Thursday, December 30, 2010


I want to thank everyone who has entered my life, and wish them a Happy New Year! On New Years Eve, Debbie and I will have an early dinner, then we will proceed to the local IMAX theatre to see an action/adventure film in 3D. Hopefully, we will make it back home safely, and in one piece, before 6 or 7 p.m.

Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts like to call New Years Eve, "amateur night". It's an evening of automobile accidents, fights, murders, losses of lives, and limbs and finally the desolation for those who drink or drug too much. It is more painful for their innocent victims. So please, don't drink and drive.

My wife and I will kiss at midnight, and bring in the year of 2011, with Dick Clark, the "world's oldest teenager". I thank my higher power, that I won't have to wake up on New Years Day with a hangover. I still haven't forgotten the effects of those nasty things. Instead, my Debbie and I will go to the gym, after lounging over our coffee and newspaper.

I am blessed to have a loving, sweet wife, daughter, family, and so many great friends. You all make my life so special. I have enjoyed writing this journal. It truly is a labor of love. Journaling has become a vehicle for my emotions. I like getting in touch with my feelings, instead of burying them away. It is a purifying process for my soul. I hope to continue my writing, as long as I can draw breath on this beautiful spaceship, earth.

2011 will be a year of travel and companionship for Debbie and me. Debbie retires from the local college in April. I look forward to spending more time with my sweetie. I look forward to long walks, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I am excited about our new life together. We will be married for 31 years in May. I promise to put my pen and paint brushes away more often, so I can spend more time with my wife, who is also my lover and best friend. God bless you all, and may 2011 bring you health and happiness!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My resolution is to have no resolutions.
I plan not to be disappointed.
I don't dwell on the past.
Nor do I live in the future.
I work on today.
If I am successful today, then I am happy.
If I string enough successful days together,
Then the future takes care of itself.
Not every day is going to be a winner.
I don't let that deter me.
I just keep moving forward.
I am persistent in my goal seeking.
I learn from my mistakes.
I try not to repeat them.
If I string 365 pretty good days together,
I know I will have had a good year.
I don't need a resolution.
The way I live each day is my solution.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The hunter hunts.
He tracks his victim.
The hunter justifies his actions.
He claims he has a moral right.
The hunter makes the rules.
He is outfitted for comfort.
The hunter is well-fed.
He has nice lodging.
He has better equipment than the hunted.
The hunter claims to have a superior mind.
He sees the hunted as a disposable unit.
The hunted one must be culled.
It has no rights.
This is the nature of the game.
We live in a violent world.
We say we hunt for loftier ideals.
Mostly, we hunt because we are greedy.
Animals hunt to survive.
Animals are more moral than men.
This makes me sad.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I am removed
From the holiday groove.
They disapprove that I have the blues.
But what the hell?
I cannot gel.
With sophmoric things.
The swing and bling.
Dont ring my bell.

While they laugh and play,
I think of a way,
To find Santa Cruz.
Dive bars and booze.
The narcotic snooze.
Of those who are damned,
To peruse,
Words like this.
A poet's abyss.

I am confused,
By a "normal" mood.
There, I've said it again.
In the end,
I don't want to schmooze.
I care not to amuse.
I seek my muse,
So I am removed.


I thank the Great Spirit for Christmas.
I enjoy my family and friends.
I am warm and well-fed.
I enjoy the young and old.
I watch the children.
They are our future.
I pray for all who have passed on.
This is the circle of life and death.
I accept it all.
The journey is a good one.
I choose to feel good this day.
Now is the best of times.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


These inanimate objects are fluffy horrors. My baby daughter accumulated a bounty of them. She received them from the time she was born, until she was well into her teenage years. Stuffed animals accumulate along with germs, dust, mites, slobber, and other filth. Not only are they harmful to the health of children, but they are harmful to the health of the children's parents. I had to build toy chests to contain these raggedy, diseased monstrosities.

As more and more of them magically appeared in my home, they finally took over. I was a slave to them. There were a hundred of them gracing my daughter's bed. They lurked in closets, in the basement, in nooks and crannies, anywhere one could imagine.

I was attacked by one of them on a fine winter morning. It happened after I came down the stairs at 4:30 a.m. to fix my thermos of coffee for work. As my woolen-socked right foot met Mr. Teddy Bear, we both took a ride across my slick Pergo, kitchen floor. Teddy ended up against the wall, not feeling any pain. His dead button eyes stared at me. I on the other hand had smacked my lower back and buttocks hard, against the floor.

I stayed there for a moment to collect myself. The scotch I drank the evening before was rumbling in my stomach. My wife screamed at me from upstairs, "What the hell are you doing down there? You're going to wake up the dead!" I didn't answer her, because I felt too much rage rising up inside of me. I limped around for a while, and made my coffee. I threw some lousy sandwiches together for my "wonderful" winter's day on a CAT bulldozer in sub-freezing weather.

Today, my sweet daugher is all grown up, and living with her wonderful husband. I'm sitting in my clean den. Everything in here is pristine. It is beautiful, just the way I envisioned it to be for my retirement. But you know what? I'd trade just about anything to see my little girl on the floor again, playing with her stuffed animals. Maybe when I go Christmas shopping tomorrow, I'll buy her one, just for old times sake.


I remember the smell of pine needles from real Christmas trees in our house. We had them back in the day. My mom was always baking cookies. My sister helped her in the kitchen. My folks always made me go to sleep right after dinner on Christmas Eve. My dad and older brother were "magic elves" who assembled bikes and toys for me. My brother Jim was thirteen years older than I. My sis was ten years older. I was the baby of the family. Santa Claus was the excuse they used to get me to bed. We always opened our presents around nine-or-ten in the evening. I ripped through mine like a tornado! Sometimes we all went to midnight mass.

Later, when I grew up, Christmas for me was taking the Illinois Central train back home to Chicago from Carbondale, Illinois. I drank beer with other college students from my alma mater, Southern Illinois University. Fresh bodies got on the train from the University of Illinois, at Champaign-Urbana. We welcomed them because they had more beer! We sang Christmas songs in the club car, and shared marijuana cigarettes with old black porters.

When I got home, I met up with the neighborhood gang. Many were friends who worked in factories, or who were home from the war in Viet Nam. We shared tears over the ones we had lost. I remember Merry Christmas songs that were sung by Nat King Cole, Karen Carpenter, and Bing Crosby. I'm grateful that they still play them on the radio.

Christmas was delivering flowers from my brother's old shop on the south side of Chicago. Jim and I worked in that shop for forty years. We toiled there sixteen hours a day, for three or four weeks before Christmas. Jim and I both fell asleep, exhausted in our chairs on Christmas day, after mom's great meal and a few nips of whiskey.

More than anything, I would love to return to those special days in my mom and dad's home. I miss the sounds of joy and good smells. I miss the laughter and cheer. The abundance and energy of my sweet family and friends, seemed eternal to me. I thought it all would never end. But it did end.

Now, Christmas for me is bitter-sweet. My mom and dad, Jim and my sister Judy, haved passed on. I try not to dwell on this fact. Instead, I marvel at my sweet wife's energy, as she shops and decorates our home. Soon, it will be filled with guests, and the smells of good cooking. My daughter, son-in-law, his wonderful parents, and our closest friends and relatives will soon be here to celebrate Christmas Eve.

On this night we will share good cheer. We will think of Christ and the meaning of Christmas. We will pray, laugh, hug and cry. We will share tears of joy and love. We will pray for a good future for all the people of the world. I will bask in the warmth of today's Christmas, and make new memories for me and my family in the days to come. I wish you all a very, Merry Christmas! God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I found out about the Santa Claus lie.
I was seven-years old.
My older brother told me that Santa didn't exist.
I suspected that Santa was a lie, anyway.
I saw my dad putting my toys together.
Then he lied to me, and said that "Santa did it".
I experienced two betrayals in one day.
This is no way to treat a seven-year old.
No wonder I became an alcoholic!
Most Santas are drunks, too.
Some are pedophiles.
These guys are predatory Santas.
They are Santas with "claws".
Most guys who play Santa are hurting for work.
Who else would want this lousy job?
I sure wouldn't want runny-nosed kids,
sitting in my lap for three or four weeks.
Can you imagine the germs?
Santa probably has to spend all his hard-earned cash on
anti-biotics and cold remedies.
Santa might even have to go to the hospital.
He might get a staph infection and die!
Then there's the inflated hospital bills.
Jesus died for our sins.
Some Santas die for our children.
Remember to give Santa an extra five-spot this Christmas.
He deserves it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We hatched the plan in my buddy's basement.
There were three of us, looking for Christmas adventure.
Billy, the smartest of us, came up with this idea.
Fat Mike, our crazy pal, would steal him.
Bill and I would be the lookouts.
We were twelve years old.
We were good little Catholic school boys.
The manger was located in front of our church.
We planned to keep Jesus for only a day or two.
Then, we would bring him back a day before Christmas eve.
No harm, no foul was committed in our pea brains.

It was snowing that fateful night.
Our theft went off without a hitch.
We laughed like hyenas, after the crime.
We ran through the neighborhood, showing off our prize.
We showed baby Jesus to other crazy kids like us.
Then we hid him in Mike's basement.
Slowly, reality creeped into our prepubescent minds.
How in the hell would we put him back?
We thought we were sunk.

But I came up with a good plan.
We put Jesus in my accordian case.
We opened it up in the church's sacristy.
We dumped baby Jesus, and ran like hell!
We were on the lam!
It would be so cool to save the press clippings!
Our plan actually worked.

