Friday, May 31, 2013

poem of the day 05.31.13

father sebastian

we all knew about father sebastian
could tell all there was about him
by the way he walked through the halls at school

his sing-song and joyful lisp during masses
and the way he waved his hands so carefree

some of us liked to go to him to confession
to see if father sebastian would try to look at us
over his shoulder
as we told him how many times we jerked off in a day

he always had a favorite amongst us

father sebastian ran the catholic youth organization
and loved being around the basketball team

he took a liking to my friend dave
paid dave money to clean the parish grounds and the gym

but dave got wise pretty quickly to father sebastian
he quit working and never said why although we all knew

especially when father sebastian started calling dave’s house
crying on the phone to his mother for almost an hour
so concerned about why dave no longer came around

eventually the diocese got wise to father sebastian too

they moved him from parish to parish
in typical catholic fashion
thinking that a change of scenery
would fix all that was hungering inside the man

but eventually even the moves couldn’t protect
those humble god fearers from father sebastian

and when the scandals become too public he drifted south

into florida and then into cuba
where he found some solace in the politics of the gay scene
his family’s money, and in the arms of a much younger man

a few years later when they found him dead in havana
strangled and pumped full of animal tranquilizers

everyone said  that they knew something like this would happen
and that they were happy someone else got him
before he got to their kids

some news reports said
that father sebastian was into male prostitution and porn

others called him a cuban revolutionary

but in all of the parishes on sunday morning
no one said anything about father sebastian

no one even offered a prayer

the virginal priests stood at their pulpits
and told everyone how to act in order to get to heaven

and they all prayed for the usual bullshit
in typical catholic fashion too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

poem of the day 05.30.13

it’s all my fault

it’s all my fault, sir

that it took you seventy-minutes to fill-out
a basic application for wal-mart
and that you lost all of your info and your pc shut off

it’s all my fault that you’ve been unemployed for five years

yes, i know how long ago 2008 was

and it’s probably my fault too
that your lavender shirt is unwashed
and that other people have complained about the stink

they came up to me and said
can’t you do something about this?
so it must be my fault since they’re asking

it’s my fault too that i have a “cushy” job

my fault that i went and got a graduate degree
after years of dead-end employment
and, as a result, will be in debt  until the age of sixty-three

no, i wasn’t joking when i stood up at my desk and said,
here, you can have my fucking job, prick
because dealing with people like you makes me
want to go back on the dole

i wasn’t joking about that, sir

i’d gladly take unemployment again
those days and nights of bologna sandwiches and natural light beer
over dealing with and talking to people like you

it’s all my fault
are you happy?

my fault that your wife left you
that your kids won’t speak to you anymore
that you lost your apartment and your car

it was just so random how i singled you out
for malice and to humor the darkness
that rests in the pit of me

my fault that it’s fifty-eight degrees and raining outside
and that tomorrow it’ll be ninety and sunny

because obviously i control the weather too

it’s my fault, sir, that you had to drag yourself
to the depths of brooklyn from the bronx

that we weren’t open at ten o’clock to serve you
and that you waited outside in the rain for three hours
because you didn’t have the money for a cup of coffee

it’s my fault
all of it

your failed application
the drones in pakistan
benghazi and the carnage in syria
the missiles sailing over north korea
the bombings in afghanistan
congressional sequestration
and lindsay lohan being in back rehab

what can i say?
i’m sorry i guess

i’m a small and petty man

plus i never realized sitting in this chair
for eight hours a day
how much power that i wielded over common lives

i probably should’ve

after all, you’re not the first person today
who has told me

that it’s all my fault.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

poem of the day 05.29.13


rain soaked
feet wet from failed boots

conquered by the feeble minded
adrift infinite

my eyes still red and sore
with last night’s waltz of beer and wine

facing this death sentence existence
like a slouched gunslinger
with too much blood on his hands

telling myself
maybe tomorrow mantras

…..and then this kid comes over
to me and says:

you know
without your beard
you look horrible

and bitch-slapped
by this day anew

i have
no cause
to doubt


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

poem of the day 05.28.13

inverted raconteur

he has nothing better to do
on his last shot, his last draft
before he has to go home to the wife and kid

