Friday, April 29, 2016

poem of the day 04.29.16

fat american kids
at the anne frank house (amsterdam)

they’re running circles
around me and my wife
and everyone else whose standing out here
like we’re going to a rock concert
instead of  going where eight people hid from the nazis
they have us queued in a tight pack
near the church where rembrandt is buried
or where he buried his old lady
i don’t honestly remember
all i know is these kids are getting on my nerves
two pasty, tow-headed cherubs
with their midwestern elongated a’s
and two wisconsin t-shirts wrapped around their fat bellies
americans always want you to know where they’re from
when they travel overseas
jetlagged and in need of a drink
i’ve already seen two new york yankees hats
and some shithead in a pittsburgh steelers jersey
but these kids, good christ
their parents must have them hopped up on something
all of the chocolate and sugary waffles i’ve seen here
they can’t keep still
and the old lady is giving it to the old man
about where they’re going to have dinner
while the kids run around jumping on shit
that’s older than their shitty state
saying things like, why do we have to visit the house
of some dumb girl who died?
the little fuckers
and their parents don’t even have a reason
the old man shrugs
and dear old mom keeps complaining about where
they can take the kids to shove some food
down their fat faces
i’ve already checked wisconsin off the list
of places that i’ll ever chance to go
and if this line weren’t so long
i’d say fuck it and see if the wife wants to
go and dig up rembrandt’s bones
or find some place sans children
where we can get a stiff drink
but anne frank is important
it’s important to see important things i’m told
i often tear up in front of van gogh
and i’ve almost seen the grave of william shakespeare
plus, now the boy is trying to frog hop
these metal poles they have all over amsterdam
to keep the sidewalk separate from the street
there’s a good chance he’ll land wrong
and crush his nuts
or maybe even smack his jaw on it
bite off his tongue and break a few teeth
if nothing else
at least that ought to be worth the price
of admission
and the precious traveler time lost
to see that little abomination
rolling on the pavement all bloody and broken
while standing in this line with the ghost of anne frank
and a bottle of vodka
on my mind.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

"best of" poem of the day 04.28.16

ripping the military recruitment brochure
out of a young woman’s hands

i couldn’t tell if it was army, navy, air force or marines
to tell the truth they all look the same to me
especially when in uniform

the soldiers on the brochure probably aren’t even soldiers
they look more like fashion models playing dress-up

the point is, i got it away from her
this young black-latina mix on the R train
with golden brown curls and cherry red lips

she was startled at first, she looked like she wanted to hit me

but then i said, give me a minute

you got about ten seconds, asshole, she said

i shook the brochure at her
i said, you don’t really want to do this

she said, but i don’t have any other choice

i said, we all have choices

she said, spoken like a white man in america
what am i supposed to do with my life, work the register at mcdonalds?

i said, what about college?

she said, have you seen my high school?
i was practically strip searched before homeroom

so i said, in the military, you have a twenty-five percent chance
of being sexually assaulted…before boot camp

she laughed, she said, you really don’t know shit
about women in america do you, uncle sam?

i said, i know that women have a higher chance of getting PTSDs

she said, come visit my neighborhood some time

well, i said, it’s not worth it
taking a bullet for some oligarch in a mansion

she said, the systems already stacked against me
she said, look around they’ve already won
guys like you are just the last to catch on, professor

i said, they’ll treat you like a slave

oh man, she said, i don’t even know what to say to that shit
other than give me back my brochure

i said, you’ll be just another automaton in khakis

she said, or just another welfare mom
toting a baby around before i’m twenty
and hated by dudes that look like you

we should work on this together, i said, and find an answer

too little too late, she said
this is the system you set up

it wasn’t me, i said, i’m as much a victim as you are

tom joad you ain’t, she said
snapping her gum and checking her nails

i said, but…..

she just held out her hand
until i took the brochure from behind my back
and gave it to her

she slapped the glossy folder on her knees
and then got up when we reached her stop

wish me luck, uncle sam? she asked.

