Archive for the ‘Jerseyana’ Category

Just Talkin’ ’bout Shaft

February 8, 2008

It has been approximately one year that I have returned to writing poetry seriously, and in that time I have achieved…

The following name drops:

Caroline Kennedy, Pat Matheny, Louis Armstrong, Ernest Borgnine, Mark Twain, Garrison Kiellor, Leo Kotke, Danielle Steel, Ray Kurzweil, Victor Frankenstein, Richard Harris, Rich Uncle Pennybags, Parker Bros., Charles Mingus, Cormak McCarthy, Carl Djerassi, Ebenezer Scrooge, Miles Davis, Jacob Marley, George Rouault, Rembrandt, John Coltrane, Ephraim Bueno, Buddha, Rochmaninov, Jesus, Russ Tamblyn, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Rudy Giuliani, Poco, Cheap Trick, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, John Sloan, Sid Viscous, Virgil Thomson, Thomas Wolfe, Brendan Behan, Paradise and Moriarty, Vincent Van Gogh, Tony Soprano, Fluke Girl, Charlie Parker, The Clash, Fernandel, Wilco, Marylyn Monroe, Thomas Aquinas, Sir Isaac Newton, Isaac Hayes, Thomas Hobbes, Albert Einstein, Fritz Haber, Padre Pio, Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde, Chaim Soutine, Max Beckmann, Monty Python, Joe Louis, Lena Horne, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Gauguin, God, Za Zu Zaz, Duke Ellington, Jim Harrison, Joan Didion, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Richard Manuel, MacBeth, Rilke, H. Bosch, Edward Hopper, Alfred Hitchcock, John Pellecchia, Roy Orbison, Winston Churchill, Junior Soprano, Jorma Kaukonen, Federico Fellini, Charles Darwin, Rick Santorum, John Shaft, Mickey Mouse, Krazy Kat, Ignatz, George W. Bush

The following product placements:

Google, Monopoly, Guinness Stout, Newark Star Ledger, New York Times, Financial Times, Rexall Drug Stores, El Quijote Restaurant, Sodini’s Restaurant, Fender Precision Bass, I-Pod, Pfizer, Exxon, Coca-Cola, Chevy Cavalier, Field and Stream, Chock full o’ Nuts, Book of Jubilees, National Public Radio, Playboy Magazine, Polaroid, Pabst, Ford, Eisenhower, Buick, Garden State Parkway

The following spelling errors:

Listen, time is money.

The following classical references:

Echo, Narcissus, Ganymede

Thank you for your continued support,

Your Old Pal.
Cultural Note: Microsoft Word allows the spelling Santorum, but no Fellini.

Stuck Inside of Newark with the Continental Blues Again

April 16, 2007


They overbooked the last overnight jumbo to Frankfurt,
by eight forty-five it was clear I was not gonna fly.
So I got a cab and I sat in it peevish and rancored
as all of my socks and my underwear flew to Mumbai.
Illustration by Didi Menendez

April 8, 2007

He Has Returned

Triduum Times

April 5, 2007


My third grade Jesus business in song and dance.

My Shot at Jesus

March 20, 2007


When Tom Delvecchio demurred—they say
He didn’t want to wear his mother’s gown—
I got my shot at Jesus. We were down
To just a week before the Easter play.

St. Rose of Lima’s pageant was about
As close as you could get to by-the-book.
The script was written by a crew that took
the Bible to my room and knocked it out.

I’d wear a sheet. When Judas kissed my cheek
(Delvecchio objection number two)
I’d be uncomfortable, but I’d get through.
I’d drag the cardboard cross. I wouldn’t speak.

Then Andrea Tartaglia would lift
The face of Christ drawn on a handkerchief.


January 17, 2007


A cold wind ripped the miserable vinyl siding from houses on my block last night as winter, driving a stolen green Taurus with Nevada plates, finally returned to New Jersey.

Yesterday morning smelled like spring. This morning, odorless. It was curtains for faked-out crocuses. The old guy who sits all day on the bench outside the Rainbow Diner could actually be seen through steamy plate glass sitting inside at the counter this morning, drinking coffee and watching Regis Philbin or some such horror. Forgotten pain came hack to my hands. By now they should be crazed with red cracks around white-shingle knuckles. My engine burbled on start-up as if from under some gelatinous goo. It, too, had forgotten about winter. But everything is catching up with itself this morning.

We’ll put paid to the woozy disorientation that last week caused me to mistake a momentary snow flurry on the Parkway for a dirt storm. Had I subconsciously eliminated snow from the set of all possible occurrences? I think so. It came down from a cloud no bigger than my Tercel, moving at about 60 miles an hour directly overhead as I tried to get into the right lane in time for exit 131. The flurry triggered a brief, behind-the-wheel wake-up call, after which I rolled over again in my September-grade jacket.

My daughter couldn’t sleep upstairs last night. She said the slam of vinyl siding against her bedroom window kept her awake. Maureen was on the nightshift again. I ceded the master bedroom to Maggie and slept on the couch.

I arrived at work this morning with my fly up. Couldn’t say that yesterday. Shoes matched–everything. There was that troublesome red light on the telephone, though. Maureen, knocked-out tired, had left a message while I was driving in. She said she arrived home this morning to find Cookie, our hamster, sitting in front of the heating vent in the living room. Did I leave his cage open last night? No, I think. I left it open this morning. Last night was when I forgot to put the clothing in the dryer. It’s all coming back to me now.

Tough Times, Good People.

January 13, 2007

Roger Pitcher at the Broadway Comedy Club, New York City

This guy’s my pal since high school. He isn’t making any of it up.