It's like my grandfather always told me: Mike, when life hands you Lemons, ask for a paternity test.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

To an Unborn Daughter

-for Hilary

You’re only a thought I now
impress onto your mom.
My fingers write your name
on her skin. With slight pressure,
I inscribe I M O G E N
across her stomach.

Who knew we willed you to life?

Now, you’re on the way,
and it’s never too early to start.
I kiss your mom’s distended belly
and whisper Ramona will be
your new name. You will be smarter
than we. And with that, I write poems
to you. Your mom sings.
You kick in accord.

Then, there were complications.

Now, you’re again a thought
impressed in our souls. Your mom
and I feel your name on our lips,
bellies and fingers. Imogen.
Ramona. How can we call you?
How could we forget?

Castroville, Texas (October 13, 2011)

In the basement where Germans
brewed beer stored in small kegs,
you can now buy carved icons,
New Mexican incense and Oaxaca wallets.

Upstairs, a man sells venison sausage,
which he pairs with Wisconsin smoked
gouda and imported Norwegian Jarlsberg.

Besides the Château, city hall deals
with public disturbances. The drunks
climb the historic fire escape for a slide.
The town is not impressed.

Up two blocks, pecans fall
around the square. Nature's

At the Old Alsatian Steakhouse
& Ristoriante, the veal piccata
is highly recommended.


For using the word "trespassing" in the thesis and
justifying its usage during the presentation the professor-
from BYU not UTSA
me this angry note
Find a poet from India,
and write a 6 7 page
in mauve crayon
Due at my office
between 5-7

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

While Listening to Monk

she slips easily in
between the notes.
But the silence!

Now that's noisy.

he falls into silence.
Wanders for days.

Thelonious listens to himself.
Fingers on keys, waiting...

The pause is long-a hundred
batons crack his skull again-
even for him.

He pushes onto the next note.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Poetics of Jokes: Zombies

Have you ever thought about zombie attacks?
I have.
And I decided that if there were a zombie infestation,
I would just go with it.
We already live in a world that accepts the undead—Rob Zombie,
Cannibal Corpse, Nancy Grace—
and if we learned anything from the Thriller video,
the undead make great dancers.
Except the white ones;
not even death can fix their groove.

Zombies don’t actually want to pick
your brains. They’re just looking for love.
But the way they go about finding love
is appalling. They’re too touchy feely.

Saturday Morning at Rimkus Park

-Leon Valley, Texas

    Catch iiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!
rang through the air,
and a scramble ensued
            three players converging
                 where the leather
                        ball might
No one catches it,
and the whole field
erupts into laughter
and  its first language.

The dark players, dressed in polos
and trainers, reset, and focus
on the duel. One stands
tall, the protectorate, a flat
bat defending three long sticks.
The other, a few paces back,
gathers speed, and hurls
the projectile. The ball takes
one bounce before reaching
the batter.

I must hit the ball merges and contrasts with Only one wicket.

The batter wins, and the ball
rises to a chorus of Catch iiiiit!!!
And I’m on the outside,
foreign to both game and language,
leaning by the sign
For Baseball
and Softball
use only.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


            -for “Bob Roberston”

A fistful of words
slipped through their fingers, never
to reach the others.
Who is this man, this Stranger
who played both sides for money?

A pocketwatch chimes
as Mortimer, and Manco
and El Indio
wait for the finish—the start
of the silence which will chime.

Just a name would do,
but he is Blondie, and now
Angel Eyes, Tuco,
and he face off, a fifteen
minute Mexican standoff.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


For this week, I'm working on parallel structure, as well as narrative. Please leave revision notes in the comments. I think I'll expand the second stanza in another poem.

Waiting again,
stale, out dated magazines my companions.
And he's sighing,
stale, old breath mixing with the anti-septic.
And he's thinking
generic thoughts too cheap to speak out loud.
God, I hate waiting.

Waiting again,
wind swirling dust from under benches.
And she's counting,
slow breaths between the wheezes.
And she's singing,
harmonies to sooth her coughing child.
Deus, salva minha criança.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Internal Rhyme Exercise

This was written as an exercise this morning, in preparation for other poems. Should I continue, or rather, finish the idea before revising?

