Posts in Category: Poetry

Ink jets and heart attacks

She ran the dead’s carpeting
throughout the office supply stacks.
She wanted a toy, not pencils nor tacks.
She was bright, shiny cuteness
in an Office Depot®,
or was it an OfficeMax®?
You know,
wherever the corporate types go
for overpriced ink and free heart attacks…

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(At Staples in South San Francisco, California, February 2016. See my other work here and here.)

Nakano laundromat

At a small laundromat in Tokyo

I loitered outside to see how people go.

They were slow.

It was November and they were slow.

But in Tokyo slow is much faster

than what seems fast anywhere else you go…

Laundromat in passing, Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo, November 2015

(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo, November 2015. See my other work here and here.)

Cupid’s Valentine moon

Tonight the moon was less than full but more than willing,

the kind of moon that inspires killing

lovers, hearts, and alcohol,

this versatile moon can do it all.

And if the moon isn’t worthy, it’s still better than you.

It never killed for a temple or pew.

So sleep your dreams, and dream of sleep.

The moon is never ours to keep…

Tonight the moon was less than full but more than willing, Brisbane, California 2018

(Brisbane, California, February 2018. See my other work here and here.)

Glow shop

Before my face scraped the road,
I saw a shop that glowed.
I couldn’t get inside,
So the tender ghost without me died.
This freed me to further travel,
And continue to unravel
Secrets that I sought.
Truths that can’t be bought
In illuminated shops,

A shop of glow in the night, Brisbane, California 2018

Found at bus stops,
Or drunk in bars of great divinity.
My secrets aren’t within onyx superstructures of great art,
Or in the meat sack we call the human heart.
So resting overnight I watched the shop glow.
By morning the sun rose so fast
It seemed retrograde slow.
There were places I had to go,
People I had to be.
More ghosts I had to fetch,
And a love I longed to catch.

For decades this place was a bodega (the Coca Cola sign), then a retail shop (the India Rose sign), now apparently it’s a private residence.

(Brisbane, California, January 2018. See my other work here and here.)

The hope at the end of the year

I wish I could say
the end of the year
will erase all your pain,
make disgraces and crimes disappear,
kill the hatred on sale two-for-one at Safeway,

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flood the streets with winning lotto tickets,
give us the heart to be ourselves,
let us forego religion in favor of reason,
and install a second faucet
on everyone’s kitchen sink

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from which flows on demand
the finest Belgian chocolate sauce.
But that’s not going to happen.
America won’t get fixed,
won’t be America,

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won’t be great or even passable,
until people like these,
good people,
sweet people,
American people,

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are no longer sleeping on
concrete pillows on the streets,
seeing bullets and unicorns in their soup,
and eating manic-depressive tacos
from the labyrinths inside flaming dumpsters.

(Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, December 2017. See my other work here and here.)

Encounter at a taqueria

A scooter at midnight during the war

Down in San Bruno, California
there are renegades and vampires
running gun and overrunning every street.
There are always women in the crosswalks
shepherding their invisible children
to non-existent schools.
These women drink hard liquor for no pay,
because that’s their little piece
of The American Way.

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Their husbands and wives are all off at war,
there is always a war,
and they never know where the war is,
who the war is against,
or if their husbands or wives will ever come home.

This just in:
The Defense Department and Bar and Grill
just announced nobody from San Bruno, California
is on active duty in the war.
They lied to their wives and went drinking
in the next town over for several months
because their invisible children
are easy prey for vampires,
make too much noise when they die,
and they couldn’t face it.

San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, California 2017

In my neighborhood…

This is our country now, this is our lives.

I saw a flag on a house

that does not usually fly one.

An elected official lives there.

I voted for her, hell yes.

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I’ve voted a shitload in my life.

I voted the last time,

the bad time

when the change we wanted

is the worst we could’ve imagined.

And I’m standing there

looking at this flag,

and the dog’s looking at me.

And I’m pretty sure

the dog’s asking “What in the FUCK did you people do?!!”

And, you know,

I love that dog,

I’ve known him for years,

but I hate the question.

Because I don’t have an answer,

and I’m not gonna like

the answer that comes.

(This is a real photograph, not staged, proudly taken in Brisbane, California on November 12th, 2016)

I am broken

I am broken

and I have been for many years.

I’m not some toy

you can take back to Hasbro

and say “This fucking thing is fucking fucked up.”

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They would laugh at you

and I would too.

I am not a toy.

I am a man.

And I hurt,

and I love,

(I love more than you know),

and I rage.

And I love you all, you are my life,

you are my Jesus,

but I am broken.

And I don’t know how to fix me.

So please

bear with me.

The doctors are coming in

with long, sharp stainless-steel tools

and they will probe me

and figure out what’s wrong.

There might be blood.

Sorry.

(Brisbane, California 2016)

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