And check out my first poetry collection, Slinking Under The Electric Bulb, available now at Amazon:
held by the anchor,
sliced by the blade,
we sing to the trauma brought on
we are the odd ones,
the creators, young and old
and young again.
and the best of us rot openly,
while the worst pose with
cereal box smiles.
if it's real,
it was once terror,
with cruelty and sadness
as a backdrop.
it arrived because we suffered.
so be careful when you tell us
not to brood:
there's something awful about
waking up at high noon
to an ensemble of threats:
a shrill sounding alarm,
burning retinas, parched insides,
and what's this?
a scurrilous message
had been delivered
"hey, motherfucker. it was a bad idea to stick up for that coward
last night. you haven't seen the last of me. better watch your back."
it was a hell of a crack―
a one-hit wonder with no retaliation
(except for the memo, of course),
all in defense of an old crony
who wouldn't do it for himself.
nearly all the scuffles I've been in
were in honor of somebody else.
they're rarely personal.
with the right ambition
and proper training,
I suppose I could have made a half-decent
people go down
much better in the
the distance makes the difference.
staring out the window of a beat-up shack,
moon hear me now
trees look away
cat in the yard please come
nothing but a hollow existence
and a trail of Bugler smoke rising
the cat lies down like
all things do, pawing at the
like all things do.
is forever shared,
from the mountains of Tibet
to the cool confines of
the swivel chair.
of course, it had been
another sleepless night,
and I was sitting alone
in the dark
at 5 a.m.
when the phone rang.
I let it ring three times,
then I picked up:
"do you think I'd make it
if I jumped off the roof?"
"you just might," I said.
"by the way, who is this?"
"take a guess," said the voice.
it was clearly a woman's.
"uh, I'm not sure."
"I don't know."
Beth lived upstairs.
she was obviously drunk
and had locked herself
her plan was to jump
from the roof
down to her balcony
in order to get
"wait a minute," I said,
"I'll come upstairs."
I met her in the hallway,
then we climbed
up the ladder and looked
over the edge.
it was a fifteen-foot drop.
the landing was littered
with flower pots and
"you must be crazy," I said.
she didn't argue.
"I think I can make it!"
"you're not jumping," I told her.
"let's go back downstairs
and try picking the lock."
"okay," she said.
it took nearly a half-hour
of rattling the
before her roommate
finally woke up
and let her in.
you know, sometimes
insomnia isn't so bad
Damn, this could take a while. To put it bluntly,
I'm a 31 year-old woman with the libido of
a 16 year-old boy. A few of my fetishes are too
perverse to indulge outside the realms of fantasy.
The more tame ones are sub/dom interactions, both
inside and outside the bedroom. I like to be bound.
I enjoy being watched, but watching others also gets
me going. I usually get dressed and undressed in front
of my window each day, which almost takes up
the entire wall. Someone drank my urine once, while
another came simply from tickling my feet. I enjoyed that.
I like getting pissed on, choking, being bitten, and of course
biting back. Long hair, trains, The Chesapeake Bay Bridge,
tentacles, incest role play, horns and antlers, fat men,
Victorian women, spankings, flagellation, vampirism, eating
very ripe fruit, kidnapping. Corsets. I tight lace in the fall and
winter, when it's not too hot to wear a corset all day. That feeling
of being constricted, bound, and reformed is agonizing and
heavenly all at once. I would rather give head than receive. I would
rather obey than command. I like to be told what to wear
and how to act in public. Everyone would see what I'm doing and
what I'm wearing but only I (and he/she) would know why.
A secret hidden in plain sight. That right there gets me off
more than anything. Well, almost anything. Rim jobs and putting
my fingers in a guy is fine, but I have tried anal and didn't like it.
OK, your turn!
he makes his rounds down by the 59th Street Bridge:
one leg bends, the other stays straight.
you can't miss him, he's darker than night‒
pasty white lips, coffee cup jingling,
and a fresh clean suit to really catch your eye.
