Sunday, February 28, 2010


I used to garbage pick for "stuff".
In the alley on hot summer mornings...
I looked in the garbage cans, being careful to avoid maggots, and dog shit.
I found pop bottles, discarded bicycles, old tools, records, and all kinds of hardware, like washers, nuts-and-bolts, lumber, and nails.

One of the greatest treasures I ever found was a discarded vial of mercury.
I unknowingly poisoned myself by spilling it in the palm of my hand.
I watched its magical properties endlessly...until my mom shrieked with terror one day and took it away from me. For a long time, she observed me closely for odd behavior, caused by possible brain damage. Kids can be mean to a poor kid. I learned anger and hatred for my peers at a very young age. They always laughed at the patches on the knees of my jeans, and one day a few of them jammed dog shit into my cheap baseball mitt. I cried as I cleaned it out. I used a lot of soap and water in the washtubs in the basement. I baked the glove in the sun for a few days. Then I oiled it up. It was as good as new, but when I used it again, the kids laughed at me, more than they had before. I stayed in the house a lot that summer. I took solace in Jack London, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mad Magazine, cheap candy, and masturbation.

from: "The Journey...Memoirs of a South Side Chicago Kind of Guy"...available on

Saturday, February 27, 2010


They call me at all hours.
Moronic teenagers who mis-dial.
Associations for The Fraternal Order of Police Departments.
Politicians, Solicitors, Banks, Insurance Companies, Doctors,
Receptionists, people from my past, who I don't care to talk to...
ad infinitum.

They drive me freakin' crazy!
They ALWAYS call when I am on the porcelain throne,
or when I am getting lathered up in the shower.
They call when I have a bowl of Cheetos in my pudgy little hands,
and am hunkering down to a serious night of watching,
mindless TV shows.

Thank God, I can see the call waiting name and number.
This is my power!
I dig the call waiting technology.

My acting/modeling agent insists on leaving messages on my cell phone.
I never make the he gets pissed off at me.
I don't know how many times I have told him, that I just use my cell phone for emergencies, and rarely look at my messages.
I guess I am behind the times.
I tell him to call me at home.

I am always here, facebooking, writing, or painting, after my gym workout.
I knew he was going to fire me...and he did!
I'll have to find a bona-fide agency now.
I'm going to have to buy an SAG card now...(screen actor's guild)...
Maybe I'll get famous in Hollywood!

I'll have a home on Mulholland Drive!
I will own a Bentley and a Porshe!
Hollywood starlets will swoon at my feet!
I will lunch with Robert Dinero and Nick Nolte at Spaggio's!
I will have a thousand-dollar-a-day, coke habit!
I guess the telephone, ain't so bad after all.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The size is seven paces to the north...
Five paces to the west...
I has no natural light...only artificial.
The light is turned off by an invisible hand...
Every night at 9:00 p.m.
In my cubicle is a rusty sink with a rusty water faucet.
It has a rusty toilet with a banged up aluminum seat.
I get a bar of soap every two weeks.
I get to shower once a week for five minutes...cold water.
Meals are scant and lack nutrition.
I do get room service, three-times-a-day.
One hour a day, I exercise by myself.
It's outside in a 12x12 foor concrete pen...It's large, and has fresh air and sunshine. I love seeing the sun, clouds, and blue sky.
This is the best time of my day.
I get reading materials from the trusty, but they are too childish for my tastes.
I read the Bible or the Koran at night.
I've read the new and old testaments twenty times, and always find new meanings. No one visits me here anymore.
I talk to God, the devil, and myself.
The machine whirrs in my head.
Sometimes I hear voices.
This frightens me, so I increase my endless sit-ups, and push-ups.
I also run in place, and work myself up into a pretty good lather.
I've gotten used to my own smell...In fact, it comforts me.
It lets me know I'm still alive...I'm still me!
I'm not beaten.
I'm not tortured, except by myself.
I'm just here.
I'm still here, YOU BASTARDS!
I shouldn't yell like this anymore.
I should just scream silently, in my head.
You see?...I'm wise to their game.
They won't beat me if I'm silent.
I've got time on my side.
They're afraid of that.
This is my power!

from: Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy...available on

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Hi God! What are You doing today?
Do You sit in Your garage, way up in heaven...
drinking beer on warm summer nights?
I bet You like to look at the twinkling stars You made,
as much as I do.
I bet You have a couple of nice cats to love, or maybe a faithful dog.
I want to thank You for another day,
and for giving me such a nice life.
I used to think You were unfair, and trying to hurt me.
But the older I got, I saw what Your plan was,
and how much wiser You are than me!
I know You love me, more than I could ever love You.
This makes me sad...but I shouldn't cry...
'cause I feel You smiling at me, right now.
I've come to realize how foolish I am.
I create problems for myself which don't exist in reality.
Can I get you another beer, God?
Oh!...Ok!...Yes...A couple is good enough?...
The middle path, eh?
You are so smart!
You made a woman for me.
She is like a mirror when I look into her.
I see a reflection of myself.
I see my mistakes.
Because of this, she makes me a better man.
There is so much more I want to say to You,
but I know You must be very busy,
and need Your rest for tomorrow's work.
Thanks a lot for letting me stop in again, un-announced.
You know You're one of my best friends?
I love You 'cause you never give up on me.
You let me see that the world will still spin without me.
Through my mistakes, You let me build character inside myself.
You help me become more honest and tolerant.
You teach me not to be reckless with other peoples hearts.
This, I think is Your greatest gift to me.
See You tommorow God!
I promise!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


You can't win at guitar playing.
You can't win at making art.
You can't win at writing.
You can't win at taking a dump.
You can't win at eating three Big Macs in twenty minutes.
You can't win with ex-wives.
You can't win over the Circuit Court.
You can't win over Judges.
You can't win over the Police Department.
You can't win at gambling.
You can't win!

Accept it, dudes and dude-ettes!
Life just ain't fair.
But it sure is fun!
I won in my fantasy football league.
I won some art awards.
I won when I married my second wife.
In my dreams I win the Hollywood starlet.
I win a brand new Harley Softail Classic.
I win the Nobel Peace Prize.
I win every fist fight.
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I!

Who gives a shit?
Nobody cares what YOU have done.
Now your feelings are hurt.
I told yah!
You can't win!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I remember men using 'chaw' in Southern Illinois.
I was a gangly, myopic, 19 or 20 year old.
I happened on a strange 'townie' type tavern, aptly named the Longbranch Saloon. This watering hole was located on the outskirts of Carbondale Illinois. It was not too far from campus at S.I.U. where I was a student. It must have been around 1969.

None of the students ever took the chance of hanging out in a place like this. The townspeople didn't take too kindly to the student population. To them, we were the uppity spawn of Jews, intellectuals, Democrats, Communists, revolutionaries, eccentrics, and damned get the idea. To them we were the spoiled children of rich people, living in Chicago or New York.

