Friday, February 27, 2015

poem of the day 02.27.15

dog shit

there is dog shit
scattered all over this crooked landscape
a guy looks at me
points down and says, poop shrapnel
before i almost step in a patch
that already has some poor sap’s boot print in it
i say, thanks pal,
and the two of us continue on
in a serpentine around the rest
dog shit is the plague of this neighborhood
there are signs everywhere
telling people to curb their dog
microsoft words docs in bold letters
telling the offending dog owners
threating sonnets claiming to have the police involved
but, still, every morning
new and fresh steaming piles of dog shit
for everyone on the block to walk around
my wife and i once had a dog
back when we were dating
it was coon hound mix
that no amount of training could tame
the dog destroyed pillows and vhs tapes
boxes of tampons and record sleeves
i used to walk the beast in the morning and after work
three long circles around the block
to try and get him to shit
wondering why in the hell i had a dog
as the beast bit at me and its leash
attacked other dogs and finally let out the worst of dung piles
i used to carry the turds in a plastic container
that looked like a shovel
i’d toss the dog shit in bushes or in flower beds
always feeling like i was giving back to the earth
on weekends we’d chain the dog in the backyard
so that we didn’t have to walk him
or clean up shit so early in the morning
we let him run in circles and bark the morning away
shit all over the backyard
while we slept off another friday night at the bar
when i woke up i’d go outside to clean the dog shit
while the coon hound pulled on its chain
and tried to get at me
often there were notes from concerned neighbors
instructing my girlfriend and i
on the proper way to take care of a dog
once one of the notes was in crayon and in a child’s hand
mornings like that i usually tossed the dog shit into the next yard
just to send a message back
then i went back to bed and let the dog sleep between us
we had to dog maybe three months
before we had to give him back to the rescue league
my girlfriend took him back while i sat in the apartment
crying over an animal that i didn’t even like all that much
drinking beer after beer
i felt like such a damned failure
until i finally went out into the back yard
to collect his chain and the few toys we had for him
walking around the yard like a lost man
while the neighbors watched me from their windows
searching for any last piles of dog shit
that i might’ve missed.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

poem of the day 02.26.15

bathroom man

i see myself
getting pulled into your web

every time you walk
into the men’s room

i gotta run a stopwatch
like i’m a track coach
to measure how long you’ve been in there

at twenty minutes
i’m supposed to knock on the door
and give you a warning

at thirty i’m supposed to threaten to call the cops

i want you to know
that most nights i give you
forty minutes to an hour
before i even bother

i don’t know what you do in there
and i don’t care

rumor has it you take off all of your clothes
sit there like a rodin sculpture
on the cold, white toilet seat

to each his own, man
i mean we gotta do something
to pass the time here

but it’s when the four year olds
are on the verge of pissing their pants
and their mothers are bitching at me

that’s when i’m forced to care

hey, at least
i don’t go into the bathroom
when you walk out
to smell the damage

i save that detective work for the others here
that are forced to monitor you

i just wish there
was somewhere else that you could go
to get your kicks

a mcdonald’s
a pizza hut
the gas station down the street

maybe try the museum of modern art
and tell their security guards that it’s all
a performance art piece
when they come to kick you out

find anywhere but here
because this act is getting old

and you and i, old chap
we’re hitting the top of the hour again


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

poem of the day 02.25.15 NOW NSFW

the walls at the high school dance

the walls at the high school dance
were always humid and sticky

old gym walls embedded with the sweat
of a thousand basketball games and dodgeball

but i clung to those walls at every dance
they were my only refuge from a sea of hormones

the clique of a hundred teenagers
who would not let me into their set

from the walls at the high school dance
i watched girls that i’d been pining for
make out with lesser men

low-browed philistines who couldn’t
talk their way out of a lunch line

they looked so hungry for each other
during those slow songs

star-crossed lovers with chapped lips
forcefully separated by christian brother chaperons

waiting for the hand of god to leave
and go bother another indulgent coupling

before diving into each other again

christ, how i wanted to be one
of those boys kissing one of those girls

on an autumn friday night in america

instead of being suck against
the walls at the high school dance

wishing that i’d just stayed home.

