Wednesday, January 30, 2013

poem of the day 01.30.13

european cruise

the pub owner
makes it a point to come down the bar
to see us

says, where in the hell have you been?

i don’t have the heart to tell him
that we’ve been hitting the classier bar up the street
trading his green beer for english cider

drinking less, i tell him

which is kind of true
because the booze up the street
costs twice as much as the swill he sells

only i don’t feel any classier drinking it

the pub owner shakes his head
buys the white lie

but he lingers at the end of the bar
as if there’s more to say

tells us, i know what you mean
the wife and i just got back
from a 21-day european cruise

which is nothing like avoiding his joint
nothing like drinking in an english pub in brooklyn
and feeling cheated for paying more per pint

buy i’m buying it

i let him roll with it
because people have their own agendas
they draw connections out of thin air
and call it communication

i figure he’s looking for someone to talk to
about this trip
and he’s exhausted the other scholars in this bar

why not me?
i’ve been to europe

i’ve vomited in france
and i’ve vomited in spain

i gained twenty pounds on that trip, he continues
i can’t even button my pants now

oh, yeah, i say

i look down at his belly
wonder if he’s trying to tell me something
about my own gut

so i suck it in
and i push away the styrofoam dish of party mix
that he fattens us up with

think about walking the narrow street of rome
going back to the english pub

where no one bothers me about a damned thing

as he talks on and on
about the cheeseburgers and margaritas
on the boat

bloody mary’s
and shrimp cocktails by dozen

never once saying a thing
about london at midnight

or the inherent majesty
in the flaming orange sunsets
of madrid.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

poem of the day 01.29.13

grant’s tomb

in the broken down
liquor store

where i sometimes reside

trying to grab enough booze
to break a fifty

a cheap bottle of whiskey
some wine
and airport bottle for the ride home

when the jackass in front of me
breaks a benjamin
on a six-dollar pint of vodka

with little more than a laugh
and a shrug

pissing off the cashier so much
that when it’s my turn
he gives me that look
that says so many things
in a classy joint such as this one

that i slap down my only hamilton
and sigh

figure i’ll try doing my banking
at the
grocery store

this evening.


Monday, January 28, 2013

poem of the day 01.28.13

this thing of beauty

there are frozen puddles
of dog piss
on the street
and frozen streaks of dog shit
with ice crystals
frozen men
on frozen street corners
dressed in NYDOT orange
smoking cigarettes
and arguing
while staring at a frozen mound of water
caked around a fire hydrant
and there are frozen boys and girls
smoking dope in cars
doing idiot sex dances
on the way to high schools
that have frozen out education
to become prisons

amongst it all
i feel like a frozen puddle of dog piss too
wiped and useless
devoid of language and strength
thinking that having a car hit me would be a mercy
but at the end of my ropes
i step over a heap of frozen vomit
outside another shitty local bar
advertising disco nights and karaoke
and look up into the ugly sky
to catch the sun
as it is being squashed by two gray clouds
that cast their shadow
over all of this bullshit
and misery
thinking this thing of beauty
this goddamned thing of beauty
that will get me going
to the next disaster
on the next block

is almost worth it.


Friday, January 25, 2013

poem of the day 01.25.13


i watch this lunatic kid
pace the windblown street

i check my watch
and see that the watchband is broken

this cheap leather
that i bought less than a year ago

frayed and torn

and the lady next to me bitches
about the lunatic kid

the time
the weather

it could be thirteen degrees out
or ninety-five

and she’d still be bitching

people are dissatisfied about the wrong things

like television or restaurant meals
the weather and other people

i am dissatisfied with this watchband and my job
bits and pieces of the last so many years

aspects of my childhood

but i can do nothing about those things

i am powerless in the grand expanse of time

it is clich├ęd but i must tick on
as i watch this lunatic kid pace about

as the woman complains about how cold she is
asking everyone but me the time

as a pink faced child
cries to his freezing mother

and the cars make orange smears of light
in the icy atmosphere

our little sect of humanity
burdened and hateful

trying our best to get home
on another thursday evening

where any kind of warmth and unity
amongst this selfish tribe

as tiring a responsibility

as picking out a new watchband
this weekend

only to strap it on
my waiting, hairy wrist.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

poem of the day 01.23.13

tyranny of religion

some girl
makes the sign of the cross
when she walks past a church
and for the day
that absolves her of all the shit
that she’s put other through
and they say
twenty-percent of americans
no longer believe in god
but you wouldn’t know it
on these pious streets
on the television
in speeches by presidents
and other glowing leaders
with white hair
white teeth
you’d think we were undergoing
the next great revival
and government
so i’m not fooling myself
when i see these kinds of statistics
i pass over them dully
and then go on to read the sports
because i know i’ll never see the end
of religious tyranny
or holy hypocrisy
in my lifetime
a final nail brought down
upon those heinous, murderous myths
breaking the chains
and sending
jesus, buddha, muhammad
and all the rest of those clowns
crawling into the comics books
with zeus
and bugs bunny.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Poems and Stories

