20 years the social worker for addicted, street-affiliated institutionalized adults.

The therapist. 

       The Helper.      

               2 decades of wonderful daily challenge.


“You’re only a failure if you believe it.”

“I believe it.”

“Which?  What I just said or what they said?”

“No, man, it’s not about them.  It’s what I say.”

“Which do you say?”

“That they’re right.”

(Forgetting about ‘them’) “About what?”

“About me.”

“That you’re a failure?”


“What did you fail at today?”

“Look at my life.  Look at where I am.”

(Firmly & slowly redirecting) “What did you

fail at today?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you get up this morning?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Piss?  Shit?  Wash up afterward?”

“Yeah.  ‘Course.”

“Make the bed?  “Straighten things up?”

“Yeah?  What’s this got to do with shit?”

(Keeping focused) “Show up for our appointment?”

“I was late.”

“Are you here?”

“Yeah, I’m here.  What’s this all about anyway?”

(Keeping focused) “Are you here?”

“Yes, I am here.”

(Quietly) “What did you fail at today?”

“If you put it that way, nothing yet, I guess.”

“Did you give yourself credit for any of that?”

“What you did.”

“No, not really.  I mean, it’s such small stuff.”

(Puzzled tone) “You said ‘stuff.’  Usually you say ‘shit.’”

“See what I mean: you make stuff out of nothing.”

(Focused) “You said ‘stuff.’”

“O.K., I said ‘stuff.’  Are we finished yet?”

(Exhale, feel shoulders come down, smile appears)  “Yes.”

“This shit is really crazy.”

“Yes, it is.  Next week?”

“I don’t know…”

“Same Bat time?  Same Bat channel?”

“Same Bat time.  Same Bat channel.”


Now retired:


Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm  Comments (7)  


Beau Sia

I read (present tense here:  read “reed” not “red”)

Beau Sia and I want to write like Beau.

I want to be angry and write anger

and feel and sound justified in

throwing the word fuck into whatever I write


often and in the right spots–even on this page        right now

And clever—yes, clever—and intellectually hip and

All the good shit he does so effortlessly (unless—

And this is a possibility—he stays up really late after performing or partying or whatever he does—

   and works his craft like an obsessed candymaker counting jelly beans and spice drops into cellophane packets.)

Even before I knew of him

I saw Beau live       heard him read    alone    without others

At MOCA, a museum in Chinatown

More modern than the Modern

More ultimately metropolitan than the Met (maybe not.)

Next I saw Slamnation: 162 slamassed poets from all over the USA

      ***First on the goddamn


and don’t you forget it!***

In teams of poets

Competing in raucous rhythm and gaudy glee (and some anger to be sure

but probably never really angry)

In a competition they loved (I’m sure they loved it)

Without believing in it:

“How can you rate a poem, a poet, a performance in points?”

“You can’t. “

“You can’t score poetry.”

“They do.”


   “We tell them to.”

   “Oh yeah…but  for the prize money, right?”

   “If we do it for the prize money, we lose out on the fun.”


Beau from Oklahoma representing NYC!

Go figure.  Nobody seemed to be

Where they were from.

(Question: are YOU where you’re from?)

Nobody cared.   All were great—I mean it.  Great!


Reading it aloud

      Out loud

         Very loud

            VERY LOUD

                  VERY FUCKING LOUD!!!

So I have to wait until I’m alone in the apartment or by the river so I don’t scare anyone or give them a headache—I’m good at being loud when I think no one will hear—but I can do that.

What I can’t do is be angry.  I can

fake it.  I fake a real good anger.  But

Don’t get me wrong, I can feel anger all right.

It starts in my shoulders, then drops into my belly

before it rushes up my burning neck into

All those empty spaces in my brain where memories used to be

The ones I’ve pretty much disconnected from my mouth—pretty much

Swims in there, it does, while my belly becomes

the bucking bronco festival for city folk every once a year

at Madison Square Fucking Garden.

But enough about me

This was supposed to be about Beau

But the only thing about Beau is Beau

So you hear him—you know he’s on YouTube

Read him

See him.

Tell him I sent you.  See what he says.

Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 10:04 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Two Recommendations



Two recent articles by Richard Schiffman, I recommend both to you.

Do All Religions Teach the Same Truth?

Did the Dalai Lama Just Call for an End to Religion?

Published in: on December 6, 2012 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment