Monday, December 27, 2010

oooh you're a holiday i'm on hiatus until January 3, 2011.
have a happy new year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

poem of the days 12.26.10-12.27.10

i may or may not be on haitus until the new year

the asshole

he is a little man
in a little coat
with a little hat
a brooklyn wiseguy
smoking his cigarette in the wind
when we come outside
of the apartment
to load our holiday bags
into our rental car
he tells us
that we parked too close
to his driveway
he says that if he wanted
to get his car out
he’d have to ride over the curb
i paid a lot of money
for this place
he says
smoking his little cigarette
and tugging on his coat
my wife apologizes to him
i apologize too
but it’s not enough for the little man
our apology is too small for him
he has to tell us again
about our rental car
parked too close to his driveway
about how much he paid for it
he stands next to me
while my wife takes
his little note off the windshield
before she moves the car across the street
why don’t you buy your own spot?
he asks, walking away
it’s people like you
always putting one over
on guys like me
that fucks this whole world up, he says
thanks for sharing that
i say to the little man
he squints his beady eyes
he takes another drag
on his little smoke
tugs on his little hat
with arms that seem to small
to reach his head
listen, buddy, he says
walking back over to me
i think that this man wants
to fight me
he is napoleon going after
waterloo again
i’m trying to be nice, here,
he says
but you
you gotta go and be an asshole
how come?
i shrug
then the little man
tosses his smoke into the wind
it blows back at us
rolls down the street
and falls into a small crevice
between the concrete
in front of the house
owned by another asshole
who blasts his music
all summer long
and lives with his bitch wife
and their ugly dog.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

poem of the day 12.23.10


the young boys
stood around learning
to smoke cigarettes
talking about you
to the girls learning about boys
they said
you jammed
a wiffleball bat
up your cunt
at that year’s
back to school party
they said
you were so drunk
on beer and wine coolers
you did it on a dare
all those handsome
young boys
hanging around a tree
that was dying from the fall
learning to smoke
talking about you
to all of those beautiful girls
who were learning to hate sports
and their peers
who were into
certain sexual proclivities
that were
beyond their reach
those boys smoking
cigarettes in the dull light
of after school america
those girls with their jealousy
untouched cunts
and sour faces
what did
they really know
about you baby?
except rumor
and an incident of legend
i saw you often
always alone
but i never knew you
then or now
i never smoked
with their kind
and whether or not
it was true
i’m through with the illusion
of youth
i gave up those cigarettes
ten years ago
i only think about you
during baseball season
and sometimes
when the fall comes
in the northeast.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

poem of the day 12.22.10

....oh when will the self-pity poems end?

the magic almost gone

there is something stuck
in my left foot
maybe glass
but i thought that the glass
was lodged in the bottom
of my right foot
there are slits of skin shaped like gills
that make it hard to walk some days
and the right knee is going
a little bit more each day
i have the neck and shoulders of a tired atlas
my hands are greased with ointment
the pinky fingers on each one
wrapped in fabric bandages
sliced in three spots
victims of the cold
the cuticles are ripped to shreds
each morning it is a medieval blood letting
on these brooklyn streets
my soul is the color of dried blood
the nails are shot
bitten in waves of nerves and anxiety
and there is another rash on my chest
that i keep thinking is skin cancer
i check the bags underneath my eyes
laugh a sad old man’s laugh and do a dance
the gray hair i comb down
with a .99 cent wonder from rite aid
and the beer belly i sculpt
every single day with cups of cheap scotch and wine
packs of pretty girls pass me
and say nothing
they talk in pretty girl rags
to them i am an ugly bird-shit stained statue
what little magic i had, almost gone
women on buses clutch their bags
and move a few seats away
i don’t blame them
looking in the warped mirror
of the public transportation window
blasting ornette coleman in the gloom
i smile and watch the night roll by
i was never a charmer, i think
but i was never all that bad either.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

poem of the day 12.21.10

writing the moonlight sonata

i feel like
i’m trying to write the moonlight sonata
sitting here sweating in the cold
play acting
lying to myself
struggling this way
drinking weak coffee that tastes like dirt
lifting mugs that weigh a ton
waiting on the lunar eclipse
to break me out of this funk
writing the moonlight sonata is not easy
because it is twenty-four degrees outside
and the sports teams have let me down
because there is cat shit on the couch
cat litter scattered in the bathroom
and breadcrumbs on the kitchen floor
because there is wine on my shirt
spinach in my hair
and a whole week of work to suicide through
because the new paint is peeling
and the pictures of paris
are hanging crookedly on the wall
because the holidays never end
and holiday parties keep coming on like death
because the new year is readying its noose
and there are dull eyes to look into
mouths to hear talk such nonsense
because there is nothing left to do but breathe
and wish i had a brand new car
so that i could drive so very fucking far
away from here
maybe become a bartender in the southwest
until that too makes me wish that i could
slice my wrists
writing the moonlight sonata
is a sisyphean task
it is hell on earth
and i am here each morning
until retirement or the coffin takes me
scrawling notes against
the bleating of the alarm clock and the sun
wondering if beethoven
ever felt this miserable to be alive

Monday, December 20, 2010

poem of the day 12.20.10

fix it

ryan adams
new album in the cold
of brooklyn

i feel bad
walking past the carcasses
of dead animals
outside the butcher

i’m thinking about
my wife
and all of the other
whom i’ve made cry

by being
a selfish bastard

how most of them
never deserved
my anger or pain

how if
i could
i’d fix it

take all of that

and roll
it into a ball

kick it down
these silent streets

until it hit
the sewers

and went washing
deep into the ocean.

Friday, December 17, 2010

poem of the day 12.17.10

little footsteps

rain down like thunder
from the apartment above
when i’m drinking wine
and contemplating the noose

little footsteps
hiss along a white ceiling
that is warped
and bubbled

little footsteps
of ancient women congregating

little footsteps
that are like armies
marching in step
entering a fallen city

little footsteps
curse sundays full of nothing
that symbolize
the weak progress of man

little footsteps
full of doom

little footsteps
like a pack of elephants

rattling in my head
rattling in my soul
infesting my goodwill

as i reach
for the aspirin
the telephone
and the twelve month lease

Thursday, December 16, 2010

poem of the day 12.16.10

cold blue morning

i love the way
of the cold blue morning

the people so severe
about getting their cups of coffee
their newspapers
and breakfast sandwiches

starting their cars

going to the bus stop
or subway stations

such diligence

so awake into
the cold blue morning

they seem to forget
that many of us
are on our way

a red hot day
in hell.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

poem of the day 12.15.10

the fantasy writer

the fantasy writer grabs me by the arm

i have nowhere to go

he says, what do you think about
a plot where a father and daughter
are out walking their dog
and they slip through a seam in the earth
and end up in an underground world
beneath new york city?

i tell him i like it fine
and then try to get away

but the fantasy writer is not done

would you buy a book like that?

i guess, i say
maybe if i had a kid

he says, well, i wrote that very book
in between acting gigs

and then here we go

the fantasy writer begins telling me
about the process of writing

the craft
the art

because all writers are artists

unlike actors and actresses
who just bullshit themselves and the rest of us

he talks about using real monsters of the earth
instead of the magical ones you’d find
in other fantasy novels

like eight-foot sandworms from australia

i tell myself there’s one more reason
not to go to australia

the fantasy writer doesn’t have a publisher yet
he’s giving it to the end of the year
and then he’s getting himself an agent

it’s that easy to him, getting an agent

it makes me think of the book
that i wrote three years ago and still can’t sell

the fantasy writer says he just has
to get his book out there

the world needs this book, he says

i want to tell him that i feel
the same way about the turtlehead
poking out of my ass

but it’s best to be quiet about
those kinds of things

plus i don’t want to break the illusion for the man

he’s wearing a verizon jacket
he’s holding a walkie-talkie
and i have this stupid nametag on
that lists my name and slave title

i think i want to keep the fantasy
going for both of us
for as long as i can

the fantasy writer smiles
says he has a website for the book
plus he’s doing the audiobook right now

all of the voices and everything

he writes down the web site
and the title of the book

hands me the paper and says
i don’t even have a daughter
i just imagined me and my mom
and that’s how i did it

well, it is fantasy, i say

do you think you could
promote the book for me? he asks

sure, i say
i’ll talk it up at all of the professional
conferences that i go to

that’s great he says

believing in the fantasy that i tell him

then he leaves me

on the way out his walkie-talkie goes off

someone in sheepshead bay
is having trouble with their fios connection

he says he’s on it

then he turns back to me and waves

i watch him
until i’m damned sure that he’s gone

then i go back to shelving books
i’d started with the letter “d”
but decide to skip the rest of the letters
and go right to the end of the alphabet
where the mystery books
seem to outpace everything else.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

