Monday, December 31, 2012

poem of the day 12.31.12

fiscal cliff

there was a time
when my old man
had to work two jobs to help support us
between he and my mother that was three jobs
struggling to pay rent and bills on time
packing lunches and making dinner
buying new clothing
for two oblivious boys
who they’d chosen to shove into catholic school
for a dose of morality
i don’t even remember what the old man did
at this second job
except that he didn’t have to wear a shirt and tie
like he did for the morning one
which i thought that was getting off easy
because i had to wear dress clothes in the fifth grade
and there was a time
that my mother didn’t have enough money for bread
and had to bum it off of me and my piggy bank
promising to pay me back by friday
as we marched through the january cold
to catch the grocery store before it closed
she promised me
as if i were her bookie or something

oh, those blessed fridays of paycheck salvation

my brother and i, we didn’t know nike or polo
from a hole in the ground
but there was always thanksgiving and christmas
a hot meal on the table every night
so neither of us had a clue
we thought the tears and the arguments were about something else
when i got older and shed my immortal coil
over-educated and unmarketable
dodging student loan sharks
tact that worthless piece of university paper on my wall
when it was my turn to wonder
now what?
there were bad paychecks and good ones
the good ones meant dinner out with my girlfriend
a used book or a used cd to sell again when money got tight
the bad ones meant the rent got paid
and you kept a count of your cigarettes for the next two weeks
but ghetto smokes on balconies could last a lifetime
watching the city an amusement unparalleled
and the laughs kept on coming through the low bank balances
and cheap pasta dinners
it never seemed as bad as it was
as child or as an adult
i never felt broke or that i was lacking
it always seemed like no matter what
that we were getting there
my family
my love and my friends
all of us hard and honest people
putting food on tables and punching clocks
struggling for rent and small joys
the ones who built this country up from the ground
this troubled promised land that our leaders
with their expensive suits and pensions
those pretty corporate chains around their necks
so hungrily want
to mash back into


Friday, December 28, 2012

poem of the day 12.28.12

the model

he says this autumn has turned
back into spring
he was a bus driver for two years
but quit because he couldn’t handle
doing eight straight every day
but look at these guys, he says
as we watch the drivers change shifts
now they make eighty grand a year
for what?
sitting on their asses?
but it’s no matter to me
i’m 72 years-old and have a gig as a model
man i got the body of a 20 year old under this jacket
because i walk from brooklyn to manhattan every day
it’s only coincidence that i’m on the bus this evening
talking to you
but this modeling gig is big time at some art school
they have me get up on a stool
sometimes in a g-string
sometimes naked
all of these old ladies paint me or sketch me
i get a couple hundred a session for that
more when some of the old bats take me home
for a personal session or to ride my stump
so i ain’t so worried about giving up that bus driver gig
all of them years ago
who wants to sit on their ass all day every day?
i mean look at me, man
72 years old and i look like i’m 20
rock hard
no butter no bread no pizza
and i don’t even miss it but sometimes
because life is hard
and you got to have something in it to fill those hours
trust me i know
i lost my whole family seven years ago in a car wreck
my wife my daughter my mother
after that i just cut out of life
i slept in my car down at the 68th street pier
because i didn’t want to go home
i had no home, kid
i had no money
but i wasn’t about to go
and become something like a goddamned bus driver
there’s money to made anywhere
like this guy from a diner called me
because he heard about my mother dying
he wanted to meet me
said he was her old boyfriend
so i go to his diner and he starts telling me all about my mother
shit from before i was born
and he’s crying and i’m crying
only i notice this girl sitting near by
a cute blonde in baggy jeans and sneakers just writing away
turns out she worked for warner brothers
a few weeks later i get a call from her to meet at that diner
when i show up there she’s dressed to kill
painted toenails
fishnets tight
yellow skirt
says they want to do a movie about my life
she offers me good money but i don’t take it
i tell her i got money
which i did from the insurance settlement from the car wreck
i tell her maybe i’ll sign on for a movie
if i get a terminal disease or something
and this girl is so kind i start telling her more about my wife
bless her soul
and we hit it off
it turns out she’s an actress too
stared in the men in black films
the diner has her picture up there on the wall
it’s still there
and even though she’s 19 and i’m older than her old man
we start seeing each other
it blows me away how she handles my stump like she does
sure, i give her money
a grand here
a grand there
for acting lessons or whatever
she keeps telling me she’ll pay me back when she gets famous
but i tell her we have an affair of the heart
not the pocketbook
and what do i care for money?
having lost my family recently
my wife my poor sweet wife
she looked just like olive oil
she knew warhol and was a painter too
warhol was from pittsburgh
just like that steelers hat that you’re wearing
and i can’t help but think my wife sent me this blonde
to help me get over her
christ what a wild ride existence is
all that love
all that sex
you just don’t find women like her now
especially not on these buses
where all of the women are losers
even with their painted toenails and haircuts
there all dead
they go home and hump their cell phones
still live with their parents
but, man, you really should try getting a modeling gig
i mean i never believed that at 72
i’d have women chasing me the way that they do
chomping up my stump the way that they are
it’s almost like i’m in heaven despite it all
i’m in heaven here on earth
this bus
this life
talking to you on a random monday night, kid
it’s all bliss.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

