Lay Down with the Jesters

My Mayan ruins… my life in stitches… take this photograph of me smiling.
Every man is an island. My jacket is rent in Mexico City. My disposable camera heart.
Take this image and remember me for my jokes. My teeth are strong.
My phone chimes with hollow alerts… we live for little moments of validation
while life passes us by… my Google Home answers my roaming calls.
You can buy yourself out of anything. Praying to a bottom shelf God.
Lost in plot points and soundbites and applying effects to a simple smile…
Extra ample simple syrup we drown in a teardrop that’s not even ours.
My cat bites me like he hates me. I sit in a crumbling building mumbling faintly.

First poem or last poem or one in between who knows? I’m no sugarcoat donut
misspelled sunset I caught late, rode the last wave, my heart is a pillowcase.
Take it in your hand to suffocate, my throat is the ultimate polka dot. What a bull’s-eye!
What a somersault alibi she wrapped up in that night. Spread thin like mayonnaise light.
Lay me down with the lambs, let me sleep with the queens, in the barn with the jesters. Smile at the morning. Clouds like gravity blankets. Dissolving into the pancake simulacra. Wipe the hashtag from my eye. Shake the egg so the yolk is woke. I can not tell a lie.
10:15 AM. I’m your favorite pagan. Pillaging your wiggling body. Shit. Let’s just stay in.

These ancient dreams drip and percolate the sound of my grief catch in my teeth.
Turning the technological tides like a flurry of flotsam the soul is squeezed dry. Rip tide.
Put ink into my skin and hide. Personal hideaways are dreams of mine… eyes of Iodine. Lip to lip we touch time. Suspended in the grip of life I let love slip like a disc in my spine. I’ve touched the sparkle and shine that left me stumbling in the brine. Fumbling my line.
Up to my thighs in grime. Like an asteroid I can end it all. One phone call. Upend it all.
Like a frog hopping tall dropping cards at the mall, my shutter speed full of unbelievable
tales of never-ending joy and despair… a spoke in the cosmic wheel that makes me squeal with terror and delight. An over-cerebral zebra at the watering hole drinking in his ego.

At the point of no interest I stand on the precipice with my selfie stick.


Ferocious Still Life

Amid all the noise, in the middle of all that crowd, with a vast sky above and an Earth filled with bones below, somehow we keep dancing like the only two people in the world. In that little space we find ourselves still. Atoms no longer oscillating individually.

I never thought I’d crave still life so ferociously.

Locked by a stare that contains novels, masterpieces wrapped in lips. If I could capture a tenth of the feeling your hand woven through mine produces in words this poem would embarrass Neruda, Keats would tip his hat. There would be seminars based on what I meant when I wrote: the quenching of Latrice brought phantasmagoric delight to every corner of the hobbit house.

It’s the way you dance that makes everything alright. Like there was no yesterday and no tomorrow and all that matters is the next chorus. Your eyes find mine like the butterflies find Mexico.

I think it’s your laughter that makes California poppies super bloom.

When I hear your voice, inside my heart a bird nest takes shape. And I crave to hold something so delicate that it makes my entire body shake ever so gently.

A Perfect Lover

There are names scratched in sidewalks I never noticed. Children’s chalk drawings that I stepped on. Flowers that smell like bottled-up tropical islands. The clouds, right before dusk, even take on a melon hue. There all these things I never knew existed until I saw you. The world changed for me that night. That night, through your slightly veiled windows, you on your couch with your laptop in your lap. Your bangs draped across your forehead. I’m in love with your forehead.

I can’t believe I’ve never seen you before.

And now I see you every night, though you never see me. And in this way, we have a kind of unique relationship. I look over you but don’t expect a thing. Isn’t that pretty romantic?

Most men want something.

Even though I can see that you’re alone, and that no man comes to visit, I’ve never once approached you. Even when you’re on your weekly Sunday afternoon supermarket run, I keep my distance. I respect your space.

