Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time To Go

He was angry and alone
Stealing a few minutes
Just. A. Few. Minutes.
Of warmth
Of phone charging
Of time listening to
His sounds on
His crappy Obama phone.

Black and alone.
Angry black man.
Employees told to call the
Cops on sight.
On sight. Of. Him.
Call the cops.

It was wrapped around him
His pain. His anger.
His defense.
Cops approached hands on guns.
Time to go.
He moved slowly.
Reluctantly.
Preserving what he could
Of his dignity.
Time to go.

I felt his pain
And my relief.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hurting is so much hurt

I suppose I could avoid caring
And avoid feeling this
GOD DAMNED PAIN
When I lose someone
That I don't even really know.

She's just a barista
She just makes me coffee
And laughs
And sings the orders
And shrieks for joy!
And tenderly checks
"Are you OK?"

I suppose I could avoid caring
But then I would miss
All of the time
All the joy
And I wouldn't even know.

I suppose I could avoid caring
But I won't.

(This poem is the second inspired by Rebecca!)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Discarded

It was just a cheap umbrella
And did its job as best it could
Until in one moment
Ripped by forces beyond its control
It was broken — torn — devastated

Then thankless
             abandoned
                    disdained

It was angrily thrown to the ground
Discarded

Friday, December 19, 2014

Better Lonely Than Afraid

I laughed as she thought that she wanted me.
I danced and leapt and she knew not my heart.
The joke was on me, though.
The one I wanted
Who may or may not want me,
(I don't know),
I will never ask – anything – because, really,
That would be way to much to risk.
Better to be alone.
Better alone.
Better lonely than afraid.
Afraid.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Philz

Today an angel
Made my coffee, (dark roast),
I paid the unicorn.

And a Half?

She said, "That is an idea and a half",
And is that sad because incomplete,
Or joyous because abundant?

Should I attend the whole
Taking the risk that thereby
I may lose the half?

Or would it be better to
Nurture the half trying to
Make potential immanent?

Sometimes a half an idea
Churns and wiggles and gallumps
Inside my brain then fades

I grasp for it, try to save it
But it turns from potential
To remnant to trailing mist.

Sometimes, though, if
I can keep myself from looking
Direct – can keep my gaze askance

It comes back and fills me
With such a sense of joy.
My old friend! How, forget you?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Space

Sometimes grief
Just needs a space
A gentle welcome
Comfort in the storm

Sometimes we have
To invite the grief
To give us space
Comfort in the storm

It's like a dance.
We bow or curtsy
Drawing closer or farther away
Comfort in the storm.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh. You Don't Even Know

The touch of your heart
Reaching out
Afraid to leave the world
Afraid to not touch the real
Undoes me.

Learn the violin.
Learn to sew.
Learn whatever
You fuckin' want

'Cause you know what?
You already have
A graduate degree
In heart.

Anything could happen.

This poem is about Chrystal, a barista at Philz at Golden Gate and Larkin. If you are in there tell her hi.

Strange

I walk down Larkin
And smile and nod
And say hello and
They smile too.
And all the time I feel.
I feel the sting
Of cuts under my sleeve.
I'm running LATE!
They didn't want to stop bleeding.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Upon Seeing an Anorexic on a San Francisco Street

I have something to tell you.
I have something to tell you.
But you already know.
So I will just say I love you.

Sometimes

Sometimes it is just the art
Of the shape of the lip
That makes my heart race,
And even though I know
I will never see them again
My heart races, and exults,
And I wish I really knew them.

They could be brilliant
And how I hope they are
Or an artist, that would just suit me
But I don't know and still
I want them so.
I want them so.

Sometimes the curve of a lip
Fills us with consuming fire
I don't know and don't care why
It is just satisfying that it is so.
It is so.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sometime Trauma

Sometimes trauma is like this
I smile and talk and gently protect the world
As I wrap around pain. I don't cry. I don't scream.
How are you this evening? Read anything interesting?
My pain wants me to double. I smile. I lie.
Who wants to know that I disassociate?
Who wants to know of my images of violence?
Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Poet no More

Such fear. A few days
Or weeks
Of not writing poetry
Might mean what?
I can't even look at it.
I don't want to know.
My fear drives me back
To write again and again.

Sketching is too much sketch

The contrast of blond and fair
And everything else black
(Well not the shoes.)
Is interesting, but
Hard to sketch, plus
She's too close, the creep
Of looking (staring) from
Three seats away is more
Than I can endure,
So my sketch moves to
Poetry, to my words and
Then, contrasting again,
The feminine looking girl
Cracks her knuckles and
My brain leaps for joy upon
Exposure to my assumptions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Enlightened is not Painless

Buddha said there is a path
We can escape suffering.
That sounded good to me.
Abused, filled with pain
And hating myself,
Embarrassed at my existence,
I knew suffering.
Stopping it sounded alright with me.

So I sat.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Beauty My Soul

The light,
Glitter-edged with darkness
Slices.
Sharp as a knife,
Sharp as a razor.
I flinch away,
Then dutiful,
Turn back
Greeting the pain.
Damn it!
I'm going to grow my soul
Beautiful even if it kills me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Borracho

Los poetas nunca describe
Cómo es estar borracho.
Es porque estan borracho.
¿Que piensas?

