Pour all the love you can into a cactus

Because it doubts itself constantly

For living in the desert and never wanting for water

So it sits in the sand and wonders how long it will take

For everyone to forget about it

And that is why you must eschew every day lily,

Respectfully decline the orchid,

Allows others to remark upon the beauty of the rose,

And give only the briefest of nods to the wildflowers

Because a cactus protects itself from the world

And if allowed it will bleed water for you,

It will save your life

If you let it.


Stretch everyday

Marry your body and be aware of the sweet miracle of muscles
And be aware of the way they sing
Like a bow across a violin in these rhythmic, repetitive movements
Which are recommended for all adults
Even if they have never been told that they should

Take those few minutes out of each day to converse with
The living tension between your hips and back and neck
Even if it is not the formal waltz of the downward dog
But just hugging and twirling for a few seconds,
The hardwood floor under flexing toes
In front of the window facing
The yard, where you can feel the sun
And greet the day to every bird and bug –

Squeeze tight every place on your body that you can reach
Because it is as precious a gift as the wind in your lungs
The water in your blood
The earth in your bones
And the firelight in your brain.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is! So I am going to be sharing some of my favorite poems as well as some created for this month. Let’s get things started with this old classic:

So You Want To Be A Writer

Charles Bukowski, 19201994

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours

staring at your computer screen

or hunched over your


searching for words,

don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or


don’t do it.

if you’re doing it because you want

women in your bed,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit there and

rewrite it again and again,

don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,

don’t do it.

if you’re trying to write like somebody


forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of


then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,

do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife

or your girlfriend or your boyfriend

or your parents or to anybody at all,

you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,

don’t be like so many thousands of

people who call themselves writers,

don’t be dull and boring and

pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-


the libraries of the world have

yawned themselves to


over your kind.

don’t add to that.

don’t do it.

unless it comes out of

your soul like a rocket,

unless being still would

drive you to madness or

suicide or murder,

don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is

burning your gut,

don’t do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,

it will do it by

itself and it will keep on doing it

until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

[Five Minute Poetry] watermelon + goddess + photosynthesis

She lies in the garden somewhere between delight and passivity

Soaking up sun like sweet cream against her skin

She breathes in the honeysuckle and the meadow-born fragrances

And though the life she has lived has made her hard on the outside

Thick and defended, a layer of skin and flesh that is marked

By doubt, regret and indiscretion

Inside, she is sweet

And the rays of the afternoon are hers to feed on because

She has the glow of her solitude

The goddess of utter abandonment

Who wants for no man, no company,

Save the whispers of the orchids

The melon knows not that she is anything but plant life like the rest

Summer goddess of the passing breeze

Like the rest

And the flowers do not disappoint

As everything else has in its way.

Lead + Shadow + Gravel + Blue

[This one was 4, but I was like…”I’ll take it!”]

At the end of the world, there is a single darkness

It is round and perfect, and it waits for everything

And inside

Its metal body is gray, its dusty age a testament

To all mankind

It sits on a throne of rocks

The mechanical man with his azure eyes

Both the first creation and the last

And he casts a his hand out, a shadow that makes its way across the earth,

Never stopping, it comes in contact with each heart,

Travels over and is away

It mercifully poisons, it draws like a pencil through the words that are




And it pulls everyone back to its home in the end

Because Death wants what anyone wants

And that is to not be alone

At the end of all days.

Piano + Notes + Flowers

[Can you tell I’m enjoying these? I might do them all week. Because stress sucks.]

One and two and three and four

And fingers dance across the keys

Impossibly fast, achingly slow

And a picture is painted of a time

When there were flowers at every meal

Roses, daisies, forget-me-nots

And the fragrance would be the first thing

And the last thing,

So perfect that the children would, when they went away to school,

Ask what was wrong,

Never able to place it.

