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i’m taping a poem to a lamp post in my miniscule city
and a dude comes running – RUNNING!
across the street waiving a $20 bill
"i’ve been reading you for years
i wanna give you this"
i thank him and tell him to keep his money
"the transaction is i put up this poem
you read it, you like or hate it or shake your head
and if we meet we talk about it"
but come on
once again i beat t.s. eliot
you think anyone ever ran up to him
with 20 bucks for The Wasteland?
yeah right
although it mostly indicates the idiosyncrasy of poetry i write
and the species of folks who read it
just because something’s for sale
and you bought it
doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it
isn’t that why prostitution is illegal?
of course, stealing is fine
if you couldn’t purloin the life
of a sirloin or banana
you wouldn’t eat
BUT
just because you can buy a porkchop
doesn’t mean that the pig
placed himself on the market
not to sweat it though
when the earth digests you
it all evens out
4d · 49
I KNOW WHY
i know why
you ******* around on your wedding night
it was a great party
the girls were all dolled up
and you were the center of attention
Jul 12 · 779
TOUGH DAY
how tough?
i don’t need a bar
i need a distillery
you say you’re a patron of the arts?
then *******
i don’t feel like getting patronized today
every singer must fight the urge to pander to the crowd
sometimes an audience gets in the way
i’m only playing to an ideal anyhow
two ideals actually
and though pretty girls listen occasionally
they seldom buy the complications i peddle
so they’ve disqualified themselves
which leaves my other target
myself at 20
i don’t see that fellow either
the *******’s probably out smoking a joint during my set
but i’m going to assume he’s listening
with one ear at least
so i’ll keep broadcasting the love
besides
thelonious monk said a musician plays for people
and am i gonna argue with thelonious?
even if i wanted to, i missed my chance
Jul 9 · 95
TO THIS DAY
when you’ve seen the face of god
even if it was a hundred years ago
you obsess on that moment
i’ve never witnessed god
but i saw you
and that’s why i’ve been crazy
to this day
Jul 8 · 48
EXIT INTERVIEW
exit interview
with the manager
you’re both ******
he opens his trap and you snap
"shut up phil, and do what you do best
sit down and do nothing"
Jul 6 · 42
100%
a pretzel is 100% better than an empty stomach
ten minutes of sleep is better than no sleep
one kiss is better than no kisses
100% better
what the hell, 500%
you see where this is going
a little is a lot more than none
since you can’t have it all
a sip of water is a fountain to a parched throat
one listener an audience to a singer
a flicker of light to a blind man
a small breeze in the desert
warm breath on a frozen night
is 100% better than zero
however
a chuckle to a comedian in a crowded club doesn’t cut it
maybe none of these things do
a touch of lucidity to the insane only makes it worse
he sees the **** he’s lying in
Jun 26 · 70
LIFE IN THE ARTS
lounging on couch, young naked
chin resting on thin shoulder
she across room, pad on lap
penning preliminary sketches

outside, one sickening screech
of brakes, one suspended gasp
of skidding, one tremendous crash

