Monday, December 25, 2006

Fairtytale of New York

The best Christmas song you've likely never heard. Just sad enough that it makes it a million times better than all the other horseshit Christmas carols out there.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


"I'm drunk."

"How? It's like 1 o'clock. And you're at work."

- I'm drinking because he's dead.

- Stop using him as a crutch.

- I'm not.

- You are. You always do.

- Don't talk about him. You didn't know him.

- Does that matter?

- Yea.

"Mike brought a bottle of Jagermeister in for the Christmas party. We drank it an hour."

"You're ridiculous."

"You like it."

"Yea yea."

- I fucking hate it and want you to stop.

- Fuck you.

"How was the party?"

"Not bad. The food was good."

"When are you getting out?"

"Well, the Jager is hopefully soon."

"You are a mess."

- Are you ever going to change?

- Who knows. Not if people keep dying on me.

- So you'd rather die yourself?

- Sometimes. Not that I want to. I like living. But it's too much sometimes.

- So you drink yourself retarded.

- I think too much when I'm sober. I can't handle it.

- You're being a pussy.

- There's so many possibilities. There might be a God. Ryer might be in heaven, he might be in hell, or he might be in another universe where the journey continues, and it's as miserable as this planet is. God might only exist in this universe but not in the others, or he might exist outside of space and time. I might die in four seconds and I don't even know it. I could get another phone call where they tell me you're dead, or someone else who I've let get close to me. I can't handle it. In four billion years, the sun is going to inflate and consume the Earth before it dies. None of what we say here matters.

- Life isn't miserable.

- You haven't lived. It's fucking miserable.

- You see what you want to see. And I'm not as naive as you think I am.

- I know that.

- And you're getting out of hand with the drinking.

- I've always been like that. You just didn't know me. It was worse once.

- I don't like this.

- You shouldn't.

"Well. Call me when you're out. I'll be around later."


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky VI

Was fucking awesome. You should all go see it. Immediately.

Just watch out, because I think the guidos yell at the screen more than the blacks do....

If I heard, "Yo Adrian" one more time, I was gonna knock the grease out of one of those bastards....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rocky VI

I've been hearing a lot of crap about Rocky VI, which is coming out today.

"That movie's gonna SUCK!"

"That shit is so unrealistic!"

"He's too old man!"

"I hear he fights cancer in this one." (admittedly, I think this one is funny.)

Well, let me tell you all that you can fuck off. This movie is going to be incredible for a couple of reasons.

First of all, to the people who say it's "so unrealistic" that they don't want to bother seeing it...have you motherfuckers seen any movies in the last twenty years? Any James Bond or Vin Diesel film? Did you like Predator? Or Terminator? Or, for the nerd constituent out there, The Lord of the Rings? You're telling me that movies about either elves and dwarves or aliens that hunt humans and use their spinal cords as trophies are more realistic than a boxer not knowing when to quit?

Would Rocky be too old to fight professionally? Yes. But it's a fucking movie, and a movie that is no more realistic than the whole premise of the Rocky series in the first place- the world champion giving a no-name club fighter a shot at the title simply because he's called the "Italian Stallion", and America happened to be discovered by an Italian; that was a stretch in the first place. This is no worse.

As far as age goes, George Foreman won the title back at age 45, and Jack Dempsey fought on Okinawa at the age of 49 with a group of men that he trained himself. The fact is, like it's said in the movie, "Fighters fight." They can't turn it off, and they can't stop it. This fictional character of Rocky might be closer to the truth than some like to admit, maybe because they aren't fighters themselves and would never consider such a dangerous venture.

Sly looks better at 60 then 95% of America has ever looked in their lifetimes, including you who is sitting at their now computer reading this. What kind of shape will you be in at 60? Hell, what kind of shape are you in now? How many of you can do 25 pushups and 10 pullups in the same day? There's the old saying about people in glass houses throwing rocks, and I think more fat Americans need to remember this before they bash Stallone for making action movies at 60.

On a different, more philosophical note, America really could use a Rocky movie again. A History professor I once had told me a story about when he saw the first movie in the theater back in 1976.