but i couldn’t
i put my head down and let her go

i looked up only when the train started moving again
into the crowd hustling along on the platform

for nothing but a paycheck and a pipe dream.                                        07.20.15

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

poem of the day 04.27.16

we’ll all make it?

black lesbians kiss
on the N train platform

while i just spent eight hours
having my ass handed to me

lowliest of the lowly public servants
it’s my fault for everything in the hoi polloi’s eyes

i can’t bear the sight of people
at the end of this sixth work day

can’t bear them when the work week starts

still i can’t help but watch these women
tongue wrestling in the sunshine
as if they’re the only ones really alive out here

maybe they are
i know i feel dead

and the rest of the people standing here
with their heads buried in their phones

well, they aren’t making the case for humanity either

i’d like to think we’ll all make it
the black lesbians in love
the people waiting on the N train
squandering these little lives we’ve been given

make it into something we can survive with

but one too many fall through the cracks
you can see them walking in a daze along the avenues

standing in those ministry pantry lines
suffering the word of god for a loaf of bread

hustling with change cups
singing old songs for a dime

on nearly every corner in this city
people with no hope sit covered in cardboard mansions
begging for money and beer and dignity


even my lovers waiting on the train have parted
and are arguing over some stupidity now

tongues sharp as blades
they cut away at the ties that bind

transgressions that form in the blink of an eye

screaming so loud
they’ve shaken the sun and stormed off

crushed that love like a bug

just as the lights of the train approach
and the rest of us walking dead
take the few steps forward toward the platform

ready to hang on the noose
of wherever oblivion will lead us next.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

poem of the day 04.26.16

stoned immaculate

here comes
the king of amsterdam
stumbling out of rookies coffee shop
buzzed on his first marijuana high in years

here comes his head changed majesty
who sucked up more than half the joint on his own
because moderation is for peasants

wrecked ruler
of korte leidsedwarsstraat

glassy eyed and stoned immaculate
taking pictures for posterity

and here come the chest pains
two blocks later outside the sticky aroma of the pancake center

the thumping of the royal heart
the pulse of the stately ear drum

and that old paranoia that you weave so well

the king of amsterdam
suddenly fred sandford holding his chest
refusing to cross weteringschans
because the bikes and the cars
are coming too fast for him to process

this the big one! this is the big one lamont!
staggering dying for sure

while toked up french girls laugh and point his way
as this wasted monarch come junk man has his wife
guide him across the street like a child

whining and crying and asking the world
how he could do this to himself at forty one

down in amsterdam down in amsterdam
all he wanted was to get a little high

this baked ruler
who should just stick with the booze
pressed against a corner of an elevator that won’t move
because he forgot to press a floor

refusing to come out when it reaches their destination

afraid of stairs
afraid of his reflection in the mirror

a cooked tsar laying on the bed of his room
dragged in like a corpse

heart still thumping
pains up and down his arm

everything numb
waiting on the big one

it’s the big one lamont!

telling his dear wife
how he plans to jump out the window
three stories down into concrete bliss

and only fifteen minutes have passed in this contact high

stand back, as our fried liege
kills his wife’s buzz with his moaning and suicidal threats

threats to sue the hotel for that window
threats to sue the coffee shop for spiked weed
threats to sue the french girls for laughing
threats and threats and threats immaculate

witness the noble panic attack in full bloom

the flapping jowls, the sucks on waters
the foaming of the mouth

the big one i tell you!

though no heart attack has come.


Monday, April 25, 2016

poem of the day 04.25.16

from section 105, row 8, seat 10
of the bruce springsteen river 2016 tour

soft light
bathes the rock legend
guitar slung to the side like a gun
is a bad metaphor
but, trust me, it works
springsteen stands there in black denim
alone with everyone
earrings catching the light
looking much younger than
his sixty-six years
we’ve smoldered through a prince tribute
burned through meet me in the city
and now bruce wants to talk about the river
about the process
when he was a young man of thirty
family and pain and love
and work and devotion and humor and grit
and yearning for a place in the world
he holds his hands out to the crowd and says
i wanted to capture it all
as if for us
as if trying to let us inside his world
this rarity
this gift
but from section 105, row 8, seat 10
all i see are a sea of people
with cell phones slanted
sliding fat fingers across blue screens
the nitwit next to me on facebook
between sips on his twelve dollar shitty beer
twits twittering precious inanities
as bruce lowers his arms
the spotlight fades to blue
and i guess giving these good people
what they really
to see.


