A Night To Remember (In A Steel City Dive)

What seemed like a hot bed
Walking through the streets
Has become some sort of a
National Park as of late. When

It used to be, ‘Oh shit, Pittsburgh.
Sweet. I live there.’ It has become,
‘Here we are, a booming little city.’
Who once said, ‘Pittsburgh, huh?’

Now says, ‘Yea, Pittsburgh.’
And I’m not exactly sure how
I feel about that. Where men
Once smashed head long into

Each other, they’re now vying
For political license. And I don’t
Know if they’re looking for work
Or bringing ideas. All I know is

What my dad’s told me of their
Glory days, but at least this isn’t
Minnesota. I’m confused because
I feel if this city is so up and coming

There must be a market for a new
american voice and if that’s the case
Then there must be a true literary
Vein around here somewhere and

Fuck, if I can’t think that we’ve got
Minds sitting in basements and at bars
Discussing where this pulse can take us
If only we could out sell Michael Chabon

And if there are people saying that
That is only the most visible part of
The ice burg, the part that melts away
Every summer. Then the true sustenance

Of all this new marketability comes from
The people sitting in basements and bars
Submerged, distorted by the light’s reflection
That are really keeping this whole thing floating

It must be there, somewhere
Below the surface.
(Where’s the fucking
S.K.U.B.A. U.N.I.T.?)

Story Line D

Usually antiquing stories don’t end
with record players rolling at 33 rmps

But this one ends with trips
to the hospital, and picks up again

At a good buddy’s house, then skips
off to New York. Strange

How such things have lives of their own.
What a way life looks through

The front door compared to this
cranial high def, realer than real

And, seemingly, good enough.

Warning: May Cause Robbery

This was supposed to read,
“Look at what these fucks have

reduced me to.

A no good common thief!
Stealing from friends and family

just to quiet this
internally raging dispute,

Destructively chemically enhanced to,
(Through the process, decreasing benefits and,
I’d say, unintentionally, drastically

increasing risk.) keep
this silent, unsettled, sensation
present in me at all times!

The prosecution against the producers
Of this particular product is ‘Its not
Governmentally regulated.’ Oh, really?

If it’s not ran by the feds
than it’s ran by the caps, who have
just as much to gain fiscally as

The deep debted governing parties. Then
They say, ‘You don’t know what’s in those.
There’s no labels.’ Read the label on that
Soda you’re drinking, that Hungry Man

you’re nuking, those Twizzlers
you’re gobbin’ on. You may,
but I don’t know what half that shit listed is.
Let’s say you visit Hong Kong and check

Out some nice looking restaurant, point to
Something on the menu, love it, find out later
It’s the same shit that Rex is made of, and you freak
Out, but at least it was real. Who am I kidding
China’s in on all this manufactured food kick too.”

But, in fact, this reads,
“I can’t believe Amy left
her smokes sitting down here
all weekend long, thank god.”


God is speaking to everyone, always
God holds no grudges, with no pretenses
God does not hold the key to salvation

Nor is god listed in any book
God is in all books
God is Peace

To find God
To find Peace

Life is suffering
Suffering stems from desire
The desire to find God

The end of desire
Leads to the end of suffering
Leads to Peace


Paul It Ick In

Something came loose
but no one could tell
what. Even the experts.
We all, even the laymen,
stood there, staring at it,
everyone thinking,
‘It’s not right. Something
has got to be loose up
there.’ And it was true.
They were all right. Each
and every person there, the
very old, the weary young,
the real smart, and the average
dumb, but no one suggested
how to fix it.

