Monday, January 31, 2022

Stand Back I Don’t Know How Big This Thing Gets (For Provost, Sagan, Kesey and La Charity)

Our consciousness is not the problem.
Only when we’re unconscious do problems arise.
I’ve been writing stream of consciousness since the moon turned me from a werewolf back into a human.

Listening to Dylan because oftentimes he’s the only thing that cuts through the din.
Fourteen years old and my best friend had four legs. Dominic, Mark and Bobby wanted nothing to do with me.
Highway 61 Revisited came to me like a thief in the night and replaced my nightmares with dreams of alchemy and blood.

When Brautigan wrote about that hamburger, bullets and American dust I knew exactly where he had been and where he was going.
He gutted me like no fisherman ever has as Moby Dick calls out to me like a lost refrain from your favorite hymn.

Before you know it perhaps I’ll write my Requiem and then I’ll move to Big Sur and wait for California to fall into the ocean, it won’t be long now.
Our worst devils seems to be the only thing we’re listening to as scientific voices are drummed out by demigods and paper tigers.
Somethings you just cannot make up as parents sacrifice their children and raping and pillaging becomes a national pastime.

The writing on the walls has been scrawled over with snot and blood and even some semen to keep it fluid.
The drunken, football hoards are coming for us with their non-vaxxed status and a sense of entitlement that’s sickening to witness.
Why can’t we for once do the right thing instead of throwing around words like freedom and patriotism like they actually mean something? Fuck anybody who doesn’t believe in God and fuck everybody too stupid to do the right thing.

Charles Cicirella

Saturday, January 22, 2022


Put the words in the wringer and see how they turn out.
I don’t think you know how brave you are and I wish you did.
Our poetry is so different, but the dedication we both have for our crafts could be doppelgangers.

The other night on the phone you said you liked how I read my poetry and it filled me with so much joy I nearly burst.
I’m thinking now about the time you said you liked my growl. You cut through my defenses like no one else I’ve ever known.
I know you care very deeply what people think, but I also know you could give a shit less if someone doesn’t get you and that empowers you and I wanted you to know it has also empowered me.

Put the consonants and vowels in the blender and press all of the buttons at once as your poems paint murals of blood and fury on seething walls of infamy.
You once wrote a poem for me that was very different than anything else of yours I’ve ever read and I know that poem wasn’t your favorite, but it still sticks to my heart like warm goo.
You’ve never worn blinders when it comes to seeing the world for how fucked it is or believed that seeing through rose tinted glasses would solve anything.

Your stance on stage resembles some femme fatale singer from a punk band in the seventies.
I know it’s not about the performance for you and yet the way you spit out your poems never fails to stab me in the face with glitter and shards of stained glass.
Put the words in the wringer and stand back because your chemistry set poetry brings us all back to life.

Charles Cicirella

Friday, January 21, 2022

We all desire to be seen.

It’s not about fairy tales or lullabies.
It’s not about holding tight until the pressure breaks you down.
It’s not about withholding personal information because intimacy scares the hell out of you.

It is about being seen for who you are and for what you believe.
It is about letting down your hair even if you don’t have any.
It is about your drumbeat being heard over the din of melancholia.

We all desire to be noticed even if the odds seem stacked against us.
We all desire to be at peace even if the headstones are uncomfortable against our sleepy noggins.
We all desire to be loved even if love appears out of reach and it has been decades since someone has said those words to you.

Landing the biggest fish in the pond is never what’s important.
Pretending you’re someone you’re not will only vanquish your most secretive of imaginings as night comes on like a slave trader.
The music inside my heart speaks loudest when I’m alone because getting on with people has never made much sense to me.

The light at the end of the tunnel makes up for lost time when hope stops equating fear.
We must forgo the voices inside our heads telling us not to try and accept chaos as a friend and not as an enemy.
Self-love and self-acceptance are the only drugs we need to get us completely wasted and lost in the tendrils of the sun.

Charles Cicirella

I Can’t Remember if I Took a Shit Today.

I can’t remember if I prayed.
I can’t remember if there’s a mask in my pocket.
I can’t remember if that condom from 1984 is still in my wallet.

I can’t remember if I loaded the chamber with actual bullets and not more Alec Baldwin blanks.
I can’t remember if I told her I loved her before I broke her heart.
I can’t remember if I’m still using the excuse that I’m an artist or if I’m finally admitting I am a scumbag.

