Monday, October 17, 2011

Letter to a Friend

   That night you came back into town
And saw me combing the city up and down
For drugs to distract my restless brain
You said it made you feel ashamed.
You said you hardly knew me then
And you weren’t about to have a junky for a friend
You severed ties with me that night,
Unburdening yourself from my lonely plight
And in a single instant nothing remained,  
Years of drunken laughter down the drain.
I am not the same, this much is true
It seems each year I get a little more blue 
And the worst part is these drugs I do 
they just don't get me high the way they used to. 
Yes, it’s safe to say I am doing pretty bad
At the end of each day I am always a little sad
But there is a change in you too
That I would like to speak of,
Which is the hollowness in your heart
I once misconstrued for love.  
For you turned away from me that night
With a callousness that can only be called an art
Renting out the parking space I used to park in
A few feet from your fickle heart.
So go on your way, our days of laughter are done
Your memories like pebbles I toss one by one
Into a river gilded by a glossy sun. 
Watch as they sink beneath the brine
To be entangled by the sunless reeds for all time
Silently enfolded and forever lost
Buried with the millions of severed loves that too were tossed
By bitter lovers whose hearts were nailed to a bitter cross.

So stick close to the people who stay in the sun 
And crowd your life with only the best,
The ones who naturally breed success,
Cautious and prudent, careful with money
And if a joke’s too mean they won’t find it funny.
And they’ll never drink to get drunk for fear they’ll act boldly,
And they can never find time on their schedule to ever feel lonely,
with thoughts forever fixed on pay-raises and pensions, 
fortifying them from anxiety or depression, 
And they will Lift you up on the days you feel down
They are Lifeguards of Life’s Worries, you will never drown.
And you’ll never fall apart or wake up in a ditch
You’ll never have a wound that can’t be stitched
And You’ll only have two drinks if it’s your turn to drive
And no matter how good the honey is, you’ll stay away from the Hive.  
And you’ll never stumble and you’ll never fall
You’re too smart to act reckless
You refuse credit cards at every Mall  
Oh yes, In life’s ceaseless battles, you will win every bout
and you'll never risk being dragged down
For not once will your hand be reaching out….

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hydrocodone Wings

Soon you won’t feel so unloved
Carl said to me then took out a bag full of drugs
What’s that you got dancin’ in the palm of your hand?
Oh this, it’s just the stuff that dreams are made of

So into the night we go sailin' on hydrocodone wings
We’re planning on laughing at every face that we meet
With unrequited love and balls wound lust-tight
Only a fool would look for God at such an hour of the night

The Nach Bar’s quite lame, there’s no one around
Except for some hipsters and a few half-drunken clowns
but then the pills start to sink in and I get to thinkin’
this night ain’t half-bad, fact it’s the best I’ve ever had

Now the drugs start to fade, I’m back in my old funk
I’m feelin’ as drained as the beers I just drunk
We go to Steak and Shake with the twilight still gleamin’
And the high we were just on has lost all of its meaning

Dreams of youth spun on a roulette wheel
Made out of beer cans and a sad, lonesome song
While God was sleeping, we stole the crown off his head
And we had us some fun ‘till he took it back again

I awake in the morning feelin’ as lonely as ever
Carl is hovering over my bed
What we do now, I ask, that the moment is gone
And he says we go out and chase it all over again

Money That Keeps on Making More Money (or the Bernie Madoff Blues)

Hey little children Bernie’s comin’ to town
He’s gonna take all your money and invest it around
When it comes to your shares he guarantees
20 percent interest, maybe even 30 you’ll see

Go to sleep little children, you’re in safe hands
Bernie’s gonna double your retirement plan
The world is uncertain, the future unknown
But you don’t have to worry, your money’s already grown

Ah but for a while it was all so comforting
I could always be sure what tomorrow would bring
Cause what can put a man more at ease
Than money that keeps on makin’ more money?