poem of the day 12.27.12

in paris dreams

suddenly i’m in paris
just like that
and i think, paris
as i watch the sun reflect off the seine
at the place de la concorde
i am with three old friends
who i’m no longer in any kind of real contact with
for some reason or another
age, i guess
they are complaining about paris
complaining about the french
that old argument that they don’t like us americans
i think to show my friends a good time in the city of lights
take them to a bookstore
where they immediately begin tearing books off the shelf
complaining that nothing is in english
then i have bookstore clerks yelling at me
and old friends yelling at me
as paris moves like gray liquid out the windows
too quickly for me to try and catch it
one of my old friends
accuses the book clerk of stealing his passport
there is more screaming and yelling
and international threats
for some reason my old friends are eating mcdonald’s
right in the bookstore
they are throwing burgers at the books
at the bookstore clerks and well-dressed customers
endless discs of greasy patties
that they are taking out of soiled bags
emblazoned with golden arches of american flags
it is like christ feeding fish to the masses
it is such a nightmare of culture
such a sad and silly dream
of ketchup and mustard and mayonnaise
that i can feel myself trying to wake up
from this insanity
as i continue to duck fast food and books
boomerangs of houellebecq
arrows of pommes frites ala america
and showers of coca-cola
like rivers of slick commerce
oozing slowly toward
the waiting, rotted guillotines of old.                               

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

poem of the day 12.26.12

old ladies in grocery stores

old ladies in grocery stores
are the worst specimens we humans
have to offer
strategically placed
they never move an inch
and they use big carts for one item
there seem to be fleets of them
at any given time and at any given hour
nowhere else to go
nothing else to do
but check the expiration dates on cans of soup
meander down the cereal aisles
waiting on death to come
the way they block the fruits and vegetables
is like an art form in and of itself
oh, how they gaggle and congregate
in front of the meats
discussing day time shows and the weather
there are always packs of them at the deli
indecisive and mean
driving the butcher nuts
asking for their cold cuts
sliced as thin as their blood
old ladies in the grocery store
with their crucifix bullshit
with their chicken scratch lists and lima beans
with their stella d’oro madness
and flaking boxes of cream of wheat
are enough to make you commit murder
on sunday afternoons
hungover and sweating bullets
trying to bob and weave around them
getting caught behind a train
of cheap perfume-soaked, cotton-headed abominations
arguing with teenage cashiers in the check-out line
sifting through coupons and their dead husband’s money
self-righteous and entitled
your poor dumb dogged ass
just in the store for a six pack and some chips
one day off down and one to go
before the meat grinder churns your flesh
and spits out your gristle
for their social security
for another forty lost hours a week

Monday, December 24, 2012

poem of the day 12.24.12

christmas music

sitting here
in the boxer shorts
nursing the beer hangover
and the gas pains
and the morning radio
is telling me to have myself
a merry little christmas
i wonder who can find
any solace in this stuff.
it’s such a put-on
such a fantastic artifice
i wonder who can still
be so dumb over this pap
and this thought makes me laugh
because i need only
think of other people
to get my answer
as the elegant strings
and the high flute
keep wafting the song
out on the morning radio
so soothing
have yourself a merry
little christmas
have yourself a merry
little christmas
and when you’re done
do me a favor
fuck yourself too
and go back inside
and lock your doors
safe with all of your shit
leaving the world to us devils
for the next year
you know the ones
the ones who don’t get
weepy and sentimental
over christmas music
and cute kids dressed in red and green
who hate assholes wearing santa hats
the ones who keep going
instead of stopping for a kiss
underneath a rotting mistletoe.               12.10.08

