you pray like russian

you kiss like you’re trying
to commandeer our teeth

you smell like the little samples
0f perfume in skinny magazines

you’re pirating porn on the internet
wearing nothing but a stolen pair
of air jordans

you’re panting like a dog
do you ever put your tongue
back into your mouth?

your gums are bleeding
from brushing your teeth too hard

do you ever do anything
with grace?

it’s always 75 miles per hour
drunk on jack
jacked up on red bull
listening to two metal albums
on your cell phone
while playing candy crush
in seven o clock rush hour traffic
because life is too short
not to do
exactly what is most important to you
in that exact moment

you may listen to podcasts
on new age philosophy
be here now
live in the moment
but you always fast-forward
to the good parts

you always cut away the meat
of your steak
and sit back and chew on the fat

you’re so good at interrupting
the people you ask
to speak on your show

you borrowed from me
whenever i tell you you say you didn’t
but you did
and i want it back

you invented advertising
and marketing
and coffee and beer
and whiskey and electricity
and freedom and democracy
at least that’s what you tell everyone

you pretend to be attention deficit
but the truth is you are consciously choosing
not to listen

plus you can get great turnaround
selling addy to high school kids

were you ever great?
will you ever be great?
hyperbole is a french word
but its nine-hundred percent american

i once thought i saw you
through the brush of trees
that line flathead lake
there i know i saw you
this grand estranged deer
wide eyed and still
your black eye gazed back at me
full of one-thousand yard stare
post traumatic stress disorder
you looked at me
like you just discovered
the human concept of time
0r math
or internet-streamed television service

i picked up my AR-15
and i pointed right at you
as you bolted
deep into the thick trees of bigotry

i swear i saw you

the one that got away

a hologram of a dream
of an invention

a colossal invention

there in the hand of every american
there in the heart of those who believe

not a device to help you
a device that is you

are you recording this call?

why do i have to press one for english?

why is my seat so small and inconvenient
in this giant bullet
that flies through the sky?

you’re pronouncing
“patronizing” wrong

i asked for no special sauce
my daughter is allergic
i can’t believe this
what are you going to do
for me?

what are you going to do
for me?

why aren’t you the country
we talk so fiercely about you being?
we spent so much time so far
talking so fiercely
about what you could be?

tie your shoes

get a job

love your neighbor

i’m not going to pay for your webcam
i don’t care h0w handsome you tell me i

if you say a word too many times
it starts to sound funny
it starts to stick to the roof of your mouth
like jiffy (c) peanut butter



when will the illuminati
reveal themselves?
was 9/11 an inside
when will those walmarts
be turned into internment camps?

you manufacture paranoia
shelf after shelf
aisle after aisle
section after section
department after department
store after store after region
after enterprise

take my tickets
i brought my swimsuit
i want to ride the preschool to prison

plea bargain my politics

mass incarcerate my poems

you can’t fall asleep sober
if you even fall asleep at all
you keep counting sheep
like you’re tallying days
on a prison cell

your eyes are automatic doors
that slam shut behind us all

your bloodsteam is refugees
you’re just too intoxicated to see it

you’re so busy building walls
you forgot to put in a door

you’re so busy campaigning for president
you’ve got not time for your family

you’re the kind of ugly
that happens over the course of a lifetime

are a pyramid scheme

beg for food
while you choke to death
on your thick privilege

are the one
who was born so late
to sing the world to sleep

you pray like russian roulette
to a god who can’t hear you
over the sound
of your own



my rhythm is theodore roosevelt rowing furiously across long island sound-
back and forth and back and forth in endless need to push back and forth
and to open the floodgates of america, the world once more and let in
the endless bloodstream of the human spirit, that which does not stop
all coffeeblood and widepupiled i rush out into the world and with such fervor
do i rampantly push through the hole that fills the life-long sentence of
“i’m   sorry   but    that   simply   is   not   going   to   be   a   possibility,”
but i slip through the hole in the o and i loop my western lasso from one t
to the other tee and i build a fortress and i barricade the spaces from any
slinking zombie thought that moans that there is not hope alive in the sentiment
of doubt; that there is some construction of a power too powerful to be fought.

do not forget. sometimes the man at the top of the mountain has been at the
top of the mountain too long – and he has forgotten what it means to climb.
what it means to step after step against gravity against will against time itself.
and i do encourage you to look around at the view as you climb as you step further
and farther away from the city of your reality, now a distant cloud, a pencil drawing.

