Friday, January 13, 2017

poems 12


I hate people
and I don't shower too often
and I hate people
and I'm always giving the finger
to the neighbors upstairs
when I see them
and sometimes I bang on the ceiling with a broom handle
and 9/11 was the day
that supposedly changed everything
but America is still bombing and invading
other countries
so it didn't change a damn thing
and everybody knows
that everything that goes around
comes around
and Lou Reed is dead, dammit
and people still go to work
every morning
driving or
riding the bus or Amtrak
and inflation is a terrible thing
for those (like me) who refuse to let themselves
be slowly killed off
by the meatgrinder of work
and I'm waiting for some military clown
to tell me to my face
that he's fighting for my freedom
but somehow they never have the guts
I think in a previous life
I was Iggy Pop
or maybe Jack the Ripper
or at least I like to think so.

golden cage

if you're insane and lonely
there's nothing to do
but write poetry
as the dead flies multiply
on the windowsill
cuz the sky is cracked
and humanity is cracked
and you can play live chess
on the Internet
till the end of time
or till you lose your mind

broken bottles

I remember walking home
from work—
streets littered with
the broken bottles of the past
and there was my fat queer boss
and the Polish girl
who always wore
a tight black miniskirt
showing off her fat white thighs
that I still can't stop
thinking of
and lonely parking lot nights
under a careless moon
and I remember thinking
this is what you get
for $5.50 an hour in this
rotten, broken-down corner of time
in the universe.

city life

another cancer Monday
and you’ll see a light in the sky
pulled by an old man
wearing dumpster shoes
and the brick walls
will be innocent
and you’ll open your palm
and find a butterfly
resting there
and you'll forget about
all the slaughter
in the name of free markets
and you’ll say aloud
all wisdom is found
in the heartless gutters of the world
and it’ll mean more
than all the bullshit
you hear on the corporate news.

the ugly truth

war is blood
and cracked skulls
and the murder of innocents
beyond far horizons

—war is the zombies
of the military-industrial complex
devouring human brains

—war is the dream of every Wall Street bankster
every sham-elected President
who wants to go down
in bloody history
like Caesar and Hitler
amid the adulation of the Pentagon media
—war is what the poor do
when they can't pay the bills.


doctors give me
and some of them
make me feel
and some
make me feel
and there's so much
blue sky
in these
April mornings
I often find myself
or floating
through the nothing
of the past
and the nowhere
I see a speck
of cloud—
maybe it's just
a piece
broken wing.

the keeper of time

sun crashing in
like an afternoon whore
I lie in bed with my belly
and my luminous forehead
like an exiled prince
from the kingdom of rats
the phone rings on the hour
and it's always some woman
with a pretty voice
delivering some fresh new piece
of horrible news
the productive citizens
drive to work in the morning
and all they ever produce
drains into the economic gutter
or flushes down the great old
toilet bowl of time
the sun is always there
like a terrible lover
and the homeless
are always there too
sitting or sleeping on the benches
and the answer is always no
the boys in green
are always ready for war
and the world is a giant hairy ass
and when you get diabetes
you can't even eat ice cream

my third eye …

sees a cowboy dying
in the desert
even though he's wearing white
and bares the USDA
stamp of approval—
a blue damselfly
is one kind of goodbye
as a red neon sign flashes
over a deathly street
and the crows know
and the mushrooms are
looking ominous
and defiant
as the rocks meditate
and the people in the supermarket
keep getting fatter and fatter
as a white picket fence
guts the white air
behind a lone headstone
beside a long, sad highway
in West Virginia.

the skull and the rose

when the face
of the clock
the flies
the walls
of libertarian
goes broke
in faraway
there'll be
time enough
the skull
and the rose,
the raven
in the fire
of my endless

another anarchist manifesto

in your democracy
of corporate jets
and homeless families living in shelters

in your republic
of killer cops
and nuclear bombs and drone strikes

there's still a handful
of noble Marxists
that you've locked up in your
prison-industrial complex

or you've buried them six feet under
to fertilize your fields of Monsanto GM crops
somewhere out in Kansas

so long as the sheeple
keep paying their taxes and keep on
keeping their mouths shut

and you can kiss my fucking anarchist ass

while the ghost of Howard Zinn chuckles
as the empire smolders away into the ether
just like he said it would.

modern times

you make a new “friend”
on Facebook

then one day they stop posting
don't reply to your emails
you don't know
if they're alive or dead.

I think one of my Internet friends
died recently.

