Thursday, April 30, 2009

poem of the day 04.30.09


the removal of the artwork
from the subway station
that wasn’t the worst part of the day
watching as guys in
fluorescent orange vests
scraped away at nameplates
that said
degas or miro on them
or watching as some of the others
tore at basquiat and picasso prints
like they were bad wallpaper
and it wasn’t knowing that
my morning dalliance with the masters was over
that i’d never see old chaplin again
his back turned to me in a sepia hue
or that i couldn’t greet the day
with vince’s starry night anymore
or the fact that they were
removing the artwork
in order to put back the ads
for sneakers and fast food
posters for all of the bad movies
coming out this summer
i knew this was going to happen
that this day was bound to come
no, the worst part of the day
was standing there in the station
feeling blank and gray
awash, again,
in the mind-numbing madness
of a tuesday workday
realizing that a rendezvous with genius
a little color and a little life go a long way
toward not wanting to off yourself
and take down the rest of humanity with you
and once they peel it off the wall
remove it like one would remove a bandage or a soul
the void that’s left in the pit of your stomach
is so deep and cavernous
it could send a grown man moaning
falling down to his knees
reaching for something flesh and real
that you know is simply not going to be there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

poem of the day 04.29.09


are having a parade
down broadway
and my pittsburgh relatives
do not like this
there are no sikhs in pittsburgh
if there are, they keep to themselves
they don’t have parades
down 5th avenue and wood street
the irish do that
my pittsburgh relatives think
the sikhs are muslims
because sikhs wear
bright orange turbans
and have long beards
my pittsburgh relatives do not understand
how these muslims can parade
down broadway, manhattan
after 9/11 a man in mesa, arizona
killed a sikh
at a gas station because
he thought he was a muslim
with his orange turban and long beard
my pittsburgh relatives don’t know any muslims
neither do i
they didn’t come to new york city
to watch muslims have a parade
so they want to take taxis
away from the noise of midtown
only after they get to climb
the empire state building and roar
and look at all the people as small as ants
the tiny cars and buses caught in gridlock
my pittsburgh relatives want
to see new york city from high above
they want to look down on the parade of sikhs
as they weave their way along broadway
watch as the sea of orange turbans move along
disappearing in the haze of a hot april saturday
until the streets are clear and safe again
for the throngs of people carrying macy’s bags
trying to cross 34th street
before the light changes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

poem of the day 04.28.09


this is no joke
i was walking down
nostrand avenue
updating my list of enemies
trying to decide
whether or not
to put you on it
when these two guys and a lady
opened a door to a print shop
and a box of fliers
that one of them was carrying
got caught up in the wind
the paper taking flight
and scattering down the block
me, being the kind fellow that i am
i stopped and began
picking up the fliers
while one of the men
bent and cursed the heavens
while the other continued
chasing paper down the street
the woman, she started helping too
after some laborious time
bending and digging my nails
into the pavement
i took my stack over
to one of the men
and he put it with his stack
and the stacks from the other two
it looked like we got most of them
stacks of fliers boasting tax relief
the men thanked me
and the woman smiled
then i started back down the street
only i didn’t remember
what i had been doing
until i got here to the job
but by then it was too late
so i just wanted to let you know
that you’re safe
you didn’t make my list of enemies
at least not
right now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

poem of the day 04.27.09

It's hot out. i dont function well in the heat. so here's another one
from the vault.

losers’ club

the whole bunch
of us
sweating our asses off
and our souls out
for nothing
but someone else’s wealth.
you may not want to join
but you’re in it, pal,
you’re in it
up to your knees.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

poem of the day 04.25.09


we look at it
the security guard and i
sitting in a brown lump
right on the floor
or something
shit in this place
and there it is
right there
and there we are
right here
the guard and i
looking at each other
dumb grins on our faces
trying to figure out
who’s going to
pick this up
who’s taking one
for the team
him or me
still grinning like fools
usually we get along
talk baseball and the like
but there it is
between us
a small mound of shit
someone’s ugly gift
on this never ending night
a night he and i are
stuck in this joint
until the bitter end
but we keep smiling
at each other
although we’ve reached
an impasse
two unmovable men
not risking pride or sanity
and there’s nothing
we can do about this
because sometimes
shit happens