climb and climb and row and row. theodore roosevelt. push westward even moreso.
and at the top of the mountain lasso the stars and walk cautiously across the tightrope
in space and realize if you for a second look down, you very well may lose your balance
but keep your spectacles set off into the distance and you will not fall. the body follows
the heart and the heart wants what the heart wants and row and row and row.

row furious. row like the broken heart of theodore roosevelt across long island sound.
row sore-armed and hollowheaded treading molecule after molecule of holy water
behind you until all you have left to realize is that there is only you, and a million miles
of ocean, influenced up and down in constant reminder that nothing is ever dead.
nothing is ever dead and no one person insignificant enough to not cause ripples that
may expand through not just liquid or air or soundwaves but they can push like anxious
oars through the familiar foundations that we so often refuse to acknowledge may just be
impatient graves ready to take us under. they are always ready to take us under.
so why not rise up against the coming looming deadly tide?



see the homeless posted at every major crossroad
standing at the ready like soldiers but really they’re just vets.
see their cardboard signs in shivering hand standing in the neon light of another sign.
see the signs. so many signs. all the signs trying so hard to sing you to shipwreck.
see the american assembly line of incarceration. the rows of concrete buildings.
stacked side-by-side. industrial and sturdy on the outside but cancer within.
see the conjugal visit of capitalism and democracy.
see the mcwhopper junior baconator cheeseburger combo.
see the mccigarettes in their red little cradle.
see the forty-eight ounces. ice cold. ninety-nine cents.
delivered from the window in a brown paper bag in exchange for your cash.
see the legal drug deal in the lobby of the restaurant.
see the illegal drug deal in the parking lot.
see the rows and rows of second mortgage cars
transnational representations of delusional personalities.
see the signs. great american tarot cards. see what they say about you.
see what you need. see why you’re unhappy. see until it hurts to see.
see all of the things that you never knew that you wanted so badly.
see the black market big box store. see that sugar is cheaper than dirt.
see the impossible cost of a roof. see the white picket fence. see the shutters.
see the green grass front yard. see the sprinkler system.
see the community-approved paint and primer color glowing from the house.
see the blue front door. the great gold knocker. see the red wheelbarrow.
see the inside of the house. it’s empty.
see the beautiful communities with world-class schools, parks, autumns.
see the people who live in their graveyards. see the garbage mountains.
see the garbage hail storms. the garbage rain clouds raining down garbage.
see the hurricane waters rise an inch each day. sinking the titanic.
sinking first the third class. sinking second the second class.
see the first class polish the brass.
see the giant ball of yarn. see the giant rocking chair in the field.
see the giant orange bottle of horse pills. see the bill.
see the cost of the medication. but hey. it’s cheaper than therapy.
see the beautiful people. the manufactured celebrity. the scripted reality.
see the radiating crimson head of the news vociferously squawking.
see the bright light show. the warm blanket of electronica.
the giant chloroform rag. the sweet victory of football.
see peyton manning sell you insurance. see the rage of fandom.
see the super bowl if you get a chance. for the commercials.
see the black plague of poor management wash over us all.
see the rose that grows from the concrete. see the incredible way
that somewhere lost in a fossil fuel fog, an outdated identity,
a father figure who refuses to listen to his beautiful daughters.
somewhere in the hallways of the church inside the bank,
there is still a green light that glows.

there is still a radiant child born in the bomb shelter of brooklyn
who will die hanging his crown on the nail of the wild wall.



he’s an all-american boy
serves his country
loves his patiently waiting wife
red meat blue beer
gun shooting
flag waving
all-american boy
church on sundays
drives his hummer
blasting bruce springsteen
motor purring loudly

and at the end of the night
he goes home
closes the bedroom door
and he puts on the reddest of lipsticks
and slips into his  favorie lingerie
and he dances to gaga

he dances to gaga
like his life depends on it
like his rhythm could break borders
and end this endless war

as the world watches
this eternal bloody soap opera
he dances a dance all his own
no one to ask
no one to tell
this all-american boy


The Star-Spangled Banner (Remix)

o does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
the land of the free? the home of the brave?
we watched the red glare o’er the land of the free
the bombs unbursting in air at the gleaming’s last twilight
the rockets gave proof, the bombs gave proof
broad bombs bright rockets, stars through the perilous
the perilous flight, the dawn’s early light
can you see o’er the rockets and the ramparts we watched
we watched we watched we watched the stars
stripes and stars, rockets and bombs, free and brave
can you see? so proudly we hailed at the dawn
so proudly we hailed at the twilight



I had 13 new voicemails on my phone. I knew it was time for me to check them. Normally the process of “checking voicemails” for me looked a lot like hitting the number 7 over and over again until my phone indicated that I no longer had any new voicemails. Sure, the occasional message from a friend got lost in the mix, but the sweet justice of not hearing to hear a robot lady voice informing me that it’s urgent and important that I contact them for a business matter far outweighed the cons.

