magic

is 2 am
and you call 

it means 
that after all the 
bars,
assholes,
and traffic signals, 

you can still stumble through
your special kind of drunkenness
and give me a few kind words
that help keep
the daily bullshit
at bay

i work on the
second floor
and there’s a large window
before the stairs

i saw a co-worker
in her early 20’s
walking towards
the 
parking lot
with her kid
in her arms

the toddler
had his face buried in her
neck
and there
were 
heavy black clouds
in the distance
and a few heavy rain drops
had started to fall

the girl
put her mouth
to the kid’s ear and
told him something
and then they
continued out
to the only car
in the parking lot

somehow,
it was the most
important thing
i’ve seen
in a while

Blinded By The Light - Bruce Springsteen

i get irritated
when people
interchange the word
“average”
with
“failure”,

when they act
like there is shame
in being average,
sitting on top
of the bell curve,
or in a movie theater,

that there is
a need to get
out rulers
and scales
and
tests
and
stopwatches,

that there is
a need for 
paranoia
and
jealousy,

that there
is the need
to kill the laughter
in a bedroom
on sunday night 

you sat on the carpet
with a bottle of st. pauli girl between your ankles
listening to
“red river shore”

you were staring at
a puddle of rain forming on the
cement
behind the sliding glass doors

you were somewhere else
and
it occurred to me that
you might need
love songs

more than love

now that my
heart
cannot do
the summersaults
it used to

I find myself thinking about
the youthful days that
burned brightly,
that now
lay
bare,
like matches
around my
chair in
the room where I
type

the days when
you spun
dizzy with
drink
in our first apartments

and now I ask
at your doorstep
if you think that
we could
make it at another
time together,
maybe when we are
different,
more agreeable people
and
you shake your head
then your umbrella

and I lean in

and lean
in,

our lips finally
brushing

a cat moves out
in the rain
looking for
a dry
place

a car honks

and the thunder
works
well

and
I get out of there,

I
walk,
I
drive,
I
walk,
catch a ride
to
coney island

to the shore
and

it’s green,
my head hurts
and the day
slowly
arrives

when i was
a kid
i worked for
years
as a busboy
in a
country club
i saw my schoolmates
come in with their
families
i saw them
on their way to
ivy league schools
fraternities
impressive houses, unhappy wives,
a fishing line
zooming 
down
down
down 

i remember
hosing down the
mats
long after they left
lighting the first cigarette
i remember
the music in my car
as i drove to your house
and

the wild
unreasonable
happiness
of
just being
a regular
fucking
person

Greenback Dollar - Hoyt Axton

i had a small radio
that i listened to
basketball games on
while i cooked myself
dinner.

there was a window
above the sink
and on the sill
were the
casualties:
baileys, jim beam, bombay, crown, svedka…
you’d stuffed flowers in them
and the flowers had died

i sure as hell wasn’t going to replace them
and
you were long gone

i’ve written so much
about you
it embarrasses
the keys

they
sink under
my fingers
with little
protest

and they
work
better than I
can

they
know
you

they love
you

and
I
try to
keep
up

i want to sit
very still
in front of
the setting sun
not looking at
anything
in particular 

i want to sit
far away
from
forced smiles
uneasy laughter
and
time burning
away
so quickly
and cruelly

i want to sit on a porch
with
you,
a piano,
a pig, 
and a bottle

it’s been about a year
since you were in the
hospital
and then you packed up
and left

I should have driven with
you
out to california
if not for good
then at least long enough
to buy you
breakfast

but when you’ve
got love it’s
easy enough to take for
granted
and I don’t think
we were meant for
each other
anyhow,
you wanted
security
and happiness
and walks along the
river on sunday
and I wanted to be
left alone
of course except
when I got lonely

and we are both 9-5ers,
it’s in our blood and
when we are given
time we just
destroy
it

we belong in
the fields
and the heat,
early to bed
and early to
rise,
a cup of
coffee
and a
long kiss
goodbye

or at least
its
memory

you should have known
me several thousand
beers ago
when the nights were
bookended
with cigarettes

you should have known
me
when I cared too much
and
didn’t care 
at all

you should have known
me when I was
green,
straining,
reaching for an
answer
that was never
really there

yes,
you should have known
me
then

because I know 
better
now

sometimes
after 
a month of
coming home
to my room
night after night
i forget that i’ve seen
stars over arkansas
and girls laughing
with their stomachs flat on
the bar,
that
i’ve seen the Rockies
approach and leave in mirrors
and
i’ve seen
smoke curl
like galaxies
in a diner
between two people
with nowhere to go
and nothing to talk about

i feel like i’ve painted myself
into a corner
but
at night,
drunk,
and in the right light,
i like the painting