Category Archives: anxiety

Mountains & Oceans

The weight starts adding up

the moment the lights go out

and dreamland arrives,

the weight piles up

minute by minute

hour by hour

pound by pound,

until around the time

the sun rises

until around the time

the roosters start to crow

it feels like a mountain

it feels like an ocean

it feels like the universe

holding you down

crushing your body

crushing your spirit

crushing your will to…

will you just get up already!!!

and its already 7…

and its already 8…

and you’re already late

but can’t lift the weight

wish this mountain would crumble

so at least you could try

to stumble out from the darkness

but there’s no lifeline

you’re all alone in this coal mine

eating dead canaries

trying not to starve

using broken bones to carve

love letters to dead sinners

but the saints will eat

our hearts for dinner

lets load coal in carts

and hope it starts

to burn

Ash Wednesday comes

our stomachs start to churn

start to crave blood-red wine

and midnight walks with Patsy Cline

and a gallon of moonshine

and a fine pine box

now it’s too late for TED Talks

and the doves are dying

to be hawks

and one fish,

two fish,

red, white, and blue fish

and cable or dish

and tossing coins

pollutes the well

I wish I weren’t here

you’ll see me in swells

get swept away

hell or high water

drown any day

will grandma still pray

and will the cows still lay down

when it rains

will the fresh white paint

hide the stains

will the sweet red wine

clog the drains

plant sugarcane

to sweeten the deal

sell liquor and coke

theres mass appeal

all mirrors and smoke

and polished steel

and bullets and pullets

and brooding hens

and methlabs and rehab

and a blurry lens

looking back on history

wash it clean like Listerine

and what’s it mean

red hands seem clean

when oils like water,

how can we ween?

and have you seen the mountains

of bones and dreams denied

and oceans filled

with all the tears

a billion eyes have cried

the universe has endless love

but all they preach is hate

while blind men start to argue

the elephant storms the gate

she ran away from the circus

too many lions and stale bread

the tightrope snapped

the jester clapped

the prophets left for dead

and now red, white, and blue

form puddles on the floor

since mountains grow

and oceans flow,

leave flowers at the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chicken-scratch

old noteboks fill boxes

in a cold New England basement

with chicken-scratch poetry

from a time of insanity

and its aftermath

you know, stories about

taking the wrong path

about drowning

and letting go

of the precious life raft.

Nightmares have eased

but some ghosts linger

the man in the mirror

still pointing a finger

8 years a blur

shaken

and stirred

exams taken

and papers written

but lessons learned

too late

must fate be?

blind men saw

better than me

-scratch-

-scratch-

angry and afraid

-scratch-

-scratch-

my bed was made

-scratch-

-scratch-

alone and forsaken

by only myself

notebooks moved

from bookshelves

to boxes

alone only

in my mind

must I be a martyr?

time after

and after

the dust settled

it was too late

thought I’d figure

my shit out

and out run fate

-scratch-

-scratch-

too fast

too late

lonely

-scratch-

cheap dates

on Dot Ave

with only god knows

-scratch-

depressed,

writing A papers

on Dunkin

and NoDoz

-scratch-

and life goes on

-scratch-

and so it goes…

-scratch-

and so fall fell

away

and it was too late

and fuck fate

and I

-scratch-

cried

because I

lied

to myself

-scratch-

and grandma

moved those notebooks

-scratch-

from the dusty bookshelf

and they sit

in a box

and I try to forget

but some things

you can’t lock

away

and some things

you don’t want to

-scratch-

and sometimes

you read a page

or two

once every year

or two

and get chills

and sometimes

you read something else

and get chills

-scratch-

and sometimes

you wonder…

-scratch-

scared to death

in Babylon

and something

-scratch-

got you through

something…

-scratch-

kept you from the ledge

of the old Ba’ath party building

on the bad days,

eight stories up

something…

brought you home

-scratch-

and something

-scratch-

and someone…

made you happy

and someone cared

and someone loved you

and you loved someone

but didn’t dare

stay happy

didn’t deserve

couldn’t deserve

wanted to deserve

-did deserve-

but couldn’t deserve…

-scratch-

and pages turned

-scratch-

and chapters fell away

-scratch-

and new chapters started

-scratch-

and ended

-scratch-

and the cheap paper fades

and the memories fade

and black hair slowly

fades

to gray

and I can’t stay

-scratch-

I have somewhere to be…

and I’m always running

but never can find

-scratch-

sanity

and the poetry helps

-scratch-

-scratch-

and time helps

-scratch-

there are too many

lessons learned

from too many

mistakes made

-scratch-

and it kills me

that I wasn’t

the only one 

footing the bill

when the price

was paid

-scratch-

and I’m not running now

but Christ,

my feet itch

-scratch-

and what if

I stayed?