"shit, look at that guy!"
I've heard people say.
he's been at it for years,
rattling that damn cup once the light
it must be working,
there's always a different suit.
throw in rush hour and bridge cleaning
and you know it falls like rain.
but one day I saw him walking along 31st Street,
pacing, hustling, both knees bent.
he moved better than I did,
dress shoes and all.
I pulled up and honked:
"feeling good today, huh buddy?"
pasty lips kept it at full stride,
rounding the corner with
no shame in his step.
it wasn't long before I got stuck at that light again.
of course, out came the hobble and the sound of loose change.
I believe the lady in front even handed him a bill.
and when he finally made it over to me,
the only thing I could do was grin.
a guy like that, you just have to
let him go.
there was the application - six pages long,
plus union forms.
holy fuck, I thought, it's been years.
but it was a decent gig, paid well,
and I was up to my head in debt,
so I hung with it.
the first two pages were easy enough -
name and address, position sought,
they didn't question competence
or drug and alcohol use either.
it seemed like a sure thing.
then they asked for references and work history.
aside from freelancing, the closest thing
I ever had to a job was pushing the stuff,
and I had lost my supplier's number
of course, one thing I learned from all that
was how to lie through your teeth
and do it well,
which came in handy as I
jotted down several fake companies and used
the names and numbers of friends
to cover for me
in case they checked.
suddenly I was a former consultant,
manager, operator - I had years of experience
and made my way up.
looking around that office and seeing
all those blank faces, I knew I could
pull it off.
the last page was the best: a questionnaire
regarding goals and ethics.
my favorite part about coming to work?
what does customer service mean to me?
building clientele and seeing that
their needs are met.
what should I do when it's slow?
double check my work.
what word sums me up best?
you never saw
such a good bullshitter
I signed the agreements,
handed it to the receptionist,
wished her a fine day and
putting on my shades, I thought about
taking up acting
we'd been up drinking and smoking joints
for three days and nights,
breaking on occasion to have
another go at each other.
and while in bed on the fourth day,
she pulled back right before I came,
took it in her mouth and swallowed it down.
then she licked the remains off
of her fingers and said,
"this stuff tastes like whiskey!"
we laughed and rolled around
some more, then dressed.
"wanna hit the bar again?"
"sure," she said,
"but this time, it's on me."
after being mugged and jacked for the last time,
I walked into a hardware store
and asked to be shown their selection
of pocket knives.
I didn't look like much of a threat.
the fellow behind the counter
must have thought I was a carpenter
or some other sort of handy man.
"what kind of job are you doing?" he asked.
"nothing specific," I said,
"this one ought to do."
it had a steel blade,
three inches long and serrated.
a four dollar insurance plan that was suitable
for any job: his, yours,
or the next guy's.
couples do this,
and you're not even a couple
drifting down the aisles side
the bookshelves know more about
relationships than we
will ever dream.
mystery goes with drama,
thriller goes with comedy,
student goes with town fool.
you grin at the absurdity of it all,
pick up a dirty title,
turn to page 112 and begin reading
she pulls the book away just as
you mention the word
well, there's still ten minutes
left to kill.
no use digging into anything else,
except maybe a little necking
and a hand up her shirt
for good measure.
luckily, that goes over for the most part,
and with the drugs keeping
it's enough to see the rest of
the night through.
smacking her ass, you walk
next-door to meet
he ran through the streets drunk
looking high and low
for the one who got away.
she was only a stranger.
night after night, we text.
she goes first, and it's always
the same story:
'I'm committing suicide,' she'll write,
listing her various reasons for wanting to do so.
of course, I'll try to calm her down.
(it usually works, except when she falls asleep
with her sadness still intact).
she says she has it all figured out,
that she'll register her will online for $25
and pay the Europeans to come pick up
I can never tell what's real and what's not.
besides, she's very stubborn in her ways
and can't be argued with.
she also claims I'm the only person she's confessed to,
so I suppose that when the phone stops beeping
for a day or two, I'll be the first to know.
