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.