The Shoebox

It smells of cedar and perfume
I see it every day
A shoebox in my closet
Filled with what I cannot say.

Addresses on some letters
Sent To Whom It May Concern
Digging deeper there’s one name
I remember, plain as day.

But the face, it just keeps fading
Tears are falling, dreams abrading
Tossed and swollen
I cast myself upon the kitchen floor.

Last I saw you, you were laughing
Smiling, gleaming, joking, gaffing
Nothing like the Hollow
That you have left behind.

So when I see you, if I do
Remind me when your love was true
And I’ll smile and recall
That someone like me
Was there, too.


In the Morning

Awakened by your most profound skin
I touch the dents so delicate
In their undulating roundness

Floating through time and space
On a cloud of bluest laurel
Your hips rise
And then fall
And then fall
Moaning soft and deep
Until a tullamore dew
From the eye of an angel
Trapped longingly in a Heaven’s embrace.

Scene From A Mall

Witness to some major crime
I plead my case
I fled the scene
I left no word
I ran like hell
Only to have circled back
As time would tell
As fate foresaw
As trumpets blared
At the shopping mall
To the scene I’d left before
To my heart that lay there, bleeding
To my shock that all my pleading
Laying twisted as I’d left it
Unreconciled and apopelectic…

..thus convicted I stood there, staring
Feeling shame for never caring
How it looked
When I said,
“I love you.”

At Your Divorce

A thousand times I plead my case
Mind as open as my hand
Only to watch it
Slide down my own pants
One more time
One last time
The Boredom
The Burden
Of a world not to your taste
Because it was always a fragrance
And a simple twist of your head
A turning of your cheek
Was more than you could bear.

The Light of Your Face

Tie me a knot inside the darkness, LoveDreamPrettyAshland
To make me feel the light of your face before me
To my loneliness I would sacrifice nothing
Because of your face I place in space removed.

Take me to the edge of Nothing, Dear
Sing to me the siren songs of bliss
In non-judgment stands my nakedness revealed
Palms outstretched to catch 
the lightning of your smile.

Perfection’s loss was but our gain
Tumbling asunder to thunder as we fall
Rising high from deep within the night
A dawn does break in shards the shadows on my wall.

Can I see you now, your mass retained
Floating effortless in lavender and in silk
A dream I fear draws ever near
As color from the morning sets your eyes ablaze.

For it is not my eyes that think, nor my mind that sees
That prophets trouble from a distant shore
But a mouth that moves and a tongue unleashed
Cutting heartbeats from their guilded cage, unmoved.

Remind me thrice, my Love, the reasons why
You cry out to me from Darkness’ edge
A cipher cloaked in simple dreams
Twice forgets the light and the face 
that moves him to the Dawn.


The Continuing Adventures of the Ambiguously Wealthy Mr. Finch

Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 90th birthday, if she could havedeersacrificestocheetah survived another 18 years living with the effects of some of the worst mental health treatments of the 20th Century.  So shattered was her persona at the time of her death that I wandered, wondering, inside my life for days after her funeral.  Had she ever really lived outside of my fantasy-recollections of a mother who, unbeknownst to me, was  declared “beyond the aid,” of medical science long before I was ever born?

Many families and individuals survived some of these experimental, “Hail Mary,” pharmaceuticals and therapies derived during the Nazi Occupations of Europe and Palestine. Continue reading

Crossing the Borderland

Literal Fork In The RoadClarity is important in life. We need to know what we are doing, how it impacts the world around us and whether we wish to be a party to the consequences of our collective actions.

On a clear day a coyote inserted himself into a community far into the south of Mexico. He drove a nice car, wore jewelry and loved to explain to the local ranchito owners how much better their life would be if they worked a kush job picking oranges in Florida.  The price would be fair and he would hold their property in exchange so no cash would need to change hands.  Simple.  They could pay him back for his trouble from all the money they would make in Florida picking oranges, much more than they could ever hope to make sowing subsistence crops for the rest of their whole lives here on their ranchito.  Or they could just stay in Florida, he would keep their property for himself and they could go on living the good life of an American citizen.

This far south, no one talks or even knows about legal or illegal immigration, the Sonoran Desert, the endless Walk, the Heat, how heat breaks down the body, what dehydration does to the mind, or the parched, anonymous bones it leaves behind, jutting out of the desert sand.   They litter the Sonoran Desert, victims of the not-so-silent battle between rich and poor, the Hopeful and the Hopeless, the border crossers and the coyotes who feed off of their ignorance.  This is the purest, most vile form of capitalism operating at the ass-end of the world you and I live in.

