Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Thinly Veiled Advertisement"

Thinly Veiled Advertisement

I was pissed off in the supermarket that the guy in front of me had like 25 motherfucking items to my one fucking item, and that if I hadn't taken the time to decide to get the generic over the name brand item, I would be where he was, so I let out a little "fuck" just a little too loud and he turned and looked and I looked away and pretended I was pissed off about some unrelated thing.

Because for some fucking reason, I'm trying to be a better person, and when I went over my yesterday last night, the worst thing I could remember doing was being so in my own head in the elevator that when somebody sneezed, I forgot to say bless you, and I thought, that's a pretty non-evil fucking day. And last night, I felt pretty good that that was the worst thing I could think of that I did that day.

But already, today, I was fucking up a lot worse. So I wanted to try to repair whatever little damage I might have caused, not because I believe in karma, because I totally fucking don't, but because there is something inside of me these days, clearly, that makes me remember, many hours later, if I forget to say bless you when somebody sneezes, so I know it's going to fuck my day more if I don't do something about this little "fuck" that I let out.

He looked like one of those rock and roll guys who would play in one of those cover bands on Bleecker Street, back when they had those places and maybe still do--Tuesday's at Kenny's Castaways type of thing. Back when there was a Kenny's Castaways. He had the long black hair and a hat, and I don't fucking know--I just got a rock and roll vibe off of him.

And the supermarket Sirius radio station had Sister Golden Hair playing (and, parenthetically, I had listened kind of closely to it a month or two ago and noticed the word "correspondent" in it, which I had never noticed before so I looked up the lyrics and learned that it's "I've been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find, But it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind" which I was glad to know because it kind of sucks when you have a tune running through your head and you don't know the words, and so now I do), and I figured he would know the song, so I was like "This is America, right?" and he was really confused, and I realize now that maybe he thought I didn't know what country we were in, but I quickly added, Sister Golden Hair, that's what they're playing--it's by that band America, right?" Which, of course I knew, and would have known even if I hadn't recently looked up the lyrics, but this is another thing I'm trying to do, and am actually fucking doing--make banal fucking small talk with people. And of course, if I really didn't fucking know who's song it was, and if Google didn't exist, I would just do what I did back in the 80's and call up Jahn and be like, "Jahn--who had Sister Golden Hair?" and he would be "America" and then I would be like, "Oh fuck, yes, of course, America! Thank you." Because that's one of the things Jahn could, and still can do.

But this guy at the supermarket had no idea, and then he said "And I'm a musician, I should know that." And I said, "Oh, what do you play?" and the thing is, I'm certain that a year ago, I wouldn't have given a shit what this guy played in his stupid fucking cover band that doesn't even cover Sister Golden Hair, but now, for some reason, I do.  A little.  I mean not really very much at all. But maybe a little.  So he says "guitar and keyboards." And I say, "Oh, what band? Do you play around here?"  As if I didn't know.  But I didn't know, because he said, "Just me. I make videos and post them on YouTube. I've got four million views!" And the old me, who isn't really going anywhere, is thinking this is this era's version of Tuesdays at Kenny's.  But I just smile.

And he says what about you? And I say, "Oh, I'm not a musician.  I'm just a vocalist. And a lyricist." And he says, "Well, that counts. Do you play around here?" And I tell him that one of my bands is playing at Sidewalk Café next Wednesday, although I decide not to tell him that it's me and a bunch of excellent female vocalists and musicians, and that the band is called Sensation Play, and that there's somewhat of a dominance/submission theme to the band (as well as themes of love, loss and sex in general), and that it's our first time playing, because what if this guy went to the show and heard me performing "Because It Pleases You," or singing "Own my cock," (stuff that even for me, is so fucked up, I won't even post it on this blog) or even old King Missile songs like "The Love Song (Faces On the Wall)?"  I mean, maybe he would like our covers of Cait O'Riordan's "Broken" or the Leonard Cohen cover we're going to do, but I think some of the shit might freak him out.  Some of the shit freaks me out.  Somewhat.

But he's like, "I know that place! That's great!" And by now I'm paying for my shit while he's still trying to collect his bags, so now I'm ahead of him and that fucking supermarket door doesn't open most of the time--you have to push it, so I push it open, and I see him with all his fucking bags a motherfucking mile behind me and so I hold the door open and wait a fucking hour and a half until he catches up to me and he says "Thanks!" and I say "Of course!" and as we're going our separate ways, he says "I may see you next week," and I say, "I don't know. That might be a big mistake," and he says "Don't put yourself down" and I say "Self deprecation is my forte," and he laughs and smiles, and I'm smiling too and I feel good. That's the weird fucking thing. I feel good.  And I'm smiling.
I could have just been fuming at that guy the whole fucking time for having so many fucking groceries when I had expected to be in and out of the supermarket in a minute and a half because it was 7 in the morning and who the fuck does a week's worth of grocery shopping at 7 in the morning on a Thursday.  And I would have enjoyed how much I hated this fuck, but instead, I was enjoying making him smile.  So who the fuck am I?

