For J.H.

But you’re the diffident one
who has trouble looking me in the eye
and we sit out back of my house
you smoke and get your throat down a half-step
(use a capo; you’ll live longer I joke)
and you go out there night after night on the road.

I slip a hundred dollar bill in your case when you’re not looking
And wish I had made more of myself.

Where I Live

I am disoriented,
waking up on the literal wrong side
spending half my life in a city
I am in transition to.

Stocking two shelves
Between two stools
Two of everything,

Which has been a theme in my life,
owning spares, looking for certain promises,
a better city, but winding up trying to decide

which place gets the best of me,
which one gets the back numbers,
the ragged couch.

The Lights

The search for lights
takes me down suburban streets
both similar and literally the same
as my childhood; the strange thought
in the shadows surrounding the people
inside, the progression of lives
as they keep turning along the solstice.


I’m welling up at the worst times:
years of scales falling off my eyes.

Someone I love
said they didn’t believe any more.
Another two or three or ten
gone to glory, adding to the cloud
of witnesses, pressing on me.

“Go up and join this chariot,” over and over.
Sometimes I’m tired of running, sometimes
their lips aren’t moving when I get there,
sometimes it’s fireworks, but never

according to the way I ran.

Begun March 2019 and found in drafts in this strangely neglected blog

Photo by Paul Summers on Unsplash

Raymond Chandler

several times I read each novel
by Raymond Chandler
enough times that I noticed
something about

why Raymond Chandler
failed in business once.
something about
why Philip Marlowe

failed in business once,
letting clients and lovers push him around
then Philip Marlowe
grew weary and wise about

letting clients and lovers push him around
enough times that I noticed
he grew weary and wise in the
several times I read each novel




Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

There is something I used to get

There is something I used to get
out of writing poems for no one, or not many
that I seem to get better out of writing
social media comments, replies
to great influencers

The feeling of bending something in the airwaves
the morse code static
a slight influence in the real world

but it’s not the same
not aspirational
it’s not occurring in a different, better room than the rest of my life.

The Dream of my Father

One month to the day
is when I finally dream of him alive
not counting half-awake forgetfulness
I should tell Dad about

We are both in hospital sharing a room
perhaps it is another accident
my reasons are vague, the mild, hopeful complaints
of hospital dramas where the patient goes home

And I cannot remember our conversations
In the dream, I can’t remember how I got there
which sounds like something serious, actually

Continue reading “The Dream of my Father”

The Pleasure of Traveling

It’s hard to say
what pleasure I get from traveling
but I just noticed
I get the same buzz from learning a new OS
and how the same things
in a different way
rewire me like a delicious dream.

I’m Playing for Someone Famous Tomorrow

And tonight I had to escape from an extended-stay
motel proxy, which was the only thing I could get
after a five-hour rehearsal in a college town

and eat lamb at a Mediterranean chain restaurant
and watch Office Space again back
in my room.

It’s this transition from the sacred to the mundane
I heard a mixed choir sing a beautiful tune acapella
and it could have made me cry

if I hadn’t had to count 12 bars of four
before coming back in.

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