Betwixt & Between


Kidnapped by the chaos of my mind
A tempest so destructive
So utterly consuming
Than I am no stronger than a feeble leaf
In the hands of a hurricane
And even if I settle in the eye
It would be no more than the briefest of respites
Just a chance to catch my rasping breath
And be lulled into a false sense of security
Before these bones are wrenched into the agonizing heavens
Once again


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A Nighttime Companion


The night drew in
I cloaked myself in shadow
Waited in the gardens
Until she fell at my feet, exhausted
Gathered into my trusting arms
I carried her to the house of my father

We lay beneath the bedsheets 
Sharing breath and borrowed warmth
Our fingers laced so tight
As the rain patted against the windowpane 
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Cigarette Party


On discovering the photographs
I fumbled with my keys
Trying to lock back up
Whatever it was inside of me

I’ll stare
Into the translucent
Reflection of my own eyes
And make-believe
I’m gazing into hers

And for once in this paltry life
I’m going to write where I went wrong
Even if it kills me

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Village Bones


Epiphanies found in gas station parking lots
Gifted from dashboard tape decks
I lost myself so long ago
Somewhere in forgotten sins

I lie in long grass beneath crumbling mausoleums
And pray that my lament will be sung in a small quiet town    
As the gilded light of dusk
Glows through naked trees
and the metal crosses of church steeples


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Where We Sleep

It's time to grow old
To haunt the halls and yard of this ancient house
To rest these wary bones
And sink through floorboards
Where I'll find myself in the basement
Amongst worn out sneakers and boxes of old records
I'm more likely to wear loafers now
And I don't own a record player anymore

Upstairs, second floor master bedroom
Hangs a poignant portrait of a young girl grown old
Goya-esque and miserable from my indecisions
Those eyes send spears through my insides every time I gaze upon her
Though I will never take her down
Repentance, a stark reminder
For not going with my heart’s fervent pull
So now I kneel on these cold wooden boards
And hang my head in shame


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Private Detective of the Heart (a fleeting moment)


It’s 9:02 p.m.
I’m parked outside of Stephanie’s apartment in New Jersey, smoking cigarettes and drinking a Styrofoam cup of black coffee that I bought from the 7-11 around the corner. Vinnie was nice enough to talking his cousin into letting me borrow his shitty Lincoln for the night. That, and the dime-store fedora and sunglasses was good enough so that she wouldn’t recognize me if she happened to look out the window, or something.
She had broken up with me the night before, didn’t even give me a valid reason, or anything. “I think we should stop seeing each other”. Right out of the fucking blue. Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew I wasn’t the perfect fucking boyfriend, or anything. But then, who is? Anyway, I knew it wasn’t about me anyway. It was about her. And if my guts were telling the truth – about somebody else, too. I should’a known better than to get involved with a bridge and tunnel bitch.
I was born and raised in Queens, and after thirty-two years, still live there. All my friends and family live within walking distance, and I love my neighborhood to pieces. I have a steady job working for my uncle Joe in his Deli – slicing salami and shit, and a nice apartment that I share with my dog Lucky. The only thing that hasn’t gone too well for me in life is broads. I would just lose interest after a couple of months, ya know? No fault of theirs. I just wouldn’t feel it anymore. To be totally fucking honest, it cup me up a bit, ya know? I wanted to fall in love, get married, have kids, go for walks in the park with them and the dog – all that kinda shit. But it just didn’t happen. Until I met Stephanie.
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The Funeral (an Excerpt)


"I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because it's Monday afternoon, and I still haven't gotten over the hangover I earned Friday night ."

Monday morning was miserable. 
Outside the sky was painted a dismal shade of grey, and a cold breeze blew through the streets, plucking dead leaves from trees, and carrying them awhile, before discarding them upon the damp ground. 
The New Yorker rolled toward the church, the girls quiet and solemn in the car seats, clad in black dresses and woolen coats. Jennifer noticed her hands were shaking slightly as she lit a cigarette. So this was it, her mother’s funeral day. The last time she would ever lay eyes upon the woman, would be this morning, in a coffin. She shuddered at the thought, and blew a lungful of smoke out of the open window and into the chill of the fall air.
There were a few scattered cars outside the church, it wasn’t going to be a big ceremony to say the very least. Her mother didn’t have many friends; she mostly kept to herself. Jen’s grandparents on both sides were already dead; her mom only had one sister, who had never married. Gravel crunched beneath the tires as Trudy pulled into the parking lot, and cut the engine. 
‘Do you need a moment, Jen?’ she asked. 
‘No, I just want to get this over with.’
‘Okay.’ 
Jennifer opened the door, and stepped out of the car, letting her cigarette drop from her hand, a little red ring of lipstick around the butt. She crushed it into the gravel with the toe of her shoe.
‘Fuck, I really wish I had had a whiskey with breakfast to wash down the pills.’ 
‘Me too.’ Trudy breathed, her voice turning to mist in the autumn air. She locked the car, and walked over to Jennifer, slipping an arm through hers. ‘Let’s go Jen.’
‘Yeah, wish me luck.’
‘I’ll be by your side the whole time.’
‘Thanks, Trude.’ 
The girls walked silently towards the church entrance, arm in arm.