And it was totally lost on me, until just now as I was reading this over before posting it, that I'm the one in the cover band. I mean, I will probably write some more shit for Sensation Play if we ever play again, which I really hope we do, but right now, it's mostly covers.  Of course, a lot of the covers are King Missile covers, so I did actually write the words, but still.  A cover is a cover is a cover.  To cover Gertrude Stein. 

I guess it's too bad Kenny's Castaway's is permanently closed. I'm not doing anything Tuesday night.

December 22, 2017

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"President Trump"

President Trump

I was trying to think of a nickname for the new president. The first thing that came to mind was President Shit, or President Shit for Brains, and they're not inaccurate, ‎but somehow they lack the proper punch, the proper oompf. President Diarrhea is nice, but it's too many syllables, and besides, the diarrhea that he invokes is way more disgusting than the normal diarrhea you might picture in your mind if you were just sitting around picturing diarrhea in your mind.

I'm thinking about some really loose, really diseased shit, with chunks of the most horrific, horrible bits of shit in it: corn, obviously, and pepper, and bits of black and green shit you don't know what the fuck it is, and really, I would also want to conjure up an image of sticking a funnel down his throat and making him eat it. And there's really no word for that. And certainly no one-syllable word.

Jon Oliver likes to call him Drumpf, and that gets close to it. But I'm beginning to become convinced that there is no word. I think instead, the solution for me-although I'm open to other solutions here- is to just call him President Trump, with the caveat that the word "trump" should, from this moment until the end of time, evoke the image of forcing the most disgusting diarrhea-like person imaginable to eat the most disgusting diarrhea that can possibly be conceived of. For now, at least, that works for me.

December 3, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Not a Happy Day"

Not a Happy Day

It was by no means a happy day. Not a single happy thing had happened There had been some things that he had hoped would happen that would have been happy, and those things had not happened. And some sad things, that he had hoped would not happen, had happened.

And yet he found himself smiling. He found that he was happy. He found that the pilot light inside of himself was on, was glowing brightly and flickering happily, and seemed to be packed with the promise of a possible conflagration of joy, given the proper catalyst. That is to say, he had hope.

He smiled at the clouds over the Hudson on his way to work. As he rode along the bike path, he sang the saddest songs he could think of and they made him so happy.

Over the course of the day, he found himself continually looking at his phone, in hopes of a happy call, a happy text, a happy message, a happy anything, but nothing came. He continued to smile and remain hopeful--not in a desperate or pathetic way, or in a false way, but in a real and true way. He didn't know empirically that everything was going to be fine. In fact, he knew empirically that it wouldn't be fine--there would be, over the course of the rest of his life, sickness and death and heartache and despair and all sorts of other sad things. But he knew, somehow that he would be fine. And he knew that there would be happy things in his future as well.

The day went on, with nothing particularly good or happy happening. He left the office and went on about the things he needed to do, and they all got done, which gave him some small comfort. He went home, happy that nothing truly bad had happened, and sad that nothing all that happy had.

He had looked forward to this day, and as it died, he found himself lying in bed, sad and happy, and looking forward to tomorrow.

November 29, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Just Beyond the Staten Island Ferry"

Just Beyond the Staten Island Ferry

Just beyond the Staten Island Ferry
I saw a high school student, elated
Over his successful hand-feeding
Of a peanut to a squirrel.

The nigger took the peanut
right out of my hand!

He shouted to his friends,
As the squirrel darted back
Behind the brush.

November 3, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"The Suit"

The Suit

The Suit
Hangs on a hanger
That hangs on a peg
On a wall
In my office:

An inspiration
An indictment
A goal
A dream that mocks me.

I tried on the suit yesterday
The one I haven't fit into in over a year
I didn't think it would fit, and it didn't
And I have a longer way to go than I thought.

I've been asked,
Why do you have the suit?
Do you have to wear suits at work?

And I say,
No, I don't have to wear suits
But the jackets cover up my body
I have a lot of body shame
The suit helps mitigate the body shame
When I can fit into it, that is.

I have been accused of having
Distorted body image
But the fact is,
I have a small frame
Extra weight looks worse on me
Than it does on other people.

My body image is realistic, I think:
Right now, I am a fat piece of shit
And once I can wear the suit again
I won't be.

About a month ago
I had some shirts I couldn't button
I can button them now
But I won't really be ok
Until I can wear the suit.

It is possible,
If I continue at my current rate of weight loss,
That at some point
The suit will be too big for me
I would rather that didn't happen
If I could maintain a weight
Such that I could keep wearing the suit comfortably
I believe I would be satisfied
I don't want to be a skeleton
I just want to not feel the way I feel anymore.

They say happiness comes from within
But they only say that to make me feel better
It doesn't make me feel better
Because it is a lie.