I think she died
but I don't know for sure.

she's got a thousand FB
“friends” and
none of them seems to know

what are these new
who don't even find out
when one of them passes on
and don't seem to care?

you might as well be
some nameless drifter
out alone somewhere in the desert.

it's all so sad, so pathetic—

this is how low
we've sunk.

we need more books of the dead

what happens to the soul
when the body dies?

does sit atop a mountain
contemplating the Tao?

does it go to the Western Paradise
to sit at the foot of Amida?

or does it wander in some distant woods
where it's always sunny and breezy?

the only thing to offer the hungry
is food

and the only thing to offer the sick
is prayers

so I say Kwan Yin of the gentle hands …
and throw it to the eight winds of heaven.

the long struggle

the leaves
and orange
the kids
to school

the patriots
Wall Street

pretty soon
the kids
going on …

Unlce Ho
We'll fight
one day
you will.

little Eichmanns

for Ward Churchill

getting fired for telling the truth
is nothing to be ashamed of

maybe it's for the best

maybe the little Eichmanns
reflected on
the evils of their ways
while praying to their
blond, blue-eyed Jesus
on that fateful day

or maybe they didn't

at any rate

America's vengeance
for 3,000
translated into
1 million dead in Iraq and
a somewhat smaller total
in Afghanistan

it depends on how exactly
you figure the numbers,
I guess

whether you include
“collateral damage”
and deaths from starvation
in the final sums
of the Empire's reckoning

who's counting?

what it is

a small rented apartment
one bedroom with water stains on the ceiling
from when it rained 5 days straight
a TV that fills my eyes with all the lies
that the powers-that-be want me to hear
and moronic bullshit
like Friends and Dancing with the Stars

my only escape is
100 books about the Mayans
and my rabid imagination

I imagine 10,000,000 Buddhas
falling from the sky
on clouds made of jasmine
I imagine North Korean troops
liberating Amerika
I imagine some topless beach in Denmark
all the girls playing volleyball
in the sun

I gave up on life getting better
a long time ago
so hand me another bottle,

Thursday, January 12, 2017

poems 11


if I could play guitar
I'd sing a sad, sad song
for all the fiery red anarchists
of yesteryear
who threw bombs at the police in alleys
assassinated kings and presidents
and drew funny little cartoons
about hanging the Pope
all those lost souls
raging with idealism
now forgotten as ferns
in this modern world of McDonald's
and Godzilla remakes
all those poor anarchists
each with a heart bigger than
all of Wall Street
each and every one
crushed under the boots
of the Bolsheviks
or hanged
after the police opened fire
on each other
at Haymarket Square
all of them murdered
while the Gods marched
in lock-step with the fascists
it's all so sad
too sad to remember
or write about
as the 1% finish the job
they started

at the end

when the high noon of humanity
is forgotten

when all that's left of their shit-stupidness
is dim fading memories

when the sun turns red
before the endless summer night
of the Siddhas

at the end
there will only be left
the Buddha-soul:


like a blossom in the eye of a God.

the indispensable nation

if you ever find a human skull
just lying around
bury it in the ground
and maybe it'll sprout
an olive tree
maybe it'll grow
a pair of black wings
and fly off with the crows
all the way to India
where 3000 years ago
some Goddess
laid her body down
to become a river
turning desert to forest
for the people
or maybe the skull
would feel more at home
in Cambodia
joining the mountains
of human skulls
erected by Pol Pot
and paid for by Uncle Sam.

lights out

typing away into the darkness
the window is open
the moon hides her face in shame
and the ghosts of Murder, Inc.
still haunt the streets of New York

millions of Bolsheviks died
fighting the Nazis

I watch Britney Spears
shaking her big white ass
on YouTube

the only monster under the bed
is my own memories

I tell Moloch to rise up
and smite the world

a siren screams into the night

I recall Mickey Rourke
slaughtering all those people
in Angel Heart
and the first lezzie video
I ever saw

I guess my only revenge
is murders on the local news
fatal car accidents
and flesh-eating bacteria
in swimming holes

the moon flashes a sly
white smile

I beg the Buddha's forgiveness
and ask him to teach me
about forgetting.

some might say …

that insanity is a kind of freedom
but I remember it as a prison
my mind was both inmate and jailer
and the windows let in only
a terrible sun
I wondered how it had come to this state
and realized that, yes
hell is other people
or, to put it another way
most people are shit

I remember a boy (not me)
who stuck needles into his arms
at school every day—
if you'd known his family
you'd understand—

perhaps the best thing,
as some suggest,
would be
to just start killing people
but that's still a kind of giving up
and I remember one of the few friends
I had
his name was Randy
and everybody was afraid of him
and I remember what he often said to me
and anyone else who was around:

fuck everybody.


watching a report on Al-Jazeera
about all the massacres
that NATO troops are committing
in Afghanistan
wiping out whole families
and I realized
there is no justice in this world
no God to protect the weak
and the innocent—
there's only power
and bodies strewn across
so many bloody floors.


the winter sun going down
over the rooftops
like a dying warrior
a little blonde girl runs by
maybe 7 or 8 years old
I hear my neighbor talking
with someone on the phone
he's an old man
running for the grave
some day even
that little girl will be
kissing the roots of the daisies
or filling some urn with her ashes
and she'll be replaced
by new little girls
everything passes
like the sun going down
then coming back up
in the glorious eternal dawn.

