Tuesday, March 31, 2009

poem of the day 03.31.09

you become it

you become it
you welcome it
or maybe it’s the sore bones
gray hair, bad knees,
and visits to the doctor
that warrant it
but you are sick of the afternoon
although the day was good
and your belly is full of beer
and you and your wife
are waiting on the train
trying to get home
so you can start in on the jug of wine
resting on the platform
and there are skateboarders
at the train station
these effeminate looking kids
in neon t-shirts
with long greasy hair
and tight faded jeans
with chains dangling from their belts
and you wonder what girl
wants to have at that
what girl wants a man who looks
like a woman?
and you find yourself staring
at the skateboarders
and your wife wants to move
down the platform
to get away from them
so you quit staring a moment
and grab the bottle of red
you move a few paces away
but the skateboarders advance
probably not menacing
and you stare
and your wife stares
and one of the kids gives you the finger
so your wife gives it back
and one of the kid waves
but you stare him down
you stare them all down
these effeminate skateboarders from brooklyn
waiting on the same train as you
waiting to go home on a saturday evening
toward whatever is next
and your wife tells you to quit
looking at them
but you know you could take them all on
if you have to
but you won’t
because they won’t do shit to you
because you know those kinds of kids
you were friends with those kinds of kids
hell, you were those kinds of kids
in a small way
but now you are this
an aging man on a train platform
red-faced in a ripped jacket
with a jug bottle of wine
looking for a fight with children
anxious to get home
because you feel sick and suddenly aware
of how easy it is
for the years to tear away at your soul
without you even taking notice
until it’s too late to do
a damned thing about it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

poem of the day 03.30.09

a little something to get us all in baseball season mode:

bobby bo

bobby bo
was a big deal ballplayer to me.
as a kid in the backyard
i used to try and stand
in our makeshift wiffleball
batter’s box the way he did
at three rivers stadium
legs bent
bat almost at the shoulder
mean look.
i’d smack my helmet if i missed a pitch
and i even tried batting right handed
because bobby bo was as switch hitter
and had hit homers from both sides of the plate
in the same game.
in my room i had a box-full of bobby bo
cards: topps, donruss, fleer,
and later score and upper deck.
i was sure bobby bo was going to the hall of fame.
then it came about that the pirates
were doing a big autograph signing at the stadium
and you could stand in line for whatever
players you wanted.
i went to bobby bo’s line.
his was the third longest after barry bonds and andy van slyke.
i thought people were fools for not getting in bobby’s line
but it meant less of a wait for me.
soon there he was.
bobby bo, in the flesh, flanked by two lesser players.
i clutched my baseball and waited.
maybe bobby bo would say something to me, i thought.
maybe i could ask him about the game where he hit those
home runs from both sides of the plate.
i knew i’d ask him something important.
when i got up to bobby bo
he didn’t even answer me when i said hi
he didn’t look up
just grabbed my baseball while he talked
to an assistant next to him.
he put my baseball under the table to sign it
as he kept saying “bobby bo won’t do this,
and bobby bo won’t do that.”
when he handed me back to the ball
i walked away flabbergasted.
when i was far away from the crowd
i checked my souvenir out.
bobby bo hadn’t even signed the ball
on the goddamned sweet spot
but signed it in the corner in chicken
scratch that didn’t look like his signature
from all of those baseball cards that i threw out
once the 1992 season ended
and bobby bo left the pirates for the mets.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

poem of the day 03.28.09

something’s not right

the morning dj plays
nothing but marches
in the cold morning
the editor has lost 50 copies
of my book in the mail
my cat’s teeth hurt
i keep waking up in the night
thinking i’m having
a heart attack
the trains are running on time
more gray hairs are coming in
my face and ears
are always flushed
the machine keeps making
this horrid hum
i’ve cut down on drinking
in the evening
i feel like i’m living at work
again, i’m contemplating
becoming a vegetarian
for my health
and because i like animals
the baseball season is starting late
yesterday, i couldn’t recognize
myself in a crowded room
and i can’t get the new poetry
manuscript together
the taxman won’t give me my money
they are coming to the job
on thursday to talk to us about
the fiscal crisis
yesterday i smiled at a stranger
and almost offered to carry a
car battery for a small chinese woman
struggling along 4th avenue
i don’t feel antagonistic
i’m talking more at work
i quit reading on my lunch hour
i channel surf
last saturday night i bought somebody a beer
and to top it all off
this is the best poem i’ve written
in a week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

poem of the day 03.27.09


and then she came over
to me
and said
i could never date you
just look at your nails
the way they are bitten down
to the skin
the flesh around the cuticles
red and enflamed
like you have an infection
it looks like you bite your cuticles too
and look at that nail
the skin is black and blue underneath it
and that one there looks like it’s dead
its yellow
is that dried puss?
your thumb nail is bleeding
and your middle nail on your
right hand is cracked
you eat them don’t you?
i never see you spit out the nails
that you bite
no i could never date you
i could never date a guy like you
with bad nails
i just couldn’t
i couldn’t imagine you eating food
or touching me
putting your hands down my panties
on me
inside me with those ugly nails
of yours
it’s a sign of bad hygiene and it makes me
wonder what else is wrong with you.
then she walked away from me
and went over to someone else.
i looked at my nails
i didn’t think they looked so bad
then i picked my nose
flicked a green booger
dug my underwear out of my ass
and tried to feel good about the fact
that someone was thinking about me
in the first place.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

