Thursday, March 31, 2016

hiatus time

hello all

WineDrunk SideWalk will be on hiatus from 03/31/16-04/18/16
so i can get in a little R&R from poems and novel writing.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

poem of the day 03.30.16

wednesday morning anywhere

edward hopper scenes
from across the periwinkle street

sad, slouching sacks of flesh
illuminated in amber windows

small mechanized moments
between sips on coffee and the morning news

d.j.’s with no wit selling air

the hours that are never ours
even when we have them at our fingertips

barking dogs and booming bass
car horns and boat horns

scalding showers and unsatisfactory breakfasts

conversations that pass
into blandness or accusations

a dead cockroach that needs to be flushed
while searching for the hangover cure

another mass this, another mass that

politicians hanging freedoms like nooses
around that old poplar tree

blood on the leaves

that latest infotainment rag
glorious hollywood tits, glorious new york ass

all sewn up and bought and sold

rollicking commerce sailing down the river
echoing merrily, merrily, merrily

life is but the american dream.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

poem of the day 03.29.16

the trumpeter

there is too much death
the evening
under this milky blue sky
watching the walking carcasses
on fort hamilton parkway
slices of pizza on paper plates in the wind
a bag full of plastic junk
from the ninety-nine cent store
american flags billowing their counterfeit freedom
we do so much
in the march toward our own mortality
as the garbage swirls infinite
the trumpeter
he blows an off-key taps
in commemoration to all this dying
out of tune
he sits on a metal bench
potato sacked in a dirty hoodie
and ripped khakis
his brown mouth enwrapped
in a musical maelstrom of nonsense
as people walk by quickly
dropping copper into a twirling olive hat
caught up in the mendacity of living
a half-talent, the trumpeter
plays like a god to himself
as the dirt gets caught in our eyes
at forever red stoplights
cars honking orange angry faces full of disease
going home
always going home to die by the blue tv light
or the computer screen
that coward cancerous sun
hidden behind gray-yellow clouds
waiting for a break in the music
to rip forth and shine hazy illuminations
on those secret, glorious places
caught in between
the violet shadows
and heavenly black shade.


Monday, March 28, 2016

poem of the day 03.28.16

easter sunday

walking seventy-fifth street
with my wife

in the kind of sunshine
samuel beckett and i both hate

baby carriage psychos
pushing moon-faced mutants
along the pavement

the church steps are full of people
in their dead men suits and whore heels

all love to god but little left for humanity

what sick dullards they are, i think
as roasted pig flesh permeates the air

oh, i have holes in my shoes on easter sunday
holes in my spirit that can’t be patched

by anyone’s savior

and four more hours to go
before i can forget them all

this holy artifice

by having that first glorious
and life affirming



Friday, March 25, 2016

poem of the day 03.25.16

the jaywalker

we’ve lived in the same building
going on eight years now
see each other in the hallway
the laundry room
in the basement when i’m throwing out
the cat litter, food scraps and booze bottles
on this long street we pass each other
maybe three or four times a day
going nowhere good
me to work or the liquor store or to the grocery
and he to go and sit
in the laundromat or citibank vestibule
and with each passing it’s the same thing
how’s it going?
have a good one
each time we meet in the apartment too
there are these customs we have
a head nod, a tip of the hat
i don’t know which one of us started it
eight years of these trite greetings
and no other conversation, thank god
well, yesterday i was coming down the street
coffee and a bagel and a wicked hangover this time
and he was coming up the street
we both looked steeled for the same old same old fate
when suddenly he broke between two parked cars
hustled his old ass across the street away from me
with angry people honking their angry horns
leaning their heads out windows to curse him out
on their way to church
not even a head nod my way
eight years broken in one bold move
and as he limped off toward wherever
i watched him
not angry
not sad at being shunned as such
but feeling happy and full of grace
that someone in this world
had finally taken the time to get to know me
and what i really wanted
after all of these silly
wasted years
on such hollow kindness.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

