Friday, November 29, 2013

"best of" poem of the day 11.29.13


they have bright
and shining faces
unblemished skin
they wear coats and scarves
knit hats and boots
although it is too warm
they don’t sweat
they smile in the sun
and walk manicured dogs
down crowded streets
they don’t wake with madness
blurry confusion
staring into the void
at three o’clock in the morning
they don’t know what that feels like
because they are drinking pear cider
and talking on smart phones
holding hands
these well-adjusted pricks
how effortlessly they stroll through
the city’s farmer’s market
fondling apples and pumpkin pies
talking pleasant nothing
while i am on a partial three day drunk
my left eye twitching
brown spots on my skin
unshaven because of a clogged
bathroom sink
these aliens turn my stomach
so strange with their plastic faces
and plastic souls
with their wallets of good leather
and pints of beer that they sip on
taking pictures of neon street signs
these strange and demented
green-blooded lumps of flesh and bone
waiting on friday night
waiting on thanksgiving and christmas
new year’s eve and valentine’s day
these year-long masochists
so happy
so strange
so dumb
so perfectly blank.                               11.15.10

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

poem of the day 11.27.13

conspicuous consumption

my parents were always on me
about how i spent my money

is that what you’re using that money for?
my mother would ask
when i grabbed a box of baseball cards
from the top shelf of the thrift drug

seems a waste to me, the old man said
to the stacks of comic books and music mags

there was one time that i wanted a monkees boxed set
four cds of hits and extras and unreleased stuff

what can i say?  i was fourteen
and i loved the old reruns

you’re spending your hard-earned money on that?
my mother asked me outside a strip mall oasis records

if she only knew that i’d still be listening
to the set twenty-five years later
maybe she wouldn’t have given me such a hard time

i never understood why my folks
gave me such shit about the money i spent

it wasn’t their money
it was paper route money that i hustled at 5 a.m. for
part-time job money suffering at the goddamned mall

it was birthday money or christmas money
with the caveat that i spend it on whatever the hell i wanted

i figured it was because we didn’t come from anything
and every dollar that they ever got
had to go toward the essentials like food and shelter
tuition and car payments

they wanted me to keep the money away for a rainy day
save it for when i really needed it

as if the fifty-bucks i spent on the monkees
could’ve wiped away my student loan debt
or helped me purchase the house and car i never wanted

having a little bit of cash just makes some people nervous

i tried not to feel bad about my purchases back then
but there was always a shine that seemed to slip from the items
once bought and the critiques began

the magazines were never as good
the stacks of cards came with guilt

a new fitted baseball hat sitting on my bedroom floor
picked up and dusted off because

you spent twenty-five bucks on that hat
and you’re just leaving it on the ground?

the albums i’d consider a waste
if i didn’t play them constantly

i carry that feeling to this day
i can’t buy anything without considering the pros and con

i’ve gone back to stores two or three times
for movies and music
and still walked away empty handed

i feel a small shame whenever
last train to clarksville comes on my ipod

it drives my wife nuts, i know

this indecision
this waffling over the simplest of purchases

but i can’t help it
i never know if i’m going to need
the ten bucks i spent on a book for my lunch
the twenty i dropped on a dvd for laundry

the fifty dollars that i wanted to blow on baseball tickets
to use for gas for a trip home to see my parents

so my old man can show me his new ipad
and all of the cool things that it does.                 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

poem of the day 11.26.13

taking stock

the kid with down syndrome
is pacing back and forth in front of my desk

he’s not a kid, really
although he’s small like one

i have him pegged at twenty tops

he keeps pacing then bouncing on one leg to lean in
going puh-puh-puh in lieu of conversation
before leaning back out and pacing again

i can’t tell if he has a question
or if he needs the key to the bathroom
or if there’s something wrong and i should get his keeper

if they’re even called keepers

i split the difference
and keeping reading the new york times
in lieu of doing my job

