In the presence of family, be only with family.

In the presence of family,

be only with family.

Put aside the work and worry.

It’ll be there when you part.

And enjoy one another

as if each member of your family

were a dish at the dinner table.

Fill yourself with their essence.

Allow them like nutrients

to replenish your mind, body, and soul

so that when you leave one another

you’ll do so knowing

their presence is with you

for better or worse, forever and onward—

second star to the right and straight on till morning.

Family Gathering, 2012

A kick in the head!

I will always be curious

and allergic to cats.

Ain’t that a kick in the head!

Dancing in the distance

And when his memory faded

Dancing in the distance

Like a mirage, appeared

His destiny in heat

Arms uninhibited by the equinox

My Goldfinch in flight

Chainlink memory

In the dream state of night

Unshackled reality

Through a window of light

Which pours like rain

And puddles my sight

Until ripples reflect

My Goldfinch in flight

I play my part as she sings me to sleep

Taylor calls for me from those stairs in Italy

I’m walking by a pay phone on the beach

Reminders from the East and a girl named Cicily

Talk me into circles out of reach

Send letters won’t you son to remind us what you’ve done

Don’t be a stranger call us once a week?

I buried what was left of my heartache in a trench

On that lonesome stretch of sand I was released

Now Bret he reads the lines in the background of my mind

There’s no one in this room to hear me sing

When journaling in thought feels like a raven’s claw

It’s Taylor who sits calmly next to me

The grass rests underneath her cheekbone by the sea

While chemicals channel flowing dreams

It’s 8am in August while I pour the gin and tonic

Listening to the ocean’s cresting wave

The cobblestone in Rome for which once walked me home

Now Cicily I hear her gently speak

There’s no such thing as time, if you believe that then that’s fine

But darling I’ve got no tears left to weep

I did my best to please the priest listening to me

Still Lucas rest assured me of my grief

I didn’t have to sail to France to find a girl to dance

I just went out every night for one last drink

So now as Taylor calls to me from those stairs in Italy

I pick her up once more from memory

I play my part as she sings me to sleep

I pick her up once more from memory

I play my part as she sings me to sleep

In the Delaware of my mind.

I stand here blind

With tears in my eyes

Surrounded by the life

I’ve always dreamed

Thinking of you there

Alone and in fear

Knowing no one’s called in weeks

Except myself and another

Who I hope like I

Told you you’re loved

And have done no wrong

Like I’ve too

So often thought

Living year to year like a vagabond

Drifting through the mud of life

It’s hard but man it’ll be alright

Look West I’m here in the dead of night

Standing by this olive tree

In California I no longer dream

Living mine the best I can

Drinking with you

Hand in hand, walking I can see

The two of us, then cracking crabs

Pig Beaches on parade

Just two lost souls, now growing old

What’s left is yours to keep

For nothing lost is truly gone

Now Lady Garth I see her too

In the Delaware of my mind.

Through the air vents of my room

I’ve known a many artist in my day, say

Today old friend you come to mind

And how for a short time, your voice divine

Scratchy and old, though, you and I know

Age is just a number and it’s you who’d show

Me this: Dear, Gavin Heron Vante

Who needed a place to rest his weary head

For the night I offered you some bread

Where that night you had said, Ah man!

I haven’t seen this show in years, mind if I watch

Married with Children, Amen! Amen!

Then later I’d record you playing all the chords

I always had wish I could, watching your fingers

Slide and swoop through Sloop John B

I tried to sing harmonies but who was I kidding

Aloof in my eagerness to know everything and all

You had to offer and more, more, more I cried

Singing, drinking in the night like two old friends

Because we were in fact just two ageless nobodies

In the effortless night of somebodies

Giving me your time, cradling my wine

Looking through old photo’s now

I can still feel your spirit sing softly through

The air vents of my room

The next morning of course, saying farewell

Dropping you at Austin’s Coffee

Collecting your bicycle and taking the trash out for a buck

Needing my fix of early morning talkie

That I’m sure no one ever really gave a hoot about —

Now I hear you’re out of the Coma

That took you too soon like a phantom in the night

You were right when you told me

To take it easy man, oh man, Gavin Heron Van

Where there is no plan there in lies the plan

I now know the meaning of that age old saying

Those were the days, good sir, I give my praise

Sincerely,

Dave

P.S. There’s a place for you here, always

Manhattan’s in the Village

You know what they say, don’t yuh?

