Monday, August 31, 2015


page is wet
words are the vehicle for the pigment to merge with the paper
artists cannot hear you they’re busy pushing the limits of their life to the breaking point
they’re busy pushing and pulling themselves in and out of the lion’s den

I know you’re feeling around for cracks and crevices
to you the blemishes scream imperfection while to me the imperfections prove this is not only a work of art, but a work of death defying sacrifices as the acrobats demonstrate there are many Christs and a crucified God does not automatically make a religion tenable or worthy of a Sunday matinee

I’m on a writing jag, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have anything meaningful to say or that the words I’m spilling onto the soaking wet page don’t need a touch up or some better GPS coordinates to get them to that secret jumping off place
for me it’s not about control or completely extinguishing every wildfire that jumps the freeway because I know my passions will ultimately consume everything in their path
when I heard a friend recently say if he had been such a good friend then why didn’t he see the signs before Jimbo took his own life and all I could think was obviously you were not paying close enough attention because all of the signs were right there in plain view

page is wet with sweat and swearwords
and with the setting of the sun, the painting becomes an integral part of the landscape
I listen to my lion with every fiber of my being and sometimes I feel I almost get it right while other times I know I’ve failed miserably, but once you’re pushed and prodded from the womb there are no more do overs

I know you’re feeling around for a light switch in the blemishes of our maker’s face
on the seventh day the Lord rested and had someone fetch them a Frappuccino from the Starbucks on the corner
this is not only a work of dire consequences, but a work that defies logic and leaves you wishing for more than exists in your grandmother’s favorite candy dish
there are many saviors and a crucified Christ does not always mean you’ll get what you’ve earned once the stone is rolled away
the fresco will never completely dry nor will the grease stains on our hands ever be entirely pounded away

Charles Cicirella

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"cigarettes, gin, dog food." (For Billie)

I miss you so fucking much.
I haven’t a clue if we would have gotten along or if Mister would have liked me, but I would have loved to have hung out with you both.
We could have played records and because I don’t drink I could have driven you around wherever you wanted to go. I would have even slept on the floor by the foot of your bed in case you needed something, anything in the middle of the night or day.

I miss you so fucking much.
Your voices speaks to me in every color of the rainbow.
Your voice takes me down to the river and washes all of my most contrived and convoluted sins away.

I miss you so fucking much.
I want to sit in a dark room with your voice pouring from the speaker as the vinyl record goes around and around and no one knows where it will land or if it will crash and burn.
I have never understood those who say your voice was failing in the later years.
How can they not hear the anguish and the longing and a life long experienced and the death existing in every syllable your tongue teased and delivered with such passion and ecstatic layers of both satin and silk?

I miss you so fucking much.
I want to pet Mister and if he and you would allow it kiss you on your unholy mouth.
I will pick up your groceries and bring them to you at night. I’ll knock three times on your door and wait until you answer.

Charles Cicirella

Friday, August 28, 2015

The square root of Klecko is more Klecko.

I want to write a good poem.
Possibly even a great poem.
A happy poem and not a sad poem.

I want to write a poem about giving and getting head.
Not good head, but spectacular head.
The kind of head you get on a true pint of Guinness.

It has been brought to my attention my poetry is not getting off the ground which I find surprising because I am always careful to attach tiny wings to each and every poem I write. Perhaps the wings are too tiny or maybe I just need to write shorter and more succinct poetry.
It has also been mentioned that my style has a kind of syrupy despair which cements my character. Now the crazy thing about this particular insight is I believe it was meant as an actual compliment which I find rather troubling and in fact fills me with some of that same syrupy despair.
It has also been brought to my attention that “the universe is the same place at the end of your pronouncement as it was at the beginning” and that “great poets would not let that happen.” To this line of criticism I have to say when I sit down to write (and when I am fully inspired and all or most of my sparkplugs are sparking) I give up control and let the writing and the words and the creative zeitgeist take me where it will. And this is not meant as an excuse, but instead as a lantern to be shined on one’s dark night of the soul.

I want to give it all I got and leave those Confederate Generals from Big Sur in the unassailable dust.
I have no problem with criticism when it is constructive and actually even when it is destructive as long as it’s in good taste. When someone though is only trying to bring me down a notch or two because they’re incapable of dealing with their own failing will when then I have a problem and will take issue with the “critique” spewed at me like vomit or ego stew.
Now some people will read this and think I am talking about Klecko when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. In our lives we’re lucky, actually blessed if we find one possibly two people who unconditionally have our backs and are good on their word and are an actual human being and not just some facsimile of what is passed off as a human being in these days and nights of The Walking Dead. None of us are perfect and those of us who think that they are better do a damn better job of convincing me and the rest of the world before they offer their two cents which is not even worth a plumb nickel in these days of The Last of the Mohicans.

Charles Cicirella

I'm My Own Worst Enemy

I don’t own a pair of blue suede shoes but if I did I’d prefer you didn’t step on them.
We risk giving ourselves away when we hide in the shadows believing that is our only recourse when the bastards keep attempting to bring us down and all we want to do is create and not sweat so many of the small, insignificant details.
I was lost and then I was found and then I was lost again and it had nothing whatsoever to do with twelve steps or pretending I was anonymous and standing in front of a bunch of strangers admitting to things I’m not even entirely convinced I ever actually did.

