Poems by David Roskos

Poem For Paulie

the snow is so peaceful
when its falling,
covers up the garbage.
I looked out the window
of the church after
the meeting last night
& thought of Paul B.,
Baretta.
He’s dead due to a shot
he took in his arm
on a rooftop in New York.
He said he knew the needle
was infected, realized it
a second before he sunk it,
just had a gut-feeling,
paused
& said FUCK IT.
He died in the VA Hospital
in full-blown dementia,
lesions on his skin,
pockmarked face—
snow settles on his grave.

Sick

I am sick of smoke filled rooms
& charred feebase spoons
sick of needles in my arm
sick of sucking on crack pipes
and aluminum cans for that cocaine hit
sick of the sickness
& of feeling like shit
sick of LSD, pharmaceuticals & pot
sick of doing the same old thing
& gettin’ what I’ve always got

sick of jonesin’
sick of jivin’
sick of just getting by
& barely surviving

sick of emptiness
sick of shame
sick of being soulless
& of living from bag to bag
sick of scag
sick of dealers
sick of the street
sick of having difficulty
standing up on two feet
sick of eating out of garbage cans
even sicker still
of waiting on the man

sick of loss
sick of fear
sick of paranoia
sick of the cops
sick of insecurity
& of being dirty
sick of dying

before I’m thirty.

an untitled poem

broke open a moon
poured its milk
in the radiator
hundred dollars worth
of gas
in two 50 gallon
a cargo of constellations
we put it in drive & drove
over state lines
& across borders
gleefully giving
the toll-collectors
the last of our quarters
paying for groceries
w/broadsides
of out-of-print
Maxwell Bodenheim
poems
lecturing state-troopers
on the significance
of Wm Carlos Williams,
the importance of needle
exchange programs
in the schools.
discussions about addiction,
it’s treatment
as a disease
& decriminalization
of narcotics
&, therefore, addicts.
where to end a poem
like this,
and how.

Confession

I made my confession
during a casual conversation
with a Franciscan priest.
In the wintertime by the sea
in a room full of antique furniture.
The house was quiet.
The Fathers walked around
as if on water
cautions and conscious
of their feet.

The President’s Prayer

Our fodder who art in cannon
Hollowed by the blast
Thy shrapnel come
Our lives be done
On Earth where our bodies lie severed
Give us this day our daily rounds
and forgive us our near-misses
as we forgive those who near-miss us
And lead us not into active mine-fields
But deliver us through evil
For thine is the ignorance
The powder
and the worry
Until Armageddon
ABOMB

Meditation on Matthew 25:31-46

a poem in two parts

i saw jesus christ
homeless at mcdonald’s
sipping coffee oh so slow
yellow filth beneath his mouth
in his beard
a crazed look in his eye
carrying around his possessions
in a cardboard box
asked to leave
at closing time

II

i wish i was jesus christ
i’d do something save someone
resurrect whatever it is
that has died inside us

I am in Love with a Certain Prostitute

she washed 3 valiums down with a shot
felt the need to swallow my seed
and then to break my heart.
i lie in bed on the seventh day
sink a soft needle
into the upturned belly
of my fore-arm
taste sea salt on my tongue

i am in love with a certain prostitute
aaaawho melts my love in a spoon
who leaves me empty and as sparse
aaaaas the light of a silver moon

a single mattress
on a paint-splattered floor
cigarette butts
& the bitten off corners
of condom packages

i followed a constellation up the crack of her ass

The Shadow of an Apple Falling

Your love is obsolete.
Your slaves emancipated
and immune to desire.
Your beauty does not tempt me
for I see the shadow
of an apple falling
from a wind-shaken tree.
You can go now
In fact you must.
Sword-wielding cherubim
have taken their stations
at my heart.

The Bleeding Heart of Jesus

The warrior broke a clump of hash
off the heel of his boot
& dropped it in his pipe,
“Here’s to the bleeding heart of Jesus!”
he exclaimed, “Here’s to his thorny crown!”
A chorus of prostitutes joined in
alternately singing God’s praises
& Satan’s too.
Light began to fill the room
& butterflies escaped
out of the mouth of a girl.
Our hero was tired,
having walked all morning
through meadows of marijuana,
having crossed the Great
River of Opium,
washed up unconscious
on its golden shores of hashish,
Happy to be home
& in good health,
Humble & triumphant
with many a blood battle beneath his belt,
He leaned back reclining & sighed,
“I’ve fought a good fight.
I’ve kept the Faith
& the Faith’s kept me.”
He struck a match
on the sole of his shoe
& drew a deep breath
through the stem of the pipe.
Jesus spiraled out the mouth of the bowl
& stood in front of the window,
“Lotsa ailanthus trees in the alley”
he said, “Lotsa redemption too.”


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