Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Blog

What is a blog? A landing strip of the mind? A page of imaginary fate?

I Tried

I knocked on heaven's door.

"Hello, is Charles in. Charles Bukowski."

Slowly, the door opened and out popped Bukowski's head, his pock-marked skin nearly clear.

"What do you want, Tortelli?"

"I wanna know if you wanna come out and play. We can throw the pigskin around. Shoot some hoops. Play some street hockey. Go down to Kelly Field and play ball. You can pitch."

"Nah," Bukowski answered. "God wont let me. He says I've been bad. Better get back to earth and blog some more."

The door shut. I came back home like an empty hearted kid.

Purple Post: A Blogger's Tale

I'm a blogger. A flogger of broken words. A clogger of the years of lost time. I slog through the murky waters of madness.The far shore of a Square Corner is my mind.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Counting Sheep

I'm turning into a sleep walker. A somnambulist like a wide-eyed zombie. I search for a movie role, one unrested step at a time. Untested as I am in life.

Watch Your Manners

I sat at a diner late at night. A bowl of chicken noodle soup spilled over my lap. The burn was bad, but not blistering, since the soup was only lukewarm. I'd have raised my voice, created a ruckus, but the spiller was too tough. He was big and tattooed with the look of prison violence. Also, he was too drunk and growly to realize what he had done--fallen and slid his arm across the counter top, knocking aside the bowl of soup over me and my bar stool.

Lucky I kept my composure. Later that night the tattoed man had gotten into a fight with an off duty cop and stabbed a broken beer bottle into his belly. Nearly died, the police officer. They took the soup spiller away to the Big House where he had come from. I hope this time he learns some manners.

High Calorie

She wore sweet perfume. I drank sweet wine. The talk turned sugary. I called her honey and licked her all over, as tall as a vanilla cone. Her body moved with ecstasy; her lips tasted deep into my creamy heart. Our sugar rush sped fast into the night like cotton candy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sayonara old Friends--I Read the News

Do you kill people?
That's right, do you kill people, Japan?
They are gone now, the friends I knew. The Tokyo Days
The names I see on the screen, google searched.
George, the Bronx guy--the voice: strong and deep. WWII Vet.
My Manny Weinberg--The generosity the same, the indomitable puncher
The inspiration
Pete gone too
Ohio kid. Young like me. Going deaf, last I heard. Gone so young
Do you kill your own, Japan?
Saki, owner of the English bar.
World traveller. Gentle soul. Pneumonia, they say.
All gone
I can't go back. Not to them.
Can I go back to the memories? Like a dream cursed, like life is for all.
Sayonarra, Japan
Gone, George as Manny
Pete as me
Saki the guide to Tokyo ways
Do you kill people, Japan?
Or do you let people live?
I think you do
Like the syllables in haiku

As Time Goes By

I falter some
Fight against inevitability
The soreness of body and soul
Friends gone, memories like melded voices
School days in sepia eyes
What always was, the truth now said
What could have been, what will never be,that faltering time
I sleep, I rest, I dream, I reflect too much on the inevitabilty of body and soul

Another Soldier Dies

A million heart beats
A million gasps of cool air
Breathless soldiers' blood on lonely earth
For God,
Conceit of Flag and Race
A Square Corner laments
For God?
Conceit against human time?

Haikus X3

Firefly light
A moonless Greyhound
Short Story Sleeps

Shady Tree
A caterpillar falls
I say hello

Wide hips
Greyhound slows
B.H. A$$ descends

They Caught Me

They wrote the story of my life. Made it into a movie and millions came. Then they knew it was all untrue. I had written it falsely on a matchbook and hoped it was mine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dream Ends

I hear punk inside my ears
I play it, I do, on a giant Wurlitzer, Sid Vicious bellows in the Cathedral air
The altar sways, the stained glass rumbles
God says: Not so loud, I'm trying to sleep
OK, the dream ends, like a last bloody slam dance
I hide beneath the pews
Await till the bleary morning rises
Play punk no more
God the landlord says so

Lumpy Bed

Rusty springs
An old mattress
A motel room weeps

Graven Inspired Haiku

A Lover cries
Greyhound Bus
I-Pod Plays Graven loud


Eds note: The post I thought of at a night of fun with fellow bloggers watching Matt at Zaphods':

I fell down drunk in an old hooker's Bar. They wiped me clean, the hooker's did. They picked me up. Tossed me onto a cold Square Corner. I lifted my soul and struggled to the One Lucky, where I sought a bar stool and a free beer.

'Beer Mugs' Moran poured me a large draft."You look beat, Tortelli," he said.

I told him what happened, how my money was taken by ladies' hands. He gave me an expressionless look and walked away, leaving the dark drink behind.

A sip of beer touched my lips and I thought of old hookers and conjured a poem inside my head. I took another sip, now the heartache had gone. But the poem inside of me remained, like a Basho verse--a frog jumps into the sound of water.