poem of the day 12.14.10

like a beautiful flower

the liquor store
at 18th avenue
says “liquor” written
in bright red bold letters

the word “wine”
is written in a rich burgundy
on the right and left side

the sign has
undulating blue lights
bracketing each of the words


people walk by
illuminated underneath the sign
without looking at it

of course
if jesus christ were real
most people wouldn’t notice him
walking around
after rising from the dead

there i am
day three in the middle
of a six-day work week

at wit’s end

madly thinking
this sign is gorgeous

to me
it looks like a beautiful flower
pushing up out of a hard

Monday, December 13, 2010

poem of the day 12.13.10

collateral damage

friday night
cat’s big ass in the way
one bottle of wine
two scotches
the radio coming in static

turn to fix
the antenna
knock the cat
knock the radio
knock the big sage and citrus
yankee candle
off of the coffee table

the candle shattering
into a million pieces
the radio still not working
the cat prostrate
with only her small head up
hissing at me

i rise
take a piece of glass
right in the center of my foot
pull it out
it takes a second
but then the blood starts gushing
all over the floor
the carpet
the village voice

my wife up off the couch
to get wet paper towels
cloth and broom
the blood won’t stop
i feel like passing out
christ, i think
what a pussy
as the radio goes to complete
white noise static

my wife comes back
blood on my feet
blood on my hands
blood on her hands
and the cat goes back to sleep

will i have to go to
the hospital? i ask
my wife says i don’t know
hands me a wet paper towel
to clean up the blood
to help clot the wound
then looks at me
and says of course
you won’t have to go to the hospital

i sit there
as she sweeps the glass
cleans the blood off the floor
off the carpet
i sit there and try to drink my wine
try to fix the radio
but the cat’s huge ass
is still in the way

so i turn to watch
the white lights on the christmas tree
i sit there for fifteen minutes
thinking about another night
turned into collateral damage
in the long war called life

when i take the
pink blood paper towel off of
the wound
i see that it is no bigger than a pinhole
leaving me no alternative
but to laugh
and ask my wife
what movie she wants to watch

Saturday, December 11, 2010

poem of the day 12.11.10

the day after john lennon died

the day after
john lennon died
thirty years after
john lennon died
we are walking briskly
down 75th street
the wind off the estuary
smacking us in the face
one ear bud in your ear
one ear bud in mine
a little drunk
a little happy
singing instant karma
in the glow of christmas lights
hung outside the warm
homes of neighbors
we don’t want to know
we are children gone
just a little bit gray
free from religion
free from america
free to sing in the quiet street
as loud as we never are
and as i turn to take in
that large tree
the one dressed in purple
and red lights
the one that illuminates
the whole block
i think nothing is wrong
if only for a moment
nothing is wrong in this world.

Friday, December 10, 2010

poem of the day 12.10.10

i should’ve known better

early december cold
stillwell avenue bus stop
i’m too blind
to see down 86th street
put in another
eight hours
i’ll never get back
i ask her if the b4 bus
has gone by yet
she says
well, that’s the one
i’m waiting for
then proceeds to give
me the history
of the neighborhood
the roy rogers on the corner
the drug store
the five and dime
and how they should’ve
put a coffee shop here
instead of petco
she says
you know
for cold nights like this
and she keeps going like that
the good old day
the bad new ones
the bakery long since closed
there is no b4 in sight
just the two of us
so i listen to her
instead of neil young
smile like a dumb bastard
because it’s all right
it’s my fault
i should’ve known better
than to approach humanity
on a cold night
in early december
when there’s
no one else around
for it to talk to
but me
and the unforgiving wind.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

poem of the day 12.09.10


jack introduces himself
to me again
we meet again and again
every time that i come in here
jack will interrupt
a conversation with some anecdote
from his life
that has nothing to do
with the topic at hand
then he’ll tell a story
just as arbitrary
when he finishes
he’ll look at me and ask
what’s your name?
and i’ll tell him
wishing that i could give him
a different name each time
but i’m known in here now
b.j. tells me that
i’m a regular
i’ve been anointed
and this is where i belong
so i don’t want to mess
things up between me and jack
today jack is talking about
herman hesse
the buddha
jack tells us that jesus was a big fan
of the buddha
only the bible won’t tell you
that he is
i’m wondering what other kind of
inside information jack has on jesus christ
it keeps me from this depression
keeps me from the realization
that these barflies are the only friends
that i’ve got in this world
most of the time i think that friendship
isn’t worth it
i’d rather b.j. and his whiskey and beer
jack with his pints of chardonnay and ice
than anything more intimate
it’s sad
i’ve become cold and i see no way to reverse it
but it’s all right
because a man can still talk when
he needs to
because in a few moments
ivan will start dancing to hot tuna
and bill the bartender
will drop his laptop on the floor
because he’s drunk
jack will take a long pull on his chardonnay
and tell us that people have
to be careful with their laptops
because they are full of diods
and diods are what keep
computers from getting viruses
b.j. will laugh in jack’s face
he’ll sit back in his stool and down
the last of his pint
diods, he’ll say
yeah, it’s gotta be the diods
keeping all of those viruses away
and jack will feel smart
he’ll tell me that this time he’s going
to remember my name
then jeopardy will come on the television
and no one will have to think
about anything else
friends or names
because one of the catagories
will be major league baseball
and we’re all intimate
with that topic
in this joint.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

poem of the day 12.08.10

it's a rush job but i like to have one up
every year for john.

around this time of year (what remains)

around this time of year
the joy of the season sets in for some
the melancholy for others
you, you just wish that night
could’ve been dramatically different
the five bullets out of that fat fuck’s gun
missing their mark
the aorta in tact
lennon whisked away unharmed
as the police wrestled that
demented freak to the ground
kicking away the piece
and the salinger
until they hit the sewers
and gurgled into the hudson
so then there’d be no candle vigils
no sing-a-longs to fill the void
no mosaics in verdant rounds
no thirty years of this
just more music and madness and art
and for a world still trying to get
the message right
who would think something as simple
as peace and love
would be so hard to come by?
because what we have instead of him
is humanity like a shell
hope and change as greasy as snake oil
and wars raging on
droughts and floods as common
as dime store combs
millionaires dancing the tax break jig
as people starve
cholera in haiti
and general bullshit seeping out
of everywhere else

but what remains
is the spark
a chance
the chance that by dumb luck
we’ll one day get it right

and let no death
no matter how great or small
ever be dealt in vain again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

poem of the day 12.07.10

great comedy

my mother is reading books
by david sedaris

david sedaris is so funny, she says

but i never got into him

no reason

i don’t find him funny

maybe i just don’t get intellectual humor

larry fine is funny to me

to be stuck in the middle
of a lunacy like that cracks me up

which i guess is why
i read the daily newspapers

with all of the murder, war,
genocide, rape, and crooked politics
floating around this ball of gas
it’s hard not to laugh at the world

i get amused by the politicians
running around scrambling for words

amused by leaks and deceitful diplomacy

amused by the countries
always content to play hero or villain
on the global stage
when we know that they
are full of shit

so eat your heart out
david sedaris

because i get a small chuckle
from disaster after disaster
especially the ones
that could’ve been prevented
with common sense

and even as i stand here
with the rest of you poor stooges

oblivious to the answer

perched on the cusp of the great degeneration

planning a candlelight vigil for
the damned

stuck in the middle like larry fine

taking a hand to the face
a wrench to the nose
a hammer to the hand
and a nyuk nyuk nyuk from the government

i find it to be a great comedy
watching the united states of america
slouch slowly toward the third world

there is a cold comfort
in watching two hundred years of progress
drip down the drain

it is a cold comfort
or it is a warm fear

i cannot tell

but i laugh regardless
of the answer

because crying never solved anything

and i fear it’s much too late
to cry now anyway.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Glass City

There is a review of my book, Glass City over at Margaret Bashaar's fine blog,
Plucked from Ogygia.

poem of the day 12.06.10 new let's see where i was at
around this time last year.....

