God doesn't read poetry on the shitter.

You'd think I would've learned not
to try to play God by now.
This last time I gave a Hundred up
to prove my drunken point and prevent
someone from making a bad
decision, travelwise.
I bought the ticket, but I don't think
she bought the speech that went along with it.
And who was I really trying to help, anyway?
Her? My friend? Or some latent inner child of my own
that wishes it could've had someone
to try to talk some sense into him
when it still would've counted?
Please, who'm I kidding?
I don't remember the last time I did something
purely philanthropic
other than make a cocktail for a friend.

Besides, they say that a truly noble act
is one that goes unclaimed.
I guess that answers our question.

Currently reading:
"How To Make Yourself Miserable" by Dan Greenburg.



Act II, Scene 3:

"I realized yesterday what you smell like most times I see you."
"Polo Sport?"
(Defendant hides face in covers, Guilt enters stage left.
Awkward silence broken moments later:)
"How are you?"
"I am."
"You are? That's good..."
"I guess. Sometimes I don't want to be."
(Curtains close, Narrator returns to comfortable format.)


He started calling me the Spider, and
this tangled web looks like LSD was involved.

The goodbye hug would've been fitting, but that
wasn't her first or worst mistake;
I'm no poet, Phoebe, just a man
a hack
with a lot of pretty
who only wins on paper, if then.

My father's God gave me two gifts:
the charm of a teddy bear
to draw them in
and a tongue like a whip
in the hands of a sadist
to take care of what tends to come
next, unfortunate as it is.
(Take them all, die trying.
Take no prisoners, least of all yourself.
Take whatever they're foolish enough to give
and act surprised when the void only grows.)

Some of them have it coming, at least I
admit that I am one of them.
When you boil all the bullshit down
it all makes sense:
I trust two people in this world, and one
of them's my mother.


What if my favorite poets were bad kissers?

Q: How do you make that moment last forever?

Staring at the ceiling after
"goodbye" I blind myself
and only realize it when I look at the clock
to see how tired I'll be tomorrow morning.
Fixing my eyes back on the ceiling
I watch the fan blades spin
and grow disgusted at how the light bulbs
somehow manage to stay still
during the dance.

It seems an unholy act of some sort
that the two components of the fixture
don't move in unison

as they should

and I
am definitely not the lion

this time.

A: You don't. You just keep kissing until she pulls away.


Any way to justify it.

I'm not sure who was the circus lion
jaws gaping in center ring
and who was the man with his head in its mouth
foolishly trusting in fate
but suddenly I remembered
what it was to lose so sweetly.

Currently reading: "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and Other Stories" by William Saroyan.


stop trying to play this game. (you suck at it.)

my rabbit chewed through the wire of my phone charger while i

was in the shower.

i was supposed to be recording with my band, but needed to be able

to be in contact

with the world the next day for recreational purposes.

i almost got clipped passing a tractor-trailer making a wide left turn

and didn't care; i

was on a mission.

when i went to the mall to replace it they didn't have any. i was


the easter bunny was there, same color as my rabbit and all.

i wanted to punch it in the face for fucking up my afternoon

but refrained since children were around.

i walked in circles for awhile and saw a few people i didn't want

to, typical mall scenario.

(it's not finding yourself in someone

else, it's finding someone else in you.)

i called my friend who worked at a cell phone kiosk on the other

side of the county

and he told me to sit tight until he can pilfer one from work

on thursday.

i was relieved. and needed one of the twelve beers sitting in my car.

recording went well: finished tracking the song we were working

on; finished most of the beers.

my mom called me telling me to come get leftovers. i did, since

i couldn't tell her i shouldn't even be driving.

when i got there she had the bag of food ready. she gave me a

hug and smelled the chain-smoking on me

and didn't bother to say anything. i loved her even more for that.

fingering my keys as i opened the front door i mentioned that

i haven't seen him for a year and a half.

