The Wheels on the Bus: Ten for Today

October 30, 2016

After turning you over a few times in my mind, rolled you under and over my tongue six or seven times, I’ve concluded you’re here to stay. And here I thought I was coming down with something, a sore throat or swollen glands. Even mononucleosis seemed probable. I was weak, tired, and lonely, mostly. “No, I must be sick. Just sick. Nothing more.”

And outside my window, the clouds patch in blue above the heavy grays, the cumuli nimbus basis for all sky matter–water. I cry sometimes. I can’t argue. I mean the oppression of having to trudge to and from that institutional hole, seething with live broken bodies, the forget-me’s of you-don’t-have-enough-buying-power-to-matter stuffed into wall seams, writhing in discard. It makes my throat swell.

So yeah, I’ve had the sky, clouds, gaps and injustice to weigh me down these past fifty odd years. Accumulated social detritus, piled in dead-skin mountains, toppling over onto my gashed coffee table and splintered carpet borders–where the dog dug up our humanity to show us what good girls we are.

When the timer goes off, I’ll have no more of these thoughts. I’ll clean a few trays, wipe a counter or two and watch the bus riders mount a sky blue-topped metropolitan half-hearted attempt at mass transit. Only those who will end up inside the courthouse walls ride. Those, and wide-eyed children believing those wheels on the bus going round and round bring them on the ride of their little lives.
Til they too find out the truth. 

Saying Good-bye: Ten for Today

A deep melancholy weaves itself inside a house leaking in 

the first cool night of October. 

It shadows the shades with daylight endings 

with no thought to warmer, longer days. 

It’s a passing of sorts, the dying season. 

The year’s swan song in golden ochre and chestnut hurrahs.

Only this first cold day, a day where I search for socks 

in a squeaky disused drawer overflowing unmatched orphans, 

endings haunt the costumed furniture. 

Almost Halloween, though none know it’s Halloween inside. 

And only I know my mismatched socks stretch 

hodge-podge high up my booted shins.

These and many others are fall’s secrets, 

hidden under leaf piles and broken relationships. 

I’m sorry to see some go. I’m sorry. 

Only spring light may reveal a return on investing 

in you all these years, but only if you count it out– 

the season of us has dried up and gone. 

Message in a Beer Bubble: Ten for Today

Happy hour. A hearty hoppy beer might make things go right for a short while anyhow. Maybe even release the vise grip on my brain. This tension headache brought to you by your local, fucked up telecommunications service. No tv, then no internet, and no rhyme or reason. “We’ll overnight that modem to you, but it will take 3 to 5 business days.” What do you answer to that kind of math?

But at least it forced me to work at my favorite watering hole for some atmosphere, compared to my usual, dull writing environment: dusk-lit room, dilapidated desk over-cluttered, bed beckoning from behind my back, and puppy chewing on my bare feet as I try to focus on a screen that sometimes allows me to reach the world outside–when the internet hasn’t drifted in then out. Today, like yesterday, it’s all out.

And then there’s the election. It’s worse than anything I can remember in my public awareness age. Yes, even Watergate. This trumps all, pun intended. The banana republic antics. It’s hard to stomach any more. It’s like stupid times infinity, as we used to say. We’re sliding speedily down the ice hill in reverse. I can’t watch–but like that carnage on the side of the road, I must. No entertainment. All sadness and nausea. There’s an ache in the pit of my stomach that threatens to swallow my entire body, engulf it in burning bile. 

Or is it just me? I can’t tell any more. As I look into the foamy, golden crystal ball of my immediate future, cold and wet to my clasped hands around its glassy trunk, I ask, “Is it just me?”

She answers from inside a beer bubble, “It’s always been just you.”

Our Roman Fathers


I wrote this 250 word audition piece for a client and thought it topical, worth remembering, given the times.

Our Romanesque Fathers

The American Founders, well-versed in history, embraced ancient Rome, even taking Roman pen names like Washington’s Cincinnatus and Jefferson’s Cato. America’s symbol, the eagle, and the Capitol’s architecture are likewise borrowed from Rome. However, the Founders’ greatest influences are the lessons learned from the Roman Empire’s founding and demise. The U.S. Constitution was written with an eye toward both.

To Protect Against Tyranny

Like America, Rome emerged as a city state from war and tyranny. Its mythological creation from feuding Romulus and Remus, characterizes its founding, one geographically destined to emerge as powerful but warring with its strategic placement near seafaring passageways. The Punic War expansion both forged and destroyed the Empire.

Looking to Rome, the Founders inscribed Roman virtues–liberty and freedom–into America’s constitution, but wisely included safeguards to protect against a government subject to human weaknesses, like intoxicating power and greed. The U.S. Constitution conceived a Roman inspired tri-part government, a combined democracy, monarchy and aristocracy. Divided power among its branches ensured against tyranny, of which Rome served as warning.

