Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm doing some house cleaning.
I'm down on my knees, and it hurts.
I'm de-cluttering.
A hoarder's life is not for me.
I want to be clean, when I'm elderly.
I figure if I do it now,
as best as I can,
things will not engulf me, ever again.
In later years when I'm in more pain,
the old junk will be gone,
my life will be framed,
in a minimalist way.
So out with the old,
and in with the new,
a spiritual housecleaning,
I also must do!
This must sound boring to younger pups,
but my wild, old times were quite enough.
If I didn't party, so hard you see,
it might be easier today, for me.
I must keep things neat, 'til I'm 70,
keep my house hip,
get with modernity.
Look at me!
I'm a cool dadio!
Though I limp and complain,
I'm still in the game.
My wife is proud,
she's patted my head,
I've cleaned out my fireplace,
I'm back in good stead.
Someday we'll sell this townhome, you see?
Then it's off to geezerland, whoopee!
The big old ranch house,
a three-car garage.
A gated community for seniors,
who dodge...
young folks with babies,
and the poor with no cash,
I'll have all the amenities,
a pain in the ass.
It's all so boring,
this antiseptic life.
I had more fun,
with worries and strife.


I'm a middle of the road, kind of guy.
No more twelve-hour days...
No more sweating in the hot sun,
no more drinking, chasing women,
gambling, or gunnin' on the run.
I'm retired, uninspired, expired, done.
I'm no longer on fire,
but I'd be a liar,
if I claimed:
I want out of the game.
I now must exclaim,
I miss the extremes...
The big CAT machines,
the power from schemes,
I had so many dreams.
But, I'm a middle of the road, kind of guy, now.
Enveloped in comforts,
I live a slow death in suburbia.
It gets on my nerves.
Too much time on my hands,
no brass bands,
to announce my comings-or-goings.
It's crazy, you hear!?
There's nobody here.
I talk to myself, my mind's on the shelf,
and inside the computer.
I'm a cat who's been neutered.
I sit on a pillow,
I weep like a willow,
and long for days of extremes,
those youthful, wild dreams,
which never come true,
but I must renew,
I cannot eschew,
what made me feel new:
this life of extremes,
if only in dreams,
will save me this day.
For, I vow to myself,
I will not shelf,
what I have learned,
and what I have spurned.
Though on the middle-path,
somehow I laugh,
at the folks of extremes,
they think I'm "living the dream",
and long for my life,
of security, no strife.
It's all so insane,
the mind plays its' games
on those of extremes,
and men with old dreams.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


they said: "what the hell is he doin' in there?"
another one answered: "that's Rich in there, he's takin' a shit."...
and writing poetry.
and yet another one said: "You should wipe your ass with it!"
from somewhere else behind the door came: "He thinks he's gonna' get laid, 'cause he's a poet."
"C'mon Rich, we're goin' to Leo's tap...
they have 15 cent beers in the can tonight, and a live band."
"There's gonna' be a lot of sorority girls!"
"Get your fat ass out of the can!"

I say: "You guys are turds...Don't you ever think about bettering yourselves?"
"The more you know about the world, the more shit you have in your trick bag, enabling you to flirt with women."
(they get really quiet after I state this basic truism...I wait for it to penetrate neanderthalic frontal lobes.)

After a few, welcome, silent moments, one of them says: "Yeah, you might have knowledge, but with that ugly mug of yours, you're gonna' need every single word!"
(Hmm, I think, point well taken.)
So I say: "Ok, ok, assholes, let's go!"

We all pile into George's beat up Buick, and head out for the bar.
Screw reading, screw art, and screw knowledge.
Drinking and fornicating take "first place" on this particular evening.
As I grew from a gangly young man, into a grizzled old one, I realized that this is the way things should be.
After all, a life has to be lived, before it can be written.
You know what I really love though?
Thinking about everything.


look behind the orange-and-white barrel on I-294,
there are rodeo clowns.
they hide behind them, i swear.
no sir, i'm not having "white-line-fever", i swear.
this is real.
i saw one peep his red nose out,
and saw his white face.
i was blessed with this vision,
for you see,
i faced my horrors already, and have nothing to lose.
i tossled with the demons in the pit.
i saw their eyes, blazing with hellfire.
they say i'm crazy.
they don't believe me.
i am in a sea of wonders, of doubt, i fear.
i see these things.
i must keep them to myself.
i must face my fears, and keep my mind open.
the clowns are going to get us,
i am sure of it...
but i have the upper hand.
i have a clown suit.
i have grease paint.
i have a plastic, red nose.
i am ready to conform.
i'll blend right in.
the voices in my head tell me,
"they won't get you."
highways are always dangerous places.
i'm a travelin' gypsy.
i have all my tricks, down pat.
i am just like the rodeo clowns.
i'm heading out west now.
maybe i'll join a wild-west show...
be a real rodeo clown.
i can make some steady cash.
i can buy some peyote.
this life is too bleak, without illusion.
a clown's life is more honest.
the straight life, kills one's soul.
the authorities walk the straight line,
the insane line...
they don't love,
they rape and plunder,
i'll run with the tribal ones...
the ones who wear grease paint,
instead of institutional gray.
I won't go back to these harsh places.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I used to love parties.
No more.
I made a choice to no longer use alcohol,
which is a glorious, social lubricant.
It allowed me wonderful fantasies.
I obtained grand illusions, no realities.
This all lead to my confusion,
at parties and elswhere.
I went where the drunken crowd,
clucked away their precious moments,
like mad hens...so loud!
Is there no end to this prattle?
To parties?
I am a now a voyeur...I write it all down...
all the vulgarities I see.
I enjoy the masquerade, of these clowns.
Their masks are often mis-laid.
I am afraid, when their true selves come out.
They give me a bout of anomie.
This isn't for me, these parties, you see?
But I go and observe, I must sound absurd.
At these social meetings, I take my beatings.
I wave my greetings.
I put on a macabre, smiling face.
The smile is made in haste.
The brain addled crowds, make me shriek out loud.
I should desist!
I do nothing like this.
For, social conventions...
I must maintain my attention,
and be there to please,
I get down on my knees,
for the approval of those,
with fancier clothes,
than me.
Those with monetary means,
and fancy machines,
which help me construct,
the fulfillment of my dreams.
This is a means to an end, you see...
where I won't have to depend,
on attending parties,
ever again...


