Friday, January 30, 2015

poem of the day 01.30.15

bad luck spot

one guy is drawing a flower
crushing green and yellow chalk on the pavement

watching him
we walk through a chalk sign that says

bad luck spot

we have to go back, i tell me wife
you have to walk through it backwards

why? she asks

to undo the curse, of course

she says, when did you become so superstitious?

when they found cancer
in my thirty-seven year old wife’s breast, i tell her

we stop walking
we watch as the man crushes more chalk for his flower

in the most basic sense he’s destroying something
in order to create beauty

in my way i’m trying to take a nightmare back

i didn’t believe that could happen, i continue
who in the hell knows what else i’m wrong about?
jesus? unicorns? ghosts?
compassionate conservatism?  american exceptionalism?

you really want me
to walk backwards through that? my wife says

we’ve enough bad luck for one lifetime, i say
it’s time for the tides to turn

my wife looks around

union square is packed
with the assorted mix of everyone
who make me want to move away
from new york city every day

this is stupid, she says

so is cancer, i tell her

we walk back to the spot on the pavement
some people are walking right through the bad luck spot
and others are walking around it

the guy drawing the flower takes a break
to wipe the crushed chalk from off of his hands

he’s watching everyone
i wonder if he wrote this sign too

i’m only doing this for you, my wife says

then she starts walking backward through the bad luck spot
laughing like a child with the sun behind her

and i can feel the magic working

as i stand there smiling
counting all of our old blessings

delivered by the alchemy at work


Thursday, January 29, 2015

poem of the day 01.29.15

last year’s rose

she caught me
with my head in my hands
covering my face

on the verge of tears

she caught me red-handed
and she asked me, are you all right?

i told her that i was fine

it was just an itch, i said
my forehead burned from too much sun

i had enough
bad lies to get by

but what was i going to really tell her?

how broken i felt?
how desolate and scared and alone?

that i no longer knew how to help
you or me or anyone

or how just before she came in
i’d found the rose that you sent me last year
on our ninth anniversary

dried and peeling in my drawer

but still smelling almost as sweet
as the day that it arrived

from your heart to mine.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

poem of the day 01.28.15

watching ally sleep

it’s sunday afternoon

i am watching ally sleep
on the small couch in the living room

the one that’s hard as a rock
the one she’s always stuck with
because i’m too big for anything in this place

she looks peaceful
her back facing me
her snores coming light and calm

the book that she was reading
set on the floor instead of haphazardly dropped

an intentional weekend afternoon nap

i was going for my water
i was going to go back to my novel
but i decided instead to watch her sleep

how long has it been
since i did this?  i wondered

maybe years into us

just sat there while ally slept
watching her eyes, her mouth
the way her chest rose up and down

in my mind
compiling the dozens of things
to share with her the next day

my wife
my love
my very best friend

my peace
my solace

my quiet in this storm

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

poem of the day 01.27.15

the people behind us on the sidewalk

the people behind us on the sidewalk
are getting on my fucking nerves

it happens a lot in this city

you’re never alone
there’s always someone behind you day or night

i’ve learned to deal with it
as part of the charm of living here in sodom and gomorrah

but not this morning

these people behind us on the sidewalk
are working my last bit of patience

i’m trying to calm my wife about her MRI
i’m trying to quell my own fears with confidence

normally we’d walk faster
but neither of us want to go where we’re headed

the people behind us on the sidewalk
are making it so hard

talking about their goddamned cell phones
some fucking television show
they spent all day yesterday streaming
in between world cup soccer matches

what luck they must have to have it so fucking easy

i can’t even think with their chatter
and my wife can tell that i’m in a mood

she doesn’t need this from me or from them
she’s got enough to worry about this morning

would it be impolite to turn around
and tell the people behind us on the sidewalk
to maybe shut the fuck up about whether or not
they want mexican or thai for lunch?

finally my wife makes the move
she says, i have something in my shoe

so we stop to let the people behind us on the sidewalk go
but they are in no hurry too

her in her stupid, floppy summer hat
and him in some fucking disney hoodie in the heat

what grown man wears walt disney shit? i ask

we end up overtaking them at the street light
thankfully we go one way and they go the other
off to iced coffee daydreams and red velvet cupcake heaven

the people behind us on the sidewalk
finally out of our lives forever

until we see them again in the waiting room
of the MRI office

where she goes up to the desk to fill out paperwork
as he keeps his eyes planted on her

his look one that i’ve learned to recognize
in my own mirror

that of utter horror and astounding disbelief.


