Saturday, December 31, 2011


i wish you all a very happy new year.
this is the 63rd year i will enjoy the planet earth.
my priorities have changed from cocktails and confetti,
to reflection and enjoyment of more simple things.
no longer do i hunt until dawn for the highs...
the perfect times which never appear...
and lead me to despair.

for there are no perfect times
there is no perfect life
there is no perfect mate
but there is a perfect attitude
and that attitude is one of love and gratefulness
i like to think that i embrace this attitude most of the time
but sometimes i do not...for i am only human
and i am aware enough to accept my mistakes,
and wise enough to change them

so i forge ahead with persistence
loving freely, even when i am hurt
putting the past behind, but learning from it
embracing each day as if it were my last
no matter how bad i might think it is...
each of my days is a gift from the great spirit

so i love you
and am happy to have you all with me
and i hope your year gives you health and peace
for these are our greatest gifts
embrace all that is good inside of yourself
and share it with the world
and relish your life
for you are a miracle

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


i thought i escaped the neighborhood
south side days and south side ways
chicago and all its' glory
the gutters, the slang, the swagger
the taverns, the social clubs, the ball teams...
the girls with foul mouths who bore our children
yet, i always came back

i still have the walk
and urban life is embedded in my heart
even though i am in a tapioca, suburban existence
i sound like a city man
with an emphasis on a hard "A"
thirty four years gone am i
yet, my heart is still there

and i keep coming back
just like they tell a guy to do at A.A. meetings
'cause i want what Chicago has...
and i'm still willing to go to any lengths to get it
and that "it" is indescribable to a non-chicagoan
the city has its' own smell, its' steadfastness
against all change, though change does come
but it's only cosmetic

my city remains the same underneath
where the dice games are played
and bag men pick up
and girls ply their trade
and bookies take the bets
and politicos put in the fix
and the horses run hard
and ball teams forever lose
my neighborhood is chicago

Friday, December 23, 2011


'twas the night before Christmas
and all through the land
shopping was frantic
from newsflyer spam
people were shoving and pushing the door
'til the hinges broke
need i say more?

new michael jordan's
must be owned, you see...
and they just had to have
that color tv
mace is used
by the gangsta' crew
to get what they want
so watch out...achoo!

fights are developing
in store parking lots
and policemen are hired
to keep a vigilant watch
'tis the season to be jolly
hey!...don't you see?
drinking more liquor,
taking dope...

the hoopla will crash
and the market will too
when this years charge cards
bring gloom to you...
in january there's a letdown
but don't ever fear
there's always the superbowl
for more wine and beer.

so happy birthday jesus
you're a cool-cat dude
we hope you remember us
when we're sick from good food
and bring me that harley, that caddy, and dough...
after all it's christmas,
so bring me more blow.

we wonder why people hate us here
in the land of the free
the home of the brave...
so would ya screw 'em lord?
they don't drink no beer
they just pray, work
and stay at home bored
they ain't hip to reality shows
and hollywood bling
it's time to bitch, swing and fight...
so merry christmas america
and to all you hep cats
i bid yah, goodnight!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I learned how to work drill rigs in McCook, Illinois. I was a Derrick man that worked atop a 30 ft. mast. My job was pulling drill steel and racking it. Of Course, I did a lot of things on the drill rig. I was a deck hand using tongs to connect drill steel, general "go-fer", mud man and water man to keep the hughes tool bit lubricated, clean up and greaser, coffee getter, you name it.

I did about 2 years on water rigs in the Chicagoland area, then ended up in Las Vegas, after I went through my divorce. After drinking myself into oblivion for a couple of months, I moved to San Diego and got my body in shape again by running, surfing, and pumping iron. I ended up in West Texas in a wild cat drilling trailer. A big push was on for oil back in '79 and they were hiring "worms". Worms are guys with some limited drill rig experience. I told them that I had worked 100 ft. derricks, (which was true), but never oil field rigs. I couldn't believe it when they hired this Chicago boy.

The pusher in the trailer said I had three of the four qualifications that he was looking for...big assed arms, the love of drinking, experience...but I wasn't from Texas...They like their own boys. I "wormed" out there for a season, and pretty much was accepted by the crew, after I got drunk every night and won a few bar fights. These men were smart in a lot of ways. In other ways, they were "dumb as a box of rocks". Half of 'em would end up in jail, or would start missing work, or just light out for new horizons. Most of 'em were better "hands" than me.

I'm glad I did the work. It was dangerous, exciting, and satisfying. It payed well, and was a good life for a single guy. I surely do NOT recommend this kinda' work to a married guy. Drillin' and marriage do not mix. Once you become a driller, you get hooked for life. It gets in your blood, kinda' like being in the tavern every night addicts a guy. You're pretty much through by the time you hit your forties, and the arthritis sets in and your reflexes start going. It's a young man's game.


we try
for all the highs
but we experience
the lows
we realize
that the highs
are within our souls
that each choice
puts us on the road
to avoid the lows
so get high
on love
and what i mean
is love yourself, first
and become a clean spirit
then grow in that love and share
try the natural high
peace and understanding
just try
before you die
and when your spirit
flies to the sun
you'll know you've won
your freedom
just try.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


he woke up saturday afternoons
always with a hangover
but this was cured by stubby's bar...
a neighborhood tap room with a pool table
and the usual crowd of miscreants
where a gin and tonic was still thirty five cents

the summer sun came through the nicotine stained windows
and after five or six cocktails, he came home and went back to bed
he ate his supper after a two hour nap
and showered for his night time gig at the cocktail lounge
he lit a joint and proceeded into the heart of the city
then rolled another one, and decided not to smoke it
he was across the street from the chicago lawn polce station
instead he psychedilcized in the bathroom

he stocked the bar and put ice in the sinks
made sure all was well and ready
then poured himself three fingers of whiskey
he turned on the jukebox and watched the band set up
and he listened to his favorite song
as they sang on and on:
"drink scotch whiskey all night long, and die behind the wheel."

Thursday, December 15, 2011


My gym ritual starts every morning at 6 a.m., rain or shine...through good and bad, I pack my bag with analgesics, protein drinks, bars, sweats, wrist bands, athletic shoes, socks, and all types of other paraphenelia used by "plateheads" like me. I drink my 2 cups of coffee, read the Chicago Tribune (until nature calls), then scream upstairs to my wife, Debbie: "I'll be ready to go in five, honey!"

She is a gym kinda' girl, and promptly comes downstairs with those cute Nike tops and shapely workout pants. She is a babe at the age of 62. I smile at her, and we hop into my old, beater RAV-4 and off we go.

I warm up with dips, pull ups, and wide grip pull-ups...Then it's off to an incline bench for dumb-bell curls, standing curls, and shrugs with 100 lb. dumb-bells in each hand. I head next for 3 sets of 12 for my bench press...ahhhh!...I feel my muscles growing already!...I am breaking a sweat at this stage of the game. Next are seated rows and pull downs...i super set them...which means i alternate sets for each exercise...then I head to the pec-rack for chest and back...then to the hammer machines for 3 different exercises for my back muscles...

It ain't over yet, 'cause I have to superset tricep pulldowns and standing cable curls, and maybe a few push downs for more tricep work...My legs are shaking at this point, and my arms are pumped. I feel happy to hit the decline board and do about 200 cruches for my gut,, then to the abdominal chair where i pull down 70 lbs. and crunch what parts of my stomach that still needs crunching.

I head to the men's locker room to stow my gloves and wrist supports, get my IPod and MetRx 32 gram protein bar...I happily munch on it, while talking to my gym buddies...I guzzle 16 ounces of water then proceed to do a half and hour on the incline treadmill, listening to golden oldies. This workout takes me at least 90 minutes, and I do it every other day.

On days I don't lift, I do an hour of hard work on an elliptical, and 40 minutes medium work on an incline treadmill...The joy of it all is that I get to consume 4 to 5,000 calories a day of clean food...I eat at least 150 grams of protein a fat and complex carbohydrates...I gave up sugar a year ago, don't drink or smoke.

I'm glad I live this lifestyle, and I'm glad that my wife has jumped on the circuit with me...We sure don't feel or look like we're 63 years old. I hope that when she's 90 that she can still keep up with me...I warn her about this when she decides to eat Christmas cookies...She makes me pay for my asceticism, by saying: "Your not going to ruin my Christmas with your craziness!" I guess she is right. Now I have to figure how to eat cottage cheese and protein drinks at the various Christmas functions we are going to have to attend. Maybe I can hide them in the trunk of the car, and sneak them in the bathrooms...I can feign illness when they offer me ham and cheesy potatoes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I miss the old home I bought in the country. It was an old Montgomery Ward Catalogue, blueprint home, built in the 1920's. I miss those rolling acres of corn all around me and the turkey shoots in the fall. I owned a pole barn, a rubbarb patch and five acres of land that abutted a brook of fresh water. I hunted bunnies and pheasant in the fall, and in the winter, I ran in combat boots through the snow, to a park about five miles away...where I observed deer and winter flowers in bloom. The smell of moss and tree bark entered my lungs on these solitary jogs and I free floated with nature, my mind leaving my body as if I were some type of mystic...and I was young and strong...and I worked a twelve hour shift during that winter...from midnight to noon on a drill rig some sixty-miles from my farm. I worked with boys and men from all over America and we built many a derrick or tunnel or road or building...and it was good.

I believed in America and hard work. I read no newspapers and watched no tv and my politics were non-existent. I tore down engines and played with farm tractors and watched football games. I drank good beer and whiskey at a singular tavern in town where everybody knew everyone else. We came together for each other in play, in hard times, because it was the right thing to do. We had a sense of community. I worked inside my house putting in new sub-floors for hardwood, hanging cabinets, replacing old toilets and the monster boiler that originally came with the house. I bought a baby grand piano for my wife and Ethan Allen furniture to keep us locked into the traditional American home concept.