Nowadays, baby Jesus has a GPS chip planted on his little body.
The church got wise to bad boys like Mike, Billy, and me.
The GPS sends a signal to the security police.
Kids are easily apprehended in these modern times.
Christmas just ain't fun anymore.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Everyone is taking pills.
Having sex.
They're loading up on Jesus.
They're eating like pigs.
Load up.
Grab more.
Inhale deeply.
Just take something.
It will take the edge off.
Forget reality.
It's too painful.
Our collective synapses are fried.
Our circuits are breaking.
Don't push me.
Everything is out of focus.
You're all insane.
That's it.
Sometimes I feel all alone.
No one's like me.
But I won't get loaded.
Not right now.
Maybe in five minutes.
There's too much to deal with.
I do want to be like everyone else.
It's only a dream, anyway.
So, I'll load up.
On thoughts.
On words.
On my illusions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I always think of Khe Sanh at Christmas time.
It was late in January, 1968.
There was an NVA assault.
A U.S. ammo dump was hit.
There was tear gas in the air.
Burning everywhere.
The marines were protecting the DMZ.
Then came Operation Niagra.
Our big bombers drowned the NVA.
There was a waterfall of bombs.
A constant stream of death.
Christmas was over with an RPG.
So was my buddy's life.
God bless you Chuck.
Merry Christmas.
I miss you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The ancient Greeks were the epitome of civilization. They were known for their democracy, and great reverence for the arts and sciences. The university fraternity and sorority charters here in the United States are supposed to represent all that is good for society. They supposedly house the upper echelon of youth on campus. These young adults are our future leaders.

I remember the fraternities and sororities on Greek Row, which was a cluster of buildings that housed the many charters, back at Southern Illinois University, in 1967. The guys there had names like: Lance, Rock, Rex, and Mortimer. The sorority girls went by: Muffy, Mindy, Ashleigh, and Diana, (pronounced dee-anna). They were a scurvy lot of pampered, mean-spirited, wealthy cretins who could care less about doing any service work for society. Most of them came from fancy suburban villages, and they all had daddies who were bank presidents, corporate executives, attorneys, politicians, or the like.

I staggered through Greek Row during pledge week in the fall of 1967. I wore a greasy ducktail, black leather jacket, jeans, and motorcycle boots. I was smoking Camel cigarettes and had a half-pint of Seagrams-7 whiskey tucked away in my pocket. I didn't look anything like those guys wearing the penny loafers and Izod golf shirts. I sensed immediately that I wasn't welcome. I drank as much of their booze as I could manage, and ate all the fancy hor-de-o'uvres. (did i spell that right?)

Surprisingly, no frat house asked me to be a pledge! I thought I was a pretty cool guy. They didn't want anything to do with my best friend Russ. Right then and there, I knew I didn't want anything to do with them. Later that night in the bar, Russ and I decided to start our own fraternity. We knew we never could get a charter, but we figured we didn't need one for what we wanted to do. We rented a big house off-campus, and hand-picked six other roommates. These guys were all fun-loving sociopaths, who loved to party. All you needed to get into our house parties was three bucks, a good looking babe, and a beer mug. Our parties were legendary.

Word traveld quickly, and we amassed quite an impressive amount of money that we used when we had trouble with bail or court costs. Our group of miscreants became quite entreprenurial, despite the fact that none of us ever passed any business classes. Most of us took the easy courses like sociology and earth science. We quickly learned how to function inside and outside the umbrella of the laws of society. We learned all about values and mores, if yah know what I mean! Heee!

We didn't come from wealthy parents, but soon a lot of fraternity and sorority people were coming to our social events. They were all pretty good "eggs", once yah got to know 'em. The only bad memory I have is when Muffy threw up into my motorcycle boots, after she won a chugging contest. We decided that her punishment would be not only to spit-shine my boots, but to clean our whole ratty house. It was either that, or she would be banned from our parties for a month. I have to admit that she did a pretty good job of cleaning for a sorority girl! Old Muffy was a good kid.

My brothers and I were the new sheriffs in town. We finally had arrived.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Dear Christmas Spirit,
Come and enter me
So that I can see
The joys you bring
To a young boy's eyes
The sparkling surprise
Of gifts and love
From up above
The star in the sky
That guides the Magi
Bring it back to me
The old reality
Before the grownup game
Brought me pain
And took my fantasy
Away from me
For sometimes old myths
Are the greatest gifts
I seek them again
Like a long lost friend
My childish joys
Will stop the noise
Of serious things
And the sadness they bring
So come back again
My Christmas friend
So that I can see
With childlike glee.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I fell asleep in my chair again today.
My afternoons are meant for this.
It ain't so warm in this old house.
So I snuggle in my den, wearing my hooded sweatshirt.
I cover my legs with blankets.
I ease back into my Lazy-Boy chair.
I eat my lunch there, and watch TV.
Pretty soon it's dreamland for me.
When I wake up, I think of my working days.
I look out of my window at the snow.
I see myself on the job yelling at everyone.
I put on quite a show.
It's a silly drama now.
It made no sense.
Construction foremen are often quite dense.
I wish I had taken it a little easier back then.
Maybe today, I'd have a couple more friends.
I learned from my past.
I guess we all do.
I'm grateful for retirement.
And my afternoon snooze.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It's cowboy time.
I'm watchin' them ride.
They ride across wild west prairies.
Wild flowers welcome their day.
I love cowboys, and their cowboy ways.
Some got ornery, and went renegade.
Many fought for the south,
In the great Civil War.
They wore the stars and bars.
Frank and Jesse James.
Cole and Jim Younger.
American legends.
I can see it all now.
Fiddles, banjos, saloon girls, card games,
Whiskey, spitoons, and hair-trigger violence.
Let's ante up for the Post-Bellum cowpokes!
They danced the two-step and lived with reckless abandon.
They lived in towns named "Deadwood".
They were laid to rest in graveyards called "Boot Hill".
Theirs was a time of harsh winters and daily survival.
They suffered from early deaths.
Yes, early deaths caused by violence or disease.
They robbed stagecoaches, banks,
And the Chicago-Rock Island line.
They were outlaws.
Damned poverty turned them to this.
They were hunted by sheriffs, bounty hunters,
And Pinkerton men.
The cowboys murdered for money.
In turn they were murdered for justice.
The hang man was always a-waitin'.
These outlaws suffered wound after wound.
They bled real blood.
They were renegade cowboys.
On the run.
In the wild, wild west.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I will live me life, 'til I'm all used up.
Press on matey, never give up!
I'll go kickin' and screamin' to me grave.
The devil can wait, 'til I have me say!
To hell with that old, easy path.
Adventures, yah see, is where it's at.
I'm a Viking prince.
I have much to do!
I likes to fight, to whore, and spew.
Vituperative stuff comes outta' me mouth.
But I aint a bad bloke, by most accounts.
I've traveled the world.
I've seen many things.
I've rolled a few dice.
I've had me flings.
I've drunk enough whiskey,
for a platoon of men!
I'd like to start all over again!
Me harlots are with me, on this primrose path.
I say, "Dry your eyes girls, I'm cummin' back!"
No devil will keep me in a cold, deep grave.
I'm a ramblin' man.
I'll return in a day!
So lay me to rest.
But yah better look back.
Me arms are a-slingin'
As I get outta' me rack!
I never give up.
Yah can't keep me down.
I'm an immortal, damn Satan!
Yah horn-headed clown!
So give me your pitch fork.
Yah can go back to hell.
I aint used up yet.
So don't ring my bell!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I've reached the age where life stops giving me things,
And starts taking things away.
The most important thing for me,
Is how I react to the situation.
I do not choose to run away like a coward.
Instead, I force my mind to look at the circumstances.
From a logical perspective, I can make adjustments.
I seek quality by using each moment to my best advantage.
I can and will overcome the deficits caused by my age.
I will do this through knowledge and action.
The young man is blessed by his youth,
But he is blind to reality.
The old man has the advantage of experience,
To see things as they really are.
He must take the time to look.
This is the most important rule.
The foolish young man perceives only a few of life's gifts.
The wise old man sees many gifts.
Therefore, the playing field is groomed for his advantage.
My perceptions define my realities.


I got on a Chicago bus.
It was a hot summer day...mid-week.
I wore my best clothes.
I was going to see my Maria.
She lived on the poor side of town.
She was Puerto Rican.
I met her at a basement party.
I got off the bus.
I walked to the address she gave me.
Her neighborhood was not the best.
It was disheveled.
Yet, I had no fear.
My young heart beat with lust.
I was seventeen.
I rang her bell, because she rang mine.
She answered the door.
She was a vision of loveliness to me.
She wore short, blue jean shorts.
Her firm, full breasts,
Showed through a white, lacy blouse.
She had dark hair, red lips,
And dark eyes, that sparkled.
She smiled at me as she took my hand.
She smelled like fresh flowers.
She brought me into her bedroom.
Nobody was home.
I kissed her neck.
I never felt such heat.
Her dark skin was as soft as velvet.
We made a reckless, beautiful love.
She was only fifteen years old.
I was college bound.
Maria was going nowhere.
She would be a beautician.
Or maybe a waitress.
She was my flower that day.
She loved to parade me through her neighborhood,
As if I was a prize.
I began to feel uncomfortable.
After three dates, I quit calling her.
She didn't have my phone number.
She knew not, where I lived.
It was easy for me to escape her.
She knew she would never escape,
Her neighborhood.
I thought of her on the Greyhound bus.
I was on my way to college.
To suburban sorority girls.
With Lake Forest addresses.
They had wealthy daddies.
These girls wore the right clothes,
And had perfect teeth.
Proper diction and bloodlines.
They were waiting for country club boys.
Harvard or Stanford bound.
I didn't qualify.
I thought of Maria.
I remembered her heat.
Her smile.
Her heart.
Oh, how she burned!
The suburban, sorority girls were cold.
They were self-absorbed.
I was lost.
I missed Maria.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Lombardi put it on the map.
He was a great leader.
He said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing".
He meant, "Be the best and give 100%, win or lose."
He was the best. I loved this man.
He was born in 1913, in Brooklyn, New York.
His father was a big man, with tatoos, all over his beefy arms.
He worked in a meat packing plant, and so did Vince.
They were blue collar, a devoutly religious Roman Catholic family.
Vince once thought that he would become a priest.
He gave up that notion for football.
He was an average lineman at Fordham University.
He put up with discrimination, because he was a dark-skinned Italian.
He used this as a driving force, all his life.
He did odd jobs after he graduated from college.
He wasn't happy until he ended up as a high school teacher,
and football coach.
Vince drove his players relentlessly.
He tempered brutal practices with love.
As a result, his guys played "above their heads".
Vince was addicted to winning.
He was an assistant coach at Fordham University.
From there he went on to Army as an assistant.
Vince was distant from his family.
He was totally focused on football.
He finally got his break in the pros, in 1953.
He became the offensive line coach of the New York Giants.
But he wanted to be a head coach.
He got his "shot" at Green Bay, in 1958.
They were an abysmal football team...last place.
Their franchise was in danger.
Vince came in and said, "I'm in charge here!"
The rest is history.
Lombardi made the Packers a proud frachise.
I'll forever be a Bears fan,
but I love and respect Vince Lombardi.
Vince used football for an excuse to teach "life".

