Wednesday, July 31, 2013

poem of the day 07.31.13

bastille day

then he said

in all seriousness
how do you impress a french girl?

to which i said

a lot of  wine
some edith piaf
some serge gainsbourg

a little proust on the couch

and if that doesn’t work
show her your cock
while whistling yankee doodle dandy

reach for the butter
and tell her to bend over
mon cheri

because it’s bastille day

all day

just for her.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

poem of the day 07.30.13

the funniest movie i’ve seen in a long time

my brother and i were obsessed
with stallone’s first blood

we’d seen it dozens of times
which was a feat for kids
and an r-rated film back then

but we used to set the alarm
to catch it at three in the morning

or we’d be bold and wait for the old man to fall asleep
then we’d quietly watch it in the living room
as he snored and restlessly worked the couch

i learned how to program a vcr
so that i could set it to tape first blood
in the middle of the night

that way we always had it

by the time my folks caught on to this
there was really no stopping it

we’d seen the movie too many times to forget the violence
seen stallone pushed around by the cops
and then seeking his revenge upon the town ad nauseum

when the second first blood came out
it was no surprise that my brother and i wanted to see it

we ran into the room like maniacs
from wherever we were in the house
to watch the ads of rambo taking down vietnamese soldiers
and saving p.o.w.’s by the handful

roaring with pleasure
as he blew up everything in his path

my old man shook his head at us and said
you just can’t hold an m-60 with one hand

he knew because he was in vietnam

still, it was a surprise to us when he agreed
to take us to see the film

we didn’t go to the movies that much

i knew who luke skywalker’s old man was
months before i saw empire strikes back

we came, we saw, we kicked its ass
was already a neighborhood mantra
before my family saw ghostbusters

such suburban problems
but still my brother and i were jacked to go

the movie was everything we’d dreamed it would be
the carnage was almost beautiful in its execution

stallone had done it again
a reluctant hero killing by the scores

as pure and rugged and right as america was to me
with those eleven year-old eyes

but while my brother and i watched the film
watched stallone give it to those vietnamese
and bring all of those soldiers back home

i couldn’t help but hear
my old man laughing to himself
throughout the film

occasionally i’d look over and catch him chuckle
or shake his head at the screen

i kept trying to figure out what he was laughing at

but i couldn’t

on the ride home
my brother and i wouldn’t shut up
about the movie

rambo putting the right end note to the vietnam era

you know, the way it should’ve been
with america on the winning side

when my dad started laughing again

what? i asked him
is so funny?

nothing, he said,
as we pulled into the driveway
with visions of blood and guts
dancing in my impressionable head

it’s just the funniest movie that i’ve seen in a long
my old man said

then he went inside to watch baseball
while my brother and i stood in the yard

all hot and bothered
with cinematic violence

as red, white, and blue as any two kids
chomping at the bit in the dull suburbs


Monday, July 29, 2013

poem of the day 07.29.13

breathing exercises

i have this window in my shower
low enough for me to look out of

and she is on her balcony
doing breathing exercises
in a turquoise top and shorts that are cut-off at her twat

it is weird to have
this window in my shower

but i’ve gotten somewhat used to it
watching the denizens of brooklyn
while i shampoo my hair

someone doing breathing exercises
as i scrub my face

the office drones racing for the bus
or slumping into their cars with coffee
while i get the armpits

the joggers and garbage men
sweating in the heat
while i do my legs and chest

the old guys shuffling with canes
doing their dance against death

the teenagers boasting with basketballs
as i hold the shower curtain and wash my feet

or the same dumb chick who pushes cigarette smoke
into my place

while she lets her pit-bull, marshmallow
shit amidst the summer flowers

and leaving
before she wipes up the stink

while i’m in here
gazing into the sunshine
dutifully washing my balls and ass

Friday, July 26, 2013

poem of the day 07.26.13

cold front

sixty-three degree morning
in july

which for new york city
feels like living in alaska

i go out
hungover on wine
and sick of stomach

but feel like gold
the minute the breeze hits me

watch the others go huddling by
in small coats

the dumb girls
in their sundresses in sandals
teeth chattering
almost crying

the old bat who barks at me
feels like winter out here!

