Friday, July 29, 2011

poem of the day 07.29.11

this is not a call

i get astounded
watching documentaries
or reading books about paris
in the first quarter
of the 20th century
sit amazed at the idea
of picasso and braque
throwing each other cubist fastballs
at le bateau-lavoir
apollinaire writing his last poems
with his war bandages on
juan gris walking
the streets of montmartre
sick modigliani at the birth of the decade
mixing the paint and the booze
cocteau and max jacob
gertrude stein salons
hemingway living an adjective-less life
all of those kids at the ballets russes
fitzgerald on the left bank
looking for a fountain to fall into
andre breton looking for
a new kind of art
le dome
la rotonde
café select
josephine baker dancing
at the theatre des champs-eylsees
sartre and de beauvior comparing lovers
at les deux magots
good old langston hughes
fresh off the s.s. malone
waiting tables in jazz clubs
satie and stravinsky
and henry miller stuck in america
waiting his turn
i get astounded by paris
in the early twentieth century
dancers and musicians
painters and poets
swapping sweat and art
all of those artists enraging audiences
and changing the world
i get so wrapped up in that time
that i feel a part of it
then i wake
and i get depressed
because though it is true that
there have been artistic movements
since then
some very famous
none were
as magical as that time
swirling between two wars
i realize that i missed the whole boat
there are probably
art movements now
insignificant, incestuous clusters
that spark and just as quickly flame out
nothing left to raise an audience
to its feet with anger and shock
nothing there
to move the world
maybe it’s the artists’ fault
maybe it’s just humanity has grown
beyond the capacity to be moved
we’ve become scattered
filtered through too many channels
plugged in
given too much bandwidth
we’ve simply become bored
by the simple spectacle
our attention spans too small

or, as they say,
some things just had
their time and place.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

poem of the day 07.28.11

little bukowski’s

so many of us
are little bukowski’s these days
with poems about
the women we treat badly
and copious amounts of alcohol
poems about run down apartments and shitty jobs
little bukowski’s railing against mankind
our contributor pictures shows us
all looking the same
little bearded and tatooed bukowski’s
with smartphones and twitter accounts
sitting at bars smoking cigarettes
or hoisting up an import beer
looking clueless, sullen
trying so hard to be at odds with the world
we tell everyone how much
we hate the other poets
little bukowski’s
who have no room for our contemporaries
there are so many of us
it’s hard to tell the bad from the good
because we’re all just mediocre copycats
our proof smeared in little journals
that disappear overnight
the poems on our blogs all bleeding
right into one another
little bukowski’s alone with everyone
it’s becoming harder and hard
to read all of us little bukowski’s
sitting at the vanguard of tired bullshit
hoping that this is exactly how hank did it
most of us never really knowing
what a true hangover feels like of course
we have nothing new to add
except ten new poems a day
to our facebook account
we’re just more of the same
little bukowski’s through and through
though none of us will admit it
because when someone asks us
who are favorite writer is
we never say bukowski
we always tell them it’s john fante
some of us say raymond carver.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

poem of the day 07.27.11

i’d rather my words coming
out of your mouth

the editor of my book
is also my friend of twenty years

i don’t know how this works out
in terms of the editor/writer relationship

but we seem to do well with it

the editor is also a poet
and he reads poems from time to time

he does the dirty work
of poetry that i’m too frightened to do

he emails me and tells me
that he’s been closing some of his readings
with one of my poems

he says it kills every time

people love the poem
and it generally leads to a few books sales

i thank him for this

he has more guts than i do

i tell him that i feel bad being in new york
that i’m not there to push the book myself
even though i can hardly face an audience

i tell him that i feel bad for being
a nobody in new york

my editor friends tells me
that if i were back there he’d work me like a dog

that i’d be doing so many readings

i can only hope that he’s joking
because there isn’t enough alcohol in the world

at the last one in brookyn i got drunk and angry
but everyone else seemed to be having a good time

a few people bought books
and wanted me to sign them

i was happy that it was over

it’s something about getting up there
in front of all of those people
to read the poems that i’ve pounded out alone