Friday, December 10, 2010


I pulled a back muscle lifting weights this morning.
I wore new athletic shoes.
Now I have bleeding toes.
I have huge blisters on the soles of my feet.
I came home.
I shoveled snow.
I ordered some hydrocodone from my doctor's nurse.
The cable guy came to connect my DVR.
I couldn't get closed captioning last night.
Now, I can't get rid of it for my football games.
It obstructs the screen.
I messed with the TV set all afternoon.
I called the cable company.
I waited for an answer.
I'm still in pain.
I called the drug store.
I waited for an answer.
I'm still in pain.
Finally, the cable company calls.
I write down 16, "so-called" easy steps.
They supposedly eradicate closed captioning.
I ask the girl on the phone,
"Aint there a simple button I can press?"
She says, "NO".
Now I feel stupid, plus I'm in pain.
I finally get my hydrocodone.
It's 6 p.m.
I pop a clonazepam along with it.
I turn on my new TV.
I'm finally happy.
It's a narcotic kind of happy.
It's still been a bad day.
I hope I can pump iron tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Now that I'm older, I notice more things. Like today, when I looked at the lady who was at the cash register. I figured she was around seventy-years of age. I noticed that she was efficient and friendly. When she spoke, I knew she was from out East. Probably the New Jersey, or New York area. I was right. After asking her, she confirmed my assumption. She was dressed well, and had her hair cut bob-style. It was straight and she had bangs. She looked very demure. Her hair was a beautiful white. She reminded me of the silent film star, Louise Brooks. This cashier knew how to put on makeup and jewelry with flair and style. She was a true professional. She probably worked at an upscale department store once upon a time. Now, because of her age, or other circumstances, she hunkered down at Kohl's Department Store. Such is life.

As I checked out, she was courteous and friendly. She smiled, and wished me a happy holiday. I boldly asked her if she was Jewish. She smiled at me and said, "Yes". (I have always adored Jewish women for some reason). I thanked her profusely, and wished her a happy Hanukkah. I hoped that I hadn't offended her. we continued smiling at each other as I left the store. She made me feel warm inside. I was very happy to have met this woman for some odd reason.

I entered another store in the mall. I noticed that most everyone was younger than me. Most of them were frowning as they scurried around. I was surprised that people looked so miserable. This used to be such a happy time of the year. I guess it is a sign of these modern times. Hurry, hurry, hurry. They were all passing me, and bumping into me. I guess that now, I move too slowly. I have turned into my parents. I wonder if my mom and dad noticed these things too?

I bought a pair of ugly snow boots. They were army green and insulated with felt liners. I got them on sale. I was so happy to find them! They were a steal for thirty-three bucks. Three or four years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead in mucklucks like this. Back then I was more style conscious. I would rather have sore and frozen feet. Not anymore. I notice now, that I dress for comfort, not style. I figure there is enough physical pain in my life, without adding to it. Plus, I don't care anymore if I impress anyone with my apparel.

The cold winds and ten-degree weather didn't bother me today. I wore my Carhart brand cold-weather gear. It kept me warm and toasty. The fresh, icy air felt good as I inhaled it. I noticed the shapes of gray clouds and the barren trees in the forest preserve. I'm happy to be alive on this lovely December day. I'm glad I don't have to rush around anymore. I get to notice more things.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I read in my Chicago Tribune today that, "Abbot Laboratories and two other pharmaceutical firms agreed to pay more than $421 million to settle claims of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid". These are the same companies that charge working people and retirees, exhorbitant fees for drugs that cost pennies to manufacture.

They say, "We need the extra money for research, so we can find cures for dreadful diseases". I think this is pure, unadulterated balderdash. But what do I know? I'm just a blue-collar guy.

I read another interesting story today. Big business is hoarding cash instead of creating jobs for Americans! Really? Economists predict that profits for Standard & Poor's 500 companies are expected to rise 47% for the year. Yeah, sure. Now I am certain that the filthy rich really need those Bush tax breaks! The wealthy are building manufacturing plants in places like China and Viet Nam, but NOT in the United States. The union workers who made them rich here in the good old USA, cut into their profits. This isn't thier "bottom line". They have to satisfy their fat-cat stockholders. Unemployment here is 9.8%, if you can believe that low figure.

Unemployment is over 20% in the construction industry. The wealthy manufacturers and construction companies think that the unions should be eradicated. To them, we are rable rousing communists, by God! The corporates are the real rats. We should start building some big mouse traps. Maybe some proud American will donate the cheese.


My wife's plaintive plea is "Don't write about me! Don't write that I laundered your cell phone!" My wife, Debbie is adamant about me not sharing information about her in my books. She doesn't want me to write about the time she flushed a kitchen dish towel down the toilet. I spent four hours with a closet auger, in order to extract it from the plumbing. The very next day, she sheepishly informed me that she had done it again! I muttered something to myself, slammed my truck into gear, and off to the rental shop I went once again, in order to get my extraction tool. This is why women have husbands. We help them do magical "man-type things" to extricate them from "female-type tragedies". Men are worse than women. We drink, gamble and fight. We hurt feelings with our gruffness, and burp and fart at social gatherings. All this bad behavior is in our natures. I think I got the better part of the deal in my marriage to my sweet, Debbie. I'm sorry I yelled at her, for washing my cell phone. The phone is only a thing. It can be replaced. Debbie, on the other hand, is irreplacable. I don't want to turn her off, or ignore her messages to me. Her messages are always about faithfullness and love. I hope she likes this little story. I hope she doesn't kill me! This story is for you, honey.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I knew the island of lost souls
These city streets
I did compete
For soft young thighs
Dresses did rise
In sleek black cars
Or moody bars
We walked our walk
And talked our talk
Of romantic things
And one night flings
Sex on the run
Devoid of fun
Just silent rage
Those wantom days
On city streets
I did compete
For sexy souls
Who often froze
On island beds
We lied and spread
Our tales of love
Shared spit and blood
The lost souls
Beyond control
On urban streets
We did compete

Monday, December 6, 2010


What is enlightenment?
I tried pleasure.
It made me fat, lazy, and greedy.
I learned suffering from pleasure.
Then I embraced my Buddha.
I began meditating again.
I gave up excess.
I discovered that life is suffering.
Life is change.
Death and sickness is unavoidable.
I want to take my mind to the beauty of the natural world.
Must I die to find wisdom?
Mara, the Lord of Desire, always seems to get in my way.
Desire never leaves me alone.
I must be impassive, but aware.
My reality must be in knowledge of what IS.
I must live in the NOW.
Then, I might attain wisdom.
This is the enlightenment.
Then my mind will find peace.
I will find my Buddha.
I hope for universal awakening.
I will discover Nirvana.
My Nirvana has always existed within me.
My unreality was not accepting the moment.
The NOW is all that is real.
This is true enlightenment.
Enlightenment for me, is fleeting at best.
I must share my joy.
I must be ordinary, not special.
This is my Dharma. (duty)
Buddha is in myself.
Seek the middle path.
It is the balance of life.
This is enlightenment.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


How does one arrive at compassion?
What's right?
What's wrong?
How many times must I say, "I am sorry".
Will I always be forgiven?
Time after time, I fail.
Mistake after mistake adds to the sum total of my life.
It humbles me.
It is not a humility that I have chosen.
Rather, I succumbed to humiliation.
I have endured enough pain.
Yet, it lingers on.
Yes, humility was forced upon me.
I did not choose it.
I paid the price for most of my mistakes.
Now, I find it easier to forgive others.
My heart has softened.
Maybe I won't have to say "I'm sorry",
as much in the future as I said it in the past.
Maybe then, I'll find compassion.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Without dreams I am nothing.
All I have is my hopes and dreams.
I want to be "Rocky",
I will make a comeback.
I want to be "Rudy",
I will play for Notre Dame,
No matter that I am small in size,
and lack of raw talent.
I want to rescue a damsel in distress.
I want to be Superman!
I want to be Louis Pasteur.
I want to float like a butterfly!
I want to sting like a bee!
Just like Ali!
I want to be the first 62 year old lineman in history,
to play for the Chicago Bears.
Yes, I dream my Walter Mitty dreams.
This year I will bench press 300 lbs.
I will find a cure for cancer.
I will save the world from itself.
I believe in tradition.
I believe in integrity.
I believe in persistence.
I believe in honor.
Most importantly, I believe in myself.
I will play like a champion today.
I will believe in my dreams.

Friday, December 3, 2010


There's nothing to say today.
I have no original thoughts.
In fact, I've never had an original thought.
I just recapitulate the same old ideas, that I have heard.
Or the things I have read.
Blah, blah, blah, over and over again.
I'm sick of all this nonsense.
There's nothing left to say.
How does a writer, write about nothing?
I have to write about something.
Nothing is the absence of something.
Something is missing.
Where did "something" go?
It must be hiding in my mind somewhere.
Now I have three words to contemplate.
Nothing, something, and somewhere.
Maybe if I got up off my ass and did something,
or went somewhere,
I wouldn't have to worry about having nothing to write about!
In fact, if I actively engaged in more "somethings",
I wouldn't have to write at all!
This sounds like a good idea to me.
I guess I did have something to say today.
I still didn't come up with an original thought.
What a bummer.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I'm finally breaking down. I just bought a brand new TV. I got sick of seeing the "big heads" on my full-screen, non-HDTV model. I longed for panoramic views. I bought a Sony Bravia, with all the "bells and whistles". I couldn't pass it up...the prices were way-low.

