Category Archives: murder

Brooklyn Murder Suicide Sonnet

When Falling In Love we ourselves extend

Hearts sending out tender capillaries

To fertilize love for a sweeter trend

& dodging loneliness’s vagaries

But maybe one cannot live up, you know

To the amorous baggage therein

The dream Cupid looses from his bow

Is a strange love song on a theramin

What becomes of amorous delusions?

Reality rumbles from the tunnel

& all that remains are his illusions

His dreams & her body are then pummeled

Brooklyn Subway Murder-&-Suicide

Pulls to eternity the lies they tried


Mass Media Murder Sonnet

The pain of a broken metatarsal

(Which is quite substantial & actual)

Is nothing before the myth carceral

That might bring us any peace factual

The ruthless cold blooded murders of five

In a tired salon of the fourth estate

Was one loser’s attempt to keep alive

His myths of when America was great

The pain, superadded to the murders

(Of five souls who I am sure were wonders),

Is for how we lift grifters & burglars

& then corporate media scale

Fox News & ABC pull the flesh off

The corpse of America now so lost

Bland Warm Beer

Bland Warmbier

Sandra Bland & Otto Warmbier are
Obverse sides of the law-&-order coin
One’s intercontinental travel went far
The other got the role of oppressed toy

Both existences are tragic stories:
Good people done in by crooked systems
Their tales of injustice tired & hoary:
They might well be Old Testament lessons

But our media will defend but one
Defending the undefendable way
Our brutal racist system deals with some
Lamenting Otto Warmbier’s sad display

So as you surf the internet notice
How racism is a given: know this!

Shooting Haikus

Shooting Haikus

1. These shootings are tests/
Rorschach ink-blot projections/
Of our inner thoughts/

2. Interpret these deaths/
Through ideological/
Political lens/

3. Counter-factual/
Solutions to passed problems/
Is all we offer/

4. Obsessing on death/
Like air-brushed celebrity/
We fetishized it/

6. Killers want some fame/
“Meaning” that evaded them/
In our modern “life”/

7. Spectacular death/
Revenge against all living/
Fights meaninglessness/

8. Oversized living/
Broadcast to sell production*/
Overshadows “life”/
#haiku *the famous

9. The G_dless marriage:/
Fame & consumerism/
Belittle our lives/

10. These belittled lives/
fight for relevant meaning/
(But some wackos snap)/

12. Spectacle shootings/
Attract eyes to TV screens/
Without any “content”/

13. Prurient int’rest/
In destruction & murder/
Gets lower angels/

14. Our basest thinking/
Revenge, power, victory/
Acted out by guns/

15. We can’t look away/
From the horror we create/
By watching TV/

16. Satellite trucks come/
Beaming local horror up/
For media wealth/

17. Like flies to a corpse/
Media shows tragedy/
Death’s their business plan/

18. Expertly made up/
Talking heads perform our grief/
Knowing what’s needed/

19. “The Ace in the Hole”/
Profiting off of sadness/
Advances careers/

20. We watch ’cause we care/
& their tragedy highlights/
Our lives’ plain goodness/

21. Chiaroscuro/
Out of the darkness some light/
On our common lives/

Text Message Mystery in 45 Haikus

Haiku Mystery

1. MMS photo/
From an unknown cell number/
Creates mystery/

2. Today’s Daily News/
Cover with today’s murder/
Next to a woman/

3. Her eyes spitting hate/
Gazing over bandana/
Gagging her mouth closed/

4. The hate masked terror/
I saw as I inspected/
Digital picture/

5. Who had bound and gagged/
This young woman with headline/
And then sent me proof?/

6.  Didn’t know the girl/
Must have been meant 4 someone/
Creepy wrong number/

7. I called the police/
They gave me twelve forms to fill/
Then said “we’ll call you!”/

8. Went back to iStore/
They said the number’s brand new/
Were no fucking help/

9. I Texted Pytor/
An illegal Polish friend/
Fired by Apple store/

10. For $20 dollars/
He searched the names numbers/
Close to my new one/

11. He found one strange name/
An odd Russian pseudonym/
Who’d paid for phishing/

12. A Brooklyn diner/
By Brighton Beach library/
They used the wireless/

13. To send out millions/
Of “emails” from “citibank”/
Russian and Polish/

14. “Perstroika” was blond/
Paid in crisp hundreds: tripled/
If counterfeit bills/

