I helped clean the church building today

because we needed cleansing.

We also moved rocks from one place to another

like Sisyphus

or Cool Hand Luke,

because we committed cosmic treason (yet we are pardoned).


At a local cemetery, I read the gravestones of renowned men

but I had never heard of any of them.

Made me ponder the silliness of everyone’s opinions.


I walked, like an apparition, among the grounds of the art museum

in the city: a man played 600-hundred-year-old songs for me on a lute;

Italian or Spanish pieces.

We were under a shade tree, which was under the sun,

which was under heaven.

The lute player and I were under heaven

as the songs’ aroma ascended.


I played guitar, sang, worked on my own songs (I am finding them).


Later that evening, I went to listen to a woman sing like Billie Holliday.

The doorman told me the place was full

and he invited me to sit at a table with him outside along the sidewalk.


We talked for hours about





and the people who feel entitled to be let inside the venue,

the interesting characters he encounters as a doorman,

how today’s weather is great –

and how tomorrow’s weather will be even better.  


At one of the other tables outside

is a group of young people.

One of them is dressed like Zorro:

black flat-brimmed hat, black coat,

black pants. Theatrical,




He is the loudest one at their table.

But I think he is not actually saying anything.

There is a quiet one – I want to hear that one talk.

I want to know what that person is thinking.


Isn’t that the way of it?


So many words,

so little said.

So much volume,

so little substance.

Taking so much space,

yet so empty.


There are people like this.


Do they puff themselves up because they know

there is actually nothing in them?


Must they sound bigger than they are because they feel small?


Minor infirmities are portrayed as life-threatening events,

skirmishes are spoken of as wars,

missteps are framed as utter failures.


Everything they say must be theatrical and inflated,

much like their thoughts.


Eventually, however,

the play ends –

whether it is I, II, or III Acts.

The audience goes home,

the curtain falls,

and the theatre of the small-minded wind-maker

is acknowledged as the mere distraction it always was.


The conversation with the doorman comes back to mind:

today’s weather is great

and tomorrow’s will be even better.  



“24 and One-Half Addresses” – An impressionistic poem about places I have lived…




Antebellum ghost walking down the hallway,

our bodies were replaced.



“H” Street,

I strummed a guitar for the first time,

fell in love with a dark-haired, elusive stranger.



Across the street from city hall,

broken glass fell from the sky,

cut the bridge of my nose.



Monterey green,


fountain poured over me.



Moved across the country,

tobacco barn smoke prayers,

half-blood wolf picks up my scent.



El Dorado,

but there was no gold,

only sensual emptiness.



Train tracks,

red mud,

tried to break away from her.




lost a child,





house on a lake,

hope and prospects.




medicine, broken bones, pinched nerves,

6 months in purgatory.



I met you in purgatory,

does that mean you were the darkness that surrounded me,

or the penny in my coffer?



We became reluctant neighbors,

I saw you making a blanket,

was it to warm or smother me?



Three neighbors,

you and I wrestled with each other,

first born son entered stage left.



We planted flowers,

our son tried to consume the earth,

then we all moved far away.



First island home,

ocean and typhoons,

we tried so hard to prevent the gale from tearing us apart.



Second island home,

waterfall down the stairs,

geckos, coconut crabs, our children danced in the rain.



Back in the mainland,

we finished our indentured servitude,

but go where and do what?



Landing spot just for starters,

accepted labor at white collar sweatshop,

we were so pressed and desperate.



Flew like birds to the West,

emerald city atop a hill,

seeds of resentment planted.



Little white house on acreage,

the summer burned us,

I left you behind while I found our wages.



First home that we called our own,

you never liked it, then cancer,

more resentment.



We decided to keep it weird,

little swimming pool across the street,

we could hear our neighbors making love.



We got lucky and found a nice place,

the woodwork was lovely and meth heads abounded,

the town felt like a beautiful, sweet cupcake hovering over Hades.



Back at the start of the trail together,

looking for breathing room and freedom from oppressors,

we found that we are our own oppressors.



We are two halves again and no longer one,

you departed to grasp at that fire-licked cupcake,

I am out of purgatory.




I’ve been to Oklahoma
and I’ve been to L.A.
but these places are the same
when no one knows your name
I’m a stranger
yes, I’m a stranger
who’s getting stranger
I’ve been to Portland, Oregon
and I’ve been to Kansas City
but they’re really quite the same
when no one knows your name
I’m stranger
yes, I’m a stranger
who’s getting stranger
I’ve been all over the world
doesn’t matter where I’ve been
these places are the same
when no one knows your name
I’m stranger
yes, I’m a stranger
who’s getting stranger
I think that I will move
and go live on the moon
and maybe I will see
some people just like me
and we’ll be strangers
yes, we’ll be strangers
getting stranger
getting stranger
getting stranger