h-how long have y-you been here?
he finally leans in and asks

do you mean on this planet? i answer

blank stare

i’ve been here too long, i say
spreading a little sarcasm on the morning

i get another blank stare
before he starts pacing again, going puh-puh-puh

and i stop reading the times
thinking, great, now i’m the asshole
who’s giving a down syndrome kid a hard time

four years, i blurt out

he stops pacing

four years here
six years on the job
ten years in this city
twenty years of working with at least as many jobs
in three cities with two cars and two cats and one wife
who was once one of four girlfriends that i’ve had in this life
in fifteen apartments and homes
spread all over almost forty years on this planet
continuing on and on for an incalculable amount of time
until i’m dead and gone and carbon
and someone else is sitting here in this seat answering questions

how’s that?  i ask my new friend

he nods and says nothing
goes back to pacing and puh-puh-puh

while i go back to the times
and an ever-increasingly violent and dull world
where peace and empathy have gone the way of the dogs
and everyone seems to have a cold war nuclear hard-on again

until he leans in and asks me
w-what is y-your favorite color?

and i lean forward and tell him

you know, kid, color is a tricky thing
especially in this country


Monday, November 25, 2013

poem of the day 11.25.13


the workers at the adult group home
made cupcakes for the people at my job

chocolate cupcakes with yellow batter
but no one is eating them

everyone thinks the residents at the group home
made the cupcakes instead of the workers

maybe the guy who sits in here all day
and laughs at his own farts
or the one who screams for no reason
and throws books while slobbering on himself

they made the cupcakes
not the workers at the group home

there’s no fooling us on this one

so the cupcakes are going untouched
like the cupcakes from last year went untouched
until someone mercifully threw them away

it’s kind of sad, really

the workers at the group home made them for us
because of the pinhead who shits herself
because of the old man who won’t stop stroking his cock

it’s their way of saying thanks
for letting them come in here and read books
and kill an hour or two in the long day

thank you for putting up with them
and the glaring disparities of mankind

still, there are five chocolate cupcakes uneaten at my job
leprous confections in a realm where i once
watched someone lick a doughnut box dry

i got really upset thinking about the cupcakes
on my walk to work in the morning

i thought about how those residents
are somebody’s son or daughter
sister or brother or aunt or uncle

that they didn’t even make
the goddamned cupcakes anyway

i told myself that when i got to work
i was going to eat all of the cupcakes

every single one of them, all five

even though i don’t eat pastries
because they remind me of back when
i was young and fat and ridiculed

but when i got to work the cupcakes were gone

they were thrown away
the tin pan turned upside down in the garbage
with chocolate cupcakes scattered and smashed

our holiday tradition

so i went into my office and had an apple
like i do every morning

i told myself that next year
i was going to eat the cupcakes from the group  home
or whatever it is that they make us

if they make us anything

i told myself that i’d eat then all
until i was stuffed and satisfied

so full of myself
that i could hardly take another bite


Friday, November 22, 2013

poem of the day 11.22.13


i have these shoes that squeak when i walk
a pair of  black size 10 ½ nike sneakers


a pair of shoes that should by rights
allow a man to slide by in this world under the radar

except they squeak when i walk


like i’m a grocery store clerk

people notice these shoes and kids laugh
my co-worker asked me if i needed
some wd-40 for them

this fucking pair of black size 10 ½ nike sneakers
the first pair of nike that i ever bought

the cheap sneakers i always bought
never squeaked like this

but these do

a week ago they made some lady squint on the bus
a two year-old copied their sound
until his mother dragged him away

it’s what i get for laying down money in america


as i walk to work
as i walk through record stores of the damned
looking through cds

they’re one more thing to draw attention
these aren’t the kind of shoes one can easily
slip through the cracks with

this motherfucking pair of black size 10 ½
big deal nike sneakers
with the stupid swoosh the same color as the shoes
so you can’t tell anyway


i should’ve bought a new watch instead of them

the final straw with the shoes came last night
when i was walking home from work

the crazy man from my street stopped me
he’s so crazy he stops everyone
so i didn’t think anything about this encounter at first

