Saturday, February 28, 2009


it had frosted in the desert overnight
and when I left in the morning
to go to work
ten thousand sugar ants
snuck in through an old water pipe
and marched in a solid line
as thick as a quarter
across the entire house
to where the cats ate their tuna.
I came back at noon and screamed,
“what the shit is that?”
and I spent my lunch hour
making a trip to the hardware store for munitions
to commit a grand scale genocide
of senseless beasts
and then cleaned up the whole mess
with a mop and bucket.
when I returned from work in the evening
everything was ship shape
and I had a hard time believing
if the whole thing had actually happened.
I asked my friend
(who was renting the house)
if she’d ever had ants
and she said,
“no, I’ve never seen a single one in here.”
I went to the fridge
and grabbed a beer
and sat down and said,
“hmm. Just how weird will things get?”

Friday, February 27, 2009


the Pilot came storming into the bar and
roared, “all right! Who’s ready
for some lip splitting fun?”
none of us answered him
and the few that had
acknowledged him
quickly turned away
hunched back over their drinks.
“come on,” he shouted,
walking down the long line of barstools,
slapping people on their backs.
“who’s down for some lip splitting fun?
Some real lip splitting fun?”
the thing was
that nobody was interested
in any lip splitting fun
and although we could presume he meant,
“who wants to fight?”
we really had no idea
what the Pilot was talking about.
After making a few rounds
up and down the bar
and getting no takers
the bartender finally said to him,
“Bill, just sit down and have a beer.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


he was often late because
he road the public bus system
and we all know how those are.
It took him three hours round trip
to come to that job
which was paying us
seven and a quarter an hour
before taxes.
All day long we sat there
kicking at the asphalt
and all day long
he’d talk about quitting that job
because it wasn’t worth the commute.
We’d grunt and snort
and finally one of us would say,
“well, it is a mind numbing
and low paying job, but it is a job,
and there aren’t many of those
around here right now.”
But every Thursday when he arrived
he’d have snapped from the commute
too much time on the public bus system
somebody on the bus
would have smelled too bad
or some baby would have been crying
the entire time.
He’d storm over from the bus stop
and slam his fist down
on the valet stand and say, “that’s it!
I’m tendering my resignation.
I’m done with this fucking job.”
He’d spend the rest of the day
writing and rewriting
a page long resignation letter
(they were required there in Nevada)
and fax it over to the head office
before we closed up shop.
Then on the following day
he’d come jogging over from the bus stop
and pull out another sheet of paper .
He’d spend the day writing and rewriting
a letter that stated
how he had made a mistake
and didn’t want the company
to accept his previous resignation letter.
He did this for eight weeks straight
and then nobody ever heard from him again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


every time he came up to see me
his car broke down
ran him about three hundred bucks per trip
he’d drive two hours up from the Cape
on some weekend
to escape the boredom of living with his mother
we’d go out drinking in the nights
and raise terrible hell.
he’d usually go home with a girl
and call me to brag about it
on Sunday afternoon
and then tell me he was headed home.
a few minutes later he’d call back and ask
for a ride from the auto repair shop
I’d pick him up and bring him to my place
to wait it out over a few beers
we’d sit around and laugh about
how much those bastards at the auto repair shop
would take him for this time.
he took it to the same shop
and each visit they found something new
to fix that they’d missed before
but he had a good sense of humor though
and he’d grin through it all and say,
“well, at least I got to hookup with a girl.”


they say this is the worst
economic period
since the great depression
maybe so, but when I drive around
and look outside
I don’t see dozens of men
standing around on street corners
I don’t hear about
twenty five percent unemployment
or that nine out of ten school children
in rural areas are malnourished
not that nearly half the banks have failed
or that the stock market
has lost ninety percent of its value
I do hear about people losing their jobs
people going on unemployment
a few people even losing their homes
but I also see people driving around
in late model European cars
talking on the most modern cell phones
living in expensive houses
with big mortgages
and then when I hear
about the way things looked
in the time leading up
to the great depression
I think, “shit, we’ve seen nothing yet.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I’ve moved to this new place now
it’s in a nice downtown location
I have two small, awkward rooms
(I’ve always fit well into awkward places)
they have low ceilings
on which I sometimes hit my head
one I use for the writing and the drinking
and one for the reading and the sleeping
my two housemates are great company
there is a washer and dryer
and a fine kitchen
two bathrooms
a couple comfortable couches
and parking in the rear
there is nothing wrong with this apartment
and every morning when I walk outside
I look around and think, “yes. Here I am.”
but then I get into my car to leave
I head right out of the driveway
down the one way street
then left at the stop sign.
I drive two blocks
before I brake and wait at a stoplight
that has been built to bring men to madness
this fucking light simply will not change
from red to green
no matter when you hit it
you can be the first one on the line
or backed up a whole block
it does not matter
this stoplight changes for nobody but itself
after a few minutes
you begin to look around
and everybody else is also looking around
all with the same expression that says,
“this can’t be happening, right?”
drivers begin to tap on their steering wheels
and then comes the banging
the manic impatience
the fury and wrath of a mankind
that needs to move as fast as it can
has places to go and people to see
or in my case, dogs to walk
then finally, after minutes and minutes
the thing changes and I rush to make it through
thinking every time, “that’s it! I’ll never drive
through that fucking light again!”

