Adrift my mind, daily steals
the line, the rod, the fish, the reel
though fortune blessed my spirit free
I'm chained to passion drowning me

No salvage for a listless soul
costly comes life's aging toll
a worthy memory, marked to be
strong as the ship that charges me. 

I'll file my nails to the hilt
Rust iron shackles hitched to guilt
Fight hordes of voices, unresigned
to live a life that's undefined.

To live a life that's undefined. 


One Night's Motel Sleep


One Night's Motel Sleep

Everything hurts tonight.
Even the fan has an unfamiliar hum

as if it's been spinning for far too long.

There's so much dust that even
the dried streams of spilled paint
that have dribbled down
these motel walls
from a thousand prior paint jobs,
leaving veins of hard, white tears
crusted to the drywall,
carry dust.

They are like little, old rivers.
I sometimes push them with my fingertips.
They are dried and yet they still
give under pressure a bit.
They still feel soft.

I briefly close my eyes and
colorful static flutters about inside my eyelids.
I cannot escape this visual noise.
It is not black with my eyes closed.
It's as if my eyes are
attempting to receive a broadcast
but have no idea that the connection has been cut.
I am off the air.

I open my eyes, get up from my chair
and look over at the bed.
I see you lying there, asleep.

I light the room with my phone
and stumble quietly forward.
I slide into the bed slowly as not to wake you.
And then I kick the night stand and
EVERYTHING falls off.

I am suddenly a tambourine player.
Or a blacksmith.
Or a bell choir.

I check to see what damage has been done.
Everything is fine.

I lie down,
and just before I attempt to close my eyes once again,
I think of how grateful I am
that you are not something else,
like a bag of dirty laundry or a sack full of groceries.

I think of how grateful I am that the sheets
are moving with your breath and that
you are alive and not dead like
most people that have walked on this Earth.

I then slowly lie my arm over your shoulder.
And I close my eyes.
And the static inside subsides.
And the fan's noise turns to music.
And the paint seals us in.

And I sink with you
into another


thicker skin

Scrips, Scrapes, and Scraps

if all you get are scratches and nicks
then you'll be easily cut by a dull twig.
you have to damaged yourself repeatedly.
you have to shock yourself awake
until you can't remember
being soft.

you may lose something in this process.
and it probably won't feel very good.

but you must do it.

because if you don't learn to get cut
and heal from it
you'll eventually be stirred into a salty liquid
and poured slowly
over a better man's



The "Salsa Bar"

The Salsa Bar

they called it a "Salsa Bar"
but to me, it was a battlefield
from World War I
with hunks of flesh and blood and
scraps of carcass splattered
across an exhausted landscape 

they called it a "Salsa Bar"
but to me, it was a 5 year old's art project
with streaks of dry markers
haphazardly scribbled across the paper
and beads of glue with random macaroni
smashed into a series of nebulous blobs

they called it a "Salsa Bar"
and the sign said "SALSA".
but if you stood behind the sign
the sign said "ASLAS",
which stands for
Australian Society for Laboratory Animal Science

There were rabbits and mice minced to confetti
and surgical tools scattered among the dead
and the metal operating table
 reeked of historical nightmares
all in the name of research.

but still…
even with having read this document
to the management… 

they called it
a "Salsa Bar".


The Man at the I-5 & Broadway Exit

The Man at the I-5 & Broadway Exit

there by the exit off interstate 5 and Broadway Ave
sits the man with the diesel mind,
broken down on a milk crate,
grass in his dreadlocks,
trousers at his knees,
screaming on the outside,
shaking on the inside,
and being stabbed by invisible shanks
all over his body.

he is a reservoir of pure madness,
a stew of disorders, schizophrenia being
at the top of his recipe.

his wiring diagram resembles a thicket.
cables and plugs jammed into the wrong outlets.
voltage surging where there should be none at all.
a tangled mess of wires and braids,
leads and filaments, sparking and firing,
for no reason at all.

i imagine that
inside him are vast institutions,
where fires have erupted within their
hallways, lobbies and offices
and the patrons of these buildings
are now tearing each other a part,
screaming in agony,
destroying each other and their surroundings
in their vain attempts to escape
his mind.

i have seen him off and on over the past two months.
and he is always screaming
and chanting and twitching.
a machine of complete and total unrest.

he is so disturbed that
even in a place where the mad seemingly reside at every intersection,
the often apathetic and callused citizens of Los Angeles
take notice when they pass him by.

because this one stands out.

his skin is as black as licorice
and his eyes as white as ice,
bulging and fragile, like eggs.
rarely blinking and frozen in place
as if shocked awake
by an unseen predator.

there is no touching this man.
there is no communicating with him.

the motor to his escalator
broke its belt years ago
and sent his jagged stairs flying 
down, down, down
at a record speed,
down, down, down
where they finally
slammed into that recessed crevice
of mysterious light
deep below the floor.

that crack where the stairs disappear.

that line where most of us step over
and quickly walk away.