Tuesday, October 6, 2015


"It's all a choice,"
he says,
             in his best t-shirt & jeans,
across the long table from me,
administrators, psychologists
& law enforcement,

the dime bag of weed, some pills
in an evidence bag, several subpoenas,
witness statements, tests ---

Everything has a weight
to be measured.
Even his mom,

"This is the third time this year ---"

smuggling controlled substances into a secure facility,
into school, court
takes effort & planning,
choice, surely ---

but until we understand them,


"...various levels of detention
haven't worked..."

we slide further,
               and further                                   (from the truth)
into the black hole, pulled by the gravity,
our own inertia
                     &  his fingertips
until only our last knuckles touch
                                                in all the noise
between my hope
& reality ---

"It's all a choice,"
he offers, as if a gift ---

to clear our consciences or to say "Hey teach,
something got through,"

at least the word, if not the ounces
that come with it,

with the name
everyone knows,
a cop-out

what's left of the little boy shouts
from the corner
of his eyes,

as they lead him out --- what
choice do you have


  1. My daughter is a social worker for troubled teens here in Tacoma. She relates horror stories daily as to the inequity & negative shit that goes on her state office. I like your lines /until only our last knuckles touch/all in the noise/between my hope & reality/.

  2. it's so difficult to overcome the adolescence storm...so many lives are lost still there's hope..."until only our last knuckles touch / in all the noise / between my hope / & reality ---"....love the lines...

  3. How many times can a heart break, hey, kiddo? Too many - daily, it must feel like sometimes, in your line of work. At least he knew one person at that table really truly cared. I was most struck by what was left of the little boy in the corners of his eyes. Too soon these kids find themselves in deep water.

  4. the drug scourge is compounded by the oxymoronic 'criminal justice' system, which serves merely to enrich evil firms like Geo Group and CCA, which defines prisoners as "revenue streams". damn. ~

  5. Is there a choice really? Is there a hope between the little boy and a grown-up man. It seems we lack a way of dealing with this except to send them to an alternative school of a prison system.... From any rational thoughts there is no logic in prisons at all..

  6. It is not all choice kid. Though I respect your willingness to conform to cuffs, a back seat ride to jail and the legal system. Your ability to choose has ended for awhile.

  7. Such a powerful & poignant piece!!

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  10. At times we humans are so unlike each other, a different species and one cannot understand the other. It has all to do with environment and hope or lack of it. Two opposing worlds collide and there is no easy answer.

  11. Teacher held him up a little longer, but the weight of his life choices and the system was more than the weight he lent that word "choice." How often in this culture of "It's Ok if you can get away with it" are young one's betrayed by finding themselves judged by different standards than politicians? While I am glad fewer convictions on minor offences will lead to prison, I wonder how the change will affect what teachers' work with students!? Oh the jungle each student must get through!

  12. It's all a choice ~ I see that as a positive response that perhaps something did get through him by teaching ~ maybe he will learn to take responsibility for his actions and make better choices. Though the system has faults, I believe it's still the individual's responsibility to choose a better path, to say no to drugs.

  13. I feel for the parents and teachers like you of the troubled boy ~ All I can think of is what happened to innocence of children ~

    As a mother with a daughter at a vulnerable age of 16, I pray everyday now that she doesn't fall into darkness of growing up, that includes bad company of boys ~ It is always a choice, but we as parents can influence their choices by examples, by time with them, by understanding and listening to them without judgement ~

  14. ... working with "Joeys" every day ... once u got them 2 sit still, they all turn into lil babes, that just wanna crawl back into mumme's pouch ... one more time ... :)

    1. I agree. Its the misfits I usually enjoy working with.
      Dang if it isn't hard to break them out of cycles and habits though.
      They break your heart.

  15. When people (in a locked facility) say 'it's your choice'..you certainly have to wonder who is crazy and who is sane...i love the play on weights and measures..weighing things up...i think perhaps that is the thing that can come from inside...weighing up what you're really worth despite what the idiots write on a piece of paper...

  16. Phew...really hit me between the eyes...that this could have been anyone: you, me, a family member.
    The more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that circumstances are often the real culprit...and sometimes there is much less of a choice.
    I guess it is a coping strategy for some...a way of relieving the pressure.
    And that final "what's left of the little boy" was agonizing...really hit the message home for me.

  17. Some need guidance. In that way they could understand more about life. The environment played an important factor to these young kids.

