Freedom & Ketchup

I eat my burgers raw
as the full moon buggers down street
for a beer — life is simple
the blood can flow
or the flesh can burn

Some people are more perfect than me,
they eat their burgers welldone
damned be the full moon
and the beer — life is perfect
hopeless and full of laughter
smiles and despair

I drive a thousand miles
never considering my burger
never wondering who I am
who anyone else might be

Some people prove their point
they soar like wonder
up the hard gray stony sides
of some unsold product — moonless & quiet
hopeful and full of laughter
smiles and despair

there is no flesh, only bright eyes
and the certainty of a burger
somewhere raw enough to dream
somewhere welldone enough to be satisfied
and still, regardless the moon,
i eat my burgers raw

As I burn away leaving me

  the cigarette won’t smoke itself under this almost-moon
so the man in the shadows stands
there holding the orange glow of burning 
that reports the streetlight to the darkness

the smoke reaches from the cigarette
toward the nearest star – the one
the man doesn’t notice as he stands
in the shadows. If there is a question
between them, it remains unasked.

the man continues to smoke
the cigarette until it is done 
the orange glow fades
until only the stars are burning
with questions for the moon.

Hold on

i am an artist

Hence the beady eyes

The constant hunger

For anything

More than food

The crooked nose

The loose middle name

And of course the inability to see

Things the way you do


one day in Philly

i stood in Christ Church Burial Ground
in front of a familiar name
i could not place
how i knew him – or why
i was so moved.

the moss on his headstone
was deep green and older than me
and the accumulation of years
on the stone left the letters
difficult to read

we are not related, I’m sure
except that we are both men
who breathed, who loved,
who wanted and wished and needed
who hoped and tried and learned
who grieved and ached and loved

for that, i sighed,
it is enough to know we’re brothers.

later at the City Tavern
after a pepperpot and some braised rabbit
i knocked back Ben Franklin’s brew
and toasted that stranger’s name
that i’d already forgotten,
“To a life, that it might be remembered.”


bloody things become bloodier
with cracked bones for each idea
with lost shells flying
until they land in flesh

bodies on bodies, death on death
for the sake not of life
but of the possibility of control
man over man

there is no meaning of life
in the midst of revolution
there is only blood
and fear
and loss of humanity.

The absolute truth about eyebrows

Nia Vardalos has two eyebrows
like many people — even Greeks —
above her beautiful eyes.

Most nights, like tonight,
they do nothing but wait there
for the morning to come
and eyes to open.

But some nights, if things are perfect
they twitch and raise and roll
they reach for the sky
and lift the eyes up into a smile that never ends.

I don’t ask Nia if she tweezes
or teases or plucks — I don’t ask
if she knows that beauty is in every follicle
every wrinkle, every whisper.

I just smile.

The Un-Mitigated Symbolism of People

in the bright new days
before the first sunset
i was three boys
without a dinosaur

all the sunlight sang
of yellow trucks — rain knew
only frogs and quiet dancing

in the muddied days
after the sunset
i was less than zero boys
only a dinosaur

where all the moonlight wept
for the losses
piled in moo-less barns
and forgotten

like a broken-legged cow
smelling of Egyptian perfume
— there is no explanation

the frog will leap alone
to or from and there is no knowing
which it was until the yellow truck crashes

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