Friday, August 29, 2008

Poem of the day 08.29.08

the smartest idiot here

he complains about everyone
while we load a second goddamned truck
full of heavy doors and windows,
thick counters in frail boxes,
and frames so delicate,
i can hardly touch one
without the boss giving me a hard time.

he says everyone here is lazy
and that he’s had to fix the warehouse
at least three times since they hired
the new warehouse manager.

they don’t appreciate him.
they owe him a raise,
at least one,
maybe two,
since he’s done well enough
to be promoted twice,
and to top that all off,
he shows up early for the job
and stays late without being asked to.

when we finish, we go back
into the office
and i am so tired i can’t think
of anything but going home
and having the day’s first drink.
but that’s when one of the bosses
comes in and hands my complaining co-worker
a stack of keys that he has to fit
into the doors we just loaded.

after the boss leaves,
my co-worker sits in a chair
and puts his head in his hands,
then looks at me and wonders aloud
where he went wrong.
i’m an intellectual,
i’m a musician and a writer,
he says.
all those dreams
all those dreams, dead and gone
and now i’m in this trap here.
nothing but the smartest idiot in the place.

all i can do is listen
and hope he doesn’t escalate it any further.
i’m just a temp here,
and i don’t want the personal involvement
i’m being sucked into.
so i nod
and then i ask him if it’s okay that
i punch out early
because i have some shit to do at home.
he sighs and says yes,
and i leave before it can get any more
uncomfortable in there,
thinking i’ve won another battle
in work hell,
how it won’t be me doing this junk
until retirement,
and what a great poem this scenario
will make.

but outside,
in the car,
i begin to feel bad for the guy,
and everyone else i’ve ever known
that has lived and died by the clock,
carving out their own small minutes
in between the vomit-stench of what society
needs and deem we do.
my eyes well and tear for no reason.
the music i am hearing is no good.
the sun in the sky is a whore,
and my free time seems less valuable now.
i begin to think we are all brilliant fools,
the smartest idiots in the place.
intelligent enough to understand
the miserable situation at hand,
but just too dumb
to do anything about it.


first and foremost: well played Mr. Obama, very well played.

a good weekend coming up, i think. my folks are coming in. going to see the brooklyn cyclones tonight and clogging my arteries with nathan's hot dogs. also hitting hartford, ct this weekend to see my brother and his wife, and the home where mark twain essentially wrote the canon of american literature.

yankees hanging on even though i still think they are fooling themselves

slide away should be in the hands of the Harris literary agency by now. keeping my fingers crossed.

apartment full of booze.

watching Freaks and Geeks on dvd. how in the fuck did i miss that show back in 1999?

3-day weekend

Thursday, August 28, 2008

poem of the day 08.28.08

brown dog

in sunset park
a mexican queen is making
all kinds of noise
in the morning.
he is shouting and dancing
and spinning around
a telephone pole
while people are trying
to get to work.
he might be drunk.
i think he is drunk for sure
when he goes into
the street to stop traffic.
no one cares
except for the people
behind the wheel of their cars
late for miserable jobs
or bad conversation over
bad coffee.
the mexican queen is not
interesting, though he
probably thinks he is.
what is interesting
is this brown dog chained up
outside a bodega.
he has long red eyes
and the way his mouth bends
he looks like he’s just had it
with the world.
typically i don’t like dogs
but i stare at this one
while horns honk
and the mexican queen shouts
herself back on the street.
i think i want to do something
for this dog.
but the best i can think to do
is just leave him alone,
which i’m sure was greatly
over petting him and making him
wag his tail for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TV or not TV

There are some good reasons that I don't have television: reality TV, network pap, MTV and Vh1; Fox News and CNN, and suffering the Olympics. Those are some good reasons. Another good reason is that i do not have television during an election year. what am trying to say is that i haven't been glued to the goings on in Denver this week while dinners burn, and my cats go hungry. I know that i would be if i had television. i know this because of how much DNC coverage i've been reading about in my various news sources since Sunday (Ny Times, NY Daily News, Yahoo!,

Let me first say Well Played Mrs. Clinton. you did a good job of convincing most of us that you are actually pulling for Barack Obama in this election, even though you are probably still seething about not being able to make Bubba decorate the White House and move back in with you so that you can keep an eye on him, as well as the goings on in Iran, Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else our dick is landing these days. That said, let me send a message to your ardent supporters, you know, these PUMA fuckers, the ones who will vote Hillary or nobody, or vote McCain.....GROW THE FUCK UP.