I just hope she leaves a note behind
for everyone else.
I killed a spider tonight.
it didn't do anything wrong,
didn't deserve it,
I just acted on impulse
and went for the easy hit.
like biting into a ripened plum,
coming down with that napkin
seemed so natural,
after all, it's my name that's
on the lease.
yet had it been a man,
I know I would have
it's what separates us
from the animals.
and we still have to throw
our dirty little messes
people always seem to walk better at 4am,
well after the crowds have dispersed
and the many prying eyes
have been put to rest.
most of you don't know
what I mean by this.
let's keep it
it took thirteen nights and eleven
subway stops for me
to get to her.
the husband had finally left town
on business, and
while the professional in her wouldn't touch me,
her carnal, devilish side
couldn't wait for a fix.
there we sat with scotch and beer,
talking marriage and books
and the literary world.
at age 27, all of the above
had failed her.
I tried my best to understand,
but the next thing I knew
she had her mouth cupped around my balls.
where the editor said no,
she screamed yes.
she wanted it rough,
she wanted it raw,
and she didn't want it
in their bed.
on the living room floor we went,
rolling and sweating,
forsaking the rules of the game.
I'd been at war with the likes of her
and here I had an hour to gain back
as much pride as I could.
it was hard alright,
but I made it twofold.
editors be damned:
an afternoon on the fringe:
there is water
in my ears.
there is a gentle flow
there is a shower head.
I stare at it,
study the tiny holes as they
continue to produce -
knowing that while nothing is free,
there is a chance at freedom
for all things.
I cut the faucet
just because I can,
submerge myself in the ice,
watch as my skin tightens
from the sudden shock.
everything is mine in here,
I am almost godlike.
someone could murder me through
the curtain and get away
before the steam clears
and still I'd die in control.
this brush with inner peace,
it's worth teetering on the edge
of one's sanity.
yes, it's moments
that keep you going
long enough to clean
the place is packed
and you're slumped over the oak
the sauce rushing like a wild river
through your veins.
you wave a restless hand to the bartender
who walks over uneasily.
worried that one more
might set you off.
he carefully pulls your glass away
and motions to the owner
who comes up from behind
puts a hand on your shoulder
asks if you're all right.
but his hand is trembling.
he's even more leery.
a dead drunk
in the middle of a crowded place
is bad for business
and an irate drunk is just the same.
there's a fine line to be drawn.
though your words are slurred and incoherent
you somehow manage to convince him
that you're good enough to carry on.
he backs off
and you order another drink
brood over it for a minute
then suck it down
as the room spins in devilish rounds
and the many faces cast upon you
you try to stand up
try to maintain
stumble into a broad
who shrieks in horror as
she shoves you away
and the next thing you know
you're shot out the door
like a rocket
into the night:
a sight to be
the world's oldest person just turned 116 this week.
that puts her way up there,
higher than high, having lived through
eight American wars and lord knows how many
other conflicts, governmental
hell, after nearly a dozen decades,
the old crow seems to be in better shape
than both LiLo and Courtney Love
I guess that means we should all be granted
a few more days at
the very least.
and I used to think that 19
were long shots.
shadows of terror stretch for miles
along centuries of concrete hell.
yet our eyes, like diamonds
beaten down to slits
still can't turn
while five or six children
run laps around the sun
the same phenomena sends one more
to the madhouse.
martyrs, that's the word.
apples and oranges won't help
nor will petty victories or
we are slowly drowning
in a pool of our own vomit
and the craziest part about all this
is that only one
out of every five or six of us
penguin love never stood a chance.
shake shake, waddle waddle,
that faraway look just had to
carry you away.
I couldn't be more understanding.
and when you said those
three fatal words,
I really felt for you.
if only it weren't too late
to reach out and do something.
we didn't get to have
the summer we'd planned.
we didn't even come close
to a thousand days.
but it wasn't a total waste:
think of all the red lights
we pounced each other at.