Skip to content

I’ve moved!

March 10, 2010

Please click on this link which will take you to baby’s black balloon.

Thank you!

March 4, 2010

Today is World Book Day and since books have saved me, I thought I would put up an excerpt from one of my longer stories which expresses my love of books.

From Man Loses Life a story always in progress:

When he pulled into the library parking lot, Billy could feel the afternoon wearing on him. Then again, maybe it wasn’t the afternoon, maybe it was all the guys bullshitting and ribbing him at work that had worn him down. Before grabbing his cane and getting out of the car, he thought twice about going in. But he did, and when he opened the glass door and took a few steps into the large square building he was hit with the distinct smell of all those books, and right away he remembered how much he loved the library.

He had loved it since he was a little boy who found comfort in the Lackawanna County Library, which for him was actually a small silver bus the county had turned into a traveling library, mostly for the kids from The Flats on the Southside. Billy had always been much more excited on Bookmobile day than when the ice cream truck came around with its fancy circus songs. Most days he wanted to stay on board, hoping it would pull away with him still sitting on the shaky little bench in the center isle.

March 3, 2010

One of the artists I have found since becoming active on Twitter is Mark Kerstetter. After one tour of his blog, I knew this was someone who was doing work which helps me to ask the intellectual questions art should cause me ask, as well as work which I could form an immediate emotional connection with. This week, Mark has been kind enough to invite me to be a guest on his blog and he has posted a monologue and poem which I wrote after reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

This is his fabulous blog The Bricoleur. Visit often, you’ll be glad you did.

Saturday evening blues

February 28, 2010

February 27, 2010

[I posted this poem before the terrible news about the earthquake in Chile, so the reference to the tsunami was a complete coincidence.]

Instead I am here
not an amber-eyed sea gypsy
traveling by sunlight, without
a time piece in sight,
floating on tides
always, always,
first to hear the whisper
of a distant tsunami
as the assassin begins
its dreaded ocean ride

Instead I am here
not in Lebanon
with Gibran
making music
wearing only
a jeweled belt on hips
that are svelte, that carve
fertility, life, with the precision
of a freshly sharpened knife

Instead I am here
not there
a soul thieving tune
of delta blues across
a red lit room full of
cigarette smoke and sex
and heat and gloom

Instead I am here
not a velvet-voiced Venetian
who wears her wrinkles
as a sensual choice, only bathes
in slices of light from a half-moon,
who cooks, loves, tends, to her deep
sauce of garlic and ripe tomatoes,
and licks the silver off of spoons

Instead I am here
with you
between the bookends
of a hundred years
with gratitude for the salt
in tears, sweat, and ocean
letting go
learning acceptance
instead I am here,
with you

February 15, 2010

sinking sun
shadowless buoy
splits the tide

February 12, 2010

The Heart Jar

The diner on the corner is one of those Disneyfied modern cut-outs trying to mimic the actual thing but failing utterly. The street, a vein of hipness running through an Ivy League campus that is still trying to cling to a time when it all meant something. As I walk by, I am blasted with a Motown song, a fabulous beat, it lifts the corners of my mouth into a smile even though it doesn’t make me happy. Around the bottom of the impostor diner, the good burger franchise people have added a metal facade to make people think of one of the classic little silver trailer diners from the old days. At least they have that. At least they have a facade, I mean. Unlike me. My facade has been destroyed, not as much by the jackhammer days that seem to come in violent spasms, but more by the slow water erosion of all the days.

I’ve been an atheist since so long ago, but now I actually know what it means to lose faith. It is a loss that starts filling the hourglass with black sand, fast, relentless, as gravity hisses it down into the last remaining empty space. Gravity, gravity, after the faith is lost (faith in the possibility of magic?) gravity stops being a steady and grounding force, and starts pushing, pushing, pushing, like a bully, so hard that the muscles respond with aches and joints all feel like they’re two parts of a mortar and pestle. This is when you become the walking dead. People like me, we’re the real zombies. We’re the only real thing left in a world that has abstracted itself so many times that artifice becomes the achievement.

