Thursday, January 28, 2010

poem of the day 01.28.10

the kid outside the door

i go to do the laundry
although i’d rather be on the couch
drinking a beer

i promised myself no booze before noon

there is a kid
sitting outside my apartment door
he’s right there on the floor
just sitting there with his earbuds
in his ears
playing with his cell phone.

i wonder how long he’s been outside
my door, listening.

we have paper thin walls in this place.

i start thinking about what i could’ve said.
i know my wife and i made jokes
about her clothes
and the holes in my underwear.
i tried on new inserts for my shoes
and walked around complimenting their comfort.

christ, what if we’d have started fucking?

i look down at this kid
but he hasn’t noticed me yet.

my wife is inside our place getting a shower
so i remember to lock the door.

i drop the laundry basket and it tips over.
that’s when the kid looks up at me.

i’m glaring down at him
holding my apartment key between two fingers.
i think i look menacing
but the kid just nods and smiles.

he says “what’s up, dude?”

i tell him “nothing.”
nothing is up, dude.

then he goes back to listening to his music.

i check the door
make sure i locked it all right.
i pick up the laundry basket and begin
heading toward the elevator.

i must be getting old, i think.
the menacing glare
and key between the fingers used
to work almost all of the time.

kids these days.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

poem of the day 01.27.10


sitting behind her on the bus
i am soak and wet
after walking ten blocks
in a winter downpour

i don’t believe in anybody or anything in that moment.

the bus driver tried to pass me up
and the two hispanic kids across from me
are making fun of my wet clothes and sideburns.

they think i don’t know
which just goes to show you
how dumb teenagers really are.

i think about turning on them
grabbing the uglier one by the collar
putting the fear of god in him.

but i’m too tired.
and i’m broke.
besides what would all of the old ladies think?

so i sit there behind her
as she talks on her cell phone.
whoever it is on the other end
has got it bad for someone
she keeps reassuring the person

she says don’t worry you have a lot of soul
and you’re very spiritual.
if he doesn’t see that
then you need to pack it up and move on.

you have so much soul, he should see that.

this is what she does on the bus
as we go up fifth avenue in the rain.

she keeps reassuring.
she keeps telling this person
that they have soul.

the hispanic kids laugh again
and i know it
i just know they are laughing at me.

they don’t have any soul, i think.

why in the fuck aren’t they in school today?

you have a lot of soul, she says.
and if he doesn’t see it
you need to hit the road, she says.

just like that.

hit the road.

absence makes the heart grown fonder
they say.

at seventy-fifth street the bus stops and i make to get off.
i can feel the hispanic kids’ eyes on me.

i’m waiting for them to shout something.
christ, this is like high school.

i turn back to stare at them
but their heads are down.

i look at the woman on the phone.
she has a kind face.

so much soul, she says.
then she lifts her head and gives me a nasty look.

she knows a lot about the soul, i think.
too much.
she knows what rests deep in the pit of me.

it’s black and unforgiving

i hope i can wash it away
when i get back out there in the cold and rain.

Monday, January 25, 2010

poem of the day 01.25.10

still suffering from the inability to write anything of merit, so here's an old one

at poe’s grave

standing at poe’s grave,
fayette street, baltimore,
and i am trying to think
of something monumental
to say,
which is a fatal mistake
for any writer
trapped in the moment.

besides i’ve never read poe.
not the raven
not the tell-tale heart.
so he doesn’t mean shit
to me anyway.

yet i put a penny
on his headstone to spite
realizing that you have
to appreciate a city,
like baltimore,
as beaten and lowdown
as it is,
for recognizing the merits
of a poet,
even one who died
drunken, diseased,
and piss-filled
in the streets.

not many cities do that anymore,
dedicate anything
to a writer.

in camden, new jersey,
they’ve dedicated a bridge
to walt whitman,
and once people forgot all about that,
they gave his name
to an interstate plaza.

it’s there, man,
i tell you,
written in red neon
above the burger king sign
and the one for sunoco.

it looks good there, too,
but not as good as the sign
reading $2.91 for a gallon of gas,
which is worth more to me
in this economy
than ten copies of “song of myself,”
as i sail southward
in this hapless nation,
thinking of two old gods today,
far enough away from myself
that i might never come back.


