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6 latest

Once again I’m 40-some poems behind in posting… guess ego doesn’t care as much as it used to.

Used ego for rent,

Here are 6 most recent poems from 6.13/25.2018, in reverse order.

~ ~ ~

Bad Boy Smith

At a reading at the ex-dive bar
The Millard Fillmore Presidential Library,
Ray McNiece and his band Tongue-in-Groove
played Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues
to bring me up with the announcement
I “was Cleveland’s bad boy,”
had “done time.”

So I confessed.

Served 9 days in Juvenile Detention
in 1960 when I was 14 for stealing 13 cars.

Spent 1 night in jail in 1968
on false charges after an argument
over thermostat settings in the hall,
case dismissed,
arguing neighbor moved out.

Locked up overnight twice
for drunken lurchedness —

first in early 80’s
after cops in civilian clothes
beat me bloody for talking back,

second 1990
for being too drunk to even walk
and driving through a fire hydrant,
water spraying everywhere;
I was lying shirtless on the jail cell floor
when a guard asked if I wanted a lawyer,
I replied, “No, you’re going to let me out
in the morning anyway.”

I’m ashamed I knew that.

Did have to spend 3 days in a hospital
after I got out
attending a You-Are-an-Alcoholic seminar
in place of being jailed for 6 more months.

But the big one was in the little house…
10.5 months in York County Jail 1970
for my second armed robbery;
after being caught,
my bulging pockets of stolen money
somehow reduced itself to $140
once counted by the head detective.

I am a bad boy.
But I’ve learned to pretend to be good,
seem to be getting away with it.

At least I’m not some cop
pocketing money another stole.

As for the alcohol?
Sober 27 years.

Down to strong coffee,
occasional grass,
driving too fast,
not respecting the government,
and jaywalking.

But I’m still one bad bone.

~ ~ ~

Breaking Bread


we buy cheese and bread
meats and cookies
and fruit
for not very much
take it out to the stone steps
facing the plaza
sit in the sun

Homeless man comes by
points at the cookie bag
I reach into my pocket for money
and he says,
“No, no, cookies.”

I open the bag
hand him 3 cookies.

20 minutes later we see him walking
across the plaza
he turns to us
raises his arm in a big thumbs up
and laughs delightedly.


we get two slices of quiche
and a sesame baguette
sit in the sun
on the old stone steps
of the massive church on the plaza
munching away
a couple walks by
smiles at us with a cheery
“Bon appetit.”


big academic dinner
with Holbrook and Salinger
and their American School clients
at an old place in the woods
Lady orders wild boar
for symbolism I go for blood sausage
ground up dead flesh cooked in its own blood
Lady’s boar is excellent
my blood beast is soft
I spend the rest of the night
trying not to vomit.


our Berber guide in walled city
picks small fruit off stand
hands it to me
says okay to eat
it is delicious
next day I take another one
wash it off
eat it
spend next two days
vomiting one end
excreting the other
lose 18 pounds.


Puerto Escandido
on the Pacific beach
feral cats crowding our feet
we eat fresh fish grilled outdoors
most delicious meal I’ve had.

Knowing it can’t be replicated
next night I order a second fish
just as good.


Magda orders pigeon
gives me a bite
now when we walk the streets
I stop and tell the pigeons
“I know your taste.”


in inner city
man across the street
gives me avocado from 40 foot tree
I stand in my kitchen window
stare at tree as I eat
and say “Thank you.”

Later I try roasted grasshoppers
because they say
once you eat, you never leave.

Insides undercooked
soft, squishy,
make me uneasy
We leave 15 months later.


every crack in the street’s facade
contains a French fry stand
I gain 20 pounds.


order legal grams of hashish
from coffee shop —
red, golden, green, brown, black,
and 2 laced with opium —
eat the opiated hash
get in bubble bath
put on headfones

~ ~ ~

Status Report 266

Read once somewhere
in one of the alternate realities
I keep stumbling through
that certain Texas rabbits
develop a nervous disorder
when they get too many per square unit
and start dying off to make room
for future rabbits
to become stress dead

thought about that today
reading the news.

~ ~ ~

Time Lie

Time and weather
wind and wave
smooth the stone
shine the glass
rewarp woof
reweave past
otherwise we’d crash
from weight of wrong
going fast

~ ~ ~

Saved by Face

That pebble before sculpting by sea,
you’d have passed by.

The grain of sand inside the pearl,
pretty poor predictor.

Life wears away,
shows true face.

The deeper the lines,
the greater the grace.

~ ~ ~

Cawing All Crows

Raucous crows
telling me what to do
in language I don’t understand

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