Saturday, December 31, 2011


i wish you all a very happy new year.
this is the 63rd year i will enjoy the planet earth.
my priorities have changed from cocktails and confetti,
to reflection and enjoyment of more simple things.
no longer do i hunt until dawn for the highs...
the perfect times which never appear...
and lead me to despair.

for there are no perfect times
there is no perfect life
there is no perfect mate
but there is a perfect attitude
and that attitude is one of love and gratefulness
i like to think that i embrace this attitude most of the time
but sometimes i do not...for i am only human
and i am aware enough to accept my mistakes,
and wise enough to change them

so i forge ahead with persistence
loving freely, even when i am hurt
putting the past behind, but learning from it
embracing each day as if it were my last
no matter how bad i might think it is...
each of my days is a gift from the great spirit

so i love you
and am happy to have you all with me
and i hope your year gives you health and peace
for these are our greatest gifts
embrace all that is good inside of yourself
and share it with the world
and relish your life
for you are a miracle

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


i thought i escaped the neighborhood
south side days and south side ways
chicago and all its' glory
the gutters, the slang, the swagger
the taverns, the social clubs, the ball teams...
the girls with foul mouths who bore our children
yet, i always came back

i still have the walk
and urban life is embedded in my heart
even though i am in a tapioca, suburban existence
i sound like a city man
with an emphasis on a hard "A"
thirty four years gone am i
yet, my heart is still there

and i keep coming back
just like they tell a guy to do at A.A. meetings
'cause i want what Chicago has...
and i'm still willing to go to any lengths to get it
and that "it" is indescribable to a non-chicagoan
the city has its' own smell, its' steadfastness
against all change, though change does come
but it's only cosmetic

my city remains the same underneath
where the dice games are played
and bag men pick up
and girls ply their trade
and bookies take the bets
and politicos put in the fix
and the horses run hard
and ball teams forever lose
my neighborhood is chicago

Friday, December 23, 2011


'twas the night before Christmas
and all through the land
shopping was frantic
from newsflyer spam
people were shoving and pushing the door
'til the hinges broke
need i say more?

new michael jordan's
must be owned, you see...
and they just had to have
that color tv
mace is used
by the gangsta' crew
to get what they want
so watch out...achoo!

fights are developing
in store parking lots
and policemen are hired
to keep a vigilant watch
'tis the season to be jolly
hey!...don't you see?
drinking more liquor,
taking dope...

the hoopla will crash
and the market will too
when this years charge cards
bring gloom to you...
in january there's a letdown
but don't ever fear
there's always the superbowl
for more wine and beer.

so happy birthday jesus
you're a cool-cat dude
we hope you remember us
when we're sick from good food
and bring me that harley, that caddy, and dough...
after all it's christmas,
so bring me more blow.

we wonder why people hate us here
in the land of the free
the home of the brave...
so would ya screw 'em lord?
they don't drink no beer
they just pray, work
and stay at home bored
they ain't hip to reality shows
and hollywood bling
it's time to bitch, swing and fight...
so merry christmas america
and to all you hep cats
i bid yah, goodnight!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I learned how to work drill rigs in McCook, Illinois. I was a Derrick man that worked atop a 30 ft. mast. My job was pulling drill steel and racking it. Of Course, I did a lot of things on the drill rig. I was a deck hand using tongs to connect drill steel, general "go-fer", mud man and water man to keep the hughes tool bit lubricated, clean up and greaser, coffee getter, you name it.

I did about 2 years on water rigs in the Chicagoland area, then ended up in Las Vegas, after I went through my divorce. After drinking myself into oblivion for a couple of months, I moved to San Diego and got my body in shape again by running, surfing, and pumping iron. I ended up in West Texas in a wild cat drilling trailer. A big push was on for oil back in '79 and they were hiring "worms". Worms are guys with some limited drill rig experience. I told them that I had worked 100 ft. derricks, (which was true), but never oil field rigs. I couldn't believe it when they hired this Chicago boy.

The pusher in the trailer said I had three of the four qualifications that he was looking for...big assed arms, the love of drinking, experience...but I wasn't from Texas...They like their own boys. I "wormed" out there for a season, and pretty much was accepted by the crew, after I got drunk every night and won a few bar fights. These men were smart in a lot of ways. In other ways, they were "dumb as a box of rocks". Half of 'em would end up in jail, or would start missing work, or just light out for new horizons. Most of 'em were better "hands" than me.

