Monday, September 30, 2013

'before winedrunk" poem of the day 09.30.13

editing one novel and revising the poems have been sparse.
a "best of" week of sorts.  the poems on Winedrunk this week were written between 1992-2002

this is one from a poetry manuscript i put together in 1995 called "Pittsburgh Poesy Blues"


kiss the soft window pane
of a last broken heart

blue lips

of the cold midnight orchestra snowfall
outside my door, in my heart, on the glass

dreaming soft nakedness
in the dark tv lit room

where i sit with head in hand



Friday, September 27, 2013

poem of the day 09.27.13


i am
stalking celebrities online
to see how many of them beat their addictions

i want to know how bad it got
for some of them

in some cases it got real bad

i’m a guppy in comparison to some of these people
wrecking hotel rooms and cars
virtually destroying their careers

dying in many instances

i want to find the ones whose luck turned around
the ones who beat the years of abuse
then went on to greater glory

this is so fucking silly of me

no one would really care if my habit took me under
i’d be just another third-rate hack

catapulted off the planet by his own demons
before he made a dent

another aging asshole racing against the clock
who though he could give a little something to this world

until the drink got him

the paper probably wouldn’t even mention writing
in my obituary

or if i bounced back and wrote three novels in a row
in one sweaty jag of sobriety

it wouldn’t make a difference to the internet masses

i’d probably still be sitting in a jail cell
if i got fucked up and broke into someone’s house

instead of winning oscars
and making super hero films for millions of dollars

sucking dick instead of the mouths of tallboy cans

i don’t even know why
i’m stalking these celebrities online

trying to draw comparisons
between their hard luck and mine

i don’t have anything in common with these people

like fleets of lawyers
and day spa rehab facilities

i have going cold turkey and trying to punch a wall

i don’t have a chauffer
to drive me around los angeles
until my cravings subside

i can’t even get an agent to read my shit

i just have this ten year-old kid on the bus
who keeps hitting me in the ass
with his iron man doll

while i’m three days sober and ready to burst

i fantasize about throwing him out a window
and into the high speeding traffic

then stopping on the way home
for whiskey with beer chasers at froth’s saloon

watching the celebrity news on channel five

until the cops and photogs catch up with me
and i can finally see how the other half lives.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

poem of the day 09.26.13

a million dollars

there are those moments of departure

leaving a city
leaving a bad and failed lover
leaving a job for the day

or hopefully for good

where the person in the moment
although confused and perhaps frightened
of the future

becomes so uplifted at the turn of events
that it feels like an awakening

a resurrection of the mind

and though they may be both broke
spiritually and physically at the moment

there are still some whom are able
to saunter down the street

giving the illusion of being
as hard as stainless steel

as confident as tent preacher

or as carefree as someone
suddenly worth

a million dollars.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

poem of the day 09.25.13

nowhere to run

it happened here on 78th street
going through brooklyn
when i began crying to springsteen songs

man, i don’t know what it is about bruce
maybe the cadence in his voice

but something in his music just gets me

i try not to listen too often
except when i’m down
then i listen all the time

because i believe in the promise of catharsis

and whatever it is that bruce springsteen is selling
i’m usually buying

i have an acid stomach again
from another go round with whiskey and beer

i’ve had the shits all morning
and i feel like vomiting all over 78th street

cuddling up next to the garbage cans and recycling bins
to wait for the sanitation workers to take me away
with the rest of the trash

while bruce springsteen keeps singing for the lonely

nearly twenty years down this road
and i can count the weeks off from drinking on one hand

can trace my escalation points
as i moved from city to city in this circus life

pinpointing which apartment it was
that i moved from weekend drinking

to beer nights to wine nights
to pumping whiskey down my throat

before the work clothes came off
and the house lights came on
just so i could pass out to do it all again the next day

yesterday i resolved to have nothing
but i started late
and had six drinks in four hours

i only stopped because i knew that i had to get up
and write this poem

christ, imagine if i’d started drinking yesterday
when i normally do?