"i know," she said. she's been counting, too.

i walked out to my car and she said something about me

having another

new pair of shoes. "yeah," and i walked away.

on the ride home i tried my hardest and stayed in the lines. i

saw lights flashing

in the reflection of the back of a metallic road sign, but it

was some type of mirage.

i was secretly hoping my time was up. it wasn't.

(these nights happen. take my word for it

avoid me like the plague.)

i think we should see other people...well, i think

you should, too.

double-spacing isn't just for college students

who can't fill the void anymore, folks.

(yes, this is me mocking your poor attempt

at having venom stronger than mine.)


...and after his death his works were translated into Esperanto.

I'm half-done with Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano"
and it's taking its toll on me. His bleak glimpse
into a machine-controlled future still cursed by human nature
is disheartening enough in an eerie Big Brother sort of way
but that's not even what's been making it so hard to read.
The copy itself is over thirty years old and is falling apart.
An entire section thirty-pages long fell out after one session
and the pages are loosening themselves from the binding
more and more the further I go on. It's like in the Roadrunner
cartoons when the Coyote went out on the ledge and it collapsed
behind his every step. I'm being as gentle as I can with it, not taking
it to work to read on lunch break in my car or anything like that, but
it's really no use; this will be the last time anyone reads this
particular copy of the book. I won't be able to thumb through it again
like an old friend, a conquered love, finding highlighted passages
and trying to remember what the hell I was going through in my life
at the time to make me identify with those words. I will never be
the confused Paul Proteus again. It'll just sit on the shelf
like an empty shell of a person staring blankly back at me, mocking
me with its uselessness.

And then there's the third dilemma bringing me down: which book
to read next? I have twelve new ones piled up on top of my bookshelf
waiting their turns to be introduced to the crowd of familiar titles
below, but I'm not sure which venture to pursue first.
There are some shiny new ones that seem like promising chances
at redemption for this latest failure.
And there are some more old ones that I fear may fall apart as well.
I don't know if I can handle that scenario again, but they're mine
for at least this last time
and then they'll be shelved forever, a hazy memory from a too-good
party where you passed out next to a stranger and woke more alone
than Vonnegut in his grave.

It's all on account that I need to own my books, never borrow them.
What if I want them around sometime to keep me company
but can't have them? How very unfortunate
that would be, friend.

And that's just what you are, though I don't deserve it.
It seems I couldn't handle
finally being


rice and beans and guilt.

at weekly family dinner tonight
i felt an arm pull up the sleeve of my t-shirt slightly
as my mother, stepfather and i
carried on our shallow conversation. my grandmother
speculated silently on the tattoos she always forgets.
i've gotten them over the last six years, but
they're new to her every week, alzheimer's and all.
maybe it was wrong of me to keep my head turned
and ignore her, but i'm tired of trying to explain.
she raked her fork across her plate violently
and muttered something spanish and incoherent
under her breath as the meal and the banter went on.

after my stepfather's cocktails, the barely pink
vodkas and cranberry he calls cape codders
and glass of red with dinner
kicked in, my mom roped me into the kitchen
for our brief weekly talk.
at one point during our stereotypically ethnic
animated discussion i was waving my arms
in typical fashion and she noticed
my latest addition. grabbing my arm
and tightening her lips she asked
if i'd gotten another one, like she didn't know already.
i shrugged it off. she protested my hobby yet again
claiming she missed the bare arms i was born with.
this one meant something, but i wasn't ready to elaborate.

i countered with nothing and tried my hardest
to change the subject. she turned her back
and continued doing the dishes. in a comedic attempt
i grabbed a plastic shopping bag and pulled it over her head.
she went along with the joke by sucking air, pulling
the thin yellow plastic into her mouth.
we both laughed and realized how
odd our relationship is at times, two old souls
who know how to laugh
at the undying futility of it all. she forgot the reason she was mad
and i was relieved not to have to stumble any further
not that she didn't know already. she birthed a malcontent
and knows it, a plumber with a hard-on
for dead guys with a few last breaths worth remembering
but she knows she raised me right, proud of this mess somehow
and knows it'll be back next thursday.
(survivors breed survivors, but that's her story to tell
she handed me a bag of leftovers and hugged me goodbye.