Friday, December 21, 2012

poem of the day 12.21.12

oskah vilde

we are chasing ghosts
in another cemetery

my wife and i

we chase ghosts all of the time

she comes up to us and says
“ou se trouve oscar wilde?”
in the sort of french accent
that could knock a man out

maybe she is thirteen
but she’s already a killer
with her chestnut hair and dark eyes

my wife tells her
“je ne parle pas francias.”

i don’t know what
in the hell they are saying to each other
except that it has something
to do with oscar wilde

it feels good not to fully understand

the girl gives an odd look
and asks “anglais?”

“oui,” my wife says

the girl smiles
and says “i am looking
for the grave of oskah vilde”

she says it like that

os-kah vilde

her accent is making me
go os-kah vilde

my wife shows her the location
of the grave on her map
without thinking i hand her
my map of the cemetery

“por vous,” i say
getting in the spirit of things

the girl is reluctant to take the map at first
but eventually she gives in

she skips off with her brother

“when she gets older
she should go to college in america,”
i tell my wife, “she’d destroy
a whole generation of men
with that accent.”

my wife just looks at me

“did you see how reluctant she was
to take my map,” i say, “it must
be a cultural thing.”

“yeah, that’s it,” my wife says.

then we wander off to find
where they put marcel proust
after all of those years
he spent pouring out his soul
in that cork-lined room.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

poem of the day 12.19.12


my wife says
that seltzer water tastes like the ocean
and i laugh
imagine trying to drink the atlantic ocean
instead of drinking
two seltzer waters to replace
two after work whiskeys
i’ve drank the ocean before by accident
it’s not all it’s cracked up to be
but these seltzer waters seem to be doing the trick
at least i’m fooling myself
decent enough
if they aren’t
like the spearmint tea that i’ll have after dinner
two steaming cups to replace
whiskeys number three, four, and five
while reading a biography on thomas jefferson
who drank at least three glasses of wine a day
the good stuff, mind you
not the cheap chilean red that i usually keep
nestled by the side of the couch
bought for less than an alexander hamilton
anywhere in brooklyn
president jefferson never touched hard liquor
that is to say
he wasn’t a part-time drunk nor a half-assed poet
he was a philosopher and a statesmen first
and conducted himself accordingly
he never had to sit in his living room on a rainy night
trying to be pleasant after a long day at work
fooling himself on seltzer water instead of whiskey
imagining it
and himself
to be as vast and strong
as mind-blowing
as the green and salty
atlantic ocean.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

poem of the day 12.18.12

religious furor

we seek refuge in union square

seek quiet away from the tourists
who are stopping every block
to get a picture of some manhattan landmark

that’ll probably be under water in fifty years’ time

some sanity away from the thongs
of frat boys and sorority girls dressed
as santa claus and elves

doing a pub crawl
puking stale beer on each other before sundown

ah, new york city at christmas
there are at least a dozen places that i’d rather be

but eating falafel here with my wife is okay too

….until he shows up

we could see him making his way down the line of people

stopping to give his pitch
pushing paper at some poor bastards
seeking the same solace as we

getting closer by the moment

the brave ones wave him away
the other give in and open their wallets
before he hands them one of his fliers

when he gets to us
my wife says no before he can even speak

it could be construed as rude
but unless you live here
you have no right to judge

still, it sets him off

i’m tired of hearing no, he says
that whole other goddamned side of benches told me no

and i’m tired of people bothering me
while i’m eating, my wife say

i ain’t trying to stop you from eating, he says
i just want to give you something to read

we don’t want to read what you got, i tell him

he stares us down
we stare him back

he says i want to tell you about jesus

my wife and i say we don’t care in unison

i tell him that we’re tired of jesus

he says, good, stay down here, you motherfuckers
because heaven don’t want you anyway

then he walks away
another one of god’s angry, rejected messengers

as more tourists lollygag by
getting pictures of the empire state building
peeking over the buildings

as groups of drunken frat boy santas yell
at groups of drunken sorority mrs. claus

shouting “hoes, hoes, hoes,” into the drooping saturday sun

and another poor evergreen
gets dragged through these garbage-laden streets
like a war criminal

