BRING OVER BEER WHEN I’M TRYING TO GET SOBER & Other Poems

THIS SONG MAKES ME
THINK OF HER
THE VOICE THAT SINGS IT MAKES ME SAD
IT BURNS A HOLE IN ME
I’M ALREADY EMPTY
WEARING A JACKET OF MEMORIES

 

1
BARSTOOL BOOKMARKED
DOWNTOWN FOLDED
AT LARGE
PAIN COUPLED CRAMPED
AND COVERED IN A DAMP BLANKET
WORDS SCRAMBLED
COFFEE SERVED COLD
THE BALLOONS WERE HELD UP
BY OUR LUNGS
DAYLIGHT WAS OVERSHADOWED
AND IT TOOK A BUS TO STOP US
ONCE OR TWICE WAS
SAID
A FEW TIMES
AT THE END OF THE DAY
HOURLY
SORROW FELL FROM HAPPINESS
I COULDN’T COUNT MY STORIES
BUT I REMEMBERED EVERY PUTDOWN
OPEN-ARMED AND UNARMED
THE OFFICE GAVE MORE MONEY
BUT IT WASN’T ENOUGH
A DIRTY TEE WAS WOREN
WHILE WE WERE MENTALLY BLOCKED
TRAPPED STANDING ON A LADDER, LATELY
I THOUGHT OF HER
EVEN WHEN SHE WAS AROUND
WAS SHE RIGHT ?
BUTTON-UPS WERE IN ORDER
I REFILLED MY CUP THROUGHOUT THE MORNING
AND SHE GOT HOME
TO ASK IF IT WAS OKAY IF SHE DRANK
I POURED HER A SECOND GLASS
SHE RESTATED SHE WAS PROUD OF ME
PRIDE WAS SOMETHING I WAS TRYING TO
GET RID OF
SHE READ A DEAD MAN’S WORK
SHE COULD STAND
SHE COULD LAY DOWN
BUT NOT SIT
EVEN AFTER A LONG DAY
SHE OPENED HER SUITCASE
WHERE I THOUGHT SHE ONLY KEPT WORDS
SHE PULLED OUT PHOTOS OF HER FAMILY
SHE TOLD ME A SHORT STORY
ABOUT EACH ONE
HER FAMILY BECAME FAMILIAR
I ASKED MYSELF HOW DID I BECOME SO
LUCKY?
I LOOKED AROUND
I FELT HOW SHE FELT IN MY ROOM
IN HER APARTMENT
THE PRICES WENT UP SINCE WE LAST CHECKED
AN EYELASH ON A FINGERTIP
PIZZA ON A NAPKIN
TIMES ARE EASY WHEN THEY ARE SIMPLE
TIMES ARE BETTER WHEN DIFFICULT
SHE KISSED MY LIPS GOODBYE
AS I LEFT, I SHUT THE SCREEN DOOR
I DREW A HEART ON IT
CARTOON AND CHILDISH
I WALKED OFF
AWAY
I NEVER HEARD THE WOODEN DOOR SHUT
I WAS WALKING
ALONG 8TH ST.
TOWARDS LONG BEACH
I TURNED MY HEAD LEFT
I SAW MURPHY RIDING A MOUNTAIN BIKE
AND QUESTIONED– MURPHY ?
SHE ANSWERED– DYLAN
WHAT ARE YOU DOING
ON THIS SIDE
OF
TOWN ?
I TRAVELED FAR AWAY FROM THAT BARSTOOL
ON 4TH IN BETWEEN SPRING AND MAIN
WHERE ANOTHER DRUNKARD
SITS AND SIPS HIS DRINK
WARMING MY SEAT
WHERE I FIRST MET MURPHY

 

2
STANDING ON BUKOWSKI’S GRAVE
I KNEW I WANTED TO SHARE
MY LIFE WITH HER

 

3
NEW SHOES TIED
LOOKING DOWN AT THE HARDWOOD
FLOOR AGAIN
MEDITATION
THE LORD IS ON THE TIP
OF MY TONGUE
THE GROUND IS STILL LIKE BEFORE
BUT MY LIPS ARE DRY
WILL SHE RESENT ME ?
RESENT ME FOR NEVER SHARING A DRINK
WITH HER
WHAT WILL THE HOLIDAYS BE LIKE ?
WILL SHE WANT TO SPEND THEM WITH ME ?
WHY DOES MY MIND WANDER ?
I WONDER IF I’LL BLOW OUT A CANDLE
IN MARCH