They pass notes as the music plays,

But the trembling of the beaten strings knows


They forget, as they grow,

They forget the rose garden,

They forget what it is in the grand halls of sunlight and fountains

What it is to be free

Their hands haven’t touch the piano in years

They have more important matters to attend to

Because the opera is the here and now,

An avalanche of voices that scream at the damned

And if they could have just a single bloom

With their gin and tonic

That would be some blessing

But everything is rotted

And the piano is on fire

They are gone, their memories lingering like music in the last seconds of –

Coffee + Ice Cream + Pizza

[Another 3 in 5.]

She was my sweetest treat, and I didn’t know what that meant

Until she was there, every day,

And she would be the sugar in my espresso,

Her mouth would melt into mine

Like cream, promising a respite from the chill,

If I held out long enough for dessert.


Now, my teeth are rotted,

I’ve been ruined by the saccharine secrets of her tongue

And everything is grease

Leaving me feeling like I’m covered in a film

Of indecency

Pizza pie lovers and grease trap bait and switch


I’m holding out hopes that one day

She’ll think about us

Under the summer sun when we were young

And indulgent

And maybe we can just drink water

And we will dissolve across the asphalt,

Like the cotton candy considerations of our

Once cloying affair.

Broken Bones + Booze + Song

At my book release party for Pickled Miracles, I played a game called “3 for $5 in 5.” Guests could pay me $5 and give me three words, topics, subjects, etc. I would then take 5 minutes and write a poem. It was a great experience and I’ve been getting back into it. For this one, a friend gave me the three topics above.


Standing in the midst of the pile of bones

A femur deep and snow dark night

I can still feel you in me


There’s a time that I recall when we split a bottle

To keep warm and the only thing that we had

Other than each other

Was the burning of amber liquid flame

That passed from your lips to mine

And we would wake up a tangle of one another,

Parched, desert dry,

And the ice would still stay there.


I want the midnight chanting again,

The worshipful thighs and fingers and you

You in your glory above me

Fingers feather length and falling

Upon me.


The wolves came and took you,

They smelled the spices and you left me

Facing an oblivion of memories, an abyss where

The darkest parts of us

Would be pleasant compared to the

Inexplicable loss of it all.


I run with the wolves now,

And the cold is home,

The drink is done, and it’s the only way

I can get at you, because your heart is still left

At the bottom of the pile of bones

Which is our bed now,

Haunting you.

Dear 4AM


Dear 4AM
Your moon is a little too bright, can you take it down a notch?
The wine disappeared hours ago
And a lie-in requires equal parts
Cool air
Nice sheets
And darkness.
You’re supposed to be bringing that last one to the party.

Dear 4AM
You’re tossing and turning.
We’re not supposed to be up for hours
Much less itching
For something more stimulating than sheep.
You can be the big spoon or the little spoon
I’m not picky.
Just let me close my eyes with you.

Dear 4AM
There’s time enough for art
When the sun comes up and breakfast is ready.
Your song is more siren than sweet to my fingers
And it is distracting me from my perfect pillow.
I promise that we will do 101 things
In just a few more hours, so darling,
Please lie back down.

Dear 4AM
I’m not even mad, how could I be?
It’s as fruitless as yelling at the owl for hooting at midnight
Or the raccoon for slinking away from the sun.
I’ll get the coffee, you get the satisfaction.
We’ll see what else is waiting.


The muse is a mongrel
And if you try to exert your force on her,
She will hate you for it.
You don’t want a muse that sits outside on a line
Because too long and you’ll find she’s hung herself with it.
None of your guilt will save her.
It will end in a hole
And whether it’s her or you in it
Doesn’t really matter.

You have to want her there.

If you keep her by your side, if you make the time,
If you give her the things she likes —
Wet words to chew on, lots of space to play in,
She will love you. She will grant you every year she has in her,
And on the days that you’re empty,
She will at least stay beside you.

She will want to be there.

But keep the door open
For nights when the moon is full and a wind is coming in
Make sure you have a broom and a dust pan
For days when sandstorms come in
Because she will need to go out into the thick of it
And drag you with her
For no reason but to run in circles
And you’ll hate it
But the richness it will add to your stories
Will be nothing compared to the wonder that will be reflected
In your waking hours.