Back in these days there was no such thing as laziness or hopelessness for my kind. We worked at whatever we could get in hard times. Sometimes I started business which did pretty well, but would always go back to my heavy equipment trade when the spring crocus appeared. I loved the smell of the black dirt in the morning, whether I turned it over with a dozer blade or a farmer's disc. Dirt and perspiration meant prosperity. The sun was always shining in my world, and when it wasn't there was the warmth of tavern cheer through a shot-and-a-beer.

Now, I just mark my days. I watch the clock in the late afternoons, and one day bleeds into the next. I live in a townhome now where everything is done for me, and my body isn't what it used to be. I long for the hard work, but know that those days are over. I am grateful for my life. I have many memories and still work to keep my body and mind in shape, but I miss the old days, my old ways.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It was December at Southern Illinois University, and bombs fell on Vietnam as we all got ready to party at Rich and Vera's house...and we dropped wine, grape juice, vodka, whiskey, and all types of other innebriants into a portable aluminum washtub set up on the floor of their kitchen. A couple of huge blocks of ice would keep the magical formula cold...and we had buds of wonderful gooey marijuana which we rolled into hava-tampa sized joints...and their was Owlsely acid...sp?...1000 micrograms a hit if you really wanted to psychedelicize yourself.

The stereo played Gracie Slick, Big Brother, The Chambers Brothers, and Morrison and we were in our groove after final exams and were celebrating the "real" Christmas before the idyllic Illinois Central train brought us back into the realm of straight AmeriKa...back to mommy and daddy...THE ENEMY...and their warnings about drug addiction and the peace movement and the evils of abortion and anything that was connected with the SDS, the Black Panther Movement, Abbie Hoffman, Alan Ginsburg, or Gay right, or feminism, ad infinitum...but we don't want to think about those things now at Rick and Vera's...

So we dance and play drinking games or play with jello, (especially if you're tripping) or put Mazola Oil on the kitchen linoleum floor...and roll in it to your hearts content with your loved one...and screw, screw, screw your brains you don't have to remember that you got lottery #40 and that you were going to Vietnam for 2 years as a grunt in the infantry...and that you'd rather have more foot powder to keep jungle rot from between your toes, than a million bachelor of arts degrees...

The American economy was bad, and there weren't any jobs, and people were rioting in the streets, and children were nestled in their nice warm beds, thinking of Santa Claus, and the rich were getting richer off the war, and kids were dying over there, and we vowed that some day we would fix this mess, 'cause the whole world was watching...but we lied and were co-opted by the system and things are even "worser" now 'cause we just wanted to make money and it goes on and on and on, just like that night at Rich and Vera's house...except then, we were more honest.

Monday, December 12, 2011


there should be a warranty on me
i can get one on everything else
my cars, appliances, techno-gizomos all have warranties
why not me?
i think i might even buy the extended warranty
seems like a good idea to keep the devil away
for five-hundred years
where do i sign the dotted line?

but alas, no one wants to save old men
exceptin' maybe for a few old women out there...
god bless 'em!
and i wonder how much it would cost?
i'm sure the government would be against it
they don't want to pay me social security for that long

i ain't worried about it anyway
any society that gives a depression pill for a depression pill,
has no fears about old zombies wanting extended warranties
no oldsters i know want to go to the hospital
and lose their life savings
they all want to leave what's left to their spoiled brats

that ain't how i roll!
i'm gonna' blow my wad before i croak
buy a new cadillac
and a new lid
i'm gonna' have an "amsterdam good time"
and party my way out
screw the warranties.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


i don't need to know what are the best wrinkle creams of 2011...
or how to sleep all night...
or what depression pill to take for the depression pill, that doesn't work...
or anything that's advertised for $19.95 on those info-mercials...
but wait! can have 2 for this price plus the veggie-nator
naw...i'll take a pass

i don't need tv commercials showing:
virile males getting trucks out of mud holes...
using a sweaty horse, while he wears his cowboy hat
looking like a young tom selleck
coming home to pop a viagra
and banging a chick half his age
while "Suzie-Q" plays in the background

i don't need democrats or republicans
religious affirmations
plastic santa clauses or reindeer games
endless flyers in my Sunday newspaper proclaming that:
"this is the sale of the century!"

i do need a nap
a frigerator full of food
a good dump in the morning
a trusty vehicle
a gym with clean towels
a pension check
and a wife who puts up with my insanity

i've got all that squared away
life is grand
my daughter isn't in jail
and neither am i
it's a beautiful thing
my life.

Friday, December 9, 2011


the nap is sweet
i rest my feet
protect my mind
from addled rhymes
that plague my head
i need no bed

for just repose
i count my toes
i see they're there
when i awake
i'm grateful, mate!

for these last few days
in my life
i've fought all strife
so now i dream
of old man things
and count the days

in simple ways
i take more naps
and just relax
the fight is done
i think i've won.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


in my lifetime i've been a:
paper boy
maintenance man
pizza delivery man
flower delivery man
head hunter
heavy equipment operator
drill rig operator
tower crane operator
mechanic...automobiles and bicycles

i owned a home remodeling company
worked any job that would put food on my table
for lousy wages
when i retired i wrote four books
in my life i painted over 600 paintings
sold 300 of them

if they took my social security and pension away
i'd still find a way
i'd work three jobs if i had to do it
'cause i'm a jack of all trades
don't ever give up
keep pluggin' away
and always save some for a rainy day
it ain't what you make
it's what you save
you can take and put that in the bank
good luck, youngins!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


nine was a great time for me, especially in the summer
you see, my mom and dad had to work
and i was one of those "latch key kids"
who got to stay home...alone!
i had orders to keep the house clean, not to cook, and to NEVER, ever let anyone in the house, while my parents were gone

naturally i broke all the rules
i enjoyed the mornings eating frosted flakes, feeding my turtles fresh flies from the alley, and tending my strawberry patch
then about nine a.m., before the house got hot like an oven, i'd be off to the baseball diamond with my rowdy friends.
when i was sufficiently ragged and tired, i'd come home and break all the rules, that i had promised to obey

i learned how to cook pancakes
one day, the house filled with smoke, 'cause i burned them
i couldn't sit for a week from the lickin' i got
dad used an old barber's razor strop on my bum
next fiasco was the cake frosting
i used hershey's cocoa mix in the brown tin
and a whole mess of powdered sugar
i was sick for a week from eating the entire bowl

i used to mess up the house, then clean like a demon the last hour before anyone would get home
my brother caught me all the time
i always forgot he was off on wednesday afternoons
he was nineteen and he was a nazi...a clean freak...and just plain mean
he made me clean up and take baths and generally rode my ass like a rodeo cowboy with a mean demeanor and sharp spurs

i also invited kids in the house
they were supposed to be my friends, but always broke something or left cigarettes behind, smoldering somewhere
it's tough being a kid!
it's tough being a man!
it's tough being an old man!
but it sure is a helluva lot of fun remembering all this stuff.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


i remember the real christmas
mom, dad, brother and sis were still alive
we were poor, living in a three room apartment
an ice box, no tv set, just the radio
and we used to listen to radio programs, play cards, and laugh.

we didn't know we were poor
'cause we had each other
and we learned tricks to survive
and spread a buck as thin as an anorexic runway model
liver and onions was like prime steak to us
we were happy 'cause our bellies were full

so now i have everything
beautiful home and cars and family
and no money problems
but mom and dad and brother and sis are dead
i am the last, and this fact saddens me
'cause i never knew how much i'd miss them
they truly understood i understand
and with them died the depression era mentality we shared

'cept i still have it in my soul
and my wife and daughter sometimes chide me
for my thrift and old time ways
but i keep strong anyway...
'cause you never know when the wolf may show up at your door
and i love them and would take a bullet for them
and they know it in their hearts...
this is how it should be

i can't show them the old christmas
it would cause them too much pain
they have too much in their lives
but a lot can be said
for having much of nothing
and still being happy with it
the simplicity of making one's own joy
has been immeasurably good to me,
and to me this is the real christmas

Monday, December 5, 2011


they carol in the silver star bar
a band of miscreants with hooded eyes
distended bellies and shady memories
of their days of youth during christmas

the jukebox plays the same old songs
bing crosby, brenda lee, and burl ives
and drunken comrades falsely praise the christ child
as they steal change off the dirty counter
and call their wives with tales of woe

they plod through the snow when they've had their fill
or their money runs out
and remember better days
yes, there were always better days in their sodden minds
and hopes for better futures
for they know there is no better present

but there is always christmas time
when everyone is still a child
no matter how evil
no matter how ill
no matter for the life or death of them
because it has always been this way
so, why buck tradition?

the silver star has always been there
standing city proud for some 80 years
grandpa drank there
dad drank there
so he drinks there as well
the circle will not be broken
not in this generation

he stumbles up the stairs
and slams the door to welcome himself home
and his family cringes
in squalor and fear
as he squints at the cockeyed christmas tree
a skeleton of a tree with home made decorations

and he has a twinkle in his eye
as he pours himself a shot
and asks where his dinner is
and they almost trust him
as he sits at the old table
and she slams the plate in front of him

cold is the food
cold is the apartment
cold is the reception
cold is the noel
and he watches the snow
as it falls outside his windows
and celebrates another silent night

Sunday, December 4, 2011


i'm seriously, serious
though sometimes delirious
in cerebral ways
my thoughts won't stay
they sometimes run
it ain't much fun
collecting them
starting over again
with cogent lines
that take some time
to entertain
and cause your brain
to ponder words
perhaps unheard

but that's to presume
i'm in attune
to creative verse
for which i thirst
but we all know
it just ain't so
though try as i may
my words aren't enough
just recapitulated stuff
from deep within
but i start agin'
with some hope
and a serious grin
to entertain
not wreak some pain
on readers here
who need some cheer

so read on folks
the sadness
the jokes
the stories i tell
from heaven and hell
from earth
and the skies
sometimes truth
sometimes lies
though you may find these words
i'm just tryin' to be

Saturday, December 3, 2011


hut! hut! hut!
eyes right!
dress down.
at ease.
blue 42...
hut! hut! hut!
get him!...get him!...get him!
two more reps...
gotta get 'em!
numbers, statistics, dollars,
size, status, stature, pecking orders
close the fucking casket door.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


the kings sat at their conference table
and demanded from their minions...
"why don't you fill our coffers"???
the minions looked nervous and perplexed as they spoke:

"oh mighty ones, the people have no money anymore...
violence rules the streets and they are up in arms...
the whole world and all your kingdoms are threatened by strikes...
the fields aren't being tended...
and the wheels of production in factories have grinded to a halt...
all is in turbulence and revolution."

