The Way

“Listen! You only care about yourself!” The old man said. He ate pistachios, glazed with chocolate, while sitting in his easy chair.

The kid, was looking in all directions, for the way

but the adults in his life could only tell him the way they had gone,

and they did.

Nobody could tell him who he was, and when he suggested what he might do, it was always the same…

“You are prideful. Be practical. You have such high standards. Survive—that’s what life is about.”

The kid felt oppressed, listening to the advice.

“What’s pride?” He asked the old man.

“Pride, is when you don’t listen to other people.”

The kid thought about that… maybe, the old man needed to be listened to

So, the kid listened

“Stephen has pride. He wants to do, what he wants to do. I told him that he needs to focus on his marriage, and drop out of school. He wants to be a pastor, so that his congregation will worship him. My brother was like that—he could never get enough attention.”

“That’s the one who lives in Idaho and pastors a church?”

The same. Pride steals self-awareness.”

“I’ve been trying to make better decisions,” the kid said.

“Pride is getting in your way.”

The kid thought about that…

In that moment, he realized, he could not trust the old man

pride was necessary

and the fall

and, getting up.

“When I was in charge of finding a pastor, occasionally—I had to lead the congregation with a message. Once, I was mistaken for the pastor, and I said, ‘oh no, I’m not him.'”

The kid thought about what the old man said. “Are you going to plan any new year’s resolutions this year?”

“I don’t do new year’s resolutions—When I decide to change, I change,” the old man said.

The kid realized his advice-asking days were over. His thinking-about-it days were over too. He would have to make his own decisions, and live with the consequences. There was no benefit in asking others for advice. There was no benefit in telling them what he was going to do. Falling, was a certainty, and rising out of his shame would be his redemption.


Morning Symphony

My intestines play a solo in bed…

It can take years to compose a symphony

You must embrace the part of you,

you were pretending,

didn’t exist.

A story, rarely, can be told straight

You must see it differently

invent ways to tell it—

all those mundane experiences


in your mind

are your redemption.

It’s not about discovering something new

but realizing

what was already there.

Romantic Rooms

there are many romantic rooms

we walk into.

We might stay there, for weeks, months, years

and I prefer the empty one

to the room filled with gas,

emotions, or arguing.

Few things can send a man to the madhouse

without his permission—

a woman doesn’t need your permission

Living in an apartment complex, has given me a complex

I listen to the conversation downstairs,

and I don’t want to

“Eat your fuckin food!” She screams.


“Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t walk away from me—I’m talking to you!”

After two hours, somebody calls the police

I can hear the man’s deep voice, explaining to the officer

that he didn’t hit her,

but the policeman says, “Sorry, I’ll have to take you in, anyway.”

I hear the relief in his voice without hearing it

I think her screaming is over, but she starts up again

Is she on the phone?

Women won’t tell you who they are—you have to find out for yourself

and it’s best to know her, before knowing her

there are kind women

and busy women

women who play instruments, and sing

competitive women, who never stop competing

women who want to be mothers

and those who want to get married

desperate women,

lonely women,

and then, there is the woman, who wants to do something with you

and she isn’t a sex crazed nymphomaniac

She sees something, there

in the same way, you walk into rooms, and look

If you’re good at this

you will spot her, in the mob of suicide pills

If you can’t tell the difference,

you will learn to kill crabs, or stand with your butt against the wall in prison

So, when your friend asks you, “Why aren’t you in a relationship yet?”

Just tell him, “I haven’t found her, but I’m looking.”

Soft Hands

the poet considers the work of his hands

and they are soft—

no forced labor here,

and if labor, the bore of his voice

with no one listening…

hushed, wheezing, rasping, for more

the thousand evils we bring upon weak men

are the seeds to grow greatness

from their cavernous cores of inferiority

It has not been, when I felt like a master, that I needed to out-perform my slave-mentality

It was when I was mocked, and told that I had soft hands—that my hands became like iron

fighting, as if my shadow, might fight back

choking the life

from my own laughter, thinking it was theirs


is for those who don’t want to go to war

I prefer

to press against pain with my heart

stirring up feelings that last more than a day

If someone makes me feel this way,

I will remember them, forever—I will remember the fight I never had

it will haunt me, in dreams—the ghost of greatness, that never died, and never lived.