As devout supporters of Hillary 08, as first wave feminists, do you really WANT to see a white house with John, i get to pick a Supreme Court Judge and am staunchly prolife, McCain running things for four years. Is this really what it's come down to? Shout sexism all you want in terms of Hillary, and you may be right. This is America after all. Hell, i even laugh a little bit when i see posters for the WNBA. but i don't believe Hilary not getting the nod in Denver has anything to do with sexism. It might have a lot more to do with the pervasiveness of the Clinton's private life. It might have a lot to do with Hilary and Bubba, along with the Bush family, being springboards for the state of divisive politics in America these near 20 years. But it certainly isn't about your candidate sitting down to pee. So have your roll call, and get it over with, and get on board with your presidential candidate. Same goes for you bubba. you had your time. down here it's our time.

Baseball: where to begin. so long Pirates, and hey, Yankees, welcome to the non-october party that i've been coming to since 1992. i remember when the pirates making trades seemed like pieces of the puzzle coming together. like back in 1986-1988 when guys like Tony Pena, Johnny Ray, and a few others that suffered early 80's baseball in the Steel City, were traded for players to helped shape the pennant running buccos from 1990-1992. Why do i not feel this way about the Nady, Marte, Bay business that still hits me like an uppercut to the jaw. And now I'm nearly sure Jack Wilson will be another Pittsburgh casualty of constant rebuilding. Remember when Jack was a part of the last youth movement? personally i think the Buccos should be sewing a black and gold C to Wilson's jersey instead of shopping him around. You can have youth movement's but you still need team leaders. Who do we have now...Adam LaRoache? When i see LaRoache, all i do is wish Steve Pearce could play first base or that the Pirates plan to turn Pedro "6 million and i'll be gone by 2015" Alvarez into a 1 bagger.

as always my pennant hopes rest on the small markets. you can keep the Red Sox, LAA's, and both Chicago clubs: Personally i'd like to see Tampa Bay and Milwaukee in the series. And that's not jumping on the bandwagon. I remember telling my wife back in April when we saw the Rays play the Yankees that the Rays were gonna surprise a lot of people this year. And they have. So have the Twins...another team i'm pulling for.

Am also anxious for the NFL this year. Don't know why, but I've slowly gotten back into the sport the last few years, even without the TV. even bought some Topps 2008 FB cards. Yeah, i got Big Ben in my first pack. Even have my handy NFL schedule at home. Steelers got 4 prime time games this year and one against the Giants. that's a lot of cash my local tavern will be getting from me.

Makes me almost want to get TV back

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Poem of the Day 08.26.08

heart like a flower

my hands are dead
but my heart is like a flower
my soul smells burnt
and i wait for the rain
with the computer fan humming
and the sweat forming
on my brow
through radio commercials
and petty cat arguments
through prose that won’t come
over letters that i am rereading
but not returning
while my stomach rumbles
while the bowels settle
as the scotch bottle waits
as the men outside clean
the whore vomit and cigarette butts
off the pavement
as people eat bad food
in diners
with the sad and broken
getting on trains for work
with the kids on skateboards
getting in their last jumps
as the young girls learn
to shake their asses for men
on the r train
with nothing happening in the bars
but the buzz of the television
as the daily news bores me
with no movies to see
with the baseball season going
to shit again
as the clouds swirl and gather
over brooklyn, new jersey,
and hell.
i wait for the rain.
my hands dead
but my heart like a flower
that struggles everyday
not to curl into itself and wilt.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Poem of the Day 08.25.08


she’d ripped my heart out
left me alone for days
wouldn’t put out
unless she needed it
only stayed for a beer
to watch me suffer.
when we ended
she told me she’d already
started seeing someone else.
and then months
rolled by
and i was leaving for a
trip to maryland
when she called me
out of the blue
to thank me for sending back
her topless modeling photo.
she said it was good to hear
my voice
and that she needed a favor.
she knew i’d just moved
and had a lot of empty boxes
and could she have them
because she was moving too.
she said she’d come by
and get them
and we’d shoot the breeze
like old times.
i told her fine
then got off the phone
to get the boxes
and then a couple of
six packs.
but she never showed
so i drank the six packs
and put the boxes outside
in the new fall rain.
then i went to bed
thinking what a stupid
lovesick fool
i’ve always been.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rusty Pipes

Met the upstairs neighbor this morning. if you know me, you know this is never a good thing. here's the long story part: for about 6 months now, someone's pipes, whenever turned on, make this horrifying screeching sound which i can only say sounds like someone killing a dolphin. i don't like the sound myself. it is a bit intrusive, especially at 6am when i'm trying to make genius or look at porn. did i mention that the noise comes to ally and i in our bedroom.