I sat with him in a Chicago tavern.
He was an old warrior, a marine, Vietnam.
He did his tour.
He re-upped for one more.
He told me it was the nights,
that were the worst.
There was too much time to think.
He tried not to think about home.
He just thought about how many days,
he had left, "in country".
He kept a count, on each of his tours.
He always got nervous with short time.
One night, he dug in.
It was dark in the jungle.
His platoon had just been in a fire-fight.
Now, he was a short-timer on his second tour.
He just received his sergeant stripes.
He found himself next to a nervous kid.
He tried to settle him down.
He asked: "Where you from back home, son?"
The kid replied, "Mississippi".
The warrior laughed, and said:
"Shit boy, you're better-off here!"
The young recruit laughed.
Then the warrior, checked on the rest of his platoon.
He told me: "These little guys in black pajamas,
who we were fighting, didn't even know what
communism was. They fought the Chinese, the Japanese,
the French, then us.
They're gonna' be there a long time, after we're gone."
Then he came back to the present in his mind and told me:
"Whether it's the jungle, the desert, or somewhere else,
it doesn't make any difference, War doesn't change
the minds of men, who firmly hold on to their beliefs."
In the end we are all broken.
"When you see the murders of children,
the men you love,
or your enemy,
you lose something inside of yourself.
I spent my whole life trying to get "it" back.
But "it's" gone forever."
We hugged, and said goodbye.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was fourteen years old.
It was the summer of '63.
At that time, blue-collar parents,
expected their children to work on summer vacation.
There were two simple reasons for their expectations.
One...It kept their kids off the street,
and our of trouble,when they were at work.
and Two...It helped defray the costs of high school,
and in my case, college.
I remember getting on the bus,
and traveling down Cicero Avenue,
to the restaurant/cocktail lounge,
where my dad tended bar on day-shift.
The place was fancy, large,
and connected to a large hotel.
Chicago's Midway Airport was across the street,
At that time in history, it was busier than O'Hare International.
The restaurant had a large breakfast, and luncheon crowd.
Businessmen, secretaries, sports figures,
and all kinds of people "on their way up",
or already living the good life, frequented this place.
I was a clumsy, fat, acne-faced kid.
So rather than have me bus dishes,
and have customers offended by my disturbing looks,
I was shuffled into the kitchen.
The owner of the establishment, thought this was best.
I learned to wash dishes, peel potatoes,
set up rooms for parties, empty garbage cans,
clean toilets, carry heavy boxes of frozen-meats,
and vegetables into the freezers,and refrigerators.
I did any, and all of the menial jobs...
no one else wanted to do.
My rate of pay was one-dollar-an-hour.
I made forty-dollars for a forty-hour work week.
All overtime was paid at the rate of one-dollar-an-hour.
The only perk I had was the great meal I ate after work.
This allowed me to get fatter, and develop more zits.
The job sucked.
Kitchen work is hot-and-nasty.
Chefs, cooks, waitresses, salad girls, busboys, busgirls,
desert ladies, and finally, dishwashers, are pissed-off,
and fighting each other all the time.
I saw many a fist fight between cooks,
jockeying for position.
I especially enjoyed the cat-fights between...
good-looking waitresses. They would be pulling each others hair,
and rolling around in short skirts, on the dirty kitchen floor.
Wowie, zowie! This really got my teenage juices flowing,
(even if it was R rated). My acne got worse from the steam,
of the dishwashing machine.
I was soaking wet, and dirty from discarded food items...
all day long.
The worst was taking out the garbage,
and tossing all the rotten food into dumpsters.
These stinky, garbage receptacles were filthy with maggots.
It was the beautiful summertime...but I never felt the joy.
I was too tired to go out at night, like other kids.
I stayed at home, and read my books.
During the day, most of my friends were at the beach,
or playing in the park...
They were'nt too tired to go out in the evening.
I became a social misfit...a pariah.
I hated them for their freedom.
They hated me, for being a fat, geek!
One thing I never order when I go into a restaurant,
is hash browns.
I remember peeling the rotten, baking potatoes,
and chopping them up for hash browns.
The smell was horrible.
It shocked me that they would serve this to people.
I thank God, I spent only one summer in the kitchen.
One was enough for me.
The next summer was another torture.
I went to work in a factory.
Jobs like this, help blue-collar kids succeed in life.
At least the smart ones succeed.
Lord have mercy, on all the rest.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