poem of the day 03.24.16

johnny says

all i need
is for this moustache
to come in
get old enough to grow a beard
it’ll be lit
like maybe this summer
mad chicks all over me, bro
leather jacket and shit
expensive sneakers
maybe a chain
i’m talking mad bitches
like not them ugly ones
sitting over there
but like tits
like an ass, bro
you wait
chicks love moustaches
especially arab chicks
latina chicks
they dig beards too
mine is gonna be mad tight
i’ma trim that shit every day, yo
i got a job too
some ladies clothing store in queens
mad girls come in there
in shorts’n’shit
and you’ll see me
you’ll see me
chick on this arm
chick on that arm, bro
i’m tellin’ you
leather jacket
tight beard
maybe a thin chain
you’ll see, bro
you’ll see
i’ll be up in so many bitches
this summer
i’ll have to grow
a second


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

poem of the day 03.23.16

no chance

before the dust clears
on suicide bombs
the blood wiped off the tile
from this week’s horror show
the victims become talking points
for politicians and demagogues on fluff tv
for shitty poets with writer’s block
and short attention spans
their bloviating creating
enough pure energy
to make small nuclear bombs
that i’d love to have
shoved back into their mouths
before gently pushing
their inflated heads and egos
down deep under
the wine dark
to burst
and pop
like fart bubbles in a dirty bathtub


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

poem of the day 03.22.16

the ballet dancers

stand blocking
the N train door
a pack of four of them
hats backward
their ring leader is some hawk-nosed
smirking little shit
who runs the conversation
he says,
yeah, i could’ve had her, dude
totally could’ve had her
we went out like three times
she literally said to me, you know,
you can take me home if you want
but then she was like
you got a girlfriend don’t you?
so i was like yeah
and that was the end of it
but, yo, check it
i love my girl
i’ve been faithful all year
so what’s that? like three months, dudes
and how about that class today?
i mean what the fuck?
is that like all there is to this? he says,
bending and pointing his legs and feet
as people struggle to get off and on the train around him
and my house, he says
my god
dude, you gotta see my house
my mom’s really
it’s been like rent controlled since way back
in 1996
the place is lit, yo!
big ceilings
big rooms
we only pay like eleven-hundred a month
when everyone else pays like four grand
and there’s like mad rich chicks
that live around there now
so hot, dude, so hot
i should’ve taken that girl back to my mom’s place
you know?
the one who wanted me
chick would’ve been on my dick
if she saw that place
but, like i said, dude
i love my girl
been faithful all year
three months without any other ass
just her
and that fucking class, dude
what the fucking fuck?
until my fucking feet hurt
and i was so done.


Monday, March 21, 2016

poem of the day 03.21.16

the protester

how in the fuck
did i end up here?

i think as the cops
put up the barricades
on one end of the block

people call up the line of chanting thousands
that they’ve done so on the other end

how in the fuck?

thirty minutes before this
i was eating indian food on 46th street
and talking about going to see some van gogh

now i’m breaking the law
blocking a city block

or rather the cops have broken the law for us
by caging us all in

what is your endgame officer friendly?

america, you and your corporate politics

you and your pseudo-populists
on both ends of the spectrum

america i never liked you
and your hateful kind anyway

i just want to live somewhere
where i can read a book
and have a drink in peace

i’m an isolationist by nature

but you insist on
nominating authoritarian lunatics

so here i am

my belly still full from lunch
not a goddamned van gogh in sight

just thousands of kids with picket signs
and old hippies with their arcane slogans

dull, stone-faced cops
lining the street by the hundreds

billy clubs and guns
extra strands of handcuffs on their belts

thuggish tools
for the whole corrupt system

always ready to turn on a dime
and hurt the people they protect and serve

my little wife and i in the middle of this shit
a couple of dumbs
who should’ve followed their lunch
with some frozen yogurt
or a black and white cookie

stayed out of this circus
avoid maybe being arrested
or pepper sprayed by pigs in the pale afternoon

because the wrong people
are always being pepper sprayed or worse

in this rotted out hollow beast carcass

everyone here still keeps calling
the united states of america.