Friday, January 22, 2010

poem of the day 01.22.10

looking at a blurry jpeg of tina donetti

it must’ve been twenty-three years ago
i think
when we’d walk home together
and she’d talk to me about all of the boys
she liked
and i wanted to tell her how much
i liked her
but i was so chickenshit and worthless back then.
she liked dave in our math class
and she liked mitchell, my best friend
in the neighborhood.
she loved watching mitchell play
nurf football on the street.
she got into this habit of asking me
who i liked
and i’d be coy about it for a while
or i’d blurt out the name of some friend of hers
and we’d walk along talking about
some girl that i didn’t give a shit about
that didn’t give a shit about me
and none of it mattered anyway
not tina
not the other girls
because i was a fat slob back then
doing a monkey dance of black humor
for the kids in my class
so that i could be ignored at best
left to my own devices
left to rot in my little room.
but tina donetti, you were the center
of my world for a short time
and you didn’t even know it, i’ll bet
a black-haired italian princess
and, yes, mitchell could play a good game
of nurf football on the street.
and, shit, how i longed to have you look at me
the way you looked at him.
and what a surprise it was to see you on this
social networking site
not frozen in time
but older and with wrinkles under your eyes
with kids and a husband
no worse for the wear than any one of us.
your smile is still the same though.
it kind of reminds me of spring
in the pittsburgh suburbs
when anything was possible
and none of us knew just how hard it
would become
or how little of it we’d actually get.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

poem of the day 01.21.10

the old jewish lady

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
wants to tell me all about her sony reader
and her new laptop.
she wants to show me
how i can download books.
i tell her that i still like paper books
and compact discs
and televisions that come in tube form
movies that come on big screens
and phones that stay at home.
she shakes her head and says
no no no
you gotta get with the future, son,
she says
and proceeds to show me
how to download a book

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
wants to rehash 9/11
as we navigate this new technology
she tells me how glad she is
that she was just retired
when it happened.
she said she worked down there
by the trade centers
right above the big century 21.
she wants to talk about planes
smacking into buildings
and friends of hers
who had to run
down seventy flights
of stairs
while she searches for a novel
to download.

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
tells me about her daughter
up in yonkers
her daughter is a paramedic
and a lesbian.
she calls the daughter’s lover
her “friend”
because anything else
is illegal in new york state.
she tells me it was
the daughter and her “friend”
who bought
her the sony reader
she tells me how her daughter
wanted to come into the city on 9/11
to help with the rescue
but her chauvinistic bosses
up in yonkers
wouldn’t let her.

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
tells me how she stays up late
at night
playing on her new laptop.
she tells me she called manilla
for help when she got her sony reader.
she tells me about web sites where
you can donate rice
by playing trivia games
and how one night
she stayed up until four in the morning
and ended up donating
about 200,000 grains of rice
to some impoverished nation.

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
tells me her daughter said that
200,000 grains of rice
isn’t a lot of rice.
wants me to go to this web site
to help heal the world.
but i don’t feel like helping anybody
right now.

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
doesn’t understand this.
she doesn’t understand not wanting
to help other people
or why her daughter can’t get married
in new york state to another woman
she doesn’t understand how nations
become impoverished
or why there are chauvinistic bosses.
she’s glad her daughter didn’t go
to the trade centers.
she doesn’t understand why 9/11 happened at all.