Monday, January 26, 2015

poem of the day 01.26.15

a cup of coffee

i’m watching the russian girl
behind the desk at the medical imaging center

she’s yelling at a frail woman
who’s head is wrapped in a turban or a towel

she’s saying
yeah, well i don’t speak spanish
i said, i don’t speak spanish

no one is getting their point across to anyone here

this place is a calamity and it’s hot
they have the televisions going full blast

it’s no wonder everyone has to shout

people are scattered
there are some sick and some who will be sick
most look scared shitless to be here

the receptionist in front of my wife and i
well, she hasn’t even acknowledged us yet

she’s too busy talking to the others
about last night’s variety show

apparently her favorite didn’t win

there’s a part of me that wants to grab her by the neck
turn her sharply toward us
give her a touch of the whiplash
tell her, hey, my wife’s hands and legs are shaking
so if you wouldn’t mind….

but i’ve been tamed by this world for too long
so we wait her out

finally my wife says, excuse me

the receptionist barks, wait a minute
before going back to her favorite television show

of course that’s when the delivery man arrives
and distractions abound anew

our receptionist gets off of her fat ass with a struggle
she yells at the poor mexican

where in the hell have you been?

he shrugs
there’s no point in talking to her over the televisions

she rips the bag out of his hand

it’s only a cup of coffee, for christ’s sake
it’s as simple as rain

she throws the delivery man a few bucks
then huddles the steaming cup under her desk
for sugar, milk, i don’t know

whatever she can do to keep my shivering wife waiting
another five minutes in this place

and i wonder if she’s ever had to have a biopsy

when the receptionist finally looks up
without a smile
with contempt for her station in life and ours

a look of smug, healthy satisfaction of her bloated face
and says, yeah?

as if we’re the ones being the burden

it dawns on me right then and there
how capable of murder i truly am.


Friday, January 23, 2015

poem of the day 01.23.15

it was simple

it was simple
it was so simple
we went to pittsburgh for the weekend
and i did the poetry reading
in front of a bunch of old farts
we got drunk on beer with old friends
so very simple
and when we got back to brooklyn
you did the mammogram again
sure, last time it came up dense
but they’ve come up dense before
that was back in february
it’s june now
that’s four months but who’s counting?
we had shit to do
family and drinking and london
poetry readings in pittsburgh
what’s a dense mammogram reading
when you’re under forty anyway?
it was simple
so goddamned simple
you go in
you do your bit
they do theirs
and then they send you on your way
with a clean bill of health
it’s was elementary i tell you
yet there you are on the phone
telling me that they found something
there you are telling me that there has to be a biopsy
and there i am
hanging on to the phone like a life vest
in the middle of the work office
surrounded by my same bullshit
when suddenly
everything seems so foreign
everything blurs
it’s my breath
the sound of your trembling voice
someone waiting to speak
simple, i said
this was supposed to be so simple.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

poem of the day 01.22.15

the news

right after you told me the news
that the biopsy tested positive
and we got off the phone

i didn’t know what to do

i just sort of pictured you there somewhere alone
sitting in a stairwell or in a bathroom stall crying

i felt helpless

all of those nights of making sure we ate right
of checking those doors and windows and the oven
over and over and over again

making sure that we were safe and secure

it was suddenly bullshit
none of it mattered
not in comparison to this

i started looking around that office of mine

what’s that cliché?  
it felt like the walls were closing in?

i’m sure they all heard me cursing
throwing chairs around and tossing books against the wall

what if i put a chair through a window?
punched a wall like i’m so famous for?

what if i took this computer monitor
and smashed it to its essential parts?

what would it solve?
that cancer would still be there the next day

instead i put my head on my desk
like they used to tell us to do in grade school

i imagined you back in april

picking up stones on the banks of the thames river
waving to me as i took pictures of london

i surrendered to the fate of the day

i cried like a baby
for the first time in a long time

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

poem of the day 01.21.15

Where to begin?  Back in June of 2014 my wife, Ally Malinenko, was diagnosed with stage-one lobular cancer. I won’t go into a lot of the details….for that you can check out her wonderful blog. For familial reasons I was unable to post any knid of poem on the topic, which was pretty hard considering cancer consumed the bulk of my 2014. I guess I did the best I could on this blog. There were, however, some real low points. That said, we got sort of lucky, if there is a lucky where cancer is involved. Ally’s tumor was caught early. She didn’t need chemotherapy. Honestly, as I said above, for those interested in the details it’s best to check her blog.

