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v V v Mar 2013
My love for you is far beyond
the love that I have shown.
Its otherworldly, unexpected,
and when I die you will finally see
the all of it in many things.  
It will be with you, flourishing
in your everyday existence,
in little ways, in music, in flowers,
in sunsets,  in a wind chime,
in the sunshine,  in suffering,
in visions, in visits from the local ghosts
and Christ who knows your name,  
he'll never let you down,
through him you'll hear my voice,  
I will be with you in all of these things
and you will know my love in
a hundred ways.
v V v Sep 2010
I do not cloak weakness
                       nor dagger with words,
                   not afraid of dark hours,
                                     to be so absurd,
                           the suffering silence
                     where symphonies sing,
through windows the wind chimes
                           colliding, they bring
                     the red soldiers striding
                                    on digital clocks,
                             electronic moments
             each click they unlock and
                           un-tether breathing
                             so sweetly sublime,
                         I relish these moments
                            this passing of time
                         delivering me peaceful
                        to reticent repose, my
                         symphony of silence,
                           life songs I suppose
v V v Feb 2013
Everything I need is right here,
a foot away and still
I’m nostalgic for what I’ve already got.

I keep searching for you, I don't know,
gravestones, sunsets, lyrical genius,
death by overdose, that painful beauty
I could not obtain for so many years
behind shut doors and far across
parquet floors is now open,
open but blowing shut,
my mind is blind,
I smell burning hair
the smell is burning hot
while my tears wash away
whats left for me to see

….you're right ******* here
and still I'm looking...........

you used to be so bright
why did you fade?
you didn’t
its me behind another hill
another escape down a pathway
from brightness under cover,
under feather, under weather.

so much reminds me of you
I feel your absence as if
I've lost you yet

your right here,
you’re lying right here

why do I do this?

Are you here
or am I dreaming of you?

It’s the wish for you that moves me
the search for you, the hunt for love

are you still as bright or
have I burned you out......?

love me save me just don’t leave me
let me figure this all out.
its 4:44 am and the little boy ghost
and the angel are here,
I hear them talking and preparing
for some kind of spiritual intervention
I swear they’re here to take me away but
please don’t let them
please don't let them
I know I make it hard for you to save me

I expect you to read my mind and then
turn around and decipher it for me

its no wonder I occasionally feel lost
v V v Jan 2014
When the snow melts the sky will still get cloudy

the only person that can let me down is me

my keenest memories are the ones when I felt pain

I have nothing left to mourn but yet I mourn
v V v Dec 2015
Imagine this:

We are in a car that is
plummeting over a cliff
after spinning through a guardrail
off an icy mountain road, and we know
that our time is hopeless
and about to end so
I stare at you intently while
the rocks below
come racing toward us.

Can you see the look on my face?

This is how I look at you
every morning
between 6:15 and 6:25,

10 minutes
of loving the gift of you
with my eyes,

as if I’m
about to lose you
and I need to sear your image
in my mind
so it will always be with me,

even in death.
v V v Sep 2017
early morning muses
but sometimes late at night

he brings enough sun
to make 1000 poems look easy

he is the leaven to our loaves and
the tequila to our margaritas

positive he works through
the dark of night
to bring us light
and for the full effect
of his efficacy
drink dark coffee

sufficiently caffeinated
awakened and ready
to read
put in the work
to discover the words
his encouraging words of life
and maybe you’ll burn to earn
a bonus of how to survive
so very little sleep

for me

its more about
the lines between the lines
than those not spoken at all
or written at all
rather realized
if I were to
focus on others
half as much as he
then maybe my life
would be less miserably
my own

more jokes than yokes
and less wails to no avails
no non-satiated regrets
or cratered frustration
peace in a storm of senility

he writes for us all
with a message of hope
like the god of HP he sees
we are radiating rays
positivity pointed
one and all and
all together at
the same time
toward heaven

he moves freely
amongst our home page
from whence did he come?

from the fourth dimension
he brings forth conjuration

his style is love
his style is hope
his style is empathy
his style is encouragement
his style is truly who he is

he is an early morning beacon
he comes from the east
to rise across our browsers
seeking the infection of discovery
in each hissy fit writ
we write
Yes indeed Joel, it is about time.
These words are his words, they are barely my own rather collected
and displayed as an ode to Nat.
v V v Nov 2014
The older I get 
the less the word terminal bothers me.
I put my worries in a box called god 
and when my faith is weak 
I dump them out and burn them 
on the altar of my ego,
scraps of worded paper 
up in flames, 
legal words, ugly words, 
kindling of the heart words, 
words that wreak havoc 
on the innocent.

I burn them all 
but never learn

I put my worries in a box called god
A re-post from 2011...seems to be appropriate right now.
v V v Feb 2011
He walks across the great expanse as if a ghost.
He walks alone and out of place as two by two
the joggers pass and barely glance as if its normal

to behold a ghost.  What they don’t see defines
his life, the tortured demon voice inside his head
that taunts and teases all day long and
tells him he “ain’t spit” and “ugly is forever”.

He’d been neglected all his life but now that he’s
become a man he thought the love he sought
would save him from the way it was when he
was young. His problem now is wrapped around
his backward thought that love is his to find and take
instead of his to give and share, if only he had
learned this in his childhood.

He slowly mounts the rail between the ocher beams
on Golden Gate and looks at murky water far below.
His clothes are black, his hair is long and black,
his skin as white as snow. He stands ***** while
looking back to see if one might lend a hand but
no one does.  He smiles a smile and turns around and
then as if he’s been cut down he leans, unbending,
and falls.

