The Deep

One moment

dies into the next,

and the next moment

is always smaller.


an inch

graduates to a foot,

quiet as shadows merging in a crowd.


The alligator’s roll

and I’m in it’s jaws;

the water is deep

and he’s not tiring.


This is the deep,

This is the place

where doors

move away

and the sun slams

into the horizon

with a metallic boom.


This is the deep.


Languor becomes

a nervous thing,

a fly on a windowpane.


These are the depths

where there’s nothing to be seen

in the clouds anymore.


These are the depths.


The waters are deep

and I’m in the teeth

of The gator’s spin.


The deep

lives and breathes

in the shadow of love,

where the wind blows cold

until the stillness finally freezes over.20121120_1818122013_02_10




Upon our last breath

the doors of a courtroom open;

we’re here to account for our death

and the many things we’ve broken.


Perhaps we’re appointed a lawyer

who’s seen every step we’ve taken.

A bald, overweight man,

who, for eternity, feels forsaken.


“Order in the court! Please rise,”

says a bailiff.

The others unbend,

rigid shoulders, stiff.


Maybe there’s a vending machine

down the hall that only sells Moxie.

‘I’m supposed to be dead,’

you think, the dark finally caught me.


You sneak through the huge courtroom doors

and race for the soda machine

only to learn you have no wallet,

for here, there’s no currency.


You straggle back in

for a chat with your lawyer-

He tells you the worst thing you’ve done

is rob your parents of a responsible son.


“The sleepless nights,” he begins to say,

“were hell on earth to them,” and he turns away.

You remember that you didn’t care;

your conscience held no sway.


Now your before the cloak in black

slouched behind a bench.

He’s smoking a Cuban

filling the room with its stench.


“Stand up, son, this is your accounting,”

his voice, deep and hypnotic.

“I see mostly wasted time here

and a laziness that’s chronic.”


Your stomach twirls and jumps.

“Your mother died early, because of you,”

shouts the ethereal figure.

“now it’s time for you.”


Like a snowfall in your mind,

all you can see is cocaine.

All that it took,

and it drove your mother insane.


“I’m guilty, your honor, of waisting my life,

but in my defense, I had no idea why I was born.”

It was a lie, but I had nowhere else to turn.

To tell the truth would mean being thrown to hell and to burn.


He looked at me and I looked at him;

the cloak was too loose and he was too thin.

“The verdict has arrived,” he bellowed,

though I saw no jury.


“You are sentenced to life,”

I melted into the floor.

“No, you idiot, you can leave through the door,”


Maybe, just maybe, those were the doors I walked into this world through.




There’s the sloping streets

that always lead to someone’s secret.


There’s the ocean

that is the womb of prayers.


There’s the friendships

that come and go

within a flash of an eye.


I miss it all.


The panhandlers

corner of marginal way

and that other street

that Trader Joe’s is on-

I learned so much from their humility.


The houses on the west end,

Sherman street,

look like they came from a child’s dream-

gently leaning,

paint fading,

but something sweet in the heart of them.


I Miss it all.


I miss those who won’t talk to me anymore,

perhaps for fear of their own mortality,

or – more likely – something

selfish I did or said.


They were all women.


I wait for their calls

like a cat

looking out of a window.


They never come,

as the sunset in Boston sets

and I shake off these stinging,

bright regrets.


And I miss all of them.



The rolling fog

fatigue is

a slow river,

sloppy, spilling

over rocks.



is the opposite of thunder-

a brush with something like death,

an ongoing unlearning in the body.


Derek had me in a wheelchair

for a routine appointment

at the hospital,

his oversized army fatigues

and cheap sunglasses

gave him an aura

of absurd authority.


I had let go of my body

and watched it

let go of me.


He would get me in the elevator

and intentionally

push it against the wall,

and I would scream in pain,


“Who the hell is this guy,”

I’d say as two doctors watched in confusion.


Derek would say, “stay in the wheelchair

and shut your mouth.”


We laughed most of the time

as others looked on in horror.


I left the building screaming, “Help,”

as  Dearek abused the wheelchair

and the equilibrium of those watching.


Perhaps humor is the doorway

to a lighter place,

to humility,

to a state of being

where the rolling fog

of death

isn’t important.


Perhaps I’m not as important

as my pain tells me I am.


Perhaps this poem is not

as important as I think it is.


And perhaps the sky,

blue or grey,

will remember and love me

even when the rain

makes it impossible

to see my spirit

with a smile.

an open letter to my father

Dad, don’t let me feel like I’m letting you down
if I die.

Dad, we can’t control the hour of our deaths
and you can’t control mine.

Dad, I love you.

Dad, your denial will only cause you suffering,
more than is necessary.

Dad, be in harmony with is.

Dad, I’m sorry I never reached back when you tried to be close to me in the past.

Dad, seeking to control outcomes is a futile endeavor.

Dad, I wish to live, and I can’t do so without befriending cancer.

Dad, looking at this as a fight is looking at is engaging in a civil war in which no one wins.

Dad, I wish I had fulfliled your dreams for me.

Dad, painful as this is to write, chemotherapy can’t ‘cure’ anything.

Dad, I feel your buried pain.

Dad, I treasure our talks and time together.

Dad, it’s “Thy will be done,” not yours.

Dad, please help me to what I am asking you to do.