Friday, December 19, 2014

Hiatus time again


WineDrunk SideWalk will be on hiatus from Saturday December 20th until Monday, January 5th so that I can spend the next two weeks in a holly jolly drunken stupor.  As always, thank you for reading this here old blog. Merry Whatever Imaginary Being You Follow and Happy New Year. May we, somewhere between the inflatable Santas and rivers of dead evergreens, find some peace.



poem of the day 12.19.14

birth of the cool

i remember
smoking cigars
in my parent’s small dining room
my portable CD player
placed right on the corner of the table

as you remember it
there was ice tea and nary an ounce of liquor

we were such rebels back then, huh?

but there was you and there was i
there was miles davis on a cool spring night

or was it the winter?

as much as i keep locked in my head
is as much as i’m starting to forget

whose CD was it?
or did it belong to the library?

these kinds of questions are coming to me
as i sit here tonight
getting drunk on vodka alone
listening to the birth of the cool

brooklyn screaming car horns and dogs
and assholes on their cell phones
parked in front of my open window
complaining about the other assholes in their lives

i can’t remember if it was my first time
listening to the album or yours

or was it the first time for both of us?

oh, i don’t know
i’ve had too much to drink
and i’m probably going to make
this a miserable night
for ally when she gets home

i tend to do that these days when i get going
about any small instance from the past

mixing alcohol and memories
into a fine molotov cocktail
i always hurl right into the present

what where we even doing at my parents?

smoking cigars and drinking ice tea
until my mother bitched down at us from the upstairs

home after some old high school friend’s
shitty metal show?

or at the movies with women
who’d try to ruin us with their love?

i don’t know
what does it matter now?

sitting here in this lonely room
the ice from my drink
burning my rotten tooth and freezing my throat

we had miles then
and i have him with me tonight

making finger shadows
in the headlights of some prick’s SUV

all this time regained
and all of this nostalgia
be damned unto a soused infinity

with all of the other moments of youth
disguised so badly as immortality


Thursday, December 18, 2014

poem of the day 12.18.14

poem to cindy x garcia
age, approximately 5 ½

what is there to say?

except that we’re both pretty tired
coming home on this evening train

only i don’t have my mother with me
to try and keep waking me up, like you do

she’s only doing it
because if you sleep now
you’ll be a terror when she tries to put you to bed

it’s kind of like how i feel
those nights struggling to keep my eyes open
until at least ten o’clock

frustrated at all of these inabilities and limits
i seem to be acquiring year by year

it’s hard at your age and it’s getting harder at mine

and i know how you feel
two parents working full-time
or maybe even just one

up and out the door before most kids are even awake
back home to the insult of everyone else’s warm yellow window

because you’ve spent mornings and afternoons
shucked off to daycare or lousy babysitters
that your folks can’t really afford

you know they’re working hard
but it’s tough only seeing them when the sun comes down
when you’re tired and on this train tonight
where thankfully no one is making any noise

remember they don’t want to pay someone else
to raise you either

i wish that i could say that it gets better
that the tiredness abates

but if i have to be honest with you
life comes down to small pockets of joy
tucked between the sadness and strife

and before you know it
you’ll be putting your mom to bed
or saying goodbye for the long run

so don’t give her too much shit right now
because she seems like a nice lady
with soft, brown loving eyes

i can see the tears welling up
as she keeps sitting you up straight

there’s no need to cry
because this is just what we do
trying to live this life we’ve been given

we endure
we make magic happen when we can

and there’s still a few more good hours
left in the day for us both

dinner, television, or maybe a decent book

so let’s not squander this, little girl
on tears and petty disagreements

let’s do as mom says
and get up

let’s get off this train tonight
and get back to the art of living

until tomorrow, cindy
until tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

poem of the day 12.17.14


it is
in those moments
up doing what you’ve
been doing for years
when you suddenly
find yourself
without the words
the resolute desire to create
just sitting there
staring at the wall
and the clock
that you begin to wonder
if this is it
the magic gone
the joy
the fun
time to hang it up
and simply go to work
food down your mouth
two to three times a day
sit on the bus
reading a bestseller
or shouting
into a cell phone
at some poor bastard
coming home
to the couch
communing with the television
those regrets
those thwarted dreams
left with nothing
but to wait on bed or death
just as weak
and vulnerable
as all the rest