 

4
WHAT DO THESE POEMS MEAN ?
WHAT ARE POEMS ?
AND WHY DO WE WRITE THEM ?

 

5
SHE HAS MADE ME INTO A WRITER

 

6
SHE WAS LATE
WITH ASHY KNEES
IT WAS COLD OUT TODAY
SHE WORE A SHORT SKIRT
SHE SAID NO BEFORE WE WERE IN THE SAME

ROOM
THEN SHE TOLD ME SHE LOVED ME
ON THE TELE
PICTURE PERFECT
I REACTED PERFECTLY
I’M TIRED
OF BEING SO HONEST
HONESTLY
IT’S LIKE LYING IN A DREAM
IT MEANS NOTHING
HARDWORKING
FLOWER
BUILDING IN MUD
I SHOULD HAVE WORN MY OTHER SHOES
CUTTING CORNERS
THE HOUSE WAS CROOKED
THE FLOWERS DRIPPED WHITE PAINT

LOOK AT ME STRAIGHT
LOOK INTO MY EYES
CHEAT A STRAIGHT LINE

 

7
PAPERCLIPS HELD THEM
TOGETHER
DINER IS WHERE WE HAD DINNER
I DON’T THINK IT’S RIGHT
FOR THE MALE TO ORDER
FOR THE WOMAN
EVEN WHEN SHE ASKED ME TO
I COULDN’T
SITTING ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER
YOU WANTED ME TO SIT
RIGHT NEXT TO YOU
COFFEE HELD UP
IN A BROKEN CUP
SPILLING
I STARTED DRAWING
ON THE COUNTERTOP
SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS JEALOUS
OF THE DEAD
SHE SAID SHE UNDERSTOOD
I UNDERSTOOD SHE DIDN’T
I THINK THIS IS THE ONLY TIME
IT’S ALRIGHT TO LOVE TWO WOMEN

THERE THEIR THERE
THERE ARE FLOWERS THAT SHOULDN’T
BE THROWN AWAY
WILL YOU KEEP YOURS LONGER THAN A YEAR ?
I SAID I LOVE YOU
YOU WALKED AWAY BY STARING
BOTH OUR PARENTS
CAME TO THE UNITED STATES
WE’RE BOTH SELFISH
BORN THAT WAY

 

8
WALKING THROUGH A MUSEUM
OF MISTAKES
VEGETARIAN EATING STEAKS
A SUBDIVISION OF A BLIND MAN
WITH SO CALLED BEAUTIFUL EYES
LET’S COUNT TOGETHER
AND LEAVE NO FINGERPRINTS
STAYING LOYAL ONLY TO THE LOYALIST
FORGETTING OUR OCCUPATION FOR A SECOND
SOMETHING SOMEWHERE
IGNORE THE PAIN
STAND UP STRAIGHT
REMEMBER A TIME BEFORE WE MET
BEFORE I TOUCHED YOU
AND YOU STARTED WRITING AGAIN
LONELINESS IS A FRIEND
AND A FEELING I’LL TRY TO FORGET

 

9
BUS STOP SUNLIGHT
CHRISTMAS IS NEAR US
QUESTIONS ARE ALL AROUND US
I’M NOT ANSWERING
OR PICKING UP
THE BUS IS HERE FOR ME NOW

 

10

I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN A BOOMBOX
SAVED MY LIFE
BUSES RUN HOURLY
THIS TIME OF NIGHT
CONNECT ME
I HEARD MILES DAVIS
SOMETHING KEROUAC WOULD HAVE LIKED
BUT GINSBERG WOULD HAVE DESCRIBED
CITY LIGHTS GROVE PRESS
BLACK SPARROW PRESS
NEW DIRECTION PAPERBACKS
BROUGHT US the WOMEN group
THANKS HANK
I’M SORRY THE FLOWERS WERE HERS TO KEEP
I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL
MOST TIMES
MORE SO
WHEN I ASKED MYSELF EVERYTHING
ME 10 YEARS AGO WOULD KICK MY ASS
HANK WHY DID YOU DO IT ?
CALL YOURSELF NICK
WAS LIFE THAT UNBEARABLE ?

