I Don’t Get to Sleep in Tomorrow

I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow but I don’t go to bed.

The police helicopter the dogs bark
my thoughts.

My screen, the words of others glowing in sync with me, awake.

There’s cookies with my name on them
and a pillow…but the cookies

A quiet house is so great for sleeping, isn’t it?

I mean, if I were to sleep, wouldn’t a quiet house (and that pillow), be perfect?

The cookies, not so much.

The glowing words of others, not so much.

For sleep that is.

Those words have synced up and now I’m thinking less about sleeping in.

Sleep is important, sleep is inevitable,
some might even call it lovely.

People who call sleep delicious unnerve me.

Cookies though

And those glowing words

My screen, still on because
those words.

The helicopter gone, the dogs quiet
my thoughts

I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow and the house is quiet.


I Set Off to See…


Choice (Something I Care About)

something_i_care_aboutMy 11-year-old daughter gave me an assignment last week: “write a poem about something you care about,” and it had to be handwritten. After a couple extensions on the deadline (phew), I finally turned it in. I don’t usually write poems with verses that rhyme, but she often does, so I thought I would try a poem in her style. I think I got full credit (even though it was late). And the typed version is below in case, like her, you can’t read my writing.

Perhaps the easiest one
   is to go left or to go right
Or maybe to stand up or sit tight
And then there’s going red
   or green or brown
Put it right side up
   or upside down
And of course you can go slow
   or you can go fast
Take it right up to the line
   or go past
You can rock or you can roll
You can sleep or stay awake
Keep your eyes wide open
   for as much as you can take
You can listen or go deaf
   and pretend it’s not there
Choose right or choose wrong
   or call the whole thing unfair
There are no strings attached
   or someone else writing your part
No one else controls your thoughts
   or pumps blood through your heart
We’d like to give credit or
   blame others for the view
But in the end it’s a choice
   and only you control you.


If You Believe It, It’s True | #musicthursdays with Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest is a poet/MC with some heady, heavy rhymes. Her style is very much spoken word and in this video, works well with KwAke Bass’s disjunct, electronic beats. She covers some very sombre and sobering topics and her delivery is a little mesmerizing. Even though the content wasn’t happy per se, I found myself really enjoying how nimbly she wove her phrases together, floating above the beat at times then locking right into it with powerful repetition.


A Poem for My Son

You certainly are not a poem that rhymes,
yet, my son, you are poetry in motion.
Your regal stroll and stately stare
have certainly won my life-long devotion.

As a young lad you were adorable and dangerous,
irresistible, unstable, unpredictable, but sweet.
We would spend hours chasing and pouncing,
or napping just blocks from the sea, you at my feet.

But time extends as it always does,
your spots and stripes grew more gray,
I, of course, married and had kids,
which you tolerated with just the slightest dismay.

We do a lot less chasing and pouncing now,
and we rarely, together, enjoy a nap.
Our life is just a different crazy,
yet you still spend a little time in my lap.

Fourteen years is a lifetime and nothing at all,
fourteen years a proud father to a son.
You’ve been the most magnificent, unapologetic companion,
to which none can compare, not one.



To You, Sir, With the Mullet

I see you drive by, at the corner of Palm and Shields, sir
Your blue pickup, lowered, daughter in the front passenger
Trailer of yard tools in tow
And I couldn’t help but notice your unapologetic mullet
It’s clear you two have been together for some time
And I wonder…
What’s up with that?
Are you an original rocker or is it something new?
Was the sensibility of its design too good to pass up
And keep, for that matter?
When you hear “Business up front, party in the back” how do you feel?

I have so many questions, sir

Is it past the point of no return?
Have you endured years of ridicule,
Hardened by vanity or shear defiance,
To the point that,
There’s just no way you’re cutting that thing now?
Or are you just so secure in your image that
Everyone else can just eat it?

As I sit here and write, it’s clear
I envy you
And maybe even your mullet
But what you and your hair represent is
Kind of beautiful
So to you, sir, I raise a proverbial glass
May you and your short-long live on in glory
In your lowered blue pickup or



What if we could change the backdrop of our life’s stage just by pulling a cord?
Would that change the quality of our lives or bring us that much closer to being content?
Would the ease of changing just the scenery be enough?
Assuming all else stayed the same and we only had the power to change our setting, would we sleep better at night or wake happier?
Or would the sight of so many cords dangling from the catwalk above overwhelm us to the point of indecision?
Sure, we could just choose any of them, randomly maybe, but what if it wasn’t quite right?
Then what?


Get Some Perspective: Javon Johnson, “cuz he’s black”, National Poetry Slam 2013 [Video]


It is Not Enough to Simply Question Authority

This poem surfaced on Facebook via a friend via a nifty animated typography project by Ronnie Bruce. The poem is ┬átitled “Totally like whatever, ya know?”┬áby Taylor Mali and it’s like, hard to argue with. Take a look and see if you agree:

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.


“Colored Me” (spoken word by Samantha Richards)

One of the benefits of my job is discovering the amazing things that teachers and students across the country are doing inside and outside of the classroom, with writing. Here’s an example from a poetry event at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, hosted by the New York City Writing Project. Enjoy: