Monday, February 29, 2016

poem of the day 02.29.16

all american pig heads

pig heads
hanging from sweaty windows
on fifth avenue
like the two fat italian guys i’m watching
eating pizza and watching hoops in their NYPD t-shirts
this is what passes for sightseeing around here
this is what passes for heroics
cop t-shirts or millionaire athletes
i watch them sucking cheese and processed meat
i can tell the way this country is going
by the way their eyes flicker toward ESPN
instead of the truth
i shouldn’t hate these men upon sight
but i do
i don’t know their politics
i don’t know where their hearts are
but i’m willing to take an educated guess
based on two hundred and forty years of crooked history
we’re from the same mother i understand
the same industrial beast bleeding from the center
but we’re not the same kind, right?
still, we must have a common loneliness at times
the same dissatisfaction seeping from our all-american pores
or have our souls been shipped overseas?
come on, i mean even i have sucked down a slice or two
ravenously over a game
as if this little democracy was going to end
on a hail mary touchdown or a missed goal
i hate myself
when confronted with such an obtuse throne of judgement
hate myself underdressed in the winter breeze
watching these two men slap five
over every nuance of the knicks game
despising them and their simple afternoon splendor
up the street from me
the empire state building glows crystal white
down here the verrazano-narrows bends toward infinity
moving away from the window
i’m jostled by a strong gust
just a pig’s head here on third avenue
a cog in the colossus
swaying in the slop
looking for the quickest way

Friday, February 26, 2016

poem of the day 02.26.16

all apologies vincent smith

i ask my wife how he does that
she says, it’s sand
red paint and sand
moves her hand like
she’s rubbing it over the grainy canvas
like jean dubuffet , she says
all these years and i still know nothing about art
we walk around the small room
looking at the work
four large canvases on four white walls
the grainy redpaintsand makes tenement walls
distorted african faces looking out of windows
vincent smith was basquiat before basquiat
i announce
suddenly enlightened
i also know where to find the apartment
where the heroin took jean-michel too soon
i think we’ll go there next
when suddenly there’s a clatter in the quiet gallery
the redpainflesh gush of fat tourist faces
filling up the small room
taking up seats on window sills
exasperated and worn-out
from walking one new york block
they text and take pictures of trump tower across the street
fifth avenue like a parade route of mammon
glance at the paintings
snap a bored shot for posterity
all these years and america still knows nothing about art
all apologies vincent smith
for the rude interruption upon our time
my wife and i try to get in a few more glances
redpaintsand and this edvard munch motif by way of harlem
but we’re being backed into a corner
by the hungry wolves of capitalism
as the room continues to fill up
a flood water of knock-off louis v bags
and t-shirts that falsely declare “i love ny”
i look at my wife
squeeze her hand
tell her i want to go home and get drunk
i tell her these tourists, baby
they make me want to scream

Thursday, February 25, 2016

poem of the day 02.25.16

the stalker

mary keeps
showing up at my house
with her mom
showing up at my job
with her friends or her new boyfriend
she threatens to go to my bars
she threatens to go to my clubs
steve has heard from her
how do they even know each other?
calvin has heard from her
he says i let a good one get away
colby said she sent him two letters
mary keeps
calling almost every night
but i won’t pick up the phone
my old man says he’s tired of hearing her voice
someone sent a basket of flowers to my job
i just know it was mary
last week kris and i saw her at barnes and noble
yesterday a six page letter showed up in the mail
on pink paper with blue script
in mary’s bubbly handwriting
she keeps
trying to get us back together
despite the boyfriend
despite the months we’ve been apart
despite one year and nine months of bullshit
mary finally get me on the phone
i tell her please
that this just isn’t in me
i tell her please
for the sake of my sanity
i’d sacrifice job, career, family
friends, love
happiness, she added
for my one goal to be a writer
mary keeps
hanging up on me when i tell her this
she says she’ll leave me alone for good
but driving home from calvin’s last night
i swear i saw her
lovelorn and crazed
a sad clown grinning in my rearview mirror.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

sort of "best of" poem of the day 02.24.16

deep in the novel poems coming slow.
this isn't a best of poem...i don't think i ever put this up here (there were reasons at the time)
so here goes:

my enemy

i have an enemy

he’s been sharpening his hatred for me for years
keeping it all stored for a later date

he is the simplest of pronouns

he claims that i have family issues
that i never got along with daddy
that mommy never loved me

that i’m so negative because i didn’t  grow up right

he has a degree in psychology
that’s decades old

my enemy claims to be freud
but i feel like machiavelli whenever he’s around

he’s a pretty big failure all the same

failed at being a spouse
failed at being a human being

he used to piss himself
and once he shit his pants on the way to the movies

everyone says my enemy is harmless
he’s just jealous because his life didn’t pan out
and now he’s facing the tattered end of the line

i don’t know if i believe them
i can see the murder in the man’s eyes
the perverse joy he takes in hating me

plus people have caught him shouting about me
into his cellphone
kicking at walls as he spewed invective and threats

he once claimed to want to kill me

i believe his hatred for me gives him a purpose
and a reason to wake up in the morning

everyone is somebody’s villain
everyone is somebody’s asshole

i’m his

my enemy
what can i really do about him?