One thing I have in common with the rest of humanity, is the love of food. Recently, I visited my daughter on the North Side of Chicago...She lives in Wrigleyville, near the home of the Chicago Cubbies. There are strange shops, drunken young adults, and over-priced restaurants all over the place. It's like the place where Pinocchio went, when he was a bad boy...Las Vegas, for wooden heads, or something very close to it. Anyway, I wanted to take her to lunch as a way of thanking her and her husband for some beautiful Persian rugs, they were giving to my wife and I. After we loaded the carpets, into my utility vehicle, she brought me to an organic restaurant. I expected a nice place with an "organist", who would play dinner music for us...just like at the ball park! What I got was an overpriced menu, with strange entries...I knew this was going to be the lunch from hell. I thought I would be safe with the organic hamburger, but it had the consistency of a soft hockey puck, and it probably tasted like one, although I never did make it a habit of tasting hockey equipment. The healthy burger had no grease running from it, which is a bad, bad sign...There was no fat in the damned thing, and the taste was totally unremarkable, or rather non-existent. The tasteless, healthy slice, of cheese, I had to special order cost me another buck. Even my beloved Heinz Ketchup was organic. I never thought Heinz could stoop so low! My daughter ordered some rabbit food, (a salad), and had little cups of strange looking cheeses, that looked like curdled milk. The cheeses had all kinds of exotic names...I was afraid of botulism! All of our waitresses were pierced and tatooed. They had dark circles under their eyes. They were not vampires, because it was around noon-time. I guess I watch too many "True Blood" episodes! These waitresses reminded me of Holocaust survivors, or anorexic females I have seen from photos, in various Medical Journals. Sitting next to me was a hip, urban mom with a thousand dollar perambulater and two precocious, blonde-haired, little girls. These "sweethearts" were around 3 or 4 years old. They kept themselves busy by kicking my leg, spilling things, and shrieking like cockatiels through the entire meal. The mother of these darlings smiled contentedly at them, and offered me no consolation. So much for Dr. Spock. I wished I had a copy of his book, so I could administer some good, old-fashioned, parental guidance...but alas, this is shamefully, politically incorrect, these days. I grinned like a macabre, monster through this whole disaster. My daughter entertained herself by text messaging her friends, and in between, spoke of the wonders of "hot yoga". Oh well, I was happy to see my kid, and I would take a bullet for her, so this wasn't too bad. The total cost of my adventure, including two meals, tip, and feeding Mayor Daley's parking meter, came to around fifty-bucks. I waved goodbye to my little girl, (28 years old), as I headed back to the Western Suburbs. I hit gridlock on the Eisenhower Expressway at Austin Avenue. It took me an hour-and-a-half, to arive at the local Mc'Donalds, by my house in Wheaton. Man was I hungry! I ordered three, double-cheeseburgers! For three bucks, I was in "hog-heaven". I smiled as the grease dripped out of the sides of my mouth. Now, this was a hamburger!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


i looked for my perfect mate.
in bars,
on street corners,
in churches,
grocery stores,
so many places more,
I gave up.
I was almost thirty.
I was divorced,
putting on some weight,
and mutilated by my expectations.
I made my own bad luck.
I made bad decisions.
I led with my heart,
instead of with my mind.
Cupid gave me a hard uppercut.
I was down for the count.
I wouldn't get up.
I kissed the canvas.
I was as low as a man can go.
There were no more wars to be fought.
I accepted bachelorhood,
a life alone.
I had my whiskey,
my books,
my cigarettes.
Maybe I would get a cat.
It could keep me company.
I knew there was no one for me.
I figured that loneliness can be an asset.
Then suddenly the answer appeared.
My lovely wife and I,
have been together thirty-years.

Monday, August 23, 2010


we are all born with the weight of death,
on our shoulders.
some of us live, without ever thinking about it.
most of us dwell on it, from time-to-time.
then death reminds us: I AM HERE.
i say: "hey coach, why you pullin' me outta' the game?"
death answers: "it's your time son."
i guess its' time to ride the bench.
i'll catch you all on the "flip-flop".
i'm seeing more clearly now.
once death knocks on your door,
and you beat him,
things don't seem that bad.
sometimes i think death is peaceful,
like fishing.
i like fresh caught fish, sizzling in a pan.
the smell of butter and breading is good.
i'm on a beach, right there where i caught them.
after dinner, i look into the heavens.
i see a myriad of stars.
i'm thinking of my loves' smile.
if this is a dream, i never want to wake up.
i want to die with happy dreams.
i want a smile on my face.
as a young man, i never thought i'd be happy
with death.
no tears for me...it's all a dream.
the unknown is waiting.
and that's alright, 'cause it ain't so bad.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


i saw him on an urban street.
he was a good looking, young man.
he was in his mid-thirties,
dirty and disheveled...
pushing a cart with what I imagined,
were all his earthly belongings.
he had a raggedy beard, and long hair.
he looked fit enough.
maybe he was an ex-soldier,
who fought in one of our desrt wars.
he wore a shirt that said "Beantown".
yeah, i was in Boston.
i filmed him with my camcorder.
i felt invasive.
he caught me in the act,
and angrily peered at me.
i zoomed in with the Carl Ziess lens.
then i quickly pretended not to see him.
i played that it had all been a grave mistake.
but he knew otherwise.
my friend, who was across the street,
retrieving an expensive watch from a jewelry shop,
came back to his air-conditioned car.
it was hot and humid that day in Boston.
he asked me: "what are you doing?"
i told him i was stealing a soul...
shooting video tape on some homeless guy,
for my personal enjoyment.
i wondered, if i offered the guy ten bucks,
if he would tell me his story...
his real life story.
maybe I could film it.
he would be art.
my friend told me to go for it.
"give it a try, you have nothing to lose."
so, i lowered the power window,
and felt a blast of hot air hit me in the face.
i yelled out to the homeless man,
"hey buddy, I have ten bucks for you,
if you want to tell me your story,
and let me put you on film."
he looked at me with disgust,
shook his head negatively,
and walked away mumbling to himself.
in that frozen moment in time,
i realized what I had done.
i felt dirty.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


