Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adventure British Style

I went to an ersatz English Pub. A man sat in the corner wearing a plastic duffel coat, his skin was made of wax. The beer in front of him was constructed of cheap aluminum, same as the book in his hands. Without making a scene I slipped away into the night. I made it to the One Lucky where I was glad to see 'Beer Mugs' Moran, who served me a frosty draft that tasted refreshing to my dry lips.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drunk Against the Night

Zigman Zibanski got drunk in a back lit alley. He threw an empty vodka bottle at a giant shadow of himself and cursed his hard luck. His body shook. He cried buckets of tears and wailed wolf like at a half-moon. Soon the cops took him away to the drunk tank where he met other Zigman Zibanskis. All with weeping hearts, drunk against the night.


I don't want your pity
I don't want your crying eyes
your sympathy
your warm caress
I want your wealth
your money to revel in
your devilish lucre to be mine
I want you to be something once more
that wilding tigress
I'll tame you one last time
Then I'm off
To spend as I please
To find wilder cats in far lands
What I leave behind are details
Small cages of time that were ours

Monday, June 28, 2010

Old to Young

I approached her with a subtle grace
A sweet smile swept across her face
soft words, tender lips
an illusory kiss, a lover's dying wish
distant age keeps us apart

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The night is young
voice sings in burping wind
--old lips whisper

Punch line

I'm a jester, a jokester
a plastic ace up my sleeve
I'll cheat you sideways, spin your head,
make you laugh till your life is mine
See these devil-snake eyes, pearly whites, rolled back pompadour hair
bling, bling rattle like a spinning wheel
You crossed your greed with my nature, now I own you
Roll your dice,
I'll make the numbers, you make the debtor's grin
The Jesture is all mine

Friday, June 25, 2010


A Midday Sun beats on my back
A Shadow leads me ahead
Together we walk a rocky path
almost stumble on a sharp ridge, my silhouette's hands holding tight
around the corner; near the top,
closer to the midday sky a shadow approaches
it moves like a bodyguard, an aggressive defender of a rising sun
me and mine let him pass, walk nearer to the edge
we sip some water, we turn around, my shadow is gone

Small Chance

Day late, dollar short
Luck is a lousy friend

I'll buy one more ticket,
play the numbers with a slender coin
I'll win me a fortune:
a single cloth suit
call a long woman I once knew

This slender coin is like a slender chance
a day too soon, a hundred cents behind
But I'll buy one more ticket
Only if luck is my friend

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old Photo

I took a picture I wont share
like a lover's secret,
comprised of a lonely heart
the pose that was, mirrored hall
hidden this picture is
like a prisoner compressed into time
the negative under lock and key

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Look Down

I looked into a shiny pool
saw my face in the clouds and sky above
a flock of birds swept by
My head lifted half-way
No, I said, this reflection is mine

Sail Away

I awoke from a dream as dry as the Sahara
My body and bed drowning in tears
A hole in the ceiling, the rain came in
buckets of water
sweet linen, my friend
softly I sailed away

Monday, June 21, 2010


dissonance: the sound of desperate cries
discordant wails of tongue and mind
skip, skip, stumble into haphazard wells of muddy hell
first one falls,
then another
the devil's rope as burning flesh
bones ignite into fire
soul as rising ash
yellow offering to cloud and sky
old testament, biblical story of Abraham
redemptive truth as fairy tale?
tablet of stone to thine command?
i know
i wonder
i disobey, i walk in dissonance, the sound of my desperate cry
stumble i fear into a murky hell

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hitch Hiker

I'm waiting for a ride
My thumb stuck out
No cars for miles
No cars for hours
I prepare, though
My thumb stuck out
Hitch Hiker I am at the ready


A Rising Sun behind a Shadow Mountain
Is that Japan?
Or an illusion from years past

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Heavenly Joy

Sometimes I feel like I'm being tickled by God above
He takes a feather and rubs my belly
I giggle like the boy I once was

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free Meal Deadbeat

I told her about the connection of words to a page,
stanzas and verse to the soul
She cried: "Deadbeat. Get a job. Get out".
I wanted to defend the poet's right to his words, to his heart
But her voice spoke firmness
She had a meal ticket in her hand
This job my fingers held: Busboy/Poet Wanted, No Experience Required

I Knew a Girl

I knew a girl with memories wet like a sponge
On sad days she'd wring it hard
Tears came out like buckets of sorrow
With a soft towel I'd dry her eyes, hold her tight
Make her feel right till tomorrow's sad day and her years of sorrow


A twilight falls
Kelly Field in Darkness
Boys drop tired baseball

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Deep swimmer
School of fish in tangled nori
Floats to the Japanese sky