-scratch-

and what if

I stay now?

-scratch-

I sort of know how

and it seems easy

but the demons

always come back

-scratch-

they never fucking leave

-scratch-

and the booze and cigs

are a year gone

and every day

theres a new dawn

-scratch-

but the demons come back

and the angels are gone

and the angle is wrong

and the wagons lonely

but I won’t fall off

and these chicken-scratch poems

will be lost in a notebook

and put in a box

and burned when I die

and I hope no one reads it

I don’t want them to cry

but I’ll try

and I’ll try

-scratch-

to keep hanging on

to the farm

and this life

to my dogs

and my wife

-scratch-

to this pen

and this memory

that I’ll never forget

it’s a catch-22

but of course I regret…

-scratch-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olive Tree

daylight fading

into evening shade

tree branches swaying

old record played

on repeat

no street lights here

nothing to fear

but aching feet

and tired eyes

havent cried in too long

the records skipping

mid-song

just as I started

singing along

it’s all right

but I’m all wrong

and soon I’ll be

long gone

hit the road

before dawn

no looking back

wish I died in Iraq

ten years on

I cant write you

a love song

I hate myself

and the world

tippy-toe along

the wagons edge

ready to dive back in

diamonds and pearls

measure our worth

in burried treasure

it’s been a pleasure

but birds of a feather

hunker down

in stormy weather

and I’m held together

with bubble gum

and scotch tape

and I’ll try to fly

but I lost my cape

and it’s a long way

to the bottom

so I might die

before autumn

is through

I could run away

but they stole my shoes

so uncle sam asks,

have you heard the news? 

here’s a new pill, son

it’ll end your blues

and just then

the record skips

again

and the rooster killed

our favorite hen

the prescription’s filled

its in the pigpen

and bacon and grits

will give you the shits

heres some ramen and spam

have you seen her tits?

you must go

milk her now

said the farmer

about the cow

now these fields

will go unplowed

and ashes to ashes

and dust to dust

and even the brand new shovel

rusts

but it’s good enough

to dig my grave

we were neither free,

nor brave

I gave it a shot

but now I will rot

this is goodbye

on my terms

please just let me

feed the worms

plant an olive tree

right here

remember,

theres nothing to fear

but day to day

and year to year

made me sick

of grinding gears

now aloha means

goodbye

my darling,

do not cry…

 

 

 

 

Ala Moana

Looking down

at the street below

from this 14th floor

hotel window

I see the sidewalk

where my family sleeps

if God is real

I hope it weeps

for what society

has become

we don’t see our sister

just another bum.

 

Her heart was broken

soul almost dead

she needs more

than just some bread…

She needs a friend

she needs a brother

she needs family

when she asked me

for some change

I saw humanity.

 

So I changed my destination

from the local jazz club

to the ABC store

to buy her some grub

and as she ate a turkey sandwich

a tear came to her eye

she stared at me a minute

and then asked me why?

 

“I see my wife, sister, and mother

when I look at you

and all these people passing by

would stop

if they only knew

how much you’re hurting

how much you need a friend

take one step at a time

you’re heart will start to mend

bend but do not break

and take a look around

you were forsaken and alone

but sister, you’ve been found”

 

And I’m drowning in the silence

in between her words

spread your wings and fly, sister

just like the birds.

You’re a goddess

you’re Ohana

I just wish you knew

imagine heaven and you’ll have it

soon, your pain will be through.

