Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Auld Lang Syne

(this is a post i've published previously. I've tweeked it a bit and sent it out for another new year's romp)

ran into an old friend today,
to be sure.

you see,
I was sure
he was long gone,
even hoped so, i guess

a dreamer,
this one,
that won’t ever
amount to nothing
cept whittlin clouds
into snowflakes.

I was out
in an old familiar
place, hummin an old
familiar tune, from
an old familiar time.

the wind was right
the season sure
the clouds asleep,
just right for dream carving.

dropped by, he did
as I was cutting wood
under these here clouds and
he winked in whisper
pockets packed
and I wiped my brow
to his knowing.

we agreed, a beer to share
on a stump carved
for ass cheeks
when January whistles boredom

God, it was good to see him,
though he’s such a fuck!
blows smoke out his ass
and calls it maple syrup!
a real piece of work,
this one.

we studied the clouds
and weighed em out
like butcher’s beef
along the ridge line
while our fingers numbed
cold to remembrance
and bitter barley brew.

we wondered
just how long those trees
have swayed
and if Yankee soldiers
ever silhouetted
the sky line
in no reason why.

I showed him the chicken coop
of simple family dreams
that were cashed in
for ten cents on the dollar

the murdered cedars
stripped bare and marched
down the hillside to a grape arbor
that never happened

and that garden
that April applauded
July killed
and August mocked

a killin field, all
in a country slum
only shangri la for
lazy coons and lost ambitions

he never asked
about the family,
mostly out of kindness
and detoured regret

we mostly reminisced.
of winters past,
summers that promised
but never were,
and autumns yet to come

and we never back slap
or laugh out loud,
but rather sideways glance
in a giving comfort.

he didn’t ask how I was
he knows what I am
and didn’t ask
what’s new, or hers past
knowing I never could
draw a winning hand
cept in solitaire
-and then only if I cheat.

but we did drink a beer,
pretending it was cold
and not the wind,
nor the season final
and that was enough.

we of tripped up dreams
and tangled ledger
resting upon trees in Mexico
like infertile butterflies
too vandal to fly a straight line

but a shrug, a beer
a broken ridge line
and an old friend
who couldn't spawn a maggot
on a pile of shit
cures today, hides tomorrows
and ignores a past
where I’ll pretend
not to look.

a toast then
to another year
another ten penny nail
in thread bare tires
on a beater
comin back from Cleveland

so too, then, a toast to him
and to clouds,
and to you,
and what might've been

Happy New Year


Saturday, December 24, 2011


i ride the canyon rim
careening the curves of life
while death below claws for a pants leg
and my curled lip says,
nice try

the top down on a gulf coast highway
i pass sea and earth haggling
over property rights
and the art of supremacy

i lean salt spray to the gale
in rounding the horn
spitting challenge to the shoal
while my maniacal glance to the deep
says, where are your balls, oh
father of fear?
mine are here for the winning

these feet scale the frozen peaks
knowing the crevasses lair lurks
below, whispering me a bit to the left,
a little more firmly
a flag of glory for a soul

every journey needs a vehicle
and not just any will do
you can't plow a field with a camaro
and john deere won't win bristol

so now and here, in this journey
is it my heart burning rubber?
my mind weighing fear?
or my spirit telling both
to fuck the hell off!

perhaps i drive them all at once
maybe i just need a good wreck

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pirate Prayers

holy are the reverent
their petitions, solemn
to carry the day, unlock the mysteries
secret chords and riddled tongues
must be practiced

not so, with shipwrecked pirates
and street corner whores
never knowing time for ceremony

so then on stained napkins
scribbled and tied to stones
like the vandal i am
i fastball them through the clouds

little doubt, a window or two
stained glass and gold trimmed
I've shattered, sending the innocent fleeing
knocking David from his perch
Solomon from his porch
right in Martha's soup

with brows pinched and tongue out
i've said, HERE! this is the one!
really, so certain
while Peter, tsk, tsk'd

but then, -NO WAIT!
that was all wrong
what i really meant was this

and i changed, and you changed
and they changed, and holy green zebras
everything changed
and so
scribble, tie and hurl
up to the heavens once more

while the moment, my mind, our heart
renegotiated terms
i just kept slingin them stones to the heavens

until, one day, sure i was
that my pirate prayers littered the foyer
ruined Martha's soup
broke every window, beaned poor Lazarus
and sent Stephen back to therapy

and as is my way, to my senses
i arrived far too late

from heaven, the light warbled in waves
the ground rolled like thunder awakened
and as i fell prostrate in Holy terror
i heard, ENOUGH!
cease and desist.