but then he said to me, jesus, pal
you need to get some oil for them shoes
they’re as bad as mine

i took a listen as we walked along in tandem
sure enough

squeak and squeak
and squeak and squeak
and squeak and squeak

like we were both in some kind of
fucked up club together

two morons in these ridiculous
motherfucking pairs of black size 10 ½
big deal nike sneakers
with the stupid swoosh the same color as the shoes
so you can’t tell anyway
walking along sounding like we were killing ducks

i told crazy man i’d see what i could do
before squeaking home as quickly as i could

where i took the shoes off
and threw them against the wall
vowing never to wear them again

i shouted, i’m going back to my boots
and i don’t care if they have holes
and soak my feet whenever it rains

i shouted until the upstairs neighbor pounded
on my ceiling

until my wife came home and told me
that i was being silly

she said, you’re a grown man
why in the hell are you worried about what people think
about your shoes or anything else?

my wife has a point, sort of
but she doesn’t really understand

because she has a pair of light gray chuck taylor
canvas shoes that don’t squeak at all when she walks

she doesn’t have two year olds mocking her
people offering to buy her some lube
the crazy man comparing notes on our choice of footwear

she can get by unnoticed
unlike me

squeaking deep into the night
like a sad shroud of gloom

doomed to wear this chain of commerce
this pair of black size 10 ½ nike sneakers

at least until the soles give out.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

poem of the day 11.21.13

a midsummer night’s sex romp (1993)

just nineteen
i sat on a bench with her in the dark
of a closed park

while colby did whatever to her friend
far off in the bushes

she said, i’m fifteen and if you touch me…

i said, relax

she said, i’m not like her
and pointed off toward
the rustling and laughter

i checked my watch and said, oaky

i’ll scream, she said, while her friend moaned

so will i

that made her laugh
but i’m still not going to, you know…

i put my hands under my ass
and said, i’m not even asking you to so…

i just wanted you to know


we sat there and watched
the pink night sky of the city
while the bushes laughed
and rustled in ecstasy

what time was it anyway? she said

i took my right hand out from under my ass
and checked my watch again
twelve-thirty, i said

great, great, she said
then she shouted at the bushes
come on already! curfew!

while i slapped out a cigarette and lit it

eewww, you smoke, she said,
waving away the blue cancer trail

only when i’m nervous, i joked

she looked around the dark landscape
at the one car we had parked
by the cracked fence

and said

what in the hell do you have
to be nervous about tonight
lover boy?




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

poem of the day 11.20.13

girl in the black bra and panties

the girl in the black bra and panties
was trying to kill us

at least that’s what i thought

stuck in her room with the windows shut and the a/c on
while the girl in the black bra and panties
sprayed enough hair spray and perfume to fog the air

but calvin thought that he was going to get lucky

i had no clue where i was going to go while this happened
maybe downstairs to a well-lit and well-aired room

but calvin never got lucky despite his best attempts

today he spent the day playing frisbee at south park
with the girl in the black bra and panties

while i hung under a tree and read john rechy
because it was too hot to play frisbee
because i hate frisbee and knew i’d never make it
in america because i hated playing frisbee

but calving kept saying, come one, dude
like he needed me to help seal the deal

and when the girl in the black bra and panties
asked me what the novel was about
and i told her male hustlers and drag queens
she said, ewww, and gave calvin some kind of look
like we don’t need this guy for frisbee

but that still didn’t get me out of sitting in her bedroom
while the girl in the black bra and panties
murdered the ozone with hair spray and perfume

while she pranced around in next to nothing
mouthing mariah carey songs and leading calvin on
with cute little smiles

and hours later when we were on mt. washington
with a ton of other people who had
nothing better to do on a saturday night
but blast shitty music out the windows of shitty cars
and wait for the cops to shut it all down

and i was alone thinking about john rechy novels
trying to figure out some way out of pittsburgh

calvin came looking
for the girl in the black bra and panties
with a pack of dudes that we knew from high school in tow

a bunch of guys that we never liked anyway

who wouldn’t believe anything about him
and a girl in a black bra and panties

even if she took them off above the city lights
and threw them both in their faces with a laugh

i didn’t have the heart to tell calvin
that i saw her drive off with three black dudes

laughing, a pounder of iron city in her hand

her legs sticking out the passenger window
of a stark white car

hanging there like bronze temptation
another missed opportunity
in the warm, thick summer night


