Thursday, October 31, 2013

poem of the day 10.31.13

devil’s night

i watch the sirens
swirl the projects

down the street
from where i wait for my bus

ambulances, fire trucks
and the cops

a hat trick of whirling
red and blue

stalling traffic
every october thirtieth
for the past four years

they say devil’s night
is the night for evil

and that may be so

but only if they’re
talking about

playing party to the
redundant violence

the ghoulish sameness
of this urban landscape.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

poem of the day 10.30.13


simon’s mother starts yelling at him
the second they get on the bus at bay parkway

because the kid races to the back on his toddler feet
and starts climbing the row of seats

simon is maybe two, maybe he’s over two now
he’s kicking at a man who’s trying to read the post

the old guy is smiling at simon
but you can tell that he’s pissed because his face is red
and he keeps trying to move further away in his seat

simon’s mother thinks this is funny
she laughs as simon starts scaling poles
she laughs as he squeals and shouts and stomps

she looks around at the rest of us for confirmation
to prove that simon is as endearing as she thinks he is

some people would call a child like this precocious
but they’d be wrong
because precocious denotes intelligence, being clever, gifted

simon is a moron and you can tell it
by the way his slobber hits the bum-piss-stained floor of the bus

i hate children like this
they are road blocks on the path of my peaceful existence

kids like simon should be chained in backyards
or made to wear one of those baby leashes that you used to see

but simon’s mother is liberal with her child
she doesn’t care that he’s still kicking at the old guy
or stumbling around trying to knock over my beam bottle

maybe simon’s mother is just tired
i’d be if i had to put up with this kid

i look at her and i think, yeah, she’s tired and done
and she’s letting simon be our problem for a little while

the chick is young too
she doesn’t even look thirty yet

i should feel bad for her for having a kid like this
for wasting some good years shouting his boutique baby name
carrying his stroller and nursing bag on brooklyn buses

but i don’t

it’s not my fault that something was missing in her life
that she needed to create simon
infest this bus with a simon
plague the world with a simon
who squeals and cries and screams and kicks old men

i can’t empathize with a woman like that

in truth, i’d like to see her reach her end and lash out at simon
give him a good whack on the ass
the way simon’s got it back in my day

but instead she reaches for the child and tries
to coddle him like he’s a teddy bear

of course simon screams at being captured this way
he worms out of his mom’s arms and falls to the stained floor

he reaches for my booze bag but i snatch it away in time

i try not to be too cross because simon’s mother
is giving me a dumb, red-faced, apologetic smile
as simon gets up and goes careening down the aisle
face forward when the bus hits a red light

another old man tries to reach for the kid to brace him
but simon screams at him and slides like pete rose

his mother has no choice but to get up
cumbersome stroller and thick nursing bag in her arms

she reaches simon but he runs away

he’s heading toward the front of the bus
where the driver sits protected by a pane of unbreakable glass

as blissful and ignorant of this kid
as a fat buddha daydreaming under a bodhi tree.           

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

poem of the day 10.29.13


i’m supposed to live in milwaukee
at least according to these online surveys
that i take every few years

find your spot one of them is called
or where do i want to live? is another name

i don’t know why i still take these quizzes
i’m perfectly happy in brooklyn, for the most part

i do it to amuse myself, i guess
or maybe to gaze into this other life that i could be having

the one in milwaukee

i try to be honest with the quizzes
but honesty for me means i mostly answer middle-of-the road

i need to have lots of bright and sunny days
i answer neutral

i love a thick white blanket of snow in the winter
i answer neutral

i need good public transportation
having water nearby is a plus
there should be a strong arts scene where i live

i answer neutral
neutral and neutral

and i always end up with milwaukee

i can’t figure this one out
i’ve done it with a number of quizzes
and being a middle-of-the-road kinda guy
always gives me milwaukee

this is unfair to the fine people of that city

i’m willing to bet the approximately 600,000 denizens of milwaukee
don’t feel very ho-hum or neutral about where they live

milwaukee means gathering place by the water
it’s the 22nd largest city in america
some call it the jewel of the great lakes
the typewriter was even invented in milwaukee

the new york times just did an article
about spending thirty-six hours in milwaukee

on purpose

but sure as shit if i answer neutral to:
i’d like to have good museums nearby
i enjoy local theater
or do you want to live near a major medical center?

