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.

Sunday Afternoon on Sutter Street
A new pencil drawing…the first figure study I’ve done in quite a feels good to be doing visual art again.  I do think I shall continue.

A new pencil drawing…the first figure study I’ve done in quite a feels good to be doing visual art again. I do think I shall continue.

“Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?”
“All like ours?”
“I don’t know, but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound - a few blighted.”
“Which do we live on - a splendid one or a blighted one?”
“A blighted one.”
— ― Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles

As the Day Comes Apart in my Hands

Another day beneath the phony sun
and the fear of it with me like a shadow
the beauty of things is buried
beneath concrete and waste
and I lack the strength to dig
and that thing I used to dream
I must have sold or given away
forgot it on the pillow
of a stranger’s bed
dropped it in the outstretched hand
of an angry beggar
who threw it down a sewer
because all he wanted
was a beer
and every now and then
I see it on television screens
or in storefronts
stripped and broken down
rebuilt into some refurbished sadness
they try and sell to those
poor souls who don’t know any better
and today when I stepped outside
I swear to you there was
something I was looking for
but I got distracted by a woman’s dress
or the eyes of an animal
and now I just wander the streets
with my Roy Orbison heart
turned to 11 and bleeding out
as all the faces plead or turn away
and the day comes apart in my hands.

Bicycle Review #29

The new issue of Bicycle Review is out and available free to read online. It opens up with a piece of fiction by yours truly, and contains work by the likes of John Dorsey, AD Winans and SB Stokes among many talented others. Please indulge.

All That Fire

Eventually you end up
wherever it is
that trouble leaves you

caught like a wounded thing
between all the days behind you
and those still to come

with nothing much
to say for yourself

but that girl
she really knew
how to burn

the thought of her
laughing like she did
in the middle of all that fire

its the kind of beauty
that leaves scars
in hidden places

the kind that breaks you
in ways you didn’t know
you could break

and while even people like yourself
eventually do their best
to forget and move on

her ghost still burns
in dreams and the spaces
between things

and the world is just the ash.