Friday, March 18, 2016

poem of the day 03.18.16


sky swirls ashen
there is hail
there is rain
there is a thunderous reckoning coming
and the rumor
of a nor’easter for the beginning of spring
they killed caesar two days ago
and now they are sitting in bars
packed back to back with white pasty faces
decked in green
like colorful klan rallies
their racist, orange-faced demagogue bloviating
on fifty-two inch televisions
next to black men dunking on wide screens
they cheer and it sounds like murder
notre dame hoodies and shamrock tattoos
corned beef breath stinking up
the sidewalk as they sing danny boy
in between drags on stale smokes and metal vapes
their women dress like leprechaun whores
searching for their pot of gold
inside of some sap’s wallet
all their free jameson shots
in thick puddles on pavement
expelled cabbage lunches dancing in the rain
they go back inside
for round five or six or seven
green love beads and hollywood starlet shades
wearing little plastic hats
that look like penis tops
spray tan homicides wearing jeans
that show lacy whale’s tales
they all have the luck of the irish this afternoon
as i pass each tavern
each bar
all looking the same dull celebration
stopping at a red light
i cock a finger and thumb
invoke my second amendment rights
fire hot air at some flesh-stuffed joint
declaring itself a st. patty’s headquarters
then move the hell on.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

poem of the day 03.17.16

$8,000 shoes

ammar wants me
to see the $8,000 shoes
search it up! search it up! he yells
as he barrels toward me
he tries to abscond my computer
they’re lit! he declares
lit means cool these days
although i know another
meaning for the word
i think about how i’ll be lit
in a few hours time
but for now ammar and i are staring
at a foot locker web site
at a pair of red sneakers
that cost, in fact, eight grand
ammar stares at them
like one would a beautiful woman
or a sunset on venice beach
to me, the shoes are plain and dull
they’re ugly to be honest
puffy like moon boots
i’d rather spent eight grand silence
yo! what do you think about those?
ammar asks
all i can think to say is
who would spend eight grand on a pair of shoes?
he says
if you’re black
and from the ghetto
and rolling in bling
which seems all kinds of ironic to me
a kind of rap fantasy they sell online
but i go along and nod
the shoes have been blessed
by this year’s hip-hop god
and it’s been decades since i was fifteen
me and ammar, we stare at those shoes
like we’re going to buy a car load of them
those shoes as red as a whirling alarm
red as a dwarf sun bursting in the cosmos
or do dwarf suns just bubble
and freeze out?
i should probably look that up online

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

poem of the day 03.16.16

the scam artist

looking out my kitchen window
into the vodka night

she passes dressed in a hoodie
clutching a cell phone
clutching herself

sees stupid me in the window

stops and spins
turns doe-eyed and comes closer

she says, since you’re looking
out the window anyway
i was wondering if i could ask you something

shoot, i say
because i still know how to talk to the young
and doe-eyed female

she says, you know 74th street
and shore drive, right

i nod
intimately, i say

well, she says, you see, my car….

i hold up my hand
and stop her right there
let me guess, i say
your car broke down and you need some money

she shakes her head
huddles into herself on a sixty degree night
for good measure

tilts her head and lifts those eyes

look, i tell her
i’ve heard this scam at least five times
in this neighborhood

it’s always some poor girl
clutching her dead phone at night

huddled into herself in any kind of weather
with a dead car just down the block.

