Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Clockwork Moon

A Clockwork Moon
I dreamt of a clockwork moon,
face failing, falling,
revealing an intricacy
of gears & springs & cogs
& things & a pendulum
that slowly swings & pulls
the string that weaves
Our blessed Universe

I saw Us singing to
a clockwork moon,
praising her in harmony,
raising arms in unity,
revering her;
& I could see
humanity dancing,

it’s foul tendencies
in favor of a new reality
as it was finally
apparent that the string
pulled by pendulum
that swings connected
Like you & you & me.

I dreamt of a clockwork moon
suspended in a blue-black sky,
now free of its flimsy disguise,
illuminating everything in sight
a glow from which nothing
could hide—nothing wanted
to. Finally, the strings
that connected everything—
you to you to you to him
to her to them to it to you again—
were obvious. No one
was willing to return
to the thought that
we are all alone.

I dreamt of a clockwork loom—
You just know her
as our moon,
but close your eyes
& stretch your mind
& you too will feel the fine
tapestry of Universe
she weaves. Once
you do, like me
you too will dream
of strings and all the things
connecting us to
the vastness of infinity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Last Cinnamon Sunday

So, I've started a piece for Tales of Blood & Roses. It's an idea I had a while ago, but finally got around to... executing. Sure, the beginning seems very nice and wholesome, but with the title, you can imagine it won't be long before all hell breaks loose. You can catch the rest at the ToB&R reading on July 14, 6:30PM. Enjoy this taste, for now.

I wake to cold dampness darting around my face and the sounds of tinny explosions and music. I slowly spread my eyes open. Princess Leia is staring at me, longingly. She loves me. I gently shove her off me, slip into my robe and head downstairs, Leia at my heels.

I say good morning to Donovan as I pass his room. He blurts out a quick Hi! without looking away from his game. Donny is too busy killing things. He loves killing things. Thankfully, everything he kills is digital—binary villains, a threat to none but his own ego. I descend.

Once in the kitchen, I reach out to turn on the oven on my way to the sink. I don’t even look. I don’t have to. I’ve done this for so often that I know how far to twist the dial to get the oven to 400. I fill the kettle, set it on the stove and turn on the burner. When I get to the back door, Leia is already there. She pops a paw at the knob, as if I needed a reminder. I open it, and she darts out.

I’m  greeted by a chorus of mewing near the back door. I step over to Lola and Mouser, give them each a rub, open their food tin and fill their bowls. I make my way over to the fridge, pull out the bacon and a tube of cinnamon rolls, set them on the counter. I grab the bag of Sumatran and grind  enough beans for a pot. That wonderful aroma—a perfect blend of earth, moss, nut & spice—fills the air. The kettle whistles just as I pour the this perfection into the press.

I turn off the burner and pour the water over the freshly ground beans. The aroma explodes throughout the kitchen, spreads through the house. I layer the bacon on a cookie sheet. I prefer to bake the bacon to keep it long and flat. I arrange the rolls into a round cake pan, set them on the counter while the bacon begins to slowly sizzle.

The smell of brewing coffee has awakened the Goddess. This, too, is as expected. I turn in time to find her lips, exactly where they are supposed to be. I kiss them. “Good morning,” she says. Cinnamon Sunday has begun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Saving Fase

Here's a little preview of the story coming out in Smile Hon, You're in Baltimore's upcoming "Alleyways" issue:

Two people are dead, my one-time bestie is in prison for the rest of his life, and it’s my fault. Not really. I wasn’t there during either of the two brutal murders he was involved in, but maybe I should have been. Maybe I could have stopped him.

I moved in with Chris Mills in the Fall of 1988. I had no choice. My mother was fed up with her boyfriend, Jose, who had become more resentful the more successful mom became . After years of living on the dole, mom had finally decided to abdicate her throne as Welfare Queen. She had to. I was nineteen, meaning she had long stopped receiving benefits for me. My sister, Kyra, was a senior, meaning she would soon lose those benefits, too. Her only choices were to finally, officially join the workforce or become even more beholden to Jose and his income. My mother never liked being beholden to anyone.

Jose liked it too much. The more money mom made on her own, the more abusive he became. When he began to demand her paychecks, I wasn’t surprised to see mom come down into my basement to let me know she was leaving, taking Kyra with her. My little brother, Jojo was safe and sound with his father, in Delaware.  I, on the other hand, would have to fend for myself.

Apparently, there was no room for me whereever she was going. That left me as the odd man out. Jose came down a little later to let me know that he thought of me as a son, that I was welcome to stay. I had never thought much of him, especially after watching him change in the face of my mother’s success. I loved our little house on the unit block of North Rose Street, but the time had come for me to try on a pair of those big boy pants everyone always talked about, branch out.

