The Titanic Swim Team


Soundtrack “Cascada” by Jesse Cook

This life, man how it pisses me off, locked in, locked out——-passing me by, I don’t know——— I walk around with this old skeleton key, and every lock I slip it into refuses to give way. Lovers, friends, careers, hopes and dreams—even god, they all seem dead-bolted and out of reach. I wanted it all so bad, I wanted everything, I wanted to know something or someone in a better way, a closer way, cause I’m afraid that someday it’ll be to late——-I can’t find my way in——or is it my way out that leaves me feeling orphaned. Another rainy hungover Sunday, cold black coffee, black and blue marks, questions marks, exclamation marks—-moving on, moving out, falling down, falling apart—-how many overs make an end?

I admire but a few professions. The boxer, the standup comedian and the poet. They perform naked, no props, no cue cards, turning the disconnected nothingness of life into form and art. They allow us to take mundane moments and eye them up close as we tumble them over in our hands, like “curiosities” or “what nots” at a rummage sale——It’s a fine line between junk and treasure, truth and consequence, fate and happenstance, synchronicity and chaos———— the “you’s and me’s” and “what use to be’s”——-I wish you could see yourself through my eyes, because beauty is not so much what’s reflected in a mirror—–it’s what lies behind the reflection.

And baby, how I wish I could call you up and ask you to come over, but that number you once pressed into the palm of my heart at 2:00 am under a flickering failing streetlamp is now disconnected, no forwarding address, you’ve gone underground, unlisted, unavailable, I’m just another one of your gypsy memories——- I wish I were more like you, an emotional hitchhiker, leap frogging my way from here to there at another’s expense.

A prize fighter knows the score. He’ll take the hardest punch you can muster and then throw one back at you just as hard, until someone is so busted up that they can’t answer the bell. His only way out of this is through you. You think you’re tough, then bring it on brah! Sweat, spit, tears, Vaseline and the taste of blood fill his split lipped mouth. Rights, lefts, upper cuts, jabs, body shots——with back against the ropes, the jeers of the crowd fade until all he hears is the sound of his own labored breath——-  and from deep down there comes the throb of blood surging through his veins. Don’t get pissed or take it personally if he fucks you up, cause mister, he comes from a neighborhood where there’s only one bone for every five dogs——-

Oh my god, listen to how that comedian weaves rhythm and tempo into a syncopated groove like a jazz tenor player creating tension and release as he steers his ship between awkward truth and twisted absurdity. His riffs cut through tendons and bones with the deftness of a surgeon wielding a chainsaw——-daring those out there in the safe darkness of audience to laugh till it hurts, until tears stream down their cheeks. Killing them softly as he makes them contort and grimace with the intensity of an epileptic orgasm——cause the better part of foreplay is always laughter, and right beneath that G spot lies her funny bone. And I never doubted that Charlie Chaplin had more groupies than Gene Simmons and Elvis combined. If you can get her to laugh, the world is your oyster. Or, if you can get her to laugh, her oyster is your world——-“Drummer!——Rim shot please!”

Then there’s the melancholy poet bending words like forged metal into swords that cut to the marrow as he dissects cumbersome words such as love, and truth, and beauty, doing his best to make you cry until you laugh, cause even the saddest of life conditions eventually reaches a point of hilarity——life——- at its best is a tragic comedy, at its worst, an epitaph marred by graffiti and eraser marks——-

I’ll add one more profession to my list. Magician. He suspends reality as he toys with your sense of certainty. How did that rabbit get into that top-hat? How did his beautiful assistant disappear into thin air? He snaps his finger and a white dove appears, the ace of hearts appears at the top of the deck at his command——his cane becomes a bouquet of flowers. We’re becoming children again, believing in the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Life is magic, like the color blue, like the sky blue, like love at first sight, like the purity of children, like ocean sunsets and mountain thunderstorms————like free candy on Halloween….

But adults lose their sense of wonder. Hope and dreams are the currency of youth. Age causes the investment to become devalued by routine and complacency——somehow discounting the small miracles that appear daily——Why? I don’t know, but it scares me when I see those my age stiffen with rust like the Tin Man——If they only had a heart rather than a brain stuffed with straw. Maybe under it all, they’re concealing a cowardly lion. Fear is the lock we must all learn to pick. It takes a titanic amount of courage to swim through this life, cause an ocean of frozen tears can sink the mightiest of ships.

