Tuesday, May 31, 2011

poem of the day 05.31.11

on the corner

two middle aged
italians stand
like relics
in gold chains
and sunglasses

looking for their lost glory
in a hail
of cigarette smoke

when i pass them
they puff out their chests
and grab their nuts

i cross the street
walk another block
before looking back
to wave
at the two italian gents
still glaring at me

they look so tough
on a late monday morning
like one of them
put a horse’s head
in someone’s bed

or there was a
sylvester stallone marathon
on television last night.

Friday, May 27, 2011

poem of the day 05.27.11

loitering outside restaurante botin

hemingway ended
the sun also rises
at restaurante botin
along the small stretch
of calle de los cuchilleros
jake barnes eating roasted suckling pig
with brett ashley
and wondering what
they were going to do now
with their impotent world

but we can’t get
a reservation for the place
stupido americanos
standing outside the window
with tons of other turistas
from around this small globe
taking pictures of the oldest
restaurant in the world
as the lucky go in and out
with full bellies or anticipation

it is rumored that goya
worked there once as a waiter
while he was searching for his muse

my wife looks at me
and wonders what next
in our own impotent world
she’s so elegant she could be lady brett ashley
but i know that i’m no goddamned jake barnes
because shit like this usually
drives me nuts.

fuck botin, i tell her
as we start heading back up toward calle mayor
there’s this little pizza place
that i found along calle de hortaleza
that’s just itching for some
literary significance

she takes me hand and smiles
her face in the spanish evening
better than the end of any hemingway novel

Thursday, May 26, 2011

poem of the day 05.26.11

making my kind of art
at the museo reina sofia

i think
that juan gris is fine
and guernica is beyond words
i’ve finally accepted
that picasso is my favorite
and cubism has always been
where it’s at

i promise not
to forget joan miro

van gogh be damned

but right now
i’m making my kind of art
at the museo reina sofia
beer shits and vomit
in the second floor bathroom
from a hot hangover day
in the spanish sun

i’m hurling out
jamon y queso
farting out pints of mahou
moving fast from commode to urinal
with the rapidity of pollock
as men piss
and talk jose gutierrez solana
trying their best not to interfere
with my art

i call myself
a writer i tell them
wanted to be an actor
or comedian
in my youth
maybe a baseball player
but this mess here in the toilet
these bits and pieces
in my beard
that immortal masterpiece
stinking in the sink

that’s what i really do best

the men grunt
at me
press hard for soap
they don’t understand art
i think
dedication to
a singular craft
putting all of your eggs
in one basket

they can only talk about dali
and the sculpture of julio gonzalez

they don’t see
the genius wobbling there
suffering in front of them
shirt streaked with puke
face red
hair sweat-soaked
armpits saturated
eyes watery
crushed pork pie hat
in my ghost white
and shaky hands

no one ever does

it’s amazing that i haven’t stopped
by now

left the art world behind

taken up quilting
gone into seclusion
and called it a day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

poem of the day 05.25.11

you are not americans

aida tells ally and i
you are not americans

but, like us,
aida has been drinking pints of mahou
for almost eight hours

we’re all drunk
and it’s hard to feel like an american
when you’ve been drinking

but i never feel like an american
when i’m in europe

except for the burning desire
to wear a baseball cap backwards

or find a good place to get pizza or a hamburger

you are not americans, aida says

maybe it’s true

i don’t understand half of the things
that go on in america these days

like continued tax breaks for the rich
the lack of universal health care
or why people continue to watch basketball and hockey

you’re not an american

chrst, i like the sound of that
sitting here, drunk, in the plaza santa ana
talking about picasso and joan baez

i never talk to people about picasso
or joan baez in america
although i’m sure they both have fans in the states

i’m sure there are americans
who continue to go to art galleries
or ones that read hemingway

i just don’t know any of them

and finding out who they are is not my concern
because right now i’m not an american

right now i’m spanish or parisian
mostly likely i’ll be perceived as english or a canadian

and that’s fine

if i play my cards right
maybe i could even become japanese

anything but an american

you are not americans, aida says

the pleasure in that concept
it feels liberating
i think that i feel true freedom
for the first time in my life

but deep down i worry
that i’ve somehow fooled my spanish friends

deep down i fear that i am an american
that it’s somehow beyond my control
that cracks will start to show in my european façade

i fear that my true colors will show
that i’ll whip out that baseball cap
start asking the waiters if i can
get a pint of budweiser and a plate of buffalo wings

i worry that i’ll grab the guy next to me
and ask him if the yankees won that night
or what in the hell is going on
with the basketball and hockey playoffs?