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

poem of the day 11.19.13

drunk on wine

drunk on wine
and going to buy more wine

because the second bottle broke against
the door frame

and sent a cascading stream
of blood red jesus juice
onto the white kitchen floor

under the refrigerator too

i watch the people along third avenue
gussied up for a saturday night

as if they were grotesque clowns
in this sick carnival of my failure

sneezing my calamity
strangled on their cheap perfume and cologne

cascading in the hopeless hope
of their carnal civility

i suddenly wish that i didn’t need another
bottle of red wine

i wish that i had been  more careful
and thorough in my plans

a better, more purposeful me

and that i never had to come out
amongst these glamorous
stinking swine

in the first place.


Monday, November 18, 2013

poem of the day 11.18.13

dara smith’s ass

there was dara smith’s ass
right there on display in her kitchen
a minute before that
i was looking at baseball cards
with mitchell and dara’s sister viviane
when the two girls got into a fight
and viviane pulled dara’s sweatpants down
then there was her ass
dara smith’s thirteen year-old
held-back-twice-i’m-a-bitch ass
and no one went to pull her sweatpants up
not viviane
not mitchell
who covered his eyes
and kept saying, oh my god, oh my god
like seeing dara smith’s tight basketball playing
track and field running, swim team ass
was such a bad thing
dara didn’t even go to pull up her pants or cover her ass
she just leaned stomach-side against the wall
with her hands over her face, laughing
saying oh my god, oh my god too
i couldn’t help but look
even though i hated dara smith
because she was always calling me fat
and because she told all of the neighborhood kids
that ray ray and i were fags
and he and i were currently fighting over that
but an ass is an ass
i knew that at thirteen years-old
and even though this one belonged to dara smith
i was going to look for as long as i could
memorize it and maybe use it against her
when mrs. smith walked into the kitchen
and said, what in the hell is going on here?
before she pulled up dara’s sweatpants
and pulled viviane out of the kitchen by her hair
as mitchell and i
scared shitless
ran out into the february cold
catching our breath a half mile later
to talk about pitchers and catchers heading to florida
and how much we both still loved
miami vice.                                                       

Thursday, November 14, 2013

poem of the day 11.14.13

cafes in paris

i can’t speak
a foreign language

i can’t speak english well enough
to satiate my own thirst
for what it is that i want from this world

but i’ve sat in cafes in paris
staring at a statue of balzac by rodin

with the swirl of boisterous discourse
going on all around me

not understanding
a single word being said

and i felt more alive that way

i feltl like the luckiest man
on the face of the earth.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

poem of the day 11.13.13


lady gaga songs come on
in a bar full of old men watching football
on a sunday afternoon
and i think
what in the fuck?
but then it’s cher
donna summer
diana ross
adele and britney spears
it’s last dance at full speed
but i’m only on my third beer
this has to be some kind of joke
because the joint has suddenly morphed
into an old fag bar
have i been gone from here that long?
maybe they changed owners, i think
but the music keeps coming
courtesy of an old, thin queen
who keeps getting up to pump dollars in the juke
as cincy and baltimore play
another autumn sunday into oblivion
then it’s christina auguilera
mariah carey
saint whitney houston
and something called a nicki minaj
before the immortal madonna blares
express yourself in a club remix for good measure
queeny keeps asking everyone
if they like the music
like he’s mayor
the grand dame d.j. of this diva joint
we all say, yeah
and he goes back to his dumpy blonde
at the end of the bar
back to a woman who’s singing the madonna so loudly
i might never listen to the material girl again
and when colin comes in the bar
he kind of looks around
like he might be in the wrong place too
but then he sits and orders
his bud draft and the shot of jack
that he’s been sucking down for years
as a express yourself ends
and a last dance encore begins
as old men oblivious to disco hits
shout at the tv screen
and roll dice for money and free drinks
a whole row of newly anointed bears
only they don’t know it
and after colin takes down half the draft
he turns to me and says
no celine dion this week?