i thought i saw her

i thought i saw her
that ruinous blonde whore
that tight assed wench
who never wore underwear
that little strumpet

i thought i saw her
walking down broadway
with a group of friends
looking in the holiday store windows

she was wearing
a white coat
and except for a few wrinkles
around the eyes
she looked the same as back then

i thought i saw her
that fucking bitch
that demon of so many nights
the one who gave her cunt
so quickly
and took it away

and it was like 1997 all over again
and i felt the shame
of not being able to get it up
of sneaking around with her
behind my friend’s back

i thought i saw her
that tiny liar
who told me that she was twenty
when she was barely eighteen
who might’ve been fucking someone else
behind my back

i thought i saw her
i wondered how she and i
could be on the same street
twelve years later
hundreds of miles ago

it didn’t seem possible
she never really existed anyway
just a figment of my imagination
like all of the rest of them

but i thought i saw her
right by the comic book store
right by the billiards joint
and the bar i never go into
because the drinks cost too much

i thought i saw her
that slut
that napoleon of the heart
that bin laden of the soul
that small titted vlad the impaler
i thought i saw her
on broadway

but, shit,
broadway is so busy this time
of year
it very well could’ve been
someone that just
looked like her.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

poem of the day 12.04.10

here is where nowhere begins

caught up in the land where
old chinese women
clank recycled bottles all night
in the late autumn breeze

where they blare their television sets
through thin painted walls

and dumb bitches have
pointless conversations
underneath the streetlights
by our bedroom window

smoking and shouting into
their cell phones
like pampered little stars

here is where something ends

and we sit on the couch
dead from another eight hours
a shot of scotch in my tea
nothing in yours

taking in the malaise of the night

talking about getting out again

st. louis and denver

we think that maybe california
is where it’s at

but california is broke too

we say no
to new orleans and san francisco
because we don’t want to taint them
with the cruel regularities of life

we want to keep them crystal
in our minds

los angeles
san diego

even london, paris, and madrid

this is fun

a momentary escape from the lackluster
and excruciating now

but this is unsustainable fantasy
and we know it

because the clock is ticking toward
another day

and the chinese women
clank bottles and cans
out of vengeance and need

they echo in the night
until they hurt our bones

trucks idle for an eternity

conversations in the cold linger on
and get nowhere

the tea cups empty as they must

we look at each other
with worn-out eyes and thin smiles

and i think

here is where nowhere begins


Friday, December 3, 2010

poem of the day 12.03.10

sucking in the season

pat the bartender points over
to the other side of the joint

what’s that? he asks b.j. and i

a menorah, b.j. says

i know that, pat says
what’s it doing in here?

it’s the first day of hanukah, b.j. says
it’s a decoration

don’t give me that crap, pat says
this is a goddamned irish bar


so we don’t put no menorahs
in this place

but it’s the season, b.j. says

to hell with the season, pat says

he begins mopping the floor
taking sips from his second cup of coffee
because the day bartender threw his
first one away by accident

it’s this season, pat says, stopping
that makes it so that i can’t wish anyone
a merry christmas anymore

i know, pat, b.j. says, going back
to his beer and scotch

what kind of a world? pat asks no one
he goes back to mopping

and you, he says, looking up at me
you been so quiet this whole time

what do you think about
all of this season bulshit?

i was wondering where your
kwanzaa candles were, i say
after setting down my pint

oh good lord in heaven, pat prays

then takes up his mop again
whistling jingle bells as he moves it
left and right
across the old hardwood floors
of mother ireland’s second home.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

poem of the day 12.02.10

we are alive

i hear the morning people
talking outside of my window
the morning people with their cigarettes
and coffee

and they are alive
and we are alive

even if there is nothing in our guts at the moment
even if we are caught in meetings
in horrible jobs with no hope
in debt because it takes so much money
just to pretend to be average

we are still alive

as the cold wind blows and the rain moves in
as the months and seasons change again
waiting for the economy to rebound
waiting for politics to work
waiting for religion to die

waiting in vain

we are alive
and they are alive

the news will always be bad
the world will never get it right
humanity has had it wrong from the start
and mahler will never rise
john lennon will stay mortally wounded
in our minds

but they are alive somehow
and we are alive too

you are alive reading this
or just sitting there watching the hours die
in a polite fashion

alive if for no reason at all
then to rise and hope do it all over again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

...more from Glass City

Here are some ordering directions straight from Low Ghost

Glass City has Arrived!!

Hello, Friends. My second book of poems Glass City has just come out via Low Ghost Press, a brand new venture by Kristofer Collins, author of The Liturgy of Streets and King Everything . Glass City is on sale for a very reasonable $10. If anyone is interested in ordering the book Kris is taking orders at this number: 412-681-9111, or you can send him a money order or check :

Kristofer Collins
Caliban Book Shop
410 South Craig Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Currently there is no online way to purchase, but I can try to work something out
if you want to support me and Low Ghost.

Thank you all for reading this blog, and I hope Galss City can
do poetry some justice.

poem of the day 12.01.10

talking turkey

i feel like
a big sentimental dope doing this
and i don’t want anyone
to see me dancing with you
in the living room
to smooth jazz coming
out from the television
what would they think?
a loud mouth like me
letting you lead
laughing whenever you giggle
dipping you with
the greatest of ease
after you pull on my hair
and tug at my goatee
my dance partner
you sweet child
you little angel
the way you light up a room
turns my soul to butter
there are so many things
that i want to tell you
like you are better
than beethoven or the beatles
but you haven’t even
said a word
or tried thanksgiving turkey yet
you just giggle again
and let me spin you
we stay quiet
moving toward the front door
where we’ll watch
a brand new snow
that has started to fall
and where we’ll write your name
in the thick condensation
fogging up the window
we’ll write it backwards
as the late afternoon
aches to show us
the whole world
in one vast and verdant scope.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

poem of the day 11.30.10

where have all of the people gone?

i swear that i used to see them
all of the time as a kid

these magnificent creatures

full of laughter and grit

full of life and piss and shit

full of heart and nerve

full of beauty

but now i only see
these common dull lumps of flesh

riding buses

talking on phones

waiting for subway trains

sitting at desks
glued to computers

hunched over pints
in empty bars

watching television

carrying shopping bags
down 28th street

or drinking beer in my living room

and now i’m not sure
that i’d ever seen one
in the first place.

Monday, November 29, 2010

poem of the day 11.29.10

crawling toward the win

an old woman shouts at me
says don’t print that receipt
think about all of the trees

i ask, what about all of those
political ads the politicians are stuffing
into our mailboxes?

the superintendent of the building
asks me if i heard the fire trucks
the other night

christ, he says
i was only smoking one little cigarette
at one o’clock in the morning

the neighbor’s dog growls at me
and keeps pacing back and forth

while i think i’m a fool anyway

three years and i wanted nothing to do with that dog
i get a little bit of scotch in me
and i think the thing is my best friend

the poems keep coming back rejected
the radio keeps going out
when a car passes on the parkway
the coffee is getting cold and the weather is hot

b.j. says that he has a stack of
books waiting for me at the bar

and humanity keeps slouching
toward its twilight

but the days are getting shorter
and another mediocre year is ending 33 days


i feel like i’m crawling toward the win.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

poem of the day 11.27.10

an oldie but a "goodie"

in another one of your poems

i was in the midst of ruining
the thanksgiving holiday.
i’d been drinking wine
since seven-thirty in the morning
and for a week now
i’d been mad at the world
for any number of reasons
that i usually had for being
mad at the world.
just two days ago i’d threatened
to throw a plate of ravioli against a wall,
and had slammed down a jar
of romano cheese on her finger
(an accident)
all over a slice of italian bread
that was too big for my plate.
i didn’t know what was happening
except to say that i simply felt dead
and buried, and needed to get something
impossible out of my soul.
but anyway we tried to have the holiday
even though i was kind of drunk and belligerent
and i was tired of holidays and people.
and i started in on the food, which was good,
but made me mad because everyone
else was probably eating the same goddamned thing
and how we all had no originality.
i kept picturing hundreds of ugly faces
at hundreds of ugly tables
their lips greasy, their jowls moving succinctly
over food and bad conversation.
and she said that we were out of paper towels
which made me angrier
because we just couldn’t seem to keep paper towels
in the apartment as of late
(a trivial matter, unless you’ve lived through it)
so she got us toilet paper, toilet paper
and i thought, christ, this is nice,
thanksgiving and toilet paper,
so i started in on her about
what happened to the paper towels
because i’d just opened a roll that morning
to clean up turkey juice and cat vomit
and she said she didn’t know
which turned into a big, drunken argument
about absent-mindedness
her absent-mindedness, which i knew
would sting
and it did.
her eyes filled with tears
and she said, i don’t know why
you are doing this?
it’s thanksgiving day and we’re off
and we’re together.
it doesn’t have to be like this
there’s no drama, there’s no one else,
there isn’t anything wrong that you
can go ahead and put
in another one of your poems
and that stung me,
as if i used my life solely for fodder
and i said, baby, don’t say that,
jesus, i’m sorry.
and the two of us sat there with
thanksgiving on the table and a fine
bottle of red between us,
almost crying over nothing,
until we calmed down.
and here it is now, anyway, a week later,
that moment finally in a poem,
because essentially i am a whore.
i’ve mined my life so much that i can’t
have a natural moment without
the backwash of “art”
even though i try like hell to squeeze them out.
this is no excuse.
but you have to understand,
if i don’t exercise this shit some way, somehow
i’ll lay in bed awake all night
going slowly mad and dreaming suicide
while you lay beside me
thinking everything is fine
and the next time we have ravioli
on a tuesday night
i’ll make sure that plate hits the wall
with effortless grace,
or i’ll try like hell to choke myself
on a piece of pasta
and a cup of lukewarm tomato sauce
and neither of us will understand why. 12.03.08

