33

Larry Bird

Jesus Christ

Early Ending

Projected Omen

A Brief History of Timing

I’d prefer for the first time
that we drunkenly kissed
in that kitchen full of beers
upon beers and more beers
to not be the last time for us.

Maybe we could figure out
teleportation or telepathy
and get our delicate hands on
each other’s lips again sometime—
I’ll take a stab if you take a stab.

A Poem Is A Poem

I apologize for my nuisance.
I apologize for my nooses.

But no one ever really tries
To annoy or commit suicide.

I’m not asking for any credit,
But I still think I deserve some.

And I ask what is the difference
Between the spoken and written?

A Simple Question

A young man asks the world,
“Do you know the true meaning of Jihad?”

To which the world replies,
“Jesus! I need a cigarette right about now.”

A Slurping Gruel

I am inhibited
in my place of
inhabitance.

And in habit,
I am smoking
in chains,
and drinking
in arms.

But those
in strain,
I feel for,
and those
in pain,
I feel for,
and those
in vain,
I feel for;

but even more,
I feel for
those who
enable
poor decisions.

Why do people
compound war
like Kurosawa
and
make excuses
for bad taste
like Kanye?

A Twelve Pack (Of Premature Resolutions)

1. I am going to leave this hostel façade.
2. I am going to keep every stain.
3. I am going to hike in Reeboks.
4. I am going to build a cabin with Phil and Bill.
5. I am going to paint every wall with winter coats of white.
6. I am going to make the breakfasts I always desired.
7. I am going to increase my desires (slightly).
8. I am going to debate taxes.
9. I am going to vote for myself for President.
10. I am going to recite politically incorrect jokes to nobody.
11. I am going to set fire to old mix tapes.
12. I am going to revise classic rock concept albums.

A Union Wake

Are all we are
weak conduits,
or are we more?
Or more like the
speckled holes
in cracked mortar
between bricks,
like pinholes to
something bigger,
something greater?
I want to believe
positively in things,
more or less, but
dreams only last
so long, don’t they?

ABC Monday

Ashed cigarettes
&
Astrology chatter

Beach hair
&
Back scratches

Cheeseburger wrappers
&
Canned Narraganssets

Acted Out Activism

I have tried to rationally
rationalize your actions,
but that’s about as pointless
as trying to decipher
Alan Alda’s agenda
or arguing over
Jane Fonda
and
Jane Seymour.

Advocate

What do you suggest
to do when you’re dry
on precautionary tactics
and it won’t stop raining?

Ageism

Why are people always talking about the kids and not talking to the kids? I love being young, but I'm no Peter Pan motherfucker. I will age well. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me. Oh, that reminds me—I'm pretty sure I saw drunk Christian Slater on the M23 on Wednesday night. No. It couldn't have been him. Either way, this guy looked like shit, and so does Christian Slater.

Agnosticism

Ants are fighting on my TV screen and there’s backyard wrestling about to begin a few blocks away. I’m getting less and less directly confrontational lately. So I call up my ghost friends to play cards and smoke cigars. I think that would beat the shit out of doing more cartwheels by the old man’s hot dog stand. No, I do not want your weiner! Give me a break. Somebody, please give me a break. I’ll give you a break if you give me a break. Let’s take an hour lunch break next week and go look at some art together. I think galleries should be more like Planned Parenthood, but continue to stay free for everybody. You know? Like maybe they could offer some more tangible and pragmatic services and like maybe they could piss off some more people. What percentage of galleries’ services do you think are abortion services? We don’t have to be prodded like voiceless vaginas. We can live forever, if we want. Don’t sweat death. Hey, maybe if we hold our breath for long enough, we might be able to understand that every moment has its person and every person has its moment. Oh, well, you know…I agnostically love most things. I just want to make a connection, like that one scene in E.T. or something. Do you know what I’m talking about? It can be any scene you want, actually. What’s your favorite scene? Oh, wait, wait…press pause. There? No. There. Yeah, that’s fine. Print that old-ish blurry image out on your color printer and hang it up on your bedroom wall. Think of me when you look at it. Press your right index finger up against it when you miss me. Smear your greasy fingerprints all over it and tell me that you agnostically love me too.

Ah!

I’m gay,
you’re gay,
we’re all gay
for screams.

Air

Sometimes,
the skelebones girl
from college
sends me messages,
and I never knew
I wanted them
until I received them
and then I’m like,
“Oh hey, thanks
for the newfangled
fare of flirting.”

So now after
that first moment
of thinking of her
in her skin tight
ribbed tank top,
I think about her
possible hospital
issues and views,
but that’s probably
under cufflinks
and controlled by now.

Airflow

Some people call
An open pair of legs
A filthy whore, but
I call it good airflow.

Alphabeta Male

What do you expect of me, really?
I’m only a man. I’m not a dick. I’m
not a pussy. I’m only a man. And I
am just barely a man at that. Your
accusations are acidic, you know?
They bleached my chest. And they
bleached my crotch. I don’t know
how well I can continue to wear
these vile garments. I’m worn out.
I think I’ll flee to Greece and eat
Souvlaki on the Aegean. They do
have Souvlaki in Greece, right? I
think I’ll drown my sorrows in the
sea. No. I think I’ll undress olive-
skinned women beneath the dimly
mirroring crescents. I’m only a man.
I’m not a dog. I’m not a cat. I’m, I’m
only a man. I’m an Alphabeta Male.

Altered Egos

Drinking nail polish remover
while sitting in a tiger’s mouth
on the skirted outfield lawn
of a home galaxy baseball field
is one of many new past times
documented in the multi-novels,
so graphically written by one
self-proclaimed sports journalist.

From what I have read so far,
he is convinced of catch on’s
and refuses checkered cloth
for picnic tables set for the sun;
there are no fans inside or out,
so we must torch the pavement
fantasies we outlined in chalk,
and replace them with bad trips.

Ambassador

Come to my desk,
or I’ll come to yours.

We can sign mutual papers
of consent and resolution—
I am content on resolution,
and I want a game over.

The final stage
of boredom
is upon us.

Anachronist

Part of me admires
your nonchalant quest
back to the future of antiquity.

Part of me salutes
your unflinching resistance
to any capitalist gimmick.

But mainly, I question
your full-fledged ignorance
of how taste gets digested.

Does any part of you
feel nauseous after seeing
your decisions sample sold?

Animal Spirit

I will seduce you
like a black poodle
at a dog park
with no owner
in sight.

Even cat ladies
cannot resist
my lap-sing charm.

I will serenade you
like a black cobra
on a bazaar rug
with no master
in sight.

Even rich bitches
cannot resist
my caste-call charm.

Another Musing

Bar soap is annoying,
but cleanliness is important
and Irish springs are beautiful.

I wouldn’t actually know, myself;
I’ve never really left this country,
but I’ve been told about Europe.

I’d like to go eat a pastry in Paris
before I die the death I’ve dreamed,
before I’m buried below Rimbaud.

You know, watching apples decay
can make any person kind of
want to live a little longer.

Anthem

I jumped into the fire
at the Styrofoam tavern
and sulked till I sailed
and contradicted myself
again till I scraped nails
on tasteful vintage décor.

You told me to digress,
but I want to avoid stress;
I want to be a stranger
to old habits and danger—
four string quartets
will play my new anthem.

Anxiety

For every error,
there is an errand
necessary to rectify
the recurring neurotic
embarrassment.

And how about this?
Any kid with a doting mother
or an overbearing girlfriend
can get his hands on some
Klonopin or Ativan.

But me, on the other hand—
I have to pack things
into containers
as best as I can,
and get freebies
from kids like these
and mix them with
cheap Polish beer
from the corner store
just to get some sleep.

Appetite

It’s Sunday, 3:36 PM.
I have not yet eaten today.
I fed my belly well last night:
tequila, beer, wine, beer.

I want to write a poem,
but I’d rather adventure
on Roosevelt Island,
or some other island—
there are so many options.

But there aren’t any buses
left today and this is final.
I mean, this is the last day
I can sit on summer chairs
on planks that should be
placed in retirement homes.

Ah, I’m really looking forward
to new days and new ways.
It’s strange to think how
next week, everything is
going to speed up like one
of those Japanese monorails.

Yet, like a passenger on one
of those trains, I feel no fear.
It’s sobering to move so fast,
so freely, particularly when
you’re a passenger in a pair.

And now, it’s 3:59, almost 4:00.
There have been no grumbles.
I only want to drink black coffee
for a while; it’s a trusty employee.

Arm & Hammer & Sickle

Why is brushing your teeth so difficult
of an action when you’re depressed?
Does the back and forth, back and forth
movement of bringing your arm across
the mirror as you watch toothpaste and
saliva mix and drip down your feeble face
like Alka-Seltzer, like white mouth lava,
seeping past your toothbrush as you see
a fresh Romero zombie looking right back
at you, bring you down, further down into
the playpens of existence? I know it makes
me feel undead most days. And on some days,
I feel like I’m in a Cold War with myself, with
everyone else in this expired granola world.
But on other days, I feel like Beckett. I feel
like I have something to prove. I feel like
I have a Joyce to kill off, then to dig up,
only to bury again. I have endless graves.
I feel like if I brush my teeth on enough
weekdays, I can take the weekend off
and be cavity-free. Oh, and what about
flossing? Back and forth, back and forth.

Armored Phrases

When she speaks,
it’s armored phrases.

When we meet,
we humor phases.

Regardless,
it all comes back
to the fact
that I always
feel like a legal clerk,
dictating
and
analyzing.

Arthur Miller

I called Arthur Miller up last night
and I told him I was going to walk
right into the Atlantic Ocean to die.

He said, “I’m so sorry, my poor boy.
I think you have the wrong number.
Please check and dial again. Okay?”

I said, “Is this Arthur Miller?”

He said, “Yes, it sure is…how did you get my number?”

I said, “The White Pages.”

He said, “Why are you calling me?”

I said, “Because the one I wanted is dead.”

Assholder

hey
do me a favor
please
hold on
to my ass
for me

I need to rush
up on out
of here
and I can’t bring
my barely there
derriere

treat it like
a dog
or something
you have
to watch
for someone

you can
do it
you can
dance with it
you can
do whatever

what a relief
this is
this is
such a relief
you need
some relief

turn on
the AM radio
turn the
dial back
and forth
until progress

this is not
one of those
political songs
mainly because
this is not
a song at all

Astrology

As soon as I think I am
in the garbage disposal
with some raw veggies,
I process what I need to;
and the vitamins drain
like I’m told they should—
I garble every word said
and gobble Tom’s future;
it looks brighter than the
daily horoscope predicted.

Astronomy

Sun,
won’t you
please give me
the massage I need?

Moon,
won’t you
please give me
the message I need?

Earth,
won’t you
please give me
a fucking break already?

At Dawn

Eat pavement
Chew grit
Swallow holes
Digest the dust
And scatter your ashes
That collect in slow motion
From each public slip-up.

Atrophy vs. Apathy

Am I wasting myself away?

and/or

Do I not even care anymore?

Auctioned

This tag is tight,
This price is wrong,
This light is long,
This day is night.

Here’s a box cutter,
Here’s a straight edge,
Here’s a thumbs up off,
Here’s my final request.

Autumnal

I asked you to call me when you were done with whatever your agenda was for today. By the time you called, I was spent; I had spent the second day in a row of Internetting and being bitten by bugs. My blood must be rare, my flow must be menstrual—I am always covered in bumps, and now it’s fall, so what gives? I give up when it comes to fun. I read another article in the Times about cynics, skeptics, and protests; you know, I feel like maybe change is near, but what is the barometer? This afternoon, I got to the canal and I thought about the wealthy a few steps away, and I thought the rain would wash my pain away. But lately, every hour is an episode of Twin Peaks or just an episode of my own civil wars, broadcasted for viewers bored of cable and shit. There is no reality when there is no reality. And the reality is, our odds are about as good as a diabetic racehorse. My dreams are getting worse. I convulse like an epileptic, nightly. And not all seizures are similar. But mine are seismic. The sizes mimic prior fights; I mean, struggles. I mean, I am an American. I mean, I am a Gladiator. I will battle in cold or in heat. Hey, what do they say about Continental Climates? I think they make people temperamental. On a barren street, occasionally traveled by oversized children, pothead cabbies, and lonely hookers, I smoked a Winston Red and used my X-Ray vision to look through buildings taller than Godzilla to see buildings taller than the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to see far away fantasies. But then I got local. I slapped myself with a present (the present). I walked through the garage door, left open to release the toxins. They are everywhere, you know? Everything is infected. Everything is affected. I am no exception. I am no stranger. I am just a patient. And sometimes, I can be patient. But not always. Not this week. Not these past few weeks. This afternoon, I was standing in a heather grey building, sheltered from heather grey skies, sheltered in a heather grey sweatshirt, and I stared in submission at one of the few who understand. I threw up my hands and grasped my lunch box. I always skip lunch, but not this Saturday. I was like, “You know, Mike, I might move somewhere else soon—this place is just becoming too much for life; I don’t know if I want to live anymore.” He was like, “I thought about shooting myself this morning; but then I decided to just do what I had to do, which was the same thing I had to do yesterday.” Isn’t that the way we all live, every day? The same as the day before…

Avant-garde

There is no avant-garde.

There are just those
who don’t feel obligated
to pick up after their dog
and who spike the punch
at adult-oriented parties.

I overhear these folks
talking in the corner
about Allen Ginsburg
and George Brecht
and about the days
when parents were
the age we are now
and about the army
that fought the army
and how no amount
of pepper spray
or censored cutbacks
from the NEA
could stop them
from telling the truth.

I sip on my punch
and I say to them,
“George Brett was cool too.”

They say to me,
“Dude, we know…
you obviously overheard us.”

And I ask them,
“Anyways, what’s he have to do
with putting dog shit in a bag?”

And I think to myself,
“Shit in a bag could either be
a Fluxus piece or a baseball gag.”

Then I walk away in silence.

Back Knee

Part of me
Wants you
To pop.

Part of me
Wants you
To lock.

Bad Connection

I’m cut off;
I’m cut out.

You’re cut off;
You’re cut out.

We’ve got a bad connection.

I don’t know
If it’s the service.

I don’t know
If it’s the weather.

But we’ve got a bad connection.

Bad Day

My shower head
punched me
in the face
this morning.

Then a two-by-four
raped my neck
for fostering
a good future.

Now I’ve got a gash
and a sort of rash
my swollen sorrows
can’t possibly match.

Bail Bonds

I lost the wood glue
you gave me, friend.
I’m only competent
with power tools,
so I’m lost altogether.

I’m working on newly
sculpted structures,
formed by fear of
moving on, but you
have left me enough

times for me to have
no fear at all; none at all.
These times are tenuous
and I hear it’s only getting
worse in the real world.

I have stuck it out with
every past willing person
and you’re no different.
Oh coyote, don’t cut ties
and run with the patterns.

Baltimore

Baltimore ain’t so bad, baby—
you just gotta let go of your baby,
and ignore the news for one night.

Bangers and Mashers

Watch your lip
when you’re surrounded
by vegans and Nazis;
better yet,
watch your calendar
and black out
all straight edge dates
if you want
to stay fresh
and nimble.

Otherwise,
their infested bubbles
will crush you
and your Zen temple.

Bassmasters

I want to go fishing with my father,
but he is hours away, no matter
where I am at any moment. Lucky
for me, I have a Jamaican opera singer
for a best friend, who happens to be
a Bassmaster. Or at least, I like to think
of him as one. And he is usually closer.
I’m on vacation from real life for now.
But in a month or so, I am going to give
him a call and we’ll go to the bait and
tackle shop, we’ll get a twelve pack
of Samuel Adams, and we’ll go down
to The Crick, and he can teach me how
to catch things and keep them for good.

Bearded Lady

If you only shaved,
I could see myself
starting a life with
you and your tricks.

Becoming

You appear
to be
hard of hearing.

I seem
to be
hard of breathing.

My lungs
are wrung
around raw ruts.

Your ears
are dug
under ground dung.

What might
be shit
surely gets shat.

What might
become
real often becomes.

Bed Bugs

If you choose
to be ignorant,
some humans
will suck you
dry, just like
the infesting
and irritating
insects that
never simply
want to cuddle.

Being There

My cell phone rang. It rang again. I picked up. “Kit Jay Vahrdee?” I heard come from the speaker. “Kit Jay Vahrdee?” the female voice repeated. I said, “This is Keith J. Varadi. Who is this?” The woman on the other line said, “Kit, I have a very special one-time offer for you.” I said, “Will you relieve me of all my debt and buy every single piece of art I have made since I was eighteen?” She said, “Kit, I am not sure what you are talking about, but I have important news for you about your home mortgage payments?” I said, “Oh yeah? You’re buying me a house? In Sonoma County, California? That’s so sweet of you.” She said, “Kit, I still don’t know what you are talking about, but I can help you lower the interest on your monthly payments.” I said, “You have interest in paying all of my monthly bills from this point forward?” She said, “Kit, I feel like we are having a difficult time understanding each other.” I said, “This is my life.” She said, “You are a very confusing man, Kit.” I said, “I know.” We hung up at the same time. I decided to watch Being There, again. This is my life.

Believer

If I wrote power chords
to stand these words
up for themselves,
maybe, just maybe
the pursed-lipped,
anus-puckering,
shirt-tucking
vacuum cleaners
at literary journals
would be interested
in the poems I submit.

No, they wouldn’t…
they’re cowardly pups,
beaten down by the treading
of the casual mountain boots
their shaggy-bearded superiors sport.

They’re all snipped servants:
Boxers, Labs, and Rottweilers,
still trying to please their Michael Vicks,
haplessly hoping for that promise;
but we all know the T-Bone truth—
metaphorical blow jobs count for squat.

And anyways, these hobbyist golf caddies
don’t like attitudes or unfiltered cigarettes;
they prefer the flaccid, validated sounds
of Dave Eggers and various other pussies.

I believe that from this point on—
2:24 A.M. on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011—
anything I write will only be published by request.

And not by any of the chickenshit dickholes
who spilled their decaf soy lattes on my poems
they wish they had the fortitude to stroke out.

Berserker

Let the party monster
come out, bud. Don’t dare
be afraid. Goad your prey
like a good boy should.

Best Friend

I’ll roll over
anytime
for you,
like a golden retriever,
if you promise
to rub my belly
and not yell
like my previous owners.

Better Days

Drum fills fill
the doldrums
and arpeggios
shimmer like
gold slippers.

Oh, I’m sleepy.

Once, you told
me not to use
that word—
maybe it was
a poor choice.

But here, it fits.

These boxes are
so blue, so over
being moved—
and can even you
blame them now?

Back to better days…

Big Deal

If you’re still in transience,
So what?

You can stay in that non-state
For as long as you’d like.

You can steal something else,
Somewhere else for all I care.

You can sell seashells or yell
At ignorance on cell phones.

You can squat on either coast
Or in dust or the desert, desolate

And destitute; as far as I knew,
You were stabbing soil on new
Continents with black flags of
Your skewed and skewered
Glory. I guess I’ll never know.

But you,
My fragile friend…

You’re out
Of your mind if you think

I’m going to donate any more time,
Make any more change, or ask
Any more favors of myself for your
Sickened benefit, okay?

Big Gulp Coke

I wonder what would happen
if I put more reverb on the weary,
wary words I have found to be so
hard to balance lately. Walking your
tightrope lines while I carry a scythe
or sickle is ensured death with no
insurance. But still, I can’t help myself.
Reap what you sow. Right? Memory
crops. Cropped memories. Could I
maybe cleanse your attitude? Note to
self: don’t talk back. Soap in mouth.

When I hear sad songs drown their
words in echoed sound, I can trap
myself in the moments between
moments. Oh, what a feeling! It’s like
getting a hand job while driving on
back roads in Eastern Pennsylvania.
I’m badly in need of that feeling now.

For now, I’ll settle for a Big Gulp Coke.

Billboard Nostalgia

Argyle Gargoyle/Sock Hop Statue:
What a spooky, ancient idea!

Casey Kasem, Ron Howard:
Call me now! Or call me later!

Birds and Shit

I am always impressed
by birds whose wingspan
are wider than my own.

I have recurring dreams
where if I flap my arms
enough, I begin to float.

I never quite eagle soar.
It’s more like a Flying Nun
vibe, but more awkward.

I want that sort of freedom.
I watch those birds doing
as they please and I sulk.

I want a Jameson with ice.
I don’t ever like to say,
“On the rocks, please.”

I wonder what it’d be like
to slice through the sky
after a few stiff drinks.

What’s really scary to me?
Dying or getting arrested?
There are no cops above.

I’m going to walk a few miles
down to that lighthouse today
and flap my arms until I faint.

Birthday Party

Just the other day,
Alex found my first grey hair.
In a few more years,
there will hopefully be a few
dozen more to find.

Tomorrow night,
I want to throw a party for myself.
I want to bring together all the locals.
I want an indoor American picnic.
I want Manifest Destiny in a thirty pack.

If it were up to me,
Bruce Willis would take us all
on a landlocked booze cruise
and we wouldn’t come back
until we saw the sun
the way Caspar David Friedrich did.

What do you say, Wes?
What do you say?

Blessing

On the walk home
from the supermarket,
an older Polish man
with a gap-toothed smile
told me that God loves me
and to not give up on life.

I’m sure I looked worn out—
I was up until four,
drinking Stroh’s with bros,
dancing to Duran Duran
like a dandy doofus
in the Brooklyn Amazon.

And I spent all day today
walking around the city
with out-of-towners,
smoking foreign cigs,
trying to get misted
every chance we could.

But by the time we met,
I don’t know what reason
he had to think I was down,
other than extreme fatigue—
that said, I am grateful
for his gracious blessing.

Bloody Mouth

When I woke up this morning,
I rose from my floor mattress
and there was a cramp-like feeling
that instantly shot up both of my legs
and sustained itself from the webbing
in my toes up my poles to my hipbones.

I slowly slid my feet, one after the next,
against the mahogany hardwood floors
then ivory black tiles, one after the next,
of my still newish (for both of us) apartment.

My mouth tasted like iron and wine—
now that I’m a real grown up adult,
I seriously fucking hate that band.

I looked in the bathroom mirror (for minutes),
ready to brush my teeth (likely for minutes),
when I realized my teeth were bleeding.

I thought about the night before,
before I began to fade into dreaming.
And I thought about the night before that.
And I thought about the day that came first
and how I hadn’t heard from you since I left
and how you didn’t seem fazed now or then—
this always seemed like a dream scenario,
until it was real life and now I’m confused.

Did you bloody my mouth,
or was that a dream too?

Blow

We blow fuses
as easily as
we blow loads.

Blue and You

Pray
tell,
pray
and
prey,
and
tell
me
every
thing
you
think
might
make
me
die
before
the
sun
rises.

Body

Your body
is the vestal temple
that religions promote.

Your body
is the powder prayer
that reigns addiction.

Your body
is the furtive storm
waiting to be chased.

Your body
ripples and curls,
cripples and furls.

Your body
folds advertisements
back into themselves.

Your body
brings mine back home
when it’s worn out hard.

Boredom

I’m bored like a pair
of indigo Levi’s 501’s.

I used to make claims
boredom was a stranger.

But now it follows me
like a celebrity stalker.

I need to do laundry;
man, that’s so boring.

Born To Die

I was born a ripper;
You were born grim.

I will know your life
For the rest of mine.

You wanted this
And I wanted you.

There is no famine,
But I am still on strike.

Balk at my walk;
You refuse to talk.

I will not die in perish;
I will not die in parish.

Braille

When I’m with you,
all I can see is beauty;
but even if I were blind,
I’d still be able to feel it.

Brainforest

I wish I had an alleyway
to myself, leading to a
garden that someone
else took care of; I know
I would always forget to
water something. And
speaking of water, I’d
like to have a jacuzzi
in the center of all of the
vegetation. Me and you
and all our friends could
drink margaritas and sit
stationary in the hot swirling
bubbles, blowing off steam.
How nice would it be to chat
like tropical birds about any
topical or silly shit we want
in my tucked-away urban
Brainforest? I probably need
to start selling some paintings.

Brainstorm

The trees on my street
are dancing like palms
in the Caribbean right now.

I’d rather be dancing
in your palms (instead)
of sitting in the dark,

watching buckets of water,
thinking of foggy Pennsylvania,
and running movie marathons.

B(r)eaches

I’ll walk
from
Fort Lee
to
Fort Tilden.

I’ll swallow
ecstasy
and swim
in
ecstasy.

I’ll search
for
my name
in
tides.

I’ll bury
mine
and search
for
more.

Bread and Butter

When we walk,
we shall lock.

When we talk,
we shall caulk.

I will keep you safe;
I will keep you sturdy—

no steel beam can ever
divide or come between.

Let me butter your bread
until my hands shriek stiff,

In the semi-structured days
of our semi-polished lives.

Breakfast Surprise

Give me some eggs,
and whatever else
you have in your
fridge, and I’ll give
you a surprise—
this could be every
morning, if you don’t
get tired of routine.

Bret

You are the best
librarian for me.

Your seasoned crystal ball
never fails my cued queue.

Broke Again

Once in a while,
I can feel my heart
skip a few beats,
and I remember
what it really means
to breathe; and it’s
at that moment
when I decide to
immediately light
another cigarette—
you know I’m not
lying when I say
I don’t care about
tomorrow’s promises.

Broken English

Sometimes, some things
are so beautifully spoken,
I wonder what’s the point
of trying to fix them at all.

Brooklyn, Tonight

“Oh, so you’re a racist?” says the Missed Connection. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” says the boy with murky regionalism. “I’d rather die than live in this apartment one day longer,” says the alter ego. “I’m giving up,” says the alter ego’s girlfriend. “You’re a nickel short,” says the cashier whose beer slimed his entire night’s outfit. “Not my problem,” says the Disgruntled Duo of International Meter Maids. Everything sucks in Brooklyn, tonight.

Brown Leaves

Oh, brown leaves
fall in autumn time.
And brown leaves
again in the spring.

And every square
inch of soiled side-
walk is a reminder
of self-improvement.

Buddha

You can tell me
anything,
but you can’t
cook me
a vegan meal
when you
promised me
nourishment.

Buffet

You are a sick man;
why do you need
anything to make
you any sicker?

Buttzville, NJ

I would like
to have a sit-down
dinner
with whoever
it was
that decided to design,
I mean,
name and establish
this strange, small town,
I mean,
strange small village.

We will sit
face to face
across
from each other
at a slender wooden dining table,
approximately
the length of a public swimming pool
and
we will stare at each other
like
Michael Keaton
and Kim Bassinger
until
one of us cracks
like
Jack Nicholson.

Clogged

Most of the time,
dreams just need
to get plunged
and flushed
in order to come
back up to you.

Closed Captions

What is art direction?
What is the direction of art?

(Ugh)

Scoffing is a decent response
to most things asked of you.

(Ugh)

I find myself feeling foreign
every time I take a corner.

(Ugh)

Truly, if taken far enough,
anything can go anywhere.

(Ugh)

The English Channel
is just the BBC to me.

(Ugh)

I am a better surfer
than a swimmer.

(Ugh)

Floating is good exercise,
if you want to find an angel.

(Ugh)

I am no kind of miracle,
but I do have some beliefs.

(Ugh)

CPR

You know what?
Right now,
I want to eat
an entire bottle
of ibuprofen,
because my head
hurts from today.

And today,
I feel depressed,
but mainly
I want to be the victim.

And I want to be
the receiver
of CPR,
because CPR
is the most beautiful
thing
ever invented.

At least
that’s what I think
at this exact moment,
in my life of brevity.

Camp Out

My webbed toes
don’t help me swim.

My bent fingers
don’t help me build.

My body is like
a collapsible tent.

I think I might
go camp out soon.

Camping with Harold

You can’t have any fun
without having any trust;
be weary of what you will.

If you go camping with Harold,
he might try to get devilish
before you’re eaten by bears.

This is the end of times;
this is like black leather,
hung on fishing lines.

Cancellations

The marquee says
what it needs to,
but you need to question
it
(anyways),
but I do not
question you
for your need—
I am equally curious
about why rhythm
needs the blues
and/or
why either needs
to make excuses
for our own
shortcomings.

Cancer

Maybe
I’m a
hypo-
chondriac
or
maybe
this bump
will be
the death
of me.

Capo

Squeeze strung sounds
so smoothly, so soothing
that the desperation hides
behind sweet licked limbs.

Catapult

Where have I been?

Looking in my catapult
to see what I’ve got
to shoot your way.

Why are you so far

away?

Cat and Mouse

If I could, I would
remove my tonsils
with whatever utensils
were readily available;
because as things are,
I feel like I swallowed
a mouse whole and
a cat is scratching
to get it out.

Catharsis

Stages are meant
to embarrass,
so that’s why
I stand at sea level

With you,
and him,
and her,
and them

But now and then,
even I choose
to climb ladders
and look below

Check Republic

In theory,
we the people
hold some power
in this house
of cards,
so let’s shuffle,
and carry
our weight
to drop
on the toes
of the politicians,
sleeping or sleazing—
if you can’t hear us,
might you feel us?

Watch the stacks
and stacks
of paper,
white and green,
topple and tumble,
until their humbled.

Checked Out

My mama
could not
be prouder
and sometimes
that is enough
to wake up
and not want
to sink in
to sheets
or headhang
on Sheetrock
until I crack
and break
through walls
to decode
locked worth
like a manic
chess master
on vacation
at Fort Knox.

Cheers

I’m sitting solo
in a backyard
advertised as public,
but private for now.

I’m slouching as usual,
sunken in a school chair.

The chair is primary
(in color)
and secondary
(in function).

My ass is almost
level with my ankles.

I’m sipping on rosé,
and I’m feeling okay;
I’m skipping socializing,
but I’m feeling just fine.

Chelsea, Lately

A muffin for breakfast and a muffin for dinner. I feel like shit. I feel like shitting. Every building I bump into is depressed. And what about all these Rainy Day Women? They are cracking up and filling out puddles. Big birds suck up feminine sky sweat and feed it to their young. These peeps tweet their troubles to others as if humans have eyes or ears. Well, we do. But we see evil. We hear evil. And we do nothing. I’m on like my fifth coffee today and I’m on my way to a dude’s night out. And some other dudes are protesting labor union wages on the corner, near the sad, raunchy wildlife. And some other dudes are playing street hockey by the historical lesbian convention. And some other dudes are sucking fumes, debating who was the sexiest James Bond outside the manicured dude gym. Dudes, dudes, dudes. Motley crews. Old news.

Chess

Isn't it funny,
in a way,
the way
that we move
on and over,
up and down,
through people
throughout life?

When someone
calls another person
a pawn,
the recipient
might take offense,
without going on offense,
which makes them
more of a queen,
without the drag
or the drama.

Chicago

I am going to take
a weekend trip
to Chicago this fall,
so I can learn some
fingerpicking blues.

I need to be prepared
for the most extreme
desperation possible;
plus, I just want to visit
my newlywed friends.

Chicken Bone Tumbleweed

My adopted little sister squirted out a new anecdote
earlier this afternoon. It was like mayonnaise, slipping
through layers of brief nourishment. I always take it.
I’ll always take it. I always take pleasure and amusement;
umm, pleasure and amazement in her endless endearment.

So anyways, we shimmied in the sun on the way
to get caffeine; mine cold, hers warm. Got it. Okay.
The ice cubes in my plastic cup melted as soon as I
walked out of the plastic coffee shop. I was recently
informed of a genius idea—ice cubes made of coffee.
I want those. Why is that not a required regulation
enforced by city code or some other self-imposed
authority? Oh, and why do police officers still give me
the stink-eye? There are no pit stains on my shirts.
There are no holes in my pants. I have a clean hair
cut and shave almost every day. I smell like a baby,
freshly bathed in rain. I hide the alcohol on my breath.

It would be impossible for these assholes to have seen me
or my art or to have read my poetry before. Wouldn’t it? I am
camouflage. My art is a greased pig. My poetry is a trap door.
You cannot enter. You cannot penetrate. You cannot fuck me,
or fuck me over. I am over the hill already and I have barely begun.

Oh.
Well.
I’ll just roll with the chicken bone tumbleweed my sister told me about.

Chihuahua Woman

Oh,
That cackle is menacing!
It
Haunts me at night!
I
Cannot remember my dreams!
For
All I hear is…

HA!
HA!
HA!
HA!
HA!
HA!

Christmas Eve

Auto mechanic pyromaniacs
saved the preacher’s baby—
for once, an interesting story
on the local nighttime news—
I’m going to be going home soon,
and I’m sure I’ll hear some tales—
hey, we can drink Old Germans
with Old Polish and hold on to them—

Civics

Some men sleep on caterpillars,
Some men sleep on cats.

Some women speak in Braille,
Some women speak in bras.

Some people do gymnastics,
Some people do the right thing.

Civilization

We are rife
with rights
and rites,

but what
we need
is to feed

our hearts
with livers
to stay alive.