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

poem of the day 11.12.13


she says can you help me
but i’m not so sure i can or want to

because she’s in here every day
same gray hooded sweatshirt

takes up the same computer
and spends the morning filling out
application after application

she can’t use a computer too well

she gets the applications all wrong
and has to do the simplest things all over again

some days i feel bad for her

she has to be in her sixties
she should be thinking about retirement

she should already be retired
instead of applying at burger king and key food

but america keeps taking retirement from people
like they’re taking taxes for the right to die in peace

america keeps spitting people out
just to spit them out again
like this is some kind of  joke

only most days i don’t feel bad for her
because this endless economic slog isn’t my fault

because i’ve been unemployed a number of times
and have always managed to bounce back
without anyone’s help

typically i feel burdened by her presence
and the defeat that seems to emanate
from every pore in her body

afraid to let my fingers touch her keyboard
because i worry that i might one day
become inflicted with the same stench
of aging and dread that she has

my old and useless self
applying for jobs at chain hardware stores
or a subway sandwich shop

and to be honest i can’t hide my contempt
when she calls me to come over

to help her plug in her hired and fired dates
on jobs that are older than me

only she has to be gracious because
i’m decades younger and have a professional job

the answers to the questions she’s asking
the gateway to her self-improvement and self-worth

and when she tells me that she only has
a printed copy of her resume
instead of one on a flash drive or even a floppy disk

i want to hit the roof
because she’s wasted a good portion of my morning

my coffee time
my social networking time
my newspaper time
my pension collecting hours

only she puts her head in her hands
and starts to cry right there in front of everyone

quiet yet ceaseless

while i lord over her with my keys in my hand
a sample flash drive between my thumb and forefinger
like a switchblade

as stock still as a mannequin
counting the seconds between her tears

waiting ever so patiently
for my empathy to rise like the sun
for the two of us to begin this morning

Monday, November 11, 2013

poem of the day 11.11.13


i turn back awkwardly
arched back
to grab a stone white door

when this ten year-old girl says
shouldn’t you be protecting those things?

i don’t know what she means at first
but then the other ten year-old girls start to giggle
and i have my suspicions

i mean, like, you know, like girls protect those things?

and there it is
ripped to shreds by some pre-teen wench
some little brat who doesn’t even have breasts

picking apart my man boobs
to another chorus of laughter

and it would so easy
so very fucking easy to crush this kid

to point out her natty. yellow teeth
tell her no boy will ever love her
with those natty, yellow teeth

that no dentist from brooklyn to l.a.
would be able to fix them unless they were a genius

then start in on her friends for their elf ears
their own buck-teeth and flat, sexless chests

but i’m the adult in this situation

and if one of these kids start to cry
if one of these kids storms off to tell her mom
it’ll be my ass on the firing line

so it doesn’t matter how humiliated i feel
how much i want to recoil
the last bits of me from this mortal state and die

i just shrug
i tell the girls i have no clue what they’re talking about

while they continue to laugh at me
while i walk away resolving to toss this shirt

this navy blue waffle shirt
that my wife got me two christmases ago

because i liked it
because i thought i looked good in it

finally looked good in something

burn it in a funeral pyre with those other bits of clothing
that made me a target in this place

the powder-blue shirt that larry said made me look fat
the green shirt that my supervisor said made me look homeless

let them all burn
shirts and pants and jackets
white and light colors

until my closet is exorcised

until it becomes a black void of fabric
that i’ll wear like some brooklyn hamlet
to hide the madness and self-loathing

the man boobs forevermore

protecting myself from the mean little girls
and everyone else

an entire planet of flesh and blood and bone
and little else that i’d hazard to call human

on my most
generous days.


