to-do list

every 
tick tick
item
on my 
tick tick
list
is a 
tick tick tick 
from the
tick tick 
end
when I
tick tick
get
to the 
tick tick
end I cele—
tick tick
—brate
the ticking
tick tick
end
but the 
tick tick
items
on the
tick tick 
list regener—
tick tick
—ate
I ticking
tick tick
hate
that I can’t
tick tick
get
to the 
tick tick
end 
the end’s a 
tick tick 
lie

and I lie 
down
let the list 
slip
from my fingers
it floats to the floor
so many boxes
unticked
always

so many
boxes
un 
ticking
ticked
un— 
ticking
—believable
I’m
ticking
done
let’s
just
kiss
instead.

“tic clocks toc don’t make a toctic difference to kisskiss you and to kiss me”

E. E. Cummings

runs

I wonder if everyone’s brain runs
while they run like mine does
rambling thoughts
my brain is a beehive buzzing
or a running reel as I’m running
I wonder

I’m starting to pass
the same people on the path
Pablo I’ve named the
mustached older guy
he always gives
a thumbs up
or a side clap to me
he doesn’t know me
but something in his
brain buzzes 
to tell him to tell me
good job keep it up keep going you got it
his mask is
down
and I can see kindness on his face

and then there’s — we’ll call him
Miguel — bearded biker with a clear
plastic face shield
and he was shielded the first few
times we passed
but since my mask is always
down
I smile one time and wave
because we’ve seen each other before
and before I know it
his entire face
breaks
into beautiful smile

even the shield
can’t shield
from that

I wonder if my friends
think thoughts like I do
I hope they think I’m encouraging too
and nice
because it’s nice
passing people who can take
the second
or two
to smile
or thumbs up
or side clap

I like it 
I do
and I wonder
if they think about me
too.

slow

i.
what luxury
time is
now
you have stopped
doing things
to read words
slowly
read them slowly
ink 
and 
page

and when I went
running this morning
I filled my lungs
with air
and time
and time told me
in a voice like water to
slow
down
and feeling full
I was overcome
with the gift
time is
now
slow
down
I told myself
running

when I was young
everything was a race
always in a hurry
fasterfasterfaster
of course
the course held
my competition
always
stopwatches spectators guns and
lines and lanes
a beginning
an end

pretend that’s what
life is
go ahead
exhausted before you begin
I’m not racing
anymore
slow
down

I tell myself
I’m not shaving seconds
off my time
I’m not
I’m slow
and observant
and thankful
thankful for the luxury of
time
now.

ii.
I
slowly 
embrace a certain somber mood
sometimes surrounded by city
people
yelling
selling
things
there are always
things to distract
from those thoughts
you know the ones I mean

once I was peeling
an orange
slowly
and
I was overcome
with the gift
time is
now
I sit
like Wordsworth
in vacant and in pensive mood
not pushing the pen
but allowing a 
slow and 
sad
thought
like a lonely
leaf
like a lovely
leaf
falling
slow
and sad
and somber

it’s ok to be sad
I tell my sons
there’s time for that
we have time
now
not everyone does
it was a sad thought
remember
that reminded you
you cared

and that’s worth
the time
now
running in the 
now
not worried to win
because
actually
we’re winning
already
albeit
slowly.

running

so I’m running again
and when my feet
hit pavement I turn
and wave at 
the fading woman
behind me
she’s there
but barely
I rarely turn
but today
I turned
feet facing forward
head craned back
she is still
and sad
and there
but barely
I turn the corner
and wonder if 
there will be anything
or any pieces
left
of
her
when I get back

back when I 
held the pen
again and again
she told me no
couldn’t
won’t
wait
for the right word
so I sat
pen in hand
couldn’t write
the right word
at the right time
I sat
still

and still 
she’s there
but barely
but now
looking back
I see her
sadness
and feel it
the sadness the stillness
unwillingness to
run and
unwillingness to
write and
even as I write now
right now
she is
fading
with
every
word.

to the person who hit my dog

you hit my dog
with your jeep
do you remember?
your wrangler wrangled
with my dog
do you remember?
she jumped the fence 
to chase a cat
and you --
do you remember?
-- were going maybe 40
in the neighborhood 25
I've never heard
such a devastating sound
from her mouth when
you hit her
did you hear it?
you continued on
to your house
two doors down
(why were you
going
so 
fast?)
but it was over so fast
for you
you went home
and on my own
I ran to the street
my dog sprawled and submissive
let me carry her back
to her home
and you were home too
do you remember?
your jeep
wrangled and
mangled my dog
do you remember?

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.

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.