Sunday, December 18, 2016

Savior On The Ballot

This time, there is a savior on the ballot!
Someone to rescue us from inequality
From bigotry
From war
From backwards-thinking.
Can't you feel the winds of change?
Can't you smell the fresh air clearing out the stench of injustice?
You can't?
It isn't?
Oh, time, there'll be a savior on the ballot.

This time, there is a savior on the ballot!
Someone to rescue us from so-called "progress"
From diversity
From immigrants
Or as I call them, terrorists.
Can't you see our country getting safer?
Can't you feel our country growing stronger?
You can't?
Oh, time, there'll be a savior on the ballot.

This time, there is a savior on the ballot!
Someone to guarantee quality education
High-paying jobs
Top-notch health care
Clean air and soil and water.
Don't you already feel smarter, richer, and healthier?
Isn't your town already the Garden Of Eden?
You don't?
It isn't?
Oh, time, there'll be a savior on the ballot.

This time, there is a savior on the ballot!
Someone to rescue us from division
And find the means between extremes
And value practicality over prejudice
And democracy over demagoguery.
Don't you see us uniting already?
Coming together in the name of peace, love, and harmony?
You don't?
Oh, time, there'll be a savior on the ballot.

This time, there is a savior on the ballot...

Last Moves

One by one, I watch pillars fall
Until I have no support at all.
Another after another, I watch bridges burn
No new destination; no way to return.

Piece by piece, puzzles come apart
And I lumber like a workhorse without a cart.
Ray after ray, the sun's blinding light
Illuminates how much we've all lost sight.

Drop by drop, I see tears from the clouds
But somehow, my umbrella feels more like a shroud.
Malady after malady, we turn health into hell
Until not even heaven's residents feel well.

Flicker by flicker, the stars all disappear
And the dark we've created leaves us all in fear.
Alarm after alarm points six feet underground
But we cover our ears when each alarm sounds.

Challenge by challenge, we remain static
So instead of the vanguard, we dwell in the attic.
Denial after denial, I no longer ask why
Too young, too ready, too eager to die.


Go through the motions
According to the program
Do what you've been conditioned to do
Like walking or talking or taking a shot of whisky
Make that a double while you're at it

And be the automaton
The brainless machine
Masquerading as nature's creation
While you act and react but never stop to think
Is there anything more to you than this?

Open up your mouth and spew nonsense
As long as what comes out are actual words
Open up your mouth and insert a glass of wine
And another and another and as much as you can stand

And be the automaton
The mindless device
Pretending to be made of flesh and bone
While you do, one thing you never do is stop to consider
What are you if nothing more than this?

Grab another bottle of beer
Drop the bottle, spill the beer
How did you even manage to open it?
Oh, I forgot: you're not human
You're a machine
In a condition only a human could know

Don't be an automaton
A soulless contraption
When we know you have a soul and a heart
For you cannot fool us as you make a fool of yourself
There is too much more to you than this.


You're so unique!
You're so uniquely mundane.
Ripped from the pages of every textbook
Believing you are unconventional.

You're so brilliant!
You're so brilliantly stupid.
Your mind simple and narrow like a bamboo skewer
Believing you deserve not to be skewered.

You care so damn much!
You care so damn much about your ego.
You own opinions, your own ideas, your own experiences
Believing you care for the sake of caring.

You're such a good person!
You're so good at being a bad person.
Standing for all the right things in all the wrong ways
Believing you're so damned compassionate.

You're so fucking special!
Your smile lights up the solar eclipse!
Your voice grants hearing to the deaf!
Your armpits smell like lilacs!
You're so fucking special, I just can't stand you.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Maddie, sing for me again
For it's been too damn long since your voice has called to me
And join me in the memories I make

With false friends who couldn't seem truer in the moment
And true friends due to fade out of the spotlight
And friendly faces which are only so friendly
But at least I know where they stand.

Maddie, sing for me tonight
Sing for me for all time

Sing for me and my home
Broken down and reassembled

My relationships
Ripped to pieces and sometimes mended

My career
On life support and thrown a lifeline

My life
Deconstructed and reconstructed.