it breeds contempt in me
a sharp hatred that cuts at my being

reading takes me out of my element
the one man out of the one room
the idea that i’ve worked so hard to maintain

it puts me under hot lights
warbling like a clown-suited auctioneer
fully aware of the futile madness of what i do

and i can’t seem to stop spiraling
until i’ve exhausted the world

after doing readings
i end up hating myself for a week

i think of getting out of the poetry game

just sitting on the couch drinking beer
and driving my wife mad

waiting on the end of days

i want to tell my editor friend
that i’d rather hear my words
coming out of his mouth

i want to tell him that my words
are safer spilling from his jaw rather than mine

because when i speak my words
it’s a little like committing a murder

when i’m done
i have leave those poems on the stage

those little sheets of paper
covered in my sweat and blood

knifed through the heart

useless to me and my cause

as i draw chalk lines around them
then unspool the yellow tape.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

poem of the day 07.26.11

packs of girls

packs of girls
sit huddled in
bright rooms
complain about
the air conditioning
complain about
the heat
can tell the
between regular
cookies and
diet cookies
eat bag after
bag of tortilla chips
say the worst
things to each
other tell the
worst stories
about each
other tell
each other
to shut up
call each other
cunts and whores
laugh at
fat people
laugh at
boys laugh
at old people
laugh at
their parents
talk about
and how they
get so bored
that all they
can do is eat
and watch
worry that they
are getting fat
tell their friends
that they
are getting fat
make fun of
smell each other’s
breath to see
who has the worst
drink coca-cola
by the gallons
have no
inside voices
watch the dumbest
read the worst books
pack of girls
are like aliens
stalking this planet
trying to claw
out each other’s
hearts and minds
packs of girls
become packs
of women
who do the same
terrible things
to each other
packs of girls
make me glad
that i was born
with a sack of balls
a penis
and a shorter
on this god forsaken

Monday, July 25, 2011

poem of the day 07.25.11


i shut the fan off
from deflecting the heat

turn the radio off

listen to their argument
coming down from my ceiling

it is sunday

they either fuck or fight
on sunday

this week it is
a verbal joust

the same shit

him calling her a whore
accusing her of screwing
everything that walks

her screaming and crying
telling him to get out
of her fucking sight

it’s her catch phrase

there is more yelling
more stomping on the ceiling

some thumps

the sound of furniture
being tossed about

then it is silent

i turn on the fan
put the radio back on too

our sunday ritual complete.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

poem of the day 07.23.11

in heat like this

there is really nothing to do

i would say that it is akin
to being a prisoner
but there is no danger here

however, the smoggy brown haze
settling in over the city
is most certainly manmade

humans are by far
the most dangerous animals

there are some who would prefer snow

for others it is not hot enough

give me an autumn breeze
on a lonely pier and i’ll show you
my form of happy

the morning d.j. thinks
that this weather is a joke

he’ll keep on laughing
reading the thermometer
like he’s whipping off one liners

until the murders start

yet no one is on the street in this humid abyss

this is the only good thing about the heat

no conversation
no dogs

eighty-five degrees at six in the morning

no poems to be written
no stories to tell

in temperatures like this you almost want
to believe in a god
get on your knees
and pray for some kind of respite

even though you know
you’ll look like a fool

no, there is nothing to do

but sip the tepid weak coffee
nurse last night’s whiskey hangover

sit here and sweat

try not to spiral, worrying about
health and debt as the electric bill goes up

there are no emotions left except hate

hate for the calendar
hate for the month of july

the way that some hates are reserved
for certain people

i hate july

i think that t.s. eliot must’ve taken
a vacation to antarctica during this month

for july is surely the cruelest

in eliot’s april the average high in london
is fifty-seven degrees

and the only reason
that you’re carrying an umbrella
is to keep dry walking in
the mother fucking rain.

