Chaos Theory

If we can accept ourselves

in life, and that in this life

we’re living, the right way

and the wrong way, mostly

aren’t ever in alignment

with our true nature of self,

rather it’s often

sideways we must go, sideways

like the pebble in the stream

knows only one direction,

and that chaos when reversed

reveals itself as precisely

the way it ought to be.

Communion in the Park

Men in the park

grip brown paper bags

certain as Catholic nuns

grasp their faith,

both counting one

by one, until neither

makes any difference

in the course of eternity.

Two paths, one park bench—

Angelic in their own rite.

Hot and Wild

I don’t need a fan

or a fawn, I need a fire—

Hot and Wild—black as coal,

as clean as a diamond

dazzling

in the mud of my soul.

Self Portrait, West Haven CT, `2013

Moon between Palms

the moon?

but a keyhole

to another room,

which awaits

our arrival—

whenever.

Echo Park, 2020

Insomnia: A Short Story

The television’s on.

It’s freezing in here.

I should probably be asleep, but I’m not.

It’s 4:53. It’s always 4:53, when, click, the heat turns on.

Now the draft from the window’s competing with the dull heat, which smells like last years dust, pouring through the vent, above the door, which leads to the living room where the TV’s still on.

In about an hour the sun will be up and it will be another morning.

I can’t tell yet whether or not I’ll be excited or scared, but either way, I have to write my grandmother—thanking her for the letter she sent a couple days prior—she used to fill the cards with glitter but doesn’t anymore…

Perhaps there’s a glitter shortage, I don’t know.

I’ve been pulling my beard out again, which I don’t like, but still do. Why? A doctor would probably claim it’s nerves but by this point in life I know better than that.

It’s funny really, thoughts, how they come and go as easily as a hair can be plucked from your chin.

If I had eggs in the fridge I’d probably boil some for breakfast but I don’t have any because yesterday while shopping I’d debated prices in my head for what seemed like too long to be debating prices of eggs, causing an uncomfortable feeling I just couldn’t shake, making me anxious and aware that I’d been standing in the isle for what seemed like eons though was probably only a couple minutes, still, too long to be debating whether or not I wanted to pay 2.39 or 2.99 for a dozen of eggs.

The heat feels good now, while the right side of my face warms up, the left side is still dealing with the draft from the window.

Common sense tells me to close the window though my better judgement says to just let it be. What’s the point, really?

It’s 5:06 now. It’s always 5:06.

The repetitive nature of this statement keeps recurring in my mind as if the idea isn’t fully mine, though I use it anyway.

Perhaps it’s my conscious mind coming back to me? Perhaps it’s programming I just don’t have the strength to deny, either way…whatever.

It’s 8:08 on the East Coast. My mother’s probably pouring coffee, reading the morning news. My brother’s probably already dragged himself from bed and into work. My nephew’s to school. My sister-in-law to her studio where she makes jewelry from metal and her imagination.

Their routine gives me comfort because right now I don’t have one.

This pandemic has us all in a pretty weird state of affairs, though, my affairs have always been pretty weird now that I think about it.

At least I’m writing again. That’s good.

Everything is pretty all right right now—knock on wood.

And what if this is as good as it gets? Hog wash.

At least it’s warm in here, closing the window, watching the sun rise.

My nail beds are long. I’ve always been told that. “You’ve got piano hands,” they said once, go figure, I don’t play—if I did this would probably make for a better story though, well, you know.

Turning off the TV seems irrational as it’ll just get turned on again tonight, unless, unplugging the TV—Ah! That’s better.

Insomnia, it’s the breakfast of champions.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the letter.

A Song Once Sung To An Infant Under The Gun.

Today the time ran out

just as it had begun—

Hot water fills the tub

you swore you’d never become—

It’s warm and shallow now

cut servings for only one—

The echo down the hall, well

that’s just yesterdays love—

Now it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

Today the moon refused

to trade place with the sun—

Sidewalks full of people

but still you know only one—

It’s an impossible force

that drags you from yourself—

Now it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

I try, you know I do, to balance

fault lines and faith, the surgeons

steel blade, it draws a bridge between both—

It’s a symphony of simple things

that will seem eclipsed by the sun—

Cause it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

California, 2020

to lose and to gain

We lose—only—what we must

allow ourselves to lose,

regardless of the pain

and suffering we choose, to lose

and to gain—

to have what it takes,

to further ourselves

to a better tomorrow.

Boba Raton, Joe.

The time between collision and capsizing

There is something very scary

about imagining a life without flaw,

as if insecurities were a sin

you could merely pray away?

There’s something cynical in that,

something dangerous.

Something I haven’t the heart to feel,

it’s something impervious.

Because with great peril comes

an even greater awakening, an awakening

which floods the veins with frozen certainty

as the waters eating the Titanic.

It’s the time between collision

and capsizing, which we find ourselves

relieved of our blind faith, knowing

with grave admiration, the life

we’re living, is all we have.

July Reflection, 2020

for richer or poorer

I would rather be

a poor man

with a rich soul,

than a rich man

with a poor heart.

Topanga Beach. October, 2020

Regardless of the election.

There’s a sewer pipe

in the dark, by the L.A. river

like a grave in the ground

where people sleep

by the highway, by the neighborhood

where pumpkins soon

will be replaced by

feasts of Turkey, stuffing, corn

and carefully locked doors,

then to be replaced by balsams and fern

white lights and tender eyes

of Christmas morning,

regardless of the hole by the L.A. river

where people sleep

live, and love—and pray, regardless

of the election, regardless

of the president

I still weep.

Do you?

LA River. Nov 7, 2020