Sex, Religion, Politics Published by Hurt Branch and Lyons, Roanoke, 1997

Sex, Religion, Politics

J. Douglas Stuber

Published by:
Hurt, Branch and Lyons
2925 Leslie Lane
Roanoke, Va. 24014

Copyrights held by the author, but go ahead and use this stuff in all but magazines, ‘cause I may still want to publish some of these in magazines.

Copyright 1997
All Rights Generously Forgiven
Unless you’re gonna make a song out of it.
If you want to “lyricise” get me at

Thanks to: A.I.M. Magazine, Albatross, Artemis, The Mangrove Review, The Obelisk, HazMat Review, Plowshare Peace Center, The University of Florida,
Eastern Service Workers, “Red Weather,” “The Gadflies,” “One Brown Dog,” and
Hollins College.

Brown Puppy and Friend

A neighbor lent a sheet or two
So I could write these lines.
She had a puppy, full of fear,
She offered all she could that day
Because life is a contradiction.

Her mom talked to a stranger back
In 1972. She was born a year later.
But now she smiles and talks to
A stranger, knowing the consequences.
Just who do I think I am asking
For paper, as if sugar, on a sunny day?

The neighbor who detects when you should die,
The one who knows the trouble in your eye.

Dougie Sonnet II

One cut piece of paper is all
You need to start a revolution.
You see, the foreign press is
Unaware of the secret needs of
Consuming Americans. For all of our stuff,
We’re as love-starved as a burning bush.

By this I mean, while all other shrubbery
Blooms, we’re safe in the alcove
Of some institution, but not able
To love one another. Why? Because
TV, the dash for cash, and the resulting
Inability to converse leaves no opening lines!

Hey there honey with the ball cap on your head,
Have you witnessed an example of what I just said?

Dougie Sonnet III

The Roosevelt stands, a square
Monolith over the Oxford Gallery,
Buried in a corner; at least front
Corner of the most-post-Medeival
Square in this Burg. Look up and catch
A cloud zooming by the arched copulation

Centre. The building is dull in
Architecture, but not in activity. My
Friend Tracy lives there, which means
The nights are bound to be full of
Unbridled gossipy behavior.

Then come new musical revelations: tears
As the jazz lingers and we finish up our beers.

“One Highland Sprig To Go”

Today the dogs bark loudly
At tattooed patchuli-smelling punks
Who wander around the morning after,
Smelling lilacs. These dudes are hung,
Hanging over testicles a foot or so.

I mean what kind of nonsense
Do I have to spew forth before
You realize that the park is for
Lovers? These boys only love
Themselves. Hung over, yes, hung,

But why must you de-flower lilacs
When so many pretty girls walk
By? Why not use your ugly,
Dull weapon on the general female
Population? Why ruin bushes?

Why not politely ask a girl,
Woman if you prefer that age,
If she would like a coffee, etcetera?
That way you could eat her cake,
And, if lucky, have her too!

That way, you’d get the heck away
From the enticing bushes here
In the park. The park is for lovers,
Not the haters like you. God would you
Please find them some peace, some piece.

Donuts, Not Manna

Chafed red hands dangle under
A dungaree coat. Faded threads
Except for purple lettering: Camel.
This dude’s a mechanic, works fifty
Hours under cars. He’s never read a poem.

The scowl of poverty greets you
From a face, still beautiful, behind
Blonde hair. She decides she can’t
Afford a donut and walks out without
A morsel, without a sip, without a poem.

Is there poetry in the wind shaken
Locust trees? Maybe behind the
Wheel of an F-250? No. You
Can’t blame words for hiding. This
Isn’t the right era to sit writing lines.

Can anyone drag a poem out of fake
Wood paneling on a rusting family
Wagon? Is there any beauty at all
In the design made by cracking
Blacktop? Words like people cower.

James of Manning, South Carolina

I’ll bet you think the caste system
Is reserved for India or the far east,
But what of the American man
Who volunteers to sweep

The butts and trash you throw away
From the sidewalks and lots:
Then he comes inside to ask if
You can spare a fiver from the slot.

Of course you can’t but you
Give him a hot cup and he goes away.
Which he does because there are
Other lots to sweep today.

I’ll bet you think your job is safe
Handing out donuts, coffee and tea.
It’s not if the boss across the street
Picks a foreign locality.

And what of the man who sweeps so well
And his kids who he never sees?
Do you ever stop to think or tell
Of his life of misery?

February in Rochester

Here where the gray clouds are so pervasive
They effect the way we behave,
A small gift of color replaces the flowers
Long hidden by Winter’s parade
Of snow slush mud, snow slush mud,
Snow slush mud, snow slush mud,
Snow, that comes at us each day.

So, roses go floating down the brown water
Out to the iced-over lake
A week or two after they passed their prime
In celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Which, as you recall, was warm with
The love we have shared for over a decade.
So here’s to the moments when smiles
Follow laughs and soulmate’s connections are made:
Of grow love hug, grow love hug,
Grow love hug, grow love hug,
Grow, that make life just like getting laid.

Nonsense Birthday Poem

One day in a field of swaying corn stalks
Bill spotted a young lass (Anne-Marie hawks).
She was out for a stroll on the ninth of July,
A day to reflect, but not to ask why.

Some calendar told him ‘twas the day of her birth
So Bill wondered what a surprise would be worth
As he snuck up behind her in order to scare
Some life into the day (it wasn’t a dare).

On his volition he whispered “boo,”
She turned, quite amazed, and said “how do you do!”
He said “Happy Birthday, and many more!”
She said, “well, I hope so, but right now I’m bored.”

So they chatted about what one could do
To spice up a midsummer afternoon.
The obvious pass-times were discarded as dull
So they picked sweet corn and began to cull

The best selection to eat in raw form
(A curious habit, but fun when it’s warm).
They sat and ate some where the hay lay
Which put the icing on Anne-Marie’s day.

The Daily Word

The Catholic church is a ruse
Handed down by God
Through the Pope, of course,
That is being used to sucker
People into using contraceptives.

Just as when Nancy Reagan declared that
Our drug-using youth should
“Just say no.” while her hubby’s
Henchmen were inventing crack,
Importing coke and turning big profits,

NOW, the Catholic church opposes
Contraception in order to get you
To try it! Apparently it’s working
As birth rates are dropping
And our kids are as stoned as ever.

Local Story

I was standing in Wegmans, floored by the
Thirty percent jump in produce prices in the
New Pittsford NY 14534 store. “Disco defies
Categories,” she says to her friend as they check
Out at register number seven. “The deal with
Marilyn Monroe was that she was THE bombshell.
She was extremely upset that the studio hype
Wouldn’t ever let her get past that.”
A negative nod returns, as this month’s tabloid
Topics rebound from one check out conversation
To another, in an era when paparazzi
Are blamed for Princess Di going to a 121 MPH
Grave. Yeah, RIGHT! I know tons of famous
People who would agree that 121 is about
The right speed to go when getting out of
The way of snoopy photo-hounds. It turns
Out that 121 MPH is NOT quick
Enough, however, to elude her ex-hubby’s
Henchmen; motorcycles just got a bad name.

Double Sonnet

A cellist floats behind you and taps you on the shoulder.
Your heart explodes as Coakley finishes up a 45-minute set.
You never forgot her curled tresses, warm smile, gentle voice.
Last summer, in three days time she alternately played,
Vanished, played until you were one with the moon.
(Botticelli never saw hair like this.)
So she floats back in off a west wind, sits long enough to
Write out her address and asks, like a .22 caliber bullet newly
Lodged in a calf muscle, where Ilya Kaminsky is. Kaminsky, if
Only he could see her now! But he’s not here, she’ll have to
Settle for his address because there’s no way you’re committing
Emotional suicide by handing out his phone number.
Last summer, in three days time she chose the muse,
Leaving one dangling slab of manhood, cozy, familiar, alone.


You sit, hoping she will stay. Your penis stretches out
Like an uncurled finger, or a winking eye. So, like her, you
Stand: maybe she’ll notice the oldest symbol of affection
Bulging. But the room is dark, she would find it rude,
And you’re better off, as your four minutes of fame is
About to begin – hard or not hard. After you’re done
you light up. A typical evening of artsy-fartsy debauchery
Races through your mind. How can you let her
Slip away without another poem, painting, concerto?
That’s it! Forget the “how-do-you-dos,” just write her
A concerto. Cello and flute. No, no. Cello and Tenor Sax.
How often does the beam of a soul shoot out to the world?
Can she possibly return again? You sit wondering when,
Clutching the address of this decade’s angel.

Slam This:

I’m just a C.I.A spy
Sent in by brain-fuck to
Toy with the liberals so we can
Take names and bill your trust
Funds for the inevitable 7-year
Stay in Chestnut Lodge.

You’re just a pseudo wank who
Can’t trade the head games for work: can’t
Break the S & M delusion to love again, but can
Proselytize from the merits of Gwen Stefani
To the body of Ani De Franco.

Me, I’m just a wayward lime-green puff ball:
Floating seed, fertilizer of art. What,
You don’t believe me!? Try this:
If you let me bend your ear for a poem or two
You’ll be a purple\pink sunset,
Or just as good.

One Night at Java Joe’s

Fourteen claps, spangled, bald, hopeless:
Fine Young Cannibal commander speaks.
This time he speaks! He says “go ask the
City fathers for a new parade.
Go cry eleven years down the drain!”

Piss on the flowers that keep it colored;
Color the wins that loosen your life
So you can get back on the road.
Sometimes the talk is so good you
Forget to play. You play so hard; so
Much rehearsing for so little play.

So, even though the Jeffreys still
Complain about the three-month crabs:
Is there enough plaid to cover the
Chains that persist through heroin eyes?
When the bird falls dead, you cry.
When the $3.50 bouquet wilts
You clutch small foreign coins and die.

Don’t die now, don’t die now!

Flowers and Rice
(or, how to have fun without getting married)

Flowers, Jennifer.
Rice, Donna.
This is beginning to read like a
Wedding invitation list. Anyway,

It all started way back when. . .
These knights, who were dashing
Around the count(ryside) in search of
Flowers and other booty, like grails,
Diamonds, Hemp and Water,
Decided to try to find a way to plug
A whole without wasting any Dykes.

So, they put their finger in it, but
That was not very satisfying.
The quest became the search for a
Way to plug a hole, have fun and
Not impregnate any sheep.

