behavior psychology religious studies sociology

the fourth bead

my hands and heart

pray a rosary

of a different sort


one constructed by survival

that was never blessed

by a politician in a gaudy dress

and fetid purse in vatican city


the first bead is my mother

whom i thank for giving me life


the second bead is my father

who took his own

under the misguided notion

my existence would be improved

by the tortured deed


the third is shared by two men

who stepped in

to protect and daddy me

as they are my personal diocese


and the fourth is a thank you

to the man who taught me to appreciate

the good in the world

by showing me

how sick a human can be


and he should be grateful

as his best poetry has come

from hating

unapologetically happy




Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

green glass

i went to a cathedral today
knelt on red velvet
in a vestibule
of a religion
not my own

lit a green glass votive candle
the same color as your eyes

i’ve finally forgiven you

but maybe i only came by that
because i defeated you

in the process
helped save another person’s life

my lips needed no intermediary
speaking directly to grace

i prayed for the salvation
of your undeserving soul

my steady hand
dropped a two dollar bill
in the donation box
what together felt like

the only thing you ever said to me of value
as we counted church steeples
from a high rise window
in downtown cincinnati

a person must have unwavering faith

i no longer believe in you

and though i don’t claim to know what it is

i believe

in the goodness of god

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

between wooden pole and peach tree

my mother’s mother
was the last person in my life
who despite having a dryer
would at times
still hang her sheets

to dry on a clothesline
flapping crisp and clean
in purifying sunlight

as a young girl
how i loved to run
through her glowing linen corridors of delicate pink flowers
cool wet fabric braising my skin
giving in
to kentucky meadow breeze

hung by clothespins handed down
through generations of mothers and daughters with aching backs
aged oak soldiers still ready
for laundry duty

(country people are funny like that
when you have nothing
even the simplest thing becomes
precious because it was your great grandmother’s)

i watched flashes of her through shifting panels
as i played

she would hum as she strung them up
between wooden pole and peach tree
giggling at me
smiling over my mischief

other times she seemed to be lost
the death of her firstborn son
18-year-old uncle i never met
would creep across her face

now i weep realizing her strength
her uncanny ability to make everything right
for those she loved
in times gone wrong

the result being fresh
unsullied purity to the skin
upon crawling into a summer night’s dream
so soothing
as to lull
the most fitful soul to sleep

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

not for nothing, baby

lunch time seated
in an industrial chain
coffee and carbohydrate factory
filled with hipsters and wage slaves
eating alternative proteins
vegan dishes filled with hummus
and grilled sea monkeys

being forced to listen
to a tacky woman with intrusive perfume
and a saccharin drawl
loudly discuss with her boss
their tempestuous not-so secret affair
as i attempt to read an old book of poetry

flipping through the pages to the end
caving in to the din
eyes finding my own handwriting
something long ago scribbled in pen

it reads

“Louis Armstrong, La Vie En Rose”

encased within a doomed black ink shaped heart

“Remember this moment when all is lost…remember how much he loved you
…remember how much you loved him. Now, gather yourself, and begin again.”

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

whole new religion

i am in need of a god
to whom i may pray today
more powerful
than grass
or lou reed

*for B and all things good

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

thank god it’s christmas

this is the night
i must forgive you

not for your sake
or mine

i’m endeavoring to do this
for my sons

they don’t deserve
to have their mother destroyed
a woman laid to waste by poisonous contempt
numbed with bourbon and burning stakes

but see
i know you won’t get that
a mother loving her sons
and i’m sorry
it seems to be causing you a bit of trouble

but i’m tired of mourning you

i have somehow become
your unmarked grave

i dig deep
i dig so fucking deep
nails scraping dirt and jagged stones thrown
to remember

your sweetest
words spoken

to make me smile
in the darkest hours
whenever i was full of agony
distance or fear

even in mid-July
especially in mid-July

bright side ironic
you would say,

“Thank god it’s Christmas, eh?”

yeah, baby

thank god it’s christmas

i wish you endless peace

now i can walk away

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends

accidental savior

you have loved me
for no good reason

accidental savior

who made the holy war
worth fighting

i cease to care that heaven is burning
above my clipped wings

because there is you
to fall to hell for


a thousand ships

where certainty resides
no faith is required
once a star is seen in the darkness
there is no forgetting it’s place in the sky

i have watched your face sink
into the night waters
of the glowing aegean
since the beginning of time

poetry Short Stories Uncategorized

i found god

i found god
five hours into
a red eye flight
back home to cincinnati
from los angeles

my burning forehead
was leaning against the cool
of the aircraft window

hips aching from the unreclining seat

my eyes were staring at planets

when it happened

a faint blue line appeared
cupping the curve of the earth

the stars began to tumble into the rising light

i watched the night give way to
an aurora divine

as the hands of creation
lifted the sun above
a white sea of clouds
taking on the color of fire

this is the force that made the universe
i whisper

i wept silently
by the exit door
of row 17
having seen whoever made this life of ours
do their best that august morning

realizing i could not deny
what i had seen was

and the mistake i had allowed my heart to make
was thinking that god was
in any way
associated with man’s religions

poetry Short Stories Uncategorized

saturday is a form of heaven

eating english
slathered with blackberry preserves
ignoring The Times
listening to
the cure
on the turntable
orbiting white chocolate
worshiping blonde coffee
reading a deLillo novel
dog under chair giving chase
in mumbley sleep
children remain under star covered blankets
as st. michael the tabby cat
wages holy war
against the evils
of rabbit fur mice