I'm glad I did the work. It was dangerous, exciting, and satisfying. It payed well, and was a good life for a single guy. I surely do NOT recommend this kinda' work to a married guy. Drillin' and marriage do not mix. Once you become a driller, you get hooked for life. It gets in your blood, kinda' like being in the tavern every night addicts a guy. You're pretty much through by the time you hit your forties, and the arthritis sets in and your reflexes start going. It's a young man's game.


we try
for all the highs
but we experience
the lows
we realize
that the highs
are within our souls
that each choice
puts us on the road
to avoid the lows
so get high
on love
and what i mean
is love yourself, first
and become a clean spirit
then grow in that love and share
try the natural high
peace and understanding
just try
before you die
and when your spirit
flies to the sun
you'll know you've won
your freedom
just try.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


he woke up saturday afternoons
always with a hangover
but this was cured by stubby's bar...
a neighborhood tap room with a pool table
and the usual crowd of miscreants
where a gin and tonic was still thirty five cents

the summer sun came through the nicotine stained windows
and after five or six cocktails, he came home and went back to bed
he ate his supper after a two hour nap
and showered for his night time gig at the cocktail lounge
he lit a joint and proceeded into the heart of the city
then rolled another one, and decided not to smoke it
he was across the street from the chicago lawn polce station
instead he psychedilcized in the bathroom

he stocked the bar and put ice in the sinks
made sure all was well and ready
then poured himself three fingers of whiskey
he turned on the jukebox and watched the band set up
and he listened to his favorite song
as they sang on and on:
"drink scotch whiskey all night long, and die behind the wheel."

Thursday, December 15, 2011


My gym ritual starts every morning at 6 a.m., rain or shine...through good and bad, I pack my bag with analgesics, protein drinks, bars, sweats, wrist bands, athletic shoes, socks, and all types of other paraphenelia used by "plateheads" like me. I drink my 2 cups of coffee, read the Chicago Tribune (until nature calls), then scream upstairs to my wife, Debbie: "I'll be ready to go in five, honey!"

She is a gym kinda' girl, and promptly comes downstairs with those cute Nike tops and shapely workout pants. She is a babe at the age of 62. I smile at her, and we hop into my old, beater RAV-4 and off we go.

I warm up with dips, pull ups, and wide grip pull-ups...Then it's off to an incline bench for dumb-bell curls, standing curls, and shrugs with 100 lb. dumb-bells in each hand. I head next for 3 sets of 12 for my bench press...ahhhh!...I feel my muscles growing already!...I am breaking a sweat at this stage of the game. Next are seated rows and pull downs...i super set them...which means i alternate sets for each exercise...then I head to the pec-rack for chest and back...then to the hammer machines for 3 different exercises for my back muscles...

It ain't over yet, 'cause I have to superset tricep pulldowns and standing cable curls, and maybe a few push downs for more tricep work...My legs are shaking at this point, and my arms are pumped. I feel happy to hit the decline board and do about 200 cruches for my gut,, then to the abdominal chair where i pull down 70 lbs. and crunch what parts of my stomach that still needs crunching.

I head to the men's locker room to stow my gloves and wrist supports, get my IPod and MetRx 32 gram protein bar...I happily munch on it, while talking to my gym buddies...I guzzle 16 ounces of water then proceed to do a half and hour on the incline treadmill, listening to golden oldies. This workout takes me at least 90 minutes, and I do it every other day.

On days I don't lift, I do an hour of hard work on an elliptical, and 40 minutes medium work on an incline treadmill...The joy of it all is that I get to consume 4 to 5,000 calories a day of clean food...I eat at least 150 grams of protein a fat and complex carbohydrates...I gave up sugar a year ago, don't drink or smoke.

