Monday, November 26, 2012


it's the people you know...
love 'em and hate 'em
i do
'cause i still can't understand them
with their bombs
and their billboards
scarifyin' the earth
with nonsense
and texting
and the kardashian worlds
with jersey shores
a veritable hurricane
of bullshit
and flotsam and jetsam
floating on a tsunami
of disaster
of ideas
or lack therof...
for it ain't right
to write
or text
when someone asks tenderly for
your attention
and the people
return your kindness
with bombs
and billboards
and nonsense
the insanity
of this world
makes me long
for fresh turned topsoil
and montana skies
midst cowboys
with haggard faces
tobacco on chins
red eyed bullozer men
whiskey on breath
and smiles
full of honesty
for these are my people

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I was born poor on the southside of Chicago.  My mother worked a full time job as a secretary.  She walked four blocks to the bus stop every day.  My dad worked nights as a bartender.  My parents always stressed the value of work and a good education.  I saw my dad work on ulcerated feet due to advanced diabetes.  He died after double amputations.  He never took welfare or unemployment compensation.  We lived check to check, and we were happy when he got a few tips from customers.  My mother worked until she was 68 years old.

     In grammar school, I delivered newspapers, worked in a flower shop, and sold items door-to-door to finance my education at St. Rita H.S. in Chicago.  My mother begged the principal, Father Crawford to lower my tuition, because we were so poor.  He was a good man and accomodated her.  I graduated in an academic program with honors and was accepted at the University of Notre Dame.  I was proud, but couldn't afford the tuition, so I went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois.

     I graduated a Dean's List scholar, and was accepted into the Master's Program in Psychology at Central Michigan University.  Back in 1971 if a young person didn't have the money to go to grad school, he would have to work to earn it, and delay his academic career.  I worked as a warehouseman, clothing salesman, and finally landed a job as an apprentice in Local #150 as a Heavy Equipment Operator.

     I never did make it back to college, because I fell in love with my new trade.  I studied nights to become a certified crane operator, and did whatever it took to learn my trade.  We worked long hours in the heat of the summer, and the snows and freezing rains in the winter.  My lungs were decimated by asbestos, dust, benzene and all types of other noxious chemicals. 

   I worked 33 years at my trade, and was proud to make a good living for my wife and daughter.  We doubled up on our mortgage payments and saved our money.

   Now, I am 63 years old.  I am disabled because of all the hard years of work.  I've had cancer, bypass surgery, I suffer from arthritis and a variety of other ailments.  I do well with my pension and social security disability.  I know that both are endangered by this new Republican regime who calls me a victim and a whiner.  Yeah, I'm a guy who built America, and never gave up because my folks didn't have the money to send me through.  I managed to become a professional artist and to write four books.  Yes, I am a part of the 47% who is the best part of America.

     I have faith in my compatriots.  I am glad that Governor Romney has been honest in regard to how he feels about me and my ilk.  These patriots who hide behind God and the flag seem to show their true colors these days.  A president is in charge of governing for ALL the people of the commonwealth.  I never asked my dad for money to start a business, because he would have given me enough to sell popcorn on the street corner.  I had a greater vision than that for me and my family.

    All I ask is that when you vote this November, remember guys like me.  We worked hard for you.  When you needed a water heater replaced or a road put in, we were there for you.  I think President Obama has us in mind, and all the people in the United States.  He ain't perfect, but by God, he isn't going to denigrate my life's efforts, and take away what I worked for all my life.  These are not entitlements.  I paid into my pension, and paid social security taxes all my life.

   True leaders understand humility and compassion.  Never forget that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


i dug in my heels
in hard, clay dirt
like a man
i stood upright
ready to make my stand
ready to fight

i stumbled and fought
i said, "i can, i can"
so i fought to stand up
erect once again
'til the water came up
turned all to quicksand

as i sank to new lows
i gritted my teeth
i visualized
i quaked at
what might lay beneath

i shook off my fear
i waited for slaughter
i opened my eyes
my heels dug in water

i walked azure waves
i saw a new land
i learned not to fear
i became a new man.

Monday, August 20, 2012


of the divided states of america
and to the corporations and banks
'cause they are people too!
a divided nation
(not only because we are bi-lingual)
for which it stands
two nations
under a "God"
sorry athiests!
who favors the wealthiest
and denigrates
women, immigrants, gays and unions
for we are WASPS
who believe in the "right to work"
which in real terms means
the right to enslave workers
because they can't form a more perfect union
much less any kind of union
because corporate america is gonna' squeeze you some more
and i thought the republic was
of the people, by the people, and for the people"
and liberty and justice for all?
it's just a myth
because there are those
who would re-write the constitution
both dems and repubs, or libertarian
and because we have a congress
that doesn't work anymore
and it's a damn shame
because the country
used to work just fine.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


you saved my life
the eternal run
a mantra unfolded
on verdant trails
i heard my hearbeat
a wind in sails
and breathed fresh air
like native men
from way back when

and i left the world behind
the world of machines
and broken dreams
for the run
so clean and true
a pristine view
of what man lost
at such a cost
my feet pound on
and on and on

to future dreams
not banker's schemes
i love the run
the rush
the sweat
without regret
an hour a day
maybe more
it feeds my soul
i need no more.

Monday, August 13, 2012


need a college?
just search around
not like my kids did
they went to ivy league joints
you'll have to go to community college
not princeton
not yale
not harvard
just search around
for managable college debt

need retirement funds?
forget about it
the states have squandered your dough
unions are being busted
social security ain't guaranteed
just search around
for a job in your 70's
maybe you can be a greeter at wally-mart
since we outsourced all your jobs
why not?
it's good for your health to work
since you won't have affordable health care
just search around

we are men and women of God
we want to lead your country
steal from the poor
give to the rich
we are the new robber barons
coming to your hood
the fabulous one-percenters
who have a new vision
for the wealthy in this country
hail to the banks!
all hail to wall street
search around and make good investments

oh! you don't have any money
you must be poor and lazy
the wrong color
the wrong sexual leanings
or maybe you're just a woman
search around
there's hope for you
say your prayers
be God fearing
and trust us
work hard
prosperity is right around the corner
just search around.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Man could have been great. He came out of the trees and learned to stand on two feet. He learned to walk then to hunt and with the skins of animals protected himself from the winds, the snow and the rain. He learned to seek the shelter of caves and later to build more elaborate huts. He learned to delegate authority, to farm, to gather to create art, and finally to war on other tribes for more stuff.

Greed and perniciousness now defined man. Rome and Greece rose above it all with great ideas of Democracy and beauty only to fall from decay within, because of greed, murder and animalistic behavior. Holy Wars mutilated the innocents throughout time. Most of it was done in the name of GOD. As technologies developed, man became more sophisticated in weaponry and lies. The innocents were still murdered or the lucky ones were put in sweat shops to earn money for the aristocracy.

I fast-forward to today, and see how man has developed slavery and double-speak to a fine art. Unions are bashed, state pension funds are in arrears, Congress in on a permanent vacation, human values are smashed by dictatorships. Our own politicians are suggesting that children pick up a broom to clean their schools, in order to save the states some money. We have presidential candidates either hiding their past, or not willing to show how much money they've made for the last ten years. People are hurting all over the world. Take away jobs, help for the needy, fire the teachers, the policemen, the firemen, the carpenters, the electricians, the plumbers, and up the salaries of bureaucrats, politicians, CEO's of corporations, and what do you end up with?

The IMPLOSION of a once great Democracy. Obama and Romney are more concerned about ammassing great wealth, and the backers who hold great wealth, than the commonwealth. Believe it. Neither one of them could swing a sledge hammer all day long. They never had to work for a living. In all due respect, I think Obama might make more than half-a-day, while Romney would whine, and probably sit on his ass, or try to pay someone to do the work for him. This is just my opinion after watching both FOX news and MSNBC. I have two evils to vote for, and I guess I'll vote for the lesser of the two. So far, Barrack Obama is my man. Taxing the wealthiest of Americans the same amount of tax that a working man has to pay, seems like a fair deal to me.

Maybe after all is said and done in world affairs, and the nuclear nightmare comes, what is left of us will all climb back up into the trees. Maybe this new "generation of men" will remember the past mistakes. They will climb out of the trees, learn to walk, make tools, then weapons, then go to hunt, grow food, and discover their neighbors. God help us all.