Little did these farmers, strip miners, and blue collar, good-old boys know that I actually came from poverty, and had to work hard with my hands, to get to the university. I had a pretty good working knowledge of machines and tools...and did some heavy laboring myself.

The bar had spitoons interspersed along the foot rails of the bar. Most of the men tried to spit in the receptacles, but the drunker they became, the less careful they were at hitting the bulls eye. Tobacco juice ended up on their jeans, boots, and floor. I ordered a scotch on the rocks, with a water back. Then I asked the bar keep for some Redman Leaf, chewing tobacco. This is lightweight 'chaw', compared to the cut, Copenhagen tin-tobacco I used on Chicago construction crews. The hicks looked at me, expecting I would turn all kinds of shades of green. I chewed the Redman, like a cow chews her cud, and got my nicotine buzz. It must have seemed forever to them, until I let loose with a big 'hocker' of spit, aimed dead center for one of the spitoons. I spit into the same spitoon occasionally, and even showed these local yokels that I had the ability to drink my drink, and keep the chew in my mouth at the same time.

After a while, when I was accepted, we engaged in conversation. I didn't talk about school. Instead, I queried them about their lives in the mines and in the fields of their farms. Of course I had to tell them about my working life with bulldozers and jack hammers. They were hard-working, humble men, who had a long line of family, living for generations in Southern Illinois. Some of their kin were buried in small cemetaries...others were buried, right in back of their houses. Some of the tombstones I found had dates going back to the the late 1700's. These little graveyards are all over the Southern Illinois area. The tombstones were barely readable, due to erosion and age. These kind men I met in the Longbranch Saloon possessed a strange kind of country mindset. They were definitely in a time warp.

They were angry and confused by all the social change we were going through...after all it was 1969. I wasn't all too sure about where the hell the world was going myself.

I really liked these guys. I think they liked me too, because I never talked about anything that would disturb them from their old world values. God, America, apple pie, family, women, and work was the extent of our conversation. I liked the Longbranch, because I could chew tobacco with the 'townies', and go back to an era where life was less complicated. Sometimes, I wish I could still go back there. Complications have seemed to have gotten worse over the last forty years. I guess a fellow is always alright if he looks at both sides of the coin......The End.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I wasn't going to risk another car accident. That shitty , yellow car I was driving was going to sit in "MY" cleared off parking area in front of Mom's house. So I laced up my combat boots, put on my heavy winter coat, knit cap, gloves, and trudged the mile-and-a-half to Bruno's bar. Walking this kind of distance in Chicago during the month of January while enduring a 3o-mile-an-hour wind and temperatures of 15 degrees isn't for the faint of heart. The only people that are tough enough for this jouney are fools and drunks. When I arrived at Bruno's after my march through a foot of snow, it was like being in heaven! I felt the warm, rancid air hit my face. "Ah," I thought, "I'm home!"

I smoked cigarettes and shared lies with toothless, old retired guys in raggedy jackets. I drank shots of Rock and Rye with my draft beer. I'd tell the old timers my tales of running and finishing the marathon and how I was going to get back in shape. I did all of this between long drags on my Marlboro cigarettes, while sucking down shots. It was a lovable lunacy! I enjoyed every minute of this bullshit! The frozen Tombstone Pizzas we shared really tasted good, on these freezing, Chicago winter afternoons. It didn't matter that they were 3 years old and freezer burned. The booze made a guy hungry. If I had a good buzz going on, a Slim-Jim tasted like prime rib to me!

In January, I got a call from dispatch at the Heavy Equipment Operator's Union Hall to go to work at the Reynolds Aluminum Plant on 47th Street and First Avenue in McCook, Illinois. This was a Federal job, and it was going to last for the rest of the winter. I drove my pukey-looking yellow Ford to work for about a week, holding my breath for each trip. Every time I hit the brakes, I heard grinding metal sounds. My foot was flat against the floorboards of that old-whore-of-a-car. Sometimes I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I almost rear-ended some expensive car in front of me. "Jesus, Lord, save me!" Luckily, my money came in from the car insurance company, (I wrecked my Jeep in a head-on drunken collision) so I bought myself a brand new 1979 Pontiac Catalina. The car was beautiful. It was silver with red pin striping. It had beautiful, red fabric, velour bench seats. The car was loaded with all the goodies. I never saved any money; it all went to girls, booze, and cars! I thought this was the way it was supposed to be!

Somehow a new car gives a man a new outlook on life. I knew I was down on my luck, but I was enjoying this dishonest feeling of self-importance! "Who cares?...Screw 'em all!" It's nice to feel like a "million bucks", even if you're only worth two cents. I drove my new "baby" to the job with great care. I damned the snow and ice every day. I sure didn't want to wreck this damn car!

I made the drive anyway, because I had it made on the job. I was an Oiler on a big Lima Backhoe. The Operator running it was really laid back. After I prepared the machine in the morning, he let me go to the lunchroom so I could smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, and play poker all day long with the other tradesmen. These men were on call to do various little jobs. We were all making big money. I kind of liked this arrangement! These Federal jobs are called "cupcake" jobs in our union.

The laborers who worked outside in all the snow and slop trudged in at noon in their muddy boots. We all smiled at them. We were all warm and comfy and greeted them for lunch every day. They all looked pissed off, with their red faces and muddy clothes. They scowled as they greeted us sarcastically by saying, "How's it going, easy money?" We all said, "Just fine boys." "How's your beautiful day going so far?" I loved all the man-type bullshit! I hung on to this job for about a month. It was enough time to get a "grub stake" and head out to Las Vegas. My brother Jim said he would store my new Pontiac in his garage for me until I came back home. I left the gray skies of Chicago for the glittering lights of world-famous Las Vegas, commonly known as the "Disneyland for Adults!" I swore to myself I wasn't coming home until springtime, when it was warm and the flowers were blooming!
from: my book "The Journey...Memoirs of a South Side Chicago kind of guy...available on


If you've lived in Chicago in the wintertime and you dare to drive your car after a snowstorm, you learn the game of...'RIDING THE ICY RUTS'. These ruts are made by a million tires, transversing the side streets. You hope your car's undercarraige doesn't "bottom out" as you journey out into the unknown. Cars are parked on either side of the side streets as you drive, and there is no place to go except into the grooves of horror.

When two cars face each other at an impasse, the drivers of the "iron monsters" sit and look at each otehr in disgust, daring each other to take the first chance. The driver who has the balls to drive around the other car has to goose his engine to escape the ruts. His car usually goes into an uncontrollable power slide and he ends up sideswiping a brand new Cadillac.

The owner of the damaged new "Caddy" always sees the transgression. He is always sitting in his easy chair by the front picture window...There he lurks, drinking hot coffee and reading his Chicago Tribune. He has the radio on and is listening to Wally Phillips on WGN radio. The guy who owns this Caddy has a job to do. He stays by the window all day if necessary to be ever vigilant so he can alert the Chicago Police Department if there is any damage done to his car. At any malreasance, he calls his Alderman to "chew his ass out" for the lack of city services, and salt trucks with snow plows. This is a Chicago tradition. It has been going on for many a year.

