Paris #7

Insomnia #22

Paris #6

NYC #14

Paris #5

Scribble

Scribble

Buddhism Caveat #21

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“If not

Now…

When?”

-Zen Kōan

 

In a week when I receive

My shitty paycheck from my shitty job

Which I took out of desperation

Because I have five children to feed

Because my religion doesn’t believe

In contraception and I thought my

Neighbor was pretty

When I was young and reckless so we

Had sex many times because that is what humans like to

Do and love and now the babies are crying

Because they’re hungry and my boss is going to fire me

Because I don’t sleep

And I’m not productive enough at the office

And my life is hell.

 


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Paris #4

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(For the original French, scroll down)

“An outburst of emotion

Is always absurd

But it is sublime

Because it’s absurd.”

-Charles Baudelaire

 

A homeless man yells, “Fuck the Bourgeois!”

While wearing a suit

A young girl, without a helmet, riding a motorcycle with her dad

Shouts, “Woot! Woot!”

A young man shrugs his shoulders and laughs

At his broken toilet

A shirtless woman kisses a man

While leaning out a window, with an air of “who gives a shit?”

 

Lazy, reckless, rude…perhaps

Or visionary, brave, and honest.

 


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“Le cri du sentiment

Est toujours absurde:

Mais il est sublime,

Parce qu’il est absurde.”

-Charles Baudelaire

 

Un sans-abri hurlant, “Baise le Bourgeois!”

Vêtu de vêtements impeccables

Une jeune fille, sans casque de vélo, à moto avec son pére

En train de crier: Incroyable!

Un jeune homme en train de hausser les épaules

Et de rire de ses toilettes cassées

Une femme sans chemise embrasse un homme

En se penchant à la fenêtre, blasée.

 

Paresseux, téméraire, grossier…peut-être

Ou visionnaire, courageux, et honnête.

NYC #13

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I’ve thought about writing this poem for months.

I don’t know why. It’s only a split second

When I’m on my bed

On Staten Island

Sweaty and tired

With the window open

She passes me her cigarette

And as I take it

We make eye contact and her

Face in the shadows, a slight frown

Eyes bleary, teary? Don’t know, should know

Her mouth open a little

She’s a bartender near where I work

But she also lives on the island

Was born and raised like shit

By a schizophrenic mother

On the island, she left home at 16

Her younger brother only dates MILFs

She enjoys her job

She has raw intelligence and reads long books

We had some adventures together

Walks in parks, gritty bars, mediocre museums, late-night drives

But in this moment I know it is

The end and I think she does too

And I know I will pay for this in one way or another

And I think I’m still paying

But after this moment I look out the window

And I hear the shower turn on and

Five minutes later

Before she’s finished

I’m asleep.

 


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Buddhism Caveat #19

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Comparison

Is

The

Thief

Of joy…

 

But it

Is also

The

Chief

Of ambition

 


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Just Another Stranger #8

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He is sitting outside of

A crowded Parisian café

Writing in a notebook

With a cup of expresso

Smoking a cigarette

Disheveled red hair

Rough beard

Furrowed brow

Lost in creation…

 

For a moment I have a flashback

Of writing outside NYC bars

With literary dreams

In my swelling heart…

 

And as I observe this young man

I feel a wave of

Sympathy…tenderness…

And I want to say to him

PLEASE! YOU STUPID BASTARD!

QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME!

DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT

THESE WORDS? THESE IDEAS?

GO TO JOURNALISM SCHOOL

YOU…YOU…YOU HOPEFUL FOOL!

WRITE ABOUT DIABETIC TEST STRIPS

FOR A MONTH AND PUT IN THE TIME…

LIKE…UH…LIKE A REAL MAN!

 


 

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Paris #2

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Canal Saint-Martin

 

Wisps of fading smoke

Above crowded and noisy tables

Of an outdoor café

 

Dusty streaks of fading sunlight

Through the avenues’ trees

Laughter and shouts

Philosophical banter and drunken bouts

 

As night takes the day

 


 

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NYC #12

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There are many forms

Of education/s

Lying aching on a lumpy couch

After clearing tables and washing dishes

For strangers’ celebrations

Wanting to thrust a juvenile twitching brain

Into the consuming oblivion of excess libations

Slowly shedding these snake skins

Of a spoiled, debaucherous adolescence and petty adulations

Sticky film of sweat, berating voices, lacerating films

Of the past and a banal existence mixing with jackhammer

Invasions and pulsing temptations pernicious persuasions

Go jack off and eat dollar pizza you privileged red-headed caucasian

Succumb to the easy evasions oh you think you’re patient?