            A hundred miles away a mother knows her child
is dead.  She bows her head in shame and cries,
the why at war with guilt. A part of her is gone,
a part she can’t deny or blame as someone else's fault
instead she hates herself for never having loved the boy,
but even more she hates the hurt.  If only she had
fought the urge to drink, if only she had loved him half
as much as that crazy **** she used to smoke, the ****
she called her ‘crystal blue persuasion’. If only she
could turn the hands of time and rearrange the things
that mattered most.

A flare is dropped to mark the spot where he went in,
the flaming red a beacon on a bay of mother’s tears.
Another soul engulfed in grief is gone, the deed is done.
A crowd is gathered at the rail to point and stare
as boats approach the flare where men with hooks
will pull him out while mother drinks 100 miles away.
Inspired by the 2007 documentary "The Bridge", and written
in memory of over 1200 troubled souls who have committed suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened in 1937
v V v Oct 2015
A painter's wooden palette
is used to blend color,
if it isn’t quite right 
no problem,
just wash it and start over.

A clean slate with  
no layers beneath,
no previous unused batches
or miss- matches.

A fresh start without guilt
and the constant reminder
of mistaken color.

If my brain were this simple
I'd be soggy from starts over.


my palette is thick and
crusty with mistaken color
and every new mix
blends the old with the new.

These multi-layer batches
will never dry out or wash off
so I’ve stopped trying.

I'm tired of all this
mixing and matching
where no matter how bright
the color I add,

it always ends up storm gray..
v V v Dec 2015
Mother tried to be a decent mother
in the weeks ahead of Christmas.
she’d fill the month with Advent calendars,
finger countdowns and splotchy
un-successful attempts to create a
joyful face with lipstick.

In hindsight maybe the weight
of her guilt was especially heavy during
the one month of the year that God
could not be ignored.

Its different now.
God is no longer privy to X-mas,
and guilt is not an appropriate emotion
to be taught to children.  

I was more afraid
of mother during Christmas
than at any other time of the year,
all that fake smiling and brittle kindness,
her strings could snap at any moment,
and you knew they would
you just didn’t know when,
or how, or on who.

“It always snows at Christmas!”
mother said as she reached
out my bedroom window to
gather a handful of fresh powder.
She’d bring it in to show me
and I’d wince and cringe because
her movements were  erratic
and unpredictable
like a puppet on strings, her
arms swinging wildly
from side to side,
knees jerking up and down
across the floor
she’d always end up
spilling snow on my bed.

I think the snow helped numb
what it was that she hid,
helped her hide behind
that painted wooden smile,
if only for a little while.

My memories of snow
are quite vivid.
I’d shovel snow into
tall piles, taller than I stood
then build tunnels
to the other side.
I jumped off of rooftops
into huge snowdrifts
and come up with
sleeves full of snow.
My friends and I would
latch onto bumpers of
slow moving cars
and “skeech” through
the neighborhood,
or careen down toboggan
runs on our feet,
face planting
at the bottom where
the ice gave way
to fresh snow.

When I turned 16
we’d hide Old Style Beer
in snow drifts,
build ice forts in the forest
and spin donuts in
St. Mary’s parking lot with
open beers in our laps
and never get caught.

As I see it now
all of these things
helped ease the
burden of confusion
with my mother’s
dis- interested
wooden puppet

but her guilt ridden
attempts at
Christmas niceties
were never going
to be enough
to keep me from

You see its all about the snow.  
A life embraced by snow.

snow cut into lines,
Encapsulated snow,
spoon melted snow,

any kind of snow
to numb the extremities
and freeze the nerve endings,

a temporary escape from
the Christmas gift
of mother’s guilt.
v V v Oct 2010

I sometimes dream I’m burning down
the bridges I have crossed,
the ones I’ve built
with words and deeds
that haunt me for no reason,
where paranoia rages
to the point of desperation,
and in my dream I’m wiring up
the bridges for destruction.

I strap them tight with dynamite
then light the wick,
the sizzle’s quick,
ka-boom! And they're exploding.
I sit and smoke a cigarette
and watch them fall completely
while listening to the music of
my past mistakes dispersing.
The sound is heavenly.

I close my eyes
and tilt my head
to take it in,
I feel at peace,
I fall asleep
or so I think,
instead I find I’m wide awake
and standing on the other side;
I haven’t crossed at all.
I’m still parading guilt around my head.


I sometimes see beyond my view
and catch a glimpse of spirits,
its usually when I least expect
they cross my field of vision.
A peaceful ghost,
an evil ghost,
they both exist,
I’ve seen them come
from places where we’d not survive
and minds could not conceive.

I’ve witnessed them in houses through the years,
in houses seized by hell
where every corner walked around
a chill ran down my spine
and creaking walls
and darkened halls
would prompt a quicker step,
those houses where
the shadow beasts and dancing trees
once filled my heart with fright.


But not this house,
I have to say the spirits here are kind.
I cannot lie
I’ve often tried
to find them here,
in sleepless nights,
in midnight gloom,
in shadows cast
across the rooms and porch and yard,
surprisingly they can’t be found,
at least the ones who seek to strip the soul,
they seem to stick to houses
that are far removed from me,
those evil houses without love                                                             ­                                                                 ­                
and far away across the fields of dreaming-
on other sides of bridges.
v V v Jun 2016
We were dying that year,
the year they fell,
and when they fell I felt nothing;
but I heard them hit the ground.

Amazed by her nonchalance
I sat the children down, the sound
of fighter jets outside the window,
to talk about the day’s events.