she sat on a dirty park bench,
her hair in disarray.
she wasn't sober.
i expected her this way.
it was morning.
she wore no jacket.
i saw the ugly track marks,
on both of her arms.
snowflakes fell on her hair.
she looked like she was inside,
one of those glass balls.
the kind i used to shake...
at happy, winter, chritmas times.
her eyes brimmed with tears of hopelessness.
she was abandoned by her family,
as a result of her hopeless addictions.
her broken promises,
her failure as a daughter,
her failure as a wife,
and as a mother,
framed this face of desolation.
nora, was her name.
she was thirty-nine years old.
i wanted to take her under my wing.
i knew her from years past.
she was so young, beautiful and full of life.
she wanted no part of me.
she hissed at me, like a frightened cat.
i knew it was too late.
the world had its' way with her.
she was beyond redemption.
she stumbled off in wet, dilapidated shoes.
she shakily lit a cigarette.
she looked feeble, old and tired.
she hobbled like an elderly woman.
i put my hand on her shoulder.
she pulled away, and gave me a look of disgust.
"what's the matter with you?", i said.
i offered to buy her a cup of coffee.
"maybe i can take you somewhere...you can get warm?"
she looked at me as if i were a crazy man.
i feared what she might say.
so i walked away.
i left her stumbling through the snowflakes.
she traveled through the dark, chicago, winter morning.
i watched as she walked down an alleyway.
garbage was being thrown out, by dishwashers in white jackets.
restaurants were opening steel alley grates.
old and fetid food was being thrown in dumpsters.
none of the kitchen help, paid her any mind.
years ago, they would have been whistling at her.
she tottered away, crazily.
she disappeared into wisps of smoke,
fog, and kitchen steam.
she was a phantom now.
she was a memory of my past.
beautiful nora...
who was abandoned by her family,
her dealer,
and me.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I find the need for intertia, and movement, in my life.
My body and mind rebel sometimes, but there is just too much to do.
The "moving forward ethic" was instilled in me by my parents.
They had what is called, "a Depression Era mentality".
They never had the opportunity to attend college;
but in spite of that, they were tireless, worker bees.
I often heard worn out adages like, "A penny saved is a penny earned".
My parents insisted that I work hard at school.
They also insisted that I work at menial jobs, so I could save money for college.
In the 50's and 60's we ate breakfast and dinner together,
at the kitchen table as a family.
Homework, and chores were required tasks to be done,
before watching television in the evening.
My parents also insisted that my brother, sister, and I,
got to bed at a reasonable hour, so we could pay attention in class.
Bad grades were unacceptable to our parents,
and we were denied all priviledges if we received them.
My dear parents taught me inertia.
I remember, they had tears in their eyes...
when I graduated from college.
I was the first in our family, to receive a Bachelor's Degree.
It mean a lot to them.
It was their reward, as much as it was mine.
My daughter did better than me.
She graduated Summa Cum Laude, from a prestigious private college.
My daugher had inertia.
She learned it from my mom, my wife, and me.
The best parents never give up on their children.
They see their children as wonderful gifts.
They invest their time in their kids.
It's not the job of the schools to parent children.
We as parents, have the responsibility to make sure,
that our children have the morals and values...
to take the necessary steps to move forward.
Yes, I still have inertia...
even if my mind and body sometimes rebel against it.
Old habits die hard.


My wife, Debbie say we are "middle aged". I look at her querolously when she speaks this way. My retort to her is: "We're sixty-one years old, for Chrissake's...Whaddya think, that we're gonna live to be one-hundred and twenty-two?". She frowns at me and gives me "the look". I know enough after thirty years of marriage, to back off. I've gone through five-or-six mid-life crisis events since I hit forty. At forty, I decided to run another marathon...(talk about insanity)! That was my first mid-life crisis. There's other ways to go insane, when you feel you are losing your youth. Women are really artful at it. They employ tummy tucks, breast enhancement surgeries, collagen, face lifts, and all kinds of techniques to sculpt what is sagging, lacking, or dragging...Men have jumped on the plastic surgery bandwagon too! Old women often hunt for young men in cocktail lounges. These gals are fondly named, "Cougars". Old men who hunt for young women, are usually referred to as, "degenerate, old perverts"...Somehow, I think the guys get the short end of the stick!...(No pun intended). Men have these "toups", from the Hairline Creations company. I would never opt for something resembling a dead rat, adorning my bald crown. We old guys go to gyms, buy muscle cars, and Harley Davidson motorcycles in order to stay young and "hip". Middle age is a "bitch", no matter what age you are. I think the answer to the middle aged blues is money. If you're anywhere between forty-and-seventy, age doesn't matter if you have plenty of "dough". There's always plenty of young people around willing to spend your money and give you "miles-of-smiles", (among other things), when you have "mucho dinero". Life ain't fair, you know? I'm not caring about my youthful looks and vigor anymore. I'm very happy to wake up "not-dead" every morning. Cookies are as good or better than sex, at this stage of my life. I quit bothering to suck in my gut, and push out my chest, when a "hot babe" walks by me at the gym. I still "check her out"! Hey! I ain't dead yet!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Semper Fi
always faithful
dyin' was too good
too easy
hanoi hilton
in country
never sold out
fellow americans,
called him:
baby killer
jar head
he drank-and-drugged
he used to lock-and-load
he killed his pain
new terminology
used to be "shell-shock"
now he is old
a grandfather
he watches the national news
his country is being "legally" invaded
by illegals
it makes no sense to him
neither does it make sense
to build a mosque near sacred ground
did the japanese get to build a temple,
at pearl harbor?
hell no.
then he thinks of jane fonda
she really understood the war.
just like so many...
understand, the stand,
for human rights today.
human rights.
he wonders..."where are my human rights".
he knows the war is here now.
on hallowed ground
he won't apologize
for loving the flag
for saying what's right
for not following "group-think".
they tried to brain wash him before...
in hanoi...
Semper Fi.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I like to wear my old cowboy boots;
the ones with the busted seams.
Threads are unraveling,
leaving gaping holes.
I have 3 new pair...but I favor the old ones.
My blue jeans cover the holes.
It's alright.
The blue jeans are ratty as well.
But man, do they feel great!
I still like my old, wool socks.
One big toe sticks out.
That's alright.
Somehow, they still keep my feet warm.
I have brand new Italian loafers.
They were really expensive.
They feel like "butter" on my feet.
I rarely wear them.
I have new suits too.
I rarely wear them.
I hate going to the places, that require them.
Formal events.
Bah, humbug.
Everything wears out.
It's an imperfect world.
About the only things I like new are:
and Toothbrushes.
I like my wife.
I haven't worn her out...yet.
She's been around for half, my life.
For this, I am grateful.
I like my old books,
my boxes of memories,
sports trophies,
newspaper clippings...
(if they are about me.)
holy cards from wakes...
memories of those I have loved.
I can't change the world.
I watch a bunny eating the new blades of grass.
He's eating my new lawn.
The landscapers did a lousy job, putting it in.
It's a mess.
It's growing in patches.
I gotta' laugh.
I like the rabbit, more than the grass.
He makes this imperfection, perfect for me.
I hate having new stuff.
The more expensive it is...
the worse it is...
Dings in new cars,
wine stains on expensive tables,
rips in expensive furniture.
It's too much heartache for me to bear.
People tell me that I should "splurge".
"Spend some of that money, you old fool!"
Maybe I'll go to the re-sale shop tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


