I Guess That Makes Me Tonto

Ditching prom

To sit in your shitty old Volvo,

Listening to radio dramas on your am station,

Laughing at the Lone Ranger or

Fibber McGee and Molly,

Creating a world

That existed for just a few precious nights.



Sneaking out of our house

To sit on the roof

Of your dad’s office building.

Watching the stars,

The skyline,

The planes flying in the airport,

Pretending to smoke.

Laughing at the world.



Waking through Berkeley at midnight,

With all the streets baracaded off

Finally arriving at your little bungalow

Where you lived with all the other boys,

Listening to Bitches Brew and Funkadelic.

Sharing wine,

Drinking right out of the bottle.

And we begged you not to play your trumpet (badly)

Because they were off to protest early in the morning.



It’s never been as good as those days,

I suppose I was naive to think

All love would be like that,

Crazy and amazing

Simple and delightful

Confusing and wonderful

All at once.
Or maybe I forgot that what I was looking for

Was not someone to build a life with,

Or even someone like you (because, shit, brother, there will never be anyone like you)

But a dreamer to build a world with,

Where no one else exists.

And ditching the company happy hour seems the logical

Thing to do.

As long as the car radio

Can pick up an am frequency.


Stuck Acceptance

We all end up where we start,

I guess Fate has a

twisted sense of humor

after all I’ve done to outrun her,

change her mind.


I drove by your childhood home,

and I paused to swim

through all our memories.

Even though life took you

across the world

in both directions,

your new life

is eerily similar

to what you lived before.


I wonder if we’ve changed at all,

even for the better,

if I’m back in the neighborhood

I grew up in,

apartment and life

just like my mom’s.


Should I look ahead and around,

dream of a different place,


do I just study

what’s become

of the people around me,


this is as far as I’ll go,

and we were only a brief intersection

in worlds

at the opposite end

of a checkbook.

Be weird.

Wear that shit like a marshall’s badge,

one hard earned,

that shows you

and everyone else,

who the sheriff is in town.


Be different.

Try the not sensible shoes

or reading books instead of the Bachelor

or the really spicy curry,

the one you can’t pronounce,

or rafting down the Kern

instead of Legoland.


Be brave.

To give a shit about what people think

and try something new every day,

the new thing

that reveals one more layer of who you really are

until you dress yourself

in pure, unadulterated


for everyone to see.


Make your damn coffee at home.

Refuse to stand in line.

Put the fucking phone away.

Check your email only once, sincerely.

Stop taking pictures of every single breath

you take

and sharing them over and over.


Figure out why people love later Miles Davis

and meditation

and ceviche,

handwritten letters

and spending time with old people.


Sit in the cafe on a Wednesday,

and listen to the youngsters play jazz,

climb to the roof of an office building

in the middle of the night

and smoke cigarettes while watching the stars

and remembering Freshman philosophy.

Experiment with Indian food

and roller skating

and pillow forts

and fifty thousand people protests

and saying exactly what you mean

and not doing something just because you’re supposed to,

knowing it’s not going to keep you weird-

dim your truth,

and ultimately extinguish you.


Have the courage

to break family cycles,

sit and listen to the kids,

not waiting to speak–

but actually listening,

and respecting their viewpoint.

Let the dishes go undone,

while you dance in the living room all night

together, a tango,

like Buenos Aires landed in your suburb.

Fuck the mortgage.

Travel the world instead.

Drink in every opportunity to love

without brakes or training wheels.

Say yes more than no,

and see if it leads you

to having ice cream for dinner

or watching the sunset

turn into an abyss of stars:

on a school night, nonetheless.


But please don’t be normal

or average

or like everyone else,

and then realize far too late

that you are the voice

and the heart

and the courage

to be exceptional,

by virtue of being

completely yourself.


Pixies > Justin Bieber

No one wants to hear your music.

You don’t even have good taste.

And just when you think it will make

life completely enjoyable to hear

slow jams booming

their ridiculous lyrics and

predictable melodies

through the apartment walls

at 11pm on a Monday

while the blue glow

of the widescreen

sets the romantic scene

and your girlfriend is sleeping over,

it doesn’t. It’s awful.


Or maybe when you’re having a brew

by the public pool,

it’s summer and you have food

on the grill,

absolutely no one will walk by

and thank you for the Journey,

Justin Bieber, Shakira,

or U2 you’re blasting,

just so everyone can’t concentrate,

but being the self-centered


or give-a-fuck middle ager,

you don’t notice.

Because you truly believe

that people will enjoy

the entertainment

you’re providing them.

They have the privilege

of listening to your music,

nice and loud,

poor quality speakers,

in their space too.


At the roller rink, the bar, the club,

the show,

music is pounding

and that’s enjoyable.

It’s expected.

It’s requested.

It’s a welcome addition

to our soul-less,

soundless, humdrum,

repetitive lives.



When the painter and I

used to get naked

on my lunchbreak

in the tiny apartment

below the stairs,

we played the Pixies on full volume.

But that was an actual

courtesy to the neighbors.

So they didn’t have to hear

the entertainment

we provided




You’re Immortal Until I Forget You

I will write about you

until my fingers bleed,

worn from the experience of pressing

on the pen

gripping to keep you

and you were never there.


I am going to dream about you

until my eyes fill

with sand

arid after the drought,

but there are still

tears to cry,

pictures of us to imagine.

Memories that can be


by the beautiful lies

my heart still believes.


I’ll still ache for you

until no one else

calls or comes by,

and I’m empty

from the bleeding

onto the floor

the bed

the page

over and over again,

where I smile at your memory

and briefly recall the pain

your absence left

in the physical world

but never

in words:

you’ll never again

be gone

from the blood

on my page