****have some poems over at Ben John Smith's Legendary Horror Sleaze Trash. It came to my attention that corporate bully boys over at Google have changed their policites in regards to adult content. While giving a platform for writer bums such as myself, a site like Horror Sleaze Trash is being threatened with being block/deleted simply bc they have pictures such as these on their site:


but it's not just the pictures. according to the link i provided above.  the new rules also apply to:
"Blogger blogs marked as "adult" include LGBT and "outsider sexuality" diaries, erotic writers, transgender activists, romance book editors and reviewers, sex toy reviewers, art nude photographers, film-makers, artists such as painters and comic illustrators, text-only fiction writers, sex news and porn gossip writers, LGBT sex activism, sex education and information outlets, fetish fashion, feminist porn blogs, and much, much more."

 WineDrunk SideWalk itself has been blocked on numerous occasions from public libraries and other institutions. This is insane. This is what happens when upstarts become coporate back, become corporations in and of themselves.  it ends up hurting a lot of small folks out there putting art/porn/activisim into the world.  The final result is a bland world of corporate music, corporate literature, and yes, even corporate porn:

happy searching.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

poem of the day 02.24.15


telly kept all kinds
of fast food bags in the office

he had the bags full of free trinkets
that he got at trade shows and other events

one of them held several hundred pens in it
although the bags still held the odor of food

the office smelled of rancid meat
and french fry grease whenever telly was there

in the spring the fast food bags attracted ants

some days there were just a few
but on most a line of thousands of ants
went single file behind computer stands and desks
to reach the fast food bags on telly’s side

instead of doing my job
i’d watch the ants scale the height of a bag

they looked like mountain climbers working in tandem

then they’d fall off the edge into the bag
as if committing a mass suicide into a volcano

there were many days where i had to take a broom
and get rid of hundreds of the ants

i felt like a grand executioner
killing entire colonies in one sweep

i knew i’d never be a buddhist doing this business

i felt for the ants
they were only doing what came naturally to them

at my worst
i’d have to take several
fast food bags and squash them

to the ants i imagined
it was like a bomb going off
one second fast food bliss
the other second mass annihilation

by the time telly came to work
both the bags and the ants were gone

he’d put his things down and then circle around his desk
looking at all of that negative space

where are my fast food bags?
he’d ask me, in that lispy way of his

but i’d just shrug and turn back to my computer

or i’d get up and go to the bathroom
to stare at my sinister self in the mirror

a mass murderer if ever there was one

before turning on the hot, brown water
trying my best to wipe the blood from my hands.


Monday, February 23, 2015

poem of the day 02.23.15

television blues

the two women on the train
are talking about reality television shows

they are acting as if they know the people

the real housewives of…
keeping up with the kardashians

the women are shouting over the din
of train cars and century’s old tracks

but you don’t know her like i do, one of them says

she just needs a good man, the other shouts back

both women have their dinners
waiting for them in fast food bags

i’m listening to them because i can’t read

i think about television
how back when i was a kid i probably
watched more television than was good for me

my old man used to walk through rooms shaking his head
my mother would say, is this what you’re doing with saturday?
as if it had to be savored or labored through

weekends were never precious jewels to me

they were another brady bunch episode
a monkees marathon on dubbed vhs tapes
cosby and family ties and growing pains reruns

i used to imagine that i was on those shows

not like an actor or anything
but like the shows were real

i was the brady’s or the seaver’s neighbor
the other member of the monkees
or the guy taking mallory keaton or denise huxtable out for a date

i loved the episodic nature of the shows
how the characters problems never seemed to last

they were better than listening to my parents
argue about bills and housework

telling me to go outside and play

worrying about some kid on monday
calling me a fat ass at recess again

or the girl that i liked laughing at me in homeroom

i didn’t have to work at anything with the tv characters
just insert myself into the background of any scene
take it from there

and while the women on the train
argue about their respective shows
dip into their fast food bags for an appetizer

as one of the women throws
a french fry at her friend
and they laugh and laugh over some outrageous plot line

i find ryan adams waiting
on my music machine

turn and watch brooklyn fly by
thumping soundtrack and in full technicolor

and think about how i don’t really watch television anymore
that i’ve sort of just learned to live with this life

my one and only long running mini-series
with its tragic and final finale

a show i’ll never be certain that i truly enjoyed
or fully got the plot.