"America was in bad shape. The whole Vietnam thing, the Watergate Scandal, Nixon...the 70's were a burned out time. Things were bad. America wasn't the good guy anymore, or the underdog. When I saw Rocky for the first time, the crowd was stunned. It gave America back a sense of itself, a sense that had been missing since Vietnam, and people couldn't believe it. It was still the only movie I've ever seen that, at the end, the entire theater stood up, and began clapping."

This is the classic America story of a kid from the streets clawing from the slums of a beaten, blown out city and becoming the champion. This is what your country, my country, is about. This is your American dream. Maybe somewhere along the line you've all forgotten what it's like to not be on top, to have brawl and fight and hope that somewhere along the line you catch a good break. Maybe you never were fighters.

But don't fuck with the hopes of us who are, and who still have a long way to go. Give us our damn movie.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


We were in a cigar bar that was buried deep inside another bar, and it was far too fancy for me. After a half hour of choking on cigar smoke and getting pissy, I snapped.

"Hey Stan."

He looked over at me, and I smiled

"Fuck this place."

He gave me a confused look, and with that I poured my beer on the floor, then took the glass and shattered it. The bouncer was incredulous, and three of them began walking towards me.

I looked at the closest one, held my hands up. "Don't worry man, I'm leaving anyway. This place sucks."

With that I made a beeline for the door, and walked out into the main bar. It took me a couple seconds after walking out of this cigar room to realize that the bouncers were probably going to beat the shit out of me, so I took off trying to find my way out, ending up drunk on the street with no cigarettes and angry men after me. With that, I waited. For what I'm not sure, I may or may not have bummed a smoke from someone on the street.

Yes, you can't take this drunken redneck to nice places, and I don't like drinking around people that quite obviously have a lot more money then me (or at least act like they do.) When you mix my hatred of the upper classes with a whole lot of beer and some old fashioned snobbery on the part of the bar, bad things will happen.

This is the reason that I would always rather drink at a dive shithole bar than a nice one like the ones in Hoboken or Morristown- I never feel so out of place as I do when I'm drinking around rich folks. When I was at the American Legion bar last week drinking with an old gray bartender who'd been in Korea and a couple of fucked up Vietnam vets, I felt fine. I drank all night there and nothing happened, and I didn't start any trouble (even if I had, that bartender had seen the Bataan Death March, so what the fuck was some drunk like me going to do to scare him?) If, however, you put me in a nice place with carpets and couches and fifteen juiced up guido bouncers, well, I'll start trouble.

I don't feel like an equal at those fancy joints; even if I'm dressed up, it's clear once I open my mouth that I'm not exactly high class. My mannerisms and actions are working class, and I can get very reactionary if I'm put around people that I think are looking down on me, even if they're not.

I like the dives because of the downtrodden working men that go there, the guys who use chainsaws and hammers during the day and drink because they got nothing else to do at night. There's stories there that flood these bars, hard lessons that the streets have taught them. They have no place at a club where the rich do designer drugs and dance like the goddamn dirty guidos that they are to their thumping techno garbage. The anger wells inside of me as I write this, and if I know that if I was at that Morristown bar again I'd have done the same thing.


Either way, it was fun at the time but now it's not so much, and I'm drinking far too much lately. On my "recovery days" of Monday through Wednesday, I'm taking stock of how much drinking really needs to be done. When you couple the fact that I could have had my teeth kicked in on Saturday night with the whole adventure of having to get Harry's car out of the impound after a DWI (all the while reliving my own), I think I need to take it a little easier... I'm getting the feeling that it's only a matter of time before me and the cops meet again in some fashion, and I'm not digging that at all.

It is, of course, only Tuesday. Who knows what Friday will bring.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I'm driving with Harry to Kearny to pick his car up from the impound lot, and we're getting off of Route 21 after being on the road for about 20 minutes. He pulls out his wallet out and begins looking through it.

"We gotta turn around."

"What?" He's still rifling through the wallet.

"I forgot my registration. They won't let me get the car out of the lot without my registration. We gotta go back."

"You fuckin pric."

