That’s what the directions say

My plants need fire
The directions on the label say: please burn daily
I pick them up
And to the stock clerk I go
With a toothless smile she comes down from her step ladder like an old graduate

she looks me dead in my moon drunk eyes, hands me a gas canister overflowing
And orders me to pour gas on my plants every night
My plants are so pathetic and ugly and beautiful and fragile
They look like mangled screaming winter deer
But I need to burn them
That’s what the directions say


When I tried to make my dad proud by playing football in the 5th grade

“Hey, take a look at this,” the fat bearded Irish American said to the fat bearded Italian American, holding Dunkin’ Donuts coffees over our helmets.

“You see the way they fight?”

“Little fuckin’ animals. Look at ’em fuckin’ go.

 

And thus, I fuckin’ went.


10:30 am

I know he’s dead

But you deserve a lover

isn’t it lonely when you wipe the counter and the sunlight

dances with the dust motes


Once

made it this far

everything worked out once

so what makes you think

it falls apart now

tougher than this

faced more before

never tripped yet

don’t lose balance now


We are more than we are.

Where the tunnels are a midnight park
and the gray trains scream like haunted witches
Hunker down in a bittersweet one-eyed dragon bliss
And drool dead-eyed along tracks of electrified veins
Crawl into holes un-holed
Take a nice spin around that cold metal pole
Feel your soul un-souled and sold
Where Gil scot heron once silently screamed alone
But god damn, did that man have a soul!
Did his voice not echo truths along peoples roads?
Did his poetry not shout the truth to people without a comfortable home?
Do his words not exceed his physical state in the undying ebb and flow of an ocean of pure soul?

 


Anger in 2017

Clenched fists/raised fingers

gravitationally b-line

his digital hair


Night Train Haiku

Full moon demon scratched

Explosive screams above trees

I buy a cliff bar


Not Me

Play with life

Like Blondie under the Spanish spaghetti sun

Stare calmly, cool lidded

Like velvety Rick in the sandpaper dark

Fedoraed in a Moroccan park

Or hunker like Bonnie next to Clyde’s car

Lipsticked and dressed slick in Texas

60’s hipped  and Hollywood riched

through silent moves and gestures

infinite hectares of pain undone


My Brothers Face

My brothers face gives me pure joy
His freckles dance as he walks under street lights

His starry eyes glow like cigarette tips 

on starless Essex county nights

And his thin mouth fluidly sashays as he talks

Words drifting in golden fragments 

Completely ployless 


Where does the time go?

Invisible ebony blankets hit the pause button
Coddling the body in restless rest

Pernicious slippers dress feet worn thin 

Cozying bodies in utter jest  

Pricey poison falls down and in

Rushing a slow beat and pounding the chests 

of seemingly pretentious gluttons 

Who are really just upset guests

(The vacation of the distressed)

Pillows surreptitiously whisper distractions 

Robbing the brain of its regulatory best

Screens steel the brain for big ol’ nuthins

While echoes of truths draw pangs and yearnings for ones inaccessibly distant nest


Tides of milky red

Tides of milky red 
Ooze out of my porous phone  

And through the aged toshiba pixels in my home 

And from the cracks in my works walls 

And out the small pimples on my pale dome

Tides of milky red fly

Out of the mouths of bearded babies that get hard from the sounds of their own voices
Tides of milky red drip

from the stupid spittle of blonde toupeed gargoyles that are making big choices

Tides of milky red shower

 the barren parking lots of night

Wetting and reddening the broken needles 

Painting the crushed cigarette butts

Washing the matted hair of beaten down bugged out tattooed skinny white girls screaming in the silent dark  While coming down the concrete catwalk to elope with themselves in a confused 2 am isolation horror show 

Take us all straight to Frank Sinatra Drive

Jive right quick a gasoline Conga line up I 95

Where the skies are white and the wind blows cold through distant mountains old

Where sages whisper empathetic truths into the waning western light


For the Anxious

When you lay your body down, and sigh a sigh that’s almost manly if you’re a woman, but so sexy, or hyper manly if you’re a man, but so sweet, after eating ground beef, or just being tired regardless of eating the aforementioned ground beef, sometimes you clear your throat a bit with a guttural gurgle and then, immediately, you slowly breathe out of your noise a pine tree winter wind whoosh that frightens my skin.

