Monday, November 12, 2018

Iyla Grace 6.0

  Iyla Grace 6.0 was released today.  My favorite feature is her growing empathy for the world outside herself.  Iyla will chastise my jaded regard for some humans with a simple, sweet charge:  "Papa, care for the world." ... I will try, Little Buddy.  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Amsterdam 2018

Amsterdam, more than my beloved hometown, Austin, Texas.  More than Chicago, San Francisco, Miami or New York.  More than any American city, Amsterdam draws me into her orbit.  Only New Orleans approaches her easy charm.  A city older than the promise of the New World, Amsterdam has exorcised the demons of austerity  suffered and bled for it  and emerged a wise and mischievous soul ... She embraces the full human story and celebrates life as it is.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Greeks Knew This

Young men without women live in a cracked
and faded rooming house at the corner of Lehigh Street
and University Drive.  A bare, rod-iron porch
straddles the face of the house, furnished only
with a derelict sofa.

The men press their backs into the sofa springs,
purse their lips on beer bottles and cigarettes.
The beer is sucked dry and bottles smashed
against the crumbling pavement.

Packaged meats are tossed over a flaming grill,
then devoured with furious appetite while unassuming girls
stop along the sidewalk so their dogs may shit
on the unkempt lawn.  The men eyeball the girls
and joke about what they'd like to do to them,
and their dogs.

By evening, they are often drunk.  Their blood boils
from the heat of the day, evoking raucous outbursts,
uproarious chants, barbaric yawps and the like.

They consume action films and sporting events,
frequently argue over favored athletes.
They call each other fag or faggot when the other
is decidedly in the wrong.  Often, they tussle
over such matters, sweaty bodies entwine like rattlesnakes
seized in a bizarre honor ritual.

They extol lavish tales of sexual conquests,
embellish the count of women they've had, then retire
each to his solitary space.

And it's a stark, lonely place that old house
beneath the restless cover of midnight
when desperate hands slick with desire are drawn
under soiled sheets, and hot, August winds stir
the rotting timber long stood between erotic affection
and forbidden thoughts these men
dare not entertain.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Exalted Ones

They meet in the back rooms of coffee houses,
wine bars and bookstores.  Some send their stuff
to the magazines.

They write poems about rejection, isolation,
the tragic human condition, failed love.

They drag their friends along to ensure applause
and run up the flag declaring POETRY NIGHT.

Organizers claim poetic awareness their intent,
but no one gets onstage holding a god-damn
unity candle for their beloved audience,
even the ones who preach LOVE and PEACE,
who cry for change.  They, most of all,
do it for the spotlight, for a chance to be heard
and understood, so they may not feel alone.

Shouting lyrics over cigarette smoke
and cappuccino machines, much of it is soft,
overly-garnished treatment of standard themes,
else unintelligible, angst-riddled banter.

Professor observes from the corner table,
applauding, half-sincere.  He also writes poetry,
a good deal more carefully.  His collection
of haiku was published as a chapbook.

Afterwards, they congratulate and embrace
one another as new hopes are raised
and new poems find their way
to the desks of magazine editors.

I pickup the magazines.  Nothing happens.

Has exalted poetry gone the way of the Aztecs?
Where is our Whitman?  Our Rimbaud?
Our howling Ginsberg?

How I long to taste the exquisite madness
of heroic, ravenous souls, for a righteous voice
to rise up and torch this complacent landscape,
deliver us from sedate, coffe-house prose,
weakling academics absent grit or vision,
and tired, angry verse such as this.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Eloise Jane 2.0

  Eloise "Weezy" Jane turns two today.  Our little lady warrior is often mistaken for a three-year-old.  She is B-I-G, in stature, personality, and heart.  She feels big, and the lives in her orbit are bigger for it ... Version 2.0 speaks complete sentences, will hug a crying child ("She sad, Papa"), falls down daily (hourly?).  This child's legs look like she lives alone in the woods.  Eloise relishes moments when her big sister, Iyla Grace, plays with her ... Happy Birthday, Lady Eloise!  

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Last Poem

Don't save it all
for your precious art.
Give it away,
to friends,
to loved ones,
to the stranger in need 
most of all
to yourself.
Make this life
your grandest

*First published in the Austin Chronicle, 2004

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Shooting eight-ball with Max.

Max observes the woman at the bar,
drunk and stumbling about the place.
Her makeup is excessive.
Her garb extravagant.
Her bra is too tight.
She flirts with the bartender.
It's distracting Max's game.

"Don't you think that's sad?"
he remarks, missing the side pocket.
"Look at her!"

Max is referring to her size.
She's a considerable woman,
dressed in glitter-encrusted leggings
and a low-cut blouse which scarcely
contains her enormous breasts.
The blouse is too short to cover
the expanse of her midriff.
A belly ring jingles when she laughs.

"It's disgusting, " Max protests.
"No one wants to look at that."

He looks at it.
He cannot stop looking at it.

I nearly sink the eight ball,
corner pocket, leaving Max an easy,
cross-table finisher.

A handsome couple enter the bar.
They scout a booth near the jukebox,
order drinks and quietly groom themselves.

She adjusts her off-shoulder sweater
while laboring over song selection.
He picks lint from his gaberdine jacket.
She touches her makeup with
a pocket mirror, sips her beer
as it it were coffee.
He lights a cigarette, draws from it,
gets ash on his jacket.
He brushes away the ash.

They inhabit an aching self-awareness,
as if they feel the eyes of the room
upon them, discriminating eyes,
raw and envious.

Only, I am not envious,
not of them.

It does not take courage
to wear vanity so cheaply.

"I like the big one," I say to Max
as he draws the cue for his shot.