not a twitched nerve in his body
no stroke broken on her pad

events outside remain outside
benjamin franklin was created by benjamin franklin
one of his most ingenious inventions
you could never read all the books about him
when you finish one, two more have been written
i party in his colossal footsteps
thanks ben, for lending me all those volumes from your library
you invented bifocals, i see clearly
your stove warms my heart
i give away my **** too -- no patents for me either
let’s jam sometime on your glass armonica
i’m packing one of your divided soup bowls on my next ocean trip
i’m sick of losing my clam chowder to the waves
these terms you added to the lexicon:
"battery," "positive," "negative," "conductor," "discharge"
i’m positive i bought a battery the other day
you designed the first penny – only now an anachronism
no matter how many of those saved pennies have been earned
all those aphorisms, my god
i bet you mumble them in your sleep
you started the philosophical society, me the secret music society
you studied whirlwinds and gulf streams when sailing to london for a cup of coffee
you designed flippers, hung onto a kite for windsurfing
used the kite to summon lightning
invite me next time you blow up a thunder house with an ungrounded lightning rod
we’ll make pittsburgh tremble
and congrats on the grounded lightning rods
you saved millions of people and neutralized religion
it’s not the deadly finger of god, the vengeance of the lord
it’s just a buzz
lighting the streets at night comes in handy
though the night watchman concept has gotten a bit fascist
brokering the french alliance was stellar for our onion soup supply
but your suggestion that we unite these states
i’m not sure that one’s gonna stick
and thomas jefferson was a cockblocker
we declare independence from his scolding us for all our mademoiselles
Jun 15 · 153
LATE FOR THE SKY
jackson browne's Late for the Sky is an uncanny song
illuminating the moment right before you split
with someone you love
the latenight time when despite all the swerving
you see the end of the road
the grieving and inevitability
built right into the overtones
i liked it before i had a girlfriend
and when i had one and we built a world together
and broke up
i listened to it and shook my head in recognition
and thought what a good song
Jun 8 · 102
BEATNIK POEM
her life spliffs in a series of luminous crescendos
culminating in a bassinet and bottle for a porcupine
spewing tears and spittle while the man she married
commits ping-pong with the video and her friends
television around the world as the hours go drip drip drip
Jun 3 · 122
DEAD RUTH BUZZI
ruth buzzi lay dead on the lawn
ruth buzzi, star of rowan & martin’s laugh-in
dayglo spinster with a hair net
like a spider web on her scalp
foil for arte johnson
remnant of a comedian
lay stiff on the lawn
my wife placed her there for decoration
she thought it was perfect
well it was perfectly disturbing
our friends were uncomfortable coming over
i reasoned with her
"we can’t have kids here"
but my wife thought it was a cool garnish to the house
she laughed, fixed herself a tito and tonic
and plomped down in a chair on the porch
admiring the lawn
Jun 1 · 142
LOOP DE LOOP
waiting for the stars to align
meanwhile
there’s tacos, the kids, the cats
and us
and the stars loop de loop
to scoop us up
bomb-sniffing dogs, towing cars
ripping down my poems
scooping the homeless from storefronts
herding them into the park
i’m surprised they’re not hosing down anyone
with ***** feet
May 24 · 122
BOHEMIAN VERSE
art, chix & wine are fine
but artchix & wine are divine!
May 21 · 192
EXPRESS YOURSELF
he was combative, strapped to the bed
but he could still express himself
he spit a tooth at his nurse
“and there’s plenty more
where that came from, *****”
May 14 · 152
STAN
every once in a while
stan asks me to hold his phone
and watch his unit
while he attends a prayer service
in the hospital chapel
it's cool most of the time
but come on stan
do i ask you to hold the phone
while i smoke a bone with satan?
"try a few more," i encourage
i’m doing a breathing exercise
with a young multiple GSW
"you ain’t no doctor
and i’ll stop when i wanna ******* stop"
an amiable attitude
directly correlated
with multiple GSW
May 2 · 119
BIFF
the frustrations of biff are a technicolor epic
his bottomless thirst to be coronated king
of film, music, literature, performance
thought
when will the world recognize genius?
reward genius?
worship genius?
******* genius?
he’s the id for all us artsy types
Apr 27 · 236
PEP
PEP
last week i had to put down my little cat peppy
after nineteen weird years of love
sadly now i can leave my boots in the hall
knowing she won’t *** on them
Apr 21 · 109
FREEDOM
sadly we’re all born to play supporting roles
but the prisoner by subtraction
is free to imagine anything
he can make you and me zombie slaves
concubines to his fantasy
he has that right; it’s kosher
while we wear chains of responsibility
shackled to the civilities of liberty
exercising our right to spend money
on **** we don’t need
he can steal it all
he can dream us to death
Apr 18 · 122
4:45
i could give him ten breathing treatments
he’s still 84 years old
struggling to breathe at 4:45 in the morning
i could give him twenty treatments
he still has CHF
jamming the right chamber of his heart
flooding his lungs
he’s not drowning in it, not yet
but every breath is a squat ******
i sit with him at 4:45 in the morning
administering useless medicine
watching ice truckers, shooting the ****
it’s not lasix, which is what he needs to flush the fluid
but i’m good company and so is he
and that will have to be therapy enough
at 4:45 in the morning
Apr 15 · 163
EVEN SWITCH
when i was ten years old and we were moving
i recall those sessions with the real estate agent
i was suffering and she was happy
i was watching my world disintegrate
leaving my friends, my school, my home
my sister and i would never feel comfortable again
and this real estate woman was having a ball
enjoying the transaction, making a few bucks
digging life
i remember wishing we could make an even switch
i could be her, happy and whole
she could be me, losing so much

