Photo Oct 24, 8 04 50 AM

When Love Walks Out The Door

I’m going through boxes, and I found this, and I’m so glad because I thought it was lost, and I have always really liked it.  Because of the worrisome nature of it, it’s important to note that it doesn’t reflect any part of my life now.  It didn’t even then, when I wrote it.

It was sometime in 2000, and I was driving to work at Variety in Los Angeles. I’ll never forget it. Everything in my life was perfectly good. There was no heartbreak. There was no cause for pain. It was just a regular morning. Tori Amos was playing on the stereo, and the first lines of this poem came to me spontaneously and they kept coming.  Luckily I was on side streets where there wasn’t any traffic.  I was still driving when I wrote “I’m driving the car like it’s on rails” but then I pulled the car to the side of the road and kept writing, scrawling page after page.

As the words came, so did the tears.  I heaved out my breaths and my face was hot and wet. Then it just stopped.  At the time, I didn’t feel as if it was me doing the writing. I’ve always felt like the words came from a woman – a ghost – who crossed into me and used me to get them out.

Like a hound at the door
it waits to tear you apart,
and you open the door
to savor the rush
of your blood down your face
and over his teeth
and sometimes it’s a relief
when he walks out the door.

And you heave a sigh
that could fill the Grand Canyon,
and a tear drop falls
that would starve a seed
but all is well
when love walks out the door.

But light breaks clouds
and birds know the way south
to warm their bones
and sometimes flight is all you have
when love walks out the door.

I’m driving the car like it’s on rails
with your voice echoing in my head
and nothing else, not horn, not jeers,
just the deafening sound
of when love walks out the door.

Paint me red,
’cause you’ve done it before.
The black and blue
across the kitchen floor,
and the sanguine smell
of the nuptial bed
and the sigh of relief
as love walks out the door.

When tears lose their heaven
and rose petals fall
the sky is stark
with the fingers of death
and the bleak white stillness
of cold time and life
and a bird crosses the sky
when love walks out the door.

The wheels turn
and the petrol burns
and the piston pushes you down,
down, to make the wheels go ’round,
and the drive is unending,
and the time you’re spending
is all for naught
as love walks out the door.

It’s his, it’s yours,
the things you keep,
the things you toss,
it’s all a part of the beloved loss,
so drink your tea
and look outside
as the garbage man
carries it all away
as love walks out the door.


On the death bed it lies
and your mother cries
as the orders are carried
and the last breath rises,
and you see you’ll be late,
do not resuscitate,
and the pallor falls heavy
as love walks out the door.

With pen to paper,
you ink the lines
that have bound you tight,
and made the night
a little easier to bear,
but when it comes,
the chapter’s fierce,
and leaves nothing in its wake
but the ringing silence of
when love walks out the door.

The tears burn paths
of rust and pain
down the cheek he once kissed
and your mind rushes in
where angels tread boldly,
and they look to you
knowing the release of
when love walks out the door.

Sticks and stones
and the rock in your ring
and the sound of his breath
on the phone aren’t enough
to hold your life together
as it runs down your hand
and onto the floor
when love walks out the door.

With slings and arrows shot
and the lamb helpless, harmless, and hopeless
as numbers are mounting
and victims are counting
and the outcome looks doubtful
when love walks out the door.


This is the first time I’ve written this poem since the original, which is largely unedited, not scratched-out. See for yourself.



One must first believe in Satan in order to fear it (and I don’t.)

What happens when a Satanist is the victim of a hate crime at the hands of Roman Catholics?  Andrew Barrett explores this question in his new play “I Love Satan” and the answer is not “a party.”

But this is not a play review.

What I took away from “I Love Satan” is a glimpse into religious conservatism, and thoughts about the distinctions between good and right, bad and wrong.  What one deems as “good” is not always right, and what is considered “bad” is not always wrong.

Frank, the Roman Catholic bat-wielder, expresses quite clearly, repeatedly, and blindly, that bashing a Satanist is his Christian duty, which made me think of what else?  Fried chicken, but not just Chick-fil-a; all sorts of religious intolerance.  Frank’s sister and fellow Roman Catholic, Jo, says it best in her lamented wish that everyone just mind their own (probably “fucking”) business.  I couldn’t agree with her more.