To be soft, is to work with feelings

to be sharp, is to work with death

words cut, but only if we let them, and most people engage in self-harm

to be hard, is to work with the earth, and learn the lessons of survival

Few people, I know, work in the earth

but I do see them cut wide-open

bleeding bitterness, and love for what they lost

The beginning of life, is a contest of getting

Near the invisible finish-line

we pass, who lost

We don’t feel victory, because we know, we in turn, will lose

We carry them inside us still,

like phantom pain—a prosthetic part of us, no longer there

Those we loved,

and those we hated



We will all lose,

we didn’t know them—not really

We just wash, and keep shaking hands

Soft hands, I have soft hands

they are waiting for someone soft

words won’t matter, when whatever happens, happens

calloused, cut, and sensitive

our hands



soft hands.

Your Life Needs to be Poetry

We must have places to go, beyond four walls

Atmosphere, is what we need, to breathe

without that, our lives become stale.

I went over to my friend’s house, over the holidays

and the usual magic wasn’t there

When we get to know others, we write them off

and reading the same book, gets old

Our favorite, is placed on the shelf, to look at, but not to read

We think the books in the library are the same

because they all have the same hard covers

and this is how marriage can be

how life

more often than not, is

If we make a life with someone else,

we must read them,

like a religion


what we overlooked

or didn’t see

Doors must be walked through differently

One, can feel alone

One, can be in good company

One, can be with others, and not want to be

How do people get through this life?

It passes quickly, and there isn’t much to see

If I change my life, I won’t change me

I have been trying for so long—and I’m not any different

I may have to go to a Tibetan Monastery—but even these, have TV

the storm in the sea—where the man tries to sail around the world

makes him appreciate dry land

Without any pressure on the mind—it becomes mindless

like a ship without a rudder, sailing in the doldrums

Do you find yourself going to the same grocery store?

Do you think that if you changed

your life would be different?

They all look the same

the conversations

that try to be different

are the same


is the rule—

there might be magic, beneath the wrapping

but no,

it dresses-up the truth

Maybe, I need to mingle and meet people

go to a different country

learn a language

study chemistry

but I’m sure of one thing…

Writing poetry can’t be your life—your life needs to be Poetry.

Writing Inspiration Before the New Year

In my first apartment, I journaled in bed, each morning, before I had my coffee

and the thoughts were haphazard, flowing onto the page like foggy dreams.

Before that, I was writing a novel that would never end

and I would go to the city library after work, and try to write 1,000 words. After 250,000

the novel was a disconnected, rambling, stream of consciousness.

After that, I discovered a writing group, but nobody there had been published, and they were all over-weight working professionals, above the age of 50.

I went home, and watched a documentary on Charles Bukowski, which gave me inspiration, but nobody I talked to understood why he gave me hope—he wrote about suicide, death, and whores.

“You’re nothing like him,” my friend said.

“I don’t know…”

Belief is important for persistence, but if not belief, you must really want to do it.

The problem is, after we start to do something for several years, we think about it differently.

“Why can’t I write like Stephen King?”

But I tried to read one of his novels, once—and I couldn’t even read it.

The biggest mistake is to think we are somebody else.

There are stories we like to tell, and there are those stories we need to tell— all the writing we do, before we get to our NEED, is worth it, because we can, when we NEED to.

I’ve talked to many people who all have a novel they would like to write, but when they sit down to do it, they can’t.

Being able to do it, and actually doing it, is what writing is all about.

So, write every day, and your novel will take care of itself.

A Separate Destiny

There are many ways to make a living

but only one life

that is acceptable

to you.

This life is more valuable than the others


the minutes go by

beyond money

beyond, being blended

with other lives.

Separation, from the whole of humanity

Separation, from needing a job

Separation, and wanting to do something,

with the time that you have left.

Moments of separation in your past

where you thought about who you might become

and the wars you fought to be

somebody else,

with the stiff knowledge,

that you are not.

