Tag Archives: drinking

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

At the Avalon

It’s easy to fall in love in a place like this
Each sweet meaty juicy ass strolling by in black hose
Is a dream that I could never have
A broken hearted fantasy just out of reach

Love is no longer the everlasting
Mystery of my sister’s childhood

Love is immediate gratification that tastes great

I’d like to learn to dance the way these lovers do
But the miles I’ve run have taken their toll

So the love and the dancing will only exist
In my dusty balsa wood mind
And if that is my only consolation
I can live with that
Because the only things that I own
Are my soul and my mind
And I will have them for a long time

This is Not Glenn, Michigan

This is not Glenn, Michigan
But I am trying to recover the words
The words that we dropped into the water
On that late summer misdirected trip
Where all the girls wanted one dance
With the traveling wordman – the beer fan
But those girls disappeared into the night
Hiding in the dark between dances
And the words – for what they’re worth to me now
Have slipped away like the good German beer that
made this trip worthwhile
And the kid – the poet – the martyr to his own self-destruction
He found us a hotel room at the crack of dawn – hammered
He found us a place to crash – to hide from the unforgiving night
While I inhaled a river of the good German beer
Throwing the bottles out the window
To crash along the Blue Star Highway
I smoked one cigarette after another and cracked bad jokes
Come winter now and I miss the bubble machine
God – I miss Glenn Michigan
For all of the uselessness of wishes – mine is that I were there tonight
With the nameless sweaty girl who hid in the darkness
After every frantic dance surrounded by empty beer bottles
And I want to find the place where we finally let the words go
The place where the dark hairy men in the tiny bathing suits
Snapped our picture standing in the lake
There on the shoreline that recalled my childhood

August 2000
We never found our way.

That October Afternoon

Who was watching that October afternoon?
While my mind was being swatted back and forth
The rackets sending it over the little net
The rat-tail corner of an American flag
Smacked me hard across the face
But the irony is totally lost to me
The greasy Elvis impersonator sipping whiskey
Right there in front of me and everyone
The sweet young innocent teasers
Flipping up their little skirts
Offering quick flashes of their little asses
Untouched at twenty years and counting

What am I doing here anyway?
I should be mending fences at least
Maybe making diamonds out of coal
This is not the time or the place
To think the things that I am thinking
All I can do for the rest of the afternoon
Is hide behind my sunglasses
And crawl inside of my walkman
And hope that no one notices me
And if my mind hits the ground
I will scramble to pick it up
Before the games begin again


The sharp angled faces and the heaving bosoms of the counter girls
Stare at me as I drive my car through the parking lot
It feels like I am moving in slow motion – the liquor store lady takes an extra look
It’s not the hot liquor store chick – it is the snaggle-toothed liquor store lady
I try not to look back at her – I try to be invisible
The counter girl’s breasts are a distant dream of a heaven I once knew

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

To the Window Washer on Addison Street in the Snow

Red knit Chicago Bulls hat pulled low and a tan corduroy jacket
He don’t know nothin’ bout no Saint Paddy – no how
Today is another day for work – those windows ain’t gonna wash themselves

Money is hard – too hard for a green hat and a green shirt and some green beer
There’s babies at home and school and bread and peanut butter and soap
Don’t understand a day they celebrate a girl peeing in the alley behind a 7-11

Don’t nobody work no more?

The snow came without warning and everyone is shivering in their leggings
Sweet Swinging Billy Williams and Ron Santo are not even fazed by the cold white swirl
This snow is gonna be real bad for business – who wants to look out into that
Catch the Red Line home and there might be time for the news or a ball game or the lottery numbers