the old jewish lady
behind the desk
tries to sell me again on her sony reader
and how to download books
but i’m not biting.
because she’s already killed an hour of my life
that i’ll never get back.
it could’ve been the best hour of my life
the best one ever.
i want to tell the old jewish lady
behind the desk this
but i don’t think she’d get it.
i don’t think she’d understand where
i’m coming from at all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

poem of the day 01.20.10

genuine manhood

he has a group of them around him
and he’s standing behind the bar
taking our money
putting it in a big wad
because he hasn’t opened the register yet.
there is music playing
it is something bad that jangles
it is the kind of music
that makes you drink
but he’s playing it because some
woman made the mix for him.
he’s smirking and telling
all of the guys huddled around
that he doesn’t know why
she made him this mix.
he says he doesn’t know
but he does.
the guys are listening intently
because he’s a big deal in this city
an original from an original scene
so when he plays something
over speakers
then it must mean something
to listen to it.
now he’s an entrepreneur too.
they all wonder how he does it.
he gives me my beer as the one song ends
and the next one begins
i recognize the guitar.
he asks the group of us who it is.
no one knows
although these are learned music men.
i tell them it’s the smiths
and he looks at me and says
wow, that guy just said loads
about his manhood right now.
no one says anything.
they don’t know how to take the comment.
a compliment?
an admonishment?
they just don’t know.
but i do because i hate
the fucking smiths.
i look at the guy and i wink
because this is a family function
and i’m powerless to do anything else.
i take a sip of my beer and walk back
into the next room
while they keep on about music
someone asks me to take their picture
and in doing so
i spill the pint of beer all over our guy’s
aged wooden floor.
it looks like an accident.
maybe it is.
and it happens right about the time
that the smith’s song ends
and one comes on by a band called

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

poem of the day 01.19.10


i wake her up
and she tells me that she has
a headache
i offer to get her aspirin
but she doesn’t want them.

her stomach feels empty
she says.

i turn on the light
and i tell her
she could be hungover
we went to the bar
last night
and i told her that she
drank most of the wine
when we got home.

i just kept filling her glass.

don’t tell me
she says, sitting up
i have a headache
don’t sit there and tell me
what i did wrong.

i was just guessing
i say

then we sit there in silence.

i feel like a prick.
three days ago
i was kneeling on the bathroom floor
vomiting up bile
from a night of binging
on wine and beer.

i vomited until a part
of my chest turned black and blue.
now here i am
the judge and juror.

do you want some aspirin?
i ask again.

she says.
i just need to take a shower.

then she gets up off the bed
to run the water
while i sit there
in the dim light
trying to remember
if we bought enough cat food
or not.

Monday, January 18, 2010

poem of the day 01.18.10

everything from the sea

it was an oyster
maybe a clam
drenched in butter
and it had been in my mouth
for a long time
couldn’t chew it
couldn’t swallow
it was like having a rubber ball
in my mouth
and everyone watched me eat
my friend
his brothers and sisters
his mother
and his father who had
made the special seafood dinner
to celebrate their annual trip
to the beach

finally i got it down
swallowed it whole
nearly choking myself
and then i chased it
with a half-liter of diet pepsi
thinking everything from the sea
was fine with me
lobsters and fish
they were all safe.
i was going back
to turkey and chicken
chickens are ugly
to look at anyway
and i heard from a good source
that turkeys are so dumb
they’ll drown
staring up at
the rain.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

poem of the day 01.14.10

like buying a loaf of italian bread

he has a wooden soul
i can tell
he keeps staring down at my groceries
in the line
while i’m watching
the cute puerto rican girl ring them up.

he’s one of those who has to talk
and he’s just waiting for the right moment.

the bag of sugar isn’t it.
nor are the peppers and tomatos

i was surprised he didn’t
say anything when the girl
rung up my six-pack of natural ice
but my wife always tells me
that i’m not a good judge of character

this explains why i stay away
from most people

i’m just waiting on him
so is the cashier.
she keeps looking up from my groceries
to me, to him
because he’s smiling wide and shuffling
where he stands

the milk doesn’t do it for him
neither does the toilet paper
or the cat liter

the girl rings up nearly everything
and gives me a total
when he springs into action
see, i knew it, he said.

what? i say

she forgot your italian bread.

which was true
the cashier had forgotten my italian bread
sitting there
but so had i.
quickly she punches a key on the register
and rings up my bread

i have a new total.

