Sunday, January 31, 2010

spy hunter on the bqe

yellow cabbie
threads two black sedans
trying to sandwich us, sans wheel

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There's a reason they call them the window into your soul

There's a reason they call
them the window into your soul

Clapping laughing
smiling dancing

but your eyes

hand me the map

with secret entrances

and which walls were
skimped on to cut costs
at the end.

your eyes
give me the schematics
to every weapon
in your arsenal

and the access codes
to your armory.

They beg me

not to let on,

So I make silly faces
in the hopes that

your next smile
will be real,

even as your eyes,
pale as the bay
on a good day,

tell me the minimal chances
of that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

quoting a friend, to the president

I love words.

Don't get me wrong,

words have been
pillows for pounding achey heads
umbrellas for downpours,

they have been nutrients
and weaponry,

slicing apart enemies

with nary
a drop spilled.

when my hands
would've killed,

syllables reasoned
with them

but then,

words were my actions.

men and women
spared my temper

and their grief
when words
were stand ins.

words pulled me

smacking shyness in the face
and leaving bloody bits of fear of failure
all over the place.

But like any tool,

words can be used foolishly
to paint pretty imagery
existing anywhere but reality

usurping deeds to the point of folly.

Don't get me wrong.

I love words completely.

But words without action
and truth behind them

are empty.

or put another way,

"Now Do Something."

Thursday, January 28, 2010



the rut
collapses around me
and holds fast.

i try every escape recommended,
ask other mice passing by
for best practices,

even have them stare
at my predicament.

some try to pull me out.

it's not so special,

but it's happening to me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"if you know your history
then you would know where
you're coming from" -Bob Marley

you worked so hard
to teach us our history
to change the point of view
to shift conversations
from dead white men
to voices that need
to live again

and when
i wanted to teach history,
I wanted to use your words, I
never had enough
editions of your books
who's words
set fire to synapses
unused for years.

We could overcome fears
because we knew
we were just
and people were in this
before us

this was not some fool's errand
this was standing on foundations
by the stories you recovered
and put in textbooks.

If it were up to me,

every child in America
would read
multiple versions of
"A People's History"

the way
i studied the holidays
in sunday school
every year
building on previous understandings
and new frames,

bringing slave rebellions
and sit down strikes
to light
to change the legacy
of this country
and this world,

you have to fight.

They say
he left his last lecture

to join a picket line,

well, Howard,

we could sure use your eyes and voice

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trouble on the Five train

You shoulda
told ya girl

to chill out,

he pleaded.

That could've been
a body right there.

Later, I asked her friend

What was so serious?

She was just in
a bad mood,

he said something

and she went off.

the guy, still pleading,
also said

I went to my girl's
dressed like this.
I hate stupid shit
like that.
She would've been

Seems subway cars
and capitol halls
ain't so different.

We all step up
on some stupid shit,

never stopping
till people die broken
from bullets
or health care nonsense.

Monday, January 25, 2010

chocolate yellow cake

the chocolate oxide.
is put through
crushers and grinders
to produce
pulped chocolate.

then processed
with acidity
to leech
the chocolate.

spin the chocolate around,
using gravity
and pressure,

mix with eggs, milk, butter, and flour,

and boom,
it is weapons grade chocolate cake,

ready to detonate
and destroy lives
when least expected.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Triolet for Brain

I wish you people would
stop driving into my car
his bumpers do not look like they should
I wish you people would
back out slowly. then, you could
admire him from afar,
i wish you people would.
stop driving into my car.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

wishes for happy couple

i only wish
you understood
my joy for you
as real,

of the truth
in my smile.

Friday, January 22, 2010

prayer in the reeds

words fail,

i can pour soul
into breath,



to emerge past my mouth,

leap through
partnership of
bamboo and brass

to make
when i don't

have the heart

to sing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

postcards from the whoopin, part 4

Conversation before Bed

I turn over to

instead of you,

my notebook
lays open,


Shut up,
she says,

and fill my walls
with sweet words.


postcards from the whoopin, part 3


Leaving it all
on the field of battle
is easier than

picking everything up
after losing


to proper
positions and

for relaunch

is the last thing on your mind.