I took a picture of the suit today
I will post it on Facebook
And when I can finally fit into the suit again
I will take a picture of me wearing it
And post it on Facebook.

The picture of me wearing the suit
Will probably get a lot of likes
It will probably get more likes
Than this poem will.

November 1, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

"Beware of the Nice "

Beware of the Nice

She said, "I'm actually not a nice person. My specialty is in observing and telling it how I see and feel it. "

I said, " I know you're not nice. I think that's why I trust you so much and like you so much."

You, on the other hand, were always very, very, nice.

Too bad I didn't know enough to beware of the nice.

October 28, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016



To be with all the gods there are and to see them and hear them and feel them everywhere, in everyone and everything,

To sit with the self until the god inside answers whatever it is you might be asking,

To see the angry god in your enemy, and hear the friendly god in your friend's kind words,

To see the love god in the ones you love, and feel the fuck god in whoever you are fucking,

To be with the death god when you kill an insect, or go to a funeral, or eat a hamburger,

To hear the god in the wind, feel the god in the stones and the sand and the water and the earth and the air,

To see the fire god in the fire, hear the music god in song,

To see god in the art, in the artist, in the art lovers looking at the art; to see we are all creators and consumers and destroyers every day,

To feel the god of pain in your breaking heart, and see the god of sadness and compassion in the one who is breaking your heart, to know the god that you are in your broken heart,

To see that the gods do not exist in some supernatural realm, because there's no such thing as the supernatural--gods can only exist in what there actually is, if gods or anything can be said to exist at all,

To look into the eyes of whoever is in front of you, anywhere, anytime, all the time, all the time, and see the god that is there, and know it, and know it, and be with it,

To know that god is everywhere and nowhere, everything and nothing,

To see god, to feel god, to know god, to love god, with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.

October 25, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016



The only happy thing
About how sad I've been
Is how much weight I've lost
I'm almost thin.

And that truly is a very happy thing
It makes me so happy, I could almost sing
So happy, that if I could only bring
This happiness to you, I would indeed

But only if I could bring it to you
Without the sadness too.

October 23, 2016

(I wrote this in the shower, after a surprisingly non-traumatic look in the mirror.)

Friday, October 21, 2016



I was on a shitty Citibike
So I
Docked it at the Stuyvesant High school Station
Just as well, as I was bursting:
The fog over the Hudson
The fog gently trailing past One World Trade
The joy of feeling like you're the only one on the bike path, 'cause you don't see anyone else
The feeling that most of the city will still be asleep by the time you get to the office
And that most of the city will still be at work
By the time you start biking back

Enjoying the feeling
Of being alone in the world
But still wishing someone were there
To marvel at it with you

I got on a new bike
And on this one
I could pedal as hard as I wanted to
And I wanted to pedal hard
Pedal out the hurt and the anger and the toxins
Pedal you out
Pedal furiously to Battery Park

I docked this bike in one of the usual places
And watched the Staten Islanders
Scatter out of the ferry for a while
And here I am

October 21, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Right After the Recital

Right after the recital I realized
That I had forgotten to mute my phone
I was so relieved
That I hadn't gotten any calls, texts, or Facebook messages
In the past two hours
And then I was sad
That I hadn't gotten any calls, texts, or Facebook messages
In the past two hours.

September 18, 2016



I got to work
so early this morning
that not only
could I see
the rosy fingers
of the
ancient Greek poet

I could hear
the ancient
Middle Eastern call
of someone praying
to the East

October 19, 2016

*composed in its (admittedly short) entirety on the one block walk from the Citibike station to the office building

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Three Things Before 9:00 AM. (Already It Feels; Invisible Dog; Imperious Attitude)


Already it feels like it isn't working.
Already it feels like a big wide, white, empty abyss.
Already it's a mountain laughing at my broken legs.
Already it's everyone from junior high school taunting me, terrorizing me.
Already it's a wave that knocks me over and somersaults me under water over and over and there is no shore.
Already it's a barker on the street corner, convincing me it's a sure thing.
Already they're coming and telling me it was all a big joke.
Already the dogs are calling the police.
Already I'm running away from myself, because my self has a huge knife and a maniacal laugh and is coming for me, and I know that I can run, but I can't hide, because wherever I go, there I am.
Already it's hopeless, and already in this moment of utter darkness, a sliver of light appears, and already I believe in it because I'm such a hopeless sucker.


My dog is invisible, but he follows me around wherever I go. He takes invisible pisses on the lawn next door and my neighbor never knows. He takes a shit in the middle of the sidewalk and nobody sees and nobody cares and nobody notices when they step in it. He barks and only I can hear it. He does incredible tricks that only I can enjoy. He eats invisible food that I buy at the invisible supermarket with my invisible money that I make at my invisible job, where I sit at an invisible desk doing nothing all day. When I come home, my dog wags his invisible tail and showers me with invisible kisses, and I love the odorless smell of his invisible dog breath. My invisible dog is very, very, old, but when he dies, it will be basically the same as it is now, as if he were still here with me.