You rest with such confident and selfish-in-a-good-way eyes that possess a supreme level of non-self awareness, which could be you simply not giving a fuck, that rattles my brain. 

You don’t even look at me with dog-eyed approval eyes, like I look at you in the morning when I have a stack of papers in my hand.

You don’t even turn around, like I do when I step on the leaves that crunch loudly.

You don’t even turn the locks three times (once to lock, twice to lock check, three because it’s the magic number, baby!)

You stare at your darkened eye lids in a rural basement, living life for yourself, while I crash into endless neon invisible mirrors on brick city sidewalks adorned with microscopes on each brick that have immense gravitational pulls.


The conversation of the street lights will pass as quickly as our words

The conversation of the street lights will pass as quickly as our words 

With green 

hellos

And 

pensive 

yellows 

The pink noise breaths of night will delicately fall and rise from mouths like mindful birds 

Drifting through the light cut dark

The occasional cop will slam through the wet lit asphalt 

Shouting red and blue 

While deer ease through the grass

Whispering brown and black

And automatic house lights that flicker on 

Will turn off when you are gone

 


Good Boys of Days Old

Going all out to go nowhere 

Where venom drips slow
Going all in without air

Where blue and white corrode
And the red wrappered snickers ice cream bars

Cream guitars 

White interpersonal cigarettes 

Shiny New York cars

Fade into 

Black Lard 
We go all in it to come out of it 

Where the blue and white have shone

And the water sometimes flowed

For good boys of days old


Frances of the Train

The way you talk 

with a cold Schweppes in your sunlit hand is admirable 

You’re a contagion to the blind

With golden earrings lighting the aisle

Not even caring about the temperature and carbonation

just swinging it about


Restaurants

Pan 

Oven

Microwave 

Glass

Plate

Bowl

Whatever method 

Before arriving to the table 

Is so different at a restaurant than when one cooks and eats alone at home 

What will the platter look like?

Will it be as good as the text on the menu conveys it to be?

Will they dim the lights?

Oh, and when will it come out?

There is so much mystery and surprise

It’s almost magical when your delusional removed hungry body is anticipating digestion and taste

The vessel to bring the meal circles around the room, taking care of other people

Water is poured

Other steaming meals are delivered

Mysterious and cryptic checks are signed

Hellos

Goodbyes

Do you ever miss your waiter or waitress?

If you do, the feeling of the food arriving is much greater than if you didn’t 

When you see their smiling face 

Chipper gait

It’s a relief

It’s addicting 

But At home 

You are the vessel 

You are the commander of the process

The veil is broken

You don’t go looking for yourself 

You don’t ask yourself for anything 

You don’t see your chipper gait 

You might not even have a chipper gait 

Without the mystery 

It might just be another meal 

Simply from a 

Pan 

Oven

Microwave 

Glass

Plate

Bowl

Whatever method 

Before arriving to the table 


cups of coffee are for the end of the world (& late nights.)

late night again, New York this time drip coffees on in the kitchen And the news is on the radio Fold the times, too tired to read those headlines how many tears can a people cry? Because its not 73 but Wounded Knee is happening right Now & Black Churches burned in the name of the david dukes, the donald drumpfs and the muslim fear Isnt it clear that we’re in danger, Threatened by the spanish language, The melanin thats in our skin The Get back, Stay Out! The idea that women can have a voice, that Indians can sit & pray, that sons & daughters arent Afraid to tell their parents theyre gay That the poisoned school drinking water in newark & flint isnt enough to embarass the government- whats my place and where do i fit, an identity in an age of Millenium children & gen Z kids turning change into businesses, glowing screens and computer keys Lethal weapons to a once easily manipulated herd Now heard by teenage girls who are proud of their period blood, Who find strength in each others sisterhood

