Dirty Old Man

I’m 65 years old and got the first
Piece of pussy in my life tonight.
Visual but effective, for both of us.
She said her best ever.  I said
The feeling is mutual. There was a “slight”
Generational divide, to be polite,
But God said:
“I understand.  All the lost time
And she was when your mind was right,”
Adding, uber Educator that He is,
“The visual praxis can only help you
See My face more clearly— ‘Transfer of Learning’—
To think ‘God’ and see God green in glory.
Spring!  In the dead of winter.  Or in old age.
Good for you!”
And God was right—I do see Him, and Spring,
Even readers in the room this morning
And two are quite amused but—horrifically–
One is raising a very vivid knife! Why?
I see that too.  And soon impending death.
Your answer, God, to terror?
“Simple,” He replies. “Tomorrow night get
Yet another piece while in the shower
And see her scratch marks on your back.
See!  See!  See!
You’ll get used to it in time.
You’re that good.”

Mill Pond

there is a place where we all agree example:
i agree with almost everyone at the mill pond
and they agree with me. they will share bait with me,
warn me about a sunbathing moccasin, and save me drowning. of course
i look like i belong at a mill pond—with my scraggly beard, cane pole
and chaw—and one simple pleasure is both the beginning and end of our content and our common cause. as the noon sun thaws our winter blood we are hardly cynical about motives. what does “cynical” mean? what are “motives”?
it goes without saying the new york times
and washington post are not for sale here.
but if they were another narrative might prevail our place and relation
our “consciousness” as it were
i’d look more suspicious no doubt—
a white supremacist, a misogynist,
my joy in the catfish they catch
patronizing and paternalistic. and i
have my suspicions when I graze
a hornets nest and my swirling dervish
sends some riotous with guffaws.
“dance, cracker! dance!”
until! the wall street journal is for sale here
and we are all global losers again
which we are, taking a break from the soros plantation
and our last stop to oblivion.

Her Majesty

I had a choice to be prolific
A life of living in my thoughts
Versus hearing people talk
And training tact in my response.
Redneck with a cosmo brain:
Too much risk I’d temporize
If daily, daily death’s your song
A chancy hole to dig I’d say,
The expectation of a cult
To muse yourself to early grave
Into a hole and no way out
Into the ranks of Keats and Plath.
So why not mix it up a bit,
Add some practicality, bullshit
At the corner store, work two
Jobs to pay the rent, take
Opie on a fishing trip?  Is not
One poem sufficient bow
To honor death Her Majesty?
I wrote her one she asked for
Ten, I wrote her ten she asked for
Life.  Opie called, “The trout are in!”
“Oh.” I said, my tone aloof,
“Her Majesty has other plans.”
“Then,” said Opie, in a huff,
“Tell that bitch to kiss your ass.”
“Anyway, Opie, you should know
There’s always Barney, Goober, Floyd…”
“All dead!”
“Opie.  Opie. Pardon me.
Her Majesty is at the door.
Her Majesty has other plans.”


This is the place of the dark limb
Inside the dead winter.
Nothing lights its blear eyes
But gin and gin’s deliria—
A spring pond, a cypress for shade
A perch pulled from water
Like a new brain.

Bubble Boy

The girls would razz “You never smile”
Though warmth was in his eyes
Alright.  And when they sought
To peg his type they dubbed him “Bubble Boy”
For kicks.  “What isolates you,
Bubble Boy,” they’d laugh.
Is it love?—we have a little cure for that
To bring you back to planet us
And kissed him on the lips and cheek.
“Oh,” said Bubble Boy with stolid face
And not a trace of smile.
“Well, we give up,” the girls said, flustered.
“Time to pass you to the boys.”
The boys piled on with whip and fists
“Bubble Boy! You cut that preacher act!
Though later in the hallway, sheepish,
One approached him guilty faced.
“Bubble Boy,” he said, with pain,
“I didn’t mean to hit you hard.
Maybe it would help to know
If you are gay, so am I.”
“Thank you, “Bubble Boy replied.
“But at the moment unprofound.”
Everyone was flustered now—
The girls, the boys, the teachers too
“Bubble Boy, your stuck-up prude!
By what right this holy perch!”
But Bubble Boy stayed cool to it:
“Death is not a hula hoop.  Some
Toys take longer to outgrow.
The time will come when only I
Feel your life or love you more,”
He smiled.

Hamlet II

My second consecutive in free verse.  More offbeat than average and my second most angry poem after the perfectly-metered but raging “You Globalist Swine.”

I own no guns
But what I could do with a fleet of Predator Drones
………………..Hot with Hellfire Missiles
Like when a movie offends me:
Harvey Weinstein meet Qasem Soleimani!

