Monday, December 23, 2013

Nothing to hold onto but us

She and I would often turn to each other when the loneliness in our heads and our hearts became too much for us to bear. Armed with a couple of six packs and an eight ball, we decided we'd escape Christmas Eve together.

We went out to a dive bar in my neighborhood on the Upper Westside. A few other lost souls were there trying to do their best to remember to forget. In between beers and trips to the bathroom, we sat and talked about our dreams -- the ones that had gone unfulfilled and the ones we'd turned our backs on. 

We were there to rescue each other from ourselves for a few hours. After drinking and snorting our way to oblivion we went back to my place and had sex the way only the truly detached can. We did our best to please ourselves and occasionally acknowledged the other one on top or bottom. Then we passed out. I didn't go to sleep in those days. I passed out and came to. 

The next morning we did sober what we did drunk. Then we went to the Broadway Diner for breafast. It's a little greasy spoon on Broadway and 101st that somehow survives. We ate breakfast and talked about how the next year would be different. We probably knew it wouldn't but it always felt good to look ahead, especially because there wasn't much to look back on.

That night was almost a decade ago. My days of running to a bottle or a baggie to escape myself are long gone. I'm not some saint now. I'm still struggling in many ways and always will be. The only difference is now I'm more conscious and accepting of it. I'm six garbage cans and five lids. I still don't think I'm lovable or worth love, but I don't quite hate myself so much. The end I had written for myself isn't in the cards right now and I'm good with that.

I realize this isn't exactly a feel good Christmas Eve story. Still, I have nothing but fond memories of that night. 

Just two lost people clinging to each other because there was nothing else to hold on to.

** Loyal readers (there are three of you) may recognize that I've written on this night before. I guess it stays with me).  Here is a link to an earlier take on that night that is a tad more descriptive.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I've got a stack of books by my bed. A pile of DVDs in front of the TV. A Netflix subscription and iTunes.

And yet if I did nothing but watch Seinfeld reruns for the next week, I'd be happy. 

Prison Break

I'm sitting here listening to Stevie Nicks singing Landslide. It makes me sad. That's OK. I want to feel right now. I want to feel sad. I want to feel tears falling down my face. I want to think about sad things.

It's OK to do that. It's OK to feel grief. It beats trying not to feel at all. I've done that way too long. It served me well once. It protected me for many years. But no more. My protection has become my prison.

And I need to break out.


I have plans for Christmas Day.
That means no one has to worry about me on Christmas Eve
Because I hate breaking plans.


Looking for the next one to run from
Searching for someone to love
All that's bad inside me
So I can chase them away
Come closer
You must know I won't stay
Be nice to me
And I'll find a reason to push back
Treat me well
And I'll take you to hell

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shadow Break Me

I was going to try to write a poem, but you know what? Fuck it. Enough with the using poetry to try to make you figure out what's going on. I'll just say it.

The anniversary of my mother's death is creeping up on me. She died in February, but it was January that she went into the hospital. It was actually the day after my birthday that she was found collapsed on the floor of her apartment. We sent someone in to check on her after she didn't call me on my birthday.

I knew something was wrong when she didn't call. I called and left messages. I also tried to persuade my brothers to check on her that day, but they waited until the next day. I'm a little mad about that although I don't think in the end it made much of a difference.

Anyway, after she was found, she went to the hospital. I rushed home. The first week was rough. Then she got a little better and I returned to LA. I wanted to come back again but my brother thought she was showing signs of improvement and suggested I wait. A few days I got a call saying I better come back now.

I'm mad about that too although I'm more mad at myself for that one. I could have and should have come back. Actually, I never should have left. I was there for two of the three weeks she was in the hospital but alas the week where she was most talkative and in good spirits I wasn't there.

When I did return that Saturday night, she was fading. She knew I was there and I think she also knew that the clock was running out. She entered the unconscious world on Tuesday (I think) and was dead by Thursday -- Valentine's Day.

So yes, my birthday and Valentine's Day will now be memories of my mom's death.

That's OK, I was never too fond of either of those days.

I didn't really get to say goodbye. Does anyone? I know in movies and books there are those beautiful moments where one says goodbye to a loved one. I'm sure it happens in real life but not this time.

And that's on me. I could have said something or sought some closure but I went into shutdown mode. I had to, it's what my mom taught me.

She once wrote in a letter to me:

“By the time I was three or four I knew never to cry about anything, including pain. I’m not trying to arouse sympathy; I’m trying to explain why I must have seemed remote and detached (probably still do) to all of you. It was a survival technique, that’s all, and once mastered it’s difficult to shed.” 