i knew it, he said again,
as the cashier smiles awkwardly at me
and i nod back.

i didn’t think she was going
to give you that bread, he says.

well, everything is all right
with the world, now, buddy,
i say.

i wink at the cashier,
thinking i’m bogart.
maybe in another life, sweetheart,
i’m trying to say.

i nod at the guy as he begins
tossing his groceries all over the place.

i didn’t think you were going to give
it to him, he says to the cashier,
as i walk out of the grocery store
thinking how many times have i walked out
of this grocery store
after a moment of lunacy like that.

too many times, i think.
i think maybe i need to start buying my groceries
somewhere else
somewhere where the girls working the registers
aren’t so pretty.

because pretty girls bring out all of the nuts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

poem of the day 01.13.10

one, two, three bourbons

one, two, three bourbons
on a night when i said
i wouldn’t have any

we know we’re getting
too old for this shit

sunday, knocked-out loaded
on sunday afternoon
in a lucid state, watching football playoffs
while you do the bills
and do the laundry
and get me whatever food i can keep down.

i have no clue how it doesn’t
get you in this way.

one, two, three bourbons
on a monday night
after an hour long bus ride

we said we’d take a few days off
but here we are
at the chiseled trough again.

you ask me if i feel guilty
and i tell you no
we took yesterday off from drinking
after i don’t know how long
i feel like that’s good enough
sitting here, this is all right.

one, two, three bourbons
and it would’ve been more
if that bottle had held out

i say maybe tomorrow
i’ll just get us a couple of beers.

we’ll have a couple of beers
and call it a night

one, two, three bourbons

saturday night, i remember well
too well
talking about london again
the burger joint and the bar
jack the drunk playing the moody blues
and carl playing roy orbison
and the dead

it’s just getting harder the next day
i mean i couldn’t come that night
but i was able to get it up in bed
the next morning
so i can’t explain the next few hours

all i know is that vomiting
and praying for death
have become such tired practices
such trite rituals

one, two, three bourbons
and i’m happy that we’re drinking
the good stuff tonight
it means no headache tomorrow
no sore bones
and staggering down the cold hallway
to the sound of the crying cats

that rot guy might come cheap
but i comes at a price, baby.

one, two, three bourbons
i don’t know if i can take it anymore
maybe i’m not built to go the distance
with this
to hell with hemingway and cheever
and all of the rest

i wish there was salvation
or something else to believe in.

ask anyone and they’ll tell you
art just isn’t enough these days

you got to have it all
you got to have more

one, two, three bourbons

you and i know the drill, baby
we know it like those others only pretend
so happy in our dumb glory
so happy

but then what?
but then.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

poem of the day 01.12.10

i felt like shit before, but...

i felt like shit before
but now i feel great

i found this little
out of the way bar
and i had two cheap
scotch and waters
on the rocks

as i sang
i adore mi amore
and careless whisper
to no one

while people huddled
in the cold
going to
and from work

and the bartender
chewed out his old lady
on his cell phone

man, i tell you

i felt like shit before
but now i feel great

sometimes it’s just
that easy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

poem of the day 01.11.10

he didn’t understand anything
about writing

back then i was
desperate in buffalo, new york.
i couldn’t find a job
after two months
and i was getting fat sitting
in the apartment
eating bolognia sandwiches
while my wife went
to work every day.

i tried walking around
the city
but it was buffalo
so there was nothing to see
after the first day there.

finally i got a call
from this bathroom installation place
that needed a paper pusher.
and they gave me an interview
the store manager noticed
that i put “none” under hobbies
and he wondered if it was a mistake.
i told him it wasn’t
but he kept up at me.
finally i told him that i wrote on the side.
poems and short stories.

he nodded and made note of it
on yellow paper.

a few days later
i was masturbating to a morning talk show
that had some blonde celebrity on it
dressed in a short skirt
when the manager of the bathroom installation place called.
he said i got the job, mostly,
but he wanted me to come in and meet the staff
to see how i jelled with everyone.

