Lackawanna Station, Hoboken

February 21, 2014

hobo 4


hobo 2

hobo 3

hobo 5

hobo 6


Ousted Laureate …

January 11, 2014



The shock of recognition, triggered by
an old man coughing, rattled the Acela
quiet car. He had no alibi
and read the Times review of Cinderella
Rice’s memoir and a book of verse.
I didn’t want to interrupt or bother
him, provoke an incident, or, worse,
discover I’d confused him with another
brother wearing academic cords,
a knotted scarf, Italian slipper shoes
and glasses. Nor would I risk crossing swords
by bringing up that line about the Jews.
So, I waited ’til we reached the Promised Land.
I introduced myself and shook his hand.

October 13, 2010
Acela is the express train run by Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor from Washington, DC, to Boston.

Still Life with Cello

December 28, 2013

cello 9

Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 48″


December 5, 2013

Sonnet 57 from The Voyage of the Beagle

Farewell, Thornall Towers!

July 19, 2013

A Plague on Edison


The Sandwich Man of Thornall Towers

The sandwich man’s a gangsta bon vivant,
all wiry with his crumpled paper hat.
He faces down a proletariat
of pasty-faced insurance men who want
the soggy tuna fish on rye. A layer
fat with mayonnaise is on the bread
like that. He hops and hollers—but instead
of calling “Next!” he fronts with “Step up, player!”

Their eyebrows tell it all. He’s tempting fate
as Lotto ladies start to bag their own,
preferring straight and boxed and neatly-ranked
attendants at the sandwich bar. “Go home,”
he’s told on Monday when he rolls in late.

A flower blooms at Thornall—
it gets yanked.

Death in Cal’well

June 20, 2013


Lately I’ve been watching gangsters die
of cancer on TV. I sympathize.
I’ve got a lot in common with these guys—
the old world gone, this new one doesn’t fly.
It’s getting so Omertà means ugots.
Old loyalties go Hollywood, and men
like Poons LoSapio, the ones-in-ten,
the kings, are dropped like limp forget-me-nots.

It didn’t used to play like this. No bang,
no parting shots. A whimper?—va fangul!
Our boys would go out heavy, nicely dressed
(so, maybe sometimes facedown in braciole…)
But on a couch? Ah, mezzo morte gang,
with you I grow nostalgic and depressed.


Courtesy of Uphook Press/Great Weather for Media (Gape Seed, 2011 anthology)

Song of the Locust

June 13, 2013

By Wayne Fonteix

Did you hear them this summer
Dying in the trees
Vibrating the air
Like some droning power plant
Or flying saucer
Hidden in the woods?
Cicada, Cicada, Cicada

They blackened the trees and sky
In drummed mourning
Ritual high mass,
Blind to the birds, too startled
To feast on this prey
Too new, too holy
Cicada, Cicada, Cicada

They dropped their heavy dirges
Like waves back to Earth
(Just relieved of her
seventeen year pregnancy)
Dull-roaring too loud
To raise our voices over
Cicada, Cicada, Cicada

Unhunted, free, still they die
Still eaten by ants
Black hollow shells left
Whole woods a funeral home
Now still after days
Of timeless lament
Cicada, Cicada, Cicada

Their children, in many Junes
Will also ascend
From the same pocked Earth
Listen, then, they’ll drum for you
Living but to grieve
And return to the grave
Cicada, Cicada, Cicada



Wayne Fonteix (right, above) and I edited Drew University’s literary magazine, Plateau, in 1979/80, our senior year. We closed the book that year with this poem by Wayne. Dr. Robert Ready, Wayne recalls, wrote in the margin, “Depressing. But good,” when the poem was workshopped earlier in the semester. Wayne and I ran into each other two years ago in Frenchtown, NJ. His poem, of course, is from two risings back–that would be 34 years ago! (see below)

old school

A Plague on Edison

June 12, 2013


The ecosphere in Edison is whirring
whirring whirring and the air is thick
with clueless bugs. The sky is blurring blurring

blurring and the summer trees are purring.
Clumsy thumbs on plastic wings fall sick!
The ecosphere in Edison is whirring

whirring and the racket is inuring
us to flapping pratfalls of the quick
and clueless bugs. The sky is blurring blurring

blurring. Crusty sacks of gray are stirring.
Every crack becomes a flutter kick.
The ecosphere in Edison is whirring

whirring whirring whirring, words are slurring,
lips eliding, cars colliding. Flick
the clueless bugs! The sky is blurring blurring.

Seventeen forgotten years spent curing
in the silent dirt have come to dick.
The ecosphere in Edison is whirring.
With clueless bugs the sky is blurring blurring.

Edison, New Jersey
June 12, 2013

Formal Verse Discussed

June 10, 2013

Poet, critic, and linguist John J. Trause and I discuss formal verse in the Poetry Tent at the Books NJ fair in Paramus last Sunday. The Poetry Tent was the rockin’est at the fair, by the by.

A Lembrança de Lisboa

May 28, 2013

novo lisbo

Oil on canvas, 10″ x 14″