while you are trying
to decide between
the chipotle salmon wrap
and the prosciutto-cheddar
on focaccia,

I'm trying to decide
whether that dude
eyeing me from across the alley
is going to try
to plant a shiv
in me when I go
for that half eaten hoagie
that just got tossed
into the trash.

May 6, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


tomorrow's blues,
yesterday's news:
the path that you travel
is partly the one
that you choose;
the other measure:
where you are pushed,
prodded, cajoled,
tricked, waylaid,
when you've
overstayed your welcome,
and then some;
so you run
to another one,

but seldom fast enough.

May 7, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


this tree

doesn't care if you look at it or not,
or even if you are here;
it has no stake in you at all,
and nothing about
immigration reform or
the Transocean-Halliburton-BP oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico
is of remote interest:
not how families are destroyed,
nor how good men and women
are either slowly driven mad,
or slowly driven to horrible
acts of mortal desperation;
this tree will stand here
for a good long time,
with you, and the seasons,
coming and going,
and your existence,
unless you have an axe,
is of no consequence.

May 28, 2010. Viva la raza!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


calmaté 2

even though
I monitor the news
(I am a working journalist,
after all),
I have failed to notice
until just today,
that there is a worldwide
to get me to calm down:

mi compis, en Arizona
assure me that
wanting to see my papers
has nothing whatever
to do
with being
Jewish in Europe
in the early 1940s;

but I am not assured,
nor will I ever be
of such a progression:
my memory,
and their memories,
will not soon be

take your boot off
of my neck,
lest I be required
to shove it up your ass.

May 2, 2010. Viva la raza!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 19: "I Love Me a Good Organism" (or, "Penis Shrinkage at Cocktail Parties: Crisis or Hype?")

"I love thunderstorms!"

"Hiya, Betty. That's funny, I love naked women."

"In thunderstorms? How do you keep from getting electrocuted?"

"KEEP from getting electrocuted? Now you tell me. I guess I misunderstood the whole organism thing too."

"Orgasm, not organism, Shakespeare. Someone should smack you about the head and neck."

"Busy for dinner?"

"Just me and the kids."


"I was informed by my husband that he made a sale, so he's demanding booty upon his return home."

"I bet if I drove a Jeep you wouldn't have said that."

"Now I have to find some pirates and steal their treasure."

"I sold too."

"Not your body. Selling that doesn't count. My husband sold people a useful product for the improvement of their home."

"Nevermind then."

"I will be right back. Okay, I am back."


"Have you been smoking the crack again, Shakespeare?"

"So I am chugging along with my new chapter; got almost three pages done, and all of it outlined. And no, I put the crack pipe down when I am writing."

"Well that's something. Look at you writing!"

"Maybe snort a little glue, but not much."

"I wrote three sentences the other day."

"Well it's easier to be motivated when you have six co-authors. Sorta like a platoon with guns drawn. When you are writing by yourself, it's a naked woman of a different color."

"Oh, I love when I have naked rainbow women parties, so I know exactly what you mean."

"And here I thought those went the way of Tupperware parties; you folks in Virginia are so progressive."

"Not really all of Virginia. Just me."

"Ah, still fitting right in to the neighborhood, are you?"

"Yep, that's me, square peg jammed into round hole."

"Dammit, I know there is a joke for that, but I can't think of it. I imagine all the women will be electing you May Queen any minute now."

"I doubt it. I'm not Obama."

"So, not 'Most Likely to be Admired,' eh?"

"Not really. But look, I really care too."

"I know, sleepless nights: 'Dammit, how can I make those frumpy biotches LIKE ME MORE?'"

"Exactly. I cry myself to sleep, Shakespeare."

"'Maybe if I just lower my come-hither, Imma-steal-your-husband vibe, that will do it.'"

"None of these husbands are worth stealing. Enough wasting energy on those cows."

"Okay, new topic. You choose."

"The rights that men should have in the decision of abortion. Go."

"Um, not very many at all?"

"Sorry, inside joke. We were at a party and it got uncomfortable due to the talk of gay marriage. Someone asked to change the subject, and that's what I said."