But we've been able to put up with the noise. A little back story to ally and my apartment living. we've suffered: neighbor's loud televisions coming through our wall; a dog that barked into our bedroom window at 1am, every night, until i had to call the cops and physically threaten the owner; an upstairs neighbor in 2-apartment conversion, who loved country music and like to slam the house's storm door; an hispanic kid blasting club and rap music in our first brookyn apartment; gang members outside blasting rap until whenever; a clarinet player; a welfare mother playing hip hop and shouting at her foster child with mental problems. Let me just say that a little pipe squeaking is nothing compared to the above. we simply assumed it was the upstairs neighbor.

this morning is happened. we heard the squeaking and ally and i mocked the sound of it and made usually laughs, then i layed back down on the couch with my breakfast of gas-xx pills, sudafed nasal decongestant, and pepto-bismol. not moments later we heard a loud rattle upstairs, and then someone fucking BLASTING 1980s music down on our living room. I was startled. We've been in our place a year, and the most we hear are the chinese ladies grandkids pounding. Immediately i put on my clothes and ally and i raced up a flight of stairs to the apartment we could hear the music through. i pounded on the door. this was 7:15 am. It was soon opened by a very thin, angry old man. i told him about the noise, and he basically told me to fuck myself, because he's been under the assumption that ally and i are the pipe squeakers. Us! So i get pissed and tell him HE'S the pipe squeaker. of course he denies this, and we have this standoff. Then we begin assuring the guy we're not, and he's not, and soon the angers breaks down into this lovefest over hating the REAL pipe squeaker.

All the while this is going on, the dude's music is blaring and probably waking up everyone else in the building. but we're all still standing there talking about our hatred of noise. "We don't even have tv." "i'm quiet." "we're librarians and like classical music." blah blah blah, until i thought we'd be inviting each other to dinner. then i make the mistake of telling the guy we'll go and talk to the super about the noise, even though i can't fucking believe pipe squeaking is what drove this guy to insanity and music blaring madness.

A little about our super--he's good at two things 1) staring in our window whenever he's outside 2)smoking in the elevator.

So me, ally, and neighbor guy are off our rockers if we think the pipe squeaking will cease. neighbor guy better get some earplug, or do what we do, which is run our fans year round to block out noise, because otherwise it's gonna be a long cruel winter for him....and us. However, the real pipe squeaker will probably rest easy at night, dreaming long and hard about that hot 15 minute shower he/she takes every morning.

PoemS of the Day 08.22.08

these poems will soon be appearing in Zygote in my Coffee. And even though I know you all are huge fans of Zygote, i'm gonna sneak preview the poems here first.


he might be the
only kid
who has guts these days
i don’t know.
but he and i have
this little war
going on
because he likes
to come by
the window
and scream
whenever i’m
making dinner
or just sitting down
with the radio
and drink.
he’s done this twice.
the first time
i shouted back
out at him
and he ran away.
the second time
i put my clothes
on like a drunken
and went casing
the neighborhood
for him
while my wife
followed me slowly
to make sure
i didn’t get my ass kicked.
but i keep a pair of shoes
in each room
for if and when he tries
a third time.
the kid sure has guts
but i’ve been an
asshole longer than he has
so i know
i have the upper hand
whenever he chooses
to renew our
dirty, little war.

grocery store check-out girl

she has tousled black hair
that is cut at an angle,
and she wears these retro 1980s clothes
like school girl skirts
with black stockings
and neon headbands.
she looks like the kind that
used to give me hell back in pittsburgh
back in the real 1980s
a decade not so good for me
but other people liked it
and they have parties for the 1980s now
and anyway
i’m always scared to approach
this girl
i want to take my apples and oranges
to someone else, maybe the old
mexican at the express line
but she’s always talking to this redhead
old bag for too long.
plus my grocery check-out girl’s lines
are always the shortest
probably because her eyes can steam
through a man,
and women probably hate her
with such a fine jealousy
and every sweating pervert that would like
to feel a sixteen year-old’s tits
stay away from her
because she’s enough to make them
reach across the counter and go for broke.
i should stay away from her, too.
but i guess
i get a sense of nostalgia when i see her
tossing potatoes in plastic bags,
and that draws me toward her line.
and i always try to find a way to be cool
while she rings me up,
and i say “hi” and “thank you” and i act
like the world has me by the balls
(which it usually does)
and she says nothing, doesn’t even give me a look.
and it is that finite cruelness that fills
me with such a sense of whimsy and longing
for the past, despite it’s inherent truth.

