Christmas Photo Album


In the Christmas photo album…..

Ghosts run among the pages

Through images stuffed with

Santas and snowmen.

My sister’s ghost gives Indian burns

My brother’s ghost I didn’t know

Began to know

And sometimes wished

I still didn’t know

Young ghosts of daughters

Tell horrid tales of their mother

While through their anger

A language of love spills out

My father’s ghost has freckled arms

Snow ice cream, steel rail sleds

A guilt that cannot be mended

That does not need to be

My mother’s ghosts appear

As foster babies

No one knew, no one knows

Stereoscope faces like photos

Adopted memories


The Christmas photo album

Is a book of history

Inclined to judgments

A mixing of truth and fiction

Locked into a close reading

A house in constant repair

Reparation and preparation

Holding children in its pages

Who have passed on

Who are still passing on


My ghost

Contains frozen interpretations..

Not only from my family’s perspective

But, my own.

A part of me that never existed

Yet exists in movements

All muddled together,

Inside various versions of

A boy who would be a girl

A girl who would be a boy

Neither of what became to be

Both of what would become of me

Such strong arms

Such feminine fingers

Such rugged looks

Such pretty features

A ghost who still believes

In the power of creativity

But, proclaims it logically


With a present-day smile

And dark circles under my eyes

Another photo is added to the book




Click here for what I mean by close reading

Click here for an explanation of Confessional Poetry

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Hanging Art


With full knowledge

of its weight, made heavy

By its gilded frame,

Requiring strong wire

Thick nails, to secure it

In place—level—solid

Upon a wall of plaster

Chipped, repainted in layers

Colors upon colors thick.

We used our steady eye

A skill, a tool, to drive

Guided anchors into

The unstable surface

Occasionally…….. the painting

tilted—lay crooked—off-center.

We would straighten it

With a measuring eye……..

The very eye that notices

The sun to see, to detect

Slow dust movement settling

Made up of our combined skin

Dancing in beams that hit

The painting at angles………..

Pieced together, faster than belief

Into joined frozen images


We began to recognize patterns

These patterns are reflections

Of the painting itself………

So heavy upon a fragile wall

(above postcard by Leo, 1920)

(To see how a poem is constructed, click here)

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An Uncompromising Editor

Mr. Fry during a writers' workshop.

Mr. Fry during a writers’ workshop.

I feel a slight brush

Of fur and tail

upon my calves

Then, a head bunt.

Mr. Fry is concerned

About my Word document

My Scrivener, my Office Suite

PDFs and printables

Sharing and synced

Blogged, published, backed up………


My prose is threatening to verse

My verse is proposing to prose

My characters are in a state of mutiny,

My alliteration is acting like an assonance

My plot took a poop

“My dialogue sounds suspiciously like

Someone I know”, the narrator said

My enjambments are threatening to reach the right side of the page and beyond

My cliffhanger fell to its death

My denouement denounced all involvement

I’m suffering from hyperbole!!!! It’s no exaggeration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mr. Fry, who knows

When to place something

In the litter box

Offers his help……

Searches at my feet

Looking for stray words

I may have disregarded, for…………

He loves to bat words around

Like a plastic ball with a bell

Engaging the toy mouse muse.

He’s intent on editing.

First, it’s the tail……….chewed off

The sewn-on eyes and ears

Are the last to go,


What is left?

Left……….. is a bag with stuffing

The finished piece? 


No, for then he moans

 (He’s half Siamese)

Wanting better words

Ones that act like catnip

That make him silly with play

Taking him to a higher

Realization of Cat

To touch, to speak, to comprehend

All that is of Cat


I tell him, sorry dude

Not today,

Promising to go to the store


To pick up a treat.

I return to my scratch pad

He chews on my T.S. Eliot books.