i probably would’ve called off of work
to caress the porcelain goddess again

but most days i just hang around
in a tired and irritable cloud

hanging on until the next drink

i sit around waiting for my heart to give out
that is, if a have a heart left to give

i sit around like dudes in springsteen songs
waiting for the embers of life to spark anew

a great and hulking american sob story
restless from lamenting my youth

decades past my glory
and fearful of what the future will bring

encased in my own soap opera
of self-created traps and pitfalls

just another guy burning asphalt with his pale drama
hugging the damp ridges of a dirt grave

growing tired and bored with himself

but always looking out for the chance of grace
heroic redemption

hoping to one day bask
in the glorious warmth of the blinding light.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

poem of the day 09.24.13

a pleasant shopping experience

i go into the supermarket to escape the heat
and the cold is so heavy
i think i could skip work and stay there all day

there is a young hispanic couple
with a full cart of groceries

fruits and meats
tons of baby food and diapers
those huge bundles of toilet paper and paper towels
that seem to drive senior citizens mad
with purchasing desire

the young man is common
t-shirt and baseball hat cocked sideways
bullshit tattoos up and down the arms and neck

i watch the girl for a while

short shorts with the tips of the pockets showing
and the ends of her ass cheeks hanging out

spaghetti strap shirt showing her pierced belly button

the guy catches me looking
so he pushes them along

i mean he’s batting out of his league
but my old, married ass is no threat

they’re clearly family

i think how hard it is for young kids these days
trying to make it in this precarious economic climate

babies having babies and all of that shit
staying together through the thick and thin of it

the young kids go and check-out
while i grab enchilada sauce and tortillas

i catch them again at the checkout line

the guy playing on his cell phone
while the girl packs the cart

bending over all of their groceries
to stack blue plastic bag after blue plastic bag

and giving us more of her beautiful ass in the process

when she’s done she leaves her man and walks outside
probably getting the car,  i think

but when i head out into the parking lot
she’s just standing there waiting

arms crossed and legs cocked

when her man comes out he pushes the full cart to the side
like they’d just purchased a case full of dog shit

scaring an old lady putting her coupons in date order

he storms over to the girl wagging his cell phone
don’t you walk away when i’m talking to you, he says

her front shattered
she recoils upon instinct
dissolving this dream of domestic bliss

making it just another ugly american statistic

you fucking bitch, he continues
as packs of people being to rubberneck

embarrassing me about money in the grocery store
who the fuck you think you are?

but she says nothing in return

being with a guy like that
she probably has no clue how to answer
such simple philosophy

at least not after a pleasant shopping experience
such as this.


Monday, September 23, 2013

poem of the day 09.23.13

another tough guy

he’s so simple
he writes himself

another tough guy on the evening bus
shouting curse words
and threats into his cell phone

this one is apparently a drug dealer
because he keeps quoting prices
in between the invective

prices for a quarter
prices for an eighth

he slams his fist on the seat next to him
and shouts

nah, nah, nigga
i need that money
or i’m a bust a nigga up

he’s not even black
hell, he’s not even tan

this tough guy doesn’t need money
what he needs is a goddamned history lesson on racial epitaphs

but his act is enough to scare the stiffs sitting around us

the asian guy across from me
keeps making nervous eyes

he’s holding his cell phone
ready to dial 911 if this clown gets out of hand

but fuck him

the asian was chain smoking cigarettes at the bus stop
it got so bad that i couldn’t breathe
and had to go and stand in the rain

he could use a little bit of fear in his life

plus if you’re scared of a paper tiger
like this low-grade dipshit drug dealer
maybe you should go and live somewhere else

jack-offs like this are a dime a dozen in this town
he ranks with the cockroaches and bedbugs

he’s funny more than anything else

nah, nah nigga
i’m a be there tomorrow morning ta get my money, bitch
you bes’ believe dat

then he shuts off his phone
put his feet up on the seat next to him
and glares around the bus like he’s big shit

mr. big deal drug dealer
sitting on the B4 bus on a rainy thursday night
taking up two seats because he can

yeah, i’ll bet those guys on the other end of the phone
are all shaking in their boots

waiting for this guy to come around.