I’d spend the next ten years
studying the art of empathy,
pushed along by the shame of
standing zombie-like and unaffected

while others wailed in horror at
the collapsing twin towers, and now,
the haunting realization that so many
had to die in order that I might learn to feel.

The ones that jumped live with me still.
More real today than when they leapt.

     We define our lives by brick and plaster,
     row after row of rooftop satellites staring southwest,
     straining for a glimpse of God while
     our garbage appears at the curb before morning.

     There is no talk behind dark shades, no debate,
     only flickering lights of transmission
     and lives backed into corners, swept up in
     a dustpan of mindless television.

     The fighter jets brought me back to life,
     my neighbors stay mostly out of sight,

     until one of them encounters
     their own catastrophic collapse,
     then the others congregate curbside
     in the flashing red light

     to watch men stretch yellow tape
     around a scene that looks familiar
     and wonder why they cannot feel;

     like the day they fell when I felt nothing.
v V v May 2012
There’s a place of perfect simmer
where the flame runs just so high,
never quite to boiling over,
neither still a tepid bath.
At least that’s what you insisted to me
in your frustration at my inability
to find a soft place to land between
pulses of ecstasy and re-heated casserole.
Even still you love me
like a whirlwind loves the dust,
gathering it in by picking it up,
steadying it's spin by collecting debris.
I thought we would make a respectable tornado,
together, instead I find myself
breaking loose from your gentleness
and destroying homes, alone.
If only the weather could tell us whether
we were headed for perfection or destruction.
If only the *** I stir could be a crystal ball.

If only I could love you
as much as I do.
A huge thank-you to Jamie L. Johnson for co-authoring this poem with me and for providing a ton of encouragement during an extended period of "nothingness".  Please read Jamie's work if you haven't already done so, she is an amazing poet who I admire greatly.
v V v Jun 2014
There’s a place of perfect simmer
where the flame runs just so high,
never quite to boiling over,
neither still a tepid bath.
At least that’s what you insisted to me
in your frustration at my inability
to find a soft place to land between
pulses of ecstasy and re-heated casserole.
Even still you love me
like a whirlwind loves the dust,
gathering it in by picking it up,
steadying it's spin by collecting debris.
I thought we would make a respectable tornado,
together, instead I find myself
breaking loose from your gentleness
and destroying homes, alone.
If only the weather could tell us whether
we were headed for perfection or destruction.
If only the *** I stir could be a crystal ball.

If only I could love you
as much as I do.
A co-write with my good friend Jamie Johnson.
v V v May 2016
tachyphylaxis - tach·y·phy·lax·is (tāk'ə-fĭ-lāk'sĭs)  n.
1.    A rapidly decreasing response to pleasure following initial administration.

I didn’t know this
demon had a name.
Ugly as it is it fits,
a random mish-mash
of unpleasant sounds
and equal unpleasantness

I’ve known the *******
forever, manifest in vitamin cures
and psychological processes,
SSRI’s and stabilizers.

He attends to the end of
affectionate loving and all
the designer vacations
you've ever taken.

He is the golden handcuffs of
square foot home ownership
and his business cards are
set in silver.

To put it bluntly
his continuous presence
is intent on destruction
of any contentment.

He is all things along the way
that appear so promising at first
but never last.

Synonymous with tolerance,
antonymous with precedence,

the antagonistic leaven of all living.
v V v May 2011
Beware the frigid woman
who can lean upon the stars
but never gather light
or comprehend heat.

She hides what to reveal
would turn her lover’s eyes away,
the scars her daddy left,
the guilt thrown at the pews,
the touch of too many,
the touch of too few.

For strangers she
will fly the moon, for you
she comes home tired
to sleep on nails.

A master of conditional love
she heaps her baggage on the ones
who love her most,
the only truth she breathes.

She never goes to where
you'd  take her

she only commits to

and stacks of Bibles do nothing
to bring forth truth

I tell you this much

the light across the dawn is more
than just the sun
and everything you give her
will rust.
Previously published at ****** and Novocaine, December 2012
v V v Aug 2015
(In some semblance of order)

(1967 to 1975)

carpet burns
WGN presents “One-Eyed Jacks” starring Marlon Brando
my grandmother’s basement
slaps from my mother
kicks from my father
Nerf basketball
10CC “I'm Not in Love”

(1976 to 1980)

sunny, cool, fall days
the woods on Sundays
tall green grass
raised red seams on a baseball
Tickle Pink wine
the smell of hashish
the buzz of high tension wires
Stroh's beer, pull tab tall boys
the woods at night
the breeze through the car window
her breath in my ear

(1981 to 1988)

“Footloose” starring Kevin Bacon
Michelob Light in bottles
extra spicy guacamole
“Members Only” black jacket
para mutual wagering
4 seam fastball
the garlic taste of Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO)
a 91 mph fastball
Feldene dissolved in Dimethyl Sulfoxide and applied to my skin via a tongue depressor
my 93.5 mph fastball
the roar of the crowd
the swirling light and sound of a west Texas freight train at night in fog
Jesus Christ

(1989 to 1999)

the anticipation of child #1
the birth of child #2
6 hours of uninterrupted sleep after child #3
an 8mm obstructed kidney stone
sunny, cool, fall days
“The Road Less Traveled” by M Scott Peck
the woods in fall
the woods in winter
the rumble of Niagara Falls
“Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning
the woods in spring
The Stanley Cup