The quest, which the Scottish have
Come to refer to as the “quest of
The heirless nobles,” ended in a
Less-than-perfect contraception:
The device was 95% effective
But only worked on farm animals.


So, in an effort to have fun
With their own species, the nobles
Turned to the ancient Greeks for
Advice. Well, we now know that
The Greeks wrote extensively about avoiding
Pregnancy, but, even with Aristotle on
The throne (presumably to take a dump)
The best they could come up with was the 2-hole.

Although satisfactory as a male pleasure provider,
It took years of training to convince
The female population that a bung was
Preferable to a baby. The protests persisted
As women wanted their cake (babies)
And to be able to eat it too (see Isle of Lesbo).
The resulting decline in Helenic culture
Was looked upon with dismay by the Scots.

Plan B was devised by a taxidermist
Who discovered that a well-cut sheep’s
Bladder could be attached and used to
Collect sperm samples and prevent babies.
The resulting switch in history is now
Legendary as women started to demand
Jobs, day-care, equal pay, political offices
And, ultimately, all the stress men used to
Take on. The final result was less babies and
A lowering of the Gross National Golf Handicap. (GNGH).

Blue-Eyed Girl

Laurie arrives from Nordic Minnesota,
Only to find that it is colder here,
In Rochester, NY. Lawyer’s Co-Op is a
Famous company in this city. Mercury adorns
The top of the “Aqueduct Building,” commonly
Known as the Tower of Babel or the Tower of
Legalese. She hovers, first explaining why the law
Still matters to the poor. Laurie, being of Liberal
Mind, says we need to edit our books
In order to give the law the ability to represent
The poor just as well, if not better than the way
The law fondles the rich.
So, she sets up programs with
Encoded data that reads one way in the electronic
Version (for the rich people and fancy firms) and
Spits out words completely different for the
Judges, Pattern Jury Instructions, and Public
Defender’s office. This way, when a rich man
Meets a poor man in court, the rich man
is made to look like a fool, with misquotes and
Improper citations, while the poor man soon
Dominates the arguments with logic and truth.

Flowers, Condolences, Royalty

There was a young lass, young Spencer,
She loved and was abandoned. She longed
For closeness. Some said she just tried to
Climb, or sleep her way to Royalty, but
Let’s look at the facts. For all the gold and
Gowns, her real needs were love,
Passion and a bond with a friend. Sadly,
Charles, and others like him, have been trained
To sire sires, then ignore the wife, ignore
The kids, ignore all but polo balls, bullocks,
Bogatas, and bombers, or in Charles’ case,
Goofy new chopper-landing navy planes.

William had better lasso Andrew, but it won’t
Matter, as soon as weeks from now. Soon
The public will dismiss Royalty as antiquated,
Soon the status quo will be tilted toward
Every man, the common man, the starving man.
Soon, and I mean really soon, the monied gentry
Will be in the fields again, joining their former
Serfs in an effort to eke out a living from an
Earth, forever scarred by the greed that has
Been allowed to go on too long. The biggest
Problem on earth, they would have you believe, is over-
Population. Wrong! Try “the unequal distribution of wealth.”

Natural Smiles

The ultimate natural smile, I guess, would be
The constipated grin of the Mona Lisa. You
Know the feeling I’m talking about, and you know
Why she was so happy. Her natural reason for
Being happy was the friction caused on the pedulla
By an unmoved bowel. Follow along as we
List other natural smiles, and their causes.

1) Shit eating grin – just smoked pot
2) Japanese buck teeth – just masturbated successfully
3) Smirky squiggly smile – posing for a photograph
4) Devilish grin – just farted
5) Sheepish grin – just dipped a candle wick
6) Jack ‘0’ Lantern smile – became a doppelganger
7) All-Knowing, raised eyebrow smile –
just one-upped William F. Buckley, Jr.

Now that you know about smiles,
Please pass this information to people who don’t
Smile. You know the type of non-laughing
Sufferers I’m talking about. The poor, the
Ignored, the old, the less-than-skinny, the
Homeless. Although lots of these people smile all
The time, if you EVER catch someone
From one of these categories not smiling,
Tell them something funny. Spread natural smiles.


In the good ol’ days (say the early 1980s)
A laptop was a kind of naked dance
Performed by the ladies over on Orange Avenue,
Orlando, Florida. These days, other than the
Usual Chihuahuas, which are laptops, in a
Sense, or lesbians, who would rather lap
Fannies, but have been known to lap tops,
Laptops have come to mean something else.
Let’s look at the German derivation. Lap,
Which in Germany is l-o-p-p-e, comes from
An ancient contrivance of the executioner’s
Song. The axe-man, or murderer, as he
Was known to the locals, was actually a
State-sponsored executioner. The people had
Made the error of allowing their government
So much power that, instead of
Rehabilitating the unfortunate souls, who, by
Nature or nurture had “sinned,” they just
“Lopped” off their heads. Hence, a laptop, or loptop
In the oldest sense, is the severed head of a sinner.
The hope here is that one day, our government
Will distinguish between the sin and the
Sinner. Then, maybe the laptops will merely be
Computers. Or, loving, licking attached heads.

“You Are So Nice”
(or, how to impress the press)

The dogs of May smoke packs a day
Here on the banks of the Jenny.
The press hounds race, though out of space
For the photo of Di, there are many.

The homeless walk with hands that beg
While suits go walking by.
Jesus walks among the dead
To look into their eyes.

Peace to all who hit the mall
To Christmas shop in June.
The rush now precedes the leaves of fall
(Doesn’t this seem too soon?)

I think that Christ, were he here now
Would not rejoice to see
Material greed replacing vows
In the age of insurgency.


Neal serves another “Frazier” The pope will step in to
To a customer, who, after Save the day until it gets
Pondering the fate of the world, Way worse than this. But
Orders two pieces of pie. Why not send JC back

Frazier, as you well know, Early? You know, two
Drinks lattes in Seattle. Or three years before the
Well, Neal, being a Rochestarian, Millennium. That way, the
Doesn’t cotton to all that mess. Kooks who would have been

He pulls out a revolver and kills Spooked by the year 2000
The man, due, as the police report Can just get over it and
Testifies, to the fact that that he Neal can go back to golf
Thought this “Frazier” was gay. And tending the coffee bar.

Now Frazier is not gay, but But, sad to report, the pope,
Just the appearance of being gay For all he knows
Can get you hurt in these parts. Has not been informed of
So, gray anti-gay Rochester An “early” return. Boo-hoo.

Lives on under the cloud of
Former liberals. You know
The list, a litany of spiritual
Awakenings that never came true.

First the Mormons, then the
Spiritualists in Newark. (Some
Say those ladies were witches.)
Then the political healers:

September 13th Cattle Call

The door swings open as mom, coffee in hand,
Joins her daughter to wait for Fiona Apple tickets.
It’s one more Saturday morning line-up, but this time
They put Fiona on sale the same day as Primus.

You can imagine the diversity of this crowd!
14-year-old girls waiting in the same line
With college boys whose only knowledge of
Primus is the timely song “Little Brown Beaver.”

Power jazzy jams are just too much for the
Hard heads who still believe this form of speed
Metal has no class. Guess again Suzuki-riding
Nazi-helmet-wearing sophomoric joy-fisters!

It would appear that no howling wind, no
Leeward branch of a blowing locust, no
Pouring rain, nor sleet, nor El Nino snow
Can keep these concert goers from their appointed show.

Lady Orange will open the night for Apple, and, the
Son of jazz great Earl “Papa” Hines opens for
Primus. “Poppa Hymen,” the free-form New-
Ager offers stark contrast to the headbangers.

R.I.T. is Latin for C.I.A.

Back when the campus was run by a Rose
And experiments ended in greed,
A wise guy, once human, now dead proposed
A game to switch the polarity

Of earth as we know it, a true Canard,
A gift from a jester, Olympus bound.
East became West, and South is now North
What more coincidence can come to confound?

“Oh, plenty you dumb ass, it keeps going up,
Look at the way you lick lips!
Look hard, you can see the swirls in your cup
Of Earl Grey or Ginseng rose hips.”

So, come with me now as we learn a new phrase
That enlightens a couple of spies:
Eat shit you sadistic bum-fucking apes
I’m sick of your tactics and lies!

Corner Lot

Snow insulates boughs.
Watercolors appear: an
Old barn, rusted plow
Tangled barbed-wire scene that repeats ad
Nauseum every winter.
Sparks snap off logs in
A fire built of white birches.

Power hums through wires
Loosely strung through trees in need
Of trimming. One finch,
Continuing its rise, squeezes into a
Hole. Our neighbors say they have
To go. But, we share
Wood with birds and dormant bees.

Our garden-tending
Doctor friend sees things in
This yard, but could be
More organic in his own. Bending bushes
Relinquish life for five months
Or so. Christmas lights
Shine through eager snow.

Bloomin’ Onion

Before heavy snow
Broccoli flourished until
December. New York rarely supports
Life so long. But this, the year of upsets, sees
Unnatural nuts uncased . A new
Crop of freshman won’t hide old
Prejudices long.

Your alabaster
Siren? Skin from ancient
Northumberland. We impose our dreams
Which slowly seep into personalities.
You now let the dishes go over
Night. I have walked the malls to
Window shop this year.

Before your siren
Flourished, circumstance almost
Squelched your soul. A new environment
Provides resources. Soon, fed by wide eyed kids,
Nirvana will unfold. Once content,
My muse won’t seem bothersome.
Now the warmth pervades.

The Shining Path

Plant technicians spray
Untold zillions of hanging and or
Boxed flora. Oxygen-producing takes on new
Importance in buildings where windows
Only open text.

That someone might need
Fresh air, never occurred to design
Teams hired to assist architects who sealed us in.
So a whole generation gathers,
Squirts, fertilizes.

Job-production, an
Old game with a new twist, keeps just
Enough folks working to avoid revolution.
The illuminati keep us all
In place ’til needed.

One day the flower
Box jobs may disappear. The meek may
Inherit what is left after the enlightened
Have gobbled all the rest. For now:
Dig, spray, replace, dig.

My Lover

My lover cloaks instinctual drives in English clothes:
Strict go-getter lines over soft panties, softer skin.
She thinks I have a girlfriend, she squirms in jealousy.
Her body overrides her brain in time to let me in.

I am resolved to tune in to her subtle hints: a life
No longer defined by the songs running in my brain.
Once you read this your eyes give you away.
You wonder if this close attention can be sustained.