sometimes they cry, i tell her

but have you heard it from me? she asks

we stare at each other as the vodka night
starts to turn sober

i can’t help you, i finally say

she shrugs, gives me the finger
turns doe eyes and spins down the street
like it ain’t no thing

looking for the next idiot
around the next block

some money man who has yet to hear
her pitiful tale of woe

as i step away from the window
close the blinds on this side of humanity

and pour myself
another stiff one.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

poem of the day 03.15.16

grace is gone

and the old hatreds
have risen up from under their rocks
where they’ve been hiding

taking a new form
they ooze like stale bile
flowing out of sewers

flooding the city and countryside
with their yellow muck

bubbling out of televisions and phones

there is so little to be said for it
it seems it’s always been there

like an old blanket suffocating us
from sea to shining sea

my how we’ve hoodwinked ourselves
into believing we’ve made a better world

but the battle lines have been redrawn
the violence seems so vain glorious

retrograde, we now stumble
for words of enlightenment

but there is only the ignorance and fear
that we’ve courted for years

a generation facing
a dark reckoning

or a cold, black end
to this idiotic myth

offering little left to save.


Monday, March 14, 2016

poem of the day 03.14.16

health nut

you can never really
do anything good for yourself except die
shake off that mortal coil
as the original slick willy wrote
and take a final bow to this calamity
but here i am anyway
freezing in this beast winter
running four miles
after another fruitless morning playing artist
already three S.U.Vs have tried to hit me
and the dogs have jumped at my legs
their barks and snarls echoing
as i trot down another potholed block
i think to myself how crazy this is
the sweat and the labored breathing
the pains in the knees and shoulder
the feeling that any moment
i could have a heart attack and drop
life was much easier on the couch
drinking scotch by the bottle
and thinking fuck it i know it all already
but still there is another hill to climb
another stretch of sun-soaked desolate road
another tank-sized baby stroller to circumnavigate
in the distance
the kid wailing above my ipod music
the mother’s fat ass swaying the length of the sidewalk
in stretchy black pants that do her no justice
and as i do the fast math wondering how i’ll pass this
i trip over a rock
a crack in the pavement, whatever
and go flying feet in the air across the street
like a fat, white lawn dart
landing on both palms and rolling on my left side
to the chuckles of high school kids
dressed like gang members and street walkers alike
crossing the street against the speeding traffic
horns honking they spin and dance
like they’ll live forever
and ever
and then some more.


Friday, March 11, 2016

poem of the day 03.11.16

the populist

we don’t know
where this world
is going to go these days
all these madmen wanting to take us to the brink
it’s like a mahler symphony
so up and down, so full of bombast one minute
subtle and barely audible the next
no, it’s like a god awful soap opera
that’s reaching for ratings through bloodshed
and amal stands behind me cursing into his cell phone
he hold up an image of the populist
orange faced and combed over
a designer blue suit that still looks cheap
we watch him hitler salute a room full
of dead white relics hoisting american flags
he says, i hate this man
i hope someone knocks him out
i hope he falls down the stairs on national television
and breaks every bone in his body
i hope he….but amal doesn’t say it aloud
in this room full of mixed company and suspicion
he’s better than the men who want to run this country
he stands there all sweat and anger
he has known a kind of hatred in america
that i’ll never be able to describe
because i’ve been given a free pass with my skin
because i look like every man standing with the populist
the kind lone women still make wide ends around
when we’re coming home alone together in the dark
what is there to tell amal?
that he holds the future more than any of this?
this too shall pass…he shall fucking overcome?
but what if the molotov cocktails really fly
and the bodies hit the street with loud death rattling thuds
and we’re left with nothing but the will to watch it burn?
amal puts his phone down and storms out
he leaves a wake of frustration and fear
i want to get up and join him outside
where i can see him panting on the busy street
teach us both to breathe the same air again
before these demagogues suck it all out and away
but i’m stuck where i stand
which is nowhere good, i think
humming mahler in these waning weimar days.                                      