I See You

I see you
Working in your dead end
Barista job. 

What I see, and what you see
Are different.

I see Madonna,
I see Love,
I see Joy.

You see Toil,
You see Pain,
You see Struggle to Survive
 
I love you though we'll never meet.
I see you.

Sometimes

Sometimes women, or I suppose men,
Try too hard, with their simpering effort
To touch, to influence, to be what I need.

I am repulsed, I yearn for simple truth
That is true. How far you've lost yourself.
How can you present such counterfeit?

Love yourself
Learn yourself.
Be yourself.
I'll love you.

Can It?

Louise Penny asked (through Ruth),
If it was too much for a poem
To have 'asshole' and 'shithead'
In the same sentence.
What sort of asshole shithead would say no?
Certainly not me! I'm not Republican.
Let's let language just be.
Let's say the say that makes us free.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Distemper

My song, a song of distemper
Is a song of a broken and unsettled life.

Your song, soothing like a
Mother's love in her hand
Stroking away the tension in her child's brow.

My wings, shriveled and tentative
Await their time to grow
Their song waiting to be sung.
We'll sing it when we are strong.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Delicious Rain

Age four or five
Safe outside
Early morning chill
Wishing for a shirt
Waiting for warmth

The driveway
Already warming in the sun
Blesses my feet
So quickly I lie, belly to warmth
Back to chill air.

The campaigning heat
Dominated encroaching chill
And so I lay
Deliciously embodying
The perfect contrast
Between warmth and cold.

Then!
I think I feel a tiny
Spring drop
Of rain on my back.

I raise my head to
Scan for dustings
Of concrete wetness
But see none.
Mistaken?

I put my head down
Aware – waiting – again, another?
Scanning once more and there
A spreading speck, a blossom
Of darker grey

And there another
And there another
And then releases gently on my back
The benediction of Spring rain.

Ahhhhh!
Belly soaked warmness
Dominates
Increasing coolness behind.

Spots are few
Then merge
Then gone
Wetness all around

And!
Rain chill campaigns
Again against
Belly warmth
And triumphs!

I leap and greet my shadow self
Silhouetted in dry grey
And run
Gasping cold
For the house.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Not Worthy By Half

It would be so simple
If I were just victim.
I mean I am. I am victim.
I am abused. I am broken.
My PTSD damages me
Right to this day.

But sadly. But unfortunately.
I have also damaged other people.
I have been the bad guy too.
It makes me feel that I don't get to
Get well.
It makes me feel that I don't deserve to
Get well.
It makes me think, "Who do I think I am?"
And not get well.

Just like I am broken, there are people
In this world. Broken. Because of me.
How can I complain about my abuse,
About being whipped with a strap
Until I had welts and bled,
About being abused sexually by those I loved,
When I didn't get better quickly enough and
I broke people too.

I didn't get better quickly enough and
I broke people too.

I am so mad at myself.
I hate myself so much.
I am so horrible.
I don't know how
To let myself get better.
I don't think I deserve to.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Secrets

I don't want you to know
What I want you to know
You don't want to hear
What I want you to know
If you heard what I want you to know
You would say ewww, you know?
Then you wouldn't hear what I need you to know.
You'd be gone and then you'd never know
That I need you. I am in pain. I hurt.
I hurt myself. I don't even mind. I like to.
I cut myself and it makes me feel better.
If I don't do it and my arm is almost healed
I panic. I get so afraid and I rush to cut myself
So that I will be ok. I will be ok. I will be ok.
I hear myself all of the time in my head say that
I want to kill myself and it doesn't freak me out.
Not even a little bit. Well. Kind of terrifies me.
Not the thought, but the not freaking me out part.
I don't know if it means that I will.
I don't know if it means that I will.
What a fucking thing to not know.
That's a weird place to be in.
So I sit and cry and write this
Message in a bottle
A bottle thrown into the sea
My message going out into the world.
I'm too afraid to address it.
To afraid it will be returned unopened.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Enlightenment of Beer

Pablo asks

Cómo se mide la espuma
Que resbala de la cerveza?

It might translate like:

How do we measure the foam
That slides off a beer?

To a poet, though, se mide
Means scan — to analyse the line

I see good old Pablo sitting in a pub,
Scanning the foam that's
Sliding off the beer, counting the
Beats, measuring the meter
Looking for wisdom in its lines


How can I not ask why he asks
What he asks

Why scan the ephemeral?
What does it mean to try
To catch one moment
In its short lived life?

How can we be in that instant
To exist perfectly open empty aware
And know and scan, and catch, and be
And perfectly understand.

If we figure it out, then
Maybe, along with jolly Pablo,
We'll sip the brew and
Achieve enlightenment.


Pablo refers to the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda
The quote is from stanza X of his last work, 

El Libro de las Preguntas

(The Book of Questions)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meditation Laws

Master my attention won't focus
My thoughts overwhelm me
Teach me the Meditation Laws

The first law is Do not try
Try or don't try, master,
I fail just the same.