I’m my own worst enemy like Bea Arthur was her own worst critic or Sammy Davis, Jr. was his own worst so and so when The Rat Pack made jokes at his expense and he just laughed it off as he carried their luggage and their nicotine-stained-egos around like it was nothing but another day at the plantation or Las Vegas casino.
I’m my own worst enemy and I know it and I still haven’t done anything to change it because what’s the point when one’s truth is completely relative and one person’s self-hatred is another person’s self-discovery.
I’m my own worst enemy when the shit is just about to hit the fan and instead of stepping out of the way of the whirling blades I get right in there and look forward to turning brown and smelling even worse than I already do.

We must learn to take the knocks to our ego and to our noggins before it’s too late and another legend goes under the knife for some undisclosed illness and another rolling stone packs it in and succumbs to the bitter cold under a bridge in some unnamed city.
I drank a hot toddy once in my life and it wasn’t in a ski lodge or some fortress with a bunch of SS soldiers. They say the Nazis were the salt of the Earth, and while what I say may not make any difference, I will tell you I think they had it all backwards as their evil deeds not only killed millions and millions of innocents, but also poisoned their country as a whole and has me questioning Germans to this very day.
We cannot redact the past but that does not mean we should forget about it either because once our memories fail us we are bound to repeat too many atrocities and that won’t be good for anyone including our worst enemies.

I have not been to Graceland yet, but I so look forward to going. Maybe the next time Bob Dylan is in Memphis my friend Dan and I can take a trip down south and also hit some Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while we’re at it.
We risk imploding if we keep everything bottled up inside and trust no one with our most private thoughts and “Over the Rainbow” secretive lives.
I was standing out on the veranda the first time I spied you walk into a room. You did it with such an air of inscrutability that left me both shaking and endlessly curious about who you were and where you would be going next.

Charles Cicirella

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Percolating (For Joni Soule)

Words haunt me like a reverie.
Words hunt me down like a Siberian tiger.
Words hurled at me like a handful of bad medicine.

Opened the can of ginger ale praying it would take care of my upset stomach.
Lowered my guard believing we would get on like the best of friends during the worst and most inopportune of times.
I have this bad habit of expecting people to deliver on the promises they haven’t even promised me. I’m funny that way like Judy Garland in her prime or Groucho Marx during his last appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.

Words bring out the very best and all the rest in me.
Words channel their wild-thing-energies as the mask slips from my Easter Island face.
Words give more of a shit than most people I know who are disingenuous at best and completely beyond reproach when their backs are nailed to the unaffected wall.

So tired of attempting share my work with other writers and never hearing anything back because their either too busy wrestling with their own angels or haven’t the good sense to allow outside voices inside their Wallace and Gromit heads.
Sick of fighting myself at every turn as I call everyone else out for the skeletons in their closets while refusing to open my own Pandora’s Box of transgressions and wrongdoings.
Ready and willing to go the distance once I’ve changed my shoes and made a real effort to destroy my bad attitudes once and for all.

Words like a trail of breadcrumbs lead me through a forest primeval of grim self- realizations.
Words exacting a toll that I find more and more perilous to wrap my creativity around as I sacrifice another precious memory to the great God Pan.
Words thrown out with both the baby and the bathwater as the next poem percolates and another cup of coffee grows taciturn.

Charles Cicirella

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Friend of Foe? (For James Michael Shepard)

Blank page friend or foe?
Typewriter keys friend or foe?
Intellect friend or foe?

“I'm nothing but a stranger in this world.”
I watched him perform “Astral Weeks.”
I watched him turn heavy feelings into brave clouds.

Ego friend or foe?
Principles friend or foe?
Intellectual property friend or foe?

I’ll never forget those railroad tracks on Maynard Avenue.
How at first they kept me up all night.
Then after a couple of days I couldn’t fall asleep without the clicking and clacking.

Inspiration friend or foe?
Creativity friend or foe?
Desire friend or foe?

He lived like a defrocked monk or damaged soldier.
He picked through the wreckage with a diddley-bow-sonic-screwdriver.
He identified with the Passion Play because he had nailed himself to his own “American Face” long before Forced Exposure shined a lightbulb on his swollen appetite.

Time friend or foe?
Madness friend or foe?
Life and death a necessary evil or just another guiltless pleasure?

Charles Cicirella

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Absorption & Abstraction

Listening to “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” and not giving a shit.
Jerry is singing and Bob is blowing the harp. It’s cutting through me like an old murder ballad.
James Brown is now singing “That’s Life” and it makes me smile from ear to ear. I feel like the Joker minus courtside seats.

Talked on the phone earlier with a friend. He was trying to tell me his philosophy on all things coming from the light, but I wouldn’t listen because "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
I will not allow the hate to consume me, but I will also not pretend everything is hunky dory when nothing could be further from the truth.
If there is a God then there is a Satan, it’s just the way it is because if anything is ever going to work out it must first be polished and then polarized by all forces both great and small.

I pulled myself over earlier for drunk driving and the crazy thing is I haven’t even driven a car in over twenty five years. I refused the breathalyzer and am now sitting in jail waiting for someone to post my bail. It’s really not all that bad except that I’m not at all comfortable taking showers with so many other men who may or may not actually be guilty of something. I know I must just keep saying to myself when in Rome, do as the Romans do as I grimace and take it up the ass.
Listening to “It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World” now and thinking about when James Brown fled from the cops high on PCP. Of course none of what I just wrote went down the way it was reported and the real facts are Brown was the one being harassed by the cops. This being one more example of not being able to believe anything that you read in the newspaper or see on TV.

