Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.31.08

okay, so i lied about no more poems until 2009. happy new year.

the radio is broke

the radio is broke
and the year is dying.
i am sitting here trying to fight
the urge to drink before 10 a.m.
and the radio is broke.
i was listening to nina simone
and the radio broke.
it started sputtering and skipping
and then it just gave out
like a final breath.
and it is snowing outside
the radio is broke
and it is snowing outside
i can’t hear nina simone
and the scotch in the other room is calling to me.
i can hear the neighbor’s
television set coming quietly
through the ceiling.
she is not playing nina simone
and the year is dying
and another one is breathing down
my neck
and i really don’t think i can handle it
another year
a broken stereo
the scotch
or going out to buy a bottle of wine
in the snow for another new year’s celebration.
and the radio is broke
but then it started sputtering
and spinning again
i can hear its digital click
i hear nina simone coming back to me.
then it kicks again and i groan.
the radio is broke
the year is dying
another one is bearing down
on our asses
and i’m sitting on a hard wooden chair
in this lonely bedroom
holding a vigil for you and i and everyone else
that always gets it cut too short.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Book Is Out!!!

Dear Blog Readers:

It is my pleasure to inform you that my book is out now, and available for purchase or to simply point and laugh at it.

just click on the highlighted word "book" to have a look.

if you don't like technology or are a very tactile person, you can simply type in this coding to get the same results:


p.s. those purchasing the book, please feel free to comment on Amazon about the book in a positive or negative light.
p.p.s. i'm available for birthdays and banquets too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

poem of the day 12.22.08

well, this will be it for me until 2009 rears its ugly head.

it is growing cold

it is growing cold
but the madmen are still at it
on the brooklyn streets.
and the people are scared of them
for they fear anyone who has found
their own truth.
the madmen embrace their truths
they know.
they know they are better than
the masses, carrying christmas bags
and choking on false sentiment.
they know they are better than
a new car.
they know they are better than
fucking in a warm apartment
on a cold night.
they know they are better than
getting drunk.
they know they are better than christ.
they know they are better than baseball
and sunday football combined.
they know they are better than
a pretty girl with pink lipstick,
reading faulkner on a train.
they know they are better than poetry.
they know they are better than air.
they know they are better than cable tv,
and digital stereos.
they know they are better than hot food
in an empty stomach.
they know they are better than a holiday parade.
they know they are better than a beach.
they know they are better than a glass of water.
they know they are better than the government.
they know they are better than an oscar
winning film.
they know they are better than the telephone.
they know they are better than a walk
with a lover on a warm night.
they know they are better than authority.
they know they are better than celebrity.
they know they are better than all the gods
in all of the religions.
they know they are better than the boys
with shaved heads and sculpted facial hair,
the ones that get to fuck all the young girls.
they know they are better than books.
they know they are better than video games,
and the internet.
they know they are better than skinny assholes
discussing rock and roll music
over expensive pints of beer
they know they are better than your favorite
television show.
they know they are better than the summer.
they know they are better than love and hate.
they know they are better than trying to stop
the wars of humanity.

it is growing cold
but the madmen are still on the
brooklyn streets,
howling and driving the beautiful ones
away in droves.
they know they are the only ones
with any kind of freedom left to take hold of
while the rest blind themselves
with what can be taken away without a second thought.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.19.08

yet i try to be peaceful
and kind

kid blasting
the rap music
answers the door
and i want to hit him.
i left the apartment
and the wife
and the steaming dinner
sitting there because
i’d had enough
all day
in this miserable
since 10 a..m.
since i was still bleary-eyed
trying to read
the new york times;
the prick on the other side
of the wall
playing bass,
then the white trash
matching his music
and calling her kid
a retard.
and by the evening with
the sun setting
sunday in america.
and i remember
quiet sundays.
i had enough.
so i go out and ring
the doorbell
and he comes down
and opens the door.
with a smile.
i want to ring
his neck
bludgeon him
take back all the
he took from
me and my wife,
smash his face
in the dinner
i’m missing.
but instead i tell him
to turn it
the fuck down,
which he protests
“it’s only one song.”
“one song too many,”
i say.
“but you don’t hear me
all the time, right?”
“i hear you enough.”
and with that i walk
back to my door
as he keeps talking,
promising to be quiet.
a small victory,
but it won’t win
the war.
and before i go in
i think to warn
the white trash
about her noise
as well.
but what’s the pont?
she’s being quiet
plus i remember
i have a wife
and a dinner
waiting for me
back upstairs.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.18.08


i remember the two
of us
used to sit in that sports bar
in downtown pittsburgh
and listen to those
two sexy suburban women
complain about their husbands,
and how much they were
ignored at home.

they were classmates
of yours, not too much older
than you or i,
but victims of the circumstance
of long-term faded lust.
you were always
hot for the blonde,
weren’t you?
she was the innocent one
who still believed in her husband’s
and i liked
the brunette,
the one ready to jump ship.

things almost happened
with mine too.
you set it up to take place
after her birthday party,
but when we got there
the husband was surprisingly home,
in town after
being on the road
for two weeks,
hocking computer equipment
or some shit like that.

he was a big
if i remember correctly.
an ex-jock,
some all-county linebacker
that reveled in his glory days.
he had a neck the size
of texas,
and two arms that could
of killed me
with a squeeze.

but he was pleasant
enough that night,
and generous with his
bottles of beer,
and that decanter
of crown
that he had placed
on the mantle
next to a large gold-framed
photo of their wedding.

i remember looking
at it as we drank.
that photo of a happily married
and not yet aware of how
crooked life could get for them.
how lonely the nights at
home would be,
the temptation that it could lead to,
or how barren an empty road
could get when you tried
to make an honest buck.

and i’m glad i saw that
photo too,
because maybe it saved
an honest couple
a lot of misery in this world.
i know it probably saved me
a lot of hurt.
if nothing else it at least
got you and i out of that scene
and going back to bars
where we could meet women
without so much baggage,
or restless time on their hands.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.17.08

for just a few beers
--for randy costanza

i try to remember the last time we hung out
a vietnamese restaurant on the upper east side
after smoking cigarettes on the steps
of the metropolitan museum of art
when i was brand new in new york.
and except for that one time
when we ran into each other in midtown
i don’t think we’ve seen each other
at all these past five years.
we were still in our twenties back then.
i know what you look like, now, though
and some of what you’ve been through.
the internet is at least good for that.
it was nice to get your email.
i’m glad you’re writing comics again
and drinking a lot of beer.
as you can see i’m still messing
with the poem and the story
trying to hit one out of the park
but mostly smacking singles and doubles
in between the insomnia, the jobs, the moves,
the slugs of scotch and cheap french wine.
i’d be glad to get together soon to drink
and see what real damage time has done to us.
sitting across from you in a bar like the old times
just might be the cure-all i need.
another breath.
another chance at intangible youth.
it’ll at least give me a bridge
from the past into the present
something to help me figure out what in the hell
i’m doing with myself in these days
of turning sallow and gray-haired against
the onslaught of time. you remember those times when we were young
and driving pittsburgh streets with bags of black label beer
on the floor of your car, drunkenly pissing on the vast front lawns
of university professors, and then racing into liquor stores moments
before closing just to get a fresh liter of vodka so that we could mix
it with mountain dew in a suburban mall parking lot on another
lost summer night when we thought we’d never get old or die?
yeah, man.
i do.
i do too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ink Sweat and Tears

in case anyone is looking for a great blog of writing, look no further than:

POEMS of the DAY 12.16.08

Appearing soon in The Indite Circle

the corner store

the woman at the corner store
doesn’t like to wait on me.
i don’t mind.
she usually writes on forms
or talks on the phone or
stocks the cough medicine
as i stand at the check-out line,
a weekday morning,
unshaved with a long goatee,
with a 40 or 2 tallboys
in front of me.
i’m sure she thinks i’m a drunk
or some kind of pampered
college kid with nothing better to do
on a weekday morning but get wasted.
i wish she was right.
it’s not her silent accusations that
get to me, but the way she looks
me in the eye.
i get embarrassed and think
“what am i doing here, on a
weekday morning, with a 40,
or 2 tallboys in front of me?”
“what happened?”
then it is the same old shuffle,
the same old routine of searching
for cash in my wallet,
while i make bad jokes,
when i know the exact amount she wants.
$2.35 (40 oz)
$3.47 (the 2 tallboys).
it is a dance i do to prolong the misery
all because i want us to have some
fun together
during this transaction.
i want her to know that i’m all right
and not the cretin she thinks i am.
i want her to understand that
we can enjoy this mutual pain, this necessary exchange.
i don’t know why this is the case
but for some reason the lady at the counter
of the corner store holds more clout
in my eyes than my parents, or instructors,
the bosses, or even some friends.
i want to look good in her eyes.
but i doubt that she knows this.
i’m always too subtle.
and even if she did know
i doubt that she’d care.
they’ll be another one just like me,
coming in shortly after i’ve left.

