Thursday, April 28, 2011


The land is hard.
But I work it.
Sometimes it yields,
sometimes not.
Lately, it doesn't yield too much,
just endless heartache.

The weather's changin'.
So are the times.
My back ain't any younger,
and I bleed beneath the callouses.
The ones on the rugged palms of my hands.

I can't do all the work.
My boys don't want to farm,
'cause I sent them all to college,
and the girls along with them.
But they all moved to the city.

They left me and mama here.
So, I put up the "for sale" sign.
Two-hundred beautiful acres.
My tractors, tools, and memories.
All gone to the auctioneers.
Sold American.
I feel more like a "sold out" American.

Five generations before me,
on this farm.
My life blood is drained,
for a cheap condominium,
with paper thin walls,
and plastic doors.
All, so that I'm not a burden,
in my old age.

The city is cramped.
The air is foul.
The people are mean spirited.
I walk to the park on most days.
Even there, the trees and the grass
look unhealthy, like me.

I'd drive back to the farm,
just to look and reminisce.
Even though it isn't mine,
it would bring me a modicum of serenity.
But, this is not God's plan,
because I can't afford the gas.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


i measure time
because i just do
it consumes me
there's a lot left to do
i want it to count
don't you?

i marked my years
my joys and my fears
in certain ways
to capture days
the halycon years

my realities
that meant something to me
it seems quite strange
the poet's game
to rehearse in verse
these memories
that come to me

in my room
i'm still consumed
in passing time
that requires rhyme

so i continue, you see
to make memories
it's not the end
for this writer's pen

as thoughts come to me
i set my mind free
like a bird on wing
i do my thing
and measure time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


ain't nothing prettier than the rio grande,
and the pure, blue skies of new mexico.
i like to take the back roads up to taos.
they narrow to a car's width.
sometimes it's dangerous up there.
there's rattlesnakes down south in las cruces.
wealthy folks pose as artists in santa fe.
even so, i dig canyon road.
i like hot sauce with my eggs,
and chilis too.
albuquerque's metal sculptures
are beautiful in the town square.
as i pass through, my 18 wheeler rolls toward texas.
and there she stood
her thumb out, blonde and proud.
and i picked her up, 'cause i had to.
her hair was full and curly
and she wore lovely silver star earrings.
she was a goddess in tight blue jeans
a work shirt,
and beat up cowboy boots.
she smelled like the sun
and two days later
she kissed me in tennessee.
and before she kissed me
she said, "come closer cowboy,
I want to smell the full bouquet
of the whiskey on your breath."
and i felt free
'cause she wanted me.

Monday, April 25, 2011


we visited the graves of veterans
viet nam guys
this was after a big breakfast
at annie's farm
we were rowdy
but she fed us anyway
listened to the grateful dead
then we were grateful
for the dead
who served our country
we didn't go to church
but went on to a children's hospital
brought stuffed animals
they paid us off with smiles
and everlasting grace
in God's eyes
I do believe
we partied into the night
a bikers delight
this easter past
it was a gas

Sunday, April 24, 2011


he was born last week
a simple athletic sock
on my hand
no longer mated
a few holes in him
then i added the button eyes
red fabric lips
fuzzy stuff for hair
a little bow tie
what a delight
my fabric friend
we never fight
'cause he has no brain
doesn't look for fame
my mute sock monkey
ain't got a name
but he is true to me
that's reality
for inanamite things
don't plot and sting
against my life
like ex-wives
so i am free
with sock monkey
i go to bed
without any dread
and wake up with glee
and my sock monkey

Friday, April 22, 2011


we blew it
the world has changed
not the way we expected
we were anti-technology
we knew of "silent springs"
and dangers of fossil fuels
we opted to opt out
go to farms
which failed
and the communes went away
we blew it
we didn't understand the big picture
now emerging nations are blowing it
killing mother earth
and we fight wars
all over the world
for power
for money
despicable money
will finally kill mother earth
and we knew it
we blew it

Thursday, April 21, 2011


That old mining machine was broke down again. What a piece of shit. Now we had to blast fucking rock...and rib and lag the tunnel. This meant hours of holding a 40 lb. pneumatic clay spade over my head. We had to manually drill and shoot the rock. My arms felt like two toothaches, every night at the end of our shift. I had no trouble raising the shot glass to my whiskers, however.

The dynamite powder gave me a headache every day. We were jacking 48-inch pipe. A man can't stand erect in these bastards. We put in our own ventilation lines, set and bolted our track for the dinky, put hydraulic hoses together, welded with hard surface and #7018 rod. A lot of our work was done on our knees. Kneeling on concrete all day ain't hard when you are in your 30's. Now I walk with pain every day. I never thought I would get old.

I'll tell you something though...I was glad to have the work, back then. It was winter in the Midwest and at least it was have ways warm in those clay tunnels. I was lucky I wasn't laid-off and had the winter work.