20 minutes later we're back at his house, he runs in, and then I turn around again.

We're tracing back the same way we came, and it's a good thing that we had to turn around because we got off at the wrong exit... the broad who wrote him the directions apparently doesn't know how to get to where she lives.

We're driving through all these towns that are so small and close you can't tell them apart on the map, and before you know it you're out of the town and you missed your turn. It's so damn far to this police station that I'm losing faith in the little scrap of paper that is supposed to lead our way, but I know the area so little that I can't argue with whatever he's telling me.

We're driving through Main Street in either Harrison or Kearny, I can't tell. There's a lot of Spanish guys around, and a lot of Portugese and Mexican flags hanging from buildings. We drive by the "PizzaLand" place that's on the opening credits of The Sopranos.

"I always wondered where that fuckin place was. I thought it was in Elizabeth."

"I wonder if their pizza is actually good. They must get a shitload of business just from being on that show."

"Hey Harry."


"Next time you get a fucking DUI, can you get it somewhere a little fucking closer?"

"Yea I was thinkin' that. This is a drive. I was lost too, I wasn't even supposed to be here. I stopped at some gas station over here and was trying to get some Indian guy to give me a map. I was getting fucking pissed...I think I scared the shit out of him."

These are some tough towns. Not outright dangerous like Paterson or Newark, but just tough working class towns. Kearny, Rutherford, North Arlington. There's a lot of Italians, and more recently Hispanics, and the streets smell like pizza the whole way through.

"The cops loved me though, man. They were saying that they felt bad doing this to me because I was such a nice guy," he says.

"Well I'm glad you weren't in the "Let me fight a cop" stage of drunk. That's what I figured happened." It was true. He doesn't deal well with authority when he gets drunk, and he knows exactly how big he is and how that affects people. It's something that has gotten us all in trouble in the past.

"Nah, I was fine. I was talking to the one guy who was doing the breathalyzer thing, and I was asking him questions and shit about the machine. I know where all the readouts come out of, and we were bullshitting about it. He said to me, 'Ah, so you been around a lot of these before?'. I told him no, I just watch the History Channel all the time."

"I told this cop, "Man, I gotta take a piss. I'm dyin." The cop tells me that I can go in one cells and use the toilet, and he walks me through to where all the holding cells are. I'm about to walk in when I stop right at the bars, and look at the cop, and ask'em, "Hey, this isn't like, a trick, is it?"

I start laughing.

"Hey man, I didn't want to be taking a piss and have that cocksucker slam me in there," he says.

"You know, if they wanted you in a cell, you'd have been in a cell."

"You never know."

Saturday, December 16, 2006


"I fell in a bush last night."

"Yes you did."

"I think I fell on a wall, too."

"You fell on a couple things. You were singing in the parking lot, cursing at people and shit."

"Fuckin right I was."

"Do you remember me making fun of you?"


"Yea. I did it for a while, and I told you that I was doing it now because it's the only time I could get away with it. I told you that you wouldn't remember."

"Nice. Well, I don't."


I walk in the apartment, and they're trying to fix all the crap that we've collectively broken over the years. The ground is strewn with tools and screw guns and paint is everywhere. Justan starts talking to me.

"What happened to Harry last night?"

"He got a DUI, the dumb fuckin bastard."


"In Kearny."

"The fuck was he doing down there?"

"Who the fuck knows. He hit some guy, then took off. The cops picked him up later."



"Isn't that a felony?"

"Don't know.

"Lot of bad shit happened this week man. Goron had a stroke."

"Get the fuck out. Isn't he like 25?

"Yea. Just woke up and his left side was numb. They can't find the clot yet."

Ryer's ghost looks over my shoulder, he's smiling at me.

"I think our bodies are rebelling against us, eh boyo?"

Justan smiles.

"Lotta hard livin man."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Tale of Heroin Kev

He lays out on the picnic table behind the nursery shed, his walkie-talkie next to his ear and his hat falling off. He is so fucked up that he can barely walk, yet quickly responds every time a call comes over that radio. A question is asked about a plant; he sits up, hits the button, and rattles off more information than anyone should rightly know about plants, including their phylums and Latin names. With the question answered, he lays back down on the table, and is gone again. The needle lies under the table.