Friday, April 24, 2009

poem of the day 04.24.09


i’ll take it down easy
like a smooth drink
this capital end
the way the big shots
want to do us in
with smiles and handshakes
i’ll take it down like an elixir
let them have the apartment
and the books and the bills
our precious jobs and the comfort
they can have the bank account too
i’ll let it rest in my belly like a small fire
keeping just enough to one day
rise like a phoenix
when the time is right
for now i’ll smile like a jackass
while the hammer is coming down
upon me
as they thank me for my wasted time
as the vultures who started this mess
eat the finest carrion
behind the golden bars of their cages
waiting for the coast to clear
so that they can circle around again
and feed on new and raw flesh
as they come to tear it all to pieces again
while the rest smile dumbly
i’ll take it down for me
and i’ll take it down for you too
i’ll hold it for as long as i can
but then i’ll probably shit it out
like a last bad meal
but then i’ll find me a car that still runs
i’ll crawl in and turn that rusted key
find you on one of our lost highways
find us a half-assed radio station
that occasionally plays something good
old songs from our past
together we’ll locate the desert
we’ll remember the feel of the sun
on hot detroit metal
and the way that first cold beer ever tasted
back when life was bliss and california oranges
and things were always on the up and up.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poem of the day 04.23.09

so i've been doing a lot of fiction lately, and haven't gotten up to typing some of the poems. so i return to the vault. i'm being thematic today. times are hard and people are losing jobs and such. so, here are a few poems about work.

ten minute poem

written on a break
an earth shattering poem
when i don’t even have
the time to think.

will the bossman allow it?
he’s keeping my time as i

but back to it.
not even an idea to cultivate,
a small plot for my

and oh, how my feet
stop hurting
and my back aches
the mundane conversation of
the break room
demoralizing me.

bills and kids and booze
and booze and kids and bills
blah blah blah
until i can’t take it.

i have murderous thoughts
these waning moments,
i envision my death
and yours

such sweet justice
don’t you think?

just the two of us
lopped off and sent to
our final peace
a murder/suicide pact at work.
the new American ingenuity
everyone will be doing it.

imagine that!
thousands and thousands of
workers and bosses
moving slowly through heaven.
pretty soon they’ll be a break room
next to the pearly gates
and an automated time clock
or a boss
watching how much time I take.


beyond punching out

after work
in the 6pm rain
eating this waxy bologna sandwich
as people pass by
having dumb conversations

pretentious, ugly sommeliers
w/cow hides for coats
or the standard, fat buffalo
arian family, yapping loudly
arguing over a fast food

i am eating an apple
sucking its juice because
i am thirsty and have no water
sore and tired
i am almost at my wits
today might be the day
where i jump into traffic
on delaware avenue
and give up the game for good.

despite these suicidal thoughts
this early evening madness
and gloomy
it is still better to be hungry and
in the autumn rain
work one more
fucking minute
for you.


from the office to the bar
(a love poem)

i go from one building
to another
one seat
to the next.
they’re really no different,
except one of them has
my soul
and the other one has
my mind.
don’t worry dear, you still have
my heart.
but what’s left for me
in all of this?
the bar tab?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

poem of the day 04.22.09

how to live to 100

don’t drink
don’t eat the good foods
don’t smoke
don’t fuck unless
you really have to
have a lot of friends
talk a lot in meetings
always offer your opinions
to strangers
stay connected
don’t spend any time alone
call people on the telephone
send emails
have dinner parties
go away on vacations
to private resorts
where the surrounding area
is poorer than all get out
have a nice car
have a nice home
eat fish
don’t keep the blinds closed
on a sunny day
vacuum and mop
scrub the toilet at least once a week
rake leaves and shovel snow
don’t sit alone in a bar
and watch the sun go down
try for that promotion
try for that new job
stay employed
never go mad
play christmas music all season long
and celebrate thanksgiving with verve
take those happy pills
don’t become a writer
have new year’s eve parties
don’t express any opinions to the contrary
go green
there you have it.
all you need to do to live until 100.
but if you really want to live
i mean really want to LIVE
read that list again and do the exact opposite.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