We laugh, post-coital warmth defuses, mixed with
Unmistakable fumes. Back from a long holiday:
Christmas alone was without sleep, without love.
Redemption found in Valentine’s Irish lover’s day.

My lover reaches over to start another round of play.
Those Christmas lights will have to wait another day.

My Loved One

Dark curls linger over alabaster
Cheeks, puffed with the smile of
Warm affection. Italian pains
Push through centuries of evolution,
Expressed in a frantic kiss. Our battle,
A running commentary on society,
Is to create moments of sanctuary.
Spooning glory, clutching love,
Happy to share insanity in a
World directed by the heart.

Suck Butts

Suck Butts Cafe hired a “Dead Flowers” singer.
He looks like a frat boy and sings flat.
Others stay back in line, some are fingered
While the black hole of folk strums donning a hat.

Mushrooms waft from a garlicked pan:
Bespeckled gentlemen ponder sloppy chords.
One fine lass, upholstered black and tan
Sucks a stirring stick before heading out the door.

Rockers should not be allowed to steal the stage
Where folkers normally play.
Love’s in vain when all you do is rage
Won’t you stop to listen once today?

No; yellow tinged orange leaves make a better friend
When Nino blows an 80 degree day
Here in October. Two months before the nomad sends
A new address from down Dean Dome way.

Dare I pack it in, just to volunteer?
Will this illusion create a better chance
To spend a week or two living without fear?
Or, at least, provide a place to dance?

“Who knows.”

The Birthing Month

The birthing month brings rain Sharp shadows mark the last light
To this already-gray berg. Before another round of gray.
You say I am insane, Festivals to a foreign time insight
I say you are absurd. More riots than play.

Traditional offerings: “May The fear of freezing infects the poor
Be without snow this year.” Gathered down at city hall.
The quilt stays out in case Theatergoers are not oft’-lured
The cold comes back, my dear. By the beggars “quarter” call.

Compact lives broaden in the sun, December is the cruelest hour
Apples peek out, they’re dead in June When class divides our common lot.
This time instead of water fun: In back dishwashers scour
Auden’s cryptic howling at the moon. While you tie bows with curly knots.

There’s no denying the ides of France: Then gray is sneaks up on snow,
Wake up to find mosquitoes humming Wind breaks trees and piles dunes,
In your ear, not in your pants. Insulating, but twenty below.
Like the feel of cancer coming. Inside you crank melodic tunes,

Then you sweat it’s eighty now Shovel sidewalks, heart beating fast
But no moss hangs on northern limbs. Wave to neighbors three layers thick.
We will make it back somehow. Drop off students from some night class
The critical masses will let us in. Hoping what you’ve said will stick.

The orange moon brings apples back Then comes a warm day, almost forty
And studious readings of new scripts. Precocious crocus pops his head.
The last clubbed orb now attacks, You excel, your data sorted,
Returning coeds paint their lips. Spring has found you. You’re not dead.

The Springs

Let’s go down to the springs,
We can watch the dogwoods grow.
Let’s go down and watch things,
Get up right now, let’s go!

The water will be running,
We certainly won’t miss that.
Today you do look stunning,
Let’s go down and chat.

There’s something I want to tell you
There’s something I want to say:
Now we’re a nation of two
Starting this very day.

So, let’s go down to the springs
We can watch the dogwood grow.
We’ll hear the bird that sings:
There’s one thing that I know.

When we go down to the springs
We’ll see if two can be one.
We’ll avoid the things that sting
And catch a little sun.

The thing that I have found
Is a love for only you.
My heart will always pound
When I enter our nation of two.

Great Expectations

Great expectations – great?
But what when the obvious happens?
A predictable animal grasps you
And throws you to the ground.

Thoughts of how nice it would be if . . .
Then they vanish like a dream when you wake up.

A floating reality teases your mind,
It is there but it may never reach you.


Outreaching leaves of white
Directly over green.
How can it seem trite,
This wonderful nature machine?

Later, as the summer grows
Those greens come into life.
Spreading all the charm they know
While stealing the dogwood’s white.

Bush “A”

Fluttering slower, quick again,
Green, lush, bush leaves
Small and wavering.
Noisy. Shades change as
The wind flutters those leaves.

Bush “B”

Light breeze invades,

Bush’s leaves change shades.

Green absorbs CO2

Just for me and you.

The Meadow

The meadow’s grains flow in the breeze
While birds fly up above.
The leaves are turning in the trees
And lovers are making love.

The wild asparagus has gone away,
The corn is turning brown.
But this is where I’m going to stay
Because I’m feeling down.

If someone would come with me,
If someone would really care.
I’d take them up and we would see
That chestnut thoroughbred mare.

And we would pick some long tall grass
And throw it at each other.
And we would watch the summer pass
Being friends with one another.

My dearest friend I will not lie,
I love you very much.
But like the elusive butterfly
You are much to nice to touch.


Life can be perfect
Especially with you
Together we can be beautiful
‘ Yabba dabba do! ‘
So please stay with me, will you?

Forever we can be good
Unified by many inches.
Creating a palpitating motor under your hood,
Kinking our hair together forever.

Laguna Beach Bum

Late again for dinner and drinks,
Another embarrassing smile.
Going down to where it stinks,
Under the manure pile.
Never letting others know
About the feelings that make you go.

Brutally allowing forces to control
Eventually turned your heart to coal.
Always walking alone on the beach,
Casually being sucked by a leach.
Hosting depression within your soul.

Bartering life on a rotten deal,
Understanding you may never heal.
Muttering quietly, “How does it feel?”

For My Friends

A friend is like a constant river flow,
A lover, more like a pond.
A friend is someone whom I know,
Of a lover I am fond.

To be a lover and a friend
Is well worth all the time.
To love someone until the end
Puts the friendship on the line.

To say I love you is very real,
Our friendship I do cherish.
And I hope and truly feel
That it shouldn’t perish.

I love you greater than love,
Love is transitory.
So let me say that being friends
Might end all allegory.

Vertical Readers







It took this long to hide my penchant: Rhymes.
Another reading forces inner looks.
Where is Ed and his heroic Eulogy for us?
What happened when we traded love of lines
For time cards, bosses, corporate crooks?

Here’s what happened: life became a chore,
There is no time left to rage creating.
Competitive suburban gardening is a bust.
What there is left is not elating
Except the love of soul-mates through this door.

The Eagle’s Nest is now a restaurant:
You get a 15-dollar turkey-plate up there.
But is a fourth Reich rising from the rust,
Or are we evil, just nonchalant?
Oklahoma City fades like sunset air:

The only lasting image is your own.
One veto and the fascists will shut us down.
One thousand points of veto from the upper crust
Without a batted eyelash from this clown.
What further outrage can we condone?

As long as TV says it is OKay
Our lives submit to the worst human rages.
Just when we’ve farmed this place to dust
Some half-assed savior will come our way
Passing manna to those left. One for the ages.

Healthy Meat

China-doll lips painted purple or red
Purse then smile at personal queries.
Stanwood is way past blushing when he jokes:
Her eyes gave up the secret now instead,
Of cryptic characters, lustful, longing, leery.

Educators reincarnate, hand clippings out
To students who crave larger markets
For reworked stories: novels with pokes
At apes who have no place to park it,
Aces grounded with nothing to talk about.

A ribbon for a tie belies rage:
The fifties in Muskegon blew cold winds.
Then comes this young Poe-like bloke
Whose dreams are heavier than most sins.
And a flashy fish story from a simple age.

But what of war-survivors and of God
Now that writing is the last refuge?
What of the hills south of Roanoke,
Of women growing past their era’s lot,
Of maniacs with nothing left to lose?

C.I.A. Dog

Walking out Waimuri way
Goes the lost retriever.
She trots a bit, a nervous sway,
Eyes anxious, nostrils flared
In search of the deceiver.

No way to know how she got here,
No maps outside, inside fear.
She couldn’t know this place is a dot
Or two no one thinks about.
Her placement reeks of a Pacific plot.

Next week she’ll board a boat
To blow a hole in her wooden keel.
Transformed into one hundred pounds
Of bomb that barks and sounds
Like any other golden: look she floats!

Or parts of her do, blown astray.
She had no idea life would shorten
Or be abused, or cause harm
In such an evil way.
The worst she knew, back on the farm

Were cats playing hackey-sack
With mice about to be a meal,
Or Bob Dylan singing “how does it feel?”
Now she’s flotsam in the bloody sea,
One more boat down for greenpeace.

Ninety-Five Percent Perspective

Fortune telling leaves drift down the drain,
Before they can be figured, leave a stain
On some old sink you wanted to throw out.
You keep my place well hidden in your heart.
New combinations needed to make art

Out of the burning pine cones in my soul.
Too much tv too much walking malls.
So this year we double the garden size
In order to make heaping pizza pies:
In this day and age, a noble goal.

To keep pace with the kids all over town,
We threw some Rhododendron in.
We’re married, so our only sin
Is searching for fulfillment
Instead of having kids around.

It now shapes as a major disappointment:
Be positive we can have it all.
Snuggle, here comes back-rub ointment
“Oh that’s a stretch,” “for sure,” he replies.
As we search the weeds for croquet balls.

Take A.I.M.

Several times within the week
My heart begins to ache,
To the Onodowaga I speak,
No need here to fake.

Skaneatles, Canandaigua,
Wine surrounds the lakes.
Seneca and Keuka
Are missing native wakes.

No more red-skinned swimmers,
No more birch canoes.
Bare Hill is getting dimmer,
Haudenosaunee are few.

Ganundua is still quite red,
But only once a year.
At other times the nation’s dead,
It always brings a tear.

Iroquois nation will return,
Just look into my eye.
The rage inside our nation burns
We will never die.

The Creek

Harvesting future sauerkraut,
Paddling the lake.
Spearing for a rainbow trout
Baking cornbread cake.

Smoothing down an arrowhead,
Digging trilobites.
Walking where our brothers bled,
Singing funeral rites.

Hiking back along the creek,
Past the cherry trees.
Raspberries, they seem so meek,
But bloody up the knees.

Creekbed slowly running dry,
But then a waterfall.
A pause to sit and wonder why,
To hear the bluejay call.

Water drops into the pool
Like a giant tear.
Elders preach a peaceful rule,
We pray for a plentiful year.