"so we are broke"???...the kings lamented.
"yes sires", their minions offered with false sincerity.
"you will have to go to work, dear kings...
and make things work once again.

"but we have no skills, damned minions!"
"make those vermin work!"
"we do no labor in the fields...we are not:
pipefitters, plumbers, auto mechanics, dishwashers,
bartenders, waitresses, equipment operators, factory workers,
electricians, educators or tradesmen in any sense of the word!"

the kings hung their heads in sorrow.
they realized that they had killed their "golden goose".
"nothing can be done", the minions said...
the world is in revolution and people are unionizing world-wide...
they work for themselves now, and will prosper with a new world order.

"but what are we to do?", the kings said...
"we have no skills, and can do nothing?"
"you die in the street, like the lazy dogs", answered their minions.
with that, the kings retired to their chambers.
some commited suicide, others just waited for their fate.
the world had finally come to a just balance.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


i like to live and let live
give, when i can give...
a hand to my fellow man
say a kind word
hold a door or give up a seat
for some elderly person
'cause i believe in karma

but there is evil in the world
and when i see it standing in front of me on two legs
smirking in my face
or beating down someone smaller
i like to take it by the collar
and drag it down into the pit
and beat it to death

because good and evil exist in the world
and though i favor the good
sometimes the evil part of me arises
against the evils of the world
and it feels damn good
still, i try to live and let live

I turn the other cheek once...
then twice...
but never on the third time
'cause then i counter-punch
a cheap shot, a blindside,
and evil goes down.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


winter in chicago lasts from october 'til june
then it gets hot and humid.
today autumn ended not with a gasp...
but with howling winds, known as "the hawk"
to all chicagoans.

i have my combat boots and leathers ready
snow and slush is soon to arrive
my batteries are charged, and anti-freeze is good
it's time for giant pots of chili and spaghetti sauce...
usually eaten on saturday or sunday
in front of a tv set, which will feature my chicago bears.

i will get heatburn
and swear off sports and spicy food
'til monday night football, and leftovers.
people continue to shop, and the rich get richer
the poor get poorer
and the parking lots are filled with people rushing
giving each other the finger.
ahhhh!...the joy of the christmas spirit!

i go about my mundane business
of working out in the cold gym
dressed like rocky balboa with holey sweats
and ripped up gloves and straps
and get even with wall street with every plate that i slam in place
and the healthy sweat saturates me.

i am in my glory, but wish they played joe cocker,
instead of lady gaga, 'cause this ain't gym music...
for old dogs like me.

and the food, gift, and gas prices are higher
and the politicians and corporates continue to steal
and the congress is as useless as tits on a boar
but my wife's cookies still taste pretty good
with a hot cuppa' joe

so i'm ready for winter
and i'm ready for another christmas
and hopefully, my old carcass will be here for spring
when i can wear muscle man t-shirts again
and pretend that i am still in the loop
in the game
alive and well
in chicago, my home town.

Friday, November 25, 2011


i fell in love with her
and she with me
we had youth, and clear-eyed hopes
and all that goes along with it

and the passion lasted
oh, so many years
each knew the other's thoughts
and we raised beautiful children together
and we laughed with our grandchildren

and as some old people do...
we ended up sleeping in separate rooms
she upstairs in the master
me downstairs in my studio

but our passion did not stop
and we made "dates" during the day
for love making

then one morning, i hobbled upstairs for coffee
i smiled as i poured my first cup
she had set the timer, and it was freshly perked
i called out to her, for she had overslept
and still she didn't answer me

so i went upstairs
and a mild fear gripped me as i made my way
and when i saw her, she looked so white
but she was at ease with her hands folded...
as if she was in prayer

she had a gentle smile on her face
so i stroked her hair
and it felt soft, like baby hair
but she felt so cold
as i kissed her forehead

as my tears fell on her brow
the rest was not so beautiful
until the rituals were over
so now i talk to her every day
for she is still with me
she is in my heart
and death looks less fearful to me now
because i miss her

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


thanks for life
thanks for family
thanks for shelter
thanks for food
thanks for being alive
thanks for all these things

i have my health
i have more years than i deserve
and more things than i deserve
i will not diminish this holdiay
with a rant or rave
i am thankful for so many things

i pray for those who suffer this day
i pray for my family and friends
who have passed on
i pray for all those who suffer in the world
and wish for the end to all chaos and injustice

i pray you all have a meaningful thanksgiving
and i hope that you do something for someone less fortunate
share your wealth and love
make this thanksgiving a treat for someone in need
blessings to all of you

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"tough tony" is gone
i once feared him, but he turned out to be alright
once, i saw him in a chicago south side bar
must have been back in the 70's
his mind was already gone
filling his lungs with airplane glue by a urinal
walking with a cane
then he was gone
"mike the cleaner" is gone too
he hailed from taylor street
he knew all the tough guys
chuck, kenny, and jimmie bought it in vietnam
bobby died last year from agent orange
and bitched to the end about hines hospital
on how they treated veterans
"muscleman hokey" is gone from a heart attack
so is joe laporte, who was on my baseball team
and "billy akates" lies in bed all day
drinking 36 beers and waiting for his wife to come home
his christmas tree hasn't been taken down for 5 years
now i hear that "tom the shark" has throat cancer
i called answer...wish him the best...
prayers are coming your way...sounds so phony...
what else can a man do?
i go to the gym and push hard
fight against the clock
go out like a warrior, i hope
fight against the inevitable
till i'm gone.

Monday, November 21, 2011


give me less, not more
tv commercials
pop-ups advertising shows during my shows
endless commercialism
the biggest sale of the year
every day...every day...every day...
it obliterates all sensibility
it insults my intelligence
it makes me want to turn off
tune out
and leave all the devices by the wayside
i want to be my own guitar hero
to play for real
in the game of life
not the artificial game
the virtual cesspool will not include me
maybe for an hour a day
or two...
or six?
you see, it's insidious...
when's the last time you saw the sun rise?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


the cold is back
like death on divsion street
as i remember the tenements
and those desperate days
of hunger and fear
chased by the "bulls"
who protect and serve
only the rich
who are carried from limosines
like baby jesus in swaddling clothes
into pampered nightclubs
smelling of aged beef
while me and my cohorts
shuffled in shoes
with cardboard soles
looking in dumpsters
for day old bread
and other sustenance
which couldn't be found in taverns
where broken merry-go-round dreams
afflicted our souls
we walked in, not carried
the cold wind at our backs
to smells of urine and smoke
cheap frozen pizzas
tattered barstools
and aged bartenders
cackling females beyond their prime
so i got drunk enough
to face the cold
being just numb enough
to make it back home
to set the alarm
for the frigid morn
and go through the motions
at horrificly monotonous jobs
days without end
till the cold enveloped me
for the end

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


the heart is a muscle, too
he found out too late
in old age he was alone
he lived hard
he was the life of the party...
with strangers
now he was a stranger to his wife
his little girl
he had the biceps
a big man
with a little heart
the heart is a muscle too
a simple fact
he never knew
until now in old age
when the legs were gone
and memories haunted him
all that was left
was the charade of himself
so he muscled on
with great regret
knowing no iron plates in any gym
could save him
from the tyranny of his little heart

Monday, November 14, 2011


he sat and watched the old trainer tape his hands
and noticed the calcium deposits on his arthritic wrists
he pondered how many times he punched a heavy bag in his career
how many chins, how many speed bags, how many walls?
age takes its' toll
he had cauliflower ears and a perforated eardrum
he had hearing aids but never used them
the fight was in an old warehouse
most club fighters know these places...
where cheap beer is tended and cigar smoking chubs jeer at fighters
he was old, but in shape...
and fighting a kid who was young enough to be his son
he thought of the stenosis in his neck
his arthritic shoulders and rotator cuff problems
he knew he had glass hands, but he could still punch for a couple of rounds
his wind was adequate, but the job had to be done in three
he started jabbing and using combinations in his locker room
he worked himself up into a lather
he felt good and the adrenaline started surging
it was just like the old days
those halycon days of youth
he made the journey to the ring
skipping like a young fighter
bouncing up and down, he felt winded
"don't show fear", he thought to himself
the crowd jeered at him
they called him a bum...a tomato old man
this fueled a deep rage inside of his gut
the bell rang and he was in a dream
the kid came out fast
the old man covered up
the flurries came fast, but the old man wasn't hurt
the old fighter observed that the kid held his hands low
the bell rang after what seemed an eternity of three minutes
the old man survived the first round
his cut man fixed an old wound over his eye
he was told to "breathe"
the bell rang and the old man came out for round two
the kid taunted him
he laughed at him
the kid stuck his chin out with his hands held low
the old man popped him with two left jabs
he followed with a right cross
and a hellacious uppercut
the kid had round heels
he was cold-cocked
the crowd roared its' disapproval
the old man gasped for air as the referee raised his arm
it was the last round