Monday, August 6, 2012


i long for those days
of adolescent haze
meeting up at the park
drinking beer in the dark
running wild on the streets
tapping our feet
to the primal beat

oh how i long for those days
of parties and muscle cars
begging old winos
to buy us liquor from bars
going to dances
and teen hops galore
wearing my best just hoping to score
a teenage queen
a girl of my dreams
to take to the drive-in
and do stupid things
to impress her and keep her
but it was all about change
'cause for a kid in the 60's
there was no home on the range

we longed for the streets
the surge of urban life
rumbles and music
cigs and delights
not enjoyed now
'cause there is fear
in the air
it ain't really clear
how to be a kid
without being cowed

i guess this is why
i long for my days
when there was'nt a future
there wasn't a past
the present was good
it just couldn't last
i long for those days

Friday, August 3, 2012


study hard in school
don't take any shit from anybody on the playground
if attacked by a group
always pick the biggest guy
gouge his eyes out or grab his windpipe
hold on 'til he turns purple
never give an inch

at work
be the first on the job
the last to go home
work 2 or 3 jobs
until you secure a better position
save your bread
don't buy fancy cars or clothes

buy real estate as soon as you can
double up on your mortgage payments
keep your body and mind in shape
don't waste your money in bars
only date girls you would take home to your mother
keep your mouth shut at work
don't gossip

protect yourself at all times
always have a "plan-B"
when you are old, diversify
buy stocks, bonds, annuities.
make sure you have enough to retire
never carry any credit card debt
this is how to roll.

Monday, July 23, 2012


crazy people come in all shapes and sizes
most of them are locked up
or let go by governments
some live without doing crimes
some do crimes without getting caught
many of the worst are studied by scientists,
never are executed, because they are interesting
some write blogs and receive adulations from the public
many are artists, musicians and politicians
religious leaders are my favorites
they are worse than politicians in my book
i always wonder why the murderous ones never get "the chair"
maybe i've seen too many jimmy cagney movies
seems that manson should'a gotten the chair years ago
a guy or girl who guns down masses of people should get "rubbed out"
or better yet...
let the families of the deceased have fun with him/her
issue baseball bats to the families
let them decide what to do with the crazy person
save the taxpayers some money
help the economy
the gentle, crazy people should recieve some help
don't let them wander the streets
maybe the politicians can take up a collection
give them some money
maybe the politicos won't be so hesitant to show their tax returns
and will be able to brag about how humane they are
that sure will come in handy at election time
it's sure a crazy world
filled with crazy people
it always has been
it always will be.

Monday, July 16, 2012


i don't want to see hoarders...
the biggest loser
insane chefs denigrating the help
the kardashians
people eating worms
hollywood gossip news
or flannel-shirted men catching catfish.

damn the ice road truckers
guys catching crabs for endless hours
game shows
gossip shows
and slanted news like FOX and MSNBC.

damn the situation comedies
game shows
an elderly vanna white
and countless movie re-runs
it's all so dumb, dumb, and dumber

give me more masterpiece theatre
shows with integrity and culture
new releases
something well thought out
well written
forget it
it's not going to happen
and when it does
it's cancelled
i guess i'll read a good book

Saturday, July 14, 2012


they watch you and me
those statisticians
media geeks
car salesmen
the IRS
insurance companies
all those greasy fingers
dipping into information
looking for self-aggrandizement
through you and me
all seeming benign
warm and fuzzy
presenting as santa claus
or the easter bunny
but growing like a cancer
inside of us
they probe
and use the scalpel
to extract our souls
and we are powerless
to do much about it
but spread the word
expose the jackals
and take to the streets
signs in hand
take your beatings
'cause you started watching

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


if i don't wake up dead...
on friday i will be sixty-three
the number doesn't frighten me
i've been telling people i am that age for six months
it seems to deaden the shock for mewhen the day finally arrives

in my halycon, hedonistic days
i celebrated with shots and beers
cigarettes and women
moving from bar to bar
with a payoff of a hangover
and sometimes worse stuff in the morning after
i had myself some fun
but when i think about it, it was a waste of my precious time

today, i don't drink or smoke
i don't chase women
i am grateful for my adult daughter
my beautiful and intelligent wife of 32 years
my health despite emphysema, cancer, and double bypass surgery
i'm glad i can still hear...
although i ask you to annunciate and shout at me directly
otherwise, i'll just smile and nod my head affirmatively
because i won't know what the hell you're saying

i hate when people move faster than me
knock me out of the way to get to doors before me
'cause i move slower now
i think i might faint, if someone younger might offer a seat
or open a door for this old man out of respect
we seemed to do a lot more of that when i was a young man

if i take you out to dinner
promise to converse with me
don't mumble
don't text
i find this to be very rude
i remind myself i shouldn't be bothered by these things
but they bother me anyway
i promise to read less about politics
and to enjoy more sunrises and sunsets
i enjoy watching the finches at my bird feeder
i love watching children and like petting dogs and cats

the gym is my drug today
i love feeling my old body respond
i'm grateful for my health
something i always took for granted
'til i ended up in jail at the age of fifty-three
i had a spiritual awakening that day
gave up booze, drugs and smokes
i met the devil at the crossroads
and made the right turn
i am forever thankful for having a higher power
direct me in the right way

sixty-three sounds good to me
seventy-three doesn't scare me
i seem to enjoy the company of younger people as i age
my contemporaries i enjoy as well
but sometimes they are too crabby
i was going to buy a muscle car this year
but my wife talked me into a 4-door sedan
too many of our friends can't negotiate the back seat of a 2-door
i guess i'll have to buy a 'caddy' convertible
now that's stylin'.

Monday, July 2, 2012


they allow the wealthy to steal
they blame a certain group of people
for the nation's problems
immigrants who come here
for a better life
who toil in the fields
who toil in the factories
who do with less
and are used as cattle

the evil ones know
what they are doing
they hide behind flags
they display false patriotism
they promote false gods
and bibles
in favor of scientific fact
they persecute intellectuals
they polarize society into two groups
the rich prosper
the poor get poorer
they send work overseas
and promote slave labor
they are against unions
they are against women
they speak of homosexuality as an aberration
they control the banks
they control the corporations
they are the few
the paranoid haters of justice
no, this is not nazi germany
this is the american political right
it all seems wrong to me

they will gather in fine homes
this fourth of july
waving their flags
spinning their webs
making their plans
in the name of democracy
for something quite different
than land of the brave
home of the free
liberty and justice for all
except the ninety-nine percent
who pay too much tax
and suffer for the corporates
and their political vampires
who suck the blood
from what was once
a great nation

Sunday, July 1, 2012


i don't need
new shoes
the blues
frightening news
gizmos that don't work
the latest app
that's a fact

just give me good food
a mellow mood
sunrise and sunsets
no regrets
about foolish things
i don't need the bling
i just need fresh air
the wind in my hair
a coursing run
out in the sun
eight hours of sleep
meditation that's deep
good books to read
a place just for me
a bed and a chair
it's all really there

if you look you see
you don't need tv
just simple things
you might even sprout wings
to fly above
you might fall in love
for you don't need
to be deceived
by the worldly spin
just ignore it
and grin

Thursday, June 28, 2012


it was a chicago summer
in the late 50's
so hot you could fry an egg on concrete
the acrid air smelled of the stockyards
on halsted street
the dead carcass smell got in my throat
and made it raw
and we kept the apartment windows closed up
blinds shut
shades drawn like a tomb
'til sundown
no cooking allowed
only bologna sandwiches
peanut butter and jelly
or spam
'cause it was too hot
i played outside
drank water from the water hose
and i didn't die
played baseball from dawn 'til dusk
sometimes got lucky with a dime
and bought an ice cold coke
or old dutch root beer
the windows were opened at night
a whisper of wind sometimes came in
the stagnant humidity made sleep difficult
i took a tepid bath
and lay myself down
in front of a tattered sceen door
hoping for sleep before the water evaporated
air conditioning was'nt owned by many people
we survived
and raised bratty kids
who never shut the lights off
and left doors open
so "con" edison makes extra git
i think of the good old days
and realize how bad they really were.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


welcome to the world
a spank on your ass
as you gasp for your first breath
and all you do is scream
and it frightens the hell out of you
then comes your first fall
and blood on the knee
then bully punches in schooyards
put your brain to work
on devious measures
to get even
and you either toughen up
or run like the devil
afraid, afraid, afraid
all the time

and at this tender age
the decision is made
to eat or be eaten by the world
the grimy, unfair world
it kicks you when your down
so suck it up, pilgrim
and build big muscles
and make the right connections
build your brain
'cause the muscles can always be hired
accumulate as much as you can
step on necks along the way
to that highest rung
on the ladder of success
some day you can be on top
"on top of the world, ma"
as cagney might say're a gansta' brotha
in control

then one day
you look in the mirror
and see your elderly father
the drunk, the asshole,
the one you swore you'd never become
and you sit alone
hated by many
loved by few
on top of the world
that welcomes you no more

Friday, June 22, 2012


america, where are you?
your glory has gone
you're the land of the few
no big-fin caddilacs
no pride in your lawns
just rubbish and discontent
we all feel like pawns

no hotdogs or ice cream
on hot sunny days
we fear nitrates and cholesterol
you've ruined all our ways
no packs of smokes
for a quarter or two
it's evil to smoke
so we bid "butts" adieu

no afternoon cocktails
to celebrate our days
for this is the beginning
or an alcoholic's haze
no family reunions
the cost is too great
we all sit at home
and furtively wait

for sickness or death
in hospital beds
they've become too expensive
so we stay sick, instead

america of old
where have you gone?
it's sure not much fun
without your bountiful song
i wipe my tears
and think of old days
the magic of dreaming
your glorious ways

it's sure not much fun
being overdrawn
the banks took it all
so i'll just say

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


i don't care about the kardashians
the biggest loser
political polls
paris hilton
lyndsay lohan
glenn beck
rush limbaugh
the obama family
the romney family
tarot cards
video games
the world news
organized religion
conspiracy theories
and a lot of other crap.