which prayer might He answer?
i pondered in mumble
did i really mean any of them?
they seem crazy now

if fly i could, i would soar into heaven
sneak in the back door, overwhelm the janitor
gag, bind and closet him
take his place, his broom
clean up the unrighteous mess

I'd find all my twisted prayers
in the soup, in Samsons's hair
Mary's laundry
scattered about the king's feet
and rid them i would, take back the chances of pirates

I'd sweep the glass, paint the porch
and sail my escape back to earth

but i can't fly
and the bells have chimed
so wait i must, for what?
where i said, oh, please do!
or later, when i said, oh no! please don't?

will He find the one where i accused Him?
the angry one? the most foolish one?
will He ignore them?
sweep the whole bunch into hell
to keep Satan amused?

i wait, shipwrecked
tossed in the storm
of a pirate's prayer

Friday, December 9, 2011

jingle bells

listening to Barbra Streisand singing have yourself a merry little christmas
yeah, right
all our troubles will be out of sight?
faithful friends who are dear to us
will be near to us?
the good ol days?
give me a frikken break!
yeah, yeah-humbug and all that frikken nonsense

every year we fall for this, buy into it
lock stock and barrel
we mace and punch our way through black friday for that x-box 17 (don't worry, there will be)
we empty our wallets hoping to buy happiness
the first hour of Christmas music is nice
the second hour brings nausea
the third, rage

mel torme wrote the christmas song in july;  in Arizona!
jack frost nipping at your nose?
more like
scorpions stinging at your toes

i don't mean to bitch
God how i want it to be so!
every year i ante up hoping i'll get it right
but i've lived too long
seen too much

the pogues are the only ones who sang christmas honestly
merry christmas, you horses arse!

i am glad we're such a hopeful people
hopeful being a euphemism for gullible
but this emptiness, this hole, this longing, loneliness
most of us harbour
like a virus that has seen one too many antibiotics
it has learned to turn the tables
using the cure to its advantage

and so we fall for it
thinking, maybe, just maybe, we just need more
more music, more lights, more egg nog, more presents
but the more we are, the less we become
let's see einstein solve that one

but don't cross me off your christmas list just yet
i'm a child at heart and i remember the times
before the virus grew herculean
and i'll try
i'll hope
and i'll wish upon stars
but i can't assuage the fear
that come january
the only one merry
will be the shopkeeper off to the bahamas
merry christmas

(jus so ya know, my spellcheck isnt working again and i'm a lousy speller)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mr. Throckmorton, if you please

if it turns out shirley mac really knows her stuff
and isn't just the biggest wing nut since a '74 Schwinn
i hope i come back as Ernest Throckmorton,
the son of Norman and Elizabeth Throckmorton

there's gotta be money in a name like Throckmorton
dontcha think?
even a locker at the club

Ernest bass is a hillbilly
ernie baker would be a decent third baseman
Ernest tubb is a hillbilly that can sing better
than the hillbilly Ernest bass
Ernest e zackmueller would be an old farmer that smells bad
ernie johnson would be the junier varsity coach
and ernie potts the garbage man

but Ernest Wainwright Throckmorton II would reek of old money!
and there's a lot in a name

ever met a homecoming queen named Bertha? Edna? Gertrude?
nope, there all over at Beulah's for a slumber party
ever know an eddie who wouldn't swindle ya?
or a small laughless hank?
ever known an andy you couldn't trust or a whore named Martha?