Clarity

If I could make
it any clearer
how I feel
about clarity,
I would be
probably
be an eraser
or a meteorologist.

Classic Cults

We’ve learned to walk in circles
from watching walked out lines.

Roles reversed.

No more prescriptions,
no more fraternal affairs,
and we might get somewhere.

Shut your doors
and
sit your asses.

Clean your hands
and
clear your heads.

Never forget:

If you keep a dirty drain,
you’ll keep a dirty brain.

And if you can’t take a joke,
you ought to take the jump.

Classy Lady

I am a classy lady—
I drink my Merlot
from scavenged
coffee mugs.

Q: Do you know about nurses?

A: They call the shots.

Q: Do you know about yuppies?

A: They are proper people.

I am a classy lady—
I wear Umbro shorts
when I’m on the lam
from dust or disaster.

(…press conference…)

(…press delete…)

(…press on…)

Cleveland, OH

When the Ukranian Bear
revolted this city looked
like post-World War II
France, he wasn’t lying.

Clint Eastwood

Oh, how I so wish I could
write you a proper homage,
but that British slacker dude
already drew first blood, dude.

Clock Pit

So, so, so stoically,
I wait for departure.
Like old garden stones
and discarded architecture,
this too could crumble.

There is no longer
an agency or academy
for me to grapple with.
I have nothing to prove
and no one to prove wrong.

Twelve hands invested
in my day-to-day attempts.
I refuse to accept lost time.
I deny denials. I collect receipts.
I will not die of transportation.

Nor is suicide an option for me.
I have not lied about anything
not actually worth lying about,
which means I am an honest man.
How long do honest men live today?

Clogged

Most of the time,
dreams just need
to get plunged
and flushed
in order to come
back up to you.

Most of us though
are too afraid
to roll up our sleeves
or take off our shirts
or even buy a plunger,
and that’s a problem.

Clubbed In The Head

If I drink enough cheap vodka
and listen to electronic music,

you might think
I am an asshole;

but I might think
tonight can be

recyclable,
somehow.

Cobblers

When you’re asked to wear another person’s shoes,
do you ask what size they wear? Or do you man up
and squeeze your toes together like a sweaty group of
Mormon children, packed together in the back of a van?
Or do you tie the laces just a little bit tighter than usual
so that your feet don’t shift back and forth in isolation
like prisoners buried beneath the deck of a pirate ship?
Or do you pretend like you can’t hear anything at all,
sliding your comfortable, worn-in shoes across your lawn,
waving to your neighbors on your way to your mailbox?
Do their shoes fit them equally as well as yours fit you?
Maybe we could swap shoes like baseball cards or pogs
once in a while. Maybe we could play Wall Street like girls
used to play house. Maybe we could become cobblers,
together, and cobble our problems away, together. Maybe.

Cocoa

Taste buds don’t lie;
I don’t trust suspicious
flavors of flesh either—
regardless of hotness.

Coffee As A Metaphor

Today, I thought for probably too long;
I thought, “How do some people fuck up
coffee?” and then I thought, “Why do I
bother myself with questions like these?”
Part of me really hates myself for being
so Goddamn concerned with such life
details, but it’s not like I concern myself
with other people’s issues; not unless
they ask me to. I don’t want anyone to
think of me as a nuisance. But back to
what I was saying. The other part of me
is kind of proud of the fact that I concern
myself with these life details. Part of me
is disappointed that more people just
accept weak, bland, and excruciatingly
acidic coffee. They’ll do it every morning.
Folger’s, Maxwell House, Nescafe; fucking
Nescafe?! With close to a two to one water
to coffee ratio. What is the matter with
some people? And don’t get me started
on decaf. Listen, I’m not a coffee snob.
I’m not suggesting slow drip or French press
or any of that excessive, unnecessary stuff.
That’s kind of the opposite of what I’m
talking about. None of us really need
to clutter our kitchens with one hundred
appliances. But do we really need to be so
meek and submissive and torture ourselves
with rotten routines? I feel like Larry David.
I feel like Bill Murray. I feel like Edward Abbey.
I feel like Henry David Thoreau or Ralph Waldo
Emerson. But why do I somehow feel like whoever
is reading this right now thinks I’m more like a
whacked out guest on the Howard Stern show,
sitting between Wesley Snipes and Baba Booey?

Cold War 2: Iced Tea

Sometime after you’re done
searching for answers,
you look back on being a teenager
and realize your dad was probably right
about most things,
so long as he wasn’t one of those dads
who spent more time at the bar
than at your baseball games
or who beat you or your mom or your siblings
or who molested the girl next door.

And it’s at that point
when you’re like,
“Hey dad, wanna go to a movie or something?”

And it’s at that point
When your dad either decides he wants to be buds
or he’s just too tired to have another friend.

And if your dad is napping
during your request,
you can’t help but think of the Republican party.

And then it’s like high school
all over again.

And it’s like,
“Hey Elephant People,
I’m just trying to party and get laid,
and you’re telling me
if I want braces or acne cream,
I have to pay for it myself?
I work at the mall, guys!”

But then you’re like,
“Hey dad, I get it now…
this is what the Cold War was like, right?
Except now we’re like the Soviet Union, right?”

And that’s when your dad
takes a sip of some whiskey,
cold cocks you in the eye,
and goes next door
to seduce a sophomore.

Colic

Even adults
can cry on
and on for
no apparent
reason, and
in these times,
it’s best to stay
in bed, away
from others
for a while.

Color Analyst

My old landlady called me a nut today. She said it was a joke. I said she is. I don’t need her guilt. I have enough of my own. I miss going to mass, by myself. I miss lighting candles like cigarettes. Oh, oh, oh. I need a reformation. I need to share my guilt. I need to transfer it like money, like gigabytes. But I want my football weekends back, too. More guilt. More guilt. More guilt. I want to slaughter my knees. I want you to smack them with lumber and show me you’re limber. I want my blood to make your eyes swell. I want my words to make your brain swell. Don’t be sorry about anything. You’re a good sport. I would love to play you every day, like an inspirational montage. I’m a good sport too. You know, I’ve always thought I would make a great color analyst. I played quarterback. I made paintings. Yes, I would make a great color analyst.

Comfort Levels

Some people
Feel comfortable
Taking their shoes off
On public transportation.

Some people
Feel comfortable
Exposing intelligence
In higher institutions.

Some people
Feel comfortable
Using any racial slur
In colloquial contexts.

Some people
Feel comfortable
Boasting about murder
On national television.

This person
Feels comfortable
Thinking about hibernation
And extinction, most of all.

Companions

An impaled pizza box drifts like a drunk in the west side of the Bronx. It dribbles itself on cinders and bricks. It drawls on about its past life. It goes psycho, analyzing the coldness and loneliness. Sometimes a pizza box will settle for tacos or fried chicken, and sometimes, it’s the other way around. We all need companions.

Composers

Matisse
and
Mozart
made
millions
of
maniacs
munch
ass
and
I
plan
to
do
the
same
some
day.

Compromise

I want to be by
My lonesome

But

I want to be with
My citrus lady

And

I want to be able
To flex it all

And

I want to be able
To balance bread

So

I sacrifice every
Thing sought solid

So

I can have every
Thing sold back.

Comrade

Synthesize your insides,
and I’ll round out mine.

We can be so much closer,
if you only learn to swim.

I won’t hold your weakness
against you—I will feed you.

Come to me, lightning bolt;
let’s strike others, together!

Conservatism

It’s so easy to lambast distant elderly relatives whose memories are in Technicolor. Why don’t we skip the hatred and walk on brick roads in their orthopedic shoes for a moment? Cold blooded old times. Warm blooded old times. Doves, witches, and wizards can all fly and disappear. It’s magic. It’s mystery. To me, everything is magical and mysterious. And at the same time, it’s depressing how we still segregate ourselves. You like to sit in this building? I like to sit in this other building. We both like to sit in buildings. Let’s go for a walk in a park. What happened to all the parks? What am I doing at this Spanish service? How did I end up at Applebee’s? I don’t want to eat this. I don’t want to drink this. But I indulge this world. There are spirits in this world. Wine, too. I drank some with large families this morning. Lazy Sundays. Not for me. I will hang my head up on my shoulders. I will hang my coat up on your rack. I will hang my shoes up on Wall Street telephone wires. And I will tell you to move forward with me. Hold my hand. I think we need to make the 2% fat free. Help wanted. Help needed. Cameras are not enemies. Oil paint is not so stuffy. Disrobe, engage, float. Don’t be so conservative, I say. Don’t be so conservative, they all say. I think sometimes it takes guts to be conservative. I think it takes intelligence to crack that word, despite all the filler. If you are a conservative, what are you conserving? Maybe I’m conservative? I have something to conserve. I want to conserve compassion. What are you trying to conserve, purists and puritans?

Cops

All cops are born assholes. They have melted iron pumping through their veins. They eat extra salty chips with their Spam and cheese sandwiches. They fellate themselves to The Price Is Right, and they’re all spitters. If we’re lucky, maybe just one cop will be maced in the face or hung by his (or her) nutsack from a New Jersey Scarlet Red Maple tree. If we’re lucky, maybe just one cop will look in the mirror while parting his (or her) hair and realize that the only people sadder than them are the people who pay them—us.

Copy Edit

Even when the letters, words, and sentences
are branded into your brain to the point

where you can smell burned meat, there
is always that one overlooked typo present

simply to force you to scream and lose your
breath as if you have asthma and no inhaler.

Corporeal Ethos

Like Alice Neel’s paintings,
we reveal our insecurities
in an unscrupulous fashion

until all we have are our
naked blemishes for only
ourselves or our lovers

to witness, maybe for only
a few minutes in the mirror
and we criticize the lonely

until clothed again, cloaked
in the shadows of reality,
but what can we ever see?

Counterclockwise Circle Pits

The environment flickers
in sync with energy-saving light bulbs
as we breathe in carbon monoxide
and listen to Krautrock.

Sometimes I wish I had more control
over the heat that’s turned on—
I don’t like all this pressure;
faces melt tenfold in the cold.

Coverage

After all those months of ignorant criticism and after an entire year of critical ignorance, it turns out you were receiving RomneyCare that entire time? When did you start getting covered? No. Don’t tell me. I don’t care. I only ever wanted to make sure you were stable. I only ever wanted to make sure you were healthy. Are you stable? Are you healthy? You can probably guess about me, if you even care. Stability: as stable as I’ve ever been. Health: as healthy as I’ll ever be. You know I hate sleep. It costs too much. But lately, I would prefer not to be awake either. Every day, I say I’m going to eat better. But every time I’m hungry, I just go with Cheerios or pasta. I’ll probably never be able to make a real meal. And I’ve never been able to cook your contradictions into anything more than a famine-inspired stew. I met a good cook recently. She’s a good nurse too. Warm temperature. Cool temperament. East Coast easy living? No way. But you know I need all four seasons. Oh, but I need comfort. I need time. I need space. I need my pillows fluffed. I need my dick sucked. Who doesn’t? But really, I want to peacefully be at home, starting now. Honestly, I can’t take one more day of feeling like a bulldog’s shaved balls scraping against pavement.

Cross

I have built a cross
for you to hang me
and your hatred.

Nail me in real deep,
then burn every inch
of my stiff slenderness.

Cruciform

Subway posters hang
Like burned images,
Stored away in brains,
Sliding digitally
Or otherwise.

But…

For the most part,
They are stationary,
Begging for attention,
Hoping for patience,
Stoned for good.

If…

You can read text
And composition
Up and down,
Left to right,
And backwards,

Well…

You can bleed too,
But do you want
Your work shirt
To be stained
Like some of us?

Crystallized Eyes

What is white
can also be black

And once you go grey,
you are there to stay.

I am a prism refracted,
bending backwards.

I am a casted limb,
shattered by policy.

I am a private eye,
made of ceramic.

You are worth every
penny I don’t have.

Cull Mine

Grab
your
pick-
axe,
shovel,
and
encyclopedia,
and
let’s
figure
this
one
out,
together.

Cupertino

I wonder what significance
might mean in years to come;
maybe somebody else knows
out West, out West in Cupertino.

Cut (From The Team)

I think my finger is infected.
It’s nobody’s fault, I guess.
Am I going to lose my finger?
No, I just think my finger is infected, I guess.
Am I going to die soon?
No; I just think my finger is infected, I guess.
I hope I’m not cut from the team.
It’ll be okay, I guess.

Cutter

You cut in and out
like a bad breaker.

Oh!

The ocean
and roads
surround
us forever!

You cut my abdomen
like oldies at the Elks.

Oh!

The woods
and songs
surround
us forever!

D.I.Y.

Okay, go do in yourself
by planting your ideals
in gardens of solidarity
behind mega mansions,
or giant superstructures,
built by poor Hispanics
and Steve Perry songs.

Those on the 13th floor
will never look to see
your tombstone ways
from the mud-stained
windows up in the sky
that their poor maids
continue to neglect.

Dancing

I’ll do the Charleston,
I’ll do the Foxtrot,
I’ll do some hip-hop.
I’ll do what you want.

I just want to clamp
Down on your arms
With my vice grips,
And move like moles.

Data Entry

We are human beings;
it's hard to measure
how we feel.

If you only could know;
sometimes your signs
point inward.

You are more poetic
than Korea lets you
easily claim.

Date Gauge

To best gauge how a date is going,
try lifting one cheek up at dinner,
and letting out a gurgling ass burp—
if the person across from you decides
to calmly and courteously address
you and your cunning anal irking,
I would suggest he or she is noble,
in a way, like a nun or a diplomat.

Then you weigh your moral marbles;
is this who you want to sleep next to?

Day Off Day

How ironic was it
that it was the Fourth of July
when you decided
to confess your addictions?

You said you wanted independence.
I said we were in America.
Were you being ignorant,
or were you just ignoring me?

And what’s to blame
and what’s to say
there’s anything
else to be said?

Dead Poets

Your lips are like small meteors when they smash the Earth of my body. No Doppler Radar can predict your next move. I e-mailed my friend Athena to see if she could ask her father to clear the skies. I’m waiting for a reply. I want to watch you walk in crisp sunshine. The swiftness of your steps could be better detailed by a dead poet, one better than the one writing about you right now. But most of those poets were gay and what would they have to say about you other than you have a cute boyfriend?

Death Rhetoric

Carve your name out
like lines on a cutter’s arms;
your failures and neuroses exposed
like presidential semen on a pressed skirt,
and after the facts are collected on yellow legal pads,
they will be broadcasted on billboards or covered up like islands.

Death Shrouds

It’s okay,
she said,
to feel
at odds
with life.

But if
you can
make up
masks for
the end,

well, you’re
at the
checkpoint—
you are
halfway

to learning
how to
make art,
because
what else

can an
artist
do but
smear time
stains about?

Degenerate Moments

I only drink wine when you have it;
but when you have it and I have it,
I like it.

Except for tonight (one glass was enough).

Tonight;
tonight was like buying a lottery ticket,
and the television drawer saying, “Fuck you, Keith.
You’re a white trash piece of shit.”

Good thing I don’t waste paper on paper.

Gambling is for turkeys looking to lose their heads. My head
is all I’ve got. I lost the rest in the desert.

I think I’ve gambled a few times, despite myself, or to spite myself.
And I gave you every penny. Once, on the drive back from being charmed,
I was told saving was the work of the timid. So I said,
“Double or nothing.”

I was good for it, I swear.
But you placed the hit, pre-maturely.

Fuck.

But hey,
Death is still better than your prison.

Delano

When I was in high school,
I told my bipolar girlfriend at the time
that my middle name was Delano.

I thought it would be funny.
I forgot all about it.
But she always believed it was so
until one day,
she saw me sign the merchant copy
of a debit card receipt.

I scribbled Keith J. Varadi
on the line above
the printed Keith J. Varadi.

This instantly caused her
to have one of her infamous pendulum swings.
My manic moments were always slight.
They tended to be light, too.
Hers were heavy
and heavy-handed.

So why were my follow-ups also so shifty?
If it’s not a panic attack, it’s a verbal attack;
and if it’s not stressful, it’s no longer reality.

Now I’m resting on an imaginary red sofa,
with my feet above my head
and my head above sea level.
You have no answers.
You are no hypnotist.
You are no therapist.

I don’t think I could ever be president
or even close to presidential.
Maybe I could be First Lady.

Density

How many everything bagels
Can one blind man eat?
As many as he can spread
Between his four-legged races.

Do you believe in salvation? She asks.
Do you believe in blindness? I respond.

I’m tired of tying my shoes;
Bending down is a nuisance,
And I don’t like telephone wires—
Or are they actually called cables?

Why can’t we agree on this one thing?
Why can’t we agree on just one thing?

Desire Forever

If I played you Spanish guitar,
would you be more attracted
to me? Do I have my ways?
What is the ultimate route
towards seduction? Is a GPS
unit necessary at this point?
But the thing is, actually…I’m
not interested in seduction.
You see, I’m interested in the
point of stasis, where we are
continually, equally satisfied
without the dilemma which
stems from boredom within
contentment. Desire forever.

Devotion

I blanked
while grating
the cheese
for your
taco salad
and sliced
a chunk
of my index
finger off.

In a weird way,
this is a display
of devotion;
is it not?

Dick Tracing

Nobody ever believes me
when I say I like Steely Dan.

Maybe if everybody else
put ice cubes in their drinks,
they could keep it chill like me.

We could be dads-in-training,
admiring lawns and beards.

Maybe when we’re old together,
we will still measure our success
by our crispness and straightness.

I hope the future is far better
than all our present fantasies.

Diet (2011)

Still getting those late night
cravings? Listen, just think
of Nancy Pelosi and you’ll
never want to gorge again.

Directions

“How difficult is it to follow directions?”
When I was a child, adults used to ask
me this very question. I would look up
at them, confounded, and say, “I thought
I did.” And they would shake their heads
in disapproval, confirming that I had, in
fact, not followed directions. What an
awful, disparaging feeling. Now, at twenty-
six, I understand their former frustrations.

When I have a parcel service deliver some-
thing for me, I don’t expect them to drop it
off at the wrong address, entirely. When I
tell the bagger at the grocery store I want
paper bags, I don’t expect them to put my
groceries in plastic. When I order a Bourbon
and Ginger from the bartender, I don’t expect
a Bourbon and Coke. Yet, despite what I
believe to be quite reasonable expectations,
I am constantly disappointed by people’s lack
of any real ability to simply follow directions.

Disappointment

The rooster crows,
the Raisin Bran calls,
and I’m out the door;
lightning strikes again.

Disorder

The sunny side
of every meal
is what makes
me anorexic.

District Attorney

Despite what you think,
you no longer hold jurisdiction
or even any semblance of discretion
presiding over this area or any that border.
However, you can maybe be a consultant, of sorts.
Let me know what you wish and I’ll try to cut you a good deal.

Dizzy

Your harrowing horn
makes me dizzy,
but it’s comfortable,
like Kennywood
in late summer.

I just got here
and already,
I’m kind of ready
to go to an airport;
any airport will do.

Docks and Dock Ellis

I wonder how women feel
when dudes at the shore
approach them by saying,
“Sup bro? Where you from?”

Apparently, they don’t mind,
because I see bros with bros,
together on the beach, no homo,
while I’m on my acid trip no-no.

Dust out the sand, dust off your
shoulders. Get it all out of your
crotch and slick up your kicks;
get ready for the Lite drink attack.

Am I dreaming or am I a zombie?
This town is like the last place on
Earth. Could we be safe here?
I want to salvage my solitude.

Where did all the old drugs go?
Bennies, Quaaluds, Valium?
I’m stuck with some hand-me-
down Oxycontin and I’m bored.

Dodgers

You are more American
than you let on;
and you let me on
to all your C.I.A. ways.

I want you
like He wants me
and all of my brothers
whose horses I’ve rode.

Let’s forgive and forget
all the numbers
we have drawn
in this drawn out debate.

You are as right
as I am wrong;
and we are as present
as we are gone.

Dogmatist

How about we go
to the cowboy store
and buy you a lasso?

You can round up
each of our friends
and teach us lessons.

How about we go
to 620 8th Ave.
with some markers?

You can edit reports
to the standards
you set for yourself.

How about we place
your face on billboards
so that all can see truth?

This is why people
in Ohio believe Hell
is real; you are Ohio.

Dog Days

You can’t take the sky—
it’s not for anyone
to fingerprint for fodder
(not even you).

And not even you
can warm up
to big ideas
in this weather.

When our clothes
are velcroed to our skin,
and water is MIA,
death sounds pretty okay.

But it could be worse—
we could be in Death Valley,
tripping on pokerfaced peyote,
getting chased by wild coyotes.

Domestic Preparedness

When the banjos are strummed,
you know you’re in some shit.

Oh, sorry—that might be confusing
if you’ve never seen Deliverance.

I guess I was just thinking most people
at least vaguely recognize the allusion.

If you know what I’m talking about,
let’s fast together for a few months.

We could envision newly lit idea(l)s,
hallowed by their hollow holiness.

We could set up an urban getaway
with fake plants from The Home Depot.

Indoor lawn chairs on canvas and turf,
spanning out for at least a dozen feet.

Toothpicks and straw hats strewn
about in shallow fields of forgiveness.

This year could be a bit haunting,
but I’ve counted my cards twice.

Ravens don’t need to fly South,
cause they’re always at home.

Don’t Go Down

Don’t go down
on yourself;
you’ll never
come back up.

Those roads
of self-sucking
always lead
to lost time.

Doppelgänger

When I met your doppelganger,
me and our mutual companion
said to each other with a glance,
“Shit, this guy is as great as you are
and he will likely amount to as much.”

It makes me sad, but I guess it’s okay.

Dream Date

Me and a wealthy, pale skinned
older woman, dressed in all white,
sitting in the stands at Wimbledon,
as she tells me of our future travels.

Drive-Thru

Jersey Turnpike excursion. Cutting through old forests with bare knuckles. Gram Parsons is the seventh wheel and he’s singing in seven circles. The week’s edge and the weak fog inject Inuit daydreams into every canal. I would flip this car if it weren’t for my girlfriends. How calming it would be to slice the unusually balmy blood of this Earth with the top of my head like the bottom of a gondola. Because what are you to make of a trendy black man with a French accent and a slight speech impediment telling you you’re a target? And what are you supposed to make of a well-dressed hobo taking last swings of trashed tall boys at 2 PM? And what are you supposed to make of a junior college Kenzo working on his chainsaw on the front steps of a cat friendly bar? Well, well, well. I wig out about motorcycle genies for no reason at al. I attach strings to my back and say, “Baby, come play with me.” I make myself an omelette and try to forget about natural disasters until the next one blows me over.

Dumb Luck

You can put a hand-sewn flag in your front yard.
You can buy a used car in mint condition.
You can repave your driveway every six months.
You can cook your food slower.
You can cut every bit into smaller bits.
You can overdose on Kombucha.
You can revive your body with Kombucha.
You can match your clothes to your furniture.
You can sleep in monogrammed underwear.
You can fuck your husband or wife with a PG-13 rating.
You can give your children asexual names.
You can breast feed until its unhealthy.
You can pat yourself on the back for the gated life you’ve built.

ESL

You say you admire my words
and I say I admire you in them;
I will light a candle for romance
and so you can read about your-
self; I can be as eloquent as you
want me to be, but what if I show
you how I feel instead of telling
you? English is always a second
language, in a way, if you know
what I mean. Show me signage.

Eagle’s Claw

I was deep into a Central Park late afternoon day loss session,
sitting on one of those blankets
that kind of look like the scrap
of a Mexican poncho.

People were listening to De La Soul nearby
and others were playing Frisbee.

Everybody was in one of those moods.
There was a lot of sharing going on.

Then I looked over at her.
She was wearing a ring
on her right index finger
that looked like an Eagle’s Claw.

I thought to myself,
“How many men’s hearts has she dug right out of their chests?”

Then she looked at me
and showed off
her bleached teeth.

Then I looked at her skin,
faintly lit
by the fatigued sun.

And I said,
“It’s getting a little chilly. Do you want to get some dinner or something?”

I stopped seeing her shortly after that evening.

Easter Sunday

The sun is up and it’s feeling frisky. My lover is next
to me, lying limp, and coughing in her sleep. Will we
eat French Toast or something this afternoon? Will
we try to figure out what rabbits have to do with Jesus
this year? I hope that fever breaks, but Goddamn, I’m
going to avoid being fondled by the heat today. Why do
I get so much shit for my Vampire Blues? Lights out.
Fan on. Windows open. Blinds drawn halfway. Hoops.
Hockey. Hoops. Hockey. Coffee. Coffee. Beer? I want to
fry my eggs inside. I want an Olympic size indoor pool.
I want to move to Canada, but then no more hoops! Fuck.
Two more weeks till I've got to find some new revelations.

Easy Does It

I don’t like poker;
I don’t like gambling.

I appreciate your lack
of disguise or pretense.

You just want to feed me
and go on nice vacations.

It’s pleasant to avoid
bullshit pleasantries.

Let’s march and stomp
from here to there.

And then we can maybe
swim to North Korea.

We can drink Hennessy
and tell inside jokes.

We can be the only ones
without expansive chains.

Freedom from expansion;
freedom from capitalism.

How about a garden to grow
fruit, plants, and vegetables?

How about a garden to grow
ourselves together, in arms?

How about enjoying the weather
without every having to mention it?

Eat Your Greens

Shaven cactus remains,
friendly drama abounds;
neither are welcome,
but both are accepted—
your blues are your blues
and you cannot excuse
what half a decade
of attempts and failures
can stir in your skull bowl.
Imagine never being able
to figure out chopsticks—
sometimes a fork is just
too easy and sometimes
a spork is just too silly,
unless you have a few
hours and some antacids.
And so now back to plants
and recreation—watering
eyes are the worst part
of every single breath-
less day. You don’t need
biology. Eat your greens.

Education

What does education really provide for any of us
other than a chip or two on our slippery shoulders
and a few ounces of assumed privilege to let spill down
from them and onto the ground, which still lies waiting
for us to go limp, so it can embrace us in its filthy, cold arms
and choke us out and put our credit cards on its open tab?

We all pay in full,
one way or another.
We all sleep together in the dirt,
some of us deeper than others.

You can’t win in this world, no matter the degree.
What did Billy Joel know about morals or morality?
I’ll bury a hatchet in that piano man’s wooden box
and sail him and his sing-a-longs straight to Hell.

Embassy Life

Your dad is a government employee
for some government somewhere, right?

Do you think he could get us free travel
to Morocco or Hong Kong, or maybe Hydra?

Do you think he could get us Jay-Z tickets,
or maybe tickets to the next Super Bowl?

Do you think he could get me a job
as a government employee too?

I mean, of course, it depends on the country;
but I could just hang out at the embassy.

You and I could watch military airplanes
fly above us while we rest by the pool.

Empirical Sons

no coins left,
so time to tag
the back fat—
We’re spent.

these pillars
will surely fall,
sink and sulk—
numbed arms.

prick the pricks,
wake them up,
magnify the sum—
I’m gagged sick.

We frump on fours,
We circle squares,
We lose our hairs—
We’re combed over.

Entertainment Weekly

Maybe
one day,
we can
make out
and not
tell any-
body what
happened.

Maybe
one day,
we can
make bad
decisions
again
and repeat
till I leave.

Eternal Nocturne

Climb into my open window
and tell me your new secrets.

Let your skeletons hang
from my handmade nooses.

We can blow in the big gusts.
We can blow our noses to nothing.

I see neon oozing. It’s dripping
from the nosey advertisements.

Shine on, shine on, shine on. Please, baby, shine on.
I want to shine on the sustained twangs of banjo notes.

I want that paradise you sang to me—
what was it called? “Eternal Nocturne”?

I can make our lives dark forever, if that’s what you want.
I can trap all light in a mason jar and give it a proper burial.

Okay, let’s put on some elderly, greying New Balances
and speed-walk down back roads toward nowhere.

Let’s become the dirtbags we promised we would.
Let’s print our thumbs on each other and pinky swear.

So now we’re liars and thieves?
I say we’re spooks and robbers.

Etiquette

So I have to wait
a few moments
before I can greet
you in or on here?
I thought I had good
manners, but I guess
I haven’t fully figured
out etiquette. Is there
a book on this shit?
Is there a cheap class
I could take at a local
community college
or something? Wait,
do I have to have a
password? Where do
I get it? I don’t like
this. Can’t I just say
hi to you like I would
to anyone else? Why
does this have to be
so difficult? I don’t
know if we can be
friends anymore.

Even The Odds

The refrigerator is broken
and now my ankle is swollen.

I feel like I am under house arrest,
but I am just under/over your stress.

The next time you send me a message,
I will have the guts to splay something.

It’s not that my courage is excised;
it’s that I’m exhausted of your needs.

Your sensitivity is demanding,
and mine appears to be in demand.

You know, if I were a betting man,
I would be a millionaire by now.

But I’m paralyzed by excess spending,
and I prefer security on my own terms.

Exit

You asked me if it would be in bad taste to drink wine after whiskey. I said it wouldn’t be in bad taste, but it might be a bad idea. You ordered the red and not the white and I took that as a sign, a symbol. I wanted to kiss you at that moment; I wanted to kiss you at that very fucking moment. The guilt. The guilt always suffocates these moments. It was a strange moment. These are strange moments. Why were we at a bar where the dude serving us had koi fish tattoos swimming underneath a rolled up, wheat-pasted titanium white dress shirt? I guess he was confused. But was it him? It wasn’t him. I guess it was him. I guess it was…because it was the nearest bar to the one we were just at and the previous bar started playing yacht rock and it was raining and neither of us felt like looking into any eyes, especially those of a storm. Why does any bar play yacht rock, ever? I mean, I guess Hall & Oates have a few songs that are maybe worth swaying to, but when the boat is already rocking, why play an entire album? I rarely want to hear an entire album, unless it’s a special occasion, like maybe being on uppers when I’m down, or having real sex when I’m mad depressed, or trying to write an exclusive poem and maybe then, I might be willing to listen to a post-Beatles Beatles record, but never a Beatles Beatles record. I hate baggage. I hate carrying baggage. I like to feel like a bellhop, listening to hip-hop, because I like to think of bellhops in flip-flops, not giving a fuck about being a sick fop. That’s me. That’s you. That might not be you. But if you’re reading this, it’s probably you. Oh, but this place; this next place. The uniforms didn’t match the décor. And how I hate places that make me use the word décor. And how I hate places that tend to be next door. And what’s up with uniforms at all? Are there rules at certain establishments? Are the employees referees? Are we fans? Because I am not a fan of rules. And you are not a fan of sports. You have mentioned your lack of enthusiasm on many occasions, yet you manage to be enthusiastic on every occasion. You are everything that I’ve been avoiding, and you proved tonight that you are everything that I would want if I would be willing to let myself have something that I might possibly, maybe possibly want, but while you were out West, I got something from back East. Now I don’t know. I still like your words, and the mouth from which they exit. But I think I've got to go.

Exit Signs

All I really think
about these days
is when I can
leave this party.

Expectations

Wouldn’t you expect
to see a fully inked shell
of a man standing in
high heel biker boots
at a coffee shop
that serves vegan muffins
and severs ear lobes
with diet 80s hardcore?

I do not have expectations
except the knowledge
I have come to accept
in blacked out boxes I tie
on to my lower back
during nighttime Hyphy
mashed potato sessions
in tee pees made of sand.

And you want to ask me:
how do I break my sweats?

Expertise

If you read enough
about anything,
you can call yourself
an expert, of sorts.

I’ve read articles
about drag racing;
I’ve read articles
about hermaphrodites;
I’ve read articles
about the Golden Triangle;
I’ve read articles
about prisoners of war.

Still, I’m really only
an expert on myself—
and really, that’s only
conjecture, at best.

Extinction

One of these days,
extinction will be real,
and you won’t be able
to blame communists.

Facture and Fecundity

“Are you fertile in your ways?”
Isn’t that the question we all have
to contend with when our feet
touch our floors or scrape our sheets?

We make deals with ourselves, our friends, and our foes
to make roads to ride or grind till we burn more than rubber.

We sidewind along the rivers and other borders
to make us feel superior to those so closed off.

We hide beneath the leaves of trees our ancestors birthed and bore
to make us feel alive and when they’re sleeping, well, we daydream.

I hear Johnny and Jane are in Times Square, counting their clocks,
waiting for their ball to drop, but the foliage is shimmering, covered
in amber drips, oozing onto their fast aging skin. Are they still praying
for a miracle of moisture to conceal their wrinkles and debt? Are they?

No lube can save or smooth or saturate these days—we are all Trojans—
we are all infiltrating the epic poetics that have mythologized current
currency. We may not fully know what we are or what we are up against,
but one thing is for certain—we float and float, only to cut our own wings.