6:20 a.m.

6:20 a.m.
and i wait for it.
it’s not too bad right now.
i have the radio
and the weather report.
i have the internet.
some days are just like this.
you wake without the mistress.
other days the muse comes with no problem
it strokes you, like a woman’s touch.
you can’t believe it.
it comes pouring out
and you stare at the page wondering
what god made you.

6:21 a.m.
and i still sit here
thinking the morning is too warm
waiting for september to end
and imagining october clouds.
i have a cup of tea
and i think a shot of scotch in it
might do me some good.
my bedroom smells of old clothes
and sperm
because the washers and dryers
in this place
are broken
and the landlord is too cheap
to fix them.
but i am too cheap to write
a poem.

6:25 a.m
i hear horns
and morning cars racing up
bay ridge parkway.
monday morning and we are all beginning
the fool’s dance
of the work week.
i know if i can get a good one down
then today won’t be so much like a suicide.
then i wonder what the rest of you do to quell
that hunger
order a cup of coffee?
have an affair?
watch television or read a book?

6:28 a.m.
and i am in the shit
everyone is waking and the pipes moan here
and you can hear footsteps
along the ceiling
small radios
televisions and the flushing of toilets.
we are all packed upon each other here
like sardines
like bad illusions
stacked like hell one above the other
waiting for it to all come crumbling down
no bailouts here
no bailouts here

6:35 a.m.
still i sit here
the weather checked again
a porn sit perused
the morning creeping.
i have another sip on the tea
forgo the scotch after all,
and realize it is time to give up the ghost
get in the shower
make the lunch
get ready to crucify myself on the morning streets
in the subway
at another desk
hoping the muse will wake with me tomorrow
her flesh thick and ready
to give me a deep
bloody kiss.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

poem of the day 12.11.08

since i'm heading back to pittsburgh for a few days, i thought i'd post some poems about my experiences during other trips home.

a poet in pittsburgh

in the city
of my youth.
poems can wait.
the old friends
i am supposed to meet
at a bowling alley,
i think i’ll let it sit.
another friend waits
for my phone call,
but it won’t come
because i got drunk
in the city
of my youth
with no explanation
except that it happened
after a long drive,
and a lot of thought,
staring over the eastern suburbs
and the city,
both illuminated,
both poking over small mountains.
they are all there,
my old friends.
the regrettable past is there,
the years of suicide days and nights.
i cannot go through it again.
so i won’t.
i realize that i have been
nearly unfaithful
to everyone.
i have been a lousy friend.
and that suits me just fine
as i sit here
drunk on beer
in the city
of my youth.


i barrel around your house
stinking of the poison.

your grown man
your little boy

pulling the same shit
that i have for years now.

taking beer after beer
out of your refrigerator,
and sitting at your kitchen table,
mocking your christ,
and pontificating like a dumb sage,
to the point of howling madness.

and at night i hide the bottles
just so you don’t know
how bad it’s gotten.

i wasn’t born a jackass,
but goddamn it if i don’t play
the role so well,
every time i come here.

you must be so sick of me
by now,
and the expectations you weigh
each time i pull into
your driveway.
i know that i am too.

but something always keeps me
arrogant and small
when i come home.

there is an inability within me
to be sensible,
or to be an articulate, rational adult.

the only way you can possibly
see me
is as a red-faced brat,
or an irrationally, drunken man-child,
walking away from you
and the kindness of your pauper’s wallet
at some suburban mall,
like i did last saturday.

hell, if i’m not a pale shade
of the human being i used to be.
then i don’t know what i am.

and it’s funny,
because everywhere else
i’m so standoffish and reserved.
people don’t ask a thing of me,
and i give them nothing in return.
i enjoy the carefree human exchange
of apathy with everyone i come
into contact with.

but from you,
i am a glutton,
i get fat and full off your
and it appears i’ll always take more
than i can ever give back.

i don’t know.
maybe this poem
can be some kind of restitution
or payback,
a small sum paid
for the years of hardship and worry
and lost hope
that i’ve thrown at you.

if nothing else,
it’s at least a down payment
on the promise of my
future benevolence.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.10.08

christmas music

sitting here
in the boxer shorts
nursing the beer hangover
and the gas pains
and the morning radio
is telling me to have myself
a merry little christmas
i wonder who can find
any solace in this stuff.
it’s such a put-on
such a fantastic artifice
i wonder who can still
be so dumb over this pap
and this thought makes me laugh
because i need only
think of other people
to get my answer
as the elegant strings
and the high flute
keep wafting the song
out on the morning radio
so soothing
have yourself a merry
little christmas
have yourself a merry
little christmas
and when you’re done
do me a favor
fuck yourself too
and go back inside
and lock your doors
safe with all of your shit
leaving the world to us devils
for the next year
you know the ones
the ones who don’t get
weepy and sentimental
over christmas music
and cute kids dressed in red and green
who hate assholes wearing santa hats
the ones who keep going
instead of stopping for a kiss
underneath a rotting mistletoe.

Monday, December 8, 2008

PoemS of the Day 12.08.08

Okay, so i guess I'm a John Lennon fan.

hey bulldog

hey bulldog,
it’s freezing like hell
in new york today
and i have a bum
but you’ve been gone
for twenty-eight years

hey bulldog,
i almost didn’t get around
to this.
i wasn’t sure i wanted
to do the whole
frank o’hara trip
with you this

hey bulldog,
but i loved you more
than any rachmaninoff
piano concerto
with your granny glasses
and your hop nail boots
your put-on cockney accent
and the way
your music
woke up my young world.

hey bulldog,
i’m gushing
twenty-eight years later
and i still get a thrill.
you’re my christmas music
but don’t expect me up at your
tiled monument today.
i don’t do those kind
of tributes
and i have to work.

hey bulldog.
hey bulldog.
the world misses you like
a fine madness.

john lennon

25 years ago i learned about death.
i was groggy
it was morning in a kitchen,
one i barely remember now.
on my mother’s knee
we listened to the broadcast,
moribund jockeys inter-spliced
with your songs & the sad laments
of people from around the world.
folks were already talking about
your legacy, john
& like all good people
they’ve been shitting on it for
a quarter of a century so far.

in kindergarten i had a band
it wasn’t much, but there were 4 of us
sometimes there were 3 because the drummer
needed a nap.
we played all the old beatles songs,
air guitar & lip syncing to my mother’s LPs
on a beat-up fisher price turntable the school owned.
the nun would gather around the girls
& they swooned & i understood the attraction
to all the sound & madness.
but that day we gave no show & the nun
let me keep the radio on to hear more news.
such sadness & loss was so hard to comprehend.
later our band quit playing
ringo slept
george moved away & paul changed schools.
i was you, john
but you were dead
so i choose to be myself & i haven’t looked back
until today.


a day early in the life

every year
i am sad at this time,
thinking about the long past,
that morning
i play like a bad holiday
the goddamned radio,
and my mother
in the kitchen,
trying to turn it all
into sense
for me.
i guess we must all
a different way.
mine is usually to say
to write nothing
on that day,
not even a note
in my journal.
but to get back
to that time,
in my thoughts,
december 8th, 1980,
and christmas splattered
all over
like drops of blood
outside a fancy apartment
johnny ace, let them keep
the mosaics,
you and i will open up
a bottle of cheap wine,
drinking it easy
letting the night come
slowly to the world.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.05.08

in for life

this is just another
pissed down the drain
doing this.
everyday thinking about it,
realizing death is a mistress
i must eventually meet,
if it’ll be better than this
more peaceful than this
or just something else
i must wake up and do
just like this

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.04.08

ode to my alarm clock

there is no device
worse than you
in this apartment.

i stare at you
at three in the morning
and wonder
what the fuck?

you are only metal
and mercury
and wire

but clock
you run my life
from your perch
on my dirty

i can’t help
but watch you
on those nights
when i can’t sleep.

i have those nights
where i think
i’m dying.
what do you think
about that?

with your
red devil lights
announcing moments
that i’ll never get
and hours i should
never see.
i can’t help
that you’re laughing
at me
when i get out of bed
to piss
or to attack the machine
before the sun
comes up.

who invented you?
was it one man
or groups of people
over time
that should’ve been

leave me alone
can’t you see i’m going mad?
can’t you see you’re killing me?

how will it end
between us?
how will we finish?
with my last breath
or on some random night
when you give out
and i wake up
late for work?