Bob Dylan is dead

that was the rumor I heard
turned out it wasn't true
not yet anyway
Bob's one helluva true spirit
like Johnny Cash was
(he really is dead)
and John Lennon (him too)
I think we true spirits
(and there ain't many of us)
all end up in the same
starry psychedelic Buddha
dynamo where we'll crank out
the cotton candy poetry
of the Gods till the end of
time or we'll end up in Hell
(even more fun)
and we'll be the demons
tying bankers and other
war criminals
to barber shop poles
and we get to shoot at their
genitals with BB guns
O whatever it is
and where-ever it is
let it come, let it come
just don't make me
spend eternity
with the Mormons.

bastard son

I'm the rag you
step on
in the gutter
of a really long
when the sky
cries aloud
for the quiet side
of Jim Morrison
I'm the wind
chimes at night
I'm the bastard son
hung out to dry
in the unGodly
world of Manhattan
the homeless
the dog shit
and the insane
I'm the ice cream
on a summer
street with all the
vanilla melting
out onto the street.

category: uniform

when the
blonde, blue-eyed
arrested me
I thought of
telling her that I'd seen
porn movies that
started this way
but I decided not to
push my luck

it's hard walking
when they got
your ankles
cuffed together

it was a hot
summer night and
there was a full moon out
for the misbegotten

I suddenly thought of
all the homeless
in New York
disheveled winos
old women
pushing shopping carts

the inside
of the police car
was hot and steamy

and being in a
hot, steamy place
with a beautiful
wasn't so bad, really

I wondered
if she had a boyfriend.

the snowflakes sutra

train galloping through the night
I had a dream
of sitting Shiva-style beside
an ocean of wisdom
—some Hawaiian resort
I heard people's voices from
and margaritas
a sliver of white moon
was piercing the heart of the night
it was then I realized
that all of the Buddha's words
come down to three golden rules
light and perfect
as snowflakes in the air:

help others;

harm no one;

free your mind.

three lines
containing all the knowledge of the world
—when I woke up
the train had passed.

a fate worse than death 

when you're
you're workin
for food
and shelter
and when
you're workin
for food
and shelter
you're a slave

I used to slave
at factories
the lighting
was so poor
you could
your hands
outta the

they used to
make me
run‭ ‬40‭ ‬hrs.
a week
in places
where it
got so hot
I thought
I'd end up
in my own

every day
felt like
a slow death
but somehow
I survived

so take it
from me:
is modern-
and if
you don't
believe me
then go
and try it


night falling over the city
I see the red lights
of phantom cars
and the people inside
don't know me
I wonder who I am myself
why I'm here
what it's all for
and where do the homeless
go at night when the shelters
are full?
and maybe this is where
the spirit drifts
when the body dies
where it's always twilight
always warm
and no-one
ever has to sleep
on the streets.

the American dead in Afghanistan

the white trash let their dogs run around
in the street
I can't even go for a walk anymore
there's American flags everywhere
the other day
I was sitting at a picnic table
when two of them sat down
at the other end
after listening to their white trash conversation
for a while
I was forced to get up
and go sit somewhere else—
another indignity
I wondered what I ever did to the Gods
to deserve this
when I got home
I turned on my PC
read about the latest American dead in Afghanistan
that made me feel a bit better.

it's Christmas time, again

they say
that America
no money
the poor
but somehow
there's always
for bombing
other nations
other nations
right-wing terrorists
around the globe
oh, yes
there's always
for all those
on Uncle Sam's
wish list
the Pentagon media
is always
the airwaves
with the latest paranoid
suicide bombers
and the Russians are coming
and the rest of it:

but there's at least
one idiot
who ain't fallin for it:
I hope
all the troops
come home with

poem for Fidel's birthday

Jack and Bobby
tried to assassinate Fidel Castro

Jack and Bobby
got whacked
and today is August 13th, 2014
—Fidel's 88th birthday!

Fidel is one of those men
whose words and deeds
shake the world
bring down thunder and storm
from the sky

and maybe the man
with the long fuzzy beard
and the white dove on his shoulder
still has many years ahead of him

maybe someday he'll spread the revolution
al norte to all the lands
illegally occupied by the Anglos
so that freedom and socialism
may finally spread like flowers
over all the lands of the earth—

we can only hope.

cell phone videos

all you cops
who beat down
the Occupy
all over America
with yr billy-clubs
cuffed them and
pepper-spayed them
in the eyes:
I want to thank you
for reminding us all
what a bunch
of thugs and goons
most cops are
the taxpayers
what their money
goes for:
the next time
I eat pork chops
or fried bacon strips
I'll be thinking
of all you pigs in blue.


