Monday, June 30, 2014

poem of the day 06.30.14

the royal couple

the royal couple
get on the bus at fort hamilton

she’s a good looking girl
got those doe eyes that drive boys wild

i don’t see his face
but he’s got a punisher t-shirt on

so he’s probably an asshole

she sits behind us and he follows
they start right away

he tries grabbing her notebook
and she says, get off of me asshole

then she slaps at his face

he says, why you hittin’?
all the while blocking more of her blows

he says, you started it anyway, bitch
goin’ out with some dude last night that i don’t know

she says, leave me a lone
i have to do my shit

she’s the studious sort

he says, well, what about that?

she says, what about the girl at the party last night?

so it’s my fault that some girl
sent me naked photos of herself? he says

it’s a twenty-first century love story, i think
everyone on the bus is watching this fairytale courtship

we’re a hustling, moving camelot

he reaches for her notebook again
she hits at him, kicks
he’s moving around like a boxer trying to block her

the two of them are smacking at the back of our seats

i turn to my wife
i’m going to have to turn around and punch this guy
aren’t i?

she shrugs
she’s got other things on her mind this humid morning
but she says, he’s pretty big

i try getting a look at him
out of the corner of my eye
as he’s bobbing and weaving from the slaps

all i see is that punisher t-shirt

the doe-eyed girl seems to be doing enough damage to him
so there’s really no need for me to be the hero

she finally gets one in
a nice crack that resounds up and down the bus

and prince charming stops his shit
he sits stone still rubbing his face and sniffling
as our chariot rumbles slowly down 86th street

picking up the other distinguished members
of their royal court.


Friday, June 27, 2014

poem of the day 06.27.14

through a tube

she says, remember my husband’s cancer?

i don’t want to have this conversation
but i don't have anywhere to go
because this is my job

maybe she has no one to talk to

yes, i tell her

well they got it out. 
fifteen hours of surgery
skin cancer that got trapped in the jaw

can you believe it? she says

i don’t say anything
i catch myself rubbing my chin and stop

that’s why i didn’t pick
these books up on time, she says
because i was at the hospital with him

it’s all right, i say

he wanted to read them so badly
but he couldn’t do much of anything
for a month

he’s staying with his parent’s now
and my son is helping me out at home

that’s a good kid, i tell her

my husband is on chemo, she says
it’s not too bad
but he’s sick a lot of the time

he’s lost so much weight, she says

i nod
the co-worker next to me sighs

all of this sickness is interfering with
his video games and rabid animal videos

the weight isn’t the worst part, she says

what is? i ask

it’s that he can’t eat anything
it’s all liquid, she says

that’s the worst part seeing him like that
taking his food through a tube

she smiles and picks up the stack of books
looks me dead in the eye

my goodness, she says
the way that man used to love a good meal.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

poem of the day 06.25.14


i just wanted to go back to bed
all of the time
smoke cigarettes
smoke pussy….if i could get it
drink my old man’s beer when he wasn’t around
i wanted to leave where i was for greener pastures
that were most likely another mirage

oh, how i enjoyed my depression

the ones now are like little businessmen
they barely have a dull moment carved into their lives
or when they do they’re bored
they call themselves writers and artists freely
have grand business schemes worked out
are best friends with their parents
don’t drink
don’t smoke
let their peer group live their examined lives for them
as they enjoy the monotony of the work day a little too well

and they’re always smiling too

maybe it’s the corn syrup and internet access
the fear of an unwinding climate in the back of their heads

but back then i was unmotivated and happily so
you couldn’t tell me anything and you still can’t
i could kill days staring at walls
and doing little else
i hated going to a job
almost as much as i do now

man, i excelled at being indolent

to me, these kids today are aliens
they’re excitable corporate larvae
dancing in front of security cameras omnipotent
letting the whole world know where they are
all of the time
completely without the knowledge of how to get lost

how to disappear completely
on any random afternoon.                                

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

poem of the day 06.24.14

so this is what death feels like

the sound of the doctor’s voice
telling the nurse to wake me up
slap him if you have to, he says
so she does
but not hard
open his eyes
and then there are fingers clamping my lids
opening my eyes
everything around me is blurry and yellow
until the lids drop again
and then it is black
the doctor, the nurse,
someone lifts my arm
i try to keep it up but the limb drops
back on the bed
he’s trying, the nurse says to the doctor
so this is what death feels like, i’m thinking
a struggle just like life
i try moving in the bed
but nothing is really working
lift his leg, the doctor says
someone does
i’m able to keep it up for a few seconds
before it falls back as well
someone slaps me again
i’m starting to feel like larry fine
they lift the eyes a second time
i manage two or three seconds
faces coming at me with stale breath
then it all goes black again
while in my mind i’m running as fast as i can
away from this
toward a green ocean
when the doctor says, slap him again
and i wait patiently
for the impact.