Poems I Wrote at Work


I step out from the shade of an old oak tree
The sun burns hot, the grass is brown, the earth parched,
In the distance a lonely ditch awaits
Canteen water I pour over my arms and see my tanned skin glisten
Early morning start, a day's work ahead
I step back under the shade, lean against the tree like a worn shovel
I'll let the boss fire me


I got this thought inside my head,
I’m perplexed, confused about where I am, who I am, what am I?
God above, or sideways, or beside me? God as a dream, an illusion, a perplexing thought?
Questions like these I do ponder
That pay out for human suffering—when, when? The chips cashed in, life as a universal gamble, a game of high risk. A shake of the wrist,weighted dice. The days we play fixed. Pre-determined by who you are? The genes in your veins? God beside you? God as a delusion-a lonely illusion?
These answers I don’t know as I walk forlorn on Whitman’s beach.
The water’s edge. Waves crashing in violent rhythm.
This thought inside my head is a cadence now.Like soldiers singing on a long march, army of one. All of humanity, I conclude, have a thought inside their head, perplexed about what am I?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Actor of Other Lives

I am a director
A weaver of film noir
In Black and white light turns onto shadow
Details in timeless grain, the title brilliant on lit marquee
Underneath a line snakes, the crowd weaves, money in paper palms
A creaky curtain rises, the trailer begins
Ah, The Feature
Night on Night, Light on Light, Shadows on Shadowy detail
I direct them all: Mitchum, John Garfield, Robert Ryan, his femme
My life is this movie, this dream my life’s work
All the plot is me. This plot as an old poster: smoky gun, taupe
fedora, tear drop crown—brim turned down
Lights, camera, action
End credits, the curtain rises
The crowd follows, snakes home under a yellow light
I am the director, the weaver of film noir
Yes, the actor of other lives

Monday, June 14, 2010

Working Man

hands folded neatly
rest on old worker's clothes
disheveled hair falls

Sleepless Like A Sunrise

Sometimes I drive late at night
When I feel as sleepless as a bad part of town
Past the last stop sign, the jungle they are:
Street people, hurt hookers, bent-out-of-shape cops
Strongmen, now weak in the knees at the end of life
Sometimes I play a radio...loud, windows open, music Out Of The Past
Under the yellowing flicker of a street lamp are Bills posted
God's Samaritans
Biblical sufferings of modern plague and human despair
Sometimes I drive late at night
When I feel as sleepless as a bad part of town
I see the dead and dying
Alcohol streets, drug crazed doorways, torpor sidewalks cracked like screaming madmen
Who walks in?
Who walks out?
Who stumbles, rumbles, rolls like an old car in a bad part of town?
Sleepless like a long sunrise

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Shakes

It was near close time at the One Lucky when out of the blue a cheap slug swatted a barfly. He gave a slippery body blow that dropped the dipso dame to the floor. With his big hands "Beer Mugs' Moran could have crushed the little creep, but instead he used a black jack to swipe the perpetrator's head. The coward left the bar dazed and concussed.

Nobody called the cops. Not that they would have charged "Beer Mugs'. There was a rule at the One Lucky: you don't hit women, even if they happen to be a barfly. So to most everyone the bartender acted in character--stoic and righteous, the defender of the fairer sex.

But there was something nobody knew about "Beer Mugs'. When he went home at night he'd sit on the edge of his bed with the shakes. A half-bottle of whiskey calmed him down, but sleep still came hard. By morning he'd put on his mask, be stoic and righteous, once more the defender of women at a bar called the One Lucky.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Working Stiff

They defuse a ticking heart
Tick, Tick, Tick,
The aorta is green like a live wire
Tick, Tick, Tick
Cut it before the heart explodes
Into love,
sense of purpose,
at peace, in rhythm with the world
The aorta is snipped, Oh steady hands
Tick, Tick, Tick, is no more
The man gasps, a shallow breath is drawn
A working heart beats like a sad song

When I Sleep

When the sun goes down, I peel my skin.
I rise as a nightly ghost to a distant maker
We play a game of two man poker, drink some spirits
He revels in his Godly thoughts
I am mortal? ask for what I do not say
When the sun comes up, my skin has healed
I awake on a feather bed
A folded Paper readies for a night's return

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stand Up

I've took reasonable steps against unreasonable forces and was flattened like a pancake in a cast iron pan. I didn't like it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Desperate throws
Desperate hours
Tossed minutes of frantic time, scuttled

Racing clouds across purple sky
Over the rainbow a Dorothy's dirge does sing
Wicked moment, the witches' hour--withered like western verse

Unloved, unwashed, homeless in jabbering tongue, gibbering in old man speak
Desperate throws,
The cauliflower eared, races he does under purple sky,
The haze of the desperate hour
Sings the dirge of frantic time

Rip Cord

I decided to escape, to flee the Square Corner. I bought a good pair of goggles and found some sturdy shoes. With a parachute strapped to my back I closed my eyes and jumped where a post meets poetry's blackness. But in a two foot rush I hit solid ground. Ouch! An awkward twist--my ankle turned into a swollen bump. I jimmied myself back up to the Square Corner and hobbled home, where I put a bag of icy peas on my injured pride. Maybe someday I'll try to escape again, but not for a long-long time.

