You ask me why I picked you.
out of all the girls
in all the gin joints
in all the world,
I looked your way
and thought, “cool beans.”
Clearly, you’re curious
what made me believe that ours
could be such a beautiful friendship.

You wonder why my eyes don’t wander
when we speak
and how I can call attention
to a detail you might have mentioned once,
weeks ago.

You ask me
over and over again
why you captivate me.
The very question
is part of the answer.
You very much doubt
why anyone would be interested in you.
You are suspicious
since how could anyone
want to know more
about you?

More than your beauty
more than your bust
more than your face and fashion
put together for best effect,
more than your smarts and style
and weird way with words
more than any of the unnamables
that keep me so close
it is your modesty
that becomes you most.

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Twenty First

In the twenty first
gestation was a slave to biology
and only women were capable of carrying
so gender roles
were less fluid
than they eventually became.
Males would protect the home
while females would feather the nest.
These differences were maintained
since the technology to body-transform
was still in its infancy.
Imagine being stuck
with the restrictions that nature provided.

Even so
with its additional power
in the twenty first
nature was but a bitch
to be beaten down
and made to whimper
before her master
who was thought of as man.
The earth was considered a serf
raped and robbed
however humans saw fit.
The concept of partnership with the planet
was not fully developed
until the True World War
when the environment violently fought
and sought its freedom
from civilization’s yolk.

Back in the twenty first
the dominant religion
was capitalism
where dollars and euros and yen
held sway
and social dominance was decided
by whomever had collected most
of the currency of choice.
People thrived with an abundance.
People died from a lack.
What is so fascinating about the era
is that the items deemed so valuable
the coins or credit
had no specific worth
outside of the faith placed upon them.
they so powerfully defined
those years
and humans were made constant servants
to their imaginary gods.
How unlike today
when we worship our shared universe
and still opaque,
its future

In the twenty first
flesh was consumed
for sustenance.
There was a loose understanding
of the compact between creatures
but living bodies
were slaughtered
by the trillions
so that billions of living bodies
could live omnivorously.
Entire cultures
would see nothing wrong
in eating things with faces
– usually because they were divorced
from the process.

In the twenty first
the world was exciting
and new
like a weaning foal
full of energy
and absent of any actual understanding.
In the twenty first
it was good to be alive
until we
as a people
learned to live better.

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Power of White

There is an encroaching white
menacingly mighty
threatening to take everything around it
transforming everything
into its own elegant simplicity.

There is an expanse of white
a blinding basic view
with no details
no specificity
nothing that separates it
from anything else.
This white encompasses all
swallows colors and consideration
and creates a uniform beauty.

There is a white
that blankets the world
and has
since the beginning.

That white is invincible
and sometimes
– rarely
but sometimes –
it can be stopped by a single action
or a solitary word.

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No Swap

We have been friends for decades and days
and have each helped the other in myriad ways.
Remember last week when I gave you my crack?
Well, I fear, dearest friend, it’s time for payback.

Fuck my wife and I’ll buy you a bagel
Fuck my wife and I’ll get you a car
but just like my wife it won’t start up easy.
It takes you there slowly; you won’t get too far.

Do my bride and show her how it’s done.
Be my replacement; provide her some fun.
Fuck my wife. I won’t be aggrieved.
It will give me the reason to finally leave.

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On The Corner

They used to sell stuff
right here
on the corner.
There was a blanket
with LPs and books
and the salesmen would change
every few weeks
but the product
was all pretty much the same.

There used to be stores
where I could find stuff
I wanted to buy
like that 24 record store
and the PC recycled goods place.

This neighborhood
used to be one that seemed tailor made
for me and my kind.
I don’t know
if it’s my kind that changed
or me
or the neighborhood
but there’s nothing here
I wanna get.

All I want
is to buy a cheap book.

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To Trisha, To Whom I Have Not Spoken for Thirty Years (Probably)

I don’t know
if you remember the stone I gave you
past the middle of our Junior year?
It was a small golden disk
and on it was etched the word Integrity?
You hugged me tight
when you received it
but it was so small
you might have just left it at the dorm
when Summer came
like how we dropped each other
with nary a ripple
in our respective pools.

