The Smile of Satisfaction
Coming back from the fridge
with my third glass of wine –
hoping that it will break the logjam
in my brain and rinse poems
to the surface of the page.
Now the fourth glass and still nothing.
I yank a Pulitzer winning book of poems
off the shelf hoping to find
something to steal.
But it’s a Nebraska landowner
with a loving family
and we have nothing in common –
there’s no way for me to
forge a passable counterfeit.
The fifth and sixth glass go down
and still nothing.
I’ll bet that Laureate has
written three or four poems
about family and Nebraska
since I poured my first glass.
When I go to pour the seventh glass
I notice that the tuna juice I squeezed down the drain
earlier has fumigated the kitchen.
The raccoon outside my back door
notices it too.
The author photo on the cover
shows the smile of satisfaction.
Only the happy and productive
can smile like that.
The Rich Old Bastard
Why don’t I hate this guy?
Goddamn – I certainly should.
He writes of his trans-Atlantic
trips aboard the Concord.
About dining in Manhattan’s
About riding Italian custom-made
And I can’t put him down.
I turn each page of his poetry
like it’s a John Grisham thriller.
What’s he got for me next?
A poem called The Widening Wealth Gap.
He brags about having more money than me.
He confesses to be rich and lazy.
I confess to being poor and lazy.
We ain’t really all that far apart.
He flies the Concord – I take the bus.
Some reviewer said he wrote a poem
about making his maid clean up the slime
on his desk after fucking some girl there.
I turn the pages in eager anticipation –
damn – there it is – in all its grossness.
He’s 85 years old and doesn’t have to do
a single fucking thing if he doesn’t want to.
But he writes poem after poem after poem.
He has the creative muscle tone of a twenty-something.
That’s somebody who loves to write.
Where the Losers are Welcome
Is there a place for people like me?
Something like a real-life version
of the Oakland Raiders for the washed up?
Never mind the strangulated hernia.
Never mind the torn hamstring tendon.
Never mind the spinal subluxation.
Just when I thought I’d hit rock bottom
I heard a knocking from below.
That night after coming out of the toilet –
thinking I had done my business –
and then noticing the wet warmness
extending halfway down my thigh –
a post-peeing calamity –
oh fuck – it’s over – I’m done for.
What am I supposed to do now?
Where do I go?
I could try to regain my youth.
Scarfing down a couple of Snickers
and a supersize order of fries might do it –
bringing back the zit-spangled face
of a sixteen-year-old.
Then there’s always fresh salads
and health club memberships
for people with the gumption
to slice tomatoes and jog to the gym.
I’ll just save my ambition for a rainy day.
The Rich Heir
The paydays came once a week.
Boss knew we’d quit and leave
if we ran out of money –
so he frequently doled out the commissions.
My paychecks varied in range from
$86 to $261.
I spent it in flash flood
of wine – whiskey – beer –
like a newly rich heir every week –
drinking commissions and pissing bankruptcy.
I could never look the liquor store clerk
in the eye when I went in there.
She no doubt thought of me as shifty.
Especially since I paid in exact change
and never ran a tab.