Tag Archives: TRUE CRIME

Philadelphia 1977

I was never beautiful even when the illusion of my own beauty seduced me
And I carried that illusion – used it as a shield as I navigated my mortality
The illusion has let me down like an underfed love connection in Philadelphia – 1977

The philanderers and the charlatans of my dreams have finally caught up with me
They have taken my legs out from under me – as if there was nothing I could do about it
They did me a favor – they have stripped away the artifice that held me safe since 1977

I will never be beautiful but I will be honest – I will be out on the limb reaching for fruit
The best of what that old tree offers – that appears to be just out of reach – that fruit
I will not let myself down like bottle of vodka and a stranger in Philadelphia – 1977

On a Rooftop in Cicero

Because a lifetime ago something happened on a rooftop in Cicero
And no one ever really got the whole story
So we filled in the blanks ourselves
Ours was a much better story anyway
It was all about this guy one summer night on a rooftop in Cicero
His mother was taking him back to where he came from

When he saw her face in the drunken haze of the shameful moon
He wanted to push her off of that rooftop in Cicero
She moaned and reached for his throat as she opened her eyes
There is some truth here – some of this story is true
She looked in the eyes of her own son and didn’t know what to do

Now his oldest son looks just like his best friend
It is uncanny how much his kid looks like his oldest friend
No one here seems to want to talk out loud about it

The Fighter in Repose

Bobbing and weaving through round after round without a trace of grace or irony
The fighter knows nothing but the fight – the endless fight that can’t seem to break him
Then the bell – he hears the bell – the sweet melodic chimes that call him to come home
He sits quietly in his corner – one hand full of love – the other full of peace
Like a solid roundhouse from a ropey southpaw – he never saw this coming – not here – not now
Like a Christmas kiss from Grandma on his frosty cheek he never felt anything better – not ever
The fighter is exhausted but he is done bobbing and weaving – for now anyway

Now I am mostly tired

I don’t miss anyone who walked away
I don’t believe in miracles anymore

I caught my soul on a crescent moon
And I tugged a little harder than I should have

I was strong – until I wasn’t
Now I am mostly tired

Standing alone amongst the smoldering embers
An absurd superhero in a black and white melodrama

Standing along amongst the smoldering embers
Another long lost hot dog forgotten on a holiday grill

I am standing here with my chin up
And my finger in the air like I just don’t care

I just don’t care is the lie
I just keep selling to myself

The Sun Struggles Up

The most natural feeling as the sun struggles up is my bones grinding against yours
You are jarring and crushing and breaking your promises to the ghost of my childhood
Still a whispered breath trapped within your vena cava keeps me cold and you alive

The ribcage forged of your love protects the soul of my past and memories of my father
Washing the bony joints of our crippled fingers the dirty water runs down the baby’s face
The weak understand this is a baptism of desperation and consolation but not redemption

The charred remains of a dream I couldn’t afford and you couldn’t live without haunt us
Our bones have been put up for the first thaw and there’s something burning on the stove
We argue His presence in the room but we don’t deny it as we watch the sun struggle up

Peace on 51st Street

They’re calling for peace on 51st Street
From the Islamic Circle Center to Family Food and Liquor
Angry eyes shoot arrows at the unfamiliar moving eastbound on 51st Street
Bonila’s Tire Shop glows – a brick and mortar flame against the dying light
The El Shaddai Miracle Center is in need of a miracle and a bottle of Windex
The Universal Grocery has something for everyone under their royal blue awning
But Harold’s Chicken is still the last best hope for a piece on 51st Street these days
Repairer of the Breach is filled with promise but hope for the repairs seem unlikely
People sit on milk crates that support their weight but neglect their dreams
Someone whispered in my ear about peace on 51st Street
I can only hold out hope for Harold and his amazing chicken.

Strength and Beauty

(for J.H. at Water Tower Park
Wednesday, March 13, 2002)

On the stairs of the Water Tower
A symbol of strength and beauty
We sat and talked for just a minute or two
Nervous – I sipped my dying cup of coffee
Around us the beautiful people mingled and moved
She is of that world – the beautiful people world
Even in my own city – I have been a stranger to that world
Until today – until the cool early spring moment
When we she sat down next to me on those cold stairs
And she remembered my words and what they meant
I’m grateful that she shared her strength and beauty with me
There on the stairs of the Water Tower
A symbol of strength and beauty

At the Hard-Luck Cafe

One drunken angry homosexual ruined my breakfast this morning
My pancakes and root beer that the Louis L’Amour man cooked for me
Real honest-injun covered wagon cakes with hash browns and root beer
This isn’t even really a neighborhood where homosexuals hang out
He fell off of his stool and slammed his queer head on the grimy tile floor
I reached for the hot sauce – but I just didn’t have it in me to finish breakfast

Bomb Threat: Los Angeles: 2013


No one is moving away from the free food table any time soon
There are few seats and the cement ledges aren’t comfortable
I flirt with a woman who is concerned about her curly hair
I tell her she looks beautiful – she smiles – she doesn’t hear that enough

We decide to cross Jefferson Street and go into the temple to get a good seat
We decide to cross Jefferson Street and go into the temple to get out of the sun

We are stopped by a chubby young cop who explains there has been a bomb threat
He postures like John Wayne and tries to wrest the most out of his badge and uniform
No one is buying- but everyone is listening – he relishes the audience – he is so LA

You gotta go around he says You gotta enter on Pico – this is where the event is.
(By event he means this is where the caller said the bomb was hidden)

Brave and crazy – the mass of humanity moves toward Pico – impervious to the threat
We are AMERICANS and these are our kids and you won’t ruin their special day

Did no one learn anything from Boston?
Did we forget in one short month what was at stake?

We move as one under the California sun – the police woman politely lifting the caution tape
We have to get into the temple before all of the good seats are taken

I wear a flimsy black bag on my shoulder – no one checks it
I hold my coveted ticket out for scrutiny – no one checks it

They simply herd us into the storied theater with the magnificent chandelier
We settle in and prepare for the speeches and the processions

Somewhere – someone is waiting for CNN coverage – hoping for attention
Somewhere – someone is wringing his hands – staring at the phone on the kitchen table

We walk and we sit politely together because we are AMERICANS and these are our kids

The Hero

I am like the angel-savior guy – he said to me
He was standing in line at the liquor store
He hoisted his twelve-pack of babysitting fluid
off of the counter and under his arm
It’s like I can take his kid to the park and buy him a hamburger
That’s going to have impact his life – on both their lives

The bottles were sweating inside the cardboard case
But I gotta use his phone – man – that’s how I work
I work with a lot of paper and stuff and the telephone
But I want to be a hero to this guy and his kid
If his kid recognizes me when I get there tonight
I’ll be the hero for the whole family