So here i sit with coffee in hand, The lonely white straight American man, do i get tattoos to break from the mold, a ring in my lip, a pierced nose- whats my responsibility, my role? As i grow i come more to see How it is that people come to be, the ignorant who choose to be & make wide a divide that starts at an early age, economic background education & race, mindsets that result from a laziness and stubborn refusal to change from where change begins The good old boys who are stuck in an italian-american world of north jersey auto-repair, Where a fags a fag and thats that; So where am i at? Marco the fish monger, are you sure youre not just another drone, 1.99 for fish bones, fillet the striped bass, am i more than all that? read them books while you drink that coffee, dont sit quiet when you hear shit and sit silent Be concious of your privlege when you gut them fish, And dont take anything for granted Love life and be nice, accept change (in the tip jar of the world) and pump out the good vibes And even though its hard to remember sometimes amidst the scales & shrimp shells Youre just as important  as everyone else

Cups of coffee drunk late beneath the familiar orange glow of a streetlight can save a life Is it the end of the world, Or just the night?


Ode to a Friends Playful MisChieVousnEss 

*It breaks into my heart 
a moral thief 

Stealing sorrow 

And murdering grief*

It comes in waves

Gshh 

pause 

gshh 

Repeat 

And although I never ask for it 

It tumbles under me 

like mountain scree 

Interrupting my long climb

Setting me back a bit

Challenging my patience 

But Cultivating challenge 

Which I’m grateful for 


Visit a Hospital 

Sun-blind,

go west at 5 

Where orange Baby Lizards bustle and jive 

And Sweet Old Jews wither and die 

But before that, you’ll see them try
(They are truly 16, vying for guys)
So Kiss them on their cheeks if you go by

Because we all have weighted lids 

that cover truth, 

that cover needs,

that cover comfort,

that cover acceptance, to pry

I can confirm that the contents of honesty and truth and love and loss and regret and interpersonal connection deeply shine 

When you give to and receive from those under a fluorescent sky


the wide world (go have a look, see what you find.)

there’s a guy I work with who doesnt know when to keep his mouth shut, & sometimes he talks some stupid bullshit that makes me want to knock him on his ass. A friend told me to let it go, that hes still young, he has a lot to learn, And a lot can happen in 3 years.

A lot can happen in 3 years-

& i thought on that & I thought to myself That A lot can happen in 3 years, A lot can happen in 3 years- when Steve grew up, South Side Chicago, 14 years old & he’s a father, a lot can happen in 3 years 3 years to live, 3 years to learn, & time always has a toll and

nobody passes for free

Because i know that the gun was in brandon’s mouth When the cops showed up at his house, Flashing red & blue lights filling the dark room where he sat on a bed, Eyes closed & ready to live in 3. 2.

  1. A lot can happen in 3 years, i thought of what Bobby had said when he stared into the fires glowing coals, & told us what happened that night in North Philly when he grew up, The night his mom got shot Still searching for her sons, the abuse he took, the things he had to do to survive & he doesnt think he can ever go back to that city, & even though he ran all the way to california White scars on his head & that stripe his back make it hard to forget that A lot can happen in 3 years To the sexually molested Anorexic as she shook in my arms And in that moment she wasnt a woman She was a girl, who threw up every meal for 3 years, Who looked at me through the film of tears, The tears that said A lot can happen in 3 years, A lot can happen in 3 years Dante said In his games of Chess, when he Won game after game & i told him he was good, He stared at something else & If he could go back he’d rather be bad at chess & have been there for his son But whats done is done, And 3 years                                                     is plenty of time To play chess.

A lot can happen in 3 years, & i thought of Pedro who came from San Diego, used to bounce clubs & sling dope, small-time narcos, Until two of his friends Caught bullets in their heads, 20 years old & no amount of money is going to change that end-

A lot can happen in 3 years Is what i thought that night that we watched the Northern lights, shivering in underpants on a rusty fish cannery roof, No shirt & rubber boots, the men that lined the old railroad track, their heads leaned back & it was quiet, Those lights Showing us our past, & maybe for some Whats to come

A lot can happen in 3 years, thats true

but maybe I’ll punch him in the head tomorrow

& he’ll learn a thing or two.