All Chicago residents shovel their walks and parking areas in front of their apartments and homes. After the shoveling is completed, the parking area is declared off-limits to all but the owner of the space. Two ratty chairs are often placed at either side of the space. Boards of various lengths transverse the middle of the space and are placed firmly on the seats of each chair.

Anyone who would ever be so brazen as to remove these sacred items from the area are dealt with harshly! Torture or death would never be questioned by authorities!!! The offender always has it coming to him! The ownership of the space is clear! It is unspoken CHICAGO LAW! All Chicagoans understand this law and abide by it!....

(more tommorow....this is from my 1st book: "The Journey, Memoirs of a South Side Chicago kind of guy)...available on

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I was drivin' a beat-up, White cab-over diesel tractor.
Maybe it was 1990...I don't remember.
I was haulin' construction equipment for my friend Bob.
I had everything chained down nice and tight on the lowboy.
I was headed for Easley, South Carolina.
I left the damned Chicago snow.
I had a purpose.
I was good.
I had goals.
In reality, I had nothing.
Nothing but callouses on my hands...
A mortgage and credit card debt.
This was a long run, that always ended up bad.
I gassed up in Indiana, near the Kentucky border.
I hate Indiana.
Too many god-damn cops...countie mounties, we called em'.
Shit taverns and greasy spoons...bleak...flat land...
I looked forward to meeting Bob, my old, best friend.
We worked Deep Tunnel in Chicago together.
He was a man's man...rough and tumble...Good lookin', loved the ladies.
He loved to drink.
He was dyslexic..but smart...ace mechanic...brilliant guy.
He could build anything without blueprints...
He ended up owning a large construction biz.
Nine hours on the road, and I was beat.
I ended up bunking in a shit truck stop in a musty motel room in Tennessee.
I was just outside the Smoky Mountain area.
A man don't want to face the road here, without rest.
Too dangerous...especially with freezing rain.
Next day, I pull into Bob's construction yard.
I drop off my load.
He takes me to a mansion, he and his wife Joan built with their own hands.
We sat at the kitchen table, drinking Jack Daniels, and talking and laughing about old times.
Then Bob takes me to some rebel bar with a Dixie flag on the wall.
I'm drunk and braging about the Union up North.
We end up gettin' in a fight.
We whup the 'rebs' good.
We go to another bar, where Bob has set up a lap dance for me.
She is a beautiful redhead...We laugh and I really enjoy this.
I am so drunk that I throw up in my bed that night.
Bob and Joan forgive me.
Last I heard, Bob left Joan and five kids, for some biker bitch in Florida.
He buys her a Harley Davidson and one for himself.
She is ten years younger than him.
He never called me again.
Joan changed her phone number.
There is no end to this story.
I miss 'em both.
I just keep on with my life.
Another rig, or bulldozer...Another job.
Traveling on the road in America.
Most of these memories are sad.
I had purpose.
I had goals.
I had dreams.
All gone now.
All I own are my memories of the road.

Friday, February 19, 2010


It's finally here!
For $19.95!
A sonic hearing device...
That looks like a 'blue-tooth'...
I just saw it on TV...
I hangs offa' your ear.
It increases your hearing...
By 50 decibels!
Now I can throw away...
My $4,000 Siemans Corporation,
digital hearing aids!
They never worked anyway.
Now I can listen in on private conversations!
I can be a detective.
I can hear what people are saying about me!
I can hear what GIRLS are saying about me!
I can be a SPY!
I am just so excited, I can't stand it!
Now I need to find some X-RAY glasses!
I'll be able to see women, 'nekid'!
Man, could I have some fun!
I hope my X-RAY glasses cost $19.95, too!
I won't wait!
Don't worry!
I'll have my credit card handy!
Maybe I can get two-for-the-price of one!
If I break a pair of glasses...
I'll always have a spare!
Watch out ladies!
Here I come!

from: "Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy"...available on

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Dear Lord, take my sinful thoughts from me!
Make me not an anomaly, just a person who works for Thee.
Make me a man of my word...
Not the lying kinda' turd I have become.
Dear Lord, keep the cancer from me!
I'll be good. You'll see.
I have tests.
Don't let me wither and die like all the rest...
Those who I see, dropping like flies all around me!
Dear Lord, make me a vessel for all Your good works.
I'm usually an asshole, a clod, or a jerk.
I wont drink or drug, chase women or pee...
In the dark of night, in abandoned alleys.
I won't pee on dumpsters, in back of bars, or on the walls of Holy Churches.
This is not the 'me' I want to be.
Dear Lord, make me a family man...
Not a guy chasing hookers, or pulling weird scams.
Make me truthful, humble, and right...
Not a rapscallion, always ready to fight...
Over things that don't really matter, in Your big scheme of things.
Dear Lord, I promise that if you save me this time...
I'll better the world with actions so kind...
I will blow Your mind...infintesimally!
If this is possible, You will see a new and better me.
A man among men, I promise to be! For you are my Lord!
Dear Lord, each prayer I've said, You've answered so far...
But there is so much more! So I'll go to the bar and pray some more...
Then wait and see what you have in store.
A few shots of whiskey, a dance with a 'chick'...
Won't make me dishonest...or an evil old prick!
I'm only human, imperfect, You see?
You understand Lord, You're the guy who made me!
So if I sin, please forgive me. I'm just a mortal, and I gotta' pee...
And do other nefarious things.
Dear Lord, They're closing the bar now, and I'm in my cups.
I did my best today, it just wasn't enough.
I'll start tommorow, then You will see...
How good a man, I really can be!

from: Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy...available on

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


He knew his way around a drill deck.
He worked the oil fields in Texas, Oklahoma, and Southern Illinois.
The strange thing about this cowboy, was he was educated...well read.
He preferred a rambling life, to the dullness of the white-collar world.

An obscure town in Texas was his last stop.
He and his crew of oil field men stayed in a ramshackle motel...
on the outskirts of this dustbowl town.
After work, they showered the sweat, grease, and oil off their bodies.
They changed in a locker room, fondly called a hog house.
This change house was located on the job site.

They jumped in their pickup trucks and head to Jake's tavern...
for Lonestar beer, Jack Daniels, country-western music on the jukebox,
and spitoons on the floor.
Immediately in sight, was a variety of lost souls occupying the tattered bar stools...This bar was the dregs...He loved all of it...It had a majesty of sorts.

He sat at the bar and threw down a twenty.
He gazed down the bar and saw a Latina princess.
She was sitting with a big, mean hombre...A Mexican man.
She was luscious. Firm breasts popped out of a skin tight red dress...and the legs!...Oh!...The legs!...She crossed them with her dress hiked way up.
To top it off, she had dark nylons and red, spiked, high-heel shoes.