Maddie, sing for me and all the beautiful faces
All the beautiful bodies
All the beautiful souls
For to me, they're merely beautiful strangers
And in a different time, I might have cared.

Most of all, Maddie, sing for me
Sing for the sense I try to make of it all

The elation
The madness

The brilliance
The stupidity

The adoring
The despising

The living for life
The living to die.

Maddie, sing for me while I'm still living.
Maddie, sing for me before I die.

Maddie, sing for me again
And again and again and again
For nothing else will ever be the same
Once December has come to an end.

[This poem is dedicated to Madalean Gauze, whose album Sing has defined my 34th year more than any other, especially the song Accumulations of Life.]

Perfectly Matched

To him, a woman was always a plaything
And she was all too happy to let him play her

To her, a man was always beneath her
And he was happy as long as she was on top

But she never knew how to respect a man
And he never knew how to respect a woman
So they never knew how to love each other
For what the hell is love without respect?

To him, she was another notch in his belt
And the notch was pleased each time he removed his belt

To her, he was another means to an end
As long as he had the means, she enjoyed the end

But she never truly appreciated a man
And he never truly appreciated a woman
So they never truly loved each other
For without appreciation, what is love?

To him, she is just another memory
Another hazy blur in his feeble, cluttered mind

To her, he is just another mistake
Another grotesque blemish on her vastly subpar record

And she'll never truly love the next man
And he'll never truly love the next woman
For they're too deeply in love with themselves
To know what it means to truly love

So she'll mourn for everything they could have been
And he'll mourn for everything they got to be
And when the mourning ends tonight, the night will bring another morning
And together, they shall lie in the darkness.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


If only the voices in my head would stop screaming
And the voices that surround me would stop shouting
And the voices that haunt me would stop talking
Maybe I could finally fall asleep.

If only your voice would stop playing
In my ears like a song I can't forget
And stop reminding me of everything we cannot be
Maybe I could finally move on.

If only the voices of my yesterdays
Would stop ringing in my ears tomorrow
If only I could silence them, if only they'd shut up
Maybe I'd look forward to the future.

If the chorus of voices on the internet
And radio, TV, and on the street
Would only stop forcing their opinions upon me
Maybe I would know what to think.

If that little voice inside me would wisen
If that little voice would shrink its own self-doubt
If that little voice didn't have enormous insecurities
Maybe I'd believe in me and you.

If only the voices in my head would stop screaming
And the voices that surround me would stop shouting
And the voices that haunt me would stop talking
Maybe I could find my one true voice.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Me and the Birds

As I stand on the waterfront
Taking in the river breezes
Which cool and calm and cleanse me of my ailments
I watch the geese and the ducks in their natural habitat
In this slice of nature in an unnatural city.

As I stroll lazily across the grass and by the trees
I hear the song of the red-winged blackbirds
And as I watch them take flight
I stare in awe at their plumage
So moody, yet so gorgeous.

As I walk amongst the ducks and the geese
All of us lingering peacefully on this slab of land
Pressing "pause" on all our pressures, our varied hassles, and ugly instincts
Just long enough to enjoy these few minutes.

And as the red-winged blackbirds trill their tune and fly to freedom
So must I fly away from this patch of green in an urban wonderland
So must I return to where I came from
So must the birds and I bid farewell
Until again, I find myself among them.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Emotional Demons

Some people get high on cocaine
Some people get high on heroin
Some people get high on ecstasy
But I get high on arrogance.

Some people abuse OxyContin
Some people abuse Percocet
Some people abuse Vicodin
But I abuse the ones I love.

For some folks, sex reigns supreme
Others can't stop touching themselves
Others keep their eyes glued to pornography
But I can't stop turning people off.

Maybe you drink too much whisky
Or a few too many beers
Or way too much vodka, gin, or tequila
But I enjoy my hate in moderation.

Some people just love their nicotine
They smoke themselves to death
The only thing I love to set on fire
Is my overheated rhetoric.

