Thursday, December 16, 2010

the snow sits softly
on a porch a gave myself to years ago
it makes a promise I could never keep
to die here
to live here
I see the intersection poetry
I see the future pulling past
I can get out of here
raise the sails and set the mast
you'll be beauty pictures
you'll be my last real agenda
I've not seen anything
to tell me I was never here
make me ask the questions
to the story I tell myself
so I can come back here
foresaking heart and health
let me back one more time
so I can see the cutest things
I'd only cut myself up for back then

Monday, December 06, 2010

nothing of everything

i liked it better in your apartment

when it was summer & it was stifling hot

so hot it made the sidewalks expand

& let the ground breathe

but no, not like me

the stagnancy of your air

made it difficult to stretch my lungs

it’s not anything like that,

no, not anymore

we’re closing in on winter

& you’ll soon be bitter cold

so cold it makes the sidewalks contract

& my first conscious breath will be stolen

when we lie in a bed

so frozen it makes us tremor

& you don’t hold me at night

no, not the way you used to

in the throws of loveless limbs

using yesterday evening’s cigarette butts

to move tonight’s ashes aside

blowing smoke into your ceilings

between sips of whiskey & cider

making sure your poisons are kept pure

i see those other women in your eyes

wearing your lovers’ clothes

& your coughs don’t concern me

cause i’ve got one more smoke than you

& if i could just get inside your head

i’d pack my shit & leave

just remember,

your hair’s gonna fall out

your teeth are gonna rot

your ears will go deaf

your eyes will go blind.

you’ll eventually think yourself to death

which i find foolish

when it’s a hell of a lot easier

to drink yourself dry.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The important dates are never really important to me
like the day I graduated was annoying and my 30th
birthday will never be as epic as my 28th a bonfire
illegally set on Long Beach Island with some friends
alone and cold under those October stars with a bottle
of rum. Holidays are just days that my job recognizes
as days off. The real holidays that I work for that have
the most meaning to me don't mean much to anyone else.
Like flag day every summer in my friends garage
or the 8 hour drive to see a groundhog predict
the weather, and October 10th something I think
we made up celebrating the existence of New Jersey
Diners and every cup of coffee we've had there.

How to Open a Hot Dog Stand

You may open up a hot dog business
and your passion may be hot dogs
and you may love the hot dogs
that you make and perhaps you
like hot dogs with whipped cream
or maple syrup and thats fine
you can have those hot dogs
readily available when someone
wants to try something new
but have your sauerkraut
and baked beans and ketchup
and mustard and let customers
relish in the type of hot dogs
they know and love. Then
when they are tired of their
usual hot dogs you give them
a hot dog or two for free
with peanut butter and let
them discover your creation
on their own. They'll love
that its something new
after all the comforts
of the old and your hot dog
stand will profit and one day
you may own a truck shaped
like a hot dog. That's how
you start a hot dog business.

The hardest thing about E-books
is remembering to read the book.
It's not lying on my floor waiting
to be browsed through but in bits
in this flat machine. Words wait
to be downloaded immediately,
much slower than a quick glance
to the side of my bed. By the time
I turn it on it's over and I don't want
to read anything. Perhaps I will print
out the covers of books and throw them
on the floor to remind me of their existence.
Ill stare at the covers as the screen
tries to load so I can read that novel
I've been meaning to read or essay
on reading or writing to remind myself
that I like things simple.

How Disneyland Works

This is how I imagine Disneyland works.
When some unfortunate child or adult
to big or to small gets their head
loped off on a roller coaster,
falls through the loose seat belts,
or crushed between cars.
The blood has to be cleaned
right away or else it stains
and no one wants to get
on a ride with blood stains
on the seats.
Vomit is so much easier
to clean and probably
takes less time with
a quick hose down.
I imagine all the costumed workers
get together in their costumes
with buckets and sponges
clean off the plastic seats
and distract the people waiting
in line with a short cartoon
of the real characters
they are pretending to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i gave a boy my heart
then he stole my guitars
he's famous now

i imagine they're in a corner
sitting on stands
nearing 1/8 of an inch of dust coating

or maybe they're boxed up in storage
to be sold years from now
for hundreds, maybe thousands

or maybe he plays them
from time to time

maybe they were stolen from him
then stolen from that girl
and stolen from that guy

i don't miss my guitars
i just hope that whoever has them
still gives 'em some attention