I’m alone, but not lonely. I’m scared, but not afraid. I’m a coward, but not yellow-bellied.
I tried reaching out to you, but you wouldn’t give me the time of day or for that matter the benefit of the doubt and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
My voice continues to cry in the wilderness because even though I was once baptized I’m not sure how well it took or if the Holy Ghost and I ever really saw eye to eye on any of the truly important issues like absorbing and dispelling your enemies’ hate and loving free of abstraction.

Charles Cicirella

Monday, August 24, 2015

Moon over Miami or “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”

Sometimes I like to walk around the house squeezing one butt cheek and making popping sounds with my mouth.
Sometimes I like to think about sneaking up on you and surprising you by being someone completely different than the asshole you’re always expecting.
Sometimes I think about shaving my entire body and being the very first Jewish-Sicilian seal to crawl across this broken and defiled planet of ours.

We best go to Cuba right now before the spoils of capitalism reign down upon that small country like thunder and lightning from a very drunk and greedy God.
We best pull ourselves up by our bootstraps before the conservatives shower us with Judas kisses and betray all of our best intentions by being the assholes they always are.
We best not stop believing that the people can and will ready a militia and take down the sick fucks in power who think it’s completely acceptable to disenfranchise anyone who does not look like them or love like them or have the same color money as them.

Sometimes I like to parade around the house like some floozy from a bygone era when big hair was all the rage and being enraged did not land you in such hot water.
Sometimes I like to believe we’re all cut from the same dishcloth until I open my eyes to all of the pain and suffering too many are experiencing because too many people claim to be Christians, but act more like heathens.
Sometimes I think about moving to Denmark so I can once and for all let my guard down and be the freak I’ve always aspired to be.

We best get our ducks in a row because before you know it even Daffy and Donald are going to be sent to concentration camps. Their feathers singed from the gas as another Peking duck lands on the table of another unsuspecting American family.
We best do away with turning the other cheek and figure out some way to be stern without coming across like another schoolyard bully or dictator in waiting.
We best not give up our ghosts before we leave our own personal and indelible impressions upon this land of a thousand lakes and hills. I am Jack to your Jill or better yet I am Shirley to your Laverne and I have always understood you even when both of our chips were down and even a red hot poker would not completely awaken us from this hell on Earth.

Charles Cicirella

Klecko, Finley and the Infinite

Some people get it.
Others don’t.
This dynamic duo gets it in spades.

They bring the snap back to the chat.
The pork back to the pork pie hat.
The insanity back to the madness of creative otherness.

When they blew through Cleveland they offered an inflatable raft of good vibes to everyone in attendance.
There was nothing arid, dank or polluted to the delivering of their punchlines and poetry.
What if poets were just people and didn’t concern themselves with the cult of personality? That’s what I experienced as I watched, studied and drank in this Martin and Lewis comedy team and was reminded that the best poetry is always bare-knuckled and derives straight from the blood and guts of humankind.

Some people get it.
Others think they do and fail miserably as they slink along like a cheap knockoff of the Lizard King.
Nothing Klecko and Finley did was half baked and I believe that’s because their intentions were pure and their ingredients came directly from the creative zeitgeist and not from their peckers.

I feel very fortunate to have been present when they blew up Cleveland, Ohio.
There was nothing sinister, self-serving or politically motivated to the way they presented their fire and brimstone cantos to the rock and roll capital of the world.
What if poets were just people and when they stepped onto the stage they shared themselves with the audience and left the gimmicks and the hyperbole at home? That’s what I witnessed when this tent revival from St. Paul, Minnesota blessed us with their goodness and True Grit swagger.

They brought the sublime back to the ridiculous.
The mystery back to the Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.
The regal glow back to the faded love of yesterday’s gone by.

Charles Cicirella

Speaking Truth to Power

(For U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders)

This is what revolutions are made of.
This is what dreams are spun from.
Think Willy Wonka with a predilection for politics and loosening the stranglehold around our blue collar necks.

The press doesn’t seem to know what to make of Bernie because he has no hidden agenda or ulterior motives.
The press continues to underestimate Bernie because God forbid an honest to God grass roots movement takes hold and hope wasn’t just another commodity sold to the masses like heroin and Big Macs.
We the people like to pretend we’re for the little guy when actually the little guy was put out to pasture around the time that political correctness took us all hostage and former President Bill Clinton proved once and for all that lying to the American people was just another day on Pennsylvania Avenue.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders shows us you don’t have to be a political animal to go into politics.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders shines a light on the simple truth that each and every one of us experiences each and every day that we’re not getting even a smidgen of the pie that is supposedly our constitutional right.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is making it crystal clear that doing the right thing is still possible even in these ultra-violent days and nights where corporations are people and the people have had enough.

This is how it begins.
A new day. A new deal. A new reckoning.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is not your daddy’s or your grandfather’s politician.

Charles Cicirella

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dust, Oil and Gunpowder

I want to write about a tree.
Not any tree.
This is a particular tree.