hello all

i have a poem at A.J. Huffman's awesome Pyrokinection
two poems at Russell Streur's always brilliant Camel Saloon
Poem 1
Poem 2
and a short story, Canned Goods, at The Legendary. case anyone is interested in some poems or stories

thanks for reading


poem of the day 01.22.13

we make it so ugly

on evenings buses
that smell like rotten eggs
from the breath of people
shouting into cell phones
i stare outside another window smear
at christmas lights and a manger
still up in mid-january
watch as we pass a row of dead pine trees
that look like a horizontal forest
mingling with the garbage-strewn street
and wonder why
we always have to make it so ugly
for each other.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

poem of the day 01.16.13

decline and fall
of another american athlete

it’s the same old story
in american sports

yet people still act shocked

pontificate on morning buses
sit hunched over stinking lunches in staff rooms
and proclaim that they knew the bastard
was doping all along

he had to be
because no one can do what he did

they act betrayed
as if this juiced immortal stormed into their home
and injected their family in the ass with steroids

or slapped grandma around the backyard

yet as they speak
they’re scanning the papers
looking for the next demi-god
to put on a pedestal

to bet the farm on

caring about the exploits
of some new charmed and toned circus monkey
more than the health and sanity
of their own children

and if there’s a crime committed
anywhere in this mess

it’s probably that.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

poem of the day 01.15.13

cops outside the apartment again

the cops are outside the apartment again

i know it’s the cops without even looking
i can hear their little radios
hear their dull voices as they question
the same loud bitch they always come here to question

having the cops come around here is boring

it’s always for the same shit
some domestic dispute on the third floor
involving a child and two immature parents

the loud bitch always gets involved and calls the cops

i think she’s the grandmother
regardless she’s always the one outside
giving the boys in blue her rote soliloquy
while those of us on the first floor are held captive
by her grating tone
by the child running free and screaming in the lobby

i wish the cops would come around here
for something else

drug crimes or dog murder

but then i’d probably have to move
because i don’t feel like living around that shit again

when you reach a certain age you search for comfort

but this is so dull and played out
it’s not even worth looking out the window

but i do anyway
hoping maybe for something else

like the father becoming irate
storming out of the building and lashing out at everyone
having to be subdued with handcuffs  or a taser

while the mother screams and cries
grandma implores the cops for mercy
and the child stands there holding her doll

but it’s just the same act
like it is most sundays

the two cops nodding and writing shit down
the loud grandmother waving her arms
and pointing toward the third floor
the child yelling in the lobby or running around outside
because cops are second nature to her

while the mother chain smokes
and the father is nowhere in sight

it’s like watching a rerun
when the cops are outside the apartment

hopefully next time they come it’ll be for something
a tad bit more scintillating

a crime of passion
armed robbery
the crazy bitch across the street
kicking in her door again
or one of the old people found dead in the basement

but i’m sure it’ll be for this circus

and i’m sure i’ll take time out of my busy schedule
to give the action a good look

unless it’s football season

then i’ll just shut the window and turn up the volume
on the television

crack a beer or open some wine

wait for them all to go the hell away.


Monday, January 14, 2013

poem of the day 01.14.13

the precious child’s voice

the little girl sitting across from me
is singing with a voice so terrible and off-key
that it is making my eyes water

i wish that her mother would tell her to please stop

instead of smiling at her
encouraging her
telling her, good job, dear

look, i know that it’s frowned upon
in today’s society
to break a child’s spirit
and tell them that they are no good at something

but sometimes a little honesty goes a long way

at the very least turn the child on to something else
like ballet or accounting
so that she’s not wasting her time

don’t sit there like some proud fool
giving false hope to such acute and glaring mediocrity

sub-mediocrity actually

but that won’t happen on this bus
and soon the child is on to another song

her precious child’s voice warbling some top 40 crap
with the same cadence as a cat drowning in boiling water
while her mother smiles at me

and i do the only thing
a sensible man like me can do in this situation

i put on my headphones
and turn on my magic music machine

to listen to someone else who sings so badly
that they pay them millions of dollars
to do so.


