Solemnly I stroll through my front door,
my forearms throbbing from the weight
of two dozen grocery bags
because two trips is unacceptable.
The house music is blaring,
the carpets are stained,
the trashcan is leaking,
The kegerator is tapped –
God help us all.
My donation to the cause is fifty cent two liters –
Publix brand will have to do,
My feeble attempt at being a gracious host.
My Hobbit hole reeks of chronic and cheap beer.
I play Eye Spy with the half-empty liquor handles
my stomach churns at the sight of Everclear
I grab my trusted Wild Turkey
because I like the way that label says 101 Proof.
I walk by the dames making their way
to the bathroom to snort their paychecks away,
I wink and smile because they’re easy on the eyes.
I crank up the jukebox classics
to drown out the party
echoing throughout the house.
I sit back with my legs crossed
turning words into poetry and prose.
The lawn is plentiful
with gossip and crude jokes,
conversations about life and world events
are burrowed in the mulch.
I hate their prison tattoos
and Celtic crosses.
Their personalities are as fake as their ID’s.
They turn their heads like confused puppies
at the sight of John Milton and Gandhi’s words
tattooed on my skin,
As the ashtray fills with a herd of Camels
my face is buried in my laptop.
As I put the garnish on the last stanza
I suffocate my cigar and arise too hastily,
my head becomes a merry-go-round.
I walk the plank,
I drown in the pool,
my head in the clouds
as the chlorine burns my eyes, I ponder:
“I envy these people,
I loathe these people,
Am I pompous
or is better not?”
2. The Barstool
I despise clubs.
I loathe the blinking lights,
Praise Jesus I’m not epileptic.
The booming house music gives me the spins
And the spins piss me off.
I roll my eyes while echoing “excuse me” to no avail
As my buzz gets killed
at the thought of trading an Alexander Hamilton
for a Crown on the Rocks;
It’s like drinking salt water
to quench your thirst.
I hate the weak pour almost as much
as I hate the douche who poured it.
I murmur, “fuck the tip,”
As I make my escape
From this wretched place.
I frolic to my safe haven,
There’s just something about sitting in a barstool
Adding to my Instagram followers
And greeting familiar faces
with bear hugs
and slaps on the ass,
As I order another round of cervezas.
I sink in my seat,
Like it’s the warm spot in my bed.
I don’t smoke,
But my confidant Jack Daniels
Begs me to reconsider.
I give little resistance,
Soon waving a white flag.
As I follow in the footsteps
Of the Marlboro Man,
I grin like a child,
Opening a fresh pack of Pokemon cards.
I’ve evolved to a renaissance man in my drunken stupor.
The pretty ladies and I exchange smiles
And my gaze lingers up and down,
I cannot discern
if beer goggles are in full effect.
Overdraft protection is worth
the sight of a flat stomach
and shorts too short to understand
And I let my silver tongue
Do the rest.
3. The Locker
Here the game is waiting where
Time tends to frail resolve.
In this room are cagefighters from all walks of life,
Firm men who know nothing else,
Educated men who let their degrees collect dust,
Women fighters who have never heard of conformity,
Us all playing roulette with omnipotence and failure.
Even the hardest falter,
Their demeanors change with the minutes,
Their minds become a strange adversary.
I think about my human canvas
Waiting in the other room
As my fists are wrapped
In each hand is a four ounce paintbrush
He will be my canvas.
I am the predator,
My target is marked
Around him I imagine bull’s eyes and crosshairs
I bake under the lights,
As I wait at the locker room door,
Bouncing up and down,
Heeding the green light,
Waiting to make pain pretty
To create my Sistine Chapels
I do not fear the bottom of the bottle
The silver medals and hard knocks
Staring at the ceiling through clouded haze
This is the risk I take,
The revolver’s barrel stares into my temple
And I pull the trigger swinging
4. The Parlor
There is something about sitting in that leather throne that
revolves time and again like a sun dial.
I dread and love that cringe when my bare skin touches the cold black.
Futilely I attempt to hide my grin as I hear the motor run
and the needle stabs unremittingly,
as it spreads from ear to ear I think of the pain that is bittersweet,
A blissful agony that I endure for hours on end.
I am the architect fixed on my blueprint coming to life.
Black ink above all, I have this in common with squids.
I watch in nervous glee as the arduous procedure unfolds before me,
as I see how my pain is made pretty.
The beasts eat away at my flesh, first the lion, then the hyenas, then the vultures –
the outline, the shading, the highlighting.
My sculptor requires breaks of three-hundred seconds and two Cowboy Killers
while my doctor is pepper keeping me on a twenty ounce high for my toll change.
I hate the grease that congeals my fresh stamp,
I feel like a car getting an oil change.
Underneath the saran wrap my skin is raw and sore,
something like a steak being tenderized
Countless have adorned this throne for the price of discomfort and a swarm of bee stings,
In return to be a breathing Mona Lisa.
I borrowed your car last night
And went out in hopes of finding a warm body.
A Budweiser turned into rounds
A bummed cigarette became
An ash mound.
The bartender couldn’t pour
To save her life,
But I succumbed
To her seductress ways –
She got a better tip than she deserved,
But I extorted her for her ten numerals.