This time around though, I couldn’t delete my voicemail. Each time I pressed 7 the message would just start over again and again:

“This is a communication regarding a debt from – This is a communication regarding a debt from – This is a comm – This is a comm,”

I hit the button to end the call but the message just began again:

“This is a communication regarding a debt from ABC Collections. You have been scheduled for a mandatory hearing regarding a flexible repayment plan on Saturday, July 25, 2019 at 1200 hours at the National Trust Tower at 1400 S River Street in Suite 1213. Please be at least 30 minutes early for your hearing and bringing legal proof of income and two forms of identification. Thank you.”

I knew which debt they were referring to, my student loan debt. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to repay it, it was just that I didn’t have any money. Sure, I was riddled with guilt every time I picked up a new vinyl record or treated myself to a nice lunch with a friend, but I couldn’t give up my sanity or my life to repay this absurdly high stack of money I had borrowed. Maybe the hearing would do me well. Give me a chance to plead my case and let them know that I was trying, I really was, I just needed time; maybe a year or two to get my shit together so I could start repaying my debt. They had to understand. I wasn’t the first person to be in this situation and they did mention a flexible repayment plan.


I arrived at the National Trust Tower a half hour early on the 25th. I felt I’d never seen the building before despite the fact that I drove down 14th Street everyday on my way to work. It rose probably 16 stories off the ground and left an ominous shadow over a large portion of the park that it lurked over.

I entered the building where I was checked in by security. I removed my keys my phone and my wallet and watch and put them in a bin to be scanned as I passed through the metal detector. I had my proof of income, my last paycheck from The Burger Shack tucked under my arm. The security guard was dead behind the eyes as her white gloves patted me up and down. It always bugged me how half-assed the pat down is. I’m not requesting a cavity search or anything but a couple love taps didn’t seem very thorough to me.

“Please regather your items. Elevators are straight ahead of you, sir,”

I did as she said and filtered towards the golden elevator doors along with the great masses of other people, sheep being lead to the slaughterhouse. The doors opened and we all gathered in. I pressed twelve on the elevator door before the continuing rush of people on the elevator pushed me quickly towards the back.

The elevator was balls hot. People coughing and clearing their throats dressed in shirt and ties and blouses, some didn’t even bother to dress up. It was no small elevator either. I guess they’d figured with the traffic they’d be experiencing something similar to a freight elevator was the way to go.

The floors ticked by and the elevator got more comfortable, but very slowly. Lots of folks in lanyards with name badges got off on Floor 10, I’d figured it was an administrative floor or something to that effect.

Now it was just me and one woman in the elevator. She gently cried to herself, I couldn’t figure out why and it didn’t seem right for me to ask why. As the elevator pinged for Floor 11 she glanced back at me and quickly exited. Alone in the elevator I could hear the cables pulling me up. I couldn’t help but think of those cables as a knotted rope and the elevator itself my head caught in its fray.

The doors opened as if they were automated gentlemen welcoming me to the last place on Earth I wanted to be at the moment. Ahead of me was a great long hallway with door after door, all closed.

I began walking down the hall searching for my room number. I glanced down at my proof of income where I’d written ‘1213’ as a reminder to myself. The rooms all had placards stating “HEARING ROOM 1201”, “HEARING ROOM 1202,” and so on until there in front of me was ‘HEARING ROOM 1213.”

I dusted myself off, tucked my shirt in and entered into the room.

It was nothing like what I expected. Where I thought I’d find a waiting room or a warm office, similar to a DA’s office, there in front of me was a giant white space, clinical and echoing. There before me was one empty chair and across the room a long table where a board of professional looking people sat and stared at me blankly.

