sun's liquid lens

slides upon sky

a film loop flaming

in our darkened souls

only the dreamer

is within the dream

War Games

I must guard, Argus-eyed

against this infant self

for whom love means rejection, terror, death.

Whose panic overrides

all systems, locks

compassion like a vault

directs the intellect, that idiot computer

to run its war games of defense, attack.

I must regain

initiative, curtail the fantasy

that love's a tactic or a strategy

or anything that presupposes pain.


how many years can you afford to waste

in this recurrent nightmare?

in a cyclic universe

we log the periods of love and war

don't you have a sense of deja vu?

I don't have your patience or dependency

I'm sixty-five and through!

Strict Discipline

she's sent to bedroom to undress

till he comes in with spanking or caress

he poses her a latex figurine

uplifted globes

pinning her arms

while probing to the core

then gets on with the day:

all its assignments and alignments

relaxing in routine

barely aware of the force-field

of all its power

and whence it flows


when she says 'you'

that's really 'me'

loved so much more

than loved before

it's more than 'you'

it's 'me' come true


memory embraces only pain

fueled by these delusions of the mind

except your face, in this groteque terrain

no refuge from calamity I find

within the orbit of the love we share

a hopeful image of the future's clear

though I'm perhaps not altogether there

with you I would be altogether here

Deconstruct This

a swallow alights

another lands, flies off

the first darts after

two boys on the beach

one runs off

the other pursues

"Everything is words..."

except the dog's bared teeth

and low growl as I pass,


except the gull's scream

showering from midair

and the baby


under an umbrella

On Shaky Scaffolding

Burn the dresses!

ghosts on hangers

feux d'artifice.

The repressed world

glimpsed through cracks and gaps

from which he reels

hellfire itself.

Dialog for One Voice

Go home.

It's over.

If you've learned anything

if you've changed,

bring that to your next lover.

Forget me.

Forget this place.

I don't want you here.

I want you to go away.

When She Left

frost shattered the window

to a billion bits

ice pried open cracks

warped the doorframe

winter split the walls

I clutch about me

timber, rags and lath

cannot conceive

such cold had been


by just her hand 


Lois said:

      You don't know how to


                   a woman

Laura said:

                     Best I

                      ever had.

What have we learned from this?

For Us

we are the small dreamers

unlike those whose vast visions

drive them across the world

and gain them wealth

we must be practical

storing our dreams in mason jars

against the winter

denying ourselves each other

to survive

Toward Other Hallways*


breathe deeply


watching my breath

feeling my body

here is the angel of darkness

the shadow of time

hunted by lightning

through jungle undergrowth

no place to hide

owning the pain and guilt

owning despair

around the room

convulsive laughter

merging to sobs

pounding of legs and arms

breathing into the pain



breathing a balloon

expanding beyond earth

the solar system

the edge of the exploding


a cosmic lung

part of something pushed

in a canal

starchild floating

realm of


with light


hallucinatory sleep

time to return 

glide down the long
long flight-path to earth


from death

murky diffuse

embracing without shame

hands in a circle

joined by love

some speak their journeys

others remain silent

chanting of OM

shantih, shantih, shantih

* This poem is based on the experience of Integrated Breathing (sometimes called Organic Breathing, Holotropic Breathing or Rebirthing). Sustained deep breathing manifests in altered psychic states and various expressions of unresolved emotions.

No Salt

my grandmother

spoke only Yiddish

liked only two songs:

     bei mire bist du shayn (You're beautiful to me)

      zu midz hat gekommen a cusina 

(A cousin has arrived.)

short, peasant shrewd

face a dried apricot

despot to grandpa

she organized poker marathons

and raked in the gelt

staged Passover feasts

vivid after fifty years

Aunt Bertha who'd married a rich bookie

with a townhouse in Sheepshead Bay

was her Anastasia

 she coddled her children.

but screamed for my dad

when her youngest

on a pass from King's County

smashed windows in her apartment

paid no attention to his kids

except for one time

after asking me a few questions

observed thoughtfully

     "keine saltz"

Translation: From Baudelaire

 La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles

Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers. 

The living colonnade of nature's shrine

Exhales at times confused murmers and cries;

Forests of mystic symbols line

One's path and watch with strange, familiar eyes.


 If I encountered
In an ordinary shop
Across a table of books
The Goddess

With deep-gazing eyes
And marble brow
Beneath a sea of black
Or golden hair,

Gold lariat
Coiled at her belt
And diving knife
Strapped to her calf,

A lasso to subdue
A blade to slash
The rotten from the clean,

Could I survive

Would I become the sacrifice?

Special Effects

 suns at light speed
spiral out of future

rush toward us
spill off edge of eye

we grab at
starry veils

dusty shreds