The old wash woman wants to nosey on in

Who are they?

Their car has New Jersey plates.

I see him walking the streets during the day smoking a cigar. Shouldn’t he
be working?

Their horrible over the front door sign reads, “Bite me.”

I saw them both sitting on the cemetery wall the other day kissing. Have
they no respect for the dead?

She mows the lawn and plays hopscotch.

I saw their empty car the other day parked in the cemetery. I fear what
they might be doing on that hallowed ground.

They have a daughter who never seems to attend school. Perhaps I should
call the school.

He was sitting in the cemetery reading de Sade. Blasphemy!

Who are they?

Why are they here?

And, why they won’t return my friendly waves?

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Views on Pain and Healing

1.
New lines drawn in history

Deciding on new
poems for a new
edition.

She says.
I have plenty,
but they seem
dated since.

I have no new
slices of
humor.
cynical
or slapstick.

I never believed
that,
“This event has
changed everything”
was anything
above media
hyperbolae
until
I sat down
and
there weren’t
any voices.

2.
One small stride toward normalcy

For weeks.
now over
a month
a bizarre
stunned
necessary
horrible
silence has settled
over this place.

Saturday night
at a sporting
event
I saw a crack,
one slowly
spreading
like chick beak
pounding
enamel shell
and real
New Yorkers
emerge
again.
cynical
and
beautiful.

We booed
the halftime
juggler.

Does every asshole in America eat sushi?

I am beginning to think so.
I really am.
I know there are a lot of assholes in
America.
I am willing to wager that every one
of them eats sushi, drinks sake
and allows their overwhelming
arrogance to waft in great noxious
clouds through sushi bars across
this great nation.

If this were a single occurrence,
I could shrug it off.
I have crossed paths with singular assholes,
monumental assholes, assholes I would not
sic on my worst enemy in the world
in the fast food joint,
the donut shop, the grocery store,
the auto parts distributor.

I have never in any of these other locations
witnessed the persistent, pernicious and
obnoxious parade of assholes as I have seen
in my local Japanese restaurant.

By way of comparison,
I visited a nearby Turkish restaurant
on a weekly basis for nearly two years and
I never encountered one asshole.

But asshole encounters at the sushi bar
have occurred so frequently that
every time the waitress seats a couple
or group next to us, I cringe, shudder
and quite nearly pose a question to the newly
arrived guests, “So…which flavor of
asshole are you folks?”

Are you a know-it-all
asshole who has dragged in some
motley assemblage of relatives
and friends so that he might display his
wide and immense knowledge of Japanese
custom, culture and cuisine?
That he might illustrate his worldliness,
his depth of character for being open to new things,
his courage for eating uncooked seafood?
Asshole.

Or…are you a loud mouthed asshole who
never learned the difference between
speaking in a quiet restaurant and
screaming from the right field bleachers at
Yankee Stadium? Who has informed the eastern
two thirds of Long Island about your ex-husband
and his unwillingness to drive your daughter
anywhere? Who tells the entire restaurant
you have been medicating your elderly
father with Xanax because you thought
he needed it? Was that an attempt
at whispering? Asshole.

Or…are you the dog ugly middle aged accountant
looking asshole with the Botox, boob
job, butt lift trophy wife part deux and
the bratty children who did not shut up
for a whole entire hour and wanted to jet to
South Africa or Bali to go surfing?
Assholes raising next generation assholes.

Or…are you the snotty, condescending,
interrogative asshole who
treated the waitress like shit on shoebottom?
What ees Katsooo?
What ees Teriyakay?
What ees EddaMaMay?
What is the deal with your fake Japanese
vocal inflections and reading the paper during the
entire meal while your poor wife attempted conversation?
Give the women a break, Asshole

Now…I am sure not every asshole in America
eats sushi. There are plenty of assholes
who will never touch that raw fish,
they call it sushi,
I call it bait,
Jap, Nip, Slope food.

But…that, ladies and gentlemen,
is an asshole of a different color
and the subject for another poem.

Sunday blues

Sundays are
rough
enough,
this one
worse than
most…
I have been
armed
with a snow
shovel and charged
with holding back
a hurricane…

As cherry
upon whipped misery,
the door bell rings,
she’s dropping
off medicine
for the cat,
decked in
Sunday finery,
down another
twenty pounds,
admits to
over indulging
in the fancy country
club Sunday brunch.

I stand in stained
shorts,
my shirt with
more holes than
viable cloth,
my hair standing
straight in every
direction,
my toenails
unclipped for
weeks,
my
stomach
churning away at
a McBreakfast
combination.

She gives me
the old up one side
down the other
eye summation
and knows everything.

She smiles,
“Nice hairdo.
Leave the
house much?”

Welcome to SteveTown

(apologies to Jim Jones)

When I was five my mother asked me,
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It would have been easy to respond with the usual,
fireman, farmer, policeman, but not me I said,
“I want to be…the leader of a cult. I will call
it the Cult of Steve and I will have people
who will obey my every word.”

I was a strange child, who grew up…to be the leader of
a cult, The Cult of Steve. The Cult began with one
member, me, and I have since built up my membership
to over two hundred female souls. There are no other male
members in The Cult of Steve other than me, Steve. Did you
catch the double entendre I just tossed into the breeze between us?
Other male members would make our communal nude bathing hours,
how shall I say…uncomfortable.