all of these sour lumps of flesh
and waiting on the next ninety degree day

so that they
can sit indoors
with their air conditioners on

killing the earth

telling everyone
how beautiful it is


Thursday, July 25, 2013

poemS of the day 07.25.13

hollis street blues

lord byron
your birth house
is now
a mcdonald’s
is now a clothing megastore
just off oxford street
is now
a glass construct
foretelling the future
of architectural doom
there’s not
even a plaque here
lord byron
we tried
to find you
amidst the commerce
and glam
amidst the union jack
and plastic
london mugs
we really did
on hollis street
lord byron
on hollis street
but we’d have
been better off
in belgium or venice
where you whiled
away the hours
fucking all
of those handsome
girls and boys.
we should’ve
looked up
shelley’s withered ass
instead of wasting
the minutes
standing here
in the gray gloom
next to a coffee shop
that never even
bared your
name.                                       10.14.09

soft accents

you’ve got to do something
about all of this shit that you’re playing,
he said, getting right up
into my face.
but i didn’t play this, i said.
well who did?

he had a thick irish accent
and was drunk.

let me ask you something, he said.
are you canadian or american?
i always get the two mixed up.
american, i said.
from where?
new york.
new york?  well then you’ve got
no business being in here.

he was right, of course.
i had no business being in most places.
london, new york, places due east,
none of them really needed
my presence.

say? he said.  have you ever heard
of a band called therapy?
there a bit like metallica, before
metallica turned to shit.
i didn’t know metallica had turned to shit.
of course they did, he said.  they
turned to shit
when they started playing music
for girls.

i moved aside and he started dropping
pounds into the jukebox.
i’m going to play you some therapy
he said.
fine, i said.

i went back to the table.
what was that all about? my wife asked.
it was just some irishman, i said.
he thought that i was canadian.
and now he’s playing me love songs.

we looked over at him.
he was playing air guitar and had his tie
thrown over his shoulder.

when he caught my eye
he came over
and leaned in close to my wife.
hey, he said.  he tells me he’s from new york
only he doesn’t sound like he’s from new york.
he’s got a soft accent.
i’m really from pittsburgh, i said.  pennsylvania.
well could you do a new york accent for me? he asked.
i looked at my wife
she smiled.
sure, i said.
and then i tried to remember what a new york
accent sounded like.
it was sort of like a canadian accent,
i thought,
only much rougher
and a lot harder on the ears than most.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

poem of the day 07.24.13


she wants a book on fairies
and wimpy kids

no, dragons, she tells me
as she chases me around the place

she’s been chasing me since we opened

books about monsters
books about mythology
books by james patterson written by other people
but still for kids

definitely books about dragons, she says
my kid likes to read

about dragons, i answer
but not matter-of-factly

while i calculate that new york city
public school children
have forty-two days until they go back to school

i wonder if i’ll still be alive by then

well, she says
she folds her arm and extends a leg
and i pity the person who had to go home to this woman
who has the task of pleasuring her

do you or do you not have any books about dragons?

i don’t know anything about dragons, i tell her

oh, just like you didn’t know anything about monsters
or mythology
or who wrote the latest james patterson novel

is there anything that you do know? she says

i know that i wish i was a dragon
i don’t tell her

a big fire breathing mother with horns on my tail
and yellow teeth

and i’d like to fly in here and scorch everything
including the books by patterson

then i’d like to pick this woman up by her neck
and swallow her whole

before flying off into the overcast sky
burning the landscape as i go

but i’m not a dragon
i’m barely half-human by mid-week

and today it is one-hundred degrees out

by the weekend i’ll have my electric bill
my rent bill and my student loan bill

i’ll need to keep this job for the foreseeable future

so i say to her
what about magic?
i know a ton of books about magic.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

poem of the day 07.23.13

but still the sky turns purple
and gold before the sun sets

we slaughter each other so resolutely
in actions and deeds

a whole world of blood and guts
spilling into the oceans

but still the sky turns purple
and gold before the sun sets

magnificent and calming

meaning there might be hope out there
for you and me.