People don’t want their destiny

It doesn’t promise dollars

or praise

or power

and DOING it,

is total fulfillment.

Having some mission, like a truck driver hauling seed

or a mother, dropping her son off at the library

or an intellectual, taking a stand against society

is a declaration

of your destiny—

the kind-hearted professor, to the arrogant one

who knows, but doesn’t understand.

Just because you achieve


doesn’t mean that you are better

but there is a better life

for you to live.

People won’t envy you

They will pity you.

It’s like listening to the anger of the world

while you lie in bed alone

and all the world knows

is that you are alone.

Last Chance Poetry

Dreams die like butterflies

caught in a rainstorm

they start-off as heroes, flying towards the sun

fields of tulips

red and white

colors, flowing into art—painted on the imagination

Finally, roll-call

grasshoppers, demanding, census

and the butterflies burned out of the sky.

Every failure ends in poetry

Every poet, believes they are painting flowers for their butterfly dreams

and the locusts land, eating the brains of momma’s boys and sensitive men

feasting on their flower petals

blowing, in the wind.

Accountability, is a strange word

for the artist, who thinks he is special

Suddenly, he is only a body

without any wings

without any color

just an ant, marching in unison

to his eventual, execution.

Poetry is the last chance

When it dies

it wilts like a flower

the last bit of beauty fades

from the stained-glass wings of his cathedral tower

where he worshiped

in the sun,


in the rain.

What can we do for eternity?

At 80 years old—he was a madman

jolly—and full of his own self-belief


the milk of Santa Clause.

It took 50 years

to become totally insane

because, any righteous madness

happens slowly

the righteous, live by their own decisions

it makes them able to be who they are

“Abandon all hope, yee scurvy dogs!” Are the words of the scurvy brain

And for some reason, there is hope, in total surrender to death

a life that’s measured—is one, that must weigh something

it’s not the feathers, in a feather bed

because the madman set fire to his comfort—years ago

He reads his own newspaper



a-top the coldest mountain

Why go to where it’s impossible to live?

living, makes us old

“I don’t want to grow old!” Said the 80-year-old man to his father

“You are prideful!”

“What should we do today?” Asked the 80-year-old man to his father

“I need to pick the lint from between my toes, and then Suzie is going to give me a rub-down and rotate me.”

the madman prayed for death,

while his father was clinging to life—unable to live

What can we do for eternity?

What can we do now?

That Time of the Month

The Pro Shop was dimly lit, like the men were hiding from their wives, or something worse. The cigar smoke haze, was like the monster fog, outside, floating between the fairways, like ghosts.

“It’s a blood moon tonight,” Mike said.

“What does that mean?” Ken asked.

“It means, she’s on the rag,” Bill offered.

“Who’s on the rag?”

“Your wife,” Bill said.

“I’ll kill you!”

“No, you won’t.”

“If you boys want to take it outside, I’ve got a pair of pistols,” Mike suggested.

“A duel on the golf course?” Ken asked.

“What better time, than a blood moon?” Mike said. He was the head pro, and distinguished in his dress. He wore a sweater and jeans.

“Romantic—why don’t you play poker, instead of playing with each other,” Greg suggested.

“You just want my money,” Ken said.

“I can’t argue with that. How about your wife?” Greg asked.

“You want my wife?”

“Take it easy—she’s a little bit big for me, but I know you’re a slob, and she keeps your house as neat as a pin. I need a housekeeper, and if I need something to bang, well…”

“I’ll kill you!” Ken said.


“What’s that Billy?” Greg asked.

“I think he said, ‘Are you going to lick my balls?'”

Billy put down his cards. He had a straight-flush. His throat cancer made it so he couldn’t talk—three packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years. He won the pot, and nobody complained—it was only a couple months before he took the lonely walk into the dark. He puffed on a cigarette, while stacking his chips.

“Billy—how’s your experimental treatment coming along?” Mike asked.

“Icks gowes hard and soft.”


“I think he said, the nurses get him excited.”

“Oh—he deserves it. The blood moon has nothing to do with that time of the month,” Mike said.


