Tag Archives: New Jersey

Poem for Brian McGackin

A short, simple burst of verse that appears
at first mundane, a slacker’s sonnet, a simple
twist of words that somehow still obscure these
patterns, little games of surreptitious puns and
plays on phrase that only the most astute readers
will pick up on, pick upon, between the subtle
allusions to Seal, or Harry Potter, or, inevitably,
soccer, this false banality that hides a sense
of suffering, of Guinness, of meaning that is
all too often missed though it’s clever when it
lets you in and waives its endless turnpike fees,
a strong syllabic voice that set this website
into motion, keeps my sentences on track, even
when he was kind of a dick about it; but in the end
the purpose or intention is made clear, often
through a seemingly non-sequitur saying that sneaks
in at the climax, the culmination of a short
linguistic journey that illuminates in retrospect
the bullshit lines before it: Happy Birthday.

Vacation Haiku

I am currently
visiting my family
back in New Jersey.

How I Died Trying to Rob a Wawa While Wearing A Panda Mask in New Jersey Last Week

I had gone through the plan at least thirty-eight times in my head. Any more than that, and it either would have started to bore me, or else I’d start over analyzing the whole thing and getting nervous like I do every time I try to talk to that girl at the Starbucks on Route 10. I think her name’s Amy (I read it on her nametag. Is that creepy?). No. Thirty-three times. That was the optimal amount of times to run over a scenario before you’ve just got to get it done.

Thirty-three? Thirty-eight. Whatever. I wasn’t actually keeping track. I mean, come on. Who does that? Who keeps track of how many times they actually think about something? That’s why we always use big numbers, like a thousand. Easy, hyperbolic lie. People get the point. I don’t even think I can count to thirty-seven. Thirty-eight? Whatever.

I’ve thought about Amy six hundred and ninety-two times since March.

This makes six hundred and ninety-three.

It was now or never. Casually stroll into Wawa, with the gun and the mask in my pocket. Scope out the scene, make sure no one else is in the store. Idle by the Hot Pockets freezer until the coast is clear. Duck behind the rack in the potato chip aisle, out of sight of the cashier. Slip on the mask. My beautiful, beautiful Panda mask. Pull out the gun, but don’t arm it; you don’t actually want to hurt anyone. Leap out from behind the potato chip rack, rush the cashier, shove the gun in his face, probably held horizontally like in those movies because that just looks a lot cooler, demand in your deepest, meanest panda growl that he give you all the money—because really, who’s going to say no to a panda?—take the money after he gives it to you, run outside, start the car, pull the mask off, peel out of the parking lot, drive back to J & J, buy the biggest diamond ring you can afford with the cash, drive back down Route 10 all the way to the Starbucks in Denville, ask Amy to elope and run away (use of mask and gun only if necessary), live happily ever after, fin.

There were two things I failed to consider:

Well, okay three:

1. The bathroom. I forgot to check the bathroom, or even consider that there might be someone in bathroom. I didn’t know people actually used those bathrooms, except in Clerks.

2. That the person in the bathroom would also have a gun, and that his, unlike mine, would be armed.

3. That said person in said bathroom would be a professional panda poacher and incredibly impulsive. I never realized there was a market for panda pelts either. Who would want to kill something so cute and cuddly?

But before he saw the gun, before he even knew what was happening, he saw the panda mask, and Blam! Headshot. Our professional panda poacher is now the hero of Randolph, New Jersey, I’m a lonely corpse in a panda mask, and Amy’s making a caramel macchiato for someone else, completely unaware of the sacrifice I made for her in the name of love.

God I hate New Jersey.

The Syster

Syster! Syster! far away
In the suburbs of Jersey,
What immortal deity
Made us siblings, you and me?

From what upper pantheon
Was our fate decided on?
What was planned for us by He,
God of Genealogy?

And what purpose, & what plan
Did a sibling so demand?
And on the day you came to be
Was fulfilled some prophecy?

What the future? What the past?
Why were you nor I the last?
What the others? What their role
When our histories are told?

When the fates who guide my hand
Wrote the life that they had planned,
Did they know that you would be
Tied into my destiny?

Syster! Syster! far away
In the suburbs of Jersey,
What immortal deity
Made us siblings, you and me?

Another Alcoholic Apology

This warm beer reminds me of you
Your place always smelled like the morning after
I remember the bathtub full of empty bottles
We laid there, entwined like gin-soaked barnacles
Sucking on each other as if to keep from being swept away by the tide
They say the first time is always the best
But I would beg to differ
I would trade youthful hope and alcoholic joy for the longing despair of the last time any day
I remember lying there in the woods
The leaves crinkling under my feet as I pulled my pants back on
I never should have said the things I did
I meant every word, but we both knew the score
It was selfish, but I hope you can understand

The label is slowly peeling away from the bottle
Your eyes were always so bright
I remember lying in the dark in your bed
Your head on my chest rising and falling with the rhythm of my breath
You told me how you could read people so well
But you were never able to figure me out
And how much that scared you
I told you not to worry, that I would never hurt you and that everything would be alright
But sometimes marijuna and vodka make me say things I know aren’t true
Sometimes lies hurt less than the truth
Lonely New Jersey nights make me nostalgic for things I never had

My fingers smells like smoke and sex
I miss the cold bathroom tile on my back
Your mischevious grin as you locked the door behind your
The crunch of Pennsylvania leaves
The dark back corner of a Valentine’s Day movie theater
No one else really understands why I like Daredevil so much
I wonder if Ben Affleck in red leather makes you think about me
I wonder if you think that sex just feels better on the bathroom floor
I wonder if you were ever able to figure me out
I’d sure like to know if you did
I’ve never been too sure about it myself
I drift in and out these days
It’s hard to keep yourself when you’re busy loosing everything else