Friday, February 20, 2015

poem of the day 02.20.15

a most elegant man

a most elegant man is walking behind me
on this cold-as-hell winter morning

he’s got a little snow cap with ear flaps
a thin scarf and a big red beard

he’s keeping pace so that he’s right up my ass
and when i stop on the street, he stops

in new york city this is grounds to commit a murder

but it’s maybe five degrees outside
the wind off the estuary making it worse

i’m carrying ten bags of groceries
five in each hand
and i forgot my goddamned gloves

my fingers look like strands of red pulp
so i couldn’t strangle this man if i wanted to

the guy behind me, he’s got one little bag
and his cell phone

i wish he’d kick it into gear
just pass me or something

when i stop to let him go
he stops to check something on his phone

the wind goes through me like i’m made
of plastic grocery bags

i look back and say, hey, buddy, what the fuck?
but he’s got his earbuds in

i start up again
he starts up again

i can see the apartment building
but it still feels a million miles away
with the wind and this asshole keeping pace

when i get to the door
it makes sense that he lives in the building too

six floors of strangers
living petty little lives

i put the five bags from the one hand in the other
struggle to get out my keys

while the most elegant man waits patiently
for me to unlock the door

i even hold it for him

ten bags and swollen red hands
a smile on my face and murder in my eyes

as the most elegant man passes me

with nary a head nod
or a discreet thank you to boot.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

poem of the day 02.19.15

jimmy vs. technology

about once a week
jimmy comes down from the adult group home

he’s always got his guitar slung over his shoulder
like he’s come back from rehearsal or a gig

his long, gray hair is held back by a sea foam bandana
that has seen better days

it’s like jimmy

every time he’s in its reinventing the wheel
he can’t remember his password
can’t figure out how to make the internet work
doesn’t remember his yahoo! mail account

i say, jimmy why are you still doing yahoo!

i want to be up to date, man, he says

jimmy once asked me if i played guitar
because i have long hair like he does
and it’s kind of going gray

no, i told him…i chose a lesser art

jimmy has the worst trouble with the copy machine
i can’t blame him

the thing can email and fax and send text messages
it’s a bit daunting for a guy who just needs to copy
his legal and medical papers

when he’s in the building i know it’s only a matter of time
before jimmy and i will both be at the copier
testing our technological limits

that’s usually when jimmy
will go on about the adult home

how bad the food is
how horrible it is being locked inside and incapable

they treat you like
you’re nothing there, man, he says

i try to picture jimmy in the adult home

grateful dead t-shirt and hendrix on his turntable
faded jeans and the green field jacket he’s always wearing

nurses checking to make sure he’s taking his pills

the baby boomers have instilled such an image of youth
it’s hard to imagine them getting old and feeble

that all of that 1960s idealism is rotting
in institutions made for assembly line death

but jimmy is walking talking proof that life is moving on

once i’m there we get the copies made quickly
it’s usually jimmy’s social security card and his benefits i.d.

you always help me out, man, he says

like he’s surprised
like i’m not getting paid for this

i wish i could give you something, brother
like a bag of barbecue chips from my illegal stash

because jimmy is still sticking it to the man

do you want some barbecue chips?
jimmy pulls out a half-eaten bag of wise

no, i say
i settle for a handshake instead

then jimmy leaves because he’s thirsty
i watch him go across the street to the bodega

a moment later he comes out with a 20oz. coke
bends his knees like he’s playing a guitar solo
when he takes his first sip

wipes the caramel color from his mouth
before he walks off toward the promised land.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

poem of the day 02.18.15

telling a twelve year old
that my wife is the incredible hulk

because he’s always around me at the job
hanging on my every word

he wants to know what my favorite color is
why i wear my hair long
he points out daily that there’s gray in my beard