Fantasy

I am fantasizing
about cotton candy,
but I don’t know why—
I wish it wasn’t real;
it tastes like a cold
sweat nightmare
that your dad might
have if he didn’t snore
and if he had some job
with some crummy union
where he had to wake
up at four in the morning—
I do not have other people
fantasies, but Rudy always
makes me cry, every time.

Favor Lounge

There’s a place in my mind
where we can all just relax—
“a comfortable place to be.”

And not because the sign
says so, and not because
there are no knives out.

You can wear a hypothetical,
theoretical, metaphorical
Hawaiian shirt, worry-free.

You can kick your feet up
on the bar like a den bear
about to eat his own shoe.

You can approach the lady
behind the counter and say,
“Excuse me, let me ask you…”

It’s like 1952, and you are
surrounded by neighbors
who willingly want to help.

Fay Go Faze

The dapper dandies are always on top, metaphorically speaking. I am and always will be ignorant of their private lives. And that's fine by me. Even so, it's hard not to imagine them brushing their hair so delicately every morning just to have it roughly rustled as they feign concentration by their own hands or by those of a bigger beast. I have a hard time buying their passive-aggressively marketed product(s), but I so badly want them to sell my shit. Soon, I will be on top, metaphorically speaking. Until then, I am like a chimp at target practice with nobody watching.

Fear Mounds

Windex sparkles
and grease backs up
in empty basements.

Where do you work,
and where do you go
for after hour shifts?

Back wall stirrings
and hospital stirrups—
what the fuck, man?

That chick’s got lice,
you mouth to me
with pursed lips.

I suggest we split
as soon as you drain,
scared of fear mounds.

Feedback

Sometimes it is an accident,
Sometimes it is necessary;
Sometimes it should just hide
In the garage with power tools.

Feel Your Feelings

Sitting on the subway on the way to work this morning, I was half-asleep, watching two black mall punk lesbians tickle each other’s armpits. These two tattered turtle shell accidental fortune tellers made me think about post-teen drama. Where does our energy go? I mean, we have so much when our bodies are filled with and covered in grease. It keeps the joints moving. It keeps our days pressing. But really, where does our energy go? When we’re young, it goes to trying to stay calm and getting laid, which are one in the same, really. And if we can’t get laid, at least we’ve got music. Songs can make the disgruntled and disenchanted feel something, they can make them feel like something, they can make them feel like part of something. But good songs make all of us feel like something similar to what homilies do to Christians’ internal interstates. Great songs can make our blood drive so fast. But what is good? Man, that’s like a question that only people like myself ask. God! Sometimes, I hate myself. Most people know what is good and they are content with their resolutions. But I go back and forth every other day and where does it get me? Sometimes, I wish I was the guy on the corner, near Bottino, with the Ace Frehley patch on his Rustler jeans. He knows what is good. He is content with his resolutions. God! Sometimes, I hate myself. But sometimes, I love myself so fucking much. And all I want is for you to love me too. Let’s be mall punk lesbians together.

Fetishist

Are you too much of a pussy
to share with us your secrets?

Do you have to have them
beaten out of you, fetishist?

Violence gives me nausea;
I prefer lying on lawn chairs.

What kind of freak you must be
not to enjoy hibiscus consumption.

Fictions

Jon Lovitz has cancer. And all the people in this place are split between the Yankees and the Stones. But they all came from the same place, anyways. Anyways, I think I might have offended another person. She didn't say so. She didn't do anything. In fact, she acted as if she really enjoyed my company. That's when I get the most nervous about losing touch. Are they just acting? Is everybody always just acting? I'll never be an extra. But I could always use some extras. I hear HBO is casting for something new. I always knew you had a good headshot. I am only captured when I want to be. So I've been working on my fourth wall. How many walls have you built or broken? Oh, but this girl—she was nice. She seemed drama-free. How could I possibly have offended her? She was like the best friend of a best friend of a best friend. She said she likes art. She said she is passionate. I said, "Say what?" Was she earnest? Had she gone the way of camp? You know, I'm like a 9th Wave Feminist, right? I'll probably write a book some day. Don't get offended if you're in it. Maybe I'll change the names. Maybe I'll be fantastical. Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll be fantastic. We all have our fictions. Most people choose not to publish them. So far, other people have chosen not to publish mine.

Fine Line

There is a fine line
between respecting
your superiors

and

being condescended
and made to feel
like an inferior.

I don't like baths,
I don’t mind rain,
but I will always

refuse

being pissed on
by any person,
in public or private.

Fingernails

Every time I see a man
with long fingernails,
I really want to ask him,
“Are you a fingerpicker;
I mean, do you play guitar
without a pick?” Because
I remember the first time
I saw Bob Dylan with long
fingernails, and I remember
being pretty grossed out.
But I was obsessed with
his music and confused
by him and so I was like,
“Well, at least what I see
as a lack of hygiene on his
part is for a practical reason.”
I was a young teenager.
I was caught between the
angst of punk rock on the
one side and soft baked,
chill party dudes on the other.
And I began writing secret,
sprawling poetry in private.
I read the Beats and bought an
acoustic guitar and I thought,
“Maybe I won’t cut my finger-
nails for a while and maybe
I’ll be able to write songs
better than Dylan one day.”
But I couldn’t make it past
a few days, ever. And then,
I went to college and I got
over Dylan, slowly. It was
a lot of things, probably.
I mean, I started reading
“Great American Novels.”
Thanks, Dan. And I got into
shit like Kraftwerk and Can
and Sun Ra. And I was like,
maybe ‘60s Dylan was kind
of a jerk? And what was
Tarantula actually about?
And the closer? I started
meeting Dylan Fan Boys.
Listen, guys, even Dylan
can’t make going Born Again
cool. And rapping with Kool
Moe Dee. What? That’s like
as cool as smoking Kools
with the Jerry Springer
chicks down the street by
the Western Union. Hear
me out, I’m not hating on
Kool Moe Dee. He’s kool.
But I guess it’s all relative.
And now, I guess, I still like
Dylan. But it’s all relative.
And now, there is no excuse
or justification for not cutting
your fingernails. And now that
I think about it, how could I have
been biased against my fellow
fellows? I usually don’t like girls’
long fingernails either. They’re
either fake or busted. I don’t
like cover-ups or weakness.
No more scandals. Just buy
some nail clippers. Okay?
Five dollars. Duane Reade,
CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreen’s,
whatever. You won’t regret it.
We can all be clean together.

Fish Heart

If you had more faith
in your anecdotes,
you’d make Barry
a base stealer again.

Florida

The one
great thing
about Florida:

I don’t
ever have
to travel
through it
in order
to get to
wherever
I am
in fact
actually
trying to
end up.

Florist

This gingerly ginger kid
came to my door
with an armful of flowers,
and I asked him
like a spook,
“Since when
did you start working
As a florist?”

He just told me
that he had an order
of chrysanthemums,
and some other ones,
but he couldn’t
remember the names;
I’m not a florist,
so I didn’t know either.

I never got to the bottom
of why he brought me flowers;
I never got to the bottom
of how he even got my address.

Flushed

From black to grey and back to black, the sky looks like the end of painting this season. I love it when the cosmos are down in the dumps. It makes other people appear less dumpy. I want you all to shape up. If you try to fix yourselves, I’ll try not to break myself. I’ve broken both of my pinkies. What’s up with that? I can’t remember the last time I injured myself. At the same time, I can’t remember the last time I took care of myself. I remember this one time, when I was like ten, I filled my knees with cinders. Thunder jam. The doctors asked me a lot of questions about my parents. My parents don’t understand me, but they love me. And I love my parents. And I love the old world. And I’m in love with the Modern World, so I’ll act like a true girl, and I’ll put down the cigarettes. But this time, I mean it. I can barely afford to keep a girlfriend. I’ve got to get it out. I’ve got to get out. But when I refuse to leave my place, I see the old women from my neighborhood, wearing Ed Hardy shirts and dragging shaggy poodles. They always turn the corner by the gas station and talk about the price of gas. You’ll drive yourself to death if you’re constantly walking in circles.

Folded Formalities

Don’t tell me how to drink my beer. I’m like a baby with my bottle. I’ll make my own bed. I mean, I won’t. I’ll only wreck it later. Semen-soiled sheets don’t bother me if they don’t bother you. What’s your favorite board game? Sorry? Mine is Risk. I only draw lines when I’m bored. But don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about me. I’m not worried about winning or losing, conquering or dividing. Let’s make a treaty and treat each other right.

Fool’s Gold

Every time I eat a crepe or a spring roll,
I am reminded of the importance of
carrying on and traveling light. I haven’t
had either in a while. But I haven’t had
too much grease in the blood lately either.
Like I said—carrying on and traveling light.
Where am I going? What am I doing?
What’s a guy got to do to get a straight
answer these days? Take off your mask.
Take off your clothes. Let’s hang out for a bit.
I wonder: what is the point of garnishes?
I mean, they’re kind of like lipstick or
eyeliner. Part of me is always like, “Ah,
that’s some misleading bullshit” to it all.
But then someone slips some alfalfa sprouts
on my sandwich or I see some Yves Saint
Laurent model in Parkett and I’m like, “Hey,
this shit ain’t so bad after all.” I mean, after
I get going about anything and I take a few
deep breaths, that’s kind of how it always
goes. But ain’t that a bummer? It makes me
think—why can’t I cut through this chain link
fence and sneak into some of those old California
Dreams of John Cassavetes and Wallace Berman?
Bullshit always stinks, but I hear the air is dryer
out there. And I imagine what it was like back then…

For Better or For Worse

There aren’t many things better in life
than the smell of bread being baked.

&

There aren’t many things worse in life
than the effects of a yeast infection.

For Sport

One of these days,
I will create a game
that will make even
the Japanese cringe.

When we are sitting
in the peanut gallery
and your nose bleeds
all over your blouse,

I will carefully examine
every action and re-
action your mind and
body expel and then

I will know whether
you actually love me
or if you love the me
you created yourself.

For The Record

What I say now
Cannot be considered
A statement
Of Finality.

What I say tomorrow
Cannot be traced
Back to today
Or yesterday.

If you
Need evidence,
Put it in print
Or risk any reply.

For you
Are of no consequence
And there are none to be
Acknowledged anyhow.

Forest Whitaker

Hang the carpet on the wall,
watch it droop like a John;
if you watch long enough,
your eyes will follow suit—
suit yourself (don’t listen),
clog your ears with cotton,
log your tongue with paper,
but don’t blame me when
you’re Forest Whitaker
with no gold or nuggets.

Fraud Protection

Dogs were barking,
there was no shade,
and I was fenced in.

Somehow, I still felt
high, until I woke up
and thought about

all the transfers and
exchanges and all I
wanted was to sing

about your abjections
and my objections and
all the creeks in between.

I hear the water flowing
like blood, hissing like
an agitated Copperhead

it’s kind of an Appalachian
detuned tune of despair,
written by Will Oldham,

performed by some punk
teenagers with black back-
up singers with bleached

hair; oh, what do we have
here? Now you have some
objections of your own?

Why don’t we talk over
some white wine, or did
your limp roommate steal

the bottle I bought you?
That’s okay; I forgive you
for forgiving him again.

Friend Ship

In Philly,
eating Pho,
I think of foes,
and then
I think of why
I ever might
consider any
single person
an adversary—
you can be
my friend,
if you want;
let’s sail away,
me and you.

Freedom

I prefer back yards and/or back rooms,
with candles or low lights—mood swings.

I fancy feeling like an Italian when I’m talking;
comfortable behind my Chinese food front.

When we’re hiding out, with little discretion,
it’s like we have the freedom that was promised.

Free Jazz

We are all more or less religious.
Rituals and routines. Expectations
and exhalations. You don’t need to
be an artist to draw in dirt or sand.
Don’t cry when it rains. C’mon, man.
Imagine Coltrane. Hear him? He’s playing
for you. Brain to foot brass stomping.
Smear those sky tears. Action painting!
Is this Abstract Expressionism? I think
so. Have faith. It’s hard, I know. I know.

How much does it cost to buy some
faith? Where do you get yours? Do you
buy it in bulk at Costco or is yours luxury
faith? I often think of Father Ayoob.
He had some great moments. He didn’t
hide behind a pulpit. His sermons were
poetic. Poets like to sermonize. Maybe
I should become a priest? No. That’s
a bad idea. Catholic faith is expensive.
I can’t even afford health insurance.

Fresh Air

Most of the time,
I feel like I am
breathing in
Febreeze or some
sort of pesticide;
but when I am
in your company,
I feel like I am
surrounded by
fresh air
and
fresh air,
only.

Fresh Meat

Why can’t a stranger
go to a local bar
without being
eyed up and down?

It’s always predatory—
sexual or violent—
and the bartender
plays the part of Owl.

As he or she spins
his or her head,
the attacker(s)
lick lips and smirk.

“Fresh meat!”
is what's perceived,
and there’s not much
the shy prey can do.

I’m no longer a local
anywhere; it’s strange.
But even with status,
I've always felt threatened.

Funeral

“I will not tuck in my shirts,”
I say to all of you.

But I ask myself,
“Can any of you hear me?”

More importantly,
Are any of you listening?

And what does it matter, really?
I probably should clean up.

If only I could tie a tie,
Would you do my make-up?

I want to look good in bed;
I want to look good in my casket.

Gangrel

I was given this body/
You have worsened it.

God and His son argued/
God won out, of course.

People say God hates you/
People say you hate God.

Doctors love money/
You love money more.

Doctors all sign off/
You always sign out.

I have no directions/
I have no surroundings.

Trapdoors and tapped lines/
Landmines and landfills.

My gangly body has no shot/
My gangly body is now shot.

Garbage

Take me out,
take you out,
take it all, now—
I’ve had enough.

Gauntlet

The pangs of
your fangs

are incessant &
excessive &

the blood transfers
with each exchange

like an automated
ATM withdrawal

that keeps sucking
until we’re all dried up

or thinned out &
there is no 800 #

to call &
clear up

so let’s stay young
since we’re now

out of options &
resources, no?

General Words

Have you ever held a handful
of bullets in a cold rainstorm?
The fear of power and the feel
of power is simultaneous and
instantaneous, and it rises up
your body through every one
of your electrical cables, carry-
ing currency to every bit. Fact:
you will never ever feel as rich
or as poor again as you do the
first time you go to battle, son.

Gentile Giants

You trill trolls
cannot control
my loose fate
for much longer.

Get Low

While sitting on a stoop
on the corner of Arch and 11th,
across from Wawa,
I felt like a summer Goth
when I noticed a husky woman,
hard-boiled and feathered,
like Season One Roseanne.

Her faux-leather flip-flops
were burnished by days
of city street strutting
and her tater tot toes
were perfectly painted
in lustrous lipstick red,
and I had to ask,
once again:
“How do they do it?
How do pear-shaped people
get so damn low?”

Get Over Hair

Pubeless crotches are frightening, enlightening members of society. They regularly appear in gossip magazines and on talk shows, but their stubble also stumbles in front of you in the bathroom line at your favorite bar or skirts past you at the organic market. I like to keep my distance from these self-made circuit freaks. As much as smooth lips scare me, I equally avoid bearded kisses and French goatees. A country prophet once rubbed the head of his talisman and bought me a pint of the local ale. Then he told me, “You can learn a lot about a sheep by the length of their coat. Only you can decide what is worth the herd.” I bought the next round and slept above the pub that night. He had a beautiful wife and daughter.

Gilded Age

If a man lies
down his arms
beneath a cold
pillow at dawn,
what kind of a man
does that make him?

My arms are like
knives, not guns,
and I’m slitting
open the mattress
until I have enough
feathers to leave.

You always say,
“Where are you
going to go now?”
My only reply is
one plus one plus
one I can’t explain.

I can’t explain things
unless I’m forced to,
and I’m wedged between
my own basic vices
and those of industry;
now my age is so gilded.

Gnarled Claws

These things,
forever attached
to the ends
of my arms,
are nothing
to brag about—
just gnarled claws;
they might as well
be nubs or shrubs.

However,
the things
they produce
could make
most people feel
shy, lonesome,
drab or defeated;
or maybe just plain
pale, in comparison.

And no matter
how pathetic
my claws become,
hand-to-hand combat
is no fearful activity—
I’m like a secret agent,
a government analyst,
weathered prematurely,
but never burned out.

Go Eat An Asshole

“Go eat an asshole!”
said the garbage man
as I was walking to work.

Little did I know that day,
I was about to go choke
on some pampered feces.

You always get it hard
when you’re on bottom;
open wide, you’re prepared.

But nobody needs some
guy on the back of a truck
to feed them shitty omens.

Fuck you, garbage man;
you are my new nemesis,
a Frankenstein in disguise.

I once saw you steal a bike,
claiming it had been tossed;
usually, trash is on sidewalks.

I would have called the cops,
but they would have cuffed me
for ruining their coffee break.

Hey garbage man, why don’t
you go eat a cop’s asshole?
Lick up the gritty grind, jerk.

Oh, you can go to thrift stores
with your drunk or deaf parrot,
and puff your chest out real far.

I am going to go get tacos
at Los Hermanos and move
on from the sandpaper sores.

God Dam

Say, the Holy Water
flows out of control
from coast to coast.

The price of lumber
keeps on rising up
like a flooding river.

There are ten new
Commandments
every single day.

We must unite soonish;
or back logs and bandits,
we’re damned forever!

God Knowing

Oh well,
it was a Tuesday night
and I was headed down Delancey.

I was on my way, westward,
to see my favorite songwriter
when I was approached
by a group of Black Jews,
and they began shouting
obscenities at a high volume.

I know I shouldn’t have turned around;
I know I shouldn’t have acknowledged them.
But sometimes I can’t help myself—
it’s not like you don’t know this,
yourself…first hand.

First, hand yourself over to me—
isn’t that what I say?
Isn’t that what you say?

I can’t believe what they said!

They called me a kike
in front of the Chase bank,
across the street
from the other Chase bank.

I said, “Pardon?”
They said, “Impossible.”
I said, “Excuse me?
They said, “Keep walking, kike.”
I said, “So is this a confession?”
They said, “We’re not Catholics.”
I said, “But you’re not Jews either?”
They said, “Huh?”
I said, “Didn’t you just say so?”
They said, “Keep walking, kike!”

So I kept walking.

As soon as I got to the Ballroom,
I was handed an India Pale Ale
from Chicago (we were familiar).

Shortly after I took my first sip,
I was punched in the gut
by the lovely lavender fragrance
of a beautiful young Indian woman
from God knows where.

On second thought,
God probably doesn’t know
where she’s from—
she’s probably incognito;
you know, Hindu or Sikh
or something like that.

I bet the Black Jews
would never call her
a kike in their strange, angry
self-hatred exercise (or exorcism)
or whatever it was
they were working out
on that Lower East Side
corner earlier tonight.

Going Gorilla

So you think you
are worth more?

Write yourself
a blank check.

See if it deposits
or if it bounces.

Banks are charging
for everything now.

I might start hiding
my money in cans.

Or maybe I’ll put it
under my mattress.

But then I’d have to move,
maybe to the Berkshires.

Every time I participate,
I feel cheaper than retail.

I feel Al Capone’s ghost
breathing on my neck.

Where are your values?
Where are your friends?

Value can be defined
more than one way.

Like for example,
banana pancakes.

This is my choice meal
any time I eat at a diner.

Yet, I can never finish
my banana pancakes.

Do I deserve them, at all?
Do I deserve you, friends?

Grammar & Ethics

Past lives never leave
the present and presents
aren’t always reciprocal.

Can you put an X
over an ex-
anything?

I can’t.

Imagine reading
a former skinhead
and his novel words
(post-teen teen posts)
written in prose
at six in the morning,
with punks
in the beerlight
(in the background).

Now imagine scraping
your wrung and hung head
on a queen-sized parking sign
while eating a dinner sandwich
for a late night/early morning
breakfast substitute meal.

There is a connection;
there is always a connection.

But when you hit the floor,
you will forget the words
until the final period.

Granite Days

Granite days
are harder—
I get so tired
of passing by

THANK YOU
THANK YOU
THANK YOU
THANK YOU
THANK YOU
THANK YOU
THANK YOU

bags strewn
throughout
the streets
of this city.

Graphite Skull

In 2005,
who was I?
And how did we meet?
I was making drawings
in blacks and whites,
which was somewhat ironic.
I was so young then, carefree
to some extent, but full of ideals
and extra salty piss and vinegar.

But despite my spurts of frenetic energy,
I believed this lack of color to be morbid—
six years later, I know this to be false.
I was happy and freely contained!
I kept scrawling images of myself
and Henry Rollins and John McCain
and Ronald McDonald, all with equal care,
focus, attention, and precision, like DeLillo.
And I thought about how I might be able
to get a job as a researcher for Al Jazeera.
And I thought about why I granted that virgin
her one simple wish for me to fuck her just once
before we parted company, essentially for good.

I don’t know exactly what I was doing at twenty,
but I know I was sharpening my graphite skull.

I remember
you remembering me
before I ever truly knew you—
you had secret skills.

When I saw you in your mom’s puffy coat,
I knew I had to get in there with you.
That day, I shouted out for you
and I made you dessert—
do you remember that too?

You skillfully kept secrets;
yours and ours, alike.

I am sorry for all of my erasures;
are you sorry for tearing my attempts?

If it weren’t for you,
I’d still be in black and white—
to that, I owe thanks.

But if it weren’t for you,
I’d also have to use warning labels
for all the greys and double rainbows—
to that, I say good riddance!

Gravy

I will never
ever let go
of what
we held
in our once
two-timed
baskets that
we carried
under our
armpits as
if bandits
were actually
a threat.

But that
blonde one,
with the ink—
maybe she was.

No, she wasn’t.

But that juice
that oozed
from those wings
was sloppy.

I hope it's all gravy.

Greaser

I work in the business
of making myself
inappropriate
for any occasion
other than the one
that makes me money.

Guilt

I placed faith in your hands,
but they were too clammy
to keep it safe. You melted
my false expectations I said
I’d refuse to acquire, myself.
But I don’t blame you. It’s not
your fault that you lack my
form of guilt. Perhaps I have
built too much upon the found-
ation I never asked for, in the
first place. But you know, I’m
happy to have it. Guilt can be
a generous thing, if you are
able to flex and mold. Without
a sense of humor though, it
can ravage your health and
cripple anything you believed
to resemble ambition or mobility.
It’s like quicksand; if you’re not
careful, you might lose yourself
in dangerous, devilish scenes
like those in 80s video games.

Hair Monster

You try to headlock
people into submission
of the self-conscious,
but you can’t have your way
with my tousled mop—
I made a finite decision
back around the time
of arthritis, probably,
to buzz the flowing bundle,
and to do so forever onward.

Hairy Encounter

An Amish stud,
stowed away
between two beards,
tugs on his Burberry scarf
and tips his cowboy hat.

He says,
“Hey partner,
wanna hop in my truck,
go eat buckwheat pancakes
down by the IKEA?”

He can’t be serious;
he can’t be talking to me—
he’s a gravedigger,
and I’m just a failure
at regional diplomacy.

Handy

You know how to work
your hands in such a way
that most folks could never
manage to master; oh, yeah.

Hangover

It’s often the case
that the people of a city
don’t ask for much,
despite the desires
they hold within.

It’s then a shame
to witness the shame
that erupts and overflows—
that instant second of denial—
a moment of infinite glory lost.

I saw teams take to the streets
when their quickly built dreams
crumbled to dust and all that was left
was sweaty sheets flattened out
as cracked concrete—1, 2, 3, 4…

They marched in smoke and shouts
of “Fuck me’s!” disguised as “Fuck you’s!”
As we all hang over, in the morning after,
can’t we manage to hold up our sunken heads
and look forward to a future of more fortunate finishes?

Hankering

My temperature rises
As I think of you
Searing my skin
With your soft fingers.

Trust me,
I want you to.

Trust me,
I need you too.

Headline Passings

They always say they come in three,
but after the second death is reported,
who really wants to shake the magic ball?

Heat Wave

Dear Martha,
please bring
me your sweet,
soft, soothing voice
and a cold, cold
compress sooner
than later, baby.

Heist

Every time
I see a bank,
I recall each
cinema scene
of suspense
where we root
for those men
we fear
in real life,
in real time.

Then I think about
a change in career.

It’s not about money
and
it’s not about glory—

plenty of artists
have acquired
plenty of both.

The thing
about being
a con-artist…

it’s about the thrill
of continually telling
supple melon tits
that you don’t need
them to survive.

But then again,
if I come to,
I come back to
Dog Day Afternoon
and I decide to remain
the feeble salmon
I have always been.

Rewind!

I’m never
going to
have to
promise
to fund
a lover’s
sex change.

Hell Week

So I have one last day until hell week is over. My back is broken, my knuckles are slit and swollen, and my feet are covered in blisters. My face is still in tact, so I’m not quite a leper. But I need to shave again, which sucks. I’ve got high gloss white latex paint and some sundry scum under my fingernails, and a little on layaway. I’ll have to pay for that later. I’m realizing how important surface value is, but I’ve got my own standards so it really doesn’t matter all that much after all. And after all I go through, I could end up like this dude a few seats away on the powder blue underbelly bench who won’t stop staring at me. He has the seemingly seamless appearance of that old school good-natured morality, like Paul Newman. Surface value. Remember, surface value. But he looks more like Larry Levis, maybe, which makes me think of liminal lineage. How do men get stuck in their ways? Will I be stuck in my ways at that age? I hope not. What gives me hope though is that besides the standard golf jacket and orthopedic shoes that this man is wearing, that so many other men wear of those stuck in their ways, he is topped off with a white BET hat. Maybe this dude listens to NPR in the morning and Weezy at night, like me. Or maybe he just has a good sense of humor, like me. Or maybe he’s just a creep, like so many others I meet. I’ll never know. I can assume either way, but I’ll probably just let it go. I’ve got to focus on lambs, wool, and wolves for a shift. Then I finally get to shift to paintings and puppets. Happy holidays, so they say.

Hemorrhoids

When you’re tight for work,
and pinching loaves of bills
in your back pocket,
trying not to shit all your money away,
the stress can press up in-
side of your guts,
and you don’t know
what will hemorrhage first—
your sore bottom
or
your heavy hat.

Hero or Superhero

I am a hero because
I wipe my brawny ass
with painless regrets,
every day; every day,
I sit on the toilet seat,
and I try to deflect
possible new regrets;
maybe I’m a superhero?

Heterosexual Love Poem

You are dank, Frank…
your meat and bones
are smelling and swelling.

We are lost in these parts…
where is your parents’ GPS?
They so told us to bring it.

I am in Tom Cruise Control…
there is love to be made
in your crying new Camaro.

I really appreciate you…
letting me borrow your car
for groceries and intercourse.

Hemorrhoids

When you’re tight for work,
and pinching loaves of bills
in your back pocket,
trying not to shit all your money away,
the stress can press up in-
side of your guts,
and you don’t know
what will hemorrhage first—
your sore bottom
or
your heavy hat.

Hey Joe

I hope you never forget
what my face looked like
after you smashed my skull
on New Brunswick pavement,
like a Cro-Mag with a coconut.

I hope you can sleep okay,
considering all the patients
you have to see during the day.

This is sort of an olive branch,
and I hate the taste of olives.

Hey Yao

United,
We rode
On the
Airplane—
Me and
Yao Ming.

He yawned
Like a
Baby
Bronto-
Saurus
When we
Landed.

I said,
“Hey Yao,
what are
you gonna
do in
New York?”

He said,
“See Blue
Man Group.”

High School

Learning
all the secrets
of being
outside yourself
while being
within the law
is called
getting what
you pay for.

High Times

If you come visit me on the isthmus,
we can steal two Schwinn Cruisers
from a wooden, shingled shore house
and ride down to the docks on the bay
and order two buttery lobster rolls
and find some rocks to eat them on.

We can talk about Otis Redding,
William Butler Yeats, Steve McQueen,
or Alexander McQueen. I’m about
whatever, man. Yeah. We can soak
our feet in the indigo-stained water
and look at the stars of the wealthy.

We’ll stay high, all night. We’ll stay
high, all right. Rocks against bones.
Feet in the sand. Let’s bury ourselves
like fossils and memories to dig up
later, if we want. There are no light
bulbs to change or smash out here.

History

ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN
Fox knew them all

everybody is on vacation
especially the liberal media

tropical drinks, topical creams
high fructose corny jokes, please

Publishers Clearing House
dirty Senate, cleared House

too much junk, too much mail
the Post Offices are shrinking

Bobby Seale, Tom Hayden
graphic novel acts of past

I miss the days I don’t remember
please tell me campfire stories

days do handstands on feats
if you let them stretch out

so I have scanned my history
my history has been scammed

History is like Michael Jackson
are you proud or embarrassed?

History of Men

I tell you, “Men are not merely tyrants or imps.”

But how could you possibly understand
when all you’ve known up until now
has been ill-advised warfare
or half-baked suppressants
in place of anti-depressants?

Ho Chi Minh

I wonder what he liked
to do with his free time.

I wonder what he liked
to put on his sandwiches.

I wonder where he liked
to take his girlfriends.

I wonder where he liked
to go when he was scared.

Homologate

When every pen is lost,
find a phallic scepter
to substitute the senile
penile presence needed
to satisfy and/or ratify,
or otherwise, needed
to defy, this way or that.

Honey

Mariah Carey
is a booty short
short reel
that makes me
want to cut
it all short,
in good humor.

But then I see
you in your
pajamas
and I’m like,
“Hey, honey,
come give me
some of that.”

Hooligans for Life

I wake up as
early as I can;
I wake up as
an amphibian.

I try to catch
flies and sheep;
I try to herd
whatever I can.

There is no more
peace in this world;
there are no more
pieces for us now.

Remember skating
behind the Kmart?
Remember fondling
down in the Dust Bowl?

Hooligans for life,
some adults say;
hooligans for life,
some adults stay.

I could have been
a pro-bono lawyer;
I guess I am not
very much different.

Horizons

I’ve been putting out
for weeks now.

Each ounce of pride
has slipped and dripped
down those drains,
and the exhaust is tiring.

There is no more time.

I find it hard to frame
any of these ideas of mine
or even the oblique references
pointed out by semi-strangers.

There is no more space.

It’s the first of the second month
of the new year, the year
I pass the first milestone of life.

Challenges tangle spirits but
promises must stay clear, okay
and Challengers fall right out
of the sky; we do or die, do or I

Nike sprint from East to West
till I collapse somewhere near
the Mississippi and sling mud
by the river, cause that’s what
I’m accustomed to these days.

It’s hard to take a breath
when the things you love
(or think you love)
have that strong hold
and it’s one cigarette
after the next,
or it’s one shot of vodka
after the next.

Cough, choke, swallow, suffocate,
or vomit.

After it all,
can’t we just hang out some
times?

Hounds

You are hounds
if you know it,
trotting on cracks
in cobblestone streets.

Where pussies
might scoot-scoot
under a car’s taint soot,
you guys draw fire.

You aren’t as soft
as your pictures show;
you’re not as sharp
as the faucets you blow.

It’s hounds like you
that force me to consider
Southwest specials online,
and leave everything behind.

I hear Minneapolis
is nice this time of year;
I had to confirm myself
(St. Paul was nice, too).

Houston

Oh, you
are like
a lover
I fucked
twice and
I wish I
could go
back there
and give
you one
more go.

How Many Ways Can You Skin A Cat?

I remember the first time I heard this
question be asked and I remember
being perplexed at both the meaning
and the context. And to this day, I still
wonder to myself and now to anybody
who reads this poem why anybody
used this question as a metaphor
for anything at all in the first place,
because I think hairless cats are
up there as possibly one of the truly
creepiest things in this world I know,
aside from maybe how I could imagine
Edward Gorey would illustrate hairless
cats. Can you imagine how he would?

How Rustic

I open the creaky upstairs barn window
to enjoy the natural light and fresh air,
and something falls down to the grass.
The brown mustard paint on the frame
is chipping; the glass panes are desperate
for Windex. I like this window. So does this
Goddamn bee! Holy shit! This bee is Goliath!
Where did you come from? What do you want
from me? You’re not going to fuck my flesh
with your stinger! I close the window
and return to my laptop. The bee is on
the outside now, looking in. Fuck off!
You want into my dusty room? No thanks.
The bee buzzes away and immediately,
the sun hides. Ra, are you scared
of this beast too? The wind is blowing
more fiercely now. The voluptuous trees’
leaves have turned from Cinnabar Green Light
to Cinnabar Green Deep. It looks like rain
is on its way. I just looked at the weather
forecast. It says there is a major storm coming.
Maybe even a tornado or something. Shit.
About an hour ago, this place would have been
perfect for Neil Welliver and some naked babes.

Human Avocado

I will slice you open
till I get to the goods,
and I’ll spread you
over well-grained
surfaces and eat
you up till I’m full,
cause your health
is my health and
my health is yours.

Hung

You eat what you eat,
I drink what I drink,
And we both fall off
Our wooden stools.