he keeps my poems and stories
in a crisp manila folders
as evidence of my cruelty toward him
and the rest of humanity

he wants me hung for making art
out of my scrap heap life

i had no clue that he was such a fan

i’m thinking of dedicating my next book him
giving him a signed copy
the next time that i see him
with an inscription that’ll read

dear enemy,
thank you from the bottom of my heart
for all of your time and energy
for all of your dedication and support
for all of those sleepless nights
for the sad and pathetic troll of a shit stain that you are
on this old world

and for the strong man that your weakness
and petty resolve
have forced me to become

i couldn’t have done it all without you                            07.25.12/08.06.12

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

poem of the day 02.23.16

portrait of the artist
on the cusp of forty-two

3:20 a.m.
at least that’s what the clock tells me

sweet after scent of vodka
mixing with morning breath

we have had heat again for five hours
in this shithole
but the pipe is already going cold

the bright bathroom lights
causing epileptic eye flutters
as i try to clean cat shit
off the bottom of my right foot

cursing the blind, deaf beast
as she circles the shaded apartment
whining or whatever it is she does these days
that passes for meowing

looking for new and improved places
to vomit to defecate to spread snot

sixteen years old to my way over forty-one

we should probably both
be taken back to bed or put to pasture

my long trying-to-stay-young hair
keeps getting in my face
as i retch and wipe the tar-thick excrement
with wet toilet paper scented with bathroom soap
for a knockout punch of disgusting

and i still have to piss

oh, the things you find yourself doing
on the cusp of forty-two
at 3:20 in the morning

a witching hour lifetime that has spanned

pill-fueled poem writing
soliciting prostitutes
and falling asleep drunk in diners
to cleaning crap off of my bare feet

i wonder what the next twenty will bring
other than cirrhosis of the liver
and turning completely invisible to the young

3:20 in the morning
as i sit on the cold ceramic of the commode
feeling every bit the gray color spectrum of my age

the sound of water running
somewhere in the building

as the cat stares but does not stare at the joke of me

trying to remember what i was dreaming about
what it was socrates said about the unexamined life

or if i should go ahead
and wander fresh footed into the kitchen
to dance with the cockroaches
over one last immortal drink.

Monday, February 22, 2016

poem of the day 02.22.16


my mother
bless her soul
thought the girls
should all love me
all two-hundred-forty pounds of me
glasses barely fitting on my fat face
pants specially tailored xxxl me
if she saw me talking to some girl
oh, you should ask her out
she had friends at work
who had daughters my age
co-workers just a couple of years older
it was easy to forgive her
mom wasn’t with me on the school buses
when high school girls laughed at me
until i turned scarlet and bitter
she never sat in english class
and watched  jamie johnson play
when his hand landed on my head
or looked into the sad disappointed eyes
of the other girl
as we both played wingman to our friends
mom just wanted to play
matchmaker for me, i guess
to see me stroll around the mall
like all of those other healthy young couples
instead of watching me
put back three helpings of spaghetti
before attacking an entenmann’s crumb cake
usually i just felt bad
for the girl in those scenarios
like this one blonde cutie
she worked my brother’s birthday party
at this video store
where they showed 2nd run movies
i was helping her set up chairs
and maybe we were talking about movies
or music or some thing
being the only teenagers in the place
i made her laugh a few times
if nothing else i could always make the girls laugh
being a fat clown came as easy to me
as clearing away a bag of potato chips
but when mom heard the girl
in the throes of laughter
she came over to us and said
you two seem like you’d be real good together
because it’s good to see people
who can make each other laugh
oh, man
the look on this girl’s face
i’d seen it dozens of times
she excused herself to go and get the
cake and soda
the stuff i was really there for
and came back ten minutes later
switched from a blonde
to a brunette
nametag switched to a guy named jeff
who called me bro
and said this year was the penguins year
to take it all
as i craned my neck
catching courtney’s eyes stocking action films
just before jeff shut the door
and the room
then black.