7 reindeer 

When the radiator behind the
Rolling Stones postered door hummed heat 

And our plaid pajamas and brown wool socks were covered by comforters and the glow of yearly tv specials that were birthed from the screen like familiar babies 

And the sky was half blue half the moon 

from the tree branch dividing our window view 

And our dad was dying in the other room

You told me you saw 7 reindeer 

To go with him

To go home 

To be gone too soon 


Father and son and home

There was a Waxing crescent and a Virginian milky blue sky translucence 

While taking my son from 

his home his mom his friends and New York 

And the Worlds Light was too high

 So We settled for streamed ceiling fluorescence 

And enjoyed the trains inner sanctum Incandescence

Strictly Ticket holder acceptance 

Tangled in each other and the trees and the true Virginian dark and the southern pull to his new home

And man, the way his eyes shone

At The prospect of a moving breakfast 

Shiny eggs and bacon and seemingly mountainous orange juice while trees flower laced train tracks grazing cattle and farm workers and a sky in its most royal attire: sprinkled with cumulus regalia,  blew past our car and we blew past them 

And when the train came to an unexpected halt in the deeply darkened woods of South Carolina 

And only little strips of his tiny face showed from scattered light 

And his thick black hair melded with the dark and although barely visible, swayed left then right then left then right then left then right  in quick movements under the humming ventilation system 

And his now dark iPad screen showed me my own face barely visible but content

I could see myself and a mother among us quietly answering our children’s silent words in smiles 


Coming home from work, sometimes 

Beneath the glory of a pinkorangebluesilvermagenta fundip dusted sky, the truck slams through the deserted twilight streets illumined by twisted neon green orbs that authoritatively dictate above the silky half and half cream colored, crossed, and strong legs of suburban mothers who sit along the main drag gabbing.

A thousand dollars. A thousand stares. A thousand fucking times down this sick road where my head pounds from too much sugar and hotdogs and the toxic glowingly phosphorescent frozen-to-the-package sludge that warms and glides through my torso into the disaster pit of my pale war-torn horrible diet affected stomach. And I know it’ll come out guns blazing in the morning, when I’m cold, ready to stare up at me and say, “what gives!” And there is no languor whatsoever, which would be so nice 
The dying dog under the hood ululates its sick cries down the highway and begs to have the key pulled from the synaptic ignition to its motor brain and the demon in the wheel screeches on tight turns throughout roads giving bullshit gift baskets of OCD accident scares and every-bump-is-death-crazy paranoia 
So I scream loudly again and again down 

the pavement in this smorgasbord 

Slicing through the crisp yellow divides

Trying to beat the inconvenient turning of the earth so I can maybe see the light in the sky untarnished and unboxed


Spasibo Droog!

On cold nights when I’m lost and damned to rot in confusion
Ostracized and bleary eyed 

Slam jam me with thousands of blankets of understanding and freckle faced love that pours out of every word and body nuance 

I’ll return the favor with a big smile and a bigger bite into your delicious Polish chocolate 


indefinite definition (vivi la tua vita.)

life swirls in Styrofoam cups of coffee

drank in through cracked lips & yellowed teeth

life twinkles in the distance,

flashing red bulbs above cell towers

stared at from highways on nights without sleep.

life is in the smile Of a waitress in the diner,

3 am cigarrette break & tips are all she has-

life lives in the tears

of every single divorced dad.

the same life that lives in leftovers,

tupperwared & saran-wrapped,

comes out your other end in the piece of shit you shat.

life is in the bottles That you’d smash to pieces with your friend

And life is really what you make it,

you’ll find out in the end.


Looking at a Dead Body

Looking at a dead body elicits a unique feeling unto itself
You shudder with intense eyes

Non-action emotively draws to mind what was hyper-action not too long ago

Indicative of everything in its good bad wrong definite place

And to see the body after 

In a gorgeously painted box

Propped above the crowd 

Conveying a persistence of the soul

Or an almost worship like state of the body 

An idol to love

Adorned with various flowers 

Compounded with subtle music

And tightly wrapped mints for all 

Good breath for good greetings can be even more chilling 

The dead in their best clothes

Eyes shut and skin painted

For all to peruse for a few hours

Everything good bad wrong definite scrambled into its right place according to loved ones intent 

I once took sadistic pleasure in empathizing with the clear pain of a boy who bullied me in middle school as his frail body and face caked in pimples lightly shook when he stared dead-eyed at my dad in a casket


life on the roof of the world (life everywhere?)

a little magic is gone from the world when

Eskimos doing blow

call women cunts in their tents,

blood-red eyes &

toothless grins

as they slap you on the back

& expect you to join in.