My crew and I stayed stoned on pot all day long. I carried a pint of Seagram's 7 in my rubber boot. Being high made the job more bearable. I know I got the damned arthritis from jobs like this.

I bet the wealthy never had to kneel down on concrete or weld in confined least most of 'em. I read in the newspaper that the major corporations don't have to pay any taxes, and the rich just got a tax break from 35 down to 25%...That means that working guys like me have to pay more taxes than these Mercedes driving, cigar smoking, two-thousand dollar suited bastards. Gas is approaching five bucks a gallon, and they are stock piling it. What a crock of shit. This is America, home of the unfree middle class, and land of the thieving rich.

The wealthy are pushing to bust the unions in this country. Miners like me, are always screwed one way or another. They want to pay us Walmart wages. "We all need to tighten our belts", they say. So here's the thing...They don't get dirty, they don't pay taxes, they don't live from check to check, and they are making millions upon millions of dollars, without hiring any Americans. Is there something I don't get with this picture? I've got the tunnel blues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


sleep is like death
maybe not
but it seems that way
to me

it comes slowly
or sometimes
it comes quickly
it can come hard
or it can come easy
i wonder if
the dead ones dream?

maybe they do
there might be a
universal type of consciousness
after death

i sleep more now
especially on these rainy days
i die a little more each day
we all do
when we are born
we all start dying

we wander through our lives
as if we were half-asleep
some of us never wake up
and then it is over
sleep is like death

Monday, April 18, 2011


i remember
my delmont 88
black leather
bench seats
power rag-top
in black
400 cu. inch
caddy engine
I-beam suspension
never got caught
for detention
i was 25 in 75
or maybe 26
had a gal
named pat
and a few more
on the side
they all got down
with this particular ride
and all of the year
was summertime
it was sublime
no winter days
no elderly haze
in my delmont 88
she was just great
i would brake torque back then
if i had the yen
and i wasn't shut down
i wasn't no clown
i was savvy you see
a player, that's me
with a smoke and a brew
no seat belts or spew
about green earth type things
i did my own thing
on southside flings
where chicago swings
it all was so neat
it couldn't be beat
in my 88'
it all was so great.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


i sat in the farmhouse
i built it just for her
she was young and lovely
but now
our hearts weren't on the same page

i gave up drinking for three months
the winds blew drifts of snow
'cross the open cornfields
i viewed ten acres, north of our land
i watched football alone on sundays

i paced the floors
i wondered where she had gone
then i ran through the snow drifts
ten mile a day in combat boots
i killed my pain

my body grew strong once again
though i still passed some blood
and as springtime came
i took a drill rig job
a rig on midnight shift
twelve hours a night
and ran ten miles a day

i knew i would leave her
so i packed my bag one day
and she begged me to stay
but we both knew it was best
so i 'drug up' from my job
and i hit the open road
so i could feel free
once again

Saturday, April 16, 2011


he failed in marriage
he failed in business
he writes poetry now
and it is good
he never gets around to publishing it
he puts it off for another day
but that is ok
he is my friend
that is good enough
he is unlucky with girls
gives away more than he takes in
has a mild manner
a quick wit and smile
he loves to play softball
chicago style
he lives the blues
for real
so help all the guys
in this cold, harsh world
who are like my friend
guys who have children who love them
guys who always welcome stray cats or dogs
and always have an extra sofa
for miserable hacks
like me

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


one day bleeds into the next
and the clouds hang over my head
the body is denying me now
it's inevitable
but i push it beyond its limits
the response is less than adequate
and i keep seeking
mind food
body food
so the synapses fire
and the fire in my belly
still burns strong
yet, there is malaise
and i deny it
but it is like my shadow
and shadows can't be outrun
but, run i must
and i keep on trying
for it is braver that way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I left the empty vault of the civilized world,
for it stunk of death and decay.
And I found my peace in the desert.
I hoped for the sun to bake the madness out of me.
For man's wicked ways, had pushed me beyond all choices.
I lived humbly with the most meager of supplies.
I ran barefoot in the sand, as the sun rised
in the early morning's majesty.
By mid-day, flies bit my sweating body.
My skin became like leather,
and as my body hardened my heart softened.
I accepted what little parcels of life the desert had to offer.
I saw spring flowers grow from prickly cacti.
To ward off the evening cold, I built raging fires.
I stared into them and saw stories of the ages.
I sat zen-like with my legs crossed,
as I watched the sunrises and sunsets.
The colors soothed my soul.
I saw such beauty in all these things.
And as I stayed quiet for a string of many days,
like little stones of rosary beads,
I no longer harbored my anger.
Man's ways became unimportant to me.
I prayed with the animals, plants, and bluffs,
which floated in the great horizon.
And I finally became me.
I knew I was alone, but I wasn't lost.
The great spirit had shown me the way.
For what are days and nights without the sun, moon, and stars?
I was alone and love was all around me.