On my end I’m going to be spending the next few weeks or so posting poems that were written during that time, about our situation, etc. So the poems about bad jobs, bad girlfriends, idiots on public transportation, beer shits and the like will cease for a small amount of time. For those of you hit with a disease as miserable as cancer I do empathize with you.

you stupid girls

you stupid girls
you stupid fucking girls
quit walking so slow to the train
quit stopping to grab each other and shout
like you’re in a constant state of wonder and surprise
quit stopping to check your cell phones
this wretched world doesn’t revolve around you
but it’ll chew you up and spit you out without notice
and nothing is ever happening anyway
i’ve been listening to your conversation
it is enough to torture out lies from an honest man
you stupid girls
you miserable fucking girls
get out of my way or let me pass
or i swear i’ll toss you both down a flight of stairs
and leave you twitching on the concrete
you see, i have a wife newly of ten years
she’s waiting on me at home
and tonight we’re going to celebrate our anniversary
with italian food and red wine
we’re going to pretend
that we didn’t spend this morning in an oncology office
as some surgeon felt up her breasts
and checked her armpits for lymph node lumps
you stupid girls
you wouldn’t know anything about that now, huh?
what an arbitrary word to a couple of little hussies like you
stupid fucking girls
with your oversized headphones on your pinheads
with your shorts that don’t cover your boney, sexless asses
you’re just standing there impeding my progress
you don’t understand love
you can’t possibly
i hope that neither of you will experience
the kind of happiness that i have had for the last ten years
the kind that i want for another thirty or forty more
you stupid girls
you don’t deserve it
i can see the bleach stains on your yellowing teeth
you can’t hide your rot from the world
no one can
the best that any of us can do is get up
and go to bed and do it all over again
try to find a little bit of happiness in the middle
you stupid girls
like tonight
like anniversaries and italian food and red wine
toasting the past and anticipating the future
my wife
you stupid girls
you stupid fucking girls
give me an inch
just one simple inch
or be decent and carve me a pathway
stop looking at me and laughing
and then slowing down on purpose to dance
give me my freedom
give me release
give me my life tonight
you girls
you stupid girls
you stupid fucking girls



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

poem of the day 01.20.15


there was already a line
to the back of the liquor store when he came in

the only black face in the entire place

we were somewhere in the upper middle
drunk from an afternoon in the grassroots tavern
but wanting more to kill the night

the wine store kept the smaller bottles of alcohol
behind the counter at the register

it was the store’s way
of teaching drunkards the value of patience
or to stop them from being so damned cheap

he found me right away

my wife claims that i have that kind of face
it’s welcoming and the antithesis to the fiber of my very being

he said, hey man, you know how it is
then started motioning up toward the register

of course i knew how it was
but something about him rubbed me

it was rare that i found a face in this world as welcoming as mine
most people were ugly without even trying

i said, i know how it is, man
that’s why i’m standing here with all of the other stiffs

i said, getting in front of me won’t help your cause any

he said, look, man

so i said, why don’t you go and ask each
and every person standing behind me
if they’re cool with you cutting then i’ll clear you a space

well, he just stood there with kind of a crooked grin

i wondered about the type of person
who found his face a soothing salve to come home to at night

he said, what if i just cut you in line

a man must do as he must, i answered

then he leaned in
he reeked of vodka as i reeked of beer

we were brethren of a sort

i thought to myself that i should’ve let him cut me
but then he called me a peckerwood

ain’t nothin’ but a peckerwood, he said

hear that honey, i said to my wife
now i’m the victim of racial intolerance

he went to the front of the line
cutting each and every one of us

the cashier sold him a pint of rum without hesitation

the hoi polloi held their bottles and gasped
their conceptions of law and order thrown to the dogs

someone called him an asshole
as he waved to the crowd on the way out

the woman behind me
threatened to get the manager

everyone else just stood there
checking their phones

a pack of peckerwoods

waiting on anarchy
waiting their turn in line.