i get milwaukee time and time again

i suppose i could answer the quizzes differently
be more assertive in my views

on whether or not i need to be near a major international airport
or if i’m hooked on fishing

how much i enjoy cultivating my green thumb

maybe if i answered in the emphatic
i’d get somewhere like los angeles
or san francisco or even back here in brooklyn

but you know what?
i really don’t give two shits about any of that stuff

i am middle-of-the-road
i’m neutral on most things, if not everything

i mostly sit in my apartment and drink beer and read books
watch movies or sports or i go to the bar

milwaukee had 26 local breweries by 1856
and it has almost a thousand taverns now
gene fucking wilder was from milwaukee
and the brewers ain’t so bad

…of course jeffrey dahmer was born in milwaukee
but he’s dead now

so i figure if we moved there
the wife and i would be all right

we’d be content enough

we’d probably spend our days snacking
on sausage and cheese and beer

watching the packers or the bucks

and if my wife ever asked me how i was doing
i’d probably say okay

i’m doing okay.


Monday, October 28, 2013

poem of the day 10.28.13

From East Busway Blues 1995


lou reed songs
of city life
ringing in my ears
fingernails bitten
into the flesh
tired of my reflection
in the smeared window
this east busway blues
is no longer
as undiscovered poem
that i can't wait to unfold
in the morning


Friday, October 25, 2013

poem of the day 10.25.13

my fortieth birthday

my fortieth birthday
isn’t even for six months

but for almost a year now
i’ve been having phone conversations
with my mother about my fortieth birthday

she loves to talk about my fortieth birthday

she wants me and my wife
to come to pittsburgh for it
or they could come here to brooklyn
either way….

it’s some kind of milestone for her, i get it

but she doesn’t seem to understand
that i don’t want to celebrate my fortieth birthday

who in the hell wants to celebrate
something as futile as that?

why not celebrate a coming hurricane or a blizzard
or some other harbinger of doom?

i don’t want to be forty
hell, i didn’t want to be thirty-nine

at thirty i tried to jump onto subway tracks
if i was done then imagine how i feel now?

forty is a deeper downslope to me
it’s pulling white hair out of my beard in work bathrooms
crying for no reason on the walk to work

becoming more and more paranoid
and less trusting of everyone around me

it’s a glaring example of all that i haven’t done

the number is wearying
it’s a cancer 

it's a mom and day birthday
and not suitable for a guy like me


i say it aloud and i get sick

i shouted forty at some twenty year-old dude’s
thin, slouching demeanor and he smirked at me

i shouted forty at some twenty year-old chick’s ass
and it jiggled at the audacity in numbers

but my mother wants to celebrate it over a dinner
some wine and beer and tickets to a baseball game

so that i can watch twenty-five year-old kids
run around the base paths like golden gods

what shit

i want to celebrate it by hanging myself
or drinking a tin of lighter fluid to doors albums
and then turning myself into a fireworks display

still, i know i should be nice about it
someone offering to take me out on the town
celebrate my life

all my mother does is love me
my family loves me
my wife does too

but i already told her to expect a motherfucker of a day
when i turn forty

so we aren’t talking about it right now
unless we want to kill the night at hand

i’m thinking of locking myself in a room
on my fortieth birthday

listening to music that used to make me feel good
reading books that used to matter

watching movies that gave me hope

drinking beer that never made me fat before
and smoking all of the cigarettes
that i gave up once i turned twenty-seven

but all that’ll do is make me feel bad and sick
and more like a rerun than i do now

maybe i’ll leave america for my fortieth
i like being out of america

i feel better when an ocean separates me from the u.s.a.
more human and less stale

but what would it really matter?

i’d still just be some forty year-old fucker in paris
i’d still be the same wastrel
wondering around the louvre and waiting on disease or death
or the age of forty-one

looking at young people and hating them
for being so dumb and vibrant

my old man tells me that forty is still young
but what in the hell does he know?

