Tuesday, May 31, 2016

poem of the day 05.31.16

my old man at the 9/11 memorial

fleet week in new york city
and gotham is littered with tourists
and sailors by the thousands

their ships docked somewhere along the hudson

yesterday we were packed like cattle on the circle line
as fighter jets flew over and people cheered

today we’re at the 9/11 memorial
because my mother wants to see
those two glorious holes in the dirt

no self-respecting new yorker would come here

but here i am regardless
as always, willing to appease for the sake of argument

my old man has had enough though

he sits on a stone pillar in the sun where few other are
because there’s nothing nearby to photograph
nothing to throw on facebook pages or instagram

near him, there is a pack of sailors
all clean shaven and shiny and white

a collection of popeye characters come to life

some chicks in short shorts want photos with them
and the boys are more than happy to oblige

they stand arm’n’arm behind the girls
as if they’d just won world war ii

instead of standing at ground zero
in our current perpetual war

the girls have their friends take pictures in turn
so that they can all get a shot

all of them tan and golden and it’s not even june

with their legs bent and asses facing up toward
the sailor’s crotches and their beaming smiles

it’s too little to say we’ve come to glorify
this kind of militaristic bullshit

it’s woven into the fabric of our national identity now
without any of us knowing the cost

i watch my old man sitting there in the sun
checking his timex and most likely wondering
when my mother will finish with this
and what tourist trap she’ll want to go to next

when he left vietnam they told him
not to wear his uniform on his way back to the states
for fear someone would spit on him or worse

i think about this while toggling between my dad
and the girls and the sailors kvetching like they’re at a club

then i head over toward my mother

catch the reflection of a plane
in the glass of the new world trade center

then go and have a look
at those two glorious holes in the dirt too.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

poem of the day 05.26.16

tough guy poets knitting circle

it’s always the feminists
that give them shit for being honest

those feminazis with their hairy pits and unshaved legs
who don’t understand their place in this literary patriarchy

they just don’t understand what these
white male poets are trying to achieve

so they bitch about the feminists online
complain and gripe about the women ganging up on them
in their very own tough guy poets knitting circle

one claims he’s too edgy for the masses
no one gets him because he’s so raw

if only bukowski would rise from the dead
anoint him and set all of these bitches straight

another tough guy poet is mad
because those fucking feminists
didn’t like his rape poem

the one that was about this girl but really wasn’t

because he changed her name from jess to jane
even though the rest of it he took verbatim from her blog

another one continues to hate the MFA poets
he’s hated those effete bastards for years

it’s agreed amongst the knitting circle
that the MFA poets suck
that they’re as bad as the angry women poets

those fucking feminazis!

i’m a dish washer, one tough guy poet writes
so everything i put down on paper is authentic and real

fuck that, another misunderstood wordslinger posts
i drive a truck, so that makes me the chosen one

yeah, well, i worked in the warehouses, another chimes in
that is, until i got my cushy librarian job

but i’ll still take any fucker in a bar

fucking feminazis, they all write
lest they forget the purpose of this little gathering of brilliance

occasionally a woman poet will chime in
usually it’s something about how those feminazis
are giving them all a bad name

real women aren’t like that, those enchantresses write

the tough guy poets knitting circle revel in those comments
it proves their point entirely

people are just so easily offended
everyone is so PC these days

the rape poem was a joke, the one poet says
a commentary on the way the world works

how could she not see it that way?

and that poem about my ex-girlfriend’s smelly snatch
man, that was just me saying shit for my art

no one gets art anymore, they agree

only the tough guy poets knitting circle
understand what it takes to make great art

because they are all so edgy and raw
and gut-wrenching and direct

only they can appreciate the appetites of jackson pollock

who killed art? they ask amongst themselves
it must be the feminists

those feminazis who are giving true women a bad name

it always comes back to them
with their ancient gloria steinem bullshit
with their scratched ani difranco cds and butch tattoos
with their small tits and penis envy
with their aggressive and pushy personalities
with their inability to take a joke

those feminists simply don’t know how penetrating and genuine
the tough guy poets knitting circle is
because they can’t see beyond their own anti-male agenda