Second is like it, Have no goal.
Master, do you mean that I
Shouldn't want to meditate?

Third makes it clear, Be of resolve pure.
Resolve to what? To not try?
To have no goal? Master, why?

Fourth, remember to only breathe.
As long as I live I will,
Waiting for enlightenment still.

Fifth, Still thoughts but do not avoid,
Ahhh, Master, should that be my goal?
Should I try not to think, with resolve pure?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Invisible

I see you.
You struggle to see yourself
Except reflected in a man's eyes.

You are strong and passionate
But you don't know
You don't see

Come into relationship
Not with another man
But with yourself.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Kiwi

It comes half-way around the world
To meet my mouth, mmmm.
Its strange bristly skin
Is Conundrum
What do I do?
Peel?  Or Eat!

Inside the sweet green (green?) flesh
Is ensparkled with seeds, another problem.
Like my life it mixes
Bristly with sweet,
Sweet mixing with bits of blackness.

So I respect it.
I consume it whole,
The bristly with the sweet
The fuzzy tickling my mouth
The seeds crackling,
Little microscopic firecrackers.
The sour and joy leaping, dancing
Sweet across my tongue
And I - content.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Lose

Loss, loss, loss, loss
It tolls across my life
I cower and cover my ears and hope
The peals will end at last.

And when at last my aching ears
Trace the last vibrations to their end
I then wait in trembling shivering fear
For them to sound again.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

No Point

There is not a point
In hating some part of you
Please love it instead

The Goddess In You

I saw you walking, bent, twisted, taught
To believe that only beautiful women matter
And that you aren't one of them.
Not
One
Of
Them
I wish you could see through my eyes
I wish you could see the goddess in you
I wish you knew how beautiful you are

I saw you in the grocery store line
Big. Strong boned. Broad shoulders
Bent under the weight of believing
That only small thin birdlike women matter
And that you're too big by far.
Too
Big
By
Far
I wish you could see through my eyes
I wish you could see the goddess in you
I wish you knew how perfect you are

I saw you at the clinic, friendly, big-eyed
Trying to get that boy's attention because
You believed what you had been taught
That only under the light of a boys attention do you matter.
Not
Valued
For
You
 I wish you could see through my eyes
I wish you could see the goddess in you
I wish you knew that you deserve to be worshipped

I saw you judging yourself because you thought you couldn't
Do something artistic because it wasn't in you to do so
And judging yourself less and mourning inside for it
Not able to be playful and just create like your heart wants
Crushed
Under
Your
Disbelief
 I wish you could see through my eyes
I wish you could see the goddess in you
And know art is play and love and you.

Stop teaching the girls the lies
Stop teaching the women the lies
Each in their weakness and in their strength
Is just as they should be, the goddess strong
Keen, beautiful, smart, hard working,
Sensitive or brash,
Quiet or Loud
Tries again, giving joy to the world.
I see the goddess in you.
I wish you could see her too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Slipping Away

Oh, such pain when you feel love slipping away.
How can I be worthy, how can I redeem myself?
And there it goes.  You deny that Anything
Anything is wrong and I know it is, but
How, how can I get through the shield of your denial.
If you would give us a chance, a chance,
Just give us a chance we would fly
And I see that there is a thing, a reason
Why you are convincing yourself it needs to end
And you are sad, so sad, but you won't fuckin' talk
About just what the fuck is wrong! Fuck!
So go.  You're going to too anyway, but know -
Know that there might have been something so real
So powerful, so perfect
And you are fucking throwing it, throwing me
Away. Away. Away. Away. Away.
So fuck you.  Asshole.

Inspired by a couple in Showdogs

Gardening

Oh.  I miss gardening so much.
I miss the changes and the smell of the dirt
And the dirt under my nails and staining my palms
From where I supported myself to
Reach, reach and pluck that tomato or that bug
And the way the soil improves year after year
And fresh herbs and the heat and steam and
Smell! from the compost pile when I turn it
And picking corn shucking it on the way into the house
And dropping it into the waiting pot of boiling water
To taste the ultimate taste that no one
Who doesn't do the same
Will ever experience
It's an exclusive club.
I miss the battle sans pesticide with bugs.
I miss the menu being a jazz improvisation on ripeness.
I miss the feeling of cleverness
As I experience the joy
Of being in my garden
Of food and herbs and flowers
As if I invented life.
I wouldn't fight depression so much
If I still gardened.
Gardening is healing and joy
And blessing. 

Inspired by a photograph of +Jessika O'Sullivan's produce.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fly Into the Now

Time flows first gently, then raging
And we float in it as we can
And we try to keep our heads above water
And we peer over the banks
And we catch glimpses
Little bits and pieces of life
Bits and pieces of understanding

And if we're lucky the whorls and eddies
Bring us near enough, long enough to see
To build our own deep silence
Our own pool of understanding

And then,
Maybe,
All of the illusions drop away
And we fly into the now.