  18. I guess it is true that 'it's all a choice,' but somewhere later on many who exercise their own choices find someone else to blame....refusing to believe that what happened is a result of their own choice.

    1. Agree with that as well - there is a disconnect between the choices and the outcomes.

  19. Way too many Joeys in the world. I know that, bottom line, it does come down to our choices but so often the trajectory of their paths start when they're in the midst of growing up in very challenging conditions. The path is laid out for them to falter...it's a tough deal.

  20. It all starts with human heart.. fill it up in the first couple of years if the innate stuff is ready.. and the environment becomes loving and filling chalice rather than just empty cup with no feelings.. of comfort.. trust.. and love..

    Greatest gift of life..
    is the human touch from birth to life..

    without it gifts of
    stuff and power
    takes the place..

    drugs illegal prescription
    drink a like becomes
    the pill of feel
    never filling
    human liGht..

    Love is the answer
    but it comes first..
    and modern science
    says if the connections
    are not made early
    there is no going back..
    the primacy of Love
    has no
    no grade..
    and sadly
    no teacher..
    of empty...
    But sure we
    can still hope for more..
    we have to.. there is no other avenue..
    but hope...
    and i for one
    believe in
    than science
    i for one feel
    and know
    are real..
    but perhaps
    all of that too..
    comes from the
    unconditional touchy
    of Mother's
    tough Love
    LIKE a terminal
    of life.. off

  21. Love this--and I have to say, I love working with teenagers-- they are so brave and resilient in their own way--you set this one so well--and then just let it roll

  22. There are so many Joeys. I can see the court, the boy, the sadness about his "choice". As always you make us confront these harsh realitiies, that you face too often. I so much respect you as a writer but maybe even more so, as an educator. Thank you.

  23. it's all a choice but, with that said you must be willing to deal with the consequences. Sometimes, Joeys are just products of a system that needs some repair. You know many just need a strong adult role model and in some homes there just isn't enough of that as we have so many dysfunctional homes. You have a giant heart and I know you really care about those Joeys.

    This part just tears my heart...as that little boy has lost his way :(

    what's left of the little boy shouts
    from the corner
    of his eyes,

  24. They can get into trouble without much efforts unwittingly venturing into situations out of curiosity A pity, but this is a classic case of counselling needed and not punishment!


  25. Such a painful truth in this poem...captured powerfully.

  26. Have eight grandchildren and I worry about what is left of the child in the corner of their eyes... Thank you for bringing attention to the reality in our world,


  27. We can know things by rote, like our times tables, but not the reality thereof. I have known a mother of two addicted sons and I believe there may be levels of addiction. One managed to pull himself out of the dwang, the other... every intervention has failed and he is a very bright, well educated man and understands but cannot find the means to control his craving. Meths is his poison. He lives in the park or vacant ground. But tough love (their last resort) doesn't seem to be working either.

    1. Also I think there are lessons to be learnt during our lives by experience and/or by just watching others.

      God bless you X and keep you safe.

  28. That last question might be the hardest question to answer. Thanks for such a beautiful but sad piece. Really appreciated it.

    Greetings from London.

  29. Some times we have to accept that they did learn the consequences and still didn't care.

  30. but until we understand them,


    "...various levels of detention
    haven't worked..."
    -- Arghh...assessments, detentions....scary to say the least!! I pity the little boy. Sigh!
    A powerful poem...x!

  31. 'I am an addict until I decide to not be a victim anymore'

  32. (a) He sought to absolve you, a caring thing to do. (b) His story is not over yet. Who knows how it will end? There are so many factors! We can't save anyone; they have to save themselves, even if ill-equipped – but maybe we can sow a seed.... (A long time ago I used to run poetry workshops for young men in prison.)

  33. we slide further,
    and further (from the truth)
    into the black hole, pulled by the gravity,
    our own inertia
    & his fingertips
    until only our last knuckles touch
    in all the noise

    This is a truly powerful verse. This a frustrating and tragic situation. My daughter is 7 and cannot always convey, in a coherent cohesive way (can any of us?), all that she experiences in school. Sometimes I feel I understand and that she feels heard and when this happens for several days weeks, months whatever (until another difficult situation crops up) she is very loving, open, sweet, considerate her usual lovely self but if we can't figure out what is going on and I don't do a good job listening/spend enough quality time with her you can see it in her behavior, that she is wrestling with this thing and nobody is getting it or supporting her in the way she needs. Listening is not always easy and sometimes I think as caretakers we disconnect emotionally or get too preoccupied with the wrong things and miss the point. Sometimes we just punish and manage and forget the important bits.