we suffer each other
like an old bitter

so clock
i’d like to end
this relationship
if i could
before i’m ruined
and no good
to anyone else
except the boss man
and the almighty swing
of commerce
and brutal coercion.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Poem of the day 12.3.08

in another one of your poems

i was in the midst of ruining
the thanksgiving holiday.
i’d been drinking wine
since seven-thirty in the morning
and for a week now
i’d been mad at the world
for any number of reasons
that i usually had for being
mad at the world.
just two days ago i’d threatened
to throw a plate of ravioli against a wall,
and had slammed down a jar
of romano cheese on her finger
(an accident)
all over a slice of italian bread
that was too big for my plate.
i didn’t know what was happening
except to say that i simply felt dead
and buried, and needed to get something
impossible out of my soul.
but anyway we tried to have the holiday
even though i was kind of drunk and belligerent
and i was tired of holidays and people.
and i started in on the food, which was good,
but made me mad because everyone
else was probably eating the same goddamned thing
and how we all had no originality.
i kept picturing hundreds of ugly faces
at hundreds of ugly tables
their lips greasy, their jowls moving succinctly
over food and bad conversation.
and she said that we were out of paper towels
which made me angrier
because we just couldn’t seem to keep paper towels
in the apartment as of late
(a trivial matter, unless you’ve lived through it)
so she got us toilet paper, toilet paper
and i thought, christ, this is nice,
thanksgiving and toilet paper,
so i started in on her about
what happened to the paper towels
because i’d just opened a roll that morning
to clean up turkey juice and cat vomit
and she said she didn’t know
which turned into a big, drunken argument
about absent-mindedness
her absent-mindedness, which i knew
would sting
and it did.
her eyes filled with tears
and she said, i don’t know why
you are doing this?
it’s thanksgiving day and we’re off
and we’re together.
it doesn’t have to be like this
there’s no drama, there’s no one else,
there isn’t anything wrong that you
can go ahead and put
in another one of your poems
and that stung me,
as if i used my life solely for fodder
and i said, baby, don’t say that,
jesus, i’m sorry.
and the two of us sat there with
thanksgiving on the table and a fine
bottle of red between us,
almost crying over nothing,
until we calmed down.
and here it is now, anyway, a week later,
that moment finally in a poem,
because essentially i am a whore.
i’ve mined my life so much that i can’t
have a natural moment without
the backwash of “art”
even though i try like hell to squeeze them out.
this is no excuse.
but you have to understand,
if i don’t exercise this shit some way, somehow
i’ll lay in bed awake all night
going slowly mad and dreaming suicide
while you lay beside me
thinking everything is fine
and the next time we have ravioli
on a tuesday night
i’ll make sure that plate hits the wall
with effortless grace,
or i’ll try like hell to choke myself
on a piece of pasta
and a cup of lukewarm tomato sauce
and neither of us will understand why.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poem of the Day 12.2.08

Here's a little poem about the time i worked a toys for tots warehouse. People have no idea how much men suffer to make children smile:

german accent

we were fucking around
and laughing on the docks,
trying to kill the pain
and dread
of all the physical labor
of the day.
we’d been loading toy trucks
for hours,
and now the goddamned marines
were there
with a 15-footer full of cheap junk
and ripped bags
that would set as back a day.
somehow between the pot
of coffee
and the endless packs of pallets,
he and i had developed
german accents
which we thought were hysterical.
and when he dropped
a bag full of dollar store trinkets,
sending rubber balls and broken dolls
all over the dust-covered floor,
it seemed only natural to scream
in my best kraut
“damn you! now you’ve ruined
to which the marines stopped
hauling their share,
and laid their eyes on me,
so fucking dumb,
they weren’t sure whether or not
to chuckle or to open fire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.26.08

happy almost Turkey day to the two of you who actually read this.

white christmas

late october
still sweating in the ugly bowels
of the new york city subway system
choked on trains with everyone else,
we are pushed off at the atlantic avenue
station to the sounds
of steel drums and keyboards playing
white christmas,
and the pumpkins lining brooklyn windows
haven’t even been thrown out onto the sidewalk yet
to rot into the pavement, like dog shit.
people are humming along
and coats are held tighter,
as if the music has put a temporary chill and magic
into the scorched air of chemicals
and petroleum residue.
jesus christ, i think.
you’d expect this bullshit happiness
being trumped out so early
on the television or in the windows
of chain stores.
but musicians on a subway platform?
well, then i realize this season has become too much
we need the fake joy shot into us with the frequency
of a junkie.
what good was halloween anyway
with the cacophony of city neighborhoods
and the religious still duking it out?
i actually like halloween better than christmas.
it seems less put-on. real.
and i wish i could fall asleep november first
after a night drunk with the evening horror show,
and wake up on january second
when the real horror show has ended.
maybe the cold weather will finally be here.
if nothing else, at least people will be
done with all of this good cheer and good will toward man,
and they’ll all be back inside with their bills and holiday regret,
fat and lazy like always.
and the musicians on the platform will get back
to playing something good, like coltrane or bach.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.25.08


i wonder if that
is you
that i see
every evening
coming off the 5 train
and heading
into the bowels
of the atlantic avenue
with the rest of
you must be twenty-five
by now.

if it is then
i want to tell you that
you look the same
as you did
at fourteen
in the carnegie library
of pittsburgh
same blonde hair
all over the place
same quick slouched
the same rail thin
and eyes that look
and far gone.

maybe you don’t
want to hear that
at this point
in your life.

but winnie
remember when
you couldn’t articulate
a thing
could never speak
when you just ran around
the humanities department
carrying an armload
of teen drama books
and shaking
your body to the soul?
we all wondered what
was wrong with you
back then
a bad home?
the outcast at school?

you were always
a lot of people’s minds
taking up
their talk.

and winnie
i hope it is you
moving around the bowels
of this station
mixing sweat and misery
with the other millions.
i don’t know
i guess it would mean to me
that you somehow got out
of pittsburgh
out of malaise of birth into death
and whatever madness
you really had as a child.

i hope you are
finally free
to smile or cry
or just pass on through.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.24.08

it’s the thought

i told her they
were playing labyrinth
at the landmark
on a midnight showing
and wouldn’t it be fun
to go because it’s
one of her favorites
and we could maybe
make a night of it
call dale
get dinner
get drinks
get drunk
and then head down
to houston street
to check it out
and she said she’d love to
because labyrinth is
one of her favorites
then she took a drink
and smiled at me
and i said what
and she said are you
really serious about
going to the movie
and having that kind of night
and i said yes, why?
and she said
because you always
make these kinds of plans
but when the day comes
you’re the one who backs out
and i have to call everyone
and cancel.
i said yes, yes i know
but i don’t want to do
that anymore
and i don’t want to feel
like some old man anymore
i’m only thirty-four
and i think i can make
a midnight movie.
then she smiled at me again
and made us two new drinks
while i went
and started the dinner
and thought it’s still good to make
people happy in the moment
even if you rarely come
through in the end.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Poem of the day 11.23.08

look i pull no punches, right. i write in a certain style. in a certian way. well, i get rejected a lot too. most editors are okay and simply reject the poems. some, like this one i'm printing, try and be wise. so here's the rejection i received today, and here's my response, which i sent, but altered here in poetic form.

the letter:

Dear John,
Thanks for your submissions. You write well, but there’s this fella Bukowski and that’s our problem.
He nicked this shtick and beat you with it and what’s more he wrote a whole bookcase.
And I’m tired today.
Sorry. We’re nothing if we’re not inconsistent though, so send us some work for a future issue. You can write and we can change our minds.

my poem:

oh no, you got me

dear editor
yes there was a fella names bukowski,
and he did beat me to the punch
in terms of writing in a direct style..
but, if i'm correct, people are allowed
to express themselves as they see fit.
if you think i'm nicking bukowski, that's fine,
if you want to pinpoint me.
i guess i should start writing poems
about whores and the racetrack now,
to say nothing for the hundreds of poets who,
i guess, are "borrowing" styles from other poets.
and gee, i always thought i was ripping off
ray carver anyway.

you see,
i never write these notes back to editors and the like.
ive learned to take the punches and roll with them.
but i don't know.
maybe you've struck a nerve this time,
as was evident in what you wrote to me.
maybe i'm tired too, and sick of bullshit
maybe it's the wine getting to me today.
but i've read your mag,
and that's the most i can say for it.
so thanks for the compliment
disguised as a critique of my writing.
i will take it and i will think about it.
and who knows,
maybe i will send more poems to you.
or maybe i'll just send them
to a better rag next time,
or just wipe my ass with the paper.
good luck anyway,

Friday, November 21, 2008

poem of the day 11.21.08


we are happy
for the dumbest things,
for the best parking spot
at the grocery store
or for a printer to work
at our lousy jobs.

we are happy
to sit stuck in traffic
two hours a day,
listening to pundits pontificate
political nonsense,
as we drift toward our
daily death.

we are happy
and we smile a lot.

we are happy
to sit in the same seats
to stand in the same lines
to eat the same foods
in the same bad cafes.

all the day
the same thing.

we are happy
with banality and repetition
with the status quo
with everything staying as it is,
you in your corner
me in mine.

we are happy
to eat in restaurants
and drink in dismal bars
to pay for shitty hollywood films
to have the same kind of sex
(when we can get it)
to live in the same neighborhoods
and hate the same people
who have the same cars
who mow the same lawns
and who vote the same way.

we are happy
with war
and we are happy
to have the same ugly children
running and demanding,
as we watch the local nightly news,
to cheer for criminals hunted down
while murderous idiots
in positions of power
make our laws
and send our kids off to
die in some foreign desert.

