40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 22– “Tearing Up”

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“Tearing Up”

A thoughtful mystery unravels itself within a dirty ashtray.

Dozens of mouths and lips suck the filtered marrow of tobacco magic.

Sin after sin is displaced by denial.

They say to use the right tool for a job.

Staring at the runners and wondering why they can’t clear the hurdles.

Distance or height?

Or perhaps, they are staggered out improperly, only at intervals that would guarantee defeat.

Someone needs to set those hurdles up,

all in a row.

A race towards a tomorrow, that when reached in the present, will only be lamented for the regretted past it will become.

Burn, a blazing burn.

Stars that go quiet, must go through a period of fierce interest and catastrophe.

Then the science is applied, and sold along-side other things.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 19 – “Sidewalk Sally”

Sidewalk Sally
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“Sidewalk Sally”

Sidewalk Sally sashays down the block.

She insists on wearing woolen, open-toed house slippers.

She says they make her feel like Ginger Rogers.

But, they offer up no protection from the elements.

Soiled, marmalade in color, and quite smelly.

When you take a good look at her feet,

you see savaged nail beds and scaly red flakes.

She likes to joke with me,

asking when we’re going to get pedicures together.

I see her often, mostly every day.

She holds court at the bus stop.

She seems happily homeless, if there is such a thing.

Sometimes she has a brown paper bag peeking from a bottomless pocket in her thrift store trench coat.

It’s her armor from the dragons haunting her voyage through this life.

Whether it’s thirty-two degrees, or eighty-five degrees,

Sidewalk Sally stays in character.

Man does she sweat.

When she asks me for money,

I buy her a coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

She tells me she would spend the night with me for seventy-five bucks.

I tell her I have a girlfriend, and we’re going steady.

She laughs a hearty cackle,

sounding like the rattling chains binding horses to a Conestoga Wagon.

She shows me her swollen leg as encouragement.

The white sweat pants she’s wearing seem painted on,

and are migrating to more of a butterscotch shade.

One time, a friend of mine that drives a trolley from Old Towne Trolley Tours,

told me that he saw Sidewalk Sally defecating on the stairs at City Hall,

while he was giving a tour.

“And there’s Sidewalk Sally, relieving herself, next to the Samuel Adams Statue.”

He said she was bent over, head between legs,

sweatpants around ankles, shooting poops in an arc.

I didn’t believe him, but I believed him.

I sort of miss Sidewalk Sally  when she’s not there.

A pang of worry creeps into my heart.

Inevitably, she returns with a cast on her hand,

or bandages on her head, or bare-footed, sans woolen house slippers.

On occasion, Sally asks me for a smoke.

I don’t smoke.

Then she pulls one out and lights it,

and immediately blows the smoke in my face,

waiting for my reaction.

I think she likes me because I’m from Chicago.

Sidewalk Sally escaped from Chicago,

but is reticent to explain the circumstances.

She just sashays down the street.

Scuffling those slippers when she has them,

And talking to whoever will listen.


A very special thanks to the invisible among us. I promise, I see you.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the rest.



If there was a word to describe the you of you, I’d write it down with earnestness.

So I could, underline and italicize it.

There would be a place to point, an origin.

Words are born of the necessity to term things.

Terming the you of you proves difficult.

What would be the word that terms a word that is unable to be termed?

Insert your name here____________.

An antonym, a cinnamon synonym.

Metaphorical simile, hard to see.

Albeit, being.

Definition, high.

Confounded by the mystery,

inexplicable novelty.

A word for the you of you,

seems fleeting.

Yet, worth pursuit.

When I dream the dream of that word,

the you of you appears.



Electric purple travels my skin.

Thinking of past promises whispered.

Excitement to the point of an anxiety attack.

Perspiration delivers me undone.

Hanging on the suggestion of a validation.

Your choices maneuvered me into this second life.

Living purple electric,

until the batteries run out.