Monday, November 30, 2020

A Note on Poems


Thank you for looking at the poems!

A quick note.  I often edit a piece quite a bit after it goes up.  The more-or-less final version, the one that settles in, arrives after a few days of the initial posting.  (It's almost fair to say that a true 'final version' is like the Holy Grail and not likely to ever materialize). 

Admittedly, this is a feeble strategy.  I use it simply because it gets me to edit faster and more attentively than if the poems were merely tucked away in a folder.

The big downside is that readers who visit right after a work goes up are often met with a less-than-stellar version.  For this I apologize.  Again, my only excuse, albeit feeble, is the quirkiness of my own craft.

If you have comments or suggestions, or potential topics you'd like to see, you can email me:

Again, thank you for your time,



Sunday, November 29, 2020

Poem: Swift Pleasure


Swift Pleasure


eyes slay,

razors of gleam

that open the heart without

removing clothes.

naiveté made them weapons.


a gash in the hideout of my chest.

such is the secret

of emotions that bubbled,

once revealed

innocently enough

forsaking odds.


so brash in my leaps.

unprepared for the swift

pleasure that fled,


faster than the giddy race

of ridiculous pulse,

soon fallen into the oubliettes

of an unkind stare.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Poem: Crystal Ball


Crystal Ball


an upside-down imp stares back,

leans left for my right,

stretching into befuddled rainbows.


leans right for my left,

till auras split into ribs,

circling round to live larger,

upped by factors of whatnot to .


i dive in and live immersed,

in sync with the imp, so free and clear.

photons frolic and paragons flow, 

a hypermath of hula hoops.


we skip together,

strumming the chords of Saturn.

tweed turns into a fingerprint of the ocean,

and the ocean a bulbous aurora borealis.


this orb,

it holds every coronet in the world,

adoring atop its stand of brass.

if light plays keen and color exquisite--

paisleys and whorled jewels--

then galaxies emerge,

fantasias of Hubbell dewdrops,

novas and big-bang rendezvous.


how they blossom,

born from spaceless specks.

cosmic, impossible, a language of comets, 

only to collapse, fated once more 

to render such nothingness



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Poem: Mosquitoes On Screen


Mosquitoes on Screen


honor loathes such tongues,

bashing into stitches of tin.

a language of bloodthirsty whining,

forever obsessive, sharp 

and lean.


it once made the mistake

of giving too much.

too honest.

too intimate.

nothing left in the aftermath

but something shriveled that guzzles.



such is the legend, anyway.


dozens of skinless wraiths

scrape the cold, threadbare sieve,

seizing any drips of warmth.

any aura of contact.

any semblance of touch.

before seeking comfort

in the dark.



Monday, November 23, 2020

Poem: A Ghost Leads Him


A Ghost Leads Him


this elder he

touches but does not,

this psychopomp

who exists but won't,


flies through a sideshow

of his memories,

making them incandesce

and then collapse.  the past

a possessed accordion,

playing a song never composed.


this daredevil

in his arched veins

streaks to push the rollercoaster

to a higher fervor and flight.


(the EKG waves, the oscilloscope ...)


as if mental extremes

are prisoners of a knotty philosophy.

and only by freeing them

can the jail crumble into blameworthy bricks.


(so much of his life was spent under brick...)


bricks, cubes, gravestones,

he buried much of himself long ago.

but now


(but now ...)


the ghost offers a tortuous path:

fresh rubble, steppingstones, 

back to some wounded and yet earnest,

dependable joy.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Poem: Crows In Wheatfield


Crows in Wheatfield


flecks of pepper

in saffron stipples,


summer dreams

atoss on straw beds.


scythes could reap through

if they writhed like snakes,


feverish implements,

stroked to obsess.


you hear the labor,

vaporing off the canvas,


a chain song that could

overwhelm your lobe.


it wavers, this scene.

a stung pond, a façade troubled.



perturbed by pigment,




Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Poem: Election Day 2008


Election Day 2008


the people had their swill,

and now throng the troughs,

not to digest more, but to vomit up

what they were told to know.


each face reacts to the caricature

of the one in tandem,

 a cordoned assembly

of the anguished and the grotesque.


a man holds a noosed monkey.

three women wear the same t-shirt:

a baboonish candidate

sucks a banana and gloats.


there is talk

of terrorist homosexuality,

of negro delinquency,

and a liberal anti-christ,

urgent to outlaw prayer


but mostly guns.


big-bellied clichés

with beer-red neckmeat

bluster and swagger,

while dog-fierce kids 

fetch to return, return to fetch,

the hate thrown out between sighs.


the unamerican elites.

round them up.  brand them.

force them to leave.


hours of this,

a vexed parade of the bitter.

how it bristles to constrict the schoolhouse,

raring to get inside.