As I said, The Cult of Steve started with one member, me, Steve,
but grew rather quickly. There are many wayward young women
in America looking for…something. I am The Messiah to
those I met in Utah in the shadow of Moroni. I am The Director to the ones
from Hollywood, pssst…they’ll follow anyone if they think there’s a movie part
down the road somewhere. I am The Big Daddy for those from broken homes
who are seeking a father figure.

You know…I didn’t have much luck recruiting disciples in New York City.
I tasted a lot of pepper spray there, I guess the women of the Five Boroughs
don’t think they need saving. Perhaps not, but now they’re
eternally damned anyway, by me, Steve.

The Cult of Steve was built one member at a time,
by providing each member with the truth they were seeking.

But…it has been difficult, finding a permanent home for The Cult of Steve. We
tried to settle in the rural Midwest, but left for Texas…for ummmmmm…tax
reasons and the lenient gun laws. The are several members of The Cult of Steve
who feel better when they pack heat, including me, Steve. Happiness is a warm rocket launcher.
We left Texas in the middle of the night. I heard the dieselly rumble of tank engines in
the distance. That’s never a good sound for a cult leader to hear.

I think we finally found our home though in this dense jungle in an unnamed South American
country. We call it…SteveTown. It’s named after me, Steve. Life in SteveTown is rather
enjoyable. Here’s what an average day looks like:

10AM…We don’t rise early in SteveTown. It’s exhausting to do so. We have a leisurely
breakfast of oatmeal and bananas and everyone thanks me, Steve, for providing the bounty.

11AM-2PM…Communal nude bathing and Baptismal “hour.” As the cliche say, cleanliness is
next to Godliness and I like to be Godly, very very Godly.

2PM-3PM…We have lunch of bologna sandwiches with ketchup on white bread and everyone
thanks me, Steve, for providing the bounty. I like to provide bounty and I like to be thanked for
it.

3PM-6PM…Communal nude bathing and Baptismal “hour.” One can never be…too clean.

6PM-7PM…Study of The Wisdom of Steve. Soon to be a new book in the Bible or a movie
starring a young, beautiful, but eccentric Hollywood cast. We also use this time for gun cleaning
and target practice. An unarmed, unprepared cult, is no cult at all really.

7PM-8PM…We have dinner. Instant macaroni and cheese…with…hot dogs. Again, everyone
thanks me, Steve, for providing the bounty. I’m nice like that.

8PM-11PM…Communal nude bathing and Baptismal “hour.” We must be cleansed before bed,
one never knows whether or not one will wake up the next morning.

11PM-12AM…Before I read bedtime stories, everyone has a large tumbler of Kool-Aid, grape
flavored Kool-Aid and everyone thanks me, Steve, for providing another beautiful day of Life…I
like monkeys and elephants so, I usually read Curious George or Babar as my disciples begin to
nod off from all of the bathing, the studying, the thanking and the Kool-Aid.

Want to join my cult? I can always make room for one more…

Poem written while looking out the window into the backyard spring…

If you are expecting a lyric expression of
spring’s promise or an alliterative list of the quiet
beauty I can see just looking out the second
floor window and into the backyard, this
poem will disappoint you.

I am having a difficult time this spring moving my
mind into a lyric frame and I do not see much promise
in my backyard either, spring or otherwise. The
plants are tired: the lilacs are played out, budding
green, but there will be no violet announcements and
the forsythias
are
tangled
spindles,
bare, pale
yellow
and
the holly has been thinned by careless ash and
the old pussy willow is good for
furry buds, but only
at the very tips of branch and
the lawn is a dry beige, ripped occasionally
into dark brown slashes by our baby
shepherd and the irises are thick, but
flowers few and I fear this will be the year
I must cut down the pink rhododendron, the
previous winter and last year’s dry summer have
transformed in stages its rubbery leaves from
deep green to yellow, now many curled
brown, earth ready.

The plastic picnic table and chairs are dingy, ready
for the mold of spring, the grills are rusting and should
have found their way into the garage for winter and my
artistic plans for the plywood scraps that have been leaning
against said garage remain unattained and the garage itself
needs to be repaired in the least or razed and re-built.

So this poem written while looking out the window
into the spring’s backyard is not about promise or
re-birth or beauty or any of the other bullshit attendant
in poem’s about looking out a window and into the
drizzling spring morning.

It is about failure, which nags
always, no matter the season.

It is about withering which is as evident in
spring, as it is in the other three.

It is about the beauty becoming something other and having to
twist it, turn it, cram it to still make it fit into the word beauty, the
beauty of decline is an oxymoron, a literary trick.

It is about your expectation as you pick up and begin reading a
poem with the word spring in its title.

It is also about blind belief in words on a page because even though
I told you this poem would disappoint you, you kept expecting me
to come to my senses and deliver myself from darkness, to admit
I was full of shit and that spring is indeed about promise and re-birth.

But that belief is contingent upon your believing I am looking out the window into
the backyard spring, but I am not looking out window into spring’s backyard, I
am sitting, rather uncomfortably I might add, on the floor, at the coffee
table in my living room that looks not out into spring’s backyard, but into
the recently swept street, the morning traffic, the usual routine and my
legs have fallen asleep and I should get up to see what the dog is
chewing on rather than continuing to type this poem and since I
am coming clean here the rhododendron is not in the backyard at
all it is in the front yard, I moved it for the sake of showing that death
always exists alongside promise and I gave this poem the
title it has because no one wants to read a poem entitled, “Poem written as I
sit at the coffee table, kvetching, while my legs fall asleep and
the dog chews on the piece of plastic that ten minutes ago
was an eyeball attached to one of her stuffed toys…”