they discuss granite countertops,
vacation spots,
sports cars,
and six-million dollar weddings,
as russia burns,
105 degrees there,
700 people dead...
every week,
no grain harvest this year,
as the world bleeds.

they discuss business deals,
from behind mahogany desks,
wearing two-thousand dollar suits,
spinning evil webs,
as pakistan floods,
malaria runs rampant,
agent orange defoliates...
poppy fields in afghanistan,
drones are overhead,
oil in the gulf,
shrimpers afraid,
fish can't breathe,
as the world bleeds.

they eat aged, prime beef,
drink fine wines,
vacation in spain,
own half of texas,
they claim:
"i'm not to blame",
ghetto children,
eat happy meals,
and are murdered in the streets,
in chicago,
new york,
los angeles,
where blue lights flash,
their big-brother warnings,
and blood is spilled,
every day,
as the world bleeds.

they are "public servants",
who drive cadillacs,
smoke cuban cigars,
listen to spanish guitars,
in fancy clubs,
where "members only" signs,
hang on old oak doors,
while gentle old negroes,
clean their floors,
and mexican landscapers,
cut their lawns,
the rich all yawn,
and ponder their dreams,
their wants-and-needs,
all evil schemes,
as the world bleeds.

melting ice caps,
heat in seattle,
strange weather patterns,
what does it matter?
there's a new camelot.
we all shall be saved.
no need to worry,
just vote today.
i promise you everything.
i won't let you down.
just sign right here.
see you around.
now i can rest.
for now i am through.
thank god i don't live,
near the likes of you.
i'm a country club cowboy.
you're just a "rube".
i'll ride on your taxes,
you damn, bloody fool.
as the world bleeds.

Monday, August 16, 2010


i lit a joint
in a dirty trailer
in southern illinois
getting high.
all senses atuned
she next to me
earth mother
and mother earth
both lovers.
and all was love
as war raged
on the other side
of the world.
and i knew not,
that i was to face:
my personnal armageddon.
but not in my sight,
that day,
of love,
in a dirty trailer,
in southern illinois.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


sometimes i look in the mirror.
i am seeing a stranger.
i wonder;
"what ever happened to that fair-haired, boy?"
he is way-gone, man.
there is nothing left of him.
just...drooping, hooded eyes.
pock-marked skin.
a bald head.
gray-and-white beard stubble.
a raggedy goatee and mustache.
scars from fights,
and construction mishaps.
the boy is gone.
so is the middle-aged man.
i now see a guy, who looks all of sixty.
this can't be me, but it is.
where is the wise, old sage?
where is my wisdom?
i swore i'd be self-actualized...
a kung-fu master.
a man among men.
a buddha.
alas, i am none of these things.
i do know...that i endure.
i carry on.
i try to do good.
i make progress.
i am me.
i must accept my situation.
yet, i must admit...
i don't look into the mirror,
as much as i did...
when i was that fair-haired boy.
vanity is for the young.
it is foolishness for the old.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


i still don't know.
my real face has been worn off.
i wore too many masks.
are we damned to be posers?
sometimes, it's a miserable play.
always stay on guard.
watch for wickedness.
when it comes your way...
it knifes and slices,
through waves of joy.
it hits you blindside,
when you least expect it.
so put on another mask.
a game face, if you will.
suck it up.
don't whine.
get ready for battle.
forge an identity.
make it inpenetrable to enemies.
to avoid the infidels,
make it ever changeing.
adaptation is key to survival.
in this darwinian world,
the weak shall perish.
loving hearts are not enough.
only the calculating ones survive.
it is such a shame,
to have to stay on edge...
like the furtive rabbit.
it's better to be a predator.
adapt and wear the masks.
they give you leverage.
who am i?
i don't know.
i wear too many masks.
i must survive.

