A Straight-jacket Built for Two

 I once was bisected by a schizoid slip;

My manic was depressed; what a bum trip!

But now I’ve discovered something quite new

In a straight-jacket built for two.

Paranoia’s monsters were out for my head;

My chances seemed slim, as Sigmund is dead.

But, soft! security from out of the blue

In a straight-jacket built for two.

With reverse egoitis and a ruptured id,

I decided to do what my father once did,

To find some solace with one who was true

In a straight-jacket built for two.

I delved through my psyche to see what was there,

And found inhibitions forewarned by Molière.

I rejected them all; what else can one do

In a straight-jacket built for two?

I ran through the wards and infested the halls;

I went into frenzies and ran up the walls

Hunting the joy only one could imbue

In a straight-jacket built for two.

My thoughts were so gloomy that fun was morose;

My passionate nature was still comatose;

But now I’m ecstatic because I have you

In a straight-jacket built for two!




is slowly creeping

into my life:

my mind clouds in moments

of stress;

your face fades before me

as we talk;

vision narrowing as does

my world.

I grope for light

and am burned by candles

my eyes cannot perceive;

I reach for support

and trip

over obstacles

less tangible than pain.

Can I not see

because I am going blind?

Or am I going blind

because I do not want

to see…



sits on his senile bench


the luscious lovlies

as they swivel   bye 

     but             ton


     s                    e

         m           l


on his concave chest



scrawled in red crayon

on his brown bag feast


trembling hands

cup a butt


sucking warmth and security

into blackened bellows,

pumping tortured gusts

through a scrawny, raw rusted pipe

and the girls on the


BINOCULARMAN aches to think

his days to buy are bye --

(children laugh and play,

 lovers fail to see him)

     and . . . somehow,

his eyes refuse to bleed

their liquid bile

as  he  sits

and the trees grow silently

and he watches

     time go by

                             … and bye


Caught in the Current

I felt myself becoming caught in a current

That was too strong for my efforts to resist.

It had no color, not even that of the ever-deepening darkness

that gave it life and movement,

yet it had an odor and taste: the salt of tears and the bile of fear.

It pulled greedily at me, sucking me down into

its enervating coldness

as though it would have the marrow from my bones

to satisfy some perverted hunger, leaving the

insipid flesh behind to rot, or whatever it might do.

But why do they call it a rip tide?

It did not cut; it did not tear at my body.

Its actions are much more subtle than that.


Of course, I could try to swim against it and escape,

but one must be a very strong and determined swimmer

to best that relentless flow.

And I had trained for it all my life:

learned the proper strokes, set the proper goals,

practiced going the distance on so many, many occasions.

I had thought myself strong, prepared to battle against the tide

whenever the need arose.

But even strong swimmers sometimes drown.


And, sometimes, the current changes direction so suddenly

that one cannot, must not

fight against the inevitable, but merely allow one’s self to go

with the flow, to be guided along by the unseen forces

from which one cannot escape.

And it is so much easier to relax, to merely tread water

or even float until the channel of energy has become

            as weak as yourself.


Yet it is also quite possible that,

even if you decide to go gently with the tide

without offering any sort of resistance whatsoever,

it may pull you so far out that you can never

reach the shore again.



mirror image

i once thought of myself as dancing gracefully through

            life's eternal ballet,

but found a white cane man groping hesitantly

            out of rhythm;


i was lean and hard, with a cassius countenance

of more hungers than can be named,

and found a gnome with a crooked leer

gaping back at me from the mirror --


his eyes wept evaporated tears,

his body cringed from imagined fears,

and his haggard face (lacking grace)

was a gargoyle grimace without warmth or wisdom.


am . . .  I . . .

locked in the catatonic recesses

of an ego-manic mind?

or was that ephemeral image

the real Me…



Prisoner of Magic 

He was a prisoner of magic,

a persona created from the images of others;

spells cast from minds steeped in ignorance and unconcern;

transmogrified from a boy into a victim.


Bound tightly by chemistry just a little out of balance,

patterns that ran contrary to the popular thread,

words and gestures from the theatre of the absurd

on a solid stage where the t-square rules.