her office
was nice enough

I sat down
on the wooden chair
in front of her desk

she had short red hair
and big tits
in a white sweater

talked with
a Southern drawl

told me that I needed to
get a job

I looked out
the window at all
the sunlight
falling down
on the rooftops

she got up
to get some file
from her cabinet

she had a big round ass
in blue jeans

she had everything
I wanted
but I sure as hell
didn't want no goddam

I wondered
what she looked like

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

poems 10

the eyes have it 

sitting in the unemployment office
with a few drab-looking women
and their babies
some of the babies are crying
I close my eyes
the room turns orange
I see a procession of Buddhist monks
some of them are on fire
Nixon rises up from his grave
with his phony smile
and maggots in his eyes
I see a GI screaming in the jungle
both his legs blown off
I see a young man punching a cop
outside the DNC in Chicago ‘68
and Nancy Spungen lying on
the bathroom floor
with a knife in her belly
then I look up
and a fat woman with glasses
says to me
sir, do you have your paperwork?

fuck … 

John Wayne
the morning alarm
$6 an hour
pots and pans
time cards
shift managers
Ronald Reagan
Patti Reagan
all the teachers who told me
I’d never amount to shit
(they were right)
missionaries who ring my doorbell
at 9 in the morning
the people who put up
the skyscrapers
that fuck the sky over Manhattan
your wife
your niece
your teenage daughter
high school cheerleaders
little pink houses
small-town values
the military-industrial complex that
fucks America and the world
the butchers at My Lai
the butchers at Wounded Knee
the policewoman with the big ass
who arrested me
cops, judges, probation officers
and most of all

angels of mercy, angels of light 

I remember
the dust of 9/11
in the blue Indian sky
over Manhattan
where hippies
and Yippies are still
putting flowers
in the guns of
American soldiers
where Diana Oughton
is still making bombs
in her top-floor
Greenwich flat and
suicide bombers
still wait in vain
for their 72 virgins
I used to live in
that place
full of the homeless
and the insane
a place that chews up
your soul
and spits it out
for the dogs to
crap on
so if you ask me
if I cried on 9/11
everyone else
the honest answer is

therefore ... 

down the street
with the sun
the wind
and the blue sky
God is waiting
for me to say
profound while
the white
butterflies dance
in my head
the cars speed by
and I remember
that day
in 2nd grade
when I got up
and showed it
to the girl sitting
in front of me
I tell God
he doesn't exist
so I must be
talking to myself
I am God with
nothing but
these eyes in my
head staring at
my white hands—
I am alive.

dying state

there was a poet in South Dakota
who used to submit his poems to me
back when I was running my
Opium Poetry blog. they were long, honest
down-to-earth poems about real life
and all its crap, no word-play games
or light-hearted bullshit. he wrote me
long, rambling emails that went
something like don't let 'em fool ya
stick with the real shit
and not their bullshit and kick their asses
every chance ya get and so on.
he told me about the never-ending pain
in his leg and how whatever disease he had
nearly killed him the week before.
then he stopped submitting.
in fact, he stopped submitting anywhere.
I exchanged emails with him one more time
but that was it. he musta stopped writing
his fine boots-on-pavement poems
and who knows why?
sometimes the drive or need or desire
just goes away, I guess.
R.B., I don't know if you're still living
or dead. if dead, I guess all your
problems are over, including that pain in
your leg. but if you're still kickin
then hang in there, bud, the world needs ya
and remember to kick their shitty asses
every chance ya get.

vampire weather 

white light
and naked branches

I turn on the radio
just to hear the voice
of the DJ

the year is dying
in Ohio

1000 miles away
white pigeons strut
up and down
the streets
of the revolution

but here
there's an undefined
it's in the blood,
the eyes

so all I can do
is start a revolution
from my bedroom

while Fidel grows
his beard

and Che becomes

a middle finger ... 

for all the drunks
and their rotten screaming families
for mental illness
and depression and despair
for the bitch of bad luck
for all the stupid pretty flowers
that sit around and say nothing at all
for the moon and loneliness
for the goth chicks that got away
for the dying songbirds
for the pain of being alive
and the fear of dying
and the lying bearded assholes
who talk about God
and all the rest of you lousy shits
who were no help at all.


waiting for the
unemployment check
as bad memories
bounce around inside
the hollow of my skull
waiting for the sun
to finally flame out and
burn the world to a cinder
no more hot afternoons
under a laughing clown sun
no more trying
to get the landlord to fix
the fucking air conditioner
waiting for something
to happen
while naked girls
dance on my walls
while I grow like a weed
useless, uninvited
while guzzling beer
on lazy afternoons
and looking up
your daughter's skirt.


the Feds went after the hippies
cuz what good are young
Americans who
only want peace and love
instead of killing people
in Vietnam?

so they unleashed the FBI
pitbulls trained in state
terror, set them loose on
the flower children
and the pitbulls tore them
to shreds.

in the 70s the young people
were still getting stoned
but they didn’t care about
anything so it was OK.