Monday, June 23, 2014

poem of the day 06.23.14

washington square park
in the early birth of the summer

americans love the sun so much
yet none of them are sitting in it

we try to find something in the shade but it is hard
with all of the other sun gods and goddesses
fanning themselves off beneath the thick trees

and there is music, of course
swing dancing and someone playing gershwin on piano

the young are tanning themselves
all healthy bodies and miserable downturned faces

i feel just like henry james
and you dear, you can be edith wharton

we’ll sit here escaping slivers of sun
eating halal food and drinking water

as two girls in short shorts crowd our space
to try on high heels, plucking their ukuleles

mabybe we can find out what it is
the people love so much about these ninety days

we’ll watch three legged dogs shit in flower beds
and little brats on scooters take down senior citizens
while their parents laugh and take photos of the arch

we’ll take the propaganda fliers
from the two ladies in rainbow-colored umbrella hats
if they offer them

shake our heads at the ubiquitous joggers
sweating away their souls in this heat\

break the rules and toss falafel and rice to the pigeons

because what do rules mean
in the early birth of the summer?

as the ice cream and coca-cola people stroll by
in american colors and baseball caps
with their dumbs smiles and confidence

patriots making the most of their weekend

letting us all feel like winners
once again this year.


Friday, June 20, 2014

poem of the day 06.20.14

if you see something say something

there are signs posted all over
the new york city subway system

if you see something, say something

like an empty handbag or briefcase or knapsack
some suspicious person wandering around
guys in turbans with long beards, perhaps

if you see something, say something

with a handy telephone number at the ready
a email address, a way to text away the terror

if you see something…

but not some tired-ass mother on the after work train
coming from one job and going to the next
because the rents are too high to live any kind of life

trying to feed her kids a fast food meal for sustenance

or the homeless dude camped out on the N train
stinking and rotting, continuing to be a public nuisance
because he’s failed to die

if you see something, say something

don’t be afraid
don’t be shy

tan-skinned people congregating in secret groups
prayers groups not praying to your god
a man of science reading one of those books

if you see something…

like hordes of teenage assholes terrorizing stiffs
blasting music and slapping each other with wet beach towels
calling each other names

failing at life

getting high on street corners in the morning
before the goddamned school day has even begun

and sexually harassing young women who are only
trying to go the hell home

while fucking, smirking, douche bag cops hang back
checking the shopping bags of tourists
like the good heroes that they are

if you see something, say something

it’s that easy in new york city to become a rat
it’s the american way

because we’re all scared here
afraid of being blown up again and again and again

if you see something….

like swirling puddles of piss
and human excrement smeared on subway steps

puddles of white foam lining the streets
and dead birds by the dozen along each scorching block

garbage men flinging garbage onto the concrete
bits of carrion and blood-soaked napkins
swirling potato chips bags shining in the sunlight

if you see something…
say something…for christ’s sake

even though there are cameras on every block
even though everyone has got one
and your neighbors are now world class spies

there is still a chance for you to become one of us

because this whole place as gone mad with heat
and murder and fear and violence and dunderheaded audacity

it is another cesspool summer here
waiting for the flood waters to rise again
and drown this hulking beast for sure

take us down to the depths of the ocean
for a cleansing

but if you see something, say something

tell it to the politician shaking hands
tell it to the fireman getting drunk as we blaze
tell it to your friendly neighborhood celebrity

whisper it into our ears
or shout it from the top of the empire state building
the top of the rock

if you see something, say something

because we want to know
because we’re always listening.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

poem of the day 06.19.14

well....i've reached the bottom of the poetic barrel once again.
it happens.  such is the hazard of doing an almost daily poem blog. least it isn't a "best of" poem today.

