things I’ve learned over time.

everyone speaks at the same time.
so it’s amazing what you can learn about people when you shut your mouth. 

everyone wonders who am I. 
and it baffles me how many never answer that question 
because they won’t be alone. 

everyone confuses why with how

so everyday is lost as it goes by. 
then moments don’t compute. 

I wish this poem had an end. 

trying

Sometimes I listen to 
Car Talk on NPR 
and it makes me homesick. 

Once I met a woman in a coffee shop
in Chicago  
and it changed my life. 

I never knew things 
like that could actually 
happen. 

But they do. 
if you don’t try. 

Much of my life 
I tried too hard, 
but now I mostly 
listen to NPR, 

and wonder 
if I should keep 
writing poems 

or if I should 
write the girl 
from the Chicago 
coffee shop. 

Shit—
there I go trying 
again. 

Forget it, guess I’ll just keep 
on writing poems.

Names

My name’s Michael,
but most people call me Mike 
even though I never introduce myself as Mike 
or sign off any email as Mike
or sign Mike at the end of a letter. 

People assume everyone 
wants to be like the majority— 
most Michaels go by Mike—
and I don’t like that.  

I go by Michael, 
pleased to meet you.
I’m not like other people.   

A poem of mine I read aloud. The background track is a song called Shenandoah by Goldmund. 

regrets

Yeah, sure, 
there are some things
I regret

like when that Latina 
came over and made me 
margaritas and I never 
fucked her. 

or when that big breasted brunette
came knocking on my door
in her aerobics instructor 
Halloween costume, and 
I didn’t let her in. 

Look, there are no 
second chances in life. 

I get that.

But now, each day I wake,
it’s more surreal than the 
the last. 

That’s how I know
I’m in paradise

so fuck 
regrets. 

and second
chances. 

I’ve arrived. 

Raining

It’s raining in São Paulo and you say,

"I love rainy nights. 
I wish you were here to cuddle with me.  
Well ‘cuddle’ isn’t really the word I want to use,
but English doesn’t allow me to express the concept I really mean.”

And then you tell me that

"It doesn’t matter, I just wish
you were here
so we could listen to the rain together.”

So I’m here now, ready to listen.
But it isn’t raining anymore.

live

If you aren’t doing exactly what you want to be doing
then what are you doing? and 
who are you doing it for? 

May 29, 2014 

I can’t believe after all the kindness and compassion I showed you, “how are you” is still too much for you to ask me. Has the whole world gone mad? Have we let our xanax, zoloft, high-anxiety, self-induced stress lifestyle destroy our last shred of sanity? The whole world has inverted on its giant, self-important, egotistical ass. People don’t have perspective anymore—as if we ever had perspective. We are doomed, and I’m here to chronicle it. 

tell me

"Here read these,"
I said as I stuck
out my hands,
fanning the sheets
of paper like a deck
of playing cards.

"These are my
writings,” I told her.

"i don’t want to know
if they’re good
because what is good?”

Tell me instead:
Do they make you roll your eyes?
Do they make you laugh?
Do they have no effect on you at all?
or, might they make you wonder
who I am?

Because what is good?
but a way to never
really know someone
at all.

the day I threw out all my things

i have nothing
left to
bring
along
and
nothing left
to
keep me
here
and all my
things
now
fit in a trunk—
just some
hiking gear,
a few
old poets, and
a guitar. 

and

there’s nothing
else
i need now
because
i have no prospects.

no
nothing on
the
horizon.
and
no paths to
follow,
none to
take
because
everything
that once
was
has now finished.
so
everything that
happens
is
from now
on.

and i have
no
connections
to
anywhere,
no
connections
to
anything

except to
whatever
i please
wherever
i please it.

so

here it
is:
my
second
chance.

i’ll
be
fine
if i
never
take
it.

i’d
rather stay
here,
anyway.

Oh Yes

there are worse things thanbeing alonebut it often takes decadesto realize thisand most often when you doit’s too lateand there’s nothing worsethan too late
—Charles Bukowski 

Oh Yes

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often 
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
than 
too late

—Charles Bukowski 

you get so lonely sometimes it just makes sense

on my way home
from the gym—

halfway through the massive crosswalk—
she tapped my shoulder.

i looked to my right—
a blond beauty.
right beside me.

my eyes widened
my face read:
"holy shit this
never happens. you’re
beautiful.”

"do you have a light?"
she asked
with her cigarette
dangling by her side

"no" i responded,
sullenly.

"disgusting"
she muttered,

as she turned back
toward the direction
from which we came.
wouldn’t continue on
in my direction.

it must have been
the smell
of vomit
on my mouth
and in my beard—
lingering effects of my workout.

i never got her name.

a line

what’s in my life
i can’t live without?

it sure as shit
isn’t my job
(the lifers love it
but most seem
flattened by it)

and it’s definitely
not these students
(they’re landing on their
feet without my help anyway)

maybe it’s the mountains,
but i’m without them
355 days of the year already,
so what’s another 10?

or, maybe it’s my guitar,
but what’s a song when no
one’s listening?

and what about family?
well, i left them long ago, and now i
never see them as much as i need.

so remove all this veneer and what’s left?
just these words—
a force-field of freedom,
those tiny little shapes
that mark the dividing line 
between madness and meaning.

just this line. 

the fear

an irksome feeling
courses through
my body

that because

i know nothing
of struggle,
of starvation,
of desperation,
i have nothing.

a gift of darkness

Occasionally
I read these words
because they’re poignant:

"someone has given me
a box full of darkness,
and I’m still understanding
the extent to which it was a gift.

maybe you’ve seen things in me
that no one else has seen.”

Well I confess to know little
of this darkness, 

maybe it’s an invitation to 
discover. maybe an invitation to 
learn. 

And though I wish to be an
astute observer, I am not.

There are just some things 
we’re drawn to see.