Friday, September 20, 2013

poem of the day 09.20.13


we were all eighteen years-old
just out of high school

we were going to the beach in delaware
to drink beer and fuck eighteen year-old girls
right out of their bikini bottoms

calvin was going to have his sister
buy us a case of guinness

so that we could celebrate being eighteen
by drinking good beer in delaware
and fucking eighteen year-old girls
in colby’s uncle’s trailer

when we left for the beach
calvin snuck the case of guinness in a gym bag
and slid it into colby’s trunk

while his mother lectured us boys about
drinking beer at the beach
and tried to warn us off of eighteen year-old girls

because calvin’s mother didn’t want a drunk for a son
or a grandkid before her fiftieth birthday

but none of us listened to her

we were too excited to get out of high school
too excited to get out of pittsburgh for the week
anxious for the beach and beer
and the firm bodies of eighteen year-old girls

when we got to the beach
colby flipped open his trunk and slid out the gym bag

we crowded around a table
and opened it like we were unveiling a treasure

it wasn’t a case of guinness
it was a case of genesee cream ale in dented cans

calvin, said his sister must’ve misheard him
still, we had a couple cans anyway
and celebrated being eighteen

it didn’t get any better for us at the beach
because most of the eighteen year-old girls were still in school

the beach was littered with older, sagging couples
college women who were out of our league

so we drove around delaware

we bought a used television set
and sat at colby’s uncle’s trailer drinking the genesee
and watching tv

that night i got a horrible pain in my testicles
it kept me up all night and into the morning

i laid on the couch watching tv
and thinking that i was going to die

when colby woke up he joked that maybe it was the shitty beer
that caused my pains

still, my old man had to drive five hours
from pittsburgh to delaware to pick me up

we hid the genesee back in calvin’s gym bag
which was a shame because the first thing my old man said
when he got to delaware was
i could sure use a beer

and he couldn’t even have one at home
because the pain in my testicles got so bad
we had to go straight to the emergency room

the doctor said that it could be a twisted vein
or a venereal disease

which made me think about
all of those eighteen year-old girls
i wouldn’t be fucking in colby’s uncle’s trailer

the beer i wouldn’t be drinking because i needed surgery

i was less picky about genesee versus guinness
while in a hospital gown

when i woke up from the surgery
my parents and the doctor told me
that the vein had been twisted
and that i’d lost a testicle

i’d still be able to have kids, the doctor said

while i wondered how’d explain having one nut
to an eighteen year-old girl
or one that was older

when calvin and colby came back from the beach
they visited me

colby said the week was pretty much a drag
calvin said they still had a few can of guinness left

genesee, colby reminded him

it was still good, calvin said

i told them that i’d had a hernia operation
instead of losing a testicle

because i didn’t know how to explain that shit
to two eighteen year-old guys

then we all talked about being out of high school
and being eighteen years-old
and how many eighteen year-old girls there were in pittsburgh
for us to try and fuck all summer

before colby went away to college

and calvin went and got a full-time job
for some trucking company located down
by a make-shift beach on the allegheny river