now i work in a hospital
and as i treat the weak, wheezing and dying
spending time with them and their families
and their desperation, resignation and grief
while for me it’s just another workday
punctuated with lunch and coffee
i see they too wish for an even switch
they’d leave me languishing in the bed or waiting room
while they hop on my bike listening to the beastie boys
on their blissful way back home
Apr 8 · 300
DIARY
playing the ***** at a puppet cocktail party
couldn’t be an easier audience
but my check is still in the mail

saving a skinny woman with chest compressions
single-handedly so-to-speak
i wasn’t alone but i’ll take the credit
the others were weak, i was going heavy
and that’s when she came back

resurrecting my villain for the TV series Heroineburgh
an afternoon shoot with 3 young ladies in tight spandex
acting!

saving another woman with team compressions
went on for 60 minutes before her heart reignited
a christmas miracle
though i unplugged her 2 days later
continuous seizures

getting 3 of my 4 bands on one compilation
that and a quarter would give me a quarter

falling off my bike twice in 5 minutes
car ran a red light, then got doored in the bike lane
today was the first day my sprained wrist allowed pushups
(helps with those chest compressions)

making a money hat for the video i’m shooting for the Dumplings
they’re the Rolling Stones of my favorite bar

went to a hypnotist at the Fringe Fest
failing to get hyponotized
"you were obviously resisting," said my wife
i don’t know
i think i’m just obviously me

playing my ***** on a movie stage
for 8 second segments with the movie
don’t ask
we made $96 and bought tacos for $95

now i’m listening to my swinging new louis prima album
reflecting on this groovy month of spring
Apr 5 · 69
BAUDELAIRE
was baudelaire right and everyone else wrong?
was baudelaire wrong and everyone else wrong?
when you’re fed up forwards and backwards
when you realize your life isn’t a game of chess