YOU

THE RED SPARROW FOUND YOU IN THE END
BEAUTIFUL LINDA BROUGHT ME TO YOUR

GRAVE
BUT I FELT I BROUGHT HER TO YOU
I KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE HER
DIRTY OLD MAN LOOKING UP A YOUNG
GIRL’S SKIRT
YOU AND I WOULD HAVE PROBLEMS
I HURT LIKE YOU
I LOST SOMEONE TOO

 

11

TIMES LIKE THESE ARE WORTHLESS
AREN’T THEY ?
WHY WON’T YOU AGREE ?
LOOKING INTO YOUR EYES
I SEE A WALL
BUILT
LOOKING DOWN
WHEN WE SHOULD BE LOOKING UP
YOU’RE A PRINCESS
THAT I TREATED LIKE A QUEEN
SLEEPING BY THE DOOR
WALKING ON THE OUTSIDE
PICKING UP THE BILL
SITTING DOWN I TOLD YOU –
DON’T WORRY AND ORDER ANYTHING YOU LIKE
ANYTHING ON THE MENU
YOU REPLIED YOU WERE GOING TO ANYWAY
TWO LOST SOULS
NAMED FIRE

12
TAPE MEASURE AND INK IN A PEN
BOOKMARK THE IMPORTANT PARTS
SEND A LETTER TO THE HEART
TROUBLE IN THE BADLANDS
I HELPED TURN YOUR KEY
IS THERE ANY ADVICE WORTH HEARING ?
HOW DO I GIVE BACK
WHAT WAS FREELY GIVEN ?
I’M LISTENING
SITTING IN A DINER ALONE
CARE TO JOIN ME ?
YEARS AGO

13
I’M GLAD WE MET
AT THE LAST BOOKSTORE
I FOUND YOUR CAR
BEFORE FINDING YOU
I WENT TO FILL YOUR METER
BUT YOU HAD FILLED IT
AND YOU WERE OFF
SEARCHING
I CROSSED THE STREET WITH EASE
I SAW HOW LOST YOU LOOKED
I WAS SPEECHLESS WITHOUT A
SPEECH
THE BLIND THOUGHT OF HEARING LOSS
YOU FOUND THE BUILDING
I DIDN’T GET YOUR ATTENTION YET
I DID’T LET ANYTHING DRAG
JUST LET THINGS HAPPEN
I DIDN’T CALL YOU
I DIDN’T SAY YOUR NAME
YOU TURNED AROUND
YOU FELT MY PRESENCE
WE MET EACH OTHER IN THE CENTER

OF THE ROOM
I WORE BLACK
I WAS STILL IN MOURNING
I WISH YOU UNDERSTOOD
AND I COULD EXPLAIN
WISHES
WISHES
AN EYELASH BLOWN OFF A FINGERTIP
HUMANS TRYING TO CONTROL
WHAT’S IN GOD’S HANDS

14
WHY CAN’T I WALK AWAY
LIKE THE GREATS ?
WHY CAN’T I LET HER WALK OFF ?
IS IT CUZ I WANT TO BE WALKING ON THE
OUTSIDE OF HER ?
SHE WAS FED UP
AND SAID SHE WAS GOING TO GO
I WALKED HER TO HER CAR
AND SAID DRIVE SAFE
SHE ANSWERED BACK
HOW BOUT WE TAKE A WALK ?

15
LOOK AT ME
LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE BECOME
IN THE RECENT WEEKS
I MUST HAVE RUINED THINGS AGAIN

16
THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT
NUTRITION FACTS
LISTEN
THIS IS A GREAT BUY
WATCH YOUR SERVINGS
I KNOW IT’S IMMENSELY GRIPPING
READ THE SUBTITLES
PULL OVER IN THE HALLWAY
I’LL HELP YOU IN WHATEVER YOU NEED
EVEN WALK YOUR FUCKIN’ DOG