because i can’t have an adult conversation
when he’s in the building

last week he heard me call my supervisor
an incompetent ass and threatened to tell him

because he heard me tell another co-worker
about my wife’s radiation
i had to tell him that she was the incredible hulk

it made me feel somewhat better to tell this tall tale
because it made radiation not seem so bad

of course he’d never seen my wife angry
while i have some vivid memories of her ire

maybe she is the incredible hulk and i just didn’t realize it

i think about last week
when i told her we should just buy a gun
and put a nice exclamation mark on this year

but he brings me back to earth
he wants to know why my wife is getting radiation
he wants to know if this is why i’ve seemed angry all summer

because he’s always around me at the job
listening to every goddamned word that i have to say

reading my emails when i’m not looking
catching me in the office when i’m looking down
or staring off into space

he can tell that i’m lying

about this and about how i feel all of the time
because tall tales are just great big lies

and besides what twelve year old
believes that the hulk is real?

                                                            10.07.14 this is the last of the cancer-related poems that i've had backlogged. tomorrow is back to the typical...well...whatever it is i've been wasting my time doing here since 2008.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

poem of the day 02.17.15

feeback from our trip
to ford’s theatre

i’m sure we would’ve loved
to have seen where lincoln’s legacy lives
we had plans to do the whole tour
high noon
every single event
after a good breakfast at some renowned
washington d.c. diner
coffe eggs bacon history in that order
i was looking forward
to showing my wife where lincoln had been shot
the theatre museum
the home across the street where they took him after
is honest abe’s blood still on the pillow?
but see we never made it to d.c. that week
no momuments
no national gallery or air and space museum
no smithsonian or side trips to georgetown
and no long walks along the mall
they had to move my wife’s radiation appointment
you know how that goes
and her parents stayed with us for five days too
shuttling back and forth
to their own cancer treatments in the city
they don’t know about
my wife’s breast cancer
so…you can pretty much guess how the week went
but we did get back our money on the hotel
all twelve-hundred bucks
my wife played the cancer card
she told them that she was just diagnosed
it really wasn’t a lie
and who’s going to judge a thirty-seven year old
with cancer anyway?
we didn’t cancel the tour with you guys
i mean what’s forty dollars when we were given
so much back
besides the guys at ticketmaster can be cocksuckers
we took the hit on that one
to be honest i almost forgot that we’d booked
a tour with you
because things have been so busy lately
until this feedback email showed up
in my google account
for obvious reasons
i’m going to have to pass
on giving you any feedback
so there’s nothing to tell your tour leaders
and it would be silly
of me to do the survey
still, thank you guys for thinking about us
we’re thinking of trying for d.c. again
once the radiation is over
or maybe next year once the weather breaks
do the whole national capital thing
when the cherry blossoms are in bloom
and our luck seems on
the up and up.


Monday, February 16, 2015

poem of the day 02.16.15


is a type of financial
collateral to cover a credit risk

it’s the white around the edges of this page

a continental margin
separates ocean crust from continental crust

but don’t quote me on that
because i got straight Cs in science class

in iran
there’s a village called margin

in your right breast there are margins
that we need to get to

this is called a surgical margin
or a tumor free margin
plain free margin
normal skin margin
normal margin

your surgeon calls them good margins
and it’s taken three surgeries to get to them

that’s way different than a gross margin
which is the difference between revenue and cost
before accounting for some other costs

(i looked that one up)

but it might be similar to a machine margin

the distance between
a decision boundary and a data point

quite unlike a gross margin
a profit margin or a contribution margin

or this margin of safety
we’re clinging to in this office
right here and now.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

poem of the day 02.12.15

driving through pittsburgh in june

heading back to the suburbs
to my parent’s home

from kris and anna’s place
where there was beer and poet talk

driving through pittsburgh in june

you and i
like we used to do all of the time

when we lived there
when it was home

all of those many years ago

three days before the doctors in brooklyn
would find the cancer in your breast

i wish maybe we’d taken it slower
not been in such a hurry to go back to my parent’s