Sunday, November 13, 2011


how many times must i make the same mistakes
feel the pain
before i am through with it all
through with sitting in shooting galleries
looking at the blank stares
the hopeless hustle
the danger it takes to get there...
just aint worth it

but when i'm rushin' on my run
i'm invincible
and the nod is good
everything makes sense
and no-one has it better than me
until i'm sick in the morning
and i search for the brown substance
borrowing from peter to pay paul
watching for the man
and finally making the score

always believing that tomorrow will be different
always knowing the lie
keeping a corner of my mind ready for the truth
the cold, harsh realities of my life
ever consuming
the reaper waits for me
and it's no big deal
for who am i?
no better than anyone else
we all end up the same
how many times must i ponder these realities?
'til it's over

and sweet jesus takes me in his arms
and the pain is gone
just like the thrill
and i meet my loved ones again
and the desperate urgency is gone
and there is nothing to long for
in my eternal bliss
and many times i have this dream
to survive my life

Friday, November 11, 2011


damen and division
once chicago strong
polish immigrants
made famous by algren
a man of deep understanding
with mighty pen
spoke what the poor could not speak
eloquently with verse
he opened the guts of chicago
and my damen and division
still had some of those guts
i 'spose about thirty years ago
when i drank at the gold star bar
and bought package goods from cheap liquor stores
and made transactions with ladies of the night
and division street had parking back then
no "big brother" parking boxes
made for politician's war chests
the poweer brokers exclude the real chicagoans now
and the yuppies pour in from the 'burbs
and buy overpriced, watered-down, foo-foo drinks
and i leer at these hypocrites
who call themselves chicagoans
and i don't visit too often
because i feel sold out
i can't smoke in a bar
or order a three-finger whiskey anymore for a deuce
or sip from a bag on the street
and wear a beat-up army fatigue jacket
with knees torn out of my jeans
'cause i might be detained
by one of chicago's finest
on suspician of bein' a real chicagoan

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


chicago is a dark place now
the winds blow and leaves are plastered to the concrete
soon the hawk will get meaner
with the death freeze
dirty men will gather at blackened garbage cans
ablaze with old newspapers and wood
with cold, calloused hands dressed in fingerless gloves
and homeless people will die in alleys
their pet cats eating out their eyeballs
for sustenance and survival
loyalty be damned

taverns and shooting galleries will relieve the pain
just like they did in the summer
for those lucky enough to have a few bucks
but winter is meaner here in the city of big shoulders
and wayward drunks and addicts will join the homeless
frozen stiff in the alleys

michigan avenue will put on a grandiose display
red and gold ornamments and ribbons will frame displays
of opulence
and people of means in furs and cashmer coats
will laugh and celebrate good fortune
and the wealthy will converse in grand rooms with mahogany covered walls
plotting and scheming
like clawed felines
waiting for dead carcassses to feed on
and their dark dreams will be fulfilled
in the dark winter of chicago
as they sing songs of comfort and joy

Sunday, November 6, 2011


irish jack was mickie's dad
the old man could do a million pull-ups
sit-ups, run like hell, and fight like a terrier
but he had humility
he had a great sense of humor
but don't yah ever cross him

i remember mickie's black eyes
but the kid was a fool
drinking and smoking cigarettes all the time
from the age of thirteen
irish jack didn't deserve this from his kid
'cause he lived a clean life
and was a paragon of a fine example for his sons
and the older brother teddy was even worse
a sadistic "mutha" he was
who died of alcoholism by the time he was forty
but that was the future and i'm talking about the past

irish jack took me and mickie to the boys club
35th and union avenue on chicago's south side
i learned to swim and shoot hoops in this great building
jack was my boy scout leader as well
he hiked my fat ass over hill-and-dale
my surrogate father...jack
while my old man wanted nothing to do with me

and jack sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee
black as the ace of spades
and smoking raleigh cigarettes
hacking and coughing
laughing and telling me stories
and teaching me how to have respect
and i learned a lot from the old man

when i grew up i saw him at a wake
he was riddled with lung cancer
a phantom of himself
the smile was still there
the tough, old sumnabitch denied the cancer
he got it from the nalco chemical plant in chicago
and the non-filtered butts he enjoyed all his life
and in a year i stood at his coffin
and said a prayer
maybe shed a tear

i sometimes wonder if he was a drinker in his youth?
both his sons had "the creature"
but i merely speculate on these possibilities
one thing i know for sure
jack was an honorable man
who gave of himself
and deserved a helluva lot better
but knowing him
i think he probably thought
he got a fair shake outta this life
so here's to yah
my old mentor and protector
i love and miss yah, irish jack.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


the tenements i lived in all looked the same
skeletal remains of crumbling stairs
painted in greasy, battleship gray
hiding years of neglect
and inside were the sounds of arguments
of paychecks mispent at delorto's bar on 63rd street
of affairs with local trollops
of dreams unrealized or untried for
the heat of the summer
the freeze of the winter
the barren backyards sprouting weeds
and dirt rising from my feet
as i kicked an abused ball
me of skinned knees
and dirty face
with a full head of hair on my head
blonde, tan, young, and full of expectations
not knowing we were poor
eating plenty of noodles
not much meat
never any extras
sleeping in one room with my brother and sister
the dreams of youth we shared
thinking we were kings of the world
the innocence of it all
not knowing the dread to come
on urban streets
where we would join the cast
and play our parts
in the horror show
of the late 50's in chicago
but it made us street smart
aching for our breaks
as the more-well-off got lazy
and two of us knew success
and one commited suicide
and all became alcoholic
just like our father and our uncles
because the urban streets
were only palatable
on a seat in delorto's bar
on 63rd street

Friday, November 4, 2011


red and i met at the bar
i helped him lumber out of his pick-em-up truck
once a hulking monster of a strong man...
red was a pale, bent over geezer now
shuffling along with a cane
a three ball, screwed to the top of it
a good weapon (i said to him)
and by-god, he is a year younger than me
and that saddens and scares the shit outta' me
but i remember the old days
and how we were the ruling dogs
in taverns all over chicagoland

so we sat down, with some difficulty at the bar
and some young dogs asked us to move
'cause they had some friends coming
and we did it without complaint
then some other young sons-a-bitches asked us to move
and we did again
and i saw the pain in red's face
the third time was the charm
and i looked at the young bastard
and said, "look sonny, we already moved two times,
and i'll be damned if i move for the likes of you another time...
and if you don't like it, we can take it outside,
yah goofy bastard, you!"

and the young guy, (all of thirty)...
looked into my wild eyes
and thought better of it.
and there red sat...silently laughing
and i'm watching his big shoubders heaving up and down
laughing in their faces
gripping his cane with those big paws
ready to strike

and i hadn't seen him smile like that for a long time
and we settled into our burgers
and red even had some shots with his beers
and it was like we had dialed in the past
and it was a good day
old miners, dozer operators, tough guys we were
and still were today
even if we were lucky

Thursday, November 3, 2011


i saw the broad-shoulders
howie strolled into the gym this morning...
looked at me sadly, as i hoisted a dumbell,
and said, 'i gotta tell yah about jack'

i knew it was bad news
alcoholic jack hadn't been to the gym for a couple of years
he just lost his alcoholic wife this year to cancer
jack was on a mission to drink himself to death
howie and jack are two chicago men...
tough guys and good workout partners

howie tells me that 'jack drove his truck into a parked car
he was drunk as usual and now faces his fourth DUI
what's worse is that jack is on life support, but awake and aware'
the respirator is keeping his lungs filled with air
i put my weights down
saw the perspiration dripping on my shoes
looked at howie and shook my head

i told howie, 'jack went down fast...
only took him two years'
i remember him when he was doing sets of twenty chin-ups
at the age of sixty-three
howie said, 'yah know what, rich?'
'he mouthed the words, 'pull the plug'

i asked howie, 'didja?'
'naw', howie answered
that was the end of the conversation
me and howie started pumping iron
i spotted him and he spotted me
that's what friends are for

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


i plod on south
down to mexico
my tongue feels like my boot leather:
worn out
on my calloused feet
oh!, mexico...
land of mayan culture
magic brujos
and peyote
i see the sign
bottles and cans

and i am saved
perchance, by those spirit guides
as i set my tattered ass
on the tattered bar stool
cowboy boots
a thirst for life
that never goes away
as i sip
that cold amber
a beer

in a bottle
not a can
a bottle
i love
the sign that says:
bottles and cans

Monday, October 31, 2011


get it while you can:
good smelling females
sitting in "come fuck me shoes"
at manhattan type clubs
two-thousand dollar suits
cuban cigars
insider trading tips
sky box seats
sports cars and cigarette boats
year round tans and palm trees
send your money overseas
screw the fools who pay the tax
hide your money
just relax
good acountants and financial men
will take good care
of those who spend
their workers money
in frivolous ways
it's stolen, man!
we count the days
they work for us
then we bid adeiu
to broken bodies
and hire anew
the underclass
who support our ways
we aint been stopped
aren't you amazed?
so get it while you can.