poem of the day 03.26.09

don’t ask me why

i keep going back
to the ones who hurt
the ones wearing
no underwear
under a paper thin dress
pressing their rosy asses
into my crotch
while looking
at desks in kmart
the ones hanging
christmas lights
in their girlhood
bedrooms, naked
rock music on the stereo
and a sweet ass
flashing in my face
when it was so cold outside
the ones taking all
of those pills
and drinking all of my beer
who hopped on my lap
and threatened to fuck me
while their boyfriend
my friend
was outside talking
to my neighbors
or the ones who killed me
who made me cry in bathrooms
because i could never
measure up
the ones who used me up
because i was young
and dumb
they were no good
they were no good
all the same all the same
so much the same they blend
so don’t ask me why
i’m thinking about them
right now
because i don’t know
i just don’t know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

poem of the day 03.25.09

but what about in this room

they love you in spain
oscar’s getting emails about
the new poem
and he let’s you know
that they love you in spain.
they love you in england too.
you have a couple out there
in england that you can
search for on the internet
and look at, thinking
yes i am loved in spain.
you’re doing fine in england.
they have your shit in scotland
and someone in ireland might
actually want to know who you are.
some of america likes you.
the tried and true people.
the ones who write kind notes
and thank you,
or write kind notes and say
not this time.
they still like you just not the poems.
america is tricky, though,
because you don’t see much there
that you like.
a couple of people.
a few decent editors.
a few good bars.
you’ve broken america more
than the other countries
but you still seem vast and lost.
let me be the one to tell you, brother,
that it really doesn’t matter about any
of them.
not spain.
not england or scotland
and certainly not america.
it’s right here that matters.
these walls. this morning.
this machine that is humming like
it’s going to die on you at any second.
the bad news of the world that you keep reading
and reading
to avoid this moment.
the moment where the sun begins
to ache
and you sigh, have a sip of tea
before you cramp up, lay the hands
on the keyboard
and spill out your soul
into the vast echo of this room
a room that gives you so little love some days
you sometimes think that it must
borderline on hate.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

poem of the day 03.24.09


i watch jazzy jeff grab you
by the jukebox and try to dance
you look up at me
your face somewhere between terror
and trying to placate
a drunk
i watch you and have a sip
of beer
then turn to john, the old guy
with one tooth
who called you the bar’s dorothy parker
and i ask him how in the hell
can he tolerate this place?

jazzy jeff has been buying rounds
for an hour
and he won’t stop slapping me five
because i turned him on to shooter jennings
and jamey johnson songs
and he counters with george jones
some waylon, two we already know a lot about
but you and i say thank you
accept another free draft
toasting to six straight days of work
and we all sing along to good ol’ no show jones.

i watch a small table of hipsters
in the back of the bar
and wonder what in the fuck they think they’re
doing in bay ridge on a saturday night
while you are talking to some fat drunk
who used to live in pittsburgh
who complains about an ex-wife he hasn’t seen
in seventeen years
and a daughter he hasn’t seen in just as many
i wonder what would be the easiest way
to kill the table of hipsters
but they seem to sense they aren’t wanted
finish their fancy beers
and head out of the bar
just as jazzy jeff puts on another merle haggard song
and one-tooth john
goes back outside to smoke.

two hot blondes walk in the bar
we laugh and think they are lost
but they haven’t even sat down yet before
jazzy jeff is looming over them
an arm of each shoulder, his beer tilting out
of the bottle,
asking what the girls are drinking.
jazzy jeff has a pile of money in front
of his seat
i don’t know how much
but the bartender grabs a good portion
of it
and soon the two blondes
are drinking bottles of bud
but they don’t seem to like the country music
on the jukebox.

the blondes leave after their beers
and the fat drunk starts bitching about all
the blacks in brooklyn and back when
he was in pittsburgh.
i watch jazzy jeff stare contemplatively
at the empty seats
where the blondes were
then he turns to me and smiles
raises a hand to slap me five even though
we are four seats away from each other
and when jeff realizes this
he puts his hand down and shouts
right before two more beers end up
in front of us.
john gets one too, but he’s asleep
at the bar
one half-smoked newport resting by
his whiskey.

i don’t remember the walk home
except you said that i was wobbling.
i don’t know who made the bed
or which of us locked the door.
it doesn’t seem to matter
and we pass out like the dead
i wake nearly twelve hours later
to vomit
i vomit so much i start dry heaving
on the bathroom floor.
i get a glass of water just so i have something
to spit up.
my mouth tastes like bile
and my heart feels like exploding

you are in bed
as i rest on the cold, stained bathroom floor
beer, i think
nothing else gets me this way.
you’re my hell
the whore of my only day off
and i think about giving you up
before i take two aspirin
which i throw up almost immediately
i know we’ll be doing this again
probably sooner rather than later
and i guess i’ll just have to live with it
because i can’t seem to live without you
no matter how hard i try.

