Don’t mind


I do…


long as

there is

some good

local honey


as long as

it’s green

or Māmaki


as long as


stay here


drink it




keep me


for a while.

Who am I


say no to


Who am I


say no to


cup of tea?


do I look


or something?


try to look

past that…

Categories: hawaii, Poetry, tea

The End

I followed the rainbow

to the end

and found

a ninety-four year old

Irish grandmother

living from

social security check


social security check


pot of gold

in sight.

She told me

about her late husband

and how they met

before he was sent

to fight his way

across Europe,

and how they landed

on this island,

him and her,

fifty years ago

when he took

a new job

out here

during a mid




they loved it…

but he’s dead


and her children

are all either dead

or living far away

far from the end

of the rainbow

and her grandchildren

don’t bother with her

and her great-grandchildren

don’t bother with her

and her great-great grandchildren

have never even met her


at the end

of the rainbow


there is no pot of gold,

just an old

Irish widow


a social security check,

a small dog,

three cats





here at the end

of the rainbow



the end




Categories: death, family, hawaii, history, love, memories, Poetry, rain, rainbow, war, working class, world war two | Tags: , , , , , ,


Get it out

these thoughts


this pen

the antidote…

induce vomit

cleanse me of

these toxic


which are



peace of mind,

let me be





I scribble


these notes

stopping to chicken scratch letters

and words

in this soaked notebook

along the roadside

as I walk home

in the rain

this is no

farewell letter


suicide note,

this is poison

nearly thirty years

worth of poison,

get it out…

must get it out…


this antidote is starting

to work


just as I begin

to become aware

of the here

and now

this fucking pen

is beginning to run


of ink…


Categories: memories, Poetry, rain, suicide | Tags: ,

That Skyline…



That skyline

that beautiful skyline

with me in my dreams

as I sleep on this island

where the tallest building

is the church…

I don’t miss the pollution,

the crowded buses

and subway cars,

the potholes

and the masses of people

on auto-pilot

in business suits

crossing through Dewey Square

to jobs they think matter,

with titles

that make them feel important,

walking past a grizzly-looking god

on their way back from lunch,

refusing to look down

for fear of making eye contact

with another,

with their brother,

with humanity,

with the universe,

with god…

as he sits there

looking homeless

in his worn out

thrift store clothing

and faded Red Sox hat

holding the Globe

in his dirty hands,

he’s not looking for a handout

he’s dying for conversation

as he’s crying inside

about the state of the world

that he knows first hand,

and that he just read about

again in the paper

that a business man left

on a park bench

in Government Center

earlier in the day,

which god spotted

as he sipped

his watered down government coffee

as he started

to make his way

to the Green-way,

because he loves to sit in the grass

and watch the people

as they pass by,

even as they

ignore him.

You see,

god’s not homeless,

he lives with other Vietnam vets,

and a whole bunch

of these kids

getting younger and younger

by the day,

in that shelter

there on Court Street,

just below that beautiful


just out of sight

and out of mind

of the tourists

at Quincy Market,

and the people on auto-pilot

in the financial district

walking through Dewey Square

and back from lunch

in their business suits,

doing all they can

to avoid making eye contact

with god,

with humanity,

with themselves…

but, all that aside…

that skyline,

that beautiful skyline…

I miss that,

and I miss my conversations with god.

Categories: american dream, boston, humanity, ignorance, love, Poetry, veterans, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Still Raining


it’s been weeks now and


it rains,


At least

it’s not snowing,

and we do

need the rain

but Jesus H. Christ…

we also need

to have

at least a little

bit of sun

for a rainbow.

I mean,

this is Hawaii

after all,

not Seattle.

So, I’ll keep

sitting here

at this coffee shop

and watching

the rain drops fall

as my mood

keeps matching

the weather…


is it the other way


Categories: coffee, Poetry, rain | Tags: , ,

A letter I can’t bring myself to send…

One year.

Three hundred and sixty-five days.

Fifty-two weeks.

Twelve months.

Four seasons,

and one apple harvest ago…

you left this island

with a one-way ticket home.

