espresso

Puerto Rican stovetop
espresso-making pot
I ought to say
thank you
you told me you'd bring
me one
next time you went
and you did
and I used it
this morning
sputtering and percolating
my brain and the coffee
but the coffee is hot
from the pot I pour
it into a mug
some cream
hot water
americano with cream
a dream for me
on this cold morning
so thank you for this
Puerto Rican dream
this Puerto Rican espresso-making
machine.

home

back here again
where I used to call
home
I roam the old
neighborhood
and I would say
everything is the same
except
the only thing the same is
the sky
and I notice that
everything else
is stale and sags and says
I'm tired
and I'm tired too
I've moved on but I'm
back here again
when I think about
home
it's not here
but it's not there
either
and I'm beginning to wonder
if my only home is
the sky.

affair

if I were to have
an affair
it would be with you

I would have gotten
tangled up
in marriage
strangled up
and tied up
in marriage
mangled in marriage

and you with your
blue eyes and intellect
commanding respect
every syllable you utter
a shudder of my heart
I'd start to realize that

I'm awake and alive
and I've
fallen
for you your
blue eyes and intellect
and I can't recollect
time before you or space or
anything without you

awake and alive
and I've 
fallen
into a new
dimension
(did I mention
the eyes?)

so you'd be 
the one
who would lead me
astray
away from my marriage
my lackluster life

I think about that
if I were to have
an affair
but where our stars crossed
lover
blue and amber eyes locking
awake and alive
we hadn't been tossed
into mediocre marriages
yet
and yet even at twenty two
we knew
we'd fallen
into a new
dimension
and did I mention
we've been in that
dimension
ever since

passive christianity

hey, dave
you said
you didn't displace
your tenants
(the rents went 
too high)
you won't take credit
for that
you said it
you don't have that
power
it's not you
it's the market
inflation
the ratios
the numbers
the thing is
the markets inflation the ratios the numbers
are tools that you use
for your personal gain
you sit and collect
the raises in rents
but the razes in tenants
doesn't faze you at all
because after all
it's the market
not you

so let's raise a glass
to raising the rents
and complaining about
the taxes and cents
that we have to pay
to government
devils
what massive problems
that we have to fight
our money our pride and
our god-given right

but what massive problems
when our passive income
becomes something bigger
than Jesus' words

past the point of
no return
we turn to our
passive income 
only to see
ourselves staring back
plain as can be
because we

we are passive Christians
we can't make decisions
left at the mercy of 
markets inflation the ratios and numbers.

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Listen: Money Talks, Part 1
Listen: Money Talks, Part 2

metaphor

I lie in bed
metaphors on the mind
because how do you
define love
define love for me
please
I want to know the
denotation
dictionary
definition
but to know
is to feel
and to feel
is not a 
dictionary definition
it is a 
metaphor maybe
different for
every one of us
must we define it?
because the feeling feels fine
and I think
my metaphor
for love
is you.

dinner plans

when my mom was 
dying 
you wanted to 
meet up 
with me 
for dinner
I was late
I was late
because I was on a walk
with my mom
I didn't cut the walk
short
so I could be 
on time
with you
you were so mad
at me
for being late
we argued and
if I had to do it
again
I wouldn't
I'd turn around
and leave
and then that time
would be with
my mom
not you
because you are a 
thief
you stole time from
me and
my mom and
I'm mad
I'm mad maybe
I'll never stop being mad
my mom and I
would have had
a lovely dinner together
at home instead she ate
alone
that night
I might never forgive you

you apologized ten years
later but it was
ten years too late and
ten words too late and
I've been thinking that
maybe you feel at peace
now
now that you've said your words
and good for you
but I can't get my time
back and
I'm mad that I didn't
leave
because mom left
she's gone
she's still
and you
you're still sorrying
and I'm 
done giving you time
time for me to turn
around
and leave
bye
bye
I'm
gone.

Listen: The Grief Episode

enough

So I wanted to be a writer
specifically in fourth grade
I had read The Phantom Tollbooth
both my brain and pen
were in motion to create
characters! and
adventures! and 
new worlds! and
invisibility and flying, of course
my beautiful and wise and kind
fourth grade teacher Mrs. Smith
assigned a book
to write
and right away 
I got started
too excited to wait

and now decades later
after abandoning
and forgetting
then doubting
and dismissing my ability
(I didn't have a Mrs. Smith encouraging
and validating
and smiling
and loving
me)
three decades later
the weight of writing
is being lifted because
I've begun to write again
decades later 
I've begun to create

I wonder if I'm too late

but anyway I write
I've turned the faucet back on
and on and on
I write "in spite of everything" like
kid and 
kid and
kid and
I kid you not that
words are 
bursting and
roaring and
coming out of my soul
like a rocket

So I want to be a writer
and, Bukowski, what I want 
to know is
when is want enough?

101

You said that
the rats come in your dreams
after your sister died
the rats come in your dreams
difficult to sleep dreaming the dreams
of naked tails
difficult to wake to a day
knowing the night 
brings beady eyes

I seem to remember 
Orwell's Winston's biggest fear being
trapped with rats
with no escape
in room 101
and one
fear
is all it takes to trap
you in your dreams
every night never
anywhere but 101
locked no light
but brown bodies
a moving floor of fur
for you your
dreams don't 
let you leave this life your
dreams don't
let you lean on her your
sister
or kiss her
"do you miss me? come and kiss me."
one last time
the time with her is
all used up
a cup poured out

now night comes 

and I’d come too but
my 101 is the next room
down the hall a 
wall 
between us
not filled with rats 
but rants of people
disappointed in me
I can't see 
you
but I'm here
I'll knock twice
on our wall
to say

I'm here!
(knock! knock!)
our fears
won't seem so 
bad I'm
down the hall with just a 
wall 
between us.

Dad

It doesn't seem that long ago
that every day
you'd lace your boots
every day
you'd wear your boots
no matter the event
you'd wear your boots
you didn't care
Christmas day or
playing chess or
fixing cars or
walking to the park
with me

you'd wear your boots
rhythms of tightening laces
face concentrated wrapping
laces around metal eyelet hooks
you were hooked
every morning edge of bed
you said
you'd wear your boots
until your boots wore out
and out and about you went
in boots
years later
years later after sole replacements
new laces
living room spaces designated for
buffing and shining and moisturizing
the leather 
protection from weather
you cared for those boots

years later you'd wear the boots
for the last time
the last time I talked to you
about boots you said
shaking your head
as you set down the torn and warped boots
that you couldn't get 
that quality anymore
stores didn't sell boots
that lasted
you asked if
I knew of any 
I didn't

but yesterday I went to a 
boot shop
leather boots
     hanging
zig
     zagging
on
     one 
wall

and       bookshelves
of    boots    on    the
other    swaths      of
leathers all different

colors 
draping from a 
lazy susan hanging 
from
the 
ceiling
feeling oddly at home
as the shopkeeper outlined
my bare foot 
on a piece of white paper

the piece of white paper
that outlined the program
of your memorial
makes me wonder if you're wearing
your boots
in heaven
are they the ones you always wore
that you loved
or are they new from the shop
built from swaths of leathers
all different colors
shopkeeper outlining your foot
on a piece of white paper

me on earth
and you in heaven
me and you we're wearin'
our boots.

Listen: The Grief Episode