15. “Perstroika Kiev”/
Number two where I had three/
This was his picture/

16. Pytor pointed/
Out that I’d be the sender/
Needed strategy/

17. They next photograph/
Was just her face defeated/
The hate was erased/

18. The acts that erased/
Her fiery eyes imagined/
Were too terrible/

19. I even pitied/
The gangster this was meant for/
And the tortured girl/

20. Contacting Kiev/
Put me in a grand shitstorm/
Pytor avoided/

21. Now I was tied too/
My phone was in beefy hands/
Cyrillic Tattoos/

22. Negotiating/
For your life without your hands/
Isn’t difficult/

23. Pytor was hacking/
Originating number/
(He’d call from phone booth)/

24. His call, like angels,/
Came to rescue my body/
As they whipped my flesh/

25. The plan had been made/
Before I entered Brooklyn/
I left with thou$and$/

26. They got the iPhone/
And the sender’s phone number/
I got those hundred$/

27. After six hours/
Her next picture was sent him/
Pytor’d cloned the phone/

28. Image sent Kiev/
Included  cyrillic words/
It was very grim/

29. Barely conscious blond/
With the early edition/
Splattered in her blood/

30. Went to the pay phone/
It was already ringing/
Kiev was enraged/

31. Pytor decoded/
The GPS location/
From cameraphone/

32. Five-Thousand Dollar$/
Kiev paid for location/
Collected in park/

33. At the park drop off/
Kiev asked “why po-lice call?”/
“I made a report”/

34. “They have seen pictures/
But think I am you, not me”/
“They’re trying to help”/

35. “If Po-lice find me/
Is bigger problem I have/
You take the iPhone”/

36. “Cyall officer Jones/
One hour from now, gyive address/
You just sold to me”/

37.  I called a lawyer/
Who told me how to inform/
To immigration/

38. Got immigration/
To cut Pytor a green card/
For our case knowledge/

39. “The blonde is partner”/
(His mistress and his madam/
Pimping Russian girls)/

40.  Before the hour passed/
The blunt tool of the police/
Were given address/

41. Police and Kiev/
Found immigration waiting/
Pytor and I watched/

42. Bengali Cabbie/
Drove us by slowly, waiting/
For private perp-walk/

43. Russians wore bracelets/
They were the victims and perps/
Who’d paid me $o much/

44. Pytor got green card/
I got over ten-thou$and/
Kiev got Twelve Years/

45. I got a new phone/
I bought an Android on line/
Pytor’s selection/

Sent via CrackBerry enslaved by AT&T

Easter War Haikus

On this Spring Holiday I’ve been thinking about the “rebirth” metaphor of the season in terms of Lybia and the rebirth of colonialism. The “people” we are “defending” are unknown & the 1 thing you can say against them is that the West of a checkered past is so violently supporting them. (Where’s the support in Yemen and Bahrain?)

1a. Military gains/
Aren’t moral or social wins/
But Ethical #Fail/

2. There are active wars/
‘Cause there’s active unfairness/
(Both make evil rich)/

3. Wars are inflicted/
On the poor (catching SOME rich)/
Whom you’ll hear about/

4. War’s an investment/
In an under-performing/
Market for the rich/

4a. War’s an investment:/
Under-performing market/
For the hedge-fund-rich/

5. War is “avarice/
Made flesh” like Jesus, with guns/
Sold by the wealthy/

6. “Avarice made flesh”/
In the carnage of faithful/
Devotees of G_d/

7. Cold War’s Easter was/
September Eleventh, when/
Fear was embodied/

8. The Devil reborn/
Was the gun-merchants’ $avior/
In towers’ collapse/

9. No humans profit/
From these racist invasions/
Except gun-merchants*/
*their humanity’s being “fact-checked”

10. So Islam replaced/
Communism as reason/
To purchase weapons/

11. So “Happy Easter”/
The Son of Imperial/
God of Rome* Reborn/
*Constantinian, evangelical, hierarchical, conquestorial Christianity

Happy New You



12/31/07 05:35:55 AM

Where has the year gone? Has it gone into the trash heap or the archives; I’m not sure which. Into the archives is another beautiful year with a wonderful family. We’ve just moved into an apartment which seems to fit us better. We, for the first time, are in a home big enough for all of us (the second bathroom is key).