poem of the day 04.21.09

fast exit

we’ll make a fast exit
i promise
so quick and painless
and our bank account
won’t even feel it.
we’ll let them feel good about it
slap us on the back
and give us those eyes
then we’ll run
far away
to the bar
to a fine restaurant
or just into the street
free for the moment
rich for a moment
tomorrow won’t matter
we’ll just look at the gray pavement
and the dumb faces
waiting on their crinkling pink papers
with a sigh of relief
because then at least it’ll be over
then we’ll hide the bills
we’ll make sure to stock
the liquor cabinets good
before we settle
in for the long haul
it’ll go so easily
it’ll be a fast exit
a mad dash out the door
i tell you
we won’t even let them finish
their sentence before we’re gone
we won’t hang around for
their empathy and promises
we’ll laugh like jackals
all the way to the end of brooklyn
we’ll smile like fools
we’ll be the happiest idiots
they’ve ever seen
two giddy twits galloping
like track horses toward the fast exit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

poem of the day 04.20.09

one of those days

where the nightmares come
with a bill of sale
and the mattress feels like concrete
where the morning sun has stripped
all beauty from the world
and life is gray
where the hangover feels worse
than the last one
and you wonder how much more
can the body take
where everyone on the morning train
looks dead
acts dead
and friends feel like enemies
where there is no love
except that wanting to murder you
where you wonder
how much longer can you go on
with the world
before you burn into a fine ash
or go stale
if you’ve gone stale
where one kind face could maybe
save you
but you know that face will
never come
where all the food tastes bland
and the drink is dull
and conversation feels like war
where the clock starts mocking you
atop a mute television
with a dying screen
and the next hour feels like
water dropping slowly from
a broken faucet
where the idea of the next day
feels like a new kind of hell
where you go to bed feeling your heart
ready to explode in your chest
and the panic settling into your soul
where your eyes are afraid to close
where you can’t stand the images in your head
and the shadows on the wall make hell hounds
angling to swallow you whole
where you are having one of those days
where death feels like a respite from thought
and you pray the buddhists are wrong
one of those kinds of days
that lasts a psychotic’s eternity

tell me,
have you ever had a day
like that too?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

poem of the day 04.18.09

much too much

room dark
windows closed
music on
too much beer
too much scotch
much too much
door locked
television off
sky black
voices muted
much too much
no work
no soul
too much wine
on the countertop
and in my gut
burning me good
much too much
sheets dirty
papers scattered on
the floor
books in piles
much too much
in the same stained
for days
alcohol and sperm
unshaven for a week
heart thumping heaven’s
much too much
of a good time
to ever really think
about coming back
and joining the rest
of you fools
in your gold-plated
digital hell.

Friday, April 17, 2009

poem of the day 04.17.09


she had nothing
do to while
the rest of us worked
her grandmother took care of her
owned a sandwich shop in
and paid all of her bills
she used to bring me
a sandwich for lunch
and the two of us
would eat outside
the carnegie library
laughing and talking
about whatever
young lovers discussed
when it was all new
and worth discussing
then she would leave me
to go and sunbathe
in schenley park
she had soft white skin
and she burned so easily
in the evenings she would
come to my apartment
her face red
her body red except for
the bikini lines
and she would lay on
my bed naked
moaning in pain
the wrong kind of moaning
for an evening in my youth
and i would play doctor
and get out the lotion
rub it on her back
rub it on her legs
rub it on her ass even
though it wasn’t burned
my cock getting hard
thinking all this beautiful
naked flesh at my fingertips
and there was nothing to do
with it but look
which is exactly what i did
the whole night as she slept
i looked over all of that flesh
i studied it like a sailor
charting the next course
i’d take along her body
once she felt better
and decided she’d had enough
fun in the sun
for a while.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