Tonight is a night,
Tomorrow is a day,
And even if we hate,
We ought to celebrate.

Hyena

What’s a hyena got to do,
but screech and howl
at the absurdity of life?

&

What’s a hyena got to do
with me or you or us,
other than our absurdity?

I Do Presume

I took the train to Brownsville,
because I wanted a new story,
and the library was closed.

Any day can be a holiday
if people want a holiday.

I walked in circles in my pea coat,
pretending to do something
on my discounted electronic device.

A police security camera is only
useful if it’s actively compassionate.

I am the only person like me walking
these blocked off blocks, but that
is just what they think around here.

I am actually the only person like me,
anywhere, and I’m dealing with that.

Hey mister, in the ankle length fur,
or you, in the untied banger boots,
we can eat Doritos on your stoop.

I don’t mean to be presumptuous,
though I often am without knowing.

I Dream of Genies

You drag broken branches in grass
and less-than-sturdy sticks in sand
and your own two feet on pavement.

And when you’re done making pictures
and making fusses about old-time hussies,
you rub your belly and expect three wishes.

As you order another pitcher of Yuengling,
I can only think of two wishes of my own
and I keep them to myself because I’m drunk:

1. To get a job that can afford me to keep drinking.
2.  For Beyonce to leave Jay-Z and get with me.

I Tried

I tried
to dust
your broom,
but you
are just
too blue.

Illegal Pursuits

Define, please
your intentions,
because I have
and I have only
ever been content
when my edges
are straightened
out, in relation
to your curves.

Oh, your curves
are crazy, so crazy,
and your pursuits
are questionable,
ever since recently.
Since when do you
go out in handcuffs?
I have no crowbars;
do you have the keys?

Imbiber

He sits on his stoop,
staring at phantoms.

At the buoyant peaks
of his performances,
he croons like Elvis
and lambasts like a vet.

But for the most part,
he moans and howls
like a beagle hound
beneath the sad moon.

Sure, his blade is dull,
but his source is spirited.

In Knead

Fall semester of senior year,
Dave and I convinced Patrick
to go to the local rub-n-tug
to ask the price of a massage—
they told him he was just a baby,
to go next door for pizza, instead.

I am strongly pining a power-up;
I want an extended rubdown jam,
minus the complimentary hand job.
I don’t want to have my dick stroked
by a stranger who is getting paid to,
even if it’s disguised as a penis perk.

All I want is to strip off all my clothes
and face-plant onto a leather stretcher,
head in hole, body in gelatin Heaven,
and let the (preferably) sexy woman
put her bony fingers on my bony body,
and not talk to me about her problems.

In Search Of

I will try anything once,
which is why I do drugs;
but you can’t convince me
that olives or truffles
are worth my time—
they smell like toe jam
and crusty butt plugs,
and taste like the farts
of inbred Clydesdales.

I would like to go to the track
with wads of Monopoly money
and just drink Greyhounds
until I’m all out of top hats;
I’ll be circled by vested babes
like a hot dog eating champion—
you know, some girls go wild,
some go deep sea diving,
and some go home with me.

I don’t want to live alone
in a Rocky IV mansion
like Mike Tyson or 50 Cent,
or divorced George Jetson;
I want to live my dreams,
not in a sentimental way
like guidance counselors
or bi-racial peace posters
have tried to tell me to do.

I actually want to wander
around in first-person
scenarios and dream
in reverse about reality,
probably like child stars
do at adult bookstores,
in between mimosa brunches
and Narcotics Anonymous—
in search of Woody Harrelson.

In Tension

So I garbled my words again.

You said what I said was a slap in the face.

Figure of speech.

Figures made of speech.

But you actually have hit me.

Literal transgressions.

What’s worse: intentional or unintentional?

What’s the point of reference?

What’s the point of comparison?

What’s it matter when everything hurts?

Independence Day

It was Independence Day.
You took me out to the ball game.
We were proud, pedantic juniors back then.
We were sheepish, submissive Yankees that day.
And we were in complete awe of the floating flowers
that had just exploded above all five boroughs,
plus the state next door, from where we came.

I remember the look on Matt’s face;
his mouth hung open like a flat shoe dangling
from the foot of a woman’s crossed leg.
His eyes reflected flickering neon images.
It looked like he wasn’t blinking.
It looked like elaborate Lite-Brite patterns
being formed in a frenetic stop-motion video.

It was as if the three of us were starring
in some movie billed as a “coming of age story.”
But each of us hates those melodramatic narratives
acted out by “next big thing” actors and actresses
and set to soundtracks chock-full of those bands
that liberal yuppies listen to at overpriced coffee shops.
That’s why, the next day, we saw Live Free or Die Hard.

Indie Rock

When Sebadoh said:
“Gimme Indie Rock!”

I do not think they could have ever anticipated
what would have come from that simple dem-
and. And I do not think I can possibly underst-
and what Indie Rock even means at this point.

So I must ask Sebadoh:
“What is Indie Rock?!”

Infinite Gestures

Time is constantly tested.
Can time be tasted?
Salivate. Saturate.
Procrastinate. Pro-rate.

Do you hear those bells?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…

Caress your thighs
and wait for the flickering flash
of my pocketed camera.
Hard drive memory database.
I’ll never forget
the lost shotgun slides
up and down
the East Coast corridor.
Turn the frames around
and plant them on their faces;
delete public displays of affection.
Standard practice.
JPEGs can be shuffled
like a carousel circuit.

And tell me,
when is a carnival mood Ziplocked
as tightly as juicy mango slices
or slivers of sterilized muscles?
New national pride secured
in oils and linens.
Make it happen.

Caution: wet painted seats.
Unctuous punctures of peril.
I need more love. Don’t we all?

Give me those prickly sensations.
In and out. In and out.
That ebb and flow of momentary fear.
Out of reach. Out of touch. What is this?
I collect leaves and tear them down the center.
Divide and conquer. What is this?
I’ve always wanted to make a rubber band ball,
only to immediately disassemble it.
A lost metaphor left imprisoned in cubicles.
Languid labyrinths.
Actions match environments.
I’m always stuck
with single leaves or single bands.
The leaves are left as evidence
for pedestrians to collect or ignore.
When does rigor mortis set in?
As for the bands,
how far can they stretch?
We all know meaning is elastic.
Each snap back is a reminder
to remember
to think.

Nestled in comfort for far too long,
I think I’ll expect something new out of myself.
I think I’ll accept something new outside of myself.
I want to become a foreigner and renew my impulses.
Maybe I’ll go to Morocco and buy a few rugs.
I’ve always avoided naps, but I’m looking for a portal.
You can have one of my rugs. We can transport ourselves.
Exotic DeLoreans. Backseat tantric yoga fucking.
Truth. Love. True love. This stuff fades like garments,
washed by secret admirers at lonely Laundromats.

Your secrets are no longer yours to preserve.
I’ve given up certain things, but I’m not giving up on this.
It’s not that I’m holding out. I’m just busy burying requests.

Inside Out

My legs are numb from all the hops last night. My arms are paralyzed from my unabridged paralegal pad of notated anxieties. My hula hoop dreams square dance around the perimeter of the present. My hips dip up and down, back and forth, between past and future. Sometimes I look at my left hand and see a wedding band. Sometimes I look at my right hand and see a nub. Most of the time, I feel like I’m carrying a wet car battery around four star hotel hallways while dragging a rusty cannonball with one leg and a polished bowling ball with the other. I am a 9-5 spy. I am a freelance caterer. I’ve got a top secret 150 pound cake to dish out at my leisure. But I don't like sweet or sloppy fortunes. My advice: turn your knives inside out. All right?

It Girl

I met a petite young thing
when I was twenty-two.

She looked like a mod
supermodel, I swear.

I could’ve been charming,
but her friends were dumb.

I wanted so badly to fuck her
and write a sappy song for her.

It could have been one of those
Leonard Cohen moments, maybe.

Or maybe more like Jonathan Richman,
depending on the weather and stuff.

I wonder what this tan-skinned Edie
is up to these days? Hopefully, living.

Jacob

I am very pleased
that my old friend
decided to become
my new friend again.

Jail

I see your old face
through prison bars;
your snarky smirk
gives me more comfort
than you could ever have
imagined it might provide.

Jane Said

I don’t remember
most of her words
because she quit
our band in college.

Wait, I’m probably
mistaken—I think
I gave it all up for
the culture of one.

Jarritos

Brisk
Shuffling
On
Bare
Feet.

Swift
Sipping
On
Barren
Pockets.

Thirsty
Sand
And
Sun
Tans.

Jazzercise

You can only burn
so much off before
you want another
taste—and how
do we determine
the greatness of
hips, anyways?

If you can sway
with this, you
can probably
sway with most
anything, really.

Jean Jacket

What’s the point
of anything, really?

So what’s the point
of pointless clothing?

Jitney Gypsy

I met a gypsy on the jitney
yesterday, on my way to go
to the city for my exit strategy.
She called herself a gypsy,
not me. I’ve never heard
someone refer to themselves
as a gypsy with any amount
of seriousness before. But
I suppose she actually was
a gypsy. But what does define
a gypsy in this era, on this long
island? I didn’t have the guts
to ask such questions of this
pleasant woman, somewhere
between my mother’s age and
my Nana’s age. How dare I?
She was drinking something
from a flask. Her breath smelled
slightly like whiskey, maybe,
but I could be wrong. Despite
her slur and her blur, her rapid
comments were sobering. Her
body odor smelled like some
strange mash-up of a Yankee
Candle variety pack and
homemade chicken pot pie.

I felt comfortable with her,
even though she didn’t even
tell me her name. I told her
mine, because she asked. But
I didn’t mind the scale being
uneven. She was reciprocating
in other ways. She offered to me
whatever was in her flask, but
it was before noon and I had
some things to take care of
before I really started to let
my brain’s haze match the city’s.
It wasn’t this humid where I
was coming from. I wondered
to myself, “How is this gypsy
going to be able to haul all
her collected tattered bags,
cloaked in that heap of clothes
as she darts through the masses
in this blistering heat, trapped
between paved streets and
concrete?” But then, she took
another swig from her flask
and winked at me and said,
“This is my stop. I need to
pick up my cat. You be safe.”

Joy Division

When the father
of two of my friends
called me a faggot
and attacked me
like a drunk gorilla
in his rock dungeon,
for no reason at all,
I felt like Ian Curtis;
now I just dance on.

Juan Quixote

Don’s son was a wise kid,
despite his foolish bloodline.
He became a powerful priest
and paid back sad sack Sancho
in rich wine and stolen coins
from the Spanish king at the time.

His father made many errors,
resulting in sundry sore troubles
for Sancho and his own poor luck.
Due to his selfless generosity,
Sancho’s oldest son spoke
to the writer, Miguel de Cervantes,
so that perhaps Cervantes
might round out and close out
the story with the happy ending
of Juan religiously restoring
the traditional Quixano name,
while actually not adopting
that original name, himself.
(The courts were far trickier then).

Cervantes said, “No thanks,”
of course. So I decided to
tell the story of Juan Quixote,
based entirely on a sheet
of Composition paper I found
in a thrift store up near D.C.,
during the first semester
of my first year of grad school.

Juju

Your magic is light,
like a modern lover,
and I feel it every day
when I roll out of bed.

I stretch to the tunes
of contemporary crows,
and it feels so fresh
to squeeze out the bad.

Just Gaming

Cassius Clay. Muhammad Ali. Cash
in play. Golden era. Golden aura.
What happened to superheroes?
Walk, talk, spit, dance. Chest thump.
Here we go again. Breaking bulbs.
Another big bout. Biggest game
in town. Keep your head. Keep
your wits. Tear those pages out of
your books and off of their walls.
Have another drink. Have another
one night stand. Forget all of your
problems. Alzheimer's. Dimentia.
Just gaming. Just gaming. Is it all
going too fast for you, too far for
you? What do philosophers do
these days? A passive-aggressive
neurotic told me, the other day, that
they just revise recycled thoughts
so that we have a more thorough
understanding of the world we live
in at the moment, at any moment.
That sounds good to me. I just
would like to forever avoid any
more long-winded, weed-scented
discussions about God, relationships,
existence, the universe, etc. etc. etc.

Justice and Justification

Okay. Murder is murder. But yes, mass murder
is worse than the killing of one man. And prison
does not really apply here. So I can let this heavy
apple go down, slowly. I’ll swallow it whole. I will.

Because I would like to avoid a parade of beasts
hoisting beasts. I would like to avoid wild and woolly
wounds, cyclically inflicted upon any man, regardless
of his evil can evil do essence. I get it. Dead or Alive.

Ten year anniversary. What a present. Don’t we feel
loved? What a trophy. Don’t we feel like we’ve won?
Don’t mess with Texas. Speaking of Texas: Mass
murder? Don’t you remember all those capital deaths?

Irony is complicated. Irony has its place. But maybe
not now. Now, I wonder: Can I get some decent health
care? What’s up with the job situation? Can we use
some new energy? Can I bring toiletries on planes?

Kempt Mule

A young Japanese
candy treatise is
probably a great
conquer for well,
middle-aged, mid-
weight royalty.

And well, I wouldn’t
mind either, but I
wouldn’t know it
either. So I will con-
tinue to keep my
hair short for now.

The beast keeps on
bucking while I’m
away, resting on
my hypothetical
hammock, talking
about the father.

King of Liars

So what about that old man
in the ash grey home team
hooded sweatshirt, drinking
more Corona Lights and singing
last year’s pop hits, almost in key,
word for word? I want to know
his story. He sways his arms
up and down, back and forth,
like the American flag, proudly
waving high up on the roof above
our heads. Men and women, alike,
sloppily eat him up like a seafood
combo platter down the street.
I hope his absent wife is proud.

Knights

In that dark dive bar,
we embraced like men
just returning from war.
And feeling our boney bodies
clutch each other so securely,
it felt like I was back in your
secluded, scattered bedroom
or one of those basements of din,
projecting anthems of boredom,
bordering on heroism or hedonism.
And I didn’t want the cold activation
to ever end. So I say fuck 9-5 days, man.

Knotted Up

The hobos by the all-night Laundromat have been drinking Keystone Lights since yesterday afternoon. I saw them in the same spot, wearing the same clothes, doing the same thing when I was folding my fresh and cleans before I could drink myself. Sometimes I can relate. Not at that moment though. Irony can really fuck with you. And so can hobos. In fact, when I was getting out of the Journal Square station a few days ago, an older homeless woman asked me for a cigarette. I said, "No thanks." So she called me a white faggot. I guess I deserved it. No, I didn't. The ironic thing is the next morning, I got Indian Buffet with Dre and a block away, I saw a gaggle of Indian gays. You know what? I never want to eat a buffet meal again. Not because I'm racist or homophobic like the old homeless woman. My belly is just not cut out for that sort of abuse.

Kong

Whenever you speak to me,
it’s like listening to Billie Holiday
served on steamed white rice
with a freshly poured glass of poetry.

Krazy Glue

Stop your slopping;
you’re so sloppy—
I couldn’t care less
about your pinky.

Who are you, really?
You’re kind of like
the doppelganger
of humanized Alf.

You’re kind of like
a sleazy version
of Butterbean,
with bad hair.

Your words are
just alien drivel;
your smile is
Neo-Con smug.

You’re a bruiser
without swinging—
all you have to do
is open your mouth.

I can’t believe you
would ask my girl
to go Swiss Miss
and show her tits.

I can’t believe you
still come around
after the dark side
told you to heed.

Land vs. Sea

Sitting on a bench at the zoo,
I am infinitely depressed.

I hate popcorn,
But I’ll eat it.

Watching fish in a tank,
I feel freedom forever.

I love seafood,
And I’ll eat it.

Last Hours

Gander at gender.
Fly far away with
new, developed in-
sights, and sounds.
Listen to the glisten-
ing body of one.
Naked as the night,
sprawling under
borrowed sheets.

Her skin is smooth
like polished bronze;
but prim and delicate
like tanned marble.

Left leg, torqued
up to left breast,
for just a moment—
slightly apologetic
for kneeing my
ghost in the ribs.

Right arm, at an
exact right angle—
dusting the land-
scape of creased
linens, wonder-
ing where I am.

It is quarter till
seven now, and
the sun is shining
on the damp leaves
of grass outside.
Every bird on the
East Coast appears
to have gathered
to form a chamber
choir for me and
my worthy guest.

She floats like a fish
in religious waters.
She mumbles to me,
like a man who just
needs a dollar fifty
to make it back to
Midlothian. They’re
both dreamers, really.

What does she
dream of when
alone? What is
she thinking of
when with me?

Well, I am thinking of
Picasso and Matisse,
Rothko and Newman,
Marden and Buren,
at this very moment,
as I watch this nude
toss and turn like so,
in the ethereal stripe
painting created on
the bed, on her body,
by the generic blinds
on the creaky window.

She shifts as the light
shifts. I turn around as
she turns over. I could
do this for hours. But
she needs to head West
in less than three. And
we need to get banana
pancakes in the meantime.

Latent Lesbian

You say I am full of it.
You say I am full of myself.

You say I am ingratiating
myself.
I say you are irritating
me.

Who are you to play make believe
and act as if you know me, at all?
Even for one second. And even if
you had any idea of how to draw
my character, you showed me you
lack any ability to second guess
yourself. And to me, that’s simply
sad. You think I am just some dude
soaked in sarcasm and secrets?
What’s to prove I’m not a latent
lesbian despite all those beers
that have buried your manners,
clouded your vision, and led your
self-aggrandizing morals to swell?

And yet,
I can give you a second chance,
I guess.

Laundered

Done
and
done.

This
and
that.

So
and
so.

We
all
get
soaped
some
times.

We
all
get
wrung
other
times.

This
and
that.

So
and
so.

Done
and
done.

Leased Out

Once, a girl in motorcycle boots rode me so hard, she hit a brick wall. Come to think of it, I hit them every day. I’m thinking of going vegan again, so I don’t lay any more eggs. My sister tells me to eat healthier. Organic food is a sham. That should be a billboard. Maybe it is, like on I-90 or something. The Midwest is the biggest offensive and defensive lines ever assembled. The Midwest is also equally Mideast. I’ve been going back and forth a lot lately. Some might call me a flip-flopper. I feel like politics mimic music trends. We’re all in the club. What club? You tell me. You tell me that I don’t listen. That’s not true. I just can’t hear you. Amidst all the garbage cans and Pit bulls, you’re just a hamster squealing like a pig. Blood has been boiling like bacon fat lately. It burns. I’ve never been pepper sprayed and I don’t plan on putting that on my bucket list. That movie sucked. It made me want to kick God in the crotch. Old people are usually hilarious. But Hollywood cobwebs are some real bullshit. Dust out the crusty crops. Stretch out the fertile joints. Soften the fabric. Strengthen the endurance. Let’s run with this until we’re too tired to talk, until we’re too tired to walk. I need some better pajamas. I already feel retired. This metronome is fastened like a bar of gold tied to a noose. It’s like a horny Tarzan. I am like Jane, post-coitus. The pipes in my apartment sound like they’re laughing at me. Landlords probably have a chamber like congress, or maybe like cannibals. What’s the difference? Stop telling me how to live. Stop telling me how to eat. I never want to lease myself again.

Left Eye

My eyes are so swollen—
You can bruise my ego,
If it makes you happy—
It’s like galvanized steel
Most of the time, really;
But some of the time,
It’s like garnished stuff
Behind a bar counter—
That’s when I’d rather
You just burn me down—
I can see your future.

Lessons

It was near
Columbus Circle;
I learned more lessons
about why I love language
and why I hate the way
missionaries use it.

What an ironic location.

It was the weekend
before
lovers blow it—
their loot, and load(s)—
and
just as the ice was melting,
the cold came creeping
back
from the Middle,
where there
are pyramids and traps,
for miles and miles.

You can be healthier
in the Middle;
or you can eat more meat
and drink more fancifully
than Persian kings or Jay-Z.

You can roam like T-Mobile
or you can get stuck like a skunk,
mistaken for something more
desirable,
looking for something more
desirable.

You know
there are
some places
I think
we can
all agree
are just
well, some-
what okay?

These places,
for me,
are the spaces
of mainly warm-
blooded, warm-
colored things
that deceive;
hidden between
those other sundry
deceiving things.

But most people
are bad with geography—
what happened to cartography?

We only recognize the local,
even when we analyze the global.

But what do I know about Cairo or Tehran,
and what do their people know about being American?

Well, most people
are bad with morals and habits—
they habitually bend their morals.

That’s why I gave up on God
and that’s why I gave up on love
and that’s why I’ve retreated
and gone back to both so many times
and then lied about ever having any faith in anything at all.

Lethargic Dirge

One thousand dollars plus
To cross the Atlantic
I will listen to Another Side
Until I land wherever

Airplanes made of people
Caskets made of steel
I’ll sink until I swim
I’ll drown to know I’m real

If I get to where I’m going
I’ll write to let you know
If I’m ever coming back
From my miraculous search

Airplanes made of people
Caskets made of steel
I’ll sink until I swim
I’ll drown to know I’m real

Leverage

Leverage
can be attained
from experience.

If you steal
and smash
enough
fruit,
you can
get drunk
and do it
again.

But then,
you are weak
and cannot flex.

Liar

You said
you wanted
something
new, but
how can
I trust
you when
you straight
up go
back to
the blue
bearded
beast that
beat you
like a
rented mule?

Lie On

This bag in my hands
Clearly says it contains
0 grams of trans fat.

Is it lying?
Do I care?
Not really.

What about those stockings
Made of strung crimson lace
On the lower space of her legs?

Is she lying?
Will she be?
Maybe on me.

Life Sucks

I was recently at a bar
where the clientele
were speaking a new
language, comprised
almost entirely of clichés—

My crew was quite critical
of this manner of speaking,
and their figures of speech,
and the more that was poured,
the poorer everything became—

A few days later, a crew-mate
e-mailed me a brief Internet essay
that spoke only in photographs,
and called for death to eleven clichés,
which made me sympathize with clichés—

In response to the essay he sent me,
which I still am not sure if he viewed
as proof of something or something else,
I wrote back, “Life sucks, then you die.”
To which he wrote, “I guess that one can live.”

Light Bulbs

The only light bulbs
above our heads
are the ones architects
and/or electricians
planned to be there.

So don’t think
every idea you have
is a good one
and go smashing hot glass
on the ground for glory.

Linden Hill

I am screening all phone calls,
starting today (or tomorrow).

If it’s a favor requester,
I’m probably on vacation.

I’m installing a tiny spy hole
in my landlord’s front door.

If it’s one of God’s messengers,
I’m probably dead already.

By then, my spirit will be up,
slowly grazing massaged dirt.

I recently succumbed to vague
convenience, so this is home.

Literally

I don’t know Judo or Jujutsu,
but I do understand the basics
of chopping people down
to make yourself feel better
about yourself, and I know
you know plenty more than me
about defense and self-defense—
you have been in the Cage;
you have been to the Gulf.

I will hop in a careening
coastal carrier with you,
because I’ve gone to further
limits with you in the past;
so I say to myself and I say
to the man who is asking me
how much for my microwave—
the one I literally bought
just like, oh, five minutes ago—
I say simply, “Why not?”

Why do people use literally
as an adverb anymore?

Have we really become so paranoid?

Little Freak

The mole on the stool
at the end of the bar
knows what we don’t,
yet refuses to speak
to anyone down here.

He keeps to his own
and to she who serves
him scotch and soda
after scotch and soda
till stories slip away.

Looney Tune

A homeless woman sporting a Bugs Bunny t-shirt and a Buckhweat hairdo threatened my life today because I didn’t take kindly to her demanding shouts to give her something. My first response was, “Come on.” She yelled back, “YOU COME ON!” I said, “Seriously, I don’t have anything.” She said, “Cracka, you lyin’!” I said, “Why would I lie to you?” She said, “Nigga, you trippin’!” I said, “Please don’t call me that. I swear I’m sturdy.” She said, “White motherfucker! I’m gonna get you! I’m gonna kill you and your entire family!” I said, “Okay, listen…do you want me to buy you a combo meal from Dunkin Donuts or something?” She said, “Fuck Dunkin Donuts! I’m gonna burn that place to the ground after I kill you and your family!” I said, “Which Dunkin Donuts? The one around the corner, some other one, their headquarters? I’m confused. Also, which family? The one that raised me or the hypothetical one I hope to raise someday?” She said, “I swear to God, nigga! I’m gonna kill you!” I said, “That bums me out, ma’am. I really like your shirt.”

Love Poem

Most people
fall in love
at least once
in their lifetime.

The problem is
they often think
the first time
is going to be
the last time,
too.

I fell victim
to this historic line
of thinking,
once,
a few years back—
the way
she,
like all women,
falls victim
to thinking
in trends
and fashions.

Okay,
whatever this wave or that wave:
I don’t intend to make
broad, generalizing statements
about me and you
and her and her and her.

I’m just speaking
as much as I can
in a voice
that I think
is honest and direct
and gets to the point.
You know?

But you can’t hear me.
Read my lips.
I can talk forever.
But you can’t see me.
This is a poem.
Read my words.
I can write forever.
I will write forever.
Exercising exorcisms
and romanticizing romanticisms.
Isms and isms;
over and over.

Hey!
Right now,
I just want
to have a Coke with you.
Oh, you don’t like soda?
We can drink water
or some other beverage,
together.

I don’t care, really.
I just wanted
to make a reference
to Frank O’Hara.

I am going
to see his grave
this weekend.

I’ve never been
to Fire Island.
I’ll probably never
go to Fire Island.

I would like
to leave him
something
at Green River,
though—
but giving gifts,
for me,
is like waiting
for girlfriends
to get ready
for a date—
it takes hours,
but it usually
ends well.

Loyalty

Loyalty seems to come in spurts—
what can you do for me?

Hasn’t that been your experience,
or at least, lately, hasn’t it?

Oh well…

I will always keep tabs on you—
if you want me to, that is.

I would metaphorically kill,
or be killed, for you.

Oh well…

Lucky Dragon

You could never know
the miles I’ve walked
to try to get back home.

And I wouldn’t know
what it’s like to watch
scorpions fight in sand.

I tread on you and you
tread on me; but we both
are in opposition to action.

We could never go to war
with each other, could we?
We’re joined to avoid death.

Who am I to twist tongues
in our bars (familiar by now),
even in comfortable company?

Navy Seals have their secrets,
and so do I, and so do mine;
but who are better missionaries?

We all stick to missionary,
though we prefer adventure—
the kind you find in films.

What kinds of films, you ask?
Those you can surely snuff;
those you can wholly huff.

I am reel to real by now—
oh, how clever I am, or am I?
Where’s my glass of wine?

No, but seriously—I’m sorry
about what I said earlier,
even if you don’t remember.

I only want (need) good guys,
like bold blood brothers,
with meaningless rituals.

How’s your grammar?
How’s your syntax?
What’s your blood type?

A-E-I-O-U something
and you hand it back—
are you positive, man?

Luring Loners

When you took me
to that mobile New Jersey
bar parked in Brooklyn,
I felt the most disoriented
I had since I first dropped
the anchor again.

It was like a sitcom—
it lacked humor,
but the bartenders
wore bowties,
which was kind
of funny.

I ordered a pork chop
and you, a fancy drink.

The stereos
made attempts
to serenade.

And honestly,
I don’t believe
either of us
could deny
the mood.

But the meat
of the matter
was the future
moment in flux.

And now,
we can see
that; we can.

I look forward
to more sips
of scotch
and other stuff.

I look forward
to memories
made up
of making out
to classic,
repressed tunes—
selfish soundtracks
for luring loners.

Mall Madness

I go to the mall
To see a movie.

I tell the cashier
To choose for me.

She asks me,
“Do you like Sandra Bullock?”

I say to her,
“You’re breaking the rules.”

She tears a stub
And hands it to me.

It’s for the new movie,
Starring Sandra Bullock.

As is often the case,
I must blame myself.

After the movie,
I drag my feet.

I scrape tiles
With my soles.

I decide to build a bear;
I name him Malcolm.

I throw him in the penny pond
And watch him slowly drown.

Then, two mall cops approach;
They say they’re calling real cops.

I politely ask them why they would do such a thing;
They say bearslaughter and disturbing the peace.

I like malls far better these days
Than when I was in high school.

Mamacita

The Latino accordion player has a frozen face, stoic like the Titanic. His instrument has special effects. His fingers are especially affected. He paces and plays gypsy Christmas music as his desperado mujer simultaneously breast-feeds and collects change. She’s even more impressive in every way. I like her vibe. I like her poltergeist eyes. I like her breezy hair. I like her Apollo Theater waist. I like her Air Jordans. Hey kid, how about you take a nap and let me get a taste?

Manned

Watch your fingers
when you’re around
hot plates or hot women—
they’ll always burn you,
like time or space,
and then what are you
left with, besides
a blister or a broken heart,
or some newfangled notion
of what the universe means?

Marathon

I’d walk
and talk
with you
until
my calves
are sore
and
I can
no longer
utter
a word.

Marc Bolan

You never
could have
been the
T. Rex
you said
you were.

Yes, your
hot pants
were wild
and your
hot licks
were wild.

But you
were much
more like
an herbivore,
shredding for
China dolls.

Manned

Watch your fingers
when you’re around
hot plates or hot women—
they’ll always burn you,
like time or space,
and then what are you
left with, besides
a blister or a broken heart,
or some newfangled notion
of what the universe means?

Marks-ism

Blistered lips
from others,
or maybe
hot sauce—

Was it cooking?
Was it cooked?

The only position
I’m in
is one to bend.

I’ve got my work;
I’ve got my workshop.

I’ve got my love near
and I’ve got what I want
miles away,
miles apart.

No matter
how many blows
I give or take,
I will always
be blown away
by the lacking
and the lugging
I, along with you,
continue to skirt
around and around
which everything
we climb and drag
and rest upon
has forever
been built.

Marriage

I saw a man-child
become a man
about a month ago,
and it was worth
every single moment
another man can live
to witness, himself.

Marvel Comedy

If you would have told me
a few months ago that you
would be memorizing wine
lists and working at fashion
shoots, I probably would’ve
jumped off the Williamsburg
Bridge and sucked on toxic
fish juice and corpse meat;
I feel crisp and eclipsed, but
I like all your new surprises.

Materialism

You thought that dialing those digits
from your pathetic debit card
might yield majestic results forever,
or at least until your next birthday;
but like with all material goods,
good or bad,
you realized that you just got played,
like a board game,
or a bored game,
or a sex toy—
fucked in the asshole
by a vibrating know-better.

Matrix Laughs

Are you who you say (think) you are?
Or are you a phantom figure hiding/
hanging out in a virtual reality strung
together by artful shit mechanisms,
designed by a Carnegie Mellon grad,
trying to play jedi mind tricks on me?
But why would any jerk off go to such
extreme, elaborate measures merely
to mess with my natural geek modes
of operation? Maybe I’m the phantom?
But if that were the case, I would like
to think that I am smart enough to
catch on and figure out the numbers
to unravel this piecemeal pit puzzle—
plot planks pinging on perpetual pangs.

Meat and Potatoes

I like how meat and potatoes taste
as much as anything else tastes—
but as a symbol for something real,
I prefer simple sustenance most.

Mecca

Everyone’s got one;
what’s your vice?

I build mini-cities
out of ice cubes,
stacked high like
clear Jenga blocks
to see if they first
melt or crumble.

Destruction is fun
when it’s peaceful.

Memory

Oh, memory!
How you have haunted
my own version of vision;
and ah, all the schmucks
who have claimed you
for their own.

Wouldn’t it be nice
for us to sway
to Pet Sounds
while sanding
white shapes
in our minds?

But then,
wouldn’t you be
as bored as boards,
stacked like swords,
waiting to shank
the plunked pricks?

You must be
as fed up
as I am
with the incessant,
incestual
pandering.

Let’s steal some
craft beers
from Libertarians
and dumpster divers,
and bust bottles
on sculpted shit mounds.

If we bury our truths
with our freedoms,
what will be left
to dig up
when your shallow depths
are fully exposed?

Midnight Shuffle

As I rest my aching body
on the creamy leather sofa
that would be most beautiful
if it weren’t for the party holes
made from cigarette ashes,
or ashes from a joint,
my joints quietly reveal
they’re weary and concerned.

They fear the brisk walking
that tomorrow shall bring,
and the icy Hudson winds
that will stalk me and stab
through my new chinos
that I think I’ll continue to wear,
probably, even casually,
but not anywhere too transgressive.

Is that a rat I hear?!
I will not give you a hard time, rat,
if you do not give me any diseases.
I know you’re just trying to get comfortable.
I shuffle and make a lot of noise at night before I fall asleep too.

Goodnight, rat.