“Please Mr. Carney, have a seat…” said a woman, her voice carrying through the room. She wore a pink business suit and black stilletos. She was incredibly blonde with an incredibly big smile and a flight attendant tone in her voice that echoed through the hollow room. “We appreciate your punctuality,”

I took a seat as their three sets of eyes pierced me, watching me like some foreign zoo animal they didn’t understand. Their desk was clear, except for one stack of papers that the woman in the middle shuffled through. Looking up I noticed a giant two-armed fan circulating on the ceiling, like a great blade that I half expected to descend upon me.

“For the record, you are in fact Mr. James Douglas Carney Jr., correct?”

“Yes, mam,” I said, the cool air pressing down against my face.

“Did you bring your two forms of identification and your proof of employment and income, Mr. Carney?”

“Yes, I did,” I began to stand to bring them to her.

“No, please Mr. Carney, remain seated. Mr. Jetson, please retrieve Mr. Carney’s documents,”

Mr. Jetson was a big fucker. Probably 6’4” 270 pounds. I had this lurking feeling that that was a big factor in his position here with the ABC Collections Agency. I handed him my Driver’s License, my expired student ID and my proof of income from The Burger Shack.
Mr. Jetson presented the documents to the woman who put on her glasses to assess their validity.

“Very good, Mr. Carney. From here, I would like to go through a line of questioning with you, if you don’t mind. If you have any questions or concerns, please save them for the end of the inquisition,”

“Okay,” I said, my voice cracking slightly.

“Mr. Carney, you have been brought here today concerning your remaining debt of twenty-two thousand, eight-hundred and sixty-four dollars accrued during your freshman and sophomore years at Trenton Community College. Following your exit from their education program, you had a six month grace period allotted to you during which time no payment was due, however, after that time you were put on a payment plan of two-hundred and fifty dollars per month, which you failed to acknowledge for a period of 24 months leading up to the present. Is the preceding information correct, Mr. Carney?”

“Yes, it is,”

“Now I see here, Mr. Carney you are employed by The Burger Shack. Is that correct, Mr. Carney?”

“Yes, mam,”

“What is your official title at The Burger Shack, Mr. Carney?”

“I guess I really don’t have one,”

“I’m showing you make eight dollars an hour at The Burger Shack, Mr. Carney?”

“That’s right,” I said, “Just above minimum wage,”

“Mr. Carney, please don’t veer from the questions I’m asking you, okay?”
This woman was scary. I suspected her of being a kind of Stepford Wife. I half expected there to be a wind-up key in her back.

“Now, let’s get back on subject if we could – Mr. Carney, why have you been neglecting to pay your student loan debt to us here at ABC Collections?”

“Well, honestly. I don’t have the money. When I have the choice between eating and paying my student loan, the first one tends to take priority for me,”

“Have you considered getting a second job, Mr. Carney?”

“I have, and I’ve tried, but no one seems to be hiring, and even if they are, they have been unwilling to work around my schedule at The Burger Shack,”

“Mr. Carney, we’re not here to hear your excuses. The bottom line is your generation seems to have a large issue with accountability. When you take out a loan, you are making a promise to return that money, and your complete disinterest in doing so is beyond disturbing to me. How would you feel if I asked you to borrow twenty dollars and I didn’t pay you back?”

“I don’t have twenty dollars to lend you…”

“Mr. Carney, you are missing the point. You need to take ownership of the fact that you dropped out of college and thus, you have put yourself in this scenario. You have to pay us back,”

“What if I can’t? What are you going to do if I can’t? Sue me for the money I don’t have? Throw me in jail and deny me my horrible fucking life flipping burgers at The Burger Shack?”

“Actually, Mr. Carney, we are going to eat you now,”

I must have misheard her.

“You are going to do what?”

“You have defaulted on your student loans, young man. We have no choice but to eat you,”

“To eat me? Is that some sort of legal jargon for something?”

“No, I’m sorry, Mr. Carney. What I mean to say is we are going to tear off your limbs and eat you,”

“What the fuck? You can’t eat me?! That’s not… what the fuck?!”

“Section 14, Clause B of your student loan agreement states ‘In the scenario the aforementioned signee defaults on their student loan, it is left at the discretion of the lender to take whatever action is deemed most reasonable to ensure fairness in the agreed upon transaction, not limited to, or excluding, execution,”

“I’m getting out of here,” I said, rushing for the door, but as I did it padlocked.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Carney, but we can’t allow you to leave. We’re so very hungry, and you owe us a very large sum of money,”

They rose at their table, as I rushed towards it flipping the table over, their papers flying every which way.