I argue with god, but I’m not sure if it’s him that I‘m taking to task or just one of the cast of voices that loiter in my head. They mumble to me like homeless bums hiding in the shadows of a urine stenched alley. The chorus of voices implore me to watch my cities burn, to stop rattling the chains across my doors——to give up on you, to give up on me——-to severe all connections with an innocence lost.

I”m looking for love by brail, cause love can’t be seen, it’s only felt—-like music. Every word you speak has the power of a million waves, wearing away my walls and causing my granite facade to cave-in like castles made of sand. And did I tell you that I still love you, it’s not a choice, it’s an addiction, stronger than herion, more like oxogen than a drug, something that comes to me in gasps, and at night I suffocate in my bed. And if your phone rings at 3:00 am, it could be me, just wanting to hear the sound of your voice one more time. The right key turning the right lock is a once in a life time chance, like Sir Lancelot pulling a sword from a stone to become king—-but you cut my hair and broke my crown—–

Make no mistake, this is a world where the keys you’ve been given seldom match the locks that you find yourself stranded behind. It’s a place of paddle locks, deadbolts and door chains with squinty eyed peepholes. If ya want in, if what ya need is behind that door, if that’s where your dream lies, where you passion leads you, then you’re gonna have to kick that fucker in, your gonna have to bust it down, you’re gonna have to throw yourself against it, again and again, with all you might——until you get in, or get out, or get through————until you are allowed passage to that place where you know that you were meant to be, that place where you belong.

And The Dog Said “No”


Out here there’s a black and whiteness to it all.  Slow gray clouds ponder their descension and final farewell to winter’s skies. They’ve come here to die, to rain down on the brownish sand and yellow sagebrush, because becoming a part of something new and different is the way of dyeing and rebirth.  Being a part of everything, belonging to nothing—-I know how this feels. We don’t lose our way, we just move on to other things—a change in direction, a change in the relationship to other people, places and time. The sandstone cliffs look on with tired eyes, they conceal a millennium of wisdom stored in their souls.  Even mute stones have souls that stir, and if you’d of taken the time to become aquatinted with them, you too might understand these most uncommon things.

Out here, is where I come to do my thinking, to be cut out of myself, to be torn up and pasted back together——and when the pieces no longer fit, it is then I know that I’m moving on, I am letting go of my cloud-ness.  I never know what I may become out here, maybe a raven, a coyote or just alone—-With only myself watching myself, I have nothing here to hide….I can become whatever or whoever I choose—

To some I only exist in my relation to them.  A brother, a father, a friend, a sinner—-a saint?  And what am I to you?  Being cast into your statue of stone is so limiting, so confining.  These are the things I consider when I’m out here—-ya see, out here footprints turn into paw prints or vanish all together—-as if carried away on the wing of a hawk.

It’s going to be a long Friday, snowy and white, listening to my radio, drinking my coffee, carrying on conversations with myself, sharing stories with my Black Lab named Chase.

“Ya ever heard the one about the man who thought he could fly”—–And the dog said “No”.

I climb on his back as we take to the sky, letting the thermals carry us away….

Long May You Run


(This piece is intended to be read while listening to the attached song “Long May You Run).

All those late nights driving in my truck, driving to your place and feeling everything—-, never questioning what the journey might bring, or for that matter, where it may lead.  Strange but true, being young allowed me to make mistakes, cause there was plenty of time to make things right again. These days, I choose my mistakes more carefully. That old song kept playing on the tape deck, “I Believe In You”—Or maybe it was “Out On the Weekend” or “Long May You Run” I kinda forget, but it was something by Neil Young.   I can still hear that sad harmonica of his wobbling in and out of tune.  It rained that whole month of January, a cold dampness permeated my clothes, the cab of my truck and it eventually soaked the roof of my soul, causing it to cave in from the weight of it all.  I needed a friend, but I hadn’t yet learned the subtleties of making a friend.   I was awkward, odd and shy, skulking about my hometown—aimlessly—-in a state of waiting, not knowing what to make of this life I’d unexplainably been pushed into.

A world of strangers meandered by me, through me—and then back out the other-side—they kept moving somewhere beyond me—without me.

The pretty girls we’re a strange and confusing breed for me to grasp. I stood on the corner leering at them, fascinated yet unsure of what to do—or how to get with one of them?  They drew me in with their sweet scent—-my eyes trailed after them as their bodies gracefully and rhythmically moved through space.  They nonchalantly carried away little pieces of me—

Before this, my dog was my only friend.  He took me just the way I was—like only homeless mongrels and fellow outcast can do—it’s an off-handed world when you’re walking through it alone.