Some people eat until they're full
Then stuff their bodies even further
But I love to stuff my ego until it explodes
And makes a mess all over you.

For you may be addicted to drugs or booze
Or sex or food or smokes
But I am addicted to driving away
The people I need the most.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Something To Look Forward To

When I was still young in body and at heart
I loved to hit the city with a palette and a brush
In search of someone to paint the town with
I suppose that was something to look forward to

The sensation of a woman's body close to mine
And the thrill of any mutual attraction
The connection, even fleeting, of two hearts, two minds, two souls
I suppose that was something to look forward to.

When I was still a hopefully hopeless -- or hopelessly hopeful -- romantic
I used to keep my eyes and ears and mind open
Just in case the next lady I met could become my next lady
I suppose that was something to look forward to

Getting to know each other -- how mundane
Caring about each other -- how commonplace
Learning to love each other -- how cliche
I suppose that was something to look forward to.

When I still had the will to put my essence on the line
I put as much on the line as I could spare
And one by one, the ladies took it, used it up, and left me nothing
Was that ever something to look forward to?

And one by one, I lost my drive, my love, and my determination
But did I really?
Did they really take my essence?
What was really something to look forward to?

Now that I'm older and wiser -- well, at least older and changed
I've stopped carrying my palette and my brush
And they say you and I are "just friends" and nothing more
And they say that isn't something to look forward to

But when we see each other next, we'll share, we'll learn, we'll grow, we'll plan
To do it all again sometime, and again on repeat
Knowing that it means much more than fleeting fun or short-lived romance
I suppose that's something to look forward to.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Sickness

It's that tense and queasy feeling
My heart begins to pound
And my face begins to tighten
As my fists begin to clench
But I'm not looking for a face to punch
Or a wall to put a hole in
It's just the sickness that I feel
When I feel anything for you.

It's the loss of any appetite for anything but anger
The loss of any taste for anything not bitter
The ever-growing craving for a stew of lamentations
Starvation for attention from another false friend
It's the sickness that I feel when I think about you
When I think about the ways you spent my time
When I think about the waste of time you proved yourself to be
Again, I feel the sickness.

It's the paranoia when I make a new acquaintance
For a new acquaintance cannot possibly become an ally
The depression when I realize how long I let you fool me
The anxiety when I wonder who else is fooling me
The unwillingness of this fool to face a world of foolers
It's the sickness that I feel when I see or hear your name
It's the sickness that I feel when I remember our good times
For I see now that our good times were never quite so good
Neither is the way you make me feel today.

It's the restlessness, the yearning to see welcoming faces
It's the emptiness inside which I cannot fill alone
It's the weariness of wariness
The loneliness
The readiness
The readiness to feed my needs
The readiness to need again
The readiness for openness with just a hint of cautiousness
It's a whole new kind of sickness
For you've made me sick and make me sick
It's the sickness
For I'm sick
Of being sick.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


You and I, we're seekers
Every day of our lives a quest
Searching our souls, searching the world
Yet sometimes, there's only so much to discover

And we may never find what we're looking for
And we may never find what to look for
But you and I have found each other
And that's got to be worth something.

You and I, we're doers
But at times, all we do is wonder what to do
"What to do, what to do?" -- the eternal question
A question whose answer keeps running away

And we may never find the answer
And if we do, we may wish we hadn't
But you and I have found each other
And we never wish we hadn't.

You and I, we're thinkers
But sometimes, our thoughts distress us
For it's impossible to ponder the mysteries of life
Without remembering both the light and the shade

And we may not always like what we think
If we can bring ourselves to think at all
But I think about you, and you think about me
So thinking cannot be all bad.

And we may never find the answer
And if we do, we may wish we hadn't
But you and I have found each other
And we never wish we hadn't.

And we may never find what we're looking for
And we may never find what to look for
But you and I have found each other
And that's definitely worth something.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I'm Fascinated

I'm fascinated by the words you say
I'm fascinated that a single thought of you can make my day.

I'm amazed by every little feeling
I'm amazed that a single touch of you can be so healing.