I'm glad I live this lifestyle, and I'm glad that my wife has jumped on the circuit with me...We sure don't feel or look like we're 63 years old. I hope that when she's 90 that she can still keep up with me...I warn her about this when she decides to eat Christmas cookies...She makes me pay for my asceticism, by saying: "Your not going to ruin my Christmas with your craziness!" I guess she is right. Now I have to figure how to eat cottage cheese and protein drinks at the various Christmas functions we are going to have to attend. Maybe I can hide them in the trunk of the car, and sneak them in the bathrooms...I can feign illness when they offer me ham and cheesy potatoes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I miss the old home I bought in the country. It was an old Montgomery Ward Catalogue, blueprint home, built in the 1920's. I miss those rolling acres of corn all around me and the turkey shoots in the fall. I owned a pole barn, a rubbarb patch and five acres of land that abutted a brook of fresh water. I hunted bunnies and pheasant in the fall, and in the winter, I ran in combat boots through the snow, to a park about five miles away...where I observed deer and winter flowers in bloom. The smell of moss and tree bark entered my lungs on these solitary jogs and I free floated with nature, my mind leaving my body as if I were some type of mystic...and I was young and strong...and I worked a twelve hour shift during that winter...from midnight to noon on a drill rig some sixty-miles from my farm. I worked with boys and men from all over America and we built many a derrick or tunnel or road or building...and it was good.

I believed in America and hard work. I read no newspapers and watched no tv and my politics were non-existent. I tore down engines and played with farm tractors and watched football games. I drank good beer and whiskey at a singular tavern in town where everybody knew everyone else. We came together for each other in play, in hard times, because it was the right thing to do. We had a sense of community. I worked inside my house putting in new sub-floors for hardwood, hanging cabinets, replacing old toilets and the monster boiler that originally came with the house. I bought a baby grand piano for my wife and Ethan Allen furniture to keep us locked into the traditional American home concept.

Back in these days there was no such thing as laziness or hopelessness for my kind. We worked at whatever we could get in hard times. Sometimes I started business which did pretty well, but would always go back to my heavy equipment trade when the spring crocus appeared. I loved the smell of the black dirt in the morning, whether I turned it over with a dozer blade or a farmer's disc. Dirt and perspiration meant prosperity. The sun was always shining in my world, and when it wasn't there was the warmth of tavern cheer through a shot-and-a-beer.

Now, I just mark my days. I watch the clock in the late afternoons, and one day bleeds into the next. I live in a townhome now where everything is done for me, and my body isn't what it used to be. I long for the hard work, but know that those days are over. I am grateful for my life. I have many memories and still work to keep my body and mind in shape, but I miss the old days, my old ways.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It was December at Southern Illinois University, and bombs fell on Vietnam as we all got ready to party at Rich and Vera's house...and we dropped wine, grape juice, vodka, whiskey, and all types of other innebriants into a portable aluminum washtub set up on the floor of their kitchen. A couple of huge blocks of ice would keep the magical formula cold...and we had buds of wonderful gooey marijuana which we rolled into hava-tampa sized joints...and their was Owlsely acid...sp?...1000 micrograms a hit if you really wanted to psychedelicize yourself.

The stereo played Gracie Slick, Big Brother, The Chambers Brothers, and Morrison and we were in our groove after final exams and were celebrating the "real" Christmas before the idyllic Illinois Central train brought us back into the realm of straight AmeriKa...back to mommy and daddy...THE ENEMY...and their warnings about drug addiction and the peace movement and the evils of abortion and anything that was connected with the SDS, the Black Panther Movement, Abbie Hoffman, Alan Ginsburg, or Gay right, or feminism, ad infinitum...but we don't want to think about those things now at Rick and Vera's...

So we dance and play drinking games or play with jello, (especially if you're tripping) or put Mazola Oil on the kitchen linoleum floor...and roll in it to your hearts content with your loved one...and screw, screw, screw your brains you don't have to remember that you got lottery #40 and that you were going to Vietnam for 2 years as a grunt in the infantry...and that you'd rather have more foot powder to keep jungle rot from between your toes, than a million bachelor of arts degrees...

The American economy was bad, and there weren't any jobs, and people were rioting in the streets, and children were nestled in their nice warm beds, thinking of Santa Claus, and the rich were getting richer off the war, and kids were dying over there, and we vowed that some day we would fix this mess, 'cause the whole world was watching...but we lied and were co-opted by the system and things are even "worser" now 'cause we just wanted to make money and it goes on and on and on, just like that night at Rich and Vera's house...except then, we were more honest.