he has nothing better to do
this hot saturday afternoon
so he talks my ear off about books and movies

anecdotes from his life that only he finds funny

i look at him and nod
resign myself to it

he and i have been doing this for years

in different bars
under different angles of light
always some book that i have to read
some movie that i have to see
something that his kid discovered the other day

the two of us taking up precious oxygen

i wish that i could turn him inside out
to see if anything interesting exists on the other side

but i’m sure that i’d be disappointed

in between soliloquies
he asks me what i’ve been up to lately

it’s a cursory gesture, i know
so i mumble something about work
just to get him started talking about his job

which he can go on and on about
through his last shot and draft
the little splash of whiskey he begs
the dazed bartender to throw at him

before he gets on his way
waving outside, peering in the window
still taking to me through the glass and neon
so soundproof that it must’ve been made in heaven.                               05.28.12

Monday, May 27, 2013

poemS of the day 05.27.13

memorial day

i told her we should
go to the park and have
a picnic.
she told me i hated picnics,
which is true.
picnics and parades
and kids and dogs
and disney and
the 4th of july and
football sundays
and people who talk to me
in bars when all i want is
a drink.
but it was worth a shot.
the summer was coming
already the cats were laying
on the linoleum in a heat-induced
it was getting harder to fuck,
burning and sweating until
we had to pour water on each
other’s assholes just to
settle down.
in a month the apartment
would be unbearable.
we had to get out and do something
now, i thought.
maybe we could just walk up
and down elmwood avenue,
going only into the air conditioned shops
but you hate people and shopping too, she said.
which was also correct.
so we opened up a couple of bottles
of cheap wine,
then the 12 pack of yuengling,
pulled down the shades,
and didn’t answer the phone.
we watched a couple of bad movies,
and fell asleep before the sun went down.
it was a good holiday


ballgame with my old man

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

two arthritic knees
and our bad shoulders are coming along

i hope that our team jersey wins

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

my allegiances stitched on hats and shirts
thwarting a stadium full of angry fans

we aren’t on our home turf

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

we have our wives with us
and they don’t mind coming along

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

it’s memorial day
in the united states

and i’m thinking that it’s
been a while since my old man and i
saw a ballgame together

we’re drinking cheap beer
in a ballpark steakhouse
taking photos as country songs are piped in

remembering what it was like
when he took my brother and i
to games when we were children

my brother and i
are hot dogs and cokes
in the memory of the humid pittsburgh sun

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

we’ve already been
to the top of the empire state building
and all over manhattan

we went to katz’s for
corned beef sandwiches

i still have an okay job
but my old man paid

still i can buy him
beer and dinner
italian food in brooklyn
whenever i want

i can get him all of the hot dogs
and cokes that he needs

i don’t know if that matters

he won’t even take the lemonade
that comes in a souvenir cup

i’m going to the ballgame with my old man

we’re sitting in the nosebleed seats
like in the old days
checking out scoreboard america
and watching all of those expensive ants
shag fly balls out in center field

trying to figure out who’s who
with our aging eyes

as military bands play at home plate
and people file into their seats
with plastic cups of beer
and cheese covered nachos

everyone looks happy
and for a change, i don’t care

because i’m at the ballgame with my old man

and damn if i don’t feel
like a kid again.



she says, you hate tradition, don’t you

i tell her that i hate it from auld lang syne
all the way down to silent night

she says, you’re nuts
you just don’t want to like what others like

i tell her that may be so, but i’ll be damned if i choke
on another thanksgiving turkey
or memorial day hot dog again

she says, you won’t have a choice

i tell her i know
i’m trapped in a situation perpetuated by fools

easter ham in april
and fireworks every fourth of july

she says, tradition makes people happy
that it gives them something to look forward to

i tell her that tradition makes people complacent and dull

she says, go hang on a string of christmas lights
and i tell how about a cross instead

there’s something wrong with you, she says

i’m just like everyone else, i tell her
now give me a pint of green beer and a red heart full of chocolate
carve me into a pumpkin
and wake me when it’s election day