I'm fascinated by the way a gentle tap
Can pull me back when I'm about to snap.

I'm in awe of the way one kind embrace
Can brighten the expression on my face.

I'm fascinated by one little kiss
I'm fascinated that one little kiss can bring such bliss.

The comfort that I feel just being near you
The comfort that it brings to see or hear you.

I'm fascinated that a simple, wordless gesture
Can soothe me more than anyone can measure.

I'm fascinated by the glow you've painted on me
I'm fascinated by the light you shine upon me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Running Gag

A runaway slave, an illegal alien, and a terrorist walk into a bar.
The bartender asks, "What'll you guys have?"
The runaway slave says, "Freedom."
The illegal alien says, "Rights."
The terrorist says, "Both."
The bartender replies, "Too bad. We don't serve outlaws."
He asks the militia if they'd like another round.

The runaway slave, the illegal alien, and the terrorist go to another bar.
They settle in at a table.
The server asks them to leave.
"We can't," the terrorist protests. "We were about to order a bottle of your finest."
The server looks at the runaway slave. "You want the finest...before we execute you?"
She looks at the illegal alien. "You'd steal it like you stole our jobs."
She looks at the terrorist. "You'd make a bomb out of the bottle."
In comes a group of rowdy hockey fans.
The server asks the slave, the illegal, and the terrorist, "Please vacate this table so we can accommodate these lovely gentlemen."

My Black brother, my Latino brother, and I go to yet another bar.
Our White brother the bartender greets us with a "What's up?"
My Black brother orders freedom.
My Latino brother orders rights.
I order both.
The bartender replies, "Coming right up!"
He pours himself a shot of love when his boss isn't looking.
"Brothers," he says, "a toast."
And we don't know why, but we clink glasses with him.
We don't know why...but then again, we do.

The following night, a runaway slave, an illegal alien, and a terrorist walk into a bar...

How Convenient

He doesn't post the pictures online
Except the ones which look "just friendly."
And he identifies him as his "friend"
Lest his relatives back home find out he's that way...

She doesn't give away too much
When her boss asks what she did this weekend.
"I went out," she says.
When asked with whom, she replies, "A friend."
For if she says, "My girlfriend," she's gained a lover -- but lost a job.
And the law is just fine with that.

The law is just fine with both of them being out on their asses
For being that way.

He meets him for a concert.
She meets her for dinner.
But he doesn't dance with him
And she doesn't hold her hand.
No need to tempt the bashers
So they stay bashful
To avoid being bashed.

What they do behind closed doors is nobody's business...
That is to say, nobody needs to hear about it.
Nobody wants to hear about it.
What they do behind closed doors is nobody's business
So they do it behind closed doors.

He lays his tired body on the mattress.
She lays her weariness beside his.
And once again, they resign themselves to the ruse they perpetrate
And perpetuate
To please his boss' old-fashioned tastes
To suit her company's traditional image
To put their landlord's narrow mind at ease.
"Goodnight, husband," she chuckles.
"Goodnight, wife," he sneers.

How convenient.

Wish I Never

Never thought that I would find
I'd rather not keep you in mind

Never thought that I would choose
Your admiration to lose

Never thought about the pain
That loving you would leave my brain

Never thought I'd consider you
Someone I wish I never knew.

Nobody else has made me weep
So much for love too spoiled to keep

Nobody else has made me cry
So much for love that could not fly

Nobody else has left me longing
So much for love with no belonging

Nobody else as much as you
Someone I wish I never knew.

I did not see and could not know
To what extent we could not grow

Together, we were matched supremely
But still, a pairing most unseemly

I could have failed, you could have tried
But I tried, you failed by and by

Like storm clouds in a sky of blue
Someone I wish I never knew.

The years have passed, the time has gone
The dark has brought many new dawns

But to this day, you've been my downfall
A square hole trying to fit a round ball

A sweet tooth trying to taste a spicy treat
An herbivore trying to taste meat

A hammer trying to twist a screw
Someone I wish I never knew.