I want to remove the gloves and say how I really feel.
Somehow capture when I was a kid on a Saturday afternoon and wanted to hang out with my dad, but my dad never seemed to have any time for me.
There’s dust, oil and gunpowder on these keys, but that is only because of all the killing these poems have a tendency of doing when the voices in my head get their way.

I want to write about a tree.
A tree whose war paint is not necessary because I know underneath it their inner child is naked and dancing in the sun.
This is a particular tree whose poetic branches exist in the past, present and future simultaneously.

Charles Cicirella

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Word Oxygen

(For Darin Bulai)

I need to get it out.
Each word another breath.
Each poem another chess move away from death.

Or am I like one of the tragic figures I so covet heading toward my own demise?
If I crash and if I burn before I write one great sentence will that make it more likely I’ll end up anonymous or even worse another popular slogan like Let It Be or Let It Bleed?
So many great expectations and grand illusions around every bow in the blacktop. 

I’m more out of sorts these days than I am out of the rain.
I am a shut-in really waiting for my next big break or actually my first big break.
I remember when I was fourteen years old working at the local McDonald's wondering if this was all there was and thirty two years later I’m still wondering the same fucking thing.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else.
Or more special or more deserving than anyone else.
I just know I have greatness inside of me and if I could just cut away all of the malaise and nausea there would be no stopping or slowing me down.

I need to set the record straight before all of the oxygen in the room is used up.
Each word another footstep.
Each poem another breath of life as I whittle away the exhaustion with sheer willpower and an inexhaustible belief that this cannot be all that there is.

Charles Cicirella

PB & J #2

I discovered Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and everything has changed.
I know you probably think I am making more out of this than I should, but I swear with Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter it’s not your grandfather’s PB & J or for that matter your father’s or even your second cousin’s twice removed.
We break into the smallest pieces and parts when we least expect it. I heard about Amazon’s horrific working conditions in their warehouses and I wasn’t surprised because slave labor still exists in America the Beautiful just like rampant racism still exists and sexism and a whole bunch of other isms like populism and extremism.

Oh who am I kidding? Populism really does not exist at least not in any relatable sense that could actually help the working poor become less disenfranchised.
Senator Bernie Sanders is called a socialist like it is some horrid affliction when in fact socialism makes more sense than this wretched state of affairs we call capitalism that capitalizes on nothing but making the ├╝ber-rich richer and the poor and the middle class no longer a part of the conversation.
Trump is a wolf in wolves clothing. If you like your politicians an odd white-pink hue who go on and on about how they must be right because they’re really rich, then by all means vote for the Donald, but keep in mind you asked for it when the US ends up in receivership and we would do anything to get into Canada or Mexico as our own country breathes its last entitled, exceptional breath and dies a paupers’ death.

I discovered Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and all was right with the world for about forty five delicious seconds. And that goes double if you toast the bread and mix Smucker's Concord Grape Jelly and Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves together.
We work in cubicles like Pavlovian rats as our "instinct for research" is rewarded with minuscule scraps of this and that. We hunger for more and more access before giving up the ghost, leaving nothing but a carbon footprint and a set of fingerprints that will land you in prison quicker than you can say habeas corpus.
Slather on the Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and let’s not forget nor forgive Iggy for breaking down our strongest walls with Raw Power and endless bouts of self-destruction and self-corrosion. I’ve recently decided I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton because though I recognize that all politicians are for the most part completely full of shit I have an even bigger problem with someone who is supposedly a dyed in the wool political animal and yet clearly does not understand that you’ll never come across as genuine when you’re anything but genuine and believe you are smarter than everyone else in the room.

Charles Cicirella

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Just breathe

I’m not taking nearly enough deep breaths.
I need to get out of this place.
There is no movement that can move me away from this self-induced paralysis.

How do I go about changing the story?
Maybe I’m just a pulp poet and all of the meat is rotting on the open prairie.
Let’s together develop a conscience and stop focusing on the color of our skin.

There’s no fortune cookie big enough to foretell all this pervasive hypocrisy.
You said you were good with words. I didn’t believe you. I still don’t.
I think you’re a lizard who’s too cool and slippery for their own good and if you take one more selfie of that rusty, unholy smirk I swear I’ll do more than just unfriend you.

No one ever showed me how to stop and smell the roses. I know that’s no excuse, but that’s all I got as I go down dying, wishing these aspirin would take away more than just this headache.
Here’s my latest excuse. Memory issues are getting in the way of my remembering to say I love you. I also am beginning to have a problem with brown food like my grandmother did when the Alzheimer’s took her away and returned a kinder, more forgiving stranger.

Just breathe or at the very least learn how to fake it as a perfectly good society crumbles around your feet and you’re left with nothing not even your wits or your mom’s recipes.
Just breathe and never forget we’re out here watching and sizing up your every move as you play the role of rock star goddess messiah and we acquiesce around your swishing hips and twist and shout blue thundering eyes.
I bought my ticket so for now I won’t complain, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy or pleased with all of this privilege people keep yammering on and on about that I cannot seem to get a hold of or for that matter find amid all of this white noise.

Charles Cicirella

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Exaggerations in Time and Space

It’s time I loaded the pipe and reminded myself why I called you here in the first place.
It’s time I wrote about blood and gore and stopped scrawling my name in the clouds.
I am sick and tired of starting every sentence with me and never getting to the meat and potatoes of you and all you had to offer before you were aborted and your stem cells were plugged into the scientific research grid.