Yet, somehow I feel dirty and low-down. I sold out. I'm a freaking hypocrite! I swore I'd never get on the "nuevo-techie" bandwagon. But I have to admit, I'm kinda' excited! I'm getting a brand new DVR, TV stand, surround sound system, sleek new profiles on the TV, WiFi, Gamboys, Gamegirls, internet capability, higher speeds, and a whole array of things I don't need, don't know how to use, and don't understand.

I'm going to have the Geek Squad and Comcast set up all this technological garbage for me. I will pay "huge bucks" for special cables and cable boxes, to upgrade my viewing experience. I picture myself being able to watch three football games simultaneously while my wife watches Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music"...all on the same screen! I will probably go into an epileptic seizure from the vast array of color and flashing lights...all provided for me by this new technology!

I will be happy until I discover what I bought is already obsolete. Next year 3-D sets will be less expensive, and I will want them instead of what I have now. Now, my cable bill is going to be more than my mortgage payment. I will have to have two part time jobs in order to make ends meet. I'm not going to have much time to watch TV anymore. But I will have achieved another facet of the American Dream! God Bless America!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It's the first day of winter. It feels like it. Snow flying sideways, and the temperature in the mid-twenties. My bones ache. I pumped iron for the first time, in a long time today. I need to rest my legs. I've been doing too much elliptical and treadmill training. I have the "blahs". An athlete knows when his program is getting stale. What a joke! I am a sixty-one year old athlete. I did curls and tricep extensions with "sissy" weights today. I used to do 1,000 reps. on my abdominal muscles. Today, I forced myself to do 100. Yeah, this is my "fat ass" time of the year. I've been jamming too many Cheetos into my "pie hole". I've been eating all kinds of crap that isn't good for me. My glucose levels are borderline normal. I don't want to be a diabetic! Oh me! Oh my! Screw it. I'll start eating clean and eliminate all sugar on January 1st, 2011. Hopefully, I won't die before Christmas. I did alright on my pulldowns and most of my other exercises today. My arms and legs look pretty huge and I look good in my gym clothes. Yeah,I look like an elderly Rocky Balboa. But I am far from where I was four years ago. My belly is flabby by my standards. I miss my six pack of rock-solid abs. My poor abdominal muscles are gone. They are just a faded memory. Shit. I have a lot of work to do. Diet and hard work is the tandem I need. Two-to-three hours a day, seven days a week. January 1st, 2011, will be soon enough for this torture. Just like Cool Hand Luke, I have to get my mind right. I promise myself that I'm going to do "this thing" again. They sure aren't bullshitting when they say, "No pain, no gain". My mind will take me to where I want to go. My body will follow, kicking and screaming. Age makes all of this a more Herculean task. Age also makes me smarter. I'll find a way.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Snow means snow men and sled hills.
Slow drive times and accidents.
Rosy cheeks of laughing children.
Cups of hot chocolate.
I shovel snow with joy...for a while.
Soon it tires me.
Somehow, I still welcome it.
I remember clearing it off deep lagoons.
My friends and I ice skated in city parks.
We saw full moons, and felt brisk Chicago winds.
Night time skating was magical.
This winter life is for the strong and young at heart.
Now, I wait for the first snow.
My white, fluffy friend will be here soon.
Midwesterners will drink their whiskey and strong coffee.
They will sit in bars and homes.
They will stare out of windows at the snow.
They will picture their personal winter dreams.
Their dreams of past memories.
Present realities.
Future snowy wishes.
So many winter thoughts,
are brought on by the snow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My wife is dragging all the decorations out of the basement and garage today. It's the post-Thanksgiving continuation of shopping frenzy. Now we all get to enjoy the decoration "hullabaloo". I hide in my study and watch college football. I don't really like most of the games, but as long as Debbie hears the roar of the crowd, I am relatively safe from doing any work. I will watch snippets of the Notre Dame vs. USC tonight, during commercial breaks.

I love Notre Dame, probably because I saw the film "Rudy", at least fifteen times. I also went to an Irish Catholic high school. I hide in my studio and read Bukowski. So much for Christmas cheer. My family bought me an Ebenezeer Scrooge sweatshirt a number of years ago. I think I gave it away to the American Veteran's Society. I don't remember.

I don't like watching replays of old Christmas movies or wearing reindeer slippers. I used to love Christmas when I drank alcoholically. I had a wonderful excuse to buy extra bottles of expensive Scotch and Liquers. Everyone was my friend, when I was a drunk at Christmas time. I sang Christmas carols and cried when I watched Frank Capra's great movie, "Its A Wonderful Life". Christmas is for drunks, children, and people who are still lucky enough to have a "twinkle in their eyes".

I guess I do like Christmas after all. I'm just a lazy, selfish man who doesn't like putting up Christmas decorations. Shame on me! Maybe I should start drinking again. Naw. That's just the alcoholic demon speaking to me. I'd rather be sober and "Scroogelike".

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Ice cream cones are made in the winter.
Popcorn is popped in the summer.
Beer cans are thrown in the gutters.
The sun hides behind clouds.
It's monotonous.
It happens every day.
It's all the same.
It makes no sense to me.
Babies crying.
Women screaming at their husbands.
Husbands beating their women.
Old men rolling dice in alleys.
People killing each other.
It makes no sense.
The smog envelopes the city.
It's rush hour.
Another day.
More disappointment.
Throw a little joy in the mix.
Cocktails at five p.m.
Cocktails at eight a.m.
It doesn't matter what time they're served.
It's all the same.
There's no sense to any of it.
Especially the ice cream cones in the winter.

Friday, November 26, 2010


It's Black Friday.
People camp out in front of stores.
They deprive themselves of sleep.
To get that big deal.
They are frostbitten.
The rush as the doors open.
Herd behavior.
People are stomped to death.
It will be in the paper tomorrow.
Just a blub.
Some poor soul will lose his life.
On the floors of Walmart.
He died to get that deal.
The person who stomped him to death,
will get the prized HDTV,
or pop corn popper.
Forget your family.
Forget your alcoholism.
Forget your pain.
Consume more.
It's the American Dream.
Get as much as you can.
Before you die.
It's Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


In the beginning, Thanksgiving was meant to be a day for putting aside muskets, bows and arrows, and animosity between the white man and the red man. I was taught by the good sisters in Catholic grammar school that the two separate cultures sat at the dinner table together in good faith. They shared fowl and maize and various other treats, like mead and peace pipes. After the day was over, the Europeans who were new to America, went back to their savage ways and decimated the gentle American Indian population. This is plain and simply known as genocide.

I often wonder what the modern American Indian thinks about, when he hears the word "thanksgiving"? Does he put a teepee in front of the Walmart store after eating massive amounts of food, watching football, and drinking too much Wild Turkey bourbon? Maybe he camps overnight so he can get a great deal on a new HDTV set for his family on "black Friday". I don't think so.

I think that Thanksgiving should be a day, where people with more than they should have, give presents to people with less than they should have. Maybe we have the concept of this holiday all wrong. We over-eat, over-drink, over-spend, race for parking lot spaces, argue with each other, demonstrate rude behavior, and suffer from the hangovers of excess.

Of course, I thank the Great Spirit for this day. It is a day for reflection and gratitude. I just wish it was a day for giving, rather than what it has become.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I crunched the numbers.
They always add up.
I'm good at math.
I can do it in my head.
I know interest rates.
Annuity tables.
The real estate market.
The stock market.
My bank accounts.
Believe me, I know the money.
I know all the angles.
It's simple.
A whole is just the sum of its parts.
But I can't figure out myself.
My parts don't fit together.
I have to solve this problem.
It's like the "new math" for me.
It causes me excruciating mental pain.
Nothing adds up, with the equation of me.
I have to figure it all out.
Before my number comes up.


DNA is the software of life. Scientists known as bio-engineers have been "monkeying around" with DNA for a long time...(No offense to you, Mr. Charles Darwin)! They're interested in creating new energy sources and new life forms...(Take me to your leader)! Synthetic biology scares the be-Jesus out of me. What is all this new stuff going to do? What are the ramifications for "joe-blows" like me? Where does the research money come from? Is the military going to implement new biological weapons, or new genetic lifeforms? Medical research, private investors, politicians, and so-called "black-ops" are wigging me out, man!

The "squints" out there pretty much know all about the genetic material in the human body. They are now involved in creating new genetic codes. I wonder who is going to be the beneficiary of these new genetic secrets? How do we know that science will be "bio-ethical"? There are many moral questions for us to consider. As populations increase, environments are endangered. New bacterial designs may solve our problems. But knowing mankind, the way I think I know mankind, we'll probably all go to hell in a handbasket.

Monday, November 22, 2010


If someone would help me with my wounds,
give me a crust of bread,
a drink of water,
I would be grateful.
If someone looked at me with a smile,
said hello,
patted me on my back,
stroked my fevered brow,
I would be grateful.
If someone gave me some clean clothes,
a pair of old shoes,
a place to get clean,
a warm bowl of soup,
I would be grateful.
If someone gave me a job,
any kind of work,
for minimum wage,
so I could feel like a man again,
I would work very hard,
and I would be grateful.
If my prayers are answered,
if there's a new tomorrow for me,
if there's light in this darkness,
if I find a way to see,
I will be grateful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Sundays are good days.
I appreciate them more now, since I am older.
I don't have a hangover anymore on Sundays.
I quit drinking 8 years ago.
I wake up early on Sunday mornings.
I read my big Sunday Chicago Tribune.
I love slowly drinking my coffee.
I don't have to hack and cough as I light a cigarette.
I quit those lousy things 6 years ago.
I usually go to the gym for an easy workout.
I return home to the smells of my wife's great cooking.
On Sundays, I eat anything I want.
There's no diet on Sunday.
I feel energized from my workout.
I'm so grateful for all of these things.
I know I'm loved by my wife and daughter.
I appreciate my home.
I'm retired now, so every day is like a Sunday.
On Sunday, I thank God for all of these gifts.
I try to keep an attitude of gratitude,
not only on Sunday, but through the entire week.
Sundays are for prayer and meditation.
They are for family and recreation.
I use Sundays to recharge my body and my mind.
I don't rush around.
Today, I eat, read, and watch football on TV.
It's my kind of Sunday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Saturday night is blues night in Chicago.
WDCB 90.9 FM, broadcasts the blues every Saturday night.
There's a lot of clubs in town.
People drink, dance and celebrate.
Some just stay at home.
They sit at old kitchen tables.
Pass around a bottle of whiskey or muscatel.
Play cards, smoke cigarettes.
Get rowdy and argue.
They may be smokin' weed or snorting up.
Shooting H or making love.
The party people are rocking in this town.
They rock all night long.
There are murders, automobile accidents,
fistfights, lovemaking, and butt shaking.
It's a tough town, Chicago.
Chicago is the blues.
The city of big shoulders.
The city that used to work.
Chicago is tough.
Yeah, tough as nails.
We don't take any guff.
We don't take it lyin' down.
We may have the blues,
but we've got moxie.
It's blues night in Chicago.
"Hey bartender...we'll have another round."