she says, there’s just no talking to you

i tell her that many have tried and failed

so i guess you won’t be coming to my next oscar party, she says

nor your labor day barbeque, i add

impossible, she says, getting up
and storming into the cafeteria

where they serve a mean fish fry
to the devout and hungry
every friday afternoon
during lent.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

poem of the day 05.23.13

miss world

she’s at the bus stop
screaming on her cell phone

and then she’s on the bus
screaming to the friend sitting next to her
about some vulgar text message that she received

miss world
letting all of us dreary folks know how important she is

i told him nobody talks to me like that
nobody talk to me, she says
sending a warning throughout the b4 bus

miss world

with her eighteen year-old tits
and eighteen year-old ass
her eighteen year-old brain

i don’t remember eighteen year-old women
being this crass and stupid
when i was younger

but it’s a new dawn of narcissism in america
and hindsight is 20/20 anyway

and if i’m wrong in my nostalgia
then i just get to hate her anew

miss world

standing there clogging up the aisle
legs bowed like a cocky little angel

scrolling her phone
like a brooklyn high school princess who never farts

i told him to grow up, she says to her friend
grow the fuck up, she shouts

for emphasis

so badass in her catholic school plaid
she cackles her scorn
and shows her friend her cell phone

i mean look at all of these messages, she says

rows and rows
of pleasant vulgarities typed by idiot young men
who want to get inside her panties

i mean who do these boys think they are?
she says, laughing out loud

miss world

queen of the evening bus

everyone loves me too much
and that’s the problem, she says

her mouth so wide with wonder at herself

i’m willing to bet
that she’ll be sucking good administrative cock

by the time she gets
her fancy self-important ass
off to college.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

poem of the day 05.22.13

fifty with earrings

i don’t want to be fifty with earrings

it never bothered me before
but looking at these guys in the airport
sitting there with coffee-stained teeth and nicotine fingers

a row of old men, fifty years-old at least
in earrings of different sized gauges

i think i need to get these dangling hoops out
before i reach that inevitable age
and someone feels the same way when they look at me

i don’t even know why i got
my earrings in the first place
or the tattoos that i have

none of it made me look or act any cooler

they certainly never got me more ass
than was already in the cards

at the time i think i was bored and wanted to look different

no one i knew had earrings
in my neighborhood you were a fag if you had earrings

my old man looked at my earrings and shook his head
went back to the evening paper and beer

but i was nineteen or twenty then

and i did everything within my limited social power
to look a little bit different from the yokels in my neighborhood

now i’m thirty-nine and i’m in bed most nights by ten
the guys in my neighborhood are all fat with loud kids

i worry about gray hair every day
and my tattoos have faded into a strange green

at random vain moments i’ll ask my wife, is this gray hair?

when i talk to younger people i always wonder
if they’re looking at the gray in my beard, my sides

and now thanks to these dudes in the airport
i’ll always wonder if they think
i’m some dumb old man wearing earrings
to try and look younger

i mean these geriatrics in this terminal
look like a bad german cover band from the 1980s
doomed to dress a certain way for the money

no one’s paying me shit to wear my earrings
and i have no clue how to be cool anymore

i probably never did

shit, if getting old isn’t hard
it comes with too much baggage
too much self-consciousness just walking out the door

but maybe it’s just me

i’m sure there are other men my age who love their earrings

bruce springsteen still has them and he’s what?
but he wrote born to run


and i’m sure there are men my age
who are out right now getting a new tattoo on their arms
and finding new music to listen to

while i’ve been listening to the same shit for twenty years

there’s some guy my age staring into a mirror
and nodding his head at how cool he is

because some twenty year-old chick told him
that she liked men with gray hair

but that shit hasn’t happened to me

all i have are these old goats waiting with me for a plane to berlin
their earrings making them look like clowns
like they didn’t know when to stop and just let age take its course

