Two Poems from Last Year

Here are two poems. One is a poem about disliking poetry. I think every poet must write those poems, sooner or later. It’s true on the odd days of the week I guess. And on the first day of a month. And when the joints of my body ache. Or when some stupidity plays out in front of me on the subway. And when it’s not true, I don’t spend my time talking about it.

Dodge-ball in Breakwater Review

This other poem is about trains and poetry and a junkyard.

Endings in Atticus Review






Another Quickly Jotted Coffee Shop Poem- Lark on Church Ave

9:12 am, 11-3 at Lark, Church Avenue

The time was 9:11
but I wouldn’t type that
(still) so the lyrical
universe lurched
forward a minute.
No one knows
anything unless
we tell on ourselves.
There were only a few
bagels in the basket.
From yesterday.
I ordered the cinnamon
raisin with butter.
The bagel for people
who don’t know better.
What if nothing ever
happens to me again?
In the extra room,
there’s a toddler music
thing happening,
tambourines and drums
and chanting. A riot
(You are My Sunshine My Only)
of happiness and a room full
of gleeful emperors.

Some Quickly Jotted Poems at a Few Brooklyn Coffee Shops

I’m only accepting anti-laurels now. Hardly.


Parade Coffee on Caton Ave, 9-30-17


A poet                  saying goodbye            to poetry
has to write           a poem                    and then there’s
the paperwork           Tomorrow                  thirty years
from now                when I’m gulping          the air
and the names           the simple things         floating around me
it won’t be            the neglect               reserved
for genius              My poems                  will be the chore
of the super            Parsed                    by the furnace
turned smoke           Is it defiance            To keep on
making them             say No                   Do I fail
because I want          to succeed                I should write
the smallest           Poem I can                Something
too small               to say No to              and revise it
with sharp              knife                     the oblivion
a shiny flake           of your lava              I’ve kept
all these years        a souvenir                in my sock drawer
spat up                 by the fire goddess       from Earth’s seam
syllable edge           shaved by half            and folded in two

submitted in triplicate

stamped Approved with the waxen seal of the Drunk Ambassador of Poetry

-they played the song from Portlandia.



Uptown Coffee, Seventh Ave, 10-12-17


Sweating in fancy clothes
from walking my kid to school
the hot coffee isn’t helping.
Tempted to pat myself dry
with the napkins. Don’t
look I’m repulsive and have
been for at least a decade.
It doesn’t matter. I’m
the only one that has to
endure this body. It looms
over no one. Nobody
has to pretend anything
to keep my feelings from
being hurt. Except for
myself in the mirror
when I shave. Squinting.
Maybe it was better at
the old place where there
wasn’t an outlet and
I felt my face until it
was smooth.



Steeplechase, Fort Hamilton Parkway 10-15


This is the closest
one and I’d write
here more often
but there are small
wooden signs
forbidding laptops
on all the best
tables. The other
notable feature
is that napkins
are distributed
from a roll and
cut to the exact
size you need.
I got a pecan
sticky bun and
had to go back
three times.
I started going
to coffee shops
in college.
Back then, I loved
the shop more than
the brew.
The attraction
was wasting time
with a book
in a place where
my friends might
by chance distract
me from myself.
I thought myself
a writer then
but all I did
was read.
Now I need
the coffee as much
as the shop.

– they played The Old Crow Medicine Show


Return to Uptown Coffee, 10-27


The chorus of the song
is Guilty as Charged.
Music like a dangly
ear ring, heavy
and shining.
I don’t hear enough
to know what she did.
Claimed love, squandered
love, rebuked love.
It’s just an edgy pop
song. No real cowardice
revealed. Nothing
unsettling, just that
the night is long
and everyone surrenders.

One coffee shop, one bug, and one imaginary kingdom poem

You can peel back the surface of most of my poems and find me sitting at a coffee shop. In the poems, it’s a tiny version of me at a tiny coffee shop with crumb size pastries and a thimble full of coffee. A few of the poems have tiny bars behind them with incredibly small machines that pour draft beer.