Mileage

I drank $4 worth of beer after work tonight. Usually that’s like two-thirds of a pint, but tonight, I took advantage of some nice Italians. Well, a nice pizza joint anyways. I think the dude who gave me the two discounted imports was like Ecuadorian or El Salvadorian or something. Either way, I know a good deal when I see one. I am so on the full-blown lookout for good deals these days. I guess yesterday was Cyber Monday. So I decided to occupy the Metro Mall. I bought a Dirt Devil. I’m cleaning up my act. I realized today while cutting cardboard that I needed to go back and round out my revolution. In between consumptions, I fell into a puddle the size of North Dakota because I was distracted by a storefront full of dolts painting The Scream. Initial reaction: to sulk over soaked socks. Secondary reaction: why does Drew Barrymore talk like that? Tertiary reaction: what’s up with Munch? Then I looked up. I saw a man in a poncho with brown bags full of what I am sure was some sort of exotic cuisine riding his bicycle into traffic. And I thought about my youthful substitute back-up dad’s relayed observation he shared with me in the back of a flatbed truck the previous Sunday after we ate three tacos each. He took a drag of a hand-rolled cigarette and leaned forward, then leered to his right shoulder, towards me and said, “Keith, you ever notice that immigrants are the only people to ride their bikes into traffic? Like Chinese dudes and Mexican dudes—they’re always riding the opposite way you’re supposed to ride. I’ve been all over the United States and Europe. Nobody here or there rides their bikes into traffic. What the fuck, man?” I had no answer for him. And I have no answer now. Maybe it’s culture shock therapy? Maybe it’s a big game of chicken? I don’t know. All I knew is I couldn’t think about this any longer. I needed to go plunge my dreams and move on to Simpler Times. I was one step closer when I got to the BIG K. I noticed the B, the I, and the G were all cracking like maybe an Old Master’s paintings. But not like Munch’s. Maybe like one of those guys who painted virgins with weird water balloon tits. You know whose paintings like never crack? Stuart Davis. Well, I’m sure at least one of his paintings have cracked, but you know what? He could have painted the shit out of a BIG K sign and it would never crack—no matter what Northeast Ghetto ravaged it. Sometimes I go to the Met and donate a dollar solely to look at his paintings just to think about how any man could have such control over paint while watching television. I don’t know when I’ll have a television of my own again. I don’t really need one. All I really need is HBO and ESPN. Acronyms are pretty chill. You know what else is pretty chill? Taking your time at familiar amusement parks. I don’t know when the next time I’ll go to an amusement park will be. I don’t really need to go to one. I just need to occasionally find impeccable public bathrooms. Have you ever noticed that some public bathrooms smell like Disneyworld? Or at least the cleaner countries in Epcot Center. You know, the ones where people ride their bikes on the right side of the road? I love that smell.

Milk and Honey

I’m drinking a beer in bed,
but I should probably
be drinking some tea.
I don’t have any tea.
I have ten more beers
in the fridge though.

I never understood
how anyone could
put milk and honey
in their tea. I always
felt like it ought to be
one or the other, man.

My mom would prepare it
with milk and sugar, but
I never cared for sweets.
And when I was in high
school, I began to drink
coffee, black as Mutumbo.

And I started having sex
and reading the Bible again.
This is when I started to get it.
Milk and honey. Tits and pussy.
Fertility and sustenance. People
want it all and so do I, I guess.

Now I’m listening to Spacemen 3.
I’m walkin’ with Jesus. I’m in love
with solitude, but maybe I’m never
alone. Hey, look! There’s a country
bug, crawling back and forth now
on the window sill like Philippe Petit.

Mind Loss

Do you think it would actually be
possible for you to lose your mind?
Have you ever really thought about
what that phrase might mean though?
Like what if you left it at some party,
like you’d leave your keys in her new
ignition? Or what if you decided to
let go of the leash and take the leap?
And honestly, what’s worse anyways:
drifting through a retirement home,
searching for your ex-wife or getting
an ice cream cone tattooed on your
face? Burr! Burr! It’s getting cold in
hurr! Ice cold ornamental apartment.
I’ve gotta dip soon—soft serve, soft
swerve, or else I’m gonna serve time,
hard time. Not prison time. I’m too
pretty for that; but I never like to
waste time. My time is getting more
expensive, just like everything else
in my life. And now, I guess maybe
it’s time for me to get a nicer watch
to remind me. I wonder if it’s feasible
for Jacob the Jeweler to do discounted
freelance work from that halfway house?
And I wonder if he still has his mind or
if he left it at his penthouse or prison?

Mind Waltz

Sometimes
I like to spend my days off
in the summer
walking around
the parts of Brooklyn
that are
(for the most part)
free
from bars
and bodegas,
where the Hasids roam,
divide,
and conquer.

I like to roam,
myself—
sometimes I stroll
down Bedford or Myrtle
until I hit the Home Depot,
where I might see
a filled out family,
full of curly burns
and silver shoes.

And they’ll be covered
in wooly garments,
sweating as they select
the proper tools
for renovation.

I feel for them
(and their humid struggle);
but really, I want to feel
their eldest daughters
(and their moist angst)—

sometimes
I’ll catch them
sneaking a peek
in my direction
and I’ll match their glance
and raise them two glances;
I see them blush like bullies,
afraid of being caught by authority.

And I try to guess
all their secrets
they may have buried
in their hidden coffers
or in their hidden pasts.

And I try to guess
what’s under those
ankle-length skirts
and what it would take
to get up under them.

I want to whisper
into the ears of these
twenty-somethings
still living with their folks,
who curiously look
like famous starlets,
but are waiting
to soon be fixed up
with Samuel or Yoel,
that their banker beaus
will still be waiting
for them
even after
our summer nights
spent stroking
in my bedroom
or in McCarren Park
or wherever they prefer.

I want to remind them
as we drink white wine
from Uruguay, etc.

there are alternatives
and that my God
is their God
and my God
will not smite them
for copping my ass
as I penetrate them.

But by the time
I get to the checkout line
and pay for whatever
item(s) can fit
into a single plastic bag,
I remind myself of the respect
I have for respectable people
and I try to extract my daydreams.

But at the end of the day,
a guy should still be able to dream.

Misogyny

Come on,
fellas…

don’t blame
Eve or Yoko
for every
single
petty
problem
we create
for ourselves.

Let’s face
facts…

there is
a lengthy
timeline
of men
doing
dirty deeds,
Costanza-
style.

Missed Fortune

We’re a pair of shoes;
we’re a tandem bike.

I walk or run
and you mainly jog;
we both ride our ways away.

The days of training (and)
the presentation at night
are what separates A from B.

Hey…

We can be old-fashioned
if you want to be,
because
you know
I want to be old-fashioned.

No,
wait…

You want to boardwalk
with other fellows?

No?
Wait?

That’s not what you meant;
that’s not what you meant?

Well, well, well…
what is it?

My wrist is telling me
I’m out of time.

I think I’m going to call up
Henry Miller, maybe,
or maybe
Jerzy Kosinski,
and Bogart out of here now.

Hey…

The last time I ate Chinese,
I was told not to take any-
more shit from anyone.

The last time my palm
was read, I was told
I was soft on the inside.

When I did Tarot Cards,
the witch pulled a Joker.

Missed Opportunity

I guess Mike found his Parliaments, so we were smoking by the Bowery, talking about time and other shit when some Latina lady came rushing past us. She was carrying her toddler like a football, resembling a young Earl Campbell. As soon as she got through the glass doors, her little niña began McPuking heavier than a newbie during pledge week. Poor girl. I wanted to help, but what could I have done? And before I could even try, some haggard diner waitress type with a sick comb-over was coming out from the underground and shoved me out of the way. She yelled out, "Are you fucking kidding me?!" But she obviously wasn't asking a question. I think the baby mama was offended, but she was just lost in the moment. And I just lost the moment. A missed opportunity. I'm sorry, baby mama. It's not you. It's me.

Mixed Odds

The odds
that I’ve been
this high
since I last saw you
are probably
as high
as the odds
of my dude’s
girl’s kid sister
winning
one-hundred—
wait,
how much
did she win?

It’s like,
how did this
happen when
one minute
we were debating
journals and cartoons,
sipping on easy drank
and the next hour,
we’re elastic asses,
going Slip ‘n Slide
on the dorm chair/
suburban chair
square dance?

I don’t know;
I don’t care;
one thing
I do know
is all I ate
today
until just
uh,
I guess
like
fifteen minutes ago,
but maybe longer—
I’m still high—
was yogurt
and whoa…

I’m so high;
I’m so high
I just texted
my last girl
back
right after
I texted
the one
before that
to let her know
how high
I actually am.

She always wondered
why I didn’t want
to get high
and I would tell her,
“It’s not that I don’t
like getting high,
it’s that I don’t
like weed culture;
just like it's not
that I don’t like
swimming In the ocean,
it’s that I don’t
like beach culture.”

So we wonder:
Is this the real shit,
the Cali shit,
that other shit;
or is this that shit
that they mix
with Crystal Meth
or fake crystals,
you know,
glass blasts,
to weigh it down
like sandbags
weigh down
urban bras?

And urban brawls
make me think
of the easy drank
that would have
left me maybe
unconscious,
but you know,
at least I’d be
asleep by now.

Mmm

I want to be in the NBA;
You want to be in the NRA.

I say we can still be friends;
You say I am just a dreamer.

I say, “Hey, don’t you like John Lennon?”
You say, “Hey don’t you like Vladimir Lenin?”

I don’t understand why you want to argue;
You don’t understand why I want to debate.

We could be old men at Tim Horton’s;
But now you refuse coffee and donuts.

So I’m drinking black and eating maple,
And I hear that Crash Test Dummies song.

It’s going to be a new year in one week;
I am going to be a new man in one week.

Mom

Why do you love me?
Is it only because I
come directly from you?

If it weren’t for you,
and the others who
allegedly love me,

I swear, I would do it all—
I’d ingest a Golden Triangle,
and piss on all your squares.

Why do any of you care at all?
Why can’t I just be an accident,
and accidentally freeze myself

as an ahistorical statue,
posed in Pittsburgh,
like a French or an Indian?

Montauk: Day One

I got off the Long Island Railroad close to 1 A.M.
and a pack of piss drunk yuppies yelled at me
to drag my luggage quicker. I kept walking, kept
dragging, kept ignoring. They darted around me,
voices strangling words. I could smell a waft of liquor
breeze past me with them, with the ocean air.
Who was saltier—the water or these pop-collared pricks?
I called the cab company my friend recommended
and waited for an hour, reading Just Kids by Patti Smith,
listening to the Reggaeton blasting from the hackneyed bar
across from the station, and accepting the substitute smell
of campfires creep into my nostrils. It made me want to smoke
a cigarette. I promised myself I was finally over that.
This would be the time to quit. Ten dollars a pack?
No fucking way. Everything is going to be expensive here.
No eating out for me. Well, maybe once or twice.
Aren’t you supposed to treat yourself on vacation?
I hear they’ve got great seafood here, pizza too; what else?

Well,
the drivers are hard-boiled,
the cyclists are unglued,
and the pedestrians are plain privileged.

That said,
I’m a foreigner
and it’s Memorial Day Weekend.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow morning
after I make a phone call and a drawing,
and walk down to the beach for a swim
instead of driving to the grocery store and the 7-11
for food and beer and other sundry items.

I just want to relax for a month.

Mosquito

You are public enemy #1;
if I could make you extinct,
I would do it even quicker
than you prick my soft skin.

Motorcycles Are Everywhere

The sign was telling the truth
when it gave a solid heads up.

Watch your own up in the sky;
watch your feet out in the streets.

People will only look out for you
about as much as they tend to

care about Sammy Hagar’s limits,
or David Lee Roth, for that matter.

Motown

Motown lyrics
are like matches—
they usually fuel
necessary flames,
but sometimes
they strike out.

It’s a temptation
to pack my bag
at this moment
and head south-
ish to your parts,
just for one kiss.

Just get ready,
cause…well,
you know how
the song goes;
if you can wait,
I’ll see you soon.

Muammar Gaddafi

What do you dream about?
What do you think about?
Are you half the man CNN
claims you are; or are you
everything a semi-post-war
narrative wet dreams about?
I hope the compounded blur
seals your Sears catalog fate
as the manic kitschy capitalist
struggling novelist you could
at some point become if you
put your mind to it, the way
your primary school teacher
told you to, the same way mine
told me to—do you remember
those days, Mr. Gaddafi?
It seems like only yesterday.

My Girl

If I say it,
And click my heels,
Then maybe hope
Becomes truth.

If you hold on,
And don’t let go,
Then maybe the smoke
Will settle real slow.

Won’t you please
Be my girl,
And dance with me
Under the moonlight?

My Stylist

I’ve been wanting to ask you
if you would mind cutting
my hair for me once I move
down the street from you.
I think it would be romantic.
And I promise I’ll buy you
a new radio so that you can
listen to all the new hip-hop
singles as soon as they hit
big and you can quote all
your favorites and not feel
like a slowpoke when you
hear them for the first time
from some random apartment
above a ninety-nine cent store
or an ethnic corner store deli
on Flushing or Wycoff or some
other street on the way to or
from my apartment. Honestly,
I think you would be good at
keeping me clean and in order.

My Wits

I want my small feet
to touch wet moss.

I want my weak tongue
to taste fresh pears in pairs.

I want my deviated septum
to smell that mystery plant.

I want my black coal eyes
to see the Cascading fog.

I want my unplugged ears
to hear the treaty of nature.

Mystic

Can you tell
The truth
For once?

Can you predict
The future
For us?

Or are you
Just one
More mystic

Playing your cards,
Waiting for
The shakedown?

NASA

I prefer David Bowie
over Elton John.
And I think you’re
probably with me
on this one, right?

I would rather sit
in a tin can than
be a Rocket Man.
And I never want
to be a Tiny Dancer.

I left all my heroes
when I escaped
the locks of land
and water grips,
floating into my own.

Names

Why do we give pets names?
Because animals are friends, too;
and we are ignorant to their language.

Why do we give pet names
to friends or family members, some-
times? Sometimes they like it, don't they?

You can call the person
you share your bed with some name
other than the one their parents gave them.

You can call them darling
or something like that, or something
creative, like juice or tomato or tomato juice.

Necromance

Tonight is so, so ripe
to give up my night
to you and Stevie Nix.

All you need to do
is ask for permission
and I will sign the line.

Let’s take a long stroll
down Riverside Park,
numbed on mom pills.

Let’s stumble into bars
and drink smoky drinks
till we’re warm enough

to go outside and smoke.
Let’s fight the winds
as we cross the bridge

so that we can chill out
in a chilled, stilled home
and listen to spell songs.

Necking It

Drooling jowls
make my
ribbed treasures
lose pleasure—
my maker
hides and howls

(Prayers and dreams,
I can no longer sleep)

Twilight kneading
is the best time
for thinking,
I’m thinking—
timed best,
in raw sheeting

(Sleep is no longer,
in prayers or dreams)

Nerve Handle

I’ll never forget my ninth birthday—
two days earlier, Kurt Loder had told
me that Kurt Cobain was dead. I had
only been introduced to this guy two
years earlier by a stranger with a five
o’clock shadow. I barely knew myself
at seven and I barely knew music and I
barely knew why I liked Nirvana. But by
the time I had turned nine, I remember
I felt like things were going to be different
somehow and I wasn’t sure why. Things
are different. Things are always different.
I turned twenty-six this year and it was
the first memorable birthday since 1994.
I feel different again. I’m going where the
cold wind blows and the sun never shines.

Nerves

Sometimes
People
Tell me
I’ve got
A lot
Of nerve.

I wish
I could
Show them
I only have
Slightly more
Than them.

Because I am taller.

Netherlands

I’ve always wanted to ask someone
from Holland what it’s like to lie
low beneath the Earth’s surface,
or at least how this nickname
became official. Based off of what
I saw in last year’s World Cup, they
have some fiery beasts in their bellies.

Never Forget

As I was leaving Jake’s
last night,
I said, “I never forget.”

As I was getting onto
the New Century bus,
I realized I forgot
my jacket at his place.

I give myself a slight pass—
I felt like I was on Benadryl
when I was packing up—
though I was not on anything.

Well, I was on a few hours of sleep,
some slow-cooked tacos,
a good swim at a dry beach town,
and a gamble-free evening
at the Trump Taj Mahal.

So when it was past midnight,
and I was squeezed
on this cramped caravan
of gypsy hearts,
all I wanted to do
was read or fall asleep.

But there were no lights
from above;
only those from street signs
and passing vehicles.

And the boxy Chinese guy
next to me was snoring
and getting too close for comfort—
I could feel his Nike Dri-FIT polo shirt
rub up against my bare arm
as he shuffled and shimmied,
and dreamed concrete dreams—
he spoke in his sleep,
but I don’t understand Chinese,
or the difference between dialects.

And what hornet stung my pride
was that the air conditioning
was blowing like one of those fans
on the sidelines of football games,
and my jacket was slung
over Jake’s black leather office chair,
only a few memories behind.

New Age Stuff

She texted me,
“I just gave myself two stick and pokes.”
I texted back,
“Of what?”
She texted me,
“You’ll see.”

A circle
And
An infinity sign.
I don’t know.
Pretty sturdy hand.
I was impressed, I guess.

She’s into new age stuff.
She’s always counting on the stars.
I think she needs more sun and water.
She’s going away to farm for a while.
I’m going to try to make my way back
To the homeland. Maybe I’ll disappear.

New Era Hum

How many times will Michael Bay destroy our planet?
Cause for fear. Tear the tickets. Ooh. Extra buttery shit.
Flush it down. I’m scared of the States. I’m scared our
state. Tea party push-out plan. Cross the border, babies.
Can I see some documentation, Donald? Liar, liar. Hair
on fire. Scandal exposed. Garbage disposed. Compound.
Compute. Microsoft Windows. Obsolete. Profit? Non-
profit? Profit. It’s all about the Dollar Bills. Roger that.
Now bury your head, ostrich. Locked down. Locked out.
Cock out. Blocked in. Sweat on my balls. Shades on my
face. Swollen joints. Swollen egos. Summertime split.
Spit and shine. So long. So gone. Part two. Partially you.
Let’s suck down some cervezas in celebration. I’m getting
paper. I’m getting out. I’m over hokey theories and half-
assed speculations of who I am and what I should be. Hey,
I’m going back to New York City; I do believe I’ve had enough.

New War Autonomy

You delete my text(s),
I replace your tone(r),
and we acknowledge
tech-based weapons.

In the, I mean, our future,
viruses will have become
immune gazelles, cyber-
galloping into our souls.

There is nothing we can do
to prevent the pain that we
plaster on every artery wall
that we all crave to crumble.

It’s what we have come to
become—some sort of blue-
collar vampires, eking out
9-5’s, only to suck harder.

And you know, right now,
I am typing these words
on a computer screen
that I wish would melt.

And I wish this laptop
would just cancer me up;
or else I’ll have to wait
for the next device’s life.

New Wave Poem

I enter your coffee shop
after my first cup runs out.

I promised you I would be there
and I always keep my promises.

Turns out,
there is no coffee
to be sold here;
only espresso.

I could order
a fancy French
or Italian drink
with steamed milk
or some mocha
or some other shit
all up in it,
but I just want
some good, strong coffee
and I’m not in France
and I’m not in Italy
or even a Starbucks,
or some lamer version
of a Starbucks,
for that matter—
you know,
like those places
with fluorescent lighting
and plaques hanging on the walls,
awarded by local voters
in the local City Paper,
as if there is insurance
to be sold at the “café,"
while customers listen to New Order,
at a very low volume.
Decaffeinated blues.
But I always want to be
caffeinated, highly caffeinated.

So I order an Americano
and I wait for you
to take off your apron
and saddle up next to me
on the bench outside
and listen to the Polish voices
and Puerto Rican car stereos
and look at all the crumbs left
on the sidewalk crowded with bikes.

I make fun of fixed gears and track bikes
any chance I get and I must say,
it’s nice to not have to explain to you why.
You already understand.
What a relief!

Go ahead,
puff on that American Spirit,
the way Anna Karina would,
if she were from Virginia,
living in God’s Country—
in these parts,
people still listen to Guns ‘n Roses
(ironically or not).

New Year’s Eve

I put on an old cardigan
It smells like my father
It hugs me loosely
The way a bro might
Not a brother, a bro
My father gives good hugs
In relative terms
He was especially cheerful
This past holiday season
Despite his silenced stress
And clenched crutches
He’s a bit of a gangster
He’s a bit of a warrior
Not like a rapper
Not like an Italian
Maybe like a priest
But I think he’s an atheist
Is it incidental or coincidental
That tomorrow is Sunday?

Night Rider

I was standing outside the gallery
with probably half of a twelve pack left
and I saw a small, beckoning woman
I’ve seen a few times before.

She approached. Or did I?
She got sassy. But I didn’t mind.
In the stairwell. Up the stairwell.
She got sassier. I still didn’t mind.

Then an assumingly affable man
with a scruffy face started speaking
loudly, in Spanish. ¿Qué pasó?
Awkward. And she was gone.

I hopped in a beater.
I drove to the beaten hood.
I walked up and down, up and down.
I called him and him and him and him.
Where was I going, anyways?
The Dude of the Night came through, as usual.

So I stood in an emptied out,
fenced-in rectangular yard,
drinking one of the Pabst Blue Ribbons
I had unknowingly bartered for earlier.
Suddenly, I was being complimented
profusely by a new lady. Why?

Ten minutes later. One block away.
I was listening to Gucci Mane
and discussing Cormac McCarthy,
drinking another PBR
with the fanatical collegiate caravan
now parked in my boy’s living room.

This chick would not stop complimenting me.
What was her deal?
And this lanky fellow was sitting next to her.
He seemed to be admiring her, in secret.
Why wasn’t she complimenting him?
Poor guy.

I saw her pressing buttons on her cell phone.
She said she was texting her friend.
Soon, she was on the phone, talking to someone.
Ironically, it was the woman from earlier.

Half an hour later, give or take
(I was drinking another PBR),
and girl #1 was walking towards me.
The sass was alive and revived.

Hours went by, I think.
And then Mr. Scruff was back,
speaking in Spanish, again.
Awkward. And she was gone.

Night Terrors

Let’s race towards
monitors and screens
and jump right in,
cause that’s what they want
and that’s what you want;
so I guess that’s what I want.

No, that’s not true.

What I want is one night
of resting my chin
against your nape,
right below your baby thin hair
without any worries of you
being there the next morning.

Oh, I love your scent.

Nihilists

Some-
times
we
feel
so
much
that
we
begin
to
lose
it
all.

Still,
even
as
nihilists,
we
all
feel
some-
thing
some
of
the
time.

NJ/KO

Please tell me
the thought of
a Lifetime
in New Jersey
has never
excited you

(even if it
is about
as serious
of a thought
as Will Smith
as Muhammed Ali).

No Bra

You wear no bra and you make me unsnap myself from this moment, because there is no bra to unsnap. And if there is nothing to unsnap, then you’re stuck in some fantasy world, or some world that others have cooked up for you. And I have learned if you let others cook for you, you’re bound to their destiny. And I have decided I am destined to use my fingers. I snap them when I want something at a rapid rate, or when I hear a Doo-wop song on a stereo. And I use them to unsnap things—tangible things like bras, or intangible things like language. Language can be unsnapped forever. But it can be snapped (at), too. And that reminds me of how I always wanted to write a trilogy, but now I think why stop at three? Just like my grandparents thought while making love. People were secretly progressive in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Remember Communism? Sometimes secrets are secrets for a reason.

No Loitering

She stared at the sign directly above our heads
and said, “Maybe this is a sign we should leave?”

I said, “Hold on. Let me finish my cigarette
and think about where we should go loiter next.”

In the meantime, I just wanted to admire
that stark rectangle standing tall in the sky.

It is like the Bat-Signal. It stirs fear in some people
and comfort in others. Can you define good vs. evil?

No Matter

Every month,
I earn more—
some weeks,
I have heavy pockets;
other weeks,
I have piles of pennies,
waiting to turn
into puddles of piss.

No matter…

I’m determined to document;
I’m happy to harvest;
I need to be nourished.

And I keep coming back for your milk.

Thank you for the recovery.
Thank you for the discovery.

“Small books
hide beneath
larger books.”

Thank you!

No matter…

I still wrestle with your misconceptions
of what I mean and what is me,
but more than anything,
with my own ideas of myself
and how to be earnest
rather than being Ernest.

Do you know what I mean,
now?

No More Apologies

I’m sorry
for being sorry.

You say,
“Shape up…”

You say,
“Picture this…”

How many times
do I have
to tell you
I don’t need
more shapes
in my pictures?

Come on!
Fear is common
for the furious
and the Communists,
otherwise known
as the community.

Eating grainy now,
picking brains
like Barrington…

Swimming with ninjas now,
at the co-opted co-op,
and ass-clenching persists…

My body
is
an Acme anvil.

Can you,
I mean,
will you
help me?

Attach me
to a Grand Cherokee
by a noose.

Drive us
off a cliff
on a Tuesday
Doomsday.

You can have
your options.

I will reincarnate
as a myth.

No more apologies
below sea level.

No Small Request

Please,
Captains of the Sea,
bring me back something good to eat;
or better yet, a magnificent story
that I can emphatically recite
to my future bright-eyed children.
I will be you; you will always be
the unwavering protagonists
of fussy and fickle waves.
Leviathan, Ichthys, Moby Dick.
Captains of the Sea,
please?

No Vacancy

Play your bongos
like free spirit suckers;
dance your congas
like free range chickens.

Your bets have been made.
Your beds have been made.

There is no vacancy
at my place, not ever;
so please try a hotel,
or please try a motel.

Maybe you can try
The Holiday Inn?

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is nothing
without sorrow and regret.
I'm watching Sportscenter
while my coffee is brewing
and the rain is coming back;
man, it’s coming correct.
I’m thinking about how I used
to put creamer in my coffee,
then skim milk, then Silk,
and now I’m back on black;
oh, and all those sad, boring girls
I thought I’d never dismiss.
How is it that I can remember
both championships the Fab Five lost,
but I can so easily forget the night
I had my first teenage sexperience?

Not Well

Sliced off
and
diced up.

Switched on
and
pulled down.

Deadly documents—
flies fly upon
collected books;
screen the words,
read the numbers.

I got the news
I’ve been avoiding
from the nurse
and technician
this morning:

“You’re not well.”

I can’t live
with that kind,
unless my tongue
is (s)trapped
in diagnosis.

At least
if my throat
is to be cut,
can I get some
proper pills?

Pulled down
and
switched on.

Diced up
and
sliced off.

Nothing

If I could afford
to not be poor,
I guess I would
invest better
and buy or rent
a van or truck
and pack up
for good luck
somewhere else
or else, I would
start gambling
with fiery fervor;
what’s to lose?

Nudes

How do you live
while heavily clothed?

You can roam free(-ish)
like the buffalo,

who are near extinct,
if you only unzip!

Let’s party together,
all ye homosapiens!

Nutrition

Today,
I ate
tuna
out of
the can
for my
first meal.

For my
second,
I ate
ice cream.

I don’t
really
like either.

But I’m
poor and
they were
both free
meals, so
why not?

Objectivity and Dexterity

To define one’s self,
for the most part,
in opposition
to another
is usually, probably
a weak defense,
for the most part.

This would appear
to be a fair-
ly obvious
statement.

Nonetheless,
most of us
cannot muster
the energy
or courage
to stand up
on two feet,
instead of
one foot.

Therefore,
we ought to
consider
what it is
to stand up
on one foot
instead of
two feet.

With only one
foot on the ground,
we must find some-
thing else to do
with the other foot.

The natural impulse,
for whatever reason—
perhaps it is human
nature or perhaps
it has slowly,
gradually developed
over time,
in some evolutionary
process—
is to kick
and cause
damage.

Sniff out the weak,
from a distance,
then attack.

But I suggest,
instead,
we begin to attempt
to think
as if we’re Dostoevsky
and move
as if we’re Anna Pavlova.

Oh, Fuck

Oh, fuck. The barrel-chested men are out to get us, the aging boy claims. A few weeks ago, he told me he saw multiple UFOs somewhere between his home and mine. I’m not sure he didn’t. But by the time the aliens hovered above his head, surfing the sky, his spliff was in the sewer and he was calling his matronly ex-girlfriend. She’s a public mute, but makes tasty meatloaf. Nick at Nite re-runs sound good sometimes, but I don’t have cable or my mom to watch them with me. When did advertisements start deciding they were going to try to be clever on their own? Even stand-up comedians need help writing. Typos and errors. Margins of errors. Errors in margins. Language is fun, but syntax is a challenge. High schools are full proof evidence. Teenagers love to talk, but their sentences are nonsense non-sentences. My sentences are nonsense non-sequiturs. Most humans are teenagers for life. Eat, drink, shit, fuck. Oh, fuck.

Omar

You are
unlike
any other
we have
ever seen
live on.

On and Off

On
And
Off

It
Always
Turns

On
And
Off

You
Always
Turn

On
And
Off

Like
A
Machine

On
And
Off

Where’s
My
Switch?

On
And
Off

Where’s
My
Remote?

On
And
Off

On Demand

You tell me!

How do you sew together
crummy children’s coils
and landscape mistakes,
and make a man out of it?

You tell me!

On Fire

These wheels
are on fire;

as oil embraces
our tapped water,

can we find refuge
in the ways we refuse

to capitulate capital
concerns in the face(s)

of titillating totality,
by which we hitch

to the back of the ride
in the first place?

On Liberty

If John Stuart Mill were a drunkard today
and he were willing to get sloppy together,
I wonder if he would scoff at my semi-sly
suggestion to down some Liberty Ales?

One Guard

Most cannot know
What it is
To see the future,

Not even Jehovah
Or His witnesses.

All the soothsayers
Have now retired—

Or been put out
Of business
By
Palm readers
Or
Fortune tellers.

And even the wise
Who have risen
Have black holes
Where once were
Bright eyes.

But in this shaken
Year of all years,

We live like feral cats
Or corpulent rats.

So I ask on behalf
Of all my fellows,
For a prophet
To profit.

I beg for Magic
Assistance
I beg for The Answer,
No gamble.

One By Two

One by two,
Days go by.

One by two,
Months, too.

One by two,
Years, even.

One by two,
We pass on.

Four by two,
The poem…

Ooga Booga Boogie Woogie

Today, I ate healthier than usual
and my farts smelled like my old
Wilson basketball I used to dribble
in my driveway before I moved away.

What counts for traveling these days?

Hey, have you ever had such bad gas
that you’ve thrown out your back?

I’ve had a crooked spine my entire life,
but the doctors say it’s straight enough
to ignore. I wish that’s what all my stray
cats wish they could say about me.

How do you become an ex and how, I ask, is it
about the sex? Hmm. Do we accept any form
of pleasure as we accept all major credit cards?

Visa. Green Card. American Express.
Second-class citizen.

Gotta stay healthy…

A vitamin a day.
A needle a week.

Next year, I will die in time—
greatness is measured in flux—
machine, method, mythology.

Pile the books; file the papers.

Rock scraped against rock;
the flames fade like photos
and ghosts appear without
notice. Ooga booga boogie
woogie. Death, do your part.

Ooze

The colors
come down
on the corneas
of the corralled—

they drip
and they drop,
and even cropped,
they corroborate.

It’s a virtual reality
they still behave
in this manner
after all these years.

Open Call

You are most welcome
to embarrass yourself
if you choose to make
a choice; if you never
decide to do anything,
you will likely continue
watching stars dance
with themselves forever;
for a minute, think about
all the sad bitches you,
I mean, I, have been for
a lifetime, so far; so far,
I have loved every time
I have thought about you,
but I am close to making
a choice of difference;
on a different note, I didn’t
mean it when I threatened
suicide, though I appreciate
that someone cared; you
said I was welcome; I said
I was embarrassed; anyways,
didn’t I say I had something
I was supposed to do today?

Origin and So On

I was born in the month
of pranksters and gloom.
Some might think this to
be somewhat unfortunate.
However, I don’t feel like
a fool. And I don’t feel like
the ram people assume me
to be. Stars don’t determine
personas. People determine
personas. But I’m more than
just a persona. I’m a person.

Orphan

I try to stay home,
for just one night,
but I don’t have
the home to hold
on to or to hold
on to me, so I’m
like an orphan
every city day.

Outbreak/Breakout

What happens when you eat
one too many cantaloupes?

Do you feel fresher, newer?
Do you feel flushed or faint?

Do you get goose bumps,
Do your cheeks turn red?

Why do some people say
goose pimples, instead?

I think most of us only
get them as teenagers.

If you’re still chilly
and not chilled out,

you should probably
get checked out soon.

Pacifist

I don’t know what it is to be
“politically correct,”
but I do wonder
why people ever made 9/11 jokes
or when swastikas will no longer be ironic.

I’m not passive,
but I guess I am a pacifist.
I don’t want to fight.
Honestly.
However,
debates do naturally occur
if you’re around me enough.

