29 December 2011


there’s a bird on tom delay’s shoulder
he looks like the kind of bird you might see
in the air
but he just sits there
unbeknownst to most
he turns his head
to look for the past
coming rightup
coming right

the feathers ruffled
when the first one pled guilty
to about half the things he did
about half



of the crimes
he committed
you see that was part of the plea deal
it was the check mate
on the big wheel
and several television stations
ran the footage of
categorical denials

knight to queen six
rook takes pawn
bishop takes rook
queen takes bishop
it wasn’t technically ‘illegal’
pawn turns on his own queen
knight circles his own king
but bishop takes his own pawn
the water subsides
for a day
or a

pawn takes bishop
maybe everything’ll be alright
and even thought it seems to wear the same coat
the king looks nervous
the cat turns into a goat
knight defers
the bishop moves into place
the king’s last laugh
is in your face
the king’s lowly former pawn
turned consultant
produces a large wad
of hundreds

hands out tobacco checks before the vote
invites all the cool kids back to his boat
blows a quick ring of fog with his cigarette smoke
and says ‘yeah, i did it, but who’s gonna know’
and even if they knew
      what are they gonna do

bishop to knight five
the king is still alive
and nobody thought it’d go this long
but somewhere the worker bees start humming the song
and find just enough cash to buy an iphone
then everyone forgets
and we all go home

on the

on the

where end game scenarios
play out in texas, florida and ohio
and five seats are enough to get things through
so reverend delay did what he had to do
before he turned out to be expendable

15 December 2011

you know it's time for you to go

 in the company of corpses
      three nights
   three times

   and then
it’s up to me

they don’t say anything
they aren’t listening
one shifted
and turned in the night
i woke
with a start
   asked ‘is everything allright?’
   before i chance remembered
before i gave to flight
   i tried

now   i no more read it
than lived it
      that’s just the facts
the fuse was dipped
then lit
   it glowed a good long time
      in low light

the higher the hang
the more dead   the ore
and that leads directly
   back to the corpse

have no doubt that the logic is sound
the sun comes up
just as surely as it goes down
now   if you’d come in the summertime
when there’s more accommodating ground
when the sight doesn’t much bother
    with the sound
and the hills hold fate
in the meaning of song
   they know how to sing
how to sing along
and undone

that’s english
where you feign death
the pressure works
from either end
to your middle


big pressure
waits for words
understands what is heard
friendly chinese
two hours
or three

do not use
   this time
to explain
      use the time
to reclaim the remains
is your name

that water was cold enough
and the bottle filled right on up
but   i bow out
hold back
   held down
         it is no worry of mine
on a black horse
   for hope
and through the kind of rain
that only wants to be

it weeps
  then it moans

you know it’s time
      for you to go

28 November 2011

book launch!

The book launch is coming to a town near (some of) you!
Wednesday December 14 at the Western New York Book Arts Center
468 Washington Street
Buffalo, NY
6:30 PM 

with readings from

(yours truly) 
Letson Williams
Mr. Patrick Riedy
Mr. Michael Koh

guitar interludes provided by 
Mr. Victor Lazar

Wines, Snacks, Conversation, Collusion.

Come one and all

20 November 2011

and then
               old fat god
made it rain

she was far too willing to accept ‘no’
      as the answer

the smart one
      the littlest one
never gave up a single
she loved language   the most

her temper was gone
      by the time the moon
turned blue
      which was about the time
she decided

      ‘it’s true’

and she never told anyone
                                          but you

((((breathe in   deep))))

she was the go-to girl
   for most of the world
freckles   and curls
   don’t know if ya heard 

ya heard

the shadow in the sky
       blocking the sunrise
the one lacking rights
   is the one that’ll die
      if you fight
and clean up
      from last night
just do it   aight


she always said it best
            she said ‘heart-strong’
   she said ‘head-long’
she said
      ‘c’mon c’mon c’mon’
and moved up front
   with the people

up close
but what does anyone
   really know   about hope
except that maybe
maybe it’s best just to leave it alone
leave it
      at home



the empathic bleeding love
for every   one
   from a place
full up
      and overflown
moving those blues around until
they get in line with the high notes
   on tenor saxophones
into a light where they can be seen
      and known