Thursday, March 10, 2016

poem of the day 03.10.16

watching marshmallow

take a monstrous morning shit
in the barren flower bed outside my window
as his owner shouts into her phone

i think at least the two of them are consistent
unlike poetry or hot water in this place

they are like death and taxes

i never liked marshmallow, even as a pup
the kind of terrier mix you make big u-shapes around
with an insidious bark and that awful name

cooed at during periwinkle stretches
of the most ungodly of morning hours

the way his excrement stench wafts into the apartment

along with his owner’s cigarette smoke
along with the bleating, nasal pace
of her inane and desperate conversations

but still i stand there, hidden by navy blue curtains,
watching the dog do his business

like i’m viewing some sort of alien ritual
like an old man with nothing better on his agenda
than to spend his fleeting hours sitting in a laundromat

never understanding why i don’t get things done

as ms. owner stubs out another ciggie
suggests that someone on the other line bite her

the two of us mesmerized by marshmallow’s
big fat turd steaming in the march cold

fertilizing nothing by the frozen dirt and weeds
and the last line of another mediocre poem.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

poem of the day 03.09.16

the feminist

he says
yeah, man
she’s got a nice face’n’all
really pretty
those eyes
you know?
the kind of personality
i really dig
and she makes
some cash
but, man
the girl has no ass
i mean
like what am i gonna smack
when we get it on, right?
be like hittin’
you know what i’m sayin?


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

poem of the day 03.08.16

we can’t go back
            --for kristofer collins

but it’s tuesday morning
sitting here over this coffee
another ceaseless brooklyn morning
shoulder pain and nose hairs
thinking but if i could go back
just once or a few times
maybe a weekday afternoon
with kris at the beehive
over those cappuccinos that
burned our hands each time
we took them up the steps
to that large room i remember
being bathed in gray light
from a sun that never quite
got caught in the pittsburgh sky
we’d sit somewhere where
we could both watch coeds and see that
oil painting of a southern preacher
the one who looked like george jefferson
and of course there’d be kerouac talk
conversation about girls and family and plans
to get out of pittsburgh for the summer
the ones that never materialized once
we received our first spring paychecks
and i’m not saying things were better back then
you see i’m done with that illusion
and i’ve somewhat accepted
the encroachment of time
maybe they were just different or
a touch less burdened or burdened
in a way that was suitable for the age
and i don’t go anywhere now where
i can kill hours like that
daydreaming away an afternoon
without thinking about the time i’ve lost
and most nights i can’t stay up
any later than ten on the dot
kris, we’ve talked kerouac to death
but, man, it’s been a long time
since i’ve had a cappuccino
bathed in that gray home city light
or really felt the sensation on
my chapped hands as i let them burn.                                                  

Monday, March 7, 2016

poem of the day 03.07.16


the people
have perfected themselves
into a wondrous
thin scarves
and coffee cups
smoothie sucking
in the sun
mechanical jubilations
coming from out
of sports bars
dog walker methane blues
a weekend repetition
playing out
on every block
swinging the wine bottle
i serpentine
a row of american flags
pass diners in an english pantry
writing cell phone novels
over their cold food
look into the grocery store
at the conveyors
of junk food
for conspicuous consumption
watch the cashiers
bag flavored
potato chips
tubs of ice cream
soda by the case
stealing debit card numbers
from frowning fat customers
so that they too
can have a small slice
of this


