Caged in the Deadeye Culture

How am I to act when I choose

to not participate in the horrors

culture produces around

me?  Wars on everything promise


to kill the very Bay of Misery that knows all

my secrets. Where can I face the current

and not find myself


poisoned by toxic algae blooms? Away from

the hazy horizon to the faces I see always fixed

gaze on their flat appearances

created by a façade of platitudes for banal


social engagement that has driven people to death

from the buzzing in their pocket, while the car slides

into the wrong lane for a wrong number…looking for


the lol while 911 is called.  I’ve been found

in the trap of the screen myself.  I do hate it,

despite my best efforts to never hate

a thing. The trouble is distraction.  I get distracted


by the waves of emotion which grip my tiny frame

tossing me around in storms and fits of why


does it have to be this way? People don’t understand how

simple it is to change. It’s true, I’ve let fear take hold


at times, but when it’s fight or flight for my life, you better

believe it is terrifying, but I will stand. To always



walk the decaying

streets, with all the pot

holes, the missing

pavement, kicking

a half crushed Monster

can to the rhythm of chaos

past the crumpled up


tin foil, orange plastic caps, muddy

syringes, all the bent spoons: I know too

well what fresh hell is.


The Byronic Crown

#1: Yes Intended Audience


She’s always ready for guerrilla tactics,

pen in hand, marching—one foot

in front of the other to leave a single path masked by the bits of carpet she tied around her feet…one set of impressions in the sand.  I do it just by the gesture of my

left hand, while always meandering along

the wavy lines extending farther than any

eye—whether it’s evil or not—can see.  Some

people are merely typos, a scratched out name, a misspelling,


a misspelling of the word lover.  There’s no

need for a cipher to crack that code of silence. All you

need do is imagine it and then it is

  1. Believe me the terrible

angels will swoon, and I’ll bat

them like flies with my rolled up paper.


#2        Choices


This place is dreary and forsaken. The pertinacity

of names is not easily forgotten: Erie.  She

stood insignificantly trapped between the paper

thin dividers of lying nude in naïve dignity of death

and the sound of her own breath.  He was a corpse, her flesh

had no place against it.  The eyes shone glazed in

the obscurity oblivion only offers.  Each time there

was nakedness exchanged between them it became clear


how isolated from the other they were.  Her nakedness

was always poised and cleverly posed.  His hidden under

layering drips of himself to weep down a wall

when the painting is taken away.  The streaks of a man’s life

dissolving into a skillfully placed image of trees growing all wrong

to hide his face is all she gets to touch of the craftsman.  Being

channels through which life is issued they have to decide

to do it fully or be something for a mantel piece.


#3        Butterflies Building Better

Failure teaches us life is nothing

more than a draft, she has learned to swim

like two fish always chasing

the other’s tail in Misery Bay.  It’s like a mural

on the side of a decaying building trying to breathe

life into the waning city of dwindling culture


climbing up coiling around old neighborhoods as an invasive

new species of weed, just as it has in the old country


warring over its own name.  It seems the race

called human—all the variations of flesh which come

along with the word myself—has forgotten how


much like snowflakes they are. Blowing lake effect

gusts of bitter biting cold drives snow too heavy to see

a single flake adhere to the painted traditions on all

the buildings making it impossible to distinguish which ones

were crafted with love and belief,

and which ones are to be demolished on the shores of the sick

and hypodermic infested Great Lake Erie.


#4        Agony to Know

Any words cost him

a painful effort.  She dare

not show her eyes


directly at him for she would look

flaring with humble

eyes’ metamorphosis being victorious

in first possession.


#5        Spice Nomenclature


It presses hard upon me.  I let it press hard

upon me.  Questions reach so far they can never go

farther.  The heart burns from a sweet

agony.  Voice could save you.  The mind

moves in strange directions.  It’s not linear.  Massing speeds

that cannot be calculated, it is by will alone


I set my mind in motion


to mend all the broken bits of forgotten

ballads, stupid sestina’s…a sonata

with a number of movements in sound

missing a metronome.  A choice


spurring the need for new experiences is


perplexing.  Without change something sleeps inside

  1. It draws something out of us,

like a deep down countdown allowing us to grow.



#6        Eaten Alive


He chooses to invest time

in a Siren

when the Muse sits alone


in a green office writing

the poems of a could be God. Sadly,


he prefers to flit around in shallow waters.


The Muse sits alone.

A green room swallows her words.

He picks the Siren.


#7        The Sleeper Awakens


Maybe you are the only person

who completely engages the things that are


important.  So much of her is irrelevant, so grounded

in the earth to which she’ll return

one day. We are already silent partners

in the creation of myth, she didn’t say

this for you to hear it.  She isn’t there.


#8        The Walking Dead Sleep

Culture is an ostentatious bitch

riddled with tyrannical ideology. She’s always


in a humble bowing away from sharing

the parts she really wants


to say—but doesn’t have the means—so she’s shackled


to words escaping her.  How well your gaze fell

upon her.  It made the Dark Lady wake to carry


her scarred and etched skin: a dying savage

animal, screaming Carpe Diem.   Know


we’re dead to everyone, unless we struggle

to be what we may become.