He was smitten.
He kept looking at her, than furtively made eye contact. She was smiling at him...Licking her chops, showing her tongue through those luscious, lascivious, red-painted lips. She got up, and sexily fed the juke box. A slow, sad, country song came languidly through the decrepit speakers. He ordered another round and tried to ignore her. He bantered and told tall tales with his oil field pals.

He looked up again, and the big Mexican man was gone.
She was sitting all alone!
He sauntered over, and asked her if she wanted a drink.
She nodded affirmatively, smiled, took his hand, and guided him to the dance floor. She grinded her body into his.

She smelled like lilacs.
She was moving her thighs all over his.
Her ear was hot, and he was breathing heavily into it.
He started kissing her neck.
The song ended.

They went to their drinks and small talk.
She told him her name was Sophie.
The man who left, was her husband.
He went to work his night shift at the local factory.
She said her trailer was empty...
only five-minutes down the road.
They left after he bought a six-pack and a bottle.
He left the crew a twenty for drinks, and let a good tip for the bartender.
This was his lucky night!

The last thing he remembers is opening the passenger door to his pick-up truck, to let her in. His crew found him and hour later, knocked cold, walletless, with some bumps on his head. His face was lacerated and swollen. His eyes were blackened and swollen shut. He lost the pictures of his wife and children, credit cards, and cash. Everything was gone. The truck keys, and his truck were still there, by God!...Small miracles do happen.

The worked the drill deck the next day. The men laughed and joked: "Hey raccoon man", yah wanna' go lookin' for a sweet senorita tonight?" "Fuck you", he said, as he connected another section of drill steel. He showered up, and went back to Jake's tavern that night. He ordered his usual shot-and-beer. He picked up another girl.

They don't call 'em roughnecks for nothin'.
After all, he knew his way around a drill deck.
He knew how games were played, in bar rooms.
He thought to himself, "At least this beats the straight life".
"I surely don't want a slow, boring, death in some office."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The check is in the mail...I won't cum in your mouth...
Wall Street harlots, dancing in "come fuck me shoes"...
High speed, high profile, executive types flaunt it, wear it, speak it,...
That's the bottom line.

You have to be a survivor out there.
It's a dog-eat-dog world, my friend.
Better pull yourself together and be literate.
This account is at stake, and your job is one the line.
Put your game face on...Wear your best mask.
Listen to those inspirational-motivational audio books man, 'cause...
You've got to fight to live another day...
That's the bottom line.

Thousand-dollar suits, perfect teeth, a "just-right" handshake...not too firm, not too weak...
That's the bottom line.

Porshe, Lexus, Lincoln, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Bentley, Rolls Royce...
all define YOU...The size of your penis, your breasts, the size of your wallet, the "cut of your jib"...
That's the bottom line.

Trophy wife, two children, spacious home in just the right neighborhood...
The best country club, high visibility in charity organizations, manicured lawn, built in swimming pool, servants...
That's the bottom line.

Vacations in Europe, Cabo San Lucas, Las Vegas, Five-Star-Resorts...
Forty-year-old single malt scotch, titanium golf clubs, Cuban cigars, game rooms, Sky boxes, beautiful and literate escorts...
That's the bottom line.

Wonder drugs, top surgeons, The Mayo Clinic, gated retirement communities, 24-hour security and surveillance, donations to religious institutions, universities, and other worthy causes...
Retreats, reflections, prayer, spiritual journeys to make up for past sins...
Make sure you buy some prime real estate in heaven...
That's the bottom line.

Large, upscale mausoleum, top of the line casket, beautiful flowers, upscale funeral home...All is predetermined and well thought out. A will is perfectly constructed and administered. No small detail is ignored...
That's the bottom line.

Body ravaged, mind gone, drugged 24/7, so as not to feel the pain...
We wait...Alone now, though people are there.
They cannot know...
What this reality is.
We shit, we piss, we die...
That's the bottom line.

from: "Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy"...available on

Monday, February 15, 2010


A split of a white methadone tab...
If I take it, I am facing excorciation...
By immoral judges, adorned in black robes...
Symbols of justice and the American way.
But I am in my basement.
I have them fooled.
I am I take the half.
No one is here to see me, except myself.
The warmth of the drug hits my core.
My heart is heavy...but I'm buzzed.
I am not an addict...
But want to assimilate the experience...
So I can know just once,
How this drug feels...
To the methadone freak.
Without feeling, without experience, we are empty pages.
I sometimes search for universal truths...
in foolish and unorthodox ways...
Sometimes I just don't get it...
Maybe I am bullshiting myself.
I thought that I'd understand the big picture by now.
I'm still desperately clueless in my search.
Age is supposed to bring wisdom.
It just brings more questions.
I have more questions now than in my youth...
And I'm running out of time.
Yes, the inane cock-sure youth I had...
Is not as good as what I have now.
Being human, I want more.
I want the damned truth!
Money is bullshit.
Religion is bullshit.
Power is bullshit.
Status is bullshit.
Beauty is bullshit.
I need more time to answer all the questions.
I answer one question, and two more pop up.
It's all so paradoxical...
It's God's cruel joke on humanity...
It He exists.
I should not think.
Thinking is a dangerous pastime.
Thinking leads to more questions.
More questions lead nowhere, which leads to insanity.
Metaphysical questions...
Lead me to dead ends.
And more questions.
The only truism I figured out so far...
Is that we all die confused.
This is surreal.
Back to square one.

from: "Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy"...available on

Sunday, February 14, 2010


im still here you bastards!
you worked me like a slave
played your mind games on me...
i was your whipping boy...
but no more!

im still here...
though you cut me.
overmedicated me.
put me through psychoanalysis.
annihilation at your hands...
but im still here!

im ignored, abhored, bored, by the clucking chickens
out there...just talking shit.
you don't look at ME anymore.
you see?
im still here...maybe you left.
you disregard this old man.
i ain't down for the count.

i played your game.
i had youth, good looks, fame.
fine cars, piano bars, armani suits...
and languid women who looked at me...
with longing eyes...
as they vapidly sipped their martinis.
yeah...we sat in upscale hotel bars.

i thought i had it all.
i thought i had knowledge.
i had nonsense...i was insane.
no life was a cipher...
a wisp of hot air.
i had no wisdom...
no salvation...
in my recreation.

in desperation, i came to my senses.
im still here!
i gave up my illusions...i hope.
i lost loved ones.
do we ever say enough?
i faced horrible disease, with more courage...
than i thought i possessed.
i was put to my knees...unwillingly.

but i emerged.
a strange metamorphosis...
i became a phoenix.
reborn, into a mind more clear.
im still here!