She says she likes to argue;
I say I like to debate—
is there a difference?
I see a major distinction.
I can’t figure out if she does.
I can’t figure her out at all.

I was open to the idea of ghosts,
because I loved horror movies
and campfires growing up.
But then I got to know her
and heard all of her ghost stories—
hers are actually scary.
I don’t want to believe in ghosts
anymore.

Sadly,
I would be sad to see her go;
though, I’m sadder
that she’s incapable of saying sorry,
or at least the murmur of an apology
that could be considered mildly legit.

And you know,
I thought we were walking down
some pretty rad railroad tracks,
for a while,
holding hands,
talking about everything
and nothing,
at the same time.

But maybe there is a slow train coming,
building steam,
like Christian Bob Dylan
or
like a scientist in the shower
(faster, faster, faster)
and there’s nothing left for me to do
except shotgun chug the distance.

I’m just fearful that she’s forcing me
to run like the fat kid in Stand By Me,
and nobody ever wants to end up
like Jerry O’Connell;
am I right?

Pall Mall Bearer

The politicians all claim
they’re concerned about my health,
but they’ve never given me
a reason to buy their words.

They repeat time and time again
that taxes are for my benefit,
and I agree for the most part;
but it’s in my nature to disagree
with any sort of skewed selectivity.

Now I had a dream that you bought
me a carton of Pall Mall Reds,
and I relayed this dream to you
and you took it upon yourself
to be my personal cancer courier.

And it’s like that Alanis Morissette song—
one of the few people in my life
who has been caring and coherent
about my well-being mauled my lungs.

Palm Reader

I want to learn your geography,
I want to feel your topography,
and then make mental maps
as I walk valleys and ridges
with my two primary digits.

Later, I will call upon
names and shapes
so I never get lost again;
you can explore with me
if you do not fear the new.

Pantomime

At any moment,
I could whisper
or shout something
quite profound. But
instead, I’ll just stand
still and stay quiet
and it’s all the same.
Don’t you think? In fact,
I think we’d be better
off in our glass boxes.
In sight, but separated.

Pantones

Looking at skin tones in the nude
is always better than looking at
Pantones on the Internet or at
any art museum gift shop, really.

Partial Elegy

It’s sunny outside,
but I’m in this dark room,
and I’m listening
to old Cat Power records.

It’s not as depressing
as you might assume.
Well, maybe it is.

And I’m sipping on iced tea,
from the local grocery store,
which is kind of ironic,
for a few reasons;
but really, it’s not.

This tea tastes almost exactly
like the way my Aunt Janet
used to make her sun tea.

Drinking tea with her,
while she smoked her Salems
and supported my smart ass
stand-up comedy for one
were some of the best memories
of my childhood (that excluded
street ball, cartoons, or crawdads).

I never gave much thought to death
until I lost her last year.

Old people die—
that’s a fact.

People can always accept facts.

I could try to Stonewall my body’s impulses
to let the tears trickle down the bags
under my eyes when I was in high school
and both of my father’s parents died.

But I can only turn so many corners,
before an eighteen wheeler plows me
and my guts splatter all over the cracks
in the road for my long gone godmother.

People can always accept facts.

This tea is making me drowsy.
Now, I’m thinking about pouring
another cup or two of coffee.

And now, I’m thinking
of you roasting coffee.
And now, I’m wishing
you were out here with me,
instead of roasting coffee.

We could go walk barefoot
on the sand,
with your hand in mine,
following the moon.

Parts & Labor

What is the difference
between conspiracy & theory?

What is the difference
between fictive & fictitious?

We annul nouns & adjectives,
objectifying verbs & adverbs,
while subjectively claiming
objectivity & routinely take it
in stride, in stride, in stride.

If you say something thrice,
it becomes less of a lie.

Lies become places to hide
our eyes, our eyes, our eyes.

Where do we hide our secrets?
Do we bury them in our lovers?

I try to chew through
these venal veneers,
but the peach pits of desire
are thoroughly & thinly concealed
layer upon layer upon layer
with profuse perspiration.

Cover-ups are impulse digs
at the fears of prejudice
we continually tend to dig up
as cheapened consolation from
hour upon hour upon hour
of profuse perspiration.

Passport

Even without proper documentation,
I would let you into my country;
would you return the favor?
Or would you deny me,
like all the others?

Passed Times

I received confirmation
today that I am not the
only one who misses the
passed times of our past.

I have been missing all
the moments of comfort.
How I so desperately need
to get corny with her again.

Peace Out

I don’t like hippies,
I like half-assed hippies
even less;
but when I’m under attack,
backed into a corner
by unleashed, rabid militants
(dogs, men, or women),
used to being in corners
or overheated cars,
themselves,
I want to wrap myself
in a tie-dye tapestry
and curl up on a couch,
listen to the Dead,
and consider hibernation.

Pendulum

Why do I worry
about anything
when I know
that tomorrow
is just another
day of get ups
and let downs?

Pennsylvania

You know how people ask,
“If you could have dinner
with three people, who
would they be?” Would
you fault me for saying
William Penn, Benjamin
Franklin, and myself?
I just love Pennsylvania.

Per Sense

Selfish youth and energy
Can lead us to lose sight of the blindness
Caused by the simple summaries made from ink and pixels.

We all age; we all fray.
Please don’t let our elders get swept away.
Okay?

Phonies

Rosanna:
your D.C.
is better
than the
clouds in
my head
allow me
to envision.

Pilgrimage

Once, I straddled the traffic line
of a deserted highway. It was
the middle of the night. I stared
up at the first pollution-free sky
of my life, found astrology, and
emptied my mind of any anxious,
looming thoughts of debt or death.

Plan

I had a plan,
but I lost my plan.

I think you need
to have directions
if you have a plan—
do you have a plan?

Ugh.

Problems and solutions/
troubles and shooting.

Do you dig the layers
with a fork or a shovel?

Salt or bullets/
flesh and wounds.

Oh, hey, umm…

there’s a casserole
in the kitchen,
a pile-up of what
in the bedroom,
and a big mess
in the bathroom.

Fuck me?
Fuck you.
Oh, I didn’t
mean that
in a mean way.

Fuck me.
Fuck you?
That’s more like it,
you say
and
I say,
that’s more like what?

Where’s my plan?

Formica reach-around
and the free love spins
around the digital clock.

Planet of the Apes

Acrimony and alimony—
no feelings, just reeling
rancor, madly based off/
on assumptions of men
and women. This man
or that woman? No. Any
man and any woman.
Take pride in your plentiful
accusations. And give
yourself plenty of ammunition.
It’s a war everywhere.
It’s 2011. Jesus Christ.
But really, for as much
as your beguiling ways
continue to impress your
acquaintances, I can judge
with my own stewed up
mumbo jumbo clairvoyance.
I am well-versed in the tales
of aloof assholes, batty bitches,
and veiled vagrants. Those
trails are too well-traversed for
this guy. Still, I’ll give you your
deserved credit, but you’ll have
to prove able to pay it back.

Please, people:
no more frustration;
no more indignation.
Just some semblance
of ebullient efficacy,
I guess, to make me feel
slightly better about
what we are doing
with our lives; what
we’re doing with each
others’ lives. We are
not Charlton Hestons.

Poetry

I will choke poetry
with my bare hands
until no more words
can exist together
unless I approve.

I will give poetry
mouth-to-mouth
like a paramedic
or a prudent pervert
until it breathes again.

Point and Shoot

I loaded an extra bullet,
shot myself in the foot.

Now I swordfight in closets,
box shadows elsewhere.

Life is somewhere between
Monopoly and rugby, I say.

Pawns get pawned,
and I mainly watch.

Sometimes I am a journalist,
old school, like in Vietnam.

Sometimes I go mad viral,
spitting memes like blood.

Sometimes my writing
is phlegmatic like polio.

I will tumble like a crazy horse
until my anxieties are unpacked.

I will harness my neuroses,
and strut like a sexed medallion.

I will load an extra bullet now,
and shoot myself in the foot.

Pointless

I draw lines like Sol LeWitt;
You draw lines like George Bush.

Which one, you ask?
It doesn’t matter.

You draw lines like George Bush;
I draw lines like Sol LeWitt.

Who’s that, you ask?
It doesn’t matter.

Political Statement

At my first New York opening
where I had work up and was
actually in attendance, well,
I pounded so many Ballantine
pounders that I almost pissed
my pants. That’s when an old
friend and a newer one and I
decided to step into the rickety
bathroom and cross streams.
After the deed was done, we
were walking back up the stairs
and some older dude yelled,
in passing, “I think that was a
political statement.” Only one
of us heard him and none of
us gave a shit about politics
at that point in the night. We
just needed to drain ourselves
and we were in Dale Earnhardt
mode. So we unzipped and
the moment of salvation spread
around the after-party like a
sober-ish WikiLeak document.

Polluted Minds

He says
he breaks horses—
well, I feel like a horse,
and I feel broken,
after this night.

What does that mean?

I received
a self-defense lesson
at the bar tonight—
Darth Vader
was in attendance.

What does that mean?

Pomade

When your hair shines like so
you can see your own reflection,
it’s impossible not to look fucking
incredible when you hit the town.

Port Noise

The lobsters are steaming,
the bread has gone bananas,
and the sailors are swearing
nothing gone wrong could be
their fault—no way, no how.

Gary’s on his way up now
and Geary’s are here now,
too. Let’s drink them down
with him, with force, with
no fear; we’re still young!

Post-it

I am gonna stick
A Post-it note
On your chest

To remind myself
What I am gonna do
To you later tonight.

Post-Up

What is up with the Gael Garcia Bernal
lookalike? I know he’s white and has
to put “Caucasian” on any type of fill-
in-the-blank thing, like if he has to go
to the hospital or take the GRE’s or
get a new license or something. But
what is up with him, honestly? I know
you have a thing for good looking
Latins, but he’s not even Latin. We’ve
already established that. And he’s not
even that good looking. I mean, he’s
good looking, obviously—he looks
like a fucking sexy famous actor. But
he’s not as good looking as me. Okay,
okay, okay. I know he’s a bartender
and that’s cool, but the best drink he
makes is a standardized bourbon drink
that everyone at his bar makes a great
version of—there is a simple recipe
with simple syrup. All right, okay.
Whatever, whatever. You need not
explain. Really. I’m happy and I’m
happy for you. And If the fake Mexican
is what makes you happy, at least for
now, that makes me happy. You can
trust in that like I hope you always
trusted in me. I just hope this is a
new development, because what’s
going on with me is posthumous,
I promise. And now I’m happy, so
I hope you’re happy and I hope you
can be happy for me. Reciprocal
action. No more fractured endings.
Please excuse my frustrations and
please let me move on without any
complications. I’ll let you enjoy your
barbeque dinners with your short
man with long bangs if you let me
walk for miles downtown with my
new upper, free from interruption.

Post Water Color Post

You’re a nice guy,
we’d like to keep you,
but you can’t drink
Red Bull and vodkas
before your shifts.

You’re a nice girl,
we’d like to keep you,
but you can’t wear
your death metal shirts
around the office.

Pounders

I’m gonna
pound one
after the
next one
until my
four pack
is filled
with a
six pack
of poison,
96 ounces
down the
long hole,
down the
long haul.

Practice

A birdie told me about a game
she plays in states I’ve lived in,
or at least been to—it was new
to me, but I guess I could get it.

She said it’s as old as Jesus Christ,
which was an exaggeration, one
I’m sure she’s practiced as much
as she’s practiced this practice.

Prattle

Arcane arcades
banal vitrol
&
runic ruins

keep clerics
waiting
&
writing

steep heretics
in weight
&
what-to-do

so what to do
in time
&
liminal space?

Pre-Apocalypse

My home is in question;
My status too.

Yesterday,
I searched for alternate actions
To no avail.

I put something to believe in on paper,
Cementing it in principle.

Slow moves
In
Short time.

My partner in process approved,
So we took off and tuned up,
Waiting for the humans to lose their minds...

Barbeque
Tacos
Beer
Football
Beer
Bukowski
Beer
Vodka
Jazz
Beer
Beer
Beer
Beer
Beer
Beer
Champagne
Beer

...then it happened.

No plant or person was safe.

I think I was the only person
Who was not interested
In putting anything in my nose.

But when I woke up this morning,
I realized
Today
Is day one
Of the final year.

Nothing really matters.

Preacher

So instead
of speaking
in tongues,
you speak
in code.

No matter
what you
seem to say,
it all comes
out gibberish.

Precedence or Precedents?

Skinny white people
cooking ethnic foods—
what does that mean?
And what drives a
person from another
country to want fast
food and what drives
an organic shopper
to criticize them for
wanting it? I’m not
an organic shopper
and this is one time
where I’m actually not
being critical. I swear,
I swear, I swear. Okay?
But what does it mean
to ask the question?
I never really am the
antagonist you might
think I am. I’m just a
curious child, asking
about everything,
which I understand
is annoying, but if it
weren’t for people
like me, then there
would be no game
shows or science
fiction. I’m not all
that into either, really.
But I do feel super
close to Vanna White
and Carrie Fisher in
some ways. I’ll take
a vowel. I’ll take a bow.

Prefontaine Week

This past week,
I felt well-conditioned;
I felt well-oiled,
with no foils
to get wrapped up in.

I think I am learning
about traction.

I now believe
I can take on
any inclined treadmill
or stadium stairs
and not ever break a sweat.

Do you want to share
this parfait with me?

Prescription Drugs

For best results,
Take at night
With alcohol.

Present Presence

So I’m meeting
with robed men
and justified women
tomorrow morning.

I’ll probably be
on my tip-toes,
tick-tocking
like crow’s feet.

I’m hedging
and hogging
and begging
and bogging.

This past week
has resonated
with resin-covered
mixed messages.

And I’ve got nothing
to report back to you
and I’ve got nothing
to give forth to you.

All I can maybe muster
is some Grey Poupon
I pocketed last week
from Hudson’s Kitchen.

Processed World

White bred
White bread,
Baking on so
The street
Can seep
And splatter
Egg heads.

You think you
Are so smart—
Is that some kind
Of accusation?

I am decaying,
I am wilting,
With the crowds—
Oh, how ignorant!

Ponchos soak
Up the pus
Of cloudy eyes
While psoriasis
Stains the pores
Of deserted skin—
We are so dried up.

Flip through
The flip through
Kangaroo pouch
You sit on daily.

Cement yourself and see:
The streets are camo,
The sky is Kodachrome,
Everyone is Timothy Leary.

Production

I don’t know how,
I don’t know why
I would question
your fidelity now.

Maybe it’s because
of all these stupid
bands and their
crackly faux pas.

No, I’m not shallow;
but, I think some-
thing is in the air
lately. You know?

You had some real
moments of rage
and jealousy, but
you’d always heal.

You’d always been
like someone who
could stand by her
man like a woman

from an old banjo
jam sung by like a
coal miner’s son,
maybe. I don’t know.

And maybe that is
why you’re going
to sing between
the old Blue Ridge

and Great Smoky
Mountains, while
I play in new keys,
keeping it low-key

in between rivers.
And in between jobs,
and in between sheets,
I’ll find new slivers.

Proposition

How about
we go up my river
or up yours?

We can share.

How about
we go pine together
in the pines?

We can seek.

And if we find
nothing together,
at least I found you.

Prostitution

When will this day
of squandering hours
like an amateur whore
come to the rest stop
required by federal law?

There are departments
for this sort of bullshit,
and others for similar shit.

Here’s the thing though—
those on the other side,
those considered officials
of something important
are all fucking whores too.

They are professional whores;
they have been at it since they
were just babies, like Jodie Foster.

But here’s the other thing—
some of them have turned
so many tricks that they
have turned into pimps
(with the best lookout spots).

Puerto Rico

Walking on my Sesame Streets,
Reggaeton blasting from SUVs,
fumes flowing from chicken joints,
I like to think about how this street
goes both ways and how if I wanted,
I could hop on a cheap flight and go
to your country and eat jackfruit tacos
and listen to Japanther on headphones,
while walking on beaches and between
beautiful forgotten houses, forgetting
all the things I used to worry about;
what will I worry about until then?

Put Down

Nobody wants to feel
for another anymore,
for to feel compassion
is to feel compromised.

I wonder—do you feel
fortified in the basement
barracks, howling away
like a dog about to die?

Questions

how far is long distance
I don't know
like two hours

how do you find love
I don't know
maybe look

how do you find money
I don't know
I really don't

how much does it cost
I don't know
to be worthless

how can you default
I don't know
without fault

how can you fault
I don't know
without walls

Race For The Cure

All men scratch their crotch,
and sometimes when it gets
bad, people refer to it as jock
itch, but I propose perhaps
a more suitable name for men
ill-equipped for athletic activity.

I do not have any immediate
suggestions, but maybe we all
could take some sort of male
survey, outlying general offer-
ings. More importantly, I think
we can come up with a cure.

Rare Snack

Brown mush
&
Salty sticks

Before bed
&
I’m in death

Raw

On occasion,
it’s nice
to plunge
the depth
of yourself.

In other words,
to go
off the deep end.

In other words,
Eddie Murphy
ain’t so bad.

Re: Liberal Arts Educations

I just want a coffee in peace
and a piece of coffee cake—
please don’t ask me how many
Criterion Collection DVD’s I own—
I don’t need that shit this week,
nor this year, for that matter—
save your cultural anthropology
lessons for your future lover—
I am no good for you now or ever,
and if you only knew what I had—
my girl is like the warm vibrato
of Fender Mustangs sun bathing—
being around her is like listening
to Bazooka Joe jazzing the blues—
okay, I own some of those movies,
but I am leaving this café alone.

Ready To Die

Anytime I experience turbulence
on an airplane, I think of Aaliyah,
and I think of Biggie and I think,
“Am I ready to die?” I can never
be certain about death. Can you?
As I type each one of these words,
I am pretty certain I am not ready.
But I’m not taking any flights any
time soon. So I can find at least
some small comfort in that. I’m
sticking to trains and buses for now.
That’s right—trains and buses. And
I made a promise to myself about
three years ago today that I will never
take another bus with caged chickens
as semi-passengers again. So I guess
I can find some more comfort in that.

Readying Effect

Two whirls collide,
like booty printed
baby dolls at the mall.

And their babble
bubbles like MSG
in the Chinese cookers.

Yeah, the food court
has its wrangled royalty,
and its jesters too.

But I’m not joking
when I say commerce
makes me constipated.

Oh shit! I’m stuck
in the courtyard,
a parking lot mirage.

And when a Tacoma
parks too close
to a hair salon car,

whose radar alerts whose?
Who’s gonna pick me up?
Who’s gonna drop me off?

I’m ready to turn over
like that dead engine,
the one on the outskirts.

Real Boys

Real boys don’t take shit
from backwards men,
and I’m no exception…

I’m a contradiction.

Real boys burp and puke
until they are fully cleansed
of the weird, digested world…

What’s the point of vitamins?

Rebel

show me the way
to break bread
the way You do

I thought I was good

show me the way
to schmear
the way You do

I thought I was good

show me the way
to finger-lock
the way You do

I thought I was good

(keep it a secret
but I think You’re
a true rebel like
Highlander but
unlike in movies
there can always
be more than one)

Receipt

You told me:
“You are one
of the greatest
things to have
ever happened
to me. I know
that sounds
silly; I know,
but it’s true.”

You are a liar
and a thief.
Go tag your-
self some-
thing new
on a brick
wall some-
where under
the BQE.

I don’t care
if you go back
to from where
you came before
I knew you, just
so long as you
stay away from
my new terrain—
it’s rockier now.

I don’t want you
to slip and fall,
which would be
really sad—
I mean, it’s sad
that despite
your bullshit,
I still give a shit;
you ought to know.

I want a receipt
for all of your
conceit and deceit.
But you keep poor
records, don’t you?
They’re probably
in dinged drawers
in a shoddy U-Haul,
Virginia storage unit.

Let me guess:
sign it, set fire,
and swim off.
Let me guess:
we are going
to be cordial
as possible,
thanks to me.
No thanks.

Recycled Jargon

Those who say, “But the real winner is…” likely have not experienced defeat often. You know, like when a politician says, “But the real winner here is the American people.” It’s like a doctor nonchalantly patting a teenage leukemia patient on the back. I’ve heard and then learned that money is cancerous. But those who have it are the real winners. Right? I don’t like winners. I don’t like losers. I don’t like half-assed pats on the back. They are like the cheapest intros to the cheapest halftime locker room speeches. And pep talks are like ATM receipts for drug runners—paper reminders of time and location. I’m out of paper. I’m out of time. I’m out of here.

Rejection

Rejection happens
when you lose
your sense of self
and trip out,
naturally
or
unnaturally,
so like,
you might
lose your temper
or
you might
eat mushrooms
or something.

And you see
your friends
leaving you
forever
and you see
your girlfriend
fucking her ex
and you see
the paint chip
and the drywall melt
and the wood burn
and you see
yourself dying.

Oh my God!
Is that your voice?
Is that you,
saying,
“Oh my God?”

You triflin’, boo.

Relational Dialectics

Why am I
scared of the world?
Chinatown & Al Jazeera.

Why do I
believe in the news?
Disparity & warfare.

People pushing
when they ought to
pull.

Climates warming
when they need to
cool.

“Baltimore! D.C.!”
“Philly! NYC!”

Mandarin! Cantonese!
Arabic! English!

Even basic words
basically break
even when we
try to relate.

But sentences can be
placed into slings
and stealthily slung
like coffee or drugs.

Hey, what’s two hours
here
or twenty dollars
there?

And what do you
gain
when you refuse to
share?

Relativity

Sometimes
sweet girls
look like
porn stars.

It’s not
their fault;
it’s not
my fault.

It’s curious
what reference
was used
previously though.

At least
bone structure
pays well
in 2011.

Release

You’ve got
a biting lip
and
a burning
to soothe.

Let’s make
believe
that you
never said
those things.

I can let it
go
if you can.

Remember

Remember
the words
you write
because
the worlds
you right
will forever
remember.

Restaurant

I was always a snob about food snobs,
until I ran around a fancy restaurant
like a chicken with my head still on,
and I decided to admit my new wrong.

Retrograde

If you can avoid
digging giant holes
and backpedaling,
you must be decent
at math and science;

because all theories
are born from forward
motion and forward
thinking, don’t you
think? I think so too.

Reverence

How much
contact
is required
in order
to continue
to consider
someone
a friend?

Although
we hardly
hear from
each other
anymore,
I still refer
to you with
reverence.

A mistake
I am sure,
but I am
routinely
forgiving—
I was born
an elastic
Catholic.

If you ever
read any
of these
collected
letters
(words),
feel free
to respond.

If you are
currently
reading
this group,
know that
reverence
can not be
disputed.

Right Now

I’m popping pimples
off a poppy seed bagel,
and I guess I gotta be
honest—I’m kinda high.

And all I wanna do
is say hi to you,
but you’re like
ten hours away.

I never exaggerate—
you know that’s true;
well, sometimes I do,
but not right now, right?

What are you doing right now?

Rim Job

If you wait
around
the perimeter
of any portal
long enough,
there is bound
to be
bountiful
glory
on the other side,
at some point.

Risk

I want to leave this place—
I have had far too much
pride for far too long.

If I have to run to the end,
then swim to the other,
I'll do it all with pride.

I want to conquer myself
(the world in the process),
like a cat with cardboard.

I might die of depression
or drowning, but I have
always liked the game.

Risky Business

Deli coffee and Lotto tickets are the same thing. They are sold at the same place. But I prefer to work for my money. I prefer not to slowly dip it into a Ponzi scheme garbage disposal for it to be shredded like cheese. I prefer to stay awake while my neighbors dream their days away. That's why I always choose coffee. But every time I thumb through the index of my tattered and taped, rattled and raped wallet, and reluctantly hand over a dollar bill like a firstborn son, I know I'm taking a gamble. But like the middle-aged Arab man at the corner store told me when I first started to settle, "If you never have risk, you never have victory."

Robot Man

Technical support
cannot be offered
at this time, quote
end quote, quoted
the quota. But she
simply responded
by asking what he
was talking about.
He had nothing to
say. How could he
have responded?
He is a robot man.

Rock and Roll (Let’s Dance)

Rock and roll is way gayer
than many of our fathers
and regional jukebox barflies
would probably like to admit.

Come on, guys—let’s dance!
Don’t you remember that song?
We can dance together, men;
and we don’t have to kiss or touch.

Rocky Mountain Motel Room

How many Coors can we fit
into this crusty cubicle, already
filled up with Krusty Clowns,
hopping on rabbit hole pills?

Rodeo Clown

I feel like a rodeo clown,
most of the time, trying
to keep myself safe and
sane amongst wild bulls.

Rogan Josh/Josh Groban

I prefer the former;
you prefer the latter.

We can still be friends,
even if you’re much older.

Don’t worry so much, okay?
Start thinking again, instead.

There are worse things
than fish oil, you know?

I’ll swallow some pills
if you swallow some.

Let’s go to Coney Island
and forget about fortune.

Roller Derby

Fast girls
make me
uneasy.

Strong ones
are scary,
equally so.

What am I
to do then,
but just flee?

Rollies

We can roll some
and roll on,
but we can never
roll past
the ghetto
lesbo bar
without stepping in—
isn’t that
what she said?

Rollin’

When I’m in a dark room,
filled with lots of people,
I often wish a white chick
would step up and free-
style to an instrumental
version of “Tootsee Roll.”

What kind of mad ruckus
are you after these days?

I’m just sayin’…
I’m just playin’…
I just wanna play.

Romantic Poem

Snow is a secret
to some,
in the future.

In the future,
high plains
drifters
are the swift
secret to new
weathered
hobo ad hoc
break-up songs;
we will all drift.

In the past,
you couldn’t
dance (or drift)
in the blizzard
Polaroids,
but at least
you could find
an Oasis
disc, compacted
in a deserted
Tower.

We thought we
could see
miles for miles.

Stationary/retired.

After walking
for so long,
you want a bike.

After biking
for so long,
you want a car.

After driving
for so long,
you want a plane.

After flying
for so long,
you want to crash.

Mt. Rushmore
is no more.

I am not a terrorist;
some call me romantic.

Rubber/Glue

I was on the Amtrak train up to New York,
and I thought about that scene in Bad Timing,
where the Colonel shows the Inspector the note
he found written by Milena to Alex which read:
“I wish you’d understand me less and love me more. “

I thought about the balance between under-
standing and love, in relation to my past relation-
ships. Love is difficult enough to understand, but
understanding the one you love is far more
of a challenge. And I prefer the greatest challenges.

I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle. And I don’t
think I could ever wish for one over the other.
But I’m not a psychoanalyst and I’ve never
been psychoanalyzed. Is this the real route
to understanding? If you take it, do you give up love?

I wonder what Freud would have had to say about
himself had he analyzed himself. I think Freud was
immune to most shit. I think Freud was a sick puppeteer,
who invented the old phrase: “I’m rubber, you’re glue;
whatever you say, bounces off me and sticks to you.

Ruff Ryder

Driving directly into the sun, we passed a dozen storefront churches, half a dozen Western Unions and their cousins, and a graveyard the size of Happy Valley. I'm pretty sure we saw some rapists too, but the sun had barely risen and it was a Saturday. There were few other cars out, just buses and garbage trucks playing chicken. The sidewalks were almost empty, aside from the potential rapists, until we reached the MTA hub. This area reminded me of where I used to take the most irresponsible transportation just to listen to juvenile sports talk radio. Those fools could spit gemstones. There was something charming about that place's discomfort. Sometimes, I'd eat solid catfish near there. Once, I saw Israeli freak rock in a bowling alley. Once, I took Adderall and almost drowned. Often, I thought about starting a community revitalization program and opening a rare bookstore. I could be a husband. I could be a father. That place and I could grow up together. But this place? Maybe this place isn't so similar. On closer inspection, I don't see any welcome mats. I don't see any garden gnomes. I don't see any clotheslines or coffee shops. All I see now are rabid dogs and an MTA worker circling us, while blasting DMX throwback jams. If these motherfuckers only knew.

Rule of Thumb (for the Young)

Do not ever make your bed
if you think you maybe might
be expecting company later.

Sad Poet

Rachel told me
an inquisitive teen
on the Nashville
transfer asked her,
“What are words,
anyways?”

I am relieved
I wasn’t there.

I would have had
no words, at all,
for this boy.

Such a sad poet.

Saints

I was told I would be surrounded
by evil-doers, but what do you know?
I mean, what do I know? I know that
opposites do attract; yet, none of you
are that much different than myself,
and for that, I know, I am grateful.
If I can take my turn, we will all be
Beautiful Americans, together, too.

Salt and Pepper

You always made me feel
fucking bald, maybe even
with a slight comb-over
when duh, you know I
obviously preferred salt
and pepper, parted at the
side. Dapper like Clooney
and shit. You always knew
how to push it, push it real
good. I just always wished
you could have known when
to let the red button go pink.

Sardines

I always thought you were small,
until a mentally challenged peer
found you on a Portuguese plate,
and turned you over for eggplant.

Savantism

From Thursday
Until Sunday,
I am stationary.

Four days a week,
I am a genius
In a strait-jacket.

Who do I have
To thank for
My Savantism?

Scam

Join our
collective,
if you want
to hold hands
in a sinister circle
and sing self-promoting
self-religious hymns,
like lesbian seagulls.

You don’t have to work,
actually; and actually,
there is no bread,
nor is there wine.

Mainly,
we neglect
the great pillars
we stand before
and wonder,
in wonder,
how buildings exist
in the first place.

Schema

I’d say graveyard shifts
are our national pastime;
wouldn’t you agree?

Breaking into rooms
to sit in a corner,
but which corner
do we choose?

Corner number one?
Corner number two?
Corner number three?
Corner number four?

Now what if there
were such things
as corner doors?

They must be cousins
of closet doors, well
hypothetically speaking;
hinged on storage, but

really, they’d be portals
to the dark, unknown
places and spaces most
are too scared to explore.

Though, if we loosen up
and write mystery novels,
our stories can live in flames.

Screening

Just because they cried out,
“Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,”
doesn’t mean you had to.

When you’re sitting
in the waiting room
of the local STD clinic,

while Matthew Modine
or Arsenio Hall are on the
dusty flat screen television,

and you’re looking back
and forth between the
television and the new

copy of The New Yorker,
think about all the folks
you possibly could have

fucked over while fucking
them all over, during your
hasty rum and coke binges.

I’m not trying to put this
out there to be totally harsh;
actually, it’s the opposite, really.

Why hasn’t anyone else come
at you; come to your rescue?
We’re barely even friends.

Self-Interest

I have no interest
In your interest.

I am indebted
To myself, only.

Sell Out

Who are you
to believe
in me?

Who are you
for me
to believe in?

I was told
about souls
as a child.

As an adult,
I sold out
my beliefs.

Senior Citizen Days

Sometimes I am a cagey elderly man
with no patience or time for bullshit.
Sometimes I close my mind and open
my mouth and I am sorry you have to
be witness to my moments of madness.

I should sleep better and eat better, but
you shouldn’t expect to force me into a
comfortable apartment with Yuenglings
in the fridge and college basketball on
the television and loud-mouth ladies,
making a mockery of my investments.
You shouldn’t expect to force me into a
circus room, surrounded by suddenly
benevolent strangers and crafty Juggalo
Cherubs made by a bleached out joker.

By now, you should know that I am not
good at poker, I have no problem with
early exits, and don’t need extra friends
simply to avoid feeling bored or lonely.
By now, you should know that after so
many megaphone ramblings of politics,
economics, and philosophy…or really,
ignorance, contradiction, and denial, I
might suggest a one-way ticket to a No
Fly Zone. I will continue to try to keep
my cool, but I’ll likely need some seclusion,
or at the very least, some muscle relaxers.

We all have our senior citizen days, where
we can say or do whatever we want without
repercussions. We all deserve to get a pass;
we all deserve to secretly dream of obelisks
that will one day commemorate our nobility
while dismissing our once inner-assholes put
on display. Let’s revel in our botched personas
together in these theoretically built graveyards.

Sense Of Humor

I was buying
a Mexican Coke
at the corner store
when I heard a teen
start to tell a joke:

How many wiggers does it take to change a light bulb?

(pause)

One to say, “Yo B, who gonna change the light bulb?”

I looked at the group
of mixed ethnicities
with a confused look;
surprisingly, there were
a few wiggers in the circle.

What? You don’t like jokes, fuckin’ cracker ass bitch?

(pause)

I like jokes. I like fuckin’. I like crackers, asses, and bitches, too.

That’s when the cashier
suggested I leave;
the teenagers agreed,
and I wished them well
in figuring things out.

Sequenced

What if human beings
really are just numbers,
like we claim we aren’t?

If this were objectively true,
wouldn’t it be comforting
if we were like Fibonaccis?

Service

What does it mean
To be a marine,
In time, in time;
Not in maritime?

That’s something else.