i do care about
pension and social security checks
my family
good food
the sun and skies
personal improvement
a good night's sleep
the ability to deal with pain

Monday, June 11, 2012


he bullied me
all the time
in grammar school
then in early high school
everybody saw it
they laughed at me
he stole my cigarettes
then everyone left
and i sat alone
on park benches
with such great anger
i promised i would get even

i grew up
went to college
gained some smarts
and some muscle
but the hurt still lingered
i was damaged
but hid it away
in some small corner
of my psyche

i went on to a man's world
construction work
dangerous work
that required guts
and a lot of perspiration
i was has hard as the rock
and the men i worked with
i was ready
for when i met him again

he was an office worker now
pudgy, white-collar worldly
no longer to be feared
and i sat at a round table with him
and the people who saw what he did to me
i was drunk
and he was afraid
i sensed it in all my being
so i challenged him to go outside
to see if he could still steal my smokes
he declined
my buddy told me to stop
so i did

i found that i wasn't proud of this
saw him some ten years later
at a reunion
we'd both experienced cancer
his was worse
we both made it through
and i was truly glad for him
his swagger was gone
and so was mine
we both had learned something
respect for one-another
and humility
we were survivors
brothers at last.

Friday, June 8, 2012


seize the day
yeah, sure
the day seizes me
in either palm
one is sweaty
the other one frigid
it depends on the season
of my continual discontent

when i open my eyes
the sun frightens me
i'd rather have clouds
they're more truthful
ominous clouds
makes the hurt more acceptable
as i think of humanity

the drunks headed to the bar
at ten-in-the-morning
to have an eye opener
watching game shows
all joyous laughter
between coughing jags
and brown pleghm
spit up on the floor
or in rust stained urinals
why are they happy?

seize the day
wild-eyed poets like me with no talent
self-absorbed artists who paint with mud
and think they're the new warhol
movers and shakers in cheap plastic shoes
who lease cars to impress
the clients who never buy from them
wealthy bastards
holed up in offices
hiding behind mahogany desks
hoarding money
looking over shoulders
worrying about the deal
hated by their families
the day seizes them

no control
we have no control
books are written
great paintings are painted
some endure
most do not
we care about all of this
for we want immortality
someone to remember us
because we are special
when in fact
we are nothing
the day seizes us
as we spin toward our demise

so why do we try?
someday a mother's day card will be found
written by an eight-year old
the ultimate in love
and the words will have meaning
and the finder will be moved
in knowing that this child
is now dead and buried
a small legacy left
but worth it to the viewer
because we live on hope
and we live on faith
to seize the day

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RAY...ode to ray bradbury

he passed away at ninety-one
the master of words
contriving stories
of illustrated men
and strange magic
he's drinking dandeline wine
in celestial tiers
special spots saved
for genius
provided by the gods
who were mesmerized
by his uniqueness
and i miss him already
for in my hands
as a nine-year old
was one of his magic books
and something wicked
did come
and it frightened me
in a special way
he had more punch than poe
my dear ray
who inspired me
to read more of him
and others
so that i might be
nourished by
the word.

Friday, June 1, 2012


stop and go
red and green
exhaust fumes
urban masses traveling
weaving in and out
all in a hurry
to perdition
in sweltering heat
where radiators spew
and tempers flare
sliding in the winter
heaters that never quite heat
frozen windows
to and fro
home and work
back and forth
the ebb and flow
the yin and yang
of western thought
sometimes considered
on car radios
but not often
while cacophonous
radio commercials
interject insanity
between songs
with virtuosity
in question
damn traffic

Thursday, May 31, 2012


i gave up booze
i gave up smokes
i gave up chewing tobacco
i gave up harley davidson
i gave up fast cars
i gave up chasing women
i gave up porn
i gave up ice cream
i gave up soft drinks
i gave up jelly donuts
i gave up red meat
i gave up sugar
i gave up white bread
i gave up chat rooms
i gave up politics
i gave up shopping
i gave up religion
i gave up television
i gave up group identification
i gave up painting
i gave up reading
i gave up writing
i gave up

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


sitting in airport kiosks
smoking cigarettes
drinking scotch
picking up girls
on their way to nowhere
i had swagger
in those good old days
when gas was cheap
and i was young
wearing a pinkie ring
on my way to vegas
when america walked proudly
and the slots went cha-ching
and hookers were angels
who ate at the free buffet
with me for friendship
two top-shelf Chivas's
for a buck
and free breakfast
at the stardust
when swagger was supreme
and the juice was flowing
and we swaggered onward
losing a bit each year
'til it was no more
now staring at vacant faces
in the mirror
looking at lost youth
hopes and dreams
cast aside
for the realities of today
no more swagger

Monday, May 28, 2012


uncle dick served in WWII
he hung communication lines
on the outskirts of manilla
i believe.

he climbed the poles
as japanese soldiers took pot-shots at him
he climbed every day
saw his comrades fall
their life expectancy on this job
was really low
he did his duty anyway

my brother told me he cried when dick left
for the big war
my brother jim was just a boy
dick told him he'd be back
not to worry
dick did come back
shell shocked and shaking
he had a hellish couple of years
with the drinking
then he pulled himself together

when i was born
my brother insisted
that my mom and dad name me after dick
i am proud to have his name
i call him every veteran's
and memorial day
he is 87 years old
my brother jim,(fifth army) would have been 76
jim passed away, but i still have my uncle

i think of all my veteran friends today
my brother jim
my grammar and high school pals
the ones who've died
the ones who've survived
and i thank them all
this is my duty
bless you all.

Friday, May 25, 2012


discover me, little girl
search my mind
ask me questions
i see you emerging
digging hendrix
bob dylan
reading bukowski
share it with me
let's talk
i'm open 24/7
maybe we can find
common ground
after all these years
a daughter and father
finally on the same page
this is my hope
this is my dream
discover me
so i can discover you

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


i like saying, "screw it!"
get pissed off
sneer at your enemy
throw down
put the gloves on
stand eye to eye
make a stand
throw your bill cap on the ground
face the clown
posture and postulate
angry ways to harm
let fists fly
get hit
and come back for more
screw it!
it feels good
better than dying inside
like a bookworm
living life in anaesthesic bliss
like a slug
no chances taken
hiding in a closet
of perpetual bliss
and taking it up your ass
with a smile on your face
this is dying my friend
screw it!
be hard
be mean
but do it for the right reasons
stand up
shoulders back
head erect
i tried serenity
anger works more efficiently
and gets more done
when the walls come in on you
kick back
and say screw it!
it's time to take a stand

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


the corpulent priest waddled to his pulpit
i sat in my pew eyeing a vixen's legs
a week before christmas he made his pitch
"five-hundred dollars a family"
to keep the boat of catholicism afloat
i knew right then and there
i would excommunicate myself

this irish alcoholic
drinker of fine single malts
driver of new cadillacs
smoker of cuban cigars
taker of vacations to ireland
rome and other exotic places
wants more than i can afford
i knew i would not tithe
or believe in decrepit mythologies
not anymore

so i broke my elderly mothers heart
when i told her i would never atttend mass
ever again
so be it
and so it is written
and so it was done
and i never went back
and i don't regret my choice

because in the news yesterday
i see the church stands on the side of misogynists
who seek to take the rights away from women
who seek to control their own bodies
and conceive when they want to conceive
ain't no hail to notre dame for me
i see where the church takes its stand
and i absolve myself from catholic guilt

i stand on what is right
i choose not to stone the infidels
those harlots named by rush limbaugh
are my compatriots
and all that is holy
is not so holy anymore
and if my soul burns in hell
so be it
because hell must be a holy place
where tithes are fair
and democracy hails
for everyone

Monday, May 21, 2012


old dogs started the day with an eye opener
a shot of whiskey and a tall can of beer
at four-in-the morning
it made the bones feel better
for the day's work to come...
and a greasy breakfast
in a greasy spoon
eggs, sausage, and lotsa coffee
then to the job
welding, wrenching, craning, laboring,
grunting, sledging, moving dirt and steel
old dogs did it all.

