Lark on Church Ave

9:12 am, 11-3 at Lark, Church Avenue

The time was 9:11
but I wouldn’t type that
(still) so the lyrical
universe lurched
forward a minute.
No one knows
anything unless
we tell on ourselves.
There were only a few
bagels in the basket.
From yesterday.
I ordered the cinnamon
raisin with butter.
The bagel for people
who don’t know better.
What if nothing ever
happens to me again?
In the extra room,
there’s a toddler music
thing happening,
tambourines and drums
and chanting. A riot
(My Sunshine My Only)
of happiness and a room full
of gleeful emperors.


Some Quickly Jotted Poems at a Few Brooklyn Coffee Shops

I’m only accepting anti-laurels now. Hardly.


Parade Coffee on Caton Ave, 9-30-17


A poet                  saying goodbye            to poetry
has to write           a poem                    and then there’s
the paperwork           Tomorrow                  thirty years
from now                when I’m gulping          the air
and the names           the simple things         floating around me
it won’t be            the neglect               reserved
for genius              My poems                  will be the chore
of the super            Parsed                    by the furnace
turned smoke           Is it defiance            To keep on
making them             say No                   Do I fail
because I want          to succeed                I should write
the smallest           Poem I can                Something
too small               to say No to              and revise it
with sharp              knife                     the oblivion
a shiny flake           of your lava              I’ve kept
all these years        a souvenir                in my sock drawer
spat up                 by the fire goddess       from Earth’s seam
syllable edge           shaved by half            and folded in two

submitted in triplicate

stamped Approved with the waxen seal of the Drunk Ambassador of Poetry

-they played the song from Portlandia.



Uptown Coffee, Seventh Ave, 10-12-17


Sweating in fancy clothes
from walking my kid to school
the hot coffee isn’t helping.
Tempted to pat myself dry
with the napkins. Don’t
look I’m repulsive and have
been for at least a decade.
It doesn’t matter. I’m
the only one that has to
endure this body. It looms
over no one. Nobody
has to pretend anything
to keep my feelings from
being hurt. Except for
myself in the mirror
when I shave. Squinting.
Maybe it was better at
the old place where there
wasn’t an outlet and
I felt my face until it
was smooth.



Steeplechase, Fort Hamilton Parkway 10-15


This is the closest
one and I’d write
here more often
but there are small
wooden signs
forbidding laptops
on all the best
tables. The other
notable feature
is that napkins
are distributed
from a roll and
cut to the exact
size you need.
I got a pecan
sticky bun and
had to go back
three times.
I started going
to coffee shops
in college.
Back then, I loved
the shop more than
the brew.
The attraction
was wasting time
with a book
in a place where
my friends might
by chance distract
me from myself.
I thought myself
a writer then
but all I did
was read.
Now I need
the coffee as much
as the shop.

– they played The Old Crow Medicine Show


Return to Uptown Coffee, 10-27


The chorus of the song
is Guilty as Charged.
Music like a dangly
ear ring, heavy
and shining.
I don’t hear enough
to know what she did.
Claimed love, squandered
love, rebuked love.
It’s just an edgy pop
song. No real cowardice
revealed. Nothing
unsettling, just that
the night is long
and everyone surrenders.

Talking Boats

After reading Robinson Jeffer’s play, Medea, in college, I had always wanted to write about Jason. As a hero, he needed a lot of help from Medea. And when he was done with his tasks, he dropped her for a pretty blonde princess and a more conventional life, being a king, raising children. The first attempt at a poem involved a washed up Jason sitting in a bar when Medea happens to walk in. This poem started in college and got some revision later, but it’s an old poem, the equivalent of that college paper that you thought was brilliant. I think I do a few things better now. I can see Medea’s point of view more. She wasn’t just the temptress I put in my poem. I’ve included that old unpublished poem below.


Jason at 50

Am I drunk and dreaming?
Is it you, Medea,
Come for me at last?
I could lie and tell you
the past doesn’t matter.
That I gave up my regrets
like my sword and shield.
But you know,
your legs still bewitch.
You put on the satin skirt
flaming around your hips.
You painted your eyelids
the cool green of sea.
Is it still my fault?
How many men and women
have you left that question?
Let Euripides drink donkey piss.
Anyone who has danced
in your web knows.
Have you come to tell me
you saved a son after all?
That he waits to avenge
the gray streak in your hair?
Don’t bother. I’ve lost
a brood since then.
Have you come to see
what lust can shake up
in these old bones?
Will your magic make me
a great unhappy man again?


*Putting an unpublished poem in a blog is like driving it to the vet to be put to sleep. It means that poem will go no further.

Some people roll their eyes at poems based on Greek myths. I like writing them. Using myth gives me enough emotional distance to be honest with myself. After one more poem on the myth from an unnamed crewman, I decided to read more about it. I read the Wikipedia entry on Jason and the Argonauts. I downloaded the Argonautica to my Nook. From that I learned that the myth was a little like an action movie. It was loaded with the stars, the heroes of the day. For example, Hercules and Orpheus were on the Argo until they found better adventures along the way. This time the crewman had a name, Hylas. He disappeared like the guys in red shirts on Star Trek. I’ve included a link below.

Poor Hylas | Jason Primm

The other important thing I learned from the further reading was that the ship talked. I imagined that when the men slept, early or late, Jason and the Argo would talk. The poem is from the point of view of the ship, years after all the glory chasing. It’s a very long poem. I am so pleased that Light/Water published it. See link below.




The Fly

This morning I am treating myself to a wicked mocha and a chocolate croissant from Jacque Torres. It’s summer in the city. I get a light sweat going in the mornings walking to and from the train. Then a clammy feeling when I hit the air conditioning of my job. So many boundaries being crossed, family me, alone me, read on the subway me, hot me, cold me, look at the river out the window me, sigh me before summoning a bit of discipline and getting some work done.  Recently I watched The Fly with my eleven year old daughter. The result was this poem which the good folk at pioneertown just published.

The Fly


One coffee shop, one bug, and one imaginary kingdom poem

You can peel back the surface of most of my poems and find me sitting at a coffee shop. In the poems, it’s a tiny version of me at a tiny coffee shop with crumb size pastries and a thimble full of coffee. A few of the poems have tiny bars behind them with incredibly small machines that pour draft beer.

Here are links to some new poems at Palaver and Juxtaprose Magazine:


Two Poems in the Columbia College Literary Review

I have two new poems in the Columbia College Literary Review. In addition to my two poems, one of which is about an Aquarium Diver figurine, there is a poem in the shape of a bathysphere. I didn’t know this until recently, but I kinda like shaped poems.

This journal actually edited the poems. They were interested in three, published two and helped another one.  The link is below in case you want to buy a copy or submit work to them.

The Columbia College Literary Review

New Poem in Rust + Moth

This poem started when I had a discussion with a friend about poet crushes. He said he had one for a while on Deborah Warren. If you don’t know her work, it’s great. She writes formal poems that don’t strain to fulfill their forms. I really enjoyed her book, Zero Meridian. That discussion made me realize that I had a poet crush on Elizabeth Bishop. The crush has now gone on for decades. I took the address from a book of Bishop letters that I was reading. The contemporary poet that I saw by accident at a friend’s reading shall remain nameless. The more that I have read of her, the more I feel guilty about a few of the lines.

45 King Street