Friday, November 18, 2011


On a Friday night after work,
The first promise of snow is in the air.
I'm out on the back porch
Looking east at the sky.

Up ahead,
A long distance flight powers down.
Its light makes tunnels through
Orange-lit street clouds.
Its suddenly insistent thrumming
Joins the theater-voiced city--
All the humanity, motors,
And small animals
This side of Phinney Ridge.

Under our black and crimson night,
A few fresh-faced stars
Nudge and wink
Over a private joke
That I'm privileged to understand.

A week ago, though,
Out on the front porch that time,
I looked at the rain on the street
And remembered a juvenile me--
Even into my fifties, for god's sake--
Inhabiting soggy afternoons just like this,
All drug-addled, brain-fevered, and flopped sweat,

Stalking what passed as normal,
But getting nowhere near.

Oh, thank you, Lord.

Thank you, my dear wife,
And daughters, and
Recently departed mom,
For bringing me back here
From where I used to think
I belonged.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Under the Skin

Under the skin,
All over my body,
Pieces of something
Have taken root.

My nose has sprouted
My forehead,
A sebaceous cyst--

"Like the stump of the horn
Of a shorn devil,"
I think,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chilling at the Ragged Edge

The other night I was
Crossing the living room carpet
After turning off the lights
And checking the doors,
And I felt--
Really felt--
Something strange,
Like electric,
Coming from the shadows on the floor.
I was stoned--yeah--but still, it was there:

An energy crackling,
A feeling giving me tingles,
Making it impossible to sleep.

(You know what I mean,
Or maybe not--no foul--
But let me tell you:)

The Olmec and Iroquois were down there
Chanting denial of oblivion.
They were
Pounding in the basement,
Carousing, bloody ghosts of the defeated,
Becoming more raucous by the moment,
Demanding to be joined.

Would you be coming, too?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back Up

Under a chill and fitful sun,
Past the parking strip trees
Being whipped by a spring wind:
I'm driving again.

In preparation for this foray,

In a discreet paper bag
I have carefully packed
An extra pair of pants
And underpants,
On top an absorbent pad,
And--just in case--an adult diaper.

The bag's on the backseat now,

Helping to keep my mind at ease.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Dignity

[Warning: Contains graphic images that some may find appalling.]

Bent at the waist,
With head on forearm and forearm
Hooked around the rim
Of the bathroom sink, I look down,
At my bare legs.

Above the knees I can see an expanse of
Tiny corrugations delicately wrinkling
The flaccid skin, and,
Never noticed before.

I have assumed this odd posture
Of rumination
In order to move along the gas
That gurgles and squeaks
Through my bowels.

Below me, a plastic tube coils up
From a frisbee-shaped bag--
A urine receptacle and newly-found companion.
The tube stretches
Into and through my urethra,
Connecting the bag on the floor directly
To my bladder.

Being as careful as I can not to
Stretch the incisions that run intermittently,
Like a blackened ragged rainbow,
Across my belly,
I slowly lower my buttocks
To the cold seat
Of the toilet.

I know from brief experience that
This action will strain the tube
Across my leg, painfully pulling
On the tender tip of my penis, so,
In order to give it more slack,
I will first lean forward to avoid stretching
The stitches in my stomach,
And then adjust the tube in a Velcro strap
That's pasted to my thigh.

I will sigh with relief,
And sit patiently above the porcelain bowl,
Making note of an umbilicaled
And bald baby bird
Perched lonely
In its nest of pubic hairs.

I will listen to a sputtering stream of farts, and
Will hope soon for some semblance
Of defecation.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Inside Job

I can't say that this
Is the first assault
On my mortality, and maybe not
Even the most serious,
If you count accidents
From climbing, biking, kayaking,
Even spelunking--for Christ's sake--
All manly pursuits,
Ones where you can see
The danger.

But this is the first assault
That's been launched
From inside.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"You have prostate cancer,"
The doctor just blindsided,
Returning the tag on my
Work phone.

Biopsy, et cetera:
Seven on a scale of
Six to ten--
And then lots of words
I struggle to catch up to
And understand.

"Oh, shit,"
Is my first reaction,
Replaced by an effortlessly jaunty
"No problemo."

I strongly suspect, though,
That as the diagnosis sinks in,
More complex emotions
Will traipse across the floor.