The cold is the worst.
When you're sitting and you can't warm up.
The brutal winds make it worse.
The ice and snow flies sideways.
It hits me in the face.
It freezes to my beard.
I know I have seven more hours to finish my shift.
My boss is yelling at me to speed it up.
He's sitting in his warm pickup truck.
I see the steam rising from his coffee cup.
He's watching every move I make.
For two cents I'd walk off this damned machine.
I'd pull him out of his truck and kick his ass.
I'd never look back.
I'd trudge through the mud and snow.
I'd get in my truck and never return.
I'd set my heater at full blast.
I thought this thought on many a day.
But I stayed on my machine.
I was a "good German".
I pulled my levers to move his dirt.
I did this for thirty-five winters.
Now it's over.
Some days I long for the wind in my face.
The icicles in my beard.
Just so I can feel something.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today, I drove into the city of Chicago. I had to attend a wake. The funeral parlor wasn't very far from my old neighborhood. I hadn't been to the old house I grew up in, since I helped my mom move out of there twelve-years ago. She was too old to keep up with it anymore.

Our home was beautiful back in the 60's. We owned a California style, yellow brick bungalow. It was typical of many of the old Chicago homes built in the 40's and 50's. My mom and dad purchased it for $17,000 back in 1955. It amazes me when I think of this low figure. A person can't buy a decent car for this kind of money these days.

My mom and dad always took great care of our house. We had beautiful maple trees out on the front lawn. My brother planted them. I helped with the weeding and gardening. My brother and I also painted the gutters and windows every couple of years. My mom planted beautiful flowers in the yard, and I will never forget her lovely peony bushes, which blossomed every year with the most beautiful, pink fragrant flowers. My dad bought lovely awnings to grace the windows of the house, and after a number of years, we bought a nice chain link fence for the back yard.

My mom always kept the windows washed, and her linoleum floor in the kitchen was always freshly scrubbed and waxed. Our home was spotless, inside and out. We might have been working class people, but we took great pride in the ownership of our home.

As I drove my car down Kedzie Avenue and went west on 72nd Street, my heart sank. My beautiful neighborhood looked like a slum. Garbage was strewn everywhere. Old junk cars sat abandoned all over the streets. In the old days, these same streets had shiny, beautiful cars parked in front of manicured lawns. A run down, beater of a truck with a flat tire sat in front of our house, where Dad used to park his brand new '58 Pontiac. Our house looked dirty and disheveled. The maple trees had been cut down. Nothing but the stumps remained. The once beautiful awnings hung from the windows, broken and blowing in the wind with gaping holes in them. There was no beautiful lawn or garden anymore. Just scads of weeds and dirt. There were junk cars in the back yard, and our beautiful chain link fence was rusted and leaning over on the sidewalk.

Groups of young thugs roamed up and down my street. They glared at me. I suppose they knew I was an outsider. I felt unsafe in what used to be my old neighborhood. I felt like crying. The only thing that looked the same to me was the Nabisco cookie factory. The smells coming from their ovens were still wonderful. The factory never changed. It was always well-maintained. The only difference i could see was that management added barbed wire to the tops of the high fences. I also noticed that they had a couple of security patrol cars parked in their lot. They never need these new additions when I was a kid living in this "hood".

I couldn't wait to drive away. I brought my camera with me, but my heart wasn't into snapping a picture. I guess I wanted to keep my old memories alive. I'll never go back there again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm sitting alone tonight.
Nothing to do.
Nowhere to go.
Just sweet silence.
It envelopes me.
It's nice to turn things off.
The calm is so welcoming.
I like it once in a while.
My mind needs this peace.
I find myself rushing nowhere.
I don't know the reason.
I need to slow myself down.
Live in the moment.
I preach it.
But I'm a liar.
It's hard to live in the NOW.
There's always the rush to nowhere.
It's not fair.
It's just the way things are.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


They call it the "sweet science".
Some guys do it just to train.
But if a man gets into the ring,
he can't be afraid of getting hit.
The more he trains,
the more he spars,
the better he gets.
It's simple.
What really makes a boxer feel good is fighting.
Yeah, I boxed with as many opponents as I could find.
Endurance is important,
but experience and fearlessness often win the day.
A boxer has to watch his diet.
He must eat a high protein, low carb diet.
No drinking, no smoking, and no late hours.
Some guys even forego sex before a bout.
The old timers told me "it weakens the legs".
Finness and good technique must be learned.
But a guy with the sheer will to win,
and a killer instinct often beats the more skillfull fighter.
There's no quit in a good boxer.
It's humiliating to be beat to a pulp in front of your Dad,
and your close friends.
But I'll tell you something...
When a referee pulls your hand up into the air for the first time,
there's nothing like it in the world.
It's the biggest "rush" I've ever experienced.
It was better than finishing my first marathon run.
The closer a bout came to me on the calendar, the more nervous I would get.
All I thought about was jabs, flurries and combinations.
I visualized what I would do to my opponent in the ring.
When I got in there, I blocked everything out except the business at hand.
No-one can teach a boxer how to have heart.
I'd like to think that I had a lot of "heart".
I won more bouts than I lost.
Boxing taught me a lot about life.
It taught me how to face my fears and made a better man out of me.
When I was young my boxing skills made me cocky.
I had to get beat down to learn some maturity and humility.
Today I see the "sweet science" as character development.
I get more from training young guys,
than I ever did from punching someone in the face.
I still hit the speed and heavy bags everyday.
I work on my balance and foot work.
I do a little sparing with my friend Tyrone.
He is an old timer like me who used to work out at Chicago's Windy City Gym.
I have pretty good wind for an old guy.
I'm still having fun at the age of 62.
This is God's gift to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010


They're cooking in Iowa.
Methedrine is in the great farm state.
Everyone is "tweaking", man.
Towns stand deserted.
The buildings are skeletal remains.
Once healthy, the youth are violent.
They are sullen and desperate.
They do what they can to survive.
So do their parents.
They're cooking and growing weed.
Shooting heroin and doing crack.
It's happening all over America.
Local police don't want to arrest old friends,
or good neighbors.
Often they look the other way.
They sometimes protect the operations.
Or some of them take bag money.
This is the sad reality.
How far does it extend?
Drugs are coming in from all over the world.
Now we are doing business in every state.
Why don't the politicians stop it?
Why don't the corporations stop it?
Are they making money from it too?
Is this all real?
Maybe I'm just having a bad dream.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