I hurried through the school quad trying to keep a safe distance from the jocks, preppies, motor-heads and the brainy-acts.  With my head held down, I glanced over to the senior walk and there you were stretched out on the lawn, tan Dickies, white T shirt with one pocket and your hair pulled pack in a pony tail.  You were just sitting there with your head tilted back soaking up the sun on your face.  You we’re totally out of place, a fucking dandelion on the fifty yard line at a Home Coming football game—-I somehow knew we were destined to be the best of friends.

I was drawn to your indifference to all the bullshit that coats high school with pretension and posturing.  It was totally out of my character but I walked up to you and mumbled, “Hey”. You squinted and tilted your head in the other direction and nodded at me.  I’d noticed that your pants had dirt or mud all over them.  “How come you’ve got mud all over your pants?”  “I’m a potter.”  “Ya mean a stoner?”  You shook your head and gave me a grin “No, I do ceramic’s, I make pots—-And well—-yeah, I get stoned too.”  I grinned back at ya—, the Gods had sent me a friend.

We’d cruise the avenues, boulevards and backroads of our hometown in his 1962 Ford Falcon wagon.  It was a faded olive green color with peeling paint that revealed an oxidized rusty orange color beneath—she was weathered and worn—she had character and suited us well.  We drank beer in dark deserted parks, made campfires down at the river-bottoms and practiced the art of hanging-out.  We carried on long involved conversations about Kerouac, Jesus and Star Trek—Oscar Peterson, Poe and Zap Comic’s—Chinese Food, Luis and Clark, and the yet uncharted territories of love.  We were committed to our dreams—carrying on our discussions until late in the night, planning extravagant adventures to foreign lands—-the mountains we’d ski, the rivers we’d raft and the challenges we’d conquer.  We we’re on fire for everything and for everybody, talking a million miles a minute—speaking with confidence as we bolstered one another’s courage, or maybe it was just youthful bravado —-no topics were off limits—-honesty and authenticity were the dues paid for membership in our exclusive club.  Our talks always led back-around to that same enigmatic topic—Girls, those illusive creatures that mesmerized, mystified and mortified us—-some things never change.

We fancied ourselves Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty from “On The Road” but by the reactions of the girls we tried to impress, we were perceived more as Beavis and Butt Head—-, to be mocked as Thelma and Louise would have been an improvement.

We had our deep philosophical talks but it was our humor that sustained us, we laughed at ourselves and the state of the world, we were immortal, all things were fixable—-time was on our side (A Rolling Stones reference)…

Some things change and some things stay the same.  In many ways I am still that awkward, odd and shy dude from years past—-a pariah to the mainstream. But these days I’m comfortable in my own skin,—beneath my chipped paint and fading color beats a youthful heart–an idealist to some, a fool to most—-but I like it that way—Juck-em—if they can’t take a foke—hahaha!

How are you my old friend, my potter and fellow romantic?  I remember it all fondly, as if it were just yesterday—and for a moment I’m ridding shotgun as you drive us down some dirt-road out in the boondocks, we’ve got a six pack of beer and much to discuss—-Neil’s voice sings his high pitched lonesome song in the background—-and once again, you bring a grin to my face.

Dedicated to my life long brother, Norman.

the teller of tales


a crazed woman cut my heart out of my chest, she then carelessly disassembled it and put it back together all wrong, it was slippery with blood and hard to handle, so she shoved it back inside me where the organ for caring and giving a shit use to be…..these days I compulsively check my pulse in search of a rhythm, but all I feel is an occasional spastic fluttering within my chest, like a bird beating its wings against hurricane winds—and when it gets dark, it stops all together—

