dinner in the yard with old friends

an ashy, rickety, wooden table
sitting on the crest of a mound of silt.
an admiral, velvet window curtain
thrown over the tabletop and
seasoned with grape tomatoes,
wine, bread, and pesto.

a frail breeze to push the music.
the sky's veneer, a net of frosted light,
and then the entire city, in the pinch of a finger,
just sitting there as if we had
something to do with its placement.

a quiet night with old soldiers
gathered around the table.
good friends that have been fighting
the same war for decades,
each through their own glasses,
feeling the world push itself upon them
one at a time,
with an unaplogetic force that
whittles lines near the eyes.

a deep breath into the evening.
into this one quiet night.
it is the way I imagined every night would be
when I was older.
candlelit with friends, wine, music.
simple joy.

and then suddenly I was older.
and mosts night were just nights.
much like how most mail is just mail.
because handwritten letters are rare.
as is this night.

just enough wine to be
glossy and bloom the stars.
just enough breeze to
quiet the neighborhood.
and just enough union to be content
with each other's silence.

simple and quiet.
love and respect,
as subtle as it can be.




the last train engineer

a few miles east,
over the Broadway Extension,
the 3AM train would barrel down.

 it was always on time and
unlike the 7AM,
the 3AM

its thick whistle blew the duration
of its passing

 and i listened to it every night.

i suppose the engineer,
knew his time was limited
for his responsibilities had been diminishing
with the rise of automation.

 and so, sitting in a dark engine,
a lone passenger watching the world smear,
there was probably no sweeter thing
than to crack that hard cable
and stain the night with sound.

 a last desperate cry for the ghost trains. 

another heavy steel toast to the failed spirits
of John Henry and Casey Jones.




The Middle Ground

some poets... well...

they write way over here,
on the right side of the page.
you know, for dramatic effect.
because English text ain't supposed to be
way over on the right side,
all by itself.

it's supposed to be over HERE.
on this side, where
it has room to run across the entire page if it really wants to.


but sometimes it just isn't sure where to be.
so it just sits in the middle,
and pouts.


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