Monday, July 22, 2013

poem of the day 07.22.13


she says i feel like a slave
pushing this old white lady around all day
she keeps telling me that i’m not allowed to sit

there’s a lot of racism in this job
she tells me
but i don’t know why she confides in me that way

i’m a white guy
and we created racism out of cotton and sugar cane

maybe it’s because i spent an hour
helping her with her resume
typing parts of it and having it emailed to her address

so that she doesn’t have to feel like a slave
pushing angry old white ladies around

maybe most of us really do want to be color blind

and in the bar
where i’m trying to kill an hour after work
this old whore
keeps shouting at the television news, saying

i’m so fucking sick of all of these riots and rallies
that occupy business
and this trayvon martin bullshit
like they’re doing it outside her front door

so i kill my pint and leave
hedge my bets on the bar up the street

but outside there are two black women
in florescent spandex
i’d seen them on my way inside

they’re collecting donations
for latoya jackson
no relation they smile and say to the cautious

a little girl whose only dream in life
is to be healthy enough
to see the ocean at coney island

although i don’t know why
little latoya would want to

because coney island is full of fat russian women in bikinis
and guys like me
staring at the asses on fifteen year-old girls

but who am i to argue with a sick kid?

only now the two ladies are standing across third avenue
one of them has her hands over her mouth
and the other is yelling at a group of valet parking attendants
huddled under the awning
of a restaurant too expensive for most of us to sniff

a group of good old brooklyn white boys
smirking and smoking away another lazy summer

while she shouts
i can call myself a nigger whenever i want
i have that right
what right do you have to do it?

but the boys answer her
by flicking their smokes and laughing

they know their rights like the back
of their soft hands

and at the next bar i enter
they are doing the same trick as in the last
screaming at the television
telling the crying visage of trayvon martin’s mother
to go the fuck back to florida

they might as well be wishing her
back into the fiery pits of hell

and when the president comes on
he says, thirty-five years ago that could’ve been me

well, with all due respect, mr. president
that shit didn’t happen thirty-five years ago
it happened last year

hell, it happened five minutes ago
but thanks for trying

still, i grab my new pint

thinking thirty years ago
ronald reagan said

it’s morning in america again

but then he deregulated everything
and with bill clinton’s help they finally buried the poor
and crushed the middle class

on a super bowl commercial
clint eastwood said that it was halftime in america

but all i can think
sitting in my second bar
and bracing myself for a new round of hate
as the news switches from trayvon to the economy

is fuck you
clint eastwood
go talk to another chair down in tampa

because it’s third and long
the fourth quarter with under two minutes on the clock

a hail mary from coast to coast

and detroit is as bankrupt as a politician
sitting in a sunday pew at church

the hate keeps spewing
while the bankers continue to run off with the bounty

and all i hope is that little latoya
has another destination in mind

because it’s sundown in america
only everyone is still acting like they’re at the beach.


Friday, July 19, 2013

poem of the day 07.19.13

and he says (part two)

and he says
you know the chinese
are taking over everything, right?

they basically own nicaragua
they love them there

the nicaraguans are letting the chinese
build a canal
so no one has to use ours anymore

and i say nothing

africa loves the chinese too
you know why don’t you?