those tongue-pierced cretins who never understood hemingway
those plain-faced haters who never understood saint bukowski

who hate all men
who are all secretly lesbians

those traitorous cunts who just want to turn and fuck
the tough guys wives and girlfriends behind their backs

while the real men are off writing poems

about how hard it is these days
being a visceral tough guy poet

the accusers and the victims
in a gender-wide conspiracy butthurt

pawns in world that fails to see them
as true masters of the universe
bathed in all the brilliant white light

of pure genius.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

poem of the day 05.25.16

today's poem (never featured on here) is over at In Between Hangovers. Give 'em some love.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

poem of the day 05.24.16

the accidental islamophobe

i don’t know why
but i got on this bob dylan trip
with my wife
as we were walking through the neighborhood

talking about bob
making all of these sinatra old timey records now
and how sometimes it just takes people longer
to become complete and total bores lacking in vision

my wife said,
you know, bob is playing a whole bunch
of those standards at his shows

big surprise, i said
another artists letting down the masses
with mediocrity and self-indulgence

she said, maybe people will revolt

people will take what’s handed to them,  i said
but it would be nice to see people shouting

hey, play like a woman!
play like a rolling stone!
enough of this old fart music!

of course, most of those songs are over fifty years old too

i bet bob would walk off the stage, my wife said.

nah, i said, he’s probably part of the zeitgeist now
he’ll probably stop playing and shout down to the crowd
fuck you people, this is donald trump’s america!

which i shouted out loud
just as two muslim girls met us at a crosswalk

having no context for why i barked such putrid inanity

they both gave me the dirtiest looks from women
that i’d seen in a long time

and then kept going their way
as we kept going ours

over battered sidewalks and sink holes
traffic and bass permeating another garbage-strewn block

all the refuse of life that ties us together
from the things that work so hard to rip us apart

not really saying anything
until we were far enough away

when i finally said,
i hope dylan at least plays jokerman
or maybe tangled up in blue.


Friday, May 20, 2016

poem of the day 05.20.16


something to drink
something to read
something to eat
something to watch
the bills all paid
the bills all paid, my god
and a sturdy roof 
sunbathing in the noon light
resting so heavily
over my weary
hangover head.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

poem of the day 05.19.16

the ex-pat

the newspapers
and the internet are a horror show

but we already knew that

everywhere i turn
the orange-faced bloviating billionaire
with bad hair and a small penis
tells me that he wants to make america great again
for its dying minority

has his charlatan face plastered all over the media
his huge words a dystopic poetry on everyone’s tongue

while corporatists with grandma hair and wall street cash
and senile socialist demagogues
selling sugar sweet snake oil and unicorn blood
are duking it out on the other side

and i’m left with a neoliberal hangover

repaid for my carbon footprint
on every unseasonably warm day

fighting a perpetual war i’ll never win
only don’t show me the casualties

a poet friend says
with all of this going down
maybe you should move to europe
for what i think about america

as if my money wasn’t tied up in:
new york rents
springsteen tickets and student loans

but he’s right about my feelings for america
it’s the shit stain i can’t get out of my drawers

another says
it’s no better over there

high unemployment in spain
fascists in france

yes, i guess that’s true
but i don’t speak either language

so they could be plotting a socialist revolution
outside the cerveceria alemana
a fascist dictatorship inside la rotonde
and i’d be none the wiser drinking my wine

here, i’m getting the shakes
the elephant and jackass DTs
and the blood pressure is on the rise

it is sad
if i were an ex-pat i’d be an exuberant lunatic
while checking out venus de milo’s ass in the louvre
or looking at the whores in amsterdam

shaking my head and saying
america, america, you ignorant young fool

but i’m stuck here in the shit with everyone else
spitting red, white and blue bile into the sink

bracing for tyranny
or for the oligarchy to get up off its knees
and fight for that inverted totalitarianism
that it weaves so well

