There’s Nothing To See

Inspired by: and

Your last vacation involved a counter top

The usual white interior and dark carpet

To hide what scurrilous members made their mark

In strange quarters in a strange place.

You left a perfectly comfortable house

To go somewhere that required a new tube of toothpaste

And you didn’t dare touch those cups

That the housekeeper washed and covered

With a French fry wrapper

As if the cup was new.

And what about the bed spread?

That’s a good word for it.

Every naked sod waited for his girlfriend

While she took a shower

His legs open and his butt

Crack peeling with the scent of a long hard day.

I like how they throw it all together.

Every room is the same,

Can you imagine that for the help?

They can’t tell if they’ve been there before.

They have to leave the cleaning cart outside

In case there are more towels to get.

It is like a life preserver.

They hold on to it

Cause their heads spin

Pulling the covers over the last

Sexual charade,

Where every room

Houses the same act

Of the delusion of escape.

I watch you smile

As if we are having fun,

But I see the germ of disappointment

In the fact that we are blue collar

Enjoying something that is not meant for us.

Why is it that this room is so cheap?

I could do a better job appointing it

With knick-knacks from Ikea.

This whole fricken place is an insult

More of the same corporate America

That I thought we were leaving?

But, there’s no escaping any of it?

How am I supposed to rest?

I don’t want to be reminded of why I can’t marry you!

Why we can’t take a reasonable vacation?

I make minimum wage and how in the hell can I plan for retirement

If I take three days off and it sets us back another year?

Our vacations are the days off we get in a week,

If we are lucky,

And when we do

We just sit there and look at each other.

The last time I took a two-week vacation was in ’95.

I went to Europe. I only spent $2000 for everything.

I stayed in a youth hostel.

I was a grown man.

I was single.

I can’t imagine marrying you.

We met on a dating site

And you are crazy.

Why is it that I always end up with the molested ones?

Do I look like a psychologist?

Does it look like I care?

How can I afford you?

The world is upside down.

I’ll be single after this vacation.

We’ll fight because screaming is something you’ve learned.

Everything is knee-jerk.

There is something inside of you that is angry.

You are a ferocious naked animal

Fragile and sad

And I know that you are damaged.

You can’t rest with one eye open.

You are worried about the pit bull in the blanket.

You can leave it only for 6-hour increments

Or it sleeps with us and gets just as excited, and

I can’t take it anymore.

I don’t want that kind of a three-some.

Stop taking pictures.

This is not a family outing.

It’s my need for intimacy and your need for safety,

But the world has made that impossible.

I know we haven’t spoken for a long time,

But I was thinking about you.

You are really a sweet person

Though I can’t trust you.

Your life is beyond the law of averages.

Every day you live on the edge.

You are going to LVN school but

It is across the bay and across the city from that

And you have no car.

Your friends are invalids and

Your dates are after the same thing that I am.

And you’ll do what it takes if that’s what it takes,

And that’s why you are so lovable, and indestructible,

Or so I would like to think.

Sometimes you call me when you are drunk

Or when you’ve butt called me

And I listen to you talk to some other man,

Who is usually driving you to school?

No, there is nothing graceful about us.

You are on the edge and I am on the edge,

But we are making it and I love you for that.

Knowing you are out there makes me smile.

Just like the other guys, we don’t want to have sex anymore.

We just want you to make it.

We love you. You earned it. You make us proud.

And we know that women are stronger than men

And we worship you for it.

We wish we could help you, but we’re lost.

We are struggling ourselves.

So, stop taking pictures.

There’s nothing to see.


    • It’s very nice that you liked it. Last night I read it to my mother, who is in a nursing home. We sat in the lobby, and I read it to her, line-by-line with pauses, just long enough to look up and catch her eye. At a point, she said it was too much. Eventually, she dropped her water. She held it with a tilt. I kept telling her that it was a poem, that it wasn’t real, but she asked me: “Did you do that?”

      I love how the poem is getting closer to a reading I once heard on a Miami Vice show, where a Latin American Poet was reading in a theater. He read some of the most simple lines, but they were magnanimous, dauntingly heavy and referential. Nothing was what it seemed. It was clothed in the protective garb of metaphor since the poem was of war and politics. You can almost never tell the truth, but in your allusion to it, it has an effect not unlike a fine oil painting.

  1. Thank you. I had to look up the word “raw” because it became an abstraction in terms of what I write, mainly because the words are too close to me to have the distance of looking back. I think you mean the later three, beginning with “Outspoken…” I like that.:

    Being in a natural condition; not processed or refined/crude.
    Not subjected to adjustment or analysis.
    Exposed tissue/raw wound.
    Cruel and unfair.
    Outspoken as in a portrayal of truth.
    Powerful impressive, stark: raw beauty; raw talent.
    Nude; naked. (Taken from:

    “Impressive expression” is clear. What I express impresses you and, by implication, others.

  2. I am not sure what I did was communicated. The story is fiction, where I cited my inspiration. There are hints of truth, and perhaps it is at those points where the rawness is transparent, when I reference the truth, but I am not sure if those points were the points where you thought I was telling the truth and therefore I was being transparent.

    The poem is therefore a synthesis of reality through the vehicles of an image and a story. The image provided context and the story provided an attitude for thoughts I must have been harboring as I looked at the picture (having read the story) and the thoughts came to me.

    • I think I need to consider my tendency to misread your work… I’m noticing a trend of interpretation in the wrong direction. It was well written overall! And- there is something to be said about your ability to sell me every detail! Good job!

  3. Just to be clear, I saw this image posted by a fellow blogger and it triggered a flow of information. This was also after I read a story by another blogger about his sexual exploits, but I always figure he is just kidding because he does it with such distance and flippancy. I know sex is never like this, at least it isn’t like that for me.

    So, I look at the image and concentrate. And I note all the words that come to me and it is often an image or a few words that will get me started and I follow them. I pick things up from experience, but what often happens is that words simply come to me and they feel real, they seem true in the context of the image before me and how I feel. There’s a syntactical logic.

    I am glad that my work causes you to think that you might have “misread” my work, because I know how that happens. I was in a cafe with my writer’s club friends and one of them read a story that I took for her life and she scolded me. “I am not sick,” she said, and I was defensive.

    “I am sorry,” I said. Anyway, it was weird because I was completely caught up in her story as being “her” story.

    Your trend of this kind of interpretation is flattering to me, so I really like it. You can do it all you want as far as I am concerned. A story is supposed to feel real and you are supposed to enjoy it as something you can relate to. I am excited that I can sell every detail. I really love writing and I hope to move further and further away from me in the sense of what actually happens in my boring life and to create worlds that others can spend time in.

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