I want to think.
Give me games of strategy.
Give me chess, poker, the stock market, backgammon, crossword puzzles, and women.
I want to read books and periodicals.
Give me magazines and newspapers.
I want thoughts from conservatives and wild-eyed radicals.
Give me leftists, maxists, and John Birch society crazies.
I want them all.
I don't want video games.
Virtual realities ain't for me.
I don't want to mindlessly react.
I promise not to subject myself to capitalist pavlovian conditioning.
Don't give me Mafia wars or Farmville, for Chrissakes!
It serves no purpose.
I think...I think...I think...
My mind wanders.
The wheels in my head are always spinning.
This is my curse...This is my gift...
My dual edged sword.
The world is full of dualisms.
Fuck it.
Who cares anyway?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Sloshing through the dirty snow on the mean streets of Chicago...
He walked for miles, a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth.
He walked erect, proud, with a purpose.
All who observed his gait, knew that he had meaning in his step.
He pressed on through all the shit that life had in store for him.
He worked crummy factory jobs.
He sweat in the steel mills on the southeast side.
For a while, he drove a beer truck for Al Capone.
His route included designated spekeasies in Joliet, Illinois.
He tended bar in cesspools, where tough guys hung out.
He knew dirty, smoky rooms.
He knew rooms which harbored lost souls.
The dregs, the kegs...
Were his for the taking.
So were the women.
He was dapper.
He was a dancer.
He was a lady's man, who loved to play the horses.
He sat at card games in Cicero, Illinois...two-or-three days at a stretch.
His three-day benders, were fueled by Seagram's VO and Chesterfield cigarettes.
He knew the jockeys.
He knew the bookmakers.
He knew the hookers, the politicians, the attorneys...
And the union business agents.
He gave his old suits, ties, shoes, and jewelry to old black men...
Who washed dishes or slung hash in kitchens...
Or in backrooms of bars where he worked.
He never thought he was above any other man.
He had no unique qualities or aspirations.
He loved to laugh.
He was well liked by his friends, and acquaintances.
He love to drink and dance.
Often, he fell asleep with his head down on a bar.
His drinking lost him many a job, but he always managed to find another one.
His family feared being put out on the street...but the old man always came through...
In the pinch.
He and his wife raised two sons and a daughter.
He never raised a hand to any of them.
He was partial to his little girl.
She was his little angel.
He taught his boys to box.
He taught them the rules men had to learn to exist on the street.
He was a 'terrier', a street tough, who expected no less from his sons.
He had a reputation.
He could be a vicious man if he was crossed.
He worked till he could no longer stand on his feet.
He lost both legs to diabetes...
He never complained.
He was cut from some rugged cloth...
This old man.
He had a horrible toothache one day.
He dispatched his youngest son to bring him a fifth of VO...
A clean towel, and a pair of pliers were also needed for the task.
The old man drank half of the whiskey...
And when properly anesthetized, he began wiggling the bad tooth with the pliers.
He sat in his chair...
Watching a White Sox game,
With a towel tucked under his chin.
He finally worked the rotten tooth out of his head.
He went to the bathroom and rinsed his mouth out...
With warm saltwater.
He held the towel to the wound until the bleeding stopped.
He finished watching the ballgame, and the rest of the fifth.
He packed some gauze in his bleeding gum.
He went into his bedroom and set his alarm clock.
He hugged his little boy and said,
"Well son, I better get some sleep. I have to tend bar tonight."
"Tell Mom, I'll see her at dinner time."
The little boy smiled in amazement at his dad.
He hugged the old man tightly.
They both smiled broadly at one another.
I was the little boy.
He was my 'old man'.

from: Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts form a Working Class Guy...available on

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I've been in a thousand cheap hotel rooms.
The faucets drip and drive me insane.
I hate the rusted toilet bowls.
I hate the musty smelling carpets, and blankets.
I hate the rodents and bedbugs.
I've signed my name as "John Smith" a thousand times.
I've carried in my own luggage, usually a duffel bag.
I've opened a cheap bottle of whiskey...
and poured its contents into a dirty glass....
a thousand times.
I've peered at the paint peeling off of a thousand walls.
I've pounded on tv's that never worked.
I've read a-thousand Bibles, and found no relief.
There is not relief, in cheap hotel rooms.
I've listened to noise outside my door.
I've listened to sadness, violence, and passion.
The walls are paper thin, in cheap hotel rooms.
I've heard, 'Give it to me harder', a thousand times.
"Yeah, that's right baby, harder!"...
inside of my head...and inside of some floozie.
I hear the incessant pounding of a head board...
against my wall.
These are the perks to enjoy in cheap hotel rooms.
It gives me no relief.
My aloneness, my grief, my life...
To be cocooned by drab, green drapes.
At least they keep the light out.
They hang over dirty windows, doing a good job hiding me.
Sometimes there's silence, no solace, just me.
I ponder my next move, in cheap hotel rooms.
I bag up my laundry.
I put the stinky stuff in plastic bags.
It's like hiding little corpses.
I open the door to freedom.
I have the whole-wide-world at my feet.
I have a half-pack of cigarettes.
They are crushed.
I enter a car that should have died...
A long time ago.
It's parked in front of my cheap hotel room.
I roll the windows down.
I light up a smoke.
I take a toke.
Onward, onward, onward, I go.
I go to a destiny...I'll never know.
Why or how I arrived.
The mile markers change...
Yet I remain the same.
I have on my shades.
To keep the light out.
The hot sun is oppresive.
The sun is the giver of life.
I've had my fill of it.
Onward, onward i go...
I have half-a-tank of gas...
I can't let it get too low...
On my twisted trip...
To the next cheap hotel room.
I finally arrive, it's late in the day.
I confront another desk clerk.
He's defiant, underpaid.
His eyes are on me now...
Sizing me up.
I know he's a jerk.
I give him a smirk.
I sign in again.
'Jim Dandy' is my name...
This time.
He'll only take cash.
I don't blame him.
I forgive him and the world...
As i aimlessly gain yardage toward...
Room #7.
My last cheap hotel room.

from: Chicago Stories and Other Thoughts from a Working Class Guy...available on

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I like old fashioned coffee shops. You know the kind. The joints that have dilapidated furniture, and bad art on their walls. I love the raggedy, old magazines, and the books strewn about the tables, and the floor. I sit in the stinky old sofas, or rickety chairs holding my good, old, cup-a-joe. The radio is blaring jazz or blues...Not that Starbucks elevator music! I am in the company of construction workers, poets, artists, madmen, street people and the unemployed. I hate the antiseptic, upscale ways of the Starbucks chain. They don't allow 'real' artists to hang artwork on their walls. All they have is corporate, pre-approved prints...Yuck! Their coffee is too expensive for the rabble I like to commiserate with, but that's alright with me. I like a cheap cup of coffee. I like the old coffee houses that sponsor poetry slams, and lousy folk guitar players. We try to hide our laughter when we hear a bad performance, which occurs almost every Friday night. We are in awe of performers, when they are actually good. We reward them all, good or bad with tips, and applause. Yah don't get that at Starbucks, baby!

