All In

(With apologies to Lydia Davis)


Heart says, “Bang head here,” and points.

Head says, “Ok!”

Ribs says, “No can do, not built right.”

Heart says, “but but but, need, I need.”

Something else adds, “Try some anxiety!”

Heart says, “AHHHH!!!! OK OK!!!!


Head says, “By jove, why!!?”

Ribs creak, “I like a good kathumpa-thump, but this is TOO MUCH!”

Heart struggles, “tttttttttttttttuh!”

Head asks, “What?! WHO??”

Heart tries again, “TTTTTTTTTTTRRRUGGG!”




Head reaches down,

pulls heart up, up

into cranium, holds tight,


“it’s ok, it’s ok”

with some pats and a kiss,

sweet Heart finds bliss.


Brain feels Heart,

looks into its shy eyes.


Ribs itself fearing

the lack of kathumpa-thump,

with cracking fingers crawls

into cranium says,

“Hey friends, nice in here.”


Brain gathers friends,

tight-grip says, “it is nice in here, no?

all of us,

it should stay like this…

I can keep us all,

no matter.”


Ribs and Heart agree.


Now it’s all in the head.

Now it’s all in the head.

Something else struggles.

We, Curio

Accidental adversary,
are you so befuddled and struck?

Coveting what she keeps covert:
the biblical, the wanderlust,

the come and go of what dangles
betwixt poles of locomotion;

with whispers, we’re colored shameful,
a curio from our circle.

I hope one day you do not fight
how two offshoots got so vested!

Not of sunshine but candlelight,
Grew from rot you two once tested!

“But why not tell?
Why not spill?”
“Simple, love,
I’ve no need, I’ve no want to kill.”

“But were I him, I do admit
that I should rather ache and die

of venomous gifts from your lips,
than stooping for that truth to find

endless power in Cupid’s whips –
weakness within what all I could.”

How little effort caused a flip
in who it is you do adore.

So yes, like him, I have been there,
your rich greenhouse to adulate

your body, soul, and heart so fair,
in perpetuum populate…

Oh, I love her!
I love her!
Cupid, Please!
Can’t I be the last discovered?

At Least

really, it’s nothing
heat lightning, sweat
drizzle creeping sillwards
crack one cross the sky
drink up, wink an eye
they’ll think what they’ll think
but I’ll think,
“at least I got to hold you
when you told me to,”

so hi there

breaking bottles (!)
green clear red and brown
like happy rat rumps
scurrying for the downpour
of my shaking to understand
what happens in the splintering —
hundreds of one color
still and exactly 
the bottle be damned
while drunks babble-cluck
from the knoll, toss more colors
that shatter, “goodbye!” “ta-ta!”
“haha! ’til then, indeed!”
shards wondering,
“if I had stayed on the shelf
would I have a better life?”
when my Docs’ careless crunching
under streetlights buzzing
delivers here ‘n’ now like,
“earth to spaceman, come in”
I blink and collect
green clear red and brown,
costume jewelry begets the crown

good lord

pretty oil in water’s got me
hooked and leering like,
at least mr cheeto bag
bracing the storm drain,
clinging for constancy,
keeps a fashion statement
of leaves from leaving.”
the sweet gutter muttering,

“let us stay the same”

holy sunset: umber, orange
purple shock zap
god scorn red, grotesque
pink panting for
Luna’s shiverwhipping to say,
“hey! get some sleeeeeeeep dude.”

and I’m all, “fuck you!”
and I flip off the moon
and I screech and I writhe
and I pray for Mr. Chinaski
and I howl for Young Werther
and I write and I sink
and I love me some vodka
and I slip ontha wine
and I get so vicious and ill
and I write and I write
and I wither and I smoke
and I jingle my key
and I burn through the hole in my wall


wrap again and again
a strand of hair
around a finger stare
my steel-toothed skin
plucked to sing
this dancer thread
coarse then smooth
all dye and time
whispered, whispered
from your head

stop, trembling hands

and bob the walk
empty shots and
mary jane I trace her
sly-eyed figure:
seat back
dash lit
rigor gone yet
hoodie drawn
“o! fitful glow stick –
we weave the walk!”

expressway day
stokes senses urgent:
the glass, the gas
so! fucking! lean!

I thunder from a t stop,
“vroom vrrroooom,
ye of smallish time,
vroom vrrroooooom!
better punch in, lest
your dancers gray –
away, away!
and FUCK Arcady
old lady!!
who needs her
who needs her
and those who need her

who need her.”

stinky train brakes
wince like a symphony
of dead commuters
a melody, some structure
and allllllllllllllll those goosebumps

when you invited me to listen
it went all the way through
my skin

dear jesus


I never felt so permeable

enwreathed in smoke repeating,
“oh no.”

the dilation

those hiccups!
violent inhalation, yet no tears
and what a look around
with those big and shinies like,
“Yes, you fools, I think we’ll be alright”

for my heart

is breathing steam against my ribs
drawing in the condensation
your portrait over and over
then your image fading
for my breath, waiting

I snap

your dancer

at least

I have

the rhythm

to a T.