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Night for You

meet me by the card house
my room is two oh four
I'll take you on your birthday
and toss you out the door

I'll delegate your future
I'll make you hit the brim
toss it all on black jack
but the payout odds are slim

remember sixteen living days
remember your first shots
blow the candles out on the balcony
turn the light off on your plots

keep the screaming in your head
you have grown to hide these things
celebrate a year of dark
and wish for a futures' lesser sting

Where She Cuts You

I have smelled the gasoline
you're planning on spraying out
I can see the vengeance in your face
the plug-in chainsaw in the closet
was not put there by accident
take a breath
take a breath
the white in your knuckles
is a tell all picture
the chemicals you're mixing
will never clean a sink
you can be a better man
take a breath
take a breath
your "all black" costume can be set aside
your favorite blade can rest
drop the drink and loosen the knots
let her see where she cuts you
but give her the time to regret it
take a breath
take a breath

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I love right angles
but still, I'll take
a wrong angle
any day

Central American Feathers

Turn the sheets & clean up the mess
Remnants of last night's love
"Where lovin's at lovin's best,"
Says the Guatemalan motel maid
In her apron, fresh-pressed
Her immaculately white shoes
& a knee-length peach dress

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Steamship Gambler

press me to your hollow chest
welcome me into your nest
offer me a lip or breast
and let me find a vein

carve some dice from clumps of clay
roll them 'cross the pine decay
make the bet and drop the pay
don't forget your cane

the steamship has the men with will
with stomachs that your pills can fill
to shatter memories of the bill
you've put on your account

the fishnet trap between your legs
can warm them while they empty kegs
while every other begger begs
you ask for an amount

the sunlight wrestles down the waves
and takes the dark the moonlight saves
and puts us all in dockyard graves
while whistling to the sea

toss your money in the pot
win roaches, razors, slugs and shots
put your knuckles in a knot
and pray for what will be


we walked this
frozen soil when
the sun would
burn it red

I thought you'd be
married now and maybe
I'd be dead

you're still free
and I'm still me
unbroken in this bed

breathing hard and
heaving from
the hungers that
we've fed

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Kid I Met at The Mug Once

Tommy came to the bar,

started ordering beers,

talkin’ about

how much money he “made”

begging at the boardwalk

in Atlantic City that day

He said it was real easy

“just tell ‘em

you got lost and

you need to get bus fare or

that your parents

kicked you out of the house

and you’re so hungry.

They’re all rich,

richer than me, at least.

Rich people love giving

their money away

if they think it’s charity.”


he wanted to move on

to something stronger

“Give me the strongest

drink you got in the house”

he said.

I poured him a double

of Dewars, neat.

He coughed after one big gulp,

expecting something more

like Vodka, I imagine.

“Damn,” he said,

and I sat back and smiled,

knowing he was

now a Scotch man

and wondering

when the begging

would get boring

and he’d move on

to something stronger.

God's The Bartender

We’re all stumbling home

drunk in the dark

and God’s the bartender

kicking us out at 2 am.

Sometimes he lets us stay

until 3, but

that’s only

on weekends in the summer.

So we’re stumbling, drunk,


partly from the booze,

one eye only half-open,

the other one

completely fucking useless

and we’re pounding our

fists against cell phones

trying to call the girl

that always comes over

and heals our wounds

when we’re this drunk;

when we’re in this much pain.

and in the morning,

through the hangover,

she resembles an angel,

one of God’s

living, breathing, creatures...

just remember,

She works for that bastard.


When we were young
we climbed onto swings
and tightly wound the chain
until the world started
spinning, and we lay immobile
at the center of creation
leaning back with arms spread
hoping to catch
and be caught

we had pocket cameras
and worried about the shots
dragging friends and drugs and
cars and loves into and out of

I would love to be in that
picture on the grass
in the April sun. I would
cut the river out and put
it in a scrap book. I
would have dug
into the snow
for pixels with sharp
and maybe the smell
of chemicals from old fashioned
film, because light
doesn't hit a diode
quite the way it does
a piece of dried out
Kodachrome, does it?