Can you save me?
Can you save yourself?
Semper Fi! Sender files.
Me or mine or yours?

That’s something else.

How can you be
So fucking militant
Without even being
In the military, at all?

That’s something else.

Seven Inches

Between
the black
and white
are hiccups
and vomit
from gin
and toxic.

Shades

“I’ll rip my eyes out for you,”
he sang for his girl at the time.
And I couldn’t think of a better
way to explain myself to mine
at the time. It would have been
a big mistake, but it wouldn’t
have been the first. Far from
it. Thanks for beating me to
that threat, pal. I do appreciate
it. But now you can do me a big
favor: stay the same and get us
both some nice pairs of shades.

Sham

I was always pleasant in your company.
I bought you coffee on a few occasions,
and I offered to the toadie every time.

Even at your most frivolous moments,
when you rolled your eyes, or maybe
crimped your hair with a paper bag fist,

your smoke seemed to signal an anti-
marble, weighing against divas swatting
flies and toadies scared of mouse shit.

But then you screamed at the sight, yourself.
And then you sold out to the crooked crows.
So you can go hang it up in Astoria and choke

on some grape leaves or expensive stout
or strawberries ‘n cream flavored gum,
because you are an incensed sham, to me.

Shaman Style

I feel like a Mapplethorpe butthole.
Sore. Scorned. Worn out from years
of being pounded out. But I’m still
begging for more. I need another
dose of that codeine. I can barely
stand (it) any longer. Fight fatigue
with fatigue. 12:00. 12:00. 12:00.
I can hear the alarms. I can hear
the sirens. It’s all in my head. It’s
all in their heads. Power. Destruction.
Free market enterprises. Walls close in.
Fight fatigue with fatigue. Pink cots,
lined in neat rows. Temporary, imagined
art prison. Looks comfy. Looks creepy.
Looks good. Shell tones. Can I take a load
off? Have a beer on me, you guys. Wait,
it’s an open bar. Isn’t it? They say it’s been
kind of spotty. Well, a gesture is a gesture.
And that’s worth something. Right? Take it
or leave it. Can I take a load off or not? I’ll
excuse you. You can leave me. My shoes
are coming off. That’s a sign. Good night,
my people. I wish I had more in me. You
must know that I am an equal opportunity
lender. Oy vey! One more dose before
I’m out. Then I’m going to bed, alone.
I’m going to chill out. Stone cold. Austere
like King Tut. Cerebral like Bob Feller.
Intuitive like Sid Vicious. But when the Rx
is up, so is this Musik Express. I can turn it
off like a stripper when “Pour Some Sugar
On Me” stops mid-lap dance. Shaman style.

Shapeshifter

I saw a recent photo of a former lover
and I thought to myself, “Damn, she looks
good. “And in that photo, she really did.
Well, shit—in real life, she always did too.
But upon closer inspection of the photo,
I realized maybe it was just my memory
playing tricks on me. But maybe not.
Either way, if I’m going to be honest here,
she kind of looked cross-eyed or something.
She was making a strange face—her already
capacious eyes stretched out super wide.
It wasn’t clear if she was galvanized, surprised,
titillated, roused, disgusted, or just making one
of those stupid faces that young people make
today when they know the flash is about to go
off on a digital camera and the snapshot will
shortly be posted on some Internet photo
album. And speaking of the flash, she looked
pale as a Scandinavian ghost. She looked
quite emaciated too, like a starving liberal
arts student in a Sally Struthers commercial.
“Feed the children! Feed the children!”
And she appeared to be sweating profusely,
too. Perhaps it was humid out? Perhaps it was
just raining? I couldn’t tell. It was a dark photo,
except for her figure. It was a night photo.
How is it that photography can shapeshift a
person so much more than we could ever
possibly anticipate? I do not blame her fully
for her slithery appearance. I’m sure she still
looks as I remember her. And to her credit,
her hair looked cute in that braided ponytail
and she still has some of the nicest groomed
eyebrows I’ve ever seen. Cheers to that! Aye!

Shit

A friend
who has
lived longer
than me
by about
one decade
told me
you need
to eat shit
in order
to make shit.

He’s often right,
but sometimes
his appetite
constipates
his attitude.

Shorts

I never thought I’d bare
my legs for an entire city,
but something’s gotta give,
and I guess it’s gotta be me.

Signature

Fruit Of The Loom;
Fruit of thy womb—

Gimme the loot!
Gimme the loot!

What kind of man are you, Kobe?

Give up your jaw.
Give up your jabs.

Hustle, fussy old
Dreamcatcher!

What kind of man are you, Keith?

Go! Go! Go!
Wait. Now!

Go! Go! Go!
Now. Stop!

There’s too much gas in the tank!

How did I get here?
Who are you people?

If I pull out my penis,
Can I mark my territory?

K-E-I-T-H-J-V-A-R-A-D-I

I will work every day of my life
To see that I carry on my name.

I will empty my savings account
To see my tombstone made blank.

Silencer

When she said,
“A lack of anxiety is overrated,”
I cracked in laughter, in agreement.
She acknowledged my gesture
with a wise smirk and carried on.

I would like to add
the sentiments of stress and guilt
to the originally offered statement,
uttered in a white room so fraught
with glassfuls of anxiety in the first place.

However,
I prefer my anxiety, guilt, and stress
to be self-inflicted. I have been the
recipient of far too many unfair, assumed
expectations to now know what to refuse.

Silent Movies

I dreamed last night
that you had roaches
under your comforter.

When my body jolted
itself awake, I found
comfort in being alone.

Loneliness isn’t a given
when you’re by yourself,
so why do we assume so?

I am like Plymouth Rock,
staying study for reasons
lost before I found reason.

It’s reasonable to crave
stability, yet nothing can
compete with shared will.

My eyeballs will be drowning
this weekend when I see
two wonted opposites align.

Even non-scientists claim
opposites attract, but I can’t
buy stock in mere hypotheses.

I suppose people tend to avoid
confrontation and competition,
but I tend to avoid silent movies.

Sink or Swim

You have lived
in New York City
for a few minutes
and you tell us
to chill out
when you get
hot and bothered.

You have lived
in New York City
for a few minutes
and you tell us
to lack emotion
if we want to stay
afloat in the heavy.

You and your
rib eye Olsen twins
can gossip together
in scantily clad outfits
over vodka sodas
and sink or swim;
heads or tails.

Sit Down Stand-Up

Let’s sit at the El Bar
with no elbow room
and you can nudge
and I can respond
in misinterpreted
terms and phrases
until we get closer
and the Krazy Glue
tells another joke.

Situationist Poem

Our paths
can continue
to converge
and diverge
depending on
your willingness
to wonder
and wander
on and
on and
on forever.

Six Dollars

You got like six dollars or something?
Cause we can buy a lot with six dollars,
he said to me. And I said, like what are
we gonna buy for six dollars? He was
like, we could buy a six pack, for one,
or some fireworks, or like maybe a
small pizza at this place where I’m
boys with the one delivery dude—
he sometimes sells me weed; he’s not
as good as my regular dude. But what-
ever. My regular dude gets me like two
eighths for like fifty-five bucks. Pretty
good deal, considering how slow it
burns, plus it’s kind of sour and shit.
I like that. I’ve been acquiring a taste
for sour shit. Kinda like how I started
getting real into IPA’s a few years ago.
I know I was kinda late on the whole
homebrew/craft beer craze, but I mean,
you really don’t even give a shit about it,
even now. What the fuck is up with that?
How do you not like good shit, man?
I mean, you like some good shit. I mean,
if I had some like real dope sour shit,
or a six pack of like some really hoppy
stuff, you’d smoke it, you’d drink it.
Right? Dude, if you give me six dollars
or something, I probably have like four,
and then we could probably get like
two more, and then we could prob-
ably get like some really good beer.
So I say to him why don’t I just use
my six dollars and buy a six-pack
of Budweiser and then you don’t
have to pay anything or hassle any-
body else and we can still drink the
same amount. And he says damn it,
Keith! You never appreciate the finer
things in life! You never appreciate me!

Sky Turds

Are birds the only animals
whose feces come out white?

Have you ever actually seen
a bird take a shit or have you
only felt the embarrassment
of it dropping from the sky
straight onto your head as
you walk to work or on a date?
It’s like the first drip of Chinese
water torture. I’d sacrifice my
car windshield to not have
white shit in my hair, if I had
a car. I’ve been told Pert Plus
is used by some to clean cars.
Maybe I should buy a travel size
bottle of Pert Plus to carry around
with me, just in case I have a run-in
with a pigeon or a seagull. The
more I think about it, it might be
nice to wash my hair with the
hobos at Penn Station and then
buy a round of buttery pretzels
for everyone, if they would let me.

Slave

This week,
I feel like
a migrant worker
and
none of my papers
mean anything—
I am lost
in documentation.

I can only
cross
borders
that you stamp
are permissible
for me to walk
foot over foot,
flatfooted.

Sleep Over

You are my inner elbow—
you make me feel things,
like cocaine or saliva.

You are my right left brain;
I mean, you correct my words
when they’re just green points.

Even the best liquid writers
need lucid editors, I know;
but you drink more than me.

The road is your friend,
and you are my friend—
be careful with yourself.

I can’t live without you,
and you can’t live at all;
just stay in my bed tonight.

The glass snow is shredding
people’s faces and tires tonight,
and I like your after hours spirit.

Slim Shadows

For every couple of semi-cute suburban girls
with dreams bigger than their grandparents’,
there is at least half as many cool drummers
who want to wildly play to their own beats.

And for every single last play to be written,
there is an emptied syringe off-Broadway
with some substitute cooked-up concoction,
replacing the poetics of prior lucid language.

But don’t fear slim shadows on slim sidewalks
or in slim hallways of slimly lighted buildings;
trust in the stretched out darkness that brings
momentary light for your future expeditions.

Slow Dance

I would lend you twenty bucks
or anything else you asked of
me. All you have to do is ask.
And if I don’t have it, I’ll get
it. And if it’s unattainable, I’ll
find a way. Just do me the
favor of having one more drink
with me, then slow dancing to
“Memories” by Leonard Cohen
with me, then looking up
into my eyes, while I hold
your back from behind with
my right hand and your right
hand with my left. I want to
feel the muscles in my cheeks
get a workout until the last
“ooh-ah-ooh” when you step
up on your tip toes to kiss me.
We can pretend we have a big
white Cadillac to drive up or
down a coastal highway as the
sun rises like in the Hollywood
movie that song was so clearly
written for and this poem is so
clearly written about. Are you in
or are you out? Are you in or out?

Sluts

So you create a template,
and then you fill it out
as needed, and you need it.

You continue to submit to power
and to more powerful figures.

You drop your pants to your ankles
and say, “Take me as you want me!”

You might already know this, but
this is called hustling, motherfucker—
both on the streets and on the screen.

You repeat to yourself, on repeat:
“You gotta do what you gotta do.”

And your friends and family are no help at all;
they reinforce your recently rehearsed mantra.

Every day, the Times and the Post,
and every single televised talking head
head in a new direction about the market.

Things are looking up; wait, back to down—
ride it out, ride it out; come on, ride it out.

It feels like we’re on a Six Flags roller coaster—
is it due to financial drama or the United Nations?

I don’t know; but the richest folks in the entire park
are the ones giving blow jobs to shifty strangers
behind the funnel cake stands, with tokens in hand.

Snake Charmer

It was January,
two years ago—
I met a snake charmer,
and she was as polite
as a charmer could be.

But the problem
laid in the fact
that I’m not a snake,
and she wanted me
to spare some venom.

Thanks,
but no thanks.

Snake Hill

When you’re at the bar
at the top of Snake Hill
and you ask me to join,
you have to know my
response in advance
by now. It hasn’t got
anything to do with
you or anyone else.
I think I have earned
my right to choose not
to explain myself to any
of these folks anymore.
If they are to care at this
point, or claim to, or show
any inclination that they
might care in any way,
they should have cared
before. But I don’t hold
it against them, because
the feeling is mutual.
However, on second thought,
I wouldn’t mind checking out
some of these overweight
lettermen in their foreign
muscle cars. If only there
was a way to press mute
on them and their dumpy
girlfriends at my leisure.
Or maybe picture-in-picture.
Do you remember that
remarkably innovative,
now extinct tele-tool?
If it weren’t for the shit
Darwinism of technology,
I would be able to flip
back and forth between
whatever you and our
buds on return were
discussing, whatever
game was on the actual
television, and whatever
episode of Cops these
bust-out townies would
be filming in the parking
lot. Work on getting me
some picture-in-picture
before I’m back home
next, and maybe I’ll
come out and pound
some Irons with you
and whoever else.

Snowflakes

I was halfway through
an old Eliot poem
and I thought I saw
two deaf Korean girls,
holding hands,
talking about family,
and I imagined
what snowflakes
must look like
in the East.

Sodomy

You don’t have to be curious,
nor do you need to be active
in order to know how it feels
to get your ass stretched wide.

All you need is to understand
metaphors, symbolism, or to
commit some felony, and you
surely can surrender to soil.

Some Day

A child,
my child,
your child
warbles
like we did,
ourselves,
at some point
before all this
nonsense
pretense.

And
that’s why
I can’t believe
anything
can get worse
than this
Judgment Day
we all call
today
(some day).

Some Kind of Shaman

I received a phone call
from a man with an accent
on my way to an interview.

He told me he, too, wanted me
to come in for interrogation.

I complied without question,
but perhaps I should have.

I showed up to my second set
of strange questions unprepared.

But how could I be prepared
for the wrangled wrath
of a self-proclaimed Mystic?

By the time I was sitting down,
I knew I wanted to stand up.

I was swiveling around Macs
and other pathetic resumes.

He articulated his expressions
in zoned out Xeroxed phrases
that tasted like fresh Spam.

He asked me if I smoked
or did drugs; I lied twice.

As soon as I walked out,
I wanted a cig and a joint.

Now I need a Confession
to cleanse myself of this
Near Far East Slacker.

Somnolence

Writing poems
because I’m bored
is not usual
and I’m bored
and this is unusual,
and this is not right;
I feel light,
like a friend
or a mountain…

And conversation
can be so serrated,
so overrated,
like a knife,
cutting flesh,
maybe an appendage,
gushing some stuff,
like an infection
or an appendix…

Who did you say
you were, again?
And where did you say
you were from, anyways?
Forget I even asked,
and forget you ever told me,
because it doesn’t matter—
you’re here now;
do you hear me now?

Soundtrack

Single notes
drawn across
sheet paper
and played
with sorrow
just like
a great
martyr such
as Joan
of Arc
might play
them out
on some
old golden
harp strings.

And this
is what
it feels
like to
be me
at least
when I
throw coins
into sewers
for bums
and rats
to suck
on or
chew on
until morning.

Sovereignty

If you have the right ID,
you can piss on whatever
lawn looks the kinkiest
and your soul will fly free.

Space Jam

What do you know
about UFOs?
Oh, I don’t know.

I don’t know much
about mass transit
at all, for that matter.

I am pretty sure
aliens wouldn’t be
into prog-rock though.

Sparkler (in the Summer)

Hypothetically speaking,
a black lace shirt
might not seem
to be the classiest garment
a woman might choose to cover
the top half of her body.

However,
you would be surprised
by how feisty comments,
spoken through a saccharine smirk
can alter any piece of clothing.

Oh,
and what about
eyes that move like Atlantic winds
or
dimples that look like commas,
breaking up all of your sentences
over and over?

Suddenly,
you are making out
with a radiant young lady
in a park where you usually
read poetry or eat tacos.

And kissing is the only thing
that keeps you from conversation.

Spot Treatment

Wet sand
and glaze.

Withstand
the gaze.

You pay
for play.

We say
who stays.

Spring Fever

I was just getting used
to detractors
and their distractions
when you came along.

Thanks for your love,
thanks for nothing,
nothing at all.

I am infinitely thankful.

I will cast myself
in bronze for eternity,
for the infinitely eternal
ability to be free of caring
about almost anything,
anything but myself
from here on out.

It's getting hot and heavy.

I will no longer sweat
the burned cheese
on my otherwise delicious sandwiches.

St. John’s Wort

Now that I’m older,
maybe I should try
a new type of herb?

Stains

What happens when every
moment you live is stained
by some other moment you
couldn’t have ever thought
to possibly prevent? You’re
stuck under a broken fan,
trying to remove problems
unavoidable in their nature,
but so apparent if you only
decided to think before
you decided to take action.

Statement

I am not a flake. Flakes are
not unique, despite what
you have been told. I am
a healer. I am sturdy. I am
noble. I am made of wood
from the castle. I will provide
plentifully. I am not a flake.

Stick-On Stickler

Did you forget about
the other day when
you said you would
pay me restitution
for the stolen drinks?

Do you prefer cash,
check, credit card,
gift card, six pack,
or twelve pack
(to cover interest)?

Nah, don’t sweat it;
since you haven’t
forgotten your offer,
forget that I brought
it up; I forgot, myself.

But I would put a post-
it in your pocket, maybe,
to sometimes remind
yourself the importance
of class and character.

Sticky Stuff

Sitting on the cheapest pleather possible
at a Western Connecticut China Palace,
I try to remember your fragile, forgotten face
by painting it with rice and Szechuan sauce.

As I’ve told you so many times before,
I hate the feeling I get at these places,
but I keep going back in pre-regret
and continue to do buffet like Dubuffet.

Still Breathing

What if
we could all
afford our own
SoHo stoner lofts
or Chinatown
dumpling attics,
like the artists
the decade before
we were all born
had to themselves,
on streets like
Broome or Hester?

What if
we all shaved
our heads down
to the bare scalp,
and smoked dope
weed bought for us
by some fervent
out-of-towner
who “really thinks
we’re onto some
groundbreaking
new stuff.”

What if
I never made
another single
work of art
again until I die;
would anybody
even care or notice,
and would anything
I have made up
until this point
sell for record prices?
I’m still breathing.

Still-Life

I will paint you a vase
and I will be semi-bold
in my muted manners,
making Morandi proud.

I will give you flowers
to place beneath the
vase. They’ll shimmer
in adoration like Manets.

I will photograph this
delicate, elegant still-
life and give up willed
pride like Moholy-Nagy.

And I’ll e-mail you the
digital file at 300 dpi
for you to print on
silk and call it ours.

Stitches

If I had my arm sawed off,
would you sew it back on?

Would you save the appendage
if it turned grey below the elbow?

Wouldn’t it be a shame and a sham
if my arm was to be twice-removed?

I would have to learn to be a lefty,
but who wants to date a Southpaw?

Maybe we could go to mass together
and donate my stitches to the savior?

Stone

I’ll be your rock
if you let me roll
(whenever I’m ready).

In the meantime,
can I get a raise
(or at least an escalator)?

Stone Cold Schmaltz

As if you’re magic;
as if you’re comedy;
as if you’re beyond

the barely visible red ribbon
that marks an end of ends;
can you admit your failures

in the face of looped fiascos?
We live in a time of exaggeration.
I miss the Happy Days of hip-hop

when most MCs were loose and angry
about something and straight pissed
about every other wrapped package.

I miss the American Graffiti
that would have scared
the shit out of Jeffrey Deitch.

Now it’s all white noise,
and it’s all gold chains,
and it’s all silver dranks.

But when I think about you,
I think about Suge Knight.
And maybe that’s a stretch;

still, I’d rather watch chrome wheels
on an SUV spin round and round
than hang from a hotel, upside down.

Straight

Am I the only person in New York City?
Am I the only person in New York City
who likes to drink their coffee black?

I don’t want cream, I don’t want sugar,
I don’t want my mornings to wear masks;
be straight with me all day, every day.

Strangers

Standing in lines,
side by side,
friendless
(at the moment),
jobless
(at the moment).

But no enemies
yet—
so that’s something
to clap about,
silently.

Where did you
all come from?

Where are you
all going now?

I wish to ride
on horseback
instead
of by subway.
But in this city,
you cannot
possibly be
close to picky.
And plus,
horses are reserved
for lazy cops
and I’m neither
lazy or a cop.

So as this rickety ride
carries on
with its business,
I look at young children
staring at parents
and
strangers, in wonder,
and
I wonder, myself,
who is stranger?

Strangers (Too)

Do you know that Kinks line:
“Strangers on this road we are on/
We are not two, we are one”?

The first time I heard Ray Davies
sing that song, I thought it was
something you could have said.

And now, I’m lucky if you’ll say
anything to me without a sour,
salty seasoning to spice it up.

And I like all of those flavor riffs,
but you were always a jam band cook;
though, I never had much of an appetite.

Sometimes, I really wish we could
have a sit-down meal and just talk
without worrying about afterward.

I will break every dish to be washed
if only to get your attention for a few
minutes, just long enough to press play.

Lately, I feel like you’re more of a stranger
than ever before, but honestly, so is she.
And that girl and that girl, and that girl too.

And where have all the roads gone to walk?
I’d like to apply footsteps down to pavement,
but it’s like Mexico City and I don’t own a gun.

Stray Beer

I think it’s important
to always
adopt a shivering bottle
when you’re out
with your friends,
but still feeling lonely,
because hey,
we all need companions.

Strobe Light Probe

To all those
who wrote me
off in shapes
of soapy stories
and lathered
my reputation
while I was
in the hospital,
I hope you
never have
to go searching
for a friend
when you need
one.

(Substitute) Sonnet

Your naval has a sweetness
that would make any bird visit,
flirt with the smooth surroundings,
set up shop for warm supper,
and sing drunken sailor songs.

If I ever felt like writing a sonnet,
you would be the first subject;
as it is, I have resorted to writing
a two stanza, ten line poem here
about birds and your belly button.

Suck and Blow

So you think you can dance
like that, free of charge?
Free of embarrassment?

Wait till you see my man’s
pointy dance…

Baby girl,
baby girls
are spreading it virally…

Memes!
Memes!
Memes
are
for
me!

MU-
ST

ME-
AN

IT!

Don’t make me explain myself;
and
don’t make a point of making a point.

We don’t need another outcast
and
we don’t need another Outkast.

Suckers are suckers,
forever!

We can suck and blow,
but mainly suck…
or blow
for as long
as the law
or the Weather Channel
or our bedmates
see to be fit.

Gotta get fit;
gotta go to the gym;
gotta get a membership—
at the gym?
Or maybe with the Free Masons?

How can things get any weirder?
How can days get any stranger?

Sue Me

I say we must
have some faith
in most humans
to be somewhat
decent, mostly;
okay, so sue me.

Suicide

Every time I wake up,
I wish I hadn’t opened up.

But you know what?
What am I going to do?

What can I ever really do
Aside from what I always do?

I only own so many tools—
Sears doesn’t sell suicide.

And even if they did carry that line,
I’m too much of a pussy to purchase.

Suicide #2

You think I’m afraid
of death or the death
that people color within
the lines of symmetry,
and maybe psychology?

Well, you know what?
I am slightly scared;
yet somehow, I aim
to drunkenly pass out
while on downers.

If I die of simplicity,
I’ll probably feel okay;
on the other hand,
I’ll probably feel shitty—
cause where was the push?

Summertime Blues (2011)

The summer sun is almost here—I only have a few more
weeks until the daytime air starts to leak like the sweat
from an elephant’s taint. I hate Ra’s powers and pavement
prisms. I want to getaway drive this ride and nap in hotel air
conditioning. I want to unite old brothers with new ones
and eat hot dogs and drink ninety-nine cent tall boys on
viscous rooftops as the tar cools its temper. I want to wear
socks and shoes on the beach so that I don’t cold cut my
bare feet on glass-laced sand. I want to sing “Wooly Bully”
in the shower as I get ready to face the job I don’t want and
that fucking sky-beast I wish would just hibernate until I die.

Sunburn

My pale skin
is not made
for the outdoors.

I just wanted
some beachside
reading. I just
wanted the sounds
of waves crashing,
while I imagined
Calvino’s characters
lazily kicking sand
in yuppies’ handbags.

I did not think
that this request
would be so much
of a demand, really.

I did not think
I would suffer
so badly afterward.

But man, I fucking
hate the smell of
all sun tan lotion
and it feels weird,
too. It’s like liquid
lard, seeping deep
into my smooth skin.

It permeates.
It penetrates.
But not like the sun.
The sun can ruin days.
It’s a sneak attack.
Everybody thinks
they love the sun.
But it leaves a sick
hangover. Days long.
I should have used
some sun tan lotion.
SPF ONE MILLION.

Suppository

You’re far too uptight
for this life,
so do the right thing
and loosen up,
even if just a bit;
for otherwise,
you’re going to have
one shitty life.

Surveyor

Oh!
To practice
grand navigation exercises
on these glorious
newfound landscapes.

I like the climate here.
I think I prefer it.
These monsoon rains come down
over and over
comedowns from weekend benders.

Hey…
heavy eyes…
light breaths…
come on…
come in…

Swag Snag

I’m not usually clumsy, but Lauren
is coming to visit me today. She is
like a delicate Mr. Bean. Do you
remember that fellow? Are you
offended by that characterization,
Lauren? No, I know. Of course not.
I’ve seen Lauren almost break almost
every levee, Zeppelin style; not Katrina
style. Are you offended by that analogy,
New Orleans? I hope not. I’ll come visit
and apologize in person, some day. Okay?
Anyways, I suppose my body was acclimating
itself when I woke up and began my day.
I slipped in the bathroom on the way
from the toilet to the shower. The curtain
is a shitty defense. What we need is a barrack.
Not a Barack. Maybe a Michelle. She is so beautiful.
Oh, I love those hand job arms of hers. Michelle,
please don’t be offended by that comment.
It was really a compliment, I swear! You too,
Barack. Please, despite my sexual attraction
to your lovely wife, can you still improve
health care and the economy? I’ll keep my desires
to myself. A deal is a deal and I can stay true
to my word. Can you? Okay. So I dried off
and got to my bedroom. I caught my right leg
awkwardly in my brown chinos and fell face forward
onto my unmade bed, catching myself where the elbow
meets the ulna. I finished getting dressed and shimmied
down the stairs, whistling the melody of “Ex-Con”
by Smog. I got to the kitchen and I opened a new can of
Chock Full o’ Nuts and cut my right middle finger
on the aluminum seal. How is that even possible?
It is wrapped in Band-Aids and medical tape now.
It’s not that bad. I definitely overdid it. But it wouldn’t
stop bleeding. Blood down my hand. Blood down the
handle of the coffee pot. Blood on the counter. I had
to remedy the situation somehow before anyone saw
me. Man, the tip of my finger does sting though. I’m
not sure if it’s the cut or the tightly wrapped tape.
This sounds shitty, but I know as soon as Lauren
gets here, I’ll be safe. Her energy must have been
transferred to me, long-distance. But in a few hours,
she’ll soak up all the misfortunes of tripping over
nothing and walking into things in plain sight and
she’ll giggle it off like she always does. Goodness.

Sympathy

I have been sleepwalking,
yet I haven’t really
been able to sleep—
it’s been a bit unfortunate,
but I don’t need to be paid
any pity or piece of your mind.

I have my own peace.
I have my own piece
of something unnamable—
that reminds me,
I need to start working
on my own dictionary.

Tall Mud

Where dirty rules rise,
souls must be cleansed;
that is, if we possess souls
in the first place. And whose
place is it to determine who
gets first dibs on anything,
anyways? There are no
Chosen People. There is
no salvation (maybe there
is redemption). But no evil,
definitely no evil. There are
just rules that were written
thousands of years ago that
are continually broken and
new ones that are established
if/when those can’t be mended.

Talk Show

There are no edits
Where I come from.

Say what you mean,
And I’ll do the same.

Tempest

When it rains all day,
for three days straight
in a coastal town,
it can be said that it is
“like a hurricane without a hurricane.”

In fact,
a crusty old fisherman
described this past week as just that
to my avuncular roommate
at the watering hole down the way.

It was just the other day,
and that dude was hooked
on The Perfect Storm,
but he couldn’t hook anything,
except for maybe a Budweiser

or that cracked desert
of a deserted woman
who kept pacing from
the bar to the bathroom
in her turquoise wrung dress.

It makes me sad to see
faces sinking into their shirts
as hours roll on with the rock
blasting from Internet jukeboxes:
Bob Seger vs. John Mellencamp.

Silver Bullets and Cougars
passing through people and drinkers
with one determined agenda.
To graze or bite is equally successful,
so long as the target is hit.

And in a hurricane,
there is always the eye, right?
Lurking and watching;
watching and waiting.
The puddles come to collect.

And even with All Wheel Drive,
you can slide out and strike out,
chopping down a tree or worse,
maybe a telephone pole or two.
And then who will you call?

Terminated

You’re a nice guy—
we’d like to keep you,
but you can’t drink
Red Bull and vodkas
before your shifts.

You’re a nice girl—
we’d like to keep you,
but you can’t wear
your death metal shirts
around the office.

Thanks, Jack

When Jack Gilbert wrote:
“Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh,”
he set a standard for language
and described a standard of living,
for me, as a young poet.

And for me, as a young poet
from that mercurial city, myself,
I might have to climb up and down
the South Side inclines every day
to ever arrive at such a humbling statement.

That Girl

She’s a shellfish
in a human costume;
don’t eat what’s between
her legs if you don’t want
hives or something worse.

She’s a werewolf
when she undresses;
she’ll scratch and claw
and drink all your blood
she has her nurse draw.

The Afterlife

What if the Christians got it all wrong
and Hell is above and Heaven below?
I used to think if Hell existed, maybe it
was like a wave pool filled with hairy,
obese men and women who all talked
in slow, slurred speech and the waves
never quit. But now I realize that most
of my favorite dead people are likely
considered sinners by most, so I think
Hell is probably a great game of poker
where there is no gambling, just an un-
limited supply of booze and drugs and
nobody gains weight or falls asleep. If
Hell exists and it’s anything like this, I’m
not going to RSVP J.C.’s invite if I get one.

The Benefit Of No Doubt

im not talking about the band
or just the elderly colloquialism

im making a play on words
a pun if you are maybe willing

im asserting there might be
some gain from arrogance

im asserting there might be
some gain from ignorance

or am i questioning without
proper punctuation our lack

of awareness and our lag
in cognition and acceptance

i guess you can be the agent
and i can be the marauder

The Best

The first time I paid
for a taxi in full,
I lost something;
I lost something
of myself,
but it was okay—
it was for
the best.

The Creeps

You’d never believe
the things I’ve seen
when hands turn on
each other, causing
A Shining Moment.

You ought to know
what gives me the
creeps by now, so
don’t lead me down
those haunted ways.

The Cursed and The Cursory

Do you remember all the weird records
I bought at the Princeton Record Exchange?
I always hoped we would listen to them together.

Do you remember all the times you spent waiting
outside for me to lay down some sort of logic?
You were like a sorceress though, stealing it all.

You assumed too much. And assumptions are
a curse. I hope you know by now the empty,
cursory situations they place us in. Do you?

The Drags

Metallic squalls
ring true to me
when I hear them
squeal out of a
crossdresser’s
torso. They make
me want to run,
run, run and take
a drag or two, or
three or more.
But all those drags
and other drags
are really a drag
when you have to
use one of those
weird tools that
look just like an
uh, electric shaver
in order to talk to
your lover before
you pull up all the
blankets at night,
or the cashier at
the grocery store
now that you have
decided to take care
of your body. “Too
late.”—that’s what
all your friends and
family will tell you.
What a drag. What?

The Drama

How do we hold ourselves
accountable
for our own actions
when we are constantly
concerning ourselves with
the actions of others?

How do we hold ourselves
together
when our main desire
is to be held
by another person,
simply to avoid loneliness?

Hey,
all we all
come back to
are the same old,
same old conflicts,
counting marbles
over marble counters.

And
at day’s end,
we revert back
to familiar faces that
antagonize like no
written characters
have ever antagonized.

Mary J. Blige famously sang:
“NO MORE DRAMA!”

I think we all claim to feel the same way,
but realistically, none of us can live drama-free.

So basically, if we’re lucky to live eighty years or so,
it’s like, how willing are we to make a few sacrifices

to avoid day drinking by ourselves at Irish themed mid-town bars,
feeling like Han Solo, surrounded by Bizarro Chewbaccas?

The Economy Of Self

Smooth jazz on acid. Acid jazz while drinking a smoothie. In the coffee shop, on the telephone, with my credit card, buying nothing new, buying nothing now. Occupy occupations. Come with me. We can go anywhere, anywhere we can afford. But we can’t afford much. Shit. People shit like pigeons. People don’t give a shit, like pigeons. I don’t want no pigeons. I don’t want no scrubs. Scrub away the blood, scrub away the mace, scrub away the tear gas, scrub away the tears. No shame. No pride. There is a sameness in this process. There is a sameness in society. America. China. Beef and rice. Patties and patsies. Don’t talk back to talking heads. There are secret guillotines everywhere. Just dip feet instead, when necessary. We float on boats and barges, chained to commerce. Insurance always needed assurance. Now insurance needs insurance. Suck it up. Buy it up. Put it down. Get out of town. Listen. We can go anywhere, anywhere we can afford. But we can’t afford much. We’re sitting on a bubble. Oh! Now, now…thought bubble: Visa for Visa, vis-à-vis!