either way it’s bad news again for jesusland

black humor for two-hundred and forty years
only i’m not in on the joke

and in the bars all anyone ever talks about
is tv shows or superhero movies

they play on their cell phones and do little else

i’m sure it’s just as bad over in spain and france
drinking rioja wine in may isn’t all the rage
and the venus de milo’s ass is covered anyway

but i did get horribly drunk one time
outside the cerveceria alemana
with some good friends

we talked about art and revolution
and the illusion of freedom

we watched some bum dance like michael jackson
for his hard-earned euros

i felt like an ex-pat in that moment

far enough away from america
that i felt like i finally knew how to breathe

and how to laugh deep and long
like i really meant it.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

poem of the day 05.18.16

a violent end

i am
the first drunk of the day
here to get my vodka
i don’t even notice
that the lights in this place
are only half on
and he’s behind the counter yes
but still clad in his coat and hat
with his earbuds in, listening to some club shit
i check my watch
it’s twenty past the hour
that i know this place opens on sundays
though most days
they don’t open on time
still, the door was unlocked
but when i get to him with my bottle
he rips the earbuds out of his ears
and glares at me like i’d ruined his afternoon
glares at the cheap vodka
i’ll use to wipe away my own week
in the service of others
while i glare at his earbuds and the bad music
coming from them
he slams the bottle down on the counter
a little unnecessary
but i guess
we’re both lucky
it was made out of plastic
he grabs one of those narrow black liquor bags
with so much force
that the whole rack comes falling down
but he just lets them lay there on the floor
slams the vodka bottle
into the last bag standing
rips the money from my hand
and i’m so surprised he doesn’t
throw the change back at me
while i collect the booze
and think that there are liquor stores
littered all over this neighborhood
better make like ponce deleon
and start exploring
because me and this cat are done
i stare back into his ugly eyes
one last time
shake the vodka bottle and say, farewell
make it out alive
back into the cold gray street
thinking i hope he has a line of thirsty drunks
outside his door all day
and that the guy working at the pizza shop
down the block
was able to make it in on time
and is a little nicer
because he has the best potato and eggs hero
on the block
i’m hungry as all hell
and  really hate long and lonely


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

poem of the day 05.17.16

the only adult on this block

if i’m your go-to guy
for civic responsibility
then surely polite society around here
has broken down and devolved more than i thought
but the water has been gushing
down seventy-fifth street for an hour
a formidable river cutting this part of brooklyn in half
most likely from a busted fire hydrant
and of course all of the people outside
are standing disguised as small packs of philosophers
asking to each other, but what can we do?
the ones with cell phones
they’re stopping to take photos of the rushing watercourse
with that familiar skyward, tapping pose
i can tell they’re posting pics on social networking sites
instead of calling the proper authorities
so it comes down to me to play the only adult on the block
navigating the phone tree for 311
i watch thousands of gallons of water rush down the street
carrying sticks and leaves and paper
ubiquitous plastic bags and fast food wrappers
go sailing on by
to where, i have no idea
and the operator on 311, she wants to know more about me
than what’s actually going on
my name, my phone number
how long i’ve lived at the residency
lady, i say, what in the hell does this have to do with anything?
she says she needs the information for a report
report? look, i tell her, you’re losing water  by the millions
while outside the denizens of the street are still strolling around confused
walking their asshole dogs while kids cry and try to jump into the deluge
311 operator tells me the EPA has one-day to respond to my claim
in one day we’ll all by living underwater, i say
this borough will be a virtual atlantis
but that doesn’t scare her at all
she probably lives in staten island
she thanks me for calling and tells me to have a nice day
as i stand there with the dead flip phone in my hand
watching all of this waste continue to pour down the street
thinking next time this happens
i’m not calling anyone
i’m going out for a fast food cheeseburger instead.


