Category Archives: Baltimore


Just kind of had some fun with this commentary. Still needs work and I got lazy and didn’t do a fourth verse, but here it is from March/Nov 2014

What if mermaids poured down
from the sky into Baltimore Street?
Fins flapping
Flopping as they land.
And they crawl away in search of water
anything wet…mist, puddles, the ocean…
How long would they survive?
From the middle of the city to wherever
they could drag themselves
breathing heavily, short breaths
the gills in their neck, panicking the scales
leaving shimmering slime behind
as they crawl down Charles St
towards the harbor
ignoring the shouts all around,
“Don’t go there! The water will kill you!”
It’s a risk to try.
Or not to.
What would you do, if you were a mermaid
landing desperate in Baltimore?

A pulp of orange
pumpkins turned jagged-teeth men
or witches, cats, aliens,
an unusual likeness of Elvis
sit wondering on St Paul, waiting for what they’ve heard
will be the night of nights
what they’ve been grown for
will glow for.
What would you do as you sat with a candle in your head
knowing – because you’ve heard –
that tomorrow you’ll still sit here. Your hat burned.
Your hate brimming? because you’ve heard
that soon your mouth withers, wrinkles, wraps around
your teeth and eyes, sinking in to cement steps.
And you’ll still sit here.
And sit here.
And sit here. Still on St Paul.
But on that night, would you refuse to glow as high candied legs
yell “Trick or Treat!”?
Would you straighten up proud of the carves and scars
that will rot tomorrow anyway?
Would you think why not shine?
Do you feel a choice inside?
Until a good child gone costumed stomps down. Hard.

Standing strong against the sun
snowmen, bravely hold out their skinny stick arms,
giving the world a high-five. Or the finger.
Some just want to be left alone –
to freeze (for what they may imagine) forever
What would you do if you knew?
Maybe you would want freedom – to melt
in your own way. Maybe head first
or you’d let the left belly-roll slide off.
It all flows back in to the ground. Or the gutter.
How would you withstand the heat,
knowing – against hope – that spring was inevitable?
Would you slip into oblivion? Silent?
Or protest on the corner of North Avenue, as you stood there
until your mouth melted.

Then there’s Spring.



The List

Today. Of all Days.
She’ll end her day with a Missed Connection.
Correction: Poor Souls Reaching Out to Rich Souls

To feel better? Or feel
less through this voyeuristic, vicarious life. “Sorry I stared, but…” She can only hope Georgia returns to Cross Street Market or remembers what Dan was wearing.

Where Vacation Rentals promise tempting retreats – rich souls reaching out to lonely souls, as if it was hard enough to find some one to replace those memories in the “Florida Oceanfront Condo” in “Ormond by the Sea”.

I’d rather “Get my dream rental today”.
Be careful of scammers. During vacations.
During moving sales. Taking
advantage of the eager 20-something Mary Tyler Moore coming to the brave new city finding the perfect Beautiful Rental Townhome w/ Renovated High End Kitchen. Must See!


And well, once she’s found the perfect “Maybe Come By and See” sublet, her life has a For Sure Need to be filled with bikes, boats, books, tickets and tools for in the Spendthrift’s Bible, Matthew’s counterpart (“for sale by dealer”) will somehow make it necessary for a Stand-Up Freezer, but she’ll buy a Bread Maker instead for the sake of the memories kneaded.

The smell that suddenly permeates her senses through the glow of the Apple computer.

Who would not need a Sunbeam Bread-maker that makes a 2 pound loaf? This For Sale by Owner because he or she (probably them?) are Selling Due To Move Overseas. Was that over-share really necessary?

And a great sigh cycles and bakes deep in her stomach, releases the discontent, slowly.

Back to Clicking and Browsing.

If she were an artist, perhaps her space may have room for Figure and Fine Art Nude Model For Hire. Does Wanderlust count?

Or just lust.

So much loss and loneliness all over the world. Capitalized on. For hire? Seeking and Selling. Weighs down heavy like the long numbered e-mail addresses made for not-remembering.

Reminders to Remember that Communism In Full Strength Capitalism on Brink of Collapse.
She’ll keep her Rant to herself.
So many people afraid and only brave enough to throw opinions over the other side of the wall without seeing if they catch or cure.
Obama to Sign Small Arms Treaty.

“Not mine.” This aloud and disappointed.