so i went to the store.
it was a warehouse, really,
a cold, sterile place full of shiny, white tiles
and glossy toilets and baths.
the store manager smiled and shook my hand.
he was going bald
but he had a goatee.
he took me into his office and told me
all about the job.
he told me they were like family at this place
that they had picnics together too.

on the wall was a picture of the store manager.
he said it was taken after he, and some of the other guys,
went white water rafting.
he asked me if i liked the outdoors and i told him no.

then he told me i mostly had the job
but he wanted me to meet the staff.
i told him he said that on the phone.
he told me that he had one more concern
and i asked him what it was.

it’s the writing, he said.
what if you make it big in writing?
he said i can’t hire you for this job
if you might make it big in writing.
i told him that very few writers made it big
and that even if i got published
it probably wouldn’t be enough for me to quit the job.

i really needed the money.

he liked hearing that.
the smile came back.
we went and met the rest of the staff.
they seemed nice enough
a bit dead in the eyes, probably from spending
their days in a bathroom warehouse.
i thought i might get dead in the eyes too,
working there.
i thought i might be forced into white water rafting
or going on picnics.

i got the job.
when i left i got in the car
and just sat there looking at the place.
it was non-descript.
it sat in a squat industrial park
right next to the airport.

i watched some planes take off and land
and then i drove to the nearest liquor store.

i charged a bottle of wine
and a bottle of scotch.

when i got home my wife was already in
from her job.
she asked me how the interview went
as i set the booze down on the table.

i told her i got the thing.
i told her that store manager didn’t understand
anything about writing.
i told her that i hated buffalo
and everything else.
three days later i never showed up for my
first day on the job
i was in pittsburgh, drinking iron city beer
and sleeping on my parent’s couch
because my wife had thrown me out.

she understood all one needed to know
about writing...and then some.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

poem of the day 01.09.10

there’s no plot

the editor emails me
rejecting the story
he says there’s no plot to it
it’s just the events of some guy’s day
it’s not as gritty as the other ones
you send me
(most of those he rejects
as well).

so here it is
i’ve come to this
writing about the battle
between the so-called writer
and the editor.

he’s probably right
there is no real plot to the story
but i want to tell him
that sometimes life is like this
there’s simply no plot.

i mean
i could’ve included some stuff
in there to make it
cohesive for the guy
like take what happened to me yesterday

i could’ve put in the story
something about waking up hungover
and drinking half a bottle of mylanta
throughout the day
or getting on the wrong train
and not realizing it for five stops
coming into work and having everyone
throw questions at me

or about standing in the freezing cold
for forty-minutes
as every bus but mine came by
about having to get on the wrong bus
cursing the world
as it crept through brooklyn
and every single person seemed to get off
the thing
at every other stop
while the rest talked loudly
on their phones.

these are important plot details.

i could’ve added the fact
that me, the protagonist, that my wife
and i don’t have cell phones
so while this is all going on
she’s in a bar somewhere waiting for me
and there i am knowing
i’m going to be an hour late meeting her

i wonder if the editor would’ve sensed
the drama building

or maybe i could’ve added the part
about me racing twelve blocks
to get to the bar
about how my chest had these odd little pains
as i ran
about getting to the bar
and having my wife tell me that she thought
that i was dead
or the part about the drunk with his head on the bar
and how only moments before
he was hitting on my wife
while i was on a fucking bus caught in traffic
and an hour late

yeah, i could’ve added the part
about the bar drunk hitting on my wife
while i wasn’t there
and how some of the other guys in the bar
kept coming down to where she was sitting
checking up on her
making sure she was all right.

sure, they are secondary characters
unnecessary and underdeveloped
but i think the story could be getting somewhere now.

although to keep the plot moving
i should probably add about how when i came
into the bar
how dramatically i threw down my bag
and declared the mta the worst public
transit system in the world
and about how i was taking all of the money
in the savings account
and moving back to pittsburgh
because places like pittsburgh are where sane people live

i should write about how my wife
sat patiently through this rant
waiting on a kiss.