Aunt Maggie ran up to Jen, and threw her arms around her overdramatically.  
‘Oh, Jennifer, I’m so, so sorry.’ 
‘Thanks.’ She didn’t know what else to say, she really didn’t. 
‘Are you okay?’
‘As okay as I can be, I guess.’ 
‘You and Trudy are welcome to sit next to me.’
‘It’s fine thanks, I think we’ll just sit by ourselves. No offence.’
‘None taken, sweetheart, what ever you need.’
The girls found a deserted pew toward the rear of the church, and sat down.
What I need is a fucking drink, thought Jennifer. Fuck this, I don’t want to see him, I don’t care if it’s my mother’s funeral, I can pay my respects at her graveside, I don’t need this, I don’t want to mourn my mother’s death with that sonofabitch in the same room.
She couldn’t see him yet, her eyes kept darting nervously around the pews. She’s my mother, I loved her, cared for her, she raised me. He destroyed everything. Why would I want to be here? It’s not right. I don’t care what anybody thinks, it’s my fucking choice, it’s my fucking business. If anybody has problem with it they can go Hell. 
‘Trudy let’s go,’ she said, leaning in and nuzzling into her neck. ‘I don’t want to be here, I don’t need to here, it’s not right. Not with him here too. Mom would understand.’ 
‘Okay Jen, let’s go.’ 
They stood, and slipped back in to their coats. Jen glanced at the doors as she did the buttons up on the front. 
He walked in, dressed in a horrible mustard-colored suit. The fucker didn’t even have enough sense to wear black. She felt sick, her stomach lurched and a strange croak escaped from her Arden-coated lips. She grabbed onto the back of the pew and steadied herself. She felt Trudy place a hand on her shoulder.
‘It’s okay, Jen, we’ll be out of this goddamned church in a minute.’  
He seemed to walk in slow motion, his blue eyes taking everything in from behind the thick lenses of his glasses. His thinning blonde hair was combed over, and flattened with dollar store gel. His nicotine-stained moustache twitching into a sickening smile as his dead eyes found her. 
‘What the fuck are you smiling at, asshole!’ Trudy screamed. 
People turned and stared in disbelief, mouths hanging wide with shock. 
‘Come on, Jen, let’s go.’ She put an arm around her best friend’s waste, and the pair stumbled down the aisle, and out into the gloom of the morning. 



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Ghost-Written


Atop of a house a boy sits and drinks from an endless bottle 
Night after night
He tries to wish his best friend back to life

The house party rages on with youthful lust and innocence 
Christmas light climb like ivy out of season
She stumbles around inside
A rake-thin marionette
Silhouetted in her incomprehensible loss 
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I Know What I Saw


Silhouettes slow dancing to the rattle of brushes on a snare
Curtains glow like a flashlight pressed against a sanguine palm
The edges of this reality blur

Arguing with a fortune-telling machine
That old witch better watch her painted plaster mouth
She has but one hand
But it's seen its fair share of action

Distilled shadows writhe upon the bathroom floor
As a good vintage pours from the twisted faucet
This night has your name written in Braille across the stars
Let's get death over and done with
I'm sick of waking up to misplaced limbs
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The Hazelwood Cave Pt: II (excerpt from 'The Devil's Children)



