Monday, December 30, 2013




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Still Giving

Still Giving

There will still be a dish full of green olives, doubtless,
            Un-canned and plated, still no one will even touch them.
And a platter just for plump brown giblets, the part of
            The bird that always sat by him, at the table's head.

There will be steadier hands wielding the carving knife    
            His role having morphed of late to cut supervisor
Unsupervised, and carving with less brave precision,
            Without his smiles approving hot stolen sample bites.

There will be a few extra inches around each seat,
            A little more elbow room for lefties flapping wings,
As all scoot out a bit to take up now-barren space,
            His once-hulking presencethen slouched, then wheel-chairednow gone.

There will be less re-told jokes about heaping plates full,
            Fewer appetite-suppressing deviled eggs consumed,
No voice to marvel at his grandchildren's bottomless guts,
            Less belched out comments about this best-ever cooking.

There will be no stories about small town Long Island,
            And fewer proud tales about building, Mickey, Main Streets.
No more hand-split wood brought in from a woodpile out back,
            Stackedculledfrom a felled pine tree in ol' Miss Bibb's backyard.

There will not be garden-walking to plan next year's crop,
            There will not be the zinging comment, "I wonder what
The rich folks ate," prideful, wry: comically ironic;
            No three sneezes signaling a content, full belly.

There will be no passing out, nor recliner-snoring
            As the Cowboys play, as cooks and kids clear the table
And fill stacks of Tupperware, and prepare sandwiches
            Of half-timed pulled turkey on perfect home-baked biscuits.

But there will be Thanksgiving,
                        It still comes,
            For family and our newly passed
            Patriarch; for our new-sensed past.
But there will be savory victuals
                        More than enough,
            Dripping with gravy and butter
            And in gluttonous portions.
But there will be memories,
                        Each more precious,
            And an empty seat in space,
            And in his honor, just a taste
                        of each of the five pies.         

Read more of my poetry, essays, and stories at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This First Fourth Year

This First Fourth Year

This year, I promise
To drink a little less gin
            And smoke a little less pot,
And eat fewer fries and less crunchy bacon
when I'm on the road.

This year, I promise
To wipe down the vanity after shaving,
            And the kitchen counter after eating chips,
And to not put near-empty bottles of flat
Tonic back in the fridge.

This year, I promise
To listen to your stories more intently
            And longer before my mind wanders:
To ask what you're thinking and feeling
But not force you to answer if you don't want.

This year, I promise
To control my-trained-to-wander, scoping eyes
            And keep them on you,
The hottest thing in each room I enter
Even when you're not with me.

This year, I promise
To be more content with what we have,
            And to desire more for us, not myself.
Big houses, turbo convertibles, and millions of dollars
Are empty and slow and stupid without you.

This year, I promise
To scratch your palms and back
            And the soles of your feet even after
My arms are tired or I'm bored or thirsty
Or my phone alerts of a Timeline update.

This year, I promise
To match my socks and put them away
            And not just buy new ones each week at the mall.
Same with shirts and shoes and
Jeans and shoes and shoes.

This year, I promise
To stop trying to dress you like a JCrew mannequin.
            And to give you the best of what you want;
You let me dress like a fool and never say a thing.
Your grey t-shirts and cargo shorts are so sexy.

This year, I promise
To stop buying so many scratch-offs and raffle-tix,
            And trading dinner money for false hopes,
To gamble less with our future. I won the lottery already,
The night you first said, "hey buddy."

This year, I promise
To gain five pounds without obsessing
            And accept that I'm balding everywhere but      
My ears and nose, and to know that you won't leave me
Over laugh lines under crow's feet.

This year, I promise
To be less insecure around your hot-as-hell-ex,
            And less jealous of the cats and the herb garden.
I know you love me at least as much as you do them,
And the way you love is plenty, and perfect.

This year, I promise
To not cry so much in public,
            And  not get choked up when you say sweet things
Or innocuous, or mean things or playfully
Sweet, mean things.

All this, I promise,  even in a world full of
Hendrick's, sweet bud, and applewood-smoking,
Housekeepers, Hickory-barbecue Lays, and Canada Dry,
Politics, poetry, and Momentitiousness,
Justin Timberlake, Blake Griffin, and nameless beefy bartenders,
Lakefront bungalows, Audis and un-diversified portfolios,
And Brooks Brothers, and Nike, and Tiffany,
And ESPN, and CNN, and Facebook,
And Hard Rocks, and Paris, and Powerballs,
And Chocolate Turtle Pie, and LAFitness, and Khiels,
And pets, and best friends, and family,

And brief and fleeting moments
When you're angry with me
   Or I'm upset with you:

I promise
To renew these vows each day,
To be better each tomorrow,
Each year and decade,
            Each time I fail,
            Each time I remember
                        How much I love you
     And always will.