Indeed it is.

But the shadow may break me yet. God I hope so.

Deep Thoughts

When I first watched the movie "Sideways" in 2004, I thought it was a compelling story of two men at  a crossroads in their lives looking for answers.

Almost a decade and eight sober years later, I realize it's actually just a move about a couple of drunks on a road trip.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Loose Thread

Sooner or later we will cross paths
Can't keep avoiding the inevitable
Missed each so far, but that won't last
Honey would it really be so terrible?

Don't know why you turned on me like you did
Never saw it coming, and it's still got me on the ground
But I really just want to get that moment over with
Because otherwise I'll just keep going round and round

Can't keep replaying every day in my head
Just keeps me away from what's real
I know you think I'm just dead
Another heart you were able to steal

Just want to see that vacant look in those eyes
That plastic smile on your face
So I'll for sure know you're full of lies
And then I can get you out of my space

But until that moment comes you live on
In my heart, in my head, in my soul, in my bed
Even though for you I've been a longtime gone
I still carry you like a loose thread

It's ready to be pulled and unravelled
Leave me like a puddle on the floor
Funny how you friend those with which I travelled
Trust me, they're all that you're not and more

Can fool me but you're not fooling her
So just take the knife out of my back
You won, I'm not trying to lure
Don't need to be reminded of what I lack

You never looked the same in any photo
That should've been my first clue
That something about you just didn't go
That something about you just wasn't true

Nowhere to roam

Need to be somewhere
Where I can feel like I'm nowhere
And know everyone else feels the same
Back where we're all together in being alone
Return to those dark streets
And those dark bars
And those grim days
And those lost nights
And those rent a girls
And those cheap delights
And that magic sense
That I'm throwing it all away
Nowhere to roam
Just me alone
Waiting for a lifesaver
That never comes

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It Never Came

Came up from the subway
To a sky filled with smoke
Saw those guardians fall away
And with them all hope

A beautiful blue day
Full of blood and tears
Couldn't even think to pray
Just walked toward the fear

People running lost
People running blind
People running scared
People running out

Took three more days
For the skies to open and shout
And the rain came to stay
To finally put that fire out

Memorial at the end of my street
Filled with stuffed animals and flowers
Looking for some sign of peace
In that darkest hour

But it never came

Sunday, December 1, 2013

So Much For Being Pro Choice

So since I no longer meet girls the old fashioned way -- through drunken one night stands, I often find myself trying online dating.

Fear not, this isn't going to be one of those stories. I just thought I'd give you a little idea of what it is like to be in this particular hell.

If a woman I write is not interested in getting to know me I would rather she just not write back. No need to send me a note explaining you don't think we'd be a good "match." Your non-response is message enough.

But this particular woman did feel a need to drop me a line on why we wouldn't be good together.

She wrote: 

"Don't think we'd be a match because I don't like making choices on where to go, etc."

It took me a little awhile to figure out what that response meant. Then I remembered that in the Match profile there is a question about "Favorite Hot Spots." I wrote, "Once I find my match, she can choose where we go." 

It was a throwaway line meant to show that whatever she wants is fine with me and I'm more interest in who I'm with than where I'm at. But apparently for some, just the idea of choosing a place to have a cup of coffee is just too overwhelming in this crazy world. 

Woody Allen was ahead of his time with this scene from "Annie Hall." 

How'd They Know?

I was driving on Westwood Blvd. tonight and a sign said, "Rocky Road Ahead."

I think they're right.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

So Very Empty

Found myself thinking of those last days.
You in bed and me at your side
Feeding you, putting vaseline on your dry lips
Bringing the water cup to your mouth for a sip
Wish I had said more.
You taught me how to shut down so long ago
That I couldn't break free when it mattered
Learned all that from you
And now it is tearing me up
Don't remember when exactly you slipped away
Or what the last words were, yours or mine
Kept dying a secret as long as you could
Until you finally gave out
Now I don't know what to do with these feelings
My emptiness is now so very empty

Your Lover

Got your two bottles
A different store every day
Not that anyone cares
But you need to keep up appearances
Maybe buy some nuts too
Make them think some friends are coming by
Even though the only friends you have
Are those bottles in that bag
And they don't care who knows
That tonight they're your lover
And tomorrow they'll be gone

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4 AM
The only noises are the voices in my head
And the sounds of these letters as I type
Rain and wind fill the outside
But inside is too quiet
Home yet not home
A stranger on familiar ground
Was I really from here once
It seems real but I can't be too sure
Need someone to tell me about me
Because I don't remember too much
The streets are the same but the blocks have changed
Like a detective looking for clues
About a person of interest who's gone missing
Was I really ever here at all?

