Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Irish Rover

(Astoria, Queens)

When Darren is at
the bar, don’t go far.
If Ania sees a stupid frat
boy, she’ll kick him scarred.

Gerry is a gentleman.
He keeps the place top
notch. When a man
is looking at crotches, stop

him. Ask Michéal to punch
him. A few regulars
are always there. A hunch
tells me you’ll see cars

lined up for Schilacci.
He’s my manager. He’ll
tell you of the bees
wax or the best feels

at the “worst birthday
party ever!” He’s clever.
He’s the best. If you say
you want a drunken fever

and to be a fool? Pull up
a stool, but Moses knows
how to keep all the pups
at bay. He can stow

a face in a trash can
if you ask him. Tuesdays
through Thursdays, Mike stands
broad shouldered and stays

till the house is clean
of crazies. He’ll toss
your ass out if beans
and marbles are lost.

(I said “beans” for rhyming.)
If you have bad looks
from a stranger, a shinning
eye will get your books

cleared—will get you
barred from the best
bar in New York City. Stew
on Irish messages. Jest

with Eanna and he’ll
treat you like a pal.
Call me a steel-
toed boot wearing Al,

and I’ll call you a
truth speaker. If you
know meyou’ll know a
woman named through

a war between her father
and mother. She’ll tell
you that daughter
called “The Grey Castle”

can sing better, for her
name in Gaelic means
Leslie. Yes, I shared
that meaning through seething

teeth. Don’t approach
my Mrs. It’ll get you
rosy punched and roach
kisses. You’ll be a few

inches under and food
for worms. Guess what?
The 25th anniversary brew
is starting on August

sixteenth. Two months
after Bloomsday.
I haven’t forgotten; cunts
can’t burn journal pages. Stay

true to the Irish Rover.
Never go over your tab.
See you soon over
At my bar, and save a cab

for home. You’ve earned it.
Now, get going and get lit.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


for Maryanne Ventrice

At the end of your life,
you’re gonna be all used up.”

When does it end?
The redbud holds no blooms.
When will it be spring again?

Her leaves were torn by autumn winds.
Winter became cold so soon.
After the frost, will it end?

Summer dried her broken limbs
and lightning struck her through.
Please let it be spring again.

If she had a forest of friends,
instead of dry grass and a few
stones, she’d not hope to meet her end.

Her twig ends do not bend.
Green grows not in her shoots.
She doesn’t know it’s spring again.

Early chirpings have hope to lend,
though her trunk’s core is a tomb.
This redbud has met this end,
though it’s finally spring again.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


For Jan Tilley

Death is a form of rebirth.
We've come down to Earth,
or we were born out of star
dust to be a light far

from where we're born. Death
is our friend; she'll be
there in the end. Breath
tends to fend for keeping

us alive. The darkness
wakes us to what matters.
My friend, your kindness
leaves others in tatters.

Thank you.

Friday, August 9, 2019


I’m late-night writing,
and I break some ripening
garlic to cleanse my blood.
I find myself searching

for bulb skins beneath 
the refrigerator—thinking:
"Tater can’t eat these
garlic skins. It’ll hurt him."