I bought a peanut butter burger –
Yes, they exist;
In my drunken stupor
I couldn’t find your Acura
In the parking garage,
So I took a cab instead,
Then ran out on it –
I needed the exercise.
I waved a white flag to the ZZZ’s before
I could shower; I’m heading to work smelling
Like a chimney and well whiskey.
I might have borrowed some money as well,
I owe you my next paycheck –
Check your wallet…
And I think I left the oven on, can you check?
That’s my bad.
6. Writer’s Fee
It took hundreds of hours
a saga of red-hot mood
three-fourths of Starbuck’s
carte du jour
more than a few dozen
the discomfiture of Publix’s wine vendor knowing me by my first
the ardent parrying of the unyielding writer’s
a string of texts in all caps because I write better in a computer chair than I do in a
my dog’s health because she gets a bone instead of a walk when I’m in the writing
and a never-ending cycle of carpal
to write this god damn
7. Whiskey Fever
Seagram’s Seven when I’m feeling generous
Evan Williams because it’ll put hair on my chest
Jack Daniels when the night is young
Southern Comfort when I’m ankle deep in beach sand
Jameson to compliment me pub lads’ Guinness and Bailey’s
Jim Beam when I’m trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents
Crown Royal when I want quality over quantity
Maker’s Mark when I want the world to know true class
Wild Turkey every other night
because I like how that label
says 101 proof
a crystal tumbler
a few cubes
a strong pour
of caramel color
Publix brand is better
A blue flame
a searing cherry
smoke ring tributes
to Tolkien’s Gandalf
A V-cut for that
so I can chew the end
as I relish the taste
but hold the torch
I like to use a wooden match
ode to Hellboy’s Tom Manning
I sit back with
my legs crossed
the perfect combination
not quite euphoria
but a silver medal isn’t always bad
I call it whiskey fever
because one drink doesn’t quite do the trick
but when the morning rolls around
sick is the only word that sticks
8. Andrew Jacksons
I took eighty dollars
out of your wallet
all in twenties
I can’t remember what
I spent it on
it was plenty
but I’m sure
worth the risk
because I knew
you’d find out
and in time I’d feel
9. Just To Let You Know
I forgot to walk
before I left
but I made
the last of the creamer
there was only enough
Eight-Ball Pool. My
Brothers in Arms. Our
Pin-Up Girls. The
Neon Beer Signs.
Arcade Air Hockey.
Jukebox takes a George Washington, gives
“Ring of Fire” and “Country Boy”.
Pretzels N’ Mustard.
Laundry List Tab.
Mom’s Silent Anger.
Dad’s Life Lectures.
Overdraft Benjamin Franklins.
11. Cherry Tree
I hopped over auntie’s fence
to steal a piece
of her cherry pie
cooling on the windowsill
that I smelled from next door.
The first bite was so sweet I thought
of Pooh Bear’s honey pot,
yet tart my face squirmed in pleasant pain.
So moist it melts as I munch away,
my lips smack as I take bites too big,
I save the crust for last as
I dispute seconds and thirds.
I was scared now,
Santa would think I’m naughty,
but still I licked
my hands clean,
as I slowly savored the claret juice.
I’d finish my broccoli for your garnets,
maybe even cauliflower.
I relish the taste as I wipe my face
as if I could hide the evidence.
I made sure to thank your cherry tree.
The smell of morning dew,
the cold of sleet
on my bare feet
as I tiptoed across
the wet grass
that slid so simply between
I brushed my hair out of my eyes
and stood on my tiptoes
reaching, as I
pressed against the tree,
sullying my overalls
and climbed the first branch.
Stuffing my pockets full
of these rubies
and made my escape.
12. A Muse
The voice said, Look me in the eye 8
and tell me God’s honest truth, sons of Adam 11
and daughters of Eve, 5
of all wars’ carnage, lovers lost, lives mislaid 9
was evil created 4
or did we make it? 5
13. Under the Lights
I am not samurai,
Nor am I an immortal,
I am not a soldier,
I am a modern-day cage-fighter.
For this moment that will define me.
The cage door closes and locks
Like a gate behind a gladiator entering a coliseum.
The crowd roars and applauds
At the battle waiting to ensue.
My opponent glares,
I grin as
I run my hand
Across the black coated mesh.
In this cage I fear
I will be punched,
I will be kicked,
I will reply with vengeance
We lock stares,
As they announce our “Tale of the Tape”
His fists clench,
My smile widens,
He paces back and forth,
Not breaking his gaze upon me.
I stamp my feet at the echo of my name.
I fight because I come alive
Under the lights, that beam down upon me as
The audience becomes silent.
The referee asks us, one at a time, “Are you ready?”
The bell rings
And we clash in the center of the octagon.
When the smoke clears
He will remember my name.
but not quite lost.
but not quite broken.
but not quite hungry.
but not quite sorry.
but not quite mad.
Down in the dumps,
the razors follow me closely.
Andrew Jacksons in the wind.
Knives in the dark,
yet my sword is sheathed.
My will is running on empty,
I bend the knee to the unknown.
I am a wanderer,
chained to a blank map.