Sunday, November 24, 2013


When my parents first told me they were splitting up, I felt nothing. But I knew I was supposed to feel something. So I forced myself to cry. Then I asked if I could stay home from school.

Mom said no.

Foiled again.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Find the groove again

I have recently connected with someone I went to high school with. Truth is, I didn't really know this person in high school but thanks to the miracle of Facebook, we've become friends of sorts. I've shared with her some of my writings and the address to this place. So who knows, maybe she is reading this as I write.

Anyway, I want to thank her for making me think about words again. I, of course, use words every day at work. Unfortunately, that writing doesn't fill the hole in me but it does make me just tired enough to stop trying to write here or in a notebook.

I know I've written a million times before that I need to start writing for myself again. Maybe if I keep reminding myself eventually it will sink in.

In the meantime, I'll write it here and hope for the best.

I also have a ton of books to get through.

I just thought I'd update here. In case anyone is wondering, Rambler is still rambling. He just does most of it in his head now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Goodbye Lou

There is nothing I can say about  Lou Reed that hasn't been said more eloquently by better people than me.

All I'll say is that Rock n Roll Animal was the first album I ever bought. All I'll say is Lou was real and made me feel real. When I wanted to feel down he could take me there. And when I needed to be reminded that life wasn't all shit, I could just listen to Sweet Jane and everything would be alright.

Thank you Lou, for all the great music and a few funny memories that maybe I'll share someday.

Those were different times.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New York City Serenade

Tonight was one of those perfect fall nights that make miss this place.
A chill was in the air. People were just a little bundled up. The streets were alive.
People just look better here than they do in Los Angeles. The girls (woman) don't feel the need to show all their skin. They know less is more. I'll take a skirt and blouse over jean cutoffs and a midriff exposing tank top any day.

Just watching life was a blast. Even standing on the subway didn't seem so bad. I miss the Daily News and the New York Post.

Of course, I'm also not coming home to a tiny two room apartment in a sixth floor walkup. I'm in a nice place that I could never afford if I moved back here.

Nonetheless, can't wait for tomorrow morning and the long run in Riverside Park.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I wish

I was on the streets of New York City in 1977 with Marquee Moon playing in the background.

That would be pretty cool.

Darkness Calls

Heading back to those streets
Looking for what I lost
Got no one to keep me clean
Or remind me of the cost
Want to taste that darkness one more time
Need to submit to my boss
Wondering if tomorrow will be mine
Or if all will be lost

Driving home

Driving home tonight
Going through the intersection with a green light on my side
SUV still pulled out of nowhere looking for a head start I guess
Had to think for second about whether to honk the horn or force the crash

I wanted to smash into him
I wanted to see the hood buckle and the windshield shatter
Maybe get some glass in forehead
And think damn I had the right of way

Instead I honked the horn and cursed
Next time he won't be so lucky
Take us both out in a flash
As long as I can feel good about it

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Walls

I was driving tonight and I went past a photo frame store and it took me back to just after my mom died and going to a store to by frames to put her pictures in for the memorial we held for her.

Instantly the tear in my heart reopened as I remembered those days just after her passing. I tried to keep myself busy then so I wouldn't have to really feel my grief. I think I did the same thing in her final days. I knew the end was near and I sat in her hospital room and tried to be present but if I could find a distraction, I leapt at it. I did that for two reasons. One was to protect her from seeing my lose it. I did my best but still broke down towards the end when she was still conscious. She asked if I was crying and I said yes. She didn't ask why. She didn't need to.

But I was also trying to protect myself. I've put walls around me from the moment I got out of the womb. Those walls were crucial for me but they have also kept me apart from the world. They blocked pain but they also blocked love.

Those walls need to come down now. They are not protecting me. They are holding me back and they have to go.

Off the grid

I spent a week away from the Internet. Went on a vacation without my laptop. No Twitter. No Facebook. No me.

Now I'm back and the first thing I notice is how whatever little serenity I got in those few days away from the wired world instantly disappear with the first link I click. Whether I'm reading work-related stuff or just looking at Facebook, my mind and body no longer feel at rest or peace. Instead my emotions run the gamut from anger to sadness to envy. None of those are good for me.

Obviously I'm not suggesting that the Internet is the cause of all my issues. But I do think I could do myself a favor by cutting back a little on how much time I spend online surfing around websites even if it means looking at a few less clips of The Wire.

That shouldn't impact my productivity here because I barely have any productivity here these days. Perhaps, if anything, it will give me a little more energy for it.