Friday, July 22, 2011

poem of the day 07.22.11


to love
to humanity
to births and last rites
to jobs
to landlords
to neighbors with heavy feet
to the birds outside my window
to men beating their dogs
on the street
to vomitus cats
to social networks full of people
that i never wanted to know
to the past and present
on one continuous loop
to mailbox movies and dinner
to paris and london and madrid
to pittsburgh and buffalo and new york
to sports teams with losing streaks
longer than some lives
to music
tethered to american flags
and air conditioners
to student loan debt and the tax man
tethered to these soiled clothes
to poetry
to van gogh’s olive trees
and picasso’s three musicians
to hate
to apathy and godlessness
to internet porn
to scotch and wine and beer
to electric bills and cable bills
tethered to assholes riding the bus
to grocery bills and bar debt
to nail biting and nose picking
to monthly transit passes
and outrageous airfare
to weddings and divorce
to familial obligation
to childhood nightmare
to irritable bowels
to winter spring summer and fall
to the noose that keeps
strangling my heart
tethered to you like a rabid dog
but i wouldn’t have it
any other way, my dear
tethered to me
until death do us part.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

poem of the day 07.21.11

mistaken genius

ninety degree bus
strangling in sun
with screaming children
sweat locked
in every beer-fat crevice
wearing the lightest t-shirt
that i own
one covered in green and orange paint
the people
in varying states of misery
fanning themselves
wiping their brows
cursing public transportation
for its continuous failure
stare at me
with their vile, flabby faces
of societal judgment
they probably think
that i’m insane
in this get-up
insane or homeless
well, let them think as they will
i’m ten degrees cooler in this
plus i like to think that i look
just like joan miro
strolling along the beaches of palma
after painting one masterpiece
and contemplating another
instead of just another
asshole on the bus
trying to get home
to lock himself away from the heat
and wait on the autumn
to arrive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

poem of the day 07.20.11

larry calls

larry calls me
while i’m at the job
high on something
either cognac or those pills
that the doctors keep pushing on him
larry’s got problems
ex-wife problems
daughter problems
granddaughter problems
legal problems
wants to knock out his son-in-law
but he’s so high
and in pain all of the time
larry can’t do anything
but sit at home popping pills
and watch the
jason bourne movies
over and over again
he tells me this world
is a motherfucker, kid
as if i didn’t know it already
i can’t read anymore
i can’t think anymore, he says
larry, who falls down the stairs
at least once a month
walks with a silver cane
has to wear a brace on his wrist
and a truss whenever he goes out
larry, who loves it when
those pills pollute his mind
tells me all i wanna do
is sit here and watch
these bourne movies
have a couple of cognacs
but the goddamned world
keeps trying to bite me in the ass, kid
larry with his women troubles
and dirty jokes
his lawsuits from new york to california
that miserable family of his
larry calls me at the job
high on booze and pills
only because i need someone
who can understand me, he says.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

poem of the day 07.19.11

this is life all around me

i take in the sound
of the upstairs neighbors fucking
repetitive and dull
almost a sunday chore
hear the dogs barking outside
watch the balls of dust
roll from my desk
collect the cat hair in lumps
and then let them go
watch muted televisions
strain for the music
touch my dead grandfather’s watch
stare at the brown stains in the toilet
the hair clumps clogging up the sink
avoid the soap rings
in the shower
have the coffee and the wine
in one cup
step over the tape
holding the floor together
take in great art on the weekend
without a care
walk the park with everyone else
pick the scabs that won’t heal
misinterpret joy as salvation
beer drafts as intellect
try to think of hatred in the abstract
boredom as a nuisance
film as diversion
look to apocalyptic cities for comfort
while at the street corner
of misery lane and desolation way
there shines a final light
that no one sees
as car horns blare
and little kids cry sonnets
to their lifeless parents
their tears are shed
over nothing and everything
as i say absolutely to myself
this is life all around me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