but that won’t be me

as soon as i get home
i’m taking these fucking earrings out of my ear

and i don’t care if that makes me shallow

i won’t be fifty with earrings

i won’t be thirty-nine

man, i just won’t.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

poem of the day 05.21.13

open toed

my wife doesn’t understand my fixation
with the grocery store girls

when we’re out and i see one of them in public
i’ll point the poor girl out to her
just like we’ve just seen a celebrity

my wife will just shake her head and ask me why i care

she thinks that i flirt with the grocery store girls

but i don’t dream of it

they are the mistresses of my canned corn and frozen meats
and i just stare at them in awe without speaking

i doubt a single one of them would recognize me
out here on the street

but today in the store they were all gathered around me
like i was a pimp

only they had no clue that i was really there

they were comparing their shoes
because the store has some rule about open toed footwear

and it seems as though each and every clerk
was breaking the rule without realizing it

a dumb rule anyway
if you ask a guy like me

so there they were showing each other their toes
with their candy-colored nail polish

and one of the girls kept telling the others
how their shoes were all breaking the rules

like a group of anarchists had settled in to check out lettuce
and stock tomato sauce

each of the girls were bummed out and embarrassed
nervous about the situation
because no wants to be a rule breaker in america

it’s not conducive to financial stability

and i wished that my wife was in the store
to finally understand the drama that i see in this place

i mean this was a big fucking deal
more than oscar worthy in its presentation

and as i grabbed my bag of groceries
i got up the nerve and said to them all

good luck with the open toed thing, ladies

my grocery girls all turned red and burst out laughing
because they realized that i’d been listening

the customer fully realized

the big tension breaker that sent them all scurrying back
to their check-out machines

mr. comic relief
stroking his fifteen minutes of fame
amongst the stars

and maybe next time my wife and i are out on the street
and i see one of those young ladies walking by
free in sandals

they’ll point and wink and maybe say hi

but if they don’t
then that’s all right too.


Monday, May 20, 2013

poem of the day 05.20.13

my only parade

the people who stand there in the rain
seem like aliens to me

because they are the same ones
who will ordinarily run through a thunder storm
seeking shelter
to get out of this kind of weather

but there they are with umbrellas
and garbage bag clothing
taking pictures and smiling their sunday asses off

well-meaning fools looking to be entertained
while i drink beer and eat grilled cheese inside a bar

easily amused masses
watching water-logged majorettes and horses give them a show

clapping and bobbing as fleets of fireman and cops
walk down the saturated streets saluting

as city council people come crawling down avenues
waving miniature american flags like vote pledges
in slick muscle cars from fifty years ago

christ, it seems so idiotic to waste one’s time this way

i went to a parade years ago

my only parade

a st. patrick’s day parade in pittsburgh
and i got in the head with a green bagel
thrown by none other than ronald mcdonald

hell, bagels aren’t even on the menu at mcdonald’s

that about did it for me

i figure people walk
up and down the streets here every day
derelicts walk into traffic with their pants down all of the time

and the cops and the fireman
are always racing after one disaster or another

but no one stands and watches any of this shit
except for me

my own parade of the damned
any time that i want it

only i’ll give these people the majorettes and the horses

now that
that you just don’t see every day

unless you live in disneyland.


Friday, May 17, 2013

poem of the day 05.17.13


i have witnessed many fights
amongst the different races

rather i should say i’ve seen more talk than fists

the whites like to get in each other’s face
call each other bitch or dude

they shout a lot but do little else

the blacks aren’t much different
maybe they move more
make dramatic gestures, act hard of hearing
in order to have someone repeat an insult

but it is still a lot of posturing instead of violence

almost everyone makes a threat
the whites tell each other how they’ll kick your ass
the blacks threaten to put each other in the dirt

i don’t know what the mexicans, puerto ricans,
asians, and indians do

maybe nothing
or a combination of this other bullshit

today i was standing outside a boxing club run by arabs
one arab guy shouting at a pack of dudes from the club

it was the same talk
the same posturing

but the one arab guy threatened the blow up the boxing club
the other arab dudes threatened to blow up his house

i know people, the lone arab said

we know people too, the other arabs answered

then there were more threats to blow shit up
cars, buses they ride on, homes, and someone’s hookah joint