Battles cry a
daily supply,

but rest up.

It's not like we won't
still be fighting

when you're ready to come back.


(for Rich, Molly, Calvin, Myra and others)

postcards from the whoopin, day 2

Batchelorism for Senate Dems

Why buy the cow, when
you can give away the whole
fucking store for free?


postcards from the whoopin, day one

unfamiliar beds that don't hold my wife, part 1.

Even the alarm
clock on the strange table
is just like yours.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

we'll be right back...

hey all,

I've been in Massachusetts pitching in on the Senate race. I have written poems for the last couple days, but will post them (along with tomorrow's poem) tomorrow.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mighty Mouse's lament

I'm mean.
I've got two weeks of stubble,
and I'm tired of saving your bacon,
so you can burn me up again.

you promise me (you'll) change,
you won't give in to the Oil Can,
but you never can,
yes we

all need a hand now and then

I just feel like I'm the bandaid
for your small change.

Sigh. I'm a sucker. Fuck it.

Here i come...

ps: fuck you, Andy Kaufman.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

To John Sloan, thanks for the women drying their hair

It's 1912
and somehow
I'm 13,

sneaking up to the roof
on Cornelia Street

has become my weekly adventure.

staring in wonder

at these long haired, curvy creatures.

Broadway can have its vaudeville acts
and the society balls can keep their bells,

i only wish to serve at the beck and call
of these ladies on who's roof i'd beg to dwell,

pray, maybe kill to dwell,

to see their tresses even closer,
maybe even feel their locks
slip through my fingers,
sandy blond seconds
through the minutes on those
ancient timepieces
that last for days.

would they be at ease with me?
or too at ease with the nice jewish kid
from down the block

my hair stands at attention
and knows what it wants

to be ran through by 10, 20,
30 delicate swords
carving initials in my cortex
with nails sharp and sweet

my hair's never been

like that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shekhina: regrets, I'm unable to lunch today.

I've done nothing
worthy of an appearance.

nothing in these six days
to make the seventh
feel any sweeter.

The psalms hewed together
in tsfat

roll from my tongue
like bell peals.

when there's no work
how can there be rest?

how can this day be better,
best, king of the week!

when i feel just as meek
as every other day preceding or following,

unfit to announce your regal appearance,
and undeserving of an invitation.

so save your barburim for someone
who's earned it.

until i get my ducks in a row,
I don't know if I'll bother to show.

(with apologies to Cole Porter. For the title, anyway)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Signs of Life, W 14th and 6th Ave

No Brother,
the older Black man

as the ringmaster's smile

from his marquee face.

Why don't you keep it
this time,

keep it and spend it on you.

Think of me
when you do it,

but this one time,
take care of yourself.

His cheek muscles bellowing


his eyes crumpled
at the sight of me
flailing at

the trapeze

drops on my face

desperately try to pile back
into clowncar ducts,

but gravity is against them

I'm sorry, my voice falters,

but he's already selling tickets
to the next show.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

death by a thousand hesitations

deny delay
debate delay
debate deny delay
question debate delay
agaonize question debate delay
deny delay

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I shot Haiti

It was so easy,
all it took
was rubbing piles of earth
till they shook
foundations that couldn't stand up
to may breeze in Central Park,
never mind
a five point nine, no
I shot Haiti.

For years, I've been planning it.

Suffocating it with all kinds of
forcing it to establish
zones where souls
were freely traded
for food for dinner wishes
and mickey mouse nike dreams

starving by determining
what crops it could grow
forcing it to pay off debts
it would never know
the end of,
supporting the removal
of elected officials,

I shot Haiti,

by ignoring
the boiling of the earth,
knowing that poor countries
with a large amount of coast
will be hit worst

by not paying attention
to its problems
since the last time it was
in turmoil,

then deciding to finish it off
with a coup de grace
of battering soil,

I shot Haiti,

like I shot New Orleans
and countless places before

"I don't think anyone could've

that a moderate earthquake
would devastate a poor country
already left bereft,
by reaganesque policies,
of any coping abilities?

we shot Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010


dour, perhaps but not
unique in the specific
cause of suffering;
knuckling down can be
baffling, especially when
aware of just how
critical it is.
Oblitherate what
neutralizes my insides.