A Poem to Myself

Grief
Loss
Pain
Fear
Betrayal

This is what I was taught
This is my world, my truth

Taught no joy
Taught no compassion
No contact, no love

I feel, blindly
Through desperate landscape
Pushing through billows of pain
To save myself

I will find you
I will save you
I will give you love

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Generosity

I said that I wish
I could live by creating
So she said I could

This haiku inspired by +H.N. James

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I love this city

Two men, sweet and pretty
Sitting on a couch
Philz is jamming this afternoon
Raising coffee to my mouth

I notice one has painted nails
Purple and pretty green
They both have beards, those curly ones
And they cuddle, human beings

Not worrying about the people all around
No one's giving dirty looks,
It's 2014 and San Francisco
And believe me honey, we wrote the book

About accepting people just as they are
And making it safe to be queer
And I am so glad I live here instead of a place
Where people live in fear.

Yay San Francisco!

Consumed

The alcohol consumption of my father was
Not understood by my younger self
I thought his sudden anger
Due to my failings -
My inability to be what I should be
My inability to do what I should do
My inability to not suck

I didn't know what drunk was and
Truthfully he didn't show many signs
Irish descent means can drink a lot
We're proud of that.
Irish descent means high risk of alcoholism
Are we proud of that?
Think so.
Lots of drinkers in our family.

How he used to rage
It always hurt him more than me
It always hurt him more than me
Poor guy.

I felt such shame for that
Such - shame - for -that

I made my father have to beat me
I made him beat me with a belt
I made him beat my bare bottom
I made him put welts on my ass and legs
Sometimes blood.  Oops!

I was so horrible to make him go through that
I wanted to die in shame
No, really, five years old -
I already wanted to die in shame
I wanted to not exist.
Still do, I just have plenty of reasons now
Catholic boy going to hell

How could I have been so horrible as to
Put some of the stuff under the bed
When I was supposed to be cleaning my room?
I was useless and worse than useless
I was a scourge on the world.
Why did I have to be me
Why did I have to exist

Eventually the alcohol consumed
Enough that he calmed down
Turned him from violent to maudlin drunk.
Later it consumed enough that he died
Bye bye dad I hardly knew you

All these years later I
Am still being consumed.
I am still so angry at me
I am filled with rage at me
That's why I cut.

Isn't victimization lovely

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

That Look

Some do such a job of creating a look.
She's a dark haired Spanish gypsy
Tendrils of hair escape from her
Ponytail to dangle artlessly.
She looks a poet or a dancer.
Bangles and rings and necklaces
Announce her worth to tribe.
The loosely woven shawl wraps
Protectively and seductively round her hips.
The long skirt under drapes, flows.
The top,  low, revealing, womanly
Made demure by the poetic drape
Of a sweater too large.
And it all looks artless
She has owned it
Made it hers
My heart silently applauds.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Do I Get to Complain?

So sweet.
You touch my heart.
Maybe I'm drunk.
Still.
You touch my arm.
We're near of age.
You admire me.
I like your looks.
You hold my hand.
You admire me.
My heart opens.
I wish I could have you.
Your husband appears.
Your husband appears.
When were you going to tell me?

Better Than TV

Watching a man arrested
On Market at ShowDogs
So sad
Mentally ill
Focus not on the real world
Hoping hoping hoping he's OK
Some asshole
All excited
Says, "Better than TV"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mock

Fat guy on corner
He is only wearing shorts
Why do we mock that?

Angst

Sometimes I just don't know
Something is wrong.
Is it work?  No, I have none.
Is it unemployment? No.
Is it being alone? No, I choose that.
Such dissatisfaction.
A zen dissatisfaction.
Inchoate.
Undefined.
I sit with it.
I wait to be enlightened.
Nothing.
Everything.
Sorrow.
Today I hurt myself.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alone Is To Much Zen

I'm lost in a featureless void
All frontier
All now
All I want is to find
Or to be found
To have an anchor in this space
Or maybe better a life line
Throw me your line and
I will follow it hand over hand
Through billows of lost fog
Until I find you
If you too are lost
Then  we will be two
Lost together
And we will call that found

Beside You

Sometimes I just have to let be
To side with the exigencies of life
To flow going from my comfort start
To a place of discomfort, a space beside
A space next to where I can be
At the side, on the side
And let me heart still
Still beside.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pretty

Sister Katie said
That she thought I was pretty
My day is better.

Strong Now

Your opinion is noted but doesn't affect me
(Not true, I am dying inside)
I am comfortable putting down boundaries against your negativity
(I'm sorry, i'm sorry, please love me.)
Your transparent passive aggression doesn't work on me
(Oh, please, I'm sorry, I'll do anything if  you'll love me again)
Now I am A fully self-actualized adult
(Mommy!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'll Burn in Your Fire

We'll never talk of it
But the tension is tormenting
It informs our every breath
Whenever we are near enough
To trigger its tidal pull
Even more, we know you think
Of me I think of you when we're apart
I can hear your breath and feel
The expansion of your ribs.
You look across the room and
Just for a moment study my lips
I know without looking and
I can't help it I look just in time
For our gazes to glance and miss
I shudder inside

We can never acknowledge
The connection so fierce
It is our shouting secret
Hiding in plain sight
No one knows
Or sees
Or feels
What is constant to us
We can't not
I'd better stay away
Married woman
Or I'll burn in your fire.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Gift

She said that my gaze
Made her want to be better
To match my belief

Manga Obsession

Why do we form relationship
With characters of manga kind
Why cos-play them and obsess
Over characters of the mind?