Friday, October 28, 2011


bar-fly love is honest
he grabs her ass
she sticks her tongue down his mouth
they share shots-and-beers
they grind their loins to juke-box melodies
it don't matter that he has a few teeth missing
it don't matter that she's a hunchback
they don't notice these things 'til the morning
or afternoon, and usually it doesn't matter

they share unemployment checks or welfare
eat cheap food
sleep on yellowed sheets
shoot up with the same needles
shit in the same filthy toilets
wipe with the same stinky towels
but there's always a bottle of booze
to make love more real
and they fight and scream
but soon all is forgiven
and grudges are'nt held
it all lasts until one of them splits
or throws their partners shit out of a 3rd floor window
and even then they forgive and forget

but in the mausoleums of the suburbs
the perfect lawns and perfect coifs
the perfect rooms and clean towels
exists love based on other things
and imperfections are not tolerated
and unspoken hate bastardizes perfect love
and all is less honest
and perfect teeth tell perfect lies
as they stay together
and rot in the hell of their choice
and there is no end to all of this
and that is the horror of it

so choose bar-fly love
piss in the closet
vomit on the floor
fill another glass with cheap-ass whiskey
and know you will be forgiven
most of the time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


happy birthday, darlin'
i remember waiting for you
your mom's tummy got so big!
i couldn't wait to get home at night...
and feel you knockin' around in there
i was waiting for the miracle of you

i cut your umbilical cord
and held your little pink body
all wrapped up in my arms
your mother loved you too
and took care of you so well
i gave you, your first bath
changed your diapers

put ice bags on you to break your fevers
it broke my heart to see you shiver
but i knew it had to be done
i remember four-in-the-morning feedings
i watched your pretty eyes get dreamy
and i burped you and put you on your tummy
then i rubbed your little back
to make sure you were asleep

and we watched you grow
we took care of your illnesses and scraped knees
i taught you to throw a baseball
to ride your two wheeled bicycle
and how to change oil on a car
your mom was always there at night
after working all day long to take you places
ballet, music lessons, sports, all kinds of things

i tried to pitch in as well, but i failed you sometimes
i hope you forgive me, 'cause i have no excuses now that i look back
i'm just glad i never stopped loving you
and that you were a good girl and forgave me for what i lacked

now, i see you all grown up
and i am so proud of you
you are an intelligent and beautiful woman
your husband is a good man
i feel that you are safe

i guess my job is done
but i'll always be here, if you need me
as long as i am able
so, on this special day,
happy birthday, darlin'
i love you,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


give me the stroll
and rock-and-roll
finger poppin'
just plain rockin'
at american bandstand

give me dick clark
the teens do bark:
let's get it on
go on and on
at the bandstand

quick on our feet
our clothes are neat
and greasy hair
is never square
it's piled up high
and girls show thigh
at bandstand

so let's be reet
and move our feet
to the beat
of bandstand

these were my days
the greaser ways
hot cars and girls
not a care in the world
at bandstand.

Friday, October 21, 2011


how many deaths does it take in this lifetime
to finally be reborn?
my process has been endless.
i seek the final vision.
death and liberation is the last.
maybe it is eternal sleep, this liberation.
until then it is death and vision,
death and vision,
death and vision,
ad infinitum.
and there is pain along the way.
less in the beginning,
more at the end.
but wisdom makes the pain more tolerable...
that and practice, and death and vision.
so i wait to be reborn,
in finality...
and along the way,
i remember the early visions
and how they guided me to the now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


i don't remember my first kiss.
was it tender?
was it innocent?
was it sweet?
i think so.
for in youth,
all is magical and nice.
our hearts are not broken yet.
our eyes are open only to bright futures.
my first kiss...
i dwell on it.
i feel it.
i won't let it go...
even though it's a wisp of smoke...
a figment of my imagination.
like a tender flower,
it lives on in my fantasy world.
i make it my reality,
even if it is only a myth
created by my mind.
i put it in my heart
my first kiss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


On day one a guy knew.
Climbing high steel was only for the chosen few.
In the old days a man road a "headache ball",
connected to a crane cable to the top.
The Chicago winds blew ominously.
There I stood, 13 stories high.
Vertigo ruled my guts for about three days.
I was 156 feet tall on the tower crane deck.
The old timers said, "You'll get used to it son."
I did.
I learned to walk beams without safety gear.
I walked with my body hanging off the beam,
into the lashing wind.
After a few years of thies, my face got red and leathery.
My hands became caloused and knotted from the cold.
I relished using a cutting torch and welding rod on these cold, Chicago days.
Iron workers and crane operators are a rough breed of men.
We spent ten hours a day on high steel, and four hours in the tavern every night.
We were paid well for our labor.
Pride and guts motivated us, and a lot of hard-earned skills.
When my body aches with the onset of the winds in the fall,
I remember high steel in Chicago.
These were the days of guts and glory.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


rock my world
get down and twirl
your baton stick
i dig your schtick
do it for me
little bee
i love you so
when you throw
those passes at me
with those big dark eyes
milky thighs
you're part of my dream
you're peachy-keen
my pom-pom queen
you're super clean
and nice and fresh
a cut above all the rest
of the college girls
in the football world
a barbie doll
sorority moll
so rock my world
just spin and twirl
do not much more
than a back street whore
with your stepford brain
while young men wait
for your hip swingin' gait
after the game
they go insane
but not me
'cause you're on tv
and my world was rocked
an eternity
of time ago

Friday, October 14, 2011


I'm a thrillbilly, man.
I dig NASCAR, redman and waitresses in short slacks.
Give me camel cigarettes, jack daniels black, and thrillbilly heart attacks.
I want tilt-a-whirls, shootin' red squirrels and lotsa fun with guns.
I can rope and ride, parachute jump and do the bump.
I like CAT D-8's, roller skates and I roll my own.
I dig sleeves of tatoos, drunken shrews, and bacardi rum.
Give me Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash and the monster mash.
I dig wrestling bouts and boxing fights and freaky frights.
Juke box nights, lotsa fights, and country bars, speedy cars are all for me...can't you see, 'cause I'm a thrillbilly man.
Give me country mean, Halloween and mean machines.
Every day is a weekend...ok?
I piss off the boss, 'cause I don't throw or toss with the likes of him.
I'm a loner wolf, a thrillbilly goof and I like it that way.
Ain't gonna come the day, it all goes away, 'til I draw my last breath.
I'm a mean rattlesnake, do you relate?
If you do not, take your lot and git outta here.
I'm a thrillbilly man, that's just what I am.
Damn it's good, to live in my hood, without a care in the world.
I work with the best, screw all the rest.
I earn my pay, whether it be night or day.
I'll figure a way...that's a thrillbilly man.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


i improvise
the jazz of life
a total surprise
notes gentle now
become dissonant lies
the jazz of life
it comes and seeps
right into my soul
and takes me away
much like a bowl
of mary jane
and pipe dreams
the opiate of life
then sleep
to regenerate
the ideas
the needs
for the jazz of life
the high notes
and low
i take blows
and the riffs
to unearthly places
for i must live
i'm on the run
like nature's son
in the jazz of life
dig it, man
no note undone
play it now
be on stage
with your jazz of life
it must be played

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


sometimes at night
when others sleep
i mourn my life
i do not weep
for things undone
for words unsaid
i lie awake
in my safe bed

shallow prayers
seem empty now
i doubt my faith
i know not how
to pray with vigor
for eternal life
beyond the misery
of earthly strife

with pen in hand
i try my verse
some is bad
much is worse
but sometimes the lines
don't fall apart
and what i say
can hit the mark

this groove is good
the work is fine
i feel as if
i have my mind
to tell a story
for some to see
so sleep can come
bring peace to me

sometimes i try
sometimes it works
sometimes i fail
it's the writers curse
but know i feel
all that i say
i hope to write
another day

but if the reaper
takes me tonight
know i love you
with these words i write
we all end up
in a cold, dark grave
our words live on
our selves we save

Sunday, October 9, 2011


i sat on a bench in the gym locker room.
sweat poured from my body.
i watched it drip off my wrist bands.
it was sunday afternoon, and no-one was in there,
'cept a little porter.
he was mopping the floor.
i thought of the bleakness his future.
maybe he would get lucky.
who knows...good shit can still happen,
i guess.
he was young and thin,
of african american descent.
we made eye contact and smiled at each other.
i wished i had his youth.
he probably wished he had my money.
i decided to test my theory.
i told him i would give him every dime i had,
to be his age again.
he laughed and said he would make the trade.
i told him it would be a bad deal for him.
he shook his head in disbelief.
he said he'd make the trade.
youth is wasted on the young.
damn kids.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


there's a fish fry
at the VFW hall tomorrow.
(it's always on friday nights).
the parking lot is filled with mercury marquis,
cadillacs, and buick lesabres...geezer cars.
the flag is proudly displayed in more than one place.
families come there with children.
the drinks flow steady from the bar.
the prices are right.
and old time band plays music from all eras.
everyone seems to have a good time.
food is served from 4 to 8 p.m.
the veterans are of all races, and creeds.
they all seem to get along well.
they have one thing in common.
they served their country on foreign soil.
the bar closes at ten, so all the old warriors can go home.
they dream of their grandchildren and hope good things for their futures.
they dream of glory days, long past.
somehow, they remember their youth in fragments and inconsistencies.
the old soldiers remember the guns being bigger,
the fields of battle being larger,
the kisses from women being sweeter,
the country being stronger,
and i wake up from this day dream...
to watch these old soldiers hobble off to their cars...
like mid-day afternoon heroes at movie theatres of my past.
they and i know
they were so much more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


i'm gonna' live hard
until i die.
i'm one, tough sumnabitch,
until i find my soft spot,
or it finds me.
it's been a damn thing,
for all these years.
it won't leave me alone.
it makes the tears come streaming,
down my ruddy face.
it has cut channels
that meander on my cheeks.
i own the face of a woeful man.
i guess i cannot deny this fate.
it shows both good and bad.
it shows my humanity.
maybe this is the best part of me.
my body parts are going south,
while my memory fools me too.
i'm glad i'm human,
i'm glad i'm here,
i'm glad that i have you.
with all my scars and blemishes,
i long to love each day.
i'll walk the road,
i've rolled my dice,
there's nothing more to say.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