(2000 to 2004)

nostalgia of my youth
photos of my children as children
Jose Cuervo silver tequila
sunny, cool, spring days
Major League Baseball opening day
Jose Cuervo Gold tequila
Chinaco Reposado tequila
the stench of pavement
Gran Patron tequila
the heat of pavement
Herradura Anejo tequila
Marca Negra Mezcal
AA meetings
Alice in Chains “Down in a Hole”
nostalgia for opiates

(2005 to 2007)

AA meetings
Camel 99's
her infidelity
photos of my children as children
Camel 99's
the sweet, sweet voice of Martin Sexton
AA meetings

(2008 to 2010)

the tenderness of your touch
a king size memory foam mattress
the tenderness of your touch
Amerique Verte Absinthe
discussions with the dead
the tenderness of your touch
Ray Lamontagne “Winter Birds”
the tenderness of your touch
ablution by Amerique Verte Absinthe
visions of the dead
visits from the dead

(2011 to 2014)

their forgiveness
AA meetings
Camel 99's
my inability to sleep
the tenderness of your touch
the tenderness of your touch
the tenderness of your touch
the tenderness of your touch
Centenario Reposado tequila
Tramadol in large amounts
thoughts of you leaving me
thoughts of me being left alone
thoughts of you being left alone


the words I have just written


I am excited to announce that this poem was recently published in print in "Storm Cycle 2014" The Best of Kind of a Hurricane Press, copyright 2015 A.J. Huffman and April Salzano, editors. The anthology is available online at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
v V v Oct 2010
Old men in dresses wave hands across baskets
casting magic spells on sausage and oranges
then hocus pocus over horseradish root as
thick as a forearm, potato-peeled later
we'll garnish meats with mystical power.

They expect us to kiss the ****** feet of
a God immortalized in plaster while granite
saints stand watching a procession of misty-eyed
martyrs shuffling down the aisle like sheep,
and all the while the bells are ringing.

Always the ringing of bells.

Bells rung by boys standing still
ring like angels.

The old men hold crackers up to the light,
then more bells and drinking of blood
and finally its done. They waddle down
the nave casting incense in a metronome spray.

The boys follow behind the hypnotic smoke,
their bells have been put away,
pall bearers of the crucified Christ
they lead us not into temptation,
rather deliver us out the doors
and into the street,
redeemed and safe behind
the hedge of numbing ritual.
JK November 2010

Memories  of growing up Roman Catholic. My grandmother believed in having the priests "bless"  food  at Easter. I always found that a bit odd...
v V v Nov 2017
15 tapes over 15 years, moments and
occasions, vacations and holidays,
one per year in 60 minutes or less.

I took them to a little shop downtown
and got them back as DVD’s,
then I gave them to you at Christmas.

I kept copies for myself
but I have yet to watch them
for fear of forgetting the reasons
it all went to hell.

You told me that you often get confused
between what's real and what's on TV
and about whether the events you remember

are actually being remembered,
or are they just being recalled from
watching the DVDs?

Maybe that’s why you
don’t remember the same
**** as me.

Maybe you believe that if it’s not in
those home movies then it must not be real,
and therefore never really happened.

What you are not realizing is that everything
in those home movies is a wanted memory.
There are no jagged edges and
no accidental recordings,

no scenes of betrayal,
no secret relations,
no sordid behavior,
obsessive compulsions,
no sick fascinations,
her ephebophilia*,
no lack of affection,
no painful rejection,
no moral transgressions,
no threats of her leaving,
no demon possession.


what you see in those movies is just
a compilation of best behavior.

The absolute truth is that you live with an
evil so dark that you question your sanity,
as I did for so many years.

The juxtaposition of  
her sensational gas-lighting^ with
the pleasantness of your DVD
dominated memory has caught you in
the vacuum of her black hole.

When you exist within the proximity of
such overbearing darkness you tend to
attempt to create your own light to live by,

but your light will never be bright enough
until you create space between it and
her vacuum that constantly snuffs it out..

Just know that I will always love you

and all I ask is that you take note of who it is
behind the camera lens of those memories,
and who it is that created them for you,

and maybe one day you'll understand all of this,

because I know that I don't.
Ephebophilia- Is the primary ****** interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19

Gas-lighting - To manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity

Sometimes this **** just bubbles up out of nowhere and I need to get it out..
v V v Nov 2018
I can't stand the smell of mutton,
or the texture of liver, especially
after extended time on a dinner plate,

which meant we spent extended
time around an oval table,
my sisters and I with our
heads down, eyes averted,
no sound but the chatter of silverware.

I remember my cousin Scott told me one time
he put spaghetti in his pockets because he didn’t like
the way it felt in his mouth, he said he’d stuffed it down
and pulled it out later and flushed it down the toilet.
It made me wonder how his pants must have smelled,
but It was something I could never risk because
my uncle wasn’t a drinker, but my father was.

As the youngest of 5 I was
the only boy, and mother said
it was a privilege for me to sit
at the right hand of father,
a place of honor she said,

perhaps in other households.

For me it was a prison,
a daily nightmare of the unknown,
I spent forever in that chair
and was always the last to leave the table,  
constantly burdened by congealed meat and organs.

Begging was useless, reprieve was never given.

On a random summer night
when I was 8 years old
my father announced with disgust,

“You eat like a bird!”

It was the way he dragged out the word
“B i i i i r r d”, so distinct, as if
he could no longer contain his abhorrence,

and once the restraint was broken
his words came fast and hot,
berating me for my
non-existent appetite.

He would have done well to
understand that fear suppresses hunger,
that alcoholism doesn't
allow for compassion or civility,
and when you live with a demon
its not you who’s in control.