For Survival of a Nation

The Founders learned from Rome’s eroding largesse and excess to foster, preserve and protect their budding nation. They knew Imperialist Rome’s downfall lay in its expansion wars, leaving unemployment, migration, venality, religious intolerance–and ultimately, tyranny.

The American constitution, both reactionary and visionary, founded a nation upon ideals–which defines its exceptionalism–not merely on geography, ethnicity and history. Rome served as its map, just as the U.S. Constitution mapped the American nation forward.

Careful Now

My skin flicks daggers when they box me in, droves of rolling wind-shielded, multi-tasking dryvexters, head bowed, praying to the light of their battery’d gods.

Then those days of aromas, perfumes and incense, like silken smokey kisses, nibblers at my tongue and ear, lean heavy, move me, like longing in a store front window.

Our emanations, I believe, send some forest denizen half way round the world toppling hoof over antler, for the sheer shot-stream blast crumpling poise and balance.

Imagine anger and love, thrust to the sky, cannoned from skulls, like New Year’s pistols shot to heaven on midnight’s stroke, only to meet drop-down death in upturned eyes.

And so I say to fresh-plucked sprigs of another’s birthing, my charges today, “Be careful of how you speak, your intentions, jealousy and greed, for they bite hard from behind.”


Cant: Ten for Today

October 25, 2016

Not too many days left here. Other work picking up enough now. Enough for me to starve elsewhere same as here. But somewhere else is looking better now.

I told you that the other day, over lunch, staring over our spring salads cozily tossed over delicate sky blue rimmed plates dotted with balsamic splashes. Your eyes–barely hiding blood-shod heart hiding in muddy boots–stoned menace into radicchio and leeks. 

My own intrepid gaze, blazed red into radish rounds and scallions. We could hardly speak, abjuring conversation for the death of leaves, lies, us…

“Can I bring you anything else? Dessert?”

Each of us nodded to her, looking to her while acknowledging the thud of silence on the table that dared us not peek into each other’s musing. 

“I’m okay, thank you.”

You just smiled in assent. She curtly nodded and turned her heels to walk away. 

“I’m quitting.” 

Your head rose suddenly, alarm flooding your pupils, readying…

“I can’t work there any more. It’s too…just too… I’ve outgrown the place, nothing left there for me. I’m past the insecurity and fear of not finding another job. I need to strike out.”

Noticeably relieved, despite your impassive gaze, you waited for me to say more.

But I didn’t. 


She wrapped me in her quilted smile 

then torched the salty fabric of us, 

tear stained and aching. 

She knees cruel in the balls. 

And I love her that way just the same. 

She hangs me up to dry, 

then cuts me down for air. 

The breathing windows of us, 

pulsating walls setting chairs rocking, 

us inside, lulled in four-arm sleep.

Space and Dexterity

October 22, 2016

Those times, you know, when your fingertips and feet know just how to move, threading chores through keyholes, they make me feel like something’s right in this vibratory volume I call the verse, multi or uni, your choice.
Science (whoever that may be) says there aren’t billions but trillions of galaxies. Like, “Oh gee, my mistake. I was off by a few numbers.” How do they know? What kind of telescope discovered those extra billions or so? Or is it just math again. They figured…

I figure it’s all speculation. One thing that’s not, there’s life elsewhere. I’ve no doubt. Too many space holes to hide out in, gazillions of light years away. If a sound wave from this planet reached another life form, perhaps our planet would have already vanished into dust, burnt to the core, scrapped and disbanded in katrillions of dust particles. 

That’s one presidential hopeful’s solution to global warming. Let’s just wait it out for a few billion years until the sun burns us up and see what to do then. We’re all going to die some day. Okay.

But tonight, here in my small corner of the planet, I moved through my work tasks like memory, so familiar and easy to summon up. Everything I touched folded or unwound itself by my expert manipulation, my keen dexterity. I folded, washed, wiped and capped like a pro, just like I had done it thousands of times before.

Oh wait I have.  

Pixabay: milky way and andromeda

I need freelancing like a buzz saw to the brain: Ten for Today

They’ve sucked me dry, the health pro start-ups and the holistic healthy lifestyle entrepreneur and the real estate investor coach and the legal multi-media start-up and the beta reader. They’ve all got a piece of me. My brain throbs in its swollen state.

I think I’m averaging about $1.00 an hour at this new avenue to freelancing–an agency. And while I’m stroking myself with the story of paying my dues and getting better at my craft and investing in future pay-offs, today it’s not so convincing.

I’ve never been a quick learner. A die-hard learner, yes, but not fast. I will plod on til the death, determined to get to the bones of some task, job or career. But it’s never a smooth-sailing entrance into something new. I learn by burn. There’s no other way for me. But once it’s inscribed in my flesh, I’m fluent. I know it.

Until then, it’s turn and burn and yearn. I want to get past this mistake after mistake stage. I hate mistakes. And maybe that’s why I struggle. Resistance. It’s like trying to mellow out in a yoga practice–incense burning and Dr. Dre on Pandora–while some ear-splitting air show decides to come to town just as the tree trimmer revs up the buzz saw.