but wait...
we were young back then
and the joy was that
we thought we never were gonna' die
we were immortal
the money was never gonna' stop
the booze was gonna' flow forever
the cancer would never get us
so we lit another camel
and drank more shots-and-beers
and closed the joints

old dogs didn't worry about AIDS
or alcoholism
or taxes
or stocks
or dying
or occupying
just the sports book
and even then
we were happy

it ain't like that today
i must admit
the halycon days
are over

Thursday, May 17, 2012


corpulent masses supersize meals
at mega-eateries in the land of mass consumption
as giant sedans roll by with ultimate horsepower
on their way to expansive shopping centers
to accumulate more, more, and more of the same
garbage strewn throughout city streets
unused, abused, never enough for the maddening crowds
of capitalistic urges seeking to own the world
'midst blackberrys, iphones, ipads, ipods, dvds,
cds, gameboys, stock market ticker tapes, selling,
buying, short, long, mutual funds, equities,
lottery tickets, looking to score, on the move
america, the beautiful is on the make
and it was started by the likes of dinah shore
seeing the USA in her chevrolet
and the light bulbs came on in reagan's head
sponsoring general electric's theatre program
pap for the masses, while uber-corporates made the plan
of supersize me and own that vacation home
a ward, june, wally, beaver cleaver world for sure
it just ain't jake, no more
'cause someone has to pay the piper

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


i had a nose bleed in the night
i thought it was only drool
i emerged from bed to bathroom
for another piss
three-a-night for this old man
then i peered in the mirror
horrified again at what i saw
but more-so
blood on 'stache and goatee
prizefighting with myself i s'pose
then i frantically washed pillow cases
amazed at the amount of red
that came from my septum
i cleaned up like a crazed serial killer

then fixed my morning brew
coffee is a good vein constrictor
i pondered stroke possibilities
as i jammed cotton into the nasal passage
i opened the paper and read news of the world
my head held back
arms extending the news of the world
twice horrified on this fine morning
thank you god for this day
thy will be done
then i ran for miles
intending to stroke out
testing the gods
rolling the dice
fuck it
and i'm still here
i'm still here

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


rich men suck
up to one another
in mahohany boardrooms
and sink teeth
deep into jugular veins
of the weakest
of their ilk
and smile over
the dead carcasses
as blood drips
down chins
and cufflinked wrists
wipe off victory
from gaping mouths

like snails
leaving trails
of mucous
they blaze trails
over america
and other lands
this wide path
in god's name
the godless suck
everything of value

rich men suck
and masturbate
each other
over bottom lines
and fictitious realities
and phony paper
they lie outright
they give you dreams
and suck you in
then spit you out

rich men suck
life right out of you
as they constantly tinker
play golf
and drive themselves mad
with constant work
and worry
over too many things
they shouldn't have
like vacuum cleaners
inhaling more
they cannot stop

until the plug is pulled
and the current stops
and the machine is dead
and the stillness is manifest
and it is a great silence of
a perfect dream
and the perfect end
to the insanity
of rich men.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


love of family
protector of the downtrodden
acceptance of diversity
fair taxes for all
doing what's right
even if it isn't popular

a true leader
never slings mud at his opponent
never flip-flops his opinions
stays a steady course,
even when he is denigrated by others

he believes in the working folk
the people who build america
he protects educators
minority groups
stands for all religions
but keeps church and state separate

vote for this type of leader
you know who he is
be honest with yourself
don't let hate rule your vote
look into your heart
the answer is there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


i'm nine today
i feel fine, today
just like a kid
know what i did?
i quit the booze
i couldn't loose
a day at a time
i walked the line
and white knuckled it

i'm nine today
what can i say?
no jails no more
no liquor store
no hurting head
hear what i said?
i began to see
it wasn't free
for a cat like me

i'm nine today
i'm proud to say
i'm sober now
and glad somehow
that God found me
and let me see
how love can be
i'm nine today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


way down in southern illinois
is the trail
yeah, the one i used in college
a piece of cake
for a twenty-year old
but now i'm sixty-three

i start out with breakfast
bring a protein bar
a couple of bottles of energy juice
take the backroads
feel like i'm gonna' meet leatherface
or farmer vincent
then i'm there
and it warns me
of copperhead
and other dangers

the downhills are tough
quads scream and hammies beg
stop now, before it's too late!
but i continue
over slabs of rock
slippery slopes
holding on to branches
keeping on the main path when i can
feeling the humidity and heat
listening to my breathing
realizing this is only the downhill
and after an agonizing eternity
i reach the canyon
and it is beautiful
i linger a while
and realize that i'm strong
and that it's a great gift
then i head back

climbing up slopes
pulling my weight
and i have enough wind
and this makes me smile
my crows-feet smile
i am weather beaten
but not road beaten
climbing up sixy to eighty degree slopes
sometimes crawling so i don't fall backwards
and it is heaven right here on earth
because i trained for it
for seven years i trained for it
past emphysema
past cancer
past double bypass surgery

and the experts told me i'd never walk again
and here i am climbing
and running
and crawling
and i never felt more alive

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


i'm lashed to the whale
like ahab
his was a fine madness
much like mine
only my whale is the word
and the words often turn on me
and it pisses me off
unless i'm getting it right
this drives my harpoon
but very few notice
this is a world of icons
and texting fingers
mindless video
deluded conversations
of no importance
no one knows anymore
who the fuck is melville?
or sinclair
or bukowski
and on it goes
no sense of history
the deluded masses lashed me
to the word
it is my mission
while ignorance abounds
and i read no more
because it is an act
of desperation
for mindless zombies
clap for mindless reasons
and order another martini
and make guttaral sounds
midst my performance art
shiver me timbers
avast ye mate-ee's
and i sometimes wish
i could drown myself
in a sea of words
and a sea of whiskey
like a duck
for that is what i say
and that is what they hear
but for a few


i once had cogent thoughts
as a young boy
with dirty sneakers
and dirt under fingernails
stepping up to the plate
and whacking the hardball
with my louisville slugger
and rounded the bases
with glory in mind
and all was well
in the neighborhood
of my small mind

i once had cogent thoughts
in academic circles
at university
with my head filled with dreams
of saving the world
and filling myself
with the dope of life
and young women
who shared their dark secrets
i smelled their earth-motherhood
and looked to my future
and i was empowered
with what i thought it would be

i once had cogent thoughts
dashed by the wayside
in hot, smelly trailers
with factory workers
urine soaked, wine soaked bums
smoking cigarettes
and punching our clocks
we drudged to the taverns
to deaden the pain
of american dreams
that somehow still existed
in our addled brains

i once had cogent thoughts
until i read newspapers
and believed in false gods
and profiteers
who engaged in profiteering
so that the world shrunk
like a native head
and my america
lost her identity
and became scizophrenic
then suffered multiple
personality disorder
where all factions were fighting
and nothing got done
because all cogent thought
was gone, gone, gone,

i once had cogent thoughts
in the corner of my basement
with alcohol and cigarettes
listening to bach
painting for no-one but myself
and writing for myself
in my world of dreams
where all was possible
and cogent thoughts
were not important


dad said:
"kick their asses"
'nuff said
on chicago-urban streets
no cowardice
in my hood

i bought into this
my head held high
my chest pushed out
my fists a-flyin'
ready to bully
or be bullied
but proud
of my violence

i discarded this sham
and hid in my room
plotting revenge
'gainst my enemies
i hardened myself

i had the ultimate fall
my head through the windshield
drunk like my old man
angry at the world
sick of watching my back
in schools
on jobs
in marriages
in jails
on the streets
through decades

i had enough
bowed my head
slumped my shoulders
relaxed my stance
found my mind
embraced humanity
and found no terror.

Monday, April 23, 2012


the chapbook came in the mail
it looked innocent enough
in a brown envelope
waiting for me
to open it
my wife thought nothing of it
i feared it
because i knew
what it contained

you see
reading dsnny baker
is like walking through a mine field
then hearing the dreaded explosion
a waking into reality
buzzing in my ears
seeing my mangled feet
framed in gore
ten feet away from me

the shock
the horror
then the ultimate acceptance
of feeling alive
with truth still ringing
in my ears
i never felt more in touch
with what really is

denial is easy for the masses
but i'm an insane poet
and it's comforting to me
knowing danny baker exists
with ideas so much like mine
halfway 'round the world he exists
but now
so much closer to me

Friday, April 20, 2012

IN '95

in '95
i was a chicago roustabout

2 packs of marlboro reds
a go-cup with booze
into my pontiac
i went
wearing leather
dialed into the blues

it was friday night
the job was done
off to wicker park
to the galleries
the taverns
the dancehalls
it was so much fun

'til the wee hours
24 hour restaurants
bacon and eggs
strong coffee
back onto the xpress-way
the ultimate cruise
feeling quite high
no traffic in sight
i had nothing to lose

seeing the sunrise
plopping in bed
sleeping 'til afternoon
fixing my head
with more cocktails prepared
for saturday night
these were my actions
it was quite a delight

'til sunday did come
and it came with a thud
my head was aching
i was a dud
for monday loomed
i had to get well
to start a new week
my personal hell

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


i see you
do you see me?
i'm the old guy
of haggard face
working in the back of the gym
kind of hard of hearing
you won't look at me
i know that

i work here daily
with what is left
i work twice as hard
to try to keep up
with you younger ones
but i work for myself
not for awards
or companionship
or crappy trophies
that vanity is in my past

my muscles don't grow as easily
as yours
my lungs can't process the oxygen
like yours
my skin isn't supple
like yours
but i look at you
i am not afraid to look
please look at me

look at me
and see
what you will be
if you are lucky
to be in a gym
at sixty-three