maybe gone around to some of the old places
that we used to hang out

the streets that we’d filled with love
and a lot of other things

instead of me having you make wrong turns
because i no longer really knew the city of my birth

we could’ve had a late bite
at that old chinese restaurant
that we hated and loved so much

lingered outside your old apartment
the way i did right before our first date

done something starry-eyed in the city
where our romance bloomed then turned solid

oh honeybee
if only we had known

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

poem of the day 02.11.15

our first fight

so this is it

this is the night
where we finally take the shit out
on each other

our first fight
our first cancer fight

you with your web sites and statistics
your lists of the damned and dead
your recovery books and odds

me with my denial
my inability to look a damned thing up

thinking that tomorrow morning
like every morning
i’ll wake up and this’ll have been
just another bad dream

we were bound to duke it out at some point

it might as well be tonight
a simple monday in a six day work week
that we’re both dreading

your old man in the hospital
your mother sick on chemo

MRIs and biopsies falling like rain

8p.m. and still ninety degrees outside
too hot for us to eat anything
but cold cuts and barbecue chips

too depressing to do a thing but have this fight

so let’s start this, shall we?
let’s get this over and maybe get past this

have a beer or some more wine
a shit ton of scotch if it’s okay

you tell me once again
how insensitive and mean i’m being

and i’ll tell you how fucking crazy you are
for reading those books
instead of talking to your doctor

i’ll say shit like
if i were you….
if it were me….

even though i don’t know
up from down these days

we can throw things
and shout at the top of our lungs

rattle the walls of this old apartment
that was once so inviting
but seems so sinister now

with its orange walls and cracked blinds
its years of love and loss

its two most famous occupants
facing each other ready for a duel

neither of us with the guts to tell each other
how goddamned scared

we really are


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

poem of the day 02.10.15

name in lights

the doctor has got his name in lights
behind a desk in a glass structure
in the posh part of park slope, brooklyn

it must be costing him a fortune in lives

it’s not even his own name
it’s his father’s but he’s inheriting it
when he takes over the business

the doctor has got all of his papers spread out on his desk
you can barely see them with all of these lights

he tells my wife
oh, most doctors without their name in lights
will tell you that you don’t need chemo for a cancer like this

but me?
i want to give you the full blast of it

hair loss, pasty skin, mouth sores,
low white cell count, possible heart problems
the future fear of bone marrow cancer and leukemia

all for the sheer joy of staying alive another thirty or forty years
and letting them work you until you’re dead

a lot of doctors won’t do that for you
but i will because i’m pro-chemotherapy

i wonder if the doctor has ever had the poison himself
has he ever taken a drink of anything that tasted like gasoline?

the doctor’s got pictures of his kids on a shelf
a picture of his wife but no wedding ring
just in case a hot cancer skank comes waltzing through the doors

i look at the ceramic doodads on his desk
multi-colored bowls and mugs that say, world’s best dad

he looks at me and smiles through the glare
he says, if it were my wife or if it were my family….

the doctor says his patients are like his family too
that’s why he’s recommending the full-on chemotherapy
all of the poisons he can push through my wife’s system

i try to forget about his name in those big lights
his posh office and his expensive suit

my wife still kind of crying in the seat next to me

as he rises to shake my hand
and tells me that everything will be fine

with a smile as wide and white as those light
as big and heavy as ahab’s motherfucking whale.


Monday, February 9, 2015

poem of the day 02.09.15

cancer is everywhere

it’s on the billboards on the subway cars
on billboards on the highway

this morning i was flipping through the stations
and at least three channels had cancer

the mailman has it but he’s still doing his job
the deli clerk and the bartender have cancer too

cancer just walked by me in the grocery store
and didn’t even bother to say hi

there’s cancer in the airport sucking down another drink
before she has to get on board a transatlantic flight

there’s cancer in the ocean
or in the bottom of the sea

the news anchor has cancer but she’s still smiling
and so does my favorite writer in my favorite book