diamonds, i guess

and he says

the chinese can’t get enough of that shit

and i say
right, right, all of the dead elephants

the chinese are killing them
or else they’re paying someone to

and he says
look around your country
the chinese are taking over america too

crowding our private schools
and our good universities

we have good universities in america? i say

and he says
what are you nuts?
a communist?
america has the best education system in the world

and the chinese are taking it over
because they want to rule the world

and i look at my co-worker who is chinese

she’s twenty-one years-old
she lost her dad when she was a kid
her mom just died back in february

she goes to school full-time
and every bit of money that she gets from this job
goes in the pocket of the insomniac grandmother
who keeps her up all night

she’s not trying to rule anything
but just get by like your average american

and he says
pretty soon they’ll be so many of them
that poor white kids will have to marry some chinese

it’ll be like an arranged marriage

everyone will be melted together
and you won’t be able to tell chinese from white
from black from indian from nobody

and i think
i know more chinese people and black people
than i do white people at this point in my life

the only people who’ve ever been cruel to me
were white people
so i don’t care if we all end up blue
with silver antennas

and he says
but look up that thing on nicaragua
some time when you get the chance

use the internet, kid
if you know how

because that’s where i get my information from.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

poem of the day 07.18.13

and he says

ninety-eight degrees
eighty in this place

this city smells like body odor
rancid food and dog shit

and he says

it ain’t just about
stamp catalogs, kid

there’s a war going on out there
or didn’t you know?

a holy war
christians versus muslims

world war iii

shit, and you don’t
even have a security guard in this place

all these kids
you stupid clueless people
some towel head could come in here right now
and blow this fucking place to smithereens

hell, i’m in here now
i could do it

well, not me
but someone like me with time on his hands
some jew or muslim

brothers in arms to the end
only they keep tearing each other apart
like it’s world war iii, man

and he says

did you know we’re all jewish?
that little black kid on the news
who got himself shot

all of us descended from the twelve tribes of israel

bet you didn’t know that either

and he says

but it ain’t about none of that
because this world is just dirty and sick

and if i find out you people
took those stamp catalogs
and are the ones selling them on ebay
for two bucks a page

i swear to god
i’ll have your jobs so fucking fast
you won’t know what hit you

to which i say

ninety-eight degrees outside
eighty degrees in here

this city smells like body odor
rancid food and dog shit

have mercy on us, sir
please have mercy on the damned.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

poemS of the day 07.17.13

heat wave

sitting here sweltering
the life of mozart in my hands

trying to keep from kicking on the a/c
to save a little bit of cash

eight o’clock in the morning
and the pavement is already crackling
with the blazing sun

a string of ninety degree days behind me
another set glaring on the horizon

this is a catastrophe,  i think

i want to yell outside at someone
but there’s no one on the street

they’ve closed all the windows
and locked their doors

they’ve all gone to the beach to sit in the shade

we’ve all hung this world out to dry
and now we’re paying for it in mercury
flushed faces and chafed thighs

even the pigeons have given up

opening up the window
the air hits me like a blast furnace

listening for the bird’s song
but it’s as silent as a morgue out there

good christ, i feel like a prisoner in this place

four humid walls and an old cat
crying for release

even the lazy flies climbing
on old sticky wine bottles
look ready to succumb.


upstairs i can smell
the neighbor’s dinner,
something pungent
with garlic,
fried so that the oil
in the kitchen it
reeks of dishwater
and rusted metal,
the pipes feeding
the corroded water
i am drinking.
in the living room
it’s cat shit
and in the bedroom
the scent of last night’s
impromptu sex.
nights like this i can’t
keep a meal down
nights like this
the young kids in young
get rowdy.
everyone on the block
is insane.
sirens wail.
the cities are mad.
one could start a revolution
in the right kind of
but who would want to?


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.


paranoid in the heat

is it slowing down?
i don’t know but the heat
is a bad dream
like bad poems
like bad poets.
how bad is it getting?
man, i can’t think.
so what do you do?
i sit there in the dark
with sweating beer mugs
on shirts and couches
and the scotch giving me
a headache.
and then?
and then, i stay up
all night
outlining wine rings
on the nightstand
with the feeling that
i have to piss.
with the shits
and paranoia.
with the fan blowing
hot hell fire up my ass
humming because
it is dying.
i think i hear classical
in the white noise
of the blades.
but what is it?
i don’t know.
it is probably nothing.
it is always nothing
which can get you
just as badly
as when it really is