Thursday, September 19, 2013

poem of the day 09.19.13


my heart
is like a sewer

but i’m trying to read
karl ove knausgaard anyway

there’s this scraping noise
coming from his computer

it sounds like a three-car pile up
at rush hour

a ceaseless ripping and tearing of metal

i put the book down
fuck it

and start thinking about the finer points
of committing murder
when the noise suddenly stops

he looks at me
confusing the glower
with a general curiosity

and says
that was a shark eating a metal tank

before going back to his computer

where it’s cute cat videos and laughter
until we’re at the end of the train line.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

poem of the day 09.18.13

notes on empathy and small kindnesses
with the liquor store clerk

he says, man,
you look like shit

kid, that’s why i come in here, i tell him

then i put the wine and whiskey up on the counter

how was work? he asks

three dozen kids screaming and destroying
and someone pissed all over the bathroom floor

i got it bad here too, he says
had to throw some drunk out for shitting himself

i’m on six days this week, i tell him

try doing seven

i’d murder someone with a dull knife

i want to, he says
bagging my bottles and taking my twenty
but what can you do?

we just can’t get it right, i tell him

and we seem like such smart guys, he says

we’re gods
only no one knows it yet

he gives me back fifty cents and i toss it in the tip jar

thanks, man, he says

the least i can do, i say

i take my bag
the kid has double bagged the booze for me
because last time i tripped and almost smashed everything

it means a lot to me that he remembered                                              

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

poem of the day 09.17.13

king lear

i go into the comic book store
for my weekly fix of caped drama

it is the usual scene of dumpy, older men

like me

strolling the glossy books and fondling their stack of take-homes

the younger kids check out the toys and dvds
scan the candy bins for their sugar fix

nathan is at his usual perch behind the register
where they keep the rare books and the coveted action figures

he’s talking shop about batman with one of his groupies
and giving it good to his clerk, jonas, too
ragging him on his spider-man obsession

jonas is the store whipping boy

everyone makes fun of him when he’s there
and especially when he’s not there

he’s pretty die-hard about spidey
he wears a spider-man belt buckle all the time
and an amazing spider-man t-shirt
with all kinds of halal food stains on it

last october he was the first one in line for comic-con
to buy the new spider-man doll

116,000 people attended that
and i saw him with my own eyes in that line

jonas takes the ribbing good naturedly
although most of it goes over his head

after giving jonas the business
nathan turns back to his pal and says

i’ll bring the batman in next week
then you and your brother can come into the store
and i’ll let you guys flatter me
until i decide which one of you i want to sell it to

the guy says, that’s fair

it’s the basic plot of king lear, nathan says


king lear


dude, king lear

is d.c. doing that?

king lear


come on, king fucking lear, man


it’s only one of shakespeare’s most famous plays

i must have missed that one, the guy says, sweating

nathan shakes his head and hands the guy his stack of books
see, that’s what’s wrong with america, he says
a lack of education and stark, crystal ignorance

then jonas knocks over a display of bobblehead dolls
and dozens of classic characters come crashing to the ground

spider-man included

it’ll be at least an hour’s worth of work
getting them back on the shelf

but jonas goes at it right away, bending over
showing us his spider-man underwear in the process

and that, nathan says, pointing at him
that’s what’s wrong with america, too   

Friday, September 13, 2013

poem of the day 09.13.13


the last time
the pittsburgh pirates had a winning season
they lost in the national league championship
for the third year straight

atlanta that time

i punched a door in my home so hard
that it and i are both still seeing stars

that was 1992
i hadn’t even had my first piece of ass yet

now those bastards
have won their eighty-second game

and counting…

twenty-one years of futility
has gone down the shitter
where memories and bad luck often go

while the good luck stays hidden in the rafters

the season isn’t even over yet
i’m officially rooting for the above average now

who knows what’ll happen
to them or me in a month’s time

if i were cesar vallejo i’d say
maybe death?