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The Day The Music Died And They Were Singing

Photo by Elan Mudrow

Photo by Elan Mudrow

This town’s Elvis cannot strum a note

Even while the doughnut king

Leaves him plenty of strokes

Many go looking for the him

During the nighttime shanghai

But these ghost-like hijacks

Excite only hipsters and bruisers—and

Cute, off-hour baristas

Wearing their best lattes

To catch the ship of myth


Once back on the forgotten strip

Alcoholics look like pimps

The 99 cent lady scratches

Lottery tickets, chewing on mints

Yells from the gutter kids

Who pee in the laughing daylight

Children of insults and rip-offs

Sell newspapers to news crews

Keeping everything, perfectly askew


A crooked smile from the bookstore girl

Her windows all bashed in

She sells calendars losing value

While months become years

The trattoria boils millions in noodles

Hiring the purgatory of the aware,

Waitresses with yoga mats

Cheating Chi for tips

Amongst the deep-fried air


The mayor rolls out plans

Sketches of New Pantheon

City council sucks sugar tits

Shipped within a day from Amazon

While food carts form shanty towns

For the visiting team’s hangover

The mascot forgot the locker combination

He can’t pull his head off or unzip

Sitting in the Inferno, throws a fit

Gulping down painkillers for kicks

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Where have these old hands come from?

For my wrists are still young

With smooth brown skin

Underneath layers of long sleeves

Tucked inside cuffs of fabric

Protected from abrasion


Firm wrists, supple, yes

Now, attached to deserts—hands  

Showing ripples from sands

Grey reflected waves

Oceanic tides of dry sky ways

pale moonscape dunes

Bare upon the surface,


High above my hands,

Arms of softness and will

Whose definition, a lost and found of

Strength, reflected by a thousand instances

Along timelines of attraction

Forever pulling my grip up,

Out of rejection into touch

Balanced by bony mass

Intertwined with vessels


My hands hold ground

Picking up dust, layers found

years, polished and tarnished

A rough silver, black geography

Of film, a celluloid life soot

Upturned, exposed indexes

Fingers of palms, bared to catch

Hold, caress, passion’s heat hatch

Now I am ashy, burnt and keloid

If I pick up fire, I will not feel pain


Perhaps, my hands have

Brushed against the wind too often

Saved too many of my falls

Answered endless phone calls

Worked on many projects

Eyes, ears, mouth, checked

Over touched, always touching

To a slippery comfort, clutching


I clench my fists

One more time

All wrinkles and softness fade

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Phone Appetizers


  1. Attentionator.  Sends out a howling banshee sound when user is about to walk in front of a bus, because they can’t keep their eyes off their phone.



2. Ironee.  Emits a loud warning to the user (and everybody else in close proximity) who forgot to turn off their cell phone inside a movie theater.



3. Ender.  A game app that features a futuristic, fictional drone war that unknown to the user controls real military drones in Syria and Pakistan. (Great for kids and adults!)



4. Dull.  An app that guarantees boring dates. Success rate 90%. The other 10% just settle for what they can get. (or at least a free dinner and a glass of wine)



5. Paypit (by Grapple!)  This app uses your phone’s vibration feature to remind you that an automatic payment towards the new upcoming version of MePhone has been deducted from your checking account. Grapple’s motto is “pay before instead of too later”.



6. Apocrypha.  An app that has measured out all mathematical possibilities for the last day for humans on Earth. Through a serious combination of statistics gathered from scientific think tank, B.S. labs, it promises to send a cheerful chirp and a cute emoji upon that day.



7. Earplug.  A specially designed music app for tin ears. Sing along as loud as you want and out of key! The music is so bad, no one will know the difference! (American Idiot approved!)



8. Insta-Snatch.  A camera app that automatically searches the web, replacing the photo you took with a better version, picked from one of the millions of other people who have taken a photo of the same thing you photographed. (Free legal assistance offered if your photo, which isn’t your photo, is used commercially)



9. Needlist.  An amazing new app from the makers of Shitlist that keeps track of stuff you don’t need, but buy anyway. A dynamite way to make sure you buy gum, magazines, lighters, candy, and a laser for the cat you don’t have.