it’s simply checkers
almost preordained
in its lack of options
we all have embedded GPS systems
gallantly navigating through the days
some work brilliantly
some less so
we depend on them
and they’re undependable
they get us so far
but invariably lead us
to the end of the highway
going 90
everyone puts his best foot forward
only to stumble off the edge of the earth
you can’t win forever
you lose it all
but **** a duck
i’m going to redefine victory
one bottle at a time
like baudelaire
Apr 4 · 588
INSULT
when someone insults you
it shortcircuits everything good
that happened that day
or week or year
it plays on a loop in your mind
igniting a roulette wheel of reaction
that might whirl out of control
so watch out *******
maybe
Mar 27 · 70
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
play in a great band and no one wants to hear you
write a fine poem and no one wants to publish it
even published, no one wants to read it
looking fine but no one’s looking
got a big **** and no place to put it
******* in front of me, can’t squeeze them
i tell you, it’s a miracle anyone ever gets off a load
Mar 23 · 200
TO MY LOVED ONES
i am a poem
with an inception and a finale
perfect
you’re the best stanza
making it whole and sublime
and now i snap shut
i float away, complete
happy
saturday afternoon at the music store
browsing those racks of $1 CDs
dismal souvenirs of ambition
tiny graves
Mar 9 · 122
SPUTUM SAMPLE
it was the greatest sputum sample ever collected in this hospital
the guy wasn’t coughing, he wasn’t doing anything
except lay there like a dead fish
we’d smash the ezpap mask on his face to inflate his lungs
useless
the doctor asked me to get a sputum sample to see what was growing in there
"the guy does nothing," i said.  "he doesn’t cough"
"can you NT suction him?"
push a plastic catheter up his nose, into his lungs
"that’s pretty invasive for a sputum sample"
"can you do it?"
"yeah i can…  i never have for that, but i can…"
so i go in with his nurse and my student
i have the catheter ready, all lubed up
i’d want a lot of **** if it was my nose
but first i put a sample jar under his mouth
and say "look dude, i need you to spit in this cup"
i don’t know if he’s listening or what
"if you can’t do it i’m gonna go up your nose with a rubber hose
it doesn’t hurt exactly but you’re not gonna like it
but i won’t do it if you can spit in this cup"
his eyes are half open
he’s possibly considering it
"COME ON DUDE, SPIT IN THE CUP!  HOCK A LOOGIE!"
then we hear a rumble
it’s like the awakening of a volcano
"DO IT!  HOCK A LOOGIE!"
we hear it coming up the pipe
"YES!  DO IT!"
it sounds substantial and it keeps coming
i open his mouth and holy mackerel
there’s a gallon of yellow mucus
it’s astronomical, a ******* tidal wave
i shake the cup under his mouth
"SPIT!  DO IT!"
but he doesn’t spit
his mouth is full as a bucket
but it’s not going anywhere
"give me that yankeur," i say to the nurse
she gives me the stiff suction wand
i don’t even plug it into the vacuum
i just use it to scoop the phlegm from his mouth into the cup
"o my god," says my student
she’s getting an education today
i keep scooping, filling the cup
"wow," says the nurse
she’s seen a lot but she’s never seen **** like this
"ALRIGHT, DUDE," i say, capping the cup, laughing
it’s the greatest sputum sample in the history of the world
Mar 2 · 116
LITERARY CRITICISM
sharing a dilapidated porch and shrinking fifth of jim beam
with my friend pete
we’re in maine celebrating his fourth novel
eagerly awaited by his ten fans
the sun is sinking and pete has his ruger 380
taking potshots at a statue of cervantes on the lawn
“what’s your issue?” i ask as he clips cervantes’ shoulder
“jealousy?”
“no,” he drawls, casually reloading
“******* never wrote a followup to don quixote”
Feb 24 · 154
SECRET KNOWLEDGE
i’ve decided to know everything about everything
perhaps a tragic endeavor
but i’m optimistic
i’ll follow newton’s 1st law of motion
first a smidge of research
launching observation
floating on instinct
sailing on forever
that should do it
my mind is rippling with patterns revealed
i know about you
i know about the rain
i know about you and the rain
my secret knowledge
is that YOU have secret knowledge
and here’s good news
i will be charitable with my wisdom
Feb 18 · 265
SIMPLE ECONOMICS
the rich need your money to stay rich
the rich need your labor to stay rich
they need you to shut the **** up and keep digging
it’s really very simple
Feb 12 · 136
TV STARS AND POP SINGERS
once you're out of diapers

TV stars and pop singers don't compute
you look at a magazine
"my god, these people have no eyebrows"
you don't recognize them
you're not supposed to
they're not programmed for you
they're not singing to you
they're not designed for you
you're free
Feb 6 · 87
PLAYING DOCTOR
so young, so bare-midriffed
i’m taking her blood in biology class
we’re studying phenotypes
i jab her finger twice
but no gravy
i pinch her fingers
and blood spurts from two holes
as i’m about to poke a third
****
she’s as tight as she looks
yeah, bio students
should have more supervision
when extracting each other’s blood
but it’s some first date
Feb 1 · 377
HEAVY BACKPACK
(for my fellow dharma bums)

