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Proetry (day 7 prompt: pro)


is my own creation

spilling onto the page
like a sacred, hidden waterfall

take me somewhere
even I have never dreamed,
reveal to me all that
I have hidden
under layers
of manners and mores.

it is my salvation
and my friend,

the other half of the Siamese
always there to
goad me,

to noodge the words
to come forth

and if they don’t
strike that chord of guilt
deep and resonant
reminding me
that death --
the ticking time bomb
that most everyone refuses to see—
is taking its seconds
saying “why are you stopping
to do anything
but live

and capture it?”

The drum keeps pounding
the same tribal heartbeat:

dive deeper into
this blue mystery,
so deep that you
lose your breath,
push yourself farther,
forgive your trespassers
trust in the logic
of the unproven
undivided One

and document it

in proetry.
Tonight is the night
we change the clock
back to Standard Time.

Everyone gains an extra hour of sleep
or work – if there on the night shift,

310 million Americans
each gains an hour—

310 million extra hours
is equal to over
12,900,000 days

which translates to
over 35,380 years

over 353 centuries,
35 millennia
will occur
all before sunrise,

all this from going back to
Standard Time

and it
isn’t enough.

No Secret (Day 5 prompt: metamorphosis)

No law of physics
can transform the anger
of this moment

the familiar bruising
and stinging pain

into anything even remotely related
to an evening breeze.

I splash cool water
on my face
and pray for help
to an unseen god
who I know exists:

“Change my reaction
to this.
Guide my steps,
and take me
somewhere far, far away
from this moment.”

I await the results of this
impending metamorphosis

realizing there is
no secret,

only waiting
and trusting.

To Fit In (Day 4 prompt: containment)

The challenge is always the same:

to fit in
without giving in.

My fight springs from something
primitive and undomesticated
that lives under all the schooling
good manners
practiced wordplay
and lucky breaks.

I feel fated to never
fit quite in,
and though it has blessed me
with insight and wisdom,
it is also my curse.

Though I would rather not fit in
and be admired for my principles,
it is often lonely
for the iconoclast who
stands and deconstructs the crowd
genuflecting at the latest empty idol

because sometimes all you want
is just to go home
and sit on your nice soft couch
And look at the lights on the Christmas tree

and sing along with carols
and know the rest of the
world is doing that too.

The perennial fight
grinds away this life

and some days
it is easier to
lay down the sword
and to try to fit into
the box
set aside for you.

Some days the box is a cell,
some days the box is a sanctuary.
I was ready
to consume this woman
I’d fantasized about,
to visit the extracurricular
erotic netherworld
she was promising.

I was ready to meet her
surreptitiously in Seattle,
and I was ready to cross the line
she’d been writing
in lipstick and perfume
and emails.

I was ready to fake
to lie to
to deceive the one
I lived with
and do whatever I needed
to taste this ambrosia.

I was ready to do what
my morality previously forbade,
and had purchased the condoms
to do it.

I was ready for the
weight of it all.

Then, my live-in called
my office to tell me
that my father died
of a heart attack
that afternoon.

at 35 years old
I had to grow up.

I still went to Seattle
three months later
and it was everything
she promised,

which only proved
I wasn’t ready
to be a man

Say Goodbye (Day 1 prompt: turn a page)

Rarely does life afford us
a discrete goodbye;

the pendulum of life
keeps swinging us back
to the sites
of our greatest failings.

We rarely
say goodbye
and mean it
we can’t control
who or what
will walk blithely into
the unmade beds
of our lives.

So when you ask me
to say goodbye to my sins,
my false idols,
and to the cursed miscreant
I wish to repudiate,
I fail.

These weaknesses,
these tattoos purchased
while intoxicated,
now brand me
and lay
dull and flat
inside this profaned skin

and they never
say goodbye

Christians, When You Vote

when you vote,
remember that

Jesus wants you

to care for
the poor and the needy,
not just
the worthy poor and needy.

I have 20 different Bibles
and I cannot find
"The Lord helps those
who help themselves”
in any of these

Chemically dependent failures,
morally repugnant adulterers,
selfish and greedy idolaters:
don’t just belong to 2010,

they lived among our Christ.

He didn’t say clean up first
and then I’ll feed you.

He healed and fed them
and then said,

“Go and sin no more.”

My brothers and sisters
in Christ, 

“where are your accusers?”

Try the mirror.


I imagine her house
dark and quiet,

lonely candles lit
in a sadly serene

This is how
I imagine it and she
is sleeping on the couch
with the doors and
windows sealed shut

(she could never sleep
when I was away).

The tv flickers
barely audible
her days quiet and alone
except for the friendly cats
she collects and
confides in

and I hope I am wrong
about all these things
because I didn’t mean
to take away her
her joy
but it became
a game of survival
and I lost

so I took myself
out of her house
and I pray
out of her memory.

But I know her
well enough to know
that her denial
is her armor,
so she’ll never admit
any loss
in my departure.

I don’t need
to be remembered

Please forget me
and fill your space
with light and
laughter again.

you deserved better.


When she met me
in Seattle
that Saturday
it was paradise.

and dreamlike,
we walked and talked
and got lost in
a somewhere else;
a somewhere that seemed
blissfully unaware
of all the realities
awaiting my return.

On Wednesday
the drive back to
the airport was terrible.
Every song played on
the rental car radio
underlined the impossibility
of this immature,
demanding love.

Once I was safely on the plane
with my heart in my throat,
I wrote every detail
of the weekend
and then shut the book
and held it tight to my chest,

hoping that my writing
would exorcise
the yearnings and guilt
long before I got home.

But, the yearning and the guilt
remained with me
and reminded me
of my scarlet adultery
every time I walked
back through that door

to a place
I would go back to
many times in the
next two years

but never really return.