Monday, December 12, 2011


there should be a warranty on me
i can get one on everything else
my cars, appliances, techno-gizomos all have warranties
why not me?
i think i might even buy the extended warranty
seems like a good idea to keep the devil away
for five-hundred years
where do i sign the dotted line?

but alas, no one wants to save old men
exceptin' maybe for a few old women out there...
god bless 'em!
and i wonder how much it would cost?
i'm sure the government would be against it
they don't want to pay me social security for that long

i ain't worried about it anyway
any society that gives a depression pill for a depression pill,
has no fears about old zombies wanting extended warranties
no oldsters i know want to go to the hospital
and lose their life savings
they all want to leave what's left to their spoiled brats

that ain't how i roll!
i'm gonna' blow my wad before i croak
buy a new cadillac
and a new lid
i'm gonna' have an "amsterdam good time"
and party my way out
screw the warranties.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


i don't need to know what are the best wrinkle creams of 2011...
or how to sleep all night...
or what depression pill to take for the depression pill, that doesn't work...
or anything that's advertised for $19.95 on those info-mercials...
but wait! can have 2 for this price plus the veggie-nator
naw...i'll take a pass

i don't need tv commercials showing:
virile males getting trucks out of mud holes...
using a sweaty horse, while he wears his cowboy hat
looking like a young tom selleck
coming home to pop a viagra
and banging a chick half his age
while "Suzie-Q" plays in the background

i don't need democrats or republicans
religious affirmations
plastic santa clauses or reindeer games
endless flyers in my Sunday newspaper proclaming that:
"this is the sale of the century!"

i do need a nap
a frigerator full of food
a good dump in the morning
a trusty vehicle
a gym with clean towels
a pension check
and a wife who puts up with my insanity

i've got all that squared away
life is grand
my daughter isn't in jail
and neither am i
it's a beautiful thing
my life.

Friday, December 9, 2011


the nap is sweet
i rest my feet
protect my mind
from addled rhymes
that plague my head
i need no bed

for just repose
i count my toes
i see they're there
when i awake
i'm grateful, mate!

for these last few days
in my life
i've fought all strife
so now i dream
of old man things
and count the days

in simple ways
i take more naps
and just relax
the fight is done
i think i've won.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


in my lifetime i've been a:
paper boy
maintenance man
pizza delivery man
flower delivery man
head hunter
heavy equipment operator
drill rig operator
tower crane operator
mechanic...automobiles and bicycles

i owned a home remodeling company
worked any job that would put food on my table
for lousy wages
when i retired i wrote four books
in my life i painted over 600 paintings
sold 300 of them

if they took my social security and pension away
i'd still find a way
i'd work three jobs if i had to do it
'cause i'm a jack of all trades
don't ever give up
keep pluggin' away
and always save some for a rainy day
it ain't what you make
it's what you save
you can take and put that in the bank
good luck, youngins!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


nine was a great time for me, especially in the summer
you see, my mom and dad had to work
and i was one of those "latch key kids"
who got to stay home...alone!
i had orders to keep the house clean, not to cook, and to NEVER, ever let anyone in the house, while my parents were gone

naturally i broke all the rules
i enjoyed the mornings eating frosted flakes, feeding my turtles fresh flies from the alley, and tending my strawberry patch
then about nine a.m., before the house got hot like an oven, i'd be off to the baseball diamond with my rowdy friends.
when i was sufficiently ragged and tired, i'd come home and break all the rules, that i had promised to obey

i learned how to cook pancakes
one day, the house filled with smoke, 'cause i burned them
i couldn't sit for a week from the lickin' i got
dad used an old barber's razor strop on my bum
next fiasco was the cake frosting
i used hershey's cocoa mix in the brown tin
and a whole mess of powdered sugar
i was sick for a week from eating the entire bowl

i used to mess up the house, then clean like a demon the last hour before anyone would get home
my brother caught me all the time
i always forgot he was off on wednesday afternoons
he was nineteen and he was a nazi...a clean freak...and just plain mean
he made me clean up and take baths and generally rode my ass like a rodeo cowboy with a mean demeanor and sharp spurs

i also invited kids in the house
they were supposed to be my friends, but always broke something or left cigarettes behind, smoldering somewhere
it's tough being a kid!
it's tough being a man!
it's tough being an old man!
but it sure is a helluva lot of fun remembering all this stuff.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


i remember the real christmas
mom, dad, brother and sis were still alive
we were poor, living in a three room apartment
an ice box, no tv set, just the radio
and we used to listen to radio programs, play cards, and laugh.