“I never agreed to this!” I said, cornering myself as the three of them lurked all the closer to me.

“Yes, you did, Mr. Carney. Fair is fair. Your word is your bond and you have to understand that sometimes human blood is the cost of a good education,”

The big guy held me down as the other two began to rip my clothes off. I squirmed but it was no use. I felt the blonde woman biting into my stomach as the other man penetrated his teeth into my neck. I saw my blood pouring out all over my naked skin. I felt my heart raging. Looking up above me in excruciating pain, blinding pain, I saw the fan blades spinning still, over and over as the searing pain overtook me, and I slipped into unconsciousness.


Heaven is maybe the wrong word for where we go after we die. If Earth is a Beatles CD, Heaven is like a first edition vinyl of the White Album. What I’m trying to say is Heaven is a lot like Earth in its imperfections, but just a little bit better. There’s no anxiety pills here, you wouldn’t need them. There’s no wars, sure there’s fights, but at the end of the night, we leave them behind us. There’s too much to be grateful for to waste your time with hatred or jealousy. It’s like a good camping trip. Good company and good conversation and a few good beers. There’s no palm trees or clear blue water, at least not in my Heaven. That stuff never was the truth to me.

In Heaven, there’s no danger in the United States Postal Service going out of business. The mailman just comes every day, smiling, because he doesn’t have to do his job. He can stop in the middle of his shift and take a nap if he wants. It will get done when it gets done. Why would anyone deliver the mail by choice? Well, because that’s the whole thing here. They have the choice. No one is forcing you to do anything. There’s no salary, there’s no 401k, there’s no credit check. Autonomy is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I meet up with the mailman one day, and he’s smiling, like I knew he would be. He gives me my letters and I look through them. I got a postcard from my grandfather, letting me know he’s gonna spend a couple more weeks in Mexico up here in Heaven. Says he met a nice woman who is teaching him the true way to dance. I got another postcard from my friend Paulie who is inviting me to come up to his lodge in Aspen in Heaven. Says in Aspen in Heaven it’s always fall and it’s always beautiful. Says he’s got an endless fire going and we can sit around it and drink some whiskey.

My final piece of mail for the day is in a white envelope with just my name on it. I open it up in anticipation and I read it to myself:

“This is a communication regarding a debt from ABC Collections. You have been scheduled for a mandatory hearing regarding a flexible repayment plan on Tuesday, July 28, 2019 at 1200 hours at the National Trust Tower at 1400 S River Street in Suite 1213. Please be at least 30 minutes early for your hearing and bringing legal proof of income and two forms of identification. Thank you.”




Artwork by Patrick Beery

Artwork by Patrick Beery

one million murderers crash on the eastern shore of an occupied nation
never forget that handshakes were originally a way of indicating that you were unarmed
i guess that makes our ancestors liars and now we have come so far guns blazing swat teams swatting
riots in the streets of little old ferguson missouri
a black boy is dead and a white man of authority shot him down
we’ve heard this story before
will emmett till ever get some rest?
but we’re far too saturated with top ten
tips for improving your garden and top twenty
celebrities making human mistakes to stop and listen to the six gun
shots to listen to the hum be
neath the radio broadcasts
our heads filled with wifi and blue
tooth and wars on the other side of the world we are too damn frozen
to see that we live in the freezer of a cold war
heads on ice american dreams getting frost bite and still
the television plays on and the men in nice suits sitting behind desks
can talk the talk but without legs they may find it difficult to walk the walk but
still our love is buy one get one free our souls are being sold with free
shipping on the raging amazon and to protect and serve
they were meant to protect and serve but somedays it seems
all they do is threaten and order
and cheerios and campbells soup
skittles and arizona iced tea
hamburgers and hot dogs
right and wrong and right and wrong
and the kangaroos in the courtroom
and the elephants overcrowding the room and
right and wrong and black and
white and 2000 television channels as the news
papers burn on the streets as the true grit
journalists squat on craigslist row
and gonzo is just another muppet
and death before dishonor and
ladies first except
when they have
something to say
and the civil war is a cigarette
that never stopped burning and the two
towers never stopped burning and we’re all
afraid of the flames and the flames
spread like wildfire across
the spine of the rocky
mountains as smoke
billows below in denver
and marriage is being
confused with love
and love is being
confused with happiness
and we are locked up
in this fancy restaurant
with an overdraft fee
and we’re cleaning
someone else’s
dirty dishes
to try and pay
the tab
cleaning dirty
dishes to
try and
pay the tab
we’re cleaning
dirty dishes
just to
try and
pay the





