Thursday, December 31, 2009

poem of the day 12.31.09

something for the stomach

all morning i have been complaining
i tell my wife that i need something
for the stomach

she tells me that i need to slow down on the drinking
that i’m too old to be throwing up in the morning
and having a stomach like this

i know, i know i say to her
but i need something for the stomach right now.

so we go to the drug store
and i buy the industrial strength liquid antacid
in cherry flavor
i drink it out on the street
i take a big gulp of it as people
walk by me on the way to their own miseries

i feel like a madman doing this
but i’m more like a dumb child
who’s bad act has been played out
over and over again

i see a woman i don’t like
i don’t like the way she’s looking at me
drinking this liquid antacid on the street
i want to grab her and tell her
look, bitch, i just needed something for the stomach

but she wouldn’t understand
with her perfect hair and clothing
she’s the type who thinks her shit doesn’t stink
the sad redundant type
trapped and locked into doing the same thing
again and again

i take another hit on the liquid antacid
and tell my wife that i’m picking up red wine
for us to drink tonight

my wife just sighs
and the woman looks back at me and frowns

sometimes you just can’t tell people anything

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

poem of the day 12.30.09

if we don’t make it

laying in bed
she says
what if we don’t make it

what do you mean? i ask.

this, if this never pans out.
the writing.
all the time we’ve invested
all of the early mornings
and rejections.

i see, i say
i don’t know, i say

i just don’t want to think
that we missed out on anything, you know

like kids and stuff?

and other things.
it takes a lot to make it, she says.

i know, i say
but we’re doing all right.

do you think?

yes, i could go the rest of my life
having it happen here and there
nothing big.
what about you?

i guess i could too, she says.

besides, i say, the rest of them
have just given up.
they’ve let it die
just to settle on less and less.

do you think? she says.

i have to.
otherwise i don’t know how
i’d keep on going.

okay, she says.

we get the light
and no one says a word.

soon i hear her snoring
and then the world
just falls away.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

poem of the day 12.29.09

punching a fourteen-year old in the face

i tell him
you wait and see, man
when you turn eighteen i’m going to rent a car
no, a limo, motherfucker,
i’m going to rent a limo
and have him drive me all the way out here
because i’m sure you’re not going
to be in college
you probably won’t even be in high school
and i’m going to have that limo
drive me all the way out here
on my dollar
and i’m going to have him park the limo
right in the middle of the street
so that all your neighbors can see
then i’m going to casually walk up
your driveway
ring the doorbell
and then when you open the door
i’m going to just haul off and punch you
right in the face
how do you like that?
right in the goddamned face
with a limo waiting in the middle of your street
and all your friends and neighbors
lingering outside their doors to watch it
what do you think, huh?
oh, you think it’s funny?
you think i’ll forget?
you just wait and see, man,
because fate is a bitch
and i have one long ass memory
and little else to do in the ensuing four years
but mold and shape this plan
so you keep on laughing and smiling
and thinking i’m just a drunk old fool
but you’ll see
four years from now
a limo and everything else
parked right there on your street
and you knocked out cold
wondering what in the hell just happened
and then you’ll remember, kid
you’ll remember this moment like all hell.

Monday, December 28, 2009

poem of the day 12.28.09

taking care of me

she’s taking care of me
she tells me that we need
to stop for lunch
before we go to the bar
she says that was the problem yesterday
the reason why i woke up
with a headache
and with my stomach fucked
she says that i didn’t eat enough yesterday
just a plate of fries
and some chicken wings
and that’s why i threw up
you can’t drink all day on just
a plate of fries and chicken wings, she says
i tell her that i can’t remember
last night too well
that’s why we’re stopping for lunch
before we hit the bar, she says
she’s taking care of me, you see
neither of us want a repeat of yesterday
when i was laying in bed, green faced
laying on the bathroom floor
at her parent’s house
vomiting up a chocolate macaroon and little else
waiting to see if i could keep
a ginger ale down in between unwrapping
christmas presents
and watching old movies on television
she’s taking care of me
like no one else ever did before her
she wants to make sure that i’m all right
and it feels good to have someone
in your corner sometimes
someone like her
combing the wet and cold landscape
of her youth
trying to find a restaurant that is open for business
the day after christmas, 2009, racing
with the bars only an hour away from
putting on their lights
and getting ready to serve their first draft
of the day

Saturday, December 26, 2009

poem of the day 12.26.09

so that i know there’s life

the woman in the apartment
above my bedroom
playing louis prima
and sinatra at full blast
the man next door to her
pacing back and forth
dropping bowling balls
or some other heavy shit

they’re doing it

the old chinese hag
next door
with her television dramas
and grandchildren pounding
on the walls

they’re doing it too

the couple down the hall
making the worst smelling food
the aging frat boys
on the fourth floor who smoke cigarettes
and recite lines from shitty movies
in front of my window
and the superintendent passed out
on a bench with a
wine hangover

all of them
they’re doing it

the dog walkers letting
their mongrels shit
in the foyer
the delivery men playing
their bad music
and honking their horns
and the teenagers throwing up
beer and pizza outside in the snow

they’re helping this along

the exterminator
and the mailman
the cable bill and the electric bill
the student loans
and the landlord
because he’s a part of this too

all of them
every last one
they keep on doing
what they’re doing
so that i know there’s life
outside my closed blinds

ugly gray life
dismal like a traffic jam
or intense diarrhea
and it just won’t stop
no matter how dark i keep the apartment
or my soul
no matter how goddamned long
i hide

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

poem of the day 12.23.09


sitting here

barely breathing

the scotch bottle emptied
and in the sink

the beer cans a wreck
on the coffee table

books all over the place again

the year falling desperately away

the same old story
i’m the same old act

yeah, i got friends
stretching the globe
from pittsburgh
to madrid

but not a goddamned
one of them
can stop a night
like this
from happening

over and over

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

poem of the day 12.22.09

where i’m sitting tonight

he says
but that was long ago
back when the people
in this bar
could talk about
books and music
and politics
and such
but now,
he says, looking around
the joint

there are two guys wrestling
by the poker machine
the bartender is doing shots
with his coke dealer
and another old drunk
is manhandling
a chinese woman
selling bootleg movies
telling her that black people
don’t have it
so bad

but now,
there’s no one in here
but fat drunks
and racists
and not one of them
could tell a synonym
from a hole in their

Monday, December 21, 2009

poem of the day 12.21.09

all of us assholes on the plane

i don’t like the blonde sitting
across from me on the plane.

something about her keeps rubbing
me the wrong way.

she keeps lowering her eyes at me
glaring at me
every time i speak to my wife.

the plane has been delayed an hour.
we’ve been stuck on the runway
another half-hour.

the blonde doesn’t like it
that she’s stuck on the runway
doesn’t like it that she’s sitting
across from me
because i’m being drunk and loud
and talking to my wife
and watching a football game on
the little television.

then my phone rings and i pick it up.

“are you still on the plane?” my mother asks.


“how is it?”

“it wouldn’t be so bad,” i say,
“if there weren’t so many assholes on the plane.”

i get off the phone and look over at the blonde.
she’s not looking at me this time, but at her man.

she’s whispering something to him
and he’s staring at me.

but, honestly,
what can he do about me?
what can any of us do about anything
on a night like this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

poem of the day 12.19.09

watch it, you’re spilling

these oppressive types surround
my wife and i in an empty airport bar
they take seats right next to us
some blonde in whore make-up
her botox-heavy mother, her put-out father,
and a fat, aging frat boy who must be her husband
because he’s pushing along a pink baby carriage
and she keeps looking back to berate him

“lanny, what time is it?” she says.
and when lanny doesn’t know.
“oh, you’re no good for anything.”

she laughs and looks at the bartender
“yeah, i’m the one bringing a baby into a bar.”
and then she orders something fruity with “a lot of rum.”
as my wife and i sit there wondering how people
like her make it beyond the age of five
without swallowing a handful of marbles.

“lanny, fix your hair,” she tells her husband,
as he plays with his cell phone.
lanny has his hair overly gelled
and it has flecks of gray in it
probably from living with that bitch.
i tell my wife that i hope lanny has a piece of ass
on the side.

“he can never keep himself together,” she says
to her mother.
her mother is an older version of the blonde.
she can’t blink from the botox
can’t smile because of the collagen pumped into her lips
and both of the women have so much mascara on
it looks as though they’ve been popped
in the eyes a few times by their men.

“lanny, order a drink already,” she says.
lanny orders a scotch on the rocks.
“forget it, he’ll have a budweiser,” she tells the bartender.
before she leans over and coos to her ugly child
as i nurse my own scotch and try to look at her tits.