Read more of my poetry, essays, and stories at

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Humble Pi

Humble Pi
One:               Day from Night.
Two:               Firmament.
Three:             Land and Plants.
Three point one four
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094025228...:Science, Faith.
Four:              Sun, Moon, Stars.
Five:               Fish and Birds.
Six:                 Adam, Eve.
Seven:           Rest, Sin.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dozens to Zeroes

Dozens to Zeroes

The first dozen,
            Dropped in a thin cardboard box
Individually wrapped in wax paper.
Discrete, released
            Between tears and anger and fear:
The satisfaction of bitter revenge.
Crumbs and icing
            Lingering on neighbors' palates,
Washed down with spilt milk, puddled.
First tower fell,
            Old, orientalist hatreds confirmed,
Second:  new orientalist hatred birthed.
Since the first year--
            The raw and doughy first year--
Glazed with crumbled, steely, human ash,
Memory crawls,
            Arching from feeling to fact,
Justifying the wrong war, the long war.
Crusaders fall
            Into formations against infidels,
Racking up mortality, reifying vague animus.
Pain morphs outward,
            Each day, each year of the dozen
From rubble to stage to memorial.
Numbed and numbered,
            Iced and stuffed and frosted, for
Each consumer for each year for each loss
Lived and re-lived,
            Slightly differently: reconfigured malice,
In the mellowing shadow of time:
Where anger wains,
            Welcoming detached objectivity,
Building monuments on finally covered graves.
Consume sweet cake:
            Remnant around the bitter, excised hole
Of a dozen bravely endured--
                        And-bullet-baptized, Oil-and-Shari'a justified,
            Daily battles with despair.                                          Baked and unleavened.
Dense, battered past.                                                             Decades to dozens,
            Birthing a second dozen, then pointillated scores, brushing loose                
                        the sweetbreads of centuries yet uncounted:  yet

Friday, August 30, 2013

Elizabeth Squared

Elizabeth Squared

Because the act of conception erupts unplanned,
            Lasting but minutes:
Joy, joy, joy, Bliss.

Sometimes enwrapped in loyal love and commitment,
            Really, not always:
Often much less.

Yet, some zygotes spark forth, wanton or unwanted,
            Attaching to walls:
Life quickened, or

Cut short in-utero for reasons unnumbered:
             Unborn, aborted,
Birth unfulfilled.

Potential clawed from its perch, innocence shredded:
            De-gifted spirit,
Born to heaven.
Some blessed, carried to term with affection: released
             With conflicted pain
To others' arms.

Barren womb and fertile womb unite in oneness,
            In communal love,
Communed in woe.

New bosom entreating life, gifted: mother, child
            Reclaiming lost hope,
Circle rounded.

The first, de-progeny'd, baptized in tepid grief,
            The next, touched by God,
Gives all but birth. 
Sacrifice and gain commingle in the prophet
            Whose gratitude

To the mother who carried and delivered him
            And gave of her womb
Toward destiny.
To the mother who claimed him as hers and loved him,
            And gave of her heart
            And gives of her heart
                        To the world:
                                    Her love:
                                                Her son:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Caesar Augustus

Caesar Augustus

Selfsame in the shade of tortured Ides,
          Heir by assassin's blades,
Victor over Egyptian war temptress,
          Victor over her bedeviled lover,
Reigning over new Rome, over Christ's birth.

At his feet we linger, Emperor,
          Shaking his leg like the
Trunk of a majestic oak, gazing up,
          Rustling and jostling just-purpling leaves,
Awaiting paper-thin, breezy fall rain.

Sliding, callous-hands Septemberly,
          Toward loosely gathered piles
Apologies, remorse, half-lived lessons
          Away from slouch-massed, bloodied Julius,
Away from gilded, laurel-girded youth.

Neither all summer nor scant fall, nor
          Wholly neither, scaling
Onward, lightly bathed in misty humid
          Remembrances after pink, pre-sunset
Thundershowers give way to golden dusk.

August, with mosquitoes still bugging
          On still damp, sodded fields,
And dew points dropping, cicadas buzzing,
          Geese gathering, threatening planned south-flight,
Diesel buses grind gears up hills toward schools.

Scraping back and forward, maybe two
          Generations each way,
For a minute, as playmates from our spring
          Lean too hard-shouldered into their own trunks:
Green-leaved yet, vernal ghosts left, early-dimmed.       