Sleep tight little children, sleep the whole night through
Things that are good can also be true
There’s poverty all around but you’re fortified
Like a dove in Noah’s flood you’re safe in the sky

Wake up little children, all your money is gone
You put your whole nest egg in the hands of a con
It was all a big lie, so easy to believe
Wake up little children to the American dream

Ah but for a while it was all so comforting
I could always be sure what tomorrow would bring
Cause what can put a man more at ease
Than money that keeps on makin’ more money?

Now there’s a Palm Beach Jewelry store offerin’ fast cash
But you’re late on your mortgage so you better act fast
The dream has dried up in the dawn’s early light
Security’s a lullaby that hums you to sleep at night

Back to not knowing where to get your next meal
Schrodinger’s cat and a blind lady’s wheel
No one is alone and there is no safe place
Welcome back little children to the human race

Ah but for a while it was all so comforting
I could always be sure what tomorrow would bring
Cause what in this world can put a man more at ease
Than money that keeps on making more money?

The Jeffrey Dahmer Blues

Jeffrey Dahmer is my name and this is my song
I killed a lot of people, I knew that it was wrong
I was a monster, I was evil, I was lonely, I was sick
The Universe that bore me played a dirty rotten trick
Born in Wisconsin right outside of Milwaukee
And if loneliness were waves I guess my soul would be the sea
As a kid I was withdrawn from the people that I’d meet
My youth was spent hearing echoes of monsters at my feet
By eighteen I was drinking hard to keep the thoughts from breaking through
But the things you try and run from you’re really just running to
I picked up a hitchhiker one day when my Dad was out of town 
We went back to my place to drink some beers and wind down
We got into a fight that I can hardly remember
He wanted to leave, and I wanted him to stay forever 
In my thirties I moved into a place that would live in infamy
I brought back many men no one ever again did see
And after I killed them, I kept the bodies around
To have someone to talk to when I was feeling down
When a victim finally escaped, the cops came knocking on my door
I tried to play it straight but it was time to pay the score
When one of the men opened the fridge he let out a frightful gasp
I had kept many souvenirs from my long, lonesome past
In prison I was sent pamphlets from my sad and aging father
About a man who knew how to stand upon the surface of the water
They say this man could forgive any sin, but this gave me little hope
When it came to my crimes, I really pushed the envelope
I was baptized in ’93 so that my soul would not be lost
The water cleansed my body but did nothing for my thoughts
And then one day in the weight room after being checked for lice
I was beaten to death by an inmate who went by the nickname Christ
I was cremated that November, they scattered my remains
My apartment was torn down, and my brother changed his name

Living in a House of Death

Grandpa's got a piss pot 
Underneath his bed
He’s 95-years-old
But doesn’t look a day over dead
And Dad’s got cancer
He hurts with every breath
Yeah, life can be a bummer
When you’re living in a house of death

Mom takes care of them
And it breaks her heart
She can never remember when
Everything began to fall apart
And she’s always cleaning
Even if there is no mess
Anything to help forget
She’s living in a house of death

The only healthy faces in my house
Are on a box of Wheaties
Even my poor cat’s been
Diagnosed with diabetes

The cabinet in the kitchen
Looks like a pharmacy
Pills for the whole dying family
And sometimes they go missing
Go missing right off the shelf
You got to take the edge off somehow
When you’re living in a house of death

Van Gogh's Last Days

A yellow house, an empty room,
Stars faintly dimming in the gloom.
Sunflowers growing in the ground,
Chrome yellow blooming all around.
Sunflowers dying in a vase.
Self-portraits of a sunken face.
A parakeet in a rusty cage.
Blood dripping from a razor blade.
“Niet, nooit, Nimmer!”
A woman drowns herself in the river.
I think it was I believe the Seine. 
In May, the wheat is young and green.
Can’t you understand, Goddamnit!
I paint what I dream!
In July the wheat is withered and lean.
Let me see her, I said, for as long as I can keep my hand in the flame!
Sunflowers drowning in the rain.
To know God, you must love many things.
Will someone ever, in this vale of tears-
Will someone ever hear my bluebird sing?
La Tristee Durera Toujours!
They will not hear,
They will not hear,
They must have all sliced off their ears.