and if that really is just the way it goes
      y’ know

sam cooke sang
‘don’t fight it   feel it’

i mean feel it
not just hearing
or wearing the

listen norman
      not everything has to hurt

you scrawl it quickly
in the commuter lot
your eyes   your smile
   they’re soft
but your words
   are not
they’re hard
quick like gun shots so
go on boy
give ‘em what you got
even if you think
it’s not
      quite done
it is something
that’s not used up
   and that

is hope enough

have another one
      order up a shot
and a beer
pretend the citywide
           made it all the way to
         right   here
like it
      learned how
to take the train

            and that is precisely when old fat god
   took the time
      to explain some things

when all we really wanted him to do
      was make it rain

15 November 2011

How I learned that help could come
from the podium…

Knowing that I am not alone is a comforting feeling. 

The real danger is isolation. 

If you get to the point where you think that all the negative feelings must be carried alone, there is no better antidote than realizing that others will gladly help you carry the burden. 

The help comes in stories, personal stories, really really personal stories. These are shared with you and the open air.   Just said out loud, in front of a gathered crowd who all has little parts of themselves that don’t want to be shown for fear of truth being known, fear of remaining alone.

When the stories are heard, when those ideas find the air.  I realize that the things I have tried to keep from being known, the things that make me feel most alone, are common things. 

Things that people like Maggie Bertram and Jordan Burnham talk about every day. 

And just by the talking, just by taking that leap of help or faith they say directly to me…

Despite a roomful of eager eyes and ears, they say…

To me….

“It’s alright, you’re okay, I’ve been where you are and I know it’s every little bit of ‘so fucking hard’ but let me tell you this; it will get better.  All you have to do is let it.  All you have to do is ask someone to help you, help someone who asks you and be true to your own truth, no matter what ‘they’ say you should do.  Because ‘they’ are feeling a lot of the same things too and ‘they’ want to help, ‘they’ want to help you.  ‘They’ want to feel the same things you aspire to, ‘they’ want to know someone can be true and really mean what is said when it comes to care, ‘they’ want to know that you will be there. 

Now, ‘there’ is a bit of a tricky word, ‘I’ll be there for you’ is so often heard and so often meant (which is really the key) to a life better lived for you and for me.”

This is what I heard, this is what I felt when just two brave souls came to my school, stuck their necks out, and told their truths in such a way that it made what I had to carry a little lighter that day…

And every day since.

09 November 2011

there’s no such thing as simple songs

i’ve watched no country
seven nights in a row
    not strictly an active watch
one and a half times with ponytail
      once without breathing
but never forgetting
         how you did the leaving

boyos have the heart scars
   after every beating
to prove that
          we can move it
   that there's blood on our shoes
               to match the blood on your boots
      you couldn’t just call it off
instead you decided
         the best route was to not talk
before the light went soft
   and you gave it up
with chamomile tea
   an infidelity
            on a monday
when he’d already called in to work
that’s when he convinced you

  ‘we might as well make use of the church’

      on the run
on the coast
sailing winds
               the arrogant boast
here’s a toast
to the ones you leave behind the most

the ones who brought you to the air
      what future holdings do to fear

hot brown coffee has no care
just like you won’t hear
         the cow screaming
   and how it got there

makes you think ‘fuck the ones’
   who need to stare
who need to understand things
   or share

stay away from the kind of people
who like movies
      or music 
who get things done
so   yeah  
         that’s pretty much everyone

except the little boy
   lord fauntleroy
who took one last shot
with all his toys
headed east to wait
for daddy to die
      for the money to come
dressed you up like it’s 1981  

like declan patrick aloysious macmanus
   laid down his gun
   to spend his time
reciting schoolboy puns

ever clever down the rabbit hole
pouring concrete footings
   around your flagpole     
telling you all the truth
you choose to hold
who you are
why you’re here
      was fifteen the other f word
or was that father
      i used to burn certain suns to know that truth
but now i don’t even bother

might as well put a name on it


      but everything
including ideals
         can be labeled as wrong

there’s no such thing as simple songs

28 October 2011

the way of worth

the difference
between distance
and dignity
      laid the barrel
in his mouth

 close eyes
      almost out



did what you had to do
and didn’t like
who you became
which was the way
of the world
the way
      of worth