i’d probably send back the story to the editor
adding all of that
but if i did i’d be leaving out
how i was so worked up i had to lock myself
in the bar bathroom
to take a massive, nervous shit while some drunk
kept pounding on the door
about how when i got out of the bathroom
jack, the drunken day bartender
was talking to my wife about karl marx
and economic theory
about how he proceed to spend the next
forty minutes talking to both of us
about economics and philosophy
and this theory he had about who
was the world’s worst genocidal maniac.

i could add all of these things
and include the fact that my wife and i
didn’t even get a chance to ask each other how
our miserable days were.

i could add it but the editor doesn’t like stories
that take place in bars
he doesn’t like relationship stories as well.

so forget jack
we’ll make him an alien
bent on world domination
and the bar will become a coffee shop
and i’ve been listening to him reveal his plot
and my wife?
we’ll make her my best buddy, earl,
even though i don’t know anybody named, earl.
earl was waiting for me
and i was an hour late not because
of some mass transit screw up
but because i was somewhere
in the dark corners of new york city
fighting terrorism
fighting the good fight.

and i never got on that wrong train
this morning
i was shadowing someone who just happened
to be going in the other direction.

the hangover?
the mylanta?
hazards of the job, you see?

so i’ll write that story instead
and i’ll make the plot the test of one man’s metal
in an otherwise cruel and unforgiving world.

i’ll put a hot blonde at a corner table
the kind my wife thinks that i still want to fuck
when i complain about getting older and fatter.
i’ll put her in a short skirt that rides up
to her ass.
and as the alien talks about his plot to destroy the world
and as earl tells me about his day over an espresso
i’ll call the barista over and ask him what she’s drinking.

i’ll tell him to send her over another one.

and then i’ll walk out into the night.

i’ll write that story instead
and i’ll send it back to the editor
formatting it just how he likes it
as an attachment
in 12-point font
double spaced
with my name and email address
right under the title.

Friday, January 8, 2010

poem of the day 01.08.10

there has to be a word for feeling like this

passing the parents
dragging their children
to school
the children looking
like limp dummies
in the glare of the pregnant sun
i weave around them
brushing off all comers to the side
they wobble and stumble
it feels good
but not as good as cutting
that brunette in the line
at the bagel joint
taking my time just
ordering two plain ones
and a small coffee
with fat free milk and
a touch of sugar
or how i jumped on the train
without waiting for other people
to get off
making elbows and faces
but none of that
was nearly as fine
as absolutely beautiful
as coming upon that steep staircase
and the blonde leaning over
with her bony ass
her face burdened with two children
lifting and grunting
trying to get a fifty pound baby carriage
up the steps
nothing was as good that day
as winking at her
and breezing past them
running up the steps briskly
into the bright blue afternoon
of a frigid january, tuesday,
with nothing else to do
but find a place
to order a scotch and water for lunch
and read italo svevo
to the sound of light music
coming out of a hidden speaker box.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

poem of the day 01.07.10

another old one. have poems to type up but life has been
a clusterfuck as of late.


i’m on to you
i buy three rounds of
and you buy the fourth
when i’m ready to
so i stay
and have that free one.
then i have two more with money
i know i needed for
something else.
by this time the sun
is setting.
i finally get up to leave,
your big fat tip resting
on my soaking coaster,
to great the evening,
my mind unsure about
everything i meant
to do
that day.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

poem of the day 01.06.10

here's an old one. it's not about her, but it's in honor of my ancient chinese
neighbor and the wonderful tv shows that i get to hear through her walls each

