the mini skirt

has a name

I’ve been told

but I was

too shy to ask

also published in Failed Haiku an online journal of senryu…



It seems to me that every 4 years you have a presidential election and all of a sudden, they come out of the woodworks:  The people whining that we need more than two choices; that we have to have more than two parties. They extol the virtue of voting for a candidate that will be lucky to get half of one percent of the vote.

Now, I agree that we need more options.  I agree that we need more ideas on the table.  We should have more than two viable parties.  My problem is that elections don’t only get held every 4 years.  Elections get held every single year.  You have all levels of government be it federal, state or local.  I vote every year and yet when I vote on odd number years, I never see any third party candidates running for school board, city council, sheriff, constable, comptroller etc.

If you want to build successful third parties, you need to start on a grassroots level.  These are the elections that are winnable and can form a foundation.  You could get a libertarian as the town constable or get a Green party candidate on the city council.  You could get an independent candidate on the school board.  These are small elections with a small base of voters.  It would be easy to capture the imagination of enough voters to win some of these elections.  That would make it easier to start getting into state senates and houses or even the federal House of Representatives.

This is where it’s time to call out bullshit.  School boards and city councils aren’t really sexy.  Who cares about the comptroller?  Or the constable?  The presidential election is nationwide and it gets a lot of election.  For a lot of people, it’s really more about wanting to complain or wanting to be contrarian.  I don’t even see many people propping up third party candidates for congress or the Senate during the Presidential election year. 

Now if you actually are out there trying to get independent and third party candidates elected to school boards and city councils, this diatribe is not directed at you.  I respect what you are trying to do and support that cause.  This is directed at the people that only turn out every 4 years with their holier than thou self righteousness.

Now I’m not going to tell anyone how to vote.  People should vote for whomever they feel is the best candidate.  I also won’t tell you that you are wasting your vote if you want to vote for a third party or independent candidate.  Since only one candidate wins, you could argue that 54.1% of the people wasted their vote in 2016.  Vote however you please.  I won’t tell you that you’re wasting your vote.  I am asking you to stop wasting my time.


Train stations provide the cliché observation of people running to and fro trying to catch that train.  It’s a microcosm for our crazy society. 

I’ll be meekly showing the Amtrak cop my train ticket lest I be banished from the station.  Good that I have a train ticket and also purchased a burrito at the food court.  Wouldn’t want a homeless person crashing out on the floor, now would we?

Think of the children:  we can’t allow them to be scarred and marred by the sight and scent of these trod upon bums.  Let’s just sweep the problem under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist.  It’s the Reagan deal all over again.  We’ll push it out of sight and out of mind.  If we pretend hard enough, it might just go away. 

But for the moment I am safe from being jettisoned from the station since I am a paying customer.  Lah Dee Dah, aren’t I something special?

I sit there chomping away on my burrito. I see self-important people with their cellphones.  They make unimportant phone calls to unimportant people.  Their smugness reeks worse than any of the homeless.  I’m not too impressed by any of it.

Now I’ve heard on numerous occasions that Penn Station is a microcosm for America and that scares me—especially when I am threatened with arrest for buying food for a starving person while so-called good Christians, many of whom laud Mother Teresa, look on approvingly at the cop’s efforts.

So this is America in a nutshell and it ain’t a very pretty sight anymore.  It sure as Hell isn’t even what those dead white guys envisioned a couple centuries ago.

Someone fucked it up and this is what is left:  a rebuilt train station populated by heartless, soulless people who bought a latté which will donate an entire nickel to charity.  They can walk about holding their noses high and marvel at their good deed.

And it really sucks regardless upon whom we finally decide to pin the blame.  Guys that couldn’t make the grade at the Academy are all self-important in their little station.  I’m just left feeling a bit nauseous and I no longer have an appetite to finish my food.  Maybe I will just give the rest of my burrito to a homeless woman who needs it more than me.

I just watch the people scurrying for trains.  I’ve much been an admirer of rats—and less so the human kind.  I’ll be delighted when it’s my turn to leave.