steve jobs

reading richard hugo poems
i’m not really reading richard hugo poems

i’m listening to some woman cackle

she’s bent over an iphone
head to head with her cackling friend

the two of them are laughing at a video

it is an ubiquitous experience these days
albeit still a bit jarring at the volume of their braying jollity

all the same it makes me wonder
what the world would be like now
if we didn’t have these little gadgets to amuse us so

if that bald, black turtleneck wearing
white sneaker sporting nerd
hadn’t forever punctuated the silence
with his magical and entertaining gadgets

oh, it would probably be someone else in the hot seat

i put down the richard hugo
there is no point in even trying with the noise
emanating from these two broads

i watch my fellow passengers

each person bent into a device
curled into it on a hard seat as if communing with a lover

and i think of the strife
the mass murderers, the dictators, the disease
the famine, the planet warming at an uncontrollable rate

i think of the virtual slave labor that it takes
to make just one iphone out of the millions

and i wonder anew at what the world would have been like
if a guy like steve jobs had put his money and his mind

into people and the planet
instead of all of these technological toys

how he could’ve maybe reached the same end
that he was searching for all along



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

poem of the day 06.18.14

salsa dancing

she thinks she’s bad
she thinks she’s the shit

salsa dancing under the new utrecht subway sign

in her tight turquois pants
and a white blouse that can no longer hold her tits

she thinks she’s the sexiest thing here

one hand on her belly
the other raised like she’s pledging allegiance

moving at the hips
bending at the knees

swaying her ass against the cold brick

looking around behind big sunglasses to make sure
that everyone is watching

she’s not even young
this woman is hitting fifty with a bullet

so it was either do this for attention
or start shouting at someone on her phone

she thinks she’s so bad ass
with her big gold earrings bouncing off her sunken cheeks

with her croaking mini-mouse voice belting out
ghostly celia cruz crap that’s enough to wake the dead

she thinks she’s the superstar on this platform
if only her moves could make the train come quicker

i can’t stop looking at her
she’s like a highway wreck

she catches me and when i look away
she thinks i’m being coy

because when i turn back she’s facing me
doing her dance to the hilt
getting as low as her old body will let her

she smiles at me through hot pink lipstick
all yellow teeth and gaps

when she starts singing again
i start to get a good ball of phlegm going in my mouth

i let it shoot just as she hits another high note
green and thick and shot her way

it doesn’t go the distance but i’ve made my point

she frowns and stops shaking it for a moment

she thinks i’m the biggest asshole here
and she may be correct

but then she turns and salsa dances away from me
down the platform toward someone else

someone who she hopes will be
a bigger patron of her art.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

poem of the day 06.17.14

morning talk shows

sitting in waiting rooms anywhere
they are always on the tv
these smiling chipper beasts of the morning
with the cup of coffee that they never touch
acting like they’re hooked on speed
these white teethed and tanned monsters
laughing and shouting and telling the most mundane of stories
in between screeching jingle music
and giving away trips to island destinations
that no one but themselves can afford
i look around to see if anyone is watching this horror show
but no one is
the people are waiting to find out about cancer
or their loved ones illness or their car
or their pet or their passport or something else
other than finding out which party these televised creeps
attended last night
or whether or not they take shits in airplanes
or something that their pampered little offspring did
i don’t know why these service places torture us with such pap
is it to drown out our very insignificance?
or do they actually like this stuff?
fitness gurus hiding their liposuction scars
emaciated chefs frying up the cheese and lard
vain doctors giving us tips on elective surgery
shitty pop stars and actors in interviews
giving anecdotes on how they’re just like everyone else
i wonder what would happen
if i just got up and shut it off
removed those sparkling botox devils from this waiting room
so that we could all sit in silence for a change
get on with the business of living and dying
worry about the things that truly need to be done
instead of sitting here suffering this
these morning talk shows
constipating us on their cheer
making us deaf, dumb and blind on their sunshine
their tidbits about movies and concerts and jewelry
this season’s must have fashions
and the hottest reads to take with you
when your tired ass settles in for that one week of solace
at the overcrowded, stinking beach.                                                                             

Monday, June 16, 2014

poem of the day 06.16.14

bridge and tunnel to nowhere

she’s the loudest one in here
she keeps shouting to seth
seth! oh seth, do you know me?
do you remember?

seth serves booze to a hundred people a night
five or six days a week
twelve hour shifts on the weekend

he shrugs, okay i guess i know you

she says, i want my regular

seth pours her the first bottle he grabs
something sweet and full of alcohol
which she, her girlfriend
and their two dullard husbands chug
after toasting to life

then they shout away and order a round of beers
before going off to infest the rest of the bar

jersey, seth says to me, bridge and tunnel people
as if that should explain it all away

it only gets worse with them
she attacks the jukebox with her husband
they find the worst stuff on it