ALSO: I have a poem up over at Revolution John 


Friday, January 16, 2015

poem of the day 01.16.15

she was the girl that i liked

jamie hawn was a burnout

her brother was a burn-out
who got kicked out of catholic school
and used to chase younger kids
home to prove his worth

jamie smoked from time to time
but she had the most beautiful of blue eyes
they matched the color of her panties
under white denim in the rain

she was the girl that i liked
for about a month in the eighth grade

i tried making her laugh the whole school trip
to washington d.c.

even got the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier
to break his silence and call me disrespectful

it was a crapshoot
i was a fat kid and chances were good
some other boy was going to be putting it to her by summer

probably one of her brother’s friends

i asked jamie to go with me
from under abe lincoln’s big nose
and against ritual and understanding she said yes

then i didn’t know what to do with her
i couldn’t be funny anymore

at recess i stood there like a mute elephant
while jamie and her friends talked
about sneaking a smoke in the bathroom

one girl said to me, didn’t my brother used
to chase you home from school last year

that was some other kid, i said

jamie and i were sinking faster than a ship
she didn’t call me and i didn’t have the guts to call her

rumor had it her brother wanted
to pound my fat ass into dust

when i came early into class one day
i caught jamie talking to another girl
about how stupid and dull i was

when she saw me coming she winked
and said, what’s up cutie?
before shaking her ass out the door

a day later i was history
thrown back to my pack of wall-clinging losers
right where i belonged

by summer i heard that jamie
was dating one of her brother’s friends

his best friend

it was such a serious thing
that her brother wasn’t friends with the guy anymore

but jamie had quit smoking for him
and for her health too

although i’d heard
that the poor girl
had put on a few pounds


Thursday, January 15, 2015

poem of the day 01.15.15

one million

they gather
by the thousands in paris

in new york we march
and tell the cops these streets are ours

there is always some bloodshed
before these great gatherings

somebody has to die
for the world to come together

i’m not looking for utopia
but it seems that this momentum
collects and then it dissipates just as quickly

we move on
insular and uninvolved

until the next great tragedy
pulls us back into a sense of temporary cohesion

we blame politics and we blame religion
we blame skin color and money

they are all good targets
yet never provide us with an answer as to why

tonight i sit here with my work-a-day ass kicked
full of vodka with a jury summons in my hand

thinking judge not lest ye be judged
and that i can throw stones like they’re made of air

that as long as there are jobs and jury summons
i need never fear international terrorism

tonight i have one million solutions
for what ails the world
shoved deep in my back pocket

but i’m so selfish and low
i’m not sharing them with anyone.                                  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

poem of the day 01.14.15

a quick flash

there were a bunch of us
crowded around the small circular stage
at anthony’s gentlemen’s club

a bachelor party and a few old drunks
me and calvin as usual

it was half-price night
so people were getting loud and obnoxious

who in the hell knew where the bouncer was

on stage the girl dancing
she looked drunk and half-dead
greasy blonde hair and smeared lipstick

her eyes kept rolling around

at times she’d get a sloppy smile
but then her mouth would go slack

because she was in pasties and a thong
the boys were going wild over the mess

men from the bachelor party
kept chanting for her to take it off

calvin went along with it too
because he’d always been a follower

the dancer tried getting
into a reverse crab position
she kept falling on her ass and laughing

when she got back up a third time
someone shouted, show us your cunt!

the dancer looked around the club
like she was going to tell us a big secret

then she winked and did it

there was a quick flash
of hair and pink
before the thong went back over it

a chorus of noise and applause
echoed throughout the place

calvin shook me and screamed

did you see it!
did you see it!

as the dancer fell on her ass again

she sighed and got fetal
showing a big purple and yellow bruise on her hip

laughing and doing little else
until the song ended

and the bartender had to find the bouncer
to drag her off the stage

so that someone else could get up there
and try her best to entertain us


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

poem of the day 01.13.15

tore her up

barry would always
complain about his younger wife

we’d be driving to deliver windows and doors
and he would just start out of the blue

she doesn’t understand me, man,
he’d tell me

i was a philosopher
i was into art history before i met her
i read and re-read all of those novels
i see you reading on your lunch

christ, barry, i’d say

then i’d look out onto the bleak
western new york landscape
wondering if this was the best i could do

i realize that she’s only twenty-two
and that i’m thirty-eight, barry would say

but i was a scholar
a man of letters
i could tell picasso’s just by looking at them

picasso isn’t that hard, i told him
you’d have better luck bragging about andre derain

you don’t understand
all she talks about is the baby
and rent and food and bills and how she had
to drop out of college to pay for the baby
and rent and food and bills

i have no intellectual stimulation

when it got too much
sometimes barry would park the truck

he’d turn to me
why did i do it, man?
an underage piece of ass in a bar
a couple of stupid night in my apartment
and now it’s all this

let’s have a beer, i said to him

then we’d drive to a convenience store
and get a couple of tall boys
while snow fell all over western new york

usually about half-way through the beer
was the time barry would pull out his wallet