“lanny, i’m ordering you a sandwich to go with that beer,”
she says, even though lanny says that he’s not hungry.
“too bad.”
she looks at her mother and laughs.
mom nods her approval
as i look at the old man who’s been quietly sitting there
the whole time.
he’s nursing a bottle of amstel light,
watching the vikings beat the shit out of the bengals.

he looks like he’s been through hell with these two.
he has nothing to say to lanny as well.

“lanny, take your beer for christ’s sake,” she says,
then she tells her mother how fucked up she and lanny got
last night at the club.
“of course it wasn’t the good me, mom. sometimes the bad
me has to come out and play.”
mom nods her approval again.

then the baby starts crying and it wakes up
the old man from his lonely stupor
he downs his beer before leaning down to smile in the
child’s face.
lanny leans down too.

“watch it, you’re spilling,” she says
just as a stream of beer falls out of his pint glass
missing the baby carriage by inches
but getting the old man
on the sleeve of his new brown jacket.

“i told you, i told you,” she says to her mother,
lifting the fruity drink that has just arrived,
and looking at all of us,
“i just can’t take him anywhere.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

poem of the day 12.18.09

so i've been morose and hateful for over a week now. apparently if i'm not up
at 5 a.m. trying to be a half-genius, i'm no good to anyone. class...undismissed. i'm back.

my new hero

he said
i tried reading
but he sucked

i tried him too
he had one good

but the other one
i read

i read him in high school
oh, had to be forty years ago
thought the book sucked

fitzgerald? i asked

gatsby? sucked.


he sucked too.

hey, melville,
he said,
picking a book up off
the shelf.
moby dick.
i was meaning to read this.
i saw the movie version
not too long ago.

what did you think?

i thought it sucked.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winedrunk End Notes 2009

So i've decided to take my year end sabatical a little bit early this year.
but do not fear, Winedrunk will be back on January 1, 2010.

stuff of note: if you live in/around the pittsburgh area. I will be reading poems
on Friday, December 11th @ modern formations gallery 4919 Penn Avenue @ 8pm with a host of other people. should be fun. last time i read there, someone walked out.

oh well, to most of you...have a great holiday and such.
and to the know what you can do with it, motherfuckers.

poem of the day 12.10.09

we’ve all got problems

she gets on the bus
with her kid
she’s wearing a hostess outfit
and a gray hat
the kind that fidel castro likes

she’s talking to her daughter
about some bully in school
who punched the child
in the face.

the kid might be five.

this has happened three times
this week
and no one told her about
the assaults
until today, she says

and, look, you have a black eye too, she says,
holding her child’s face and examining it
until she realizes she’s missed their stop
and the bus has to pull over
three blocks beyond where they needed.

we’ve all got problems, i think,
watching the woman and her battered child
haul ass off the bus

she’s got a bully to deal with
and probably a shit job
in a bad restaurant
and a child to care for on one salary

others have death and debt
and everything else to deal with.


right now my knees are jammed on this bus
and i can’t get my fat ass
on just one of these plastic bus seats.
the bus driver has pulled over on a green light
to have a smoke break
because he’s union and he can.

not too bad and not too good either

but i’m probably going
to have to start
laying off the beer
sooner rather than later
try and get some of this weight down
before the new year arrives.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

poem of the day 12.09.09

i thought i saw her

i thought i saw her
that ruinous blonde whore
that tight assed wench
who never wore underwear
that little strumpet

i thought i saw her
walking down broadway
with a group of friends
looking in the holiday store windows

she was wearing
a white coat
and except for a few wrinkles
around the eyes
she looked the same as back then

i thought i saw her
that fucking bitch
that demon of so many nights
the one who gave her cunt
so quickly
and took it away

and it was like 1997 all over again
and i felt the shame
of not being able to get it up
of sneaking around with her
behind my friend’s back

i thought i saw her
that tiny liar
who told me that she was twenty
when she was barely eighteen
who might’ve been fucking someone else
behind my back

i thought i saw her
i wondered how she and i
could be on the same street
twelve years later
hundreds of miles ago

it didn’t seem possible
she never really existed anyway
just a figment of my imagination
like all of the rest of them

but i thought i saw her
right by the comic book store
right by the billiards joint
and the bar i never go into
because the drinks cost too much

i thought i saw her
that slut
that napoleon of the heart
that bin laden of the soul
that small titted vlad the impaler
i thought i saw her
on broadway

but, shit,
broadway is so busy this time
of year
it very well could’ve been
someone that just
looked like her.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

poem of the day 12.08.09

great ones taken

great ones fall away
while the rest of us wait to cross
the street

great ones pass away
on cold nights
while footballs games get played

great ones are taken
as we pull on over-priced drinks
or sings songs
in a tepid shower

they are taken
as young boys sit in old kitchens
with eggs frying
and the morning radio
set to talk

great ones are stripped from
the earth
as the mediocre clamor for space
as disease rages
the dull copulate on soiled sheets
and the bills aren’t any closer
to getting paid

greats ones get taken like us
but not like us
they are taken by age and famine
by the cruel wind

they are taken by gunshot
under warm amber lights
with the city blazing bold
and a beautiful park
only a stone’s throw away.

they are taken
and the world often never recovers
from it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

poem of the day 12.07.09

starting a new position today so forgive if i'm posting old ones
will try and get my shit together by tomorrow


trying to dig up the earth in the rotten sun,
planting hedges for my mother,
the neighbor lady sees me struggling,
and comes over to help.
maybe she is around forty.
she has coal black hair with flecks of gray,
and a great wide ass, juicy enough to suck on.
i am thirteen then.
fat and sullen,
and i haven’t made yard work a general practice.

the two of us get on the hard ground,
she on one side, and me on the other,
and together we begin digging at the earth,
with vigor, both of us sweating, moving our bodies
up and down, trying to get out all the
brown grass and rock
to find that good, moist black dirt.
planting dirt.

the neighbor has a white tank top on,
so i begin to watch down the neckline
at the two sagging tits swaying back and forth
thinking, christ, this is the first time i’ve seen
something like this up close,
i should really get outside and plant things more often.
so we go faster and take shovels then hands
to dig at the ground.
and her tits keep swaying,
but not enough so that i can see the nipples at first,
but then the nipples finally come when the digging stops
and she reaches to grab the hedge we’re going to plant.

i’d forgotten the hedge in all this bliss.
i’d forgotten the hedge to the tune of two pink, huge nipples,
the two most beautiful things i’d ever seen,
both erect,
and almost as erect as my cock is at that moment.
and together we lift the hedge and get it in the ground,
covering it over with some of the excess dirt we’d
when we are finished, my neighbor looks up at me
and she smiles.
she wipes the dirt on her jeans and rises from the earth
to leave me.

when she is completely gone,
i get up, leaving pulled grass and rock,
the shovels, and the rest of the excess dirt,
and i go back inside my house.
when i get in there
it is as if years had gone by since the last time
i had seen the place.
it is a new era.
so much has changed.
and i stand there for a lifetime, and i just
don’t do anything.
i wonder what the next beautiful thing i’ll ever see
is going to be.
then i remember the dirt on my hands.
and i go up into the bathroom
to wash them.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

poem of the day 12.06.09

the holiday season always makes me think about the number of shitty jobs
that i've's an old poem.

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.


Friday, December 4, 2009

poem of the day 12.04.09

things are getting interesting

an ad for booze plastered all over
the subway says

things are getting interesting

if i didn’t know it before
i know it now

advertisers are goddamned liars

things are never interesting
they are pleasurable or disagreeable
for a moment
and then they endure

but these booze people say
that things are getting interesting

if you say so

and to prove it they have two women
on the ad
one black
and one white

the black woman is biting down
on a chain that is wrapped around
the white woman’s neck
and the white woman has her head
thrown back in ecstasy

my guess is these hooch merchants
want us to think the two women
are going to fuck

and what’s so interesting about that?

you can see plenty of people fuck
online or in the movies
or if your old fashioned
in the magazines

you can see black women
and white women fuck each other
or black or white men
you can see them fuck latino men
while latino women play with their cunt
or you can watch asain chicks
spread their ass cheeks
for all takers

there is nothing interesting about
watching human beings fuck
or do anything else for that matter.

humans have to be the most boring
uninteresting creatures ever spat out
by evolution on this planet.

so next time you want to sell me some booze
oh great and mighty advertisers of the world
just show the goddamned bottle
on the ad
if you want to get my motor running

skip the slogan and the innuendo
because that kind of bullshit
always tends to take care of itself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

poem of the day 12.03.09


more and more they seem to be
in the subway station these days

these conduits of god

you know, the crazy people
the garbage-scented lunatics
with their shit-stained placards
and their shopping carts full of plastic bags

the ones crying out to save all of our souls

as we go from job to job
as we go shopping
as we head to the bars, the offices,
and to the grave

the ones standing against soiled walls
shouting out both the doomsday
and the good word.