Here are links to some new poems at Palaver and Juxtaprose Magazine:




New Poem in Rust + Moth

This poem started when I had a discussion with a friend about poet crushes. He said he had one for a while on Deborah Warren. If you don’t know her work, it’s great. She writes formal poems that don’t strain to fulfill their forms. I really enjoyed her book, Zero Meridian. That discussion made me realize that I had a poet crush on Elizabeth Bishop. The crush has now gone on for decades. I took the address from a book of Bishop letters that I was reading. The contemporary poet that I saw by accident at a friend’s reading shall remain nameless. The more that I have read of her, the more I feel guilty about a few of the lines.

45 King Street

2 New Poems at The Manhattanville Review

I had this thought that I shouldn’t just post the link, that somehow that isn’t enough for a blog post. On the last blog post about a publicaton, I talked too much about how I wrote the poems. I preened a bit. Poets are the worst. The Byronic guy with flowing sleeves and a dashing way with anything that touches his hands (foils, women, forks, corkscrews, wooden tennis racquets) doesn’t exist in this body. The Byronic ego is there though. If I am at a dinner party and someone says that they are a poet, I run. If you are at a dinner party with me and I mention that I’m a poet, don’t run. I’m really a deep and fascinating guy as evidenced by the poems at the link below.


More Primm Poems

Most days nothing much happens as a poet. You go to work and you desperately try to stay awake in conference rooms as HR departments describe the exciting new shrinking benefits and you thank people for emails where they apologize for answering an email a week late with the note that they have sent it on to someone else who might know something about the topic. You eat hotdogs and then the news tells you that those hotdogs are going to kill you faster than you thought they would. You look out the windows and think, man, I should really be writing. But a boat crosses your window-size cut out of the Hudson River and the thought changes to why bother and maybe you muse about how if someone asked you to define poetry, you would have a confident sentence before it petered out into a kind of glum shrug.

But not yesterday.

Yesterday I got my contributor copies for Jelly Bucket 6. A deliciously large journal with a great illustration of a bird on the cover and an eight page color insert.  Paging through it, I especially liked the short story by Lucian Childs titled, Letters from His Wife Regarding the Progress of Her Enlightenment.  Oh, and I’ve got a poem in there, too. Did I mention that? The poem is about a woman I saw dancing in Ruby’s Olde Tyme Bar and Grill on the boardwalk at Coney Island after the Mermaid Day Parade, maybe fifteen years ago. . Here’s a link to the Jelly Bucket website with information on where you can purchase a copy.


Also, yesterday, the new issue of the After Happy Hour Review went live. I have two poems in this web journal.

Epistle 1: I decided to write letters to people in my past as poems that I would never send them or tell them about. I had high hopes of writing quite a few these. I wrote two. In poem hunting, if an idea or a way of thinking yields two poems, that’s pretty darn good.

Pastry Tong: This poem was conceived when I was under the temporary sway of a book by Ponge. A friend I don’t talk to anymore recommended him to me. This reminds me that I should write that friend a poem letter and not send it to him.

Here’s the wikipedia on Ponge, so you know everything, too:


He wrote poems about objects and he tried very hard to make the poems only about the objects. This is a doomed kind of writing, a bit of cooked science poetry. The personal, the universal, can’t be kept out.  The first drafts just stuck to describing the pastry tongs and the back story of the speaker and the girl in the coffee house was just the faintest of shadows. A hint. Then at some point I just put a full on love poem on top of this abstract discussion of Pastry Tongs. I put it on like one puts  a coat of paint over another older coat of paint. The speaker isn’t me, except for the attitude and the fact that I spend a lot of early mornings in coffee shops.  The girl is equally as unreal. That’s why the poem works. The pastry tongs are real though. Here’s a link to the journal: