Tag: Alcohol

My Baby Takes The Morning Train, When Uber Pool Is Too Expensive (aka I’d Quit Tomorrow If Sheena Asked Me To Stay)

It was early morning, around six thirty AM I think. That un-Godly hour when men in construction work boots march soul-less towards the MTA, and a handful of office workers with long commutes start their day before the sun will. When transit is slow and sluggish, quiet besides the scuffle of winter coats and urban foliage stirring awake. Early birds and no worms.

I slouched off of the 39 Bus hungover as the moon on the horizon, dragging my feet towards Nine To Five with my body in tow. Hungry, because I’d ate too late last night. Angry at another schedule I couldn’t skip, because rent’s a bitch and cheesesteaks don’t grow on trees. Calling out was out of the question, and I didn’t have any sick days left anyway. Between the bus fares, nephews, and bottles of rum lining my recycling bin, I needed the money. But not desperately. Enough to get me out of bed when I’d rather be somewhere else.

Not a unique feeling, I noticed, as I watched a couple stop on the corner. He was about my height, not much more handsome with a handful of grays around his cobble-colored hair. She was all legs, nick-knacks dangling from her wrists, ears, neck, jacket, boots, lips; everywhere. Hands just barely held, calm and comfortable as they lazily rushed towards their obligations as the rest of us. They hit the corner and slowed, spoke some four to five words or syllables I tried my hardest to listen in on (all I could make out was ‘Don’t—this weekend—‘) and kissed each other on the cheek goodbye.

She clicked on toward the subway, he stood and stared at her go for a while. I stood there watching while he was wrestling with something. An idea maybe, words or feelings he should have shown or let shed. Or maybe he was throwing in the towel on the rat race, would have rather run down the block and take her by the hand back down where they came from. Board up the windows and lock the door at home, let the rent and bills pile up, spend all day listening to quiet comfort of her soft breathing on his chest, and the nick-knacks dangling off the dressers and coffee tables.

Then a car honked, he looked at his cell, and marched towards the 9 bus to work instead. He needed the money too, I guess, or couldn’t manage to break the habit. I looked at the 9 bus, marched towards the liquor store I knew would be open in an hour, and called The Boss on my cell.

Because I couldn’t either.

The Ildiot (aka Homer’s Beer Run)

Heaven is hell-bent,
misshapen sanctuary of senile.
Men make sinners out of love,
sibyls from devils and saints out of
air. The clever pray for deliverance
in a cup, Gods nectar and wheat’s bounty;
bitter-sweet ambrosia by the barrel;
His holy bottled excellence.
A nightly Immortality.

Our hero marches, his voyage soft
to the song of chirping sirens.

Dear deacon of the deli, bringer of
my bread and sacrilege. Clandestine
clerk who offers passage to His hazy
river Styx, in brown paper bags and
long side glances that confess
disbelief a 2AM pilgrimage can wait
for the sacrament of home. Two coins
short and Charon grims, no ferry waits
for those when his toll has gone unpaid.

Our hero cautions his voice to balm,
cold and hooded ears who would deny them.

Forgive me Ahmed, for I am dimmed.
Sweet Gods of Hell and mercy,
grant me light and credit
that I may learn peace and pass
this dark and grim abyss,
to far and pleasant lands
where one dreams and is awake.

Our hero fallen, his journey lost
to the oarmen’s long and awful silence.

His cleric nods, Go-Then, take it, bid farewell,
but Heaven has no room for cleverness.
This world is a loan to be repaid,
and I will you see you once again
with a stone at your back
and Hell at your heels.

Our hero sombers on, his voyage back home safe,
with bags of ambrosia, pockets full of coins,

and the hidden smile
of Sisyphus son.

Items In The Rearview May Appear Larger Than They Really Are (and who says they aren’t even bigger?)

Not much to show for the boys who grew up the way I did. Juveniles only in it for the thrills, no arrest record, money piles or illegitimate children this side east of the Hudson. All we’ve got to show for broken windows and slammed doors are vague drug-laced memories and Instagram photos. (Profile private, because we did it for us, not the for the likes.)