Clinging still to Caesar's fatted calf,
          Our parents stand knee-deep
In piles beneath their own oaks, having shook
          Their own same trees not very long ago:
Each autumnal birth, a spring conception.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Reporter's Notebook: Love Story

Reporter's Notebook: Love Story

There are but two souls that matter on twirling Earth
            and the heavens and in between and beyond,
Swirling together in a perfect emulsion,
            and electrifying sweet, sentimental tangency:
Your overflowing, ebullient, joyous essence
            and my fulfilled, arrhythmic soul in your presence,
Beating together, hearts in perfected cadence,
            and sharing a single spiritual DNA.

There are but two undiluted truths that matter
            and from which all knowledge and wisdom commence,
Asserting without high-browed equivocation
            and informing our village of two among some billions:

My pure and unrestricted love for all you are
            and that you love me, unrestricted, in return,
Accepting my imperfections, flaws and failures
            and loving me--in pure perfection--despite them.

There are but two places alone that will matter
            and around which all compasses calibrate,
Pointing into the vast, blue, and empty cosmos
            and settled with mitochondrial specificity:
The first place where, singularly, you are with me,
            and the second,  where I--desolate--am away,
The one where joy erupts from every molecule,
            and one where I must long for proximity.

There are but two moments in time-space that matter,
            and from which all moments from moments expand
Forward into the endlessly eternal past
            and back to the origins of unwrinkled time undone:
The endless, calm moment before your shy "hello,"
            and the moment after when I consumed your breath:
The first black moment when I merely existed
            and the white-hot moment of newly quickened me.

There are but two reasons for breathing and hoping,
            and enduring tedium from beyond us,
Showered upon by blunt Persiod reminders
            and rejoinders against our mythical closed-loopedness:
That there are radiant moments we pass together
            and places where our souls and truths are commingled:
Wishes realized amid heaven-strewn meteors.
            And then those agonizing moments apart,
            left longing for togetherness,
                        for the other:
                                    for the why.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reintroduction: Three and a Half Years Hence

Reintroduction:  Three and a Half Years Hence

In late 2009, I launched this poetry blog as an experiment with medium, moving the most ancient form of literature from the written page to the digital universe.  More immediately, I began migrating some of my favorite worksfrom the vast stacks of composition books that I'd been amassing for decadesonto the Internet.  Still believing that I would finish my dissertation and that this would be a diversion from my academic studies, I set this sharing space in a virtual box to serve as a caged distraction. 

This launch did not occur in a vacuum. It quickly became both the emblem and account of the personal financial and emotional turmoil that I experienced alongside many of you during the Great Recession.  Economic realities set in with such unanticipated violence that my scholarly pursuits were put on hold then abandoned nearly contemporaneously.  The food for my mindwhich I had wrapped up in an icon called PhDtook an immediate backseat to food for my family.  It did not take long for the disappointment to become habit and I accepted that I would never be Doctor. 

After launching the PoetEconomist site with bravado in October, 2009, I posted only three poems in all of 2010 until June of 2011.  I hovered over despair with such tenuous strength that those three un-scrapped poems were perhaps the only proof that I was alive during that time. 

When finally the light began peaking back through the darkness, in the flickering glow of this GUI, I realized that my diversion had become obsession:  my persona as PoetEconomist had become more than an alter-ego.   Avatar and reality merged.  Rather than recycle and publish work from my youth, I knew that it was from the ash heap of the present that I would once again serve a purpose:  capture, claim, chronicle. 

In its density, the poetry that has asserted itself over the past three and a half years has exploded in ways that I never imagined.  Originally meant to satisfy the requests of a few close friends whohowever polite their requests may have originally beeninsisted that I grow my corpus, this space embodies sustainability. 

I am fully aware that people don't read poetry on the subway or the beach in 2013.  I am fully aware that poetry can make hearts and brains ache.  I am fully aware that poetry, while concerned with a certain heady aesthetic, can easily bang up against the most otherwise permeable crania.  This is all especially true when it is largely self-absorbed and didactic.

As I have now shed the shroud from the oppressive darkness of the late aughtsstable in my finances, relationships, and responsibilitieswith my first book of short stories, Momentitiousness, slated for publication later this year, I stand in awe of what this space has become.  A sharing space that has never been publicized anywhere but among close friends on Facebookand the complicit, whispered word-of-mouthhas garnered nearly 5000 views from countries including but not limited to America, Russia, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, UK, Poland, Philippines, Romania, Indonesia, South Africa, Iraq, and China.  While this may seem petite frite compared to dancing cats or wizardly vampires, this seemsin poetry termsthe equivalent of a billion.

I continue this endeavor-come-responsibility with gratitude to my friends and their friends and their friends and to the world and to the universe for the support that has reinvigorated me and hopefully supported an enlightening, meaningful and enduring donation to the ether.  As I continue molting into my skin as PoetEconomist and author, know that this work is as much out of love as it is duty.  It is meant as much for you as it is me.