“Werewolves have been breaking-off flagsticks on the number 6 green the last couple of nights—I didn’t want to scare you guys from work.”

“There’s no such thing as werewolves,” Greg said. He took a drink, like he was trying to convince himself.”

“Why don’t you go for a walk under the red twilight, and find out?”

“It’s too cold, and besides, we’re playing poker.”

“I’m game, if you are?” Ken said.

“Bill finally came out of the restroom and zipped-up his pants. “Did I hear that you guys want to kill the werewolves tearing up the number 6 green? If we go, I’m taking my lever-action Winchester rifle. It’s an exact replica of the one Jimmy Stewart used in that movie, Winchester 73′. Plus, I’ve cast silver bullets. Shouldn’t be a problem to take down one or two of those hairy beasts.”

The guys looked at him. Bill wasn’t that far-off. He had hair on his chest, and wore red suspenders.

“I’ll get the pistols,” Mike offered.

“So, we’re really doing this?” Greg asked. He was skinny, and scared of everything.

“As sure as werewolf shit,” Ken said. “Don’t get bitten, but above all, don’t get dead.” They walked out of the shop, loading their guns.

“I’ve got a crossbow in my car,” Ken said.

“What, are you crazy?” Bill asked


“Only crazy people have crossbows—you see it in the movies. They’re all serial killers. We should call you Crazy Ken,” Bill suggested.

“I like the sound of that.”

“Why are we doing this?” Greg asked.

“The werewolf is the ultimate predator,” Bill said. “When I take him down, I become the ultimate.”

“You take too much testosterone,” Mike said. “Are you still on testosterone replacement therapy?”

“Sure, I am. After 60, I was tired of seeing the little guy, tired—needed to invigorate him, if you know what I mean? The problem was, Betty wasn’t ready for him—I have to warn her one hour in advance before the torpedo mission. I feel like the captain of a U-boat, passing through the labyrinthian abyssal, sinking mother cargo.”

“Okay, Captain Nemo.”

Billy took-up the rear. He was coughing, and a dead give-away.

“Billy, why don’t you light up,” Greg suggested. “Here, use my lighter.” He bent down, and lit Billy’s cigarette. “Okay, the beast should be right around the next dog-leg right.”

But when they got there, all they saw was fog.

“Nothing,” Greg said. “I told you there would be nothing.”

“You told me?” Ken asked.

“I told you.”

“You told me?”

“I told you.”

“God, you guys. It sounds like you’re in second grade.”

Both of them grabbed a pistol, and paced out the yardage. “Bill, will you be my second?” Ken asked.

“Mike, what about you?” Greg demanded.

“Both of you are idiots. Why would I want to die because of your stupidity?”

Just then, the bushes moved behind the water hazard, and a lycanthrope creature, jumped into the moonlight and bit Billy.

“Shoot that thing!” Mike said.

Bill fired—rapid fire. Crazy Ken shot the beast in the eye with his arrow. And both pistols found their mark in the werewolf’s chest.

“Now, we have to bury him,” Bill said.

“Where are we going to do that?” Ken asked.

“How about the sand trap?”

“As good a place as any. Should someone say the last rights?”

“I don’t know that we can do that—the werewolf is cursed by witchcraft.”

“How’s Billy doing?”

“He’s turning. Look at the hair growing on his chest.”

“He has more hair than me,” Bill said.

Billy grew claws and fangs. His body transformed, and then turned back into a man.

“I guess he’s okay. He didn’t get enough werewolf in him to make a complete transformation, or maybe the cancer stopped his cells from mutating. Should we go back to the pro shop and finish our game?”

“I think I’m going home to my wife. I feel like you guys are animals, and I need a woman’s touch,” Ken said.

Next week, Billy went into the doctor to get his blood tested. It came back negative for cancer cells, and his testosterone was through the roof.

“You said, you got bitten by a werewolf, on the golf course?” The doctor asked.

“Yeah,” Billy said.

“And I thought I’d heard all the golf stories. I need to get-out there and play more.

“Just don’t do it on a blood moon,” Billy suggested.

“That’s when a married guy needs to get out and play the most golf. It’s that time of the month.”

The End