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

poem of the day 12.16.14

everyone is a victim

inside the bagel shop
the protest marches are on the morning news

there are a pack of cops watching them
while men behind the counter are hopping to it

buttering cop bagels and toasting cop muffins
fixing cop coffee and making cop smoothies

we are a sea of white men on a sunday morning
a shop full of america’s least desirable overlords

there is one woman amongst us
a black woman

she’s the only person not watching the tv

she’s trying to get a scone and an orange juice
but the bagel men are talking to the cops about the protest

how a couple of anarchists went after cops
with bags of hammers

an alleged attack, one of the cops spits

that could’ve caused brain damage,
the head bagel man says

with cops…how in the fuck could you tell?

the night before, my wife and i were down in the protests
we marched for half a mile or so

from the book store to the wine store

chanting about taking back the streets
how racist all of the cops are

it felt like a shining moment walking down
the middle of broadway
a sea of different people united under a common cause

but you could sense the futility of it all

if you looked to the side at the thousands of cops at the ready
slouching, smirking, hands on their holsters

police vans by the dozens

it let you know whose streets these really were
and all of the blood you’d need to take them back

but in the bagel shop this morning
the cops are still the good ol’ boys, the big heroes
the only lives that matter on this block

their every whim is taken care of by the bagel men

strawberry tarts and cream instead of whole milk
a complimentary copy of the ny post

as the black woman sails between a sea of blue
asking behind the counter where the line starts and ends

running late….church, she mutters

as one bagel man looks up at the television
rolls his eyes and says from one cop to another

you ever notice how
everyone is a victim these days?


Monday, December 15, 2014

poem of the day 12.15.14


i was playing
jack kerouac that fall
just out of college
bus trips to maryland
bus trips to ohio
working half-assed
at a full-time job
that didn’t pay shit
i talked a good game about writing
but i hardly put down a word
just pissed away days and nights
with people whom i don’t even know anymore
drinking in bars
where i was the only white face
buying hot nike hats
and stale marijuana
loving women who didn’t even know i was alive
knowing where every quarter draft night
in the city of pittsburgh was located
vomiting in streets
pissing on porches
howling into bullshit
trying to solicit 3 a.m. hookers
pouring drinks over balconies in clubs
when the boredom hit
shoving dollar bills
into the crotches of strippers
with yellow teeth and shit stains on their g-strings
always planning to leave
but never going anywhere
stuck steaming like a dung-heap george bailey
waiting for the student loan debt
to start showing up
looking at that strange
hungover face in the mirror every morning
trapped in a moment
of clarity
wondering when
any spark was ever going to strike
or wondering
jesus christ
if this was it


Friday, December 12, 2014

poem of the day 12.12.14

bend over and take it

they tell us in coded words
to bend over and take it
they say i work for you
but like a shot in the ass
they always go back to cuddling
the money and influence
on the streets we call people like these
gold-diggers and whores
everywhere else we vote for them
put them in mansions and positions of power
go against our judgment and need
to keep these people in suits
to keep them fighting wars
arming cops like green berets
to murder in the name of law and order
gerrymander our states
so that there’s nothing but division division division
pitting us one against another
from angry, desolate coast to coast
lobby them to kill the environment
pump our fruits and vegetables full of cancer
pack the meat into steroid cages then let the methane fly
and when we get mad enough
yes, we take to the drought-dusted streets
for a moment or two
to loot and pillage from our own
put our grand statements on t-shirts for the internet selfie
let sports superstars rock the cause
knowing that the revolution will never be televised
and these elected masters
they wait us out
with benevolent smiles and hollow words
or they pass laws to further entrench us in this futility
give us a coke and a smile
the flag and the middle finger
as another celebrity scandal snaps us back in line
and into the warm home
where the consumer avarice waits for the avalanche
and passing congressional gas
is considered a monumental achievement in justice
where we sit in a loud harmony
of car horns and technical toys disguised as progress
to bend over and take it again.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

poem of the day 12.11.14


i try talking writing
with my part-time clerk

mostly because she overheard me
tell my other co-worker

that life has been miserable now
for six months

which is bullshit

i mean she didn’t overhear me
i said it out loud for her and everyone else to hear

