nolo contendere

some Sunday mornings early at the park the ducks would waddle toward him with shaky hung over arms he’d lift me above the quacking wonders the giggles floating up like bubbles some summer times long ago i’d get to stay at his home motorcycle parts in the bathroom and nightly a different ‘aunt’ to make me food some days after his brothers would roar out of his garage in the afternoon i’d make a dollar for every bottle i scavenged from his oily shop floor and i finally had enough to buy chutes and ladders there were certain times i didn’t trust him his glances were an empty page don’t act like your mother he’d say when i offered to do a chore just to strike up a conversation like Sammy and Ginger my neighbors next door did with their Da when it was their turn to water the lawn i guess he thought i wanted another board game as i grew older and farther away i saw no use of trying my hand at rewinding time with the old man being a Da wasn’t his suit and being parented is something i’ve always sucked at

dear Hester

dear Hester i have to go keeping you has cost me a fortune worked my body down to bones selling my soul for you for one faint kiss and giving the devil iou’s was no good

i finally admit that your fingers and aura gently crept into my blood brook driving me to unfathomable pleasure only known by kings but when i couldn’t feed you more and more and more your anger at me was like a riptide

dear Hester you thrusted and thrashed my body against the anguish i caused others because i was a slave to you when you read this letter i will be rolling in it the unholy pain of heart break for having to let you go

fever itch spasm vomit crying out for air

as i sink into the black hole of my own doing because i thought you loved me

Hester i have to Hester don’t you understand don’t cry Hester you have offered me comfort and euphoric happiness when the world turned its back on me you never lied to me and you even let the nay sayers preach at me and how you were a no good harlot beast

but in exchange for your mirage like generosity i turned over my freedom to you i have a sickness Hester i have to keep running there’s a demon stronger than us Hester i have to leave

the time has come for emancipation from us three

my dear Hester

das lebewohl

it’s just a phase

the drops fall warm

like a resentful first kiss

placed crookedly on my lips

two broken children

dressed in archaic cloaks of sinful fathers

embalmed in summer rain

clasping hands in the park

you pointed at fancy bricks laid by FL Wright

your hero

we heard laughter from in the trees

we filled our heads with fantasy

of being greater than dirty jeans

booze coke

and motorcycles

what fools we were

but happy in our foolery

we’d stomp round town

wild haired green eyed queen

to her mohawked crowned king

while in the dampness of the night

we went our separate ways

on the dimly lit corner by House of Pies

to harvest broken proper mothers

up from their latest shag designer carpets

flown in from Rome

and as we punched our way through

explosive broken fathers

on Monday morning

we’d all pretend that our lives were wonderful

first grade interpretation of the Old West

pausing by the pond 7 feet away from the peach trees left there by the chuck wagons of 1881 and the gingham bonnets stain upon the rocks placed there to dry in my western sun the Borox box is empty ma’ as the echoes of blond pigtails before the dawn of braces and Barbie dolls flowers dressed in yellow chipmunks draw a crowd and daddy presses on upon the kneeling giant mountains picking day and night sapping land from its sickled blood doing what men do but today my toothless grin will lend itself to draw a sigh from spirits past 1855 in the cavern of the snake


my mother and my father would fight about the air around them or about Jimmy Carter and about their marital problems tired old words leadless bullets that i took for them a meek child called to be King Solomon at 4 the trees and blocks and baby dolls were not enough to free me from the painful heavy feeling in my post toddler soul an orphan in the house of everything meaningless clean sanitary and paid for but not love i had 30 pieces of silver 7 times more and i kissed no one and no one kissed me when i bruised my knees or when the Armenian kids beat me up after school or when i cut the rope and wandered off into the womb of my city the yellow brick road didn’t exist but there were miles and miles of pavement where gentle hands and toothless grins had my best interest at times and at times i grew up the hard way but between stolen 4th of July Fireworks shows OD visits to the ER home cooked waffles at Astrid’s house boys with rainbows in their eyes and a few good angels i learned how to love


i love to see Your sunflowers against the purple skyline

Dodger Stadium is to the north and we can hear the tender laughter

then i think of what can happen if You ever got tired of us

the baby cries with hunger and the kings collect their gold

children toil in fields of garbage and the kings collect their gold

women die a thousand deaths of spirit and the soul and yet the kings the

kings collect their gold

the man full of life at dusk while en route to the dawn the poisons of the snakes have found him

i against i

                 i against Your image which is mine

You watch me eternally as i fight against i

the more i do the more i die the more they’re good the more they cry out for mercy

i’d love to see You in the smile of a baby in the streets of Babylon or at the wedding of a girl truly in love

can You smile at the old woman while the sound of the shot aiming at her

blows out

how about in the fevered cancered mind of the split livered alcoholic at the bottom of Bunker Hill

is there mercy in me knowing all the reasons that You hide

or do my resentments keep growing in my belly like a child

why do i have comfort and others do not

unlike Joanie and Chachi

the side of your salty neck

was black with my eyeliner

your purple nails tore at my back

while i tried to pull down my pants

you had insisted on wearing your dad’s kilt

to a Circle Jerks recital

and with breathless whispers we gave up

i pulled up and you pulled down

but as a consolation prize

you let me grope your jockey ass

as the first riff of

“I just want some skank” started

waiting for a bus

there is a brightness

cool and soft behind your eyes

dream weaver of skies

in this old industrial town

we slowly walk like pigeons

2 steps

drift to sleep

under the hazy sky

blue cowboy boots

laying down in my truck

Twinkie crumbs

on the corners of my mouth

my left braid coming undone

the memory comes in chunks

hope to sleep

under a halogen light

no shoes or socks

stuffed into the couch

kale smoothie

not on my tongue

my mane’s too tame

the thoughts torn asunder


with a gardenia

in your laborer’s hand

you placed the flower

upon her feet

from way behind in the

cool church i went to

think about my

troubles with DMV

a broken AC

a splintered hair

you bowed your head

to reach into a

thread bare breast pocket

and in between your

crackled thumb and

arthritic finger

emerged a picture

of your bye-gone

grand daughter

the miracle of faith

leapt in my heart