my dad has it, her mom has it, your aunt has it
and even his wife got it too

there’s cancer in all of us just waiting to rise and shine

there’s a cancer in afghanistan called the u.s.a.
cancer in the gaza strip

that van gogh painting has some cancer
although its non-aggressive nor insane

i think i heard some cancer swirling around
beethoven’s third and mahler’s fifth

there’s cancer in the air
cancer in the trees

they say the food you eat will give you cancer one day too

cancer in a soda pop and fried chicken
cancer in the crumbs in your car

dogs are shitting cancer on the sidewalk
some kid just stepped in it and now he has cancer too

there’s cancer up in central park
having a picnic and throwing frisbee on the great lawn

cancer in the movie theater taking in a blockbuster flick

cancer in beer
cancer in wine

cancer in those pills we’re all stuck sucking down

there’s cancer in the stars
cancer in the lines of shakespeare

they found cancer in my love
and i just want the doctors to get it out

but there will still be cancer lingering everywhere

cancer in the grass
cancer in the water that we drink

cancer in the waiting room and in your home
cancer sitting in your favorite chair having a smoke

there’s cancer in your bed
shaking you when you’re trying to sleep

cancer keeping you up at night
cancer keeping you scared

there’s cancer in your soul
and it’s yapping at you

cancer like the bark of the rabid dog
just across the cancer in the cancer street.


Friday, February 6, 2015

poem of the day 02.06.15

on the board

they have this digital board
in the waiting room of hospitals now

it lets you keep track
of your loved ones surgery

instead of bothering the ladies working the desk

the board has the doctor’s name
the status of the procedure
and everyone that you love is given a code
instead of the board using their name

it’s very modern and chic

it’s like the boards in airports
that let you know the status of your flight

i imagine you’d find it funny
that is, if you weren’t the one
having your breast sliced open right now

it is a little bit funny
or maybe it’s just one more way
in which humanity is losing touch with each other

ten years ago when you had that gall bladder surgery
the lady called me to the desk
and told me that you were out

she told me that it was going to be all right

right now she’s playing candy crush on her cell phone
while i stand here with the other nervous wrecks
checking the change in status on the board
hoping that i even got your code right

i could use a kind word right now
some encouragement

if not for me than certainly for you

but i’m not going to get it here
so i try to imagine that you and i
are in the airport

that you’re off on one
of the one thousand bathroom trips that you take

we’re waiting on a flight to san francsico
no, new orleans

where we’ll spend the week on frenchman street
drinking and eating
fucking and listening to jazz
like two american pigs on the loose

but to be completely honest
my imagination isn’t that good today
and your status hasn’t changed in over an hour

i’m getting nervous

i need to ask someone for help
i need to tell them that this system may be modern

but what’s listed there on the board
is far from a mercy

in fact
it offers no solace at all.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

poem of the day 02.05.14

if we ever get to albany again

i think maybe we’ll take in a show
at the palace theater

or find that fantastic burrito that i had
on washington avenue

maybe take a stroll
outside the state capitol building

protest some injustice
to find out what my liberal friends
are always going on about

or maybe we’ll go to one of the museums
read a book in washington park
or hop aboard the USS Slater with the other tourists

we could get some ice cream
i’m sure albany has a ton of places for it

then sit next to the tomb of chester a. arthur
and run down that list of presidents
i’m always teasing you about

albany is probably pretty beautiful in the fall

i got it
we can visit the SUNY building
and demand we stop payment
on our student loans right now

buy a boat, go up to canada
and sail it down the albany river

we could make it a theme, baby

scale the corning tower
and sip martinis at the schuyler museum

if we ever get to albany again
i promise we’ll do all of these things and more

it’ll just be you and i
without cancer covering the sheets, the walls
and blocking all the doors

you crying on the bed or in my arms
until will fall asleep to the sounds of i-87
rumbling outside our window

the one overlooking the bus stop

some four hours and light years
from home.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

poem of the day 02.04.15

sobriety is

my wife isn’t drinking during the week
while she’s getting her biopsies and MRIs

i cut out the hard liquor
and am relegated to the abyss of wine and beer

oh, poor me
afloat on two drinks a night and nothing else

sobriety is a motherfucker

but the first thing the doctor harped on
was how much that she and i drank

she said one drink a night is fine
but there might be a link
between excessive drinking and…