he’s sixty-three
so of course forty is young to him

fifty is

if i live until sixty-three
someone will probably have to institutionalize me
because i won’t be able to handle it

i’ll be paralyzed physically and emotionally
unable to communicate my thoughts to the outside world

i’ll have to be bathed
force fed, dressed, read to
and have my hair combed by some stranger

probably some young forty year-old
who thinks he knows shit about shit

and probably hates wiping the ass
of an old fart like me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

poem of the day 10.24.13

write through it

even if you are beaten
by the world

devoid of words

write through it

something could come of you yet

if you’re the type
who hates poems about being a poet
or having writer’s block

write through it

put it down and shove it in a drawer

no one has to know
that it exists until you are dead

there is no greater joy to you than getting it down
and you know that

so don’t sit there
looking at the weather and porn

worrying about the government
going into default

put down a sentence
because the government has always been full
of assholes

even if all of your old friends
have become republican jack-offs

who hate immigrants and gays
who claim their favorite book is the bible

there has to be a poem somewhere
in there

find it
and teach those lying hypocritical bastards
a lesson

remind them that you remember
when they used to beat their women
get drunk
and get head off of underage hookers

and it doesn’t matter
that you are coming down off scotch

bloated from beer and sodium

that the heart is racing
and the head feels like an anvil

that the job is an unforgivable noose

write through it

take a shit
hurl into the porcelain god

pour aspirin down your throat
call the doctor a fool

grab a cup of coffee or water
and swear you’ll never do it again

but then get back in there
face the machine

face the white void of computerized paper

call up all the demons from this cesspool life

put something down
for immortality sake

be your own hero
be your own god

you won’t regret it


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

poem of the day 10.23.13

crying over kerouac…again

i wanted to do some damage
deep down i wanted damage
i had four scotch and waters on the rocks at vieni vieni
as 1970s cop shows played on the tv
and some blonde kept glaring at me
because she probably thought
that i was some kind of tourist poseur
and i probably was to her
drinking in her dive bar
on the recommendation of a writer
whose first book was sitting in my bag
but i wanted damage
i was on my way to damage
because i understood car wrecks
better than the passive ocean
so the scotch and waters kept coming
i watched the blonde glaring at me
as old man heads fell like soldiers
on the battlefield
another day shot to shit
and i left vieni vieni giving the blonde
a smug drunken look of significance
as she did shooters of some brown poison
meant to help her forget her life
and in the hotel room was a bad bottle of red wine
which got drunk to baseball games
to the chatter of chinatown
and car horns blaring down broadway, san francisco
while i thought about where i was
where i was going
six months to forty years old
with the hangovers getting no easier
the poems getting no better
my belly hanging over my belt
life a brick wall on every garbage strewn street
and inside vesuvio’s cafĂ© i went
considering damage
considering pictures of jack kerouac
hanging on the wall
young and vibrant
holding cigarettes
holding court
his eyes wide with angelheaded hipster majesty
and i looked at them while jazz played
while sucking down sweet dark and stormy
after sweet dark and stormy
thinking jack you fool
jack you fucking fool
you could’ve made it through the storm
until i felt it well up in me again
like an ancient volcano coming to life
my vesuvius in vesuvio’s
waterworks for a dumb, dead ghost
crying over kerouac
and again
and again
as my wife sat there staring into the black neon
of west coast glory
holding my hand
the sick blubbering husband of her youth
until the waitress came over and shook our glasses
asking that eternal question
care for another round?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

poem of the day 10.22.13


the airplane goes
from rocking to swaying
back and forth

i’m trying to watch the superman movie
but i can’t concentrate

all the crashes and thuds
i can’t tell if they’re from the movie
or from the plane

i pause the movie and try to stand up

what are you doing? my wife asks

i can’t do this, i tell her
as the plane sways from left to right

i have to get off this thing

and go where? she asks

she has a point
i mean we are 36,000 feet in the air
which makes this swaying over utah
all the more unnerving

fuck this, i say
fuck traveling and going anywhere
because i can’t do this shit anymore

it’s just turbulence, my wife says
look around you
no one else is freaking out

it’s true
one lady is reading the san fran chronicle
and some kid is eating popcorn and playing on an ipad

to hell with them, i say
they’re all fools and commoners

c students with loan debt
office drones
blank video game kids without a chance
retirees sucking up our social security

when this plane goes down
the only people who will miss them
are the census takers and the irs

oh that’s real nice, my wife says

i’m a poet, i tell her
a goddamned wordslinger
and i have a novel coming out this year