Obama vs McCain 2008, based on news footage.

This poem is a way to get out my own hate and rage, focusing on racism.  The enemy is not people.   The enemy is racism and its effects.  

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Poem: Fence Wizard



Fence Wizard


nervous dagger,

no caesar to slay,

heat will not die

and it surely is king


of alabaster and tan,

the only colors known,

crumbling like the foothills,

a fuzzy kind of real

thick with blurry waves.


caffeine for cold-blooded veins.

they simmer more fervent

than any mammal,

making love to burning stone,

chest to chest.


one heartbeat enough for both.

the squamous belly sleek

against coarse, mummified clay.


a romance so fast

it can disappear, flee to blink.

gone to some nowhere

to slip the pluck of a kestrel.


other times the fence wizard

sits still like speckled dough,

impossible to snatch

in its oven-like magic.


could it though, at long last,

choose the talons, as a sage,

to glance the world

from a final height?


that has always been

this survivor's strategy:


staccato reconnaissance

through hairline eyes

to surmise the truth

from fragments.


"Fence wizard" is a play on "western fence lizard," a common species in the chaparral. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Poem: Intersection




beads on phone wires slide fat to drip,

numb as the drool of an infant,

bald deformed pliant dome,

that stares down with mock horror

at the slanted trajectories:


how they end in hot water, empty as run off,

a fizzle on a char of roads.

tires slice through with the polite manners

of dutiful butchers. 



those metal-cloaked lip-biters,

come and go, roll and smoke, chug,

sit at attention, roll and come to go, peel-out, honk,

some jerk, some chug, one screeches, many cuss,

coming to roll and stop to go and roll to stop and go to roll stop-

lights, lines, math, laws (something's coercive here!),

this organized but not-so-cooperative mathematics of stress,

such as it is, this come-stop purgatory

for each and every flesh-nucleus.


it's the watering hole of the city’s motion sickness.

a glut of pop music drama/mine.

what would a last prayer look like,

splayed open on these never-ending slabs,

vivisected by streetlamps, cleansed by polluted rain,

picked over by claws of wrecked tin

under the starless Shadow?


Friday, November 6, 2020

Poem: Tujunga Arroyo


Tujunga Arroyo


willow and nicotiana

hobo along the arroyo,

leafy plumage of anemic jungle birds.

strata stash squashed stones in the banks,

catastrophe upon extinction,

sabertooth pupils, long-slitted in black veins,

gazing above shark teeth.


my sandals, lost in the aftermath,

sink into dry quicksand

to kick up blossoms of dust.

empty orchids and not-really-there mallows

ogle me with two-seconds of life.


i come to a place

where crows interpenetrate shadows,

both seeking shelter, both scrutinous,

demanding proof that the blackness

will not soon die.


the gulch has shredded here,

warded by the fronds of an old pepper—

a place where coyotes come to take rabbits,

and burrs cast hooks,

anglers at a waterless stream.


not so deep in the sand-hissed heat

minnow eggs bide their time.

yes, algae will wave, one day, the real thing,

victorious in immersion,

while frogs swell their vivid backs,

harrumphing about the short shrift

of amphibian orgies.



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Poem: Deselection




it was an age of wired golems,

the construct of humanity's cold electric nest.

cell by battery cell,

smiles became bytes of a vampire,

screens the concierge

of dreams. 


it was a marketplace of mothlike hearts

sorted by googol spiders

in fire-fast webs. 

a savior of pixels

on a pedestal of rush,

colorful ghosts

risen from luminous crypts

to agitate eyes.


arrow-magic captured flesh:

a seduce of mouse idols

lightspeed in icon lines,

jingle, prattle and seethe.

sex-bloated orgies of murder,

lurid in networks of thigh.

panem et circenses.


it was contagion

like no psalm had predicted:

the great new servers of the temples

hunted quick to infiltrate far--

far, far, who knew this death?--

urgent to perform and hawk

a new sort of mind.



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Trump Can Never Be A Winner. It is Logically Impossible.


Whether Trump takes the election or not, he can never be a winner.  It is logically impossible, under the rationale and auspices of what this country is all about, its Constitution, evolutions, and precedents. 

Trump certainly likes to fashion himself a winner.  And, yes, by some standards he is successful (others not).  However, the word "winner" is commonly associated with someone who came in first in a competition, following certain rules and standards of ethics, and in that way proved themself to be the best.  

In this sense, Trump is in no way a winner or potential winner.  And it is this sense that is far-and-away the most relevant to the race for the presidency.

When Trump calls himself a "winner," he hopes we will subconsciously slide from seeing him as successful (in certain ways, such as fame) to seeing him as a moral person who is the best possible leader because he won fair and square.