Friday, November 26, 2010

poem of the day 11.26.10

benny ends

on a street corner
in brooklyn
middle of the goddamned day
and he’s already drunk on jack
but who’s serving him?
banned from his favorite bar
banned from his second
favorite bar
fired as the bartender
from his third favorite bar
after only one night
because mona came in with some guy
and benny started firing
shot glasses at them
benny ended up back
at mona’s anyway
staying in the spare room now
night after night
as she brings home
a different guy to fuck
in the bed that they used to share
he’s in bad shape
he’s gone off the deep end
shattered and done
but we all told him
told him about mona
the other guys and the bar
but benny wouldn’t listen
he told us he’s fifty-three
and to mind our own business
so now he stands there
on a street corner in brooklyn
stinking of sawdust
and whiskey
dressed in the same hawaiian shirt
and cargo shorts
he’s been in for a week
with the sun casting shadows
behind his back
and a light november breeze
tickling the gray whiskers
on his face.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

poem of the day 11.24.10

not drinking

not drinking
for nearly two days now
i feel lightheaded and constantly hungry
i’m constipated and then i have bad gas
but i think there must be some value in this act
well, i am helping my wife anyway
or i think that i am
she is on antibiotics for ten days
and the doctor told her that a drink could be lethal
so i decided not to drink in front of her
because if in the same shoes
i’d want to kill the person
who drank in front of me
but then i got this crazy idea
that i could make the whole ten days without a drink
so i had decaf tea on the couch last night
and read some of a biography
on george washington
i thought about throwing an old typewriter
through our living room window
or picking a fight with the upstairs neighbor
but i didn’t see the point in such obtuse madness
i bantered with the ladies at work this morning
as they talked about tv shows and pop music
i had a salad for lunch
and pretended that it was good
but in two hours i go home alone
walking by all the newly hung christmas lights
and the dumb people stoned on the boring goal of existence
consumed by a depressing late november heat
that won’t end
i’ll go home and know that there is a pint of scotch
on top of the refrigerator
just in case of an emergency
and that the bar is only a couple of blocks away
in it half-bagged people will be laughing
and playing the jukebox
i can already see them now, sitting here slowly detoxing
trying to collect my clouded thoughts
all those kings and queens of the saloon
full-bellied and complete
without suffering or false altruism
and i will think how badly i hate them
for their small and ordinary joys

Saturday, November 20, 2010

poem of the day 11.20.10

beautiful couple

they are a beautiful couple
sitting there
playing the smith’s on the juke
giggling like children
texting each other
from one seat away
her hands up and down
his back

the way that she plays
with his hair
is oh so romantic

they are a beautiful couple
gazing into each other’s eyes
sharing shots and pints of beer
caressing each other’s face
searching for each other’s souls
in a such a black and awful world

simply a beautiful couple

i wonder if his wife
will feel the same way
when he comes home for dinner
smelling of her generic cigarettes
and cheap perfume.

Friday, November 19, 2010

PoemS of the day 11.19.10

today is my brother's 33rd! Happy Birthday, Kid.
so we'll have an old poem in his honor and then today's.

the king

my brother calls to tell me
he is playing “kentucky rain”
over the loud speakers
on an endless loop
inside the retail store he manages.
it is driving the college kids mad
and the customers out in droves
when all they wanted to do was
a little mindless work, or some
measly holiday shopping.
i laugh when he tells me this.
i am hungover and tired,
battling red wine, insomnia,
and ray carver’s poems.
november is back,
it is cold outside and the wind
is roaring.
until that phone call
a cat’s body was keeping my legs
warm from the chill of the apartment
and the horror of my coming work day.
next it’ll be “suspicious minds”
he tells me.
i laugh again, sadder this time,
and then he has to go.
we hadn’t really talked since may
and it was good to hear his voice.


the bus

riding the bus home
friday evening
listening to coltrane
as babies cry
and people make dinner plans
riding the bus home
as black men rap into cell phones
and chinese ladies shout
unshaven for two weeks
eyes red
nose and cheeks red from
bad water and bad booze
two magnum bottles
of red wine in my bag
to be drunk tonight
with the shades drawn
riding the bus home
my back slouched
as wide and as long
as a bankrupt country
two scotch and waters
three beers and two bottles of wine
riding the bus home
friday evening
fifty-five dollars in my wallet
that will be gone
by monday
gone to the bar
gone to pizza slices and fairytales
riding the bus home
on friday
at a low ebb
my reflection in the window
bloated and mean
my long hair greasy and gray
big bad brooklyn, a dark purgatory
riding the bus home
coltrane plays the saxophone
soft and mournful
just the thing
it’s just the thing
for riding the bus home
friday evening

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

poem of the day 11.17.10

the loneliest and best part

this is the loneliest and best part of the day

sitting here with the radio on
waiting for the magic to happen

the loneliest and best part

with the hunger growing
and the dull bloom of the morning safely outside

this is the loneliest and best part

assured of love
content but not satisfied
in the condition of the continuing self

the hammering hours of work death
held at arm’s length

the loneliest and best part

sludge coffee, staring at a wall of fame
old wine and thai food stuck in my nostrils

contemplating hemingway and henry miller

the loneliest and best part

untouched and clean
no longer constipated from life
the sheet’s crumpled from good sleep
from years of good fucking
the bed awaiting the night

maybe the best part

the autumn air coming through the windows
as birds sing and cats hunt
as barking dogs pacify the dead
as rain comes to keep the streets bare

this is the loneliest and best part of the day

without another human alive
without the moan of buses and cars
without kids crying over school

the loneliest and best part

a stack of unwanted poems to my right
a hulk figurine my doppelganger
a handful of coins from countries that i’ve visited
a granite rock from the bottom of a new hampshire lake
to stare at when i’m lost

my grandfather’s watch
stuck at eleven thirty-two

this is the loneliest and best part of the day

it will be all downhill after this

they will get to me
because they always do

it is their job to get to me

but for now i have
the loneliest and best part of the day
to renew myself

i have maps of paris and london to look over
i have audrey hepburn smiling at me
holding her cursed cigarette

anne sexton giving me one of them looks
that always got her into so much trouble

the loneliest and best part of the day

here with picasso and van gogh
shakespeare and larry fine
here with elvis and the brooklyn bridge
here with f. scott, knut, and fante
here with stargell, clemente, aaron, ruth and mays
here with kerouac and bukowski
here with the beatles and proust

also here with you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

poem of the day 11.16.10


they have bright
and shining faces
unblemished skin
they wear coats and scarves
knit hats and boots
although it is too warm
they don’t sweat
they smile in the sun
and walk manicured dogs
down crowded streets
they don’t wake with madness
blurry confusion
staring into the void
at three o’clock in the morning
they don’t know what that feels like
because they are drinking pear cider
and talking on smart phones
holding hands
these well-adjusted pricks
how effortlessly they stroll through
the city’s farmer’s market
fondling apples and pumpkin pies
talking pleasant nothing
while i am on a partial three day drunk
my left eye twitching
brown spots on my skin
unshaven because of a clogged
bathroom sink
these aliens turn my stomach
so strange with their plastic faces
and plastic souls
with their wallets of good leather
and pints of beer that they sip on
taking pictures of neon street signs
these strange and demented
green-blooded lumps of flesh and bone
waiting on friday night
waiting on thanksgiving and christmas
new year’s eve and valentine’s day
these year-long masochists
so happy
so strange
so dumb
so perfectly blank.