I don't know, but it is very human
To love those who form our perfect
Example of how we want the other
Or ourselves to be, to select

Just the perfect example that matches
Our heart and makes it race
That inhabits our dreams
With that fictional beautiful face.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bayoneted Watermelon

Another poet reported that
She had cut a watermelon
With a US civil war bayonet.

My mind whirls.  Did she get
The blade at some junk sale
Or did she pay more instead?

Was it a Union or Confederate?
Had it seen its intended use
In that horrible brotherly struggle?

Then poet, my mind whirls away
To the etymology of the word.
Looks French.  A small bayon?

Oh.  Such sad disappointment.
It is just named for the town of Bayonne.
It just means from Bayonne.

There must have been a blade
Making industry there for a type
Of weapon to be named after them.

Well French was right.  Watermelon is great.
I hear the sound of the blade cutting the melon.
I smell the tang of the rind and taste the juice on my tongue.

Dedicated to the poet +Amanda Rachelle Warren  whose comment on a post of +Bliss Morgan made my brain explode with thinkage.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Battle

I judge judge judge.
Oh! Such shallowness.
Oh their look said that.
Oh, that calf is too thick.
Oh, look, iPhone, so shallow.

It is funny, really.  I crack me up.
It's all illusion and biochemistry
And cultural programming.
It isn't truthy much less truth.

I tell a story about my extraordinary
Perceptiveness.  It isn't a true story.
I really make up stories about others.
They aren't true stories.
When I let them go, I can see.
When I let them go I am surprised.

Being perceptive requires perceiving
Not making up stories.
Be in the moment.

The Story

I have some friends,
Just good working class,
A guy and a gal, both good hearts.
They've been together a long time.
I want them to grow old together.
If that isn't the story's end,
It would be the most horrible
Ending in the world

Meditation Mistake

I've made, perhaps, a terrible mistake.
In my youth, fleeing from trauma,
I embraced thoughtless meditation.
I extended periods of thoughtlessness
From moments to minutes to hours.
Oh, what a great meditator I was.
That was my story.
It may have saved my life.
The respite from pain kept me alive.
It is not mindfulness though.
It is mindlessness, non-becoming.

Instead of equanimity
Imbalance.
Now I am trying to get back to
Awareness in a sit.
All that work to be undone.
Weird.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Best Broken I

Online communities give joy
For those like me
Introverted.
With asperger's.

Hard to reach out
Hard to get help
From people real
Too hard.

Online, people
With love in their hearts
Like Susi
Like Jessika

Save me.
Keep me alive.
Let me know I matter.
Best broken I can do.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beginner's Mind

In Target I saw a woman
With a tiny grandchild
Pulling her along, a wagon.

We exchanged pleasantries
We each went on our ways
Me to checkout and she to leave.

Done I left and saw her then
Her granddaughter had wanted
To ride the escalators again.

Suddenly I remembered days
When the escalator's gentle lift and fall
Would fill my stomach with butterflies.

Is it gone or do our adult minds
Tune the sensation out
Along with all quotidian kind?

Strive to have beginner's mind
You'll see and feel the truth
That adults leave behind.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Skater Art Lesson

Skater coming down the hill
City hall dome gleaming
Early morning no traffic
Excitement.
Freedom.
I am in love with edgy skaters.

Here she comes.
Dreads?  No.
Piercings? No.
Ink?  No.

Pretty Asian girl
Well coiffed
Nice mani
Great clothes
Excitement.
Freedom.
Carving with mad skill and joy through the air.

I come face to face with preconception.
I thought skaters should be - in my little box.
Uncomfortable.
That's what art sometimes does.
It makes you uncomfortable.
It makes you face your preconceptions.

Art is everywhere.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Compassionate Barista

She didn't really know me
And didn't know how much
Everything sucks in my life,

But the off duty Barista
Waiting for her shift to start
Said hi, and asked if I were OK

(Does it show?) And said she
Was there if I needed to talk.
What a great human being.

I didn't tell her about the cutting
Or about the darkling thoughts
I just felt better. And then I wrote a poem.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Done fallen apart

How did it come to this?
I thought that before I died
I might deal with that childhood trauma.
Maybe get happy.

Who knew that touching it was going to be like
Getting scalding water thrown across
My poor innocent psyche.  So much pain.
Went from kind of messed up to suicidal, BAM!

Today at Walgreens getting my increased dose
Of Welbutrin on the third try, don't ask,
I'm waiting and looking at the bandages and thinking
Oh, butterflys and wound closure strips

Might come in handy if I cut a little deeper than
I have been.  Cut a little deeper than I have been.
What?  I don't want to be someone who thinks like that.
Walking home down Larkin I cried and cried on the public street.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There's Help

I saw Cammie tonight at Carl's
She wanted rescue from an abusive
Man, real or imaginary, I don't know.
She leaned in and rubbed her breast against me
So I would know what the reward for rescue would be.