it was always the same picture
of his wife before she had their baby

she was a good looking woman
she probably still was

barry was batting way out of his league

look at her, he’d say to me
he’d press the picture closer to my face

look how beautiful she was, he’d say
then he’d take a big gulp on the beer and be quiet for a bit

for a moment i’d thank a god that i didn’t believe in
then check my watch to see if i could get in another beer

i ruined her too, he’d eventually say

she was so young
she had such a body and such a future
but i tore her up

i tore up her young body and we had that kid

barry would put the picture back in his wallet
i sat there drinking while he held that square of beaten leather

knowing that in a minute or two he’d pull a one-eighty
and out would come the pictures of the kid
the inevitable conversation about how grand his life really was.


Monday, January 12, 2015

poem of the day 01.12.15


tonight i am in the living room
doing this exercise dvd
sweating to the oldies like an asshole
while outside people are coming home from work
to walk dogs and watch television
they stand in front of my window to smoke
for their animal to take its evening shit
when i catch someone looking in
i want to tell them
hey, man, usually i’m drinking on the couch
but instead i’m reaching and bending
stretching muscles i no longer had use for
following the steps of some flamer
dressed in short shorts and pink socks
who keeps trying to prod me along
i’d strangle him with my bed sheet if i could
but i’m struggling for breath
and worried about a possible heart attack
really this is my doing
some forty year old kick in the ass
guilt from decades spent in the wasteland
of scotch and waters and books that i don’t remember
i tell myself i’m not going to drink tonight
even though i’ve been thinking about
that bottle of vodka since i got home
the four beers in the fridge
the single glass of wine left in the bottle
i tell myself that tonight is for self-improvement
a little exercise, a light dinner
some reading on the couch until bed
no headache and no hangover at five the next morning
straight and narrow and boring as all get out
i’ll keep the madness from creeping back in
through exhaustion
and if that doesn’t work
maybe i’ll have a few drinks after all
turn on the radio and say fuck it
think maybe next year
i’ll try yoga instead


Friday, January 9, 2015

poem of the day 01.09.15

in transit

i am
always in transit
mostly going somewhere i don’t want to go
going back to somewhere
huddled on a subway or a bus
with the other fools
trapped in my own trivial malaise
or being held captive by some annoyance
tonight it is a pack of teenagers
who are screaming and running between trains
they are hitting each other…again
there is no poetry in the art of redundancy
mine or theirs
so do not think of this as a poem
maybe it is a cry for help
or it is life and life only
i have at least three to four people a day tell me
thank god the day is moving fast
or they complain about how slow it is going
and they have the softest march toward death
that i’ve ever seen punch the clock
soft people and their soft problems
most of them have never worked anywhere else
they take their cars and sit in traffic
playing on their cell phones
listening to sports and hate radio
the only victim in the scenario being their time wasted
on a planet that kills millions
offers death sentences to so many others
each and every day
i’ll put that on my bucket list, they say
we are masters at killing the moments that count
the ones that don’t but are still as valuable
in the end that stench you smell
might just be regret
that is to say, maybe i’m happy to be on this train tonight
healthy and blind, stinking sober
somewhat alive though assaulted by teen noise
while trying to read the poetry of nazim hikmet
beethoven’s missa solemnis
playing faintly in my headphones
here and fully vested in this moment
for as long as this life will let me.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Thursday, January 8, 2015

poem of the day 01.08.15

big asses and hot sauce

the writer is sixteen years old
he’s got three chapters done in a novel
while i spend most mornings simply staring at mine

he carries the pages in a big red binder

every time i see him he shakes it at me
i think maybe he’s doing it to mock me
but we’ve never had a conversation about my words

unless he’s googled me
like the other people who work here have done

if so, i hope he doesn’t send my shit
to the HR department like the last asshole did

the writer likes to give me his chapters when he’s done

he says he’s writing a novel
because he wants to have more to offer his audience
besides his singing and his acting

sixteen year old kids with twitter and facebook
must think the whole world is one big audience

his book is a science-fiction fantasy
about multiple earths light years away
and some federation of buff people who drink protein shakes
and always end up insulting each other

i don’t read genre
because the regular world is fucked up enough

i had to read a chapter twice just to figure out
what in the hell was going on

when i gave it back to him i told him what
i always tell people who give me their writing to read

i told him his novel was nice

that seemed to work for him
because he shook the binder at me
and got right to work
on the next scene

when the book is finished he’ll probably
get a literary agent and a major press right away