I wept,
and his devil burned with rage.

“You are pathetic!” he screamed.

More tears
and then my sisters joined
in a chorus of muffles,

heads bowed,
we endured his wrath with no thought
of engaging or protesting.

Eventually I heard the screen door slam
and one by one my sisters abandoned the table,
escaping to who knows where.

I kept my head down for years.

When I finally looked up I was alone.

The girls were gone and father was off
to drink beer in his air conditioned room,

and mother?  

I have no idea where she went.
v V v Apr 2019
She told me to
"Imagine a safe place",
a quiet place, somewhere to go
when the fog is at my feet.

But everywhere I went was
crowded with doubt
and a lingering loitering
presence on my shoulder,
come out from the fog to
hurl accusations and taunt.

I can only assume
it's a he on my shoulder,
an enigma,
my father's doppelganger
come to dredge my mind
of all the **** he dished out
when I was a child,

and feed it back to me again.

I tell her I'll need more tools
and stronger ideas.

So she gives me a seat at
the head of the table
where my ****** committee meets,
and a gavel to establish order
or bash in their brains.

She arms my dreams
with weapons and courage,
gives me REM when I'm wide awake.

We fashion a furnace of love,
hot enough to vaporize the
cold darkness pouring into my gut,
customized with levers and pulleys
to push and to pull in the fight.

We tally
Alpha and Beta waves,
trained and retrained,
hard coded messages
sanded smooth by repetition.

       Through it all I give too,
       and what I give is all I can give,
       it is the warmth of what enslaves me,
       and the thought of letting it go….  
       Well.... lets not go there right now.

In the long run I'm not sure that
any of it will be enough,
I am weakened by the war.

But occasionally there
are shiny spots that simmer,

You see,
I may have found that place,
the place she first told me to find
way back at the beginning,
the place to feel safe, although
it isn't really a place per se.

If it were true
I could finally ascend to
where no fog can go.
Where my father's voice
cannot be heard,
nor the ghosts I grew
up with.

A place of love and honesty,
where my furnace would sit idle in awe.

There is a picture of us
on our bedroom wall.
It is the perfect depiction of
all that is safe for me.

I look at your smile
and I see peace.
Nothing can penetrate
your radiance,
you are everything
I've never had,
double layered and
by all of it.

By all of the ****.

I am learning to go there
when the fog is at my feet,
and the ghosts are in my ear.

When the accusations come
I can escape there with you,

and together we can drown them out

if only for a little while.
Recently began therapy for my "issues"  related to PTSD.  Needless to say the therapeutic tools available today are much better than they were 20 years ago.
v V v Aug 2018

Its not easy living with only
the memory of regret.
Regret itself is more robust, substantial,
more apt to stop me mid laugh,
more apt to encourage naval gazing.


You deserve all that I
have given and more,
so much more that
the give that I gave
looks pale.


If only the sun
which you hold
was enough to drown out
the shadows I cast.


I climb a hill and at the peak
still more hills to climb.


I go alone to places you’d like to go,
afraid to let you see the destination,
and where I go I sow but never reap,
while you stand alone with your bushel.
v V v Jan 2015
Soon it will snow where she is
but here it never snows only sleets,
and ***** little ice pellets
on the streets.

Winter days remind me
how I miss the moon,
how far it is between
autumn and forever,

And how close it is
between you and I,
compared to the unreachable
emotional chasms we create.

Slippery chasms of
sleet and snow…….


          and when I finally went home

          she didn't even know
          I was gone,
          I slid right past her silent sighs
          as if being loved was
          an inconvenience.
v V v Sep 2010
I always feel my best with pulsing veins
of Absolut or Johnnie Walker neat,
or devil’s dust to take away my pain,
a thin syringe injecting hell’s deceit.
Though sorrow loses strength with needle sting
and moods arise with belts of liquid heat,
I know the tingling twitch will always bring
electric blood when morning comes to greet.
But still I struggle with the current’s craze,
euphoric numb that always plugs and sways
the battle in-between the nights and days,
the sunset hour with all its shades of grays
where all the choices made are surely wrong-
I wake at dusk and start my morning strong.
v V v Dec 2010
She placed a scarf in my hand
on a cold and rainy day,
lavender lace
laden with the scent
of Oscar de la Renta.
That would be
the last of us,
I lost her on that day.

She always had a penchant
for fine fragrances,
I always had a penchant
for elusion.

I ran to hide my secrets
in a place I couldn’t be loved
and zombied along for
two decades and then some.

when women pass in
crowded halls or shopping malls
their trailing wake radiates
a breezy scent,

a swirling memory
of what's been lost,

a stinging pain
for that which
slipped away.
v V v Nov 2011
A raging inner surf,
I blame it on the moon.
v V v Feb 2020
Mother never had a chance with him,
a dry alcoholic, worse than wet.
His mind contrived to twist and convince
and manipulate her into submission.
His unrelenting oppression
resulted in her subsequent depression.

We would see snippets of who she used to be
or who she wanted to be but they were
constantly stomped upon by his pestering.

His ideas became hers,
but never sounded like hers.
In no way am I claiming
she was innocent in all of this.
She lacked the will to
stand up to him... Perhaps conditioned
by their 50 years together, rooted in a time
when women didn't object.

When I think back now
I can only feel sorry for her
even though she was far from a loving
and attentive mother.
She had many demons to fight
and little emotional energy left for children.

Any memory I hold of her,
especially ones of her smiling feel oddly fake.
As a young child I was attuned enough to
recognize her smiles as forced and unconvincing.