poem of the day 07.18.11

a july 18th poem

i wake up and realize
it’s july 18th
hope the neighbor’s television
isn’t playing beneath the din
of air conditioner and fan
i don’t know why i consider july 18th
there is nothing significant about it
we are four days passed bastille day
and july 4th is safely two weeks behind us
picasso wasn’t born on this day
but red skelton was
i look out the window
and the sky is dark
last week it was lighter
we are in the middle of summer
yet moving steadily away from it
this might be what i like about july 18th
it’s a monday
and i certainly don’t like the day for that
yesterday was july 17th
a sunday
it was too hot in new york city
ninety-degrees with that goddamned sun
i stayed inside all day drinking wine
trying to watch godard films
my wife and i found
a small bottle of absinthe
on top of the microwave
that i bought almost two years ago
we poured two shots
that looked like windex
we held up our glasses and made a toast
to verlaine and rimbaud, i said
then we drank them down
chased the green fairy with more wine
then i laid down on the couch
to read chuck palahniuk
and willy vlautin novels
and suddenly
just like that it became july 18th
with one hungry cat meowing
from the floor
and the other one in my bed
patting my nose to wake me up.

Friday, July 15, 2011

poem of the day 07.15.11

in the sunshine again

i think that i have
the reverse of that all-american disease
seasonal affective disorder
because sometimes i think
maybe i might kill someone
for just one gray day in the summer
every now and then
for a little rain to fall
on humanity’s parade
but there’s no luck to be found
i’m back in the sunshine again
on the golden streets of brooklyn
this thursday morning in july
where the garbage men
leave more trash than they take
and everyone’s excited
for this week’s new blockbuster film
there’s nothing for me
and my january heart
but to sleep, dream, and wake
into the shiny glass bottom of the bell jar
pass the happy faces
wearing happy hats
swaying in happy dresses
drinking happy coffee in plastic cups
going to happy work
frankly, i don’t understand people
while the thirst for the same drivel of life
drives me mad
the rest of them seem to thrive on it
but i suppose if most of you
really stopped think about the malaise
of human existence
there’d be rivers of blood
running down the streets
from people picking each other off one by one
and there’d be no one left
to go to baseball games or disneyland
perhaps it’s better this way
to trudge through each bright dawn
communing with the other cockroaches
to never dwell on the years
that have usurped any chance of greatness
to let the baby carriages block the entries to the bars
instead of looking into the mirror
to see what’s been really lost
it’s good to be in bed
by ten o’clock most nights
instead of going crazy on booze
and bad luck
and while i might be down
my february heart
caught in the sadness of the summer season
there are signs on every street corner
this brilliant and sun-soaked day
as the rats of brooklyn
carry their lawn chairs
and jugs of kool-aid to the beach
signs that prove how lucky i am to be alive
there are fliers posted on the telephone poles
of loud neighborhoods
full of car bass and talk radio
for a missing nine-year old boy
except the thing is
they found him yesterday
hacked up and spread out all over the borough
they caught the murderer
he has a kind smile
and makes a mean tuna sandwich
he looks like the sort on a stranger that you’d pass
on your way to work
the one who smiles
sips his ice coffee
and taps on the morning paper
says to us
isn’t it a beautiful day
as he squints incessantly
into the dazzling yellow horror of the sun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

poem of the day 07.14.11


getting drunk
on a hotel bed
in spain
i turn on
the television
just as the matador
rams his
the bull’s
shoulder blades
and into
its heart

hating hemingway
and humanity
i turn off
the television
there will
never be enough
in the world
to wipe that one

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

poem of the day 07.13.11

those good old days

teenage boys
cry dandelion tears
over video games
while the older people sit around
complaining about youth
talking about days
that were better than these
doing their best
not to look each other
in their eyes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

poem of the day 07.12.11

lost argument

sore knees bent
on the cat-hair
infested couch

i snot before
the first cup of coffee

listen to the garbage trucks

trying to remember
last night’s argument
with the wife

only remembering
the end
where she sneezed and said

well, aren’t you even
gonna say god bless you?

i take the first sip
on the coffee
hear today’s weather

(92 degrees)

and decide to go
and wake her up
to see if she can enlighten me

on the subject
at hand.