One year,

and I don’t miss you

any less

than I did

the day you left,

when that TSA agent

stopped me from walking past the gate

but at least

he got your attention for me

and you turned around

and smiled

because you always smiled,

but I could feel

how much you were hurting

and I felt

like a condemned man

walking to the gallows

on my way back to the car,

and even though I saw you

a handful of times

after that

when I was visiting Massachusetts…

it just wasn’t the same,

even though we lasted

another two months

and spoke on the phone

nearly everyday…

it was over

when you got on that plane

and left me behind

on this island,


with memories of you

everywhere I looked.

I don’t blame you

at all,

you had to go


I give you credit

for trying this,

for moving

to an island

thousands of miles from anywhere,

with only seven-thousand people

and no traffic lights

-like home in that sense,

but with no Northampton a short drive away-

Most people would never…

could never even

imagine themselves

moving somewhere like this


I knew the moment

our eyes first met

that you are most certainly not

most people…

you are amazing

beyond words

and I feel so blessed

that I ever even met you,

let alone became your partner.

You showed me how to love

and how to let myself be loved

and how thinking positive

can move mountains

and how sometimes

we need to

just breathe…

At first,

I missed making love

then I missed kissing

and cuddling

and holding you,

but as time has gone on

more than anything in the world

I miss

our friendship.

I lost my lover, yes

but also my best friend

in one fell swoop

one year ago today

as you got on that plane

I lost my best friend,

my confidant,

my guru,

my soul mate,

my gourmet chef,

my concert buddy,

my travel companion,

my daily reminder

of all that is right

and beautiful

in the world…


I’ve slowly gained

a new perspective

on life

and on love…

and you didn’t break my heart

you changed it

and you helped it grow

and I am so thankful

to the universe

for all that you taught me,

and for teaching me

how to love myself


The cigarettes have been gone

for good

since December

in Houston

when I threw away

half a pack

at the airport…

and it felt good…

and the pharmaceuticals

have been gone

since last April

and it feels good…

and I did it for me,

not for you, or us…

and I love you for that

for helping me get there,

to that point.

I’m Happy

and getting healthier

each day

and saving nearly ten dollars a pack

and no longer need to argue that American Spirits

are the healthier alternative…

And I hope you’ve found


I hope you’ve found

someone happy with Ashfield,

someone without

this wanderlust

that might well leave me


for all my days…

Someone who appreciates

how amazing you are

how smart

how beautiful

how positive…

how incredible you are.

Someone who treats you

like the goddess you are.

The thought of you smiling,


at peace…

even with someone else,

the thought of that smile

warms my heart

and calms my soul.

I suppose that I’m finally ready

to move on.

I don’t want to,

but I’m ready to.

It took a year

for me to get here,

but here I am

and there you are…

and I’m ok with that.

I just thank the universe

for each and every second

that I was blessed with you

in my life,

for all the lessons

I learned from you

about the world

and about myself

and I thank you

for being you…

“It’s all I know how to be…”

I can hear you say…


keep being,

and keep doing

amazing things,

keep moving mountains.


forever and always,



P.S. I’m so sorry

that I ever brought

any negative energy

anywhere near you,

and that I shut you out

during the times I was lost

deep inside my head,

mixed up

on government pills,

my memories,

and the weight of the world…

trying to help one friend

navigate the suboxone joint,

and another the VA’s psych ward,

leaving me with

no energy left for you,

for us…



and spiritually drained.

ready to jump off the roof

one day at work,

or drive head on

into a Semi

on Route 2 on my way home…

I allowed myself to fall

into a dark place

and I’m sorry

I shut you out,

I’m sorry I hurt you,

I’m sorry I couldn’t

take your advice

and focus on myself

and on us

until it was too late

and I’m the one

on the run

not you


I will never blame you

for going home

to that beautiful orchard

and that loving family.

You ran away with me

you helped me take

that first step,

helped me get out

of the gate

and I realize now

what you knew then,

that this is a road

I must travel alone

for myself…

and that doesn’t mean

that I don’t love you

or you don’t love me,

it’s just

how the universe is


I love you still,

beyond what any words

could ever

even begin to convey,

and I always will.

