I should be writing about my dad.
I have an occasion
and an audience
and some justification
to speak of this man
whom I knew for so long
but not so recently.
I should be thinking
about my ancestor
while putting his life
into some sort of perspective.
This is what I should be doing.
I can’t

or haven’t.
It has been easier
to not examine
too much of his absence
or his existence
or any other aspect of his era.
I have not been able to focus
on that fuzzy hole
near the middle of things.
I have found
innumerable ways
to look around it.

I will find some strategy
to consider that hole
in the time that is left.
It is certainly possible
but also extremely unlikely.

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I don’t even know
what we’re arguing about.
I’m shocked we have to talk about it.
Let me break it down:
we didn’t agree we were exclusive.
No promises were made.
No coupons were exchanged.
I feel guilty
that you’re hurt, sure,
but am not prepared
to take responsibility for your feelings.
You invested in me
precisely what you wanted to
irregardless of what
I offered in return.

You had no reason
to expect anything from me.
We had no contract
nor rings on fingers.
Your expectations
were unwarranted
and, in retrospect,
a little selfish
don’t you think?
Who are you
to make these demands on me?

In fact
I think I’m pretty big
in not requiring an apology from you
for what you said after accusing me
of sleeping with your room-mate,
sister, aunt and grandmom
(only half of which were true,
I might add).
So anyway
I forgive you.
What’s for dinner?

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I think we could do it.
You and I
I’ll bet
could become an amazing team.
Like Spider-Man and Iron Man
when they met the Wraith
or Hourman and Doctor Fate
like, every time they meet.
We could team up
and become more powerful
than our component parts.
Together, we could take on Voltron!

I can sense these things.
With my brains
and your good looks
we’d be unstoppable.
Oh, sexist? Right.
How about
with your body
and my looking at it for a good long time
we’d be

I mean it.
I can tell
how fantastic we could be
if we can only overcome
all this sexual tension between us
– even if it’s coming from me.
It should be perfectly easy
to become strange bedfellows
if we take on everyone else
and join forces.

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You know
for years
I have lived the open mic life
and encouraged everyone
to step up and sing a lead
or dance a step
or read a poem or twelve.
I have long upheld the principle
that anyone ought to have a chance
to express themselves
at some time.

I have found the exception.
You challenge my perception
of what is what
and how people ought to behave.
Should I redefine my beliefs
based on your example?
I’m still undecided.

It’s not that you’re bad
– although, good god,
you are QUITE bad,
whether in song or story
or essay or impression
or very recently
as a cartoonist.
But as I said
it’s not your awfulocity
that gets my goat.
It’s the sense of entitlement
you express
in every single solipsistic subject
you approach.
You think you have a right
to present your thoughts.
You seem to believe
that we could be interested
in what you have to say.

We don’t.
We have better things to do
than listen to your ill-conceived ideas
your expressions of arrogance
your unsubtle sense of superiority.
It’s a bitch for us
to be enslaved by your ego
for even the occasional instants
at an open mic.

I don’t yet believe
that the needs of the many
should silence the idiocy of the you.
I’m not ready
to have you stopped.
Perhaps in honor
of that kindness on my part
you would be willing
to shut up for a year or two.

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The Way

It was just when I was first leaving New York
that I first discovered Avenue A.
The summer before college
I was spending all hours I could
biking around the city
learning about the place
I was about to abandon.
I had ridden to the neighborhood
of the high school I had recently left
and then I went east
and I had found something
completely different.

Avenue A had a bohemian character
full of small shops and hoboes
and overgrowth.
I’d been on St. Marks’ Place
only to discover it stopping short
into a park
that seemed to go on.
It all seemed magical.
It all seemed scary.
It all seemed… new.

I didn’t know what I’d found
and swore to come back soon
but I don’t think I returned
until I followed Brenda
and discovered AntiFolk
six years later.

Of course, I’d already been visiting Marcos
my junior high school friend
on Avenue C years before
so I guess my Loisaida memories
were even less significant than I’d thought.