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    1. I believe we have to work with whole family, otherwise - no positive result. Watch 'Nanny 911'.

  35. Thank you for caring - I too love the misfit and have seen some turn around just because one person was in that child's court. What people don't get is that by the time you are a teen much of the decisions are already crafted. I worked in a program trying to keep 10 year olds engaged in school and after school stuff and away from the gangs that were dangling their "carrots".

  36. Oh, so true...it's the choices we make. I imagine you as a shining light to many. You can't save them all but you can make a big difference. Thank you for that.

  37. sometimes i wonder how many of a choice we really have
    someone who grew up in a loving environment will be able to make different choices than someone who grew up under bad conditions
    breaks my heart..

  38. This is a hard one for sure...too many are lost...by "choice." Just kids making dumb choices.

  39. What's going on in ur closed society, X ??? Claudia doesn't write ... u don't write ... u frozen up already ... it's only October, man ...

  40. My favorite line: until only our last knuckles touch
    in all the noise
    between my hope
    & reality ---

    This hurt me...and by far a powerful poem and statement to those who are lost, and the choices one makes.

    Love this piece my friend.


  41. "Choices" most of the time confuse us, but when there is no choice, we know what we have to do for survival and there is no option.

  42. "we slide further,
    and further (from the truth)
    into the black hole, pulled by the gravity,
    our own inertia"

    Okay, buddy. Time to pull yourself out of the black hole and write your fan club a poem already. Or does your hand still hurt from being so overworked last week? Well boo hoo; cry me a river ...

    And then write me a poem. Puhlease? With ooey-gooey, crumbled-up kooky-cookies sprinkled on top. And a drizzle of cherry juice, just for good measure.

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  44. Read the poem several times--it is uncomfortable but brilliantly so. Thinking of you and hope all is well.

  45. OMG ... where r u , joey?? Love, cat.

  46. Environment? Heritage? makes no difference genes are genes are genes, sometimes blue, sometimes black Jeans, missed you X

  47. oh oh, it seems you're gone again, hope not further underground ... hope all is well.

  48. Hey X whereabout are 'ya, is it because I was gone...ah you flatterer, take your time I have to catch up ;)

  49. You are on my mind this evening .. Hope your weekend is a good one.

  50. Wishing you a good weekend. Hope all is well.

  51. Interesting poem on a bad choice made by a person. Why do people make bad choices?
    Perhaps bad choices are made because some one is brought up in a family where there is no love or because a person gets involved with bad company or the person is basically lazy to work hard for moving ahead in life. But then there are Dons, smugglers, robbers, fanatics, murderers, alcoholics etc. who have made bad choices but they think they made good choices and continue to indulge in their bad habits until they are caught. Easy money, luxurious life and notoriety are some of the things these people who make bad choices thrive upon. They want to be in the lime light, headline news for all the wrong reasons and this gives them the thrill. Take for example Hitler and the second world war. :Ultimately, such bad choices lead us to doom and ignominy in the end.

  52. Choice. I'm not sure exactly how we know another's choices--or even our own, at times. But, perhaps deciding as children that we are responsible for the things life brought to the table can potentially save us. As you know, l teach at a university and l think about choices on a daily basis. I have no doubt you do too! There's something g heartbreaking here, no matter who is to blame.

  53. Sending from my phone. Hence the mysterious g floating mid sentence!

  54. We're beginning to worry ~~~~~~~

  55. Ugh. If you're never going to write another poem, I guess I'll just have to keep reading "Joey." Good golly, dude. I hope you're alive!

    So today, it strikes me that maybe there's a hidden poem in your indented lines. Something like this:

    "in his best t-shirt & jeans,
    and further (from the truth)
    & his fingertips
    in all the noise

    So what if "and" is a verb and "&" is a noun? I wrote a poem years ago that went something like, "I am an ampersand of playthings; there's nothing else left to say."

    Also, "and" is "DNA" backwards. So then you have backwards DNA jeans, DNA further from the truth, DNA his fingertips. Then there's that hanging "really?" which is just a question about what really is true. Is anything true? Is anything real? Is it all real and true, at different times, from different perspectives? Maybe he's not really a "best t-shirt and jeans" kind of guy. Maybe he could better manage the noise and DNA dilemma's if he were wearing, say, boxers and a wife-beater. I've recently decided that I'm happiest when I'm wearing a tank top, so that's all I'm going to buy from now on. That's the end of it. Life is too short and too challenging not to wear exactly what I want to wear at all times --- and that's tank tops ... maybe with some jeans and hippie beads.

