Hard Knocks

bang bang banging on the door. “Open up! It’s the police!” I look down at the busted jug and at the dent in the wall, where the statue virgin mary whizzed past my head. Sure, I could have left run away years ago but each time we took another gamble. The gambling is...

Top Management

Rachel climbed the stairs. ‘One leg up down and pull up the rest of me. Left . . . right . . . left . . .’ More than a few times she stopped to suck in some thinning air. Rachel looked up through the spiraling steps. She still had a long way to go. She was like that...

I trust, I pray, I imagine

I trust spirit will move me in the highest way. I pray to be open and receptive whenever the call comes. I imagine joy pouring through my heart will drench all beings in torrential love. I imagine whosoever crosses my path will depart with every hair, cell and thought...

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

woman open your eyes you pour forth    children come alive. man takes the credit for life rests in his hands he says pain is natural you were made from ribs stay in your place woman you bear the blossoms that return to earth open your mouth      shout ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...

Suspects

   Blind; without sight + Fold; body of believers = body of believers without sight. three scrawny brown men blindfolded kneeling foreheads in the dust elbows bound tight behind the ROK officer gives a command no sound from the three men a soldier unholsters his 45...

the Space Creep

We get stoned out on the gun. When Brady joins us with his big head, we crack jokes and run for cover. Run for your lives. The Space Creep has landed. Hey brother, take off that head. We hide behind sandbags to blast the Creep with bullets, grenades and the M72 LAW....

WAR GAME

In my room on the bed green soldiers fight over cotton hills through woolen grass to wrinkled rivers rushing past. Fred...

a Bloody Tune in 1968

They bend him in half, bind ankles to wrists and drop him in the 55 gallon drum, so only his butt sticks out. Voice 1: How they keep them lil’ skinny mo’ fuckers from totally disappearing? Voice 2: Man, they fill them barrels halfway with rocks. The ROKS...

“Where’d They Go?”

Suspected VC in a row, all trussed up like birds for roasting. The ROKS (Republic of Korean Soldiers) go about their daily regimen occasionally returning to kick or stomp a bird or two. After awhile we lose interest and go back inside to get high. A few days later I...

PAINFUL TUNE

He bangs on her head with the frying pan. I told you BONG to meet me BONG at nine o’clock not nine fifteen. BONG BONG I had to pay that fuckin’ cabbie SLAP extra BONG SLAP because you SLAP BONG “I’m sorry . . .” PUNCH don’t wanna’ listen. Now get in there PUNCH SLAP...

Dad Is Dead

He’s 83 today but looks younger in his black suit. I whisper to him and play with the fingers that respond unnaturally. His closed lids make me wonder if his eyes are still in there. For three days he lays in view of 60 empty chairs. My brother comes by with his wife....

EYE PEACE

we hold hands, mama and me, climb the steps to Lester Weintraub, OPTOMETRIST. he tests me with the chart, changes lenses in the two-eyed machine. blinds me with his pen light gizmo. says    SEE YOU TOMORROW. we go back the next night, and he adjusts my new glasses. i...

boy think MAN TALK

Come in here boy Sit down Let’s talk like men When there’s something on your mind let me know We’ll discuss it What we discuss is between you and me You’re not a man if you can’t keep a secret You got that? Good Let’s shake on it. * Boy Come in here Stand right there...

What You Gonna Do?

What you gonna do when HE comes for you? When HIS ship lands HE will first whisk all the other living organisms aboard, from land, sea and air. When they’re all comfy cozy HE will say to us humans, “I’m taking Christian, Muslim, Jew, and all other faiths too....

2 Rooms

He storms into the boys room, whips the  clothing closet curtain back and hollers, What the . . . Girl . . .  no,  don’t you move a muscle. Girl come in here. You gotta see this. She shuffles into our room, cased in her sadness cloud and stands beside him. Look at...

Conversation with a coupla’ friends

I’m visiting a couple of friends. We’re eating dinner and drinking wine. Sex enters the talk. He winks at me,  looks at her and says,  ‘My wooden leg nourishes our sex life. Don’t believe me, ask her’.   Sylvia gets up to clear the table,...

Silly Me

When I was 12, we lived in the Lillian Wald Housing Projects in the Lower East Side of New York City. Every summer we’d pass the Pitt Street Pool and hear the splashing and laughter coming from the other side of the high brick wall. That summer day mom said,...

W O R D S

Funny they are. Sounds made by fluttering bits of flesh, received by tiny sculptured bone and interpreted by what I had stepped on in Malaysia. I had just got off the bus and was heading to the ‘warang’ eating stall to grab a quick bite. There was a fellow...

I Remember

Chuck bought another round of beers. He had returned from Afghanistan a few months earlier. We talked about his experiences for a while and then the war talk settled on Vietnam. He said, “The difference between Vietnam vets and other vets is the Vietnam vet...

That 1 Bad Apple

If I had eaten a million and 2 apples, and each was more golden delicious than the last, I’d love apples. When I chomp down on the one-millionth and third and choke on a mouthful of rot, maggots and worms, our love affair may be changed from then on. Fear,...

Quit that Crying!

Smile! What’s the use of crying? Though your heart is aching and breaking, just keep smiling and maybe the sun will come shining through. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by if you smile. Light up the gladness. Hide the sadness. Although a tear may be ever...

The Heart of Hearts

It takes courage to listen, hear and respond to our personal highest callings, when the hypnotic power of media, tradition and the baaing masses responding to the bleating of pious leaders pull us into darkness. We give military personnel Purple Hearts for wounds...

Kaia D

It’s challenging to live being here now when most of us exist in before and after. When we are out and about Kaia  sniff, sniff, . . . sniffs,  being a dog. I’m thinking about this, that and the bacon I’m  going to have for breakfast. *** Kaia D and...