at least some kind of decline

but i’m hoping for the slow roll into the post-season
for a team and especially for a city
long deserved that kind of glory

of course there is still that playoff curse

but i’d like to think
that i’ve matured some over the years

the last thing that i punched
was a new jersey railroad ticket machine
back in 2007

my left hand still hasn’t completely healed
from that one

but…old habits die hard

it would be unwise of me
to underestimate the rabid, american sports fan

even if he is me

because if past history is correct
then i’m a glutton for punishment

doomed to repeat my mistakes
over and over again

and i’ll admit that at times
when at my highest and lowest

the bathroom door in this apartment
circa 2013
has had the word fistfight
written all over it.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

poem of the day 09.11.13

black and white and read all over

i didn’t have an alarm
so my old man used to haul me out of bed
at four-thirty in the morning

there they’d be waiting for me

a stack of newspapers
when i couldn’t even see straight

i always remembered it being cold
when i had to deliver those things

sitting in the car with my old man
freezing my ass off
or leaning over him while he sprayed wd-40
to try and get the car to work

my old man always came with me

i was twelve and probably too young
to be delivering morning papers

so he’d sit inside the car listening to talk radio
keeping the heat running for me
so i could hop inside and get out of the cold

this kindness tempered my anger
at waking up before the sun rose

i didn’t like delivering the papers
navigating the neighborhood when it was still dark
and every house was pitch black

fighting off the dogs that had been left out all night
the raccoons that were still attacking last night’s garbage

often i would start to doze at school
while the other kids sat in class bright-eyed and well-rested

the money from the job wasn’t even that good

people would moan and complain at me
if their paper wasn’t outside the door by six
but they never seemed to be home
when i came to collect

except for a house full of teenage girls
who used to look at me like i was a piece of shit
when i came for my money

those girls were always around
to try and make me feel worse about my setup

the only joy that i got from the paper route job
was coming home and watching espn
while my old man woke my mother
and the two of them got ready for work

they had this exercise show on the channel, body shaping
that had these two chicks exercising
and lifting weights  in bikinis

i used to watch that show
and tug on my pecker like i was working against the clock

waiting for something
anything to happen
every single morning

until one day….success

and that show tempered the anger
of getting up before the sun
way more than my old man
keeping that car running with the heat

or catching one of those teenage girls
walking around the house in her underwear

scratching her narrow ass

while i stood on the porch
stock still

waiting for the big payoff.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

poem of the day 09.10.13

at american modern

at an art show
for paintings and drawings
from the 1915 to the 1950s
and they are there, bitching

these two old white broads
with their big mouths, soft, unworked hands
and their idiot opinions

they go everywhere that i go

from the hopper’s
to the o’keefe’s and the charles sheeler’s

they think they’re critics of a sort
think they have a discerning eye for art
because they had subscriptions to life magazine
when they were kids

but you can tell that they don’t know shit

it’s not even their opinions
that are really getting to me
although they don’t help their case

and people are still allowed to maintain
their own opinions in america

…until i become president, that is

it’s their constant presence

if i were more paranoid
i’d think these two were being paid to follow me
around the gallery space

purposefully complaining about every piece of art
that catches my eye
just for the sake of ruining my afternoon

i want to turn to them and say
look, ladies, this is my saturday too
so why not shut the fuck up or else go see a movie?

but i don’t want to sound like a whiney bitch

plus i don’t have it in me to fight anyone today
especially these two loquacious nags

i’d rather just escape them
but it’s no good

at the andrew wyeth’s
at the martin lewis drawings
there they are

oh, now this is ugly, one of them says

i wouldn’t even hang this in my closet
the other one grumbles, looking at her watch

how much longer do we have to suffer this?

i look at my watch and ask myself the same question
about them

then i move on

but it goes no better at the george bellows stuff
and there are also too many people with ipads taking pictures
which the two ancient ladies are fascinated by

oh, i just love technology, one of them says
and the other one pulls out her smart phone on cue
so that they can take pictures next to the art
that they’ve been hating for an hour now

i tell myself that i’m done with museums and galleries
if i want to see pretty pictures i’ll buy a book

so i find my wife and ask her if she’s ready

then we go and get indian food
in a place where we’re the only white people
and that’s nice
so we eat until our bellies are full
our anxious hearts are content

