Mother’s Wrath

spun out and distained by the rotting of time

envisioning nothing anymore,

no more meaning in the numbers, no more ponderings of the sway

in the trees, in the bark, away from it all


now, since the bombs dropped

the streets are empty, there are no more people

scurrying for groceries at the market

no more lines at the welfare office

no more tweet and twats


just silence.

the birds are gone, no longer singing the melody of reason

the cats are no longer prowling the alleys of restaurants and bars

searching for nibbles and bits to tide the ache of a sour empty belly

no more babies being born down at the hospital, no more deliveries on the highway of commerce.


not since the bombs dropped,

since a man in a suit, in a castle in the sky, decided he didn’t like the direction

of his public relation campaign, didn’t like the answer from the other world leaders

about buying and selling resources of the earth, profiting off of clay and mire and muck

since the frogs quit burping and those men hid in their high tech bomb shelter

awaiting the windfall, the fallout of eradicating the earth


inside the broken shutters of the grocery store

hiding in the canned good aisle

peeking out from behind a little blanket

is the beginning of a new civilization

because the earth will collect its people

and expel with wrath those that try to own her


Mr. Bill

I met Mr. Bill out of necessity.

I was a twelve year old runaway couch surfing through the hills of southwest Portland when I ended up drunk on Black Velvet and puking on his couch. It’s not a good way to start new friendships when you puke on someone’s floor, but I didn’t know that at the time because this was the first time I had ever been drunk and the first time I had ever been homeless.

Mr. Bill was kind enough as he fixed me a plate of microwavable burritos. That’s the way it is out on the streets, you try new things, everyday, all the time.

Things you weren’t allowed to do in your foster homes or the basement of your parent’s house or any other place you were running away from. I didn’t set out to get drunk, it just happened. Life is a lot faster when no one is keeping you on a schedule.

Mr. Bill was the first gay man I ever met.   The other kids who stayed on his floor said he was cool. That he wasn’t creepy. I wondered what that meant as I passed out on his couch with an uneaten burrito on my chest.

The next morning was pancakes and promises. I had a place to stay. As long as I wanted, he said. It was amazing. I ran back downtown to enjoy the sunshine and forget about my troubles. When I got back to his house it was the first time we were alone. I was in tears because I had to run away from my sister who was trying to convince me to return to the foster home.

He gobbled me up in his arms when I rushed into the apartment. I sobbed as I swore never to go back to the foster home, never go back to getting beat up and broken by those who were paid to protect me. He said I didn’t have to go back there; I could stay right there as long as I needed. I never had a father. I had never felt the fir on a man’s chest comforting me when I was upset. It felt good. I trusted him completely. I had been looking for a man to take care of me for a long time and Mr. Bill promised to be there for me.

“You wanna get high?” He asked as he pulled a cigar box from under the couch in the living room. “That would be cool,” I said as I wiped my nose on the sleeve of my shirt.

He gave me some pot and put on a movie. It was a pornographic movie with loud moans and big dicks. It made me uncomfortable, but I was sad and crying. “Its okay” he said to me. I didn’t think it was okay but he loaded another bowl of weed and doused it in VCR cleaner. “Take a hit of this,” he said shoving it towards my mouth. My dick was getting hard from the movie and my head began spinning in a million circles as he slid my pants off and wrapped his scraggly lips around my little penis. It felt like a little pencil inside of a hairy wolverine. His beard itched and scratched me.

I didn’t know what to do so I watched the movie; I listened to the moans, and after two minutes of slurping and moaning, I exploded. I don’t know how to feel. I know I have been violated, but it felt good. He is giving me a place to stay so I owe him something. It didn’t hurt. It didn’t feel like rape. It didn’t feel like I was forced to get my dick sucked, it sort of just happened and now I am exploding, in my balls and in my mind.

It’s the first time I ever came and the first time I was ever molested.