Can’t live with em, can’t live without em

But don’t get me twisted, I’m not talking about women

though the skin beneath my tongue’s still sore

my heart’s still heavy and well

there’s nothing quite like seeing her smile come morning

but anyway like I was saying to this jug of doom

in the evening gloom where I choose not one but two

and then two more to boot because, well, hell

who am I kidding? Nobody but the moon this evening

cause it’s this bitter sweet feeling

the kind you feel deep down in the rumbling, stumbling night

where it all gets so far gone, where nothing meaningful is born

where it all makes some sort of convoluted sense

and alas, once again I am but the floorboards dull creak

where I am like the riverbed flowing calmly and discrete

where life is but a dream and I am dreaming once again

of you dear friend, rustling like the leaves at my front door.

Oh dear friend, how I long to walk the beach again.

How I long to hear your sick, silly, sweet voice again

like those long ago up all Friday nights of old

all those Brooklyn winter blue’s and yellow streetlights

guiding us home, or at least to Crown Fried Chicken where

like two youthful bums we’d scavenge our pockets for change

enough to buy a couple chicken wings, coke, and pint

enough to settle the bone, cold, sidewalk snow till home

where we’d fall arm and arm up stairs

to that old wood, smoke filled, railroad apartment you’d call Grove.

And though I don’t often pray, in my own little way

I do for you now as I did then, driving back to my Long Island apartment.

I pray this little song of self, this little song of you, this small token of my appreciation

for your boundless soul and effortless style and class.

I ate too much cheese, I’d shout while holding a kitchen knife to my throat!

Where in a Polaroid our youth is kept,

where so many nights while you slept I wept,

where you’d give me your bed for a smile,

where I’d talk with Forest about everything and nothing for a while,

long enough not to feel alone in that maddening, crazy New York glow.

So I write this little poem, not enough but enough to show you

I’m still listening through the terror behind the walls.

Dear friend,

How are you?

I can’t live with you, but hell, I can’t live without you.

Manhattan’s in the Village

God knows we never had the scratch, aligned

I feel inclined to take this time and offer you my best

impression not impressed?

CALL ME SPIDER! CALL ME SPIDER!

I just had to get these salami’s off my back.

I just had to sing this short praise of you Mac.

His laughter echos out of mine

His laughter echos out of mine

for which I hear each conscious time

I start to somehow forget him.

And like a long lost tale of old

I hold my breath and accept him.

It’s there he says—my mothers eyes—

to live and love more gently.

My son it’s up to you this time

his laughter echos out of mine

and there we build new memories.

His final farewell

I recall the calm

as I recall the storm.

Lead foot hesitation,

the slamming of doors.

Endangered are many

who’ve less stayed for more.

Excuses are fatal,

not ours anymore.

See I recall quiet

death and coffin smell,

his mustache, beard shaven

estranged from the crowd.

Was I the unwelcome?

The burden? Expelled?

His name once my keeper

I’ve written it well.

Yes I recall freedom

wished upon a star,

a second floor window

alone in the dark.

The price no one bargained

unimaginably hard,

his soul like a raven

still blackens my heart.

A kid and a coffin

for now I recall,

the parlor room floor

dead silence in awe.

While tears spill to carpet

and jittering jaw,

echoed through the parlor

with no sign of God.

I recall the calm

the storm never ends,

it grows like a Cancer

bad thoughts fill my head.

His final farewell

is my cross to bear,

how no son of mine

shall feel such fear.