Sometimes when I don’t see the light come on I wonder where you are, but then I’m reminded that mystery is the spice that keeps every relationship full of flavor. I can only imagine the mystery you’re not even aware of feeling not knowing I’m here.

If that makes sense? Because I’m sure you feel something. Even though you don’t see me, you must sense my loving presence.

You see, that first day I saw you on your couch, with your laptop in your lap, you were crying. I couldn’t tell what you were looking at, but I could see such longing and hurt in your swollen eyes that I fell in love a little with your misery.

You looked hurt and it was beautiful, in a way, not that you were hurt, but the feelings that arose in me. Total devotion. I felt a grace fill me up and it was like a balloon; and I knew that I was supposed to tie that grace balloon to you and keep you lifted off of this dirt. And that’s why I’m here watching over you.

Does that make sense?  Like, I loved all of you from the start, even the dark and damp and uncomfortable pieces. I wouldn’t say I wanted to wash your feet, because that is a little gross to be honest — but a little like Jesus, I wanted to adore you. That kind of thing.

And whatever little misery, or misery-maker, in your life, I wanted to conquer. I hated it. I wanted you strong again. Not teary-eyed and thinking of things that bring gloom to your angelic visage. I am not a violent man, but now that I had somebody to protect I felt a little like a warrior. It’s important to note I am a peaceful man.

But I’d rather tear out all the rose bushes than risk you being pricked by a thorn.

What would you do without me?

I love the way you read in your bed before going to sleep. All these books I’d never heard of before. The first time I touched your apartment was when I came by in the day, considerate of you being at work and not wanting to intrude while you were there, (always thinking of you), and I head to lift myself up on your windowsill to get a closer look at the titles…

The Alchemist…
The Writings of the Buddha…
She’s Come Undone…

You seemed like a woman who needs consistency in her life.

That’s why I’m here every night.

But tonight something different happened.

It was still early, maybe a little before midnight, when a car drove up and parked outside. I waited in my hiding place for whomever it was to scurry off but this person sat in their car for almost ten minutes.

I’m as patient as they come, obviously, but it was starting to bother me. What were they waiting for? The driver of the car could be seen, thanks to a streetlight that captured his pointy features with a sharp honesty. A nose that seemed to eject from his face. Lips that curled in a damaged way. His hair was crumpled and spiked with some kind of modern substance. I could tell the guy was nervous and that he kept looking at her apartment. I knew from taking the back route through the alley that she was in the shower.

What if this person was out to harm my angel?

Eventually the guy got out of his car and rang her doorbell. His jeans were dark and slim and his button down shirt was the type guys with desk jobs wear for interviews. He reached in his pocket and leaned his body at a curve in order to wiggle out the object he was struggling with. I tried to figure out what he had in there. I normally wouldn’t be so brazen but I stood up out of the bush to get a better look, just in case I would have to apprehend the guy single-handily (wouldn’t that be something!) or somebody would need to testify (me), that they saw this suspicious guy ringing her bell and spotted diligently whatever weapon was in his pocket.

He finally freed the thing was stuck in his tight jeans. It was a little box. He stared at it like he didn’t know what it was for a brief moment before the door opened. The remarkable thing is, when she opened the door, she turned and looked right at me. I was certain I had blown my cover, but she didn’t see me at all. Her face had gone flush with recognition and emotion and surprise, but it was for the man standing there with the box. Not me. She looked stunned, and so did he. I was stunned too, holding my breath, standing in the bushes.

Everybody waiting for something to happen…

They then disappeared inside. From where I was stationed I couldn’t see the living room, where they must have went. It was 12:33am. I’ve never stayed while she had company. That was a rule I stuck to religiously. This sort of relationship needs parameters. But this was the first time her company was a man.

I had the feeling this man was the one who made her cry the first night I saw her. It’s been two months! Where was he when it was raining and there was that leak in the ceiling, and she had to use buckets to catch the water in the middle of the night?  Where was he when she came home drunk that night and left the door unlocked? If it had been somebody else, somebody unsavory and criminal, they could have intruded into her house, instead I locked it for her and didn’t even look inside but for a few seconds — just a quick little peek, really.

