anger

Don’t stay angry for too long,
you can be mad for awhile,
that’s the way of the world,
we were made to be that way,
we were made to stay,
pissed off for 2 or 3 days,
not much more…
… in the end, there’s no room
for any of it.
Forget that swindler who
resurfaced your driveway.
Forget the woman in the red Audi
who cut you off on the freeway.
Forget the guy from Corporate
who outsourced your job to Bangalore.
Forget about cell phone overage charges,
And the price of bottled water,
…unless they mess with your dog
let it go.

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God, you’ve moved your moon

God, you’ve moved your moon,
and I was the last one to see it go,
but I had nothing to do with it,
you probably decided it was in
the wrong spot all along
you probably wanted to…

…push those tides in the another direction,
after all, who cares about the coastline?
Fragile, my eye, it’ll wash away
in another hundred thousand years
screw the migratory birds too
they were more trouble than they were worth
give them space, they’ll find somewhere to nest
where it’s warm – the New Yorkers do —
it’s called Miami Beach.

To hell with the dolphins, what good are they
to the people in Cincinnati and Tulsa
and Paducah, it makes no difference in the Great End!

After all, we are all just casual victims of circumstance
aren’t we? We didn’t ask for any of it…

yet, here we are, misunderstood and praying for daylight
huddled under blankets and
hiding in the backseat of an ’85 Buick
as the great 21st Century manhunt thunders
through the Streets like those Pamplona bulls
…stay ahead of them if you can fella’
it’s a young man’s game — not for the
old and rickety…not for the faint of heart
you are but a step away
from death by horn or hoof.
So phone the Vicar, let’s get to the bottom of it,
write a poem, write a song,
Garcia is long gone, we’re on our own.

last named storm

it is amazing how,
in the end, we thought about it,
so little – we were
…too busy reading
tawdry paper-backs on
hot summer afternoons…
lounging by the pool,
on powder blue,
chaise lounge chairs,
the ones you bought from TropiBreez
for $499 ea. Plus shipping,
and slathering each other with sunscreen,
…too busy sipping
pineapple rum,
and too busy playing old
vinyl, Joni Mitchell albums,
on your 1968 stereo,
and playing board games,
at the clubhouse on Tuesday afternoons,
to hear November sneaking up,
to care about November sneaking up,
behind us — like a Brooklyn wharf rat,
we — too self absorbed to care,
thinking that if we quit smoking,
and stocked up on drug-store vitamins,
and cast a vote for president,
we’d be fine until the next decade,
but then it was November,
all of a sudden,
…bleached out, rung out,
dried out…November,
let’s drink one more
let’s toast the passing,
of the last named storm.

tax time

Naked
and afraid?
Who, you?
me?
Not a chance
dig your
pink painted toes
into the sand and
file the extension.

Then kiss me
like we have no
real chance
of going home.

It’s a two and
a half hour
flight to
Tegucigalpa, so
call up the relatives
and pretend
there’s a new investor
named Ferdinand
and he’s burning
cash like there
is no tomorrow.

Just kiss me
again and
say if there
is such a thing
as real love
you’ve found it here
on deadbeat beach.

In a week we will
be on the bus
to Choluteca
drinking warm beer
and laughing about
the last check we
left for the
landlord.

The Upper Keys bagel poem

after all
the skiff is still upright
the shadows have
hastened away, and
you and I are upright
as well…
and waiting for the next
thing to happen
AS we wait for the
quiet of mid-morning
to slink in like some
old washed up
guitar player,
like some has-been
drugged out rock star
like some careless,
busted, fishing guide.

We wait until the traffic slows
on the OS Highway
so we can walk up to the
bagel shop where that
guy named Nigel says
he has the best damned
bagels south of Brooklyn
but you say he hasn’t got
a clue as to what goes
into a bagel
you tell me that he’s
too self-absorbed.
You tell me
there is not
a fucking
bagel
worth
eating
south of Cape May, New Jersey.

We eat our bagels
in peace – on the deck
of the best damned
Brooklyn Bagel dive
in the Upper Keys.

You wave to
some driver in
a furniture truck
barreling
south on US 1
you tell me, that
he’s driving too fast
and in the end
it’s all just another
accident waiting
to happen.

 

dry land sailor

write me a little
poem
a day or two after I die
that’s all I ask,
just type it up
on some borrowed
copy paper from
the back room at
Ryan’s Irish Pub.