A Field Of Dasies

A field of daisies
All beer bottles with
Their caps turned upside
Down over their mouths
Like some bizarre Fred
Durst fetish flick from
The late 1990’s, telling
Your wife your son d/loaded
It, so you don’t end up
Impeached, on C-Span
All cheap suits with
Arms raised in the vote
For yay, like
A sunflower in a field
Of daises

Rock Star Band 2

And playing Jimmy Eat World’s song – The Middle,
Ooh! I can almost taste that fourteen year old at the
end of the rope. There, at the door of the green
room, already waved her ride ahead, ready to stay
all night, or at least till the headliner finishes up,
and we pack the van and keep moving on. Yea,
I can see her, all anxious, thinking she’ll get more
than one ride. And I can see it, there, in her mother’s
eyes, too, as soon as that first note rolled out the speaker.
Getting what she thought she wanted and I’ll get
it from all of them, if I play my chords right.

The Heart of the Matter

And I get it.
I get it, ya know?
Because its not about me
right? And that’s fine.
That’s fine with me. I really
wouldn’t want that kind of attention.
It’s about the company, yea?
The public image of this establishment
because the customer funds my pay
check, pays my bills, so we need
to keep them coming. So
it’s about the customer. I’m here
to look after the customers, to
make sure the bills keep on getting

paid, yea? And it’s my bosses, right,
who are here to look after me, and
all that good stuff. They’re here to
write my pay checks, right? To hand
out the lot. One for me, one for you.
One, two for me, two for you.
One, two, three for me, three for you.
But they’ve got my back. Yea.
Of course that’s where they’ll be
if I’m late, or if I fuck up.
But they’re trying hard for me
with the excel scheduling program, aint’ they?
Yea, it’s like we’re friends, ain’t we?
Until I need an advance on that joke they tell
me every other week, then they turn
quickly to the loan shark voice, all Cagney,

see? Or, if, sweet Jesus, I just can’t
seem to drag my depleted ass in, or
said to them, weeks in advance, I’d be out
of town, and still they assume I’ll be here,
like a whiney girlfriend, you still love me,
right? Christ, if it isn’t going to the same
everyplace else. But I understand, that it’s not about me.
It’s not even about the customers really.

It’s about our wallets. Want a house?
Need money. Want lights in that apt?
Need money for that. You wanna eat?
Money. Get around? Cash, exact change.
Want a newspaper? Buck, fifty. And this is how
it goes for everyone. So then, if
its not about me, which its not, then
what’s my time here about?

Sick Leave

And, yes, mom, it is worth it. Being back, here now,
the way the ideal of love spurns on the most dissatisfying
of one sided relationships, rationalizing in bed for 10
or 15 days, made it only more clear how terrible and pointless
this all is. Terrible, as not only poor in quality
but as literally inspiring terror at the thought of how much
time is lost in this, and pointless, as not only having no
relevancy, but as in completely unending, rambling and
rattling, worthless, from pay period to pay
period. What comes of it? If it wasn’t for my feverish
scribbling, what is there to show for all this receiptless
bill paying, and free time distraction? And I can wake up
tomorrow and do this all over again? Am I to feel
privileged about this? Am I too look around the world
and say I am better off than the starving African children
or the war torn families of the middle east? Am I
to succumb to that blatant ignorance? How can I feel
joy in the serving of food when I’ve never felt hunger?
How can I feel peace in the security of my surroundings
when never have I felt real fear? How can I complain
about this mediocrity being dull when I’ve never
had any honest feeling in my life? How can I say I’m
caged in this set up, when I’ve never been free? I have,
at one time, felt free, not run by the unending uneasiness
of not knowing when the next schedule will come out?
Not living on the wishful fulfillment of a request off-
How ridiculous does that sound?

Although, I suppose in the grand scheme of human form,
the ability do so such a thing seems miraculous,
what with slavery, and obvious serfdom, but we’re only
one step removed

Is There A Problem

What a fantastic ruckus came pouring
in the freshly opened window!

Multiple sirens and, for a moment,
explosions? No.

This is america. Gunshots, probably.
Perhaps a good ole git away’s goin down

right there along the train tracks.
All, listen here, Bugsy. You keep mowin’

down them coppers, and we’re as good
as gone! The 12:45’s commin’ through.