Do a test for me, will yah? Try and bring a harmonica in Starbucks, and do a few riffs. Do a Bob Dylan thing, like "Blowin' in the Wind". I bet the snotty manager will 'kindly' ask you to leave the premises. It's a mortal sin to disturb the corporate types, masturbating their Mac, lap-top keyboards! The upscale mommies, with their sleeping babies in the thousand-dollar perambulators, might take offense at your disturbing song. It's not politically or socially correct! Up your arse' I say!

I like the conversations and arguments I hear in the mom-and-pop type coffee shops. Strong, cheap, caffeine, and the sharing of ideas, stimulates my mind. In my favorite coffee shop, appropriately named, "The Funky Java", I can play a game of Backgammon or Chess. I can fiddle around with an electric guitar or a set of drums. My shitty art work hangs on the walls, along with the work of other "not so great" artists. I sell a piece every now and then, at bargain basement prices. The owner's mom is a 'neato' revolutionary, who praises the working man, and just so happened to get a degree from Stanford University, way back in the good old days, when women weren't supposed to be educated. She is over 80 years old, and still likes her cocktails! She loves books, and art...a true intellectual, God bless her!

Starbucks won't have my art. I am the Anti-Christ to them. Lord help the world, if I should hammer a nail into one of their pristine walls. My painting might fall and hit some corporate attorney in the head. Lawsuits would fly! The corporates who run good old Starbucks wouldn't want this horror! Next time you visit the local Starbucks mausoleum, take a look at the plastic people. Most of these automatons sipping their lattes, are totally self-absorbed. I'd like to bring my boom box in there, and play some Bo-Diddley for these anal-retentive yuppies! I'd want to get some conversations or arguments going on! Maybe I would throw a few decks of cards on the sterile tables. Anything, just anything, to bring out some humanity in these robots! The whole scenario would end with me kicking and screaming, as the local gendarmes load me into their squad car, with my hands cuffed behind my back. "Watch your head, sir".

from my 2nd book: "A Spider in the Corner of My Mind"...available on

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Jimmy owned the place. I loved the guy. He was a recovering heroin addict, 30 years younger than me. In Chicago South-side terminology, he had "chops". He was cool, and he had knowledge of all types of music. He always had some great jams playing in the store. Buddy Miles, Bo Diddly, Miles Davis, Chico Hamilton, Sarah Vaughan, you name it, and he had it. He sold nothing but the old vinyl LP's. Cassettes and CD's just don't give you the sound of the old wax LP's.

Jimmie bought the shop from a retired Chicago police officer. I went in there usually 2 or 3 times a week, to watch them play chess and drink strong black coffee. Eventually, I would saunter through endless aisles of the old thirty-three-and-a-third LP's. I found such gems as Susanna McCorkle, Milt Jackson, The Jimmy Hall Quintet, John Coltrane, and Muddy Waters. I always left the shop with 2 or 3 records, in pretty good condition. The price for a record was anywhere from 2 to 7 bucks...Not a bad deal! It was amazing. I figured out how to hook up a nice turntable to my Bose stereo sytstem. It wasn't easy, till I got an alligator clip to ground the turntable. I contacted Bose, and they shipped the accessory to me for only ten bucks. The sounds were wonderful, and worth the wait.

Jimmy and I talked a lot about sobriety, when his policeman friend wasn't there. I respected his anonymity, and he respected mine. He had a nice young girlfriend who watched the store for him, when he was taking classes at the local college, or out buying records. Jimmy let me hang my paintings in his shop. They hung there for a couple of years, but I never sold a piece. I hung one of Jimi Hendrix, one of Janis Joplin, and one of Jim Morrison. Later on at a National Art Show, the Hendrix painting won a minor award. News of my painting sale, appeared in local newspapers, and we hung the article in the record shop. I sold the Hendrix painting to a guy who drove a truck for a living. Anyhow, Jimmy started slipping again. Business wasn't very good, and he was going to have to close his record shop. He started snorting heroin once again. Heroin is a cruel mistress. His girlfriend confided in me, and told me of his plight. She cried alot of tears in the days to come. She knew that I also loved Jimmy, and shared her angst with me. I asked if I could help in any way, but she told me that he was too far gone. I kept coming to the shop, but the doors were usually locked. The only times the shop was open, was when Jimmy's girlfriend could work a shift. She had her own full time gig at a hair salon. After a while, I saw him again. He had sallow skin, and dark circles under his sunken eyes. He had lost a lot of weight, and looked like a ghost. He smiled at me, put his arm around my shoulder, and told me everything was fine. I told him that I knew otherwise. He was off and running with the horse again, and you can't stop a runaway train, so I didn't pitch sobriety to him. I knew he didn't want to hear that from me anyway.

I caught him packing up his records, the week he was closing the shop. He said, "Hey man, you've been a great friend and customer', "Why don't you grab 3 or 4 records that you like". "I'm moving back to the city". I said, "Are you sure you want to part with them Jim"? He said, "Yeah man, its OK". I don't have room for all of them anyway". Then he asked me if I could spare him some cash...I gave him a couple of twenties. I knew where the money was going to go, but I gave it to him anyway.

I saw his girlfriend a few months later. Jimmy and she weren't an item anymore. He sold all the records for heroin, and was spiking in some desolate building. He was sharing needles with other addicts, somewhere in the inner city. I had to write his story. I couldn't believe such a smart kid could do this to himself; but we all initially think we are smart enough to handle our addictions. I think he might have died. I think that was the news I heard on thes street, but I blocked it all our of my mind. I didn't want to remember him this way. I sure miss that kid.

"A Spider in the Corner of my Mind"...available on


I want the road life again.
I like it when I'm traveling from town to town.
It's as if time stands still.
In a blur, the sun rises in the morning...
the moon rises at night.
Days bleed, one into another.
At night, gazing at the stars, I am alone with my thoughts.
It's more honest this way.

I am traveling as if propelled by an unknown force.
A happy finger of some diety catapults me.
I'm like a pinball rolling toward some hole.
I find the "fantasy niche" of a small town.
I smell hot apple pie, and black coffee.
At night I order Jack Daniels Black.
I can eat burritos or steak.
I do whatever strikes my fancy on the road.

I long for the road.
I like the lights of big cities too!
Broadway, the village, Soho, Chelsea, are marvelous.
I disapear into the arms of these places.
I know no-one.
This is my freedom.
I learn to exist on a smile,
a prayer,
my wit,
or my fists.
This danger and excitement give me joy.