oh, my little grocery store check-out girl
in little brooklyn, new york
you’re probably breaking teen boy hearts
all over the borough.
thank you for making me feel fifteen again
without all the tangible pain and agony
and unrequited lust
and without all the secret dried up toilet paper
and napkins
that went along with that, too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

back to life

well....that was awesome. eight straight days off from work. i slept. i drank. i saw a lot of movies. i bought shit. i witnessed bar fights. i never changed my clothes, except for the essentials. i engaged in legal adult behavior. i had others cook for me. half way through i forgot i even had a job to go back to. but, alas, it's over. i'm back. had too much last day of vacation fun because i think i woke up still drunk this morning. in fact, i know so, because i'm coming down now....and it kind of sucks.

so awhile ago on this blog, i mentioned a blog that i could not stand but i have been reading for quite some time. it's this "chica" (her word, not mine) who is the living embodiment of the Stuff White People Like blog. Well, recently i made a boo boo, so to speak. i took an unkind view of one of her entries in which said chica and her chico took in a free show at a county fair. she proceeded to use her blog space to mock both the poor and overweight people who attended the fair, and even suggested there shouldn't be free music shows at fairs, so as to not entice these kind of people to go. well, that entry bothered me. i mean i typically go to the blog simply to read chica's heartwarming stories about teaching ESL people to read and write, to get the latest on over-priced wine, to find out what books and music are disgustingly trendy, and what brand new, shitty, no one would eat this vegan food, is out there.

i'm getting ahead of myself here. the real boo boo in this is that i left a couple of nasty comments, aimed toward chica's likes and lifestyle. it was immature, i know. but i was just so angered at this high and mighty bullshit, that the scotch in my morning cereal overtook the nutrients i was getting, and the next thing i knew i was online again, masturbating to porn, and THEN writing these anonymous posts. I felt so dirty afterwards, and not because i was accidentally on a tranny porn site, but because i don't usually react so badly. i mean i could've gone on forever, reading about vegan pot roasts and the latest in sub-canadian ice wine. but i fucked it up----or should i say someone fucked it up for me.

it's cool. i mean i left the posts anonymously, but it only took chica a few days to figure it out. in truth, she asked around, and someone gave me up because i've either said something dumb about her blog in the past, or people other than my mom and my wife are reading this blog oh....and person....i know who you are and that you ratted me out. and i was initially mad. i called you a whore. but, see, now i've got this tit for tat going with Chica on her blog (although she won't post my comments), and i'm kind of enjoying it. it's been a long time since i've done something as immature as argue with someone over such pointlessness. i'm usually too serious. so, dear ratter, in the immortal words of 2pac, "i ain't madatcha" no more. i'm glad you ratted me out because you've opened up a new level of fun for me, at least for a few days.

yeah, i know. i sprung this whole battle thing on you guys, and then have decided to bail out, because frankly, it's no longer fun reading chica's blog, with this hanging over me. i mean she gets the fun of updating stuff about me. and while she's right on most accounts (baring the whole phone call thing, and the holier than thou with staff--true, i did fucking hate nearly every customer that came in the store)i don't feel i'm getting my side in. but it's her fucking show...and this one is mine.

you know, i didn't plan on giving her blog any face time, but i don't think i should be the only person to enjoy such prose about vegan dishes and trendy shit, so here is chica's blog address, along with some other's that i really actually do enjoy: (the post about me is called Inspector Johnson from August 18th) (this is Chris O'shea's Blog. It's often funny. It's often Hilarious. And he doesn't make any vegan food). (it's about baseball cards because baseball cards are fucking awesome).