and i thought, christ, don’t any of these arab guys watch the news?
this country is just looking to grab arab guys
who want to blow shit up

you could feel the good white citizens on the street
getting hard-ons listening to this shit

dialing 911, their thumbs pressed on send

maybe these arabs should take a cue from the blacks or whites
and not threaten to blow up a city block

especially in public

maybe just go inside and handle it
in the ring

i don’t know

eventually the one arab walked away
and the others stood outside for a bit

talking shit
before they were gone too

nothing got blown up
at least not yet

and i went home to get drunk
and read my new comic books

ready to make idle threats
at all the shadows creeping up the walls.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

poem of the day 05.15.13

there is no wine on airplanes

there is no wine on airplanes
that’s not altogether true
they come by once, maybe twice
on the long, transatlantic flights
give you just enough to wet the whistle and little else
not even enough to keep up the buzz
from the airport bar
let the video screens take care of the nerves for you
make you forget the virtual molestation that you received
back at the gate
keep you dumb with tv and movies mid-flight
so that you don’t shit yourself when the turbulence hits
just sit there watching reruns
of the big bang theory or mad men
playing solitaire or black jack
hoping to christ that you don’t explode over the ocean
ending yours and dozens of other mediocre, misspent lives
there is no wine on airplanes
not enough wine anyway
to stop someone from getting nuts
over being forty thousand feet in the air
and freaking everyone else out
so unnaturally high that it’s beyond comprehension
that little ocean down there laughing its ass off
the land over the horizon a shit streak of green and brown
there is no wine to quell this
or whisky
or enough half-warm beer cans in the world
to end the frenzy of five or six or seven hours of stale air and doom
just top 40 music and adam sandler films
in case the plane dips
something to listen to or laugh at
instead of ball and cry over your own mortality
these pricks keeping you sober and sane with the terror
in full capacity of your limbs and mind
so that when the plane nose dives
and hits the runway at 500 miles per hour
you don’t try and strangle these smiling jackoffs when it ends
as they usher your disheveled ass off the plane
with a goodbye
or auf wiedersehen.                               

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

poem of the day 05.14.13

international man of mystery

i always want to be the better me
the guy who handles shit and get things done

but here i am in a hotel room in salzburg
flipping out because my bank card didn’t work

it was a minor glitch
the ticket officer told us back in vienna

happens all the time, he said with a smile

but there’s my wife calling america
to try and placate me

because i’m pacing and threatening
to not leave the hotel room

to go back to america come hell or high water

and even though she’s shown me the account on the ipad
at least four times

i never believe what i see

in my mind there’s always some international plot
to corrupt the bank account

to ruin our lives when we’re weak and away

this can also happen when i’m buying tickets
or paying for a meal with a debit card

when i’m standing in line at the grocery
or buying shit online

when i travel to europe and my card won’t swipe
or when i leave for work

and have to lock and relock
the living room windows fifteen times

do you think you’re some kind of
international man of mystery or something? my wife asks

but i don’t say anything
just continue pacing and rubbing my face
as if our whole operation were crashing down

because some ticket machine in vienna
was on the fritz

the walls in this room in salzburg closing in

my stomach growling
my wife’s stomach growling
because we haven’t eaten in almost ten hours

and while she continues to try and reach america by phone
i check outside the hotel window

america’s greatest spy

watching every shrouded face on richard mayr gasse
every car that idles

anyone who walks a tad bit funny
laughs the wrong way

or lingers around the star hotel a little too long.