in the 80s the citizens
were reduced to consumers
and if you were too stoned
to flip burgers at McDonald’s
they sent you off to prison
for 10 years, paroled
all the murderers and rapists
to make room for ya.

it’s been the same ever since
and the 60s will never happen
again. now we’re just
wasting time, riding out
the spiral of America’s
broken wings.

hope and flowers

you don’t have to
search far to
find poverty in
this town.

you see it in
the people
poorly dressed
beat-up looking
tired looking

half the storefronts
on mainstreet
are empty.

poverty in this town
grows like
weeds in the yards
of condemned

and as for weed
you can find
plenty of that too

it seems to be
the one luxury
that even the poor
can afford.

but the days are
getting warmer

the first white flowers
are out

and they can never
take that away.

the Jim Morrison poem 

Jim Morrison
dying from
an overdose
in a bathtub
in Paris.

a bathtub is
no place for
a poet and
blues singer
to go.

at least he
coulda died
in some park

a jail cell in
New York
piss all over
the floor

a whorehouse
in Bangkok
his arm round
some princess

on stage
after waving
his cock for
the audience.

anyplace but
a goddamn

like some
and roll

arse poetica 

I guess you're a poet
when you stop bullshitting
and start telling the truth.
anyone can bullshit.
just listen to the Americans in Iraq.
and the truth is always
more fun to listen to than lies.
like the truth about getting arrested:
they cuff your hands behind you
always a bit too tight
so that afterward you've got
a little pink welt on one or both wrists.
then they take your belt and shoes
in case you're thinking
of hanging yourself
(has anyone ever done it with
but sitting in the back of the squad car
is not unpleasant
and if you're lucky
you'll have your own private cell
with a metal sink and crapper
and yellow walls.
you can read whatever's been carved
in the wooden bench
or count the dried wads of toilet paper
stuck to the ceiling.
in all, not a bad way
to waste a Saturday night.

the ballad of Ian Curtis

suicide clouds
make me think of
and red beach

it's a lazy, quiet
sort of day
peaceful as
a punk rock sky
over Salford

peaceful as
or years of

like beer bottles
in the rusted
along forgotten
roads in

round and round it goes 

the British gone
they killed many
Loyalists and raped
their wives and
daughters and killed
many of the wives
and daughters too.

they killed 20 million
Indians and took
half of Mexico cuz
“the Mexicans weren’t
doing anything with

it” and killed several
million more in
Vietnam and bombed
Serbia and then came
9/11 and I live in
a small town in Ohio
and you don’t know
what a shithole
a small town can be
till you’ve lived in
a small town in Ohio.

you’re a loser ... 

if everywhere you go
you gotta walk through
alleys filled with
garbage cans and
cigarette butts
and broken glass

and every time you see
pink clouds at sunset
you think it’s the Gods
painting the sky in

and the lyrics to
Social Distortion songs
really are the story
of your life

and you think all the girls
have butterfly wings
but hide them from

and there’s nowhere
you gotta be cuz you’re
and hoping to stay
that way for as long
as they'll let you.


looking up at the sky

white clouds
in a sea of blue

yellow flowers beside
the dirt trail

and small
white butterflies
(they only live
maybe 6 days).

there’s nowhere
I need to be

no one is waiting
for my word on

the cars speeding
from one place
to another have
nothing to do
with me.

I’m a balloon
with hair

I’m a poem
with no grammar
and no syntax
and the words
don’t mean a thing.

the crickets get to work 

sitting on a green bench
there's nothing to do
but ogle teenage girls
while the parking meters
melt in the summer sun.
I tell one blonde wearing
a cheerleader's outfit
she's got nice legs.
she says thanks. got no
brothers or sisters. all
my relatives are back in
the old country.
don't speak the language
anymore and my parents
ain't much. sitting on
a green bench in the hot
sun, nothing to do but
wait for the summer night.

popcorn junkie 

at the end
of Casablanca
Bogey and
the French cop
start a beautiful
friendship (of
a homosexual
nature no doubt).

the bullet went
in through the
back of Bugsy's
head, his eye
hitting the wall
across the room.

I remember
my grandfather—
bald Stalinist with
a Hitler mustache
the same fiery eyes

drinking vodka
and eating raw
onions like they
were apples

dead of heart
failure at age 69.

he was
an atheist.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

poems 9

nothing much to do

when I was 15
I put a rock through
the window of some
house just to hear
the sound of glass
shattering. the quiet
afterward was like
poking holes in the
clouds. then I ran
like hell for a while.
then I sat on a green
bench and stared
at the passing cars
which was better than
smashing windows
I guess.

learned a few things

sitting at
the kitchen table
a glass of water
reposes like a Buddha.
I look out the window
at the white winter sky
over the rooftops.
a smoking chimney.
the silence of the white air
after getting fired,
wondering what to do
now. so much white air
filling my head. I remember
wanting to be a cop
when I was 5. it was either
that or a fireman. everything
was simple then.
now I’m thinking
maybe I should sell drugs
on a streetcorner.

the right to remain silent

a million miles
of insanity
have brought me

an open window;


a breeze flutters
the curtains.