maybe it’s not true
i really don’t know anymore

the way life is now
it has to be an aberration
and not the new normal

i don’t want this kid
thinking that i’m some kind of head case

another old man gone off the deep end
left to get old and rot in his lot in life

if she even considers me at all

she’s got a lot on her plate
just like we all do all the time

talking about writing is hard enough

sometimes it’s like talking about
another kind of cancer

and when my co-worker comes out
of the office and says to me

you know, you’re nothing but a killjoy

i try to take it in stride
because five minutes ago
some kid told me that i saved her life
just by renewing a book

i think it’s all relative to the person
exactly who you are to them at any moment

you can never really win

but still the comment cuts me pretty deep
to the core of what i’ve been feeling for so long now

i cut the literary talk with the young part-timer
when she says she prefers the editing over the craft

i disagree
because nothing in this world
beats that first thought

it’s the lingering over anything that’ll get you

but in the end opinions don’t matter much
over your own sense of truth

instead i think everything that’s happening to her is brand new
while everything that has happened to me
feels like a rerun or a dream

a remembrance of things past
like some perfect killjoy

i ask her if she’d like to go on her way home

her eyes light up and she nods
because we all really want to go home in the end

she touches her stomach
and says, i’m soooooooooooo hungry

and i think to say, you know
i used to feel a certain kind of hunger
at your age too

but i just walk away
lock a few doors

shut off a long row of lights.                                    

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

poem of the day 12.10.14


when i tell my mother
that ally and i are coming home
for christmas
there’s silence on the other end of the phone
the signal lost?
i start thinking
these damned things…
but then i hear my mom huff and sigh
and i know that she’s crying
it goes without saying
between the two of us that
it’s been a hard year
wall to wall cancer
and no one talks about the new year
with any excitement 
although that just may be what comes with age
i give her a few minutes
ask where she is
the mall, she says
shopping for the granddaughter
that she hardly gets to see
the niece who’ll never really know me
when my mom breaths deep
she says that i’ve made her holiday
son, you just don’t know
how good it feels when your child tells you
that they are coming home
i laugh
think of how wasteful i am with my emotions
wonder how long it’s been
since i made anyone’s day
tell her i hope to never
experience that feeling
which explains more about the gulf
between me and everyone i know
then any other word i could type down
to end this pointless piece
of poetry.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

poem of the day 12.09.14

the carolers

the cops are lined up
in their little cop uniforms
at the atlantic avenue station
they are in rows according to height
the tall cops in the back
the ones with short guy syndrome
shoved up front
there are a couple of women cops
interfiled with the boys in blue
the head cop is stalking in front of them
he’s pacing
he looks like he’s ready to give it
to the whole group of them
little town of bethlehem
jiggle bells, deck the halls
the whole works
last week the cops were out on broadway
singing rudolph and frosty
like star-studded musical extras
while the protesters chanted at them
from across the street
no justice, no peace
as the cops kept on singing into the lights
of a paddy wagon van
there are no protesters today
they’ve cleared out or have gotten bored
there are just a couple dozen of new york’s finest
laughing and smiling
movie cops in christmas mode for the tourists
the head cops says
white christmas in three
then he starts counting down
as we make our way across the station
where the less musical cops
are checking bags for bombs
standing against the wall on both sides
single file as far as the eye can see
with flak jackets and machine guns at the ready
german shepherds
with silver bells around their necks, snarling
waiting to bite your balls off
give you the true meaning of christmas
in new york city.

Friday, December 5, 2014

poem of the day 12.05.14

white palms

i thought that
i was so down back then
but i didn’t know shit about shit
stacks of r&b tapes
new edition
al b. sure
guy, levert, and karyn white
my old man’s
temps albums
sailing on with lionel richie
black films
hollywood shuffle
i’m gonna get you sucka
eddie murphy impersonations
in front of my mirror
cosby before the fall
a new jack city of the mind
listening to slick rick tapes
with calvin deflino
outside the girl’s high school
public enemy
ice cube
fucking the police
rocking the suburbs
it was a cross-colors world
and i wanted  to be a part of it
i had no clue what the white kids
were doing
because i didn’t give a shit to be white
the autobiography of malcolm x
soul on ice
iceberg slim and donald goines
pictures of lisa bonet
hanging on my wall
donnie simpson after school
bbd (i thought it was me)
2pac on the rise
sitting on the bus next to calvin
our school bags
scrawled with rappers names
name dropping jodi watley
i told him
a joke
hey, calvin
why are the palms of black people white?
calvin shifty eyed
on the school bus
didn’t have an answer
so i said,
from always being pressed up against
the hood of cops cars
no laughter between the two of us
fifteen years old
had no clue where i first heard it
babyface and bobby brown
heavy d and the boyz
full force on full blast
tony! toni! tone! had done it again
my friend rodney hastings
only a seat behind me
who told me
two days later that he heard
everything that i said
i couldn’t look
him in the eye
kept staring at his palms
his flesh
while he asked me why
i should’ve known better
because i thought that i was down?
and when he walked away
i knew that i truly
lost a friend