Oh, Cammie.  You're so cute, but
I can not be one of the endless strings of heartless
Men that take advantage of your willingness.
You break my heart.  You break my heart.
I think you won't be rescued this month.

I told you that you deserve respect.
I gave you a hug  without groping you.
I don't know what else to do.
I wish I was a program of rescue but
I don't know if it's what you believe

You deserve respect, love, to guard the
Integrity of your body.  Oh, I can't keep
Thinking about you, my heart is in tatters.
Good luck little Cammie, Good luck,
There's real help out there if you believe just a little.

SF Angel

Randy walks San Francisco streets
Day and night for endless hours
A beanie with wings attached
Fixed firmly atop his head.

He says he's Viking
And an angel too
And he walks through the city
To make it safe for you.

He told me about a UFO
That lived under the bay
That was going to come out and
Do something to us someday.

A sign in the window of an Irish
Pub he decoded to know
A cannon of sound was the only
Way to defeat that dreaded UFO

So a kid in a shelter leant him a phone
To get Randy Savage on line
To tell him to scramble US jets
With sonic cannons so fine

And up they went and got that UFO
And all of us were saved that day
It doesn't matter if we knew it or not
No thanks required is what Randy would say.

But I say thanks and you should too
If you are walking about the city and him see
If in the Haight he might fly for you
If you ask politely.


Zen Non-Attachment to Stuff

Things are a burden
Owning you while being owned
Let go and be free.

Zen

Clinging to ego
Only leads to suffering
Let go certainty

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stillness and Stillness

At fifteen I tried to meditate
Finding the stillness was as hard
As trying to balance atop a
Greased glass ball atop
A sheet of greased glass.

Later finding the stillness
Wasn't required.
It was always waiting
Like a comforting nest that
I could drop into at will.

Now forty-five years later
There's another change
The stillness no longer contains
In quiet comfort and joy, no
I drop through into infinity.

Hidden Beauty

Jessica hiding
Face tattoo covers complete
Tenderness inside

Sunday, April 20, 2014

joe's in the afternoon

A simple black dress
Knee length,
Ballet slippers
Breezy San Francisco hill.

I watch from an outside table at Joe's
Leavenworth and Sutter.

Such complexity
The turns and twists and flips
Grab attention
Grab attention

Next to me two men and a woman
Score the world with the sound of
French improvised like jazz.

Artists, self-concious or assured
Stream by.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are you good enough for me?

I don't know what good enough for someone is.
Do I decide if I'm good enough for someone, or are they
Supposed to decide if I'm good enough for them?

Am I supposed to decide if they're good enough
For me or do they decide that?  Is it good like kind?
Is it good enough like settling?  I guess that's good enough.

Is it ok if I like them a lot and they're funny but I don't
Think that they're good?  They might be naughty.
Is that ok?  Should I send them home?  My home?

This subject is complex and weird.  Am I supposed
To judge them?  Is it like Miss America?  Will there
Be a talent section and a swimsuit section? Several judges?

What if I misjudge and I think that they're good enough
But no.  They are not good enough for me.  Do I pay
A penalty?  Do I go to a penal institution? Does my penis?

My goodness.  All this judging is just too much for me.

Therapeutic Goal

Telling therapist
My goal is to stay alive
Humiliating

Sooth

If you don't understand
That hurtin' can help
Why you trying to
Tell me what to do?

I hurt myself. So what?
A little scratch - a cut
Makes pain unbearable
Back the fuck off - just a bit.

So if that don't make
No sense to you at all
Then you don't understand
What I'm going through.

So just shut up trying to
Tell me what I gotta do to heal.
You don't know nuthin!
You don't feel my pain.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crack Head Girl

She crouches perfect
Contained
Herself
About her spot on the sidewalk

Near the gutter
By a sign post
Quite quite small
Claimed it her's

It's beautiful the way
It has captured her attention
She's unaware of we who pass
Such perfect focus

Someone's mid-west daughter
Missing and alone
Far from high-school lessons
Intent on a different curriculum

Whenever I pass it's always the same
Focused laser intense
On pretty pretty glass pipe
Is it clean?  Is it ready?

Sometimes staring
As at a lover
Intently at the pipe
Holding it with careful trembling hands

The lighter applied just so just so
Don't waste!  Don't waste!
It is such a precious thing
Her lover, her only friend, the poison

Fumes fly up the pipe.
Disappear in the girl.
I love you crack-head girl.
Good luck. Good luck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm so subversive - Yo soy tan subversivo

She's probably forty but acts like four
All downtown security throws her out
From every fast food library hotel coffee-shop
Place with a restroom or place to bum because
She stinks, she steals, she begs, she runs.

Hits and run.  Food off the counter, runs from
Security, runs from the judgment, runs from the pain.