okay--back to the poems tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BONUS poem of the day 08.13.08

conversations with henry miller

there is a guy next to me on the
train after work
he is holding a stack of books
beckett, hemingway,
and one called conversations with
henry miller.
i think that in a parallel universe
he and i could be friends.
i’d lean over and say, hey,
i’m jay, i noticed you’re reading
about miller.
then i’d pull out my copy of
tropic of cancer
and his eyes would light
and he’d say miller is my favorite.
we’d shake.
his named would be rick,
and we’d spend the ride from
the ghetto to atlantic avenue
talking about miller and his
exploits in america, france,
and big sur.
i’d tell rick i wasn’t much
for miller’s watercolors.
rick would disagree but we’d laugh
about it.
he’d ask me if i liked beer and football.
i’d say yes to both.
then we’d shake and exchange numbers
and probably hit some joint
in park slope for over-priced booze
and a monday night game.
i’d tell my wife that rick and his girlfriend
will be coming over for dinner.
we’d buy good beer and wine.
rick’s girlfriend would be named saffron.
it would be annoying at first
but she’d be so down to earth my wife and i
would get over her name.
the ladies would hit it off.
we’d all get along great and discuss movies
and books together,
as the sunset over brooklyn.
then we’d make plans to go bowling
or to some show up in williamsburg.
but i don’t live in parallel universes.
i don’t even have a copy of
tropic of cancer on me.
the guy gets off with me at atlantic avenue
and we go separate ways toward our
i think he’s probably an asshole anyway,
like most intellectual, nebbish, snobs are
in this city.
don’t you see, in this universe i’m king,
i’m as strong as steel
i’m a loner and a rebel.
i don’t need anyone.
and more to the point, i’ve been without
a good friend for so long,
i’ve simply forgotten how to go out there
and make one.


poems of the day 08.13.08

new ones FINALLY! hopefully this'll satisfy you beasts while i vacation and pretend i live in an internet-less world.

photo of an eighteen year-old

my wife’s eighteen year-old friend
has a picture of herself on myspace
naked to the waist
pressed against a wall with her right arm
covering her nipple, but enough breast showing
to rile up the perverts.
she has a tattoo of stars going across her hip.
“that’s pretty provocative,” i said.
“that’s lannie,” my wife said. “she’s thin,
young, attractive, and she knows it.”
“hell, if i were young and looked like that
i’d take nude photos too,” i said. “and i would’ve
fucked tons of chicks. if i were a woman,
i’d would’ve had more cock than a
chicken coop.”
my wife looked at me. “that’s disgusting.”
“i’m just being honest.”
“i don’t know,” she said. “i wouldn’t like
to get that intimate with so many people.”
“i’m not talking about intimacy,” i said.
“i thing is,” i continued, “i never liked growing up
ugly and fat, and when i got older always
having to work some angle to meet women, you know,
being funny, being courteous. it was all such
artifice, all such bullshit, when all i wanted
was a piece of ass.”
my wife looked at me again. “even with me?”
“no. you were different.”
“but why worry about that now,” she said.
“isn’t it enough that i love you.”
i didn’t say anything. i mean she was right
to an extent.
it was good to be wanted by someone.
it was good to be loved.
but that’s just the way it is with humans
i guess.
we’re never satisfied.
we’re always bored and hungry.
we’re always thinking over what it was
what ir wasn’t, what
isn’t now, what it could’ve been.
it’s sad really.
and i guess that’s why eighteen year-olds
put up half-naked pictures
on the internet.
they are tasting that hunger for the first time.
they fill it that way.
they don’t know it’ll be there forever
even when all else is gone
and the rest is just a memory.
but who wants to tell them?
who wants to change it anyway,
a world where eighteen year-old girls take off
their clothes and lean against walls
ready for their photo-op
and ignorant of the coming fall
of their own flesh
and immortality.

holy roller

i am trying to read a poem
about how bad other poets are
but then she gets on the train
and starts preaching jesus bullshit
as the rest of us sit there playing
with our watches and phones
and newspapers.
some of us get up and leave through
the illegal emergency exits.
she is so intrusive
i put down my book
and think about how bad that rotgut
has messed up my stomach,
but not nearly enough as this woman has.
and she keeps testifying to god,
praying, reading us the good word.
then the train gets stuck
in the tunnel
and the few of us left here groan.
finally she stops.
she thanks us and blesses jesus
and everything else.
a man picks up his paper.
there is a bus crash near dallas
it has killed 17
russia has invaded georgia
killing countless numbers
the u.s. is still in iraq
obliterating the place in the name of democracy
and the olympic fireworks were fakes.
then the train moves again.
at franklin avenue the holy roller sits down
and quietly reads the bible.
i pick up my book again
and forget about my rotten, scotch-soaked