1980s top-40 pop
the music of their glory years

then they sing over music
that should already be dead and gone

seth! she shouts
seth, pour us another round!

and shots! the other dullard husband says
which causes them all to whoop and scream again

they gather around my wife and i
to consume to second round
to talk such inanities as kids
and mortgages, jobs, and time square trinket shops

her husband is proud of his bubba gump hooded sweatshirt
he’s showing it to all of them
and they decide to toast shitty movies from the 90s too

i tell seth, this is horrible
if i wanted to be tortured today
i would’ve gone to work

i’ve seen worse, he says.  much worse

and i’m sure he has

when the bad 1980s pop music stops
i get up to go and play a few tunes
before they get any brilliant ideas

i think to play whatever will get these people
back on their bridge and tunnel to nowhere

some buzzcocks, some kinks, or maybe beethoven

but while i’m standing at the jukebox
this fat apparition appears behind me in the warped glass

it’s the husband
in his red shirt wearing his red hat
from a red college in a red state

you playing anything good? he asks
which is so fucking ironic that i want to spit

tell me what you hate in here, and i’ll play it, i tell him

there’s a pregnant pause
but then he laughs out loud
and slaps me on the back
like i went to rockefeller center with him that day

before going back to give them all a story
that really isn’t a story

but maybe something that they can toast to
should they still be standing
by the next round.                                             

Friday, June 13, 2014

poem of the day 06.13.14


hungover on 3rd avenue
just standing there
when he gets right up in my face

he points to my goatee
and then his own

do you, do you think i could get my goatee
that long one day?

i’d once watched him eat an entire hero sandwich
off of his barrel chest on the B4 bus

anything is possible, i tell him

look, look, he says, excitedly
we both got salt and pepper in our hair

yes, we’re both old

we’re like twins

almost, i say

i check my watch
wonder what is taking my wife so long
in the goddamned bagel store

i’m forty-four, he tells me
forty-four and wearing american flag suspenders

i’m forty, i answer
because…why in the fuck not?

ah, we’re both generation x

still stuck in the melancholy
and infinite sadness, i tell him

we had the best music, he says
the beatles, the stones, the who
the doors, the monkees, and the dead

that was our parents music, i say
we had cobain, 2pac, and a bunch of other crap

he frowns
i keep thinking of that sandwich on his chest
the way he picked away at the lettuce
and mayonnaise covered meat
until he had nothing but stains left on his t-shirt

it was the closest i’d ever seen
to anyone being truly free in public

the beatles were our music, too, he says

if you say so, pal, i answer

twins, he says one more time

then he waddles on down the block
to the music of a couple of teenagers
pointing and laughing behind his back

and it’s really just one more thing in this world
that he and i have in common.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anniversary "best of" poem of the day 06.12.14

pittsburgh like a postcard

full of wine and thai food
i ask you in november, 1997
what you’d like to do next
and you told me, whatever,
as long as it doesn’t involve you going one way
and me going the other
the instant when i knew loving you
would be a simple game of genius
played out in the first fall snow
that framed pittsburgh like a postcard.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

poem of the day 06.11.14

starry night

the crowds
are gathered around starry night
as if it were the only painting in the world

what sad irony, huh vincent?

none of them seem to be looking at it
just taking pictures of the work and walking away
to find the next masterpiece

maybe there is nothing to look at anymore
but the idea of standing in front of something
that once held beauty and meaning

one guy is leaning into the painting so closely
with his tongue out frat boy style
as if he’s trying to lick those van gogh clouds

jostling for space
with hordes of sticky kids
who are touching the golden frame

as their parents laugh
and snap away more digital memories

nodding blindly at the guard
who keeps yelling about the sanctity of art

and how no one is supposed
to use flash photography
in this museum.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

poem of the day 06.10.14

d train: hell is thy name

after work
there is mahler’s 10th waiting for me

but there is also this guy
at the 25th avenue stop
shouting into his little device

he’s running at it full throttle
whomever is on the other end is not
getting a word in edgewise

as if he weren’t bad enough
there are a pack of teenagers
throwing tennis balls up and down the train car

blasting rap beats out of cell phones
and flinging fast food pickles
against the scratched windows

and there is mahler’s 10th waiting for me

only some kid starts crying
and his mom threatens to beat the shit out of him

which is nice
it’s a small courtesy
even though he doesn’t stop

but can she get the guy on the cell phone too?
the teenagers with their pickles and tennis balls?