prepared to sacrifice itself to bright lights and tinsel

dying ever so slowly
for this festive yuletide season


Monday, December 17, 2012

poem of the day 12.17.12


the arab kids are sitting in a pack
they are laughing and throwing trash around

they all have bad, overly gelled haircuts
and wear sunglasses indoors

have their ballcaps cocked sideways
and jeans that go down almost below their asses

they are no worse than any other kids in here
in fact, they are pretty run of the mill

but she singles them out and says to me
this might be racist
but you can just tell that they hate america
and that they are going to grow up to become terrorists

you get all of that from them throwing paper? i say

we have homegrown ones now, she continues
it’s on the news every night
some kid from wisconsin or somewhere
trying to blow up the federal reserve or something

i probably hate america more than they do, i say

don’t say that, she says
as we watch the arab kids laugh and share their headphones
you never know who’s listening

no one is ever really listening in this country, i say
that’s part of the problem

these kids are different, she says
it’s in their eyes

they look like regular assholes, i tell her

they’re homegrown, she says
as two of the arab kids get up
and start shoving each other playfully

look at them, she says
they’ve been raised to assimilate
to act just like the other kids
and then one day they get the call and …..

for christ’s sake, i say
that’s what you really believe?

take a good look at them

so i do
but i still don’t see it

i just see asshole teenagers
doing the stupid things that they always do

one day you’ll see one of those kids on the news
he’ll have tried to blow up a bank or a bridge or something

maybe he’ll be on a variety show, i say,
when one kid starts dancing to the music

but she frowns because now is not the time for jokes
and protecting this great nation is serious business

it’s not the same here, she says
america is different than when i was a kid
i don’t feel safe anywhere in this country now

it’s been the same horrifying mess
for over two-hundred years, i tell her

but she shakes her head
glares at the arab kids as they make their way outside

mark my words, she says
one day they’re all going to strike

and it’ll be those homegrown ones
who will get us in the end.

Friday, December 14, 2012

poem of the day 12.14.12

failed artist

if i could
i’d try to replace
all art
with my true self
and never
pick up
the pen
the pencil
this stiff soiled brush
ever again.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

poem of the day 12.12.12.


yesterday morning i woke up
and knocked my water glass on the bedroom floor

and it shattered all over the place

five in the morning
and i already had something to do

but this is symptomatic

two days ago i swept the kitchen
and there was glass underneath a cabinet

two long, thin shards from wine glasses
that i’d broken a month before

some nights
i’ll stumble through the apartment
and feel a little pinch in my foot

when i sit down to check it out
they’ll be blood and glass embedded in a toe

i’ll wonder where it came from this time

either a pint glass
or one of those pyrex dishes
that shattered when it fell off the sink

i break wine bottles
and beer bottle en route to various locations

i can’t begin to count the number of times
i’ve had to go back into the store to buy more booze
because i tripped and fell outside
leaving crimson or amber puddles in my wake

it’s like i’m cursed with glass
it’s not even a drunk thing

when i was a kid i ran through a glass window
and ended up in a cast with tendon damage that never healed

it’s all because of glass
that i have to lift my left leg when i walk

the day i got the cast off
i tripped and fell and sliced my finger on a shattered ash tray

i don’t like glass
hell, i don’t even like sand

but using plastic is like making a deal with the devil

my drinks taste funny
out of a plastic tumbler
and plastic is no fun when you throw it against a wall

so glass and i are stuck together
until science comes up with something better

i guess i’ll keep picking the shards out of my rough flesh
due to my stupidity

buying second bottles of wine
being extra careful when i shut the broken windows

and at night when i get up to piss
and my hallway glitters like diamonds in the moonlight

i’ll just pretend that i’m rich

instead of a fat klutz
who needs to watch his step.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

poem of the day 12.11.12

new friends

i enter the shoe store
and this clerk is on me like flies on shit
before i even have a chance to look around

tis the season, i say to my wife

the salesclerk asks me my name
i have no clue why he does this

it’s a simple transaction
we need not exchange names
but i give it to him anyway

then it’s like we’re new friends
discussing black boots

it’s john this, and john that

he’s using my name so much
it’s like a mantra to him

it’s like this salesclerk
is some kind of scientologist

he tells me to call him geoffrey, so i do

do you have these in black, geoffrey?
do you have 10 ½, geoffrey?