The road is everything.
It counts.
It's not where I start or where I end up,
that matters.
What happens in between is key.
The "in betweens" are the now of my life.
I sieze them, and head out on the road.
Because, safe lives are not celebrated on death beds.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Guys in their 60's are driving around in muscle cars right now, playing Surfer Girl on their six-speaker CD players. The dial is turned up to full blast, man! It's 'cause the dude doesn't wear his hearing aids...It just doesn't look cool to be wearing those old hearing aids. Hey man!!!...This dude has his shit together! Can you imagine what his 60-year-old surfer girl would look like in a thong? Arrgh! The picture wouldn't be pretty. I can visualize the dried, saggy, cellulite-laden skin, and those icky, varicose veins. But hey!...60 is the new 40, don't you know?
Some of the wonders available to my fellow Baby Boomers in this miraculous day and age are: face lifts, liposuction, derm abrasions, lap band surgeries, rhinoplasties, breast implants, penile implants, Viagra, Cialis, pheremones, tanning booths, deep tissue massage, (with or withou full release), pedicures, manicures, health clubs, diet programs, ad infinitum.......
Somehow, when I see a 70 year old woman in a micro-mini skirt and five- inch stilletto heels, if just doesn't work for me! I am frightened that this "dear one", might fall, and suffer a hematoma with every shaky step she takes. Yeah, we sure don't like aging gracefully in America. I knew I was getting old when I chose to fart in the gym, and not care who was around to hear or smell the noxious gases leaving my colon. This is one of the simple joys of old age! We are solid in our maturity, and care less what others might think of us. This action puts an exclamation point on pure, personal freedom.
I don't even want a big Harley anymore. I'm afraid my battered legs won't support the weight of the big machine. I am sure my reaction time would cause me to wipe out, and splatter my elderly body on some highway, like road kill. A little Vespa motor scooter seems a more logical choice to me. They get better mileage than the big old hogs anyway. I realized this year, that no matter how much time I spend in the gym, pumping iron, and running on the treadmill, that when I lift my arms up and hold them out, my old man skin is going to hang off of them like chicken fat. This is a major bummer for me. I can't afford plastic surgery. Oh well, I just won't hold my arms out like that in front of any chicks! I'll keep them tucked in and flexed! Also, I'll walk around with my stomach sucked in, and my chest puffed out. Hey! I'm still a babe magnet after living on this earth for 61 years man!
After I strut my stuff in the gym, I go home, check my emails, shower, and eat a killer lunch. Usually I fall asleep in my lazy-boy chair around three in the afternoon. My nicotine gum is still in my mouth, and chokes me sometimes. I'm supposed to pick up my wife from work at the college at five-o'-clock. I freak out when she calls, asking me where the hell I am! Thank God that the college she works at is only 2 blocks from the house. I say, "Five minutes honey, I fell asleep again". I hear her laughing in the background, as I hang up the phone. Now that I've slept the afternoon away, I'll be up all night watching television. Maybe if I bought that red, V-8 Mustang, convertible muscle car, I wouldn't nap so much! Vroooom! Vroooom!

from: "A Spider in the Corner of My Mind"...available on

Sunday, February 7, 2010


republicans, democrats, marxists, independants, zen buddhists, flutists, flautists, nudists...accept them all.
tip your hat to the bums, the nuns, the scumbags, the old hags, and drop a quarter in the cup of the schmuck who begs in Uptown, in front of "Big Chicks" gay bar.
he needs a pint of muscatel, and a warm room in the hell of the YMCA.

put your arms around porn queens, and magazines that your mother never let you read.
listen to the insane, the lame, the urbane, the tame, the maimed, the wild, the child, the mild and get your fix with the licks of hot jazz, pizazz!
don't razz other cats for their ideas.
grasp it all, don't fall, hear it all.
intellectuals, transexuals, ineffectuals:
"I saw the best minds of my generation go mad reading Ginsberg".
now they rap, scrap and nap...redact on uninspirational activities.
gameboy, ipad, so sad...and stock car races...i embrace them all.
suck in their humanity, for you need to see the virtual playing field.
this game is called life.
have the vision to accept them all.
prostitutes, pimps, players and chimps,
rednecks, jews, homosexuals, may snooze while i pen this,
but i love 'em all, just the same.
get over it. get over yourself. be top shelf. have fun with it all.
be brave and stand tall...
do what you do.
it will only help you, if you don't make fun of the fool and the clown.
have pity on Rush and Glenn Beck's vituperative pus.
don't let Pat Robertson bother you, 'cause we're all in life's stew.
politicians, popes, lawyers, and dopes...
bankers, corporates, rich and poor, need enlightenment...
of this i am sure.
accept the bizarre...
left handed guitars, dingy assed bars, and accept yourself.
there is no greater power in the world than to rationally observe life's insanities and not to be reactionary.
with a clear head, the job begins...
take action
begin with yourself
make a list of what is wrong
then fix it.
only then can you be a part of the "great healing".
yet, strangely, you must distance yourself from IT.
in your imperfection, your dissension, your suspension in this cosmos that you have designed...with your intellectual mind...
the light finally comes.
then it goes.
darkness comes to us all.
it will come to you.
i promise.
so, accept it all.
accept them all.
so you can accept yourself.

Friday, February 5, 2010


She was a beauty in her day.
I've known her for thirty years.
She was well into her 50's when I met her.
My wife and I were 30, moving into our new home.
She and her daughter were to be our new next door neighbors.
Mary had a flair for elegance, wit, and fashion.
She always gave my wife home made cookies, or spaghetti sauce for me.
She knew I loved these gifts.
I was there for her when she needed repairs on garbage disposals or hot water heaters. Sometimes, bad light switches, or heavy boxes were in my routine.
She needed my help, because she was a widow.
Now, she is in her late 80's.
She doesn't go out anymore.
I rarely see her, or bother to visit.
A home health aide nurse is by her side during the day.
Her daughter has a day time job. She never married.
I received a phone call today.
Mary had fallen, and instructed her nurse to call me.
When I opened the door, Mary smiled at me from the floor of her kitchen.
The walker stood without her.
Mary looked like an impish, dark haired, raggedy-ann doll.
Mary's dark wig was askew.
We both laughed at the situation.
As small and frail as she was, I had a hard time getting her in her chair.
I'm getting older now too, I guess.
I didn't want to hurt her.
I remember how the EMT's hurt my mom, when they picked her up off a gurney and flung her on her hospital bed.
I remember how angry I was. I gave them hell, and glad I did!
We finally got Mary in a sitting position, in one of her kitchen chairs.
I kissed her on the cheek, and told her to call me anytime.
She didn't say too much. I think she has difficulty speaking now.
She cracked her famous smile, and pointed to a corner on her kitchen countertop. There sat a plate of freshly baked, chocolate chip cookies.
I cried on the way back to my house, next door...
but I felt full of love.