i wonder what the meaning is
behind all of this recent action.

the holidays?
the economy?

probably nothing.

it is in the human condition
to look for patterns where none exist.

still, it is odd to see so many of them
praising the lord
scolding humanity
threatening the fire and the brimstone.

it actually seems like a good gig
like better than staggering through fifty-two weeks
eight hours a day
and twenty-six paychecks a year.
and that’s if your lucky.

i think these stupid angels might
have something here.

i wonder how they got into their holy racket
why they got the call and i didn’t.

i mean i can’t claim sanity on this one
i do plenty of stupid things
only most of the time they are within the bounds
of typical human decency

how boring.

not like these people.
not like these madmen and madwomen
moaning out into the void
two steps away from the madhouses
and taking pleasure in their servitude

when we all know the real insanity
is right there in front of our faces
it’s in the drab offices
it’s in the friday afternoon meeting room
it’s on the rush hour train
it’s sitting on plates full of lackluster meals
it’s the silence that hangs between bad conversation
it’s the radiation coming out from the television
and it’s swirling in the glass that isn’t
strong enough anymore

it’s that lump of empty flesh staring back at you
when you look in the mirror
too early in the goddamned morning
on a weekday
when all hope has been forsaken
and something just has to get done

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

poem of the day 12.02.09


we are in bed.

my parents are visiting from

my father has had the weather channel
on for three straight hours.

i really liked that poem you posted
my wife says.

thank you.

i just hope that my sister doesn’t
read your blog.


well, because you criticized my family
for the black friday dinner.

it was a joke.

you didn’t criticize your parents
for staying with us for three days.

i have plenty of poems
about my parents.

which ones?

it was all in good fun anyway, i say

some people won’t see it that way.
maybe your fans will.

i don’t have fans.

then we were quiet.
through the bedroom door
i hear that it is going to be fifty degrees
in new york tomorrow.

i hate the sound of televisions
through thin apartment walls.

it’s going to be forty-seven
on friday, i say.
i read it in the paper.

good, my wife says.
why don’t you write a poem
about that too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

poem of the day 12.01.09

miss you too

a beer at nine in the morning
isn’t as good as that white wine
tasted at eight forty-five.

my parents are somewhere
in jersey now
fiddling with their gps system
and looking for a crackle barrel
for breakfast.

dvorak is playing his american
and i’m trying to keep down
tears and budweiser
on an empty stomach.

i wonder what in the hell
has happened
to me.

the apartment feels too empty.

i’ve gone soft

sentimental at the close
of the decade.

my parents are racing through jersey
en route to pittsburgh
and my wife is at work.

it feels like she and i haven’t
talked for days.

i miss everyone.

dvorak is still on
antonin isn’t enough sometimes.

i’ll bet his wife felt that way too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

poem of the day 11.29.09

so you’re the one

so you’re the one, she says.

i’m in the wine store
with a handful of cheap french bottles
trying to replace all of the wine that my wife and i drank.

you’re the one who’s been
drinking all of my wine.

your wine? i say.

the store owner laughs nervously.
he dresses nice, better than i ever could.
i’m probably putting his kid through college
with how much money i spend here.

yes, she says.
she points to my bottles.
that’s my favorite wine.
it’s so smooth and it doesn’t give you a headache.

that’s nice, i say, putting the bottles down.

the store owner rings them up
on his brand new, digital cash register.

vivaldi is playing the background
and i realize then and there
how much i hate vivaldi and this wine store owner
how much i wish there was somewhere else to go.

now i know, she says, putting her
wine on the counter
as soon as i take my bagged bottles.
now i know who’s been drinking all of my wine.
i can put a face to the culprit she says.

i guess you can, i say.
then i leave the store
and begin the slow walk up third avenue
toward the apartment
bracing myself against the wind
coming off the ugly, brown river.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

poem of the day 11.28.09

comb on the floor

my father is on his hands
and knees
he can’t find his
comb on the floor
and he is blaming my mother
telling her she’s the one
moving shit around
all of the time.

they have been here
for two days
and i started drinking
at eight in the morning
on thanksgiving.

my father is on his hands
and knees
he finds his comb underneath
his own travel bag
he then proceeds to move all
of his things
across my living room
away from my mother’s things

and the two piles
of luggage stay like that
for the rest of the holiday
like two boxers in their respective
waiting for the next round
to begin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

poem of the day 11.25.09


i take another beer out
of the refrigerator
and drink it

i shouldn’t be taking these beers
because they are for holiday guests.

the apartment is a wreck.
i do not know how to clean.
i do not know how to entertain.

i’ve already had to replace
half of the holiday wine we bought
because my wife and i drank it
sitting on the couch
complaining about how
we don’t know how to clean
about how we don’t know how
to entertain.

i get drunk and i blame her family
for making ten of us get together
for dinner on black friday

she gets drunk and blames my parents
for staying with us for three days
in our cramped apartment.

i accuse her of spending
too much money on trifles
and she accuses me of not liking
the brand new cranberry colored tablecloth.

it would be easier to just slit
our wrists now
rather than go through with any of this.

but we don’t.

my wife and i are survivors
of this holiday bullshit
suffering the good will of the many
as we get drunk on wine
suffering the laughter and the conversation
the inquiry about jobs
and people talking about
their mundane lives
as if each moment were great literature

my wife and i have this shit down pat.

we know what to do.
we keep something of ourselves buried
in the basement.

we wait on january 2nd
when the holiday lights go dim
and all the garbage bags are full of
animal carcasses and bones

when pulpy gift boxes
rest against christmas trees
that are losing their brown needles
in bulk

and the people are off the streets for good
in the malls returning everything
that they were given
or in the movies theaters watching this years
oscar crap
or in their warm homes, stuffed,
beached like whales
waiting on the sacrifice of 365 more days

we wait until that day
and we crack open a new bottle of wine
pull up the blinds
and watch the snow fall
on the desolate street
grinning like a couple of assholes
at the slaughter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

poem of the day 11.24.09

what ails us all

most people catch colds
in the winter
but i stay sick
all year.

there is a man
on the steps of the
train station

he’s on his back
by the cops
and paramedics

people rubberneck
and tie up the foot traffic
just to get a look
at his
wincing face

they want to know
what’s wrong with him
what happened?

but i know

i can look into any of their
salivating faces
into their dull, competing eyes
peer up into their red, sickly nostrils

and i just know

what’s wrong with him
what weakens me
what ails us all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

poem of the day 11.23.09

wrong conversation

you see
without kerouac i don’t know
what would’ve become of me
maybe i’d have become some office drone
or a teacher living in the suburbs
with a wife
and two kids that i hate
or i would’ve stayed in the warehouse.

it was his message and that verse
that got me
it’s what i tried to emulate for years
or recreate in my own stuff

the exuberance
the joy

but i’ve never been a joyful person
i’m spiteful and mean most
of the time
i never saw things with any kind
of holy glee

humanity has been a horror to me
ever since i was a child

and that might be why
i picked up bukowski
and fante, and all of those stone cold
why i like ray carver stories

i don’t know

that stuff just seemed real to me
like their guts were spilled out
on the street
instead of being stuffed up buddha’s asshole

don’t get me wrong
i still love kerouac
and i still get that tingle of youth
when i read on the road
it’s ginsberg and corso
and all the rest
that i can do without now.

and don’t get me started on gary snyder.

i just don’t care for that
shit anymore.

that’s nice, she said,
but can we get back to talking
about why
you don’t want to
go to dinner
with my family
and your family
next friday night?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

poem of the day 11.21.09


there is nowhere to sit
on the train
except across from a lady
with a huge baby carriage.

i usually avoid sitting across
from baby carriages.
i find most children to be ugly
and a sick representation
of the future
but my back is hurting.

it is a pleasant surprise
when i sit down
to see that the woman with
the baby
is wearing a miniskirt
with fishnet stockings.

she is black
and the baby is white
and neither of those details
have anything to do with this poem.

i take out a book
and pretend to read
but i am really looking
at the woman’s legs
or, more to the point,
in between them.

i’m wondering what kind
of panties she has on
if she’s even wearing them.
at first i feel bad about doing this
but when i look up i see that the woman
is playing videogames
on her cell phone
and the music on the device is low
but still annoying to me

i figure fuck her
and i keep looking.

i turn the page on my book
for good measure.

it is then that i feel a tugging
at my hands
i look away from the woman’s crotch
and there is the baby
really a one or two year old
he looks like an ape
reaching across and grabbing
at my bookmark.

look, you little fucker
i whisper
stop doing that.

the baby looks up at me
and laughs.
he pulls out my bookmark
and it falls on the floor.

little prick
i say
picking up the bookmark.
the whole time the woman
is still playing video games
on her cell phone.
she has yet to spread her legs
to give me a look.