I had no idea what they were doing in there.

I had to get a closer look.

Which brings me to why I’m telling you all this.

Why I need to explain my actions.

You see, I crept across the street, pass his car, and over to her living room window. Normally I don’t get this close, but this was a special circumstance. She needed me. There was a little space I could wedge into, between a bush and the wall. If I was careful I could peer in from the corner. I moved in quicker then normal prudence dictated but this was an emergency.

They were on the couch. He had his spindly arms wrapped around her and she was squirming in his clutch. Her face was buried in his shoulder but it looked like she was crying.

I always carry a knife. Because you never know.

Even though I didn’t have a plan I took it out. With my back on the wall I shimmied along the wall for a better look when I accidentally rubbed the garden faucet, turning it on. Water began slowly cascading down my back.

Damn it!

This might be a sign that I should run. I should take off right now and call it all a loss. But that’s not what warriors do. If this man was going to commit Evil I couldn’t let some soggy trousers defeat me.

I stayed and fought.

First I had to shut off the water. I couldn’t turn around so I groped for the handle blindly and couldn’t locate it. It continued to drench me as I listened for a sign that I’ve been detected. I could hear them talking, but it didn’t sound like it was about me, so I carefully twisted my body so I could find the damn handle and shut off the faucet, but now I was crouching in a giant mud puddle. I had to do something.

He could be murdering her right this instant.

I took a gamble and went around to the side where it was exposed to the neighbors. I didn’t care. I had to act. When I got to the window I stopped and laid my body flat against the wall and then turned my neck, so I could see  in.

They were on the couch still. Kissing. Her hand was cupped around the back of his head like a bowling ball. It was disgusting.

I was stunned. After all I’ve done. It felt like a butcher took a cleaver to my heart and turned it into giblets. All the time I’ve stayed here and watched over her. Those nights she cried and I wanted to hurt whoever did this to her, and here he was, defiling her before me. The disrespect!

A rage molested my soul and a desire to plunge my knife into this man’s chest possessed me. I was beside myself, this is truly important here, I was not me. I confess. I was hurt. There was something burning inside me that was unleashed and the burning was spreading and it lusted to burn to everything down. It wasn’t fair that he should come back and steal her away.

I decided to break in. I admit this. Only to prove to you how hurt I was. So you understand why I did what I did. Right then I was going to hurl my body through the window. But I stopped when I was blinded by a ring glinting on her finger. And then saw the inside of the box had a satin lining.

I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do now. My mind was tumbling like a horrible lottery wheel where the balls always land penniless and while I was putting the last pieces together, I noticed that she was looking right at me, and she was smiling.

That’s when I knew it was over between us.

And so I left.

But before I left I slit his tires. Popped holes in the rubber so wide I heard the air hissing out. Not out of malice, you see, but to make sure he didn’t leave this time. It was the final act of my perfect love.

Don’t tell anybody.

The Knock on the Head From Just Above the Sun Apocalypse

We rummage like raccoons in the garbage can night.
Waving our lit cigarettes around for punctuation.
You’re my favorite habit worn like a drunken nun.
See how the embers write this in cancerous light?

I’m a fast fading constellation — make a wish,
before we shoot past the horizon.
Come kiss my gills — half man/half fish.
Come lick my lips — half haunting.

My life raft popped a hole
when you jumped in
in high heels, pole-vaulting
the other women…

Because you said I was a gentleman,
I was totally smitten.

But I was just talking
about the things
that just came out.
The planet and my skin
and backgammon.
Words trundling out
like guest beds
you jumped in
like a carnival ball pit.
We were all in…
running to Vegas
and the

When the
pen goes to papyrus
the platypus
goes nuts
we all
platitudes of

Have a good day,
take care,
keep in touch,
I love you,
and all that..

Sent a postcard
to my old address,
I turned up and took it in
with a brand new kitten
and a BMW.

Rosy cheeks and ochre umbrage
just another side effect of the

We were intertwined
like social media marketing

And I ‘liked’ it all.