we are happy
to die like fools
working for someone else’s wealth
happy to piss each day away
for two weeks of vacation
and lackluster health benefits.

we are happy
to be blind
to be cheated
to be raped
to be murdered.

we are happy
with this human jail
and we are happy
to let it all fall apart,
to let the fragile meat grinder
our flesh and bones mangled
just enough
for us to stay happy
to come home
to the quiet and absolute boredom
with nothing but the evening paper
and the blue light of television
to give us comfort.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.20.08

.......a PROSE poem from last year

andy kaufman

ally is on my knee sleeping away new jersey and i am trying to keep awake singing r.e.m. songs when i start singing the one about andy kaufman, and suddenly andy comes to me in my head, no, no, not the jim carrey movie andy, although i liked it, but andy singing and waving in an off-white blazer with that black turtleneck he was so fond of wearing when he wanted the audience to feel comfortable, when he wanted to seem like an innocent children’s host. and something about seeing andy that way brought tears to my eyes, and i began thinking “well, this is fucking great. i’m rolling through the junklands of jersey and people are on their cell phones yapping about big nights in bars, and ally has found a way to pass the time by sleeping, and all i wanted was to hum a few bars of an old song, and all of the sudden that damned kaufman has me crying and wiping my eyes because i can’t picture anything but his dumb-child soul now. it’s a kick in the face feeling this way about a goddamned dead celebrity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poem of the day 11.19.08

overhead light

he’d let it go since august.
the super kept promising to come
and fix the overhead light
which we badgered him
and the landlord about whenever
one of us nearly broke a toe
on the metal edges of our bed
and remembered
that we had no overhead light
and it was mid-november now
and cold finally
and he came in smelling of coffee and smoke
with his ladder and the new light fixture
while we were having a scotch after dinner
and he apologized and told us
about how he’d taken a pipe
to the head at his construction
job just two days ago
and hadn’t been feeling well.
i never feel well, so i understood
to an extent,
although i couldn’t draw real parallels
between a pipe to the head this week
and nearly three months of darkness
for my wife and i
but i’m game for a lot of excuses.
and in his defense, he did get right to it,
moved the bed away and everything
exposing the year’s worth
of dust and tissue and lost socks
and cat hairs and cat vomit
and wine corks that we’d somehow
forgot in our rare cleanings.
it only took about fifteen minutes
and we had light again
electric mass bright enough
to illuminate the whole damned neighborhood
and he said from our bedroom,
john i got it done for you,
so i came in to check it out
because i guessed that’s what you do
when someone does the basics of
apartment maintenance for you.
and i said it looked great
then he and i looked down at all
the dust and dirt where the bed used to be
and he said, i’m sorry i had to move your bed
and i said,
i’m sorry you had to see what was under there
and we laughed
and he said, yeah my place would
be just as bad
if i’d let the wife go to work.
she has an economics masters degree, you know,
from europe,
but i told her, no, you stay home and raise the kids,
and i’m an idiot because here i am now
twenty years later
working three jobs to support us
when we could’ve had something in
this world, you know, like a home, he said.
so i said i knew what he meant
as we headed toward the door,
and after i let him out
i poured my wife and i two new scotches
and we went into the bedroom
and turned the new light fixture off and on
like two kids playing a game
while their parents were out for the night, laughing,
and letting the booze ease another small drama
that had reached its end.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

poem of the day 11.18.08

what you’ll get out of it

a nice night
in brooklyn
a good day out
in manhattan
an all right movie
some beer
in a favorite old bar
and this fine thai
along 3rd avenue.
maybe that’s what
your poetry is lacking
like you could move
away from the darker themes
and still write straightforward poems
but maybe every once
in a while it could be a little
bit bright.
not to sound like an optimist
or anything
and i know your influences
never really looked
on the bright side of things
but it’s a nice night
in brooklyn
and we had a good day out
in manhattan
the movie was actually pretty good
even if it preached to the choir
and the old bar wasn’t
as crowded with college assholes
as we thought
and this is a fine thai meal
that we are having
what’s that wine called again?
but anyway i think you should
write a poem about this moment
if you want to
and maybe look at the positive side
of it
instead of searching for the usual
stuff that ends up in your poetry.
maybe just give it a shot
this one time.
but you’ll see that couple fighting over
or you’ll think about the assholes
with their phones at the theater
or that guy that blocked our seats
in the bar
and how we had to stop a few times
so that you could take a shit
because of your stomach
or the fact that new york city
doesn’t care about it’s literary history
and that’s all you’ll get
out of any of it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

poem of the day 11.17.08

poem for a lost saturday night

sitting at the work desk
toward the close of another
fruitless night
is a bitter joy
but it has nothing on a day off,
half drunk and half naked
on the living room couch
the taste of another stolen cigarette on my tongue,
the next beer waiting for me
to crack the top,
paganini on the stereo telling me to hold on
just a bit longer;
the world not as bad
as what it looks like
sitting at the work desk
toward the close of another
fruitless night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.14.08

okay not one of my best. but it's fucking 60 degrees in NYC in the morning (WHAT THE FUCK?), i'm hungover and in my boxers, and frankly you're lucky i'm even up doing this, this morning.

idle life

well there is
this morning
but the news
and schubert
and the sound
of cars moving
up the rainy
i think of those people
out there so early
while i’m sitting
in this hot
during another bland
lifeless november
trying to play
at artist.
how do they
not do themselves in?
make a left
over some embankment
and end it all?
why haven’t i?
but then i realize
we cling to this
the senseless doings
of life.
it keeps us busy
keeps us away from
it is sad.
and we’ve never
been trained
any other way.
so run, good mice
because the sun
is coming up
and the cheese
keeps getting
further and further

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.13.08

will be appearing soon in Ink, Sweat, and Tears

world’s perfect asshole

you come in from
running errands
you said that dale called
you on the cell phone
he’s wandering manhattan
he’s upset and feeling overwhelmed
so you invited him over
to watch movies on our last day off.

you come in from
running errands
and i am in my shorts
with weak knees and a week-old beard
sweat-soaked in forty-eight degrees
all the windows open
and the place a mess
with cds and dirt all over the floor.

you come in from
running errands
and i tell you like hell
i’m entertaining anyone today
i tell you like hell
and i’m half-drunk on wine
and my soul is a mess and everyone
out there just looks ugly to me.

you come
and tell me that this is your place too
and you can socialize with whomever you want
like i’m some kind of barbaric keeper
i tell you that while this is true
the place is mine as well
and we bicker like a couple of roommates
over the last slice of bread.

you come in from
running errands
you come at me and i come at you
the two of us like freight trains
on the same track, it’s so damned scary
that i wait for the impact
you come at me and apologize
i come at you, and throw you out.

you come in from dale and the bar
you come to me on the couch
where i have been drinking wine
for three hours alone
and watching television
you come to me, i’m the world’s perfect asshole
and we just know enough at this point
to let it all pass until i’m myself again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.12.08

falling apart

my arm hurts
i tell her
no it is numb
no there’s a pain
right down by the thumb
and my chest hurts too
and she says
your gas is acting up again
because you eat for shit
and should probably
stop drinking
or at least slow down
and i say
my head hurts too
like these shooting pains
in obtuse places
but most are on the sides
and she asks
do they run down the neck
it’s your sinuses
you have bad sinuses
go see a doctor
or take some meds
i tell her i’m falling apart
i’ve been falling apart all year
legs pains
gas pains
chest pains
head pains
burred vision
high cholesterol
and i think i might be
getting early onset alzheimer’s
or diabetes
and she says you just had
your blood checked
and your memory is fine
i have high anxiety
i’m tired all the time
it’s mono
you’re a hypochondriac
i am?
but i read that hypochondriacs
are better in tune with their
than most
like they can tell things before
doctors can
where did you read that?
shit if i remember.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poems of the day 11.11.08

a couple soon-to-bes in The winter issue of The Smoking Poet

why writers are like lovers

our dirty little sport
of friendship
still gets me.

we are children
slinging mud
and we are pound and eliot
at each other’s throats
on a rickety french balcony

(okay, for the sake of argument
i will be pound)

when will it end, old friend?
when we are codgers
throwing canes
instead of poems?

or now when the cup of
our golden daydreams
sit on etched platters
placed before our salivating mouths?

i hope never
on both accounts

because it would be a shame
to hate your beautiful words
from the nosebleed seats

float on, okay

we have a sip
on the scotch
hear the buzz
of the fan
the hum of the
the refrigerator
then i ask her
how it went
at the doctor’s
and she said
it went fine
the breasts are fine
the insides are fine
everything is fine
then i ask her
if she talked
to the doctor
about us
having babies
and she said
not based on last
night’s conversation
in the bar
and i said
then we had
another sip
on the scotch
heard the buzz
of the fan
the hum of the
and i said
maybe next year
we’ll think about
going to venice
for a week
right before the
summer comes

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.08.08


i need a drink
she needs a drink
but instead we are up
before the damned sun
noodling with words
and our own limp legends
hanging in the balance
of another writer’s morning
in america.
i think i see the sun poking up
behind the building across
the street
if nothing else, then it is
just a faint light, a glimmer
i want to watch it
but instead I hide in the bathroom
with the refuse of last night’s
scotch binge pouring out of me
watching the flies that have infested
our home
circle around
the corroded toilet bowl
trying to land on an old shit stain.
outside she is composing a poem
and in here i am contemplating
writing a novel
or slicing my wrists
wondering which of the two is
less work for me today.
so i flush and head back
out toward the dawn
and this fucking machine
she needs a drink
i need a drink
and when i get ready to leave
this morning
she’ll say why don’t you stay
here with me a little longer
and just go to work late.
but i won’t
even though i’ll wish I did.