One year later.

Ten years later.

Fifty years later.

A thousand years later…

You are one in a billion,

and yes it’s possible

that I’ll find

one of my six other

soul mates

in the world…

but I have my work

cut out for me

and odds are

they don’t speak English.

So, unless you respond

to this letter I can’t

bring myself to send…

I better get to know

Rosetta Stone.

Categories: death, hawaii, love, memories, Poetry, roofing, suicide | Tags: ,


I love you

a lot

I hope I get to tell you

again someday.

I miss you…

and I think of you


do you ever think

of me?


on an island,


in my crowded mind

but with you in my dreams.

You cast a spell on me…


you really are

my soul mate…

why else

would it be

so impossible for me

to give myself


anyone else,

when you made it clear

you no longer want

to be

with me…?



All I want is one more cup

with you

and I’ll be able to tell

whether to give up

or not…

if I should throw in the towel

and wait


our next


or if I should
















Categories: coffee, hawaii, love, memories, Poetry | Tags: , ,

The Keeper (2/22/2014)


on my mind

Suheir Hammad’s words jumping off

the pages

speaking to me

through her poetry,

bringing me back

to Bethlehem

to Ramallah

to Bil’in

to tear gas and shit water

rubber bullets and fire

hate and fear

and occupation

and resistance

and a twelve year old David

teared up with snots and a clenched fist

with a sling and his rock

not even reaching the wall

much less the trucks and tanks

and I can feel his frustration

and anger

and fear

and hatred…

this is a vicious cycle





breaking bodies

breaking spirits

breaking bones



is where the heart is

and the heart is in Falesteen

long live truth

and justice

and freedom

to cry

to die

and to starve

of food

of water

starve of family

of culture

starve…of hope

of a future

of a land

this land is your land

this land is my land

olive branches

and bullet proof vests

this is not your land

concrete walls

and pockmarked buildings

this isn’t anybody’s land…

human beings

these are human beings

on BOTH sides of the wall

human beings

starved of

each other

of community

of that olive branch

of a dove

and of love…

of Salaam

of Shalom

Isaac and Ishmael

brothers torn apart

taught to fight…


taught to hate…



propagated fear

always fear

of each other

never seeing them

for who they are

our brothers

and sisters

Mister, please tell me





and when it will end?

my heart aches for them

my soul aches for them,

for us

and my mind

oh, my mind…

and my spirit breaks for them


what can we do?

what can I do?

what would…

Jesus do?

Born human


Born Palestinian


Born Jewish


Born into a barbaric time

where brother kills brother

and they call it human nature

Cain killed Abel

or so we’re told…

but they told us a lie,

normalizing fratricide

and they made it ok

to kill for gold

and a diamond is forever

and I’ll leave all the lights on

ignoring Appalachian coal miners

and I’m able to kill Abel

not even for an eye

or a tooth

but because I can

for the bible tells me so

tells me brother killed brother

shows us it’s human nature,


and so it is written,


fuck that

it’s not so

it’s not human nature

we only know what we’re taught and told

socialized into believing

but we are our brother and sister’s keeper

because we are ONE

and I will not believe

a few thousand year old parable

normalizing fratricide

no, I will not sit by

idly watching

and waiting for a savior

What Would Jesus Do?


this one is on us

because we are ONE


speak up

love both sides

because we are both sides

and it is ok to cry

for ourselves,

for humanity…

and supporting human rights

doesn’t make you anti-anything

it makes you pro-humanity


I am

you are

he is

she is

we are all…


and we are all








Peace be with you

and me

and my brother

and my sister

because I am their keeper

and I am your keeper

and you, mine



Categories: Uncategorized

Is This a Poem?

How is it that one becomes a poet?

Is there a college course you can take,

a degree you can get,

a leather bound journal to write in?

Or maybe an iMac,

or a Macbook pro

or whatever the fuck they’re called…

Is it something you have to want to be?

Did you have to read Dickinson

and Frost

when you were in high school?

Or Ginsberg

and Bukowski

as an undergrad?

Is it about being well-read,

clever with words,


You know,

the Harvard

or Oxford type?

