once upon a time

in omaha,
and now
sugar grove
every town has one.
a red apple boy,
not so much a boy
cause he
sells beer and
cigarettes but has
only ten blond hairs
on his chin he
nervously plays
with all day.
he has a bit of a
on a baby face and
eyes that
always meet mine in a
strange way. like he
knows what i’m
thinking, and i’m
thinking he likes
what i’m thinking.
for months
i never knew his name
until today when he
had it printed on a
piece of paper
like he just learned to
write it
pinned to his shirt.
his name is josh.
that’s to much for me
to want to know,
he will always be red
apple boy.
his chest puffed up
when i asked him
about the panama
swim and diving
team t-shirt he was
wearing. i put my hand
in my pocket
when he turned
from me to get my
pall mall menthols
off the rack.
that butt in a speedo.
god’s creation at its
best. when he
turned back
my eyes were
still below his belt.
he caught me
looking at his crotch.
he smiled.
he knows. the
rainbow triangle on
my wallet
gives my queerness
away. he asks
me credit or debit.
the same thing
every morning. i
say debit every
any cash back?
i don’t
need cash but say a
five and five ones. just
for a chance to touch
his naked hand. he
has dirty finger nails.
just the right amount
of makeup i like on my
red apple boys. he
tells me to have a
good one,
i repeat what he says.
i hop in the car and
drive eleven more
miles in the rain
to work. david bowie is
singing young
americans on the
radio. in an hour
he will be naked
hopping in
his bed.
the shades pulled
to keep out the
he works the
graveyard, i
work the early shift.
two ships passing
in the early hours
of the morn. to him
i am the red apple guy
that smokes to much.
he smiles in his


the allegheny is steaming,
loitering its way to the
monongahela. it will join
the ohio, jointly weaving
with the mississippi, on a
junket to the gulf, an arm’s
length to the sea.
naked trees have discarded
their cinnamon leaves. they
are bohemians foreseeing
forever and a day. beat poets
rejecting autumn as a temperate
season. black bears sleeping in
their hollow bellies.
bugle songs of the swan are
faint, an evening sky mute, the
stars obscure. ambient harmony
will have its dominance. this is
the beginning of the languishing
months. be with it with a zealous
heart. winter it will be.


the season of old bones
continues to melt away. a
new year may be filled with
transgressions or virtue. a
ray of sunshine may not heal
low spirits. a malaise cannot
hinder a jubilation of gladness.
the clairvoyant cannot reveal
names of the unborn. is this
the agitation of a god or the
panic of purgatory? is this
the search of a vanishing soul?
one may while away the dog
days or lie torpid through the
wintertide. is this a cynical line
between a bloom and a harvest?
old bones carry the burden of
the gravity of a wandering star.
these excursions into a vault of
heaven leave a twisted carcass,
yet gratify an old bag of bones.

country dog

a city dog can get lost in
the woods. the only things
a city dog can do is dodge
fast cars on the street, find
a good supper in the alley,
and chase a city cat up a
tree. city cats are not like
country cats. a country cat
knows how to climb back
down from a tree, a city cat
stays up in that tree for days.
a good country dog loves
country living more than a
flea bag, tail-wagger likes city
living. summer cockle burrs
can’t slow a country dog
down. he is the mayor of his
neck of the woods. he guards
it better than a thousand horse
soldiers. a city dog hightails it
from his own shadow. a dog
in the country appreciates a
stranger passing through. he
can smell trouble a mile away.
a neighbor sees a country dog
barking as a good samaritan.
he is telling the world all
is good. he’s honest with no
faults. sometimes he might
have the stink of a skunk on
him but one thing for certain
is a country dog writes better
poetry than a city dog.

trick or treat

before he left he turned to me with
a smirk and says to me, “don’t do
what i wouldn’t do.” to myself i was
thinking i wouldn’t do what he
did do. he was a bug-eyed genius
that had to get kicked in the nuts
before getting his rocks off. he
wanted to be a poet, jesus spoke
to him on mondays and thursdays
about it. it was his calling now.
he slept in dark alleys and ate
from burger king dumpsters. he
wasn’t much to look at but had
a pretty boy on each arm as he
strutted down liberty street.
someone feeling sorry for him
thinking he was down on his luck
bought him a pennsylvania pumkin
patch lottery ticket for halloween.
the son of a bitch won fifty million
bucks. i never took it from him, not
even a dime. he bought me a carton
of cigarettes for christmas and gave
49,999,940.17 to the local cbt charity
club and they gave him a life time
membership. he died a week later
when someone bit his dick off. i plan
to visit him when i can afford to get
to the monongahela cemetery. it is a
good ten miles away going west on
hwy 6. it’s on the national register for
historical places in pennsylvania.
baptiste “bap”manzini and armand
niccoli, the professional football
players are buried there. i will sit by
his grave and have a cigarette. it’s the
least i could do because i’m never
going to do what he would do.

season of mirth

where is happiness if
not on the boulevard?
not in god’s topiary of
a magnum opus. a chip
off a vagrant rolling
stone? does it exist in
the graces of a sandhill
crane? is it the paladin
star virginia woolf begs
to consume her. this
elusive euphoria we lust
for on our own. but eyes
of the heart must conform
to its somber. this may
not be the occasion to
consecrate our joy. winter
is showing a devious grin.
with poise we must wait on
the bloom. surely happiness
will blossom and the sandhill
crane will return home.

god, he loves a cowboy

a gift of the mogul was

nubian harlots. milk-fed

lambs with vermillion lips.

their essence blossoms

as a bloodstained dawn.

these are the ones that

personate an immaculate

charade. bonny lads that

will plunder the heart.

decorum is their lawlessness.

they will celebrate solitary

sympathy for the desperado.

a droll buckaroo parading his

wares. the high-muck-a-muck

will drink the tang of this ruffian.

he will redeem those fake in

passion, then send his barefoot

disciples away. he will feast on

vulnerable flesh, and make

oblation his second gift.