Sunday, July 09, 2017


I’m here to tell you, of this have no doubt,
smoking becomes what your life is about:
smoking in bed, before sex or after,
in the throes of tears or peals of laughter, 
smoking while soaking in the tub,
at a party or on the potty,
whether broke or rolling in clover,
at midnight or next day, hung over.
Of this, please, entertain no doubt:
that’s what smoking is really about.
You may be happy and photogenic,
but tobacco is carcinogenic.

Sunday, July 02, 2017


                The back of a Google Pixel

Each morning, in foul weather or fair,
I still walk down to the river
to make doubly sure it’s still there,
still flowing resolutely east to west,
dividing Ohio from Kentucky,
the liberal North from the conservative South
as far as my bleary eyes can see,
and even farther for the hawks on high.
When I’m assured nothing’s changed,
that no tug’s pushing four long barges
against the flow, as if deranged,
I turn to the business at hand:
my Google Pixel, with messages
that tell me what the day presages.

Friday, June 30, 2017

There was an Old Woman

Who in their right mind wants
to bring a child into this world
in which not only tropical fish
but coral reefs are imperiled,
in which global warming
is dismissed as fake news,
like when “the experts” predicted
Trump would definitely lose?
Have mercy on your grandchildren
by not having children of your own.
What did Eve need with progeny
when she already had a crazy bone?
And why didn't that woman in the shoe
cook all her kids in a mulligan stew?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Golden Shower

"An uncorroborated report circulated by U.S. intelligence alleges Russian security agents watched Trump engaging in perverted sexual acts.”                                                                                                                           News item

                               He’s a joke from Berlin to Beijing, 
                               this fool who’s our president,
                               who’s persistently pissing
                               into, not out of, the tent,

                               which is not surprising.
                               Not only does he not know
                               Berlin from Beijing
                               but his ass from his elbow;

                               and it may happen now and then
                               that he not only gets (ahem)
                               pissed off at bloody women
                               but gets pissed on by them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Our Smiling Shitty Manager

What is Portsmouth's shitty manager, surrounded by trash, smiling about?

Portsmouth’s Shitty Manager, Derek Allen,  is in the news again (click here), not for perjury in Pequa but for attacking the homeless on his  Facebook page. Allen has put his foot in his big mouth dissing the poor and homeless as lazy panhandlers living in a tent city in Portsmouth. The story includes what might be the most telling photo (above) of Allen's career in which he beams stupidly, surrounded by the trash of tent city, posing in a selfie like a happy pig in a heavenly sty in the sky. Et tu, Porky?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Double-edge

The double-edge of old age
is that you forget so damn fast.
You no sooner turn the page
than you forget what you read last.

The novel renews itself 
by escaping from the past.
Books put in their place on the shelf 
decline politely to be typecast.

It’s as if you can live
life over, barely remembering,
as if memory’s a sieve,
flowing, not dismembering.

You see, you can relive the best
and bury the very worst,
pass the hardest test
and stand not last but first.

Your heirs might sadly think
that you’ve lost your mind,
or taken clandestinely to drink,
wondering if your will's signed.

It’s really none of the above.
You still have all your marbles.
Your heart sings like you’re in love, 
but your brain sometime warbles.

It’s not that you’re breaking laws
which old age is absently abetting.
It’s that the past’s not what it once was
and needs a hell of a lot of editing.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Avocado Cantata

          Still Life with Apple and Avocado by Dan Haraga

I had my first avocado in Las Vegas 
around 1953 when I was hitchhiking 
from Boston to sunny San Diego.
I had just turned twenty-one as I recall.
I was a college student in Vermont
majoring in English literature.
I’d never seen an avocado before
having grown up blue collar in Boston,
nominally Irish-Catholic,
I had eaten potatoes aplenty
until they were coming out of my ears—
boiled, baked, mashed, sliced, fried—“variety
was the splice of life,” my queer uncle said.
Not that he’d ever tried avocados
or anyone else in my family.
My reaction to my first avocado
was that it had no taste at all, nothing.
You had to develop a taste for it.
At least that’s what i told myself at first.
It was like chewing a lot of nothing.
I thought of it as “Vacant and voluptuous.”
That was the English lit major speaking.
What kind of poem might Keats have written 
about the avocado? “Hail to thee, 
Alligator Pear, puzzling forbidden fruit!”

Adam would have decried its tastelessness, 
Eve snickering at the sour face he made
when he bit into it for the first time.
I developed a taste for them that summer
in San Diego where they were a staple,
Mexico being the world’s major source. 
An avocado afficionado, 
I moved to San Diego with my B.A.
from Middlebury in Vermont
to pursue a Ph.D. at U.C.S.D..
writing my dissertation on 
“Keats’ Unconscious Craving for Avocados.”

I credit my advanced age to exercise and diet—
of which avocados were the staff of life.
“I’m eighty-seven going on nine-hundred,” 
is what I say when asked how old I am. 
But the truth is avocados and age
became much too much of a good thing.
I regret living as long as I have
and being crazy about avocados
from which I want an eternal vacation.
Even without any major illness,
life in the end is a pain in the ass
and I refer not just to hemorrhoids.
Global warming is now a reality,
not just a stark, hellish hypothesis.

The shelf life of picked avocados is brief
in contrast to which apples are Methuselahs,
but in global warming an avocado
is like a snowball in hell or a popsicle
in a pizza oven in Pensacola.
A peeled avocado is fresh as long
as a firefly’s flash lasts, which is about,
roughly speaking, 0.76 of a second.
The edibility of peeled avocados
can be lengthened with refrigeration
and polyethylene food wrap.
But what’s the point of it all?
Of life I mean, which will become
intolerable in the lives of our children,
which I thankfully have had none.
It’s a small consolation but I don’t
have to think about progeny
roasting in Canada and Siberia
which will be crowded with refugees
and where avocados will be sold
on street corners because in
tropical climates they will grow
profusely as fruit on trees,
which is what they can’t help being.

                        Robert Forrey