How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Friday, August 30, 2013


It never ends.
There's no way
to stop it.

All you can do
is ignore it
hope for the best

and try to live
your life as if
as if
as if


An old man's thoughts
if publicly revealed
would provide evidence for
a dark comic core
at the foundation of
human experience.

This is why old men
prefer to shut up
and instead mumble
to themselves with
private jokes that
crack them up.

This is why old men
are dangerous.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New book

  Round Bend Press will publish A Majority of One: Poems 2012-3 on October 26, which is my 74th birthday. Also alma mater v. alma mater on the grid iron, UCLA (BA) v. Oregon (MFA).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Magic Wand

If I had a magic wand
I'd wave it once and all religions
would disappear. No churches,
no sects, no priests, no sacred texts.
But there would be reverence and awe
for the universe, a mystery so profound
that life was driven by respect for it.

If I had a magic wand
I'd wave it twice and sex would change
humans would reproduce with
a mating cycle. Out of the cycle
sexual energy would be diminished
reduced to a handshake, a hug
casual contact that did not inspire armies
or create jealousies and revenge.

If I had a magic wand
I'd wave it thrice and couples
would mate for life as friends
infidelity a betrayal of friendship
and rare because friends cannot be
replaced with casual relationships
friends are soul mates to be treasured
as part of the mystery of existence.

If I had a magic wand
I'd wave it four times and progress
would become a dirty word because
it is linear and growth is cyclical.
Change happens in a context of
mystery, not something to be figured out
but celebrated in song and poetry
in behavior and making love
in gratitude and awe.

If I had a magic wand
I'd wave it again and again.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Metaphor For My Life

Each morning before sunrise
I move through the dark house
in small, careful steps
trying not to bump into anything
trying not to knock over anything
and gaining no confidence whatever
from the hundreds and hundreds of times
I've done this before

Saturday, August 10, 2013

End Game Anxiety

How much more pleasant my present would be
if my future were not filled with such possibility
for stress and conflict and alienation.

Maybe the gods will intervene and once again
give me gifts I don't deserve, in this case
my own Get Out Of Jail Free card
a quick clean painless passing
but probably not.

Instead I'll get some eventually terminal disease
that my doctor will combat with all the latest wonders
and the prognosis will be good and bad and good again
in this medical dance that has become the American
way of death, which I'm expected to embrace, of course
in this age of medical miracles.

Stop the presses!
I ain't dancing.
Once the music begins, once the ending is clear,
I'm leaving the party - and leaving really pissed
because I'm not getting the party I deserve
the party we all deserve.

Death should be institutionalized as a celebration
of life. Throw me a farewell wake, make me the guest
of honor as we celebrate my deeds and my family and friends
my joys and my blessings, celebration and gratitude
so my passing gets put in proper perspective.
Then let medical supervision make sure I pass
just as a gift of the gods would have it.

But no, if I leave the party, the American way of death,
I leave alone, like some feared rodent, some killer
of precious ideologies, some crazy man who must
retreat into an isolated corner to take care of business
as best I can without support, without good wishes,
bang bang, and what should have been a celebration
becomes an ugly mess that somebody has to clean up.

Lew Welch was right.
e. e. cummings was right.
Lord Byron was right.
D. H. Lawrence was right.
And I'm right, too.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Morning and Night

I love the mornings and I hate the nights.
I rise before the solar light
has reached the sky, before the race
to cut a deal has turned the grace
of silence into noise, the horns,
the brakes, the angry shouts of scorn.
I rise as all my neighbors sleep.

I don't know what it is that keeps
me thinking of the past, a time
when poverty was not a crime
(since buying now defines the man
and life is an installment plan).
I know this longing has no use,
this melancholy no excuse.

Who thought the blessing of old age
would be to miss a future page
on which is written terrible news
of suffering and paying dues?
You couldn't pay me to be young.
The race is run. The songs are sung.
I love the mornings, and I hate the nights.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Writing Life II: Tentative suspicions

The Writing Life II: Tentative suspicions:

'via Blog this'

In my present mindset

In my present mindset
I can't remember much
about those distant days
when I laughed so much
more than I laugh today.

I never paid attention to
the news or events in the world
my universe was very close
at hand my friends the actors
who performed whatever mattered.

My friends are dead.
The news ignored them
but took their place with
nothing to laugh at.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


 Thinking about death
 is running in place
 in the marathon of life

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hard To Believe

I find it hard to believe that this world
has always been as screwed up as it is
today and it's the media alone that make
everything so visible to us now.

I find it hard to believe that the entire
history of mankind is one of ignorance,
arrogance, cruelty, greed and gullibility,
which is what the media tell us endlessly,
24/7, ad nauseam, "and now the news."

I find it hard to believe that you and I
can't sit down and have a civil conversation
despite whatever differences in politics,
religion and life-philosophy we may have.

I find it hard to believe that I am writing this
with considerable doubt and wishful thinking
but I am.