Thursday, August 25, 2016

poem of the day 08.25.16

american poem

so many flags little time

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

poem of the day 08.24.16

ode to the loud guy on the B4 bus

eighteen months
i haven’t had to take this bus home

now, i don’t want to suggest
that things should get better over time

life is cyclical

some mornings i get the feeling
that we’re slipping slowly back
into some new kind of dark age

but do you really have to shout to your friend
about going to dinner at buffalo wild wings?

i don’t want to get into your cuisine choices
but the man is sitting right next to you

at best you need only talk above a whisper

why do we all have to know how much you enjoyed
your screamin’ nacho burger and buffalo chips?

i’m not trying to suggest
that what i’m doing on here is better
than what you are trying to do

though i am reading chuck kinder
poems about richard brautigan

by the looks of us we’re both trying to go home
from our fucking jobs

i just don’t care that target has all their star wars shit on sale
and how cheap the batman/superman blu-ray combo is

even if i did like the film

or that the target is right next door to buffalo wild wings

which was good because you really
needed the bathroom after that meal

i’m sure the other two dozen people on the B4 bus
don’t give a shit either

but it doesn’t matter to you, does it?

doesn’t matter that the bus driver had
to make an announcement telling you to shut the hell up

you didn’t even hear him

just went right on babbling about bowel movements
and stars wars and batman and target
and screamin’ nacho burgers and buffalo chips

i don’t want to say that there was a genuine sigh of relief
when you got off at thirteenth avenue

i’ll just say the bus got a ton quieter
and the driver no longer looked like 
he wanted to careen the bus into a wall

that is, at least until sixth avenue
when some asshole teenage girl got on the bus
blasting taylor swift songs from her smartphone

singing off-key for everyone

like she thought she was
going to be america’s next big shit.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

poem of the day 08.23.16

an artist

matty doesn’t like
to be called an artist
don’t call me that! he shouts
markers in hand
a page full of rockets
and robots and monsters
the other kids say
but you are an artist
looking down at their lackluster flowers
and dogs and cats and flaming suns
and other scrawled banalities
matty says, stop it!
like they’re calling him fat
or a geek or a loser
i’m not an artist!
even the adults get into the act
oh, but look how good your rocket looks!
look at how real the airplane is
adults who have squandered their lives
in public schools, in colleges, in traffic
in conversations that are circular and go nowhere
at jobs that have belittled and bedeviled them
at every turn
who waste days online in social networks
or buying things that they don’t need
just to satiate the hunger of a failed existence
adults who would stone an artist
above the age of eighteen just for sport
because all beauty has been sucked out of them
you are an artist! they tell matty
much to his chagrin
pestering him about his talent
about having to do something with his talent
until he slams down the marker
tosses the crayolas in a pile
rips up his latest masterpiece
and throws it in the trash
before storming off into the afternoon
because matty already knows 
that people are liars
he knows what a load of horseshit
being called an artist in america
really is.

Monday, August 22, 2016

poem of the day 08.22.16

the lady exiting through the basement

the lady
exiting through
the basement
of the apartment building
gussied up
for a friday night in america
catches me
wild haired
scratching my ass
dumping wine bottles galore
and six plastic vodka jugs
into the recyclable receptacles
stopping short
she stares at me
like i’m some strange
and unknown beast
then walks her tight little ass
out into the night
her perfume choking
the atmosphere
i think
i’m sure
she thinks
she knows me
better than
i think
i know


Friday, August 19, 2016

poem of the day 08.19.16

yet the sun doesn’t have
the courage to die

102 years old, she says to no one

my aunt, she says
she shakes the big picture she’s holding

only this isn’t her
this is my great-grandmother

she shows the whole bus her picture

my aunt died, she said
so i get this picture of great-grandma

wasn’t she beautiful?
didn’t we look alike?

a group of mexican day laborers
shake their heads in unison

muy hermosa, one shouts
before he goes back to sleeping in drywall dust

i’m sorry if i’m bothering you
she says, but i don’t know to who

but i’m very depressed
it’s hard going through somebody’s things

even if they died at 102 years old
even if you get to have this wonderful picture

she shows great-grandma around the bus again

and i got a jacket, she says
i got an old fur coat
i have it right in this bag here

but i’m very depressed, she says

it’s very depressing when someone dies
even though she had the courage to live 102 years

not many people can do that
how many people on this bus will see 102?

she looks around at the screaming kids
at the day laborers and tired mothers

at the girls singing along to songs
coming loudly off their cell phones

at the people trying to make it home from work
at a still reasonable hour

people who already look dead

didn’t we look alike? she says to me
she shows me the picture of her great-grandmother

of course she never saw 102, she says
not like my aunt

imagine that, she says to me
as i nod and turn away from the photo
to watch the sun as it starts to sink
behind one of the dull gray buildings lining the avenue

housing people who must
endure the rudiments of the day
for reasons they no longer understand

maybe for the few small moments of bliss
that come their way and make up a life

imagine 102 years and what that must feel like
all those years, she says to no one again

oh, it’s very depressing to talk about
oh, but this life, she says

it’s also such a miracle, right?


Thursday, August 18, 2016

poem of the day 08.18.16

as if lucifer rose


sometimes getting drunk

in the middle of the day in a bar is all right


but instead i’m in the grocery line

the scent of last night’s vodka sniffing through my nose


stuck behind another cotton-headed abomination


someone’s mother yes

someone’s grandmother


far off into the cold, carnal distance of the past

maybe the erotic love of someone’s life


though i doubt it


she’s standing in the middle of the lane

questioning the cost of every item to the cashier


why does the yogurt cost so much?

why the lemonade?

give me back those apples

i’m going to have to think about them


i can’t even get my groceries

on the little conveyor belt because she won’t move

from her incredulous consumptive perch


this is a small problem, true


there are wars

there is suffering


somewhere a thirteen year old girl

is being forced into the submission

of an arranged marriage


how we have an orange-faced

racist maniac running for president


but this is my problem


and i think about bukowski and the shoelace

how it’ll be the small stuff that gets you in the end

not nuclear war or authoritarianism


or about how i’d still need to buy

toilet paper in the event of national socialism


this woman is my shoelace


checking the expiration on the milk for the third time

complaining about the cost of butter for the second time

leaving the line to go and get a bigger bag of rice

like she left the line to go and get some new apples


this is no bar in the middle of the afternoon

hiding in the dark, getting drunk

as assholes make their way outside in the sun


she is no human being


she’s a beast, standing there examining her receipt

so that the cashier can’t even ring up my shit


as if lucifer rose from hell

this fine summer day

to buy coffee on sale and some rotisserie chicken


or to screw with a guy like me

hungover and in need of seltzer

so he can go home and hit the bottle


make his world’s suffering end.





Wednesday, August 17, 2016

poem of the day 08.17.16

bad ass bros carry beer cases up the street

bad ass bros carry beer cases
up the street

and i feel like death warmed over
sitting on a stalled bus in the sun

smelling my own stink
i watch them as they strut
with that confidence of youth

like they have their own soundtrack playing

shouting their bullshit at women
turning for the last glance of ass

swinging beer cases
like they’re filled with air

cigarettes dangling from their mouths
slapping five when they get a smile from some chick

bad ass bros carry beer cases
up the street

like wiry gilded gods in a city that was made
just for their pleasure

they don’t know about sitting on stalled buses
feeling like death warmed over

useless and aging
in the reflection of the hot summer sun

as kids cry and people shout into their phones
about wasted time in a wasted life

man….i hope they never do.