Friday, November 8, 2013

poem of the day 11.08.13

lazy river

my parents didn’t have a pot to piss in
for the longest time

but the family caught a lucky streak
around the time that i hit twelve or thirteen
and we were able to go on vacations for a few years

like normal, white, middle-class americans

we went this one time to sea world and geauga lake
to see the captive orcas and other trapped sea creatures
put on shows for us and eat chum
and daydream an open sea they’d never have again

while we clapped along with all of the other
normal, white, middle-class american families

across the way at geauga lake
there was this big amusement park with water slides
and water rides and all of these other rides
that kept the white middle-class american families
half-naked in the ohio heat of july

but i was twelve or thirteen or maybe fourteen
well aware of girls and hot young women in bikinis
their tits and the strands of pubic hair
hanging out the sides of their bikini bottoms

well aware of the fact that i was massively overweight
and that i had a pregnant lady stretch marks
on my stomach and arms

that there was no way in hell
i was going around some amusement park
half naked in the ohio heat with my fat, white
stretch marked stomach on display for every
hot girl or young woman in a bikini to see

no matter how much my old man paid to get me in

so i found this thing called the lazy river
which was just a grooved tunnel that went around the park

it filtered through about three to four feet of water
just enough to float on with rafts
or on your back or fat belly like i did (in a t-shirt of course)

the lazy river was full of old ladies and men
or women with their infants and toddlers

it was a good place for me to hide
from the girls and young women in bikinis
from the embarrassment of being twelve or thirteen
with stretch marks and a double chin

but every so often someone would find me
my dad or my mom
my brother or our family friends

they’d try to get me to come out of the lazy river
to go on the water slides or wave pools

but i knew there’d be girls in bikinis on those rides

thin, white, middle-class american girls
with their long legs and tight asses
with their beautiful smiles and diamond eyes
who’d want nothing to do with me and my fat

so i stayed where i was in the lazy river
floating along with grandmothers and great aunts

even though everyone thought  that i was just
being a moody kid in the ohio heat

even though i heard my old man complaining to my mom
all about the money they’d spent getting me into the amusement park

how i was old enough to stay alone back at the hotel
if i was going to be like that

where i could sit on my ass and watch tv
a tv most likely full of girls and young women in bikinis
with smooth porcelain skin and shining blue eyes

females who were real enough for me to touch
and maybe talk to

but not quite.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

poem of the day 11.07.13

ray ray is on facebook

ray ray is on facebook
i found him when i was snooping the other day

i found his sister too
she’s a writer now

of course my first thought was
great…another writer

but there was ray ray on facebook
living a life and hanging out with friends

going to heavy metal shows
taking road trips to visit civil war graves

he’s still playing his guitar
and it looks like he has a master’s degree in latin

it was good to see
that his old man hadn’t destroyed him
like i’d feared for years

because ray ray’s old man
was the scourge of the neighborhood

threatening to kill himself in public
and breaking into the black neighbor’s homes
to spray paint racial epitaphs on their walls

i thought for sure ray ray was in a mental institution
or held captive in his old man’s basement

i don’t know why i started snooping for him at all

usually when i snoop on facebook
it’s for old friends who’ve become religious nutters

or for girls who never gave me the time of day
in grade school or high school

i’m always happy when those women have gotten fat
divorced, work shit jobs, and have about four or five kids

but ray ray was different
he was my friend for a while

we used to play with star wars figures all of the time
we watched star trek
and pretended we were the monkees

he was mike nesmith and i was micky dolenz
my brother was davy jones

we had no peter tork
because ray ray’s sister wouldn’t play a boy

but i bet she can write a mean one now

we were friends until people started telling me
not to be his friend

that ray ray was weird and anti-social with the other kids

he couldn’t play sports
and you had to play sports in my neighborhood
if you wanted to survive