You are not a bad person

but life dealt you a bad hand

in solidarity with you, sister

right here I’ll stand.

stand-up guy

no one thinks I’m funny

and I’m running out of money

telling jokes in this dive

and I can’t take 9-to-5

only 5 people in here

drinking fifty cent draught beer

and no one laughs or cheers

just shoot shit way too loud

it’s a small but rowdy crowd

and I’m about to give up

when this drunk guy walks right up

and says that I should finish up

so I knock him on his ass

and the other 4 drunks

pool their cash

and stuff it in my jar

so I pump 2 gallons in my car

though it won’t take me very far

but far enough to leave this town

I cashed out when my chips were down

which I’ve been told never to do

but my time on earth is now through

and when they find me

they’ll see I slit my wrists

with a broken

George Carlin compact disc

maybe then they’ll have a laugh.

 

 

Daily Memories

so, it’s Memorial Day

sales

again

and I remember

when Cub Scout packs

would take up the back

of the parade

and families would struggle

to find shade

along Main Street

in late May

with temperatures rising

we shuffled our feet

to the beat

of drums

back when

Vietnam Vets

were still

considered bums

by the Veterans

of the second great war

and, oh say

I can see more

Cub Scouts

getting ready to be

all that they can

be

and I can clearly

see

children being recruited

young minds being polluted

memorize these lines

pledge your allegiance

and fall in line

and left

right

left

and it’s time

to fight

now set your sights

on brown skin

and although it’s killing

its not a sin

and I command you

ten more push-ups

and hurry the hell up

and wait

and this is your fate

a decade down

the line

salt

and lime

drink these memories

far

far away

far away

far away

its Memorial Day

and if you fail

to come home a hero

in a flag draped casket

there will be mattress sales

and a shopping basket

at the grocery store

you can fill with

more

more

more

beer

and wine

and liquor

to wash away

the war

to wash away

the pain

to wash away

the years

shift through

the gears

back to first grade

back when you first made

up your mind

that we were

the good guys

you could see it

in the weary eyes

of the soldiers

getting off the plane

at Westover

after Amy

and Sarah

invited you to join them

and their parents

in their minivan

for a drive to Chicopee

to see

the returning men

and women

standing tall

and looking good…

and I understood

what I had to do

as I stood there

in my Cub Scout hat

and K-Mart shoes

and waved

a miniature American flag

looking back now,

I take a drag

and remember

a decade later

when we were given

miniature American flag

stickers to stick

on the front

of our football helmets

during the first week

of our senior year

and we did so proudly

but full of fear

in the days following

9/11/2001

and fifteen years later

we still haven’t won

whatever we were

supposed to win

and if I were still

Catholic

I would call it a

sin

what we did

in the years

that followed

following all that

nightly news

fear

we swallowed

like bitter pills

from the VA

and now

once again

it’s Memorial Day

but it’s not a day

to remember…

its become a day

to celebrate

capitalism

and ignore the embers

still smoldering

from the people

and cultures

we’re burning

to the ground

lost

never to be

found

and, while a few

of us

are yearning

for an end

to this

endless madness

while struggling through

this endless sadness

too many

keep turning

blind eyes

every day

as the hawk flies

and Lady Liberty

cries

not knowing

what to say

 

 

So, after you drive

your brand new car

home from the mattress store

try to remember

we’re still at war…

and as you wash down

your burgers

with too many beers

dont be afraid

to shed a few tears

for the nearly two dozen veterans

who will kill themselves today

as they do daily

and if I become a number

like them

dont blame me

it was my Uncle Sam

who failed me

as he failed

every last one

of his nieces

and nephews

abusing his power

abusing us all

please teach your children

the truth

so they refuse to fall

in line

and make the same mistake

that so many of us did

when we were just

good-hearted,

well-intentioned,

God-fearing,

patriotic,

naive,

brainwashed

American kids

 

 

 

 

 

Too Many

too many nights

spent black out drunk

too many days

left in a funk

 

too many years

spent wondering why

too many tears

will never dry

 

flip back through the pages

and I shake my head

ignored all the sages

I’ve made my own bed

 

and now I lay dying

for something that’s real

my heart has grown cold

I no longer feel

 

I lay here, I’m crying

these chapters foretold

theres no use in trying

I’ve grown far too old

 

my grey hair is thinning

this body’s in pain

the demons are winning

they’ll never be slain

 

the bottles near empty

and so is my tank

for this I have only

my own self to thank

 

this page is now ending

this chapter is too

with scribbles on paper

this book is now through