Monday, April 16, 2012


death comes dressed up
in many ways:
as a card shark in a tuxedo
or as a nice pair of legs in high heels

it isn't prejudiced:
it takes young and old
white or black
yellow or brown
male of female
rich or poor
intelligent or moronic
republican or democrat
muslim or christian

it has a sense of humor:
taking boy scouts
young marines
guys who just got a clean bill of health
grannies on their 100th birthday
anyone at anytime...
in the most ridiculous situations

death is a joker
a savior
a cruel punisher
a lover
an enemy
the end all
and most mis-understood

until we die
we know not...death
the ultimate trip
the big one
the final curtain
the last gasp

so live
don't think about death
leave that to the poet
or the soldier
or the cancer patient
the alcoholic
the drug addict
the emergency room physician
the mortician
the bomber pilot

just know one thing:
none of us make it out alive
have a nice day

Sunday, April 15, 2012

twisted words

are these twisted metaphors
with which i speak
going to undo
my cerebral peak
to elucidate
the things unseen
will eradicate some things
i mean

and the storms of protest
from my words
will often make
me feel absurd
but i press on
though not complete
my twisted words
are mine to keep

onward soldier
use your gun
make your bullets
hit the sun
fire those words
without the woe
make them sting
and hurt and slow
those anal people
who have no mirth

fire them soldier
ignore the hurt
to you and them
it matters not
the war is here
the twisted lot
of people yearning
for the truth
fire them now
don't be aloof

for days end comes
all too soon
and death watch twists
my poet's gloom
so i fire on
with words of fate
my fragile body
but the war is good
and i'll never leave
until my words
have gone from me

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


i saw the stars through an opening in the jungle canopy.
and they kept me sane, that night.
the night after the fire fight was fraught with fear
and i clutched my M-16 so tightly, that my shoulder hurt,
and my hand went numb.
i thought of the model B-29 bombers i had assembled as a boy...
the aircraft carriers, my army men, and all the war movies I had seen.
so futile now, it was a dishonest joke to me.
i couldn't scratch my feet, and the jungle rot was killing me.
i couldn't smoke, 'cause it might make me dead.
and every so often i thought of the boy i had killed, that day
a boy/man with yellow skin who missed his mother
and i held him in my arms, as his life drifted away.
then i dispelled that thought by looking up at the stars
the stars kept saving me that night
but the real me was gone forever
and the twenty-two year old boy was lost
in a land half-way 'round the world
inhabited by yellow men, who i did not hate
rather, i feared them
and i counted the days
and became a short-timer
and never expected to see my mother again
but looked at the stars each night
and prayed foxhole prayers
hoping against hope that i was wrong
now forty years have passed
and she is gone
long dead
and i miss her
but i have come back
though i'm somewhat damaged
but i forgive myself and the world
and the stars still comfort me.

Monday, March 26, 2012


it's a war
leaving the womb
entering this hostile world
taking those first steps
enduring diaper rash
finding your aloneness
fighting playground mates
warring with educators
learning adolescent pecking orders
competing in factories
in colleges
in dating
in marriage
getting rejection letters
not getting rejection letters
raising a family
raising teenagers
raising your teenagers, teenagers
fighting with illness
paying bills
the war is on
never ending
making your will
getting things in order
until that last gasp
the war is on

Saturday, March 24, 2012


nobody notices your new suit
or cadillac
'cause they're all too worried
about themselves
how do i look?
what can i get?
who can i screw?
they say

they don't notice your stuff
your achievments
your jaunty walk
your new shoes
your pretty wife
they just think about
stealing your stuff
or screwing your wife

so be a dirty bum
lay in the gutter
drink cheap wine
beg for some change
and i guarantee
nobody will notice you
or pretend not to notice

and behind your back
if they notice
they'll wag their tongues
about what a mess you are
so you can't win
so screw 'em all

Monday, March 19, 2012


Back in 1957, I was a precocious, little blonde boy...eight years old...who idolized his older brother, Jim. He was thirteen years older than me, which put him at the age of twenty-one. I remember he and Bob English, (one of his more degenerate drinking buddies), building a dog house in my mom's basement for my german shepard.

I loved that damn dog. He was six months old, and went by the name of "Duke". I watched as the boys nailed and sawed with my pop's old hand saw. The dog house was a thing of beauty. They put a coat of varnish on it, and real roofing tile. I couldn't wait for them to lug it into our backyard.

Up the stairs they went, grunting and groaning. Lo and behold, it wouldn't fit through our back door. I watched as they dis-assmebled it. They used words I never heard before, and my mom got me out of the basement, because I was giggling and she feared for my life.

Another one of my brother's escapades with Bob, also took place in my mom's basement...My brother rebuilt and old Mercury engine for his boat. He and Bob had the bright idea to bring a 55 gallon drum downstairs, fill it with water, then mount the old mercury engine inside of it.

When they tugged on the cord to fire up the engine, I was amazed to see a water spout come flying out of that old can, hitting the ceiling, and drenching the two idiots standing next to the apparatus. My mom and dad went crazy, yelling at my brother and Bob.

I miss both of them. Bob English died of lung cancer in the 70's. He always had a kind word for me when I was a kid, and I actually shared a few drinks with him when I was in my twenties. My brother has been dead for about four years now, and I miss him every day. I wish he was still around, so I can remind him of these events. We loved to kid each other as brothers often do. I'm glad I have these memories of my big brother, Jim.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


don't call me mitt
just go away
you wake me at nap-time
what more can i say?
the more you call
the angrier i get
i can't even smoke
a damn cigarette
you fuss and you bother
for my friggin' vote
just quit callin'
you ain't got no hope
your waxy hair-do
and cover-boy looks
i've seen 'em before
on political crooks
you call me at night
during my "fave" tv shows
when i'm taking a dump
or counting my toes
it's endless bombardment
not money well spent
on a workin' class guy
who can't pay the rent
so just go away
with your wife's cadillacs
give me a break
pay your fair amount of tax
i know you would fire me
like old donald trump
so quit this bombardment
yah republican chump!

Friday, March 16, 2012


he was as crusty as an iron fence
this old biker
who fought a war in vietnam
had two children
drank griesedieck bros. beer from st. louis
and loved that cardinals ball club
he wrote novels and poetry
managed some big-time record stores
road his harley with some rugged gangs
but had a heart as big as the montana sky
my dear friend, frank
hippie frank
santa claus with a club patch
a trailer
and southern roots
who loved this man
'cause he called me brother
and i went to his memorial service tonight
to send him on his way
to purple mountains
and raging highways
and star clustered skies
and pure, universal love
and that's where he belongs
dear frank wright.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Saint Patricks day looms like a dark cloud, waiting to pour gallons of alcohol on my sober head...and I reminisce about my tavern days when I was part of the party, and everyone was Irish, and we all had such a good old time...I have visions of John Wayne sweeping Maureen O'Hara off her feet in the "Quiet Man"...ahhhhh...he is such a manly man...drinking and fighting and boxing and doing all those man-type things which legitimizes all drunks in America, Ireland and all over the world. As a practicing alcoholic for some 30-odd years, I call this celebration, an amatuer event, much like New Year's Eve...Acne faced college students drink a six pack of beer in the gin mills, and end up puking on their feet, as they carouse outside in Celtic heathens going to celebrate the beheading of some Roman.

I was a real drinking man...good for a fifth a day, and Saint Patrick's day was an everyday event for me. The old saying goes, "A man has to believe in I believe I'll have another drink!"...This was my credo for years. My heroes were W. C. Fields and the doctors on MASH...Now these were swarthy, exiting and sarcastic men who earned their bones, paid their dues, and deserved to sit next to me on a bar stool.

So much has changed for me. I will celebrate by watching the Quiet Man with my sweet wife. My drink for the evening will be a nice cup of tea, and I will enjoy Barry Fitzgerald telling John Wayne, "No pattie fingers now!"....Ah, green Ireland, pubs, drinks, and more drinks! It was a great life, 'til I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


heroin addicts in L.A., shoot up in the morning
then they prepare smoothies with alfalfa sprouts
and other green things...all organic
go out an run five miles
then go to so-called creative jobs
in film and screenwriting
and i catch all the mistakes in the shows
i swear i'm going there to check scripts
'cause i find the mistakes every night.
i wonder why they don't lose their jobs?
must be relatives of big time people
who help them get clean periodically
i don't like their strangeness.

i like the honesty of Chicago junkies
they shoot up in the morning
drink 2-day-old coffee
3 day old bear claws
look out the window at street scenes
then nod off in a closet
playing guitars with five strings
then hit the streets in the late afternoon
for the hustle
they aren't pretenders
unless they need to scam you
they don't want a job
they just want to be left alone
it seems there's more honesty in this
i like their strangeness.


im diggin' the rays, man...
workin' on my tan
pumpin' the iron
thinking of surfer girls
not hospitals
i want to explode
with endorphins, you know
make my summer endless
i know i'm an old cat
and that's where its
not at
but i'm still diggin' the scene
yah know what i mean?
i'm sober and fit
it all feels legit
so cruisin' i go
on with the show!