why is this backpack so heavy?
chicken & country cole slaw
forks & knives & spoons
a bicycle helmet hanging off
a sketch pad
books
          the next 100 years
          how the beatles destroyed rock’n’roll
a walkman & cds
          the soundtrack to the darjeeling limited
          faust’s first two albums
          tom waits & alan holdsworth
          compilations of local prog rock
          modern blues & albert king
old newsweeks
a black t shirt & blue scrubs
a folder with poems & instructional material
          the brain death protocol
a stethoscope
but why is it so heavy?
must be the hot sauce
Jan 30 · 97
WHITE DEVIL
playing my harpsichord in pittsburgh’s market square
an audience of homeless, druggies, children of druggies
scurrying working stiffs and three tourists
a black man at the far corner of the square
scampers straight for me, screeching "white devil!"
"white devil! white devil! white devil!"
he’s in front of me, leaning on the harpsichord
"WHITE DEVIL!"
then he drops $2 in my upsidedown bongo
turns around, screams "white devil!"
and runs out to the street
Jan 29 · 66
WORLD DOMINATION
the u.n. laid sanctions against me
presidents planted propaganda
missile defense shields were erected
all in vain, daddio
Jan 25 · 377
THE BANQUET
you think a rich twit
when he eats the banquet he calls supper
cares whether the peons are republican or democrat?
he just cares that the soup is served hot
Jan 24 · 80
SURRENDER
i look in the mirror and wonder
how do i do it?
the **** i have to deal with!
then i think about other folks
and the torture they endure
i throw my hands up
surrender to god
and turn on the TV
Jan 23 · 478
KEEPING SCORE
this week thurston moore liked one of my videos
robert hunter liked one of my poems
and some japanese kid liked my latest soundcloud tune
that’s sonic youth, the grateful dead and the asian empire
if you’re keeping score
like i am
"**** right i got the blues"
a buddy guy signature tune
it’s tattooed on the patient’s shoulder
the words embedded in buddy guy’s polkadot strat
i can’t get him to wake up from sedation
which is necessary for me to pull the breathing tube
he’s almost there but not
after an hour i drag a computer into the room
and play the song
thinking what a cool way to wake him up
it doesn’t work
but he comes around eventually and i pull the tube
"you play guitar, right?" i ask once he’s with us
"he tries," says his wife
we all laugh
Jan 21 · 57
RESTAURANT REVIEW
had a ****** french meal
dull, heavy and not cheap
but like opera
french cuisine is out of my ken
maybe it was marvelous
all i can say is opera’s not for me
Jan 19 · 189
A GIFT
my father died when i was 14
presenting me with an unsolvable calculation
and a bleak though accurate view of reality
my wife and i didn’t die when the kids were kids
and that was a gift to the children
which we took back a bit by living
and the drinking, a mixed bag
but no divorce and no funerals
you’re welcome, kids
Jan 9 · 57
COMPLAINTS
how did it come to this?

scurrying to "work," participating in this "economy"
plugged into abstract patterns of baroque behavior

well, complaining is easy -- it's just one of those days
when the larger perspective seems alien

you can put quotation marks around any concept
to yank it out of context for examination

bad?  good?  pathetic?
“bad?”  “good?”   “pathetic?”
Jan 5 · 67
LIES
people lie constantly
mostly to themselves
cause they're the only ones
who give a ****
we lie about who we are
and that's ok
sometimes it helps us
become who we want to be
a dream is a lie is a dream
Dec 2018 · 59
TEQUILA!
the dirty poet Dec 2018
consistency is defeat
going to work every day?
coming home?  every night?
TEQUILA!
***** BONGWATER!
look
my totality changes
every day and a half
i’m one slippery *******
so if and when i tumble out your window
it’ll be a nuclear event
molecules exploding
lasciviously recombining
promiscuously bonding with whatever
carnal stray matter catches my eye
by tomorrow morning
i’ll be snowing
all over the universe
Dec 2018 · 415
SANTA'S ELF
the dirty poet Dec 2018
alcohol and *******
and ******* at his wife
he chose to jump out of a sled
and land on his head
his christmas present to himself
now he’s tethered to a ventilator
with a bolt in his brain
his intracranial pressure
is scaling mt. everest
that there santa’s elf
is the textbook definition
of ******* up
Dec 2018 · 182
NECESSARY
the dirty poet Dec 2018
you gotta do what you gotta do
and even if you DON'T gotta do it
you gotta do it anyway
it’s necessary
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