#9                    Irony Would Do It

As a failing body, all she has

ever wanted was to love

fiercely so to be loved back


just as savage.  Yet, she gets overlooked,

because maybe she feels safer


lurking in dark places, because that’s what she’s


accustomed to.  Too used to being nothing

more than a prostituted body, the child


left behind.  Nice would be nice, since there’s already

too much tragedy.  It’s time to edit the world anyhow.


#10                  Overcoming False Boundaries

Is it that he can’t speak, or has he

not the means to copulate

in discourse?  The real, tangible, humble

servant to the Word—with each one’s


symbiotic semiotics sound—is a weak imitation

to the thought, the feeling.  Words will always

fail me when I speak, that’s why it is the Voice

which demands to be heard.


#11    Beginning Steps of Standing Strong: The Act of Telling


That neglected, abused girl

has grown into a woman, a virile

bodhisattva of the earth, now


she’s something more

a kin to the need

in conversation for digression, while keeping


record of metaphors.  White paper covered in

lines and lines of scribbled smudges

from some sweet ditty, a shushed


scream, all that sobbing

acts like the crutch keeping her

standing.  Even if she’s limping,


bloodied and beaten, she always

stands.  Sleeping through all this is not

an option.  Memory behaves as tutor


developing the disciple of man’s

languages—most of them dead

and mostly forgotten.  She knows the rain,


leaning against every said meaning, looking

for the unasked questions in the pursuit of  roots.  Thus

illustrates the need for questions in a time that is so


demanding of the mindless.  Utterance is

what is

necessary.       Voice is a constant                 organic thing.


#12      The Act of Showing

Mindfulness is knowing everything is

as it should.  The tree with roots penetrating

deep into the ground can usually withstand

months of brutal Erie winters to return year

after year as the promise of maple

collected in buckets during

the season of snow and mud. Until

lightning strikes, then becomes fruit for the insects

of the dirt to make it a tree again.  The tree then returns


for a children’s book

to be written about how giving


a tree can be.  She watches as tree


covered mountain tops are all blown

to bits in the search for energy, consequently

forced to wonder why we work so hard

at destroying the gifts we are given.


#13      The Act of Doing


Because there is a reason

for everything, you’ve been put

here.  Secrets were never


your friend, remember the Wiseman

says, You are only as sick as your


secrets.  So let them go.


Touch each one, even

the ones hiding in an achy and itchy

wound.  Touch them lovingly because they’re


guides through toil

to the state of being here. Let them hover

in the air giving life to your blood.


#14      The Action of Contentment


This county off Misery Bay has made

many hermits of this land.  My tree is dying, so I

see, invaded by the Asian


Longhorn death bringing beetle,

murdering a little more of my history, my home-

town off Misery Bay.  We will lose

our fifth season: the season of snow and mud.  It is

a secret time of year that only

maple trees share among the Great


Lake.  From a book I learned the wisdom of a Hermit

bee keeper, who had his story told once in an Erie news-


paper.  So, it’s time to celebrate

the life it did have

by dancing naked in the coming

night bereft of light,

splashing in the black Lake.

Its waves dance.  Here is being

among the erosion

of the shores.  The sun singing

its nightly swan song to the night of cloudless sky.

The sound of bats overhead.  We clasp hands.

Actuated by Officiousness

he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted to smudge the creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was wet.



It makes no difference

how to resist. Winston


Smith knew brain washing is

easier to recognize


from the outside.  Question how

your own perception is managed.  By Thought


Police or algorithms…by some bot programed

to respond like you—after analyzing your internet


behaviors with a computer program—in order to wish

loved ones happy birthday, even after the flesh


sending the message has turned into food for insects

and worms. A forever repeating greeting,


that even in death, the voice can be made real by words

formed. Voice is infinite for the finite flesh.

There Is No Mandela Here

My tired, nearly blind

eyes have seen too much.  I’ve seen


processions of corpses. Lists of dead

friends I started keeping at age thirteen


have scrolled out taped together as far as suburban

sprawl can see with syringe precision. So many


nights, steaming floods would fill ears, as the mouse

traps snap any stillness out of the synapses


misfiring in tandem from my head to toes

in a sudden jerk of fear. The only food


in the fridge has maggots.  It’s still better

to have a place for an appliance with maggots


than no place for it at all.  Better than pressing

swollen eyes and runny noses into the same


spot on the nasty cot so many have done

the same on, it is better to have something


to call your own even with with maggots. Aging is

getting the better of my eyes, they are weary


from having seen too much. Every word is blurred

from my sight. I can still visualize letters and fonts


in my mind as my fingers guide me toward a space

I make for myself.  Maybe, my eyes no longer need


sight to see. My fingers know

the keys well enough now I don’t have


to ever look at the blinding white of the stark:

that blank emptiness.  I unpack in silence.  My head


bowed, almost in shame of not wanting to tire

my eyes again.  Wearied by the knowledge I have


chosen to use them for. Knowing too much

is a thing which is the thing plaguing my eyes. My eyes


have seen the worst of humanity.  The arrogant, ignorant

faces of wealth and power.  It’s true I met DeKlerk.


I wiped my hand on my pant leg as fast as I let go

of his weak grip.