Then to Now

All week
I’ve even waiting to see you
hoping to run into you
praying for a chance encounter
like last time.
I know we said
we’d leave the future to fate
but a week’s past
and I don’t really think fate
is up to the task
of hooking us up.
I really want to hook up
with you again.

I really want to hear you talk
about the politics of masturbation again.
Really, I want to hear anything
you’d have to say.
I had secretly hoped
we’d both coincidentally find ourselves
at the place
we’d just happened to be last time
and that maybe there was enough of a connection
to bring us from then to now.

When you said to leave it to chance
you mean it
– more than me, at least.
It was not the first time this week
I was wrong, I guess,
nor the forty fifth.
Wherever I go
my eyes rarely leave the front door
looking for you.

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I just heard a lyric
that said
“you should tell your friends
that you love them”
or something like that.

The singer of said song
is now dead –
he passed tragically young
in a comical event
involving a synchronized swimmer
and a misplaced clock.
You might not remember him;
he was big in some alterna-funk/folk circles,
a real comer on the scene.

The album came out
a couple of weeks
after the aforementioned incident.
The timing was too quick
to be an intentional cash-in
on the semi-celebrity death
unless the release schedule
at indie labels
has sped up dramatically since the 90s
though I kinda doubt it.

It makes the song
seem somewhat apocryphal
and certainly a kind sentiment.
I heard the song
and thought you might like it.
that alterna-folk/funk
might be about your speed.
I thought I should reach out.
how’re you doing?

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I had seen the movie
with your name
just weeks before I met you.

Now, I’m not one
who sees signs and allusions
in every action
– except I totally am.

I search for patterns and rhythms
in dates and dollars.
All numbers and names
and color coordination
have the hope of unlocking
some secret treasure trove of data,
the unknown code book of the multiverse.

The movie was slight
but seemed somehow special
at the time
and the days after
felt pregnant with opportunity,
like some other giant shoe
was about to crash from the sky.

And then it did.
And it was you.
And I didn’t even remember that movie
until a couple of weeks more
and only then did I start to see
the similarities in character and situation
and understand
the subtle foreshadowing
of the whole thing.

Usually, though,
these happen in threes.
So I wonder, was it:
First, I am warned
Second, you appear
and Third, you swallow the gasping world
with your infernal design
am I somewhere missing a step?

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Bad Justice

It is infuriating, sometimes
how police officers
– allegedly peace officers –
waste their jackbooted time
bothering the law-abiding
rather than going after actual criminals.
The number of times
I’ve been harassed
just because of my white power tattoos
and hateful rhetoric
is enough to drive a good man
right on down to Bad Town.

When I’m behind the wheel,
I may occasionally speed
but generally,
I follow the rules of the road.
Not the piddling pedestrians all around, though.
Standing in the middle of the road
flagrantly jaywalking
crossing the street when I need to make a right turn…
these idiots infuriate – incessantly!

if I may goose the gas a bit
when I see them
or possibly aim at the passers-by
when they come into view
or honk constantly
while grabbing my tire iron,
who truly can blame me?

Well, the cops can blame me,
that’s for sure.
Time and time again
I’ve been threatened with doing time
just because I’m showing these delinquent
the rule of law.
Who is the fuzz to tell ME what to do?
Keep the serfs in line,
that’s what I say!

While Officers Downs and Straczinski
are occupying themselves
with my enthusiastic vigilantism
real criminals are crossing the street
– against the light.
It’s a travesty.

It’s injustice
– though technically,
still in the name of justice.
It’s a crime against nature
if not actually the state.
Something ought to be done.
Why can’t they legislate
against pigs enforcing the laws?

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Bad Jasmine

Something’s gone wrong.
There is an element in the air
that was previously not there.
I can’t identify what’s different
but we’re toxic now.
We’ve lost it.
Tension surrounds us
where before there was jasmine and technicolor.

If there was a way
to go back
before it happened
whatever it may have been
and rectify the situation…
I would like to find that way.
But how do you cork the spilled wine?
The barn door has left the station.
How can I fix the mistake
without knowing what it was?

It is like when some ingredient
in a recipe
had already spoilt
but was already added anyway.
When the meal tastes like shit
how do you uncover which specific part
fucked the flavor?
It is impossible to know.