Friday, April 22, 2016

poem of the day 04.22.16

when doves cry

i had
buddha beat
before puberty
i knew that all life was suffering
at the age of twelve
the kids at school helped
me with my understanding
and i knew
that i’d turned into a fat blob
didn’t want serena reno to see me like that
and i couldn’t have given a damn
that her family had flown to pittsburgh
from california
had driven fifty miles from relatives too
for this reunion
no, i was content to sit in my room
pissing away the day
playing my prince cassette over and over
as the sounds of two families blending
came from below
it was better for me
like a fat monster hidden in the attic
not to sully the beauty of the summer afternoon
but sit in the middle of the bed
an obese quasimodo
with the mattress bent boomerang from my mass
but oh
my mother couldn’t let it go
and as i sat there huffing through dizzy gillespie jowls
she knocked on the door
opened it without my consent
and there stood serena reno behind her
california blonde and beautiful
nearly thirteen
she came in and sat soundlessly next to me
how long had it been?
too long
she wouldn’t even look at me
even after my mother closed the door
we just sat there
listening to prince play fantastic
wordless children
golden beach beauty and her tubby beast
but what was there to say?
california talk
pittsburgh talk
it was all such nonsense
let’s just let purple rain speak for us
and we were saved our little reunion
by another knock on the door
my friend
fit and young
already thirteen with a peach fuzz mustache
backward hat
checkerboard vans
and his ubiquitous basketball
he and serena hit it off like fire
like magic
like cosmos colliding in the mix of paisley guitars
talking their rapid talk of youth
as i crawled into myself
crawled further along the bed
trying desperately to sink into oblivion
their laughter was such torture
why not pull out my nails?
i rose
only to change sides on the fading tape
the bed moving like tectonic plates
mitchell and serena
already up and at the door
passing the basketball back and forth
their feet down the steps
like tap dancers in love
i let the music start
but turned it down low
sat back down on the bed and waited
for the sounds of their revelry and abandon
to come echoing up to my room
the beat of the basketball
as it went
on the pavement
around this stone oubliette
that i’d trapped any and all joy for myself
deep within.                                                                            

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"best of" poem of the day 04.21.16


on the bus ride
i watch greek kids
each other silly

they smell
of garlic
and old clothes

they won’t stop

as an old man
a beer from under
his coat

while outside
they are taking
holiday lights down
from the church

these are the most
beautiful things
that i’ve seen
all day.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

poem of the day 04.20.16

watching the fat kid play video games

he hasn’t been in here for months
because the other kids were making fun of him

this afternoon, they’re leaving him alone
caught up in their own stupid boy/girl dramas

he’s as good as the mildew stain on this wall
….for now

fat kids pray for small miracles like this

moments of calm within the maelstrom
of insults and indignities

i know because i was one

obese double chinned sweatpants wearing
bad hair pimpled glasses wouldn’t fit over my face
tailored polyester pants xxl t-shirt man tits

wouldn’t go bare chested on a beach or in a pool to save my life
especially if there were girls around

until i starved myself for a small vanity at seventeen
told myself a little conformity never hurt anyone

i still carry that fat kid with me
into every relationship

you just never get too close to people
because the past has shown you  just how easily they turn

i wish more for the fat kid sitting here
playing video games on his phone

more than a life of caution and a well of distrust
small moments that evaporate
with the blink of some bastard’s eye

i hope he learns how to come through the fire
better than i ever did

hope he carves out
some simple kind of happiness
finds his niche his crowd his tribe

learns it’s okay too to make it alone

i think how a little bit of optimism
never hurt anyone either

but soon the conversation
of the other kids dies down

the taps on the shoulders and the whispers
and the giggles through cupped mouths begin