That’s gunna cut em off, see? N’yaw.
But all the sirens were heading east,

not north like they should have been.
Best for me they keep to it. Then I’ll still

have a way to get outta here when they come
all battering rams and blood sniffing dogs

with bayoneted automatic assault rifles
and Eminent Domain, just because

I’m sitting here, not botherin’ a damn soul.
Knew I shoulda’ kept the window closed.


Buckle up, sunshine, the roads starting
to bow, could leave anything near it hurtling
through time like middle american days off.

Make sure the strap’s properly adjusted
for your personal height and weight there,
bright eyes. Don’t want ya choking

yourself. That’s morose, moonbeam. Focus
more on the trip itself, the wonderfully
dull transition from here to there, then

to now, when to where, and finally, silence.
Silence, I said, and I meant it. If you touch
that radio again while I’m driving, I swear

I’ll run each of these four tires over and back
over the furry little heard of the first nine puppies
we pass, and I’ll make you, crybaby, pay for the car wash!

Now! This is going to be fun! Gosh dern it.
We’re all going to smile and laugh naturally when
we take pictures, so we can remember what we saw

and how happy we were to see it. Come on now,
stormy cloud, why the long face? All this fun isn’t
supposed to make you cry. It’s suppose to be fun,

relaxing for us all. I already did all the hard work,
so there’s no reason you should be crying. It’s quite
insulting, really. You saw all those hours I put in, all

the time we didn’t spend together and I didn’t spend
smiling. I did all of that for this, and now, you’re going
to somehow try to excuse your behavior by saying

I shouldn’t yell! Now look at all this traffic you’re causing,
you damn ice queen. Why the hell is it so hard for you to
be warm and pleasant? Always gray and uncertainly

slippery, all sliding around with never any real attempt
at sturdiness or, god forbid, keeping anything dry! But
look at this, my windy self blowing your tears, tinkling, all over

the night like the stars finally said yes to gravity and came,
tumbling, through your darkened clouds and turned out
to be diamonds, useless and beautiful, lining the highway medians

for miles and miles, in huge, glistening piles
under fluorescently dimmed, vastly empty,
blue scale skies. Headlights flashing like idea

bulbs in roadside rest stop cartoon pamphlets, looking desperately
for an entertainment, because, I’m sorry,
lovely, I had no idea where this was going.

Yes, Urp, We can!

Frogs sunning on billion dollar rocks, picking freely at
the poor flies, who live only to make it out
of the water and into the open air, fuck, and die.
The frogs getting even fatter for all the feverish toil.
The flies only hope is to quiet their buzzing
enough no one hears and starve those lazy frogs
half dead, then infect them with malaria. Or feed
them all the dumb ones, that way we can grow
some backbones and get the fuck out of this boggy
cesspool, and in our finally coherent pack, we can
graze in natural harmony. And when those fever
stricken gorgers wander out in desperation, all
mangy hair and jagged teeth, they too will be hungry
to survive. They’ll attempt to herd us back
into their jaws, powerful with rage, but we’ll be quick
witted, able to out run their clutches. Some maybe lost,
inevitably, but never again will we be so mindlessly picked
at by beasts we never see striking. We won’t keep our heads
down, and we won’t wait to react. We’ll find a new place
to eat. That way they’ll never get us all. We can work
on our communication, and we can use the world
around us to hold those savages back. We can overcome
their numbers, and use what remains they leave
by their sacrifices. Their hides for clothes. Their dens
for shelter. Their meat for food. They won’t follow us
this time. We’ll be able to be comfortable, finally.
We won’t have to struggle in our everyday lives. We can
concentrate on our living, on our fucking and our dying
with no cares in the world! We can live to see that our children
survive and we can teach them stories about how we got here,
and we can figure out the intricate beauty of the world!
The poetry! The music! The life! Our cities can flourish and we can
explore all the parts of the world! We can
survive those thousands of damn diseases, and we can
put a price on it all, and if they can’t pay it, we can
pick’ em clean, like fat, fucking frogs, sunning on billion dollar rocks.