He asked her, "Do you live around here?"
She replied to him, "If you call it livin'."
He met her in a bar across the street from where his rig was parked.
They shared a few drinks.
She was beautiful, but he was trashed.
He had been on the road for five days.
He was haulin' ass and a heavy load.
His eighteen-wheeler was tired, and so was he.
He bid her farewell, and went to bed in his sleeper.
He saw her the next morning in a diner.
She was flat broke, so he bought her breakfast.
She asked him for a ride.
He asked her where she wanted to go.
She said, "Anywhere but here."
So, they went driving west through Utah.
She was well-educated and told him some great stories.
He really warmed up to her, because she made him laugh.
He was in his mid-twenties,
while she looked like she was well into her thirties.
She was a looker for sure, in spite of her age.
It was getting dark,
so she suggested they bunk down for the night.
She wanted to check into a nice motel.
He figured it was alright. He couldn't pass this up.
He was whistling while he took a nice, long, hot shower.
He came out of the well-appointed bathroom with a smile on his face.
She was gone. So was his wallet.
He wished he was anywhere, than right there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Warm and toasty,
I sit by the fire.
I eat beer brats on hotdog buns,
mustard and potato salad.
I watch college football.
The leaves dance in my backyard.
My lovely wife comes in the door.
Off she takes me to the antique store.
We are looking for treasures.
She tells me of her travel in foreign lands.
We are holding hands.
We grocery shop late in the afternoon.
The maddening crowds have thinned by then.
All my weekly chores are done.
Now is the time for weekend fun.
Once the groceries are unpacked.
We settle down and have a snack.
My wife and I relax.
Together, on this lovely November afternoon.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Jim Seeley was a helluva' man. I met him one, hot summer morning in Chicago. He was sixty-years old. I was a young man, twenty-three years of age. He put out his beefy hand for me to shake and smiled at me. I noticed he had a firm handshake. He smiled big at me. We kept shaking hands as I looked at the mighty crane. We both were going to share it for a year. I was to be his helper on this mighty rig. My job description was that of an "oiler". I did all the preparation and maintenance. I also had seat time, to learn how to run the machine. That is where Jim came in as an instructor.
Jim gently took me under his wing. He showed me everything he knew. He kept no secrets from me. By the end of the summer, I was a competent crane operator. I knew every lever, every gear, every grease fitting on this old machine. He taught me with a smile on his face. He never raised his voice to me when I made mistakes. He taught me how to correct what I was doing wrong.
There aren't many tradesmen like Jim around anymore. They've all gone to their graves. Most men today don't want to share their skills. The big construction jobs are non-existent in this day and age. Work is really slow for the trades in Chicago this year and the last. If a man teaches an apprentice too well, the kid might just take his job.
In the '60s and'70s, work was fun. There was plenty of it to go around. The attitude was more relaxed, but we always took our jobs seriously. We never missed a day of work. At night we went to school to learn how to read blueprints, run machines, how to weld, and do things related to the operation of heavy equipment. If we were off on Saturdays, or we were laid-off from our jobs, we went to the union yard to practice running machines. We all wanted to be a part of a better tomorrow.
It isn't that way anymore. Now, it's all about money and survival. Yes, Jim Seeley taught me well. After I retired, the union hall kept calling me to run the old friction-rig cranes. They young guys lacked the skills or lacked the gumption to run these old dinosaurs. I had to decline the jobs because of my worn out body and lungs. The new breed of equipment operators want hydraulic machines with heaters, air-conditioning and fancy radios. These kids don't want to get dirty. In the old days, most heavy equipment operators knew how to do maintenance and repairs on their machines. We did a lot of the mechanical work. We also knew how to run just about everything. These days, contractors tell me that they are lucky if they get a man who knows how to run one machine, and who shows up for work on time every day. Many of our guys aren't interested in developing their skills. They're just there for the paycheck. It's a damned shame.
Jim Seeley has been dead a long time now. I sure miss him. I owe him a lot. He was a special man. He was like a father to me. He would have been sad to see how things have gone bad. I'm proud to have had a part in building the highways and skyscrapers of America. Ours were wonderful days. I pray the future holds better times for my union brothers and sisters. I hope they keep their skills honed, so that they can be proficient at their jobs. America has to maintain an educated work force, to be strong once again. I miss you Jim Seeley. I miss my old America.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It takes me about a year to write a book.
There's a lot of hardship along the way.
It sure ain't a primrose path.
I write and re-write.
Then my editor gets ahold of my manuscript.
He bitches and moans every time.
I don't blame him.
My work is a mess.
He swears this time that:
"I'm going to charge you extra for every unnecessary comma!"
I use too many of them.
The last time my "quotation marks" drove him insane.
Then there are the damned publisher's templates.
I need to hire out for the book cover.
I hire a web geek for that.
He does the sizing and photography for me.
I am puter illiterate in this regard.
I haven't got a clue.
Vanity publishing is done electronically.
Everything is uploaded and downloaded on the internet.
Gone are the days of "typers".
Gone are the days of "snail-mailing" manuscripts.
I conversed with my writer friend Paul, today.
He lives in Boston and is writing a wonderful novel.
His "Dragon voice recognition system" is re-writing his book for him.
It automatically transfers the spoken word to the manuscript file.
Sometimes it misinterprets what he says.
I told him that maybe the "Dragon" is smarter than he is!
I suggested that maybe it will write a better novel.
He got a chuckle out of my moronic statement...I think.
We writers agonize over every small detail.
No matter what we do, we are never REALLY satisfied.
I edit at least eight times before I submit to my publisher.
I finally ok a proof copy of my book after perusing every one of my sentences.
I've written three books and am working on my fourth.
I guarantee you that there are going to be mistakes in this book!
It breaks my heart to read my finished product and find them lurking on the pages.
It makes me want to break my pencils!
No matter.
I write because I must.
Writers are "cracked" people.
The cracks allow our light to emanate outside into the world.
Writing is wonderful.
Life is wonderful.
Doing this long task to completion gives me great joy.
I am a writer.
Or at least I think I am!


I guess it don't matter where you die.
A man can die in filth,
or he can die in a nice warm bed with silk sheets.
They say when you go, you mess yourself.
There's such heartache in it all.
I don't know why I keep thinking about it.
I guess I've seen too much stuff.
It hurts my heart.
There's so much to see in life.
Joy and sadness.
Love and hate.
There's so much to feel.
It overloads my mind sometimes.
I won't cry in front of other men.
But I do cry.
I cry for all of us.
There are no happy endings.
What is lovely are the memories.
The good ones anyway.
Make good memories.
So that when you are on your way,
You can smile that day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Someone launched a missile in California today.
The Navy claims that the vapor trail wasn't theirs.
How about the missile?
Cher is doing a burlesque show.
I'll have a six-pack to go, in order to watch that one!
Dancing with the Stars, is the World's Biggest Loser,
in my book.
I wonder who will be the next American Idol?
I don't think it will be poor Barack Obama.
He's still smoking cigarettes.
It's gotta' be rough on the voice.
Ex-Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich is pitching pistachio nuts.
People are dying.
People are being born.
People are fighting.
People are praying.
It's just more of the same.
But I detect new levels of weirdness.
Yeah. It's getting really strange.
It's getting stranger.
It's not to the strangest degree yet.
There's always room for stranger scenarios.
They recently released "Saw" and "Jackass" in 3-D.
Now this is "strangeland".
Maybe every state should launch a missle.
We can self-destruct.
Clean the slate in America.
We can all start over again.
We'll have a new game.

Monday, November 8, 2010


My mind is still a voyager.
It takes me to L.A.
I have friends there.
I dream of Mulholland Drive.
And the Whiskey-A-Go-Go.
I packed up and A-Went-Went.
I'm off to sparkle town.
I sit in jazz bars.
The music is not the same.
Somehow it's different.
The blue haze is gone.
There's no ash trays on the bar.
Now the cats who "blow" are much too young.
My whiskey has been replaced.
Now I stare into seltzer water.
At least the pretzels are still stale.
My life has been diluted.
Watered down.
I want to dig the scene.
But I have been mis-cast.
I'm a bad actor.
I don't remember my lines.
The job goes to younger guys.
I'm not a leading man anymore.
They just want me for character roles.
The scene used to be a gas.
Now I'm gassed out.
Yeah baby, my Hollywood days are over.
But my mind is still a voyager.
It takes me to great heights.
Martinis, girls and fine cigars.
Beneath these L.A. lights.
I still have friends here, you know.
I must find a way to re-live all the magic,
Of imagined L.A. days,
of L.A. ways.
I get up off my bar stool.
No one says goodbye.
The party seems so blase now.
I've changed.
I don't know why.
Maybe I'll travel to simpler towns.
Like Boise, Idaho.
The glimmer there--
still comes from stars and snow.
It might be more honest.
My heart is very deep.
I take the leap.
I am still the voyager.


I gave up my bitching on Mondays.
It served me no useful purpose.
Today is a bright sunshiney day.
It is a balmy day in November.
This day is an unexpected gift.
It's a glorious Monday.
I read my paper on this fine, Monday morning.
I read about the loss of a young life.
She was only twenty-three years old.
I looked at her picture.
A beautiful blonde.
All of the sudden, my phone rang.
It was my twenty-eight year old daughter.
She was in tears.
My daughter taught school with this unfortunate young lady.
The dead girl was a special education teacher.
She died in a freakish accident on Saturday.
I thanked God this was not my child.
I cannot imagine how this girl's parents must feel.
This Monday is sadly dark for them.
My child is safe.
The sun shines warmly on my face today.
I have no right to complain about my Monday.
I have no right to complain about any day.
I promised myself to call my daughter this evening.
I want to share her grief.
Tonight, before I go to bed I will give thanks.
My Monday was a gift.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


You were a waitress in a bowling alley.
A keypunch operator.
You lived in Port Arthur, Texas.
You sang with power.
You had such majesty in your delivery.
Your parents wanted you to be a school teacher.
You started singing the blues at the age of fourteen.
You listened to Leadbelly.
You moved to San Francisco in 1963.
You started with Big Brother and the Holding Company in '66.
You wore colorful boas in your hair.
You were sexual in an innocent way.
Pure energy.
Earth Mother.
You longed for a peaceful escape.
You knew you would never own one.
Your solace was a harpoon and a red bandana.
A bottle of Southern Comfort.
Night after night you beat yourself to death.
You said making love is like singing.
You were damned to loneliness.
Port Arthur High School laughed you out of class,
out of town,
out of state.
You didn't get asked to the prom.
A doctor told your mom:
"She will end up insane or in jail by the age of 21."
You cut your second album at the age of 25.
God! You sure could sing "Summertime".
You sang bluegrass and folk for free beer,
in a scum-bag bar in Austin, Texas.
You sang at Woodstock in 1969.
You never wanted to wear phony eyelashes.
You said, "Screw the cameras".
You said you were happiest in a bar.
Feelin' good was good enough for you.
I miss you, dear Janis.


I hung a large, metal wall-sculpture today.
I'm putting some finishing touches on our new den.
My wife is used to me doing these things.
My body isn't up to the task anymore.
My mind must compensate for my lack of physical endurance.
First, I ask her where she wants it.
She has me hold the heavy thing in place.
My lower back and legs are screaming in pain.
I say, "How much damn longer?"
"This is torture!"
She replies, "I want to see if I want it that high."
I rest for a few minutes, and try another position.
"This damned thing is killing me", I say.
She says, "There!" "That's perfect!"
I say, "Hurry up and mark the bottom corner."
"My back is killing me!"
I measure the width of the love seat,
'cause it's centered on the wall.
Then I get my center point for the wall hanging.
Then I measure out from the pencil mark.
I measure down to get the bottom corner.
I get the sculpture's topmost point from one side.
I drive my nail in where the hanging eyelet is welded,
on the inside of the assembledge.
I hang one side and have my wife put my level
in the center of the piece.
I pivot the un-nailed end to where I think it should be.
I ask my wife, "Is the bubble in the level dead-center yet?"
She says, "Huh?"
"What bubble?"
My back is aching and my legs are shaking.
I try to contain my rage and frustration.
I reply, "Look at the gall-danged level, for Chrissakes!"
"Here, I'll move the sculpture up and down,"
"Do you see it now?"
She replies in amazement, "Oh yes!"
We get it level and I nail it home.
I am her hero.
Next time I'll pay my contractor twenty-bucks
to hang something like this.
It will be worth it.