The problem was that I had nowhere to go. I began wandering Patterson Park and its surroundings aimlessly, wondering where in the park it would be safe enough for me to sleep, when I ran into Chris Mills. I’d first met Chris when he was in Jojo’s class at General Wolfe Elementary School. I came across Chris in tears on Washington Street, being shoved around by a couple of bullies. I chased them off and walked him home. His mother thanked me for bringing him home safely.

You know you want to read the rest. Pre-order your copy, now!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Water: A Love Story


When the Earth was newly born, it was barren, dry. Yemaya, a goddess, baptized the Earth with the oceans of her womb, giving birth to the seas, the rivers, the lakes. This fertilized the Earth, & the Earth gave forth life.


“Did you know,” I tell more than ask her, “that water is the
most important ingredient for life?” I love talking science. She loves listening to me talk science.

“Of course,” she replies, almost defensively, “We’re like, what, 80% water?”

“Sixty, actually, but it’s more than that. Water is the only chemical compound that gets less dense when it gets solid. That allows it to float when frozen. Otherwise, ice would crush out life in winter. If water sank when it froze, we wouldn’t be here.”

She thinks for a bit. My heart stalls as I watch her smile fade. “What are we doing here?” she asks.
I hesitate, looking for the right words. “I’ve stopped evaluating it. I figure, at this point, it is what it is. Everybody’s gonna see it differently anyway—your husband, my wife, our kids. Why even bother trying to explain it? I would say that we’re celebrating creation, a lot, but who would get that, really?”

She thinks for a second before pouting out that smile she pouts out, that one I love, the one that reminds me that we are all nothing more than needy children. “Yeah. You’re right. Why bother?” Her eyes widen as I watch the light reflect sparkles on the irises of her chartreuse eyes. She shies. Turns away. Rises. “I’m going downstairs,” she announces, “need anything?”

“Nothing. Just you, Yem. But a little water would be nice,” I reply as I slowly drift back into the afterglow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Word Pimp Reads @ Poets in Preston Gardens

You may or may not be aware that I have a YouTube Channel. It doesn't have much—a video of me sumo wrestling with my oldest son, one of the Exploding Judases ritual in San Miguel de Allende-Mexico (with an accompanying poem), my appearance on Stoop Storytelling, me reading Mating Maria at Lit & Art (accidentally shot in portrait mode!), me reading Pissed On at Atomic Books, & a clip of my stepson playing in Druid Hill Park Pool.

Still, I get requests from friends who can't make my readings to post them online. This is the beginning of my attempt to be more diligent in giving my audience what they ask for. So, without further ado, here is my reading at Poets in Preston Gardens—my second appearance at that venue. It's divided into three YouTube friendly sized parts. 

Part I includes Elegy for a Prom,
Lunacy, Phase & Lunatic.

Part II includes Soular Eclipse, These Lips I & II, Tarot for Beginners, & Villalba.

Part III includes my signature poem, Snapshot.


I just realized I never posted Phase, one of my Lunar Cycle poems. This poem, along with Lunacy, appeared in the anthology Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Enjoy!

She approaches
knowing Her desire
but afraid of the price:
the loss of everything—
livelihood, trust, reputation,
that She’s fought
so hard to build,

She is only ever
completely Full
for a mere moment
before lapsing—slipping
back as slowly
as she came,

when She walks
away She takes
with her the last
vestiges of hope
I can carry—
I was virtually dry
when night
finally fell
Her glow—
and now She slides
slowly, solemnly
into the dark
leaving me alone
a black Sun.
Her risks are greater,
but mine
may just prove

Friday, June 15, 2012


Un candelarioA lamplighter
Another from the hoard. This one chose me. I came across an old schedule book from 1993, the year my uncle, Andres Candelario, died. I grabbed the book, and it opened to my original, handwritten version of this poem which I composed after visiting him in the hospital during his last days, as his body gave in to AIDS complications. His last name derives from candela, the Spanish word for flame, also related to candle, chandelier & lamplighter. Uncle Andy's last days are also chronicled in my short story, The Handsome Man.


Yea, though your candles glow dimly—
stubs to the towers I once saw—
and yea, though you walk through
the shadow of a death you deserve,
I come to your bedside
not to blow out your puny, pungent flames
but to watch them die
out on their own, perhaps
even stoke them a bit
with forgiveness.

No, I don’t forget
the days we had nothing,
yet you took it all,
anyway, to sell for a few days
euphoria. But I also remember
holding your hand through the streets
of Manhattan, your friends laughing
as you put the dice in my hand,
shouting when I rolled sevens.

I don’t forget the tears
my grandmother shed
every time you were caught
in the act, or after the fact,
not knowing which of you would survive
this inceration. But I also remember
walking through schoolyards
with you, my friends asking,
“Is that your dad?”
the temptation, not knowing
my real father, to simply say,

I don’t forget the peace
you broke, showing your face,
waving your carrots
in my mother’s face, pulling
her off her wagon
by her teeth. But I also remember
the tears you cried at my bedside
as I lay on the brink
of death: the porno
mags you gave me working
as well as any medicine.