Monday, March 23, 2009

poem of the day 03.23.09


on the radio
i hear about another celebrity dying
this time from a skiing accident
and i tell her
“these fucking celebrities
are always dying from drug overdoses
or from shit like skiing because
they have too much time on their hands.
you don’t see the common man
dying from skiing.”
“it was an accident,” she said. “you always
blame the victim when an accident happens.”
“well, if you died from something as dumb
as a skiing accident i’d blame you too.”
“that’s nice to know, that if i was
dying from skiing injuries you’d be
blaming me.”
“i didn’t say i’d blame you while
you were dying.
i said i’d blame you after you were dead
like years later.
it would be pillow talk with whatever
nineteen-year-old i just fucked.”
“yeah, right,” she laughed
try whatever fifty-year-old
bar whore you picked up that night.”
i stopped for a moment.
she’d rendered me stone silent.
well, i thought,
i guess i couldn’t argue with the truth.
so i grabbed my discman
threw my keys in my pocket
gave her a kiss
and headed off to work.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

poem of the day 03.22.09

shopping for books

i was alone in the poetry aisle
looking for some villon
but they almost never have villon here
so i shouldn’t have come
i thought to ask this female sales clerk
standing next to me
but i rarely do things like that
not here
not anywhere
i just wander around a store
looking for what i need
and if i don’t find it i leave
no worse for the wear
rich man or poor man
it never changes a thing
but i really wanted a volume of villon
the one time they had some here
i was broke
so i hid the book in with
those on americana
but the next time i came back
it was gone
nothing left but robert frost.
so i went to ask her
and the girl and i made eye contact
she gave me a glare
then turned around to ignore me
and sort through a stack of books
she had resting on the floor
bishop, steve dunn, john ashbery
and a bunch of other shit i wasn’t
interested in.
the sales clerk turned around
to ignore me just like every other
sales clerk before her
but when she bent over
the top of her tight black jeans scooped down
revealing her pale, thin white ass
the top of the ass crack black and blue
pulpy in the cheap bookstore lights
i couldn’t help but stare as she bent there
looking through books
waiting for me to leave
it was beautiful and grotesque all at once.
finally i couldn’t look anymore
i moved down one row of books
until the sales clerk was again in front of me
then she rose and brushed by
no glare, no eye contact at all
as strands of her dyed red hair
smacked me in the neck.
then i left the poetry aisle
and went to find my wife
who was somewhere
lost in a stack of children’s fantasy books.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

poem of the day 03.21.09

a name

we give
a name
perfectly well
how hard
it is
not to cringe
when someone
says your own
or cries it out
in a fit
of passion
or anger

Friday, March 20, 2009

poem of the day 03.20.09

down bound

morning train
train of misery
train going straight to hell

there is a man
sitting near me
in shambles
but happily sucking
a beer
through a straw
and it makes me
think about
this morning’s glass
of wine
just one left
finishing off
the debauchery of
the night before

morning train
train of the soulless
train of gleeful doom

i am heading toward hell
toward thursday soaking
in gray
toward something called
a webinar
and i think the word
sounds like death
so i put my book
to stare at the train
at the dark of underground
and i want to ask that man
for just one pull
on his holy beer
i think i want to kill him

morning train
train of crisis
train of eternal damnation
i imagine us
leaping away from darkness
heading toward
the light
the whole load of us
me, the man, the straw, the beer
the garbage and the rats
the train cars
and raw sewage
but not toward a kind light
a pale forgiving light
but a blinding desert light
with blue skies of madness
just as sad
and vultures looming overhead
hungry for a taste
of our newly rotted

morning train
train of sorrow unimaginable
train of forever

train redundant and always
on time.

you carry me into hell
each day
you train of my never-ending misery
where the sidewalks are caked
in glass, chicken bones, and shit
and the storefronts are all vacant
where hope has forgotten me
where the sun frowns
but the jewish girls smile
so effortlessly
as they walk by
down eastern parkway
before the last winter snow
turns to the first spring rain.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

poem of the day 03.19.09

infelicitous me

you forgot to fill
the ice cube tray again
so now the scotch is going
to be warm.

could you shave my
neck hairs this morning
so i don’t go around
looking like an asshole today.
don’t bitch, you know i wouldn’t
let you go out looking like that.

you’re parents are
a pain in the ass too
just a different kind
of pain in the ass.

yes, yes, you told me that one
yesterday as well.

what do i care
what you do with it?
it doesn’t mean shit to me.

i’m not related to him, you are.

again, that’s no concern of mine.

i know you just walked
in but you left the goddamned
kitchen light on all day again.

don’t give me that shit
when all i want is to sit here
have a drink
and listen to some music.

well, see a doctor if it keeps hurting.
what do you want me to do
about it?

could you just not be you
for five minutes?
is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poem of the Day 03.18.09


i should take up painting
why not?
i have a wooden box
full of oils and acrylics and watercolors
that i’m only using
as a stand for my dvd player
i have canvases of all sizes
nearly a dozen
that are stacked in a closet
and still wrapped in the
manufacturers cellophane
my brushes sit in an old
jack kerouac coffee mug
atop a bookshelf collecting dust
so maybe i should take up painting
after all, all the other greats did
henry miller eventually made it his life
yes, all of the other great ones did
something else
even if it wasn’t painting
william carlos williams was a doctor
and walt whitman served in the civil war
as a nurse
but i can’t stand the sight of blood
not even my own
yet i still feel like i should do something else
you know
to complement the writing
or in case the word gets old
watching espn and collecting baseball cards
just isn’t enough
i need something significant
i need something subtle but great
another art to try and master
another wild whore to tame
another muse to have a tallboy with
some more suffering to heap on my soul
i really think i should take up painting
because i just can’t get enough of my own
immortality these days
and besides no one talks about picasso in the bars
it’s just jean-michel basquiat all the time now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

