Saturday, October 30, 2010

My People

My people are out there somewhere
Refusing to be judgmental.

My people are out there somewhere
Waiting to embrace me.

My people are out there somewhere
And I know that they will understand.

My people are out there somewhere –
They will have respect for who I am.

My people are out there somewhere –
They will get my sense of humor.

My people are out there somewhere…
But I can’t say when they’ll find me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Information through
a wire with no hub.
Signals that come close
yet never are received.
Messages that go on and on for years
To dissipate in space.
Busy signals ringing,
Numbers out of service.
This, all is now,
My ventricles and veins;
a bureaucracy of cables,
satellites and cells
coursing toward my heart
to mix with blood and
make me an automaton.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dead Deer on the Curb of Route 30

You saw the highway
And you thought that you might run it.

The cars would swerve and jackknife
As you leapt safely toward adjacent trees.

But, whether it was your reflexes that failed you
Or the sheer weight behind the semi’s speed

The tires cracked through bone like egg
And knocked you lifeless on your side.

Now, with copious last thoughts
The world will pass you by.

As commuters turn their heads
You remember being beautiful.

Running through the fields, past yards
And over rolling hills…

Stealing apples as the
Children pointed, gasped in awe…

Days on grass instead of stone;
Nights with breeze and not exhaust…

        Someone’s loading you inside a pickup
And slicing through your gut.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beloit Poetry Journal

I can't be sure why but I felt very heartened by a rejection letter for some poetry I submitted. Perhaps it's because it appeared that though they couldn't use it they enjoyed and took the time to read what I sent.  Either way, I would like to send out a sincere thank you to Mr. Rosenwald and the Beloit Poetry Journal.

Dear Benjamin Ditmars:

We shall not be using your manuscript. Thank you, however, for giving us the opportunity to consider it. I enjoyed your "Reality Check."


John Rosenwald, Co-editor

Friday, October 22, 2010

Better Man

There was a spider that
I wish I killed.

It was on her and
I backed away.

Should have been a better man.

There were times
Where I was selfish.

I could have offered
Her a drink.

Should have been a better man.

There were nights I
Didn’t call.

And now the
Phone sits still.

Should have been a better man.

There are things that
I regret –

Things remaining in
My thoughts

That speak to doubts
And tell me, always…

Should have been a better man
Should have been a man at all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Coaxing

We never blast a planet off the charts. The paperwork would be horrendous. What we do instead, when one is in the way of something, is slowly turn the heat up. The inhabitants will blame themselves, or better yet, each other. Old tensions rise to the surface and boil over. A gun is fired, wars begin and then… extinction. It sounds simpler than it really is.

One planet, I’m not naming names, took longer than the rest but eventually succumbed. These apes were under the delusion of civility. Philosophers and artists convinced their silly little brains other creatures were below them. But clearly they were no more empathetic than a lion feasting off an antelope or an anaconda slowly strangling a child. The taking of a life for food paled in comparison to them destroying every single eco-system that they touched.

So how did we accomplish our goal? They found ways to cope with the heat. Better cars were driven, less electricity and water wasted. But our trump card was as it had always been the glaciers. Releasing these, the illusions of grandeur so pitifully clung to had begun to disappear. Currents stopped, temperatures dipped dramatically and agriculture ceased.

They tore each other apart. Old dominions of vested power fell to the strongest. All that was nuclear was possessed by warlords.

It did not take long for a warlord to threaten another with cataclysmic terms. Naturally, their whole rule based off strength, they could not back down from outrageous demands that went unmet.

As the missiles at long last launched, my company and I felt pity mixed with pride. We had shown them fission in the dessert of New Mexico; we had helped send Sputnik into space. But old doubts still persisted.

How many lives would we destroy for profit? How long before the slow-simmering of apocalypse would finally eat away at us? Thankfully, it was not now, I thought as the last bottle of champagne from the lifeless planet below was poured. I felt rejuvenated, more confident as inebriation sifted through my veins. I was ready once more to face the hundred demolitions left, in our vast measurement of time, before the day was through.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The setting sun
Shines grass and clouds
A purple hue.

The last breaths
Of the condemned
Are purple gasps.

Tulips on the hill
Bloom perfect,
Purple for a while.

But soon are picked
And left to die
Near purple lingerie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The View (Bill O'Reily)

Whoopie Goldberg and Joy Behar, in the above clip, made two unforgivable errors.  The first being that though they disagreed with their guest the fact remains he was their guest.  If they could not handle him they should not have had him on the show.  O'Reily's reputation as a right-wing personality has never been in question.

Secondly, they made what should have been a solid argument for freedom or religion and worship look irrational.  O'Reily used figures that were rationally disputable.  If seventy-percent of Americans do not want the mosque near ground zero it still doesn't matter.  The constitution spoke blantanly against mob-rule.  Individual liberties being sacrificed for public passions is a dangerous precedent to set.