I owe you no debt,
The days I basked
in your glow are equal
to the days I wished
to spit your flame out,
tears & smiles flowed
concurrently. Yet
one final request
since you are incapable
of making one: please
tell mom I said, “hello.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Poets in Preston Gardens on Channel 2

¡I was on the news! ¿Did you miss it? So did I. However, I got a copy of the clip & posted it to my YouTube channel. Features organizer Sarah Edelsburg, Kate Gillespie, & Ron Kipling Williams. Unsung Hero Award goes to Andy Rubin
The clip includes an excerpt from my signature poem, Snapshot. I did record my whole performance. ¡I'll post it as soon as I finish editing it down to YouTube sized bites!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yeah, yeah, I look like Prince. ¡Get over it!

Today is Prince Rogers Nelson's Birthday. In honor of his 54th here's another entry from my MySpace archives. It was originally published on March 23, 2006...

So, I couldn't be bothered to put clothes on today—at least not until my son was due home from lacrosse practice. That would be just too weird. Anyway, I never made it to the record store to pick up a copy of Prince's newest joint, 3121. Ergo folx, no review. Yet. So, just to tide you over, I'll tell you about my life with The Artist.

If you're keeping up, and you're probably not, I shut down my store last Friday. I decided I'd take the young ladies who work with me out for a few drinks to celebrate. Now, it's also St. Patrick's Day, so my biggest fear was rowdy celebrants splashing green beer all over. Little did I know what I should have been worried about was some ghetto leprechaun bartender giving me a hard time.

I don't even get to my stool before I hear him shouting, "Look everybody, Prince is here!"

I didn't really hear him at first, so I'm like, "Huh?"

"The long curly black hair! You look like Prince." As if he had just shared a joke I wasn't in on.

see the difference?

Before I go on, let me just say that, yes, I do realize that some people see all 5' 4.2" of me—the dark hair, the olive complexion, the chiseled jawline—and think, What kind of deal can I get for a Slurpee & a Big Bite. And yes, some even say I look like Prince.

It started way back in 9th grade when my buddy, Dave Purdue, asked me if I had heard of Prince. I didn't have a clue, so he took me up to his apartment, went into his mom's record collection, and showed me the album cover for Dirty Mind. "You sorta look like him," he pointed out, to which I shrugged my shoulders. It got a bit creepy with his mother staring at me the whole time and licking her lips at me as we left.

Then "Little Red Corvette" hit that summer. I didn't even realize it was the same guy, but everything changed after that. I would get it everywhere, in school, on the street, on public transportation. This is not to say it bothered me. Most often, it was a girl, and it would offer me the opportunity to flirt, so it wasn't all bad.

I'll even admit that my ex, a HUGE Prince fan, thought I looked like Prince when she first saw me. Granted, regardless of what attracted her to me in the first place, it was ME that won her over in the end, I think. She preferred me! I think...

The same goes for my current relationship. Now that I think about it, maybe every relationship I had was to fulfill some deep seated Prince fantasy...

I'm a bit of a fan myself. I've heard most of his music, know of his sexual conquests, in his prime, and have seen him live three times. I can't tell you how cool it was to get a free copy of Musicology during that tour. Hell, the man is sexy and can put on a good show. He's a talented writer, in his own right, so I liked to imagine that Prince and I were related in ways, as artists. Only difference was, I get fined for singing in public, and I escaped the Jehovah's Witnesses. He's apparently a recent convert.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only Prince look-alike in Baltimore. One kid that would occasionally hang out and drink on the playground with us even dressed the roll. He did the jackets, the tight pants, the high-heeled boots. Everything. It was a little gay, actually. And that was where it bothered me. I think only Prince can pull off Prince without coming across as gay. If I dressed like that and tried to pick up a girl, she would try to hook me up with her fey cousin, Rupert. There's nothing wrong with that, except that I wasn't, so I worried that I was registering on folx' gaydar.

Image result for prince symbolFortunately for me, Prince went through some eccentric times with name changes, contract issues, and occasionally crappy music. As his popularity waned, so did the comparisons. ...until this bartender, not too much taller than I am (who isn't?), dressed all in green, including his little Celtics cap, starts teasing me about it. It's like I'm back in high school, again. I ask him what's on tap, and he spouts off name brands like ice cream flavors at a Baskin Robbins, finishing the list with "Oh, & Purple Rain".

"I'll bypass the Purple Rain and shoot for the Blue Moon," I retort, trying to out-wit him. I thought of calling him a ghetto leprechaun later, but by then, the time had passed. You know how it is. Timing is everything.

Now I'm left wondering, considering Prince's recent resurgence, am I going to have to put up with all that again? Will a whole new generation of teenyboppers who love the way he wiggles start fawning over me because I look like somebody else? While it wouldn't be all bad, I'm secretly hoping that the album sucks so I won't have to deal with it anymore. Sadly, I hear it's his best work since Sign of the Times. Guess I'm screwed.