"Ha ha ha. Good one. Made the gay marriage talk seem appealing, no?"

"Pretty much."

"'And instantly,' Betty said, 'I could hear every penis in the room shrink.'"

"Well, George picked up his beer and walked away from that conversation."

"Smart man."

"He does that a lot, especially when his brother and I get into it."

"Oh yeah; no need to be in that crossfire."

"He has the same name as you, Ricky, but he's such a douchebag."

"Those are headshots."

"I'm good at headshots."

"I know this."

"It's nice to know a Ricky who doesn't think that the world should be as it was in the 1800s."

"With three daughters, I have what I hope is the enlightened view."

"His daughter is screwed."

"But really, I have been involved in women's rights since 1972. I worked on the ERA."

"You are so old. I wasn't even alive yet."

"I know, that's why Michael and Meredith call me Dirt."

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

"Listen, Betty, I have to go cut some green beans. I bought two pounds, and am going to freeze some."

"You may want to consider having yourself frozen, before you fossilize. Dirt. Snort!"

"That's Mr. Dirt, to you, whippersnapper!"

"See ya, Shakespeare. And don't break a hip cutting those beans."

May 29, 2009.

mourning doves

I never realized
before this morning
how much noise
mourning doves make
when they are making
mourning doves:

they sound larger
than they are,
even in the late morning
though they are far
from mourning;

She tells me
that I am quite loud
when we are studiously
avoiding making
mourning doves --
just practicing the moves --

and I reply that it's
just my feeble attempt
at being a mourning dove,
and She seems unimpressed.

May 23, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


what the well-dressed rat is wearing

with the rest of the working poor,
I went to Dollar Tree today,
shopping oh so cautiously,
holding my dollars,
as I walked the aisles,
until they were damp
from the latest cold sweat;

then I went to the Salvation Army thrift store:
since I must be thrifty,
it's the store for me;
and the results were mixed:
I found a decent sport coat
so that I can look professional
for the interviews that I won't get,
but not without a lot of searching;

it seems that only the real skinny guys
are dying, and leaving their widows
with closets full of sport coats
to get rid of; the bulky guys, like me,
we are apparently outlasting our women,
since the women's section was
five times the size of the men's,
and every size you can imagine
was represented;

I may be the last rat left on board,
but I've damned well got a sport coat.

May 22, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


this moment

I've given up on making
long-range plans,
although it's a pretty
radical step,
and so I don't recommend it
to most folk;

I used to plan everything,
my meticulosity rising, at times,
to obsessive heights
(which I am afraid of),
and I suppose that generally
it served me well
over the years;

but now, it just seems like
too much work
to trim a candle
that could self-extinguish
at any moment;

ten centuries from now,
ten decades from now,
ten years from now,
ten months from now,
ten weeks from now,
ten days from now,
ten hours from now,
ten minutes from now,
ten seconds from now,

all that will have really mattered
will be the moment that just passed
while you were reading the line above;

of course, I worry that planning
on not planning anymore will,
just like expecting the unexpected,
put me right back where I was:

at least, as of this moment,
that's the plan.

May 17, 2010. (Yeah, I know, "meticulosity" is not a word. Sue me.)

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Good Morning!

I came over around dusk last night
and pissed all over your
perfectly manicured shrubs,
just to signal my displeasure
at you starting your lawnmower
at 7 a.m. the other day

I managed to hit
your Shasta daisies too
since I had drunk so much beer

I was going to fuck your wife too,
but decided that I couldn't decide
whether that would be
showing pity for her
or pity for you,
so I went back inside;

this morning
I watched the birds
avoid your shrubs
and the bees steer clear
of your flowers,
while your wife emerged,
looking needy.

May 16, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

that's really why they call it the blues

Buk said that enduring
is only meaningful
if you come out with
at the other end,
and that enduring
simply to endure
is the unfortunate plight
of millions;

and now we stand at that
sober grey gate,
and stare at lives
empty --
of no consequence at all:

we cast no shadows,
with our pale hearts
trickling sickened blood,
pushing us out the door,
down the street,
for one last lunge
at meaning.

May 16, 2010. (Bukowski reference: "her only son" from The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps, 2001.)