Friday, February 19, 2016

poem of the day 02.19.16

selfie nation

there are more
than a dozen pictures
on her phone
each one
bright red lipstick
kardashian face
sunken cheeks allure
a fine example
of what she’s done
with her afternoon
pretty boy next to me
on the d train
is doing his best to rival her
frosted greasy tips
chin up
brooding eyes
each snap a quitter
or a keeper
which one will make
oh, i got the millennial blues
i look around the train
there has to be
at least half a dozen others
of these vain swine
every race
every gender
doing the same thing
young dimwits
reasonably good looking
but so what?
all ready for their close-up
wouldn’t know the president
from a pop song
so don’t ask me again
what’s wrong
with america
these days.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

poem of the day 02.18.16

i thought i daydreamed the sunset

the taste of excrement
on my tongue
from a sewer blown in a storm
you can’t have it seventeen degrees one day
fifty-five the next
without a little bit of rain falling
without pipes bursting
rivers of shit
waterfalls of piss
microbursts of vomit etc.
pouring out from under doors
filling hallways and closets and kitchens
a flotsam of serving bowls
and christmas tree boxes passing by
the intestinal track of this whole neighborhood
gurgle-swirling in the deluge
turds like driftwood on the mighty mississippi
such a beautiful stink
i think i might die in this wicked failing infrastructure
standing here on the edge
of the basement steps
like a dumbstruck tourist on a dock
waiting for the sun to set
watching brown icebergs melt into putrid slop
telling two girls that it’ll be all right
helplessly trapped on a tabletop
holding their noses
they are so pale so white
i doubt they believe me
as the foul circles around them
splashing so childishly
so careless like fun on the beach
creeping inch by inch
going into refrigerators
contaminating water bottles
sneaking up toward electrical outlets
our own little FEMA disaster
if it keeps on rainin’ the levee’s goin’ to break
we watch the garbage can tip over
and sail around the room
slow like the steamboat natchez
spilling trash as it bobs along
i declare
oh, this south will rise again, man.                                            

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

poem of the day 02.17.16

love poem to yulia tymoshenko

i sit here drinking cold coffee
wondering where the time has gone
for both of us

remember the days when there wasn’t
all of this global bullshit?

yeah…me neither

we’re both a bit weathered now
only you wear these trying times better than me

a bit of the ol’ golden goddess still in your step

but i don’t think i hate the russians
as much as you

i let those feelings go back
when rocky balboa beat ivan drago

true, it’s not the same thing
but if not a literal connection
then there is something to be said
for wanting to defend yourself

you do have a point
about the united states and the european union
meddling into your affairs

americans are like scrappy little dogs
taking shits all over the globe and never cleaning it up

and it’s hard for me to not see
all of those refugees pouring into germany

and not think about
all of the good falafel they’ll get in berlin
when all violence and genocide is said and done

i just want you
to take it easy kid

do those constitutional changes
when you feel like it

have those parliamentary votes at your leisure

take a holiday to one of those
crimean beaches if you still can

and remember a minority party
is still one hell of a ride

with the right people
the right tunes

and an extra splash of vodka in the punch
for when vlad and all the boys show up

at your doorstep
once again.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

poem of the day 02.16.16


duncan is running around the kettle bar
with his sister olive
screaming and yelling
while people are eating bar food
or starting in early on the day’s drunk
duncan is maybe three but still looks vacant
olive is pushing two at best
and has a set of pipes on her
that could raise the damned
there are no other children in the bar
because it’s a bar
duncan’s old man is your garden variety domestic asshole
with his receding hairline and dad gut
his sculpted man boobs
under an ugly maroon v-neck sweater
with tufts of chest hair coming out
he apologies to my wife and i
when duncan and olive repeatedly smack into our table
but he doesn’t mean it
because we reek of childlessness and other malaises
because his america counts more than mine
dad is enjoying his stolen afternoon beer too much
to worry about duncan and olive
killing other people’s time
he’s too caught up in the entitlement of being a parent
at the turn of the twenty-first century
praising his children
for what used to garner an ass whooping
duncan’s mom is a beast of a woman too
who wears the wounds of a war
of knocking out two kids in under four years
on her soulless stomach
i think she has diamonds
embedded into her glasses frame
for that extra douche bag oomph
and somewhere on her fat dego ass
i’m willing to bet
is a faded tattoo of a beloved cartoon character
she got at the beach
before duncan and olive were a drunken mistake
in the gleam of her eye
she thinks naming her children
duncan and olive
makes them more than the common
screaming creeps they are
mom had been carrying olive’s dirty diaper for fifteen minutes
until she set it down on the table next to us
blue and white and brown ball
of non-biodegradable plastic
a table someone else will eventually eat/drink on
she doesn’t care
because duncan and olive are so precious
their shit doesn’t stink
they’re the zenith of what she’ll accomplish in this world
ignorance that she’ll pass on
like family jewels and disease
boutique named monsters free to run around a bar
screaming and yelling
and raising hell on a monday afternoon
where we are all captives to this mundane madness
that gets passed around these days
under the guise of precocious ingenuity
duncan in his rookie-of-the-year t-shirt
olive in her plaid dress
smacking their heads off the worn bar and laughing
the little philistine prince and princess of bay ridge
with ketchup stained faces
from french fries flung on the bar floor
like nut shells and sawdust
little landmines we’ll try not to slide in
as we forgo another beer
and get up to leave
to duncan screaming bloody murder
to an old hootie and the blowfish song
as olive prat falls and farts
and our proud patriotic parents
order another round.