Monday, July 11, 2011

poem of the day 07.11.11

the day derek hit 3,000
(a parody made with love)

it is 5:20 in new york a saturday
five days days before bastille day,
i’m almost sure it is 2011 as i move toward to the bar
on st. marks place that i’ve been coming to since 2003
for a few beers and popcorn and then straight home to dinner
for chicken curry and red wine with the wife

we walk down the muggy streets drenched with sun and people
and drink overpriced bottled water and talk van gogh
and ugly video art at the moma and travels home
to see what the poets in pittsburgh
are doing these days
and my wife (first name ally short for allyson)
tells me the same story about work that she told me yesterday
and in st. marks books she gets the collected tim dlugos
for us with an introduction by dave trinidad although i do
worry about our bank account, the movies i want to see like
pedro almodovar’s new movie or godard or midnight in paris
by woody allen, because movies don’t stay too long in theaters
these days thanks to dvd an online piracy

and after that we just stroll into the grassroots
tavern and ask for two drafts of budweiser and
the popcorn and go back to talking about the moma
when i casually ask the bartender if derek jeter
got his 3,000th hit, and he tells me jeter went 5 for 5
and i dream of sunday morning’s new york times with his face on it

and i am smiling a lot by now and thinking of
sitting in right field in yankee stadium
watching as he chased a line drive into the stands
to save a run and everyone and i stopped breathing

to read the poem i so lovingly and blantanly ripped off
for this little parody, here is a link to Frank O'Hara's
The Day Lady Died

Saturday, July 9, 2011

poem of the day 07.09.11

flies of summer

the flies of summer
have come back to this apartment
to drive me crazy
while my hair grows
and the dirt collects
underneath my nails
the flies of summer have come back
to sit on toilet seats
and wait for piss
to get drunk on the tops
of wine bottles
collecting dust
on the scratched wooden floor
the flies of summer have come back
to infest the garbage can
to overrun the litter box
to die on strands of fly paper
hung up like nooses
in the basement
the flies of summer
buzz their love songs
around my ear
get tangled in my hair
are too hard for me to catch
with soiled dish cloths
weighed down by stains and heat
the flies of summer
have come back to this apartment
once again
their thousands of silver eyes
on counter tops full of sugar and rot
they’ve come back
to talk poetry
to drive me crazy
or to make friends with these
lonely walls
the flies of summer have come back
as my beard grows
sour and gray.

Friday, July 8, 2011

poemS of the day 07.08.11


his glory
with loud music

the morning

of the coming night
i put down
my book
of gloom

and fondle

my set
of sharp

reading poem

i put
the poetry book
to go
and reread
the fridge.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

poem of the day 07.07.11

our voices

we struggle to find our voices
as wine glasses shatter
in the kitchen sink
struggle to find the meaning
in million dollar ballplayers cashing checks
we struggle to get to the point
in grocery store aisles
picking out disease filled lettuce and tomatoes
wrestle with our souls
during chase scenes in bad movies
we look to find compassion
in the multitude of dull eyes
watching the road
make the connection
when we can get a signal
want something profound
in the balance of our check books
fall flat on our faces
during the highest peaks of significance
and rage madly drunkenly against the wall
our petty brilliance complete
we struggle to find our voices in silent screams
in muddled protest and ecumenical litany
in the empty refrigerator light
in overtime back pay
in dark buzzing bedrooms that give no solace
go blind reading good books of no value
get ideas from the television god
we struggle with weakness
while beating down those without hope
rest prostrate
when the game is on the line
close the blinds on the beautiful sunset
and raise them to celebrate the ugly dawn
ram cholesterol advice down each other’s throat
pig out on the e-coli buffet
kill each other with false kindness
buy wholesale that which we do not want
sell out in bulk the things that are precious
smell the flowers as they wilt
on carbon imprint stems
we watch the sea rot happily on holiday
do a can-can in our sour dreams
fuck like knives
and then do nothing more
nothing more we say
can be done
we struggle to find our voices
cut from the mother’s womb
at the beginning of abortion life
left mute
an average of seventy-eight years
until we see the wormy grave.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

