She called but no one was home
’74 Chevy on blocks
Hounds howled in the yard
Ripped orange flag
Crushed cans of Miller Lite

Shit, that was from the day at the Syracuse Fair
Where cotton candy tastes like Saturday afternoon
Nothin’ but a Coney dog and a
busted lip for talkin’ too loud at the homeboys
Beneath the statue of Save Me Now Saint Peter

Behind the burned out ice cream stand
Over near the shoreline of Salt Lake
Wildin’ out and shoutin’
Salt my balls
Salt for my Cuervo
Salt taste between her legs

Romeo and Juliet

Thorogood and the Destroyers

Damn, my hoodie don’t cover my face
Damn, life been comin’ hard at me

I’m rockin’ the Amtrak headed south
Straight to New York City
Straight outta Syracuse
I pray for her and
Saint Peter to take me down

My dreams are cotton candy
I smell salt in the air



through the clouded covered photo
curled in the corner atop a wooden chest

She gazed unwillingly, posies in Her hair
Her eyes asked Mine for absolution and faith
I had neither to share
My innocence has long since become indolence
I no longer search the grail

dust dances a dirge on air
twists and shouts upon sunbeam rays
epic clichés of holy book proportions

I am a grotesque deaf rabbit
I have only three feet
She howls as I hippity-hop in circles
Her laughter stillborn
I cannot hear

in the early morning hours
after the dust settles and sleeps
all of everything fades into naught

I drink too much whiskey and yearn to be reborn
My useless ears flop
My three feet pad no more
Her I cannot remember
She is gone for now

I am sure to leave the night light on

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down



I have come down from the mountaintop
I am about to die

The priest waits patiently at my kitchen table
He practices last rites into the ether
Charon stands silent across the room
lantern faded, face hidden
I know behind his shroud he smiles bright

Will he charge me twice the fare for my sins and abominations against man and the Son of God?

Charon, not the priest
Holy Father only wants to administer grace
He has no smile
nor any light

I remember riverboat gamblers and rum-runners
ladies who laugh and share love for an obol
Do they laugh for me?
How will I now pay my fare?

Mistah Kurtz—he dead

My breath is rough and hollow
each one crunches like chewed ice

Rats’ feet over broken glass

I light my last smoke
Sip sinful rye from my Holy Grail
The priest and Charon are anxious
They wish to leave now
They are in a hurry
I sip again

Someone smiles



You can’t sell your soul
on a cold drizzly morning
then feverishly try to barter back at night.
Doesn’t work that way.
You have nothing of value for Him.
And now you have no soul.
You have nothing He needs. Nothing He wants.
Don’t you know? Didn’t you know?
You know now.
Even when the sun rises the day following next,
when the cool dew lawns are warmed and dry,
you’ll be left cold and yearning.
Simple as not being able to breathe in a vacuum or underneath water.
Vacuum whirrs, you hear bells and whistles. Water so heavy, puts you to sleep.
You have no soul.
You don’t need air.
You’ll get life back, you lie to yourself.

My car, my house, the money in the bank.
For Christ’s sake take my kids!

Satan laughs.
You have nothing He needs. Nothing He wants.
You sold your soul.
All you can do is walk cracked pavement during night,
cool dew lawns in early morn.
Warm sunlight awakens a fear in you,
when you hear bells and whistles and heavy water to make you sleep.
This time you might not even try.
You know you have nothing to trade.

Even if you did own cows and sheep and goats and land.
And for Christ’s sake take the kids!

You have nothing He needs. Nothing He wants.
You have no soul.
You sold your soul.



Mama Dukes… Mama Dukes… I’ve been shot through my heart.

Oh, my God…oh, my baby… my son… what’s happened to you?

I don’t know, Mama… I’ve been shot… is that my blood… am I bleeding?

Why, in God’s mercy…oh, my only son… why?

I don’t know mama… don’t be mad… I was just buying candy.

Oh, my baby… what has happened… Yes, you are bleeding.

Mama… I was buying candy… don’t be mad… I was only buying …

Oh, my baby… oh, my son… oh, my God…this can’t be true…

Oh My America.



She owns an ancient turntable and vinyl and says, “This is my favorite song.”
Doesn’t everyone say that?
She shares a suede bag with buckskin fringe, “A special gift from momma, back in ‘83.”
Shows me pictures of her and Pop-Pop and baby brother, “ridin’ a camel at the county fair.”
I don’t give a shit as she cocks her head sideways and wonders aloud about me.

Says for me to share what hurts or heals or haunts me.
Says she can never tell when I’m up or down.
Says she can’t live like this no more.
Says I never tell her what’s real inside of me.

So I do.

“My demons are real, my whiskey realer, my faith scarcely at all, and that kills me.”
She sobs and weeps and peeks between her fingers to see if I’m moved.
I am not.

For absolution, resurrection, and strictly selfish purposes, I go to leave.
She grabs my arm and pleads for me to stay.
I bump the ancient turntable,
the vinyl skips.
Call me Deacon Blues, Blues, Blues, Blues . . .



Why do I have to work at McDonalds,
while you intern at IBM?
I say the same pledge of allegiance as you,
but when I sing the star spangled banner,
there’s no football game or parade.

I don’t hate you, I want to be you . . .

are just letters in the alphabet to me.
Ivy’s a dead vine, browns my bedroom walls,
doesn’t mean a job and money to me.
My school is streets and liquor lotto stores.

I don’t hate you, I want to be you . . .

I wrote a big heart, with my name, on the schoolyard wall.
In pink and blue Hopscotch chalk.
It melted away in last night’s rain,
RIP graffiti never goes away.

I sometimes wonder, who


is really beautiful for.

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