photographs of artists
doing keg stands at backyard parties
drinking beer out of plastic cups
smearing cake on each other’s faces
as guitars sit alone in corners
taking candid shots in bars surrounded
by empty beer bottles
doing heroic poses in bowling alleys
on 1980s nights
sweating with beer eyes against a backdrop
of red brick and sand
mugging on roller coasters
looking pensive when they pick up the guitar
standing solo at poetry readings in front
of their whole washed up world
writing nothing that could save a snail
wearing vintage clothes and hanging
in red, leather booths in vintage bars
having their hair turn gray, going bald
while trying to stay young
seeing ancient rock bands play ancient songs
on worthless weeknights
seeking out new bands full of kids
doing the same banal things
posing for pictures on sculptures, on petrified limbs
of trees, making me sick with their careless smiles,
with their dunderheaded group-think,
without any originality,
with the sin of actually waking in the morning
and plaguing the day
with apartments in the right parts of the city
i look at these pictures of artists,
as they sail through a life of ease, of hours
with no strife,
without the knowledge of suffering,
and i want to burn the pictures
burn their scene in effigy
create a funeral pyre out of all the nonsense
because if these are the artists, my friends
then i fear for art, or it is already dead
and, i guess, so what.
marc chagall’s birthday
here i am
battling another morning
and, yes, i know it is the same
so i will spare you the dj banter
the lines about my hangover
and the box scores
and all of the news about gas
and murder in zimbabwe.
it is marc chagall’s birthday
and i am listening to one of bernstein’s
the dj is talking about monday morning
again, as he always does on monday morning
as if we didn’t know.
i’m a little out of it from the mix
of beer and scotch yesterday
and the pirates got swept by the brewers
and are in last place
but the yankees split the series with the red sox
so that’s all right
gas prices hit $4.11 over the holiday weekend,
and in zimbabwe
they have ushered in the same old sham, murderous
government that they had before.
yet here i am
battling another morning
trying to make a go of it like we all are.
and, yes i know it is the same old story
and, yes, i know i lied to you
about the dj banter, the hangover,
the box scores, and all of the news
about gas and murder in zimbabwe.
but think of all of the things i spared you from
like lines about my sore shoulder and back
or the misery of the work week
or hot the heat in this apartment might make
me go mad.
yes, think about all of those things that
i didn’t tell you,
but that it was me who told you today
was marc chagall’s birthday.
your hair is turning gray
and there is white in your beard.
you have one red ear
and the other is white.
it has pimples
and i think that’s a rash.
you have a cut on your neck
and one on your cheek.
you haven’t shaved.
i think i liked you better
when your hair was
are those earrings?
only girls wear earrings.
no they don’t.
she asked her sister.
her sister agreed.
so you dress like a girl,
if you say so.
what’s that on your shirt?
because i ate cheese doodles
and i’m hungover
and i vomited in the work
a nice mix of mountain dew
is there anything else?
i think we covered it all.