"It's about words, and words are all I have…"



blazing blues  immortalized here many times

would be 96 sunday  eyes very much like a

hawk’s  a member of the raptor family  could

spot a bullshitter from miles away


lately such a bird is frequenting the balcony

of his bride  now 93   let’s call him lee  regaling

her with tales of horseraces  gangstas   +escaping

from burly london toughs   hey jewboy!   


now the witching hour  +illinois honks his horn

ella sits in a housedress  +louis throws back his

leonine head and laughs  white teeth gleaming

lee the hawk dreaming a little dream  of me


Hawks have up to 1,000,000 per sq. mm of photoreceptors

in their retinas, against 200,000 for humans.



SPRING 2017  RIP LEE ATKINS  A MAN    May 21, 1921- August 16, 1989



At the Vimy exhibit in our nation’s Capitol

they gave out paper  with poppy seeds embedded

From Flanders Fields   Mere specks   No one knows

how they grow into flowers  +soldier’s ghosts

simultaneously    Plant them in your yard  +the bones

of our good Canadian boys will rise  giving off the faint

scent of mustard gas  +the sea




Spring 2017   Ottawa




The sign outside my local taqueria  Fondle Lola   really

said this   I had sworn off of said habit with the onset of 60

Tequila is another story   After umpteen glasses of Don Julio

I dreamed of James Comey    So is he happy?    Shit yes!


He singlehandedly brought down Hilary  + has now catapulted

orange Donald into despot infamy  They may finally impeach the

whiny little bitch  In the dream  Comey  a very tall drink of water

suckled Daniel Ellsberg  another Russian operative  circa 1971

Has this not occurred to anyone?


Trump is not smart enough to take down democracy   It is James

Comey  who is Putin’s bitch   Wittingly or unwittingly    Trump has

accused James of committing  atrocities   Another big word he should

look up in the dictionary    A 21st century Ahab   brought down by

America’s most powerful Dick




SPRING  2017





said little Dr. Meffe  moustache moving up+down  up+down

And what will you do if I scream?   I’ll stop   I don’t want to

torture you  said she   Pre-biopsy frown  Moustache now turned

down   She promises to return in five   In three   screams ring out

from the room next door   Chin up    Did I mention it’s Spring?


Today small white petals dot the reflecting pool   Godly debris

As I contemplate my reprieve  wishing they’d all been  as lucky as me

But there is only enough luck to fill the mote in the eye of the Lord

Moustache inscrutable slash  as I exit  leaving a trail of blood +tears


Long years ago  at a pristine 23  I was a Parole Officer  with tanned legs

from country club weekends with new husband   You really think you’re

helping these people?  fellow Officer Carl said  with a sneerleer   Meet one

of my flock   a young parolee  also 23   she who reeked of feces  decaying

body cavities  +rotting food?    Another form of God’s debris?


Her favourite phrase: I don’t give 2 shits +a holler lady   Followed by pearls

before the swine: You belong in a field running free  not cooped up in this hellhole

with me   That day her pants fell to the floor as she made kicking motions in my

direction   Wash me in the water tanned Parole lady!  she screamed


For some moments we sat cheek to jowl  as I sewed a button onto her waistband

holding back gags  +rich girl shame   +mercy   she didn’t want    I don’t give 2 shits

+ a holler  she reminded me   Rotting teeth now parting   Spit raining down on me

Who you calling FREE?   I bet your heart’s pumping piss for me


And did I mention it’s Spring?



We are born at a given moment in a given place, and like vintage wine, we have the

qualities of the year and of the season in which we were born.    C.G. Jung




Spring 2017



Carlos said:  Jesus lived to 33  +looked at me like I’d

never heard of him   JESUS  he emphasized   He went

on to explain that in his youth he’d wanted to die when

Jesus had   But when the noble age arrived he decided to

die  at 50


Now well over that age  he’s decided to stay   8 mths. ago

he took a young bride  who currently resides in Cuba  I saw

her photo as she frantically called his cell during the 12 hrs.

he painted my house  We fell into an easy camaraderie  Carlos

+me   This is not the 1st time I have found a working man mystic


Ditto my roofer  Bush   He clutched my virgin poetry collection

+proposed   Hasn’t this happened to you?   The book came into his

hands as I mistook a lingering glance at a crack in the ceiling  to involve

the bookcase below   Oh  you love books!    Soon Bush had a strange look

all the while backing away from the poet  who’d asked him too aggressively:

Can you ever really go home?  