i put my bookmark in
and keep at her.

the baby lunges forward again
and tries to grab at my book.

look, you fleshy turd,
i whisper,
i’ll drop you out of an airplane
i sell you to africa for food
or make a delicate soup out of you

the kid gurgles at me
and squeals.
he puts both hands on his carriage
and rocks the thing.
the woman stops playing
her video game
to slap his hands.

then the fucker starts to whine

shit, i think.
i’m never going to get a look
at this woman’s goods.
i look around the train
but there’s no other seat.

fuck it, i think.
i’ll be there shortly.

then the baby really gets
crying and shaking the carriage
murdering the silence
in the train.

he rocks back and forth
moves his head up and screams.
the woman sighs
and puts away her cell phone
she spreads her legs
as she attends to the little brat
but all of that golden paradise
is being blocked by his ugly, wailing head.

goddamn it, i say.
the man next to me gives me a look.
i’ll tear him apart, i think.
i’ll tear this man apart
and then i’ll beat his corpse
with that wailing devil
of a child.

but i never get the chance to.
we come to the next stop
and the woman gets up.
she straps back the howling bastard
an in an instant
they are gone.

suddenly the train is silent
i put my book away
and close my eyes
praying to god that i’m impotent
and that my wife took her
pill on time
the other morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

poem of the day 11.20.09

walking anachronism

sore hip
sore groin
sore foot
and sore chin
paralyzed standing here
nothing but
and bones
out of place
out of mind
sore shoulder
and shins
a walking anachronism
in the land
where high schools
look like prisons
the prisons are packed
with the forgotten
and the damned
and every whore
walks down the street
wearing sunglasses
in the rain
thinking they’re going
to be
the next

Thursday, November 19, 2009

poem of the day 11.19.09

never gets better

the thirteen year-old kid
notices that i’ve been wearing
the same gray t-shirt
for two days now.
he tells me that i need
to get a new shirt.

wear two shirts, he says
because he can see my nipples
through this one.

he says that i need to cover up.

his friends laugh
so i ask him what he’s doing
looking at a man’s boobs

and it’s his turn to get laughed at.

i think
it never gets better
it never changes
from childhood to death
the physical imperfections
made manifest
in these contests
in the senseless flyting between people
needed just to get through the day.

i keep on at the kid
ask him if he likes staring
at men’s chests
insinuate that maybe he has
a preference for his own kind.

it’s cruel, i know
i am the adult in this situation
but this little fucker is paying
for all of the fuckers that came before him
the kids on the playground with their dull faces
the girls with their perky tits
and tight little asses
giving their love away
to someone else

this kid is getting almost
thirty years of pent-up shit.

i ask him if he looks at all of the boys
or just me
his friends laugh again
i ask him if he’s always been this way
his friends laugh
i see his smile fade
the cockiness fall away
as his eyes well up with tears
as the years of torment get
stripped away from me.

i get ready to ask him about
the boys in the locker room showers
but then i stop myself
thinking enough is enough.

this isn’t mercy i’m giving to him
but my own suffocating humanity
trying to make it to the light.

we look at each other
until a common ground is reached
our tit for tat finished.

then he and his friends
go their way
and i go mine
resolving never to attack a kid like
that again
and not wake up hungover again tomorrow
for the third straight day
grabbing whatever shirt is laying
on the dirty, wooden floor
on my wife’s side
of the bed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

poem of the day 11.18.09

and oldie but a .......well:

an old fuck

when we were finished
she fell back
and began talking
about a mechanic
she knew
in kentucky.
i had heard
about this mechanic
too often
and especially
wasn’t interested
in hearing about him
while my lips
were still wet
with the taste
of her cunt.
still, i kept quiet
as she prattled
about her past,
the sad history
of her life,
that i silently
soon hoped to be
a part of
(the past that is).
and now
a decade has gone
and i wonder if
some other guy
is laying in the
dark with her
and hearing stories
about me,
or if i’ve somehow
been looked over
for a better


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

poem of the day 11.17.09

never at their feet

my wife and i
watch a table full of seniors
sit like the yapping dead
on a sunday night
discussing the size of
jumbo shrimp with the waiter
who was supposed
to have had our beers
about five minutes ago.
they are questioning
the exact shape of the food
slurping orange goop
down their aged mouths
while my budweiser light
is getting warm on the bar.
i think about how much
i hate these old people
most of the aged in general
and i do not feel bad for this
after all, they are not plato or socrates
there is no great wisdom to be garnered
in their vacant eyes
there is no hemlock in that woman’s bowl.
and i am not blissfully unaware
that one day i could be sitting in that exact seat
badgering the waiter
about the number of fries on my plate
or about the room’s temperature.
anything is, as they say, possible.
but i’d like to think i’d have
more sense than that
should i become one of these
social security soul suckers
i’d like to think that i’d just stay home
with the television on full blast
drinking ensure mixed with whiskey
waiting on the mailman
or waiting on the blessed touch of good old death
rather than inflicting
the masses with my presence
on a warm sunday night
complaining about the consistency
of tomato soup
and how hard the packet of butter feels.

Monday, November 16, 2009

poem of the day 11.16.09


with his rent envelopes
outside every door
with his buzzing
hallway lights
and flies coming
in every ripped screen
with his brown water
that gives me the shits
with his timer lights
that never work
with his rents
on storage spaces
that cost only one-hundred bucks
a month
with his pants full of dollars
speaking eternity
with his work projects
and orange cones outside
my living room door
with his pretty leases
for one year
or two years more
with yards of broken blinds
and window frames
with suicide cockroaches
overturned in the basement
with his washing machines
blowing cold air
you live eternal
in all our hearts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

poem of the day 11.13.09

crossing abbey road in the rain

when we get there
there are two idiots standing in the middle
of the street, posing, holding up traffic.

i tell my wife that this is stupid
as i catch raindrops on my tongue
and think about british beer.

i tell here that i want to turn back
and find a pub
but she won’t go because we walked
three miles to get here
in a continuous mist

and aren’t i a big beatles fan?

she’s feeling guilty because she’s dominated
the trip visiting the old homes of
shakespeare and virginia woolfe,
j.m. barrie,
although i didn’t mind at all.

she starts taking photographs of
the intersection
catching the famous crosswalk
before more people do their poses
and more car horns blast out at us fool
getting soaked in the english afternoon.

then more people show up.
other americans.
the chinese.
russians and germans
a whole world of beatles fans
the masses that won’t let the past simply
die or fade away.

there is a family holding up everything
smiling like morons
standing in the flow of traffic
stopping and doing every single
pose that the beatles did on the cover
of the album.

christ, i think,
there is no god
there can’t be.

my wife tells me to cross the street
and i say no
just get pictures of the thing
but she prods on, talking about how
i might never get back here
so i do it
walking fast so as to not become some
asinine spectacle
like the rest of them.

this is dumb
how can i not be a spectacle?
another tourist in the gray mist
of a long line of tourists wearing down
the white rubber on this street?

i cross the street and ask her if that’s
good enough
but my wife wants me to do it again
and again
so i get in the line and cross
then cross back
then do it a third time
as the rain gets harder
and pride becomes impossible to find.

after i cross a fourth time
i look at my wife and she tells me that she
didn’t get a good shot because the camera closed.
its batteries are dying.
i say to hell with it, let’s go and find a pub.

but we haven’t taken her picture yet.
so i grab the camera and turn it on
the red “low battery” light flashing at me
as my wife smiles
and crosses abbey road in the rain
and i think, well, this could’ve been worse.

