The Northward View

The painting at the diner shines.
The Northward view of Times Square
seems recent
at first glance.
The glint on the cars,
the sparkling lights,
the Broadway shows,
the bright ads…
it all smacks of the modernist of days

until you look closer
and realize that Cats has closed
and JVC no longer makes tapes.
Mad About You is off the air
and Kodak probably doesn’t sell much film anymore.

Even the cars,
upon closer inspection,
begin to seem somewhat dated,
a bit blockier and more uniform
than you’d expect on the road today.

The painting,
now that you think about it,
is flaking at the edges,
gaining veins in strange locations.
The piece is old
and you
are ancient.
Old enough, at least,
to mistake the history presented before you
as somehow a variation
of current events.

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Fuck You, Arby’s

Fuck you, Arby’s.
I’m trying to get to your cashier,
to get at the meats,
but your fucking store
closed its fucking doors
fifteen minutes before closing time
because unlike the rest of America,
you don’t seem to believe in customer service
or dedication
or money.

I tried to explain to the fuckers
washing the fucking floors
that they owed me the chance
to buy their fucking food
but they were too busy
not doing their fucking jobs
and ignoring me.

Fuck you, Arby’s
and your fucking employees
and your fucking fake-ass meats
that taste nothing like any fucking cow
under the face of the fucking earth.

See you tomorrow.
Fuck it.

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Dreamin’ at the Movies

The dream
the naked dream
at school
where you’re in front of the class
presenting alone
preparing to show all you got
when you realize suddenly
you are literally showing
ALL you got
– that dream
is not just a dream.

It is the universe informing you
warning you
that you are unprepared.
You are unready
for whatever is placed before you.
You are deer-headlight dumb
awaiting an embarrassment
you can only imagine.

The naked dream
is a threat to your security
a prognostication for tomorrow
or later on today,
depending on precisely
when the dream occurred.

You can listen to the dream
and try to increase
the state of preparedness,
but really,
by the time you’re dreaming,
you’re probably too late,
so you might as well sit back,
and watch your life
go down in flames.

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Your brain can’t help but be obsessive.
It’s how you are wired.
To defy that
to strive to change what is indelibly your nature
is to spit in the eye
of God’s intelligent design
(Or Satan’s,
but whatever).

You were meant
to seek patterns
in the days of your meetings.
You were predestined to look for meaning
in her sighs.
You were born
to sabotage the things you most want
because of your requisites,
your neediness,
your rampant desperation.

You are a sad and pathetic man
but it is your birthright.
It was what you were always going to be.
There is nothing to do
but embrace your path
as it is unlikely
any of us
will ever embrace you again.

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My Therapist 5

My therapist does not want to tell me
that he thinks
I am making no sense
even when I ask him directly.

“Am I making sense?” I ask,
over and again,
striving to convince him
to be honest with me
for at least one fucking second.
He does not respond.

“Is there a stutter?” I wonder,
as I cajole,
begging in repetition,
for the good doctor
to express his opinion
in a clear and concrete way
I can understand.
I try again.
“Can you repeat back to me
just what it is
I am getting at?”

He takes a breath
looks me in the eye
and states
“As I was saying…”
But I won’t have it.

“I don’t think
you were answering my question before.
Would you like to try
to tell me
What I mean?”

He doesn’t like to be interrupted
but he is patient
and remains calm
and then tries a different tack.
“If you just keep taking your -”

“Is it possible
you weren’t paying attention?”
I suggest.
“I’m just asking you,
as well as I am currently able,
if you understand what I’m saying
and whether you agree or not.”

“The important thing,”
he replies,
“Is what you think about it.”

“No,” I disagree.
“At this moment
it is vitally important
for me to figure out
if I am speaking gibberish
or if you disagree
and don’t want to tell me
or if you think
that what I said
was so idiotic
that it doesn’t warrant even being responded to.

“Right now
the utmost importance goes to
whether we are communicating,
you and I,
and what that communication is worth.”

He sighs
sits upright and says,
“I did not understand what you said.
It did not make sense
and you would not let me politely decline to respond.
Are you satisfied
with the results of this conversation?”

I stand
wild-eyed, triumphant.
“I win!” I shout
and then return to earth.

I don’t remember
the rest of the session.

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Ninety Nine Times

I’m returning the library book
the one I got to impress you
about the gays in the Germany.
You know the one.
I never got to read the whole thing,
but I’ve kept it
to the limit.
It can’t be renewed anymore:
ninety nine times seems to be the max.

It’s not like there’s a chance
I could impress you anyhow
at this point.
It’s obvious by now:
you’re not that easy

and I couldn’t get into it,
that book you loved so.
It was beyond me
what you saw in those stories
so today
I have to go out
in the rain
to take back this text
that did me no good
in getting your attention
or anything else.

I’ll miss the space
it took up on my table
and recognize its absence
by the dust outline left behind.

if I talk to the librarian
about the book
I’ll be able to convince her
to let it stay with me
for just a little bit longer.

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Generation Prior

Somehow, all at once,
I forgot how to tie my tie.
I don’t wear them at work
and no one was there
in the car to help me.
I looked up
into the mirror
struggling to recall
this obvious function.

I had learned too long ago
at the hands of my father
who stood behind me
before a full length mirror,
me his mannequin dummy,
he practicing on my nervous form,
figuring out the intuitive nature
of what he’d no doubt learned
from his father
a generation prior.

When he’d understood what to do,
he tied and retied
that social noose around my neck,
explaining the process
until I began my own attempts
and finally discovered
the wonders of this manly skill.

But as I said
that history reached too far back
and I had
along the way
lost the ability.
I left the car
and looked at my grown reflection
in the window reflection,
trying again
to no avail.

Without my father
to show me the way
where would I be?
How would I recover the talent
to tie my tie?

It was not my father’s voice
that whispered in the wind
saying "Google"
nor was it my grandfather
that pointed out the YouTube tutorial
but somehow
I was guided
to the knowledge
that got me dressed and ready
to enter that funeral home,
all knotted up
and ready to go.

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I am broken.
I am beaten.
I am imbecilic
and embarrassed
and embalmed
in that I am petrified
by all that has occurred
and all what might.

I was abused
and burnt
and buttressed by bottom-feeder logic
but now I have
come out the other side,
I hope.

I am hurting still
continuing through some emotional hell
but some day, hope shall come
from some heaven-sent source
and then
or sometime soon after
I shall be healed.

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What Comfort

I’m told you’re suffering
that you’re doing rather poorly
that these are not easy days for you.
I feel for you
and wish I could be there
to help you through these trying times
but it’s quite clear
that one of the reasons
you are so alone now
is that you actively drove people away.

I would be with you
offering what comfort
you could accept
if you’d let me.

Please let me know
if you are ready to accept anything
I have to deliver.

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Let me simplify the issue:
if you suspect I’m writing
about you, I am.
If you think that this is a snide reference
that might allude to you
then bingo!
You got it.

It ain’t brain surgeoning;
if you have any reason
to believe you were in the sights
of my snipe,
then accept the constructive critique
for what it is
and work with all your limited abilities
to rectify the situation.

If there’s the slightest possibility
you have given rise to my ire,
consider that fact
the opportunity for you
to change.

You can become better
than you were
before you offended me.
It’s time
for you to seek substantial revisal
and get off my shit list.

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