Thursday, December 4, 2014

poem of the day 12.04.14

dispatches from post racial america

she comes up to me
a stack of fliers for the new annie movie
in her hand
throws them down on my desk
the mostly black cast looking up at me
and says, for the new pc america
when i ask her
what she means
she calls the little star of the film
a colored girl
like we’re a couple of fiddle-skipping
southern darlings
right out of the jim crown south
then waddles away
with thirty pounds of excess
white privilege stuck up her ass
clutching the new york post
a picture of missouri in flames
on the cover
to commune with the last vestiges
of her freedom
in the stinking shitter
we’re she’ll fart
glory glory hallelujah
and the star-spangled banner
over articles on immigration
as the ghost of jefferson davis
shakes his fingers
to flushing all of those
patriotic turds
of hers


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

poem of the day 12.03.14

mother of invention

i had been looking
for a reason to get away from her months
for we had become loveless and sexless

but a simple break-up wouldn’t work

face to face i chickened out
on the phone while she gave me shit
about my female co-workers or ex-girlfriends

i just let it slide

happy to be off the phone with her
when she finally slammed it down on me

i needed to get her with something
but she had no real life outside of me and the relationship
outside of television and doctor’s appointments
for her made-up ailments

outside of her job working the strip mall dollar store

once i almost had her
when she had me grab a five out of her wallet

stuffed inside with the bills she rarely used
was a folded up piece of paper
with a guy’s phone number and his name

for a second i thought, you bitch
but then euphoria overtook me

i had my ticket to freedom

for a few weeks i held on to this information
thinking i’d hit her when she least expected it

but oddly enough we went through a good period
movies and laughter and that kind of shit

she started wanting to do it again

her happiness over us
started playing with my head
alone i began to wonder
if this joy was a result of the phone number in her wallet

had this other man opened her up?
or let her go to fall back on me

i began to imagine their dalliances
sexual or otherwise

the things in bed that he did to her
that she wouldn’t let me do

the jokes of his that she laughed at
because she’d sure as hell stopped laughing at mine

movies, dinners, walks in the park holding hands
so on and so on

i finally got up the courage to confront her with this
in a dairy queen parking lot
some lost summer night

she claimed that the number was just some kid
who kept coming in the dollar store to hit on her

nothing serious, she said
she opened her wallet to show me that the paper was gone

she was probably being honest
but i called her a whore anyway
and told her that we were done

she threw her blizzard at me and sulked in her car
she cried and pounded the steering wheel

i felt glorious and utterly satisfied with myself
despite the ice cream on my shoes

until it hit me
that timing was everything

how i was thirty miles away from home
without a dime to my name

because my dumb ass
had let her drive to the dairy queen
that fateful evening

so i calmly drank my milkshake
as the sun fell on the commercial landscape

i waited for her to calm down a touch
so that i could get inside the car

hold her hand
caress her hair

invent a brand new way
to apologize this time.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