10. Shitlist.  A classic app that handles all the people you hate on social medi sites like Facepunk, Insta-ham, Twatter, Word-Collapse, Blogosfear, and Trumpdumb. Complete with ready-to-use insults that are updated daily.


For some more prose check

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The Grand Piano

Photo by Scott Haefner

Photo by Scott Haefner

These notes are chromatic

Tumbling up and down

Mere half-steps

Semitones are impossible

My fingers cannot

Slip between keys

Into a dampening effect

Of felt touching felt

My foot twitches

Upon metal pedals

To sustain, to soften


This melody I’ve chosen

Is a tone cluster

A chaotic attempt to know

How to place my hands…correctly

Upon coldness, the feel

Of keys, plastic, polymeric dead

Seeking to revive, for

Only touch can be dynamic


I open the blackest of lids

Gaze at the crisscrossing strings

Pluck a few with my finger

Hold a few down to feel

The cycles produced by hammers

Hitting string, thumping

Placing myself between

Sound and silence, where

Only the most careful listener

Can read the melody I suffocate


I catch my breath, then lose it

Scraping my finger along vibrations

Low ones, stutter, jump,

High notes, tickle with

A pain, an abrasion, a thought

Everybody must feel this

Earthquakes, sky, a cloud full of rain?


Closing the lid, I look underneath

The legs of the piano appear

Too skinny to hold the weight

Precarious, unstable, fragile

Then my eyes survey the space

Atmosphere of a million melodies

And all the hearts that have

Embedded themselves in them

I must be careful with this song

And not force my arms down.

All depends upon my touch


(Read a short Christmas story by Elan here.)

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Opal Pool

Photo by Elan Mudrow

Photo by Elan Mudrow

The roads are so young

Where old mines have been forgotten.

They stumble through the forest

Uneven, full of ruts, washouts.

Men have come with tools

Left them, returned with better.

Implements that shine silver

Rust resistant, until rains never stop.

The goal is to cut clean, to sprinkle

Shaped earth, decorating the contours

Of river, pools, and growth.

We, the ones, who yell along trails

Echoing off ancient volcanic movements

Slip five dollars

Inside an envelope–

license plate number–

Scrawled in human–

Bleached white envelopes–

Connect with the eerie reflection

Of how we carve, paint, sing, make roads–

And yes, the art of the outhouse.

The parking lot must be made bigger

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Tuned into the silent bloom

Of thought….. caught

Inside an act of noise

Inside the caress of the orchid

Inside the rejection of the hyacinth

Lovers’ insomnia, a midnight language

Speaks to us in a dead lip sync,

Which is a haunting by voice

A death that communicates

Where only shapes speak……ghosts

For they know us by our lives,……however…

The living isn’t allowed to know ghosts

For our fleshy hearts are tethered to a whirl

External to the internal and out again

Only to be knocked down in the midst

Of clocks, mistuned, marked by the soft grasp

Of the unsteady continuum, linear kissing

Perhaps that was our mistake…for

Cruel are the stars, planets are dumb

We are shots through blackness

Cylindrical tubes of blood and bone

protected by a thin celluloid

A playback of memories

All sleep vanishes

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Virtual Advice


If you’re dating a dud of a download

And it’s occurring during an internet outing

Find a different server……

Don’t let a rude browser screw up your day

We can talk Facebook to Facebook,

Instant message me

No need to Skype, post, tweet, or offer me

A Goodread and get all Kindle

I will text you the same thing I’ve always texted you

It’s good to keep a few tabs open

Weed out crappy apps

Don’t let them waste space on your hard drive

Find the perfect operating system

Don’t share your network with any old device
You can’t afford to load pages slowly

Sometimes, it’s good to clear your history

Stay positive and keep updating on a regular basis

It keeps you safe from viruses

And eating too many tracking cookies

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