poem of the day 04.16.09

i can’t stop

if i get on a train
and there are legs
and a short skirt
across from me
i can’t stop
because i might get
the blessed flash of the panty
or better
and when a woman bends over
to look for a book
or to fix her kid’s coat
tie shoes
and she is wearing low hung
with the thong
the top of the ass crack showing
i must stop whatever
it is i’m doing and watch
until she is done
i can’t stop
i’ve been looking down
women’s shirts since
i was twelve
i used to do ass walks
through parks to pass
the time
i sit through bad films
purely for the nude scenes
even now
with the flash of tit or ass
on the silver screen
i am like a thirteen-year-old boy
i can’t stop
we’ve been together almost
twelve years
but whenever my wife
comes out of the shower wet
red from the hot water on flesh
i have to put down my book
and stare
sometimes i follow her into
the bedroom
and nature takes
its course
i can’t stop
and if there are packs
of young girls
on the street
mean little whore teenage girls
with their tight pants
and cell phones
taunting boys
i take my place against
the wall
and wish to be abused
by them too
i watch them until they
are gone
i am an ugly man
i know i am coarse
but i can’t stop
i don’t want to stop
i thank the gods every day
for women
such joy
such pleasure
such fantastic misery
and murder
all in one
i just can’t stop
i can’t quit any of you
until i’ve eaten you all up
in my mind
and licked the bones
of your souls

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

poem of the day 04.15.09


the pleas don’t
on them
the begging
for food
a job
the tinkle of
some change
in his cups
doesn’t move
doesn’t lift
all the good
into some
it is only
when he stops
and tells them
that he loves
that he misses
the good word
and will be
going back
to church
that the alms
pick up
and his cup
so heavy
he can hardly
hold it
with one

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BONUS poem of the day 04.14.09

--for marilyn chambers

we had a good scam
going back then
rick would go over
and take care of his neighbor’s
the neighbor was a single guy
traveled a lot
and rick always said the one attraction
to watching the guy’s house
was access to all the porn that he had
and he had the good stuff too
the classics
seika films and deep throat
behind the green door
rick would borrow those movies and others
he’d bring them to my house
and we’d dub them from
one tape to another
while smoking marlboro reds
and then sell them to freshman
in between classes
and when rick turned eighteen
he got a membership to west coast video
and we’d spend the hours after school
dubbing the west coast porn collection
onto cheap tapes
stacking them in book bags
in the back of rick’s 1973 station wagon
to sell
i don’t know how much we made
not enough to keep it going
plus when word got around
it became harder and harder
to make deals in the hallway
in between classes
so we stopped our little empire
and went back to the single income
of bad jobs in malls
or mowing lawns on the weekend
and all the leftover porn stayed on the tapes
it went to good use though
because aside from itching to get out
i remember senior year in high school
as a time of blindness and hairy palms
and no young girls beating down my door
and when i found out that you died today
well it just brought that all back for me
all those wonderful ladies with their legs spread
on faded magnetic tape
no commitment, no obligation but to view
you in a black room with countless men
so thank you for all those years
all that money
my voice becoming a deep moan
and one final run
of all that beautiful teenage whacking.


poem of the day 04.14.09

rodeo bar

how many old
writer’s apartments
can you see in this town
before you start
to feel buried by the dead?
and we are tired of looking
so we stop in a bar
that i read about, the rodeo bar,
this western bar on 3rd avenue
that’s supposed to be a southerners
home away from home
only it is the manhattan equivalent
of a tennessee or texas roadhouse
lots of glossy wood
over-priced beers
and over-priced generic tex-mex cuisine
and little else
i think about broadway in nashville
as the sound system
pumps in the country music
and a table of old hags shovel
down their salad lunch
into their ugly mouths
and how i long for the drunken
neon smear of a southern night
some action, some travel
instead i get new york city
a bad back
five dollar miller drafts
and the pleasure of turning thirty-five
but the bartender, she’s from texas
at least
and she’s some halfway decent
dye-job brunette with large eyes
who won’t stop talking
about pot and her old place
in bay ridge
i want to stop her and ask her
about the feel of an austin night
in the heat of the summer
but before i do my wife tells her it’s my birthday
and we are all drinking shots of jameson
on the house
and the sun is beginning to
glare through the window
blinding me from the back
the bartender, she fixes someone
a margarita
then comes back over
with the new york post
smiling like a new friend
and she proceeds to read us the headlines
page by page, over exaggerating the stories
as my wife and i finish our third beer
and i tell her quietly
that i think it’s time to leave
and we make vague plans to see
that windowless apartment
where william s. burroughs
used to live in the 1970s
knowing perfectly well
that we will just be killing another hour
before the grassroots tavern opens
and we can have a few beers in peace
and silence
without all that pomp
and southern charm.

