It is black
with flashes of purple
coursing through at
irregular intervals
like photons trapped
between two mirrors
oscillating head to toe
inflaming everything
as it goes
Muscles drawn and stiff
as in death
Unslowed by medicine
What hope then
but to give it a poem

Alone Off Broadway

I saw
“I’m Not Rappaport”
in New York one street
back of Broadway
in the mid-eighties
Hal Linden
Ossie Davis
A fine play
I saw alone
No one wanted to
miss drinking
on the town
to go
I still have
the Playbill
In a box
Where all
mementos go

Lost One

I started
but couldn’t make
a go of it
I had
the sun
the moon
and a bit about morning
on the other side of the world
but Saturday afternoon poems
can be elusive creatures
and it got away
That’s okay
It was old
and didn’t have much
meat on it anyway

Pushed Too Hard

and I feel a crash coming
I’m sure of it
This flesh bucket in which
I ride has a hole in it
My strength pouring out
through my soles into
the ravenous earth with
an alarming alacrity
As if I didn’t need it
“Come back!” I plead
“Come back!”
“Will I ever feel you again?”
The words fall away
in heaps
my feet

Siren Song

Yule is now stripped
from the room
Incandescent yellow
usurping red and blue
returned to their places
in full frontal
bare-stringed glory and
with their seductive curves
and sexy voices they
wantonly beckon me
to come
and play


This dark man
head tilted on his hand
with eyes darker still
Deep as the deepest well
neath a black midnight sky
Born to know too much
Cursed to see too much
of cold white lies
but oh could he write!
The soul that was
Langston Hughes

What Hath Color Wrought?

It was all so simple back then
So honest and elemental
I’ve seen the images
Black and white banks
and soda signs
Black and white
Chesterfield billboards
and overalls and suits
Folks dreamed in
black and white, too
The blood on Capone’s
Mere toppled inkwells

So romantic

Everyday life was
black and white nostalgic –
no need to wait and look
back wistfully at old photos!

But someone invented color
Smeared it on everything
and nothing’s been the same

Blood is ugly now
Bright, dangerous and visceral

Lipstick on corpses has
become garish

Trash on the streets is filthier
and disasters no longer appear as
historical oddities

The horror of living
can now no longer be ignored

New Light

I am showered
Freshly shaved
Clothes neat and clean
in honor of my present
affliction whose
presence has lent
a warmer glow
A new and richer
fondness on the memory
of better days
The appreciation of which
I had allowed to fade
Letting them pass
little noticed

Stubbed Toes

Was my verse substandard today?
Did my poems lack proper aplomb?
Yes, it’s true, but I am untroubled
I made no promises otherwise that
I can recall
Allow me to stagger
To stumble along
banging my toes
against the stones
It’s okay
Falling forward is
the only way
we unteachable
will ever