Tag Archives: anxiety

Starry Night Over Ho’olehua

Just when the world

gets too heavy

pound

after pound

after pound

piling up

until its too much

I step out

into the meadow

and look up

and every star twinkles,

billions

upon billions

upon billions

beyond what we can see.

The Milky Way flows

directly over the farm

and continues

out to sea.

Looking up from the meadow

the scales tip

and the weight of the world

slowly drips away

pound

after pound

after pound.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

Christmas 2007

God died on Christmas Eve 2007

as uniformed women and men

sang the traditional Christmas hymns

and as we ate and drank

the body and the blood

of Jesus H. Christ,

Thats around when God died.

The wine was just cheap,

shitty church wine

and the bread

was just a tasteless wafer

and the last time I went inside a church

aside from a funeral,

was the first time I ever left

before mass ended,

and on Christmas Eve of all days!!!

And mid-song,

just when everyone else was happiest,

but I knew

as I sat emotionless in the rear pew

that there was no reason to stay

because God was dead,

I had no reason to pray

prayers destined to fall on deaf ears

with no God around to hear.

I finally realized that God

wasn’t God after all

and after all those years

of guilt and fear

I woke up from the illusion

instilled in me at an early age,

as it had been similarly forced on my parents

and their parents

and all of their Irish-Catholic

and Polish-Catholic

and French-Catholic

ancestors

guilt and fear

and throw an extra fin in the collection plate

and the Chaplin tells us

war is ok

and I’ll try to enjoy Christmas without God now

and thousands of miles

away from family

but closer to the Holy Land than ever before,

closer to the truth about God

and love

and war

closer to coming home,

god willing,

one more day

crossed off the calendar

one more year

ending

with less hope

than the last,

haunted by these last few months

and the ghost of Christmas past

one more Christmas cookie,

coffee black

and a few American Spirits

sitting alone on the roof now

listening to a not-so-silent night

softened by sounds of church bells chiming

as Christmas Eve mass lets out

and I open another pack

which I’ll probably smoke before morning

as I look out beyond the wire

wondering what Santa

might have waiting for us tomorrow.