i'll be back, tattoos and all.
i have to;
puerto rican women pray, you know.


a fellow stray

There was a dog roaming the neighborhood--
some mutt, mostly yellow lab--
who ravaged garbage cans left and right.
I'd cleaned up the aftermath of its wrath
in my yard on more than one occasion
swearing I'd devise a plan to end the nuisance.

One afternoon when I'd seen the bastard on the prowl
I opened the garage door and put some enticing food
towards the back. When the pooch wandered in I snuck
up and closed the garage door. That's when the brilliant
part of my scheme kicked in. Grabbing a safety pin
and the Ziploc bag with the note I'd written in it
I approached the dog slowly and fastened the bag to its collar.
The note inside would reach its owner safely, get the point across:



A shallow threat, of course, though I figured it'd get
the point across. I'd sooner slit my own wrists
again than harm some other animal
just following its gut instinct, but something
had to be done. Figured I was doing the right thing
as per usual, when it hurts them anyway.

I was riding home two weeks later
when I saw a blonde, crumpled mess
on the side of the road
not unlike the ones tangled in my sheets
only this one was on the side of the road.
As I rode by I noticed what it was, saw
the Ziploc bag still intact and pinned to its collar.

I guess it didn't belong to anyone.
It was just a stray looking for a bite to eat
just another one of us scavengers.
I felt bad for two seconds, then relief
came when a song I liked popped on the radio:

"I love another
stranger, just thought
this was the best way
to tell you."

Then I exhaled
threw the butt out the window
and rolled it up
before pulling into my driveway.

Currently reading:
"Player Piano" by Kurt Vonnegut.


Ain't no Aesop.

We'd left off without finishing the last branch
of sewer line the day before, the fittings
and cut-to-length pipe were waiting
for us in the trench the next morning.
I picked up the quarter-bend 90
to shove its corresponding pipe into
the socket of the fitting. I finished waking up
when, upon flipping it around, I doused my work
jeans in stale piss. Someone had decided to mess
with the plumbers in typical fashion the night before
by relieving himself in our trap assembly.
Not a nice way to start the day.
My partner and I were close to certain we knew
who it was, the same little weasel who constantly
gave us shit for no good reason, the pencil-pushing
toolshed mandatory to every job, the only one here
late enough to pull this stunt off.
I cursed, my foreman laughed until he realized I wasn't kidding.
The day went on.

Coffee time came and all of the tradesmen
gathered around the truck to buy their egg sandwiches.
I saw the laborer that lives near another foreman in our company
the one who tried marrying me off to his daughter, then settled
for having me as his bastard son
when he accepted my lack of desire to mix work and play.
I asked this laborer if he had any funny stories about the old man
like everyone else seems to, maybe one about him hunting
out of his truck or shooting deer through his bathroom window.
He went on to tell me a story that caused some neighborly tension.
A couple years ago my buddy was hunting in the woods adjacent
to both of their homes with his nephew. Shots rang out
through the dimming forest, but when the two men
came stomping out of the treeline they were empty-handed.
The laborer told me that my foreman said he tracked the deer
for a hundred yards, but lost the blood trail and had to give up
since he had a dinner to attend. This didn't go over so well, leaving
a wounded animal to die unclaimed in the woods
especially since it was going to rain soon so the trail would be lost.
The laborer called a friend and the two of them hunted it down.
They could hear the high-pitched cries of the dying deer, it didn't
take long to find. When they did, they were appalled.
There on the ground lay a fawn dragging itself slowly
across the leaves, six feet of its intestines trailing behind it.
It had been shot in the guts by accident, a slow and painful death.
After putting the baby deer, not even legal to shoot, out of its misery
the two men carried its body to a nearby stream
and disposed of the body.
Young meat is tender, as we know,
but not worth getting caught with, as we also know.
(Unless, of course, it's really worth it.)
When the laborer confronted my buddy the next day about the
incident it wasn't pretty. He claimed he had shot
a six-point buck, not a fawn
and said that he'd find the deer and bring its antlers back as proof.
Sure enough, the next morning a six-point rack hacked off with a saw
was sitting in the laborers driveway. It probably came from the
collection mounted to his garage wall
but the matter was settled for the time being.
I paid for the laborers coffee order like some kind
of penance on behalf of my adopted father
and rejoined the rest of my pipe-fitting brethren.