about two months ago
i dreamt that i was eating a chicken sandwich
from burger king
and since that night
i have had increased my intake of chicken
sandwiches from burger king

of course
there’s a burger king
on my way home from work
that glowing siren
singing me to shipwreck
right at the tail end of my
ten hour long work

four days a week
two times a day
i have to drive by that
godless whore of a
burger king
with her majestic
window mural
of a chicken sandwich
shining in the golden light
of halogen heaven

you have to understand
part of me acknowledges that
burger king is a capitalistic
corporate burger-making entity
that rolls obesity down
its assembly lines for insanely
disturbingly low prices
i’ve heard rumors that the
charbroiled taste on their burgers
is less flames dancing on an
all beef patty but more so
a mad scientist emulating the taste
of said smoke
a chemically perfect alternate burger
delivered by a fascist fast food joint
slowly devouring american life
into chunky zombie clones
part of me acknowledges that

but part of me knows that
the chicken sandwich at burger king
is a work of art
worthy of sacrifice to the gods

whoever decided that the masses deserved
to eat their chicken sandwich
on an eight inch long bun
with an insanely correct amount of
deserves the shiniest fucking gold medal
delivered to their door by aphrodite herself

it is glorious

and now it has snuck its way
into my dreams and i can’t stop thinking
about it and it floats above my head
like a mysterious levitating orb
taunting me as i try to lay me down to

but you don’t care
you’ve got your own shit
you don’t understand my pain
you don’t understand what i go through
you’ve got your super important problems
and part of me understands and respects that
but don’t you fucking ever claim to know
the pain that i feel
eternally inside of me

this sandwich
this entity
has entered my life
jumped into my soul and it will not let me be
until it eventually kills me
in bloody ecstatic joy
this ebola which is
the chicken sandwich from burger king
with the god damn sesame seeds and all
it speaks to me when the air is silent
it spoons me to sleep each night
this love will kill me

and i know what you’re thinking
this guy is fucking crazy
and what the hell happened to his poetry
but if you were paying attention now you know
my poetry was stolen from me
by this she-devil that is
the chicken sandwich from burger king



and it pours down my throat
like jesus molasses
pioneers heading west
towards the belly of the beat
east meets west
but i’m slipping

american honey
how do you dance the way you do?
the way you slide down that fireman’s pole
sound the alarm
calling all cars
this country
is a corvette
making the jump to warp speed
where we’re going
we don’t need roads

american honey
stay the night with me
in a jim morrison dream
we can fight the nightmare hangover
in the musky morning

let’s dance to destruction
a line dance
in a three-dimensional world
a house of cards in space
and american honey
your sweat is so sweet
and you are the last girl we will ever
stay the night with
wake your indian ancestors in their graves
with ghosts songs
and the bump of raves

american honey
your curves mimic colfax avenue
san francisco hills
in a red white and blue bikini
that kills

american honey
dollars hanging on you like a christmas tree
white men flock to you like a drug
the hypnotic way you swing your hips
around the washington monument
as lincoln watches
hard as a rock
dance for me
decay dance
rain dance
acid rain
pounds pounds pounds on the grave
of syd barrett
and the dark side of the moon
is our final frontierland
we always want what we can’t have
american honey
you never give me your money
i only give you my funny papers
and you never let me kiss you on the mouth
never let me touch you
when i tell you i love you
you never hear me beneath the sound
of manhattan traffic

american honey
you burn the back of my throat
like cigarettes
like lung cancer
like crosses in the bible belt
setting free a million white ghosts
in their pointed little hats
and glancing down you say
“everything’s bigger in texas”

american honey
sometimes i want you to be a slow dance
in oklahoma
last call dance whiskey in hand
as you whisper in my ear
that you want to make love
but you’re always snorting coca-cola
in your dressing room
under the bright fluorescent lights
of the hollywood sign
you’re always putting makeup
on the four-headed hydra
of south dakota
applying red #40 lipstick

you dance like television commercials
and big blockbuster movies
american honey
you always sneak out in the middle of the night
it’s always hide and seek with you
never spin the bottle
i find you in crack-cocaine alleyways of brooklyn
and tucked in the spaces between the green scrolling
billboards of wall street
but i could never find your soul

