March 30, 2020



The nab risked squandering his quarters

Despite the nights rain,

He’d fight to stay the payphone,

Risked squandering  his quarters,

Meant to be spent toward a quart to take the day  to done.

So he’d hang up quick as Go

So she’d ring back

If she was in a curious mood.

It wasn’t too late

(But maybe that’d help)


He’d be ready,  with his 1st draft.

Damn, ink already ran onto his icy hand,

Trailed off his folded page

Of  falderal,  frippery,  & doggerel.

Worthy words  to win some time.

He’d force his forte’  over the phone

If she called back.

If any  would mercifully allow

A curious mood

A furious  mind

This time

Of night.





(from very long ago)




Night Before Hearts

February 13, 2020




baritone sax=Pepper Adams         piano=Bill Evans


February 5, 2020



In the bad lighting
Man, his medicine, first draft
Cold stare down, Live down


This here old man thing.
Lately it’s loud as lightning.
I strive to survive.


Big strides on thin trails
Rousseau ferns, firey blossoms,
Placid lions, us






Splash something stronger at the base of my pint glass

It’s more fertile earth

For to birth the guts & gas

One might need at night

To go on & drive clear off

Dark high-wire highways

Onto red dirt, rolling on cooling red dirt, to dead ends

So bleak a laugh comes out as a clearing cough



January 30, 2019

“This  ole  sot

Theoretically  is   empty,”  he went,

“Momentarily  anyways.”

Faces death, & all that rot,

Not to say, not so long before  he’s meant.

He sifts scenery…all Regret.

But m’Lord of Mercy. .Not that scent!


“More of whatcha  got,”

Forwarding his fine glass there,

“Don’t stop  just yet.”










June 15, 2018


Man, I meant it to my mentor

I can change my ways

I can switch to watch myself more

I will strive to love myself a ways


I will abandon my old standards

I’d wait ’till noon ’till I would start

Hell, and it is just eleven thirty

We are (less stressededly) we are keeping the donkey before his cart.




peat wagon by don melvin.



December 14, 2015

Inexactly, a drinking priest,

You’d think he, at least  & at last,

Classically, might be caught in

(Necessary) tight vises

Of a crisis of faith.


Vacuously, I’ll see  it’s not

Necessarily true.

Knowing the knowing  needs

the slowing some

the clogging some

of logic  to help the heart sing through




(for Graham Greene & Tennessee Williams, & their wondrous torturous sermons)



(from years back)

From “The Lost Weekend”

December 12, 2015

“When he was a kid–fourteen, fifteen–writing a poem every night before he went to sleep, starting and finishing it at one sitting even though it might be two or three o’clock, that bathroom mirror had come to mean more to him than his own bed. Nights when he had finished a poem, what could have been more natural, more necessary and urgent , than to go look at himself to see if he had changed? Here at this desk, this night, one of life’s important moments had occurred. Humbly, almost unaware, certainly innocent, he had sat there and been the instrument by which a poem was transmitted to paper. He was awed and truly humble, for all that he must look in the mirror to see if the experience registered in his face. Often tears came genuinely to his eyes. How had it come about–why should it have been he? he asked himself in humility and gratitude. He read the poem in fear and read it again. Now it was fine; would it be so tomorrow? He raised his eyes from the scrawled re-written sheets and listened to the night. No sound whatsoever..”

Charles Jackson, from “The Lost Weekend”

(Yes, that “The Lost Weekend”)

These  agonies, stowed loud  to stoic  quiet,

Annoy her, as if their noise could be heard,

Annoy her,  every word,

Every imaginable syllable

And though a throw-away joke…

She’ll attest is a thrust attack,

Jeez  these agonies

Have me taken aback

Have me taking pills & drink to swill ’em back.


September 22, 2015

For where I’ve furtively gone

To see the sideshow again

A short glass is poured/

His suitcase secured/

Usual confusion loosens all the stops

To go  &  forgo this wait   or aim to

Get out the gate   and on to

The Big Top.




.                          (from half a dozen years ago, but still not a lie)