    Ooh, what if the "fingertips in the noise" part is supposed to make us picture him sticking his fingers in his ears, blocking everything and everyone else out. Is that what you're doing? Sometimes you just have to. I think we all wind up there from time to time.

    What if the jeans are actually "Jeans"? How many girls named Jean can the guy really wear? Also, what if "t-shirt" is really "tush-hurt"? So why does his hiney hurt? Was he in an accident? Did he sit on some glass? That reminds me of a movie called Sabrina, in which one of the lead characters places champagne flutes in his back pockets, trying to be romantic so that he can get the girl, but then he sits down and cuts up his behind, winding up in the hospital ... and later on, sitting gingerly on one of those little booty pillows. You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

    Hey. That was fun. Thanks for letting me pretend that you shared something new; your poems are crazy entertaining to dissect.

  56. Where da heck r U, X ??? Miss U ... Love, cat.

  57. Hey dear--thank you for all that I am sure you are continuing to do. Take care of yourself. k.

  58. Hi XYZ please just blog that you're okay and we'll leave you in peace if that's what you want. Or we'll read and comment without expecting you to reply to our comments. Realise the pressure can be offputting to poetry! Miss you.


  60. Hey you-- hope Christmas went well and happy new year! You have written wonderful poems on that theme! Take care. K.

  61. Just stopping
    by to wish you a New
    New Year now and
    more joys in the
    flesh and blood
    life with your
    as truly
    this still
    is not a
    place for
    human beings..
    oh the smells..
    oh the tastes..
    oh the touches
    and proprioceptions
    oh 1 percent or less
    of real life
    as we are
    more than
    2 dimensional
    Avatars and text
    images away from
    this place.. you
    did the best
    doing it..
    life is too short
    to live as avatars/text..
    oh.. did i mention that
    human speech is less
    than human too.. sure it is
    as it too.. is sign language
    for what is
    my friend..
    X marks the
    spot when real..
    and i am just
    here to
    as a soldier
    of the real
    God of

  62. Hey X I miss you well I miss you now that I'm coming back...so come back too or it won't be the same, you know when you can on weekends or you know once a week ;)

  63. Hey there, just popped in to see if there was anything new. My own writing sporadic (at best) as I am both still care-tending my husband who has been recuperating (since April) from infection and surgery, and now am back at work, so free time is scarce here in my neck of the woods. Anyways just wanted to check in as I have neglected my favorites, and I see that you are on some hiatus also, whether by choice or necessity. Hope you are well. Know that you were thought of today.

  64. Okay, okay. Come on back, Slick. We miss you. It's February. ~Let the choreographed Valentino-mysticism begin.

  65. I'm in I'm out but I miss you either way, hope you're well and you family too, take good care my friend X


  67. Thinking of you. Hope you are well.

  68. Hello..Happy New Year... I hope you're well... I've been away a while from the blogging community and it seems that you are away too. Life just gets so busy. As for this post .. It's just so heartbreaking. My heart bleeds for the little child lost.

  69. I trust you glance at your blog from time to time ~ I miss you. Sincerely hoping all is well in your world.

  70. https://katiemiafrederick.com/2016/04/28/godsuniversenovel3/

    Hey man.. Mr. X aka B..
    just a 'footnote' here of
    sorts.. a thank you to you..
    for helping me to
    pursue my human
    potential at dVerse
    by being so open-minded
    to eXtreme creative strangeness..
    hehe.. i remember when you called
    that 6K first blog post titled Revelation
    66 at the place that you and Claudia
    created still named dVerse Poet's Pub..
    the Mother of all Blog posts.. well..
    this one my friend.. a full year journey
    of responding to all links and prompts
    with or without linking my stuff..
    so ha..
    one more
    open link here
    for the road friend..
    weighing in at
    338,630 words
    and around 300
    beautiful beach photos..
    that yes.. requires a fast
    computer and broad band
    access and a couple minute
    wait to even taste
    with intro
    of Dear John..
    yes the Dear
    John Letter of the
    ages.. perhaps.. my
    friend.. B.. i will never
    forget your kind spiRit
    and sure that still SinGs
    as pARt of the SonG oF
    My SoUL.. that amasses
    632 chapters of one entire
    3 million plus poem that
    is my entire blog now..
    so inspired
    by what
    you and
    Claudia created
    as whole.. sTiLL
    liVinG at dVersE nOW..
    i know you are doing great..
    i can feel that.. and i'm sure
    your boys are enjoying all your
    time my friend.. God Bless..
    and may the
    always SinG
    A SoUL of heArt
    wITh you mY FriEnd..:)