Friday, August 13, 2010


i have a laptop on my laptop.
don't ask me if i want a lap dance baby,
'cause i'm surfing the world wide web.
she walks away, giving me a look of disgust...
as she looks for more laps to bump-and-grind.
i lap up my beer and dream of lapland.
those finns really know how to live.
they drink vodka and have reindeer.
i wonder if santa claus ever had a lap dance?
i don't think so...
he must have exceptional moral fiber,
to do his job...
maybe mrs. claus sits in his lap.
i know children do.
i hope santa isn't a pervert.
i betcha' santa has a laptop and a gps,
to collect information,
and to find his way around this shrinking world.
maybe i should purhase a lap dog,
instead of frequenting tittie bars.
a lap dog might keep me warm,
and show me affection.
i will save money because:
i won't have to search for...
mascara-wearing droids, to give me half-hearted,
lapdances anymore.
as i lap up the rest of my beer,
i smile at the barmaid,
who has been waiting on me.
i leave a crumpled dollar on my table.
she gives me a look of disdain...
as i approach the exit.
she puts the dirty dollar in an apron,
which adorns her lap.
as i get into my car to head home,
i notice my lap is getting a little paunchy.
i've been drinking too much beer, i guess.
once i buy my lap dog,
i'll take him for walks in the park.
the exercise will do us both a lot of good.
i might even start running a few laps...
around the quarter-mile track that's near my house.
once i get in shape,
i'll get a smile from the girls who give me...
a lapdance.
a man has to have a plan!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


she lost her mundane job.
no one cared.
she lost her health.
no one showed compassion.
finally, she lost her boyfriend.
the doctors told her she had...
six months to live.
so, she got busy.
she decided to live all her dreams.
she rented a high priced apartment,
with huge windows.
she bought beautiful, expensive things.
she bought a wonderful stereo.
she danced in the nude.
she laughed out loud.
she started smiling again.
she ate pizza.
she drank beer.
she made love.
she gave up worry.
she looked at sunrises.
she gazed at sunsets.
she ran out of money.
so she pawned all the stuff.
she hit the streets.
she sang her heart out,
for pennies.
she had a beautiful voice.
a man of means noticed her.
he booked her in his nightclub.
she started making some big money.
she finally went back to the hospital.
she was cancer free.
the doctors shook their heads.
they asked her what she did.
she said, "I did everything i love."
so celebrate your life.
make love.
be healthy.
be a living miracle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


i'm not like you,
or maybe i am.
i'm a different kind.
manic depressive.
they're just labels.
shrinks like to put bar codes...
on my forehead.
they gave me:
the said:
you're bi-polar.
but i'm really joyful,
and screw the rest.
i live with a lot of heart.
when i don't despair...
or feel the hopelessness.
doctors and other fine healers,
are just people like you and me.
they are not deities.
now, for the moment,
i'm a happy-go-lucky guy.
i'm a creative, human being.
i am not crazy.
i am not suicidal.
i am just strange.
i am grandiose.
i guess i feel too much.
"yeah, i hear you doc."
he says:
"take four lithium a day,
so you don't experience the highs-and-lows."
i'll be a good zombie, i promise.
10-4, good buddy.
how can i not feel the extremes?
i had an alcoholic family.
suicides of siblings and good friends.
cruel and unusual punishments to endure...
on the job,
in school,
at the work place,
in social situations,
in the bars,
on the street.
the shrinks told me:
"it's a disease you have."
yeah, i'm not at ease,
with my disease.
or diseases.
i don't need 16 years of medical school.
i can figure out what's wrong with me.
i got well, when i gave up a slow suicide.
i threw all the alcohol, drugs, and meds,
down the toilet.
i started painting and writing to say:
"i'm still here, you bastards!"
Then, after a number of years of sobriety,
i forgave them all.
i felt the weight of the world,
lifted from my shoulders.
i found myself,
and was able to accept the real me.
then i went to work.
a work of becoming.
a person i could live with.
until the end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


i love her so much it pains me.
her hair is dark-and-silky.
her perfect skin is like,
alabaster, ivory cream.
she cries perfect, beautiful tears.
when she laughs, she lights up the world.
i love her beyond death.
death cannot separate us.
neither can distance.
she consumes me.
i can commune with her spirit.
it touches me in erotic ways.
she is all powerful.
she fires up this love of mine.
she is a goddess.
a temptress.
i am but a man.
albeit, a lucky one.
she owns my mind, my soul.
i submit to her...
every night, willingly.
her putrification is not apparent...
to my eyes.
she hides behind a white veil of flowers.
her skull-like face, i cannot see.
i just see the beauty of this love,
that i crave so much.
She of dark and silky hair,
and unspeakable delights,
performed in the night.
she won't free me, my evil love...
i join her in the abyss of my insanity...
just she and me.
in my psychotic reverie...
we will be free,
my perfect love and me.
now i follow the arch of her back,
with fingers searching...
every inch of her skin,
and she writhes in passion,
mouth agape,
glistening lips,
i see startling beauty...
in she and me.
i cannot escape.
my evil love and me,
are in perfect ecstasy.
these psychotic dreams were meant for me.
where passion never ends,
for all eternity.

