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poet, technologist, cynic, father of five, child of chaos, punker, prankster, patriot, punster, leftist, latino, japanophile, audiophile, beer drinker, quiche eater, dog walker, soft talker, deep thinker, shallow sleeper, introvert, covert operative in a parallel universe.

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* m a y s t a r *

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  • March 2015

    extra special bitter
    hops are bitter. life is bitter. coincidence?

    Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    cold snap

    cold snap —
    a bottle breaks
    behind the bar


    Monday, March 28, 2005

    March rain

    March rain —
    rivlets in the mud
    between snow drifts

    March rain —
    the 3-point shot bounces 4 times
    before falling in


    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    last day in Belize

    My final minutes in Maya Beach: I brush the sand from my feet and prepare to wear socks for the first time in nine days. The mockingbirds are oddly silent.

    last day in Belize —
    I’ve only begun to learn
    the birdsong


    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    morning haze (and variation)

    morning haze —
    beads of sweat
    on my upper lip

    morning haze —
    a telephone rings


    still waters (and variation)

    still waters —
    a cormorant
    comes up for air

    still waters —
    something floating
    toward the shore


    Karma Bank Deposit

    It seems that our waiter is from a small Mayan village called San Antonio. "I hear there’s a San Antonio in the States", he says eagerly. I want to tell him it’s a lie, but resist the temptation.


    life's a beach, and then you mate

    At first we were told that they had done the manatee equivalent of running aground—five or six of them of various sizes. Upon closer inspection it seemed that this was entirely by design. The biggest one twirled and rolled in the surf, occasionally wrapping a fin around a companion or vigorously slapping its tail against the water surface. This went on for about an hour. After ten minutes or so, I had to get a beer.


    Tuesday, March 22, 2005


    it’s been bothering me for over a week now—why are blackbirds active only during the day? couldn’t they use their blackness to blend into the night, slipping unseen into my indigo-purple dreams?
    dawn —


    Monday, March 21, 2005

    calm seas

    calm seas —
    a coconut falls to the ground
    with a thud


    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Palm Sunday

    not many tall palms in this part of the peninsula,
    which makes you wonder why so many new ones are planted,
    as if history is something written on the label of a beer bottle,
    under the Surgeon General’s warning,
    and that any day now
    these waves are going to be silenced.
    Palm Sunday —
    two rows of empty beer bottles
    beside the sink

    history is the father of regret
    bastard child of a night of debauchery
    and isn’t it easy to deny the unintentional;
    isn’t it easy to forget you, the flesh of my flesh.


    Saturday, March 19, 2005


    dusk —
    a pelican plunges
    into the sea


    Friday, March 18, 2005

    Happy Hour at the Pickled Parrot

    Would I be doing that guy in the tie-dyed t-shirt and aviator glasses a favor if I told him that we weren’t in Margaritaville? I’m not sure he’d believe me.

    An athletic young couple reserves a kayak for 5:30 tomorrow morning. Then they tiptoe back to their beach house to mate like mad mink.

    Lunch time. A dark man is selling plastic replicas of ancient Mayan temples. He smiles hopefully. We tell him “no thank you” while a stray pregnant dog barks at him. He wraps up his goods in a colorful towel and walks away.

    cold front —
    a plastic cup
    tumbles across the beach


    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    St. Patrick's Day in Belize

    Erin no go Bragh here, mon. At least I don’t think she does. Her soft pale skin would resemble corn beef and hash inside of a Maya Beach minute.

    Lean out of the window, Goldenhair. But mind the parrot pecking at your freckles.

    low tide—
    a sandpiper
    searches the seaweed


    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    sand devils

    There’s many an is-that-all-there-is moment hiding beneath this palm shade.
    If Margarita is the Balm of the Soul, then Belikin is the Bane of Remembrance.
    Everything I could have had is sediment at the bottom of this bottle.
    Everything I found instead is a pearl washed by gentle waves.
    happy hour —
    the sandcrab scurries back
    to its nest


    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    first day on the beach

    first day on the beach —
    the mockingbird laughs
    at my pasty white legs


    Monday, March 14, 2005

    my nature adores the vacuum

    This afternoon Mrs. Bitter and I depart the Land of Perpetual Winter for the balmy beaches of Belize. We will have no access to phone, television or the internet, and this is fine by us.

    Far from “roughing it” in the jungle or the Mayan Mountains, we will be living in a seaside bungalow with running water and electricity (to power the ceiling fans, of course). We will not be bringing MP3 players, cell phones or PDAs. We will be bringing all of the books we’ve been meaning to read for the past few years. Among my reading material are the following:

    “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac (which I never seem to finish)
    “Doctor Sax” by Jack Kerouac
    “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole
    “Angel-Headed Hipster” by Steve Turner
    “Faithful” by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King

    I hope to get plenty of writing done as well, but all of this takes a back seat to our real purpose—drinking obscene amounts of Belikin beer and speculating about the life stories of all the people we meet along the way.

