Bad Marge

Mary was sick of her name so she started calling herself Margaret because it was the only name she could think of that was worse than Mary. So when people yelled out on the street for Mary she would just spit on a nearby wall, even if it were a window that was there. One time she spat right in some people’s faces that were trying to enjoy their pasta. The woman had a noodle hanging from her mouth as she stared at the long drip of saliva proceeding down the glass.

Margaret wanted to be bad because good was so boring. It’s not even like she had a good cause like a molestation or a broken home, just boredom pushing her to do the delinquency that gave her the name that followed her everywhere: Bad Marge.

When she got Bad Marge tattooed on her shoulder her mom had a minor heart attack. Nobody would know until years later that the blockage began back then. Well, this could never be proven, but Mary knew…


Jean liked to paint her lips bright red and go to the Red Tavern on Saturdays and tell people her name was Roxy.

Roxy also wore safety pins through her leather jacket.

Jean gave it all up when she met Pete.

Pete wasn’t a guy she felt like playing with.


I would have written earlier but I didn’t where to send the letter…


Stephanie was from Tunisia. Her skin was the color of cream. She had a laugh full of teeth and we drank wine until the record skipped. She only went by Stephanie, that I know of. We saw each for two seasons and almost through Halloween before she got sick of Denver and decided to move closer to the ocean.

We were supposed to hang out in Tahoe but you know how that goes.


I started calling myself Jacob in my religious phase, when I hung out on Venice Beach too much. I had started a cult, two friends, and my girlfriend’s dog. She wasn’t really my girlfriend, just a girl that hung around a lot that I loved in a sunny 17 year-old way. I was too dumb to know what having a woman meant.

Jacob had a telescope he looked out before going to bed. Every night he had the same thought, there must be some kid on one of those points of light looking back at me. I lost Jacob around the time I started on the methadone.


Lauren told me she thought love was a cheap word people with no imagination threw around. Last I heard, she was married with twins. I wondered if she told them she loved them.

Lauren left one night after tearing down a concert poster. It was college so you know the type of poster.

We were both young and full of too much passion. To this day I don’t remember which band it was, but I remembered I liked the poster more than her.


There is a stretch of highway they named after Patricia. In non-drought years there is a drainage ditch that has frogs in it. If you drive slow with the windows down you can hear them croaking. People say Patricia had that kind of voice. Later on I learned there never was a Patricia.


I got the nickname Captain Telegram because of the way I set up my stories. I had a real obvious way about me, I suppose, a predictability stout enough to earn a nickname. Well, people only called me that when I was drinking. When the spirit is a-hold of me I have a tendency to pontificate and get on with myself. Captain Telegram is always right, even when he’s wrong. He can make something out of nothing.

Women, Captain Telegram might say with a finger pointing to the ceiling, are the embodiment of perfection — except when they’re not. Captain Telegram would act like it was something serious to contemplate. I don’t know where he comes from.


Like I said, I would have written but I didn’t know where to write.


Last I had heard you were a waitress in Portland.

And you went by Mary again.

Food in a Box

I promised you a garden and a bird house,
but the birds never came, and neither did you.
And the newspapers landed on the doorstep
with the thud of a third war.

They’re working on a machine that can record your dreams.
I’m working on a dream that is worth being recorded.

Waited in line for an oil change.
Nobody gets out of their cars anymore.
Everybody’s waiting for bad news.

The guy cutting my sandwich never looked up.
We both watched the knife slide through 21st century bread…
breathing in the plastic as my credit card swipes right
like an old Tinder flame without a last name.

If it feels like we’re in a civil war it’s because we always have been…
I live in Los Angeles with the YouTube stars and Has Beens…
We’re born into News Feeds and start building our own aquariums…
From delirium we form customized holograms and emoji hearts…

And I got one I can’t send over the airwaves.
It lives in my chest and weighs a ton.
And it’s up to me to carry alone.
Through the war and the digital displays.

