Category Archives: coffee

South of Richmond

Every other billboard

literally every other billboard

along a one mile stretch of I-95

just south of Richmond, Virginia

is for the Army National Guard

The othersĀ are for God,


and the Navy Federal Credit Union.

This is God’s country

and if God loves anything

its giving poor kids

a false sense of hope

in a better future

before sending them

to kill other poor kids

who have no hope

of any future.







Road Trip

Billboard after billboard

too many to count

mile after mile

road after road

state after state

buy this car

buy this whiskey

buy this beer

call this lawyer

when you get pulled over

for driving this car

after drinking this whiskey

and this beer.

Drink this soda

eat this pizza

open up a new checking account

at this bank

double your money at this casino

buy tickets to this concert,

call this doctor when you get hurt.

Buy this mattress

for a good nights sleep

rent this storage unit

to keep all of the things you buy

call 1-800-WEED-DOC

when you want to get high

call this locksmith

when you get locked out of your car

call this taxi

when you get too drunk at the bar

think you’re an alcoholic?

get sober at this rehab!

can’t afford college?

let the national guard

pick up the tab

join the army

and see what great adventures

tomorrow brings

join the navy

join the air force

and call this lawyer

when you need a divorce

join the marines

join the coast guard

use this fertilizer

on your front yard.

Buy this burger

buy this hat

get this liposuction

when you get too fat

call this plastic surgeon

to westernize your nose

when you want to paint your house

make sure you call these painting pros

and make sure you come to church

don’t let satan lead you astray

even when you’re driving

there’s always time to pray

and if you get too tired

stop by this coffee shop

it’s just off the next exit

right next to the quick stop

get your coffee

and your gas

and a thousand other things…

you’re still on the east coast

just see what I-80 brings

after the rooster crows

the dogs are in the back yard

hunting the cats

and the cats are in the barn yard

hunting the rats

but the rats are at the neighbors

digging through their trash

and we’re at the breakfast table

eating eggs and hash

and Jack Johnson is singing

on the radio

and the palm trees are swaying

as the trade winds blow

and our three dogs excitedly

go running by

but they sprint into the barn

we must have caught their eye

and the cats are in the cradle

in the loft upstairs

and the goat is out back grazing

doesnt have a care

and the roosters in the henhouse

looking for a date

and we have to get to work now

it’s almost half past eight


the rain washes away my thoughts

and it wipes away my pain

staring out this window

I’m so thankful this storm came


the drought has ended now

and the gardens drink it up

but I get anxious to get back to work

wish I had just listened up


to the pitter-patter of the raindrops

they provide for me the proof

that I should stay here in this moment

as they tap dance on the roof


lets light some incense now

and lay in bed awhile

watch Butters the kitten run around

jealous of his style

as he starts tap dancing,

pitter-pattering across the floor

he climbs the curtain to the top

then falls, but he lands on all fours


the storm is passing now

its on its way back out to sea

but its too wet to get to work

so I’ll just sitright here and read

and drink some coffee

and get lost in this book

but I’m distracted

when Butters runs over

and stares up with that look

that kittens give sometimes

when they want you to play

so I give in

and setĀ my book back down

it probably made his day

though he’ll forget it soon

and I’ll give in again

see, Butters isn’t just a kitten

he makes a pretty gosh darn good friend

the pitter-patter of his tiny feet

always makes me smile

I’ll get to pick my book back up

he’s sure to pass out after awhile.









coffee, chocolate & ice cream

coffee, chocolate & ice cream

replaced cocaine, liquor and nicotine

I won’t pass that way again

I don’t need those kinds of friends


now I’ve got 3 dogs

that I walk each day

they’re my goddesses,

it’s how I pray

they’re better than any VA pills

with this medicine

its endless refills


the red dirt stains my feet and hands

I wish you’d try to understand

that it’s my therapy

and I’ve never felt so free


days counting clouds

nights counting stars

wondering how I got this far

and life’s not fair

but thats okay

the crops need rain

let skies be grey

it hurts to always smile

have to frown once in a while

but I won’t mask it with a drink

I’ll brew some coffee,

sit and think

as I eat dark chocolate

and ponder the universe

this coffees bitter

but life could be worse

I’ll put on another pot

and give today

another shot

I’ll pet my dogs

and hug my wife

be thankful

that I’ve figured out

this life

no need for money

or material things

I resist paying taxes

because I’ve seen

what war brings

I don’t need a car to drive

or a house to call my own

just need clean air

to stay alive

and where I lay my head

is home

for now its on an island

caretaking someone elses farm

we give away the food we grow

and do nobody harm

don’t drink

or drug

or fight

and wake

at dawns first light

to do our chores

and feed our pets

and live today

with no regrets

don’t need religion

don’t need booze

we have nothing

so thats all we’d lose

if this all came crashing down

I won’t shed a tear

but I might frown

then start anew tomorrow

with a Cheshire grin

and no more sorrow









Christmas 2007

God died on Christmas Eve 2007

as uniformed women and men

sang the traditional Christmas hymns

and as we ate and drank

the body and the blood

of Jesus H. Christ,

Thats around when God died.

The wine was just cheap,

shitty church wine

and the bread

was just a tasteless wafer

and the last time I went inside a church

aside from a funeral,

was the first time I ever left

before mass ended,

and on Christmas Eve of all days!!!

And mid-song,

just when everyone else was happiest,

but I knew

as I sat emotionless in the rear pew

that there was no reason to stay

because God was dead,

I had no reason to pray

prayers destined to fall on deaf ears

with no God around to hear.