I can’t remember if I cleaned the air fryer.
I can’t remember if I spoke out of turn for the millionth time.
I can’t remember if I looked back and if I did why I’m not now a pillar of Morton’s Salt.

I can’t remember if I shook it enough or if my boxers will again smell like pee.
I can’t remember if I closed your eyes after you breathed your last stuffed animal breath.
I can’t remember if it was me or you who decimated the mini bar and who really cares when neither one of us has a proper credit card to cover it.

I can’t remember if I paid the ferryman of Hades or if I still owe Death for all of my many misgivings.
I can’t remember if my passive aggression is warranted or if I’m just another prick who cannot find a sheath to fit into.
I can’t remember much of anything and that’s after I stopped smoking pot and gave up all the many crutches that only hold you back from meeting your destiny head on.

Charles Cicirella

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

We stand to lose everything.

It’s right there in front of our faces
Life eternally present until it’s not
We mustn’t get too caught up in the details if we wish to seize the day and not make a mess of everything

These words are for you because I couldn’t afford flowers
I offer you my soul and I pray it’s enough
The truth is I’m not much of a romantic, but I am hopeless

Editors cannot figure out the line breaks in my poetry
It’s a headache having to redesign their small pages with my large thoughts
In this same building over twenty years ago Jim Murray read me back one of my poems and he hit every mark

That was the same apartment building where I first saw Last Tango in Paris and Dylan’s masterpiece Renaldo and Clara
I’m no happier than I was then and in fact I believe I’m even worse off
I finally picked myself up and moved to Columbus. I wonder what major move I’ll need to make now to stop feeling so numb

It’s right here for the world to see
A bloody pageantry of fists bumping and tongues wagging
A calliope of worthless tropes and memes burying us in endless silences

These words are for you because it’s easier to pick myself apart than pick out the perfect gift
My mother always said not to bother buying her anything for her birthday and she meant it
I believe that’s because my mom had expensive taste and knew nothing I could afford she’d want.

Charles Cicirella

Ghost Memories

Living ghosts linger on longer than dead ones.
Trauma is a drug we cannot get enough of.
America is on its knees, gun in mouth, taking it willfully up the ass.

Wearing slippers from Aldi’s; discovered socks are not necessary and my feet can now breathe.
Who doesn’t want Puff the Magic Dragon as their friend? It all makes sense when an imaginary beast befriends you.
Let’s stop futzing around and accept if we don’t push back, the basket of deplorables will continue to consume us and in the end we’ll be worse off than a cadaver.

We must up the ante and accept it’s not house money we’re playing with. We’re all in jeopardy if we don’t soon see the forest through the trees and listen more closely as a bear takes a healthy shit on our faces.
Living ghosts have their regrets, but it’s nothing compared to our many regrets as we turn a blind eye to another priest or celebrity whore diddling our children for sport.
We’re the ones to blame if we continue allowing all this slipshod shit to seep through the floorboards as we pretend all is well and a virus isn’t coming for us all.

This land was never our land and the proof in the pudding contains so much high fructose corn syrup our children become junkies even before the methadone clinic can open for business.
Why does no one want to admit what Kobe Bryant did and does his legendary status really give him a pass for demanding that chopper to go up, killing everyone, including his own daughter?
We mustn’t govern by focus group if we ever want to make any real headway and finally find out what happened to Virginia Dare.

Charles Cicirella

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Real Beat (For Ralph)

Known him longer than either one of us would care to admit.
Known him since time bled from its many cuts and no civil servant could cauterize the wounds.
We’re old dogs who have always understood that the sacrifice is eternally baked in.

It wasn’t the alcohol that killed Jack, but instead his aspirations to write the great American novel.
When he was labeled a Beat he knew that was a death sentence he’d never shake off.
We now look at the Beat Movement as quaint when nothing could be further from the truth.

Poets nowadays celebrate their non-compliance to the muse which is precisely why none of them write from inspiration and instead get lost in the ironweeds.
I’ve blown my horn from time to time and all it has gotten me is a crick in the neck and my own well-earned disrespect.
Ralph bellows from the rafters like a blown out Tarzan that has always known the jig was up.