Monday, March 12, 2012


i live in a silent world
while noise is all around me
it really matters what you say
it's just that i can't hear it
and it bothers me that you can't see me
or rather, that you don't want to...
for i am old
and in your world,
i suppose that i don't matter anymore
but i see you
and what you say is important to me
so please speak up
and annunciate your words
for i am still a participant
thought i don't run the bases anymore
i know more than you think
and possibly can share some knowledge
and though i am in pain
with the various injuries of old age
i want to be the best that i can be
so join me in my world
though it be silent
though it be challenging
i still need you
because sometimes it gets too lonely.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


he was fuckin' right
old f.n. wright
man of words, and jokes and verve
who always left in his wake
love and cheer and made everything jake
he loved his harleys and golden brew
he wrote them poems for me and you
he served these good old united states
he suffered with demons
from war-time aches
but he smiled with humor and joked his way through
we here at my house loved him too
he called my debbie the "scrotum nailer"
we laughed and joked about his trailer
we looked forward to his coming back to his home
the cornfields of the midwest
so he'd be not alone
we both had dreams of days to come
i planned on them
just told his son
but frank went on to his reward
if god's a biker
big frank has scored
i'll miss you buddy
this is true
i hope we meet
when my days are through.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


there is the blessing of the harleys
in the non-descript town of makonda illinois
maybe i misspelled it...but it is a magical place
south of carbondale
with old hippie shops and sasparilla...
and the sweet smells of incense and marijuana
and every spring is the blessing of the harleys
and all is magical as if it were still the 60's
in the spring of the summer of love
and i go back to little egypt
the place of magnetic forces
along a fault line
with ultra-magnetism
and find myself at peace
with mother-god-nature once again
as if i haven't aged
and regain the brightness in my eyes
for i am forever young.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Sushine abounds this morning as I scrape off my windshield, shovel my driveway, and fire up for the gym...I enter at 8 a.m., and the holy place of iron is still relatively empty...except for a few hardcore plateheads. I go to the assisted dip chair, and do supersets of pull-ups, dips, and wide-grip pull-ups...

I see my arms and chest grow, and glisten with perspiration...Now is time to get serious...I sit and pull my own weight with cable pulleys...then pull down my whole weight with cable-lat, wide grip bar...I go to short grip and pull down some more...arggggh...this is good!

Off I go to the pec-rack and do 3 sets of 10 with 160 lbs...then do back flyes with 110...3 sets of 10...Then off to the Hammer/Smith machines for more back work...pulling, pulling, pulling...this is "pull" day.

Now that larger body parts are worked...I superset barbell curls with tricep extensions...then I do incline curls with 25 lb. dumbells to total exhaustion.
I finish off with tricep pulldowns with the rope and the close grip iron bar.

I do 20 minutes on the incline treadmill...dancing around to loosen my legs from yesterdays leg workout...My wife takes me grocery shopping, and I lug in bottles of water, propel vitamin drink, and bags of groceries for "Mongo"...need fuel for the week...

Now rest up and eat 6 meals with supplements, and "grow big" for another day...No rest on Sunday...Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


A couple of days ago, I met up with my friend John, in our gym...John is an old warrior, 69 years of age, stands all of 5'6", and is built like a brick shit house!...This guy was an iron worker all his life. He works out in Metallica or other terrifying type t-shirts, has leather wrist bands with skulls, blue jeans and motorcycle boots. He has long hair and a goatee, crystal clear blue eyes, and the demeanor and looks of Charlie Manson, without the swastika carved into his skull.

Most people are afraid of him, but he is a pussycat. He helps the clean-up lady, when her electrical extension cords for the vacuum cleaner get snagged on machines, and he is always willing to share knowledge about supplements and pumping iron.

I told him I was kinda' worried about my vocal cord checkup, 'cause I had cancer a couple of years ago...I went in today, and am clean now for over 2 years. He smiled at me and told me that he had a "little bit" of cancer in his lungs. Huh??? He made no big deal about it, and just went about his business of pumping 6 plates of 45 pounders for his bench press. He told me that the doc's wanted to see him in about a week.

John gave me a good kick of inspiration right in the seat of my pants...yeah man! Old warriors like John, keep going like the Energizer Bunny...They usually don't bitch and complain. Guys like him just deal with whatever life throws their way.

I like the "never give up" attitude. Every day is a challenge which has its' rewards, if you put out 100% effort. I imagine Jeff will be around for a long time. He's too tough to die "from a little lung cancer". If perchance he passes away, he told me he wants to be laid out in a muscle man t-shirt! I told him that the cancer might make his arms look too skinny. He told me, "There's always a taxidermist around to pump 'em up"!

You have to love his style.

Monday, January 23, 2012


There's times in the gym, where my mind will take my body where it didn't want to go. At other times, it's best to listen to my body. When I hear my shoulders popping and I have a feeling of general weakness, or a runny nose, I know it's time to slow down, and go lighter with my weights. I warm up with light weight, and progress to heavier loads, only if my body allows it.

Injuries are common when we overtrain. Often, I do exercises that are new to my muscular skeletal system. i awaken new muscle fibre and get joy in other ways, attaining the "pump", while guarding against injury. The abdominal muscles are usually the ones that everyone hates working. In reality, these are the most important. Lower back and ab strengthening are paramount in having a good exercise routine. They are the core, and from the core comes everything else.

So listen to your body. Work what needs to be worked. Eat what nourishes you completely. Get enough sleep. Often you will grow stronger with rest.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Incline bench....3x12 with 25 lb. dumbells to warm up.
3x8 with 40 lb. dumbells at forty five degrees.
3x8 with 50 lb. dumblells at forty five degrees.
3x6 with 60 lb. dumbells with bench flat

Bench presses...3x12 with 150 lbs.

Incline bench press...3x12 with 90 lbs.

100 rope tucks with 130 lbs.
100 crunches on decline bench with 25 lb. weight cradled on chest, twisting torso.
100 ab crunches on ab chair with 70 lbs. on back
wide grip push downs with 45 lbs.

3x15 quad presses at 320lbs.
4x12 calve raises with 120 lbs.

incline treadmill cool down...intervals.
walk backwards, do side-by-sides at ten degrees...Immediatley ingest recovery fluids, eat a 32 gram protein bar...(Met-Rx), and take to Muscle-wiz branch amino capsules to make sure protein feeds the muscles....Now, on to grocery shopping and a huge lunch!...bon-appetite!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


2 scoops of GNC wheybolic-60 protein powder and tablespoon of glutamine in 16 oz. of fat free skim milk...2 cups of black coffee...pre workout at 7 a.m.

drink 16 oz. propel energy drink while working out, and 16 oz. of water

Post workout at 10:00: Muscle-wiz recovery drink with glucosomine/chondroitin in
8 ounces of water...32 gram protein Met-Rx bar and 2 Muscle-wiz branch amino capsules.

Lunch: Three quarters of a lb. of Kobi beef...3 servings of steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower...One 16 oz. bottle of Propel vitamin water, a 32 gram Met-Rx protein bar...One slice of rough grain wheat bread.

late afternoon: 1 scoop of whey powder and glutamine in 12 oz. of fat free milk

dinner: a cup of non-salted almonds, 8 oz. of water packed tuna, and 2 capsules of muscle-wiz branched amino capsules.

after dinner snack: two oranges, two bananas...16 oz. of water

before bed: Muscle wiz fat burner (non-thermogenic), derived from green tea...

burp!...i then sleep for 8 hours....This is a diet to gain muscle.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The weight lifter over sixty, has to start out slow. You remember the old tale about the tortoise and the hare? The same applies to bodybuilders who want to win the race at a mature age. I came in the gym today, slightly sore, but not aching, so i felt relatively safe to start my routine, but instead of heavy lifts, I went for a ten minute walk on the treadmill to loosen myself up, and get my blood moving. I gingerly walked upstairs to the "house of iron", and picked out an incline bench. I began concentration curls with half the weight I'm used to using, and felt really good with a set of 8 reps. The next set, i slowed the movement down and felt a wonderful burn and increased to 12 reps. Ahhhh! Sometimes it's great to be a turtle! I went to incline curls, standing hammer curls, and by God, I was pumped up more, than when I used the heavy weight, and my shoulders and wrists were not paining me.

The rest of my routine was done with the normal weight I use...Some lifts I actually increased weight, where I felt comfortable. I am continuing to take my Muscle-wiz reactive repair after my workouts. I also take a Met-Rx bar and a couple of Muscle-wiz amino isolates after a my routine. This feeds my hungry muscles and allows for a nice anabolic effect. I continue to eat 6 times a day, and take 2 branched amino capsules, 6 times a day after meals. At night, I use muscle-wiz fat burner...a non-thermogenic formula which is derived from green tea and magic herbs!...youza!...I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night, and drink as much water as I can during the day. I also use GNC wheybolic 60 and glutamine prior to my morning workouts in fat free milk...I use it again in the afternoon.