Perhaps it was when you started your new job
or how you didn’t have time
to make me lunches
or that you stopped defending me
against your family.
Maybe it was when
you found out about me
and your step-mom.
Or your grand-niece?
Or your ferrets?
I don’t know.

I just know that we haven’t been right
in some time
and I wish
we could somehow clear the air
and you could get back
to packing Twinkies in my bag.

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Bad Jazz

I’d suggested brunch
because I thought a daytime place
would be quiet, civilized
but I didn’t anticipate The Esteban Choi Trio
playing unrecognizable jazz standards
while our eggs get cold.

My dining companion is beautiful and kind
and I thought she might be wise
but I could never understand
her softly-spoken words
in our normal settings.
She looks wonderful across from me
but I still can’t hear
much of what he says.
I have already used up
my allotted collection
of "What"s, "I’m sorry"s
and "Could you repeat that?"s.

She is asking
with her eyes
assorted questions
and since I recognize mouth movement
of some of her phrases
I take a stab at conversation
hoping that the words I mumble
actually respond to her queries.

I pride myself
on quality conversation
but this meal
with this girl
is going awfully
– or maybe awfully well.
I can’t tell.
At least she hasn’t stormed off

I wonder what we’re talking about.

Esteban just announced
the combo’ll soon take a fifteen minute intermission.
Maybe now I can –
When she comes back from the bathroom,
we’ll pick it up.
We’ll have a laugh about the awkwardness so far.
She’ll understand why I explained my middle name
"Somewhere on the Upper West Side."

As soon as she comes back
our conversation will be scintillating
at least for the few minutes
before the band strikes up again.

I think that my ENT
told me to get a hearing aid
but my back was turned
at the time.

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Bad Jews

The waiter came back with the order
of six pieces of bacon
three inches thick
and more like small steaks
than we could have imagined.
“Jesus Christ, that’s good,”
she said, while I continued
nodding, chewing and drooling
all at once.

the butter-drenched steak
was zealously devoured
though we saved room
for the cheesecake.
It was a big meal

and a long one.
We’d entered the place on Friday
but didn’t get the car back
until Saturday
at which point we forgot to tip the valet.
Next time, maybe.

On the way home
we might have hit a vagrant
or possibly a few.
All told
it was a good day
for two bad Jews.

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Bad Jizz

We have to talk about the boy.
Things are not going well with him.
I’d always assumed
he’d be the best of both of us:
My speed and your charm.
Your will and my wiles.
Both of our intense beauty.
I thought a glorious beast
would be formed
from our constituent parts.

Instead, we’ve built a frightened rabbit
anxious and uncomfortable
under every experience he’s uncovered.
He is weak and weird,
wired and wonky
in all the worst ways.

I don’t know whose fault this is:
Was yours a defective egg?
Did I provide some bad jizz that day?
Perhaps God saw our potential,
was threatened by the possibilities,
and had to throw a spanner in the works.
Maybe the boy simply chose to be
this mutant mongrel.

Answers are beyond me.
I just know
that we did the best we could
with what we had
but what we have
as a result?
I am quite disappointed.
Can we scrap that model
and start over from scratch?

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Bad Joes

Reconsider me.
I may look like a member of the pack
but I am not.
I’m something else again.
I don’t know what I can do
to convince you
that I’m a different sort of beast.
How should I try?

Words are always worth a shot.
I am not the kind of creature
you have met before
over and over
to diminished effect
one of those boys who treats you cold
after stealing your warmth.

I am uncommon.
I’m not suggested that I am so superior
but you needn’t be indifferent to me
because you’ve been burned before
by those bad Joes.

I want you to know
that I care
and I do not lie
and I do not cheat.
I will fight for you
but try not to fight you.
I am not what you’ve seen before.

I can’t see
how to convince you of this
– any of it –
without showing
how I’m willing to give you
all the space you need
which is the last thing I want to do.

So maybe I do lie
a little.
Is there a way, then,
that I could lie
with you?

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Looking over her shoulder
in the cafe
I saw what she jotted
into her unlined notebook:
do not exist.”

I didn’t know
if the note was for me
for herself
or someone else
who might be spying on her words
(and her cleavage).

I didn’t know much
I realized.
I was sure
only of my doubt.
Did I even like her cleavage
as much as I thought I did?

Soon afterwards
I didn’t
do much of anything

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