Tuesday, January 6, 2009

POem of the day 01.06.09


i got to the slaughtered lamb
about 4:45 and i was nervous
so i went in there only
because they were promising
four-dollar drafts, which is actually good
for the heart of the west village
and it was cold out.
so i stayed for two then went back out
onto w 4th to look for ally.
i went down cornelia and then up bleecker
and down jones street having a bob dylan fantasy
but instead of going back into the slaughtered lamb
i went down cornelia again
and this time waited for ally.
while there a waiter and waitress
came outside to remove tables
and looked at me in my green jacket
and steelers snowcap and one said
to the other “i think tonight is going
to be a strange night,”
which i didn’t know how to take
which was about the time ally showed up.
we were early anyway so it was back
to the slaughtered lamb for more beer and to warm up.
i was getting hungry but i wouldn’t eat.
they wouldn’t let us in the cornelia street cafe
basement when we got back
so we stood in the cold and watched
moneyed people leaving old village apartments
that used to belong to artists long since gone
their memory making the village
the unaffordable, posh mess that it is currently
and right then we spotted dan coming
down the street in his 18th century jacket
and fluorescent military pants
so the three of us went inside the cornelia street cafe
and ordered a $35 bottle of boggle petite sirah
(which dan paid for)
but that was about the time they let us all
downstairs for the reading.
(did i mention this was about a reading?).
we stood in a long line,
me a couple people ahead of dan and ally,
who had our glasses and bottle of petite sirah,
and i paid our entrance fee
$7 each plus a free glass of the house red or white
(i chose us the red).
we took these seats in this little cavern theater
as people filed in.
overhead they had a cd playing of bukowski
reading poems over eerie cello music
because the night was a tribute reading to hank
and i kept saying “i wonder what bukowski would
make of all of this?”
and dan kept pouring the wine
and ally kept pouring the wine
and i kept pouring the wine
and soon people got up to read bukowski poems
or their own concoctions.
i couldn’t tell if any of it was any good or not
because i was nervous and hungry and getting drunk
and i’d spent the whole day debating whether or not
i was even going to read at this thing
but in the end chose going
over sitting at home with a bottle of scotch
and listening to the neighbor’s television again.
and dan kept pouring the wine
and ally kept pouring the wine
and i kept pouring the wine and clutching my new
book of poems.
soon the wine was gone and dan got us another bottle
(which he paid for)
while i waited my turn to approach the stage.
i got up to take a piss, and for some reason i ripped
a no smoking sign off the men’s room door.
it is sitting here next to me now.
well, anyway, soon it was my turn to read
and i got up and read two poems, only after i pushed
the book and the press i’m on.
one of the poems was about fucking my wife
in a public restroom on new year’s eve
and the other was about getting drunk and crying
in a buffalo college bar.
when i was done we stayed for the rest of the reading
dan pouring the wine
ally pouring the wine
me pouring the wine
until it was gone, the reading done, and we left.
i had these fliers in my hand that i made up for the evening,
and walking along the village i kept handing them to people
shouting “free poetry!” and “war is over!”
and some people took them
someone told me to fuck myself.
then dan or i or ally, one of us wanted
a cupcake, so we stopped at the magnolia cupcake place
and i ordered us one vanilla and two chocolate
and as soon as we were back outside in the cold
ally knocked my vanilla onto the pavement
but i picked it up and ate it anyway.
then we went over to the white horse
where we had two rounds of beer
and a table full of sausage and wings and fries
and burgers and chicken sandwiches
and photos of dylan thomas and bob dylan fantasies.
next to us was an old actor eating a hot dog and fries.
he had plastic bags on his feet
in order to keep his tattered shoes from numbing him
in the cold.
he gave ally his business card
and i paid for his dinner before going into the bathroom
to choke back these tears that just hit me on the spot.
when i got back out the hiccups started, so i went outside,
leaving my second beer
and the new york city night was beautiful and cold
and i thought a lot about where i’d gone and where i’d been.
that’s when ally came out to join me.
then dan.
ally and i didn’t know who paid for dinner
(probably dan).
then dan walked us to the train in the cold
looking sad because i was drunk and couldn’t hang out.
it was only 10:30 p.m. in america and i was finished.
so we hugged him goodbye and descended
into the w 4th train station to catch a d train.
then ally said something
and i said something
and i knew we were going to have one of those
drunken arguments we sometimes get into after too much.
so i closed my eyes
and waited for the wind, the train, and somewhere
were i could sit down
for just a minute or two
before we ran over everything again
and again.

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