poem of the day 03.17.09

never enough time

the doctor welcomes me
he tells me to sit down
while he checks my chart
and i hear the rumble of my stomach and think
there is never enough time
then the doctor he checks
my ears and eyes and throat
he rubs his hands up and down my neck
looking for swollen lymph nodes
while i think about my wife and poetry
how there is never enough time
the doctor puts the cold
stethoscope to my chest
he has me breathe through the mouth
while he goes around my back and belly
getting the heart rate
while i think of lost youth
and the smell of old summertime dinners
opening a brand new bottle of wine
and i know there is never enough time
he has me lay down
the doctor takes a tourniquet
then he jabs me in the arm to draw blood
while we talk about cholesterol
and irritable bowel syndrome and my job
the doctor’s ceiling is made out of glass
it lets in natural light
and i watch two planes fly by as i think about
my travel books to england
sitting on the bookshelf at home
the way the mohave desert feels on your arm
after nearly 3,000 miles in a beat up car
and why there’s never enough time
when we’re done drawing blood
the doctor gets the ekg machine ready
he puts cold suckers on my arms and chest and legs
then the machine kicks on
it makes a soothing rattle
and i try to think about nothing
about sports
about lebron james scoring double nickels
last night
the misery of the world baseball classic
football free agency
yet all i can think about is mortality
but then the doctor shuts the machine off
he takes the suckers out of me
and i think again about how there is
never enough time
but the heart is good he tells me
the pulse is fine
the blood pressure is 130/90 in both arms
but not too bad
the doctor has me get up
he shakes my hand and tells me to keep
staying away from the salt and the dairy
we smile to good health
then i see the receptionist and pay my bill
i go outside and call my wife and tell her the good news
march is here i say
march is cold as hell right now and i miss you, i say
but spring is coming
still there is never enough time
there never will be, i think
then i move down the street
heading toward my favorite bagel place
where i’ll buy two whole wheats
and a medium coffee with fat free milk and sugar
before i go home
and pour myself a stiff one about the time
the old digital clock strikes noon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

poem of the day 03.16.09

you’re so good to me

you’re so good to me
you don’t even know it
and here i am spending the afternoon
writing poems
and listening to the radio
as the cats try to kill each other
in the next room.
you’re so good to me
i’m trying not to drink too much
just a couple of scotches and waters
regular shots
not the big ones we do
not the after work ones.
you’re so good to me
i can’t even stand you some of the time
i want to eat your soul
i want to watch you sleep
and ingest your perfumed hair
baby, you’re so good to me
i want to make you dinner
i’ll balance the checkbook
you’re so good i’ll clean the toilet
and wipe away the stale piss
off the bathroom floor.
i’ll chase away the tremors
because you’re so good to me
i’ll lick your cunt for an hour
i’ll take down the trash
i’ll wash my cock twice
and even go over my face again.
baby, you make me want to shave
that’s just how good you are to me.
let’s fly to rome
to london
let’s go to france and get drunk
in a field in bordeaux
so you can be good to me
in a field in bordeaux.
i don’t know where this is coming from.
usually i’m neglectful
usually i don’t put it out there
like that.
you didn’t even do anything special
except plug the phone in.
in fact, you left the living room
window open the whole day.
we could’ve been robbed.
but baby i don’t care
because you’re so good to me
that’s all i need.
and i guess i need time to speed
up too.
because it’s only 4:30
and i’ve got two hours before
you’re home
and my drink glass is almost empty
but you’re so good to me
you won’t care if you get home
and maybe i’m a little drunk
and the dishes aren’t done.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Winedrunk Haikus Part 5: NYC 2003-2005

rain pounding the heads
of the lost

leather-clad punks
glowering down 2nd street
and smith - menacing?

running numbers
another fat italian
waits in brooklyn rain

cigarette sighs of
latino girls swirling down
42nd street

third avenue
gloomy faces stalk
the afternoon gray

queens rolling by
in the blackened moonlight
you could be anywhere

before dawn
cats meowing at my bedside
lonesome and hungry

bathroom roach
i don't have the heart
to snuff you out

my contemplative tree
taken over by
thick necks in suits

hurricane winds
blowing at my shaved head
wish i had a warm hat

slouched business men
walking with gloomy steps
midtown at lexington avenue

Saturday, March 14, 2009

poem of the day 03.14.09

thus ends archive week for me, and i'll be back at it pounding things out at my dusty pc come monday morning at 5:00 am. so this poem is from 1993, when i was a wee lad of 19 years old, and most probably wished i was Jack Kerouac:

prayer #53

and very well
think i can
still pray at night
like i did as a kid
remember the words
of that long prayer
to whom i return my
broken baggage

to what do i answer
for my sin (to whom?)
and for what reason
do i walk like a dumbsaint
through the oakland rainsoaked
passed the homes of
friends i’ll never see


Friday, March 13, 2009

poem of the day 03.13.09

fear and loathing
at the cadillac ranch

i am
the asshole
in the jack kerouac
traveling the country
in the jack kerouac

and i am
the asshole
standing in a dust tornado
at the cadillac ranch,
amarillo, texas,
trying to scrawl our names
in pen,
on a back axel
while you take pictures
for your father,
and cry.

we’ve come 2800 miles
and the shit is getting
to me.
i don’t know how
the great ones did it
because all i can think about
is my bed at home,
okay back in your parent’s basement,
and the fact the i’m thirty-three,
jobless, homeless, deeply in debt,
and that maybe i should’ve
traveled the country
back when i was
in my twenties.

all of this is
no excuse for that fit
i threw at the gas station,
and the fact that i wouldn’t
talk to you
through two generic beers
and another badly prepared
turkey sandwich
from out of
our dying cooler.

we walk away from
the graffiti-soaked cars
another day in america
almost shot to shit because of my antics.
and the two hicks at the gate,
selling postcards, ask me,
if i’d like some of their beef jerky
because it might
brighten the mood between us.
maybe it would,
but i think i know what
we really need.