Friday, May 21, 2010

God Ain't So Bad

I looked up into the sky
saw God's eye
I tipped my hat, like J.Cash
He played The Clash
Should I stay Should I Go
Ring of Fire
My tapping foot keepin' back hell

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I looked up into the sky
tried to see God's eye
But clouds got in the way
Next sunny day comes
I'll crane up to the sky,
I'll meet God's eye


I've been forlorn. Lost sometimes. Left alone with my heart shattered. Large holes in wooly sooks I wear; itchy on hot July days. I've done things to make myself better. Read books. Lost weight. Eaten apples from fresh trees. I've done things to make the world better too. Fought injustice with righteousness. Returned overdue library books on cold winter days. Read stories to orphan children. Seduced mothers into silken beds. But lately I've been forlorn. In this universe I am lost sometimes. My life a mystery, unfolding in ways that it never should.

Sugar and Eggs

I ate breakfast at a small deli. I had two eggs, both fried. Salami with home fries instead of hash browns. The toast was whole wheat, the coffee decaf. Behind a glass counter I saw giant slices of strawberry cheesecake. Each slice wrapped in wax paper. Of course, I wanted one. But I said nahh to myself. Too many calories. High in sugar and fat, which is bad for the waistline. Rots the teeth too. So I resisted with success. Funny, though. I think of that slice of cheese cake constantly as I while-away meaningless hours in an airless library. As far as the Square Corner goes, it is less important than channelling the ghost of Charles Bukowski. But human obsessions are what makes the world go round. I wonder if that cake would have tasted as good as the eggs?

Archive Haiku X3

soft breeze on red-white flag
powder blue sky on lazy day
outside archive window

no task, office cries
government man on idle pay
blogs to pass time at archive job

dead files, a lively heart
archives air, stale--dull sleep
man blogs on citzen dime

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Haiku X1

Baseball drops
Boy's error
--first game at Kelly Field

Basho Haiku

Ed's note: A masterful haiku by the Japanese poet 'Basho'

Spring rain
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasps' nest.

Haiku X3

Rainy shoes
wet soles
--black ink runs

Silver bird
Hawaiian landing
--strips of sugar and tar

Compound fracture
Funny bone
--stand-up cries

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busker Haiku X 3

Guitar case opens
Busker sings
Quietly a coin drops

Numb fingers
Busker sings
Cold air rises

Strings strum
Busker sings
Pick falls--like old song

Sake Haiku X 3

Floating waitress
Sake summer
Last Call Tokyo

Doors close--3a.m.
Sake Summer
A Heart's drunk

Morning Rises--6a.m.
Sake Summer
A hangover cries

El Toro

Barbecue Pizza
Bloggers heartburn
Sipin' beer
Sometimes cryin' inside out
One more Corona
Good for the Haiku soul

Greyhound Haiku X 3

Goodyear tires
Greyhound bus
Gideon Bible turns

Rest stop
Greyhound Bus
Dharma Bum sighs

Carburetor fire
Greyhound Bus
Black smoke eyes

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dress Good

I found a canvas suitcase. It was filled with designer sweaters. The labels said the best of Europe, handwoven in the greatest of fashion houses. They fit me fine. Perfectly I would say. But one-by-one I gave them away to those homeless men I knew. The alcoholic. The souls who jabbered into the night. The blind man with a dying heart. Together we laughed. It felt good as we mocked the world. For even a man with nothing should dress fashion-wise at least once in his life. Puts a smile on his face.

Broken Line

I'm on a road without a destination
A lonesome highway on broken lines
a shot up sign,
sunken motels
Neon bed sheet lies
No place is a lost home
This moonless highway on a broken line
I drive slow as a sunrise

Loud Talk

You whisper so loud
It crashes into my ear
like a big bass drum
Talk soft, as gentle as a word
like notes soft as a breeze

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sky Country

I awoke from a broken dream
Doe eyed
teary, like Crazy Glue drops
Into a slumber I fall
Busted up limbs land from the sky,
like a purple haiku said backwards

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Fighter's Lament

He was an old fighter. Spent. His fast jabs and footwork gone. Alone he drank at the One Lucky. Sometimes he spoke of the love he never had. Most times he boxed against the hard scrabble of a barroom floor.

Like a Jim Croce Song

I walked along a beach, a northen breeze washed ashore a note in a bottle. It said:

"If you are Zigman Zibanski, come home. I love you.
If not, please find him for me.


I tossed the bottle back into the sea. Shredded the note in my hands. No one, I thought, leaves my blog so easy and free.


They put him in a cage. In the back of a pick-up truck. Rode him around town, through neighbourhoods of deformed, misbegotten souls.

"The Geek's a Freak," they cried.

Misshapen men threw rotted fruits. Unseemly women spat with a feral ferocity. A youth crashed a bottle against the cage.

The shards of glass cut the man. Thick blood flowed over his eyes, blinding him in a rage. He screamed in high anguish against the rancor of the crowd, but no one heard his pain. So he wept against the deadness in their hearts. His only defence in a Square Corner gone mad.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I sat atop a billboard
One eye closed
Smoked a joint, drank a whiskey
Advertised my soul to odd cars passing by

Up in Space

It has left me now
That manner of speech
Those thoughts of old
Gone up like ether
Like spirits from a dead heart


I got a memory tied around my neck
Like a strangler's rope
Squeeze tight, time has left


Night falls
I cast a light
Heaven in the stars?