Friday, January 11, 2013

poem of the day 01.11.13

thank you, mr. grabowski

oh, mr. grabowski
i read the news that you are leaving
after years of dedicated service as the building superintendent

and i truly don’t know what i’ll do without you

so thank you
thank you for the years of smoking cigarettes
outside my bedroom window at three in the morning

thank you for shouting into your cell phone
as i tried to sleep

thank you for waxing the hallways at 10 p.m.
on a sunday night

thank you for shrugging when you couldn’t shut off the heat
even though you turned it on when it was still hitting seventy outside

thank you for offering to fix our broken window two years ago
i’m sure that part you needed probably got lost in the mail

thank you for letting your grandkids scream
in the hallway all night

and for your teenage daughter and her whore friends
screaming outside my living room window
while the wife and i tried watching a godard film

thank you for letting her watch our cats
and almost dehydrating them in the process

thank you for never fixing the elevators
and for letting the garbage pile up so high
that the building got infested with cockroaches last summer

thank you for all of the mundane talks
when i was trying to get my mail

your enlightened views on race relations and the state of the nation
always gave me pause

thank you for spraying my windows when they were open
thank you for blowing leaves at six in the morning
after a night of horrible sleep
and for letting the snow on the walkway turn into ice
because staggering home drunk in the winter
was always an adventure

thank you installing my deadbolt at an angle
and thank you for leaving paint splatters on the floor

thank you for your idiot son
who liked to play football on the street at midnight

thank you for cleaning up all of the wine and whisky bottles
then gossiping about me outside while i read proust on the couch

and thank you for telling the other tenants
that my wife and i were the ones smoking pot
and then denying it

thank you

thank you, mr. grabowski for all that you’ve done
over the years

you’ll be sorely missed.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

poem of the day 01.09.13

stray dog in the middle of the street

just because we have the ability
to articulate our disgust with one another
makes us no different from the average
cockroach crawling on a pizza box
or any better than this stray dog in the middle of the street

but people are honking their horns
shouting out of windows
and screaming at the bus stops
acting as if the mutt can speak english

yet no one is moving toward this animal to try and save it
as it chases its tail in circles
and dodges sports utility vehicles
full of angry slobs now running late for work

standing at a corner
pondering my own mediocre lot in life
i think how i don’t want to see this dog die
give me a stray man or a woman instead
sprawled out on the pavement and streaked with internal red
but not this shaggy beast

still i am no different than anyone else

i stand there stock and solid
watch and wait for the carnage to come
as one car swerves
and another one seems to head directly for the dog
missing it by inches

i think there is something missing
inside of all of us these days

i know there is something missing inside of me

it’s been gone so long
i can’t remember what it was in the first place

and when then light changes
i turn my head and cross the street like anybody else

forgetting the dog
i check my watch to make sure that i’m not late for work.                               

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

poem of the day 01.08.13

red cardinal in a bush

there is a red tailed hawk
nestled in a tree
in the central park ramble

but you asked me not to write about it

claiming that you wanted the moment
for yourself

and because i’m a generous person
and because i love you more than life itself
and because a good poem is hard to come by

i acquiesce

and choose to write about
this single red cardinal nesting in a nearby bush


Monday, January 7, 2013

poem of the day 01.07.13

coming back to work
after a three-day weekend

i am
the guy
on cheap chilean wine
floor surrounded
by green glass bottles
copulating at randon
movie watching
eating food like a roman
beer stained immaculate
without the need of desire
humbled by grace
almost saintly
i am
the guy
sober and resentful
stuck under cheap florescent lights
sexless and starving
from the gripes of sad faces
with nothing else in their lives
a bad lunch in crowded lunch rooms
hopelessness personified
insomnia nightmare
muscles twisted and tight
jealous and bitter
a morose fallen angel
waiting for the bus
in the cold, bleak twilight
oh christ
oh holy goddamned christ
please tell me
i am
that guy
once again.                                           01.20.12

Friday, January 4, 2013

poem of the day 01.04.13


thinking that i’m done
with the bullshit of the day

i step on the bus with another human
prepared to read some william taylor jr.

imagining the first whisky in my hands
as i’m apt to do
on cold winter nights and warm ones alike

when the bus driver turns to us and says
do you think one of you can help me with the turns?