so as you sit
and look at the photos
on the digital camera,
and wipe away the last few tears,
i grab us two cold ones
from the cooler,
our last,
and we watch the texas landscape
for a little bit,
not saying anything,
until i rub your neck,
and we agree to toss the empties
in the brush along route 66
because of all the cops around,
promising to pick up two others
to make up the difference,
before plodding on toward
new mexico,
feeling like good citizens again.


also...i have poems here today

Thursday, March 12, 2009

PoemS of the day 03.12.09

Happy 87th Jack.

at the kerouac exhibit, new york city

immortality comes down to words
trapped behind glass cages
and holiday shoppers ogling
your drunken sketches of heaven.
i am told to stay off the glass
while trying to peer into your dead eyes
hoping to catch a piece of that glint
they always talked about you having.
instead i move on to the photo
of your last home, orlando, florida,
the one where you hemorrhaged fame
and alcohol and blood in,
and the hospital where you finally met
your christ.
was it all worth it for this?
an old gap ad displayed?
your name in flashing green neon?
a banner outside the new york public library,
but only until march 2008?
hip kids and aging boomers
still loitering around one book?
after all, dostoevsky’s genius isn’t
owned by a football team,
puskin and proust are free to walk the streets
and no one lugging around a macy’s bag
is trying to fondle chekhov’s old shoes.
perhaps an exhibit is the wrong place to think
about missing you, and the great deepening void
of the word.
so we move on out and head down toward
west 20th street,
down the quiet narrow blocks of red-bricked buildings
and the wind coming from the hudson river.
in a 9th avenue bodega, we buy two tallboys
and hide them in cellophane,
as we drink in front of 454,
looking at gardenias in a second floor window,
wondering if that’s the apartment where
all your gods collided and the pain began,
or if maybe it was one floor up,
the one darkened by the falling autumn sun.



hard as it is
for me to believe
there was a time
before kerouac’s books
existed for me.
it must not have
been much
of a time,
or at least it was
a time
that i don’t care
to dwell on
too often.
what a banal set
of years.
i prefer to think
that i was born
into reading
kerouac novels,
that the moment
that one afternoon,
blowing off classes
blowing off food
blowing off the sun
to read on the road
was the first time i learned
to breathe
and to see the world
around me as it was,
as it could be.
and it would only
come to pass
that through kerouac’s books
i knew that my life
would have to change.
the sensible ambition
had to go.
so did the common goal
of upward mobility.
friends would have
to fall by
the wayside,
and that the pen
and the word
would be all that
i really
could rely on
to get by.
and no amount of practical
could change that.
from the second
i sat
in the library
and opened that book,
i knew that i was
a goner,
that i had found the light,
the purpose,
the muse.
other gods have helped
along the way
as well:
bukowski, fante, steinbeck,
and henry miller,
to name a few,
but kerouac set it all
off for me.
he buried the first eighteen
in his first paragraphs
and gave me life.
and this poem doesn’t even
begin to that you, jack,
great ghost of
the merrimack,
for giving me some soul,
my beautiful loneliness,
that one gray october day
in pittsburgh


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

poem of the day 03.11.09

okay, after a brief foray into drunken ginsbergian verse, back to the archives.

neruda never did this

looking for a job
in the buffalo news
but there are no jobs
there are only miseries
and dead ends:

a temp job
a schlep job in a lobby
another slave office job,
monday thru friday
no weekends
no evenings

better than what I have now?

ally says, “you know you don’t
want to work at all.”
“that’s true,” i answer.
“then why not quit?”
“i can’t.”
“you always have to be so upstanding.
anyway i’m glad you faked sick
and came home early yesterday.”
“me too.”
“what should we do?”

we do nothing
but sit on the couch and watch
and drink wine
and eat.
the cats lay on us.
the baseball playoffs are on.
life is happening.
and i use the want ads
to clean a puddle of
spilt milk.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BONUS poem of the day 03.10.09

okay, so i lied. here's a new one.

hudson street

oh, hudson street
it took me too long to find you
this morning.
i thought i’d be smart
and i got off at city hall
because i thought i needed the exercise.
but i watched a girl in a
gray skirt and lavender tights
make phone calls on her cell phone
and i got lost.
i ended up by the river,
the hudson river, hudson street,
and i looked at jersey and sighed
and i walked into the meat packing district
where all of the clubs were closed
and i couldn’t find one single tranny.
is new york city lying about them?
oh, hudson street
i was becoming late for a meeting
and i didn’t want to miss the free food
because my belly’s been hungry for years
and something has to fill it, right?
might as well be free food.
and i needed a drink, hudson street.
i knew the white horse was somewhere up you
and i thought maybe if could find it
all my problems would be solved.
but i only found greenwich street
and the white horse would probably be closed.
the white horse.
home to dylan thomas’ and jack kerouac’s ghosts.
the white horse
where i cried in the bathroom too many times
orchestrating my death over
expensive beer and lackluster food.
the white horse
where some fucking idiot asked me
if i made art on my 30th birthday
as dale nuzzled her and ear and declared
he was off boys for good this time.
oh, hudson street
i look at this poem and i think i’m reading
too much allen ginsberg lately.
it doesn’t sound like me.
i go by allen’s apartments sometimes
and ring his bell
but he’s not there
just post no bills signs
and construction that has stopped because
the economy is for shit.
i can’t even find his ghost.
hudson street
i don’t usually write things like this
as i said
i’m much less discrete
i usually spill myself onto the page
and ask that someone else clean up the mess
but there’s something about you that
got me modest
and no it isn’t the cock and cunt shops
on christopher street
or the fact that i’m sitting at home
high on three scotches and waters and no food
hudson street
i think it’s because i hate america
and i think you know it.
you can tell it every time i walk you.
hudson street
you see the way i glare at the people
and the way i despise their commonality
hudson street
i’m going to choke on celebrity news and worthless talk.
i want to shake everyone and scream WAKE UP
i want someone to just once get through a weekend
without sweeping something under the rug
without cleaning their goddamned house.
hudson street
i’m such a fucking liar that i’m ready to explode
so watch me
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9 ½ , 10...boom.