Staunch in the Air

Modest 6:55am knock gets a pause,
a pause in which I give
my throat a good clear my
eyes a good wring my
face a little splash when
the searching 6:56am knock
gets an answer, “Oh, yeah! Yep yep!
A second!”

7am, door-jam Smitty,
arms crossed and leaning,
says, “This has got to be
the smallest place,
I’ve ever seen.”
“304 square feet.”
“When’d you move in?”

I’m two valid blinks in
when Wayne, master plumber,
curse-bundle wrenching,
under sink explains to me,

“Oh yeah dude,
you’ve no idea,
I find bodies in the Bean
ALL the time.”
Smitty shifts and casts,
all too familiar
with Wayne’s continue,
“Just earlier this year,
front of the complex —
“THIS complex, this building?”
“Yeah dude! apartment uh –
one six –
little old lady,
dead for like a week,
nobody noticed,
until I knocked,
six, maybe seven times,
and in every knock since
my first find, the thought
has alway-just-kinda crept…
hey, dude, your floor is nice,”
“Yeah? I swept and swept.
Felt bad like I needed a mop,
or a…uh… swiffer.”
“Hah, nah, most people,
it’s like, I’m lying in shit,
groping for their shit,
reaching into their shit,
and, Smitty, shit,
we’re in need,
the pipecutter,
it’s in the tru–
“Sure thing Wayne,
Keep doin’ your thing, Wayne”

Smitty, baby-faced
and quick, no longer
blocks the threshold
separating us, Wayne and me,
from the pale blue hallway,

“Like, nobody
gives two thinks
to the fact!
I’m’unna be there,
fuckin’ bustin’ my ass,
wrenching under sinks,
y’know, dealing in shit!”

When Wayne repositions
for better leverage,
I see his forehead has
gathered fresh impressions
from the wood-frame
beneath my sink,
which’ve hybridized
with Wayne’s own
life-long furrowings.

“How many times, Wayne,”
I wish to ask,
“did you expect to
happen upon the departed,
and, my guy,
how many more times
do you think you will?”

“Anyway, there it was,
staunch in the air.”


“Yeah. Staunch in the air.

I call the cops,
they bust the lock
and it SMELLS, dude,
like really smells.”

Finally some sense:
earlier in the year,
say April, I float in,
buzzin’ like a bee,
give or take midnight.

A gripping scent,
one open, splintering door,
first floor (my floor),
one weary, pacing cop,

a father-daughter quatrain
salting dingy carpet steps,
scanning me, bated breath.

Peering into their eyes, I find
I’m maneuvering a shock
I’ve yet to name, like
the “I’ve just been robbed!”
shock seen so oft.

But now,
reified is the:
“for like a week?!” shock;
the, “I really did mean to call,” shock;
the, “she was still so with it” shock,
and still, say November,
on unit one-six’s
not-so freshly
painted door, is some
chicken-scratch taped:

“Locks changed,
to access unit,
call Jeff.”

Successful Smitty,
guardian once more.
Pipecutters’s cut,
one-six waits,
realtors smile
just down the hall.

“Three or four times!
This building alone,”
Wayne admits,
“Lot of old folks here…
This pipe,” free from the nether,
held to the light,
“been here, for like,
70 years. Is retirement sweet,
old friend?” set gently down,

and Wayne,
with a laugh,
removes my old dishwasher
connects the new,
and as green lights blink,

“let it run
a normal
wash cycle now…
‘cuz sometimes,
after an install,
they gitta
shitload of standing water

and it’s rank, dude,
like real rank…

I’d run it again,
when you get home,
just to be safe.”

Wayne packs up, leaves,
Smitty already gone,
I brush my teeth,
strike down pale blue
through stale, uriniferous air.

A package still stalling
‘gainst unit one-three,
I press on and out.

Wayne calls from his truck,
east-coast accent
staunch in the air

“Once more!
Just to be safe!”

I zag youthful,
catching the train.

back two feet and left

You roll up through the fog,
smiling like,
“I know you motherfucker,
I know you.”

A wraith
I long let haunt
far and above,
back two feet and left.

We were derived
from magnetic guile,
no compass but a gait.

So we danced, needling
and drawing blood
from the other, brother
am I in the right-now?

For difference
I yearn but
then, you wish
the same.




i wnt u so bd.

u wnt me?

wsh thr was

sumn bttr thn


‘u feel’n sexy?’

jus cuz

im lustn

srsly lustn

bt mor thn tht

i thnk im luvn,

n i no i no

‘no luv,’ n

i no i no

u dnt no

wut ur doin or

whr ur goin

bt dam…

i wnt u so bd.

n i no,

‘gtta b carefl,

u finna hrt me,’

which is k

rly lol,

thts k,

but u shuld no

im lustn

srsly lustn

n dam

u no wut?

im luvn 2

im srsly luvn

u 🙂


(With tech thickly in skull, the writer got to thinking, does real love survive this truncated nuWorld? Can lust be separate with all this instant gratification, this less-than-skin level dopamine addiction? Does real love break through from heart to brain to tips, from screen to screen, then screen to eyes to brain to heart?)