A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
I bought her the vanilla shake.
That's my thing.  I'm poor, but I can't live
With myself, if I don't share of my excess
With those who have less.
I won't go hungry because of the shake.

I'm a Catholic boy.
It's what Jesus wants.
Feed my sheep.

I told him that - in Spanish.

Soy  católico.
Es lo que quiere el Señor Jesuchristo.
Apacienta mis ovejas.

He went away.
He came back to tell me that he's a Christian.
Yo soy cristiano.
Good.  ¡Que bueno!.  I nod and smile.

He came back again to tell me that he has to do
What his boss wants him to do.
Tengo que hacer lo que quiere mi jefe.
I understand.  A man needs to be a good employee.
Entiendo. Un hombre necesita ser un empleado buen.

Well, well, well.  ¡Que interesante!
I think I awakened a conscience.
I helped a man see a human being not a problem.

Maybe the anger won't be on his face next time he sees her.
Maybe he'll do what his boss wants but with compassion.

Good deed done for today.
I've always liked that security guard.
Maybe I fed him too.

I'm so subversive.
Yo soy tan subversivo.

Any mistakes in Spanish are mine.  I'm not fluent, barely conversational.  I can make myself understood most of the time though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monkey Image of God

You say that bad things
Means there's no God(ess)
Or perhaps that (s)he's cruel

That implies that we are
The important measure
That the universe revolves
Around the human race.

But we just showed up
In the last second of the cosmos
And likely will be gone
Before discernible
From statistical noise.

Why would you think
That an infinite God(ess)
Should share human values
Or that you could understand
Infinity
At all.

The Monkey Equation

I think it strange
Or maybe not
That two of the
Least useful things for
Survival of humans day to day -
Science and Art are so important
To us monkeys.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are You Kidding?

You act so innocent
As if you hadn't
Done the thing that you did.

And now I'm supposed
To regret even the thought
Of saying that I had been hurt.

Are you kidding?
Do you think me so innocent?
In my family you would be an amateur.

Passive aggression came in
With my mother's milk,
And I gave it up before you were born.

If you want me
To take you seriously
You'll have to straighten up.

Get real
Stop manipulating
And then maybe we can talk.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tenderloin Morning

The morning dawns on Tenderloin
The dope man changes shift
The previous evening's celebrants
Lay comatose or drift

Along the streets, they're seemingly
Lost or lost their rocks¹
And stumble on quite wearily
A beautiful little flock

The morning shift of functioners²
Make rapid buys and think
Themselves the better than the ones
Who stumble on the brink

The bars are selling morning drinks
To stiffen those who go
Off to work in the city's jobs
Along the city's roads

And here and there you see the kids
Walking off to school
I breathe and smile and go my way
The day has dawned anew.

¹ lost their rocks has two meanings here, first, it's a common sight to see crack cocaine addicts desperate and craving drifting along the sidewalks looking down in the hope that someone dropped a rock.  Some tell me they've actually found them.  In any case they're often willing to put random finds in their crack pipe and fire it up in hope.  Second, of course, lost their rocks can mean insane.  There's a lot of that too.  Many are doubly represented since substance abuse is very high among the mentally ill.  We Tenderloin denizens are the people thrown away.
² Functional addicts, those who can keep a job for now.  Some manage to stay in this phase for a long time, some not so long.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Inspiration Fails

At times I think that it is hard
To be inspired on a daily basis
Doing a poem on every single day
Is like being off to the races

So if this poem seems less than some
You're right.
Happy Poetry Month;)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Four Brahma Viharas

To grow up unwanted and unloved and untouched
Is scarring.  You despise your existence.
You don't know why you had to be born.
You believe that you are a burden on the world.
Your core is hurt hurt hurt on top of devastating pain.

That's hard to get past.
That's hard to take.
That's hard to overcome.
That's hard hard hard.

There are people in the world with compassion
People with such heart, such beauty inside
That they choose, they must, to live their life
In such a way that heals us unwanted.

That's hard to accomplish.
That's a labor of love.
That's a recipe for poverty.
That's so incredible I cry.

I know some of these people.  They teach.
They believe.  They adjust your head, move
It just so so that your asana is closer by a tiny
Bit today than it was yesterday.

That's a practice of Metta, loving kindness.
That's a practice of Karuna, compassion.
That's a practice of Mudita, sympathetic joy.
That's a practice of Upekkha, equanimity.

What they do is important and transforming.
What they teach gives you and me a path.
But the true power that they have comes just
From their existing in the world in integrity.

That's transforming the world.
And me.

Inspired by my yoga teacher Cathi today, but I know a lot of people that choose lives of integrity, truth, love, and compassion, finding their success in transforming the world instead of in wealth.  We are all lucky they exist in the world, and they are inspiring me to be like them.  Maybe they were once like me.