I used to live in
New York―

what my parents
didn’t kill
that city did.

now I live in Ohio.

I remember sitting
in the back of
that squad car

the policewoman
reciting my
Miranda rights.

I told her to
to save her breath.

she recited them

with a big ass

you’ll always have
a place in my dreams.

long ago and not so far away

working as a temp
light assembly
$6 an hour
no rights, no benefits

hated the job
but couldn’t afford
to get fired

death by boredom
like drowning
in a bathtub
in the suburbs

if I had a soul
I’d say it was like
an opium poppy
turning to stone

there was one boss
I wanted to punch
in the face but never
did of course

I kept on working
doing the same shit
day after day

my soul scattering
like dust
to the universe.

the eagle has landed

death of the spirit as
a dove falls from the sky;
I think of death
as a killer clown like
John Wayne Gacy
or Ronald Reagan;
Ronnie, I jerked off to
your daughter Patti
when I saw her
on the cover of Playboy
with some black guy
grabbing her tits
from behind; it didn't
take away from all
the carnage of
your dirty wars in
Central America but
it was something;
Ronnie, you were
Maggie Thatcher minus
the mustache; and when
I think of death
I think of you and
your big phony grin
like a Nazi death-head
with moussed hair.


ask anyone who was ever poor:
eggs are the cheapest food.
we used to eat eggs a lot
and no matter
how many different ways of cooking them
you might know
you get sick of 'em pretty fast.
one time in the supermarket
I saw an old woman—
her cart was filled to the top
with egg cartons
I guess she was fighting
inflation and
that might seem funny
but war on the poor
is standard business
in America
and if you’re not
on foodstamps
then at the very least
you’re cutting coupons
or maybe shoplifting
and so the “lazy and stupid”
as the rich call us
are multiplying like flies
and someday
we’re gonna take it all back.

family heirloom 

went for a walk
round midnight
the streets were empty
save for my insanity
the yellow streetlamps
and a few neon lights;
the starry night
sang an ode to
my cage of the mind
I wandered lonely
as a purple orchid
beside a rusting steel mill
lonely as the last cricket
on a cold night
I felt like tumbleweed
riding the wind
to escape the fire;
I was circling
the electric night
in a Ferris wheel of
and yes,
I was happy.

tax cuts for millionaires

when I used to work
at supermarkets
and warehouses and the like
I always belonged to some union
or other
we never went on strike
cuz the rich only tolerate
the toothless unions that sold out
a long time ago
so I got treated like shit
along with all the rest
I think I was the only one
who ever complained
cuz the American working-class
are cattle
(it was like I never left Bulgaria)
so I worked and sweated
and bitched a lot
while the rest seemed content
playing cards on their lunch breaks
(I really hated those sheeple)
but sometimes I walked home
at night
when the rain had just stopped
and the streets seemed to glow
under the streetlamps
and there was the sound
of water dripping and trickling
and the whole thing
was so pretty
and that was about
the only good times there were.


lost in a nowhere little town
I was lost everywhere
always something wrong with my psyche
the rickets
the way the sun turned
I’d been losing it (mostly at home)
little by little for a while
then at 15
I think it was
I lost it all the way
the sky was always sick-looking
people like so many flies
circling round shit
insanity is a time when you forget
then it comes back
like a trickle of acid on your palm
and you wonder
did it really happen
or is it just my imagination?
and to be honest, I’m still not sure.

workin for the man

my first day
clearing rocks
from a field.
we carried
them in metal
buckets that
got heavier as
the sun rose.
by noon the
heat weighed
a ton and the
world seemed
not worth
a pig’s balls.
I sat down
every chance
I got when
I thought
no one
was looking.
finally the
boss caught me
and that was
the end of it:
my first and
last day
on the job.

not much there at all

lying in bed at night
when I was 19
listening to the indie rock
station. the guy was singing
if I wear your hand-me-
downs … with grungy guitar-
work in the background.
I was half-seriously thinking
of going out some night
climbing the fire-escape of
the tallest building in town
and jumping. but of course
I never did. I was too
immobilized by depression
to even kill myself. maybe
that song was what saved me.
and there was another song
by a band called Helium.
the girl sang you are the MOST
beau-ti-ful THING …
and sometimes 2 good songs
is all there is.

fuck the army

I’d never fight for any goddam
country, not even my own
and by that I mean Bulgaria.
I’d never fight for America either.
I mostly feel contempt for people
in the military. maybe
I should feel more sympathy
but my grandfather was an officer
in the Bulgarian army.
I remember him
getting drunk every night
terrorizing my mother and
granma. a real sonofabitch.
so the only soldiers
I feel any compassion for
are the ones who shoot
their officers, go home, open
a bottle of beer in front of the tv
and watch Casino. at least those
gangsters only kill each other.

