a 90 degree afternoon
in late September
leaves boiling off tree limbs
heat swirling billows
of sewer gas necrotic
urine stench blossoming
beneath the grimy crosswalk
underground rivers
of darkened discontent
glassy eyed hatred reflecting
off police car windows
drunken ballerina delirium
magic is dead beneath a tree
in Piatt Park
heroin limping
passed children unaware
their poverty is generational
a better life is four tax brackets away
no, son, no…
there is no god
in Over-The-Rhine


melting pot

melting pot
if by melting pot
you mean
everyone is boiled
down to their bones
to be consumed
by rich white men

geneology history poetry



i look at photographs

of my

grapes of wrath worthy


sunday best ragged

depression sepia

tobacco creased


and think

i can’t believe these people

fucked each other


Americana literature local color sociology writing

future farmers of america

the year i moved south

amidst a northern drought

there was a band of arsonists terrorizing

the people of three counties

comprising my childhood stomping grounds

Lincoln, Casey, & Pulaski



the bastards burned the hardware store

a few occupied houses

the lumber yard

and my dead daddy’s high school

in eubank

where he was in 
future farmers of america

a basketball star

and the first of his mining man clan

to graduate


i had moved into my grandmother’s old house with my sons

to write my book

the utilities were reasonable

the memories were free


poppies and black irises in the back yard

mockingbirds in the trees

hummingbirds attending gossip socials

and a coat of many colors rose bush

who presented the sunlight back

to god in heaven each morning


one dark august night

deep into the soup thick summer heat

i had retrieved a jar of green beans

from the cellar out back

and proceeded to

cook them up with bacon grease

at the same old avocado green

electric whirlpool stove

where i watched

in hungry awe

as memaw did it

a thousand times


my loyal staffordshire bull terrier

was laying behind me at my feet

as is tradition when mama is cooking


my proximity to danger

was right beside

the side door

in the kitchen

leading out onto a breezeway

and porch


i had the big wooden door open

with only the screen door locked

in place to
allow for escaping heat




slow and southern

lost in a dying love poem


at the same moment i saw

a bit of night beyond the doorway

move in the shape of a man

up to no good

just when

i heard a gutteral growl come from

the canine creature behind me

comparable to the ear piercing howls

of a minotaur

trapped inside a labyrinthine hell


my boy

my dog Vinnie took flight

at the door

his paws never touching the floor

he exploded through the screen after

the menacing figure


i gave chase with my shotgun

saw he had three fuckers on the run

silhouette kerosene cans in idle hands

determined to burn down

what the banks

haven’t reclaimed yet

their lives stripped

of purpose and pride

one generationally entrenched

welfare check at a time


that night a church went

up in smoke instead


that was the evening

Vinnie saved my life

the lives of my twin boys

and the most sacred hiding places

my childhood provided


god have pity on the lost

future farmers of america

ecology poetry sociology writing

on wildflowers

his chest swelled american

as he boundfully boasted

that he could take me

for a tour

of miles and miles

of land

as it was 500 years ago


as yet untouched

unburdened by even one

power line


to which i responded

by reminding him

i’m from kentucky


when you come from having nothing

a place with nothing

holds no fascination


you can’t feed your children

on wildflowers

and living in

closer proximity

to the stars

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

for mom

now that i am older
i see
you did the best you could
with what you were given

an old rugged cross
isn’t much good
for feeding four children

but that’s okay
and more than most can say

i love you
there is nothing to be forgiven

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

see rock city

kentucky exists as
a painful dichotomy
for the native

it is lush green
awe inspiring in its beauty

bourbon distilled
crystal blue lakes
giving way to ancient streams

bluegrass growing atop
a bloody history
rich in the red clay

rolling cattle and horse farms
all the homegrown vegetables you can eat

but nestled into the picturesque hills
resides a poverty
like nowhere else in the nation

i come from a place so poor
the quality of life so brutally entrenched
few escape
the jobless rate
tobacco tumors
shorter life expectancy
and a disability check

dirty politicians
dirty preachers

absolute segregation
in lincoln county
all the black folks live on water street
because that’s where they’re welcome

you see
it’s still 1955 where i’m from
but a little more backwards
because now there’s crystal meth
to pair with
celebrated ignorance
taught as religion

people convinced they’ll burn in hell
if they don’t donate to jesus and republicans

i go back from time to time
to see my mother

being down home isn’t quite death
but you can feel it crawling up your sleeve

when my time comes
give me dignity
burn my body
cast my ashes back to the sea

i don’t want my bones
trapped there
to endure eternity

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing


Seventy-five years from now, they’ll be watching sepia-toned, Ken Burns style documentaries about The Great Depression of the early 21st century.

Grapes of Wrathy novels will be written by the city stoop and front porch grandchildren of the impoverished.

There will be photo essays of natural and man-made disasters, criminals, kings, and war.

They’ll blame the rising technological industry, polluters, presidents, mining operations, crooked corporations, and oil tycoons for the downfall of American society.

It will be known as the time in which the great drought began, before the great heat, and the second coming of the dust bowl.

There will be talk of how it influenced the art of the time, how the literature and culture were shaded as a result. They will say we were willing to do anything to be heard amidst the deluge, anything to assert that we were still alive.

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

nativity scene

as far as i can see
we still haven’t eaten the rich
but they seem to be ahead of the game
at raping and killing us
one slave wage job
and dirty politician
at a time

with every prescription written

yes indeed, choose your medication
over groceries this week, mrs. america
just keep eating those pills, honey

money can’t buy happiness
how bloody naïve

the affluent are giving greatness
as a graduation gift

and when juxtaposed to creation
the perpetuation of wealth and poverty
boils down to this

the greatest difference
between the rich and poor
every birth in the family
being considered
a joy
or a tragic burden

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends

come winter

woke up this morning
full of
and the calm which descends
upon a woman in her mid 30’s
who fucking knows
exactly what life
isn’t planning on giving her
and what it almost did

my six year old frame
was just one of dad’s bottles of canadian mist
and a few tiny white pills away
from being raised
in abject poverty
in a town so poor
even the mayor is on food stamps
no escape no escape

thank you for having the good sense to die, daddy
so mama could drag me to the safety
and fluoride filled waters of the north

because i’m 400 years removed
from indian princess
but only one generation away
from the whitest trash on earth

you spared me the fire
the dropping out of high school
the five snotty lice ridden children
and worrying
about sealing the broken trailer windows
in plastic sheets
and kerosene heaters burning
the half retarded baby
come winter

you spared me from a walmart complexion
mcdonald’s thighs
and the crack toothed meth head
transient sometimes truck driving husband
who beats me regularly

now here i sit
too educated for my own good
i’m damn near intolerable
and my most cumbersome problem
is that the dog keeps dragging
my expensive plum robe from nordstrom’s
to the couch to sleep on it

i’m mixing irish cream into my coffee
fully aware of what class i’m boxing in
grateful for the blood
on my teeth and tongue

i could have been helpless
but instead i’m merely wasted

and enjoying the life
of a bourgeois drunk

jesus turned water into wine
before he got put up for the night

but you, father, in death
turned regret into gratitude

that’s a god damned christmas miracle
if ever there was one