Here is an outline of the biggies I can think of this minute:

New House

We love our new house and are looking forward to finishing moving in. Three bedrooms and two baths is the right fit for us. Mason has his own room and it is big enough to send him to. 🙂 Chandler and Lennox are working out the wrinkles in their new quasi-cohabitation. Generally permission is granted to cross the armistice line; especially since Lenna got her princess netting and pink rug. It is strange to be in a modern building and the view, as I look over the BQE and east into Woodside and Rego Park and watch the sun rise as I write this the sky and the contours of the land are enthralling to me. I love watching when the LIRR rolls out of Woodside on the way to Jamaica: a long silvery snake a half a mile on.



I am still so in Love With Linda that it scares me. She is the model for everything beautiful and desirable in my life. I wish I could be with her more and, paradoxically, more like her. I am blessed to be chosen by her to spend these days together with her.

Chandler continues to thrive at the TAG school she’s in. She has a lot of homework and does it without complaint, though she looks at the confections of Cable TV as the just and right compensation for her work. At least is is mostly Disnified Pre-Tween Confections, though she will be a teenager on February 23rd.

Mason and I survived the soccer season (he’s quite good) with me as coach, though he declined to play winter league indoors. Mason’s way with words continues to amaze Linda and I mostly because he is not the squeaky wheel. Out of -or out from under- the hubbub of the family Mason will make a wry comment that puts everything that we are all elbowing to the front to try and frame just so into context. He does so uproariously and seemingly without effort.

Lennox is growing up so fast in so many ways. Just like with her sister we are often fooled into thinking that she’s older because she’s so damned verbal. She is also sassy in a way Chandler can only dream of (and rue). So when she puts her hand on her splayed hip and rolls her eyes as she wipes stray locks out of her eyes explaining “whatever, duh!” we lose track of her age (5) and size (just right). We start trying to reason with the sarcastic teenager that she apes rather than the Kindergartener that she is. Needless to say we miss having Kindergarten across the street, but we’ll see how this move will effect our lives (passive aggressively I think the earlier wake-up and travel will be good for the family).

School Year

I loved my Fall 1 Classes and I am really enjoying the Lit Elective classes I am teaching. The Contemporary African American Fiction and the Black Lit Survey have been soul-expanding (as much as teaching a class can be). I love the students at LaGuardia CC. Teaching them is a dream come true. In many of their faces and papers I see myself struggling intellectually to come into my own. It is a humbling flashback when I see the same misunderstandings that I made in someone else’s paper. It is a merciful reminder of my current domestic bliss when I see the sturm und drang of youthful courting around campus. I look forward to working on my own intellectual and academic development this next year.

Amir’s Murder

The horror of Amir Hassan Reed’s murder this year has put a lot of things into perspective. I am so grateful to be alive, which I generally take for granted. I take life, mine and my beautiful family’s to be a given that shall continue along, but it “Ain’t Necessarily So.” I had taken it for granted that I would wake up to the same cast that I went to sleep with. It is rare that such a Cause Célèbre visits our lives, and I had often wished that my life would intersect with drama and fame. Sigh, I wish that I had marked my door with blood so this angel never came. What I found most annoying and titillating was the comments left on the SFGate site articles: people who knew the least seemed to make the strongest comments. This puts all of my “Willie-Neckbone-Expertise” into perspective: the more I think I know, the less I know.

48 Years

I turned 48 this December. I remember in 1974 thinking that it would be the year 2000 when I was 40. It seemed so abstract and distant (and of course I took it for granted that I would live that long). Well until this year I’ve held up well. During the spring my Achilles tendons started to act up (and I didn’t go to the doctor). In the Fall, playing soccer with Mason I tore up my ankle (and I didn’t go to the doctor). This December my ankle got infected and I went to the doctor. I will go to physical therapy soon because I really miss my morning runs through Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth and Long Island City. I’m feeling trapped by my infirmity in spite of the fact that I did go for a bike ride yesterday. Linda is sick this morning so I don’t think I’ll have that luxury.


I still haven’t written the great American novel, but I have been working on a story. I haven’t published my dissertation, but I hope to. I want to do more original scholarship rather than just “willie-neckbone” out opinions on things I know little about. So I will continue to do as the Sanskrit Proverb suggests:

Look to this day
For it is life
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power —

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well-lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Happy New YOU, Love Stafford.