My spacesuit doesn’t fit and when you said we would be hanging out in a space capsule I didn’t think you actually meant an honest to God NASA space capsule.
I have to leave the capsule if I want to change my mind and I don’t believe we’re getting anywhere on these negotiations when seeing eye to eye is becoming less and less likely and all you seem to want to do is order room service and complain about your prime rib not being nearly rare enough.
It’s time for another Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and Smucker's® Strawberry Preserves sandwich. It’s time you called my bluff and I took you from behind like a Standard Schnauzer.

Okay I am going to now cleanse the doors of perception so things appear as they are, infinite with no congestion or sinus headache to get in the way.
I believe I was 2 years old the first time I met Buddha. He was sitting by the side of the road and when I stopped and offered him a ride he said he’d pass because he enjoyed waiting. When I asked what he was waiting for he didn’t answer nor did he have to.
The second time I met Buddha he was the one in the driver’s seat and when he sped by without even slowing down I just smiled and kept sitting under The Bodhi Tree because I knew my journey had just begun.

Charles Cicirella

Saturday, August 08, 2015

It’s Not about Winning or Losing or even how you play the Game

I am not concerned about winning or losing or even how you believe I played the game.
I just stopped caring and I cannot explain that nor do I wish to explain it to you or even to myself.
He used to call her Tangerine. I was in the back seat when she gave him head. When she was getting out of the car I said something like thanks for the blowjob and he never spoke to me again.

Starting to realize all these years later that people around me took issue with how few showers I may have taken during high school. I don’t believe I was dirty, but once your personal hygiene is questioned everything else is soon placed under the microscope.
It’s funny to think how Lori Steiner had no problem messing around with Larry Turozy, but wouldn’t even show me her breasts one single time. And that includes the time she was drunk and called me over to her house to I guess tease me because she knew she still could.
Larry also dated Julie Balunek another girl I wouldn’t have minded messing around with. We cut school one afternoon and went over to John Dobeck’s house to watch Deep Throat but it didn’t go any farther than that.

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing or where my fingers may next land on this keyboard.
I will say it’s very strange writing about people I have not thought about in twenty plus years.
I’m completely in love with all of the uncomfortable places poetry oftentimes takes me and I do not understand why other poets choose to pull their punches instead of writing about what they know and obliterating themselves in the process.

Charles Cicirella

Scratching the Surface of the Sun with My Ape Fingers

Got to get back to that feeling.
There’s invincibility in these old bones.
I must learn to channel my inner orangutan.

Drinking instant coffee, downloading Bob Dylan audience recordings I may or may not ever get around to listening to as I try and remember a few choice lines from when I was sleeping.
My great ape brain is beginning to have holes in it like Swiss cheese that is $8.99 a pound, but is on sale this week for $7.99. That’s a savings of a whole dollar.
I will not forget you, but I wish you would stop contacting me. I cannot explain it, but something broke and there’s no fixing it no matter if you’re MacGyver or Bob Vila.

Got to return to that feeling of inspiration dripping from all of my orifices.
I need a box of tissues and a couple of beach towels just in case things get ugly and all of my bodily functions give out at once.
I must learn to surf the channels with more self-confidence. Spend more time with the actual journey itself and less time upsetting myself over where I might end up in the greater or lesser scheme of things.

Charles Cicirella

Sunday, August 02, 2015


I remember standing by the creek on Liberty
down where the cars could not see us
that is where I smoked my first cigarette
I think it was a Marlboro
and it didn't make me feel like a cowboy
no, it just made me feel dirty as I coughed
and pretended I wasn't new to all this cancer

Charles Cicirella


I met her and immediately liked her.
She helped prove to me that not all people on FB are just emoticons and silly ass stickers.
She also opened my eyes to fucking on Muppet sheets and that I’m not the only one who climbs inside of their writing and stays for a good long while because getting it just right is important in our land of no free lunches and welfare that in the end only benefits the rich.

I met her in Canton, Ohio.
She was featured. In fact she was the only poet that night who I could stand to listen to because I am funny that way and do not accept half measures from anyone because if you strive for only mediocrity then we cannot be friends.
Her husband is also someone who holds a special place in my heart. I even asked him to write a forward to a collection of my poetry because I found his feedback on FB not only insightful, but also helpful in a way that shows how genuine he is and that he’s not just saying nice things because he has nothing else to offer to the conversation.

We live in a world of buzz killers and shock jocks extraordinaire, but if you look closely and take the time to eat the flowers and not just smell them we also live in a world of open hearts and true romantics who everyday die just a little bit to help keep the rest of us just that much saner.
I have never lived in a closet nor have I ever used words as a shield because either I was too afraid to show the world just who I am and why it is I am here or because being realistic is easier said than done. I believe the reason I find myself connecting with Leah as much as I do is because she has also never closeted any of her fears and refuses not to show up simply because it may hurt too much or she may be asked to leave her comfort zone and right some honest to God wrongs.
Let’s get something straight right here and now poets are not just writers, but are in fact the conscience of the world. I refuse to mince any words when it comes to Leah Mueller and how she rocks my entire universe because she never fails to be a light in the darkness and a story whose chapter and verse will both enlighten you and make you laugh harder than you ever have before.