It’s not about pointing fingers, but is instead about doing the actual work and turning one’s back on all the asinine accolades piled up and ready to be set ablaze.
We must accept we’re castaways, long exiled from a community of do-gooders who do nothing but pass judgement and massacre the innocent.
We’re old dogs that believe pomp and circumstance will get you five to ten in a mass grave of Dharma Bums that go pop in the American night.

Charles Cicirella

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Exceptional (For Johnrick Hole) 

I want to write a poem that’s exceptional.
I’ll probably fail, but for Johnrick Hole I’ll take my chances.
The alphabet haunts me like Oswald haunts Camelot.

Doing my best to wash the white off of my hands because none of our lives matter if just one of us dies in vain.
Can you imagine someone dying over an air freshener or a broken taillight? Why are so many cops racist and how can any one of them look in the mirror and not cringe?
This isn’t a soapbox I’m standing behind nor is this a chip on my shoulder. I just think if you’re going to do so many poetry events you could feature Cleveland poets other than yourself.

I want to delve further back in my mind than I’ve ever gone and witness the Big Bang for all its shock and awe.
I bet it was like Brando on the set of Apocalypse Now, but leaner and willing to take direction.
Do you remember the forts we’d build as children and how an entire afternoon could be lost in mere sheets and blankets?

When Johnrick goes out of his way to share one of my poems on Facebook I’m left speechless and not only because no one bothers with poetry these days, if they ever did.
I know he means it as a compliment, just like the time he stepped up for me at Milo when I was being railroaded for being a red hot lover.
Johnrick Hole is the kind of friend everyone needs because he doesn’t sugarcoat anything or leave a person out in the desolate and unforgiving cold.

Charles Cicirella

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

It’s a losing proposition.

Delving into others’ souls and expecting even a twinge of acknowledgment. Forget about it.
I cannot listen to any more excuses as I try to navigate a globe of self-introspection and self-doubt.
Thinking you have a real connection with someone will always bite you in the ass because even real people are rarely present.

Learned a long time ago even being the bigger person doesn’t mean the plank you’re walking is a two way street.
That goes double if your intellect is as sharp as a hatpin, popping everyone’s vapid balloon of snapdragon synergy.
Your intentions may be the gold standard and still alchemy ain’t for losers in a metaphysical world of don’t you dares.

Touched the hot stove at my Aunt Hilda’s and though I remember how my finger hurt I still oftentimes will jump into the flames because a curious cat will never learn to steer clear from another’s bubbling cauldron of duress.
Call it reckless or careless behavior while I believe I have a calling having everything to do with pressing my ear against the wall of a humanity forever bleeding and breeding discontent and misinformation.

It’s a losing proposition walking out onto the edge and actually expecting anyone to notice the grand and oftentimes stupid gestures you make.
Doctors may have a God complex while poets have a people complex meaning they will attempt to connect with people who want simply to be left alone.
I knocked on the door and when there was no answer I scurried away like a king rat or great magician.

Charles Cicirella

Friday, January 07, 2022


I write from pillar to post and this poem’s for you
I hope that doesn’t piss you off too much

Met you were you were 18 and you’ve never liked me
Never quite sure why, but I’ve always figured it is what it is

Your parents have always been two of my favorite people in the world
Your father never failed to make me laugh and your mother is someone I’d defend to my death

Even when push came to shove I wouldn’t tell you off because I don’t believe that you deserve it
The poetry is what sustains me as I breathe art like oxygen

I wanted to do something nice for your birthday and I hope this poem finds you well
I know I’m playing with fire writing you these words and I pray I don’t get too badly burned.

Charles Cicirella

Mother and Child

Radiant beauty
Bejeweled starlet
Mother lioness

Child of consciousness
Wide awake to the world
Taking it all in for the first time

Teaching him right from wrong
Showing him unconditional love
Two humans glowing and growing

Charles Cicirella

I Know I Have Greatness Inside of Me.

Possibilities endless once you turn your back to the crowd.
Everything tied up with a nice neat bow isn’t how things work in an unhinged world with so many selfish people.
You’d think at this point we’d have reached herd immunity for stupid, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Art for art’s sake is all she wrote no matter the conditions, no matter the cost.
Sounds noble when in fact it has nothing whatsoever to do with nobility.
Chivalry isn’t dead it just lies dormant waiting for the sleeping tiger to perish in the acid rains of sputtering forethought.