Now jagged crows descend upon
Flaming fields of wheat
Dimming forever the bright yellows and greens
Those vibrant colors I use to paint
All the flowers and faces I have seen
But love no longer guides the brush
And I can no longer see the soul shining through
All things.
It’s time to go, it’s time to go.  
The stars no longer make me dream.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Biggest Fan


This poem was written in response to
A contest that asked
People to write a poem
About the most important person in their life
Their single biggest influence
The one who has made them
Who they are today.
For me, there is no question
Who that person is
And though I am not usually inclined
To writing poems for contests,
Knowing that this could be an opportunity
to finally express how grateful
I am to this special person,
How I wouldn’t be here today
Without this special someone
Made me very eager to write the poem,
Which I hope when you read
Will at the very least
Make you think about the one person
Who has inspired you the most in your own life.
Because there is a special someone
In all our lives
Who was there for us not only through the good times
But the bad times too.
The person who made us who we are today.
This poem is about that special one in my life:


No one is my biggest fan
No one has been there for me
Since the beginning
And when I was feeling more than a little lonely
No one was always there
To listen.
And those times when I needed someone
To talk to
Quite badly,
So badly it could have been just anyone,
No one always came to the rescue.
No one was there for me 
Even during the bad times
When I was broke and depressed
And could barely even project
The illusion of being alive
When I didn't even think that much about sex
Which is when you know you’re really depressed
That’s when I could always rely
On no one being by my side
And while you’re other friends
Might seem more than eager to stick around
when you have some good jokes to tell
or some reasonably priced coke to sell
It's always when you have nothing
Left to give
No more jokes and no more drugs
That your friends seem so hard
To get a hold of
and so you find yourself staring for hours
at your bedroom wall
or wandering like a bored, indoor cat
through the halls
but just when you're about to lose faith in everything
just then
No one calls
Reminding you what you always knew
that you can always count on
No one coming around
When others are nowhere to be found.

And if I so much as stub my toe no one grieves for me
No one unconditionally
Believes in me
No one even likes when I sing Karaoke
Especially when I am drunk enough
to think people will enjoy me singing the entire score of
My Fair Lady or Gypsy
or Brigadoon
No one says my voice
Can really carry a tune.
And now that I am reflecting on it,
And pondering it from all sides
I don’t think I could have written
Without feeling no one’s presence
Near me at all times.
And not only when I’m writing poetry
Or songs or plays 
But how strongly I’ve felt no one’s presence
Beside me always.
I think if I had too choose
I would say no one is my greatest muse.

And during those times 
When I felt quite inspired
To walk away from it all
When the loneliness you thought you had
Flung from your hand for good
Seemed to always be returned to you
with the exactitude of those machines
that bring back your bowling ball for you
when I was quite tempted to just release my grip
and watch everything I own
float up into that shiny blue dome,
like a child has who has grown quite bored
watching his kite chained and controlled
by the string in his hand
so he finally
to just
The thought that always kept me from suicide
each and every time
Was how terribly torn up
No one would be if I died.
It just didn’t seem right
When I took into account all the grieving no one would do
And so I decided to keep on going
if not for me, I would say, 
then for no one.

And when I was really doing bad,
During those rocky times-
And I know you’ve been there too-
When the world has ground you
Into pudding
And you’re pretty much willing
to believe in just about anything
so long as it’s not true
and you’re pretty much ready to pray to anyone
just to have someone to pray to
And it don’t matter if it’s Oprah or Dr. Phil,
Zoloft, Prozac, or any of those other
Wonderful pills,
Or a Horiscope, or a whore you groped,
Or something you saw on Acid in a
Or a quote on Facebook
or a line someone said
When you were looking for help outside your self
In all those self-help books you read
It’s always then that I would remember
no one once told me:
That even if it feels as holy as the Holy Grail
Always be weary of the things people say
When they’re followed by a bill in the mail.

And besides,
No one always gives such wonderful advice anyway
Because no one knows what’s good for me.
No one knows what I need. 
No one knows where I’ve been
and no one knows where I need to be. 