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Poem of the day 08.12.08

discovering an old talent

i am drunk
i play the piano in
a manhattan steakhouse
i think i am great
but i am probably
playing badly.
the look on the faces
of the nervous
south american
confirms this.
then dan comes over
and quietly removes me
from the steinway.
he takes me back
to my seat
where i find
a beer, a scotch,
and a glass of absinthe
i take a pull on each
suddenly remembering
what it is
that i really do
so well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poem of the Day 08.11.08

another older one simply because i haven't had time to type many newer ones. so here's two.

the king of sheridan drive

third time at the car dealership
with the ‘check engine’ light on,
after two thousand miles
up and down
south and then north again.
i know the drill
the mechanic knows the drill.
we exchange pleasantries
but he is just as sick of seeing me,
as i am of seeing him.
and then i give him the keys
to the hyundai,
so he can fuck me some more.
i feel like a depression era bank.
as a courtesy he puts me in this rental car
with a brown leather interior
and more buttons than a mcdonalds
cash register.
i don’t know what to do
with any of them,
even after he explains the whole car
to me.
i nod along anyway
and secretly blame the three
glasses of wine i had that morning
for my inability to understand his directions.
then the mechanic is gone
and i am gone
on the road
on the way to work,
messing with every button and touching
the leather interior.
the car glides like a dream.
i almost understand why people get so
bent out of shape over their automobiles.
in front of me is a line of traffic,
the day to day,
the human death of shopping malls,
and jobs and fast food restaurants
with suvs full of fat loudmouth children.
buffalo is cold in may and everyone here
still cares about hockey.
but i am better than all of it in this car.
the dealership can keep my wreck, i think.
i’m going to go get my wife,
get the cats,
and we’re heading south again
toward nashville,
and some kind of freedom.


poets are sad fucking people

my pockets are empty
of poems
and the contract for the book
has not come.
the publisher in question
did not return my email
and the regular mail seems to bring
rejection notices daily.
they arrive with the frequency
of bills
or advertisements.
in the car i am late for work
and on the stereo i listen
to willie nelson.
he is singing about new orleans,
and i remember it was nearly
a year ago that you and i
were there,
drunk outside a tit bar
on bourbon street
two months before katrina,
watching the last of our wedding money
slip happily away.
but the thought does not last
because i am back to worrying
about how my pockets are empty
of poems
and how the contract for the book
has not arrived,
the publisher and the daily mail.
if you were here you would
tell me
how most people have it
worse than i do.
and hopefully i would look at you
really see you, baby,
and agree.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

poem of the day 08.09.08

all the beauty in new york

standing at a red light
in the snob section of brooklyn
i grab a free weekly rag
and see that someone has tapped
a drawing of beethoven
on the door.
then the light changes
and a beautiful blonde passes me,
a redhead with a great ass
arm and arm with a muscle-bound
guy with gelled hair
perfect stubble, pecks,
and a t-shirt that reads “welcome
to the gun show” with arrows
pointing at both biceps.
shit, i think,
no one is ugly in new york city.
and when you think that
you must then realize that you,
my friend, are most probably
the ugly one.
and i laugh at this.
i shrug and hum some of beethoven’s 9th
and i move down the block
to the next red light
passing a brunette with fantastic tits
walking her dog
as she picks at a bagel with light cream cheese
and talks to a male model
who’s on his cell phone
talking to someone else
who probably won’t be breaking
any mirrors
anytime soon.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Poem of the Day 08.08.08 (another from the vault)

half the world
--for oscar varona

there are bars in spain
that i think i need to go to, oscar,
places where you’ve promised me
and more booze than i could ever imagine.
and i can imagine a lot.
so okay let’s cut the bullshit.
we are friends and writers,
and we both realize the stigma
that goes along with that.
with being friends more than being
i guess it’s my turn to talk in hyperboles
as i sit here in new york, drinking wine
dreaming madrid,
pissing pittsburgh and all the poets
that have tried to kill it
and everything else.
at least we are not boring anyone with
our conversation.
and who knows.
one day i might wind up at your door,
finally sick of america
and full of the hunger
for europe.
and what will you show me
other than dried mountains
and a place to get a good glass
of tempranillo?
hopefully a good time,
and a quiet time full of
the rich, comedic conversation
of two writers scorned in their pathetic homelands.
and if not that, than at least i hope
you can touch me with a kind hand
and a few soft words
and i’ll do the same
because, oscar, that is more than i could ever
hope to get from the drags who call themselves
writers and friends
in this god forsaken country.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

poem of the day 08.07.08 (kind of an oldish one)

the most beautiful thing

i try to see beauty.
for instance,
i see the mist rising
off the stink of a lake
in delaware park,
and i see the young autumn sun
illuminated through the thinning
i ponder a hungry robin
digging in the wet grass
for a breakfast worm
outside the art museum
and wonder when he’ll be
leaving this miserable city.