Nine Slapper

Blue bird in the air,
Golden boy delights.
Skipping stones without a care,
Singing in the night.

Seagull pierces silence,
The dawn is on the rise.
Fishermen are busy
Watching for red skies.

River wanders, digging earth
Fertilizing soil.
Weekend mongers slobber
Spilling pints of oil.

Red-skinned native stands,
A reminder of the past.
Spearing fish and digging clams,
Hoping they will last.

Blue-eyed boy walks on,
Determined to have fun.
Lonely lovers cry,
Searching for the sun.


You started such a change of time,
A decade of evolution.
Marakesh blows through my mind,
An awareness revolution.

Richie cries the song of the free,
Carlos plays to open masses.
Looking back I see
A crossbreading of the classes.

Thousands swarmed and felt the rain,
Jimi let it flow.
Sly gave soulful tears of pain,
Will we ever know?

As water cuts through stone,
Time cuts the best of men,
But Ravi, not alone
Would do it all again.

Beautiful people, ‘oft insane,
Birthdays come and go,
Staying dry against the rain,
Peace-songs make the show.

Surprising unknown acts
Made their way around.
Who are you? – Rats?
Listen to the sound.

The Who was most excited,
Getting all the glory.
Abbey, uninvited,
Tried to tell a story.

Pinball wizards filled the crowd,
Beside the acid heads.
Psychedelics made it loud,
John sang for new-born deads.

Muddy fun-wars ’round the lake
And the music of Alvin Lee.
Jamming out for Jesus sake!
Goin’ home, (the blues are free).

Ten years after Woodstock,
Will it ever be the same?
Maybe I should stop
This agonizing game.

Sha-Na-Na sold out to movies,
But Johnny Winter was there.
Playing his slide – groovy
Nothing there was square.

Max Yasgur we all owe you,
For your business-sense and balls.
No one else will repeat
“The concert without walls.”

Grace found somebody to love,
Rock was a way of thinking.
Joe got extremely stoned,
Everyone was drinking.

Janis screamed for rebels,
War-torn lovers tripped.
Joan sang out for politicos
Draft dodgers got ripped.

Vietnam was going strong
But music filled the field.
No way to right the wrong
Committed by the steele.

Where have all the players gone?
Long time passing.
Joni sings of Mingus
But is she, just now, laughing?

Give me one old-time “F”
And what are we fighting for!?
There’s nothing really left,
Let’s boogie on out the door.

Creedence and the Grateful Dead
Gave us Blood Sweat and Tears.
The Band played on (unsaid)
Has it been ten years?

Butterfield sang the blues,
I guess he’s still around.
They’ve all paid the dues,
But where can they be found?

Try, just a little bit harder,
To remember all those dreams.
Make up your mind,
Are they what they seem?

One day there will re-occur
The same type of happening.
Get it while you can,
If you go to such a thing.

Now I wonder what will come
The next time out the door.
Will the rain be as sun,
Will it be a bore?


A peacenik Smiles a genuine smile,
Frustrated, but relaxed, under a tree,
Away from the crowd protesting life.
Philosophical conglomerates form while
One of this park’s boarders takes a pee.

A price, integrity, pays the rent,
His place invaded by screaming hordes
Who say they care but walk right by.
Angry about where the money went?
It went to fashion missiles, bombs and swords.

The lesbians scream testosterone,
The poor blame the rich. Both are right,
But how do you stop for-profit war?
The MX takes up 26 election zones.
Too many jobs: no one left to fight it.

Talk of converting to peaceful uses
Hides in the “Utne” in recycle bins.
Peace dividend is swallowed up by debt
Incurred while corporate offers no excuses
For the profits made by mortal sins.

Pink Chang

Brave children, you don’t know how
Your starvation reflects unequal distribution
Of wealth. You don’t have the strength
To wonder how much your brothers have.
But now you have the town TV.

Brave parents, you know how much
We have; your experience says
The sardine boat trip is worth the risk.
Enslaved, but in the land of plenty,
Now you can see it for yourself.

Hard work yielded a living rain
Abided your ancient prayers. But
In this new place hard work can
Yield these luxuries if you have
The nerve to pull away from

Your enslaver. English helps.
Relatives in some far-off town
Help even more, so good
Luck in your American dream.
Welcome, as they say, to the machine.

To a Swamp Dweller, and His Wife

Wind, so evident in Winter
Pushes snow horizontal,
Pulls people together, signals
Wayward chickadees – time for bed.

Sun, bouncing crystal rays
Jars the memory of warm days,
Hits eyes and flashes you to
Waterways. A pelican on Marker 24.

Moss, deliberately hanging from a
Live-Oak sways in front of joyous
Ceremonies. BC puts a smile on years of
Yearning. Barbara answers with her hands.

Notes fill Cypress walls,
Accentuate perfect sunsets,
Inspire daffy paintings by the sea.
Is there a Teac in the house?

Flowers, carefully bunched by
Our favorite pepper-sauce purveyor,
Color up a perfect sunrise,
Festive day, romantic night, ideal life.

The Chicken Strut of Dependency

Signals the munching of time.
Physical dependence seems burdensome
But drunk families never know how to
Stop fighting: the love trap’s soothing.

Rayon pant suits do little for anyone,
But that’s the level independent agents
Live on. Change quickens so happeningly.
The only families left rely on the glue of hate.

But blind families love the touch
Of feel. Electric angels hover waiting
To touch those who have the faith to grasp:
Just in time to stop our souls’ extinction.

Spiral dyes walk up and down,
Aware that no one interferes with crazies.
Pupils tell the tale of blind families
Feeling the electric dawn of small tomorrow.

10-Minute Break

After 30 years of following the wind,
Even one month of normal is too much.
How do people do the same thing every
Day for 30 years without going insane?

The same breakfast, coffee break, line work,
Betting pools, vacation, coffee break, typing,
Driving, dinner, TV, line work, breakfast.
How did you end up settling for this?

Regenerative adolescence never asked,
But also kept you out of the grave.
Your career track starts with filing and
Ends at data entry. An MBA is a waste of cash

When your TRW report still reads “radical.”
Just how many parameters must you comply
With to avoid being pigeon-holed?
You ought to be happy with any job.

That’s the problem: just because you
Do 60 hours of work in 40 doesn’t
Mean you’re dependable. You’re better off
Not thinking about it. Get to work. Get!


If there is a moment, when your sails of fortune luff
Remember that the warlords do not improve your life.
When your next payment outruns accounts received
Don’t cry down trod human, you will have enough.

Maybe not enough to stay where you are now, but more
Than those who tempted fate by building bigger bombs.
The children never stop to worry about their next meal,
But don’t cry down trod human, there is enough, and more.

Please crumple this philosophical pile of gibberish
The first chance you get. You work too hard to listen
To the ranting of the left. But when your choice to
Be free causes hunger in your gut, you will have enough.

Look, there are crying humans, and those who just don’t care,
And those who make themselves so rich from your efforts.
But then there are the bright-eyed kids, long hours tormented
By indecision followed by the warmth of an affair.

But don’t cry down trod human, the love you find is real.
You wouldn’t want to trade for cash your ability to feel.

Magnets Sonnet I

We sweat together like delicate chocolate.
The comfortable wrap of ancient money fails to
Freshen a purple Iris. “Would summer boil a
Luscious petal language?” “Only in Peru.”

We conglomerate with threads forgetting friends.
The furniture designer conspired with unknown
Budding chiropractors. “Does singing
Interrupt suburban plight? “Only in Italy.”

Let my moment whisper through the raw heaves.
The guard allows no images of love beyond
Revolving doors, demented. “Would Sitler
Score in time to save our fate?” “Only in Toronto.”

We conspire against the grind, inspiring unseen art.
The joker who still wears hats all year round
Inspires another line: no hate. “Does smelling
Take the place like food of touch?” “Only in Peru.”

We sweat together like delicate chocolate.
“Would summer boil a luscious petal language?”

Strangers in the Night

Sinatra’s sho-be-do-be-do enters
Around 2:15 this afternoon. Instant
Throat-lump and the memory of Dick
Rochow snapping a knee-high lacrosse
Ball that splashes in the lake sixty
Three yards away after only one bounce.

The lump persists, traveling to your lamenting knotted
Breath. HD’s inner tear wells up, covered
By a springtime sniffle. Pliant leather
Doused with cool water that flies
In your eyes as you try to fling one the
Length of the yard. But not today: that was

Twenty-five years ago you sop. Persistent
Lyrics “are so enchanted” twisting you toward
Another completed week in this
Year’s version of hell. The glint of happy
Memories provide today’s escape,
But the continual yearning to fill yesterday’s

Dreams will not be quenched by tomorrow’s
Disappointment. “You’re only as happy as your
Least happy child.” That better not be true
You think, with more than a glimmer of guilt.
Children, the last uniting theme, will not
Know their parents friends who are scattered
Like the memory of another melody: the vessel-rupturing
Bathing-suit clad version of Haydn’s trumpet concerto
Squeaked out of the red-faced horn man as his
Wife Gwen turns the pages. This is what happens
When your best friends are the childhood memories
Of your parents friends. This, and yellow Forsythia.

The Falls

Broken fender, twig in line
And light blue sky with trees.
Green on blue and mountain fine
With warmth upon my knees.

Summer sun at winter time,
Snow still on the ground.
The place is set for water-mime
So I listen for the sound.

The sound is one of Bash Bish Falls
And now I tend to stare.
Everflowing echo calls
Of water in the air.

It makes me think of trees gone by
And people never seen.
It shouldn’t, but it makes me cry
To think of where I’ve been.

Now I sit with tears on face,
Knowing all the glory.
Now I sit without a trace
Of how to tell the story.

Ode to the Seedless Thompson Grape

Oh Thompson you’ve done it you devilish man,
Made concords repulsive, made eating so grand.
The sensamilla of fruit I hold in my hand,
My thought is to eat it, what a great plan.

September reminds me to lay a few in,
Ten pounds or so in a Rubbermaid bin.
They might last a month (five weeks if I’m lucky)
By November my tears could turn spring-water mucky.

Why cry, asks a friend, over some stupid fruit,
(I’d punch out her eyelids if she weren’t so cute).
Are you kidding I shout, have you no compassion?
How dare you insult my fruit in this fashion!

Next thing you know you’ll attack my banana,
Or musical tastes from Cream to Santana.
Back off little lady, this grape is near perfect,
It’s better than Brando or Raspberry sherbet.