The Flex

Pilots eat pizza
for breakfast;
dictators eat people
for plain leisure.

I wheelchair cruise
through every terminal;
I see more headlines,
and avoid lines like a vet.

Look at the masked man,
standing by the smoothies,
topped off in a Kangol hat,
an Irish accent, and CK One.

He’s got a sign that says
he’ll sell wisdom for a dollar;
he’s got a mask that says
he sells more than wisdom.

He tells me he was in Korea,
The Philippines, and Vietnam;
he says he sold his body there
in exchange for this wisdom.

I ask him why he’s willing
to part with it so cheaply;
he says he’s retired now,
and his kids are all graduated.

I ask him why he hangs
his linens at airports;
he shows me a TSA badge
and winks at me real coy.

Maybe you can reverse
retirement like Jordan
anywhere, anytime
if you have the flex.

The Hold On

Poor and pregnant (with ideas), I sit in my corner with my crummy tuna sandwich and I look at the union workers in cutoff shorts and sweat-stained tee shirts. They are talking trash and taking out trash. The loudest member of the loudest crew has Bert tattooed on the back of his left leg and Ernie tattooed on the back of his right. Since I have no one sitting with me, I have to ask myself what would make any grown man walk down Sesame Street. But I feel like this is something that needs to be debated. Yet, I don’t think many people would want to go back and forth on this subject. Maybe it’s a good thing I am sitting alone. Doesn’t everybody say they need their “alone time”? It’s near impossible to get it here though. There’s always a peddler around the corner or a teenager trying to sit on your lap or else, worse. God, I have only taken like three bites of this sandwich and I am throwing it away. I feel really bad wasting food, but I don’t want to make my body consume any more waste. I’d rather just eat a red apple that has fallen from your tree. But you’re not tall enough to have a tree, so I’ll eat the one that I got for free. It kind of tastes like purgatory. Jesus, I’m tired of bowing my back further than it is supposed to go just to get people to give me a second. What do you want from me? I don’t want to rub glitter on my body and my fingers are too swollen to have jazz hands. I can’t write you books about wizards, but I’m sure someone would still burn my words. I don’t care. And I don’t care about small talk, like “How about the weather?” or “Do you have the time?” People have mixed feelings about technology, but I like the fact that I can avoid small talk simply by looking at my phone. And yeah…”I’m sorry, but I have to take this…”

The Long So Long

I ride in dune buggies
and play mouth organs
until the witchy women
can’t trace my moments.

Then I retrace our roots
back to some back routes
that make swamps swirl
and go ass fast forward.

Oh, so do you speak French?
Of course, you try, right?
You’re so French fried, right?
White flags, Renaissance peeping.

I give up; I want to make good.
But you can’t make that from scratch;
you can only scratch away at it,
and some devices are just too dull.

So that’s why we sharpen our focus
and that’s why we sharpen our knives;
because we can’t live without brains
and brains are like butchers.

What do you know about blood?
What do you know about floods?
How greed leaks like prego nips,
and you want just a drip? Oui?

The South is old and wrinkly—
the price is always right;
Yankees milk and molest,
but it’s open-minded fucking.

Louisiana purchased voodoo
for the price of a carton or two
of those Picayune cigarettes
like four scores ago, you know.

Transfusions and transcripts,
prescribe the pre-scripts,
make the laugh-tracked movie
that we watch in waiting rooms.

Ah, there are bone doctors
behind every dying door,
and cash cows run wild
in the bushy bowels.

No, the grass isn’t juiced
in this new age order,
but it still gets grown up
like sick soldiers go down.

Blow jobs and blow-up jobs
are what make the news sexy
and sexy news makes us want
to need and we need to want.

So hey, I will smoke your ashes
after you shoot my dreams;
we can all attack ourselves
in the name of one God.

The Nineties

I remember secretly watching MTV as a child,
trying to make sense of Kennedy and Bill Bellamy
speak in a foreign tongue at the current location
of the now infamous Italian meat market.

I try to ask my older friends what the ‘90s were
actually like, because everything I think I thought
other people were into, I now understand to be
things I could never have possibly understood.

Hacky-sack and fanny packs, ill-advised irony
employed by sub-par satirists, running men
on dance floors; on other floors, stuttering men
such as senators or worse—but that’s a constant.

So from what I can gather, this was a decade
that people have blurred or blocked out for one
reason or another. The insiders probably want to
forget about X and the outsiders still wonder why.

The Queen

His cascading eyes,
His bi-coastal hair,
His sushi roll fingers,
And bento box toes.

His ballerina chatter,
His volcanic cackles,
His diner server stance,
And teen pageant prance.

His Fruit Loop windows,
His purple pain columns,
His bipolar breath bells,
And bow-tied death knell.

(The Queen has no bees;
He prefers silence or maybe
Generic classical music,
Like midnight college radio).

(The Queen spits in private,
On assholes, in assholes;
It doesn’t matter to The Queen,
So long as he is fresh in public).

(The Queen rides in stride
With no breaks or brakes;
He serves himself finely,
And finally serves no one).

The Stroke

I had a hazy afternoon today—
I mean, the weather was nice,
but I was feeling the night before;
I was feeling something, for sure.

I was drinking an iced coffee
at this place down the street
that makes me think of home,
but not really, if I think about it.

It makes me think of college too,
but not really, if I think about it—
there’s a nostalgic light switch,
but my bulb is dimming recently.

This semi-collegiate type
with acid-washed hair
approached with caution
and asked me what I do
and I asked “For money?”
and she was like, “I guess.”
I said, “What I can. And you?”
She said, “I’m a barista, but not here.”
I said, “Well, how about that.”
She said, “I don’t think jokes are funny.”
She followed up with,” Do you like jokes?”
I said, “I prefer questions and commentary.”
She seemed to think that was funny.
Then, she asked, “Well, what do you do for free?”

Oh boy.

I hesitated to say that I am an artist,
because it’s assumed pro-bono artists
are unsuccessful or just hopeless hippies.
Instead, I decided to say, “I write poetry.”
She sipped on her own iced coffee
and asked, “People still write poems?”
I said, “Yes, but mostly they masturbate.”

The Way Things Go

Climb
Crawl
Fuck

Transmission
Intermission
Need a mission

Rise
Fall
Fuck(ed)

The Weight

The weight on my chest
can never compare to
the one on your car stereo,
so I say it’s time we drive
to Eastern Pennsylvania
and play around in cricks
and slide out guitar licks
on sycamore guitars;
can you draw it out
with me, with colored wax?

The Yiddish Slinger

Is it even remotely possible
for a Jewish blues guitarist
to believe in the devil?

Was Ira Goldstein,
“The Yiddish Slinger,”
the original bluesman?

Was he standing there,
next to Robert Johnson,
at the Crossroads or what?

When Robert eagerly said,
“How much, Devil Man?”
did Ira run back to NYC?

Did he yell the distance,
“No more booze for me!
I’m starting a law firm!”?

If it weren’t for the blues
or the Bible, would Ira’s
future clients been faithful?

The Zone

No person
would refuse
a sanctioned
sanctuary
from all the
beating
beatings
and
worn out
warnings.

Therapy

“How much do you hate yourself?”

“Oh, wow. Come on, I don’t hate myself.”

“No?”

“No. Why would you say that?”

“Do you like your job?”

“It’s fine.”

“Does your family make you happy?”

“Of course…”

“Do you ever have time to yourself, to do what you want?”

“When I mow the lawn.”

“Do you drink every day?”

“Only a few.”

“What do you mean by only a few?”

“Okay, I hate myself.”

“How much?”

“I have to go.”

“Where to?”

“I have to go.”

“For how long?”

“I have to go.”

“I’ll have my secretary send you the bill.”

Three-Day Weekend

The sky let out a baby thunder fart and liquid started to slide down its ass. There was slight white diarrhea on the streets and I sloshed to 10th Avenue for a 90s sitcom pizza party. When the grease was cleaned, there were rocks to drop with brothers and comforters for hiding. Wet on the inside. Wet on the outside. The birds all went to sleep and I felt cuckoo. Another round. “Thanks for the drink,” I said. “Do you want some candy?” he replied. Oh…What time is it? Shit. It’s early. Let’s go to the next spot. I was tossed like a bitch in the back of a cab. Sports Utility Taxi Ride. Yussef needed a GPS to get to the Williamsburg Bridge. Amateur chauffer. I felt like John Cougar Mellencamp. I prefer Roy Oribson. Roy never needed assistance; he only needed his dark sunglasses. I needed something. I had a head on my shoulder. He had pot on his mind. I had a pothead on my other side, losing his mind. Sex, drugs, and embarrassment. Oh, we’re here? Let’s do this. There was a black tranny working the door. It’s not what you think. The back room was crowded and foggy. I was the only one coughing. Why was I the only one coughing? Dancing is distracting, I guess. My boys went outside and one came back coughing. “I’m a tiger,” he said. Then he ate a girl’s face. You know...some years, autumn is just a holiday. This year, it feels like a three-day weekend.

Three Two One

If you really think you can cheat my brother,
Steal all necessities (plus Birthday Booze),
And flaunt it on the dance floor…

Girl,
You’ve got another thing coming.

You’ve got another thing coming.

Thug Life

I don’t want a Thug Life,
but I think it’s important
to have Thug Moments
every once in a while.

Sometimes you need
to be the pimp
that carries the stick.
Go ahead,
wield it and whack it,
blindly, of course,
just to prove a point.

Sometimes you need
to raise your voice
like the sneakers
of the Doctor Julius Erving
and slam dunk your statements
on the heads of whomever
you’re speaking with.

Sometimes you need
to street strut
like the Gibbs.
Explore your range.
Explore your ways.
How else will you know
that you’re staying alive?

Well now,
people will always want to
start shit, talk shit, and take shits
on a head that swivels on a level.

It’s no different when
that head gets heavy
and falls off
and rolls down
like a boulder
to the valleys of trickery.

Stand tall.
Brace yourself.
Plan for what you ask.

Like I said,
I don’t want a Thug Life.

Enemies seek revenge.

Tijuana

I got real lost off the highway
in a tiny Mexican restaurant
when I was feeling necessary;
the place was called Tijuana.

I ate some cheek,
I ate some cactus,
I drank some water,
I drank some Modelo.

I didn’t want to be found;
now I know why people
dress like Don Johnson,
and never leave Mexico.

Time Out

Time out!
I call a time out.

Look at these skies!

These skies are like the bluish grey fields you use
in your paintings. If every day could be smeared
with this feigned depression and littered wafts
of flowers as they avoid sticking to nonchalant soles,
we would never lose sight of the paths we’ve chosen.

Right now, we could be huddled in raincoats, smoking
near a brown, overflowing river in Oregon or eating
unfamiliar food in Belgium. Either way, we could see
new futures forever as long as these skies remain ours;
if you share your paintings, I’ll share my wrought words.

Time Travel & Doing Time

I am in Lubbock, Texas
with the girl I love—
I see cars parked and piled
for days on end,
for days on their heads.

“Look over there!”
I launch words in her direction
as if I am in exile
with hidden WMD’s
and a cooler of wine coolers.

There is no one else around,
other than a Hispanic teenager,
Riding the Lightning
on his pruned skateboard
with his baby brother
strapped on his back
like a human Jansport.

If I were back at the wood ward,
these cars would be stripped
and covered in orange peels,
fondled by beat up security jags,
and told to go where they belong;
prison is no place for a young poet—
tongue-tied and cross-eyed.

To Conquer or Be Continued

It
is too late
to go out.

It
is hot and cold,
simultaneously.

It
is nothing new
in this old town.

You
tell me to stop
going on with it.

You
tell me to try
somewhere else.

You
have nothing
specific to say.

I
always have
way too much.

I
am learning
new languages.

I
could ride on
horses forever.

Oh,
whatever,
and so on.

To Spend a Year

You might think
what’s a few
dollars a day?

But do you think
about who you
gave them to?

Too Much Tongue

you are a wild filly:
you are competition
in speech, in comedy.

you are a wild filly:
your saliva pours
into one sponge.

you are a wild filly:
too much tongue,
or just enough?

Torture

Last night,
it was like one
in the morning,
and I was walking
from work to the subway.

I saw a group
of fat brooding youth,
dressed all in black,
smoking cigarettes,
and dancing outside
of an inflated rock club.

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”
was playing as loud
as most subwoofers
liked to scream
at Guantanamo Bay,
and the kids were screaming
like generic Generals.

My first thought was
there are worse
forms of torture—
for example,
fat brooding youth,
slow dancing
to Morrissey
(in the nude).

Touch and Go

Stop talking about the eighties;
I was just a Reagan stand-up baby.

We’re counting our quarters now,
staring at what has stuck to ceilings,
and what will belly flop on our heads.

We all know God has a temper;
ask any Jew for paper or proof.

But lately, I can’t tell if God is pissed,
or if He just no longer gives a shit—
is the weather prize or punishment?

Tornados can make mortals
make believe reality is unreal.

Storms are the bank statements
we pretend are grim or Grimm tales,
because we are so sad and so weak.

Any individual can saunter
like the ashes of recent past.

But I sweep everything beneath
the welcoming welcome mats
and remember I can always leave.

Transformation

You in your
Silk camisoles
Transforms
Each of my
Senses!

They become seasons:

I see fall
I smell spring
I taste summer
I hear winter
I feel it all!

Trekking

I’ve got a bike, but I don’t want to ride it anymore. Not right now. It’s kind of cold today and I’ve got two flat tires and I’m kind of scared of bridges. I’m super scared of ladders. Bridges, in a way, are like raised and stretched ladders. Fuck. Now I’m super scared of bridges, too. Did you know that Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city? I’ve probably told you this once, or maybe twice, or maybe four hundred and forty-six times. I don’t know. I want to go back to Pittsburgh soon. I want to take you with me. I want to walk on turf and collect wood panels. Ah, that’s a nice thought. Or is that a dream? I really want to go back to Pittsburgh soon. I want to take you with me. I want to drink beer in a church, instead of wine. Ah, that’s a nice dream. No, that’s a reality. It’s times like these I wish I had a car. But I don’t have a car. And I usually don’t want a car. Cars are expensive. Car insurance is expensive. Gas is expensive. Should we take Amtrak? I’m not scared of Amtrak, but maybe I should be. Trains go on bridges too. But you can sleep on a train. You can’t sleep on a bike or a car. The problem is anybody can sleep on a train, including the conductor. Fuck. Now I’m super scared of trains, too.

Tripping

I sold my map
for an atlas—
I was looking
to get lost.

I drank coffee
from Sunoco—
I was trying
to get sick.

I squeezed mesh
all over my body—
I was discovering
how far I could go.

Trout, Man

Don’t get trapped
in the hood when
you’re sweating
with expenses in
hand. Who’s that
over there in that
alley? It looks like
Troutman. I hear
he used to be bad
back in the day(s).
Now he just hangs
out in coffee shops
for the free Wi-Fi.

Trucker Fraud

For a good time,
avoid gas stations.
Nothing good comes
from diesel weasels.

But seriously, I have
found I am fond of
walking away from
high-speed troubles.

Twelve Steps

1.

When you read something
aloud,
you need not feel
allowed.

I put together the puzzle
last night—
how text differs from
image.

2.

I shattered the glass vitrine—
the one that holds tight
the mutual constitution
of inconsequential intellect.

It was a blueprint once;
now it is a paperweight,
a fossil to shot put,
a tissue to burn.

3.

A domestic drink
should never cost
more than three bucks,
or else you’re fucked.

A foreign art form
should never cost
your diligent dignity,
or else you’re needy.

4.

A priest,
a rabbi,
and your best friend
walk into a bar.

Their tab tallies up
to a hellish total;
the rabbi says,
“I don’t believe in Hell.”

5.

If you begin investing now,
you can be a homeowner
by the end of the year—
say, maybe in Detroit?

I hear you can get a job
in a hospital out there,
but everybody is begging
for health insurance.

6.

“How’s your health?”
is the first question
from any family member
when you live far away.

You can say anything you want,
as long as you say something,
because you’re on the phone
and the price of gas is deadly.

7.

Thanks for every single time
you have driven me somewhere;
I wish I could drive you somewhere,
but I’ll probably never own a car.

I will invent a time machine though,
when my laboratory is much larger,
and you and I can travel far, far away
to some distant place on the astral plane.

8.

I feel like a child
most of the day,
except morning
and before bed.

I can’t sing early
or late in the day—
my voice is cracked
or has abandoned me.

9.

Speaking of abandonment—
how could she do that to you?
How could she throw a nickel
down that Southern sewer?

How could she roast you
like you’re Charlie Sheen
on an archaic farm skewer
and ask for a hood pass?

10.

I’m putting up my hood
and leaving my hood—
maybe I’ll take Amtrak
and go track America.

But maybe as I hug borders,
I’ll walk north or southbound
up to Canada or down to Mexico,
yet my problems will still remain.

11.

I always make
travel arrangements
that fall through;
sorry neighbors!

Travel agencies
are obsolete;
so are fences—
there is no privacy.

12.

Each of us needs
our Network moment;
each of us needs
to foam at the mouth.

We must let wild wolves
bite us on our ankles
and pass the favor on,
like a meme or a mule.

Twenty-Seven

That girl,
that blasé babe
I have met
like once or twice
every other year
for a few years now
through old friends
and now new friends...

(…echo…
…cooler…)

she offered me chocolate cake
and a back garden weed party—
but there was no back garden,
at least for that one moment.

It was the day after her birthday;
she’s a little less than a year older
than me, and I think I have to think:

“What will I do the day after
my most dangerous birthday?”

Unicorns

Unicorns exist in the East Village;
just ask the late night dog-walkers
down in Tompkins Square Park—
they prance in caffeinated two-steps.

United Saints

We are
sloppy,
but glued
and there’s
nothing
anyone
can do
to tear
us apart;
come on.

Up The Punx

“UP THE PUNX!”
was tagged on the brick wall
where we smoked cigarettes
behind the chaperoned bar,
while you were supposed to
be on your first date with her,
instead. But instead, you were
with me, again. I convinced you
not to go back to your old ways
of mixing whiskey with wine and
whiskey with women who want
to whine. Well, I tried. But you
cannot stay away from the nude
models. Stray away? And you
could never be a role model. Nope.
Big brother. A big brother? Please
toss your boxing gloves in the river
and let them dance with the dead
debris and seaweed. Smoke weed.
Drift, wood. Stiff wood. Stay sturdy.
Stay dirty. You are like a politician.
I am like your bartender. Stick with
water. Stick with me. Let’s become
activists and hope for change and
expect nothing in return; just some-
thing to believe in. What does it even
mean to up the punks? It’s like end-
less raw stench and stitched studs.
It’s like a gold medal rusted from
the drizzling piss of a power bottom
prostitute. It’s like Baked Lays on a
stick and a sliver of stringy, stingy
meat. It’s like a one-man team in heat.

Urban Engineering

This city makes good people
burn bridges they have built,

or at least question the materials
that they used in the first place.

And when these people stand,
together, grazing frozen hands,

on the Brooklyn, Manhattan,
Williamsburg, or whatever,

and stare at this Turner syndrome
off in the semi-near distance,

cabbies start to plow bodies
as if Schwarzkopf told them to.

Urbane Games

On Hope Street,
I feel full of it;
then I walk out on
to bigger, longer streets
and the big, long dreams
I cook up for hours
start smelling
like trash and sewage,
and Chinese felines.

I feel aerodynamic
underground
and the underground
makes me feel stealthy,
like a sharp blade,
ready to shank
an oily flank
of gummy insides
out and back in.

Urethra

What’s a urethra?
A urethra is a man
who points out
the obvious
and makes others
feel premature
for not being
on time with him.

Us

Are we all children of God,
weeping like a painted Jesus,
worrying about our own sins
and the sorry sins of others?

Or are we farm mice
rummaging through
crummy crumbs and
haystacks, searching
for some semblance
of feelings we thought
we lost, maybe forever?

Vailed Capitalist Rudiments

VCRs
have become
the new way
we see art.

We inject
old images
into old systems
and press buttons.

Sometimes,
we press pause;
but usually,
we fear time.

So we butter up
our laps and lap
up our thirst
for unreeled relief.

Varicose Veins

You are like pink slips
to each hopeful human.

Please do us all a favor
and commit mass suicide.

Vatican Too

I have given up
so many years
of my life just
to make you
happier than I
could ever be,
myself. But all
I’ve gotten from
my efforts was
a lost friend. I
hope that in the
next twelve years
or so, you’ll come
back. And maybe
you’ll realize that
I’m Vatican Too.

Venn Diagram Women

Every woman
I’ve ever loved
has taught me
how much time
really matters
in relation to
the rotation of
the infinitely
idealized
everyday:

My mother
is always late.

My grandmothers
were stationary.

My first sister
is always early.

My second sister
is always relative.

My first love
is now cemented.

Victory

I was going to do laundry today.
It was going to be an early one,
of sorts. I can be compromised
though (if you didn’t already
know). And so I decided to have
sex twice, instead. Makes sense.
And then I made me and her
breakfast. I don’t usually cook,
so I didn’t this time either. We
just ate some fresh fruit, which
tasted even fresher in our dry
mouths. And even after she left,
I decided just to stay in bed and
read the New York Times and
listen to hip-hop mix tapes and
write poetry. And after I got my
fix, I watched real-life cartoons
(otherwise known as soap operas),
both on a fake screen and in real-
life (otherwise known as reality).
But what does that even mean,
really? Oh boy. By the time it was
9 P.M., I hadn’t eaten anything other
than the fresh fruit and I still had
some more sweating to do. I was
asked to lift, chop, and screw with
some of my manliest dudes and of
course, I gave the thumbs up. So five
hours later, still running on empty, I
broke the pact with poultry and pale
ales. Sorry, y’all. Now that I’m back in
bed, I just want to pass out, but I can’t
until I figure out when I’m coming to
drink unlimited Kenzingers with you.
You want an early one, of sorts, man?
I have to be honest: I cannot promise
anything. Sex always wins. You feel me?

Vintage Rebellion

I know you have a smart phone—
everyone seems to have one,
these days.

I know you could just add me
to your cellular contact book,
pain free.

But what if you take this napkin
and write my name with a pen
and take my number with pride,
on the clean side, the dry side,
the one without a ring stain,
and call me in a few days?

Then we could make believe
that we’re in an old time movie,
like the ones people used to go
see at the drive-in and make out
or make backseat babies to,
like fifty years ago or whatever.

Vitality

I woke up early this morning, close to four
in the morning. I was sweaty, confused,
and ready to die. I knew something awful
was going to happen. So I called Alex. She
was knocked out on Nyquil. So I texted Reid.
Not surprisingly, he responded with comfort.
It was $2 draught night though. What could
he really have done for me at 4 A.M.? I don’t
know what I could have expected from any-
one. I really felt like it was only a matter of
time until I read a greasy fortune cookie,
confirming my weird-ass, suspiciously acid-
dripping REM activity. Fuck drugs. Fuck
Reagan. Fuck the feelings floating in the air.
Hospitals and casinos aren’t all that different.

Hours later, I woke up sweaty, confused,
and ready to go to work. I felt the weight
of a cartoon anvil attached to my entire
body. I dragged my green elephant legs,
one by one, past all the lame, out-of-place
imposter brownstones, corporate corner
stores, and mediocre coffee shops. I hated
everyone I saw. I noticed them noticing me.
They mistook my demeanor. I am not a
menace. I am not a crook. I am merely a
skinny, sulking sick youth fed up with
mirages. Will somebody please take care
of me? I don’t want any more medication. I
want a nurse, a masseuse, and all the details.
I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Void

Even after all the poems I’ve written
and after all the paintings I’ve made,
I wish I could have just one moment
where the surface is empty forever.

Voodoo

The black cat
that roams
from wall to wall
in this scattershot
scatter-brained
homestead
has a witch within
and her "Eeks!"
make me second
guess my sleep.

Vouchers

Reid and I were watching
videos of phony reggae
bands just yesterday after-
noon. Some real horseshit.

Isn’t it funny then, that I
woke up from a night-
mare at 3:11 last night,
I mean, this morning?

Shortly before my
alarming dream began,
I was asked by a lost
acquaintance if I could
be a personal reference
for him. Me? Okay. Well,
sure. What do I need to do?

I was confused and honored;
mainly confused, no maybe
it was more of an honor. I
just could not figure out why
this young man I had barely
spoken with in three years,
would ask me to vouch for him.

I can’t believe how much you
have to prepare to be let down
and sucked dry when you’re
all ready to grow up again.

I had empathy for this, kid. No,
I had sympathy for this kid. I
have felt what he’s feeling. Now
who is going to vouch for me?

Vulnerability

So I was on the subway yesterday, drinking my coffee and reading my Bible. I looked up from the book and nobody was on the train, other than me. Nobody was in either of the cars in front of my car or behind it. But there were dozens of people at my stop when I boarded. And I swear they all got on with me. I couldn’t focus on my book anymore—how could I? I just kicked my book across the car to the nearest entrance. At the next stop, a man dressed in “business casual” boarded my car. Nobody else got on with him. I couldn’t tell if anybody else was even at the stop—the lights were dimmer than usual. The man had entered on the opposite side of the car—he could have had a free Bible. Aren’t all Bibles free? We immediately exchanged glances. A few moments passed. Then he began walking towards me. He stopped once he was only a few inches away from me. He un-tucked his shirt and began unbuttoning it, then tossed it to the side. Next, he unlaced his shoes and slid them off. Finally, he unbuttoned, unzipped, and dropped his pants. Now that he was half-clothed, or half-naked, he closed the gap between us and embraced me. As I was in the arms of this stranger, he gently spoke into my ear, “Even if there were other people around, it wouldn’t change what we have between us right now. How does it feel to finally be vulnerable?”

Walt Whitman

I
was told
the other day

that all my poems
are about me
and
at the same time
they're about nothing
directly.

What were Walt Whitman's poems about?

Washing Dishes

Pickled sink farts,
raisined fingers,
and Pissed Jeans.

Drunk on fatigue,
despite the beer;
get me outta here.

Water Snake Blues

I’m gonna find me a nook today;
I’m gonna hide where my past
Cannot find me, buried in nature.

I’m gonna snake through paths;
I’m gonna slither to Muddy Waters.
I’m a water snake with the blues.

I have no interest in predators.
I do not wish to swallow infested
Rodents or poison clueless humans.

Cobras and rattlers are like Greasers.
I’m no Social, but I’m not Anti-Social.
I just wanna find my nook and hide.

Weed Magic

Weeds can be tricky—
they help hide truths,
which depending on you
and your perspective,
can be a necessity
or a hindrance.

I am no magician—
I just try to hold
my breath as long
as I possibly can
until somebody tries
to shake me out of it.

Wet Smoke Signals

Dreaming about wet smoke, I saw a swollen man puffing away with his daft dachshund outside of the New York Sports Club in Chelsea. I told him they made a cute couple. Dufus # 1 smiled, in agreement, I suppose. Dufus #2 just stuck his tongue out. Why do so people consider pets sufficient surrogates? Dogs can substitute for certain things, but they certainly can't give you what you really need. Hey, imagine if you had to go on walks every few hours with your wife. Or what if you had to clean up your husband's shit? Now I'm reminded of how much I hate the way people talk to their dogs, which reminds me of how much I hate how people talk to their children, which reminds me of how much people talk to other people. Period.

What It Is

What it is
when you are some one
you aired you aren’t
and
what it is
when you say some words
you canned you can’t
or
what it is
when you do some thing
you willed you won’t
but
what it is
when you save every thing
you owned or broke.

What is it
then, when
it is…it is
what it is?

White Plight

White boy rap
and hardcore dudes
make me want
to get a degree
from some random
Ivy League school
and stand in front
of a full-length mirror.

I could like, you know
stare at my suit
in proud, practical
vanity, fairing well
amidst the odd struggle
and struggling odds
of all those like myself
from my previous life.

Whoopi Goldberg

Her name is the funniest joke she ever told.

Wild Life

I don’t remember lying
like a lion. Please remind
me about all the lye I poured
on your soul time and time
again. I threw that Moleskine
notebook you gave me into
the river—the one filled with
each notated digression you
never could omit from your
Crispin Glover tinged memory;
aw, are these public displays of
infractions upsetting to you?
Maybe you should have thought
of that when you were keeping
track of all my lazy horses and
losing sight of the ones racing
like Bobby Fischer on empty
stomachs, as carrots dangled.

Wilmington, DE

This place is full of junkies
and prostitutes and bankers
and condos and chain eateries.
I think I think I’d like to spend
a few months here to write
my first novel or play, or maybe
the next great American rock
record and dedicate it to the
big man, Clarence Clemons.

Winning

There was a root.
There was a route.
The root was rotten.
The route begotten.

I got it.
Let’s get it.
Let’s get it together.
Let’s get it, together.

You and me,
me and her,
her and him—
we all can win.

But I have to win the most,
because I am honest and pure;
my God and my parents told me so,
and you’re a liar if you’re calling them liars.

Wino

Isn’t it strange
how
as you get
older,
you acquire
a taste
for wine?

I drank
a bottle
tonight.

Is this
why
people
become
born (again)?

I never
died.

I never
stopped
loving
Jesus.

Wonder (Bread)

People say things
all the time.

People say things
like, maybe:

“Suck it up!”

or

“Be humble!”

You know what
I say to that?

“Go feed the birds
with your stale bread!”

Wonder Holes

Today, I saw a dude who looked exactly like Yoko Ono and he looked at me like Who are you looking at, man? Yoko Ono? Yeah. Well, Yoko was always pretty cool as long as she wasn’t singing over John, and John was pretty cool as long as he wasn’t singing with Paul, and Paul was pretty cool when he was singing with Linda. Maybe Linda wasn’t vegetarian, after all. It’s all relative. It’s all relational. What’s relational? Oh, fuck. Every time I hear the phrase “socially engaged art,” I am confused. Was Yoko Ono socially engaged? Probably. What about Andy Warhol? Was he socially disengaged? Probably. What about Van Gogh? I think he was socially dismembered. Do you remember 1993? I was playing basketball and dreaming. You were boxing shadows and preparing speeches for absolution. People were losing penises on the news. And I remember I learned what a blow job was like a year later, when I watched Disclosure at my gangly friend’s house. He had HBO. I think I did too. He grew up to be a racist mixed martial artist. I’m glad we parted ways before that phase. I wonder if he’s still an asshole. Do you wonder how many of your friends became assholes? Do you wonder how many of your friends were always assholes? These thoughts can be called wonder holes. These thoughts can be wonderful.

Words

I have no more
words for you
at this moment.

Why don’t you
write me some-
thing, anything?

For once, I’m tired
of penning or typ-
ing away (or a way).

You can mail it or e-
mail it. Either way,
I expect it Monday.

Work and Play (Girl Power)

I had a day off that turned into a day on. I was sitting on an afternoon L train that was emptier than usual. An elderly polish couple entered my car at the Union Square stop. There were plenty of open seats, yet the husband chose to sit next to me and the wife chose to sit across from us, next to a pretty young man. He was like a cross between Clark Kent and Harvey Dent. But his skin was too smooth and his frame was too small. I guess I'm just talking about his face. He was dressed like a Marc Jacobs soldier. The old polish man was wearing a camouflage baseball cap with a bald eagle stamped on an American flag. U-S-A! U-S-A! He pulled out some foreign Sudoku book and fiercely penciled the pad. His wife smiled in admiration. Where's her Sudoku book? Where's her crossword puzzle? What are her hobbies? Does she have any? Why doesn't she assist her man? Are they old school independent? Oh, right...his hat! As I continued to play Q & A with myself, she pulled out beer from her backpack. She was using a gym sock for a koozie! The supermodel superhero and I locked eyes. I think we were both in shock and awe. What audacity! What ingenuity! Maybe this is what she does while her husband has fun and plays games. She's work. He's play. Girl power.

Yo! MTV Raps

I was a mini-
gangster
when I was
like nine
or so,
then
I grew up
a few years,
a few inches,
and became
a total pussy.

Yoga Burn

You stretch yourself
so thin,
so rubbery,
so strung out,
and that’s cool;
no, that’s hot.

But don’t tell me
how to eat,
how to sleep,
how to suck,
how to fuck,
cause I know I know.

Your Hands

Your hands
are like
the ones
Jerry Rice
used
to change
history!

It feels
blasphemous
to read
myself
write
these words,
but even
Christ
knows
it’s true!

And
the Hellish part
is
you don’t even
practice,
or
know who
Jerry Rice is!

Zippo

Why is it
that every
time I piss,
I have to have
my lady re-zip
my pants for me?

I always pass it off
as if on purpose,
but I know that
she knows
I am full
of shit.