If I were suddenly to adopt an imperious attitude, I would expect that many things would change. Some people are born to follow, and perhaps I would find that many people who used to think of me as something of a joke would suddenly bow their heads and await my instructions. Others might take on the role of toady, and treat my every word as if it were infinitely wise and true. I could decide that the chair I am sitting in is a throne, and I could clap my hands three times and call for my Foole, and he would be dressed in motley and have one of those staffs that jingles, and I would laugh at his jests and perhaps chastise him for his impudence if he steps over a line. He would know that I could have him killed, but he would bravely make fun of my bald spot and my pot belly and my family history. He would tell the story of how my mother worked as a secretary for the CIA and cheated on her husband by fucking her boss, and that that's how I was born. Careful, Foole, I would say. And he would laugh and dance and sing a silly song of Martians made of marshmallows and I would forgive and forget. Then the entire court would sing a song to me, their king, and then we would all have a grand feast where I would eat no meat and drink no wine, and then I would sleep a deep, deep sleep and dream of being the real me once more and then I don't know. I might wake up feeling even more imperious than the day before, or I might find that I have grown weary of imperiousness, and decide instead to adopt an attitude of sniveling, craven, servility. I could wear a hair shirt and walk the streets with a beggars bowl, and when I spied the Foole on his way to the castle, he might remember yesterday's mercy and put a scrap of bread in my bowl, and I would thank him sincerely and then sit down and eat like a king.

August 30, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Paler Shade

A Paler Shade

As I stand here
Resenting the raucous music
Of the Q train performers
For making it impossible
For me to read
The essay about James Brown
In The New York Review of Books
I realize
I have taken whiteness
To a whole new level.

July 30, 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

On Being in the New Yorker

On Being in The New Yorker

I'm in The New Yorker this week
(A little profile about my history
With my band, King Missile)
And, although I am a grown man
(Fifty-five years old, as, sadly, the profile
Points out)
I find myself on the subway
Looking around
To see if anybody's reading it
To see if anybody is noticing me,
and thinking,
Hey, there's that guy who's
In the Goings On About Town section
A grown man, I guess, but still a child.

I managed not to tell the woman
Carrying the Strand Book Store bag
With the New Yorker magazine cover on it,
"Hey, I'm in The New Yorker this week."

When the woman came into my office
Saying, "Did you see this?
You're in The New Yorker!"
I said, "I saw it, thanks."
She said, "I got you a copy."
I said, "I'm a subscriber, but thank you."
And she left.
And I felt like a dick.
But I had seen it,
And I am a subscriber.
Still, I felt like a dick.

The woman sitting across from me
On the train is reading New York Magazine.
If she were reading the New Yorker,
Maybe she'd be impressed
That she's sitting across from me.
Not that I want to impress her.
She is, after all, choosing to read New York Magazine Instead of the New Yorker.

My dear friend Julian
Suggested that by virtue of knowing me
(A guy who is in The New Yorker this week)
He can claim secondary bragging rights
And dine out it for years to come.
I'd just like to point out
That so far no one has taken me to dinner.
Just saying.

I realize
That if I were to submit this to The New Yorker,
And they were to publish it,
I would again be in The New Yorker.
But I'm not going to submit this to The New Yorker.
It's highly unlikely that they would publish it,
And I don't deal with rejection all that well.

Next week, I will no longer be in the New Yorker.
I will look back fondly on this week,
When I was in the New Yorker.
I will move forward and try not to live in the past,
When I was in the New Yorker.
And if I ever have grandchildren,
I will try not to bore them with stories of
When I was in the New Yorker.

June 30, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Morning, On the Way to Work

Monday Morning, On the Way to Work

The loose fitting pants
Hanging off the homeless guys ass
Were not a sartorial affectation
The ‎motherfucker clearly didn't give a fuck
And I can't say I would either
If I had nothing.

If I had nothing
I wouldn't give a shit
That I didn't have a belt
Or that the crack of my ass was exposed
To some asshole
On his way to work at 
Some fucking law firm.

On the subway platform
The schoolgirl
With the short pleated skirt
Looked like a deer caught in the headlights,
Made‎ me think how fucked up it is
That girls are made to wear that shit
Although maybe it wouldn't be a big deal
If men could behave themselves.

Did you hold a breakfast or a lunch?
A cup of coffee?
Pixie dust?
A handful of magic beans?
The song of 100 angels?
A box of nails or screws?
A blueberry muffin?
A promise?
A lie?
Why were you left lying there?
Why? Why?

A thoughtless gesture.
Today, I appreciate the thoughtlessness.
June 6, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


For reasons that have become increasingly unclear to me, I have thought, for several months, that King Missile should play Bowery Electric, a club located relatively close to where CBGB’s was located back in the day. That proximity may have been a reason, or it may be that a number of my friends have played there and I liked the sound and the layout of the place, and a friend of mine tends (or tended) bar. I don’t know. But I knew that after two shows at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium, it would be good to play Manhattan, and I thought Bowery Electric was a logical choice.