poem of the day 12.02.14

to a writer who stopped drinking

i guess the easy joke is: more for me
you say that you stopped drinking because…it was time
well, you must have found something
that the rest of us stuck down here in the mud
are still searching for
or else you’re full of shit
you say with alcohol you always wanted
to bring the party
well, there was your first mistake
it’s easy to love the company of the multitudes
when drinking
hell, i love everyone when i’ve had five or six
only i do it from within the privacy of my own home
i’m willing to bet that this was all a ploy on your part
a way to get you back in the pages of the new york times
with that over-used sinatra quote
because your articles on the club scene were dull
and your investigative journalism went nowhere
why not give up writing instead?
from where i sit, man, it seems the safer bet
but, no, it was the booze that left you hollow
it had to be
couldn’t be the lump of writerly shit
staring back at you in the mirror every morning
the man who could no longer get the word down on the paper
it was the hangovers
those dirty, dirty hangovers that you got once a week
i had a hangover once for two months
and you didn’t see me writing about it in a national paper
and, yes, i know no one asked me to but…
this all seems so trite
another writing doing battle with the bottle and winning
another writing doing battle with the bottle in general
and fucking writing about it
why not be the writer who gave up oranges
they’re in season now
so at the very least you’d be topical once again
maybe now your liver will give out
out of boredom and neglect
maybe some sober chippy will give you herpes
you can start a book club to pass the DTs
instead of sipping gin and tonics at happy hour
and telling people who wasted you are
or maybe you can finally go to sudan and get real
change the world
win a pulitzer
write a memoir’
and have one of your recovered buddies
write a breathtaking review of it
so that he (or she) can concur with all that you’ve gone through
in your journey toward sobriety
you wicked old drunk you
then come awards time
you can stand there and black tail and a tie
a glass of ginger ale in your hand
a full man in bloom
scanning the room for all of those well-greased swine
standing on your shoulders


Monday, December 1, 2014

poem of the day 12.01.14

the great night of 2003

you were the first to admit
that it was a great night
a friday night in brooklyn
without the gang members on the street
or the guardian angels
saying hello to us as we entered the apartment
or that pit-bull roaming around
without a leash
a great night
one-half a magnum bottle of white
waiting for us after the horror of the f train
and then the little red bar on carroll street
selling vodka lemonades for three bucks a pint
because no one ever went in there
it was such a great night
sitting in that bar with  you
having four of those vodka lemonades
with the russian bartender
they complemented the white wine, i thought
you wanted burmese food
and i guess i wanted burmese food too
or to sit in that bar drinking vodka and lemonade
talking with the russian and playing springsteen songs
like some kind of strange glasnost
to keep pretending that brooklyn was paradise
instead of a sweltering shit-hole
of cockroaches, gang members
and stolen wallets
bass from the asshole living upstairs
it was such a great night
fingering you in the f train on the way to manhattan
your hands down my pants
the sloppiest people moaning
on the train that night
stopping into mcsorely’s
because the tourists had all gone home for the summer
round after round of dark beer
two mugs for three-fifty for such a good night
falling on the sawdust floor
while trying for handful of magic
and even with the burmese place closed
it was such a great night
spilling a pitcher of coke all over a famous ray’s pizza
on st. marks
yelling at each other over the hum and buzz
of a friday night
we’d been drowning in now for hours
and when our heroes showed up at our table
two jesus freaks with business cards
and rosaries
who asked us if we needed
their spiritual help
it was like they were all a part of the great night
that we were having
even though i threatened them with a fork
and our soggy pizza
at just about the time you got up
and ran out onto broadway
where i chased you two blocks
sweating wine and vodka and beer and coke
to have it out like a couple
of minor characters in another new york city drama
our great night
where people passed this holy shouting
like it was nothing out of the ordinary
and i made you give me back
the engagement ring
pretending to throw it down bond street
while you waited
for the glitter and the ting that
never came
then the two of us huddled by
that parking garage
the worst year that we’d had so far together
clasping each other in grips of fear of death
and i put that ring back on your finger
like a promise that the next year
would be better
and the next one after that
our life a lifetime
of great nights
yet to come


Friday, November 28, 2014

poem of the day 11.28.14

black friday 1991

seventeen years old
pressed against the wall
in a sports retail store
to try to shield
yourself from the masses
a hangover from pilfered beer
on thanksgiving
it seems that these customers keep
coming from out of nowhere
demanding hats
and jackets
trinkets to shove into stockings
on christmas morning
discarded items marked down
treated like gold found in a pan
packs of teenage girls
who don’t have to work
coming in to give you a look
or to laugh at you
arm in arm with your wealthy classmates
who don’t have to work this shit either
as the store manager runs around
targeting you and only you
pull up your pants!
tuck in your shirt!
you better shave tomorrow!
why aren’t you selling anything, you bum?
knowing that he’ll be
cutting your hours come january 2nd
as he roams around
his little kingdom
kissing ass
and taking names
an inept drill sergeant
fifteen years older than you
but in the same clown outfit
and you’re supposed
to take orders from this guy?
as the old beer beer
and turkey dinner
rises in your stomach
like a harbinger of doom
you wade through the crowd
past the t-shirts
and sweatshirts
and sweatpants
that have fallen from their racks
trampled on
mounds of goods you’ll spend
your twilight steaming
so that they are as good as new
before another day of this hell
to reach
the staff bathroom
needing sweet vomitus relief
but finding it occupied
with another fallen soldier
so you have no recourse
but to head out into
veins of the mall
secret gray corridors
smelling of rotten food
from the food court
echoing silver bells
silver bells
sil-ver bells
it’s christmas time
and i fell shitty
an open garbage can
outside a taco bell
into which you hurl
bile and turkey
and mashed potatoes
and beer
like a roman
wiping your mouth
as some pimple-faced
pokes his head out a doorway
shouts at you
hoping that he didn’t see
the logo of your brand
on your right breast
as you
start to run away.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