poem of the day 07.06.11

wine store sean

wine store sean
stared at the walls

while others were having lunch

while others watched the television

wine store sean sat there
and stared at the walls

while others talked
hockey and football

while some of them read
or looked at pictures of naked girls

wine store sean
looked at the walls

while the bosses criticized
and the workers moaned for new jobs

as they complained about customers
as the calendar flipped too slowly

wine store sean
stared at the walls

some came and went
some drank on their lunches
to dull the pain

and while some of them said
goodbye and hello

wine store sean was a hero

never laughing
never saying a goddamned thing

just staring at the walls

until it was time
to go back on the clock.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

poem of the day 07.02.11


i sit in the half-light
watching the cat sneeze torrents of snot
hoping that she doesn’t have a seizure and die

because i’m too lazy to buy
a light bulb or call the vet

this city is still going to hell
threatening to close firehouses and libraries
trying to layoff teachers
with grades dropping like flies
when no one can pay the rent

but i’m too lazy to vote
too lazy to make a phone call to the mayor

too much of sloth to get up
off the couch and get in the fight

i’m indolent, i tell you

i was supposed to call off from the job today
but i was too lazy to pick up
the fucking phone and do it

i sit and watch the rain
come through my window
but i’m too lazy to leave this poem
to go over and shut it

see the cat vomit on the floor
it can stay there

the world keeps trying to give me its love
and i’m just too lazy to accept it

my old man tried to give me wisdom
but i was apathetic to its merits

my mother tried to give me religion
bless her soul
but i was too lethargic to pray

the cockroaches and flies
are dancing sambas around the kitchen
because i’m too lazy to sweep up the crumbs

i’ve got tape covering up holes in the linoleum
and books holding up the living room window

the superintendent’s apartment
is right outside my door
but i’m too lazy to get him

let the recyclables pile up for weeks
because i don’t care
let the laundry boil and mold

the elevator takes an eternity to get to the basement
and i’m too lazy to try and find the stairs

i’ve let the magazine subscriptions lapse
left the mail in the mailbox for days

the vegetables are rotting in the refrigerator
and i can’t recognize half of the things in the freezer

looking in the mirror i think i look like shit

my t-shirt has tomato sauce on it
and the hairs on my neck are beginning to curl

i’m an adult, i tell myself
i should be doing better than i am

i should be out there soaking in the sun
going to the beach and movies
meeting new people and trying new foods

having babies and buying stock

but sitting here in the half-light
as the cat’s sneezes come to an end
as the rain stops and the sun begins to filter through
the cracked and drawn blinds

i know that in the end
i’m just too lazy to change

and i guess that’s fine with me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

poem of the day 07.01.11

my views on July 4th from 2010.

independence day

she tells me
to come in for the fireworks
while i’m
wondering if i’ll still have
a job by july
the fireworks are beautiful
she says
as i’m shutting the blinds
and cursing the sun
they come in red and blue
and purple and green
they light up the city
she tells me
while i think about piercing
the tips of my fingers
with a rusty
bobby pin
just for the hell of it
the fireworks will take
care of everything
like the job and the bills
you just need to see
some kind of beauty
in this life
pray and believe in god
she says
while i drink warm beer
wipe away broken glass
and try to untangle the noose
she tells me that the fireworks
spread for miles
they make kids laugh
the adults feel young
all right, all right
i tell her
you’ve won this time
but the next time you call
i’ll be in the closet
wrapped up in a blanket
soaked with gasoline
wondering where
i put the matches

Friday, July 1, 2011

poem of the day 07.01.11

giving the cunt upstairs
a little bit of class

i’ve discovered
that the cunt upstairs is a morning person

she likes to have her television on
to greet the sun

while i’m having my coffee
and trying to write poems

the cunt upstairs likes to pound on her floor
and squeak on her bed

as the morning doves sing

an hour ago i awoke
with the cat’s ass in my face
and dried vomit on the blanket

while the cunt upstairs
was getting the weather report
and laughing at an old sitcom

i don’t particularly like
the cunt who lives upstairs
even though we’ve never met

i hate her television
and the ways she walks

but i’ve decided
to do be a good neighbor anyway

i have the radio tuned to the classical station

bach’s brandenburg concerto no. 2

playing so loud
that i can hardly hear her television

happy to be giving the cunt upstairs
a little bit of class

at such an unseemly hour.