Roller Skating Boogie Bone Ballad

Sex with wolves. My ex is from Bruges. I’m a xylophone,
waiting for a dial tone. I break the rules. I date a xenophobe,
messed up on hemoglobin and bowls of Xanax and panic.
We’re both dust creatures seeking symptoms of stimuli,
and a nice lullaby. I’m the fall guy, blue neon, tall guy.

Bringing snow chains to the party, we’re lost in the Mardi Gras
foi gras, grass skirt, fashionable undershirt of a world gone bezerk.
I’m a lasting impression in a glass jar, flamaldehyde heart. Testoserone
dart at the lovely part in your hair, where the blonde and the blonde
and the blonde go blind.

Look inside me but not enough to make you queasy.

Roller skating blues singer without a band.

I’m an emergency lane clogged with Daquiri. Apathy is a hat for me.
I’m a latch key masterpiece with razor sharp faculties. But a little cold
at 35 degrees. I’m a parka in the Keys, more heel than Achilles. Call me silly,
but don’t text me. I’m restless and sexy. Do me a favor and murder
my tendencies, a little bit underneath the sink, please.
I reach my peak and then…

Fountain pen. Mountain men. Counting Yen.
Do me a favor and knock again. I’m a repeating non-pattern,
second ring of Saturn. Holy smokes, you weren’t joking,
that’s some ego you’re toking. Awoken like Tolkien.
I’m a garage door and a lot more. Figurative pie in the sky.
This is the most beautiful place I can think of to die.

Dancing in delirium, dining on venison.

I dedicate this
to the waitress
who brought my drink
and gave a kiss

I’m going to keep loving you
until we both Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Alphabet Poop

Version 2

Playing Catch with Dogs

The point of acupuncture is to take your issues, your ailment, whatever it is, and poke it, just stab the problem to death, I told her. I had no idea if that was the point of acupuncture or if her question was about acupuncture. Was I just talking about acupuncture for no reason? I had completely forgotten. She looked at me like it didn’t matter and we kept walking. That’s what I love about her.

She’s fearlessly ambivalent. About everything.

It was the fifth of July. We were halfway around the world.

We found a little trail through the trees down to the lake. We followed it without talking, giving in to the lulling sounds of nature as bats emerged from the nearby hillside caves to feast on insects while golden sun rays flooded the lake to paint it copper, the air tropical and loud. In the distance a bald mountaintop poked thrown a crown of luscious trees. Dusk wore a magical coat making even a dragonfly transcendent and unreal, helicopter wings beating back time.

I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now.

“Do you know what they’re serving at the lodge later?” She asked.

I didn’t know.

We had been dating for a year now. Her dog has toys at my house.

We were supposed to fly back tomorrow, cross the International Date Line.

I thought about time-space and those old Einstein theories. “People cross paths with each other at a time when it’s impossible for them not to meet,” I told her. “Like, we’re these different planets that were slowly brought together by each others gravity. And Bali was created just for us and was always here waiting.”

There was a mongoose in the bushes that had caught her attention. I stopped and watched it with her. She never answered me.



We’re alone until we can’t stand it. Then we’re together until we can’t stand it.

This was painted in black on a wall in an alley in Oslo, Norway. It was a snowy day. It stood out from all the white around it. I don’t think the neighborhood cared that it was there. It looked old. There were trash cans next to it. Politely set to the side. I have no idea why this piece of graffiti sticks out in my mind. This was last April.

I’m different now.


There was a piece of chewing gum sitting on the table. It was still in its wrapper. I hate gum. Can’t stand gum. Never eat it.

But if this was going to be my last meal…

I looked at the man blocking the door and then at the chewing gum, then back to the man and back to the chewing gum, as if to say, ‘Is it cool?’

He nodded, as if to say, ‘It’s cool.’

That’s how I knew it was poisoned…

I looked at it closer and didn’t recognize the brand. Then I looked at the man blocking the door and I knew that he knew that I knew it was poisoned. So we just kinda looked at each other for a minute.