Religion and law are in a funny marriage, even though they should be more like siblings – not meant to be married.  As the nation struggles with abortion, wars, and gay equality on the stage of the election, we are at an uncommon threshold.

To characterize the choice ahead of us as “Forward” or “Backward” is too simple, especially when forward to one is backward to another.  Depends on where you’re going.

Not being religious suits me, but I do envy the religious.  It’s easier, and in an era with so much uncertainty, it’s gotta be comforting to follow a set of rules, without question.  I have never been very good at being told what to do, and the few times I did follow unquestioningly, it was disastrous.  Plus, my experiences with religion have been mostly terrible, so I fit very naturally into the skin of the self-determining, self-governing heathen.  In Barrett’s play, that would make me a Satanist – which I’m not, although the play’s Dino might disagree – but I digress.

I’m not going to get too excited about this, but yesterday, Focus on the Family made the news with Jim Daly’s “broadening” of the focus:

“‘It’s fair to say we have concentrated on some things that have distracted from the main thing, which is the Gospel of Christ,” said Jim Daly, the president and CEO of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based organization and host of its “Focus on the Family” radio program, which reaches about 2 million people weekly across 1,000 stations.”  – Huffington Post

Sure, this is probably a strategic move to broaden a column on their accounts receivable spreadsheets, as much as it is to broaden their base, but the mere admission that an equality-fighting, extremist Christian organization has been “distracted from… the Gospel of Christ” is promising.

When it comes to modern American morality legislation, any thinking Christian – or person arguing with a Christian – has to ask, “What would Jesus do?”  No, really.  Any time I’ve posed this question to the devout, the answer becomes purely-subjective, political, and as varied as the answerer.

Jesus has become an abstraction; a romanticized version of a fond memory of the way we think things should be, ideally, or were told they should be: a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.  For example, Baptist Reverend, Stoney Shaw compared the trials of the publicly flogged Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to those of Jesus.  Seriously?

The gulf  between the most Christ-like answer and the actions taken by many modern Christians is the disconnect that drove me – and probably many others – from religion.  If Focus on the Family and other religious organizations really wanted to broaden their bases, they’d focus on turning that gulf into a puddle.

Jesus (if you buy the whole messiah story) really needs to return to earth, because – like that old childhood friend you don’t talk with anymore, and whose birthday you only remember when Facebook reminds you – most of the Christians I know have lost touch with the guy.



Obama and Romney: the Political Bonds of 2012

Mitt Romney is to Pierce Brosnan as Barack Obama is to Daniel Craig.

James Bond.  The name alone is as intoxicating as the famous martini, prompting women to sigh and men to cock their heads in hopes of channeling even a scintilla of his sexiness.

Pierce Brosnan (d)evolved 007 into a bouffant, yet impeccably flat figure who barely broke a sweat.  We sat in theaters for film after fluffy film like frogs being gradually boiled in a pot of product placement.  The movies left us wanting.  James Bond had become a limp dick.

Case in point: Die Another Day opens with Brosnan’s Bond being tortured as Madonna auto-tuned the theme song.  It was edgy

Until you compare it to the pared-down, gut-wrenching torture taken – while laughing, even – by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.  Men will never see a cane-backed chair the same way again.

It took a return to the character’s roots, embodied by a fresh new blond Bond, to breathe life back into a franchise that had turned into one extended Duran Duran video after another.

So it is with the U.S. government.  After eight years of irrational exuberance under some limp Texas dick, it took a black man to become the blond bond equivalent, with the dubious honor of rebooting the franchise.  No pressure, especially when one considers the nut-shattering reality we had to face.

People were skeptical.  A blond Bond?  A black president?  The open-minded welcomed the Change; the traditional scoffed and pined for Connery… or Reagan.

Imagine if the Broccolis had jumped ship after Casino Royale?  Quantum of Silence wasn’t the best Bond film, but now there’s Skyfall, and Skyfall has Adele.  It took some time to recover from the hairspray hangover of Brosnanian Bond.  It will take a similar time to bring the country back from the unprecedented mess of the villain running the show.