Next year I think I’ll acquire a freezer
And dump this dumb broad just after I squeeze her.
Then I’ll enjoy grapes through the snow
As old vineyards wither and icicles grow.


I sit in Barbee House unnoticed,
Uninvited, a mason jar full
To overflowing: crushed ice: an
Original wild berry flavored cooler.

I write, as the jar, wrapped in
A torn brown once-bag.
As the felt on the bag,
Exuding red water-soluble ink.

It rains. This disappears before you
Read it, and I, the lone alumnus
In this alumnae building, flow
Onto a white manicured davenport.

Then, as sweat pours down my
Hot-humid epidermis of glass
I stop enough to gulp myself
Before the last drop hits the floor.

Soup is Good Food

Coffee grounds, like so much weeping,
Never find a place. You can’t fertilize with tears,
You can’t exasperate yourself with leftovers.

Eggshells, like so much death,
Have no place thinking. You can’t explain their existence,
You dare not whisper in their presence.

Fifties decor, like so much sex,
Never adds to the place. You keep your condoms
Hoping to avoid disease. Never get a chance.

Kodachrome, like so much tax,
Places judgments on obstacles. You grind
Existence into death, snapping housefly moments.

Banana peels, like so much emotion,
Send ball lightning through your place.
Nothing grabs like solo meatloaf dinners.


Watercolors fill spaces between
Pine branches as the moon delivers
Inconsistent reflections
To a wandering man.

Winds blow, rearrange
Shadows at his feet.
This starts him thinking.
He angles across a field.

He enters darkness,
Lured by solid colors,
Wallowing away from fields
To a thick-boughed stand:

Crashes into sticky bark
Falling under weaving cones
Crumpled in a mass of blue,
Surrounded, cold, but sheltered.

Two needless chairs expire,
Water drops on rust.
New color happens.
Man-made polyethylene lasts
While metal slowly syrups
To a puddle on cement.

The splashes splash
Much smaller in the
Thicker, sadder pool.
At the time of April
Water (loving self)
Splashes higher into water.

Needles drop on scene
On time, from pines.
Dark and bending branches
Promise further litter,
It changes green to tan
Then brown amidst the rain.

Sand is hardening, to
Become a crystal image.
Chipped-off paint adds
Yellow to a widening
Scope of dismally
Contradictory experience.


Brandy barks at swooping swallows,
Life, lowered to one foot or so
In summer time is simple,
As the lure of tired dogs and clover
Greets only those who need to play.

Scampering down outside stairs
Past the skidding bicycle marks
To a tumbling fit of joy
Goes the only daily memory
Of a happiness once known.

Landing in a pile of limbs,
Which includes the golden hair
That shines of wetness on the
Back of Brandy, the player
Laughs at the summer sun.

How long will it be
Before the play begins again,
Before the youthful joy
Once known appears, before
The love, if ever, returns?

Once, when I spilled,
No one cared.
(The cleaning was so simple.)

Imagine the tender
Thoughts that evolved
From an experience unseen.
Feel with me
What I felt that day.
Share, if you can
(with me)
What I have done,
What you have done.
An experience
Our own, to own forever.
Eachness into a
Oneness of unseen . . .

Now, when I spill,
Someone cares.
(The cleaning was so simple once.)

There, in the bush
At the hill
Under leaves
On this blue
And often hazy day,

A soft relfection of you.
Memories of the times
(few of them ever knew)
A slender subtle line.

A curved, not bumpy rock
Apparently not hard.
It came as quite a shock
To find the grain so sharp.

So, there, in that second,
While it lasted
In its warmth,
At that moment
Loved you.

Morning – Farmhouse

This place has contrast:
Not just the greens either.
Fog settles on a backdrop
Causing Kentucky blue to melt in
Behind the bright trees of Virginia.

Assorted cows meander
Into the Tolkien postcard-picture,
Dotting hills with slow sienna.
Hearing makes its way
Past the primal sense. Shapes evolve.

Singing birds. Hark, spring.
Rain underscores with the
Power of timpani.
The creaking house stirs. Cats claw
At what is left of the upholstery.

The coolness of the brick
Shelters wanderers from humidity.
White sheep jump the cattle guard
To graze on the yard: love is
Staccato in the overture of morning.

Eagle Pond Farm

October in New Hampshire means colored leaves for kicking.
Donald kicks a few heading into town for cheese.
He notices that the antique dealer, once again, announced
The coming of winter by changing his sign. It now reads:
“Driveways Plowed, Reasonable Rates.” The type of
De-evolution Donald appreciates.

Standard time ensures contrast, as autumn’s last bonfire
Sends a leaf-shaped spark into the air.
A simple way of life is free to walk around without inspection:
So Donald does. He checks out of Najur’s General Store
With Gouda and N.Y. Sharp Cheddar tucked away.
He climbs up the knoll then down the driveway to the farm.
He kicks a pine cone to the safety of the woods.
He exhales steam that quickly disappears.
He can almost see ice forming on the pond.


A oncebush, nowtwigs
Juts into the plane of
A window. Someone cut off
All the flowers, leaving
Sticks in the air.

I would have thought
This to be wise
Except that this is April.
Gray shadows interrupt
A piercing spring sun.

Spiny arms reach out
From a hanging plant.
Uneven knots combine
To hold the pot, attached
By rounded hook to roof.

Shy little light pokes
Out of the wall, its
Shadow doesn’t cause a stir.
Oncebush nowtwigs solid
In its presence stays.

La Jolla

One Beech tree separates the cold Pacific harbor
From a lighthouse that blinks white and turquoise.
Twelve knots of wind kicks the salt up. Port lights
Warn planes, but a single starboard twice the
Width marks the length of boats passing.

Only pairs find such an April night enticing.
Earlier a rain heavied leaves that remain
From autumn. New ones stretch out to guard
Their ancestors. A few are more than one year old.

The lighthouse sends two different rays.
White glides across the ripples in a double-pump.
Turquoise snaps a single moment to sailors
Who find a type of relief in sleazy bars downtown.

Now a fog reminds the pair how eerie ports can be.
Blinking starboards try to find a place to land.
Seaplane hangers wait for the marines to be sent in.
Chilled rocks seem immovable but they’re not: newborn
Leaves of Beech know nothing of it, and should not.

New Potato

Just what are we supposed to
In this leftover culture?
Apathy soup or
Mindless decadence? Meatloaf or gold?

Start modern traditions now.
Potential by ignoring
Everything they want.
Play hard then dedicate completely.

Jump off, get straight, share yourself.
New dances for the timid.
Create vibrant space
And keep the space open to changes.

Publicize your ideas.
Your neighborhood with abstract
Lifestyles made of art.
Drop the past like a hot potato.

We Won’t Wait

Seven slimy salamands
Go crawling off the wall.
Thirty watching whippoorwills
Chirp a warning call.
Threatening mist difuses downward.

Nine abandoned bugs
Wish the water well.
Many mashed mosquitoes
Are on their way to hell.
Summer rain causes quick changes.

The lizard and the flower
Soak the water then:
New insect generations
Needn’t wonder when.
Notice the rapid revolutions.

Five frightened philosophers
Grasp at things the same.
Knowing nothing is,
No one near to blame.
Changes catch clumsy lovers.

Eleven laughing lizards
Know that this is true,
Fortunately, flowers
Know it too:
Affection can not afford to wait.

The Mangrove Blues

The sun sinks.
A pumping heron
Chases dreams into the night,
Resting momentarily
In a life of constant motion.

The wind shakes.
Trees stretch out,
Anticipating winter.
Orange floods
Mangroves and the pines.

The cold turns.
Clouds gather
Over murky surroundings,
Drifting slowly inland
To dump a fresh-new load.

The tears run.
A skipping child
Delivers momentary reprieve.
Gloom infests
The evening of a lonely-hearted man.

War Sonnet

Bombs float gently, flaking off occasionally
In the wind, disrupting well-planned patterns.
Mountains (being less populated)
Miss the worst attacks.

Snow is far too soft to bear the brunt
Of ugly metal. Generals forget this,
But soldiers seldom do. Red on white
Creates a gloomy contrast.

Frozen memories never thaw,
They stay cold until reality has changed.
Forgotten joy is hapless against the night,
Unrecognizably split into microscopic pieces.

Tracks lead in but never out:
Angry men cuss their lonely lot.

Red To Go

Cardinals don’t visit often, but a proud male
Perched, inquiring about the weather, so I implied,
Through body movement, that this was a suitable
Winter retreat. It’s not Miami, and highs
Are in the 60s in January. So he stayed.

He caught us on a clear day: third in a row.
The reflections of a manmade pond (called jacuzzi)
Must have drawn him. The chow-chows were inside,
The rumbling of distant showers hit the walls
While wind chimes hung dormant in the still.

Cardinals signify a change in my life.
The last one I saw came by to tell me it
Was time to walk away from snowy winters.
This time I knew the new stuff was coming,
And the red-bird came to relax my nerves.

Sharp shadows move slightly with the leaves.
Our cardinal darts a foot above the rail,
Cutting the water with a flame. A ringing phone
Beckons: two weeks before I walk away, two
Weeks to wrap, tie, hug, make peace then leave.

Life Sans La Mode

A leaf dropped straight down, slowly
As we whizzed by, 58 MPH. It didn’t
Twirl or flutter, the last leaf down
In North Carolina this autumn.

It’s been eight years since winter. In
Gainesville or Tarpon Springs we didn’t
Notice leaves. We didn’t have to
Explain to anyone. Uninhibited.

Then Christmas trapped us. A week
To joke about upon returning. It didn’t
Mean to force such cynical remarks:
Pondering, floundering, repackaging gifts.

It’s been a year since the creative mode.
Apart from it, life’s progressed: sour to vile.
It didn’t mean to leave me in the cold:
Creative forces have no bad intentions.

We broke up at my request. Intentions
Were to lead a normal life. I didn’t
Look back, cry or wallow very long,
But life without it hasn’t been the best.

Peering Out Fish Windows

Just when your life is reduced to a gray squirrel,
Syncopated , hopping from one nut to another,
Tail waving on a jolting body,
You’re trapped behind fish windows.

Exactly when the wind stops,
When joining trees and bushes in celebration
Is your natural reaction to the beauty,
You can only peer at what is real.

When the sun hits, when predatory birds
Stain cold mountain with dark shadows
You’re stuck. Stuck behind fish windows
In man-made air on Naugahyde furniture.

