What can you do with a nation in pajamas
Shuffling around in marijuana smoke?
How can dignity be restored
To those who barely possessed it?


What can u do w/a nation in pajamas
Whose baby-mamas wait for government checks?
How can a people be taught to read
Who only live to peruse their phone ?


What can u do w/a nation in pajamas
Rolling-jiggling toward morbidly obese?
How will that nation be made to grasp
That poverty is learned response ?



write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.

Farewell, Welfare


I sing of life at state expense
a state devoid of common sense
addicted to obesity
impolitic in body weight
yet headed for austerity
as other people’s money ends
plebeian class-revolt transcends
our bureaucratic history.

They stack the monthly welfare decks
complain the service second-rate
those sullen clients, thankless louts
pajama-clad with tattooed pouts
whose girlfriends swell while babies cry;
the fathers mumble, sagging high
and wait in lines. The women try
to fool the lunar period
conceptions waxing myriad
while teenage dads discover sex
and social workers cash the checks
the daily urban nightmare is
enough to scare a nation broke
in clouds of marijuana smoke:
the cashless global mystery.

The breeders born in tropic lands
are tempted till they take the bait
no baby-momma understands
what family means, what life demands
Your undertakers overstate
in order to remunerate
your Democratic history:
a bankrupt urban mystery
the not-so-Great Society.

The ghetto sperm-donation ploy
makes babies but maintains the boy
to run around from mom to mom
slow-motion population bomb
as if to merely demonstrate
that social program funders wait
till number-crunchers aggravate
the urban teenage welfare state.





Portrait of a Pre-Madonna

Teen Pregnancy
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning,
fair as the moon, clear as the sun,
and terrible as an army with banners?
Song of Solomon 6:10 KJV

Her look is anything but clear
a vacant beaten stare, slight fear;
She finds it hard to concentrate
upon her swelling change of state.

The gaze within her drop-out eyes
makes diapers float in teenage skies
where infant-formula rains down
while strollers crawl through baby-town.

Sweet nubile thing, your growing seed
will reap a crop of constant need.
For now, let’s hope it plays out well
for baby-daddy Gabriel.

Or was he Adam to your Eve ?
(scenario easier to conceive.)
He lost his rib — became your man;
you spread your legs and life began.

Taina Fertility Chant

Betty Boop Boricua
No me diga la nena ‘ta pregnant again?
(I thought she decided no more after Tito…)
she’s almost 16 – and she dropped out of school.
(It might be the spice in abuela’s sofrito…)

There’s one in the oven and two in the stroller
Oh nubile Boricua, what gives – ¿Qué sería?
if life is the masa and birth is the bakery
yours is a virtual panadería

Some pulse in your short-shorts, those flexible hips
under tropical rhythm of lewd reggaeton
seems to summon the sperm from your lover’s abundance
whenever you find yourselves home and alone.

Where’s your man? Who’s the daddy? Why didn’t he stay?
your gaze is unsettling, harshly pathetic.
You sad Betty-Boop: are you waiting in vain
for your man – or your period?  How unpoetic…

This life lived on welfare, entitled, enslaved
with your babies at grandma’s and you with your phone
is a taxpayer’s nightmare and teenage recurrence
(but you’re busy texting some drama unknown…)

Mamita herself looks more like your hermana
She started this game even earlier, too
When you stand, side by side, in your thongs and pijama
it’s hard to be sure who is who.