An undiagnosed patient? You think anyone cares you’re alone here in fear

Craving and raging? Or about your ruminations and frustrations and

Fulminations? The doubts and dead ends of your scribbling and wandering

Vocation? This couch is a lazy contracting contagion and spiritual stagnation

Get up you withering, bitter bastard before you

 

Now I’m lying in an empty park at midnight before a graduation

And the grass is cool, breeze from the river refreshing, and I’m weeping and I

Tell myself to try and let myself enjoy this brief sensation

This small step forward, a steady gradation, towards a vision of creation

Years and frontiers to go but breathe in this rising elation

Before I get up and go home and tomorrow morning

Receive a piece of paper that looks like a PowerPoint slide

Made in five minutes for academic accreditation.

 


 

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Just Another Stranger #7

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He is sitting across from me

On the stalled subway

Sunday morning: 1:45am

Unshaven, bulging cheeks

Bags beneath the dark eyes

Age 35-45

Black pants with food stains

Black shoes worn apart

Peeling leather, frayed laces

A Shake Shack baseball cap

A Williamstown Theatre Festival

Sweatshirt (W.T.F.)

A dirty blue backpack at his feet

His hands are clasped together, firmly

And his dark eyes are looking down

With a distant, contemplative stare

And I imagine him as

A hopeful actor

Dreaming of Broadway

Or Hollywood

Of shining lights and leading roles

For years through cramped apartments

Menial jobs, constricting poverty

Tumultuous and poisonous relationships

Forgotten sacrifices,

But he’s flipping burgers

For now

And waiting for that acting role

That will break him away

From burgers and late-night shifts

And stalled subway rides

Smelling like grease and sweat

But for now

He tells himself

Hold on

My time will come

Be patient

Hold on

I will wake up tomorrow

And keep going

Hold on

 


 

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NYC #11

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After working a few weeks bartending until 4am

And sucking down fried food hastily in a kitchen

The sleep schedule becomes

A little screwy

And the mind tends to become

A little cloudy

So I returned to my time-tested remedy

And ran when I could…and I found myself

At 4:30am in Central Park

With calm and steady strides and my past

Victories reignited in my soul and there I am:

800 meter Olympic final, about to win America the gold

Since Wottle in 1972

When a man passes me and I think,

“Don’t think so, buddy,”

And I sprint past and for the next 30 minutes

We’re racing neck and neck until I break him

And while I run away he yells,

“Thanks brother!” and I keep running

For another 5 minutes until turning into the bushes

And vomiting up chicken fingers, Olympic champion.

 

Next night my muscles are aching, trembling

And I knock a drink over on to a woman’s lap

And she shrieks, “This is a new dress you shithead!”

And the shift manager grabs my shirt and pulls me to the back,

Eyes bulging, “One more dumbass move like that and you’re fired,”

Spittle spraying my face, but I can’t help but smile,

And he asks, “Why the fuck are you smiling?”

And I want to say, “Because I’m an Olympic champion,”

But I say nothing and return to work.

 

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Insomnia #15

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There are lifetimes

Contained in breaths

Cycles and seasons

Of birth and death

Can these mortal passing thoughts

Be merely electrical signals caught?

Briefly, instantaneously

Between the scattered synapses

Billions of electrical field gradients

Shining as varied patterns bent

As magnetic resonance images

Are anxiety and hope only the blinking battery messages?

Joy and despair chemical scrimmages?

Limitless combinations of reflective cinemas

How can these electric mazes be

Conscious of the game and change the game maybe they only

Tame or frame categorize reality to maintain, stay sane?

I should close the curtain because I’m certain

I won’t be able to sleep with the neighbor’s light

Another labored electrical device

Affecting my fading sight

I might just close my eyes tight

That’s right all right don’t fight just listen to the

Sounds of the night.

 
 
 
 
 

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