Saturday, April 28, 2012


Last night I hated the kid

The outburst
that followed what I thought was such a great session
nothing healing
but nothing I thought would lead to his fist slamming into a window

It was not to be an early night

Today I hate the paperwork
the followup
the check-in
the debrief
the clean up

Are you still fucking crazy today
or do you just have an asshole for a therapist?*
‘Cause I’m fine with either really

a safety plan will be in place
He’ll be calm again
Acknowledging me as the person for his questions
Fighting hard to take responsibility
or more likely not at all
And since no male figure has ever taken responsibility for him
Ever not beaten up the schizophrenic mother who loves him
How exactly do I hold this against him?

In a week or two
possibly it or something similar will have happened again
and it will dawn on me
that I can’t fix everything
or even most things
And only hope can be my judge
that he might remember

I tried

that I stuck with him
though I could not traverse that gulf
I stood there
I stepped into that fire
not at all the same one he’s in
one of my own choosing
but a fire nonetheless
and it was unpleasant

And I did not try to pull him out Dr. Doan
I just stood there with him
(or paced restlessly as it were)
I could do no other

But if the experience of the one that pulled the gun on me that one time is any teacher
And I be a fortunate human
And even if not all 11 year-old psychotics are as lovable as other 11 year-old psychotics
But as equally deserving of G-d’s grace as me
I may yet love the kid by the next progress note

[*Italics denotes thoughts I would never ever ever say aloud to a client and are used for poetic purposes only.]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



I don’t remember much except for E.T.
possibly going to see it twice
I don’t remember who else was there
But I remember it was happy
          and safe
So I suspect the usuals:
Mom, Dad, sisters


I welcomed it with Shea, Sean, and Greg
it was therefore awesome
It was an epic sleepover
My first foray with MST 3000 thanks to the brothers Kersh

The rest of it saw my first foray with Okla-by-god-homa
and like most forced removals to that mysterious place
it was therefore rather difficult
I am grateful I have come to peace with it
and have another place to call home


Well that was tricky
She was there that night
Adversarial and begrudgingly affectionate
as was our pattern
But she was there
And she’d clearly gone to some great lengths to get there
Can’t forget that
And then she left that year
That necessarily sucked
As in, it had to, and I’m fortunate to realize that now

And there was that unfortunate divorce for my sister
that sucked for a while
And my church community dropped the ball on my youth group
that sucks to this day
and it always will


We’ll see

I have every reason to live

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

at least

I don’t mind hanging out if it suits you
I don’t mind being the nondescript friend for lack of a better word
who you may or may not wake up with
who might be available for you as you figure out where home is
who makes you smile when you see you’ve got a message from me
who makes you angry when you see you’ve got a message from me
so long as it’s one or the other

I don’t mind talking into the hours when we know we should be going home to bed
I don’t mind taking the time even when it’s gotten to that point
when we should be figuring out what this is and what it’s about
even if the intuitive conclusion is that it’s
the only thing

none of the above

If these sets of baggage go together
or they don’t
It’s something to figure out
at least
Maybe we’ll figure it out quickly
but at least we’ll figure it out

And I suppose we could ask if taking the time is fair or worthwhile
        to either of us

It’s gambling
Like anything worthwhile ever is
And like anything fair never is

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5th to 6th

So it went off
     And it was not thunder
     It was not a gasline explosion as my father imagined
          Looking up suddenly from whatever I'm sure he was reading
               as he waited for his work truck to be serviced

I was trying to be a high school sophomore in 2nd hour English

And my mother was at work and not getting a replacement Social Security card
We knew with certainty this is not what she did.
     Everyone knows where they were that morning
     and where they weren't
          with the certainty that they know on mercifully rare occasions

And, no, it was not 9/11 to the 'world'
It was 4/19 to the 4-0-5

It wasn't thunder
     but it rained that night and for many nights therafter
          I think
     My memory might betray slightly
          17 years on

My mother worked some late nights
     called in as many state health workers were that week
My father had no voyeuristic wish
     to see a "graveyard"
          as indeed I did
     But nor did he oppose me being taken to see
          for I hadn't yet known death on such a scale

I attempted to give blood for the first time
    But many hundred already of age had already beaten me to it
Walmarts were brimming
     Not enough donated supplies boxes could be kept out

Firsthand, I can say that many white suburban teenagers have not approached anger
         or shock
              or displacement
         in quite that way before or since

And I won't forget the immediate iconography
     as the roaming spotlight briefly revealed
     the irreparably wounded structure
          left barely standing, and not for much longer
     but permanently bearing
     and forever reflecting
           some brokenness
           some void
as to what, you may fill in your own blank

It's always 11/22 in Dealey Plaza
     (I wasn't even alive at the time
     And I know that)
It's always 4/19 from 5th to 6th on Harvey Ave.

Friday, April 6, 2012

blood / water

Blood and water
drip to the ground below
or so we imagine
presuming gravity to be a constant
even at that moment

Something had to be pierced
Something had to be fighting for its breath
Someone’s flesh had to be pinned and hung on display
for some political statement
...or humanity’s sins
We should draw no distinction.

some king’s...
some god’s...

...before the stuff of life could be poured out:
That which renews and that which sustains

even for the masses screaming they had no king but the emperor
whether the emperor was democratically or divinely elected
whether the emperor was a flag
whether the emperor was a constitutional right
to avoid the care of one's community

For them also,
of which I
and everyone I know and love are also apart
this was shed.

And it’s only Friday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


You’ve now named your demons
You now stare them down with no small trepidation
but you do it
You now find that doing so on a daily basis is not so daunting as it once was
You play a mean offensive against them everyday
and you keep score like I ask you to

It is quite possible you have gotten better with my help

My jump shot has improved
Alley-ooping is now something I’m happy to do for you
And even when I miss
You just seem content that I’m there to listen
to whatever random Larry Bird trivia
(How many other 14 year olds do this?)
that enters your beautiful brilliant anxious brain
It is quite likely that I have gotten much better with your help

Sunday, April 1, 2012

detox '04

Summer of ’04
     still smarting from all of ’02
On the first day
     pretty sure I missed the bus...

Yeah, I missed the bus.

The next time
     I paid three of my gold dollars
     Only to figure out there was a bus that went there everyday, for free
          Of course that meant getting up earlier
               In Central America, I found I was a morning person
               But only in Central America

And walking about a mile from the middle-of-nowhere roundabout
     to the front gate of the penitentiary
     every morning

Amblin’ along with Ben Folds Five’s Fair in my head
     Thinking in my head how awesome I was at playing that piano part
     Maybe John Martin on bass
     Maybe Aaron W. on drums
          Neither had I seen in years
          And not since
But the imagining always got me through the walk
Always brought me to the front gate

Every day I did this

Like it was a sacrament
     or something

And oh the doing it
Just to do it
The dragging of the feet
The heart on the sleeve
The hopeless emoting
The radical suffering
The ineffable drama

This was a sick broken-hearted boy
Trying to be a man

This was growing up
     Heretofore never having been so painful
     And thankfully not since

          was the actual feeling of a neo-cortex of the brain
          trying to violently assert itself
          whether I wanted it or not
And I most certainly did not

So I would take what I learned
     from young prison inmates
Back to Belize City
Back to the bay where I boarded with Satch
And I would debrief Satch at the end of his day of building orphanages

Satch told me to write it down
because he knew I’d want to tell the story someday when I was feeling better

               I could not have been in better care

And I would practice that piano part

Every night I did this

It was sacrament
     Or something