It just happened


Pike st market

pike st market burns neon red in the early morning dew

I walk, looking at the street, looking through the street,

on the street, into the street

i found a dollar today

must be on the right track


i walk by the gospel mission

the stench of hopelessness

mixing with the sound of garbage trucks

making their morning rounds

women fitter with shopping cart trash

waiting for the doors to open

for instant coffee and relief from the rain

a drizzle today

a pause from the constant big, droopy rain drops

that usually fall along the Puget sound

plastic garbage bags replace raincoats

downtown awnings replace shelter


i walk past downtown parks filled with more trash

a man under an overpass

using a box for a bed, his jacket

his only defense against the cold

he curls himself into a ball

it looks like he is trying to get back to his mother’s womb

he can’t get to the earth through the concrete


its not nice out here

business execs rush from bus stop to cubicle

past starbucks after starbucks

addicts on the street shake empty cups outside


a walk through Seattle at dawn



shadow children

bus stops overrun with the people

trying to get somewhere

anywhere but here


gas propels the industry

keeps the air smug


green in color, red in pain


change comes in nickels

found on the street

discarded by someone

found by someone

with their head down all the time

staring at the concrete

seeing the leftover, the discarded

just as many people join the litter


what connects the dots

on the satellite?

is it the people?

another constructed tower

filled with boxes to contain

not free


paupers sing modern folk tales

with broken guitar

the voice of a crackling songbird

a seagull hoping for crumbs

nickels and dimes buy food and cigarettes


maybe a beer to ease the pain

in his back

from walking all night to stay warm

past hotel after hotel

empty rooms filled with heat

a toilet

survival of the richest


tales of dreams lost

dark gray of Portland rain clouds

bridges connect old and new town

junkies and lawyers

mingle with street kids with no home


red bricks and light rail tracks

on the grid, amidst the concrete

sewers spew steam at night

while children puke heroin withdrawal

going nowhere

moving fast towards never and forever

never see the light

always fearing the dark


shadow children, silent spare change

vacant homes stay lit

while our children rifle through

garbage outside the federal reserve

plenty of money in there


Sisters of the road

on the bus mall with the smell of diesel

as constant as the hiss of public transportation

there is a small café

nestled into a pre-gentrified red brick building,

now belittled by high rise condos

with art galleries as store fronts

inside the doors is the sound of hunger satiated

the smell of roasted coffee and burnt bacon

crackling eggs mix with the schizophrenic

hovering over his plate in the corner

carrying on a conversation with himself

as he shovels cornbeef into his mouth

his eyes wild but safe


a dollar twenty five gets you

hot breakfast and a coffee

if you don’t have the change

but you have the time

an hour washing dishes or clearing tables

or mopping floors or greeting guests

if you are old man jim

who has lived in a shopping cart since

Reagan was in office

he hasn’t missed a breakfast in twenty years


anyone is welcome, no one turned away

every day for thirty years

the lost, cold, and forgotten

could find a hot meal

and a reprieve from that damp cold Portland rain

the suits don’t brave the walk across Burnside

preferring the overpriced kiosk muffins

with security guards and key cards to open

the glass doors


sisters of the road

old town’s last safe haven

from the bitterness found out there on the street


That Man With The Keys

here comes that man with the keys

he’s like a disease to me

like a puss filled boil on the bottom

of my dirty feet


here comes that man with the keys

he has something to say

about everything that he sees

he tells me what to do, how to do

where to sit, where to stand,

when to take a piss, when to wash my hands


  1. man with the keys, why do you annoy me?

is it in your brain? your blood? your soul? or

just another part of your job



here comes that man with the keys

that man who is murdered everyday of the week

not by a knife, or a gun, or a club

but by our rage infested imaginations

we wish death, death, death

to that irritating man with the keys


here comes that man with the keys

unlike me he can feel the soft breeze,

unlike me he can smell the beautiful sea,

unlike me he is free

yet when he leaves I am left

with his power tripping disease


here comes that man with the keys

can you fade me, can you change me

can derange me?

can you realize the joy I feel?


you are no longer

that man with the keys