Monday, August 9, 2010


i lost my damn bill caps.
i threw 'em away.
it was a few weeks ago,
on a rainy, dark day.
the basement was flooded.
they were in a plastic bag.
some were soakin' wet.
i felt real bad.
i must have tossed them,
with some other crap.
now they're in a landfill.
they ain't comin' back.
i lost the one that said:
i lost all my "cat" hats,
and so many more.
i must sound silly.
i guess this is true.
but, i'm sick at heart,
and i'm feelin' so blue.
these caps, you see,
were a part of me.
my statement about a lifestyle,
my identity.
i lost my damn bill caps.
they can't be replaced.
i tore the whole house up...
looked all over the place.
i'm feelin' better,
just writin' this down.
the past is the past.
i can't change things around.
a man must keep movin'.
we lose lotsa' things.
but one thing i must keep,
is my self esteem.
for a cap is a cover,
for what's in a head.
i can always buy new ones.
ain't nobody dead.
my brain finds a way,
to bring me some peace.
this late night writin',
is something at least.
so plod on i will,
without my damn caps.
i wrote this here poem,
so i guess i'll relax.
i still have the main things,
my wife and my kid.
why get upset,
over some silly old "lids"?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've always had a love for books.
I own over two-thousand of them.
They're little works of art.
Each has its' own particular color and design.
I love the smell of them.
I like feeling the pages.
I like turning the page,
and encountering my next adventure.
I love to underline things...
which are important to me.
Sometimes, I write my impressions...
on the sides or bottoms of pages.
I am amused by the things I have written,
if I look twenty-or-thirty years later!
A man with books is always wealthy.
Knowledge is power.
It saddens me that people get their news,
and information from the internet, and television
these days.
I like to ponder over words.
When I have a book or a newspaper...
I get to re-read things that interest me.
Sometimes clarity comes only after,
a second read.
I hate the idea of the Kindle.
This device is hurting book stores.
I like sitting in book stores,
and looking for old treasures.
Sometimes I find valuable first editions.
They only cost me a dollar or two.
I especially love the old re-sale book shops.
I love the smell of those musty, old places.
I can walk out with an armful of books,
for a mere twenty-bucks!
Sometimes my old book stores have a coffee bar.
They usually play jazz or blues music.
I might sit in a beat up, overstuffed chair...
and read for hours.
In this fast-paced world of ours,
people need to reconnect with the old ways.
Faster isn't always better.
I like quality in my life.
That's why I value my books.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


there is no rest.
there is no play.
my game face is really on today.
for people come without brotherly cheer.
to fight, and scratch, and take,
i fear.
what i have worked for,
with all of my might,
i won't go down without a fight.
i'll stand on my principles
for i know i am right.

i am overworked and overtaxed.
i earn every penny by breaking my back.
i wasn't part of the welfare state.
i was too proud, i thought i should wait.
for rewards would come,
when i was elderly.
i was young and strong,
freebies weren't for me.

now they tell me, that i am through.
"your money we squandered,
it's not there for you.'
'we gave it away to foreign states,
to homeless immigrants,
and corporate rakes.'
'we gave it to bankers,
and lawyers, and fools.'
'there's nothing left,
for an old man like you."

so i go out and find
a low paying job.
i must fight again,
with the hustling mob.
something ain't right,
i should get my due.
i worked for americans
like me and you.


I worked a late shift.
It was the deep tunnel project...
Chicago...Addison and Rockwell.
I was in the main shaft.
It was Friday, and I wanted to go,
to Bill's "Two Way Inn"...
a tavern...
but I had a welding job to finish.
I was pissed-off.
They always did this on the weekend.
I finally got to the bar at seven o'clock.
There they sat, all in a row.
Big men, on little, rickety bar stools.
I knew 'em all.
They'd been drinking for three-hours already.
"Tunnel hands"...
tough guys...
machine operators,
all rough-and-tumble guys.
They waved and yelled to me:
"Where yah been asshole!"
(I knew I was loved.)
They were loaded to the gills.
Suddenly, a light bulb came on,
in my head.
It was a devilish idea!
I saw the men as dominoes.
If I pushed "Fat Leo",
(who was a biscuit shy of 400 lbs.),
hard, into "Big Byron"...
all ten-or-twelve of them,
would go down, and end up on the floor.
It's simple, elementary physics!
Of course, I was risking my life,
with such an endeavor.
I did it anyway.
I shoved "Fat Leo" with all of my might.
The men went down...
just as I had planned.
I knew I was in for an "ass-whoopin'".
But, I was laughing so hard,
I didn't care.
To my surprise, they all got up,
laughing and joking with me!
Some of the guys, said to me:
"Durty Dick, you are one crazy mutha"...
"har, har, har!"
They bought me a drink for my cruelty,
and quick thinking.
All was good, until they ripped off my cowboy boots,
and jeans, and threw me out in the ten-degree cold,
in my underwear...around midnight.
I miss those tunnel days,
and those red-faced men with calloused hands.
They were larger than life.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


she was terrified in her aloneness.
she dare not sleep.
the phantoms would consume her.
she wheezed, and lit another smoke.
she poured another cup of coffee.
the computer was her only friend.
It was her virtual life...
her safe friend.
after all, people looked at her,
so she didn't go out.
she sat at her keyboard...
sometimes for sixteen-hours.
she wore no lipstick,
no makeup.
she sat in a frumpy bathrobe,
hair in disarray.
she ate cans of soup,
and saltine crackers.
she consumed food sporadically,
there was no joy for her,
in the ingestion of food...
or drink for that matter.
she lived alone,
yet, she clung to a sliver
of hope.
"yes...hope", she thought.
she looked at the razor scars
adorning her wrists,
once in a while.
"never again", she vowed.
then she stared into the glow,
of her virtual monitor screen.
in this, her holy temple,
she found peace.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


love is in the moment.
there are no guarantees.
love is in the moment.
come and fly with me.
love is in the moment.
don't dwell on past regrets.
love is in the moment.
it could be raucous sex.
for love is in the moment...
a perfect place in space.
love is in the moment.
for the entire, human race.
love is in the moment...
if we believe it's true.
love is in the moment,
for fools like me and you.
so, love me in this moment.
forever, i will save,
the memories of our moment,
i will take them to my grave.
these loving, tender moments,
will always set me free.
when i leave these loving moments,
i'll think of you and me.
i love you, oh so strongly,
in eternal peace, i'll be.
so love me in this moment,
for death can never see...
this wondrous love we need,
in faith...
is just for you and me.
so love me in this moment,
i will not try to flee,
our hearts forever melded, dear...
in all eternity.