Friday, November 7, 2008

poem of the day 11.07.08

new president

young and golden
history making
he stands in grant park
with his young family
as the country undulates
below him
as the seas rise
and europe loves us again.
this young president
with smiles
and good health now
inheriting debt and war
rising temperatures
a fucked government
and four-hundred years of racism.
i wouldn’t want his task.
i wouldn’t want that weight on me.
and as we finish the bottle
of scotch
election night
i make a promise
to myself that i won’t
look at him
a few years from now
with regret and anger
when hysteria and the sense
of purpose have faded
when his hair has gone
all gray
when his face has turn ashen
and all of those good people
throwing adulation
his way
are calling for his head
and he wants to scream
but it won’t make a sound
over the din
of two hundred and thirty two years
of madness and genuine

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.06.08

poem for hayden carruth

a table full
of son of a bitches
are laughing
playing uno and hitting
on women in this library
as i find out
hayden carruth
is dead.
september 29th.
today is october 29th.
a month later.
why am i only
finding this out now?
poor hayden
we have slipped
from each other.
poor me
listening to these
goddamned punks
while i read a thirty-day
old obituary
and “saturday at
the border,”
trying to catch up
with your ghost
while trying to remember
what christmas it was
that my wife bought me
“scrambled eggs and whiskey.”
she was my girlfriend then
brand new
and hayden, you,
well christ,
you were seventy-six
years old
a withered, bearded sage
still going strong.
i wondered then if i’d ever
have it in me
to last like that
to keep the words flowing
in an endless stream
to keep fighting off time and age.
i wonder it now
eleven years later
as the punks get louder
and the days get colder
as more poets die
that i never had the pleasure
of knowing
as the aches get more pronounced
and i play the writer game
to do or die
or simply fade away.
but hayden
you gave me something golden
even though our time
was brief,
and as you lay there
looking up at god’s grave
i hope you feel
that this long ride
was worth your while
once and for all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.05.08

patriots we

and then these two
get on the train
at grand army plaza.
i know the type
new york intellectuals
with too much time
on their hands
and bags from co-ops
or whole food stores
no bills
no irritable bowels
no nose hair
never vomiting
always with ear buds
in their ears
never shutting up
about how smart they are
what they are buying online
and i think
shit, here i am nursing
a hangover
and it’s election day
so i know where this
is gonna go
and the woman
she’s dressed in a red coat
and black slacks
looks like she hates having
her cunt eaten
she starts in before i even
finish the thought
about how proud she is to vote
how she’s making a difference
and her man
he’s dressed in a tweed coat
pressed jeans
has thick glasses
and a well sculpted shaved head
wearing an argyle sweater
probably secretly craves dick
keeps nodding
like she saying the word of god
just nodding
and fiddling with his damned
phone or ipod or sidekick or whatever
uhuh uhuh uhuh
and then he starts in about how
he’s a patriot and she’s a patriot
everyone who voted is a patriot
and listening to them
i almost can’t keep my lunch down
but there are no other seats to move to
i can’t tune them out with a book
so i suffer
and the worst part is i know i voted
for the same guy as them
early this morning
with a wine hangover
in a dank basement on bay ridge parkway
where a women with one
yellow tooth, a caldron,
and a black cat
ushered me into a line with the other dead
and we probably voted for the same
person too
and none of this makes me feel any better
when i get to my stop
so i get up
and leave
who in their right goddamned mind
wears argyle these days?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poem of the day 11.04.08

bench warmer

at the end of the day
when the bones are sore
and the brain don’t want to work
and you’ve suffered the humiliation
of the masses
and you’ve suffered the demeaning
moans of the boss
and those afternoon beers have
worn off
and your feet are tired
and your ankles are swollen
and your thighs are chaffed
and the asshole is rough but
the shits are runny
and the car wont start right
and the music is no good
and the sky is already growing dark
and the dinner is bland
and you’re too tired to fuck so you
sit there and drink
and there’s nothing good on the
and all the books have failed you
and you can’t get the poem down
the way it sounded in your head
that morning
and sirens hiss on city streets
and the neighbor’s lights illuminate
your bedroom like searchlights
and you can’t sleep
and the unceasing pain and fear
that you are a bench warmer in this life
wakes you up at 2 a.m.
and the new day
the same day
is hours away from rearing its ugly
stop and wonder
is it worth all of this?
for just a scrap of bread and a leaking roof?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Poem of the Day 11.03.08

he didn’t know

he didn’t know
i guess he didn’t know
we were finishing beers
and we looked over
at my thin grandmother
dressed in a wig
because the chemo made
her lose her hair and weight
and we looked over at her crying,
talking to his mother
holding her elbow
because the cancer had
metastasized into her bones
and he probably didn’t know
but he looked at me and said
”looks like grandma is
already hitting the sauce.”
and i don’t think he knew
even though it was already july
and my grandmother would
be dead by november of that year
even though i talked about it a lot
even though my mother
sometimes cried to his mother
on the phone.
but he probably didn’t know
an anyway i guess the cancer
and the wig, the thin frame
made my grandmother look drunk
so i said “yeah, looks like it,”
then i got up to go into
the house
to get us a couple more beers.
i wasn’t mad
i just figured
he didn’t know.
and it was okay, i thought.
we all had too much
of our own shit to put up with
in this life
to keep kind tabs
on everyone else’s problems.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

poem of the day 11.02.08

a real old one...think i wrote this in 2003


she's the unquenchable moonlight
and i'm blind.
the ragging unsatisfied lout on her arm
in an upper east side rain.
honey, we saw picasso and matisse, the blurry
labor of chagall staring back at us like the eye
of a candied god;
van gogh and his lunatic, desperate
syphilis gaze peering from behind impenetrable glass.
we saw half the beauty in the world
and the only joy
new york city has to offer
in five hours time.
ah, but my mood is still dark!
my pallet numb and void of any words!
my heart wound up like a confused and
bloodied hemingway bull!
my mind is still fixated on another endless
f-train ride
another loud night in the darkness
of our cramped brooklyn bedroom, wondering why
the dogs bark, and the latino kids have to shout
wondering what that song is booming thru the
thin plaster of our asylum-like white walls
wondering why you still love me after i've made
manhattan a miserable gesture, and how it is
that i can sill make you smile.
it must've been the degas.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Poems of the Day 10.31.08

an old poem, but fitting (kind of) for today

one scary movie

the movie wasn’t so great.
it had a lot of tricks to try
and make you think that it was
shocking and intelligent
but any fool could’ve figured it out
and the gore was a little too false,
the characters didn’t suffer enough
to satisfy me.
in fact, i spent most of the evening
trying to figure out what kind of
idiot pays good money to see a film
like this.
but then again, most people are dumb
and hadn’t i paid to see this
piece of cinematic shit too?
after the film, ally turned off the dvd
and we sat in silence for a while,
finishing our cheap chilean wine

“well, what did you think?”
she asked.
“i didn’t like it, “ i answered.
“it wasn’t scary. if they really
wanted to make a horror film
they should’ve made a movie about
a guy forced to work overtime,
or one about a maniac stuck in traffic,
or a film about a single mother trying
to pay the gas bill in the dead of winter.
now that shit would be scary. but
hollywood doesn’t make horror
films like those.”

