Waking Up from a Mugging

My eyes open and I see a low yellow light
Vaguely illuminating an empty parking structure.
My chest is cradled by a cool, gravelly, black asphalt.
A dull, tired pain throbs in my head.

I try to get up, but my muscles don’t work.
I loll my head from side to side, and do not see my car.
My mouth is dry and salty. Oh, to lay down my head,
And rest. How nice that would be.

But I should call her, to let her know I am alright.
Am I? I fumble in my ripped pants pockets,
Feeling for my phone. It is not there.
Wait, my chest pocket is poking me. My phone is there.

My eyes drift unfocused at its screen. She is there.
I push my finger on her picture. The phone calls her.
I tell her I have been carjacked (have I?).
She says she will come pick me up.

My face is wet, dripping. I am so tired.
My head aches, my mouth is dry. Hungover, I curl my
Left arm to my face, and lay them down, on the asphalt.
Blood runs from my nose and mouth, and pools
On the ground around the crook of my elbow.
I am comfortable; I have laid down my burdens.

I watch the blood drip from my face, peacefully,
And disinterestedly contemplate my fate.
Why am I unafraid? The blood continues to run.
My suit jacket is caked in it. Ruined.

Oh, to close my eyes and drift away. But,
Instead, She finds me, lying in a pool
of my own blood, just around the corner from my car,
Broken, tired, aching, alive.

It Will Never be the Same

When I was a young child, I didn’t know you. As I approached adolescence, though, I noticed you, and grew to like you. Things cooled off, slightly, in my teenage years, but then, when I moved away, we really connected. You were my connection back to home. As I entered young-adulthood, I fell entirely for you, and we committed ourselves to each-other, financially, emotionally. Even when I moved to another city, we were as close as two could be. And then, when I moved back home, we were reunited, happily.

And now you say you want to leave. That nothing I can do is worth you staying here, with me.

Well, fuck you and good riddance. Even if you don’t end up leaving, it will never be the same.

The Commute

I sleep in until eight, then rise,
Defecate, wash, and dress. And I’m
Off, driving thirty miles to work,
Listening to Miles Davis and Bill Evans.

I remember once meeting a man –
A black man, tall and dignified –
Who had an encyclopedic knowledge
Of black music. He would have put
Any doctoral candidate to shame.
He was a retired bus driver.

In Santa Monica, for years, he drove
The Big Blue Bus. I am told
That at night, he would put on jazz music
While he drove his route from stop to stop.
He was not supposed to have any music playing,
But he ignored the rules, and played.

Traffic is light. Above me the sky is blue,
A few clouds lazily drifting by.
Even though I woke late, I will still
Arrive at work on time, obediently.

A Suburban Tuesday Morning

Out back, the chickens are squawking,
At nothing in particular.
A solitary crow flies overhead,
and screeches.

In the front, the drip-line irrigation system
Shudders to life, and waters
The new landscaping, which is
Drought Tolerant.

A trash truck lumbers down the road,
Stopping at each drive way.
Its motorized mechanical arms
Reach out, and take away the refuse
Of our domesticity,
Leaving behind empty bins.

A light fog rolls in,
And I think of Richard Yates,
And how I believe that I am happier
For knowing that I am not special.


As I slept, deeply, in the early morning,
She rose quietly, and retreated to the corner,
Where she sat, holding her knees, rocking gently,
Back and forth, the diffused moonlight playing on her face.

How can she tell me of her plight,
When she doesn’t know it herself?
What causes the ennui buried in
Her soul, the unabatable dissatisfaction?

But then, she does know it. She must.
And I know it too, as I wake and see
Her sleeping, soundly, beside me, the
Corner where she sat empty and dark.

I roll over, and try to sleep again,
But cannot. I count to one-hundred,
And still I lie awake. It’s not time to get up,
But I do, in the early dark hours of the morning.

Obvious Analogies

She has a round hole in her life,
Into which she has inserted a square-shaped peg.
It leaves gaps along its edges,
And stretches the hole at the corners.

When we are young, we learn,
That the round peg goes in the round hole,
And that the square peg goes in the square hole,
And that the triangle peg goes in the triangle hole,
And on, and on, and on.

When we are young, try as we might,
We cannot make the square peg fit into the round hole,
Or the triangle peg into the square hole,
Or the round peg into the triangle hole.

But as we age, our holes become malleable.
Maybe we can make the square peg fit into the round hole.
It cannot fit precisely, but maybe it doesn’t have to.
An imperfect fit may be better than no fit at all.

Maybe the gaps will forever remain unfilled,
And the vessel will always slowly leak.

Maybe we can live with a leaky vessel.
Though it may be easier for some, than for others.

Stepping Out

As I am sitting outside at a picnic table, drinking grenache, I find myself becoming a distant observer. Tonight has been perfect; a blue-collar barbeque in wine country; tri-tip, bread with horseradish, potatoes, beer, wine, margaritas. My wife catches up on life with her high school friend, while at a table 20 feet away another half-dozen people converse.

As I am sitting, I step outside of myself, and look not at my wife, or her friend, or those conversing 20 feet away, but at all of them together, as if they are a tableau of an idyllic evening hung on a wall in a museum. But of course they are not. Because in the center of this scene is an empty vessel, a man who has stepped outside of himself in order to view it all. The picture is imperfect.

Planting a Tree, Typically

A typical tree planting takes more,
even to get a little pine or at the least two hours.

So reads the text of a comment caught in a Spam Filter. What is a typical tree planting, and what is atypical? What does it take more than?

Maybe a typical tree planting takes more than any one person has to offer. For what is a typical tree planting, but a small investment in something that will grow large, eventually. And larger than any one person, typically. In two hours I can begin, but I can never finish.

A little pine will often grow into a large pine, but it will take more than at least two hours.

Has this comment planted a tree in my mind, or in my soul? Will it bear fruit years from now? Will a little pine sprout out of me and into the world? If it does, will it thrive, or will it shrivel?

Whatever the results might be, a typical tree planting takes more.

Ten More Haikus from the Mechanical Turk

Sweat dripping slowly
Hot and uncomfortable
It is summer time.


Today has been good.
Tomorrow will be better.
Yesterday is gone.


Cat napping in sun
Heat beats down without relent
Fresh air breezes past


A man sits at home,
staring at his computer,
hoping for the best.


Sitting on mTurk,
Earning nothing as time flies,
Someone post a batch!


The panda eating
Lying gracefully in grass
Coughs up something gross


Sparkles in the rain
Heavier than usual
My pool lost water.


Here I sit sweating…
No HITs anywhere to do,
So hopeless and sad.


I enjoy the time
slipping away, never to
be seen only felt


Together somewhere
In another dimension
Finding fantasy