I went to their website, and found a contact email, and I made an inquiry. I didn’t hear back. I emailed again, and was told by Nick (not his real name) that he had forwarded my email to Debby (not her real name). She eventually got back to me and asked if we wanted to play a free show in the bar area upstairs. I said, “No, we’d like to play the downstairs room. I’m sure we could get a lot of people there. We have done well at Shea.” Or something like that. I didn’t hear back. I emailed again, and Nick got back to me, and then Debby again. Finally, we settled on a date: April 10, 2016. Debby told me I could put the evening together by adding bands to the bill but that I should get back to her in ten days.

I was excited. I asked Rachel Trachtenburg if her band wanted to play and she said yes. I had trouble thinking who the third band would be, and the ten day deadline was approaching, so I emailed Debby to tell her Rachel would open and I was just looking for the third band. Debby told me that she had filled the 9 and 10pm slots for that evening but that if King Missile wanted to play at 10, maybe she could switch the 10pm band or move everyone earlier. “And is Rachel 18  yet?” Debby wanted to know. Debby apparently doesn’t know about Wikipedia.

I got on the phone with Debby, and she started asking me questions about my band (“Are you local?” Are you the band’s manager or are you in the band?”), and I quickly realized that this was way more of an uphill battle than I had expected. I told her, “I think maybe I’ll find another Manhattan venue, one that is actually wants us to play.” Debby said, “How can I know if I want you to play when I don’t know anything about your band?,” to which I might have replied—“Wikipedia?” “You Tube?” but I was kind of resigned to the fact that this wasn’t going to happen. So I ended the call.

We went ahead and booked a show at Cakeshop for this Sunday (May 21, 2016) and yesterday I learned that we got a little write up in the New Yorker. In order to kind of rub her nose in it (but more because I still really wanted to play there), I sent Debby an email, reminding her about the show we had booked there that had fallen through (without blaming her) and letting her know that we got a little write up in the New Yorker, and that I hoped we could put a night together at Bowery Electric in the Fall. Her response was. “Congratulations. Cakeshop is a good size room for this.”

I pride myself these days on not writing angry obnoxious emails to people who are really pissing me off. So instead I wrote back and said “Thanks, but we’d really like to play Bowery Electric sometime.” Her response was “Maybe down the line. Thank you.”

If you know me at all, you can imagine the kind of things I wanted to say to her. I think I am glad that I didn’t say any of them. And I guess King Missile will never play Bowery Electric. And I guess that’s okay.
May 25, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Fuck hoverboards
They fucking suck
I fucking hate hoverboards
Such fucking bullshit
They shouldn't even be called hoverboards
They dont even actually hover
They're just fucking skateboards with motors
Which makes them motor vehicles, right?
Which means they shouldn't be on the sidewalk, right?
Which means the motherfucker who bumped into me just now
Had no fucking business riding a hoverboard on the sidewalk in the first place, right?
So fuck hoverboards,  right?
I'm glad I got that off my chest
But the truth is, I didn't just get bumped into by a motherfucker on a hoverboard
I made that up
But it is true that I do hate hoverboards
They suck
Fuck hoverboards
May 19, 2016 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Short Poems: "Itch," "Creep," and "Bus."

I've got an itch
On one of my inner thighs
I suppose it might be sexy
If you were into older guys*
May 13, 2016

There was this a young boy
Coming down the subway stairs
Holding a plastic T-Rex
Asking his mom if all dinosaurs were carnivores
And his mom said no, some dinosaurs w‎ere herbivores;
They eat plants and vegetables.
"But T-Rex eats people?," He asked
And she said yes.

And because I'm such a busybody fucking smartass,
I wanted to point out that there were no people
When T-Rex was around,
Unless you happen to favor a very expansive definition of the word people,
Which, who knows, maybe she did,

But the forecast called for rain today,
So there I was,
An old man in a rain coat,
I wasn't about to butt in
And run the risk of coming off like a creep.

So that poor child
Will have to live in fear of people being eaten by dinosaurs
Because I didn't want to feel like a creep.
But of course, I feel like a creep anyway.
May 13, 2016

Being on a cross town bus
Is like being‎ stuck inside
An enormous, round, turd
Too heavy
To move
More than a few hundred feet
Every few minutes.

A fucking glacier
Made of shit
That never
May 8, 2016

*This could be a verse for a song if I wasn't such a lazy piece of shit.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Guy Who Coughs

I'd hate to be the one who coughs during a recital. It's bad enough to be in the audience when the one who coughs coughs, and somehow it's worse when there's just one one who coughs as opposed to many ones.

