Every night,

in my room,

in the comfort of dark,

on my knees

I prayed.


September 6, 2016







Satie in the background,

melodious companion,


do I need more?



September 14, 2016






Father at sixteen in 1917,

on a spring day,

dropped the reins to the mule,

unhitched him from the plow

in the field,

and ran away from home

to join the circus.

He had no family communication

till he returned by train in 1922

proudly wearing a silk shirt

and a straw boater,

no longer a country boy,

but the cock of the walk

as he stepped off the train

from Chicago.


September 11, 2016





“You only get to keep what you refuse to let go of.”

—from HERE I AM by Jonathan Safran Foer




It has come to this?


My hands,

unresponsive pieces

of hanging meat are

as Father said

of every deceased relative


Dead as Kelsey’s nuts!


They drop the soap,

the washcloth could be lead,

I lean on the cane

to steady the sway

as the steam

wraps me in a cloud

like a sustaining vapor.


Who was Kelsey anyway?


The last time I was bathed by someone

other than Aaron—

I presume it was Mother

or her maid Lucy Hawkins

(always referred to by Mother as her Colored Maid)—

was so long ago I don’t remember it.

But I know it happened.

Fading, ghostly Polaroids

would confirm the fact

that if my childhood was anything,

it was well documented.


You were so gentle

as if you thought you would break me,

or break me further

as you slid the luffa

between my crack

and over my balls

liberating my musky smell,

removing the caked shit,

a product of my inadequate,

impossible wiping.


I can no longer successfully wipe my ass.


I silently repeated to my self

I will not get hard

I will not get hard

I will not get hard.


A mantra in trilogy during this clinical function

I remained as soft as your touch.


I smell of Dr. Bronner’s Lemon Soap.

I steal a glance.

Your expression is the epitome

of concentration.

You make a joke. We laugh.

It was a response that was required.


Your Stepfather screaming

You little Faggot,

the words like fist to face,

as he locked you on the front porch

during a violent thunder storm,

was, he said, to teach you, to cure you,


To make you a man!


Unknowingly he gave you more

than he took away.

The installation of his hate

was a meal unconsumed

and left cold on the plate.

In his attempt to cut you down,

he made you grow

to become a man with an expansive heart.

A heart he would not have.


Over two decades later

it brought you to an assisted bath.



for Father on his 115th birthday

September 18, 2016


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