poem of the day 03.10.09

trick with ice

she did this trick with ice.
she filled up a cup with chipped
ice, and then laid on the bed
and had me push the slivers
in her with my tongue, while
i ate her out.
it wasn’t really a trick.
i suppose the “trick” was
the ice made her orgasm right away.
if there was a trick involved,
the trick was certainly mine.
after all, i did all the work.
but i didn’t really enjoy her
little dalliance with ice.
most of the time it numbed
my tongue
and when it didn’t the sensation
was lackluster.
her pussy was cold and salty
when the one cunt i knew before
had been warm and thick.
my cock didn’t feel right when it
was inside her either.
i couldn’t come no matter
how hard i pumped.
without the ice, i could shoot
jism like a hose.
but with it, i was frigid and limp.
maybe i was just inexperienced.
still, one day i asked her to stop
with the ice.
i said, “couldn’t we fuck like regular people?”
she got mad and slammed the ice cup
on my desk.
some of the chips spilled on my newest poems.
she said, “that’s how regular people fuck.”
and then she dressed quickly,
not embarrassedly but overt.
she was letting me know what i’d be missing.
she left the bedroom and pounded
down the steps.
i heard her talk to my roommate
before she slammed the front door.
from my room, i could hear her car door open,
the weak rev of the four-cylinder engine,
and the screech of tires as the car
tore up forbes avenue.
then i was alone.
it was just me and the cup of ice.
it was a hot day.
late june.
so i sat on the bed and ate each sliver,
even the ones soaking my writing,
as if i were a starving man.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Poem of the day 03.09.09

it's archive week. i'm taking the week off from dragging my hungover ass out of bed at 5 a.m. in order to entertain all of you....so no new poesy this week...at least none will be posted. so we go to the vast, if somewhat unspectacular, archives.

windrunk sidewalk

reading old poems
is no joy
sitting here at the work desk
hungover again
my shirt stained with
last night’s wine
the scent of stale grape
burning my nose hairs
to oblivion
and the remnants of it all
soon to be
on one winedrunk sidewalk
or the next
when i go out for another


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Poems of the Day 03.08.09 : In Celebration of Kris Collins' 35th Birthday!

We're going way back on these, all the way back to 1993 in celebration of Kris Collins' 35th birthday

dear kris

we carried our so-called holy poetry
in notebooks and folders that were tattered
and torn
across pittsburgh searchin' for some factory
created holiness that we lost
us lost
all lost
in the halls and cathederal steps
and on the green grass of pitt's campus
where your beautiful poetry we shouted
meant nothing to the passer-by but
much to us, beat and broken,
soul wonderers we've made ourselves

so we sat quiet yesterday, three years into it all
eating mustard and ketchup sproutin' hot dogs
on the steps
of hillman library
and just like you said about me on that cold concrete
i am stronger now
and i think i can carry you
on my back for awhile
and you can carry me with your written words
'cause i got none now
so don't let the local poets and your own blues
bring ya' down

one day i'll hear ya'
shoutin' your poesy
in a gold suit
on mountain tops.
1994 (from pittsburgh poesy blues)


no blues
no soul
just me and
eatin' hoagies
on church steps
1994 (from pittsburgh poesy blues)


here i am
sweating from the fall heat
climbing the stairs where
stands thursday nights
in the frosty air
huddled in his flannel shirt
watching the traffic on
bellefield ave
singing along
w/dylan songs
flowing from his
walkman headphones
1995 (east busway blues)

why writers are like lovers

our dirty little sport
of friendship
still gets me.

we are children
slinging mud
and we are pound and eliot
at each other’s throats
on a rickety french balcony

(okay, for the sake of argument
i will be pound)

when will it end, old friend?
when we are codgers
throwing canes
instead of poems?

or now when the cup of
our golden daydreams
sit on etched platters
placed before our salivating mouths?

i hope never
on both accounts

because it would be a shame
to hate your beautiful words
from the nosebleed seats

2008 (from The Noose Doesn't Get Any Looser After You Punch-Out)

poem made from a letter to kris collins

i found my old journal last night,
the one from december 1995 to july 1996,
while sifting through papers and looking for yet more
car forms because we have to sell another car.
but anyway,
so i found this journal which is completely interesting
and yet foreign to me
at the same time,
and the book is full of tales about going to the bbt
with you and angie
to see trbovich’s band play,
and drunk jesses wandering around
talking up his james joyce/sonic youth paper
to death,
and plans to graduate college
and all the goddamned women!
mary still bothering me four months
after we ended
and my obsession with cassandra reznik
and gretchen in art class
and greta with her famous name,
whom i spent a june night sitting
in schenley park with
amongst the bums.
and calvin and steve and bleary nights
in the city of youth.
and hell it reads like someone else wrote it now.
how could i be so full
and so full of it as the same time?
where goest the hunger that brought my words?
why tired and disillusioned?
why beaten to death now?
why is the best i can do, man, is feeling okay
because i can live to pay the bills
on time?
why has all of the writing i was
building myself up to create;
why has it come and come in droves,
but it still isn’t good enough for me?
kris, what is this ungodly age of thirty-three.
and the papers tell me american life expectancy
is up to seventy-eight now.
like it’s a good thing.
like it isn’t another entry in another
journal that i have yet to write,
read forty-five years from now,
by someone i don’t know yet,
trying to recognize someone who maybe
didn’t exist in the first place.
or if he did,
it was only in pieces and in moments
that can never be grasped or held again,
once they’ve been chewed up
and left to rot in a yellowing notebook.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