what do you mean by that? i ask him

the turns, he repeats
this is my first day on this route
and i’ve already messed it up twice
had people yelling at me all day

i look at the other human being on the bus
she shrugs and starts playing with her cell phone

so it’s me again like it’s always me
reluctantly drawn into the plot lines of someone else’s story

i sit in the front of the bus
where the old people usually congregate

the bus driver is sweating in his seat
even though it’s cold outside, cold in here

all he has in this day and age of GPS madness
is a simple paper map of the route

i’m determined to not screw this up again, he says

i’ll do what i can i tell him
forgetting the taylor jr.,
and a carefree ride to the comic book shop

soon the bus starts filling with more and more people
angry ones
the ones busy with the business of trying to get home
bus people who have no patience
for the slightest of mishaps

the bus driver is doing okay
but i’m a nervous wreck

my neck hurts from having it turned at an angle
to watch the black, neon-smeared night

plus i realized blocks into this adventure
that i don’t know the route so well myself

usually i have my head buried in a book
or music on, anything to zone out this part of my existence

shit, i didn’t know that one day there’d be a test
and think of adding bus routes to the stuff
that i should learn by heart

is this the turn? the driver suddenly asks me

i stutter
pop out of my seat
trying to see the bus sign in the shrouded distance
my stomach aching from the fear of being wrong

yes, i tell him
but i’m not sure

he turns the bus anyway, both of us relieved to be right

as we move on
the driver keeps chanting street names to himself
like a mantra

8th avenue
7th avenue
6th avenue

i’m saying them too
like they are prayer beads on a rosary

but he makes the turns without me having to tell him

he knows this route now
i’m happy that it’s coming back to me as well
we’re both learning and relearning something today
getting through the soup of human existence together

when we reach my stop
the bus driver sighs and shakes his head

you did it, man,  i tell him

i wait on him to say thank you
or i couldn’t have done with without you, dude

embrace me like a brother tested in combat
exchange names and addresses so that we can send
each other christmas cards next year

but all he says is
have a good night

unceremoniously opens the door to let me out
before continuing the journey on to the next stop

one that’ll soon become so old
so rudimentary

he’ll wish little pieces of his life away
for something just a tad bit different.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

poem of the day 01.03.13

the witness

larry comes into my job
in the same drunken huff that he’s always in

he slams down three envelopes and says
i need a witness

huh? i say
because i’m too busy reading the electronic news
about this fiscal cliff
we’ve all avoided going over

larry says, come on kid,
open up the envelop and sign these

so i do
i open up each envelop
putting my chicken scratch name right below larry’s

what are these? i ask him

don’t worry about it, he says
most probably nothing will happen to you
but if it does, at least you won’t have to share the tv
with the wife anymore

what do you mean by that, lar?

i mean where you’ll go you’ll have all of the time
in the world, he says,
collecting the documents and shoving them back
into their envelopes

i mean ten to twelve somewhere, he adds

he might be joking
but i don’t trust larry as far as i can throw him

he’s always working some scheme
trying to put one over on the city

illegal hot dog vendor licenses, etc.

and he’s often drunk before noon
i’ve been drunk before noon many times
so i know how guys like that think

give me back the forms, i say

now it’s larry’s turn to ask, huh?

i’m serious, i tell him

i don’t joke about shit like prison
especially when i’m picturing
some big sweaty fucker clad in prison orange
slamming me face first
down on some cockroach infested bed

if i’m going out like that
it ain’t going to be for a guy like larry diel

he rolls his eyes
have it your way, kid, he says

larry takes the forms back out of the envelope
watches as i slather liquid paper all over my name

i’m broke, kid, he says, as i work to free myself
as if it’ll change my mind
i was just trying to get some money from the government

that’s fine, i tell him
but why not use your family as a witness?

that’s a good idea, larry says,
taking back the forms

he grabs the pen from my hand
blows on the liquid paper and waits

then he slaps his daughter’s name on the forms
shoves them back in the envelope
shakes his head at me as if i’m the biggest disappointment in the world

and says
have a nice day, you candy-assed wimp

before walking back out into the cold, winter sun
his next scheme for us already cooking
in that soused head of his.                                                         

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

poem of the day 01.02.13

just due

he always fancied himself
a big shot
claimed that he did all of the work at this place
never got his just due, he said
not respected enough
thought he saw others climb ahead of him
in the boiling crab pot
got all caught up in the silly trappings
of american work life
kept telling everyone that he could
how he’d get out of here one day
we’d all see
he wasn’t playing second fiddle to anybody
no one knew what he really wanted
we were all trapped as well
stuck paying bills
climbing the walls of the job
killing the hours just to go home
all of us caught up in the silly trappings
of american work life
nobody trying to hold him down
just trying to keep our heads above water
for another twelve
another three hundred and sixty-five
but he kept complaining
how he wasn’t getting his just due
would sit and moan for eight hours
to the rest of us who weren’t getting
our just dues either
forced to listen
before we went home
killing the rest of our hours with television or the bottle
only to come back the next day
spin this vicious wheel of commerce
until sick and silly
as he complained about his precious just due
and anything else that struck his fancy
as he held us captive
during the slow march of eight
plus eight
plus eight
plus eight
plus eight
ad nauseum