Like that time when I saw the Philharmonic at what was then known as Avery Fisher Hall, at the beginning of Bolero, the very beginning, when it's very quiet, and beautifully slow, less than 30 seconds into it, and the guy let out this huge hacking cough that just took a shit on the whole thing, and the conductor, while continuing to conduct, turned his head back over his shoulder and looked back in the direction of the guy who coughed and just raised an eyebrow as if to say, do that again motherfucker, and I will fuck you up.

And then there was that time, at Zankel Hall, when the Ligeti Quartet was playing The Ecstasy, from Terry Riley's Salome Dances For Peace, and it was so beautiful and clearly very difficult to play, and the guy who coughed just coughed and coughed, many, many times, like an endless stream of piss just pissing all over the whole thing, to the point where several people in the audienxe made little noises to signal their annoyance, and I was quite anoyed too, but mostly I was thinking how I would hate to be that guy, the guy who coughs.

And the thing is, I know that if I keep going to recitals, one day, I'm going to be not feeling well, but I'll have tickets to something that I really, really, really don't want to miss, so I'll go, and yes, I'll grab a shitload of complimentary ricollas and I'll keep popping them into my mouth but still, inevitably, I will be unable to control myself and I will be the guy who coughs and it will be mortifying and I will hate myself and it will be awful and that will suck.

April 15, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Quartet

The Quartet sat down together to play the new work, both commissioned and composed anonymously‎ as a gift to the four of them. The cellist, the violist, and the two violinists had each rehearsed their separate parts but this was the first time any of them would hear the entire work with all of its parts played simultaneously, as this was their first attempt to play it together.

At various times as they played the composition, each member of the Quartet was nearly certain that they would be unable to get through it. This was not because it was technically difficult. Rather, it was the sheer beauty of the work that made it so challenging.

And in fact, as they played a motif near the end of the unbearably slow and unbearably beautiful second movement, all four players were weeping. Moreover, the lushness and simultaneous harshness of the sonorities, the strange, but never entirely alien tonal‎ idiosynchronsies, and the curiously teetering time signature, moved all four players not just to tears, but to an awakening within their deepest essences.

They each reported later that they felt as if a small number of precious, golden droplets of sunlight‎ and love were dropped directly into their hearts, and they were overwhelmed and enveloped with a sense of timelessness and stasis and indestructibilty and the feeling of being cradled in the arms of a supernatural being that would cherish and protect you forever.

The Quartet had a performance scheduled for that evening and they all knew, without a word of discussion, that they would perform the new work as an encore. They played their scheduled program that night with unprecedented urgency and masterful brilliance so as to insure that the audience would demand an encore. Indeed, they played so well that a riot would have ensued had they not played an encore. Not only that, the quality of their performance thus far that evening was such that they had raised the expectations of everyone in the concert hall, all of whom had become profoundly aware that they were witnessing an historic event, not unlike that historic Sex Pistols concert in Manchester in June of 1976 that led to the creation of the Smiths, the Fall, the Buzzcocks and Joy Division. Decades later this concert would be recognized as one that permanently altered the landscape and soundscape of chamber music forever.

Remarkably, not a sound was heard while the quartet played the new composition. Nobody coughed or cleared their throat. Nobody whispered or hissed. It seemed, in fact, as if nobody was breathing, although of course everybody was. Even more remarkable: virtually everyone in the concert hall had a nearly uncontrollable urge to take a selfie of themselves during the performance of the new work in order to prove that they were there; and yet every single one of them was, in fact, able to control that urge.

The sense of golden droplets of sunlight and love being dropped directly into the heart was felt by every person in the rather large room, including all of the ushers, one of whom was nearly deaf. The essence of each being in the room had been awakened in a startling but somehow familiar way, as if each of them was experiencing the myth of eternal return.

One could almost say that the intention of the composer was to offer up a means by which each individual listener might have direct experience of God, although it was later revealed that the composer had no such intention, and in fact, had no theistic (or, for that matter, atheistic) beliefs. Somewhat surprisingly, this news disappointed no one, although it did cause some people to reevaluate their religious conceptions.

‎About a half hour after the performance, it was discovered that the sheet music for the new piece had literally vanished. The composition had been written in disappearing ink, apparently timed to disappear directly following the evening's performance. Each member of the Quartet had followed the composer's strict instructions not to make copies. No one had recorded the concert and no one could remember the piece in its entirety.

And yet, nobody who missed the concert was jealous of anyone who had been there. This was most likely because every single attendee carried the experience with them in their hearts and was able to transmit it to others. Indeed, they were unable to avoid transmitting it: simply being in the presence of one of the original attendees was enough to profoundly shift one's relationship to the universe. And then,  having had a spiritual awakening as the result of their proximity to one of the listeners, they carried the message to others, who in turn carried it to still others.

