Four Poems


Umbrella at the Pasta Palace


The umbrella won’t go down.


He is a law school graduate.

A judge on a split shift

between here and Brooklyn.

Assessing situations

Is his strong suit.

But no matter how much

he fusses with the button

the umbrella won’t go down.


The rain has stopped.


He spins it self-consciously.

He and his colleague

have approached

the prestigious pasta palace

with the confidence of politicians

running unopposed.


The destination is definitely desirable.

The DA drops by for takeout.

A prominent journalist

can get a hug

from the Congressperson at the bar

or a less effusive greeting

from the mayor.


But doubt is creeping

across the faces of the judge

and his colleague.

No matter how much

he fusses with the button

the umbrella won’t go down.


Taking its fully opened space

the umbrella won’t fit

through the palace door.


The time for judgement

is at hand.

The judge shows no hesitation He turns and leads

his colleague

in search of expanded entryway.


His decision is nolo contendere.






Fire rages

in a yogurt cup

set by the stubbing

of the last cigarette


a distraction


from refugees pausing

on the late night news

to see which way

the war is going.




The Balladeer


Four more songs

’til a break,

a chance to drink

the edge off the boredom

standing always moving

hiding wrinkles from the spotlight

moving quickly

to hide another year

etched on his face

since the last time

he played this club.


Four more, of the same songs

now like breathing

mechanical parts like a stereo

with human parts

and four more songs

before something

inside him

clicks off.




Happy, Happy Birthday, Critic


I am 30 years old

and have holes in my shoes

on the sides

where the puddles surge in

as I walk home

from a concert

which I’ll write about.

They’ll pay me ten bucks.


Everyone enjoyed the concert

except me.


If I don’t find

something wrong with it

they won’t pay me ten bucks.

Originally Appeared in: 
Issue Appeared In: 
Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Terror - Season 2 #1