So he battles himself as much as his bindings,

like a seed struggling through rock to see the light of the sun,

wishing to grow into a flower -- perhaps even an oak! --

with about the same nourishment, and perhaps even less hope.


He cries out, but even he cannot hear his voice,

for it is the sound of brain tissue being torn,

of a spirit being tossed into societal purgatory,

of a sweet personality being squashed by mockery and disdain.


Is there no secret potion, no magic pill he can take

to transform him back into a boy?

Or is he shaped too firmly in their smug, satisfied minds

as a little monster?


Odyssey of Soul

On my Odyssey of soul

I have maintained control

of my thoughts and feelings,

my actions and intents,

all without revealing

exactly what I meant.


I have kept the silence

that passes for penance,

and sometimes for wisdom,

although its real meaning

was quite often boredom --

perhaps I was dreaming.


What was really quite strange

was trying to arrange

my life to fit patterns

designed by the mundane

for the drunks and slatterns,

the dull and the insane.


And I have felt the same

longings, desires and shame

as all of the others;

foreigners and neighbors,

my sisters and brothers;

have shared the same labors.


Have I found what I seek?

Or have I passed my peak…

For when the time is spent,

with Prufrock still I call:

"That isn't what I meant;

not what I meant at all!"



recipe for a well-done robot

assemble with cheapest available mettle,

wind up every morning;

lubricate with processed Florida

liquid sunshine,

stimulate with Brazilian bean juice,

motivate with Fraudian love formula,

program with Daily Trivia

fresh off the tripewriter


in a separate mixer

supplement programming with

'daily office routine' stresses

and entirely avoidable external frustrations

in equal portions


add a pinch of variety,

a dash of spice; combine ingredients randomly.

baste liberally with assorted liquors,

stew sixty to seventy years at a perfectly normal temperature


place in coffin and allow to cool



The Tempest


This man huddles alone on the wharf,

grasping his solitude to him like a blanket for warmth,

a bundle for security,

a cloak to mask his features from casual glances.


What is it that he fears?


His worn stocking cap is pulled firmly about his ears,

stray hair tucked carefully beneath the edges,

and his ancient pea-coat

(now frayed at the bottom to match his height)

is pulled about him like a shroud.


From whom does he hide?


The pervading stench of the sea

serves warning of the unconquered fury,

dangerous in the most reassuring calm;

but, bound to its shores, he need only avoid to close a proximity

to be safe from its perils.


From what is it that he suffers?


The raging of the storm is his friend in disguise:

it envelopes him in darkness,

muffles his mewing,

and drives the happy people away

to the smugness of their homes.


The world can bend a man with work and travails;

only other people can break his heart

and remind him of his loneliness.


Ask not from whom this man hides;

he hides from thee.


White Horse

He rode the white horse

once too often,


but the racing blood madness

and the free-flying ecstasy

were too much to ignore

and to painful to do without


and, when escape is

so sweet,

is any price for permanence

too much to pay?



withdrawal syndrome

ich bin mir:

i have my music,

   my art

   and my books,

austere and enlightened—

a temple for refuge

so i barricade the portal,

fill the moat

so dank and dreary;

   cardiac tremors

never rock the ground

beneath my feet

and i never … weep

alleine, nicht




Tears in my beer

I sit in the movies,

free to laugh or cry

as I might please;

buttered popcorn by my side,

mourning for the one who died.


Or on a bar stool,

tall drink in my hand

while others play pool;

seeing gaiety all around,

but not hearing a sound.


Walking through the park

amid trees and flowers

‘til it grows dark;

the lovers stroll hand-in-hand…

and still I can’t understand.


To hear a girl sweetly

speak in dulcet tones

meant just for me;

I’d like to call the operator,

but don’t want to irritate her.


What’s left

You ignored my pleas;

words are useless.

You ridiculed my tears;

pain is wasted.

You went from my life;

love is forsaken.


What then is left?



identity problem

being one of hoi polloi (oi!)

am I just another goy?



Sung to the tune of…


Sing a song of cut-throats,

pockets full of shivs;

cut the fellow’s neck

and see how long he lives.


Make a soup of arsenic,

spice with hemlock leaves;

serve it to a neighbor

to see if someone grieves.


Does the business world lack

much propriety?

What fun it is to work and play

in our society!


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