I can read a book on the dock in Barcelona but still my Spanish
collapses under one como estas? from bonita oros de Felicias
(this is where you laugh)
I could put on a puppet show, but still we’d never know
who was pulling the strings. Sometimes I think I’ve died,
and this is just a dream.

(Violins and humming and maybe an Icelandic chorus?)

This is where everything changes. This is where as an artist
you make a bold, big move; if I was a singer I’d scream
like Mick Jagger; if I was Jackson Pollack I’d drink a fifth
and throw my shit at the wall. But I’m me, so you never know
what I’m listening to at the Aerosol Ball (by the Felice Brothers).
And I can make these inside jokes all day.

Because art like life is only interesting in the surprise.
It could be a fresh snowfall it could be a flood.
It could be flowers for your birthday or stepping in mud.
My life is a long staccato series of sunset and sunrise.
My life is a full metal jacket rifle…

(this is maybe where the drums come in)

And if you could make any dream come true… would it be the one
where your bed is a magical raft you can float to the stars on
and space isn’t cold at all, and the wind blows through her hair,
and the moon isn’t made of cheese but made of music and melody?
Would it be that one?

I once thought it was impossible.

Because we’re vestibules filled with medical edibles and hentai
we unravel in a scramble for safety from bombs that aren’t falling
flirting with the comic because the drinks were free
my blimp read art of star what a fool…

(put in sounds of a jet flying overhead… trust me)

You wonder if it’s cosmic…

You found my diary and looked for a TL;DR
We took our drinks underneath the lemon tree.
Jumped from an open window with Parachute sheets.
My scarf flapping in a downloaded wind hangs me
from telephone wires like old Nike Cortez
Diamond Opal Imperial Topaz…

This hot air balloon has no fight with the wind…
I blow toward the sound of your voice saying my name.
My heart is filled with helium and makes me talk funny.
I take my photo in a booth and eat my food in a box.




All day I spilled coffee on myself.
All day I cursed Donald Trump.
All day I missed my girl.
All day the world was against me.
Or maybe I was just an inch behind and a second late?
Maybe at the beginning of the day I never did wake?
Maybe this world never did even exist?
Wouldn’t that suck?

I saw a man yelling at a newspaper stand today.
He was screaming about the news, I suppose.
That’s all of us these days. But he didn’t have any shoes.
He was singing a tune. I didn’t know the song.
He wasn’t there long. Then I was gone.

I was in North Hollywood mailing a letter.
Side by side a Home Depot and Best Buy.
Across from a Boost Mobile and wrong directions…
like a white reggae band. Just humming.

the mountain becomes a sea as time
gently rubs everything into liquid
my face becomes a photograph
as my mind hides everything.

Go on written on my arm
Tunneling ant farms
subway getaway

I was in
the valley


41 and an hour older

The ambulance came wailing little letters turned into words and rainbows fell
into colors across streets where the chimney sweeper forgot to sweep
I come naked into the semicolon semi-sober; 41 and an hour older,
I’m not from Illinois, but I can make noise, California boys like me smile
at the sunshine little wiggles when the night comes tickling the middle,
drinks are spilling, the gentle laughter filling up the bar makes me nostalgic
for when I was sixteen throwing pitches at the batter and interest rates never mattered I’m Amsterdam-bound lathered in lattes and lackadaisical attitudes
dazzled by the star splattered happening above my love 24 karot shinning
like a universe spiraling disco ball style into the future and my cares
drifting away like fleeing life rafts from a sinking ship
I hop on a rat and float to shore.

Morning Dew

She had chubby cheeks and pictures on boats
while I had a beeper clipped to my billowy jeans
and I know when two stars get too close
it’s either a supernova or a black hole
but I don’t plug my nose
I dive headfirst and go for broke…

as the world bursts and the plants choke,
I keep my face smooth with a paste of goo
that tastes like glue and a smile 90 proof
you light on fire when I tear down the roof

Eating Greek yogurt and crunchberries
while October scary goblins be robbin’
Basken Robbins for candy cane ice cream
I skydive with angels and vikings
Back up, baby doll, shake that thing
to my liking.