whatever gets me out of this store
in under one-hundred bucks

i think it’s stupid that we’re
talking to each other like this

like i’ll be back the next day
for a cup of coffee or a burger at mcdonald’s

just john and geoffrey, BFFs infinite

i don’t like all of this familiarity
during a retail transaction

it’s unjustified and unrefined
for two guys living in such a capitalist state

john, how does that one fit?
john, have you thought about getting
those in dark brown?
john, how about them giants?

all the way this season, geoffrey

there’s a time and a place for such pleasantries

buying shoes isn’t one of them

but i choose the black boots anyway
even though the right foot is a little tight

geoffrey tells me that i chose wisely
although he gets a little bit pushy
trying to get me to add on extra laces and socks

he frowns when i say
just the boots today, geoff

but i’m not surprised at his response
because we’ve become so predictable to each other already

geoffrey is always trying to give
and me, john, i’m so goddamned stingy all of the time

geoffrey hands me my bag
presses the receipt into my palm

you take care now, john,
he says so very very cold
like he’s not even looking at me anymore
like i’m just one in a long line of others

geoffrey is on to the next new friend, brian

who just walked into the shoe store
with his bitch girlfriend, elaine,
who won’t shut up about pink chuck taylor high-tops

and how goddamned hot the store is                                        

Monday, December 10, 2012

poem of the day 12.10.12

round corner

they weren’t men
they were relatives
it was like being hit
from all sides of the family tree
and each one of them took up a stool
at the round corner
to drink and waste another saturday
fathers sitting next to sons
next to uncles and grandfathers
grandkids like me
my own grandfather hungry for this place
more and more since his wife died
so we’d sit there and drink together
never speaking
but we never spoke anyway
occasionally he’d re-introduce me
to some cousin that i hardly knew
and we’d stand there like mute fools
until he walked away shaking his head
wondering what that was all about
or some uncle who told me a story
that i’d heard a thousand times over
and hours would pass this way
as college ball played on the televisions
and the bottles of iron city beer piled up
and conversations turned into accusations
old family grudges egged on by alcohol
and no discernible lunch
until the barman kicked us all out
into the ugly pale light of the afternoon
telling us to go on home
to mother and daughters
sitting next to aunts and grandmothers
in cramped pittsburgh houses
their palpable disappointment
cooking in old gas ovens
bringing these men to their knees
brittle like wilted roots on a dying oak
and back to the same hard stools
the very next weekend
to do this kind of genealogy
all over again.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Best Writer(s) You're Not Reading

if you're on the hunt for cool, new (at least to you) authors like I always am, check out my latest article/essay/shit-stained abomination over at Outsider Writers

Horror Sleaze Trash

would like to thank the folks at Horror Sleaze Trash for taking these poems

Friday, December 7, 2012

poem of the day 12.07.12

as good as it’s going to get

this is it, i think
as good as it’s going to get
almost like the title of that nicholson film
this is it
sitting here in this white asylum
of a lunch room
watching the people go over the tabloids
discussing the antics of the rich and infamous
knowing that i’ll be sitting with them
until we either retire or die
drinking beer in sad, dark bars to kill the hours in between
like reaching a destination
and having it closed
like seeing the grand canyon
and realizing it’s a big gaping hole in the earth
this is it, i think
riding the bus with every loud lunatic
my transportation for the next thirty years of my life
nothing but a transit pass infinite
listening to every inane conversation to be had on cellphones
wondering what torture device the style makers
will come up with next
coming home to dinner and death and the gray realization
that tomorrow is another day
like no god could’ve predicted
for his children
like the end of a bad film
that you know you’ll have to sit through again and again
this is it, i think
even when coasting over an ocean
hauling my bones to another dead country
upon the bloody soil of history
looking at the bad art of overrated masters
searching for the homes of the literary damned
sitting in european bars that are just a lousy
as the ones in america
feasting on foods that i’ll only have to shit back out
like seas and seas of morons
who have tread these paths before me
like the smiling face on a fat tourist
lumbering through an ancient church
this is it, i think
and i want to claw out my eyes
want to walk into the middle of traffic
with a beatific smile on my face
and proclaim that i am done with
that i can take no more of
but i’m as soft as the rest of them
i’ll soldier on through the daylight and into the night
searching for
like so many others never finding
but instead continue to suffer the indignities
of this existence
with a smile on my face
until the body, the mind give out
and i’ll be scratching at the walls
claiming and claiming how much i want
just another minute of