PoemS of the day 11.27.14

three brand new poems (never on WineDrunk SideWalk) over at Dead Snakes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"best of" poem of the day 11.26.14

fiscal cliff

there was a time
when my old man
had to work two jobs to help support us
between he and my mother that was three jobs
struggling to pay rent and bills on time
packing lunches and making dinner
buying new clothing
for two oblivious boys who wouldn’t stop growing
who they’d chosen to shove into catholic school
for a dose of morality
i don’t even remember what the old man did
at this second job
except that he didn’t have to wear a shirt and tie
like he did for the morning one
which i thought was getting off easy
because i had to wear dress clothes in the fifth grade
and there was a time
that my mother didn’t have enough money for bread
and had to bum it off of me and my piggy bank
promising to pay me back by friday
as we marched through the january cold
to catch the grocery store before it closed
she promised me
as if i were her bookie or something

oh, those blessed fridays of paycheck salvation

my brother and i, we didn’t know nike or polo
from a hole in the ground
but there was always thanksgiving and christmas
a hot meal on the table every night
so neither of us had a clue
we thought the tears and the arguments were about something else
when i got older and shed my immortal coil
over-educated and unmarketable
dodging student loan sharks
tact that worthless piece of university paper on my wall
when it was my turn to wonder
now what?
there were bad paychecks and good ones
the good ones meant decent friday night
maybe a used book or a used cd to sell again when money got tight
the bad ones meant the rent got paid
and you kept a count of your cigarettes for the next two weeks
but ghetto smokes on balconies could last a lifetime
watching the city an amusement unparalleled
and the laughs kept on coming through the low bank balances
and cheap pasta dinners
it never seemed as bad as it was
as child or as an adult
i never felt broke or that i was lacking
it always seemed like no matter what
that we were getting there
my family
my love and my friends
all of us hard and honest people
putting food on tables and punching clocks
struggling for rent and small joys
the ones who built this country up from the ground
this troubled promised land that our leaders
with their expensive suits and pensions
those pretty corporate chains around their necks
so hungrily want
to mash back into


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"best of" poem of the day 11.25.14

talking turkey

i feel like
a big sentimental dope doing this
and i don’t want anyone
to see me dancing with you
in the living room
to smooth jazz coming
out from the television
what would they think?
a loud mouth like me
letting you lead
laughing whenever you giggle
dipping you with
the greatest of ease
after you pull on my hair
and tug at my goatee
my dance partner
you sweet child
you little angel
the way you light up a room
turns my soul to butter
there are so many things
that i want to tell you
like you are better
than beethoven or the beatles
but you haven’t even
said a word
or tried thanksgiving turkey yet
you just giggle again
and let me spin you
we stay quiet
moving toward the front door
where we’ll watch
a brand new snow
that has started to fall
and where we’ll write your name
in the thick condensation
fogging up the window
we’ll write it backwards
as the late afternoon
aches to show us
the whole world
in one vast and verdant scope.