Maybe the posing
was more important
than the picture

you are who you are when you are who you are for who you are

you who are are who are

I am as I am to you

following movement creates
the illusion of moment
creates the illusion of
a whole world
and understanding this
you smile brighter

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Jacket Weather

This jacket has seen


exploding stars

and eclipses

of the moon

This jacket has seen

the coldest mornings;

women huddled in cars

and whiskey.

This jacket has seen

pre-dawn West Virginia;

plains and valleys

of Ontario;

Every mile

of the Northwest Corridor;

I-95 in at least

13 different states.

It’s seen love

help it on,

tear it off,

throw it on the floor and

walk all over it.

This jacket has seen

great poets spill beer and

great drinkers spill poetry

in late night bars

somewhere in South Florida.

This jacket has seen wounds,

the best and the worst of them;


the best and the worst of them;

This jacket has seen life;

the best and the worst of it.

Where's The Jazz?

They had names

for the sounds they would make

and a love for

all things alive, like

music, damp city streets

and the ocean.

They would lay their hands

on old piano keys

and make them sing again.

Breath new life

into old brass

and make it squeal


They had

SaltPeanuts. Salt


They had soul.

They had music.

They had Bop

and what do we have?

Where is Charlie Parker?

Where is Dizzy?

Where is jazz?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Plastic Wolves

He asked if he had to behave

She said yes & he didn’t.

Broken glass alongside her bed,

his heavy hands and breathing rushed.

Every drop of sweat that crashed onto her body was...

Somebody had to have known by look on her face.

Driving his car to find solace in familiarity

Just imagine you are driving home

The quicker the better

Just imagine you're back home with good friends

with your best interest at heart

Glance back in the rearview

and see his sickening smile.

It was stretching with pleasure.

If she took it, she would make it

No negotiations.

“If you don’t do this

I’m jerking the wheel.

We will crash

and if I live, I’ll walk away

I’ll tell the detective

who will tell the coroner

who will tell your loved ones

You stole my car.”

If it were her way

She would have run miles ago

Marks left at the scene of the crime

Only she could see them

Evidence of a price paid

She was then just a product of the road

One day he’ll have a daughter

He’ll understand

She’s wiped her slate clean

& from now on

she got out and walked

it was still uncomfortable

perhaps even worse

but she’d rather have her chances

& be with the real wolves in the desert.

Monday, October 25, 2010

was it the Maker's Mark?
was it the wine?
they say you shouldn't mix,
but i don't listen.
i never listen.
was it the air?
raw, Philly air
or the way the city lights shined
on the icy pavement
or the way my trench coat draped
over my body?
it certainly wasn't her fuzzy hat
i drunkenly threw over my head,
hiding my wild, jet black hair-
that would be silly.
was it the drunk flush in my
or the way i bragged about
all the books i read
to an uninterested guy
on the couch;
the same couch i later fell into?
it was when you looked
straight into my dark eyes.

i just don't know.

i do know there was a moment-

when the wind blew cold
and your fingers ran through my hair
your wine stained lips
touched mine

and nothing else really mattered.

The Beats Never Liked Being Called Beats

It’s not an ego thing,

but I do like to be reminded

that the things we do matter;

That maybe our thoughts

do hold water;

And that words

can shape the world

(for better or for worse).

It’s corny

but the pen may really be mightier;

and that makes us

one of 300 strong.

Us/Canada Border, 23 October 2010, Approx. 7:30pm

He asks me if I’m a writer,

as he searches the contents

of my backseat,

and I’m unsure of what to say.

“Yeah. I try to be.

Poetry, mostly. Some short fiction, though.

Been working on trying to do more short fiction.”

His response:

“seems like it.”

A conversation to

pass the time


something about

Cormac McCarthy

and I’m sitting there

not really listening

settling into the idea

of actually being

a writer.

A Time Remembered and Imagined

I can see that vast expanse of land

to the North,

walking to your favorite spot on the lake,

bottle of Macallan in hand,

two glasses,

and a dog with no leash.

I can taste the nights out and

the trouble we might get into.

I can feel my heart

beat hard in my chest

when I think about

all that holy, wide-open,



and highway.