Just when you could be one with it all
You stop. Unable to fulfill desire,
You conjure a scene. It’s you, throwing stale bread
To a squirrel out, out beyond fish windows.

Fish Window Number One

Pug-nose penguins between rushes,
Flapper follows, a peach mistake.
Peachtree glistens, horrendous Hyatt.

Mother cut a daughter’s throat,
Proceeded to a marriage though.
Police suspect her to have acted

Without the knowledge given most.
Pug-nose wonders between bites,
If smug alumnae of rich schools

Attract the fiery undulations
Blue-blood families are noted for.
Flapper squirts a piss that freezes.

Flapper doesn’t care who knows,
Squats on quad in cold December.
Pug-nose worries about future.

Father’s stocks all disappeared,
The condo isn’t selling well,
Blood-stained pearls coagulate.

Fish Windows Number Two

This view of frosted Tinker,
Fabled mountain, accentuates
Streams of winter clouds floating
In the season’s lightest blue.

Drooping, thinning, browning pine
Initiates surprised walkers
With the season’s final droppings:
Clumps of snow, impotent cones.

Eighteen leaves and forty-five pods
Shimmy, unwilling to take
Wind’s frozen ride on ice.
Hanging on to life too long.

This view, barren foreground trees
Towering over frozen cliffs
Terrorizing passing clouds
With piercing arms, is winter.

Fish Window Number Three

Nothing moves fast in two-degree weather.
Snow stops, grass browns, trees creak.
A dangling pod denies an entire generation.
Five-step cloud lingers a quarter hour.

Fish window isn’t wide enough to see,
Isn’t Tall enough to breathe, isn’t old
Enough to feel it in its joints. But, a
Camouflaged manhole cover steams.

Two yonder trees make visible
Ten thick branches, contrasting light blue
Frozen sky. A silver tag twitches.
The active agent is two degrees.

One (it will be dead for three months) bush
Absorbs the manhole’s offerings quietly.

Fish Window Number Four

Old Harry the heron walked right up
And put his beak on the plexiglass and looked in.
We’ve got special plexiglass here,
It’d take a bull to break through this stuff.
Harry’s been poking his neck around Lake Lorraine
A couple of weeks now. He seems depressed.
They wouldn’t want us to get out, or hurt somebody
To hurt “ourselves.” That’s what the codes are for
Harry looks like he lost a friend.
Wish I could Tell him everything will be all right come summer.
These codes are “A,” “E,” and “S”: Assault, Escape
Or Suicidal. If you get a code you’re in but good.
Harry’s working his way toward “S” code now
Stumblin’ around like that. He better not let ‘em see him.
Down here’s the ICU, intensive therapy, no privacy.
We’re in a circle: beds in little slices of a pie.
Once in a while harry will come by or the tree frogs will
Yelp all night making the natural nuts go off.
The nurses can sit doing their books and see
All of us at the same time. You don’t dare beat it.
If they knew Harry felt the way he does, they’d lock him in,
Restrict him from minnows and make him express his loss.
Just the other day, I got me a big “B” code.
Now I can use the bathroom alone. You know what that means.
Harry better stay away from the lake. It’s so tempting though.


He’s got to grow up and tough it out a few months, then summer.
Big John lets you shower as long as you want, so I wait for
The 4 to 12 shift before I go in. Big John Laughs.
From my slice you can see Harry out on Lake Lorraine.
I stole some foil to try to catch his eye, but I missed him.
Lake Lorraine is a horseshoe pond made when they dug up some land
To use as fill when they built C-2 and C-3. If you’re a good boy
You get to move up to C-2 where, once-a-week you leave the
Grounds to go shopping. They wouldn’t want you to lose your
Knack for shopping. Guess they figure $70,00 a year means
You’ve got to re-learn how to shop. Shows you how much
Freud knows. But for the natural nuts it’s a big deal.
Leaving the grounds means giving up security they tell me.
I don’t believe them. I piss and moan, when asked, about
How long you can lock someone up behind fish windows,
Legally, without that person having done so much as spit.
They say I’ve got to stay until I’m well. Well, anyway, I’m stuck
Behind fish windows for life. I’m stuck, but look, here’s Harry,
Strolling along, wagging his neck, tapping fish window number four.

Fish Window Number Five

Blazing acrobats
Surge then glide, suspend motion,
Hypnotize\A family gathered in
Window number five.

Remember public
Outings, camping out for seats
In crowds of loud fanatics
Before diseases?

Cramped in bubbled rooms
Behind plexiglass, watching
Does not a circus make, Dave
Is two. He won’t get

A chance to razz a
Pitcher, or scream like a
With the crowd when a band plays
Songs that make him cry.

Fish Window Number Six

Not moon pies and a blue RC, instead a purple LSD;
I look for streaking gerbils in the snow,
Find green sprite cans scattered two-three-four:

Below a turning Z-car one demises.
I come, escaping truth, for one more fling,
Find long hairs frozen, broken off by sweat.

I come, like Gala Dali’s mind, in blue.
A breasticle of liquid, propped by crutch.
Expecting snow (like flakes) to pound again,

A Douglas wiggles windy under insulated rain:
A Scottish botanist traveled overseas,
In search of fir, not nether fur you see.

I search for feelings in a desert-brain.
Douglas never had to search so far.

Fish Window Number Seven

Ever seen a willow in winter?
Scraggly horizontal branches
Dangle thin strips swaying
Against gray sky.

Wind pushes them diagonal:
The uncut tail
Behind a wild horse:
A wild horse charging.

Or a long-hair
Walking quickly,
Attacked head-on
By the same wind.

Fish Window Number Eight
(Save us Jimmy B.)

My life is trick upon myself.
A dead bird fell form the sky.

Jimmy B. jogged up a hill
In yellow,
Pushed through tree branches
And hugged a girl with
A ghetto blaster in her hand.

Is this how birds die?
I thought,
One last fling across the sky
Only to drop like a rock
Into the shade of fish windows?

How can Jimmy B. jog by
And let this type of stuff happen?

Fish Window Number Nine

Yellow springs early,
A bowl of charity ill-received.

Blue waddles in,
Dashing antique hopes.

Faith knits a shawl
In time to wrap granny before she . . .

Red violates distinctly,
An accomplished linear distraction.

Green surrounds serenely
Launching puff-balls to a dream.

Jimmy B. remembers
Not to somersault in public,

It being spring.


“The following days were like
the first, bright and cold,
without any more snow.”

–Guy De Maupassant

Fish Window Number Ten

Jimmy B. barely finesses through
Cabin anxiety. his cabin’s cabinned
By tangential cabins developed
By a once-a-week image:
A wolf tearing tendrils,
A dog ripping flesh. Only devotion
To windows, oily and warped
Outwits piles in his brain.

Against greenest green, Jimmy B.,
Having noticed several robins,
Discovers blooms of white,
Receding whitest white,
Long since an echo avalanche
De Maupassant, gives way to
Bursting blanche et blanc
On gray, over green, under red-breast.

Status Quo

Side A Side B

For now the streets are cluttered:                             Sooner rather than later
The poor kill off the poor,                                             The poor will raise their farms.
But this won’t last forever                                              Replacing all the suited men
If the “Quo” keeps getting worse.                                Without a need to harm.

Guns for sale in neighborhoods                                  The system as we know it
Where crime is the only living.                                   Is fading thanks to this:
Quarts and vials and bullets                                         The greedy haven’t realized
Take without ever giving.                                              Their life ain’t worth a piss.

“Innocent” bystanders                                                    The ticking clock inside the bomb
Are the ones to blame.                                                   Has passed the witching hour.
Standing by in times like these                                    There is little hope for most,
Leaves everything the same.                                        So when will freedom flower?

The quo goes “living standards                                    It will when people with the
Will be on the decline.”                                                    Time, turn to lend a hand,
While multi-national barons                                         It will when greedy governors
Continue their money climb.                                       Give back a hunk of land.

No chums around a fireplace                                      The quo has made it possible
When you can’t pay the bills.                                       For us to live like rats.
While money-man is traveling                                   Your life to them means nothing
In search of bigger thrills.                                            You could end up a stat.

As the status quo gets worse,
Violence rules the day.
We better help each other now.
Let us pray.

The Armadillo Migration of 1952

When times are tough in Mexico
Inhabitants start a northward flow.
Usually there is a reason,
Money’s gone or fruit’s in season.

But human problems can’t explain
A mid-century Armadillo train.
So gather kiddies and listen here:
These helpless critters moved from fear:

They sensed a greater concentration
Of the human population.
Gathering their once-lost nerve
They headed north on an eastward curve.

No one wanted to leave home
(Paranoid critters shouldn’t roam)
But they traveled straight through Texas
And came to Florida where the sex is.

They had escaped the dusty bars,
But ran right into moving cars.
Now you see them on the roads
Buried under heavy loads.


They don’t want to bite your face,
They just need a little space.
But they can’t beg or scream or shout
And it looks like space is running out.

Now humans like it where it’s hot,
They come down to grow their pot
And bask beneath the blaring sun
And spend their money on having fun.

The Armadillos knew this would happen,
(Not the type to get caught nappin’)
But now there’s no place left to go
Certainly not north to snow.

If they could swim they might make Cuba,
Puerto Rico or Aruba.
This time their fear is justified,
No place left for them to ride.

That is all enough is said,
It’s time for you to go to bed.
Seek comfort in your sheets and pillow,
Splat there goes an Armadillo.

Oxford Commons Remain

Ten years later, it hasn’t changed:
A few small cafes with hippy sippers.
Punks have added youthful spirit,
But their unwashed brothers
“Fight for peace” then smash bike riders,
Not keeping the spirit once conceived.

Belinda carries special feelings,
Treat her well, but expect great things.
Do not let her off so lightly,
Keep her moving in the green.
Keep in her path and learn to listen,
She is aware, her path is clean.

Be all you can be, work for peace,
But brothers don’t go smashing heads.
Sit on cemented blocks, rousted nightly
By the city’s finest: blue patrol
With walking sticks. Belinda ducks
Such foolish swings, not smiling.

Listen to the drunken minstrel,
Laugh when selfish people enter.
Gather, but don’t stay too long.
Grab a hunk of what is needed
Then spread the word amongst the young.
Knowledge kept is shameless greed.