There are still times that I get carded in bars or venues.  It’s usually an indication that the establishment sits in an uptight municipality or they recently got tagged for selling booze to (too) young’uns.  I won’t give them too much trouble since they’re really just doing their jobs.  And also, a lot of venues have guys at the door with necks thicker than a redwood tree.  I just show them the card and move on with my life.  People say that I should take it as a compliment.  Hardly, they aren’t looking at me and thinking that I might be under 21.  They’re doing it because some asshole council member wants to make a statement.  It would be great if it was a compliment but I’m not that naïve.  I’m not standing there thinking “Gee that new moisturizing cream is really reaping dividends.”  I’m usually just anxious to get in the door and get settled. 

Largely not nessa

a delay in the next beer

thirst waits to be quenched


I’m listening to my friend talk about the vandalism of fucking squirrels.  His words begin to fade into blah, blah, blah and I take a hike into the kitchen.  I’m looking out the kitchen window and I see two squirrels fucking in my backyard.  Now the words “fucking squirrels” begins forming in my mind as I watch the spectacle.

A part of me thinks about rattling the screen door or going outside and scaring them off.  I ain’t getting any so why should they?  I could be a real dick and fuck up their fun.  But in the end, I really don’t have the heart to do such a thing.

I just start hear the phrase “fucking squirrels” echoing in my brain.  My friend chanting “fucking squirrels” resounds like a mantra.  I just close the blinds leaving the squirrels to their own device.  I’ll head back out to the other room with a bag of Doritos and wonder if a grown man is still ranting and raving ab out furry tailed rodents.  He is still going on about it and I’m not really sure what to make of any of this shit.



There’s an age old adage in American football that goes: “Offense wins games.  Defense wins championships.” Everyone loves the quarterback and the offensive skill positions.  It’s sexy to run up the score with the touchdowns.

But the truth in football has always been that defenses are what wins championships.  It’s held true throughout most of the history of the NFL.  Offensive juggernauts routinely cruise into the playoffs with lofty records only to be knocked off by a potent defense.  Look at what the Seattle Seahawks defense did to Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.  Offense wins game. Defense wins championships.

It’s sexy to go on offense and try to run the flea flickers and try to complete the 60 yard TD passes.  But there are times that you need to settle for a field goal to pick up points and stay in the game.  And when you don’t score, your defense needs to step up and make the stop and get the ball back.  You win the game and you win championships by playing on both sides of the ball.  It also doesn’t hurt to have outstanding special teams.  A well placed punt pinning your opponent on the 2 yard line can change field position.  A good kick return setting up good field position can ease the strain on a struggling offense.

So what does this have to do with politics?  Well, politics needs to be played a lot like a football game.  It helps to have a game plan.  It helps to play well on both sides of the ball.  It helps to perform in all phases of the game.  Too many people just want to obsess on the quarterback and not build a complete team.  Yes, the quarterback is an important position.  But let’s be clear about it:  The best quarterback in the world can’t complete a pass if he’s laying on his back buried underneath a blitzing linebacker.  The offensive line has to give him time to complete the pass.  The wide receiver has to get open and catch the pass.

Too many people will champion a single candidate for president and forget all about the down ticket.  They’re too busy to vote in the off year elections.  You want change, you have to vote in every election.  You need to get good senators and House representatives on both the state and national level.  You need to hire good mayors and governors as well as good council members.  You need effective leadership on the local school board.  Games are won in trenches.  The president isn’t worth shit if the people down ticket can’t get the job done.

You can’t throw a hissy fit and walk away because your preferred presidential candidate didn’t get elected.  Wallowing in self pity and crying about how unfair everything is doesn’t bring about change.  You may have to play defense sometimes.  You didn’t convert the third down conversion, you need a good punt to back the other team up.  The defense needs to show up and make the stop. 