I see a significant gain in muscle size and strength in the last couple of weeks, since I have started this regimen. My body weight has increased from 175 to 178. I notice a little more thickness in my core, but I am not too worried about it. I will lose water and fat, when I start the leaning out process and 2-a-day workouts this summer. Right now in my program it is important for me to gain size and strength to lift heavier weights and build more muscle mass. My body fat was at 18.0 today, which was disappointing, but I have time to get it under 10.0.

Body building is totally holistic...It invovles, mind, will, persitence, patience, dutiful practice and luck. For me, it is the most interesting game in town.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


"Hitting the wall", when I was a Marathon runner was when my quadricep muscles turned into jello at around the 20 mile mark, in a 26.2 mile race...I knew it was no big deal, that I would push through it to the end of the race...that I wasn't going to die, and I kept on going until I hit the finish line...expressing my agony in the typical ways that marathon runners express their agony...with tears, salutes to dieties, tossing their cookies, going down to all fours with lower back muscles aching so badly, they feel like they have been hit by hammers...and writing run on sentences like this.

Well, I hit the wall with weight lifting...I overtrained, and kept on training, like a fool...So now my arthitic left wrist is aching, as is my left rotator cuff, and left tricep muscle...I knew I was going to get in trouble, because I have been waking up with soreness at night, and have been more grouchy than usual...We try to push through these things with catch phrases like, "stiff upper lip", "what don't kill yah will make yah stronger", etc. and so on. I say "bullroar" to all that claptrap...yet, I keep pushing on...what a fool I am.

So today, I went on the sissy machines...elliptical, treadmill, keeping my heart rate low, so as not to burn up any of my precious muscle...My obsessive/compulsive mind freaks me out as I look in the mirror...I see this skinny guy with no muscles...and shriek with terror!..."This is not reality", I say..."It's only a movie!"...Now as I sit and watch football, I fear the calories I ingest..."Will they go to fat or muscle?"...

Forget it...Tomorrow's another day...and hopefully, I will lift again...Now I recover from hitting the wall...and that means, rest, rest, and more rest...Amen.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I headed up the stairs to "ironland" this morning...It was bench press day...As I passed rows of contraptions designed for pain, I saw a strange dude hanging from a barbell on the Smith machine...He had a raggedy stocking cap on his head, nerdlike glasses held together by tape...He was dangling like a bat, shuffling his feet, and showing a set of rock hard abs,, that took my breath away...i watched him as he was flexing and smiling...

When he dismounted, I asked him, "How old are you?"...I placed him at around 50, but he countered with, "I am sixty-eight". My mouth opened, and I was slack-jawed...I said, "Dude, you are in some awesome kind of shape." He told me of his inversion exercises, his commitment to nutrition and Zen, and his martial arts master who lived to be 120 years old.

We shook hands, and as he departed I thought of my prior antipathy toward him. I was ready to hate him, to run him off, to be derogatory. I am a fool. I learn something every day in the palace of iron. The most important thing to learn is brotherhood and sisterhood, compassion, humility, and the willingness to give a helping hand and share knowledge.

Ain't life the most beautiful thing?

Friday, January 13, 2012


I dress for the gym like a homeless person...I love my holey sweatshirts with cut off arms, and smelly sneakers, that are broken in..."just right". I like the muscle man t's even in the winter time...I wear shorts when it's fifteen degrees outside. I slather myself with aloe skin cream, so I don't get the crusties.

Today, I wore the fancy Nike gear my daughter bought me...All the hip people wear this stuff, on the north side of Chicago in Wrigleyville...but I'm a south side kinda guy, and I like sweating and doing heavy lifting, so I guess I just don't get it...I can't fromp around with my blackberry or IPod. This interferes with my concentration and work at hand.

Besides, why ruin expensive outfits with sweat?...I can always wear the new stuff to non-sweaty, daytime or evening events. I like the look of a renegade when I am pumping iron. I like harley dew rags, and heavy wrist wraps. Give me more weight, and big guys to help me pump a few more reps...yeah, guys like me with garlic on their breath, who don't shave their chest hair or underarms.

We carry ratty gym bags, not the fancy kind. We don't stop to chat at the juice bar, but sit alone in a corner ingesting concoctions which make us bigger after the workout. It's ok to say "hi" in passing, but don't mess with my routine...I only get to rest 30 seconds between sets.

This is how it is, and this is how it's 'sposed to be...amen...but thanks anyway sweet daughter, Catherine!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Yeah...but be careful. Today was my incline bench dumbell presses...flat dumbell bench presses...barbell bench presses, rope tucks, behind the neck pull downs...etc. etc. etcetera!

I was sore as hell yesterday, but took my glucosomine/chodroitin recovery formula, and most of it dissipated by this morning...BUT, I was still sore. Hmmmm. Now the question comes...Should I chance working out my sore shoulders?...sure!...I start out with 10 lbs. lighter, and do my repititions very slowly...Gradually, I worked up to weight that I am used to doing. By the end of my workout, my body is primed, and I am bombing once again.

The things to really watch for if you are overtraining are fitfull nights of sleep, where you keep waking up due to soreness, mild colds or fever, gnarly old-man-ness, where you are a bear at home, feelings of malaise or tiredness...You are cruisin' for a bruisin' when you keep working out hard if you display these conditions. Your body needs rest. Don't worry if you gain a couple of pounds by taking a day or two off. In fact, you may gain muscle size and strength when you come back.

The body needs sleep and good food to grow...Bomb on, men of iron, women of steel. Live to lift another day. Injuries can put you down for weeks or months, so don't get all obsessive/compulsive about this deal...Remember you can always work your abs, and do incline walks on the treadmill, while you listen to your favorite IPod tunes...Check out the eye candy, you might meet your dream date, or the date from hell! It's all up to you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Some bodybuilders, like me, are not lucky enough to have huge wrists and forearms...ergo the wrist wrap is an essential tool in the lifting of heavy weight. I use TKO brand boxer wraps which can be adjusted with nice little velcro strips...When they get smelly, you can toss them in the washing machine, and lay them on the top of the clothes dryer, and you are good to go the next day...I put on Harbinger leather lifting gloves, over the top of the wraps...The Harbinger's also have wrapping devices for better stabilization...Ocaisonally, during my workout, I loosen the straps and re-adjust them to stabilize my wrist, or loosen them for circulation purposes...I have to buy some wraps, that I can attach to barbells, and other equipment in the gym, so I can specialize to lift heavier weight. I have an arthritic left wrist from running and shifting bulldozers and end loaders all my life. I don't want the huge calcium deposit on my wrist or carpal tunnel to impede my progess...Lifters wrap with all kinds of things...I see guys using knee wraps all the time when they are doing squats...Squats and deadlifts are some of the best exercises, because they employ so many muscle groups...but beware of overstressing the lower back and knees...Make sure you use a whole range of motion with light weight, before you try those gargantuan lifts...No one expects you to be a hero in the gym...Injury makes you stay at home, so wrap up, dudes and dudettes!...See yah tommorow, healthy and strong!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Started out the morning with 40 grams of whey protein and a scoop of glutamine in 16 ounces of fat free milk...had 2 cups of black workout at gym had 2 capsules of branced amino's a Met RX power bar, and regenerative glucosomine/chondroitin drink...Lunch was a 12 ounce steak with ceaser salad, baked sweet potato, 2 branched amino capsules, iron tablet, multi-vitamin, baby aspirin, and 16 ounces of water...Home to nap for an hour. Upon waking drink another teaspon of glutamine in 16 ounces of propel vitamin water...3 p.m. had Met RX replacement meal bar, half a cup of almonds, a pear, 2 bananas and 2 branced amino capsules with 16 ounces of water. At 8 p.m. tonight will have 2 cups of cottage cheese and water packed peaches, and before bed will take fat burning, non-thermogenic grean tea supplement. Diet is a lot of work...Must eat to grow!...forgot the steamed asparagus, peanut butter on multi-grain bread...whew!

Monday, January 9, 2012


These are the muscles that everyone wants to have. The legendary "six-pack"...the awesome abdominal wall...and for taller people, the oblique muscles, that girdle a human's sides, running down to the hip. On squat, fireplug guys like me who are short waisted, big obliques make me look too darned wide, so I don't work them too much...but I do work the hell out of my abs and I work them every day.

The first thing I did is to get lean. I got rid of all my fat. At the age of 62, this left a helluva lot of skin. I looked absolutely awful. I am getting rid of the skin slowly, by doing 200 to 300 reps on my abs every day.

One day, I do crunchies, hanging leg raises, and pull downs on the ab chair...On alternate days I do rope tucks and more crunchies. The idea is to isolate the muscles you are trying to work on, and burn them. The leg raises are good for the lower abs. My favorite over-all are the rope tucks. As the muscles grow, they become more noticable. I have a "4-pack" now, and need to really isolate the lower belly. Wearing a rubber belt, with velcro adjustments while working out, helps burn the fat off the lower belly.