When he first started at the garden center, he seemed like a cool guy. He stood at a lean 5'9, and was what one might call muscular. He had a shaved head and a busted up face that came from being a Golden Gloves boxer in the Army, and a red goatee covered his chin.

We knew he'd had some kind of problems as evidenced by the little blue AA bible he aways kept with him, and he'd have it out constantly, circling passages, writing notes, whatever. No one knew how bad it was, because the garden center is like the French Foreign Legion- we'll take anyone, regardless of your past indiscretions. Murderers, rapists, drug addicts, we don't give a fuck as long as you can move heavy shit...

At 6 o'clock in the morning he'd be there, unloading trailers of heavy plants, brewing pots of coffee so strong it put hair on the hair on your balls, dragging pallets around. He was a far better worker than I am, and by the time I'd gotten there at 9, he'd have already done half the things that needed to be done in the nursery. I work in the stone yard, so I don't have too much contact with the nursery guys during the busy season, but even I could see that between his obvious knowledge of the plants and his willingness to do any kind of work, he quickly became a favorite of the bosses.

It was beyond work ethic with him, though; there's plenty of guys who will work their asses off but are such cocksuckers you can't stand to be around them. Not Kev. He was so polite it was unnerving, especially in a blue collar environment where things can get pretty rough and vulgar. A little Spanish kid showed up for work on a Saturday still drunk from the night before- Kevin called his mother to come pick him up, and tried to keep it quiet.

If you add to this that the guy was in the Army, not to mention was a boxer, well, we liked him. Me and Ryer were all of maybe 18 or 19 at the time, and he would show us stuff about boxing, fixing our jabs so they had more snap in them, or showing us how quick his own hands still were, even though he was getting older himself. A big hillbilly friend of mine who loved to fight told Kev that he wouldn't bother even touching him because he was so damn dangerous- "If we get into it, I'm going to get my gun, because you'll fuckin kill me." That is a compliment among compliments coming from that guy.

As the spring wore on, though, things started going downhill. Kevin hung out a little too much with a shady Sicilian named Danny who had faded tribal tattoos down his arms and liked to drink Southern Comfort in the morning. Stories started being made up back there, great tales about them getting arrested the night before for drunk driving, getting into fights with each other, losing their licenses, getting connections to get those licensces back....all bullshit.

We would watch from the stone yard as they brought trees out from the nursery, getting a little more ragged each time they came out, until by the end of the day you could tell they were both blitzed. Drunks are nothing at the job, so this was all being let go. I'd be driving the rack truck bringing out deliveries, and Danny would be in the passenger seat at 10 in the morning drinking out of a water bottle, swearing up and down that it was iced tea. It's safe to say that as this grimy Sicilian got worse, so did Kevin.

August came around, and we began hearing about needles found in the nursery shed. Kevin and Danny both blamed it on a runt of a guy that worked outside with me (logical only because this other fucker certainly looked like he was on heroin.)

In a month, Danny had disappeared and Kevin was knocked out on the picnic table high as a kite. His war was with heroin, and our boy was losing. Bad. Soon after, he got put in rehab (I don't know who put him there, though I think it may have been the blessed State of New Jersey).

He was gone for a month, and no one really knew his whereabouts, or if he'd ever come back. Eventually, he showed up.

"Do I still have a job?" he asked.

"I don't know man. Go talk to the big man."

"Hey man, you got an extra cigarette?" I nodded. When he was sober he had smokes, when he was fucked up he didn't. Nothing had changed.

We were leaning on pallets of cinder blocks. Ryer looked at him. "So how'd rehab go?"

"All right" he said.

"Did it work?" I asked.


He lit his cigarette, then turned and walked away; after a couple steps, we could see the fifth of Jack Daniels start working its way out of his back pocket. Later that day, while looking for rides back to Paterson, he jumped in a van with a bunch of Mexicans and took off while still on the clock.

That was the last time anyone saw him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dangerous Folks...