Monday, November 24, 2014

"best of" poem of the day 11.24.14

i'm tired. i'm worn out. this has been a wretched year and no one seems to be reading this blog anymore.  so....i'm going to do a "best of" WineDrunk SideWalk week, while we all prepare to stuff our faces with turkey and the retail clerks of the world wait to be stampeded upon by a herd of bargain hungry elephants.


she says, you hate tradition, don’t you

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

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

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

she says, you won’t have a choice

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

easter ham in april
and fireworks every fourth of july

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

i tell her that tradition makes people complacent and dull

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

there’s something wrong with you, she says

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

she says, there’s just no talking to you

i tell her that many have tried and failed

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

nor your labor day barbeque, i add

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

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


Friday, November 21, 2014

poem of the day 11.21.14

happy hour

sitting here
in froth’s tavern
trying to carve out
some semblance of a night

the last seat available in the joint
by a tv blaring college football
watching sweat collect
on my $5 jack on the rocks

playing mathematician against my will

calculating all of those mistakes
and the things that never should’ve been

how one of the bills
that came in the mail was for $50

how that one didn’t bother me
as much as the one that came for $700

along with a note from the company
casually mentioning their friends
the collection agency

yes just sitting here
waiting for my wife to walk in

the both of us tired
from the tail-end of another
thankless six-day work week

waiting for her to smile
and ask me how i am

waiting patiently
for her to take off her coat
and order a drink

so that i can talk a fiscal filibuster
and ruin her night too

before she even has
that first glorious sip.                            

Thursday, November 20, 2014

poem of the day 11.20.14

entertainment capital of the world

two black kids on the train
slap box up and down the car in real-time
not this simulated video game action bullshit

the white people let their jaws drop
like white people are supposed to do in these moments

they take out their cell phones
to take pictures of the two boys in action
suddenly becoming rogue photographers behind enemy lines

all so that they can post the images online
before we even hit the next stop

so that their other white friends can post messages

kids these days
that’s why i live in the suburbs

so that their racists friends can write

f***n n*****s
with all of the asterisks in the right places

but it’s when one of the black kids closes his fist
and roundhouses the other one that shit gets real tonight

then the blows and kicks come
the falling into the good people’s laps
cell phones getting jostled and pictures blurry

online friends writing

what is that?
where are you?

the two black kids in a huddled mass
on a dirty train car floor that has caked trails of coffee
and candy wrappers littered about

their girlfriends clutching barbecue chip bags
screaming and shouting

no one here can tell if it’s cheering or not
one of the ace photographers turns to me and asks
is this for real?

but i don’t answer her

i just crank up the dylan
bob singing about rubin carter in oh-so-long-ago new jersey

and as the two boys roll off each other
kick at each other like a couple of violent cripples
thrown from their wheelchairs

i think about all of those people who’ve asked me
why i haven’t left new york city

i think maybe it’s because i’d miss the action
or i’ve just gotten too old and have run out of places to go

the prospect of lying to another employer
in another dirty city
telling them how much i want to work for them
when i’ve never wanted to work for anyone
seems too much the hassle at my age

maybe because new york city is still
the entertainment capital of the world

this train as alive as the neon lights tonight on broadway

and we’re all just waiting on these two black kids
to kill or kiss each other

shit or get off the pot

as the legs keep flailing to cell phone clicks
dylan sings to me about burning cities and injustice

while i watch a mexican day laborer
taking it all in with one eye open and the other closed

getting up the nerve
to do another hard eight

freezing his ass off on 18th avenue

in a country that keeps trying to kick him out
slaving for the city that never sleeps

for the beautiful violence in a moment like this

carrying us home
to alcohol and conversations

another mediocre dusk
turning itself over
into another cracked and hopeless dawn.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

poem of the day 11.19.14

pondering the motivation
of the girl who keeps looking my way
on the N train or….a poem fragment
about my own vanity

if they give you
a second look


you don’t feel
exactly good

or attractive

bestowed of
some magic

but wonder
like a fool

just how much longer
those second looks
will keep coming

in this life of yours

before you become
a ghost to them

forgotten about


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

poem of the day 11.18.14

my face

my face is a thankless vessel
it does me no service

i try to be hard and aloof
but my face is affable by nature

it smiles instead of spits on strangers
it says sit down my good man
and tell me your tale of woe

it’s an affliction of mine
home to many a drunkard’s yarn

a welcoming beacon
to some lunatic on the train or bus
who has to unburden themselves of their life story
lest they burst into a million pieces

this plagued visage
trusting and honest
a boy scout’s face
the face of american good will

all green eyes and rubbery nose
and strong white teeth

a face that says
i’ll be your best friend
your baby tonight
your shoulder to cry on

instead of what it should be saying tonight
to this asshole in rudy’s bar
who keeps asking me my name

so that he can sit and spin
another novel of his own design

which is
please brother please

just leave a guy
the hell alone.