How I Greeted The New Year

It’s less than two hours into 2022

I’m playing guitar outside under the public shelter by the beach

and out of the corner of my eye

I see two silhouettes – a man and woman walk out of the night

and I thought to play them a song I thought they might know

Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) by Green Day

I played that song as well as I have ever played it

I saw the man get down on one knee

then I looked away

the same reaction I have to passing car accidents on the highway

I’m no rubbernecker

I have seen marriage proposals go south

but when I was done playing the song the man yelled to me, “She said yes!”

“Congratulations!” I automatically yelled back

and then his silhouette walks across the shelter until it appears in the flesh before me

sitting cold and alone two hours after midnight New Year’s Eve

and I get a look at this kid now under the light

and though he is sporting a moustache

he can’t be more than nineteen years old

and now I feel both flattered and guilty that I could have helped inspire the kid’s


and I look at the kid’s face

and he is smiling like I can’t remember the last time I smiled like that

and either he knows something I don’t

or he is an idiot

and when I see his baby face in the light thanking me

for playing one of his favorite songs

I wanted to apologize and warn him that he was making a terrible mistake

and he shouldn’t let simple sentimentalities such as New Year’s Eve

and a silly song by Green Day define the rest of his life

then I see the young man’s smile

bright as the last star to cling to the dawning sky

and I suspend disbelief for the sake of romance, New Year’s

and the hope in this young man’s eyes reminds me why I write poetry in the first place.

Kicking and Screaming

That’s the scariest part

the start

not knowing where you’re going

not knowing where you’ve been

only knowing you are into something bigger than you’ve ever seen

babies come into this world crying

but who knows how you’ll go out

I hope giggling

and isn’t that the advantage of death over life-

we can always choose death

but, does a newborn choose life?

Aren’t we just due to be born one day?

And when you die-

at least you can draw from some memories-

you had to know it was coming eventually

even if death caught you by surprise

imagine the surprise a baby feels opening her eyes to this world for the first time

dying is easy

comedy is hard.

Life Gets 3 Stars on Amazon

Imagine life was something you bought on Amazon

and you could rate it

would you give life five stars?

we would want to

but on most nights, no

so on those four, three, two and one star nights

we pray to that five star hotel up there

to let us climb this fire-escape from this inferno below

to go from the words of Homer to Thoreau

The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

What if everything we’ve read is a work of fiction?

The Bible, The Inferno, The Bhagavad Gita

all written by mad men novelists

pawning themselves off as memoirists

then who are we praying to?

what are we rating?

nothing and everything is relative to nothing

when everything is nothing

and I rate life three stars-

good show, but I know there must be something more-

meaning I can’t wait for the sequel

How a Two Year Old Sees Death (Why Some People Don’t Wear Masks)

I lost 45 pounds this year

attacking myself

beating myself up

running till the verge of heart attack

I throw myself at dangerous situations like a two year old

throws himself at death

leaping from the banister trusting someone will be there to catch me

I get death is out there


not yet

not for me

death is someone else’s problem when you’re two

I haven’t lost that optimism

I’ve just lost that innocence

I should know better

after gaining 45 years

and 45 pounds

now I know where gravity goes

so momentum is ultimately against me

but still in this still science

I resign myself

to gravity

knowing enough not to fight it

but go with it-

we don’t intentionally hitch hike in the wrong direction

do we?

That Split Second Before We Open Our Eyes

And then again when the membrane between us and them

is as thin as skin when you and me become we

that split second before we choose to be

or choose not to be waking to reality

where we are free to dream

till we see the gleam

and we open our eyes

is simply training for when we are free not to be

and eventually the light at the end of this tunnel will be a train

taking us to this afterlife’s refrain


when we cash in that capital gain

we’ll stop referring to this domain as our “afterlife”

just life

At Least Bad Poetry Can’t Be Quarantined

Being cooped up in your apartment for weeks comes naturally when you’re a writer.
I’ve been practising social distancing since high school.
Back then I was a nerd when I said I couldn’t go out because I had to stay home and write.
Now I sound smart.
Now I am writing and I’m missing my friends and family.
I saw my mom today from the prescribed two meters away. It was the first time in my life that I did not hug or kiss my mom hello or good bye.
What the hell have we come to?
This is the difference between writing and living.
This is the mucosa between wrapped in a dream and a comforter a second after the alarm sounds.
This is the placenta between not knowing you’re drooling in your sleep and rolling over and waking face first in that pool of drool.
This is the distance swimming the lake when it’s ten miles to either side and like newborns, we just keep kicking.

Why We Walked Out of the Sea

When we swim in waves of thoughts that are not our own
when we see our bodies are only on loan
we won’t fear where we’re going
when we don’t fear where we’ve come from
like sticking your ear against a conch shell to hear the ocean
in the middle of the desert