    The chubby fellow in the tie dye t-shirt, khaki shorts and lime green bucket hat embezzled millions from investors in Chicago and is now enjoying a Banana Daquiri.

    That sort of thing. How will this chubby fellow see me?

    The pasty, white-haired, forty-something in the faux Hawaiian shirt and Old Navy Bermuda shorts is an FBI agent who is about to arrest me for embezzling millions from investors in Chicago. I should feed him to the sharks, but this Banana Daquiri tastes so good I think I’ll offer him half of my take in return for his silence.

    How perfect is that?


    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    Tobin Bridge

    only edges can be seen of the spaces,
    the lengthening shadow of your legendary profile.
    a smog sun sparkles in the broken glass median,
    while your eyes,
    betraying nothing,
    seduced me into the warmth of your bed,
    deep below the surface
    of the Mystic River.


    Friday, March 11, 2005

    I Refute Descartes

    He’s never known anything like it.
    Then again, he’s never known anything to write home about,
    therefore... there’s nothing to write home about.


    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    March snow

    March snow —
    I refuse to buy
    another ice scraper


    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    exile in Niceville

    Before you ask, “is there anything nice about Boston?”, let me explain: Niceville is a mythical, metaphorical place. I’ve never been there. I’m not allowed.

    Case in point: Blind date, circa early 1997. As usual, I’m a few minutes early, therefore I conspire to ease my nerves with a beer at the bar. Tonight’s victim is about ten minutes late. By mass transit standards this would be an on-time arrival. By my standards it’s just late enough to permit me to order a second beer. She is attractive but cheerless—evidently determined not to enjoy herself. She never removes her jacket. Before I can settle up my bar tab and request a table, she stops me cold: “I have to tell you something—nothing personal—but you’re really not my type.”

    I was taken by surprise, therefore the best I could manage was “Why would I take it personally? I’m in awe of anyone who can discern someone’s type so quickly” I’d like to think that I spat the word type, but I might be romanticizing. In any event, the sarcastic tone was duly noted, and she quickly became annoyed with me for daring to be less than she had expected.

    “Look—you seem to be a nice guy. Let me pay for your drink and then I’ll go. No hard feelings.”

    A light went on. I knew that I had only a matter of minutes before she would settle up the tab and be gone from my life forever. I had to make them as miserable for her as possible.

    I was in heaven. I don’t remember anything I said, but I remember her open-mouthed amazement at several of the remarks I made. It was pure instinct. Just as she had made up her mind to storm out without paying for my beer, the bartender got her attention and the bill was paid. She left without another word.

    I stayed for another beer—maybe more than one. I wrote a long, angst-ridden poem that in retrospect was short on literary merit. I also wrote a rare, sarcastic haiku:

    our first and last date —
    at least she called me
    a “nice guy”


    Monday, March 07, 2005

    be nice

    I suppose I was a typical adolescent in that I felt acutely awkward and disenfranchised most of the time. Most of the words that flowed from my pen at that time were full of angst and negativity.

    My attitude toward life improved somewhat with age, but never to the point where I could bring myself to view any sort of authority without extreme skepticism. I muted my public attitude as a concession toward my need to make a living, but my writing continued to smoulder unabated. I remember my mother finding some poem I had written while in college, only to lament "why can't you write anything nice?"

    My haiku tend to be static observations of the world around me, therefore they can be "nice" in the sense that they are neither optimistic nor pessimistic; they just are. My longer work, however, tends toward take stock of my relationship to that world, and as such takes on a dark, cynical tone. It really doesn't start out that way, but it gets there quickly enough.

    I wrote this poem for a woman who once (and only once) called me "sweet". I started by acknowledging that I had fleeting moments of near niceness, but couldn't sustain this beyond the first line:

    I can do sweet —
    words that make you
    clench your teeth
    in a practised smile.
    I can spin nouns and verbs
    into cotton candy
    that will rot your teeth.
    but my tongue
    craves a sugar
    beyond your lips
    and will swirl
    in an orbit
    beyond your outstretched arms
    into the irresistible honey
    of your loneliness.

    What ever will I do with me?


    Thursday, March 03, 2005


    morning —
    a manhole cover
    in the snow


    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    fresh snow

    fresh snow has a way of damping my angst—not soothing it, mind you, but providing a layer of soundproofing that renders my screams even less relevant to those around me. light snow continues to fall in a fine metallic mist. tree limbs bow low—not in reverence, but in resignation, almost, but not quite begging to be broken.


    ice dam

    ice dam —
    the acupuncturist’s
    shaky hands


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