The Long Walk

“Pier 11 Ferry to Belford”

Brooklyn bridge sun

Throws yellow grace at Jersey City towers

Steve, Tom, and I 

look through yellow sunglasses

Ripping through untouched waters


“Sea Bright to Asbury Park”

Everything the same 

Then,

Mansions 

Sweeping walls to block the opulence 

Or to block the unwanted 

Mansions sweeping mansions

They must have snipers 

-Reality check-

Through the Asbury Park Boardwalk tunnel

Impassioned carousel music keyboardist

Cigarette dangling

Hair dangling

Teeth dangling

Life dangling 

Talent raging 

With a huge smile 

And we smile back

“Asbury Park to Seaside”

Picture with B&B proprietor, George 

His sincere excited grin like my nephews

Swiss army backpack has to go 
Giant welts on my back, oh!

Inland detour

New backpack from army navy surplus 

Big ass camo 

we find our way to 

Point pleasant’s people and cigarette caked Boardwalk  

The sun casting powerful rays all over 

“Route 35 Mania”

Shark fin flippers for torpedo powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr -breathe- errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr -breathe- errrrrrrrrrrrrr (drawn out for goofy comedic effect)
(said in an old man voice): 

uhhhhhhhh help meeeeeeeeeeee no water the sun the heat our legs our feet the sun the heat nail clippers are what I need please please please nail clippers are what I need give them to me!

Water from a hose on the highway was never so tasty

Seaside sand graced, we

Boardwalk cheesteaks ate, expensive not free

Mozzarella sticks and fries, tasty!

Sleeping on toms construction zone house deck, yes please 


“Seaside to Motel”

Stop at rite aid 

Cover up cuts and blisters 

Break, eat almonds, drink water

Stop at rite aid 

Cover up cuts and blisters 

Break, eat dried fruit, drink water

Stop at general store 

Cover up cuts and blisters 

Break, eat almonds, drink water

Stop at rite aid 

Cover up cuts and blisters 

Break, eat almonds, drink water

Sun block in my eyes

Toms legs fried 

McDonald’s bathroom flushing will surely fix my eyes 

B
  R

      E

          A

              K

Into 
           P

     I

    E

                  C

             E

                              S 

And über to a motel 

Where 

Everything’s closed

Out of water and we can’t even find somewhere to buy it 

There’s a nuclear power plant nearby 

Let’s just order a pizza pie

And not buy drinks

But be dumb and not think 

So order water and something else from dominos 

Chocolate lava discomfort follows 

And getting really choked up by 

the ending of Finding Nemo 

“Motel to New York”

Was Route 35 mania
Then Route 9 depression 

Now GSP North Blues

And Immense Blister Horror

But godammit we walked 70 something miles 

And it was wonderful

To see strangers seem familiar

Thousands of rubbernecking friendly smiles


midnight on the interstate (& i didnt feel so great.)

sometimes i sit alone At night in a tent

with me, myself & the smell of my own ball-sweat

critical thinking & adventures in solitude

love company sometimes, if only just a text-message

from another guy

books i’ve read

& thoughts ive kept

within my head

are hard to get out

when i dont want

to open my mouth

One time a woman told me

im a smart person

& those words brought tears to my eyes

which sometimes i squeeze Shut

& im in the Liberty Science Center in a sleeping bag

with a sleeping dad

6 years old & Jersey City couldnt be more magical

I open my eyes & im in a sleeping bag,

side of the highway

gravel crunches as i shift

its cold & i

squeeze my eyes again,

trying to get back-

 

i never thought that im smart, & i never said im brave

maybe i never said those things

because im really just afraid.


America (the land, the people, & what marco thinks.)

Lonely young American man Born & raised in American land

Hair gown long & skin is tan

born with the name American

sees the world through red, white,

blue

the land of the brave, the free,

the few.

 


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