Monday, May 16, 2016

poem of the day 05.16.16

standing in line at the big pharmacy chain

you know the one
there’s at least two of them on every block
on every avenue here
five registers at the counter
but only one of them ever in use
serviced by some over-worked cashier
paid a politician’s idea of a living wage
and a line snaking half-way through the store
if i wasn’t hungover and in need of water so badly
i wouldn’t even be in this place
behind the old lady with five package of paper towels
behind the chinese chick with a basket
full of nail polish and polish removal
behind the old man buying two for one razors
who probably forgot his special store card
behind this cranky woman
who so desperately needs a plastic dog lawn ornament
that she’s willing to suffer this as well
behind the blonde with her starlet sunglasses
shouting on her cell and sucking on a gallon of ice coffee
who, i know, is going to pay for her m&ms with a credit card
i’d take my business and go elsewhere
but there’s nowhere left to go
the big pharmacy chains have gutted the neighborhood
the mom and pop bodegas are gone
when my stomach rumbles here
there’s only dunkin donuts, mcdonald’s or subway to feed me
this block is littered with so much corporate waste
i always feel like i’m at a convention
screw it, i think
but i really need the water
plus some headache aspirin
only i don’t want to get out of this line for it
because the guy behind me has a cart full of soda
and the woman behind him has six boxes of cereal
and three bad children
because the old lady with the five package of paper towels
is arguing now with the cashier
about what the weekly flyer says versus this abject reality
that we’ve all shoved ourselves into
i think someone farted or took a shit in their pants
so i stand there and wait
head pounding and gas pains doing a number on my chest
reading the glossy tabloids all about the forty year-old actor
who looks about half of his age
the one who wins awards and sleeps with twenty year-old models
who looks like he’s never stood in a long line like this
wishing he could kill everyone in it
or was forced into buying two for one of anything
with a special store card
that one of his various handlers most likely


Thursday, May 12, 2016

poem of the day 05.12.16

hello all

today's poem can be found over at the new, wonderful poem online zine In Between Hangovers

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

poem of the day 05.11.16

and the radio d.j. won’t quit
talking about the beauty of the sun

another day comes on like a virus
in this box that has no plot
i look at pictures by van gogh and feel nothing
look at author photos
on the backs of novels
that should’ve been declared D.O.A. on arrival
and feel the cold passage of  wasted time
there isn’t much to do really
except sit and listen to symphonies from the dead
passing between the news of horrors
in a violently redundant world
suffer the inability to carve words from the air
as the talk of chipper fools outside my window
leaves me salivating like the damned
people here have been stupid, ignorant and self-serving
for hundreds of years now
why should today be any different?
sometimes it’s an emotional battle
just going to get the mail
because you worry who you’ll run into
another sad suck stuck in the mouse wheel
of doing the same goddamned thing every day
i think of all of the places in this world where i could be
and none of them stack up
to being wrapped inside the sheets on the bed
prostrate and numb
days like this are still births
and to think of all of the people who’ve gone too soon
while here i sit soaking up the oxygen
with my indolence and complaint
life is madness and miracle
life is random and cruel
it’s good parking on a saturday afternoon
a wreck on the highway during a hangover morning
it’s the next line that won’t come
as the dogs begin barking a harbinger of doom
and the old cat hacks her warning
while i kill another fly as the coffee turns cold
and the radio d.j. won’t quit talking
about the beauty of the sun.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

poem of the day 05.10.16

communal mourning

whenever some big artist dies
i know that in a few days’ time they’ll be at it

the writers and the writer magazines

send us your tributes
poems, fiction, short stories
memories, essays, what-have-you

they all want to get in on the act

it makes sense some of the time
artists are the closest we get to honest saints

they also come the closest to complete and utter charlatans

and would probably win that race
if it weren’t for the religious and for politicians

i guess it makes people feel better
to get their emotions out that way

one poem next to one poem next to a short story
next to flash fiction next to someone’s essay
about their first date coupled with an artist’s rendition
of the dearly departed and irreplaceable genius

communal mourning by way of publication credits

although sometimes i wish these writers wouldn’t do this
sometimes reading ten to twenty to thirty pieces
of mostly mediocre writing about the same dead horse
lessens the value of what we’ve lost

this over saturation of emotion feels artificial
and has the completely opposite effect of its intent

one so easily tires of the word genius

 i wish that i was smart enough
or articulate enough to pen an essay
telling everyone to stop

but i know no one would listen to me

so i think when the next big one goes
i’m not even going to bother with those tribute issues

i’ll read my grocery list instead

because i honestly don’t care if you got your knob waxed
in the back seat of a car to a bowie song

or if your fat ass lost the girl of your dreams
while listening to prince

and neither, probably,
did they.