We'll see.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


To punch these keys in front of me
To put words on this screen
To see what might come out
To hear what's in my head
To feel what's in my heart
To speak up for myself
To say what I really want
To look back without regret
To look forward without fear
To stay in this moment

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On This Road

Not going anywhere yet
Don't let my words fool you
Still have a lot to do here you bet
Don't let my thoughts worry you

Too many things on my to do list
To start eying the exits
Too many girls I want to kiss
Don't need to have me arrested

Plenty of sunny days ahead
Not ready to go underground
Lots of reasons to get out of bed
No matter what, I'll still be around

Too many things I need to start
Plenty of crazy I need to be
Just sometimes like to get dark
Doesn't mean I don't want to see

So don't call the ambulance
Keep the doctors on hold
I still have plenty of sense
And am still on this road

So read me with a smile
It's just an exercise that's all
Going to be here for awhile
No one is headed for a fall

The Zevon of it all

Yes, I realize my verses of late are on the grim side. But think of them as lyrics to Warren Zevon song. His words were dark and his music upbeat. "Poor Poor Pitful Me," "Excitable Boy," "Splendid Isolation." Depressing lyrics but great music.

Now I just need someone to write the music.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just for a second

Wake up and someone else is gone
Just another reminder
That I've got more days behind me than I do in front
And I don't have much to show for it

Don't want to look back and wonder what it was all for
Don't want to look back wishing I'd done more
Don't want to look back thinking about unsettled scores
Just want to feel at peace

Go to bed and someone else gone
Just another reminder
My day is nearly done
And I've lost the strength to run

Used to laugh at what made the old man cry
Now I know he was thinking about his time to die
It's the little things that cut our hearts open
And leave us totally broken

Can't remember what happened yesterday
It seems so long ago
But I can tell you every detail of a day long since past
That I'd give anything to have back again 
Just for a second

Friday, May 24, 2013


Long walk down an empty street
Only noise is what's in my head
Heart feels empty and beat
And no one's waiting in my bed

Starting to wonder what for
Want a little relief from the pain
That's all, not much more
Just something for my veins

Holding out on myself
Not exactly sure why
Feelings falling off shelf
But I still can't cry

Paying for the past
Alone in this room
Not sure I can outlast
This feeling of gloom

Don't know where this is headed
But I know I'll be ready
For whatever is fated
In this sad medley

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rainy Night

Rain pounding down on the empty city streets. 
Dreams washed away along with the blood of another day. 
The doorways are filled with lost souls trying to stay dry.
From the tears of desperation pouring from the sky.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

If I Can Make It There...

I'm back in New York for a week or so on business. I hate to say it, but it finally no longer feels like home to me.

Don't get me wrong, I still love walking the streets. The women are sexier here. The men are dressed better.  The subway is still a potpourri of characters that couldn't exist anywhere else.

At the same time though much of the magic seems gone. It's not just that everything has gotten so expensive (and it has, my beloved Sparkling Ice Pink Grapefruit costs twice as much here as it does in L.A.), it also the loss of that feeling that anything can happen here at any time.

I'm not saying I wouldn't come back here. But I can't see trading my big one bedroom in L.A. for a tiny one here that would cost more. I'm too old to climb five flights of stairs.

I'm sitting here in a hotel room listening to "The Only Living Boy in New York" and thinking it sounded better on my car radio driving down Pico Blvd.

Another factor, of course, is the realization that there isn't anything here for me anymore. My father's gone. My brother  lives in Queens. I don't have many friends here anymore. I go to my old AA meetings and recognize about 20% of the people. 

Of course, there's not much for me in Los Angeles either. 

At least it's good to know I know a geographic is not the answer. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Don't have the energy
To get through the day
Don't have the strength
To go outside these walls
Lost in a sea of voices
All telling me no hope
Fell of the rails
Wish it wasn't so
Only thing holding me together
Is I'm not not ready to go
Dark clouds following me everywhere
Have to pull over sometimes
So I don't drive off the side of the road
Didn't know I'd miss you so much
Sat there trapped in my head when you took your last breath
Still afraid to say what I was feeling
Still afraid to live and fight.
Now I'm still trapped in the place
And it's such a fucking waste.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's On You

Saw that same old lost look
Eyes that have given up
Looking for anyone to blame
Ready to lay it all on someone else

Can't get saved unless you're worth saving
Looking for someone to pull you out
It's on you to grab the rope and climb
No one's going in after you

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Sitting in traffic
Staring into space
Wondering where I'm at
Thinking it's all a waste

Light turns green
I don't want to move
Just want to be seen
Just want some proof

That I'm alive
That I exist
That I'm real
That I cry

See you not seeing me
Hear you not listening to me
Want to grab you by your hair
Just to show you I'm there