the fat kid playing video games
can tell it just as well as i can

this sixth sense we’ve been saddled with

and as he gets up to leave before the onslaught even comes
i want to tell him something

something that’ll make this all right

but i just say, take it easy, man
and he doesn’t even answer me

just breaks for the door and is gone like a phantom
before the first cackle bursts

from the cacophony
of those ignorant, well-formed
well-adjusted mouths.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

poem of the day 04.19.16

nuit debout
            --I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live
              in a society where the only people allowed guns
              are the police and the military (william s. burroughs)

cops in riot gear
with helmet shields
and bullet proof vests
hurl tear gas at kids with headscarves
wrapped around their mouths
charge them like a battering ram of metallic flesh
oh, the streets of paris
are full of that ol’ joie de vivre
as i sit in an amsterdam hotel
drinking bad wine and listening to the rain
or is this new york that i’m watching?
londoners calling for the prime minister’s head?
it’s hard to tell these days
another city, another pack of boys in blue
dragging some citizen across the street
at the beck and call of some silly law
or politician with his hands in an offshore tax haven
you say you want a revolution?
right now i’m thinking about that quote
william s. burroughs had
only i can’t get it right
or maybe i’m not the pacifist i thought i was
as i watch bloody kids with no future but debt
get dragged across haussmann boulevards
and thrown into police vans
reflecting all of the beauty of the city of light
all i can think
is get these kids something stronger
than a rock to throw
something more than just the will
to stand up against this bullshit and tyranny
let the sky rain bullet proof vests and riot gear for the masses
throw all of the batons
in the middle of the place de la republique
the tear gas in trafalgar
the guns in the middle of times square for the cowboy americans
then let us all stand back
and on the count of three
let’s see who can get to them first
and then we’ll see what’s up.


Monday, April 18, 2016

poem of the day 04.18.16

poem in which the neighborhood asshole
fixes his car on the first seventy-degree day
of the new year

obviously there are the requisite tattoos
a neck one of a skull and crossbones
that bullshit spider web on his elbow
the ones going up and down his forearm
so you know what a bad ass he is
i’m sure death before dishonor is tattooed across his back
and something about his mother
tattered close to his heart
there aren’t even leaves on the trees
and he’s got a late summer tan
the wife beater seems almost obvious too
a powdered blue one from some beach in south florida
where maybe it was sex, maybe it wasn’t
but, hey, at least no police report was filed
and that hair he has, a style that every other dego prick
in this neighborhood is rocking
what is it?
pizza slurping douche bag by way of the murderous marines?
semper fi for sure, bro
and is that his camouflaged ATV parked in front of my building?
the sun and a cloudless blue sky are like crack to dudes like this
the way they attract asshole families eating ice cream cones
on their way to kill precious hours in the park
cockroaches one and all
i’m sure he’s contractually obligated to say, yo, what’s up?
to every blonde chick with resting bitch face
who passes by him in biker shorts
sucking down on a gallon jug of sugar-spiked iced coffee
while shouting at their boyfriends on their phones
about what insensitive pricks they are
behind his reflector shades is a blank stare
or one of some mongoloid, bulging eyed confusion
contemplating how he even found the front door
jetlagged and hungover and yet in need of a drink
i watch him noodling on his engine or carburetor
not sure if he even knows how to fix a car
waxing poetic to my wife about charles darwin
about how easy it would be to kill a man
if only it weren’t for these laws we have here
i think this guy also has the right to vote
the right to oxygen and water and the very essence of life
to the cosmos we’re one in the same
two specks of stardust shit forced to endure each other
on the same sun-soaked block
on the first seventy-degree day of the new year
where his car alarm has been wailing for at least five minutes
as he touches wires and laughs the laugh
of a peaceful fat ass, unfazed buddhist
nods his head to the relic rock coming out of his stereo
as the dog across the street barks shakespearian sonnets
yowls for tender mercies
and i close the blinds
grab the vodka
and pray for rain.