come close and put your ear against my chest—-now be still and listen as I tell you how it is for me, at night those blues come stalking me, they peer through my blinds like some nefarious wide-eyed peeping Tom, leaving foggy predatory breath on the window pane——–the bleakness of it all tramples across the nothingness of another specter ridden midnight—I can feel my heart go still, like an unworn love left hanging in someones dusty closet, an addiction traded against a corrupted souls collateral, broken people warehoused like damaged goods, young kids with no fire in their eyes, an old guy going in circles on the metro for an as-semblance of company, the scent of morning rain on dirty pavement, damp leaves smoldering in the drizzle, the stench of alley piss—time is blurring by like a whirl-wind whooshing past my car window on a Sunday drive to nowhere in-particular—-once again I’m tired of me and how I get things all twisted up, I’m left staring into the futility of a gray weather beaten morning, realizing I’m no longer running from something, nor running to something—-I’m slowly being crushed under the ache that comes with knowing that there’s got to be something better than this—-someplace—–somewhere—-cause this life is way to long to be miserable and far to short to be boring—it’s time I set that lil caged bird free—

say something, I’m giving up on you—-

there’s too much pain in the world to believe I’m immune to it, or can hide from it—–or selfishly fear that I’m the only one being consumed by it—that would be a righteous sadness, the kind of sadness that beckons the lugubrious to replay a heartbreak love-song over and over again.  Real sadness has no soundtrack, no words, no explanation—-it’s like tree sap that mysteriously shows up on your hands and can’t be washed off—-

people always ask me the same question “Was that story you told true or made-up?”   To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure anymore.  Most of the stuff I once thought was true, ends up being a lie or an illusion, and what I thought was fiction (made-up) is just an alternative version of truth or reality that I’ve failed to grasp.  I’ve come to believe that what’s true, and what’s made up, is a predilection reserved for the teller of tales.

but I do know this, one day that little bird trapped inside my chest will be set free—-


Defying the Doldrums (Soundtrack “Are You Going With Me” Pat Metheny)


When I was a kid we’d buy paper kites, they were relatively resilient but never intended to last—-their flimsy construction gave them the agility to fly but also made them vulnerable to a host of possible mishaps—they were as precious as they were mortal.  A poorly tied tether knot and all may be lost, or should an unexpected gust of wind blow her into branches, then she’s snared and marooned, left there forever dangling from the sky like a monument to someones carelessness.  I brought myself here, just like you did—-we’re all just holding on by a string, so I refuse to feel sorry for anybody—nobody!—except for maybe one of those kids with bald heads who haven’t been given much of a chance to survive the treatment, let alone the disease—I save my compassion for these cases.

Those mopey fuckers at the grocery stores asking me for spare change or the young dude with pleading eyes and his cardboard sign perched at the last stoplight before the climb to the freeway onramp, they piss me off—-they don’t seem to realize that we all have to make our own wind, running uphill like hell, never looking back until the string feels taunt, until god decides to lightly blow his breath on you, lifting your body above the ground into the void of space and torched stars, and below spins that beautiful blue ball of water and land—here in the ether, even the coldest of hearts will thaw.

I hand a crinkled dollar to a crumpled man, and for a solemn instance we are connected, we occupy the same moment, share the same world—-then without speaking I turn and walk away and return to my world—-as he returns to his—–

Kindest or cruelty—–which way will the wind blow

The older I get, the less I look into the mirror and the longer I stare at my hands

Cages, Walls and Prisons

18 Track 18  Soundtrack to blog.


A good friend of mine recently went to prison.  I hate to say it, but this news came as no huge surprise.  You see, he had always lived his life behind one wall or another—–a wall of alcohol and drugs (until he got help and quit) a wall of pretension and success (until he lost his business and money) a wall of arrogance and deceit (until his fraud was exposed) a wall of emotional insulation (until he was filleted and spiritually gutted).  In jail there are no walls between you and yourself, the only walls there are the ones keeping the rest of the world out. The prisoner and his keeper are forced to coexist—-hope—like pardons, float just out of reach.

Sometimes when I consider this life, I see each of its participants living out their existence where “they need to be”—-please don’t misinterpret this as meaning “where they may want themselves to be”.  Perhaps its arrogant of me to say such a thing, who am I to know what another may or may not want or need?  I am arrogant.  Arrogance comes with the territory of being a writer.  A writer is the last unwitting peddler of authenticity for all crumbling cultures.  To be a good writer, you need to have something to offer, something new and interesting to say, a revelation to shine a light upon.   As for me and my writings, I intend to confound the smart asses, frustrate the conventionalist and piss off the righteous. Cause, if I mix the colors just right, I might create a picture that becomes a window for another to peer through.  I always wonder the same thing about others, “Tell me what you see—what you feel?”