i swung the hammer
and drove the nail
i did my best
stayed out of jail

these things were done
like blueprints made
for me to see

i still press on
no believer in fate
i seek rewards
at some later date

i drive the nail
hard and straight
this action is payoff
that helps me negate

my questioning mind
that confuses me
i won't be distracted
for i need to be free

i see my road
it's never too straight
i swing my hammer
it's never too late

Thursday, September 29, 2011


fame is making it.
showing in some fancy gallery.
i left the burbs for my chicago opening.
faced rush hour traffic
with ten-shots of booze in my plastic go cup.
pour it on shaved ice...yum.
sort of like a slurpy for alcoholics.
i lit a joint at the ohio st. exit.
i arrived at the gallery...
red-eyed, stumbling, boisterous, fun loving, blah.
i brought in a crumpled brown bag
with a new jug of booze.
these galleries served cheap wine
tasting like vinegar.
so much for taking care of wealthy clients.
the food was shit, too.
finger foods and sushi.
i watched the penguins in tuxedos...walk in with trophy wives.
how do these dweebs get the pretty wives?
It was bullshit 'til my friend Charlie L. arrived.
He cracked his toothless grin.
His black face beamed at me.
"Hiya, Richie, he yelled."
They wanted to throw him out.
guess they thought he was a homeless person
so i interceded for him.
why did i start using caps?
screw it.
charlie was one of chicago's great artists.
he was loaded with talent, and always loaded.
he never made the big time...still hasn't.
life ain't fair.
if it wasn't for him, i would have died of boredom, that night.
we pulled from that old whiskey bottle and laughed ourselves sober.
i ended up selling a lot of work.
i didn't insult too many people, either!
the gallery owners were happy, so they allowed my bad behavior.
charlie said, "you're gonna' be famous, homey."
i said, "big fucking deal."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I knew poverty.
It puts its brand on you...
like a scarlet letter on a whore.
When I was poor, I thought everyone was looking at me.
They saw my torn jeans, my shredded jacket, my worn-out shoes.
But in reality, no-one really looks.
They don't want to see you.
I never realized this, until I made a few bucks.
I spent my whole life breaking my back for money.
I still drive myself relentlessly to make and save it.
I can afford to hire out, but I am fixed in my ways.
Poverty left its mark on me, I guess.
I look at the poor and realize how lucky I am.
I never want that life again.
It's a life of shit rooms, cold baths, cheap booze and lousy women.
I came to a place in my life when I realized that misery isn't specific to the poor.
Everyone has misery.
People who don't have "shit" are too damned busy trying to get "shit", to be truely miserable.
I kind of liked those days working twelve-hour shifts for "the man".
When I got home, I could clean up, and drink a pint of cheap stuff, to ease my pain.
I smiled in my drunken happiness.
I could pass out and drool on my stained pillow.
Misery hit me again with the blaring alarm clock the next morning.
Then, I joined the ranks of working humanity for another day of strife.
'Dem were the days...Bottoms up!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Cosmologists have found that things exist that travel faster than the speed of light.
Physicists believe that there is matter smaller than the neutrino.
Current scientific specualtion postulates that, instead of one "big bang", there were many "big bangs".
Mankind is constantly searching for answers to mysteries.
We study dark matter, infinity, and metaphysics.
We are certainly more than capable of blowing up our spaceship earth.
We design systems that track movement of people and things, all over the world.
We earthlings are inter-global, inter-mobile, linked-in, and endlessly interconnected.
We have enough food and resources on this planet to make everyone a demi-god.
Everyone could live like kings and queens.
The new, happy people could concentrate on building security, happiness, and wealth for all of mankind. Creativity would abound.
All we need is a benificent, world without borders.
It would be headed by leaders of great intellect and moral fiber.
If we accept the tenet that "man is basically good", the world could be saved.
A new age of wealth and prosperity would dawn on the horizon.
Naw...I want more than you.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I sat in my comfortable chair
sipping sweet, dark coffee.
It was a beautiful fall morning.
The multi-colored leaves cascaded before my eyes,
doing a fall dance, done many previous seasons.
The harsh winds blew in the pine trees.
The small birds were migrating now.
I looked in my backyard at the thistle sock.
Two finches I had named...Mr. Goldman and Mr. White were pecking at the seed,
fluttering their wings to keep their balance on the sock.
I diverted my eyes for a moment and heard a thump.
A small birdy had hit the glass.
I saw the small body writhing in the grass.
The colors of the wings I observed were beautiful.
All at once, this startling beauty turned to silent nothingness.
Birdy was inert, no more...dead.
I left my chair for another cup of coffee.
I planned on going to my garden with paper towels to remove the corpse;
but some creature made off with it.
At least birdy served some usefullness in death.
Yet, I was sad.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Sometimes I just want to die.
My disgust with this life overcomes my fear of death.
This disgust frightens me more than death, apparently.
I see meanness, insolence, stupidity, greed, banality,
and come to the conclusion that I am living in a madhouse.
Man's nature has gotten worse.
People who I have shared my thoughts with say that I should seek the help of a psychiatrist; but there is no help because the psychiatrists are a part of the problem. Sometimes sane people want to die, for very good reasons. Some of these are nagging illnesses, physical or mental pain, or a lifetime of shit luck.
They have the go-ahead as far as I'm concerned.
Just don't make it messy, so someone has to clean up after you.
Nothingness has no pain.
I feel that the afterlife has no devils, no fire and brimstone, no palace in the sky, no golden gates, and no benificent, elderly, grandfather type with striking good looks, flowing robes, and shocking white hair and beard.
All I desire is a peaceful eternal sleep much like the non-existence I had before I came into being. Who knows?, maybe this is all a part of that dream, anyway.
I know I have seen too much...done more than my share of work and play...I had so much joy and pain. I had a good/bad life. I'm just sick of more of the same.
I no longer fear death...yet I won't take my life. I'll trudge on and search for glimmers of light. I'll sit in this "waiting room" of the present moment, until my number is called. Then I'll have to check out, hopefully on my terms. I want no brass bands, no fanfare, no tombstone, no big deal...'cause I just want to die.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


i pass time in many ways
in all the days
that i have left
time is faster now
and how!

so valuable
now i know
life is a serious game
i cast no blame
on no-one but me

for i now see
the minutes i wasted
so i made my pledge
not to ploy and hedge
but to go hog wild
and play with style
with action alive
no silly jive
will constitute me

i plainly see
to suck up the joy
and take each second
'til the reaper comes
and all is done
and passing time
will be a line
at my casket dear

don't shed a tear
get out of there fast
the minutes count
they don't last
so pass your time
don't stand in line
but please take a holy card
and remember me
when you're just...
passing time

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


my sump pump don't work
my battery is dead
so i replaced it
and the computer brain says it's still dead
maybe i'm dead
no, i still feel pain
my colon don't work
my prostate don't work
my legs don't work
hair grows out of my ears
not on my head
my penis still works
this is a good thing
but that is for another story
i don't work
i'm retired
but it seems i can't keep up with shit
my printer don't work
it's wireless
it's brand new
i screwed everything up
now i need more help
nuthin works

Monday, September 19, 2011


When I was on the streets, and the leaves started changing,
it was time to start scrounging from Goodwill boxes and garbage cans.
Heavy-duty winter wear was my objective.
I looked for items made out of wool and canvas. Rubber boots, and rain gear was always a welcomed addition to my shopping cart.
Other good finds were heavy cardboard boxes, and combat boots that were large enough for 2 or 3 pair of wool socks. If they were waterproof, or insulated, so much the better. I looked for wool gloves or mitts, and rubber gloves to keep my fingers from freezing.

I was no rookie to the streets. I learned from the old men that I met while throwing boxes on trucks in local factories that employed homeless alcoholics for cheap wages. I damned staying in homeless shelters because of vermin, crime, disease, violence, and thievery. I enjoyed being a lone wolf. I always managed to work enough to stay clean. I managed to rent a room with a bath down the hall. As long as I had a bottle, a pack of cigarettes, and a random female, (sometimes)...I kept my wits about me.

A man on the streets has to plan for himself. It's easy to die in Chicago when the winter winds blow.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


when i come into a public house
you search for me with your eyes
those orbs so blue
that blonde hair so full
lips so inviting
body so supple and young
you scream youth!
so loudly...
that i feel undeserving
you seek me out,
every time...
'midst the clatter
you ignore the other conversations
and penetrate my soul,
with your probing eyes

i must treat you with respect
i keep my emotional distance
we both know without a doubt...
a sexual spark exists between us
it un-nerves me
i feel the burning in you
we both charade in this cacophony
and we both also know
our love is not to be.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


my best friend is my loneliness
she's always true to me
i wallow in my pity
at the bottom of the sea
the coldness in my heart
will not let you in
my loneliness is here with me
until the bitter end

so shut the door behind you
leave quickly from this place
my soul you shall not enter
just look upon my face
glimpse at it quite quickly
it's really not so real
you'll leave contented knowing
you think much like i feel

the face you saw is lieing
you know me not at all
your judgment of me tenuous
afloat within a squall
so leave me in my loneliness
i bid you fair adieu
my true face and the mask it wears
needs not the likes of you

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Don't tell me that:
I can get a brain eating bacteria from swimming in my local lake...
or that my "dread" is more like psychotic hate.

Don't tell me that unemployment is going up...
European markets are crashing down...
social security is a thing of the past...
or that polar ice caps ain't gonna' last.

Don't tell me about fires in Cali and Texas...
hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico...
poison in our water
needless world-wide slaughter...
I don't want to know!