A mother, father and their six year old daughter finally made the bargain with the coyote and by the time they had reached northern Mexico, they were, “all in.”  It was either make it to Florida or lose what little they had to the longest walk of their lives.

Prayers to Mary do not work in the Borderland. They knew that this trek would be difficult, but nothing and no one they had ever seen or met could have prepared them for what still remained between them and the paradise that was picking oranges in the Florida sunshine.

After several days battling dehydration and evading Border Patrol agents, the father became separated from his wife and daughter, leaving them both stranded in the desert with little food or water to keep them alive.

The mother wandered the desert with her young daughter in despair, aimlessly searching for her husband to no avail, crossing paths, inevitably, with another coyote who offered to watch her daughter while she tried to “earn” the necessary funds to pay the coyote’s price for watching her daughter and getting her the rest of the way to Florida.

Or she could pray to Mother Mary.

So she prayed in a world spinning upside down and out of control, leaving the coyote to sun himself in the desert a while longer atop the rocks where he could later hide from the heat of the afternoon.

A man who has lived in the Borderland his whole life soon appeared in the distance with an archeologist walking about and doing a study regarding the migration from north to south and back again over thousands of years. He had a recorder and the two men had been talking about the thousands of backpacks he had collected over the three years of his study, the artifacts of the lost and the dying that seemed to be increasing in volume of late.  The archeologist was creating a story for the Public Radio Exchange Project, a dubious little corner of the worldwide web where some of the worthless artifacts of disaster capitalism are stored, frozen in time with the hope no one can trade for a living wage any longer.

“That is the nature of this place, hombre.”

“What do you mean, Pedro?”

“Prayers do not work here, señor. There is no forgiveness in the Borderland.”

The eyebrows of the archeologist raised and as he turned to shake his head, he caught a glimpse of the woman and her daughter, trudging through the hot sand. “More data,” he thought.

The mother spoke no English, and so Pedro intervened between the two while the archeologist recorded her story for Science, for PRX and for my ears driving home from Austin, from my relatively kush job trying to bring health insurance, maybe healthcare, to my in-laws and countless millions who had nothing only a few short years before.  It was the most I thought I had left to do with my life and my Creator obviously agreed with me.  Working for a Defense contractor before now, while better than starving to death trying to sell cable television and telephone at the age of 50 to a world that no longer needed either, was nowhere near the best possible fit for either me or a culture of people used to blowing two-dollar tents, and their contents, to bits using 100 thousand dollar missiles.  But it was a living, I was slowly returning to the level of income I had been at prior to 9/11/2001, and so when the chance to work on a project that might lead to socialized medicine for all, I felt the attraction of the project and the repulsion of my own karma made my journey to Austin inevitable.  As inevitable as Pedro’s place in space and time translating for an archeologist and Posterity in the Sonoran Desert could possibly be.

Pedro explained the mother’s story and her plight to the archeologist, her dehydration making tears impossible and the smell of drinking her own urine for hours seem so desperate, that Pedro, a man who had no money himself, openly weep for this mother and her young daughter in front of this man of Science.

The archeologist watched, recorder in hand, while Pedro reached deep into his pocket to pull out what must have been his last and only hope for a cup of soup that evening, placing it into the mother’s hand with two of his own. Thirty pesos.  Not even American money.  The mother’s knees buckled to the hot sand, the little girl leaning in towards her mother.  Pedro wailed like a baby.

End of story.

You can build your wall, create a few hundred jobs and perhaps even ease your conscience flipping quarters into the tin cups of the hustlers and the homeless who have littered our streets for most of the last 40 years. Maybe even pretend like you can detect the difference between the two better than a subsistence farmer in southern Mexico.  But you are lying to yourself every bit as effectively as all those Jews who filled up all those rail cars thinking that they were finally going to the Promised Land of Israel, only to discover – far too late – that their fate had already been decided for them by one of their own long before they had even left the Ghetto, long before they had given up all of their earthly possessions to pay for a holy trip that was to be their Final Solution.

Their prayers, like ours, are not answered in the Borderland. All we have left anymore are the stories we tell each other about where we’ve been and what we’ve done to get here to this moment in space and time.  Our only prayer is that we are telling one another the honest truth as we see it.

Fat chance.