Monday, April 7, 2014

Overwhelmed by Grace

Your beautiful heart is shining out of your face
Shadowed by sadness, touched by sorrow
That's overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

All of the years of sorrow, years of joy,
The anger at abuse and betrayal bent you, though
Still, your beautiful heart is shining out of your face

Betrayal by one that should have kept you safe
Inspired hatred that could have been your crippling blow
But was overwhelmed by an overarching grace

Dissolved as you protected one who should have, in your place
Protected you, but they too had been brought so low
And your beautiful heart is shining out of your face

It's hard to understand, I don't think in your place
Most could have healed and loved and endured to grow
Overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

But still that pain is there, and it still makes you restless,
Still your heart is scarred.  But we all want you to know
Your beautiful heart is shining out of your face
Overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

Loosely inspired by Susi Q who told me to write a poem with the first line in it, but dedicated to millions and millions of people who turn suffering, abuse, hatred, and betrayal into a refiner's fire that forges a golden heart.  It's sad that this poem could fit so many.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tenderness Lost

She walks and looks down at the ground
She's keeping safe with her little frown
Her ear buds in say she can't hear
It's sad she lives in so much fear
That walking in this beautiful city
Her heart might be hurt by her natural pity

Friday, April 4, 2014

Stay Away!


Oh!  That one is huge
I have to let him know
To stay away from my
One.
Stay away!
Stay away!
Stay away!
Oh, it comes
It feels safer behind
My One's legs, but
Stay away!
Stay away!
Stay away!
Oh!  The One lifted me.
It thanks me
I saved it.
I shiver in joy.

He don't mean nuthin

He don't mean nothin
It's just the alcohol
He gets abusive
I know he loves me

I'm gettin sober
But it's real hard
He wants me to smoke
Crack with him

He say I think I'm sumpin
He think I'm a drag
He's trying to get sober
He don't mean nuthin

He's on a run now
He'll end up in the hospital
That's what he do
He don't mean nothin

He gets all mean
It came to puttin hands on
No, I put hands on him
He don't mean nuthin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tenderloin First of Month

It's like a dance of pain
Drugs passing hand to hand
Hey, chiva, chiva, roxys, roxys¹
Pretty names for Shiva things

Just a hint of a glance
'cross a block sets a deal
People spending rent
Maybe getting robbed - maybe

People passed out
On the sidewalk right
Where they fell FACE
Planting BAM! into the concrete

Needles
  in the gutters
   in front of schools
    pass arm to hand
     hang out of passed out arms  Man!

Drinkers so wasted
They fall off the sidewalks
Fall off the sidewalks!
Where'd that wall come from?  Adorable

It gets crazy when people get their checks

¹Chiva is a low grade brownish red heroin from Mexico, it means goat in Spanish.  Not as good as black tar or china white. Roxies are roxycodone, a fast acting form of oxycodone in small blue pills, but sometimes also oxycontin or oxycodone all synthetic opiates.

Alone

Nose pressed to window
Excruciating longing
Like the seventh grade

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be Careful - Don't Die

A Zen Center Priest told me
To run at my pain directly
Just as an ancient reincarnated
Child monk ran at a vicious dog
And tamed it.

What if he's wrong?
What if my pain is toxic?
What if my pain kills me?

My psychiatrist told me
To stalk my pain carefully
Just as an experienced hunter
Stalks a dangerous cat -
With exquisite care.

What if she's wrong?
What if I take years
And never get better?

My heart tells me
To be careful
That being gentle is
IMPORTANT
I don't want to be suicidal again.

What if I'm wrong?
What if my fear
Keeps me from healing?

I listen to them all.
Mostly my heart.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poetry as Oppression

The thought of a month of poetry has turned
This morning from the

    Joyful Anticipation

of yesterday, to the

    Crushed Oppressive Dread

of today.

Oh yes.  I remember now.  I remember my life-
long victim's plea to be loved.  Look at me!
Look what I can do!  Now you will see!
Love me.

It always leads to failure,
It always leads to despair,
To a frozen inability to perform,
And a sad paralyzing depressive dread,
That brings the terrifying life-denying prediction to life.

But, but, but, but I know it will be different.
I know I don't have to, I might not, oh, why
did I say I would do it.

Everyone will see.

Everyone will know.

Oh no.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Sister

My sisters
Tenderloin dope fiends
Loud, Crazy
Collapsed in Despair
Offering body in trade
Thinking it little worth
Begging and Plaintive
Angrily Demanding

Drunken falling
Sidewalk sprawling
Nodding heroin dreams
Hitting speed
Passed the fuck out

Toothless
Face collapsed
Twice their age

I love you.
You are beautiful.
Someone's daughter.
Someone's mother.
My sister.
Beautiful.

I don't mean in potential.
I don't mean on the inside.
Just beautiful
Now.
To me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dirty Hand

Something there is that's so attractive about a dirty hand,
A hand not spent in indoor things,
Nor sipping tea,
Nor gently touching a perfect face.
A hand that plays and grubs
and feels the real that's real.
The kind of hand that makes the world.



Thanks to +lerato majikfaerie who's photo of a spider and hand inspired this poem, and to Robert Frost who's Mending Wall took over that spot in my brain that dictates rhythm and feel to the extent that I was done before I stopped to wonder where that came from, although the middle reminds me more of an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem.  No not How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, but the poem of hers that I love the best, If thou must love me, let it be for nought.