Charles Cicirella

i am still here

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Bad Cop, Bad Cop

Why do cops keep killing black people?
North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager firing several times at Walter Lamer Scott’s back while he's running away after the officer already had hit him with a stun gun. To make matters even worse, after he falls down the officer slowly walks toward Scott, who appears to be unresponsive, and places him in handcuffs. Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced contradicting his initial police report.
Or putting Eric Garner in a chokehold for about 15 to 19 seconds during an arrest even though he repeated at least eight times, “I can’t breathe.” The New York City Medical Examiner's Office attributed Garner's death to a combination of a chokehold, compression of his chest, and poor health.
Or the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. On November 24, 2014, it was announced that the St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson. On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting, finding that witnesses who corroborated his account were credible while those who incriminated him were not, and that according to the evidence, Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense.
Or the death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer because the officer thought he was holding a gun when actually he was carrying a replica of a gun, a Colt pistol that shoots plastic pellets. There was even a caller to Cleveland’s 911 system that had reported that the gun Tamir was holding was “probably fake” but of course the officers did not know any of this at the time. On June 3, 2015, the County Sheriff's Office released a statement in which they declared their investigation to be completed and that they had turned their findings over to the county prosecutor, who will review the report and decide whether to present evidence to a grand jury. In the aftermath of the shooting, it was reported that officer Loehmann, in his previous job as a policeman in Independence, Ohio, had been deemed an emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty.

I would say we need to put a stop to all of this killing, but it's becoming more and more apparent that black lives just do not matter as much as other lives and perhaps to the police they do not matter at all.
And now there’s the case of Sandra Bland who was found hanged in a jail cell in Texas three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. The family is ordering an independent autopsy to find out what really happened to the 28-year-old. Authorities claim that Bland committed suicide in their custody, but family members are skeptical.
So if you’re black, must you just accept that you’re born with a target on your back? Is this how we’re going to allow things to regress without even raising an eyebrow, realizing that there is something happening here and what it is has become altogether too clear?

And the grand juries and all of those supposed special investigations are not doing a damn thing to get to the poisonous roots of racism that have been embedded in our society since long before Jim Crow.
And I am not even sure what can be done about any of this other than continuing to ask the question, "Why do cops keep killing black people?" until we get an answer that confronts this issue and doesn’t just bury it.
We need to realize and accept that we’re all a part of this problem and stop shielding our eyes and pretending that we’re not all black in some facet or other and need to stand together as a united front against all of these bad cops who are murdering people in cold blood. This should not only be a black issue but should be a people issue concerning each and every one of us and until that happens we’re all fucked.

Charles Cicirella

Rice Krispies Parallel Universes

Took a shower.
Washed the stench off of me.
Washed the death off of me.

Thinking about micro penises.
Not mine just micro penises in general.
How because they’re micro they might just fit anywhere.

She asked me to keep the poems about her just between us.
Said she was worried about her reputation because she was new to the poetry scene and didn’t know how big this thing would get.
I am at a loss at how one poet can ask another poet to hide their light under a bushel.

Took a shower.
Washed the low expectations off of me.
Washed the crack of my ass and everything in between.

Thinking about her reading her poem about dog shit.
How she carried it off with such finesse and ample amounts of sonorous intensity.
She is one of a kind as I view her in my mind’s eye looking down at the micro casket.

She asked me and as she did so I could feel the inspiration dying on the vine.
She asked me as the pistol went off and one more self-effacing leading man died too young.
She asked me and it made me want to go out for Chinese food and forget about all of this bullshit that keeps us from connecting with our “Real Real Gone” selves.

Charles Cicirella


I’ve always found it interesting how toast can make you feel better.
I’m not at all surprised how Trump makes us feel bad because I believe he was built to bring the very worst out in all of us.
Someone needs to tell him his combover is not fooling anyone and if he really has as much money as he claims to then what’s wrong with being bald or heck even if he was broke I still think he should get rid of whatever that thing is on his head.

I like toast. I don’t like Trump. It’s as simple as that.
I would vote for toast over Trump any day of the week and thrice on Sundays.
I also think toast (even dry toast) is more interesting than Trump and I don’t care if he bullies me and makes fun of me because I am short or because I don’t have a job or because I live with my mother.
He’s a mean, arrogant, self-imploding crater of a man that is not proving anything of any real worth to anyone with even half a brain except that even with extreme wealth that doesn’t make you any less of an asshole and in his case, I think, it has made him an even bigger one.

Toast trumps Donald that’s all I’m saying.
And once you sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on a piece of buttered toast not only doesn’t Trump have a chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination he also doesn’t have a chance of me breaking bread with him any time soon.
And if you put a piece of Swiss cheese on a piece of buttered rye toast that is also a slice of Heaven, as opposed to Trump who even with the cheese would just come off even more overblown and full of shit.

Charles Cicirella

Threading the Needle

The words come or they don’t.
The moods come or they won’t.
And I have never been much of a stickler for sticking points.

I may be a maverick or perhaps I’m a rogue.
I could be a hopeless romantic or maybe just a hapless fool.
I cannot remember the last time I fumbled around for the light switch, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that long ago.

My new bifocals help me to see things more clearly.
My new bifocals help me to discern the dirt from the debris and the collateral damage from the religious extremists.
I’m never going to strap a bomb to my chest no matter how many virgins I’m promised in Heaven.

The sun rises and it sets.
The moon shines and it frets.
And I have never been crazy about going crazy unless it involves kicking off my shoes and running into the sea.

