The populist


we don’t know

where this world

is going to go these days

all these madmen wanting to take us to the brink

it’s like a mahler symphony

so up and down, so full of bombast one minute

subtle and barely audible the next

no, it’s like a god awful soap opera

that’s reaching for ratings through bloodshed

and amal stands behind me cursing into his cell phone

he hold up an image of the populist

orange faced and combed over

a designer blue suit that still looks cheap

we watch him hitler salute a room full

of dead white relics hoisting american flags

he says, i hate this man

i hope someone knocks him out

i hope he falls down the stairs on national television

and breaks every bone in his body

i hope he….but amal doesn’t say it aloud

in this room full of mixed company and suspicion

he’s better than the men who want to run this country

he stands there all sweat and anger

he has known a kind of hatred in america

that i’ll never be able to describe

because i’ve been given a free pass with my skin

because i look like every man standing with the populist

the kind lone women still make wide ends around

when we’re coming home alone together in the dark

what is there to tell amal?

that he holds the future more than any of this?

this too shall pass…he shall fucking overcome?

yes, yes, i think i could do that

but amal has already put his phone away

storming out

he leaves me nothing to hold onto

but a wake of frustration and fear



the feminist


he says

yeah, man

she’s got a nice face’n’all

really pretty

those eyes

you know?

the kind of personality

i really dig

and she makes

some cash


but, man

the girl has no ass

i mean



like what am i gonna smack

when we get it on, right?

be like hittin’



you know what i’m sayin?




watching marshmallow


take a monstrous morning shit

in the barren flower bed outside my window

as his owner shouts into her phone


i think at least the two of them are consistent

unlike poetry or hot water in this place


they are like death and taxes


i never liked marshmallow, even as a pup

the kind of terrier mix you make big u-shapes around

with an insidious bark and that awful name


cooed at during periwinkle stretches

of the most ungodly of morning hours


the way his excrement stench wafts into the apartment


along with his owner’s cigarette smoke

along with the bleating, nasal pace

of her inane and desperate conversations


but still i stand there, hidden by navy blue curtains,

watching the dog do his business


like i’m viewing some sort of alien ritual

like an old man with nothing better on his agenda

than to spend his fleeting hours sitting in a laundromat


never understanding why i don’t get things done


as ms. owner stubs out another ciggie

suggests that someone on the other line bite her


the two of us mesmerized by marshmallow’s

big fat turd steaming in the march cold


fertilizing nothing by the frozen dirt and weeds

and the last line of another mediocre poem.



health nut


you can never really

do anything good for yourself except die

shake off that mortal coil

as the original slick willy wrote

and take a final bow to this calamity

but here i am anyway

freezing in this beast winter

running four miles

after another fruitless morning playing artist

already three S.U.Vs have tried to hit me

and the dogs have jumped at my legs

their barks and snarls echoing

as i trot down another potholed block

i think to myself how crazy this is

the sweat and the labored breathing

the pains in the knees and shoulder

the feeling that any moment

i could have a heart attack and drop

life was much easier on the couch

drinking scotch by the bottle

and thinking fuck it i know it all already

but still there is another hill to climb

another stretch of sun-soaked desolate road

another tank-sized baby stroller to circumnavigate

in the distance

the kid wailing above my ipod music

the mother’s fat ass swaying the length of the sidewalk

in stretchy black pants that do her no justice

and as i do the fast math wondering how i’ll pass this

i trip over a rock

a crack in the pavement, whatever

and go flying feet in the air across the street

like a fat, white lawn dart

landing on both palms and rolling on my left side

to the chuckles of high school kids

dressed like gang members and street walkers alike

crossing the street against the speeding traffic

horns honking they spin and dance

like they’ll live forever

and ever

and then some more.



the protester


how in the fuck

did i end up here?


i think as the cops

put up the barricades

on one end of the block


people call up the line of chanting thousands

that they’ve done so on the other end


how in the fuck?


thirty minutes before this

i was eating indian food on 46th street

and talking about going to see some van gogh


now i’m breaking the law

blocking a city block


or rather the cops have broken the law for us

by caging us all in


what is your endgame officer friendly?


america, you and your corporate politics


you and your pseudo-populists

on both ends of the spectrum


america i never liked you

and your hateful kind anyway


i just want to live somewhere

where i can read a book

and have a drink in peace


i’m an isolationist by nature


but you insist on

nominating authoritarian lunatics


so here i am


my belly still full from lunch

not a goddamned van gogh in sight


just thousands of kids with picket signs

and old hippies with their arcane slogans


dull, stone-faced cops

lining the street by the hundreds


billy clubs and guns

extra strands of handcuffs on their belts


thuggish tools

for the whole corrupt system


always ready to turn on a dime

and hurt the people they protect and serve


my little wife and i in the middle of this shit

a couple of dumbs

who should’ve followed their lunch

with some frozen yogurt

or a black and white cookie


stayed out of this circus

avoid maybe being arrested

or pepper sprayed by pigs in the pale afternoon


because the wrong people

are always being pepper sprayed or worse


in this rotted out hollow beast carcass


everyone here still keeps calling

the united states of america.