and the game continues on

In the back of the van,
eight hours
into a twelve hour drive,
lurching through
rush-hour traffic,
in a city
I’ve never loved,
(nor loved in)

Pissing in a bottle,
not so much
borne of necessity,
but boredom,
counting down the minutes
until I can stretch my legs.

I hit the whiskey
I keep in my bag,
but I’m not trying
to get drunk.
(not just yet)

I’m trying to make
more piss
to fill
my bottle,
so that the game
shall continue on.


before the sun should rise

Situated due South,
work is done,
for now.

I get up early,
before the sun
should rise.

I walk outside
the hotel door,
walk through the ducks
and duck shit
on the way to the dock.

Steam rolls off the water.

I dip my feet,
and let the minnows
clean my toes.

Not a bad way
to start one off,
I think,
as I light the cigar
that I left
last night.


this is a poem, not a suicide note

I drank myself to sleep,
as I had
for twenty-five years
and counting,
and wondered,
as I dozed off,
if this time
should be the last,
and if so,
was I ready?

I fell asleep
before I could answer
my own question,
and woke up at three,
sitting in my chair,
clutching the bottle
with my right hand,
an old picture
of a happy woman
in my left,
ready to go again.

Another spin of the cylinder,
another bullet fills the chamber,
another click,
in lieu of a bang to the head,
and I’m not surprised at all
that this is not my day to die.

Another line
scratched on the jailhouse wall,
another line cut on the glass,
another day to add
to the thousands of days,
a man on a mission,
no surprise
that unfulfilled men
dream unfulfilled dreams.

Good men die every day,
through no fault of their own,
by placing themselves
at the mercy
of the stupidity of others.

I’ll die,
too soon for me,
just long enough
to break the record,
the world’s longest
botched suicide.
Maybe I’ll beat the spread.


this place has character

The crew and I

walked into the motel lobby,

having finished up

another long day,

and a man in pajamas

was alternately

rinsing his mouth

in the water fountain

and spitting mouthfuls of water

against the wall.

He walked past us,

and gave Nido

a gentle brush

across the back.

We asked the clerk

what this guy’s deal was,

and she said that he

was the owner’s son,

and she couldn’t do anything.

I like it here,

but Nido’s gonna love it.


civil disobedience

Smoking cigars

in a non-smoking room,

pool adjacent,

listening to brats howl

and mamas yelling over them.

I stuff a towel

under the door,

to hide the odor,

and muffle the sounds of joy.


a knock comes at the door,

an angry mother,

I presume.

I open the door.

she walks in,

lights up,

and so do I.


a new lease on life

He was a fighter,
way back when.

He was broken down,
and past his prime,
proud of his glory days.

He had stood tall
amongst his peers,
but his time
had come and gone.

People still recognized him,
all the kids
in the neighborhood
still called him champ,
but they were too young
to remember when.

He went to the river
every morning,
and walked a mile or two.

he’d break into
what passed for a jog,
but that knee was gone,
and we won’t talk
about the shoulder.

He was more
than a bit punch-drunk,
and we all knew it,
but that’s the price they pay.

The other day,
he was walking his walk,
stopping intermittently
to shadowbox,
and the shadow
punched back.

It cracked him
square on the chin,
knocking him
flat out-cold.

He woke up,
seventeen and pretty,
all the aches
and pains were gone,
the scars healed.

He didn’t ask why,
he didn’t thank God,
there was no time,
he didn’t know
how long he had left
before the dream was over.

He ran home
in a flat sprint,
put the gloves back on,
and started working the bag,
a man possessed.

He could have gone
a new direction,
lived a brand new life,
free of the pain,
the abuse,
the nagging injuries.

He was a fighter.


a phobia, like any other

Bellied up again,
drinking the cheap shit,
eying the pickled eggs,
and Henry
(last name, not first)
pipes up,
rambling on
of death again.

He asked me how
I was gonna die,
I said, “Hopefully,
either fucking,
or sleeping.”

“You’re full of shit!
You’re not
gonna slip away
in your sleep.
You’ll die wide awake,
gasping for air,
clutching at your chest,
stinking of piss and shit,
absolutely terrified
at the nothing
that is to come,
a phobia,
like any other!”

“So, fucking, it is!”,
I said,
and went back
to my beer.