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

poem of the day 07.16.13

boycott you

in his bitter end
jack kerouac became a racist
and an anti-semite

he went on tv and blamed his jewish friends
for everything

the same can be said for eliot, wagner
degas and crazy ol’ ezra pound

picasso drove two women to madness
two others killed themselves over him

and ernie hemingway pushed through four wives
and two fucked up sons
before he finally took a bullet to his head over breakfast

on video i’ve watched bukowski kick his wife off a couch
over and over and over again
in a fit of drunken jealous rage
while norman mailer tried to kill his wife

hell, caravaggio and ben jonson actually did kill people

villon and genet were thieves
and rimbaud ended up nothing but a smuggler

nabokov wrote lolita and lord byron fucked his half-sister
of course flaubert paid to fuck little boys

dickens, the immortal charles dickens
for all of his philanthropic work
chuck had a taste for the whores
just like vincent van gogh

and those are just the men, ladies and gentlemen

let’s not even get started about what virginia woolf
put leonard through 
before she took a pocketful of rocks to the river

the point is for all of their blemishes, heinous words
or despicable acts
i wouldn’t give one of them back to this slush pile life
i’d rather their art over their good conscience
and citizenship any day

because some of them have given me more light and life
than my family or the closest of friends

so to you people boycotting this artist and that
over their personal views

orson scott card or whoever you trolls have lined up next

someone whose views aren’t yours
or aren’t the fashion of the day

do me a favor and sit down and try to sweat out
thirty novels in as many years

or a handful of operas
a symphony or another wasteland

hell, try to write out your grocery lists

do something other than pounding out your inane
uneducated opinions behind the safe mercy of internet anonymity

your dull bullshit in 140 characters or less

and then we’ll talk
about who’s boycotting who

you motherfuckers.


Monday, July 15, 2013

poem of the day 07.15.13

play money

the little girl
sitting opposite me on the bus
is playing retail store with a real five dollar bill
that her mother gave her
so that the child won’t be bored
while mommy texts and plays games
on her cell phone

the little girl is cute, i guess
the way she pretends to pay for things
from the old bat sitting next to me
before snatching the money back from air
to do it over and over again

it proves that if nothing else
this kid has some semblance of an imagination
which is more than can be said for her mother

she’s so cute
the old bat sitting next to me keeps saying
snatching at the money and cackling
but the old bat looks whacked
keeps singing church hymns
and she’s carrying a garbage bag full of brown rags
so i don’t know what to think

i don’t think i’d let my kid play with her

maybe i’d like to have that five dollar bill to play with
or i think i’d like to do something untoward
like snatch that five dollar bill from that little cutie’s hand
right when the bus stops
and then hop off and book it until i’m out of sight

that would be something
maybe that would show the little girl
that money isn’t the thing to be played with

or maybe that would show her mother
to pay more attention to her kid
instead of pounding away inanities on the internet

or maybe my thievery would even show
the old bat how fleeting beauty really is
how anyone can take something lovely
and turn it ugly in a matter of seconds

but i think i’ll keep this moment somewhere
in the back of my head

i’ll use it on payday
when i have my own play money to mess around with

a few tens and twenties
that i’ll take to the bar or liquor store

and maybe i’ll pull a couple bills back from the bartender
when he hands me my pint
or snatch my twenty back after the liquor store man
hands me my bag of whiskey and wine

life like an impish little child

see if they get the innocent humor
in all of this.


Friday, July 12, 2013

poem of the day 07.12.13

virgin at work

everyone knew
that i was the virgin at work

because i was never with a girl
never talked about the girls that i was with
could never answer their questions about girls

because there were no girls

because i was the virgin at work
spending my weekends riding around suburban pittsburgh
with the other losers

searching for girls
trying to talk to girls who wouldn’t give me the time of day
but mostly drinking coffee in the eat’n’park

because i had nothing to offer a girl

maybe there was another virgin at the job
the one kid who could talk about nothing but baseball

even i knew a guy had to talk
about something other than baseball
to get in a girl’s panties

i just didn’t know what

still i was just nineteen
and i’d been working there since seventeen with no action