small, minute enclaves of people
will be devastated when i’m gone

are you listening to yourself? she asks

yes, i say
as the plane sways and bumps
and dips left

when it comes to life and death
i’m an egoist and i can’t help it

uh-huh, my wife says

she returns to watching her movie
while i sit there surrounded by calm dullards
playing nose dives and other death scenarios in my head

eventually the bucket of bolts settles and so do i

i go back to the movie too

back to superman saving the world
striving for truth and justice

while i go the american way
of self-righteous indignation

me versus everyone else on this plane

as i leave one coast rocking
readying myself once again
for the turmoil of the next                                              

Monday, October 21, 2013

poem of the day 10.21.13

the right kind of man now

he has done
everything right

he’s moved to the suburbs

he got married to a smart women
out of his league

he found god

quit his job because his wife said so
and started preaching the good word
to impressionable children
and the mentally handicapped

his wife squeezed him out some babies
to complete the picture

they all dress the same at baseball games
and when they go to the zoo

he stopped drinking

puts nothing in his body
harder than lemonade and ice water

he runs marathons to stave off
the frustration of daily life

he’s got a ton of friends

pasty, white suburbanites
in plaid shorts and golf shirts

whose wives look built to procreate
and do little else

people who go to church every sunday
and believe in the fine art of brunch

fifteen to a table

dully smiling and talking
about jesus and the weather
as their kids scream and throw food

he’s got a back lawn
that he’s always going on about

flowers and birds and trees
and a swimming pool full of chlorine

he’s forgotten all about those ten-dollar blow jobs
and tranny whores

vomit nights
and coming in his pants at strip clubs

unless he thinks about them
while he’s scratching his ass
and watering the tulips

he’s the right kind of man now

with an office and a den
a sensible car and a crucifix in every room

he’s against abortion and welfare
thinks the poor should go out and get a job

the walking, talking definition
of the american dream
with 300 channels of nothing on

his favorite book is the bible

and i’ll be damned if he doesn’t sleep with it
under his pillow every night

just in case those temptations
start to rip him away from the good life.


Thursday, October 10, 2013


hello all

Winedrunk will be taking a little break from October 11th-Oct 20th.

poem of the day 10.10.13

black tranny on 4th avenue brooklyn

the black tranny was on
4th avenue again this morning

she was wearing a jean skirt
cut up to the crotch
high snakeskin heels
and a top that didn’t cover the belly ring

she was fixing her make-up
in the rearview mirror of some good citizen’s prius

some self-righteous voter
who probably has no clue
that there’s a black tranny
on 4th avenue sometimes

but i see her a lot

always in the morning
always seemingly on the go

i think she might be a prostitute
but i can’t be certain on that

she fooled me once on 5th avenue

it was early and i had a hangover
i saw this ass sauntering down the street
in a pink leather mini

and i thought, jesus christ, the world is full
of small miracles

it was sunday morning
and i almost believed in god

until she turned around
to fix her hair in a bodega window
and i saw that it was just the black tranny

but i didn’t mind
i’m a pretty liberal guy

not like most of the italian gorillas
in this neighborhood

sometimes when the black tranny
passes a group of these walking turds
they start laughing and slapping each other silly

a few give out catcalls
one in a jets hat called her a faggot

but the black tranny
just turned and smiled at them
with her mouthful of white teeth

she’s probably making a bundle
on those good old brooklyn boys
when their wives and girlfriends aren’t around

this morning i’m glad the black tranny
is on 4th avenue

even if she’s not with her
red-headed white tranny friend

it’s good to see her
out here mixing with the assholes
walking their dogs

the jerk-off dude-bros in business suits

the dumb american blonde girls
with their huge ice coffees, cell phones,
and bug-eyed starlet sunglasses

smiling and puckering her lips
as stressed out parents
drag their little brats to school

singing whitney houston songs
and shaking her little ass in the autumn sun

she gives this neighborhood some character

she saves us from being
as bland and dull
as your neighborhood is.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

poem of the day 10.09.13

hack job

he calls my wife
while we’re on 3rd avenue
drinking root beer and  ginger beer
in the hot autumn sun

the cat is ready, my wife says

when we pick her up
she starts meowing and hissing
clawing at the cage
at the sound of our voices