dutch door action

through the thin walls
of this communal debacle,
i hear the neighbor’s music.
today it’s gansgsta rap,
so he must be feeling hardcore,
or something.
yesterday it was this retro country
townes van zandt bullshit.
my neighbor is a young, white male,
which means he owns
no tangible cultural identity.
but that’s all right, i guess,
in an era where woman and minorities
are losing theirs as well.
that said, normally in situations
like this,
i’d get mad, throw a fit,
pound on the walls until
my hand was hurt and swollen.
but not today.
today i just nod my head
to every thump of the bass
vibrating my walls.
maybe it’s good music he is playing,
and i’m finally on board.
or maybe i’m just happy
because it’s noon on a thursday
and i got off work early
and there’s a six-pack in the fridge.
could be.
or it could be the fact that
as i was coming home from the job
i saw the parking authority on my street,
and they were giving my music loving
a fifty-dollar parking ticket.
i watched the parking attendant work
until my neighbor’s windshield
was adorned with a blazing orange
new york state violation envelope.
it made me feel good to see it.
now i wonder what tune he’ll play
when comes outside and sees that?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

poem of the day 01.05.10


look here

what is it?

a garden slug.


you know what happens
to them if you put salt on them?


they bloat and die.

put salt on him then.

no way, i’m not doing that.

hold on.

what’s that?

a shaker of salt.

you’re nuts.


i’m not watching this.

look at this.

i told you. i told you.

he’s bloating.

you’re killing him.

it’s all right, it’s all right.
i won’t ever do it again
after this one time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

poem of the day 01.04.10

the same old

it is the same old
pile up
of morons
in front of the apartment
wringing out the old year
with dick jokes
and stories about tits from the past

we are drinking wine
and watching movies
we’ve seen a hundred times
listening to the action
their inane laughter over
dialogue we’ve memorized
years ago

“dude, they were this big,
i swear.”

i imagine him showing
the measurements
with his hands
as they all laugh

what the fuck? i think
when did this happen?

the building used to be us
and old people
my wife and i
we were the mad ones here
the ones the superintendent warned
about the smell of pot smoke
in the hallway
the ones whose wine bottles
caused an uproar in the basement

we have these cackling braggart idiots
outside the window
and the yuppies who let their yapping dogs
shit all over the sidewalk
we have the ones
who have wine and cheese parties
on the fire escape
during warm summer nights
and the whores in their loud shoes
and loud perfume
carrying their underwear in their back pockets
talking about how fucking drunk
they always are

what happened?

i get up from the couch
and look outside
at my tormentors
there’s four of them
but i focus on the fat one
with black wavy hair
the one who’s always hogging up
the elevator
using all the washing machines
to clean his various football jerseys

i think if it ever goes down between me
and this pack of guys
he’s the one i’m taking out
he’s the one coming along to hell with me

my wife says something short
that i don’t hear
i make her uneasy when i get like this
and i get like this a lot
she says why don’t you just tell them
to be quiet
tell them that people live here

i tell her
they already know that people live here
they live here
i tell her i’m going out there
with my fists and a baseball bat

you don’t have a baseball bat, she says

not everything has to be a fight, she says

yes it does, dear, i say
looking out the window again
after the pack of morons cackle
into the dying embers
of this hard decade

some things
almost everything these days
i tell her
is a fight

it’s blood sport, i say
from getting up in the morning
to going to bed at night

it’s murder
this life

it’s endless, suffocating war

it’s dog eat dog, i tell her
these long and endless days
this shit slide
from the womb to the grave

Friday, January 1, 2010

poem of the day 01.01.10


the teenagers
are playing football
on a dark night
so that we don’t have to.

the young kids in the snow
are throwing the old ball
back and forth
tackling each other on the frozen grass
so that we don’t have
to get beaten up anymore.

isn’t it nice
the way the teenagers play?
you see it isn’t all
just video games and television.

and we can just stand there
and watch them
have a beer and not worry
about how badly time has forgotten us.

look at the teenagers go!
look at that one smacking right
off another kid
spinning in mid air
and hitting the turf

he just laughs it off
and gets right up like the pain
has poured through him.

and he’s doing it for us
he’s absorbing that shock
dirtying the knees
and getting bloody in the face
so that we don’t have to anymore.

can’t you see how free we are
to be idle and rot
smelling the rancid flesh
as our bones break like toothpicks
and the score stays
nothing to nothing all the time.