"Jesus, Kid. That guy was talkin' your ear off."
"Yeah, he was telling me something."
"What could a stupid laborer possibly tell a college boy like you?"
"The same thing that I learned this morning with the piss incident."
"Oh Christ, another riddle. Whatever, go grab me some napkins
before the coffee truck takes off."

The rest of the day went faster since there were no more reminders that people
are only human, at best
that being enough
to justify my cigarette falling into a pile of paperwork that my elbow
brushed off a desk and into a trashcan in the office
of that pencil-pusher with a weak bladder.

Us "college boys" are just as petty as we are profound.

Currently reading:
"Steppenwolf" by Hermann Hesse.


Who hits on a Jack and a 10?

Hadn't thought of her for days, new blood in my veins
until I had the misfortune of running into a cow-
orker I hadn't seen in weeks.
Witnessing my thick beard for the first time
he asks, "What happened?"
I tell him I've been trying to attract older women
for a change. He shrugs it off and tells me he worked
for Helmet & Scronin last week and their foreman
Quiet Kev the Carpenter asked for me.
My toes curl in my workboots as I wonder
if that guy ever realized that stain on the wall of his living room
came from a beer bottle intended for his
daughter's pretty face, and/or tight torso
the night I found out she didn't come over
because she had invited her ex over to play Blackjack
and God only knows what else, and lied about it.
Johnny asks why I'm zoning out
so I make something up
about a hangover that's had me out of it all day.
A fellow drunk should understand, but he knows better
since we've hit them pretty hard together after work before
and both been fine the next morning, exchanging sly looks
of "Yeah, I know you tied one on" in passing all day.
He shakes his head in quiet disbelief, follows up
with "Shave that thing, will you?"
Disregarding his words
I think of that night, how my friends had to follow the cab
I called, against their advice
and pull me out of the house, two long-necks of Killian's
in my coat pockets and whiskey in my gut.

I guess it's time to call it even:
I made a whore of her, she made a monster of me.

I tell Johnny the truth, in a way, since we both know
no man likes older women, experience or not:
"I'm better off in hiding for now," then mutter
something about mirrors under my breath
which only confuses him further.
The small talk runs dry. As we shake
hands the grease and copper filings
that come with being a plumber
laugh at me from under my nails.
I know the scrubbing in the shower later will be useless;

some dirt only comes off with time.

dead men tell tales, alright.

i'm almost done with "twenty thousand leagues under the sea" by ya' boy jules verne and i've come to a disheartening discovery: captain nemo and company don't actually chill hard as hell twenty g's under the surface of the ocean, they just happen to travel that distance while under the fucking water most of the time. not even all the time, most! what a let-down. you'd think the dude that wrote "journey to the center of the earth" would have the balls to pretend that part of the sea is in fact twenty thousand leagues deep, which is a pretty long fuckin' way, even though i can't honestly tell you how far a league actually is (but a fathom is six feet!). i really don't think i'm expecting too much here. i asked jello what he thought the title meant while grillin' face at the chinese buffet tonight and he made the same assumption that i did, so i'm obviously right in my analysis of the situation. jules verne, you are a deceptive little frenchman and i'm glad you made a hypocrite of yourself and tarnished the glory of your early career by renouncing scientific advancement and technology in your latter years. fuck this science fiction nonsense, i'm sticking to what i know and love: oprah's book club novels!