The flashlight beams cut through the dark of the cave like incandescent blades. A pungent aroma of damp and decay flooded Harry’s nostrils. Bones of small animals littered the ground like snapped twigs, and crunched underfoot. The cave floor descended in a gradual decline, slowly leading deeper and deeper beneath the earth. From somewhere up ahead Harry thought he heard something scuttling in the shadows. He almost found it hard to believe that he and Adam had been brave enough to even venture into the cave at all as kids.
He shone his flashlight on the wall, and watched a spider crawl out of a shallow depression. He stopped and shone the light to the ceiling. The same depressions were there also.
The Hazelwood Cave was manmade.
‘Hey guys, I think I’ve made a discovery…’ Harry said.
‘What?’ Both T-Bone and Adam asked simultaneously.
‘You see those marks there?’
‘Yeah, so?’ T-Bone said.
‘So, they were made from a pickaxe, that means the cave is manmade, and why the hell would somebody go to all the effort of carving a great fucking tunnel in the woods?’
‘To dispose of bodies in the river?’ Adam laughed.
‘You know buddy, that might not be far off. If this really does lead to beneath the old library, and joins up with the tunnels under there, the only reason for it would be something like that, or a getaway route. The entrance to the library site wasn’t exactly subtle, I mean yeah, it may have been hidden a little better with the original building, but I think it’s safe to say that it was definitely meant to be the main entrance.’
‘Yeah, I think you’re on to something man,’ Adam said, rubbing his beard with the hand not clutching a flashlight.
‘Yeah, I think so to, but we better keep going. I like my lunch at 12PM sharp,’ T-Bone said.
‘Alright then. Let’s go.’
The trio continued on their way, deeper into the depths of the Hazelwood Cave.

The cave didn’t vary much; there were no tunnels that branched off to the side, no parts in which the ceiling lowered and they had to stoop to get through. Though, it did eventually level out, the decline of the floor gradually flattened, and stayed that way for as far as they had seen so far.
After roughly twenty minutes, the cave ended at a door. It made from rough wooden planks, and like the trapdoor at the library, an iron ring served as a handle.
‘Shit.’ T-Bone breathed, ‘we were fucking right.’
Harry raised a finger to his lips in the universal gesture for ‘shut the hell up’. He pressed his ear to the dusty wood and listened. He couldn’t hear anything, save for his heart beating double-time in his ears. Guessing that the coast was clear and there was no blood-thirsty ogre waiting on the otherside, starved for days, and ravenous for human flesh, he took hold of the iron ring, and pulled.
The door gave a surprised creak of protest; obviously it hadn’t been used in years, and opened to reveal a cavern.
Or was a room? Harry initially thought of the word ‘cavern’, given the circumstances, but ‘room’ was probably more accurate. Unlike the walls of the cave, that were carved with the aid of pickaxes and other similar tools, the walls, floor and ceiling of the room were made from a rough concrete. A set of steps sat at the far end, obviously leading up to the grounds of the library. In the center of the room, sat a large stone slab. Frighteningly similar to the one in Harry’s dream, though not exactly the same. And a gut feeling told him that this was not the setting of the horrible lucid dream. Maybe it was a representation, but still, he didn’t think so.
The floor was covered with a thick blanket of dust, and footprints dotted its entire surface. Obviously left by Holstein when he discovered the place. Though, he was either doing something, or pacing like a madman. The former made a lot more sense.
‘Fuck!’ Harry cursed.
‘What man?’ Adam asked.
‘There’s nothing here, nothing at all, that fucker Holstein has taken whatever it was that was down here.’
‘How do you know anything was down here?’
‘You see the footprints, Adam, he was obviously busy as hell down here.’
‘Well, we know the cave leads here, so that could come in handy sometime,’ T-Bone said.
‘I just don’t get why Holstein bothered to have security watch over the place if there’s nothing to watch over – it seems a little pointless.’
‘Oh, that fucker will have his reasons, Harry. Whatever the hell they are,’ T-Bone said.
The conversation was interrupted by muffling banging coming from the top of the stairs. ‘Hey! Anybody down there! Better fucking not be!’
‘Shit. It’s Andy,’ T-Bone hissed. ‘C’mon let’s just get the hell outta here, nothin’ to look at anyway.’
‘Very true my friend,’ Harry sighed, defeated.
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All & Nothing


Fell in love with a shadow of my former self
Thanks to the work of a fortune-teller witch
She spat out my future
Hand-printed on the back of a birthday card
I took one look at it
And ran straight across town to her house

Don’t worry about the lightning rod
It’s faster if I do it myself
This skin is used to being struck
And you aren’t fond of bad weather
The funnel cloud is forming now
On the outskirts of this sorrowful little town

I don’t care about the neighbors
There’s only room for the two of us
I’m a relatively honest man, but by no means a martyr
And if he ever touches you again
I’ll have his teeth
Just hold still, and bury your head in my chest