Then add salt.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

intercontinental friendship missile

inter continental friendship missiles
have a few things in common
with their ballistic brethren

they rain down light
and warmth
on their target

they seem to keep
their targets
from doing anything
too stupid

and even though
there's risk involved,
some folks stockpile
and count on these

inter continental friendship missiles

to send horrible shit away
in truly rare and wondrous
explosions of awesome might.

I'm generally about non-proliferation,
but with missiles like these,
I'd stockpile as many as I could,
with the hope that someday
they'll be interstate friendship missiles
or intra-borough friendship missiles.

Or if not,
they'll remember to let me
buy them coffee next time.


inter continental friendship missiles
need rocket fuel too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rock Bottom

Hell is where
your friends can't help,
all the whiskey tastes like soot,
and you can't even hold your baby right
at night.

Friday, January 8, 2010

King of Fairway

while i don't generally
approve of monarchy
i do have to say

that it's sometimes nice
(therapist's advice)
to have things your own way.

if an onion isn't perfect,
back to the bin it goes,
sample cheeses in three dialects
keeping fromagers on their toes

breads and cakes and cookies
waiting to be tried
unhekhshered roasts on special
needing to be tied

fair trade and organics
in plentiful supply
and then the kosher cheeses
who's prices make me cry.

helpful staffers everywhere
that treat you with respect
friendly and often fair,
they'll tell what is dreck.

I decide what's in our cart
and what will be on our table,
not some oppresive jerkoff
lifted from aged fable,

now for this regal treatment,
we pay a sizable price.
but to take charge for a moment,
it really is quite nice.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Preserving Jazz with my niece

where these other folks are clapping
and tapping
the floor,

and listen to the drummer.

hear them cymbals roar.

one TWO
three FOUR

listen to how he rolls the snare
outta nowhere
back into those beats

one TWO
three FOUR

we may be
the only TWO
(no, that nice older Black man makes)
clapping on FOUR

but we're the only ones

playing with the band.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

first ode to angrybaby

thundering screams rend the air
as mere footsteps shake
the foundation of my apartment.

o angrybaby,
couldn't europe
with its strong unions
better healthcare
foods without gmos or
corn syrup
its close proximity
to scotch
belgian chocolate
and your grandparents,

have mellowed you out

before your return?

stampede toy piano notes
smacks of derisive peals of laughter

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

21 wand salute

I don't care
what anyone says, you
were magical.

whether unearthing
your deepest pain
to share poems

or bathing the whole community
in the glory of
a turn of your brilliant cloak

giving of yourself
even at times when you could've
let someone else take the wheel,

and always making the contributions
of those after you
feel like we were giving the greatest gift,
when compared to your herculean lifting, our efforts
were drops of dew on a blade
of goose poop fertilzed grass.

and we were given the gift,
to follow in your wand brandishing footsteps

what poems will flow out of me now
that i can't share any more of them
with you?

what magic can be,
in brigadoon or otherwise,
in a world without you?

Monday, January 4, 2010


when 2010 is done,
will we hate it as much
as the previous one?

will motions to recommit ourselves
fall flatter than matzo flapjacks
made without love or compassion?

i'm tired of being told to wait,
wait,wait oh wait,
nevermindit's too fucking late

forget put up or shut up,
you've got to show up
before you can put up.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


trying to keep my feet open,
from becoming clenching fists,
to readily receive new ground.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Butler's beat

that dance rays of sunshine
down January avenues,

barbeque pancakes
my lingering 2009 blues
and leaves my ass
ready to strut through 2010

if i could just hear those runs again,
I'd put it all down and let it roll.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dear 2009

Dear 2009

If you were only
a person, I could show you
what i really think