i’ve seen it happen before

he’ll think the world just works like that
it does for some people

for others we sit somewhere day in and day out
hoping for just a little something to get us through the hours

a good line
a passable existence
a lunch that doesn’t suck

the chance at another earth light years away
where one can start over again without any baggage

or the ladies in HR
knowing that you get drunk most nights

and that you have a fetish

for big asses
and hot sauce

for contemplative shits at five in the morning.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

poem of the day 01.07.15


i don’t know how
we got on the topic of shoes
i think scott mentioned them
because he was wearing white shoes
therapeutic shoes for what i don’t remember
we were listening to serge chaloff before
i think we still were
this was before or after scott put on
the version of miles davis’ birth of the cool
without darn that dream fucking it up at the end
i stopped drinking two hours ago
and came into the living room to listen to music
in lieu of making conversation with anyone
but talking about shoes is all right
for a saturday night
at least it’s not talking about cancer
i showed scott my shoes
a pair of beaten-to-death gray vans
that i typically walk five miles a day in
i tell him that one foot wears an eleven
but the other foot is almost in a ten and a half
the result of an accident that i had when i was a kid
and i ran through a glass window
i fucked up a lot of tendons, i tell scott
but i think maybe he’s listening to the serge chaloff
or he’s still talking about putting out broadsides next year
i look at my shoes
my feet look normal when i’m in them
when the shoes are off i have one man-sized foot
and one foot that could almost be a child’s
i probably need some kind of cushion or a custom fit
but like most things in my life
i never bothered to get this fixed
when i look up scott has an otis redding album
ready to go on
otis blue/otis redding sings soul
he says that he has a poem about it
then he goes to get the poem
while ole man trouble starts on the record player
and i can’t help but tap my feet on the floor.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

poem of the day 01.06.15

little men

the place was
as big as a warehouse
but there was nowhere for me to hide from him
it seemed that he came looking specifically for me
any wine spill or any shit on the bathroom floor
they were mine by default
the piles of garbage and broken bottles
my glittering kingdom to clean up
there was always something wrong
with the way i looked
i was never shaved close enough for him
there was always some kind of stain on my pants
is that ketchup or blood? he was apt to ask me
sometimes it was both
he liked to sniff the air when i walked by
then shouted, i can smell the beer on you
said i needed to do something
about my red and bloodshot eyes
buy drops or something, he’d spit at me
i used to watch him come out of that stinking office of his
hands on his hips, surveying his empire
looking for me or someone else to bully
i wished that he was dumb enough
to cross against the light during his lunch
some days i wished
that i was brave enough to do the same
but usually i just went to the bar
he had his dashed dreams
tacked onto the wall in his office
pictures of all of the rock gods that he was never going to be
just like i had pictures of writers on mine
he looked like napoleon but with none of the flair
really he was just a little man
who’d wasted twenty-five years in retail
taking shit from customers and the store owner
who had to go home and live with himself
while i sat across from him
in a stiff chair that had lost half of its stuffing
waiting to be dressed down again
for some infraction
thinking, shit,
i’m an even smaller man
than he.

Monday, January 5, 2015

poem of the day 01.05.15

we built this city
            --for nathan kukulski

there is an unmistakable
stench of rot in the air
on this train it smells of garlic
i’m trying to kill the final days of the year
reading baldinger’s poems
but the guy two seats up from me
has his little magic machine playing 1980s music
we built this city on rock and roll
jesus christ, i think, is he serious?
i’ve got thirty years of animosity towards this song
long rides with my parents
while they fought about money and rent
overtop that sort of happy tripe
skating parties with perky-breasted girls
from wealthy, catholic families
who wouldn’t touch my fat and sweating hands
if it meant their life
i’ve got animosity bubbling anew
and i’ve read the same line at least four times now
because we built this city
we built this city….so that assholes like this guy
will always have their way
no matter how low down on the food chain we are
the working class will eat the working class first
i put the baldinger down for a moment
grab my own little magic machine
i put on erik satie but it doesn’t matter
satie isn’t enough to kill what grace slick
worked so hard to destroy on her own
so this is how another year winds down?
bad pop music, garlic and another crowded train
most likely it began like this too
i just sit there with the book of baldinger’s poems open
the satie flaccid and not of the moment
accidentally make eye contact with the guy sitting next to me
until he looks down and grabs his phone
calls one of his friends while tapping his feet to the music
his face only coming alive
when someone shows up to save him
on the other end
while i think there’s not even enough vodka at home
to shake them all off tonight