besides his old man was crazy
he chased ray ray’s mother with a butcher knife
and rumor had it that he’d killed a neighbor’s dog years ago

why would you want to spend any time over there?
people would ask me

of course i listened to them
because i was too young to understand
the bonds of friendship

i was too young to defy my parents
and hold back the sway of suggestion from my friends
or even bother to think for myself

i was too young to understand
that ray ray needed someone in his life


so i let him go

i sacrificed him to his crazy old man
to the ridicule of the kids on the street

i played baseball and football and basketball
until i couldn’t stand myself

i was the neighbor kid you could say hi too

while ray ray carried umbrellas on sunny days
and talked to himself to drown out the catcalls of the other kids
and whatever madness his family put in his head

i’ll even admit that i teased him too

but, christ, that was a long time ago
and ray ray is on facebook now

he’s living in memphis and just got a place of his own

he no longer lives with his sister
whose books are sci-fi and fantasy by the way

i wonder if he’s in a band

last night i told my wife
that i found him while snooping on facebook

i told her, ray ray is on facebook

she asked, are you going to email him?

and i just said no

it was enough to know that ray ray is out there
smiling for the camera


and without the need
to be visited by a ghost like me

some dumb neighborhood kid

another blank face full of vicious memories
who could never tear him down.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

poem of the day 11.06.13

fifty million dollar man

dolores comes in the staff room
catches me right when i’m about to head out onto the floor

says, you might as well stay back here
because larry is looking for you again
and he’s kind of pissy today

i’m sure he’s a little bit drunk
i’m sure it’s cognac
larry is a big cognac drinker when he drinks

i’m not in the mood for him today
i’ve only been back in new york for two days
after a week playing poet and tourist in california

i’m hardly sleeping
i don’t want to be back at the job
i’ve been drinking too much again

the night before i mixed jim beam and red wine
and my stomach has been paying for it all morning

i don’t feel like dealing with larry
and the fumes of old booze that come off him

two hangover drunks in the morning make for bad news

i don’t feel like looking up attorneys for him 
because he refuses to learn how to use a computer
or talk about bogart or carey grant movies again
because he refuses to watch anything made after 1960

i don’t want to hear another one of larry’s tits and ass jokes
or stand there while he tells me that i’m getting fat
and what a cunt his ex-wife is

so i stay in the staff room even after i’m scheduled to start work
thinking it a prison within a prison

eventually i take my chances
i see larry over by the dvds and sneak into the office

i close the door thinking, i did it
that i’ve evaded the enemy again
but the knock comes no less than a minute later

then it’s larry poking his head in without being invited
aviator shades on
the smell of old booze permeating the room

him or me?

hey, kid, he says, i need you to look something up
and i wonder what it could be this time
a notary form or another hot dog vendor license

i’ve learned more about being a hot dog vendor in new york city
since larry started coming in this joint
so much that it’s now become my fall back plan
if this public servant business doesn’t work out

but today it’s a poor person’s workman’s comp form
something i’ve printed six or seven times already
so i know where to go thinking this’ll be quick and painless

but larry lingers
he talks to me about his daughter and his injuries

a twisted ankle this week, kid, he says,
a cracked rib last night

(although he seems to be walking without pain)

injuries most likely sustained after falling over
from a night with the cognac and bogart films
but larry will try and use them to work the system
he’ll claim them as old and recurring working injuries

i almost cracked my head, kid, he says
when i get up to fetch the workman’s comp forms
and i just hope ol’ larry doesn’t try patting my belly again

he says, and don’t get me started
about losing fifty-million dollars

huh? i think
fifty million dollars, i say, only i can’t hide
how much i don’t care

because larry has lost more imaginary money
than trump has made

yeah, he says, you know those fathead stickers
that people put on their walls?
the ones of football and hoops players that’re like lifesize?