The boss calls me over the radio. "Come up front. I need you to help someone."

That means its either a friend of his, or someone he can get something from. I walk in from stone yard outside.

The guy who he's talking to is short, wearing a black t-shirt and those Adidas running pants that only the wops wear. His hair is thinning, gray, but he looks somewhat fit in the way that guys who jog alot do.

"Help this guy out. He needs a couple hundred wallstones. Just put the pallets in his truck."


The short guy says something about pulling the truck around, and walks out the door. I'm about to follow him, and my boss grabs my shoulder.

"Be careful what you say to this guy. Don't fuck him around. He, uh...went to college for a while."

"Sure thing."

What the fuck does that mean, I'm thinking as I walk out the door. I get on the forklift, grab the two pallets worth of stone that he wants, and drive out to the box truck that's backed in the driveway. It's one of those that has the metal racking on the sides, and they're full of Pepsi bottles and other assorted sodas.

He opens the gate, and I put the first pallet in without a problem. As I'm sliding the second one in, he's yapping about something that's in GuidoSpeak, and I never know what the hell they're saying. I'm mostly just smiling and nodding.

For some reason the second pallet isn't going in nearly as easy, and I get out to see what I got caught on- it's the base of all these soda racks that's slowing me down. Suddenly it clicks: this guy works vending machines, and now I don't have to ask what the boss meant when he said that this guy "went to college." Fuck.

For the next ten minutes, I'm a lot more careful with that forklift.

When I walk back in, the boss asks me if he tipped me.

"Yea. He dropped me ten bucks."

"You got them all in OK?"

"Yea, no problem", I say, fingering the bill in my pocket.


Sunday, December 10, 2006


You coast over an ocean of concrete.
Instead of waves there are painted white lines,
Instead of driftwood, lampposts.

You’ve flown over Achilles on the banks of the Aegean,
You’ve flown over Napoleon’s march into Paris,
You’ve flown over the streets of Dublin on a bloody Sunday.

Over the fields of Athenry,
Over the careless guillotines of France,
Over the gallows, where traitors have gone to die.

Now you are here, sailing the currents
When I throw my cigarette, you dive down
Like a burning white Stuka.

Am I an unwitting partaker
In the history of the future?
Will someone write that you flew over me once?

Friday, December 08, 2006


Where you been hiding all these years?

Why the ancient books and old gray men
Who wail like banshees, and cast their eyes on me,
Claiming I should fear your wrath?

When is the thunderous day
That you’ll come and cut me down?

Are your angels drunk when evil is rampant
And women weep for your help?
Where is your raging anger, where is your army of light?

Where is your endless mercy
For the poor and the downtrodden,
Who eat from broken dumpsters, and drop by the thousands
Painfully, slowly, while rich men feast in mansions of bricks and gold?

Are you the warrior who screams the loudest,
Yet never unsheathes his sword?

When they starve in the black gutters,
The shadowy alleys, in gray streets,
Do your burning words feed them?
Where are your mysterious ways?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bob Dylan Part II

There was truly something special about seeing old Bobby D. at the arena. Just to know that I was in the same building as he was enough to have me dumbfounded in a state of shock and awe (if you will).

His voice sounds like when you scrape a metal rake against asphalt when it hasn't rained in a couple weeks. He sang many tunes from the new album, one that I'm fairly unfamiliar with, but it still sounded golden.

It wasn't all that long- only an hour and a half. In that hour and a half, though, I saw a legend perform Tangled Up in Blue, Like A Rolling Stone, and All Along the Watchtower to a hardcore audience that braved the weathered, storming Jersey highways just to see him. You'll hear no complaints from me.

God bless the old man, the foremost poet of the American Century.

Changes in lattitudes

If any of the four or five loyal readers of this blog are wondering why I changed the name and address, it's because I had people reading this who shouldn't be reading it, and, as a result, I was beginning to censor myself. I can't have that.

I appreciate the good people who have found their way here anyway again (mostly through T-Nation).

Sorry for the mix up guys. Thanks for checking this shit out continually though. I have a short story coming up that's gonna blow your cocks off. Be warned.