The sidewalk moves past me on a conveyor belt. The college students and mothers with babies, the righteous professors trying to salvage as many lucid moments as they can from the deep pits of intellectualism and alcohol, the old poet women with their manes of long gray hair and their live eyes, all move past me in a silent movie I am no longer an actor in, only a watcher. But I’m not really watching either, am I?

The scent from the Indian restaurant begins to penetrate. This helps me to I know I am close. I am within a block of the store, the only store in the city that sells relics of Canopic Jars. Those jars the Egyptians used to keep their organs in during the mummification process. I may have to buy all four in the set, even though I only need one. But however I have to do it, I am going to buy my heart jar and take it home. I am going to put it on the mantel of my boarded-up fireplace, and I am going to wait.

I walk into the store and into a musty thickness. There is a girl unpacking a box in the corner. “Excuse me, do you still carry Canopic Jars?” I say without wasting any time.
“Yep, we sure do. They’re right over there,” she says as she points to the glass shelf in the back.
Relieved, I walk over to the jars. Right away I think I want the one that has more of an animal than a human face. I certainly know I need the biggest one. I pick it up and it is heavier than I thought it would be. I open the lid. “Miss, this is solid. I wanted to put something in it.”
She stands up and looks at me with this strange expression, “Oh no, sorry, those are only for decorative purposes.”
I smile again.

(I managed to get both my daughter’s homework and Three Word Wednesday into this week’s Friday Flash.)

February 11, 2010


hands around her neck
put there long ago
for years she escaped
the spiny grip
and put on a lovely show
until her running was in vain
and there was nowhere
left to go
a demon rising
from hot ashes
never takes its time
only hers
these glimpses
steal her mind
makes the wrong one pay
she falls to her knees
begs for the day
to burn her memories
out of sight
her heart may not be
able to survive another
adrenaline dump
she might pull a trigger
her nerves could shatter
a belt snaps
this open wound

February 2, 2010

Ease on Down the Road

Everybody knows that a fairytale starts out once upon a time,
but a truck driver’s tale starts out you ain’t gonna believe this shit.

~Teri Horton

She finds her Pollock while looking for any old gift
in a thrift store on a California corner. There it sits,
among seventies lunch boxes and ceramic Buddhas,
on the wall with an eight dollar price tag. (She pays five)

The relentless Horton, a long-haul truck driver,
seventy three, with saucer-size glasses, a permanent
aqua net, and a voice that rakes across driveways
covered with hot ashes. Proud and dignified she

sits in her chair cock-eyed but lady-like still,
this little bitty gal with a trashy mouth who lives
in a trailer crammed with claimed salvation
and redemption found in a green dumpster.

She comes from the heart of the Ozarks, a tough
life on the farm, children taken from her and then
a dead daughter who was only eighteen. One day
Teri takes off her good boots and walks into the sea,

and comes out with nothing left to lose. So when
they say her painting is a fake without any proof
she tells a tall tale about John Wayne, Joan Crawford,
a bartender named Pops, and calls it provenance.

(Some believe it all, one even says he knew pops.)
Now for inspection by the critic, he tilts, he twirls, he squints
and stops It has no appeal, dead on arrival, she knows
nothing, so does it matter to me? I’m an expert, she’s not.

Next she calls the scientist in, he says he found Pollock’s prints
among those bended rays of life. Soon a collector comes round
with a low two million dollar pitch, but Horton just laughs and says,
Before I let them take advantage of me, I’ll burn that son of a bitch.

January 31, 2010

Mankind is in a position similar to that of a set of people living on a frozen lake, surrounded by cliffs over which there is no escape, yet knowing that little by little the ice is melting, and the inevitable day drawing near when the last film of it will disappear, and to be drowned ignominiously will be the human creature’s portion.” ~ William James

He stands
on a softly frozen
lake, the egg

white glaze
surrounded by toothed
steep jagged and barbed

cliffs unrelenting
prison bars escape
although constantly

aware of certain fate
he glides and spins
and hides and seeks

while life warms
the surface
which dissolves

slowly under
his feet, always
day after night

no option but to wait
for the last of the thin
film to crack.