411’s a Joke

Four one one’s a joke in my town.

It offer’s me no ways to run around.
Teaches me not to swim, fly, or race on ground.

If it’s good, I’ll be tied, and bound.

Four one one is a miserable mess.
There’s better ways to get info. Confess
that you search elsewhere to find an address
or the locale of the latest protest.

If you wanted to find information,
would you call up your local four one one?
Hell no! Nor would anyone
since it’s a grandma-fammin’ joke, there, son!

I’ll never use that telephony service!
If I ever felt the need: Lord preserve us!
I’d be in desperate straits, so be nervous
about the fate of what we learned and the disservice

since I’m suggesting that what you’ll hear is useless
because the operators they have are toothless.
And if you think that my critique right here is ruthless
then you have never heard their answers – such a nuisance.

I’ll repeat: Four one one is a joke, y’all.
You will never be wiser after a call.
Want information? You’re heading for a fall, y’all.
You might as well throw you phone against a wall.

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Personal Statement

An attempt at an answer to “Please use no more than 150 words to explain what makes you special” in a job application.” I showed it to my mother. She didn’t get it.

For the last twelve weeks, off of Bruckner Boulevard, I’ve been taking this course, which, while ridiculously hard, has been making me feel somehow self-improved. It is in this very spirit in which I’ve been found moved to be inspired to apply to enter this position (to express appreciation).

Now I offer exposition of ability in which I might perhaps be found unique – a task that seems daunting. With millions, so to speak, out there hoping to be hired, what could make one stand apart? Should I describe performances in which I bear my heart, or outline presentations led on a weekly basis? I host an open mic in the East Village: an oasis for the people who have joined in the community. My role as the MC is a pleasure and a duty. Perhaps, then, successfully I’ve detailed in time a sense of my identity over course of rhyme.

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Admissions Payment

Being common concerns me.
It’s not what I prefer
and if the other option
is to be thought a cur
I think that is my preference.

At least I’d be unique.
So if there’s something bad to say,
perhaps I’ll choose to speak
that selected phrase
and bear resulting shame.

Sometimes that is the only way
to ever win the game
of notoriety
or celebrity
or animosity
or the ridiculosity of seeking to be recognized
by shape or face or name.

If I must be hated?
At least then I’d be rated.
It’s the fated price
I’ll pay for fame.

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Waiting for the Bus to Leave

We watch white rabbits race randomly by
across from the benches that we occupy.
We sullenly sit at this post-midnight hour,
neither admitting the bewitching power
of silently spying the creatures at play
while we’re whiling our time ’til we finally say
the few words we have left to speak between us
when I say goodbye and she gets on that damned bus.

We’re waiting for the bus to leave.
After that we can begin to grieve
or secretly admit we’re relieved
how we’ve been separated through fate’s sieve.

The night is old; we feel older still
and yet now we know there is time left to kill
as the evening wears on and we finally let lie
all the tension between us that has yet to die.
We had tried for so long to maintain all the love
that we had for the other but I’m now not sure of
just what we were fighting for all of those weeks
since we’re now at the Finish with no words to speaks

and we’re waiting for the bus to leave.
You’ll be rolling away. I will be relieved.
We can both separately act like the bereaved
and we were victims, complaining to any who would believe.

Any minute now, the bus will finally board.
You’ll be gone. We’ll be done. I’ll have cut the cord.
We’ll be free of each other; our lives can restart.
I’ll take up a hobby. You can start selling art
or whatever it is that you wanted to do.
I won’t know; I won’t hear from you
unless – after this – we again choose to talk,
but that is an option at which I will balk.

We’re waiting for the bus to leave.
We may look back on now as happier that we can conceive.
Some time’s you cannot judge destiny’s weave.
Maybe you and I will know more, after you leave.