Monday, April 13, 2009

poem of the day 04.13.09

she never knew

she looked
blonde hair
in wet strings
her ass
in a tight
her face red
with anger
that little
she never knew
she looked
slamming my door
walking out
of my life

Sunday, April 12, 2009

poem of the day 04.12.09


up too early
with last night’s wine
and rerun baseball
with visions of kerouac
handing his
jewel over
to neal cassady
in the california sun
and my poet friend
breaking up family
on his childhood
with a lunatic killing
at close range
in my hometown
as my mother
cries over
all the bloodshed
in the world

the cat’s cry
for their same meal
and i wonder what
nietzsche would’ve done
with this morning
as i rub lotion
over my rough
and cracked skin
feel a bowel movement
think that my wife
told me
is better
than being dead
but she didn’t tell me
they feel like the same thing
still i guess i might as
well be
good at something
so i take a deep breath
in then out

i bleed these years
time is a leech
a woman on the clock
a boss watching the clock
and i wonder how long
have i been
stuck in traffic
my whole life?
i fondle a bad book
as one cat hops up
next to me
and the mets go up
9-4 over the
cincinnati reds
the sun breaks
through the blinds
and i think spengler
must’ve been right
all those years ago
when he said
the west would
die out.

as i pick gray hairs
out of my neck
and chest
as i wait to shit immortal
as i think about genocide
on brooklyn streets
as the world spins
as i throw soft words
on the morning pavement
as my mother cries
as my poet friends broods
as the birthday cards don’t
show up in the mail
as england waits
while spain makes
eyes at me
as the world grows
as rimbaud laughs
in africa
and verlaine feels
the burn of his asshole
and soul

i think another
as the sun threatens
my mood
and the cat licks her
as the notebooks yellow
and the reds score another
in the bottom of the
7th inning.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

poem of day 04.11.09


no one stops grace
from grabbing the microphone
off the irish singer
and belting out the rest of the song
no one stops grace
from dropping the mic and falling on her ass
no one stops grace
from sliding off the stage
from her dress sliding up her legs
giving everyone a glimpse of her crotch
no one stops grace
from standing in the middle of the floor
and smelling her arm pits
from pulling strangers along, trying to get them to dance
no one stops grace
from doing push ups or from ordering another martini
the man with grace sits on his stool
and shakes his head
when she goes over he pushes her away
and no on stops him
no one stops grace
from slugging down the martini in one gulp
from going back on the stage
from bothering the band
from taking out all of the mics from their stands
and dropping them on the floor
no one stops grace’s man from leaving without her
while she stands on the stage like a dunce
and the concert goes on around her like she isn’t there
no one stops grace
from falling again and showing her crotch again
no one stops grace
from staggering into the women’s room to get sick
to splash water on her face
to wonder what in the hell happened this evening
no one offers grace any help
any solace
and no one stops grace
from stumbling over to the soundboard
putting her hands all over it
as she chants
before walking out the barroom door alone.

Friday, April 10, 2009

poem of the day 04.10.09


and then i wrote:

that’s america
everyone walking around doing
what they are supposed to do.

she wrote me back:

that’s what you think

i told her:

it’s actually a kerouac quote
but yes to an extent that’s what i believe

so she wrote me back:

appearances can be deceiving

i wrote:

i’ll have to take your word for it

then she asked me:

ever read pale fire?

and i wrote back:

i don’t read women writers

well, then she wrote me:

since when is vladimir nabokov a woman?

i considered the question then wrote:

i was joking. pale fire has an interesting concept
but vlad just never did it for me. if one can’t make sex
with a thirteen-year-old exciting, i tend to write them off
pretty quickly.