I loved a girl once.  And maybe she loved me back, these things are illusive and subjective—or more than likely, I’m just plain hard to love.  Love melts in your mouth not your hands, and it’s very difficult to see whats going on inside another’s mouth, let alone within their heart.  M&Ms lie, they all look different, but they all taste the same.  She took me to her home, a place where she kept her clothes, slept, stocked her cupboards and fridge, where she dreamt her dreams, hid her tears, bathed, put on her make up and stored her smiles.  I tried once to live with her, but my stuff cluttered up her neat organizational scheme of things.  I left before the walls she was constructing became to high for me to scale.

There’s a place in the High Sierra’s known as Desolation Wilderness, what a mystic and daunting land. A place of stark granite walls, gnarled pines and hidden alpine lakes, a place where one can either lose themselves or become re-aquatinted with what was meant to be.  It is here that I sort out my devils from my angels and decide who is the lion and whom is the lion tamer.   The lion cage is where I go to discover what comprises the alchemy of my soul.  And I will tell you this, it takes a lot of courage to put my head inside that lions mouth.


God, Sex and Love

I’m sitting here alone in my room after dark, with only one standing lamp giving off a sunday evening glow.  If you were here and the night became still, I’d have you tell me stories about your childhood.  Your soft warm voice would put my worrisome mind at ease.  I want to know you better, and to have you trust me like old friends do.  Its so strange, I feel as if I’ve always known you, perhaps it was in a different time or place—or maybe a thousand lifetimes ago, your face is so familiar, like those in my dusty old photo-album that stare out at me from yellowed snapshots, leaving me with that sad aching feeling deep inside my chest, a mourning for days lost and moments that have placidly slipped by, unnoticed except for my thread-worn memories and aging keepsakes.  At times the past feels as if it just occurred yesterday and then at other times, it feels like all these random events belong to another person from a different lifetime, do you know what I mean?——Maybe we once wandered down dark rainy streets of some unremarkable small town in the midwest, surrounded by an ocean of corn fields—ducking into smokey old taverns with the jukebox playing the likes of Merle Haggard, pool-balls cracking and the local yahoos giving us that familiar glare that says, “What the fuck are you two outcasts doing in here?”—-do you think this is possible?  I do—but I’m a poet and a dreamer and such dubious notions occur to me all the time——-maybe you don’t know what I am trying to say and perhaps you never will—-but for now, we can share our stories and see where they leads us.

I imagine you cooking us supper, preparing it with those immaculate small hands of yours; hands connected to your arms and then to your body and finally to a heart beating deep inside of you.  And I can see you smiling as you go about adding this and that to your unwritten recipe. Evening closes in and the kitchen is filled with that comforting aroma of seasoned dishes simmering on the stove, it smells like home.  It’s no big deal to you, but as for me, I’m enjoying the tenderness that comes with being fussed over.  I don’t know how you do these things, mixing all those mysterious spices and ingredients together, but I believe that sharing food is an act of love—

I watch you move thru space with an effortless grace; with athleticism and agility—oppressive gravity is envious of your dancers finesse. Unlike me, I trip over my own untied shoelaces. I dance like I cook—horribly.  I lumber, I lurch, and then stumble——as I trample across the crumbling ground of my faltering days.  My refuge has always been found in the eloquence of words, even on those darkest of nights when sleep eludes me, I am able to blend them silently together inside my frenzied head like watercolors that beautifully bleed and melt into one another.  The sharing of words is also an act of love. It’s really all I’ve ever had to offer anyone.

I remember on a whim you and I headed up north on highway 1.   The road traced along the rocky coastline, and everything was as it should be, with you sitting in the passenger seat smiling as the radio played the song Hero. Across bridges and up hill and dale we carried on as the rain fell on our windshield making the world appear blurry and dreamlike.  Back then, we had no plans or outside distractions, we were sorting out this thing called life in real-time—-no past, no future, just you and I naïvely melding into one—and so it went—so on and so forth….forever and a day….and for the time being, that was good enough.

We holed up in a dumpy sea weathered motel and drank cheap wine, ate cheese with sour dough-bread and made love. Outside the world was dreary and gray with a damp fog blowing in off the sea.  We had nothing to do or nowhere to go, so we drank more wine and shared our secrets of God, sex and love.  We took walks on the windy beach until we were soaked and tired and then we went back to our musty old hotel room to talk.  I lit a candle and we stared at our shadows on the wall as the flame flickered, we shared our thoughts in hushed voices, quietly falling in love, with the divine surprise of stone being sculpted into art.