It's been a quiet holiday season in the world of Wiler. Not counting Johanna's being assaulted in Washington and getting two fingers nearly severed or Divina being taken to the hospital or my fellow worker Derrick dying of pneumonia (that's a euphemism). Mostly I spent the week between Christmas and New Years taking care of Johanna and yelling at the hotel to get her things back.
I also had to deal with my broken window and an upcoming inspection at Acme. Plus I think my poetry sucks, my book sucks and my life is in the toilet.
But beyond that stuff I did get Sirius Radio from my friends Linda and Patty and can now listen to Howard again! Hey Now! Artie, Robin, Fred, and the gang are back in my life.
Plus while I think my poetry sucks I have been writing so I'm sort of lying about that. I thought it would be good to post my most recent poem here to keep you all up to date with what's the what. Here it is. Read it and weep:)
What You Can Do in Central New Jersey at Christmas
I go with my friend Bill Wasnak to Sayreville or Jamesburg.
One of those central Jersey towns with one long street,
low, one and two story buildings and a half dozen dozing bars.
We walk into one and there are all my friends from twenty years ago.
Big Mike, Debby Fried, Alan Estevez, Bob Zirpoli, Jack Ward,
the Irregulars, all standing around, happy, drinking, laughing.
I’m talking to Pete Keen and I ask him where he’s living now.
He says the North Carolina coast.
I say, what a coincidence, I go there often.
I ask Bill, didn’t we go there, what, two years ago?
He laughs, takes a drink, and says, no.
The last time we were all there was the fall of 2001.
The fall of 2001.
What a cruel joke.
Now I understand.
Now I see the bar for what it is.
The ghosts of Christmas have washed me up just short of Christmas Day
in a dingy old man’s bar with all my lost and forgotten friends.
Bob Zirpoli, who hasn’t spoken to me since 1981.
Pete Keen, Christ, for all I know he’s dead.
Wasnak, married now, with two boys and a lovely wife.
Prosperous business man, avid golfer, man on the go.
I look around again and see the glasses covered in dust, the windows boarded up.
Waiting for the wrecking ball from some developers dream.
The Melody Bar crushed by the jaws of some great earth moving machine.
The Court Tavern huddled up against the New Brunswick of tomorrow.
My friends old and fat and drinking too much.
Working at jobs they hate.
Making too much money, or too little, with wives they abhor or who detest them.
O horrible dream. O stunted joy.
O Melody Bar.
A band now long forgotten plays some creaking punk anthem.
The smell of stale beer and lost love stinks up the joint and we reel out into the dawn.
Asking where’s the party, where’s the party?
Once someone would have said
I am the party
Once we would have laughed and laughed.
Now we stare at the harsh dawn sun, turn our separate ways,
march back home.
It’s hours till Christmas and the ghosts have not found me fit for redemption.
They offer this happy gathering, my long forgotten friends, this bar, this grim lesson.
Anyway, that's all for now. I'm busy planning my new year and my poetic life and my romantic life...all of which are in disarray. I'm reading with a bunch of friends at the Bowery Poetry Club on New Years Day after 3:00pm. Come and hear Danny Shot, Elliot Katz, Joe Weil, Bobby Tiedeken, Chevisa, and me. It's the most goofy, ego-centric reading of the year. Thankfully the bar is open. God bless poetry! Adios Saddam! Hail, hail rock and roll, and goodnight to James Brown! I feel good. To quote Was Not Was, "I feel better than James Brown".