i didn’t hear the rest because that’s when i started crying

it’s strange to reevaluate your life
while some doctor is feeling your wife’s breasts and armpits
looking for lumps and swollen lymph nodes

five scotches a night
five scotches and a magnum bottle of red
friday through sunday
and rivers of beer at the ready at all times

sobriety is a hard concept

but so is discussing lumpectomies and mastectomies
as if they were curtains to buy or next year’s vacation destination

taking a break from reading that novel
only to find that your wife has been crying on the couch
for the whole hour

and it is your job to make her feel better
when you have a headache and can’t even feel good yourself

sobriety is an illusion

it is me thinking that we’ll just go back
to the same behavior once this is all said and done

cancer like getting a tooth pulled
or a car inspected and road ready

it’s me telling my wife that she’s going to survive

sobriety is a noose

because there will be no vacation from this
it’ll end but it’ll always be there looming in the background
for the rest of our lives

shit cramps and kid fears
with every mammogram coming down the line

these nights of tea sipping to symphonies
it’s the new norm

we might as well join a bowling league
or make friends with the new neighbors

sobriety is a black hole

that i’ve been trying to escape for years now
and it’s brought us nowhere but here

under these fluorescent lights
in this tan examining room

drained and tired and shot to shit
waiting to hear what that the prognosis is


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

poem of the day 02.03.15

foot in my mouth

i put my foot in my mouth
i say the wrong things all of the time

and here we were
it was pretty innocent and pretty normal
like a regular day off at the bar

you and me and manhattan like always
seth telling us his stories
in between pulls on pints and vodka shots
as jukebox music rumbled the grassroots

in my defense, it was the kind of day
where i tend to forget myself
and jobs and bills and the hundred sundry problems

the kind of day where i get on my sudsy pedestal
and go on like the last great american orator

the kind of day that seemed de rigueur
to the spirit of our existence only a month ago

but how could i forget cancer
and say a thing like that to you?

it wasn’t even about you
but about me and my old man and his prostate cancer

only i knew that i put my foot in my mouth
as soon as i said it

if i have prostate cancer at forty then obviously
i wasn’t meant to be on this planet anyway

as sure as your eyes filled with tears
i knew that i fucked up with that one

and i practically begged seth to get us another pint

i should’ve realized it before i said
been more proactive than the beer in regards to my thoughts

because it’s always there
cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer
like some wilted, gray beacon in the night sky

there aren’t enough pints to take it away
enough saturdays in manhattan
to make it pack its bags and go beach itself
on someone else’s couch for a while

and leave us be.


Monday, February 2, 2015

poem of the day 02.02.15

in a quiet living room in vermont

in a quiet living room in vermont
we are drinking coffee instead of beer and wine
the hoosac range of mountains sits behind us

it is very idyllic

you are on the couch talking to your father
about your mother’s impending cancer treatments

it is a necessary conversation no one wants to have

but here we are in a quiet living room in vermont
having it anyway

until your father stops talking to click his tongue
holding back the tears

he says, at least she’s still alive

then goes back to clicking his tongue
as you move closer to comfort him

i watch the two of you, father and daughter
the way that you’re stroking his hand as he stares forward

jesus christ, this is the one of the saddest things
that i’ve ever seen

i feel like i don’t belong here
in this quiet living room in vermont

that this is just a moment for the two of you to get through

maybe i should get up, i think
go get myself another cup of coffee
go outside and stare at the wind turbines atop the mountains

but then i think about the cancer inside of you
how i’d rip it out with my bare hands if only you’d let me
how i want to take your hand as well

and i’m paralyzed where i am

this cancer that we can’t even tell your parents about
because it’ll kill them

i start to well up at the thought of everything
this world is putting you through

my wife, my lover, and my very best friend

when your father looks at me and smiles
he says, it’s all right
it’ll all be all right

just as a pack of teenagers come in from outside

breaking the melancholy
of sitting in a quiet living room in vermont

with all of their welcome noise
their boundless life and their dumb humor.