Friday, November 5, 2010


One minute can change a man's life.
His name was Darrell.
I met him at an AA meeting.
He was young, black, educated and good-looking.
His sidekick was a white dude, named Steve.
The three of us became friends.
Initially, we "worked a good program".
Things were looking up for Darrell.
He was a smart kid.
He got a job as a cook.
The restaurant was one of those fancy five-star joints.
A french restaurant.
Darrell was making some serious cash.
Anyway, our friend Steve got drunk again.
His wife threw him out.
After this happened, Steve came back to AA.
His wife still wouldn't take him back.
Steve longed to see his kids.
He cried alot.
Steve ended up drinking himself to death.
They found his body in a dark hotel room.
Darrell and I went to his funeral.
Darrell ended up with a nice girlfriend.
She was a good-looking girl.
He met her in AA.
Darrell ended up moving into her condominium.
I had them over to my house, many times.
After about six months, things went bad for my friend.
He lost his job.
He ended up working midnight shift at a convenience store.
He hated this.
Darrell quit coming to meetings.
He wouldn't answer my phone calls.
He started drinking and smoking crack cocaine.
Darrell's girlfriend told me that,
she changed the locks on her doors.
She was really afraid of him.
I had no clue where Darrell was.
One day, I read in the newspaper,
that Darrell killed his girlfriend.
He chocked her to death.
He bound her hands and feet.
He put duct tape on her mouth.
Darrell is doing life without parole.
He didn't mean to kill her.
By the grace of God, I'm still sober.
One minute can change a man's life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today melts quickly like an iceberg.
Another day takes it's place.
I realize how much I need to learn.
My mind tells me that there is not enough time.
I fear that I will go to my grave an ignoramous.
This is a frightening fact!
Science claims that we only tap a part
of our brain's possibilities.
Ten percent is the average of what they say we use.
How do I tap into the unused reserves?
Magic mushrooms?
Prayer and meditation?
Accelerated study and reading?
It's all a waste of my precious time.
Age is on me now.
It covers me like a heavy cloak of darkness.
My short-term memory is deteriorating.
I'm forgetful.
I lose things.
I forget phone numbers, including my own.
My mind is melting like an ice cube.
It will be solid, but more like Jello.
Soon, I won't realize how much I need to learn.
I'll be a happy guy.
I'll think that I'm pretty smart!
I'll be "pleased as punch".
I will smile when I yell "Bingo",
at the senior citizen's center.
I'll go to my grave a happy ignoramous.
It won't matter.
I won't realize my shortcomings.
I will be blissfully happy in my ignorance.
We aren't meant to understand all of life's mysteries.
If we knew everything, life wouldn't be fun anymore.
I'm glad that I'm not a "know it all".
The pressure must be overwhelming to be this way.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I read in the paper this week that:
The government of Iran will no longer stone to death
adulterous females.
Instead, they will hang them.
This is progress?
I read this week that:
Fifty-eight Christians were murdered.
They were murdered in their own church.
They were worshipping their God.
They were butchered by the Al-Queda.
This occured in Iraq.
I read this week that:
More people were murdered in Afghanistan,
New York,
and London.
I read this week that:
San Francisco may ban toys with happy meals.
Happy meals are fattening.
Toys make children happy.
We need thin, unhappy children.
We need them in shape.
We need them to fight wars in:
New York,
and in London.
Chinese toys may be toxic!
Don't put that toy in your mouth!
Don't eat candy!
Don't eat pizza!
Don't eat those greasy hamburgers!
Don't eat those yummy milkshakes!
Don't listen to rock and roll!
Now march!
Get into your room!
Grab your weapon!
Prepare for the future.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's November 2nd and I voted today.
I'm happy to say.
I voted for a despicable man.
I know he'll pull scams!
But mostly for MY interests.
It's the American way!
What can I say?
We lie, steal and cheat.
We're light on our feet.
We talk out of both sides of our mouths.
We're the masters of clout.
I hope my man wins.
Although he has sins,
My vote counted today.
On a more serious note.
It's a sorrowful vote.
The Repubs and the Dems,
Are none of my friends.
They just serve the rich.
This is the hitch.
They'll increase their pay.
Then just run away.
With the money I earned.
They might serve two terms.
It's the land of the free!
What's in it for me?


There was a strange carvival ride.
I saw an evil clown smile at me.
A dirty carnie strapped me in.
There was gum on the seat.
It stuck to my jeans.
I remember the eerie, dusty fairway.
The shrieks of terror.
This couldn't be real.
I found out it was.
It was a one-way ticket.
The car didn't return.
The tracks ran short,
Like all human expectations.
My carnival fears,
My wasted tears,
My youthful years,
Were spent alone in the crowd.
I heard the maniacal laughter.
I saw the gay lights in the distance.
The abstraction of mirrors,
Were my carnival years.
It was a dark ride.
But, I had thrills.
Come one, come all.
For the greatest show on earth.
Enjoy the mirth.
While you still can.
Expect your rebirth.
Let's give three cheers.
For our carnival years.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I lost my cell phone today.
I think I left it in my gym locker.
The gym's a vortex that sucks down all my belongings.
I'm amazed that no-one returned it.
My cell phone is one of the old models.
It has a rotary dial, no camera, and no Apps,
whatever the hell they are.
It has big numbers and letters for elderly people.
I had to call my provider, to suspend my service.
I don't need any long distance charges,
to places like Beirut or Ceylon.
I guess I'm not a trusting individual.
But I've been burned before, too many times.
Now I have to buy a new phone.
I'm bringing my wife with me.
She insists, but it's OK 'cause I don't even trust myself.
I might come home with "super phone".
It will have all the bells and whistles.
I don't bother to look at costs or monthly service charges.
It seems like everyone in the world is getting smarter than me.
My life is getting more complicated by the new technologies.
I'm thankful I still can read and write.
I do better than the national average of most college students.
I can do mathmatical calculations in my head.
I never find the need to take off my shoes and socks.
I never count on my fingers and toes.
I never carry any credit card debt.
Maybe I'm not stupid, after all.
I think I might just buy that expensive cell phone.
I might even hire an electronics geek.
He can teach me how to use it.
Ain't life grand?

Friday, October 29, 2010


I remember running home as fast as my legs could carry me, from Saint Adrian's Catholic Grammar School. The cold October winds produced cascades of colorfull leaves. They looked like they were spinning in a huge, high-speed blender. My feet crushed the leaves on every strike. I listened to them crunch, and watched my frozen breath as I ran. It was Halloween! Mom was waiting for me in the kitchen, as I bounded up the stairs. "Slow down young man", she said. "You have plenty of time. Have some milk and cookies." "No mom", I said! "I need you to help me put on my Hobo outfit! I don't want to miss out on any of the candy!" I remember her smile, as she burnt the cork. The cork was used to dirty my face. She used a little rouge to make my cheeks pink, and pinned one of my dad's old Homburg hats, so it would fit my head. She had old trousers for me, with patches on the knees and an old short broomstick with a couple of bandanas sewn together, to make a hobo's small kitball of worldly belongings. She made me wear tons of insulated underwear under my flannel shirt and trousers. She made me wear mittens on my hands. She smiled at me and said, "Now you be safe! Don't ring the doorbells of any houses that don't have their lights on! Make sure your friends are with you! I don't want you being alone! I want you to be home by eight o'clock, or I will tell your father you disobeyed me, when he gets home from tending bar tonight!" I was "flying" down the front stairs before the last sentence came out of her mouth. She always made sure that I had a reinforced shopping bag. My mom was the greatest. I swore to myself that I would fill it to the brim with candy, before I came home. I met up with Mike Noonan, and Al Faustino, and a couple of my other friends. We lived on the south side of Chicago, and were happy that the houses in our neighborhood were so close together. We ran up and down the front porch stairs for three-or-four hours until we were so exhausted, we couldn't carry our candy anymore. I always brought home a great bounty. I loved the Hershey bars, Snickers, Milk Duds, Baby Ruths, Fire Sticks, and All Day Suckers. My mom always went through the candy to see what I could keep. She told me that there were some bad people out there, who put needles in some of the candy or fruit. I didn't believe her, but let her throw the junky stuff out anyway! I had enough stuff to last me at least a month, as long as I could hide it from my older brother and sister! Being 8 or 9 years old on Halloween sure was fun! Today, I love getting dressed up in Biker garb, with menacing sunglasses, my goatee and shaved head. I wear a leather vest and jeans, with a big skull belt buckle. I also have a set of handcuffs hanging from my vest. I love handing out candy to the children who come to my door. My wife says I look like I'm dressed for Halloween, 365 days a year! I don't care. She knows that I love her and the kids. I always buy the Snickers and Hershey bars to give away. I buy a lot of it! I throw a handful into each little goblin's bag. When they smile real large, and look up to me and say, "thank you mister", it brings Halloween joy to me once again! I am smiling when I close the door. I think how soundly the little ones will sleep this night, after they are through. I hug my wife and enjoy our little decorations. I swear, I never want to grow up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I decide to go to the gym.
It's open 24/7.
Seven days a week.
365 days a year.
My refuge.
I enter the realm.
Industrial lights.
Rows of barbells and plates.
A few muscleheads in there.
Heavy metal music for intense workouts.
I strap on my wrist supports.
I put on my gloves.
I start the ritual.
I feel the blood coursing through my veins.
I like it like this.
No fighting for machines.
No senseless babble.
Just the iron and me.
I do an honest two hours.
I look in the mirror.
I see an old warrior.
I spit in the eye of death.
I shower and feel relaxed.
I leave and feel a blast of cold October wind.
There's a full moon out tonight.
I crawl into bed.
I fall asleep.
Mission accomplished.