There is something comforting,
about poverty and disorder.
I miss that old black and white tv.
I used to have to pound it,
to get a good picture.
It took effort.
I like that.
I never worried about clean floors.
Artists' paint was everywhere...
on me,
on walls,
on floors,
and on the beautiful canvas.
I was happy as a lark,
as I smoked cigarettes,
drank whiskey,
smoked dope,
and sang happy songs.
Money meant nothing to me.
I bought rounds for the house.
Now, all is in place.
No dust bunnies can exist,
in my anesthetic jail.
I live in an expensive hospital.
I am dulled by my stoic choice.
No liquor anymore,
no smokes,
no dope,
nothing is in disarray.
Everything is in its' rightful place.
Money is in the bank.
I wear the right clothes.
I drive a nice car.
I have a wonderful wife and child.
my soul still screams for wildness,
and disorder.
An ordered life...
is slavery.
I am damned to my strangeness.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


i get sentimental these days...
i think of those glories,
of the past.
I had a young body,
so lithe and strong.
i used to knock the powder,
out of a 16" clincher.
i did fast sprints on cinder tracks.
i loved full contact football.
my dad taught me to box.
coach marcinak taught me to wrestle.
i watch the young ones...now.
jesus, they are babies.
it was just yesterday,
they were my heroes.
these pro-athletes looked like,
grown men to me back then.
these transient thoughts,
keep coming to me.
sports ghosts from the past.
I have other thoughts as well.
reminders of what i could have been.
memories of what i was.
i played the games.
some very well.
some not so well.
i might end up being,
an obscure blurb in some record book,
of "also rans".
this also applies to my academic life.
i was a better than average athlete,
a better than average student,
an average man,
sometimes a less than average man.
for that i beg forgivness.
yes, i still feel my spirit enter,
the young athletes' body.
I will them to win.
alone in my chair.
i root for them.
i feel their adrenaline rush.
through them,
i get sentimental.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I wake up sweating...
7 a.m.
it's 80 degrees, already.
my sheets are soaking wet.
funky smelling.
i jump in my shower, for relief.
"god-damned landlord, he don't fix shit!"
the shower comes in a trickle.
and it's cold.
no hot water heater.
i get ripped off...
every time i turn around.
by everyone.
i towel off and hit the streets.
still sweatin'...
city concrete soaks up the sun.
it makes my "hood" an oven.
no work out here.
no work anywhere...
i get a quart in a brown paper bag.
i sit with my homies.
share a joint.
gotta watch for John Law.
get three double-cheese...
from Mickey D's.
my lunch.
gut fillers.
later, i go to the club.
the tap-room has air-conditioning.
i'll look for some fine-ass stuff.
might get lucky,
who knows?
i'm thankful that the sun,
is finally going down.
this provides me, a little relief,
from the heat.
i leave the bar.
it's closing time.
ain't got no car.
little money left.
no welfare check for at least a week.
i'm all alone.
with my thoughts.
there's barely a breeze.
i sit in my window.
no screen.
just the din of neon lights.
i turn around.
go to bed.
i go to sleep, sweating.


Hail to the Chief!
God save the Queen!
Kiss the Popes' Holy Ring!
to the Polity we pray...
there will come a day,
when peace and joy will bring...
prosperity and wonderful things...
to the masses
the asses
who believe in "jive" like this...
who get fucked,
without a kiss.
By Heads of Church and State,
who claim: "It's not too late!"
"Just sacrifice some more,
and fight what we abhor."
'and you will have your day,
believe in what we say!'
"Then you will get to see,
a real Democracy!"
"Where equality will reign,
and you will feel no pain.
We will help, you see?',
to make your dreams...REALITY!"
(now we pass the basket around,
do not make a sound...rememember!...
this is a "holy" task!
the last shall be first...
and the first shall be last!...
in your pockets, do dig deep,
donate to US, oh gentle sheep!
you are investing in a way,
to guarantee your day...
when you finally are on top,
not just a filthy sot).
So, dig deep, brethren.
This is your way to heaven!
Trust us, if you will!
Swallow OUR magic pill,
of Bureaucratic deceipt.
Your livelihoods, we'll keep!
The disbursement of your funds,
will only fall on some.
The "Holy" few.
It surely won't be you!
What are you going to do?
Nothing WE can see.
This is reality.
You stupid, bloody fools,
WE'RE always going to rule!
With the media, WE keep your minds,
in constant fear.
So, kiss OUR "Holy" Ring...
and dream of all our things.
OUR stuff you'll never get.
WE will keep you all in debt.
Dig deep.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I woke up, and had pain greet me.
Pain does become a friend, you know.
It reminds me that...
I am still alive.
I limp off to my studio bathroom,
to urinate.
I feel needles being stuck in my legs.
My once muscular legs, are awful sticks now.
Each of my steps, stabs me.
Cut nerves, muscle fiber and adhesions,
add to my misery.
Urination produces pleasure.
One has to laugh.
Why not?
"Shit happens", so they say...
whomever they are.
My morning coffee is good.
The sun is shining.
I pull on a tank top, shorts,
and running shoes.
I pack my bag, and head for the gym...
for more pleasure/pain/pleasure/pain.
Chelsea Clinton got married yesterday.
The tab for the wedding was anywhere from,
three to six-million bucks...
depending on what news agency,
I want to believe.
I shouldn't let this figure bother me...
but it does.
America is in pain.
I am in pain.
I should not complain.
I'm glad I woke up.