Posted by on January 8, 2017

Seven Poems by Richard Fein

Written by Richard Fein

Illustrated by Adam Villanueva

July 2, 2016


In a field with grass taller than me

and myself trapped claustrophobic,

confused, very confused,

lost actually and wandering in circles

in a tangle of weeds,

I stumbled upon a haunting image

or was it just a moment of


As I parted that tall grass before me

a dog was at my feet very very still and very very hungry

mouth gaping wide and rigor mortis still

but swallowing maggots

or so it seemed for that instant.

Still haunts me today that momentary misperception

of maggots being devoured instead of devouring

in that labyrinth

that I was struggling though

and still am.


And I was before His high throne,

balancing on a tightrope above the sulphurous pit.

In my most monstrous mind I paraded all my infamous sins:

the commandments I surely broke, the lustful thoughts,

all my petty and grand larcenies and conniving hustles,

the broken promises, the vain oaths,

the swath of misery I cut through the fabric of life.

Surely my extraordinary evils merited being cast down to Satan’s inner circle.

But instead the white-robed white bearded Judge of Judges

scanned the parchment that recorded my life, glance down at me,

and—alas—yawned, yelled next,

and waved me through the Pearly Gates.


Seven Poems by Richard Fein & Adam Villanueva

Odysseus needed only to shut his eyes

to blind himself to the Sirens’ bare breasts full of poisoned milk.

But he had to be tied to the mast by his crewmen

and have his ears plugged with wax,

lest he yield to the Siren’s seductive dirge.

We can blind ourselves to the unsightly

but not be deaf to the unspeakable.

Our eyes have curtains, those blessed lids.

But our ears are always left wide open

like the burglarized home of a careless soul

who left without first closing his side windows.

No wonder the devil appears in legends

not as painter but as fiddler.


I know the history of that building

or rather the vacant lot it was built upon.

I once played cowboys and Indians where it stands now.

A wild frontier to a ten-year-old.

A pedigree of trees all the way back to the Indians,

and within was a wigwam or so I called it,

but actually a home for a homeless one.

I’d spy on him from the bushes,

as he went in and out through his burlap door.

So many lives now tower before me,

floor by floor, story by story,

where once there was only one alone in a shack.

The last time I saw him he was standing helpless on the street—right there,

while a bulldozer crashed through his hovel

and the burlap flailed from the wheels like a severed lizard’s tail.

Looked again and he was gone.

A high rise grew from the vacant lot

but marks no monument to him.

Only I do, and surely no one else does.

As long as I have memories, as long as I have pens,

I’m his living cenotaph.


To measure one in all its fully extended glory one needs the following contraptions:

a system of pulleys, rubber hoses, capillary tubes,

a hypodermic needle glued to the base of that required severed penis,

and lots and lots of seawater.

But why would one measure a barnacle’s penis?

Because relatively speaking it has the biggest dick in the whole wide world.

It even beats out a well-hung banana slug.

A blue whale needs Viagra to even come close, relatively speaking of course.

Body to pecker ratio, the barnacle is champ of land and sea, an arthropod super water bug.

Darwin was in awe of their tumid shlongs, nine times the size of their own bodies.

Think almost five feet for pathetic human males.

Barnacles, much like us, spend their restless yearning youth

freely swimming, searching for that special gee-whiz spot.

And if they find that gee spot, Lo the metamorphosis!

Their motility becomes obsolete and their new lifestyle wonderfully obscene.

They become the archetypal couch potatoes, or in their case conch potatoes.

They settle down to a lifelong inertia.

And for human guys twenty years married, well what’s the difference?

But barnacles could attach themselves anywhere,

oysters, whales, sharks even a jettisoned mattress.

And a kind of natural Krazy glue becomes their everlasting bond.

A whole menagerie of horny arthropods, lifetimes of only eating, sleeping, and you know what,

a barnacle-to-barnacle daisy chain across any miscellaneous surface.

That explains their unabashed protuberances,

these sessile sexy creatures must reach across to their mates lying next to them,

and that makes for a mighty long stretch, maybe close to half a foot.

What’s more, they’re also hermaphrodites, a sort of AC/DC not yet fully evolved.

Intercourse, mutual masturbation, and possibly gay sex all at once.

Barnacles, the salty wet dream of every long-married ex-bachelor and aging drag queen.

No wonder Darwin was in awe.

But sadly for us, evolution took a more boring turn.



there is the iron skeleton of a canopy,

two pairs of metallic bars

and one bar in between.

The rain pours through the naked bars.

The whole damn wreck should be torn down.

Yearly, yard by yard heat, cold, wind, and rain

prevailed over cloth.


when the canopy was like a sheltering blanket,

we hid from a summer storm.

You took a leaf and pasted it on my forehead,

but the leaf blew into a puddle.

The leaf has long since washed away.

And now I should move on.

But my clothes will get wet.

But they already are,

standing here under a canopy so torn apart

it no longer offers me shelter from this driving rain.


So you found, an old appointment book with an odds-and-ends phone number.

But the name and address, did it fade away? Was it erased?

A number for whom? For whom? For whom? Or for what?

What you should be saying is, “For whatever”

then toss the long forgotten book away.

But you’re like a neurotic screaming at long dead parents,

and so you’re about to dial.

And what will you be greeted with?

“This number has been disconnected.”

Or worse, some unfamiliar voice might say hello,

and you’ll say nothing, or stutter, “Sorry wrong number.”

Or worst of all, a once familiar voice might call your name saying,

is that you?

And suddenly you’ll recall why you stopped calling.