Thursday, July 14, 2016

poem of the day 07.14.16....and my NEW NOVEL IS OUT!!!

hello all

while we still live in a world where Donald Trump could actually become president
of the United States, a few good things do squeak by. My new novel, Wine Clerk, is
available to purchase on This is a follow up to 2013's The Librarian,
with good ol' Rand Wyndham still in as main character. It can be purchased HERE

in honor of the novel's release today's poem is based on some of the true-life
experiences in the novel. so...i give you The Wine Clerk:

the wine clerk

i remember
needing a job in buffalo
when there were no jobs
sitting in some half-empty frat bar
while the college chick bartenders
got drunk on white wine and watched tv talk shows
scanning the local rag
and coming up with nothing
i remember needing rent money
and gas for a car that ran when it wanted to
arguing with my wife
because i felt impotent and dull
sitting in the apartment all day
or hustling it out on the streets to no avail
the temp agencies couldn’t find me anything
they could only test and test and test
and shrug their shoulders when i failed them all
i remember not taking a job for bath fitters
because the boss thought that writing, listed on my resume
would interfere with me working the warehouse
because he was afraid i’d leave the job
if i ever sold a book
because he asked me if i liked kayaking
how i couldn’t work for someone who liked kayaking
and how i’d leave the job for less than selling a book
i remember seeing that ad for a wine clerk
in the midst of my fourth pint of the day in that frat bar
while the college chick bartenders got sloppy
and started spilling their plastic cups of purloined white wine
thinking that a man shouldn’t shit where he eats
but i remembered the rent and the car
and the testing and the temp agencies and kayaking
then i thought how hard could selling wine be?
i remember that warehouse as big as a car dealership
the shelving a silver and red metal skeleton city
reaching up toward the sky
my clumsy, hungover ass carrying cases
of wine and booze down ladders
hoping that i didn’t fall to the concrete
and die in a hail of wine and scotch and glass
i remember feeling sore
the pain of hauling boxes for a solid eight
watching kids ten to fifteen years younger than me
do it with such ease
laying on the couch at home listening to the classical station
because i thought i was some kind of bukowski
wondering where all the decent jobs in buffalo were hiding
getting hauled into a wine testing center
being told that the varietals tasted of black currant
or grapefruit or cherry or blackberry
that you could taste the dirt of france
the stone sea sides of italy
thinking how i’d never get to france or italy or anywhere
making the kind of money i was making
thinking that it was all bullshit
and forgetting to spit the booze into the sink
after each sip as my only revenge
i remember
drinking wines that cost more than my whole paycheck
and the irony in that
i remember not shaving, not bathing for days
going a month in the same clothing
my pants stained in wine from asshole customers
dropping bottles every hour on the hour
and i remember that little man
that little napoleon of a boss
who hauled me into his office every day
so that we could talk about the state of my wardrobe
so that we could talk about why i hadn’t shaved
so that he could tell me the customers paid my salary
and put his kids through school
so that he could give me a routine psychological evaluation
but never once giving me the gentle mercy of firing me
i remember sitting in my car
in the parking lot of the wine store
drinking half a six pack or two tallboys
just glaring at that building
before i found the courage to walk on in
and start the retail horror show all over again
i remember getting drunk on my lunch
at an old man bar across the street
spending saturdays drinking wine samples
until i couldn’t see
only i don’t remember how i made it home most nights
my wife
the rent
our life
the chance to one day maybe see france or italy or anywhere
and i remember them working us nine til nine
every day for over a month
when thanksgiving and christmas came
how i grew to hate christmas carols
how i still can’t hear them
how that little napoleon watched me work for twelve hours
building booze display after booze display
hauling case upon case, as customers crawled up my ass
how he then pulled me into his office
to tell me what a shit job i was doing
how i needed to be more of a people person
be a little ray of sunshine, he said
to remind me about the wine-soaked pants
and the dirty shirt and the facial hair i refused to shave
i remember thinking
how i could commit murder if i put my mind to it
i remember drinking vodka
straight from a mag bottle in my car on my dinner break
watching the customers stroll into the store in santa hats
not a goddamned care in the world
how they must’ve worked better jobs
found the buffalo, new york that had alluded me
i remember how the months moved
like dragging anvils across broken glass
how the want ads still held nothing for me
the hopelessness in a saturday night driving down delaware avenue
too tired to fuck
too tired to sleep
too shell-shocked from the hoi polloi to even go out to dinner
another month of nine to nine shifts
for inventory in that metal warehouse city
the christ wound i received on my side
cut from a nail on a case of french wine
that cost two-hundred dollars a bottle
i remember suicidal thoughts
thinking that i didn’t want to be bukowski or anybody
how i was sick of being myself
nothing but a wine clerk in buffalo
on eight bucks an hour
and i remember the sinking stench of failure
when i woke up the next morning
hungover immaculate
the scent of stale beer and wine in my nostrils
having to rise up out of that warm bed
to do it all again.


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