Tag Archives: bourbon

The Ugly American

I was the ugly American who told her she was brave to come here
When she could have stayed there – stayed in that faraway land

She said if she was truly brave she would have stayed there with her mother and sisters
There in that faraway land with no ugly Americans to breathe their bourbon in her face

I couldn’t grasp the idea of staying somewhere like that – that which I did not understand
Me the ugly American; she the stunning Polish goddess – a dream walking

She felt like she belonged in my arms as we danced to a nameless old love song
Her smell was as foreign to me as she – but she felt so natural in my heavy arms

Jesus Christ I have never seen anyone who looked that good to me – no one so flawless
She looked like an autumn dream I dared to allow myself to have against my own will
She looked like an angel coming down to illuminate the darkest corners of the night
She looked like the remnants of a piece of Italian art carved carefully in Caracas marble

She started to say something but even she knew her words would hurt me
The ugly American is a sensitive beast – somehow she knew that better than I

I’m sorry was all she was able to whisper in my ear but she didn’t let me go
She seemed to know she already lost me to her sigh – me the ugly American


Mr. 1971

A hard sharp glare from the little man
Sitting across the bar on Diversey Street
His leather skin is dark and
His salt and pepper beard is chiseled into his face
He looks like a negative from that old box camera I made in 1971
He is looking at me accusing me of some unnamed crime
I am drinking my drink and minding my business
Someone should buy the dark knight a drink
My green is a bit short tonight – bad week
No one bought me a drink all damned night
The younger ones – the ones with the strong backs
The ones with the regrettable piercings and tattoos
They have no idea what Mr. 1971 has seen
They crack their inside jokes and drink cheap beer
They stay just outside of his historical range
Never understanding his emotional depth – the fire inside
He sits there quietly until they walk too close to him
One glare they know to step back to their party
Some of the older men are smart enough to pay respects
I’m smart enough to keep my distance
I should buy him a drink but I won’t – not tonight
There is only enough green for whiskey and me

Fighting Gravity

God’s marionette dips and sways defying years of abuse
The precarious strings are attached to his head and his shoulders
The strings on his elbows and knees have broken like his heart
The strings on his elbows and knees have broken like his promise to Nana

God’s marionette should have fallen down by now
He fights gravity as fiercely as he fights the memories of his youth
Sometimes he just freezes – Venus De Milo in a down coat and skull cap
Other times he stretches backward as he lifts the dark brown bottle to his lips
Somehow how he is buoyed by that one more mouthful of failure

He is someone’s son – uncle – punch line – target – ticket – friend – victim – muse
He is God’s marionette and tonight he is fighting gravity

May 19, 2010: After Mixtape

For the Butterfly

Before rum turns to beer and that I trip on a tear in my heart – or my shoe or a thought
About nights like tonight when there’s soul in the fight and the love in the drink that I bought

So I sip and I trip and I laugh at the jokes that fly by on untenable wings
They thrust and they parry and the liquor will carry them into this cool night in spring

Will you write words tonight that you hope will ignite the next troupe of young dreamers you meet?
Will you crawl into bed – words still trapped in your head – while you typer stares back in defeat?

Somewhere at the crossroads of William and Shel
I find that my words have all aimed me toward hell
But if they can get me one more minute with you
I’d gladly consume them and that heart and that shoe

We try to be clever – whenever – we endeavor to put all these thoughts on a page
But it’s tends to be liquor – a little bit quicker – that now has me showing my age

So I’ll say good night to the slow fading light as I wait for my old phone to ring
Tomorrow will be here – but wait just one more beer – and then one more minute to sing…

May 19, 2010
2 a.m.


(We were close tonight)

The long cold drive home is a constant reminder of you and what almost happened
Your smell on my shirt mingles with the whiskey reminding me that I am destined
We were close tonight – I was happy and sweaty and you understood what I said
But you left in the heat of a moment that I could not control – yet had to find a way to

The last sweet soft cocktail is the messenger who will not be killed tonight for the words
Your voice rings in my ear – a promise you can’t keep because maybe I’m not destined
We were close tonight – you were quiet and beautiful and your language intrigued me
You have to know I took a stand and sacrificed our moment – I can’t regret that

The notes on that old guitar resonate with clarity in this place where radiators whistle
Your taste lingers on my mustache like a joke I never said to a crowded room of friends
We were close tonight – we only danced once but we believed it was enough for now
I just wanted to tell you that destiny is overrated and I can only give you the love I have

The Blood Stays on Your Lips

It’s all about circumventing tangential thinking
and pushing your way past the Jim Beam
and realizing that if you had something to say
If anyone was going to listen it would have happened by now

But you keep talking
You keep trying to say something
And no one is listening and you are not able to stop
You are forced by your spirit to move forward

You dig your teeth into the crumbling flesh
and escape with a mouthful of Fuck you Charlie
so you spit it out but the blood stays on your lips
you wipe your mouth on your sleeve
but nothing is ever the same again

Another Hard Goodnight

A warm body beside me – someone calling to me from the other room
Put away your books and come and love me – make love to me
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

Each word becomes an integral piece to a puzzle that I must assemble
There is no warm body for me – not tonight – there is little for an unknown poet
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

Bobby Broom’s guitar is my only comfort on this cold mid-winter morning
He plays as if it is only for me while I sip bourbon and reconstruct the magic
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

There was a time when I had everything but my pride robbed me of my future
Now there are nothing but reminders of what might have been in a sweeter time
But I press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight

All of my past crushes are in someone else’s arms tonight however they got there
All of my past dreams are in someone else’s soul tonight however they got there
But I will press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight
I will press on with my keyboard and my bourbon and another hard goodnight