Gutter Punk Poets on the 7 Train
We talked about GG Allin
He was a nice boy
When he wasn't on stage
Showing off his dicklet
Fighting like some mad bull
Sticking needles up his cock made of hard candy
A master showman, no more no less
He met GG at a party
Awkward, of course
Standing near a stairwell
Not saying anything to anyone
Not looking at anyone
Almost bashful, that sensitive boy
Then he got knocked down a stairwell
By a misplaced shoulder
And I told the junkie on the 7 train
That same story after
He played that same Oblivians song
I heard him play that other time before
The one I mistook for a Social Distortion song
And we spoke about Reigning Sound
And I mixed up Jack Oblivian and Greg Cartwright
He had a zine, of course
And I felt self-conscious about my khakis
Peppermint shirt, polished dress shoes
1960s Mad Men facade
And when I saw that punk on the 7 train
Busking on the subway once again
Oblivians on acoustic, again
I shook his hand
And we talked about Henry Darger
And Dead Moon
And the Sonics
And Norton Rex
And for once, I didn't feel false.
Clubs and Coke
He adopts the term
Without the slightest bit
Of irony in his voice
And tries desperately
To hide his past
Defeats and miseries
He readily enjoys
His new life
At the discos
Dancing to chillwave
And doing lines of blow
With the models
In the bathrooms
Of the clubs
That he used to pass
And not bother
Even trying to get in
And I've known him
For a while
And I really want to ask him
How does it feel?
A New American Prayer
I should stop pussyfooting around and admit it to you, my love, I'm compelled by some strange force to travel across this smallpox-founded land, a nation born on blood, weaned on bones, to visit every nook, to poke around every cranny, to talk to our disparate people, to connect, to find out just what this country truly is, that question we've asked for centuries, who are we, who are these people...I came out the womb a gypsy, destined to a wanderer's life, to partake in fare at greasy spoons, and sleep next to you in cheap motels, wake up to syndicated television and the juices of your sex dry on my stubbly face, and we'll go for a smoke after we rub the sand out of our eyes, and then take a shot, and another, drive for miles on end, past the mountains, past the deserts, past the vast expanses of empty space, stirring in our mutually agreed upon silence. I'm a writer, honey, but I never wanted that; I dreamed of CB's and sixteen wheelers when I was young, the road always knew my name, dear. I didn't know Kerouac back then, this beast was intrinsic. I'm restless by nature; my demons cannot be exorcised.
You remember that scene in that Hemingway novel where that old fisherman reeled in the lady fish cause the gent fish led her feed first because he loved her and besides that’s just what fish do and that old fisherman just reeled her in, and she fought and fought to no avail, and she died, and he just swam around, broken, his world upended, with no one to swim with, and she was gutted down, and he was gutted down.
That Hemingway was an interesting guy, you know, just the real swashbuckling type, a man, a real man, you don’t see that much from the writer types, and he went on his adventures, warring, and hunting, and fishing, writing, corresponding, womanizing, not much like a writer type at all.
Sometimes we all break, and if it could happen to a man, a real man, a man like him, well, hell, what hope is there for any of us?
Fortunate Son in Pennsyltucky
The men are all quite loud
The Latino is the loudest
The white man is loud too
The lilt of Appalachia in his voice
And his friend’s Spanglish
Converge like a symphony
At the McDonald’s on Main
The three of them talk about sex
The quiet guy
Latino or white, I can’t tell
Doesn’t say much
When he speaks, it’s loud
And it doesn’t sound like Appalachia or Latin America
The white man laughs,
“You like your coffee like you like your women – black”
The ambiguous guy asks,
“Your girl got out of prison yet?”
The Latino laughs,
“She already out”
“She got white hair?”
“No, she blonde”
“She got no hair?”
“No hair down there”
The white man laughs
And so does the Latino
I lose track of the conversation
A slack-jawed boy
Next to his slack-jawed grandmother
Asks for my grease-stained Monopoly pieces
I turn my eyes
Mutter a haughty “You’re welcome”
And empty my tray
I put fifty cents in the jukebox at the bar
Whisper into my beer
It ain’t me
It ain’t me
Even I know that’s a lie.
Hipster on the L Train Performing a Soliloquy
I’m so fuckin’ happy, dude
I just moved into this sweet two bedroom in Bushwick
The realtor said it was in East Williamsburg
But I think he was just trying to make it sound all classy and shit
I don’t know why he was doing that shit, man
I mean, the neighborhood is getting some buzz
There’s a ton of chill people around doing shit, making art, living life
People like us, man, young people
I mean it’s not so sketch anymore
The homeless guys
You know the type, right?
The ones that sit on milk crates with their shirts off
Drinking 40s outside of the bodega
Well, I don’t know, man
I don’t think they’ll be here forever
I mean, shit, 1850 for a two bedroom?
Dudes like that have to be slinging some yay or something to afford that
Hey, I almost forgot, do you know that bar on the corner?
I went in the other day
It’s sweet, man
It’s nice to have a place like that around
I mean it’s all nail shops and cheap clothes and 99 cent stores and storefront churches, and fuck, man
I mean how ghetto can you get?
But, yeah, anyway, this place is pretty cool
They have a fucking cheap ass PBR and Old Crow combo for five bucks 24/7, dude
And they even have shit from Norton Rex on the jukebox
And, fuck man, the bartender last night was this totally smoking redhead in a Crass tee
I swear she wanted to hook up or something
She was downing shots with me all fucking night
It’s a fucking shame that I had too many or some shit like that
I’ve got to pace myself, man
But, hey, at least I didn’t get all whiskey dick on her
Fuck, it’s crazy out here
You gotta come out here, man
Bushwick needs you!
Pills that make you face another day at work.
Pills that make you not take another insult to heart.
Pills that make you alert - counteracting other pills.
Pills that counteract those pills - so that you can fall asleep
In order to take more pills to make you be able to face another day at work.
The gears continue spinning
Their clockwork motion, uninterrupted
Like BMWs in LA traffic moving steadily along the freeway
Driven by doctors heading to offices to prescribe pills
Doctors with second homes in La Jolla - paid for by Pfizer.
Patients stare glass eyed at doctors
New excuses given to obtain more pills
Handed out with beneficent nods and careful handshakes
Prescriptions with controlled substance warnings
Handed to knowing Russian émigré pharmacists
Who take their cut of the profits.
And when those pills stop working?
More pills will be waiting in hand.
And what then?
Group therapy with illicit addicts, ex-cons, and patients
And a warm bed at Bellevue
With the eventual hope to be released back into society
This time with stronger doses of pills.