BONUS poem of the day 03.07.09

reflections on saturday morning
going to work

those of us who have to walk
staggered as if stabbed in the chest
impaled by our own need and circumstances
our flesh ripped exposing a pale
pink and gray relfecting off the ugly blinding sun
the blood spilled all over the pavement
licked by meandering dogs
finished taking their morning shit.

poem of the day 03.07.09

now i know

now i know
what calvin
was talking about
all those years
when he used to tell
me that he and isabel
threw around the word divorce.
calvin would call me and say
“you know how sometimes
you throw around the word
i knew what he was saying
but, of course, at that time
i could never empathize with him.
tonight, however,
i think i understand where
he’s coming from.
he’s talking about people in love
that unmovable force to us mortals
that son-of-a-bitch that causes so much pain
and goes off track whenever it wants
how it sucks at you and bleeds you dry
runs you over and over
until you want to kill or be killed
and sometimes we make it
and sometimes we don’t.
the lucky ones, they get
to do battle again and again
until one lover buries another
when they’re old and finished.
i think i want to be one of the lucky ones.
at least that’s my hope
sitting here tonight in this bar
brooding over drafts of beer
while everyone asks me where
you’re at
and jazzy jeff, our drunken mailman,
staggers around
talking about women on film
and what a great artist
michaelangelo was
as if he was the first one
to figure that out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

poem of the day 03.06.09

sometimes being a public librarian has its benefits:


for them
it can sometimes start
like this
“oh, hey, what
are you reading?”
“leave me, alone.”
“okay, fine, faggot
i’ll leave you alone.”
“who you callin’
faggot, faggot.”
“fuck you, bitch.”
“kiss my ass,
“nah, i don’t even
play like that.”
and then one of the
madmen has a moment
of clarity and heads
toward the door
but the other isn’t so
lucky with the brains
so he says:
“that’s right, you better
leave, bitch.”
which causes the other
madmen to stop.
“what you say?”
“you heard me bitch.”
“fuck you.”
“nah, fuck you, faggot.”
and of course this causes
one of the madmen
the madman that was walking
to come back and pick up a chair
and say:
“say it again, bitch.”
at which point the chair goes
sailing across the room
and madman #1 cocks
his fist and punches
madman #2
in the face.
“no you didn’t. i’m calling
the police,”
at which point madman #2
the one who kept it going
the one who wouldn’t answer
the question about what he
was reading
looks at me and asks
“mister, what’s the address here
because i’m calling the police,”
a question i don’t answer
because they pay me to take
a lot of bullshit on this job
but one thing i’m not going
to do is take a punch
from madman #1
who’s looking at me as if daring
me to answer the question
and like i said, i don’t,
but madman #2 calls 911 anyway
at which point madman #1
runs out of the library
because he’s been out of prison
going on eight months
after serving ten to fifteen
over what i don’t know
and the ladies i work with tell
me madman #1 went queer in prison
and is trying to right himself
on the outside
with no success which is why
he started bothering madman #2
in the first place, they say,
because fags can pick each other
out in crowds.
so at this point madman #1 is gone
fleeing down the avenue
and madman #2 is sitting in a chair
talking to the cops
and everyone i work with is laughing
about the fight between the two
queer madmen
except me, because an hour earlier
someone was pacing
in front of my desk
talking about bringing in a gun
into the library next time
because another person
was messing with him
and if there is a moral to this tale
it is this:

when you’re in public
leave people the hell alone
or you might end up with a broken jaw
or worse
a bullet in your belly.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

poem of the day 03.05.09


dave keeps his apartment spotless
he did so even when he lived alone
you can never find a spec of dust anywhere
or a random shirt underneath the bed
maybe some dirty socks laying on the floor
and he’s always been a decent dresser
taking almost an hour
to pick out his wardrobe for the day
he likes micro-brewed beer and italian wine
and work conventions
and bars that seem edgy on the outside
and when he laughs it’s silent
but forceful as if he’s choking on something.
dave never needs to leave brooklyn
there’s nowhere else he’d rather be
nowhere else worth his time
and besides one day he’s going to make
it big in film
even though he’s pushing forty
and doesn’t even make films anymore
dave loves to try all of the new restaurants
in his neighborhood
and is the kind of guy who likes to knock
on a new neighbor’s door, welcoming them.
he does everything in moderation
like food and drink and sex
and dave even likes to take the wine glass away
from his girlfriend when he thinks she’s had too much.
he’s a good guy and everyone likes him
he’s the guy who collects your keys at a house party
and offers to watch your cats when you go away.
dave likes to bear hug people when he sees them.
we’ve known each other for too many years now
my wife and his girlfriend are friends
and when we go out to a bar, dave likes to work a room
and talk to all of his artist friends
about how they’re going to take over new york city
one of these days, maybe even philly,
while my wife sits next to her friend
and they discuss work, poetry, and other sundry things
as i sit alone and drink too much beer
and stare at the red, neon exit sign
hanging lonely above the wooden bar door.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Winedrunk Haikus Part 4: NYC 2003-2005

schlepping the midtown
where's my dignity

e 40th street
the cranking subway girder
a warm blanket

swarming june
the bobbing heads
in bryant park - a sea

so cold in the sun
where's the east river?

