For Example

When someone tells us
that we are selfish, it is often
because we are not doing
what they want us to do.

People who call us selfish are usually doing so 
because their needs (or demands) have not been met. 
You have refused to give them something 
and therefore you are selfish. 

According to them, being selfish is bad 
because it is all about your needs being placed above theirs. 
But wait, isn’t that exactly what they are doing now, 
calling you selfish because you chose to meet your own needs and not theirs? 

Does this not imply that their needs are more important than yours?
Something tells me this charge of selfishness 
is not coming from a place of genuine moral concern 
but from a place of frustration.

We are living in dangerous times 
in which, saying “No” is considered being selfish.
We are taught to not be selfish theoretically 
which highlights the hypocrisy of society.

I have been called selfish 
for making decisions that benefit me, 
without hurting anyone else, 
because those decisions don’t benefit the other person. 

In other words, 
for making choices that make my life better, 
without also making your life better. 
I mean, how dare I?

it's coming...

Bittersweet by the End

it's better this way.
now we can live in mystery.
without the chance of petty fighting.
over dishes or doldrums.
idiosyncrasies that start off cute. 
and end up annoying. 
now we can live forever in what-if.
just desire and demons.
never the boring stuff. 
it's better this way, right?


I just thought I'd be over it by now

almost a year.
no more fear.

a little residual confusion,
but that's about it. 

maybe some love left,
but that will never go anywhere. 

yet, I am still waiting, hoping
like an idiot. 


Philosophized

oh, it's been so long 
since I've seen your eyes,
and I think I would die
if you said that you still love me. 

against all of Newton's laws,
and against Neitzsche's rules,
I'd rather be motionless with you
than moving forward with someone else. 

on the other hand of the clock,
on god's eternal pause, 
it's been a while since
you made me cry or sigh.

you said goodbye,
but I think we could still
find a way back 
to the basics. 

maybe,
possibly,
in this life
or the next. 

wouldn't it be nice
to start over,
and erase the rise,
because all I want is to see your eyes. 


Poem

I want a heart that won't break.

I want a heart that won't break.
I want a heart that won't break.
I want a heart that won't break.


Mockingbird Valley

Writing a poem is not about 
bringing some words together 
to create some charming sentences. 
It's so much deeper than that.

Louisville Slugger Museum,
old fan talks as if he's at
a baseball game in the 50s.

Love and Life,
Greenspur Lane. 
Autograph muse,
a psalm for Muhammad Ali.

I learned a lot in that bus station, 
the one near the hotel.
I noticed a young woman wearing sneakers: 
the color of her blouse matched
the color of her nails.

Wednesday morning,
wonder who knows who.

Since moving to Lincoln Park
from South Florida weeks ago,
I picked up some allergies new,
and they got itchy, and now they
act up in Mockingbird Valley.

Because I am close to where 
the love of my life was born. 


Haunted, Hundo P!

is this a Louisville AirBnB
or a German murder corner?
I can't tell because of the fake fireplace
and the solid, 18-drawer dresser
that contains only a random key. 

I am running out of things
to remind me of love and death,
so life gives me a little nudge,
like a trip to Kentucky,
and a stay in a scary flop. 

only here for Louder Than Life,
and a couple breakfasts at Con Huevos,
where I will steal another mug,
because I broke the last one
when angry at the past. 


I'm not a werewolf, I just have mondays off

the past is more stubborn than I am.
ya can't kill either of us.

once upon a time I was brave.
now I just want to be bold. 

your secrets are safe with me. 
cross my heart and hope to live.

I am not immortal.
but I am not a regular man.

I shall not hide.
this grey inside.

the moon is always full.
shadows from earth just chop it up.

each week I wonder.
who's heart I will eat.

time is not random.
love is not ever a surprise. 


Wearing Shoes In The House

Anthony Rizzo singles into shallow left,
Gio Urshela scores,
I finish a chapter in the book I'm reading
and adjust my shoulders on the couch. 

She says leaving her shoes on 
makes her feel claustrophobic;
I say taking my shoes off
makes me feel vulnerable. 

We kiss in stairwells, too,
I hold a flower in my teeth,
juxtaposing my scars and tattoos,
and her indifference is sexy. 