Ivan’s doing pretty alright last I checked. Moved in with a thick thighed prize this past Spring.  I could tell he was in love because the club pics started coming in less and less, replaced with vacation snaps with Lo-Fi filters and her big hair on that thin body waving like the palm trees behind them.  I like to see my people doing well, even if it isn’t with me.  The last time I tried to get Ive on a plane he called out broke, then bought the Pathfinder he’s been shining on ever since. Caught an attitude when me and the boys mentioned all the Island-Girls he missed. Said a bunch of guys going overseas is some…well, let’s just say he didn’t agree.

I think it takes a woman to make a man do all the things he’s afraid to. Peer pressure has never put someone they don’t want to be. We’re cowards, really. Crowded around a blunt, six pack, video game or sports bullshit. Children wrestling in verbal warfare with manhood and ourselves. Too silly to be serious. It takes a woman to make a man do things he isn’t prepared to. Crimes of passion are just another way of saying Her-Sex-Was-Good-Enough-To-Make-Him-Do-That.

Joe’s struggling with a baby and a mortgage, same man that swore any girl trying to tie him down better have some strong ass rope. I like his son, David, for weird reasons. Nothing special about the little herb, but he’s the first born of our generation. When I see him chasing fireworks I wonder if he’ll chase lows the way we did. Monkey room looming with too much hookah in our system. Fistfights and Miller Lights coursing through our blood. Dangerous as bulls, hungry, like wolves. Amsterdam avenue thugging, but not really. The college boys were afraid of us being the darkest thing besides the sofas or bouncers. We just needed somewhere to wander until the night or some girls bed could cool our blood.

Not much to show for the boys who grew up the way I did. Just pockets full of memories and the good kind of regret.


I Told A Witch Doctor I Was In Love With You. And Then The Witch Doctor, He Told Me What To Do, He Said {get over it}

Tonight I’ve got an appetite for applying love songs to someone it doesn’t belong.

I’m only Marlboro Red-ing when I’m heavy into missing you at 2 in the morning. People are disposable, and I overlook them like songs I used to love and skip without a thought when they come up on a playlist.Contingent on the inevitable, when I can tell something is close to its ending I can’t help looking elsewhere. Skimming to the back page of a boring book, always opening another beer before I’ve even finished the last one. It isn’t wasteful, but a muscle memory that makes me tentative of what’s ahead. Admitting an early defeat and preparing for the next one. Head full of grays and a heart full of yesterday. The feelings that live inside me are cannibals, constantly feeding off of one another.

Trying to decipher them is an exercise in futility, like second marriages, or microwaving French fries. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

But I go through the motions. Hop on a midnight train to South Houston on nothing but a buzz and Metrocard. On a road to nowhere and baby I’m in a rush, to Coralines, to the bar you kind of liked and where I wander into when the mood of you strikes and hits too hard to stay home. Sometimes I haunt where we had a life like a specter, and the way I see it, you can take your goddamn love, but I’m keeping the memories (and the dog.)

I need someone to blame it on anyway.

I love this place now, Coralines, even if the music is shit and the drinks are watered down. The walls are crumbling and the floor is always dingy, but I love this place, because it’s where I loved you, once. I love this place and all the personal secrets it holds. The stool you slipped and fell off of when we first met, the ash trays graffitied in ashes and name-tags we swore we would add our names to but never did. The corner table where we held each other as if it were the only thing keeping us from falling into the crowd or sky. Where we fell so deep into each other. Each half emptied beer can and wilted counter flower is a display case in my own personal museum of one of the happiest moments in my life.

And don’t get me wrong: this is not some all or nothing confession/attempt to win you back. There is no recovering from where we’ve been, no going back since what we’ve done to each other. But I like having somewhere so loud with joy, somewhere I can come to forget the now and slip into yesterday without needing the bottle. You always said I drank too much, not to forget, but to remember.

I can have this and not want to have you back, can’t I?