Woody Guthrie was a traveling troubadour giving hope to the poor just like Robin Hood and Betty White.
The Golden Girls are all now gone because God needed a laugh after so many cold winters abroad.
I know I have greatness inside of me, but trust me I’m not bragging because with greatness comes responsibility and sacrifice.

Hemp is no longer something I rely upon because I must hunker down and focus on the task at hand.
We must work our fingers to the bone as our intellects trade punches with an invisible champ and we refuse to take another dive.
Living by your wits is nothing like living by the grace of God; just ask the birds and the fishes and the monsters underneath your bed.

Endless possibilities come knocking like Martin Luther’s 95 Theses nailed to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church.
My mother said I suffered from delusions of grandeur which I believe is better than suffering from delusions of mediocrity.
Nothing is worse than people being handed the keys to the kingdom and settling instead for more strife and a paradise lost in the wreckage.

Charles Cicirella

Monday, January 03, 2022


Stand still.
Hail stings.
Phone rings.

She stood there naked.
A ball of light shown down.
Absolute beginners choking on this nativity scene.

Landlocked like a hermit crab or suburban night crawler.
Talked to Juliet on the phone the other night and I asked her to write a poem about the disposal of my mother’s ashes.
We’re poets and we know it and we could care less what you think of our words covered in dog shit and sardonic whimsy.

We made so much noise that Tom and Linda complained. Of course that’s only because neither one of them was getting any.
It was another time when Grandview didn’t seem so small and I still believed in something.
We could have lit the world on fire, but decided instead to go to McDonald’s where Juliet ate her McNuggets in order of their worthiness.

One night I woke up and she was watching me.
I’ve written about this before and I’m still shocked.
I believe she was just stunned by how quiet I am when lost in dreamland.

Stand tall.
Sun warms.
Phone whirrs.

Charles Cicirella

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Obliteration (For Joni)

Picks up the paintbrush and paints our psyches
The sacrifices she makes for her heart - art you’ll never understand
The life of an artist is a lonely one. Just ask Vincent

We talked on the phone recently, and for the first time I was scared because I heard a terror in her voice I’ve not heard before
We thumb our noses at God, but it does us no favors except damn us to another decade of pointless puzzle solving
Joni knows the secrets of the past because she works only in the future

Was fired from some bullshit dollar store for stealing tampons, but we both know the truth is stranger than that
The reality she brandishes leaves everyone in the cowboy dust, and that goes triple for anyone who underestimates her fairy spirit
We got reacquainted in, of all places, a Greyhound bus station in Indiana. I’ll be forever grateful for that fateful meeting

Walks onto the open stage and delivers a song about Crazy Horse that brings people to tears as Joni takes away our emotional cobwebs
As funny as they come when she is comfortable in her surroundings
I wish she could find a home and that her holocaust mind stopped giving her lemons

The life of an artist is something no book or movie will ever adequately capture
The nobility of a creative soul is lost in the cremation ovens of the status quo
Joni picked me up so long ago, and I pray she never puts me down.

Charles Cicirella

Holly Goddess II

The line has been drawn in the sand
The die has been cast
Loneliness mustn’t become our national pastime

Living is easier said than done, death a mystery we mistake for the unknown
Think about before you were born
Think about the lasting impressions made when we own up to our shortcomings and admit we’ve been defeated by our own self-doubts

The blood on our hands is not a metaphor and the red paint my grandpa covered everything and anything with doesn’t excuse the mistakes made when we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear
We connect because neither one of us will accept anything less than the truth when everything is on the line and the lions outside of the library refuse to check out any more knowledge to us

Even Bogie and Bacall hit a rough patch every now and then and alcoholism was definitely a factor as was the life of two Hollywood legends being placed under a microscope and dissected for sport
What if we disconnected ourselves from past traumas and did our very best to squash the little voices in our heads, feeding into all of our insecurities?
What if we braved the cold of a last cigarette and stopped pretending we had all of the answers and a winning lottery ticket?

The line of residual guilt exhausts folks like us as we delve deeper into the fondness of fondue and the heartbreaking moment we realize we’re lactose intolerant
The die-cast toys only remind us how fragile we all are when everything is crashing and burning around us and our inner strength calls in sick for five days straight
I’m not interested in rounding the bases if I’m returning home to a partner I barely recognize.

Charles Cicirella