Sometimes I still see you
drifting about the ruins
of my ghost town heart

looking so
sad and pretty
there among the tombstones.

What the Fear Tells Me

The great animal fear of the world
is what stays with us
is what our bones are made of

love burns off in the sun
strength gives way
anything you can name
slips through your shaking hands

the fear sleeps but it’s never far
from the surface of things
those who say otherwise
are liars and always running

god’s an empty bottle
in the face of it
whatever you’ve constructed
to keep it at bay
gives like splintered wood

it’s a fine afternoon
there’s wine and sunlight
and pretty girls beneath it

but the fear is there in every shadow

I drink beer to try and keep it quiet
offer these words
as a kind of appeasement

but it’s in me like a heart

and I dearly want to call you
and tell you these things
because I think you’d

but the fear tells me
you won’t pick up

and the it’s probably right
just like when it tells me

I should have listened to my father

and how I’ll never find
a good ending
for this poem.

A Portrait of Baudelaire

It’s Sunday afternoon and that’s better than a lot of things,
I’m at Vesuvio drinking beer
and crushing on the pretty waitress.

There’s a portrait of Baudelaire on the wall
above my table

and he frowns down upon me with his angry loneliness
and I can see his sad heart shining
through his chest and I guess I’m much the same.

He says, if you would not feel
the horrible burden of time
forever crushing you to the earth

you must always be drunk!

I tell him I’m doing the best I can,

currently intoxicated with wine
and sunlight
and the pretty waitress with my drinks

while down in Kerouac Alley there’s the gentleman with the tie
who stands all day trying to sell newspapers
to the tourists and the pretty girls
who summarily ignore him
and he never seems to mind.

I glance down from my upstairs seat
by the window and he waves and smiles
and I wave and smile
and we seem to share a secret understanding
about what exactly, I couldn’t say.

When I leave I give him
all the dollars in my pocket
like I do most every Sunday
and he smiles and I smile

and I wish drunkenness
on the both of us

as I make my way home
through Chinatown crowds,
every face some kind of prayer.

The good folks at Blotterature Literary Magazine have posted the first review of my upcoming poetry collection, The Blood of a Tourist. The book will be released on Nov. 4 and is not yet available to pre-order, but don’t worry, when it is I’ll be sure and remind you of all the nice things they said about it


They also posted an interview, and, most importantly, a picture of my cat.


The Things the Pretty Girls Say

It’s the last day of Summer
as I sit at a sidewalk table
at a North Beach cafe
clinging to fading hours
like a drowning man,
and after a few glasses of wine
I believe all the stories
the sun has to tell,
I believe the things the pretty girls say
with their dream-fed smiles
and the movement of their tanned
and skinny arms,
and all these people at their tables
just like mine,
with their wine and their
tiny plates of food, their porcelain wives
and glimmering children,
surely they understand, just as I do,
that the world is made of magic after all,
and light will have the final say,
and the dark is just a nasty story
told by some demented dwarf
in a lonely basement
to keep the children in line,
and death is just a baseless rumor,
obsolete and powerless
in the face of one last hour
of sunlight,
another glass of wine,
and the smell of this woman
at the table
next to mine.

New Pencil Portrait of my friend, Esther.

A new figure study…feels nice to be drawing again.