see! that's how it is!
i was just born with the wrong name
it just lays there like a sack of cement
ho hum
siblings too, tom, bob and sister sue
geez, i've been doomed from the get go

do you think it a coincidence
that the farm girl was mary ann? the actress, Ginger?
the buffoon, gilligan and the rich guy, Thirston?
or that the barber was floyd, the dopey deputy, barney
and the butcher is always sam?
and Marcia Brady was the all American cheerleader
while brother Greg-the star quarterback
-did i mention archie the bigot? his dim witted wife edith,
or fred, the junk man?

and of course, the maid would be alice and the aunt, bee
yeah, of course
hollywood has always known
but if i was Ernest W Throckmorton II,
boy, then you'd see something!
I'd be there in my dark study
cozy in my smoker, sippin my brandy
the dark book case lined with important looking shit
no one would ever actually read
i would settle my pipe on the small table
once owned by Thomas Jefferson
poke the fire, (cuz that's what us rich guys do)

i would rattle my wall street journal
and uh hmm a lot as i scowled
to the fools losing money

i'd bet i'd golf better too
and write? Holy smokes how i'd write!
then i'd toss em in the fire and snort at how easy it is

i'd probably walk with a cane too, cuz us rich guys look cool that way
and I'd spend a lot of time at the window
hands behind back
sometimes rubbing my chin
cuz we rich guys think a lot
and i'd say, "Good day, madame"
and use a lot of big words to impress my colleagues
and i bet i'd never fart cuz we rich bastards eat good
-might miss that

oh! if only i was Ernest Throckmorton!
and you know what?
i'd marry Gwendolyn Steinhousen
cuz she has all the right syllables
and none of our children would have less than two
even the donald is never called don or the don

robert, thomas, richard and susan
see how easy it is!

but alas, it's too late in this life
just plain rick sinkel thud for a few more years
budweisers, bad golf, empty pockets
and Mcdonalds farts

but boy oh boy
you just wait til next life
then you'll see!
it's all in the name

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Times

a memo to joe pa, and me:
never trust the good times.

where should we keep this memo, Joe?
frame it and hang it on the wall?
no, this isn't something we earned, this is something we ought to have known

there are no exceptions to this rule, and it strikes the rich and the poor
the learned and unlearned
the righteous and sinner

one day you're promoted and that clicking noise in the car is just a loose wire
the next, your sister is killed by a drunk driver and the IRS wants to chat
the best day of your life is followed by a new pain in the morning
and chemo in three months
while in between, your eyes glaze over like a cat out of lives

this is not to say we shouldn't find joy where moments grant them
or skip the birthday party for uncle ned
this is to say we should all the more

but cast a wary glance over the shoulder, every now and again.
squint and peer down that dark alley
study your lovers eyes, take note of the pauses

relish that 25 cent ice cream cone, and get the sprinkles
read the box score on monday and pocket the bet
grab that snooze in the beat up recliner

but keep the black shoes polished and handy
stash some coin in a secret spot
get the long term disability insurance, just in case
and hug your kids every chance you get

cuz damn! ain't the good times good!
the beer cold, the steak tender
the cherries in a row
and that kiss like sugar on the melon

but don't trust it joe
no! no! no!
don't bank it as gold
cuz sure as that sun will come around again
know a storm brews somewhere
your storm joe
my storm joe
and destruction is indiscreet

a hearty cheer then from the ale bench
a raise of the glass and a hey ho!
as we drink to the rising sun
for this is right to do
but with an eye to the door
and a hand on the scabbard
just in case our chips run out
and the tax man cometh

(joe pa is joe paterno. the winningest coach in american college football. He has been regarded as nearly a God to many for decades. then, within a two week period, he was disgraced, fired, mocked and found out he has cancer. That's how fast and furious it can hit.)