the cat groomer is too scared
to put her in the carrier

maybe you should do it, he lisps

so i do
without looking at the shave job

i couldn’t do her legs, he whines
she just wouldn’t let me

the cat is fifteen years-old
with kidney problems

…but okay

we apologize and pay the man
while a bichon frise barks and whines
because it knows it’s next in line

when we get home
we see that all four of the animal’s legs
are unevenly shaved
and there are clumps of fur all over her body

jesus, look what that queen did to her
i say to my wife

we could’ve done this kind of damage ourselves, she says

if this weren’t such a horrible hack job
it would almost be funny
but this motherfucker got eighty-dollars out of us

i should go up there and complain, my wife says
go on yelp and rip his business a new one

as the cat prances around the room
like a bad shag rug from 1976
like a dancer with two different go-go boots on

what good would it do? i say
what’s done is done

i think about the ginger beer and root beer
that we were unable to finish

consolation prizes for not drinking for two days

that was four more dollars
that cat groomer caused us

i think i should probably go up there
and fix his ass good
save that bichon frise from the same fate

i mean eighty-fours bucks is no slouch

but it’s too goddamned hot
this late in the year

and i’m thinking today might be the day
where i start drinking again

after all.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

poem of the day 10.08.13

the world looks like god

i know i’ll probably quit drinking

but for now
i’m pretty fine with it

for there is no other elixir
for dealing with mankind that i’ve found
that works as effectively as drink

and regardless
of the buckets of poison
that i pour into my gut

i’d take the ritually soused me of now
over the wide-eyed twenty year-old one
on any given day

but i still know
that one day these shenanigans will have to stop

the blurry bliss
leading toward torrential hangovers

the grand drunken party that i throw for myself
on a nightly basis

will have to cease

by choice
by doctor
by death

or when the world finally opens up its arms
to me

and looks like god


Monday, October 7, 2013

poem of the day 10.07.13


she rolls
through the stop sign
texting someone on her cell phone

almost leveling me in the crosswalk

out of instinct i spit
getting her passenger side window
with a wad of backwash phlegm
that’s thick and yellow like custard

and for a moment she stops

she looks from me
to the spit
to her cellphone

then moves on angrily punching words
into her device

because i’ve finally given her
something of interest

to tell her itty bitty little virtual world.


Friday, October 4, 2013

"before winedrunk" poem of the day 10.04.13

hello all

this last little poem thus ends "before winedrunk" week.
thank you all for putting up with the ancient ramblings of a crappy poet
while i muscled through a ton of revisions this week.  i have a novel due
out entitled, The Librarian.  the main character, Randall Wyndham is featured
in a new short story at Rind Literary Magazine.  The novel is due out in late December.'s a little Pocket Change from 1995 to close out this
"blast from the past."

pocket change

and as broke as america wants
me to be
like allen ginsberg standing on street corners
with only pocket change
eating and drinking my last dollar
in the form of two bagels
and a coffee refill

and still convinced i’ve got pride enough
to care completely for myself
hence the struggling, pulling match with mary
in a clothing store
over a yellow summer shirt
that she wanted to buy for me

and as sick as i’ve been
in the last two years
in a beating sweat on a cold spring day
splattering my last gulp of coffee
on the pavement
and hoping kris collins will round the corner.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

"before winedrunk: poem of the day 10.03.13


full mouth
    cold lip

snowflake, you are

cover my streets
freeze my feet

dance around my head like a
long-legged ballerina

smack me silly
with your wet love



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"before winedrunk" poem of the day 10.02.13

a bowl of soup…

and the things i love
about pittsburgh
in the fall

early october

up on top of
mt. washington

first specks
of frozen misty
morning frost breath

the cool city sky
is like a blanket.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"before winedrunk" poem of the day 10.01.13

pretzels & frank o’hara

the copy of lunch poems
    kris gave me sits on the counter
in the staff room
       next to my can of mountain dew

i’m eating pretzels
  it’s 3 o’clock
    & i’ve gotta go back to work

but dear frank o’hara
     had words that couldn’t be late
for lunch
    words that had new york city in their grasp
its empire state building
times square

i got pittsburgh
      3 rivers
& a 40-cent bag of
     sour dough pretzels
in mine