I finally realized that God

wasn’t God after all

and after all those years

of guilt and fear

I woke up from the illusion

instilled in me at an early age,

as it had been similarly forced on my parents

and their parents

and all of their Irish-Catholic

and Polish-Catholic

and French-Catholic


guilt and fear

and throw an extra fin in the collection plate

and the Chaplin tells us

war is ok

and I’ll try to enjoy Christmas without God now

and thousands of miles

away from family

but closer to the Holy Land than ever before,

closer to the truth about God

and love

and war

closer to coming home,

god willing,

one more day

crossed off the calendar

one more year


with less hope

than the last,

haunted by these last few months

and the ghost of Christmas past

one more Christmas cookie,

coffee black

and a few American Spirits

sitting alone on the roof now

listening to a not-so-silent night

softened by sounds of church bells chiming

as Christmas Eve mass lets out

and I open another pack

which I’ll probably smoke before morning

as I look out beyond the wire

wondering what Santa

might have waiting for us tomorrow.

Rainy Day

By the time that I finally climbed

out of my polluted mind

it was October.

and I crawled out of my cave

pulled one foot back

out of the grave

and pulled on a pair of pants

found a shirt that would work

and did a little getting-dressed dance

but with a mountain of dirty laundry,

and no clean socks in sight…

flip-flops would do just fine, right?

so i grabbed a good book

and took my reusable coffee mug from the table,

placed them in my bag

and finally i was able to step outside

and as i was beginning to feel thankful I was still alive

and excited for the strong coffee

that awaits at the cafe,

I saw that it was raining…

and it was a hard rain falling

so i walked back into the house

put on a pair of dirty socks

and thrift-store shoes,

took a glance over at the booze

but shook my head

because I know Jack could care less

if i was dead

but he is a good friend to wait with

but I could spend my whole life waiting with him

on the world to change

just like i could spend all day

waiting on the rain

to go away

but sometimes it’s just a rainy day

and I still need fresh air

and I want that pumpkin spice coffee

from the Sugar Bowl

and I miss hearing that Polish accent behind the counter

though I don’t know why

maybe because my great-grandmother

probably sounded like that

back in the day when she came

to the land of the free…

but here, i have to pay for refills,

but that’s okay

and even on a rainy day

I know things will be okay

in the grand scheme of things

and life is good, right?

so long as we look on the bright side…

like seeing the beauty on Dot Ave

even on a rainy day

as the cars drive by

and the children play

on the streets named after the children of Irish immigrants

near the modern day Vietnamese businesses

and isn’t it ironic?

and the old men smoke and joke

and the college kids laugh and toke and come in for ice cream

and the grandmothers carry bags

of groceries

and bags under their eyes

etched through the years for their Irish-American sons

or their Vietnamese sons

both killed in a political war…

and both of their American grandsons and granddaughters

still fighting in new political wars

and i need more coffee

though now I want to make it Irish

and it’s still raining

and it’s the first day of October

and less and less people care

that it’s bombs over Baghdad once again

and the newsmen talk of an aging Tom Brady

throwing two interceptions

not a word of TWENTY-TWO American women and men

throwing in the towel every day

on lives they view as too painful to take

Twenty-Two Veterans committing suicide every single day

but it’s not like we can invade the VA

or the beltway…

and more dead civilians

and soldiers

by the rivers of Babylon

won’t make the demons go away

and just as i am trying my best

to find the beauty

of rainy day Dorchester Avenue

I look up and it’s still raining

and the old men are gone now

and the kids are gone

probably at home playing violent video games

and the college kids are giggling in the back of the cafe

over their melting ice cream

and the grandmothers are probably home for the day

drinking tea in their rocking chairs

as Fox News scares them half to death

that’s not far away for them as it is

and as I walk up for a refill of pumpkin spice coffee

listening to Lowkey rap about the world in my earphones

two tinted out, all black SUV’s park out front

“Boston Police SWAT”

says the white lettering

on the armored vehicles…

and they walk inside

one at first,

followed by three more

all geared up and armed

and I’m getting anxiety

though I’m doing nothing wrong

and as I walk back to my seat

with round two of pumpkin spice coffee

they order their own coffee

and muffins and donuts

and sit down and shoot the shit

the same as the now-sketched out college kids in the back

I know they’re just 4 dudes, human beings…i get it

but I also know goddamn well what these armed men represent

these are the same folks

who arrested me twice

for civil disobedience during Occupy Boston

and bloodied the nose of a decorated Korean War vet…

in the days when I learned

there’s no such thing as ‘freedom of speech’

and these men don’t deserve any respect

and if they really need a cup of Joe

for fuck’s sake, why can’t they get it to go?

‘they got a job to do’…okay, fine!

But nobody in here’s committed a crime

and I’m trying to stay positive

trying to read my book in peace

and find the beauty of Dot Ave

even on a rainy day

I don’t need these SWAT goons

smoking and joking and eyeballing my tattoos

but in case they’re wondering, yes this is an upside down flag

and that is Arabic and Hebrew on both my wrists

Salaam and Shalom,

and I mean it…

and I came here in peace

just to get a pumpkin spice coffee and read

a book about a community garden in Cleveland

and i know that you four are human

and I’m not acting anxious

because I’m breaking any law

It’s because when you walked in

the first thing I saw

was the Glock

and I know

that you could get away with it

if I went up for more pumpkin spice coffee

and you thought I was too aggressive,

worst case for you

you’d get a paid vacation

or stuck behind a desk…

so, I apologize

for these being the thoughts in my head

when I look up from a rainy Dorchester Avenue

and see you and your crew

roll up in armored trucks

and how can i concentrate on this book now,


but at least, for right now

I’m glad I’m not dead

it’s October and raining…

but I made it

out of bed

and after I sat back down

with my pumpkin spice coffee

and changed the music to Jimi

I was able to relax and finish the book

and pay no mind to the authoritative looks

and stares…

after all,

maybe they were just admiring

the artwork on my arms.