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