maybe just the bitch whose sitting next to me
eating god knows what
that stinks like a dirty asshole baking in the sun

yet there is mahler’s 10th waiting for me

and a train delay at 79th street
so that new york’s finest can do a sweep of the d train
looking for international terrorists or another wallet thief

or to just harass an old woman by searching her bag

there is mahler’s 10th

and the hope that some plague will strike this train
and infect this miserable city

one small, harmless genocide

or a meteorite will hit
wiping out a good four million of us in one blast

the guy on the phone and the teenagers
with the pickles and tennis balls

half of that dirty asshole baking in the sun

the wailing child
the cops and the thief
the old lady

a few of my neighbors
a plethora of barking dogs

that customer who is always telling me to smile


whatever it takes for christ’s sake
to let mahler’s 10th play

as if it were the only unabated sound.


Monday, June 9, 2014

poem of the day 06.09.14

fast food

she is handing them chicken
from an orange fast food box

a greasy drumstick for one
and a breast for the other

the youngest can’t hold his
so she’s hand feeding him

letting him take a bite
and then process it while she waits

i catch her sniffing the chicken leg
but she doesn’t have one for herself

she gets the biscuit that comes with the meal

the whole train car smells
of bread and grease, flesh and salt

people are shifting uncomfortably around them
for she has brought the hunger to all of us

her kids look so worn out
dirty and tousled from the day

the sun is still glaring in the ugly blue sky
but the middle child has his eyes closed
while he chews on the chicken leg

the older one doesn’t know what to do with the breast

he holds it
he picks at it while it rests on his jeans

eventually he lets it go
until his mother slaps at him to pick it back up

she hands him a napkin
and then gives the baby another go at his food

the whole small family
having their dinner on the d train home
tired and overworked and under-schooled
munching on the best deals in town

tonight it is chicken
tomorrow it may be burgers
or submarine sandwiches

the fruit of life
whose bright wax paper
and colorful cardboard
end up swirling like ribbons in the street

clogging our arteries
and our rusting drains.


Friday, June 6, 2014

poem of the day 06.06.14



it takes the stronger man
to put down his gun
and walk away

then to stick around
stock still and dumb

like the rest of them

those good sheep
who are always poised
and at the ready

for the mindless fight


Thursday, June 5, 2014

poemS of the day 06.05.14

hello all

sorry for the unannounced hiatus.  was in Pittsburgh doing a reading and i've been trying
my best to not use technology when away or on the weekend (save when I'm working)
and i forgot to announce the break before i left.  that said, for the one or two of you who care
here is the "set list" from said reading.  New poems will return tomorrow.


starting with the last name, grochalski

starting with the last name

i could trace my lineage
down the bar

at sufak’s round corner
on saturday afternoons in pittsburgh

planting roots in the linoleum floor
with grandfathers and uncles and a stray cousin or two

starting with their last names
at the other end

working my way back down the bar

toward beer and shots
gambling pools and stray packs of smokes

tracing the lineage of everything
that emptied generations of family fortune

into the rusty till
of blue collar weekend genocide.


looking like an artist

i like those earrings you have
she tells me
you look very cool like that

and the long hair and beard

i keep trying to get my son
to grow his hair out

you look like some kind
of an artist, she says

a painter or poet

if only, i say to her

thinking about how
all of the poetry zines have rejected me lately

and the novel
just got sent back with
a letter from some assistant in chicago
who couldn’t even get
the title of the book
or my characters’ names right

i think about the paint dried up in the closet
and the stack of poetry books
that i can’t even give away

yet she stands there and smiles at me

while i’m nursing another
thursday morning wine and beer hangover

maybe the bloodshot eyes
and pale vomitous complexion
are doing something for her as well

to think it was so easy all along

if you can’t be
a decent artist
at least you can look like one.                         07.23.10

nothing about the world and love

i wanted so much love
from everyone

that my feelings always turned
to jealousy and hate

i mean why except the affections of the few anyway
when the whole world waited at my doorstep?

these are the kind of things
that i used to think


inventing and reinventing myself
in that boyhood bedroom

first a painter and then an actor
a musician
finally a writer

who understood nothing about the world and love

or that to get anywhere
with just one person

it would have to be
endless lies

and naked confession
all of the time.


bastille day

then he said

in all seriousness
how do you impress a french girl?

to which i said

a lot of  wine
some edith piaf
some serge gainsbourg

a little proust on the couch

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

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

because it’s bastille day

all day

just for her.


