Manhattan on the rocks
VO if you should know
They got the name wrong again
Junk mail is junk if his name is wrong
If you are going to junk him junk the right him
Get it right motherfucker
He’s got the cancer
I’ve got the doing little with my time thing

We turn the corner
The make-believe cop car
Whizzing by holes eight and eleven
Who’s that waiting at the homestead?
I wish for him a do-over
Because it’s not love
Its belittlement sprinkled with browbeating
He wants out but can’t have out

Sticky goddamned leaves from big dumb trees
Helicopter down onto the windshield
He doesn’t mind
The cruiser doesn’t mind
The radar detector doesn’t mind
My mind doesn’t mind
The cancer doesn’t mind
His lost life doesn’t mind

Up and down the streets
Around the corner
Hogan. Snead. Palmer
The driveway is uneven
The chimney is uneven
The bricks are cold
The inhabitants colder
The man with the plan has run out of time

It is still light out
We are family men
And we might just catch the end of the news


His hairpiece
A thing of beauty
Is he aware of this fact?
Likely he is leery of the lookers and pointers
I wish it were acceptable to compliment it

His rug is art
I wish to tell him how much I like it
Then there’s a big ass on the old wife
How much I like her supple back forty

This rug likely has a holding spot when idle
A ceremony each night?
Taking it off, twirling it
Tugging and modifying
Placing it with reverence on a dummy’s head

Does he feel okay about it around his old wife?
Does he hide it from his family?
Are there replacements under the mattress?
Oh, to know


For a spare few hours
For your thoughts
A time of winding down
Entwined in the drawing curtains
Such a huge long life
Your Steinbeck landscapes
Dreams bigger than anyone could believe
Cigarettes and redeyes
11th hour bylines

Fresno and the Crescent City
You saw such sights

You talked about it all
With vim and with wonderment
And baby, it all worked
You wined and dined
Never beholden to the beauties
All the while holding yourself up
Just enough above the whirlwind
A little soak in the afterglow

And by and by you made a good one
Turned in a keeper
Just so you know in your spare few hours
That it all worked out
You got your Nat Fein shot
You had all the people talking

Thursday. Nighttime. Leaving.

The Morning After Bedroom (Contrast)

Hers is floral and patterned
Too tidy which could lead one to suspicions
His has an ashtray and unnecessary beer bottle collection
Hers, a full-length mirror and stuffed animals (even though she is a woman of age)
His, a half empty glass of Sprite and bath towels strewn
Hers, a bra dangling, hooked onto something. Ready to be worn
His has shoes, surprisingly, as many as hers
Her bed is pillowed to the point of unreasonableness
His bed, the standard. Flat and musty
Her blankets are billowy and engorged
His are powder blue.
Thin, sweat stained and worn
Hers has a non-functioning fireplace
His, a closet with no door
Shirts inside according to sleeves and no sleeves
Hers has clothing on the closet floor
His does not
Hers, shoe boxes on a shelf above the clothes
Most are empty
His shelves have Playboy
Her wall, a calendar one month behind
His wall, a photo his mother gave somewhere along the way

In the Window

Boots just warm enough for walking
And the dog
The moon a keychain flashlight
A winter hour takes that long and then some
The winter of your life, twenty minutes tops

This evening is just warm enough for walking
And the dog
The cobblestone adds a bit of something
The Christmas lights strung tight with coordination
Do the homes know how lucky they are?

My stupid pompom hat keeps me warm
And the sprinkled dust moon
And the Christmas lights
And the street-lined cars
And the annual party at the corner lot
And the dog

Rose (and the Like)

The beauty of sense memory
There existed nothing before rose
Avon and cut grass
Kissing fat girls in muggy tents
Summer and fried dough
Sunday football
In the road, in the fields
Then home to Rose
Lovely then and still
The ladies had it without trying
Perfumes and potions
Salvation Army ladies and the librarian

Love, Rose

American Cheese

Gerald did the three S’s and took his morning walk
Familiar. Brisk. Nice.
He watched the morning news then the afternoon foolishness
A TV tray his only defense
He waved to one neighbor then the mailman
He closed his door, mid-pitch, in the face of the solicitor selling Solar
He did a month-old crossword
Had a ham and American cheese on blue speckled rye
Smoked a Pall Mall with a B&B and an ice chip

Gerald was born 1938 to Hank and Dolores. Roseville, Illinois. Population 1,047

They have been gone for years
He hasn’t laid flowers in over a decade
She was kind and doted
He was surly and sweaty
Laid hands more than he liked to remember
Gerald watched the evening news
Pausing to search for “break the Internet” and “Nipsy Hustle” (Nipsy Russell?)
He was still none the wiser
He had another B&B and the butt of the Pall Mall
He ascended the stairs of his modest home
Turn in for the evening
Confused about the here and now and just about there
He flossed in the mirror
Straightened the collar on his handsome red and gray flannel
With a true hand he swiped his white hair back into a nice lay down
He hit the light switch
Down the short hallway
The cool hardwood
A nightlight elephant, blue and orange
India, 1977
Wonderful smells. Bad water
He climbed up, left right, left right
Up upon the stepstool
Center stage
Fashioning the old hemp rope he let out a Hackman laugh
A “tsk” acknowledgement of a forgotten intention
What is “ghosted?”
Then he kicked out

2008, Roseville, IL Population 1,217

Christmas List

For the tiny skater in the park in the dark
A very hot chocolate
For the sobbing drunk at the feet of the elderly choir
For the man behind the store counter Plexiglas
A large-breasted black woman
For the Joseph and Mary display
A better home
For the lonely boy and girl
For the exasperated and run-down
Leonard Cohen’s empathy
For the shop keep at the end of an eight and eight
A dimly lit bar
For the housekeeper
A lovely new dress
For the underpass
And for you