Over time, the awakened feeling penetrated the essence of every sentient being on the planet. The world was changed. The composer remained anonymous but did release a number of clarifying statements, such as the one about not believing in a supernatural creator god. ‎Perhaps the most significant of these statements was the one that revealed that the composer had never written anything before or after the composition, had no formal training, could play no instrument and knew no music theory. "It was as if something or someone had taken me over completely" said the composer, "As if I was merely a conduit, a messenger, an instrument."

Soon it was discovered that many people were suddenly able to compose extraordinarily beautiful music. Others were able to paint magnificent paintings, and still others could dance, or write stories, or design urban landscapes, or tell almost dangerously hilarious jokes. Everyone, it seemed had developed an extremely entertaining new talent. Everybody also had developed a much deeper appreciation for art and beauty. Many people became interested in theological or philosophical ideas. A large number of people felt the presence of God in their hearts in a more profound way than they ever had before. Many others, while not calling it God, acknowledge a presence or power deep within that made them feel a part of the totality of the universe, and made them feel connected to every living thing.
The point being that the performance by the Quartet of the new composition was extremely fortunate for everyone involved--that is to say, it was extremely fortunate for everyone.
April 7, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

On the Death of Eileen Myles (Which, as of This Writing, Has Not Yet Happened)

On the Death of Eileen Myles (Which, as of This Writing, Has Not Yet Happened)
When Eileen dies,
Won't we all be rushing to our keyboards
To type out our "O, I don't give a shit" poems?
It seems inevitable.
She knows she has asked for it.
But I am impatient,
And I don't want to wait,
So here I am, hoping to beat all you motherfuckers to the punch.
Except I can't write her off so blithely:
I like her fucking poetry and prose.
I'm not interested in pissing on corpses
I'm much more interested in
Who's going to piss on mine.
March 7, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Just Asking

Just Asking
On the Friday morning 2
Around  8:00 AM:
I didn't give you a dollar
Because I liked your renditions of
Somewhere Over the Rainbow and
Fly Me to The Moon
Although I did.
And I certainly didn't do it
In order to receive
Good luck or good karma, or
The blessings of God, or the Gods.
But, hey:
I gave you a dollar
As did the guy standing right next to me
And you looked him in the eye and said
"God bless you sir,"
And you didn't even acknowledge me.

What's up with that?
February 5, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Short Poems

The Rind
If I were 93
I wonder would there be
Any sense of urgency

And would there be
An even greater sense of
Being wrung out like a lemon
For its very last drops
Or of the universe
Being wrung out
For its last drops
Of something
Being wrung out
For its last drops?
January 25, 2016

Is it as impossible
To take a picture of your phone
With your phone
As it is
To hold your right elbow
In your right hand?

As it is
To see yourself
In the mirror?

As it is
To hold a moment
In your head?
January 28, 2016

To get back at you
For ending things
I got my new girlfriend
To seduce your new boyfriend

Now that they're together
And we're both free
How about you
Get back together with me?*

January 28, 2016
*Notes: For some reason, I feel compelled to assert that I've never done anything like this, nor do I know anyone who has. The poem came to me today, fully formed, while standing in front of the coffee machine at work.

For that matter, I believe the idea for "Riddle" also came to me while standing in front of the coffee machine a few days ago, and was initially going to be about how I had cracked the screen of my phone but that I couldn't take a picture of it because, you know, right elbow-right hand. But when I came to write it today, it came out differently--worse, I think. That's why it's generally better for me to write these things down as I think of them.

And as long as I'm writing notes, I believe "The Rind" came to me when I looked in the mirror Monday morning and thought I looked old and dried out. I thought it was a bit to whiny to publish on its own, and plus, I didn't want it to compete with the poem (or story, or whatever it is) I published Monday, so, here it is now. Hardly worth the wait, but it's not like you were actually waiting for it anyway.

Monday, January 25, 2016


I've invented a new diet:
Whenever you are hungry, instead of going into the kitchen and eating, go into the bedroom and fuck or masturbate.
Water and clear broths are also permitted.
This diet won't work all that well if you have a job, unless you have either a lot of self discipline or an extremely permissive employer.
However, I have a week off work, so I am testing this diet out right now.
I will let you know how it goes.

I'm on Day Two of the Fuck or Masturbate Diet
I have checked the scale twice today and I haven't lost any weight, but I am not discouraged.
My theory is that I've replaced some of my weight with water weight.
I've been drinking an awful lot of water.
I've had eleven orgasms.

I'm on day Three of my diet and I've already run out of the clear broth, and it was tricky making more because I felt that I ought to jerk off while I was making it. So it was like making the broth with my right hand tied behind my back. Then, after making the broth, for balance, I jerked off with my left hand tied behind my back. My conclusion is that before beginning the Fuck or Masturbate Diet, clear broths should be prepared in advance.

Day Four. For several hours today I was so weak with hunger I couldn't have made it to the kitchen even if I had wanted to. I did make it to the bathroom. I have decided that it is probably not a good idea to leave the apartment, because if I were bump into a friend, and that friend happened to be eating a pretzel or knish, I would grab it out of his or her hand and devour it right in front of him. This diet is important to me, but it is not worth losing friends over.