Tell me about the pretty things...
families at play or shopping for bling.
New cars in driveways...
prosperity for the lot...
truthful politicians...
legalized damn pot!

The Dalai Lama on roller skates...
nubile young virgins...
a world without hate...
the filthy rich giving money away...
bliss for all, the world is ok!

Hey now! You see?
It's a glorious day,
for you and for me!
Yeah, sure.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I usually "clocked into" the Gables bar around noon.
Dawn the bartender was always there, nursing a drink and a hangover.
She opened the joint at 9 a.m.
When I rambled up the crickety wooden stairs and threw open the door to blackness, a few old drunks would be perched like vultures at the bar.
My senses were greeted by acrid smells, bell and whirs from the video gambling machine, and claptrap from game show hosts on the tv. Sometimes, the jukebox would be playing old country western songs, or stuff from the 50's that I heard when my old man took me on his bar tours, back in his day.
Nothing much changes, I guess.
At least there was life in our living tombs.
I always started Dawn off with a five-dollar tip, and she reciprocated with three-or-four fingers of scotch in a rock glass. She always poured heavy with a little coaxing, and showed me some tit when she bent over the speed rack in front of me. I learned where to sit, to get the best views. The third drink she poured was always free. This is a Chicago tradition, or at least it was a Chicago tradition, when I was carousing. By the time "Jeopardy" came on in the mid-afternoon, I was three sheets to the wind. This is the time that Buzz, the afternoon bartender always relieved Dawn. She usually grabbed a stool next to mine, and told me tales of woe that I had heard way too many times about her rotten husband and whiney kids. Buzz was a "Jeopardy genius". Somehow, the guy knew all the answers. He had a Master's degree from some fancy university. I often asked him, "What the hell are you doing in a place like this, when you could be our there in a shirt and tie, making some real money?" He said that he liked the freedom of tending bar, and doing concrete work in the summertime. I thought he was full of shit. I knew he was lying, 'cause he was a drunk just like me. The Gables tavern isn't there anymore. It stood proud for of 60 years, until it was razed for some "fern" bar/restaurant. Buzz and Dawn are gone as well. I often wonder what ever happened to them. As for me, I quit drinking.

Friday, September 9, 2011


i stand erect
the wars have aged me
meandering streams cut through my hard substance
i weather the storms
rock-hard i thought i was
a man among men
of strong mind and body
pride is the foolishnes of the young
i never thought i might age
but age i did
denying it as i went along
it came to me anyway
like a dark night spectre
now at my side
my eternal companion
no more laughing girls
with ruby lips
no more sharing whiskey
with compatriots
no more fine cigars
or dancing the night away
greeting the morning sun
is an impossibility
for i am worse for wear
all of this is gone
and as i ponder what is left
under my covers
in the dead of night
i finally fall asleep
only to be awakened
by an insistent bladder
fitful sleep is the norm
and as i arise
i feel unbalanced and depressed
as i go to sleep
my aged fears return
somehow, the rest of my day is joyful
because i stand erect
i accept what is to come

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I never wanted to be a DEA agent.
I'd rather be a neutered cat.
At least I'd be mystical to humans,
and chase invisible entities, without harming them.
Of course, there would be the occasional dead mouse...
but I would proudly present it to my master as a gift.
My human nature easily assumes non-responsibility for my actions.
Maybe I could be a has-been race horse.
I'd be well-groomed, kept in a nice warm stable,
and loved because of money won for my owners.
I'd relish the glories of my past.
Sometimes I visualize myself as a talented writer,
worthy of a Citizen Kane type estate.
Usually, I discard this notion promptly from my mind.
I do see my lifetime successes and goals in animated frames.
I'd like to be a famous baseball or football player, marathon runner,
or any other number of "Walter Mitty type" heroes.
These inspirations are created by the panoramic views of my mind.
I am Sir Galahad, Don Quixote, James Dean, or Clint Eastwood.
Most of the time, I'm just me, a regular Joe.
I have to admit though, pretending is more fun.
I vow to never give up my childish dreams.
They are refined now, and appear at the IMAX movie theatre inside my head.
I hope my rainbows increase in beauty and intensity.
I want to remain child-like, 'til the end.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


rock me, man...
am i the last fan?
where is rock and roll?
did it die in some lost hole?
rock me, baby!
rock me all night long.
don't make me wallow
in insipid song.
give me driving beats
let me move my "feets"!
not those girlie songs
by gaga and other throngs,
of no-talent mundane dirge,
who cannot give me urge
to rock on all night long,
with good old hard ass songs.
so rock me baby,
rock me all night long.
give me anthems now
of resolution...and how!
springsteen, seger, dylan
bring on a new revolution,
of old time rock and roll.
come climb back from the hole
of mediocrity
and rock some more, with me.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Bukowski hated pretentiousness,
and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
To me, "Buk" was Woody Allen on "roids".
Bukowski loved midgets and runaway trains...
racetracks and whores,
getting drunk and sleeping in parks,
brawling with bartenders,
and other like-kind sports.
Once upon a time, he loved Hemingway,
but then he grew up and realized that he wrote better shit.
Hank, Chinaski, Buk, AKA Charles Bukowski never minced words.
He was as happy in one ratty room, as in a palatial mansion.
All he needed was some cheap rock-gut and a fifty cent cigar.
He hated Hollywood phonies, corporates, bosses of any kind,
authority figures, tax men, and guys with pipes.
He puked in a bucket at Ivy League Universities,
where he was handsomely paid for his appearances.
Buk hated ivory tower academics and what they wrote.
Truly, he stayed faithful to his "outsiderness".
Chinaski could smell bullshit, a mile away.
He loved his old "typer".
He was the best of us.
He was the worst of us.
He aspired to nothing.
Yet, his written words hit me in the guts, and in my heart.
Old Hank was the real deal.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I was rocked out of my mind.
I was smiling drunkenly in some bar,
enjoying my alcoholic haze.
It was Thursday night, and lots of chicks were on the dance floor.
I was high on reefer and booze.
It was good to be alive,'cause I was young and wild.
I had my groove "thang" on.
The strobe lights were flashing to the music.
Fog machines rolled out the ethereal stuff.
The beat of the bass was pounding in my head.
I was happy until some big, sadistic guy stood in front of me.
He smiled his sardonic smile, and I went cold with fear.
He grabbed my beer mug, and hit me in the head with it.
Blood ran into my eyes.
Everything got blurry.
Immediately, the bouncers in the joint were all over him.
A nice waitress cleaned my wound with a clean bar towel.
It looked worse than it was, so the top of my head didn't require stitches.
The cops were there in five minutes.
Everything seemed to move so fast.
They brought me to the street, where they had my assailant in handcuffs.
He was in tears, head down...begging me not to press charges against him.
I was angry, but felt sorry for him.
I thought to myself, "What good would it do to mess up this guys life?"
I told the cops to let him go.
They really wanted to book him.
They kept prodding me, but I held firm.
That was forty-two years ago.
I never regreted my decision.

Friday, September 2, 2011


The perpetual bar stool is our God.
It faces an altar of twinkling lights,
and magical multi-colored bottles.
The altar is also adorned with...
nicotine-stained packets of slim jims and beer nuts.
I worship wall placards advertising Tombstone Pizzas.
Our tombstones are not very far away,
so prayer is appropo.
So many of us sit from dawn to dawn...
or is it from dusk to dusk?
No matter.
We do crossword puzzles or watch Maury Povitch.
We like impressing fellow drunks with our knowledge.
Does Jeopardy's Alex Trebeck really give a shit?
Nobody gives a shit.
We already know this.
We just take a shit, if we're lucky.
The drunken mind is never constipated,
and physically, we learn to live with the runs.
We meet bums, bimbotic Barbie Dolls,
who were once Homecoming queens.
We meet the jocks, the academics, the laborers...
the coulda'
the woulda'
the shoulda' beens...
who all have an excuse...
and the shame is that you agree with them...
and you smile with them, and their insane laughter.
You listen to shrieking, crying, fighting.
All is normal in our fog.
'Cause these are your friends.
They are your friends until you need them.
"Hey, who's gonna help me move at eight o'clock,
tomorrow morning???"
They all offer to come over and help.
After all, they're your friends.
You're being evicted.
You sit on your stoop at eight the next morning,
alone with a cup of joe, and the shakes.
You sit all alone, while workers pile your junk in the street.
All you can think of, is getting back to your barstool.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


the grandkids sat in the van.
their fingers moved quickly
over some electronic device.
their eyes were constantly glued to a screen.
their grandpa noticed these things.
it had been like this for days.
the kids never saw the badlands.
they didn't want to sample buffalo meat
they only wanted to eat at McDonald's.
they chose not to meet the Lakota...
the Navajo, or the Pueblo.
they were bored by the museums.
gameboys and cell phones were more important.
sunrises and sunsets were ignored.
but old grandpa watched nature in its glory.
he felt like smacking those kids...
yes, smacking them into reality.
he wondered, "where had their minds gone?"
his wife told him to leave them alone.
grandpa was too demanding.
he was called an old curmudgeon.
he was told to "get with it".
as he stood silent, taking in the majesty of the Grand Canyon,
it all came back to him...
the simple things:
like finches on a thistle sock on early mornings,
or the sounds of a babbling brook,
or the first fish he had caught as a boy,
he cherished these simple things.
so now he felt compassion for the grandkids.
he felt sorry for them.
he tried to make them happy, but he failed.
he figured he'd just let them be as they were.
he gained a new acceptance.
it was simple for him.