If the artist thing won’t work, she’ll collect herself through the fog of Fahrenheit Four-Fifty-One Furniture.
Books and Antiques for Sale, ingenuity disguised in delicate scruffs, scuffs – perhaps that Antique Stoneware Butter Churn for two-hundred and fifty dollars will make a decoration next to the IKEA bookshelf
(in the discontinued – but rather snazzy – dark gray color)
which will hold the third-to-new Brides Book: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING MARRIED. Great Condition.

Ex-fiancee. Not so much.

In the end, can she solemnly swear that she is at least 18 years old and will flag as “prohibited” anything illegal or in violation.
She can.
And only flags her tired skepticism. Making a note of it. Price-tagging it. Buoyed slightly (though suddenly) by the fact that Katey found Gregory Hayden’s wallet.

Could she be the violation? Peering through the tiny 3-sentence windows into worries, needs, positions, Chances in a Lifetime, quavering moments when so many believe this is IT: “To the woman at the Alliance Mailing House, I wish I had the courage to ask you too dinner”.

Odds are a million to one…That she’ll see it. That you will. That she will say ‘yes’.

It’s tempting to flag him. Just out of spite at the one odd. But instead, one more entry: For Sale: One Computer. One bitten Apple. Still Good. Just Need to Get Away.


Would she…?

Suppose she shuts the lid? Snaps it shut. Would they all still exist? The Gorgeous Tame Female Ball Python, Improv Troupe, The Music Ensembles for Events-Parties-Weddings, the Cartoonist.

Suppose the line draws? The lid shuts? The strings clamp? The Molecular Monitoring pauses, erasing the Words in 1998 font, frozen in time.

Erasing her.

Suppose she lays down and folds her arms and closes the lid?


On Nov 8, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Working where I do, we are surrounded by the news, and  it’s easy to become numb to the numbers. But today, seeing pictures, reading almost-surreal first-hand accounts of a devastated place half way around the world, a couple thoughts came to me…

Typhoon Haiyan

You know what I can’t imagine?
Waiting for that storm to hit.
Feeling like you can’t do anything else – but
perhaps, if you dare,
And just wait.

And knowing that the odds are against you.
Against your whole community.
Knowing you or your neighbor will be the one washed away.
And if it’s your neighbor,
You’ll be walking by his body in just 24 hours,
But relieved that you’re alive.

Or will you be?

And so you sit and wait and only hope.
As the winds get stronger.
As the rain falls harder.

Is there a calm that falls on you, like an eye
In the middle
or right before?

Or maybe I’d want to shout,
“Typhoon Haiyan – WE SALUTE YOU! Bring your rage on!”
But it would do no good.

Bravery and death
have no correlation.
And the only question I have left now is…
Did prayers?

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“It’s raining in Baltimore…”

Another Baltimore one – appropriate for the recent weather here:

Pounding rain
Drops from the Harbor into the air
a veiled curtain to all the sounds and thoughts

the puddles
Swirl into oil and grease and trash and blood
the mist reaches cool fingers
into collars of jackets

Umbrellas parade
Down Pratt St
shivering bodies holding wet cardboard
ask for change, better lives

Slick crackly sounds
rush by my window
Joining the slow drips on the leaves

This is the rhythm of Baltimore’s rain.

If a kite can go higher

up the sky

or even off the ground

the wind would make a flyer out of me.

If you could love me strong enough

teach me not to flee

but how to fly

then you could make a lover out of me.

Highs and lows

dips and gos

both the same

both insane

If you will be the flyer

and if I was the kite

I think I’m finally ready

to take that faith-filled flight

The Basilica

A year ago, I moved into the city – which prompted a deluge of writings on Baltimore. Here is one of them:

The Basilica
The fallen and felled
Rise up row upon row
The basilica stands tall and weeps

The savvy businessman
Between Charles and Light
Calmly tours the buildings and streets
Then home to his
Columbia, Towson, and White.
As into the city, the darkness will creep.

The Basilica stands
Way up on the hill
Lifting her skirts, exactly just so
Prominently hidden
She looks on as she weeps,
For her Constellation dying below.

The checkered blocks of rich and poor
Meld into rings and tears and plight
Somehow far away
The deciders and quakers
Close their ears, close their eyes
Tight. Tight. Tight.

And the Basilica turns
Quiet and still
No longer weeping
from her view on her hill.
– Oct 24, 2009