Monday, February 9, 2009


it was another day in Las Vegas
I had this job that paid a quarter more
than minimum wage
every day I hated that job more and more
after work I’d rush over to the grocery store
buy a liter and half of wine
every time the woman would ask for my ID
and then she’d say, “I know you’re over 21,
but my manager is watching,
and we’re supposed to ID everybody.”
“it’s all right,” I’d say,
just to move along the process
then I’d drive back to my friend’s place
where I’d been staying in her guest bedroom
I’d open my wine and she’d open up a bottle
of her wine
and we’d both drink and sigh and think,
“christ, we’ve survived another day.”
then we’d drink more
and talk
deep into the night
about life and god
luck and loneliness
and now and then
we’d go outside for a cigarette
and blow smoke into the desert
that didn’t give a damn
whether we were there or not.
and now
looking back
I think that those were some of the kindest nights
I’ve seen in many, many years

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


none of us could figure it out
we’d all known each other
for over two decades
been friends
(at least on and off)
our whole lives
all neighborhood boys
who used to throw rocks at the UPS truck
together and run across frozen streams
until we broke through the ice.
but none of us could understand
why our friend Ray
was dating his girlfriend
“you know she’s a lesbo,”
one of us would say.
“yeah, I know it,” he’d reply
“you know that she’s a real bitch, right?”
“yeah, I know that, too.”
“you know she’s just using you, don’t you?”
“yep, I’m aware of that.”
the months passed
we heard of their engagement
“what the hell are you thinking?”
I asked him. “it doesn’t make sense.
you can’t possibly want to marry
a lesbian who treats you like shit,
can you? What if you want kids? Or a wife
who won’t have girlfriends on the side?”
he looked at me with vacant eyes
and then I knew.
his brain was poisoned
this girl had somehow ruined his mind
I left him there in the driveway
shaking my head
for a long time I heard nothing about him
I winced at the idea of their marriage
his eternal doom
then one day I ran into another old friend
we got to talking
“did he actually end up marrying her?” I asked.
“no, no! He brought her home to meet his family
and it all went to hell. But get this,
even in the midst of the shit storm,
he still figured he’d marry her.
He thought it would all be okay, in the end.”
I looked at him, wondering what the hell
“what happened was this: his mom
sat down with him and told him,
‘listen, Ray. You may not marry that girl, got it?
Repeat after me, ‘I am not going to marry that girl.’
And so he repeated after her.”
“that’s it? That was it? That worked?”
“sure did. You know why?”
“why?” I asked.
“you know what it is about Ray?”
“it’s that the crazy bastard actually listens to women.
He listens to ‘em and actually does what they say.
His mother was the first woman
he’d spoken with since dating that bitch,
because she wouldn’t let him even speak to anyone else.”
we both had a good laugh and then I left town
I later learned our friend Ray
was in some other relationship
with another girl, and that he’d married her,
but only after getting his mother’s blessing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


what a feeling this is.
like caring nothing
about being flayed in hell
or soaring through heaven
unable to register
what the emotion is
no anger or hope
no smile or frown
no thoughts of impending doom
or reckless salvation
I sit in this attic room
I stare out the window
the snow falls down on
the houses next door
the old factory buildings
the sand piles and the cargo ship
fog on the water
a mean wind
pushes around an American flag
bridges and cranes
poke above it all
right now
I don’t love
nor do I hate
and I don’t even care about
drinking a beer
this must be contentment
this must be heaven
and after finishing this poem
I know it will be gone