17
BLOOD SOMEWHERE
IN THE AVENUES
MONEY SOMETIMES FOLDED
SOMETIMES KEPT LOSS
THE BARS OVER THE WINDOWS
THE EARPHONES OVER OUR EARS
THE FEAR OF TAKING CARE OF
SOMEONE ELSE
OH NO, HOW MUCH TIME HAVE I WASTED ?
WILL WE SHARE AN UNDERSTANDING ?
GROWTH FROM A LOSS
ADMITTED ANGEL
YOU’VE SEEN WHITE MEMORIAL
WHEN YOU GOT LOST
A WRONG TURN
WHILE RUNNING LOW ON GAS
I’VE BEEN IN THAT IVORY TOWER
WONDERING
WHEN ARE THEY GOING LET ME OUT ?
IT’S COMMON TO CALL IT A MISTAKE
WHEN THE MISTAKE WAS GIVING IT
A NAME

A FAN DESERVES SOME FOOD
A BUILDING OF BRICKS
A BASKET OF FRUIT
EARNINGS OF THE POOR

18
BREAK UP THE WORDS
AND COUNT UP THE CASH
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
SOME TIME FROM NOW
MAILBOX
AND SUPERMARKET DREAMS
GLUE STICK AND A BIT OF HAIRSPRAY
STEAM
A GAS TANK MULTIPLIED
TIME CUT IN HALF
A MOMENT’S TIME
HANDPICKED
A HANDMADE PRODUCT
NO SHADOWS ON THE STREET
SPOTLIGHT GOD GIVEN TO THE CLUBS
AT NIGHT
RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND
AND SAY BY CURRENT LAW
YOU SHOULD BE ASKED TO LEAVE
WITH SOME HIGH SCHOOL STORIES
TOLD WITH THE OLD STICK AND POKE
YOU ASKED WHY

MY HANDS ARE KEPT WARM
KEPT IN MY POCKETS
IS THERE ENOUGH IN MY WALLET ?
BAR HOPPING
I NEVER GOT THAT
MAYBE IF I HAD A DRIVER
BOOKSHELF HEROS
WERE AT TIMES
BARSTOOL CONS
WITH THEIR TALES AND MYTHS
STORIES MUMBLED OUT THEIR LIPS
I’M GLAD YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ME DRUNK
HELD UP IN A BROKEN CUP
ENDURANCE IS A SCARY THING
MY LIPS AROUND A GUN
MY LEFT EYE READS MY RIGHT
HAND
WHICH READS 1966
MADE PAPER OUT MY SKIN
DEATH IS LIVING AMONG US
LETS GO FOR THAT WALK
CHANGE IS GOOD FOR A CHANGE
THIS IDEA IS A VEHICLE

LET’S VISIT WHERE TOURIST STAY
LET’S EAT POTATOES
AND BEANS

19
SHE ASKED FOR MY MANUSCRIPT

20

CAN I TALK ABOUT ONE OF MY BENDERS ?
BORE YOU WITH QUESTIONS ?
DROWN YOU WITH BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS
FROM DETROIT
SELF RAN RIOT
A BOTTLED OCEAN
DRUNK BY THE L.A. RIVER
WITH THOUGHTS LIKE
MINE
IS WORSE THAN YOURS
OURS
IS TALKED ABOUT
BY US
FOR HOURS
BY TELEPHONE
OUR EYES SIGH
GUILT IN THE WRONG DRAWER
NOTHING LIKE COLD SOUP
OR A CHILD THAT HASN’T HEARD OF DEATH

YET
BUT FEELS STILL ALONE
CELEBRATING YOUTH AT AN OLD AGE

21
NUMBERED IN CASE
SOMEHOW MISPLACED
PALM TREES
WE ARE SO LUCKY
GUILTY REALLY
HOLLOW BELIEF
USE THE CROSS WALK
FILL MARKETPLACE
KISSING LIPS
NO CIGARETTES
BREATH MINTS
A GUIDE TO DISAPPOINTMENTS
SPREADING
A LOST SOUL
BALANCED
NO DIRECTION
GULPING DOWN
DIVINE
A MENTALLY SICK
POOR WORLD
READING PLANET NEWS
UNCONSCIOUSLY GROWING