There should be joy in one's industry.
Work should not be meaningless.
It doesn't matter how dirty or lowly the job.
Pleasure can be found in the task.
If you don't like what you do,
move on without hesitation.
I've had over a hundred jobs in my lifetime.
I don't regret any of them.
I learned something from each of them.
Sometimes the lousy jobs were the most fun.
Most of my life's work was mundane.
Little of it offered large sums of money or prestige.
That was alright by me.
Other jobs paid me well.
They offered me status and fame.
It was no big deal.
A lot of these jobs made me unhappy.
I loved making art.
Until galleries and clients begged for more.
They were breathing down my neck.
"Produce more, sell more, bullshit more, they said."
Painting was no longer a joy.
It became a chore.
So I quit painting.
Writing took over.
It was therapeutic.
It still is.
But it won't be for long.
Deadlines are starting to harass my mind.
Publishers are bothering me.
I feel compelled to produce.
My brain is being sucked out of me.
This is no way to live my life.
I might start delivering pizzas again.
That will give me joy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I never did well in crowded places.
I hate people jabbering.
Cars rushing by.
My heart always started racing.
I'd break out in a sweat.
Dizziness would overcome me.
I thought I was losing my mind.
Maybe I was going to die.
I'd feel like a non-entity.
No ego.
Just nothing.
I didn't exist.
Yet, I was an observer.
These feelings were horrifying.
I had them in my youth.
They'd occur in odd places.
Convertibles with their tops down.
Social gatherings.
I decided to stay in my room.
I guess I was agoraphobic.
I was too young to know the word.
My books became my friends.
I knew I was different than most others.
I thought I was damned.
Now, I know I was blessed.
I accepted my strangeness.
I pushed the envelope.
I decided to face my fears.
Fear is always there anyway.
It's easier to handle now.
I still like the dark.
I like my room.
I like to isolate.
But the crowds don't bother me anymore.
I don't feel like I'm losing my mind.
I realized that I never owned it.
I'm a minute part of the universal mind.
By negating my ego,
I found the essence of me.
It's not a bad place to be.

Monday, October 25, 2010


These grim nights disturb me.
Wayward youths have too much time.
They roam the streets.
There's a new meanness to it all.
What have we spawned?
We didn't teach them well enough.
We were selfish in our ways.
We blew it.
We were going to save the world.
We couldn't save ourselves.
We couldn't save our children.
Maybe I'm too cynical.
Was I like this in my youth?
It seems the new breed of youth,
have taken meanness to a new level.
It's harder.
It's more horrific.
It's faster.
It's sexier.
It's kinkier.
It's more brutal.
It's caused by the world we left them.
It's a cesspool of a place.
All the heroes are gone.
The monsters have come out.
No longer underneath the bed,
they rule supreme.
They haunt us.
They lie.
They cheat.
They steal.
They murder.
They are us.
Our families.
Our children.
Our country.
The world.
It's a meaner place.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


He made a cane with a horse's head.
He made it for me.
Lovingly, made in mahogany.
It had a sharpely defined mane.
It was a good stick for crushing skulls.
It was made for disrespectful youth.
There are many of them on my Chicago streets.
They prey on the weak and frail.
He made a cane with a clown's head.
This one is my favorite.
It is resplendent with all the colors of the rainbow.
A freaky clown he is.
He has a nose as red as Marilyn Monroe's lips.
This cane my brother did not want to give up.
He eventually softened due to age and illness.
My pleas probably helped my case.
He also made a a cane decorated with the American flag.
The flag is lovingly carved on the handle.
Hand carved and painted, Old Glory is beautiful.
The cane comes alive.
The flag looks like it is blowing in the wind.
I miss my brother.
We were two of a kind.
Two artists in perfect harmony.
He is gone.
I'll tag along, someday.
With one of his canes in my hand,
I'll travel this land.
Completing things for him.
My brother Jim.
The maker of fine canes.
And other wonderful things.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The fall leaves are blown off the trees.
They are like little souls.
They try to hang onto life.
Their umbilical cords dry up.
The wind pummels them.
Finally, they fall to the ground.
This makes me think of my mortality.
The beauty of the fall leads to the bleakness of winter.
Winters here are cold and unmerciful.
So many souls are hanging on in hospitals.
Some of them live in retirement homes.
Most, are going to try to make it through the holidays.
The sick or elderly don't want to die now.
They might ruin everyone's festive fun.
They must hang on, 'til the New Year.
January is a boring month.
It is a cold one here in the midwest.
It's a good time for wakes.
People are paying off their holiday debt.
These winter times are sometimes morose times.
Sad times.
However, there is beauty in the winter nights.
Outside of my warm house, is fresh cold air.
There is the reflection of the moonlight on the snow.
There are glistening icicles.
I gaze in wonderment at big snowflakes.
There is the beauty of dead silence.
Even in death, there is beauty.
Little souls come to rest.
They aren't pummeled anymore.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I liked to drink in dives.
These were bad places.
Shithole bars with fruit flies in my shot glass.
I drank in such a place on Chicago Avenue.
Folks dealt rock in a decrepit empty lot right next to it.
I didn't care.
The addicts never noticed me.
They were playing out their own scenarios.
I sat at the bar, drunk.
I observed human dramas as they unfolded.
I was the only white face in this particular place.
I was not afraid.
I was always treated with respect.
Maybe they thought I was a narc.
The music on the box was good.
People were friendly.
They were happy it was Saturday.
They were poor, beat and down-and-out.
They were just like me.
We drank cheap bar whiskey.
We sat under florescent lights.
You know, just like the kind they hang in factories.
This is ironic ambience, Chicago style.
I danced with toothless hags twice my age.
I guess I made them happy.
I lost my front teeth in there.
Some dude blindsided me.
Actually I lost the caps.
The originals were lost in a car accident.
I fell asleep at the wheel.
I came to a sudden stop.
I had two black eyes and the missing teeth.
I had an instant Halloween face.
Cars were toughter on me, than any man I ever fought.
I met a lot of people in dives.
Believe me, the dives are more honest.
When I was flush, the nice clubs were filled with jerks.
They tried to play too many games on me.
You're your own best friend, when you are an alkie.
An alkie never has to meet anyone, unless he needs money.
People are despicable.
When you are at rock-bottom, hatred rules your life.
Sometimes, I saw the light from the bottom.
When I was straight, I got bored.
I longed for the bottom.
The longer I stayed sober, the more I forgot the pain.
Nothing ever works right in this world.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Some things are so rotten,
they get into my mind.
That's why I keep moving.
Inertia is the key.
Keep moving or die.
Don't stay in one place.
The evil is out there.
It's inside of me, as well.
I deny it.
I keep on running.
Maybe it won't catch up to me.
I lie to myself,
like all of humanity.
Sickness, madness, and death is omnipotent.
The big three, they are the Holy Trinity of reality.
They wait for me.
They wait for all of us.
I keep on moving.
I dodge, bob and weave.
I am a prize fighter.
When I'm on the move, I have good footwork.
There's no round heels for me in this travesty.
I go down for the count, anyway.
It's my fate.
There's inertia.
Then lights out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The insanity of the Democratic National Convention was the "happening".
The violence was filmed, recorded, and remembered by people like me.
I heard stuff like,
"We shall overcome, The whole world is watching, Move out, you are in violation of the law, and run!" It was the age of psychedelia, beads, incense, feathers, bells, dope, the smell of dope, revolution, Black Panthers, and Hell no, we won't go!
The Chicago Police Department was prepared.
The Illinois National Guard was prepared.
The news media was prepared.
The Yippie Party was prepared.
The SDS was prepared.
The freaks, poets, acid heads, feminists, communists, artists, Black Panthers, conservatives, democrats, and republicans were prepared.
Every damned body was prepared!
The times were ripe for violence and social change.
We attended universities, worked in factories, drove cabs, tended bar, served time in jails, Viet Nam or the National Guard.
We camped out in Lincoln Park.
We listened to Allen Ginsburg and Abbie Hoffman.
The violence came.
It was unavoidable.
We knew it would come.
Mayor Daley senior said, "The police aren't here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder." You had to know what we were up against, after reading this simple little statement from one of the nation's most powerful politicians.
I can't believe it was forty-two years ago.
The innocence was lost after the assasinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. Today, it's still an insane scene.
The whole world is watching.
Yet, nothing has changed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The executive vice-president of the National Football League, announced something that made me very sad today. He said something to the effect that, "Players who intentionally spear, mutilate, maim or dismember other players will be suspended. There has been a "bru-haha" over concussions suffered by NFL quarterbacks this season. Huh? I thought these were tough guys! After all, NFL stand for "not for long". We as men all realize this simple point. Men who have played the game, like me want it bloody and violent. Old time football players didn't wear helmets. They beat the crap out of each other for twenty-bucks a game. The bar fights they engaged in after the games were even more brutal! I like the old ways. I like how Dick Butkus, famous middle-linebacker for the Chicago Bears played the game. He scared the hell out of anybody who faced him! Dick once said, "I'd like to hit a guy so hard, his helmut and head would roll around on the field after contact". My kinda' guy! This is football. This is war. This is violence. This is America. This is male. This is bloody. Most importantly, this is sacred for all American males who have been watching it for 40 or 50 years. This game is ours. Now they want to take it away. Pencil-necked office workers and league representatives want to feminize my game. Pretty soon, the players will have to play two-hand touch football. If someone cries, everyone will apologize to him, and wipe away his tears. A "quiet time" will be enforced by the referee. The mean, bad man perpetrator will have to sit in his chair, with his back toward the playing field, in the corner of the stadium. The game will be played in sneakers. Spikes can cause "ouchies". Everyone knows that! Aw, it will be a "touchy-feelie" kinda' game! How sweet! Teams will have sensitivity sessions together at half-time. All the men will discover their "inner child". The game will be opened for women and children. We don't want to discriminate! Everything about the game will be politically correct! No feelings will ever be hurt, and no one will ever feel any pain. Extra points and gold stars on foreheads will be given for finess and balletic moves. Dexterity and aesthetic beauty will count! Football will be judged by the panel of Dancing with the Stars! What a great idea!

I wonder what John Madden, great coach of the guys in black, would think about all of this. He coached the nastiest men in football. They all had bad breath, alcohol on their breath, criminal records, and loved to administer punishment and pain. They were an incredible team. They were known as the Oakland Raiders. They wore the colors of death. They were a raggedy crew of talented, sadist men who couldn't fit in anywhere else because they all were so damned mean! I watched them in their great days. Jim Ott, from the late 60's, early 70's was one of the Oakland Raiders. He was told by the team doctor, "If you play for the rest of the season on your battered leg, Jim, I will have to amputate it". Jim chose to play. At the end of the season, they amputated his leg. I think Jim really loved the game of football. Jim Ott is a Hall of Famer. I like football players like Jim Ott, and Dick Butkus. Let men be men. Amen.