we could’ve gone to see all of the stiffs
at madam tussauds instead.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

poem of the day 11.12.09

to the young kids on the street

i get stuck at the same red light every day
because i am a fool
and the kids are on the street
a young girl, she is my super’s daughter
she comes over and feeds that cats
when we are away
and she is talking to a boy her age
which is thirteen or fourteen
and she doesn’t notice me stuck
at this forever light.
they are close and talking, touching
the two of them making plans.
she has a smile on her face, the kind
of smile that enamored women get.
damn, they start them young, i think,
waiting on this red light.
but i shouldn’t be surprised.
girls looked like that when i was young
it’s just that they never looked that way
toward me.
well, i finally get the green and cross.
they are still standing there
two young kids on the street
this is the way it starts
trying to find love or something else.
and when she sees me, the super’s daughter
gets cold toward her boyfriend
as if i’m going to tell her dad about her
innocent little tryst.
tell him?
i can’t even get the guy to fix
my window or my toilet
what am i going to tell him? i think.
but i feel bad because she leaves the boy
just standing there
his face red and flustered.
he calls to her and she give him quick answers
walking quickly toward her building.
she won’t look back at him.
i want to tell him not to worry about it.
he has a lifetime not to understand women
her, and all of the other ones
that will tangle up his heart.
but being the cause of this breech of romance
i think it’s best to keep my mouth shut.
so i stop on the sidewalk
and look in my bag for nothing
giving them time
until the boys leaves
and the girls is close enough to our building
so that she and i won’t have to speak
and i’ll keep being the guy in 1r
and she’ll keep being the little girl
who cleans out the cat shit for us
and the world between us
can keep all of its blessed, goddamned secrets
another golden day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

poem of the day 11.11.09


i asked her how much
longer she wanted to
and she stopped and looked
up at me and smiled.
she said, well, i don’t want
to be down here all day.
but she went at it again
and i stroked her blonde hair
as she bobbed her head.
i thought about my old girlfriend
and how she told me about
the time her ex came in her
hair because he forgot
to warn her beforehand
and she had to jerk her head
away, violently.
she made it sound like
it was the worst thing in the world
nearly swallowing his come
having it caught in the curls
of her hair.
and did i know how long
it took her to get it out?
she said it was like removing
gum or something.
that’s why she always used her
hand on me instead.
but this young blonde
resting down below my belly
she looked so determined
and challenged by the task at hand.
her lips looked so full
i could tell that
she wanted me to go all the way.
but i wasn’t so sure that i could do it.
i’d never done it that way before.
it was the latent catholic in me
a man who was the victim of his
ex-girlfriend’s cautionary tale.
and i felt bad for it taking so long
for thinking about the old girlfriend
and her hang ups
that i thought i should end this drama
and i almost did stop the whole operation
but then the blonde grabbed my hips
she caressed my balls
then put her hands under my ass
to cradle me
to press me in deeper.
she moaned loudly
sounding garbled, like she was
then she grabbed my shaft
and began simultaneously
stroking and sucking.
i moaned the moan
of the awakening dead
and got a pillow to cover my mouth
so that my roommate wouldn’t hear.
and when we were done
the blonde lifted her head and smiled
at me
she kissed my cock
and i thought
well, there’s one more thing
she does better than the ex ever did.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

poem of the day 11.10.09

as the poet speaks

she sketches pictures of books
in notebooks
very defined and detailed
as the poet speaks.

she closes her eyes and tries
to make a good show of it
while the poet reads his poetry
and talks about whitman
and social reform.

the poet talks about the awards
that he’s won
for fiction and for non-fiction
while she text messages a friend
some triviality
while she writes down her
grocery list
and checks her voice mail.

the poet talks about his charity work
with kids in the ghetto
with the public zoo
with the sad and aging
as she yawns
and asks the person next to her
where the restrooms are
when it is she thinks
that they’ll be serving
at this meeting
where the poet
is the key note speaker
and such a big, big draw.

Monday, November 9, 2009

poem of the day 11.09.09

a raw version of this poem bombed in front of a room full of poets
and librarians. i feel surprisingly comforted by that notion:

death, etc.

you like walking on an empty street
at nght
and all you can talk about is death lately.
death, death, death.
it’s like you’re obsessed with it.
and quit saying it’s the chest pains.
the doctor told you that it was gas.
it’s not cancer.
it’s not a heart attack.
you just need to take a shit, that’s all.
but for you it’s death.
pointless, poetic death.
death always.
death, etc.
you can’t rectify the past and the present.
you wish you were fourteen again
but you always tell everyone that you had
a miserable childhood.
look at you, you’re thirty-five
and everything is killing you.
new york.
the job.
the subway.
you have no clue how young you really are.
and on top of it you’re vain.
you spend more time in front of a mirror
than a woman does.
am i too fat?
you tell everyone about your man boobs
and your love handles.
no one cares.
you keep making your wife compare you
to every fat man on the street.
do i look like him?
am i as fat as him?
jesus christ, isn’t it enough that she thinks
you look good?
that she thinks you’re sexy?
no, you want nineteen year-old girls to look at you.
well, buddy, nineteen year-old girls don’t know
that you’re alive.
pizza is killing you.
the football season is killing you.
red meat is killing you.
but you won’t become a vegetarian
vegetarians aren’t real men, you say.
how stupid?
where’d you come up
with that archaic, john wayne horseshit?
take a yoga class
and get over yourself.
death always.
death, etc.
that’s all you’re good for these days.
you used to be a hell of a lot more fun.

Friday, November 6, 2009

poem of the day 11.06.09

king of these four walls

the hall light
keeps buzzing
you can hear it
through the walls
and you know
the super won’t
fix it until at least
the new year
so you might as well get used to it
as you have the fruit flies
that won’t die
and the weeks
without end
outside you hear the kids
the cars
the rain
and you drink
your scotch
and wish for silence
knowing it is
too much to ask.
people write you about
new homes
new jobs
and new babies
and you wonder how it is
that they haven’t
killed themselves yet
how they haven’t
drown in the mendacity
of the american dream
you wonder why you haven’t
done away with yourself
as well.
maybe you’re just tired
tired of the words
and the trick of life
maybe it is best
to just sit here forever
king of these four walls
with two lazy cats
for your court
and a floor full of dust
as your royal subjects.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

poem of the day 11.05.09

marital bliss

i tell her
my brother just called
he was in a fender bender
pulling out of a strip mall
is working nothing but
twelve-hour shifts at the store
works 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. tonight
the house he’s building
is all fucked up
it has the wrong cabinets in it
or some shit like that
but his wife wants
to close on the place anyway
so that they get it in
in time for the government rebate
threatens to divorce him
if he doesn’t sign on the place
and she cries on the phone
to my mother when she calls
who promptly calls my brother
who’s en route
to another best western
to sleep away another night
of his marital bliss alone
in a rented bed
and informs him that he’s
ruining his life and his marriage
to which he tells her, my mother,
to go and fuck herself
and he calls me from the hotel bar
half-crocked on vodka
threatening to beat up
the home contractor
and a table full of suits sitting
next to him and talking loudly.

“wow,” she says.

“i know,” i say.

“i always thought you’d be the first one
to tell your mother to go and fuck herself.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

poem of the day 11.04.09

end again

i remember
she was crying on the phone
she said
i could’ve waited
until you were thirty
or forty even
but you had
to go and screw all of this up
my mother thinks
you’re cheating on me
and i don’t know
what to think
and really
you’ve left
me no choice here
but to end this
so that’s
what i’m doing
right now
i’m ending things with you.
then she got off the phone
and i left the basement
to get myself
a beer from the refrigerator
i went into the backyard
it was november
thirty degrees outside
and i was only
twenty-one years old
and i swear
i felt better in that moment
than i had in the
last six months
and fourteen years later
i still get a tingle
in my chest
just thinking about it.
so thank you
thank you, mary
it was the best thing
you’d ever done for me
in our twenty-one months together,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

poem of the day 11.03.09

finding a place for dinner

the team had lost
the bottle had emptied
and the books weren’t doing it for us.
so we went for a walk
and watched the sickness of people
taking down halloween decorations
and putting up their lights
for christmas in early november
lamenting the days where they
used to hang nothing for a few weeks
missing the breather in between
the seasons.

“we should find a place,” my wife said.

“i guess we should.”

“there’ll be eight of us. my parents.
your parents. my sister and her husband.”

“that is eight,” i said.

“we need to find a broad menu.”


we kept walking.
this was our cross
my wife and i who didn’t bother anybody
who didn’t call unless we were asked
who never sent christmas cards
or had dinner parties
or asked to visit
or had everyone over for thanksgiving dinner
we were always stuck with finding a restaurant
for people to dine in
ten people
eight people
the last supper for christ’s sake
this was our cross
even though we hated eating in large groups.

“what about this italian restaurant,” she said. “wait, you’re
father hates italian.”

“he’ll get over it. what about here?” i pointed
to a place dressed in neon.

“that’s a bar. you always find the bars.
no one will want to eat in a bar except
for us.”

“yes, i forgot.
we come from such privileged stock,” i said.

“be nice.”

we kept moving, looking into
restaurants where people were dining and talking
about what people talked about.
football games were on large televisions
to drown out the verbal monotony
of the well-fed masses.
none of the places looked good to us.
maybe it was the people inside.
i wished i saw the restaurants empty
then maybe i’d find something appealing about them.

“it’s all of these damned people,” i said.



“i wish we could do foreign food,” my wife said.

“but now you’re eliminating everyone,” i said.

“my sister and her husband like foreign food.”

“of course they do.”

we moved on
only to end up back where we began.
the night had a chill
our bellies rumbled with hunger
of food and more drink
and the moon was blurred by the night sky.
i thought about how i had
to work six days straight starting tomorrow
and how i couldn’t care less
about a dinner that was a month away.

“look, why don’t we just find a place
no matter the food, and call it a day,” i said.
“and fuck this whole thing.”

“but i don’t want people to be disappointed,”
my wife said.

“you can’t stop the inevitable.”

“do you think?”