CONSCIOUS
PICKPOCKET
LOUDMOUTH
WITH A SOFT SPOKEN MOON
DEPENDING HOW GLAD
I’LL TELL YOU ‘BOUT MY MALADY
PROFITLESS
LIFE HEADING SOMEWHERE
I TOOK EVERY WRONG TURN
CLIMBING WEAKNESS
I FIND MYSELF LOOKING AT YOU
ANXIOUS AND UNNATURAL
UNORTHODOX
THE CHRUCH IS FOR THE OTHERS
THE EVENTUALLY UNEVENTFUL
I TOLD YOU I WAS ENVIOUS
OF YOUR WRITING
PERFECTED CHARACTERS
A SLOPPY HAND-ME-DOWN
BAPTISM OF THE
CATHOLIC CHURCH
PAPERS READ NEW YORK
THE PIGGY BANK YOU KEEP

HOPES YOU MAKE IT THERE
I PUT A DOLLAR IN WHEN YOU WEREN’T HOME
WE SPOKE ABOUT INTENTION BEFORE
A MACHINE CALLED LOVE
WHAT’S OUR OVERHEAD ?
THE TRIP BECAME A STAY
INTRODUCING INSTEAD
THE BIRTHPLACE TOMORROW
A JUNKYARD OF HOPE
WAS WELL LIT FOR A WHILE
WHILE WE WERE LOST
TOGETHER
POLITICS
NOT KNOWING
WHAT TO SAY
ROBBING THE POOR
BREAD AND COFFEE
SOUNDS GOOD RIGHT NOW

22
EMPTY SEATS I SET UP
IN THE ROOM WHERE YOU READ
YOUR POETRY
FOR THE FIRST TIME

23
ACTORS
BROKEN TELEPHONE
ACTING LIKE IT’S GOING BY TOO FAST
NOT THE WAY YOU WANT IT
BRICKS SHIT MORE BOXES
SHAVED HEAD SUNGLASSES
ANSWERS LIKE HALF FULL
WATCHING TELEVISION NEWS
GREY HAIR STRESS
PAPERBACK LUSTING OVER A
HARDCOVER
DON’T MOVE AWAY FROM ME
LET’S MOVE TOGETHER
FOR ONCE
BOOKS COST TOO MUCH TO OWN
STONES
WEARING ALL BLACK
LINED UP IN ORDER
IN ORDER TO BE
EASILY FOUND
A GOWN AS A GIFT
TOO YOUNG TO BE WORRIED

ABOUT THOSE KIND OF THINGS
MAKING FOOD FOR LOTS OF PEOPLE
ALL WHICH CAME BY BUS
AND SAT DOWN IN CHAIRS
SET UP AROUND THE TABLE
FOR CHRISTMAS JOY
CANDLES WERE BURNING
WHILE THE SUN WAS STILL SHINING
TURNED DOWN A HELPING HAND
EITHER WAY
OUR NEEDS WERE MET
I SAW MY FRIEND ART ON THE BUS
OUR LOOKS ARE OVERLOOKED
LET’S GO FISHING
FLOATING IN A DIRTY RIVER DROWNING
BRING THE HEATER ALONG
ROLE MODELS
WELL ROUNDED HUMANS

24
WATER AT A BAR
WITH FAMILY AROUND
IT’S NICE TO BUY A FRIEND A DRINK
2-DOLLAR TIP FOR THREE DRINKS
THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE
2 DRINKS ORDERED AT ONCE
DOLLAR TIP THERE
ASK WHAT TIME IS HAPPY HOUR OVER ?
LET THE BARTENDER TALK
THEN ORDER ONE MORE BEER
THE PRICE IS CHEAP
A DOLLAR THERE TOO
LAUGHS
TRUTH AMONG US
BUT NOT TALKED ABOUT
MY WORDS AREN’T SLANTED
TRICKS LEARNED OVER TIME
SHORTCOMINGS
LOOK OUT THE WINDOW FOR ONCE
WALK OUTSIDE
THERE IS LESS CHANCE
OF CATCHING A GLANCE

IN THE MIRROR
CATCH AN EYE OR TWO
WRITING-PAPER
A BOOK AS A GIFT
DARTS MADE ME THINK OF HER DODGE
SHE USED TO DRIVE A BLUE ONE
I SAW IT ONCE
SOMETHING TOLD ME
TO GO OUTSIDE
AND I ALWAYS
WONDER
WHAT IF?