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Off-Topic

You may not know me, but I’m a pleasant sort;
the very merry fella who would never abort
a conversation in relation to an aggressive tone
but there’s a subject or two that might be best to leave alone.
Stuff in the bedroom? I’ll discuss anyplace.
Politics’s a whirlwind I can rap about for days.
Religion is a topic I have often discussed
but if there’s a single thing that makes me recoil in disgust:

Poetry is the thing I hate.
It’s almost always less than eighth rate.
I don’t read it – except on a date
And usually then it’s mine.
I know no poets that are any good.
Their rhymes are trying and oft misunderstood.
Their latest books, the greatest waste of wood.
Were they all gone? I’d be fine…

Don’t get me wrong; I like lyrics a lot
and satire is great with a sporadic bon mot.
I’ll go to theater every day of the week
but poetry is something that is simply unspeak-
ably bad in my experience. It never gets me off.
One time at a reading, the best part was a cough
that the reader presented in the middle of a peace.
it stopped her reading for a minute – I can say that, at least.

Poetry is a thing I detest.
If a just god ever listened and respected my behest,
she would be paying attention: take a look at me now!
Just point in this direction and with an explosive POW
destroy all poets in a ninety mile wide
radius – or diameter – (I failed math, though I tried).
And with that little item taking care of what is wrong
I think you’d find how more able I’d be to get along.

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El

In Memphis, a ghost in a Nudie suit floats
looking for boats in to sow some wild oats.
This mutton-chopped specter looms over this land
looking over a landscape he can’t understand.
This brother of Jesse studies the city
a shroud without mercy; no humor. Unwitty.
The man has no plan; he haunts his old haunts
a shadow just shadowing; painfully gaunt.

Take a bow, Elvis. Your legend looms larger than when you were near.
Take a flight, Elvis. You’ve been dead even longer than you lived here.
Put your collar down, Elvis. You started off strong; you ended up weird.
Get outta town, Elvis. Graceland’s doing fine from receipts you’ve cashiered.

The ghost studies songs, there’s little of him.
The rhythms he’d made are surprisingly slim.
What he hears, he can’t stand. He’s so out of touch
except the oldies’ stations; with a “Thankyouverymuch”
he speeds ghosty quick to the parts of the world
where his sound is respected, and whispy, he twirls.
He flits and he flees in the air everywhere, happily Elvis flies.
And he cries “I’m in my blue heaven!” And then he promptly dies
(again. Or discorporates. Or, or something).

Take a bow, Elvis. Your life was cool, your death overlong.
Get outta here, Elvis. Your haunting shoulda been like the length of a song.
Leave the building Elvis. Take the hint, like back in ’56.
Put your collar down, Elvis. You’ve been dead a long time, so go hit the bricks.

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Forgiven

Lad, don’t be sad. It’s not bad. You’ll survive
from this day to the next there’s a chance you could thrive.
In this world, you can change from your worst to the best.
You’ll burst from your egg and its once safety nest.

It’s a long road you’ve been riding on
with the shame and guilt it’s built upon
and you think that all hope’s dead and gone
but you’re wrong.

You will be forgiven for whatever it is you do.
You will be forgiven for whichever crimes you choose.
You will be forgiven by a God that forever loves you.
You will be forgiven… except for what you did to those kids.

There is worse to have happened on this planet of tears
in these lands there is hurt that would bring on such tears
you have sinned, surely so, but redemption is yours
with simple prayer – and the penance – of course.

A new man you can surely become.
Transformation’s yours, once you succumb
to a greater power than you’ve ever had
though what you did? That was bad….

You will be forgiven however bad it was.
You will be forgiven and heaven is welcoming, plus
you will be forgiven ‘cuz God’s a forgiving cuss.
You will be forgiven… except – except – except – except –

except the children said no and they begged you to stop
and there was that time when Miss O’Malley called a cop
but somehow you convinced them to let the whole thing drop.
How did you do that?

How can you be forgiven for the awful things you’ve done?
If some celestial one dances with stars and sun
she would set you as prey. You’d always have to run
and you would never ever find yourself… forgiven.