And now she is gone

And he sits alone

I do not speak to him very often
Because I have nothing to say.
His influence lingers deep
and I hate that part of me.

He used to call but thankfully no more.
He offers no apology for the way he is,
and I am smart enough to not trust him
with anything concerning the way things were.
I have no desire to encourage more abuse.

I only wish that for my mother’s sake
that he were the one to go first.
Perhaps allowing her a little freedom
from a lifetime of him.

On a recent and rare call he told me
he still speaks to her as if she’s there.

Even in death he will not leave her alone.
v V v Jun 2014
My wife often says to me,

“It takes a good man to be a good woman”

and there was a time
when I wondered what she meant,
but not anymore.
When she says it now I
take it as a compliment because
she is quite extraordinary,

and I'd say that's better than good.
v V v Apr 2013
The autumn sun slides low
against the hours,
peaking over the day
as if barely begun
and almost finished.
There is something familiar
here in the half light,
not quite vertical yet
bright enough to see
the path I ride is not as rough,
the wind is not as strong
and my heart is not as hard
nor encumbered
as days since passed
where in hind-sight
I peddled for sanctuary;
sanctuary from
a morbid kind of half-sight
held tight by a half-life of
loneliness and lies
now long lost
and finally made right.
This poem has been published multiple times in multiple places.
v V v Sep 2010
I went to that well again and again
And never refused what my lips desired,
But after a while I knew deep within
The cost would be steep for what I acquired.
I turned a deaf ear and then a blind eye,
The well was defiled and yet I still drew
And drank my bitter fill of every lie,
Until I was nauseous with what I knew.
Then daybreak’s dawning and with it came grace.
My soul was washed in epiphanous rain
That fell on me like a lover’s embrace
To grant me ablution erasing the stain
That clouded my eyes and hindered my heart
-I’ll never again feel life’s torn apart.
v V v Sep 2014
Like a bonfire you are
hard to look away from.
I feel your warmth
even from afar.

Get too close
and your intensity
is vaporizing.

If only you could be
a firefly in a jar,
I ‘d let you out at night
to spread your light,

and I'd bask in the burn you ignite,

but by day
I’d keep you away

in a jar on a shelf.
v V v Jun 2011
In this Cathedral you are a god,
this outdoor arena beneath a blood red sky.
You stand above a sea of melted faces
with arms outstretched and upturned
as reticent as a rood.
When the stage goes dark the beat begins
and you are one of us the wounded and resolute,
you lead us into songs of hope and redemption,
replacing silence with words of truth.

Truth as redolent as barb laden roses,
and just as difficult to hold.
A Savior that bled
the moon turning red
the darkness of night
the black of the white
the white gold and pearls
the mysterious twirls
your deepest desires  
the trip through her wires
A house not a home
the scars on the stones
your horses in flight
the drums in the night
the **** of a gun  
the glare of the sun
the un-deserved grace
the dust cloud erased
You sell what you sing like a preacher in pain

We hold on tightly until we bleed
In this Cathedral you are a god
There are very few people, yet alone rock stars,
     who have done more for Humanity than this man,
     Paul David Hewson.
v V v Nov 2016
He enters the wood
without wanting,
taken from slumber
and pushed from behind
into darkness.

Up ahead he sees light,
he wants to believe
he always sees light,

but lately its not there
and he cannot see,
and they’re not at home.

He’s becoming afraid
to close his eyes,
no telling where he’ll end up,
skirting the edges of
the unknown.

He wonders what’s beyond,
a cliff, a hole, a vacuum,
insanity hovering over the
sprawling darkness of Hell.

He’s never been
though he thinks he can taste it,
it tastes of fear,
dark and gritty like burnt toast.

His only hope in
the little white diamonds.

When he swallows,
their edges work to scrape
the darkest burn away.
v V v Dec 2011
As bright as you are
I could give you the sun

and no one would know that you have it
v V v Feb 2020
As bright as you are
I could give you the sun

and no one would know that you have it
A repost from 2011, more true today than then. I honestly believe I wouldn't be here today if not for my wife's unconditional love and support.. her brightness has been a beacon of hope through some very difficult times..
v V v Sep 2014
You will never know normal until
you have it long enough to not
want more of it
v V v Jan 2018
I saw an old blue jay today
unashamed of his baldness.
His beautiful crown reduced
to wispy sprouts of gray,
every which way
like a patient after chemo.

Beauty cannot exist
without suffering

I saw our rabbit’s kits yesterday,
they looked like little piglets
nestled in her nest of fur and hay,
plump and tender bodies,
tempting feasts for
creatures of the night.

Peace cannot exist
without fear

I saw a hummingbird this morning
and heard her vibrating chirp.
Cautious yet eager she
bobbed and dipped for sustenance
a thousand miles from home
like a prisoner of war.

Home cannot exist
without longing

I see an orangey moon tonight
pierced across the breast by clouds,
in halves instead of whole.
A symbol of the way things are,
a broken world that
few take time to notice.

Consciousness cannot exist
without ignorance

I looked in your eyes just now
and saw love.

Sickness, disease, danger and fear,
loneliness, loss and uncertainty
is, was, and forever will be
washed away in their blue,
at least for me.

Certainty cannot exist
without love

Of this I am certain
v V v Sep 2012
Say nothing about the night or
quicker steps down the hall,
******* excuses and sounds
blamed on cats.  Less like me
day after day....fear melting
me, consuming me, life
snuffed out come daylight
more darkness
v V v Oct 2018
Evidently it was meant to be.
Long before I was born my DNA
sat on a shelf in God's laboratory,
a sticky note attached,
name, date of birth, perhaps
a tiny alarm to notify the lab
of inception.