I can see your eyes

shining at me in the dark.

I can feel them on me

when I’m half asleep.

I notice the way they change,

somewhat greener at night;

but sunlight bringing out

the baby blue below

when under cloudless skies.

I can smell the coffee,

the restaurants,

all the clean air;

and I can see for miles,

all the potential


waiting for us

to come ‘round

and pick up

where left off.

Chuck is the Way (what was supposed to be a reminder to write a poem that became the poem)

Something about Bukowski being right

about how the Drinks toll

comes for every man

and how that relates to me

that’s what I was supposed to write in this space

and maybe I will

or maybe I’ll just take the time

I would have spent

re-writing this reminder

I’ve left for myself

as a poem,

maybe I’ll take that


to run to the liquor store

or go to the bar

and get a drink

and think about writing more


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Seasons in Me

There's a night I was looking for
I don't think this is it
It could be here anyday
If maybe you'd bring it
Yesterday was summer
today fell into fall
I keep beating against the mornings
I keep sleeping through my dreams
There's a taste of death with breakfast
and a hint of peace with supper
I love you when you hate it
I hate you when you move
but I'll get by
I'll set myself a proper pace
and collect my bleeding head
When tomorrow is winter
and you still feel like spring

To Craig Voss

in the tense trepidation of the hours of the night
laying awake in the throws of insomnia
I ask myself
"where is Craig Voss"
the 1974 Springsteen look-alike
discovered for me in Punxatawney
all too many years passed
I hear he's getting married
not sure if there's a kid
but I can be absolute in the observation
that his life has been void
of a Joshua Fink
for some time
so world, or looming ethers,
or perhaps a benevolent presence
deliver me my tattered friend

Friday, October 08, 2010

Just like yesterday

I can remember waking up in Connecticut
Like the back end of a dream
Drunk and on a southbound train
In a winter wonderland setting
Warm light flickers off the snow falling

I remember being lost in Boston
The cold ripping through my clothes
Waiting for your call
Stumbling Cambridge roads
And yer voice when it finally came
through a painful tone
dead drunk and even more
lost than I was alone

I remember shaking your mothers hand
In the hall of the house you grew up in
And all the letters we exchanged planning
the whole thing, just to keep us sane
the sun on the snow on the windowsill
Sparkling still
the roads you drove, you knew well
they haven't changed
You hadn't changed

But I don't remember why you brought me there
And I can't remember why I came
Cause I couldn't leave you in the cold
Like you have me time and time again
The easy way wasn't in
falling for a charade
Made it that much harder
to look back then walk away

Still there I was in Boston
there on that southbound train
Finding time to fill the spaces
Where you should be instead

If you'd ask me now
I might think twice
Sratch a head
filled with questions
running restless
Hold my breath
Heart beating out my chest
just like before
I'd fall right back in
like it never happened
like you never came
like I never left

Left unfinished on purpose

Chasing cheap wine with whiskey
Ashes with sand

A rattle snake sleeping on a bed of nails
Looking for some form of home

Leaving well enough alone
Thinkin I'm already gone
On a chain of cigarette smoke
Pulled out an open window

Runnin from the devils
Nipping at my ankles

The night like a nightmare
Caught you in a deep stare

And we end in a beginning
The only one left dreaming
You brought it back to me
Without even knowing

It's a windchime
A whistel blowing
A stopped watch
Time slowing
just enough to catch yer eyes
with mine

plotting from the backseat
fingering strings
Leaning into me
high on traveling
Wild restless
Your light touch
left miles between us....

Lucid in the Meantime

You kissed me as the door spun
While I tried goloshes on
And through the turnstiles
Wet and wreckless miles
Once or twice on subway trains
Then again before heading 
seprate ways in the Brookyln rain
And back again
After long nights spent
In our heads and out
In cars and not
You kissed me as you dropped me off
Looking at you I thought
It's best you keep the sunrise
hold steady down the eastside
While I fly back west 
To catch the sunset
We can't be too close you see
the dream becomes reality
reality turns into history
history, a mystery
and admit I must
i like it best 
where our subconcious meet
Kissing eachother in our sleep


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ryan Adams,
Autumn air,
Raw throat,
Steam seeping out of the
Coffee cup

Monday, October 04, 2010


Last night I went to the bottom of the ocean

& laid in the sand with my love.