Monday, November 21, 2011


I love the mountains
but it is the land of hills, and
crookedy ridges, that i now dwell in
all chop! Chop! Chop!

mountains are the gateway
to the stars becoming attainable,
a proper sledding hill
for the midnight moon
to play upon

you can ponder big in the mountains
becoming small while your vision expands.
it is here, the elk, majestic and lean
snort the frozen air, giving it new life

in the hills called mountains
a bear will steal your lunch
but in the grandfather mountains
the bear will make you its supper

men here will die, must and have died
will die-good men full of jerky
blood and muscle

in the eastern hills
men full of Brussels sprouts
and bottled water
will get ticks and catch cold

i speak not against these eastern hills
but i mock their claim to be mountains
Superior can never be an ocean
and makes no such boast
it is enough to be the grandest lake

if the Rockies could grow legs
they'd put on their scuffed
torn, unlaced work boots,
step over the Mississippi
and kick the appalachians ass
just to teach them
what a true mountain really is

(i make no apologies for this post)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Loving Karen

i never slept with Karen
and i guess it's because i've never met one
but i think I'd like to
-except Karen Carpenter
mostly cuz she's dead and wore bad clothes

Karen, I think, or perhaps
merely speculate
is cute, longish hair
strong in build, yet compact

she can play the piano, but never does
smiles, but not all the way
and she speaks
as if she cares that you're listening

she might be a librarian,
and a damn fine one!
but she's versatile
so she might also be a check out clerk
or a waitress at Denny's
you never know with Karen

she's the one at the bar, with friends
but always a beat behind the joke
-except Karen Carpenter
who was always a beat too fast

she's diplomatic in controversy
and always kind to her mother
and secrets! oh, God can she keep them!
but never tells any

when she strips herself bare at night
she always pulls the blinds first
but yet and still, when the room settles
in silent darkness
she touches herself just like Carol

and when she kisses, and oh yes, she does
she kisses first with her eyes
having known the magic of her blinds

cuz that's how Karen is,
a flame in a bottle
that never dances for the wind
for then the wind is master

you can see why i love her,
can't you, this Karen?
and i think i'd like to lie with her
but first, I suppose,
I'd have to meet her

Friday, November 11, 2011


I've heard tell that the great whales travel thousands of miles and that even their calls might be heard
a continent away by friends.
And the Great Whites swim the edge of continents like a deep water autobahn, the direction depending on the purpose, the purpose depending on the need.
I watch as the Canadian honkers get serious, and rank is respected. And today I read of the monarch butterfly.
Just now they are heading for trouble in Texas as the earth is scorched there and like Custer, they
should've sent adept scouts, or so the mind would say. But on a wing and tiny prayer they are a thousand feet up and clocking twenty-five miles a day.
They will go to Mexico, and I'm bettin they'll make it again. Those same few acres their Grandparents knew last year and their Grand kids will know next year, but this group has never known.
No matter, they'll ignore the science of man that digs deep in the universe but can't explain how a
butterfly gets to Mexico.
I think of migration, today. The need to pull up stakes and toggle your needs to fit the season and make
all the pieces fit for only that season.
Man was like this once, or so i like to believe. But we've become anchors tangled in our own roots and our ship flounders beneath our empty sails.
The seasons come and go while our beards turn white and complacent. We shingle the roof, chop the wood, decorate the tree, and sparkle our windows in spring-when the geese once more salute our roots from on high.
I guess this is evolution just before the finish.
If only our heart would burn again, stoking a fire to fill our sails, but we teach those that follow that forty acres and comfy lazy boy is the end of the game, and victory at that. And like fools, they believe us.
I think, perhaps, if the heart were permitted to take the reigns once more it might be different.
We might say this is not enough. I have a hunger that pains for the banquet and a need it's never known.
I shall leave this field of lush purple flower and forsake the easy milkweed where i might die fat and dare the scorched vastness that may lie in my way.
But I fear the heart has been silenced by the few who made us their slaves, though it's we who snap the locks.
And migration becomes folklore. A jig for the few we call insane and callous.
We, who once were the wind, and the leaf upon it, have become less than the tree and only the mushroom who camps upon its roots.
We've decided to tame the heart to make better sense of the mind.
We should've known better.
It is the heart that is life and knows best what life is.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lay Me Down

once i floated over this life
as the wispiest of clouds
on a morning drenched lake