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

poem of the day 12.05.12

dogs are running free

these are the dogs who keep
running free
this italian mook
in a leather coat with his bald head
gleaming off the streetlights
talking his shit into his cell phone
acting like he has the world by the balls
this spaghetti slurping abortion
this mother’s douche
this swaggering stereotype
this typical american fuck
whose fetid shit flows
down the same pipes as mine does
(when they work)
it is a painful act of human kindness
sitting in this living room
listening to him boast
over some senseless trifle
and not leaping off the couch
to murder him in cold blood
this dog running free
this slab of milk fed veal
this slice of pizza
this big fucking idiot
leaning on everyone’s car
like he owns the block
and cackling into the gloomy night
he makes you pray for rain
or another act of god
something to get him off of the pavement
chained back into his hovel
a 70-inch television plastered to his wall
to satiate him
a horse’s head blood red on his mattress
as a warning
instead of out here
like a dog running free
sniffing his own ass for pleasure
as another call comes in
on his cell phone
a most prosaic soundtrack of the night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

poem of the day 12.04.12

her favorite song

i stopped at the grocery store
after working the ass-end of a long shift
answering more questions
than i’d ever asked in my life

my goals were clear
home and whisky

my needs were simple
bread and beer

but in the checkout line
she’s not even paying any attention

she’s not ringing up my shit
she’s standing their swaying
head bobbing, her eyes closed

the top lip biting the lower pierced one

grooving to some top-40 hybrid of rock-rap
that has to be at least a decade older than her

this is my favorite song, she tells me

i don’t know it, i say
and start pushing my groceries closer to her

you don’t?  it’s a classic

i miss a lot of things, i tell her
wondering what she’d do if i opened a beer right now
considering it’s like we’re in a club anyway

i think i’m going to cry, she says, still swaying

please don’t, i say
i hate it when women cry

but this song means so much to me

could you cry after you’ve rung up my beer?

she rolls her eyes and laughs
starts singing the terrible song to me
while ringing up my items

it’s not cute the way she breathlessly warbles the lyrics

it’s embarrassing and sad for the both of us
and i want to beg for an ending
or go and find that cashier who just tosses my stuff
in the plastic bag while talking on her cell phone

i find her inhumanity much warmer than
this little cashier serenading me

as close and intimate as i’ve been with someone
this whole miserable day

and that says more about me
and the state of humanity

than any song
in any grocery store
could ever hope to articulate.


Monday, December 3, 2012

poem of the day 12.03.12

art collector

my wife and i
are in an art gallery in soho

i don’t like soho
because there are always too many people
walking the streets

celebrities and tourists

buying things that no one can afford

i don’t believe this great recession exists
when i am in soho

maybe i come to soho too much

but my wife wants
to see this exhibit in the gallery

it’s on brian froud

he draws elves and faeries
did design work for jim henson movies

this is a pop art gallery
and froud is interesting enough

he’s hanging up there with seuss
and bob kane drawings of batman

charles schultz panels of snoopy
and good ol’ charlie brown

the prices are outrageous for this stuff
thousands upon thousands of dollars

i don’t know a single person
who can afford them

but that doesn’t stop the gallery clerk
from coming over to us
trying to show us various paintings and the like

she must be nuts or desperate

this woman must have one hell
of a sense of humor, i think

i shake my head and we make small talk
but i just want to get away from her

call it the philistine in me
but people like her make me uneasy

they make me feel less than i am

my wife senses my discomfort

we keep trying to move away from this woman
but the more we look at the art work
the more she keeps coming at us

with questions and comments
with suggestions and anecdotes

everywhere we go she seems to be

she asks me if i collect
rather what i collect

baseball cards, comics, and debt
i want to tell her

picassos and van goghs by the dozen

you must have me confused with somebody else
i think to say

because my haircut is free
and my boots only cost forty-dollars

but instead i tell her nothing

i stand there and sweat
play the role of assuming art collector

let her think what she wants to think about me

as i look at black and white prints of the grinch
the last of the frouds
watch the city move
outside the windows of the gallery

the streets of soho
fill with more and more people

carrying bags emblazoned
with expensive names
and very little taste.


