of Northwestern Arkansas, the
less formal but perfectly legitimate phrase
is: hot chocolate (or more accurately, hot

chocklit).  If it’s coffee, none of that
Keurig catastrophe that has demolished
the coffee shelves at supermarkets
everywhere.  Go to Trader Joe’s and

pick up the 10 Instant Coffee Pack-
ets (their own brand), “all dressed up
with creamer & sugar” as it says on the
front of the box, along with “just add water”

and “ideal for travel.”  For a buck ninety-nine. 
10 instant packets!  And if you’re fresh out of
dainty coffee mugs the size of which are often
seen in European bistros,  make sure you use

2 packets.  Or 3.  Simply snip the tops off.
Blow to open. Pour into hot water.  And enjoy!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019


Tastes Like Burnt Chicken

You know how some razor blades,
most particularly those that are the
cheapest and most quickly dispos-
able, often fleck your face with

constellations of red spots?  Blood
barely escaping, as if a small spot
has been pulled to reveal a red
freckle?  These same blades can

seemingly more easily slice or peel
the bottoms of noses, and comp-
letely remove any upheaval of the
face, be it a mole or a pimple or

an old-man skin-flap.  Well,
I cannot even afford one of
those razors at the moment.
Even though I have several

job interviews this week.  A
job. The whole idea of employ-
ment has me feeling like a help-
ess nincompoop for the past

few years.  I’ve been
flailing, which is not an action I
had been used to before five or
six years ago.  I have been, it

seems, unable to grab hold,
even as I attempt for dear life
to do so.  I was staying at my
friends’ place the other night

and I swear I suddenly (it was
the middle of the night, and
I was doing paperwork for a
new business I have begun,

my one and only business,
if it ever becomes a business)
saw a black whirling portal on
the wall across the hallway from

the main bedroom door.  And
it did sort of startle me.  I
chalked it up to a lack of
sleep, but when I mentioned

it to my friend the next morn-
ing, as I was just about to say
I saw the portal — I must have
gotten through I saw — and my

friend, he just finishes my
sentence matter-of-factly,
without even looking
up from whatever it was

he was doing (something in-
volving electronics, I am
quite certain), with, Oh, you
saw the portal?  Yeah, it 

comes and goes.  I must ad-
mit I had a bit of shiver go
up my spine.  Not an
ordinary feeling for me.

I did not otherwise know
how to respond, except
to laugh and call him
ever the jokester.  But...

he finished my thought
before I had ever even
mentioned anything
the least bit...super-

natural.  I have to
raise a bunch of
money in the next
few hours.  It seems

likely it is not going
to happen.  For my
business.  For my
life.  For my dream.

Which has gotten (my
life, my dream, what-
ever might become
of my mark on this

world) muddled so
badly in the past
few years that this
is something I have

gotten used to.  But
this time it’s different.
I cannot...will not lose
this dream.  And yet

here I sit writing this
meandering set of
thoughts to you in
a set of four-line

stanzas, as if I
have the time.
Even though my
business does

very much in-
volve stanzas
and poetry and
community (a

concept I’ve
forgotten what
means, exactly).
So am I in the

business of help-
ing my business
by writing this to
you now?  No, of

course not.  I am
just doing my work.
For once, not pro-
crastinating.  Doing

the one thing I seem
to know.  Can do.  Can
sometimes do well,
even if you might dis-

agree.  I ask you, do
you follow me?  This
garbled story of me?
Do you feel my panic

as I write these words
as if calm as the ocean
tide sifting over the
finest sand on the coast?