fishermen glanced
but paid no mention
save the prayer of gratitude
to the god of summer leisure

i was that soft april rain
that barely shook the petal
the softest feather floating
through the trees only to become
the gosling's pillow

but hurt, that wretched volcano
came bellowing like a senator
and touched us all as a troubadour
singing for his pension

and this, his song, i've taken up
as cloak against the light
illuminating the bones of my soul

and i've become hard, harder
but not yet brittle as hardtack
more the day old needing
that extra dollop of butter

i'm now yet not now always
the thunderclap that chases men
to shelter, boats to port
women to preachers
and death edges forward

i've become that june downpour
that spoils the roses, flattens the lilies
like talons clutching the last feather

perhaps this the purpose of time
to wind the watch backward
remember the gentler day
and lay down in its soft valley

and yes, lay me down
lay me down where light yet flourished
and feed me too a friend
without the coy of butter

Thursday, October 27, 2011

an observation

imagine running the first half of a marathon in proper running gear
then imagine putting on sorels and a snowmobile suit to run the second half
the desire to outrun the wind remains but the wind could dog paddle and still beat you

i think our minds should age with our bodies, but i've found one has little concern for the other
you pop the cork on the '47 Chablis and you don't see bubbles spilling out like children at recess,
shouting wee! and sliding down the stream into an orgy of chaos.
no, as the dust sighs relief, the bubbles escape gingerly, curtsy at the entrance, and demur properly.

I suppose so should we, in our pink fuzzy slippers and horrible bathrobes, as we scratch our ass
and send the cat shrieking with our best imitation of the walking dead.
but i'm finding we don't, and i think it's a damn shame for us to wake up and find ourselves
prisoners in a rusty, broken old frigidair buried in the weeds.

why weren't we told?
why did those before us pretend they were old if they really weren't?
surely i would've treated them differently

sure, my ears are growing into lazy eagle wings, though not as dramatically as Ringo Starr's
and my nose is becoming a rutabaga from Mrs. Johnson's garden
but inside, in my heart, in my mind, and in my spirit
i still play in your sandbox, my young confused friend
i still, snap my fingers, slide down the hall in my fruit of the looms
and my dick still swings from the jungle trees
though not as high up as it once did and it needs an afternoon nap

and i still get excited over root beer floats
and christmas
and i still giggle at hangovers that hurt
though they're harder to cure with just instant replay
and i know your mother, young dancer
and your father, star pitcher
and uncle ned and your naughty aunt kate
and let me tell you, they're not who you think they are
and shame on them for not telling you so

so yes, you of playful youth, pity the broken frigidaire with rusty hinges
but know the heart plays elsewhere
skipping rope over dreams no different than your own
and let me tell you young fella, who surely will follow my trail
it's all a sham and i'm here to cure the lie
your life will not end at thirty or even forty
at fifty you will not grow an obsessive love for bingo
at sixty you will not long for rocking chairs
at seventy your heart will still beat as twenty
and your mind will be a willing accomplice
looping never ending remembrance
in hopes of spurring a desire that never grows old
and to this cause,
we should never surrender
and certainly
not be ashamed

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cohen and the apple

your toe has dipped, swirled and tingled
in the clear crystal pool of first love
and yet it recoiled, to the burning chill

you've held an apple, stroked it
bitten it
but the juices flowed bitter
for it was not the apple
and there is, but only one, you see

now onward through the garden
and the landscapes of growing
you blaze a trail that must be your own

and as you breeze and sometimes trip
through the lush fields of your passing
i tell you this, through a knowing fear

carry your book of Cohen
through the mall, into class
right there out front
for others to see

there will be one who will notice
and he will have eyes deep as silence
and hair where it don't belong
and he will be alone

and he will love you
and you him, but only for a time
and then you both will grow sense
and live as you must

i tell you this in knowing
he will not stay, nor
will you let him
but in this journey yet unseen
but somewhat perceived
he will be the apple
and the juices shall never
run dry, vanquishing regret