a dime for heroism

working at a supermarket
stocking shelves with
I wondered
was I born for the sole purpose
of working minimum wage
in America?
I recalled the Viet Cong motto:
“born in the North to die in the South”
only my journey was far less
heroic. I wondered if I might be
doing this kind of work the rest of
my life. the idea filled me
with terror.
so I worked half-speed,
showered every other day
even during summer.
I was rude to the boss and
my loser co-workers
the customers too—
I didn’t give a shit.
one day my boss finally
got so sick of my mouth
he canned me.
so I went on benefits
and after a while
I said to myself
getting paid for NOT working—
now here’s an IDEA!
so I decided
maybe there was hope
after all.
I think getting fired
from that job
may have saved my life.

village idiot

I’m 33.
got fired so I moved
back in with my parents.
sick of working.
I sit up all night watching
Fellini movies.
I’d rather make art than money
but I can’t make either.
fuck the American dream.
I know left from right
and right from wrong.
I know who the bad guys are.
I’m a bum.
an idiot. a loser.
I’m a Sandinista.
I’m a goddam
good-for-nothing foreigner.
I’ve got a 3-day beard
cuz I’m too lazy to shave.
truth be told
I’m the village idiot.
this country is overrun
with village idiots
living off their parents
and contributing nothing.
give us all a hand.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

poems 8

everything but the floppy shoes 

well, I’m unemployed
I don’t shower as often as I ought to
I don’t brush my teeth as often as I ought to
I’m a sad, sad case in the middle of
nowhere America
and I’ve got no one to blame but myself (and my parents)
but all the same, it’s nice lying here in bed
this morning:
white sheets, white walls
a white ceiling with brown water stains
and the sun coming in through the windows
like Nirvana
my friends think I’m crazy
and I suppose maybe I am
but I tell them this head is nothing more
than a half-empty box
(I like to think it’s purple on the inside)
and every once in a while
when some grunge falls out of it
I clean it up
email it to the editor of some magazine
it’s what I do best
all that I can do
so really,
it’s not such a bad life
after all.


the latest terror plot
is a figment of my imagination
or a figment of
someone’s imagination
someone with an orange crush brain
that drips onto the pavement
on hot summer afternoons
my sweat is dripping onto the desk
as a fly buzzes from the wall
to the lampshade
oh, I know you were sent
by the devil with hair on his ass
to harass and torment me
you and my rotten family
and the rotten kids who scream
at the pool all day
yes, Travis, someday a great rain
is gonna fall and wash away
all this filth—I mean
the flies and the devils
and the kids and then maybe
I'll get a chance to sit quietly
on hot summer afternoons
and suffer in my room in peace.


well, sometimes
the muse
comes with her tits
hanging out
and sometimes
she doesn’t cum
at all
my muse gets
on a pair of worn-out
angel wings
she’s grown
and disillusioned
with the world
and so have I
we make a nice
couple in our
common despair
and may the Gods
have pity
on us both.

20 years ago 

Communism fell
in Eastern Europe
and the fascists
and the criminals
took over and
they've cut down
all the trees
and sunflowers
and all the young
are leaving cuz
there ain't no jobs
and there ain't
no hope either
so long
as that 3-headed
monster called
stomps all over
the world
but there's Fidel
raising his fist
through the
Cuban sky with
the tropical sun
shining down
and Chavez
and Morales
and Ortega and
we'll see what
happens over in
Honduras so
America you may
have won that
other battle
but the war
ain't fucking over.

sweet bird of youth

true, I'm going bald in the middle
but I always crew-cut my hair real close
so I look young enough
and I'm lean enough so that
when two young girls
(they were about 13 I guess)
passed me in the park the other day
I took my shirt off
they looked away
shy I guess
but anyhow
I got a kick outta showing off
to the young sweeties
and I like to think
maybe I gave them some
masturbation material—
just a little gift from me to them.

noise and fury

watching all the smoke and ashes
on TV on 9/11
I didn't feel much of anything
I watched all the noise and fury
like anyone else would watch a movie
I canceled my appointment
with the dentist
I checked out for the day
like I do most days
I felt cut off from all the people
crying on TV
and contempt for all the ones
demanding revenge
I wondered which country or
countries would get it this time
maybe Serbia again
and for some reason
I recalled a night when I was 16
we had each retired
to our separate rooms
all three of us trapped
in a lost place
in a small town
at the edge of nowhere
and I remembered
lying on my bed
where the fuck am I
and how the hell did we all get here?

when the fuck did I become Travis Bickle?

there's the small living room
the small kitchen
the small bathroom
the one small bedroom
I call “my room”
where I sit at my laptop
and type away
writing what some call poetry
where I hatch plots
to overthrow the government
with a beard and a pen
where I do sex chat with webcam girls
admiring their round tits
while they puff on their cigarettes
and where I sometimes just lie in bed
and think about how much
I hate everyone and everything
wondering which God or Gods
got drunk one night and set
this whole fucking mess in motion
while the dusk turns a darker shade
of purple.

free medical advice 

working the
graveyard shift
at the factory.

there was
a big blonde
maybe 19

cute, but
her face was all
covered in zits.

