A home for old war heroes and the underemployed

From A GATHERING STORM (buy the book): http://amzn.to/2nRKvdM


In Memory of Hank Chinaski


The bar is dimly lit

compared to the

blinding sunlight

that splashes on the sidewalk

just outside the door


I sit down at the bar

allow my eyes to adjust

to the dank interior

as I waited for the forty-something

beauty of a bartender

to notice me

and take my order


Glancing to the right of me

I spy a collection

of dead hi-ball glasses

perspiring their last gasps

on the poorly polished bar top


A peek to the left

reveals the pit-stained


bourbon flavored vestiges

of a blue collar afternoon


I think

Damn what a bunch

of crusty old fucks

are these


I watch as the draft

tumbled down

from the tap to the

ice encrusted glass

crystals gleaming in the foam


The first sip so smooth

that I had to glub glub glub

the rest of it down

its crispness numbing

the back of my throat


Throwing my head back

I savored the heady aromas

of stale cigarettes

flat beer

and petrified perspiration


As the glacial ice floes

ran down the side

of my second glass

I knew

I would soon

call this place home


I think

Damn what a crusty old fuck

am I

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saturday night

There was a crazy,

sixties feel to the place

Dick Dale in the background

wailing on his surf guitar

the smell of scented candles

filling the air.


A few uptight girls

sat in the living room

basking in the artificial glow

of a pair of loony lava lamps

drinking their wine in plastic cups

whispering gossip

giggling the night away


I was standing

in the kitchen

talking with the cool people

about the events of the day

when the fire alarm went off.


Spurred by adventure

We grabbed another stout

and headed outside

to wait for the fire trucks.


It turned out to be a false alarm



we went back inside

opened another beer

smoked another joint

told a few more lies.


It was the best party

we’d had in years.

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creative evolutionary fandango

In the beginning

Jah created the heavens

And the Vibe

With one snap of her fingers

Allah set in motion

One big fucking bang

New entities sprouted

From the Tree of Life

And with a wave of the hand

Jehovah sprinkled the earth

With beings large and small

In tune with Mother Nature

I’m not getting

Into the argument

Of creationism versus evolution

It’s all one God to me

creative evolutionary fandango


First sentient beings

Lucy’s Ethiopian earth tribe

Climb down from trees

Walk on two legs

And evolve creatively

Paint original Sistine chapels

On the domes of their caves

Symphonized orchestration

With sticks and stones and skins and bones

and most of all

Musical laughter

epiphanies of imagination

Creating one great human vibe


Fast forward

Three and a half million years

To the new earth tribe

The Eternal Vibe

Continuing the tradition

Of rhythms and rhymes

Percussive discussion

Creative evolution

Swirling a magical elixir

Two parts love

Two parts imagination

And two parts love

A hearty vibological stew


I’m still not arguing

creationism versus evolution

it’s still one God to me

creative evolutionary fandango

We create

We love

It’s a win-win situation



In the beginning

Jah created the heavens

And the Vibe


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flamenco sketches

my fingers play over

the scarred bartop

like miles

pressing down on the keys

his horn moaning

throbbing painfully

stabbing phrases through the air

like so many voices

in a gospel choir


bill evans

tinkles the ivory restrained

and masterful

filling the space

like raindrops

on a warm spring night

while the great man takes a blow


miles starts in again

sweet sweet horn

taking my breath away


i play with the sweat

on the rocks glass

take a sip

of smoky scotch

inhale a lungful

of kingstown’s finest


i run my fingers

across your bare shoulder

texture as smooth

as the bartop is rough

hoping i can play you

like miles played that horn

cool and effortless


through the night


It’s 1959

we aren’t born yet

but miles knew

we’d be listening

played this song for us

best make the most of it

he’d like that


sketch the dance flamenco

all through the night

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Of Tigers, Bullets and Butterfly Nets

Once upon a time

Nay, thrice upon three times

I have ventured forth

Big game hunting

Armed only

With the flimsiest of butterfly nets


The first time it happened

I was walking down a jungle path

Stalking a beautiful Leopard

When a tiger

A she-beast of uncommon strength

Lit into me with steely claws

Before I could escape

Like a gazelle

Into the savanna


The results were carnally exquisite


The tigress

Sated on my tender flesh

Stalked off to trap other prey

While I lived to hunt

Another day


The second time

I ventured forth

Butterfly net in hand

On concrete

City street

When I came upon

A heavily armed assassin


I swiped at her with my net

But soon went down

In a hail of sexual bullets

Imbedding deep into my flesh

To the heart where the emotions lie


The results were carnally exhausting


And when the dust settled

I was left with only

The dream of an unborn fetus

To keep me company

In the dark and lonely night


Wounds heal

I swear they do

And soon I found myself

Hunting the most elusive

And beautiful of all butterflies

The Ethiopian Amhara


She, all 90 pounds of her

Wrestled me to the ground

Tied my senses in knots

Painted the dreams

That happiness is made of

Left me a quivering mass

of questionable humanity


the results were psychically debilitating


I still go out hunting

With my butterfly net

Searching for the one true creature

Maybe it’s you

Who will see me

For the gentle being that I am

And behave accordingly


I still go out hunting

With my butterfly net

But now I wear Kevlar

Carry a shield

And a stoic sensibility


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concrete buddha

he sits
eyes cast down
head imperceptibly rocking
to some unknown tune
lips moving in silent mantra
on a frozen patch of concrete under institutional blue scaffolding

he sits
bundled amongst slipshod blankets
great black plastic bags
random chunks of styrofoam
and corrugated cardboard
untold layers of socks and shirts
pants and grime
oblivious to cacophony
of city streets
that dance in delicate brutal choreography all around him

he sits
like himalayan monk
whose mountain is reduced
to a slab of broken concrete
in the hub of the wheel of the world

morning brings his absence

gone to nirvana
or to sit
on some other mountain to bless
some other traveler

he sits

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The Most Important Thing In Life Haiku


musical laughter

of happy playing children

fills my heart with joy




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