My bedside manner is bad,
but the sex was good
until the shower fight,
which ruined the night. 

So now we are watching
Ted Lasso in silence,
and I am contemplating
leaving or making more love to fix it. 


why are the swords so sad?

I move in the music of the mire, where
the germs of dreams infect us, when
we our hearts are at their weakest.

Hope is as helpful as a weapon, while
its sole use is to destroy the darkness, with 
it light does not always arrive after the fight. 

Each moment is a milestone, wild
in that we have no clue what will be, who
might use up all our happiness like a bar tab.

Time is the payment, and it is always due, what
comes and goes surrounds the now, worried
not of your consequence but the tick or the next tock. 

The hands of the clock are sad swords, whom
the heart tolls for, slicing off limbs of life, why
we have no idea the direction of the horizon. 

Love this album!

Poem

Selfishness –
Mine, hers, and others –
Is motivated by fear.

What bothers me most
In relation to the future
Is whether I can overcome love.

I betray a tone
Of self-exhortation,
Willed excitement. 


86 Nightmares

I still have dreams
in which I am 
bartending or serving tables,
always in the weeds. 

It's been almost a decade since,
but if you've ever waited tables,
you know the dreams can persist
years after you've stopped serving dishes.

It's always something small,
like I’ve forgotten the extra horseradish
that the guest requested,
and small mistakes that snowball.

Suddenly there are a lot of guests coming in,
the tension became too much,
my eyes shot open, I sat up, 
feeling stressed, anxious.

This happens often,
and sometimes certain people are there,
from certain establishments, 
certain established times in my life. 

I was spending a few hours 
in the Chicago O’Hare Airport in between flights 
and got a bite to eat at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant there,
watching the servers buzz around gave me PTSD.


Overslept in the Wolverine Farm

The idea isn’t entirely fanciful:
as the tundra warms,
and my heart burns...
this is extinction.

We are in it,
I the stupid poet,
she the cute
yet confused actress. 

She sacrafices dignity
and I sacrificed  nada
for a blow job
in a bar bathroom.

Because life is short
And love doesn’t exist,
So why not just go for it,
Sex in public, primal.

I stayed at her place,
Woke up late
As the world was dying
And I debate trying.

We eat, we drink,
we fuck, we forget,
we hopefully wake
to regret another day. 


T for Snails

my mustache is long,
collecting coffee,
saving it for later
when I splash it on
others' lips in closing conversation,
and we all just ignore it.


¿Te sientes bien fĂ­sica y emocionalmente?

back when I was a kid
in Orlando, Florida,
kids hurt me because
of my last name 
and my poverty.

it makes me think
of the way
I hurt you,
just different cuts
that I wish 
I could unslice. 

perhaps those kids,
now adults,
have regrets,
but none as important
as these in my heart.

sometimes it takes
a long time
to put pain
in perspective,
especially when 
it is not mine to mend. 

those kids hurt,
so they hurt,
and I hurt,
so I hurt 
someone special. 


Lititz

Thanks for saving abstract expressionism everything.
From Frank O'Hara's Emergency poems
to that bench in NYC's Union Square.

You weren't even there, but you've helped,
and this Autumn is gonna be awesome,
because of you and your view of the blues.

We all need them, for art and measuring life
against the tyranny of existence,
all while balancing the bullshit. 


Scam Likely

Love is a scam,
because it always
leads to let-downs.

Weaving silk
as the breeze blows,
I am just a poor pensioner,
trying to try my heart out. 

By ringing 
the number back,
I am the victim. 

But I am also
the perpetrator,
sleighing the befuddled
for a fleeting moment of forever.

Begin and begin,
she pens like taxes
despite failing the fall. 

We are all in this scam,
it's either arguing about dishes,
breaking up before,
or making it to death.


You're all pizza and fairytales!

I leave the street
with all my years'
ears to the music
that made me. 

I sing Switzerland.
I sleep in a Phoebe Bridgers shirt. 
My neighbors play hip-hop
and I ride along.

I look at your website
just to see your face
and I love that one tooth
that is crookedly beautiful.

Blink once if ya miss me.
I want to change my email address.
The saints cry rain
through stained glass windows. 