Monday, November 15, 2010

poem of the day 11.15.10

empty calories

i don’t understand
why you drink so much
they say
sucking on their tenth coffee
alcohol has nothing to offer
it is nothing but empty calories
bottled depression
alcohol leaves you bloated
and miserable
they feel good saying this
sucking on coffee and diet soda
feeling righteous
however i want to tell them
that they are right
half right
because what about
all of the people out there
who are empty and bloated
without alcohol
i want to ask them about those people
but it’s always too late
after they’ve finished talking
their heads expanding
their bodies floating away
like colorful balloons
escaping the madness
of a crowded
summer carnival

Friday, November 12, 2010

poem of the day 11.12.10

street cred

the brother
at the car rental place
is impressed

brooklyn? he says
then he swaggers
toward our car
thinking about the east coast

the people in the bars
on the sunset strip, too

new york! the bartender squeals
as two guys tell her
that she looks like a chick
on a new jersey reality tv show

i’ve got street cred
here in los angeles
but i can’t find a decent bagel
or a place to get a beer
for under five bucks

i’ve got street cred
but i don’t care
driving down hollywood boulevard
having to take a piss
trying to be a badass
while american masses line the street
waiting for bruce willis
to give them a wave

yo, go yankees!
the waiter tells me
at the mexican place
i nod my head and give him
a sly wave
i love new york! he says
then he apologizes for california pizza

what’s with these people
and new york? my wife asks
i shrug because i don’t know
i tell her it’s penis envy
that their brains have been burned
by all of that sun

hey let’s go and buy sunglasses, i say
then we’ll sip martinis
in musso & franks’s
drive down sunset boulevard as the sun sets
with all of mountains growing dark
in the distance
with all of those palm trees lining the street
looking like big brushes
sweeping across the west coast sky.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

poem of the day 11.11.10

norman mailer bookmark

the norman mailer bookmark
looks up at me
while i’m creating another
gloomy symphony in the morning

i think about using it to kill
the cockroach
who has overstayed his welcome

but the norman mailer bookmark
talks to me

it says
look at you kid
almost forty
gray hair and nothing to show for it
but a sore back and sore arms
union dues and another hangover

the norman mailer bookmark is smug

i don’t like its smile

it was a genius already at forty

a legend

i’ve grown sick of legends

so i take the bookmark off the bathroom sink
go after the cockroach with it

but he’s too fast

then i take the normal mailer bookmark
and toss it in the garbage can

i go and get the one
with shakespeare’s dull face on it
and stick it in my book

at least i’ve read his shit.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

poem of the day 11.10.10


they ask me
what’s with him
i tell them that i don’t know
they say he’s
curt and ignorant
i tell them to go home
and drink him off
but they do not understand
they have families
and television to watch
sex in the city movies
toy story 1,2, and 3
the local public house
is not their answer for him
the public house
is never the answer for most
they ask me
for an answer
but what can i do about him?
my hands are tied
just like theirs
i tell them that
we are all impotent
when it comes to him
that is an unsatisfactory answer
in an unsatisfactory world
they tell me
that they don’t know
how much longer they can
put up with him
they say that they are
getting ready to make a move
but i know that they
are full of shit
the economy is bad
i know that they’ll be here
until they die or retire
just like him

and most probably

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

poem of the day 11.09.10


i wish that i was a painter
if i were a painter
i wouldn’t be sitting here
right now
nursing a wine and scotch
trying to write poems
trying to beat the sun
i’d still be in bed
if i were a painter
i’d be in bed dreaming picasso
or van gogh
i wouldn’t be listening
to the wind blow
or neighbors leaving for their
miserable jobs
i’d be thinking about
oils and acrylics
i wouldn’t be wiping up jism
from the bedroom floor
as the morning dj gives me
the sports report
i’d be listening to charles mingus
instead of dvorak
sketching a naked woman
instead of looking at nude starlets
on the internet
if i were a painter
i wouldn’t have to deal with
the small presses
just the big gallery owners
they’d give me wine and cheese
instead of rejections notices
they’d give me money
instead of contributor copies
if i were a painter
that is, if i were a good painter
i could lay in bed
and stare at the ceiling
thinking that i had it all
over on monet
i could do one painting a year
and live like a king
instead of wiping my ass
with hundreds of unknown poems
i’d buy a flat screen television
if i were a painter
fifty-six inches of bliss
and i’d watch every show
that the hoi polloi
was talking about
i’d watch the shows while
i painted
incorporating the thin plots
into my landscapes
and portraits
i’d watch action movies
and political debates
i’d drink the good booze
if i were a painter
french wine from alsace
vodka in glass bottles
not that plastic jug rot gut
wine and scotch
the kind that gave me a hangover
this morning
making me wish that
i were a painter
instead of a poet
because drunken poets
are a dime a dozen
and no whore ever rejected
a poet’s bloody ear.

Monday, November 8, 2010

poem of the day 11.08.10


we are sitting in the bar

it looks like our old bar
but there’s a bowl
of halloween candy
resting between used pint glasses

and there are candles
that smell like christmas

the bartender is female
she was born after vietnam
and there are no sports games
on the television

the people sitting on stools
are different


younger by decades

the men have trim beards
and the women have white teeth

they drink wine and heineken
talk quietly in conversations
that do not end in fisticuffs

shit, i tell my wife
there’s even a candle
in the men’s room

what in the fuck
happened to this place?
she asks

i don’t know, i say
but i like it
we could use a little peace after work
a little class after all of these years

yes, she says
but what are you going
to write poems about now?

i don’t know

i pick up a christmas candle
cranberries or some other scent

i’ll write about christmas, i say
christmas and snowfalls
horses and happy
summer days that never end

there’s always something
to write about, i say

then we take a package of bottlecaps
out of the candy bowl

eat a root beer flavored one

as the couple next to us
discusses the work
of bon iver

whoever the fuck that is.

Friday, November 5, 2010

poem of the day 11.05.10

hank’s grave (bukowski exhibit)

i am just another
dumb writer
with a bad book of poems
standing at your grave
overlooking san pedro
searching for the pacific ocean

i’m sorry i’m here
sorry for you
because there’s obviously
no peace in death
no escape from another book
of poems placed at your feet
from the adulation
and horror of humanity

i’m a freak show
i came here from cold new york city
i made my wife drive
through the smog
and never offered to take the wheel
not even once
as she drove white-knuckled
on your l.a. freeways

the world is still here
clueless and cruel
the longwood avenue
house of horrors still stands
de longpre avenue is still here
it has a plaque with your name on it
carlton way and mariposa still bake
in the california sun
underneath the hollywood sign

your old neighborhood still looks like shit
it’s an anomaly of cultures actually
one side of sunset boulevard burned out
the other has a new yogurt joint
and an upscale mexican restaurant

we didn’t know which
way to turn to find you in los angeles
the maps don’t tell us anything
we got lost in the palm trees
and glitz of hollywood boulevard
the bartender in the red rock
thinks that you’re a painter
she told us to go and see your shit
at the getty museum

we went to pasadena instead
saw your typer and your wine chalice
saw your poems and letters
your horseracing parking pass
and the brown mountains of toil and flame

a security guard yelled at me
for leaning on the glass
because all of your things are precious artifacts now
a woman told her man
that ginsberg was full of shit
and did it all for show
while you were the one to really put it down

i thought i heard you laughing

i don’t know if any of this
makes you feel better
out there in the void
six foot under ground
my poem book soaking up
the dew and mist surrounding your grave
while an old ecuadorian cuts the grass

and i don’t know
what this does for me, hank
another city
another literary journey
down another rabbit hole
toward what?
toward what end?
i never seem to get any closer, hank
turning to my wife as the smog dissipates
wondering where we can get a decent lunch
in this town
before we drive off to see something else.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

poem of the day 11.04.10

old jock

drinking wine
watching the old jock
on the football field
trying to scramble away
with his bad knees and broken toes
from all of these heavy kids
watching the old jock take a hit
falling on the field, clutching his jaw
everyone in the stadium is quiet
the announcers on television
talk about what a warrior he is
people root for the old jock
because he’s hung in there so long
because he’s won the big game
and has met the president
they wear jerseys
with the old jock’s name on them
and talk about his best moments
while i sit here drinking cold wine
in the dark living room
on another hopeless sunday
hoping that the old jock
doesn’t get up so quickly this time
i hope he lays on the field
and thinks about his pain for a moment
about how rich and young he still is
how he doesn’t need to keep
taking a beating for the hungry masses
how he can get up and call it quits
retire for real this time
buy his wife trips to europe
while he announces football games
and fucks around behind her back
drinking wine
i hope the old jock
recognizes his pain this time
and says enough is enough
but you and i know that won’t happen
there’s beer and apparel to sell
there’s the chance for one last, great throw
for one last big game
for another trip to disney world
and when they
pick the old jock up off the ground
the crowd roars and the announcers
talk about true grit
as the old jock hobbles off the field
his helmet off
his gray hair under the hot lights
as the sports writer’s sit in press boxes
imagining their immortal articles
about how the old jock will
be questionable for next week’s game
but they know what we know
the old jock will keep it interesting all week
he’ll keep us guessing until the last minute
then next sunday he’ll limp onto the field
rising like a christ figure
that old jock
that old warrior
to proud and dumb
to know when to call it quits.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

poem of the day 11.02.10

the voters

the voters are out
in full force
they keep stuffing my
mailbox with candidate fliers
but i can’t tell these people apart
they are for different things
but none of them
represent what i want
which is to be left alone

the voters send me emails
asking me to support
this person or that
i look at the web sites
and these people make me sick
with their ugly families
and talking points
they make me wonder
how one gets their teeth so shiny