Settle for no less than perfect,
Develop space that is your own.
Keep that which puts asunder
Violent trends within your group.
Let the mean boys wander off,
Become the village of your dreams.


Swaying grass
In a new field
Discovered bushwhacking
Toward Enfield, New Hampshire

For this one hiker,
The memory of
A green hill,

Down from wood,
Well sheeped,
Years ago.
Swaying grass,

Like waiting words,
Without direction,
Without lips.

Tragedy at Woodside

The Millhopper puffs
An ethereal mist into the night.
Insects forget the danger
And come in on six point landings:
Secure at Dali Memorial.

Ant and uncles wait
Inside the terminal, protected
From the memory of fright.
Most are happy in art’s custody
But one takes off, quite unsatisfied.

Screams of horror beg
Her not to go, but youthful instincts
Coax her to greater heights.
She clears the creek heading over trees,
Landing lightly under Gala’s brush.

Eye-Level: Stack D, Library East

“Where is everybody?” asked the voyeur, not above suspicion.
“A mile beyond the moon” replied the Georgia boy.
“She was a billion dollar sure thing, not like other girls.

I wanted to take her down the thruway to Wonderland:
An encounter in Key West with the old man and the sea.
There is so little time in the lives of girls and women.”

“Life is life,” said the Georgia boy, “winner take nothing.”
“I heard the general zapped an angel,
Turned her into Kentucky ham, a real Roman holiday.”

“I have so little time (87 days) to find the crossroads
Out in mumbo jumbo. I’ll steal the smuggler’s bible
And find the sneaky people by following the curve of the snowflake.”

“Listen to the whispers of the player piano,
Take five smooth stones from Deep River,
Remember, sleep is for the rich, and don’t forget
The protocol for a kidnapping,” the mutant advised.

So off I went on a couch trip in search of a hero.
Across the river and into the trees,
Determined to be home before dark.

Suddenly, in the air, she appeared, the wine of life,
Sam’s legacy, a small success, exclaiming:
“While still we live, let no man write my epitaph!”

Pablo and Max

This is the story of Pablo and Max,
They left New York City to avoid income tax
And gather some primitive artifacts.

They left in the rain in spring ’52
And were seen in the fields with an African gnu
Admiring the shapes that came into view.

While Pablo was digging up red cube-like art,
Max drew some monsters on government charts.
(They looked like amoebas with elongated parts.)

The days were spent studying carvings of stone,
Or walking in jungles out on their own.
An artist knows how to survive alone.

Always popular with their new friends,
These two went about setting new trends.
They taught the natives how to pretend.

Unlike the scientists who went to steal,
The artists just borrowed that primitive feel.
A congenial arrangement, if not ideal.

Bloody Juice

The LA cops have struck again
(His wife had called nine times)
Each time that no report was made
They added to man’s decline.

We point fingers at the poor
We say they should work harder.
But the jobs are headed south,
Soon capitalists will barter.

Wives get killed around the states
At better than ten a day.
And battery, like rape,
Is a crime for which few pay.

Where is the love the preachers ask
While communities rot and fester.
The new era’s entrepreneur
Is druggist, thief, molester.

The problem isn’t just downtown
Or on the nightly news.
The problem is the horde who scream
“Go Juice, Go Juice, Go Juice.”

New World Reich

It took this long to hide my penchant: Rhymes.
Another reading forces inner looks.
Where is Ed and his heroic elegy for us?
What happened when we traded love of lines
For time cards, bosses, corporate crooks?

Here’s what happened: life became a chore,
There is no time left to rage creating.
Competitive suburban gardening is a bust.
What there is left is not elating
Except the love of soul-mates through this door.

The Eagle’s Nest is now a restaurant.
You get a 15-dollar turkey-plate up there.
But is a fourth Reich rising from the rust,
Or are we evil, just nonchalant?
Oklahoma City fades like sunset air:

The only lasting image is your own.
One veto and the fascists will shut us down.
One thousand points of veto from the upper crust
Without a batted eyelash from this clown.
What further outrage can we condone?

As long as TV says it is OK
Our lives submit to the worst human rages.
Just when we’ve farmed this place to dust
Some half-assed savior will come our way
Passing manna to those left. One for the ages.

One Mile Per Day

Here’s what you think when swimming a mile,
That’s 36 laps up and back.
You think about numbers, all work and no smile;
The name of the game is attack.

So, for the fourth or fifth week in a row
You swim the whole thing in breasty.
Which means sore arms, legs and toes
And after, your mood is a bit testy.

But about half way through when spirits collide
And you catch your second wind
You know you are lucky as you look inside
To count up your daily sins:

Your good deeds outnumber the bad
In a community made mad by the greedy.
All the fun and good times that you’ve had
Are balanced by helping the needy.

Which forces you back to lap 24
And a turn executed with guile
In time to pass if not blow the doors
Off some hard swimming crawler, free-style.


A peacenik Smiles a genuine smile,
Frustrated, but relaxed, under a tree,
Away from the crowd protesting life.
Philosophical conglomerates form while
One of this park’s boarders takes a pee.

A price, integrity, pays the rent,
His place invaded by screaming hordes
Who say they care but walk right by.
Angry about where the money went?
It went to fashion missiles, bombs and swords.

The lesbians scream testosterone,
The poor blame the rich. Both are right,
But how do you stop for-profit war?
The MX takes up 26 election zones.
Too many jobs: no one left to fight it.

Talk of converting to peaceful uses
Hides in the “Utne” in recycle bins.
Peace dividend is swallowed up by debt
Incurred while corporate offers no excuses
For the profits made by mortal sins.


A series of Poems from Italy
June 24-July 6 1996

Of June 25, 1996

We pulled an all-nighter as you might
Do considering the task at hand. Desolate drive,
Bad money change experience, “sky-bar” flight,
Old men arguing for six hours with themselves and
All passersby about who-knows-what. Sleep

Is, for you a sly temptation, but no. It’s straight
Off a mondo-flight to the Hotel Napoleon,
Piazza Vittorio. A quick breakfast, accommodating
Concierge, early room, and out, on foot to
“Old Town” Rome. Hawkers at the Colosseum,

Renters snarfing as you sit on their stairs, sipping
A cola at Ceaser’s Forum. No dice. The
Will to go leads you up 843 stairs to an
Old church, flanked by a suckers museum
On a square by old Mike, on top of a hill,

Behind a big monument to some rich banker
Who rightly felt dwarfed by the hundreds
Of tombs of this Pope or that, this church
Or that, and more well-carved marble
Than an ark full of slaves could haul here.

Vatican Steps

Some slick designer took one from Disney
When spiraling the entrance to the Vatican Museii.
(That’s plural Latin meaning: one hell of a
Long walk in the midst of mad tourists.)

The Pope is walled in! A true paranoid, no
Wonder he likes to travel! Everyone and his
Artist brother-in-law has sent a painting in for
The “Bore-Ya” rooms. It’s the only semi-

Prominent gallery accepting all donations without
A jury! That’s a hint folks. Address your art
To Pope: Vatican City, Vatican, Rome.
You can even write your dedication on the canvass

And send it postage due! But do not bore
The Pope or he will vault that sucker in a
Space so untraveled it won’t even get
Recorded, noted, bibliographed or a gilded frame.

A canvass, any size, is a small price to pay
For such prime exposure. Thousands of foot-
Aching tourists will soon blow by your
Work to get to the world’s greatest gay ceiling.

San Pietro

Two French girls, not from Montreal, snap
A photograph of a California boy. “Excuse, Photograph?”
“Sure I’ll take one.” “No, I’ll take one of you.”
A Catholic Pilgrimage exalts a Latin Hymn.
(They flew in from Tai Pei.) Three German speakers
Plug in a tape by INXS, address post cards,
Laugh at lines written to amuse those friends left
At home with parents. The number six comes up
As some idiot breaks a biscuit to pigeon-size bits.

Some Joe in shorts wanders around waiting
For his wife to finish touring the basilica.
We found a few charms today, but they don’t
Equal the full alto laugh, the Bergman face,
The night before at the Red Coach Grille with
Jubelbier and Due´ Suppli. Once the clouds clear
Potent sun drenches the covered shoulders of
Girls wearing thumb rings. You stop. Dreaming of
Five-dollar gelato just doesn’t make it so. So

The shirts get tugged on one hand, buttons exposed
On the other. Two or three more languages cross
Mid-air in the always-windy, seldom-lonesome
Piazza San Pietro. The working stiffs:
Nuns with briefcases, light-suited locals
And ex-patriot dramatists mingle, or pass.
Now you are we again to hear perilous
Tales of narrow steps up to the top of a
Cupola way to high for human consumption.

Piazza di Spagna in Inglese

Byron, the shirtmaker, conveniently plonks a store two
Doors down from Kelly and Sheets, here by the oft-travelled
Stairway that provides such a view. Two timing bandits
Dressed like the orient next to pink walls stare at the ultra-chic
Dressed in Versace. Still, T-shirted yankees follow us everywhere.

Earlier the Obelisk Di Poppolo provided shade for a love-
Fest that brought to a climax, at least for the girl, a
Morning surrounded by ancient mounds adorned with
Bellini, the occasional Caravaggio and “beautiful glasses.”
And why not on such a windy day here in Roma.

Monsters await you at the top of the stairs! But what a
Disappointment. So you trudge back to Venezia, Via Corso, around
To the shops on Nazionale. What a dud! The hours pass and
Nothing happens at Piazza Repubblica. So you book a table
Back at the steps. The Rainieri provides two French

Women who are willing to giggle at any small
Crunch of the caramelized coating of Swoot’s Creme
Brullet. Don’t order a Beaujolais or they might seat
You in the tourists section. Back at the fountain
(Not Bernini’s best) the pure water flows for the masses.

But is it enough to remove the scowl on your
Face after finding a store closed? Turns out it is,
As no one stays gloomy in weather so bella
In a town where people know mushrooms and love
Pervades glances from the eyes of all women.

To Napoli and Back

Today’s train lurches through hills a half hour
South of town on the way to the original: Napoli.
The industria Magna here is vino, with small percentages
Labeled for olives. It’s an ear-popper like no plane could
Deliver. The steely blue coast pops out of one hill
And villas on mountain tops jab from another. A sleek
New bridge ruins the feel as you train past Appia on
The way to the bay. Does the heart of San Pietro still beat
For these hills? Or was his last trip in a vat of stale pork
Enough to stink up the view? Only the laundry hung out
Apartments would dare consider those questions and more.
You don’t sleep much between hikes on an art watch,
So the smooth jostle of train tracks provides a small nap.
In a brain overloaded with stimuli, even the weeds
Offer relief. The W.C. is handy, and so are short-
Changing check-out clerks at the Stazzione Centrale.
But if you play along you can laugh it up here with
The gentle cabbies who double their tip as a matter of
Course. On the way home our obliging engineer
Slows the train in the prettiest valley in all of Italy.