I wanted to tell
her there’s
a cure for that

but that got me
fired from one
job already

and I was out of

I admired her ass
for a while
then clocked in.

it’s people like me
who keep the
economy going.


the mushrooms of lethargy
are dragging me down
to mind-numbing holocausts
of depression
where the lark muddies its dying soul
where the dead grow their flowers
where Sid and Nancy
pogo to ska
amid the great guru pot dealers
of Kingston
I’m unemployed
dreaming of psychedelic frogs
and great big
samsaras of butterflies
I’m the pot-bellied
Buddha of the robins
in the yard
the great all-knowing
who stares
at the sky
remembering the 90s
when it was OK
to be young
lazy and
when they played
The Spinanes
every Tuesday
on the radio.

grassy knolls 

if you think the government is
putting thoughts
in your head you're
probably right
they put chemicals
in the food
and bullshit
on the evening news
they put a second
gunman on the grassy knoll
to split open
Jack Kennedy's head
like an Irish watermelon
I believe almost every
conspiracy theory I hear
cuz I've learned over the years
that most of them right
like war for oil
we paranoids
are people with vague ideas
about what's really
going on.

shadow of grief 

nothing outside but
cold sunlight
blinding the snow
I must have the face
of a decent person
most people think I'm a decent person
until they get to know me
I've got photos that I carry around
in the back of my skull
sometimes they break free
storm my cerebrum
and that's when I get into trouble with the law
I don't apologize for anything
what life's done to me
is far worse than anything I ever did
sometimes I get my revenge on decent people
I used to be a decent person myself
well, that'll toughen them up
give them a taste of my world
in short:
fuck you, fuck me, fuck everybody
life's a chain of sucker-punches to the balls
and then you die.


hitting the pavement
when there’s nowhere to go
the sky is dizzy
and aimless
when you’re crazy
your only friends
are the ones in your head
and maybe the DJ on the radio
the flowers are dying
they last only a week or so
and when I see my face
in the puddles on the sidewalk
I don’t like what I see;
all you normal people
out there—I’m not one of you.

pimps and other capitalists 

you'll see your face
in the half-light
grabbing mouthfuls
of blue sky
and you'll realize
this world
wasn't made for
someone like you
this world is for
the greedy
the power-hungry
and the sadists
to indulge in
to rejoice
in the suffering
they inflict
on others
not you
who gets dizzy
when the
flowers whisper
when the
mourning doves
flutter through
your brain.


looking in the mirror
receding hairline
pot belly
I splash some water
on my face
flush the toilet.
I walk to the bedroom
I’ve got sweaty balls
and one leg shorter
than the other.
night coming in
through the windows
I hear something
crash upstairs
something heavy
like a fridge or
some kid jumping
from a couch
or table. I say
what the hell?
hell is other people.
hell is poverty.
hell is my neighbor
and her retard son.
hell is sitting
at the window looking
out at the night,
too insane to go
to do anything.


learned today
of the death
of Scott Wannberg

I’d read a few of his chaps
a few years back

that a thing that once
lived and breathed
is now dead
is not strange

that a thing that once
wrote poetry
is now dead:
now that is strange

of course
only the body is dead
not the rider

we’re all immortal
as the Buddha said

but death is still the same.

ever do this when you were a kid? 

I remember those nights
when I’d put on
my shoes
and go for a walk
going nowhere at all
there was the black night
and the stars above me
and I felt at home
with the stray cats
and abandoned cars
I liked being alone
and I would do
random acts of
vandalism now and then
I’d look at my watch
and it would say 3:04 AM
and one of those nights
I realized
that I would always be alone
it was the only time
that I could be myself
and so I said to myself
fuck, so be it.

pick any spot on the map 

the souls of dead soldiers
come back as crows
I see them sitting in the naked branches
in the last moments of winter sunset
they come back with hollow eyes
seem confused
as though wondering what they really died for
if anything
(their country? religion? Dow Chemical?)
perhaps they remember
the bodies of the dead
men, women and children alike
splayed out in the grass
of so many foreign lands
far too many bodies for counting ...
dead soldiers
haunting this earth

bad poems

some of my poems
that were been published
here and there
most of 'em are
pretty good but there's
some that are real
the editors musta been
crackheads when they
published them
a bad poem
is a flea bite on my leg
nothing to
worry my balls over
certainly not nearly as bad
as poverty
and the endless wars.