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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A New Hallmark Holiday Proposed

Tonight while watching
A sappy TV movie
I had a great idea
For a new Hallmark holiday

It would be
Called Homeless Day
And Richard Musto
Would be the official
Holiday spokesman
In all his cranky wonder

Now listen to me
One thing you have
To learn pretty fast
About living
On the street is
Never eat food with
Mayonnaise if you want
To avoid getting really

Because what holds us
Together is nothing
More or less than
What Mitch Albom describes
Only what it holds
Together I’d hazard to guess
Is not exactly
Co-extensive with
Either his experience
Or imagination

Gan Yu - II

A poem about the importance
of a strong sense of place

You know the role
Played by Richard Dreyfuss
In Close Encounters
His complete obsession
With Devil’s Tower

Well how come
I’m not quite sure
But that’s exactly the way it's
Always been for me
In and around
These few square blocks

It’s the place
Where I most belong
And how can I explain it best
Except by saying it’s been such a long time
Personal and business address as to
Become one and the same
A single location that pervades
My entire sense of well-being

Or like water
That’s circling the drain
I’m intent to continue holding on
Just a little bit longer
Thinking perhaps the path of
Least resistance is remain right here
And try to make myself
An even more integral part of the
Midtown South Precinct scene

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gan Yu -- II

Alone or Together

Alone or together
Is one of those imperishable
A toggle hard wired
In our hearts and minds

Just so I found myself
On the corner outside
Where I first noticed her
Beautiful and self-possessed
Regal throughout her being
And online at Pret
Again she was
Behind me
Long auburn hair
America’s next though
Slightly aging supermodel

As I paid for my mid-afternoon snack
Keisha asked:
Alone or together?

I do my best to keep
Things together
But I’m all alone when
It comes to her
If that’s what you mean

And then I glanced briefly back
And when she smiled
I said to her
For the first and last time:
And you’re well put together too
If you don’t mind my saying

To which Keisha crisply replied:
Why don’t you pop her the question?

To which I quipped in return:
Is all I get three dollars change?

But the best of it yet
Is that after stepping back
And later still
As I remembered the scene
No matter what I said or meant
Keisha came to her own understanding
Such that I ended up paying
As though we were together
Whether or not we were
In fact or in mind

So what exactly
By this question is meant
Alone or together
In this or any other context
Each of us for ourselves
Each and every time
Must redecide

Gan Yu -- II

(a poem about the benefits of embracing change)

    Once again

    As I get ready

    To quit my day job

    In truth I recall how always

    I have found it much easier

    To keep faith

    By embracing change

    Instead of getting

    Bogged down in

    The status quo

    All the Dao asks for is balance

    And no matter what you give back

    Many are the ways

    Chemical physical and emotional

    To pry your third eye open

    As you find your own way

    Through life

A Poem About the Gan Yu

Does it mean

Feelings about things

Met along life’s way

Or better yet just

Things encountered

Such is the nature

Of life in translation

And such are the transformations

As we move from tongue

To tongue

Sometimes the choices

Seem very enormous

Almost overwhelming


At the end of the day

The Gan Yu shall

Speak for itself

If you’ll just kindly do your best

To keep me and Chen Zi’ang

Both far from mind

Instead try striking out

On your own

First by crouching down

In the depths of the forest

And then calmly wait

Listening for the cuckoo’s

Loud lament

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thoughts After Reading a Letter from Richard Musto

What am I

To Richard Musto

Or he to me

Both questions are


And there's nothing

More laughable

Than my answer

It sometimes seems

It’s not just money

That brings us together

Though a little more

Of the green stuff

Deposited directly into

His account from time to time

Would go a long way towards

Buying me peace of mind

Meanwhile he is looking

To engage me professionally

In order to pursue legal remedies

Against half the known world

His sister’s son and a desk sergeant

In the South Bronx both of whom have

Done him grievous wrongs

A whole lifetime of

Disparagements still

Awaiting redress

And in all caps and bold face scrawl

Again and again

He reminds me to



It’s pretty clear what

He expects of me

But what do you suppose

I am destined to learn

From him in good turn

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Common Misunderstanding About What Dietrich Really Said

  • A lot of guys
    Stop to ask me
    What’s the secret of life?
    And I’ll say to them
    How the hell should I know
    Except it’s what you see
    All around you like
    People sitting on the bus
    Pile their bags so high
    On the seat next to them
    Because they don’t want anyone
    Sitting right alongside
    You see everybody is afraid
    Of someone or something
    Getting too close

    And it’s the same with the rich
    You know flying around
    In their private jets
    It’s the same damn thing
    And it’s very dangerous too
    All those movie stars
    Politicians and musicians
    Who lost their lives
    In their private planes

    Rugged individualism
    Is what they used to call it
    Back in the day
    But that’s just words
    They used to use
    To try and give it
    A positive spin
    Something to say for
    A good cub-scout leader
    Maybe an infantry captain
    Or anybody who knows
    How to get by
    No matter what
    To live off the land
    Just like me
    Yeah I guess you could
    Say that about me

    It’s like everyone
    Made the same mistake
    About what Marlene Dietrich said
    She never said
    She wanted to be alone
    No siree
    You see
    That wasn't what she
    Said at all
    She said she wanted to be left alone
    And you can take it from me
    That’s a completely different thing
    If you get what I mean
  • What Richard Told Me

    You know why
    There has to be a God

    Richard says to me
    Sitting in the back
    Of Ali’s Deli
    On 29th and Sixth

    Look at the trillions
    Of fish in the sea
    And all the rice they grow
    Underwater in the paddies
    You take all that rice and fish
    That comes from underwater
    And you have enough for
    A very healthy diet
    Right there

    And don’t forget
    You still have
    To call back
    That Landlord
    Down in Atlantic City
    And if he asks you
    How long I’m gonna stay
    You should say
    Just as long as he’s welcome
    Just to show him that
    I can be a very accommodating person
    That is accommodating to
    His disposition
    And you have no idea
    Frankly how temperamental
    A Landlord’s disposition
    Sometimes can be

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    For Dan

    Let each poem
    Be a celebration
    Of life be it a moment
    Of truth or continued

    As with the Saturday
    Arrival of a package
    From Putney
    What the fuck?
    My younger son exclaimed

    And after opening it up
    Holy Shit he further said
    It’s a letter from Natalie
    That says my application
    Is complete and look here
    It’s a plastic cow she sent me

    Am I in or not?
    Stop sending me
    Rubber cows please
    No more kitsch
    I want the rest of my life
    To begin already

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    This is a poem I composed at the James A. Farley Post Office on November 3rd where I went to send out one last package.

    Let each day bring its own
    good measure of life changing
    into existence

    Each day may
    the Kabbalah Truck
    remain parked outside

    With carts filled
    with trays filled
    with fresh baked
    loaves of wisdom

    Just waiting to greet you
    on your way out
    the front door