ally said nothing and we had
another glass of wine, then got
ready for bed.
but before i shut the light off
i grabbed the movie out of the dvd player
and made sure to put it back in its case.
i didn’t want it to be late.
there was no point in paying for our

good will

we put the pants
and shirts aside
the larges for roger
who’s in a wheelchair
and looks about thirty years
younger than anyone in this place.
the mediums we are giving to robert
who keeps standing
in the doorway
crying and talking about
world war ii
or maybe he’s crying
over my grandfather
but none of us can tell.
we can’t find anyone who
will fit the shoes
so they stay in the corner
with a box holding
his old zippo lighter
old lottery calendars
and a pack of luckies
colored green from the war.
my father takes the swiss army knife
we bought for pap almost
twenty years ago at cooks forest.
i take some hats and a jacket.
we take the last
of bud’s beers out of his
mini refrigerator
an i.c. light and two genny cream ales
unplug it and then we drink
them as we put aside
his photographs
the heart monitor
the packages of depends
the digital alarm with numbers
big enough for him to read
and take down his clock.
my mother unplugs two lamps
and puts a box of things aside
for my uncle to look at
when he gets here from shaler
and nobody can think of what
to do with the powder blue
recliner sitting in the middle
of the room
so the old age home worker
who has been lingering around
eyeing all this stuff, says her son will
take it
and he’s here before we can say
yes or no
so we all vacate the room
and watch with dumb smiles as the kid
hoists the chair onto a dolly
and wheels it away.
paula’s getting the plant that has been
growing for twelve years
since my grandmother died
and someone is coming to get
the stand that stayed in my grandparent’s
living room
all forty-nine years of their marriage.
there was a blue blanket
somewhere around here.
it had red and white and yellow stripes
going across the thing
but none of us can find it
so we shut the lights off
and leave the room idle for someone else.
if you see it, maybe you could give it
to dave who is just down the hall
who says he’s cold all of the time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.29.08

bag of your things

on a new york
a bag
of your
inside it
there is
a blue
flannel jacket
a red
your satin
four of your
and a
an i.c. light
vanity plate
a foam carving
of the brewery
you worked
for thirty-five
a silver
plated watch
a yellow
forbes field
and your death
which i got
off the
to prove that
you are gone
to the
good people
in hr.
i am
on a new york
a bag of your
that you won’t
need anymore
that i’ll have
to find
a space for
in the tight
of my
when i
this bag
that have
become mine
on such short

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.28.08

walking to work

you just fucked
you should feel good
except you walk through
the mexican neighborhood
hoping for death
because you are thinking about being broke
having no time because of the job
and about your wife, at home,
writing out the bills because
the act makes your system shut down.
you’re a coward.
you lament the fact that it’ll be
another eight hours
before you get to tip the scotch bottle back,
throw on shooter jennings,
and just sink into the couch,
forgetting everything.
this is the blues.
the doldrums.
you are down and out
and your fingers still smell of pussy
but your nose it too busy smelling
car exhaust and garbage.
we all stink.
where is the knife?
where is an inch of water to drown
yourself when you need it?
then the wind howls
and you realize the day is lost.
it is like a crying child in a tight room
when you are nursing another hangover.
you look up the street.
4th avenue is endless.
it is a metaphor for life,
if you ever worked in metaphors.
at about 30th street, you think you’ll
take that bodega up on its offer
of ninety-nine cent tallboys of coors
and go get lost in the park.
then some kid dressed all in red
gets wise with you and pretends to lunge.
you flinch with a fist.
he wasn’t even after you.
he cowers back to his boys
and laughs nervously
and you move on wondering
about the next asshole
on the block
of if it’ll be another misunderstanding
like the alarm clock,
the never-ending years,
waking up,
and everything else.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.22.08

i want

to sit here staring
at the wall
drinking this
bottle of wine
and not doing
a goddamned

i want
to forget
the noise outside
the goals
the jobs
the friends
the love

and i want
to forget how
to be a writer
this monster
of myself
i created so
long ago.

but i can’t.
as evidenced
by this poem.
even wanting
to do nothing
in the
of making

how sad
we’ve truly lost
the soul.
i’d watch
the rain fall outside
and the leaves
off the trees
but that would
probably just
become another

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poem of the day 10.21.08

RIP Grandpap

--for alexander “bud” mcintyre

we didn’t see
eye to eye
or didn’t see
at all
that is we
never said
to each other
one woman
your daughter
my mother
and now
it doesn’t matter
what with you
and me sitting
in my stained
milwaukee’s best
and buying
jet blue tickets
to come home
for your funeral
but, bud,
there was that one
you and i sat
at the dining room
passing a bottle
of imperial whiskey
back and forth
and laughing
at everyone
until our eyes
went blurry
and christmas day
to hell
that i’ll never
and although
you never gave me
and maybe
i gave you less
than i should have
toward the end
when you didn’t really
deserve it
at least we’ll
always have that moment
and, bud,
some people
know each other a lifetime
and give
each other much
much less.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.20.08


she is looking
back at me
come hither eyes
red hair
chocolate skin
slumped demeanor
so i start moving
act distracted
because this happens
almost everyday
to me
on this block

someone always
wants money.

and i hear good
stories too.
a daughter in the
someone here from
new orleans
of hurricane katrina
someone just needing
money for a pint.

i’m waiting on the
or busted wall street
broker stories
but they haven’t come

usually i’m pretty
good with giving it out.
the money.
i don’t discriminate.
i’ve been known
to hand over
my last buck
because at least
i know where
my next buck is coming

but something about me
has me telling everyone no.
call it a lack of benevolence
or otherwise
the economy
my health
maybe handing over cash
feels redundant
and i should just donate
to a charity.
i simply do not know.
but i’ve been interested
in keeping my cash
interested in denying
those who ask.

i hope i get over
it soon
the world could
use one less
asshole in it.

but for now
i’m keeping a tight grip
on the wallet
and at the next light
i’m crossing the street
to get a roll
and a hot cup of coffee
from that deli
and ms. red
with the come hither eyes
and wonderful chocolate skin
can find herself
willing benefactor
to woo
this morning.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.18.08


a.d. winans’ poems
as some guy
motherfucks at his wife
at a computer
blasting viral videos
on his cell phone too
as another lady plays
online trivia
shouting questions
into the earbud phone
she’s wearing.
we are in a library
but we could be anywhere
like a goddamned circus
or a bus station
because it is not quiet.
libraries are no longer quiet.
you can’t shush
or shut anyone the fuck up anymore.
but this is a good thing.
it’s a sign of progress
like portable music players
on crowded, tired subway trains
or while you’re in line
for some groceries
or in the middle of a thought.
it’s just progress
put here to appease
and amuse the masses.
just like the cell phone
or the online trivia game
the viral videos
but sometimes progress
just isn’t good enough
to keep you going on
toward wishing
for the light
of the next goddamned day.
sometimes progress is just
another motherfucker
trying to beat you down too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.17.08


heavy head
sore neck
getting worse
on my in-law’s couch
on a cool october
saturday evening
and i can’t shake it
so the panic sets in
and i go outside
to take in the night air
bare feet
start shivering on painted
white wood
the thud-head
and panic getting worse
tightening my chest
gas pains too
another problem
from other months
this year
and i think
i’m doing it
i’m finally falling apart
i’m too young to die
i haven’t even seen
my new book
or got the next one
put together yet
i haven’t toured old
british pubs with my wife
or taken a train with her
across india
the steelers are 4-1
the giants are 4-1
and i don’t even know
who’s going to the
world series this year.
when my wife comes out
to check on me
i calm a little bit
my head lightens
and i tell her i thought
i was having a brain aneurysm
though i don’t quite know
what having one entails
and she laughs kindly
then takes my hand
she tells me my blood sugar
is probably low.
it’s just that simple
i guess.
and we look at the
darkening sky
over monroe, new york
i saw my first shooting star
about ten years ago.
then she asks me
if i want to go back
get warm
get another beer
and have some dinner.
i do.
so we do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poem of the day 10.16.08


i was bored
of the conversation in the bar
so i watched this brunette
etch something into
the bar table with her keychain.
she looked drunk
and determined.
she’d etch then pick up her pint
and take a long pull.
she did it again.
then her boyfriend came back
with two pitchers of beer
and some darts that he got from
the bartender.
she wasn’t done etching yet
but he pulled her from her chair
all the same
and took her into the back room
and the two of them took turns
drinking and necking
and throwing darts.
that was pretty boring
to watch as well,
but i figured you take a mad artist
some sharp utensils
and a decent amount of beer
and maybe
just maybe
something could happen
or someone could die
and for a spectator like me
the night could finally escape
the void
of all of the other nights
where people play it safe
and then just go home
to sleep it off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BONUS poems 10.15.08

...and if you won’t save me
please don’t waste my time

deja vu streets
in the city no one misses
but everyone lives in
gray morning
gray faces
chinese charles bronson
going back and forth to his car
like an obsessive compulsive
aneurysm head
atypical cells
heart attack gamble
gas pains
chest pains
chess nights
sodium spells
cholesterol nightmares
talking pipes
falling leaves
browning city blocks
whisky breath
and winedrunk soul
you whore
you harlot
you work calendar
with not enough days off
kids crying in storefronts
chicken wings lining the sidewalk
as a man plays
the accordion and smiles
toward glass cities
made out of beer bottles
as women pull babies
along glass cracked sidewalks
as fortunes rise and fall
and the next thirty years
paint themselves
across my mind
in muted color
while the sun rises and falls
over all
that i’ve ever known.

still has fire

here it is
the morning
and i can’t get
it down.
the dj won’t help
he’s hell bent
on strauss’
i try and wait
it out
but my stomach
starts getting to
me from hunger and nerves.
this has gone
on too long.
too many mornings
without the word.
i look at the
and i’m doing all right.
but that was last month
that was the summer.
christ, have i become
one of those writers
who are already resting
on the past?
writing about writer’s block?
or is this it?
nearly twenty years up
on rimbaud
and it might be time
for me to put down
the pen
shut off the machine
pack up the notebooks
and head off to africa
for cancer, ethiopian women
and an eternity locked up
in the family vault
or to simply fester
in brooklyn
until i rot and wither.
i hope not.
i hope this passes
whatever it is
an aversion to the morning
an aversion to strauss
and that i can put it down
like always
because this kid
still has fire
i know it
and i hate safaris
and the taste of absinthe
in a cafe
by the seine river.