A fulfilling rubble

But then the collateral damage:
…………….Bob Barker perhaps
………Cute little Zack and Cody
…………….Or, God forbid, Alex Trebek:
……………………………..(At times the only normal me I ever heard or saw
……………………………..God, should I have trained to be a game show host?)

Alas, Rot and its human shields!

And more often than not
Thousands just like me
Trying to get by another day
Eking out a living any way they can
Even if that means as day laborers
Tasked to repair the furniture or clean up the sperm
In Harvey Weinstein’s romper room—


Of course I could drop leaflets warning, I suppose,
As one did before the firebombings
In Japan (though not Hiroshima)
But watch as only gargoyle saves his hide
Entouraged into his waiting jet.

No, something more select
Is indicated
A certified letter, say,
To Bob & Alex, cute Zack & Cody–
Sent by mail.  “You would be well advised…
To stay clear of…”
Oh, I can’t bear the possibility of traumatizing them like that!

And so another day, another year goes by
And Rot prevails.  I’d prefer dreams of Zach and Cody;
I dream about a firestorm of revenge.

The Perfect Poem

I wrote the most perfect poem in the English language last night.
Then up for work after two hour’s sleep
To repair a door for Carol her drug-addicted
Son kicked in.  She was very grateful
I don’t charge too much and have a knack
For finish work—it looks brand new.
Then to Samantha’s who keeps her townhouse
Hot enough to wear her thong bikini bathing suit
In January where no one can request
She leave the beach like last July.
She’s 75 and rather proud of her obesity.
It’s a broken toilet seat (easy fix).
But shimming and leveling the base takes more time.
Her checks never bounce.  That’s good.
But she keeps saying, “Cliff
Cliff, your clothes are soaking wet
Let me wash and dry them for you
While we soak in the hot tub.”
I say, “Thank you, but I’ll be fine
If you’ll just turn your thermostat down a tad.
That’s all.”  Next up one of Carlo’s rentals.
A tenant has moved and the entire place reeks of dog piss
And shit.  I’m really dragging now
From lack of sleep because
I wrote the most perfect poem in the English language last night
But rip out all the pissy carpets and
Padding and drag them to the street
Amid a cloud of brown dust.
The new-carpet guys waiting and impatient,
I rush the Clorox scrubbing room to room,
Get my 10 hours in and collapse back home
Smelling bleach in my nose while dozing off
And yet fulfilled:
I wrote the most perfect poem in the English language last night.

To a Millennial

First an apology:
The mess we left you
Debt, debt and rump
A twilight redoubt
From the ravages of Davos
All over and next door.
Perhaps I should have fought more
But you were such a beguiling distraction
How I’d bounce you on my knee
For joy.  Whisper, “Love you.  Love you.”
And kiss you on the ear.
Whisper, “You’ll get it right.  For once.”
(Was it my tenth alcoholic binge?)
“So get to it, Get to it!”
As my dad slurred to me.
“Get to it!  Get to it!
Your turn to save the race!”

For Laurie Essig

Gum is a whitewood tree
Good for nothing in the trade
As firewood more of ash than flame
Her splitting is an ax to hell
Stubborn, stingy, sulky pith
But left intact a graceful trunk.
Maybe that is just her point
Lithe to look at, loathe to have
Her raiment fits to slender branch
Her height the tallest in the stand
And yet no footing for a song
Men who’ve climbed her can attest
(More than I with broken mind)
Oaks are cut and she remains
A sky of leaves to regal crown.
Perchance a lesson in her wiles
Grace needs cunning to survive.

January 1968

A white memorial
To laughter, cheers
And sledding boys
Down snowy hill
To hearths
We’d knead
Our hands
Before how once
We made a hockey rink
Of frozen swamp and
Sapling sticks to shoot
A pine cone tree to tree
With 12-year-old
Equality, clumsy falls
And easy laughs—
Not love nor work
To sort us part–
A frozen bliss
That couldn’t stay
By noon the rink
Was melting in—
We switched frontiers
To fallow fields
Which yielded up
Some arrowheads
And one mad possum
Brought to bay.
The yellow sun
Gave way to orange—
We rushed to supper
Skipping baths, waged
A bedroom pillow fight
Wrestling when it came to that
‘Til finally TV
Stood us down
The Wild, Wild West
In black and white.
Our palm-cupped chins
Fell into sleep
Then up for breakfast
Back to swamp
God had frozen
Just for us
Play without a plan or thought
Next to next
Our only care.
So weird the weirdest
Of the three
Lives to be
The last to speak.