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Is To Be

It’s not too late.
There is salvation available
for you.
It is all wrapped up
in how you choose
to answer the question.

The query today
as it is every day
is one of identity.
What are you going to be?
If you choose
you can maintain the status quo
and remain the creature you’ve always been
or you can flip a switch
or zag a zig
and begin your transformation
into whatever you will next be.

It is not a required chrysalis.
You may have no need of salvation
and are quite happy
in the current state of your life.
It is possible
you are not ready
for the work that goes into
the transmutation from lead to gold
or the new you from the old.
Perhaps you are not quite so bold.

And perhaps
you will eventually decide
Perhaps one of these days
you will come to the conclusion
that it is time to change
and you will learn
what it is to be created anew
whether as a phoenix
or a dragon.

The decision is yours
every day.

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To Hell

To hell with your promises and oaths
and the things you said should be
but couldn’t be
and all the things
I’d hoped would be held between the two.
To hell with all our arguments
and all the times we made up
and to hell with your fucking perfect breasts.
Who needed those anyway?

To hell with your friends
who liked me more
than any other guy you brought around
– or said they did, at least.
To hell with the bridges and fares
that separated us before
and to hell with the words and feelings
that separate us now.
To hell with your roommate who
I swear
had the eye for you
and to hell with your ex-roommate
who I should have slept with,
after all.

To hell with wishes and dreams
and hopes and expectations
and the justice system
that I thought for sure would see us through.
To hell with you and
to hell I’m going
as soon as I figure out what circle you’re in
so I can surely avoid it.

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To Get In

When the smell got too bad
they just bust through
the double locked apartment door
and discovered her.
There were no pets
to feast on her remains
but maybe some flies and maggots
were able to find some sustenance.
I didn’t get in there
until I started seeing her property
laid out by the curb.

Upstairs were the workers
who her grandkids had hired
to clear out the stuff.
Halfway done
there was still a lot of it:
canned goods
dry goods
a couple of VCRs (still boxed)
newspapers and magazines
dating back a decade
scrapbooks of snipped articles
and sometimes flyers…
A garbage bag
full of trophies just about to spill
was almost ready
about to be dropped on the sidewalk.

The three women cleaning
were Latin
with little English
and no knowledge of the life
they were boxing and bagging
and packing in.
They didn’t know
what to save
or what the family might want.
It was all
simply product for the army of salvation
or product for the street.

I asked if I could take a memento.
No one seemed to care
so in the fridge
I found her coffee can
and milk.
At least someone
might find something good
from all this loss.

The milk had already spoiled
but the can
contained her cache
just like I thought.
Goodnight, Carol.

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Something I Et

As my stomach gurgles
and my ass explodes
I find myself unable to compose
a single coherent thought.
No, I sit corrected.
I do have one consistent coherent comment
and it is “Ow.”

My tummy aches
and my head is empty.
I can think of nothing to say
even while spewing the most toxic crap
I can imagine.
Colorful and creative is my ejaculate
and still
I can come up with no words to express.

The right thing escapes me.
I hope this passes soon
so I can get back
to dropping some major new releases.

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Reliving It

My mother asked me
if I was reliving last year.
I told her no.
This is the first anniversary
of my father’s death.
I was there
(sort of)
when it happened.

I am not reliving the experience
but I’m thinking about it
thinking if I’ve learned anything
if I’m any different
than I was before.
I’m wondering if I’m sad
or haunted
or hunting for answers
that would complete me.
(I think I am
but that’s no different than I was
367 days ago).

I’m hoping
I have something to say about it
as I live for expression
and would like to be profound
or funny or
perhaps moving
(in some profoundly funny way).
I think I’ve still got somewhere to go
before I get there.
I’m not feeling enough
about what happened
not thinking about it enough.
Am I perhaps
in my own way
as dead as dad?

Maybe I just didn’t like him that much.
Maybe I’m shallow.
Maybe grief is a process
and I’ve still got a ways to go
before I get there
I am reliving it
a little).

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