It is Day Five of the Fuck or Masturbate Diet and if you're just joining me, the idea is that instead of eating, you fuck or masturbate. Technically, I suppose, it should be called the Fuck or Masturbate Fast, as the word "diet" implies that some kind of eating is involved. When I first concieved of this project, I thought I would probably be unable to resist eating, and I didn't want to feel like a failure. But here I am, on Day Five, and I haven't eaten a thing, and I've lost six pounds and I've had 38 orgasms. I'd say so far, it's been a success.

I'm on Day Six. I've begun to hallucinate every time I orgasm. The Hindu goddess Lakshmi appeared to me several times today and promised me wealth, fortune, and prosperity (both material and spiritual). Then her husband Vishnu appeared and asked me if I was fucking his wife and I said no, I swear: not even a hand job (note: Lakshmi has four arms, and each one has a hand). Vishnu appeared to believe me and then disappeared. I haven't seen Lakshmi since, and it's probably just as well as I am so hungry at this point I might have tried something with her.

More hallucinations: I saw Kali, goddess of change, preservation and destruction;
Parvati, goddess of love, fertility and devotion; Radha, the life energy of Krishna; and for some reason, Daenerys Targaryen, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, and she was, in fact, in this vision, riding a dragon, but-and this is interesting-it wasn't Drogon. It was Veserion. This made absolutely no sense to me, and I'm starting to become concerned for my mental well being. I am glad to be returning to work tomorrow.

This morning, I returned to work, but before I did, I ate three bowls of cereal, two vegan sausages, a fruit salad, and toast. Then a bowl of chili, some tortilla chips, and peasant bread. I drank a quart of orange juice and then had some sorbet. I gained back three of the eleven pounds I lost, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I had 53 orgasms and a few of them were mind altering and enlightening and all of them were entertaining. All in all, I am pleased with the results of this diet, and I expect I will try it again the next time I have time off work.

January 25, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Pinckney's essay
In The New York Review
On Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me
Does not say
Whether Pinckney likes what Coates is doing
And I would like to know.
He makes it clear
What Coates is doing -
The tradition from which he is drawing, his antecedents
The essay is insightful, informative, thoughtfully written,
But lacking criticism or praise.
I've read Between the World and Me
I have my opinion, although it's been challenged
By the opinions of others.
Other people's opinions matter to me.
Even though, as Chimes said, "Opinions are cruelty."
I've read Pinkney's essay
I will read it again right now.
Ok. I read it again, and I still don't know:
Pinckney, what do you think of Coates?
Maybe I don't need to know.
Maybe it shouldn't matter.
And maybe I ought to appreciate and emulate
Your reticence.
A lack of opinion can be cruel too.
But maybe less so?

Friday, January 1, 2016


God help me, I loved that man's pants. They were a dark and stately grey, with an understated green plaid pattern, barely distinguishable in a brief glance , which is all I dared to take. I didn't want to stare.

But by God, they were fantastic pants. Cut in a traditional, but by no means stuffy or conservative, style. Not the least bit trendy or hipsterish, but timeless and tasteful and true. They were true pants, and God help me, I wanted them.

I am not normally prone to jealousy or covetousness. To each their own I say, although I would favor a massive redistribution of wealth from those who have far more than me to those who have far less. But in that moment, when I saw those pants, I also favored a redistribution of those pants from the man who was wearing them to me.

The man who was wearing the pants seemed perfectly amiable and had I had his self confidence and success, I might have been able to ask where he got the pants. Perhaps I would have learned that I could buy a pair for myself, around the block for forty dollars. Or perhaps I would have learned that they were purchased in Europe for 400 euros. But I learned nothing of the pants, so I will never know. I will never have such pants. In the moment, I could not ask, so consumed as I was by envy and greed. All I could think of was how I wanted the pants-those very pants. Not my own pair, but that pair, and not later, but now. I want them now, I thought. I wanted to hold a knife to the man's throat and say, "Your life means nothing to me, pig, but if it means anything to you, you will give me those pants immediately." Because I wanted those pants so much.

Oh those pants! So much better than mine, that made me feel suddenly ashamed, as if I were wearing pajamas. Perhaps the man wearing those pants wears pants like the ones I have on for pajamas. I have, very occasionally worn these pants that I have on for pajamas. But here I am, on the first day of the year, wearing these pants instead of those wonderful, glorious pants. Pants of transcendent splendour an‎d beauty. Fuck me, I wanted those pants so badly I could taste it, like ashes in my mouth.

I wanted to tear the pants off of him and put them on right there and then and head off in style to St. Mark's Church, to the Poetry marathon. ‎

Instead, I walked right past him, did not smile, did not acknowledge him or his pants. But he has ruined my day, perhaps my year, perhaps the rest of my life. That man and his beautiful fucking pants. ‎

January 1, 2016