Do you like chewing gum? He asked, but in a dickheadish way, the kind of way somebody who is holding you hostage and offering you poisoned chewing gum would ask.

No, I don’t, I told him.



So, should I start crying now? I asked at the end of her rant.

She stared past me like watching somebody leave the room.

I’m not trying to be a dickhead, I just don’t know what to do. You always tell me I do the wrong thing, I explained.

You can’t win with her.

You know what’s the wrong thing, she started to say.


Never mind. It’s just not worth it.

She got up and closed herself in the bedroom.

I wondered if this was about the damn dog again.


There was a red shoe on the floor. I didn’t know whose red shoe it was. It made no sense. Was it already here? Should I notify somebody of the red shoe? Should I send an email?

What do you think? I asked him.

Does it matter right now? Sven yelled. He was wearing his Vans with the palm trees on them, the sirens screaming now. Let’s not debate this. Let’s go! He jumped up and down like he had to pee.

The sun streamed through the shutters, throwing bars of light across the floor. I walked over to the window and looked out one last time. There was a couple in the park. The girl walking ahead of the guy. I closed the shutters and the room became beige and lumpy, a light like porridge. We were on the third floor and would have to take the stairs to avoid the lobby.

You’re right, I told him. I grabbed the red shoe just to be safe and put it in my bag. Then I quietly shut the door behind us. I don’t think we’re going to get the deposit.


If you could be an animal on a totem pole, which animal would you be?

I wouldn’t want to be an animal on a totem pole.

I know. But if you were, say, the tribe forced you. They told you, ‘Pick! Either raccoon, trout, or eagle or we kill your whole family.’

They’re going to kill my whole family?


And, really, those are the three choices? I asked her.

Yeah, she said.

What tribe?

The tribe you’re a part of, silly.

I hated when she played these games.

Okay, trout, I said.


Yeah. Trout.


That night after we made love she asked if I wanted to redo my answer, she also added chipmunk and moose to the equation. Are you sure you want to keep trout? She asked.

I told her yes.


Easy Street is a 2-way street; just because you’re going one direction doesn’t mean you won’t be coming back the other some day. He was good for sayings like that. My pops. The thing with crowds, he’d tell me, is nobody knows what’s going on and everybody is looking for somebody who does. He never told me what to do with this knowledge, but last I heard about him he was in jail for pick-pocketing, so there’s that.


I wonder if dogs know how nice it is they let us play catch with them.


When she hit orgasm she emitted a little yip, like the single pluck of a steel guitar. It was a very distinct sound. It had been some time since I thought about that little yip. Last night I heard it. It was unmistakable. A one-second vibration buried in an afro-jazz tune. I always waited for her to cum before I finished. It was my trigger. Always. Last night was no different.

I was with my boss Doug discussing next week’s sales campaign. We were eating Ethiopian food in the Fairfax District. Eating with our hands.

It was weird.


If you could invent Los Angeles again would you?

What do you mean? I asked her. How would I change it?

No. You leave it the same, she insisted. What I’m asking is: if you were given a choice, whether this Los Angeles exists or it returns to fields of whatever, what would you say? Would you say yes to Los Angeles or to fields of whatever?

Yes to Los Angeles, I told her without thinking.

She was satisfied with the answer and continued with her adult coloring book, but now I remembered merging onto freeway on-ramps into a blood-red sea of brake lights; and that awkward moment when you’re deciding if the person in line behind you at the ATM is a criminal; or how somebody has to pick up the rental chairs at the end of the party, also, usually it’s a family, little kids there, too, working while everybody else is drunk and babbling and dribbling drinks like broken lawn sprinklers; or how an alley of shattered glass can look pretty, but only if it’s a collection of differently colored bottles, not just the clear ones, but green Heineken and brown Pacifico too, all of them finely glinting like deposits of precious stones… you throw your bottle and I’ll throw mine, that’s the only way to make this place work, if we all fuck it up together, I think to myself and immediately realize what I’ve done: how hard it is to walk upwind when the Santa Ana’s are blowing and how it’s a bittersweet miracle that we’re all here, nobly persevering through night sweats and movie premieres, seven million of us, placed together in tenuous tether of infinite chance and grit and drive and tectonic woe and I’m responsible. I’m the mother of Los Angeles.

