By the Bay, By the Bay, By the Beautiful Bay, Part 1

I lived on Potrero Hill not far from a grand Victorian owned by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In a little closet I slept, rented from an activist who drank…


“Castles Made of Sand Are Called Sand Castles,” “Miss DeNiro’s Headdress,” “Bullet Points,” and “The Crime of Understanding”

Castles Made of Sand Are Called Sand Castles I am a rentboy living in a ramshackle apartment at the Champs Elysees Complex in downtown Dhahran in the…


“Spaghetti Dinner,” “Cincinnati,” “White Studies,” and Other Poems

Spaghetti Dinner I, too, only cook once a year. I, too, cook for friends and family. I, too, leave a mess for my wife. I, too, am hated. It’s not the…


“Maximum Madness,” “A Good Paddling,” “Dancing on Graves,” and Other Poems

Maximum Madness I was five and she was six She played the fiddle, I fooled around We hid beneath the floral covers People thought we’d become instant…


In the Shadow of Watts Towers, Part 2

III. Our principal, Dr. Rawls, was an aloof WASP, choir leader at his San Fernando Presbyterian church, and some sort of alderman in an all-white…


In the Shadow of Watts Towers, Part 1

I. Teaching isn’t easy. Certainly not in Los Angeles. I might as well say it at the start: I hate it. It’s hard to be among the young. The first day…


“Does it Need a Title?”, “Street Theatre,” “Literary Property,” and Other Poems

Does it Need a Title? There is nothing sadder than an old elephant at the zoo. All alone, the color of tarmac; a gigantic mouse behind bars. She…


Nights in Shining Armor

A true story: The Baltimore Orioles had just beat the Red Sox in ten nail-biting baseball innings. But there were no joyful cheers that day. Instead…


“Faulkner’s Christmas,” “Indecent Calculations,” “Et Tu, Judy, Gwyneth, Barbra, and Meryl?,” and Other Poems

Faulkner's Christmas She hid in the bushes panting, emitting lustful grunts, waiting to be taken. Waiting for her black stud, Mr. Christmas, whose…


“Take the Hope Express,” “Olive Oyl-sama and Popeye-san,” “Making History,” and Other Poems

Take the Hope Express Our rituals are few. Anyone can sing of crows; they bite. We scrape the bottom of the barrel, looking for some- thing to love.…