“i do.”

we stopped in front of that same italian joint.
inside people were talking and laughing
just like all of the other places.
in one room was a large table full of people
eating and throwing down wine.
there were eight people at the table
and my stomach dropped.

“this looks like the place for sure,” i said.

“but your father?”

“never mind him,” i said.

“fine. i’ll go and grab a menu,” my wife said.
“and then after we’ll go and get another bottle
of wine.”

“good,” i said, staring into the night
as green and red and white, and orange lights
all melted into one ugly color
as someone told a joke inside the italian restaurant
one that i didn’t hear
but that made the whole table of eight
burst out into uncontrollable laughter
the sound of their cackling making me
want to jump off the bridge in the distance
dressed for the night
in lights of beautiful blue and gold.

Monday, November 2, 2009

poem of the day 11.02.09

making out

i’m drunk again
i have my shoes on
and a dirty wine stained
i’m doing this thing now
if assholes linger too long
on the street
with the bass going
in their cars
i go outside and tell them
to shut it
the fuck off.

i’ve only tried it once
and the guy drove away
as soon as i approached his car.

this must be how the young man
becomes the old man, i think.
how the world begins
to pass you by.

and tonight
they are at it again
a couple lingering
across the street
against a big, black s.u.v.
with rap playing.
i’ve had i don’t know
how many scotches
and the giants lost again
for the third time straight.

what are you doing? my wife asks.

“i’m handling these motherfuckers,”
i tell her.

“but you’re in your underwear
and you have boots on.”

“i don’t care.”

“it’s almost midnight.”

“something has to be done.”

“why don’t you come back and sit
with me on the couch. let’s finish these
drinks and go to bed,” she says.

“after,” i say.

i look outside the window again.
it is a blonde with no ass
and some prick with his hat on backwards.
they are leaning up against the s.u.v.

“christ,” i say. “they’re making out.”

“good,” my wife says, slugging down
her drink. “at least somebody in the world
is making out tonight.”

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Poem of the Day 10.31.09 Moo Ha Ha ha!

and oldie but a......whatever.

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

poem of the day 10.30.09

this is

this is
just another night
of dodging the
palpable ignorance
of the masses
in the train station
the manic preachers
crying for the end
of the world
dodging the hordes
of teenagers
and their fuck talk
the hapless underground
and the secretaries
armed with their
white sneakers
and tube socks
pushing their secret
bottles of wine

this is
just another night
of dodging
the rotten breath
and angry, snarling faces
of the miserable
and the damned
dodging, dodging,
for survival
always dodging
as millions of animals
stand ass to ass in crates
smelling their own
waiting on the slaughter
as millions of other animals
lay peaceful in the woods
dodging the random stray bullet
shitting and sleeping
wherever they want.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

poem of the day 10.29.09

the rape of the 15 year-old

i fear for the kids
found her unconscious
underneath a bench
near the faculty
parking lot
flown to a hospital
in a helicopter
in critical condidtion
ten of them watched
while ten of them did it
over a 2 ½ hour
period of time
like a long movie
like a seminar
or a quick baseball game
like playing ball in the court
it seemed like a good idea
at the time
a little fun
on a saturday night
it was so beautiful out
the full-moon
the ambiance
the homecoming dance
the way the corsage matched
the dress
the dimly lit alleyway
where she was lead
a nice night
a warm october night
blood and come
all down her legs
pumped away at her
until she couldn’t
see anymore
saliva on her chest
get out your
camera phones
for the money shot
christ how i
i fear for the kids.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

poem of the day 10.28.09

worst agonies

some days
the worst agonies
are typical things
like missing the train
after sitting through a meeting
or watching a stranger
smile at a child.

it is standing in line
for a jar of gravy
behind someone with
a cartload of shit
as the cashier talks on
her cellular phone
as people talk about
the cover stories
on celebrity magazines
and you realize that it
takes so much effort
to sound so common.

it is watching a baseball game
in october, drunk,
with the lights off
and the workday hours away
it is getting political pamphlets
in the mail
or waiting on the sun to shine
after another bout of insomnia.

the worst agonies
are so simple and precise
a broken stoplight
a lost pen
losing a page in a book
a job interview
the way shadows fall
on the next ugly block
that you must tread toward
your own personal hell
it is hoping to win
but knowing always that
you will lose
it is realizing that death is actual
and that poetry rarely pays the bills.

some days
the worse agonies
come from just having to say hello.
the worst agonies
come from smiling at a neighbor
or just getting out of bed.

and those are the days
my friends
that you’re happy
you don’t own a gun
you’re scared of heights
and that the oven
is electric
and not gas

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

poem of the day 10.27.09

what can you say to
something like this?

she comes in a lot
she bothers me
has me look up rental laws
and brain teasers that she has
printed up illegibly
on sheets of loose leaf paper.
when i pass her in the morning
usually hungover
she makes it a point to say hello to me.
she knows my name
but i do not know hers
i have a database full of millions of people
but i have not made it a point
to look up her name
she bothers me about computers
thinks that i know a lot about computers
i tell her that i can turn a computer off and on
and she looks at me like i am lying
which is fine
because most humans think that i am lying
she is sitting in this place right now
talking loudly on her phone
something about a procedure
i don’t know because i am trying
my best to ignore her as always
but she says that the doctors found
two of them on her ovaries
and a couple of them in other places
her voices begins to get tight
she says that they want her to get
a hysterectomy
i can tell the person on the other end
of the phone doesn’t know
what a hysterectomy is
she repeats it loudly
a hysterectomy
and some of the other people in here
begin to look
and she tells the person on the phone
that they have to take her womanly insides out
that she will not be able to have any kids
then she tells the person
to hold on while she cries
she cries for a couple of minutes
then gets up and comes over to me
and asks me if i have any tissues
i tell her that i have a whole box of them
and i hand her two.

Monday, October 26, 2009

poem of the day 10.26.09

american high school tour group
at anne hathaway’s cottage

was only
when he
this twenty-six year old
and then
left here
for london
or something
banged all kinds
of chicks
in london
for all
of these
and then
the most
of all time.

i told you
fucking cool
or something

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Steve Richmond

RIP Steve. Another great one goes with no one to fill the void.

Steve Richmond (1941-2009)

Friday, October 23, 2009

poem of the day 10.23.09

pig latin

i’m a
merciful man
and there are
two latinos
on the train
about british girls
and he said
that last night
there was a group
of british girls
on the subway platform
and that they
looked lost
and she asked
what did you do?
and he said
i tried to help them
but you know the british
they talk in cockney
or something
it’s like english
but it’s not
it’s like pig latin
or something
and she said
it can’t be pig latin
because pig latin
is when you say words
backwards or something
and he said
well, i don’t know
if it was pig latin or not
only that they don’t really
speak english
over in england
so i couldn’t really
help them, he said
as i sit on the train
what a merciful man
i am sometimes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

poem of the day 10.22.09


on the table
and she keeps
the girls
around the
dancing behind
the computers
with headphones
and it’s eighty degrees
in here
i’ve got a rash
on both of my arms
on my legs
my chest
i’m hungover
on wine
and scotch
and haven’t slept
in a week
it is raining
for the fourth day
a driving cold rain
my clothes
are damp
my throat still
and i think
i could be in rome
right now
but what in the hell
would i do
in rome?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

poem of the day 10.21.09

more and more it seems like this

we pay for the bad movie
and then find seats watching the
sunday masses join us from out of the cold
and i wonder how we all came up
with the same idea, at the same time
but then i realize humanity is inherently redundant
and the lights dim without anyone getting quiet
and previews for other bad films
are showing on the screen
as loud people continue to infest
the theater, blocking aisles
and using their phones as a source of blue light
the man next to me keeps on fielding phone calls
the previews end and the movie comes on
and he’s still fielding phone calls
one, two, three, and i tell myself
that if it rings again i’m going to break
his fucking phone over his head
and it does ring again, but as i’m getting up
to throttle him
the man leaves his seat and exits the theater
(he doesn’t come back)
but that’s all right because now the cocksucker
behind me has decided to start talking on his phone
and the asshole three rows ahead has started texting
so have others
the bad dialog of the film, the bad soundtrack,
are complemented by beeps from all over the theater
and people are still talking
i want to check my watch, but i don’t because
that’s a universal sign to my wife that i find a film bad
so i try and check my watch off the light of the screen
as another cell phone goes off in the theater
we’ve only been at it for an hour
another thirty-four minutes to go
before i can forget that this film ever existed
before i can forget the people in here ever existed
thirty-four minutes before we can leave this bad film
and go down the block to the bar
where they are already drunk at five in the afternoon
yelling about football and old, bad movies
and about how much they hate the black president.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

poem of the day 10.20.09

trains and trains

all of the trains converge
on this singular place
and then stop with nowhere to go.
i think of all of the trains
that i’ve been on.
too many trains.
too many used up

my mind is a blank
that is to say it is
not here
with you.
it is in london still.
it is dreaming madrid
and the canals of venice.

it is dreaming
a train
going over the frozen land
from beijing to moscow.
a train taken in another life
i have yet to get to
another time
not as thick as this one
moldy and brown
ripe with america.

not as stuck
as the trains
that still haven’t moved
from this mildew-scented tunnel
in this outrageous time
and place
on no conception
no solace
of no thought
to speak.