God doesn't lose things
and God doesn’t forget.
It must be for a reason and
it must be meant to be.

A critical piece of who I am.

I should show a little pride because
as they say God don't make no junk(ie)..

But I’m a little late to the party..

The party that celebrates those who choose to be identified
by a gender other than the one they were born with,
but shames anyone who struggles with substance abuse.

I'm having trouble understanding the difference.

If I were to gather my drug addled friends
and march down the street with banners and signs
demanding the right to openly inject mind altering
substances into my veins I would be seen as
a criminal and a derelict even though my constant struggle
came right off the shelf of God’s laboratory where

my sticky noted DNA sat right next to yours.

I guess I shouldn't care what people think..
I know my rights, and I demand to be accepted,
NO, praised for coming out so bravely,
carrying a new flag, flaunting in the streets,
paving the way for future generations of addicts.

I will take my God given DNA out of the dark
and go out into light,

light so bright you'll be forced to accept it.

accept my sickness!
embrace it!
this is in my DNA,
God made me this way
so it must be ok.
I feel better now.
I no longer feel guilty,
or depressed,
or weak,
or wrong,
or immoral,

No longer do I need to contain it.

no longer do I need to be shamed.

I am an addict and I am beautiful.

Just like you.
The stigma of addiction is as strong as ever. I apologize to my LGBTQ friends for any offense taken to this poem. No offense is intended rather food for thought. I have often wondered why society dictates what is politically correct and what is not... and where good old fashioned morals fit in, and how something that at one time was so right can now be so wrong,    and vice versa.
v V v Mar 2011
Her heart was beating mightily
he told her that he loved her
he loved her more than all the rest
she loved him just as deeply
she told him now her dreams had come  
he said he understood her
he felt the same, the years he threw    
away were now behind him
they walked along the rain wet street    
he held her hand so sweetly
they didn’t rush, they felt complete      
their love was all that mattered
he said the world could not destroy      
his love for her, his angel
then rain came down like corduroy    
in a straight and soft arrangement
v V v Sep 2010
If only the crucified trees
could speak or scream
and tell us where to cast our gaze.
“To the sky!” they’d say,
where cotton candy clouds
are pink plumes of possibility.

If only these crucified trees
could speak or scream
above the howling wind
then maybe just maybe
our salty sweat of toil
could somehow be sweetened
by their resolute will.

What the trees once were
will always be,
their scars remain the tortured skin,
weathered trunks, empty souls
and empty pockets… yet still
they find a way to feed and
nurture blossoming buds.

….if only we might lift our eyes
and learn from the trees…
Landscape with Pollard Willows - Vincent Van Gogh, 1884
v V v Mar 2013
Little interests come and go as fleeting as a Sunday,
time spent polishing stones when no one really cares.
A lifetime of measuring time, too little or too much
like a drug dependency that’s never quite right.
Too much and we panic, turn psychotic, too little and
our shelves get littered with knick-knacks.
In between we're in lines, create lists and  other “to-do’s”
while standing in said lines. The herding effect makes us
feel small and unimportant like 1 of a 1000 in 5 box cars
of gypsies and Jews taken east on parallel rails.
When the present fades away our todays will be haunted
by yesterdays longings too late, and in the end
the darkness will be upon us  darker than night,
darker than black.
v V v Feb 2011
The skeletons my father keeps in his closet
are not my own,
those bones would be far too obvious.
The demons he fought I've put in the ground,
the bones his daddy gave him,
the ones I said would not be mine.

But dead bones don’t die,
at least the bones that pass from fathers to sons,
instead they fester and stew
and boil below the surface
where barely a sound is heard.
Meanwhile my boys are busy digging them up.

Its true
boys tend to dig and get *****;
my boys dig up bones
and drum them on my door.

I worked so hard to break the cycle,
to raise my boys without the pain,
to protect their fragile hearts from heartache,

I kept telling myself to keep the dead dead,
but its hard to do when the dead don't really die,
instead they lie about the absence of pain,
the pain I knew so well,
the fear that motivated me to be something more,
to push myself beyond
what I thought I could be,
to a place where I might be a man.

But here at the end
my boys are still boys drumming up bones,
no fear, they expect the world to be easy.

I have learned that fear can be a great motivator.
It worked for me
but not my boys
I never gave them anything to fear.
I gave them boats with oars
and straw to make brick
and lots of love and plenty of hugs
and always told them I was proud of them

but I never gave them fear.

Now my boys fear nothing
but expect everything

dead bones don't die

they just look different
Published at Pyrokinection, June, 2013
v V v Jun 2011
Chronic disinterest
Native contempt
Velvet endeavors
Tempting regret
Instant retelling
Elephant’s hide
Plagiarized doctrine
Burning inside
Mystified longing
Questions abound
Domicile ******
Running aground
Substance ingestion
Alternate mind
Daily addiction
Hade’s defined
v V v Sep 2016
You are no more abnormal than the woman in a shoe
A dull cold blade sits at the base of my spine
who goes on washing the clothes and beating the children
while my unlit corridors buzz to neon life like a scream in outer space.
None of it matters anyway.....
v V v Jul 2012
If I were only me I would drive to San Francisco
and jump off the big orange bridge.

I might do it if I knew it
wouldn’t hurt them,
but I can't because it would
so I keep fighting all
this **** that haunts me.