Friday, March 4, 2016

poem of the day 03.04.16

a poem for a guy like me

reading the poets lately
and so many of them have gone long winded
epics should’ve ended
with whitman weeping over manhattan
but i’ve got one poet
going on for six pages about her girlfriend’s vagina
another going on for ten about meth, for christ’s sake
it’s enough to make me
take up joke book and comic book reading again
most of the long winded poets are writing poems
about the poem too
it happens at times, i guess
a.d. winans has done it
so has jack micheline
saint bukowski has vomited more poems
about poetry than most
when he wasn’t writing about the race track
almost all the good and bad poets
end up writing poems about poetry
most poets are self-reflexive and deep down know
that no one out there really cares
about how the poem grabs you
but just once i like to see a poem about poetry
written for a guy like me
the kind who drinks too much vodka
and says stupid, drunken shit to his wife
hangs up on her co-workers when they call
and spends the night sleeping on the couch
a guy so anxious and stressed all the time
he gets pains in his arms and his chest
the eventual heart attack man
a man who says, i’ll take a whole bottle of pills
if he becomes president
a poem about beautiful poetry
for the guy who shoves vegetables down
like he’s eating kerosene
sucks buffalo wing sauce like it’s going out of style
a  blood red meat poem about blood red meat poetry
circling a group of scared vegans poets
and their thirty-six page odes to the written word
the two magnum bottles of red
half a bottle of extra strength aspirin poem
that can’t even get off the couch
because he’s so fucking hungover
i’d like to see one of these verbose word-slingers
write an epic poem about poetry
for the guy (or gal) who wonders why
that check still hasn’t cashed
who’s got the sixth day of the job tomorrow
and itchy balls all of the time
the people who get coughed on
on the train
and can’t find a quiet place for lunch
the poem about the poetry of killing the morning’s cockroach
before the first cup of coffee
a serene poem about the poetry of swimming alone
in a vast green-gray ocean
truth be told
maybe i should go ahead and write that poem
it’s been a while since i’ve written
a poem about the act of poetry itself
but i don’t know if this is it
it’s not even two pages long
truth be told i’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately
because people have gotten so violently banal
i’ve stopped paying attention and have run out of ideas
honestly i’m feeling a touch anxious about the country
writing this poem about poetry
and i might have to stop soon
pop two gas-ex and take a shit while reading the new york times
apply for a work visa and move to canada
where i’ll write poems about the poetry
of the barren landscape
or what a drag hockey and toronto are
one about the tenants of nationalized health care
poutine and snow
how much better the beer
and  maple syrup are up there.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

"best of" poem of the day 03.03.16

one from four years ago:

slogging through saturday streets

slogging through saturday streets
in march rain

nasal cough harpooning my chest
gray and hobbled on sore ankle

embarrassed amongst the pigeons
and dead rats

i seek refuge in the piss scented bus
open up your book of poems

find my cobwebbed name
mixed amidst your calliope words
and comet memories

thank the heavens for this timely shower.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

poem of the day 03.02.16

death at sea

this cockroach won’t die
he’s the donald trump of this apartment
pressed three times
with the clean end
of a shit-stained piece of toilet paper
there he is still crawling on it!
the insolent fuck!
but down
down you go
into the bowl with the rest
of this morning’s waste
paddling in the yellow water
reveling in the muck
i blow a trumpet with dirty fingers
declare this democracy dead
give a good hardy flush
send you the way of davy jones
dead as the american electorate
dead as the future seems


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

poem of the day 03.01.16

saturday upshot ruinous planet sonata

a sewer line bursts
and i get me a saturday free from the job
we’re killing the planet
so it’s sixty degrees out in february too
this weekend brought to us
by failing infrastructure and climate change
but who can complain in this sun?
with everyone breaking out their spring wardrobes
i’m tired of complaining anyway
tired of whining about demagogues and the fall of america
about rivers of shit filling up basements
and flowers blooming without a leaf on a tree
it’s better to see art and eat delicious indian food with you
than go back and forth over what i can’t control
worry whether or not
we’ll end up in some internment camp come november
or whether we’ll be able to swim
once those sea levels rise infinite
seems to me the damage has been more than done
and with the way we drink
we might not live that long anyway
better to enjoy it now than squander it
this lovely day in union square
the death stench of democracy in the air
let’s make art
let’s dance
for christ’s sake i hear there’s the promise
of frozen yogurt somewhere on first avenue
and later copious amounts of cheap vodka on the couch
neil young songs and the ghost of david bowie
open windows to let us breathe in
the cool salt air of the estuary
as we watch our favorite tv show
is it too much to enjoy this day?
this saturday upshot ruinous planet sonata
passing all of the beautiful graffiti
the three-thousand homeless bodies lining these streets
saying to them isn’t the weather divine?
instead of dipping into our pockets
for another hard-earned dollar
and handing it over
that funny money honey, hon
that we were saving for a cold and rainy day
should another one ever come.