Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Dine Alone Without Feeling Awkward

Sit at the counter or a bar,
cruise a drive-through in your car.
Short of that, make up a name
to give the hostess – something plain.

Request a table set for two;
they don’t need to know that you
are on your own, so just pretend
you’re waiting on a flaky friend.

Pull out a book or magazine,
some pages you can flip between
and gaze down at them pensively,
deflecting looks of sympathy.

Stir the ice cubes in your tea,
take bites alphabetically.
Apple, bacon, crouton, date –
what did I say? I’m sorry – wait -

Make believe you are a spy
or up to something on the sly;
check your watch, avert your eyes,
give curt and indistinct replies.

Act as if you’re on vacation
in some distant, pleasant nation
where you cannot comprehend
a single word that they extend.

Or maybe just get hammered first,
peel off that hunger with a thirst;
get too friendly, crass and strange –
let them feel awkward for a change.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


“green with envy” -
envy’s green?
this idiom,
from what latrine?
I hadn’t thought
what it might mean
until today,
until this scene;

as spring is surging
over us,
verdant, blooming,
the shoots - oeuvre!
the sprigs - opus!

what doesn’t grow -

that’s envious!

[yes, a day early - but seems fitting - and anyway, what good is a rule if you can't bend it sometimes? happy greening, all!]

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Something’s where
the record skips
the words that hang
on thirsty lips

unsettled by
peculiar ease

Something scrapes
against the pane
that anyone
could well explain

(but leave it to
a fool like me
to ruminate
the possibly)

Something’s sticking
in my skin
the wrinkle of
a stifled grin

the splinter of
what’s left to say
as Something whispers
walk away

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well they tried to get me ready
and they did the best they could
tryin’ to lead a horse to water
but you can’t carve rotten wood

so I packed up my intentions
and I signed my registration
and I started up that staircase
to some higher education

you can burn the midnight oil, you can burn up something sticky
you can swear to god you’re straight but all those white lines can get tricky
you might catch a couple cases, but there’s no need to get nervous
if you can’t afford the fines, their community needs service

Always fell a little short
always heard I had potential
but I never figured out
how to solve that differential

and I found that all the answers
from my best hallucinations
didn’t have a foil in questions
posed by higher education

yes we took the road to ruin all the way to west New York
while we weren’t sharp or pretty we got by on noise and torque
we misconstrued the meanings and we mostly made mistakes
and were halfway down the mountain by the time we tried the brakes

Even though I was surrounded
by good people I respected
couldn’t help but feel inept,
out of place and disconnected

and what I considered trying
was just spineless resignation
as I kept on sinking lower
in my higher education

you can blame it on the method, you can blame it on The Man
you can blame it on the witness as he’s sworn in on the stand
you can blame it on the mirror when the image gets effaced
but it’s harder getting wasted when there’s nothing left to waste

So I failed and I bailed
unencumbered by degrees
and I sold my books in boxes
with my pride and memories

and the best that I can hope for
in my shame and consternation
is to manage long enough
to outlive my condemnation;
maybe find a grain of wisdom
or some kind of graduation
in the crest that crowns the crater
of my higher education.