Friday, November 30, 2012

poem of the day 11.30.12

above average

the science behind it
says that the average woman
should only have one drink per day

the average man two

but i’m thinking they aren’t factoring in
holding down a job
or having to take the 5 p.m. bus
with people shouting into cell phones

surely those experiences are worth
another shot or two

still for a guy like me

who’s always been below average in love
below average in art
and quite possibly below average in life

it’s nice to think that
as i reach for my third, fourth, and fifth drink
of the night

that i’m above average
in at least one documented category.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

poem of the day 11.28.12

bukowski convention

i had a dream that i was at a poetry reading
that turned into a charles bukowski convention
and suddenly all of the poets there turned into white dudes
with beer bellies and facial hair
eyes that weren’t narrow and squinty suddenly became so
and all of the women there turned into twenty-three year old red heads
with great tits and tight asses
and each of the poets who got up to read
talked with a slight lisp
and they read their poems about their red headed girlfriends
with great tits and tight asses
their long legs in fishnet stocking
when they weren’t threatening to fistfight the audience
some of the poets walked around talking about
trying to get the word down
everywhere you turned it was about the word
the word
and we all worked terrible jobs
some were janitors or file clerks or factory workers or librarians
there wasn’t a college professor amongst the lot of us
which was good because we would’ve eaten a professor alive
we all had our poems on stained paper
the words we’d found while walking though the fire
our poems about fucking our red headed girlfriends
with great tits and tight asses
shooting our sperm like whales
poems about our apartments in the slums and ghettos
poems about our shitty jobs and our tyrant bosses
poems about hangovers and vomit and taking steaming beers shits
no one had a sonnet about true love or nature
but i swear there were a dozen poems about being stuck in traffic
or listening to mahler while drinking cheap wine
reading celine and fante and hemingway and hamsun
to try and stave off the madness
fighting with the wives and girlfriends
and all of the poets at this reading that turned into a convention
were stumbling around drinking cans of cheap beer
calling their women whores and bitches
in their lisping cadence
challenging each other as to who had it worse
who got the word down better
that precious word
the whole bunch of us more like playground bullies than poets
asking each other where we’d been published
talking shit and taking names
making connections
challenging each other to fights in the back alleys
fights we hoped to lose so that we could write
immortal poems about being brave yet downtrodden
wearing nametags that either said buk or hank
and there wasn’t an original soul amongst us
just a bunch of poets
doing the same tired and retreaded act
over and over and over and over and over again
until it was time for the convention to convene
for a lunch of hard boiled eggs and fried chicken gizzards
served with two bottles of german white wine
for each and every one of us hardcore, badass bards.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

poem of the day 11.27.12

age 20

i was a late bloomer

i had my first girlfriend
after a lifelong drought

she lived thirty miles away
and because i had no ambition
still lived with my parents
still drove their car and ate their food

and still lived by their rules when i didn’t have to

every chance to see her
became a battle royal over gas money and authority

one summer week
her parents went away
to visit her older sister in ohio

i stayed with the girlfriend
because she was scared to be alone

and we fucked all over her house
soiling her carpets and her parent’s bed with hungry sweat

drinking like bacchus and making food

walking around naked
watching o.j. simpson race for his life
down los angeles freeways

and on days that i worked
she drove me into the city for my library job
like we were a cute little married couple

later we’d go back to her parent’s place
for more food and more sex
more playacting away from the world

it was an eye-opening time in my life
a confusion that i never knew was so good

until my mother found out
that we’d be alone all week

she read me the riot act over the phone
made me drag ass home for a proper dressing down

and the girlfriend didn’t understand
even though she was in the same situation as me

we went from fucking fiends
to arguing all over her house

that week between us wiped away by our own chains
two dumb kids too scared to know the power that truly wielded

but the one thing that i remember about that week
above the sweat and debauchery
and the misery of family and love

was her friend’s white convertible

driving down suburban highways
with the roof open and the air breezing in

making waves with my hands under blue horizons
as i was being driven home toward my fate

for a moment feeling so full of hope and youth
feeling so goddamned free
that i couldn’t help but smile like a dumb fool
when there was no reason to

that poor girl sitting next to me
holding my hand

thinking that it was her that was making me so happy

when it was everything

everything else in the world
that was still coming to me

once i figured out how to shake
all of these people off of my back
and really learn how to live.