the voters
think that every election
is important
but most of the voters
are well-off and white
with two cars and dull kids
with toilet paper degrees hanging
on their painted walls
elections never really change
their position or status

they no longer have any idea
what is important

they get mad
at minorities for not showing
up on election night

the voters are still carrying around
that good ol’ white man’s burden

i’m willing to bet that they
wouldn’t think so much about voting
if each night’s dinner came out of a box
full of sugar, salt, and preservatives
if they had gunfire outside
of their big, beautiful windows
metal detectors at their schools
and drug dealers hanging around
their pretty little parks

but the voters
will tell me that the only way
to change this
is to get out and vote
join the other assholes
and have your voice heard
they honestly believe that they
are changing the world
then they go home and watch the results
with some ice cream or popcorn
on one of the 24/7 news channels

the voters believe in the system
because they have never
had faith in anything
including themselves

they do not realize
that nothing has changed
and nothing ever will
that you cannot put blind trust
in egomaniacal fools
looking for a soft road
on the pathway to death

you cannot trust these people
as far as you can throw them
man can only help mankind
one person at a time

but the voters don’t care
they’ll be up early on election day
washed and well-dressed
a good breakfast in their soft gut
so full of pride and civic duty
they’ll be parading around like peacocks

then thankfully they’ll be gone
for at least another 365 days.

Monday, November 1, 2010

poem of the day 11.01.10


she spots me on the morning bus

she recognizes me from the job
where she likes to talk to me
about nietzsche and schopenhauer

she tells me that the shop
on the corner of 86th and 24th avenue
is a good place to buy nuts

she eats nuts every day

a whole bag

and dark chocolate

it is good for the heart, she says

she eats plain yogurt
and walks forty blocks a day, too

she is eating plain yogurt out of a blue carton

probably thinking about nietzsche

as people get on and off the bus
some of them sitting in the seat that is wet
from christ knows what

the woman who was warning
everyone about the wet seat
got off at 22nd avenue
as my friend was telling me
about a good place to buy nuts

the guy across from the wet seats
tried to pick up the mantle of warning people
but he gave up after a block

now he just sits there shaking his head
as if everyone should already know about the wet spot

as she talks to me about nuts and yogurt
nietzsche and schopenhauer
forty blocks and dark chocolate

i watch people sit in the wet seat
their look of disgust humors me a little

this is known as schadenfreude

but i think that maybe i should
be the one to warn people about the wet seat

be this morning’s big hero

it would give me something to do
something to end the conversation with this woman

telling the people would make me a good citizen

and sometimes that is as good for the heart
as walking forty blocks
eating nuts and yogurt and dark chocolate

or talking about dead philosophers
until your face turns blue.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

poem of the day 10.30.10

here's my version of a scary poem.
happy early halloween

bad feng shui

this hotel room has
bad feng shui, she says

how do you figure?

well, the bathroom mirror
reflects off of the room mirror
which just creates
this really creepy effect

she shuts off the lights
and shows me

there is an eerie glare
but not too bad

that’s nothing, i tell her
after she turns the light back on

the hallway is worse, i say
it’s just one circle
you can’t even tell
what room you’re in
if you’ve been drinking

so is the stairwell, she says
i got scared just getting us
a bucket of ice

this hotel is pricy
but we got a deal, i say

they can’t decorate
it’s like being
in the shining here


it’ll be all right
it’s just for sleeping
and drinking, i say

the mirrors kept waking me up
last night, she says

the bad feng shui?


we have more scotch
then she gets the light again

we get into bed
with the noise machine going
and the lights of san diego coming
faintly through the hotel window

in a few moments
i hear her snoring peacefully

i look at the mirror
reflecting the other mirror
making golden ghosts on the wall

then i see shadows underneath
the doorway

hear voices moaning over the din
of the machine

and i turn over
huddle into the sheets
and think


the happy people of california
have sent us here
to san diego
to finally do me in

so i get up out of bed
and run to the door
i open it but the hallway is empty

there is an envelope
on the ground
i pick it up
and take it back into the room

i open it up

it’s a bill for the hotel parking

the motherfuckers charged us
sixteen dollars a night
instead of the quoted twelve.

Friday, October 29, 2010

poem of the day 10.29.10

sorry...sick day yesterday. and you all know jobs.
if you're off sick and they see you went online, it gets
them all red in the face, even in this era of laptops
where one could be running a 100 degree fever and still
lay on the couch with a computer...but....

waiting on the world

waiting on the world
which is as dead as yesterday
i think
i must be a fool
waiting on the world
as crusty as old underwear
as useless as an empty bottle of wine
as dull as the nightly news
as dim as a bar
as pointless as god
as wretched as humanity
as asinine as the political machine
as common as hunger
as futile as knowledge
as worthless as a college degree
as fleeting as benevolence
waiting on the world
as aching as an arthritic knee
as hapless as a comedian
as dead as yesterday
as rotten as a fresh corpse
i think
i must be a fool
waiting on the world
still to shine
like a fucking rainbow
after a bright morning shower.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

poem of the day 10.27.10

love poem?

this job
this existence
in the wasteland
always at low ebb

this life
the way it tears at
my asshole
mocks my soul

you’d think the gods
had it in for me

i’m a defective
i wasn’t destined to do
the bidding of others

it’s just that something
has always hung
me up
kept me dim

oh, where did i go wrong?
left to rot here
staring at the walls
in a wine-stained t-shirt
sucking on cheap scotch
and ice

waiting for glorious death
to come

what bad moves have i made
since birth?

all of them, kid
almost all of them

except her.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

poem of the day 10.26.10

the saturday people

the saturday people
have strange faces
they look lost
like they don’t know what
to do with themselves
with all of the free hours
that they’ve been given

they sit in diners
hating the people sitting next to them
drink weak coffee
and freshly squeezed orange juice
eat runny eggs and limp bacon
laugh at everything
the waitress says

the saturday people
love the smell of cut grass
and newly washed clothes
they pray for warm weather in october
hope the blinds are open at home
and the sunshine is soaking
their bright, generic rooms
roasting their lonely pets

the saturday people
stand in long lines
to try on new jackets and jeans
to buy computers and music gadgets
and scarves
they go and see this week’s bad film
they wear grins
that say buying this product
will fulfill me
standing in this line
for this bad movie
is what the work week was all about

they brunch in cafes
with the college game on
taking up seats at the bar
to root for their alma mater
the saturday people
with their ugly college colors
and bloody marys
with their common talk about television shows
and their idiot kids
with their futures down the shithole

they wouldn’t know a mass suicide
if it smacked them in their wallet

the saturday people
begin talking about where to go
for dinner
as soon as lunch ends

to the saturday people
it is a big deal where to go to dinner
italian or thai?
valet or street parking?
wine beer or brew house?
you never see the saturday people
riding the bus with a hangover
on a sunday morning

i watch the saturday people
every week
i look at them with their shopping bags
their constipated grins
and their well-groomed faces

i think the saturday people
are aliens
government operatives
dropped here on friday evenings
when the jobs let out
dropped here with smiles on their faces
and money in the bank

sent here to make us mad
lunatics foaming at the mouths
slap-happy fools
who want what the saturday people have
good bodies and christian souls
with a side order of french toast
and a lobotomy to go.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

poem of the day 10.23.10

kindness of the sunshine people

the kindness of the sunshine people
is surprising at first
hellos for no reason at all
as you walk down the street
they surprise you with a salutation
while you are tying your shoes
while your back is turned
or going to the car at six in the morning
to get your wife an aspirin
they ask you how you are
the sunshine people
they seem like they really want to know

the kindness of the sunshine people
is an odd thing
they leave polite notes underneath your door
they give instead of take
they tell you not to hurry with your meal
ask you if you want another drink
if you slept okay
the sunshine people are forever smiling
opening up curtains and doors
and thick bottles of red wine
it makes you wonder if they are happy
or just blinded by the sun

the sunshine people do not mind
waiting in line or sitting in traffic

the kindness of the sunshine people
can linger like a fart
it can bring you down on a lost afternoon
on the boulevard
you wonder what there is to be so kind about
so full of joy and happiness
you wonder if it is a west coast thing
the kindness of the sunshine people
as you walk briskly down a palm-laden path
thinking how badly you need
to get back to new york city

before the kindness of the sunshine people
perverts you
sucks you in
before your stumbling zombie-like
down the boulevards
smiling at everyone
telling them to have a nice day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

poem of the day 10.22.10

drinking beers outside of linda king’s home

drinking beers outside of linda king’s home
we are touring the history of bukowski’s los angeles
driving insane boulevards
that all look the same in the glare of the western sun

if you don’t know
linda king was bukowski’s girlfriend
at one point in his timeline

drinking beers outside of linda king’s home
ones that we bought at the pink elephant liquor
on north western evenue
just a stone’s throw from hank’s old place on de longpre

we are in silver lake or maybe still in hollywood

i really don’t know anymore

drinking beers outside of linda king’s home
i try to think up something literary
but, as usual, i can’t
i tell my wife about how linda almost
ran over hank with her car
because he was talking to another woman

my wife tells me to keep the beer low
because we are in a rental car

i nod a haiku
finish the can of miller lite
and shove the beer under my seat

it is the best poem that i can come up with

drinking beer outside of linda king’s home
checking the map for the next historic destination
as birds chirp and dogs bark
in the sunny sun sun of sunny southern California