  71. Ah hope you are doing well--this piece still pulls at me

  72. WeLL.. mY FriEnd Brian
    Miller Developer of the
    dVerse Poetry Place
    online.. HoPinG
    to see you aGain
    at the 6th dVerse
    Anniversary and
    i notice your
    is replaced
    by another website
    Now by waystationone
    now as i remember your 007
    Avatar as photographic memories
    see and you as the only one who came
    and visited my "Revelation 66" that
    you named as the "Mother
    of all Blog Posts" in jest
    at around
    6K words
    that now
    A Three
    Hour Desert
    More Gilligan's
    Isle Tour as Twitter
    Verse for me to
    wRite NoW hehe..
    anyWaY.. mY FriEnd ..
    i left a Video at that point
    at the end of that "Revelation
    66" that as we kNoW and
    FeeL iN Synchronicity
    ways doesn't
    have to
    make sense
    iN ACausal
    way to anyone
    but the Quantum
    Observer in Psychological
    Meaningful way iN IMaGiNaTioN
    And CreaTiVity that Flows far out
    As iNneR UniVeRse HUmaN more than
    any systemizing scientific
    of only
    one word
    of iNFiNiTY NoW
    as there is no space or
    time or distance iN LoVe
    No Limits No expectations
    For tHe Kingdom of Heaven
    or Hell or sHades of Grey or
    RainBoW Colors aWay from
    the dARk Abyss
    oF A
    iNFiNiTe SouL
    to AlWays Go
    eXplORE MoRe PlacEs
    that are NeVeR CreAtED
    BeFoRe unpredictable as
    those who Believe
    Free Will
    exist but
    true when we regulate
    our emotions and integrate
    our senses as a DancE and
    SonG oF LoVe Free Verse..
    Relative Free
    to PlaY
    iN A JoyFuL
    Place of God WiThiN
    anYway aLL i can and will
    say about that "Ronin 47" Movie
    NoW iS it's true it's the 47th Month
    NoW since i stARTEd wRiTinG a
    5 Million Word Longest
    Long Form Poem
    at the end
    of August
    2013 then
    after you
    the only
    one who cared
    enough to visit a
    "Revelation 66" in that
    poem then.. thing is..
    in some ways
    the other
    As Revelations
    did come true..
    Particularly that
    one about 'Frances Ha'
    about a Girl who wanted
    to become a Famous Dancer
    as at that point Dance was not
    in my future but around
    less than two years later
    the Title
    of Legend
    of Dance
    provided then
    by Members oF aN
    Audience of 300k
    or so watchers in
    my South East
    Public Dance
    in Gulf Coast way
    NoW at the point of
    7700 Miles in that special
    Number of 47 months too..
    And lots of other stuff more iN
    thaT "Revelation 66" came true
    too.. as prophecies tEnd to do.. And
    BeGiN when even the person who BRinGS
    theM iN SiGnaTuRE WaYs Has no iDeA
    aT FiRst iN EVenTuAL sELf FuLFilLLinG
    ways most of course
    in let
    it be
    and then DanCeD
    anyWay.. i am not the
    kind to forget those who
    prepare me a way to do what
    has never been done before
    in this one special
    way of
    Free Verse
    Words as today
    in a sPan of 13.6
    Months with 1.81 Million
    Words in the Twitter Verse
    World we live in now where the
    Average Human is assessed by Science
    with the Attention Span of a 140 Character
    and less Gold Fish NoW.. thiS 1.81 Million
    Long Form Word Poem as just another Child
    of "SonG oF mY SoUL" completed in 13.6 months
    as MacroVerse Number 117 out of a total of 788
    Now for 5 Million Words as "SonG oF mY SoUL"
    once again exceeds an oops of just did it
    again more than the Mahābhārata
    in Centuries of Making
    thousands of years
    ago as oral
    on the Written
    Page longer than mouths
    that Give in Cultural Way of Human Love
    And what you said at the end of "Revelation
    66" alWays STiLL Applies "Love Wins" it's the
    alWays WiLL BE
    When WiLL Makes Love
    more than empty Letters mY FriENd
    and Strength
    that Spells God isReaL..
    and God
    And sHaRinG
    oVer TaKinG Less
    or More than LoVe NoW..:)