Hole in the Rock
These aren't my people
I thought from the rocking boat
looking at steep cliffs varnished
red and bleached white by a man-
made lake, whose water creeps
and laps, creeps and laps, and rocks
me now to memory.
Men in wagons once came,
looking down and across a
canyon. Trusting in God, pulleys
and ropes, the cast wagons and oxen
over the axis of faith, to steady
ground below.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am wary of
Plutonium leaking out.
Entire districts'
produce are banned in Japan.
Why? Plutonium
sank deep into our Mother,
poisoning what she would give.

The Children of Tsutomu

I'm trying to wrap my head around the current natural and atomic crises going on in Japan. I previously wrote a waka about Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a man who survived both atomic bombings. Given what this generation of Japanese are dealing with, I wrote this and the next poem. Tell me what you think.
The Children of Tsutomu
My heart extends to
the Children of Tsutomu.
You inherited
Atomic inclinations.
Now, when fierce waters
rise over borders, also
your Father's nightmares return.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Music Project: "Ruby, My Dear" by Thelonious Monk


“Who’s coming back from the grave tonight, Max?”

“Let me see,” Max said, and began searching through a crate of old 33’s. “How ‘bout Lady Day?”

“Oh, that’ll do me just fine,” Cole replied.

Max, the bartender, knew him and quickly placed his favorite beer before him. Cole nursed it, as Max gently placed the needle down. “I’m a fool to want you, I’m a fool to want you, To want a love” came through scratchy, but pure. Cole smiled at the thought. He had come to this bar for years and had left countless partners swinging to Monk, Parker and Coltrane. He steadied the cigarette between his lips and lit the match. He inhaled deeply and felt the first exhilaration fill his lung, his body. One of life’s miracles he thought as the smoke mixed with the music waiting in the bar’s atmosphere. They swirled around each other, then greeted, and then danced towards the ceiling. Watching over them were framed portraits of jazz greats: Basie, Ellington and Henderson seemed to count time to the dancing elements. Countless partners he thought again and laughed. “Time and time again, I said I’d leave you” began playing when the bar’s door opened, and in walked a woman Cole didn’t recognize. She sat down two stools from him.

“Double tonic and gin, please,” she asked.

“Preference in what gin, ma’am,” Max asked.

“Don’t matter none. It all gets you drunk, one way or another,” she said.

“Coming right up, ma’am,” Max said.

He gave Cole a look, but he just shrugged back. The woman searched in her purse, and Cole took his chance to give her the go over: soft hair set up on her head, low cut showing, shapely legs, scuffed pumps, a little weight on her hips, eyes set apart by mascara. Man, does she have some eyes. He took another swig of beer, and slid over a stool.

“That’s a tall order for a pretty thing like you,” Cole said.

She glared back at him, and didn’t say a word. Her drink arrived. She took it, and standing up, made her way to the opposite side of the bar. Cole smiled to himself, and decided on a different approach. He stood up, gave a wink to Max, and started his way to the mystery woman. He took a drag of his cigarette for effect, and sat down beside her. He extended his silver case and calmly asked,


Her smile seemed irritated, but she grabbed one.

“I must say you’re persistent,” she said, as he lighted her cigarette.

“The truth is most call me Cole,” he said.

Well then, Cole” she paused, letting the tip flare bright, and as the smoke leaves, said “you can call me Sarah.”

“Sarah –isn’t that a beautiful name. Way you walked in here reminded me of how Sarah Vaughn sings.”

“Oh, and how’s that,” Sarah purred, leaning over.

“When you walked in, all that sass comes right on out.”

Sarah rolled her eyes, but let a laugh out.

“Mr. Cole, you are something else.”

Cole smiled and took a drag. He looked at her eyes, and slowly let the smoke leave his mouth. Max brought Sarah’s drink over, and sent Cole a wink. This might be the start of something good he thought to himself. He leaned over to Sarah, and whispered into her ear. His smoke slowly circle, then joined Sarah's, and began dancing on the ceiling dancefloor, all to Holiday singing "For all we know, We may never meet again. Before we go..."