i’m afraid that i’ll stand up and start singing
the star-spangled banner, god bless america
yankee doody dandy

tell everyone america love it or leave it

and then just how european will i be?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

poem of the day 05.24.11

they will ask me

--after the regional elections
in spain

they will ask me
if i brought them anything
back from spain

i will joke with them

i will tell them
that i brought them postcards
and magnets

t-shirts and shot glasses

only i left them
sitting in the souvenir stores

i will tell them
that i brought myself back from spain
and isn’t that good enough?

only that will be some kind of lie
because i don’t feel the same

i surely don’t think the same anymore

they will ask me
why europeans hate us

because they always ask this question

someone will ask me
what the tacos are like in spain
or if they had any cool
cinco de mayo stuff

so i won’t have to answer
the question about why europeans
don’t like americans

i will tell them that europeans
don’t understand americans

why there is no universal health care
here in the states
why the poor vote republican
and try to keep each other down

i will try to explain the terror
of franco that still exists

and the fear of over 20% unemployment

they will tell me
america love it or leave it

i will be inclined to accept the latter

only i’ll stay silent
as they turn away from me to talk
about some celebrity divorce
or the hot new reality show

i’ll think about walking grand via
in the spanish sun

or the protest kids
who were packed 28,000 strong
in the puerta del sol

fighting so hard not to become like us

failing beautifully

but at least they tried

and they will ask me where
i’m going to go next

i will tell them that i don’t know
i simply do not know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

poem of the day 05.23.11

so i'm back a day early...sue me.

adios is the saddest word

over the atlantic
ally finally asleep
with this airplane
jostling me toward
a concept called america

oscar, i think of you
standing alone
outside the biblioteca nacional
saying to us

christ, i feel so bad

articulating what we all knew
that we felt
in those final moments

because no matter what
the time for drinks and conversation
had ended at the bar

the toasts to friendship
would have to cease for a while

that no more tapas would
be split in the plaza santa ana
as the sun set on blessed madrid

that the whores on grand via
would see us no more
as we stumbled toward sleep

that this goddamned ocean between us
has a lot of history but no soul

it only works
to keep people apart

i feel the weariness of these miles
thinking of you, mi amigo
as the plane dips
and scares the shit out of everyone

i feel bad too
empty, maybe

but still there is a joy within me
for the time that we shared

i think of all the words
that we gave each other during the week

the slang

the words for sex

the ones for food and family

i tell myself that hola
is a kind word

but good lord
if adios isn’t the saddest word
in the spanish language.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hello Folks

WineDrunk SideWalk will be on Hiatus until
Tuesday, May 24th.

poem of the day 05.10.11


arguing with my wife
arguing with the night
i open a kitchen cabinet
in a rage
and a box
of open lasagna noodles
comes flying out of it
splashing the milk and egg mixture
meant for the evening’s
breaded pork chops

i pick up the box
with half of the noodles left in it
throw it against the wall
watching as the pasta
smashes into
a thousand pieces
and the cats scatter
in different directions

i pour my wife and i a drink
feel good for the first time
that day

like no one or no thing can touch me

such unbounded joy
from an act so simple
and pure

even though i know
that i’ll be picking up
yellow shards of lasagna
well into the next month.

Monday, May 9, 2011

poem of the day 05.09.11

fucking idiot

she asks me
what time
the shops closes

i tell her
seven o’clock


she asks me why
i say


i tell her
well, that’s when
i get to go back to my life

she says
but a job is a part
of your life

it’s a means
to an end
i tell her

she says
well, i love my job

she walks
out of the store

i lock
the door behind her

watch her
waddle her
fat ass
over to her car


some people
in this world
need to be
slapped silly

with hollow reeds

and quartered

or hung
from their ankles

Friday, May 6, 2011

poem of the day 05.06.11

poem to the whore
who lives upstairs

i’m sure
the fighting
at five in the morning
gets you
and the boyfriend off
it must
because when you two fuck
it only lasts for a minute
but this morning’s
verbal battle royal
lasted nearly
an hour and a half
and listening
to you two go
while taking
my morning piss
gave me a little smile
who knew
such language could come
from such
a privileged
little slut
you must’ve
felt like a minx
stomping around
the apartment
fuck bombs
while the scholar
that you let crawl
between your legs
kept calling you
a bitch
it’s waking up
to mornings like these
that make me realize
how truly great
america really is
but one word
to the wise, kiddos
keep the arguing
to the middle of the day
or maybe
take it up the street
stick to the fucking
and stay silent
for goodness sake
because this old man
down below you
is trying to compose
word symphonies
in the morning
and if i hear either of you
before the sun breaks
in the ugly sky
i’m coming up there
with a broom stick
and bottle
of scotch
and the three of us
are going to have
the kind
of ménage tois
that you only hear about
in tall tales
and in someone’s
fucked up

