Tag Archives: New Jersey

Out of the North

out of the North I gallop towards home,

rubber hooves of my Civic pounding the Palisades Parkway

Pump pump on the gas, to Switch lanes and pass,

Raggaeton on, November air pouring over the sleek bodied machine

trees and signs fly by, Hudson River Valley disappears behind,

swallowed up by the blackness my high beams couldn’t find,

ink-black waters of the river flow churn slow,

Garden State plates traveling in a bounding pack down the track

like hounds for the races, skyline light replaces stars turn to

street lights frantically spilling by night’s asphalt blood

Out of the North and away from the dreams,

reentry to reality urban chugging turning gangland mugging

gasoline igniting cigarette loving and exits for the Holland Tunnel,

Shout out to Elizabeth, Union and Brooklyn the radio Jamaician MC sings

While I’m barreling to Heaven on four-cylinder wings,

the Pulaski Skyway sets us free

Ripping our Skeletons Out of the North

and Smashing them gently

into the Sea.


Driving To Penn Station

The Homeless people at the off ramp to Newark

who try to clean my car windshield

with dirty newspaper

probably have a lot to say,

About where it all went wrong

in Viet-nam,

How they left their humanity

in a burning Saigon

They’d say Ho-Chi Min was a son of a bitch

but even he’d

be better than this.

They’d say how afterwards drugs just felt right,

It was the 70’s,

and everyone was high.

Gerald Ford had plans to help,

everything would turn out fine.

The memories of private friends,

with murderous grins

And the screaming women

who wouldn’t give in

Hide from them

in every crack in the sidewalk,

Every face with slanted eyes

hides the taste

of Agent Orange.

Now I’m rolling up my windows

and locking all the doors

Saying boy What a dump

as I press the gas

and try to speed up

And get to Penn Station time.

the Tragedy on Route 23

the rain drums down on the window at 11:00 on Wednesday night, and I Stop in to the diner after a long day for a bite; I gloomily pick at french fries, and use them to scoop cole slaw And I can’t help but Overhearing the 30 year old busboy talk excitedly to the old sour-faced waitress- It’s just how Jay-Z got started! I just have to keep making beats, and sell a couple to get the money to get out of here, then I’m set! This shit is going to blow up, know sayin? No more wiping no fucking tables! My Dad told me I’m getting real good. Karen leans in with my check and smiles wryly and says with enough melancholy to break my heart- Some people are superstars in their own mind. I look at the check for 7.22. I leave her a 5 dollar tip for her wisdom. I walk out into the rain and shed a tear where it is quickly washed away and lost.

Blessings from Essex

I’ve seen a Krauser’s food store patron saint

with a 99 cent tea, flavored Skoal and black spray paint

arrested for his vagrancy

by the Irish aristocracy

of Northern New Jersey cops;

I’ve listened to the teachings

of Passaic River prophets,

I know that there is beauty here

Though it’s crumbled and it’s toxic

I’ve sought out the Oracle of Verona Park,

on his bench with pipe and dog

I’ve seen him sitting in the dark

while the pond was curled with fog

I’m just another suburban pilgrim

living the American struggle

a part of 316 million

in the North-Eastern hustle-bustle

A hoodie wearing tattooed degenerate

who loiters in parking lots,

asking to bum a cigarette

or maybe just a little pot

And when I see those out-of-state dreamers

New England plates on their bimmers

Doc Martins instead of sneakers

and their perfect J Crew sweaters

I’ll clench my hand into a fist

And just like Judas,

I’ll give their face a kiss

You’re not in CHINA, you’re in JERSEY! Get a Jaab

I’m a student of the school

of suburban white-boy Buddhists,

just another incense-burning

prayer-flag floating

yoga posing

middle class-act who reads books on Eastern philosophy,

who wants to be something more than me

who uses internet search engines

to find out more about these cool ideas

that help me find myself;

I don’t even check my iphone

if it rings during my meditation!

I drink only imported teas,

this is real dedication.

I wish I didn’t have all this money

and this burdensome privilege,

I don’t think it’s very funny

that I’m stuck with this image,

Boy I wish I could leave it all,

this hate and this world and it’s hurt

and go live on some Tibetan plateau

in a totally rad little yurt

Garden State of Mind

I gotta get up outta here

for justa little while;

Maybe head to Avalon

Egg Harbour or Sea Isle.

Drive straight out Route 23

past Bergen into Butler,

See the sights there are to see,

and Run a little further.

From May’s Landing to Passaic

and every exit in between

From Mahwah down to Lodi

All the way to Brigantine.

Feelin like a winter’s night

in Camden or AC,

Just give me some time alone to drive

and I’ll go back to bein me.

I think it just is


That everybody needs

some Highway signs…

I Don’t know where I’m gonna go

in this wild-hearted chase,

from Garfield to down to Glassboro,

I’ll tour the Garden State.

Gonna drive every county road

Till these feelins goes away,

I’ll ride this state to death tonight

from Brunswick to Galloway.

New Jersey turnpike, Paterson,

it doen’t really matter,

Through the neighborhoods of Clifton

to the streets of East Hanover;

Have a slice of pizza

here in Little Falls,

see the beauty of Paramus

Then head on out to Wall.

Pass a million different faces

And stories on the way

Maybe I can find myself tonight

on a bustop in Piscataway.

I don’t know if they’re looking for me,

and I couldn’t really care

It’s a lonely road to Parsippany

and I’m hardly halfway there.

Hackensack is where I’m told

I had my first baby breath of air,

Hoboken and Seacaucus

didn’t seem to care.

I swear I’m not so crazy

Standing out here in the dark

In the shadowed streets of Neptune

or the boards of Asbury Park.

Just restless feelings

and license plates

and years of life

In the Garden State.


This is my exit,

This is where I get off.

It’s been a great drive,

though the going’s been tough.

Life in the Garden State

take your breathe away,

Driving you South

on that old Parkway

I seen some sights

That’ve made me think

and done some things

that make my heart sink.

Now my blinkers on

and I’m changing lanes

It’s time to go on

and head North for a change.

This goddam New Yorker

better get out my way,

Or else I’m going

South to stay.

It’s too late now,

the trap has already been sprung,

The curtains are closing on me

but I’m still so young…


I’m Listening

I spoke with God today,

Out in the Ocean off of Brigantine New Jersey specifically,

near the south jetty.

God said storm clouds

and sheets of rain,

Whipping West winds and swells high as trees.

God said seagulls hung in the slate-gray sky

like kites over the Ocean

And blasts of arctic spray on my back,

and the Taste

of salt in my mouth.

I said tears and hoots

wordless howls and hollers.

I laughed and coughed up lungfulls of that batismal water

and let those winds rip through my salt-stiff hair.

I gave my body to the water

To God

I let it throw me and bury me

envelope me

Destroy me, if that was what God desired.

Yet God said a wet Marco stumbling out onto the beach,

smiling like a lunatic.

God happened to be eating at the same pinelands barbecue pit as I,

for I saw God in the faces of old wrinkled laughing African-American men and women,

and in the children playing in the sandy parking lot

among the pine cones and dried needles.

I saw God again that night, in the light of the setting sun

reflecting off of the sign for Route 40

and in the fireworks in the summer night

Exploding over the Pine Barrens

and in a flipped over Jeep on the side of the road,

flaming and spitting out smoke.

It’s been some kind of day

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