i nod because i know about them
while larry shakes his head, huffing out the cognac

that was my idea, he said
i had that idea years ago
big stickers and removable wall paper
and both of them got sold for fifty million dollars

that’s too bad, i tell him

the cognac smell is making me sick
it’s making me want a drink
when larry leaves i’ll have to take a shit
or run to the drug store for gas-ex pills

i’d go to the liquor store
but i don’t want to start that shit again

not at this job
not in this city

so i got fucked out of fifty million dollars, kid, he says
so why don’t you print me some kind of
copyright infringement forms while you’re at it

i find him bogus ones on the internet
so as to not waste the court’s time

when i finally give them to larry
he shoves them in his coat pocket
like they’re driving directions
and i know i’ll be printing them again next week

i make a mental note to bookmark the pages on my pc

while larry corners me
with his cognac breath and depression and says,

so, kid, this lady with huge tits
comes walking into the bar and…                                

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

poemS of the day 11.05.13

the politicians

mornings lately
the politicians have been out in full force
standing outside the subway stations
or lurking around the bus stops

they smile
and try to shake the hands
of the common, tired citizen
on their way to work
or the unemployment office

there is usually a republican on one side
a democrat on the other
although it is hard to tell which one
is from which party

the politicians wave at everyone
and shovel their bullshit to any victim
whose hand they can grab for more than a few seconds

they talk about their vision of america
while day dreaming those automatic pay raises
gold-plated health benefits
and all of that free congressional parking

there is a faceless handler
ubiquitously next to these golden bags of gas

it is typically some vivacious young blonde
with a warm smile and perky tits
who passes out fliers
that remind everyone when election day is coming

then every few hours
the politicians switch sides of the street
to do their dog and pony show all over again

before they disappear
into the mist

a mere myth
until the next campaign season
comes again like christmas.

the voters

the voters are out
in full force
they keep stuffing my
mailbox with candidate fliers
but i can’t tell these people apart
they are for different things
but none of them
represent what i want
which is to be left alone

the voters send me emails
asking me to support
this person or that
i look at the web sites
and these people make me sick
with their ugly families
and talking points
they make me wonder
how one gets their teeth so shiny

the voters
think that every election
is important
but most of the voters
are well-off and white
with two cars and dull kids
with toilet paper degrees hanging
on their painted walls
elections never really change
their position or status

they no longer have any idea
what is important

they get mad
at minorities for not showing
up on election night

the voters are still carrying around
that good ol’ white man’s burden

i’m willing to bet that they
wouldn’t think so much about voting
if each night’s dinner came out of a box
full of sugar, salt, and preservatives
if they had gunfire outside
of their big, beautiful windows
metal detectors at their schools
and drug dealers hanging around
their pretty little parks

but the voters
will tell me that the only way
to change this
is to get out and vote
join the other assholes
and have your voice heard
they honestly believe that they
are changing the world
then they go home and watch the results
with some ice cream or popcorn
on one of the 24/7 news channels

the voters believe in the system
because they have never
had faith in anything
including themselves

they do not realize
that nothing has changed
and nothing ever will
that you cannot put blind trust
in egomaniacal fools
looking for a soft road
on the pathway to death

you cannot trust these people
as far as you can throw them
man can only help mankind
one person at a time

but the voters don’t care
they’ll be up early on election day
washed and well-dressed
a good breakfast in their soft gut
so full of pride and civic duty
they’ll be parading around like peacocks

then thankfully they’ll be gone
for at least another 365 days.                                        10.26.10

tea bagged

the muslim family
on the street
spend their morning
looking at their car
the one with
the windows busted out of it
the green glass
scattered on the sidewalk
in tiny cubes
the day after a primary election
in brooklyn, u.s.a.
the political postcards
still hammered into yards
the smiling faces of politicians
promising disgust
the muslim family stone-faced
their big american car broken
no other big american cars touched
on the whole block
the muslim boy looking at me
fat from the land
with my long hair and beard
safe and white
a three-hundred dollar toy
in my pocket
playing my whole music collection
as i walk along
toward a sea of flags
and traffic
dipping down the next block.