we didn't know we were poor
'cause we had each other
and we learned tricks to survive
and spread a buck as thin as an anorexic runway model
liver and onions was like prime steak to us
we were happy 'cause our bellies were full

so now i have everything
beautiful home and cars and family
and no money problems
but mom and dad and brother and sis are dead
i am the last, and this fact saddens me
'cause i never knew how much i'd miss them
they truly understood i understand
and with them died the depression era mentality we shared

'cept i still have it in my soul
and my wife and daughter sometimes chide me
for my thrift and old time ways
but i keep strong anyway...
'cause you never know when the wolf may show up at your door
and i love them and would take a bullet for them
and they know it in their hearts...
this is how it should be

i can't show them the old christmas
it would cause them too much pain
they have too much in their lives
but a lot can be said
for having much of nothing
and still being happy with it
the simplicity of making one's own joy
has been immeasurably good to me,
and to me this is the real christmas

Monday, December 5, 2011


they carol in the silver star bar
a band of miscreants with hooded eyes
distended bellies and shady memories
of their days of youth during christmas

the jukebox plays the same old songs
bing crosby, brenda lee, and burl ives
and drunken comrades falsely praise the christ child
as they steal change off the dirty counter
and call their wives with tales of woe

they plod through the snow when they've had their fill
or their money runs out
and remember better days
yes, there were always better days in their sodden minds
and hopes for better futures
for they know there is no better present

but there is always christmas time
when everyone is still a child
no matter how evil
no matter how ill
no matter for the life or death of them
because it has always been this way
so, why buck tradition?

the silver star has always been there
standing city proud for some 80 years
grandpa drank there
dad drank there
so he drinks there as well
the circle will not be broken
not in this generation

he stumbles up the stairs
and slams the door to welcome himself home
and his family cringes
in squalor and fear
as he squints at the cockeyed christmas tree
a skeleton of a tree with home made decorations

and he has a twinkle in his eye
as he pours himself a shot
and asks where his dinner is
and they almost trust him
as he sits at the old table
and she slams the plate in front of him

cold is the food
cold is the apartment
cold is the reception
cold is the noel
and he watches the snow
as it falls outside his windows
and celebrates another silent night

Sunday, December 4, 2011


i'm seriously, serious
though sometimes delirious
in cerebral ways
my thoughts won't stay
they sometimes run
it ain't much fun
collecting them
starting over again
with cogent lines
that take some time
to entertain
and cause your brain
to ponder words
perhaps unheard

but that's to presume
i'm in attune
to creative verse
for which i thirst
but we all know
it just ain't so
though try as i may
my words aren't enough
just recapitulated stuff
from deep within
but i start agin'
with some hope
and a serious grin
to entertain
not wreak some pain
on readers here
who need some cheer

so read on folks
the sadness
the jokes
the stories i tell
from heaven and hell
from earth
and the skies
sometimes truth
sometimes lies
though you may find these words
i'm just tryin' to be

Saturday, December 3, 2011


hut! hut! hut!
eyes right!
dress down.
at ease.
blue 42...
hut! hut! hut!
get him!...get him!...get him!
two more reps...
gotta get 'em!
numbers, statistics, dollars,
size, status, stature, pecking orders
close the fucking casket door.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


the kings sat at their conference table
and demanded from their minions...
"why don't you fill our coffers"???
the minions looked nervous and perplexed as they spoke:

"oh mighty ones, the people have no money anymore...
violence rules the streets and they are up in arms...
the whole world and all your kingdoms are threatened by strikes...
the fields aren't being tended...
and the wheels of production in factories have grinded to a halt...
all is in turbulence and revolution."

"so we are broke"???...the kings lamented.
"yes sires", their minions offered with false sincerity.
"you will have to go to work, dear kings...
and make things work once again.

"but we have no skills, damned minions!"
"make those vermin work!"
"we do no labor in the fields...we are not:
pipefitters, plumbers, auto mechanics, dishwashers,
bartenders, waitresses, equipment operators, factory workers,
electricians, educators or tradesmen in any sense of the word!"

the kings hung their heads in sorrow.
they realized that they had killed their "golden goose".
"nothing can be done", the minions said...
the world is in revolution and people are unionizing world-wide...
they work for themselves now, and will prosper with a new world order.

"but what are we to do?", the kings said...
"we have no skills, and can do nothing?"
"you die in the street, like the lazy dogs", answered their minions.
with that, the kings retired to their chambers.
some commited suicide, others just waited for their fate.
the world had finally come to a just balance.