GPS way off in these streets of chaos,
I want to stay off the grid and kiss your eyelids
when the sun goes down I get excited
random thoughts of having five kids… what?!

men in skyscrapers but my trade is pen to paper
I send ya ten thousand poems and a stapler
my taper tape parade don’t feature halos or capes
but my crew rolling deep in Escalades
the text it say Woo on another escapade
My life is lemonade pour a glass in the shade
laugh about how these games get played
but you and I get along
like Romeo and Juliet
and cyanide
like an Allen I crossover
in your eye…

we fall asleep in arms of peace
and normally I dream of ease
enchanted forests full of trees
but right now, I dream of you.
Your lovely face a lovely view
I dream of the morning dew
on your ass cheeks.


Future People of America

the carnage is in the varnish
the president’s bullshit polish
spread on Democracy’s carpet
Resist the man-child
put him back in the ball pit
all night — America sleeps in the alt-right’s target
the missiles are locked the farm kids
and city blokes and woke folk need to disarm it
look around, y’all,
the vitriol from the inaugural ball
is being written in the capital halls
and now they talking about building a wall
not just to keep out the Mexicans
but also the press’s eyeballs
so they can’t tell me and you
what these fool’s gonna rob
it’s not just all your cash and stocks
it’s also your hearts
so when the revolution starts
are you on the side of the future people
or the old geezers and farts???

Our time is now, your time is done.
Time to take our county back, son,
take our country back, son — time for some action

the message is the medium
check out the sheep come bleating in
the monster lies leaking from weak men
behind the podium seek to destroy the truth
and the meaning in it the scheming lizards
be telling you it’s sunny when it’s a fucking blizzard
so that you never know when you getting fingered
take a look at the books but he won’t let you linger
because the crooks are on the take and they already took
watch his hotel rooms fill up with ghosts as Trump boasts
and the poles melt and the planet roasts
he’s building a Noah’s arc of oligarchs
on the backs of the working class
Shout! Don’t pass go, just lasso
that asshole put him back in his tower
so we don’t have to listen to his babble…

Rise up! Time for drastic measures before our treasure
is stolen by white nationalists
Rise up! hashtag fascists get their ass kicked
Rise up!

Our time is now, your time is done.
Time to take our county back, son,
take our country back, son — time for some action

Be Like Donald

Ever since the election of the “billionaire” Developer/Reality Star Donald J. Trump to president I’ve tried to figure out a way to ignore the reality around me. I mean, ostriches stick their head in the sand for a reason, maybe there was a way I could do that too for the next four years? But every day the feeling that something fundamental and ugly has happened won’t go away.

When the Supreme Court handed the 2000 election to George Bush I was angry. I felt there were shenanigans. I knew the government of the United States would change and policies I didn’t support would be implemented. I worried about the effect those policies would have. Programs and funding would definitely be in danger. The thing that never crossed my mind, though, was that America itself, the character of its people, the common bonds of our shared history and struggle, the essential goodwill of its citizens toward one another, would be in danger.

Donald Trump, though, is a political anomaly. That’s what we keep hearing. That’s what his supporters love. He is an “outsider”, a “man of the people”. An 80’s Gordon Gecko/Patrick Bateman-esque leftover turned fake boss on TV copper-tongued carnival barker, here to heroically rip power from Washington and deliver it on a made-in-the-USA golden platter to the tragically wronged, oppressed white male. Those poor good ol’ boys that never had a break in the world.

I mock because it’s better than crying.

Maybe I am just a snowflake…

Have you seen that word flying around in comment threads and Facebook posts? I wonder what the uptick in use of “snowflake” as an online insult has been since the election. This is what I worry about. When you elevate a bully in position and power, all the little tyrants come out and parrot their idol. Like when everybody started to ‘Be Like Mike.’