I have eleven reasons not to do it,
eleven people I will not name,
eleven reasons

not to hit the water at 86 mph,
eleven reasons to avoid massive internal bleeding,
to avoid broken ribs and punctured lungs,
to avoid …telescoping fractures……
asphyxiation by blood and……
….telescoping fractures……..
Eleven reasons to avoid 4 seconds
of second guessing.....and telescoping fractures…..
Eleven reasons…… …....................OK twelve.
Eleven people in my life I couldn’t do it to.
Twelve including me because I know I won’t like
the sound of what it might sound like,
the difference in my mind between the sound
of fractures and the sound of telescoping fractures,
a terrifying sound, enough to keep me away from
San Francisco, not to mention the big orange bridge.

I lie awake at night with numbers racing around inside
my head, 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour,
4 seconds from rail to water, 220 feet to fall,
24 hours in a day, 86 miles per hour at impact.

I keep counting and sleeping fitful frightening sleep,
endure nightmares of falling, flying off the big orange bridge,
reaching upward, the bridge getting smaller and smaller,

and every morning I wake before impact still a martyr

for all of us.
v V v Sep 2010
It all begins with pounding fists
against my door, and men with guns
and yellow tape, and me afraid,
I’m on the floor and crawling toward
the front room drapes to peak outside,
oh what in the world have I done?

A bit relieved, I find out why
a regiment is in my yard,
they say the man that lived next door
has turned up dead behind his shed,
they said he died an awful way,
with eyes ****** out by who knows
what, or why, but either way a
nasty death; poor guy.

The landscape man called 911,
but what he saw he wouldn’t say,
was so surprised to find him dead,
he swallowed his tongue, his face all red,
and there they lie both side by side
the one alive, the other dead.

The EMTs revived the one,
the older guy had long since died,
the guy who lived, they took away
to where? don’t know, they didn’t say,-
but rumor is a padded cell
where all he does both day and night
is moan and drool, he just ain’t right
from what he saw that spooked him.

Within a week I notice things
around the house (not his, but mine)
the porch out back, the wet wood stack,
the shifting earth, the sticking doors,
disgusting insects on the floor,
the pungent stench from underneath
the house, the vents that weep a
sickly brown and soupy ****,  I
must confess in ignorance,
I didn’t know a house could bleed.
I try some bleach, some cleaning spray,
but just can’t scrub the **** away,
it just gets worse, and just when I
can take no more a chasm cracks
behind the stack of sticky wood,
and from the hole a flying horde
of Satan’s pawns and slugs and prawns
and beasts of sorts I swear I’ve never
seen before come shrieking out and
flock about so loud the sound is

And now I know what mute man saw,
he saw what’s left, the face of stone
when people die at home alone,
the rigor mortis, gouged out eyes
when killed by things that men despise,
those beasts that creep and crawl and fly
about as Satan’s pawns or slugs
or prawns or whatever else might
make them cry or swallow their tongue.

I really don’t know what the big
deal is -  good god
its only BUGS.

I guess I’ll call an exterminator.
v V v Jan 2011
The pills I take at bedtime, blue as starling eggs
are supposed to hatch the inner me, crack
the thin blue shell of my social maladjustment,
instead they make me feel like ****
but I take them anyway.

Its not as if another color can make it any better
red or green or yellow doesn’t  matter
they all ****, I get **** results anyway.

the red make me angry,  
the green make me nauseous,
the yellow turn me coward,
afraid to leave the house.
The blue? They bleed
their color In everything I do.

These ******* pills are such a crutch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if pills were made
from dead men's bones, stolen from graves
and crushed into dust then blended with color,
red, green, yellow and  blue. Don’t forget
the blue, especially the blue because in the end

everything ends up blue,

blue as the pills I take at bedtime.
Blue as starling eggs.
v V v Aug 2011
I remember the slamming screen doors,
the rattle of the stained glass monster,
and the drafty shadowed nights beneath chenille bedspreads.
I remember the sun soaked cloak room with its reek of wet woolen mittens,
the un-impeded flight down stairs in tomato basket bobsleds,
and the bouncing at the bottom in a frenzy of strawberry carpet burns.

I remember church bingo basements smoky on Friday nights,
Saturday morning sounds from her kitchen,
and a mile of sulfur dusted sidewalk in between.
I remember the damp musty smell of the low lit basement,
the passing of Black Label beer through semi-circle windows,
and the nauseating hangover from Mogen David wine kept in the cellar.
I remember hearing how they kicked in the door while she slept and beat her
and took her things, her rings, the gifts from my grandfather,
and how she stubbornly refused to leave the home my mother was born in.

A half century book ended on one end by the great depression,
which she survived,
on the other end the kicked in door
which she did not.
I remember my mother’s wavering voice when she told me she was dead,
how Uncle Ed found her sitting in her chair, rosary beads wrapped
around arthritic hands.
I remember hot on the left and cold on the right,
the smell of her sweat,
the breeze off the lake,
the creak of the old steam radiator,
and the way she slept in her chair with her mouth wide-open.
The way Uncle Ed found her.
v V v Apr 2011
I call myself a poet
but not today.
Today I blow smoke
into March winds
and powder the sky
with exhale.
Chaos my muse
has gone away,
she’s left me here
with deck chairs
and wind chimes,
cigarettes and ash,
the epic poem
I planned to write
will have to wait.
Wait for the wave
of self-loathing
and remorse
to come along
as inspiration,
it always comes,
its just
a matter of time,
but not today.
Today i sit.
Today I smoke.

Today I exhale
what tomorrow
I breathe.
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