This is false framing.  A devilish slide of semantics.  But so far, we have let him get away with it. 

Call him a devastatingly wicked influencer.  Call him a superb con man.  But it isn't rational or sensible to call Trump a winner.  For one thing, if he achieves the Presidency again, we all lose.  Moreover, he cannot be the best person to manage our country from the White House, not in the way a marathon runner shows they are the best in a competition.

My argument for this conclusion--that it is inconceivable that Trump could be the winner (even if he gets enough electoral votes)--has a couple of steps.

First, Trump is evil.  Evil, of course, can have many meanings.  In theology, it can apply to natural phenomenon like tornadoes and diseases.  But the evil I'm talking about is human-based.  No one can see into another's heart.  But we can judge behaviors and actions, and when those are numerous enough to form a reliable pattern, a point is reached where it becomes common sense to call someone evil.

So, when you use racism to divide a country, it is evil.  When you use that dark influence to shred basic norms of decency--of principle, democracy and virtue--to create a throne for yourself, it is evil.  When you have no respect for human rights, as in separating infants from mothers, it is evil.  

The above adds up to a hate-mongering tyranny, a force that can wreck our country on the world stage, and perhaps permanently besmirch its once-admired values.  Hundreds of years of ideals, gone in a flash.   This, too, is the product of evil.  

For all we can see, that product, the destruction of the republic, is Trump's narcissistic intent.  Dictatorship is what he admires and what yields maximum self-aggrandizement and adulation.

One galling trait of evil is cowardice.  Such evil never admits what it is doing and instead blames those who seek justice (racists who call others the racists).  In this way, rationality, the light of reason, itself gets wrestled down into the impotence of ignorant darkness. 

All the above indicts Trump, and is apparent enough in his behavior, after four years of evidence.  If you don't like calling him evil, it is enough that he is grossly unethical.

Now that I have established Trump as evil, I want to move on to the next step.  The point is simple:  a person who acts in evil ways in a rule-based competition can never be the winner.  If they come in first, it is because they cheated.  Competitions have standards.  And if you act with evil in pursuit of victory, you have, by definition, broken those standards. 

For some reason, in the common parlance of politics, we Americans are still talking as if Trump could be the winner--the projected winner, or possible winner of the 2020 election.  This despite his efforts to subvert the moral fabric of the nation and defy the Constitution.  Needless to say, this moral fabric, which includes the Constitution, is part of the rules.  

So, our common parlance is quite nonsensical.  Why consider a cheater a potential winner in a rule-based system, when they are clearly cheating?  

>>>>>> What???

The moral fabric of a republic is necessary for its existence.  If someone shreds the moral fabric, while claiming to honor and defend it, they are no more a winner than someone who cheats at sports--and of course the outcome is far more important.

Again, how does Trump "win" if he destroys the republic?  An overthrow makes him successfully evil.  If you rip out a country's heart, when it is your oath to protect that country's lifeblood, you are not a winner.

You are a destroyer.  You are a traitor. 

You might say that, when watching movies, for instance, we sometimes say that 'the evil side won'.  For example, in The Empire Strikes Back.

I would again point out, in response, that the race for the presidency has rules, and that the most relevant sense of "winner" is the one that requires following the rules.    

Actually, there are two sets of rules in relation to winning the presidency.  First, there are the electoral rules.  Now, by this standard alone, if we exclude all other factors from consideration, the nominee who gets the most electoral votes is the winner. 

However, and here is the catch, there is another set of rules that applies to the race for the presidency:  the rules embedded in the moral fabric of our society.  These rules reside in our Constitution and in our two-hundred-plus years of cultural progress and precedent. 

A political competitor must abide by both sets of rules to win the presidency.  They must satisfy the electoral rules, yes, but also the moral rules.  Without these moral rules, there is no republic.  There is no decency.  There is no winner.   

Therefore, Trump cannot be the winner in 2020--no matter what.  Judged by his pattern of actions, he is evil.  And by despoiling our most cherished values, he has broken the rules.

Call him a successful cheat.  Call him a fantastic con artist.  But he is not a potential winner in any sensible or logical way.  We abet his ability to be thought of as a winner, or potential winner, by falling for the trick of framing discussed above.

I think the American people have been so gullible, so lacking in vigilance, so ready to be ambushed, our freedoms so susceptible, for just one reason:  We have forgotten how lucky we are to live in a republic.  

Again, because we have become so blind, so deceivable, so gullible before awful illusions, I repeat myself:

Trump is no winner, and he cannot be a winner.  Even if--god help us--he gets enough electoral votes.   He is still a cheater and a con artist, a traitor who seized control by ripping apart the moral fabric of our nation through evil, selfish means.

If that happens, we all lose.