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

    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    last day of August

    last day of August —
    the wind shifts direction
    from baseball to football


    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Hampton Out - or Boycotts, Part II

    It was the beginning of an acutely stressful time. To make a very long and flagrantly biased story short, my ex-wife had been evicted, leaving my children to spend the summer with us. But I digress...

    It all began on an up note: my oldest daughter was graduating from High School, and I was happy to make the 5-hour trip to be there. I checked into a Hampton Inn the night before the ceremony so that I would be well-rested for the late morning commencement. Dressed up in my favorite suit, I was quite the proud father. I was a bit puzzled when I noticed that I was the only person dressed up in anything approaching formal attire, but that only made me all the more determined to glow with pride.

    Following the obligatory hugs and handshakes was an exhausting flurry of activity. My kids packed everything they would be needing for the summer into my van and the six of us collapsed into beds, cots and sleeping bags back at the Hampton Inn.

    I should interject that I had stayed at many a hotel during my business travel days, ranging from lowly motor lodges to indulgent resorts (depending upon who was footing the bill), and that the Hampton had emerged as a clear favorite for its perfect blend of comfort and economy. Free local calls made it easier to navigate around a temporary home, and free continental breakfast made for a good kick-start to what were often very hectic days.

    The kids and I woke up the following morning and descended upon the lounge for our continental breakfast. It was a nice touch given our sad goodbyes the night before and the long day ahead of us. We took showers, packed up our suitcases and hit the road.

    Emerging from the van on the ferry ride across the Sound, I realized that I had left my suit (correction: my favorite suit) at the Hampton. I quickly called the front desk, hoping that the room had not yet been cleaned. I was told to call the housekeeping department later in the afternoon.

    A few hours later, I called the housekeeping department and was told that it was closed for the weekend, reopening on Monday morning. I called the front desk back to explain the apparent misinformation I had received earlier, and was quickly transferred to someone who said that my room had been cleaned but that no lost garments had been reported. I was told to call Lost and Found on Monday.

    That Monday I called the Lost and Found Department and was told that the suit had not turned up. Inquiring into my options, I was told to wait two weeks, after which I would be encouraged to file a claim against the insurance company for the Hilton Hotel Group, which owns the Hampton Inn franchise. I checked in several times during the course of those two weeks with increasingly less patient front desk staff, at which point I was more than happy to file a claim.

    It took another month for the insurance company to get back to me. It was by mail, in what was clearly a form letter, announcing that the loss I had incurred was not the responsibility of the Hilton Hotel Group or any of its affiliates, and that the matter was closed. I wrote the insurance company, the Hilton Hotel Group and the Hampton Inn in Islandia, New York to express my extreme dismay that they would encourage and reward theft in one of their establishments, and vowed that I would never spend another sheckle in any of their hotels as long as I had any power to make a decision in that regard.

    Five years and many hotel rooms later, I’ve stuck to my word...


    last day of August

    last day of August —
    a fresh coat of paint
    on the school bus


    Monday, August 28, 2006

    first day of school

    first day of school —
    a soccer ball
    crosses the street


    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    farmers market



    farmers market —
    an old dog
    transfixed by plums



    photo by mmm


    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    pay day

    pay day —
    the screeching tires
    of an ambulance


    Monday, August 21, 2006


    This is a non-sequitur. So is your Uncle Miltie.


    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    unrequited dichotomy

    It’s a tale of two blogs: this one and The latter started out as an outlet for three haiku poet friends who sought to inspire one another to write a haiku a day. With the inevitable hiatus here and there, I’m delighted to say that we’re still at it, and that many more have joined our ranks. The former is more of an on-line journal of miscellaneous rants, ramblings and pseudo-literary utterances. By this definition it includes the haiku that I post to the haiku-specific blog, but because of its longer history it has a completely different readership. I often ask myself if this duplication is necessary. I’d like to solicit the thoughts of those who read this blog. Please comment or contact me via the form on the upper left-hand side of this blog. And thanks!