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



Rudy's wife was from
and spoke only Portuguese,
of which Rudy
knew not one word;
they were married
for 20 years
when I knew them,
and though the word
never passed between them,
they made it,
enjoyed it,
in the shadow of the shade
and the full sunlight of the glade;
never a moment wasted,
the future plans laid aside,
as the present they tasted:

ah, communication,
a beautiful thing.

May 16, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

purple kisses to die for

Her lips, warm and soft,
purple, from some really good
red wine, find me,
and I am dispossessed of reason,
with folly as my only craft,
floundering under Her incantation,
willing slave,
the next link
in a long concatenation;

She consumes me,
day and night,
and if I were
a stronger man,
less deprived,
less depraved,
I might well take flight;

but I stay,
one more go of it,
one more try,
one more purple kiss,
before it is goodbye.

May 16, 2010, for the Wifey, to whom I am wed for all time.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

how uppity we can be

my oh my
look at all of us
standin' by
watchin' you
plot your little tricks
and try to see
what sticks
when you throw it against the wall:

face it
you don't have
bullets enough or time

as we stand up to you,
we will show you
the mercies you have withheld

as we retake our civil rights
as we stand tall
and free --

how uppity we can be.

May 12, 2010, por la raza!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


that's how I glide;
and on the edges
Just Right,
day after day,
and night after night:
working it,
working it,
with all my might:


May 15, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

old school, new school

when life's indictments
are handed down
(if they are)
I hope that I am included
on the docket
that charges some
with adoring You,
from near or from far,
as I have done both,
and presently do continue
to hold You
(and hold You),
most closely,
mostly mostly,
astride my chest,
though positioned
most better the best,
my chin,
to bide my way in,
to seek out,
to employ,
to enjoy,
that sweet nectar
You do sway me,
and I swoon, for You
to have Your way with me,
and then
we bounce,
and we trounce,
and we give everything
a stir,
and You move,
and I groove,
on Your little patch of fur,
and I smile,
all the while,
when You go that extra mile,
and we swing,
and we sing,
and we hold back
not one thing,
and we rock
around the clock,
and the boat never finds
the dock, and we go
and we go
and we go,
for hours,
four hours,
rainbow showers
it's all ours;

and then we subdue,
me and You,
and we take a martini
or two
or three
or whatevah lets us be
You and I,
touching the high of the sky,
passing by the good lord
of love, smiling down from above,

and we recast
and have a repast,
and consider all that we have
and bow our heads in
solemn silence,
to the memory
of all the expelled
of love, tender mercy,
and the gradients


April 26, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

I love you enough to know

was feelin' a little like
Glenn Frey earlier tonight:
"four that wanna own me
two that wanna stone me,
one says she's
a friend of mine";

I sit here, contemplatin'
all of them,
stymied in my
concentration, and
I consider:
which measure,
of which elation,
should I choose?

the ones I tossed away --
yesterday's news,
today's blues --
or the one who got me
to pray (again), the one
who has apparently
come to stay?

and I confess,
that this largess,
is way more than I expected,
hell, it's way more
than what I rejected;

what I think I need,
as much as I think
I know
what I have
well I need someone
who will help keep me
on track,
wherever the hell
that is;

so is it just You,
You simple, sweet one, of tears,
and fears, and shades of blue,
maybe I should just
stay here with You;

so I float free,
a lot more certain of answers,
ready as ever to take
too many chances,
just willing myself to be me;
because when somebody
really loves you, true,
it's a rare day indeed.

July 20 & 21, 2009; May 16, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2009, 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



okay, mi amigo Cisco,
into the damned ramparts
we do dutifully go,
this One,
for all the prattle,
is the battle
that must be won;

citizens all,
arise to the call,
to denounce unjust
and come to the town square,
please be out there,
and show your humanity
at its best;

God of the sky,
we pray that You
show Your thunder,
and rent deep
all those who would
plunder simple souls
seeking freedom;

cast Your eye
on those who seek
to profit from the labor
of those who merely
seek to survive,
keep them in Your palm,
keep their dreams alive;

take the money-grubbing
demons to task in their own
season, and let tradition
lay down before reason,
and give them no quarter
for their treason, let them lie
in great pools of their
selfish, greedy fascination,
but do not let them take down
a nation, borne of freedom
and brotherhood, and of choice,
and of voice, understood then,
as now,
to be the expression of a free
people's vow:
do not tread on me.