and no one complains about a goddamned thing

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

poem of the day 09.06.13

Drooping Sunflowers can now be viewed at BoySlut


Thursday, September 5, 2013

poem of the day 09.05.13

champagne bottle heart

untethered by everything
that used to hold ground

i am nothing but a cheap cup of black coffee
steaming for old brooklyn to drink

oscillated by the change of season
yet impeded by the gray residing in my soul

living a pain like this
so unenlightened by time

the basement me
willing to go another round

hoping to uncork
my champagne bottle heart.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

poem of the day 09.04.13

economics lesson

leon got drunk in the corner of the bar
where he sat after serving pints all day
to republicans and racists

he was often with a broken arm
or a black eye
from getting beaten on or thrown off the bus

he said to me, tonight is our tete-e-tete
and then he had me put gershwin on the jukebox
to drown out the mets game

leon took out a piece of paper and started drawing
some complex economic design upon it

layers upon layers of circles
with numbers and figures scrawled in drunken chicken scratch

i didn’t know what to make of it
except that i’d never understand economics
beyond my frayed wallet

i just wanted to drink beer and listen to gershwin
forget the job that i’d come from
and had to go back to the next day

i wanted the mets to win
but they were down again
and some of the guys in the joint
were starting to get restless about it

the seat next to leon was the only one
available in that joint

because they’d all been through this economics lesson before

some of them men had threatened to kill leon
if he ever brought up economics again

so he stayed mute on the subject with them
and just served them their beer
as they yelled about hispanics and blacks

but i was still new to the joint and still docile
and wasn’t of their rowdy ilk

so they threw me to the wolf with his scratch pad and pen
his laptop and pint of bud

and they laughed at me as i sat there
the lone soul in barroom economics 101

with professor leon
getting more and more soused by the minute

scrawling like he was mozart on an alcoholic kick

the gershwin reaching a crescendo of horns and piano

lines and line of economic nonsense
that held no matter for me
being splattered upon the paper in mad pollock dabbles of ink

me thinking that because of leon
i’d been nursing the same beer for over an hour

telling myself that if he kept it up
that i was going home to drink

this bar be damned for once and for all

which made the best economic sense for me
that strange and fiscal night.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

poem of the day 09.02.13

holy orders

it may be possible
that i hate cleaning
more than any man or woman alive

the precious hours wasted
on the dishonest industry of this activity

wasted on mopping coffee stains off of floors
and sweeping dusty rugs

wiping down cabinets with caked hardened food
scouring the wine and beer stains
off of coffee tables and nightstands

chasing mounds and mounds of cat fur
around the apartment

it is an insane loss of time
calculating the time spent picking up bread crumbs
or scrubbing toilets of piss and shit residue

when we could be drinking or fucking or learning

getting a contact high
off of the scent of ajax and ammonia

aromas that will not leave
the tips of the fingers no matter how often you wash

it is indecent for any hard working
man or woman
to spend a moment of their free time this way

but most of us do it willingly and without complaint
because we are boring, well-trained creatures of habit
who never know when a good friend may stop in to judge us
floundering in our natural habitat

when i was younger
i watched my mother kill weekends
slaving over carpets and kitchen
while i read or watched the tv and tried ignoring her

my mother crying to a house full of men
that she was doing it all for us
when no one asked her to do so
and there was nary a visitor in sight

i think of all of my mother’s lost weekends
while scrubbing food grime off of the oven

the grease and grit of life that i don’t really mind

that are more of my mark being here on this planet
than anything else that i’ve done to date

i think of my poor put-on mother and her tears

or the nun in catholic school
who looked at my stained dress shirts and muddied pants
with such venom

who told me the grand cliché
that cleanliness was next to godliness

as if she were receiving holy orders

the one who got so mad at my constant pollution
that she one day tipped my desk over
in front of all of those eager and clean students
spilling the contents everywhere

telling me to leave it as an example
for everyone to see

before she went back to a religious lesson
on christ’s kindness

and his inherent patience for all of mankind.