Monday, November 04, 2019



Yesterday, on Halloween, the House voted to formalize
the Peach Inquiry.  Stephen Colbert makes it sound 
true and funny even when I mishear him.  But right
now I’d much rather be watching the Nickelodeon
channel than The Late Show on my Chromebook.  I
wonder aloud if I can stream it.  Nickelodeon.  But I
quickly move forward from that thought because I can-
not turn off Stephen Colbert. (My best friend often asks,
punningly, Why don’t you marry him?   To which 
I give him a glare, tell him he’s married, and remind
him that he’s a Sunday School teacher, to boot.)  Then
begins a riff in the monologue about when Rudy Giuliani
butt-dialed an NBC journalist.  The problem is we need
some money, coming in loud and clear.  Then, We need
a few hundred thousand.  And I think, Corruption be
damned, so do I.  Only, realistically, I need only one thou-
sand.  If I’m being really realistic, I need about two; just
two of those thousands.  But Stephen Colbert seems to
want to stall my efforts, or so YouTube keeps telling me
(using Colbert’s voice, of course).   Then I remember
how different (and similar?) this is to when I’d actually
panhandle online when I was homeless.  I was homeless.
This still hits me like an exclamation point.  The ramifi-
cations of that fact seem to never end.  Homelessness.
Online.   Panhandling.  Online homeless panhandling
seems infinite to me.  I am in the moment, so it might as
well seem endless.  What can be eternally noted, I believe
is that two of those words kept the other from what I can
only assume would have been something this weak soul
could not have endured.  Not to get to this lovely little room
in which I now exist (watching The Late Show), on what I
lovingly call the seediest couple of blocks in town...well...
this San Francisco story might be completely different.
And probably unnoted, unnoticed, not even a footnote
would be left of all of — what my pink heart-shaped tin
full of pennies says: MY DREAM HAS JUST BARELY
— of me and my dream.  Dreams, more acc-

urately.  But tonight I am only thinking of one dream, 
which is a combination of several dreams when it comes 
down to it.  The dollars I need now are for a burgeoning
business, and not a bed indoors somewhere.  Note to
self.  I had strategy.  I always had that.  But back-up
plans?  They have always been a bit too rare.  Sure,
I had a job I loved.  But it only lasted a month, due
apparently to no fault of my own.  I was but a pawn.
Business.  Where are my bargaining chips this time?
Do I have any left?  I think too hard that I do not.  I 
am generally quiet now about my homeless past,
but if a question occurs in conversation that needs
it brought up, I am quite open; not so quiet.  I walk
around town as if everyone knows.  I type a cover
letter as if everyone already knows.  I write this
poem as if everyone knows.  And if you do not,
you do now, right?  All I know at the moment is 
I must come up with a few dollars or I lose my 
new business, which wasn’t always mine, not
until I lost all of my money on a romantic getaway;
until I gambled away my future, or at least several
years of it (hopefully, not my final several years!).
And this time my actions make me only one of the
losers.  I try to be excited about the future.  I usually
am.  I was, even during most of the worst of the past
five years or so.  Yet I must take this tiny org chart
of mine into the next month, and the next year,
and so on.  I am so ready to five-year plan the
hell out of it that it hurts.  Because I need over
a thousand dollars in cash.  I used to raise more
than this quite swiftly when I was homeless.  And
boy was it comfort.  It was survival, too.  But there
was always this dirty feeling I had just for asking. 
So much so that I would almost always ask a bit too
late for it to help as much as it could have.  These
days, I walk past (and over) my old colleagues at
the shelter, familiar sidewalk figures.  They need
a thousand dollars much more than I do.  I could
say the same of the majority of the world’s popul-
ation, I presume.  This is a way to bridge the gap
think, and wonder exactly what I mean by what
I just said out loud.  Making good on doing some-
thing after managing my way through that.  It
makes it hard to find the gusto to do anything
that is not giving a thousand dollars to anyone
I see who I think needs it.  But I need the money.
And I mean it.  And, not one to feel guilty for much
of anything in this life — for any extended duration
of time, anyway — my stomach is now twisted into
knots and I cannot bring myself to begin.  Panhandling.  
Well, this pen says without my uttering one single word
let’s put down our pity and put out a plan of action!
To which Stephen Colbert responds, What else is there to do?