all moody
new york skies
like sad, aged men

ah, east river
where's your heart?
wednesday afternoon

chrysler building
like a lonely friend
across the plate glass

sopping monday
a warm turkey sandwich
daydreams of frank o'hara

ancient brooklyn
glows behind you

sunday morning
court street
there's whitman's ghost

rain on my scalp
autumn rolling its
soft tongue

Poem of the Day 03.04.09

3 odes to the NYC subway system:

subway poem #1
(at 77th street/4th avenue, bay ridge)

you’re going up the
wrong side
of the stairwell
on a crowded monday morning,
shucking, jiving,
making all of us do your
look, we need some
damn it,
because we can’t get it up there
in the heartless metropolis,
so where else
is it going to come from
other than in these tombs
at this ungodly hour?

subway poem #2

i know i kicked your bag
but you had me cramped
in my seat
up against a metal bar
i couldn’t think
i couldn’t read
i couldn’t breathe
goddamn, i kicked your
getting off the train

subway poem #3

the sleepy-eyed
indian woman
as she stands
in front of
the fat woman
taking up two seats
on the r train
and berating her

what is she thinking

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

poem of the day 03.03.09

two holy men

the two holy men
come into the library every day
when i’m working the ref desk
and answering the same questions
i always have to answer
or biding my time before
i have to toss our regular drunk
off of his computer
for swearing at old muhammad ali
boxing matches again
and taking hits off a pint of smirnoff.
but the two holy men
they have this routine
where they pick through all of
the free pencils until they’ve found
the sharpest ones
then they take piles of scrap paper
and sit right next to each other
where they spend the next two hours
drawing pictures of the bible and chalices
with the crucifix illuminated above the golden cup.
the two holy men are meticulous in this
they draw the same things over and over again
and the drawings are almost exact each time
with small variations that maybe you’d
be able to see if you had a trained eye.
it is insanity and genius incarnate.
and the only problem i ever have with them
is that one of the holy men thinks it’s a good idea
to hang his drawings up all over the library
and if i’m not paying attention
they’ll be drawings of chalices and bibles
all over the children’s department and bathroom
sketches shoved in with paperbacks
and self-help books
and the two holy men will be out the door
off to who knows where
to converse again with god
and i’ll have to get up and go around the library
throwing away all of the drawings
of bibles and chalices
with crucifixes illuminated above the golden cup
as if it were my divine and designated right to do so.

Monday, March 2, 2009

winedrunk haiku

knee deep
in march snow
cursing my old winter boots

Bonus Poem of the Day 03.02.09

end of winter

i’m not a summer guy
i don’t like the people out on the streets
smiling at one another
eating ice cream cones and taking long walks
against the moonlight.
their romance turns me off.
i’ve always been a winter guy
the cold, the snow, the bare trees
and desolate streets, a hat, a jacket,
that’s when i like to walk, man.
but here i am this morning
in the beginning of march
with spring ramming right up my ass
drinking a cup of tea to go with my spoonfuls
of mylanta
listening to the radio and watching
a nor’easter blow in and cover brooklyn
with inches i don’t feel like treading over.
the kids are out of school today.
the roads are silent
the wind is howling and ratting power lines
and trees
the sky is gray and thick and the snow
seems like it never wants to stop.
to some this is beautiful
to others it is another burden
one last slap in the face from winter
before the trees bud and the days stay longer.
to me, it doesn’t mean anything
because my job is still open, and i have holes
in my shoes
because my jacket is torn in three places
and i can’t find my snowcap
because i’m looking at six days straight on the clock
and i have a doctor’s appointment on wednesday
because you and i can’t shut off the lights
to this day and lay in bed together
with some wine and a couple of books.
because life is an unfair prick
and i can’t find a good way
to end this poem.

poem of the day 03.02.09

a little something cold for those of us getting dumped with snow today:

trying to buy a cup of coffee
in allentown, buffalo on the morning
of 2/15/2007

on these streets
dying in the cold and ice
i am looking for a coffee shop
although i gave them up years ago
when i started to drink.
on allen street there’s one.
then another.
they still look the same:
beaten wooden doors,
big glass windows
covered in futile leftist
although now the pictures
of che rest next to
advertising flavored coffee
and sandwiches loaded
with humus and sprouts.
looking at them, they made me
the old pittsburgh years
the college years of cutting class
to read kerouac and ginsberg,
tasting the bitter joy of cappuccino
for the first time,
thinking i’d become something.
but what did i know?
almost thirty-three years old now.
my third city.
my third car.
my ninth apartment.
and still shoving poems
in the back pockets
of tattered jeans.
i cross the street toward
the illuminated neon green
coffee sign,
and pull the door blindly.
it doesn’t budge.
the joint is closed.
and so is the next.
no cappuccino for me.
no sprouts or humus.
no reading harold norse
under pink press threats
advertising rap shows
and anti-war rallies.
no warmth.
just me and my memories again
left to freeze in the erie river wind.
left to huddle in the doorway
of the hair salon next door
that’s already open
at seven o’clock in the morning.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

poem of the day 03.01.09

toward the end of the week

i mention how quick but long this week has been
while we sit on the couch having the first
of the five drinks we will have tonight
you tell me yes that it feels that way
then we sit in silence again as the wind
moves plastic bags and soda cans down
bay ridge parkway, and the cats fight
until i tell you that the radio is broken again