The way we bid our time near an old, dilapidated ferris wheel

& OH! The way he held me

It was purely magnificent.

Where dreams & reality collide,

that's where you'll find me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Poison Dream

If I'm to dine on the fruit of your vines
you'll be the sweetest poison in me
the brave flavor on a cynical tongue
to savor as my body falls victim
as I wake with you and turn your cheek
to see the newest tear
I know you come from killing clouds
I know you're here for seasons
these portals we dream through
keep us mortal in the ever night
and corner us in normal boundries
seeming formal to the sleepy eye

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Noontime Chores

I was digging up a dog today
Hoping he’d still be meat
The sweat and heat beat me
So I took a needed seat

I snatched up my bottle
And took a dramatic swig
Bleeding from my cuticles
As I spelled your name in twigs

My over-alls were dusty
As I pulled off the covering clay
I was discovering the beauty of things
Hovering just above decay

Looking down on this mongrel
Wriggling with hungry worms
I thought of your indecency
When you laid out your brutal terms

I figure now that oversight
Had rigged me sick and vexed
When you’d triggered in a bigger love
Perhaps I’ll dig you up next

Grayson Bartlett

Thursday, September 02, 2010


fist pump your way to the lime light, climb the 15 minute ladder to the champagne room and find you're ghetto repunzel at the top of her ivory tower giving hand jobs for shots shots shots...and come september some how theres more trash heading up the parkway than they left in the sand.

got a cousin in hell, an uncle on his way to join him. president says bring the boys back home and he aint even left yet. you got friends in the desert taking bullets over oil? you got family in the ground paying another mans dues? fox news balancing out what's fair and jon stewart keeps us all in stiches while we sweat it out at home waiting to lose our best and brightest. its ugly, heart wrenching and pointless defending the american way, cheeseburgers and amstel light, fighting for cable television and the right to shop for trinkets from your living room. we built this city onbullshit and send strangers to die to procure more. thanks for the courage fellas, i hope when you save some for when we actually need it

What Counts

Eventually you'll take her home
Forgetting your allergies
You'll walk through backrooms stinking of cigarettes and whiskey
She's spinning now, stumbling even
slurring words, thoughts unfinished
You help yourself to milk crates stacked outside the corner flower store
as you try to convince her
her best option is to vomit
She doesn't disagree,
but insists it's not time yet

Your house is far
Hers further
Together you conclude that the wisest move is to drive once
(although very drunk)
to the closest destination only
You need to let out the dog anyway
She agrees
You toss the milk crates in the back seat

Home now she brushes her teeth
what little she did eat
Still remains in her stomach
(it's not time yet)
You send some drunk emails
to some cute online girls
Knock your new computer off yer desk
by accident
She's in bed sewing, eyes bearly opened,
She comes out running
Together you fix it and climb back into bed

You roll around a bit
She's unusually silent until she let's slip her fears about a very sick friend
how she loves him
He's family
You think, she's really drunk tonight
And she knows it
You ask gentle questions
she needs to get this off her chest
She let's you see her cry
You make her laugh
Together you laugh hard and long
And as if on que, one of her favorite, your favorite albums comes on
By track three you're both asleep
She doesn't dream

When you wake up you kiss her
She smiles, her head hurts
The night before may be all a blur
But you spent it together,
as friends would,
and that's what matters

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

cover bands
break into
a set of
rage against the machine
and a bar full of collard shirts
full of top shelf drinks
full of twenty something college kids
throws its fists in the air
and chants

fuck you, i won't do what you tell me

and they will all pay their taxes

she's been on the corner
of bedford and north 8th
for years i heard
selling whatever trinkets
costume jewelry and wall hangings
sometimes numbers come to her
in the bustlin city
she plays them later
in her british accent
she'll tell the story of
her WWII vet husband
and repeat "war is hell"
with a feeling in her voice
that only comes from
living through old wars
living through honest wars
and she'll sit on the corner
and sell trinkets and age
and tell the story and
disdainfully speak of
the new neighborhood
waiting is hell
war is hell