If you feel like threading the needle I’ll be just around the corner catching a smoke or eating some ice-cream.
If you decide enough is enough and it’s time to throw in the towel please ring me before you attempt to call God collect.
I am so tired of people leaving the building prematurely. Didn’t you get the memo that we are here for a reason even when or especially when we have no clue what that reason might just be?

Charles Cicirella

Gallagher, Wise and Cicirella

I don’t think it was lost on any one of us that we had turned onto a street with no outlet.
We’re men and we’re musicians and writers and artists and associate professors and librarians and some or none of the above.
And there were deer and barely legal women, depending on who you ask, and there was an overwhelming sense of finality to the goings-on that kept us walking and talking and thankfully kept us out of the deep, dark recesses of his bruised brain.
And I’m not a chain smoker and I’m not a chain anything, but if you would have ever bet me that Jim Pauley would one day buy a gun I would have lost that bet because I’m not a very good gambler and my poker face is right off of a Bozo the Clown most wanted poster.

And Gallagher cracked Wise and Wise cracked Gallagher and I stood by the side of the road watching the deer and the white billowing clouds in the blue hibernating sky and I didn’t want to turn around and I didn’t want to get in the car and I didn’t want to head home because I knew then I would have to accept he was never going to be seen or heard from again. And Wise squeezed my shoulders and we talked about ping pong or Donkey Kong and it didn’t even matter as long as we had gotten this far on our own two legs with a little help from our friends and we’re all going to die, but why did it have to be now and why did it have to be him and I know even Confucius would be stumped by these questions and I know I won’t like the answers because they’re steeped in black water that will never properly boil and a tea bag that just sits there giving you the most dispassionate look of utter resolve and unyielding determination.

I’m standing in a sculpture garden with sculptures all around. Some appear to possess great wisdom while others seem to not have a clue what’s going on. I cannot move. My legs feel like molten lead. You came up behind me and scared me half to death. You chuckled like you always did when you caught me off guard. And I just drank you in because it seemed like eons since the last time we talked and walked side by side down the long Hemingway Highway. You asked if I needed to sit down and catch my breath but I didn’t hear you because I had since turned into a sculpture and a couple of cardinals had built some fine nests in my sculpted ears. I’ll never forget when you breathed the breath of life into my weary and untethered bones and I will never be able to quite forgive you for leaving without saying one last prosaic and protracted goodbye.

Charles Cicirella

"Girl from the North Country"

Some connections are made in the stars before they ever touch down on Earth.
Some connections are a “Series of Dreams” and will outlast truth and a “Simple Twist of Fate” because that’s how God intends it to be and if you don’t believe, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” because omnipotence works in mysterious ways and star crossed lovers will always be star crossed just ask Vincent or Marilyn or Kurt Cobain if you don’t trust me.

I remember so much and I remember so little, but I definitely remember that night at Miggs when I was blasting Bob Dylan as I cleared the tables out front and you walked by. Everything stopped and I knew something was happening here even if I still don’t know what it is. The fabric of the universe was torn just a little bit apart as Bob offered communion and we accepted the round wafer as the music and the mayhem and his encouraging words washed over us and left us more whole than we had been before the song started.

I need to get these words down while I still can because I must try and reach you no matter how difficult that may prove to be. I have no idea what you’re feeling and I don’t envy what it is you’re facing. I know that you lost your best friend and that just stops me in my tracks because we should never lose our best friends no matter the circumstances. I am trying my best to write this poem because that’s what I do and I know you’re staring into the abyss and I know if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck, but with Jim that was never the case nor was it ever in fact true.

Jim was a troubadour of the highest degree. He was a wordsmith and a comedian and a sportscaster, but never an armchair quarterback. He brandished a letter opener instead of a sword and knew just when to twist the knife and when to pull back and allow the silences to make his points for him. He was a leading man and a character actor all rolled into one Norman Rockwell-Jackson Pollock painting. He made everyone around him feel smarter and want to be a better person and he left his mark but never bruised the orange or left teeth marks in inopportune places. He took clever to a whole other level, but was never a smart aleck and understood what it meant to leave well enough alone and to go your own way before you’ve either worn out your welcome or have too loudly blown your own horn. And I believe he knew more about love than all the songs he relished because he was full of heart and understood better than most what Dylan meant when he wrote and sang “How does it feel?”

Charles Cicirella

In the Garden with Jim Pauley

He had this irresistible wit that would have you laughing in the aisles while also waking you up to some painful truth.
I rarely look for another person’s acceptance and yet when it came to Jim I never wanted to disappoint him or feel like I had in some way let him down.
I’ve never been interested in sports, but for him I would do my very best to try and understand what was going on because it was something he was passionate about, and I wanted to share some of that passion with him.

Music was the bond we really had in common, and of course Bob Dylan was where he and I could meet and lose ourselves in hours of listening, savoring and getting it.
The first time I heard "Love And Theft" was with him and Jessica. I had been fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy, and there was no one I wanted to experience it with more.
I’ll never forget going into his bathroom and seeing the image of James Dean in jeans turned with his back to the camera and wondering what that was all about, but because it was in Jim’s bathroom, I went away thinking how cool that is.