she wrote me right back:

his point wasn’t to make pedophilia sexy

so i wrote her and said:

that’s probably why he and i never clicked
i was looking for something in the writing that simply
wasn’t there

i didn’t have time to wait around
and see what she wrote me next
but i’m curious
maybe it’ll be something about politics
or hemingway and gertrude stein
how ernie was a misogynist at heart
burdened with all of those mommy issues.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

poem of the day 04.09.09

america’s time

7:00 a.m.
the beginning
of five days off
from hell
vehicles moaning
dogs barking
two smokers
hacking out
their souls
by my
bedroom window
as a top-forty song
at top volume
out of an
idling hybrid
the neighbor’s
morning talk shows
through the wall
drowning out
these “people”
they never
let you forget
no matter what
they never
forget to let
you know
that you’re still
america’s time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

poem of the day 04.08.09

four-year-old dell computer

putting together
a poem manuscript
a message comes up
on my computer screen
“document has too many
grammatical and spelling
for ms word to continue
that’s fine, i think
plodding on.
i’m glad the computer
still has its mind.
after four years together
you’d think it
would’ve learned
something about poetry
unless it thinks
i’m not writing poetry
which is something else
completely different
happening between
the two of us
and now i worry
that it may be right.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

poem of the day 04.07.09



Monday, April 6, 2009

poem of the day 04.06.09

another one of a kind

she comes in here drunk a lot
most days before ten in the morning
and sits at one of the computers
to make loud phone calls
and she likes to tell the security guard
that he’s a fag when he tells her to be quiet
that he’s not a real cop
and she keeps accusing this one guy
of stealing her cell phone
even though all any of us have seen
him do is look at porn
and she likes to wave around her new red cell phone
the one that can connect to the internet
and play thousands of songs
and she likes to show the presumed thief
that she is doing better now with her new phone
then she calls her husband
and they fight on the phone for a while
because he’s leaving her again
he’s an actor and she’s a model
he’s been in film i’ve seen
but every picture she shows me looks like someone else
and sometimes she’ll cry when she’s on the phone
and the security guard will try and keep her quiet
but she’ll start screaming at him
calling him a motherfucker and a fag again
and she’ll start screaming at her husband too
while some of the ladies at the desk watch this and laugh
while the security guard tells her he’s going to call the cops
and she tells him to go ahead and call the fucking cops
and she tells her husband the faggot guard is going
to call the fucking cops on her
she hangs up the phone and continues on the computer
and in minutes her husband comes in
looking tired and worn out
he comes over to her and she starts crying again
they talk really quietly before she gets up
and her husband takes her by the arm
while she tells the guard he’s a fag one last time
and her husband leads her past the desk where
all of the ladies are standing with their hands
over their mouths
and she tells each of them that they are ugly
and her husband leads her out the door
then the ladies at the desk laugh
and the guard laughs
everyone breathes a sigh of relief
because she’ll be back tomorrow
sober and apologetic
but i just sit back and think to myself
there goes another honest and original person
another one of a kind
silenced just so the rest of us can kill another day
with mediocrity, complacency, and a smile.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

poem of the day 04.04.09

blood sucker

i drink it until
it becomes like blood
like a necessity in the dark
of night
swirling the red in the glass
until its purple film
looks like a hurricane
ah, the way it glows
off the television
makes you want to suck
it down
even more.
the way it reflects off
the streetlights.
i drink it like it’s blood
like i’ll find a soul at the
bottom of the glass
there are never answers
there are never solutions
but there are never any problems
just something unseen
that holds a power over me.
i am a vampire for the stuff.
other people have coffee
and conversation
a favorite television program
or friends to talk to on the phone
i have the blood
the blood of the gods in my hand
the red chalice
resting on my fat belly
satiating me for the time being
yes, i have the blood of ages
and the dark of the night too
heavy with the stink
of humanity
the rotting flesh
so rich and pungent
off the thundering estuary
even some dogs
are afraid to bark at the wind.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Poem of the Day 04.03.09

