Liquor Store

Tyler R. Martin

Ringing in the liquor store and jealous
Of the booze these people buy.
87.56 for single malt scotch,
64.99 for the gentleman’s
Sweet sour mash,
A 48.26 small batch bourbon, all before
Old Uncle Sam’s greedy share.
And the vodkas, my man,
The oceans of Goose and Svedka
Coursing through the veins of America
Make my envy rise and mouth thirst
For the pure and safe sanctity of spirits
And the docile feeling connecting you
With the holiest of spirits and you feel God
And you…
Keep ringing soberly in the liquor store
While other people drop hundred dollar bills
On tequilas supported by that cunt Cloony
Who couldn’t understand the depth a true drunk
Must contend with daily.
Then the then true drunks step in and
You find seriousness in their slurs
As you decipher their need for a pint
And know instinctively that they will
Provide exact change….

The Cardinal in my Yard

Tyler R. Martin

The cardinal in my yard won’t sing
He just stares.
He stares blankly at nothing while I stare
Blankly at him.
It’s cold in January in New York
And my grandfather’s grapevine
On which he sits is bare and branches
Shiver in the breeze.
Nothing moves in my backyard today
Aside from an infrequent neck twitch when
The cardinal hears something.
He stays very still but the bright red is
Nothing but a beacon in the dull brown
of the grape vine.
Good for getting laid, I suppose,
But a bad target nevertheless.
He puffs his feathers in the cold
And I watch him and
I think we’re both wondering the same thing,
That is:
When the predator finally comes down on you
Is that day worse than any other?
Simultaneously sicked by this thought
The cardinal flew away and I put my
Boots on to go to work.

Another Cigarette

Tyler R. Martin

Light another cigarette,
The world won’t care in the morning,
Just another butt in the ashtray, another
Glob of flem in your lungs.
Light another cigarette,
The dog’s asleep on your couch,
He watches your house and he won’t mind
If you light another cigarette, and
Light one for your girl too before you wake her up
To smoke one with you and maybe crack two beers,
She’ll enjoy that, you know?
Amazing how she sleeps through the music, dog too,
But they’re used to it and a nocturnal man needs his nicotine,
His muses and his music, all at maximum volume.
Light another cigarette and
Type out a poem at two in the morning,
Two in the morning is undoubtedly a poet’s time,
Its unavailable to the cogs of society, so we snach it up
And light another cigarette without the slightest inclination
To go to sleep in the immediate future.
So you finish your beer…then finish hers…
You light another cigarette and look out the window.
If you’re lucky you’ll see the sky and the smoke looks so pretty
Against the star peppered abyss of heaven.
So light another cigarette and sigh,
“Perhaps, if I am lucky,
I’ll do this every night
Until I die.”

Just…Wreckage

Tyler R. Martin

Life is more a second to second, day to day, drink to drink,
Mood to mood, cigarette to cigarette type of deal with way, way
Too many variables for any kind of long to term plan.
Today I drove up on a car, two cars actually, splintered and savaged
In collision of scattered steel and warped plastic as if the two cars
Were melded into one fiery display of wreckage and carnage and blood.
The passengers, all of whom were burnt to a blazing crisp,
Were being carted away like slaughtered livestock in black body bags.
It was early, the sun was just rising and the sirens stirred the cold,
Crisp morning air. Both sets of vehicles were on their way somewhere
To go do something with some other people. Planning their day
Their week, their year, the rest of their waning lives.
They were moving forward onto the future, willfully blind
To the metaphorical brick wall boldly awaiting interception,
They never would have known it but
Hell
They shoulda just stayed
Home

Another Dead Bird

Tyler R. Martin

My dog, with a dead bird in his mouth, was waiting for me

This morning on the stoop of my home’s back door.

I stood in the doorway, waiting to let him in, hung over, 

Bleary eyed, still naked at six AM, drowsy and half asleep, 

Desperately wanting him in the house so I could grab 

Another hour of sleep without fear of him pissing on my floor.

And there he was, staring up at me, ears up, tail wagging,

Dead bird in his mouth and big blue eyes popping from

Their sockets with excitement. “Put it down!” I told him,

“Fuck you,” his eyes responded, I looked down at him,

Dead bird in his mouth, gray sloberry feathers hanging from

His jowls, tail wagging very rapidly. “My bird,” his eyes said.

Fuck it, I lit a cigarette and let him and his dead bird inside,

Head high, tail wagging, he trotted into the house, almost skipping

Towards my bedroom to show his prize to the hungover blonde 

Still comatose in my bed. I sat at my kitchen table smoking,

Head back against the back of the chair blowing plumes of smoke 

Into the stagnant air and waited for the inevitable screams.