I cannot believe that he is gone and that I am writing this poem.
It’s like a bad dream that I’ll never wake up from because who else would have listened to Tom Waits’ Mule Variations, commenting on how it’s an American classic and meaning it with such reverence and an understated regal charm.
I would say I’m at a loss for words, but I’ve said that before and no one would believe me anyhow, especially Jim. He always knew when I was bending the truth to cover the spread or when I had finally run out of gas and pulled over to the side of the road in order to catch my breath and find out what the score was.

You never judged me, and I am not going to sit in judgment of you now. First because it’s not my place and second because I had no clue about the hellhounds that were hot on your trail as the blues fell down like rain.
I just thank God we had those many nights at JR Miggs when nothing mattered other than Jeopardy and the next CD we listened to.
I will never forget hanging out with you and Rob afterhours and how for the first time in my life feeling like one of the guys as we sat around just shooting the breeze and not worrying about what tomorrow may bring.

I love you my friend and pray you’ve found some well-earned and well-deserved peace.

Charles Cicirella


I’ve written this poem before, but I thought I’d give it another go.
It’s not because the first one wasn’t any good, but when you hit upon something I figure why not keep hitting it until its dead.
Plus I don’t feel like writing another love poem right now and having someone comment that I need to get a girlfriend.

Why are people afraid of honesty?
Why are people made so uncomfortable from anything that touches them or awakens something inside that maybe they have not experienced in this lifetime?
Ghosts are people to and I think it’s high time we gave them the right to vote seeing how the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people and Republicans are doing their darndest to make it as difficult as possible for black people to exercise their right to vote.

I know some people will not be comfortable with that last line and I really could care less because this is my poem and I’ll make anybody uncomfortable that I choose to.
I once fell in love with a ghost. She was one heck of a looker but when it came to commitment she was terrible at sticking around and believed that she had the right to haunt anybody she pleased at any time.
We must come together before it’s too late and strike down all this hatred and ignorance and I am not just talking about taking down a flag, but really digging down into the trenches and asking ourselves the really tough questions like why we despise people that don’t look like us or pray like us or love like us.

I’ve written this poem at least a dozen times before and I’ll probably write it a thousand more and I’ll still not get it right because right and might, light or dark are so beside the point.
I am through with all of these lightweight people who haven’t got a clue what a blessing it is to be here among the thistles and the thorns.
It’s not like I am giving up hope or that I ever believed that hope equates fear, but at some point we all must give up the ghost and few of us will be able to control when we turn out the lights and never wake up again.

Charles Cicirella

What if greatness eludes me?

I know I possess greatness but what if it’s in my other pants?
The words are coming so fast what if I don’t get them all down or I put them down in the wrong order?
There's something happening here what it is ain't exactly clear and you don’t have to point out to me that that line is not original because I already know and I don’t care.

I fear no repercussions except for the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
I have no expectations except for the low expectations I wake up next to each and every afternoon.
Last couple of days I have been twitchy and I am not even sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I recently stopped smoking marijuana after smoking it every day for two or three month’s straight. Or maybe the plaque build-up in my brain is starting to cause more than just memory lapses as I become more and more aware of how important it is to get my thoughts down before thinking is no longer possible and drooling is the only task I’m capable of.

I know about destiny and fate and that luck as perverse as it may sound also plays its part before it’s too late.
I’ve also been told that hustling is important if you ever want to make it out of the gate.
What if greatness eludes me simply because I am too afraid to go without and that means leaving Cleveland, Ohio and going it completely alone with no safety net or close relations or friends to save me from the bitter taste of defeat and anonymity?

Charles Cicirella

Weather Report

Words fall out
All around

Words shoeless
Crush snow
Crash stained glass



Words drip

Words convey

Open horizons

Central cocoon

Charles Cicirella

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

You possess the words. They don’t possess you.
You possess something inexcusably tangible with every breath inhaled and exhaled.
Your writing didn’t just sneak up on me. No your writing gave me a swift kick in the butt and continues to do just that as I read it and consume it and devour it like carrion and tubers.

The talent does not possess you. You possess the talent.
The talent does not reap the rewards you do.
And if you’re doing it just right the rewards will be forgotten rather quickly because there are more poems to be written and fights against windmills to be waged.

You’re a super nova.
And you are the glory.
And I’m an asshole for questioning you in the first, second and third place.

You possess the power. The power does not possess you.
You possess a knockout punch and do it every time you press down the keys with your wiggly digits, knuckles and thumbs.
Your writing has sparked a revolution in our heads. It’s your poetic imagery that keeps us guessing and coming back for me. It’s the way you possess ghosts that scares every one of us to death because we know you’re onto something and are going to leave us in the Louisiana dust before it’s too late and the jury comes back with a non-guilty verdict.

Charles Cicirella


Laying down
Listening to the thunder
Thinking of you covering me with umbrella kisses

Standing up
Hanging onto your every whim and Whac-A-Mole diversionary tactic
Discerning just how real you are amid all the Mr. Fantasy politicking

We begin as milkshakes and if we’re lucky end up as root beer floats
I am jobless, nearly homeless and when it comes to self-preservation haven’t a clue how to keep myself from ending up living in a van down by the river
I desire to stick my circus straw in your funhouse of mirrors and rodeo mystique

I will never forgive Skittles for replacing lime with green apple
Skittles was never my go to candy and yet still on occasion I enjoy them and find myself missing lime like I miss consistency over profit margin
I will never forgive God for sacrificing his only son

Charles Cicirella