Like the novel and the never,
I wonder if you think about me
with more than just a laugh. 
Love and fear, like I do/did. 

Living on a fence,
my art exists to recover
the sensation of life;
to feel things like stones. 

Draw out the sensations
that things inspire;
don't just be pizza and fairytales,
because this estrangement doesn't come from nowhere. 


My Modern Mundanity

I feel like Mr. Bean falling asleep
in this Microsoft Teams meeting.

Revenue numbers don't really concern me,
so I don't know why I am here.

I put commas in the right place,
and delete double spaces between sentences. 

Sometimes, I Tweet aka "market" the property,
but I don't need to listen to budget stuff. 

And so I zone out and text Abby
GIFs of Mr. Bean actually sleeping. 

Forever Loving Between Octobers

Never living in thunder,
under tie-dyed clouds
the petrichor here reminds me
to draw hearts on CVS receipts
instead of obsessing
over sleep, dream after dream.

The whirling serpent,
the sunset before I know it,
life's lime in my eyes,
which makes me cry
as I pick a fight
with my mother's ghost
in a Mexican restaurant. 

Don't you get it, I scream,
she wants nothing from me –
no questions, no exclamation points,
no piers of passion in poems like this one.

Undressing the pressure of leaving,
even the leaves befall me,
wishing to bless and hush,
I am a dead devil,
bowing down to the madness that makes me. 

I send books but I don't sign them,
and I may do that forever
just to remind the universe
that I love her, 
expecting nothing in return,
and that is okay.

As the Tuesday rain delays,
I crack the window just to hear
the cadence of the drops diminish,
and I move on to work and music,
other muses, some magnificent, some not so much,
but from October to October
I will hope upon hope
that we meet again in the middle. 

When in Louisville, ya gotta go to Surface Noise!

(It’s What Remains That Matters) When the Forsaken City Starts to Burn

All of today a 404 error page.
Everyone is yawning.

Mosquitoes love my ankles. 
But nothing hurts.
Worse than time. 

I am annoyed for reasons silly. 
Probably post office and personal procrastination. 
Pots & pans & polaroids. 

2050 is less than 30 years away.
and I have no explanations.

I will build a mailbox.
Propel poems that produce plants.
Along streets of a city I steal. 

The sun’s heat is getting to me.
Even Culver’s cold custard can’t cure.

Too few, too tired.
I don’t play to win.
I play to live. 

The bent alligator flag.
I see it as sweat, scarcely.
With a paintbrush behind my ear.

What remains is what rebuilds.
The end is the beginning.

how many hugs do we need a day?

we need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. 
we need 12 hugs a day for growth.
we need 2 extra just for the fun of it. 
and 1 before bed or after bad news.

while that may sound like a lot of hugs,
it seems that many hugs are better
than not enough. 

it is so wild to stumble across my books out in the world.

HOLY FUCK I LOVED YOU

death is so long,
and I am the lesser warrior
of the morning,
but have you ever fallen
in love with someone dangerous?

after that performance in bed,
all I've been listening to is St. Vincent since
singing sexy hymnals in my head. 

desperate was tonight,
a kind of seed I breathed
in a dream
I ran to a city and built a new city,
but didn't invite you
to live in it.

in a thousand years,
I will go back
to let you in,
your lips a magnificent mess
of dust and blood.

the greater eye 
of life sees
the stone crumbling,
the resurrected song.

my heart and dick
have fallen
into the great lake,
and strode to the middle
where it hurts most, still.


Poem

tonight I am going
to jerk off
and think about you,
but I am still mad
so the imaginary sex
is going to be dirty and rough.

Dear Kendra Jean,
listen loud to St. Vincent's
song New York;
the chorus is spot on.

The Fruit That Never Falls

soul and sadness
are different dominions,
just like songs listen to you
as much as you listen to them. 

the beauty of memories,
like a fruit tree blooming
but never decaying
paints suffering a clear color. 

notes become an anthem
just as your soul heals,
regenerating from past lives
lived loud like music in tenor basements.

leaves and petals pile up 
like a love supreme,
waiting for certain weather
to blow them away to other places. 

in the eyes of my daughter
are the reasons for Coltrane
and camouflage from death,
the heart of the dear universe.