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous – Brenda (aka Soliloquy of Substance Abuse)

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they react to tragedy. Whenever the bus is running late, or I lose my favorite lighter, or even when my uncle died, my immediate reaction is always just to laugh. There’s no use crying over spilled emotions, and I can never see the point in moping. There’s a strength in finding your own weakness, in owning it to the point the misery of the world turns to this awful joke. My manic borders on hysteria, because sadness is unsure of itself and fumbling. But madness, madness knows its own shape.

And laughs.

Last year I was enamored with an enthusiast just as abhorous as I was. Met her one seedy morning when I was wandering Jerome, high off fumes and fast tracking towards a hangover. It’s funny how books and songs make meeting people seem so legendary. That there’s this instinct or impulse so powerful that neither of them could deny. Chemistry or fuck if I know at first sight. But with Brenda it was different.

I was sitting on the building stool because my feet were killing me. I left my apartment for…something, I forget. More drinks, maybe, but definitely not coffee and a donut. Then I liked the way a street looked, how the moonlight kind of shimmered in the grey tarp of the sidewalk, and the road curved so naturally I wished it was still snowing so I could slide down. Next thing I knew the sun was out and I had only a vague idea of where I was.

I’m so easily sidetracked like that. All it takes is a warm feeling and I end up chasing the vague, a stray dog that catches up to the car but doesn’t know what to do with it.

So I was sitting on the stool when she came outside and lit a cigarette. I asked her for a light, and then…that’s it. We just started talking. Like it was something we’d always done. Not about the weather, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something just as unremarkable. I only remember mentioning how much it sucks to be a smoker in the winter, and that she looked simultaneously beautiful and like she just washed up from the river with the way her hair looked. A wet, tangled mess, the word Juicy printed on her pants in bold white letters, and wearing sandals with socks on. Which, even in the winter season, I think are reasonable grounds for public stoning.

A first impression full of instant red flags – and yet, for whatever reason, we got along enough to want breakfast and share some tenderness with each other.

She had eggs with a side of soup, which to this day I still find baffling.

“Now it’s like ramen,” she said. “Dominican style.”

“We have a word for that in my language.” I said.

“What’s that?”


I asked for a beer with my egg brulee and she couldn’t stop laughing. Said she never met somebody that was so bourgeois and trashy at the same time. The curly headed kid with tired eyes and a fuck-it face didn’t mind when I snuck two coronas to our table, courtesy of the deli next door. He only asked we take them with us before we left, and even recommended some delicate drug spots to Brenda where the service is superb.

It was the start of an awful entree our respective annihilations and self-detriments. She took me back to her apartment so she could shower, and I spent the better part of an hour nosily numbing across all the pictures on her dresser, because the rest of the space was absolutely bare. No welcome mat, no mirror, no posters on the wall and one single brown leather loveseat that made the room feel larger than it should be.

When i asked about the pictures, she said they were friends. All of them, each with an elaborate backstory. There was Karen that was pregnant and made her the curtains draped across the window. Theo was a real lazy prick, but when it came down to it, he was the only one who came when…mumbles, something about “That asshole.”

She should have emerged from the shower like a Goddess, steam succulent behind her, but all I saw was a girl in a towel over-excited about the marijuana we were on the way to buy.

One Uber cab and draft beer later, we went to the address, halfway between St. Nicholas and Wadsworth. Six flights upstairs where one floor was full of empty, and the next red cups decked along the window sill, and third where even stranger still, a couple swayed by the doorway to an empty house. I saw them, so together in ther alone, a goodbye or hello that felt so unbelievably important. Her back to us and his huddled in her neck, to the point I made sense of “the beast with two backs.” No words, sighs, or moans. Only a unity, some creature impossible to tear from itself. Avoiding eye contact and the obvious we walked past with heads down, never said a word after, as if we hadn’t witnessed something beautiful.

She smoked and I drank. The lights were off and the candles on the window sill turned my apartment into a hiding. Nothing could touch us in this dark island-We were isolated from every single demand and danger beyond the pains. Six degrees of separation from the neighbors and ourselves- a place where hurt doesn’t bother to look- the quiet of two people turning their back against the world.