i look at them now...
they are soft.
like a woman's hands.
once they were calloused.
like my soul, once was...
the scars are still there.
age spots, yes...i get more every year.
i have wounds from pulling cable...
for big earth movers.
i have burns from oxy-acetylene torches.
i had a man's life you know.
no pencil-neck job for me.
i had a worker's life.
blue collar.
my skin isn't soft or supple now.
it's crepe paper.
the star tattoo remains...
in the web of my right hand.
an icon of "manhood"...
silly now.
I look at my hands...
and see them folded on my chest.
in my coffin.
i hope they don't hold a rosary.
i hope they stick a pen between my cold fingers.
i look at my hands.
dry in the winter...
they crack
the wounds hurt
heal slowly
my hands are cold.
bad circulation
still they are useful, my hands.
to pet cats and dogs...
hold babies
stroke my wife's cheek,
or my daughter's golden hair.
I look at my hands, and wonder:
How will they look next year?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

THE BLUE FOX LOUNGE...from "The Journey"...Memoirs of a South Side Chicago kind of guy...available on

My roommate, Chicago Johnny, and I got along just fine. John owned a boss reel-to reel sound system, and sat in his lounge chair, smoking reefer or cigarettes. When he was stoned, listening to his music, he smiled like a Chesire cat. He was usually rocking to his tunes on Friday nights when I came home from work. He always had a bottle of Vicks Nasal Spray, which he constantly overused, and abused. I'm amazed he never acquired a deviated septum from the many times he squeezed that damned solution into his nasal cavities.
Johnny owned the best collection of blues music I had ever heard in my life. He was a simple man with modest aspirations. He knew what he wanted out of life and was willing to settle for less. He was calm, happy, and likable. I felt he was an excellent choice for a friend and roommate. John chose to be an individualist and aspire to nothing. I smile when I toss this fact about him, around in my "brain box". Another reason why we got along so famously was because his pizza shift ran from five p.m. until one-in-the-morning. Our paths rarely crossed, and that makes for a great relationship between men who share the same residence.
Most every Friday night on the weekends, Johnny, Viet-Nam Bill, and I met up at "The Blue Fox Lounge". This establishment was located on 55th street, a couple of blocks west of Kedzie Avenue on Chicago's south side. The Blue Fox was a late night joint. It had some of the finest "Do-Wop" music on the juke box I had ever heard in my life. The lounge was dark and gothic. The bar was so long that it went on forever. The bar had red candles placed intermittently that flicked like seductive fingers, inviting me to sit on the garish red barstools. The owners had a five a.m. license, so most of the clientele started arriving around midnight. The women who came in the bar wore too much eye makeup and bizarre shades of lipstick and nail polish. Most of them wore short skirts with black nylons and high heels. The girls all had ratted hair, or falls. Some had beehive hair-do's for their "crowning glories".
These gals were a little on the trashy side, to say the very least. They clustered together like a bunch of hens, clucking a mile-a-minute. Their dark eyes were always darting this way and that. They looked around the bar furtively, almost desperately, sizing up everything. They appeared to be on some kind of do-or-die mission. These girls were a throwback to the late 50's. We just loved them!
The men who came in the bar wore gaudy banlon shirts, black leather jackets, sharkskin pants, and pointy black boots with zippers on the sides. Most of the guys looked like aging crooners, with greasy ducktails and pompadours. The general mood of the bar was one of danger and anticipation. Most of the music was soul-type stuff. All of it was sexually charged. A lot of dark lighting and slow dance songs made this bar "tops" with me. All that went on in the place was really sensual. Eye candy and auditory sexiness prevailed in this bar. I listened to Roy Orbison, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Curtis Mayfield, Santo and Johhny, The Platters, Sam and Dave, and Jerry Butler. They were all on the jukebox. This place was a real blast-from-the-past. I loved it, because it was so unique.
Bill and I were always half hammered by the time Johhny would arrive. The three of us drank and laughed and told tales while we checked out all the girls. When the time was right, we made our moves on them. If a "dolly" was stumbling around and smiling at you, or inadvertently put her breasts on the bar while ordering her whiskey, you knew the time was right to approach her.
These inebriated angels danced so closely to you, that thoughts of pre-pubescent basement parties always came to my mind. I thought of those little parties where I explored the wonderful intimacies of dry humping my dance partner and doing taboo things not to be seen in public. I felt the danger of being 14 once again!
For some odd reason, Viet-Nam Bill always got lucky in this place. Maybe it was the sad look in his eyes. Maybe his luck was due to his war experiences, or not quite measuring up to the expectations of his anal-retentive, succesful, sales executive father. Maybe a combination of these things put him in the drivers seat with these needy women.
Sometimes, I got lucky in there as well. It was always hit-or-miss with me. Porr Johnny could'nt get lucky in a whorehouse, with a fistfull of hundred-dollar bills. Maybe he smelled too much like pizza or Vick's nasal inhaler. circa (1973)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


63rd street had bars...and alot of them.
The "Gaslight lounge" is where my brothers friend, Bob English...
ogled my date, Kathy. She was a flirting kind of girl.
Bob was 13 years my senior...A pathetic drunk.
But a nice guy...He bought us drinks.
Kathy knew how to work him.
Bob was built pretty good, but he had a bad case of acne.
He was a lonely sort of guy.
I liked him anyway.
He died of lung cancer when I was 28 years old.
I went to his wake, probably to pick up girls.
Lord only knows, where Kathy ended up.
I drank with my dad at Tommy Kraw's lounge, on Kedzie avenue.
Kraw's was a late night joint, where a guy in his 20's could pick up older women for sex. It was a great buffet table of older bimbos...just there for the picking.
Little Joe's Pizza place had its Italian singer Aldo, singing "George Washington Bridge"...We were drunk and stoned on grass...It was hilarious.
He sang in broken English...Our dates loved him.
Me and the boys had fake I.D.s after high school.
I was an alcoholic by the time I hit 20.
I had the time of my life.
Back then, we didn't have alcoholics.
They were called bums...they layed in the gutter.
If you worked, you were AOK.
The slum of my life was good.
The women, the drinks, and the cacophonous laughter.
It all goes by now, in my head, like a blur.
It's all too fast...too dangerous.
It is too fleeting...I woke up old.
One bar after another.
One cigarette after another.
All too fast.
63rd Street.
It's still there, but like a tomb.
It's a dirty slum...
Where other young men, live their dreams.
Someday perchance to ponder...
63rd street bars...faded cars...
good times.
They will be just like me.
Ah, the memories.
63rd street bars.

Monday, February 1, 2010


its not my fault for hiroshima
its not my fault for six-million jews...
murdered in nazi germany
its not my fault for hooded, red-necked
racists, lynching black people
its not my fault for the genocide...
perpetrated upon native american indians

its not my fault that i divorced my first wife
its not my fault i quit numerous jobs
its not my fault i poured free drinks
its not my fault i took advantage of women

its not my fault that i didnt:
quit smoking cigarettes
service my car
wash the windows
do the dishes
return the stolen money
go to church every sunday

its not my fault that god is dead
its not my fault the world is insane
its not my fault you dont like this poem
i don't care
its not my fault.