April 25, 2010, por la raza!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Your whispers

this bright, windy Sunday morning
finds Mothers' Day
all about celebrating You,
the best one whom I've ever known:

Your harbor sprawls in the sun,
gulls soar and glide,
as my tide withdraws from You,
leaving in my wake
tangled treasures
all wrapped up in blue,
framed in green,
this sacred pairing,
this verdant indigo scene
that shows me where we have been,
and hints at where we will go;

the scent of wild roses
and young cedars
leave my head
filled with Your whispers.

May 9, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.




May 8, 2010, honoring the 20th birthday of my daughter Julia.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



he was in a foul mood,
no surprise to me:

"I am going to get drunk,
and stay drunk,
for as long as I can,"
he proclaimed
from his dented pitch
on the sofa;

"well that will only go so long,"
I replied, "seeing as how
your liver and your kidneys
have their limits";

and he said, "screw those
artificial limits, I am
and the portal
that I travel through
to meet with you
insulates me,
invigorates me,
ascertains me,
remains me,
and all that I embrace
in this doomed race
as well as all that I
throw back at you,
find full of foo,
and slog my crew
with such excrement,
as is heaven-scent:
it is poo-poo,
and like a wild monkey,
it is flung at you";

and I smiled,
in the face of his rant,
as I knew that he would
pass out long before
"would have"
and just shy of

April 6, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


either I stubbed my toe, or that's a cougar

ah, the magic of newfound lust
after years of celibacy:
she was the last one
for someone to trust,
the sculptor of the fallacy,
purveyor of rust
and what passed for normalcy,

and I was undone.

older by ten,
and wiser by twenty,
she knew paydirt
when she spotted it,
and I was plenty
to fool with

and I was just enough fool
to carry it off
as she slowly schooled me,
tooled me
tapered me
tempered me
tortured me
tackled me
tormented me
and left me


a pink pile of sweat
on an 80s sofa,
precursor to the 90s
so lost in video
that I didn't know
where to go,
so overcome
by a missing someone,
that it would take years
to figure out what
needed to be undone

ah, but what a glory was she,
I thought, as my feathers spread,
oh, what a prize
to have sprawled on my bed

of course, what I did not see,
what was invisible to me,
was that bright red target,
painted right above my eyes

and when she dropped me,
like a slippery souvenir,
all she said was:
"I'm leavin' here."

May 2, 2010. More moments from my checkered past.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



I am so angry right now.  Daemon and Tsukai got invited to go see RHPS, and I can't go.  Which, makes me irked but not angry.  What makes me angry is that they didn't bother to ask if I wanted to go, and they cancelled the plans we had for tonight without bothering to ask me what I thought.  They are going to carry through with the plans, but because it will be so late, I can't go.  They think I'm angry cause of RHPS, but I understand that these friends hate me, so that's fine, but could you at least tell me before I walk in the door and you are fixin to walk out? 

Someday, I'll figure out why they think its ok to act this way.  Was I just raised that differently? 



we stand suffused,
with a timeless love,
circling like terns
aloft with the winds,
taking turns from above;

great care
must be taken,
as we unfurl our jibs,
we must speak
from the same script,
no ad-libs;

we search the sky
to see what comes
and we cling,
as we sing;

life comes,
as it passes,
and truth stares
on all classes,
as we learn more,
and complete the chore;

end arrives,
no one survives,
even elected,
and we go to next,

April 6, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


merely enchanted

and I can feel
the heat of You,
Your center,
Your searing core;
and it is that,
that I adore,
and of which
I always want
You rustle the covers,
pushing me
to discover more,
and I rise to the bait,
displaying lust,
true to the trait
of my gender:
in a blender;
and then,
in a moment
of spectacular
I am lost,
in You,
and all that lies
Your spell,
though I am well,
I am swell, and
I am
merely enchanted.

April 6, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.