Per il mio caro monello, con amore xo
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Cataclysmic Scan


Prosthetic limbs
Scattered across the dust-coated floor
Of an emergency room
Somewhere in Texas

The sun rises
Spilling daylight through the dust-smeared windows
“Are we the only ones left?”
The handgun’s cold against her scarred thigh
“There’s no way of knowing right now”
Our volition derailed some time ago

Pink flamingoes and picket fences
Are nothing but car wrecks now
Headlines like:
MIAMI TAKEN OVER BY HAITIAN CULTURE
Take on a whole new meaning
The suits never could’ve predicted this one

They’re coming across the desert now
With no need for water, or multivitamins
Even if the doors are sufficiently barricaded
They’ll be crashing through the plate glass panes
I think we need to ask ourselves:
“Do we really want to live in a world like this?”
I’m not sure I’d have the answer

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Color Me Jet Black


Her perfume hit me in the face like a baseball bat.

I don’t mean that she was wearing too much of it. What I’m tryn’a say is that it did something to me. Emotionally and physically. I was gripped by a sickening excitement. I felt faint. I felt like a caged tiger that has just made a run for his freedom, and succeeded. 

Her hair was cut perfectly, a razor-sharp line that sat just above her brows. Her eyes were doe-like pools of melted chocolate, only slighter lighter in color than her brunette bob. And those high-rise cheekbones that you just know would feel goddamn incredible brushing against your two-day stubble. It had been a long time since I’d had a woman, far too long. Disregarding the hookers, of course. 

This broad was driving me crazy. I was certifiable. I knew it wasn’t the brightest idea in the world to fall for this dame, but you can’t help these things, can you? They’re out of your control; you couldn’t change ‘em if you tried. Call me a fatalist. Call me whatever the hell you want. It’s the truth. 

Thankfully, I didn’t do anything stupid. Like actually talking to her. She was trouble, that was for damn sure. Or, maybe I was the one who was trouble? Without me she would about as dangerous as a kitten attacking a ball of string. I didn’t want to think about that, though. You just don’t go poking around some of them places. 
You’re bound to discover something you wish you hadn’t. 



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A Prayer for Late October

A Prayer for Late October - my debut poetry collection, is now available on Amazon.com.
Here's what fellow Lazarus Media poet, Mercedes Webb-Pullman had to say about the book...

"From the Bradbury allusion in the first poem I know the narrator has jumped, and he’s falling, a dark angel, like Lucifer from heaven.  Two opposing worlds witness as the poet leapfrogs time and space in harrowing glimpses of death and guilt and a search for redemption. 

He examines his past in black and white for moments of enlightenment in a Zen-like sense of the natural world reminiscent of Gary Snyder before he plunges back to the beginning of time and forward to a coffin where life goes on, Darger’s children call to him, death is stacked like preserves on a pantry shelf and his darker self watches, breathes down his neck as he ponders a resting place after the fall. 

I enjoy the way the poems, like views from various angles, add up to a single cohesive and surreal world, dark and disturbing. I was happy to inhabit it for a while, and yes, he did grow wings."
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Sock Her, Mom!

Welcome to the neighborhood!
Where caffeine levels
Crash alongside minivans
It’s perfect, so perfect
It really is

 
So c’mon little girl
Play house with me
We both need something solid to cling to
Just like everybody else

 
Watching from the attic window
Keeping tabs on the tabloids
There’s only so much that I can do
How long can I keep up this charade?
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Stone Walls Surrounding


A cemetery; bathed in early morning sunlight in springtime.

 

A young girl; fey and virgin.

 

A red dress; clinging to slightly sweat-coated skin.

 

Perfume; mingling with that scent, an intoxicating blend of cherry blossom and musk.

 

Naked feet; with hallowed dirt smeared between the toes.

 

Blonde hair; sun-bleached and sleep-tangled.

 

Full lips; rosebuds slightly parted.

 

Countless bodies; in earthen tenements underground.

 

Hands; held in a skeletal clutch, holding nothing against an absence of a heart.

 

Death; waiting in the shadows, licking his boney chops.

 
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Cemetery Dogs

Child, stay so very far away
For those are the cemetery dogs you do see at play
The brittle bones that splinter in rabid jaws
Lost in the sea foam of madness

Child, I was taken by those dogs
One withered night in a long lost winter
They showed me things I could never speak of
Never dream of articulating

Amongst the wind-swept grass and time-worn tombstones
They took me
They took me…
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