Perhaps Amherst

or Dartmouth?

Are those the poets?

The ones with privilege

and prestige

and pedigree,

you know,


endless inkwells

and stacks of paper,



or is it something more?

Is it a broken home,

a shitty childhood,

an alcoholic father,

a drug addicted mother,

an abortion

or an unwanted child?

Is it a broken heart,

or a broken back?









Is it pain and suffering?

Mental illness?




I think it’s more memory

than imagination,

more heart

than mind,

more dark than light,

more sleepless nights,

more writing just to stay sane,

and not writing

for financial gain.

I will never call

myself a poet

because I never want

to be one,

but the pen

for me

as an easier way out

than the gun


the world might get better,


and I won’t ever edit this

and I have to take a break now

to take a piss…

and I’m back

feel much better now

and this is a terrible poem


this is what people do,


talk about their feelings?


I’m heartbroken and horny

and the last three women I fucked

I was thinking about my ex

the whole time

and it sucks

and I don’t know what to do,

jerkoff I suppose

and contemplate suicide

line by line

and think about Colombia

line by line

and piss away my paycheck

line by line…

Is this a poem?

Am I a poet?

Or do I need a thesaurus

and an old tweed jacket

and a pipe full of Captain Black?


what about the poets

out selling crack,

or the ones who wind up

in suicide vests,

or the ones whose villages we’ve destroyed?

Or that old dairy farmer in Maine

with the glass eye?

Or that ninety year old widow

in Vermont

who signed a copy of her book of poems

to my grandfather in 1995,

which I found after he died

and few people besides her family,


and neighbors

have probably ever read,

but is one of the most powerful things

I’ve ever seen…

and you can feel her pain

and you can see her soul

and she pours out

her broken heart

and she doesn’t give a shit

what you think…

SHE is a goddamn poet

and if you don’t think so

then fuck you

and your PhD in poetry.

Is this a poem?

Am I a poet?

I don’t know…

I don’t know, and I don’t care…

All I know is that

this will help me sleep tonight…

and no, I won’t edit this.

And if you’re reading it

it means

that I haven’t killed myself.

These words…

these letters…

this blue ink on scrap paper

from this pen I stole from the coffee shop

helped me make it

through the night…

and now,

I’m off to go apple picking

with her

in my dreams

until the rooster crows

at dawn’s early light

and coffee becomes

a better option than whiskey.

But now I lay me down to sleep…

blah blah blah…

Is this a poem?

Am I a poet?

I don’t know…

I mean,

I couldn’t afford Harvard

or the tweed coat

and I don’t like pipe tobacco,

so, I have to rely on


a shitty childhood,

crazy dreams,

and a broken heart…



Categories: Uncategorized

Chain Smoking, Still

I sat there cleaning my M4

going through the motions

as I stared out

at a depressing landscape

from the roof of our palace


and listening to Dave Matthews Band

on a hand-me-down i-pod

as my eyes are drawn

to a disfigured mosque

and I take another drag

and the Tigris catches my eye

and memorizes me,

brings me back

to the rivers of my youth

and I’m aching to swim

but know that these rivers

are nearly as polluted

as our minds

with chemicals

and oil

and death…

don’t drink the water

and don’t swim

but I’m drowning

every time our eyes meet

we were both taught

to see monsters ,

but while you might

I just see pain…

and I sit here now

chewing dates,

drinking chai

and chain smoking still

as I look up at the sky

I don’t see god


and I’m sick

of cleaning this goddamn M4

and god is in

those ‘monsters’ eyes

I realize it now

so I cry

and I look out at this city

with thousands of years

of history

and I dread our next mission

and I kiss the barrel of my 9

and contemplate jumping off this roof,

it could look accidental

but I’m a coward

so, I’ll play god again tomorrow

for others

since I can’t seem to kill myself

and for now

I light another cigarette

and stare out

between two rivers

puffing smoke signals

to the heavens

from this biblical land,

an SOS to the universe

so, who knows?

maybe tomorrow

I’ll choke to death on a date pit…


Categories: collateral damage, death, humanity, ignorance, Iraq, Poetry, suicide, war | Tags: , ,

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