my niece in her thanksgiving dress

looking at the picture of
my niece in her thanksgiving dress
fifteen months old
and smiling without a care

i think she looks
just like my soon-to-be

which somehow
softens the blow of not seeing my niece
in over a year

but really
only just a little bit


thursday afternoon

there are five of them
waiting on the platform at 20th avenue

two girls and three boys

when they get on the train, loud and vicious
they split up

the girls go toward one end
the boys sit next to me

they give the girls a chance to sit down
and then smallest one
(isn’t it always the smallest one)

he cups his mouth
he shouts, ya’ll a bunch a pussies
ya’ll cunts
you too, maria
ya’ll a bunch a pussies, he repeats

so that only the deaf and the dead haven’t heard him

no one responds to the kid
not even the girls

maybe we’ve all grown too accustomed to this shit
or we just want to get the hell home

christ, he’s not even that old
leaning more toward thirteen than a young man

up with fellas
down with ugly bitches, he shouts

and it echoes through the train like a cannon shot

then the boys slap each other five and laugh
they are all dressed the same
in clothing telling them to OBEY

well, i guess they’re off to a great start in this country
i look down toward the girls
they are laughing and playing music

if the boys have gotten to them you’d never know

but girls have to learn early here
they have to learn to scrape indignity off with a smile

bitch whore cunt pussies

at 61st street the little boy rises with me to leave
but not before getting in one more shot

ya’ll is ugly pussy bitch, he shouts

then he gets off the train laughing
but it doesn’t last too long

his face turns into a permanent smirk

i look at him
i wonder what it would take to grab him in the station
right here
right now
put the fear of god in the little punk

tell him if i ever catch you talking to women like that again….

this strutting piece of american privilege
on a thursday afternoon

he wouldn’t listen to me anyway
i’d be another pussy

so i let him go toward his connecting train
and i go off toward mine

doing my part to let the misogyny perpetuate
wondering what in the world  i’ll say about this

to my wife
our mothers
your sisters

to everyone’s niece.

new colossus

she says, i feel like i live in china now

how’s that? i ask

by way of explanation
she waves her arms around the room

there are chinese people reading books
chinese talking on cell phones
chinese playing on the computer
or engaged in some other activity

somewhere down the block
a chinese family is buying some old italian’s home

it is true
we are the only two white people in the room

i knew i felt good for a reason, i say
i always feel good when whitey isn’t around

she gives me the same dirty look she always gives me
when i tell her i don’t celebrate the fourth of july

yeah, well, it’s the wave of future, she says

bring it on, i say. give me your tired, your poor…

she rolls her eyes
she looks poised to go into one of those rants
about the good old days of america

but she settles for, this ain’t my country no more

then she glares around the room
goes back to video games on facebook
the three cell phones she keeps that beep and chortle
and make the most inane robotic noises

nods at a meme that says
america love it or leave it

as the battle hymn of the republic plays
on and on and on and on.                                              05.14.14

i’m going to the bar

i’m going to the bar
that’s what i told the eighteen year old clerk
when she asked me what i’m doing tonight
so now i have to go
for her
for you too
i’m going to the bar
to drink beer and eat pretzels and play
loud rock and roll music
at a volume i can’t play at home
i’m going to the bar
for led zeppelin and jim morrison and mick jaggar
so that the bartender can shake my hand
and wish me a happy new year
so that i can wish him one too
i’m going to drink pints of budweiser and love them
i might have a shot or two
i’m going to the bar
to forget about poetry and novels and books i haven’t read
to forget about work and late trains
to forget about prescription pills and divorce
and cancer and death
at least for a little while
i’m going to the bar
to sit there and watch the evening news on mute
and not care what’s happening in syria or iraq or south sudan
and not care about whiney americans bitching about the winter cold
and not care about republicans versus democrats
and this celebrity state that we’ve been paralyzed in
since the dawn of the internet age
i’m going to the bar
to get a little drunk and have a good time
to answer jeopardy questions and not care if i’m right or wrong
i’m going to bitch to the bartender about baseball
about the super bowl about the nets and the knicks
about a-rod and mike piazza getting the shaft from the hall of fame
and then tip him big for lending me his ear
i’m going to let the racists tell me their racist jokes
and not say a word
i’m not correcting a goddamned soul tonight
i’m just going to order another beer
and let the dim lights and the warmth of this place envelope me
thank the stars that i’m alive for a change
and at the bar.                                                                                      01.09.14