The Bread Man Knows

The bread man looks at my shirt and smiles at the image there

He knows the Huracán and he knows the lucha libre better than me

He wasn’t always an old man selling bread out of a milk crate in Berwyn


The bread man remembers Colonia Doctores and the grand arena

The raw brick glaring back at him as he walked by with his father

The roar of the crowd filled the young boy’s ears as he entered the temple


The bread man remembers EL Santo and Blue Demon and their legendary feud

He remembers the original Huracán Ramírez not the string of maybes and hijos

He smiles ruefully as he counts my change into my hand and gives me my bread

My Heart is Done

The porcelain death pallor of my own skin frightens me
Despite my sudden feelings of wanton immortality

I had been brought to the fire so I danced amongst the embers
I ripped the stars out of the night sky cutting my fingers on the coronas
The blood running down my arms and gathering at my feet

My old beating heart still hangs heavy behind my brittle ribcage
Heavy and dense and of no use to me now – my heart is done

The prettiest girl in Villa Park wears a red velvet skirt

The prettiest girl in Villa Park wears a red velvet skirt
She lives with the ghost of Elvis or maybe Cliff Richards
At a booth in the back of the Five Star Swap Meet selling music
The ghost glowers at customers from his fake leather chair
The king in his burgundy burlap suit and threadbare wig
The prettiest girl in Villa Park loves to pose for pictures
Next to white boys with roaming hands and crooked smiles
Her smile lights up their desperate booth with its meager inventory
No one seems interested in the outdated music they are peddling
All the men are interested in is the prettiest girl in Villa Park

Daytona/El Paso

Hatred is the victor in this never ending war on humanity
This is where we find our country has been cleaved in two
On the right hand is the power to minimize hate at this moment
On the left hand is a lack of understanding about the power

Hatred will come at you over and over again
Hatred wears masks of – sometimes – familiar faces
You still think there’s nothing you can do about it

We will send thoughts and prayers to the dead
We will send healing power and condolences to the survivors
These things – alone – did nothing for anyone – anywhere – ever

The only way to crush hatred is through action
Men have made a fortune on the back of hatred

They are not going to put an end to that revenue stream
They will not look away from the hatred
Until claims is one of their own

We have to force the hands of these greedy demons
We have to reclaim the safety of our churches and our schools
We have to use power – not peace – to find our way home

We were the light

I have seen some of the brightest lights of our generation dim with passing time
They stand – hushed – behind the heavy oak doors of the dark melancholy bungalows

The brick and mortar monsters that haunt the streets we walked in our youth
Our chests were puffed out then like crazy lions hunting in an aggressive pride

The brightest lights of our generation were the center of the solar system
We revolved around them earnestly and protectively and without fear
They transcended the labels and the laws that strained to keep the rest of us in line

We had no idea we were the lights in another solar system not of our making
We never even understood who we were until much later – we learned in our own time
The fall from the pristine street into the lonely bungalow never happened to us

We were born the new light
We live the brightest of lights
Our light is radiant and constant
We will die before we fade away

We will leave our light for the generations of tribes who will follow where we walked

Where does love go?

Where does love go when there is no hope for survival?
We vigorously fan the dying embers hoping for even a tepid flame
While she walks across the parking lot with a full cart and someone new

Where does love go when arrogance causes it to be neglected and ignored?
We acted like we didn’t need the vagaries of love in our solitary lives anymore
And now He’s even laughing at us and our misconceptions of our own strength.

Where does love go when everything of value that we cling to fades away?
All that we thought made us relevant has degraded right before our very tired eyes
We chased the idea of being in love, but love stopped chasing us when we weren’t looking.

On Congress Parkway

“Don’t look at my face!” she barked at me across the cold dry night
I couldn’t help myself – I looked at the hard, dry, cracked skin
There were no stains from errant tears on those withered cheeks
She hasn’t cried one salty tear since November 22, 1963

“Put the money right there” she pointed to a bag that smelled like death
She had no patience for another commuter trying to buy redemption for a dollar
I turned left on Financial Avenue and found my warm dry car before long
Damn the ones who taught me the need for salvation and the value of a dollar