i felt like a leper in that retail store
full of college aged gigolos

the sales clerk men who talked about
eating out their girlfriends
or fucking downtown club chicks in bathrooms

men who had swagger in a way that i didn’t

mall magicians who could turn a coat sale
into a parking lot hook-up in a matter of minutes

hell, even my boss was getting his
going through a divorce and sleeping on his couch

he could still talk game
about all of the girls that he used to bang in college

plus we all knew that he’d been putting it
to the manager of nine west for months

but i was the virgin at work

you could smell it on me
you could tell by the way i stuttered
around the female clerks

fumbled everything in front of summer chick customers
in tank tops and shorts that rode their ass

all of that young shopping mall ass and i was rendered
mute and impotent

it seemed a ceaseless, lonely existence at that age
being the virgin at work

i even quit that job without having been laid

until two months later
when i fucked my first girlfriend on my bedroom floor
to a boyz ii men cd

that afternoon we took a trip to the mall
and i paraded her around the joint like the homecoming king
at a high school reunion

we hit the old store so that i could show her off
but they’d had a huge turn over in employees

even my old manager was gone

it was a brand new pack of faceless 17-22 year olds

some getting no loving like it had been for me
the others talking about all of the pussy
that they were sure to get

in between selling baseball caps and t-shirts
to gang members coming up from the city.                                 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

poem of the day 07.11.13


was a strip club off the boardwalk  in atlantic city

calvin and  i went there after he won
four-hundred bucks on the slots
and we were tired of drinking watered down
drinks in the casino

tired of walking the boardwalk
looking at older women in slut clothing
smoking my cigarettes and taking ritalin pills
that i’d stolen from a guy at work

calvin was tired of spending his winnings
on palm readings and 2pac t-shirts

he said, man, i wanna see some pussy
can you see pussy in a strip club in new jersey?

but i didn’t know
because the strip clubs that i had been to
were in pennsylvania (no pussy)
and west virginia (pussy)

i wasn’t exactly clear on strip laws around the nation
and i considered pussy a nice surprise whenever i saw it

i watched the ocean and the waves crashing
thinking about amanda evarts’ pussy
how calvin had been in love with her for over a year
only i’d been the one fucking her for a month
because i had a room in an apartment building
and calvin still lived at home

plus he was a virgin and going bald at twenty-three
two things that amanda evarts said turned her off

but the women at jezebel’s
didn’t seem to mind calvin’s baldness

especially when he started tossing his money all over the table
buying drinks for me, drinks for him, drinks for the strippers

throwing down a hundred for a lap dance
which they did in a narrow hallway outside the men’s room
with no privacy

just six couches and six guys with their heads back
six strippers bouncing on their laps
or pushing their asses in someone’s face

when calvin was done with his dance
he came shakily around the corner and said, let’s go

so i shot down my drink
and we walked back out into atlantic city

somewhere between jezebel’s and the boardwalk
calvin let slip that he’d come in his pants
in front of all of those strippers and horny men

he asked me not to tell anyone

he only told me because i was such a good friend
despite the whole amanda evarts things

i didn’t tell anyone for twenty-four full hours
until a group of us got plowed on long island ice teas
and i told everyone how calvin came in his pants at jezebel’s

but i told them that only after i’d blabbed on an on
about how good amanda was in bed
how tight her pussy was
and that calvin had no clue what he was missing

and when we came home from atlantic city
not only had calvin blown his slot winnings
but he was down nearly eight hundred dollars of his own

money that he’d been saving for a new car

so i gave him two of my smokes
and bought him a whopper at a burger king outside of philly
before i went to call amanda

thinking had i seen pussy or not in new jersey?

because i just couldn’t remember much
from the couple of nights before
and i still had a hangover from all of those
long island ice teas.                                                       