And when following no one
Believing in no one
Being with no one
Becomes a little…
A little tiring on the soul
Like on those nights when I’m ploughing
Through a pack of Marlboros
On the patio of my Parent’s house
And I know pretty soon there will
Be no more quarters or nickels
Under the couch in their living room
For me to buy cigarettes with
And no more forgotten credit cards
In the glove compartments of their cars
For me to get drunk at bars with,
And I’m thinking how rich I would be  
If I had a dime for every dollar I owe  
And I’m a disappointment in the eyes
of everyone I know
On those nights
when listening to others
has made me feel weak and dumb
that’s when I always remember
how much better I start to feel
when I go back
to listening to no one.
Oh it’s always so much easier to breath
When you’re breathing in the presence
Of no one.

And on the nights when I find myself asking
How can my life possibly get any
Worse than this?
and right as those words are flung from my lips
I look down to find that I just stepped
In a big pile of shit,
That’s when no one always comes out of nowhere
To laugh at God’s little jokes with me.
No one agrees they’re all so witty
Each one a turd you step on in the street
Right after being convinced your life can’t get
any more shitty.

And on those days when I start to fear
That lately there’s been a bit of a distance
Between me and some of my closest friends
Who I haven’t spoken to in a couple of years
Or when I wake up in the middle of the night 
With a pounding heart and a sweaty head
And the intense certainty
That nothing is the only thing waiting for me
Once I’m dead
Or when I’m lying drunk on some neighbor’s lawn
Watching the sleepy eyes of the sky
Flutter open to reveal the dawn  
And suddenly I start to see so clearly in each faded firefly
That I’ve been lying every time I tell myself
That my love for her has died  
Oh those are the times when I really get to hear
No one sing such comforting lullabies
About love and loneliness and life
And death and loss and doubt
No one has such great advice
No one can tell you what it’s all about.

Oh, I admit,
it’s not always a bed of roses,
This love
I give and get from the only one
Whose ever really known me.
And there have been certain nights
Certain nights when I’m drunk and high and
tossing empty beer cans on to my front lawn 
and I feel quite strongly
That I’ve been where
No one can find me
For far too long,
When suddenly I am a bit tempted
to go run and hide in all those places where
no one is no longer the only one walking by my side
To run and hide in the comforting shadows of a church or a synagogue
places where you can always find a friend
or at least a friend in God
or apply for some spiritually rewarding job
hoarding weapons for the next Jihad
with other lonely men
whose loneliness is so bottled up inside
they could blow up at any time
or get a job at a bank refusing people loans
or join a rock band that’s looking for someone
who can play a mean guitar   
on his I-Phone
or a part in a play
provided it’s not a one-man show
or make those lasting friendships that only a Fraternity
can make for you
and in the process learn things about friendship I never knew
like if you want to earn it, you really have to pay your dues 
or seek solace from this crazy world I’m living in
with fellow crazies in a loony bin
where we can all go crazy in a million different crazy ways
far away from people who are way too sane
or join A.A. or N.A. or any other anonymous organization
where the first thing you say is your name
or join a volleyball club
where I can finally get some sun 
or join an Internet Dating Site
where people make connections through their inability
to make connections with anyone,
or shave my head and join a monastery,
or stop at just a crew cut and suit up for the marines or the military
or, if I’m really looking for something ruthless,
take part in the bloody, political maneuverings
of a University
but it’s always when I’m going through these myriad
options in my head
that no one gently reminds me
what all self-reliant lonely men
have always known
and all self-reliant lonely songs
have always tried to tell you
that when it comes to walking
through this world
it's always best to do it
with no one right there beside you 
if only for the satisfaction you will feel
when, in the years to come,
once you have finally crawled out from the other side 
of that tunnel you’ve been trying for some time 
to crawl out from
and someone asks you
how you managed to make it here
who did you depend on for guidance
through all those gloomy years
who kept you going through the world
when you no longer thought the world
was something worth going through
And you can tell them
With more than
a little pride
just who