Poem of the Day 10.15.08

soon to be in a wonderful mag called Cherry Bleeds. Enjoy...or don't.

memorial day

i told her we should
go to the park and have
a picnic.
she told me i hated picnics,
which is true.
picnics and parades
and kids and dogs
and disney and
the 4th of july and
football sundays
and people who talk to me
in bars when all i want is
a drink.
but it was worth a shot.
the summer was coming
already the cats were laying
on the linoleum in a heat-induced
it was getting harder to fuck,
burning and sweating until
we had to pour water on each
other’s assholes just to
settle down.
in a month the apartment
would be unbearable.
we had to get out and do something
now, i thought.
maybe we could just walk up
and down elmwood avenue,
going only into the air conditioned shops
but you hate people and shopping too, she said.
which was also correct.
so we opened up a couple of bottles
of cheap wine,
then the 12 pack of yuengling,
pulled down the shades,
and didn’t answer the phone.
we watched a couple of bad movies,
and fell asleep before the sun went down.
it was a good holiday

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.14.08

form letter blues

dear author
thank you very much for giving me
the opportunity to read your submission.
it was good for a laugh.
i appreciate you considering me
for representation
of your project.
unfortunately, after careful review
and coming to my senses,
i have decided
that i’m not the right agent
for your work.
i don’t deal in markers
and crayons.
this industry is incredibly
and also a huge waste of time
for authors and publishing houses.
there are many agencies out there
with many different tastes,
although most, like mine,
have only the most
direct and pedestrian monetary
goals in mind.
it is for this reason that i strongly
encourage you to keep submitting
elsewhere, in the hopes of finding
an agent not as concerned with big money
and making a big name for himself,
one who will be an enthusiastic champion
of you and your work
(or one that at least sees dollar signs
when they read your prose).
i apologize for the form letter reply,
but the volume of submissions
i receive has finally made it impossible
for me to personalize responses
as i have for years.
also, with the rise and gas and food prices,
the war, rent and bills, i have to spend a greater
amount of time going through
people’s literary drivel, in the hopes
of finding someone who will
help me pay off my car.
you, unfortunately, couldn’t pay off
my lunch.
i hope you will understand
and forgive me this necessary efficiency.
after all, we are in an age of
forced preservation.
in addition, i do not feel it is
appropriate for me to provide
detailed editorial feedback on projects
i have decided not to represent
(i will try my best not to imagine you
languishing in a sea of booze, bills, endless
work hours, and a pile of form letters
just like mine).
i wish you all the very best luck
and success with your writing.
but don’t quit that day job
just yet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.10.08

old man

it never
old man
in a motorized
with piss
on his
holding up
grocery line
can’t find
as the
dances to
a pop
i’m dead

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poems of the Day 10.09.08

These poems will be appearing in Octopus Beak Inc's Cool Season issue:

the king

my brother calls to tell me
he is playing “kentucky rain”
over the loud speakers
on an endless loop
inside the retail store he manages.
it is driving the college kids mad
& the customers out in droves
when all they wanted to do was
a little mindless work, or some
measly holiday shopping.
i laugh when he tells me this.
i am hungover and tired,
battling red wine, insomnia,
and ray carver’s poems.
november is back,
it is cold outside & the wind
is roaring.
until that phone call
a cat’s body was keeping my legs
warm from the chill of the apartment
& the horror of my coming work day.
next it’ll be “suspicious minds”
he tells me.
i laugh again, sadder this time,
& then he has to go.
we hadn’t really talked since may
& it was good to hear his voice.

obit anus, abit onus

i think about schopenhaur and caroline marquet
while sitting here at the work desk.
seems schopenhaur, sick and tired of the noise
this whore brought right outside his doorway,
pushed and assaulted the woman enough that
she took him to court and won a settlement,
a payment that lasted twenty years,
until the bitch died.
and on a copy of her death certificate schopenhaur wrote
“the old woman dies, the burden is lifted.”
as well as anyone knew, old arthur didn’t like noise.
as well as caroline knew, she stood to make
a good buck standing outside his doorway
yelling and screaming for all of berlin to hear,
waiting schopenhaur out.

so where does that leave the two of us?
i wonder, you lousy cunt.
me sitting here with the work blues,
thinking about philosophy and schopenhaur,
and the free release of assault,
and you at the desk next to me, dumb and oblivious,
shouting, blasting music out of your earphones,
and singing the same line of the song over and over,
just like you’re the only motherfucker on planet earth?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Poems of the Day 10.08.08

These will be appearing in Clockwise Cat in its December/January Issue. i'll provide a link to Clockwise after the poems.

looking through all of you

poets tell me about
poetry readings
while the birds die
outside now,
and the seasons turn
to mush.
poets go to poetry
as the world continues
to give in,
heading toward some kind
of digital apocalyptic shit.
but the poets don't care about
they will continue
talking about readings
or their "work."
they will talk about their
as if the things are great
monuments of knowledge,
and faith,
instead of cheap dimestore
and self-involved musings.
we can never remember a time
when the poets were gods,
or when they said things
the world needed to
we are beyond that time.
we remember whitman like
a grandmother's birthday,
as we scrounge and look for meaning,
as the poets shop for new shoes
and the latest itunes downloads,
as the poets throw down money
to see some indie-darlings new
film, so that they
can talk the thing to indie death
over weak
import beer in dim indie bars.
we try to make sense,
as the poets write new poems
to share with the soulless,
looking at themselves in the
and we burn as the poets congregate
on street corners
to wipe away the bums,
paving a new path toward the classroom

indian rez

this is just like
adrian louis wrote
the beat-up trailers
the flat tire swings
the dog by the
eating god knows what
out of a plastic bag.
angola, new york.
angola is small town
and i am in
a commercial van
going seventy
on the backroads
while my co-worker sleeps
in the passenger seat.
he holds the directions
to this place,
and i am forced
to listen to his
shitty punk rock music,
as the decimation
of another american pact
falls along before me.
when we get to the site
we meet this indian dude
with a carthart jacket
and a long white ponytail.
he takes us back into
his work shack
so he can give us the check
for the windows we delivered.
he's a potter,
and the shack is full
of tea cups and bowls,
and sculptures of
crying indians
holding out their hands,
looking for either rain
or god.
but what hits me most
is the collection of
sports patches he has
tacked to the wall
the chicago blackhawks
the cleveland indians
the washington redskins,
next to a poster of uncle sam
pointing his limp finger,
saying he wants me
for the u.s. army.
uncle sam wants us all,
and he'll take us either
dead or alive,
red, white, black, or yellow.
when we leave,
my co-worker turns off the
punk and puts on talk radio.
it's a conservative station
and the talk show host
is really giving it
to the black folks today.
he says it's equal opportunity
and nothing personal.
and we move on
to the next job
on our list.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BONUS poem of the day 10.07.08

what can i say? i'm on a roll this morning.

uncle ray

stuck in a rut
third morning for a rut
which is hard for me.
it doesn’t help that the cat
is vomiting again
or the radio jock
insists on marches
and thunder
at 6:10 in the morning.
i’m just not cooperating
with myself.
there are better things
to do
on the internet
than write a poem
or some fiction
like reading this
wikipedia entry on
raymond carver.
ray was a famous
short story writer
a poet
influenced by hemingway
kafka, babel, o’connor,
pritchett, and most famously
by anton chekhov.
ray was also a famous drunk.
he cleaned himself up
good in 1977,
but the gods only gave him
eleven more years to get
the word down
before cancer came
and ended it all.
i’ve always liked
raymond carver.
he seemed to say it
in a way
that no one ever could.
better than chekhov even
although i doubt he’d
believe it.
i even have a picture
of ray in my living room
a black and white promotional
that came with his last book.
a picture of ray, sober,
looking back at me
inside of a silver frame.
and i think of it this morning
i think of raymond carver
this morning
in between another hurl
of vomit
strauss’ sunrise
tchaikovsky’s overture 1812
and me trying to find
my way back
toward the muse.
i think of raymond carver
and i know it’ll be all right

Poem of the Day 10.07.08

one drip one drop

the king of beers
has taken out an ad
along the side wall of a subway car
just to let us know it is
still the great american lager
even with that sale to a belgium conglomerate.
how nice.
this is capitalism begetting
cheap nostalgia and regret.
but who really cares?
there is the spiraling world market
to consider
and gas.
the holidays are coming
and people are taking out loans
just to fly across the country.
this year’s election has thrown us
two more false idols.
who are making history out of
bigger piles of shit
than ever before
as the debt keeps rolling in
and the seasons keep getting hotter
as the freeways become more maligned
with potholes and the beaten
as this train car becomes
filled with the degraded
and people are getting jumped in the streets.
who needs this kind of promotion
in this day and age?
the king of beers.
king of cards and illusions
just one drip, one drop
of false courage and consideration
and it doesn’t matter
if the water is being dredged up
by the north sea
or the mississippi river
it all tastes the same.
just a momentary relief
from the next problem.

