auto fill

why when I type “my”
on my phone
is the next word
that is suggested
I have none and never

on the other hand,
I know exactly why
when I
type “I’m”, the first word
suggested is always

punching bag

I’m sorry
about last night. my
soul was eating itself
alive, my mind
turning inside out
like a coat, fears and rage and guilt and sadness
chasing their tails
in circles and my
art needed fuel – I had
to get some feelings out,
it felt like dying –
so I rifled through my
pockets, found
an old wound, a small frustration hidden deep
inside my heart
left over from those
olden times –
when I carried a sad torch
that was never needed
or wanted –
and I used the memory
of it to light
a bitter bonfire
to burn off the excess

the things
that weigh upon me
the most are the ones
I fear so much
I cannot write a word. so
when a safer outlet
presented itself,
I took it. I see now how
it was a coward’s move.

next time I’ll try harder
to find a way to let
the real demons out.
or at least
find a better target.

behind the curtain

can’t you ever just
for once fucking
come out and say
what you mean and
mean what you say?

do you even have a heart
under all those cries
of wolf, wolf, looking
for your Little Red
Riding Hood? or does a
clockwork ticker beat
itself to death inside
your Tik-Tok chest?
fee, fie, foe,
fun. I smell the blood
of a charlatan.

I’m so sick
of your roundabout
hints and overly ironic inversions.
you’ve gotten so good
at portraying hypocrites,
liars and jerks
that I can’t help but think
you must secretly be one
yourself. how else
would you know their
lines so well?

all the times I cried
over someone who
knew me as well
as anyone ever did
and never once
opened that book
in which you long ago pressed
your soul like a flower.
do you even remember
what it smelled like?

I don’t know which is
the bigger crying shame:
that I took your great and powerful pantomime
to heart, or that you
couldn’t ever quite out
with that dread spotlight.

strange currency

I see you stole my dream
for your art. okay. like
the Doritos commercial says,
I can always make more.
just last night I drove
your car to a strange new
Thursday open mic, which
was either the 29th instance
or occurred on the 29th day
of the month, I
wasn’t sure which.

I had lost you somewhere
along the way, but just as
I was about to turn the car
around, you opened the door
to the back seat and got in.
(don’t think even for one second
that that is an anal sex metaphor.
of course now that I say that,
that’s all either of us can think.
damn you, Freud!)

anyway, at the mic, I looked
in the corner and saw you
sitting zazen in an oatmeal-colored
karate gi. since I don’t know
what sitting zazen actually
looks like, it was something like
cross-legged. your face
was to the wall. I was the one
who experienced enlightenment,
though, when I realized
how your life goes on
without me.


you feel spurned
by the ocean, by the spume
of waves crashing down
all sea-glass-colored, and
the dangling hands
of seaweed in the pale green
light of the oncoming
breaker hanging open
with no one
to grasp them.
you feel rejected
by the moon and
by the stars, alone
out there
on the beach.

well, the sea
cares nothing for your
feelings. the moon
is doing just fine without you,
and has never felt
more fulfilled. the stars,
meanwhile, have yet
to even notice
your absence.

your message
in a bottle will never
wash up to shore.
it lies on the bottom
of the ocean, nibbled
by curious, stupid fish,
manhandled by octopi.
the waves have heard it all
before, and the
sharp-toothed sharks
would love to tear you
to ribbons if they could.

if you want an answer,
try telling the wind,
and see
who’s listening.

not. tonight

I didn’t expect
to go home alone
tonight, that’s all.
it’s fine, I don’t mind,
it’s all good. I’m waiting
for the train, drunk
and wearing my
jukebox dress. I
have to pee. I
just missed
the train. I left
my book at home
because I didn’t expect
to go home alone

I’m wondering
if I should make quesadillas
when I get home.
so much time
to myself that I
didn’t expect to have.
is this train ever
going to get here?
have to do something
to distract myself.

I check my transit app
and it now says 15 minutes
before the next train comes.
fuck this shit. I get out
and go to the Waverly Diner
to use their restroom.

mission accomplished,
I re-enter the train
on the wrong side. I see
the uptown train
on the other side
and yell “Fuck you!”
at it before I cross over
and manage to make it
by some miracle.

goddamn it, I’m
so hungry. I think
I have one scallion
left. some jack cheese.
definitely half
an avocado. some
cilantro. sushi rice
with butter. quesadillas
it is, then. the rest of
that episode of Masters
of Sex that I watched
10 minutes of
before I left the house.

this poem is boring
and prosaic, much like
my life right now.
I just didn’t expect
to be left to my own
devices. I didn’t expect
to go home alone

that bird

that bird, the lone little guy
who came to visit me
in my aerie, and
who ate some of my crumbs?
I thought he might
have been a grackle – a
delicious word for a
delicious-looking bird,
at least to my salivating cats – but
further investigation
(i.e. Googling)
tells me he was not.
he was merely
a common blackbird. they’re
not very big – I can see
how it could take
four and twenty of them
to make a decent pie.

still, he was very cute
and brave, and it’s not
his fault he doesn’t have
a better name.