Also, taking a fat burner at night...(a natural herbal one...NOT thermogenic), also keeps the metabolism burning fat, not muscle. Remember to eat every two hours, stay low on carbohydrates, and drink a lot of water. This keeps you clean, lean and mean! Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day...Abdominal muscles are hard work! Make sure you develop your lower back muscles, or you will be in for a strain...Core training is the basis of every other exercise...without core training, you are looking for injuries.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Most people think that to build muscle, a person has to only lift weights...In fact, nutrition, eight hours of sleep a night, and many other metabolic factors come into play in order to build a rock hard body, with chiseled definition. Long periods of aerobics may get one heart healthy and lean, but they also burn up muscle.

I got lean with brutal aerobic exercise, ninety-minutes, every other day,and on alternate days I pumped iron for 90 minutes...but I also was burning up muscle. I no longer use aerobics, because I superset my weight lifting routine, to keep my heart rate in a zone between 125 to 135 bpm to burn fat. I keep moving in the gym from one exercise to the next. This takes some planning, but is well worth it. Never rest more than 30 seconds between sets. This keeps your body burning at a level that burns fat and build muscle. When lifting really heavy, you might have to wait for longer periods. Fool the body into getting bigger by changing exercises or adding new ones to your program every 6 to 8 weeks.

It is also true in order to build hard, lean muscle, a man has to lift heavy...We walk a fine line between injury and "bigness". Clean diet with no alcohol, sugar, fritos, chips, pizza, donuts, ice cream, and all the other food I used to love is paramount in fitness. Clean whey protein in the amount of 40 to 60 gms. of protein is taken pre-exercise, and post for recovery. Mainstays in my diet are egg whites, tuna, cottage cheese, lean read meat, and fruits and vegetables. I also drink 160 ounces of water every day. Generally if I am crabby, have trouble sleeping at night because of soreness, or I don't look forward to my workouts, I am overtraining. I change things up, and listen to my body, to avoid this staleness. If I keep pressing on or trying to increase my weight or intensity, injury usually is the result.

Supplements which I take include, glutatmine, pharmaceutical grade, liquid arginine, branched aminos, herbal fat burners, vitamins, and fish oil. Make sure you read about the side effects of supplements. I do not recommend thermogenics. They speed up the heart, and can to be damaging to your cardio health.

Feed your body every 2 hours...Most bodybuilders eat six times a day. We are never hungry, unless we are preparing for a competition. I will talk about hypertrophy and periodization in some future blogs.

Great eating and great training to you all! Enjoy this lovely weekend!

Friday, January 6, 2012


It was leg workout day today. Beautiful day in Chicago. Sun is a shinin', the birds are a singin', and I am dreading my screaming quads!...I start out by warming up...20 minutes of climbling 10 degrees and 1 mph on the incline treadmill...a walk backwards for the hamstrings, and do side-by-sides, to loosen everything up...this gets the heart rate up, and lubricates the joints for what's coming next...I do 20 reps. at 240 on the quad press machine...I make sure my feet are high on the plate with my toes flared out slightly so I don't put undue pressure on my knees...My 2nd set is 20 reps at 260...I rest a minute then do a killer 20 reps at 240...I stand up gingerly and walk around the gym for a couple of minutes...

Now on to the calf machine, where i hang my feet off a block, put my shoulders under a padded lifting device...and push 120 lbs...stretching my calves and standing on my tippy toes...i do this slowly and hold the contraction...I do 3 sets of 20...

Off the leg extensions for the hamstrings, and some squats, and deadlifts...whew!...I also worked my core and shoulders today, but it makes me tired just to think about what I did with these bombing exercises. I don't want to overload you!...

I have to dance with my wife tonight. I am afraid...very afraid...more tomorrow!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


If you want a rock hard abdominal wall, diet is 80% of the game...but there are a few exercises that should be done with love and care. My mainstay is the "crunch" on a decline board, with thingees that hold onto your legs, so your head does not crash on the floor, and leave you more mindless, than when you stepped into the gym.

The crunch should be done slowly and with appreciation and concentration for the area to be worked...Oh yes, you will feel the burn, and when you think you can't do anymore, add five more, then relax for 30 seconds and do another 25 to 50 reps. I find 100 to 200 suit me well. I use my elbows to touch alternate kneecaps...ohhhh...It's wonderful...sure.

Then if you are really masochistic you can go to leg raise while hanging from a bar...Watch you don't go swinging out of control, and hit that hot blonde in the "bean" who you've been leering at for weeks.

My new love is the rope tuck...Get a nice foam mat, and place your towel on it...It dosen't matter whether you're headed east. Try and do a third of your weight for starters, grab each end of the rope above the knots, and pull down gently until your elbows touch the floor in front of your knees...After 20 reps, you will feel close to Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or Arnold Stang...Then do another 20, then another should be burning in your guts...It's a wonderful day!

Next, go to the ab pull down chair...Try to pull 70 lbs. Make sure your hernia doesn't rip open...If you can pull 70lbs, you're having a good day...I managed 5 sets of 20 today. Tonight as I lay on my tummy in bed, I will feel the glorious pain.

Tomorrow, I try 50 continuous slow reps with a 45 lb. plate for my bench press...Then proceed to an incline bench for 50 more with a 25 lb. plate. Please pray for me. I am certifiable.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I hate working my shoulders, probably because I should...They need widening and more muscle, so I must proceed with verve and extreme caution, because old warriors like me have arthritis and calcium deposits, and all other types of maladies brought on by weather, dampness, and wear-and-tear. I start my day with incline dumbell presses...3x9's with tinker toy 25 pounders...This gets me warmed up...I lower the bench to a flat position, and nail 3x8's with 45 pounders...Now I'm getting pumped, so I do standing military presses with 35 pounders to exhaustion...hmmmm...

i drink water...gotta' stay hydrated...I do stiff armed dumbell raises with 20 pounders..making sure my motion is nice and slow...shoulder level, no jerking...It ain't easy, folks!...I wander around in a daze and work my quads, calves, do rope pulldowns, decline crunchies, leg extensions, more hammer machine presses...and end up downstairs doing cross cable, free-for-all frenzy type stuff to finish.

I get my picture taken for a pre-supplement muscle site...(I am supposed to blow up like Charles Atlas in 8 weeks), then I proceed to the lounge where i ingest a Met-Rx bar loaded with 32 grams of protein...My wife is sitting there eating Cherios, and wondering how I can ingest this thing that tastes like a dog bisquit (to her).

I drink another bottle of water and cool down on the treadmill...I walk backwards, forwards, side-by-side, at a five-degree incline to loosen the legs...I know they will ache tomorrow...Quadricep work is brutal...I always do more than I should.

Anyhow, glad to be alive and old for another day! Debbie's birthday dinner was top-shelf last night, and my family had a good time...I love 'em all...See yah tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It was in the low 20's in Chicago this morning. I peered out my kitchen window at 6 a.m., and saw nothing but blackness. It feels and looks like Siberia. This is the tough time of the day. I pour a cup-o-joe, get into my Chicago Tribune, and finally mix up 60 grams of good quality whey protein in fat-free milk...This magic potion allows me to do "superman" feats in the gym.

Today is arms Armistice Day...arms day! I remember to warm up. It's very important to warm up on cold days. (The memory of a torn bicep muscle, 2 years ago is still with me)...stopped my training for 2 months! I start out with concentration curls with heavy weight dumbells...sitting at the end of my bench. I move on to superset with tricep extensions, also heavy weight...after 3 sets of each I guzzle some vitamin water and hit standing hammer curls...Then the real fun and burn begins!...I do forty-five degree incline dumbell curls to exhaustion with itty-bitty 25 lb. dumbells...I do 'em slow and easy...a 3 count up and a 6 count down...I look in the mirror and see veins popping as I lower and raise the weight.

I thank my higher power for mirrors in the gym! I must remain humble with my narcissism. Now on to more compound movements in the back of the gym...All my friends of iron are there...They grunt and groan and say hello...It's another beautiful day!

Monday, January 2, 2012


This year, my blog will be specifically devoted to health, nutrition and the world of body building. My journey has been a long and difficult one, since I retired due to health reasons over six years ago. I have experienced the pain of double aneurism surgery, emphysema, and vocal cord cancer, yet I have come to the point in my training where I am ready to compete in a master's body building competition. I had to quit the booze, drugs, smokes and start eating clean food to get to my proper weight. In the month of May, I was a lean 170 lbs., and began pumping iron. I now weigh 178 and have put on eight pounds of muscle. I quit doing aerobics, in favor of cycle training with weights. I am amazed how much good food I can eat, without getting fat. Everything I have to do now is a science. I have to consider proper supplements, training techniques, proper sleep and nutrition. I am happy to have some good people around me, to help me in my quest for excellence. Day by day, I will write about my experiences at the gym and at the dinner table. I also will write about the difficulties that outside forces such as family and peer pressure put on the body builder. I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year! Thank you so much for reading my stories!

sincerely, Rich Cronborg