Monday, October 19, 2009

poem of the day 10.19.09

soft accents

you’ve got to do something
about all of this shit that you’re playing,
he said, getting right up
into my face.
but i didn’t play this, i said.
well who did?

he had a thick irish accent
and was drunk.

let me ask you something, he said.
are you canadian or american?
i always get the two mixed up.
american, i said.
from where?
new york.
new york? well then you’ve got
no business being in here.

he was right, of course.
i had no business being in most places.
london, new york, places due east,
none of them really needed
my presence.

say? he said. have you ever heard
of a band called therapy?
there a bit like metallica, before
metallica turned to shit.
i didn’t know metallica had turned to shit.
of course they did, he said. they
turned to shit
when they started playing music
for girls.

i moved aside and he started dropping
pounds into the jukebox.
i’m going to play you some therapy
he said.
fine, i said.

i went back to the table.
what was that all about? my wife asked.
it was just some irishman, i said.
he thought that i was canadian.
and now he’s playing me love songs.

we looked over at him.
he was playing air guitar and had his tie
thrown over his shoulder.

when he caught my eye
he came over
and leaned in close to my wife.
hey, he said. he tells me he’s from new york
only he doesn’t sound like he’s from new york.
he’s got a soft accent.
i’m really from pittsburgh, i said. pennsylvania.
well could you do a new york accent for me? he asked.
i looked at my wife
she smiled.
sure, i said.
and then i tried to remember what a new york
accent sounded like.
it was sort of like a canadian accent,
i thought,
only much rougher
and a lot harder on the ears than most.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

poem of the day 10.17.09

watching ally photograph
the clopton bridge

you’re as beautiful
as the river avon
standing there
and oh christ
you know
i’m not much for
but you look
amazing there
right there
next to that
old yellowing brick
you’ve taken the
cobwebs off of
this old town
my lady
you’ve shaken
elizabethan boots
and rattled
those haunted bones
resting seventeen feet
under ancient marble
you’ve made
the old new
and something
different over
and over again
sometimes i want
to see the world
through your eyes
and other times
i just want to
watch you photograph
the clopton bridge
after eating nothing all day
and drinking a pint
of real cask ale.

my love
don’t you know?
shakespearian sonnets
have nothing
on you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

poem of the day 10.16.09

the memory of being happy

coming up third avenue
swinging the scotch bottle
that i haven’t needed in a week
swinging it like a child’s toy
like a basket of fresh fall flowers
like the memory of being happy
coming up third avenue
swinging the scotch bottle
that i haven’t needed in a week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

hollis street blues

lord byron
your birth house
is now
a mcdonald’s
is now a clothing megastore
just off oxford street
is now
a glass construct
foretelling the future
of architectural doom
there’s not
even a plaque here
lord byron
we tried
to find you
amidst the commerce
and glam
amidst the union jack
and plastic
london mugs
we really did
on hollis street
lord byron
on hollis street
but we’d have
been better off
in belgium or venice
where you whiled
away the hours
fucking all
of those handsome
girls and boys.
we should’ve
looked up
shelley’s withered ass
instead of wasting
the minutes
standing here
in the gray gloom
next to a coffee shop
that never even
bared your

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

poem of the day 10.14.09

traditional english breakfast

my heart is in the lowlands
and i think of a traditional
english breakfast
of sausage, fatty bacon,
fried eggs, toast,
and a spoonful of baked beans.
it is a brilliant mess
when it comes to you
with a taste for blood
as the underground station
at regent’s park glows
beckoning toward elsewhere.
the food on the plate
orange and yellow and burnt.
you take it with tea and milk
and i have mine with coffee
and we sit staring at it for a moment
before we dig in
not sure, i suppose, what to make
of it all.

my heart is in the lowlands
and you ask me if i’m all right.
i tell you i’m not still stewing
but we both know that’s not true.
we both know that it takes
me forever to get over things
no matter what country i’m in.
i tell you if that waiter
comes over again
with his pretentious british mannerisms
and the condescending talk
that i’m going to put him through a wall
yankee style
i’ll do him like we did the redcoats back in 1776.
i’ll play the boorish american
if that’s the way they want it here.
you tell me he’s the first to be that way
that it’s not as bad as all of that
you say that europe has been kind
thus far
as the rain begins to fall again
outside on marylebone road
and our traditional english breakfast gets cold.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

poem of the day 10.13.09


works the tours
at hall’s croft
stratford upon avon
he dresses proper
in a suit
with a constant smile
and he’s happy
to see a couple
of americans
have come
in out of the cold

tells us about
john hall
shakespeare’s son-in-law.
hall was a doctor
the first to document
cases of patients
or something like that
i don’t know
because i cannot stop
staring at adam’s yellow
and natty teeth.
it’s an american defect
that i’ve developed
toward the british
in my half-week here.

and i’ve developed an addiction
to british cheddar cheese.

wants to know where
we are from
and he squeals when he finds out
that we’re from new york.
he wants to know what
theater we’ve seen back in london
back in the u.s.a.
i tell him we’re more like
ghost chasers
going after shakespeare
and the beatles and the like

says we must
make time for the theater
and then he talks our ear off
about his trip
to new york city
back in the 1980s
and how different new york
must be now.
yes, yes, new york city
is different now
times square is like disneyland
my wife says
although new york is the farthest
thing on either of our minds.

i want to tell adam
that i’m over four thousand miles
from home
that new york could sink
into the ocean for all i care
but i just stand there and smile
as i do with most people
while he talks about
seeing a chorus line
and strolling the east village,
wondering when i can get
a pint of aspell cyder
or an abbot ale
in the garrick inn
a pub that is over six-hundred
years old
one where they say a plague
had started in 1564
wiping out enough people
that stratford upon avon
was kind of like a ghost town.

i wonder if adam thinks
about that sometimes
when he’s alone
and finally runs out of things
to say.

Monday, October 12, 2009

poem of the day 10.12.09

man at the top of the stairs

there is a man at the top of the subway stairs
who had just stopped.
he’s clutching his chest and standing there.
he’s a beat up old thing with a white beard
and a dirty baseball cap.
and he’s standing there at the top
of the subway stairs
not moving, swaying a little bit
as we rush by in the after work fervor
checking blackberries and text messages
to catch trains or make meals
to pick up demanding children
or huddle over that first drink.
there is a man at the top of the subway stairs
and no one stops to see if he’s all right.
not you or i my friend.
no one stops to look back.
i know i didn’t.
i had to catch the d train
so that i could meet a connecting r
at 36th street,
so that i could walk six blocks in the rain.
i had to get home to baked chicken
for the second time this week
and boxed macaroni and cheese.
i had to get home from work
as fast as i could to flee that world.
i know i didn’t have the time
to stop and check up
on some haggard old beast standing
at the top of the stairs
clutching his chest
and blocking stairway traffic,
making a scene in the rush hour
calamity of flesh and bone.
i mean his face wasn’t even red.
he looked all right from what i saw
probably just old and tired, like the rest of us.
there is a man at the top of the subway stairs
who has just stopped.
he’s clutching his chest and standing there.
and all i can think is good luck, buddy,
finding empathy or a helping hand
in this sinking world.