    Sunday afternoon

    Sunday afternoon —
    a child’s sandal
    rides the escalator


    Tuesday, August 15, 2006


    it’s the things you can’t see
    that can really hurt you.
    everything I have ever hoped for
    is right here
    in my empty hands,
    the evidence,
    the judge, the executioner.
    it’s what I believe.

    it’s the things you can’t know
    that keep you awake at night.
    they scratch behind the walls
    long after the crickets
    have grown silent.
    they are the blackbirds on the wire
    calling your name.
    they own your soul.


    Feast of the Assumption


    Feast of the Assumption —
    I thought I knew


    photo by mmm


    Monday, August 14, 2006

    where've you been?


    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    open mic

    open mic —
    my words shake
    in my hands


    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    crowded train

    crowded train —
    face to face
    with a dozen roses


    if you're in the neighborhood...

    ...Worcester, MA, to be exact, Mrs. Bitter and I will be performing live at The Java Hut. Mary will be displaying her stellar black-and-white photography while yours truly waxes eloquent with a veritable smorgasbord of urban haiku. The festivities begin with an open mic at 7:30 (sign-up at 7!), with the feature starting at roughly 8:30. The Hut boasts a variety of nutritious noshes and bodacious beverages, most notably the 32 ounce Psycho Blast, a caffeine cacophony for the sleep-averse. See you there...


    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Riverside Station

    Riverside Station —
    I wonder
    where I’m going


    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    I've Been Doctored

    waiting room —
    so many smiling faces
    on the magazine rack

    examination room —
    a black spot
    on the gray carpet


    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    what can I say?

    what can I say
    that hasn’t been said?
    full moon


    Tuesday, August 08, 2006


    photo by mmm
    haiku by pdm


    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Remember the Alamo, or Boycotts - Part I

    Over the course of the past few years I’ve decide to boycott a number of different establishments, Alamo Rental Car among them. Here’s why:

    Mere months before Mary became Mrs. Bitter, her mother was rushed to the hospital gasping for air. Decades of smoking had sentenced her to breathing through an oxygen mask, and ultimately not even that was enough. Her condition was stabilized, but her prognosis was grim. The decision was made to call her children down to Florida for what would be the last time they would see her alive.

    We flew into Orlando Airport, where we had reserved a car with Alamo through travelocity. A shuttle bus dropped us off at a nondescript building with a sprawling counter, behind which a number of workers chatted and joked and basically ignored us. It was late at night, and we were both tired and somewhat overwrought by our circumstances, but I don’t believe I’m exaggerating when I say that it took fifteen or twenty minutes for someone to acknowlege our existence. A young woman smiled and greeted us with synthetic politeness. When I noted that we had been waiting for a long time, all pretense of pleasantry vanished. She printed out our contract with robotic efficiency, after which we left the building to find our car in the parking lot.

    Much to our surprise, it was not a generic white subcompact, but a spiffy, metallic silver SUV. We drove up to the gate to check out, feeling as if there was a silver lining to our otherwise cloudy experience. No dice. The guard at the gate noted that our contract called for a compact car and more or less implied that we were stealing the SUV. I explained that I was directed to the very spot where the SUV was parked, pointing to a pair of numbers written in permanent black ink on the back of the Alamo envelope. He called for the clerk, who evidently had to interrupt yet another scintillating conversation with her co-workers to come out to the parking lot and rectify the situation.

    The clerk explained that she had written down the wrong number, and that we would need to take a compact car. I countered that I truly believed that she had given us an upgrade in order to compensate us for having waited so long. I’ll never forget the contemptuous glare she shot at me in response. No apologies, no concessions, no effort to appease an angry but reasonable customer—just venom. And that’s why I’ll never rent a car from Alamo again.

    By way of epilogue, I followed up this experience with an email to Alamo, detailing inexcusably poor service and rude employees. I immediately received an automated reply from their Customer Service Department, and then nothing else.

    Next in this series: Hampton Inn.



    photo by mmm


    Wednesday, August 02, 2006


    August —
    her sundress
    so hot


    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    heat wave

    heat wave —
    sweat clings to the neck
    of my beer bottle


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