Monday, April 11, 2011


my love,
i want you to lie, steal and cheat for me.
yes, i do.
i want you to lie by my side, forever.
i want you to cheat death,
so i can have you all the time.
i want you to steal my heart,
and keep it for yourself.
for you are my love.
you are my life.
and when i leave you,
realize that i am still with you.
lying next to you,
stealing glances at you,
and cheating the cosmos,
because even in death,
i will still love you.

Friday, April 8, 2011


a poet checks his material
dog ears the best stuff
wears the clothes that define him
carries the briefcase with his books
he won't need them all

he brings his well-worn proof copy
the one he reads from
puts his name on the list
tries to get a spot right before intermission
this way your words stick with the audience
they come up to buy a few

they tell you what your words mean
they are usually wrong
you smile and say
"your right, by god"!
you sign...and sign
stick the crumpled bills in your pocket
go home

get out of those damn jeans
cowboy boots
hippie jewelry
all the crap that turns people on
and wish you had an agent
'cause the big bucks ain't there

no publisher wants you
no publicist
no nationwide bookstore
no big newspaper articles
nothing but the grind
like everthing else

but you love your art
you did the work
it will always exist
on someone's bookshelf
or at some garage sale
and that is enough

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


He chased me down 73rd street.
He was smaller than me.
But he was one of the bad guys.
I was in better shape, now.
I grew six-inches over the summer.
I pumped iron and boxed.
I lost all my baby fat.
I was fifteen and lean.

Anyway, I heard him wheezing behind me.
I figured it was from:
The two pack-a-day Camel habit he had.
My plan was to really get him winded.
When I heard him gasping in the frigid, Chicago air,
I stopped abruptly, turned around, and the fists were flying.
I had him whipped, man!

The tough guy, Larry K was getting his ass kicked,
And I was the guy doing it to him.
I took his wallet from his leather jacket.
Then I stomped on him with my cuban heeled shoes.
Larry said, "Hey stop man, I'm sorry, just stop"!
He got up and put himself together.
He smiled his toothless, acne-faced smile at me.
He was an ugly mutha'.

I handed his wallet to him.
He offered me a smoke.
I took it.
He lit it with his Zippo lighter.
He asked me if I wanted to go to a basement party.
I said, "Yeah, that's cool".

It was nice and warm in there.
The music was good, and so were the babes.
Larry and I drank a few beers together.
He introduced me around to a few people.
Kids I hung out with noticed that Larry was my new friend.
It felt good.
It felt real good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


pictures of the past
seem like only yesterday
they somehow tug at my heart
now, only now,
do they have meaning
for i have made most
of my journey

and i want more
oh, so much more
to suck the sweet juice
out of this life
to make new memories
of a different genre
more sedate

oddly, this does not matter
to me
i take new snapshots
and keep them on hand
the old boxes i don't open
i haven't the courage
those photos break my heart

i keep them anyway
for someday
i may open my heart
and gain the courage
to look at faces
of those i loved from the past
and then i will feel more
and that is a good thing

Sunday, April 3, 2011


i want the old ways
where stories were passed on
and elders were respected
hunting and gathering
and awe of the great spirit
ceremonies to celebrate the tribe
and unity of a culture
where one is part of all
and good deeds are applauded
and no meanness goes unpunished
for this is where love rules
and this is where law rules
and truth is the only way
and the animals and plants
and skies and rivers
are holy
and life is valued
sunsets are welcomed with prayer
sunsets are spent smoking the pipe
and families gather together
in front of bonfires
where ancestors dance
and children gaze in wonderment
at the scenes being brought to life
by wizened old men and women
who bask in the brilliance
of their wisdom and love

Saturday, April 2, 2011


i want one
dancing in the smoke
snake wrapped 'round her
like a Mayan princess
a devil of a woman
with soft skin
supple skin
red lips
i want to be hypnotized
by my black magic woman
i want to feel
the vibe
dance with the tribe
get primitive
with my black magic woman
i throw back my head
and take the shot
of amber liquor
and drink in
all of her splendor
and when she is done
with her dance
i'll know
that she is mine
my black magic woman

Friday, April 1, 2011


and as the desperate winter left
i found myself pacing the floors
i had no work since november
and now it was the end of march
the coffers were empty
and so was my heart
i was nervous
i longed for the union hall
the call would come soon.

so i only sat in the tavern
from noon 'til three
i did side jobs
anything for a buck
the holiday joy was over
for a long time now
by the end of january
depression set in

my drinking picked up more
in february and march
now, spring was showing signs
i was back to work in april
and after a few weeks of monotony
i wished it was winter again
by summer my body was sore
i was baked by the sun
beat up
so i prayed for rain
rain was my saviour

on those rainy days
i entered the tavern
i had bills in my pocket
not just spare change
i saved for the bleak winter months
never enough...never enough
again and again i lived the cycle
and it got old
and so did i

so now it's all over
but i'm still here
it's april now
i'm not nervous, anymore
i notice the buds on the trees
i write these memories
and i'm finally at peace
the cycle is over