Can we?   To that original self   The earliest you  who loved the smell of old

men  (aftershave +wet dogs)    The you  who watched your Zaida wrestle

imaginary foes from a rocking chair made of metal+plywood +brown plastic

This in the living room where men in leotards wrestled each other on TV  every

day after school


In his white shirtsleeves  frail +near deaf   Zaida a king among men   He who

predicted that: once you saved the $3 for the doll you so desperately craved

you wouldn’t want her anymore   And you didn’t!   It was from Joseph Marlieb

you learned that wanting is a hungry uroboric beast  shredding +eating voraciously

the mundane reality of every single thing   you ever wanted


Except for:  A box of Standard Poodle puppies in the basement  The return of a

left breast   The bird you caught after shaking salt on it’s tail   Ditto the baby you

found in the bullrushes behind your house  the only one you ever kept


We are here for what amounts to a few hours, a day at most.

(Tracy K. Smith  Life On Mars  2011  Pulitzer Prize)






Miserable Toronto hordes out in force   One just

bit me   White +pink blossoms fill cherry trees   1st

real day of Spring 2017   Denizens used to sneering

Sore jaws by 4pm   All smiles+guffaws  +being stung

by 1st bees    All standing too close to me


One crushing a bee  +then crushing it some more   Green

juices ooze out   One guy with his shirt off  pigpink    Poet

huddled in corner trying to make sense of Spring rites in a

city where the glarestare was invented  +well honed


Once I fell on choppy ice in flowered tights  +tall Doc Martens

Knee bleeding profusely  2 women pretended not to see me

laughing giddily   It’s not a friendly place    But today amidst

selfie-sticks   +gnashing teeth  the cherry pollen casts a spell

It only intensifies my anomie   A woman has just tripped over

me  +lays at my feet


I pretend I don’t notice  as a heart shaped red stain seeps out of her

left elbow  It mixes with the green juice of our first fallen bee   In all

of this glorious urban insanity  we put aside for a while  the fact that

a pug-faced boy dictator  points a SUPERBIG nuclear warhead at






SPRING  2017








Morning rituals:  newspaper  sport’s section 1st   to see

Jewish obits   Did you ever notice that fewer Jews die on

holidays?   Take Passover for example  a mere 3   Then 2

days after final matzoh fried  10 Jews die   Maybe Yaweh

keeps them in a holding pattern  pulls the plug on plug

pulling day  quite randomly


Worship only impermanence  if you want to leave here with

a shred of sanity   Yesterday a 20 yr. old man in Thailand took

his 10 mth. old baby to an abandoned hotel   There he hung her

+jumped out a window   This  reported in those little sidebars in

the newspaper   The ones they use to jolt you out of your caffeine

induced preparedness to seize the day!


Why do they do this to us?   Carl Jung counselled against reading

the news   Ditto  flying    Both giving us the false sense that we have

risen above the fray  the war  the cancer   Depressed Thai dads are

faraway   You are untouchable up there in the clouds   Where in the

blink of an eye you can put it back the way it was    Then you land

with a thud  +your Ativan-daze fades


The people who are the most hopeless know  that even angels declare

bankruptcy  +if you want to avoid a plane crash sit beside one of these

folks   For stamped on their foreheads are the words: this one stays until

the bitter end    When  previously unbeknownst   all debts are forgiven!