Monday, February 15, 2016

poem of the day 02.15.16

che guevara on the 4 train

che guevara is on the 4 train
in his field jacket and beret

getting jostled by straphangers
with big book bags and cell phones

he’s not even trying to hide the fact that it’s him

although his hair is a bit longer
and, of course, it’s gone gray

i want to ask him how he pulled it off
down there in bolivia

how he fooled us all and lived

but che looks like he hates
the 4 train as much as i do

it’s always packed no matter the time of day
and there’s always some asshole standing by the door
who makes it impossible for people
to get on and off at their stop

people are getting slashed
with razor blades down here

some lady got jabbed with a needle last week
and now she has to take these shots
for things like hepatitis and AIDS

i wonder what che guevara thinks about that
like maybe it’s time for a revolution on these trains

i imagine one must get tired of revolutions
of always having to liberate yourself
and a bunch of ungrateful people

che looks tired on this afternoon 4 train

tired of getting smacked with some dude’s book bag
tired of the chick screaming in her phone

and the fat ass trying to eat
an onion and scallion bagel over his head

the people on this train aren’t worth
fighting a revolution for

che and i should throw most of them to the dogs

then head to the MoMA
and catch the end of that picasso exhibit

discuss the benefits of genocide
over coffee or orange spiced tea

plus picasso was kind of a revolutionary too

he refused to leave france during the nazi occupation
and he painted guernica after all

although i don’t know what pablo thought
about the cuban revolution or che guevara

and i doubt he’s ever been on the 4 train

not even once
not even during rush hour

when revolutions are pipe dreams
and it’s every man for himself.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hiatus time

hello all

taking the week off
taking a hiatus to go and play tourist in my own city
see you Monday February 15th.


Friday, February 5, 2016

poem of the day 02.05.16

try someone else brother

then there’s this lunatic
sitting next to us on the N train

one of those shouting screaming ones
who has multiple souls inside of him
all trying to tear him apart

the schizophrenics never get benevolent beings
i state as a matter of fact

but still we were the stupid ones
who didn’t see him there

didn’t realize one half of the train was empty
save this guy and all his innards

but that’s what euphoria will do
or is this just relief?

i mean you were gone what?
three, three-and-a-half hours

this after coming out of the exam room twice
in your gown, which i know you hate

in tears i might add

because the technicians had lost your films
and weren’t going to do the mammogram

it was stupid of me, all things considered
to be thinking in that moment…thank christ

not because i didn’t want the mammogram done
we’d been steeling ourselves for it for two months

because breast cancer at thirty-seven will do that

or because i wanted you to have to trudge home
take off work again
worry for who knows how many weeks
because of some clerical error or filing mishap

it’s just that i thought thank christ
because i’d seen you crying in hospital gowns before

in corridors with fake picasso’s on the wall

knowing that it could get
much much worse than a cancelled appointment

but still three hours was a long time
i’ve never paced in a waiting room before

like a film character
something out of a 1930s baby romp
as people who came in after came and went

i wondered if it would be an impropriety
to barge back in that examining room
find you within the crowd of women

all in hospital gowns and on cell phones
all facing their own kind of terror

just for some information and solace

and i was going to do it too
except you came out around high noon
with thumbs up and a smile

safe for another six months
before we start this circus all over again

so, really, what’s one lunatic schizo
screaming in my face
mean to us on an afternoon N train?

a lot

that’s why we got the hell off at the next stop
and ran like two scheming kids to the next train

his madcap voice trailing us down the station

because the surge of life
will do that to you

they say it’s funny sometimes
so darling…laugh     
we got so much to live for                    

Thursday, February 4, 2016

not poem of the day 02.04.16

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