Some kind of b.s.

typewritten bukowski



He said that I was trying to copy Bukowski, but I said ‘that’s bullshit’, after all, I barely drink, and my typewriter drops off the top of all the letters. You know I got that typewriter from my mother’s house after she died, but I pretend that it is the one that she bought me when I was 18 and she started to believe in my writing. That was the year I threw all my poems in the trash and she fished them out. She gave them to me three years later, before I left again, and I thanked her. At 55, they are an accusation, but I still have them. I think it is important to let the magpies tell you off now and then. If the path is too wide and amicable, I lose my groove and start listening to smooth jazz instead of Miles Davis. You know Mr. Davis, he’s the one that brought me back from the ledge.





I am listening to Dylan and eating the last of my Thanksgiving apple pie
and how I ate too much of it, since he doesn’t help me eat it, ever–
content with the last of the mashed potatoes and gravy, and his Jell-O and Cool Whip. This was not the Thanksgiving from last year, was it? Though I thanked the Lord for many things, there was a sad thread throughout that was difficult to avoid;

but it was not last year’s holiday no matter how you slice it, 2016 with Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature, well, that took the cake in mid-October, sliding into the North Side boys winning the pennant while we were on vacation alone for the first time since we met–
and wasn’t that sweet standing in rainshowers of leaves while we remembered why we said yes in 1989;

as if it wasn’t enough–November 2016 came in with a bang, the boys making good on their promises and bets (which I never put money on) came up 7 and 11–in a time in my life I had forgotten what baseball meant to me–then, just days later, watching a new president make history sliding into home in the middle of a sleepless night, we were dreaming about representation in a time of resistance–and wasn’t it sweet sharing something we had previously argued about;

not to say that everything was okie-dokey and worthy of praise, but people can see, no matter if they like the prez, or The Cubs, or even the state of my household, it was a banner year for history, a time we will never forget, regardless of beliefs;

and for my house, where we had not smiled for years, it meant laughs and joy and shared dreams–of what we had wanted, what we didn’t have, and what we still want–and eyes meeting in affirmation under Wisconsin blue skies–that the vows were solid and the names were written in stone, no matter what.

history was made
no matter what the cost
birdsong always

Something I never told you

When you see me bright and shining here, at 3671 Hudson I have the shades pulled down. I open them for the sunrise, then close them when it is high in the sky. At sunset, I open them again. Sometimes. Other weeks they stay shut for days while I type, printing off stacks of pages in neat rows. On days like today, listening to The Guess Who and Janis Joplin, I open the windows wide. The shades are up and I don’t notice what I am wearing, or if I am wearing next to nothing. The music floods through the screens to tell the neighborhood how I feel young and I dance. I dance through the first floor apartment with the sunshine laying tracks over the carpet and the kitchen floor. I imagine they all are watching and I am on a stage–one that I envisioned when I was eight–and I dance on through the day until the music is finished.

graduation speech

there was something they never told us
the way things feel in the night when it rains
and every kind of emotion drawn out
by school and girl scouts and travelogues-
don’t be afraid, you will get through it
but no one promises you won’t be scarred
each mark you are proud of today, tomorrow
you will sue the city for, bound and determined
to be something other than them, someone else
that does not fail to be all that you can be
the cliché of the moment, and in forty years,that
all-encompassing deliberation of 12 angry men
to decide your guilt knowing
you probably are not innocent, not
really, but no one will ever ever know about
that time in the fitting room so as far as the
neighbors are concerned, you could be Eleanor
Roosevelt, after all, you did pay for that
annual firemans calendar and you didn’t come by
that burn mark on your thigh playing pinochle

The white rose

White rose.png

It did not surprise him, hearing them call her ‘White Rose’ seeing
how quickly she wilted under scrutiny. Her tender petals dewy
in the morning, soft as a hare’s ear, then out in the heavy sun
with an interlude of rain, finding some of them upon the grass-
others curled up on the edges, worn and finished. This rose,
this damsel he kept his eye upon when she would allow it, without
turning him away from her door, said, ‘it is you, ’tis you’ and smiled
knowing somehow by the next rising of the sun, her time
would be finished, and her usefulness, gone

flowers die in the vase but she is quite alive
despite reports that she won’t pull through
the stronger they push her towards the dust
the greater her resolve to live well
pizza every night even on Saturdays
when they shake the earth for fifteen minutes
then slide a tray of pepperoni pizza and
ice cold Budweiser over the stain