Falling Down

Clumsy heart
Lummox feet
Trip over a blog
Get up, scraped knees
Blog once more
Sometimes the dumber the better

The Circle

I've sold bibles and holy books and collectible Penthouses to nuns and seers and adolescent men with thirsting eyes
Prayed to God for forgiveness
Whet my appetite for flesh in salacious ways
Prayed for forgiveness once more
Bible in one hand
Bukowski poem in the other
The prayerful circle always broken


I've drawn false conclusions from profitable angels. Laughed heartily in their mythic faces. Dropped paperless money through holes in side pockets. Mourned and maligned lucre's lure in the lives of Godless men.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


They took him away
The man next door
red lights,
screaming siren
An ambulance came
In a hurry they wheeled him on a gurney
Tilted it on its side, heave-hoed it into a small elevator
I heard him gasp, saw his head move side to side
He looked delirious, in a torpor of sorts
Word was he was an old loner, drank too much
I guess
I barely knew him but to say hello


Who am I?
Who am I?
On a long road trip
Pissing into a soda bottle
The miles,
The seconds,
The years pass by
like trees along a fast highway
Like brothers,
old friends
The years pass by
like pissing in an old bottle

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'll take on the night
I'll fight the starless sky
The dark alleys
The shadowed men
The drip, drip, of a faucet in an unlit kitchen
The drunkard laid out in a dead apartment hallway


I got more options than I think
lay low
stand tall
sip a cold coffee and send it back


I wrote me a resume
Made the whole thing up:
acrobat and lion tamer
singer in baritone,
car racer and Nobel stunt man
action hero on roids,
bon vivant and backroom gambler
doctor of high art
I wrote me a resume and made the whole thing up,
just like a stage for a restless soul

Ferris Wheel

Took myself to a Carnival
Early summer night
Rode some crazy rides
Twirled beads of cotton candy
Winked at the bearded lady
Arm wrestled the strongman for a dime
I Stretched high in a hall of mirrors
Then sang along with a giant stuffed doll:
Three tries for a dollar
It's your's, to a droopy kid
Droopy just like me

Monday, May 3, 2010

All Thumbs

Grayhound bus ticket
Runaway hobo
I'll hitchhike instead


A friend called, 2 a.m.
Hadn't heard from him in years
Said he just got out of prison
Nothing to do, he cried
Teary eyed we walked to a bar before close
The One Lucky
Two sabre-tooth cops stopped him with gargantuan flat feet
Stepped on his toes
Frisked him like eager beavers in the night
Then planted drugs on his person,
Kinda glad
In a hurry he was one bad hombre


L.A. Flop House
Whiskey Bed Sheets
A pussy-fuck groans

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I got no use for poems
I got no use for poets
I got no use for anthologies of verse and stanzas, except for one thing: to stand on my head and feel the blood flow

Contact Lens

Burly men
Bum's rush
Drunken eyes on concrete

In Uniform

I saw a fight
A soldier hit a sailor with a beer glass
The sailor went down, got up bloody
Rammed a bar stool against the soldier's ribs
The grunt went down groaning
They both stood eye-to-eye and threw off-balance punches
They knocked each other out
A minute later the swabie starts moaning for his mother
I finished my beer and drank some more at a bar named the One Lucky
The fight started all over again

Burning Inside

I got a burn of the 3rd degree
It bubbled from no flame, no fire, no supernatural heat
I can tell: a chili hot meal against a cold aura
Ed's Note: Over the past 48 hours I have unfurled a large number of short poems on my blog. You may wish to scroll down further than normal to read them all. Along the string of mediocrity you may find a pearl or two, so I hope.

Wanna Be

What are the teenage years?
Who are the awkward and pimply faced?
Furtive lies of the young man's surging heart
Unfulfilled hard-ons and boners unleashed

John Garfield

Alone, a man stands
Old fedora
Tear-Drop Style
Long trench coat
A man stands
Mournful, steely-nerved, survivor's eye
Screenplay mist
A man stands--alone
Grey as grainy film
A Film Noir Past

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Inside Out

Scales of white skin like dry Elmer's Glue
Am I coming apart?
The Monster's Ball within

Blue Above

One life stops
Another life starts
Clouds touching in the sky


A dream cried out in my sleep
Like a tree falling in a forest,
Someone there to listen?

Bad Choice

I thought you'd be a beautiful long time
But you walked out
High heeled gait. A fishnet stocking inside a torn heart


If I could, I'd will me a new time, a new place
I'd will me a new past
If I could, I'd will me a new picture, retouch it with the photoshop of my mind

Money on Ice

I've got a pocket full of change
I'll drop them blind into a vending machine
See what comes out
A fortune cookie with a crazy man's poem


It's nine o'clock on a Saturday Morning
I'll write poetry for the day
Notes of paper left behind