Ana Capri

Anything but capricious, this set of rocks
Welcomes flocks of high-rolling, low-ballers,
Along with the locals out for a day on the beach,
Or should I say rocks? How can water so blue
Be so incredibly salty? I know it’s salty because
I decided to swim around, from one point to


Clear salt water.
A bevy of scanty suits walks past.

Three to a set.
We’re sitting with the locals on the big rocks.

Slow lapping waves.
A lunch also gets you a change of view.

Climb out like a lizard.
Just enough time to lounge in the sun.

Up stares down.
Bosoms are everywhere, nobody notices.

Potato cheese mush.
A chance to relax as the air dries.
A chance to relax as the world dies.

Grand Hotel Majestic

Here in majestic Florence we saw the equivalent of
XVI century rugby. After being shut out of all decency,
We screamed for a sport we knew nothing about. It was
Seventy eight percent pageant, twelve percent tourist trap,
Ten percent sport, not artful at all. Back at the
Hotel with dogs who pee in your milk, the team Verdi
Whizzes by on mopeds ‘til all hours and Angie proposes
That we are not meshing lately, and I retort that for all
Its diversions, Italy can not provide us with one that
Takes our minds off of each other. She hates the idea
That life is better when you enjoy it with new acquaintances.
I hate no idea. Aha. There’s the lack of mesh maybe.
For all the art that’s hung upon the Florentine walls
The only genitals ever seen are balls and dicks and balls.

Humor Firenze

Here where Ice Cream is measured in grams
And Gucci eats spumoni
The whores on the bridge sell gold, what a scam,
And the prosciutto is bologna.

Here in the hills that spawned the art
When the world was dark with fear
The Arno flows, no stop, all start,
While your lover nibbles your ear.

The invaders now are not on the backs
Of elephants from over the hills.
But short of cash in their knapsacks,
Unable to pay all their bills.

So they sell themselves on the church square
For everyone to see.
I doubt the locals think that it’s fair
But what perfect irony:

That Dante wrote of nothing but hell
Surrounded by visions of heaven.
And the butcher and baker that used to do well
Are usurped by seven-eleven.

It’s not what you think or what you say
But how well you ladle a brush.
Excuse me but their must be a way
To shit without having to flush.


“There is a way,” says the man at the desk
As he swears in Italiano.
“Just take off your shirt and stick out your chest
And we’ll pull it out my Pisano.”

But that will cost the type of tip
That you can not afford.
You’d forever stop you summer trip
To become one of the insurgent horde.

Which takes us back to the line in front
Of Uffizi or some other museum.
To a time when the art was all balls and no cunt-
Look at them lined up to see-’em!

The church lost control long ago in these parts
When money could buy any treasure.
Which led men to labor all day at their art
(They did well by any measure.)

Not even the Japs can buy this stuff now,
It is the local economy.
The pilgrims have come, and boy do they bow
To the art, not the love of astronomy.

The shoppers still shop, the clerks here are cold,
And the sewer stinks up the streets.
And after a hard day of peddling gold
The ladies are staining the sheets.

But what makes Firenze the place to be
Isn’t David or Verdi, it June:
And the slow water flowing, cool summer breeze
And the lunatics under the moon.

Ode to Federico Fellini da Firenze

Today I watched as my swoot fell
For for the tomb and fresco di Dante.
She had no idea of the stories I’d tell
After a mezzo Chianti.

We saw some statues and churches and art
All that the good boot could offer.
As for the economy we did our part
With tithing at Gucci’s alter.

We dined with drag queens at Minore
And we offered manages with wine.
But my swoot, well aware of the story
Was not about to have a good time.

But we had a good time in the Tuscany hills
Regardless of Dante’s hell.
She liked Rome better she said in a shrill
(She must not have noticed the smell.)

To me any culture is measured by art:
Just look at Hollywood glitz.
Compared to Fellini, oh boy was he smart
To tell his own story in bits.

Marcello lives on and banks the genius
In an era of Pucci and Leda.
Each art form tries to capture the penis
Or some other Dolce Vita.

Except for the fools who linger in black
A nuclear product prolonged.
The art quickened-up under threat of attack,
Modern triumphs are petty and wrong.

The key in this time is to talk it out
Which leaves little time for creation.
When will the messiah come back to tout
The virtues of life toward salvation?

He will when the art is replaced completely
By all shows pernicious and seedy.
When even the rich man is boxed in so neatly
That the poor man no longer seems needy.

So talk to your friends and see what they know
About history as comparative art.
Then sit back and cry or get up and go
To Florence before it blows apart.

Go Gators!

We ran into Naomi and Ed tonight
High above the Tuscany valley.
We felt a zephyr as we took in the sights
Of the duomo and its campinale.

In English we talked of the towns we had seen
On our travels away from the states.
There’s so much to capture here by the stream:
The food in this town is first rate.

The gypsies dried up, or so it appears
As McLaughlin takes photos “al Dente.”
Nothing is worse than the two-dollar fears
Except for God-awful Daisy Fuentes.

Which brings us to Florence, surrounded by trees
That go unrecorded these days.
And the continual saintly pleas
On walls so cracked up they’re a haze.

All this prevented me from taking my life
Too seriously for a week.
So you sit, and I talk, like somebody’s wife
About which stores out-chic the chic.

I’ll best remember the boy on the bike
Or the face of some scurrying maid,
And the bridges with lovers that I don’t look like
Because I never get laid.

I’m Pistoia, Your Venezia

Florence has a station with inlaid marble floors.
Granted, post-baroque,
But it also has beautiful doors.

Plenty of tie-dyes pass with little phish aboard:
Hippies from U.S.
In search of a new satellite chord.

Pistoia has a music fest, I am quite sure why.
Mostly blues and folk
To grab a few bucks from passers by.

We met Cathy and Ken on the way to Venice.
Army nomad types.
And Renee´ who says that she is Flemish,

But how many Scarsdale wives can put up with jokes?
Sadly not enough.
Cathy venting makes me want to choke.

A three-hour ride ten minutes long I can’t believe
Surely Italy
Shouldn’t suffer this without reprieve.

But the onslaught continues every summer day
Chapel Medici
Suckers a few, locals stay away.

But staying home is an option we never take.
Nice to meet you Ken,
I’m sure we’ll meet again at the lake!

4 July 1996

The sadness that engulfs my heart
Just won’t go away.
Surrounded by Venetian art
And all I see is gray.

Which is far brighter than back home
Where the gray is black.
It doesn’t matter where you roam
If it’s love you lack.

People love me, don’t you know,
But let’s look at the reasons.
Out of pity, they like the show
Or gold is back in season.

The blue of sadness full of fear
Shakes me by the bay.
There is no limit to the tears
That flow out each day.

My family loves me but they must
See red when I emote.
My music’s dead, my art’s a bust
No one gets what I just wrote.

8 July 1996 >

I’m beginning to hear a few grumbling sounds
I’m sorry, once again I’ve gone out of bounds.
But your generation has just got to know
That you’ve left your children with no place to go.

Which town will become the next disaster?
Strip mines, clear cuts or nuclear reactor?
With the fall of the commies and Saddam being meek,
Who will be our next enemy of the week?

Ah, but I’ve strayed from my original job:
To write a poem in favor of your type of mob.
I’m sorry I couldn’t, your greed makes me mad
To think of all the luxuries you’ve had

While most people struggle for food on their plate
You sit here and toast their miserable fate.
By now you’re thinking “this guys quite an ass”
“86” the buffoon, give him the gas.

But if one single line that I’ve written tonight
Makes you sad for the poor, then I’m right.
The next war will be in Korea or Cuba,
Or Zaire, or Egypt, or Haiti or Aruba.

There’s no need to fear, our forces will win,
You can keep right on drinking your tonic and gin.
Just keep on smiling, in this delight:
Oppressing the downtrodden is our national right.

Clothing, Language, Contraceptives, Photography

You might think, if a U. S. citizen,
That the internal combustion engine
Is the most important invention ever made.
I am here to put four others on display:

Clothing. From Tommy to Gianni V.
The streets are filled with clothes.
If not, the resulting nudity
Would overpopulate the world, we’re already close!

Language. The difference between us and them
Is the ability to use our brains.
Words became books, which led some men
To seek justice in a world quite often insane.

Contraceptives. Nothing has liberated women like
The use of contraceptives. Here’s a nod to
Sue and Clara, Gloria and not to IKE.
Care, and the “love first” method leave you free to choose.

Photography. Words–>books–>philosophy other than
Church doctrine–>more poems–>photos–>moving pictures.
Now the masses know it before it happens. Feudalism, fascism
Anarchy, oppression, soon even brutality will be dead.
M & Ms

Liz sips a single malt scotch and smiles
With the deepest “Robert Palmer Video”
Lips. Thigh, lips, smile, teeth.

Later she grabs a round of canapés
For the flowing crowd who have come
To be “in.” Sex, walk, smoke, metal.

Synaesthesia overcomes the timid, while
Sending subtle lightning, illuminating
Souls. Money, hard, wood, floors.

Italo Calvino wrote eleven stories into
One. Born to reverse-rebounding lust
Unrequited. Lips, sex, hard, bed.

I.R. Too
(for Paul Dixon)

Rave survivors stand in line for an
Autograph of the non-Fellini, the
Kinked late blooming mondo-mind
Dressed as Isabelle Rossellini.

Cross to grannies who wait to be
Able to deliver a line or two about
Ingrid, never, almost never Papa:
A city of bicycle thieves on La Strada.

Another night results in twelve
Proposed projects, two collaborations,
Seven triptiks and a piece of glass:
Thrown not molded, not stirred, neat!

Isabelle, dressed in Armani, full tie
Short hair, played a moment or two
Of Dietrich as the Great Dane pondered
Why. “Why not,” answered Harvard.

But M.I.T. harbors Chomsky.
Kandinsky never knew not to know.
Solzenitzen trembles at the universe he
Wrote into existence. Welcome Comrade.

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