Monday, May 9, 2016

poem of the day 05.09.16


i watch
the cat
seventeen years old
uncombed beast
probably has cancer
of the nose
forgets to eat
shits outside the box
shit stuck in her asshole
i watch her
and think
christ, she has more will power
than most people
loves this life
more than me
as she tries
to stick her fat head
into my vodka glass
swinging at me
like she’d scratch my eyes out
in a heartbeat
after i selfishly
push that old mother


Friday, May 6, 2016

poem of the day 05.06.16

no guts

it takes
no guts to attack
the establishment poets
the MFA writers
the big agent big bookslingers
in fact they’re too easy a target
you can sit around and wait
for them to do it to themselves
and it takes no guts
it’s too easy
to sit there hidden behind a computer
writing sardonic little reviews
about books no one wants to read
yes yes
we’ve heard it all before
american literature is terrible
it’s slick
it’s game show
the real art is still in europe
there’s no real underground here in the states
just a bunch of charlatans
in old punk t-shirts who want to be david foster wallace
it takes no guts to say any of this
to piss and shit and rail against authors
in the media
to act like you’re doing the lord’s work
by interviewing some underexposed hack
who should just as well stay hidden
all it takes is a big mouth and little else
why just last week
i saw a bird smack hard
against a window
and then drop to the pavement with a thud
i watched him for a while
trying and trying to get up
hobbling around
flapping his wings and then falling over
and doing it all again
knowing that death was almost certain
now that, my dear
now that
now that….


Thursday, May 5, 2016

poem of the day 05.05.16

south arabia

the man standing in line at the post office
goes up to the clerks with his package
and says, south arabia
instead of saying saudi
and it’s the funniest thing
these people have heard all day
the little post office line
where humor must come around
as frequently as haley’s comet
the clerk has the man repeat his request again
south arabia, he says,
and they’re dying in the aisles here
all the postal clerks
the fat dumpy people in line
waiting to mail their packages
to much more exotic locations
like south bend, indiana or wellsburg, west virginia
south arabia! a postal clerk shouts
he howls and holds his sides
because he can’t handle the pain of laughter
the man standing there
the greatest unknown comedian of our times
he’s smiling at everyone
but he doesn’t seem to know what they’re all laughing about
he shakes his package at the postal clerk
yes, south arabia, he says
and there they all go again
new rounds of laughter and riotous belly aching
one flabby turd is coughing
because he’s got the giggles so bad
it’s a standing room only stand-up show
here at the post office, ladies and gentlemen
one of the clerks stops snorting
long enough to tell the man
we don’t send packages to no south arabia
confusing the shit out of the guy
who stands there still smiling like a holy goof
before he finally takes his package and leaves
to catcalls and guffaws
shouts of encore! encore!
south arabia!
south arabia!
they’ll be here all night, folks.                          

