the bar guys

some days
i’ll pass one of them on the street
and they’ll look as bad
and used up by the world
as they did
when i left them sitting on their stools
years ago

sometimes i’ll wonder where they’re drinking now
but often i just pass one without a thought

the bar guys
the old bar days

sometimes i can’t believe how much time
i wasted sitting there with them
talking drunken nonsense
about baseball or prog rock

i suppose it was a life lesson in some way

fodder for poems
that this world has already forgotten

hours that i desperately needed to kill
to simply end another day

now when i pass bars
i can’t stomach the sight of them
almost never go in
hear snippets of conversation
and wonder what’s the point?

it’s like tommy wolfe said
you can’t go home again

but i do wonder
what happened to that one bartender

she had sharp teeth
and wore coal black eyeliner

one night she and her boyfriend
fucked so hard
they broke the men’s room sink

you couldn’t wash your hands
in that joint for a month

so we all sat there nursing our beers
with piss-covered hands
and shit-smelling fingers

as that bartender wrote cute texts to her boyfriend
flashing her dagger teeth when she smiled

as some drunk bitched
about the yankees or the mets

and another goddamned rush song
played loudly
on the brand-new
digital jukebox.

i wonder where she’s
slinging suds tonight.

cold pizza

cold pizza
in my belly
before the sun is up
the smell of sex
on my fingers
the smell of booze
on my breath
i close the window
to the winter wind
as a lone jogger runs up the street
battling their sick demons
and online
the facebook poets wax hard
beg for love
update me on their chapbook status
and where they’ve been published lately
the newspapers offer
nothing but doom
and rotten lettuce
the dogs on the block bark
as they expel freedom
from their asses
picked up by morons
shouting fuck words
and other hate
into their phones
this country is obscene
at any hour
just ask the president
and all his men
cold pizza
in my belly
as i murder another cockroach
in the kitchen
in this battle
for the soul
and the sun struggles in the sky
to rise
and find
any purpose

drunk and in a blind rage
i lean against a pole and watch the neighbor
use his car speakers as his cell phone

and for a moment
it is better than being in the apartment
arguing with my wife

although i’ll admit
it was a smart move
not bringing the unscrewed broom handle
out here with me

and do what with it?
beat on his car windows?

vigorously shake the broom handle at him
while disparaging the fallacy of the technological age?

or just beat him senseless
should he step outside of his vehicle?

i don’t know what assault gets you in the state of new york
but any time is bad time

so i lean against a pole and watch him talk
watch him suck slowly on a cigarette
shuffle papers as the other voice echoes ungodly down the street

but at least the air is crisp
cooler than it should be

a last gift before spring and summer overtake us all

it does not bespeak the violence
the frustration that i have welled up inside of me

i’m not that drunk to tell the truth
just the usual two double vodkas

but my immune system has been wreaking havoc on me all week
so that may explain my cloudy head and loose mouth

and what of that argument with my wife
i left behind in the apartment?

it has been the same thing from me lately

the redundancy of work and growing old
staring down the irrelevance of the lived life

until death

wondering where the years stormed off to?
wondering how other people have the guts to do this
day-in and day-out without killing themselves

or is it just cowardice that keeps us this way?

i am so tired of the sound of my own voice
i am so tired of my reflection in the mirror

it is good to be silent and outside
even if it means suffering some asshole
shouting his inanities into the evening

even if it means i told my wife
i’d rather be out here than in there with her

i wait for him to notice me, this menace
to make eye contact
so that i can show him that i am the great i am

but nothing registers his way
and his ignorance is a metaphor for my existence

eventually he turns down his speakers of his own volition
tosses the smoke and pulls away

leaving me no choice
but to retreat back into to the apartment
like a defeated warrior

and pour myself a glass of wine
in the dark kitchen, whose light needs to be changed

as my wife shouts to me from the living room
oh, just in case you care,

i went and put away your goddamned broom.

after the ritual moaning and bitching
that i drink too much concludes

& the morning begins in earnest
& the birds sing
& the dogs bark
& the coffee pot purrs
& the poems come or they don’t
& the d.j. gives me the weather
& delivery trucks pour down the avenue
& the neighborhood madmen
stumble home from the cover
of the shroud of night

i get up and check the fridge
just to make sure there’s enough vodka
for me to do it all again
that evening.

drinking alone under the cracked ceiling

as the crazy old irish bat in 6R
marches up and down the block
singing danny boy and stomping on concrete
holding her yellow umbrella like a riffle
i drink the dregs of cheap chillean red wine
and watch this season’s first millipede
walk the length of a bowed crack
that separates the living room ceiling
as if it were two distinct hemispheres
in another failed and miserable world.