my nightly nervous breakdown and a grain of salt.

i'd just gotten done doing the dishes. this silly musical candle my mom put on the birthday cake she made for me last week was sitting next to the sink. i was pretty sure i didn't touch it in the process of rinsing the plates, which is why it creeped me out to hear "happy birthday" playing downstairs after i had finished. the simple melody crept up the stairs and made the darkened rooms down there feel haunted with that same eerie feeling that clowns and other seemingly innocent pastimes give me.

i scrambled down the staircase and tried jiggling the mechanism at the bottom of the candle but the tune wouldn't stop. i pictured my mom calling me into the kitchen that night, the lights dimmed, and how proud of herself she was over the little gimmick that secretly made me miserable for the same reason as the snow globe she got me for christmas when i was a kid after the divorce that played "have yourself a merry little christmas"; we couldn't anymore, just like the cute family birthday party days are long gone, and the family practically is, too. now it's reduced to my favorite home-cooked meal accompanied by a card with a gift certificate to a bookstore since reading is my only real hobby anymore. thank the gods for those convenient little worlds to escape to in the short bit of spare time i have before bed each night, assuming i'm sober enough to make sense of the words. welcome to the terrible twenties, where thirty and the end of your life as you know it feels just around the corner, because it is. a friend asked me last night if i fear getting old. to answer truthfully, i'm afraid that i already am. a real job, real bills, and a laundry list of guilt for what i've done and regret for what i haven't (which they say is worse).

when the faucet couldn't silence the damn thing i dunked it in the dish basin in the hopes that being submersed would douse the flame. no such luck. the song was slower, the tiny gears hindered, but the band played on. i tried it again for ten seconds instead of five, again to no avail; the volume diminished for a couple seconds after the baptism but turned right back up once the water dripped out. i snapped the bottom piece where the music came from off of the wax part of the candle, threw them both into the sink, and started to walk away. halfway up the stairs i turned around and headed back to the kitchen. i wouldn't be able to sleep thinking it was still playing underwater like some sort of wounded soldier, even though i hated it for somehow bringing out such drastic emotions unnecessarily. i mean really, who gets so upset over a trite children's song with its rights currently owned by michael jackson? that was a rhetorical question.

sure enough the little bastard was still playing. i could just barely make out the melody coming from underwater, or maybe that was my mind playing tricks on me again. i retrieved it and heard the volume and speed increase once more. something had to be done about this crippled memory or i'd have one more reason to toss and turn all night. the garbage can didn't seem permanent enough. i walked over to the woodstove, opened the door, and tossed it in. it landed on a bed of bright orange coals so hot that they were almost transparent. the plastic melted and the song slowed down for the final time in a fashion that assured me of its permanence, a thing hard to come by and harder to keep. when the dirge died down i closed the door of the stove and headed back to the stairs. a faint popping sound came from inside the stove. it was finally over. i'd say i sighed, but that'd be lying. i just knew i'd sleep better.

this is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. it's no wonder i am the way i am and the cycle keeps repeating.

but hey, the rabbit found a new hiding place inside the bottom of my box-spring. bending down in search of her under my bed, lifting the dust ruffler, and seeing her nails poke down through the fabric from her weight just may be reason to justify it for long enough to get through another day of this self-flagellation (look it up). it's a good thing, too; sometimes people just aren't enough. and do i owe michael jackson some sort of royalty payment for this one?


some quick advice, unless you'd prefer to join me

the next time you go
to give
[and That , if you're
out so freely
(yours being one of the three #s
you always remember [,] Drunk) ,
be sure to ask her if she Spells

it with one ( Insert Letter Here )

or Two. (sp?)

or don't;
I'll be sure to save a seat
at the next meeting.
(Don't forget your due$, we pay them for life.)