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

poem of the day 05.04.16

the cowboy

he used to sit in the corner chair
homeless and stinking of crotch sweat
with all of his possessions
in two big macy’s bags
a tattered cowboy hat on his head
and every time i tried to talk to someone
he’d grunt and laugh
or start talking to himself out loud
crazy shit about genocide and the white man
when i got up at the end of the night
to announce that we were closing
he’d starting coughing
like the devil was scorching his lungs
then he’d go into the bathroom and stay there
until i had to pound on the doors
and threaten to call the fucking cops
every time he was in he did this
two, maybe three times a week for months on end
the same routine
but only when i was there
but only when i spoke
hack! hack! grunt!
the cowboy did this to no one else i worked with
he’d be an anti-hero in this if it hadn’t happened to me
some nights i’d catch him
on the N train
the cowboy with his hat cocked back
those two macy’s bags like a fortress in front of him
when i met his eyes
i’d give him a knowing nod
and he’d glare back
the two of us too tired to do anything else
other than acknowledge that we had each other’s number
or mostly he had mine
me and the cowboy
i hadn’t seen him in years
until last night coming home on the R train
there he was waiting at 59th street
my old enemy combatant
the same two macy’s bags clutched in his hands
but sans the stetson
he started panhandling as he moved along
shifting his bags
bent and stooped from the pressure and weight
of carrying those marley chains around for years
the cowboy snapping at people
who wouldn’t give him any bills or coins
when he got to me
he shook his little empty coffee cup
but i didn’t give him any money
like i usually do for the others
he didn’t even grunt or cough or hack at me
just turned up his nose and kept moving
fuck the cowboy, i said to my wife
as he shuffled along down the subway car
i’d like to think that he took it as payback
from our time together
my own little coughs and hacks and grunts
my laughter
my talk of genocide and the white man too
but i’m sure he just thought
that i was another faceless cracker asshole
with a home and a job and a bed
and a fridge full of food to eat
who wouldn’t part with so much as a dime
for the homeless
and deep down
i guess in that moment
that’s all i was.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

poem of the day 05.03.16


to be
quite honest
i thought i’d be a legend by now
though i’ve done nothing legendary
one of those self-satisfied artists
who could no longer
get the word down
choosing instead to rest on my laurels
repackage the old hits
in the same different way
but it’s still the struggle
the hangovers
the early morning noise of the city
waiting on the right words to come and save me
life is like that
some get the brass ring easily
and others get indigestion in the middle of lunch
it’s all a crap shoot
violent, chaotic at times
but mostly dull and unsatisfactory for everyone
with little glimmers of magic thrown in
to let you know what it could always be like
we accept it and call it existence
i accept it
and still wake
hoping to beat the dawn at its own game
with poems and fiction
a greatest hits collection still in the mixing stages
the collected works perpetually on hold
placed lovingly before obscurity’s long gaze
anonymity’s fragile kiss
at times no longer sure
if i even know myself
am i the aging man always walking with me
his puffy visage collected in the warped glass
of cars windows and buildings
or am i still that young ambitious kid
the one who’d never settle in long enough
to embrace his own
fleeting mortality
or some sad sack song
such as this.                                                     

Monday, May 2, 2016

poem of the day 05.02.16

the airplane

or maybe
it’s the daily redundancies
that get us in the end
at the very least they’re crippling at times
walking at the same hour
the same conversations with spouses
over the same issues
the same co-workers mumbling the same salutations
no one wanting to be where they are
but marching in to the same beat of time each day
the head nod to the dude
who pours the morning coffee
who pours the same cup of coffee
for the same dour people
getting on subways or buses
where the monotone operators and drivers
call out the same spots
tell the same people each and every morning
that they don’t have enough cash to ride
or the lunatics
the once blessed lunatics and their unbalanced shtick
what is to be said for the day
when even they become rote and routine?
hell, at times i’ve even made art redundant
the act of creation
that becomes a tired act in and of itself
some days it would be better to stay in bed
than face the same old same old
turn to the side and stare at the curtains
instead of telling someone good morning
listening to the same dog bark across the street
hear the neighbor upstairs make the same noises
have the same wicked politicians tell you the same bullshit
as we continue to fight the same wars
just lay there and rot rather than force down
the same fruit, the same lunch, the same dinner
meals that revolve around evenings in weeks that all seem the same
all of these commonalities
that are enough to drive a person insane
getting stuck with the same person in the elevator
passing that same old codger on the way home
standing in the same queue at the grocery
as the same clerk tells the same story she told  you yesterday
when she dropped your seltzer
the way she always drops your seltzer
and makes that same stupid apologetic face
sitting at the same desk
wishing you were home on the same couch
listening to the same radio station
getting drunk on vodka like you do every night
drinking water from the same metal bottle
as that airplane flies over your head
at the same time every day
on an afternoon that is like any other afternoon
watching it burn fuel in the same white streaks
from the same little window
where the same ugly sun
hangs in the same polluted sky
reflecting off the glass with the same crack
that’s been there for years
blinding you
and watering your same tired old eyes.