finally going mad

we sit in the train tunnel
for fifteen minutes in
absolute silence
people are checking their watches
and cell phones
and sidekicks
rustling papers
and i am trying to read
a book
but all i can think about
is how i’m hungover again
and late for work
then the conductor comes
on the p.a. and says
we are delayed because
of train traffic ahead
and i know for a fact
that there is no train traffic
because i waited twenty-five
on a franklin avenue platform
and not one fucking train
came by
so i shout out to nobody
“that’s fucking bullshit!
we should murder them all!”
then i realize what i’ve done
i think this
this is where it starts
a madness that you can
no longer
keep hidden
deep inside you
and i get scared
i burry my face back in the
i was trying to read
i concentrate on my
and silently wait
for the train to start
moving again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

poem of the day 04.02.09

not the way it used to be here

jack was used to serving artists in the bar
the joint was famous for painters in the 1970s
and jack was used to serving up beer and shots
to a lot of paint splattered bums who were maybe
good for some conversation and little else.
they’d sit at the bar while they talked shop
or made conversation with the neighborhood flies
and jack would pace back and forth behind the bar,
serving the beer and whiskey
and offering up a free one every now and then
if the tips were decent
or if someone was willing to talk about the rangers or the jets.
but those types had gone along with affordable rent
and the danger of wandering st. mark’s place at night.
the street still looked the same, jack thought,
but it was just not the way it used to be.
now st. marks was littered with yogurt boutiques
and high end lingerie stores
developers were building glass high rises around
the aging streets and buildings
the punks sitting on stoops wore brand name clothes
shopped at the cbgb stores
came on the train from the new jersey suburbs
never bothered anyone for a cigarette or money for a pint.
most of the clients now were film majors
wasting their parents cash at nyu.
why five minutes ago a group of japanese tourists
came into the bar and asked jack for plastic forks
because they wanted to eat their lunch over a pitcher of beer
in a real classic east village dive.
jack asked the japanese woman if it looked like he served food
and when she pointed to a stack of plastic forks
his own forks for lunch when the bar was at a lull
jack told the woman to get forked then walked to the end
of the bar to cool down
while the japanese tourist went back to her seat, gave up
on the food, and settled in to taking pictures with the other people
at her table.
she looked happy, jack thought, like she expected the rude
treatment and somehow thrived on it.
it was odd.
the sight of the tourists made jack tired.
he watched them as they continued to take pictures at their table
then he scanned the bar, until he found the usual corner of
old drunks who still held court underneath the dulling neon signs
the gatekeepers of the bar, he thought, the relics,
the vanguard even if things we just not the way they used to be here.
then jack poured himself a free one from the top shelf.
the boss wouldn’t mind so long as it didn’t become
a habit to stray too far away from the well.
the whiskey made jack shake a little bit.
but it made him feel warm, all right.
he dusted off the end of the bar and began making his
way back toward the center
where the dim orange lights glowed off the pint glasses
and where a couple college kids were waiting for a pitcher of beer
this new import stuff that jack had never tried
but the bar ordered
because they kept getting all of these new requests for the stuff.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

poem of the day 04.01.09


hipster whores
with the ass cheeks
showing a couple
of brand new tramp stamps
infest this bar
take seats at the front
and shout at jeopardy
on the television
trying to arouse
something in our thin row of drunks
they shout like queens
after all they’ve discovered this place
they’ve discovered us
we are a part of some
hipster ritual in here
that is happening
more and more these days
at least once a week now
these whore
with their thick glasses
and tight pants
these whore or others like them
thinking they’ve found heaven
in the bowels of old man madness
and flat drafts of budweiser
thinking they’ve found “it.”
i wish jazzy jeff
were here to stumble
off of his stool and sling
an arm around both of them
as he’s done the others
buy them a beer
and watch those hipster girls
suck them down
before making a quick exit
back to wherever they came from
but jeff has already drank too much
and gone home
so these hipster whores will be
sticking around for final jeopardy
and they’ll shout out the answer
slapping each other five
showing more boney ass crack
as the bartender takes three more
of my dollars
with no buyback in sight
and john, with his one good tooth,
tries again at a hamburger
and onion rings
as this hour passes into another
that we’ll have to get through too.