Thursday, May 5, 2011

poem of the day 05.05.11

you cannot be

you cannot be
an artist all of the time
it’s impossible
artists are such drags anyway
you cannot be
a poet all of the time
without running out of words
sometimes it is good
to sit and watch the rain
you cannot be
a musician all of the time
especially when the songs dry up
you cannot be a politician
if you still believe in reason and logic
you cannot be a dancer
without feeling like a fool
you cannot be decent
without hurting someone
you cannot be
human all of the time
for there are forests out there
that do not contain a sound or a soul
and the hunger to go there
is too rich
it is too hard being human
all of the time
a little bit like a job
and you cannot be
at your job all of the time
or you would go mad
you cannot be a painter
when the paint crumbles on the canvas
you cannot be a fireman
in all of this concrete and wire
and you cannot be a god
because it’s such a thankless job
and i won’t let you do it
you cannot be a world traveler
because the planet is simply
not big enough to hold
your attention for that long
you cannot be an actor
because you have dignity
or a cop
because you have empathy
in your heart
you cannot be a famous chef
not everyone can cook
you cannot be a philosopher
without being willing to drink
the hemlock
you cannot be gracious or humble
in a world like this
you cannot be youthful
when you own a calendar
you cannot be an editor
because a real editor would’ve
stopped reading this poem
twenty lines ago
and moved on to the next one
and you cannot be
sad about that fact
because you and i
have reached the end of this together
my friend
and we cannot be
it seems
except ourselves.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

poem of the day 05.04.11

cat food, etc.

four cans of
liver and bacon pate
four cans of
seafood feast
a can of chicken and liver
turkey cut into
stringy slices
four cans of beef pate
a bag of the hard food
and one package
of ocean explosion treats
done in
and crab
the beautiful arabian girl
at the register
rings me up
asks me if i have cats
as she scans the
i nod
say nothing
am desperate to tell her
that i don’t

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

poem of the day 05.03.11

poem upon the death
of osama bin laden

listen to the radio
read the morning paper
don’t watch the tv news

see the young people
cheering in the street
climbing streetlights
hear them chanting
the nationalist chorus


so beautiful in their bliss
so assertive in their patriotism

they remind me of the young people
in the middle east

so much alike
that it doesn’t even matter

does it?

laying down with dogs
and becoming mutts has never been
so easy

a defining moment
meant to divide

….but hell
i’m just a crank
with a hangover
on a monday morning
dreading work

and the president has a nice smile
on the evening news

enjoy it, kids

raise your heads from your gadgets

for this is the ultimate status update
the grandest of flash mobs
the best text message you’ll ever write
with those precious thumbs

you need to pay attention

put down those peace signs
and raise those flags
because we’ve finally won

and it only took 6,000 of our soldiers
thousands of other lives
and debt to last for generations

to get that one little man
hiding out in a mansion
all this time

so come on and let me hear you




Monday, May 2, 2011

poem of the day 05.02.11


we were golden in that era
but less than gold
and that tranny prostitute
was dressed in gold
with her adam’s apple
asking us if we were looking
for a good time
because what else were
three white boys looking for
but a good time
in downtown pittsburgh
at three in the morning
on a saturday night?
golden as a sunset
golden as the small hairs
on a blonde’s legs
calvin, now married eleven years
with his three kids
and his church groups
steve, still trying to make the club scene
along smallman street
me, with london and paris
and traveling america under my belt
marriage and the new york city blues
with career and gray hairs
books of poems
and cockroaches hiding
in the toilet
not old
not done
satisfied, mostly
but there are those days
where i wish that i was running
down forbes avenue
in the dead hours of the morning
hooker heels being tossed at me
twenty-two years old forever
heading toward the corner
toward a light on the next block
the one that i knew
was going to make me shine