Friday, October 2, 2009

poem of the day 10.02.09

london calling

london again
what do i mean
london again?
i’ve never been there
london i feel like i haven’t
even tried yet.
sweet london.
old london.
london of 42 a.d. and romans
don’t abandon me too soon.
i’ve read all of the guide books
but i’m as dumb as a new born.
envelop me.
be warm like a cunt.
be my best friend, london.
kiss me full on the mouth.
i’m traversing an ocean for you.
i could’ve gone to venice
with dan
and oscar is waiting patiently
in madrid..
but london, i’m sending my valentine
your way
only valentines mean nothing.
give me byron and shelley
and all those other gloriously
dead bastards
and if i can’t get into your heart
you beautiful bitch, london,
then i’ll just die.
don’t let me down, baby,
and i promise you
that i won’t let you down

Thursday, October 1, 2009

poem of the day 10.01.09


waking up to the
boats moored to the docks
and children crying on the street.
they sound like frogs
all of them
and you imagine frogs
overrunning the city
climbing buildings
laying flat and squashed
in the middle of the street
hopping all over the pavement
drooping bushes to the dirt
and falling from the sky
onto the shoulders of loud people.
these thoughts beat thinking about
the three-day hangover
they sustain the cleanup of the bottles
and the smudged, violet glasses again.
these thoughts remove
the pain in the liver
and the acid making a highway
between the stomach and the throat.
they bat away the fruit flies
that refuse to die
and take away the fear
of sailing over the ocean.
it is good thinking about frogs everywhere
real or imagined
a true plague.
it is better than ice cream and beer
or mustard on a turkey sandwich
with an extra piece of cheese.
it is better than thinking
about the work day and the rain
or about marcel proust
dying in a corked-line room in paris
these frogs are better than
thinking about anything
war and mortality and death,
about this life and the next
the one without you in it
that might finally leave me
forced into fending for myself.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

poem of the day 09.30.09

poem to the couple who
deleted me as their facebook friend

first of all
i can’t believe i’m even writing
something like this.
it stings a little bit, yes,
i’ll admit that,
mostly because i can’t figure out
what i did wrong this time.
but let’s not debate
this secret dismissal.
it’s so much easier now,
though, isn’t it?
one click and someone
is gone for a digital forever
without even knowing it.
and i wouldn’t have
except for my wife bringing
up some anecdote about
your life that i wasn’t privy
to on that social network
of social networks.
and when i checked for your page
boom, i was gone.
removed ever so casually
from your static clique
of frozen faces.
but this is much easier
don’t you think?
it’s much easier
than not returning phone calls
or deliberately missing me
on your christmas card list.
but we weren’t those kind
of friends anyway,
more guilt by association.
that’s the trick of these things
removed social interacting
with those you
wouldn’t think about
unless someone else brought
them up in the first place.
was that your case
with me?
was i not a worthy enough soul
to continue reading
the humdrum and ho hum
of your silly little lives?
oh well, i guess a couple
more assholes are out of my life.
and please don’t tell me
that it was a mistake
an errant click of the mouse.
i’d believe that if it weren’t
the two of you gone together.
and don’t sweat it, folks,
i’ve done it too.
i’ve got trails of burning flesh
behind me
and people who don’t even want
to know my name anymore.
so please don’t think this
set of meaningless words
is some kind of soapbox platform
or a request to have you both back.
my life hasn’t changed one bit
since you’ve been out of it.
it might even be better.
in fact, disregard this poem
in its entirety.
think of it as me waking with
nothing better on my mind
in the morning
but a trivial little bone to pick
and a point of contention that has somehow
lost all its meaning seventy-five lines in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

poem of the day 09.29.09


we sit in the
thai restaurant
although i do not like
thai food.
this is another
compromise of marriage
like not hoarding the sheets
or taking out the trash
and cat liter.
this beats sitting on the couch
drinking a whole
bottle of red
and trying to figure
out where to go to dinner.
it is true
that i have lost my taste
for the foreign
as i have lost my taste
for a number of things
indian, thai, middle eastern
good conversation
the opera, rock concerts,
or wherever else.
they no longer do it for me.
i’ve put them away
along with trying to
be intellectual
or at least smart.
i can no longer compete
so i’m dumbing myself
back down
don’t you see?
i have always been
a bar and grill man
a red-faced, polish lout
from pittsburgh
and i guess that’ll
never change
but have some of this
wine, baby
a nice pinot grigio
from scilily
that i ordered especially
for us.
after they were out
of the tempranillo
and the cotes du rhone.
savor it
like a christ’s blood.
it’s the last remnant of me
that i’m giving to you
before we go home
and i have a beer
on the bed
with two slices of pizza
and the all-night sports channel
barreling over
our precious chopin nocturnes
and john-paul sartre books.

Monday, September 28, 2009

poem of the day 09.28.09

poem to the girl reading
john gardner’s “introduction
to fiction writing” on the morning

poor fool
you can’t learn
how to write that way
you’ve got
to learn it by
putting your life
through the fire
and back out again.

you’ve got to burn
our your soul
and run down your
heart until it might not
ever want
to beat again.

you’ve got to
tear out
your dreams
and lay them
at the feet
of the laughing gods.

so put down
the goddamned
gardner for christ’s sake
and go and lay down
in traffic
with crazy, drunken eyes
to watch the dying stars.

and if that
won’t do you
carve a circle into
your skin
to see if you can
still bleed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

poem of the day 09.26.09

baked potato

she talks to me
she asks me how the weather is
or if i had a good weekend
all the inane highways of conversation
that makes a man lose
his appetite.
she asks
if i’m having a baked potato
for lunch
because i usually do.

one time i told her that
i liked baked potatoes
because they were
cheap and easy
like my women
it was a lie
i was never good at scoring
cheap women
but she ran with it
and i’ve heard that joke
said back to me
more times than i thought
possible by now
in one human life.

i’ve only known her for three months.

she says
the baked potatoes make
the room smell good
and she asks me why i don’t watch television
like everyone else does.
she asks me this while blasting
law and order reruns
she asks me if i still read books
while i wonder why she
doesn’t get a baked potato for herself
and just leave me alone.

i told her today i walked manhattan
for ninety minutes
trying to find a place for lunch
with the last few dollars that
i had on me.
i had to settle for two plain bagels
at a dunkin’ donuts
she said
what? no baked potato today?
i looked at her
and said
nope, the world ran out
of fucking baked potatoes
can you believe it?

she laughed and laughed at this.
i guess it’s
my new joke.
regardless, i’ll probably be hearing it
for the next three months
in between episodes
of law and order
whether or not i have
a baked potato for lunch
a full course meal
or a bowl of hot water
sitting in front of me
something else
that my stomach won’t let
me get down
without a fight.

Friday, September 25, 2009

poem of the day 09.25.09

plastic revolts
- for the seeds of protest everywhere

mommy and daddy gave us too much
of everything growing up
and it’s time to revolt
so come on
and rise up against the swimming pools
in our backyards
rise up against the cars they bought us
at sixteen
the ones we wrecked at seventeen
rise up against those replacement cars
they bought us after graduation.

come on
and rise up against our manicured mall life
rise up against the coddling government
rise up against the green grass and blue skies
of the mcmansion developments of our youth

come on
and rise up against the college debt
we’ll never have
rise up against the cell phone bills
we’ll never pay
rise up against the credit card charges
we’ll never see
and rise up against the professors
mommy and daddy are paying off

come on
and rise up for the six o’clock news
let’s break some windows and rise up
against the eleven o’clock news
rise up because these photos are going on my
facebook page
rise up because this video is going on youtube
rise up because this line will be posted on twitter
and my blog

come on
because this is our time
our plastic revolt
done for everyone who doesn’t have a voice
smash an atm machine
and lay their cause in the mud
turn that park into a battle zone
and lay their cause in the mud
huff that tear gas like a designer drug
and lay their cause in the mud

come on
and rise up, us, the monotonous and dull
the hedge fund offspring
and the digital deluge
let’s lay their cause in the mud
and then let’s swim like pigs
in it
let’s swim in the thick, brown shit
like privileged little swine
and let’s hope that mommy and daddy
are at home watching us
soak up the airtime and the minutes
all fifteen of them
if even that many.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

poem of the day 09.24.09

portrait of a man

here’s the portrait
of the man trying to be
all things
to all people
the dutiful son who calls
every sunday
although his life is falling apart
at the hands of the bottle
and the measure of time
the husband
who notices a new hair color
or clothing
who remembers to make love
hard and soft
often enough
who tries not to drink
in front of the in-laws
but keeps a bottle of scotch
in his overnight bag.

here’s the portrait
of the man trying to be
all things
to all people
the benevolent older brother
there for moral support
there to bleed the years when you can’t
but who can never seem to visit
at the new house, in the new town,
or comment on the new car
the uncle who understands the pains
of youth
the brother-in-law, mute,
and painted into the corner
of a saturday night
window dressing at the table
of every new kitchen being built
or waxed.

here’s the portrait
of the man trying to be
all things
to all people
the friend who’ll amuse you
and say immortal things
the friend who forgets your constant benevolence
never allowed to forget the bounty that you’ve
bestowed upon him
the friend to get drunk with in the old bar
telling the old stories over and over again
because there’s never been enough to say

here’s the portrait
here’s the man trying to be
all things
to all people
the man who has room enough for the world
and no room for anybody
a man who tries to love but cannot find the way
who watches spider webs collect
in the dirty shower
and wants to scream
a man for whom his own madness and solace
have ceased to calm him.

here’s the portrait
of the man trying to be
all things
to all people
his flesh picked off the bone at birth
his fingers, dirty, yellow nubs
his hair nothing but dirt and grease and follicles
a face streaked with blood and years
eyes that are barren
a gut full of guilt
his soul torn and scattered
a man so sick
a portrait of the man
so sick
so very sick of it all.