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Hittin’ Sixty

There’s a path that you’ve been traveling, and it feels so very long;
like the starting verse of maybe eighteen hundred country songs.
You’ve been traveling for forever, and you think you’re getting there
but it’s been so long since seeing signs that told you that somewhere
was a site you’d be arriving at to do you any good
and you can’t remember when you last were in a neighborhood
where you thought that you might stop, find a place to call your own.
and now you’re hitting sixty… in a thirty five and under limit zone.

You feel that you are speeding; and you’re nowhere near your prime.
That when they hear you, they know you’ve not yet begun to rhyme,
that your past is but an afterthought, your future blinding bright,
that the sunglasses you wear are simply there to stop the light
and not to block the glare for your weakened cornea
which need such great protection from those visions from the sun.
So you drive alone in whispers, claiming that you are still spry,
and you’re hitting sixty… while everybody else is passing by.

Well, you’re hitting sixty, on a road with fallen trees
in pitch-black moonless night with no U-turn that you can see.
The mist is high, your lights are broke, and your brakes feel pad-free…
and… you are hitting sixty.

You know your car can’t last eternally. The gas will fail
and soon after you’ll just stumble down the stones – you and your pail.
Or your license will be taken and you’ll have to hitch a ride
or take a bus or hail a cab or somehow else just die inside.
Like some cook once might’ve told you, a change was gonna come,
but you assumed that change was not for you – just everyone.
You act like you’re still flying high, you’d never go to ground
but you’re hitting sixty… and everyone can see you’re slowing down.

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Cauldron

I will not hate you forever.
In fact
as lines blur between extremes
I may love you again
quite soon
so I would like to put a pin
in our future
while I simmer and seethe.

A placeholder is necessary
so that we don’t lose
all the momentum we have built
after all this time.
We cannot destroy everything from before
just because of this minor
all-encompassing rage.
It’ll pass, I’m sure.
Maybe it’ll pass.
Probably.
Possibly.

Let’s give it a week.

I need some time
with my smoldering remains of a soul
to entertain thoughts of the future
and figure out how to continue.
Just a placeholder
until next week
when we can see
if peace can reign
or how to pick up
the rain of pieces
of the wreckage of our lives.

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I’ve Changed

When we’re tangling together, I could talk all night
but dear, it’s too clear, we chat less than fight.
We agree, on occasion. Surely, we can
– but I think that the problem is that rather than
the mild-mannered fellow that before you you see,
you know nothing of my storied history
and the man that I was and the people I have been
when I was much younger and crueler, and sinned.

Because you don’t know who I was
you will never comprehend the kind of things I had to do.
Because you don’t know who I was
you see my current acts all you can do is simply misconstrue.
Because you don’t know who I was
all you hear is the buzz of the rumors of here and the now.
How I see you’re non-plussed. Because you don’t know who I was.

That guy in the past was a blast, I insist.
His charms were disarming; quite hard to resist.
He could stay up real late and relate with all sorts.
He’d consort, I’d report, with assorted escorts.
A bastard to many, a charmer to some;
a wandering soul who’d go soon as he’d come.
‘Fore now, you’d not met this unrepentant shit,
but he’d always been me, I’m proud to admit.

Because if you had known me then,
I don’t think that you’d recognize the man I have become.
Because if you had seen me back then
you would look at the me in the present as kind of a bum
and if you had known me back then
with all the vigor and power and energy youth could allow
you’d be humbled and cowed, and quite proud, had you known me back then.

The lesson, perhaps is that multitudes, I
have contained and retain and continue to fly
in consistency’s face and transform every now
and again into somebody else and then how
you may judge me by one standard all the time is
disappointing, resulting in arguments bus-
ily fought between us which is how this whole piece
had begun so I guess it may be how it’s ceased.

But you weren’t there when I was
the dastardly rat-bastard with that damned rat-bastard past
Because you weren’t there when I was
prepared to use any means necessary to finish the task.
Because you weren’t there when I was
a monster with attitude, and gratitude he was so endowed.
You didn’t know I’d been the cat’s meow; you didn’t know who I was…

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