Monday, May 13, 2013

poem of the day 05.13.13

our crowd

my wife and i hop the first train that we see
that’ll get us back to vienna

we don’t even look because we’re so tired
from the loud hotel that cost us three days of sleep

the train is nice, roomy, with leather seats
air conditioning and big windows to take in the austrian landscape

it’s nothing like the hot, stifling glass box
that we’d taken to salzburg

we have to be on the wrong train, i tell my wife

and then i get nervous
because i hold the belief that any screw up
is a blight on the soul

unless there’s alcohol involved

but this is morning
and i’m at least three hours from the first drink

and the conductor is coming down the aisle checking tickets

i give him ours and he sighs
you don’t speak german, do you?

not a lick, i say, in the queen’s english

you are on a private train, he tells us as best that he can
either pay a new fare of get off at the next stop

he moves along saying this to at least half a dozen more people
as impatient as we were to get somewhere

and at the next stop we all do a slouching perp walk off the train

me, my wife, some lunatic old austrian
who keeps checking his bag and his phone

this group of old ladies who won’t quit laughing at their folly
and a pack of chinese tourists
on their way to vienna to snap more photos
but not see a goddamned thing

see, we aren’t the only ones who did this, my wife says
as we freeze on a platform in an unknown town
as the austrian rain falls around us

i know, i tell her, looking around

at the confused austrian yelling into his phone
at the pack of ladies who are still laughing at nothing
at the chinese tourists taking photos of their mistake

stuck on this platform in the land of mozart, klimt, and beethoven

surrounded by so much genius
but not an ounce of it here

we’ve finally found our crowd, i tell her

then i suck down the rest of my coffee
and settle in to wait with the other scholars.


Friday, May 10, 2013

poem of the day 05.10.13

dirty book cover

jetlagged up to my eyeballs
for nearly three days now

i sit on this after work bus
hacking from some cold
and reading predro juan guitterez

good old pedro juan
is sitting on some balcony in switzerland
trying to seduce an uptight swiss miss
by stroking his cock out in the open

it’s a believable enough read
especially if you’ve ever had your cock out in the open

but i can’t really get into the story
because these three girls keep laughing

when i put the book down to give them one of my looks
i see that they are staring at me

at the cover of the novel really

which has a cuban woman on it
not a swiss miss
in her underwear
with smeared lipstick and a fuck-me glance

the girls laugh and point
due to intrigue and embarrassment

and i laugh back at the absurdity of american morals
because the group of us live in a country
that sells neon thongs to little girls
but makes them ashamed of their sexuality on a daily basis

of course, the mother sees what the girls are laughing at
and the bloated pervert laughing along with them

she shushes the group of us

makes the girls avert their eyes
and gives me the look
before going back to her magazine that promises
orgasm after sweet elongated orgasm

so i go back to reading about pedro juan
stroking his cock in switzerland

rather than talking to the local cops
about corruption of minors on a bus

and pedro juan has that cock of his worked up
to a good lather

but the swiss miss isn’t buying it

she tells him that she’s late for work
so he goes for a walk in the barren woods instead

all hot and bothered and nothing to do about it
like he’s dead center in the good ol’ US of A.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

poem of the day 05.08.13

there’s always tomorrow

the trick to these mornings is to lay still
tell yourself, well, i just won’t drink today
i’ll dry out and then take it from there
and when the headache and stomach pains subside
say, okay, maybe i’ll do one on the couch with a book
two or three with the ballgame or the radio
but, if in the end, you end up sitting there
smiling like a fool, swilling one after the other
remember that there’s always tomorrow for self-improvement
at least until tomorrow falls by the wayside too.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

poem of the day 05.07.13

my pity party

high on three pints of beer and bourbon
a cadre of opened and unopened wine waiting in the wings
i read the rejection of my new poetry manuscript
then talk shit about how whatever those fuckers put out
won’t be half the book that mine was
have my pity party, promptly get drunker and then pass out
wake up the next morning, delete the press, the editor
from my goddamned facebook page and feel good for a moment
before taking up the yoke of another day
as the most underappreciated writer in america.


Monday, May 6, 2013

poem of the day 05.06.13

domestic terrorism and the weather

piss poor days and hangover mornings
only a spit of scotch left in the bottle
trying to piece together the remnants of the night
between domestic terrorism and the weather
the lies and promises of youth too far in the distance
a face in the mirror unrecognizable through all the carnage
but oh these piss poor days and hangover mornings
even the tranny on the corner of 4th avenue
dangling her cigarette out of her mouth like a pipe dream
looks angry, hungry for something better than this.