but i also see
the broke bums outside
the 24-hour store, looking
to rob someone for a crack fix,
and the parade of the insane
making their way back
toward the madhouse,
after being left to their own
during the night.
i see the interstate exit up ahead,
and in my nostrils,
oozing down my throat
is the scent, the taste
of car exhaust and bile
before i even mingle with
the work-obsessed masses.

so i don’t know what to make
of the dichotomy,
the easy blend of nature and life
and the rotting taint of human death
on this one simple street.
and i wonder if others see it too,
the imbalance and impurity
of it all,
our demise as readily available
as dogshit.
or is everything just a blur of color
in between the bass lines
of the radio,
the constant ringing of the cell phone,
the luxurious sip of over-priced coffee,
beneath the anticipation of prime-time
as the fleeting moments play out
for all of us
on this daily battlefield.

everything i see looks so
so breakable
so fragile.
i think that if i could truly do
for the world,
i would do something to
fix that.
and that’s about the most beautiful thing
i can think of,
as this truck waves me on,
and i hold my breath
to merge into this morning’s

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Poem of the Day 08.05.08

my new blue shoes

she and i were exchanging
old lover stories one night,
instigated by me
because i was looking for
a new reason to hate her.
because to be young
and to think that you are
in love
is to sometimes also
become a prick.
she was my first
but she had given it away to
a few others,
one that i felt a particular jealousy
a high school teacher in the city,
seven years older than she,
and a summer fling months
before we met.

we began innocent enough
on the bed
but hot in the summer air,
as she told me about how they met
and the banal way in which it ended.
truthfully, it was a boring story.
“but you fucked him, right?”
i asked.
her face in the pale night light
turned sour
and she made me wait
longer than i wanted to for the answer.
“yes,” she said.
then began to cry as i hopped
out of her bed, shouting, calling her a whore,
while i began to dress myself quickly.
her tears were like torrents,
soaking the pillow she clutched,
and her mouth was a basin of spittle,
one strand connected her
furrowed lips.
the way she moaned made me
proud of my work.
and as she continued to cry
i finished dressing and left.

outside her house
i noticed the new blue shoes
that i had on my feet.
we’d bought them together earlier
in the day
at a shoe store in a suburban mall
where another of her old boyfriends
i didn’t think much of the shoes.
they were tight
and not my style.
but had it not been for them...and him,
she and i probably never
would’ve had the conversation
about ex-lovers in the first place.

Monday, August 4, 2008

my body is writing the checks

i've been sore for 2 straight days now. see, i live in new york city, and in new york city we walk everywhere. we walk to the train station. we walk to restaurants. we walk to bars. we walk to grocery stores, and then carry our groceries home. my wife was gone this weekend which meant that it was my duty to carry the groceries home. so i went in the grocery store. never go in the grocery store hungry. you buy too many things. i bought too many things, and by the time i got home (10 blocks) both of my arms felt out of their sockets, and my chest was sore across.

but, see, i'm a tough guy. i went out the next morning. i went back to the grocery store. the apartment was a mess and i decided to clean it. it took me $40 in cleaning supplies to get what i needed. the bags were heavy again. i should've brought the two big "green" bags we have at home, but something about "going green" still makes me feel a little strange. like why am i in stores with bags when they give me bags for free. i feel like i'm taking away a major part of the purchase by not having the bag to carry it home in. anyway, the cleaning supplies made the 10 blocks with me. my arms were already sore. now i don't want to lift them.