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

poem of the day 07.10.13

drunk and hungry

i check a pan
of breaded chicken
cooking in the oven

our dinner tonight
my lunch tomorrow

when i accidentally knock
the top rack back the other way

almost toppling everything
in the process

burning my forearm
in four places
when i reach to save the food

my pale flesh blisters upon impact

shit, you didn’t even flinch,
my wife says

while i run the arm under cold water

i’m no tough guy, i tell her

i’m just a guy minus
the brains he was born with

a fat drunk
with a hole in his belly
the size of texas

who lacks the stamina
to open up that goddamned

to try and find something else to eat
in this sweltering apartment

that’ll last
for the next two days.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

poem of the day 07.09.13

all right

turn on my
r&B mix
it has music on it
that i’ve been
listening to
for longer than some drinking adults
have been alive
do this
to tune out
two screaming kids
and thoughts about the woman
who threw a library card in my face
first thing
this morning
and said
you should know me by now
as if that would offer her some kind of
courtesy or service
above the norm that i’m paid to give
listen to this music
as the bus stops at 13th avenue
letting off two girls in short shorts
who don’t care if the world sees their asses or not
watch them laugh at men
who watch them
thinking all of the pretty young girls in brooklyn
get off at
13th avenune
while i fondle my whiskey and wine bottles
hoping to put another night
in the record books
as mary j. blige coos in my ear
don’t you know you’re my sweet thing
a cover of a song
that might as well be her own by now
and in my heart
i’m dancing
with this day done
and only six avenues left
for this bus
to go                                                   

Monday, July 8, 2013

poem of the day 07.08.13


and then i tried playing football again
for the grade school varsity team

even though i never really liked football

plus i had a bum left leg
from running through a glass door
the previous summer

i still couldn’t lift my ankle well enough to run
but my doctor had cleared me anyway

the coaches understood this to an extent
but they needed guys

the head coach kept saying to me
you’re coming back right?

even though i rode the bench
and drank all of the gatorade when it rained

i couldn’t do laps for shit
it was too hot in the full uniform
and my ankle kept giving out

the coaches thought that i was lollygagging it
that my leg injury was ultimately bullshit
that i just needed to get tough

so they set three eighth graders on me when we ran

they trailed me
and tried to scare me into compliance with their chants

they called me a pussy and other colorful things
they tripped and pushed me when they caught up
or because i’d finally quit running

a few of them got overzealous

they would try to get me the next day in school
brushing me with their shoulders in the hallway

telling me that they
were going to kick my ass in the bathroom
or at practice that night

but nothing even happened

when i returned my uniform to the coach
midway through an undefeated season

he looked at me as if i were a piece of shit
then he spit on the gym floor and said

you’re such a coward, grochalski
you know that?

you’re a little girl
we should put you on the cheerleading squad

nothing but a goddamned coward

maybe i was
but he was a small man in a small school
and at thirteen years-old i already knew that

so there was no harm that he could really do

and all i could think about
as i tossed him my helmet, my pads
and my high numbered jersey

was how free i suddenly felt
to cower or persevere

to walk or run as i’d like

or waste my saturdays laying on the couch
watching shadows spider across the walls

while somewhere else
some other kid was riding the bench

drinking all of the gatorade

or getting yelled at and pushed around
while he ran pointless circle after circle
in the hot sun and dirt.

Friday, July 5, 2013

poem of the day 07.05.13

management training

she tells me
you gotta watch these kids
once they hit a certain age
they don’t wanna work

i look at her
she looks like a toad
and before this she’d been talking my ear off
about parking

maybe the kids have it figured out already
and we’re the fools, i tell her

she frowns at me
her mouth looks like a shit smear
spilling down her three chins

kids these days
have no responsibility, she says
you have to enforce it

like hell, i think
looking at the gray stain on her blouse

we’ll be fine, i say

you can’t think that, she tells me
they’ll walk all over you with that attitude
trust me
these kids are looking for nothing but an excuse
to screw around

aren’t we all? i say

i take my job very seriously, she says

someone has to

she squints at me
what did you say your title was again?

casual overlord, i tell her

she slams down her papers
and looks outside at the rain

while i sit there thinking

well, we’re either done here
or now she wants to talk about the weather.