People ask what the point of the Women’s March is, and it’s exactly stuff like this. Let’s be honest, when people accuse somebody online of being a snowflake, what they really mean is faggot or pussy. It’s implying a sensitivity that is a weakness. It’s a way to try to emasculate the opponent and dismiss an argument. “What? You think Trump refusing to answer questions from CNN and labeling things fake news has dire consequences for freedom of the press and transparency? Don’t be such a snowflake.”

Because “real men” love Trump, and they aren’t worried about facts or ethics or unity! Real men think women going to the bathroom is disgusting. Real men know it takes a bully in charge to get things done.

Oh, what a vile precedent, what a slimy president.

When you normalize the ugly side of politics it’s hard to clean it up again. This is what got over 3 million people into the streets. This is not normal. We will not get over it.

Trump wages a war of chaos. The more lies, the more insults, the more distractions that he can concoct, the more he can sell this strongman fantasy to his followers. And the more they buy it.

By using Twitter, and now Spicer, as the generator of this shit storm, he becomes the vortex, the source, and therefore, in a twisted way, the only constant throughout the chaos (even as he waffles and bends and retreats and contradicts on position after position). And this is how he manages to seem like the only place for shelter and security to those who can’t see past their own echo chamber. What’s happening, though, is that he’s the goddamn eye of the hurricane, and there’s more destruction to follow, much more. Because the destruction is originating from him. And like any hurricane, it’s only goal is feed itself and grow.

We’re in a deeply divided country. The Left doesn’t just oppose him like we opposed Bush. Those of us in the cities and Blue States and College Towns and yes, even some of us living amid the “carnage” of the Rust Belt, reject him. We will not accept being fooled by somebody posting prop photos and selling lies and manipulating the public in a way reminiscence of authoritarian regimes. We don’t need tin pot dictators obsessed with crowd size. We don’t need demands for total allegiance.

And for the security of our beloved country we can not trust a businessman with bizarre ties to Russia leading our foreign policy, whose shadowy connections could dictate whether our Armed Forces are subjected to mortal danger, or whose lust for military chest beating could ignite worldwide war. America should lead the way toward freedom. Not away from it. The statue of liberty holds her torch high in the air, strong and steady, for all to see; she’s not waving it around, swiping back and forth, chasing back the tired and poor.

This is not normal.

Trump’s cynical spirit and hateful heart has infected the national ethos. His behavior toward women has been like a (pun intended)  unwanted rubdown. He made pussy-grabber a thing. His energy is airborne. You feel his breath in the wind. You can smell that fecund mix of Tic Tac and bullshit in the air. Historically we’ve always been defined by our leaders. They represent an era in America’s thinking. A feeling more than anything. There’s no denying America has become a lot uglier in the last year, mostly due to the ego of one man and his ability to stir the pot over and over. There is division and strife and vitriol and anger like never before. America has elected the first television drama queen to lead us through the darkness. A man whose only concern for the truth revolves around having enough b-roll and clever editing to pull it off.

We will not get over it.

Obama offered Hope and Change. Unity and togetherness. Yes we can. (Say what you will about the results…) Donald predicts doom and destruction that only he can fend off.

This is frightening propaganda.

Be wary of the man offering you the moon. When you’re looking up, he’s going to kick you in the nuts.

We are under threat. Trump is not here to just build a wall on the southern border, he wants to also build one around the 1%’s ability to exploit and profit off of the American Public. He wants to get rid of regulations that protect the worker, that protect the environment. He aims to muzzle dissent as weak or disloyal to America. Jesus, people, he’s not giving the power back to you, he’s using you to take more power for himself and his billionaire buddies!

Potter’s not selling, he’s buying!

I can’t ignore this. I can’t stick my head in the sand and find a happy place for four years. I can’t stand silent while my country is being gaslit by a crooked pack of liars.

I won’t stop drinking the toilet water.

We must resist. But we also have to remain calm. Don’t chase every tweet, every flying debris. Bend but don’t break.

A hurricane needs hot air to survive.