Whoopie Goldberg and Joy Behar let emotion get the better of them, doing disservice to any good ideas they brought forth.  They mentioned Muslims killed during 9/11 but failed to elaborate.  What they should have said when O'Reily blamed Muslims for 9/11 was that they were extremists in much the same way Fred Phelps, whom protests military funerals because he thinks America is too friendly to gay people, is a Christian equivalent.  Those violent individuals, using the worst of religious ideology clearly do not represent an entire faith nor should it infringe upon said faith's right to worship, especially when the imam has long been a voice of tolerance.

The crux of O'Reily's argument was not the illegality, however but the wisdom of building the mosque.  This easily could have been debated by Whoopie or Joy as well.  The mosque expansion is blocks away from Ground Zero.  There are a plethora of other buildings, with a strip club even being about the same distance.  Manhattan is crowded and far from sacred ground.  You don't get to pick and choose locations so much in a city that congested.  So, if the space they have in Manhattan is the place they have and their numbers are growing it is only logical to want an expansion.  There wouldn't be a question if they were Jewish, or let's say Christian.  But somehow every Muslim is responsible for 9/11, despite those that died in the twin towers and despite those fighting in our armed forces and despite those who are more patriotic than anyone condemning the freedoms in the constitution.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Canine Human Reversal

The greyhound sentenced me to death. A pitbull sheriff had brought me in the other night. I can’t be sure what I’d done wrong. All I know is I was searching through the garbage for some food a Chihuahua family threw away when a Pomeranian had spotted me. Its bark rang out across the city, alerting the authorities. A human on the streets must be up to no good.

Bulldog guards ran from all directions to pin me down. I was dragged to a rickety, wood wagon. From there, a team of haggard humans pulled it forward. Whenever anyone of them slowed down they were bitten and scratched quite brutally.

I can’t remember much after that. My head had hit a tire rim. All I recall is waking inside a dank cell with forty other humans. Occasionally a mastiff passed outside on patrol.

The humans appeared famished and dehydrated. Some had wounds from fights they had gotten into with each other. Any food provided apparently was fought for brutally.

I didn’t have an owner; things looked grim.

In seventy-two hours a volunteer Dachshund would administer lethal injection. Some did not even make it that far, being dragged off mere hours after arrival. Even if their masters had come, they stood little chance against the odds.

Twenty-four hours passed. I had gotten a few bites of food that fell from a stronger human’s mouth.

Forty-eight hours passed. The only drink I had was sweat and what dripped off after others had secured their share of water. They had no compassion to share.

Seventy-one, seventy-one-and-a-half, seventy-one-and-three-quarters… I was granted a hearing. They were to determine if I was fit for adoption. A pug-child and her mother had thought I looked endearing.

The trial commenced. My lawyer was a Cocker Spaniel named Toby. He was black with a white chest and seemed largely indifferent to my plight.

“The court is now in session,” said a Great Dane atop his chair.

“This human,” began Toby “is an innocent dim-witted creature but deserves the compassion of those far better.”

I thought more was coming but that was all he said. Evidence passed from the prosecution to the judge in the mouth of a Newfoundland bailiff. He looked it over with a countenance inspiring little confidence.

“Let the record show,” a chocolate Labrador stated, “This human was roaming the streets without proper tags. He could have given innocent families any amount of disease or injury in his confused state. The only rational course is execution. I ask the jury to see the wisdom of our laws and not cave to outlandish emotional displays from the defense.”

“I believe,” said the judge, “he intended no harm. Therefore, I’m releasing him into the custody of –“

He never finished. A messenger came in to tell the judge the girl had picked another human. And I, out of time with no prospective buyers was strapped to a cold desk where the needle pierced my arm, sending me to darkness.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Catholic Schoolgirl

A maroon jumper
Kneesocks and Oxford Collars;
Catholic Schoolgirl.*

Learning algebra and hyms
As well as ten commandments;
Catholic Schoolgirl.

Mouthing off to nuns-
Being forced to say hail mary's;
Catholic Schoolgirl.

The sisters, fathers
Her Extended family;
Catholic schoolgirl.
*first stanza by Danielle Wolff

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


How did my heart become this bloody mess?
Who were the hammers, who were the nails?

Surely, some were steel, slicing through aorta
As others were the pounding catalysts for all my woes.

What are they, where are they now?
I imagine they’re enjoying bloody Mary’s
In my torn up ventricles.

They’ve made a sail from fibrous tissues
To move their way throughout my body.

The laughter hits my lungs and brain,
Echoes toward the deepest parts of me.

Every time I walk I feel their ridicule
And the holes bored in my chest.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Sipping cider is like drinking Fall –
The leaves, the breeze and decorations.

Imagine falling in a pumpkin patch
From clouds of snow.

The browns of drying corn
That mix with balding trees.

White-patched grass
Still showing hints of green.

Children below are searching
For the perfect jack-o-lantern.

And you – are hurdling
Toward the light-up witches,

Skeletons, tombstones and coffin
Where Dracula is hiding

Waiting to pop out when a
Five-year-old decides to pass.

But… before you hit
You realize you are out of cider.