Ah, this parachute unopened--as hopeful as a dream.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Bar

Matching sideburns
Coldish waiter serves
--Manx cat scratches warm beer

One Bic Soldier

I broke an old plastic pen, snapped it in two. Smeared the ink over my fingertips, painted my face in the colour of blue war. I whooped and hollored and cried out the song of battle. But when the first sword was unsheathed, the first bullet fired, I hid in blue weeds and waited till peace returned.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bruce Lyrics Inspired

I got desire,
like a multi-headed monster
I want her, her, and her
fast cars, slow sunsets
I got desire, like a multi-headed monster
No devils inside, just a hot ride
like a Springsteen song, I'm On Fire

Never be friendly

I saw a women standing on the balcony of a tall high rise. She was too old for a cougar. Far too old to rock n' roll. She wore a frayed blue bathrobe and took long drags from a cigarette. To be friendly I waved and said hello. The women in blue dropped smoldering ash onto my forehead.

"I know who you are. You're Tortelli and I read your damn blog," she cried.

She shrugged her shoulders, let go of the cigarette, and hobbled back into her apartment. I shrugged my shoulders too, and hobbled back to the Square Corner, a small burn blister on my head to remember her by.


I've been coughing up indigestion. An onerous bile runs along my throat and into my mouth. This dyspepsia is the result of hard alcohol coating my gut after drinking too much, which I do often. When I get up my head throbs. My thoughts are cloudy. I get the shakes all the way down to the heels of my feet.

This time I found my knuckles scraped with a hurt in my right shoulder and a shiner hanging under my left eye. I likely took the guy, not that I remember what happened. I'm good with my fists, but I'm aware I'm not getting any younger, and like I said, I drink too much and too often.

Lately I've been going to this bar called the One Lucky. 'Beer Mugs' Moran is the bartender. But he doesn't know my name. I drink alone, mind my own business. Sometimes I'll sit at the end of the bar. Mostly I'll find a table off to the side.

There is a regular there by the name of Tortelli. He doesn' know me either. You're probably familiar with him as the alter ego of this blog. You and him are probably surprised to see me posting here. I'll cut to chase. I hijacked his IP. I got time and money to do these things. An inheritance came my way which I get doled out once a week. So I drink, and when I'm cold sober I play with my computer and act on nefarious ideas like cutting into the Square Corner. No real reason I do these things, it's just in my sinister nature.

I'm about to get drunk again. I might not remember what happens the next morning, but I'll know to keep Tortelli posted, if you know what I mean.

The Nemesis

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Light Bulb

I shone a small light into a night sky that touched a cloud. It was eerie and beautiful and Godly all at once. I closed the light, took a deep breath, and was illuminated in ways I never was before.

Zen Wall

I meditated to a blue wall. And the blue wall meditated to me. With some practice a calmness enveloped my rancorous soul. But the blue wall was out-of-sorts. Large cracks emerged from floor to ceiling. Water shot out of leaking pipes like giant teardrops. But soon the hurt left the blue wall and I heard it laugh as heartily as a Zen master. I did likewise and we became friends from that moment forward.

Sweet Tales

Believe me, if you will. I live on a street of bubbling marshmallows and cotton candy unwoven. My life is a carnival of the mind, an amusement of a wayfarer heart.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We all do it. We all slip in and out of reality. We all elide the truth of our heart. Deny that we've broken others, our self, the frailness of life. We all do it. Dream of better days. Eclipse the fire of yearning eyes. Staunch the blood of a needful soul.

The Old Server

An old waiter sat in a new bar and drank to the past. He spoke to those young people who would listen. “I remember when,” he said loudly over the bar’s din, the constant beat of dance music. “I remember when they played live music. I was the waiter at a bar like that.”

He knocked back another whiskey sour and spoke more of his youth. “I served everybody. All the up and comers during those days, like Adam Ant. Like Psychedelic Furs. Like Joy Division.” He ordered another drink and bemoaned the present. “Now they don’t have anymore live shows. You kids. All you got is this dance music. It’s rotting your insides.”

Some of the young were bemused. Others felt embarrassed, even sympathetic to the graying man from the 80s. But others saw him as a creature to be mocked. They laughed at him. One boy gyrated aggressively along the floor. One girl shook her large chest in a circular motion and groaned: “Why don’t you dance to this.”

Laughter hurt the man. But in him was the sustaining spirit of the big haircut and spandex. The old waiter tipped his fedora and walked away slowly. He whistled a Tom Petty song against a noisy present he’d never call his own.