That I'm alive
That I exist
That I'm real
That I cry

Feel so tired

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Feel it

No point in running
It will find you
No point in hiding
Your lies won't protect you
Feel those last seconds
When she squeezed your hand
As she took her last breath
And there was nothing you could do
But remember all things left unsaid
That you'll now carry with you
Until it's your turn.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

All The Times

All the times I let the phone go to voicemail
All the times I tried to get off the phone
All the times I hid from you
All the times I just thought you'd always be there
All the times I said to myself they'll be another chance later to talk
All the times I stayed away
All the times I didn't come home
All the times we stared at each other in silence
All the times I thought, next time I'll say I love you
All the times are all I'm left with
For the rest of time.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Everything ends

Seeing the fight leave your body.
Knowing the end is coming.
Too blocked up to cry.
Those walls you built in me.
Keep me from reaching out to you now.
And letting those tears go.

Don't go yet.

Friday, January 18, 2013

In 2063

I'm turning 48 in a week.
I'm not happy about that. I don't like that number. I was no fan of 47 mind you. But 48 is just to damn close to 50.

I'm single. Big shock. I'm also finally addressing some stuff that needs to be taken care of soon. I used to get real specific here but a few years back someone work-related stumbled on this spot so now I tend to be more careful.

Too bad. I miss my little space to let my bluebird out.

Sorry for all the ramblings but hey, is it the name of the blog.

OK. I'm going to bed. If anyone finds this in 50 years, I was a good guy who tried to overcome demons   and a screwed up family.

And I loved my cats.


I throw these things up here
Without much thought at all
Just words on a screen to an empty universe

Bruce said, "There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me."
And I think he was right
Each day goes by and yesterday seems like years ago
No one here with me and no one else to blame for that but the guy in the mirror

Wish I had something deeper to say
Wish I had something with more heart.
But this is the best I got right now.

Time is Running Out

Want to feel safe here
Not sure I do
I just try to be me
But that's not the way

I'm keeping it clean
Not doing those things
I used to do
That chased you away

Not easy, I'll tell you that
Seven cans and six lids
But I press on anyway
Hoping something's around the corner

Getting older
Feeling it more
Time is running out.
And I know it

Can't Get Down

Taking it slow
Thick skin
Just push on
Can't get down

So much bullshit
All over the place
Lies on top of lies
Can't get down

Say one thing
Do the other
No regards, no remorse
Can't get down

Not even real
Everything's fake
You're not there
Can't get down

Wasting time
But that's OK
Have my boys
Can't get down

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Filling the hole

Jim: What do we have?

Rick: The usual. Two dead. She still has the needle in her arm. Must have shot him up first then did herself.

Jim: Couldn't even wait to get home? Who called it in?

Rick: Some girl came into take a piss. Screamed and ran out. Then the bartender took a look and gave a call.

Jim: And everyone left?

Bartender: I called you guys and closed down? I do something wrong?

Jim: Would have been good to talk to the people that were here. See if anyone saw anything or maybe find out who sold to them. You know them?

Bartender: Her I've seen before. She's here all the time. Usually ends up going home with whoever is still here at last call. You know the type.

Rick: I married the type. (The bartender and Jim laugh)

Rick: She got a name.

Bartender: It was Erica.

Rick: You ever?

Bartender: Nope. Got her out of here the few times she couldn't find any takers but that's it.

Rick: Why not? She don't look so bad.

Bartender: I have a girlfriend. Not to speak ill of the dead, but she was a drunk and an addict. You see what I see every night, suddenly easy sex doesn't look so appealing anymore. It's like when I worked in  a deli for awhile. I couldn't eat meat. I'd seen too much.

Jim: Hey Rick, I'm going out for a smoke. See if the ambulance and the crime scene guys are coming.

Rick: Yeah sure and tell that uniform he can beat it now. We've got this. (To the bartender) You know where she lived?

Bartender: Down on 7th and C. I don't know the building but I know the address. Isn't that her purse down there?

Rick: Yeah, but I don't want to touch anything yet. Let those guys take their photos and get out of here and then I'll go through it. Did you call the owner?

Bartender: I called the manager. He'll deal with the owners. What's going to happen.

Rick: You may be closed for a day or so. (Looking up) Oh boy, the guys from the Post are already here. Shocker. White girl dead in village bathroom is good headlines. The TV folks will be showing up too.

Bartender: What do I tell them.

Rick: Tell them another couple looked to the wrong thing to fill that hole we all have in ourselves. I'm going out for a smoke.