Type it on that
Olivetti typewriter
that I keep
oiled and ready
on the back porch.


no need for
something flowery
make it a little
gritty,
think:
the Missouri River
at flood stage
and

Just
think:
Rock Island, Illinois
think:
Brockway trucks

think:
St. Paul, Minnesota and Kansas City

Or don’t make anything
of it,
just keep it inside of you
and call
the El Cortez Casino
where you know I would go
when the chips are down

when the spirit is free
and

say to them…
be on the lookout for a
roulette hound

a dry land sailor

a hundred dollar millionaire

the dogs are all you can bet

with any success

“you damned dry land gambler”

you told me that lots of times
so why not
bet heavy on the long-shot dog
I’ll look for you at
the Palm Beach Kennel Club

 

Morning star

get up at half past five

take a shower

don’t smoke before breakfast

walk down to the water

watch Venus set

wait for sunrise,

remember Venus

…she’s been there for so very long

write it down…

she’ll be back …you might not

it’s your 22, 356th ride

it’s the day before the big

job interview,

so you’d better

drink a coffee on the porch

with the hound

write a poem if you

have one in you

play Chopin

and

remember it all as best you can

it is moving past you…

in tiny pieces

like lightning bugs that

flash in summer heat

… don’t drive too fast

don’t drink too much

don’t ask for trouble

check your BP at that

machine at the market

don’t text message anyone

just keep to yourself…

…but

drive out to the casino

before the end of the day

and drop 20 bucks

into a slot machine

and hope for the best

The dilemma

life is habit,
most of it…

some bad
some good
it’s
like that girl
Louisa that you
hung with
when you were
right out of
high school
and filled
with habit-forming bravado

when you were

dreaming about,
flying airplanes
and moving to
Honduras.
And you spent
hours discussing
your future plans
with her over
Grain Belt beer…

She was habit.
When she left
town
saying that she
had no time
for Honduras
and was scared
as shit of flying,
you continued
with
the next
habit…
…the Chesterfields
and chilled white wine…

those two saw you through
mid-town and on
into the outer-boroughs
until you found yourself
clinging to a capsized
dingy one night
in the center of the Hudson River

life is habit,
most of it
some bad
some good

you spend a lot of life
at the Publix
in the produce aisle
inspecting romaine lettuce and
limes,
you spend a lot of life
at the convenience store
weekday mornings
at 5:45AM
pouring black coffee into
a scalding
paper cup…

habits all,

and now
you’re pissed off that your
middle finger is
burned and can’t be used
for at least a week
and you think that you will be
doing this

every day… from now
until
the next century
and you can’t imagine
it any other way
…that is habit

you’re an old
wrangler herding
cows
you’re
an old surfer
looking for a
50 foot wave
you’re an old
farmer waiting
for a summer rain
you’re an old poet
listening to
the dogs snore
under the table
as Chopin plays
on the stereo
as you
stare at a
page on your
yellowing legal pad
waiting for
a scene
so you can
give it life

it’s habit
SO

you
think that you will
be doing this until
the day
that you die

and

you probably will
because
there’s no
way
out

bird in the house

if you can’t write it
easily,
walk away
because
poems write themselves
just
wait for awhile, wait until
late at night
when the bird that got in
when you opened
the door
to let the cats out
flyies across the
bedroom,
in gentle arcs
mocking you

as he sits on the ledge
over the bureau
and says things to you
that you
do not understand
…be patient
wait for him
to pass low
and dangerously near
the ceiling fans and
watch carefully, because soon
he will be
circling the California king
…coming in for a landing…
…he’s got no scruples…
the bird…

to the bird,
the winners and the losers
are all
the same

…go
get the broom
and
chase him away and then
yell to the dog
and say
that there’s a
bird in the house
so bark like hell…

…free him,
…you can’t let him stay
all night long!!
…you can’t kill him either

So
let him out
through that tear in the
screen on the back porch
and when he is gone
take your yellow notepad
and your fountain pen
and pour a Fairbanks port
and sit on the porch swing…
…listen to the night river wind
whistle through
the boxelders
in the back yard

…you’ll find the words

…dig them up – exhume them
like you did yesterday
when you wrote that
half assed
poem about that coke dealer
you knew when you were about
20 years old

or
when you wrote
that dismal poem about the last
time you talked with Leah
on the phone
when she was in Spokane
and you were at home
in the old house
on the Delaware
and about
Memorial Day
ten years ago
when you visited the
soldiers lying at peace
in that graveyard
up in Duluth

you might
write about the night
in 1987 when you
buried Riley
in the pasture
behind the house
with his favorite bone
and it will all come so easily…

So

Enjoy it
Because…
…soon it will be
over
and you will
recall that

the bird

is gone

and suddenly

you miss

him

salad days

salad days…
we used to think
we’d have them
around forever
so we’d always
love them and
keep them
booked
for at least
the next
forty years

lots of time to
till the garden
in the spring and plant
the next crop of
radishes and snow peas
how about the Giant Pumpkin?

maybe next year…

time to drive up to the
Water Gap one more time
with the dogs and
camp out on the
worst night of autumn
when cold
rain drives you from
the dime-store
tent

…find a buyer for that
damned kayak that’s taking up
so much room
in the shed

time to

look for a fuel pump
for the ‘64 MG Midget
you have on blocks
in the garage

time to
buy a coffee pot
finish the novel,
paint the barn
play Vivaldi
in the hayloft
at dawn
AND
write a poem
about antiquity,
float a
rowboat on the pond
kill time
with a friend
playing gin rummy
down at the vet’s home
shoot one more
game of snooker
with that guy from
Council Bluffs
and
write a travelogue
shoot skeet
play hard to get…

…salad days…
you’re all in
and
you’re still green
aren’t you?
like The Bard says

enjoy it
because you
must, and
don’t dispair
when it’s over
just write it
all down
while you still
can