After that, I decide I won’t ever answer another one of her crazy questions.


I don’t get it! What is the Barometric Code? This dude asked.

I never heard of that, I told him.

Oh, probably why I don’t get it.

Do you mean barometric pressure? I asked.

Never mind. It’s in Nebraska anyway.

(I’ve seen him in the neighborhood a bunch. This dude. He had a funny way about him.There was a looseness in his limbs that would make you think he lacked actual bones.  And he’d do strange shit; like confuse the color brown with the concept of dirt. If you said, ‘I like your brown shirt,’ he’d think you were calling his shirt dirty. He swears ketchup is mayonnaise¹ and mustard mixed together. That type of shit. But sometimes he’s right. He once warned me not to eat spinach he could smell something weird on it and a week later there was a salmonella recall on the news. Then again, he once warned me that dogs were an alien species and they were secretly brainwashing their owners. He told me playing catch was their way of getting us outside where their ships could hack into our minds. He’s a funny dude.)

Are you going to be there later? He shouted, walking diagonally across the lawn.

I was going to ask him where but he was already waving me off, as if I wouldn’t understand anyway.

  1. Mayonnaise does not look like it should be spelled the way it is. The way it’s spelled looks like it should be a planet in a horrible space movie, in the Galaxy Marmalade. I don’t trust it. And don’t put Mayo on the label. Mayo isn’t a real thing.


The Papaya Tree

With one pebble, one ripple,
one wave,
the ocean moves, shorelines erode,
highways disappear.

There’s always something else,
something more, I crave,
everything I want is right here,
right now. Inside me.

One line, one poem,
one heartbeat.

I’ve known angels and demons
and roller coaster rides.
I’ve sailed into sea caves and
gone to sleep on silk sheets,
but I’m happiest when I’m typing
one word.


I’ve chased money and women and drugs.
Looking for love in the weirdest of places.
Didn’t know all along it was behind my breastplate.
The best case scenario: I’m late to my funeral.

The wind sighs. Lungs winterize.
My eyes conspire. Mind pacifier.
No longer a seek-or-hider.

Spoiler alert. Twist ending.
I’m the thing I was chasing.

Each tree, every branch, and
all the leaves are a manifestation
of the sun and the rain
and the Earth
and me,
in the shade,
reading a book,
writing a poem,
dreaming about a pill
of memory, a hit of love,
a shot of divinity, an absolute
moment where everything comes
together perfect and pure,
a purple sky,
a parade of stars,
the point on the end
of the sword
plunging into
the abyss…

Oh, cruel beauty,
photogenic monster,
this schizophrenic symphony
of pleasure and pain and mundane
Mondays through sundry Sundays
have me swivel-necked and Twizzler-dicked;
superfluous poetics stuffed in my pockets have me
weighted like anchors and juvenile gangsters
with a gun stashed in their waistlines.

I’m carried away by the slightest touch,
whether a fist or lips, they both leave bruises,
one disappears and one’s invisible. So hand me the thorn
or hand me the rose, they both come from the same
cold ground, where I stand, on tulips and tombstones,
humbled and heroic, looking for a hymn to hum.

A song to sing.

A singer, a singular lyric, a note that makes me tremble before
this bliss and madness, the all-encompassing everything,
the cloudless days and the mist, transpiring into a
typewriter ribbon spelling out…
this is all I have and this is all I need
as mourning doves settle on the wire, and nighthawks
sleep in submersible serenades, I wax moon-spun
tales of my eternal, infinite being and the dementia
of its spiraling shadow. They dance together,
tangoing underneath the papaya tree,
for 16,000 years or a half second,
it’s all the same in a

There are 8 billion of us, but there is just one me.

I’m everything I’ve been looking for.


Square. Circle.