Monday, October 6, 2008

poem of the day 10.06.08

i get

some people
get the world
get bailed out
get new cars
when their old ones
new music when they want
new clothes
nice food
i get the skateboard
on the pavement
and dogs biting at my
and bills
and mailmen who
won’t deliver packages
and lackluster versions
of beethoven’s fourth
on the radio
and a landlord that won’t
fix my light
a literary agent
rated the 20th worst
i get the hipsters smoking
outside my window
and the guy
with the beemer
playing bass
i get harassed on
the pavement
by aids patients
from new orleans
from brothers just
trying to make it
from people in the hr department
some people get nice
and casual conversation
i get burned by the microwave
and lunatics spitting prose
at me on the three train
i get the bums
with a story to tell
and the one guy no one
wants talking to me
when i have a hangover
and need another cup of coffee
bad news in the mail
shoes with broken soles
pants with holes
in the crotch
vomit spells
the worst schedule at work
bad books to read
bad meetings to go to
bad cats with bad breath
caught in the rain
debauched from the moment
i step out the door.
some people get it all
and others
like me
like us
get shit on as a matter
of course.
but...i guess i got you baby
you and that smile
and that way of yours
and it makes all the rest
of it bearable.
something those other fucks
can’t say
on a morning when they
get caught in the rain
without an umbrella
and not a cab in sight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.03.08

cold chicken taco

can’t seem to grasp
contemplating this
cold chicken taco
court street, brooklyn
with autumn turning
and this woman
slamming into my chair
as one of her kids
and the other screams
bloody murder
as businessmen come in
and talk about
their vacations
to yosemite, san francisco
about hiking trails
away from tourists
no one thinks they’re
a tourist
everyone is wrong
and the cold chicken taco
is laying in foil
that reflects my face
the day
both distorted
she smacks my chair again
slaps the one kid
shouts at the other
with a thick brooklyn accent
businesswomen come in
in packs
suffocating the place
with phones
with perfume
with asses fitting into
polyester pants
good asses
bad asses
fat ones
but i can’t seem to grasp
at anything
this day
the point of it all
why i got up
this chicken taco
getting colder
in the foil
while i wait
sleepless nights
and now the kids
are screaming and crying
and she smacks my chair
a third time
doesn’t apologize
gives them a time out
and holds up the seats
i don’t care
everyone stares
but they see nothing
go back to talking
about nothing
about cell phones
and hiking trails in yosemite
and i shove the
cold chicken taco
hoping it stays there
get up
part the crowd
toss my trash
head back outside
onto the busy street
wondering what the fuck?
looking for the nearest bar
with the best
midday prices
shoving my
can’t seem to grasp
into pockets
that are beginning to
from overuse.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.02.08

talk talk talk

the words sit idle on the page
as i sit here, too,
and people continue to talk
a fine blather around me.
it is such perfect nonsense,
most of what is said
between one set
of flapping gums and another.
it is a perfect madness.
it is a perfect stink.
wars have been made from
conversations such as these.
empires have fallen.
murders have been committed.
fortunes have been gained
and lost.
landscapes have been stolen
and pioneered,
and one civilization has give way
to the next,
during a discourse on politics and art
over a mediocre dinner
and a warm glass of beer
amongst friends.
such blowhards we are.
such dumb geniuses.
such beautiful uselessness.
we can’t even turn over
on the creaking bed
without farting out an apology
to the one next to us
thus breaking the silence
long fought for in the night
the silence that, once again,
will become so hard
to regain.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poem of the Day 10.01.08


they don’t know
that it’s sunday night
and quiet
and october
that the trees need silence
to die,
and the squirrel the quiet
to find nuts
for the winter.
they only know inane chatter,
leaning on a beat-up car,
the bleep of the cellular phone,
as he calls his woman
a whore
then tells her to act like
a lady.
they only know the cold
blue light
of the television,
as cold as the blue in the
evening sky,
but never nearly so beautiful.
they only know one car stacked
upon another,
inhaling gasoline fumes,
and brutal words spewed
into the night,
as neighbor fights neighbor
over nothing,
and cat fights cat
over nothing,
and nation fights nation
over nothing.
as the dogs bark lonesome
as the trees die
and leaves fall all over
stupid humanity,
and october lifts its mother tongue
to sigh
its god breath.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Poem of the Day 09.30.08

okay, so maybe i'm a little fucking bitter this morning:

poets and editors

it is so easy for them.

“wait until we have the
book out
and then send the manuscript
and we’ll see how it goes.”

so easy for them
while i wait three years
for a book
to come out.
while i amass stacks
of poems
and lunatic thoughts
in the sweltering apartment.

“let’s see if we want to get
together and do the next

as if there is a choice
in the matter.
the world may be beating down
their door
but it isn’t even tapping at mine.

“i’m not saying don’t send me
the next manuscript,
i’m just saying maybe you should

so i’ll wait.
but at least the words won’t.
and the poems will keep coming.
and during that time
the editors will send out the other
to strike out at the plate.
then maybe i’ll get the call again
and the show will become
exciting again
what we all expected
in the first place.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Newest Yinzer

folks, for better or worse i'm back on the new yinzer with another piece of "writing"
it can be viewed almost right here:

Poem of the Day 09.29.08

this poem is why i need to get out of NYC every so often.

sunday morning, brooklyn

slam the door
kick the door
pound the glass
shout i know someone is in there
even though no one opens up.
slam the door
kick the door
sunday morning, brooklyn.
slam the door
grab the cell phone
call the cops
while the neighbors speculate
in the rain
sunday morning, brooklyn
pound the glass
shout you motherfucker open up
slam the door
kick the door
hold your fingers down on the bell
as the dog barks inside
on another
sunday morning, brooklyn.
wait for the cops
the cops don’t like getting wet
in the rain
slam the door
cops slam the door
pound the glass
before the cops haul you away
this sunday morning, brooklyn.
fill out a report
watch the cops leave
go back and kick the door again
slam the door
scream someone open this fucker up
sunday morning, brooklyn.
sit in the car
put on the radio
wait for him to pull up and get out
watch him walk the steps
watch him open the door
give him time
then race up the steps and scream
open up
open up
look around
where in the hell are the cops now?
watch him open up the door
run in
grab the child
hold the child
hear the child crying
as he points into your face
and shouts
but he’s not saying anything
you care to hear
this sunday morning, brooklyn.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Poems of the Day 09.25.08 and one for Ally because she thinks she always comes off bad in my writing


i saw her
how to say what
you want
to get what you
but today she
is yawning
reading nothing.
i guess she got
all right,
or else she
that answers
are seldom
in books
these days.

train ride, wednesday evening

i look at the back of
her legs
imagining her face
as he plays with her hair
stooped down
tousling it like she was on
a photo shoot.
she has on brown boots
that go to her knees.
mine are black
with holes on the bottom
so that i really feel
the concrete earth
and rips on the side
to take in the fall breeze.
i look at them and think
well, i’ve gotten four poems
published this week.
but then i realize i haven’t
written a good one
in almost a month.
it’s just as well.
i need new boots
more than i need good, new poems.
i need a beer
or to see her face
just to complete the picture
for some understanding
but her man won’t quit playing
with her hair
so she won’t turn around
so i stop watching her
and instead watch
the lunatic in a white hat
counting the rats running along
the live subway rails
dancing on the platform
to no music
as the 3 train nears
and wednesday night
finally ends for me
in this unforgiving city.

even fishermen get the blues

i can’t write this novel
i tell you
because i can’t connect
to the characters.
i just get up every morning now
and read the baseball scores
and the football news
mark more poems rejected
then i go on facebook
to check everyone’s status
as a form of habit.
the radio disc jockey talks
on and on
and i think i’m going mad.
you tell me
that even fishermen sometimes
don’t catch fish
but they are up every morning at 5 a.m.
with their rods and boxes
of tackle and bait regardless.
i nod but don’t really understand.
i was never much for sports analogies.
but yesterday on my walk to work
i saw two fisherman
a couple of miles apart.
both were coming in, empty handed.
they looked beat
done with the world,
but because of you i knew
they’d be out there the next day
and the next
casting their lines, waiting
because that’s what they do.
and this is what we do, early
before the sun and people try
to ruin it all.
i just forgot, baby.
and that’s another reason
probably one in the millions
that i’m glad you love me
and are a part of my lonely
and crazy life.