Saturday, October 15, 2011


i wonder, the trees, what do they think
to see it churn, devour, lumber up and down
like a mechanical bull gone mad in the town square
or mrs. peedwinkle in the church basement,
with her fingers clutched with skirt

they appear in the fall, out of nowhere
going everywhere
like migrating dinosaurs
hungry for the harvest

and as they chew up the land
razor-clip the wheat, soybeans and corn
i think too, of the stories told
of seasons past and generations gone

they thresh the history of families
birth, laughter and tragedy
told over early coffee
or that late afternoon beer
when the truck feels its leather

and these trees, where gray squirrels plot their larceny
they too have seen it all from the edge of woods
where does give birth to a bulging freezer
and seasons upon seasons have been
laid across their aging

and i wonder as the wind blows one more
what do they think
to see such passing
these trees, silent stanchion

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Trip

them first hundred miles were somethin, weren't they?
we had the top down, hair blowin
not another car in sight and all the cops
in the donut shop
fuck! we fairly flew

then it got a little rougher as
the mountains grew in the windshield,
summer passed and we had to put the top down.
still though, a damn pretty ride

there was swimming in the hollow
sleeping under the stars
fucking in the moonlight
and a laughter immeasurable

but then we lost that hubcap in livingston
then that flat in lansing
a radiator here, a fan belt there
and the radio died in greensboro

still we held to the road
and still we clung to each other
knowing, it was all we had

but then the fat cops full of donuts
spied our weakness and licked their pens
and then that damn blizzard we didn't see coming
snow blinded the summer of our ease

we bought a few tools
tried even to paint the dusty wreck
but it was no match for the gravel roads
that every detour led to

it sits there now, in the weeds
at the edge of the field
mice build there nests where we slept
bees sleep in the trunk where we hid our dreams
and us?
well, it was a hell of a ride wasn't it?

we drove that bitch as far as she'd take us
leaving a trail of breakdown
we hardly noticed

still, no regrets
it was a helluva ride
a once in a life time trip
few will ever know

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


names of places are to me
like a child i might have fathered
but never known

alberta is a blizzard i should've avoided
sacramento the chance i never took
baton rouge the girl who picked me clean
and ol abilene, that summer without friends

paris is the man i wanted to be
Kilimanjaro is the man i became
and that dream of love was austin
while capetown became my shipwreck

once, my father was butte
and his brother missoula
but my father became branson
after his brother went to deadwood

and malibu is who my mother should've been
but seattle she became

as a wayfarer, i go places
and places become shelves
and drawers where i keep things
and the truth
keeps them organized

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Horoscope

are you the dickhead i just passed?
my cheap fag bobs as an undecided fish
as i mutter obscenities

and so it goes,
me and dickead playing highway hopscotch
or is it white line leapfrog?
cuz he's too stupid to be consistent

this makes me remember my horoscope
which i read like it matters
knowing it doesn't

"you are not on earth to judge
and punish your fellow travelers
though sometimes
their actions will frustrate you"

well, no shit sherlock!

i read my ex-girlfriend's too,
as if it matters

"you made the right choice
and happiness is just
around the bend"

see? they're always wrong!

Jesus was a taurus i think,
the pope made him one
by blowin some orange smoke
or maybe just to explain
why he kicked over those tables
and cursed the innocent fig

we can be ornery bastards,
us taurus
though Jesus wasn't a bastard
and probably not a taurus
just sick of the bullshit
we humans dabble in

hey dipshit!
it's rainin! wanna turn on your wipers?
oh! brilliant move ass hole!

I'm not even gonna read it tomorrow
it's all a bunch of hooey
and she'll never be happy
you'll see

beep beep
up yours fuckwad!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


sometimes it's a cliff, on the edge of sky
while daringly, i somehow become
full of grace

far below in the shadow of death
rocks play the telling roil
but step aside as deep i dive
swiftly through the cool deep
silent as smoke

it's here i find possibility
fat on the hope i wish i had

rivers of life channeled beyond the noise
fields of golden glory, far
beyond the blight that wakens
and children of a peaceful wisdom
far short, of where malice
is yet to be birthed