(As long as you never land)


Up there  even the Thai dad is put back together again!   In this poem  a lyrical

thing   all false hope  +all false cheerfulness in the face of your fear  is a recording

Hang up +try your call again   Then punch the smug bastards in the nose    +run

Or better yet  flap




One day  from 60  +then I stop counting  permanently

Our family Rabbi said  at the Atkins funerals I’ve

attended   Every year past 70  is an extra   70 sounded

ancient  now it doesn’t   It already has a tentacle around

a mottled ankle


Maybe age  is  just a number?   I used to think espousers of

this philosophy  shallow   But now that my number is up there

I care  less   +soon I will care  not at all   Ditto  petty bullshit

Do not wax poetic re: your cousin’s hernia surgery   My eyes in

permaglaze from 6 decades of nodding politely


These days I’m just as likely  to get my shotgun out  +send you

packing  light a fire under your greasy bonhomie   Approach me

carefully   Target practice yesterday   Shotgunned 1st beer Sunday

Husband+brothers: You don’t have to tilt your head all the way

back   Just tilt the beer!  Now they will feel buckshot  nibbling at

sagging butts   +wish they’d never messed with pretty little me


Do I sound angry?


It’s just that when you read  say  Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography

no matter how bad things get  you know who he will grow up to be

In my story is there no rock & roll redemption in sight?   Show a little

faith there’s magic in the night  I ain’t a beauty  but hey  I’m alright!


Go quietly   railing is for pussies  +face it  your story will never end with

you growing up to be  Bruce Springsteen   But these poems  full of darkness

at the edges +flights of baroque  are the antidote to believing  too much in

anything   So  jilt all saviours  +commit the 1st rule of immortality to memory:

This flesh is highly overrated   OMG!  Maybe I did grow up to be Bruce Springsteen



You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain

Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain

Waste your summer praying in vain for a saviour to rise

from these streets.   Thunder Road   1975   The Boss 



Spring 2017   onedayto60



There’s a theatre company I frequent  The

audience is beady-eyed  +hungry  There in

the dark  teeth gnash  +a lung is coughed out

with regularity   Right now there is a play highly

recommending the virtues of life over decay in a

water filled grave


Is your soul alive?  they cry  (audience member:

I’m cancelling my subscription they don’t project) 

Once again save me from my demographic  I heard

them LOUD+CLEAR  though only 40% hearing left

in my right ear


If you’re not as alive as you might be  you sorely need to

hang around the cemetery  or think about the 20 yr. old girl

who hung herself in my niece’s dormitory  The latches to her

sadness/madness  ennui on a good day  not secured tightly

Now all the girls will need an extra dose of Ativan to sleep


Those who found her will find no peace  +wander through life

with a deep seated fear of thresholds  +getting too close  +besties

who are in excruciating pain   I had one once  +her recurring dream

was: being in room filled with water  water that meets the walls

I will never know the outcome of her story


She gave me the finger in an Indian restaurant  when I said: Your

ennui is drowning me  And I see now that this was one of the best

things that ever happened to me   Finally free of her membranes

of sorrow+want   +a well pruned borderline personality  masquerading

as creativity    I was left free  +forever weary of hiding malignant narcissists

from psychiatrists   +giving it away for FREE





SPRING 2017    7daysto60




The woman at my drug mart is cryptic  in an

East European way   One might take it for hard

heartedness   Today my new spontaneous laugh

burst forth  +bits of protein bar sprayed her face

Lips a sublime MAC GASHPINK  moved back+forth   back+forth

A quick mimed: Stick it where the sun don’t shine


Most of my epithets involve buttocks’  as I approach the

penultimate week of my 59th year   She’d told her sister:

Just stop it!   At 50 stop the clock!  It’s downhill  In faded jeans

+push up bras you’ll look like a funky old lady  Does she wanna 

kiss my ass too?    This time not mimed    Never funky  only iceycool


I’m sick+tired of: moored in one’s bullshit diatribes   Dogs+older

boys followed you down quite regularly   +push up bras  +ripped

jeans clung like Dani California’s (think Red Hot Chili Pepper’s young ho)

Why Anthony Kiedis himself once fell to his knees at your feet (+not viceversa)



Later  when you took him home  dreams of Californication dancing like

sugarplums  you fell asleep on his piratical shoulder   Nowadays you reflect

on how soon you will be going   Billie left at 44  cirrhosis of the liver  Voice of

a drunken angel     God bless the child who has his own    


Yes  do   Soon a bitter niece will want you to de-clutter  Downsize  Fuck you  little

darling  With the grace of the last hawk  you will resist stasis  Spread funky old wings

Never abandon poetry    Find old Anthony +his son Yogi  (Bear)   Seriously!

And light out for new territory





SPRING 2017  13daysto60



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