Thursday, October 21, 2010

poem of the day 10.21.10

river phoenix

river phoenix died
on this end of the block
of the sunset strip
or he died on the other end
i don’t know
it was years ago
i was never into river phoenix
but once i was into a girl
who practically cried over his death
she sat in the student union
held a people magazine to her face
her eyes filling with tears
she told me how very sad that it was
river stumbling out of the viper room
going this way or that
his girlfriend and brother in toe
a stumbling speed ball of death
on the neon soaked strip
i thought then how so many people die
in so many ways
some suffer cancer
others the bullet
a lot simply get taken over by life
i thought, river phoenix
you rich, hollywood fuck
with your designer drugs
and designer life
how dare you splatter
on the cold concrete
when there are girls in pittsburgh
crying over your eternal soul
i think of those moments now
and i laugh over a dead actor
archaic fallacies of love
walking one block of the strip to the next
was it here?
was it there where you stumbled, river?
broke millions of hearts
your career and your life in the process?
does it even matter anymore
when you can’t get a cheap beer
in this part of los angeles
and the sound of her voice
happily escapes me now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

poem of the day 10.20.10

venice beach

there is no point
trying to play artists
at venice beach
the hustlers already have
me beat
hawking rap cds
and medical marijuana
selling bad paintings
of bad landscapes
there is nothing to do
but wade in the pacific ocean
with my shoes on
try to spot a celebrity
toss the seagulls
the cilantro off of my fish taco
there is no point
in anything at venice beach
no need to make sense
of poetry, los angeles
or the world
i can just sit here in the grass
as the surf rolls in
froever unknown and hungover
letting my face and scalp burn
in the unrelenting sun
use the l.a. times to cover my eyes
forget that new york ever existed
there is nothing
but golden infinity in vencie beach
fake houses and fake people
all along the boardwalk
fake beer in the fake bars
t-shirt stands by the dozen
and the unbounded horizon
enveloping the ocean
stinking of the
west coast vibe
burning my eyes
like the yellow-brown smog
that hissed up this morning
on the 101.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

poem of the day 10.19.10

the chinese girls

the chinese girls
are sitting in a circle, talking
i do not understand a word of it
but i know that it is idle chatter
about television and school and music
it is bothering me
the way the chinese girls talk
high-pitched staccato
words spat out of tiny mouths
like dull darts
some days human words hurt the mind
in any language
they do not mix with my hangover
my acid stomach
nor my resolve to stop drinking
for a month
the chinese girls do not know this
about my not drinking
if i told them
they would think me a madman
or worse they wouldn’t care
so i sit there listening
another lukewarm work dinner
in stained tupperware
reading a book that i’ve read
dozens of times
wondering how in the hell
i’m going to make it thirty days
without a drink
with the job on my back
with devils and angels
screeching for my soul
with the scotch and wine bottles
waiting in the fridge
and the neighbors talking
nightly bullshit in front of my window
with the chinese girls laughing
over pop stars, cheez doodles
and the boys in gym class
looking so happy
they don’t even know
how much they are murdering me
on this pale monday afternoon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

poem of the day 10.18.10

...back fron the los angeles/san diego area...poems to come.

tommy wolfe was right

haven’t been in this bar
for over a month

a man needs a break from a place
from time to time

but there is b.j. sitting in his stool
nursing his beer, his jack,
keeping a close watch on the time
because he has to get home to his wife and kid by seven

the joint is dead
very unlike the place for a wednesday night

bad music is playing
something the new bartender keeps calling “alternative”

it sounds like sludge
but maybe i’m just getting old

b.j. shakes my hand and asks me where i’ve been
i make up a story about working a lot of nights
but in truth i’ve been avoiding the place
drinking at home

one gets into less trouble that way

he introduces me to the bartender
she is wearing a spandex dress so tight
that when she walks away to get my draft

you can see her thong through the aqua-colored material

b.j. tells her that before she started working at the bar
i was the guy to talk to about music and books
then he proceeds to talk my ear off
about the new franzen novel

but i can barely hear him over the din
of bad music and the baseball playoffs

i ask the bartender if anyone has left anything for me
mona was supposed to return my books
a month ago, before she fucked everything up
by fucking everyone in the bar

there is nothing for me, the bartender says
so i drink my draft, listen as b.j. talks books

i notice how flirty he is with the bartender
wrapping his arms around her from over the bar
as they do shots
making her giggle over the smallest things

shit, i think, this girl is drunk

and b.j. is forty years old
with his three year-old kid and his faded rock star dreams

these two are a powder keg, doomed to fuck
on a lost weekday night

i have another beer
really look around the joint
and notice that everything has changed
even the pictures on the wall look different

i finish my draft and get up

b.j. asks me when i’m coming back in

i don’t know, i tell him
i tell him that i’m flying out to l.a.

cool, he says

then goes back to making time with the bartender

have fun, she says, giggling again

i step out into the night
it has grown much colder in the last hour
and i just hope there’s enough scotch left at home.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

poem of the day 10.09.10

today John Lennon would've been 70.
typically i post a poem on december 8 when
we was murdered. today's poem was to be put out
on the 30th anniversary of that murder, on december 8,2010.
but i'm going to put it on here today.

also, winedrunk is on hiatus next week. i'll be back
to bore you all on october 18th


december 8, 1991

we were in the midst
of a slow night
holiday consumerist retail hell
when he turned to me

christ, do you realize
that it was eleven years ago

i was just thinking that, i said
i remember waking up
the next morning
the d.j. talking quietly instead
of playing music
my mother by the stove
waiting for me
because she knew
that he was my favorite
of the four of them

and then all they could do
was play the music, i added

he was quiet a moment

i was a freshman in college, he said
some shit school off of i-80
we’d had snow
nobody could really go anywhere
but i found myself alone
in the dorm room anyway

monday night football
was on, he continued
dolphins, patriots
a big game
but i don’t even remember who won

just howard cosell announcing it
telling everyone
that this was just a football game

time stopping
all love dead
some cosmic shit like that

i just shut the tv off, he said
in that moment i just needed the silence
but all of the sudden you could
hear it everywhere

out of cars
in other rooms

the music
his music

what did you do? i asked

i went out walking, he said

i just didn’t know what else
to do next.

Friday, October 8, 2010

poem of the day 10.08.10

poem for jackoff

jackoff is outside
getting in his morning walk

the old bastard who takes care of him
my wife once caught him in the basement
going through her bras and underwear

he claims that he was
just taking them out of the washer
in order to do his clothing

i see this man everywhere in our building
on the bus, all over brooklyn
but i have yet to ask him about the underwear

jackoff is a yorkshire terrier

i don’t really know his real name
i just follow the man’s lead

sometimes the dog is jackoff
you little prick or son-of-a-bitch

if it’s raining outside in the morning
then the dog’s name is motherfucker

sometimes cocksucker

if it is snowing outside, the dog has no name at all

i can smell the old man’s cigar in the mornings
hearing him wheezing from the coming storm of death
as i sit here in the room
debating masturbation, the work day, or the knife

sometimes jackoff yelps
from being pulled too hard

he barks and cries

i feel bad for the dog but not enough
to do anything about it

one time when i was leaving for work
the man and jackoff were coming
back inside the apartment building
the foyer stunk of his cigar
and the dog had just taken a shit

it was a small black pile that looked like coal

when i tried to walk by the mess
the little fucker lunged at me
barking and gnashing his toy-like teeth

the old man started screaming and shaking jackoff

that’s when i realized the two of them
deserved each other

and every morning when the madness
the yelping and the name calling begin outside
i sit here calmly in this room
death and the work day on my mind

writing poems like this one
or ones concerning other topics too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Outsider Writers Collective

Hello all,

I have five poems up over at the Outsider Writers Collective
and Press website. Thank you to Jessica Smith for her
wonderful work and kind words on the site.