I was a little short
when I got that for you
at our one month anniversary
(which I guess was really just a mensiversary.
Look it up.)
so I didn’t buy you that gift
so much as procure it for you.

It was in Frankie’s room.
You remember Frankie?
I only do because of this.
It was his little rock
that I purloined
pocketing through prestidigitation
and then presented to you
in honor of that mensiversary thing.
It was so small
I doubt he ever noticed.

Like I said
I don’t know
if you still have it
or remember it
or recognize the irony
of my stealing a stone that clearly claimed Integrity
but I thought you should know
and if possible
I thought you should have the chance
(if you chose)
to return it to Frankie.

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How to Feed Your Redheaded Stepchild

Watch TV at dinner.
Make sure it’s a nature show
so your stepchild can learn
how the runt of the litter
does not always receive
the same nutrition
as the able-bodied critters.
Act accordingly.

Send her to the Dollar Store
with ninety nine cents
and tell her
to make a day of it.

Tell him to sing for his supper
unless he has a good voice.
Then tell him to shuffle off
to Buffalo.
If you live in Buffalo,
just make some wings
for your spouse and yourself.

Offer a variety of meal choices
such as:
other assorted bodily fluids
hair pie – literal.
Leave the choice
in the ginger’s hands.

Find the appropriate thimble
and dollop into it
as much stone soup
as it can bear.
Then summon your stepchild
and smile.

Serve lollipops and clamato
along with your conditional love.
Tell her that no one will love her
if she’s fat
(then ask for thirty five percent
of her stripper tips).

If you’re redheaded, too,
love him.

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After Admissions

I touched your hair
while you were asleep.
I stroked it
a little
not so much as to wake you, though,

After all those hours
on the streets
and then waiting to get the keys
and finally entering your room
only to talk
for too many hours afterwards,
I could tell you were tired.
A geriatric muskrat
could tell you were tired.
I didn’t want to disturb your rest
but I couldn’t imagine
after our entire chaste afternoon
not touching you
for another instant.

I know it was inappropriate.
I get how it could be creepy.
I hope you don’t see it that way
and am glad, knowing
how, even unconscious,
you are the object of my affection.

On a related topic
I would like to know
if your conditioner
is good for boys, too.

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This note is to inform you
that I have moved out
of our apartment
because I no longer like
the way that you smile at me.
I am suspicious of your friendliness
and want to have nothing to do
with someone as positive as you.

You know how this goes
or you would
if you were actually from New York
and not just been a resident
these last thirty one years.
People change.
People grow.
And your growth
into an enduringly enlightened individual
is enough to drive me
to demolish everything in my wake.
I can’t take it anymore.
I need out.

Please accept this resignation
from our co-habitation
and feel free to use
my first, last, and deposit
towards whatever cause
you may choose to support this week.

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Your Compliments Torture Me

Oh, for the love of…
just stop.
Stop it
with your alleged kindness
and your tragic attempts to make me feel good.
They feel bad.
Your compliments are painful to hear
and do nothing but hurt me.
Let it be.
Leave me by.
Go bye bye.

Every time you compliment me
whether it be superficial
like how I look today
or what I may weigh
or the choice of words that I say
they all put me
into an inadvertent contest
with myself.
If I look better than yesterday
what was wrong with me then?
How fat must I have seemed
if you can so easily spot the difference?
And what illiterate utterings
did you suffer through
to get to today’s surprising use of "wherefore"?

And the deeper
more sincere the compliment
the greater the blow you strike
at what I once was.
If you say I am writing better now
then what was so pisspoor
about my previous compositions?
how DARE you, sir!

I do not like to think
that I have ever been anything
less than perfect
so if you see in me any improvement
anything at all
it shows how wrong I was
to be formerly impressed by myself.
What makes you the jury
of my existence?
Who are you to sit in judgement?

I defy your compliments
and am deaf to your further words.
I wish to hear no more of them
or of you
or of praise of any sort.
You would do well to listen
and before you do
perhaps give the address
of your barber.

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