buried with hoffa
and the american dream

oh where oh where can she be?
oh my darling
you were lost and gone forever
dreadful sorry

american honey
you tell me you feel like ratso
as alcoholic sweat pours down your face
on a bus to florida
and i tell you everything is gonna be alright
your eyes are doing ringling brothers backflips
and you’re eating yourself alive
like cannibalistic polar bears
your toenails are chipped like the shoulders
of politicians
hidden under shoulder pads
like american sports teams
and i wish i could have seen you dance one more time
but you’re dying on me
your knees shake like east coast earthquakes
that we all feel the tremors of
don’t you go dying on me, american honey
i’m in love with your blue eyes like frank sinatra
and your red hair like lucille ball
your white skin and the way your house always
smells like your grandmother’s cooking

american honey
twenty-one gun salute for you
america’s sweet heart
beating no more
i think about you sometimes
in the white of night
when the clouds creep over the grand canyon
like an american flag over an empty grave

hooker with a heart of gold
frankenstein’s monster with betty davis eyes
and we created you
and all of edison’s electricity
couldn’t bring you back to life
all of carnegie’s steel
and all of ford’s men
and we still
couldn’t put you back together




ginsberg uncle sam

Happy Fourth, Everyone.

I am stuffed to the brim with hamburgers and hotdogs and carne asada tacos and yeah. I’m a big fan of Independence Day. America and I definitely have a love/hate relationship, but honestly, I don’t think I could ask for a better muse. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve probably written a couple dozen poems about America, many of which are featured on this blog:

A BREAKUP LETTER TO AMERICA is the one on the blog that got the most views. Definitely falls more on the end of my struggles with America then any other poem I’ve written on the subject. It’s also the only poem I’ve ever said ‘nigger’ in:

Do you realize, America,
that you called Joe Frazier
a nigger when he wasn’t in the ring
and a God
when he had your flag on his shoulders?

I don’t feel super comfortable using such a hateful word but it was the only way to be honest to the subject matter. I felt it had to be said. This poem is definitely one of my favorites.

BLOOD ON THE AMERICAN HIGHWAY was honestly me just playing around with American iconography. When I threw it out there, I thought it was trash and a year later I read it again and found that I really liked the poem. Plus, it’s just so much fun writing a poem called “Blood on the American Highway.”

A GIRL NAMED AMERICA I’m really not sure where it came from. I think, key word ‘think’, that it kind of came out of seeing the creepy beauty pageants in the movie Little Miss Sunshine and just how very American in a sense it seemed to shove a child on stage and make them perform for a crowd of adoring and viciously aggressive onlookers. The title I think came from A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash. I just love that. A something named something.

AN AMERICAN PORTRAIT came to me after spending some time in Southern California at an old friend’s parent’s house. They had this wonderful house and nice patch of land. The house was blue and they had chickens in the yard. It reminded me of The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams. I also was fairly into Edward Hopper’s art around that time so I was enamored of the idea of trying to paint with words.

MAYBE AMERICA I wrote in a doctor’s office while I waited to see the doctor. Haha. On my way over I really did see the first line in real life:

maybe america is one of those guys on suburban street corners in a lady liberty costume waving a sign about taxes and loans who makes minimum wage and has music in his ears to help pass the time

and it just came from there. Just pondering different scenarios. One of the more fun poems I’ve ever written, just trying to sample the culture, which never fills satisfying, especially in a country as big as ours.

Tonight I stumbled on a great poem on WordPress on the site “Bitchtopia” by a poet named Kiarra. The poem was kind of a continuance of Allen Ginsberg’s poem America. My favorite line from Kiarra’s poem is:

had vodka for dinner that night.
America keeps her vibrator in her backpack for emergencies
in which she will need to resuscitate herself.
America’s favorite book is whatever is the cheapest and
America misses her stop. 

Check out Kiarra’s poem and the rest of Bitchtopia, which seems to be a badass site, HERE.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be posting an old poem of mine, one of my favorite America poems that I’ve written, entitled AMERICAN HONEY. Which was the first poem I ever wrote about America and probably my favorite.

Otherwise, folks. Thanks for just always supporting me. It’s been 3 great years on this blog and a few months ago I thought poetry and I had parted ways, but turns out it’s that emotionally abusive ex-girlfriend I can’t say no to, and I’m that delusion boy romantic who answers when she calls at 2 in the morning.