....the picture is me in Paris....where i one day long to be
for good.

pem of the day 10.07.10

puppy love

she lived three doors
down from me
maybe we were 4 or 5 respectfully
but we did everything together
her home smelled like pot
we went to parks and museums
swam in the city pool
her mother was a teacher
and an amateur photographer
she used to take pictures of us
in black and white

one day one
of the neighborhood boys
showed her his penis
not to be outdone
when she came into my house
i streaked across the living room
holding my orange trunks
my little cock flapping in the breeze

she didn’t like icing on her cake either

then her family moved to california
mine moved to west virginia
then all over a single pittsburgh suburb

it was years later
that our families reconnected
we were 11 or 12 respectfully
when they showed up
i was alone in my bedroom listening
to madonna and prince cassette tapes
but i could see her from my window
beautiful and tan and blonde
from all of that california sun
where i had grown sullen and fat
for a variety of reasons

i decided to stay in my room that day

but then there was a knock on my door
it was her
she wanted to come in
and listen to madonna and prince
on cassette tape

i had no choice

i let her in
and once again
she was beautiful and tan and blonde
i could tell by the look on her face
that she thought i was an unholy beast

we sat in silence listening to the music

minutes later there was another knock
on my door
it was my friend, mitchell
he was beautiful and porcelain and dark haired
the two of them sat with me
and listened to the music
they made eyes at each other
and soon they were talking about california
and many other things

while i sat there in silence
on the corner of my bed

never getting to ask her what she’d
remembered most about the past.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

poem of the day 10.06.10

old russian lady

the old russian lady
is back on the bus
she is shouting into her cell phone
i’ve heard this voice
three days this week
twice in the evening
and once in the morning
but i didn’t have a face
to go with it until now
i’m generally bad with faces
something about a natural aversion
to humanity
but there she is on the evening bus
she sounds like a spy
a loud spy
she is sitting right in front of me
shouting “dah, dah!”
every third or fourth beat
in her conversation
it is no use to read
or to listen to music
lightly i touch her shoulder
when she turns around i see her
black sunglasses
black hair pulled back into a bun
i smile and tell her that we are all doomed
if we keep it up this way
i tell her that i think that
we are getting very close to the end
the russian lady frowns
she gives me the once over
turns around
and goes back to her conversation
“dah, dah,” she says
to the faceless voice on the other end
and i have no choice but to sit there
listen to the old russian lady talk
or watch 75th street
glitter in the gloam
think about how much i miss the cold war

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

poem of the day 10.05.10


i have a dumb face
a public face
this kid sees it every day
and he keeps trying
to sell me candy
out of a catalog

it’s for his school

he sees my face
and he begins waving
the catalog at me

i have already humored him once
looking through the catalog
while he watched
my face looking
through the catalog
at all of the pictures
of chocolate and candies
presented so elaborately
that the confections just looked like
dull and tasteless sculptures

i told the kid that i had
no money that day
that he could catch me the next day

but of course
i was broke that day too

every other time
that he’s waved that catalog at me
i’ve told him that
i’m too busy to look at the candy

i tell him to come back tomorrow

i have no clue why
i can’t be honest with this kid

it’s almost become an obscene
ritual the way i duck him now
going this way or that
out of my way
giving him seedy sideways glances
whenever he starts waving
that fucking catalog at me

i’m trying my best to avoid him
in total right now

i hide in my office
whenever he comes in

i’ll be doing this until october ninth

that’s when the candy orders
are due in at school
which gives me
a good two weeks of freedom
before the christmas gift catalogs
are scheduled to come out.

Monday, October 4, 2010

poem of the day 10.04.10

too tired

i am tired
too tired to cry
or do anything else

i am hungover again
tired of being hungover

but i’m a damned fool
i know if i get my way
that i will be hungover again tomorrow

and the bus driver
is blasting 80s music
on the ride home from work
i sometimes hate 80s music
because it makes me think of childhood

they are boring thoughts
of mishandled time
that cannot be regained or manipulated

it is a time not worth thinking about

the bus driver looks tired
tired of driving a bus
tired of the forsaken faces of the many
tired of the silence of miles

and there is a kid
one of those fast food cherubic
rambunctious types
curious about everything

he is squirming in his seat
trying to open the big glass windows on the bus

just watching him work
the smile plastered on his fat face
makes me tired

his old man is sitting next to him
a dumb, lost look on his face

he is dressed in a vintage football jersey
his hat on backwards

he is not watching the kid
who now has the window open
and is sticking his fat face and body
out into the tired evening

i think that maybe the father is thinking
about the football season
or how boring and common
his life has turned out

but i hope that the kid doesn’t fall
out of the window
not because of an undying concern
for humanity
not because i wouldn’t want to see it

but because i don’t want this bus
to be held up

i guess my kindness and benevolence are tired

but then the bus driver yells at the kid

what in the hell are you doing?
he asks, his voice tired
of yelling at kids whose parents don’t care

the kid jumps back into the bus
his old man wakes from his pale reverie
and starts yelling at the child out of obligation

the kids sits there and takes it

he’s not sad or angry
he’s most probably used to it
he knows that he just has to wait this out
soon his old man will forget about him
and everything will be as pleasantly stagnant as it was before

there’s a wonderful dullness in the child’s eyes

i recognize it as my own

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Zine Will Change Your Life

.....has been kind enough to publish a poem of mine.
you can read it here.

poem of the day 10.01.10

b/c i'm soak and wet and hungover and
had one helluva time getting out of bed
this morning, here's a poem from 2008
that pretty much is where i'm at right now:

ode to my alarm clock

there is no device
worse than you
in this apartment.

i stare at you
at three in the morning
and wonder
what the fuck?

you are only metal
and mercury
and wire

but clock
you run my life
from your perch
on my dirty

i can’t help
but watch you
on those nights
when i can’t sleep.

i have those nights
where i think
i’m dying.
what do you think
about that?

with your
red devil lights
announcing moments
that i’ll never get
and hours i should
never see.
i can’t help
that you’re laughing
at me
when i get out of bed
to piss
or to attack the machine
before the sun
comes up.

who invented you?
was it one man
or groups of people
over time
that should’ve been

leave me alone
can’t you see i’m going mad?
can’t you see you’re killing me?

how will it end
between us?
how will we finish?
with my last breath
or on some random night
when you give out
and i wake up
late for work?

we suffer each other
like an old bitter

so clock
i’d like to end
this relationship
if i could
before i’m ruined
and no good
to anyone else
except the boss man
and the almighty swing
of commerce
and brutal coercion.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

poem of the day 09.30.10


she says
coming into the bedroom

she falls
on the bed
where i have small
stacks of cds piled
like fragile cities
waiting to be downloaded
onto my
new, expensive
music machine

i need breakfast
like a roll or something
we have rolls
she asks

are you doing this now?
i say
if so then i guess
i’ll stop downloading music
and just go to work

you don’t have to stop

i do
because last time
the fuse blew and
it took my pc thirty-minutes
to right itself

that was the microwave
that caused the fuse to blow
not the toaster oven, she says
besides you were
the one who did that

it’s the same outlet
i tell her
i’m just asking
do you need to eat now
or can you wait until
i get this done?

she gets up off the bed
and storms out of the room
a few of the cd piles stay standing
but most topple
like little plastic empires
brought to their knees

you know, she says
coming back into the bedroom
you’ve become a real jerk to me
since you got that computer
and the ipod

then she leaves again
and i stare a my
warped reflection
in the hollow white void
of the computer screen.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

poem of the day 09.29.10

if inspiration doesn't come soon
i fear poems of this sort could become the norm.

talks talks talks….

through the
hate radio that he
has blasting in the room
through his car alarm
going off on the street
i wonder how
a man can speak so much
this isn’t natural
this is for women
this chatter
i can feel a headache
coming on
and i’m glad the liquor store
is two blocks away
so much
that i can’t concentrate
on the paper
that i can’t figure out
which celebrity
is cheating on their wife
or which one is going
back to rehab
like an albatross on my ankles
like a knife wedged into my chest
….and it ain’t even lunch time yet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

poem of the day 09.28.10

poetry and everything else

inside this pseudo-british pub
my fingers greasy
from fish
smelling of malt vinegar
and gluttony
drinking pint after pint of cider
running up a tab
that i won’t want to look at
by the time i’m done
an amount that i know
will wake me up
in shock the next morning
the full bloom of
my careless stupidity
ruining the week before
it has even begun
i think about not writing poems
or anything else
for that matter
and how low a writer
has to get
in order to write a poem
about not writing
(pretty low)
i think the hell with money
the cost of everything
poetry and everything else
that isn’t swirling around
in the red-amber fizz
of this imported
alcoholic bomb
it is good to think this
as the drinks keep on coming
as the tab grows
and the wallet continues to lighten
as the rain begins to fall
all over third avenue, brookyn
football on the television
as some other poor fuck
plays genius writer in his apartment
while i sit here
done, down and out
ordering another sixteen-ounce draft
of my own subscribed legacy.