Friday, August 26, 2011


i fight their war
inside of my head
i dodge their bullets
i am not dead
my reflexes quick
i move godspeed
to enemies quarters
where i feed
my bloodlust is now everywhere
to fight with me
most will not dare
i'm the universal soldier
a mindful thug
i fight for concepts
i do not love
my human body
is offered or bought
by richer men
who know naught
of wars and things
in the physical sense
they fight their wars
with a rich man's sense
with other mens blood
in board rooms they fight
with money they spawn
and spread their blight
so onward they send me
off to my grave
this is moral to them
for i'm a "mindless" knave
they buy their way out
they don't pay a tax
in gated communities
they smile and relax
but if i survive
and i'm counting the days
i vow i'll come get them
put an end to their ways.....(postscript---

Only 2% of Congress have a son or daughter serving in the US military. (USA Today, January 3rd, 2007). The great majority of people bearing arms for this country in Iraq or Afghanistan are from the poorer communities in our inner cities and rural areas. The incentive for these young adults are enlistment bonuses and educational benefits.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


i remain an old warrior
close to the sea
close to my viking fate
cast off to the sun
i remain an old warrior
dog at my feet
sword in my cold hands
i have a smile
on my frozen lips
to last eternity
in my valhalla
my fate is sealed
i am an old warrior
and as the flames engulf me
the maidens cry salty tears
and my comrades drink to me
and my fears dissipate
and rise up to Odin
with my ashes
this old warrior
this viking prince
finding peace

Thursday, August 11, 2011


nothing is certain.
of this I am certain.
but everything is relative,
and these ideas are absolute.
so, is relativity a lie?
if it is, absolutes must exist as truth.
but what of the "gray" areas?
can God exist and not exist at the same time?
probably not...
absolutely speaking.
but...relatively speaking...maybe so.
I have a relative in Wisconsin.
does he exist, even though I don't see him?
maybe he's still there.
he's gotta exist!
if a tree falls in the forest,
and no one is there to hear it,
does it still make noise?
I dunno.
my wife tells me not to think so much.
she says, "it gets you in trouble".
I gotta admit that I agree with her,

Monday, August 8, 2011


plaintive cries
of these blues fill my room
fears creep up
the ageless drone
seems more contemporary
yes, now
is the definitive word
is now being cursed
seems armaggedon is at hand
as diseased polities
lift cancerous heads
to the sky
denying illness
like alcoholics
who deny their disease
the blues are here
for many folk
whose plaintive cries
are not heard
in the now
the definitive word.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


i'm fine
i did my time
now it's your turn
to get burned
listen to the lies
it don't apply
to me no more
i shut the door
on the fools
with their rules
they promised me things
fancy gold rings
"just work for me"...
they said
they got in my head
and now it's too late
i cannot escape
the webs that they weaved
i was deceived
by political games
and backbreaking lanes
on the highways to hell
i built them as well
with the sweat of my brow
the capitalist cow
is now actually dead
enough now is said
i go to my bed
no dreams in my head
but i'm fine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I sit on a raggedy strait chair,
as I gaze out through old pane glass,
which loosely exists in an over-painted window frame.
I breathe in heavy, acrid air.
The humidity here is stiffling.
My cigarette smoke hangs in the air,
like tendrils of Spanish moss.
It's as if it's afraid to go anywhere.
It proliferates, adding to the blue/gray haze of my room.

I wheeze and inhale.
The smells of fungus, moldy carpeting, and decay envelope me.
I sip whiskey, and notice that Bourbon Street is deserted this morning.
I look out my window to the north.
Chicago is so far away, and I am in a dream.

I pen poetry.
I have no money for paints or canvas.
This is enough to sustain me, for now.
I have to find a construction crew,
to save enough "git" to get away.

I'll get on that train...
The City Of New Orleans, Illinois Central,
ramblin' back to Chicago.
I'll have my battered suitcase in hand,
where the streets are just as mean.
I'll be filled with the same pain,
no difference from whence I came.

Alone, I walk in the madness of men.
I forge ahead, again and again.
I have the blood of youthful adventure in my veins.
So I write my life in my memory book.
I try to recapture it once again.
But it's never the same.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Although the heat and humidity is offensive to me today...
my air conditioner purrs.
I don't know how I survived without it.
But I was a strong lad in those days.
I took a cold bath at night,
and slept in my jockey shorts.
I lay next to the open screen door.
I smelled the acrid stink of the Chicago Stockyards.
I heard the blare of locomotive train horns.
The "clickity-clack" over ribbons of track lulled me to sleep.
I walked for miles in the summertime.
I was too poor to afford a bicycle,
but there were other sources of entertainment for me.
I played fast pitching in the school yard.
All my friends and I needed was a bat, a rubber ball,
and a strike zone, chalked on the brick wall.
Foul tips sometimes ended up on the old school's roof.
I was strong enough to shinny my way up the drain pipe.
Once I reached the top, I breathed the hot fumes of asphalt.
It was covered with gravel, but I always had tar on my PF flyers,
after one of these ball retrieving missions.
I usually found five-or-ten rubber balls.
My pals smiled widely as I threw the bounty down to them.
I was a hero to them on days like this.
After we got hot and tired from the game,
I'd mooch a ride on the handlebars of a bike owned by one of my pals.
I never had any money, but one of them always treated me to an Old Dutch, rootbeer.
Those were the days!
I learned that respect and reward came from hard work.

Friday, July 29, 2011


the city knew my name
'cause i put my mark on it
not in museums or ball parks
or places of culture or industry...
but in taverns and theaters
with twenty-five cent matinees
i sat with painted ladies who
wore too much perfume and
hobbled on cobblestones
in worn-out high heels

the city knew my name 'cause
i left my mark on walls in subway stations
urinals, and bar tops
i used knives or ballpoint pens
so someone might read the date
and somehow know my name

the vanderbilts and carnegies
and all the power brokers of the world...
did it much in the same way
only, they wielded bigger knives
and had their names set in stone
on large edifices
and on philanthropic proclamations
so someone might read the date
and somehow know their names

so, as i contemplate these things
the winds blow sand
'gainst the great pyramids of egypt
and the statue of liberty erodes
and the berlin wall is but a long lost memory
and men compete for power
to be remembered
in cities that soon will forget
because nothing is very important
like a whore in a cheap hotel room
in the end it all gets disheveled
like last nights bed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I went to my local Border's Book Store, today. All the advertistments I saw, said: "40% off". These were ads I observed in the Chicago Tribune, and in emailings to me from Borders. I wanted to purchase, "Chicago--City on the Make", by the great Nelson Algren. He's a gritty/urban, cigarette smoking Chicago writer who wrote great verse about hillbillies, prostitutes, bums, and all the dark things that I love about our great city, in the 1950's.

Borders didn't have the book...They never had it...No wonder they went "belly up"...Chapter 11...What the hell???...A Chicago bookstore without one of its main writers? An Iconic writer like Algren!...well, shut my mouth!

This is a Chicago book store, by God! I bet old Stuart Brent woulda' had it! I had to settle for "A Walk on the Wild Side", by Algren...It was the last copy they had...geez...and it was only 10% off.

screw the big bookstores
screw the kindle
and screw me...'cause I sell books on

The only bastion of sanity left for me is the "mom-and-pop" bookstores, where a book is a book, and can be had for a mere two or three bucks. The libraries are discriminatory as well. Here in Wheaton, Illinois...the heart of religious fundamentalism, my public library does not have ONE BOOK by the great Charles Bukowski!!! Damn those religious fundamentalists! They decided that old Charlie was too dirty and nasty for them. What in the hell is going on? Next year the powers that be will probably decide to burn all the books. They might as well put me in jail, for subverting young minds with my outlandish balderdash. That's allright by me! I can have 3 hots and a cot, color tv, a weight room, drugs, pruno, and a pretty well-stocked prison library! Social Security is going bankrupt, anyway...and I'll get good medical care in prison! See? Everything's gonna' work out just fine!

Monday, July 25, 2011


i see empty lots
and broken dreams
amidst the rubble
of discarded bottles
and candy wrappers

my once bright eyes
are now dimmed
by the lethargy of routine
which does not reward
for there's not meaningful work
for us

so we sit in bars
if we can afford it
it's better to buy the cheap stuff
in 1.75 liter bottles
and sit at home in alcohol induced fantasy
vicariously living through our tv sets
someone else's american dream
and we realize it's all gone bad for us

it's good when i get my little pay check
all of my "friends" come over and party with me
'til all my money and liquor is gone
then i hit the streets again

i see the empty lots
and broken dreams
my once bright eyes are dim.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


i wish i could hit the heavy bag,
but arthritic wrists and calcium deposits
are too painful for me.
I wish i could dance on my toes
like i did in my prime,
but my legs aren't there anymore
i wish i still had my balance
and could rat-a-tat on a speed bag.
bang!...bang!...two lefts, then a right cross
bob and weave...
i desire these things
i dance and shadow box
my mind goes to the past
illusory dreams
advice from trainers
go to the body, the head will die
defend yourself at all times
jab and counter punch
breathe and keep your hands up
the sweet science
i see the kids in the gym
i correct their form
show them how to throw a punch
rotate and drive
flick those gloves
pop! pop! pop!
the smell of the gym
the sweat
the dedication
i still hang out there
like an old ghost
and they still embrace me
like an old relative
that is enough.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


there are some lucky moments
when the bills are paid
and you can take vacations

there are some lucky moments
when "the wife" ain't raggin' at you
and your car starts every morning
and your boss thinks you are a winner

there are some lucky moments
when your kids love you
instead of calling you a drunken asshole
and they somehow see your wisdom

there are some lucky moments
when you feel no pain
and the dreaded cancer ain't in you no more
and the sun looks good in the morning
and there are no more hangovers

there are some lucky moments
but mostly there is pain
'cause this life here on earth
has fewer lucky moments
than we make up in our brains

but maybe that is good
or maybe that is bad.
it depends on if you're lucky.