it wasn't just the bags and walking. i cleaned. it rained on saturday, so i spent from the hours of 9 a.m to 2 p.m. picking up mounds of random writing, clothes, scrubbing the kitchen, scrubbing the bathroom, the months of shit and piss in the can, the mold in the tub, the sauce and dried vegetables on the kitchen floor, the class and aluminum city of wine, scotch, and beer containers. i put on Springsteen and drank scotch and waters, and cleaned for 5 straight hours. i even scrubbed the dried patches of cat vomit off the hardwood floor. 5 hours. and when i was done the place was just mediocre. i'm going back to living in filth. it's easier. plus, the fucking cats vomitted all over the place saturday night, like a couple of romans.

well, i'm officially sick of being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. It took me 15 seasons of losing, but this year's fire sale did me in. Marte. Nady. Bay. need i say more. i wish i liked the Steelers, so i could just bag baseball and watch football and root for someone from Pittsburgh. forget the Penguins. i'm surprised hockey is still a pro sport. maybe i'll try soccer, or i'll go and watch those people have eating contests. i wonder if those guys still make those bum fight dvds.

Poem of the day 08.04.08

poet in new york

it was another nightclub
in another trendy section
of the city.
just another underage girl
from the suburbs
drunk and stumbling along
the street.
taken to a jersey motel
by an ex-con and his whore.
and strangled to death.
in the morning they found
her naked body stuffed
in a suitcase
at the bottom of a dumpster.
two days later
i read the story in the
daily news,
about an hour before leaving
for new york city,
where when i got there
i sat in the white horse tavern
watching hudson street,
eating a hamburger
and enjoying many beers
as james brown played
on the jukebox,
and my wife and i talked
about how glad we were
to be back in gotham,
as dylan thomas bought
a whisky at the bar
and the day burned on
behind warped glass.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

BONUS poem of the day 08.02.08

coffee pot

like everything else
i’ve taken down
through a subtle lack
of concern
i think i’ve given it
to the coffee pot
the worst.
i’ve gone through
three of them here
in this apartment
in just a year.
the first one
i moved in with it
having a good coat
of mold.
it had to go.
the second was easy.
i was drunk
and i broke the thing.
this third one
was going the route
of mold again
because i can’t drink
coffee in the summer.
but this morning
with the gray sky
and thoughts about the fall,
i suddenly wanted
a cup.
but, christ, the pot was a mess.
green mold
black mold
white frosty mold
old food and grease stuck
to the sides.
but i was feeling benevolent.
i decided to clean the pot
but i nearly broke the fucker
a small rubber piece fell off
and hit the kitchen floor.
it mixed with the splatters
of old sauce
and cat food and cat fur
and dehydrated vegetables.
luckily i found the piece right
in the center
of a dustball.
i picked it up and cleaned it good.
now, i’m sitting here
and can smell the coffee
brewing in the other room.
it is a comforting smell.
i feel like i’ve done something
next i plan on tackling the huge mounds
of clothing
the stacks of books
and the random sheets of paper
all over the floor.
then i’m right on it with world hunger
the gas and heating crisis
the national debt
and the wars in iraq and afghanistan.


poem of the day 08.02.08

getting called a fat fuck
on 2nd avenue

you have to understand that i can
let these things slide off of my back
i just choose not to.
and we were having a good time
that day.
saw a decent movie
hit the old st. marks place bar
for happy hour
for $3 pints of expensive beer.
we were talking about getting a break
about finally being settled
and why full moon fever
is the best total tom petty album.
i was feeling good, you see.
it’s a rare occurrence these days.
and i was getting ready to miss you
because you were going away
to buffalo for the weekend.
so maybe i had a bit of melancholy
dripped in with my spurts
of joy.
we were getting mexican food soon
at that joint that nearly saved my life
back in 2003, that gave me something
to hold on to.
and, if you remember, we had the goddamned
right of way.
so when that prick in the bmw made that turn
and you flipped him off,
and he started running his mouth
and then i flipped him off and gave him
the finger, too,
and he called me a fat fuck, even though
you dispute that and say he called us
(but i know what he really said),
you got to understand why it got to me
so much.
it was like some stranger took the sails from me
like he pissed on a perfect day
like he shit on us,
and i don’t think i have to tell you about
the past anymore
about being a kid, about being that
fat fuck for years.
so, yeah, i was silent during dinner
and i was pissed on the train ride home
and i harbor things that strangers say much longer
than anybody else.
this is all true,
despite the massive ego you say i have.
and if you’re still looking for a reason
as to why i got angry
then i can’t tell you any more than i have.
so go back
read lines 1-26 in this poem
then skip down to lines 38-46
and let them sink in for a while.