The Experiment of Life

It seems when things are going right
We forget how precious this experiment in life is.

Our cells divide a million times
Before we blink

As we drink our morning coffee
It becomes a part of DNA

Spiraling in a helix toward
Our irises and fingertips.

A billion cell-divisions can be flawless yet
One reaction forms a tumor,

Cyst, or cancer cell
To slowly unravel threads of life

Spun with such precision
In the body’s apex.

That tomorrow every organ,
Every function is capable of halting –

Like an engine that’s begun to smoke
And swiftly overheats –

Shows the futility in petty grievances
And postponed dreams.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


You can play my fast money
Fertilize my Farmville.

Go ahead and poke me
But be gentle.

Leave a smile,
Like a photo.

We can stay friends
Or select the option for relationship.

Our first date can be a Youtube clip
With popcorn and the internet.

We’ll share a box of candy
From the image off a bumper sticker.

As I stare longingly into your Facebook pic
We’ll colon-dash-asterisk goodnight.

Until it’s complicated and
We’re single.

I Remember Being Friends

I remember being friends. Things were different then and so were we. Sure, the world was fucked – it’s always been – but we could deal. Now, you’re there and I’m here. We’re the parallel lines the teacher used to talk about; never intersecting and slanted slightly so we drift toward different corners of the grid.

We’re so far off the center that even calculators can never find our dots. Sure, a teenager in Trig might scroll and scroll absentmindedly in a daydream haze but it won’t matter. He’ll only find the faintest trail of something that no longer is and can’t return.

My mind goes back to the last time I saw her. She was in a cap and gown and it seemed as if we’d meet again. But things aren’t always what they seem.

We talked over movies with another friend. I had mistaken one actor for another and felt dumb, but I still smiled. Or maybe I edited a smile in my memory. In retrospect I don’t see how I could have frowned. I was young and I had everything. If I messed up I could just start over and no one would think twice. I believe they call that leeway.

The line. We had to find our spots in it. We waved goodbye and got in place. One by one they shook our hands and sent us to our destiny. I wish now I could have shouted out to them; don’t drive the car two years from now… don’t try the heroine, just stop at weed… don’t marry him he drinks too much.

I’m thankful she turned out all right. It’s always amazing when someone makes all the right choices. She went to graduate school and eventually got married. He’s not the most caring husband but he’s never took a shot at her. More than most can say.

She’s walking to the stage, she’s gotten her diploma. Now she’s climbing down the steps and mixing with the crowd that might as well be the entirety of the world and all the years since.

My turn. I went up and shook hands, the owners of which I can’t recall. I got some paper inside a portfolio that we had prepared ourselves earlier that year. But now I’m too jaded to find any sort of joy in it. It was less a celebration and more the deep breath before the plunge, despite the fact a cute sophomore girl, now living in Japan, had made the effort to call out to me.

I watched the rest of the procession, which seems so artificial in the current light. It was like some sort of living funeral, as we suffered through kind words and then, the burial. The principle, teachers were pallbearers that carried us to graves with the epitaph reality.

The last student descended and all took to the crowd. I looked for her feverishly to share that last moment of joy to no avail.

Yet, as I and everyone else around me threw our hats and tassels in the air, the moment of airborne serenity was in essence our friendship. The swinging fibers so alive and high reached their zenith and then as life and love will always do – they fell. Cascading down they tangled with a hundred others, so that even those of us desiring some token of our time devoted could not make out the ones we threw. And, as some, like me searched feebly in vain, others left contented – not looking as the janitor began to sweep up caps with dirt and other trash.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Some trees invariably die before they take root –
For one reason or another, the environment has failed them.

Perhaps the climate is too hot, too cold
Or the soil lacks a certain nutrient.

Insects may just slowly eat away
The ability to photosynthesize.

Men might come with axe in hand
And greedy eyes…

Or, a seed takes wind and finds
No ground will mate with it.


Do you ever feel as if you’re drifting,
That your universe is vast and shifting?

Perhaps I shouldn’t mind the rifting
I know I could embrace the sifting
If the waves would only stop their lifting
And set me down in pleasant shrifting.*

*From shriven: to impose penance

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Blip

Human beings are a blip in the history
Of a planet that’s a blip in the universe.

In the infinite we’d find realities
Of little purpose or concern to us.

A star may die too early or too soon;
Saturn’s rings perhaps are less magnificent.

Asteroids colliding, wreaking havoc in Andromeda
Appear to us mere specks inside the Milky Way.

      Yet, as we divide ourselves from vast statistics
We find both hope and endless possibilities.

Beyond the density of neutron stars –
The crushing weight a black hole

Lies solace buried in baryonic dark matter;
A treasure that may orbit here someday.


I want things to be simple
Why can’t they be simple?

I don’t want to doubt my faith
In people or in God.

I don’t want to think
There’s nothing left.

But how can I have hope
When economies are failing,
Bombs are blasting convoys,
Religions grow more militant and
Money’s used for senseless killing
As people everywhere are starving
From pestilence, disease and famine?