To say it doesn’t matter just because your personal favorite didn’t win is asinine.  Am I to believe that allowing companies to pollute the air and water is no different than continuing to disallow companies to pollute the air and water?  That is fundamentally the result of this apathy and self pity.  Wah, my favorite didn’t win.  So fuck the environment!  Fuck women’s right!  If my person doesn’t win, I’m just going go on twitter rants about how unfair everything is.  If there’s 100 problems in the world, wouldn’t it be better to solve 5 of them rather than create 10 new problems?

This really is the issue.  Do you want real change?  Or do you just want to wallow in self-pity?  If you want real change, you have to develop a game plan.  It also helps to have alternative plans because you might have to make half time adjustments.  You may have to throw a block rather than carry the ball.  You need a great defense and great special teams to complement the offense.

Are you really so selfish that you can’t celebrate if your teammate scores the touchdown rather than you?  Are you going to lay down and pout because your teammate got the QB sack rather than you?  If your teammate scores then your team has a better chance of winning.  Yes, the quarterback is the sexy position and the offense makes most of the highlight reel but the teams that win the championships are the ones with a deep roster.  Keep in mind that the quarterback may get the lion’s share of the glory but it’s the defense that brings home the ring.


You were pissed off

even though

I hadn’t said

anything wrong

and it began

to dawn on me

that you weren’t 

pissed off at

what I had said

you were pissed off

at something

I hadn’t said.

Problem is,

it’s hard enough

for me to remember

all those things

that I actually said

It’s damn near impossible

to remember

all the things

that I haven’t said.

I just wish

I could find a way

to make you understand.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO DO POETRY AGAIN: Schaefer, George: 9798449725561: Books

Luminous Grays

Going to Amsterdam was always a blast.  It was always easy to get cheap flights into Schiphol.  A lot of Asian and Middle Eastern flights used it as a fuel stop.  It worked out well for me and I got to discover airlines like Royal Jordanian and Tower.

Getting off at Schiphol was easy enough.  The train station is connected to the airport so one could easily just jump on a train and go.  It was an easy train ride and then you were getting off the train at Centraal Station.   I had a hostel on Warmoestraat that served as a go to place for a cheap bed.  

Generally speaking, I would get off the train and fall in with English soccer hooligans.  These drunk limeys found me every time.  We’d have to hit up In de Wildeman and T’ij for some good Dutch beers.  We’d be best friends politely overlooking the insurrection/revolution.

Of course, Amsterdam offers all sorts of stimulation.  One needn’t stick to just to beer.  There’s the old Hill Street Blues Coffee Shop sitting next door to a police precinct.  You can walk along the canals on those old streets.  There’s a lot of overcast weather in Amsterdam.  You get a good deal of mist and drizzle.  And yet somehow, Amsterdam always seems to have the most luminous grays.  It often feels like walking through an impressionist painting.  The funky centuries old buildings are off kilter and the sky bleeds right into the canals.  Bicycles whiz by and I avoid streetcars finding my way out to the Dam Raak.

And one must indulge in the arts.  The RijksMuseum and the Van Gogh museum are lurking in the shadows calling out to me.  You have to see The Night Watch.  Frans Banninck Cocq needs our support.  Prometheus was chained by Vulcan but I narrowly make my escape.  After that, it’s time to slide over to the Van Gogh museum.  

You can peruse the pedestrian underpass to get from one museum to the next.  That provides entertainment on its own.  Two street musicians with accordions are playing “Tocata and Fugue.”  The sound is majestically ricocheting off the bricks.  That’s about the time that the psilocybin begins to kick in.  The echoes are causing seismic tremors to run down my spine.  Haunted houses are no longer required.  There are no doubt many ghosts and spirits dwelling in this tunnel way.

I nearly forget I’m supposed to go visit Vinnie Van.  It’s always a treat to wander through.  The irises and sunflowers slowly seep into my consciousness.  The crows invade the wheat field and stir up subconscious memories.  It’ll become all too much to handle.  Time will come to cautiously step back out into the open air of the city.  Nearing sunset, orange, pink and purple are starting to puncture the gray clouds.  It’ll be a long walk back to the hostel to catch some sleep.  The jenever procured from Wjinand Fockand should help settle me in for a few hours.  New adventures will wait tomorrow afternoon.